Author Archives: richardbrenneman

R. Cobb: A Thanksgiving reminder from 1968

A somber blast from the past from esnl‘s favorite countercultural editorial cartoonist of the 1960s, a literal reminder to consider the foundation for all those thanks we’re supposed to be giving tomorrow:

BLOG Cobb Thanksgiving 2

Quote of the day: A word to mainstream media

From Andrew Cohen of New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice:

It is the opposite of journalism to call something “controversial” when in fact it is demonstrably false. Now more than ever, when so much fiction and hoax is passed off as truth on the campaign trail, journalists have a professional responsibility, if not a moral obligation, to set the record straight, loudly and quickly, before the myth these politicians seek to perpetuate takes public hold. There is no room today for any sort of cheesy false equivalence, for pretending that one idea or thought or theory is equal to every other.

So when Donald Trump or his online handlers re-tweeted patently false statistics about black (and white) crime rates Sunday it was incumbent upon journalists covering that campaign to do more than merely mention the contents of the incorrect Tweet and then chronicle the predictably furious response to it. Trump’s act was “controversial” only because it reveals his flawed judgment, his disregard for facts, and the increasingly ugly direction of his campaign — a series of dog whistles designed to pit citizen against citizen. If Trump today uttered the words “The sun rises in the West” it would not be enough for reporters to run through the litany of people who disagreed.

Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Getrank: Coke was it

Yep, Americans who arrived in Berlin for the 1936 Olympics were greeted by a familiar brand and a slogan that mixed the familiar with the unfamiliar.

The two words normally following ein Volk and ein Reich [one people and one empire] were ein Fuhrer, but the folks at Coca Cola substituted the German for one drink, followed by the familiar “Coke is it.”

BLOG Nazi coke

It wasn’t the first time Coke played with symbolism near and dear to Nazis, although their 1925 use of the swastika as a key fob in the U.S. may owe more to the sigil’s use as a traditional good luck charm rather than to the Nazi Party, still a German fringe movement at the time:

BLOG Nazi Coke II

When the war began, German bottlers couldn’t import the coca and cola nuts needed to produce the brown beverage, so the company’s chemists came up with a substitute.

Earlier this year, on Fanta’s 75th anniversary, German television featured a commemorative ad, celebrating those “good old times” when Germany’s innovators created such a marvelous beverage.

The ad didn’t sit too well with countless Germans and countless others who lost parents, grandparents, spouses, and siblings during those “good old times,” and the ad was pulled and the requisite apology issued.

Still, major American corporations [including GM and IBM] and banks [including the one which George H.W. Bush’s father helped set up and profited from] made lots of money off the Third Reich. Indeed, it was IBM’s mechanical computers that enabled to Nazis to keep track of Jews in Germany and lands the Nazis conquered and send them on their ways to death camps, where more records were compiled by IBM’s Hollerith machines.

Headline of the day: Don’t you hate it when. . .

From the London Daily Mirror earlier this month but just brought to our attention:

Worrying footage shows nuclear warhead get rear-ended by its own armed escort on busy motorway

This ‘Bent Spear’ incident causes a nuclear drama as plans for smooth transportation of warhead go awry

This astonishing film shows the moment a nuclear weapon in transit is rear-ended by its own armed escort earning it the title of a “Bent Spear” incident.

According to reports the weapon of mass destruction was being transported on the back of a lorry surrounded by a convoy of heavily-armoured cars along a busy motorway in the United States.

Eyewitnesses say a number of helicopters were flying overhead as a police escort and the army attempted to transit the dangerous load near Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

And here’s the video, from vlogger Paul Tedford:

Nuclear missile gets rear ended!

Program notes:

Have you ever seen a nuclear missile being transported in a convoy? Several helicopters in the air and federal marshals leading the way. The crazy thing is that the fed pulled over and was yelling and waving his hands that I can’t record this video! And then a truck rear ended the nuke!

Mr. Fish: Symbol Crash

From Clowncrack, his blog of polymorphously perverse pantography, and click on it to enlarge [a general rule for esnl graphics:


Map of the day II: Water stress by country

The World Resources Institute describes our second WRI entry thusly:

This map shows the average exposure of water users in each country to baseline water stress, the ratio of total withdrawals to total renewable supply in a given area. A higher percentage means more water users are competing for limited water supplies.

Our analysis finds that 37 countries currently face “extremely high” levels of water stress, meaning that more than 80 percent of the water available to agricultural, domestic, and industrial users is withdrawn annually.

BLOG Water Stress map

Chart of the day II: Agricultural water stress

We continue today’s climate and water theme with two items from the World Resources Institute, first a list of crops under threat from depletion of water supplies already under stress from growing populations:

BLOG Water stress crops