Friday, December 08, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging from the LPS

This is Lucy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NSTA: Teachers Owned by Corporations

Ah, thanks, National Science Teachers Association. I just got an email back from you about your refusal to distribute--for free--"An Inconvenient Truth." Here's what you said:

Dear Colleague:

Thank you for your recent e-mail expressing your opinion about the National Science Teacher Association’s decision in regard to the DVD “An Inconvenient Truth.” We value each and every comment we have received from our members and friends.

First and foremost, we want to ensure that you have the most current and accurate information about the issue. Ms. Laurie David, producer of AIT, asked NSTA to distribute 50,000 copies of the movie to its members. The NSTA Board of Directors stood by its 2001 NSTA policy prohibiting endorsements and decided not to mass distribute the DVD to members without their consent or request because it would constitute an endorsement.

As you will see in the letter that NSTA sent to Ms. David on Thursday, November 30, 2006 ( we provided her with several options to publicize the availability of the DVD to both our members and the wider universe of science educators worldwide via our communication channels. We also invited Mr. Gore to participate at the NSTA National Conference in March.

This information and more is available on our website at We encourage you to read these documents.


Linda Froschauer
President 2006-2007
National Science Teachers Association

Gerald Wheeler
Executive Director
National Science Teachers Association
It's really nice of you to write back, but you still don't explain why it would be an "endorsement" if you simply took the donation of the films. It doesn't explain how that "endorsement" would differ from your two full pages of corporate sponsors (pages 22-23 of your 2003 annual report). It doesn't explain why you take money from Exxon and Chevron, but you refuse a free donation from Laurie David. It doesn't explain how a physical or intellectual gift that you redistribute to your members is any different from monetary gifts you receive and redistribute to your members in the form of services for their membership.

I am not surprise by your letter however, given your board of corporate advisors:
Richard Schaar
Texas Instruments

Edwar Ahnert
Exxon Mobil Foundation

John Anderson
Toshiba America

Alfred R. Berkeley III

George Borst
Toyota Financial Services

Mark Emmert
Louisiana State University

Stacy King
Clear Channel

Len Roberts
RadioShack Corp.
I have no doubt that Toyota and Exxon were thrilled to hear about Gore's movie, so it must have been your other friends that threw down the gauntlet. Let me just say that this makes you look bad. In fact, I'm tempted to call you whores.


I'm also VERY impressed that NSTA has people from Clear Channel on its board. They produce so much serious scientific programming and are so well known for providing their clients with a docile and demographically defined audience to advertise to through their numerous outlets. They are also known for their liberal attitude toward freedom of thought and speech, those hallmarks of progress.

I'm disappointed that, in your letter, you are neither honest about one of the obvious reasons you refused Laurie David (you're afraid of losing your corporate sponsorship) nor do you admit that this is a loss for students who would have been better educated and better served by that documentary than by those produced by Exxon that are available for free to teachers.

Thanks. Thanks for nothing.

It was five years ago today

That John Ashcroft said in front of the Senate: "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends." (Dec. 6 2001)

Translation: "Those of you who complain of losing your civil liberties are in bed with the enemy."

That the man is not in jail shows how little we have progressed since then, but there are signs of hope and resistance to unconstitutionally enforced subordination.

We had an election and won. We won not based on fear but rather on the knowledge that the erosion of constitutional protections, begun under Ashcroft and embraced wholeheartedly by Gonzalez, was and is doing significant harm to the United States as a nation and as a set of individuals seeking prosperity and community within its borders. We won using community, netroots, personal phone calls, alternative media. We won thanks to people and unions. We won in spite of corporate media's tepid, untruthful and polluting "journalism." We won in spite of millionaire pundits. We won on the self-evident observations of what we see around us in factories, offices, cafes, restaurants, and family dinners. We won thanks to the pictures we saw--and not the interpretations of them by the priesthood.

Yet, in spite of this, we see our own citizens tortured and handcuffed. We see our physical environment degraded through exploitation. We see our community and mental environment degraded by surveillance; we are watched rather than protected. We see a new boss in the Pentagon, same as the old boss, and we see senators welcome him like a pal. We see the gods of Wall Street lecture the democrats on how they are supposed to act. We see trade deficits and deficits of discourse and action.

In sum...

All is still not well in the corporate kingdom of brand America.

Livestock are really bad for the environment

According to a United Nations report, livestock are large contributors to greenhouse gases:

Manger de la viande nuit à l'environnement. C'est la conclusion à laquelle parvient l'Organisation des Nations unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture (FAO) qui a rendu public, mercredi 29 novembre, un rapport consacré à l'impact écologique de l'élevage. Celui-ci est "un des premiers responsables des problèmes d'environnement", affirme un des auteurs, Henning Steinfeld.

Mesurée en équivalent CO2, la contribution de l'élevage au réchauffement climatique est plus élevée que celle du secteur des transports.

[Eating meat harms the environment. That's the conclusion of the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, which published on Wednesday, November 29th, a report dedicated to the ecological impact of livestock. The latter is "one of the primary factors of environmental problems," according to the authors Henning and Steinfeld.]

Measured in equivalent CO2, the contribution of raising livestock to climate warming is greater than in the transport sector.

(Loose translation from Le Monde)

No big surprise here, but I hope this pushes a few more people to reduce their protien intake. Eventually we will face some dire consequences if nobody starts talking about this.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Friedman: Liar, war-monger... respected.

Friedman takes a lot of flack... and it is all deserved. That he is one of the leading opinion-makers is both travesty and tragedy.

I should have linked to Greenwald earlier:

But tragically, there is nothing unique about Tom Friedman. What drives him is the same mentality that enabled the administration's invasion of Iraq and, so much worse, it is the mentality that is keeping us there and will keep us there for the indefinite future. We stay in Iraq in pursuit of goals we know are fantasies, because to do otherwise requires the geniuses and serious establishment analysts to accept responsibility for what they have done -- and that is, by far, the most feared and despised outcome.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Wanker of the month

Dan Goure:

Listen to him here.

This is one of the most misleading opinions I have heard on NPR, and reminds me why N(Nice) P (Polite) R(Republicans) is a network to be deeply discounted. It is why I wrote them an email (which I am posting here in modified and lengthened format in the form of this blog entry).

Goure's overt opinion--that audacity almost always trumps caution--is a red herring which hides subtler and more troubling accusations. Goure praises Bush for invading Afghanistan, and then for invading Iraq despite the lack of international consensus. Goure also lauds Rumsfeld, for insisting, "audaciously," that the war in Iraq could be won with fewer soldiers and weapons than many experienced members of the military believed. Most surprisingly, Goure states that the U.S. invaded Iraq and won.

Really, now, that is silly. If we had won the war, congress would have actually spent the 20 million it allocated for a victory celbration in 2006. If we had won the war, the Whitehouse would not have doctored the famous "Mission Accomplished" speech so as to eliminate the banner saying...well, "Mission Accomplished."

So, how does Mr. Goure accomplish his mission? He uses half-truths worthy of the "I-did-not-have-sex-with-that-young-lady" kind.

Could it be said that we won the war in Iraq? Yes, if you think the war lasted three weeks. Was Rumsfeld right? Yes, but again only if you limit his responsibility to a few weeks or months. I mean, where is Ken Starr when you need him?

But to engage Mr Goure on these points is a waste of time. The real question here is why is Goure bring this up now? Well, with a Middle East in turmoil, with increasing gas prices, with nuclear weapons in North Korea, with larger and larger swaths of Afghanistan in the hands of the Taliban, with Iraq on the verge of all out civil war, someone is going to bear the blame. Mr. Goure's goals become clear at this point: shift the blame. Instead of telling the truth, say instead that America is losing in Iraq because we are not audacious enough. Instead of facing up to a failed foreign policy, say that Bush, Rumsfled, Cheney are bold and "fearless" leaders and that if only the American people and Democrats had the stomach, we could win this thing.

Stop there. Blame anybody but the Bush Administration? Hell no. They are the sole criminals in a criminal war. Moreover....

America and Americans have shown themselves to be tough, valorous and willing to stomach the realities of war time and again. And, indeed, many soldiers have died in this current conflict. But the realities of war are different from real war, and only a real war should justify those realities. A real war is faught for reasons of necessity and dire need, not because of supposed WMDs or non-existent terrorists. A real war comes after an attack, not a pre-emptive strike. A real war is not a choice, but a necessary reaction to imminent and possibly overwhelming danger from a credible adversary. Americans know this is not a real war, and they had the audacity to kick out as many Bush enablers as possible.

That is the reality of a democracy, even one in its current condition.

So, Mr. Goure, please stop telling Americans that it is their fault if we lose this war. The Bush administration stage-managed this bloody intervention from the very beginning and is responsible for a mountain of failures costing countless lives. Moreover, the Bush administration used fear to sell their program from the very beginning--and Americans stood up to it. Vive la démocratie. [end of email to NPR]

Of course, Goure is from the Lexington Institute, a conservative thinktank. I suppose that gives him some credibility in the mainstream media, but it does little to persuade me, especially when he spouts inane falsehoods in order to spread propaganda, not "deep thought."


When I did a little more research on Monsieur Gouré, I came upon this little gem of an article, from which I will quote:Link

What France really wants
A medium-sized power with super-sized ambitions

WASHINGTON, March 13 - Sigmund Freud is reported to have once exclaimed in sheer exasperation, “What do women want?” The same question can be asked today about France. [...]

Ok--I get it: France is a little girl! That's funny! And women are second-class citizens and therefore should be discounted. I mean, how dare they be uppity? Monsieur is clearly establishing himself as one of the deeper thinkers, isn't he? What else does he say?

[...] Jacques Chirac not only opposes any effort to declare Iraq delinquent according to 1441, it has organized the opposition to U.S. efforts to bring the current crisis to a definitive conclusion. Paris has lobbied the non-permanent members of the Security Council against the Anglo-American second resolution. It even has declared its willingness to veto that resolution if it achieved the nine votes necessary for passage. France also sought to block NATO assistance to one of its own members, Turkey, forcing the other members of that organization to neutralize France’s obstructionism by moving to an alternate venue. And on Thursday, the French rejected the new British effort at compromise, beating even Iraq to the punch.


It is entirely too easy to ascribe to the French actions motives such as great power envy, an excess of Gallic pride or revenge against an American administration that France feels has paid insufficient attention to French interests. Yes, it is true that Washington and Paris differ on a number of issues, some serious, such as global warming, missile defense, genetically modified agricultural products and the humor of Jerry Lewis...

Though Freud has been largely discreted by all but a few psychologists, Goure invokes him as a reference to his deep thoughts. Power envy=penis envy, France=disgruntled woman, the French are snobs and when they do like Americna culture, it's Jerry Lewis. Clearly they are deranged and should be ignored.

My point here is not to go through every disengenuous argument Goure makes. Indeed, that is the trap he is setting. He want's us to get bogged down in his interpretation of details.

Don't do it.

Rather, understand Goure for what he his. A shill that wants to shape the argument of a "real-man," real-politik agenda in spite of overwhelming evidence that this has failed.

He's a shill that wants to blame others for his (and the administration he loves) agenda.

He's a darling of our media. He's an...

Yes, he's an...


Did I mention that he misquoted the Jim Webb-George Bush incident?... Go listen.