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I’ve returned from the great adventure I call “LP-SPAN” and here are my thoughts on the technical side of the issue. It is my hope that we can take this and build on it to make the next round of LNC insanity even better in terms of the broadcast quality. All suggestions are definitely appreciated. This is most definitely a work in progress.

The equipment:

I was using a Microsoft LifeCam either attached to a clip on the top of my laptop or on its independent pole. The camera allows pan and zoom IF you use the Microsoft software. However, the Justin.tv feed doesn’t allow that. No idea if Ustream does. I also had trouble with lighting issues in the room, especially the projector screen glare.

For future, I’d recommend a real videocam on a tripod, which should be able to create a better view and video quality. Personal experience suggests a bird-watching scope tripod over a camera tripod for lightness and ease of use. Plus mine has super-high elevation so it could pan over the crowd. Background lighting

The laptop was sitting on a tray table I had brought along since the room didn’t have any tables except for catering or the meeting table. It caused shaking of the cam at times when I tweeted, and the hunchover caused havoc on my back over time. I was hurting badly until Rachel gave me a much-needed back rub. “Bitchin’!” J

I’d recommend not having the camera attached to the laptop or at least set up in a way that it doesn’t shake. That and having a good setup so the laptop is the proper height to the user.

I’d also recommend a good omnidirectional microphone set up where everything can be caught well. The mic built into the webcam also caught my comments and occasional whispers, and a lot of extra noise. At SD the board table was in a cube with an open center, and the mic in there would have been best. I didn’t have that and it would have been a big help.

The testing:

I made sure that I understood how it all tied together and I did some test runs at home to make sure. That made a big difference come show time. However, the differences between my den and the meeting room were vast. I’d recommend testing in the meeting room if at all possible, because of the acoustics and lighting.

I tried the Justin.tv feed with the laptop’s webcam, then the external one recording, then with outside people and trying to embed.

Embedding the live feed was also a challenge. I had Todd Barnett on the phone helping to troubleshoot on his end. It helps to have someone on the receiving end to evaluate the reception. Ditto during the meeting. The justin.tv feed had a chat room built into each feed window, and that made getting the feedback easy, which came in handy when the connection got bad. Justin.tv does NOT work with WordPress well, unless Todd and I just missed something, which is certainly possible. I got it to embed at blogger/blogspot just fine. Other embedding notes are appreciated.

We also encountered a horrible screeching when we were testing, until we figured out that it was caused by the laptop speakers output being picked up by the webcam mic and creating a nasty feedback loop. The solution was to mute the speakers. Wear headphones when adjusting the microphone volume.

The Feed:

First, I was on the hotel’s wireless connection, which at times was very slow. The more people that were logged into the network, the slower it got. If you can, use a wired connection to ensure the connection rate stays consistent.

Second, it is extremely important to have someone on the other end provide feedback on the reception. On my end, the display on the popout window was far different than the one in the main window. Here the chat box was invaluable, and I was lucky to have multiple people giving me feedback.

Third, Justin.tv gave me the option to record as we broadcast. Do it. It saves off the pieces online for later download. I’d suggest stopping and restarting the recording at various spots to break it up into manageable segments instead of one long one. I always made sure to check the bandwidth between recordings because of the wireless, but I don’t think that may be necessary on a wired connection.

The twitter:

It’s a great tool to do this live. Yes, the 140 character limit can be an issue at times. I’d recommend two tweets, both in the gallery rather than on the board, who should focus on what is going on anyway. Plus, it removes any issue about “decorum” or “executive session”, but the tweets should be as neutral as possible. The advantage of two is that one can pick up what the other missed, which is an area I had trouble with at times. I’d also suggest that if you can’t get on a wired connection, then see if the tweet can be done on a Blackberry. The wireless connection problems that plagued the feed connection also slowed down the tweets. It may be advisable to have whomever is tweeting be different from the camera operations.

All in all, my rig was a little crude, but it was something. I don’t see this as too difficult, just taking a little getting used to. If you test beforehand and practice, it goes better.

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Nothing to add to what’s been said about this by others.

Just my attempt to get a threadjacking off IPR and bring it to where it is on subject. That is, here.

If you have thoughts on the question, whether you find this from IPR or elsewhere, please add them in the comments.

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I’ve previously listed the LP candidates here, here, here and here. Now, George Donnelly has turned this list into its own website with graphics and continuous updating. George explains:

An Effort to List all LP Candidates

We Libertarians need to know how many candidates we’re fielding for office. Which states are fielding full slates? no slates? Who are the candidates, what do they look like, what is their history, what are their positions and motivations?

This is all very basic but, before Libertarian Party Candidates (LPC), you could not find all this information in one place.

It’s important to see how well (or poorly) we Libertarians are doing at challenging the Republicrat duopoly at the ballot box. Hopefully LPC will serve as a measuring stick and as an incentive to run more and better candidates in 2010, 2012 and beyond.

Background

When Paulie pointed out in July of 2008 that LP.org doesn’t list all the Libertarian Party candidates running for office, it piqued my interest. How can we expect people to support and vote for Libertarian candidates if they don’t even know who they are – or even that they exist?

So, after chatting with Paulie, I decided that Libertarians might like a website where they can find all LP candidates in one convenient place.

Thanks to Paulie, the state parties and others that have collected the raw information presented here. All I did was design the site and enter the data.

Future Years

The site was built in a hurry during my spare time in the last couple weeks of July 2008, but I plan to significantly improve it for 2010 and beyond. Your sugestions and comments will help make that a reality.

Please Share your Feedback

Please feel free to contact me, George Donnelly, at me@georgedonnelly.com with any suggestions, ideas, complaints or whatever. I’m open to developing the project in new directions. I’m also interested in other strategies to advance the cause of liberty.

According to the site, the LP is running

* 15 for US Senate
* 109 for US House
* 5 for State Governor
* 4 for State Lt. Governor
* 1 for State Treasurer
* 3 for State Attorney General
* 2 for State Auditor
* 22 for Other State Offices
* 42 for State Senates
* 216 for State Houses
* 3 for Local Executives
* 26 for Local Legislatures
* 6 for Judge
* 12 for Sherriff or Constable
* 78 for Other Local Offices
* 546 Total LP candidates

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Ron PaulHat tip Presidential Politics ’08.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, a former Libertarian Party presidential candidate, has raised a staggering $5 million for the third quarter of 2007.

Dr. Paul, currently a Republican Congressman from Texas, is an obstetrician who has a very large grassroots following, especially among libertarians. To many that libertarian support is even more stunning, considering that Dr. Paul opposes abortion, whereas the Libertarian Party does not hold such opposition. However, completely in keeping with libertarian principles, Dr. Paul advocates immediate withdrawal from Iraq, at one time angering Rudy Giuliani during a debate when he suggested that the 9/11 attacks were “blowback” from previous US activities in the Middle East.

Wolf Blitzer broke the fundraising news on his CNN show “Situation Room” with the following statement:

Some stunning political news this hour concerning Ron Paul: The Republican presidential hopeful is low in the national and state polls, but now, when it comes to campaign cash, he’s standing very tall.

Ron Paul’s campaign reports that the congressman from Texas raised five million dollars over the past three months. That’s in the same neighborhood as what rival John McCain is expected to report, and it’s five times what former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee reportedly raised. It’s also more than three million dollars more than Paul raised over the first six months of this year. Paul can partially credit his big bucks to a strong following on the Internet.


Blitzer was not the only political pundit to express astonishment at this unexpected development. A similar sentiment was expressed by other news organizations, including MSNBC and ABC.

ABC World News Tonight is flying to New Hampshire to interview Mr. Paul for tonight’s episode. Earlier today, ABC called Ron’s totals “jaw-dropping.”

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Sorry folks, been too busy to post. But I thought I’d post this since no one else has yet. Our own Michelle Shinghal on Tucker Carlson, thanks to posts by our fellow blogger Steve Gordon.

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I found a nifty little tool, which rates blogs just like movies are rated, based on content.

Not surprisingly, LFV got an R rating. That rating was based on the words “gay”, “gun”, “shit”, and “kill”. Apparently Paulie’s favorite word is rated G these days, LOL.

I ran my own blog through it, and shockingly, it was rated NC-17. That rating was based on the presence of the words “death”, “hell”, “ass”, “crap”, “dead”, “dangerous”, “gun”, “suicide”, “kill”, “sex”, “piss”, “crap”, “shit”, “steal”, “hurt” “rape”, “breast”, “lesbian”, “dick”, “masochist”.

Now, while I am known to use the words “hell” and “crap” as profanity (neither of which would garner anything above a PG, if that), the rest of that list of questionable words looks really, really bad. In fact, it makes me look more than a little loony. However, in truth, those words are taken completely out of context. Here is what my blog really says when using some of those words:

dick = “A Texas man, Dick Simkanin, was convicted of tax crimes last month in connection with his failure to withhold federal income taxes from employees’ pay. Simkanin faces a statutory maximum sentence of 129 years imprisonment and millions of dollars in fines.”

shit = “In another video [Paris Hilton] made the comments ‘fat ugly Jewish bitch’, ‘little black whore got f***d in the butt for coke’, ‘nigger’, ‘black and steal shit’, all in the course of less than five minutes. There was no outrage over those comments, and no one even questioned why she would say things like that. Don Imus got fired for far, far less. Yet her reality show continues, and there were no consequences whatsoever for her outrageous behavior. That’s disturbing, because many young girls look up to Paris as a role model, when she is in fact anything but that.” [Paris used the word "fucked", not f'd", but I try to keep my blog at least reasonably clean so I didn't want to spell it out, even in a quote.]

rape = “A California man is facing rape and kidnapping charges after his alleged victim recently spotted him appearing as a contestant on the NBC Universal reality show ‘Blind Date.'”

piss = “One elderly investor wrote to him after he asked for even more money, saying that she has no money left but that she trusts him to pay off the principal plus interest. She doesn’t understand that he is a scammer, much less that her money is gone forever. Now, that pisses me off.”

lesbian = “‘We were both inspired to come here after the sitting president said the vile and vicious and hateful comments he did.’ — comedian Rosie O’Donnell, explaining how she and her lesbian partner, Kelli Carpenter, rushed to San Francisco to get married following President Bush’s call for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning gay marriages.”

kill = “Why did he kill the family dog, you might ask? Well, the poor little fella’s name was ‘Felony’, and it reminded the frickin’ ‘tard Watkins that he had just been charged with a felony. Apparently this dumbass had been charged with grand larceny in connection with the theft of a pickup truck, and had just bailed out of jail.”

suicide = “Here’s an audioblog wherein Gene ‘TogaDude’ Chapman reads a letter he wrote to the governor of Oregon (whose name he doesn’t know, and he has never lived there) asking to be allowed to commit assisted suicide because he has a ‘terminal illness called biblical Christianity’.”

OOPS – I bet if LFV were re-rated right now, it would also get an NC-17 as a result of this post alone. LOL

At any rate, when I realized what was going on, I was amused that my blog received an NC-17 rating, so I posted it on the blog. I wouldn’t want to fail to warn parents that their 16-year-old may be subjected to the real world, after all.

UPDATE:  I decided to run my old Gene Chapman blog through the same site, and it also got an NC-17 rating.  When I checked the keywords, though, they were almost all included in quotes from other people, and the rest were taken out of context.  Still, I put the NC-17 logo on it, because considering Gene’s incredibly bizarre platform items, that blog perhaps deserves that rating simply for discussing the ravings of a lunatic.

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Found on Stupid Evil Bastard:

The results from the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll on Evolution continue the trend of idiocy in this country on the topic of Evolution.

  • “Evolution, that is, the idea that human beings developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life” is probably or definitely false”: 44%
  • “Creationism, that is, the idea that God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years” is probably or definitely true”: 66%
  • 15% said that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that did not believe in evolution.

That last line is the only bright spot to be found in the poll as the majority don’t think a candidate’s acceptance, or lack thereof, of evolution is relevant on how qualified a person is to be President. Though, in its own way, that’s sort of depressing as well.

Sometimes it’s amazing to me that half our population manages to avoid having their heads implode from the vacuum within.

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