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Paul Ryan's Record On Science and Government

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the no-interest-in-underwater-utopias dept.

Politics 543

sciencehabit writes "U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) don't have much in common when it comes to politics. Kucinich is a very liberal Democrat who's leaving Congress this January after being defeated in a primary election by a more moderate colleague. Ryan is a conservative leader and now the Republican Party's presumptive candidate for vice president. A dozen years ago, however, the two men found one thing they could agree on—killing the National Ignition Facility, a multibillion dollar laser fusion project at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The article goes on to explore other impacts Ryan could have on science as VP."

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543 comments

I visited the National Ignition Facility this year (5, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030423)

...and it's one of the most impressive scientific endeavors we've undertaken [llnl.gov] .

Yes, one of it's missions is "stockpile stewardship" [llnl.gov] -- maintaining the integrity of the United States nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing, via simulations and tests.

But it also has a goal of initiating "ignition" [llnl.gov] : a sustained ("sustained" being relative, here) fusion reaction which produces more power than was put in.

Even if there is no immediate practical application, understanding various aspects of fusion, and the science it takes to get there, is critical to our energy future.

In short, like many military and national security projects, this is a truly dual-use.

The NIF just made history by firing its 192 beams to deliver more than 500 terawatts and 1.85 megajoules of energy to its target [llnl.gov] -- more than 1000 times the power the United States uses at any particular instant, and more than 100 times the power of any other laser.

We do need science like NIF, and I'm still pained by the US decision to kill the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) [wikipedia.org] , what was to be the most powerful particle accelerator in the world -- significantly more so than the LHC -- after 14 miles of tunnels were dug and over $2 billion spent.

I hope this article [physicscentral.com] wasn't unintentionally accurate when it called the SSC the "high water mark of American science"...(must see photos by the way).

We NEED big science.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030487)

I also toured it a few years back. I still watch out for news from them, as they charge up the super ooper awesome laser and get ready to make a mini sun amongst the vineyards there.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (4, Insightful)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030539)

The article acknowledges that the LINL project still suffers from some of the fiscal management problems which Ryan objected to, which were some of the same problems the SSC suffered from as well. I guess we are to conclude that wasting taxpayer money on bureaucratic snafus is necessary for the advancement of science.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (5, Insightful)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030645)

Every branch of government and every government funded project wastes money. Every. Single. One. Are we to conclude that we should just shutdown all government because it isn't 100% efficient with its cash flow? Given the potential for huge scientific advances, the interest such projects can invoke in our children, and the relatively paltry amount of spending in comparison to other government agencies and departments, like DARPA and the DoD, we can easily justify absorbing the budget overflow.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030999)

Every branch of government and every government funded project wastes money. Every. Single. One. Are we to conclude that we should just shutdown all government

Are we NOT to conclude that we should shut down wasteful programs, that we should just carry on?

Eventually you run out of other people's money, and then what?

Wasting money in one program means the eventual starvation of programs that do NOT waste money. If no-one is willing to stand up to boondoggles like the bridge to nowhere, the whole government will collapse and how does that help anyone?

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (5, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031015)

Are we NOT to conclude that we should shut down wasteful programs, that we should just carry on?

The answer to waste in a program isn't always to shut down the program. Sometimes you should get rid of the waste within the program.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (4, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031085)

Name one government or corporate program that doesn't waste any money. There is a big difference between mismanagement and wasting small amounts of resources. You're right in that projects like the bridge to nowhere should be stopped. The problem from people I know involved in government projects is that companies will bid low to get a contract and then make up their money in change orders. This is the same whether it is an IT project, a construction job, or a defense contract.

Defense contractors are so good at it that they build factories everywhere imposing enormous inefficiency transporting goods needlessly. If the government tries to reign in this project then thousands of jobs are lost across many districts impacting a large number of representatives. So there is no incentive to fix the inefficiency to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars but we can instead tackle waste in small places to the tune of tens of millions. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it?

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (5, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031445)

I've worked in private industry and for government and let me tell you the difference from what I've seen.

In business if you put out a quote for a project you can shop around and use other companies reputation and try to come to a decision.If there is is something vague they will call you and try to figure it out. They will sometimes let little changes go. But sometimes they won't. Let's say you pick a company and they nickel and dime you on changes. You finish that project and decide never to use them again if you though you got screwed.

In government it's the opposite. The lowest bidder get's the job as long as they have the capabilities to do it. If there are two ways to interpret something they intentionally pick the wrong way and deliver it so that they can get paid to make the changes. They are legally right. And next time there is a job they are right back in line and you can't bar them from bidding. A companies reputation for screwing over the government doesn't prevent them from winning the bid. What this does is cause the government to waste even more time and effort to make "perfect" requirements. But as any of us know when you are building something from scratch your requirements are going to evolve.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (4, Insightful)

Titan1080 (1328519) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031319)

well, i can think of LOTS of 'projects' that could've saved the trillions of dollars, in absolute, 100% waste. The B1 bomber. The B2 bomber. The stealth bomber. The F22. The F35. The war in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan. Shall I go on?

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (5, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031049)

Ziggitz is right. While we all love to grouse about government waste, government is not really all that unique. The stereotypical hyper-efficient corporation is a myth - most of us know of stunning wastes of money at our own employer. And our vaunted household finances, while smaller in magnitude, probably include some waste too.

Every human endeavor has waste, and if scrutinized under a microscope, something that somebody could interpret as corruption is nearly everywhere too.

We're not always angels, and we're not always robots. But let's not let that stop us from doing what good we can.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031175)

The same is also true of every Business project as well. The idea that a project can be ran without wasting money is ridiculous. Evidently these people are supposed to have future vision to know how things will change and what paths wont work in advance.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031263)

The same is also true of every Business project as well. The idea that a project can be ran without wasting money is ridiculous. Evidently these people are supposed to have future vision to know how things will change and what paths wont work in advance.

Nobody is forced at gunpoint to invest in any given business. The same is not true for Government programs. If you don't pay your taxes, sooner or later men with guns will come arrest you. Nice try at a strawman though.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031375)

You can't individually decide to stop paying taxes to government programs, but you can vote to do so or shut them down. The same is not true of businesses.

If you can't convince other voters to shut down a given government program, then either canning it is not a good idea, or your fellow voters are stupid.

Either way, AC was accurately pointing out an impossible standard that is often used to argue against programs that people oppose for reasons unrelated to efficiency. There was no strawman brought up.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (5, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030693)

We NEED big science.

And we need health care...

and welfare...

and food stamps...

and national defense...

and the space program is really important...

and drug rehabilitation programs...

and the FDA...

and the EPA...

and without the NEA our kids won't learn about art and learning about art has been shown a correlation with higher math and science scores...

and we need to protect our borders...

and did I mention healthcare??



Nearly everything our government does is important to someone but it's clear from our high taxes and massive deficit that we just can't afford it all. Cutting waste will help but it won't enough. Some programs that are good and useful need to be shrunk or eliminated too. Doing so is of course unpopular. Whether or not this particular program was the best one to cut, I'm glad Ryan has the guts to make the hard decisions that need to be made and deal with the political fallout.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (5, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030765)

Nearly everything our government does is important to someone but it's clear from our high taxes and massive deficit that we just can't afford it all.

What're you, poor or middle class?

All sardonic social commentary aside, tax rates, at least on the wealthiest of Americans (that's not you nor I, BTW), is the lowest it's been in over half a century. [politifact.com]

Not to say the government of today isn't chock-full of waste and bloat, just pointing out facts.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (3, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030821)

Politifact is useless. You won't believe me so I won't even cite, Google it yourself.

The important numbers are the percentage of the budget shouldered by the top income earners vs their share of total income. Go look it up and compare it to Europe. Anyone who even utters the phrase 'fair share' must first go see that number for themselves and THEN define exactly how much more they think they can extract before they say 'fuck it' and go somewhere else. I want a percentage. Define it.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030871)

Politifact is useless. You won't believe me so I won't even cite, Google it yourself.

This, then [xkcd.com]

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030945)

Dude, it doesn't matter what facts you offer, he has his opinions and that is all that matters.

If he says the Bear Tax is the highest in history, then it is, so live with it and attack the immigrants.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031077)

That is a good resource but it doesn't show the comparison with Europe I was wanting to point out. That we are already far more progressive in our tax policy than countries with outright socialists in charge. In other words, we are almost certainly maxed out and probably way on the bad side of the Laffer Curve. Raising more revenue via taxation isn't an option. The rich are already taxed beyond the line where you get revenue for raising rates and if you even talk about raising rates on the already beleagered middle class you will have a revolt.

The bottom half are already getting more from the State than they pay in all taxes combined. They pay more Federal Income tax and usually no State Income tax. They do pay some FICA and sales taxes but get the Earned Income Tax Credit and almost always a few government handouts which cancels those out and usually leaves them in the black. And changing that would be instant political suicide in the current environment.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031143)

So just to be clear, you believe 13% is too high a tax rate for Romney level wealth?

Are you fucking insane?

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030933)

How low does the tax rate for the top .1% have to be? I want a percentage. Define it.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

jmorris42 (1458) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031159)

> How low does the tax rate for the top .1% have to be. I want a percentage.

Ten percent. For everybody with absolutely no deductions, classes of income (capital gains, unearned, etc) credits (refundable or none) or anything. Everybody has skin in the game and nobody is voting to tax 'the other guy.' If I had to make a compromise to get a bill actually passed into law I'd settle for 5% on all income to the poverty line, 10% everything to a million and 15% on anything over. But everybody pays something, we don't set social policy throuth the tax code and we don't need to spend billion on compliance, recordkeeping, enforcement and such.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031213)

Oh god, you're a flat taxer too.

So while we save "billion" on record keeping etc, where are we going to make up all this lost income? Because that would be a HUGE tax break to me, so I can't really imagine the budget would be even vaguely balanced on the whole.

I'm somehow suspecting the answer is "fuck the poor, let them die", but I'm curious if you have an alternative.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031339)

Thanks for the heritage foundation's line. Your arbitrary number is arbitrary. Never takes into account GDP, wealth distribution, or any other number of factors. The problem with your argument is that the wealthy choosing not pay their taxes isn't social engineering which is just catchphrase bingo bullshit. It's a criminal act. They've managed to fund media and candidates that have made it harder to audit them in order to avoid paying their fair share.

The issue is that the tax code isn't specific enough or complex enough to deal with the vagaries of corporations. For the vast majority of Americans only a handful of credits and forms apply. For corporations it's thousands but they barely cover reinvestment, instead they offer generic tax credits and breaks. A more focused code designed to curtail excess funds and force reinvestment is the best answer but it's the one no right-winger wants because of their poor grasp on economics and their leadership growing fat off of the current tax system.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (-1)

s.petry (762400) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031365)

The tax should be even at all levels of income, period end of statement. That is the Constitutional answer, as well as the most logical and "Fair". If I pay 13%, then some person making a bazillion dollars a year should pay 13%. If that person pays 10%, I pay 10%.

What we have in the US is drastically different, unfair, and unconstitutional. There are 60,000 plus pages of tax laws to back my statement.

We currently have a middle class paying upwards of 40% in taxes (FICA/Fed/State/City). We have the top 1% of wealth paying 10-17%, and that's only on the income they claim to make in the US. Now add Paul Ryan, who want's investment income to be free of all taxes. Do you see how unfair, and bigoted the tax system can get? Yes, it can get worse and probably will.

Fair taxes is not a new concern, and not a new answer. Ross Perot ran on a primary issue of "Flat Tax", and nearly won because people know that the system is broken and favoring those who have wealth (not to be confused with someone that is rich, see Chris Rock for the difference.) Sadly the blackmail, harassment, and other illegal activity that people got away with against Ross Perot dissuaded many good people from running as well.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031045)

The important numbers are the percentage of the budget shouldered by the top income earners vs their share of total income.

Why? When you're worth $20 billion and only paying 15% capital gains on the $10 million you do report, of course it's a huge number, but it's not like it's hurting you the same as the 25% income tax (that I must pay) hurts me.

Look at Romney. Doesn't pay taxes at all for ten years, then pays 15% for a couple years after he decides he might run for president. Meanwhile I'm giving over a third of everything I have to the government.

I have no sympathy for the absurdly rich. I don't care what their total dollar count is. I care about them paying their fair share, because the rules just don't apply to them.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031391)

> but it's not like it's hurting you

You are right. It doesn't hurt the rich at all, like everything it rolls downhill and hurts US. Higher tax rates force the rich to switch from asset appreciation and economic growth to wealth preservation and tax avoidance.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (-1, Troll)

hondo77 (324058) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031063)

Politifact is useless. You won't believe me so I won't even cite...

I call bullshit. Cite or shut up.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031147)

I would recommend a Macro Economics 101 class or equivalent. that might get you started in being able to hold discussions like this.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (4, Insightful)

uniquename72 (1169497) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031191)

You won't believe me so I won't even cite.

This is perhaps the most cowardly comment ever made on Slashdot.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031207)

The important numbers are the percentage of the budget shouldered by the top income earners vs their share of total income.

How about the percentage of the budget shouldered by the top wealth holders vs their share of said wealth?

Taxes much higher than you think (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030981)

You may think taxes are low, but the U.S. corporate tax rate is the highest in the world. [usnews.com]

You might be able to raise taxes even more on just the working class, but you'd not come within spitting distance of even eliminating the DEFICIT, much less actual debt.

The only serious way out involves LOTS of cuts, everywhere. If you pretend otherwise you are simply ignorant or on a mission to doom us all. Sure some taxes will be raised also, but it's foolish to pretend taxing will get you all the pretty baubles of government rule you have grown accustomed to.

Re:Taxes much higher than you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031025)

LOL!

So we don't look at what people actually pay, just the marginal rate?

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/03/30/456005/reminder-corporate-taxes-very-low/

According to that chart, we're at 13.4%. The UK is at 27.7%.

*find a better source if you want(first result), but your point is simply disinformation at best

Re:Taxes much higher than you think (3, Informative)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031337)

What you've highlighted is proof of the injustice in the corporate tax code.

The lowest US corporate tax bracket is 15%, yet your chart shows 13.4%. How is that possible?

By giving large business tax breaks and loopholes that no small business could ever take advantage of.

It's destroying small businesses. Just one more way of ensuring small businesses cannot compete with large companies.

If 13.4% is really all we collect, then we should wipe the slate clean. Get rid of all of the tax loopholes, and let everyone pay 13.4% or create new brackets without any loopholes that average out to 13.4% (or even 15%, or 18%... this is still less than what small businesses pay).

Because otherwise, we're just taking from the individuals who are trying to build something for themselves/community/etc.. while giving away money to companies that offshore jobs and layoff workers, to give the CEO and executives a bonus on top of their extravagant salaries.

Re:Taxes much higher than you think (2, Informative)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031071)

In practice US corporations pay very little more in taxes than European corporations do. Your first line is a non starter.

Re:Taxes much higher than you think (4, Informative)

Vancorps (746090) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031277)

So what you're saying is that the tax rates in the 90's, one of the more prosperous times in this country's history was what? Last I checked our economy has grown since then. During that time not only could we afford most of these programs but we had projected surpluses had we stayed on target. It doesn't take a genius to realize that when times are really tough and you're too far in the whole simply cutting back isn't enough, you'll need a second job until you recover.

Let's also probably not mention that companies can write off expansion expenses negating the tax burden. At 39.2% according to your own link, that would be pretty high, care to see how much taxes corporations actually pay? Tax rates [huffingtonpost.com] are manipulated so much in the political landscape that its no wonder it makes most people's heads spin.

Consider Japan, they lowered their corporate tax rate but use value added taxes to make up the difference. There are incredibly few businesses that actually pay 39.2% in taxes.

Cuts are indeed necessary, but they need not be nearly as severe as the Republican party would have you believe. When asking for sacrifice you should probably make sure that everybody is sacrificing instead of young women who no longer have access to planned parenthood to get birth control pills because they have had so much of their funding taken away that they are only open a few hours a week if at all in certain states. These types of cuts only cause additional problems and more importantly expenses as you then have more women getting pregnant and needing assistance in other ways since they don't have health insurance that covers birth control.

Look at California for trying this method. They have vote mandated spending and their constitution requires that taxes can only be increased through a voter iniative. So people vote for a program and then when it comes time to pay for it they opt out and then you run out of money. The programs would not have been proposed to begin with if there wasn't some problem that needed to be solved. So the answer is to raise taxes and pay for the programs that fix the problems that ravaged this country at the start of the 20th century. All the assistance programs out there were created for reasons, all the regulatory bodies were created for certain reasons. If they aren't working then the answer most often isn't to throw them out entirely, it's to fix the process so that it actually accomplishes the stated goals. Cutting food assistance programs isn't going save the country any money, people need to eat, what is someone that is starving going to do when they can't afford any food? We are seeing already with crime increasing in almost every part of the country.

There is a difference between being a bleeding heart liberal that wants rainbows to shoot out of everyone's butts and a compassionate person that understands that we are all part of a community and that you can help the people in your community and all prosper or leave people to their own devices and end up needing a police state to keep those like myself with means safe.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030875)

High taxes? Where?

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

uniquename72 (1169497) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031173)

High taxes? The U.S. has the lowest taxes in the industrialized world, and the shit services to show for it.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (5, Insightful)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031183)

If you think Ryan is some sort of deficit hawk looking out for the nation's debt and deficit, you haven't seen his voting record over the last ten years.

All Praise the Tea Party and Bush (-1, Troll)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031255)

If you think you're paying high taxes now, just join the investor class and just pay 15% capital gains taxes; I'm pretty certain that would drop your taxes.

Because seriously, thanks to the low capital gains, and the Tax cuts on the top 2%, we have had the best economy since World War two.

Praise to W for lowering the taxes on the Job Providers so that we have this abundance of high paying jobs and low unemployment rate.

Praise to the Tea Party for keeping the taxes low on the top 2% and continuing the low unemployment rate.

Praise the conservatives for making sure that marriage is just as sacred as it was in the time of King David and preventing those homosexuals from disgracing changing it as always been defined.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031291)

All of those programs you listed are the difference between Western civilization and some 3rd world shit hole. There are plenty of low tax shit holes that will be happy to have you, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

And what high taxes? Romney paid 13% for the last ten years. 13% sounds pretty reasonable to me!

[spoiler]Taxes are the lowest they've been in a generation, that's why there is a huge deficit.[/spoiler]

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031345)

I'm glad Ryan has the guts to make the hard decisions that need to be made and deal with the political fallout

- I am really sorry to burst your bubble then, but Ryan is not doing anything to cut spending, he is growing spending.

Ryan's budget is not touching anything, Romney and Ryan will not touch SS or Medicare or military spending or the debt in any way shape or form.

Ryan's budget is only about cuts to the proposed increases and they only are supposed to kick in 10 years in the future, that's because it doesn't cut anything from the current recipients of the welfare schemes that are SS and Medicare. Those are welfare, there are no assets, nothing is owned by the gov't, only bonds, IOUs, from gov't to gov't itself. This means that whether there is or there isn't a so called 'fund' the way to finance the Medicare and SS is via bond sales. Ryan assumes that USA can sell bonds far into the future, he is making rosy assumptions about the interest rates, he doesn't take into account the fact that the interest rates will go up, there is no where for them to go but up. This is the same as it was with the housing bubble, there was nowhere to go for the housing prices but down, same here.

Ryan is not a conservative, I would call him a socialist based on his budget, because he is not willing to cut anything, but I don't think he is actually a socialist anyway. He is a politician and that says it all, there is nothing else to say.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030761)

I try and follow progress on fusion power reactors and thought this was a great idea and they were far ahead of what is being built in France. That is until I found out WHY they were doing this project. It has no intention of ever becoming a general electrical power source. They are only working on this as a more reliable and easier method to ignite a hydrogen fusion bomb. There is exactly 0 interest in generating electricity with this method at this lab.

Now they may develop a technology that someone else could use to generate power, and they have greatly scaled up the power of lasers. But any attempt to pretend this will replace anything as an energy source is purely fiction.

Plus I saw a job available there once, plutonium manger, previous experience required. lol

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030835)

It's not designed to act as an energy source.

Neither is ITER.

There is no pretending going on here; its purpose is BOTH to support the US nuclear stockpile AND to understand fusion like we never have before. Sort of like how very similar rockets can deliver a nuclear warhead halfway around the world, or launch a space telescope into orbit.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030887)

Plus I saw a job available there once, plutonium manger, previous experience required. lol

What? Your take is that a 'plutonium manager' should just get on-the-job training?

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030775)

History shows that the inventors of new technology rarely gain an edge over other countries. If they do it's only temporary. It is better to let the other country (or company) waste millions on R&D and then you just copy what they did.

We did that with the industrial revolution (invented by the UK, copied by everyone else), the rocket-propelled missile (invented by Germany; copied by us), the jet plane (invented by Germany; copied by us), the steam train (invented by the UK; copied by us), et cetera.

We have invented some things on our own but almost all those inventions were done by hobbyists spending their own money, not the government or taxpayer's money. I can think of very few examples where the U.S. Government invented something that had lasting value. So I say: Let somebody else waste billions on R&D and we'll just copy the end result. Example: The Japanese invented HDTV. We copied their idea for cheap.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030903)

Tang.

I rest my case.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031103)

The MicroWave oven also came from NASA.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030923)

You should read up on the NIH then. We've invented a lot of things of value.

Fusion's important (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030847)

Fusion could be the most powerful means to reduce carbon emissions, if we weren't a bunch of stupid shortsighted idiots as a species we'd be putting a huge amount of money into fusion power research instead of wars and bailouts for our stupid broken economic systems.

Re:I visited the National Ignition Facility this y (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031313)

It is obvious that one can create an ultimate energy source by putting together piles of money until the gravity collapses the whole thing and starts a nuclear reaction. It is just not the most optimal way. I guess the good vice presidential candidate thought so as well.

And the VP has what power? (1, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030439)

Unless the Senate is split 50/50 no effect.

Re:And the VP has what power? (2)

Fwipp (1473271) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030481)

Or until the president is unable to perform their duties.

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030633)

And the VP is in a much better position to run for President 4-8 years later. Obviously it's not a shoe-in, but it does help. And the causes of the VP on the side that wins usually gain some support. The presidential nominee may pick the VP candidate solely for how many votes they think it will bring in, but after the election it's hard to turn around and say "but i don't actually support any of the things they believe in." And the Republicans in particular are big on pushing the "mandate" thing, at least when they're the ones who win. Everyone in the House and Senate who agrees with the VP about particular issues will emphasize that angle and the President will be unlikely to outright contradict them.

Re:And the VP has what power? (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030669)

Thanks to modern medicine the odds of a president dying in office have gone way down. In our first hundred years several presidents died during their first two terms, so the VP mattered.

But in the 1900s only one died during his first two terms (shot), and that threat is also now near-zero because of bullet proof cars and vigilant secret service. We really shouldn't worry about a VP taking-over.

BTW why would a liberal like Dennis Kucinich defund the science research for fusion reactors? I don't understand that. It made sense when he stood with Ron Paul against the Libyan War, and also in favor of a Federal Reserve audit, but not the anti-science stance.

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

trout007 (975317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030703)

RTA. That facility was to be used to help maintain our nuclear weapons. That is why Kucinich was against it.

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030949)

Reagan had a bullet proof car and Secret Service protection. He was still almost killed.

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030805)

Or until the president is unable to perform their duties.

Maybe that's the point.

I suspect Mitt's reason for choosing Ryan is similar to Obama's rationale for selecting Biden, and Bush picking Cheney* - nobody's going assassinate Andy, knowing Barney is next in line to be Sheriff.



* OK, maybe Bush didn't have a lot of choice in that selection, you don't typically say 'no' to a Sith Lord. [wikipedia.org]

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030517)

So why are people still so upset about Cheney?

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030553)

Only people who look vaguely similar to ducks are upset about Cheney.

Re:And the VP has what power? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030709)

Only people who look vaguely similar to ducks are upset about Cheney.

And those concerned about federal spending.. Cheney: "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter." (addressing Paul O'Neill, then Treasury Secretary)

People who wonder about our super secret "energy policy" also seemed to be rather worked up, regarding Enron people in the room when it was worked on. Consider the manufactured electrical energy crisis which took place while the administration turned a most determined blind eye to it.

He's a real character, he is. But he's no longer the VP or in the running, he's playing at the Elder Statesman role these days.

Re:And the VP has what power? (0)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030607)

Because he used extra legal power to influence the government. Remember that the fabricated WMD "evidence" used to justify the second gulf war did not come through the standard intelligence channels. It came through the office of the VP.

Re:And the VP has what power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030849)

Because when the president is a dumb-as-rocks puppet, then strong personalities effectively run the country. Personalities we didn't choose for that role.

Now look at Romney's speechmaking:

"I like trees"... "I know some NASCAR team owners"... ""Corporations are people, my friend"... "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me"... "I'm not concerned about the very poor"... "He [Obama] says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people"... "I'll tell you what, ten-thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?"

Do you get the feeling that this is a person who can think on their feet? I sure don't. If that's the case, then Ryan could be a lot more than a figurehead over the course of a Romney-Ryan administration.

Are they even electable? Romney can't convince thinking voters he's qualified for the job, and Ryan appeals only to an already convinced hard-core of republicans -- he won't change the numbers much.

In the meantime, Obama's *real* record, that is, his accomplishments, as opposed to the hysteria the republicans are attempting to spread, is sitting in the swing voter's minds, and as history shows, it's difficult to beat the incumbent, even when they are absolutely terrible presidents, as was the case with Bush. But that's not the case with Obama.

Obama presided over some real setbacks for the homophobic, between the marriage issue and the military; over great things for consumer credit; the ACA, mangled as it was from what he wanted, is at least a step in the right direction (unless you're of the mindset that those who are sick and not rich should just simply suffer and/or die, and no, ER care (a) doesn't save money and (b) isn't sufficient treatment for many things.) The number of new jobs was dropping precipitously under Bush, and under the Obama administration, that trend turned around and *stayed* turned around.

The republicans want us to go back to the policies that *created* the mess we're in; Obama has been digging us out.

There's no question that Obama's far from perfect. He's particularly weak on constitutional issues (and that's really annoying for someone with his credentials), and his disregard for the misguided drug war is of great concern. But do we hear Romney saying he'll end the drug war? Do we hear him saying that warrants will be required for searches? He's not the man to shore up the country where Obama is weak. And where Obama is strong, Romney offers nothing.

But Romney shows absolutely zero signs of being better in any way.

In the mean time, the republicans in congress have also been busily demonstrating that they have no interest in doing their jobs, just in wasting time [go.com] repeating pointless actions. So we have a lousy candidate, supported by a lousy party. Doesn't seem like a winning combination to me.

Re:And the VP has what power? (2, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030563)

When one has a Presidential candidate who waffles, flip-flops and simply doesn't state his policy goals like Romney does, there's a real concern that the VP is going to have a lot of influence on Presidential policies. This is all the more concern when the VP is specifically chosen because of his background as a policy wonk.

Re:And the VP has what power? (3, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030631)

When was the last time we had one that didn't flip flop? The straight shooters usually don't make it past the primaries.

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

unimacs (597299) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031033)

The power to sway voters. I honestly think the choice for VP has more to do with how voters will react than how that person would perform as president.

Who again? (1, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031041)

When one has a Presidential candidate who waffles, flip-flops and simply doesn't state his policy goals like...

Obama?

That sentence certainly describes Obama more than it does Romney. Gitmo, support for drone strikes, economic stimulus, etc. etc. etc.

Romney has a clearly laid out plan for what he wants to do. You may not like the plan, but he has one.

Meanwhile Obama and Democrats in general have failed to produce a budget for THREE FUCKING YEARS. How can you vote for that kind of nonsense?

At this point we just need someone that will pick a direction and go there. Right now it seems far more likely Romney will do so than Obama, especially based on past history. Romney inherited a badly run Olympics and made it work; Obama inherited a bad economy and made it worse.

Re:Who again? (4, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031287)

Romney has a clearly laid out plan for what he wants to do. You may not like the plan, but he has one.

As numerous sources have pointed out, his proposals do not work mathematically [taxpolicycenter.org] . Coming to even this conclusion is problematic because Romney maintains his budget proposals cannot be scored [nationalreview.com] ". I don't think this satisfies a common-sense definition of a "clear plan."

Meanwhile Obama and Democrats in general have failed to produce a budget for THREE FUCKING YEARS. How can you vote for that kind of nonsense?

The OMB submits a budget recommendation every year [gpo.gov] . The House also passes a budget every year, the last one was passed under the Budget Control Act.

You're confusing a knock against Senate Democrats with a knock against Barack Obama, a complaint which is itself baseless and relying on semantics [washingtonpost.com] .

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031237)

"This is all the more concern when the VP is specifically chosen because of his background as a policy wonk."

Moreso when the strategy of the GOP is for future leadership to come from the House of Representatives. The POTUS need only sign off on their decisions. This is expected, and since Romney knows nothing about anything other than business he will be forced to rely on others.

Note that Romney opposes any Defense budget cuts. That's a key sign of ignorance since it reveals he can't sort wheat from chaff.

Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030721)

The VP has the President's ear. It's my understanding that GWB was actually not very keen on invading Iraq. Guess who was standing on his shoulder, er, ummm... standing next to him and talking into his ear.

Re:And the VP has what power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031235)

Karl Rove.

It Matters... Re:And the VP has what power? (1)

Fubari (196373) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031059)

r.e "the VP has what power?"
It matters [lmgtfy.com] .
Really.
To put it terms you might relate to, try thinking of it as a Disaster Recovery planning exercise.

Something more recent and positive? (1, Insightful)

Tora (65882) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030485)

Rather than dredging up the distant past for skeletons that are scary, why not look for positive things more recent? Not that slashdot has ever claimed to be neutral in its journalism (hah), but this is a bit leaning in a biased article. How about discussing all the technology that the Obama camp has killed, at least to balance it out?

Re:Something more recent and positive? (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030621)

Rather than dredging up the distant past for skeletons that are scary, why not look for positive things more recent? ... How about discussing all the technology that the Obama camp has killed, at least to balance it out?

Recent it is, positive it is not.

Not that slashdot has ever claimed to be neutral in its journalism (hah), but this is a bit leaning in a biased article.

You're clearly biased too, and we know well where it lies. You want neutrality, but you don't even try to present yourself as open to it. You're only interested in your biases.

To be quite frank, if you want recent and positive with respect to Paul Ryan's scientific record, the onus is up to you to present them as a rebuttal to the article. If you're not intersted in doing so, or have no such examples to present, then please take your thinly-veiled insinuations elsewhere. You're not contributing anything worthwhile to the discussion by wondering aloud.

Re:Something more recent and positive? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030627)

Shhh, you can't do that. It doesn't conform to the liberal bias around here.

Slashdotz are TEH LIB'RUL!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030851)

Slashdot is teh lib'rul!!!1!

Two plus two is five! Grass is purple!

God bless the Republican party! GOD BLESS THE NEW TRUTH!

Re:Something more recent and positive? (4, Insightful)

TopherC (412335) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031225)

But what if it's a pro-reality bias as well? What kind of balance are you hoping for anyway? I actually thought the article itself was as unbiased as possible. I read slashdot in part because I am a scientist and I care deeply about these kinds of issues. Also science funding is not strictly a democrat/republican issue. The Clinton presidency (actually the congressional election that followed it) marked the beginning of the end of basic science in the U.S. with the cancellation of the SSC.

I want to hear about our candidates individual science policies before I vote. I'm not voting on the basis of party affiliation. It's very hard these days to squeeze out details of science policy, but this article does a good job. My take on the prospects of the U.S. remaining relevant in global, basic science is:
Obama: bad
Romney: maybe slightly worse?
Ryan: horrible
Expectations given the economy: poor

This matters to me, and if my conclusion is wrong due to a media bias, then please let me know! But balance is not bias. I don't need 10 climatologists and 10 anti-global-warming creationists to get the facts on global warming. To gauge Ryan's stance on basic science funding I need nothing more than a careful analysis of his own budget proposals and voting record. This is great stuff! By contrast, in the 2004 election I searched and searched through platforms and speeches to find any mention of basic science at all. I eventually found very brief statements from Kerry and Bush deeply buried in lengthy platform statements. Kerry said that basic science should remain on a par with applied science spending. Bush said that basic science should be privately funded. Since industry has proven to be irrelevant in recent years (post Bell labs) when it comes to basic science, I voted ... well I got outvoted.

Re:Something more recent and positive? (0)

publiclurker (952615) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030643)

Well, that's because most of us here are smart enough that we don't want to intentionally waste time on false equivalence just so the nut jobbers can feel that they have some sort of legitimacy.

Re:Something more recent and positive? (2)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030681)

Would you mind linking to neutral third-party sites that have details on some of these technologies that the Obama administration has terminated? I'm not from the States, but I'm genuinely curious, and by your own observations a strong political bent to reporting just muddles these things.

Re:Something more recent and positive? (0)

jmorris42 (1458) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030737)

Well there was another article bemoaning budget cuts to science posted an hour and twenty minutes prior to this one.

The bottom line though is the country is broke. Eventually a welfare state drives out all other spending. We are borrowing forty cents of every dollar spent trying to deny that reality but it can't continue. Things that can't continue, don't. Reality eventually wins. Every. Single. Time.

There are only a couple of choices available.

1. We do things that get the economy humming again. More economic activity means more revenue to the government to fund all this stuff and fewer people needing the welfare state.

2. Cut everything, like Europe is facing. They haven't had a military to speak of since the end of WWII over there. Soon we won't be able to aford one either. But it won't help. Soon we will be spending every dollar coming into the treasury on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the debt. So as soon as nobody is willing to keep throwing good money after bad by continuing to loan us more, that is it. And soon they will grow yet more and exceed 100%. Just for those.

3. Hyperinflation.

4. Stay the course and fall off the cliff. You don't have to look to Europe to see where that leads, California and Illinois are closer.

Don't even talk about raising taxes, won't do anything for the deficit. If you want to be a socialist and talk about 'economic justice' and crap like that, go ahead; just don't delude yourself into thinking it is going to raise any actual net revenue.

Re:Something more recent and positive? (0)

Brannoncyll (894648) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030919)

What are the alternatives to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security? Let the old, poor and jobless just die? Are you comfortable with this?

Re:Something more recent and positive? (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031081)

The bottom line though is the country is broke.

Hardly. We are not managing the economy very well at the moment but that is very different from "broke".

Eventually a welfare state drives out all other spending.

Nice use of a "dog whistle".
What, exactly, is a "welfare state"?

Don't even talk about raising taxes, won't do anything for the deficit.

Actually, done correctly, it will do a LOT for the deficit.

And, done correctly, it will do a lot to get manufacturing jobs back in this country.

Which will do a lot to get the middle class growing again.

Which will further help with the deficit and the economy.

If you want to be a socialist and talk about 'economic justice' and crap like that, go ahead; just don't delude yourself into thinking it is going to raise any actual net revenue.

I think you've just revealed the limitations of your position. You use the word "socialist" and you don't know what it means.

Re:Something more recent and positive? (3, Funny)

Sebastopol (189276) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031371)

Cutting welfare payments to red states would fix the budge problem in a few years. If they don't want socialism, and they don't pay taxes b/c they are too poor, then why should my blue state profits help 'em?

economy humming again?? (1)

Tailhook (98486) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031429)

1. We do things that get the economy humming again. More economic activity means...

STOP TRYING TO WRECK MY ENVIRONMENT

We don't need any of your dirty bizzniss. Send it to China so it's not in the environment or near any children. I'm fine living with my parents and you should be too so the environment won't get ruined by people trying to prosper. Unemployment should be 80% and climbing or the environment will but RUINED.

As far as the deficit goes we just need to get the rich. The Republicans let them keep it all and pay nothing and we need to take it back!

Newsflash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030495)

The decision maker on the administration side will be Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, not their vice president.

Political FUD. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030559)

Bad enough to get the new-fashioned FUD here. Please keep this kind of nonsense off of Slashdot. Thank you. Have a nice day.

Of all his ideas / votes (1)

arse maker (1058608) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030591)

this isnt that crazy.

As a nerd I this seems like the best way to spend a trillion dollars but its hardly the craziest thing this guy has said.

kucinich got gerrymandered out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41030595)

he only lost after his district got redrawn when they realized gerrymandering was the only way to get rid of him. if you don't like the representative the people keep electing just redraw the lines so they can't vote for him anymore! bogus democracy.

Re:kucinich got gerrymandered out (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030655)

True, but then he carpetbagged and lost a primary.

I'll miss his voice, but I guess that was the intention.

Re:kucinich got gerrymandered out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031425)

Kucinich while taking stands on many issues, was not productive in helping any actual laws get passed. So while gerrymandering did play a role, he was in a weak position in the first place.

only supports medical research (0)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030739)

It is interesting to note that only science supported in the 2008 republican platform was medical research. All other sciences is treated with suspicion. The education is not much better, as parents are considered the primary education givers, and not all parents are going to be able to promote an objective science process.

Whether the national ignition facility is good or bad, it represented the basic and applied science that is critical to a countries infrastructure. It high risk, expensive, but it does provide science. While cancer research is important, I am not sure how much actual science is developed with the US government $5 bilion a year.

VP Waste product (5, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030741)

The VP is generally considered a waste product. You don't pick your VP to match your views you pick your VP to fill in the blanks in your own personality. Romney is generally a centrist so he needs a fairly right wing VP. Romney being a Mormon needs a more "Christian" VP although I am surprised he didn't pick a protestant. Also you pick a VP from a swing state. Wisconsin could go either way and has an OK number of electoral collage votes. But at the same time you can't make it look like you have picked a token VP that is unbelievable. Obama has the black vote locked up so a black VP would be a waste and might actually lose Romney some white vote. The same with women voters. A token woman would doubtfully unlock many votes and again might have lost votes that he otherwise owns. The key for both candidates is to get out the existing vote and that is who you are picking the VP for. When I say lose votes I mean that they stay home not that they vote for the other guy.

Where I worry is that Romney's wealth is built upon going into companies that aren't performing well and unlocking hidden wealth. Often this came by doing short term things like cutting R&D. The wealth would be "unlocked" and they would sell the company and make a pile of money. They did other interesting short term things like loading these companies up with debt. This all was great for them when they could cut and run but a country is the opposite. When you look at a policy now you need to think about the implications a century from now.

If defense were to be cut in half and schools spending doubled the implications on defense would be immediate. But the benefits from the school increases might be 20 years down the road. But it would be glorious 20 years from now.

I am a Canadian but it looks like the US suffers from the common malady of all democracies. Somehow we end up with choices that are all crap. In my life I have had the option of voting for one politician who turned out to be good. Somehow we need to be able to weed out these guys earlier in the process. Or maybe eliminate the party system?

How can we have any hope that these guys(most world politicians) will spend wisely on science when they won't even listen to the majority of the population who want the war on drugs to end. Not a peep on an issue that is destroying the culture and economy of the US. This goes way past the issue of who some guy picked to be his spare.

Re:VP Waste product (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031163)

The VP is generally considered a waste product. You don't pick your VP to match your views you pick your VP to fill in the blanks in your own personality.

Given that Romney's personality is totally blank, his VP needs to combine Winston Churchill with Groucho Marx mixed in with a bit of Madonna and Gandhi.

Not really surprising about Dennis Kucinich (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41030891)

I'm from Kucinich's district, and I'm hardly surprised he worked with Paul Ryan. For instance, he worked a lot with Ron Paul trying to cut back military spending and Iraq War funding, because the two of them arrived to the same conclusion for completely different reasons.

For the most part, it's been a record of futility, though: His own party's leadership hates him because he doesn't toe the party line on issues like health care (he once kicked Nancy Pelosi out of his office when she tried to force his hand). And of course John Boehner and friends hate him for being a Democrat. So none of his bills or resolutions make it anywhere unless he has support from other backbenchers, hence the strange bedfellows.

fiscal sanity (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031009)

the romney/ryan comeback team for america will end obama's fiscal excess, which has put the U.S. on course to a crash and burn that will be extremely harsh for the scientific community.

Journalism (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031241)

What's with the irrelevant anecdotes in the first paragraphs of articles these days? The article is about Ryan, not Kucinich. Mention of Kucinich seems to be entirely gratuitous.

Re:Journalism (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41031295)

I'm pretty sure the point there is that killing the laser fusion project wasn't just another GOP cut, but had bipartisan support.

Clarification about Kucinich's electoral loss (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year and a half ago | (#41031281)

Kucinich was the rep for Ohio's 10th district since '97 but the Teapublicans gerrymandered his district out of existence and forcing him to either retire or face off against Marcy Kaptur in her own, now larger, district.

Kaptur is a Democratic powerhouse, was offered the chance to be VP to Ross Perot, and has always gotten between 55%-75% in her 16 terms, finishing below 60% only 4 times.

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