Monday, December 12, 2011

Occupy This

We have moved homeless families into empty foreclosed homes
We have spread our message by occupying the highway.

Ahhh...the morning CNN and a cup of wonderful coffee. Damn! I cant seem to get the Occupy protesters out of my mind, let alone my morning ritual. Here we go...

Occupy is a group that was founded by..... who actually knows? Basically... Occupy is a group that marches for.... hmmmm. No, I am not a stupid man. With a MA in Sociology, I can appreciate the Occupy movement as a whole, but not the method. I can appreciate the non-violent means they using, but not the criminal violations. For Occupy, I can also appreciate that 99% of them have no actual reason to march but just to march out of either a trendy appearance or out of spite. There was a man once who was very similar to this...his name was Karl Marx.

Before you stop reading because you think I have just called all Occupy protesters communist, I want to take the time to say you are right to do so; Communism really isn't a scary creature with ten legs and five arms. Communism fails on it's own.

There is no such thing as a society where people will always be nice to each other; this society lives in dream land along with the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. I may be grim and dark, but telling the truth has never been popular. If Communism broke out in America tomorrow and was considered by all to be the new form of government (and yes, I realize that Socialism comes first), I would give it no more than 2 years before a new dictator became the most powerful Godfather of a new mafia. This would not be the choice, of course, of many Americans, however would be the end result. You do not have to believe me, but if you have actually read a history book. With the small exclusion of China, Communism fails. But look at it this way Occupy...North Korea would be a great place to live. Kim Jong IL seems like a upright guy. Oh, let's not forget his new political structure known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or DPRK for short. And yes...I know that North Korea technically is not Communist. I also know that the infamous USSR was not technically Communist either. No such true form of government exists. I use this example only to show that (A) No one ever gets to the finish line with Communism (it becomes a fierce dictatorship) and (B) Karl Marx was a rich teenager who needed something to complain about and rebel against his parents (*Cough* Occupy Movement).

I truly believe in doing something when governments go wild. Side note, this may make for good on FOX 2, when Governments go Wild. And...Im back. When governments do cause harm to their people, a rebellion is necessary and warranted. When corporations cause harm to their people...well STOP buying their products. If Coke (sorry Coke, I actually like you and this pains me to use you as an example) decides tomorrow to pay only minimum wage to all of their hard working employees, should we march on their facilities? Should we stand outside and take up space on a public street, causing hard working people to be late to their job? No....just stop buying Coke as a group. When asked why you don't buy Coke, cite the real reason; we demand you to pay your employees a livable wage. Now...Coke has 2 options presented...either (A) Pay workers a reasonable wage, or (B) go out of business. Which do you think they will choose? Capitalism is only as strong as the consumer.

So yes...Occupy...I think you are sad kids who want to rebel just to rebel. If you want to actually protest, do it in a meaningful way that will not break vagrancy laws and disrupt business for those who are actually gainfully employed. We are not at a point in America yet where laws need to be broken to win the objective. Please though Occupy, try not to wear your Hollister to a protest about how the 99% cant live. Thank you.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

The STL: The real reasons it does actually suck

Saint Louis Really Does Suck….

Recently, there has been a lot of social media hype around Saint Louis regarding the various reasons that it either “sucks” or doesn’t. There is one large problem with all of this; Saint Louis does suck, but not for the many reasons I have heard announced about its shortcomings.

As mentioned briefly by Perlut in the recent Forbes article entitled Saint Louis Doesn’t Suck, the title of Saint Louis is very broad. Cities upon cities construct the beastly transformer known as the STL. Unlike many large major cities, many people who live in outlier areas call their home Saint Louis, even if it may not be geologically correct; and the city of Saint Louis condones this… even if this is one of the largest reasons that Saint Louis does actually suck.

Take a quick example of the above for instance; if every member of the ultra-violent, ultra-crappy city of Compton, CA decided they were going to claim rights to, say Santa Monica, CA, which, according to the all knowing super creature of Google is exactly 24.2 miles apart, the residents around and in Santa Monica would surely stand up and shout. This would be the case because, in 2010 alone, according to the yearly updated Uniform Crime Report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Compton had 1,327 acts of violent crime (regarded as Murder, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault) whereas Santa Monica had 392 of the same. Would you let your friend, out on bail for armed robbery, say he was from your quiet neighborhood? I think we both know that answer.

Now, take the city of Jennings, Mo. Have you ever heard of it? Most likely you have not and it is because it is yet another city that falls under the guise of Saint Louis that should not. Jennings, which falls under “North Saint Louis” (which I’d be willing to promise you have heard of), lies 9.8 miles from downtown Saint Louis. Only 10 miles of difference between Compton and Santa Monica, however, considers itself attached to the major city. Jennings, Mo, in 2010, had 243 acts of violent crime according to the UCR. Good news! Jennings isn’t as violent as it may seem! Wrong… Jennings only has a population of 14,423. Not worried about getting murdered? Then try the 1, 170 bouts of property crime that occurred. It is safe to say that Jennings sucks, but not necessarily downtown Saint Louis. By the way, I can do this with mostly every city in the infamous area of North Saint Louis.

So why then do the good people from the STL allow crappy cities surrounding the Saint Louis Metro area consider themselves Saint Louis for the purpose of media and pride? Why do we even recognize them as anything other than the independent cities they are? Two problems exist; 1. Many cities fall under the guise of Saint Louis County, therefore allowing residents to lay claim to the city on the sole reason of the title alone and 2. Quite simply, no leader in Saint Louis has failed to stop it. Simple right? Not so much.

So far, this has been a fight for Saint Louis. Really, my purpose with all of this above is to show people the incorrect ways they label cities. There are terrible cities across this nation, and claiming they belong to the largest city close to them is absurd. Before I continue, I do need to clarify something important; No…the UCR is not 100% accurate and No…I would never call the entire area of North Saint Louis crappy and disfigured…don’t shoot me.

Now, we have established that Saint Louis only really sucks for crime figures because city leaders allow other cities to lay some type of primitive right to be part of the tribe, thus bringing the whole city’s name down in the process. What about culture? Here is the real reason Saint Louis sucks.

Saint Louis, despite having some great sports teams, has no real culture. People hustle and bustle to and from the downtown area, but fail to actually put any stock into the nightlife. Sure, there are plenty of bars, some claiming to be “hipster”, but their very idea of the notion seems confused from an outsider looking in. When it comes down to it, it’s just a bar.

Saint Louis also has some tourist attractions, like the STL Zoo and Art Museum to name two. These are fun to those from Japan on a tour, and lame to anyone who has visited the city for longer than 20 minutes. Just be honest with yourself…

What about music? Maybe the STL is the new Fargo rock city?!? No and No. With one large venue (Verizon Wireless) one medium venue (The Pageant) and several other small venues that host a few good bands each year, it doesn’t look likely that the Lou will win any awards. In fact, many bands pass up STL to play at bigger cities with more culture like Chicago and Kansas City. Yes…I said it…Kansas City has more culture than Saint Louis.

So how do we fix STL? According to the previous author in Forbes, the plan comes down to showing the affordability of housing, good schools, local employment, and culture. Well…good idea, except housing is cheap in Jennings, the good schools are in Clayton, Mo (average housing value in 2009 was $591,000) (his example, not mine), and jobs are scarce. The author uses a great example of Saint Louis having the most plant scientists…Really? That will certainty help about 1% of the population.

To give the author credit, he hit every major point to what Saint Louis needs to do before it is considered a contender for anything. Building cheaper housing, improving school systems, spurring economic growth by getting large corporations to build and place headquarters in downtown = cultural growth. This equation is feasible and will require a good leader. Saint Louis doesn’t have that now, but hopefully soon it will.

Really, Saint Louis isn’t the worst place on earth, but it isn’t going to win any awards for nightlife soon. Don’t believe me, just drive downtown at 9PM. You will be treated by the occasional homeless person jaywalking and the empty streets of a desolate city that is desperate to change but unwilling to take the steps necessary to do so.

I am not afraid to die in STL. I am afraid to watch STL die.