I gave out about a hundred of these things, mostly to people that were at the start of the second San Francisco Bike Party. Every time I gave one to someone else the desire to be there for the event got stronger in me. I ended up going up there on Caltrain. Couldn't find a date for the event. Not a lot of people up for being bummed out by truth.

I got there just in time for the Tinfoil Hat Awards. There were quite a few tinfoil hat wearing people in the crowd, but only two contestants came forward to be judged. Dick Chaney gave each of them a prize and a heaping helping of sarcastic arrogant bastard attitude. Then he gave the whole crowd more of the same guff and exited stage left with middle finger held high.

Summer Burkes had an awesome tinfoil hat. She talked about being in New Orleans for the cleanup after the Deepwater Horizon had dumped a really huge amount of oil in her back yard. The bad news is that she got a toxic load of some evil chemical(s?) from the spill and cleanup soup. The other bad news is that her car still smells of hair because of the work she did to help Lisa Gautier. The good news was that she is an inspiring activist and it was good to hear about her work. She had an alter up in the lobby. I looked at it later. I'd seen parts of it at Burning Man last summer. Click here to see those pictures.

Lisa Gautier had a nonprofit getting hair salons to donate the clippings they take in and used stockings to make booms to collect oil. She got UPS to donate the shipping to move the hair to Louisiana. She got Legg's to donate the factory second stockings from their factories. She got local people in the area to donate the labor to make hair booms out of the stockings and hair. They collected some huge warehouses full of hair boom, but they couldn't get BP to deploy the things to contain the oil. They still have the booms in a donated warehouse in Florida. Instead of deploying this organic community resource, BP chose to spray millions of gallons of Corexit, about the most toxic chemical they could find, under the Deepwater Horizon.

Black Wave starts long before the big soiling of Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez. Riki Ott came to Cordova, Alaska on vacation and was mesmerized by the place. She'd been a fisherm'am there for something like 7 years when the Valdez ran aground and started spewing its toxic load. There were plenty of things that went wrong to make the tragedy possible. Things like Exxon promised to run double hulled tankers carrying oil from the Trans-Alaska pipeline to refineries in California so forth. Unfortunately, the Valdez had only one hull. This meant that when it ran aground it cracked like an egg, spewing oil all over everything that was anywhere nearby. In all about 11 million gallons of the stuff entered the sound there.

Once the spill had happened Exxon started treating it like a public relations story to manage. They started paying people to clean oil off the rocky shore with solvents, just because that looked good on TV. A Biologist explained that there was still a lot of oil in the ecosystem despite that effort. They cut to footage of a cleaning boat captain twenty years later. The guy was a ghost of the captain in the home movies shot in '89. Every day he had to eat lots of pills from half a dozen different bottles. He'd gotten cancer from the chemicals that Exxon had assured him were safe. He wonders what happened to the people he'd taken to clean beaches. Some of them probably got bigger toxic doses then he got. He had no idea what their health problems were/are like. He figured some were already dead.

Juries had awarded the Alaskans damaged by the spill millions of dollars for compensation of lost income and damages. Unfortunately, Exxon had invested endless resources appealing the verdict to higher courts and delaying. Compliant judges had reduced the judgment again and again. When the Supreme Court appeal was finished the checks that came out of the company were meager to put it mildly. There was footage of old men with long faces burning big boxes of documents that had proven to be a waste of due diligence. There was more talk of people that couldn't celebrate the end of the case because they had died of cancer. I got that "justice delayed is justice denied" feeling.

There was some illustration of how BP was doing some of the same things in the Gulf of Mexico that Exxon had done in Prince William Sound. There was the same veneer for the cameras, and the same drenching of the area with toxic chemicals. The same reassuring words of comfort and support. Time will tell if there are the same kind of cancer clusters.

Dr. Ott spoke for a long time. Somewhere in there she said that the guy who had been eating all the pills in the movie had since died of his cancer. The pink salmon fishery had recovered after only a few years, but the herring fishery is still in deep trouble. A lot of her words boiled down to "we need to leave that fuelish lifestyle behind." She is excited by how many of the youth she meets get it.

Somewhere in there somebody gave me this flier:


Somebody else gave me that "It's Easy Being Green" book. She billed it as the perfect book to browse while sitting on the toilet. Lots of interesting tidbits and helpful suggestions. A pleasure to open at random and browse for a few minutes. If you want my copy, let me know where to send it.

I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at Riki Ott's book. I got it more because I wanted to ask her for her signature than for anything else. I'm hoping it keeps my interest once I start reading it.

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