Gore Working on New Book on Environment

Al Gore is writing a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth:

For those frightened by the tale of global warming in Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” and wondering what can be done, the former vice president has an answer: a sequel.

Gore is working on a new environmental book, “The Path to Survival,” that will be released as a paperback original on April 22, 2008, Earth Day. According to publisher Rodale Books, Gore will continue where he left off in “An Inconvenient Truth” and offer “a visionary blueprint for the changes we should make as a world community.”

“He (Gore) explains how making bold choices now to protect our environment will also create new jobs, propel sustainable economic improvements, and inspire a new generation to tackle our most challenging issues with moral leadership,” according to a statement issued Wednesday by Rodale.

“Part scientific manual, part expose, part visionary call for a new planet-wide political movement, the book will appeal to those who were motivated by the call to action of `An Inconvenient Truth’ and who are now ready to fight for the solutions that were considered politically impossible only a short time ago.”

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Richardson Reponds to Smears from Liberal Bloggers

Bill Richardson has responded to attacks from bloggers who twisted what was clearly a joke in support of maintaining Iowa’s status in the caucus and primary system. CNN quotes Kos as saying, “Richardson is really becoming the buffoon of this campaign.” Richardson responds to Kos and other bloggers who made similar comments:

“Bloggers can say whatever they want, but I care about the voters,” Richardson told CNN…

“Bloggers say a lot of things. They are an important part of the democratic process,” Richardson said. “But no, I didn’t put my foot in my mouth. I stand by what I said. I make no apologies about it. Iowa is important, just like South Carolina and New Hampshire.”

Ultimately it is Kos who made a buffoon out of himself in erroneously reporting on these events (similar to the manner in which Kos often unfairly attacked John Kerry while supporting other Democrats). Kos comments on this with an untrue statement:

He stands by the fact that the Lord and the Constitution all demand Iowa keep its “first-in-the-nation” status.

Richardson did no such thing. He is standing by his overall view on the Iowa caucus, not the words of his joke. Kos is confusing the joke with Richardson’s more serious statements on the Iowa caucus.

While it should have been clear that Richardson was making a joke while discussing the importance of Iowa, the point was clarified the same day as the initial reports. Both a Richardson spokesman and Richardson himself verified that the comment on the Lord and the Constitution was an off the cuff joke. Either Kos is terribly misinformed about what he is commenting on, or is outright lying. Regardless, Kos makes an incredible number of erroneous statements for someone of his prominence in the blogosphere.

As a blogger, Kos acts offended by Richardson’s comments on bloggers. In light of the inaccuracy of Kos’s blog posts such criticism from Richardson is well justified. Between this incident and the attacks on John Kerry after his joke about George Bush getting us stuck in Iraq I wonder if politicians will be willing to attempt any further jokes in their speeches.

New Book Describes Expansion of Powers of Executive Branch

The Washington Post reports on a new book which demonstrates how Dick Cheney sought to increase power for the Executive Branch (despite his indecision as to which branch he was in).  While echoing concerns of liberals and Democrats, the Washington Post notes the author’s conservative views. “Now a professor at Harvard Law School, Goldsmith, 44, described himself in the book as ‘a conservative and a Republican’ who became troubled by what he saw as imprudent overreaching by the White House…”

Vice President Cheney’s top lawyer pushed relentlessly to expand the powers of the executive branch and repeatedly derailed efforts to obtain congressional approval for aggressive anti-terrorism policies for fear that even a Republican majority might say no, according to a new book written by a former senior Justice Department official.

David S. Addington, who is now Cheney’s chief of staff, viewed both U.S. lawmakers and overseas allies with “hostility” and repeatedly opposed efforts by other administration lawyers to soften counterterrorism policies or seek outside support, according to Jack L. Goldsmith, who frequently clashed with Addington while serving as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2003 and 2004.

“We’re going to push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop,” Addington said at one point, according to Goldsmith.

Addington, who declined comment yesterday through Cheney’s office, is a central player in Goldsmith’s new book, “The Terror Presidency.” It provides an unusual glimpse of fierce internal dissent over the legal opinions behind some of the Bush administration’s most controversial tactics in detaining and interrogating terrorism suspects.

“As I absorbed the opinions, I concluded that some were deeply flawed: sloppily reasoned, overbroad, and incautious in asserting extraordinary constitutional authorities on behalf of the President,” Goldsmith writes, referring to Justice Department memoranda issued in the two years following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “I was astonished, and immensely worried, to discover that some of our most important counterterrorism policies rested on severely damaged legal foundations.”

Bill Nye: Science Guy or Evolution Huckster?

Bill Nye, The Science Guy, upset residents of Waco when his explanation for light from the moon differed from the explanation in the Bible. While the original article is no longer on line, BSAlert.com reports on reading about this in the Waco Tribune:

As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own.

But don’t tell that to the good people of Waco, who were “visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence,” according to the Waco Tribune. Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled “We believe in God!” and left with three children, thus ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and conclude that Waco is as nutty as they’d always suspected.

While I cannot verify the accuracy of BSAlert’s post with the original article not being available on line, it is worth recalling that Bill Nye has upset the religious right in the past. I’ve previously written about a “subversive” exhibit at Epcot, The Universe of Energy Pavilion. The ride features a movie in which Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye star in a film which discusses evolution, and also teaches that the earth is older than the age stated in the Bible. In the course of that discussion I wound up doing a Google search which verified my suspicions that this exhibit was upsetting to the religious right as I found this criticism:

Opened a couple of years ago, Universe of Energy is one of several attractions at Epcot that portray molecules-to-man evolution as fact, with high-tech special effects, Star Wars quality surround sound, audio animatronics, simulation seats and fast-moving, humorous scripting. The attraction propels 500 impressionable youngsters and adults through the dazzling displays every 17 minutes, as it illustrates everything from the Big Bang to dinosaurs to the ultimate future, where the correct answer for the Double Jeopardy question What is the only energy source that will never run out? is: brain power.

Even atheistic scientists should be ashamed at some of the shallow science presented in these attractions, such as picturing the Big Bang from the outside (there is no outside to a universe that encompasses everything), or that brain power would survive the heat death of the universe. To be fair, Epcot in this holiday season does have a nice manger scene, Christian Christmas carols playing over the intercoms, good patriotic programs and other clean fun, but in the scientific programs, never is God mentioned any time, nor even a hint that anybody, anywhere believes anything else than that evolution is fact. The host of “Universe of Energy,” Bill Nye the Science Guy, could better be named Bill Nye the Evolution Huckster. And won’t parents just be thrilled to find out that the star of the show, who outwits Albert Einstein and exits to thunderous applause is none other than openly-homosexual actress Ellen DeGeneres.

Bill Nye, Science Guy or Evolution Huckster? We report, you decide.

John Kerry on Why The Surge Did Not Work

John Kerry writes in The Huffington Post that escalation of the Iraq war has failed because there is no military solution to the problem:

The escalation failed to do the one and only thing it was supposed to do. The entire Iraq policy of George W. Bush has failed since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad. No amount of parsing or spinning can change those simple facts: the escalation is and was the wrong answer.

I chaired a hearing on the GAO Report yesterday, the report that stated that Iraqi civilians overall aren’t any safer, that the political benchmarks aren’t being met in Iraq, that, in short, none of the rationales for the escalation in Iraq have come to pass. It unfolds with maddening, enraging regularity: the Administration claims goals for their policy, they gradually back off of those goals and substitute smaller, less easily measured goals, and then muddy the waters hopelessly on whether even those modest new goals have been met. Time and again we’ve been through this.

That’s why the Congress set up some clear benchmarks to measure what’s happening in Iraq. Mitch McConnell praised the “clarity” those benchmarks brought to the debate. “Just wait until September,” they all said. “We put in these meaningful benchmarks, we can judge in September.”

Well, how do they judge those benchmarks now? Only three of 18 have been met. Another four were “partially met,” which sounds like a “Gentleman’s C” if I’ve ever heard of one (and, for anyone who saw my college transcript, I have).

Judgment time is here, and the only verdict is the same one we had in January, the same one we’ve had for a long time in Iraq: the Bush policy is a tragic failure. It’s a policy that not only isn’t working; it can’t work. A political solution in Iraq cannot come about without a clear deadline on where our troops will be pulling out. Only Iraqis can end this civil war, and they aren’t – and won’t be – making any progress with an open-ended, massive presence by our military in their country.

The White House has tried, with some success, to focus everyone’s attention in the media on the report they are writing, the report they used to call the Petraeus Report. But, at least judging from press reports, unfortunately, this report already seems to be controversial and solely focused on military measures. (No surprise – now, thanks in large measure to some good old fashioned muckraking out here in the blogosphere, we know that even the so-called Petraeus Report will be written not by the General, not by our Ambassador in Baghdad, but by the White House– the White House which has again and again avoided the kind of plain, unadorned facts discussed in the GAO report.)

Look, I know from experience that there’s no such thing as a military solution to a situation like this, and no amount of “metrics” can create one. Our own generals have always confirmed this about Iraq. And by the way — go read all of the statements at the time about the “reason” for the escalation – it was to buy political breathing room for Iraqis to compromise. Period. It hasn’t happened. So it all boils down to the same thing: these are more “steps” that don’t get you any closer to your real goals, “successes” that don’t lead to any resolution.

This White House ran out of credibility on Iraq a long long time ago. This is not the first time we’ve been told one thing only to learn another (Weapons of mass destruction? Greeted as liberators? Saddam’s oil revenue to pay for the war and reconstruction?), so, predictably, instead of an honest appraisal of the escalation, this White House is again moving the goalposts and shifting criteria– and they are doing it as the moment of accountability arrives. Their response to bad news has been and continues to be: simply change the story. What they can’t change is the fact that time is not on our side. It’s wrong to sacrifice over 100 American lives each month for a policy we know is not working.

So here’s where we stand: Republicans asked for clarity in this debate and swore up and down that, this time, they were serious. When September came around, they’d look at the facts and make a sober assessment on the merits of the policy in Iraq. Well, those facts are in. We need to keep up the pressure on them.

I’ll be working continuously this month trying to set a deadline to force a new policy in Iraq. I’ll try to stop by as often as I can this month with ways you can, if you choose, put the pressure on the Roadblock Republicans to force them to take a new tack. In the end, it’s been sustained action by millions of activists that have gotten us this far, and it’s only through the loud voices of those activists that we can get what’s right – an end to the Bush doctrine in Iraq, and a policy worthy of our soldiers’ sacrifice.