Category Archives: What in the name of…

Dear God, Another One

It is the second suicide in a short time… Merely a moth ago the state auditor took his own life. It all hinges around the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Sweich, who the St Louis-Post Dispatch called the front runner.  The auditor recently ended his own life. Now—it was his close aid, Mr. Spence Jackson who made a decsion that leaves us all asking questions. He decided to end his own life. It’s a strange time in Missouri.. It’s just a fact. 

A screen shot of a St. Louis-Post Dispatch online publication linked above. 

My heart is heavy. My resolve is weak. The rural and urban squabbles. Ferguson and beyond. The infighting among both parties. The constant tension. It’s taken it’s toll, everywhere and everyone invested in the region and the state. I have lost only some people, and a friend, one whom I regret losing dearly. One who matters, Mr. Hizer. The rest can go to hell–they were fake, closet addicts who wrote very poorly of Mr. Hizer at one point. (Needles and whatnot, long story)

But I speak of him fondly. To separate him from a destructive herd. This is what I said to him regarding the fierce debate borne of Ferguson. 

It’s a narrative constructed on a lie

It comes from people beating the drum of democracy, but they can’t handle simple questioning of their platform and tactics, from people also citing democracy and the right to speak freely. People have been asking me, as if I would know, “why are my comments being deleted?” What can I tell them, other than you’re hurting a political movements platform, which uses mob/bully tactics to throw their weight around, like suppressing speech. They deem someone, unfit for debate. Mostly veterans, from what I’ve seen.  When essentially, it’s people we all know, our friends and family, who are silenced by an elitist academic mob. Who grabbed the microphone for a moment. But how? Another post, I promise. Some may not even read this, but I sincerely would count this friendship, with Mr. Hizer, as a tragic casualty of the events that none of us created. It was thrust upon us all, but some stoked the flames and some tried to calm the waters. 
I was happy in my world national security and foreign policy, I didn’t know this local moment of fate would irrupt into a national debate and months of protesting and eventual riots that turned into looting. I didn’t know the protestors would use tactics that intentionally make authorities nervous, but I went to the protest, I know the people who got the audio of people chanting about wanting dead cops—last year.
There are two sides too what happened last year. 
Now, the “movement” wants to move onto consolidating the county–after 18 buildings burnt, Zemir Begic beaten to death with hammers, 2 cops shot, and now metro link beatings of white people over NOT AGREEING WITH the mob—people want to distance themselves from it all. Which I get, but they can’t, because they helped cultivate it.


One friend, who will remain nameless, only because he is a teacher—had his students, along with 1000’s of other teachers, doing hands up, don’t shoot pictures—which is now proven to be a bold face lie. 
As a responsible adult, and a parent who sends their kid to a Missouri public school, that is reprehensible to me. That is politicizing children, while instilling fear in them. It makes me sick. 

I have earned the reputation of saying precisely what I think of something. If you check the international headlines, you’ll find that my analysis of what was occurring in the Middle East, is quite accurate. Why would my same deductions of a local dramatis personæ, in a racially charge movement, be any less valid? (I talk about the use of American power a lot—long story)

Because I was free-lunch kid? Because I didn’t have family who could afford a lawyer to keep my trouble off the books, as it were? At the end of the day, if that’s your rationale for dismissing my observations of the media-industrial complex and how it effects the world at large and our local lives, than you aren’t as righteous as you think. (Mr. Hizer is often called righteous) 

I did not engage my good friends to win, I engaged to try and prevent the calamity that has befallen us. I certainly didn’t do it to impress my wife, she hates it all and all of you. Well, most if you. She admires Mr. Hizer. T’was hubris on my part maybe, but it was worth a shot. I regret NOTHING but the disruption of this friendship, with Mr. Hizer.

I do hope things return to their boring mundane reputation.

 What a day…. 

This has ballooned. The whole culture and climate. God help us on where ever it is bound to take us.

Yankee. Tango. Foxtrot. 

That title has a couple meanings, first it’s apart of military jargon, which is fascinating to your writer. It’s the name of a Wiclo album. 

There’s also a call sign Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. (WTF, which we know means “what the fuck”) 

That’s what’s happened last night in Hash Tag: Ferguson. A total what the fuck moment on twitter. Which is the social media platform I use most often. Some say I’m addicted to it, mostly the homeless drug addicts at the park I take my girls to on occasion. They’re good guys, just hit some rough spots, but I digress. 

  • first the protest happened, because the chief announces a resignment? 
  • Then the 2 cops from the county and Webster Groves, were shot
  • Immediate visaral reactions from racist, on both sides. 
  • Then conspiracy theories….
  • Then logical discorce. 

Check my facts. 

But this was said..

@chriskingstl This summer is going to be very bad unless some things change-Antonio French

 An elected local official who has gained exposure, based solely on the unrest in Ferguson. Look I’m not gonna give Deray, the blue vested wonder boy any more time than I have to, but he was pretty lose with his rhetoric last night–and has been since the day he arrived in Missouri. 

But these things also happened. 

A 5 year-old was killed in a random drive by. 

5-year-old is fatally shot in St. Louis stltoday.com/news/local/cri… A horrible act of violence and a reminder of the crisis our city is facing. 10:30pm – 11 Mar 15 -@AntonioFrench  

A Black Hawk UH-60 went down just a few miles away from where I’m vacationing. 



(Photo is of the local memorial here in Navarre, Florida very soon after the news of the crash broke) 

Tom Cotton pissed off the democrats by trolling the Iranians over the looming deal nuclear deal they have with the current White House. He even managed to make them jump to such an obvious knee-jerk defense of the President, they were calling for Cotton’s prosecution for treason based on the Logan Act. (You can look that noise up yourself)

It’s a busy world, I know, but seriously… Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. 

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…

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.

Bad Timing

My friend had her second kid. Great News!

I was talking with her, face to face, asking for directions. She waited until I was 20 feet away and almost to the door and yelled at me… I thought she had lost her damn mind!!

As you can see, that quote above is an expansion on what she had experienced.

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(Photo via Screen Shot)

I know the woman who made both of those statements. In fact, I said this to an editor:

Hmmm… She’s not known to be a liar. In fact that individual is typically thought of as the opposite of a liar.

This is a mother nursing her kid. And made to feel ashamed by a member of the community that is sworn to protect and serve. All that’s nuanced I suppose.

However..

What happen to professionalism? She’s (the law enforcement officer) entitled to her opinion, but fucking come on—honor the badge you wear. Doesn’t seem like a lot to ask.

Totally out of line on a personal level (I don’t think anyone should randomly commentate on a woman nursing), but especially from law enforcement. And especially after they’ve had a microscope shoved up their ass, for being over bearing and aggressive. This just reinforces that narrative.

Just stupid. I know they’re job is hard, but that seems like even more of a reason to not commentate on a women’s choice to feed her child, in the most natural way—literally— possible.

It’s hard to defend poor manners, and I always try to be fair the law enforcement community. Maybe she was having a bad day. Who knows?