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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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OK, so this is a bit off-topic, but since Paulie graced me with the ability to post here, I figured I might as well use it to promote something good.  And it is good, and free, and once complete, will benefit our movement.  So perhaps it’s not that off-topic after all.

Anyway, George Donnelly and I have started a project to create a set of web-based tools for pro-liberty organizations, with a specific focus on LP state and local affiliates.  It should also be easily portable to the needs of organizations such as pro-liberty PACs, other pro-liberty parties, etc.  This will be based on some existing open source software projects, tie them together neatly (single sign-on via a unified authentication backend and use of the same AAA cookies), create a single frontend for installation and management, and add some additional tools targetted at our specific audience.

What we need specifically are volunteers who can write PHP code, XHTML/Javascript/AJAX/CSS, folks with extensive MySQL development experience, and possibly some additional Perl and Ruby experience.  PHP developers with user interface experience are probably the highest priority, followed by folks who can do front-end user interface coding.  Let me know if you’re interested. If you post here, I’ll reply via email.

You can check out the project over at http://developer.berlios.de/projects/lptools/

Thanks!

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Candidate Endorsement: Chris Bennett for Vice President

Chris Bennett[NOTE: Originally posted on Last Free Voice]

As you are hopefully all by now aware, longtime LFV contributor Chris Bennett is seeking the LP’s Vice Presidential nomination. While he would have my support simply for being an LFV contributor and a great guy, there is so much more to his candidacy that I have decided to formally endorse his bid for the LP Vice Presidential nomination.

Chris is 35 years old (will be 36 on August 30th) and lives in Springfield, Illinois. He graduated from Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado. As an interesting aside, Chris was classmates with Matt Stone, co-creator of “South Park”.

Chris has been married to Evonne Bennett for eight years, and they have two children, Brandon (age 7) and Charity (age 9). He will graduate in May from the University of Illinois at Springfield, with a degree in Political Studies, and a minor in Economics. As such, there should be no question that he has the education to back up his candidacy, especially when compared with other LP candidates (including many of those seeking the LP’s Presidential nomination).

Chris also has the actual experience to back him up. As a libertarian activist for the last 16 years, he has volunteered on four presidential campaigns, three of them Libertarians. He was Scheduling Coordinator for the late Aaron Russo during his 2004 presidential campaign, and was also heavily involved in the Marrou and Badnarik presidential campaigns. He is currently the Legislative Chair for the Libertarian Party of Illinois, where he has fought for better ballot access for third parties in one of the most difficult ballot access states in the country.

Chris announced his candidacy right here on Last Free Voice last year, and his platform is as follows:

I will not make promises I can not keep. I do not have 200,000 dollars in future contributions and I am not endorsed by a famous dead person. However there are some promises I will keep:

I am strongly against the invasion and the “police action” in Iraq and will help push for an anti-war resolution at the Denver Convention.

I am against a fair tax and I will continue to fight to decrease the tax burden for all Americans.

I will continue to fight to restore our civil liberties and constitutional rights and fight to eliminate the Patriot Act, the Real ID Act, the Military Commissions Act and the North American Union.

As an African-American, I will use my candidacy to recruit more minorities and women into the libertarian movement.

As a soon-to-be college graduate, I will continue to convince younger voters and non-voters that the Libertarian Party is the future not the two “boot on your neck” parties and use my candidacy to re-energize libertarian college campus and local organizations across the country.

If I am nominated, I will help/assist state parties on getting our presidential ticket on their respective state ballots.

If I am nominated, I will assist serious Libertarian candidates running for office in all facets of their campaign across the country.

The days of a dormant Libertarian Party VP candidate are over. Our VP candidate should be as active as our Presidential candidate and I will proudly work with whoever you choose as our Presidential candidate in order to spread our message of liberty and freedom to the American people.

Chris has been working hard to spread the word about his candidacy, and in fact he is one of the few Libertarian candidates to get attention from the mainstream press. Even better, he received FRONT PAGE attention in a major newspaper, the Springfield State Journal-Register.

By BERNARD SCHOENBURG
POLITICAL WRITER

Published Monday, October 15, 2007

At 6-foot-9, Chris Bennett is hard to miss. And his political aspirations match his height.

Bennett, 35, a senior at the University of Illinois at Springfield, is hoping to become the vice presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party.

“The days of a dormant Libertarian Party VP candidate are over,” said Bennett in a news release announcing his quest last week. “Our VP candidate should be as active as our presidential candidate and I will proudly work with whoever you choose as our presidential candidate in order to spread our message of liberty and freedom to the American people.”

Bennett was soft-spoken as he explained in an interview how he realized, after working on Bill Clinton’s primary campaign in 1992, that he didn’t really believe in Clinton’s platform.

“I just didn’t like how he wanted more government in more stuff,” Bennett said. “I didn’t like government having more control over the health-care situation, as Hillary tried to do and she’s proposing to do now.”

So, Bennett said, “I went soul searching.”

“The Republicans didn’t feel right,” he said. “They never really do reach out to minorities or a lot of women. And the Democrats, it just seems like they were taking the black vote for granted. So I decided ‘I’m going to search for another party.’”

Bennett had seen a Libertarian Party convention on C-SPAN. The convention included an African-American candidate for the presidential nomination, Richard Boddie.

“He was saying stuff that I really agreed with,” said Bennett, who is black.

Bennett now has been a Libertarian activist for more than 15 years, including working as scheduling coordinator during the late Aaron Russo’s 2004 attempt to be the Libertarian nominee for president.

“For the longest time, I used to carry a Constitution in my back pocket,” Bennett said, “so if anybody wanted to get in a philosophical, constitutional argument, I could whip out my Constitution.”

Bennett doesn’t think the country’s leaders are adhering to the Constitution, including going to war in Iraq without a formal declaration of war. Among his platform planks are “restore our civil liberties and constitutional rights,” including elimination of the Patriot Act and a proposed federal “Real ID” identification card. He said both invade people’s privacy.

He’d like to see lower taxes, with eventual elimination of the Internal Revenue Service.

Bennett frequently posts on Web sites, including one called

lastfreevoice.com, often in strong language.

“Jesse Jackson has taken up the anti-gun issue only because he failed as a ‘civil rights’ leader and pushes his new agenda to re-invent himself,” Bennett claims in one entry. “Just remember Hitler forced his people to give up their guns and look what happened; millions died in concentration camps. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; I’ll defend those values with my gun to protect my right to bear arms.”

Bennett said he actually doesn’t own a gun, but believes in the right to own one.

He’s also taken off on television preachers who get rich through their appeals.

“TV evangelists are the scum of the Christian community,” he said, writing about recent allegations of misspending by Richard Roberts, son of Oral Roberts. “Isn’t it immoral to steal from your contributors for your own lavish lifestyles …? Who do they think they are — the GOVERNMENT?”

And in an essay chastising Democrats for not doing more to get U.S. troops out of Iraq, he refers to the president as “Fuhrer Bush.”

Bennett is pro-life on abortion, which goes against the Libertarian platform. But he thinks other Libertarians may be coming around. He also thinks steps should be taken to legalize drugs.

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Bennett moved to Littleton, Colo., at age 9. He’s been married to his wife, Evonne, for 71/2 years, and they have two children. He moved to Springfield in 2005 to attend UIS.

While he said rural or suburban Libertarians might not be keyed into the issue of race relations, those from urban areas are, and he thinks the party is good for African-Americans.

In addition to ending discriminatory drug laws, which he blames for too many blacks being in prison, the Libertarians’ anti-tax sentiment would also help, Bennett said.

“If we lower taxes, people would be more able to get the house that they want or be able to contribute to their church or their social organization a little bit more,” he said. People could also “save for a rainy day.”

“I know a lot of people who would like to start their own IRA account, but they can’t because they’re taxed so much,” Bennett said.

Clearly, Chris interacts well with the media, and is able to get across his point intelligently, but also in a way that the average person can easily understand.

For the above reasons, I endorse Chris Bennett, without reservation, for the Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential candidacy.

This brings me to another point. Chris is in desperate need of donations, to help him get to the Libertarian Party Convention in Denver. As a family man working his way through college, with a wife and two children, he is far from wealthy. Not only will he need the funds for travel and hotel, plus incidentals such as food and beverage, he will also need the funds to print brochures, to hand out to the delegates in order to get the votes he needs.

We all give money to other candidates, whether Ron Paul or Steve Kubby or George Phillies, or someone else. We need to start giving money for Chris’s campaign, because unless he can afford to get to Denver, he will be unable to continue his campaign. It would be a travesty if a qualified candidate such as Chris was not seriously considered for the LP’s Vice Presidential nomination, solely because he lacks the funds to attend the convention. We can do much better than that, especially with a candidate who has proven his worth. If we all pitch in, we can get Chris to Denver.

You can make donations to Chris’s campaign by clicking here, or you can click directly on the “donate” link on his website, which will take you to the same place. You can donate by credit card, debit card, or by setting up other payment arrangements via PayPal.

While I normally would never ask anyone to donate to a specific campaign, I’m making an exception in this case. Chris is “one of us”, a valuable and respected member of the blogosphere, a valuable and respected contributor to Last Free Voice, and a valuable and respected member of the libertarian movement, who has given freely not only of his time and expertise on other campaigns, but also has managed to engage in hands-on activism while in college and trying to raise a family.

Chris is not just another libertarian on the internet, waxing philosophical about libertarianism, who suddenly decides he should be nominated to represent the LP in a lofty position; nor is is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the LP who suddenly decided he should be nominated for for the Vice Presidency; he has actually made many years of sacrifices which benefit us all, and he has the experience and education to back up his campaign for the Vice Presidency.

Unlike many candidates, Chris is not looking to raise millions. He has set a goal of $3000 to attend the LP Convention, and since I used to live in Denver, I can assure you that it’s a very reasonable goal, especially since it will also cover the costs of his campaign brochures.

I have made a commitment to donate $100 to Chris’s campaign, to help him get to Denver. If only 29 more people match that commitment (and I know there are many others who can afford to do so), Chris will have met his goal. However, even if you can only spare $10, or $20, or $50 – or if you can give the legal maximum of $2300 per person, or $4600 per married couple – you can rest easy with that donation, knowing Chris is a tried and proven libertarian, and a candidate who has actually earned that donation through his many years of activism on behalf of libertarians everywhere.

Please, help spread the word. Let’s raise the funds necessary to get Chris to Denver!

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Kn@ppsterI found this entry on Thomas Knapp’s blog, Kn@ppster, and found it quite interesting. Here is an excerpt; you can read it in its entry in its entirety at the link:

I’m not one for silver bullets—no one thing will put third party candidates into contention for the presidency—but some changes just make sense. One of those changes is nominating earlier. My recollection is that the Libertarian Party used to nominate its presidential candidates the year before the election. Andre Marrou was nominated for president in 1991. Ron Paul was nominated in 1987. And so on, and so forth. It was only in 1996 that the LP moved its nominating convention into the year of the election itself.

Late nominating conventions handicap third parties. We can’t expect the kind of pre-nomination media coverage that “major party” candidates get. The sooner a party positions itself behind a nominee, the sooner that nominee has access to the party’s full pool of presidential contributors and can get to work reaching beyond the party to the American public. It’s all well and good to hope that a pre-nomination third party candidate will “break out” and catch the mainstream media eye … but it seldom works out that way.

I think Tom Knapp makes a very good point. As far as I can see, the only downside to nominating earlier is that third parties won’t get any media attention at all during the primaries. Right now they don’t get much, but it does get them at least mentioned in many newspapers.

Then again, can the third parties overcome that negative, and list their presidential nominee on the primary ballot, as just one candidate for that office? I’m honestly not sure. If so, it would look in the press as if that one candidate has a great deal of support within the party, rather than as it is now when it appears to the public that each candidate receives a little support here, and a little support there. Making third party candidates appear to have overwhelming support during the primaries can only be a good thing.

On the other hand, many third party voters wouldn’t even bother to vote during the primaries, if they knew their candidate had already been chosen, so there may be no reason to mention them at all in the mainstream media.

It’s a complicated issue, and one which should be thoroughly explored.

_________________________________

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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Daniel ImperatoThere has been a discussion over at Third Party Watch, regarding whether Daniel Imperato should be listed as a Libertarian on the official Libertarian Party website. Among other statements by Stephen Gordon, owner of TPW, he didn’t call the media to cover a Libertarian presidential candidate debate, due to the participation of Mr. Imperato.Just as some brief background, Mr. Imperato is either a liar of unimaginable proportions, or insane. I haven’t decided yet, mostly because I honestly don’t care one way or the other about his candidacy since he will never in a zillion years become President, or even the Libertarian Party’s nominee. Yet his wackiness also isn’t interesting enough to keep my attention for more than a minute or two.I started to respond on that blog, then decided to do so here instead, so my thoughts on this issue aren’t buried in the comments section of someone else’s blog. I am so disgusted with the Libertarian Party and its powers-that-be that I don’t care if they know it. What follows is that response.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If it were not for “Liberty Decides“, Imperato would still be just the butt of jokes among those of us who follow the lunatic fringe in politics. Without “Liberty Decides”, he would have forever remained an obscure Independent candidate whose only supporters were the voices in his head.

The Libertarian Party, however, recognized Imperato as a fully qualified Libertarian presidential candidate on their website, in “Liberty Decides”, which is nothing more or less than a moneymaking scheme for the LP since it does not stop candidates from buying their way to the top; and there is absolutely no accountability regarding the dates, amounts, or identities of contributors. Yet Imperato is not even a Libertarian candidate, even by his own admission, since he filed with the FEC as an Independent.

It is pathetic that no one invited the media just because Imperato was there, since it robbed the legitimate Libertarian candidates of much-needed exposure (especially true when it cost them $500 to participate, not to mention travel and lodging costs). Wackjob or not, I think Imperato would only have made the other candidates look even better, so perhaps you should have invited the media anyway. It’s not like it’s going to be shown on the evening news, after all. The only people who would be interested at all are libertarians, and insomniacs.

However, since you decided not to alert the media due to Imperato’s participation, someone in authority at that event should have alerted the media themselves (again, because they charged the candidates $500 each for the opportunity to participate). If they and you both thought Imperato was just too far out in left field to invite the media, you could have simply said, “We’re sorry, Mr. Imperato, but you’re registered with the FEC as an Independent, and thus you are not qualified to participate in this debate as a Libertarian. Here is a refund of your participation fee”.

How hard is that?

In my opinion, the LP has made a mockery of the party’s entire presidential candidate process. Not only did they ignore their own candidates in order to support a candidate from another party who repeatedly said he was not interested in becoming the LP’s nominee, but they also rolled out the red carpet for a wackjob who isn’t even registered with the FEC as a Libertarian candidate (and did the same for a lot of candidates who aren’t filed with the FEC at all).

The entire situation is an embarrassing mess, but it didn’t need to happen at all. Nevertheless, no matter how I view it, the LP is entirely to blame by lending Imperato credibility where he otherwise would have none.

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan

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Libertarian Party logoLibertarianism is growing the world over, and is no longer a singularly American ideal. As of January 1st, even the United Kingdom has started a Libertarian Party.

Unlike the politicians at Westminster, the Libertarian Party looks at the world in the same way that most people do. Libertarians understand that you, and your family, should be the focus of all political policy—government should exist to serve you, not the other way around.

Over the coming weeks, this website will be regularly updated and expanded. Here, you will be able to discover a new perspective on politics, read about our common-sense approach to dealing with the issues that face us all in the real world today, and find out how you can help change our society for the better.

Libertarians are largely apolitical—we don’t carry around the huge burden of ideological baggage which bedevils the other parties, and which stops them from taking the sensible decisions that our country so desperately needs. In fact, libertarian thought can largely be boiled down to one simple phrase:

YOU OWN YOURSELF

We believe that everyone in society has certain rights, and that the role of government is to protect those rights. Of course, if you hold these rights—the right to equality before a just law, the right to make your own decisions as to how best to live your life—then you must respect the equally held rights of others.

Other parties pay lip-service to this idea; on the one hand claiming to protect our rights and interests whilst, on the other, passing more and more legislation that curtails our hard won freedoms. Only libertarians truly trust each individual to know what is in their own best interests, and that of their families. Only libertarians want to put people back in charge of their own lives, and call a halt to the endless gravy-train of political corruption in our country.

The Libertarian Party exists as a voice for all who cry “Enough!”, but find their words go unheard. Our aim—and we will succeed, with your help—is to put government back in its rightful place; as a servant of our people, rather than our master.

Hat tip Jason Gatties

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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Libertarian Party logoThe new website for the Libertarian Party of Southwest Michigan, launched January 1st, is well worth a look. My good friend Jason Gatties is on the Executive Committee, and his beautiful and very talented wife Priscilla is their webmaster. She’s done a great job on the website, and I’m sure Jason will do a real bang-up job as well!

The Libertarian Party of Southwest Michigan is an affiliate of Libertarian Party of Michigan and the National Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party of Southwest Michigan represents Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties.

The Libertarian Party of Southwest Michigan meets the first Wednesday of each month (unless otherwise noted). The public is always welcome! The business meeting will take place at the Benton Harbor IHOP and the General Discussion portion of the meeting will take place at The Livery in Benton Harbor.

International House of Pancakes
1981 Pipestone Rd
Benton Harbor, Mi 49022

The Livery
190 5th Street
Benton Harbor, Mi 49022

The Business Meeting begins at 6:00 PM at IHOP and the General Discussion Meeting begins at 7:15 at The Livery. For more information, please contact one of the Executive Committee members listed above.

Originally posted on Adventures In Frickintardistan 

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George PhilliesPosted by Rob Power on Outright Libertarians blog:Thursday, January 17, 2008

I recently saw a message from Log Cabin Republicans entitled “Who Can Log Cabin Endorse for President?” The article described how this may be the first brokered GOP convention in 60 years, and that Log Cabin would be working to see that the lesser of evils with respect to gay rights would win the GOP nomination.In contrast, we at Outright Libertarians have had an embarrassment of riches this year, with three of our candidates getting a perfect score on our scorecard, and the one who differed with us on marriage at least matching Clinton and Obama (and surpassing all of the Republicans) by supporting civil unions. We had a serious debate in our Executive Committee as to whether we ought to make any endorsement at all prior to the LP nominating convention in Denver.But in the final analysis, there was only one Libertarian with a perfect score on our scorecard who was actively campaigning (for himself, not for some major-party candidate), who had a truly national campaign, who was receiving media attention (including magazines and television), and who has continued to receive FEC-reportable campaign contributions that are better than any Libertarian candidate in recent history.For these reasons, the Executive Committee of Outright Libertarians voted on January 16 to endorse George Phillies for the 2008 Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination.

From his interview in The Advocate magazine, to his one-liner response to a marriage equality question at a debate in socially conservative Fresno, California — “We’ve already solved that problem in Massachusetts” — we can tell that Dr. Phillies would never try to rationalize anti-LGBT bigotry as a way to “grow” the Libertarian Party. He recognizes that Liberty is impossible so long as the boot of big government remains on the neck of any disfavored minority group.

Outright Libertarians proudly supports George Phillies and calls on all of our members and allies to attend the Libertarian National Convention in Denver this May and cast their nominating vote for Dr. Phillies.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2008 elections, Federal Election Commission (FEC), George Phillies, Libertarian Online Community, POTUS ’08, People in the news, activism, candidate endorsement, elections, libertarian, politics

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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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