Sydney Paper Reveals How To Determine Gore’s Plans

While Americans have been distracted by the recent smears on Al Gore, the Sydney Morning Herald sticks with the biggest question–whether he plans to run for President. They believe Hillary is scared:

But the main reason Gore is such a threat to Clinton and, for that matter, to Obama and to the other contenders for the Democratic nomination is that he remains a political figure of substance, a former vice-president with the sort of experience that Obama cannot match and with a standing in the party – and in the country – Clinton would die for.

They note that Gore says he is not running but is still doing a lot to remain in the public eye. They have a way to predict whether Gore is planning to get into the race–watch his weight. They trace the significance of his weight to after being denied the Presidency in 2000:

Gore disappeared from public view for months, travelling in Europe and sailing around the Greek Islands, wondering what to do next. He was a 52-year-old failed presidential candidate, who had served nine years in the Senate before he was chosen by Bill Clinton as his running mate in 1992. Politics had been his life.

What he did next was put on weight and grow a beard, a signal, said his wife, Tipper, that he was done with politics and done with Washington. The loss to Bush had been so personally traumatic that he determined that his political career was well and truly over.

So, fat matters with Gore: it is a sign of the level of his political ambition. That is why the Clinton camp reckons that if he hits the gym, it will be time for panic – it will offer compelling evidence that Gore will make a run for the Democratic Party’s nomination, a move that would completely change the dynamics of the 2008 presidential race.

SciFi Friday: Why Heroes Is A Better Monday Night Serial Than 24

There had been rumors that J.J. Abrams was going to produce but not direct Star Trek XI, but The Hollywood Reporter tha an official announcement was finally made. Abrams will be directing, with a Christmas Day 2008 release date. Matt Damon is still rumored to be the top choice to play James Kirk. IGN has further information:

It has been widely reported that the next Star Trek film would be a Starfleet Academy story recounting how a young James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock first met as cadets. But, according to IGN’s insiders, that is not quite the case.

IGN was informed that Trek XIto be directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci — will be more of a “first adventure” for Kirk and Spock rather than their first meeting. It is possible that they met while at the Academy — didn’t it seem like Jim Kirk served with every young officer’s father at the academy? — but the movie will explore their first mission together.

SciFi Wire interviewed Tim Kring and obtained information regarding plans for the second season of Heroes:

Tim Kring, creator of NBC’s hit series Heroes, told SCI FI Wire that the upcoming second season will constitute a new volume in the multi-volume series, with new characters and an entirely new storyline. “If you remember, the opening of the pilot pronounced the episode as the beginning of Volume One,” Kring said in an interview. “Volume One comes to a conclusion at the end of episode 23, and Volume Two starts with the opening of season two. And Volume Two is a different story.”

Kring added: “We could have new people and new storylines and new ideas and new threats and new bad guys and new heroes. So I would prepare the audience for that idea, that it’s not just a continuing serialized storyline about only these people. It’s a little more the 24 model than the Lost model.”

The first season of Heroes is exploring what happens when a disparate group of ordinary people discover they have extraordinary abilities and attempt to save New York from disaster.

Heroes needs to evolve, and if we are positing an idea that this is happening all over the world to many, many people, then we get to see some of those people and see how their story fits in.”

Kring also confirmed that some of the current heroes just might not survive this season, but added: “Many of your favorites will live to fight again.”

Heroes is coming off what many regard as its best episode of the season this week, also showing why it has become better than the other Monday night serial, 24. While both try to get the audience to come back with a cliff hanger, 24‘s cliff hangers just don’t leave you sometimes wondering just what is going on. You know that Jack will always find a solution for the latest problem and slowly get at the ultimate perpetrators. On Heroes, even when predictable, they manage to throw in twists. I fully expected HRG’s motivation to be partially to protect his adopted daughter, but the story remained compelling as this was verified and we were left with new questions as old ones were answered.

While 24 will periodically show that people have a different agenda than initially suspected, it often seems either too predictable or is forced. On the one hand, there was little doubt that Jack Bower’s father wasn’t going to turn out to be behind many of the conspiracies. On the other hand, for the writers to decide after many stories were already done that Nina Myers or Charles Logan would really be evil was contrived and didn’t fit in well with previous stories. On Heroes, The revelations about Claude and Nakamura, while surprising, fit in well with what we know so far and clearly were planned from the start. While we learned more about the relationship between Claire and HRG, we were left to wonder about whether Hiro is really Nakamura’s son, and whether Nakamura realizes Hiro has powers.

The flash back episodes have been among the best on Heroes, but 24 has become stuck in a format which prevents such stories, as well as preventing any drawn out plot development. It was a good gimmick for the first couple of times, but now it is too restrictive, leading to similar stories every season. Knowing commercial television, it is safe to predict they will stick with the same formula until it stops making money. Having 24 as the name would also make it harder for them to change the format, but perhaps they could do a different type of story over 24 days or weeks.

There is one other reason why Heroes has become better than 24. They might threaten to blow up New York City, and have a character who brutally kills others and removes their brains, but at least they don’t feature torture week after week.

Warner Brothers Plans Film on Plame Scandal

Variety reports that Warner Brothers is developing a movie based upon the lives of Valerie Plame and Ambassador Joseph Wilson:

The film is a co-production between Weed Road’s Akiva Goldsman and Jerry and Janet Zucker of Zucker Productions.

Jez and John Butterworth are writing the screenplay.

WB has secured the life rights of Plame and Wilson. Studio also will use Plame’s memoir, “Fair Game,” if the CIA permits her to publish it. Plame made a reported publishing deal in the $2.5 million range last year, and Simon & Schuster is expected to publish late this year. While it would be ironic for Plame’s story to be illegally leaked by the White House, only to have another government branch deny her the right to tell it herself, the CIA has the latitude to silence Plame…

Jerry and Janet Zucker, who got to know Plame and Wilson because all four are involved in stem cell politics, said that the fate of the book won’t determine the fate of the film.

“Almost everything that we need for the movie is available from print outlets, and obviously we haven’t read the book yet because it hasn’t been approved by the CIA,” Jerry Zucker said. “Valerie has been incredibly careful with what she tells us, it’s almost like she is still working for the CIA. The biggest element of the movie to us is the story of two people who spent their lives in service of their government, and were then betrayed by that government.”

Conservatives Even Willing To Oppose Capitalism To Further Smears Against Al Gore

The smears against Al Gore just get more and more absurd. The right wingers, who claim to proponents of capitalism (regardless of how much their policies harm the free market system), and who regularly refer to liberal supporters of the market system as “socialists,” are now attacking Al Gore for being a successful businessman. Here’s just one example of this latest line of attack from the right at Riehl World View. All of a sudden being successful, making a profit, and having a high net worth is evil to conservatives. And Gore is the one they are trying to call a hypocrite?

To recap: The right calls Gore a hypocrite when he’s doing exactly what he advocates with regards to conservation measures and purchasing carbon credits. They compare his energy use to that of an average house, which does not need to house offices. They claim that the right wing organization which raised these bogus charges is a “nonpartisan think tank.” Most importantly, none of these smears on Gore change the fact that the information he presents is based upon the consensus of scientific thought. As they cannot refute the science, they resort to these absurd smears.

Attacks on Gore Not Even New

After the Academy Awards a phoney think tank tried to smear Al Gore with bogus charges. It turns out they weren’t even original. Last August Taylor Marsh described and debunked essentially the same attacks as those launched this week. (Hat tip to Deltoid.)

The oil companies and their lackeys will resort to anything to distract attention from the fact that Al Gore’s warnings on climate change represent the consensus of scientific opinion. This includes trying to pay off scientists to dispute the consensus report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well to repeatedly launch smears of this nature.