Leveraging his aura as a technology seer and his political and climate work connections, Al Gore has remade himself into a wealthy businessman, amassing a fortune that may exceed $200 million, reports the Seattle Times.
That’s close to the $250 million net worth of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, whom President Obama and Democrats targeted in ads and speeches as being out of touch with most Americans.
…The former senator, who spent most of his working life in Congress, had a net worth of about $1.7 million (in 1999) and assets that included pasture rents from a family farm and royalties from a zinc mine, remnants of his rural roots in Carthage, Tennessee. .
…Fourteen years later, he made an estimated $100 million in a single month. In January, the Current TV network, which he helped to start in 2004, was sold to Qatari-owned Al Jazeera Satellite Network for about $500 million. After debt, he grossed an estimated $70 million for his 20 percent stake, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Two weeks later, Gore exercised options, at $7.48 a share, on 59,000 shares of Apple Inc. stock that he’d been granted for serving on the Cupertino, California-based company’s board since 2003. On paper, it was about a $30 million payday based on the company’s share price on the day he claimed the options.
That’s a pretty good January for a guy who couldn’t yet call himself a multimillionaire when he briefly slipped from public life after his bitterly contested presidential election loss to George W. Bush in late 2000, based on 1999 and 2000 disclosure forms.
Gore isn’t finished exercising his Apple stock grants. Those 59,000 are part of 101,358 Apple options and shares of restricted stock Gore has amassed, according to company filings, giving his total holdings a gross value of more than $45.6 million today.
Friends and family are remembering the life of Al Bodie, a former Tennessee Department of Labor commissioner, government affairs professional, and a mentor and leader to many in Nashville, who died last Friday following a battle with cancer, reports The Tennessean. He was 59.
Alphonso “Al” Romeo Bodie, the eldest of five children, was born Sept. 29, 1953 in Miami, Fla. He was schooled in Jamaica and at the University of Miami, where he starred on the football field and earned a degree in marketing.
After graduation, Bodie moved to Nashville and worked for IBM, where he worked in the Data Processing Division for 17 years. In 1993, Bodie founded the Nashville-based government relations firm Bodie & Associates Inc. He served as its CEO and board chairman.
Republican Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist in 1995 tapped Bodie to lead the state’s Department of Labor. In that role, Bodie is perhaps best known for his role in overhauling Tennessee’s workers’ compensation law.
“He was a very good commissioner and a strong leader,” said Sundquist, who talked to Bodie by phone two weeks ago. “He was a fighter up until the last few days.”
— Note: The legislature passed a memorializing resolution on Bodie, HERE.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Al Gore, who takes aim in his new book at the corporate media for “suffocating the free flow of ideas,” on Tuesday defended the sale of his television channel to Al-Jazeera.
The Qatar government-owned news network earlier this month struck a deal to buy Current TV, the cable news network co-founded by the former vice president. The price tag was $500 million.
Gore told The Associated Press that he had no reservations about selling the channel to Al-Jazeera, which has won U.S. journalism prizes but has been criticized by some for an anti-American bias. The new owner plans to gradually transform Current into a network called Al-Jazeera America.
“They’re commercial-free, they’re hard-hitting,” he said in a phone interview. “They’re very respected and capable, and their climate coverage has been outstanding, in-depth, extensive, far more so than any network currently on the air in the U.S.”
State Rep. Joe Carr accused the Rev. Al Sharpton of using “cheap race baiting” in a debate over his legislation that would prohibit federal agents from enforcing any new gun laws in Tennessee, according to the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. During an MSNBC interview with Carr last Friday, Sharpton, a controversial civil rights activist, showed the clip of Alabama Gov. George Wallace blocking the enrollment of two black students on the steps of the University of Alabama and said Carr was making the same argument for state “sovereignty” to stop the federal government from enforcing a potential ban on “military-style assault weapons.”
Carr called the tactic “reprehensible” on Monday and said during the TV interview, “Those are misapplications of what we’re talking about. You’re drawing parallels that don’t exist.”
Furthermore, Carr said, “As a father of a biracial little boy (Joe Jr.), I reject the notion of what you’re telling me.”
And, from Andy Sher: Sharpton kicked off the segment saying Republicans in at least six states, including Tennessee, “are resorting to an old argument to fight a new battle, crying states’ rights as they attack President Obama on gun control.”
“Now let me ask you,” he said to Carr, “do you really think your state bill will trump federal law?”
Carr said part of his point is “trying to illustrate here that the federal government systematically over the years has been on a full assault of the Second Amendment.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) — With its purchase of left-leaning Current TV, the Pan-Arab news channel Al-Jazeera has fulfilled a long-held quest to reach tens of millions of U.S. homes. But its new audience immediately got a little smaller.
The nation’s second-largest TV operator, Time Warner Cable Inc., dropped Current after the deal was confirmed Wednesday, a sign that the channel will have an uphill climb to expand its reach.
“Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service. We are removing the service as quickly as possible,” the company said in a statement.
Still, the acquisition of Current, the news network that cofounded by former Vice President Al Gore, boosts Al-Jazeera’s reach in the U.S. beyond a few large U.S. metropolitan areas including New York and Washington nearly ninefold to about 40 million homes.
Gore confirmed the sale Wednesday, saying in a statement that Al-Jazeera shares Current TV’s mission “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
Al-Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to gradually transform Current into a network called Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists. More than half of the content will be U.S. news and the network will have its headquarters in New York, spokesman Stan Collender said.
News release from Tennessee Education Association:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Education Association Executive Director Alphonso C. (Al) Mance is retiring after 29 years with the association. Mance served as an assistant executive director prior to being promoted to executive director in 1999.
“Al is known not only in Tennessee, but nationwide, for his calm professionalism, and his knowledge of and dedication to public education,” said Gera Summerford, TEA president and Sevier County math teacher. “Al has devoted his life to improving public education and fighting for the rights of educators. He will be greatly missed by our members and our staff.”
During his time with TEA, Mance served on Governor Bredesen’s Commission on Civic Education and currently serves on the Tennessee First to the Top Advisory Council and the Tennessee Labor-Management Foundation Board of Directors.
Mance started his organizational career with the New York Educators Association. During his career Mance has written more than two hundred articles on educational and organizational issues and topics. Prior to his work for the association, Mance began his teaching career in Florida and then later taught in New York. He has developed and presented training packages on stress management, time management, leadership, parent-teacher conferences, teaching in a multi-cultural environment, interpersonal relations and humanism in education, among others.
Assistant Executive Director Mitchell Johnson will serve as interim executive director until Mance’s replacement is hired in early 2013.
— More on the matter: According to WPLN, TEA President Gera Summerford says the recent departure of TEA’s chief lobbyist, Jerry Winters, and now Mance is a coincidence and no indication of problems or conflict. “I have watched both of these professional, excellent gentlemen work in their roles for TEA for many, many years, I’ve worked very closely with them now for two and a half years, and neither of them is the kind of person who would give up a good fight.”
In the last couple years thousands of teachers let their memberships with TEA lapse, after lawmakers made it harder for the union to collect dues. Where membership was once over 50 thousand, Summerford now expects it to stabilize in the low forties.
Tennessee isn’t the only Southern state where Democrats have had difficulties in coming up with a credible candidate for statewide office, observes the Tennessean. While Tennessee Democrats have disowned and vowed not to support nominee Mark Clayton of Whites Creek in the U.S. Senate race — due to his views on gays and his association with an anti-gay group — their Alabama counterparts took an even more drastic step with one of their candidates.
The Democratic Party there disqualified its nominee for chief justice of the state Supreme Court because of comments he made online about the Republican nominee, accusing him of having “dementia” and being “a devil worshipper.” Party officials felt the comments were improper for a judicial nominee. It just so happened the Democratic nominee in question, Harry Lyon, also had a long history of entering and losing Alabama political races.
And in Mississippi, Democrats are relying on an 82-year-old to fill a ballot spot opposite incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker. His name is Albert N. Gore Jr., who the Mississippi League of Women voters says is a distant cousin to Al Gore, the former Democratic vice president and U.S. senator from Tennessee.
Gore told National Public Radio that someone younger should be making the race but “they didn’t want to fight.”
“The lack of even qualified Democrats is really becoming a problem (in the South). More and more Republicans are running unopposed,” said Steve Borrelli, political analyst at the University of Alabama.
Tennessee is being ignored, as usual, in the presidential campaign this year – except, of course, for fundraising – and that is prompting a new round of talk about abolishing the electoral college system. Andy Sher rounds up some commentary on the topic. You can count former Democratic Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, a Tennessee Republican, among the critics.
Both say the situation should end in which campaigns are forced to follow Electoral College strategies where the outcome trumps the national popular vote.
…But defenders of the Electoral College say no changes are needed. They argue mega-states like California and New York would dominate the popular vote and leave states like Tennessee an afterthought.
“The presidential election would basically be concentrated in the coastal cities, Los Angeles and New York,” Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney said. “And everyone else would be left behind. It would open it up more to fraud and electoral abuse.”
…Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the Republican state Senate speaker, likewise voiced support for the current system.
“We have a long-standing, time-tested mechanism for choosing our president,” Ramsey said. “This process in rooted in a tradition that protects the interests of both small as well as large states. A National Popular Vote process that would either abolish or neuter the electoral college would eviscerate that delicate balance our founders strove to achieve.”
Former Vice President Al Gore apparently won’t be attending the Democratic National Convention, though is previously listed as a “super delegate” from Tennessee, reports The Tennessean as part of an overview story on Gore’s present status with the party. Gore also co-founded Current TV. Instead of speaking this week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., as his party makes the case for another four years in the White House, he’s expected to anchor Current’s coverage from a New York studio, as he did when Republicans met last week in Florida.
….In late July, the Tennessee Democratic Party listed Gore as a superdelegate to this week’s national convention. (Note: A list of delegates distributed by the state party on Saturday still lists him as a super delegate.) But Current TV announced a week later that Gore would anchor the network’s coverage of both conventions.
Brandon Puttbrese, a spokesman for the state party, said Gore’s staff has said he’ll stay in New York rather than fly to Charlotte to cast a vote for Obama. Because alternates can’t vote for superdelegates, Gore’s absence would leave the Tennessee delegation down a vote.
It’s unclear if Obama’s campaign and Gore ever discussed a speaking role at the convention, which might have reminded liberal Democrats of Obama’s inaction on climate change.
Another excerpt from the Tennessean story: U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper chalked the 2000 vote up to the fickleness of the American electorate. Like the British people voting Prime Minister Winston Churchill out of office after he led them through World War II, voters didn’t realize what Clinton and Gore had achieved, Cooper said.
“We dream today of having a budget surplus, and Clinton gave us three in a row,” he said. “People in 2000 took that sort of prosperity for granted.”
….Friends say Gore has never discussed his deepest feelings about the (2000 presidential race) loss, which he publicly addressed with a gracious speech the day after the Supreme Court ruling.
Cooper called Gore “one of the greatest Tennesseans ever” but said he has “a lot of arrows in his back” as a result of his outspoken advocacy.
“There’s even a section in the Bible that says no prophet is honored in his hometown,” Cooper said.
— Note: The Tennessean says Gore declined to be interviewed. He’s turned down my last umpteen requests over the past decade or so, too.
Former Vice President Al Gore, who lost the 2000 presidential election by a narrow margin in the electoral college while easily winning the popular vote, has now called for abandoning the system, reports The Tennessean. “Even after the 2000 election, I still supported the idea of the electoral college,” Gore said Thursday during coverage of the Republican National Convention on Current TV, which he co-founded.
“The logic is, it knits the country together, it prevents regional conflicts and it goes back through our history to some legitimate concerns. But since then I’ve given a lot of thought to it, and I’ve seen how these states are just written off and ignored, and people are effectively disenfranchised in the presidential race, and I really do now think that it’s time to change that
“It’s always tough to amend the constitution and risky to do so, but there is a very interesting movement under way that takes it state by state, that may really have a chance of succeeding. And I hope it does. I think that it’s time. I think our country would be stronger and better if it went according to the popular vote.”
…Gore, the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2000, defeated Republican George W. Bush by some 543,000 votes nationally but lost the electoral college by five votes, 271 to 266. Bush’s win in Florida, where he prevailed by 537 votes statewide after a historic recount, put him over the top.