March 01, 2007


Is it you or is it hot in here?

I got a kick out of this post by Big Shot Bob in Texas, which begins:
Fresh off his Oscar victory last night for Best Documentary, Al Gore has been stripped of his title by the U.S. Supreme Court. George W. Bush was declared the new winner despite the fact that he had not received a single vote or even watched a movie in the last decade except for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

In the Court's opinion, new Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that he was proud to follow in the steps of his old boss and predecessor, the late William Rehnquist, who helped decide Bush v. Gore in 2000. "You've gotta love lifetime appointments," Roberts said. "We aren't even trying anymore!"
Funny stuff, Bob. But in all seriousness (which seems strange to say considering how ridiculous the following situation is), the Oscar win by An Inconvenient Truth has predictably struck a nerve. Charges of hypocrisy have been off-leveled against the former veep for the energy consumption in his Nashville mansion (read more). Well it's a classic example of the old adage that Lie can get himself halfway around the globe before Truth even gets his shoes tied. How convenient for the Hannitys and the Limbaughs and other comets-will-kill-us-firsters that the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (a "nonpartisan" think tank) is on the scene.

However, David Roberts, staff writer for online environmental magazine, points out that the Tennessee Department of Revenue doesn't even consider the TCPR a legitimate group. They are part of the right's State Policy Network, which according to People For The American Way (which makes no pretense of being nonpartisan, thank you Jesus), "is a national network of state-based right-wing organizations in 37 states as well as prominent nationwide right-wing organizations. Through its network SPN advances the public policy ideas of the expansive right-wing political movement on the state and local level." HuffPo declares TCPR president Drew Johnson comes from the Exxon-funded American Enterprise Institute and the right-wing-funded National Taxpayers Foundation.

"It's run by a long-time right-wing attack hack, and its only registered address is a P.O. box," says Roberts of TCPR. "Why is everyone in the media taking what it says about Gore's electricity use at face value?"

Some other points pondered:
  • I wonder if any Republicans in Gore's neighborhood have outrageous power bills? It's nice to see the conservative media taking the message of conservation and energy efficiency seriously. Hopefully they will hold their own leaders and readers to the same high standards.

  • I find it intriguing that Gore's electricity company has no record of being contacted about his bills.

  • The "average" home electricity use quoted by TCPR is a national average that includes apartments and mobile homes. In Gore's climatic zone, designated East South Central by the U.S. Department of Energy, the average is much higher, thanks to hot, humid summers and cold winters. Within that zone, Gore's usage is three times average, not 20 as the TCPR contends, and his per-square-foot usage is squarely average.

  • The Gores are not an average family. He's an ex-VP with special security arrangements, and has live-in security staff. He and his wife both work on their many business and charitable undertakings out of their house, so they have space for offices and office staff. All that would be tough to cram in an average size house.

  • Gore buys the maximum allowable green electricity from the program offered by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

  • Most of the electricity in Tennessee comes from hydro and nuclear, and so doesn't generate all that much CO2 anyway.
I don't think Gore is going to shrink from this at all. He already responded to Matt Drudge's predictable foaming. I'm a supporter of him getting the Nobel Peace Prize (sure to further chagrin the right and possibly get them to simmer a tad) for his heroic work. I totally agree with David Roberts on a point that doesn't make for good lather in Fox's mouth, but is nonetheless true: "He has prompted more individual and collective action on this issue than anyone else alive. The changes he has wrought outweigh his personal carbon emissions by many orders of magnitude."

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Man, this is one of your best! BTW, check out my comments... I reblogrolled you. It was an oversight that you were not in there..
As a Republican, I have a couple of comments.

1.) The vocal, self-appointed leaders of my part have become complete fucking tools. My wife told me about this topic, and the first thing I said was exactly what you said about his house, security, business, etc. I can't fucking stand people who make non-issues into issues and obfuscate simply to cast someone in a bad light, full knowing that it isn't fucking true. Sorry... just really pissed.

2.) Gore is still a bit of a tool and is riding global warming to the hilt. His conclusions are quite overstated and pretty damn Chicken Little. To say they are forgone and proven is WAY overstating it. There is a good-sized community of oppositional scientists who point to much larger temperature variances in the past, demonstrating that the current warming trend is not as anomalous as some would have you believe. Hell, cows are a much bigger threat to the climate under the Inconvenient Truth suppositions than the industrialized nations. Kyoto is a farce. The jury is WAY out still. Not that Oscar and the Academy care about such things.

The Nobel Prize belongs to somebody who's got their ducks in a row.
Looney - I contend that there's just enough jury out to hang the process that our planet needs to get on ASAP, which is unfortunate.

Just from a layman's POV, I see those decrying GW as some "liberal conspiracy" (know that I am not pointing at you) to be the ones who need to get their ducks in row, or more bluntly, their heads out of their asses. How often has any conspiracy that could be even partially proven (WITS not many) been for promoting something good like sustainable living practices and better health? Those who decry Gore's efforts and label plans requiring some sacrifice on the part of the wealthiest citizens of the planet as Draconian are being selfish and ignorant, IMO.
"comets-will-kill-us-firsters "

LOL! Right. 50,000 scientists just isn't enough of a consensus without those 50 or so from Exxon agreeing as well. The fact is, global warming or no, humans spew too much poison into the environment and use too few renewable resources.

I don't get the Republicans on this at all. I mean, I understand the Party, owned and operated by the oil companies as they are, pushing their bullshit, but what about the poor or middle class Republicans? They breathe the same air and drink the same water that the rest of us do. Why are they so eager to let the air they and their children breathe go downhill so that some CEOs can continue to rake in cash that these schlubs will never see a penny of? Why should we consider second-hand smoke to be child abuse when the air in our cities is not much better? Our economy wasn't reduced to ashes by the EPA in the 60s and 70s, so why all the concern now?

Somehow, they're being sold a bill of goods that they're looking out for themselves, but they're just looking out for people who don't give a rat's ass about them. There is no suffering that I can see involved in striving for a cleaner environment, other than possible short term profit losses for companies that have been mercilessly gouging us and making record profits for years now. There are definite benefits to a clean environment for the children that the righties always claim to care about.
"Why are they so eager to let the air they and their children breathe go downhill so that some CEOs can continue to rake in cash that these schlubs will never see a penny of?"

Because the Right Wing Media has told them it's all bullshit, and by allowing the RWM to tell them how to think they can use their scant brainpower to worry about who's going to win NASCAR this Sunday.
Great post, btw, O'Tim.
I voted for Gore, but he's turned into a Celebrity Type, all a-schmoozy with the Hollywoodies, and lost much of my respect. That said, I think we should stop fucking destroying our planet anyway. Why does someone have to "prove" pollution is a bad thing? Sheesh.
Right - The Right is full of shit and the Left is bang on. The Left is full of shit and the Right is bang on.

It occurs to me (my post about GW and Gore aside), who gives a shit as long as we're doing our best by the world and its inhabitants on a personal level?

Same shit, same politics.

And the beat goes on...
Paula - that's interesting, because I did NOT vote for Gore in 2000. He was too wooden and had that Clinton stink juice on him. But when he hosted SNL in late 2002 (with the hot tub scene, Phish, and the hilarious TV Funhouse version of A Charlie Brown Christmas - it was a bright spot in these latter dismal days of the show) he earned great respect from me for his ability to laugh at himself and move on.

I like Hollywood politics in general, admiring people with fame and fortune who stand up for something they believe in.

Mark wrote: "who gives a shit as long as we're doing our best by the world and its inhabitants on a personal level?

Well I give a shit about how the right is raping our society. But if you insist, I'll remember this statement the next time you mention "lefty loons" and Israel in the same breath.

And the beat goes on...

Different drummers indeed. I'll take Carl Palmer, you can have Phil Collins.

"Well I give a shit about how the right is raping our society."

I didn't say I didn't give a shit about anything like this. And this shores up my assertion that the Left smugly insists on its claim to the higher road as much as the Right.

I'm not sure what Israel and leftytloons have to do with any of this, anymore than Right wing whackos and say, Mongolia.

If we all do our part and do the right thing, we don't have to worry about the Gores and the Bushes of the world who sit in their mega-mansions and burn disgusting amounts of energy while preaching to the masses about what they must do.

My point was who gives a shit what Gore does. We can't do anything about it anyway. I doubt he gives a shit about a bunch of bloggers taking him to task or defending him. That was my point.
Mark - my point is that I don't have a problem taking sides (and if that's "smug" so be it), and that you should stop pretending that you do.

Of course, your "post about GW and Gore aside." How convenient.
Yeah, the woodenness (word?) was off-putting, but then there was that kiss, right? Staged, but still cute (and funny). The reason I dislike Hollywood politics is cuz I don't get a sense they believe in anything at all. My feeling is that they jump on causes to bring more attention to themselves, which is why show biz types ever do anything, whether it's ranting about global warming or adopting some poor kid.
It'll be a dull day for bloggers if we quit writing about politicians and celebrities because they don't give a shit what we say. I guess we'll all just post pics of our pets then. ;)
You know, O'Tim, regarding this and my comment at your site, I very clearly stated in my post that

"Adherents of both parties can be, and are, hypocrites."

To insinuate here and at my site that I am defending the Right and, by extension, W, is disingenuous.
Gore must be doing something right if he is attracting this amount of attention from his detractors.
I want to see us take control of the environment, but as mark says, how we got here is less important than what we do now we are here. We can argue about the reasons afterwards but let's not focus on the wrong issue.
Lucy- This started when Mark spouted some of his crap about how we shouldn't be worried about GW because getting hit by a comet is more likely. In other words, he sojourned into stupidville in order to insult the "lefty-loons" and is now trying to backtrack, as usual. Don't be fooled.
Lucy, you're right, of course. Problem is, when it comes to the topic of global warming, it does tend to fall along party lines. The left is rallying around Gore, the right is pointing fingers and calling the left Chicken Little. That's not to say there aren't the rare exceptions on either side, but for the most part it's a party line thing. So there is no agreement on what the right or wrong issue is. And the real bitch of it is that every single issue that faces the country (or globe) gets split along party lines. It's never about right and wrong; it's always about left and right.
"but as mark says, how we got here is less important than what we do now we are here."

Exactly, Lucy, this should not be a party line issue, or a political issue at all. This should be about personal responsibility, like any other aspect of our lives.
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For me, the question of whether Gore is a hypocrite or not is completely academic. The only important question for us is: Does the warning that he is sounding have a sound scientific basis? The vast majority of experts in the field think so.
uh-uh. I am not getting involved in this one at all.

I choose another path.

Ook ook
No worries, mate. I think the poop-flinging across the DMZ has already been handled.

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