NK 3-3

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 4, 2004

Some of the biggest lobbyists in Alabama sure didn’t mind putting we common folk through the ringer last year, did they? And in “big lobbyists,” let’s make sure to clarify them as Paul Hubbert and Ed Richardson — the most powerful education executives in the state.

Remember how hard they pushed for Gov. Bob Riley’s tax plan? Remember how they said education just didn’t have enough money? Good. Listen to this:

Auburn University — and I promise I don’t intentionally pick on the school — put itself through the ringer right after whooping Alabama in the Iron Bowl. As we all know, AU President William Walker rounded up the troops, loaded them on the Bobby Lowder 757, and stopped in Louisville to interview Bobby Petrino for a football coaching job that wasn’t even open.

Email newsletter signup

Soon enough, the rest of the nation found out about Walker’s trip. Not long after, Walker announced his resignation in hopes of easing the broken hearts of the War Eagle Tiger faithful.

News this week ought to tickle the dander of enough Auburn faithful to make them want to add another animal to their mascot cage. According to two state newspapers, Walker has been retained as a “special advisor” to Interim President Ed Richardson.

His annual salary: $270,000.

A member of the Auburn board of trustees, Earlon McWhorter, put it better: “I certainly think it’s fair that Bill Walker be compensated for some period of time.”

Give us a break. The state’s broke, we don’t have toilet paper in schools, the kids use the same text books Walker used when he was a kid, and we’re paying a disgraced college president $270,000 a year to serve as a special advisor?

I certainly don’t think that’s fair, Mr. McWhorter.

Warning: No Children At Play

In all the rants and facetious comments I’ve ever made, I feel pretty comfortable giving you the skinny on a proposal by some members of the Selma City Council. (As a reporter, I covered that lovefest for almost three years.)

According to some members of the Selma Council, street ball has gotten just too dangerous. Those kids, with their orange basketballs and tank tops. Somebody’s got to do something.

Rita Sims Franklin, a member of the council, said she is really concerned about the safety of those who play “street ball.”

“Streets are for cars,” she said. “It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Come on, Rita. If streets are for cars, then what are you going to tell all the people who ride bikes down Highway 22? What are you going to tell the joggers? What about the motorcycles and those puttering tractors that hum their way down the street at a break-neck speed of 4 mph?

Selma Mayor James Perkins said he doesn’t know what to do.

“If we ban goals in the streets, we’re going to have to give them an alternative,” said Perkins, who indicated it would cost about $106,000 to repair goals and install fences at the city’s basketball courts.

Here’s an idea, Selma, Lord Selma. Why don’t you buy some of those yellow signs that say “Children at Play.” It’s not like little Mike is grabbing a rebound and leading a fast break down Broad Street. They aren’t running the 3-man weave up U.S. Highway 80.

Tell the drivers to slow down, and keep the kids outside.

I (gargle) do

You don’t like to make fun of such passionate stories as this. Then again, these sorts of stories ask for the occasional chuckle.

On her wedding day (apparently not her first), Kim England, 39, headed to the chapel with her soon-to-be stepdaughter. England’s SUV swerved off the road, flipped a few times, landed next to Richard Gere’s horse and she raced off into the sunset wearing a Julia Roberts mask. (Wait, wrong movie.)

Actually, England was sent to a Gadsden hospital with injuries too gruesome to report. Not really. According to the groom, Wayne Jenkins, there was “a lot of blood and a lot of facial damage. I didn’t recognize her… She was bleeding in her eye and both sides of her nose were broken.”

That didn’t stop the wedding, as you’ve probably heard. According to the Gadsden Times, doctors stitched England’s lips and removed some bone from her nose while the pastor (who safely made the drive to the hospital) started in on the vows. The nurses stood in the doorway and cried, and the cafeteria delivered a piece of pie.

And who said reporters don’t have fun with stories any more. According to the Times story, “The couple’s honeymoon will include recovery time and plastic surgery.”

(These days, you don’t necessarily need an accident to include those marital results.)


This has to be quick. Ever looked at a headline and just shook your head in embarrassment for the headline writer. Here’s one I read this week:

“Governor celebrates Arbor Day by planting tree.”

Well I’ll be. What a novel idea. A tree on Arbor Day.

Next year, the governor should consider carving a pumpkin for Halloween.