Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

About Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

Winning Their Hearts and Minds

SOTRibbon1.gif“Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament.”George W. Bush

No quagmire in Iraq, you say? Here’s yesterday’s news:

The tours of 4,000 American soldiers who had been scheduled to leave Iraq in the coming weeks have been extended for up to four months, signaling that there would almost certainly be no significant troop pullout before the year’s end, military officials and analysts said Saturday.

“We don’t believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans.”George W. Bush

The new security plan allows almost no room for significant troop withdrawals by the end of 2006, Anthony H. Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said in an interview on Saturday.

“I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.”Dick Cheney

If any troop pullout takes place in the coming months, “it would be so cosmetic that it would be meaningless,” he said. “It would be statistical gamesmanship.”

“Our cause is just, the security of the nations we serve and the peace of the world. And our mission is clear, to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people.” George W. Bush

“People are now talking about 2009 as the goal for achieving really serious security,” he added.

“There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today.”Tom DeLay describing U.S. troop deployments in Bosnia in 1999

As of Saturday, there were 127,000 American troops in the country, Colonel Johnson said. Numbers fluctuate when units overlap while rotating in and out of Iraq. So the total troop level will rise above 130,000 as new units rotate in and the 4,000 troops are held here longer.

“Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” -““ George W. Bush

The military said Saturday in a written statement that “the duration of the temporary deployment of these Iraqi and coalition forces in Baghdad will be determined by conditions on the ground.”

“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”Herman Goering

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Clinton, McCain Taking Shots at with Each Other

gooseshooters.jpgIf a pro-war tax loving Democratic Senator gets into a drinking contest with a pro-war freedom hating Republican Senator, who will win? We may never find out, because “What happens in Estonia stays in Estonia.” Here’s the scoop:

That would have been in the summer of 2004 in Estonia where, according to The New York Times, the margin of victory was not votes, but shots of vodka.

The instigator of the after-dinner contest, the Times reported for its Saturday editions, was Clinton, D-N.Y. McCain, R-Ariz., readily agreed.

It’s sort of hard to imagine the two of them doing vodka shots and I’m a bit curious about the conversation. Assuming they followed the rules established by Modern Drunkard for such occasions, it might have proven interesting indeed.

I’m curious about whether they toasted dead U.S. soldiers or dead Iraqis to apply rules two and three:

2. Always toast before doing a shot.

3. Whoever buys the shot gets the first chance to offer a toast.

The “strange woman” part caught my eye:

6. Buying a strange woman a drink is still cool. Buying all her drinks is dumb.

These probably don’t apply:

14. If you offer to buy a woman a drink and she refuses, she does not like you.

15. If you offer to buy a woman a drink and she accepts, she still might not like you.

16. If she buys you a drink, she likes you.

because this rule probably does:

33. The only thing that tastes better than free liquor is stolen liquor.

The mental image of this one is certainly funny:

46. After three drinks, you will forget a woman’s name two seconds after she tells you. The rest of the night you will call her “baby” or “darling”.

Politicians lie? Never!

54. Never lie in a bar. You may, however, grossly exaggerate and lean.

The mental image of this one is somewhat revolting:

85. On the intimacy scale, sharing a quiet drink is between a handshake and a kiss.

Whatever the case, if they both end up being the presidential nominees for their respective parties, we can be assured that we’ll merely be trading Skull and Crossbones connections for drinking buddy ties.

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Historical Tubes: Early News Footage ’bout this Strange Phenomanon Called the Internet

I don’t know when this was originally broadcast, but it’s pretty cool.

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Exposing the Phelps Homophobes

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Messing with Online Polls (Part 37)

I got this one in my e-mail today:

Friends:

I emailed earlier with a request to help turn the tide in a poll being conducted by the Cincinnati Enquirer about the landmark Ohio Supreme Court decision issued yesterday. We’re starting to narrow the gap, but we need you to keep voting! We’re still far from showing the massive outrage against the abuse of eminent domain we know exists across the country. Don’t allow cities and developers to use this poll to justify land grabs in the future.
If you’ve voted, please vote again. If you haven’t, please do so now.
Tell them you AGREE [here]:

We thank you all.

Sincerely,
Steven D. Anderson
Castle Coalition Coordinator
Institute for Justice

Have fun!

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LP Convention Photos: Got LP?

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Mark Augustyn of thinkLIBERTARIAN posing with the almighty LP one gallon gas can somewhere in flyover country on his way to the LP National Convention in Portland.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: more pics on his MySpace page.

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Does “Free Minds and Free Markets” mean not paying for services?

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Marc Scribner, April Atkins and John LaBeaume of the LP office hanging out with Debbie (some Appletini-loving psychiatrist I once picked up in DC)

Several of the staffers from the Libertarian Party headquarters hit another one of those almost famous DC libertarian parties after work last night. Over at H&R, David Weigel ran this caption under a picture of our very own April Atkins (emphasis added):

One of our models showcases the new Reason T-shirts, constructed from breathable black cotton fibers that scientists have dubbed “Gillespiewear.”

When we first saw Dave’s posting, we were shocked that April was moonlighting for Reason. When we asked her about it, she said, “They didn’t pay me squat.”

We found out that April won’t take less than $500 for a modeling session. The way I see it, Reason owes either April or the LP a hefty chunk of cash for her modeling gig. We’re happy to forgive Dave for his faux pas because of his great job at guest-blogging over at Wonkette this week.

More pics after the jump. see more…

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Another Cool Antiwar Video

One of my old Georgia LP buddies e-mailed this to me:

Hey SG,

went out on a video shoot a week ago…. heres what we came out with,… an anti war music video from a Blues Guy called Big Shanty,

Name of the song is called “Killing Fields”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7kgOtTl-Ko&eurl=

Hope you enjoy it

-Brad

Big Shanty has a MySpace site as well as this webpage.

James Bell (link may not be safe for work) shot the video and Brad helped in the production of the video shoot. Van Gogh Productions (who did the stage production for the 2004 Libertarian National Convention in Atlanta) were the producers.

BTW, I think the song and the video rocks.

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“No Bravery” applied to Iraq

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PUNTing the UN out of the World Stadium

puntUN.jpgThe same organization that brought the world the infamous The Oil-for-Food Programme once again wants to stick their grubby little paws directly in your back pocket. While some countries don’t mind losing their sovereignty, Rep. Ron Paul (big R, small L-TX) has already led the way to oppose Nicolae Carpathia’s ascent to ultimate global power. From Dr. Paul’s site:

Congressman Ron Paul continues to lead the fight against United Nations global tax proposals, which could add another level of taxes to the state, local, and federal taxes Americans already pay.

The US House of Representatives last week passed the Foreign Operations appropriations bill, which fund the nonmilitary activities of our federal government overseas””including our United Nations dues. Paul crafted language that prohibits the Treasury from paying those dues if the UN attempts to implement or impose any kind of tax on US citizens. That provision was included in the final Foreign Operations bill, which Congress passed last week.

“The UN continues to build the foundation for global government, and a worldwide tax is the key to their entire agenda,” Paul stated. “This is not hyperbole– in fact, the UN’s own website is quite open about the organization’s ambitions. The UN has established a system of international laws and international courts; now it needs an enforcement mechanism in the form of an international army. If UN bureaucrats succeed in creating a worldwide tax, they will become totally unaccountable to national governments and their citizens.”

The Senate has a form of the bill, known at the “Protection against United Nations Taxation Act of 2006″ (PUNT), too. The The Brussels Journal reports:

Properly concerned about these proposals, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last month, crafted by Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, which prohibits the Treasury from paying dues to the U.N. if it attempts to implement or impose any kind of tax on U.S. citizens. The action has now shifted to the Senate.

Sens. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, and Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat, also seeing the threat to national sovereignty and global economic prosperity, have introduced a bipartisan bill known as the “Protection Against United Nations Taxation Act of 2006″ (S.3633).

As of this writing, the bill has 32 co-sponsors. When enacted, the bill will require the U.S. government to withhold 20 percent of its subsidy to the U.N., the OECD and other international organizations if those organizations develop, advocate, endorse, promote, or publicize any proposal “concerning the imposition of a tax or fee on any United States national or any income earned in the United States in order to raise revenue for the United Nations, any foreign government, or any international organization.”

UN officials are reportably upset because their current fundraising scheme places serious restrictions on UN activities. In addition to the direct monetary limitations, our global bureaucrats must currently act in a manner which appeases their largest donor states or risk losing the funding these sponsoring countries provide. The proposed UN plan would implement a global tax on airplane tickets and fuel, a carbon use tax of 5 cents per gallon of gas and a variety of taxes on various international exchanges of goods and services. Scarier still, it would impose the Tobin Tax on all international currency transactions.

It’s refreshing to see that even our bumbling House of Representatives is somewhat concerned with protecting our national sovereignty; 32 co-sponsors in the Senate is a good indicator they’ll do the same. It’s critical that we don’t supersize the generally flaccid United Nations with Viagra funded by our tax dollars.

Better yet, perhaps it’s time to return to discourse aimed at castrating the beast before it takes advantage of some future Reichstag fire or 9/11 to gain an unprecedented level of power.

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Heritage Foundation Immigration Policy

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The Heritage Foundation proudly boasts the following:

The principles upon which the United States is established encourage immigration from certain western European countries and force promote the transformation of those “yearning to breathe free” into Americans, welcoming white newcomers while mandating insisting that they learn English and embrace America’s racist civic culture and vote Republican political institutions. The federal government has a duty to carry out these principles in its policies, while ensuring that U.S. borders are both secure from Mexican islamofascists and open to the giant sucking sound commerce.

When at the AFF debate the other night, Wonkette’s Alex Pareene and I decided to determine if Heritage actually practices what they preach. While stepping out to grab some nicotine, I asked the INS official security guard if we could get back in the building after we finished our cigarettes. Using customer service skills sure to make a NKVD border guard proud, she informed us that the doors were locked and no one could enter the building. Considering that the guards were standing in sight of the doorway and there were only two of us out there (and a whole lot of people in the building), this didn’t seem such a monumental request to me.

I did see one Republican looking person able to cross into the Vaterland Heritage Foundation building, but when Alex tried (see photographic evidence above), his efforts were rebuffed. Their border security held, even without the assistance of Jim Gilchrist and the Minutemen. I might disagree with conservative immigration policy, but they should at least be applauded for their consistency.

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Libertarians Sh**ing on Tradition?

mattandnick.jpgLast night, America’s Future Foundation hosted their 10th Anniversary roundtable at the Heritage Foundation building. Matthew Yglesias hosted the debate between reason‘s Nick Gillespie (sans leather jacket) and NRO‘s Jonah Goldberg. As I brought along a cheap camera, I couldn’t get a good debate picture of Goldberg from my vantage point. I did manage to get this shot of Yglesias and Gillespie, though.

The beverage choices were soft drinks, wine and Coors products. Coors, IMO, is merely recycled beer. I drank the chardonnay so as not to recycle Republican money, too.

The Debate

The competition actually started during the debate warmup stretch when Gillespie warned Goldberg that he was using “performance enhancers.”

Goldberg: “Here, piss into this [or piss in this cup?].”

Gillespie: “No, I’ll save it for the debate.”

Following this repartee, the verbal duel (which was, IMO, too short) began. see more…

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More Friday Fun: “Flip flop, flip flop, flip flop”

How does an incumbent stay in office? First off, don’t have any issues. Let’s take a look at Congressman Rick Larsen’s website as an example. Larsen currently represents Washington state’s CD2. You will note a fundraising link, a contact link, pictures, press and all that other normal campaign site stuff at his campaign tube. What you won’t see is an issues page.

Fortunately, Stephen Colbert dug into the issues a bit so we can have a deeper understanding of why voters should vote for or against the candidate. Let’s take a look at immigration:

Colbert: What do you think of the proposed wall between the United States and Canada?

Larsen: I don’t support it.

Colbert: So you don’t believe that we should secure our borders.

Larsen: Yes, I believe we should secure our borders.

Colbert: How do we secure our borders without a wall?

Let’s fast forward to marijuana policy:

Colbert: Your state is one of the few that has a medical marijuana program,” Colbert said to Congressman Rick Larsen, from Washington.

Larsen: Uh huh, that’s right.

Colbert: Are you high right now?

Rep. I am not, nor have I ever been.

Colbert: I didn’t ask that part. You jumped to that pretty quickly. Seems like he doth protest too much. Are you going to tell me you didn’t kill anyone next? ‘I don’t know where the murder weapon is.’ That’s what that sounded like to me.

Larsen: I can understand what you’re saying.

Colbert: Can you? Because sometimes it can impair your hearing if you smoke dope.

You’ll have to watch the video below to catch Larsen’s view(s) on the Patriot Act, but here’s a teaser: “Flip flop, flip flop, flip flop.”

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More from the Liberty Video Channel

Speaking of political videos, check out this one from one of the members of the press who showed at the Libertarian National Convention.

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Starchild, Barr and Sarwark

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This is the first posting I’ve been able to make since getting back from the Libertarian Party convention in Portland. Many of you have been asking a lot of important questions about the convention. I’ll try to address as many of these as possible over the next few days as we catch up with blog entries and write articles and releases over at lp.org. Toward this end, I also expect to be the guest at Free Talk Live this evening, so feel free to call in and ask a question or two.

Perhaps the most burning question I’ve been asked has been the ever-so-important “What was Starchild wearing?” Here’s a picture with him, Bob Barr and our very own Nicholas Sarwark. If you can’t tell from the photo, Starchild’s sash reads: I Miss America. In what I’m guessing is an appeal to the more socially conservative wing of the party, he seems to have complimented his attire with a relatively small set of falsies.

Barr gave a good speech about what the Libertarian Party needs to do to become more electable. I’ll also add that I was very impressed with Nick’s parliamentary skills on the convention floor and with his nominating speech for incoming vice chair Chuck Moulton.

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Medical Marijuana: Contact Your Legislator Today

The Hinchey-Rohrabaher Amendment will probably hit the house floor later today or tomorrow. Now is the time to contact your legislator. Additional information and contact information is available here.

Update: The amendment failed, but it picked up new votes.

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A Burning Question

I’ve never burned an American flag (or even entertained the thought) before, but if a majority of our senators get their way, I may go Thoreau on their asses and burn one in an act of defiance. From WaPo:

A constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration is headed toward its best chance of passage in 15 years with a cliffhanger vote later this week in the Senate.

As debate opened Monday, supporters and opponents alike said the amendment is within two votes of being sent to the states for ratification. Supporters called the debate a week before Independence Day a chance for the Congress to salute veterans.

“I think of the flag as a symbol of what the veterans fought for, what they sustained wounds for, what they sustained loss of limbs for, and what they sustained loss of life for,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

Certainly Specter is smart enough to know that most veterans also value the protection of our constitutional rights, especially the right to be able to protest the actions of our government. If this proposed amendment gets a two-thirds vote in the Senate, it goes to the states for ratification. If ratified, it will bite yet another chunk out of the First Amendment.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: The Senate came just one vote short, leaving the right to burn the flag safely in the realm of allowable public dissent. (via Sploid)

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Signs of the Times

Now here’s an unusual fundraising ploy, even for Libertarians.

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Devil with the Red Dress On

We may be able to forget about blue dresses for the 2008 election cycle, as the next presidental elections may be featuring red ones. Here’s the take from Washington Monthly:

Lurking just over the horizon are liabilities for three Republicans who have topped several national, independent polls for the GOP’s favorite 2008 nominee: Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history.

This may prove interesting. In the very least, it should provide enough material keep Jon Stewart very busy. Props.

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Bipartisan “Quagmire Policy” to be Implemented to Bolster Election Results

Hillary the Hawk is trying to coo like a dove, despite her recent Pax Americana vote on the Senate floor. WaPo suggests:

But Clinton said she is not disturbed by talk of Democratic divisions. “When people say, ‘Gee, the Democrats seemed not to have a unified position,’ I can very straightforwardly say I’m proud of the debate that we’re having,” she said. “We are trying to fulfill our responsibilities, in contrast to our friends on the other side, who have abdicated theirs.”

A brief trip back the 2004 presidential elections indicates how debates between the two hawk parties affect foreign policy. I recall a lot of discourse about inconsequentials like Swift Boat veterans and the like, but don’t recall serious debate about whether the Iraq War was the right thing to do or discussion about how to send our troops home as quickly as possible. The bottom line is that nothing has changed since then, except for more dead American soldiers and more money wasted in an attempt to secure this geographical section of the American Empire.

We can look at this one of two ways. For a moment, let’s consider that the hawks are right in that “Saddama bin Laden” attacked the U.S. with his huge stockpile of WMDs that were stored in Baghdad pharmaceutical plants, hospitals and schools. There would be a reasonable argument to take this mythical person (and his military forces) out in some sort of defensive war. The way to go about conducting this war would be to ensure that every soldier, bullet and bean was available in order to accomplish the mission as quickly as possible with the lowest amount of U.S. casualties (and collateral damage) as possible.

The reality is that we have no clear mission in Iraq. Saddam has been behind bars for some time and Osama isn’t answering our RSVPs of late. It’s unclear whether we are actually sending Osama invites these days and we may not be. After all, if bin Laden was caught, it would be harder for the hawks to continue to try to justify our presense in Iraq.

With respect to bullets and beans, there have been charges (especially about body and vehicle armor) that we’ve been neglectful in this matter since hostilities started.

Now they want to send troops home. Just some of them. This year. I’d not be surprised to see a lot of noise about recent redeployments right before the November elections as over half the voters seem to be suggesting this course of action right now.

Now let me ask the the 290,871,133,895 dollar question:

Q: What do you get when military forces are deployed to a location halfway around the world with no clear mission, an inconsistent count of beans and bullets, combined with troop strength reductions for political purposes?

A: Viet Nam

While I’d disagree with him or her, an honorable hawk would want to ensure the mission was defined and that we utilized the best resources we had available to actually finish the job with the least amount of casualties — then unass the AO as quickly as possible. Others, like me, think we should never have gone to Iraq in the first place. Unfortunately for both the Iraqis and our soldiers, a third category of people are in charge.

No matter how one feels about our engagement in Viet Nam, our half-assed policy there clearly contributed to a lot of American casualties. It’s my expectation that we will start sending some troops home in time for some feel-good headlines immediately before the November elections. It’s also my expectation that the additional body bags will start coming back home shortly after these same elections.

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And They Call Libertarians Conspiracy Theorists?

croppedlpconvention.JPGYou’ve probably never heard me say anything positive about Diebold before. To be sure, I’m the one who advised Michael Badnarik to pursue recount efforts and related lawsuits in Ohio over the 2004 presidential elections. The Libertarian Party is running a candidate against Ken Blackwell, as well. With this background in place, I’ll tell you about the fun we had with this one at the office today.

Over at Democratic Underground, they are asking:

In the special election PAUL KING got 2201 votes, but King a libertarian, in his own Primary only got: 536 votes. Where did the 1665 votes come from?

Paul King is the LP candidate who recently ran against Republican Brian Bilbray and Democrat Francine Busby in the CA-50 special election for Duke Cunningham’s recently vacated seat. What they spent is a lot of time researching why King’s vote total bumped way up as compared to his primary returns and why it wasn’t consistent with Libertarian candidates in neighboring districts.

At Huffington Post, they seem to think Diebold is involved:

The CA-50 special election came up and here’s where everyone fell short. Here was an opportunity for Markos to bring up the highly dubious Diebold machines used in t’t he election and how election volunteers were allowed to bring the machines home. In addition, where was the mention that, with Bilbray’s margin of victory at round 6,000 votes, there are still, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, more than 34,000 absentee and provisional ballots that haven’t been counted yet? Why did Busby concede knowing this? Why did Libertarian candidate Paul King receive roughly 500 more votes (2201 votes so far) than any other Libertarian running (around 1700 each) in Tuesday’s vote? Even if the additional ballots are counted and Bilbray still wins, there are some puzzling questions that need answers.

Guess what, guys. It’s the new super top secret GOTV tool the Libertarian Party will be implementing soon. All of the details won’t be announced until the LP Convention, but here’s the teaser we put out (since everyone gave us such a sweet opening for it) today:

Technology’s hand was at work, but it wasn’t Diebold deviousness. Rather, it was a successful trial run of a new LP GOTV (Get Out the Vote) project and the hard work of a handful of dedicated Libertarians who volunteered their time.

Developed by LPHQ and one great consultant, this new tool allows Libertarian volunteers to help boost LP vote totals, including gaining and maintaining ballot status. .

Stay tuned for more. This project is set to be officially unveiled at this year’s Libertarian Party National Convention over July Fourth Weekend.

I’d suggest we could all remove our tin foil hats if I hadn’t found out about some mystery lettering (illustrated above) at the front page for the LP Convention site. Perhaps the Libertarian Party has been hacked by evil Diebold programmers after all.

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“Jogging Quilled Rodents” to Meet in NH

The cute little “jogging quilled rodents” will be gathering this weekend in Lancaster, New Hampshire. From the Washington Times:

A group that hopes to turn New Hampshire into a libertarian haven will gather this weekend in Lancaster, N.H., for an “activist boot camp.”

The Free State Project is trying to get 20,000 “liberty-oriented people” to move to New Hampshire as “a strategy for reducing the role of government.”

This weekend’s “Porcupine Freedom Festival” in Lancaster will work to familiarize potential recruits with New Hampshire, including “job opportunities, and state and local politics,” according to the group’s Web site (www.freestateproject.org).

I’ll make the point that this event is affectionately known as the “Porc Fest”, which is not to be confused with the Pork Fest conducted three miles down the road from my office. Wait a minute. I forgot that it seems that some of the Pork Fest may be conducted in the same complex as my office.

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Not a Newsflash: Another Public Official Convicted for Influence Peddling

The sun rose this morning. Washington insiders were found guilty of lying and obstructing justice. I had to reboot my Windows OS computer twice today. Not an atypical day, so far.

Here’s the scoop on the middle not-so-newsworthy occurence:

A federal jury convicted a former White House official, David Safavian, of lying and obstructing justice in the first trial to come out of the influence-peddling investigation of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Safavian, 38, was found guilty yesterday of three counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice. He was acquitted of another obstruction charge. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The verdict validates the Justice Department’s strategy of relying on e-mail messages to show that Safavian concealed the inside help he gave to Abramoff. Without calling Abramoff to the witness stand, prosecutors Peter Zeidenberg and Nathaniel Edmonds painted Safavian as a public servant led astray by lavish gifts.

I’m trying to think of any real solution to graft and influence peddling in politics. If anyone has an idea (short of anarchy or nukes), please let me know.

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