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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An inconvenient utility bill

Back home in Tennessee, safely ensconced in his suburban Nashville home, Vice President Al Gore is no doubt basking in the Oscar awarded to "An Inconvenient Truth," the documentary he inspired and in which he starred. But a local free-market think tank is trying to make that very home emblematic of what it deems Gore's environmental hypocrisy.

Armed with Gore's utility bills for the last two years, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research charged Monday that the gas and electric bills for the former vice president's 20-room home and pool house devoured nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006, more than 20 times the national average of 10,656 kilowatt-hours.

"If this were any other person with $30,000-a-year in utility bills, I wouldn't care," says the Center's 27-year-old president, Drew Johnson. "But he tells other people how to live and he's not following his own rules."
[Taken from http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=nation_world&id=5073354]


Melody said...

Hysterical, but not suprising. When Gore was trying to run for President there was no end to this kind of thing. Not like people needed much of it with Gore babling on about creating the internet.

I just don't understand how a person with any self respect votes for a man like that.

Jonathan Erdman said...

From what I hear there is some buzz about Gore making another prez run. He's in with the big boys at Apple and Google and has a lot of resources available from Hollywood. They love Al b/c of his global warming work.

The Hilary camp, however, is waiting for one thing: will Gore start to lose weight. If we begin to see a thinner and trimmer Al, then we will have a pretty good idea that he will throw his hat in the ring again.

ktismatics said...

I just don't understand how a person with any self respect votes for a man like that, says Melody. I voted for Al Gore, and I don't have a lot of self respect. So you're saying those two things go together?

Melody said...

To want someone who is that blatently dishonest to lead you and your fellow citizens seems to indicate a rather low opinion of yourself and others.

So, yes, I would venture to say voting for Gore could be a symptom of a lack of self-respect

Then again, one could merely have a low moral standard in which lying is a justifiable means to obtain the end that one (or many) desire.

ktismatics said...

Wow, tough talk. Hypocritical? Maybe, although I doubt he's ever denied he's a rich guy with a big house. I do sometimes wish I'd voted for Nader instead. But dishonesty and lying? What lies did you have in mind? Were there lies in his movie? I didn't spot them.

Melody said...

Oh, I haven't seen the movie yet, I wasn't refering to that.

I was thinking more along the lines of his presidential campaign.

He just made alot of obviously false statements in it that had absolutely no way of backing up.

The internet thing is the most famous, but he also lied about the foundation of his healthcare reform and was hypocritical in his treatment of the poor...among other things...those are just what stuck out in my mind.

It usually happened during debates, so maybe he just got carried away...but it's still not a good quality to have in a president.

ktismatics said...

Stimulated by your comment, I googled "gore internet" and found this piece at the top of the list. Here are a few quotes:

Gore never claimed that he "invented" the Internet, which implies that he engineered the technology. The invention occurred in the seventies and allowed scientists in the Defense Department to communicate with each other. In a March 1999 interview with Wolf Blitzer, Gore said, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Taken in context, the sentence, despite some initial ambiguity, means that as a congressman Gore promoted the system we enjoy today, not that he could patent the science, though that's how the quotation has been manipulated. Hence the disingenuous substitution of "inventing" for the actual language.

But the real question is what, if anything, did Gore actually do to create the modern Internet? According to Vincent Cerf, a senior vice president with MCI Worldcom who's been called the Father of the Internet,
"The Internet would not be where it is in the United States without the strong support given to it and related research areas by the Vice President in his current role and in his earlier role as Senator." The inventor of the Mosaic Browser, Marc Andreesen, credits Gore with making his work possible. He received a federal grant through Gore's High Performance Computing Act. The University of Pennsylvania's Dave Ferber says that without Gore the Internet "would not be where it is today." Joseph E. Traub, a computer science professor at Columbia University, claims that Gore "was perhaps the first political leader to grasp the importance of networking the country. Could we perhaps see an end to cheap shots from politicians and pundits about inventing the Internet?"

...Given that Gore was telling the truth, what's the issue? We have an odd bit of trivia of no relevance to the election--except to those liars who want to portray Gore as a liar.

So maybe he exaggerated his contribution a little -- who hasn't? But then there's this from David Letterman:

Top Ten Other Achievements Claimed By Al Gore:
10. Was first human to grow an opposable thumb
9. Only man in world to sleep with someone named "Tipper"
8. Current Vice President - Moesha fan club
7. He invented the dog
6. While riding bicycle one day, accidentally invented the orgasm
5. Pulled U.S. out of early 90's recession by personally buying 6,000 T-shirts
4. Starred in CBS situation comedy with Juan Valdez, "Juan for Al, Al for Juan"
3. Was inspiration for Ozzy Osboune song "Crazy Train"
2. Came up with popular catchphrase "Don't go there, girlfriend"
1. Gave mankind fire

So now I don't know what to think. But seriously, I don't recall any Gore lies about healthcare reform. What hypocricy do you refer to in his dealings with the poor?

Melody said...

Gore's statement, even in context, took very little nudging to make it in to the absurd unreality that we all remember.

Recognizing the usefulness of a tool and promoting it is a far cry from taking initiative in creating it.

But, if it is ok for Gore to stretch the truth on his presidential resume, why is it unseemly for other politicians or news people to stretch the truth in what he said?

Could it be because we hold (or hope to hold) our leaders and those report events to a higher standard of truthfulness than the average citizen?

Could Gore's lack of restraint in exagerating his accomplishments during public debate be a foreshadowing of his inability to stick to the facts on foreign policy or national security if he has something to be gained by misleading the public?

These are not possibilties that one wants to allow in the leader of one's country.

As for my earlier statements...

Gore claimed that some med was available for much cheaper than is sold for (except not, because the replacement medecine he mentioned is for dogs).

There was some story Gore told where he met this girl and felt compelled to help her and the little girl and her mother came and thanked him during some program...later it turned out he'd never met them before.

He was a horrible landlord, who kept his tenents living in awful holes for too much rent.

It's been a while so I don't have alot of facts, but I don't want to do a research project during work either...my boss might be a bit miffed.

Jonathan Erdman said...

So what if Gore stretched the truth? So what if he lied?

I don't think truth is really an important thing in American politics anymore. It is only important if your political opponent lies. But if your guy stretches the truth it is for the greater good.....But maybe that's the way it has always been....Maybe there is nothing new under the sun....

ktismatics said...

I have to admit don't remember this stuff at all. I presume it gets beaten to death on the conservative talk radio programs. The medication for the dog? Yes, that's what he said: his mother pays 3 times the price for the same med he gives his dog. The little girl story I don't know anything about. Landlord thing? Dunno about that one either. The explanation about the Internet works for me, more or less. I can't see not voting for a guy based on it. I doubt whether you changed your vote based on that statement either.

The issue, as I recall, wasn't whether Gore is or is not a blowhard. It was whether any self-respecting person could vote for such a blowhard. I'm not sure I've ever seen a candidate for the Presidency who wasn't overly impressed with himself, who didn't overstate his qualifications and underplay his weaknesses, who wasn't in the pocket of special interests. Can any self-respecting person vote for any of these candidates?

I also think we tend to look for information, substantiated or not, that confirms our pre-existing opinions. I, for example, think Bush is the worst president in my lifetime and should go to jail. I am always ready to spot his little mistakes and fibs (Saddam-al Qaida links, WMDs, no nation-building, smaller government, etc.). I have to admit I had a hard time persuading myself to vote for Kerry last time, running on the "anybody but Bush" platform. For me it really did come down to voting for a waffler who might stand a chance of beating a criminal. I'm still amazed that anybody the Dems threw up there couldn't have beaten Bush in a landslide. But that's because I see what I want to see, I suppose.

ktismatics said...

And in today's news, a shows that the rate of terrorist attacks worldwide has jumped 4-fold since the Iraq war began. Terrrorist activity increased much faster after the war began than in the interval between 9/11 and the Iraq invasion. "America is safer and America is winning the War on Terror," Bush continues to say -- this quote is from 9/06. Lie or exaggeration? Or maybe he just didn't have the data in hand yet. Biased study? The National Counterterrorism Center's Worldwide Incidents Tracking System reached essentially the same conclusions 2 months before the afore-cited quote from Bush.

ktismatics said...

Let's try again, shall we? In preview mode the prior comment was formatted right and the links worked right. Same this time. Here goes...

And in today's news, a shows that the rate of terrorist attacks worldwide has jumped 4-fold since the Iraq war began. Terrrorist activity increased much faster after the war began than in the interval between 9/11 and the Iraq invasion. "America is safer and America is winning the War on Terror," Bush continues to say -- this quote is from 9/06. Lie or exaggeration? Or maybe he just didn't have the data in hand yet. Biased study? The National Counterterrorism Center's Worldwide Incidents Tracking System reached the same conclusions 2 months before the afore-cited quote from Bush.

ktismatics said...

Beats me. Anyhow, click on the blue and it takes you to the report in question. Daggone internet -- must be Gore's fault.

Jonathan Erdman said...

I went to the link and found a quote from the comments that I thought was interesting regarding the war on terror:

It’s like the battered wife syndrome. Standing in front of the police with a broken arm and an eye swollen shut, she doesn’t press charges because it may make him mad.
Don’t take the bees nest down from the front porch.....the bees will attack us. We’ll just sit here and sip our summer tea and take a sting once in awhile.

There have been hundreds of terrorist attacks across the globe, well before Bush put one foot in the White House.

So now everyone thinks the gates of hell have opened up, as if the gates before were only slightly ajar.

I think that an escalation of terrorists attacks is not really surprising to me. I don't think it discredits the war on terror or even the Iraq occupation. I think it just makes me think that if we leave right now then it would be a clear victory for terrorists cells.

We tried to ignore worldwide terrorism and the result was 9/11. So, now we find the struggle heightened and intensified.

Conflict. Sometimes it can be smooted over. Sometimes two parties can negotiate a settlement. Sometimes we can ignore it and it eventually goes away. Sometimes it reaches a point where direct confrontation is unavoidable and one party must win and the other must lose.

In regard to Iraq and the war on terror I don't think we can go back. We are locked into a win or lose scenario.

Melody said...

I agree we're seeing through worldview colored glasses.

I think it is entirely possible that Bush is defining winning in different terms than you are.

I'm glad you at least had difficulty voting for Kerry...just because it shows discernement rather than blindly voting for whoever the party tells you, you should vote for.

I didn't vote for Bush the first time, I wasn't old enough. I've never liked talk radio either. I read the paper. Biased, yes...but a little less blatently so. They still have to pretend they're neutral. Some of it was from TV news too.

ktismatics said...

Defining winning differently -- now you know most of the Democrats are going to call it lying to say that we're winning the war on terror. So perhaps even the definition of "truth" is relative to one's worldview. My main reason for skepticism about Kerry was that he voted to authorize the war. I think Hillary is suspect for the same reason in 2008. Obama? I don't know enough about him yet. I am, however, pleased that the Democratic congress is at least rattling the cage about getting out of Iraq. But that's the kind of conversation that makes sense only among the antiwar crowd...

It's interesting for me to talk with Bush supporters. I suppose you inevitably hang around with people with opinions similar to your own. It gets easy to make flippant comments about Bush because they're funny and you know everyone more or less agrees. We live in France, where it's a pretty safe bet that anybody we talk to doesn't like Bush (though I've been proven wrong more than once). We used to live in Boulder, CO which is a very liberal college town. In our daughter's middle school Kerry outpolled Bush by something like 4 to 1; heck, even Nader got twice Bush's total. Now you know most of these kids have no firm basis for their political opinions. It's just in the air, in casual comments watching TV, etc. Here in France our daughter had a pal from Texas who had never talked to anyone who didn't like Bush. And vice versa for our daughter. I think that's a good thing for both of them.

Melody said...

Mmm, maybe democrats don't want us to be winning the war on terror because they were against it from the start so they would define it as losing from the get-go?

I just think in this case you're not going to stop all terrorist activity so how do you know when you've won (?) so wining becomes relative to one's expectations.

Honestly, I don't know how one really wins a war on terror while maintaining individual freedoms, which was my biggest concern when this whole thing started. So easy to declare a police state in the name of public safety.

As far as who I hang around...mmm, no. Reasonable conclusion, but largely incorrect. Most of my friends have very different world views, though being in small town America is slowly changing that.

It was interesting being in France. Our guides warned us when we got there not to talk about politics. They said that people would ask us if we voted for Bush. If we said yes they would try and tell us why we were wrong and if we said no they would assume we would agree with their verbal abuse of Bush and go on forever.
Our guides were right.

A kid from Texas in Paris...that had to be disorienting...but you're right...good experience.