The Rant 

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Amid all the political vitriol of the past week, it's heartening to report the huge initial response we've received to our petition drive to officially change the state of Alabama to "Alobama." People all over the world are writing in to endorse the idea that since Alabama is the cradle of the civil rights movement, it is only fitting that their citizens honor our first African-Americanpresident by formally renaming the state in his honor.

We, of course, realize that the name change will cause some inconvenience, especially at the DMV and official state buildings. But only one vowel has to be altered, and our studies show that thousands of people can become gainfully employed changing "a's" into "o's." Hiring will be under a federally run public agency like the Works Progress Administration. Any map revisions can be incorporated in the next generation of cartography.

Alobama would lose its alphabetical advantage to Alaska, but it's a small price for historic change. In return, Obama-loving municipalities throughout France and Germany have agreed to build bistros and rathskellers all over rural Alabama to introduce European cuisine to the natives. It will be a foie gras meets cheese-grits international smorgasbord. We predict European tourism will increase tenfold, especially during the year-long Obamafest planned to coincide with the name-change celebration. It will be like Oktoberfest, only with Earth, Wind, and Fire playing instead of the oompah bands (and Mountain Dew, endive, and bratwurst in the dry counties).

Understandably, the state's land-grant universities have to be treated with the sensitivity deserving of their legendary heritage. The former University of Alabama will be permitted to sell its supply of red sweatshirts, and, in honor of Bear Bryant and that song by Steely Dan, they will be allowed to retain the nickname "Crimson Tide." We would prefer, however, that the school colors be changed to crimson and mauve to reflect the new multiculturalism and the football cheer "Roll Tide" be replaced by "Roll Tide of Hope." The phrase "Go Bama" is permissible, but the second syllable must be pronounced "bomma." Since Auburn University can't decide whether to call their mascots Tigers or War Eagles, a decision has been made for them. There are already too many schools using Tigers, and we wish to de-emphasize the glorification of war, so to reflect the new patriotism, their sports teams will now be known as the Auburn Bald Eagles. Since nobody knows what a Blazer is anyway, UAB can remain the same, with commendations for their "green" theme.

We pledge not to alter the state flag, even though it's the same design as the Confederate battle flag, only with different colors and without the stars. It is a bit too antebellum, however, so the committee recommends adopting a companion flag with the Obama "O" logo, with the rising sun in red, white, and blue. Since the existing flag looks like a big, red "X" anyway, we will simply rededicate it in honor of the late Abdul Malik Shabazz, known internationally as Malcolm X. To assuage the concern of local citizens, we have been assured by the Nation of Islam that they will construct enough mosques statewide to accommodate all the new Muslim transplants, so that no one has to be inconvenienced.

We further believe, to further the state's new, pacifist image, that flying an "X" flag next to an "O" flag will also represent kisses and hugs. Henceforth, the Alobama license plates will read, "Land of the Tolerant." That "Heart of Dixie" business has to go in favor of "I [Heart] Big Government." The official state song will be changed from "Stars Fell on Alabama" to Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered." With the international attention this will receive, I can promise you that Birmingham will become the new bangers-and-mash capital of the South, and Muscle Shoals can reopen its studios to record choral-group socialist anthems from the Republic of Georgia.

Even George Wallace grew a conscience in his declining years and publicly rebuked his racist past. The old segregationist, who once stood in the school door, begged forgiveness for his sins before going to visit Old Scratch. Likewise, Alabama's day of redemption has come. Petitions are presently circulating in the state, and we look forward to the governor's support. It is hoped that the state legislature will address the name change, but we are prepared to have the name "Alobama" recognized by the World Court, as advised by our council from the ACLU, like Ceylon was changed to Sri Lanka.

So here's to the state which in the future will be known as "The Big O" — and the destiny that awaits you in the New World Order. Already, in keeping with the state's refreshing new post-racial attitudes, the Birmingham City Council has voted unanimously to rename Birmingham International Airport after Alabama's two most distinguished and colorblind citizens. Henceforth, everyone will be flying into the Helen Keller-W.C. Handy Memorial Airfield in Birmingham, Alobama.

Yes, we can.

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