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Be Part of the 2008 Presidential Youth Debate 513

We participated in this project back in 2004. This year it's hosted by Walden University, and the format is a little less cumbersome than it was four years ago. So go ahead, ask some questions you'd like to see McCain and Obama answer, and they'll go into the pot along with questions submitted through other channels. Later this week you'll have a chance to help moderate the final questions chosen from all sources, and on October 20 you'll be able to see video responses from the two major party candidates. Please limit to yourself to one question per post, and note that questions must be posted no later than 4 p.m. US EDT on Monday, September 29, to be considered.
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Be Part of the 2008 Presidential Youth Debate

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  • Do you believe that a supreme being has influence over your day to day affairs?
    • by mctk ( 840035 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:03PM (#25187599) Homepage
      Naah, easy-out question ("God bless America!"). I think you need to pin 'em down a bit:

      Do you prescribe to the belief that non-Christians will spend eternity in Hell?

      If yes, what influence does this have on your dealings with non-believers?

      If no, how do you reconcile this belief with the bible?
      • Granted it's not the *most* important question to ask them, but boy would it be fun to watch them squirm!
      • Obviously that's a loaded question, which is why you recieved your downward moderation. The bible doesn't say that non believers will go to hell. It does say that those that do God's work will, even if they don't know they are doing God's work. A lot of people will pretend to know what the bible says, and some Christians will pull out a single verse out of a book that sounds like what they want it to mean, but very few understand the whole thing. I think that would be an interesting question, just to see th
        • Re:Correct Answer: (Score:4, Informative)

          by Phroggy ( 441 ) <.slashdot3. .at.> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @11:25PM (#25190149) Homepage

          Uhh, read that again, I think you must have made a typo or something.

          The bible doesn't say that non believers will go to hell. It does say that those that do God's work will, even if they don't know they are doing God's work.

          Actually what the Bible says is, based solely on our actions, all of us, including Christians, deserve to go to Hell. We are all sinners, and there is nothing any of us can do to earn our way into Heaven. The punishment for sin is "death": separation from God, and we have all sinned. Sometimes Christians lose sight of this, and act as though they deserve to go to Heaven while the non-Christians around them do not.

  • by Kligat ( 1244968 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:39PM (#25187427)

    Currently the Minerals Management Services in the Department of the Interior has companies pay between 12.5% and 18.75% royalties to use United States public land, depending on the mineral being harvested. Senator, do you believe that the amount of royalties they pay should also vary depending on environmental sensitivity, such as when drilling offshore?

    This is not a question as to whether we should, and it is addressed to both candidates.

  • As president, what forms of alternative energy will you be advocating, if any?

  • Why do you consider yourself qualified to be President of the United States of America?
    • i hate that question during job interviews.

      It's up there with, why should we hire you instead of someone else?

      Or even better "Name your 5 weaknesses"

    • by bigdavex ( 155746 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @11:55PM (#25190329)

      Why do you consider yourself qualified to be President of the United States of America?

      Seriously? That's a huge softball lob. Why not just say, "Hey, could you ramble on aimlessly with your usual image spin crap for a couple of minutes? Thanks."?

  • Flamebait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Boronx ( 228853 )

    John McCain, you've voted for a law to legalize torture for suspected enemy combatants. Do you regret that decision? Does your decision imply that the actions of your captors in North Vietnam were appropriate?

    John McCain, you were neck deep in what was up till now the biggest banking scandal and bailout in US history. Does this experience give you any special insight into the current credit crisis?

    John McCain, in a recent interview you apparently did not know that Spain is a European country and a close

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kierthos ( 225954 )

      Senator McCain, why won't you release your full medical records?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JackieBrown ( 987087 )

      Obama is just as "neck deep" if not more in "the biggest baking scandal / bailout in US history"

      • by eln ( 21727 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @07:59PM (#25188541)

        Obama is just as "neck deep" if not more in "the biggest baking scandal / bailout in US history"

        Personally, I'm appalled at the special treatment the baking industry is getting. It's not my fault they made too many cookies and loaves of bread and had to eat the loss when they spoiled. Why should I have to pay for their lack of foresight? They decided to overbake because they got greedy, and then they got caught with their pants down. They now have to try and sell a ton of day-old bread that no one really wants at steep discounts, and my tax money gets to make up the difference? Give me a break!

        Sure, you hear a lot of nonsense about how the baking crisis could spill over into the fried foods industry or, heaven help us, deli meats, but I don't believe it for a second. We have plenty of preservative-laden Wonder Bread to take us past any temporary fresh bread shortage, and if worse comes to worst we still have emergency Twinkie rations left over from the Great Yeast Die-Off of 1983.

        All this talk of a bailout is short-sighted and foolish. If we bail out the bakers now, who's next? The butchers? The candlestick makers? It boggles the mind.

    • by nEoN nOoDlE ( 27594 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @08:36PM (#25188863) Homepage

      How is it flamebait to ask valid questions that the media should be asking? All of those are completely relevant. The only change I'd make is to the last one - "What kind of man, living today, uses the term trollop in everyday conversation, let alone in reference to his wife?"

    • Re:Flamebait (Score:5, Informative)

      by jmac1492 ( 1036880 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @10:39PM (#25189819)
      John McCain, you've voted for a law to legalize torture for suspected enemy combatants. Do you regret that decision? Does your decision imply that the actions of your captors in North Vietnam were appropriate?

      I wish I had mod points. The McCain Torture Ban, as written, is an absolute ban on torture. The "legalization" you refer to comes from a "signing statement" by President Bush. A signing statement is when the President signs a bill into law and says "Part X of the law is unclear, so I'm going to interpret it to mean Y." In this case, President Bush said "The part of the Torture Ban about whether torture is banned is unclear, so I'm going to interpret it to mean 'Torture is NOT banned.'" John McCain waved the bullshit flag. A day or so after the signing statement was made public, McCain was asked about it and said, "If Bush didn't like the bill, he should have vetoed it" and then promised that if he was elected, he wouldn't make any signing statements at all. John McCain is NOT in favor of torture.

      John McCain, you were neck deep in what was up till now the biggest banking scandal and bailout in US history. Does this experience give you any special insight into the current credit crisis?

      Yeah, he's got special insight into banking scandals. That's why he cosponsored a bill to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac far more strictly in 2005. If the Democrats hadn't blocked that bill, the companies wouldn't have melted down. Of course, if the Democrats hadn't blocked that bill, they wouldn't have been able to give so much to Democrats in campaign contributions.

    • Touché (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Orne ( 144925 )

      Barack Obama, for four years in the 1990s, you were on the executive board of an education foundation named the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, founded by ex-Weather Underground Organization [] leader William Ayers. In a spring debate, you claimed [] he was "not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis", and just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood". Given that you launched your presidential campaign from Mr. Ayers home, how do you explain this discrepancy?

      Barack Obama, records show that you have rece

  • Don't you feel... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Don't you feel that elections in the USA are a sham these days, and that for the most part, there is no real difference between the two major parties - beyond superficial ones that get blown out of proportion in an effort to make it seem like people actually have a choice?

  • Gun Control (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Remik ( 412425 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:52PM (#25187503)

    Senator Obama, you voiced limited approval for the Supreme Court's Heller decision, overturning the handgun ban (as it related to self defense in the home) in the District of Columbia. You stated, "As President, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen. I know that what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne."

    Given that the streets of Chicago were deadlier [] this summer than the streets of Baghdad, is the handgun ban 'working' in Chicago? And, is it Constitutional?

    • Re:Gun Control (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SoapBox17 ( 1020345 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:57PM (#25187559) Homepage
      Hardly deadlier. That article is comparing the deaths of (mostly) unarmed civilians with the deaths of armed troops. If anything, that could be used to highlight the potential of widely adopted gun ownership to save lives because criminals are deterred by the possibility of getting shot.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster ( 516420 )
      As a corollary, what other parts of the bill of rights should be applied differently in different parts of the Country? Does free speech work in Cheyenne but not in Chicago or Washington DC? The Supreme Court said that the right to bear arms is a fundamental individual right and being that the handgun is among the most practical of personal defense weapons available today why should ownership of handguns be needlessly encumbered in Chicago or Washington DC? Are Chicago and DC any less dangerous than Cheyenn
  • by SoapBox17 ( 1020345 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:52PM (#25187513) Homepage
    Change has had a major spotlight in this campaign, and I think it is obvious everyone in the country is hungry for "change" in politics. What, specifically, will you do to bring noticeable, positive change to the office of the President of the United States of America?
  • In the long term (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:55PM (#25187547) Homepage Journal
    In the long term, since FDR, the country has moved in the direction of socialism.
    At what point should this drift be made explicit via Constitutional Amendment,
    to shut up the cranks like me
    who think that Social Security is a 10th Amendment violation?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mqduck ( 232646 )

      You confuse me greatly. Since the New Deal, we've steadily gone closer and closer to free, unrestrained capitalism (you should check out the stock market these days). Social services have been only declining ever sense. Some of the greatest cuts happened under Clinton. Even if I concede the idea that socialism means social services, your view of the direction of America in the past 70 or so years doesn't make the slightest bit of sense.

      Maybe you think socialism means "nanny state". If so, please find a bett

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I'm speaking of Federal programs that appear to violate

        Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People.
        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

        It strikes me that adherence to this would obviate a substantial chunk of the problems besetting the polity.

  • by pumpkinpuss ( 1276420 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @05:57PM (#25187551)
    Do you support the inclusion of creationism alongside evolution in high school curricula? If so, how can you justify teaching a science class with creationism's Christian slant? Also, how can you justify the potential unequal representation of Christianity's story when compared to creation stories told by other major religions?
  • We've seen and heard the repetition of your various slogans ad nauseum. They truly are brilliantly composed as they manage to be both bland and offensive while informing the population of nothing. Its campaigning via emotion about nothing. I truly hoped that Sen Obama and Sen McCain would gain the nominations of their respective parties as I thought they would institute a more substantial election on the issues themselves. That hope has been thoroughly extinguished. Democracies are dependent on the vote of
    • by spazdor ( 902907 )

      Additionally, which of the candidates believes that a well-informed and well-educated voter base constitutes a boost, rather than a threat, to your job security? How much money will you put where your mouth is?

  • In your time as President of the US, will the US military presence be increased and expanded globally or will expect to see a decrease in deployed armed forces?
  • The two of you, like almost every presidential candidate I can recall, vow to curb government spending. Please list some of the cuts you would make, and what percentage of the budget would be saved by their elimination or reduction.

  • For both. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DragonTHC ( 208439 ) <Dragon.gamerslastwill@com> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:00PM (#25187581) Homepage Journal

    For both candidates:
    In the past 10 years, the Internet has brought consumers more options than ever for communication and entertainment. Our current laws regarding copyright and intellectual property don't adequately describe or encompass intangible digital content which can be infinitely copied with out impacting originals. Do you support the massive entertainment lobby in effecting legilsation that promotes the erosion of consumer rights and choices of a free market or do you believe that the market itself should decide which business models are successful?

  • question: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:12PM (#25187671) Journal

    Where is the congressional accountability for the subprime loan mess? The Bush administration, as well as democratic members of congress, pushed for Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac to make more loans to poor people, inner city hispanics, african americans, etc. Not surprisingly, they defaulted (maybe that's why they weren't given loans in the first place?) and everyone is suffering as a result.

    All I hear is complaints about greedy wallstreet types. What about the people who signed up for loans they couldn't afford? What about the congress that ignore Allan Greenspan's 2005 testimony that Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac were a serious problem? What about the congress that didn't believe poor credit meant an increased risk in defaulting on a loan?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Falstius ( 963333 )

      It wasn't the loans to poor people that caused the credit crisis. It was the over inflation of the market due to corrupt lending practices spurned by the need to find new ways to invest the vast capital of china and oil exporting nations and keep wall street profits growing, the failure of risk analysts to properly rate these loans, and a lack of regulation on how much real assets a company needed to insure other peoples debts (credit default swaps).

  • by staeiou ( 839695 ) <staeiou@gmail. c o m> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:20PM (#25187723) Homepage
    I'm saddened by the initial slate of questions proposed here. Instead of sending rhetorically-charged questions about the hot button issues that will assuredly be addressed in any debate (spending, healthcare, the economy, gun control, abortion, the war/military, outdated ideological labels, and vague issues of credibility, change, responsibility and accountability), why don't we mod up questions about issues that affect the kinds of news stories we see on this site each and every day? I'm talking about issues of copyright, net neutrality, science funding, patents, the FCC, e-voting, space exploration, and open source adoption in governmental agencies.
  • Do you think that the American public should be satisfied with a Congress with a 20% approval rating? If not, what changes would you propose to create a Congress that works more effectively for the American Public?
  • by aylusarn ( 1310877 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:21PM (#25187733)
    Senators McCain and Obama;

    Will you demand the inclusion of other candidates in the remaining presidential debates, as the majority of the American public does? Namely, the ones with sufficient ballot presence to win are; Cynthia McKinney (Green), Ralph Nader (Independent), Bob Barr (Libertarian), and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Did you just claim that those three candidates have sufficient ballot presence to win? You mean, what, win the election? Because they really don't.

      I suppose, if by that, you mean they technically appear on sufficient state ballots that were they to, through a stunningly miraculous coincidence win the electoral college votes of sufficient states to be declared president, perhaps.

      However, none of those candidates has any chance whatsoever of winning, and I'm not sure allowing them to enter the debate will all

  • Copyrights terms (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:22PM (#25187739) Journal

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, known as the Copyright Clause, states:

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    Currently, copyrights last 50-70 years after the creator's death. How does this advance Science and useful Arts?

  • Do you support the FairTax? Why or why not?

  • Voting system (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:24PM (#25187755)

    Do you plan on making changes to the antiquated voting system, especially its tendency to give minority voters (whether third party or just the unfavoured party in their state) no ability to influence the outcome of an election? Do you think the voting system does or does not have an influence on the feeling of disenfranchisement among voters and the low voter turnouts?

  • The Iran Issue (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eli Gottlieb ( 917758 ) <> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:26PM (#25187767) Homepage Journal

    Iran is the second most vibrant democracy in the Middle East, and the USA's invasion of Iraq has allowed Iran to make a shot at becoming a regional power. How do you plan to broker friendship between Iran, the USA, and Israel?

  • by ageoffri ( 723674 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:27PM (#25187783)
    Senators McCain and Obama by your actions in the last year to two years you have demonstrated that campaigning for President of the United States is a full time job. So what is your justification for not resigning your Senate position and allowing another person from your State to devote their full attention to the duties of a Senator?
  • Given that 'talking points' are very much in fashion and I've yet to see either candidate answer a question in a straightforward and to the point way.

    If they are going to answer questions without resorting to bullshit then this would be mine:

    "What are you going to do to ensure that the two party deadlock will be broken and would you be willing to do that anyway if you knew your party would eventually diminish in power because of this?"

    follow up:

    "Are you willing to swear that you will not break your campaign

  • Do you feel that the winner-take-all system of the Electoral College is fair to voters, especially minorities?

  • by BungaDunga ( 801391 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @06:38PM (#25187869)
    I've submitted the following: The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is a legally binding set of basic rights for minors ( The only two countries which are not signatories to the CRC are Somalia and the United States. Somalia has not had a functioning government for some time. As President, would you seek the ratification the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?
  • Was getting rid of Glass-Steagall act a good idea. This act meant banks and brokerages were separate entities. Banks could not deal in risky transactions (such as underwriting corporate or municipal securities), keeping private money safe.
  • I'd like to weigh in and say that I'm AGAINST having youth in 2008. If we can't eliminate them I at least want them off my lawn!

  • I always thought Walden College ("America's safety school") was something made up for Doonesbury. []

  • Debates (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mqduck ( 232646 ) <> on Sunday September 28, 2008 @07:49PM (#25188451)

    Do you believe that including third party candidates - such as the Constitution, Green, Independent, Libertarian and Socialist parties - in the presidential debates would improve the debates and make our election more democratic?

    If no, why not? If yes, why have you not announced that you support the inclusion of third party candidates at any point in the primary or presidential campaigns?

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Sunday September 28, 2008 @08:14PM (#25188677) Homepage Journal

    To both candiates:

    At times both of you have expressed support for the idea, and organizations promoting the idea, of Mandatory National Service, whereby all adult citizens under a certain age would be forced to work for government agencies or government-approved entities for a certain period of time. Senator McCain, you've stated your agreement with the idea that we should re-institute a draft to go after Osama bin Laden.

    Could you both please clarify, for the record, the conditions under which you believe a government has the right to conscript its citizens, and the degree to which your administration would do so?

  • by el_munkie ( 145510 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @08:22PM (#25188729)

    I watched the debate, and neither candidate seems to want to scale down government spending: Obama wouldn't admit to wanting to cut anything, and McCain paid some very unconvincing lip service to the idea. Why are we stuck with choosing between two candidates that both want to increase the scope and cost of the federal government?

  • Signing orders (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zymurgy_cat ( 627260 ) on Sunday September 28, 2008 @11:15PM (#25190071) Homepage
    To both:

    The Constitution says that a President shall sign or veto a bill (or not sign it, and it will become law after ten days). Since it says nothing about "signing orders", do you promise to comply with the Constitution by either signing, vetoing, or refusing to sign all bills that come before you and nothing more? Will you refuse to issue "signing orders" since they are not a power specifically given to the President by the Constitution?
  • by Ellis D. Tripp ( 755736 ) on Monday September 29, 2008 @09:54AM (#25193213) Homepage

    It costs about half a million dollars to put a single drug user in prison, which includes $150,000 for arrest and prosecution, about $150,000 for a new prison cell, and about $30,000 per year times at least five years. For the same cost we can provide treatment or education for more than one hundred people. Which do you think is the better deal?

  • by Ellis D. Tripp ( 755736 ) on Monday September 29, 2008 @09:57AM (#25193251) Homepage []

    I have here a list of every major study of drug policy in the last fifty years. Every one of them recommended decriminalization. Do you agree that the overwhelming weight of the scholarly evidence on drug policy supports decriminalization?

  • by Lilith's Heart-shape ( 1224784 ) on Monday September 29, 2008 @10:25AM (#25193533) Homepage
    Considering the abuses of power that George W. Bush has committed during his time in office, why should I believe that either Obama or McCain won't abuse the office as Bush got away with doing? Why should I trust either of you?

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