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Gore's Nobel

Yesterday on one of those gabfests, Krauthammer was apoplectic about Gore's Nobel win. Krugman (via Memeorandum) has a piece today on what he calls Gore Derangement Syndrome ("the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He's taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy"). [More here on why the Right hates Gore.] [Let's hear it from Competitive Enterprise Institute directly.]

But there's craziness all over: Even the mildest criticism of Gore can get his fans in a lather. The other day my colleague Michael Dobbs wrote a Fact Checker column on Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth." Some readers howled in protest ("How do I get my parrot to crap on the on-line version of the Washington Post?" one said). This will shock you, but some readers occasionally resort to ad hominem attacks. (Especially the ones who speak Latin.)

There is a notion among some bloggers that the Post has an anti-Gore agenda.

Could that be true? And do corporate bosses tell us what to write about global warming?

If so, I've never gotten those memos. (Am I not important enough?)

The Post is a big place, with many departments, and no central authority dictates how we cover issues such as global warming. News and Editorial are separate departments and don't confer on such things (and by the way, just in case anyone was wondering, the editorial board endorsed Gore in 2000 -- "surely among the best prepared and most intelligent nominees of recent years").

Intelligent readers can decide if our news coverage is fair and accurate. Click here for a comprehensive list of stories, editorials and columns about climate change on our website. The front-page story on Gore winning the Nobel begins like this:

Former vice president Al Gore, who wrapped up a remarkable year of honors yesterday by sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with a U.N. scientific panel, said he will use the award to heighten awareness of "a true planetary emergency" from global warming and press the world's nations to combat its threats.

For Gore, the award was a measure of vindication for his passionate commitment to the issue of climate change in the face of occasional ridicule and pointed political criticism dating back two decades.

It's a 28-paragraph story. Paragraphs 22-24 mention conservative criticism of Gore's win, and paragraph 25 is a one-sentence summary of the ruling by the British judge ("The award came two days after a British judge ruled that, while Gore's documentary makes a strong case that human activity has contributed to global warming and that there is a sense of urgency to deal with it, the movie contained nine factual errors not supported by scientific consensus").

If that's a slam on Gore, then we need to hone our slamming skills.

It's possible that global warming isn't actually our greatest environmental problem -- direct impacts from pollution, resource depletion, ravaged ecosystems and emerging pathogens, etc., might prove to be more acute. Sometimes I worry that younger folks think that GW is the only environmental issue. But it's important not to let disputes over details obscure the larger fact that human civilization, with more than 6 billion people and a relentless appetite for energy and consumer goods and whatnot, is having a dramatic impact on the global environment. Gore's been saying that for decades, and has been an effective and tireless advocate for the planet.

--

Via Drudge, I see Bill Gray is disparaging Gore's Nobel, and trucking out his maverick theory of how the world is going to start cooling again soon. Let us remember that Gray has never published this theory in a peer-reviewed journal. He told me he's still working on it.

Just to put it back out there, here's the nut section of my story on global warming skeptics from 2006:

HUMAN BEINGS ARE PUMPING GREENHOUSE GASES INTO THE ATMOSPHERE, warming the planet in the process.

Since the dawn of the industrial era, atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen steadily from about 280 to about 380 parts per million. In the past century, the average surface temperature of Earth has warmed about 1 degree Fahrenheit. Much of that warming has been in the past three decades. Regional effects can be more dramatic: The Arctic is melting at an alarming rate. Arctic sea ice is 40 percent thinner than it was in the 1970s. Glaciers in Greenland are speeding up as they slide toward the sea. A recent report shows Antarctica losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year.

The permafrost is melting across broad swaths of Alaska, Canada and Siberia. Tree-devouring beetles, common in the American Southwest, are suddenly ravaging the evergreen forests of British Columbia. Coral reefs are bleaching, scalded by overheated tropical waters. There appear to have been more strong hurricanes and cyclones in recent decades, Category 3 and higher -- such as Katrina.

The 1990s were the warmest decade on record. The year 1998 set the all-time mark. This decade is on its way to setting a new standard, with a succession of scorchers. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global effort involving hundreds of climate scientists and the governments of 100 nations, projected in 2001 that, depending on the rate of greenhouse gas emissions and general climate sensitivities, the global average temperature would rise 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit between 1990 and 2100. Sea levels could rise just a few inches, or nearly three feet.

All of the above is part of the emerging, solidifying scientific consensus on global warming -- a consensus that raises the urgent political and economic issue of climate change. This isn't a theory anymore. This is happening now. Business as usual, many scientists say, could lead to a wildly destabilized climate for the first time since the dawn of human civilization.

But when you step into the realm of the skeptics, you find yourself on a parallel Earth.

It is a planet where global warming isn't happening -- or, if it is happening, isn't happening because of human beings. Or, if it is happening because of human beings, isn't going to be a big problem. And, even if it is a big problem, we can't realistically do anything about it other than adapt.

--

I peeked at some old clips about Gore:

May 28, 1992:

The Big Picture: That's the obsession of Al Gore Jr., senator from Tennessee. It's only fitting that he will lead the U.S. Senate delegation to the United Nations' "Earth Summit" next week in Rio de Janeiro: Earth is his political turf, he's been staking it out these last few years, reading everything, digesting stats, meeting with scientists, convening with clergymen, holding Senate hearings, sound-biting on the "Today" show, jetting to the Aral Sea, dropping by the North Pole and the South Pole, and finally pouring his ideas into a book called "Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit."

It's about a lot of things. The book's index has entries like "Goddess worship" and "Hydrological cycle" and "Pinatubo, Mount, eruption of." Basically it's about the future of the human race and of the Earth itself.

"I think we're in the middle of very profound change in our whole civilization right now," Gore says.

July 22, 1992, on board the Clinton-Gore campaign bus:

A few weeks ago it would have been hard to imagine them even occupying the same room for long, much less being buddies. They were natural rivals, Southern politicians who coveted the presidency. Both had that smartest-guy-in-the-class attitude. What might happen if they were trapped together on the same bus in one of those lonely stretches of Interstate 64 through southern Indiana? How would they decide who would be the Smart Beatle and who would be the Cute Beatle? Would they try to one-up each other, offhandedly mentioning the molecular weight of argon or instantly solving a Rubik's Cube or correcting the other's misdating of the Diet of Worms?

...Gore, though not modestly endowed with ego, has adapted himself to the second-banana role. In a game of miniature golf with Clinton a few days ago he turned to an aide and said, "I lose, right?"

Gore, asked last night how he's getting along with Clinton, said, "Very well. Except for the miniature golf game."

Who won?

"The team won," he said.

The upshot seems to be that Clinton, with his affable manner and his schoolboyish I-just-got-a-gold-star smirk, can be the Cute Beatle, while Gore, the serious young man who wants to save the world, can be the Smart Beatle. Except when Bill wants to be the smart one.

--

Good piece by Von Drehle on the Supreme Court. Counter-intuitive.

--

The tragic death of one of the Iraqi staffers of the Post in Baghdad should remind everyone that what we know about the war does not arrive magically over a wire or via a press release or some satellite TV feed. Real people have to get the information, in incredibly dangerous circumstances.

Meanwhile, here's Bumiller in the Times on the military's Lessons Learned.

--

Make those kids go to bed!

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 15, 2007; 10:52 AM ET
 
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Comments

Almost first!

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 15, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Typical. I was first, but blew it because I didn't think that I would be first by the time I typed anything. Not that I have anything to say, as usual. I read the Vanity Fair article about the Gore campaign coverage in 2000, and thought it had some good points about the bad press he got from the NYT and WaPo and MoDo.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 15, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The easiest, and most pernicious, cognitive error out there is to view any group, organization, or institution as having a single hive mind. Any time somebody talks about a complex group as if it is a sentient entity with a single coordinated agenda I know it is time to stop listening.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 15, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Curmudgeon -- Saw your discussion from the weekend about (I think) local wines. Very Interesting.

Thought you might be interested in this somewhat on topic item:

http://www.winebusiness.com/GrapeGrowing/webarticle.cfm?dataId=43868

Posted by: Casteroil | October 15, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Reposting -

In the Metro section today there was this:

Standing behind us in line for the movies were two young men discussing one's date the night before. "I really can't relate to her," he said. "Let me give you an example why: We were discussing the possibility of universal health care, and she said, 'I don't think it should come out of our taxes. I think the government should pay for it.' "

For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/14/AR2007101401221.html

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Love those clips from them long ago days. Must have been hard removing all the "thees" and "fore soothes" from the prose.

Gosh darn it I like Al Gore. Yes he can be pedantic and has a tendency towards hyperbola, but the guy is undeniably smart and fundamentally decent. And then there is Tipper, with whom I have long been secretly smitten.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 15, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Von Drehle's piece on the Supreme Court sounds right. These days, a big guy like Al Gore would never be appointed to the Court, would never be confirmed if appointed, and would be bored silly if stupid enough to accept the appointment.

'Way different from Earl Warren.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | October 15, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Those nuts need to get over their umbrage. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, has stripped Gore of his Nobel and have given it to ... can you guess?

http://www.borowitzreport.com/

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

People who say Gore has no sense of humor leave confused and scratching my head.

an example: Gore, asked last night how he's getting along with Clinton, said, "Very well. Except for the miniature golf game."

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Anybody see that speech he gave where he did his version of the Macarena? I almost fell out of my seat laughing.

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

C-SPAN used to show the funny videos the Clintons and the Gores used to make - hilarious. I was surprised the right wingers didn't take more umbrage at the cost and time it took to produce them. Maybe I was the only one who saw them.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 15, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of comedies - October 14, Green Bay, Wisconsin. We will not speak of this again.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 15, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

RD, that's a very interesting idea. I could just think about that all day. Where is the boundary, where is the individual? Think of the analogy between a human being and a corporation or a government agency. Your cells do have their own agendas, but they wouldn't live long on their own. On the other hand, if we knew everything, we might be surprised to find out how much of our decision making is not happening in our brains, but resulting from cellular activity elsewhere.

The Washington Post is an idea, and its physical impact on the world comes from the sum of all the individuals working there. They may not be all reading the same memos (hey, you guys, put Achenbach on the distribution list!) but they are working together towards a goal, at the same time that they pursue their individual interests.

I am not going to delete this comment, even though it may not be very clear, just on the off chance that some other people may have hive-mind comments. I love this subject.

http://www.kk.org/outofcontrol/ch2-b.html

Posted by: kbertocci | October 15, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I can only imagine what the right will do with the judge's ruling on "nine factual errors." My neocon neighbor has already stated that giving the award to Gore was intended as a European slap to Bush.

3/10 on the currency quiz from the last kit. Which clearly proves I was guessing.

omni, I'm shaking my head about that guy's date.

Kim, I second Mudge's suggestion of Stone Mountain. The last bit of road is somewhat terrifying, but the wines and the view are worth it. If you decide to go there, and want to go to another winery, Autumn Hill is the closest to it--and next weekend is one of the few times during the year it's open. If you like dry red wines, it's a great stop. If not, Burnley would be a good bet, although a bit farther.

Posted by: Raysmom | October 15, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

No newspaper was droppped outside our door at the Oceanside Marriott. We had enough complaints about our accommodations that opened Sept 26, a hotel that certainly was working out its kinks. We found the greatest problems to be lack of housekeeping and the overpowering smell of the first room to which we had been designated, a room that we quickly discovered had never been occupied or thoroughly cleaned of possibly harmful construction debris.

We were told that there were three papers available in the breakroom off the lobby: USA Today, San Diego's Union-Tribune, and Wall Stret Journal. Our first morning there, we found out the Marriott didn't carry the Union-Tribune but Oceanside's North County Times instead. We were really too busy--or too tired--to spend much time lingering over newspapers, I'm afraid to admit.

Since there is a two-hour time difference between Texas and California, we ate in the breakfast bar only enough to break the fast, since we were taking one of Mom's former neighbors in her mobile home park to breakfast at the Beach Break Cafe just several blocks up from the beach in Oceanside and on Pacific Coast Highway.

The food was so good that we ate there not only on Wednesday morning before the late afternoon memorial service, but also on Thursday when we ran into my nephew and his pregnant wife in a booth across the roon, and again on Friday as well.

That last morning, up at 5 a.m. to pack and arriving just after the Beach Break Cafe opened at 7 a.m., we had a booth near the back, next to the counter in this cubbyhole cafe in which six large surfboards hang from the ceiling. Since I love to eavesdrop on coversations, it was then that we gleaned an inking that Gore had won the Nobel.

The crusty old curmudgeon at the counter, a white-haired guy in his 70s, was none too happy about the news, suggesting that someone who deals with environmental issues shouldn't be given a "peace" prize and what a nutty idea it was for the Nobel comittee to do so.

On Saturday morning, the announcement of the Nobel being awarded to Gore was on the San Antonio Express-News' front page.

I remember how former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder emphasized the importance of environmental issues including global warming earlier this year during his address at our local Trinity University, his early topic of choice during his speech catching me offguard. Schroeder acknowledged during the answer to my question that he is well acquainted with Gore. I 'm sure Schroeder's opinion of Gore's Nobel is the polar opposite of the old gentleman's in the surf cafe.

I saw George Will's reaction to Gore's Nobel on the Sunday talk circuit, and saw Maher broach the subject on his show as well.

As far as I'm concerned, the public and the press can continue to debate the worthiness of Gore's award. However, there probably isn't too much dispute about these problems in our own back yard (and I continue to wonder, is Texas dangerous to our health?):

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA20071007.06B.ASARCO.32798dd.html

The Environment: How Texas Ranks Nationally

• 1st -- Air pollution emissions

• 1st -- Pollution released by manufacturing plants

• 1st -- Amount of greenhouse gases released

• 1st -- Amount of toxic chemicals released into water

• 1st -- Number of clean water permit violations

• 1st -- Amount of cancer-causing carcinogens released into the air

• 1st -- Amount of hazardous waste generated

• 4th -- Amount of toxic chemicals released into air

Source: 'Texas on the Brink: How Texas Ranks Among the 50 States,' January 2007, from compilations of EPA reports and others, including Scorecard: The Pollution Information Site

Posted by: Loomis | October 15, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I can answer the question at the end of the story Bumiller's story. Should the war in Iraq have been fought?

No.

Posted by: Slyness | October 15, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, really, I think the award to Gore does a great deal to shine up the image of the Nobel Peace Prize after the absolutely preposterous disposition of it to Henry Kissinger. Now it is much more pristine and honorable. The right-wing (so to speak) protesteth far too much.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | October 15, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

News from the Internet world (locally)... AOL, after announcing that it was moving its headquarters north, it now says that it is cutting another 750 local employees. I believe that puts AOL's staff cuts to well over 1,000 jobs over the past couple of months.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 15, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Consider this analysis Joel -- The Washington Post's war on Gore.

Just consider it, that's all.

Posted by: NewMexiKen | October 15, 2007 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Opps. It didn't take the link, so I'll try again:

http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/10/the_washington_posts_war_on_go.php

Posted by: NewMexiKen | October 15, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Loomis, 1st's, lots of firsts, but what jumps out is that Texas is 1st in the Amount of toxic chemicals released into water, but a disturbingly bad 4th on the same into the air. I wonder if there is a committee working on this problem right now!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 15, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I think the time difference between Texas and California is more a hundred years, not two hours. But then, I've always been chronologically challenged.

Yes, good Von Drehle story, and very good Bumiller piece on the Army staff college people.

"...among the best prepared and most intelligent nominees of recent years..." How sad, sad, sad it is with hindsight to compare that to the incumbent.

I had a major problem with the story about the British judge disagreeing with Gore's movie, which is the use of the term "error" to describe those areas of disagreement. Trouble is, from the reporting I've read, I still can tell if the word "error" was the judge's, or whether it has crept into the reporting. If the labguage was the judge's, I think the reporting and headline-writing should have put the word in quotes (it wasn't anyplace I saw). I read the nine points of contention, and the judge may even be right about some or all of them -- but they do NOT constitiute "errors" in my book. If there is some special connotation or usage in British law here that we're not aware of, then whoever wrote the story isn't doing a very good job explaining it. I think I'm less perturbed by the ruling than I am by the reporting of it (and the use the VRWC [vast rightwing conspiracy] is making of it.

Joel, arguments and scientific discussions about kids not getting enough sleep have been around for at least a decade that I'm aware of, and maybe longer.

I liked the WaPo headline, "Paul's Disciples Spread Word." (One wonders if it is referring to the Gospel of Pop Socket, concerning his conversion while on the Road to Damascus [Md.] for an HVAC convention.)

And I don't quit know why, but that op-ed by Charlotte Whatsherface had me wishing she suffered a sudden aneurysm.

The Opinion section has a piece by Novak on Giuliani and religion that I dearly want to avoid, but I'm kinda drawn to it like a ghoul passing by a car crash hoping to see a dead body. I really, really don't want to read it, but...but... [And if I do I just know I'm gonna have low-self-esteem issues in the morning.]

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 15, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I can summarize it for you Mudge...

Conservative's support him, despite the fact he's practically a liberal on most issues conservatives care about, because he's tough on terror (yeah, right)

Churchgoers support him because they're ignorant (not Novak's words, but those of Giuliani's opponents)

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

where is the Charlotte Whatsherface's op-ed?

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

omni: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/12/AR2007101201882.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Some very nice writing in the Paul Richard piece about the Annie Liebovitz exhibit, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/14/AR2007101401325.html?hpid=artslot

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 15, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Oh that. Thanks mudge. I started it but the writing was just to boring I didn't finish.

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Well, thanks for the link, but you seem to have rather missed the point of my post. It's not just that you included a summary of the ruling (though why you guys think that a judge is a better authority than scientists on this question escapes me), it's that your summary was wrong. The judge did not rule that Gore's movie contained nine factual errors. He was careful to put scare quotes around "errors" to make it clear (though not, of course, to the Post) that he wasn't saying that they were errors. And this incorrect summary wasn't just in that story, but in two more stories, as well as in Dobb's so-called FactChecker that did not do any fact checking.

Posted by: Tim Lambert | October 15, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Did I, or did I not, say that I was more unhappy with the reporting than with the actual ruling?

Talk about missing the point.

And they aren't "scare" quotes. They exist for a reason.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 15, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Ah so that's what all the kerfuffle was about. A peace Prize for Mr. Gore. (I don't do news when I vacation but caught a few blurbs here and there, just enough to be confused.)

I don't know if it was the right prize, if there should have been a prize, and I don't know that I care. All the actions an individual does in a lifetime are what counts. I'd put whatever prize is due with the furbelows and ruffles of life.

Whatever else happened from his actions, its more newsworthy now, so mission 1 accomplished.

In the same vein, I caught a BBC Canada show this weeknd called 'It's not Easy Being Green'
It goes really far to the green side of life but it raises all kinds of food for thought.

Posted by: dr | October 15, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

scare quotes?

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 15, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, I looked at your list, made this vow to myself:

Next time I'm in Texas, I'm going to skip the chili.

No need for me to personally push Texas over the Brink due to any sort of toxic emissions whatsoever.

And don't get me started on any Roads to Damascus (MD), Mudge. I dount there are going to be any HVAC conventions there, it's a dry town. Temperence League conventions in the old movie theater there, you bet. Breakfast at Tom & Ray's, dinner catered by the Red Rooster fried chicken stand, dessert from the Jimmy Cone. Woo hoo!

bc

Posted by: bc | October 15, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

SCC: "doubt"

bc

Posted by: bc | October 15, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

scare quotes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Getting offspring to bed is often a challenge. I suspect the most effective approach, at least of those not involving time-release pharmaceuticals, would be to simply throw the main breaker and plunge the household into restful darkness.

But then there would be all those clocks to reset.

Posted by: RD Padouk | October 15, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Resetting clocks

I have a wall clock, analog, that runs on a double-a battery. It uses such a small amount of power that I'm convinced an unused battery would last about a week longer.

My alarm clock has a nine volt backup. It runs about a minute or so fast every couple of hours on the battery.

DVR and computer both seem to handle power outages without losing a second.

VCR I have to set the year month and time. But first it wants to do a channel scan that takes several minutes. There is no option to skip the auto select and do it manually. It picks up some stations with very bad reception. And skips some others that I can get provided I position the antenna just so. Which means I have to do a manual channel select anyway. Such a pain.

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

While plunging the house into restful darkness would certainly work for me, I'm afraid the Boy would just see it as an opportunity to read with a flashlight.

I also like the "hive mind" idea when applied to organizations and institutions. I am completely able to believe that in Joel's experience the right hand of the Washington Post does not scratch its left ear. I work for an institution with five separate hive minds and only the scantest of meta-hive-mind. The amazing thing is how often they coincide.

Posted by: Ivansmom | October 15, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

It sticks in my craw that some people don't believe that humans have the capacity to enact climate change on our planet. We have moved more earth than the forces of erosion during our time on this orb, so why is it impossible that we have altered the climate too? Hundreds of thousands of years of ice-core data support the global warming argument, so it's not like it's some pie-in-the-sky idea.

All this is not to say that we are endangering the earth itself. The earth was harboring life long before us and it will continue to do so long after we are gone. The idea behind stopping or slowing the climate changes we are seeing is to make our stay here last as long as possible. If our species has a couple of million years before some mass extinction wipes us out, I'd like to make sure that our descendants can actually use all of that time, instead of being forced to squeeze all of humanity's potential into the next two centuries.

After we kill ourselves off, the planet's feedback mechanisms will come into play, bringing the imbalance we've introduced back into equilibrium. So it's not a question of killing the planet or not, but rather if we'll be here to enjoy it at all.

Posted by: Gomer | October 15, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, can anyone update me about why Gore was in Palo Alto on Friday? O.K., I'll go Google it.

From the AP/local reporting about Gore's Nobel in our Saturday paper:

"Of course, he's [President Bush] happy for Vice President Gore," spokesman Tony Fratto told the Associated Press. "He's happy for the international panel on climate change scientists who also shared the peace prize. Obviously, it's an important recognition."

Here's the $64,000 question: Now tell me, does Bush know the name of one scientist who sits on this panel?

Is Bush at all familiar with their work? Why are those who are critical of Gore receiving the award not directing their ire at the International Panel on Climate Change, a group that is a co-recipient? (Additionally, why is California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger not criticized by Republicans for his work on environmental issues?)

I think, frankly, there's more story here than what's being reported. How has this panel changed since the Bush administration came to power?

As I blogged long ago, there's someone who can shed some light on my question, a friend of a friend. I've never met Dr. Jonathan Pershing, and I have heard good things about him.

http://www.wri.org/newsroom/newsrelease_text.cfm?nid=362

WASHINGTON, DC, May 1, 2006 -- Dr. Jonathan Pershing has been named the only individual winner in the third annual California Climate Action Registry "Climate Action Champion Awards." ...

Prior to joining WRI, Pershing was head of the Energy and Environment Division of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris; served in the Office of Global Change, U.S. Department of State; was a key U.S. negotiator for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, led delegations to the **Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change**; and helped create bridges between government policymakers and the scientific community.

Posted by: Loomis | October 15, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

sometimes you just wanna whack a mole-WHAM

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Gomer.

Posted by: Loomis | October 15, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Funny Omni, our VCR's only ever flashed 12:00, but they were bang on twice a day.

Posted by: dr | October 15, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

An article explaining the IPCC:

http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/october17/nobel-101707.html

Posted by: Loomis | October 15, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ms. Loomis. I was off all summer hanging with my boy and not looking at a computer screen. Sorry to the boodle, but my real life took precedence. But now I'm back in school, ready to rip off the head and defecate down the neck of whatever issue chaps my hide!

Posted by: Gomer | October 15, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

You've asked a bunch of hilariously funny questions, there, Loomis. I chortled my way through them. I think I liked "Is Bush at all familiar with their work?" the best. That one was a three-star bwahahahaha.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 15, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of unintentional knee-slappers, there's this new WaPo lede headline: "Rice: Mideast Peace Is a White House Priority."

Sometimes the WaPo copy desk just slays me, they really do. What kidders.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | October 15, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

That's a really old VCR. The two I own (one no longer works) would show --:--, but no flashing.

Posted by: omni | October 15, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, a bit of video from Bill Maher,

http://youtube.com/watch?v=kth7T198VWI

House Foreign Relations Committee ... sending a stern message to the Ottoman Empire.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 15, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Re: Bush and the environment; Bush and the Middle East--IMHO he is looking for something - anything - that might help burnish his legacy. I think he realizes that even though he still believes the Iraq war was right and winnable, the war isn't going to be looked upon that way. He needs something else besides tax cuts for the rich, rampant cronyism and partisanship, and NCLB to show for 8 years of ignominy.

Posted by: ebtnut | October 15, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Tim Lambert, you write: 'The judge did not rule that Gore's movie contained nine factual errors. He was careful to put scare quotes around "errors" to make it clear (though not, of course, to the Post) that he wasn't saying that they were errors.'

And Mudge writes: 'I had a major problem with the story about the British judge disagreeing with Gore's movie, which is the use of the term "error" to describe those areas of disagreement. Trouble is, from the reporting I've read, I still can tell if the word "error" was the judge's, or whether it has crept into the reporting.'

Well, you can read the report yourself. Here's one passage written by the judge:

"However, as will be seen, some of the errors, or departures from the mainstream, by Mr Gore in AIT in the course of his dynamic exposition, do arises in the context of alarmism and exaggeration in support of his political thesis."

He later refers to "errors or deviations from the mainstream."

Then he switches to "errors" in quotes, as part of making a list of 9 things that he thinks aren't supported by the mainstream body of evidence.

I think any attempt to read bias into the coverage because the word "errors" is not reported in scare quotes is a bit of a stretch. Dare one say splitting hairs. Just look at the context of the ruling. For example, one of the "errors" is described by the judge as "distinctly alarmist." In his conclusion he says of the 9 "errors": "...the first two of which are at any rate are apparently based on non-existent or misunderstood evidence, and the balance of which are or may be based upon lack of knowledge or appreciation of the scientific position, and all of which are significant planks in Mr Gore's 'political' argumentation."

Tim, in re-reading your blog post I see that the most sweeping condemnation of the Post was actually in the comments section. I sort of lumped it all together and should have been more discerning.

Good luck with your blog!

Posted by: Achenbach | October 15, 2007 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Piece of Mideast is White House Priority

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Kinda tough to beat this meal deal... Only $2.69**!!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/diet.fitness/10/15/big.breakfast.burrito.ap/index.html


**casket extra

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 15, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Back home safely, big thank you to dbG for being such a wonderful hostest. Great to see TBG, Yoki, Mo and dbG.

As promised I shall share my border crossing story. Due to an unfortunate incident with friends once long ago (although quite innocent), the hubby and I get a little nervous at the border, feeling guilty when no guilt is required. Before approaching US customs we went over the possible answers to questions, where are you going, for how long, what are you bringing with you etc. We were doing great and explained nicely to the friendly US customs agent that we were off to Philadelphia to see friends.

Then we were tossed a curve ball with a follow up question, "how do you have friends in Philly?". After an initial pause we replied - we met them on the internet - there was then a very serious uncomfortable pause, followed by the agent asking us how we knew "they" were safe.

Note to self - next time just say we are going on vacation.

Had a lovely time though and the drive there and back was beautiful, even had time to have lunch and do some outlet shopping in Niagara Falls, NY. At lunch we smiled when the waitress at the restaurant asked a fellow customer if they would like a "baux" for their leftover meal.

dr - I brought a can of Tim's with me to dbG as well :-)

Pictures to follow as soon as I figure out how to post them.

Posted by: dmd | October 15, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I think the present administration is running out of time for their legacy. Iraq is not loved anymore, and we've vetoed away insurance for poor children, so what's left for that legacy? Who wants to go down in history as the frontrunner for tax cuts for the rich and a botched war effort? The present administration needs something that reflects their humanity, right?

I mean, how is this legacy going to look after my opponent has gotten himself a Nobel Peace prize? I want one, too. Is there anyone on the White House staff that can get a Nobel prize for the "Decider"?

I still say, it is good to think about the effect we have on the planet, and I believe Mr. Gore work has done exactly that. Perhaps in thinking, we may be moved to "doing"?

And it just might foster children's interest in science, and that would be so wonderful.

I don't think I've read or heard about anything the present administration has done concerning the environment. All I've heard is negative stuff about science and health questions. It seems science does not exist since the Republicans took office. Oh, but there is Katrina, right? Dollars to donuts, no one wants that to be their legacy. Of course, I could be wrong about that.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 15, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

You know its bad when politicians are thinking legacy.

dmd, lucky we weren't asked that. Our border people were far more concerned with beef.

We were relieved of a garlic sausage and the other a can of chili. Made in the US.

We were ok with that, I do understand the issue but what I want to know is what do they do with it. Does it get disposed of as if it were a dangerous material (which would be the way it should be disposed of on the US side if its to be feared), or do they walk over and give it to the Canadian border people to deal with? I'd like to think they send it home for disposal and that disposal in Canada is to a food bank.

Cause if it gets destroyed, what a waste.

Posted by: dr | October 15, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Dolphin Michael,

My husband had a late night call from the data center which kept us both up. We hadn't eaten enough grub at the 7th International Accordion Festival last night, so I popped a small pizza in the oven at midnight, Loomispouse flicked on the tube, and saw that Maher was on.

We missed the Vicente Fox interview, but caught the interview with Naomi Klein. During the program, Maher was tackling California's Armenian lobby for the heavy pressure it brought to bear on the House Foreign Relations Committee's, prompting the committee's decision to very recently condemn Turkey's genocide in 1915. Maher also pointed out how importune it was of the HFRC to ruffle the political feathers of our one close ally in the Middle East, Turkey.

As if Congress didn't have anything better to do.

Posted by: Loomis | October 15, 2007 5:35 PM | Report abuse

dmd, that's funny! At least you didn't say they were imaginary friends - that probably would've gotten "special" attention! Glad you didn't crack, and that you got across and back with no incidents.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 15, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

My husband had a thought that maybe Pelosi was intentionally trying to tick off Turkey, so they won't let us use their bases for staging troops or supplies or whatever we do there - thereby achieving a drawdown of sorts in Iraq. But then he figured that required too much forethought. Not sure how that all got started - seems pretty silly, in light of all the things Congress should be doing.

Posted by: mostlylurking | October 15, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha, Cassandra. And I agree with Mudge re "Is Bush familiar with their work?"

As to whether environmentalism merits a peace prize-- it's very simple. When environments degrade, famine and wars can break out. Also, scarcity of safe drinking water can also cause more political tensions and wars, as well as spot famines.

"Brown ecology" also has its tenet that to ensure the safety of the ecosystem, you need to ensure the needs and education of the population there so they can benefit from the conservation of the environment and feel invested in THEIR land. In Rwanda and nearby countries, gorilla were shot during the civil war there.
Even now, gorillas are often shot as bushmeat to feed people because people need to eat. You can treat a whole country like criminals against the environment, or you can educate them and show why it matters, and promote aid or other resources to meet their needs without injuring the environment that their children and grandchildren will need to live in when all the gorillas and other bushmeat species are long gone.

You can see Gore's efforts to educate Americas and other "civilized nations" on the importance of global warming and environmental conservation as perhaps the biggest success of that approach.

One thing that struck me when reading the profiles of past presidents were how many of them were educators at one point, if not lawyers.

It seems one of the key abilities in any politican in a democracy to persuade others to his point of view is the ability to educate others on the facts involved... in a high stress situation, when the person could walk away at any point.

>

Global warming and cutting of CO2 emissions will mean we will work harder for smarter energy solutions that can be done at reduced cost. This will have ramifactions for developing countries that lack the resources or infrastructure to implement energy-expensive technology developed nations presently employ.

Joel mentioned that India and other countries are investing heavily in satellites and cell phone technology because phone lines simply can't be strung all over India due to the geography and the abundant wildlife still extant in pockets.

Water safety technology has been oriented mostly to pre-existing water sanition plants and towards emergency relief operations. There's much more that could be done, to cut costs and make it more cost-affordable.

The sad legacy of the 2004 Tsunami is that more areas have safer drinking water than they ever had before, because of the relief efforts delivering portable plants and helping fund filtering plants for safe drinking water to prevent cholera outbreaks.

Why should it have taken an tsunami to make people get that problem fixed? It seems people in power do not want to believe in change unless they're stuck in the middle of a crisis... or are vigorously educated in why they should take action.

As Gomer says, global warming won't sterilize earth. But it will likely cause a lot of human misery, wars, famines, and suffering and the destabilization of more countries.


Posted by: Wilbrod | October 15, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

That Ricks article on the dismantling of Al Q. in Iraq, if true, is going to make it much more difficult for Bush to explain why we are there on a going forward basis.

Posted by: bill everything | October 15, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Obvioulsy I have lost my mind. I was referring to beef when I said things were not allowed across the border. I backspaced just a little too far.

Mrdr has dowloaded his pictures, and he has far nicer ones. I will update photos tommorrow.


Posted by: dr | October 15, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

An important explanation of why the climate is tied to peace, Willbrod. I concur; you said it best.

Posted by: Probationboy | October 15, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Kb, I just read that kk.org link. Now I'm visualizing the brain as a wheeling flock of birds, which I just love.

A flock of flying geese reminded me the other day why I love fall. It wasn't a perfect v, more a Y and one geese was well in advance; no doubt leading the way for the youngesters. They were following the river east, no doubt to some unspecified landmark where they rest before turning youth to eventually plague Joel's lawn.

Emergent properties are great. The game of mass democratic pingpong, though, depends on the majority getting continual feedback, which was what made it like participating in an superbrain rather than our current representative democracy model.

I have done a flight stimulator... it's harder to land a plane on the first try than it looks like. That was pretty good.

And I love this quote: "I am a very big believer," Hofstadter told me, "that the core processes of cognition are very, very tightly related to perception."

I absolutely agree and I would like to explore the role of perception in dogs' cognition.

They are much more dependent on motion vision rather than detail vision, and they often operate on memory (possibly motor) and scent traces of where they were before to find locations.

We've all seen dogs act really dumb and go back to where they found something before and absolutely not go and look for something new. Things like this have been used to prove dogs lack logical problem solving skills.

But I've been thinking about it from a dog's perspective. Just like a kangaroo may not be able to realize he can go around a fence that he can't jump, because he's adapted to open country...

Likewise why would dogs be adapted to having paths unexpectedly change and an old, closed off path open up?

That's more something a tree creature would encounter-- branches break off, opening up new paths. An animal can't assume, but must always assess and monitor. It's why monkeys and apes have high detail vision at the expense of smell. Smell doesn't help tell an animal a branch that should be there in front of him is no longer there.

What we may assume is "our greater brains" may simply be evolutionary fortune and a mind better adapted to seeing spatial relations and changes than a dog is.

On the other hand, dogs have superior eye-mouth coordination than humans do. They use a similar strategy, but they do it far better because of their superior motion perception and quicker reflexes.

This theory would presuppose cats have some better ability to absorb and adapt to novel changes in a terrain, but I don't know about that.

The theory would also suggest that dogs that have a central foeva rather than a visual streak (sighthounds have that) and better detail vision will do much better in figuring out unexpected changes in the environment and adapting accordingly.

Anyway that's one thing I wonder about dogs. The present research into dog cognition can lead to erroneous conclusions if their perception is not also analyzed.

Maybe we'll finally learn a form of dog logic based on puzzle based on moving objects and other situations the dog is evolutionarily bred to detect and analyze.

I keep wondering how dogs would do on real-life vector analysis puzzles, especially working sheepdogs.

I have a couple experimental designs in mind for that.



Posted by: Wilbrod | October 15, 2007 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Aw, we'll never tell people about our physics secrets.

The last thing we want to do is have kids make us do physics homework instead of eating it.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | October 15, 2007 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Krugman's take on Gore bashing was interesting. Perhaps the right leaning crowd is driven bananas by Sen. Clinton for the same reasons those folks find it so necessary to belittle Mr. Gore: she has taken everything theat her opponents can throw at her and still seems to prevail. Bus driving duty tomorrow to the State Fair. I havent been to a fair forever. The last one I remember attending was the Rockingham Co.(Va.) Fair. We went to the pig walk.

Posted by: jack | October 15, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Jack --- what in the world is a pig walk?

Posted by: nellie | October 15, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Jack, are you the one that is from the Syracuse area? when we were driving through on the weekend we noticed an outdoor carnival area just south of the city - any idea what that was. It was just dark so we couldn't see that well but it looked interesting. Such a beautiful area around Syracuse.

Posted by: dmd | October 15, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

The pig walk, nellie, is the annual judging of our porcine friends. The contestants are walked about the ring, inspected and one of them walks with the top hog award.

Yes, dmd, I lived in the environs of the Salt City during my high school and college years. If you were on the south side of the city, near Solvay, you may have been looking at the State Fair. I'd second your opinion regarding the beauty of the finger Lakes region, including Syracuse. We used to ride our bikes as fast as we couuld from our home in DeWitt to Skaneateles, about twenty five miles over quite hilly terrain. There were a couple of 1/2 - 3/4 mile hills to climb. The ascent was quite difficult, the descent exhilaraing. Later, when I had my first motorcycle I used to make the ride at semi-unreasonable speeds. Young and foolish, yanno. If you haven't done it already, go south to Keuka lake and take the tour of the wineries. Taylor wines are the big boys; the smaller wineries are more fun. Taylor is blended wine, a fact not lost on the smaller outfits that has caused rivalries to develop. A notable one that I've mentioned before was between the parent company and Walter Taylor, proprietor of Bully Hill winery. Walter was the black sheep of the family and was kind of looney. It was rumoured that he had a couple of mistresses and did crazy stuff like appear spontaneously on the roof of the main building at the winery where he'd get on his soapbox and sing the praises of single vintage , not blended wines. He also used to draw the pictures that were on his bottle labels. Kind of Van Goghish. Times have changed, however. I understand that the police set up license checks on the roads around the area to catch people that imbibe too many samples. Back in the day the tour was one big party.

Posted by: jack | October 15, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Good night, Boodle.

A thought: if Al Gore looks down at that diploma of a Medal he just won, is he just indulging in some Nobel gazing?

bc

Posted by: bc | October 16, 2007 12:11 AM | Report abuse

What in the world am I doing up this time of night? Started coughing and could not quit. That got the sleep.

A little worried too. Have not heard from my children. The g-girl did not go to school yesterday, and no one has called. Perhaps I'm just worrying for nothing, but I am not crazy about her missing school.

Oh, I cannot live these folks lives, I can barely do mine. I need to realize that and move on. They're going to hit the brick wall, they want to hit the brick wall, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about that.

And there's nothing on television. *sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 16, 2007 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Monday nights are bad, I agree. I have a book about humor to read. If you need a laugh, try jumbojokes.com for some jokes. They're better than most sitcoms nowadays anyway.

I wish the achenblog was fully 24/7 with smart alecks, but that's for the future.

My head is all full with interconnectivity and Gore right now. I need to empty it before bed.

Wilbrodog had a nice day at the pet shop today. I take him so he can work on various commands while ignoring animals, and also for some good rabbit manners. He loves the rabbits so much, that I occasionally wish I had the situation to own rabbits. RD makes the bunny bunker sound like such a wonderful thing.

Wilbrodog probably would settle for a good dog friend instead, though. I am trying to find one. He gets visited by dogs sometimes.


Posted by: Wilbrod | October 16, 2007 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Hi, Wilbrod. I think I'm going to go back to bed. I'm not coughing anymore, but that could all change when I hit the sack.

There's an outbreak of whooping cough in the surrounding counties. I hope that isn't my problem. I don't need something new to worry about.

Your dog sounds like a really good companion. I like cats, but with my grandchildren in and out, I've don't have one now. They (grandchildren) would probably have the poor thing hanging up by the tail. Yes, they are bad, I'll be the first to admit it, especially the boys, but that girl isn't far behind because she tries to do whatever the boys do.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 16, 2007 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Night, boodle.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 16, 2007 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Cats are also very nice companions too, especially if you're too busy to walk a dog. Humane education is so important for children. It's easy to get desensitivized to violence and your area sounds really rough to me.
I think children should learn to be kind to animals so they can be kind to people when they grow up. They will make mistakes along the way, but better under watchful eyes than when they're on their own and they have never practiced that gentleness to others.

Of course there are other ways to teach and model kindness and responsibility, such as babysitting, civic service, strong and good role models such as you try to be, and so on.

I think sometimes people need to have a safe way to be "outside" their people-based problems for a while, though, whether it's shooting hoops, immersing in the bible, hiking, etc.

Night, Cassandra.




Posted by: Wilbrod | October 16, 2007 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Today: cases opened and unpacked. Expensive instrument placed on its frame for further work. Plastic tubing for cooling water. Metal antlers mounted on case, keyboard+mouse+display mounted to antlers.

Tonight: 4 games of darts. I won all four in a straight sweep. Pretty soon, my colleagues are gonna get resentful.

And now: I have writing assignments!

Posted by: ScienceTim | October 16, 2007 2:41 AM | Report abuse

Morning all...

I found it interesting the NY Times had coverage of the AF acquistion official's suicide hours before the Post did. *shrug*

*crossing fingers for the Sox tonight*

*special high-altitude Grover waves to VolcanoTim*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 16, 2007 5:04 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, boodle. I've read Eugene Robinson this morning, and that man gets it right so much of the time. He's talking about Tyler Perry's new movie and the amount of money it took in this weekend. I'm here to tell you that in African-Ameriican homes across America, Tyler Perry's art is found in just about every one. People that you would not believe have his tape or have seen his movies. He is a household word now in our homes. And all because his work focuses on the lives of African-American in this country, and does not put us in those little boxes that mainstream movies keep doing. And we get to laugh at ourselves, and not feel bad afterwards. The movie mongrels would do well to take notice.

Still got the cough this morning. It just one thing after the other, all the time.


Morning, Mudge, Slyness, Scotty, and all.*waving*

I see they caught the guy that videotaped himself being bad with the small child. I'm glad they got him. He does not need to walk the streets.

Thanks Wilbrod for the comment on the cat. I think my gang just might be a tad afraid of cats, yet if I had one, that could remove the fear.

Got to get the coffee. I hope I can taste it. Please have a great day, and enjoy this weather. Isn't it beautiful where you are? It is just fantastic here,although the water situation is so very bad. The governor was on television telling us to restrict our use of water to just those things necessary. The weather person is predicting rain by Thursday. We'll see if he or she knows what they're talking about by Thursday.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | October 16, 2007 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Hey Cassandra,

The lack of rain is a random occurance. Seriously, I think we have had, at most, an inch in a month. It has been terrible for us and I bet the food prices are going up. I hear about local crop production failures at about 40% or higher.

WHY I LIKE the Boodle...

The great writing! (along with such wonderful people who include Cassandra who has written some very thoughtful pieces)

About everyone here has nailed something over the wall and it is daily a joy to read!

We are here at the washington post collection of electrons and I have to say that, along with Joel A., there are some pretty witty guys and gals who, every day, generate stuff that really begs for a good sit down and read. AND it gets hidden all around the paper.

This morning, I got to read something from Norman Chad's titled "A Matter of No Degrees" ... referring to the so-called graduation rate of the University of Maryland's mens basketball program. I right away, apologize to College Parkian, of whom, I am a closet blog fan and to any other Turtle fan.

Chad is a grad of Maryland, I understand. I would also say that I am a grad of that small upstart backup school called GW. You may have heard of GW. Often, it comes up during TV interviews where you may here, "I would like to thank Prof. Jonathan Turley of Georgetown ..."; That's "George Washington, (fill in name of interviewer)"

Well, at GW, we have, for almost 20 years, had a great Women's basketball team which has toiled in practical obscurity at Smith Center in Foggy Bottom. Too quietly, Joe McKeown has racked up 414 wins in 18 seasons. Last years team finished 28-4 and returns four starters and many key bench players. Routinely, the team has won national and regional academic awards along with their on-the-court championships.

Now, GW has had several years of success under the very popular young coach Karl Hobbs who has taken the Colonials Men to three straight tournaments and clearly play a very popular style of ball.

When Hobbs first started bringing in new players, he got serious criticism for his recruits being of marginal achedemic standing. The Post (this paper which sometimes fails putting things into perspective by about 100 miles) managed to create front-page hysteria about a couple of GW mens basketball players by name, as they were entering the NCAA championships after a fairy tale 16-0 A10 regular season. The coverage relentless and damaging to the persons in question. It never crossed the minds of the Post editors to make a deal about the true back story that the players were both in degree programs and the main player was within months of completing his course of studies in four years and managed to be a key member of the success. What the Post did manage to do is create a stong bond within the GW community and a dedication to the education part of the GW sports environment.

So, here I am reading this Norman Chad piece, speaking of his own school that the Post usually will be glad to do one article or two a week, and if things are going well, one or two a day. Well Norman got off on them about their graduation success.

Here is some of the great lines about their graduation rate (or non graduation rate which is as good as gold):

"I didn't want to write you all again -- I mean, just last month I politely requested that my alma mater eliminate Division I sports -- but several people e-mailed me some rather startling numbers about our hoops-playing, class-dodging student-athletes."

"No Maryland men's basketball player who enrolled between 1997 and 2000 graduated within six years. This is commonly called a "zero percent graduation rate," and it ranked us last among the nation's 321 Division I programs -- in other words, we finished 321st out of 321 schools."

"Geez, what happened to the academic legacy once created by Lefty Driesell?"

"Only one other men's basketball program in the ACC -- Clemson, 31 percent -- had a graduation rate below 40 percent. We can't do better than Clemson? Clemson? That's a Stuckey's with a student union."

... Norman takes a break to talk about University of Hawaii football, then returns to the topic out of the blue...

I repeat: We're talking a "zero percent graduation rate."

By the way, Maryland plays its games at Comcast Center; coincidentally, between 1997 and 2000, Comcast had a "zero percent response rate" to its customer's cable problems.

===> the Stuckey's line about Clemson and the Comcast line have to be two of the best and Norman got them off in one article.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 16, 2007 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Oh DM, I love you and your writing! Here is the dope on GeeWilliams and the notion of the gentleman-athlete-scholar. He is the only coach at UTERP I have every crossed swords with. He does a disservice to these young men on a nearly daily basis. I shall not say more.

Let me also say that it has been my distinct privileges to work with a number of Terp athletes. The athletic department offers support to these young men and women that should be modeled thorough collegedom.

In yesterday's Diamondback paper, GeeWilliams is photographed next to a fancy-smancy Italian auto-transport that rhymes with linguine.

I nearly lost my cookies.

Posted by: College Terpian | October 16, 2007 8:28 AM | Report abuse

SCC! "ever crossed swords with".... and of course no winner 'tall but who lost out, whatever the details?

the fine young man, both bewildered and beleaguered, who deserved a structure and mentoring that would use raw athletic talent as a way to launch into a life of

dignity
skills
knowledge
credential
critical-thinking


And who amoung Ye shall defend me with lawerly quivers, should the beast rear and demand my meager cup-portion for slander and libel.........

Posted by: College Parkian | October 16, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

The grey and white cat that runs the neighborhood (it does have at least an unofficial home) showed up as I was installing plants in a new bed yesterday evening. Once very shy of me, it lolled around ignoring my moving containerized plants right over its head. The visit ended in a belly rub.

A bit later, I came into the garage, and the cat jumps down off the garage door onto the roof of my car. So that's where some scratches have been coming from.

The new bed has two palms, a little jaboticaba (small slow-growing Brazilian fruit tree), and what amounts to a giant coontie, Zamia loddigesii. The one I bought at the palm sale in Palm Beach County this weekend has leaves four feet tall and cones that look a bit like giant corn cobs (something that's been noticed for many centuries where it's native in the Yucatán peninsula including Belize.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | October 16, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I firmly believe belly rubs and chin scritches are a cat's raison d'etre...

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | October 16, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

"Stuckey's with a student union." Thanks, DM, for the first laugh of the day! That line is a classic, indeed.

Actually, Clemson isn't a bad engineering and textile school. They do have some excellent programs, but I think they are more into football than basketball. Yes, I realize that's unusual for a college in this part of the world. Just my observation. Of course, *cough, cough* we are Carolina fans in this house, and Carolina's athlete graduation rate is pretty high, IIRC.

Cassandra, I thought this column in today's Charlotte Observer was quite interesting. How much do you think we need to change the culture to ensure that poor kids can be successful?

http://www.charlotte.com/210/story/320756.html

Posted by: Slyness | October 16, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey CP, thanks!

MY BIL played at Maryland on the football team. The quality of the program was never in doubt. I would occasionally have opportunities to meet his former teammates and they would always be great people. They were always down-to-earth and very friendly--many were playing in the NFL, but no airs at all. What a treat!

On the other hand, I have also have had several conversations with your Mr. Williams. Out of the superman suit, he is approachable, but the average MD fan seems to be totally threatened by his personality. Candidly, he seemed to be pained by his situation, whether it is of his own making, it is hard to tell.

CP, I can tell you that there is a basic love of life and "the challenge" on the GW basketball staff. Pro ball has become a realistic outcome for a GW athlete, but the focus is first, making something of yourself and your education and preparation for your life. We, at GW, are in the unique postion to be recruiting athletes competing with BOTH the Harvards of the world and the Georgetowns and Maryland. Once the athletes make to GW, they are all the same.

The real sign that a program has a lot to offer is that we have 3 non-scholarship walk-ons who are good players. Good coaches and good programs draw those special players. As major sports go, Maryland's football program under the Fridge is just like that. THere seems to be a line of transfers trying to get to Maryland's football team.

As they say, CP, 10,000 flies can't be wrong!

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 16, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

New kit, note to dr, Saskatchewan is mentioned!! :-)

Posted by: dmd | October 16, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Last post from me "on topic." I'm providing the last three grafs from our front page feature on Saturday about Gore's Nobel. The piece was a compilation of AP reporting and reporting of local reaction by S.A. Express-News reporter Anton Caputo. These last three grafs were obviously written by Caputo.

You can decide whether the grafs speak to Gore's immense knowledge or perhaps the lack of eduction in Texas. *wink*:

Andrew Dessler, a professor at Texas A&M's Department of Atmospheric Sciences, was not surprised Gore won a share of the award. He said the scuttlebutt among the scientific community for several weeks has been that someone associated with climate change would win and that Gore was at the top of the list.

Dessler, who has been active in the Texas debate about climate change, said he first heard Gore speak about the issue when he was a graduate student in 1989 and Gore was a senator from Tennessee. He has since heard him discuss climate change several times and is impressed with his grasp of the science.

"He knows more about climate change than any non-scientist I know," Dessler said. "He knows more than the graduate students in our department."

Posted by: Loomis | October 16, 2007 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Hello Loomis,
I would take that reporting over the "some say" stuff that we get out of our major news outlets here. BTW, if you can't use too many "Some say" combinations in an unattributed piece, you can swap in "there are those who say."

(*stealing from a funny NPR piece*)

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 16, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

New kit, note to dr, Saskatchewan is mentioned!! :-)

is that North North Dakota?

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | October 16, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, that Charlotte Observer column seems pretty accurate.

Its comment about the rich living in the past makes me wonder whether attending a college stuffed with rich kids is a good idea--I went to what at the time was a blue-collar university. Parents worked in coal mines, steel mills, shirt factories, grocery stores . . .

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | October 16, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

DM -- balderdash on GEEWEE's persona of personal pain on this. Balderdash times 70 times 7.

Jeezy Peezy
Well I never
Lord save us Dick Davis
God BLESS America
Will wonders never cease...

I am thinking lots of swear words and clever skirting phrases perfected by my Granny.

GEEWEE needs a moral compass adjustment and perhaps lots of therapy....

Posted by: College Parkian | October 16, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Yes DM, Fridge has a moral compass and a heart and sees the entire picture on what is possible for these young men.

Fridge is a delight to work worth and priceless the face of the young man who suddenly sits in the front and turns in reasonable work, because

I.Know.Coach.

It also helps that Fridge warms a seat at the Catholic Student Center on Sundays....and yes, he drives a golf cart down from the football huddle house.....I can mention the lapsing student in God's house.....so very effective on a number of natural and supernatural levels.

I may still need an attorney.....Ivansmom? Are you in the building?

Posted by: College Parkian | October 16, 2007 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Joel, when the judge uses "error" without the scare quotes he has this: "errors, or departures from the mainstream". So each one of his nine points is either an error or a departure from the mainstream. It is wrong to say that he found that there were nine errors in AIT. If a crime victim said that he was attacked by a gang of nine men who Asian or white, and the Post instead reported that he was attacked by nine Asians, would not that be evidence of bias.

And it's not just that the Post misreported the judge's findings, it's that after reporting on it one day, you reported it again the next day not once, not twice, not three times, but four more times. And the thing that got people angry was that the so-called FactChecker did not check any facts. Was the judge right? Wouldn't that be something that an unbiased paper might want to check on? According to actual climate scientists, he got it wrong: http://tinyurl.com/39xjrn

Posted by: Tim Lambert | October 16, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I understand that the Post is not a monolith, and that they are not the biggest GW deniers out there, or even in Washington journalism. But the Post EDITORIAL PAGE is right there with some of the worst. In several months the sum total of their climate change commentary, that I noticed, was:

1. Emily Yoffe, advice columnist and self-described "math moron". She wrote a very serious sounding editorial, clumsily citing misinterpreted studies, and concluding that climate change was really nothing to worry about. This alone should have meritted shutting down the entire paper for a week for a reflective timeout.

2. Bjorn Lomborg, an economist with zero climate study credentials who has been cited for academic dishonesty in his home Denmark. He grudgingly admitted that yeah, it's happening, and yeah, we're doing it, but we really shouldn't go to any great lengths to address it. This put the Post's editorial page right up there with the biggest recipients of Exxon public disinformation campaign money in recent years.

3. A quick rebuttal to Lomborg by the head of Georgia Tech's earth sciences dept. It was linked on the post.com page for about 37 seconds and I can no longer find it.

4. A couple of urban planning folks who think centralized living is bad for global warming because, wait for it... cities are "hot". In their entire two-page ramble did they address the question of how hot cities were PER CAPITA and how that compared with suburbs. It was like saying Judaism is more prominent and culturally dominant in the US than in Israel, because there are a greater number of Jews here (in absolute number). Just sheer, bald undiluted academic dishonesty. That's what the Post is now known for Mr. Achenbach.


Prescription: Joel Achenbach clones himself, and injects the Washington Post with at least a minimum R.D.A. of scientific literacy, to VET these charlatans before they come on and further poison your newspaper's severely compromised reputation on scientific matters. Believe me, I'm not joking (you should hear some of the conversations going on out here).

Posted by: B2O2 | October 16, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

If I worked for the WAPO, and had a blog they paid for, I'd tend to find that WAPO is even-handed in addressing GW too. And Gore.

I don't work for WAPO. I do read a lot of memes in WAPO that are unproven or unnecessary, and these are often repeated unnecessarily. It's not just WAPO--it's true throughout the MSM. Some of it is that he who pays the piper calls the tune; perhaps some of it is a desire to get paid for the tune; but much of it seems to be organizational thinkspeak. Welcome to 1984.

Posted by: 23Skiddoo | October 16, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman liked Joel's blob about GW deniers(10/15 Gore's Nobel) so much he borrowed it for his column today (10/18).
Joel:
It is a planet where global warming isn't happening -- or, if it is happening, isn't happening because of human beings. Or, if it is happening because of human beings, isn't going to be a big problem. And, even if it is a big problem, we can't realistically do anything about it other than adapt.
Jay:
Global warming isn't real," they said at first. Next came, "Well, it might be real but we can't prove mankind has anything to do with it," followed by "OK, it's probably real and mankind is probably driving it, but hey, there's really nothing we can do to stop it.

Posted by: zilch1947 | October 18, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

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