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Archive for July, 2007

We’ve been over at the new site for six months or so .

The last three months have been about even in visits and page views:

http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s28lastfreevoice&r=33

The last few weeks we have added a LFV group on
facebook
and a LFV page on myspace. Our newest blogger, not yet on the about LFV page, is the world famous (or is that infamous?) Steve Gordon.

I’ve been putting out posts like this on group emails to the bloggers here and on our facebook page, but I usually don’t get a lot of response to those, so I thought I would throw it out here; I hope Stuart and others don’t mind if we get some reader input here.

Should we add more writers here? If so, how many should we have? Several people have asked to be added; I’m not sure if there are more interested who have not let us know (if so, post it in the comments). Have we already reached a saturation point, or have any people who have asked to be added and not been added just been overlooked?

I have a couple of ideas I’d like to test out here if any of the other folks here are interested; one is to have a LFV blog talk radio show (I’ll co-host if anyone is interested), and another is to have some of the writers (those who have webcams – that would not be me) record our own Video Blogs.

Besides that, open forum time: what subjects are we covering too much or too little? What have been your most and least favorite posts and/or comments? What can we do to make this place more interesting and popular?

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Here is an organization I hope everyone will get more active in supporting…I received a notice
from its chairman, Mark Rutherford, through facebook.

July 23rd I’ll be flying to Atlanta and having dinner with current Libertarian Party of Alabama Chairman Stephen Gorden, Deborah Gordon and a very influential national political figure. Stephen and I will be introducing Atlas!PAC to this influential person. Please invite fellow libertarians to join Atlas!PAC. Although we just started, we’ve already sent four Libertarians for campaign training to Washington, D.C. and our sponsorship of the Region Three Convention will enable several student libertarians to receive fund raising training free of charge.

Spread the word! Atlas!PAC is finally helping libertarians do the practical things needed to get elected.

Remember, I’d rather have Libertarians on the inside then the outside. You can changes things easier from the inside.

Mark W. Rutherford
Chairman
Atlas!PAC

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Tiny Brain No Problem for French Tax Official

Something that many people secretly believed has been confirmed: You don’t actually need a brain to work in a tax office. A French civil servant has been found to have a huge cavity filled with fluid in his head — yet lives a completely normal life.

The commonly spouted wisdom that people only use 10 percent of their brain power may have been dismissed as a myth, but one French man seems to be managing fine with just a small fraction of his actual brain.

In fact the man, who works as a civil servant in southern France, has succeeded in living an entirely normal life despite a huge fluid-filled cavity taking up most of the space where his brain should be.

Neurologists at the University of Marseille described the incredible case in the latest edition of the medical journal Lancet published Friday.They describe how the 44-year-old man went to the hospital in 2003 because he felt a mild weakness in his left leg. When the doctors went to look at his brain to see if the problem lay there, they found, well, pretty much nothing but a great black hole.

Scans of the man's brain show the huge fluid-filled chamber and the thin sheet of actual brain tissue.

Scans of the man’s brain show the huge fluid-filled chamber and the thin sheet of actual brain tissue.

The man told the hospital that as a child he had suffered from hydrocephalus (also known as “water on the brain”), a condition in which an abnormal ammount of cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain cavities, causing pressure inside the skull. To treat the condition, a valve known as a “shunt” had been inserted in his head to drain away the fluid when he was a six-month old baby. It was removed when he was 14.This information prompted the doctors to give him a computed tomography scan (CT) and a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI). They then saw that there was what they — somewhat euphemistically — called a “massive enlargement” of the lateral ventricles, chambers that hold the fluid which cushions and protects the brain and which are usually tiny.

Dr. Lionel Fuillet, who headed the team that treated the man, told the Agence France Presse agency that a huge cavity had built up filled with fluid, while a thin sheet of functioning brain tissue, the proverbial grey matter, “was completely pushed back to the inner walls of the cranium.”

Tests showed that the man’s IQ is 75 — the average is 100 — but he was not considered physically or mentally disabled. Fuillet said that his condition had not impared his development or his socialization. He is married with two children and works in the tax office — which is perhaps not the most “taxing” of jobs.

“The case is extreme, but there are other cases of patients with incredibly little brain matter,” Florian Heinen, a brain development expert at the Dr. von Hauner’s Children’s Hospital at Munich University, explained to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Obviously these few nerve cells can achieve just as much as the millions more cells that other people have.”

I bet if they did an MRI on Dubya, they’d find a similar lack of brain matter. That sure would explain a lot, wouldn’t it? LOL

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The following links are permanent, because they are based on the candidate’s FEC registration number, so those interested in such things may want to bookmark them (or bookmark this page, whichever is easier). Each candidate page lists links to contributions, reports, and all kinds of interesting things.

What I found most interesting of all, though, is that the much-touted Wayne Allyn Root is not even registered with the FEC as a candidate, libertarian or otherwise. Dondero isn’t registered with the FEC for his alleged run against Ron Paul, either.

George Phillies: One contributor has donated over $1000. It appears that Dr. Phillies has donated much more to his own campaign than what I originally thought. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s interesting if his own contributions are being counted in overall contributions for the quarter for comparison purposes with other LP candidates.

Steve Kubby: Three contributors have donated over $1000 each; two of them have given $2000. Kubby has not contributed any funds to his own campaign, and that’s okay too.

Christine Smith: One person has contributed $2000. Ms. Smith also received an individual contribution from someone who works for the Oregon LP. She has not contributed to her own campaign.

Mike Jingozian: Jingozian has received no contributions.

Alden Link: Link is registered with the FEC as a Republican presidential candidate. He has received no contributions.

Bob Jackson: Jackson has received no contributions.

Daniel Imperato: Imperato is registered with the FEC as an Independent. He has received no contributions.

Barry Hess: Not registered with FEC

Wayne Allyn Root: Not registered with FEC

Robert Milnes: Not registered with FEC

Dave Hollist: Not registered with FEC

John Finan: Not registered with FEC

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A class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Iraq War veterans against the US Department of Veterans Affairs. A copy of the lawsuit complaint may be seen at http://www.mofo.com/docs/pdf/PTSD070723.pdf

Along with a plethora of abuses alleged in that lawsuit, it is additionally alleged (as previously touched upon in this forum, when I noted that this is a longstanding action dating back to at least the early 1980s) that the VA has conspired with the Pentagon to falsely categorize veterans as suffering from preexisting personality disorders, as a way of denying them their veteran benefits.

According to the lawsuit, the Veterans Administration has a backlog of between 400,000 and 600,000 claims. It states that it takes 177 days to process an initial claim, and 657 days to process an appeal, and some benefit claims take up to ten years to decide while injured veterans suffer and, sometimes, die awaiting necessary care. The suit additionally compares this timeline to healthcare claims made in the private sector, which take on average less than 70 days to decide.

Additionally, according to the lawsuit, senior VA officials were given $3.8 million in bonuses during 2005, the same year in which the VA spent $1 billion over budget while timely and appropriate treatment of injured veterans continued to decline.

Most recently, there have been a rash of suicides by Iraq War veterans, which were attributed to the agency’s failure to provide sufficient and appropriate mental health care to war veterans.

The law firm representing the veterans, Morrison and Foerster, stated that the lawsuit does not seek to make a statement about the war, but instead is intended to force action on veterans’ benefit issues.

Recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a sharply worded decision regarding the failure of the VA to pay retroactive benefits to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffered from a form of leukemia, “The performance of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has contributed substantially to our sense of national shame.”

According to the newest complaint, which seeks a court order directing the Veterans Administration to make drastic changes in order to properly and timely treat injured and ill veterans, “Unless systemic and drastic measures are instituted immediately, the costs to these veterans, their families and our nation will be incalculable, including broken families, a new generation of unemployed and homeless veterans, increases in drug abuse and alcoholism, and crushing burdens on the health care delivery system.”

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George PhilliesGood News from Phillies 2008
July 22, 2007

For second quarter, Phillies 2008 raised $11,700. Counting checks in hand, we are already over $10,000 for third quarter. In the same quarter, the Smith campaign raised $2264, while the Kubby campaign raised $568.

The week featured two extended radio interviews and a trip to New Jersey. Check out the debate with Daniel Imperato at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/asher . Listen to the interview with Chuck Gooch at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thehawgpen

Advertising: Phillies 2008 Radio ads will start airing in the next few weeks. One ad an hour, 6 days a week, for 13 weeks. This is a live broadcast plus podcast on a show heard from sea to sea by many libertarian Republicans. The contract has been approved, and the check is being written.

More advertising: Another web page milestone was passed: The front page has had 150,000 downloads. The Google Adwords Campaign is now well over two million impressions. The click-through rate for the core campaign has tripled, comparing first half of July with first half of June. A major newsletter and fundraising mailing should start hitting libertarian mail boxes this week.

Staff News:

Please welcome Carolyn Marbry of San Francisco as Press Director. She will be preparing several press releases a week, circulating widely to bring our issues to all Americans.

Nevada State Coordinator (and LP of Nevada Vice Chair) Debra Dedmon has taken over materials distribution, sending printed matter to state coordinators and others.

Jake Porter received the additional position of Associate Chief of Staff, reflecting his major role in campaign operations. He continues as National Mobilization Facilitator, in charge of all volunteer operations.

Volunteer operations are now so large that Jake Porter needs assistants. Press Director Carolyn Marbry will be Assistant National Mobilization Facilitator for Electronic Operations, in charge of recruiting volunteers for all the net outlets and in charge of classical media operations. An Assistant National Mobilization Facilitator for Volunteer Operations to be named will support recruiting and assisting state and affinity group coordinators.

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From The Smoking Gun:

A Cleveland City Councilman wrote the following to a constituent who was arrested on felony drug trafficking charges. (I had to shrink it to fit this forum, so if you can’t read it, hit Ctrl + to enlarge the document.)

Not at all surprisingly, the young man’s mother considers the letter to be a threat, and is conferring with her attorney. Of even more concern, however, is that the letter was copied to the Chief of Police, the Department of Public Safety, and the Commander of the local police district headquarters.I get the impression he doesn’t like the kid, because the kid dared to mouth off to him, so he’s trying to improperly influence the police with regard to the charges and criminal case. Disgusting.

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