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Old 02-05-2008, 11:39 PM   #1
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Question The 2008 U.S. Presidential candidates and what they bring to the table for e-books

With all of this hubub about some sort of mini-elections going on today in a bunch of American states, I began to wonder about the possibilities of a black and/or woman (Mormon?) president and their policies on various issues regarding the current governance and potential future governance of America. My wondering led me to a question: what are these guys' stances on the issue of e-books and their future in terms of America.
Us Americans are pretty into books some of us, and so I would assume that these so-called politicians (who themselves are often photographed reading on planes) would eventually have to pick a stance on the existence of e-books and e-book readers in general. More specifically, I came here hoping to find out what are the 2008 U.S. Presidential candidates' have relayed in terms of their opinions on e-ink technology and its applicability as a method of conveying information to the human eye as part of an e-book reader roll-upable sheet of thing? Have any candidates come out and revealed which model(s) of e-book reader they own? I know that "Hillary Clinton" has said that she believes in evolution, but does she favor the evolution of the e-book reader into a holographic display on my shower wall?! If any of you have any CNN links to stories about these politicos' thought and feelings on the matter, please do not be afraid of my reaction to you posting them.
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:54 PM   #2
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Well I would hope they would do absolutely nothing. When politicians say they 'favor' something, it usually means they want to take more money out of my pocket to pay for it.

I always go for the candidate who threatens to steal less of my money then the others. What else can I do?
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Old 02-06-2008, 04:25 PM   #3
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Spooky, they're called "Primaries," where states divvy up delegates, based on votes, that will nominate a candidate to be their official presidential representative... the one with the most delegates, wins the candidacy. More or less. (Don't get me started.)

Anyway... the best I can suggest is to check out this C|Net blog: It includes candidates' responses to specific tech-related questions, and a link to the document they were derived from. Though no one asked the candidates specifically about e-books (that would be sort of like asking them what their favorite car was), you can infer from their responses how they feel about technology in general, and how conversant they are about it.

I'd be willing to bet none of them has e-books on their minds right about now...
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:06 AM   #4
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Who can stand in the presidential elections, Steve? What I mean is, what would you have to do in order to get your name on the ballot paper in November as an "independent" candidate?
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Who can stand in the presidential elections, Steve? What I mean is, what would you have to do in order to get your name on the ballot paper in November as an "independent" candidate?
The only absolute requirements to be a U.S. President are:
  • age 35 or older;
  • natural-born citizen of the U.S.;
  • resident in U.S. for 14 years or longer.

To become a candidate, you have to petition each state to be put on their presidential ballot. Each state has different petitioning requirements. You don't have to be on every state's ballot to run, but obviously you have to be on enough states' ballots to potentially garner enough votes to win. From Yahoo:

Quote:
According to Richard Winger, publisher of the nonpartisan Ballot Access News, such a candidate may have to gather as many as 750,000 signatures and fork over filing fees of $8,100 to get on the presidential ballot in all 50 states. Even for a motivated and organized candidate, these requirements are daunting. For example, in the 2000 presidential election, the high-profile Green Party candidate, Ralph Nader, didn't make it onto the ballot in three states.
(And don't get me started on the Electoral College...)

Also from Yahoo:

Quote:
Many, but not all, states allow voters to write in a candidate's name on the ballot itself. States may limit this to just the primaries or open it to the general election. The write-in candidates are often required to register in advance and pay the same filing fees as other candidates.
Now that primaries have started, it may be too late in the year to get onto the 2008 election ballots.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 02-07-2008 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:05 AM   #6
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Politicians and eBooks

When you think about how much time they spend on planes and how much information they have to digest (in briefing papers, etc.), you'd think that eBook technology would be the perfect thing for the aspiring politician.

If one of the candidates in my party of choice showed up with a Kindle, Sony, eBookWise or whatever, I think that would sway my vote.

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Old 02-07-2008, 10:22 AM   #7
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What do the presidential candidates bring to the table as far as ebooks go? Entertainment, at least. Most of the candidates have books out which are available as ebooks. And there are the related books by comedians, pundits, and others which are selling well now. I'm tempted to buy Stephen Colbert's book "I Am America (And So Can You!)". I can't imagine any of the candidates think at all about ebooks, DRM, etc. And I assume any legislative move that would relate to ebooks would come rather quietly through Congress as part of a larger bill to beef up copyright laws or to strengthen internet security in order to further protect the poor, down-trodden music and publishing businesses.
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:23 PM   #8
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Simply seeing a candidate with an e-book reader wouldn't necessarily sway my vote, although it would certainly indicate a demonstrated appreciation for technology. Seeing them read an e-book on a laptop or PDA would work for me in the same way.

However, if the candidate showed that they do read e-books (whatever they read them on), and recounted their advantages in terms of practicality, portability, materials conservation, ease of use, etc, I would be impressed. That would indicate a better understanding of the real value of e-books, as well as an understanding of the digital world and how it is improving the rest of the world.

Based on the chart I linked to, I'd guess Barack Obama has a better understanding and appreciation of those issues than the other candidates' responses suggest. Being younger than the other candidates, and a family man, I'd think he has a strong understanding of computers and the digital world. If I expected to see any of them reading an e-book, or at least having a good knowledge of what they are, it would be him.

But have I seen any overt demonstration of a knowledge of technology above the others? No.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:43 AM   #9
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These have all been very good points, and that last one got me thinking about which of the two real candidates would look best with an e-book reader in their possession. I know this is a superficial thing to do, but this world thrives on fashion and, as such, I am going to throw out some mock-ups of what out future president might look like if he had an e-book reader with him when not on a plane.

First up is John McCain in some kind of hospital, reading an e-book and relaxing while the doctor gives him a check-up. This one is definitely anachronistic (Sony didn't even exist back when McCain was this good-looking!), but I figured that since Barrack Obama is already the younger, cooler man in this rodeo, it wouldn't be fair to show a current picture of McCain with that thing sticking out of his face.


Finally, here is a picture of Obama himself in Washington D.C. (you can see Capitol Hill over there in the background), holding his Sony Reader and smoking a cigarette (why was this the first time I've heard about him being a smoker from a Google image search result page's link to a framed version of the original page containing that image, and what else don't I know about this guy?!). I have obviously modified this image significantly, but only because the original was a close-up of his head and there was nothing for him to hold his e-book reader with.


For those of you wondering why I didn't include an image of Independent candidate Ron Paul holding an e-book Reader, it's because FOX News would have just censored it out! "You" decide '08!
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:56 AM   #10
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Slow day at Spooky's house?
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Old 02-11-2008, 12:20 PM   #11
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Slow day at Spooky's house?
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:50 PM   #12
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What does an american president have to do with technology?

Remember Bush saying he doesn't like broccoli? Did that have an impact on the broccoli-market?
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:55 PM   #13
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I heard a rumor that Dick Cheney has a Kindle and hangs out around here all day.
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Old 02-11-2008, 06:43 PM   #14
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It shows a willingness to adapt and embrace new ideas. Obama has pledged that before signing any non-emergency legislation he would put the entire bill on the whitehouse website and allow people to comment. That's how I would like to see new technology being used.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:52 AM   #15
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What does an american president have to do with technology?
While I'm sure it's plenty of fun to try and marginalize the importance of the United States and its government (I'll be the bigger man and not point out the fact that most of Canada's population literally lives right next to the northern margin of the US), the fact remains that, for now, we're still the single biggest innovator in the realms of science and technology.
As a result, the person who serves as the president of our county ends up becoming extremely important to the development of these disciplines not only the US, but also worldwide. The president's attitude toward science and technology is important locally because it significantly impacts the atmosphere under which new innovations are developed (or not developed). Most notably, his (or her?) appointments into various positions within the government can have drastic effects on how science-related research is supported both financially and legally. More directly, the president can veto legislation dealing with science and technology that he (or she) doesn't agree with. If I'm correct, I believe George W. Bush's first line-item veto was on a proposal about stem cell research, and his actions in relation to that topic have created a large emigration of intellectual capital to other countries throughout the world where the attitudes toward science are less repressive. There are, of course, many subtler ways that the President of the United States of America affects technology worldwide, economic policy (especially in relation to trade) probably being the most obvious.
Now, call me an arrogant American, but I'd say that the idea that the president of this country has nothing to do with technology is indicative of an ignorant or ill-informed attitude not only toward the very important relationship between US politics and science, but the similar role played by the government of any country and its leaders. How's that suit ya, fancy pants?
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