Unasked and Unanswered
18.59.08 - Mark
We've had a few dozen presidential candidate debates (with a plenty more being scheduled or planned or are simply inevitable) but aside from some questions based on whatever new campaign tactics have popped up since the last "debate" the things are the same old political show and tell, except all show and little told.
I get that the economy is a bit issue, with subtopics like NAFTA and free trade, and China, and tax refunds, and the recession. The War on Terror has been a hot topic since 2002, and once you add immigration and health care you have a pretty stable set of issues that just about any one can find something to cheer or chastise, except it really doesn't tell us much about a candidate, which is probably why they happily blather on about "experience" and who's more "qualified".
Here's a hint, unless you've already been a president of the US, or the governor of a state you have nothing close relevant experience or qualifications. Even then being a Governor doesn't help much - case in point: the current POTUS. So let's cut out this experience and qualified BS and move on to real issues, as many of them as possible. This county has more problems than illegal immigrants, taxes, and a handful of terrorists who "terrorize" us because of our foreign policy decisions (and we're not just talking Iraq).
In no particular order let's have a reasonable talk (preferably multi-partisian) science's influence on policy, technology, education, cost of college, the war on drugs, position on tobacco and alcohol and the legal age, sex education, religion in government, non-existence of viable third parties, election (and specifically electoral college) reform, civil rights, green technology, nuclear energy, sensible energy independence (which is more than "no foreign oil"), transparency in government, lobbyist and PAC reform, abolishing ear marks, how we'll fix our global reputation, our lack of participation in numerous global treaties (like the antilandmine treaty, or the one opposing child slavery, etc), ethics in government, the role of the average citizen in government, gay rights, minority rights, moving past petty social labels (like black, Hispanic, etc), controlling the FCC's influence on content, getting rid of the national debt, whether or not we're taking the right course of action in regards to China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, how we'll fix our relation or at least get past our difference with the United Nations, this list goes on...
The guilt isn't entirely on the candidates, the news networks no longer want to ask these hard questions, not that the candidates would answer them but if everyone is serious about "change" let's stop playing politics as usual with it's selected and vetted clean cut party line issues and tackle real problems big and small, long standing and dormant to the near future and extremely pressing.
Of course this is only going to get worse as we start getting into congressional and gubernatorial races.
18.31.43 - Mark
While I wish the US Presidential campaigns would give some airtime to something other than Iraq, Immigration, the economy, and health care the last one is really getting on my nerves.
Hillary Clinton is out of touch with reality on the issue in her continued insistence on every single American buying a health insurance package or facing fines. It's almost like she's getting kickbacks from the insurance industry as a whole.
I'm not disagreeing with improving the heath care system in this country, but forcing people to buy insurance is not an ideal solution. From my perspective as a healthy (and uninsured) young adult paying for my own insurance would be far more than my current medical expenses. The national average for individual health coverage is about $220 a month. My medical bills for the last two years might total up to $600. That works out to something paying over $5,200 for $600 of expenses, and that's not accounting for deductibles and makes the assumption that the plan would cover the cost of contacts.
I know that insurance is supposed to be there for the unexpected, but for now keeping that same money in a rainy-day savings account makes more sense than letting an insurance company sit on the money. I don't need the government telling me I have to spend that $2600 a year "or else"
Electric Cars (POTUS Edition)
19.43.50 - Mark
After watching Who Killed the Electric Car? the other day, and posting about it, seeing this story about President Bush looking at some plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is too funny. When we have production ready electric vehicles from major automotive manufacturers, Bush is citing it as an example of entrepreneurs rushing in to solve our nation's oil addiction while calling on Congress to fund research into alternative energy sources. I especially like how he avoids the questions about whether or not he'll be getting an electric vehicle for his ranch. Classic Bush.
In the past I might have accepted the fact that he is a "busy" man, and that he may not be aware of the feasibility of commercial, market ready, electric vehicles and associated technologies, however Bush has repeatedly proven that he actively ignores science and technology advisers, especially those who don't come from with glowing recommendations from oil industry executives or prominent religious leaders. This is just a dog and pony show, and that's a true shame.
Story and photo via Treehugger