Tag Archives: St. Louis

FOX radio in STL offers me $97 to take a shot of Ashcroft’s backwash

The saga of John Ashcroft’s backwash and I gets weirderer and weirderer.

I was on Allman and Crane on FOX talk radio 97.1 FM in St. Louis around 8 a.m. this morning talking about my efforts to sell the former Atorney General’s backwash on eBay. You can listen online at their site (or if you get frustrated with their buggy flash media player, I’m hosting it as well). I have to say, it was a strange way to wake up.

Allman gave me a really friendly intro, calling me a “mack daddy” at one point and plugging Big Muddy Records, which we of course always appreciate. This was nice, because I wasn’t sure if he was going to just yell at me like Papa Bear O’Reilly likes to do.

That’s so adorable.

But, as I do not listen to conservative FOX radio often, I did not know what to expect from Allman. He was, after all, former St. Louis Archbishop Burke‘s spokesman, and that dude sucked. I also knew that there was no way an anarchist like me was going to find much common ground with a guy who likes people like Ashcroft and Cheney, and who thinks “Guantanamo is a shining example of how great this country is”. Somehow I don’t feel that the Vatican would agree, but who knows? They sometimes like religious wars, too.

But Allman seemed to actually find the backwash funny, and was willing to let me speak my fair share, so I have to at least give him credit for that. That’s more than Papa Bear does.

So, to bury the lede, when we got around to talking about the backwash, he asked me if I would take a shot of John Ashcroft’s backwash out of a GOP shot glass for $97. That’s pretty gross, but I said yes. I’m not sure if that makes me a whore or a capitalist (is there a difference?), but I am confident it was the right choice. He suggested that it might make me smarter, too…

But I am left with some resonating concerns. At one point, Allman said, “Guantanamo is a Holiday Inn compared to the alternative, which would have been just shooting them on the spot. Which we actually could have legally done, but didn’t.” At the time, I couldn’t think of anything to say to that. I was genuinely shocked. That’s one of the most horrible things a person could say. I know he’s a shock jock, so I really hope he does not actually feel that way. I mean, these are people are are talking about. Real life people. No one could actually think such a cruel, lifeless thought, right?

Instead of challenging him, I addressed his assertion that these killings were legal and legitimate by pointing out that not only were they not, but that the wars themselves were neither legal or legitimate. At one point I made reference to an article about the mistreatment of Afghan prisoners (which is part of their huge report on Guantanamo). This point was, of course, not embraced. But this is the dance, I guess. It flows like a scene you’ve already performed 1,000 times.

But I can’t shake the idea that someone would not only condone this treatment of other people, but that they think it would have been OK for the U.S. Army to just shoot them on the spot. Watching people as they listen to the recording, they are always kind of smiling through it until they get to that part, and then the life is just drained from them. It’s like, in all the joking, we have managed to forget the very real consequences and victims we’re talking about. And when you realize that Ashcroft is not just a clown, but a man who made abusive, terrible decisions that have caused so much pain and horror for so many, it becomes hard to just laugh at the idea of taking a shot of the man’s backwash for $97.

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Filed under My Life, Resisting

Can Knox protest like this?

Many student activists at Washington University in St. Louis, my hometown, protested a talk by Alberto Gonzales yesterday, charging him with being a war criminal. Excellent St. Louis blog, PubDef, covered the protest:

I wonder if little ol’ Knox College, far from a big city, can conjure up the energy to protest our upcoming visit by John Ashcroft with similar energy. I think we can, but I’m a pretty optimistic guy.

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Filed under My Life, Things That Interest Me

My home is on CNN … again

How do you react when you go to check what the latest big news is, and you see your hometown on the front page of a global news outlet? It’s even on the front of BBC News. Basically, a gunman walked into a Kirkwood City Council meeting and shot to death five people and injured two more, including the mayor. He was shot to death by police within minutes of entering the chambers.

And I am dumbfounded trying to figure out how crazy things like this keep happening in this place.

The best way to describe Kirkwood is whitewashed, I guess. You can find it at the corner of Highway 61 and Route 66. No joke. They have spent my whole life trying to buy out/kick out the heavily black, poor neighborhoods in the area and replace them with Wall-Mart and Lowe’s. And they have been very successful in their goals in the past 10 years or so. The city looks really nice, is fairly quiet and upper-middle class and has good enough public schools. It has a cute downtown area and a cute Amtrak station and excellent access to freeways both north-south (I-270) and east-west (I-44).

Gerald Thornton

So maybe Charles Lee Thornton was sick of being ignored

“The only way that I can put it in a context that you might understand,” said his brother, Gerald, hours after the shooting, “is that my brother went to war tonight with the people that were of the government that was putting torment and strife into his life. He has spoke on it as best he could in the courts, and they denied all rights to the access of protection and he took it upon himself to go to war and end the issue.”

I am not suggesting these murders were justified, and I am really concerned about my home and the people there. I am just trying to understand how this could happen mere minutes from where Michael Devlin’s apartment was, minutes from where Kevin Johnson killed Sgt. McEntee, minutes from where I grew up and across the street from the Hobby Station where I used to buy kits to build model rockets in the summer.

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Filed under My Life