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Al Gore to speak on climate change at Stanford

Former Vice President Al Gore will speak on climate change and take questions from students at Stanford University next Tuesday, April 23.

Al GoreGore, 65, now chairman of the Climate Reality Project, is giving the first Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture, in honor of the Stanford professor and world-renowned climate scientist who died in 2010. The program at Memorial Auditorium is open to the public and will start at 7 p.m., but I think all of the free tickets already have been snapped up. Stanford students and postdoctoral fellows need only their Stanford identification card to be admitted.

“Al Gore worked closely with Steve to sound the alarm about climate change, long before the average person understood there was a problem,” Terry Root, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, said in a news release.

The institute is sponsoring the event along with the Stanford Speakers Bureau and two student groups: Stanford in Government and Students for a Sustainable Stanford.

Gore’s address will be titled “Peril and Opportunity: Solving the Climate Crisis and Reinvigorating Democracy.”

Gore was a Tennessee congressman from 1976 through 1984, a U.S. Senator from 1985 to 1991 and vice president from 1993 to 2001. He now chairs the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis, and is the author of “Earth in the Balance,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “The Assault on Reason” and “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis,” as well as a new book titled “The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.” He is the co-recipient, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

And no, he never claimed he “invented the Internet.”

Schneider at the time of his death was the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute. His most recent work centered on communicating the possible risks, vulnerabilities and impacts of climate change to ensure that leaders were sufficiently informed to apply smart risk management strategies in climate-policy decision making. He founded the interdisciplinary journal “Climatic Change” and continued to serve as its editor-in-chief until his death. He consulted with federal agencies and/or White House staff in every U.S. presidential administration since the Nixon era, and was an author of the first four assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Gavin Newsom to host a Current TV talk show

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom starting next month will host a new weekly series on Current TV, the liberal news-and-policy channel cofounded and chaired by former Vice President Al Gore.

Gavin NewsomThe Gavin Newsom Show,” with hour-long episodes, “will have a decidedly California touch as Newsom interviews notables from Silicon Valley, Hollywood and beyond,” according to Current’s news release, and will be executive produced by Mia Haugen, a former executive at The Street, Forbes and CNN.

“Gavin Newsom is a courageous leader who has boldly seized every opportunity to create positive social change,” Gore said in the news release. “First as a successful entrepreneur, then in his role as mayor of San Francisco, and now as lieutenant governor, Newsom touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism. We are honored that Current TV will be bringing his curiosity, intelligence, insights and enthusiasm to television.”

Asked whether doing the show will in any way detract from the time and energy Newsom gives his official duties as lieutenant governor, spokesman Francisco Castillo replied, “Absolutely not.”

“The show will be taped once a week,” Castillo said. “The time and energy he gives to this show is no different than what he did for his weekly radio show as mayor — except now with a broader audience. It’s about showcasing California, which would only benefit the state.”

Other Current TV show hosts include former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

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Al Gore does not approve

As referenced in today’s article, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer visited Kaiser Permanente’s new Oakland medical building today for a demonstration of Kaiser’s electronic medical record system, a roundtable meeting with Kaiser staff and a news conference.

Boxer listened intently as Dr. Patricia Conolly, an internal medicine specialist, walked her through the medical record system, which Kaiser began phasing in in 2005; Conolly said it has made it easier for her and other Kaiser physicians to track and improve patient care while lowering costs. Everything from a patient’s complete medical history, including all previous Kaiser visits, to tools for diagnosis and prescription are available at the touch of a button by the patient’s bedside, Conolly said.

“Wow,” Boxer marveled, “did you invent this?”

“No,” Conolly replied as Kaiser staffers chuckled.

“Did Al Gore?” Boxer quipped.

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What’s it like to be Fabian Nunez right now?

Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez has joined that small, sad fraternity of elected officials whose children stand accused of heinous crimes.

Esteban Armando Nunez, 19, and three others were arrested in Sacramento on Tuesday and charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Oct. 4 slaying of a college student from Concord in San Diego. According to the arrest warrant, “Nunez said whatever happens, he would take the rap for it” and that “hopefully his dad would take care of it and could get them off on self defense.”

It’s heartbreaking, in so many ways — first and foremost for the family of Luis Santos, the young man killed in the incident. There can be no true, full justice for the loss of a child.

But you’ve got to feel for Fabian Nunez too, just as so many must’ve felt for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, whose son, Michael, has repeatedly been denied parole from his 15-to-life sentence for murdering a reputed drug dealer in 1979. Or for Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, whose namesake son is serving 14 years in prison as a serial rapist.

You’d have to feel for any parent who sees his or her child stand accused this way, to understand the doubt and dismay inherent in pondering what went so terribly wrong. Whether or not the parent had a close relationship, or any relationship at all with the child, seems to matter little when you know the person up there in jail togs and chains is your blood. As a courts reporter, I used to see that horror in parents’ eyes all the time; as a parent, I imagine I feel it every time I read a story like Dellums’ or De La Fuente’s or Nunez’s.

Even those whose kids stand accused of lesser crimes – think Jeb Bush’s Noelle, or Al Gore’s namesake son – must feel this pain, though they need not take upon themselves the pain of victims and their families.

Any parent of any defendant must feel this way, but I’d imagine that to endure it as an elected official means a certain sort of amplification: The public has chosen you to represent its interests, and now it sees your child as the very bogeyman you were elected to protect against. There will be no privacy for you during this painful process; all the eyes that watched your work will now watch your personal pain as well.

Then again, it could be so much worse. Just ask former state Senator and Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.

You don’t have to agree with a politician’s politics to empathize with him or her as a human being, as a parent. So think a good thought for Fred and Kathy Santos of Concord as they grapple with the tragic loss of their son, but think one as well for Fabian Nunez as he grapples with how and why his got so far away from him.