Gray Flannel Dwarf

3/3/2006

Seriously, wtf Harper’s…

I’ve never read a whole lot of Harper’s. I bought an issue a few months back, the one talking about a purported stolen 2004 election. This is a theory to which I don’t attribute a whole lot of credence, but the article was vaguely interesting.

But it seems that the most recent issue has gone completely conspiracy theorist, publishing an article by Celia Farber which resurrects the wholly-discredited “HIV != AIDS” tripe.

Insane.


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:08 pm

11/8/2005

You can’t make this stuff up.

So to recap 2005:

The case for war in Iraq begins to smell fishy. Although this is a matter of national security, the GOP Senate stonewalls investigations.

Plame’s name gets leaked. Although this is a matter of national security, the GOP Senate stonewalls investigations.

Then the WaPo publishes an article about secret US military prisons in Europe!

“Well, behold! How did this get revealed?? This is an issue of national security! Whodunit??”, bleat GOP Senator Frist and House Speaker Hastert. “Commence the investigations!!”

…that is, until it starts to look like it came from within the GOP itself


Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 5:14 pm

9/9/2005

Oh, yuck.

From the London Times (UK) Online: “Business elite hopes for a future without the poor

COULD the new New Orleans be a place of low poverty, low crime, good schools and minimal racial tension? Some affluent exiles, all white, hope so. In a private meeting in Dallas yesterday they urged the mayor, Ray Nagin, to embrace a controversial vision that could transform the city from a Democratic stronghold into a Republican one.


Most of the 100,000 residents who lived on or near the poverty line, have been removed. Thousands have found jobs and homes elsewhere. Some will never return, and this historic shift is being built into projections for the future.“About half the dispersed population is likely never to come back,” Mary Comerio of the University of California at Berkeley said. “It will change the character of New Orleans.”

From the Hartford Courant: “Fashionable Uptown Neighborhoods Hanging On

The power elite of New Orleans – whether they are still in the city or have moved temporarily to enclaves such as Destin, Fla., and Vail, Colo. – insist the remade city won’t simply restore the old order. New Orleans before the flood was burdened by a teeming underclass, substandard schools and a high crime rate. The city has few corporate headquarters.

The new city must be something very different, Reiss said, with better services and fewer poor people. “Those who want to see this city rebuilt want to see it done in a completely different way,” he said. “I’m not just speaking for myself here. The way we’ve been living is not going to happen again, or we’re out.”

Can you imagine New Orleans without its vast diversity?

Goodbye blues clubs, goodbye jazzmasters; au revoir to R&B, creole and zydeco. They’d all be replaced by the amalgamated din of thudding techno beat, Papa Roach and Barry Manilow.

The dingy, dusky music bars replaced with strip malls and Applebees. You might hear the occasional, distant strains of New Orleans music, only to realize it’s been bastardised to fit the elevator muzak for stacks of condos.

Ugh.


Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 12:20 pm

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

7/27/2005

Surprise…! What surprise…?

Washington Times: Rumsfeld makes surprise visit to Iraq

Has anyone else asked the question, “how can these things be surprises anymore?” I’ve been wondering this for weeks, now…it seems not a week goes by and if it’s not Dubya, it’s Condi or it’s Rumsfeld, someone is always on their way over there to make a “surprise visit”.

How many “surprise” visits does it take before they turn “mundane”? How come these haven’t been called “routine” visits to Iraq? They occur often enough.

I want to know the real purpose… andI don’t mean that in a particularly conspiratorial sense. Let’s look at the options.

If it’s to pep-talk the troops, then they’re bound to have already run into the law of diminishing returns. If this administration is dropping the phrase “war on terror” due to the notion that most Americans, now war-weary, think the war was a mistake, I can only imagine that a quick BJ from BushCo. wouldn’t have that much of an effect for those on the front lines.

On the other hand, in the first article linked, it’s mentioned that Rumsfeld met with the Iraqi Prime Minister. For a meeting like that, one would think you’d call ahead for tea time, you know? You don’t just “drop in” to hang out with the local officials.

In my mind, it’s pretty evident the WH is fairly upset at the prospect that, after everything has been said and done, Iraq is looking more and more like it’s going to be another Islamic theocracy. Rumsfeld is over there to have a friendly little “WTF” talk with the PM. Smile, wave to the camera! Surprise! Look who daddy brought home!

Listen here, buddy, we expected a little more from you all than this.

Not that I think it will do much good… the war is going worse than everyone thought it would, and the task of “nation building” is going worse than everyone expected too. In fact, the only thing over there in a better state than initially expected is the status of WMDs. Sure aren’t any of those, buster!

Oh, wait. The WH knew that well in advance, too.


Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 10:37 am

7/9/2005

“Personal waiver” theory – (former) Rove staffer?

Let me preface this with the fact that I do think Rove probably was the initial source. I am not so convinced, however, that he was Cooper’s only source, and I’ve seen nothing that explicitly indicates this.

I am wondering if there is a disgruntled staffer, or former staffer, for Rove that is offering corroborating evidence that Rove was the original leak.

Now, let’s start from the basics. If I were a professional journalist, and had learned something from someone at the top, I would probably try to get a second verified statement from someone with ties to the original to confirm statements and/or internal policy. A primary source, words from the horse’s mouth is great, but I wouldn’t want to write an article and have only one source that could leave me twisting in the wind — especially if that person is Karl Rove who has left many a public figure hung out to dry.

Now, consider this somewhat mishmash of a paragraph from an old 2003 Newsmax(!) article regarding the Plame incident (emphasis mine):

As the story goes, individuals in the administration seeking revenge for Wilson’s criticism of Bush’s Iraq adventure played get-even, and at least two of Karl Rove’s staff placed phone calls to at least six Washington journalists, unmasking Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame. One of the journalists, Robert Novak, chose to publish and thus unmask CIA agent Plame.

So there’s the possibility of Rove talking, and there’s the possibility of this smear having been disseminated by members of his staff. If this were true, then it doesn’t take a leap of logic to determine that members of Rove’s staff knew of efforts to “out” Plame. At very least, those staffers mentioned in the paragraph above, and perhaps more.

Now, let’s come back to Cooper’s statement that he’d been released from his confidentiality promise from his source. This seemed to go smack in the face of everything pointing to Rove. Rove’s arrogance has been a favourite explanation, as has the unlikely idea that Rove would fall on his sword for the administration. None of these is satisfying for me, though. Simply put, Rove is vile but he’s not stupid.

With all this confusion going on, I can’t help but wonder if we’ve seen something of a sleight-of-hand trick. People believe Rove is the leak. Cooper was given a confidentiality release. Ergo, Rove gave the release? Right?

I wonder if there’s been a deliberate misdirection in all this… perhaps Cooper had two sources — Rove and someone within Rove’s organisation, and it’s the latter who, for reasons currently unknown, has decided it is time to come forth with information implicating Rove.

Could Cooper’s “personal and unambiguous waiver to speak before the grand jury” be a hitherto unknown mole from within Rove’s own ranks? Every assumption has been that Cooper’s got only one source, but unless I’ve missed it, I’ve never seen that explicitly stated.

Is there a definitive list somewhere of current and former members of Rove’s staff whose backgrounds might be worth investigating?


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:33 am

7/3/2005

Slouching towards South Carolina

Hey DB — look what’s coming your way.

According to the irreproachable World Net Daily, “fed-up Christians” are packing their bags and moving to South Carolina and consider secession a viable option to modern-day American governance.

“I believe we can work with ‘the system’ if you will to effect the outcome of local elections and certainly the CE theory is to do this county by county,” Janoski said, “but I do not discount the possibility that the federal government or the rest of the ‘union’ may not agree with our objectives or core politics. So secession may be a very real alternative – and is as I believe our constitutional right if things lead to that.”

“I’m about as patriotic as anyone you’ll ever meet,” says Charles Lewis, who moved his family of four from the nation’s capital for the opportunity to raise his children in a wholesome, Christian-friendly environment. “However, the secession option is firmly in the Constitution – it’s the linchpin of the whole thing, [the] ultimate safety valve.”

Actually, I’ve heard the wingnuts are a lot further along than this column indicates. They’re just trying to figure out that whole, pesky “pillar of salt” issue.


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 9:48 am

6/19/2005

Blowing off Steam

I keep focusing on these quotes from today’s address.

“Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but all of us can agree that the world’s terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror,” he said.

No, Mr. President,

You made Iraq a central front on the ‘war on terror’.
You implied the links between Hussein, WMD and terror networks.
You falsified information and went against many well-respected people in Washington who told you it was a bad idea.
You took out the leader of an authoritarian-yet-sovereign nation, allowing the predicted power vaccuum to come to life.
You fulfilled, in their eyes, the prophecies of an American imperialism in the Middle East.
You threw the rocks at the proverbial hornets nest and got the swarm’s temper enflamed.

…and now the world’s terrorists are the ones who turned Iraq into a hotbed for terrorism.

Oh, well. yeah – maybe you’re right.

“This mission isn’t easy, and it will not be accomplished overnight.”

Does that mean you’ll be giving back the flightsuit, then?


Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 1:30 am

11/1/2004

Don’t forget…

So Gary, a US citizen living in Poland, over at matching tracksuits notes that he, like most people living outside the US, cannot access Chimpy McFlightsuit’s website. He muses,

There is just no logical reason for this blockage. If Bush’s team can’t “defend” his web site, what makes people think Bush and his gang can defend the country? Setting up a firewall is a lot easier than keeping out terrorists, I would imagine.

It was Darshu on #dailykos, however, who got the best quip of the day:
“are you saying that georgewbush.com forgot poland?”

http://youforgotpoland.com


Tags: , , — cswiii @ 1:19 pm

9/8/2004

Over 1000 gone in Iraq.

Peace be unto their families.

But we’re making progress, right?

8/23/2004

The QuadCity Times has an op-ed piece titled “What have they done with John McCain?“. Though not the strongest piece I have ever read, they are the first that I have seen, to ask the same question I have been wondering: Why is McCain beginning — or indeed, it seems, why has he begun — to stump for Bush?

It makes us heartsick to see Sen. McCain stand alongside the man whose supporters launched a racist smear campaign against him during the 2000 primaries. Bush supporters used push polling in South Carolina to insinuate McCain’s legally adopted African daughter was the illegitimate product of an affair.

I have always had a modicum of respect, if not more, for John McCain, whose statements regarding cleaning up the government paint at least a moderate veneer of statesmanship of which many of our public servants should at least pay lip service.

Instead…

* For reaching across the table, McCain is likened a “maverick”; he is, by some, considered something of a liability to the GOP.
* In 2000, as he is doing quite well, marked as a somewhat moderate and certainly more populist Republican candidate, he is smeared by Rove & Co. with the “illegitimate black child” poll.

McCain has been treated like pond scum by the neocons for some time now, for his attempts to at least try and maintain some sort of dignity for his party. He has continually been dragged through the mud and is, indeed, a poster boy for what happens when one bites the hands that feeds him.

This said, I am absolutely stymied at the reports coming out that the CRKB (Campaign to Re-elect King Bush) is ready to offer McCain a major role in Bush’s reelection efforts and of course, I would be galled to see McCain accept it.

No, I am not “mad” or “upset” at McCain refusing to “cross the picket line”, as it were, like Jeffords. The fact that he didn’t accept Kerry’s veep offer doesn’t surprise me, esp. when one considers that his vacated post would likely be filled by a Democrat. In this light, I can understand McCain not wanting to punch his party in the gut twice. Furthermore, I don’t know that I’d ever have expected him to accept it anyway, precisely because McCain is a politician who stands by what his party believes — or at least, used to believe — in.

It is for that last reason, however, that it would be terrible, terrible thing to see him stumping in a hardcore way for the Chimp.

I do find it interesting, however, that today Bush has apparently called for the attack ads to stop. My hunch isn’t going to go so far as others as to suspect that Bush will pull a last-minute switcheroo, but I can’t help but wonder if, in order to court McCain’s assistance, Bush will make some concessions.

…Not that this will help in the long run, be it him during his loss — or us, following his win.


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 5:03 pm

8/8/2004

Valerie Plame nothing!

So remember last month’s “high value” terrorist bust of “computer whiz” Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan? Yeah, what about that… turns out that he was a double agent, one of which Britain’s MI5 and Pakistan’s ISI were well-aware. His “outing” by the DHS was blasted as premature by these agencies, which are now worried that the early narc has left remnants of the terror cell on the run.

Whether the sense of outrage exhibited by these agencies at the DHS’s actions is justfied, only time will tell. I must admit, though, it seems like “deja vu all over again”.

Further reading:
“How the Pakistani double agent was ‘burned’ by the US” (Daily Times, Pakistan)


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 3:10 am

7/27/2004

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

6/26/2004

Balls and Cheney

Washington Post:

Cheney said he “probably” used an obscenity in an argument Tuesday on the Senate floor with Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and added that he had no regrets. “I expressed myself rather forcefully, felt better after I had done it,” Cheney told Neil Cavuto of Fox News. The vice president said those who heard the putdown agreed with him. “I think that a lot of my colleagues felt that what I had said badly needed to be said, that it was long overdue.”

Of course he has no regrets. Why should he defend dropping the f-bomb? After all, they’ve already shown to be pretty adept at dropping thousands of other ill-conceived and unnecessary munitions over the past year.

Pompous prick. Personally, I don’t particularly care that he dropped the f-bomb; everyone has moments where their tempers get the best of them. Hell, I even got ejected from a kickball game the other day for needlessly pegging the ball at some guy who decided to intentionally fly through the air at me, kamikaze-style, while running to third base. But you won’t see me claiming my response was either righteous or well-deserved.

It is too bad, however, that this wasn’t publicly aired; I’d loved to have seen the FCC’s reaction to this one.

CNN’s coverage of this story.


Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 1:57 am

6/12/2004

Installing Democracy

Jess, a.k.a. “Mr. Political Science”, would you be able to shed any light on this article? Specifically, the following quote:

We should remember that since World War II, in 35 U.S. attempts to promote democracy around the world none have succeeded.

I am trying to do a quantitative and qualitative analysis of this statement. As it stands, I know I can’t name thirty-five US interventions, mostly because I don’t remember enough history concerning American foreign policy; I’d like to know what criteria Rep. Paul used to come to this conclusion.


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 4:49 pm

5/5/2004

“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

2/24/2004

“You’re a Liar and You’re Boring” (Henry Rollins)

Vanity Fair: “John Ashcroft’s Patriot Games
Mother Jones: “The Lie Factory”


Tags: , , , — cswiii @ 12:57 pm

11/22/2002

Gulf Fiction III

Per request…for spampy – an image for the movie Gulf Fiction, slated to come out this winter.
Gulf Fiction

7/17/2002

Talkin’ John Ashcroft Paranoid Blues

I may continue to work on this, if I get any creative ideas.

(with apologies to Bob Dylan)

Talkin’ John Ashcroft Paranoid Blues

Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue,
I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do,
Them terrorists they was comin’ around,
They was in the air,
They was on the ground.
They wouldn’t gimme no peace. . .

So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the Tom Ridge Society,
I got me a Citizen Corps membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road.
Yee-hoo, I’m a real Op:TIPSter now!
Look out you Arabs!

Well, I was lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Rags.
I got up in the mornin’ ‘n’ looked in my bags,
Looked in the sink, behind the door,
Looked in the glove compartment of my car.
Couldn’t find ‘em . . .

I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Rags everywhere,
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair.
I looked way up my chimney hole,
I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl.
They got away . . .

Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat,
Figured they was in my T.V. set.
Peeked behind the picture frame,
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain.
Them Rags caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core fundamentalist ones.

Well, I quit my job so I could work alone,
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes.
Remembered a clue I’d almost forgotten:
The ‘merican flag is made of cotton!
That ol’ Betty Ross . . .

Well, I search all the books on the library shelves
Cuz you can’t trust it as done by anyone else
I found some characters I didn’t understand.
Knew right away it had to be the Koran
I just hope no one saw me searchin’

Wouldn’t want them to think I was a terrorist lurchin’

Now Leiberman, he’s a Middle East spy,
Al Gore, Gephardt and them Democrat guys.
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: Attorney General John Ashcroft.
I know for a fact he hates Arabs cus he’s born and raised in the midwest!

Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outta things to investigate.
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else,
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out anything . . . hmm, great God!


Tags: , , , , , — cswiii @ 9:59 pm

4/8/2002

Gulf Fiction II

(Not to be confused with my first fit of creativity)

Says George W. Bush, “I meant what I said to the prime minister of Israel. I expect there to be a withdrawal without delay.”

So George W. is really reiterating that Israel back the hell off of Arafat and friends. I dunno, I just keep imagining the scene from Pulp Fiction, when Butch and Marcellus end up in the Mason-Dixie pawnshop, except this time, it’s Israel who has the Palestinians pinned to the floor, beating the crap out of ‘em.




Israel: So you like terrorizing people, huh? Well guess what, big man, you’ve terrorized me –United States: [Wielding a pump-action shotgun, aimed at them]

– hold it right there, godammit!

Israel: Look mister, this ain’t any of your business –

United States: — I’m makin’ it my business! Now toss that gun!

Israel: You don’t understand, man –

United States: No, you don’t understand, drop the gun and let the Arab go!




Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 4:28 pm
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