Monday, May 29, 2006

Robert Newman's A History of Oil

Just watched Robert Newman's funny "A History of Oil." He's witty, clear, and worth forty-five minutes of your time. You can find it online. He ends with a ten minute bit on peak oil. I'm still of the unconvinced crowd on Peak oil, but he makes a good case.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Why the Associated Press is part of the problem.

First, we will quote a recent obituary Verbatim:

Former Dow Chemical CEO Doan Dies

2006 The Associated Press

MIDLAND, Mich. — Businessman and philanthropist Herbert D. "Ted" Doan, the last Dow family member to serve as chief executive of Dow Chemical Co., died Tuesday in Ann Arbor at age 83.

Doan served as president and CEO of the company from 1962 to 1971, leaving the position at 48-years-old.

He is remembered for setting a goal of 10 percent earnings growth per year early in his tenure. The company had achieved the goal by the time Doan retired, making it the best record of any major chemical company at the time.

Doan implemented company practices including an open-door policy with employees and an emphasis on research.

He later founded venture capital firm Doan Associates and Doan Resources Corp., a small business investment company.

Shares of Dow Chemical dropped 65 cents to $40.72 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The "Philanthropist" will be remembered for "setting a goal of 10 percent earnings growth per year early in his tenure." Gee golly, he also had an open door policy. Sounds like a what I would remember him for and not for quotes like these from an American soldier:

""We sure are pleased with those backroom boys at Dow. The original product wasn't so hot - if the gooks [Vietnamese] were quick they could scrape it off. So the boys started adding polystyrene - now it sticks like shit to a blanket. But then if the gooks jumped under water it stopped burning, so they started adding Willie Peter (white phosphorus) so's to make it burn better. It'll burn under water now. And just one drop is enough; it'll keep on burning right down to the bone so they die anyway from phosphorus poisoning."

Why isn't Doan's obituary simply this quote:

""One never forgets the bewildered eyes of the silent, suffering, napalm-burned child."
- Dr. Richard E Perry, 1967

1967, that is a good halfway marker in the Doan's philanthropy of genocide. Why not that quote? Did the Associated Press somehow make a mistake? Was the second part of the obituary accidentally left off? Will we see a correction tomorrow? Who made the choice that Doan should be remembered as an apolitical chemical corporation ceo and not someone who profited off the development of napalm and agent orange? This was a choice that the Associated Press made. There's a reason this is called History Is A Weapon.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The war is the weapon

After McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma federal building, New York and Kansas remained unbombed. Not by McVeigh, of course. He was in prison. But the federal government went after him with a national manhunt, caught him quickly, and, once caught, gave him a trial and execution. No profiling of white males with buzzcuts. No talk about the anti-democratic nature of veteran culture. No civilian veteran war of civilization talk. He was treated as a criminal and executed.
Then, 9-11. The U.S. government bombed Afghanistan, shot up villages, deposed the government, and declared it our right. No one is going to defend the Taliban, but certainly the people who lived in Afghanistan did not commit 9-11, just as New Yorkers didn't bomb the Federal building in Oklahoma. No matter. We bombed Afghanistan. Support the troops.
Then we bombed Iraq. Iraqis had even less of a connection with 9-11. No matter that we were bombing men, women, and children. No matter that we shot up schools and organized Death Squads (aka the Salvadoran Option, which everyone should know.). No matter that we had been bombing the country every other day for a decade and had forced it to its knees. Saddam was painted as a threat. We bombed the people there, shot up families, kidnapped and tortured hundreds. It is a war on terror.
Then Katrina hit. No government support was provided for a week. Poor people were told that they were "on your own." After several days of no help, with food and water supplies falling low, people began to get food and water, for themselves, to bring back to stranded children, old people, themselves, their families and neighbors. A shoot-to-kill order was given. Private military contractors were brought in who bragged to journalists about killing people at night. Who did they kill? No one knows. Where was the oversight? There was no oversight. Who had contracted them? Rich people and the government.
Now we are told that immigration is the problem in the nation of immigrants. They say that we might be a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws and those laws must be upheld. The do not mention that those laws have killed the original people who lived here, brought in slaves and chained them to the plantation, stripped women of all rights, enforced child labor, and made political discussion a crime. No, this is not mentioned. What do they mention? They want to send the National guard done to patrol the border. They want us all pointing guns. They want the military everywhere. Because with the military everywhere, they can reduce every debate to "Do you support the troops?"

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sheila Kuehl

In California, Ms. Kuehl is proposing a bill that would
forbid the teaching of any material that "reflects adversely on persons due to sexual orientation," and add the "age appropriate study of the role and contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."

For Ms. Kuehl, 65, the bill seems to have as much to do with school security as it does with the A B C's.

"One of the things that contribute to a safe or unsafe environment for kids are the teaching materials," Ms. Kuehl said. "If you have teaching material that didn't say anything at all about gay and lesbian people, it is assumed that they never did anything at all. But if it said anything about gay and lesbian people, the whole atmosphere of the school was safer for gay and lesbian kids, or those thought to be gay and lesbian."

At a time when same-sex marriage is a polarizing presence in the courts and voting booths across the country, any issue dealing with gay rights is bound to cause a fluster, and this bill is no exception. The Capitol Resource Institute, a conservative pro-family organization, labeled the proposal "the most outrageous bill in the California Legislature this year."

Concerned Women for America, a Christian public policy group, filed a letter with the Senate suggesting that such studies were the domain of the home, not the schools.

Cindy Moles, the state director of Concerned Women for America, said the bill was trying to indoctrinate children to "dangerous sexual lifestyles" and unnecessary from an educational standpoint. "We don't need to list all the behavior of historical figures," she said. "Certainly not their sexual behavior."


Ms. Kuehl says she traces her quest to include material on gay figures in textbooks to her days as a student in Los Angeles public schools in the late 1940's and early 50's.

"When I was a kid, there were no women in the textbooks, no black people, no Latinos," she said. "As far as I knew, the only people who ever did anything worthwhile were white men."

Ms. Kuehl said the practical applications of the law would be limited to including the accomplishments of gay figures in textbooks and class studies alongside those of other social and ethnic groups. For example, a teacher talking about Langston Hughes would not only mention the fact that he was a black poet, but also mention his sexuality, Ms. Kuehl said.

Well, we'd want to grant our support to Kuehl because she is definitely fighting the good fight. Anti-kudos to the NY Times for branding the "Capitol Resource Institute" a "pro-family organization." That's like saying the Nazis were a pro-german political party; Jewish German's didn't feel the whole "pro" side of that. On their webpage, just below a bunch of smiling white people (no latinos, no blacks, family protectifying huh?), they attack laws that would ensure equal rights to transgender children. Yes, you read that right. They are attacking children. But, for the Times, that is okay with Family-friendly.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


This artist has been going into the Army's online recruiting video game (the objective for the player, of course, is to kill "people"; the objective of the game is to recruit people into killing real people). Instead of going around shooting "people," this artist logs in as dead-in-iraq, stands there, and recites the names of soldiers killed in Iraq until he is killed. The other players' comments are interesting.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Introducing Documentary Is Never Neutral

I know, I know. You love HIAW, but you wish it offered more in line with your desire to make political documentaries. Well, the time has come for your whining, complaining, and random threats to cease. We're introducing our sister project:
Documentary Is Never Neutral!

Before all of you get too excited, we're still in the early stages. HIAW, popular as it is, took several years to get to this level; hopefully, DINN will be go from zero to 60 in less time, but it will still take time. So, if you make left media, throw us a link. If you know someone who makes left media, email them about it. If you have material you think would fit in or want to talk about developing material, send us an email. We love you all.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The links Page

The links page is undergoing a overdue overhaul (the first in 3 years). So many great sites gone without a trace or simply never updated. If people have any proposals, feel free to email suggestions. There are now ten million links on the blog, so if you hit reload, you can see a nice selection. And again, any (brief) quotes readers would like to suggest are welcome.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Quotes 102 and 103

You've always had enough to eat and you've always been able to buy the books you needed. You've come to us out of a love of justice. You want a communism that is pure, noble, and perfect. But all these people, who may well become the victims of Franco's shells, have never had enough to eat and have never been able to buy a book. They are not perfect and therefore the party cannot be perfect. -from The Disinherited by Michel Del Castillo


A person doesn't become a revolutionary, Santiago: he is born one. For these men going out to defend the Revolution is not something outside themselves. It is part of their very being. As thought is part of yours. That is why you can judge dispassionately and even condemn their struggle: it is not really a part of you. Intellectuals are never true revolutionaries. They believe that a certain correspondence of ideas, a certain vision of the world is at stake. But, in fact, the basic thing at stake is property. It is as simple as that. There are just two camps: those who have and those who have not. -from The Disinherited by Michel Del Castillo