Monthly Archives: April 2004

Save the garfish!

House passes bill that would save lives of garfish

Alabama actually has a law on the books, passed in 1943 (apparently by legislators who were exempt from the draft due to abject stupidity) that says that anybody who catches a garfish in Alabama has to kill it. You don’t have to eat it, but you can’t throw it back. They just really hated garfish back then, I guess. The garfish is skinny and ugly, but not a real nuisance.

Anyway, the House, after sixty years of avoiding the issue, passed a bill yesterday that would overturn the old law. The bill’s sponsor has another bill pending, removing the language from the state constitution requiring the legislature to regulate dueling.

Stay out of Vestavia, apartment scum!

Vestavia eyes buffer on Cahaba

In order to keep a developer from building — gasp! — apartments on a parcel of land on the Cahaba River, the city of Vestavia Hills (the wealthy-but-not-as-wealthy-as-Mountain Brook suburb of Birmingham) bought the property for $1.8 million. This was done explicitly for the purpose of keeping the riffraff out of Vestavia’s school system. I am not exaggerating, or casting false aspersions:

Council President Greg Canfield said deannexation would protect the Vestavia Hills school system from an influx of students from the apartments, but deannexation wouldn’t protect the environment.

They’re talking about the river. Protecting the river is nice, so a few brownie points there, but let’s face it — this is all about keeping the wrong kind of people — apartment people — out of Vestavia Hills.

(Full disclosure: my father lives in Vestavia Hills and my brother graduated from VHHS. A reader informed me of this [that is, of the story, not where my father lives or my brother went to school] last night, but unfortunately I don’t have his email here so hat tip, whoever you are.)

Nothing ever happens on time

Hearing postponed on HealthSouth hospital

This would be, I think, the famous “digital hospital”, where I once claimed that diseases would be seen as a series of ones and zeroes. Apparently, it’s just an ordinary analog hospital now. HealthSouth’s rivals in the Birmingham hospital industry are trying to stop the company from opening it, saying that it lied on its application. HealthSouth, lie? Well, I never.

Juxtaposition

On the one hand…

Birmingham named one of most livable U.S. cities

But on the other hand…

Study gives 280 `F’ for traffic congestion

Basically Birmingham is livable, as long as you don’t mind living in your car.

US 280 is just a nightmare, Birmingham’s little slice of what it would be like to be Atlanta. The population started to sprawl in that direction when I was a kid and simply continues to sprawl, and there’s no interstate in that area to relieve the congestion.

Flee!

Alabama trio flees Iraq amid assualt [sic] warning

That might be a good idea. It’s kind of hard to do business when you’re scared to leave your room. One of the three businessmen is Winton Blount IV, scion of a prominent family of Alabama Republicans.

We’ll see if it’s enough

White House, under fire for overtime proposal, revises rules – Apr. 20, 2004

If you’ll recall, the Bush Administration had previously announced revisions to the overtime rules which would have removed overtime eligibility from as many as eight million white-collar workers.

The shift does allow “first responders” — police, firefighters, and various other emergency workers — to keep their eligibility. And it “allows” workers who make up to $100,000 a year to earn overtime. Except that it appears — from my reading — that it’s only actually guaranteed for those at $23,660 or under, and employers can still classify people who are actually rank-and-file workers as “administrators, professionals or executives” — and thus ineligible for overtime — which was I thought the main point of argument. You have a secretary you share with five other people and who doesn’t know your last name? You’re an “executive”. You have a college kid who does errands for you ten hours a week? That makes you an “administrator”. A terminal degree? Congratulations, you’re a “professional”.

Guess what!

Statement by Lee Crockett, Executive Director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy

If you kill a fish species (or anything) faster than it can reproduce, and also destroy its habitat, you’ll wind up endangering the species. Amazingly, even the Bush Administration now recognizes this. (Though I don’t know if they asked Gail the Nature Hater about it.) The U.S. Ocean Commission has recommended that oil and gas royalties be used to set up a federal oceans trust fund.

(Great big PDF report here.)