November 12th, 2007

Underground, Cuba


As suggested earlier, there will be no essays tonight. I will work on them for the next half hour... and maybe if I'm not too busy we will see one Monday or Tuesday. This weekend was just too busy and I was too ill.

I also need to get my letter on Burma out this week...
  • Current Music
    Huey Lewis and the News, "Hip to be Square"
Underground, Cuba

Internal E-Mail

If you've spoken with me lately, you may be aware I'm staying with my current company and will likely be promoted next week and again in May with a significant raise (up to almost 3 times what I started at).

I stole an internal e-mail today that went to the managers:

"We are excited to announce that, effective November 1, 2007, U.S. Oil purchased a 65-percent ownership position on a terminal located in Albany , NY . At present, the terminal is used primarily to offload ethanol railcars sourced from the Midwest . This product is reloaded to ethanol barges and truckloads to be delivered to various East Coast destinations. Located approximately 100 miles north of New York City, this acquisition will become a strategic location for Petroleum Operations as we look to expand branded and unbranded gasoline marketing, as well as ethanol marketing, in the Northeast."

The company is west to Denver, north to South Dakota, south to St. Louis and now east to New York... and I work at the central hub, so every expansion benefits us the most. There is no longer any good reason to leave, with the one exception of becoming a full-time writer/alcoholic, but that's not likely any time soon.
Underground, Cuba

ADHD Continued...

A team of American scientists conducting the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA) has found that while drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta can work well in the short term, over a three-year period they brought about no demonstrable improvement in children's behaviour. They also found the drugs could stunt growth.

I have long suspected that ADHD does not exist, or at the very least is extremely over diagnosed. The news that the drugs don't really do much just further makes me feel like I was on the right track all along... please stop medicating our children!
Underground, Cuba

The Chris Worzalla Theory of Donated Clothes

Alright, Chris has asked me to post about his theory that donated clothes (to Goodwill) that go unsold get sent to Africa as a tax write-off. Here's his evidence. What do YOU think? I think he might be on to something...

I'm not posting the image about Klan Charities, though...
Underground, Cuba

On Burmese Democracy

My November letter to the P-C is written... it's on Burmese democracy and can be read on the website. (I am greatly indebted to NC, as you can see I based the letter largely on my conversation with him...)


GS: I have seen some analysts claim that the United States supports the freedom of the Burmese people for no other reason than that we have no vested interest in Burma. Is this true -- would Burmese freedom help America, or was this a minor PR stunt like the much larger one we had in Somalia many years ago?

NC: If by "United States" you mean the US government, then it's hard to imagine that the support, such as it is, goes beyond cynicism. Note incidentally that the support doesn't extend to pressuring Chevron, Rice's former company, from continuing to do business in Burma. A side issue, not discussed, is that the US played a significant role in the destruction of Burmese democracy. Discussed by the founder of Southeast Asian scholarship in the US, George Kahin, in a co-authored book with Audrey Kahin, called, I think, Subversion as Foreign Policy, or something like that.

GS: I have added this book to my holiday wishlist. I was able to quickly find many sources regarding the Rice-Chevron-Burma connection, but not so much on Eisenhower or Dulles (the focus of the Kahin book). Do you happen to know their primary role offhand? I write a monthly current events piece for the local newspaper and I think this story warrants further attention.

NC: It's not a major topic of Kahin & Kahin, but they do bring up the fact that Eisenhower's extreme interventionist policies were a factor, maybe a prime factor, in the military coup that overthrew the parliamentary system, by stirring up tribal rebellions as part of the efforts to harass China. But look it up. This is from ten-year old memories, and I'd check before writing anything.

GS: You've given me enough information that I can probably dig up sources. I'm still surprised the "alternative media" (such as The Nation or The Progressive) seemed to avoid discussion of Burma altogether. This would have been a prime opportunity to speak in favor of democracy and to denounce Secretary Rice. Oh well...
Underground, Cuba

Sartre... Done

The Sartre essay is done. Luckily, it's short so I was able to bust it out quickly... now if I can just get one more out by tomorrow, I'll feel like I'm all caught up again. (Heck, I'm even only 4 reviews behind...)
  • Current Music
    Survivor, "Eye of the Tiger"