Flight of the Conquered: We’ve said it time and time again here at Birmingham Weekly: Birmingham is a better city than its given credit for. Our heritage and our culture are unique yet under-appreciated. Unfortunately, all the culture in the world doesn’t override the facts. According to recent census data, Birmingham has lost 30,000 people—a nearly 13 percent drop—since 2000. With the manufacturing base still shrinking, more and more people are making the exodus from the Magic City. But wait! All hope is not lost. To make up for the loss of urban population, suburban population has exploded. Shelby County and Saint Clair County have both seen population growth of more than 25 percent over the last decade. It isn’t necessarily that people are fleeing the area entirely. It’s simply that suburbs are becoming a bigger part of metropolitan life.
Smart Start: It’s hard to see the light in our flagging population, but, as we all (hopefully) know, size isn’t everything. What Birmingham has started lacking in size, we’re more than making up for in quality. In fact, the Birmingham-Hoover area is now the sixth biggest “brain magnet” city in America. What that means is that, over the past few years, more and more graduates have migrated to the Birmingham area. The reason for this migration of intellectuals is the rapidly growing Birmingham suburbs and the expansion of the local medical industry. In short, houses are cheap and jobs are good for the well-educated here in Birmingham. We may still be shrinking as a city, but for my money I’ll take quality over quantity any day.
The Harder They Fall: It’s hard to watch giants fall, and Tiger Woods, a man whose name was, for a time, almost synonymous with golf, has fallen hard. Most of us know about his marital troubles last year, but that seems to be the least of his problems these days. Woods now seems to be floundering in what can only be called mediocrity. After a winless season last year, he lost the World No. 1 rank in October. This year isn’t looking much better. After Woods drove one tee shot into the ozone, former swing coach Hank Haney tweeted, “For all the talk of Tiger’s poor driving the last six years I have never seen him drive it out of play with a match or tournament on the line.” Things don’t look good for Tiger, but who knows. Maybe there’s still time for him to get his act together.
Who wants fat? First Lady Michelle Obama has come under fire in recent weeks from some prominent Republican pundits. Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and several other conservatives have all publicly criticized her antiobesity campaign. (What are they? Pro-obesity?) Fortunately, Mike Huckabee, one of the frontrunners for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination voiced his support for the First Lady. In fact, he said that the Republicans criticizing the campaign aren’t targeting the message, but the person delivering it. According to Huckabee at a press meeting held by The Christian Science Monitor, “She’s been criticized. . . out of a reflex rather than out of a thoughtful expression. It’s exactly what Republicans say they believe, which is you put an emphasis on personal responsibility. . . I thought that’s what we were about.” That’s what I thought too, Mike. But who knows these days?