The audience responded with lots of approving laughter and open regret at what might/should have been (the crowd was composed of Gore's core base of rich environmentalists and up-and-coming film makers). Seeming less like the guy who used to be the next POTUS, and more like everyone's favorite college philosophy professor, Gore transitioned from shout-outs to Don Baer to mentions of Galileo, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Thomas Paine, Harry Potter, Columbus, Gutenberg, "King . . . George" ("Did I misplace a tenth of a second?"), the Founding Fathers, Saturday Night Live, and an extended discussion of the nature of democracy and the threat of "questions of fact becoming questions of power."
Gore then detailed the new landscape of "hatred as entertainment," and the respective influences of television and the Internet. After showing a clip from Current TV (appropriately adorable, hip, moving, modern), and suggesting that a return to the conversation of democracy will eventually conquer the worldwide mortal and moral threats of global warming and genocide, Gore departed, leaving in his wake one adoring audience, two standing ovations, and three, four, five, six, seven sharp digs at President Bush.
During his presentation, Gore offered up a number of questions about the present worrisome nature of America ("Did I hear a murmur?"), involving torture, the loss of civil rights, and innumerable other outrages (which went unnamed: "We don't have enough time").
If Mike Feldman was there, he was wearing a disguise, which begs all sorts of questions.
In (un)related news, despite the rousing release of "An Inconvenient Truth," 42% of Americans still view Al Gore unfavorably, reports the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire.
Politics of homeland security:
Per Lindsey Layton of the Washington Post, Washington and New York shouldn't hope to get any increase in their allotment of counter-terrorism funding from the Department of Homeland Security. LINK
Politics of the flag:
Per the St. Petersburg Times, Dr./Leader/Sen. Bill Frist's (R-TN) proposed amendment to protect the American flag from desecration was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday and moves to the Senate, where it will likely be voted on this month. LINK
The Washington Times on the alliance between MoveOn and Christian Coalition on the Net Neutrality issue. LINK
The Union Leader's indefatigable John Distaso keeps the phone-jamming controversy alive and reports that a case will go to trial in November. LINK
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) slammed the Department of Homeland Security for awarding a contract to a Duke Cunningham-recommended limousine company. The Los Angeles Times has details. LINK
House of Labor:
In an effort to continue its significant growing trend and offer hope to union workers, the Service Employees National Union has recently looked to Arizona's Radiant Church as a model to better "fit the times" and boost membership.LINK
CNN's still-inexplicably decision to cancel granddaddy "Inside Politics" has still not been digested by the Gang of 500. Sure, those with computers or classy cable and satellite service have become addicted to ABC News Now's "Politics Live," with Sam Donaldson and his Sidekick, at 1:35 pm ET LINK. Now, straight out of the Woodruff-Hunt household comes another attempt to fill the void.