Gray Flannel Dwarf


Mixed messages

These two articles came out, only a day apart.


The median pay for a CEO in the United States increased by 15 percent last year, and rose even more – 22 percent -for chiefs at larger companies, according to a survey by The CorporateLibrary.


Americans’ overall income shrank for two consecutive years after stocks plunged in 2000, the first time that has effectively happened since the current tax system was put in place during World War II, according to a published report Thursday.

Cute, real cute. I am sick of the corporate lie continually fed to investors and the public that capping CEO pay would “seriously hinder the company’s ability to retain quality executives”. If executives helped their companies 10% as much as their salaries continue to increase in the US, the DJIA would be at 20,000 right now, not clinging for its life at 10,000

cswiii @ 4:05 pm


Craigslist retort, 28-July 2004

… in response to the following posting:

Conservatives are supposed to be so adverse to big government, up until the point where they’re in power. At that point, they go on to expand the size of the federal government, a la Reagan and George W. Bush.

Conservatives are supposed to be so against massive federal spending, up until the point that they control what is spent. At that point, they go on to run up deficits and increase the national debt far beyond anything any democrat in the past fifty years has done.

Conservatives are supposed to be the ones that champion personal freedom, up until the point that there are enough of them in power to pass legislation. At that point, they go on to draft laws concerning what can and can’t be done in our own bedrooms, to our own bodies, or with our our own money. You think the current regime doesn’t touch your money? Tell that to someone who all the sudden finds him or herself trying to transfer large chunks of legitimately earned profit from one bank account to another. Thanks to the Patriot Act, that, amongst other things, becomes a real pain the ass.

Conservatives, too, are supposed to be open-minded, up until the point where they decide to go off to war for ill-gotten gains and for fictional reasons. At that point, if you decide to question them, even the slightest, in their decisions, you are labelled “unpatriotic” or “commie”.

If I were in your shoes, and embraced your party’s ideals as much as you apparently do, I’d be scared shitless about what the current, neoconservative reactionaries are doing to the Republican party. I am, admitedly, not nearly as far off to the right as you are, but I don’t particularly disagree with much of what you’ve stated. This said, nor do I blindly follow a political party simply for the ability to latch onto something that, if nothing else, holds little more than its name when it comes to traditional conservative values.

Furthermore, I’d challenge you to really take a look at the current Democratic party and really determine that they are as adverse to private enterprise as you might think, that they are as willing to shrug off “personal responsibility” as you imply. At the risk of sounding like a Bandwagoneer, Barack Obama’s speech last night was a testament to that.

With regards to “shared responsibility”, the root of the word “politics” is “polis”, which means “community”. If you’re so adverse to relations within community, I daresay you’re in a sad, sad state of affairs — but more on par with what you are saying, perhaps you can go out by yourself in a self-imposed crusade against terrorist elements in your community, nation, or in the world. Maybe you’d enjoy it, Don’t fall down and scrape your knee, or break your arm on the way though — no one is going to bother helping you get back up despite unforseen circumstances that caused you to stumble at no fault of your own, either.

I can empathise with your opinion that “I can contribute more to the charities that I want and I can more effectively help people that having the inefficient government get in the middle.” However, it’s been well-documented that more often than not, money gets hoarded, not distributed. More often than not, as the amount of money that one earns goes up, the percentage thereof that is either reinvested in new businesses or into the community continues to drift down. I understand your concern, and have often felt the same way, but it’s to utopian a view for a modern, globalised world.

Years ago, when people amassed empires and wealth, there was something of a physical limit to what one could own. One could only defend so much land, or only store so much gold, before upkeep became too cumbersome. It was a natural checks and balances system. Today, in a world of electronic bank accounts and borders, that system is no longer in place, or is at least a weak remnant of itself, and without that system, the scale will eventually tip over too far one way, but it won’t be without victims — on either end. It’s the natural progression of things.

Do I like to recognise the need for an artificial, man-made, and obviously flawed hand in this? Of course not. But I nonetheless see the necessity in it, to varying degrees, as do all but the most far-right, rhetorical elements of the Republican party; in that, I’d posit that from the larger point of things, Republicans and Democrats don’t look too awfully different.

However, when it comes down to abuse of power, blatant disregard for the rest of the world out there, and the near-complete abandonment of one party’s true ideals, the new Right is an imposing spectre far more meanacing than “socialized medicine” or “double taxation”. I consider myself neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but it doesn’t take much of a step from the far-right fringes to see that this current administration is a threat to our nation’s well-being.

Author’s original posting below…

cswiii @ 3:30 pm


More CNN Weirdness

The above image, taken from a (fairly interesting) article about Barack Obama.

First off, I am not sure why they are using a picture of Gephardt when both articles reference Kennedy in the slug. Secondly — is it just me, or is that vaguely frightening? I dunno whether it’s the colour, or what, but it comes across as “way too much Gephardt”.

It’s kinda like if he was your irate grandpa, and you came home drunk one night, seeing double.

cswiii @ 9:26 pm

The Ketchup Splinter Faction

Alternate headline:
“Cantankerous conservative ketchup competitor cops confounding complaint” News: “First Rounds Fired in Conservative ‘Ketchup War’”

“We can no longer allow W Ketchup to masquerade as a conservative condiment and continue to market itself to our fellow Republicans without answering several troubling questions that have come to light since its emergence in mid-June,” remarked Bush Country Ketchup co-founder and volunteer press secretary for a Congressional candidate Patrick Spero, whose slogan is “Making sure Kerry won’t ketchup to W.”

As amusing as this little bit of infighting might be, I can’t shake the notion that if this isn’t a grand example of blind neoconservative, partisan clinging, I don’t know what is.
Seriously, who cares, you know?

cswiii @ 5:29 pm

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…

CNN/AP: “Bush shrugs off a crash”

Bush offered a glimpse of his new pastime to an Associated Press reporter Monday, roaming the dirt roads and far-flung pastures of his 1,600-acre ranch. About halfway through, he sailed over the handlebars during a dangerous descent, but dusted himself off, picked up his $3,100 bicycle and kept riding.

For three grand, you’d think that bike would have gyro-stabilisers or something.

Maybe for an extra $15 or so, though, perhaps this minor addition would help

Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 4:36 pm


Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato and Baby Tomato

This allegation kind of concerns me. I mean, personally, I don’t care that she said it, and I don’t think it’s that big a deal. If Cheney can get away with telling someone to “fuck off”, I think what Ms. Kerry said pales in comparison, then.

This said, people are a fickle sort, and it doesn’t take much snubbing for the media to come back and bite you hard in the ass. Dissing another public servant is one thing; dissing the holier-than-thou media is another.

The other reason this concerns me is that just last night, I was watching a bit of Hardball and Heinz Kerry was on. She was not the most imposing speaker, that’s for sure. It looked like she was a bit lost as to what she was trying to say, and seemed to get off-track quite a bit. Again, public perception’s a bitch.

Now, I’m not shallow enough to base my vote on the choice of a running mate, much less a potential First Lady. There are others out there who will inevitably do so, however, as well as those who will try their damnedest to make sure it is spun that way… this is the big issue.

Then again, smears occur every which way, in every direction, in an election year. Maybe this won’t be such a big deal.

In a less political note, this article about Sterling looks to try and be kind of a “feel good” story about the town. However, it just makes me feel kinda sad, and perhaps a bit guilty.

cswiii @ 5:32 pm

good job CNN

Tell me I didn’t see this on the front page of

Oh yeah – I guess I did

cswiii @ 1:16 pm


strangest restroom stop ever.

I went over to the new Irish restaurant and pub in town, O’Faolain’s, this evening. As one might expect, I eventually had to make my way over to the restroom.

Without getting to clinical, we’ll just say that I walked in, found the head… only to have the guy at the spot next to me immediately get chatty.

“I see you’ve got the short one.” He joked, referring to the aforementioned porcelain fixture which was, admittedly, way low to the ground. There are three of them there, of various heights, the first of which is situated quite low, and the third of which is extremely high. He went on to chatter about how, one time, he was in there and there were two other guys; there was a really tall guy using the short head, and a really short guy using the tall one.

Needless to say, it was a slightly uncomfortable conversation.

Meanwhile, while standing there, the door opens and we immediately hear a slightly-flustered statement of, “Oh, I’m sorry”. As it were, a woman accidentally opened the mens’ room door, and almost came in.

Probably the weirdest two minutes I’ve ever spent in the restroom, hands down.

cswiii @ 1:28 am


Please sir – may I have some more?

I found a weblog that probably everyone else has seen already: The Daily Kos.

Dated yesterday, Kos had some interesting commentary concerning the Democrats’ apparent inability to “laugh off” even the most vaguely controversial statements made by their party members, or those associated with them.

I’d had this feeling for years, but never really got around to putting it in words; I noticed it way back in the day when I used to listen to Limbaugh (more for the amusement factor) and hang out with assorted Young Republicans. I always wondered why he, and others, always could seemingly “get away” with things containing more vitriol, more often, than anyone on the left. Probably part of that has had to do with the terrible organisational skills and lack of any real, meaty message by the Dems over the past few decades, but really, it seems to be more than that. Indeed, the Dems seem to be whipped; afraid to say things that may, in the slightest chance, be misconstrued, and at the same time, never call the right on it when they do the same thing.

Maybe it is truly a case of political incorrectness gone to far – the Dems have gone and convinced themselves that anything controversial is bad news — and thus they allow themselves to get beat over the head by the GOP, using the same bat.

cswiii @ 12:19 pm


new balance

Kudos to Mr. Bill Steigerwald, who has written what appears to me to be the most balanced appraisal of Fahrenheit 9/11 that I have seen, to date.

It’s true, as charged, that he grossly overstates the Bush family’s Saudi-oil connections, screws up the timing of an oil pipeline deal in Afghanistan to Bush’s discredit and portrays Iraq under Saddam as a happy playground for kite-flying boys.

And Moore no doubt encouraged the pitifully patriotic, Army-loving, Jesus-trusting mother to make her distraught pilgrimage from Flint, Mich., to the White House after her son is killed in Iraq. Hailed by some as the emotional climax of the film, the battle-hardened Hitchens more accurately described it as “nauseating.”

But slam Moore all you want for his political motives and manipulative methods. He didn’t make President Bush rush us off to an ill-advised war, act goofy in public or say so many embarrassingly dumb things on camera.

Moore didn’t make Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, et al. say things in Washington that could be so effectively discredited by cutting to images of maimed U.S. soldiers or grainy video clips of burned, wounded and dead children in Iraq.

Speaking of “balanced”, I’d be interested in seeing this film, if only to see the supposed “handful of memos” talked about in the review.

cswiii @ 2:18 pm


The veep speculation continues…

…and this time, it’s, concerning the incumbent ticket.

To tell you the truth, I think this is pretty much a non-story; I really doubt Cheney will get dropped, as wild as the speculation has been, and as much as it would help Bush in his re-election efforts.

It is interesting to consider, however. I keep thinking back to a few weeks ago, when Rumsfeld was in particularly hot water. The talking heads on DC talk station WTOP were speaking to their political analyst, Mark Plotkin, and posed a question, asking what what kind of signs might indicate an impending dismissal and/or resignation. Plotkin replied that probably the first thing would be to watch for prominent Republican politicians cast pointed criticism. Now, perhaps this would be too obvious to some, but it’s a valid point nonetheless.

I bring this up merely due to the most recent statements by former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, who has twice thus far recommended that Bush find someone else. Now, it’s true that D’Amato arguably doesn’t have the political clout that he once had, but he’s far from obscure.

If he chose to do it, who might Bush pick? I don’t think it would be McCain, as D’Amato recommends; I think McCain would turn down Bush, just as he did Kerry. I haven’t much doubt that McCain wants to run in 2008, and while being Veep obviously doesn’t preclude him from running and being elected in 2008, close association with Bush very might be more of a liability than an asset. Furthermore, there’s not much historical evidence pointing to the notion that being the previous Vice President even helps one get the nomination.

Would Bush pick Powell, then, as his running mate, per D’Amato? I don’t think so here, either. First off, it’s been said that a reason weighing heavily as to why Powell didn’t run for president earlier was familial — his wife and, if I receall correctly, his children to a lesser degree, had merely lukewarm support for such a notion… although things can change over several years I suppose. Add to this, though, the issues the embattled Powell has dealt with lately, and we come back nearly full circle on the Bush “collateral damage” argument.

Who, then, would be a good running mate for Bush? I am not sure. Retired Sen. Fred Thompson? He obviously has personality, although I am not so sure what his political ambitions are these days. While we’re in Tennessee, why not Frist? People like doctors, right? He’s advanced rapidly in the Senate — albeit due in part to Lott’s gaffe — and is fairly well known. The two share the same views on a lot of issues as well… but this might be as much a hinderance as a help, knowing both are outspoken concerning their views on stem cell research. It would be interesting to see Frist having to give a definitive view on reimported prescription drugs — although this one isn’t as much of an issue as it was in months prior.

Then, of course, there’s always Giuliani, but I don’t have a lot more to add to that discussion, other than the fact that he would probably get the GOP nod for 2008, and it would be an interesting year in politics to see him go against H.R. Clinton. Talk about speculation, though! I don’t even want to think about that one until it happens.

Who else might make a viable veep for Dubya? Really, I’ve gone on too long about an issue that, like I said in the beginning, probably isn’t really one at all…. but it makes for fun speculation. In my best estimate, Bush would need to look for someone with perhaps waning political ambition — thus, one who is not gunshy about being associated with him — but is charismatic enough to help deflect some of the lightning that Bush seems to attract. The most interesting thing to watch, if it happens, will be to see if, despite everything, Bush sticks with his standard cronyism, or if he digs a little deeper to find a candidate with more widespread appeal.

cswiii @ 2:25 pm

Icky Icky Icky P’kang Zoooooom Boing

I dunno about you, but I’m kinda wanting to see the upcoming Spamalot show. Tim Curry should make a great King Arthur.

Then again, “courageous king from Camelot” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “transexual transvestite from Transylvania”.

cswiii @ 12:22 pm


Ebay hijinks

The NY Post made its already infamous error saying that Kerry had chosen Gephardt. It sure didn’t take the Ebay sharks long to jump on this one.

As an addendum, it’s a bit of poetic justice that Rupert Murdoch — owner of Fox News — also owns the NY Post.

cswiii @ 12:52 pm

Little John-John

Nicole and I have differed on this, but in the end, her pick for Kerry’s running-mate has won in the veepstakes.

I’m still not so sure this was the right decision for Kerry. Perhaps Edwards will help Kerry pick up NC, maybe even Virginia, but there’s no chance that he’ll make a dent in the Southern red states. This isn’t to say that taking these two would not be good — but swing states like Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania — perhaps even West Virginia — are, in my opinion, a lot more important… and I don’t think Edwards will pack as much of a punch in these states. Furthermore, I am a bit nervous about seeing a green, one-term Senator take on Darth Cheney in the debates.

Then again, as it has been said, the VP candidate hasn’t historically made much of a difference, in the overall scheme of things, in past elections. We’ll see how this one plays out.

It is really strange, though, that everything has fallen the way it has. It has been historically rare that the winner of the first primary gets the nod, and yet Kerry did it. It is also rare that the candidates picked running mates who were otherwise fierce competition in the primaries; they generally opted for someone less well-known… and yet, again, Kerry has chosen to do so.

Finally, Kerry’s timing to pick his running mate, while highly anticipated and agonised by many, was actually fairly early –21 days before the convention — as compared to the past few candidates.

All this “unconventional conventionalism” — i.e., decisions that seem to follow the most predicted path even though things rarely unfold as expected — makes me wonder how much of the Kerry support is a Democratic war cry/rally — but one of some desparation, from a party which seems to have lost its focus over the past 10+ years.

This said, much as I dislike Bush, and want to see him out of office, I’d also hate to see the Dems make Bush their sole focus. If they do not put together a bona fide vision beyond 2004-2008, I fear we’ll see the reverse whiplash occur in 2008.

Then again, if the GOP wants to run McCain in 2008, I haven’t got a problem… ;).

cswiii @ 10:14 am


Ill-conceived toys.

Whaa…? No, really… what now?

Is this what plushophiles and furries get when they have unprotected sex?

cswiii @ 10:49 pm


The walloping of deceased equines continues

A fairly telling article, per the Center for American Progress: “Public Opinion Watch – June 30, 2004

Was Fox really polling the same country? You’ve gotta wonder. The survey dates of the two polls are virtually identical, we’re talking about the same universe (registered voters) and the same matchup—and yet the results are starkly different.

I especially don’t buy it when we look at Fox’s Pennsylvania results. Fox, polling on June 22–23, has Bush ahead by 3 points among RVs in Pennsylvania. But, the highly reputable Quinnipiac University poll, polling on June 21–22 and also polling RVs, had Kerry ahead by 6 points. What a difference a day makes—or, considerably more likely, what a difference the Fox News treatment makes.

Lest anyone still be skeptical, read the article — they cite more examples of Fox numbers and give suggestions as to why they might appear skewed.

cswiii @ 9:31 pm