Gray Flannel Dwarf


Henry Rollins now ‘person of interest’ in Australia.

Well, if there’s one person I wouldn’t suspect of terrorism in the US, it’s Henry Rollins. Outspoken? Yes. Loud? Yes. Angry? …probably. Hater of western civilization? Not at all. However, it seems he’s caught the ire of the Australian authorities for reading a copy of Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia on the airplane. This raised the supicions of the passenger sitting next to him… and by all accounts, the end result raised Rollins’ hackles, too. In typical Rollins fashion, he sums up the event in a succinct and candid manner. From this bit on…

“The guy phoned me in to their, like, anti-terrorist board, and they found me – they looked me up,” he said. “They looked up the flight and found out who was sitting in seat 10A and they got to me. And they said, ‘OK, you’re now a person of interest. The man next to you does not agree with your politics and he didn’t like the book you were reading.’ This kind of provocation, I don’t respond very well to. I was furious. And so I wrote back, ‘You can tell everyone at your office, including your boss, to go f— themselves. This book has been read by a ton of people – I am not a threat to your state or any state or any republic.’ ” In the actual text of his online response, Rollins added: “Baghdad’s safer than my hometown, and your PM is a sissy.”

A capsule of this event was apparently reported as far back as February 16th in Australia’s Furthermore, Hank himself recalls the account to some degree in his Dispatches. Rollins, who opposes both the war and the current administration, nonetheless supports the troops insofar as he feels they do their duty in serving their country and that they’ve gotten screwed over by their government; he has done several USO tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Honduras. In that light, it’s a shame to see that Australian officials have consumed enough of the White House kool-aid to unquestioningly paint someone with the same broad brush. Hank won’t take it sitting down, however…

“He didn’t even leave his name and address [when he called], and that, to me, is pretty cowardly,” Rollins said. “The next time I get out to Australia — that is, if they let me in — I am going to talk about that guy in every interview I do. And it will get to him. It’s a small country, in that there aren’t a lot of people there and most of the country’s just sand and flies. So it will get to him.”

… and really, I think he could teach us all a lesson with this one. For far too long, those opposed to this war have allowed itself to be stereotyped as unpatriotic… and sans a bit of whining, navel-gazing, and weak, “but, but”-laden denials regarding such accusations, no one has stood up and made a bold statement against such claims. Will anyone have the cojones to tell these warmongers to step down next time the accusation is hoisted? Will you? When will we hear something like:

I don’t support the war or this President, but that doesn’t make me patriotic. And I would recommend that you think twice before questioning me again.

Or -

Opposing the war is not ‘treason’, and to say otherwise puts your own well-being at risk.

I’m sure some of you can come up with better slogans.

If the attacks on those who oppose the war continue to succeed, it will be due to the continued passivity, as opposed to pacificism, of the anti-war crowd. One can oppose the war without being afraid to stand up for one’s self, in a defensive posture if necessary, amidst personal attacks. In closing, I’ll quote Rollins one more time, from his account of this event, as to how he feels about rabid accusations:

I really don’t take kindly to that kind of shit. I like it though. Love it. Confrontation. Tension. Adversarial relationships. More please. It’s the only time it gets real.

Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 10:59 am


Trying not to don my tin-foil hat here…

…but does anyone else have problems viewing these videos on google video search?

Both appear, according to their descriptions, appear to be the destruction of munition caches found in Iraq. However, if I try to view the message, I get:

This video is not playable in your country.

Maybe it’s the proxy here… but whiskey tango foxtrot… I don’t have problems with any other google video results…

Tags: , — cswiii @ 3:29 pm


Blue media outlets need to clean up their advertising.

Sometimes I wish it was as easy as… well, Pie.

Listening to Air America online this weekend, I noticed two irksome things. The first one is the fact that listening to the radio stream while advertisements are played opens browser pop-ups referring to the ad in question. That this happens over and over again — and thus, if you leave your computer for a while, there are twenty new pop-ups for the same thing across your computer monitor — is something of an annoyance. This said, however, it’s a revenue stream that Air America needs, and seeing as it was for a reasonably useful product (internet-based teleconferencing for business), I don’t have such a huge problem with it.
The other ad I heard a lot is problematic to me, and Air America isn’t the only one that seems to be ensnared. Read on…

The other ad I heard a lot on Air America was for the questionable See Clearly Method. One doesn’t have to be an optometrist to know that it’s more than “weak eye muscles” that cause bad vision, and nevermind that the concept is based on a readily debunked 1920s theory, See Clearly operates under the premise that people can miraculously improve their vision… all while having a disclaimer with holes large enough to drive a car through. Another article published by Columbia university takes a more open-mind at the approach, but even one of the most pragmatic doctors interviewed stated:
(All emphasis in the following quotes is mine)

“It’s not just can we peel back your power,” said Press. “It’s for someone who is -1 or -2 and who asks ‘Can I do away with my glasses?’”

…and any such claim is certainly muted by the advertisers of See Clearly.
So why is Air America taking advertising dollars from questionable businesses… and thrusting these ads upon its listening audience?
So, okay. Maybe there are some See Clearly believers out there. Maybe there is a grain of truth and/or hope in their claims. Thus, I guess I could’ve even let this one issue go, however… if I hadn’t read Raw Story today and seen an advertisement about “Americans getting free weekly checks from the Canadian Government!” that went to this dubious webpage. (I removed the referral credits in the URL)
Now of course, the old adage probably holds true… “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.” However, I did some research on these claims. Sure enough, it didn’t take long to find some more realistic information…

I suppose what I truly dislike about these programs is that they were tax structures, and those inevitably turn out to be disastrous.
Then, speaking as a proud Canadian who thinks we overall have a superlative capital market, I just cringe when I see U.S.-based Internet marketing of these so-called Trust Programs.
Let me say that, with respect to the latter, I believe there is a direct correlation between the frequency of stock promotion by unlicensed promoters and the probability of fraud.
Many of these securities are businesses that will fail (or materially disappoint) as soon as interest rates in Canada move a level or two higher, or commodity prices fall a level or two lower, or the fast-paced Canadian economy starts to slow.
In other words, there is a level of risk here that traders are failing to recognize.
I think the authorities in the United States would do the world a favor if they were to clamp down on so-called investment newsletters that are stock touts for these “Canadian Royalty Trusts”.
Every cycle is the same at the top. Usually it’s the Canadian penny mining stocks. At the top they have moved from 25 cents a share to $2.50, or maybe $7.50 or $17.50, and then after the broad market bear sets in they fall quickly to less than 25 cents.
What bothers me is that it is not part of the Canadian culture that creates these financial disasters; it is typically (and I mean no disrespect to the country) American stock promoters who are working out of places like Orlando FL and Phoenix AZ and Las Vegas NV, but mostly via shell companies incorporated in places like Antigua, Bahamas, Belize, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, and Panama (– Note the list is alphabetical). I speak from years of experience with these people.

Or this posting…

Be that as it may, the income Royalty Trusts have NOTHING to do with Canada’s social programs and are NOT (I repeat) NOT guaranteed by the Canadian Government.

…which reproduces a quite pertinent Globe and Mail article on the topic…

What’s laughable is how the 12% Letter offers up yet another example of the cockeyed view Americans have of this country. But there’s a serious side to all of this, too. With its idealized picture of income trusts as a government-authorized investing bonanza, the newsletter highlights the way in which some investors in Canada misunderstand trusts. It also plays into some of the criticisms that the anti-trust crowd have raised.
According to the 12% Letter, income trusts are being referred to by some financial types south of the border as the “Canadian royalty checks program.” Readers of the newsletter are advised to think of trusts as an example of the great social benefits of being a Canadian.
“You probably already know that Canada is famous for its huge social programs — like free health care, the Guaranteed Income Allowance (otherwise known as ‘The Allowance’) and federal training and employment programs,” the promo for the 12% Letter says. “What you may not know is that there’s a unique situation right now in Canada that is allowing Americans to fund part or nearly all their retirement.”
The 12% Letter is written by Craig Walters, a former equity analyst and currently the managing editor of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, which is based in Baltimore. Those of you who are familiar with the wacky and wild world of investment newsletters will have an idea of what we’re dealing with here. There are headlines about investments offering the moon and stars (43-per-cent bonds, for example) and breathless prose about opportunities.
The information about trusts — sorry, the “royalty checks” program — is a bit, um, garbled. But it does capture the gold-rush mentality that took hold of the trust market just before Finance Minister Ralph Goodale made it clear the government was taking a hard look at the trust sector.

So okay. There are scams everywhere, I know, a sucker is born every minute, etc. However in this instance, in a timeframe of less than twenty-four hours, I’ve seen two questionable business claims that are barely a step up from snake oil salesmen, and both have been seen on left-leaning media outlets.
While there is the question as to what degree of control Raw Story had over these ads — their third party ad agency might not have the scruples to leave such scams out of their rotation — the larger question still remains unanswered: Why are we seeing questionable ads which employ dubious practices appearing on the media outlets that we all read? Sure, “buyer beware”… but isn’t the left supposed to be mindful and protective of the masses, not a predator thereof. Likewise, shouldn’t such a courtesy be extended by the media outlets which promote left-leaning viewpoints?


UK Journo’s take on SBXL host, Detroit.

Pretty good article, and real. I don’t care what they said on the news, about Detroit being a great host, and really cleaning things up, and that a lot of the bad things said about the city are all wrong.

No, they’re all right. I’ve been here over the past year, watching the facade go up, watching the “Bridge to the Motor City” be built, watching them plant grass along the highways in November in an attempt to make the place look green… something the author nails quite well.

But look a little closer, and many of the renovated office buildings on Woodward are still empty. The shiny glass panes are back-lined by faux paper interiors, creating an oddly Potemkin Village effect. The crucial question remains. When the imperial passage of Super Bowl XL is over, when the 100,000 visitors have returned home and the white hospitality tents in central downtown have been removed, will the city resume its long, secular decline?

There’s nothing good about this place, so far as I can tell. Well, I’m a Tigers fan, and even they stink.

People here continue to fool themselves into thinking Detroit is a great place. They continue to fool themselves into thinking that the American automakers will lift the city up by the bootstraps and bring employment and wealth to the region. They continue to fool themselves into thinking that Kwame Kilpatrick is the right kind of guy to have running the city, with his 30-thousand man security detail.

Having hope is one thing, but you have to have at least a basis, grounds, some sort of common infrastructure for that glimmer. There’s nothing here on which to plant any sort of hope. I really just don’t get it.

I always had an inkling of this sort of feeling about Bristol — high hopes and grand plans without appropriate infrastructure — but man, the expression of this ideal here absolutely dwarfs that of the smaller tri-city. And at least Bristol is relatively untouched, kind of a clean canvas. Detroit, on the other hand, is ready to collapse under its own weight.

That’s my impression of this city. Spent basically a year of my life here, and I have seen little evidence that being a lifelong resident of this area would’ve made me see things any differently. The hundreds of thousands who came in all saw a live production of propaganda in action… and while they probably know this, and the news anchors and sports figures and analysts know this… this whole weekend it was all about how much Detroit had improved and how all the naysayers were wrong.

These people sold out and drank the kool-aid… and in doing so, they only continue to perpetuate the myths in the minds of this area’s residents. This UK writer is the only one that I’ve really seen yet who has the balls to come out and tell it like it is.

March 1st, man. It can’t come soon enough.

Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 1:37 pm



Now, over the years, I’ve run the gamut on breakfast meat combinations. Steak and eggs. Bacon and eggs. Grits and bacon. Sausage, across its varied forms, in gravy, on a muffin, or alongside pancakes. Like most of you, I’ve probably tried just about everything… or so I thought.

Looked at the menu at the cafeteria today, and what were they serving up for breakfast? Chicken and waffles?? Are you kidding me? That’s the strangest thing I’d ever heard of. Is this actually… popular?

Well, apparently so.

All thing said, I’m still not so sure they served it up right here — looked like they were little more than breaded chicken fingers — and I didn’t try it. But I do have to wonder what it’s like…

Tags: — cswiii @ 11:26 am


rpxp v0.422_unofficial

Now that Mozilla has been released, it demanded a new version, v0.422_unofficial, which can be found here. Note that this one has a “MaxVersion” set to “1.6″, so there is the off-chance that something down the road — a la a serious Firefox rearchitecture — could break it before version 1.6 comes out, but this is unlikely. Meanwhile, this will keep things from having to be changed for a while.

Tags: , , — cswiii @ 9:45 pm