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Oregon Senate Candidate Steve Novick Answers Your Questions 393

Wow. More politicians (of all parties) need to be as open and thorough as Steve Novick is here. We selected 10 of the questions you submitted and sent them to him by email, and his responses... let's just say that if every candidate spoke out like Steve, we'd have a much clearer view of our choices and would be able to cast our votes a lot more rationally.

1) Slashdot's Hive's Net Neutrality View (Score:5, Interesting)
by eldavojohn (898314)


From your website [novickforsenate.org] on issues, you say:

-I would join many other U.S. senators, and the rest of what we might call Google Nation, in supporting "net neutrality." We need to prevent broadband providers from creating a two-tiered system of access to information, in which content providers with money would have an advantage over those without it, and Internet users would often find it harder to Google their way to the information they really need.-

Your net neutrality rhetoric rings true with this readership, for the most part. How exactly do you propose you would enforce this?

I mean, you say yourself that the companies with money are going to want this, how do you plan to fight the opposition? If your opponent Gordon Smith opposes net neutrality, you're going to face a lot more of that in the senate. Voting to ensure it in bills is one thing but what makes you unique to any other Senator trying to keep the net neutral? What are the best things we can do to help this? I tried explaining it to my friends and family but often find I've at best confused them.

Allow me to play the devil's advocate, argue against this point: - The government controls too much of our lives right now, why let them control the internet with a facade of "net neutrality?" It's just another form of restricting the market to evolve naturally, why would we want that?-

Novick:

Thanks for the question and for taking notice of my stand on the issue. Some of my friends questioned why it was part of the first series of issues statements we put up on our website, but it is an important issue to me and I know also to the tech community.

I think the Internet Freedom Preservation Act represents a great start in protecting net neutrality, establishing a national broadband policy that prioritizes open access to online content for all users and directing the FCC to enforce these provisions and take public input on these issues.

Of course, as we've seen with the current FCC appointees, we must closely monitor and provide Congressional oversight to prevent political appointees from hijacking federal policy to benefit corporate interests. As I pledged on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last year, I will vote "no" on confirmations unless it has been demonstrated that the appointee is qualified for the position.

But I think your larger question is, how do we beat a powerful telecommunications industry, how do we win? The truth is that it will take more than having me as a reliable vote against the telecom industry on this issue. We all know how tough it is to take on rich and powerful special interests in Washington D.C. But that doesn't mean you don't try. Whether it is health care, global warming or net neutrality, we all know what we are up against if we really want to make changes. That's why I have been willing to talk frankly about these issues and what it will take to make the changes we need. Another slogan for the campaign has been, 'voters can handle the truth.'

On net neutrality, I think you are correct that framing this debate is part of the challenge. For instance, I think too many people forget that it is public investment that funded the research to build the internet. (And yes, Al Gore had a lot to do with that!) Just as with the airwaves, there is a direct public interest in the management of the internet. I think people will appreciate the dangers of letting for-profit companies decide what content is easily accessible to the public. I think we can forcefully make the point that we don't want the Internet to become like cable television, where monopolies determine who has access to what content, based on profits. The market should be allowed to evolve (as you argue in your devil's advocate point), but government regulation of that market to make sure that evolution also serves the public interest makes a lot of sense - particularly in a public communication medium.

I have pledged to be an outspoken advocate in the Senate, urging my colleagues to stand up for what is right. Just as with Democrats who are afraid to reform the capital gains tax for fear of losing hedge fund contributions, I would challenge those afraid to stand up to the telecommunications giants to take a risk and do what is right for the country. It seems me that we should be able to get at least as much good attention for doing what is right as we would have with the TV ads we could buy from all those campaign contributions. Heck, I'm just a candidate and look at all the national press I've been getting for just being willing to stand up and buck the conventional political wisdom!

2) Nucular... (Score:4, Interesting)
by Notquitecajun (1073646)


Are you in favor of nuclear energy, or are you afraid of it?

Novick:

We face an incredible challenge of shifting off of our dependence on fossil fuels and I've heard smart arguments from environmentalists on both sides of the nuclear power question. Some argue that the cancer of global warming may require radiation treatment. They point out that nuclear power supplies much of France's power and has done so without incident for years.

But I am skeptical that nuclear power can be counted on to address our long-term power needs. We still do not have a satisfactory answer to the waste disposal question and the Yucca Mountain depository appears riddled with problems. In addition, large scale use of nuclear power by the U.S. would likely lead the rest of the world to follow suit -- creating a global nuclear fuel reprocessing industry. I would be extremely nervous, in this age of terrorists willing to employ any means to serve their extremist goals, to encourage a global trade network for nuclear fuel that could be all too easily diverted to weapons production. One of my supporters, Denis Hayes, points out that if we increase our reliance on nuclear power, it's hard for us to object to all the other nations of the world developing nuclear power -- and then, he argues, it's too short a step from nuclear power to nuclear weapons.

Finally, of course there is nothing stopping the development of additional nuclear plants in America today. Conservative proposals to spend billions in assisting the construction of these plants or putting the federal government on the hook for insuring these plants seems a poor investment of our money that would be better served exploring renewable alternatives.

3) Universal Health Care (Score:5, Insightful)
by pudge (3605)


Steve, your state already tried, and aborted, an attempt at universal health care. Do you want federal universal health care because Oregon needs to take money from other states to make it work? Would you raise federal income taxes to make it work? How much?

Novick:

I would suggest that Oregon's attempt at universal health care never really got off the ground because major portions of it (such as a requirement that all employers contribute toward their employees' health care) were blocked by the Republican-controlled legislature. I think that experience underscores the need for us to address health care reform at a national level. The path our health care system is on, with its exploding costs and declining coverage, is clearly unsustainable. I think there are several comprehensive plans out there to ensure everyone has affordable health care, while tackling the rise in the cost of care. Here's a fuller explanation of what I think that will take and several measures we need to take to control costs.

Without significant policy changes, we face the specter of massive tax increases or benefit cuts in Medicare when baby boomers retire. That is why we must reform our healthcare system now, just as we must put the government as a whole on sound fiscal footing before it is too late and we are faced with unacceptable options.

4) Beer (Score:5, Interesting)
by esocid (946821)


What will you do to get more Oregon beer east of the Mississippi river?

But seriously, you state that The manipulation of scientific data and government reports by political appointees must end. And we must stop the revolving door that has put industry lobbyists in charge of protecting our natural resources. How would attempt to improve the reliability of the EPA's research and encourage transparency within its ranks as to thwart its recent politicization and "bullying" of its scientists who don't produce data to support a political agenda?

Novick:

Yes, we must stop the blatant East Coast bias that has trumpeted Sam Adams as the height of beers, while leaving numerous superior Oregon brews in relative obscurity!

In terms of environmental science, I have actually been surprised at the lengths to which the Bush Administration has gone to interfere with this process. I was in the environmental section of the U.S. Justice Department under Reagan and when Ed Meese was Attorney General (wiki link for those of you in grade school at the time). And the amazing thing is that the political appointees left us alone and let us do our jobs. From colleagues I had who are still at DOJ and the EPA, I know that this Administration has been truly unique in using political appointments to override the best advice of career staff.

So, the first step is to provide real confirmation reviews and oversight of those appointees -- not just the department heads but also their deputies. It is entirely reasonable to expect these people to be qualified in the area to which they are being appointed and demand that they not insert their agendas, or those of their former clients, into the process of governing.

In addition, we can take steps to ensure there is accountability when these abuses occur. We need real whistleblower protections for those who expose malfeasance, and we also need to end the disaster that the Freedom of Information process has become under this Administration. When citizens can't get their requests returned in a timely manner, it becomes too late to do anything about abuses by the time they are brought to light.

5) Internet's Effect on Campaign Finances (Score:4, Interesting)
by roadkill_cr (1155149)


Does the advent of the Internet mean that a politician can win elections without requiring as much financial support? Or is it simply another media out of the many already used (radio, television, etc.) that one must now campaign on, making campaigning more expensive than before?

Novick:

Unfortunately, no, the internet has not allowed us to transcend the conventional politics of the past. But it has done a lot to help reach voters cheaply and effectively with answers to their specific concerns and for supporters to connect and mobilize in ways that were not possible in the past.

I have frequently referred to my candidacy as the Paul Wellstone campaign on steroids. Wellstone didn't have the advantage of reaching hundreds of thousands voters directly like we've done through our email, online posts and ads posted on YouTube. We've also been able to draw major support from the netroots through ActBlue, making me the #3 Senate candidate on the site with over $350,000 raised.

But these strategies complement the previous methods of voter contact -- TV ads, mailers, door knocking and phone calling. The reality is that you got to do it all. But the ability of the internet to help coordinate and engage voters has been a huge boon to candidates like myself -- certainly outweighing the additional costs.

I do believe that in the future, the Internet will be a major factor in "post-big money politics." If a majority of voters are sufficiently engaged in and enthusiastic about politics to seek out candidates' positions, they can look to candidates' web sites, and 30-second ads will cease to be relevant. At present, many voters remain disengaged and cynical, unlikely to look up candidate web sites without prompting. I hope that in this campaign, our creative advertising will drive voters to our web site. In the years to come I hope that the next President, my colleagues and myself will offer voters the kind of principled, progressive leadership that will re-engage voters and render ads and money increasingly irrelevant.

6) Effect on Party Platform (Score:4, Informative)
by explosivejared (1186049)


You seem to be pretty frank about your policy on the war. How much effect do think you could have on the Democratic platform regarding Iraq? The party has equivocated (eg pulling funding) on whether or not it will go full force at ending the current deployment of troops and on just how it would plan to work with regional players. How do you think you can work to providing a consistent and working policy for Iraq? Your site says that you are amazed at the war can still be sold. What are you going to change about that?

Novick:

The war has been extremely challenging for our party, given many Democrats' failure to ask tough questions in the lead-up to the war, and their fear that they will be attacked for not supporting the troops if they stand strong on demanding an end to it. I have been critical of those failures during my campaign because I think voters are looking for someone who is willing to put principles before party.

This week, I joined in supporting Darcy Burner's plan to pull us out of Iraq quickly and responsibly, while working to repair the damage this war has done there and here at home. I think the objectives outlined in the plan will serve as a rallying point for progressives and others committed to ending this war and provide a strong counterpoint to the Bush/McCain plan to simply "stay the course."

I think that on the issue of Iraq -- as on almost any other issue -- our leaders, of both parties, need a solid dose of honesty. We can't promise that a swift withdrawal will turn Iraq into a land of milk and honey. We also simply can't afford to stay there forever, and should not pretend that an open-ended military commitment by the United States is bringing about the political reconciliation necessary to achieve true peace in that country. We need to schedule a withdrawal in the way most likely to facilitate a political solution, while admitting that there is no magic wand.

7) I'm a fan (Score:4, Interesting)
by djcapelis (587616)


I've been tracking your campaign for awhile, you seem like a really good candidate for the senate slot and a good fit for Oregon. Unfortunately I'm a Californian democrat... and I know that most Oregonians aren't terribly fond in Californians interfering with your state.

Is there a way I can support you without getting you in trouble with your constituents? I know even a donation opens you up to the story of "funded by San Francisco Democrats" which would probably play pretty poorly in some parts of Oregon... Should we just stay on the side-lines or is there something folks outside your state can do to help you get your message out?

And one more related question: In this increasingly interconnected world, how do you see interstate involvement in local campaigns as changing the United States as a whole? The DSCC seems to be a pretty critical source of extra-state funding for instance...

Novick:

I need all the help I can get from the netroots across the United States. At least half of my primary opponent's money is coming from out of state, so he is unlikely to attack me for my netroots support. I don't have the DSCC tapping big national donors on my behalf and we are accepting contributions from all states via ActBlue. I suppose some might argue I should only take money from Oregonians, but the reality is that campaigns cost money and I'll be proud to stand up in the Senate for progressive folks from across the country. (Paul Wellstone never sent back my checks for his Minnesota campaigns.) Ultimately, it is the voters of Oregon that will cast ballots in this election. But it is only through citizens from across the nation coming together to demand real change that we are going to achieve a new direction for our nation.

8) Building the team? (Score:5, Interesting)
by D3 (31029)


When you decided to get into politics and/or make this run, how did you build your team? How did you choose your advisers? Were they all people you already knew or just knew one or two and they made recommendations? Basically, how does one go from "I think I could be a good Senator" to having the political machinery to make a run at it?

Novick:

Building a campaign team is always an interesting and challenging process. My campaign manager, Jake, was actually an intern for me twelve years ago and we've stayed in touch over the years. We have worked well together and I knew he'd appreciate my style and give me a 110% effort. I'm also fortunate to have several smart political consultant friends who have served as advisers to the campaign and recommended folks who would be a good fit.

But some of it is truly random. For instance, a friend of mine was at a wedding in Wisconsin and wound up talking to the mother of Steve Eichenbaum, who was responsible for Russ Feingold's ads. The firm got in contact and we met with them at the airport in Chicago when I was flying out from the Yearly Kos conference. And the rest is history.

9) Medical Marijuana (Score:5, Interesting)
by phobos13013 (813040)


Where do you stand on the issue of medical marijuana in your state? For ten years, use of marijuana has and created [redorbit.com]a legal vacuum for the public interest versus the private use issue [nwsource.com]. Would you protect growers of medical marijuana in your state from federal prosecution when such situations occur? Do you support the free and open use of a chemical that has no known addictive qualities, no known adverse health effects and broad, diverse public support for its decriminalization?

Novick:

I don't think it is the business of the federal government to second guess Oregon's voters and doctors, who in 1998 approved the creation of a controlled medical marijuana program, 55-45 percent. Since then Oregon voters and legislators have proven more than capable of weighing the merits and challenges of the program, suggesting that if a real problem emerges with medical marijuana in Oregon, we'll be able to fix it ourselves. I resent the Bush Administration's "big brother" attitude on both this program and our physician-assisted suicide law. It indicates they believe voters here are too ignorant to make informed decisions on these tough medical questions. I firmly disagree and will fight in the Senate to make sure that Oregonians, and residents of all states, have the prerogative to make these decisions for ourselves.

I favor Oregon's sensible laws on the regulation of marijuana itself.

10) Not like other politicians? (Score:5, Insightful)
by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837)


In your television ads, you state that you are not like other politicians. How do your political actions differ from those normally held by politicians: namely, increasing budget sizes - whether for the war, healthcare, public schools, or other state-run programs -- through taxation or deficit spending; and advancing laws violating human rights - whether through increased regulation of the economy, privacy violations, taxation, etc.

Also, how do your political motivations differ from those that have become the norm in politics? Politicians, acting as the "supply", have increasingly manipulated the economy to service the demand of corrupt companies offering to fund their campaigns - such as by contrived monopolies or selective tax breaks. How do your influences differ from the standard fare?

Novick:

I'll answer the second question first: I'm more ambitious than many politicians. I don't want to just be a Senator. I want to be remembered as a great Senator, who helped reform the health care system, prevent global warming, rebuild a fairer economy and tax system. That's my motivation.

In response to your first question, my campaign has differed from most campaigns in that I have spoken bluntly and in detail about problems and solutions. I have not merely decried deficits; I have explained the composition of the Federal budget, acknowledged that there are no simple answers, and proposed specific measures -- like taxing income from buying and selling stock at the same rate as income from wages, and reducing spending on exotic weapons systems -- to restore fiscal responsibility. I have not merely said that we need to "fix" the health care system; I have proposed specific measures to control costs -- like limiting drug companies' tax deductions for direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs, and moving from a pay-by-the-procedure model to an evidence-based, "pay for a course of treatment" model, for doctor and hospital care.

I have not just denounced the Bush Administration for warrantless wiretapping; I have denounced Democrats who have enabled him. There are, of course, other politicians -- such as Oregon's own Peter DeFazio -- who routinely flout conventional wisdom and speak honestly and bluntly about the critical issues facing the country. I will be proud to join their ranks.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Oregon Senate Candidate Steve Novick Answers Your Questions

Comments Filter:
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday March 28, 2008 @10:45AM (#22894278) Journal
    How do you respond to allegations that you plan to switch to the Pirate Party [photobucket.com] after your hostile take over of the senate?
  • by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot <[ten.egdup] [ta] [todhsals]> on Friday March 28, 2008 @10:58AM (#22894430) Homepage Journal

    I would suggest that Oregon's attempt at universal health care never got off the ground because major portions of it were blocked by the Republican-controlled legislature.

    Yes, because of the obvious problems in PAYING for it. That the legislature blocked it is a good thing: universal health care does no one any good if everyone is broke. The proposed system was literally incapable of sustaining itself.

    I think that experience underscores the need for us to address health care reform at a national level. The path our health care system is on is clearly unsustainable, with exploding costs and declining coverage. I think there are several comprehensive plans out there to ensure everyone has affordable health care, while tackling the cost of care.

    None I've seen. All of them only discussed more regulation, and direct cost controls, to control costs, which either wouldn't work, or would only work in the short term, increasing costs and decreasing care in the long term (which always happens when you remove competition).

    I see several problems. First, Medicare negotiating lower drug prices causes INCREASED prices for those not on Medicare. This will be a big hit to middle class and poor families. I agree with this in principle, but see no way around it harming others. The middle class especially is already subsidizing drugs to Canada and other countries; now they would be subsidizing drugs to Medicare recipients.

    This does not actually reduce national costs, it just shifts them, from the taxpayer to the drug consumer, which seems to me to be the wrong direction that most Democrats who favor universal health care want to go.

    I also absolutely disagree with federal school lunch standards. The federal government has no business of any kind in the local public schools. Period, end of story.

    As to hospitals, similar story: the federal government should not be paying for this equipment, or restricting its purchase.

    However, I ABSOLUTELY agree that we need to reform the drug patent system. Thanks for highlighting that. I don't believe government should be in the business of handing out monopolies JUST FOR THE SAKE of handing out monopolies. The Constitution is clear: the point of a patent is to encourage innovation. It is only worthwhile to the extent it does that, and patent terms should be tailored to provide the MINIMUM rights necessary to accomplish that goal.

    Further, I agree that taxpayers should not be subsidizing drug companies' ads. Indeed, we should not be subsidizing drug companies at all, including money for research. This ties into the patent issue because we pay them to do research and then give them a patent, too! Any research we DO subsidize should be public domain.

    Which brings me to farm subsidies: no, we should cut all of them. We do not need them. Yes, the cost of food may rise, but our taxes will be significantly less (assuming the government doesn't spend that money on something else ... ha!), and individual states can increase food aid to needy families if necessary.

    But all this put together will only begin to address the cost problems. The real big problem (other than tort reform, which is not a big issue for some, but a huge issue for others) is the lack of competition and choice that allows all kinds of health care providers -- from drugs to machines to hospitals -- to jack up the cost of health care. It's very similar to the patent issue. That is what government should be working on: finding ways to introduce more competition.

    Providing insurance to everyone is not the answer. Reducing the cost of health care is the answer. And while you have some good ideas, it is only barely a start. Frankly, I think many people -- not sure if this inclu

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Hey, Pudge,

      http://interviews.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=491414&cid=22785306 [slashdot.org]

      We discussed the cost issues in the corresponding question article and you never got around to explaining why it would cost more money other than to assert that it would cost more money despite other western nations having a better health standard of living and spending less money on health care all while having universal health coverage.

      You tried to get the last word in that time, and you weren't able to. Now you've hijacked
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Go work for Microsoft or Google, instead, where they would agree with your market-based and Enron-like non-solutions for everything.

        Bit of a cheap shot? While pudge and I disagree on a lot ^W ^W almost everything, it's all in good fun. "Go work for Microsoft" - that's LOW! ;-0

        I mean, let's face it ... if pudge WERE to go work for Microsoft, he'd re-implement VistaME in perl ... which, come to think of it, all things considered, can't be any worse than it is now ...

        (Yes, it's Friday and I'm feeling ge

        • If pudge was to work for Microsoft, he'd get free health care and see how the European model works!

          http://members.microsoft.com/careers/mslife/benefits/plan.mspx#healthbenefits [microsoft.com]
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sumdumass ( 711423 )
            There is no such thing as free health care. Someone pays for it. Guess who, You either the consumer or tax payer. You pay for it when you pay taxes in Europe or you pay for it when you buy their products in the case of employer provided health care. He would be paying for it in reduced salary potential too. Now, imagine the money you would be making if the employer handed the cost of health care to you as part of your salary.

            You, like many others confuse you not directly paying the bill as free. This simply
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by kiatoa ( 66945 )
              The only advantage other countries have is that they made the switch years before when the costs were less and they could rely on the US for most of the medical innovation. We won't have that luxury and anyone expecting the same results is a fool.

              Do you have any data to support that the US dominates medical inovation? A quick google search didn't give me a feel either way. As far as solution space goes my opinion is thus:

              Make it illegal for employers to supply insurance.

              Captive employer provided insurance
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shakrai ( 717556 )

      Indeed, we should not be subsidizing drug companies at all, including money for research

      I've never understood why Conservatives are opposed to funding research. How many for-profit drug companies do you think would be willing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into things like a vaccine for AIDS with no prospects of recouping that money for decades (if ever)?

      Furthermore, isn't funding scientific research (in any field, not just pharmaceuticals) usually a good thing for the economy in the long run? At the end of the day the MBAs and Lawyers aren't going to keep us competitive with Ch

      • I've never understood why Conservatives are opposed to funding research. How many for-profit drug companies do you think would be willing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into things like a vaccine for AIDS with no prospects of recouping that money for decades (if ever)?

        While I don't agree with pudge on a lot of matters, I think he means something different than you do in this case. 90% of the base medical research is done by publicly funded government money in the USA, but the companies that add th

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sheldon ( 2322 )

        I've never understood why Conservatives are opposed to funding research. How many for-profit drug companies do you think would be willing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into things like a vaccine for AIDS with no prospects of recouping that money for decades (if ever)?

        Agreed. A government funded research project will result in a cure.

        A private industry funded research project will result in a pill to treat the symptoms.

        Just look at ulcers as an example. When that Australian doctor realized it was

      • by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot <[ten.egdup] [ta] [todhsals]> on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:21PM (#22895532) Homepage Journal

        I've never understood why Conservatives are opposed to funding research. How many for-profit drug companies do you think would be willing to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into things like a vaccine for AIDS with no prospects of recouping that money for decades (if ever)?
        BILLIONS of dollars have been donated to AIDS research. Government clearly is not needed.

        Furthermore, isn't funding scientific research (in any field, not just pharmaceuticals) usually a good thing for the economy in the long run?
        I am the type of conservative who puts principles of small government and liberty ahead of principles of actively helping the economy. Not that I am conceding the point: on the contrary, I think our economy will be MUCH better off without government involvement. But even if it weren't: the ends don't justify the means. Obviously, you do not believe the means is bad; but I do.

        Frankly, I think many people -- not sure if this includes you -- ideologically believe we SHOULD have government-provided universal health care
        For me, I ideologically believe that health care is a right of everyone
        It can't be, from my perspective. If it is your right, that means I have to provide it. This is not what the Constitution stands for.

        instead of addressing the actual problems of cost.
        I don't see why one (addressing the problems of cost) precludes the other (making sure everyone has access to health care).
        Cost is THE most important factor, bar none, in making sure people do have access to health care. You cannot address the latter without addressing the former; instead, you'll just be shifting the burden to people you choose to deem "more able" to pay for it.

        Novick had some decent ideas for addressing cost, but I don't think it goes NEARLY far enough to make a serious dent.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Shakrai ( 717556 )

          I think our economy will be MUCH better off without government involvement

          The historical record and recent events suggest otherwise.

          I am the type of conservative who puts principles of small government and liberty ahead of principles of actively helping the economy

          Liberty != watching your child/sibling/spouse/parent/self die from a treatable disease because of your unfavorable socio-economic standing.

          If it is your right

          And why is health care any less of a right then living without fear of violence (crime prevention/national defense is a role for Government that most Conservatives would agree with)? Is dying from a treatable disease because you can't afford treatment somehow better then being murdered during an armed

          • I have a similar problem as the GP. Giving somebody an absolute right (healthcare in this case), deprives somebody else (a doctor for example) of their rights. By saying that everybody is entitled to healthcare you have said that a doctor does not have the right to set his/her fees. Instead, decisions made by the government will mandate what the doctor does. If I were looking for a profession, I would not want to enter such a profession.

            Maybe the congress-people should go to medical school in their spa

            • by Shakrai ( 717556 )

              If I were looking for a profession, I would not want to enter such a profession.

              If that's the way you feel then don't go into that profession. Problem solved. But don't pretend that various professions don't come with some sort of reduction in your rights.

              Police Officers/Soldiers don't generally have the right to abandon their posts during times of emergency. Doctors don't generally have the right to refuse to lend treatment during similar times. Lawyers can be forced to retain clients they might not otherwise wish to represent. Individual citizens don't generally have the rig

              • by dunc78 ( 583090 )
                I believe Police Officers/Soldiers present different circumstances, as it is basically their job to be present at times of emergency. As far as Lawyers, which Lawyers besides Public Defenders have to retain a client that they don't wish to represent? If you only refer to Public Defenders, then that is fine, have Public Physicians. Once you create Public Physicians, I predict complaints about unequal quality of care almost immediately. I do not intend to convey that this is a simple problem; however, it
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot

            I think our economy will be MUCH better off without government involvement

            The historical record and recent events suggest otherwise.

            I don't agree with either assertion. From now and way back even to the Depression, it was government involvement that helped CAUSE all of our problems. Whether it is government literally encouraging high-risk home loans in the last decade or so, or Hoover's progressive economic policies that rejected Coolidge's laissez-faire conservatism, we've never had serious economic problems where government involvement was NOT a part of the problem.

            I am the type of conservative who puts principles of small government and liberty ahead of principles of actively helping the economy

            Liberty != watching your child/sibling/spouse/parent/self die from a treatable disease because of your unfavorable socio-economic standing.

            Correct, that is not liberty. It is an unrelated thing, so I am n

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Shakrai ( 717556 )

              We further agreed that the federal government would NOT be allowed to do things like health care

              Why is it that Conservatives are only too happy to adopt a minimalist reading of the Constitution when talking about health care (or education, or job training, blah, blah, blah) but not when discussing the War on Drugs, the erosion of our Civil Liberties or the ceding of power to the Executive Branch? What clause in the Constitution gives the Feds the power to outlaw pot (at least prohibition was done correctly, via the amendment process)? Where does it say that Congress can pass treaties without 2/3r

              • by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot <[ten.egdup] [ta] [todhsals]> on Friday March 28, 2008 @04:49PM (#22899608) Homepage Journal

                Why is it that Conservatives are only too happy to adopt a minimalist reading of the Constitution when talking about health care (or education, or job training, blah, blah, blah) but not when discussing the War on Drugs, the erosion of our Civil Liberties or the ceding of power to the Executive Branch?

                This is, of course, a textbook example of both a red herring fallacy. It does not address the actual point.

                And it is a straw man fallacy, if directed at me personally. I am for the legalization of pot; I am against any erosion of our civil liberties; I am in favor of the proper constitutional separation of powers. I have several times posted that we must, at the least, give at least a basic due process/habeas corpus to alien unalawful enemy combatants; that taking away rights from CITIZEN enemy combatants is absolutely unconstitutional; that the President probably (I am not 100 percent sure, but, let's say 70 percent) does not have the constitutional right to do warrantless wiretapping of international communications in contradiction of the law.

                Also: nothing about my view is "minimalist." That is a misrepresentation of any classic conservative view of the Constitution. Originalist is probably the most common, and accurate, label.

                Where does it say that Congress can pass treaties without 2/3rds of the Senate (NAFTA)?

                As I understand it, they are different things. NAFTA was a bill written and passed by Congress. A treaty is something negotiated by the President and then ratified by Congress. I am open to discussing where I might be wrong, but I think you're off here.

                Where does it say that the President should have a line-item veto (not an actual power yet but one often advocated for by Conservatives)?

                Shrug. I agree with the Supreme Court that invalidated Clinton's line-item veto, and I favor the so-called line-item veto plan that I believe DOES pass constitutional muster, which would allow the President to strike portions of a bill and then send it back to both houses of Congress for approval.

                I'm not saying that you personally support any of those things but perhaps you could explain to me why your Conservative friends do and how they rationalize them.

                Hm. How about YOU explain how you disregard the Tenth Amendment, first?

                If you want to have a debate about the merits of going back to a minimalist interpretation of the Constitution, then fine. Tell the pro-lifers in the Republican Party that New York and California can legalize abortion just as easily as Texas and South Carolina can outlaw it (that's my reading of the 10th amendment).

                I think the right of the federal government to outlaw abortion is CLEARLY implied by the "necessary and proper" clause of Article I, Section 8. The Constitution in many places discusses "the right of the people." So um ... how can the government know whether to uphold a given "right of the people" unless it knows what is, and is not, a person?

                That said, I think this should be resolved with amendment. This is something important enough that it should not be treated so trivially as to be passed by a bare majority of 536 elected officials, plus the President.

                Tell them that Oregon's assisted suicide law is no business of the Federal Government.

                Oh, this absolutely can be construed a federal issue: the right to due process before being deprived of life. Fifth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment. That I mention this, however, should imply that my main concern is that someone who kills himself is fully aware of what he is doing, and that I see no state OR federal right to interfere if he does.

                Tell the interventionist crowd that the Founding Fathers were leery of a large standing army and opposed to foreign entanglements

                No, that is beside the point. We are talking about actual law here, not uncodified views.

                Tell the Rural Conserva

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hob42 ( 41735 )
        For me, I ideologically believe that health care is a right of everyone and not a privilege for those that can afford it.

        I just can't understand this position. Yes, healthcare in the US needs to be changed, because our current system (which I am a part of) is broken. And yes, I'm in favor of some sort of universal healthcare as the best answer to the situation.

        But I'll never claim that healthcare is a right. The basic concept of "rights" is that we have a right to think, say, do what we want, when it doesn'
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Yes, because of the obvious problems in PAYING for it.

      What problems?

      Stop the war against the middle east and we will have enough money to pay for healthcare for every american and triple the budget for NASA and all science foundations.

      Just because we choose to kill people instead of healing people does not mean we have problems paying for it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Stop the war against the middle east and we will have enough money to pay for healthcare for every american and triple the budget for NASA and all science foundations.

        We could do that. Of course, the deficits that resulted from spending all that money on the war won't vanish just because we spend that money on health care. So your proposed solution is high deficits forever?

        Note, however, that we've spent on the order of 1.5 trillion on the war in seven years. Which is only 200 billion per year. Which

        • by hurfy ( 735314 )
          "Which won't pay for healthcare for every American, since it amounts to only $670 per person - less than the cost of Health Insurance by a considerable margin, much less the actual cost of healthcare"

          Had to hit you on this....

          You say that like the cost of healthcare is greater than insurance. If that were the case then insurance companies would lose money...they don't. If you add the money to Medicare/SSI and other current healthcare costs the pool of money to work with gets much bigger tho also.
          • You say that like the cost of healthcare is greater than insurance.

            So, I take it your health insurance has no deductibles? And ALL medical procedures are covered? Wish I had a plan like that. Hell, wish I had health insurance at all - cancer will tend to kill that sort of thing real fast.

            Realistically, though, your health insurance, like mine last time I had some, costs less than total medical costs. Because you're required to pay those deductibles and whatnot.

        • Just a few points:

          1. Money spent on health care instead of war means healthier people, who are able to pay more in taxes since they can work longer, they're not off sick, etc - health care is an investment in people that pays dividends ...
          2. Medical costs are the #1 reason for bankruptcy of people who HAVE health insurance. The co-pays, the deductibles, etc., break the bank. People who don't have to go bankrupt, quiot their jobs and end up on medicaid to get health care will continue to contribute rather than
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot

        Stop the war against the middle east and we will have enough money to pay for healthcare for every american and triple the budget for NASA and all science foundations.

        First, I reiterate the fact that federal spending on health care for Americans in general is unconstitutional.

        Second, your estimate of costs is not true. Edwards estimated his plan was $120b for the first year. And that is a LOW estimate. Truly universal coverage will cost more per year than the war, and, of course, will surely last much longer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I also absolutely disagree with federal school lunch standards. The federal government has no business of any kind in the local public schools. Period, end of story.

      For the poorest Americans, school lunches are the only real meal they get. So they get five squares a week. We should make sure they don't count.

      Providing insurance to everyone is not the answer. Reducing the cost of health care is the answer. And while you have some good ideas, it is only barely a start. Frankly, I think many people -- not sure if this includes you -- ideologically believe we SHOULD have government-provided universal health care, and try to shoehorn reality into that ideology, instead of addressing the actual problems of cost.

      Then again, the most expensive healthcare in the world is also the country where the government doesn't pay for it. Government paid healthcare is not perfect, and it's not a panacea, but it certainly seems to do a better job than privately funded healthcare does, and does so for less money. Which I think means that it lowers the cost?

      • by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot

        I also absolutely disagree with federal school lunch standards. The federal government has no business of any kind in the local public schools. Period, end of story.

        For the poorest Americans, school lunches are the only real meal they get. So they get five squares a week. We should make sure they don't count.

        Your response has nothing to do with what I said.

        I said the FEDERAL government has no business in the local public schools. Why do you think that I am therefore against school lunches? Since when is that a federal responsibility? Do you think state and local governments are incapable of doing this without federal involvement?

        Providing insurance to everyone is not the answer. Reducing the cost of health care is the answer. And while you have some good ideas, it is only barely a start. Frankly, I think many people -- not sure if this includes you -- ideologically believe we SHOULD have government-provided universal health care, and try to shoehorn reality into that ideology, instead of addressing the actual problems of cost.

        Then again, the most expensive healthcare in the world is also the country where the government doesn't pay for it.

        Yes, mostly because of government regulation of the health care, and health insurance, industries that decrease competition and therefore drive up costs.

        We do not have a true priva

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxume ( 22995 )
        The American health care system can't be easily compared to other health care systems because it makes no pretense about maximizing outcomes per dollar.

        Go ahead and criticize it for not attempting to maximize outcomes per dollar, but spending huge amounts of money on extraordinary care for people that are terminally ill doesn't directly make health care more expensive for other people(indirectly, it may make other health care less available, and thus more expensive, but not every doctor is going to be the b
      • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        For the poorest Americans, school lunches are the only real meal they get.

        Food is the one thing the poor don't lack in the US. There is the LINK program, formerly called "food stamps", and there are food pantries galore. I have a lot of poor friends; hell, four homeless people have their belonbgings stored in my basement right now. I have a decent job and do what I can to help my less fortunate friends, and they bring ME food!

        OTOH, their health care is abysmal when they can get it at all. Most doctors won'
    • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:05PM (#22895326)

      I see several problems. First, Medicare negotiating lower drug prices causes INCREASED prices for those not on Medicare. This will be a big hit to middle class and poor families. I agree with this in principle, but see no way around it harming others. The middle class especially is already subsidizing drugs to Canada and other countries; now they would be subsidizing drugs to Medicare recipients.


      This doesn't make sense. I can see where one country negotiating prices raises prices for another country not negotiating prices.

      But not negotiating prices isn't going to lower prices for anybody. It just makes you a stupid sucker.

      Further, I agree that taxpayers should not be subsidizing drug companies' ads.


      I still find it fascinating that drug prices started skyrocketing when we allowed drug companies to advertise.

      Providing insurance to everyone is not the answer. Reducing the cost of health care is the answer.


      There doesn't seem to be any incentive to reduce cost. The hospitals aren't going to do it. The insurance companies won't. The doctor's won't. They're all motivated to increase revenues. Increasing revenues when you have a fixed market means increasing costs. And since it's coming out of people's pocket books and our politicians think increasing revenues is good for business, there is this general attitude of doing nothing.

      At least if our healthcare system were funding by the taxpayers, there would be a political motivation to reduce costs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot

        But not negotiating prices isn't going to lower prices for anybody.

        I never said that it would. I said negotiating prices CAN result in HIGHER prices. Not that not-doing it would result in lower prices.

        Further, I agree that taxpayers should not be subsidizing drug companies' ads.

        I still find it fascinating that drug prices started skyrocketing when we allowed drug companies to advertise.

        You seem to think there is a link. What link is that?

        Providing insurance to everyone is not the answer. Reducing the cost of health care is the answer.

        There doesn't seem to be any incentive to reduce cost.

        Exactly, because government regulation essentially protects medical businesses. For example, here in WA, health insurance is so tightly regulated that most insurance companies end up being the same. So there's a distinct lack of competition, and therefore no incentive to lower costs.

        If we had less regulation and mor

      • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        There doesn't seem to be any incentive to reduce cost

        That's the thing about health care - there's no way the free market can work. Right now I'm facing a vitrectomy [wikipedia.org] because of a retinal detachment [wikipedia.org]. I have two choices: get the procedure done, or go blind in my left eye.
    • I don't get why so many people in the US talk like universal healthcare is some far-out radical idea that could never work in practice. It works pretty well in almost every other rich country in the world (and several poorer ones).
      • by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot

        I don't get why so many people in the US talk like universal healthcare is some far-out radical idea
        Because it is unconstitutional theft.
    • > That the legislature blocked it is a good thing: universal health care does no one any good if everyone is broke.

      And what good is money if you're dead?
      • by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot

        That the legislature blocked it is a good thing: universal health care does no one any good if everyone is broke.
        And what good is money if you're dead?
        Everyone dies without universal health care?

        Huh. I didn't know that!
    • Providing insurance to everyone is not the answer. Reducing the cost of health care is the answer.

      So that a procedure that once cost 10x what a poor family could afford is now only 5x what they can afford? Unless you can really drop the cost, it doesn't make any difference to the lowest income brackets.

      The real big problem is the lack of competition and choice that allows all kinds of health care providers -- from drugs to machines to hospitals -- to jack up the cost of health care.

      While that may work in theory, the problem with that idea is that it will very likely result in low and high quality care determined by wealth. Normal and inferior goods are fine for luxury items, but not for life.

      Anyway, an economy is most productive when its labor force is taken care of. What help

      • by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot

        Providing insurance to everyone is not the answer. Reducing the cost of health care is the answer.

        So that a procedure that once cost 10x what a poor family could afford is now only 5x what they can afford?

        Maybe. Or maybe it is exactly what a poor family can afford.

        Unless you can really drop the cost

        That is the goal, yes.

        it doesn't make any difference to the lowest income brackets.

        Why should we have universal health care just to make sure the people in the lowest income brackets can afford the most expensive treatments? Why not treat that as a unique problem, for the people who need help?

        The real big problem is the lack of competition and choice that allows all kinds of health care providers -- from drugs to machines to hospitals -- to jack up the cost of health care.

        While that may work in theory, the problem with that idea is that it will very likely result in low and high quality care determined by wealth.

        Of course. How is this a problem? We have low and high quality food, housing, clothing, schooling, and everything else determined by wealth. I do not believe this is something for the government to "fix." I be

        • by Squiggle ( 8721 )

          I don't care. The government has no right to use force on the individual for his own good. By this same logic, government can force us to watch PBS and listen to NPR, because this helps the whole, which helps the individual. Also, get rid of all private schools and homeschooling, because this helps public schools, which helps the whole, which helps the individual.

          This is not the government's job, ESPECIALLY not the federal government's job.

          No force involved, we are taking about free access. It can be the governments job to provide free access to PBS, NPR, public school and health care because that helps the whole. Free access to a minimum standard of living that allows people to focus on a meaningful participation in the society (instead of a focus on obtaining food, safety, shelter, education or health) should be the goal of democratic government that espouses liberty for all.

    • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      Yes, because of the obvious problems in PAYING for it.

      I see the problem as paying the salaries and dividends of the people who work for and own stock in MY INSURANCE COMPANY. Take themout of the loop and my health care will be a lot less expensive.

      The Europeans, Canadians, and the rest of the civilized world don't seem to have a problem with paying for it.

      Medicare negotiating lower drug prices causes INCREASED prices for those not on Medicare

      What if Medicare covered everyone, young and old, rich and poor? Y
    • by mlund ( 1096699 )
      Stop giving exclusive tax incentives for insurance to Employers.

      Give the full capacity to purchase medical insurance to the Citizens - not the businesses.

      Right now, even if you entered an identical pool of insured individuals, you'd have to pay through the nose compared to what you would through your employer with the same pool. That's because businesses get tax incentives for providing insurance to employees while private citizens trying to purchase insurance themselves (even in groups) have access to an o
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Yes, because of the obvious problems in PAYING for it. That the legislature blocked it is a good thing: universal health care does no one any good if everyone is broke. The proposed system was literally incapable of sustaining itself.

      To elaborate on that: Oregon has a novel system where the government actually has to have money to spend money. Not only that, but if it doesn't use all the money it collected (and it usually doesn't), it has to give the remainder back to the taxpayers in the form of a "kicker

  • by Hyppy ( 74366 )
    My wife has been trying to get me to move to Bend, Oregon for a few months now. Apparently, she heard that it has a decent tech industry and that the cost of living is much further below the average income than it is here.

    If Steve Novick is elected, then I'll be at the realtor's office the next week. Seriously. This guy has had his share of water from the Fountain of Clue. he asks tough questions, gives honest answers, and seems to have (at least a staff with) a good working knowledge of many important
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by afabbro ( 33948 )
      If Steve Novick is elected, then I'll be at the realtor's office the next week. Seriously.

      Just so everyone knows, Novick has zero chance of winning. Seriously. I'm not commenting on his views or stands, it's just the reality. I live in PDX and read the local papers, etc. and he really is an underdog to the point of Don Quixote.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by hansamurai ( 907719 )

        Just so everyone knows, Novick has zero chance of winning.
        They said the same thing about Ron Paul!
    • Unfortunately, both of your points are untrue any more.

      The tech industry in Oregon is in shambles, and Bend has had some of the highest cost-of-living increases in the state in recent years. It may be lower than some places (New York, LA) still, but it's not low. (I think big-city Portland has a lower cost of living than Bend now!)
  • by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @11:06AM (#22894520)
    I don't agree with some of the things Steve says here. I'm a supporter of nuclear power and I worry that the taxation on stock transactions, while on some levels satisfying, would cripple the liquidity of American markets (I HATE the way the financial sector works, but I'm afraid it's a horribly complex monster that will respond chaotically and massively to any serious change).

    On the other hand, I'm really impressed, almost shocked, but how candid his answers are. I don't think I've ever heard a politician respond to questions with even a tenth of Steve's directness. Wow. My instinctual reaction is to expect Steve to lose badly, though, because no one so honest and intelligent ever seems to serve in a national office.

    Good luck, Steve.
    • by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @01:03PM (#22896160) Homepage Journal

      because no one so honest and intelligent ever seems to serve in a national office.
      I agree, and was also impressed with his answers. And here you raise a good point. Why can't we as a people elect leaders who are honest with us? Why do we insist upon electing the fairy tale candidates who say that everything will be rainbows and butterflies if they get into office, then disappoint and blame their failure on the other party (Red and Blue are both guilty here)?
      I believe the primary cause here is the lack of honest discourse in the media. There isn't a channel for honest conversations about politics. We treat elections in much the same manner as the latest news about Brittany Spears. This in turn causes what I would call "high school president" syndrome in the electorate. We vote for the candidate that is going to give us a new gym (which we will never get), improve test scores (usually with a magic wand to wave over everyone and make them all smarter, certainly never by insisting students work harder), and really change things. It is refreshing to see a candidate with a slogan like "the voters can handle the truth" - but can they? Based on the predictions I've seen here (2 saying Steve stands a snowball's chance in hell) - we certainly don't believe the voters can handle the truth, nor do they want to. The electorate doesn't want to confront real issues (namely the only real change will be more vending machines filled with crap to exploit the fat kids for the benefit of all) they want to believe that the rainbows and butterflies will come, and all will be well even if we don't do anything substantive to try to fix the real problems.
      And more to the point, how can we bring this sort of discourse away from places like slashdot (where the everpresent goatse seems to inject itself, as a matter of free speach?), and into the mainstream media (which often seems more disturbing than goatse)?
    • no one so honest and intelligent ever seems to serve in a national office.
      Barney Frank [house.gov].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 ( 957197 )
      I worry that the taxation on stock transactions, while on some levels satisfying, would cripple the liquidity of American markets

      I think that would be a GOOD thing. Profits on stock sales should be at least, if not more, than taxes on an equal amount of money earned by actually WORKING. The guy on the factory floor, in the programmer's cube, behind the McDonald's grill, they are the people who create wealth. The stock traders just aggregate and control it.
  • Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions honestly and forth-rightly.

    You seem willing to adopt good ideas - what is the best way to send you new ones :)

    LetterRip
  • Ignoring the Experts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dolohov ( 114209 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @11:10AM (#22894550)
    While I applaud the professed willingness to leave scientists alone to do their jobs without partisan interference, not all of the government's experts are scientists. It's one thing to denounce Bush for suppressing government scientists who are warning about climate change in favor of his own partisan hacks who are saying, "hey, no problem here, just weird weather is all" You're right to denounce that kind of thing.

    But I can easily foresee a day when government economists come to the Democrats and say, "Look, your health care plan just isn't going to work." Are you going to accept that and re-work your plan, or are you going to dig through and find your own experts to counter them?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This is a good point. But what I think people fail to realize is that we don't really know. When it comes to economics, global warming, and really all of the big button issues, we simply don't know. We have theories on both sides, but that's all we have. There's evidence for and against climate change, so who wins the argument is who has the best marketing. Its the same thing when it comes to economics(supply side, etc). Arguments on both sides, no clear answer.

      We need to be moving towards a state that requ
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm tired of discussing Global Warming (especially since the question has been settled), but I'm just curious about something: when would you consider the big button issues to be settled? When would you say that we have collected all the necessary data, done all the studies that are possible and done all the analysis that needs to be done? When there's no dissent anymore? If that's the case, you've set the bar impossibly high, and I don't know if you've done so without ulterior motives.

        I've said it before,
  • Cool. If he or his people read this. Thanks for the reply.

    In a 'small world' kind of way, I'm from WI originally and a buddy of mine works for Herb Kohl.
  • Hilarious (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Watching two Americans argue about which of their beers is better is like watching two women argue about which of them is the better driver. Perspective, people.

    • by jtev ( 133871 )
      LOL American Beer is teh Suxxor!!! LOL. Just because there are American beers that do, indeed, suck does not mean that all American beer sucks. There are good American beers, just not the stuff that is sold across the country. Microbrews, and local beers tend to have actual flavor. And even the lack of flavors in the mass market beers isn't due to a lack of skill, but rather because of the taste of the consumers of American beer. That's right, the vast majority of the US beer drinking public likes Lage
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Ahaha. Whatever dude, Oregon beer rules.
      Others agree:
      http://beercast.blogspot.com/2007/11/2007-world-beer-awards.html [blogspot.com]
      World's Best Stout/Porter
      Obsidian Stout, Deschutes Brewery, Oregon

      http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-6456904/Oregon-s-BridgePort-IPA-Prevails.html [ecnext.com]
      Oregon's BridgePort IPA Prevails at the Australian International Beer Awards.
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) * on Friday March 28, 2008 @11:12AM (#22894574) Journal
    Finally, of course there is nothing stopping the development of additional nuclear plants in America today. Conservative proposals to spend billions in assisting the construction of these plants or putting the federal government on the hook for insuring these plants seems a poor investment of our money that would be better served exploring renewable alternatives.

    Looks like rationalizing, to be honest. The government is "on the hook" for insuring (that's with an i, as in "providing funds in the case of failure) accidents that just won't happen, and even if they did happen, no court would rationally and proportionally assess damages. You can insure "$1 trillion". You cannot insure "how much you got?", which is what nuclear accident lawsuit damage awards amount to.

    In buying a car, you don't expect people to insure unlimited damage, why a nuclear plant? And why would I buy an insurance policy that covers $300,000 if simply getting it, causes me to be $300,000 *more* liable?

    Nuclear power obviates most of environmentalists claimed justifications, so they have to work overtime to say why we can't do it. In fact, as I've noted before, a federal lab [nytimes.com] has the details worked for "nuclear powered octane". That is, take water, atomspheric CO2, and energy from nuclear reactions, and store the energy in gasoline (basically equivalent to reversing combustion, though not necessarily through that process). THen, with no infrastructrual changes, cars are carbon-neutral.

    Great solution!

    But it doesn't get us what we want, which is SUVs "off the road" (er, or not emitting net CO2 ...) so they have to find another way to bury social policy in environmental reasons.
  • Health care (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sm62704 ( 957197 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @11:19AM (#22894638) Journal
    major portions of it (such as a requirement that all employers contribute toward their employees' health care) were blocked by the Republican-controlled legislature.

    Why can't we do as all the other industrialized countries have done? Why should the employer provide health care?

    My dad (and indeed, all the other retired folks I know) are quite happy with Medicare. OTOH the poor people I know (and I know a lot of poor folks) absolutely HATE Medicaid, which is a symptom of our country's unaddressed scourge, classism.

    I'd like to see the health insurance companies go out of business completely and find honest work. Why not just extend Medicare to everyone - old, young, rich, and poor? It works for the rest of the world!

    -mcgrew
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by slas6654 ( 996022 )
      I'm glad your father enjoys my tax dollars. I feel great just knowing I have touched someone's life.

      PS. Why do we have to be like every other country?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        He's not enjoying nearly as many tax dollars as Haliburton's shareholders, Boeing's shareholders, etc, and he's not enjoying nearly as many tax dollars as he paid in during his forty years of building America's infrastructure with his hands; he was in electrical construction. The electricity coming into your home is likely carried over a 30KV high tension line he built.

        We don't have to be "like" every other country, I would prefer we'd be BETTER, but we damned sure shouldn't be INFERIOR. When it comes to he
    • Why not just extend Medicare to everyone - old, young, rich, and poor? It works for the rest of the world!

      Perhaps because rising health care costs are already bankrupting medicare?

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-03-16-medicare-riddle_x.htm [usatoday.com]

      Medicare's problems are compounded by soaring health care costs, which are running at more than twice the general rate of inflation. And they're made less predictable by future medical technologies whose emergence, impact and cost are impossible to foresee.

      • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        You realise that countries where everyone has the equivalent of Medicare have lower per capita costs, lower infant mortality, and longer life spans?

        Thought not. Stop drinking the corporate koolaid.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why not just extend Medicare to everyone - old, young, rich, and poor? It works for the rest of the world!

      Medicare outlays are between $350 billion and $400 billion per year right now.

      Medicare covers between 45 and 50 million people right now.

      Taking the most optimistic of those figures ($350 billion and 50 million people), we see that Medicare extended to the general population would cost on the order of $2 trillion (with a "TR") per year. Which would ALL be deficit, unless we increased Medicare taxes b

      • by sm62704 ( 957197 )
        unless we increased Medicare taxes by a factor of six or so. So, you're talking about increasing payroll taxes from 1.45% (each, from you, and from your employer) to about 9%

        And not having to pay medical insurance premiums. Factor that and whet your employer pays for your insurance in. The only losers would be the insurance companies, their stockholders, and employees. The health insurance employees are surley on The Golgafrinchans "third ark" [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by everphilski ( 877346 )
      My dad is a financial consultant. When he consults someone my age, someone with a good chunk of working years ahead of him/her, he says something along the lines of "don't count on Medicare, and don't count on social security to take care of you. Chances are they won't be there." They are barely there now, as it is. My tax dollars are paying for your dad. Whose tax dollars will pay for me? There's no buffer in the system, and indeed the system is running itself into the ground.

      Honestly, the system should
      • Re:Health care (Score:4, Informative)

        by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:57PM (#22896116)

        I'm curious what socialized medicine programs can beat those rates with the same benefits I'm receiving now.
        Pretty much most of the world's. The USA spends the highest percentage of it's GDP of any country in the world on health care, but lags behind on statistics published by the World Health Organization. Canada spends half the amount and scores higher in a lot of the comparisons than the USA.

        You know, the core of the problem is that the hundred billion dollar profit margins of the health insurance companies comes out of your pocket and you're not receiving a service for that profit.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Arthur B. ( 806360 )
      Why can't we do as all the other industrialized countries have done?

      Because stealing is wrong?
      • by TheLink ( 130905 )
        Taxation is not the same as stealing.

        Currently it seems like you're paying a lot more to make the CEOs of Big Med/Bio Corps rich. And you can't even vote them out. You can only do that if you own enough shares (by that time you'd probably be part of the problem).

        The Police aren't privatized and are funded by taxes. They provide services to the poor ( everyone even illegal immigrants), etc that taxpayers pay for.

        For a rich country to choose not treat people just because they cannot afford basic treatment see
  • by Snarfangel ( 203258 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @11:26AM (#22894740) Homepage
    I'm an Oregonian, and I'd like to hear his views on voting reform. By that I mean, will he push for a change from our current Plurality voting to a better system, such as Condorcet, Approval, or Range voting? I see both Democrats and Republicans complaining about "spoilers" in national elections -- Perot in 1992 and 1996, and Nader in 2000, for example -- but neither party seems to want to fix the cause of the spoiler issue. Instead, they apparenty prefer whining that people are wasting their vote, if not enabling the worst candidate to win, when they vote for a third party candidate.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @11:29AM (#22894782)
    I wonder if it would make sense to create a slashdot account for interview subjects automatically. I'm sure most accounts wouldn't be used, but for example on the off chance that someone from Steve Novick's team would reply to for example pudge's points would make an attempt worthwhile.

    I think it would fit better in the modern age in which I'd expect a dialogue, not simple statements people have no chance to argue and discuss with the person who said it. Communication in the internet age can be one many and I think journalism on the internet should partly about moderating a debate, instead of asking the questions. What slashdot has going is a good step in that direction, so I wonder if we can improve on it and how.
    • He already created one [slashdot.org], and started [slashdot.org] answering [slashdot.org] questions [slashdot.org] in the original thread [slashdot.org]!

      However, because I was uncertain on of the new "SteveNovick" user was really him, I commented that he should follow the "official procedure" for answering them, and he stopped posting.

      Steve: You can start posting again! Feel free to respond to the responses, or even go back and answer other questions that the official moderators didn't pass along!

  • While there's a moderate amount I don't agree with in there, I appreciate the candor. I wish all politicians were like this!
  • I liked his answer to question #9. Most of the time the feds should butt out and let states follow the will of their citizens. I can only hope that this philosophy also extends to the federal education department, housing, attempts at federally run universal health care, agriculture, and almost everything else not specifically listed as a federal responsibility in the Constitution.

    On Iraq, I can only hope that he reads some of the reports from people over there such as Michael Yon [michaelyon-online.com], Michael J. Totten, etc.
  • "U.S. would likely lead the rest of the world to follow suit "

    I think you mean follow, since a large majority of the world already does this.

    surprise, more nuclear ignorance spewing forth from Oregon.
  • much worse apparently. He has what it takes to be a nice little tyran.
  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:29PM (#22895686) Journal
    I'd really like to discover what makes Federal Laws about Marijuana (medical or otherwise) "Big Brother" while Universal Health Care isn't ever referred to that way?

    Quite frankly, IMHO, being in support of Medical Marijuana and opposed to federal laws against it, while being for Universal Health Care, and all the laws that will end up being created to support it, is an hypocritical stand.

    Being Libertarian, I'm for legalization of drugs (and taxing the crap out of them), and opposed to Universal ______, that requires assaultive taxation of the people.

    All Forced Taxes are assaultive, and ultimately require the use of force (or threats of force) and have guns pointed at the head of everyone. Until people realize that taking money, by force or threat of force, is an assault, people (well intentioned or not) will continue to propose increasingly more Big Brother laws to take from others what they want for themselves, using the force and will of government to do it.

    Call me a nut case, but I'd rather have Liberty than Universal Health Care and the slavery to the government and politicians it will necessarily create.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Friday March 28, 2008 @12:38PM (#22895830) Homepage Journal

    The war has been extremely challenging for our party, given many Democrats' .. fear that they will be attacked for not supporting the troops if they stand strong on demanding an end to it.

    This isn't the first time I've heard someone say that. And it's so utterly ridiculous. If Democrats are attacked for "not supporting the troops" by

    1. moving the troops to a safer place
    2. using the troops to protect the security of America rather than the security of Iraq/Saudi Arabia/Israel (something that would likely appeal the ideals of many soldiers who signed up on the assumption that they would get to serve their country, as opposed to serving someone else's country)

    then Democrats should laugh the attack off. Debating whether or not having American troops in Iraq happens to protect America is one thing. But debating how the strategic use of troops relates to the degree the troops are "supported" is another thing, and it's utterly preposterous. It's not just wrong; it's not even serious or credible or sincere. The accusation does not deserve respect.

    That they harbor so much fear, and apparently do respect such an absurd stance, makes Democrats look like sniveling cowards. And by selling out their own conscience and the troops' interest, in order to address those fears, they become guilty of the very charge they wish to defend themselves from. It's a fucking disgrace to equate "supporting the troops" to "supporting the war" and anyone who does that, should be viewed as a troop-hater.

    And that doesn't mean I'm against the war (although I do happen to be). The wisdom of the war is an utterly different issue. Being in the war to Look Strong, though, is a bad reason to do it. That isn't merely a strategic mistake; it's an ethical mistake.

    If democrats want to be taken seriously, then the whole "support the troops" issue needs to come off the table immediately, except perhaps in contexts of VA funding, etc.

  • I have proposed specific measures to control costs -- like limiting drug companies' tax deductions for direct-to-consumer ads for prescription drugs
    Drug companies aren't getting any special subsidies, they expense marketing costs like every other company. This has been suggested before, and it won't work. There is a 1st Amendment problem. If you do succeed in passing this, it will get overturned in the courts and probably have the unintended consequence of allowing more ads, not less. Nice try, no ci
  • A candidate for Senate from Oregon? Why is this significant to the larger Slashdot community?
    • by zoobaby ( 583075 )
      It's all part of Oregon's plan to rule the world! Of course we are starting here, with the /. community. It has the best and brightest....

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