Wade on Birmingham

Heads and tales: Mighty big footsteps


Craig WitherspoonLet’s say 25,000 children left behind: The Birmingham school system is shopping for another superintendent. Craig Witherspoon surprised many with his Oct. 7 resignation after four-and-a-half years on the job.

Most Birmingham superintendents since 1984 have served 2 to 4 years before moving on. Witherspoon’s tenure was marked with a high degree of rancor with the previous board and an apparent falling out with the current one.

Oh, and the state took over the city school system. One of the state’s worst districts was so dysfunctional (a situation Witherspoon inherited), it had to be run by the state itself, among the worst in education nationwide.

• A timeline of Craig Witherspoon’s years as Birmingham schools superintendent [al.com]

Mike HubbardEthics, or the lack thereof: The 2010 Republican takeover of the Alabama Legislature came about in part by a pledge to end the corruption of Democratic rule for a century. Monday, the leader of that revolution was indicted on 23 counts of corruption.

Mike Hubbard is still Speaker of the House, but for how long? He’s accused of using his office and his previous role as head of the Alabama Republican Party for monetary gain, including getting help from former Gov. Bob Riley and Business Council of Alabama president Billy Canary among others.

Are we better off than we were 4 years ago? An editorial in the Anniston Star says far from it, arguing that no matter which party is running the government, the state suffers with no relief in sight.

• Editorial: The culture in Montgomery [The Anniston Star]

Dalai LamaHouses of the holy: The Dalai Lama arrived Friday in Birmingham for a weekend visit. At 9 a.m., he will participate in a UAB symposium, “Neuroplasticity and Healing,” which will be streaming live for free on YouTube.

On Sunday, the spiritual leader will take the stage for two events. “Beyond Belief,” a 2-hour interfaith discussion, takes place at 9 a.m. at the Alabama Theatre downtown. He’ll speak at Regions Field starting at 2 p.m., with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

Both events will stream live for free in the window below.

• Human Rights Week in Birmingham

Video: The Dalai Lama at UAB’s symposium,
“Neuroplasticity and Healing”

Video: The Dalai Lama participates in an interfaith
discussion at the Alabama Theatre.

Video: The Dalai Lama with Birmingham mayor
William Bell (skip to 1:09).

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