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At least The Flagstaff police seem to have been pretty laid back about it.

At 3 p.m. on March 28, 40 people dressed in black and red arrived with a shopping cart blaring music in tow at Flagstaff’s Heritage Square and began swinging cushions at each other. The feathers and fluff flew, but the mass of people also collided with the cops.

Part protest, part pillow fight, the event aimed to raise awareness of and protest the arrest of the “Republican National Convention Eight” (the RNC8).

The RNC8 protested the criminalization of dissent in Minneapolis and St. Paul during the 2008 Republican National Convention.

They were charged under the Minnesota PATRIOT act in response to their political organizing. They all face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge, which allows for a possible 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty. The legal expenses for those involved with the RNC8 are estimated to be $250,000.

The last time such charges were brought under Minnesota law was in 1918, when Matt Moilen and others organized labor unions for the International Workers of the World, also known as “the Wobblies.”
[. . .]
Aaron Levy, a second-year English graduate student at NAU donning a cat-ear cap, stood atop one of the Square’s benches and gave a speech through a megaphone.

“When we come to the pillow fight today, we want to show the world there is a better way to do things,” Levy shouted into his bullhorn. “You don’t need guns, you don’t need Tasers, you don’t need handcuffs, you don’t need politicians and we don’t need anybody but ourselves to operate in a world of peace and justice.”

The crowd cheered, and the cops crossed their arms.
[. . .]
The cops took Levy aside and began to question him about the complaints they received.

“You just gonna leave that out there?” Officer Condon pointed to the chalk.

“It will just kinda take care of itself,” Levy said.

“Nobody wrote anything vulgar or anything?” Condon asked.

“No sir. It’s just peace, love,” Levy said.

The cops let Levy go, and the group began to clean up the mess with borrowed brooms and bare hands.

Troy Farah and Matt Roberto, “Protestors ‘resist state terrorism’ with pillows“, JackCentral (NAU online news), April 2, 2009

(more…)

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City-County Councilman Ed Coleman is leaving the Republican Party to become a Libertarian.

Coleman will make his official announcement today during a speech at the Columbia Club, where he will be flanked by members of the Libertarian Party of Indiana.

“This is not a decision I take lightly, nor did I come to it without deep reflection,” Coleman said in a statement released Monday by the Libertarians.

“I have found that the direction of the Republican Party has changed, and it is not the same party I joined many years ago,” he said. “Nor do I believe its current leaders truly represent the ideals that the party markets and advertises to voters.”

Vic Ryckaert, “GOP councilman goes Libertarian“, Indianapolis Star, February 17, 2009

Also covered by Radley Balko at Reason Magazine.

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Rasmussen
reports that

Libertarian voters make up 4% of the nation’s likely voters and they favor Barack Obama over John McCain by a 53% to 38% margin. Three percent (3%) would vote for some other candidate and 5% are not sure. These results, from an analysis of 15,000 Likely Voter interviews conducted by Rasmussen Reports, challenges the conventional wisdom which assumes that strong support for a Libertarian candidate would hurt John McCain.

In June, Rasmussen Reports asked 15,000 Likely Voters if they were fiscally conservative, moderate, or liberal and if they were socially conservative, moderate, or liberal. This created a total of 16 possible combinations (not sure was a fourth option for both questions). However, 87% of voters fit into one of seven combinations. Libertarians, defined as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, are the smallest of these seven combinations.

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originally posted by GE at IPR. Headline by Fred Church in the comments.

In response to House GOP leader John Boehner’s comments to Reason‘s Dave Weigel — that conservatives considering a vote for Bob Barr “might as well vote for Barack Obama” — the LP has issued a press release with harsh words for the GOP and its leadership.

Libertarian Party spokesperson Andrew Davis said that Boehner’s comments “reflect the same fallacy of thought that has put America in its current situation, with neither Republicans or Democrats offering the solutions voters want to hear.”

Davis also said Boehner’s comments were “a symptom of the same delusion that cost Republicans control in 2006.”

Read the entire release here.

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Back in November, I made the following comments at
Loretta Nall Sends Troy King Appropriate Sex Toy
:

But reasonable people would not include the Alabama legislature, which in is great wisdom passed a law banning dildos, vibrators, and other weapons of mass stimulation.

Not content with the law as it stands, Alabama Attorney General Troy King wants the legislature to make the law even more draconian.

I remember Troy from college. He was always a little weird. He used to write frequent letters to the CW, which described in detail his disgust with homosexuals hooking up in public toilets (well before Larry Craig), a subject he seemed to be intimately familiar with, and exhorted readers to go eat at Cracker Barrel, which at the time was under fire for a policy of discriminating against having gay employees. Troy always seemed just a little too obsessed with homosexual perversion.

Alert readers may remember that Loretta Nall sent Troy King a blow up pig:

My suspicion now seems likely to have been confirmed.

Loretta explains

This is not about being gay. This is about being a hypocrite…of the highest order

There is an official denial of the rumor about Troy King now….so I can say what the rumor is.

According to rumors flying around for the last week Troy King, our
rabidly homophobic
, anti-sex toy, Sunday School teaching, pro-execution Republican Attorney General is GAY! And I don’t mean that as in happy either. I’d bet he is anything but happy right now. In fact, according to two sources he is about to resign. [..]

I have been sitting on this story for about a week. Truth is I am SORE from having to sit on it so long….but not as sore as Troy King is.

Loretta elaborates:

I have some friends in pretty high places in Alabama politics so I called one of them up with the juicy details. They told me they heard a rumor about his sexual orientation some six months ago from a former reporter with a large, credible newspaper in Alabama. I also know that reporter and knew them to be very credible. The rumor at the time was that Troy’s mystery man was his old college roommate who he gave a position to when he took over the AG office in 2004. Supposedly when Troy was out of town so was lover boy.

The story then became that the mystery man was a young man who had just graduated from Troy University and was the Homecoming King(no pun intended) (God that gets confusing…Troy King with the homecoming king who graduated from Troy) and that was who the wife walked in on. Then a few weeks later Troy and his boy toy from Troy were spotted at the YMCA (not kidding) engaging in….ummmm….inappropriate activities. Yeah…at the YMCA…made famous by the Village People. Apparently Troy has no inkling of what it means to be ‘discreet’.

I’m betting they are both true. If Troy King can be a closet gay and Alabama Attorney General at the same time then there exists in this universe the infinite possibility for him to be a promiscuous, closet gay, Alabama Attorney General. But apparently closet and promiscuous don’t go so well together. But, hell, no one is claiming that he’s smart are they?

As far as the significance of this story, Loretta explains:

There are so many things that make this a delicious story. Gay Sex, high ranking elected officials who are rabidly anti-gay in public but turn out to be gay in private, they get caught at the YMCA (of all places), the whole sex toy incident, the ‘below the belt’ legislation that Troy has made a focal point during his time in office, his desire to be the guy who injects death row inmates with deadly chemicals. I bet this is why he objects to DNA testing, ya know? Wonder where all they would find his DNA? It’s really not much different than what Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewenski…except Troy is a Republican and his mystery partner is GAY!! Lordy, does it get any better than this?

Head On Radio Network is one of several sites making video and musical parodies which take advantage of Troy King’s embarrassment.

Another one is found at the myspace page for Mock 5

Alabama Queen

Troy King has refused to comment on the allegations, claiming that his kids would be subject to teasing.

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The Moderate Voice, “None of the Above”

March 5, 2008 by Pete Abel

—————————————————————————————————–

“As I grow older, I regret to say that a detestable habit of thinking seems to be getting a hold of me.” – H. Rider Haggard

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.” – William James

—————————————————————————————————–

So which is it? Am I an aging addict of the detestable habit of thinking, or am I merely rearranging my prejudices? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I do know this much: The libertarian impulses of my youth and the stoic conservatism of my early adult years are gradually giving way to the doubts of middle-age – doubts that are centered on two questions:

(1) Do I really believe smaller government and lower taxes are the cures to what ails us?

(2) When people are hurting and in need, is it appropriate for their government to turn away, claiming, “That’s not our issue; it should be resolved by individuals and the free market”?

Libertarian conservatives don’t doubt the answers to these questions. They respond “yes,” to both, without hesitation, without equivocation.

Twenty years ago, I would have been similarly clear-headed. I’m no longer so sure and, apparently, neither is 13-year Republican Congressman Steve Chabot of Ohio. According to a Feb. 19 article at Politico:

… Chabot has earned a 97.5 percent lifetime rating from The American Conservative Union and has largely stuck to the Republican ranks, except to oppose some pork-laden spending bills.

But when foreclosures in his hometown of Cincinnati skyrocketed, Chabot found himself aligned with Democrats — and against his party’s leaders, his conservative colleagues and the White House.

Chabot’s bipartisan dalliance illustrates how tough economic times could erode the Republican conference that House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is counting on to blunt Democratic victories running up to the November elections.

So, let me get this straight: When rock-solid conservatives learn that their constituents are suffering, they suddenly decide government should do something about it?

Read the rest of this thought-provoking post by Pete Abel on The Moderate Voice.

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Something stinks in the Sooner State.

Oklahoma voters were the only voters with no choices for president on their ballot except Bush Skull and Kerry Bones in 2004, and Oklahoma is one of 5 states that doesn’t permit write-ins, so Oklahoma voters who wanted to vote for someone other than Bush or Kerry in 2004 completely lost their right to vote (Source: Ballot Access News). In order to be on the ballot, an independent candidate or alternative party has to get signatures equal to 5% of the last vote cast, which is the hardest standard in the country, and they have to get 10% of the vote to keep their place on the ballot, second behind only Alabama with 20%. Half of the state legislative races go completely unopposed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court refused a challenge to this edict, and the feds have no jurisdiction.

Currently, there is an
effort
underway to change this crazy scheme by initiative, but Oklahoma makes it hard to get issues on the ballot by initiative. Statute initiatives must get the signatures of 8% of the voters, which is among the highest percentages among states which allow citizen initiative, and constitutional amendments need 15%, tied with Arizona for the highest percentage required by any state that allows constitutional amendments by citizen petition according to a chart by
National Voter Outreach. The signatures have to all be gathered within 90 days, and then the State Supreme Court can hold up approval for the vote to take place by over a year.

After you gather the signatures, you have to print the names of everyone who signed on the back of the page. Imagine having to do that several hundred times after you get back from a hard day of asking people to sign and getting run out (or attempted) of every location imaginable, public and private, or having to flip the page over and ask busy people to print their name a second time for every single signature – especially when working on more than one issue. Yep, it sucks, and is one of the most asinine rules I have encountered in petitioning in 27 states plus DC over the past ten years. And there are some very asinine rules out there, such as New England states requiring signatures from every city to be on a separate page, and Massachusetts ruling that any tiny tear, food stain, stray pen mark or writing outside the box disqualifies a whole page of signatures.

To make matters worse, in a decision in the case of Yes on Term Limits v. Savage, U.S. District Court Judge Tim Leonard upheld a challenged Oklahoma state law (in effect since 1969) banning out of state residents from being ballot petition circulators and signature-collectors there. Who, exactly, is a state resident? People move all the time. Some more frequently than others. Some people don’t predictably live in one place long enough to get a mortgage or apartment lease, so we prefer to live in motels or stay with friends (I resemble this remark). Some people don’t even have a place to live at all. Does that mean we should lose our right to petition the government for redress of grievances?

Shortly after this ruling, as Brian Doherty reports at Reason Magazine,

longtime libertarian political activist Paul Jacob was indicted on felony charges in Oklahoma for conspiracy to defraud the state, along with Susan Johnson of National Voter Outreach and Rick Carpenter of Oklahomans in Action.

It isn’t Jacob’s first time with the guns of the state aimed at him. He served five months in jail in 1984, after a year on the run, for refusal to register for the draft.

In his interview about the arrest with Brian Doherty, Paul Jacob explains:

(more…)

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