Wade on Birmingham

Archive for November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Have a safe and filling Thanksgiving!

In case you need an appetizer, here’s the holiday classic episode, “Turkeys Away,” from “WKRP in Cincinnati,” which aired 30 years ago.

“As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

thanksgiving symphony

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Gobble, gobble, munch,
munch. Smack, smack, plop, plop, fizz, fizz.
Thankful for so much.

• • •

Read more haiku.

littlest wish list

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Tiny noses pressed
against panes, peering at shelves
of Christmas future.

• • •

Read more haiku.

Heads up: Larry Langford’s first year

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

In his first year, Mayor Larry Langford has proposed more ideas than you’ve forgotten about. Really.

Birmingham mayor Larry LangfordThe former Fairfield mayor, TV reporter, theme park entrepreneur and Jefferson County commissioner took office Nov. 13, 2007.

His effort to jump-start, well, everything about the city of Birmingham has generated publicity, arguments, questionable funding and often little else. Save for XO laptops (most still sitting in a warehouse) and periodic neighborhood cleanups, are residents and businesses better off than they were 365 days ago?

The Birmingham News did its standard roundup, prominently mentioning the elephant in the room (the federal grand jury investigation into his commissioner days). Langford says:

“I don’t feel like I need to justify anything to any of these people. The proof is right in front of their faces. We are further along than we have been in the last 20 years.”

An editorial marking his first anniversary in office repeats an oft-heard request: Finish a proposal, any proposal, before moving on to the next 10. Langford usually counters this by saying the city’s too far behind to concentrate on any one project at a time.

Birmingham Weekly catalogs the mayor’s cavalcade of ideas one agonizing month after another. It’s a litany of broken promises and political favors:

November 2007: Before taking office, Langford effectively fires Police Chief Annetta Nunn. In an interview with ABC 33/40, Langford says he will retain Nunn as a consultant to finish upgrades in police technology. Despite the promise, Langford never gives Nunn any such contract.

January 2008: The mayor’s office proposes a $1.4 million contract annually renewable with Ion Interactive to provide camera surveillance for the Birmingham Police Department. Ion Interactive was started by Claude Estes IV, a Birmingham accountant. … The contract is not put out for bid. The council approves the contract. The mayor’s office proposes a $1.3 million, 12-month contract with Tech Providers, Inc. to install financial software and train city employees to use it. Tech Providers Inc. was started by Claude Estes IV. … The contract is not put out for bid. The council approves the contract.

Really, you can just flip open any publication at any time to read about such shenanigans. In the most recent issue of Black and White, learn about him trying to hire a duplicate purchasing agent with a $102,000 salary.

Or just periodically check the BhamWiki for the ever-growing list of initiatives from Mayor Langford.

Larry Langford. Misunderstood dreamer? Schemer? Or about-to-be-indicted loser? And can Birmingham survive another three years?

Crime Watch: Birmingham No. 8 on Most Dangerous Cities list

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Down from No. 6 last year

Birmingham remains in the Top 10 cities in major crime, according to Washington-based CQ Press. The city ranked No. 8 on the Most Dangerous Cities list for 2008, while Alabama ranked No. 15 among most dangerous states. The list came out Monday.

Wade on Birmingham - Crime WatchBirmingham-Hoover is No. 31 among most dangerous metropolitan areas.

The publisher used crime data reported to the FBI in six areas: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and motor vehicle theft. For more, see “City Crime Rankings 2008-2009.”

Other Alabama cities ranked:

83. Huntsville
90. Montgomery
131. Tuscaloosa
156. Mobile

New Orleans is No. 1 on the list.

Birmingham has 79 homicides to date this year, compared to 93 for 2007.

For more, see “Birmingham Ranked 8th Most Dangerous City.”

• • •

Visit our Crime Watch page.

dark days ahead

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

The twilight ceases
long before the day’s work is
done. We walk blindly.

• • •

Read more haiku.

big game

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Crimson and white fights
orange and blue on bright green field.
Colors of iron.

• • •

Read more haiku.

a new thing

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

I need a new thing,
one that doesn’t require
big change or much cash.

• • •

Read more haiku.

in from the cold

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Weak from week of cold.
Symptoms subside, fever goes.
Bad feelings remain.

• • •

Read more haiku.

out loud

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

I tell my issues
in 40 minutes, leaving
10 for awkwardness.

• • •

Read more haiku.

the human heart

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

It beats coldly in
a sheltered place, only to
warm with openness.

• • •

Read more haiku.

the path to sustainability

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

How do we grow to
the point where we no longer
worry about growth?

• • •

Read more haiku.

Heads up: Catching up with Rush Propst and the ‘Two-A-Days’ cast

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Rush Propst - Hoover High School - Two-A-DaysRush Propst, the champion football coach with the cocky attitude, has wrapped up his first season in Colquitt County, Ga. You may remember him for his winning ways at Hoover High School, or perhaps for the show “Two-A-Days,” or at the very least, for his downfall in October 2007.

His first season has ended with a loss, including Propst being ejected in the fourth quarter for two penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct. The team finished 4-6. (Hoover, meanwhile, is 11-1, playing Mountain Brook Friday in the third round of state playoffs.)

Has his humble new home softened the coach? Well …

Propst has a long wish list: Assistant coaches freed from classroom duties. An expanded staff. More weight equipment. Artificial turf to match the fields of some other schools, where the grass always seems greener.

“We can’t just keep up with the Joneses,” he said. “We’ve got to pass them.”

The school board approved $95,000 in salary on a coach who was viewed by some as high risk, but who is seen by almost all as high reward. Jones said he would try to accommodate Propst, within reason. Quoting from the New Testament, he said, “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

Meanwhile, the question we get asked (a lot) is “Whatever happened to So-and-So from ‘Two-A-Days’ ”? Wonder no more: Ian R. Rapoport at the Birmingham News tracked down the stars for an update feature for ESPN, ” ‘Two-A-Days’ stars take divergent paths.”

  • Alex Binder left the Bevill State baseball team, works at a Birmingham car dealership to provide for his wife Danielle and 11-month-old girl, Maria Grace.
  • Mark McCarty conquered his addiction to marijuana and pills and “gave (his) life to the Lord” after his mother was diagnosed with brain cancer.
  • Dwarn “Repete” Smith, who played football at Auburn for two days, attends Jacksonville State.
  • Ross Wilson, younger brother of Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, hit .295 with 15 home runs as a freshman second baseman for the Crimson Tide.
  • As for football, Cornelius Williams plays at Troy, Max Lerner at Furman, the twins Brandon and Byron Clear at Clemson, and Michael DeJohn walked on at Alabama.

New York Times: “High School Football Coach Relishes His Second Chance”

• • •

More headlines | send us your news tips | more ““Two-A-Days.”

change is on the way

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Make way for a new
generation, ready to
lead, follow, not yield.

• • •

Read more haiku.

Vote 2008: The Obama Effect in Alabama

Monday, November 17th, 2008

Barack Obama

A few closing thoughts on President-elect Obama and Alabama:

Wade on Birmingham - Vote 2008Condi’s congratulations: Secretary of State and Birmingham native Condoleeza Rice offered her congratulations to the winner.

“I want to note that President-elect Obama was inspirational and I’m certain he will continue to be. As an African-American, I’m especially proud, because this is a country that’s been through a long journey, in terms of overcoming wounds and making race (less of a factor in life). That work is not done, but (this) was obviously an extraordinary step forward.” [AP: “Rice congratulates Obama”]