Archive for August, 2014
I’ve been consuming a ton news over the past few weeks, so of course I’ve been flooded with videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge. And that is a good thing in my book. With all of the racial tension locally and ongoing conflicts oversees, I need something to cool off all of this heat.
Granted, most of the videos I’ve seen are not well thought out or well photographed. Apparently my friends and family have never used a video camera before this month. But some have been wonderful. My current favorite is former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan dousing his wife Andrea Mitchell.
And I’ll watch any video where George W. Bush gets some payback.
Am I the only one who thinks the former President missed a big opportunity? If he would have auctioned off the rights to do the bucket pouring he could have made some serious bucks for charity.
The challenge seems like harmless fun to me and it’s raising some serious money for a great cause, ALS research. But I will not be participating in the challenge. As Meg always says, there are lots of worthwhile causes that need support. And if everyone is donating to the same cause, then there will not be enough left for other worthwhile organizations.
Tonite I supported a local organization that I have championed for years, the St. Louis Arc. You can learn more about this wonderful local nonprofit here. I spent my evening volunteering at a fundraiser for the St. Louis Arc. It was my sixth year volunteering to deal cards at their annual poker fundraiser. This year I even talked my buddy @daverosemann into volunteering!
It was a fun nite for a great cause. Hopefully everyone can give some spare time or money to support a cause. Giving back is good for the soul.
With so much happening lately I’ve been ingesting a large amount of news. But for the first time I’ve obtained a significant portion of my news from Twitter. I would estimate about 40% of the information I’ve gathered on the unrest in Ferguson came via Twitter. Nowadays news really does break on Twitter first. Plus Twitter provides a diversity of opinions that has largely been absent from the television coverage I’ve seen. Of course, it is difficult to drown out all of the noise and false information that is a part of Twitter. But I’ve gotten better at cutting through the nonsense thanks to @OpFerguson
The @OpFerguson Twitter feed is the real deal. Through constant updates and re-tweets I’ve heard a chorus of voices directly from the streets of Ferguson. And the strongest voices have really shined through much of the darkness surrounding the last two weeks. I really ate up this large helping of information and relevance, especially after the wasteland that was Facebook’s reactions to the event. This was pretty much everyone who posted on my Facebook feed last week.
Twitter really elevated the conversation in my opinion, and I respect what the platform is capable of now. I was on Twitter so much lately that I used it to recruit the majority of the guys that came with me to Tuesday Nite Heckle Club. For the first time, I have personally witnessed new media being just as relevant as traditional media. My eyes and ears are open like never before!
News, news, and more news! So much news around me over the past dozen days, and now it has come right outside my door. Today’s protests in Clayton made world news. My office building was shown around the country today. Here’s a picture I took of the NBC Nightly News that was shot right in front of where I work.
It’s crazy to come home from the office and see where I just left on television being broadcast around the country. Although based on what I saw in Clayton today, I guess it’s not that surprising. A large group of protestors came to the St. Louis County Justice Center to make their voices heard. And today they did it first with sidewalk chalk.
After the sidewalk art the protestors took to marching down the street in a circle for a good thirty minutes. Eventually the marching was broken up by a determined woman with a bad sense of judgment. I middle aged woman holding high a sign supporting Officer Darren Wilson emerged from behind the entry barriers and headed straight for the marching crowd. In less than a minute it looked like the whole situation might explode.
And it may have blown up if not for a fast acting response from Clayton Police. Around 10 Officers surrounded the woman before she could confront the crowd and quickly escorted her from the area. Here she is yelling at the crowd as she is being dragged away.
The media attention feels like it has really reached its peak today. After so much news over the past dozen days, I get the feeling that a de-escalation is coming soon. The weather will definitely play a big part in that. I watched a massive storm cloud pass over my home tonite on its way to north county. It looked about an ominous as I’ve seen a cloud look in years.
And the rain behind it was furious. No one marches in a downpour.
With a city packed full of angry folks it was a good week to head to a place where everyone can let of some steam. What better place than the ballpark with the Tuesday Nite Heckle Club! This month I decided to put in some effort into planning an appropriate heckling crew. It paid off as I was able to pull together an all North County group of guys. And not just any NoCo guys, but the best type: Hazelwood West Class of 1996 guys!
Through the magic of Twitter and $6 tickets I was able to get a hold of a pretty impressive crew of guys I graduated with from high school. From left to right after me we have @dakOdin and @Klause222 and @ToddBlalock1 and finally @marcps fresh from his return to St. Louis from New York. I also brought heckling crew MVP Deputy Tim. He was Class of 1998, but close enough.
The game was a real strange one. Late in the game the Cardinals were down 4-2 despite outhitting the Reds 10-4. This was due to the three fielding errors and a lot missed opportunities on the bases for the Cardinals. Out in right field my heckling crew was hooting and hollering at Reds right Fielder Jay Bruce, but to no avail. The Cards managed to tie the game in the 8th, which set up a showdown in the bottom of the 9th. Right away the Cardinals managed to load the bases with no one out and chase the Red’s pitcher. A new Red’s pitcher came in to face Cardinals hitter Jon Jay. The crowd got super loud while the pitcher warmed up on the mound and came to a crescendo anticipating the showdown. And on the first pitch the ball went inside and hit Jon Jay on the leg. The Reds walked in the winning run!? The stadium went quiet for ten seconds as everyone shrugged a bit and then decided to cheer again. A win is a win, dammit! Even when the win is ridiculously anti-climactic. We still left the stadium happy.
Luckily for me that wasn’t the end of my nite. I agreed to drop @marcps at home up in Florissant, which turned out to be a great opportunity to show NoCo a little love. We stopped for a late nite snack at our hold stomping grounds, the Denny’s by the old McDonell Douglas campus. Nothing like a chicken fried steak after midnite.
It was great to be back in Florissant, even for only an hour. And it was great to hang out with so many great guys from Hazelwood West, if only for an evening. And most of all it was great to be reminded again that North County is still great place.
This past weekend was so loud! So much noise and so much anger and so much ignorance! And now almost every corner of the internet has been splashed with the Ferguson Fury. The voices online are so loud and so often misinformed. Suddenly everyone thinks they are an expert in North County. But in reality
I’ve been studying St. Louis politics and government for a decade now. I started a Masters program in Public Policy ten years ago this month, and in the ten years since I have learned a massive quantity of information about the way St. Louis County operates. And with that being said, I still learn something new about St. Louis County everyday. I still feel I have a lot to learn about my community after studying it for a decade and living here for over three decades.
Granted, I have lots of opinions about what has gone on in Ferguson over the last ten days. But right now the last thing St. Louis needs is more voices adding to the noise. This community needs more people listening to what people in Ferguson have to say. So that’s what I am going to do, keep my opinions to myself. I want to concentrate on listening to the right voices at such a critical time. Hearing the key voices from Ferguson has helped me to really remember what is important in life. And I’m really set to listen in hard.