Al Gore in Sterling

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...Sorry, that should have read:

AL GORE IN STERLING!!

I wandered down to the local Costco to wile away a few minutes in the air conditioned aisles piled three storeys high with glistening merchandise, as is my wont, and here's what greeted me.


al_gore_sign.jpg

"Al Gore book signing! Vice President Al Gore is signing books in the store right now! Get a signed copy of Al Gore's new book! Al Gore book signing! Get your peanuts and cold drinks heah!"

Ok that last phrase was made up, but that Cosco guy was yelling to drum up interest, and the former VP was there at lunchtime today, all right. The line to get An Inconvenient Truth signed by the author was a couple hundred shoppers long, but as a dutiful citizen journalist I knew what I had to do. So I got in line and spent about 15 minutes thinking of some witty repartee I might have with the Inconvenient One himself.

As it turned out, the line moved real fast, because Al's handlers permitted no first names for personalization and in fact all you got to do was say "hi" before being wisked past. I didn't rock the boat, because the only thing I could think of to say was: "If global warming is eventually proven NOT to be a crisis for the Earth, I still think all the work you're doing is great."

Such a line doesn't work at all unless it gets to set in for a moment or two.

If I got a follow-up I would also have asked: "I heard you mention purchasing verifiable reductions elsewhere to offset your travel via private jets and large vehicles. Where can I get some of those for my SUV?"

Al did a nice job interacting with the line of folks, with a bare minimum of actual interaction but pleasant enough.


al_gore_book_signing.jpg

Yes, I did get myself a signed copy. So I've learned that if you want to convey a looming crisis, satellite photos of hurricanes in full color make a KILLER visual. Also good are floods, fires, deforestation, hockey-stick graphs, ships grounded in the middle of the desert, atomic bomb blasts - and I think there's even a shot of a kitten stuck in a tree. Stuff o' nightmares, I tells ya.

All of that is juxtaposed with some really nice pictures of Al. And let me tell you, the message works: Given a choice between Hurricane Katrina and the former VP sitting in a field, I'm a Gore man all the way.


al_gore_book.jpg

And I'll gladly plunk down the $12.49 Costco price to get a prop for a blog post. We should all be prepared to sacrifice a little.

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26 Comments

Moderate 5-19 said:


Far too many scientists believe that Global Warning in a very real phenomena for me to dismiss it. (I don’t mean “oh my gosh the world will be destroyed tomorrow kind of thing). However I really believe that this is one issue that does not need to be partisan or have the political parties fighting. Furthermore my feeling is that if Global Warning is even a possibility we all need to be aware of it and respond appropriately. I may sound like a “tree hugger, LOL” but that’s fine. If we all do something small at the local level and just make an attempt to be more “earth aware” it will make a better tomorrow for our children. And even for those of you who think the whole idea of Global Warming is just nonsense, I ask you what it would harm would it do to take steps to actively be “earth friendly”. One more thing, as a Christian we are supposed to take care of the earth. God did not give it to us merely for consumption. If you read Genesis 1 and 2 1:15, I think it is clear what God expects from us and that we are supposed to take care of this creation called earth and not just use.

My take on scientists is A) "science" is an inexact science, and B) you can find some who will say just about anything.

I don't have a problem with the idea the temperature of the Earth is changing but the suggestion it has anything to do with human activity is one that seems iffy to me.

What sort of human activity caused the previous big melts?

That, and the fact that the key proponents of this theory don't personally seem to have any intention whatsoever of giving up THEIR private jets and SUVs. They just don't like the idea of all of US having such luxuries. Every sensible person's BS detector should spring into action when we see that type of behavior.

The whole topic just reeks of social engineering to me. There's an ideological class who look around and see all of us dirty little undereducated people doing whatever we want, going wherever we want, clogging up the streets and the beaches, ruining the view - and they don't like it one little bit. They want us cordoned off into discrete, high-density areas, doing those things which are best for society.

Individualism is for those who have the intelligence and social awareness to appreciate it, don't you know. For the rest of us: collectivism.

But "greenhouse gasses" aside, I totally agree with you on taking care of the world around us. In most other respects I'm a conservationist.

Gnossis said:

I really believe that this is one issue that does not need to be partisan or have the political parties fighting

I'll second that.

It's great that Gore has taken up this cause, but it's unfortunate that his work in this area can't overcome his established political identity and all of its baggage.

I'd like to think that if a politically-neutral figure were doing what Gore is doing, the issues of global warming and our environmental impact would be a more serious matter and much higher priority for all of us. Instead, many of his political opponents find it easier to dismiss anything he says on the grounds of their opposing political ideology rather than giving the matter enough thought to realize that the issue is non-political and worthy of objective investigation.

I cite Joe's snide remark about Gore's purchase of verifiable reductions (if it is at all indicative of Joe's actual beliefs on the issue) as proof that perhaps some people are too distracted by Gore's political image to fully and objectively understand his message.

Yo Gnossis, you realize that wasn't MY "snide remark," that was a direct quote from AL Gore. He came up with that load of crap recently when someone cornered him on his outrageous personal consumption of fossil fuels.

I guess Gore's assumption, which would fit with my note above, is that we are all too dumb to see the stupidity of Gore's explanation and the rank hypocrisy it reveals.

So while he may have "taken up this issue" and I'm sure he appreciates your plaudits, it's not like he's actually DOING these major sacrifices we're all supposed to take on.

I'm not distracted by his political image from yesteryear. I'm just seeing his hypocritical self today.

I would second the idea that conservation should not fall on either side of the ideological spectrum - although it certainly can.

Gnossis said:

Yo Joe,

Yeah, I read the linked article. I suppose I should have said your "hypothetical snide remark," because you prefaced it with If I got a follow-up I would also have asked...

You also opined:
So while he may have "taken up this issue" and I'm sure he appreciates your plaudits, it's not like he's actually DOING these major sacrifices we're all supposed to take on. I'm not distracted by his political image from yesteryear. I'm just seeing his hypocritical self today.

I make no excuses for what the man does or does not do and whether or not those actions (or lack thereof) meet Joe B's Standards for Credibility. And thanks for reinforcing my claim that Gore's political opponents dismiss the message by finding fault with the messenger.

conservation should not fall on either side of the ideological spectrum - although it certainly can
Should not, but can? Or should not, but does? If the former, how?

In your previous post you said:
My take on scientists is A) "science" is an inexact science, and B) you can find some who will say just about anything

A) Of course it's inexact. That's why experiments and studies are carried out ad nauseum. A single study cannot definitively prove or disprove a theory.

B) Also true. But what would motivate (literally) hundreds of scientists to publish findings that they believed to be false?

suburbanite said:

Funding. "Science" is seldom any longer objective.

Read "State of Fear". Joe is right on.

If your funding is dependent on a speculative fear mongering intro to your pre-supposed computer model, the body of the findings buried in the subsequent report often reveal an ambiguous conclusion at odds with the heavily publicized abstract.

This issue is so heavily politicized it is far more useful as a method of social control (through our already established state religion of "environmentalism") than actual scientific dialogue.

Gnossis, My point in attacking the messenger(s) (because Gore ain't the only hypocrite, obviously), is if the Earth was really in such a crisis we'd see more of them riding in small vehicles, living in small houses, flying commercial, etc. He, like many others, has found a cause he believes can be ridden for personal gain or as the means to an ideological end, but which he does not think is so dire, really.

Conservation is posed as a left wing issue by the left wing. This issue is an example and there are others. I spent many years in Florida where the Democrats were in the pockets of the commercial fishing lobby, so I learned long ago that conservatives can be the guys in white hats, conservation-wise.

What would motivate the scientists? How should I know. I don't think they are a monolithic block - especially the ones whoo don't subscribe to the standard global warming narrative. What motivated them in the 1970s when they were warning of a global freeze, or in the 1960s when they were warning of a population explosion? Sometimes they get it wrong. Sometimes expectations lead to expected results.

Sorry, but I guess I am just too jaded to respect the argument "Hundreds of scientists confirm..." about anything. I've seen too many reversals and blatant BS from "scientists" to ever subscribe to that theory again.

Do you happen to know much about nutrition? Many "scientists" still promote the "food pyramid" from the 1950s. Ponder that.

Get to the real story. Were there any Manbearpig sitings in Sterling while he was there? Did Algore try to lure him out by yelling, "Growt!!! Growt!!!"?

Suburbanite: Thank you, that is a side, maybe the most important side, of this issue I totally left out.

Riley: I'd forgotten about that!!! Criminy, I was trying to come up with an idea for a t-shirt to wear...

zimzo said:

I think the "controversy" surrounding Global Warming is a perfect example of how otherwise intelligent people on the right have become so divorced from reality that they begin to see everything through partisan glasses, evidence be damned. Evolution, of course, is another issue on which a broad consensus of scientists agrees, but many on the right have placed themselves on the opposite side of reason. Certainly, there are many loonies on the left who subscribe to any number of conspiracy theories, but what is particularly troubling about the anti-intellectualism of the right is that it has infected the mainstream of conservative thinking, which wasn't always the case. Though I often disagreed with people like William Buckley or George Will, I never thought they were stupid. But increasingly, the right-wing seems to be dominated by people like Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and, of course, our esteemed President, who not only demonstrate less than fully developed intellects but actually seem to have contempt for facts, evidence and intellectual inquiry. They have substituted ideology for intellect and even speak with contempt for those who disagree with them as members of the "Reality-based Community." I would think that you, Joe, of all people, someone who actually is intelligent, would find these political bedfellows embarrassing, to say the least.

Heh...and I would think YOU, Zimzo, who also is intelligent, would anticipate I'd immediately point out you're dodging the issue at hand and trying to shift to a discussion of my "bedfellows."

BTW O'Reilly fully subscribes to the Al Gore narrative of global warming, last time I checked. Crummy, loud bedfellow he was. Rush probably has an encyclopedia of data supporting whatever is his take on global warming - but I don't get to listen to him so I can't count him a bedfellow, unfortunately.

So that leaves...Ann Coulter? Bedfellow? I don't care WHAT her position is, I hereby defend it. However I am happily married, so this discussion ends now.

zimzo said:

You're the one dodging the issue, Joe. It is your surrendering your intellect to sleep with these bedfellows I was talking about, Joe. It is your subscribing to this nonsense that is so deeply disappointing. All I can say is "Say it ain't so, Joe."

Gnossis said:

Joe said:

[Gore], like many others, has found a cause he believes can be ridden for personal gain or as the means to an ideological end, but which he does not think is so dire, really.

And my point is that Gore's personal motivations don't enter into the actual body of scientific research.

Many "scientists" still promote the "food pyramid" from the 1950s. Ponder that.

And there are plenty of other scientists that don't--I get it. So you're arguing that because there's disagreement in an area of study wholly unrelated to global warming, the underwhelming amount of dissent pertaining to global warming somehow reveals the whole thing as pure bunk? Skepticism is healthy, and I'm not advocating an alarmist approach to the matter, but I am saying that mankind ignores this research at its peril and would do well to act on it at least minimally.

sub said:
Read "State of Fear"

Are Michael Crichton novels a basis for arguments refuting global warming? If you're going to make claims that the evidence pointing to global warming is funded by people with political agendas (I would assume, in this case, George Soros, Al Franken, Michael Moore, and probably all of France), how about some evidence? I'll bet you could also find opposite-minded political ideologues funding research that refutes global warming.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to look into booking a trip to Costa Rica to go see me some dinosaurs :-)

Gnossis said:

A thought just occurred to me:

If Al Gore were a chain-smoker and gave hundreds of lectures on the link between smoking and lung cancer, would you dismiss him and his "evidence" as being in the pocket of the anti-smoking lobby?

Why or why not?

What if it were Newt Gingrich?

Sophrosyne said:

I think a more apt analogy would be if Al Gore was a chain smoker giving hundreds of lectures on why we should quit smoking and how to quit... we'd rightfully call him out as a hypocrite asking us to do as he says not as he does.

Regardless I think the evidence is far less convincing than some would have us believe (I read a GREAT article in the Sunday WaPo magazine a month or so back discussing this topic… I’ll see if I can find it online… it factually tears apart Gore’s fantasy land). In the meantime I think this older Wall Street Journal article is fairly succinct.

http://www.junkscience.com/news/robinson.htm

Zimzo: No YOU'RE the one dodging the issue, unable to focus because of the irrational power of the conspiracy mindset positing "bedfellows" when in fact there are neither beds nor fellows. Though it take my last bit of strength, I shall endeavor to help you break your destructive habit of thought and thereby free your mind to focus, once again, on the world around you.

Gnossis: I think we're going to have to agree to disagree because I can't really challenge the fact that the evidence you have seen makes you lean toward accepting the theory of greenhouse gases causing global warming. I have followed the issue as well, and what I've seen causes me to lean the other way. Of course, neither of us knows for certain.

All that assumed, I can't really take issue with your argument. I don't go out of my way to expel excess CO2 or whatever into the air, but I'm also not going to drive the Beltway in a Matchbox car because Al Gore said I should.

Soph: Thanks for providing an actual link - I hadn't gotten to the research level yet.

suburbanite said:

Gnossis--haha. No, a novel is not scientific evidence, nor does it purport to be. However, if you have read it, then you have also read the extensive bibliography provided by the author, all of which is peer-reviewed data, and how it was used (and abused) to create a "state of fear".

Read "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg. he used to be a major greenie cheerleader, and his innate honesty and scientific integrity led him to wonder why, in spite of all improvements made in the environment, the picture still got progressively more bleak.

He found that things had in fact improved instead of deteriorating, and published his findings.

Rather than treat them as a matter for serious discussion, he was immediately savaged by his former colleagues, including baseless ad hominem attacks in what would normally be considered respected scientific journals.

A "state of fear" is very usefull in herding the sheep into small carefully monitored pens. If we are afraid to eat, drink, move or breathe, I imagine we will all be pretty easy to control by those who deserve to have control of the planet to themselves.

And one world government through UN Agenda 21! Yippeee.

Gnossis said:

Soph,

Thanks for the softball. It would appear that you too have fallen into the trap of intellectual apathy (or atrophy) that Zimzo described earlier.

About 15 minutes of Googling led me to 2 not-so-surprising discoveries:

1) The right-hand half of the graph used in the article is from the Marshall Institute. You (and others) may not be aware, but the Marshall Institute is a beneficiary of ExxonMobil donations and its current CEO is both a registered lobbyist for ExxonMobil and a former COO at the American Petroleum Institute. I think this may be the funding-influencing-results that Joe and Suburbanite were referring to earlier.
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Institute)

2) Co-author Arthur Robinson is a "staff member" of the equally dubious Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. His other work includes a piece asserting that the dangers of nuclear weapons have been over-exaggerated. His "Institute" also receives funding from the aforementioned Marshall Institute.
(Source: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oregon_Institute_of_Science_and_Medicine)

And speaking of hypocrisy, any reasonably thoughtful person reading this article should've noticed an interesting contradiction. He writes:
Carbon dioxide, water, and a few other substances are "greenhouse gases." For reasons predictable from their physics and chemistry, they tend to admit more solar energy into the atmosphere than they allow to escape. Actually, things are not so simple as this, since these substances interact among themselves and with other aspects of the atmosphere in complex ways that are not well understood.

And he later writes:
Hydrocarbon use has major environmental benefits. A great deal of research has shown that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide accelerate the growth rates of plants and also permit plants to grow in drier regions. Animal life, which depends upon plants, also increases.

So what is the reader to do? Disregard those earlier statements about the effects of CO2 being "not so simple" and "not well understood?" I know the WSJ is conservative, but this is pretty sad.

Do you have any examples of studies that aren't funded by groups with such blatantly un-objective agendas?

Gnossis, sorry for the trouble posting - it has to do with our spam filter and hyperlinks. When you want to insert a hyperlink, instear of using the html tags, just paste in the link - as described in this post

http://www.novatownhall.com/blog/2006/06/note_to_commenters_outwitting.php

Then you won't have the delay. Thanks for your persistence.

Gnossis said:

Joe,

Thanks for the hyperlink info.

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree... Agreed!

All I'm asking is that anytime a politician starts talking science or technology, we constituents should have a healthy amount of skepticism that leads us to examine the scientific facts as they are presented and not immediately accept or reject the politician's statements based on his/her party affiliation. If we land on different sides of the argument after that investigation, so be it.

Can you imagine where we'd be if we took at face value the things Sen. Ted Stevens says about the Internet? http://blog.wired.com/27BStroke6/?entry_id=1512499

:-)

Wow, that's quite an eye opener! That guy sounds like he's got a pretty sweet internet, whereas my internet hardly even works after midnight. So now I know mine's a lemon and I'm definitely gonna pick up another one, maybe even two or three, on my way home tonight. So NO I do not want the internets regulated!!

suburbanite said:

Gnossis, you make a good point that funding influence cuts both ways. However, much supposedly objective "research" is grant driven, and therefore subject to financial pressure.

See undueinfluence and activistcash websites for the link between "charitable" and "humanitarian" foundations, "environmental" "research" grants, and public policy.

I view most of the enviro-political bandwagon as a nearly Orwellian ccaricature of a sterotypic fundamentalist endtimes religion. And unfortunately, it permeates every aspect of public education and policy as if it were incontrovertible fact instead of what a great deal of it actually is: fad "scince"(fiction).

Sophrosyne said:

Gnossis--

Okay… so your criticize me for “intellectual apathy” and attack the scientists in the one article I referenced as hired goons of the Big Oil industry… yet you do not contest any of the specifics of their argument? Hmmm…

Do you agree or disagree with the following, and not why not:

One of the two coldest periods, known as the Little Ice Age, occurred 300 years ago. Atmospheric temperatures have been rising from that low for the past 300 years, but remain below the 3,000-year average.

Why are temperatures rising? The first chart nearby shows temperatures during the past 250 years, relative to the mean temperature for 1951-70. The same chart shows the length of the solar magnetic cycle during the same period. Close correlation between these two parameters--the shorter the solar cycle (and hence the more active the sun), the higher the temperature--demonstrates, as do other studies, that the gradual warming since the Little Ice Age and the large fluctuations during that warming have been caused by changes in solar activity.

The highest temperatures during this period occurred in about 1940. During the past 20 years, atmospheric temperatures have actually tended to go down, as shown in the second chart, based on very reliable satellite data, which have been confirmed by measurements from weather balloons.

And this short op-ed is offers only a glimmer into the dispute raging in regards to Global Warming despite there being a “consensus” among scientists. Also- trying to dismiss the above hard facts because the authors point out the two distinct realities that, A) carbon dioxide has a very complicated interaction with the atmosphere and we don’t fully understand, and B) carbon dioxide does have a positive effect on plant life, is ridiculous.

Gnossis said:

Soph,

Yes, you are either intellectually apathetic on this topic or just plain lazy.

I do not refute the facts, I refute the conclusions drawn by the authors' use of the facts.

Let's deconstruct your 3 gray boxes:

1) Sure, 300 years ago we had a little ice age. 300 years ago we did not have the massive industrialization that we have today. We can argue about when that industrialization actually became widespread, but most of what I remember learning in high school and college puts the start of the Industrial Revolution somewhere in the late 1700s/early 1800s. A Google or Wikipedia search should clarify this for you. Thus, 300 years ago we did not have the large number of carbon emissions that we see today. Consider also that much of the developing world only recently (within the last few decades) saw widespread industrialization.

2 and 3)If you read my first response, I explained this. But I'll do it again: the second graph is from the Marshall Institute, so I'm saying it's origin is suspicious at best. Furthermore, correlation does not imply causation. There are graphs that span thousands of years showing the correlation between the carbon content of the atmosphere and average temperature. You may be shocked to learn that the graphs show that as carbon content increases, the temperature tends to increase as well. If correlation is enough "fact" for you, why should one take solar activity as a rationale that trumps carbon emissions? It's also funny that the graph used by Robinson spans 250 years...which roughly correlates to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Could be coincidence, but I'm skeptical. (Call me crazy)

Is this really so ridiculous?

Gnossis said:

Soph,

P.S.

The other thing about the WSJ op-ed is that it goes the extra mile in that it argues man-made carbon emissions are actually good for the environment. I've seen studies saying that there's no clear connection between mankind's industry and temperature increase, but drawing a conclusion that is diametrically opposed to the initial argument seems a bit absurd, if not overzealous.

If this is "only a glimmer," where's this blinding star of Truth you'd like to unleash?

"Growt!!!! Growt!!!!"

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