By the time you read this column, Time Magazine will have named their “Person of the Year.” Since the magazine will not make that announcement before press time, I have no idea who it will be, but of course, Donald Trump is the odds-on favorite.
Other members on the shortlist include a variety of political leaders, business people, entertainers and athletes, like Hillary Clinton, Beyonce, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Brexit engineer Nigel Farage and Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles, among others.
They have also included two “groups” among the finalists: The Flint Whistleblowers, who drew national attention to the water crisis in Michigan, and the CRISPR Scientists, who developed technology that can edit DNA, which could potentially prevent mutations that cause incurable diseases (They get my vote! #ilovenerds).
Though they didn’t have any this year, they have also had objects or machines as nominees, like the personal computer, which took home the honor in 1982.
And the magazine also likes to remind people that sometimes their choices are people who have influenced the world for better OR for worse. Hitler took home the distinction in 1938. Yikes!
These things are always fun to contemplate (well, except the Hitler one) and also very subjective. But it did make me start to wonder who would make the Alabama shortlist for 2016. Here are a few ideas, though I am sure there are many more deserving “characters.”
Gov. Robert Bentley
Just when you thought our state didn’t have enough things to be embarrassed about, our lovesick, septuagenarian governor certainly gave us a brand new and oh-so-salacious scandal to be even more mortified by this year.
A day after former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier was fired from the agency for alleged financial mismanagement, he spilled the beans on his former boss’s affair with his senior aide, Rebekah Mason.
After hearing sordid tales of boobie grabbing and secret shipments of Viagra to the governor’s mansion (ick!), not to mention sweet paying gigs using “dark money” for Mason and her husband, one would think Gov. Bentley would be on the fast track to the Impeachment Bowl. But since it’s Alabama, the only one going to a bowl with Peach in it any time soon will be the Crimson Tide.
Meanwhile, the Luv Guv will likely be picking our next United States senator if Sen. Jeff Sessions is confirmed as the nation’s next attorney general as expected.
That seems about right.
U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions
The senator who is leaving the seat Gov. Hornydog Stickybritches III will most likely get to appoint also played a prominent role in the national political landscape this year, for better or for worse, depending on your political leaning.
Though his endorsement would not come for a few more months, as he stood on a stage in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in August 2015 and welcomed Trump to his “hometown of Mobile, Alabama,” Sen. Sessions became one of the first more mainstream Republicans to lend some credibility to a campaign that had been widely mocked.
Could this pay off for Mobile and ‘Bama (even if you hate Trump)? Let’s hope so.
And all late night “presidential Tweets” point to yes.
Since Trump Tweet-shamed Boeing for costs being out of control on a new fleet of Air Force One planes to the tune of $4 billion, one has to wonder if Sessions whispered to his political BFF that we like to give Boeing the finger around here in his hometown, with a side of Foo sauce, of course.
I am sure we can build that fleet right here in Mobile for like $3 billion, easy!
Tell him, Jeff! I am sure you remember how dirty they played in the tanker contest.
This is just my fake news, aerospace conspiracy theory because I am part of the dishonest media. Don’t take me or the president-elect literally.
But for realz, Mr. President-Elect, “we” really could probably cut you a sweet deal on those planes. Just Tweet Airbus America @AirbusInTheUS and they will fix you right up.
Love him or hate him, year after year the man continues to recruit coaching staff and players who can and usually do win national championships. In a state where we are always almost last in every list you want to be first in and first on almost every list you want to be last in, it is nice to be able to take home the gold in something desirable, or yes, even a crystal trophy that goes on a statewide tour of Wal-Marts. But hey, we’ll take it.
The Alabama “whistleblowers:” Spencer Collier, Dianne Bentley and Wendell Ray Lewis
While none of them actually fit the technical definition of a “whistleblower,” they certainly helped paint the picture of all the straight-up crazy that was going on between our governor and the First Mistress.
Spencer Collier was the first one to put his brush on this lecherous canvas of gubernatorial sexual misconduct. And his former security chief, Wendell Ray Lewis, just joined the paint party to add even more pathetic details to this already-pathetic story (“Will you break up with my girlfriend for me?” or my personal favorite, “Cut it off at the nub!”).
But it was former First Lady Dianne Bentley who provided the most damning and embarrassing piece of evidence against the husband who betrayed her by capturing the now infamous booby talk recording. (She is high on my short shortlist, as she is pretty badass!)
“When I stand behind you and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands on you and pull you in real close, hey, I love that, too,” the Lovernor said to his lover, as his wife’s iPhone recorded. (I had to re-quote that one more time. I couldn’t help myself. Sorry! Not sorry!)
Though there is supposedly an investigation into this by the Alabama AG, it is still not certain if Bentley will ever have to answer for using taxpayers’ money to cover up his affair, but if it does happen, these folks will all be major players in it.
Music to our ears
On a positive note, so to speak, it has also been nice to see Alabama musicians doing so well at the Grammys. It seems like just yesterday The Alabama Shakes, Jason Isbell and St. Paul and the Broken Bones were making stops at Callaghan’s. Now they are winning Grammys and selling out the Ryman. Perhaps all of the aforementioned crazy that happens in our state is what produces such great artistry and lyricism. Yeah, we will go with that!
It’s not a bird! It’s not superman! No, it’s a plane! No, really, the Airbus A320 family jetliner, to be more specific. We saw the first aircraft roll off the Mobile, Alabama, assembly line in April and they have been steadily delivering these aircraft to carriers such as JetBlue, American and most recently Delta. This has most certainly already been transformative to our city and our state and will continue to be.
I am sure I have left out some well-deserving “characters” who should be on this list. Feel free to add on and talk amongst yourselves.