Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Movement

So, Monday we got a story of a journalist in Anchorage, Alaska walking off her job out of protest for the legalization of cannabis. She actually says “Fuck it, I quit”. Of course she was instantly heralded as a hero for “the movement” . I wasn’t sold on the sincerity. I immediately questioned the ethics. Which, turned out to be a good hunch. The women owned a cannabis dispensary. People all across the board thought this move to be unethical. A lot of us, yes us—I’m pro-legalization—thought it was an abuse of the platform the network had given her. There was a long cogent discussion involving a moderator of a Missouri based cannabis advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis, two Canadians, and some other random people who gave their opinions. Here’s what the moderator said Monday.

A friend sent me that video this morning, and I think it’s hilarious.
I don’t have any problem with her saying that, however, her previous employer obviously would. That’s why she quit; she knew she would be fired anyway.
That’s what would happen in any industry where you were doing what you were prohibited from doing.
To me it’s no better or worse just because her job was in journalism.
Poor journalism, sure. But she’s no longer a journalist, anyway, so like she said, “fuck it”.

Mr. Hizer, A moderator

Clearly, there is no questions of the unethical nature of the reporters actions. 5 days later the Washington Post ran the story of Alaska having legal cannabis for 39 years. Making the actions of that edgy reporter all the more hollow. It wasn’t about “activism”, but her financial gain.

We’ve had a lot of hollow and empty gestures in Missouri lately. The removal of George Will, a syndicated columnist removed from The St. Louis-Post Dispatch, in “solidarity” of preventions of sexual assaults on campuses. Will wrote an op-ed about “progressivism” becoming dangerous and becoming something that potentially targets college men. If you’ve read about “The Title IX Office” you’ll see he wasn’t far off in his assertion. He was accused of victim blaming, by explaining that girls will in fact have an opportunity to abuse this new office. It’s not inconceivable for a spiteful college girl to contrive a story about a college boy, ruining his life. “The Title IX” office, now has that power. All the while, removing George Will won’t prevent one sexual assault. The truly baffling part was who replaced him, a former Bush speech writer. Personally, I like both of the writers. However, the silence from liberal-progressives was deafening with regards to who was brought on vis a vie that hollow gesture

The constant protest, rioting, and clashes with the police over the death of Michael Brown, something that was inflamed by people sharing speculation and wild theories, like Brown was “shot in the back” and “execution style”. It still goes on even today. It’s no longer about Brown but institutional racism that the entire St. Louis media community ignored, until Brown’s death. The peak of hollow gestures came when protestors decided to protest inside Busch stadium. Which distracts the people who paid to watch the game and is also incredibly dangerous. If you’ve ever been to a baseball game, they announce on the loud speakers to keep your eyes on the field of play. It’s not about watching the game it’s about not getting hit with a baseball.

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(photo via screen grab)

The hiring of a super-sketchy PR firm to handle the media, turned out to be hollow. And distracted people even further. Especially, given that this owner of the PR firm claims to fight “4 social justice”—but has a private jet on his profile. I’m no intellectual, but that seems inconsistent and frankly disgusting that a PR firm outside of St. Louis would profit off protest that are suppose to be about the death of 18 year-old. Yes—profit.

These are stunts, justified as “any means necessary”, but at the end of the day are about money—ethics be damned. Even when you point out that these protest really aren’t about Brown any more, it’s quickly deflected to it being about larger social justice. It’s done in such synchronized lock-step, it’s almost impressive. When a heated moment was brought to the public attention of the same moderator, along with his director. The indignation was thick. No commentary was given, just the standard talking points.

“If you don’t see the societal benefits of legalizing (or even decriminalizing) cannabis, completely outside of and removed from the business aspect of it, then you miss a large part of why I fight against the drug war. Sure, someone who is already rich may get richer from the deal, BUT, it keeps minorities and low income citizens out of jails and prisons and allows them the opportunities in life that the drug war presently prevents them from pursuing. It significantly reduces the excuses police can use to search your person and property. The benefits are vast beyond the monetary appeal.”

I actually do moderator, I’ve had those talking points shoved down my throat for 2 years now.

I’m not going to change any minds. The director just called me crazy and ended our friendship, vowed to ignore me, but continued to insinuate I was, crazy, stupid, or a “conspiracy theorist”. Never addressing the unethical practices I mentioned. In my opinion, it’s because he and the “elite” in the movement do stand to gain monetarily. The wheels are moving on legalization in Missouri. This “policy maker” is quite chummy with the local media, namely Charles Jaco, who’s made an appearance on this blog due to his rousting of a mob to where “white cops” live. That’s the progressive media here, those are the progressive policy makers, and their activist wanting progress. The rhetoric is loose and people are now acting on it. The tension in the region is palpable, but those “leaders” won’t dare except some responsibility for inflaming tensions. Why? Because highlighting tensions furthers the narrative of a racist police state. It’s more than about money, it’s ready made justification for the movement. That’s more valuable than money, it’s free PR.

Why Fat People in Missouri Are Hungry..

I recently had an exchange with a sociology professor. He directs a center for community outreach. He’s a guy out of Springfield, seemed like a perfectly nice fellow. An article, published a few days before by the SLPD had came out about Missouri being the number one state in hunger. I wrote something here about Missouri also being accused of an obesity problem. An exchange occurred immediately with other people but not him. Then a few day later this professor showed up with this question:

@mikestout_msu: @GrantGambling Why do you think MO has such high rates of both obesity and hunger? Cheap, fast-food? Lack of exercise? Other?

To be frank, I haven’t the foggiest idea why obese people are also hungry. Nor do I have the inclination to scour the data to give a cogent opinion on it. Not without pay.

@GrantGambling: .@mikestout_msu shoe fits, heh? Worry not, professional—I’ll have some thoughts thrown together on the matter soon.

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My thoughts are, it’s a non-existent problem. The photo above, via Reuters, is a problem. People being slaughtered. I still am not a troll Mr. Stout. I usually keep my twitter commentary to joking with familiar people and discussing our nations dysfunctional foreign policy and advocating for the men in women who’ll have to fix it—long after we’ve gotten a new POTUS.

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Screen Grab

I guess it’s the dishonesty that my time nor, my opinion doesn’t matter that bothers me. He obviously thought it worthy enough to seek my opinions 2 days after the poorly timed article was published. It was released the day the United States began bombing Syria and while McCaskil, a senator from Missouri, was focussing on sexual assault on college campuses. So, I felt it a silly question to be pondering Why are people who are also described as obese, also the hungriest in the country?

So, here’s my thoughts on the whole ridiculous notions for free. It’s a false premises, to promote a narrative without substance. Finally, I told I was unpredictable…

Self-Perception

I was asked recently what I did. My short answer was

I don’t do anything

I stay at home with my three daughters. I’ll explain more. This is my meager platform. You’ll get conext.

My photo.

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That is my buckeye. It was given to me by my wife’s grandfather. It means something to me.

Overridden

Interesting headline from The Daily Caller.

Missouri: Gun Owners Prevail In Veto Override Session

Interesting headline, indeed. Another way of saying it is, Missouri parents are scared to death about sending their kids to schools with armed teachers.

Scenario:
Ever been to “parent pick-up”? Well, it’s where you pick your child up from school. It’s confusing, loud, and chaotic. If you don’t follow the right procedures, the school can—in theory—not give you your child back. Tensions rise quickly. I know, I was screamed at on the first day of school in front of my daughter this year. The principal and teacher both apologized profusely. It was witnessed by dozens, I did nothing wrong, but I digress.

Now—throw an armed teacher refusing to release a child to an armed parent into the mix. This is Missouri, you could conceivably have an armed stand off in a room full of people, over picking up a child.

That veto override had nothing to do with gun ownership. It was the Missouri GOP puffing their chest to prove how “conservative” they are. To make for good stump speeches in future elections.

Because the fact remains with this legislation, once I send my kid to school, where teachers are armed. I will have to ask for my child back from an armed federal/state employee. That sounds like some big government to me. Seems to be the opposite of what the Missouri GOP has built their entire platform on, but hey-have at it.

And you can save the stats on school shootings, a middle ground of having TRAINED armed personnel on campuses exists. Who would be more qualified to protect a school full of kids? A teacher who’s only fired a gun at a range, or a combat vet who has been in a fire fight? Combat vet, obviously. It would also provide some jobs for some vets.

If it’s really about safety, as a parent, I’d rather have the former soldier defending and the teacher teaching, our teachers have enough on their plate without being required to be proficient with fire arms. At the same time, a teachers love of firearms, does not make them qualified to know when to use deadly force. Not to mention—the possibility of a kid, who wouldn’t normally have access to a gun, getting this hypothetical gun away from the teacher. A school shooting occurs, and it’s the fault of this legislation. All hypothetical, but all firmly within the realm of possibility. This is all of course, up to your local school board to decide. This will be a story worth watching.

A Firm Line on Neck Lines

So, a black lady, a white lady and an American Muslim man, first generation of Indian decent—the ladies boss—are all in a meeting about dress codes in the corporate world.

Sounds like the start of a bad joke. It’s not, it’s a story my wife (girlfriend at the time) once told me, while working as a young, lowly 2nd shift registration receptionist at a hospital under the Barnes-Jewish umbrella in North St. Louis County. I knew her boss, I got her the job. It was weird, for everyone. It’s weird for a male boss to address his female employees about the level of their neck lines. And let me be crystal clear, neither women dressed in anything, but your standard corporate attire we see everyday. My wife isn’t one for confrontation or hysterics, so her shock about the talking to about her neck line, was startling. It made an impression. Like I said, it was weird…
Being that it occurred in North St Louis, my wife’s co-worker and still friend, the strong black lady—provided the push back, which was immediate and firm. She quickly put her boss back in his place. He was a male boss in an all female office. If you know women from North St Louis, you love and sometimes fear them, they’re tough enough to hold places like Ferguson together this long, just to put their strength into perspective. She didn’t tolerate it for a second, she also wasn’t one prone to hysterics, but she was older and had more seniority than my wife. So, she refuse to even hear it. My wife quietly joined her in refusing to hear the critique. Nothing more was ever said. All three have advanced far in their fields. I can also say, all three learned a lesson that day.

That short example was brought to mind by this tweet.

@ShafikHammami: “@fhussains: Awesome. #StopTheSag http://t.co/iiXbrpyXda sagging nick line for women.

For good measure, here’s a picture via a screen shot.

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The post was an NPR story about a local Florida civic leader fining young men who “sag” on city property. The piece is essential hyping up a national movement calling for young African American men to have more self-respect. And talks about other historical fashion statements that cause societal derision. I wouldn’t vote for such legislation, but at the same time I’d encourage self-respect and say pull up your damn pants. It does make your whole city look bad and for better or worse, that style reminds people of criminal behavior. Are sagging pants a reason to stop a young black man for suspected criminality? No, of course not. However, it is a style and fashion of “gang culture”. People who organize and commit crimes. It’s also a innocuous way of self-expression for the “hip-hop culture”, most of which are not criminal at all. More like artist. Plenty of ethnicities use this style for self expression. Asians, Latinos, and white suburban kids. I wouldn’t advocate for such legislation, but I also recognize different authorities to regulate dress, under different circumstances. A judge in a court room for example, can have someone removed from the courtroom, if that judge feels the person’s clothing, or lack thereof, is distracting or interrupting the proceedings of the court. Businesses have the right to set dress standards—in an office modest clothing is required, in a strip club it’s forbidden. However, a broad city ordinance on “sagging” seems impossible to enforce. Do police walk around with rulers measuring how far a mans pants are down? What is “sagging”, in legal terms? You see the snowball of questions that are raised. It’s a piece that makes you think. It’s made Shafik Hammami think about “sagging neck lines”. That pushed my button and made me think. You can see it here, the thread heats up immediately.

We constantly are inundated with narratives about a war on women and victim blaming in a rape culture. Here it is:

@ShafikHammami: @GrantGambling exposing women’s chest in public=exposing men’s behinds. Both should be outlawed. The end.

Again, for good measure here is a screen shot.

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People who want to legally regulate a women’s neck line, in my experience, are the same people who say it’s a rape victims own fault because they chose to dress in a way that tempted their attacker. Mr. Hammami made it clear how he feels about women’s fashion. I firmly and irreverently push back at that cultural trend. In fact, fuck that logic. Who regulates a women’s neck line? Are people walking around with rulers? Do we get fashion police, but they actually enforce laws? You, the reader, can see how ridiculous this is. It should be met with contempt, irreverence, and mockery.

I’m here, meeting it. My irreverence is quite seasoned. This is where I push back on culture. One more time, for the cheap seats—fuck a dress code based on a religion, enforced by law. How you choose to dress is a choice.

Why would I firmly draw a line here? Well, Mr. Hammami is the father of the most famous American to join a militant Islamist organization. His son, Omar, joined Al-Shabaab and led other militants on raids for the better part of a decade in the Horn of Africa. He wasn’t just a fighter, he was a commander. Sadly, this led to Omar’s death. It is not a decision I’d recommend to anyone. I do not blame Shafik for Omar’s decision, but as a father I know how and what we teach our kids effects them. That exchange was quite an insight into what seeds planted early on, might have grown to radical level in Omar. It was two dads talking about women’s fashion. Two fathers who couldn’t disagree more about what the law represents and how it should be used.