Gray Flannel Dwarf


Adam Gadahn

Is it just me, or doesn’t that American “Adam Yahiye Gadahn” dude on the FBI list regarding Al Qaeda look like that kid you went to HS with, who wore Metallica shirts, excelled in auto shop and spent his time in english class taking apart mechanical pencils and/or drawing pictures of rock dudes? Perhaps he smelled vaguely of cigarettes, bologna, and bad cologne? You know, not one of the really “hard” metalheads, but one of their side associates, perhaps a little smarter, but not as “cool”?

cswiii @ 8:45 am


political shiftings

(A comment I posted on Fark, earlier. )

Anyone who knows a bird turd about American politics knows about the shift from the old Democratic party to the Republicans. It’s not a load of BS, it’s pretty common knowledge to those who have studied political science.

As it stands…
* The traditional “Republican” party is, in name only, the same party as the Civil War era Republicans.
* Fast-forward to around 1980, when a weakened Republican party which was losing constituency took under its wing Falwell’s Moral Majority; in doing so, however, it took a big step away from the modern Republican values.
* Today’s neo-cons are yet another step beyond that, having adopted a hawkish foreign policy, something not historically espoused by the traditional Republican party, either.

I’d wager that anyone who can’t make that connection is more afraid of party name “dilution” than they are politics themselves, and such is a classic neoconservative notion: using a party to support one’s own sociopolitical agenda, rather than support its traditional values.

If the modern Republican party were the same party that it has been traditionally, and and held the same values that it espouses, I’d have no problems voting GOP — hell, I seem to remember supporting GHWB, argued politics with my notoriously liberal AP history teacher in HS, and would’ve voted McCain had he gotten the nomination. I support a political party which watches what it spends, and stays out of my house, out of my bedroom.

Instead of being fiscally conservative, socially liberal, and in support of small government, however, the GOP has become just the opposite. Add into that mix the penchant for carrying a cancerous view on foreign policy, and the whole thing really begins to reek.

As I began to shift away from the GOP about 8 years ago or so, I usually did so citing “Guns, tobacco, and the Christian Right”, probably a lot of that as the expected backlash of a DC kid who ended up at school in Tennessee. These days, however, those are the least of my fears, concerning the modern day GOP.

cswiii @ 10:20 pm


Hayfield Secondary School News

Well, usually it’s interesting to see your high school alma mater in the news. But it’s not too good when it’s concerning paedophile English teachers.

I guess it’s “Hayfield – Home of the chicken-Hawks” now, eh.

cswiii @ 2:22 pm

Talkin’ Fallujah Blues

Everything old is new again: Hardline Islamic leaders assert power in Fallujah

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 9:04 am


Pressing issues.

On the advice of Jess, I have moved my ramblings over to WordPress (now with correct URL!). I actually like it a lot. It’s PHP based, which, in itself doesn’t mean a lot to me because I’ve never learned it, but it is much faster and more convenient than the Movable Type rebuild process. The fact that it is GPLed is just gravy.

cswiii @ 8:15 am


Mutually Assured Derision

So all the buzz right now around Kerry is the possibility that he may do an Unconventional thing and might not officially accept the nomination at the Democratic Convention. Doing this — or not doing this, really — would, in effect, keep him from being tied to campaign spending limits, thus allowing him to spend more private money. Not so sure whether this would pay off or not. There are a lot of risks to such a move.

Of course, if Kerry uses Unconventional Means of Campaigning, Bush will only strike back with Weapons of Mass Election… and then where will we be?

I wonder if we should just cede voting rights to cockroaches right now.

cswiii @ 1:13 pm


Laurie Mylroie Simply Won’t Shut Up.

FrontPage magazine: The Saddam-9/11 Link Confirmed

Yep, she’s at it again, trying to lead on the American public, suggesting that Hussein had a role in the 9/11 attacks — and yet has little to show for it, in this article. Per the article,

Evidence is “something that indicates,” according to Webster’s. Proof is “conclusive demonstration.” The report of a well-regarded allied intelligence service that a 9/11 hijacker appeared to have met with an Iraqi intelligence agent a few months before the attacks is certainly evidence of an Iraqi connection.

She decides to quote Webster to define “evidence” and “proof” — and yet, when you read her article, the supposed meeting between al-Ani and Atta is, in no uncertain terms, a mesh of hearsay and circumstantial evidence. No need to quote them all here, go read the article for yourself.

Really, though, the bulk of this article looks more self-defensive in nature, and personally I am not surprised to see it, ever since Clarke’s book was published, and she was mentioned in it; indeed, she mentions Clarke in this article.

Former White House counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke is a prime example of this phenomenon. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when President Bush asked him to look into the possibility of Iraq’s involvement, Clarke was “incredulous” (his word), treating the idea as if it were one of the most ridiculous things he had ever heard. On September 18, when Deputy National Security Adviser Steven Hadley asked him to take another look for evidence of Iraqi involvement, Clarke responded in a similar fashion.

Having been readily debunked, she resorts to personl attacks. However, again she makes arguments, in this case ad hominem attacks against Clarke, with no supporting evidence, simply making a blanket statement that Clarke “adamant refusal to even consider the possibility of an Iraqi role”, and makes some absurd, conspiratorial accusations that some shadowy “elite” refused to even consider an Iraq connection — and again, cites unnamed confidential documents.

Iraq was indeed involved in those assaults. There is considerable information to that effect, described in this piece and elsewhere. They include Iraqi documents discovered by U.S. forces in Baghdad that U.S. officials have not made public.

Seriously does anyone take this woman seriously anymore? Did they ever? For an author and scholar apparently so “well-respected”, I’ve never seen a more poorly structured article. If I were an editor, I’d refuse this on the spot — not because of the subject manner, but because it is so incoherent and poorly constructed.

There’s enough of an unseasonably warm front over Washington right now. We don’t need any more hot air, Ms. Mylroie.

Quagmire Accomplished

(Title stolen from a funny image on Fark)

LA Times: Far From Ready for More War

“We have never had the need for a huge Army to stay engaged like we are now,” said Col. Michael Linnington, who commands the 3,400 soldiers of the 101st Airborne’s 3rd Brigade. “Today if you’re an active-duty unit, either you’re going be in Iraq, or you’re going be preparing to go back to Iraq. That’s the way it’s going to be.”

I’m sure that’s just what the slew of enlisted soldiers want to hear. Yeah, now granted, it’s easy to say that “if they didn’t want to go over there in the first place, they wouldn’t have enlisted”. However, to say that is to forget that a lot of people join the military as something of a gamble: the pay is okay — well, at least better than Burger King — and the chances of actually being deployed anywhere are relatively small. Not anymore, though. This quote kind of puts things in perspective. “That’s the way it’s going to be” — for the next fifty years.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 11:37 am


Sexy Hardware.

Note to self: When trying to tell someone about Linksys 802.11b hardware, don’t do a Google image search for “WET11″ while at work.

cswiii @ 4:26 pm

Love thy neeiiiigghhhbour

Reuters: Man Fatally Bitten by Sexually Aroused Horse

Gives a new meaning to “horsin’ around”, eh.

cswiii @ 4:14 pm


synaesthesiac amnesiac

“The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken!”
–Bob Dylan

So I guess that, over the years, I’d heard the word “synesthesia” before, and in context kinda figured out it had to do with the senses. It was only lately that I read somewhere about what it was.

Merriam-Webster gives us this definition:

Main Entry: syn·es·the·sia
Pronunciation: “si-n&s-’thE-zh(E-)&
Function: noun
Etymology: New Latin, from syn- + -esthesia (as in anesthesia)
: a concomitant sensation; especially : a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated
- syn·es·thet·ic /-’the-tik/ adjective

Well, I guess that’s not so bad, but these various definitions that Google gives us for the various spellings (synesthesia | synaesthesia) scare me just a bit. They all seem to imply it’s a mental condition.

It scares me a bit because for years, I’ve been telling people that I “see” music, that is, when I listen to music, I’ll see spotches of colour, jagged patterns of various hues, etc. Actually, it used to happen a lot more than it does now, but it’ll still happen on occasion. I’ve said, for what seems like a million times now, if I could play music as well as I could see or visualise it, I’d be a millionaire.

There are two things about this weird ability of mine that always come to mind
1) How no one I explain it to really “gets” it, or understands what I’m trying to describe. I’ve only met one other person who has, and strangely enough, he asked me out of the blue (no pun intended), after five minutes of introductory conversation, if this ever happened to me, that it happened to him too.

2) All I can say is that it’s really, really cool. It’s not disturbing at all. It’s like some postmodern art movie going on in one’s head. It doesn’t bother me, I don’t ponder about it, I just enjoy the show, so to speak.

All this said, those definitions that Google found re: it being a “disorder” is somewhat disturbing. On the other hand, other websites infer that it is a sign of creative genius… in which case, it’s no wonder mine has seemed to have been disappearing over the past few years. Either way, what’s going on here?

cswiii @ 3:05 pm


Beans beans…

Note to self: While, at least initially, planting beans near the edge of your fence seems like a good idea, to give the them something to grow upon, remember next time that rabbits can climb through and turn out to be fatal predators of your young, six-inch tall sprouts.

cswiii @ 5:43 pm


Sobering Small Town Stories

The Discovery Channel was just showing a documentary about the ordeals suffered by Esther Combs. While the crime in itself is, unfortunately, no longer shocking in today’s world, what took me aback was the fact that it took place in my college town of Bristol, Tennessee.

From all I’ve read, her parents were arrested in 1998. I graduated in 1998; I can’t believe I never heard anything about this case around that time, or even later. I saw all the pictures on the show, and so many of them looked so very familiar… and then I got kind of angry. I mean, I guess anyone can be cunning, sneaky, and certainly I’m only now reading about the case, so maybe there’s more to it. But just as Bristol’s a small town, I went to a small college therein, and I know how fast rumours spread, how fast news gets around a markedly smaller populace. Likewise, Bristol is a pretty uneventful town, but when things happen, word spreads like wild fire.

This said, I can’t fathom that no one else knew about what was going on and/or didn’t report it sooner.

Small towns have their secrets too, I guess, but those secrets that do survive must have some sort of “evolutionary” tendencies to allow them to exist undetected or something. I guess this last paragraph is just kinda yammering, but I’m still kind of in disbelief.

cswiii @ 8:03 pm

“This is not your party”

Salon has a really interesting interview with Joseph Wilson, husband of “outed” CIA operative Valerie Plame. They talk about a myriad of things, but I think this quote is on the money:

What’s the difference in the GOP from when you were growing up?

If you’re fiscally responsible, this is not your party. If you believe in a moderate foreign policy characterized by alliances, free trade and the ability to operate in an international environment, this is not your party. If you believe in limited federal government, this is not your party. If you believe that the government should stay out of your bedroom, this is very definitely not your party. In fact, I would argue that unless you believe in the American imperium, imposed on the world by force, or unless you believe in the literal interpretation of the Book of Revelations, this is not your party.

He hits the nail on the head, I think, albeit in a somewhat hyperbolic manner; what he says here pretty much sums up what I’ve been saying for the past five years or so: the Republican party does not exist in a state which lives up to its own ideals.

It’s not something that started in the current administration, either. Rather, it has its roots somewhere around 1980, following Falwell’s run for office. Thereafter, the Republicans sold their soul to maintain constituency.

I’m fiscally conservative, but I can’t stomach voting for a party that pushes a moral agenda the way the Republicans do — regardless of the fact that, historically, the Republican have been pretty much “hands-off”. I am not going to stick with any given party simply to adhere to its namesake, and I won’t sell out my beliefs or ideals just for the sake of keeping a party’s numbers up.


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 11:06 am


Poll Dancing

I’ve always liked statistical work. When I was a kid, I read the stats on the back of my baseball cards with zeal. I would look at the business section of the Washington Post to see the NYSE chart, even though I didn’t know much about what it meant.

I recently ran across this weblog, which I find myself liking, in the rare times it is updated. More accurately, however, I like following these charts on the site. I hope the maintainer keeps them updated. It’s really quite interesting.

cswiii @ 10:18 am