Al Gore Unplugged

[With respect to global warming]: I look at Al Gore like he’s Paul Revere. I am grateful for the hours this guy has logged in, the miles he has logged, trying to bring the information to everyone. Worldwide — not just in this country, but worldwide.

Laurie David on Open Source

Click to Listen to the Show (24 MB MP3)

The light is on [MarkyBon / Flickr]

Al Gore still sometimes introduces himself by saying, “Hi, I’m Al Gore. I used to be the next President of the United States.” But it seems that, six years after his devastating non-election, he genuinely says it with a sense of fun. And he’s saying a lot of other things right now — about the Iraq war, about global warming, about the disintegration of American journalism — with a kind of verve and animation that somehow got lost in the lockbox of his 2000 campaign.

By plunging back into two of his lifelong passions — the internet and the environment — it looks like Al Gore has kind of reinvented or rediscovered himself. He’s bypassed the channels of mainstream media by sending his biting speeches out through MoveOn.org — so that any ordinary citizen can read what he actually said. And then blog about it. And he’s spent the last years travelling the globe with a Powerpoint presentation on global warming that, hard as it is to believe (Al Gore + Powerpoint?), by all accounts would knock your socks off. And that may soon be this summer’s hot blockbuster in the form of a documentary called An Inconvenient Truth.

All of which is ironically bringing him back into the mainstream media (check out the cover of this month’s Vanity Fair) and into some people’s dreams about the 2008 election. So the questions for this hour are: What does Al Gore mean to us now, and what does his resurrection say about the current political atmosphere? Is he really New-and-Improved or is he actually the same stiff man that for some reason we’re now ready to hear? Is he a better leader outside politics, or could he possibly stay true to the New Al Gore if he re-entered the fray?

David Remnick

Editor, The New Yorker

Author, Reporting: Writings from The New Yorker (forthcoming)

Laurie David

Environmental activist

Producer, An Inconvenient Truth (the Al Gore documentary on global warming)

Founder, stopglobalwarming.org

Contributor, Huffington Post

Ezra Klein

Author, “The New New Gore“, The American Prospect

Blogger, Ezra Klein: Tomorrow’s Media Conspiracy Today

Worked for the Dean Campaign in 2004

Peter Beinart

Editor-at-large, The New Republic

Author, The Good Fight: Why Liberals and Only Liberals Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again (forthcoming)

Related Content


  • Potter

    Yo! Al Gore!!!! (swoon) 🙂

  • Potter

    I don’t care if he’s the same stiff man or if he is the new Al Gore or if he would stay one way or the other if he re-entered the fray. he should just re-enter the fray. I wish there were someone else better or as good ( maybe Russ Feingold) so that Al Gore could continue power-pointing around the globe. Gosh we are starved for a leader. So starved.

  • Winston_new

    God, please make Potter’s wishes come true and you can give him all of mine but one. Please let Al Gore’s new movie be a success.

    Fahrenheit 9/11 is a high-grossing, award-winning documentary film by American filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore, which had a general release in the United States and Canada on June 25, 2004 in the run up to that year’s presidential election. The film has since been released in 42 more countries and holds the record for highest box office receipts by a general release documentary.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_9/11

    United States presidential election, 2004

    Analysis and trivia

    • George W. Bush became the first candidate since his father—George H. W. Bush, elected in 1988—to receive a majority of the popular vote. It also marked the seventh consecutive election in which the Democratic nominee failed to reach that threshold.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election%2C_2004

  • We’ve all heard politicians go on about how everything is so different, bad, scary and never to be the same since September 11, 2001. Not that 9-11 wasn’t bad. It was. But, I place the date of our great national tragedy when everything really started getting different, bad, scary and never to be the same just a little bit earlier. More like November 2000. November 2004 was just giving the unconscious body of our nation a few more hearty whacks with a lead pipe. Can we come out of our coma now?

    I wish Al Gore would have fought a lot harder, been more real and not let the color of his suits become the issue.

  • Sarge

    Reruns, just reruns. The new improved Al Gore is all fancy wrapping paper. He’s the same old Al Gore. It’s too bad the dems can’t come up with something really new. Get ready for another whipping.

  • Potter

    Winston, you cite this trivia: “George W. Bush became the first candidate since his father—George H. W. Bush, elected in 1988—to receive a majority of the popular vote. It also marked the seventh consecutive election in which the Democratic nominee failed to reach that threshold.”

    Wiki trivia says this too Although Bush received a majority of the popular vote: 50.73% to Kerry’s 48.27%, it was—percentage-wise—the closest popular margin ever for a sitting President; Bush received 2.5% more than Kerry; the closest previous margin won by a sitting President was 3.2% for Woodrow Wilson in 1916. In terms of absolute number of popular votes, his victory margin (approximately 3 million votes) was the smallest of any sitting President since Harry S. Truman in 1948.

    Wouldn’t you say that cheating, lies ( now called “swift boating”), slick attack ads (windsurfer John Kerry), fear-mongering about 9/11 and being in the midst of (an unending) “war againt terror”, which included blatant and incessant misleading about the connection between AlQuaeda and Iraq, not asking for sacrifices, tax cuts—- had something to do with that slim margin. The icing on the cake was of course the voting in Ohio.

    The fact is that GWB has taken campaigns to a new low. In order to compete Democrats have to get down and dirty. Al Gore did not have the stomach for it. John Kerry did not have the stomach for it. The American people have to suffer enough and learn the hard way to make responsible choices that are not swayed by the stench clouds that arise from one side primarily and settle on the other in these foul campaigns.

  • Maybe he didn’t actually invent the Internet, but does Al Gore have a plan to save it? I’d love to hear his take on the telecommunication legislation that could endanger the web as we know and love it : the “COPE” act currently in the House. See http://www.savetheinternet.com/ for more info.

  • I’d like to know what Al Gore thinks are the reasons so many Dems have caved on all the critical issues of the times. Is it simply that they are also bought and paid for by the corporations (sorry for the cynicism?

  • I don’t think we can count on politicians anymore. Their time is over. Our politicians are all owned by corporations (the current Administration being an obvious and transparent example) and we, the American people, are all too easily led. The majority gets its news from specious sources. We are ripe for revolution. We need a statesman (or woman) who is strong and bullet-proof, because what needs to be said will not be readily received by the masses. But there is much that needs to be said. Al Gore has proven that he cannot do it, extreme makeover not withstanding. I see the current Administration as pure evil, and the Democrats are spineless, weak, and disorganized. They need to find a message (like trying to find wood in a lumberyard given the current administration’s bungling) and hammer on it until 11.04.08.

  • Potter

    Hello Drunkonthewind- The strong and bullet-proof person is not going to spring up out of the muck (or from a revolution that nobody appears to be willing to go out in the streets for) and appear like an angel that everyone all of a sudden realizes is our Savior. If nobody wants to hear what needs to be said ( you put your finger on it) then how is anyone going to win by saying it????? And how does that connect with being too easily led?

    Al Gore is saying all that needs to be said. Who is listening? Who is reporting? Not even my beloved New York Times printed the transcripts which should be in everyone’s mailbox IMO.

    It’s not likely that any decent unseasoned person could battle through the fire and foul gaseous clouds being thrown at him/her. At the very least least Al Gore, who is a decent person, has been through enough ( of the pain) it to be wiser next time around if he decides to run. If he did not have the stomach or the will or the inclination for it- I would certainly understand.

  • Vijtable

    First, peggysue, you are exactly right. If we look even closer at the congressional gerrymandering, aggregate voting leads to a very slim Republican majority in the House. However, the districts, as drawn by mostly Republicans, balkanize Democrats and allow Republicans a significant House majority. And then, there are all the suspicious voter fraud accusations in Florida and Ohio. Not to mention voting machines without a hard record.

    Okay… Al Gore is fascinating and exciting person. Outside of Mario Cuomo, Mr Gore is, to me, the closest thing to a modern-day John Adams: more than anything, he is a passionate and intelligent person whose image was hijacked by opponents, and who was willing to move on.

    Anyone who watches The War Room, about Clinton’s 1992 campaign, sees an Al Gore who is engaging and funny on the campaign trail, a serious asset to Mr Clinton’s credibility. It seems to me that, by 2000, the media echo chamber on the right was able to misrepresent him (“invented the internet”). He (like Clinton before him and Kerry after him) toned himself down for a Presidential campaign in the middle, ending up in a place where he sounded like the dry, boring person the right made him out to be.

    Also, Wired has an article on him today: click here

    I think Mr Gore, unlike John Adams, has the ability and the character to “pull a Nixon”, and restore his image and unite the party. Unlike Nixon, he has the potential to be a statesman, on par with the image Americans have of Clinton.

    That’s my thinking…

  • Ben

    While Al dances with moonbats at sundance, our faux texan talkin oil man in charge is saying we are “addicted to oil?” Politics 2006 is shaping up to be one surreal dog and pony show. Is competition on who can appear to better serve the the environment really going to get thrust front and center on the table? I’d love to see it, especially the attack ads.

  • bmp1975

    Al ! I’d like to hear Al Gore comment on leadership and strategies for the future of the democratic party. How do the democrats send a candidate who can stay in the game and not further polarize the public (Ixnay Illaryhay!)? We know the two party system is flawed but it is what it is. Democrats don’t seem to be playing to win. What does Al see as the common interests of all Americans behind the blue state/red state dichotomy?

    Yes, drunkonthewind, the democrats seem exceedingly disorganized!

  • Nikos

    Are the Dems disorganized?

    Yup. And running scared of using anything resembling the ‘S’-word (Socialism). So, it serves ’em right to be languishing behind the Elephant in public regard.

    Or does it?

    Maybe the Right simply have an insurmountable multi-million dollar propaganda machine:

    http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-0307236897-2

    And: http://www.radioopensource.org/suggest-a-show-march-2006/#comment-8395

    What else could explain the public’s uncritical acceptance of Dubya, who in any reasonable intellectual comparison to Al Gore is a veritable dribbling idiot?

    So, although the Dems haven’t any recognizable ideology like the Elephant has, doesn’t simple common decency count for anything? Doesn’t having a conscience count for anything???

    Actually: no.

    Not when you’re always slinking off into cover from another strafing run by the rightwing media attack machine.

    It’s all about propaganda, folks.

    Any and all opponents of the Rich have been doomed to junk like ‘swift-boating’ ever since the gutting of the Fairness Doctrine. ‘Swift-boating’ is only the most recent glaring example of this growing Amero-fascist tactic.

    And it’ll get worse before it gets better.

    (‘Course, we could demand a constitutional rectification of the disgraceful two-party system…nah! Who cares about representative democracy anyway?)

  • Potter

    Looks like our Savior will not appear 🙁

    (Not that I expected him to.)

  • Hello Al and Christopher….

    don’t you think that now would be the perfect time

    to ressurect those behind closed door meetings the Bush Admin.

    had with Big Oil? (even though the courts have attempted to put the issue to rest,

    or nailed the coffin shut.)

  • I admit that I didn’t vote for Al Gore in 2000. I voted for Ralph Nader. Then I held my breath until I knew that Washington State went to Gore as I’d assumed it would. Then I worked hard for the democrats in 2004 even leading my precinct to rally behind Kucinich. I ended up supporting and voting for Kerry (I liked Edwards better) but I ended up feeling betrayed. I went back to my local Green Party repentant. I continue to wrestle with that Green/Democrat dilema.

  • Maybe Al Gore should run as the Green candidate (suits & party) this time.

  • loki

    Remember Jimmy Carter’s malaise speach about oil addiction! Also,remember the debates Bush’s response to Global Warming-challenging global warming.

  • Winston_new

    Potter, if you look at the data you will aslo see that Bush % popular vote victory was much larger than the % of victory by JFK.

    The current politics practiced by the Democratic party is a looser and Gore typifies this. The following is from the Economist. And before you discount them a conservative mag out to help Bush

    “Two years ago, this newspaper narrowly favoured Mr Kerry’s incoherence over Mr Bush’s incompetence (see article). Since then, Republican incompetence has exceeded even our worst fears. How depressing to report that Democratic incoherence has soared too. America deserves better.”

    But here is what they say about Dem politics

    “The real danger facing the Democrats is that they become a permanent minority party—a coalition that enjoys support from the super-rich, a few minorities and the working poor, but is out of touch with the suburban middle class, not to mention America’s broader interests. Such a party might sneak a victory this year, thanks to Mr Rumsfeld et al, but then get hammered by, say, John McCain in 2008.”

    If the Dems fail to regain one of the parts of Congress in 2006, and then lose the 2008 Pres election, it will mean that they will be the minority party for at least, this generation. And, peggysue et al can talk about moonbat weirdos (like Kucinich who, by the way, just lost the enorsement of his home town newspaper for the first time) but they will never be a viable force in US politics. and more than Pat Buchanan ever was.

  • Winston_new

    sorry forget link

    Taking on George Bush

    The Democrats still have a lot to prove

    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=6826160

    P.S One of the producers here asked me why the Repubs targeted Daschle for defeat when he was minority leader. It is simply becuase being a leading Dem is not a winning position in local politics in many parts of the country. A current exmple is below and another is Senator Clinton in NY. She didn’t go home to Arknasas to run because she couldn’t win there and the same goes for her first home, Illinois.

    Reid’s image takes a hit

    Popularity falls as Democratic leader

    Becoming U.S. Senate minority leader has hurt Sen. Harry Reid’s popularity back home, according to a Review-Journal poll.

    Since he was re-elected in 2004 and took the party post, the percentage of Nevadans who view Reid favorably has dropped by 10 percentage points, while the number who view him unfavorably has increased 14 percentage points.

    Advertisement

    Click here for Monte Lago Village!

    Analysts say it’s obvious Reid’s new status, which requires him to spout the Democratic party line aggressively and also take the brunt of Republican attacks, has turned off home state voters who saw him as independent. Some are surprised at the magnitude of the shift.

    “Wow,” said University of Nevada, Reno, political scientist Eric Herzik on hearing Reid’s new rating. “That’s a real tight spread.”

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Apr-11-Tue-2006/news/6800507.html

  • Nikos

    Maybe it’s because I avoid all Hollywood products with such allergic disdain, but that trailer-sound-clip was…awful.

  • Nikos

    “Government doesn’t change until people demand it.”

    Yup!

    Anyone feeling cranky like me?

  • Winston_new

    I watched the previews for Big Al’s latest movie and at one point he talks about the snow on Kilamanjaro and how it is disapearing. I laughed and told my wife that Al had discoered the end of the last ice age and made a movie to tell liberals about it.

    See the temp records at the bottom of this page, it’s been getting warmrer for the last . . . . 150,000 years.

    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/temperature/

  • Nikos

    ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ ought to be the metaphoric lens for the country’s long overdue awakening and critique of the wrongness of the reigning rightwing ideology. It’s not just the environment they got wrong. It’s everything from foreign esteem of American power to basic human nature.

    It’s all wrong.

    How inconvenient!

  • Nikos

    Yeah, it was slow…but true. Who cares if it’s slow?

    Stephen Hawking can’t even speak aloud. Does that diminish his wisdom?

  • Vijtable

    Nikos: “American democracy itself finds itself at great risk…” because Americans, especially our media, are compelled by flash.

    I’m reminded of a Calvin & Hobbes strip, where Calvin expected the impressive clear plastic binder to carry the report. He is outraged (and surprised) at the low grade on the shoddy report.

    An old Indian fable talks about the same thing… A palm reader was always getting rudely insulted and had few repeat customers. He said things like “All your family would die before you do.” A wise man said to the palm reader, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” With the lesson in hand, the seer disguised himself, and read the same customer’s palm, exclaiming “You will outlive ALL your family!!!” The seer gets a hearty tip.

    People never change – we want the shiny things.

  • Nikos

    I wonder: if Gore runs again, what bullsh*t can the rightwing distortion machine sling at him this time? Won’t it ring hollow if they trot out the all same crap again?

    Especially after our national witnessing of the irredeemable witlessness of the pseudo-humans currently running the creaky machinery of our national government…

    It’ll be our first chance to see if rightwing smears have a ‘shelf life’!

  • kel

    The sad fact is that America doesn’t deserve a leader as thoughtful and honest as Albert Gore Jr. The facts are clear. Gore was right about the Internet, right about global warming, and right about our poor economy. And for this we turned to a born again ex-alcoholic frat boy. Shame on us

  • Vijtable

    When the “ex-alcoholic frat boy” is the “shiny thing”, doesn’t that speak badly about our politics?

    Of course, that kind is exactly the kind of argument my professor would make to try and persuade me to get involved in politics. 🙂 It’s such a wasteland of power- and favor-trading that I do not want to get involved… At least Al Gore did, though. As long as he’s playing, I can resist.

    Mea culpa: In 2000, I voted for Nader in Massachusetts. I wanted (and still want) a legitimate third party on the left, so that the Democrats would be the center party, not unlike Labour in Britain. Simply legitimizing a leftist party will marginalize the right-wing party, especially since the center is already occupied.

    Also, an idea: How about a call for a national holiday on election day (every two years)? My company does it every four. The one thing that prevents so many of the disenfranchised from voting is work and family responsibility. And how can Americans not like a platform calling for another holiday?

    Mr Gore, your country needs you!… And we need you to hire Aaron Sorkin to make your language flashy…

  • Vijtable

    Winston: regarding global warming…. I’m looking at the same page, and I’m seeing different data.

    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/temperature/sealevel.150kyr.jpg

    Sea levels are higher than ever in the last 150,000 years, which means ice caps are lower than ever. Note that 500 CE is when it started to rise significantly. By this time, most humans live in homes heated by wood, and wee supported by an agricultural establishment (which produces a lot of greenhouse gases).

    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/temperature/1000.gif

    Here… We see, basically around 1900 (about 20 years before that, the oil age really started), a precipitous rise in North American temperatures over a hundred years (1 degree is, by the way, HUGE).

    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/temperature/ObservedTemp.jpg

    The scariest one of all. Greenland has a large percentage of glacial (ice cap) ice. Starting around 1960 (which is about 20 years after the driving age began), a precipitous rise in Greenland’s temperature (if 1 degree is huge, 2 is ENORMOUS).

    Right below that image on the original page you referenced, http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/temperature/, right at the bottom of the page, are the most striking images. in 10 years, Greenland lost a significant portion of it’s protective ice cap, which means the sun’s light/rays/heat get absorbed into the earth a little more, making earth a little warmer.

    Alone, these data aren’t meaningful. Together, these data show a trend that is striking in its increasing slope, and its lack of relenting. Humans are impactful in terms of the climate. Will we destroy the world? Probably not. Will we destroy ourselves? We’re doing a pretty good job of that.

  • Potter

    Ralph Nader shares some responsibility for where we are today. What an ego trip he was on. Thise who voted for him the safe states can feel better than those who voted for him in Florida I suppose but all who voted for him encouraged him at a time when the polls were showing a close, very close race and it was very clear what a disaster Bush would be. It could not be plainer.

  • Jan

    I believe this campaign- the campaign to inspire us all to do our duty as citizens of this world to stand up for our planet is his destiny, and I believe he fully knows that. He is a man who has achieved greatness without seeking it out for selfish gain. He is going to be the catalyst for a movement that will inspire a greater awareness and understanding of our responsibility to our only home, and to me that is greatness.

    I have supported him for many years and have never been more excited about what he is doing, because he can now do it as a freethinking man untethered by Party rhetoric and beltway bull. And frankly, I hope it stays that way, because I think he is too good to be president of this country- a country where half of the people would even think to vote for a lowlife like Bush after he stole it the first time, and the other half seemingly too scared to step up and fight for their own Constitution. Shameful.

  • Winston_new

    As I said above, I hope Al Gore’s movie is a big success and I hope that he runs again because you don’t have to distort anything he is a loser – see FACTS above re: Senatot Reid in Navada.

  • It isn’t Ralph Nader’s fault that Gore lost in 2000. The Gore campaign did the deadly democrat thing of trying too hard to play to the center/right and lost its strength and credibility. Somebody needs to fight for the right to have a viable third party.

  • Winston_new

    peggysue – I thought that was what the DailyKos / Democracynow croud wanted Mr Dean to do for the Dems? Hahahahaha

  • Winston_new

    We do need a new govt quick because if the economy keeps growing like it is, the rest of the world will matter less than it does now.

    America’s economic hegemony is safe

    BARRING some wholly unexpected statistical oddity, we will get another spectacular signal of the health of the American economy this Friday.

    The gross domestic product figures for the first quarter are expected to show that America’s output expanded at an annual rate of about 5 per cent in real terms in the three months to the end of March. In this age of exaggerated gloom about the condition of the world, with all its imbalances, inequalities and uncertainties, it is worth pausing for a moment simply to reflect on the scale of US economic success.

    *

    Given that the United States is a $12 trillion ($6,700 billion) economy, the new data mean that in the first quarter the US added to global output an amount that, if sustained at that pace for a year, would be about $600 billion — roughly the equivalent of adding one whole new Brazil or Australia to global economic activity every year, just from the incremental extra sweat and heave and click of 300 million Americans.

    Think of it another way. In an era in which China embodies the hopes and fears of much of the developed world, the US, with a growth rate of half that of China’s, is adding roughly twice as much in absolute terms to global output as is the Middle Kingdom, with its GDP (depending on how you measure it) of between $2 trillion and $4 trillion and its growth of about 10 per cent.

    Even when you account for the fact that US growth is not going to continue at 5 per cent, but will revert to its trend of more like 3.5 per cent per year, you are still talking about an economy adding more than $400 billion in inflation-adjusted terms every year (not quite Brazil or Australia, but significantly bigger than Switzerland or Belgium) .

    That means that, on current trends, for at least the next decade the US will actually keep growing in total dollar or yuan numbers by a larger amount than will China (even if the yuan is substantially revalued, by the way). And beyond that ten-year horizon, can anybody really be confident that China will maintain its current rate of growth? (We haven’t even talked here about per capita GDP, where the US advantage will remain unapproachable for decades.) Think of it yet another way: at current economic and population growth rates, the United States — now about 30 per cent larger than the eurozone in GDP — will be twice the size of Europe’s economy in less than 15 years.

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13129-2150167,00.html

  • Potter – Plus – It was Kathleen Harris and Jeb Bush who gave Florida to George Bush. Ralph Nader wasn’t down there making sure black people couldn’t vote and Ralph Nader’s Dad didn’t appoint the Supream Court. But even with his awful campaign Gore DID win in 2000. That’s why they ordered the Florida precincts to stop counting the votes.

  • I’m sorry I couldn’t hear this interview live. I was at my Neighborhood Council meeting. I don’t have time to listen now. But if I had Al Gore in a room, I would like to talk to him about leadership. About what he thinks makes a good leader. What kind of leader does he think the popluace would respond to. Other than himself, does he see any visionary, self-less, wise and inspiring, with just enough charisma, leaders on the horizon here.

    The issue of leadership: both what makes someone a good leader and how people choose whom they will follow – is on my mind a lot. I know there are think tanks out there that look at this subject, but still, I have yet to hear a single person define what qualities we should seek in a leader and who is out there that would fill the bill. I mean a single person who has enough ears listening to have an impact.

    While we all argue over dems vs. reps, I think the problem is different. I don’t think we, as a mass community, know what to demand from a leader, know how to look forward and to judge if a person qualifies and we don’t require accountability. Even in our most uncomfortable, fearful state of feeling vulnerable after the Four Flights Attack (I really dislike the marketing lingo of 9/11), we don’t demand quality leadership and accountability. At our worst, we are still too comfortable to get off our sofas and do anything about it.

    I keep waiting to find an organization,outside of the current political party system, that is powerfully urging the American people to wake up, take responsibility for their choice in leaders, think about what is really needed in a leader, reflect on why they don’t seek good leaders and demand the jobs in our government be filled by responsible, wise, self-less, accountable people with no conflicts of interest, or at least the legal obligation to recuse themselves from matters that even smell of conflict of interest.

    Ugh, I find this topic frustrating.

  • Nikos

    What with Potter’s sentiments in the first post of this thread, and all the despondent yet truthful talk about the country going down the wrong track since 2000, and that shiny/glitter charisma thing evoked by Vijtable (implying that Al Gore just doesn’t campaign well ‘cuz he’s too much like the song’s hard-working ‘brakeman’), I thought I should recommend Little Feat’s un-frickin’-believable version – http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=1076916&style=music&cart=333787749&BAB=M – of this 40 year old masterpiece:

    It Takes A Lot To Laugh It Takes A Train To Cry

    Well, I ride on a mailtrain, babe

    Can’t buy a thrill

    Well, I’ve been up all night

    Leanin’ on the window sill

    Well, if I die

    On top of the hill

    And if I don’t make it

    You know my baby will.

    Don’t the moon look good

    Shinin’ through the trees ?

    Don’t the brakeman look good, baby

    When he’s flagging down the “Double E” ?

    Don’t the sun look good

    Goin’ down over the sea ?

    And don’t my man look fine

    When he’s comin’ after me ?

    Now the wintertime is coming

    The windows are filled with frost

    I went to tell everybody

    But I could not get across

    Well, I wanna be your lover, baby

    I don’t wanna be your boss

    Don’t say I never warned you

    When your train gets lost.

    — Bob Dylan

    If the lyrics seem slightly modified from how you recall Dylan doing it, that’s because Shaun Murphy makes them hers while belting out the song. It’s a jaw-dropping performance (and well worth the small cost of the album).

    Could the “man coming after me� be Al?

    Or, is Al the guy who gave the ‘warning’ that our ‘train was getting lost’???

  • Nikos

    PS: the Little Feat version (done in the year 2000) is in the style of Leon Russell’s awesome version of it on 1971’s Shelter People album. Only it’s even better.

  • darcy23

    I didn’t get to hear the first part of the show because I was in my AA meeting. Kel, there is no such thing as an “ex alcoholic.” Those of us in recovery know that nobody has a direct connection to God, as Bush claims to. His grandiose statements and actions indicate someone who’s what we call “dry drunk,” an extremely dangerous and toxic condition.

    And when I listened to the very early broadcasts after New Orleans was struck, when he just had to have four more days of vacation before his handlers shook him out and dried him, I’d swear he was slurring his words.

    I wanted to hear the first part of tonight’s show because the David Remnick article on Gore was the only readable part of the last issue of the New Yorker. It was in Talk of the Town. Is there a way to get the text of this Radio Open Source? I don’t have broadband, so trying to listen is like going insane.

    Talking about how listless Dems seem to be doesn’t do any good, folks. Why should we bash ourselves, we progressives? That’s what the Republicans want us to do: believe the adverse media hype on ourselves. “Let’s put all the Dems in a circle and watch them eat each other alive.”

    If we’re progressives (or lefties or whatever opposes what one person above, rightly, calls the evil of the current administration and the right wing neoconservative takeover of our country) then we are responsible for change.

    That means voting. That means voting for Democrats. I don’t have the slightest problem with that.

    And it’s very stupid to bash Mrs. Clinton. She is brilliant. If you bash her without knowing her, that too buys into the media hype (or whatever negative pr loves to trash her). I had to spend time with her personally to change my mind, and I think of myself as open-minded. But very subtly, all the negative stuff about her had impacted me.

    It’s so fun to hate a woman. It’s so fun to resent smart people. It’s so fashionable to act all ironic and cynical.

    We can’t afford it.

  • Potter

    Thanks Darcy…. I would vote for Hillary over John McCain in a flash even though I have problems with her pandering. She is brilliant. And she’s a she and maybe it’s time we had a woman ( though that would not be my main reason). It would definitely be an anti-McCain vote. I fear the people will fall for him not seeing how dishonest about himself this “man of integrity “is. He is a partisan through and through. AND he wants ID taught in the schools in SCIENCE CLASS!!! ( unbelievable).

    Jan– I agree with everything you say except that Gore is too good to be president. Wow have our standards declined. Either that or our hopes for this country are gone if this idea is pervasive.

    Nikos You do love poetry! Thanks for that beautiful chills producing lyric. I hear Lisa Kindred singing it. http://www.trussel.com/lyman/amavat.htm

    Peggysue Al Gore would have won Florida without Nader big time if you aassume that Nader’s voters would have voted for Gore, even a portion of them. That is not to say that any of the other factors were not kicking in. Without Nader it would not have been so close.

    What disturbs me about Nader is HE KNEW what was at stake. Yet he did not drop out and tell his supporters to go for Gore. Instead he kept up the mantra that it did not make a difference whether you voted for a Republican or a Democrat in that race. Those who voted for Nader to make a statement sure made one in the form of GWBush. A vote for Nader was a vote for Bush anyway you slice it. A vote for Nader, it seemed to me, was a protest vote in a tight race where who won made a very big difference. I may agree that we need more choices in this country and we need a new system perhaps but the third party has traditionally been a spoiler party. If Nader was a mensch he would have done the right thing and supported Gore. In the light of what has happened I find no forgiveness for him anywhere in my heart.

  • Potter

    Darcy and all– here is the link to the Remnick piece in the New Yorker ” Ozone Man”

    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/060424ta_talk_remnick

    By the way I thought Peter Beinert was really off about Al Gore not taking a position on Iraq and the “war on terrorism”. It was as though he did not read/hear the speeches.

  • Potter

    Peggysue

    Nader got 97,000 votes in Florida. Bush was ahead by a few hundred ( 537) votes when “the powers that be” stopped the recount. Though one canot argue that all of Nader voters would have voted for Gore, some would not have voted at all, still can you honestly say that the probability was very high that Gore would have won Florida even with the corrupt election?

    My feeling at the time was ( and still is) that Gore just did not have the stomach to turn himself completely inside out about that after a long tough campaign. I wish he had fought good hard fight for the sake of the country but I can totally understand letting go. The man and those who supported him who was/were most desperate for the job ( for their selfish IMO reasons) took it, stole it by hook and by crook.

  • Potter

    Or to put in another way: Though one canot argue that all of Nader voters would have voted for Gore, some would not have voted at all, still can you honestly NOT say that the probability was very high that Gore would have won Florida even with the corrupt election?

    I gotta get off of this….sorry.

  • That’s OK Potter I do understand (though those Florida Nader votes might have gone to Buchannan what with the butterfly ballot thing) Kermit the frog may have said it best… “It isn’t easy being Green”. There is always this dilema with the Greens/Democrats. Locally here we have a strong Green party here but I’ve also worked for years on many an issue with the local Dems, have even captained my dem precinct caucus twice. That was really wild this last time. Anyway, I’ve been party to many heated exchanges in the process.

    In the end I believe that the person responsible for the evil that is Bush. Is Bush.

  • January

    As a black woman, the Florida election debacle still pains me. And after Katrina, I feel disenfranchised from the political process. We need Al Gore as part of the dialogue. I can’t help but think how different things in the U.S. would be if Bush wasn’t in office.

    More important, I’d like to see Americans get involved with politics process again. I think blogging encourages dialogue, but why aren’t we seeing outrage and frustration on the nightly news?

    Gore 2008!

  • Vijtable

    Potter… You are right. Voters in unsafe states like Florida (or Ohio, or New Hampshire) should not have voted for Nader. And he should not have campaigned in those states. I hold him responsible for that.

    You are also right that Gore was a weak campaigner, and Florida was closer than it should have been.

    BUT (and I sense Peggysue might back me up on this), given our absurd electoral system, do you believe people in clearly safe states (Massachusetts, Texas) should not have voted for Nader? Wouldn’t a legitimate third party help our system? Given the fact that key Democrats (or most Democrats) aren’t fighting some of the most abhorrent legislation (or Supreme Court nominees), isn’t part of Nader’s argument true – that there are Republicans and Republicans Lite?

    I didn’t vote for NADER, I voted for a SYSTEM. The Democrats already fill a centrist role, which is good. But without a left-wing party, they will never have purpose as the coalition party, the party of reason, balancing two extremes. When I filled out my absentee ballot in MA, I voted for Nader; on election night, I rooted for Gore.

    And let’s not also forget the rampant voter fraud, the made-up “angry citizens” at the voting offices, and the suspicious Supreme Court case, where four of the nine (if I remember correctly) should have recused themselves (three on Bush’s side, one on Gore’s).

    While I accept Nader was responsible for some poor choices, his were not illegal nor unethical. I still hold the people who actually weakened democracy/repulican government responsible.

    Peggysue, I truly hope that Greens do have a legitimate voice, because I would then be able to have a CHOICE in elections.

  • Martin Brock

    Winston_new, Thanks for the gloom antidote from the Times. If history is any guide, it should be efficacious; however, I can’t credit Bushniks with the strength of the U.S. economy, and we shouldn’t make light of fiscal and trade imbalances. The ratio of Federal debt to GDP isn’t the highest among western industrial states, but it is much higher than the U.K., and it’s growing unsustainably at a very precarious time, considering the scale of looming Federal obligations. The official debt is also understated, because it doesn’t include unfunded liabilities like the cost of promised Medicare benefits and the long-term cost of Iraqi occupation.

    What we’re borrowing to fund certainly matters as much as the volume of our borrowing relative to GDP. I suppose the U.S. can afford some wasteful foreign adventurism, but the absence of imminent collapse doesn’t make me any happier about the taxes Congress must inevitably raise to pay for it. Of course, if you’ve been buying the bonds all this time, rather than making genuine market investments, and if you won’t bear much of the tax burden, these taxes don’t bother you so much.

    I agree that China is not a great threat to U.S. economic health for the reasons cited. China’s phenomenal growth in the southwest masks a lag in infrastructure across much of the country, and China has a more rapidly aging population as well as potential political instability. When China devalues its own currency vs. the dollar, it simply gives U.S. consumers a gift of paper money to encourage U.S. consumption of its exports. This imbalance should alarm us much less than the Bushniks’ willingness to sell China the Congressional authority to raise taxes on U.S. citizens in exchange. That’s what happens when Bushniks sponsor huge deficits while China collects dollars through currency manipulation at the expense of Chinese domestic consumption.

    The Times notes growing wealth and income inequality in the U.S. and seems to link the inequality to “very free markets”; however, wealth and income inequality also grows in China and is actually greater there by some measures. Any potential for resisting market discipline for this reason in the U.S. certainly also exists in China; however, contrary to the Times’ apparent thesis, resentment of the rich is not the potent force behind this resistance. It never is. The influence of the wealthy on political institutions destroys market discipline, not resentment of the rich by the less rich. The rich don’t want market discipline any more than the less rich, and the rich are more politically influential. It happened that way in the Soviet Union (where apparatchiks in charge of industrial organization were the wealthy), and it can happen that way in China, and it can happen (and is happening) that way in the U.S.

    Attributing growth in inequality to free markets is mindless. The U.S. economy today is not freer than it was half a century ago, when wealth and income equality was lower. The Federal government is much larger. Regulation is more intrusive and costly. Barriers to market entry in established industries are higher. Patent monopolies are more broadly granted, both in the globalization of monopoly protection and the extension of patents to software and business processes. What we see in the U.S. is growing corporatism (in the socialist/fascist sense), not growing market freedom. That China exhibits the same trend is hardly surprising, since China’s economy is still dominated by one party socialist state, but if we imagine the U.S. as a bastion of liberal economic organization, by contrast, we’re deluding ourselves.

  • freddybulldog

    When I hear Al Gore speak now I can’t help but think back to the 2000 election. One can only hypothesize if the outcome had been different in 2000 how different our country would be today. However one can also ask where this new Al Gore was in 2000? I just downloaded a podcast of his speech from this past MLK Day (available at iTunes American Constitution Society Podcast) concerning the illegal wiretapping done by the Bush Administration. He rails against the evils of Bush and his cohorts with a fervent yet informed power. He quotes Thomas payne, Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, and many of our nations great leaders to reminds us of our past so that we can plan our future. It is brilliant speech that all Americans should listen too. Incidently, if you need any clue that Al Gore is running in 2008 just go to his website http://www.algore.org where the little web icon is a red white and blue symbol that happily says 08′

    He’s got my vote!

  • Potter

    Peggysue: In the end I believe that the person responsible for the evil that is Bush. Is Bush.

    The evil that is Bush would not matter so much if he were not in power, The question is how did he get there?

    Vijtable: I didn’t vote for NADER, I voted for a SYSTEM.

    So what did you accomplish?

    I don’t understand either one of your rationales. If you want to change the system I would agree with you that change is necessary. The question is how do you accomplish this. Look at the results of your votes for Nader. Vijtable, people in safe states who supported and voted for Nader accomplished what beyond encouraging Nader voters in the unsafe states?

    Nader would have never made a good president. The question I have for both of you is do you not think your vote for president is important enough to vote for someone who would be the best president? Did you not see who Bush was? Did you buy Nader’s bit about there being no difference. Even if there is little difference between the parties ( which I do not agree about) how about the difference between the candidates? No difference? it could not have been plainer.

    If you want to change the country, maybe Nikos has it more right about changing the constitution. How about working to strenghten Greens and working within the Democratic Party and then taking it over? How can you dream that a third party can be anything more than a spoiler party? Vijatable how exactly did you think the system was going to be changed?

    I gotta quite this. Sorry.

  • Winston_new

    ‘PROGRESSIVE’ MEDIA STALLS: ‘AIR AMERICA’ IN AUDIENCE PLUNGE NYC, ‘DAILY KOS’ BOOK SELLS ONLY 3,600 COPIES

    Wed Apr 26 2006 11:39:51 ET

    Left-leaning new media has hit turbulence at the marketplace, newly released stats show.

    A book hyped by major media as documenting a progressive revolution of “blogs” and political power, DAILY KOS ‘CRASHING THE GATE,’ has sold only 3,630 copies since its release last month, according to NIELSEN’s BOOKSCAN.

    [NIELSEN claims only 2,062 copies of DAILY KOS have been purchased at the retail level; the rest coming through ‘discount’ outlets. The NIELSEN figures do include online sales from AMAZON.COM, and others.]

    Meanwhile, the just released radio Winter Book [Jan-Mar 2006] from ARBITRON shows AIR AMERICA in New York City losing more than a third of its audience — in the past year!

    Among all listeners 12+, it was a race to the bottom for AIR AMERICA and WLIB as mid-days went from a 1.6 share during winter 2005 to a 1.0 share winter 2006.

    During PM drive, host Randi Rhodes plunged to 27,900 listeners every quarter hour, finishing 25th place in her time slot, down from 60,900 listeners every quarter hour in the fall.

    A network source says the radio ratings released today do not reflect the overall growth of the broadcast.

    “The demos are better, and listeners trust AIR AMERICA to give them the real truth on issues and the Bush presidency,” says the insider.

    Developing…

  • Martin Brock

    A Daily Kos book was a silly idea. Kos followers read the web, and web readers are still relatively small in number compared to talk radio listeners and television viewers. New media are gaining though. I can’t hear Air America in my area, but I’ve heard webcasts and probably wouldn’t listen regularly anyway. I can’t stomach most mass media politics. It’s designed for morons. Limbaugh and O’Reilly are both as predictable as the sunrise. I might as well watch reruns of Gilligan’s Island.

    The Daily Show is the quintessential “progressive media” hit these days. Stewart’s book was also a hit, but if I were a “conservative” partisan these days, I’d pay more attention to the approval ratings of the Executive and Congress in public opinion polls. Bush is now the least popular President since Nixon and only slightly more popular than Congress. I don’t know what “the left” will offer and don’t have high hopes for it, but the winds are blowing toward a political realignment in the U.S. as sweeping as the New Labor days following post-Thatcher Britain. We’ve been trailing the U.K. in some kind of political cycle for decades now, and I don’t see the pattern changing. Whatever it is, it can’t easily be worse than the Bushnik’s brand of national corporatism.

  • Potter

    I think Martin Brock is correct about mass media politics being for morons as represented by Limbaugh and O’Reilly. Air America gets down to that level with an audience that in my view does not have a mind for that kind of repetitive mindlessness. I tried AA and the pain of the irritating commercials was not worth the rewards,

    I can’t get over how this administration uses this moronic right wing media as it’s megaphone, an arm of it’s machine.. So when Dick Cheney wants to explain himself, he goes to the comfy setting of Limbaugh. When Bush needs a press secretary he goes to Fox for a friendly talking head. Such cowardice! Even the Lehrer Report is disappointing these days with it’s “newmaker interviews” which are nothing more than propaganda mechanisms for the administration.

  • Martin Brock

    I haven’t seen Lehrer in years, because I don’t watch television news anymore, unless you count The Daily Show. It’s all mass market BS, the same maddening repetition of tired cliches. I had high hopes for the News Hour when Ray Suarez joined the show, but he joined it after I had stopped watching, and I never really started again. The few times I did watch it, Ray seemed to take on the role of mechanical anchor following the incredibly dull, status quo presuming, “newsmaker” ass kissing, Lehrer script. Talk of the Nation hasn’t often earned my attention since then either.

    This show is promising, although some of its content is disappointing. The China vs. Iran show was mind-numbing. Basically, I heard two factoids repeated over and over for an hour. “China has ‘manufacturing’.” “India has ‘software'”. I also heard the usual cliches about India’s “democratic creativity” vs. China’s “command and control heavy industry,” with partisans of each incredibly simplistic characterization parroting their simpleminded thesis. Like I hadn’t heard that stuff a million times before. I don’t want to be unduly critical though. Some of the stuff I’ve found here is informative, and you can’t beat the audio on demand. I’ve never heard the program on the radio and probably never will.

  • Martin Brock

    “The U.S. economy today is not freer than it was half a century ago, when wealth and income equality was lower.”

    Above, I intended “income equality was greater”. The intention is clear enough in context, but I need to correct the dyslexia.

  • Potter

    MB- I think the loss of Robert McNeil on the PBS News Hour started the slip slide into terminal boredom. Margaret Warner is good though. But the show ‘s choices about what to focus on is often questionable. And the “newmaker interviews” seem like the administration just dials them up when it needs them. Every now and then there is a good segment. Most of the time not.

    For straight news BBC is probably best imo. Bob Shieffer has been good but we will not stomach Katie Couric in that spot. Believe it or not 60 MInutes has had some good reporting on lately, esp. Bob Simon. ( Sorry – got off subject here)

  • Martin Brock

    Except for the occasional rerun of Frazier or Seinfeld, if I happen to flip by it, I haven’t watched anything on network television in years, entertainment, infotainment or otherwise. CSPAN has gone downhill too. It covered somewhat intelligent thinktank seminars much more frequently in the past. Now, it’s a lot of moronic call-in shows and political speeches. Occasionally, call-in shows with a guest are tolerable, and Book-TV is sometimes interesting, but the high points are fewer and further between.

    Some of my pet controversies are now practically uncovered, including very pressing issues like Social Security reform. Basically, we had two, equally bad alternatives on the table, the current system and the Cato-style reform that Bush further corrupted with his promise of endless inflation-adjusted Treasury notes for his Orwellian “private accounts”. [Of course, Treasury notes are not investments at all in a market economic sense, much less “private investments”.] Once the only airable alternative was found wanting, the debate ended, with no reform and hardly any meaningful debate, and the leading edge of the baby boom is now five years from retirement.

    There’s a topic for this program, by the way. Whatever happened to Social Security? You want an innovative approach to the problem? Try http://www.knology.net/~marbrock/psupp.htm. If that’s too far-out for you, try Philip Longman of the New America Foundation. He discusses something similar in his book, The Empty Cradle.

    The problem with Social Security is not that the system is “going broke” (it is in a sense) or that the “trust fund” is a scam (it is) or even that the system will inevitably strain the Federal budget in only a few years, not in half a century when the “trust fund runs out” (it will). By the time the “trust fund runs out”, the funding problem will already be solved, one way or another, because the day after we redeem the last “bond” in the “trust fund”, we’ll simply continue paying the same benefits with the same revenue stream we were using to “repay the bonds” before the “fund” ran out. Since Congress owes this money to itself and wouldn’t dare cut elderly benefits by 70% overnight, this outcome is inevitable.

    The problem is that the system is extremely regressive, that it taxes the investments of the poor to pay the rich and that it misconstrues the purest form of consumption (elder support) as “investment” while construing the purest form of investment (child support) as “consumption”. The problem is that elderly consume eight times the volume of Federal largess that children consume, even while government expects to tax the marginal value of labor (a tax on the yield of investments in labor, i.e. the support of children), through the payroll tax, not to mention other forcible proprieties, to pay for the burgeoning population of retirees.

    I’d also like to see a discussion of tax reform focused on a progressive consumption tax, like the tax advocated by Ted Halstead and others at New America. This progressive consumption tax is the progressive income tax with higher marginal rates plus unlimited contributions to a tax deferred investment account (like the IRA). With an unlimited investment allowance, we could have much higher marginal rates on very high incomes and thus direct the rapidly increasing income of the very wealthy away from castle building and toward productive investments offering more utility to the broader population, the sort of reform Adam Smith advocated in Wealth of Nations.

    We could also subject inherited wealth to this tax without disrupting family businesses, and supply siders have shown convincingly that adjusting the marginal rates is an effective instrument of monetary policy, probably more effective and less disruptive than manipulating interest rates of fiat debt. We could also simplify Federal tax collection by merging the payroll tax into income tax and funding elder benefits from the same tax, particularly since the “trust fund” has this effect anyway. We’ll “repay the trust fund” with income taxes of course, so in a few years, we’ll be funding Social Security benefits with the income tax. If Congress raises the regressive payroll tax, again, to “repay the trust fund”, I advocate a campaign of assassination.

    Since the Democratic Party is only alternative we’re allowed, we need some unapologetic, classical liberalism from the party in this country, not more state socialism, but I’m not optimistic that we’ll get it. We might get some national health insurance program on the Massachusetts model, which will end up being a corporatist boon to the insurance industry. We’ll certainly get higher taxes.

  • Martin Brock

    “Since Congress owes this money to itself and wouldn’t dare cut elderly benefits by 70% overnight, this outcome is inevitable.”

    Correction: Congress wouldn’t dare cut benefits by 30% overnight. On currrent projections, the current payroll tax will cover only 70% of promised benefits when the the “trust fund” runs out around midcentury.

    I sure wish I could edit posts here.

  • Nikos

    Martin Brock: you rock (your critique of ROS aside, however!).

    Thanks for making all this policy mumbo jumbo intelligible to plain folks like me.

    Especially here: http://www.radioopensource.org/al-gore-unplugged/#comment-10254

    and again:

    “I don’t know what ‘the left’ will offer and don’t have high hopes for it, but the winds are blowing toward a political realignment in the U.S. as sweeping as the New Labour days following post-Thatcher Britain. We’ve been trailing the U.K. in some kind of political cycle for decades now, and I don’t see the pattern changing. Whatever it is, it can’t easily be worse than the Bushnik’s brand of national corporatism.�

    My own 2 cents is that without a sweeping constitutional overhaul, the same old song and dance will continue until we’ve ‘outsourced’ our government itself. The ‘offshore’ bosses will, of course, mostly include multinational corporations. The USA will be parceled into corporate fiefdoms, and even then Hannity, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly will still be moronically parroting all the pre-approved lines from the Heritage Foundation (et. al.).

    Without a national legislature whose seats are awarded by party slate — thus enabling genuine multi-party politics for the first time in the country’s history (Bull Moose and Perot being temporary blips that give false hope to perrenial ‘third party’ fantasies) — our options will continue to be the sham-choice between Elephant and Elephant-lite. No third party will ever arise without constitutional reform, because the thing is set up now to elect individual representatives, not parties. And the individuals (again, with a few local but insubstantial exceptions, like Jeffords) must seek the support of one of the Two to even begin to seriously garner the money necessary for campaigning.

    So, even though I’ve read all the posts above hoping for change and sympathize with the sentiments, it’s all pointless: wasteful of our time and emotional investment.

    We’ve gotta amend the constitution first, folks.

    We’ve gotta amend the current government-of-malfeasance out of its democracy-denying 210+ year existence.

    And the only means to generate the national political will is the internet: because the mainstream press won’t want to host the discussion.

  • Martin Brock

    I didn’t intend to be too critical of ROS. I like the show a lot, and I love downloading a show to my mp3 player and taking it with me on a skate. Programming a daily, general interest show is a huge challenge, and every show can’t be a doctoral seminar, but I don’t want a show appealing to the largest possible audience. I can get all I want of that (and lots more) on commercial broadcast radio and television.

  • Nikos

    Martin: didn’t mean to put you on the defensive — I myself had The Mother Of All Tantrums over the way the Dan Dennett show unfolded. (It struck me as suspiciously uncharacteristic specifically because ROS is so consistenly excellent.) And besides, for all I (a self-admitted ignoramus) know, your critique of the India-China show is spot on…

    Please continue to favor us with your input!

  • Pingback: Hoping for a New American party at Making Chutney()

  • Vijtable

    Nikos, Martin: It’s like we share a mind. I’ve been saying that the Democrats should become in the US what Labour is in the UK. Without a vaguely working Green Party, it won’t easily happen.

    Potter: So what did you accomplish? I don’t understand either one of your rationales.

    Potter, I don’t disagree with your outrage over what I did. But what I did was of no consequence (given our absurd electoral system), simply because I voted in Massachusetts. I made a very self-conscious decision when I chose to select Nader.

    I also agree about the Constitution: I’ve been thinking about a fundamental re-writing of the Constitution since before 2000. My thoughts: institute the Borda count voting system, use a computer to create districts (or better – everyone is randomly placed in a “virtual district” which you never leave for national elections), language that specifically states that civil liberties cannot be trumped for security, and language that specifically calls high school education and healthcare human rights. Since then, I’ve added the call for a national holiday on election day every two years, for national elections. And i keep going back and forth on a Parliamentary system.

    Okay… Knowing what I know now, I accomplished nothing. But how could I know that then? Don’t answer that… First, my rationale…

    The rationale behind this choice had a long-term objective, with no short-term fallout (because I was voting in MA). Not knowing what the results would be, except that there were approximately five-ten safe states (in either direction), I believed that voting for Nader would get the Greens above the threshold needed for government financing in national campaigns. This would help begin to create a viable third party which represented leftist ideals. With a real left-wing, the Democrats could (as they had been for thirty years) continue moving right towards the center, representing a sensible way to govern. That would marginalize the Republican Party who had a philsophy of starting from the right.

    Let me be clear: when I spoke with ANYONE, I strongly supported Mr. Gore and spoke in his favor. I wrote letters to editors, bought magnets and stickers, etc, etc. If I lived in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, or even New Jersey, I would not even have thought about voting for Nader. In Massachusetts, I was using my vote to try and push the US toward a three-party system. And my vote for Gore would have been less significant than my vote for the system.

    Potter: The question I have for both of you is do you not think your vote for president is important enough to vote for someone who would be the best president? Did you not see who Bush was? Did you buy Nader’s bit about there being no difference. Even if there is little difference between the parties ( which I do not agree about) how about the difference between the candidates? No difference? it could not have been plainer.

    I agree completely.

    I said it then, and I say it now: Bush is a very dangerous person. He has never been held responsible for his own actions (personal or public) and he kept as his closest confidantes people who were the thugs behind Nixon’s CREEP. he wanted power without understanding how to wield pragmatically. Basically, I had no illusions aboout what Bush was.

    As for Democrats: they are the party of the people, and I’ve always believed it. Clearly, they are most comfortable in the center, which is a good, non-extreme place to be. They are able to balance the extremes of fiscal responsibility and a viable welfare state. They are able to balance the extremes of pure security and pure liberty. Gore represented that centrism. And I said (above) that he is a modern-day John Adams. (And John Adams is one of my heroes.)

    BUT… As long as the Democrats were to the right of no-one of consequence, and to the left of the “other party”, they would always be painted (and explained away) as psycho liberals.

    My vote for president is important enough that I would try to change the system with it. If the popular vote held greater significance, I would certainly have voted for Gore. The absurd electoral system (and regressive campaign finance system) functioned such that my vote for president mattered less than my vote for systemic change.

    So… Knowing what I know now, I accomplished nothing. But how could I know that then? More importantly, would my (and everyone in Massachusetts or Texas who voted for Nader) had changed a thing if I (we) voted for Gore? No.

    Potter, don’t quit this conversation. ROS is the marketplace of ideas here. We need passionate people and thinkers like you.

  • Martin Brock

    Given a choice between Hitler and Stalin, I’ll spend election day sharpening my sword. Which is the lesser evil hardly matters.

  • thisuser

    is there more to this Mp3 is cuts off too soon in midsentence

  • Katherine

    thisuser: You’re right (I just checked it out). I think that was pretty much the end of the show, but we’ll look into it and try to get it fixed. Thanks for the heads-up.

  • Pingback: 10000 Elephants Trading Strategies. | 7Wins.eu()

  • joel

    Al Gore mentioned the only thing that really matters, the main point, once, I think, in his movie… and then missed the whole point.

    Various aspects of climate change, “global warming,” environmental degradation, etc. have been referred to as “causes” of many of society’s problems when, in reality, they are results of a far more important phenomenon, the huge, unsustainable and growing current human population, the prime cause of the

    other causes. The technical methods of alleviating the growing short-comings of our life-giving environments will be obsolete by the time they are implemented… outstripped by the size of the population.

    You might find the views of Eric Pianka interesting and edifying:

    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~varanus/Vanishing.Book.text.pdf

    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~varanus/Everybody.html

    http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/bio213/why.html

    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~varanus/

    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~varanus/Controversy.html

    The otherwise perhaps flawed domestic policies of China may not be to our liking, but their “one child” per parents should have our blessing and be adopted by the rest of the world as soon and completely as possible. It is nothing less than mandatory. It is the fastest (60 years), the cheapest (zero cost), the most easily participated (no one need do anything – merely do not have a second child) method with essentially no counter-acting side effects.This action obviates the need for all the programs now being touted and it will put the world back to the number of people, resulting from millions of years of linear growth, which existed about 250 years ago, when it was hardly under populated, but it was before the ruinous logarithmic growth that has occurred since. As Dennis Meadows said:”Any environmental issue that doesn’t list overpopulation as the main problem is a lost cause.” Or, as this line on the stationery of The Committee of Concerned Scientists states:”If we do not solve our overpopulation problem ourselves, sagely and humanely, the problem will be solved for us by Nature, efficiently and savagely.”

    Cheers