Friday, June 20, 2008

Living in an energy-sucking cocoon

This is pretty funny, actually. The national Americans for Prosperity has been touring the country in a hot air balloon to campaign against "global warming alarmism" and its economic costs.

The balloon was grounded in Nashville because allies of former Vice President Al Gore are trying to protect him from further embarassment over his energy consumption.

Here's the update from AFP's Director of Policy Phil Kerpen:

FYI breaking news from our team on the ground in Nashville. The Nashville Parks Department is denying us permission to launch the balloon, citing the fact that our permit says balloon rides but not specifically the word "launch." This despite the fact that we have explained to them on the phone multiple times our precise flight plan and before today there was no indication that there was a problem or any defect in our permit. Clearly, Gore is calling in favors to stop the embarrassing visual and negative coverage surrounding our event and ratcheting up the beating he is taking over his home energy use.

I would love to be on that phone conversation. "Explain to me how a balloon gives rides without it launching."

Update! Up, up and away!

Gore Finds Hot Air Balloon Fly-Over of Nashville-Area Mansion an “Inconvenient Truth”

- At Last Moment, Parks Dept. Mysteriously Revokes Balloon Permit to Fly over Gore’s Mansion, Group Identifies Alternative Private Location for Launch-

NASHVILLE – At the last moment, Nashville Metro Parks and Recreation Department officials revoked a permit for the free-market grassroots group Americans for Prosperity to launch and fly a hot-air balloon over Al Gore’s Nashville-area mansion. The “mysterious” decision was handed down days after an article was published by The Tennessean in which Al Gore’s spokeswoman said they were “looking into whether the balloon launch violated any local ordinances.”

“This is a suspicious decision to say the least,” said AFP President Tim Phillips. “But taxpayers will not be silenced when it comes to the economic costs of Al Gore’s global warming alarmism.”

The fly-over of Al Gore’s mansion is part of AFP’s nationwide hot air balloon tour, which aims to provide an economic reality check on the “hot air” in the global warming debate. Despite the Parks Department's best attempts to scuttle AFP's event, the group's balloon was successfully launched from private property after staffers quickly scrambled to find another location.

AFP event-planning staff had numerous conversations with the Parks Department and took all the necessary steps to ensure the balloon event was in compliance with local rules. Friday was the first time AFP was notified of any problem. Roy Wilson, Director of the Board of Metro Parks and Recreation, threatened police presence would be at Warner Park to ensure the event did not take place.

“We made a good faith effort to comply with all local rules, which included having extensive conversations with the Parks Department, filing the necessary insurance information, and making payment for the permit,” said Phillips. “We’ve already held a dozen events as part of this Tour. It is disappointing and disconcerting that, here in Mr. Gore’s hometown, government officials would see fit to wrongfully revoke a permit on the day of the event.”

“In these uncertain economic times it is foolhardy to push for regulations that would transfer dollars from families and businesses to bureaucratic big-government,” said Phillips. “We want to make sure citizens know what global warming alarmism will cost them – higher taxes, lost jobs, and less freedom. Those who claim global warming policies are healthy for our economy are spewing a lot of hot air and we want to expose that.”

“The United States Hot Air Balloon Team has conducted launches and tethers from Mt. Rushmore, New York’s Central Park, and the Grand Canyon,” said U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team Lead Pilot Stan Hess, who is flying for the Tour. “In my 25-plus years of ballooning we have never had an issue like this. The balloon is federally registered aircraft and once you are in the air you are under FAA jurisdiction.”