Author: Rob Holbert

Mystic predictions for 2018

I had just scraped the last of the seven-layer dip from the bowl and was lying on my living room carpet moaning in pain from American-style gluttony enjoyed while watching Alabama beat Georgia for their 37th National Championship, when the lights flickered and an eerie mist began to fill the room. “Oh God, not now. I feel like I’m about to puke,” I muttered to myself, knowing I was in for a visit from mystic visionary Nostrildumbas, the renowned 16th century seer who predicts the future through use of practically indecipherable quatrains and illegal stimulants. The mists thickened, then...

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Sexual harassment issue spanks Anniston Star

The issue of sexual harassment in the media came to Alabama in a rather salacious way over the past couple of weeks as former Anniston Star publisher H. Brandt Ayers acknowledged “spanking” at least one reporter in the 1970s. Ayers is the former publisher and current chairman of the board of Consolidated Publishing, which owns the Star. He admitted last week to spanking former reporter Wendy Sigal in her home in 1973 or 1974, according to an article published in the newspaper. Another former reporter, Veronica Pike Kennedy, has also claimed Ayers spanked her at the office, and two...

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OK, City Council — childish fight needs to end

There’s always hope that with the flipping of a calendar page some of the more annoying things in our lives will simply go away.   Wouldn’t it have been nice if we’d all woken up Jan. 1, 2018, at our ideal weight only to find out Twitter was permanently broken and both Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump had gotten normal haircuts? That would have been a nice starter to the year. But clearly those were overly ambitious wishes to expect from the simple passage of time. Perhaps we should have set our sights a bit lower and aimed at...

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Thank you 2017, a columnist’s dream

Writing the last column of 2017, there’s not much more I can say to this most insane of years other than “Thank You.” When you have to sit down at a computer every week and pound out 1,000 words on what’s currently stuck in your craw, it helps to have plenty of fodder. And as craw fodder goes, 2017 is going to be tough to beat. Of course taking center stage was the Robert Bentley Administration finally being reduced to the smoldering pile of ashes we’d all seen coming for quite some time. The Luv Guv gave us more...

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Fables of the U.S. Senate election

I figured there must be one of Aesop’s fables that would most succinctly put last week’s United States Senate election into proper context. But I forgot just how many fables ol’ Aesop scratched out on papyrus or goatskin, so picking the right one turned out not to be so easy.   At first I thought maybe it’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” That seemed appropriate after listening to people whine for weeks about how horrible Alabama is and how certain they were their home state would elect Roy Moore in a landslide, forever embarrassing us in front of all...

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Template for a (holiday, Christmas) conversation

One thing that has become abundantly clear over the past year is that we as a nation have lost the ability to express ourselves politically without becoming overly emotional and even personally insulting to those who may not share our views. In Alabama the political contrast has become even sharper during the bruising U.S. Senate campaign between Roy Moore and Doug Jones. As one who sits high upon a perch above the political fray, gazing condescendingly down upon the partisanship tearing the greatest country on Earth to pieces, I have become increasingly aware that a great many citizens view...

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A look at what might happen after the election

So as we trudge to the polls next week to make, what for many, will be a less-than-thrilling choice, maybe it’s a good time to get in the WayForward Machine and look at the potential scenarios for what will happen once one or the other of these men is elected. First of all, let’s admit the vast majority of registered voters aren’t going to even bother casting a ballot. And of those that do, my guess is most of them are going to scratch the dot for the candidate from the political party they like. So really this is...

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Consolidation at Advance Publications

Advance Publications, the parent company of al.com and the Press-Register, announced to staff last week a new consolidation that was short on specifics as to what it might mean for news consumers and employees. A joint statement by Advance Local CEO Randy Siegel and President Caroline Harrison said the company will be combining Advance Local, ADI and ACS into one company to be known as Advance Local Media LLC. “Our  industry  is changing. We all feel it every day. As an organization, we have taken major steps in the past to stay ahead of that change, and today we...

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