Wade on Birmingham

Wade on February 2008


Then and now

Does not compute: Back in his Fairfield days, Mayor Langford set up a charity with pals John Katopodis and Richard Scrushy to get computers to kids. Except that tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars went to him, Katopodis and a gay porn star. All of this came out in court as HealthSouth and Katopodis sued each other.

Both sides settled in March without revealing the terms of the deal. Frankly, plenty was revealed already.

Meanwhile, Langford’s latest effort to give computers to kids rolls on, having ordered an additional 14,000 laptops this week without Birmingham school board approval. The technology upgrades could cost millions for a system already struggling to keep facilities open.

More on Larry Langford and John Katopodis.

Keep reading for more updates, plus a scandalous photo of yours truly, after the jump …

Blogging bloggers on blogging blogs: I took part on a blogging panel for the Alabama chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. We all had fun, and here’s the proof …

From left, Birmingham News columnist John Archibald, me
and Terminal founder André Natta. Photo courtesy André Natta.

And yes, you can listen to the entire MP3 of the panel. Hey, it’s your 45 minutes …

Huckabee, Obama and the strange case of William Bell: On Super Duper Tuesday, Alabama made an early decision in the race for the White House. Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Barack Obama won in the state presidential primary. Obama later went on to become the official party nominee, while Huckabee dropped out of the race less than a month later when John McCain sealed the nomination.

Birmingham city council member William Bell won a seat on the Jefferson County Commission, filling the vacancy by Mayor Larry Langford. But, a handful of citizens sued to block the election, claiming the law says the special election should’ve taken place during the general election on Nov. 4, 2008. Meanwhile, Gov. Riley says only the governor has the power to fill vacant seats, and that his appointee George Bowman should remain the commissioner.

Got all that?

The state supreme court took up the case earlier this month, but has not made a ruling nor set a deadline. Bell remains in his previous position on the council, as the election results have not been certified.

More coverage in Vote 2008.

Don done wrong? It’s not every day a former governor is convicted of felonies (2006) or sent to prison (2007) or freed on bond as his appeal is considered (2008). The turnaround for Don Siegelman was a “60 Minutes” report that aired on Feb. 26 after several delays. The investigation implied that White House operative Karl Rove pulled strings to get Siegelman tried, convicted and locked up.

Has the Justice Department become politicized, thus leading to its targeting of Siegelman and other high-ranking Democrats? A recent audit says that the agency started weeding out job candidates with Democratic ties in 2002, a violation of civil service law and its own hiring policies.

While Siegelman has returned home, co-convict Richard Scrushy was turned down a third time Wednesday by a federal appeal court for release on bond.

The Senate has subpoenaed Rove, who has refused to testify by claiming executive privilege. Oh, Karl, we can handle the truth. We want you on that wall, we need you on that wall, right?

More on Don Siegelman.

Haiku flashback

whole-hearted half-marathon [Feb. 13]

She ran and ran so
the little girl could find a
way to run herself.

More haiku.

• • •

Archives: February

Special report: Wade on 2008

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