Sunday, July 11, 2010

The 12-step BP Deepwater Disaster-inspired Program

We can't change overnight, but if the 20th century U.S. reliance on gas-guzzling automobiles remains the pattern for economic growth then money just keeps flowing to big oil companies even faster than the crude oil is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico today (while BP attempts to put a better cap on the gusher.) They spend nearly incredible amounts of money convincing consumers how "green" they are with slick ad campaigns The reality is hidden, but it's there despite the wizards of Madison Avenue.

So what's to do?

We have to approach it in several ways, because oil-consumption is woven into the very fabric of our daily lives. No single action will solve this, it's too big. It's likely to take longer to fix than it did to create.

First and foremost we have to admit that we have an oil problem.
Next we resolve to restore sanity to our decisions rather than letting massive multi-national corporations continue to exploit our oil habit.
Join those who have to decided to prioritize our decisions on what's best for our planet, family, and neighbors.
To move forward, we have to understand why we rely on oil - we have to consider our past decisions as objectively as possible.
Like any other addict, we must admit we got it wrong - we may have been duped, but we own the decisions we made regardless.
We have to decide to change - we have to be ready to give up these dangerous habits. To do otherwise feeds both the oil pushers and others who haven't yet come to understand just how big the problem really is.
We have to be willing to lead in progressively reducing and surrendering our reliance on oil-fueled existence.
Think of all the people harmed by our cars, trucks, and other petroleum-based self-indulgences such as plastic shopping bags and bottles, and admit that it's not just BP and their peers that should make amends for the problem.
We have to actually make amends, not just think and talk; Boycotts alone won't solve the problem, and we can't wait for BP, Exxon, or governments to fix our demand, which is the real problem, when they can barely figure out how to contain the leaks from a single well.
We can't stop thinking. We have to consider that no matter how big it is, and how we continue to drive up the demand for petroleum, we must consciously act to reduce our own use over the days, months, and decades ahead while working to mitigate and remediate the effects as we find our way forward to new approaches that reflect our need to thrive in balance with the planet.
Deliberately improve our contact with nature. Nobody who has ever fished or been a bird-watcher can fail to be moved by the images from the Gulf; only by insulating ourselves from the environment can we pretend our petroleum consumption might not matter. We have had our heads in the sand so long even it has become oil-soaked.
Lastly, we must spread the word to practice this awareness and perspective to others, as Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) did in his commentary on the the BP oil spill and the need for transportation reform at - it's a start.

Thomas Hayes is an entrepreneur, journalist, political staffer on the Madore For Congress campaign, and photographer who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community. He drives an efficient flex-fuel vehicle and scoffs at plastic grocery bags.

Oscar Grant verdict, Oakland riot: Oriana Bolden video is key

Today, Oriana Bolden, someone not known to this space, sent a video she created in downtown Oakland on Thursday that gives a very comprehensive view of the reactions of the crowd after the Oscar Grant / Johannes Mehserle verdict, and the events leading up to the Oakland riot.

It opens with comments from some of the mass of people that gathered at Oakland City Hall Plaza. I was there, but was struck by the number of personal media members there. About one-fifth of the crowd had video cameras of some kind. We also see a silent Councilmember Nancy Nadel as the camera pans through the crowd.

Here's the video:

Reaction to Mehserle Verdict: Oakland, CA: 8 July 2010 from Oriana Bolden on Vimeo.

The video has some shocking events, foremost being how a deaf woman was ran over by a police car. It was not clear where at all the police car was going. We see the angry crowd decent on the police car after it ran over the deaf woman. Also, the crowd tries to make room for an ambulance to get in to where the deaf woman lay at the time.

What's really good about the video is how it reveals what young black men think about the verdict and in being (in some cases) terrorized by the police. (There's no other way to describe how a number of black men feel.) It also has comments that, in this space' view, show how too many of "us" as black men give power to someone because they're white.

Thus, we have some in Oakland who refer to America as being a collection of laws "by and for white people" when in point of fact, anyone can get an initiative process going today and change the laws.  That idea of the racial bias of the system is expressed in the video.

What I'm saying is that the people pointing to racism, and rightly so, seem to let the idea that they're oppressed consume them and so they don't take meaningful action, like changing laws.

The video also has the police giving clear, loud, orders for the crowd to go home. Oriana Bolden also asserts that Old Media reports of looting were made up or exagerated. That's a bit questionable because there was damage done to property, although not anywhere near the scale of last year.

In all, it's a good video that cries for an ending. It just stops in the middle of Lindsey Comey's testimonial. Still, it's the best video of what happened after the Oscar Grant verdict that I've yet seen.


Comic Con 2010: Danny Elfman celebrates 25 years with Tim Burton

Danny Elfman
Danny Elfman's a movie composer who first gained critical acclaim with his soundtrack for Batman, starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger. He's known for his over two-decades-long friendship with Movie Producer and Director Tim Burton: Batman was one of Burton's creations.

It was a relationship that started when Burton and Paul Reubens went to Elfman with the assignment writing the score for their first movie, Pee-wee's Big Adventure.

Overall, the four-time-Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Elfman has scored Burton films such as Beetle Juice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Danny Elfman will celebrate a 25-year collaboration with Tim Burton at Comic Con 2010. On his relationship with Elfman, Burton said "We don't even have to talk about the music. We don't even have to intellectualize - which is good for both of us, we're both similar that way. We're very lucky to connect."

The event will be held Thursday, July 23rd at Comic Comic San Diego's space called Rom 137 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM.