Katopodis Pulls Out
Langford Petulant, Needy
Birmingham () - Dr. John Katopodis released himself from his position managing Birmingham Education Initiative Inc., the non-profit that would be in charge of distributing laptop computers to every child in the Birmingham school system. The premature pullout comes as a result of a City Council vote which delayed consummation of the contract with BEI until Katopodis withdrew. Mayor Larry Langford blasted the councilís decision and spewed rhetoric at them for delaying his plan to deliver the power of computers to every Birmingham school child.
"I cannot believe that the council would let miniscule accounting issues come in the way of improving our childrenís education," said Langford. "Dr. Katopodis is single handedly responsible for exciting childrenís interest in computers and what they can do with them. He has worked tirelessly with M.I.T. and others to massage the design until it would fit every child in the system. Now he is being accused of trying to ram this down their throats just so he can make a little money. I think the council should swallow their pride and let us fill our childrenís needs."
At issue is the previous management of a charity set-up by Langford and Dr. Katopodis called Computer Help for Kids which refurbished computers and also supplied them to the needy children of Birmingham. That charity is said to have paid Langford money, given computers to friends and associates, and paid for casino trips. The charity also gave at least $30,000 to Ryan Idol (Marc Anthony Donais), an actor in alternative lifestyle porn films.
"I was paid to show off these computers to potential donors, and also to show kids how to use them," said Donais. "I also maintained a website where I deposited streams of video showing the awesome features that are packed into these tight little systems. There was no quid pro quo here. I worked hard for my money. During demonstrations, I would sometimes browse to my own website to show video of rehearsals for my Broadway play. That kind of thing really cranks the hardware and is a good test of how powerful a load they can handle."
Another question the City Council has is why the school system itself cannot store the laptops and administer the distribution to students. "One thing the school board has in spades is storage space," said councilor Roderick Royal. "Oh yeah, and administrators." When asked why a separate board with $500,000 in operating expenses was needed to distribute the computers, Langford was adamant about the need.
"What are they going to do with them," asked Langford. "Cram them all in hole somewhere? They donít know how to manage a thing this size." Langford cites the need for the board to be able to handle any pressure that builds over long-term maintenance issues. "You know kids and their probing and prodding little fingers," said Langford. "Things will come up that need to be cut off before coming to a head. The school system does not have the expertise to handle all of the software and hardware problems that will arise when these things go into the hands of the students."
For its part, the school board seemed to agree with Langford's assessment. "We aren't really sure what we will do with these computers anyway," said Board President W.J. Maye. "We don't have any expertise on staff to handle them, nor any curriculum designed for them. I guess it will give the kids access to good porn at least."
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