San Francisco Green Festival

Kitty recycles

Last Saturday, I went to the San Francisco Green Festival. This is my story.

The experience actually began as I was walking from BART to the Concourse Exhibition Center. I saw this spray-painted onto an overpass support:

This vandal should fear the police instead

Why do people do that? Is their message so important that they have to deface public property? Do they really think that somebody they couldn’t convert via door-to-door haranguing and prayers at graduations and highway billboards will actually be “saved” when they see some graffiti?

After running that gauntlet, I made it to the festival itself. The festival is mostly about green topics, such as recycling, alternative energy, less-toxic materials, etc. But since leftist politics are so deeply intertwined with not raping the Earth and its inhabitants for a quick buck, there were also various liberal organizations present. The problem is, the liberal tent is so large, it includes some… umm… you know… strange people. More on that in a minute.

There were lots of good panels and presentations, but I was only there for a few hours and missed most of them. I did sit in on a couple. One presentation reminded me how important it is for all of us to buy fair trade products whenever possible. As much as I support this movement, I have to draw the line at chocolate. I’ve tried most of the fair trade chocolates, and they’re just not that good. I’m sorry. I can’t change the facts. The best chocolate is made from the bones of African orphans.

One thing I’ve noticed in the conservative press, which includes most of the fundie “news” sites I visit, is the right-wing is freaking out over global warming, but for the wrong reasons. They don’t care that we’re catastrophically changing the climate at a much faster rate than any of the climate models predicted. They just deny that it’s happening. Problem solved!

One of the things they’re always screaming about is “cap -and-trade”, which is the free-enterprise way of not having to deal with a problem. You’d think they’d be in favor of it, because it’s the least painful way of pretending to be addressing the issue. I guess their motto is “Why pretend to address the issue when ignoring it is still an option?”

Anyway, the other panel I went to was a debate on whether cap-and-trade is effective enough to support. There are a lot of problems with it, but I’m not sure we’ll even be able to get that in place. Even if we do, and even if it works, it won’t work well enough. Future generations will curse our name.

We need a carbon tax. A big one.

It will never happen, though.

Humans. The only species stupid enough to willingly and knowingly drive itself into extinction.

The Stranger Side

Literacy would be a breath of fresh air

Speaking of stupid, the Left attracts its fair share of embarrassments. Among the vendors at the show, not all were appropriate to the theme. It ranged from the illiterate to the stupid to the new-agey to the crazy to the eccentric.

The Illiterate. Take this example of the effectiveness of the American public education system. This vendor had an air filter that allowed you to “breath” clean air!

The only thing green is the money they fleece from you

The Stupid. There was at least one booth peddling homeopathy. That’s right. They’re selling “medicine” one molecule at a time. They even pretended to make it relevant to the festival, as you can see by this picture.

“What’s green about homeopathy?” Actually, it’s probably the greenest product at the festival. It’s only water!

The New-Agey. There were several booksellers present. Here is a typical sampling of their wares:

Urine therapy. Drink up!

The Crazy. Most of the vendors were polite enough to stay in their booths and wait for you to stop and look at their stuff. I guess that’s not effective if all you’re selling is crazy. As I was walking down one of the aisles, I saw a guy on crutches (For his leg. As you’ll see in a second, he relies on other crutches for his brain.) standing a couple of feet from the edge of the aisle. At first, I assumed he was just another visitor like me. As soon as I made eye contact, he said to me “Have you heard about the 9/11 firefighters?”

Since this was the Green Festival, I assumed the guy was talking about the fact that a lot of the firefighters and other rescue personnel who worked on the site that day were exposed to asbestos and other hazardous materials, and now they’re suffering health problems. I said that yes, I knew a thing or two about it. He then handed me his flyer, exposing the TRUTH about 9/11.

I looked at it and said (while trying to hold back laughter) “OH! You’re a Truther!”

He said “YES! Won’t you at least consider the evidence?”

I then turned around and realized that his booth was behind me:

The only truth is how much money they make at this

As you can see, this has turned into a big business for these people. They’re turning it into another UFO industry.

The Eccentric. Finally, I came across this guy, who would write a poem about you on the spot. He had the strangest laptop I’ve ever seen:

How many hours on a charge?

20 Responses to “San Francisco Green Festival”

  1. ericsan Says:

    Hey, don’t knock homeopathy. The placebo effect is potent, and it’s better to treat minor ailments with inexpensive sugar pills than poisoning people with pricey and toxic drugs. I can understand why a scientist would get offended by the utter insanity and complete lack of the most basic logic behind homeopathy’s claims, but if it helps keeping legal drug use down, it’s great.

  2. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Well, if you’re going to live in San Francisco…

    I’ve never understood “urine therapy”. I don’t know how reliable this is, but I’ve heard Gandhi used to drink his urine occasionally, but I think it was diluted, and it might have been when he was fasting – to preserve electrolytes, maybe? Apart from the Mahatma’s special requirements, it seems to me that if you needed it, the body wouldn’t be excreting it in the first place.

    Humans. The only species stupid enough to willingly and knowingly drive itself into extinction.

    Yeah, we’re worse than turkeys. They’ll merely drown in the rain. We’re suffocating in our own filth.

  3. Syldoran Says:

    Well, that’s just it with homeopathy. It really is only placebo and it only goes so far. The worse peddlers of the stuff claim it can do anything, and I’ve read stories of people getting injuries and treating them with “homeopathic” remedies that basically make it worse. There needs to be some control and logic every now and again.

    Feeling nauseous? Alright, I’ve seen studies where participants feel better after taking a sugar pill they were told would stop nausea.

    Bleeding leg wound? No.

    Sticky things that go on your feet and remove toxins from your body magically? Really no.

  4. RG Says:

    I interpret the ‘Fear God’ graffiti more as a message of ‘fear the idea of God.’Perhaps the medium is not the best, but the message is powerful. Plus if we take it the other way then the fundies have already won.

  5. Ron Britton Says:


    A. They are selling a product that does not perform the function claimed. That is fraud.

    B. They are lying about the mechanism behind how the product (doesn’t) work. That miseducates people and makes it harder for them to understand real science.

    C. The product should not be exempt from FDA oversight.

    D. At the very least, they should carry a disclaimer that states: “This product has been proven to work no better than placebo.”

    E. It promotes magical thinking and curtails critical thought, resulting in police departments being duped by psychic frauds who claim to locate missing persons, to belief in dowsing bomb detectors that have gotten people killed in Iraq.

  6. arkonbey Says:

    I’ll just ignore the woo-woo and just say that the Typewriter Poet was pretty cool. Did you get a poem? How was it?

  7. alex a Says:

    Fear goo? Is goo scary?

  8. Ron Britton Says:


    I told him I wanted a homeopathic poem, so he gave me a blank sheet of paper.

  9. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I told him I wanted a homeopathic poem, so he gave me a blank sheet of paper.


  10. Thomas Says:

    I have that same laptop and I use it regularly.

    There’s just something satisfying about the THUMP of mechanical keys.

  11. arkonbey Says:

    @Ron: For real? That is the most awesome thing ever. Randi-licious!

  12. Ron Britton Says:


    Actually, no. I made that up to skewer our earlier debate about homeopathy. I actually didn’t talk to the guy. I rather dislike poetry.

  13. ericsan Says:

    @Ron: I agree with you about homeopathy being a bunch of superstitious hogwash, all I’m saying is that it’s cheap and harmless (well, as long as you’re not using it to “treat” a serious ailment). I’m looking at it with the perspective of the French market which has the highest per capita barbiturate use in the world. These designer drugs are toxic, expensive and above all unnecessary. By contrast, homeopathy is cheap, does no harm and makes the patient feel better. Yes, it’s superstition, so what?

    On the other hand, I was just reading today in the French papers that Dannon had to remove all health benefit claims from its probiotic yogurt ads because there was no valid study backing it up. Great, but by the same token why do they allow ads for homeopathic remedies, and even cover them on the national health plan? I guess the pharma lobby is more powerful than the dairy products lobby…

  14. damnedyankee Says:

    @ ericsan: I’m betting that it’s not as “cheap” as a bottle of water should be.

    “Harmless:” Of course it’s harmless. IT DOES NOTHING. It is an ineffective therapy that sucks up time, effort, and resources that could be better used pursuing methods that actually work.

    “Makes the patient feel better:” Which is NOT the same as “makes the patient better.” Homeopathy is useless in the face of things like infection, asthma, cancer, disease, etc. It can’t even claim to be a “supplemental” treatment to conventional, scientifically valid forms of treatment (a claim I’ve seen from some homeopaths as they try to claim a portion of credit for the recovery of a patient who had the sense to see a doctor) because, again, IT DOES NOTHING.

    “[W]hy do they allow ads for homeopathic remedies, and even cover them on the national health plan?”

    Because they’ve made a lot of money over the years on this scam, and that goes a long way toward convincing the scientifically illiterate that nothing is something. I can only assume they watched the Church in action and picked up their cues from there.

  15. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Yea, I gotta jump on the “homeopathy is evil” bandwagon here. It’s easy to say it doesn’t harm anybody because it’s water, but it actually does. If you use homeopathic remedies instead of real medical science, you could die. Death by lack of effective treatment due to fears about “natural versus artifical” is harmful and immoral.

  16. ericsan Says:

    I’m kinda torn because on one hand I agree that homeopathy is complete fraud, but on the other I’m looking at people “fighting” ailments like flu, insomnia, anxiety with $5/month sugar pills instead of $200/month worth of toxic crap (tylenol, barbiturates, what have you).

    Coming from a country that has the dubious honor of using the most benzos per capita in the world, I think anything that will steer people away from taking these often unnecessary toxic drugs can’t be a completely bad idea. Sure, the complete bullshit “science” is hard to take, but there are real benefits when used correctly (i.e. against psychosomatic or untreatable conditions).

  17. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Anything is toxic in a high enough dose. That said, tylenol is about safe as you can get for pain/fever relief. Barbiturates, okay, I’m not knowledgable enough in the area to know if they are overused/perscribed. But you kind of lost me with the tylenol comment.

    Unless you menat Tylenol PM? That’s different, though.

  18. Ron Britton Says:

    Actually, Tylenol is fairly toxic stuff:

    Mainly causing liver injury, [acetaminophen] toxicity is one of the most common causes of poisoning worldwide. In the United States and the United Kingdom it is the most common cause of acute liver failure.

    The FDA is trying to get the maximum dosage reduced. You’ll no longer be able to buy Extra Strength Tylenol.

  19. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Yes, I remember reading in a psychology book that it’s not uncommon for somebody who is performing a “cry for help” suicide might OD on tylenol, thinking it won’t actually kill them. Then it does. Sad.

    Still, I maintain my assertion that tylenol, when used as indicated or perscribed, is incredibly safe. I worry sometimes that the anti-pill movement sometimes goes too far to demonize some really wonderful therapies.

    When taken in normal therapeutic doses, paracetamol has been shown to be safe.

  20. homoeopathic Says:

    “Homoeopathy” lol