Thursday, January 31, 2013

Public Affairs Research Council Annual meeting Friday, Feb. 8

The deadline to register for PARCA’s annual meeting is today.   
If you’re interested in what I’m up to now or in the state of public education in Alabama, I encourage you to attend.
I think you’ll come away with a sense of progress and hope but also with a sense of urgency. 
We’ve got a long way to go and problems we need to rededicate ourselves to addressing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bhamarchitect's Blog | exploring built/unbuilt Birmingham

 For several years now, Jeremy Erdreich, an architect and real estate developer, has been active in redeveloping downtown Birmingham. He's also maintained a blog -  Bhamarchitect's Blog | exploring built/unbuilt Birmingham - which tracked and commented on projects in the city.
Unfortunately for us, Jeremy is moving to New York City. While he'll maintain his connection to Birmingham, we'll be losing the running critique on the choices we're making, both large and small, as our urban evolution continues.
I envy an architect's ability to read a built landscape, to notice choices and changes.
I've appreciated Jeremy's ability to describe what I see but don't have the vocabulary to describe.
It's pretty bold for an architect and developer to blog. I have no idea if it ever affected his practice, but criticism can have its costs.
However, I think Jeremy has always gone out of his way to be fair and civil in his observations and opinions.
If you haven't had the pleasure, go back and take look his work. I hope somehow the blog can be maintained. Maybe a stable of contributors can be developed. We need informed discussion on these subjects.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Alabama heats up as climate change gathers steam, scientists say |

Alabama heats up as climate change gathers steam, scientists say | Alabamians could be forgiven for harboring some doubts when it comes to the question of climate change.

It turns out the state is one of the only parts of the country that has not experienced an overall warming trend in the last 20 years. Temperatures over most of the state have apparently remained about the same as they were between 1901 and 1960, according to data gathered by federal climate researchers.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

George Wallace's 1963 inaugural address: A speech that lives in infamy (slideshow, video) |

Great piece by Charles Dean on the enduring significance of Wallace's famous inaugural.

George Wallace's 1963 inaugural address: A speech that lives in infamy (slideshow, video) | Monday (January 14, 2013) will mark the 50th anniversary of Wallace's inaugural address. It was a speech written by Asa Carter, a Ku Klux Klan leader who told members of Wallace's inner circle that he was sure the "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" line would stand out, said Dan T. Carter, Wallace's biographer.

‘A Flower for the Graves’ |

Eugene C. Patterson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorials, died Saturday evening of complications from cancer in St. Petersburg, Fla.. He was 89.

‘A Flower for the Graves’ | Eugene Patterson’s most famous column was written on Sept. 15, 1963, the day he learned that four young girls had been murdered in Birmingham, Ala., in a church bombing. When he told the story, Patterson would describe how he wrote from his home with tears streaming down his face and his own young daughter nearby.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Next time your head for the Alabama Coast, pack a bike

The back-country of Alabama's Gulf State Park is now crisscrossed with a system of paved walking and biking trails called the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trails.

The trails run through trees hung with Spanish Moss, along marshes, secondary sand dunes, swamps, and over creeks.

The Park system produced a nice map of the trails.

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's alive! Mining Machine a Marvel and on the March for Met Coal

Interesting piece by Kyle Whitmire on the resurrection of "Mr. Tom," a gargantuan coal-mining dragline crane owned by Drummond Co.  Now on the march after met coal, which is used in the steel-making. The recent ups and downs in coal market has made it hard to predict whether this will be a good economic bet for the company.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Obscure but meaningful moments

On this day in 1966, Tuskegee Institute student Samuel Younge Jr. (1944-1966) was shot and killed in Macon County after he tried to use the whites-only bathroom at a Standard Oil gas station.
Younge, who was working in a voter registration drive at the time, was the first black college student to be killed as a result of his involvement in the American civil rights movement, according to the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
The killing of Younge, who'd enlisted in the Navy and served during the Cuban Missile Crisis, prompted the SNCC in a Jan. 6 press conference to declare its opposition to the war in Vietnam, the first statement of its kind by a civil rights organization.
SNCC pointed to Younge's death as an example of the hypocrisy of fighting for freedom abroad while rights were denied in the United States.
Marvin Segrest, the white man who shot Younge, was not indicted for Younge's murder until November of 1966 and was found innocent by an all-white jury the following month.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Raise a glass to Hank Williams

On Jan. 1, 1953, Alabama's Hank Williams was pronounced dead in Oak Hill, West Virginia. He was just 29 years old.
His music is distinctive and evocative. His lyrics could be poetic. His blend of white hillbilly, road-rolling honky-tonk and black blues is one of the great innovations of American music. 
Born in Butler County, Alabama he spent most of his childhood in Georgiana and Greenville, moving with his mother to Montgomery as a teenager.
He got his first guitar at 8. He was a fan of Jimmie Rodgers and learned guitar technique and vocal styling from black bluesman Rufus "Tee Tot" Payne of Greenville.

Tuxedo Junctions and other famous places -

Read this Wayne Flynt piece on the contributions of Alabamians to the jazz and the blues music Tuxedo Junctions and other famous places - ...