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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

The really inconvenient truth.

In his current column, economist Paul Krugman joins the parade of media types who are pondering the Al Gore documentary on climate change, An Inconvenient Truth. Like some of his colleagues, Krugman looks at Gore's prescience in worrying about global warming way before it was politically advantageous to be doing so, and about the political price that he had to pay for being the kind of wonk who did worry about it. And, like some other reviewers, he also looks at how Gore and his film are the target of a disinformation campaign being waged by the energy industry and its right-wing sock puppets.

But, Krugman being who he is, he pulls a meaning from the story of Al Gore and his environmental documentary that most other reviewers have missed: That story tells us more than we probably want to know about the state of US politics and why the nation finds itself in increasingly dire straits:

I won't join the sudden surge of speculation about whether "An Inconvenient Truth" will make Mr. Gore a presidential contender. But the film does make a powerful case that Mr. Gore is the sort of person who ought to be running the country.

Since 2000, we've seen what happens when people who aren't interested in the facts, who believe what they want to believe, sit in the White House. Osama bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is a mess, New Orleans is a wreck. And, of course, we've done nothing about global warming.

But can the sort of person who would act on global warming get elected? Are we — by which I mean both the public and the press — ready for political leaders who don't pander, who are willing to talk about complicated issues and call for responsible policies? That's a test of national character. I wonder whether we'll pass.

If you're a NY Times subscriber, you can read the full column here, behind the pay firewall. Otherwise, we suggest going offshore.

A big thanks (yet again) to the Peking Duck.

| | Posted by Magpie at 12:03 AM | Get permalink




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