Rather than post a whole lot of stuff without it really suiting what you need (or even want to read), let me ask:
How detailed or general do you want the answers for this? It doesn't look like a show in and of itself, so our conversation could well reach some amount of comment and suggestion that could actually serve to inform your coverage, at least as far as we are concerned. On the other hand, if your approach is more to get our general concerns as the average of a large diverse group, details may be both inappropriate and boring.
For example, this could stay high level and note that unaffordable health care is a great concern. Or we could drill down and say that one facet of the problem is that we need tort reform to change the size and recipients of punitive damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. This could be further explained for clarity with explanations.
In the example of tort reform, I might note that:
- insurance costs to doctors are one of the big issues in health care (it is the difference least mentioned in the NPR coverage of the topic when comparing us to other countries);
- that the current system promotes people and their attorneys pushing for the golden egg of the malpractice punitive award (actually, not just health care, remember the BMW case from Alabama?);
- that insurance companies are actually paying these awards, meaning the doctor is only ?punished? (the punitive award is supposed to be punishment) with higher insurance rates... as are all the other innocent doctors who have insurance, because the insurance company spreads the cost around to them too;
- that insurance companies (and their legal representation) are actually more likely to pressure innocent doctors to settle rather than face unfounded charges... because when awards are given, juries have tended to go overboard, as if they were playing with monopoly money, not our health care system;
- and that the best remedy is to route punitive awards to agencies or organizations that serve the good of the community, not the individual and their attorney.
The follow-on topic for coverage I might offer would be something like, "do you see [party/candidate] considering changing who gets awarded punitive damages or are they content with things the way they are?" There could be other questions that determine if they even understand the issue.
Do you see what I'm unsure about and what I would prefer to have clarification on? I could give you three or five or ten issues, as I?m sure others could too, but it could take a few short bullets or five pages; I am enough of a wordsmith that I can provide something if I just understand what you really desire. Would you be so kind as to give us a better feel of what you are hoping for? Thanks.
Thanks for the great question. My post was very open-ended to really give people a place to offer any and all ideas. We truly are in the brainstorming stage (a very exciting stage) of planning for election coverage so I do want to hear all the ideas out there. We will be doing a series of programming beginning at the end of August and extending until November 4th. So I welcome show ideas and topic suggestions. I'm eager to hear how much coverage people want to hear and what people just don't want to tune into. If people have the inclination to "drill down" like you did it is certainly welcome. Any way of getting into the minds of our listeners is greatly appreciated!
Rather than dominate the initial pages of the thread with my own thoughts, I'll hold off until I see how others want to approach it. I have no delusions that I speak for the majority of your listeners, let alone the majority of the OPB following. Better they set the direction; though of course, input from you, Dave, Emily, or any of your other staffers could offer that too.
Ok, a suggestion and some lines of thought.
First, the suggestion: have Emily or Dave ask for our input on this topic on the air; make it at end of show (and anywhere else you can think of). It will otherwise fall off the radar and you will have just what I post... neither of us want that.
That said, I will give you some high level directions that I would consider if I were in your (collective) shoes covering this election season.
For the pro-life candidates/parties: ?what specifically will you try to do about protecting life if I elect you on this one issue? Will you try to excuse inactivity by saying the other party blocked me/us? Do you think you have no other options than legislation to change hearts and minds?? You can follow up with existing party representatives and sitting candidates by asking, ?what do you have to show that proves past pro-life support was worth our overlooking the things we disagree with you on??
For pro-choice candidates: ?our listeners who characterize themselves as ?pro-life? want to understand why you are not concerned with what they consider a life and death issue; they would like an explanation of how you determine what is most important to you when you consider the value of a human life (at any point in that life).? Since I would be impressed if any of you actually ask this, I won?t press for a follow on, but can provide plenty if you desire.
For all candidates: ?are you willing to stand up to special interests that your own party considers core supporters (e.g., big business for the GOP and lawyers/unions for the Dems)?? You can follow up "yes" answers with existing party representatives and sitting candidates by asking, ?what do you have to show that proves this isn't just talk??
Also for all candidates: ?are you willing to stand up to the American people and tell us things we don?t like to hear, like ?we need to learn to live on a budget? and ?we don?t need big houses???
Again, for all candidates: ?Do you consider the American people to be valuable as citizens or just as consumers/electorate? Do you understand the difference? Will you support citizens and stand up to those who just want to treat us as self-propelled wallets and votes??
I'll come up with more if no one else joins in, but for now, maybe this will start the conversation.
I lifted this list verbatim off the website of Science Debate 2008, "a concerned citizens initiative now cosponsored by the AAAS, the Council on Competitiveness, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine, and signed by over 175 leading American universities and other organizations, representing over 125 million Americans."
So far they have been unable to get the candidates to commit to a live debate on these topics but any or all of these questions are more than worthy of serious answers by people who aspire to lead this country.
1. Innovation. Science and technology have been responsible for half of the growth of the American economy since WWII. But several recent reports question America?s continued leadership in these vital areas. What policies will you support to ensure that America remains the world leader in innovation?
2. Climate Change. The Earth?s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on the following measures that have been proposed to address global climate change?a cap-and-trade system, a carbon tax, increased fuel-economy standards, or research? Are there other policies you would support?
3. Energy. Many policymakers and scientists say energy security and sustainability are major problems facing the United States this century. What policies would you support to meet demand for energy while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?
4. Education. A comparison of 15-year-olds in 30 wealthy nations found that average science scores among U.S. students ranked 17th, while average U.S. math scores ranked 24th. What role do you think the federal government should play in preparing K-12 students for the science and technology driven 21st Century?
5. National Security. Science and technology are at the core of national security like never before. What is your view of how science and technology can best be used to ensure national security and where should we put our focus?
6. Pandemics and Biosecurity. Some estimates suggest that if H5N1 Avian Flu becomes a pandemic it could kill more than 300 million people. In an era of constant and rapid international travel, what steps should the United States take to protect our population from global pandemics or deliberate biological attacks?
7. Genetics research. The field of genetics has the potential to improve human health and nutrition, but many people are concerned about the effects of genetic modification both in humans and in agriculture. What is the right policy balance between the benefits of genetic advances and their potential risks?
8. Stem cells. Stem cell research advocates say it may successfully lead to treatments for many chronic diseases and injuries, saving lives, but opponents argue that using embryos as a source for stem cells destroys human life. What is your position on government regulation and funding of stem cell research?
9. Ocean Health. Scientists estimate that some 75 percent of the world?s fisheries are in serious decline and habitats around the world like coral reefs are seriously threatened. What steps, if any, should the United States take during your presidency to protect ocean health?
10. Water. Thirty-nine states expect some level of water shortage over the next decade, and scientific studies suggest that a majority of our water resources are at risk. What policies would you support to meet demand for water resources?
11. Space. The study of Earth from space can yield important information about climate change; focus on the cosmos can advance our understanding of the universe; and manned space travel can help us inspire new generations of youth to go into science. Can we afford all of them? How would you prioritize space in your administration?
12. Scientific Integrity. Many government scientists report political interference in their job. Is it acceptable for elected officials to hold back or alter scientific reports if they conflict with their own views, and how will you balance scientific information with politics and personal beliefs in your decision-making?
13. Research. For many years, Congress has recognized the importance of science and engineering research to realizing our national goals. Given that the next Congress will likely face spending constraints, what priority would you give to investment in basic research in upcoming budgets?
14. Health. Americans are increasingly concerned with the cost, quality and availability of health care. How do you see science, research and technology contributing to improved health and quality of life?
Thank you, John. Which of these are most important to you?
Question for candidates:
1) Are you going to redirect taxpayer money from military operations to repair and improve education, food, health care, jobs, global climate change solutions, alternative energy solutions, and transportation infrastructure?
In 2007 $440 Billion was budgeted for U.S. Military according to:
I'm not as concerned with terrorism as I am with America's rotting infrastructures. I ride my bike around Portland and see overpasses and bridges with broken concrete and exposed rusty rebar. I see dangerous pot holes and cracked pavement. Portland's water and sewer systems are old and require updating, especially as the population increases.
Question for candidates:
Are you willing to tell Americans they must conserve energy and other resources to help stem the rapid rise of food, fuel, health care costs, etc.?
Too many Americans borrow too much or buy what they can't afford on credit. How are your policies going to help remedy these issues?
Why does 20 percent of the U.S. population own 84 percent of the collective wealth? How will your policies redistribute wealth more equitably?
Question for both candidates:
Why do so many Americans abuse legal/illegal drugs? How will your policies help solve this problem?
All candidates for the Presidency and the VP should be asked:
?Since Eisenhower warned of the powers of the military-industrial complex [MIC] to damage our democracy, those powers have grown. To ensure the continuation of their privileged status and to nurture their programs, members of the MIC have vested interests in sustaining a world in which the United States has enemies to confront. The Pentagon (and other large gov?t agencies) have prevailed on presidents (past and present) to exercise militarism to nurture their selfish interests ? sometimes contrary to those of the American people.
Do you anticipate being ?worked on? in psychologically subtle ways by sophisticated, persistent, persuasive, representatives of the MIC before and during your tenure as President? What (if any) assurances can you give the American people that you will be steady as a rock in the face of such pressures??
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