your robot minivan is a death trap (+ a pictorial tale of two BP wells)

In oilpocalypse by summerburkes4 Comments

Seriously? Is this the new reality of not calling shotgun and having to sit in the back seat? We have to wait 2 or 3 seconds AFTER PUSHING A BUTTON before the door decides to open and let us out of the car? And if we try to open it — shoving it maybe, because we’re naturally kind of rammy anyway and we’re only used to riding in old cars which don’t try to hazard a guess as to what kind of door-opening process we’d most enjoy — if we try to open it ourselves, this door is going to get all butt-hurt and FREEZE UP and open even SLOWER?

And you’re telling us they make minivans this way ON PURPOSE now? So that mouth-breathing Americans, maladapted to a sedentary lifestyle, can push a button and start to rock back and forth until their stiff unexercised joints can move enough for them to swing their legs around and begin the laborious process of EXITING A VEHICLE while the door takes its sweet-ass time?

WHAT IF THE CAR CATCHES ON FIRE. There, we said it. We just want to open the door, and quickly. Doors are not supposed to argue with humans. Also, modern cars look like bubbles that insects poop out onto the road. Weknow they have excellent mileage and efficiency and all that, but they’re also DESIGNED TO BREAK after a few years, and if you chip one headlight you have to replace the whole front end, and just TRY finding parts at the junkyard and fixing it yourself.

Before you go off on us about how our ’79 Delta-88 Royale is a gas guzzler, we’d thank you to consider the opinions of our friend Quiet Earp over on our favorite blog Love And Trash. We know we’d feel differently about it if we had a job 45 minutes away, but then again, we’d rather sell plasma three times a week than GET a job 45 minutes away. “Pre-cycling” autos is a real thing. Really.

And don’t even get us started on hybrids. Earp already pontificated on those too. Our friend and mechanic Low Rent the Clown once told us it’s not very good for human bodies to sit on a gigantic bank of batteries for long stretches. His relative, a Vietnam vet, got really sick from driving around in his new hybrid, actually. When he returned the car, they gave him ALL his money back, no questions asked. He’s obviously not the only person who’s had this problem.

Electrical and magnetic fields = two extra fields of energy to deal with. In a car. In a very small space that’s made of metal. Electricity, battery acid, magnetic fields, and a metal frame … we’re not going to turn down rides or anything, but yeah.

Also we’re not some elitist hipster who’s saying we’re better than you for driving an old car which is made of American steel, which can tow a full-size trailer with its monster, 30-year-old 403 V-8 engine, a car whose doors open and close when you open and close them… we’re just saying we’re not worse than you for driving an old car.

Ours gets 20MPG but yours burns up just as many new resources to manufacture (probably not in this country, either) so our footprints are EVEN STEVEN. The old car philosophy has merit: If we run into a brick wall, the brick wall crumbles and the Delta-88 shrugs its shoulders. And if there’s a fire, we open the door, and the door opens, and we exit the car and we don’t catch on fire.

And Mom just told us her eye doctor told her to get new glasses with more than just wire frames, because if the air bag in her car goes off, it could shatter her glasses, send the shards into her eyes, and make her blind. Instead of hitting her head on the steering wheel and bending it in half and getting maybe a concussion and a broken collarbone from the seatbelt (true story, happened to this writer). Also, another friend just got in an accident in which she was OK except for the CHEMICAL BURNS on her hands from the airbag.

So that’s your reward for a fuel-efficient hunk of plastic bug turd? An explosive device in your steering wheel which turns a fender-bender into potential handlessness and blindness?

No, *we* will get the door.

LINKS from a Corexit Refugee who’s disaster-fatigued but yall might as well see what we been readin’:


YouTube: BP admits using synthetic microbes in Gulf

YouTube: A tale of two wells (dedicated to Matt Simmons R.I.P.)

Star News Online: Positive step in breaking our oil addiction

RawStory: BP among companies Obama excluded from US environmental oversight

FOSL: “Disfigurement” and “substantial physical injury” after COREXIT inhaled and touched says seaman

Dr. Mark’s Blog: Medical treatments for airborne poisons

YouTube: Gulf oil spill disaster music video – “A Hole in the Ocean”

PRFTG: The Gulf of Mexico is Dying – A Status Report on the BP Oil Spill, Dec. 1

Examiner explosive Gulf oil special report: Crime, PSYOP, global impact (slideshow) (an article about the article above)

PRFTG: An AUTOPSY of the BP Gulf oil well at the Macondo Prospect

Rense: Gulf Stream and North Atlantic current dying – Loop Current in Gulf of Mexico already dead

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: Abrupt climate change – should we be worried?

YouTube: Scientific access in the Gulf — BP & Gov’t stand in the way of discovery

BBC News: Louisiana oyster beds remain empty after BP disaster

YouTube: “BP F**ked the World” by Blanco and MC Bizz (so it’s not as danceable as “F**k Katrina” by 5th Ward Webbie – warning, graphic images there – but it’s the jam anyway)

NPR: BP spill psychological scars similar to Exxon Valdez

“Aaron Hofer, 27, of Bayou La Batre, Ala., has been largely out of work since the BP oil spill. The Iraq veteran and fourth-generation shrimper says if it wasn’t for his children, he probably would have already committed suicide.

“Everybody comes out after a hurricane. You clean up. You bond together,” Maumenee says. But the opposite is true of a man-made disaster like the oil spill … “What you see are families against families, brothers against sisters, neighbors against neighbors,” she says. “The community becomes quite corrosive.””

“People are stealing, lying, cheating, doing anything they can to make it. I don’t want to end up like that. I really don’t”. – Lena Hofer

NPR: BP oil well capped, but trauma still flowing These Men Don’t Cry – Hard times for Gulf Coast Vietnamese

NWF: Removing oil from marshes not without risk

YouTube: Boat engine causes oil to rise from seafloor – “just dead, everything’s dead”

temperature comparison from last year to this year — the Gulf, the “central heating system” of the Western half of the world, is COLD and NOT SPINNING

YouTube: Proving Corexit Poisoning – civil engineer Marco Kaltofen

“Watch step by step as WPI Chemical Engineer Marco Kaltofen performs an experiment using actual crude oil from the BP well and Corexit 9500A, the oil dispersant used by BP in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Mr. Kaltofen demonstrates how Corexit suspends the most toxic hydrocarbons in the water column by a factor of about 35X more than absorbtion from crude oil alone, which floats to the surface in its natural form. BP used close to 2M gallons of this dispersant at the base of the blown out oil well and at the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, allowing this substance to mix into 5000 feet worth of water from the base of the well.” Offshore drilling regulation overhaul appears out of reach

MNN: Satirist and New Orleans resident Harry Shearer talks about the Gulf oil spill and more

Bridge the Gulf Project: In the Bayou, husband and wife battle oil disaster and fish for survival (different husband and wife) —

Eventually Darla became seriously depressed and she says she even considered suicide. It’s a tragedy experts say occurs with more frequency after major oil disasters. Even tough-as-nails fishermen have their limits. Darla is one tough fisherman, but she admits the oil disaster has nearly pushed her over the edge.

“I hung a hangman’s noose on the back deck of my boat and my husband said “What are you doing with that on the boat?” And I said, “Well if I don’t have no way to live I might as well stick my head upside in it and climb up on a box and jump off.” And he said, “You got to be crazy.” I was depressed and suicidal for a long time until I met a man who was very helpful and told me, “Well, you can go kill yourself, but that’s exactly what BP wants –because dead people don’t talk, dead people don’t complain, dead people don’t sue, and dead people don’t fight. You want to give BP what they want, go ahead and kill yourself.” And I decided right then and there to stand up and fight for my land. And it’s time for everybody else to stand up and fight for their land.”

ROFFS Deepwter Horizon rig oil spill monitoring: Current Analysis Dec. 1, 2010 (“Some people have stated that the oil has degraded to the point that it is more like asphalt, i.e. rock-like in composition and no longer is a problem. We have asked these people if they would take freshly laid asphalt and put it in their vegetable gardens to grow food that they would want to eat.” – plus very cool graphics)

FOSL: Warning — Dispersant / Surfactant eats through water filters & fish gills – via Gasland

BBC News: US oil spill in Gulf ‘making dolphins act drunk’ BP oil disaster was avoidable, commission staff says

FOSL: “Great concern” about food web – “external and internal deformities, cancer and other diseases, genetic defects”

ThePopTort: All is not well in the Gulf

Discovery News: How crude oil can harm you Chemicals used on spills

FOSL: No menstrual period for 4 months when doused with Gulf water – “Like being covered in stinging jellyfish”

Reuters special report: How BP’s oil spill costs could double

Life Abundantly: The new Gulf War syndrome – is the oil spill a war?

Satellite imagery that Obama’s administration withheld shows “under the gaping chasm spewing oil at an ever-alarming rate is a cavern estimated to be around the size of Mount Everest. This information has been given an almost national security-level classification to keep it from the public,” writes Wayne Madsen.

Human suffering in the Gulf is increasing from the world’s latest and largest toxic oil kill as BP lies and government remains silent about human health risks and associated military interventions. Most immediately damaging of the operation’s withheld information pertains to toxins breathed since the explosion.

Southerners reporting illnesses with symptoms reflecting Benzene and Corexit poisoning have had to face some leaders suggesting the cause to be mental illness, “stress”, while others, such as BP chief Tony Hayward, blamed the illness on rotten food.

Hayward is the guy who sold his £1.4 million shares in BP one month before the Gulf “spill.” This in turn caused a collapse of value and a saving to him of over £423,000 when BP’s share price plunged after its predicted destruction in the gulf according to the Telegraph. (Since Hayward’s pay package of £4 million a year had been insufficient, cashing out enabled him to pay off the mortgage on his family’s mansion in Kent.)
For this operation to succeed, mainstream media must participate in the PR campaign, (propaganda) since most Americans still believe and even center their lives around their TVs. An example of mainstream “news” propaganda presented was the reporting of BP containing one of the leaks. Madsen stated it was “pure public relations disinformation designed to avoid panic and demands for greater action by the Obama administration, according to FEMA and Corps of Engineers sources.”

Soon after the Gulf explosion, oil workers requesting anonymity report that they heard a telephone conversation in which the head of the rig was crying while telling the other party on the phone, “We knew this was going happen. Are you satisfied now?”

ABC Australia: WikiLeaks site down, Assange close to arrest

Gawker: US Military in Iraq tries to intimidate soldiers into not reading WikiLeaks

Zunguzungu: Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy: “To destroy this invisible government”

“Most of the news media seems to be losing their minds over Wikileaks without actually reading these essays, even though [Wikileaks founder Julian Assange] describes the function and aims of an organization like Wikileaks in pretty straightforward terms. But, to summarize, he begins by describing a state like the US as essentially an authoritarian conspiracy, and then reasons that the practical strategy for combating that conspiracy is to degrade its ability to conspire, to hinder its ability to “think” as a conspiratorial mind. The metaphor of a computing network is mostly implicit, but utterly crucial: he seeks to oppose the power of the state by treating it like a computer and tossing sand in its diodes.

The problem this creates for the government conspiracy then becomes the organizational problem it must solve: if the conspiracy must operate in secrecy, how is it to communicate, plan, make decisions, discipline itself, and transform itself to meet new challenges? The answer is: by controlling information flows. After all, if the organization has goals that can be articulated, articulating them openly exposes them to resistance. But at the same time, failing to articulate those goals to itself deprives the organization of its ability to process and advance them. Somewhere in the middle, for the authoritarian conspiracy, is the right balance of authority and conspiracy.

His model for imagining the conspiracy, then, is not at all the cliché that people mean when they sneer at someone for being a “conspiracy theorist.” After all, most the “conspiracies” we’re familiar with are pure fantasies, and because the “Elders of Zion” or James Bond’s SPECTRE have never existed, their nonexistence becomes a cudgel for beating on people that would ever use the term or the concept. For Assange, by contrast, a conspiracy is something fairly banal, simply any network of associates who act in concert by hiding their concerted association from outsiders, an authority that proceeds by preventing its activities from being visible enough to provoke counter-reaction. It might be something as dramatic as a loose coalition of conspirators working to start a war with Iraq/n, or it might simply be the banal, everyday deceptions and conspiracies of normal diplomatic procedure.”

“To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us, and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not. Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of thinking about this behavior that is strong enough carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally must use these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective action.”

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption. Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.”

-Julian Assange, “State and Terrorist Conspiracies”

TechDirt: The 19 Senators who voted to censor the Internet

Natural News: Top ten lies about Senate bill S-510 When Truth Is Scarier Than Fiction

Physorg: High-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain

Activist Post: MUST SEE — A Radical Experiment in Empathy, by Sam Richards (VIDEO)

Truthout: The New American Oligarchy

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange wants to spill your corporate secrets

Daily Mail UK: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ‘will release damaging secrets if killed or arrested’

HuffPo: Blowing billions on war while American workers go under

Common Dreams: A real jaw-dropper at the Federal Reserve

Stuart Smith: The charade continues with BP claiming official oil-flow estimates should be cut in half

Stuart Smith: More evidence that BP’s oil is blanketing the ocean floor and killing sea organisms en masse; UGA professor Samantha Joye: “It looks like everything is dead”

Al-Jazeera English: Environmental Protection Agency? – In Depth Oil spill response remains a daily affair on islands Fungus outbreak hits Alabama marshes; could oil spill sheens be to blame?

HuffPo: After the Arctic Spill — Shell, Palin, and Obama

NPR: How to ‘thrive’ – Dan Buettner’s secrets of happiness
(“people are happiest when they spend their time and money on experiences, as opposed to objects”)


Follow Summer Burkes on Twitter.


  1. Holy shit, I love you. My first and only car was a ’76 Delta 88 Royale.

    “Also I’m not some elitist hipster who’s saying I’m better than you for driving an old car which is made of American steel, which can tow a full-size trailer with its monster, 30-year-old 403 V-8 engine, a car whose doors open and close when you open and close them… I’m just saying I’m not worse than you for driving an old car.”

    Bam, you nailed it. Kinda like when people fake cough and give me dirty looks for smoking cigarettes, and yet they drive cars and I don’t. Oh well. Sustainability = shopping spreeeee yay lolz!!!!!1

Leave a Comment