Al Gore lets his guard down


Published: Saturday, January 24, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 23, 2004 at 9:05 p.m.
I feel sorry for Al Gore. Were he just a tad less wooden, he might be president. Instead, he seems doomed to be an historical footnote under "also-ran."
Let me begin my discourse with an Al Gore outrider who tilts at chrysanthemums.
Early in January, one of our public service TV networks brought us a lecture on global warming by Jessica Matthews of the Carnegie Endowment - a left-wing think-tank.
"The sky is falling in. The sky is falling in, and George W. Bush is pulling the strings," Matthews argued.
I have known of Jessica Matthews since she was Jessica Tuchman, daughter of Barbara Tuchman, the mother of all environmentalism. Jessica was a bright star among the young thinksters who congregated in Jimmy Carter's west wing.
They brought us the decision not to reprocess spent fuel from nuclear power reactors so as not to recycle the manufactured plutonium, which could blow up the world and/or provide electricity from here to eternity.
Their noble efforts, they believed, would put a stop to all such nuclear nonsense.
Thus, Jessica et al. created a national policy under which our government would take custody of all spent nuclear fuel generated commercially in the USA and bury it in Louisiana.
But Louisiana had a powerful Democratic senator, who was the first to say, "Not in my back yard."
The scene shifted to west Texas, where, after years of bickering and millions (likely billions) were thrown away, the powers that be in Washington struck Texas from the proposed repository list.
For some years now, Nevada has been the federally mandated, nuclear-waste-storage state, although to my knowledge no spent fuel has yet been entombed there.
One might have thought, even hoped, that Jessica would have left the scene quietly, but such was not in the cards.
Soon after Ronald Reagan arrived in Washington, our heroine hooked her wagon to the environmental star where she found a viable platform as the heralding angel of doom. Global warming became her Chicken Little for grown-ups.
Over a decade ago, Jessica opined in the Washington Post that the onset of global warming had caused her chrysanthemums to bloom in July - not October.
That sent me scurrying to my typewriter (remember when?) to educate Jessica on chrysanthemums - known to Roman Catholics as the flower of the dead to be carried to cemeteries every Nov. 1 to celebrate ancestors on All Saints Day.
Real gardeners the world over know that chrysanthemums can be made to bloom as late as November, but only if you pinch all buds when they first appear and continue to pinch them until about July or August, depending on how late you want your flowers.
The Washington Post printed my response to Jessica (by then Jessica Matthews), but there has been no stopping her.
She has assumed the mantle of the dragon slayer and has set herself (and her armies) against the most global warming of all global warmers, George W. Bush and his evil Republican/industrial polluters.
Now along comes Al Gore dressed to the teeth, but riding on Jessica's sweaty, globally warmed horse - a nag named Rocinante. First, we saw him
hugging and kissing John Dean, who didn't seem to know what to make of all this show of affection.
Too bad Al didn't borrow some warm sweats from the Bushes, but no, there he was in mid-January and dressed like he was going to a funeral, standing tall and awkward at center stage without so much as a podium to hide behind.
Alas, Al is no stand-up comedian. He seems to see himself not as Quixote but as Saint George, the dragon slayer. He talks real serious about the twin devils - George W. Bush and the Republicans, who bring us global warming with its imminent threat to the humankind.
So there was Al, desperate to generate some heat on the coldest night of the year, spouting Algorisms - like why George Bush should not be allowed to recur in Arabic numerals or wherever.
Al and Jessica know - therefore we should know - that Bush and the Republicans are taking us to hell in a red-hot handbasket. They claim to have all science lined up to support their global-warming theses, but check that out in the UF engineering department.
Brit Hume over on Fox News saw some humor in all this. He cut away from Ol' Al dangling on a string at center stage and took us, the TV audience, to a vacated street in downtown Manhattan, where the weatherman was predicting the lowest temperatures ever to be recorded for that city.
The moral of all this, of course, is that you can believe some of the people (such as I) some of the time, but you had best be on guard at all times.
There are some real shysters out there.
If only Al had tap danced.
John Graham is a former editor of Nuclear News, the official magazine of the American Nuclear Society. He is retired and lives in Gainesville.

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