Gray Flannel Dwarf

2/22/2006

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 MTV.com…

“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 News.com.au. 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

8/20/2005

NWA on strike

NWA union members are on strike.

I fly from Raleigh to Detroit every week. The only direct flight is NWA. I recently received a letter in the mail, addressed to “Silver Elite” members. As I just got my SE, I was assuming it was my new FF card or something… and then I read it. It was advance warning about the possible strikes.

Ramblings…

I am kind of torn on the whole union thing, and I probably don’t fall along the lines that many on the left. I totally empathise with those looking for better treatment in their respective industries… but I dunno. Working in Detroit, I can’t help but feel that, between my air travel, and the auto industry there, labour unions and industries have a serious disconnect, and I can’t blame it all on the industry giants themselves…

Sometimes I wonder if labour unions have outlived their usefulness, and I am sure that is bordering on heresy to some on the left. I can understand the purposes of unionisation, back in the day. We are all familiar with The Jungle, and we all know about child labour that occurred early on, etc. Unions, then, were useful and perhaps more legitimate.

However, today… I honestly have a hard time being as sympathetic, although if someone can convince me, I am open to it.

Is there someone who can tell me what baggage handlers make? This article says that some start at $8.75/h, and some were, until recently, as high as $20.
Overall, I am estimating $15/h. 15*40*52 is 31k a year, which isn’t mad coin, but hell, inflation hasn’t been that bad in recent years, and this isn’t far from where I was six years ago getting into IT.

…and despite the sometimes long hours I have worked in the past, and am working right now, I have no desire to see IT labour unionisation.

I have an open mind to these things, and am more than willing to listen to union defenders, but I need some tried and true facts, not just the propaganda I see — and it is, what with the bumper stickers and cheesy slogans — on the union billboard on-site.

Just based on my observations, I am currently struggling with having a lot of sympathy with unions much of the time. Maybe someone can change my mind.


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 1:31 am

7/24/2005

Things that get under your skin

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: 1plac·ard
Pronunciation: 'pla-k&rd, -"kärd
Function: noun

(Note that they are using the ampersand to replace a schwa)

Most of us know this. In fact, it never crossed my mind that people might not know how to pronounce “placard”. However, nearly every time I get on my NWA flight, and hear the spiel about it being “federal regulations to obey all posted signs and placards” it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

It’s always “Plah-CARDS” or “Plah…CARDS”. They always put the emphasis on “cards”, and half the time, the flight attendant has this quarter-second pause between the two syllables.

It’s such a little thing to be concerned about, but when you hear it twice a week for twenty weeks, it gets to be a bit annoying.

Because it is so often mispronounced, I am guessing that’s how it’s pronounced in NWA’s training videos.


Tags: , , — cswiii @ 2:49 pm

6/23/2005

Bleeding on a Jet Plane

USAToday: 4 Major Airlines Increase Fares

Blah. Emphasis mine…

The four biggest U.S. airlines — American, United, Delta and Northwest — raised most airfares Wednesday, citing record-high fuel prices. United raised fares 3% across the board, Northwest raised domestic fares 3%, and American and Delta raised fares $5 each way.

I’m already well-aware of the costs of my plane tickets, and now I’m sure I’ll know even more about it.


Tags: , , — cswiii @ 10:38 pm

6/16/2004

I FLY FLY I

Good Luck, Independence Air… glad to see everything seemed to go without a hitch today! You’re gonna face a lot of challenges in coming months — mostly from large, troubled airlines who would rather squeeze you out of business than change their business model from an age-old, consistently failing, government bailout model. Regardless, I’ve got high hopes, and wish you the best.


Tags: , , — cswiii @ 8:43 pm