Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Are Those Pretty Lights In the Sky? 

Cosmic Variance writes on John McCain's remarks yesterday regarding congressional spending requests by Obama. Among those earmarks was funding for "planetariums and other foolishness."

What's next on the hit list? Science classes, NASA, and the use of scientific research when making decisions at other government agencies? Oh, wait - the present administration already covered that last one.

Let's take a look at the two campaign websites and what they have to say about the candidates' views on science:

McCain - Scrolling through his issues list, I see Technology. Hmm, looks like his technology stance is basically, "Let big business ring." He touts his work that put so many wi-fi hotspots in coffee shops across American. What? He's also worked hard to keep the internet free of regulation. Is he playing on the fear-mongering web scams about Congress supposedly taking every email you send?

Okay, one of McCain's other isues is Climate Change. Let's see... Yup, more focus on the markets to solve the problem. Oh, and this -

"He believes:

An Adaptation Plan Should Be Based Upon National And Regional Scientific Assessments Of The Impacts Of Climate Change.

An Adaptation Plan Should Focus On Implementation At The Local Level Which Is Where Impacts Will Manifest Themselves
So he'll rely on regional assessments. Those assessments would be by the people doing the regional polluting, right? And he'll focus on the local level where climate change effects are shown? I'm pretty sure that the whole focus of climate change is that it's global. Am I wrong here? That local problems lead to global isssues? Anyone?

Now let's look at the corresponding two issues on Obama's website.

Technology: *Pause for lengthy reading* Okay, I'm back now. First, let me say that I was able to breeze right through McCain's page. It was very high level and focused on scoring quick points. Obama's page is detailed and thorough. It provides insights with balancing considerations. For example, keeping the internet and other communications filled with open and diverse viewpoints and protecting First Amendment rights, while providing parents with tools to filter out messages of hate, graphic sex and predators from their children's viewing. He talks about having a Chief Technology Officer for the government to get the government a proper technological infrastructure, but making the government's work transparent and nonrestrictive on individual rights. He talks about getting that proper communications infrastructure out to the rest of the country, while protecting individual privacy. He talks about how technology can assist with issues in healthcare, the environment, education, jobs and public safety. And yes, he does talk about tech in the global marketplace.

Energy and Environment: He does include the cap-and-trade program that seems to be the lynchpin and major focus of the McCain page. But he has more. He does have plans for short term "relief at the pump," but also talks about alternative energy sources, nonpetroleum technology, and having the US be a leader in addressing climate change. Yes, a leader. McCain at least talks about rejoining the global effort, but Obama wants to put us out front. I should note that this issue page is not as extensive as his technology page. If you click on one of the "Learn More" links the page does expand to provide more detail, but still not as much. Even with this, it's still more rounded than McCain's page.

It's interesting just to look at the issues lists for the two. Obama has a Civil Rights page, which McCain does not. Of course, Obama's civil rights page doesn't address GLBT issues, other than through the Matthew Shepard hate crimes law, which he doesn't specify further.

On the other hand, Obama has no issue counterpart for McCain's Second Amendment page (that's the one about guns...). If you go to Obama's "Other Issues" page he does have a note regarding "Sportsmen." He does reach out to the conservation efforts led by hunters and anglers, so that's a nice thing.

So my final word, as it often is, is that you should get out there and research the candidates' positions. Then get out and vote.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:56 AM