Great, Great Movie

My old friend, Industry Figure Larry Helmerich and I went to see Al Gore’s new movie about Global Warming, An Inconvenient Truth, tonight.

In Larry’s words, in an e-mail to a mutual friend:

It was a great movie! I was a bit reluctant to see it because I thought that it would be depressing and make me mad and that Gore would be wooden and boring, but it was none of those things. It was the best documentary that I’ve seen in years. It is a very good example on how to persuade people into action and I think that you would enjoy it quite a bit.

Yep, what an amazing, amazing movie. Gore was impassioned, funny, moving — inspiring, even, and it wasn’t a downer at all, though it was a call to action.

See this movie, and if you don’t like it, if it doesn’t move you to action, I’ll send you the money for your movie tickets, popcorn, parking, baby sitter, etc. I’ve got the Confidence!

(unless I don’t know you, in which case, you’re on your own, but otherwise, hey, free movie!)

Visit the web site (find a theatre, see the truth, learn how to help, free downloads)

Of Course It Was Stolen (Again)

Despite overwhelming evidence that the United States’ Presidential Election was stolen for the second time in a row in 2004, the press chose to promote the party line that “there might have been irregularities, but they weren’t enough to shift the result.”

But they were, and they did.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., writes, in a heavily-footnoted article in Rolling Stone:

The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush’s victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency. A precinct in an evangelical church in Miami County recorded an impossibly high turnout of ninety-eight percent, while a polling place in inner-city Cleveland recorded an equally impossible turnout of only seven percent. In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.

…But what is most anomalous about the irregularities in 2004 was their decidedly partisan bent: Almost without exception they hurt John Kerry and benefited George Bush….A review of the available data reveals that in Ohio alone, at least 357,000 voters, the overwhelming majority of them Democratic, were prevented from casting ballots or did not have their votes counted in 2004 — more than enough to shift the results of an election decided by 118,601 votes. (See Ohio’s Missing Votes) In what may be the single most astounding fact from the election, one in every four Ohio citizens who registered to vote in 2004 showed up at the polls only to discover that they were not listed on the rolls, thanks to GOP efforts to stem the unprecedented flood of Democrats eager to cast ballots. And that doesn’t even take into account the troubling evidence of outright fraud, which indicates that upwards of 80,000 votes for Kerry were counted instead for Bush. That alone is a swing of more than 160,000 votes — enough to have put John Kerry in the White House.

”It was terrible,” says Sen. Christopher Dodd, who helped craft reforms in 2002 that were supposed to prevent such electoral abuses. ”People waiting in line for twelve hours to cast their ballots, people not being allowed to vote because they were in the wrong precinct — it was an outrage. In Ohio, you had a secretary of state who was determined to guarantee a Republican outcome. I’m terribly disheartened.”

Read the Full Article in Rolling Stone
“Was the 2004 Election Stolen?”
by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Current Issue

This comes on top of the earlier fine article by Mark Crispin Miller on the same subject in Harper’s:

It seemed at times that Ohio’s secretary of state was determined to try every stunt short of levying a poll tax to suppress new voter turnout. On September 7, based on an overzealous reading of an obscure state bylaw, he ordered county boards of elections to reject all Ohio voter-registration forms not “printed on white, uncoated paper of not less than 80 lb. text weight.” Under public pressure he reversed the order three weeks later, by which time unknown numbers of Ohioans had been disenfranchised. Blackwell also attempted to limit access to provisional ballots. The Help America Vote Act—passed in 2002 to address some of the problems of the 2000 election—prevents election officials from deciding at the polls who will be permitted to cast provisional ballots, as earlier Ohio law had permitted. On September 16, Blackwell issued a directive that somehow failed to note that change. A federal judge ordered him to revise the language, Blackwell resisted, and the court was forced to draft its own version of the directive, which it ordered Blackwell to accept, even as it noted Blackwell’s “vigorous, indeed, at times, obdurate opposition” to compliance with the law.

Under Blackwell the state Republican Party tried to disenfranchise still more Democratic voters through a technique known as “caging.” The party sent registered letters to new voters, “then sought to challenge 35,000 individuals who refused to sign for the letters,” including “voters who were homeless, serving abroad, or simply did not want to sign for something concerning the Republican Party.”

Read the Full Article in Harper’s
“None Dare Call It Stolen”
by Mark Crispin Miller
August, 2005

Global Dimming

Industry Figures John Blackburn and Curt Welch alerted me to this issue over a year ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t post something about it at the time — probably because it left me badly taken aback.

I just tonight saw the BBC Horizon episode whose transcript is referenced here, which Curt originally pointed out, and which was recently shown, in a slightly different form, as “Dimming the Sun”, on Nova.

I found it disturbing as hell: Global Dimming, another new widespread global climate change, is troubling enough on its own, but it has likely also masked the true extent of Global Warming, meaning that the fundamental warming trend is actually much (much) larger than previously imagined.

NARRATOR: September 12th 2001, the aftermath of tragedy. While America mourned, the weather all over the country was unusually fine. Eight hundred miles west of New York, in Madison, Wisconsin a climate scientist called David Travis was on his way to work.

DR DAVID TRAVIS (University of Wisconsin, Whitewater): Around the twelfth, later on in the day, when I was driving to work, and I noticed how bright blue and clear the sky was. And at first I didn’t think about it, then I realised the sky was unusually clear.

NARRATOR: For 15 years Travis had been researching an apparently obscure topic, whether the vapour trails left by aircraft were having a significant effect on the climate. In the aftermath of 9/11 the entire US fleet was grounded, and Travis finally had a chance to find out.

DR DAVID TRAVIS: It was certainly, you know, one of the tiny positives that may have come out of this, an opportunity to do research that hopefully will never happen again.

NARRATOR: Travis suspected the grounding might make a small but detectable change to the climate. But what he observed was both immediate and dramatic.

DR DAVID TRAVIS: We found that the change in temperature range during those three days was just over one degrees C. And you have to realise that from a layman’s perspective that doesn’t sound like much, but from a climate perspective that is huge.

NARRATOR: One degree in just three days — no one had ever seen such a big climatic change happen so fast. This was a new kind of climate change. Scientists call it Global Dimming…

Read the Full Transcript from the BBC.

There is also a Wikipedia Entry, of course, but the BBC transcript is more extensive (and dramatic).