Wade on Birmingham

Archive for April, 2008

Heads up: Let’s sue something!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Larry Langford Jefferson County’s debt crisis could be the worst in U.S. history, thanks to bond swaps and other financial shenanigans. Who’s to blame? The government says Larry Langford, former head of the county commission and current head of Birmingham.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint today against the mayor for taking more than $156,000 in cash and benefits, in exchange for helping his good buddy Bill Blount get in on the bond swap action worth more than $6 million in business. Also named is Al LaPierre, another Langford pal/lobbyist/former head of the state Democratic Party. The SEC accused LaPierre of receiving $219,500 from Blount to help win the county’s financial business.

Langford and LaPierre have denied any wrongdoing.

At the heart of the case, accusations of concealed payments, backroom deals and financial mismanagement of public funds of the worst kind. Meanwhile, the mayor continues to propose sketchily detailed projects and funding for the city. Where, and how, will it all end?

Also:

  • The SEC press release
  • How Langford’s $70,000 clothing crunch may have cost billions to county residents (PDF)
  • Langford: “My whole life has been put out in the public. Name me another official that’s been put under that type of scrutiny.”
  • WBHM interviews Glenn Gordon of the SEC (MP3)
  • Fox 6 explains the complexities of municipal finance in Bond Deals 101

Birmingham News: SEC files civil complaint against Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, banker and lobbyist

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mechanized denial

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I am no robot.
I am no robot. I am
no robot. I am no …

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paradox of outer suburbia

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

They drive further and
further to get away, yet
build strip malls nearby.

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stuck no more

Monday, April 28th, 2008

The sticker gives up
its spot on the windshield but
leaves ghostly footprint.

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small sign of eco-progress

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Used to be two kinds,
but now all type of plastics
fine for recycling.

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killing the blues

Monday, April 28th, 2008

They saw me swinging
the world by the tail, bouncing
over a white cloud.

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Heads and tales: Time to connect

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Magic City Art Connection

Paintings in the park: Swing by Linn Park for the 25th annual Magic City Art Connection. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday, with artists from all over, plus Corks and Chefs, that sumptuous gathering of the Birmingham’s finest cuisine.
• Official site

Bargains in the Belk: The Junior League of Birmingham has its annual Bargain Carousel. Maybe you need clothes, or toys, or furniture, or about a hundred other things. See one of the largest “garage sales” over at the abandoned Belk at Century Plaza, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday is $5. Proceeds from the event fund the organization’s year-round service projects.

Don’t forget: You can also dump your old electronics and computers Saturday at Century Plaza.
• Official site

God vs. gangstas: If you’re on hand this evening for the art festival, stick around, because some performance art is gonna blow your mind. Mayor Langford, having purchased thousands of sackcloths with personal funds, will have a prayer rally in Linn Park at 6 tonight. Like his predecessor Bernard Kincaid (who threw a “funeral” for crime), Langford wants the community to don the sackcloth and ashes, declaring “It’s time to pray.” LaLa meets dada. Excellent.
• Park drips with irony, intolerance [Birmingham News]

Also:

  • Barons gear up for pointless season
  • City’s surreal index dangerously high
  • Segway plant considers moving to state, very slowly

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stylish to the end

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Charlie strolls along
21st, checked jacket, bright
pants, always a hat.

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the ballad of caveat emptor

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Dear valued client,
We sort of regret taking
your cash. Not really.

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Heads up: Three left feet

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Marlee Matlin and Fabian Sanchez

Hosts Tom Bergeron and Samantha Harris, left, boot
Marlee Matlin and Hoover’s Fabian Sanchez
from “Dancing With the Stars.”

On Tuesday’s episode of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” actress Marlee Matlin and her professional partner, Fabian Sanchez of Hoover, were eliminated. Week 5 saw the pair perform the mambo, earning a score of 21 from the judges, the lowest among the seven competing couples.

Ironically, Sanchez won the 2006 national championship in … mambo.

Oh well, that’s the way the ballroom bounces. What’s the sign for “failure”?

Video of the messy mambo, after the jump …

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sandwich with a twang

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Pimiento cheese sticks
to slices in an orange crust
of odd tradition.

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Heads up: Earth first

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

earthrise Greetings, fellow Earthlings,

As you idle your SUVs in rush hour traffic, sipping on gourmet coffee in disposable containers, please remember that today is Earth Day. (Next week: Up With Uranus Week.)

To mark the greening of society, Birmingham Weekly has a passel of articles on the event, including a look at Fresh Air Family, which wants you to go outside and play.

The Birmingham News marks the day with a feature on the soon-to-be first LEED-certified house in Alabama, over in Homewood. Take a look at it via satellite.

And finally, drop off your electronics and computers and unwanted gizmos from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Century Plaza during Ecycling Day. Send all gently used iPods to our mailing address.

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step by step

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Click clack goes the red
pedometer. Measured steps
mark the journey’s miles.

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diplomatic ties

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Doubt, solitude mark
the life of an outsider,
as does joining worlds.

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Vote 2008: McCain visits two Alabamas

Monday, April 21st, 2008

GOP nominee to tour Black Belt, hit Birmingham fund-raisers

Republican presidential nominee John McCain has returned to Alabama to lure voters in a state that went for Mike Huckabee in February. The Arizona senator will start in Selma this morning, which has already seen visits by Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

After a swing through the Black Belt, he’ll stop tonight in Birmingham for a fund-raiser at the Sheraton ($1,000 and $2,300 for tickets) and then to Soho in Homewood for a young professionals fund-raiser (a thrifty $100 per ticket).

The Black Belt is among the poorest regions in the nation, though U.S. Steel announced Friday that it would build a $150 million, 75-job plant in Sumter County later this year.

Just 197 days until Election Day.

Can McCain win over the evangelicals and traditional Southern Republicans who voted Huckabee? What do you think?

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Complete Vote 2008 coverage.