UpFront

GORE'S FUTURE REVEALED

In consultation with a team of mathematicians and climatologists at MIT and Cal Tech, the Prospect has devised what we consider to be a foolproof formula for deter-mining whether Al Gore will enter the 2008 presidential race.

We begin by calculating the high median daily temperature for America's 50 largest metropolitan areas between June 25 and August 15 this summer, and comparing it to the median high daily temperature for those 50 metro areas in that same time period over the preceding 40 years. If this summer's median exceeds that of the preceding 40 years by x, then Gore's candidacy is assured.

Sharp-eyed readers may note that we haven't assigned a specific numerical value to x (or, as the algebraically disinclined at the Prospect prefer to call it, "the shvitz factor"). We acknowledge this, and we and our academic colleagues remain hard at work determining this important detail. But as a separate team of leading political scientists reported to us, "[I]f a sufficient number of American voters conclude, 'Damn, it's hot! I'm voting for Al Gore,' or, 'I'm beat. Where's that fat guy, you know, Gore?' the probability that Gore will in fact run measurably increases."

For now, we can report that if x equals one or less, Gore probably will not run, and if x equals 90 or higher, we will likely all be dead. Refinements of these calculations will be available in future issues, unless x equals 90 or higher. --Harold Meyerson

Search and Destroy

Rejoice! The Hillary Clinton book season is at last upon us. The first high-pedigreed tome to hit bookstands is Her Way by Don Van Natta Jr. and Jeff Gerth -- The New York Times' veteran Whitewater hype man. At one point in the book, the two write that a September 13, 2001, comment from Clinton "mark[ed] the first time that she had spoken publicly as a senator about the terrorist threat to the United States." The endnote backing up this claim cites the author's Lexis-Nexis search "for all statements made by Hil-lary Rodham Clinton from early January 2001 to September 2001; the precise phrase searched was 'homeland threat.'" Homeland threat? As Media Matters noted, if, like a normal person, you instead searched for "Hillary Clinton" and words like "terrorism" or "terrorist," you'd find a March 2001 reference she made to Osama bin Laden. Who used the word "homeland" prior to 9-11 anyway?

"Really Straightforward"

Fun with selective Nexis searching aside, Gerth and Van Natta at least don't appear to be completely confused about basic issues in their narrative. Carl Bernstein, for his part, also has a Hillary book out this summer, A Woman In Charge. During a promotional appearance in June on Bill O'Reilly's show, the following exchange took place: O'Reilly asked, "Did she break the law" during the Whitewater investigations? Bernstein replied, simply, "Yes." O'Reilly: "How did she break the law?" Bernstein: "She broke the law if, indeed, she perjured herself … The special prosecutor determined that she did not." O'Reilly (perplexed): "So, you think she did. But the special prosecutor, Ken Starr, said no." Bernstein: "You know what? Let me be really straightforward. I don't think she broke the law. I think there was a time that she did not tell the truth." O'Reilly: "Under oath?" Bernstein: "You know, I wasn't in the room." It's hard to recall that last line appearing in All the President's Men.

Casualty of What?!

Assorted bigwig hawks and D.C. establishment types wrote a total of 174 letters to Judge Reggie Walton urging him to show mercy in his sentencing of Scooter Libby. One of the most fulsome letters of praise came from Fouad Ajami, a Johns Hopkins professor and the intellectual darling of Iraq war supporters. Once the judge ignored the advice of D.C.'s warmongering elite and threw the book at Libby, Ajami took to The Wall Street Journal's op-ed page in June to elaborate on his letter and urge President Bush to pardon Libby. Ajami, the author of a book about the Iraq war titled The Foreigner's Gift (that would be freedom!), has a uniquely offensive way with words: In his WSJ column he invokes the language of "The Soldier's Creed" and refers to Libby as "a casualty of a war our country had once proudly claimed as its own." More than 3,470 Americans had been killed in that war at the time Ajami's op-ed was published.

It's a Win-Win!

The Washington Post ran a piece in early June about splits in the anti-abortion movement concerning the Supreme Court's Gonzales v. Carhart decision and the overall effectiveness of the strategy of ginning up arbitrary laws banning specific abortion procedures. James Dobson's outfit, Focus on the Family, is firmly in support of this strategy. As Tom Minnery, the organization's vice president, explained, with the "partial birth" abortion procedure banned, people would revert to "the old procedure," and that one "involves using forceps to pull the baby apart in utero, which means there is greater legal liability and danger of internal bleeding from a perforated uterus. So we firmly believe there will be fewer later-term abortions as a result of this ruling." In other words, the greater danger to women's health posed by the "partial birth" ban is a feature, not a bug. It's pro-life, you see.

Down the Memory Hole

GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney took some small heat for claiming at the early June New Hampshire primary debate that Saddam Hussein had not "opened up his country to IAEA inspectors" in 2003. Back in the real world, Hussein did, in fact, do that, the inspectors found no weapons, and the United States kicked them out to start an invasion anyway. Those who think Romney's audacious revisionism might actually hurt him should recall another quote: "The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in." That was said by George W. Bush on July 14, 2003. He was reelected 15 months later.

The Question:

Mitt Romney says his favorite book is Battlefield Earth. What's a better book he could read?

"Double-Gitmo-Mittmo should be, well, strapped to a chair and forced to read a good book on torture, such as Tara McKelvey's Monstering." -- Rick Perlstein, author, Nixonland (forthcoming)

"Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. -- Amy Hoffman, editor, Women's Review of Books

"Vali Nasr's The Shia Revival: Lots of mysticism and bloodshed, and it might teach Mitt things about Iraq he seems so intent on not learning." -- Joe Klein, TIME

Parody: Publishing Boom

By T.A. Frank

Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom? Why Home Values and Other Real Estate Investments Will Climb Through The End of The Decade -- And How to Profit From Them © 2005

2 Years to a Million in Real Estate © 2006

250 Questions You Should Ask to Avoid Foreclosure © 2007

                                                            -- Real estate book titles on amazon.com

…Look for these upcoming titles:

2008: Are You Missing the Studio Boom? Why Cramming Your Foreclosed Family into a One-Room Rental Until 2025 May Be More Fun than You Think

2009: The Real Nest Eggs: Converting Three-Quarters of Your Unsellable Home into a Mortgage-Covering Poultry Farm

2010: It Was Just a Barbecue: Insurance and Your Beloved Former Residence

2011: Wo Meiyou Qian le: And 100 More Ways to Tell the People's Public of China That You'll Be Late With Your Payment

2012: 1,000 Questions You Should Ask Before Dousing Yourself, Your Family, and Your Worthless House With Gasoline and Lighting a Match

2013: How to Sell Your House for No Less than Seven Bags of Grain

2014: Eating Plaster Mixed With Hair: Finding Hidden Nourishment in Building Materials and Body Parts

2015: Using Firearms to Protect Your Abandoned Neighborhood from Feral Dogs

2016: Are You Missing out on the South Sea Company? Why the Slave Trade Monopoly Plus English Wool and Fleece Can Never Go Bust

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