Monthly Archives: September 2008

Schadenfreude is all we have left

Mountain Brook on list of communities poised for a hard economic hit –

It’s an ill wind that doesn’t at least knock down the rich guy’s home while tearing the roof off of yours.

Well, that’s just dandy

Regions stock plummets 41 percent; CEO Dowd Ritter says business is strong –

Regions stock is only at about a quarter of what it was at the time of the merger with AmSouth. There’s nothing wrong with Regions, which didn’t do the foolish things Wachovia did, but it’s caught up in the maelstrom. And I’m guessing it’s going to get bought, probably by Chase. This would be a disaster for Birmingham. Regions is the only major bank left headquartered in the city after the mergers, and is the area’s largest private employer, with 6,200 employees, most of whom would lose their jobs if the bank is bought. And it’s a huge bargain — Chase would be nuts not to buy it.

Screw you, Irondale!

Trinity Medical to buy HealthSouth’s abandoned hospital –

This is the famous “digital hospital”, which would have seen all diseases as a series of ones and zeroes. It was abandoned when the HealthSouth scandal hit, with the shell of the building completed but everything else unfinished. Birmingham gave Trinity $55 million in incentives (I’m guessing dome money) to buy the place and finish it. Trinity was going to build a new hospital in Irondale, but so much for that.

Mergers are fun

Update: Citigroup will acquire Wachovia – Breaking News from The Birmingham News –

So once, there was a bank called SouthTrust. (Actually, I remember when it was Birmingham Trust National Bank. I am old.) It was a perfectly good bank. In fact, it was so good that another bank, from North Carolina, bought it for $14.3 billion in stock, and fired a bunch of people in Birmingham who had helped to make SouthTrust a good bank.

However, that bank from North Carolina, it turns out, had given a whole lot of money to people who could not pay them back because those people shouldn’t have borrowing that much money. And now, the bank’s stock has cratered, so that $14.3 billion is now worth only about $2.9 billion. And an even bigger bank, from New York, is going to buy the bank from North Carolina, and fire a whole lot of people in Birmingham, who didn’t do anything wrong.

Though at least “Citibank” is a better name than “Wachovia”. What the hell is a Wachovia?

If you want a translation…

Embezzling case dismissed against deceased former Bessemer library bookkeeper – Breaking News from The Birmingham News –

“I have assured the family that I’m not commenting on this,” said Jonathan Cross, who represented Ronilo. “All I can say is that he passed away.”

That sure looks like “he killed himself”. Personally, I’m not sorry at all.

Trash talk

Petroleum exec says governor should cancel Georgia-Alabama football game to save gas | Political Insider

They ought to cancel it to save Georgia’s ass.

That is legitimately scary

Something Wrong With John McCain’s Eye » Oliver Willis

Hopefully it’s just an artifact of the picture, because that sort of drooping can be a sign of stroke.

There are no time-outs in Presidential politics, Senator

McCain Seeks to Delay First Debate Amid Financial Crisis –

McCain wants to “put politics aside”. What John McCain calls “politics”, the rest of us call “democracy”. We have had Presidential campaigns during wars, including the Civil War and World War II. We have had Presidential campaigns during financial crises and the Great Depression. You can’t just stop because you’re losing, it doesn’t work that way. And if you can’t manage the minimal multitasking of showing up for votes and getting briefed by your staff while traveling, maybe you need to re-evaluate your candidacy, because Presidents — even the current one, what’shisname — have to do this sort of thing all the time.

Why stop there?

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford wants millions for citywide street paving –

$126 million, to be exact. That’s a lot of millions. And that’s his estimate, so the real number will have to be at least $150 million.

He wants to pave every street and sidewalk in the city. (Except, presumably, the ones in front of schools, which will have to come out of the Board of Education’s budget.) But surely, there are other things he could pave while he’s at it. Lawns, for example. Maybe Milton McGregor has ideas.

The roads in Birmingham aren’t in great shape, but this sort of thing sounds like the first step towards Atlanta-style permanent construction, and nobody wants that. Well, except the road construction companies.

That’s our Dick!

US Sen Shelby rips Bush admin Wall St bailout plan | Markets | Bonds News | Reuters

It’s hard to see how the White House is going to get to buy Big Shitpile when the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee says that the plan sucks. At any event, I did something I have never done before, and actually contacted the Senator’s office to thank him for doing this. I mean, I’m not going to vote for him or anything, but then it’s not like anyone’s going to run against him.