Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 2, 2007
POLITICS: Friday Afternoon Poll: Electric Al Gore Edition!

Take the Goreland poll:

What is Al Gore doing in his house to use all that electricity?
Playing Dr. Frankenstein.
Trying to make the Earth warmer on purpose so people will believe him.
Frying himself peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Creating something even more awesome than the internet.
Turning a DeLorean into a time machine.
Posting lots of comments on lefty blogs about BusHitler.
Playing Donkey Kong until his eyeballs bleed.
Developing weapons of mass destruction. We must invade!
Recounting the votes, over and over and over and over.
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com
Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:16 PM | Politics 2007 | Comments (39) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

That's the thing I love about these right-wing blogs -- they completely take the piss out of decent politicians, like Gore, whose major sin is being a Democrat, while ignoring the buffoon in the White House.

It's actually quite funny, in a sad way. I challenge you to post something that's critical of anything that Bush has said or done, which by this time in his presidency should be pretty darn simple, even for conservative lemmings...

Posted by: spence at March 2, 2007 9:10 PM

Are you on the attack because you are jealous that Al Gore has been on the correct side of nearly every important issue in the course of human history in the past 25 years?

I will list just a few of this man's achievements (in no particular order):
1. Visionary funding of the internet
2. Opposition (in the face of intense wingnut pressure ... "freedom fries") to the Iraq war.
3. Publishing a book about global warming in 1992!!!
4. Advocacy of free trade.

The man is a sage. So how do you repay him for his extensive service to your country? By echo chambering a farce of a story. Try to have a little self-awareness once in a while and realize that maybe pushing the wingnut line might just be a little too shameful this time around.

Posted by: jec68 at March 2, 2007 10:17 PM

Crank, this is too perfect a spot not to ask: The Right Wing News poll that's been getting some play in the blogs today - I saw that you were one of the respondents.

My question: Are you one of the ones who answered "No" to the question of whether humans are mainly responsible for global warming, or one of the few who skipped the question? I can understand arguing how big of an danger it is, or what we should do about it, or even having enough doubts that you choose not to answer - but to answer "No" to that question is just inexplicable to me. (And I usually understand your positions, even though I rarely agree with them.)

Posted by: Devin McCullen at March 3, 2007 12:11 AM

Devin,

Most reasonable people understand that the big ball of fire called the Sun is more responsible for the temperature that anything we might do. The question none of the adherents of the global warming religion seem to be able to answer is if our activity is responsible for the slight change in Earth temperature why is Mars also slightly warming? It is the height of arrogance to assume our activity is changing the climate without acknowledging that temperature cycles changed back and forth over the centuries long before a single manufacturing plant was built. The ice covered country called Greenland was called Greenland for a reason a thousand years ago.

Posted by: largebill at March 3, 2007 9:09 AM

It comes down simply to this - IF global warming is caused by people then liberals han 'fix' it by throwing our tax dollars at the problem in ever-increasing percentages - the same way we are 'fixing' all of our social ills.

However, IF global warming is a cyclical event inherent in the nature of the universe then liberals - incapable of acknowledging higher powers than themselves (whether labled god, fate, karma, or mother nature) - would be forced to admit that not everything can be fixerd with gobs of government dollars.

Posted by: Bensdad00 at March 3, 2007 12:57 PM

What this topic mostly addresses is that a) super-conservatives are not very funny (because, this is way too lame to be funny) and b) super-conservatives do not like science (there are over 1,000 peer reviewed studies on global warming and exactly ZERO of them conclude that human activities have little to nothing to do with the overall climatic changes that are subtle and impact sensitive areas).

Posted by: jim at March 3, 2007 1:14 PM

I agree with Jim on the science and facts but disagree on the not-funny part. I thought it was Letterman quality. Nice one Crank.

As a Democrat, I voted for 'building something more awesome than the Internet.' It reminds how annoyed I got back when President Useless made fun of Gore for claiming to have invented the Internet.

Sure he didn't invent the Internet; but he was involved in funding its initial stages back in the early seventies. Meanwhile, GWB was wandering around Houston in a coke induced, AWOL haze.
Sure, a canidate's antics at that stage in life do not necessarily dicate job performance. But I thought was ironic, who was making fun of whom for work done back then.

Posted by: PatrickG at March 3, 2007 1:23 PM

I find it very interesting that Mars is experiencing the same symptoms of warming that the Earth is.

If you want to know why scientist are not out from in the arguement that humans are NOT causing global warming, all you have to do is follow the money. There is not much grant money available to study the warming effects of the Sun on our climate.

Posted by: maddirishman at March 3, 2007 2:26 PM

au contraire mad irish guy. Gulf, Exxon, GM, Ford invest hundreds of millions in junk science that has been circulating for decades.

Posted by: PatrickG at March 3, 2007 2:42 PM

Patrick,

You said: "Sure he didn't invent the Internet; but he was involved in funding its initial stages back in the early seventies." Uh, no. The early origins of the internet were Joe Licklider's ideas in the early 1960's which led to TCP/protocal. He pushed the work and obtained funding for the APRAnet which later evolved into the internet. From 69 to 71, Gore was in the military. He got out of the military a few months early to attend divinity school. After a year at Vanderbilt divinity school he worked at a newspaper for a couple years. Then he decided he wanted to be a lawyer so he went to Harvard law school. There was an opening in a Tennessee congressional district so he quit law school and ran for congress. He was a congressman from 1977 to 1985 with no major legislative credits. He was elected to the senate in 1984. In the late 1980s, Gore introduced the Gore Bill, which was later passed as the High Performance Computing and Communication Act of 1991. During a March 1999 CNN interview, while trying to differentiate himself from rival Bill Bradley, Gore boasted: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Basically in trying to stress his tech awareness Gore overplayed his hand. Honest people understand the internet would exist today even if Gore had never entered politics.

See the thing is facts are a stubborn thing. You can say Gore did such and such and you can claim Bush was AWOL and doing coke, but facts tend to refute your claims.

Gore is not a scientist, but he did attend divinity school and now he is leader of a cult like religion based on an unyielding belief in man-made global warming. MadIrishman hit the nail on the head, scientist live for research grants and an urgent crisis get more grease than a theory about slight change of undetermined origin.

Posted by: largebill at March 3, 2007 3:09 PM

I stand corrected, uber-conservatives are funny. The last paragraph of largebill's text is a scream. While succinctly stating Gore's resume and accurately stating that initially Gore did overstate his roll in the "invention" of the Internet he apparently cannot resist completely going boffo over the top with the whole "cult religion" and "only liberal scientists get money" thing. I'm still busting a gut.

Posted by: jim at March 3, 2007 3:45 PM

Thank you large bill for clarifying Gore's resume. I knew he sponsored a bill that supported the internet's implementation; I guess I was way off on the dates (about 20 years or so). But, I will stand by how annoying it was to listen to Candidate Bush mock Gore for 'overplaying' his role, because before GWB ran for president, his number one accomplishment was, in the words of Ron Reagan Jr, 'that he was no longer an obnoxious drunk.'

Posted by: PatrickG at March 3, 2007 4:01 PM

Jim,

Believe you misread what I wrote. I did not say only liberal scientists get money. Heck, I didn't even know that scientists were grouped as liberal or conservative. I would hope their political leanings wouldn't affect their scientific studies. What I said was government will spend more on something hyped as an urgent issue. If people calmly said this could be a problem hundreds of years from now and I'd like money to do some studies they would get less money. Research isn't cheap and there is competition for grants. If you know anyone involved in the process of getting government spending, ask if they have seen interesting salesmanship used to convince politicians (of either party) to sponsor legislation for spending.

Posted by: largebill at March 3, 2007 4:23 PM

LB,

While perhaps mis-reading exactly the point of what you were saying you still essentially are saying that money has gone solely to scientists looking to find evidence of global climate change. If you truly believe that there are not politically aligned scientists (clearly there are on both sides of issues) then you would certainly expect to find studies that show conclusions on both sides of the topic. They don't. 100% of peer reviewed studies show that almost without a doubt humans are contributing to a potentially catostrophic shift in the planet's climate. There is PLENTY of $ on a very specific side (as PatrickG pointed out earlier in the thread) and guess what their contribution has produced in terms of a true and intellectual contribution to this alleged debate? Zip.

And back to the topic of mocking Al Gore. I am all for making fun of pretty much any politician and most public figures in general. Few people get away with not deserving at least some sort of shot in the ribs. The irony here is that there have been topics posted and written on the qualifications of candidates and politicians yet the most mockable and least competent individual (at least in the Top 5 as also discussed on this site) to grace the Oval Office is treated on this site as if he walks on water (which he may or may not know how to spell and very likely cannot pronounce correctly).

Posted by: jim at March 3, 2007 4:58 PM

Crank, stick with baseball...your political stuff is sub-Rush Limbaugh crap which belies your obvious intelligence...

Posted by: shafty at March 3, 2007 6:14 PM

Emotional commitment always trumps intelligence.

Posted by: Rene at March 3, 2007 8:01 PM

Devin - I answered no, albeit as something of a knee-jerk response given the nature of the poll. I was surprised that there wasn't a single "yes."

I've been through my view on this previously. It's certainly true that the earth has gotten warmer in recent decades. It's also certainly true that (1) the earth has gotten warmer at times in the past without human help and (2) scientific consensuses have been wrong, very frequently, throughout history.

The issues under debate are (1) whether that's a trend that can be projected into the future, (2) whether human activity is a or the contributing factor, and (3) whether there's a solution that will be effective at a cost we can live with. Note that if we can't establish causality we can't even confidently predict (1).

I'm skeptical of the scientific "consensus" because so much of it is based on (A) groupthink and ideology and (B) computer models that purport to eliminate literally all possible variables in the entire world and the surrounding solar system. That's rather a large enough set of assumptions to set off my BS meter. Scientists seem too easily to forget what a massive system they are dealing with.

I don't exclude the possibility that human activity has caused the warming, nor the more likely possibility that it has played some contributing factor, however minor. But I think we're a long way from having the kind of certainty that justifies drastic public policy measures with clear and indisutable costs.

Posted by: The Crank at March 3, 2007 9:26 PM

Thanks for the response. One thing I would point out is that scientific consensuses have also often been right throughout history. But it sounds more like you're preferred answer would be "I don't know."

And I'm not an expert on the subject myself, but from what I've seen of the argument, the anti-intervention argument has mostly been to dispute the existence of a warming trend until recently. To now say "Okay, there may be a warming trend but we really don't know what causes it" has a feel to me of changing the argument so you can get the result you want (a lack of official action on the issue). But I guess I can understand the position.

Posted by: Devin McCullen at March 4, 2007 1:48 AM

...show that almost without a doubt humans are contributing to a potentially...

Heh, got enough qualifiers in there? Almost without a doubt, contributing, potentially isn't science.

For people that don't just crawl around behind AlGore scarfing up his crumbs of wisdom there's been a lot of interesting new stuff on Global Warming recently.

Directly on point on Crank's post about Gore's hypocritical energy piggishness check out this from Treehugger about - brace yourself - GWB's super bleeding edge energy efficient house in Crawford. Seems like some of us walk the walk and others, like AlGore, want everyone else to do without while they lounge around in swimming pool sized hot tubs built over zinc mines.

Another fascinating story is the UN FAO Study that says "..., the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport.... Yes, cow farts cause more global warming than cars. Of course, its worth pointing out that the cow fart problem is the result of human activity - eating meat - but isn't it interesting that environmentalists aren't running a campaign to get us to stop eating meat and thus reduce methane emissions? Easier to remedy than the transportation problem.

Then there's this article in Scientific American By Frank Keppler and Thomas Röckmann (sorry, subscription required but you can read the lead para's) wherein they reveal that they've establish that living plants produce methane - a greenhouse gas 23 times as powerful as CO2 (like cow farts). What's fascinating (to me) about this article is what it says about the utter cluelessness of scientists about this problem that people are so worked up over. Of the estimated 600 million tons of methane emissions into the earth's atmosphere annually - remember methane is 23 times as powerful as CO2 as a greenhouse gas - they've just determined that up to 240 million tons of it is coming from living plants. Oh and on the funding? That article by By Frank Keppler and Thomas Röckmann is bleeding with their fear of condemnation by their colleagues and what will happen to them when their study is published. You can see them squirming in every paragraph.

If you can just take off your global warming blinders for a minute or 2 and sit back and think about that a bit you'll see how 'human induced global warming' skeptics are created.

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 4, 2007 9:17 AM

Reading this: http://www.ecotality.com/blog/?p=350 , it seems like Gore's just trying to earn a living. If that's the case I expect many on the right will hold him in much higher regard.

Posted by: abe at March 4, 2007 11:32 AM

Dwilikers,

If you think that science is always about 100% hard core facts then you should cancel your subscription to that magazine. They still call it the Theory of Evolution although only whackjobs think it is wrong. Is there anyway to 100% prove evolution is an absolute fact? Probably not but the preponderence of evidence leads to the indisputable (if you are intellectually honest) conclusion that it is true. Same case with global climate change.

Hell, I have heard people in the nutty-conservative vein even argue that while it does appear that we have something to do with the earth warming that that might actually be a good thing because more people die of cold than of heat.

What gets me is why the resistance? There is a burgeoning alternative-energy industry out there and other countries are clearly taking the lead on developing stuff. Whether it is due to global climate change or the simple fact that nothing lasts forever or that most of the oil is somewhere else (or some combo of the 2) it is indisputable that things are going to change. I don't think most people who have believe in the reality of global warming follow blindly at the feet of Gore. I know I don't. I haven't even seen his movie; that kind of stuff generally doesn't do it for me as far as entertainment goes. I think most people are fairly level-headed about this and the frustration comes in the utter denial from the right about even considering the possibility that the way we currently operate (I am not just talking about the US) is not sustainable for a myriad of reasons.

Posted by: jim at March 4, 2007 1:33 PM

your trackback is broken, darn it! I loved that post!

Posted by: radar at March 4, 2007 1:53 PM

Largebill, don't be discouraged by lefty loons who try to degrade you, you are right on!

Anyone who thinks that Gore is a "Sage" and President Bush is a "Buffoon" is, well, a Buffoon!!!!!

Posted by: radar at March 4, 2007 1:56 PM

Why are hyper-religious, short-sighted conservatives always so selfish? It's for your grandchildren. The things that Gore and Co. are suggesting to alleviate global warming make good sense regardless -- develop cleaner, more efficient forms of energy. Does it really matter WHY we do this?

So, you're saying global warming is a fraud, it's business as usual, let's keep burning as much coal and oil as we need and damn the results. Hypocrites...

If your guru, Dubyah, gave the word that Global Warming was "real" you'd follow him like the lemmings you are...

Posted by: dunce at March 4, 2007 8:18 PM

Another expert recants: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=2f4cc62e-5b0d-4b59-8705-fc28f14da388 . And Dunce, burning fossil fuels like mad serves no purpose. Neither does rushing blindly off a cliff. Thus far carbon trading and Kyoto have failed. And Alt energy is largely unproven. The US is outperforming the EU in terms of reducing emissions. Painting Bush and/or the US as the rogue state does not gibe with the facts. I do not care why we do it. I care about how it is done.

Posted by: abe at March 5, 2007 10:40 AM

What is "Alt energy" unproven at? It is energy. It does work. Are you referring to it being as efficient or (at this point in history) as cheap as oil or coal? If we as a world had put a tenth, hell a millionth, of the financial resources into developing solar, wind, hydro, etc. that we have into oil development (including big, sweet tax breaks to the most profitable companies in history) we would no doubt have more efficient, more powerful and cheaper alt energy sources. The surface has hardly been scratched. Until you can say that oil will last forever and that nuclear waste won't it is foolhardy not to come to the conclusion that our relatively near future is going to have to depend upon some sort of better alternative energy.

Posted by: jim at March 5, 2007 2:21 PM

Jim, I believe it is imperative that we develop other sources of energy. Of those you cite solar is the most promising and scalable. Ethanol is a waste of time and money. Some of the other technologies are nowhere. "If we as a world had put a tenth, hell a millionth, of the financial resources into developing solar, wind, hydro, etc. that we have into oil development we would no doubt have more efficient, more powerful and cheaper alt energy sources." Simply unsupported by any facts, and lacking an understanding of markets. When the government is funding projects like this: http://i-r-squared.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-to-make-easy-875000.html We have a problem. In the short run we need to increase supply by tapping more N American sources, simultaneously increasing conservation efforts. The payoff in solar/wind/pick'em etc. is in the next decade. Got to get there, hopefully under 4$ a gallon.

Posted by: abe at March 5, 2007 9:38 PM

Waiting around for a magical source of energy is irresponsible... If we raise the gas tax to cover exertnalities associated with its usage, the market would encourage the development of alternative energy sources. It would also encourage conservation (god forbid!) Instead, gas got cheaper and cheaper through the nineties (I can remember in 1999 it was .89 a gallon in Boston.) and Detroit bet the farm on building bigger and bigger vehicles.

Why do we get the same gas milage on average that we did 30 years ago? There is no excuse.

Currently the United States consumes one quarter of the world’s fossil fuels on annual basis, but China is consuming more each year and could catch up to us by the end of the decade.

Do you need a scientist to prove to you this is harming the planet?

Posted by: PatrickG at March 5, 2007 10:49 PM

Abe, One anecdotal example does not an argument make. Your argument breaks down to (if I am reading you correctly), the government screws stuff up, alternative energy is difficult and the market for alt energy has not existed at an economically sustainable level so putting money into it was worthless but may not be in the future but just to be safe we should drill all over the US for more oil. Our gov't (and no doubt others) have worked hand in hand to ensure that neither technologies nor behaviors changed over the years and this Admin has been particularly keen about supporting their buds (and I would argue interests). Change is inevitable unless of course we can come up with cars that get 1,000 miles to the gallon, it just depends on how long you are willing to wait for it to occur.

Posted by: jim at March 6, 2007 1:57 PM

Raising gasoline taxes sounds great until you consider how brutally regressive that tax is. To me that tax is so onerous on low income folks as to be immoral.

Similar problem with Ethanol. Any plan that leverages our food production against the needs of transportation is poorly considered. No matter where the food comes from you're taking it out of the food supply when you use it to make fuel. Someone is either going to go hungry or pay more for bread or both.

Hydrogen is a pipe dream. It won't work.

Its going to end up being electricity and that means solar, wind and nuclear in massive amounts. Either that or we keep burning oil, coal and gas.

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 6, 2007 7:43 PM

"Raising gasoline taxes sounds great until you consider how brutally regressive that tax is."

Then double the CAFE standards immediately. The right answer is probably a combination of the two.

I've heard some say raising the CAFE standards will only cause people to drive more because the higher MPG will make driving cheaper; But with a gas tax you get the same amount of driving miles for the same price but you double the efficiency.

Posted by: PatrickG at March 6, 2007 8:30 PM

Then double the CAFE standards immediately.

I wouldn't have a problem with that, although you obviously couldn't do it "immediately". Although I think government intervention in the marketplace should be avoided energy is so important to the US economy I think it is justified in this case.

I've heard some say raising the CAFE standards will only cause people to drive more because the higher MPG will make driving cheaper; But with a gas tax you get the same amount of driving miles for the same price but you double the efficiency.

Eh? I have no idea why anyone would say that increasing CAFE standards would cause people to drive more. That makes no sense whatsoever IMO. Even if it were true though, I don't see why its a problem. Driving isn't evil - right?

As for "But with a gas tax you get the same amount of driving miles for the same price but you double the efficiency" -

Huh?

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 7, 2007 11:16 AM

"Driving isn't evil" -- of course not. But I guess I didn't say this very clearly.

Raising Miles Per Gallon (MPG) lowers the price of driving, right? Well anytime you lower the price of something, demand for it increases, right? So now demand increases for driving, and people drive twice as much, well we're burning just as many fossil fuels as we were before raising CAFE.

But if you simulataneously raise the gas tax, now with the higher MPG, driving could remain at current costs. But instead of sending all our money to Iran so they can build nuclear bombs, we'd keep some in this country to fight pollution.

Nobody loses except Iran and a**holes who like to attach wheels to their living rooms and drive around in them.

Posted by: PatrickG at March 7, 2007 2:08 PM

Note the difference between the cost of 'driving' and the cost of gasoline. Higher MPG lowers the former. But a gas tax will raise it back up.

Posted by: PatrickGq at March 7, 2007 2:11 PM

I don't think its so directly linked Patrick. If you doubled the US fleet fuel economy overnight I doubt you'd see miles traveled double as well, which is your underlying premise. I would guess when gas doubled in price over the last few years driving decreased little if any.

I'm tempted to argue that point more vigorously but the law of supply and demand says there will be some increase.

Around here we drive just about exactly as much as we need to regardless of how much gasoline costs. We commute to work and for errands to the tune of about 400 miles per week, maybe a bit more. Gas could be cheaper by half and that wouldn't change in any significant way - we're not going to start doing a bunch of recreational driving.

When gas prices go up we pay more, when they go down we pay less and have more money for other things - not additional driving.

In any case, I agree CAFE standards should go up. Way up. I just don't agree about the gas tax.

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 7, 2007 3:44 PM

So Dwilkwers -- you have to drive 400 miles a week to function and you have no interest in driving more.

Now lets say the Government requires Detroit/Japan to sell you a car that gets twice as many MPG. Now your 400 miles are costing half as much (assuming gas price does not change).

Now lets say, the Goverment imposes a gas tax to take some of that savings off your hands ( I hate taxes too but I think this one is justified for many reasons).

You are not out any cash. Iran is. The environment is cleaner. The only loss is people won't be able to have quite as many television sets in their cars...

Posted by: PatrickG at March 7, 2007 4:10 PM

Patrick, I wouldn't mind paying a higher gas tank personally, but I'm solidly middle class and I could afford an extra $1 per gallon - it would only be a minor irritant to me.

Its people without the resources of folks like me that concern me when it comes to that. And those are the same people that can't afford to buy new high efficiency autos.

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 7, 2007 6:09 PM

But why, just for the sake of argument, would you want to double CAFE and double gas taxes? What is so alluring about the raised taxes?

You are not out any cash. Iran is. The environment is cleaner. The only loss is people won't be able to have quite as many television sets in their cars...

Raising the tax in your scenario doesn't make the environment cleaner. The same amount of gas is used with or without the tax. Nor is Iran out any money due to the tax. Nor does the tax reduce silly school bus sized private autos.

Posted by: Dwilkers at March 7, 2007 7:14 PM

What is so alluring about the raised taxes?

Very valid question. I think its necessary to counteract increase in driving due to higher MPG and lower driving costs. If, like you say, demand for driving is completely inelastic, then no tax is necessary. But I am sure some tax would be required, however small. And you're right, there is no need to double it (i don't know where I came up with that.)

Posted by: PatrickG at March 7, 2007 9:05 PM
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