Author Archives: Michelle Shinghal

Good luck Libertarian Party candidates!

Happy Tuesday! As Collin County chairman, I will be very busy with poll watching and a multi county election night return watching event. Most of you know that I went to bed quite late last night. (See previous post timestamp.) Matthew Moseley and I did a last minute push to get his signs out at every polling location in his district.

I don’t know how much you have heard abut Matt, but he has run a very professional libertrarian campaign. I am very excited about his race because it is a two way race with a Republican Party opponent. Matt’s opponent did virtually no campaigning- I think he expects to be re-elected based on his poor service. I met up with Democratic Party candidates/volunteers while putting out signs and they were excited to see libertarian signs going up. David Hanschen, candidate for Family Court Judge actually said that he votes libertarian when there is no Dem on the ticket.

I don’t want to just run on about Matt as we have so many candidates who have worked their tails off this year. Let’s see, there is Badnarik, Hess, Smither, Claytor, Maymin, Machia, Schlosser, Guthrie, Peirce, Hayes, Sanders, Chambers and many others. There are simply too many to name here- a more detailed list can be found out LP.org.

I do want to say “Good Luck!” to all of our candidates and “Thank You!” to every volunteer who helped them. If we take any seats, it will be because of your efforts.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Eric Dondero comments that we should wish good luck to GOP Libertarians. I suppose someone will come along and suggest we wish good luck to DNC Libertarians as well. Frankly, if they wanted our good wishes, they should have run on our ticket. NO SOUP FOR YOU!

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Dateline, Perverted Justice, and Murphy, TX

There is some strange stuff happening in Texas. I opened the news this morning and learned that a Kaufman district attorney killed himself.

The former Kaufman County District Attorney committed suicide Sunday when police tried to arrest him at his Terrell home on a warrant tied to a child-predator sting.

Murphy police Sgt. Snow Robertson said Louis “Bill” Conradt Jr. solicited sex from a decoy posing online as a 13-year-old boy.

Apparently Dateline and Perverted Justice set up shop down the street from me, in Murphy, and lured men to the small city with promises of sex with children. Mr. Conradt had not actually gone to the Murphy address to meet Dateline and police, but a warrant was issued anyway.

In the same sting, a Dallas ISD teacher was arrested.

Records, however, show that Mr. Kendall teaches at Spence Middle School. That would put him in daily contact with children about the same age as the 13- to 14-year-old whom authorities say the suspects thought they were soliciting over the Internet.

Mr. Kendall remained in the Collin County Jail late Monday in lieu of $50,000 bail and couldn’t be reached.

In similar news, the death of Leander Middle School’s-vice principal has been ruled a suicide.

On Oct. 5, Joe Ramirez was found in his burned-down home. The medical examiner says he died of smoke inhalation and burns.

It happened at his house in the Williamson County town of Andice just hours after Ramirez learned he was under investigation for a complaint of inappropriate conduct with a student.

It is really interesting to me that people who work in schools and law enforcement seem to be the first caught with dirty thoughts. (see here, here ,here, and here.) Homeland Stupidity made the point a while back that using decoys pretending to be children in these online hunts actually busts people for thought crimes.

As much as it bothers me that someone this high up in the federal government likes having sex with children, it bothers me even more that anyone can go to prison for nothing more than the thoughts inside his head. For that’s all Doyle has done. He only thought about sex with children. There were no actual children involved.

I actually felt the same way at the time, but in Texas, an Internet IM session is enough for arrest. I think that the stings actually hurt more than they help and I certainly don’t like them happening down the street. I am not the only one who feels that way.

The Murphy City Council is considering firing the city manager and police chief because they approved an Internet sex sting that brought pedophiles into a neighborhood filled with children.

“Everybody’s mad,” said Michael Romero, who lives nearby and has two daughters, 4 and 5. “Why are they drawing these people into our little, quiet neighborhood?”

Sounds like a valid concern to me. The mayor called Perverted Justice a “vigilante group” and said that Murphy is off limits.

Mr. Baldwin, the mayor, said he considers Perverted Justice a “vigilante group” that is belittling the community. The group and Dateline should not plan another sting in Murphy, he said.

“I’d just hate to see Murphy drug through the mud and see us become the poster child for the Perverted Justice debate.”

This is going to be very interesting. Collin County has concerned citizens and I do not see the parents in Murphy letting this one go.

Update: I was contacted by a person who acts as a decoy in these types of cases. (Not Peverted Justice) I must admit that I learned a lot about the nature of these busts and how the decoys work. The decoys are not law enforcement, so there is no entrapment. The group I talked to operates without donations or funding. They do not do the job to harass individuals- they do it to get true predators off the Internet and in prison. They have a 100% conviction rate and do not bother with questionable offenses like a 19 year old chatting up a 14 year old. They do not initiate contact, and if the overage profile attempts to back out of the chat, they allow it to happen. The profiles used are real children, though children are never involved in the chat. The group does not accept awards or payment of any kind and prefers to remain anonymous. I expressed the NIMBY concern that I had. It was reported that a fleeing suspect threw a bag of cocaine in the Murphy neighborhood. The source acknowledged that problem, but overall seemed above reproach in motive and effort. It certainly seemed to me, after hearing examples, that the group succeeded in truly assisting in the justice process. I appreciate that I was able to learn more about some of the programs out there.

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Message from concerned Diebold voter

I had to drive the kiddo to school this morning, so I decided to whip into the Harrington Library parking lot to get my vote on. I went in, gave my voter card and then went to the Diebold machine to vote for liquor in Richardson and a straight Libertarian Party ticket. This was the first time I ever voted straight ticket, but I know the candidates in my area and thought it a good decision. Everything seemed to go OK and I left happy.

Tonight I received an email from M.B. Blankenship, a not so happy voter. (Actually, Wes Benedict forwarded the message.)

To: director@lptexas.org

I voted early October 23, 2006 at my Precinct 74 that is in Dallas, but tied to Collin County. This was not the first time I voted on a computer so my experience can not be blamed on insecurity of what I was doing.

I am a independent voter who has never voted for a party, but for the individuals who run for office.

The beginning of the ballot was concerning a bond issue for Dallas with many items that filled the screen. I voted all those and moved on to the votes for individual candidates for state office.

I DID NOT VOTE FOR ANY REPUBLICANS. I was very careful about my choices and watched as each X was placed in the correct box.

see more…

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Fines, Fines, Everywhere I Go…

You guys know how much I hate the TSA’s knee jerk reactions to perceived risks. One day lip gloss is banned from carry-on luggage, the next day it can be carried in a one quart Ziplock bag. Screening is not consistent. One example: Anil used my laptop bag for a business trip. Leaving Dallas, the bag was x-rayed and he was allowed to proceed without question. On his return, the screeners in Midland/Odessa found a small sample size perfume container. Pulled aside for more rigorous screening, Anil politely explained that the perfume (and other feminine products) belonged to his wife, and that he had not realized the bag contained them. Then he threw out the offending liquid. No biggie, right? Wrong.

You can be fined for bringing banned items through airport security.

Most passengers don’t realize that if they take banned items through airport security ““ knowingly or unknowingly ““ they could face as much as $10,000 in fines. Usually the threat is obvious, such as being caught with a loaded gun. But try to pass through metal detectors with a large pair of scissors and a bad attitude and you could be out as much as $1,500.

TSA at DFW, the airport we fly from most, has issued $45,110 in fines. Phoenix Sky Harbor, smaller than DFW, tops the list with a whopping $77,420 in fines. Ms. McCauley, a TSA spokesperson, said that they try to be consistent.

The agency explicitly outlines fine ranges for trying to bring guns, explosives and ammunition on board a plane. It also gives a range for the weapons category, which includes “sharp objects, clublike items and other prohibited items” for a penalty of $250 to $1,500.

Passengers can be fined for their actions, as well. For example, “interference with screening” that includes physical contact could cost a traveler between $1,500 and $5,000, and “nonphysical contact” between $500 and $1,500.

Excuse me, but would somebody please explain what “non-physical contact” means?

And, like red-light violations, you don’t know that you are fined until a letter arrives in your mailbox.

People usually don’t know they’ve been fined until a letter arrives at their homes. In reviewing incident reports, TSA officials consider factors like whether the passenger tried to conceal the item or the “attitude of the violator.”

Ms. McCauley said fliers can fight fines through an informal conversation or a formal hearing. Those who contest the penalties may eventually have to travel to the airport where TSA issued the fine.

Money from the fines goes into the U.S. Treasury General Fund ““ not to TSA. If the violator doesn’t pay, the Department of Treasury takes actions to collect payment, such as withholding the violator’s tax refunds.

This is too much. You can be fined through the mail for an offense you may not know warrants a fine. If you cannot fly to defend yourself at the airport which issued the fine, you must pay. If you don’t pay, the tax man collects. There seems to be a whole lot wrong there. But as wrong as I think it is, I will probably not say it when I am forced to take off my shoes to clear security. I would hate to receive a “nonphysical contact” fine.

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Is It A Cactus Or The Finger?

Darren Wood cactusI got an email the other day that I dismissed as a joke. Here is the story:

The conflict started in 2005 when Darren Wood excavated dirt from a hill on which the homes of his neighbors, Mark Easton and Stan Torgersen, sat. The Eastons and Torgersens were concerned about the stability of the hill and contacted city officials, who ordered Wood to have a soil test performed. Wood was disgruntled by the decision because the previous owner had already done a soil test, and performing it again would cost him $3,000 and delay his construction project by four months.

Then, when Wood began raising the frame for his house around mid-2006, his neighbors were again concerned because the structure rose higher than the rooftops of the other homes around his lot and partially obstructed their view of nearby mountains. Easton and Torgersen again asked city officials to intervene because they believed Wood’s house exceeded the maximum height allowed by local building code. Although Wood conceded that his house might have exceeded the height limit by about a foot, he was again disgruntled because he maintained that once the house was completed and the landscaping laid out, the home would fall within the code, and, in any case, the city had already approved his plans.

Feeling that he was being unfairly harrassed by his neighbors and upset that the construction interruptions they prompted had cost him an additional $25,000, on 15 August 2006 Wood created a visible symbol of his displeasure by installing the vent covering pictured above, which he described as a decorative piece of “abstract art” representing a cactus. His neighbors, of course, viewed the vent cover as a giant hand flipping them off, sending them back to city officials to complain about Wood’s home for a third time.

Apparently, it is no joke. This neighborhood battle over zoning regulation has turned nasty. Here is the news report. I personally think that it could go either way, but if the email version of events is true, I would bet on the finger.

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Great Election Season Joke

My Dallas County friend, Richard, shared this joke. I know that it is not news, but thought a laugh would nice tonight.

While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the man. “Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Really, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the senator.

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises…

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

“Now it’s time to visit heaven.”

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

The senator reflects for a minute, and then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before; I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder “I don’t understand,” stammers the senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning.

……Today you voted.”

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Something Funny Happened Today

I quit HoT a few days ago, but like a battered wife, I am back and posting this. SVD is this blog’s owner and he can say what he wishes. I was offended and it was not about thin skin.

I did not like SVD using a broad brush to imply that I am a retard. My issue with his statement had little to do with argument and much to do with effort. I was concerned that our infighting would hurt us. I worried that I spend too much time here arguing the same issues over and over and over again. I was done because I thought that the arguments here would make people flip out and then vote the same as usual.

But, I got an email today.

Hi Michelle,
My name is Hermelinda Vargas. I am a reporter with News 8 Austin working on a story about Libertarians today. Please give me a call on my cell phone if you’d like to be included in our story.

I know you’ve in in contact wih my News Director, Kevin Benz, about our policy for our in-studio debates, so this might be a good chance to discuss some of those concerns.

If you do not know this news director, here is a chance to know a small piece of him:

Kevin Benz
News Director
News 8 Austin

I contacted the reporter who was surprised that I am 3 hours away, but I offered to find her someone for the news article. I called SG and then I called Nancy Neale. Nancy’s response was:

Sent: Monday, October 16, 2006 4:57 PM
To: ‘michelle shinghal’
Subject: News 8 Austin reporter
Importance: High

Michelle, can you call me again about this reporter? (A number for you did not show up on my caller ID) I spoke with her and she’s trying to get a story in tonight. She seems to be responding to specific blogs, of which I am not familiar. I’ve left a couple messages on her phone and she’s not called me back yet.

Nancy

I was never in a fight with SVD. He and I have opposing opinions. I think it better to save our family dirt for private debate. But, at election time, I will carry my tail between my legs. It is my opinion that SVD’s blog made this approach possible.

SVD, you placed me and a number of people in the margin, but your forum brought our cause attention. I may lose every ounce of crediblility that I have, but I can deal with that. It is more important to let people know that we are not dead.

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A “Retard” Says Goodbye

In a post about the 9/11 conspiracy theories, SVD recently said that – wait up, let me just blockquote what he said:

I’ve been of the mindset for a long time that the government is far too incompetent to pull off 9/11, and it seems Matt and Trey are on my side on this one. Feels extra good to be on the common sense side of libertarianism watching this.

I still expect our resident conspiracy readers to fill the comments with links to websites and “truth.”

Haha”¦ retards.

Perhaps I am missing some inside South Park joke- I have mentioned that I am not a regular viewer- but calling people who may disagree with the government version of 9/11 retards is pretty damn rude. I do not afix a stupid label upon those believing the government story. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I think some members of US government were complicit. I do not understand how a person working for a campaign that witnesses first hand the lies, manipulation, and exclusion of new ideas could even bring the word “retard” to his mind, let alone click “publish” once it is articulated.

HoT is (from the About page)

admittedly libertarian-leaning and openly advocate Libertarian Party candidates and policies, we are also introspective and take our own party to task from time to time.

It is my opinion that the Libertarian Party is the only political party that calls on the government to do what it should. The government in the USA- at least according to my recollection of Civics- is accountable to the American people. It is not the job of the public- the 30 something and growing percent anyway- to prove that a coverup happened. It is the job of our government to tell us the truth. The burden of proof lays upon the servants of the people. The burden should be on those bathing in power and controversy.

It is the responsibility of the people to demand that the burden be met. Our government is failing us, and some of the people entrusted with posting those failures have offended at the least me, at most, 30+% of our country.

Some say that we are preaching to the choir here. HoT has a freedom minded readership. When the choir fights amongst each other over which song god likes most, the hymn suffers. I am no longer part of the choir. Retards don’t usually sing in tune anyway.

It has been an interesting year here. I hope that we will all sing in tune one day but this is my last post. I hope you all live as freely as it is important to you.

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An Interesting Opportunity

A friend sent me a link to register for Zogby polling. It is supposed to be an easy way to have your input on political races counted. I registered this morning and am waiting on their response email so I cannot tell you much, but the site says:

How it works:
1. Complete the online registration page and submit it to us.

2. Zogby Interactive will e-mail you and inform you when an online poll is ready for you to take.

3. Complete the survey. (Easy? We thought so.)

4. Zogby International will e-mail you and inform you when results are available to view.

5. See how your opinion stacks up.

6. Be ready to voice your opinion with the leading public opinion pollster in the world. If you would like the results of the poll you took (as well as other poll results and Zogby International information), be sure to check the check-box asking if you would like Zogby International press releases and other Zogby information sent to you in the future.

I am sorry to post without more detail, but it seemed like something we should share.

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I Just Got Polled!

This is too funny not to post. I just got polled on the TX Gubernatorial race.

Poller: Miss Michelle, If you had to vote today, would you vote for Republican Rick Perry, Democrat Chris Bell, Independent Kinky Friedman, or Independent Carole Strayhorn?

Me: (laughing) OMG, am I finally being polled? I am voting Libertarian, James Werner.

Poller: That is not an option. You can only pick from the four. Republican Rick…

Me: There are five candidates on the ballot and I am voting Libertarian, James Werner.

Poller: So you are undecided?

Me: I am not undecided. I am voting for James Werner. Please write that down. Libertarian, James Werner.

Poller: OK, next question.

He asked me about off premises liquor in Richardson, TX and ended the call after I answered.

I swear that I am dying over here. Funny, funny stuff. I hope that guy talks to his supervisor about the lady who “thinks” there are five candidates. And then I hope he looks up the Libertarian Party.

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More TX Gubernatorial News

I mentioned recently that Kinky did a poor job in the TX gubernatorial debate. I said that he was full of the one liners that made him media’s darling, but he failed to deliver anything of substance. I said that he is no friend to libertarians and that Chris Bell did pretty well considering. (OK, considering that I am no Democrat and was being honest about the content of the debate.)

Apparently, some of Kinky’s supporters feel the same and Mr. Bell is using the info to encourage Kinky to drop out of the race.

Mr. Bell later confirmed he sought a meeting so he could try to talk Mr. Friedman into dropping out of the four-way race, which is in its home stretch. The election is Nov. 7.
“I had hoped to talk to Kinky privately, but now that it’s been reported by the Dallas Morning News, I’m going to ask him publicly: Please join me in defeating Rick Perry,” Mr. Bell said in a statement his campaign issued late Tuesday.
“Kinky and I agree on some very important issues and our supporters all have a lot in common: they want change.”

Kinky responded with:

“No. You’re kidding … for Chris Bell? What do you take me for?”

According to the DMN article, Kinky admitted that he did not bring his “A game” to the debate, but said to drop out would be unthinkable.

“I’d be letting a lot of people down.”
But he took delight in Mr. Bell’s message that the independent is taking a toll. “What can it possibly mean other than that we’re killing him?” Mr. Friedman said. “We’re getting all of the liberals. We’re getting all of the conservatives.”

You may wonder why I care to yap about this now. I am obviously a James Werner supporter. He is, after all, the Libertarian Party candidate in this race. You know, he is the one that was not invited to the debate. He is the one now talking about turning things upside down with a lawsuit against Belo.

Belo has poo-pooed the idea of a suit, but perhaps when it is filed, its reporters may actually get a story’s facts correct. This is not a four-way race. It is a five way race.

Presenting a lie as truth over and over does not make it more truthful. If it did, I would be 10 pounds thinner and 10 years younger. Belo may not like the libertarian, but like the fine lines around my eyes, he exists. And because that truth is presented to me over and over, I would like to do something a “little out there”-

I call for all four of the candidates featured on the debate program to withdraw from the race. I say that because I believe Mr. Bell is right about one thing. Texans want change. Politicking as usual ain’t gonna cut it this time.

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the Werner4Texas campaign. This is not a press release. I am, quite simply, an over-excited supporter.

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The TX Gubernatorial Debate

North Texas libertarians were invited to attend the gubernatorial debate viewing at Collin County Community College Spring Creek Campus. We were invited to set up a table from which we could distribute bumper stickers, yard signs and such. We were invited to an event that included Libertarian candidate, James Werner- OK- the main event did not include him, but CCCCD’s program did.

I found out about the invite today. Some of you may know that I just arrived back into town from a short vacay, but we managed, last minute, to have five libertarians there. I was one of those libertarians. My company included candidates, Scott Jameson (US Senate), Matt Moseley (TX House 112), Ben Westfried (TX66) and Brent Friedman, the infinitely more competent half of me-Brent is the VC of the Collin County Libertarian Party. (C’mon, we all know that the chairman is a figurehead with a reliable address and that the VC does the work. ;o) Apart from titles, Brent is kickin’ tail with his (re)establishment of UTD’s Libertarian Party. In fact, the UTD alternative publication, A Modest Proposal ran Brent’s success as a front “real page” story titled “Life, Libertarians and the Pursuit of Congress”. I would link to the glowing article, but I only have it in hard copy right now and it is probably more important to tell you what I heard and saw.

I see Perry winning. The debate was like a Westminster Dog Show- you know the type- you see the studs and bitches that everyone raves about. Perfect breeding or inbreeding- neither creates the perfect pet. Kinky displayed what he is: a person full of his own one liners. Strayhorn did the same, though she is one tough scratched record Grandma, and we can all (under 30 crowd excluded) relate to that one. Chris Bell, the Democrat, actually seemed to be a viable candidate. His problem? He did not advocate the debate inclusion of the one candidate that would help him- James Werner.

Libs have always been linked to the right. That is sad because it only focuses on economics. We would be better linked to the left- the left before it was monopolized by socialist types who feel better about their own wealth when they (re)distribute everyone else’s.

Libertarians are realists. We deal in the cold hard facts of personal freedom and responsibility. We are realists when we admit that someone may throw away his/her life in the pursuit of something of a drugged (Republican/Democrat/coke/heroin) nature. Libertarians understand that there is no free ride. There is no education problem. There is no “fix it for me Daddy” issue. We understand that the problem is within the person or the person parenting.

Libertarians understand that we must take back everything if we are to succeed as something worth anything. James Werner understands that. He is not fighting as our parent- he is fighting for our right to parent. He is attempting to wrestle from the “big league politicians” the right to govern ourselves.

VanDyke recently published chicken costumes at a debate. I LOVE that idea. But, wouldn’t a better idea be to punish your neighbor with a chicken costume when they attempt to abdicate their throne of authority to the state? It would make the gubernatorial debates nearly meaningless.

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Will A Blowjob Help?

****WARNING**** Two vodka/lemonade crudeness ahead.

I recently watched Spike Lee’s documentary on Katrina. There was a homeowner from St. Bernard Parish talking about her FEMA trailer’s lack of electricity. The interviewer asked when she thought she might navigate her way through bullshit excuses and receive service and she said that it would happen when she found out who to blow. I remember laughing my ass off at that comment. I remember being thankful for the laugh as I had cried at many other points in the film.

Sadly, Libertarian Party candidates are in the same bullshit situation in which the featured homeowner found herself. We are desperately trying to get the respect we are due. We are a legitimate third party running qualified candidates but we get no respect from mainstream news sources. Glen Bonnet emailed a news station and got this reply:

Since receiving a number of e-mails regarding the inclusion of the party
in our in-studios, we reviewed all of the libertarians running. Michael
Badnarik is the one libertarian who qualifies for inclusion and he has
been scheduled to appear.

Your Libertarian party and candidates are passionate about your cause. I
appreciate that. But passion alone will not win elections. Candidates
must show an ability to compete both on the ground campaigning and
financially. I believe we have fair criteria allowing any third party
candidate to participate. .. the bar is not set too high, the party
simply must get people to vote.

If you would like to review our criteria for inclusion, it is on our website at:
http://www.news8aus tin.com/content/ election_ 2006/?ArID= 171448&SecID= 539

Thank you for your note of concern,

Kevin Benz
News Director
News 8 Austin

For those of you coming on expecting something sexual from the title, here is your fuck:

We will include all candidates who:
1) Show a seriousness of purpose AND
2) Demonstrate significant public support.

To demonstrate Significant Public Support a candidate must meet at least one of the following criteria:

• The candidate has received at least 3 campaign contributions of $50 or more per 1000 residents of the constituency. This excludes contributions received from the candidate or his/her immediate family.
• The candidate has in the past been elected to the post he/she is seeking or won at least 30 percent of the vote for the same political office within the last 6 years.
• The candidate is the official nominee of a political party that received at least 10 percent of the vote in the last Texas gubernatorial election or presidential election in Texas, or received at least 15 percent of the vote in a prior election for the office he/she is seeking.
• The candidate, during the previous eight years won his/her party primary election or received votes greater than 10 percent of the total registered voters in the constituency.
• The candidate has received 10 percent or more of the vote in a poll conducted by an experienced, independent pollster with less than a 5 percent margin of error.

The circular nastiness of this should be evident to all. MSM exclude us based on polls that do not mention us. The double edge sword makes me identify with the homeowner in St. Bernard Parish even though I know she set the bar too low with a blowjob. If she took the ass fucking we are getting, she would have enough electricity to light up the Superdome.

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Is bin Laden Dead?

I am half asleep. I have been working the Plano Balloon Festival almost non-stop and after twelve hours of giving the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, my brain is nearly mush. BTW, Chris Claytor, the Libertarian candidate for US Congress, District 3 rocks. Now that I have apologized for what is sure to be sloppy re-reporting, here goes:

From BBC now. NOTE: I originally linked to a Yahoo news report that gave the following info- when I rechecked the link- it was not working. (don’t have a clue what happened) I will leave what was copied and pasted and will add BBC’s text at the end of the blogpost.

PARIS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – France and the United States said on Saturday they could not confirm a report that Osama bin Laden had died and France launched a probe into how a secret document containing the claim was leaked.

French regional daily L’Est Republican, published in Nancy, quoted a document from France’s DGSE foreign intelligence service as saying the Saudi secret services were convinced the al Qaeda leader had died of typhoid in Pakistan in late August.

Time magazine separately posted an article on its website citing an unidentified Saudi source, who claimed bin Laden was stricken with a water-borne disease and may already be dead.

In Paris, Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie ordered an investigation into the leak of the classified DGSE document.

L’Est Republican printed what it said was a copy of the report, dated September 21, and said it had been passed to Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin the same day.

“According to a usually reliable source, the Saudi services are now convinced that Osama bin Laden is dead,” it read.

“The information gathered by the Saudis indicates that the head of al Qaeda fell victim, while he was in Pakistan on August 23, 2006, to a very serious case of typhoid that led to a partial paralysis of his internal organs.”

The report, which was stamped “defense confidential” and with the initials of the French secret service, said Saudi Arabia first heard the information on September 4 and was waiting for more details before making an official announcement.

Time magazine said its source claimed Saudi officials have received a number if reports in recent weeks that bin Laden had been struck by a water-borne illness and was likely dead, but had no solid proof.

“He is very ill. He got a water-related sickness and it could be terminal. There are a lot of serious facts about things that have actually happened. There is a lot to it. But we don’t have any concrete information to say that he is dead,” Time quoted the source as saying.

The U.S. has been unable to confirm the reports, but damn I hope it is true. If terror’s mastermind is dead, the war is over. Right? I would start praying again tonight, but we are cautioned against hope.

Senior U.S. intelligence figures have cautioned against assuming that bin Laden’s death or capture would automatically have a substantial impact in the war on terrorism.

They note that the death in June of al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has failed to lead to any let-up in the violence there.

I guess that given that attitude, I should instead find a shooting star and wish that our efforts at the Balloon Fest translate to many more libertarian votes. I will hedge my bet by blowing out all the candles on my cake next month too.

*stubs out cig*

Whatever the case, I have to be back at the Balloon Fest at 6:15 tomorrow morning. I need some sleep if we are to get the contact info that we have received over the last two days. 34% of the people we talked to asked for libertarian info and even gave all their contact info.

Thinking of that, I may pray anyway.

Here is the BBC cut and paste:

President Jacques Chirac has ordered an inquiry into the leak of a French secret service memo claiming that Osama Bin Laden had died.
Mr Chirac told reporters he was surprised the memo had been leaked, and refused to comment on the claim itself.

A French newspaper quoted a document as saying the Saudi secret services were convinced the al-Qaeda leader had died of typhoid in Pakistan in late August.

Officials in Pakistan and the US said they could not confirm the account.

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Charges Dropped Against Former Miss Texas Contestant

A while ago I wrote about the legal age of consent in Texas. My issue was that a female teacher was arrested for “allegedly” having sex with her 18 year old student. Texas has a strange provision in the law that applies to educator/student relationships and the teacher could have been imprisoned if found guilty.

The beauty queen was sort of vindicated. I say sort of because the charges were dropped but the predator image may be hard to shed. I made a sexist comment in my previous post. I said that if indeed something sexual was going on, the “victim” likely high fived friends. She was a former Miss Texas contestant. Well here is another sexist comment: She is lucky she is a woman. She may be able to shed that image easier than a wrongly accused man.

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Dallas Libertarian Candidates On The News

I have a crazy busy evening but had to share this video clip. I heard that a certain person at a Dallas news station was a bit put off about the Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate being excluded from some one on one interviews. The rumor is that the person decided to get some libertarian congressional candidates on. We all know how the grapevine works. I cannot speculate on the behind the scenes at the station, but there was a friend somewhere. Enjoy.

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Libertarians Should Be Good Shots

Libertarians fiercely defend the 2nd Amendment and we are generally pretty good with firearms. So why are we mimicking Cheney and, at least figuratively, shooting our supporters? Why do some libertarians employ “shoot to kill” verbiage to settle personal issues? Cheney’s accident was exactly that- an accident. We are shooting our friends on purpose.

We are in election season. This year, Libertarian Party candidates have the issues on our side. Will we take seats? I sure as hell hope so but I know that it won’t be easy. It will be impossible if we keep attacking our own.

I bring this up because Michael Badnarik called me recently to ask for help getting the word out about the Texas door hanger order. I agreed but had internet issues and Stuart was kind enough to get the post published for me. That was really big of Stuart because he had previously questioned Badnarik’s campaign expenditures. When Stuart originally questioned campaign expenses, there was some debate over the appropriate amount of dollars to spend on staff lunch. In that post dialogue, we heard from people actually experienced in campaign management and I understood that we agreed to allow Mr. Hacker to do his job and question the effectiveness on the back end. Stuart set a fine example when he clicked “publish” as a favor to me. Some of the comments, though, would turn people off from even the slightest amount of inquiry.

I like Michael. I am blown away by how he has submitted to a lifestyle that few of us would live, so he can have an opportunity to bring liberty back to her most recent country. I considered throwing my hat in the ring as a paper candidate. My husband made it clear that I would find myself divorced if that idea became reality. A paper candidate has none of the hardships of an active candidate, but I could not bring myself to risk my marriage for liberty.

There are many libertarian men and women sacrificing their daily lives for liberty and there are those of us that give a few bucks and write some blog entries. Even if I don’t agree with a particular person’s campaign ideas, I know damn well that I have not uprooted my family and life to work as hard. And neither have most of the campaign critics. Give these guys some breathing room. Let them work. And, mostly, let’s practice what we preach and let the market work. If those running and those managing fail to deliver, then we can demand an explanation and if the explanation is not satisfactory, we can refuse to employ them again. But shooting our friends in the foot and bitching about a lost race is stupid. We may as well stay out of the race and save our “sponsor” dollars for target practice. If we manage to get on the ballot after target practice, we can send the argumentative “shots” where they are best directed- at the duopoly who now shits on the very things that made us freedom’s beacon in a world of tyranny.

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Vacation Bible School Has Changed A Lot

My mother sent us to Vacation Bible School. It was a week long, in the middle of summer and, while she is a Christian, I am sure she sent us to have a short break. There were maybe twenty kids in each grade level and the activities were simple. My mom, who is deaf, taught everybody to sign the song, “Jesus Loves Me” and we made Christian themed art out of clay, pipe cleaners and yarn. While I no longer identify with any religion, I have mostly good memories about my VBS experience. It is hard to find fault in lessons of “love thy neighbor.”

But it seems that VBS has changed. I found this article at ABC News online about a documentary, “Jesus Camp” and am more than a little concerned.

Speaking in tongues, weeping for salvation, praying for an end to abortion and worshipping a picture of President Bush “” these are some of the activities at Pastor Becky Fischer’s Bible camp in North Dakota, “Kids on Fire,” subject of the provocative new documentary, “Jesus Camp.” “I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are in Palestine, Pakistan and all those different places,” Fisher said. “Because, excuse me, we have the truth.”

Wow. If Ms. Fischer’s comments aren’t enough to make you scratch your head, maybe the comments of the little ones are.

“A lot of people die for God,” one camper said, “and they’re not afraid.” “We’re kinda being trained to be warriors,” said another, “only in a funner way.”

Nope, this is not the VBS I remember. I am certain that there are still camps where paper plate art is the norm, but camps like “Kids on Fire” in North Dakota have little ones taping their mouths against abortion and speaking out on political issues like gay marriage.

As a libertarian, I generally support parental choice on everything. Watching the video makes me cringe though. Between the clips of kids praying in front of a Bush photograph, Ms. Fischer openly screaming, “this is war” and boys in battle fatigues, I see a generation of kids being trained for a holy war. I have to wonder how well this would go over if the kids were calling on Allah.

I do think people of every political and spiritual inclination need to pay attention to this trend. This is our future and they know it.

One child in “Jesus Camp” goes so far as to say, “We’re a key generation to bringing Jesus back.”

Freedom to worship as one wishes is part of this country’s foundation. I would never speak out against it. Little training camps for children are different. Extremists are a problem no matter the god worshiped. Unless, of course, the worshiped is the god depicted best by macaroni art.

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Are We At War Or Not?

You guys all know what I think about our current war situation. You know that I think we were misled in a purposeful fashion. I don’t want to rehash that entire issue, but I have two questions. Are we really at war? If so, why aren’t we trying to win?

The government told us that Osama’s men from Afghanistan hijacked some planes and hit the Twin Towers, Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. America waged the War on Terror and has been sacrificing our young men and women for the cause. If the safety of our country is at stake, why didn’t we take out the 100+ Taliban members congregating in the sight of our drone?

In a statement released Wednesday, the U.S. military in Afghanistan said the picture “” a grainy black-and-white photo taken in July “” was given to a journalist to show that Taliban insurgents were congregating in large groups. The statement said U.S. forces considered attacking.

“During the observation of the group over a significant period of time, it was determined that the group was located on the grounds of (the) cemetery and were likely conducting a funeral for Taliban insurgents killed in a coalition operation nearby earlier in the day,” the statement said. “A decision was made not to strike this group of insurgents at that specific location and time.”…

…NBC News had quoted one Army officer who was involved with the spy mission as saying “we were so excited” that the group had been spotted and was in the sights of a U.S. drone. But the network quoted the officer, who was not identified, as saying that frustration soon set in after the officers realized they couldn’t bomb the funeral under the military’s rules of engagement.

What?? I am neither hawk nor pacifist, but either we are at war because our country is in peril or we are playing war games. I have no military experience and am by no means even textbook educated on the rules of war, but it seems to me that if we have to protect ourselves, we should do it decisively. If our government can justify bending the rules to “fight the terrorists on their lands instead of ours” why is this “rules of engagement” thing such a big deal?

America is experiencing a mindblowing assault to the very liberty she is to protect. The assault, from within our own government, is disguised by this war on terror. The information coming out of D.C. would have us trembling in fear, and yet our government is pussyfooting around over on our enemies’ turf. It kind of makes one think that our enemies aren’t so dangerous. I am seriously asking for someone to explain the reasoning here because from my viewpoint, something seems a little off in the Land of the Free.

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#3028 = Doug Is Great!

This is supposed to be post #3028, but luckily for you guys, I realized how drunk I was before I could click the “publish” button. Post #3028 is now the “Doug is Great!” blogpost.

The family and I went to Cabo for a long weekend. As we were leaving Thursday, I heard Doug Stanhope and his GF, Bingo, starting their interview on Howard Stern. Unfortunately, we arrived at Terminal D before it got going. Thankfully, my Sternfreak hubby switched from satellite to cable so we could turn back time OnDemand.

I was in the midst of a feeble attempt to teach my Ivy-league hubby some libertarian economics. (all due to an argument we had over breakfast- don’t ask.) I am uneducated but, thankfully, fate smiled on me when I found not only the few really worthy items needed, I heard the Stanhope interview replayed from the plasma in my bedroom. Doug and Bingo were awesome. (The starting point of “One Hundred Years Of Solitude” comes to mind.) They talked of lucidity and happiness and then got “Sirius.” Doug asked Howard if he was to run for office and then Howard talked about Stanhope ’08. Howard said that he agreed with Stanhope’s platform and then Stanhope said that it is the Libertarian Platform. He commented that everyone identifies with the LP Platform, but are too afraid to make it work.

At this point, Anil actually commented that I was “jizzin'” over the libertarian plug. He was right, but late. I explained that DS had addressed every issue better- but it was before HS and it was on HoT. I then asked my husband if he might register to vote. He said yes.

Somehow, DS made my ivy league hubby wish to conform. He would register to vote for one of the few honest people out there. The D’s and R’s have never interested him. He identiified with libertarian philosophy. He liked that Doug would dismantle the government until it was small enough that even he could run it.

Go figure. Economics degree from Princeton-without value, libertarian wife- important to placate at times- big-balled smartass making points that we all readily recognize- freedom. Politics are already Comedy Central fare, let’s now benefit from it.

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Convenience vs. Technology

I found a new silly diversion. I should have found it weeks ago when my friend Dawn first mentioned it. She said she could see my backyard perfectly from her desk at Gulfstream. Anil had my laptop and the site doesn’t work on MAC so it escaped my attention for a while. S.G.’s recent post reminded me of it and I thought to check it out. It is Zillow.com. It is perfect for nosy types of people who would never dream of asking rude questions about your financial worth. I know that you can always log on to the county assessors’ public tax logs, but this gives soooo much more. With Zillow, you get satellite images of people’s homes from four different angles. This worries me a bit because I spend more time at my pool now that I haven’t a 9-5 job. After seeing what is so public, I now know that I can live with tan lines.

It is interesting to see how public our lives really are. Technology is simply astounding. I give away pieces of personal business here on the blog, but I would like to believe that I share what I don’t mind public. I know, however, that I am lying to myself. My life and actions are made public in so many ways.

Citibank knows that I think Armani makes the best slacks. They know that I have a thing for Hermes scarves. Beverage City probably knows when I have been drinking simply because I buy two packs of Camel Lights on the same day. The NTTA knows when I travel through a toll booth and how fast. If they desired, government agents would know exactly how many tampons are used in my house. (Costco + AmEx receipt = #of feminine products used in monthly cycle.) Knowing what I willingly give doesn’t make me feel better about people seeing me actually live.

I do not know how often the Zillow images are updated or how long they are saved, but I see enough to make me uncomfortable. What if a buddy drinks a lot at one of my crawfish boils? Can authorities pull satellite images to convict him of DWI in court? What if my husband or I cheat on each other? Can we subpoena footage of the tryst? How much can actually be seen? The images of my home on this site tell me that I should change my habit of drinking milk from the gallon unless I first put on Anil’s boxers and t-shirt. OK, and use a glass.

Big Brother is surely watching, but we are, undoubtedly, willing participants.

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Some Friday Night Girlie Nostalgia

I think I am getting old. Perhaps I feel that way because I am sitting home on a Friday night typing a blogpost that nobody will read until Monday. Or maybe it is because I read news articles and usually have some cynical thing to say about most of them. I have to turn old school rap up really loud to hear it in the right way, but small children seem to be so noisy that I can hear them screaming before their mouths open. I am genuinely sad when I see things that were OK when I was young totally blown out of whack and I start longing for the days of my youth. Whether attributed to the boring Friday night or the short blurb in my local paper, my panties are in a wad and I am pissy. The Dallas Morning News reported that a small town father was arrested and could face 4 years for letting his 10 year old child drive.

Now before you guys go crazy on me, let me remind you that I grew up in a small parish outside New Orleans. My grandparents lived in the “country” and had lots of land. That land was perfect for dirt bike races and driving the farm truck. It was a treat for me, as a child, to sit on my dad’s lap and “drive” the car. It was a treat for me, at 12 and while visiting family in Kansas, to drive miles and miles of highway. In small towns, you start driving young-usually on a riding lawn mower or tractor and have mastered it well before you take the written test.

As you may expect, I wanted to pass that joy to my girls. Ash and Riss both learned to “drive” sitting on my lap. They took turns on the tractor and the family’s farm truck. And, when they took the clutch for the first time on a real road, at 14 and 11, it was in an ’03 911. Neither of them even stalled the car. They loved that night and still talk about it. Thank God I did not know that, if caught, I could be arrested for child endangerment with bail set at $10K.

The article made me think of the things I did as a child and I wondered how many of them would today be considered “child endangerment”. My daddy taught me to shoot when I was 7 or 8. My friends and I used to shoot- without an adult- in the woods that were near our homes. We “camped out” in the backyard and roasted marshmallows over a roaring campfire. We snagged our parents’ cigarettes and coughed our way through the first puffs. Our parents allowed us to drink “grasshoppers” over games of Monopoly. We rode three-wheelers on the street and horses on the levee. We fished in the three ponds and had no need of a license, and almost any Louisiana kid could back a boat down a boat launch by the age of 12.

Unfortunately, kiddos today can’t have those things-almost all of them would result in some kind of citation. The PC police and child “experts” have nearly phased happy childhood out of existence. They took away freedom, independence, imagination and creativity and replaced them with Ritalin and Adderall.

Admittedly, I don’t know the details of this particular situation, but I can’t help but feel sorry for this man and his children. Jose Lugo, the subject of the DMN blurb, sits in jail and his wife can’t afford to get him out. The article implies that Mr. Lugo was drunk, but he wasn’t arrested for DWI. McKinney, TX is a small town much like the one of my childhood so I can’t help but wonder if he was simply making a memory. I do know that his kiddos will have a traumatic memory of temporary CPS custody and Daddy’s arrest. If the man does even half of the possible four year prison term, the kids will likely suffer a fate worse than bad memories.

Perhaps the police should have simply asked the man to change seats. But what do I know? Besides, I can’t think of this anymore- I have to go scope out the Kroger down the street. Perhaps I will find some young whippersnapper buying way more toilet paper than any one person needs. If I follow him, I may be able to witness a moment of youthful fun-if it exists anymore.

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Swift Justice In FEMA Bribery Case

From NOLA.com:

Two former Federal Emergency Management Agency employees were sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in federal prison for soliciting bribes while managing a FEMA base camp in Algiers.

Andrew Rose and Loyd Holliman, identified by their attorneys following their arrest in February as Colorado firefighters who came to New Orleans to help with search-and-rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina, pleaded guilty in April to public bribery.

It seems that corruption was the plat du jour in this case involving a Louisiana businessman who won the contract to provide meals at the FEMA base camp in Algiers. For an initial payment of $20K and weekly payments of $2500, the FEMA employees offered to inflate the head count. The contractor immediately reported the bribery proposal to the Department of Homeland Security and the men involved were sentenced yesterday to 18-24 months in prison.

Kudos to Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon. I remember Judge Lemmon as a very good St. Charles Parish judge and it appears that she has lost none of her ability with time. Louisiana is known for its good ole boy corruption, and I am happy to see that Judge Lemmon is working to correct the image. And, I am happy to see that whistleblowers are taken seriously, at least in some cases. If only the rest of the crap could be cleaned up so quickly.

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