Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Pete Ashdown on his Run at the Hill 296

adamdrayer writes "Wired recently conducted an interview with Pete Ashdown, the tech-minded ISP owner who is hoping for a major upset in the race for Utah's Senate seat against long-time incumbent Orin Hatch. Ashdown hopes to help pave the way for better decision-making on the Hill regarding technology. Hatch is among the more conservative politicians on the issues of 'digital privacy' and 'fair use,' while one of Ashdown's main objectives is to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Pete Ashdown on his Run at the Hill

Comments Filter:
  • by panaceaa ( 205396 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @09:32PM (#16651931) Homepage Journal
    Polling data: Utah U.S. Senate: Hatch 62%, Ashdown 25% on/viewItem/itemID/13412 []

    While I agree with Ashdown's position a lot more than Orrin's, the incumbent is looking pretty strong.
    • Yet more proof that your average American voter is no more intelligent in their voting patterns than a trained chimp. I wish I could say "I'm moving someplace better", but so far the US is the better place compared to the rest of the world. Oh well, time to learn how to train chimps >:).
      • by Firehed ( 942385 )
        Well, not everyone even knows about stuff like the DMCA and all of it's joys, much less do they actually care about it. I think that it's incredibly stupid to ignore such a thing in this Digital Millenium(TM,C,R). For obvious reasons, abortion really just isn't that much of an issue with slashdot readers, even if the rest of the world cares.
      • Hey! That's not fair to the chimp.

        At least if a chimp flips a coin,
        they appear intelligent.

        If a whole lot of chimps flip coins,
        why, the voting pattern would actually
        appear human-like.

        At least in most races.

        In this case, apparently 25% have a clue.

        Do you know what the difference is between
        a chimp voter and a human voter?

        The chimp doesn't pay attention to TV.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        You might be trolling, but I'll bite.

        According to [] the UN ranks 9 other countries above the US on the livability scale. Although frankly for the most part I think that life is pretty much what you make of it. I've seen people living in what we would call bad or primitive conditions, and yet they didn't seem to fussed about it.

        Those countries in the UN list from 1-9 are Norway, Iceland, Australia, Luxembourg, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland and Belgium. Ex

        • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:59AM (#16653985)
          I think it is pointless to argue if the US is the "best" country in the world to live in. I am sure by some standards it is the best and by others it is not. A lot of it is simply taste. If you want to be an artist, you might find France with public funding of the arts to be a nicer place. If are into the highest tech gadgets and food in a pretty package, cost be damned, Japan might seem like a paradise.

          You also need to realize that simply by living a place you taint your ability to enjoy other places. It is found that some traditional tribal folks living in a stone age culture in the middle of nowhere tend rate themselves as happier then your average cosmopolitan Joe. That might be true, but I can promise you that your average cosmopolitan Joe would be murderous to get back to his "hellish" city after spending a couple of weeks without toilet paper, Starbucks, and dentist. So, maybe the people of Norway are happy being in Norway, but that doesn't mean that you would be.

          I think the larger point is this; if you live in the US, you live in a damn good place. Maybe it is or is not the best for you, but chance are if I closed my eyes and pointed to another spot and sent you there, you would be miserable. Further, a lot of human misery comes from a loss of perspective. Nothing sends me into a murderous rage more then someone wallowing in their own self pity over the trite challenges that they face in their life. Yeah, your six grade girlfriend dumping you was traumatic and all, but get a grip and stop listening to whinny music reminding you of that black day. Better one girl in 3 billion dump you then living your life in what Americans would consider a glorified sewer, suffering war, experiencing violent cultural and political oppression, or any of the other horrors regularly visited upon many people in this world.

          There is nothing wrong with wanting to change the place you live in for the better and looking to other cultures for examples of how to do this, but don't lose perspective. If you are reading this post, chances are you are living in some place that isn't so bad. The challenges and the trails that you face are unlikely to kill you, and even if they are (who knows, maybe you have cancer) you are probably in one of the better places of this world to face them.

          Make the world a better place, but remember that the place you currently have is well worth appreciating despite whatever faults it might have.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 )
      The reason States keep electing jackasses like Hatch and Stevens is simple: Power.

      If your state has a powerful incumbent, it is in your best interest to keep him/her. Sure, you get fucked over and party-line voting, but that would happen no matter what. Dems and Repubs will *always* vote the party line on things like DMCA, USAPATRIOT, Mickey Mouse Copyright, etc. Just because you hire somebody new does not mean he'll abandon the line.

      Powerful incumbents are good for your state. They have a name and can
      • by T-Ranger ( 10520 )
        As they say in Cape Breton (Canada): let us vote the day after, so we can get it right.
      • Force people to vote.

        That is a bad idea. If they don't care enough to vote without being forced to, they shouldn't be voting anyway.
        • If you forced people to make a decision, than maybe some of them would put more thought into it.
      • by nmb3000 ( 741169 )
        I'm living in Utah right now going to school, and while I'm not registered to vote here, that doesn't stop me from jumping into political discussions.

        The biggest problems Ashdown has are his stance on abortion (for it), the death penalty (against it), and term limits (against them). In Utah the first one is a significant deterrent, though many religious people will simply try and ignore it because they either hate Hatch or blindly vote a straight party ticket. The other two issues are not as "hot", though i
      • by sustik ( 90111 )
        I find most of your points insightful. However:

        > 3. Force people to vote.

        is not the solution. The election system needs to be overhauled. My favourite idea is to use the skating system: voters rank the candidates, then 50%+1 first places mean victory; if no such candidate emerged, then consider the 1-2 rankings if that reaches 50%+1 etc.

        A great advantage of the system is that if you rank a less favoured candidate first, it does not mean automatically that your vote is thrown away, since your second ch
      • Mandatory voting (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tsunayoshi ( 789351 )

        3. Force people to vote. Make voting days a Federal holiday and force employers to pay employees for that day. Count it as the cost of doing business in the USA.

        In Peru (my wife's native country) every legal adult is REQUIRED to vote. You have a "libreta electoral" card you carry with you and each election you get a foil stamp in it. If you get a traffic fine or such, the police can check your voting card and if you are missing the latest election's stamp you can get fined for missing that also.

        When I l

    • Comment removed based on user account deletion
      • For the most part you are dead on with your analysis of Utah, its religion, and its politics but I think I can help clarify why people in Utah will send Hatch back to DC.

        You see, Ashdown is Mormon as well, so it isn't about the religious persuasion of the candidate, its about forcing christian fundamentalism onto everyone else. Ashdown is a moderate when it comes to religion and unlike Hatch has no interest in forcing his religion on the rest of our nation. What Hatch means by "save the Constitution" is tha
    • by killjoe ( 766577 )
      It's utah. If god ran as a democrat against satan as a republican god would lose. People in utah would rather cut their heads off then vote for a democrat.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pashdown ( 124942 )
        Which is why the gubernatorial Democratic candidate got 42% of the vote in 2004.
        • by Axe ( 11122 )
          And that is about a maximum for a sane politician in Utah.

          Utah has Moab and Zion. Everything north of freeway 70 should be sanitized and repopulated. :)

          • What Pete didn't mention is that the mayors of both Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County are democrats. Most of the SLC City Council is also democratic, as I recall.
  • If only more geeks, scientists and other technically competent people did this. But, I suppose, they're all too busy actually working for a living to bother.
  • by Salvance ( 1014001 ) * on Monday October 30, 2006 @09:44PM (#16652037) Homepage Journal
    Given the tech savvyness of the younger generations, Politicians like Pete Ashdown are sure to become more commonplace over the next 10-20 years. Unfortunately, the vast majority of voters and capital hill aren't ready for the reform. Remember Ross Perot's "revolutionary" voting ideas? He wanted to enable people to vote in elections (and even on every congressional act) from their computers or at government kiosks. Everyone laughed at the idea, but his kooky vision is getting closer to reality.

    In politics, it never seems to pay to be a visionary ... while they may eventually effect great change in how our government functions, their lack of mainstream appeal never gets them very far in the election.
    • If nothing else, I hope to inspire other tech savvy people to step up. We desperately need leadership in Congress that understands more about technology than where the power button is.
  • One commentor posted a link to Pete Ashburn's wiki [], so I was excited to add a link back to slashdot on it (and figured Pete and his supporters would be happy to know he was featured on a popular national tech site).

    However, on page after page after page, I continually received "this page is locked" warnings. I still e-mailed Pete, but even so ... to disallow members from editing seems against the purpose of a Wiki and Pete's collaboration goals.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @10:04PM (#16652211)
    Hatch is among the more conservative politicians
    That's like saying the Amish are among the more conservative users of computer technology.
    • You laugh, but if you look at the recent Amish school shooting, it's obvious that more and more Amish are embracing technology. I mean, where else would they get ideas like that if not video games?
      • I know your comment was sarcastic/a joke, but I think it's worth noting that the shooter in that incident was not Amish, only the victims were Amish.
  • He lost my vote when he refused to endorse Stochasticracy [].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pashdown ( 124942 )
      You never gave an effective argument as to how the average American voter could ever hope to understand it. Voting is already pretty simple, and we're lucky to get a 25%. You want to enforce a system that most people can't pronounce, let alone understand?
  • Bad Tech laws are one of those few issues that seem to really cross party lines and ideologies. When it comes to privacy remember one thing, both sides do not want you to have it, but the minority party will always come out in favor of it. \

    Example: When Clinton and Gore were busy pushing the Clipper initiative and trying to make sure all digital communications encryption had a government accessible back door to aid in spying, John Ashcroft was one of the most vocal opponents coming down on the side of pers
    • There was a liberal democract, Senator Exon, who was a big proponent of the Communications Decency Act. I don't think he is in office anymore.
      • "The information superhighway is a revolution that in years to come will transcend newspapers, radio, and television as an information source. Therefore, I think this is the time to put some restrictions on it."
        U.S. Senator James Exon

        • by krell ( 896769 )
          He was a man ahead of his time. If the founding fathers had thought like he did, newspapers would have been regulated out of existence by 1830.
    • Do you have examples of this hypocrisy prior to Bush and Clinton? Many people, including myself, feel like the Republican party has changed drastically recently, including in the area of privacy and personal liberty. Your perspective is an interesting one, but you would have to use examples that are not so recent in order to rule out the alternative theory.

      I'm not trying to argue -- I'm genuinely interested in further support of your opinion. (Very un-Slashdot-like, eh?)
      • Do you have examples of this hypocrisy prior to Bush and Clinton? Many people, including myself, feel like the Republican party has changed drastically recently, including in the area of privacy and personal liberty.

        I agree with this, but I believe it is because in recent history the republican party gained control of the government. Prior to the mid 90s, they had a very long dry spell where the Democrats controlled congress, so even when there was a Republican president, there was checks on power. It was e
    • I don't think you can call one position "Democrat", or "Republican", or "Conservative", or "Liberal".

      Very true. Next time, try inserting the words "Crook" and "Traitor" instead of "Democrat" and "Republican". I think you'll find they're pretty much interchangeable at this point.
    • By and large they both suck, are technologically incompetent, and totally bought and sold to their masters (be it Hollywood, BSA, RIAA, etc). I don't think you can call one position "Democrat", or "Republican", or "Conservative", or "Liberal".

      You can call them all ignorant.
  • The only good DMCA is a _dead_ DMCA
  • From the fascinating Wikipedia article [] on Mr. Hatch:

    Hatch caused an overnight controversy on June 17, 2003 by proposing that copyright owners should be able to destroy the computer equipment and information of those suspected of copyright infringement, including file sharing. In the face of criticism, especially from technology and privacy advocates, Hatch withdrew his suggestion days later, after it was discovered that Sen. Hatch's official website was using an unlicensed JavaScript menu from United King

  • The reason the media companies chose Hatch to help them get their bills through (and paid him big $$$ to do it) is because he has such a strong support base from the religious groups that he is very hard to vote out of office. (and replace with someone less likely to listen to their lobbying efforts)
  • Shrugging off the topically relevant war in Iraq to focus on an important issue like *GASP* music piracy is certainly a bold move that will ressonnate with the progressive voters of Utah. I don't know, nor do I care what this guy's platform is on real issues, but my god, this is about as low on most people's totem pole of political importance as gay marriage or Native American Affairs. I really hope it's not his flagship issue, because it's a real lame one for most people.
    • by Quila ( 201335 )
      , this is about as low on most people's totem pole of political importance as gay marriage

      Maybe your totem pole, but there's a huge chunk of our population that cares about gay marriage, one way or the other. I'm not among either group, but I know they exist, and many are single-issue about it.

    • this is about as low on most people's totem pole of political importance as gay marriage

      If you do not think gay marriage is an important issue to people, talk to some Republican strategists. Many of them were crediting the gay marriage issue almost single-handedly for galvanizing their base to go vote, and winning them the 2004 election. Do you think it was accidental that Bush tried to push a gay marriage ban through as a Constitutional amendment--doomed to fail--just before the election?

  • Just wond'ring... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @10:53PM (#16652603)
    > Hatch is among the more conservative politicians on the issues of 'digital privacy' and 'fair use'

    Is that good or bad? I.e., what is the writer's notion of what makes a 'conservative' position on those policies? (Is protecting fair use conservative or progressive?)
    • If you're talking about keeping the government and business out of people's lives, then I'd say its libertarian. It used to be conservative when Goldwater was around, but they buried that idea with him.
  • by mattwarden ( 699984 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:06PM (#16652677)

    Ashdown hopes to help pave the way for better decision-making on the Hill

    You're new here, aren't you.



  • The very fact that people think he has a chance, when these are some of the issues he's most passionate about, for a Senate seat against a guy like Hatch says how out ot touch many are. He'll get his ass kicked unless both Hatch and the Democrat get caught screwing little foreign toddlers on capitol hill while high on crack. If he cares about these issues, he needs to run with a firmly libertarian point of view and try to "out right wing" Hatch as a hawk, capitalist, family values guy patriot who thinks the
  • by spagetti_code ( 773137 ) on Monday October 30, 2006 @11:21PM (#16652783)
    Whomever did this photo [] of Pete could have done better. They've used wide f-stop creating a narrow depth of focus. Thats OK except when you do it on someone up close, it makes their nose look big. Also, because his face is in focus but his shoulders and body aren't, they look like they are a long way away - so he looks like he has a 2' neck.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pashdown ( 124942 )
      There are other photos from other photographers on the site. If you'd like, I can send you a signed copy whatever one you like the best.
  • One thing irking about his campaign is his stance on several issues. He says he is in favor of "rethinking" them, but does not give an actual platform.To me, that seems like deliberately avoiding taking a position on a topic so as to please everyone, while still seeming like he has a position.
    • Codified issues are located on the issues page []. If you want something finalized, tell me what it is. I unfortunately have to spend a lot of time away from the keyboard. If you've ever met me in person, you'd know that there isn't a question I won't answer and I don't avoid taking positions.

      Find me another candidate anywhere who has as many stands on their web page or has openly discussed over 40 in some online form like I have on my Wiki.
  • On education, some good looking stuff and: "I also believe things like learning Latin are essential."

    Why Latin? I could understand "I believe learning a second language is essential" and maybe even "learning a highly inflected language", but what is educationally magical about Latin?

    (Not that I personally have anything against Latin.)
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @01:15AM (#16653709) Homepage Journal
    Orrin Hatch [] has been the dumbest man in Congress for years. Ever since Alan Simpson [] retired, anyway.

The absent ones are always at fault.