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.

First Day on the New Job

Today was/is my official first day on the new job at LPHQ. We managed to get out a web release on stolen identification data and a blog entry on a review of the new Ed Thompson documentary. I’m sure Shane Cory and I will be bantering back and forth about this forever, but I still prefer WordPress to Moveable Type.

I also started work on obtaining and coordinating media for the LP Convention and was interviewed by two publications — in addition to the routine administrative tasks which needed to be done. I’m going to try to clean out my electronic inbox and finally get some laundry started. Overall, it was an enjoyable first day — and the people working in the office have been great.

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Libertarians Beating Republicans at MySpace

During an interview, a reporter just brought something to my attention. The Libertarian Party group over at MySpace.com has twice as many members as the Republican Party group. The Democrats hold a significant lead at the moment, but you can sign up here to change that.

Here’s how the current numbers break down:

Republican: 3895 members
Libertarian: 7769 members
Democrat: 49450 members

I’m not very surprised at leading the GOP, though. The top-down approach used by many Republicans can’t work very well within the social networking framework of sites like MySpace.

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Free Market Solution for Aging Homosexuals

What’s the best retirement solution for all of the people who came out of the closet in the 60s and 70s? As many retirement homes won’t allow gay partners to cohabitate in their facilities and a lot of gay people prefer living in some sort of gay community, the solution some might suggest is for the government to build large retirement facilities for homosexuals. There’s no need for government intervention, as the free market has already solved the problem. From the AP:

An elderly lesbian couple is housed on separate floors of a nursing home and kept from seeing each other. A gay retired college professor feels compelled to keep his sexual orientation a secret after his roommate at an assisted living facility asks to be transferred.

“I thought, ‘We are not going to be in that situation,'” the 67-year-old Norris says crisply. “This is not going to happen to us in our final days.”

That’s how the two New Yorkers, partners for 14 years, landed at Rainbow Vision, a just-completed senior community in Santa Fe, N.M. From the private dining room named after Truman Capote to the cabaret where ’60s teen icon Lesley “It’s My Party” Gore was scheduled to appear this weekend, everything about the 146-unit retirement village was designed with the comfort of graying gays and lesbians in mind.

In such senior-heavy locales as California, Arizona and Florida, as well as less traditionally gay-friendly places like North Carolina and Texas, builders have found a market in a segment of the gay population that worries getting old will mean going back in the closet. […]

“In a retirement community, you want to be with people of like minds and like interests, whether it’s a golf community or a religious community,” said Bonnie McGowan, who is spearheading Birds of a Feather, a second gay senior complex in New Mexico. “Until I feel safe walking down the street holding a woman’s hand … and not feel like I’m going to offend even one person, there is a need for this.”

At HoT, we frequently bitch about government sticking its fingers where they don’t belong, but we don’t cover enough good news about the free market solving problems before people start considering government involvement. Perhaps we should ^5 marketplace solutions more often.

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Robber Sues His Victims

Guy tries to hold up an AutoZone at gunpoint. Employees beat would be robber with a metal pipe and take his gun. Robber sues employees for the beating. From the AP:

Dana Buckman, 46, walked into an auto shop brandishing a semiautomatic pistol last summer, only to have it turned on him by two AutoZone employees, police said. The men beat Buckman with a metal pipe and held him with his own gun.

Buckman escaped and was arrested a week later.

He pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery and was sentenced to 18 years in prison as a repeat violent felon.

Buckman claims the men chased him out of the store and continued to beat him. He is suing the auto shop and the men for the injuries he suffered and for emotional distress.

“In some respects, you wonder if a case like this even needs a defense. It speaks for itself,” said lawyer Patrick B. Naylon, who represents AutoZone and the employees.

I’d sure love to be selected as a juror in this trial.

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Info Source for Polibloggers

If you’re a writer and having trouble finding political material to cover, there’s a site out there overflowing with blog fodder. The Hill Blog has quite a few congresscritters placing blog entries on their site. I’ll provide a few recent examples from the site.

Legislation can stop hurricanes:

La. Dem. Sen. Mary Landrieu: “After several long days and nights of bipartisan negotiations and waiting, I was proud to sign the conference report that will bring so many Louisianians one step closer to hope for their rebuilding and protection.”

Google and MySpace are small players in the Internet market:

Calif. Dem. Rep. Lois Capps: “This is a bad idea for two reasons. First, it means that small players on the Internet will find it harder to use the world wide reach of the Internet to bring their new ideas to market. This could prevent the next Google or MySpace from emerging due to the inability to pay phone and cable company fees for the “fast lane” of internet access.”

Strengthening the bond between major corporations and the government:

Ill. GOP Rep. John Shimkus: “This legislation simply helps establish some certainty for companies making a huge financial commitment and long time commitment to building a new refinery. A federal coordinator would be established who would work with the federal agencies involved in the permitting process. The agencies would have to stick to their time lines without endless delays in making decisions.”


Common Americans are terrorists and enemies of the government
:

Kan. GOP Rep. Todd Tiahrt: “First and foremost, we are a nation at war. One of our most important weapons in this war against terror is information. The Terrorist Surveillance Program is crucial to gathering intelligence on terrorist activities.”

I’m certainly bookmarking this site for slow news days.

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A Tale of Two Boo-Boos

The prostitute on down on 14th Street says she’s practicing abstinence, the used car salesman says every car he sells is in perfect condition, and “The candidate for congressional District 10 says he is not using media.”

The latter statement is from the subtitle of an article about Texas Libertarian Party congressional candidate Michael Badnarik.

Wiki defines media this way:

Media (the plural of medium) is a truncation of the term media of communication, referring to those organized means of dissemination of fact, opinion, entertainment, and other information, such as newspapers, magazines, cinema films, radio, television, the World Wide Web, billboards, books, CDs, DVDs, videocassettes, computer games and other forms of publishing.

I’d suggest that the Houston Chronicle is not merely media, but would also be considered mainstream media. The mistake is probably the fault of a copy editor, as the writer covered the following:

However, Badnarik plans to bypass broadcast media and take his message directly to voters in the 10th Congressional District, which stretches from Harris County to Travis County, by handing out video discs explaining his positions. He faces incumbent Michael McCaul, a Republican, and Ted Ankrum, a Democrat.

I know some of my friends will criticize Allen Hacker for not using commercial advertising, but it clearly makes sense in this case. Take a look at the major media markets in the congressional district and you’ll see that most of them cover significant areas outside the district. Thin gerrymandered districts that only encompass the outside regions of the two major metropolitan areas in the congressional district make broadcast advertising pretty expensive for any candidate, much less a Libertarian running on a low budget.

Targeting district voters with a CD-ROM makes perfect sense. Direct mail campaigns make sense. Billboards make sense. Dumping half a million into advertising in other congressional districts does not.

I did talk with Allen Hacker and it does seem that Badnarik stepped on it with one small issue. Hacker confirmed Badnarik’s quote about being the only “true Libertarian” in Congress if he’s elected. In the libertarian world, we are used to the differentiation between Libertarian and libertarian, but this isn’t so apparent to the rest of the world. I’m told there was no intent to slight Representative Ron Paul, and my understanding is that there is an apology being e-mailed to Dr. Paul at this moment.

UPDATE: Here’s the apology I mentioned: see more…

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My final view of the Alabama political scene

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vulcanbutt.jpgAlabama Primary Election

I’ve been very critical of Republicans for the last few years, but Alabama Democrats have to take the booby prize for being the most whacked out people in the state. To be fair to Republicans, they had but two choices in the June 6 primary: To vote for tax loving Governor Bob Riley or to vote for graven image worshipping Judge Roy Moore. It’s almost ironic that Riley won by the same margin his billion dollar tax plan lost by in 2003.

Democrats had a lot more choice in their primary. In the governor’s race, Lt. Governor Lucy Baxley’s “duck the issues” strategy won, probably because she was facing former Governor Don Seigelman, who is still on trial for serious ethics violations. They also chose Nancy “Eddie Bauer” Worley over “Ethical Ed” Packard. However, the Attorney General race is what exposed what Alabama Democrats think about racial issues.

Larry Darby has been thoroughly exposed in the state and national media as being a racist. This clip from The Birmingham News should provide a clear enough picture: see more…

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The Libertarian Party and the Internet

Unlike 2004, the 2006 Libertarian Party National Convention now considers bloggers journalists. Look at what was written just two years ago:

But for all the media attention libertarians clamor for, there’s been little progress in growing it’s base through bloggers and the blogosphere. While every candidate has established their own blog, with varying degrees of feedback to entries, it seems that only the Democrats have fully embraced the blogosphere as a tool for propagating the campaign message and creating virtual echo chambers. All three libertarian candidates had blogs on their site and considered them to be useful for keeping their supporters informed.

The Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts has even gone so far as to invite bloggers to their convention and give them press credentials; Nearly fifty made the deadline. While the bloggers at the DNC will not enjoy full press credentials like those working for newspapers and magazines, it marks a shift in the definition of press.

In contrast to the DNC, the Libertarian Convention declined to give out credentials. George Getz, the Communications Director, said that the issue had been raised during a committee meeting and the result was that blogging did not constitute “legitimate media,” but that exceptions could be made for large Internet-only publications. The criteria was based on popularity by Alexa scoring, and when asked to give an example of a legitimate site, Drudge Report was given. The press credential requirements seemed overly restrictive for a party which is in such need of coverage.

When informed of the requirements, Nolan and Russo were critical of such a policy. “You take whatever coverage that you can get,” Nolan said, adding that the view was “myopic.” For Russo the reason the LPC didn’t invite bloggers was that “there are a lot of people in the party who are more concerned about image than they are about being genuine. That needs to change.” Badnarik’s response was glib, that he was “sure it was not an intentional slighting,” but that blogs “have not come of age yet.”

It’s interesting that Stephen VanDyke wrote that article for WatchBlog in 2004. I ran the Russo campaign (and his blog). I eventually became the Communications Director for the Badnarik campaign, blogged there and eventually was able to bring VanDyke on board to run the website. Now I’m to be the new Communications Director for the LP while co-blogging here with the very same Stephen VanDyke who wrote that initial article.

It’s a new game with a new dealer and a fresh deck of cards. If you’d like to cover the LP Convention on your blog, here’s the application form for media credentials.

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Felony Tax Prosecution Dismissed in Federal Court

taxforms.jpgI’m not recommending that you try this one at home, but it appears to have worked for Robert Lawrence in federal District Court in Illinois. Here’s the scoop from We the People:

On Wednesday, May 10, Stilley mailed a set of documents to the DOJ in response to DOJ’s discovery demands. The documents revealed to DOJ for the first time that Lawrence was basing his entire defense on an act of Congress, 44 U.S.C. 3500 ““ 3520, also known as the “Paperwork Reduction Act” (PRA).

In Section 3512 of the Act, titled “Public Protection,” it says that no person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with an agency’s collection of information request (such as a 1040 form), if the request does not display a valid control number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in accordance with the requirements of the Act, or if the agency fails to inform the person who is to respond to the collection of information that he is not required to respond to the collection of information request unless it displays a valid control number.

In Section 3512 Congress went on to authorize that the protection provided by Section 3512 may be raised in the form of a complete defense at any time during an agency’s administrative process (such as an IRS Tax Court or Collection and Due Process Hearing) or during a judicial proceeding (such as Lawrence’s criminal trial).

In sum, the PRA requires that all government agencies display valid OMB control numbers and certain disclosures directly on all information collection forms that the public is requested to file. Lawrence’s sole defense was he was not required to file an IRS Form 1040 because it displays an invalid OMB control number.

I’m not going to engage in the debate over the fraudulent nature of the IRS or the ratification of the 16th Amendment, but I do find it really cool that the IRS got zinged on a paperwork reduction procedure. If any agency deserves to be targeted for bureaucratic paperwork requirements, it’s the IRS.

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Florida: Frank Gonzalez Endorsed by DFC

FrankCSPAN.jpgBecause of my recent move (I still don’t have reliable Internet access; “they” tell me to wait until Wednesday) to D.C., I’ve fallen behind on a few postings. One of them was about the Democratic Freedom Caucus endorsement of Frank Gonzalez in Florida’s 21st congressional district. Gonzalez ran for the same seat as a Libertarian in 2004, earning 27.2% of the vote. Gonzalez is running as a Democrat this time and will face the Republican incumbent Lincoln Diaz-Balart in the November election.

From the DFC endorsement:

The Democratic Freedom Caucus (DFC) endorses Frank Gonzalez for congress, running in District 21 in Florida.

Frank has freedom-oriented stands on civil liberties and economic liberty, in which he includes stopping corporate welfare and other favoritism to special interests — those stands are reflected in his statements on the DFA Link page, and on his campaign site:

DFA link: http://www.dfalink.com/campaign.php?id=1137
Campaign website: http://www.electfrank.org

Frank has been participating in the DFC’s email list, dfc_talk, where among other things, he indicated that he also agrees with the DFC Platform’s views regarding tax reform and using the most appropriate, least harmful taxes.

H/T to Logan.

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A Little Too Ironic (And Yeah I Really Do Think…)

Here’s a new video on the Patriot Act. H/T to Tim West.

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Wisconsin Senate Race: GOP Defection to the Libertarian Party

Here’s the release I’ve been getting in my e-mail all day long

U.S. Senate Candidate Redick, Disgusted With GOP, Joins Libertarians

MADISON, WI: Former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dave Redick announced today that he has joined the Libertarian Party, and has re-filed to run for U.S. Senate this fall as a Libertarian.

Dave says; “The Republican Party nationwide is off course compared to it’s traditional values, and Republican leaders at the State, and County level seem to like it that way (or at least will settle to be submissive and abused “loyalists” to DC). The far-right religious groups, corrupt Congressmen, and warmonger “neocons” have taken over in DC, and it seems no one is willing or able to push them back. It is now the war, big-spending, and homeland spy party. My campaign efforts to gain support for reform have been fruitless, but revealed the depth of trouble the Republicans are in. While they engage in self-serving denial to hide problems, the cliff of the November 7 election is fast approaching. Pollsters predict many losses.

Hence I have left the Republicans to their well-earned fate, and joined the Libertarian “Party of Principle.” It embraces my philosophy of limited government, fiscal conservatism, and peace, along with social liberalism consistent with the Bill of Rights. These values and principles have been mine since becoming politically active in 1978, and on my web site since my announcement for Senate in January, 2006.

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Barry Hess Launches Campaign Website

One of the websites I’d been working on before taking the new job at LP headquarters was for Barry Hess, who is running for governor of Arizona. As I won’t be able to run that site with my new job, Seth Cohn has taken it over. Seth did a great job of finishing my work, and the site was launched today.

They are still tweaking and adding content, but it looks (and seems to act) pretty good. Stephen VanDyke did most of the graphics, I did most of the CivicSpace work, and Seth stepped in and fixed all my errors (and did a CivicSpace upgrade). The database on the back end rocks, and PayPal now integrates into the database. The API was a chore, but it works great now.

Barry Hess is the Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Arizona.

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An Inconvenient Libertarian Video Clip William Weld Doesn’t Want You to Watch

As you will see in this video, Bill Weld stated with no hesitation or doubt that he’d run for Governor of New York even if he didn’t get the Republican nomination.

Q: I want to make sure that you are going to stick through to this to the end, no matter what threats you get from the Republican Party. And by the way, will you run even if you don’t get the Republican Party nomination?

Weld: Yes and yes.

As we reported earlier today, Weld dropped the race. Here’s how ABC News covered it:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld dropped out of the race for governor of New York on Tuesday, averting a potentially bruising and expensive primary for the Republican nomination.

“I do think there’s a time to look beyond your aspirations for the bigger picture,” Weld said. “This is not a time for a contested primary.”

The move came days after the state GOP establishment threw its support to Weld’s rival, former state Assembly Minority Leader John Faso. If Weld had stayed in the race, he would have faced Faso in a primary in September.

Please pardon the Clintonism, but it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘yes’ is. Props.

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The US Leads the World Again

prisonrates2.jpg

Props.

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George Bush Accused of Bisexuality

bushpirssy.gifI have no clue as to whether the information provided is accurate or not, but I’ve gotten so many tips and e-mails about it today that I’m sure the issue isn’t going to just disappear. Here’s the news release in question:

This Monday, George W. Bush will address the nation, calling for a constitional amendment to ban gay marriage. If he does not admit that he’s a gay American (or perhaps bisexual), this speech will be as false as all his other public statements.

Too bad I won’t be doing the rebuttal. In 1984 I watched George W. Bush enthusiastically and expertly perform a homosexual act on another man, one Victor Ashe.

Ashe is the current U.S. ambassador to Poland; and he too should come out, like former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevy, and admit to being a gay American.

Other homo-erotic acts were also performed by then-private citizen George W. Bush. I know this because I performed one of them on him myself.

My full account of this activity is on-line at bushssecretlifein84.tripod.com, which has been up for nearly two years now. Bush’s sex life should, of course, be no one’s business but his own; however, his craven effort to reverse his slide in the opinion polls by using the “Defense of Marriage Act” to divide Americans must be exposed as the act of a desperate closet case.

Before impugning the humanity of gays who seek to marry”“just as he was free to marry”“Bush should come clean with the American people and admit his own past sexual behavior. He should admit that he violated his own marriage vows by having a furtive homosexual affair with a longtime family friend.

I had planned to run for governor of Nevada without going into any of this, but the president’s hypocrisy compels me to go public with the story now, before he tries to do more harm to millions of his fellow-citizens.

It was signed in this manner:

Leola McConnell
Liberal Democratic Candidate for Governor of Nevada

More information on the allegations is available here and here.

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Weld Dropping NY Race?

It looks like Bill Weld is going to drop his gubernatorial race in New York. From Fox23:

With support for a run eroding, Republican Bill Weld will drop out of the race for New York governor, according to two sources informed of the decision.

The former Massachusetts governor ended his effort to be the first man since Sam Houston to be the governor of two states after he was defeated last week in a quest for the party designation against John Faso, the former Assembly minority leader.

Weld decided Tuesday morning to drop out, said the two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Weld wanted to make the announcement publicly himself.

Weld scheduled an 11:30 a.m. press conference at his Manhattan headquarters.

UPDATE: I’ve been told by multiple sources that Weld agreed to run with or without Republican support. I’m not sure whether this was at the NY LP Convention or in some meeting shortly before the meeting. If anyone knows of exactly what was said and agreed upon, please let me know.

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Sue Jeffers to Challenge Pawlenty in Primary

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This is the release from the Jeffers Campaign:

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Just two days before the start of the Minnesota Republican State Convention, Party officials had finally relented and scheduled an appointment for Sue Jeffers with the convention’s Nominating Committee. Wasting no time with formalities, the committee’s first question was about ties with the Libertarian Party. Jeffers explained that her first contacts were with the Republican Party and she had continued to be in contact with party officials up until a month ago. The Committee’s questioning of Sue Jeffers also focused on where she had obtained access to the Republican delegates’ list. “You mean the four copies I’ve received?” Jeffers asked the stunned committee. Jeffers refused to name names.

In the end, the committee decided (not unexpectedly) not to find Jeffers, “qualified.” Qualified is a new language twist in the convention endorsement rules this year.

Jeffers still maintains she is a qualified candidate, first and foremost by being a citizen of Minnesota. “Our Founding Fathers had a vision of a citizen-legislature – ordinary folks doing our civic duty and then stepping aside. Public service is not something only for the rich, well connected or an incumbent who has strayed from conservative principles,” Jeffers said.

While Jeffers was appearing before the committee, the convention was already getting underway. A motion to seat alternates was made unexpectedly, ahead of the scheduled itinerary. Chaos had ensued, as Party Officials had removed the registration rolls from the Congressional District tables, and alternates were unable to determine if they were seated or not. Senate District Chairs worked feverishly to seat their alternates, while voting of the proposed rules of the convention carried on. Half of the convention’s voting strength was in the hall, unable to vote or offer discussion.

A group of delegates, sympathetic to Jeffers’ right to speak at the convention were determined to strike certain new language from the convention rules, which forbids nominations from the floor. A dozen of them were prepared to make motions and offer discussion on the rules, but never had the opportunity to address the chair on the issue. Procedural tricks were used to prevent the issue being raised.

Many delegates expressed confusion, and then anger at the process. “They really rammed that though,” said Dave Shegstad, a delegate who ran for Minneapolis City Council last year. “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Why are they so afraid to hear another voice?” he mused.

Endorsement proceedings for the gubernatorial candidate were unexpectedly moved from the scheduled time on Saturday to Friday afternoon. This schedule change disrupted plans by a delegate caucus opposed to the new Twins ballpark that had planned to voice their concerns.

After Pawlenty’s gubernatorial candidate speech, without a motion to endorse for governor being made, seconded, discussed or voted on, a co-chair approached the podium to call for a vote. While Pawlenty’s speech was being applauded, the co-chair said, “Seeing that there is only one candidate, all in favor of endorsing Tim Pawlenty say aye.” Applause continued, but many delegates remained seated and silent. The gavel was banged, and Tim Pawlenty gave an immediate acceptance speech followed by a balloon drop and a music and light show.

Attendance was very low for the convention. Some out-state delegates said the cost was prohibitive. Others cited a lackluster agenda and no competition without Jeffers speaking. At one point it was questioned whether a quorum was present and on Friday, there was doubt enough delegates were present to achieve the 60% threshold required for an endorsement.

“This entire convention was just a show,” said delegate Dave Rasmus, “they work on the platform as a pacifier, so delegates think they have a say, but the candidates the leadership pushes through don’t even follow half of the platform. It’s just a big show.”

For her part, Sue Jeffers wasn’t discouraged. “It went pretty much how I expected,” she said. She plans to continue the race, mounting a primary challenge for the Republican spot on the ballot. “I’m taking my case straight to the people, and the powers that be in the party can’t shut me up anymore.”

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Nall’s Not Dropping Out

According to the AP, Loretta Nall didn’t obtain enough signatures to get on the ballot in Alabama. The deadline is 5PM tonight.

The colorful Libertarian Party nominee for governor, Loretta Nall, said Monday she will run as a write-in candidate after failing to get enough signatures to get her name on the general election ballot.

“I’m not dropping out,” Nall said.

Tuesday is the deadline for third-party candidates to turn in voters’ signatures to the secretary of state to get ballot access for Nov. 7. Nall needed 41,300 signatures to get on the general election ballot. She said she and her supporters collected between 10,000 and 15,000 signatures, which she plans to turn in Tuesday to make a point about Alabama having one of the nation’s toughest ballot access laws for third parties.

“In almost any other state, that would have been enough to get ballot access,” she said.

Nall, who founded the U.S. Marijuana Party after her misdemeanor arrest for marijuana in 2002, has already proven to be a colorful addition to the gubernatorial contest even without ballot access. Her Web site discussions about why she doesn’t wear panties and her animated fundraising gimmick, “Stripping for Cash,” have attracted about as much attention on the Internet as the mainstream candidates.

Nall said she plans to keep attracting attention by developing campaign ads that are a parody of the MTV show “Celebrity Death Match.” Candidates will try to knock off each other with over-the-top campaign promises, like trying to prove who hates homosexuals the most, she said.

“I have the best time with these idiots,” she said.

However, she intends to turn in around 70,000 signatures by deadline. How does that make sense? You’ll have to read the tomorrow’s report to find out.

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Bush Pandering for 2006 GOP Votes

George Bush on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, via Washington Blade:

“Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the structure of the family,” said Bush, who raised the issue’s profile with an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Bush criticized judges who have overturned state laws similar in intent to the proposed legislation. “Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges,” he said.

Traditional marriage, Bush said, is the cornerstone of a healthy society and the issue should be put “back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people.”

Bush is engaged in election year pandering to conservatives, many of whom currently hate his guts — by trying to divert attention from his failed domestic, foreign and economic policies.

The obvious ultimate solution is not a constitutional amendment which moves the separation of church and state line even closer to Big Brother’s house, but to get the government out of the picture. Even Christian groups are stating that marriage should not be licensed by the government.

What began in the United States as local methods of keeping blacks and whites from marrying each other are now turning into a national constitutional issue. The last time I checked, marriage was a covenent between two people and God or a contract between two or more people of various sexualities. It’s time to get the Feds out of our religious and private lives.

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Information Just Wants to be Free

Pirate Bay vs. HollywoodWhen discussing copyrights for music and videos with one of my hacker friends, he always maintains that such protections will never ultimately work. His reason is that information has a natural tendency to eventually become part of the public domain, no matter what is done to protect it.

They just shut down Pirate Bay servers in Sweden, but they’ll be back up again soon. From the AP:

Hundreds of people waving signs and skull-and-crossbones pirate flags demonstrated in Stockholm on Saturday against a police crackdown on a popular file-sharing Web site with millions of users worldwide.

Dozens of police officers conducted raids in 10 locations Wednesday, seizing servers and other computer equipment in their crackdown on The Pirate Bay site.

But the site was back up Saturday, and spokesman Tobias Andersson said it would be “bigger and better than ever.”

No matter how one feels about intellectual property rights, a simple fact is that there is no way to stop the pirating of audio and video on the Internet. So long as there is one country in the world which doesn’t respect contemporary intellectual property laws, there will be servers there — unless it becomes cheaper to simply run the servers somewhere offshore.

There is no technology which can prevent someone from copying audio. No matter how encrypted and electronically safeguarded, it is a simple matter to patch the analog audio output to some sort of recording device and then distribute the results. While more complicated, the same holds true for video. They can keep shutting down the Napsters and Pirate Bays, but they will continue to sprout like weeds anyway.

Perhaps the Motion Picture Association of America and the music recording industry need to start rethinking their marketing and distribution mechanisms. People still pay to see live music and to attend the theater.

While the recording industry has held consumers captive for decades, the millions and millions of torrents and downloads clearly indicate that no Stockholm Syndrome has taken effect. To be sure, it may be Stockholm that takes the recording industry down by freeing the music and video that people so desperately wish to obtain at no financial expense.

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Portland Hilton to be a Free Speech Zone again

In 2002, police aggressively confronted environmental, anti-war and other protestors in downtown Portland, Oregon — where President Bush was speaking at a fundraiser for the re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith at the Portland Hilton and Executive Tower.

In the late afternoon, police declared a state of emergency, and threatened to arrest anyone who did not disperse. Very few people heard these announcements and police did not give the crowd time to comply. The police then turned violent, shooting people with rubber bullets and pepper-spraying many others. Children were among the victims of chemical attacks, including a 10 month old baby.

In 2006, the Libertarian Party will hold its national convention at the same hotel. Unlike the barbed wire and riot police surrounded “Free Speech Zones” which encompass the president, no tear gas or rubber bullets will be required this time. Unlike New York, protest permits won’t even be an issue.

Perhaps Republicans could learn something from this contrast. The Libertarian Party opposes the preemptive war in Iraq and supports free speech rights. The Republican Party supports preemptive war and denies freedom of speech and assembly. Millions of people have taken to the streets to protest Republican policies over the last few years. There has never been a riot precipitated by Libertarian storm troopers.

In addition to their official policy, typical grassroots Republican sentiment is displayed here:

al you fucks are faggots. how the hell can this bull-shit be compared to the holocaust. those protesters didn’t know shit. you don’t like the government, then get the fuck out of this country.

Below is new footage of the 2002 Portland atrocities. Most of the footage was taken from police video, so you’ll get to see it from their visual perspective. This video is something every true patriot should watch. H/T to Carl H.

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Badnarik/Cobb Arrest Now Archived

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badnarik_arrest_front.jpgOne of the things that concerned me when Blognarik was down was that the permanent record of Michael Badnarik’s and David Cobb’s arrest would be forever lost and not even become a historical footnote. Since they’ve recovered that portion of the site, I’ve archived that page at the Libertarian Party of Alabama website. I also added primary and secondary links to the event at Badnarik’s Wikipedia entry.

For those of you unfamiliar with what happened because the mainstream media decided this event wasn’t important enough to cover, here are the first few entries from the log Stephen VanDyke and I worked very hard on that night:

8:38PM CT

The first report from St. Louis is in – and presidential candidates Michael Badnarik (Libertarian) and David Cobb (Green Party) were just arrested. Badnarik was carrying an Order to Show Cause, which he intended to serve the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Earlier today, Libertarians attempted to serve these same papers at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the CPD – but were stopped from approaching the CPD office by security guards.

Fred Collins reported to me from the ground that Badnarik and Cobb are in great physical condition and great spirit.

As soon as more details are available, they will be posted here immediately.

8:51PM CT

I just spoke with Jon Airheart on his cellular telephone. He reports that while he could see no handcuffs, both Badnarik and Cobb had their hands behind their backs, as if they were handcuffed. Airheart also confirms that Badnarik did have the papers to serve the CPD in his jacket pocket.

9:09PM CT

The first AP report just hit Google News:

Just as the debate began, two third-party presidential candidates purposely crossed a police barricade and were arrested. Green Party presidential candidate David Cobb and Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik were protesting their exclusion from the debate

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10:09PM CT

My cell phone is ringing off the hook. There is no way to catch up with all of the messages left – and I am sure the memory is full by now. Things are going too fast to keep up with them.

Jon Airheart just reported that he and Fred Collins are catching a taxi to the jail where Mike is currently located. The address is 200 South Tucker Street, St. Louis, MO. Jon stated that there were over one hundred police officers with helmets and shields in the particular line they crossed.

Thomas Knapp just reported that prior to their arrests, Badnarik and Cobb explained to the crowd why they chose civil disobedience to express their message. He stated that Badnarik had to “bodily” push his way through the police line. Once through, he peacefully surrendered, was handcuffed, and taken out of direct sight.

While the mainstream media may continue to pander to the power players in DC, netizens will always have this historical reference of their complete lack of journalistic ethics.

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