We Will See
The Big Picture
by Glynn Wilson
SOUTHSIDE BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — They say it is a small world, but what do “they” know? I say the cliche is even more true today with modern social networking technology like Facebook.
I was just chatting with a blonde from Germany over my second cup of coffee in the Hippie Tree House, upstairs in the Hippie House on Birmingham’s Southside.
I crashed last night on the new couch in Hippie Stew’s place, and felt right at home. Maybe that’s because I was born five blocks from here in the old South Highlands Hospital, the first hospital Richard Scrushy purchased to create the outpatient and sports medicine empire known as HealthSouth.
Of course the place got famous after it was revealed that Scrushy and his team of financial officers cooked the books and over inflated the stock value and then crashed it, right after cashing in, of course.
Now Mr. Scrushy is in federal prison, while former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is still out on appeal bond.
One can’t help but wonder how many millions in cash Scrushy stashed in a Cayman bank account on that infamous boat ride from Florida the feds used in court to deny him release on bond, saying he was a flight risk.
Scrushy is now scheduled to reappear in federal court in Montgomery on Jan. 25, where he faces a resentencing hearing that will result in a reduction in the time he has to serve, since the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta knocked off a couple of the counts against him.
Siegelman was just back in court in Montgomery, still making the argument that the case against him and Mr. Scrushy was political from the start. He is right about that, as I have reported more times than I can count.
The feds failed to convict Scrushy in Birmingham, in part because the Bush appointed prosecutor in the case, Alice Martin, was more credentialed to be a Sunday School teacher than a U.S. Attorney. That’s the way things worked back in the Bush Years, when all a lawyer needed to get a job in the Justice Department was a Federalist Society membership card, a copy of their campaign contributions to Bush — and a letter of recommendation from a conservative preacher.
Now that Barack Obama is president, attorneys actually have to be qualified to get appointed to the federal bench and the U.S. attorneys office. Unfortunately, in Obama’s first term, not enough Bush-Cheney-Karl Rove hires have been run off fast enough, so the federal bureaucracy is still polluted with the presence of pro-big business conservatives. No wonder people don’t like guv’mn’t.
You can’t elect people who hate government and then expect it to work for people. When will my Southern brethren realize that? Maybe when they say it on Fox News, I guess, or when the bloggers at al.com write about it in the Birmingham News or “Birmingham Ruse,” as we like to call it in blogland.
Or, perhaps when we get more people reading The Locust Fork News-Journal, the world will become a smarter, more educated place.
Until then, Roll Tide Roll.
The number one and number two teams in the country are facing off today down in Tuscaloosa. You couldn’t get me anywhere near that crowd, but you know where my sympathies lie.
I was a junior and senior in Paul “Bear” Bryant’s last two years as head coach at Alabama, his last two years on Earth. Us liberal intellectuals don’t go hog wild for football, but if Alabama wins, perhaps it will be the game of the century. We will see.
© 2011, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.