Chicago Values: A Tale of Two Rahms

In my never ending quest to discover Chicago values (and at the same time anger the most powerful man in the city state country state), this hot shot reporter stumbled across a Tuesday morning story ablaze across the airwaves.

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.
Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

This little gem sits at the corner of Clark and Ontario on the near North side. It advertises another one of now countless internet dating sites, but this one has a special twist: it matches women who need money with men who have money.

“So,” you ask, smartassedly, “like a pimp?”

No, smartass reader, not like a pimp. Because that would make those women prostitutes, whereas these women are just accepting money for sexual acts. So of course this website, affiliated the infamous Ashley Madison, is certainly on the up and up.

The subtlety of the title of the website is overwhelming. Arrangement just screams romance. There couldn’t be a more casual way to state it other than (If that really goes somewhere, I did not send you there).

The website has since explained that there reasoning for advertising in Chicago is due to the high unemployment in the city. I want you to really think about this message. “Hey unemployed women, the world’s oldest profession is still an option.” The overwhelming sexism at play is mollified only by Bree Olson’s seemingly outraged face (some sort of o-face).

But Thursday morning, Rahm Emanuel came out with a hardline stance against the internet-pimps (possibly robot pimps…) saying “Arrangement Finders’ values do not represent Chicago values.”

Oh wait, no. That was Chick-fil-a, that notorious poultry peddler, who dared to try to open a restaurant while holding opinions on marriage that differed from Rahm’s. What he really said about the prostitution ring putting up the billboard in the heart of the city was:

Look, we have a First Amendment. You usually operate under it. There are certain things you say I don’t think appropriate also. But that said, I’m not gonna respond to that because I haven’t seen it. You’re just reading it to me. But we do have a First Amendment, and I’ve got to take a look into it.

The mayor, flabbergasted, explained that we have a First Amendment. Usually. It’s as if he’s aware of the double standard as he says it. So lets recap. A prostitution website from the makers website specifically for adulterers? Protected by the First Amendment. A company with a CEO who supports traditional marriage? Not the right values.

Perplexing? It should be. The only question left is how Rahm would react if Mcdonalds donated to a charity funding a website for gay marriage adulterers (it could happen!).

In the press conference, when the billboard was first brought up, Rahm claimed he hadn’t seen it, so he couldn’t speak about it. Nor had he met S. Truet Cathy, Chick-fil-a’s CEO, before he made the judgment call that he was wrong. But luckily in this day and age, a reporter was able bring up a photo on his smart phone immediately so Emanuel couldn’t rely on his ignorance as an out. His reaction?

You are a living example of why people should not have either smartphones or technology.

What? Explain that one to me, Rahm. If you truly hadn’t heard about it yet, it seems like a reporter the exact person to have that technology (you know, reporting and all), and you could probably use one, too. That way you could narrow the time between hearing something and having a knee-jerk reaction based on what can only be described as bizarro values.

Brian Gross is looking to make an arrangement. Looking for a discreet, often funny columnist? Then follow this blog and let your friends know (he’s not just a one-reader type of reporter).




Send in the Drones

Yesterday, press secretary and general whipping boy Jay Carney alleviated all of our fears, stating that “[President Obama] thinks that it is legitimate to ask questions about how we prosecute the war against Al-Qaeda.”

"Yes, His Grossness. I'm sure you have a comment."
“Yes, His Grossness. I’m sure you have a comment.”

President Obama says it’s okay to question him, at least on this one issue. So let me take first crack at it.

That admission comes after the drone aspect of the War on Terror Overseas Contingency Operations has fallen into the public spotlight after the death of a 16-year-old American citizen. Quickly following was the release of the Department of Justice’s guidelines for when and where they can kill American citizens.

But I’m not going to take issue with the severe erosion of civil liberties and the collective constitutional spitting the administration is doing with this (you know I worry about that sometimes. And othertimes). I want to take sides with a younger, more idealistic politician. A politician I like to call Barry Obama.

Barry, the near luddite like I am, does not believe that good, hardworking Americans should be replaced with better, harderworking robots. There we can have some common ground, both of us ignoring those American jobs created by inventing, producing, and maintaining those robots (and those criminals who comically try to steal them).

And how soon power changes us. In those four years, my crippling paranoia has only improved (I’m typing on the original Gilligan’s Island’s coconut radio), whilst now Mr. Obama has done a complete 180, replacing good, honest American Killing Machines with actual Killing Machines (which I hope are at least American made).

The average bank teller makes $24,000 nationally. The average army sniper? $35,000. We’re taking away well paying jobs with endless potential (Yemen, here we come). We have recently seen that in America there is no dearth of gun-happy young men, (maybe because there is no jobs for them), and as much as we like to pretend, killing people needs a human touch.

In all reality, people make mistakes, too. I am sure there have been real live American soldiers who killed 16-year-old American citizens. But that’s why we have a court martial system. And if it turns out to be intentional, they get punished. Who’s going to reprimand the machine? There are so many endless amounts of fingerprints on the drones, so many difference people who could take and dodge the blame, that the buck has to stop somewhere.

I’m always cautious when killing becomes too easy. And not just with guns, because (usually) behind a gun you have a person and a conscious, who has to consider and weigh the value of his actions against the value of the opposite’s life. Can you program one of these machines to make these decisions? Can they sense the American citizenship on the heatmass in the crosshairs, realize it’s depriving due process, and kindly move on? An occupying force can win the hearts and minds of an occupied citizenry, but what do the Iraqi or Afghani people think about America when the look up at the dark shadow crossing their skies besides recognizing the sure sign of imperialism.

Brian Gross had his internship as a Doorman stripped away by that door jamb. That stupid door jamb. Help fight machines taking valuable jobs by reading his blog and telling your friends.

The Rhetoric of The Redirect

"Hey, I asked you once already, silence your cellphone, please."
“Hey, I asked you once already, silence your cellphone, please.” -President Barack Obama

During a press conference on Sunday, President Barack Obama was questioned if he had ever, in fact, shot a gun before. Obama claimed that “We go shooting all the time,” stating that he and I would only assume White House Mouthpiece Jay Carney shoot clay pigeons at Camp David.

A good number of Right Wing outfits fell into a collective laughing fit at the idea of Obama holding a gun (not to mention the terror from the extreme Right Wingers). And they should: I think Barack Obama might be embellishing to reach out to the bitter clingers and no one is falling for it. But kudos for lying. I mean trying. I just thought lying, right?

But what these career overreactors are missing out on the defining part of his comments that followed up the clay pigeon comment. Which was the whole point.

“And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations.”

That was Obama’s followup to his claim that he is Johnny Sixshooter on the weekend. It’s not malicious by any means, but it’s false. No one questioned his respect of hunting or related traditions, and that’s not what the laws would be abridging. The NRA, and the 51% of Americans who support the NRA, aren’t just thinking about hunting. Shooting clay pigeons, or real ones, is not what this issue is about. This is a bald-faced endeavor to redirect the nature of the issue.

Let’s take a step back and talk about the real issue. For whom is the 2nd Amendment written? If you answer militiamen or hunters, you’re right. And also, it’s for you. Yes you, humble reader, your entitled to own a firearm, which is not a universal right.

"Defending individual Liberties... LIKE A BOSS." James Madison's Autobiography
“Defending individual Liberties… LIKE A BOSS.” James Madison’s Autobiography

The founders, despite what Professor Louie Seidman tells you, had a good deal of foresight. They said that no government has the right to infringe upon the Freedom of Speech, the Freedom of Religion, the Freedom of the Press, and the Freedom of Assembly. Do you really think that coincidentally, the very next amendment James Madison decided randomly to honor the ‘tradition of hunters?’ Or do you think that, after making the most radical declaration of the rights of the individual against the powers of government, Madison thought it prudent to mention exactly how they would back that claim up?

President Obama is not maliciously lying; in fact he’s doing quite the opposite. He’s doing his best Bill Clinton (I feel your pain). He’s trying to relate, all the while admitting he understands why people own guns. The hunting, right? Because in this administration’s point of view, there are three groups that own guns: hunters, crazy radical right wing extremist homeland terrorists, and the government. Obama’s admitting that there is room enough for two of those three, at least.

Let me make a HisGrossness grand proclamation: if you think America is a safe place to live in, if you think that whenever something goes wrong, you can just call the police, if you think that there can never ever ever be another World War, or Civil War, or Revolutionary War, then you haven’t popped the hood and taken a close look yet. Part of being an adult is being prepared to take care of yourself, and unfortunately, in the world we live in, responsible gun ownership is sometimes a necessary part of that. And if you don’t believe that, or refuse to take that personal responsibility, the least you can do is not impede other people’s right to protect themselves.

Brian Gross is an irresponsibility opinion-owner, and he knows how to use it. Take a look at some of his other articles and spread them around!

Brilliant Professor’s Idea: Ignore the Constitution

CBS ran a piece recently, “Let’s Give up on the Constitution.” I assure you, I spit took my coffee more than once.

"Get your stinking paws off me, you damn, dirty Constitution" -Professor Louis Seidman's syllabus
“Get your stinking paws off me, you damn, dirty Constitution” -Professor Louis Seidman’s syllabus.

The monologue was delivered by Georgetown constitutional Law professor Louis Seidman (who might not realize his proposal would probably endanger his career). But his claim was simple: guns are a problem, and even though they are protected by the Constitution, if we try out a super secret method called ignoring the Constitution, we can get around that nasty old document and pretty much do whatever we want. Ingenius, right?

Now, he wasn’t just spitballing ideas, which is the hallmark of the American process (remember when we floated the idea of blowing up the moon to prove a point to Russia? I do). Louie has obviously given serious thought throughout his career as an EXPERT OF THE CONSTITUTION on how and why subverting the Constitution is a positive. Apparently, the temperature of the Gun Control debate is raised too high when the 2nd Amendment is nearly infringed, so we really ought to stop thinking about the 2nd Amendment.

Let’s do a thought experiment. Ray Lewis decides on Superbowl Sunday to chokeslam the referee sitting in the defense’s backfield and punts the football into a cameraman, declaring for himself 25 points. Reasoning: he does not agree with some rules in the NFL handbook, he didn’t write them after all, and he’d rather not adhere to them. The fact that we can get a moving bulk of muscles and human brutality to follow the NFL rules (they never mention no killing) like Ray Lewis should really make us think hard about what a political Ray Lewis (oh sh*t, he is retiring…) would do to our country without controls.

"Vote for me, don't vote for me, whatever. I'll see you on Inaugeration day and then your funeral." -Cand. Ray Lewis
“Vote for me, don’t vote for me, whatever. I’ll see you on Inaugeration day and then your funeral.” -Cand. Ray Lewis

But Louie raises the important point about other presidents who questioned or ignored the Constitution, like  Lincoln and FDR, insinuating that President Obama in a similar manner is facing a crisis that needs to be met with both barrels -ehm, I mean- both pea-shooters, we can’t leave any options off the table. Like Lincoln to the Civil War, and FDR to the Great Depression, President Obama has to take superlegal power in order to fix the Great Recession gun problem in America.

Think about the parallel more deeply: Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus during the Civil War. The move allowed the Union to imprison enemy soldiers without presenting them before a judge immediately. Alone one of the most difficult decisions in his presidency, but our historical knowledge of it is lacking. Lincoln didn’t single-handedly suspend the great writ with a wave of his top-hat. No, he passed through both houses of Congress a temporary suspension in order to preserve both the Union and the Constitution. While many like to point out Honest Abe’s badboy streak, it was actually a piece of bipartisan legislature that gave the temporary power, associating the law only to the Civil War.

And Lincoln didn’t push for abridgment of Habeas Corpus simply because he disagreed the law; one would imagine as a real student of the law he’d understand its significance. But he understood in the time of the greatest peril of the Republic, he needed to act in accordance with the needs of the people.

Fast forward to January 16th, 2013. President Obama blatantly ignores the 2nd Amendment and fails to read the part about Separation of Powers, announcing 23 Executive Orders in response to the Sandy Hook Massacre, tromping out young children who apparently wrote in to the President, pleading with him to take away guns (and assumably bring back T-Rexes, if children nowadays are anything like I was and am right now). And you know that you’re trying some monkey business when you need to bring out small children (I think every Illinois politician does this every day just to serve as moral human shields).

"But these children support me!" -Pat Quinn on every issue.
“But these children think I’m cool!” -Gov. Quinn on every issue.

Currently we are watching Government by Fiat, if you have been paying attention, and it is breaking the whole point of having a constitutional Republic: that no one person be indispensable to governance. Unfortunately, right now, President Barack Obama is trying hard to put himself between every debate, even if he then allows it to be settled by Congress.

What happened in Sandy Hook was a travesty, make no doubt about it, but does not pose the existential threat to our nation and it’s founding document in the manner the Civil War did. We are not on the brink of war with young boys with mental illnesses and guns. The 2nd amendment wouldn’t be abridged to save the nation but to serve a particular political outset.

We have a flexible enough constitution in order to be amended: the method was built into the Constitution itself. Article V states that an amendment can be passed with 2/3 Congressional Approval and 3/4 State approval. Simple enough? Yeah, and America’s also done that 27 other times. The other method is to hold a Constitutional Convention, which I really really really hope happens in my lifetime. (The other other method is to win in arm-wrestling against every one of the 50 governors, to find the Chief Justice who has been given a three days head’s start via hot air balloon, and convert two British children into Americans). So the idea that we need to just pitch the founding document, acknowledging it for its history signficance but forget about the men “who died over two centuries ago,” is out and out lazy and disrespectful.

Here’s a breaking HisGrossness revelation: those men who created the Republic and shaped the founding of the Country were smarter, less corrupt, more learned, and by miles more patriotic than anyone in Washington today. If there were to be a choice, I’d pick the values of the defenders of Liberty over the politically charged whims of our effete aristocracy any day.

Louie encapsulates his ignorance in one sentence, however, when he says that

For example, most of our greatest Presidents… had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.

If the Constitution ever “got in the way” of either great presidents or bad ones (or even Grover Cleveland, what did he ever do for anybody), then it was doing its job. Strong constitutions obstruct, pester, and befuddle men of great ambition, who, even though they might have good intentions, pursue it in a reckless manner. It keeps our politicians in check, and don’t think for a second they’d hate an excuse to ignore it.

Oh yeah. There she rolls.
Oh yeah. There she rolls.

Ol’ Louie reminds us that “[t]his is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want.” And while that’s true, we need to remember that we inherited it. It’s your dad’s ’77 El Camino: yeah the transmission is bad and the heater actually shoots oil instead of heat, but there is a reason for every part of it (maybe not all the cigarette burns). We need to respect our heritage, do some proper maintenance on the Constitution when necessary, and not so callously toss away what so many people fought and died for (unless you want to be haunted by Benjamin Franklin’s Ghost. Ain’t nobodies got time for that sh*t).

Brian Gross is currently trying to pass an amendment making questioning the Constitution unconstitutional. He is currently two days behind Justice Stevens, but gaining ground. Support this article and others that don’t use the word Constitution in some form 23 times by subscribing and recommending him to your friends! Constitution!)