Friday, 9 March 2012

A City Too Far?

Someone made up a list of top ten and bottom ten cities in America and the cost of going to work.  At the top of the list for expensive cities to travel to work.....was Birmingham, Alabama.  They didn't go into a lot of details except to say that people are willing to live further away from work and travel longer distances.

So I sat and pondered over Birmingham.  I grew up in Bama and kind of know the layout of the city.  Up until the 1970s....this was a thriving town.  Then, drugs arrived.  From that point on.....the town started slipping.

By the 1990s, if you worked around Birmingham, you had to deal with city corruption, police corruption, drugs, crime, violent assault, and escalating property taxes.  Some major business operations had established themselves in the city, and weren't going to people started to think about living beyond the city and county.  With seven other counties surrounding the Birmingham area and the interstate, it's not hard to see the logic of living elsewhere.

Over the past decade....the city and county folks have noted these rich folks who packed up and left the area....and various taxation ideas have been floated to capture their money.  Unlike some states, Bama doesn't have a fancy rule where you can tax a guy who doesn't live in your county but he does work there. There's been some efforts to get the state folks to change the constitution to allow this kind of taxation, but so far, it hasn't advanced far.

My humble guess is that if you called up the top 300 wage-earners of Birmingham.....all of them live outside of the city, and the county.  If a husband and wife both work in the city.....they both drive separate vehicles and make the fifty-mile plus drive each day.  Shopping in the city?  My guess is that most shop near where their home is the city misses out on that revenue pot as well.

If the city wanted to change its might do things, and invite people back, but that's not on the horizon.  So if it takes sixty minutes to drive to work in makes sense, sadly.

Simply Observations

This video clip released of President Obama in his Harvard years and defending some professor?  I've watched it twice and basically come away without any comments except he looks like a polished speaker even in his mid-20s.  The defense of the radical professor?  Well....every college has them and half the students in every school would readily defend these guys.  Nothing much new or unusual.

The Keystone pipeline episode failed again in the Senate yesterday.  My humble feeling is that nothing much will occur for the rest of this year.  Two weeks after the election results, and fifty-odd Republicans feeling good about entering the Senate next year.....this Keystone episode will pass with twenty Democrats supporting it.  Just my humble opinion.  As for the value of this pipeline?  Over half of what they pump.....will likely end up sold overseas, and maybe this argument was all just a joke.

Pat Robertson came out and said he's pretty sure legal pot is a good idea now.  He has finally come to some conclusion that the war on drugs is a failure and you might as well accept pot.  I'm guessing a number of regular viewers for his show were starting to get worried if Pat was getting senile or if something had been slipped into the coffeepot of the show.  Folks will come back and ask what Bible scripture supports pot, and Pat will just gaze into the camera and say he'll have to get back to them at a later time.

Finally....not much was said about it, but Afghanistan's President (the Karzai dude)....ended up approving of a Muslim Mullah's ideas about women's behavior in public.  A few folks, who remember how things flipped after the Russians left and the radical Muslims took charge of all life unless local warlords stepped in.....are thinking things are about to repeat themselves.