Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

GREEN....I wonder how many reviews like this of An Inconvenient Truth we're going to have to put up with? Taking it paragraph by paragraph, Gregg Easterbrook complains that (1) it's boring; (2) it's annoying; (3) it's contrived; (4) it's unimaginative; (5) it's alarmist; (6) it's too detailed; (7) it promotes conspiracy theories; (8) it's hypocritical; and (9) it's morally careless.

And that's from a guy who says he's "glad" Gore made the movie and admits that it "comes to the right conclusions about the seriousness of global warming." Yet he spends the entire piece doing nothing except kvetching over trivia. You'd almost think he just can't stand the thought that Gore was right before he was.

Kevin Drum 1:06 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (104)

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I don't plan on reading any reviews...

Posted by: Frisk on May 25, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

i personally gave up on reading gregg easterbrook a while back. exactly what value does he add to any discussion?

Posted by: howard on May 25, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

www.realclimate.org reviewed the movie (the site is run by climate scientists to keep journalists in line with scientific consensus). They said, except for a few quibles, the science is pretty good.

Posted by: memekiller on May 25, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

What makes Gregg Easterbrook post worthy?

Posted by: jerry on May 25, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'm afraid Gregg Easterbrook's forays into film criticism have been, shall we say, unfortunate. At least he didn't say this "morally flawed" film had been greenlighted by Jews.

Posted by: Boots Day on May 25, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

I noticed Andrew Sullivan talking up Easterbrook's conclusions. Sullivan himself was a vehement denier of global warming during the high point of his rightwing ectasy. Needless to say, there he never acknowledged any mistakes, let alone his ideological certitude about the science he knows little about.

Easterbrook is one of those writers who gets taken seriously because, like Sullivan, he appears to be independent of the political divisions we assume are behind every issue. But Easterbrook's own writings betray an almost obsessive fetish with that independence. In other words, it's shtick. Easterbrook is a factionalist of his own would-be personality cult.

Posted by: walt on May 25, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Soooooo........ being alarmist contrived, promoting insane conspiracy theories, and being morally careless are 'trivia' in Drum's world? As a conservative, I don't find those trivial anywhere.

As for boring, annoying, unimaginative, and being too detailed..... how can those possibly be invalid criticisms of a movie meant to entertain? It reminds me of battlefield earth; it's a science fiction movie designed to promote the main figure's religious beliefs (scientology and earth worship), and it's going to be remembered as an infamous failure.

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Posted by: biu991 on May 25, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

So.....the headline tell us of "moral flaws"....where the hell are they? At what point in this so-called review is a discussion of the deep moral fallibility of Gore's presentation?

The headline is a hook. The review doesn't deliver anything other than Easerbrook's facination with his own opinion.

Yawn.

Kevin, what the hell is wrong with you tonight? You can do better than this.

Posted by: jcricket on May 25, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

American Chickenhawk manages to have it both ways.

And they're both backwards.

I salute you, Brave Chickenhawk!

Posted by: floopmeister on May 25, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

and floopmeister, i salute you for beating me to the punch, so let me just add this note:

american hawk's postings are intended to entertain (one trusts. no one could be that stupid and still know how to type). al gore's movie is intended to inform.

Posted by: howard on May 25, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Easterbrook... Easterbrook... or yeah, this guy:


Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice.

How is it that this guy still gets writing gigs from mainstream media outlets? Says a lot about the kind of people who populate the media business.

Posted by: bling on May 25, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin You'd almost think he just can't stand the thought that Gore was right before he was.

Easterbrook has been right about something?

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on May 25, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

Howard - yeah, he's like Kenneth. One post and then back to whittling sticks on the back porch.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 25, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Same old stupid shit. I wanted to throttle that Puke apologist, Gwen Ifiil, tonight with all of her "questions" which were all really nasty right-wing smears couched in the same old "some people say..." bullshit.

Fuck 'em all, the selfish pricks.

Posted by: BB on May 25, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Gore is one of the most interesting policitical figures of this era. For his entire career through the 2000 election, I always was highly skeptical of his sincerity. It seemed like his life and most of his positions were programmed and designed to advance his career and culminate in the presidency.

Since then, his behavior has been different, often weird, but perhaps sincere. And he now is the foremost politician on what might be the most important issue facing mankind. I am skeptical about global warming, particularly as pushed by a politician. But what I struggle with on Gore is whether he has changed, i.e., is this just the latest chapter in him positioning himself so as to advance his career or is he sincerely dedicated to the issue without regard for his career. I'd like to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, but after such a lifetime of posturing for political advantage, it is probably more likely that global warming is more of the same (which is not to say that he does not also belief he is correct on the issue).

I have to say, in terms of securing the democrat nomination, he appears to have set himself up beautifully with respect to the war and global warming. If he can stay away from weird behavior, I think he will run in 2008 and beat Hillary. However, I think he probably loses again in the general election -- the combination of his history, personality and too strong a tilt left.

Posted by: brian on May 25, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Well, it's not called "An Inconvenient Truth" for nothing.

I thought NPR's review - of both the science and the film - was remarkably fair. But maybe that's because I was just expecting another hatchet job.

Posted by: craigie on May 25, 2006 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Slate has been mostly worthless for a long time now.

Easterbrook is just a jackoff, so really, who cares. Who on earth says: I wonder what Easterbrook thinks about this or that? The only decent thing he's ever written was his take-down of the space shuttle a few decades back. He's just a cretin... who cares what dribbles out of his gourd.

Posted by: Triskele on May 25, 2006 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

BB--
Interesting. I try to be pretty green and I thought Ifil did a nice job of lining up questions to let them knock down the straw men people will put up. Personally, I think she does a pretty good job compared to almost all other TV interviewers/hosts I watch. She's also dropped her guard a couple of times and shown her colors and they weren't to the right.

On the film, none of the reviewers I read rate this as a blockbuster. "Dry...necessary...decent documentary." "Scary" was as exciting as I've seen.

Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed about $120m. If it beats that it's a new record for a documentary. On a subject which, by now, should be a lot less controversial than it remains.

So if it jolts a few people into realizing just how insane lemmings...I mean humans are, it'll have done some good. Don't you think?

Given that some corporates are still fighting with propaganda. "CO2. They call it pollution. We call it life." I'd crack up if that wasn't so insanely, ignorantly scary.

My life time is probably OK. My kid's or hers, I don't know.

And, for the idiots, because we "DON'T KNOW" doesn't mean doing nothing now.

Posted by: notthere on May 25, 2006 at 1:54 AM | PERMALINK

Brian - let's not overstate this. It's fantastic to have a US political figure finally articulating what has been a growing awareness in many other countries for quite a long time.

However, I'd hesitate to call him the foremost politician on what might be the most important issue facing mankind. His is an important and courageous step given the state of the discourse in the US, but let's not forget he following in a well trodden path.

The US has a long way to go towards catching up to the awareness of the this issue in many other developed countries. The reality of global warming has become mainstream in many countries through the work of many politicians (Greens and otherwise) willing to make it so.

However, if you meant the foremost US politician then I agree wholeheartedly - and apologise for my pedantry.

:)

Posted by: floopmeister on May 25, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Golly, Brian, is everything Naked Ambition for you? There are more things to think about than handicapping the 2008 race.

See the movie before you dismiss it as a political advert. Ive seen the slide show, and Gore doesnt look and sound like a person running for something. Rather, he seems aware that he has enough media capital to get people to pay attention to what he says about something he cares about. There are many scientists who can give the same powerpoint presentation as Gore does, and who can tell stories and jokes as well as he does, but they cant pack a room.

Posted by: troglodyte on May 25, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

BB, I watched that too, and I thought Ifill had confused which show she was on...she acted like she was on Washington Week, where politics is the point, rather than The News Hour, where they have a broader scope. There was very little discussion of the science and the film.

Posted by: Linkmeister on May 25, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

golly,

i have this collection of the washington monthly since its inception.

guess who was one of its earliest contributors?

an idiot by the name of gregg easterbrook

Posted by: albertchampion on May 25, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

If Al Gore did not exist, Karl Rove would need to invent him.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on May 25, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

It's like the moron at the Chicago Tribune's AAA West Coast Farm Team, once known as the L.A. Times, who says the movie has a "definite point of view (and no room for any others)." What a dork!!! What? They're supposed to put in the White House talking points that maybe the 900 peer-reviewed articles on the subject aren't everything there is to say??

The L.A. Times - back to being the west coast's best litter-box liner.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 25, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Its a great movie and will serve the long-run goal of discrediting the Global Warming Alarmist movements.

Every time there is a record winter, people can organise outdoor showings of the movie as a protest.

Posted by: McA on May 25, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Linkmeister, I can't really remember News Hour reviewing a film or going into science except to mention in outline what a Nobel prize might be for, or necessary information to an article.

Anyway, on Al Gore, this is a subject of true passion to him. In 1992 his book The Earth in the Balance was printed, and I balieve he got interested in the environment in college. As to his perceived insincerity or/and boringness, to me he always seemed really uncomfortable speaking, probably because he was having to simplify to accomodate sound-bites, and about something he didn't altogether agree with in detail. How refreshing from politicians who can lie through their teeth more convincingly than any car sal....

Off Thread:
Olmert's in Washington. He wants to unilaterlly divide Israel and Palestine inclulding pre-67 Palestinian property. Bush hasn't said boo.
No interest to Kevin Drum? Does he skirt this issue?

Posted by: notthere on May 25, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

*sigh* - as usual, I see American Chickenhawk has his head shoved up his cloaca.

Well, ya gotta love how "The Party of Life" (TM) will twist facts into a pretzel to justify that "we can't fix the environment, so we better just burn it out in this generation, and (let the rich) enjoy life while it lasts."

The only question I have for Gore is:
You had 8 years. Why the fuck didn't you DO anything about it? You were motherfucking VEEP for jeebuz sake. Had you taken your tongue out of Clinton's ass, you might actually have given people a reason to vote for you instead of Nader in 2000.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 25, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Every time there is a record winter, people can organise outdoor showings of the movie as a protest.
Posted by: McA on May 25, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

When the Pacific Ocean comes for you, do us all a favor and stay on your fucking Island.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 25, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

When the Pacific Ocean comes for you, do us all a favor and stay on your fucking Island.

You know, I was about to say "Peninsula Malaysia is not an island"... and then a little voice inside said:

"Not yet, it ain't."

;)

Posted by: floopmeister on May 25, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.5-top-sites.com

Posted by: asdfsdf on May 25, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

o_b_f
"You had 8 years. Why the fuck didn't you DO anything about it?"

I don't remember how well his book was received. I didn't read it. But global warming was not an issue, there wasn't much direct support from the scientific community -- or atleast it didn't gain traction -- and the press from center to right was either silent or dismissive. I can remember the great environmental expert George Will, circa 1996, using the "it's just a theory, there's no certrainty" argument. Of course he won't live long enough to be embarrased. Plus you have a pre-nup with the president so it might have been a no go from the White House.

McA led a traumatized childhood with a complete lack of attention. Now he acts out with illogical, outrageous and extreme statements to get attention.

Posted by: notthere on May 25, 2006 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

"Not yet, it ain't."
;)
Posted by: floopmeister on May 25, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Precisely.

Just like Southern Florida isn't an island. Yet.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 25, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

brian >"...what I struggle with on Gore is whether he has changed, i.e., is this just the latest chapter in him positioning himself so as to advance his career or is he sincerely dedicated to the issue without regard for his career..."

IF you really want to give him the benefit of the doubt read this

Might be bullcrap, might be truth so you decide

Either way, "global warming" IS real & nature does NOT give a shit if you believe or don`t

"If you don't deal with reality, reality will deal with you" - C.J. Campbell

Posted by: daCascadian on May 25, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

I dunno ... I can see the criticisms to the extent that the rdw posts will now write themselves according to easterbrook's template.

Sadly enough, I see some of them resonating. The idea of saintly greens vs everybody else who enjoys a Western standard of living -- while flying on private jets and out-consuming most of us -- is going to strike a chord, I'm afraid. And it does disturb me that Gore overstated ocean level rise by an order of magnitude when that wasn't necessary to make the point.

The rest of the criticism missed the point. The plodding earnestness, the intercut political messages, the so-called "conspiracy theory" in the Bush environmental team (heh, like we need a conspiracy theory to explain it) are just purposeless grousing.

There's no question in my mind Gore's sincere about this. He didn't push to do the movie; a supporter did. What's really needed is to get real passion on the issue out of the hands of elitists who fly around in private jets (and I've been a professional environmental activist for years; this is more than a right-wing meme) is the movement's Job One.

Let's hope Gore cuts ice with the broader audience this earnest documentary deserves.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 25, 2006 at 3:50 AM | PERMALINK

Either way, "global warming" IS real & nature does NOT give a shit if you believe or don`t

Posted by: daCascadian on May 25, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

The funny shit is that, there being one planet - if I'm wrong you die too.

How greenie's feel about people like me is how I feel about people who think WMD terrorism is not real.

Us Malaysians are doing our bit. We are lopping down them Methane generating forests like gangbusters!

I have no respect for climate science.
Its making 50 year predictions, calling for world recession causing regulation and has just discovered a major hole in its model assumptions.

http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/001103.html

Its politicised and settles issues in volume of papers and personal attacks instead of research.

Posted by: McA on May 25, 2006 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

McA:

And *you're* somehow not politicizing the issue?

Geez, and you wonder why no one takes you seriously around here ...

Bo

Posted by: rmck1 on May 25, 2006 at 4:15 AM | PERMALINK

unpolitical:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-01/m-gw-011806.php

Posted by: notthere on May 25, 2006 at 4:59 AM | PERMALINK

Dont bring up the "saintly greens" red herring. That is a ploy to identify the reality-based community with the wrong tribe -- a Rovian tactic to exploit resentment.

A sea level rise of 10 meters or more is not a possibility to be shrugged off lightly. We are not dealing with a nice well-behaved Gaussian Bell curve with sea level rise. The consensus estimates for sea-level rise assume that the ice sheets remain stable, and respond linearly to the overall global warming. Recent data suggests that Greenland's ice sheet is starting to accelerate its melting, with an increasing number of "icequakes" that reflect slippage of the glacier at its base. I might not wager that Greenland will collapse into the sea in this century, but I would not discount the possibility. Its real.

Posted by: troglodyte on May 25, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

troglodyte:

Good points. I read the link above in Wired, and it appears Gore and his family offset their vast energy consumption in global travel with donations to carbon sequestration, making their net carbon usage zero. Not everybody agrees this is the way to go -- but it does certainly mitigate easterbrook's resentment-against-wildly-consuming-elites meme.

Expect rdw to pounce on it gleefully, though :)

As for the non-linearity changing the predictions -- well, I'm not a scientist, but that argument appears not to be entirely consensual.

I do certainly allow your contention to be well within the realm of possiblity, though.

We shall see -- and sooner than we'd all doubless like.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on May 25, 2006 at 5:27 AM | PERMALINK

Soooooo........ being alarmist contrived, promoting insane conspiracy theories, and being morally careless are 'trivia' in Drum's world?

Yes: you are trivial.

Posted by: ahem on May 25, 2006 at 6:04 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Yes, it is true that the rapid deglaciation of Greenland is not the consensus view. It would be extremely difficult to gain consensus on *predicting* such a drastic event. However, there is still a lot we dont know about how the glaciers will respond to climate change. The GW skeptics would like you to believe that all uncertainties push the climate back into an unchanged unperturbable state, but the uncertainties can also translate into climate changes more drastic than the consensus prediction.

See

http://news.softpedia.com/news/Icequakes-in-Greenland-Put-On-Pace-20252.shtml

Papers on this topic were published in prominent journals. Seismologists have been aware of icequakes in greenland for about a decade, but they are becoming more frequent, and the correlation of icequake occurrence with the seasonal cycle is not comforting.

Posted by: troglodyte on May 25, 2006 at 7:42 AM | PERMALINK

c'mon people - I just read the article and found it very reasonable. Haven't seen the movie so can't judge myself, but there seemed nothing out of line
as far as criticism goes. And I very much take issue Kevin with your complaint of 'kevetching over trivia' comment: the unrealistic or high-handed or conveniently abstract moralising of activists, which Gore may be guilty of here, is at the core of how the argument will be perceived by the average grunt and only helps the cause of pessimists.

Posted by: saintsimon on May 25, 2006 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: fdg on May 25, 2006 at 7:51 AM | PERMALINK

I have been making the case regarding global warming for 40 years, ever since I great the book The Drowned World, by J.G. Ballard. The theory had the ring of truth from the beginning. All of the modeling predicted the behavior we have begun to see. Yet the public just cannot get up to speed on this issue, and, instead, shop for new SUV's like we can just go on like this forever. Easterbrook is one of these guys who hides his mendacity behind the mask of reasonable argument. He is a shill for Exxon Mobile, as far as I am concerned. The human race is a petroleum junky, fowling its own nest for the enrichment of a tiny minority. When will the world wake up???????????????

Posted by: c4logic on May 25, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

We're interested in the science opinions of an intelligent design promoter?

Posted by: Atrios on May 25, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Most of the actual movie reviews are positive.
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/inconvenient_truth/

The negative reviews tend to share a similar mocking attitude.

Posted by: Catch22 on May 25, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

You don't have to spell Easterbrook with all of those letters, Kevin, use shorthand. H-A-C-K.

Easterbrook is a hack of the highest order, trying to appear non-partisan, but saving his venomous attack for dems and progressives. If he doesn't like An Inconvenient Truth, I'm definitely going to see it.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on May 25, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

As a conservative, I don't find those trivial anywhere.

Conservative=total fucking moron.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on May 25, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

At least Easterbook talked about the movie.

In the LATimes today, Jonah Lucianne Goldberg continues the Gore is a liar/exaggerator theme.

I am fed up with the bastards.

Posted by: lib on May 25, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Easterbrook is a careerist contrarian tool. Fuck him.

Posted by: The Fool on May 25, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Easterbrook was a favorite TNR writer for many years, regularly run by Andrew Sullivan and Michael Kelly. Need one say more?

But one is just too tempted.

Easterbrook ran a whole set of articles whose thesis was that the world environmental situation wasn't so bad - which he "proved" by using US stats (we're only 5% of the world, BTW) Easterbrook also has run streams of articles saying that the Bush administration isn't so bad in the environment - and cites what they say (ignoring what they do, of course.)

Easterbrook also gained fame as a football columnist who got canned for a bit for a few not-so-funny Jewish jokes (I didn't know he was a g*y either).

However, since you're supposed to say something nice - Easterbrook has written some perceptive and insightful articles about how awful NASA is - the main stat being that the real cost of delivering a pound of stuff into space keeps going up.

But in general, he's the sterling example of the unperceptive upper class twit, who's too lazy to think through more than 1 step of logic. No wonder he got along so well with the rest of the TNR bunch!

Posted by: Samuel Knight on May 25, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Makes a guy want to Howl when our millionaire pudit core treats us like rubes! Is anyone who's paying attention surprised? Al Gore could cure cancer and he'd get criticised that the procedure is uncomfortable and he only did it to make himself look good anyway. I'm surprised that he's not getting criticised for knowing Iraq was a mistake and not actually physically preventing it. Viva Somerby!

Posted by: Chuck on May 25, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Easterbrook, who actually defended intelligent design as an intellectually coherent theory that would be helpful in science class to stimulate informed debate, thinks Al Gore's cardinal sin was understanding the consequences and causes of global warming before Gregg did.

Gregg, Al Gore understands science better than you do. Accept it, and go play with something else.

Tool.

Posted by: theorajones on May 25, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Getting back to Kevin's point: Easterbrook was one of the ones who was wrong on warming, saying we need "more research" and implying that warming is "good for us." Finally, in 2006, he backs away from this a bit in his Brookings paper. Let's listen to those who were right, not those who were wrong.

The NPR science guy made what has always struck me as a particularly pernicious meme. He said (paraphrase) that even though the increase is atmospheric CO2 is now unquestioned, there is no "proof" that warming will follow at the same rate.

How much goddam "proof" do we need? We just invaded a country and caused tens of thousands of deaths based on the flimsiest suspicion of WMD and ties to 9/11. But when it comes to saving our planet and the human race, we need 100 percent "proof" before we can think about doing anything. Even if there is only a ten percent chance that catastrophic warming will happen, that's too much risk to take. What we need to do to counter it is simply accept some mildly painful adjustments to our lifestyles, but we're not willing to do that without "proof." Future generations will, rightly, curse us for our selfishness.

Posted by: Virginia Dutch on May 25, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

We should all relax, as Easterbrook tells us to, because Gore is paranoid in claiming that an oil industry hack is in-charge of Bush environment policy.

He assures us the policy is actually being made by Karl Rove.

Whee! Now I can calm down, knowing that Rove is incharge of GWB's initiatives on global warming.

Posted by: lib on May 25, 2006 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

I think climate change is going to be a big loser for conservatives like American Chickenhawk. The hardcore, like Limbaugh, are vehemently denying that anything is happening ("The ice sheets in Greenland are actually getting bigger!!!") but the public is increasingly believing that it is real, it is related to human activity and perhaps we'd better come up with a plan. Plus, a sold scientific consensus is forming.

Posted by: tim on May 25, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

I am looking forward to seeing all the rich assholes with their coastal beachfront estates underwater, screaming that "non one told us!"

Posted by: lilybart on May 25, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Right on comment:

"Let's listen to those who were right, not those who were wrong."

Why the heck do we spend time with these consistently wrong hacks? Bienert, Sullivan, etc.

Oh - anyone noticed that David Broder is now interested in the Clinton's sex life?

Posted by: Samuel Knight on May 25, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Easterbrook gives away the show when he refers to Jim Connaughton being "as green as can be." I know Connaughton personally, and he is, at best, a mercenary. He is not green, and never has been. He is a bit of an expert on ISO 14000 and environmental management systems, but he basically takes the stance of whichever client is cramming his wallet full of money.

Easterbrook is a superficial hack, and has been for more than a decade. It's a pity, because he has talent, and he's wasting it.

And what an indictment of Brookings!


Posted by: vorkosigan1 on May 25, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

I have to say, in terms of securing the democrat nomination,

I just love the way "brian" tries to play the reasoned commentator, and then gives away the game with the use of this asinine Rushism.

Posted by: Gregory on May 25, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

The real issue is not what this talking head said about the film, nor is it about what another talking head asked other talking heads. The issue is whether we should see the film.

Frankly from what I have read, I am going to see it. It sounds like something we rarely see in politics, a take on an issue that is more than a 30 second sanitized soundbite aimed at the lowest common denominator.

There is a hunger out there for people to make serious films on serious topics. Murrow knew that. So did Cronkite. Hell, so did Walt Disney. There seems to be no room on television for examining any topic in depth, let alone genuine attempts at truthtelling. Too bad that only folks like Moore and Gore understand the market and the need.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 25, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Easterbrook is now a non-skeptic heretic which gives him the peceived right to continue to bash those who advocate climate mitigation while admitting that, yes, he now believes climate change science. It's just the next step in the argument: first deny, then when you can't deny anymore, say there's nothing we can do about it.

Posted by: Sir Oolius on May 25, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Gregg Easterbrook has always been a practitioner of "greenwashing" -- it's been his journalistic schtick the whole time he was assigned the environmental beat.

Like Nicholas Kristof, his method is to play to the middle, scoring points with a "moderate" and supposedly mainstream conventional demographic by cutting down the "received wisdom" of environmental experts and of the environmental community.

Adopting a mask of common sense, his role is to defuse legitimate concerns by playing the cards of questionable facts and poorly contrived, often irrelevant rhetorical arguments.

Don't ever let it be said that he's engaged the environmental community in good faith or responded directly to their factual concerns.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on May 25, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Why did we read this?

Being alone on the road isn't a 'moral flaw' when someone has a loving family.

Honestly, Kevin, I like it when you link to articles which at least have a little logical consistency.

Easterbrook is making McA and Al look coherent today. (Of course, McA had to come back with a second post.) And Hawk's point, Soooooo........ being alarmist contrived, promoting insane conspiracy theories, and being morally careless are 'trivia' in Drum's world? As a conservative, I don't find those trivial anywhere, is actually a good one...

...Except nowhere does Easterbrook actually explain any of these allegations, he just says it.

It's a documentary about a rather dry presentation, complain about actual errors, PLZ, Easterbrook.

Of course, we have 'record winters' McA here, too. Maybe he should watch the film, if only to know that global warming doesn't refer to a rise in the minimum temperature.

Posted by: Crissa on May 25, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Oh - anyone noticed that David Broder is now interested in the Clinton's sex life?

Posted by: Samuel Knight on May 25, 2006 at 9:58 AM |

I noticed.

It's telling: Broder, the Dean of D.C. 'journalists,' has always been just a gossip columnist. His pretense to the role of journalist has always been utterly disingenuous.

Watch him refuse, again and again and again, to actually answer substantive questions from the public -- that he knows, perfectly well, the answers to.

Ultimately, this reluctance restricts his reporting to the dryest of fine print: 'HR 109 passed today; $409 billion appropriated for contractors.' God forbid he should raise his eyes to the open corruption in every branch of govt, the real story, the public's legitimate concerns, or the no-bid pigs at the public troughs.

BUT his severe restriction leaves everything else -- gossip -- as insider stuff, currency, thrilling to know, pass around, trade - but publish ONLY when it serves your own interests.

Like when it's time to bash the Clintons again.

Posted by: SombreroFallout on May 25, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK


The republicandroids have apparently got their marching orders: Kevin's capsule description of Easterbrook's hackery precisely describes what John Tierney excreted in the Times a couple of days ago.

Posted by: john s. on May 25, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry in a way to throw out the Broder thing - but I thought it illustrated how superficial some of these writers are.

How is it that so many of these writers get printed constantly - and they seem to have no clue about how government works and/or are obsessed with minutae?


Posted by: Samuel Knight on May 25, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Looking at Drudge and the Corner the last few days you can see full partisan hackery and hate on display. They are scrambling to criticize Gore. The best that they can come up with -- aparently it's now slanderous for Gore to use commercial air travel.

If only they were as critical of their right wing friends.

Posted by: GL on May 25, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

For all y'all who doubt Gore's sincerity on this issue, and think it might be a crass political ploy, ask yourself a couple questions:

1) If you have accepted, as has the entire scientific community that human-driven global warming is real and a threat, is this even a partisan issue?

2) What does Gore have to gain from this besides a planet that can sustain humans (something we all desire)?

Personally, I think Gore is a decent man and a bit of geek (in the good way - not the chicken head biting way). He's shouting out about an issue he has taken seriously for some time. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Posted by: DanF on May 25, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Iain Murray at the corner loved Easterbrook's review and joined in bashing Laurie David:

"Gregg has some choice words for desperate celebrity housewife Laurie David as well."

I thought republicans are soldiers in the war to protect motherhood against baby-hating feminists? A book comes out every month on how
the elites make fun of women who choose to stay at home to raise their children. Mr. Murray seems to have gone AWOL in this cultural battle and spits out "housewife" with his contempt level on 10.

Posted by: Patrick on May 25, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Gregg Easterbrook: just say no. Don't link to his stuff, don't bother with his arguments. He is insignificant.

Posted by: Joe Buck on May 25, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

McA: Is that the best you can do? No wonder you are not arguing global warming much these days. If you wish, you can review the response to your reply and then we can discuss it. Unless of course you have no real interest in the science of the issue.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-01/m-gw-011806.php

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on May 25, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Gregg Easterbrook is a good writer, but he always seems to find a way to promote the Citi/Exxon/GE angle.

Posted by: Powerpuff on May 25, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Why does anybody give a flying fuck what Easterbrook thinks or writes? He can't write intelligently about any subject that he expounds upon: the environment, religion, NFL football, you name it. He makes Glenn Reynolds look like Digby.

Posted by: Double B on May 25, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

I initially found Easterbrooks football column entertaining, particularly when compared to traditional sports writing. Yet as it became more popular it became longer, more egocentric, and less fun. Some of his obsessions (like with football cheerleaders) went from fun to a bit sick. I still find many of his political columns good, but he seems unaware of how his underlying conservatism occasionally overwhelms his logic.

As to what did Al Gore do while he was VP well he pretty much single handedly salvaged the Kyoto Conference which produced the Kyoto Protocol. The Bushies viewed the Kyoto Protocol as serious enough that it was one of the first things they sabotaged when Bush took office (even though W. had given it a lukewarm endorsement during the campaign).

Posted by: fafner1 on May 25, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

I have to say, in terms of securing the democrat nomination,

I just love the way "brian" tries to play the reasoned commentator, and then gives away the game with the use of this asinine Rushism.

Using the noun "Democrat" as an adjective atarted with the John Birch Society, long before Rush's time. People like him and DeLay are only trying to mainstream it.

Posted by: Ken on May 25, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

If Easterbrook's description of some of the scientific assertions made in the film (e.g., a 20ft rise in sea level as a realistic short-term prospect) is correct, then he is right to criticize it as alarmist and irresponsible.

Posted by: GOP on May 25, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

The most telling line in Easterbrook's column was toward the end when he described world population growth as one of the greatest achievements of mankind. Rather than being a problem in itself, the current world population merely leads to "problems". Problems which can be overcome with optimistic applications of technologies will help man avoid Malthusian collapses and lead to more growth. Growth is good. Big man, small nature is ok. We do not have to live with limits. Basic exemptionalist world view.

The environmentalist world view -- small man, big nature -- takes the long view that the size of man's population and cumulative economic and technological footprint is jeopardizing the future of the entire planet. Global warming is just one manifestation among many -- drastic decline of world fish stocks, an alarming increase in the rate of species extintions, destruction of the rainforests, decline of coral reef systems, etc. The state of the world is bad and rapidly getting worse.

We must seriously question the size of the present and future world populations. We must also question the role of capitalism as presently configured to thrive on growth. There must be some steady state alternative model. Otherwise, we better start searching for an endless supply of earths (or as Christians hope for, heavens).

Posted by: lou on May 25, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

another quote from Easterbrook:

Mostly we see Gore talking and pointing at charts, interspersed with detours into the former vice president's political career: the Florida recount, Gore's stump-speech telling of his son's auto accident and his sister's tragic death from lung cancer. The political sequences have all the heft of a video press release: Time and again we are shown crowds looking adoringly at Gore, or cheering him on. And Katherine Harris may be a natural disaster, but what's she doing in a movie about climate change? If director Davis Guggenheim wanted to film a biography of Gore, he should simply have done so.

Posted by: republicrat on May 25, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

another quote from Easterbrook:

But the film flirts with double standards. Laurie David, doyenne of Rodeo Drive environs, is one of the producers. As Eric Alterman noted in the Atlantic, David "reviles owners of SUVs as terrorist enablers, yet gives herself a pass when it comes to chartering one of the most wasteful uses of fossil-based fuels imaginable, a private jet." For David to fly in a private jet from Los Angeles to Washington would burn about as much petroleum as driving a Hummer for a year; if she flew back in the private jet, that's two Hummer-years. Gore's movie takes shots at Republicans and the oil industry, but by the most amazing coincidence says nothing about the poor example set by conspicuous consumers among the Hollywood elite.

Posted by: republicrat on May 25, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Drum, quick! Snap up this "Brian" poster for guest posting when you're away.

He's a freakin' mind reader, a freakin' jaundiced mind reader! This is political gold.

Posted by: Lettuce on May 25, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I believe, I do truly believe that Manbearpig is coming to kill us all. Thank, you, Algore! Excelsior!

Posted by: DBL on May 25, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

It is getting so tiresome listening to men spout off on things that are just common sense. The earth is filthy. People are setting new records for cancer incidence. There are no clean bodies of water on the planet. We are seeing the beginning of the water wars on a planetary scale. How much evidence do you guys need to know that our impact on the planet is very negative and possible catastrophic. It is no wonder that women with means are not interested in marrying weak men. Women and children are always shouldering the burden of men's incompetence in running the planet. I'm tired of their complaining and do-nothing attitude. Now Al Gore has stood up and thrown the gauntlet and all you can do is whine and criticize and deny what is right in front of your face, because men don't have any guts anymore. The abortion issue is the perfect issue to exemplify this. As usual, there is NO DISCUSSION of the role men play in impregnating women. There is never any talk about men paying for all the babies they create. Why are men never held responsible for their behavior? They are reluctant to pay for babies they create, they start wars for no reason, they bankrupt thousands of people and fight for years to avoid taking responsibility for it, and the list goes on. As we now have DNA testing, I think every time a woman gets pregnant, DNA testing should be done and the man who helped create this new life should assume financial responsibility for it. If he doesn't want to, he should keep his pants zipped or get very zealous about birth control. This is too simple a solution for all the phonies out there who love to bash women. You know, finally making men grow up and face the product of their actions. Maybe if they had to grow up, the planet would improve in many ways, global warming included.

Posted by: jeannette russell on May 25, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

What I've never understood was why Al Gore, who I do tend to think is probably a relatively sincere and intelligent guy, didn't run on the environmental issues he was already identified with when he ran against Bush. I don't remember a word about the environment in the campaign. I suppose he was being told by advisers that he would seem like a depressing scold against Bush's fake Morning in America redux or whatever it was he was running on. (Oh right, he was a Compassionate Conservative and a Uniter Not a Divider....how could I forget?) But why did he listen instead of being, you know, a leader.

Posted by: emjayay on May 25, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

jeanette,

That's the silliest, most incoherent stream-of-consciousness rant I've seen in a long time.

Posted by: JR on May 25, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

Let's hope Gore cuts ice with the broader audience this earnest documentary deserves.

Now that he has everyone's attention, I would like to see him follow this up with a documentary on all the known ways, in wide use, to sequester the CO2 and solve the problem. Complete with estimates of their costs.

The NAS paper that Kevin Drum linked to yesterday estimated the cost of mitigating CO2 emissions from automobiles at $0.30 per gallon of fuel. that is a lot, but it is bearable. Presently, that is about 10% of fuel cost, and fuel cost is about 10% of personal annual expenditures; thus, the cost of mitigating the effect of burning fuel in autos is about 1% of personal annual expenditures.

The US plays a major role in sequestering its own CO2 through the regrowth of its own forests. But it is still in our interest to do more.

Posted by: republicrat on May 25, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

If you can tell me what you don't understand, I'll use smaller words. I guess it is silly to expect men to be adult. Your response was so detailed, so pertinent. What a debater you would have made!

Posted by: jeannette russell on May 25, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Future generations will, rightly, curse us for our selfishness.

Posted by: Virginia Dutch on May 25, 2006 at 9:48 AM

My fear, is that beyond that, they will destroy most of our symbols and every one of our technological inventions, those cursed things used by those cursed people.

It's happened before in human history.

Sounds like a bad thing, but this future just might save whatever is left of the biosphere.

Posted by: slanted tom on May 25, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Future generations will, rightly, curse us for our selfishness.

Posted by: Virginia Dutch on May 25, 2006 at 9:48 AM

My fear, is that beyond that, they will destroy most of our symbols and every one of our technological inventions, those cursed things used by those cursed people.

It's happened before in human history.

Sounds like a bad thing, but this future just might save whatever is left of the biosphere.

Posted by: slanted tom on May 25, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Republecrat, where are our options in travel?

Where's our low impact subway and train systems?

Blame where blame is due, not saying 'you don't care because you live in a society that isn't aware'. It's a lame excuse.

Posted by: Crissa on May 25, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

The NAS paper that Kevin Drum linked to yesterday estimated the cost of mitigating CO2 emissions from automobiles at $0.30 per gallon of fuel. that is a lot, but it is bearable. Presently, that is about 10% of fuel cost, and fuel cost is about 10% of personal annual expenditures; thus, the cost of mitigating the effect of burning fuel in autos is about 1% of personal annual expenditures.

And as Easterbrook points out in an op-ed piece in the NYT, "...since 1991 acid rain emissions have declined 36 percent, and the cost has been only 10 percent of what industry originally forecast." The costs of implementation could very well be lower than what we currently expect. So there's certainly a chance that republicrat's estimate is on the high side, and even if not, I'd certainly be willing to take on that cost given the potential benefit.

Posted by: cyntax on May 25, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

To go way bak upthread: simple extrapolation of global warming as straight line has low probability. Events or tipping points, such as permafrost melt and subsequent large methane release, much more likely. You have to be an extreme optimist to gamble on a similar counterbalancing effect, particularly as the trend is to warming rather than any particularly erratic trend with overall warming.

Per cyntax, I would always expect the actual costs of mitigating effects to be lower than expected. The non-believers and rearguard will always exagerate the costs of doing same. Sort of the opposite of the Pentagon contract underbid.

Posted by: notthere on May 25, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

I've always found it such a strange coincidence that Al Gore and global warming, two issues which have been connected for at least 14 years now, both inspire the same unconvincing mixture of fury and contempt from their respective opponents. They can't even get their message straight.

The anti-Gore "message":
He's too left! He talks about weird stuff! He's a kook! A weirdo! But he doesn't believe the stuff he's saying! A phony weirdo! A fake! etc, etc.

The anti-global warming "message":
The world goes through heating and cooling periods! Yeah, that's it! We're just going through a hot spell now, it's natural! Except we're not, because the ice caps are actually GROWING! True! It's getting cold, think I'll put on a sweater!

Riiiiight. Trust the conservative attack machine to come up with a message this spittle-flecked. Reminds me of the old "he cheats on his wife, but he's really her puppet!" line they had against Clinton back in the day.

Posted by: sweaty guy on May 25, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Unless of course you have no real interest in the science of the issue.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on May 25, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Not really. I'm interested in the reliability of the prediction. And if they can suprise themselves by missing major stuff like this - the science has no predictive power.

Which the result of a science that has merged itself with the green lobbying industry.

Posted by: McA on May 25, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

McA,

You keep using that word: science. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I'm pretty sure you mean either necromancy or aristomancy. Either way... Harry Potter (or to put it more precisely Hermione Granger) would be proud....

Posted by: Birkel on May 26, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

McA,

You keep using that word: science. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I'm pretty sure you mean either necromancy or aristomancy. Either way... Harry Potter (or to put it more precisely Hermione Granger) would be proud....

Posted by: Birkel on May 26, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

You got it!

There is no science, knowledge or intellect there. There is NO there There!

Posted by: notthere on May 26, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

McAnus >"...I'm interested in the reliability of the prediction..."

Well now how about them apples ?

He wants reliability

Look dork, current climate models can match historical trends which is a good enough validation tool for the financial models that most investors bet their financial futures on (and do real well with)

WE KNOW what is going on with the earth we live on & all this crap you & your butt buddies spew about lying scientists and flaky environmentalists is nothing but the lies of WATBs

The models are more reliable than your talking points for sure

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

Posted by: daCascadian on May 26, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

yeah. What notthere said. your dumb. no intellect their.

that hokkey stick tells me all i need to know...

Posted by: notthere's idiot on May 26, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

daDascadian,

You can point to no model that can reliably predict the actual temperature changes between 1900 and 2000. You are lying.

Poseur.

Posted by: Birkel on May 26, 2006 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, having just read the review, I think your post is disengenuous. Easterbrook clearly points out that Gore presents the worst case scenarios as the most likely scenarios. He doesn't disagree that global warming isn't a problem that needs to be addressed, just that trying to convince them with doomsday scare tactics will not work. I think he's right. People who cry the sky is falling are no better than those who claim there's no problem. They create so much noise and distractions that serious people cannot work towards sensible resolutions.

Posted by: Chris on May 26, 2006 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Birkel >"...You can point to no model that can reliably predict the actual temperature changes between 1900 and 2000..."

I`ll rely on the scientists thanks; of course you are welcome to continue to believe in voodoo

"If you don't deal with reality, reality will deal with you" - C.J. Campbell

Posted by: daCascadian on May 27, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

As to what did Al Gore do while he was VP well he pretty much single handedly salvaged the Kyoto Conference which produced the Kyoto Protocol. The Bushies viewed the Kyoto Protocol as serious enough that it was one of the first things they sabotaged when Bush took office (even though W. had given it a lukewarm endorsement during the campaign).

Kyoto is a disaster. It's so bad Gore has ensured there will never be an effective global effort to curb pollution.

Bush did nothing to Kyoto. The Senate voted 95 - 0 against Kyoto when the great Al Gore was VP. He could not get a single vote for it. It was dead on arrival. Bush didn't have to kill what was already dead.

Posted by: rdw on May 27, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: best deal on May 28, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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