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In a move that few, if any, people saw coming, former US President William J. Clinton is set to announce today that he is joining the Libertarian Party. Clinton first hinted at his new political direction back in 1997, but Libertarians didn’t believe him, and not long afterwards called for his impeachment.

“What really did it for me this time was the recent “Monday message” from LP communications director Donny Ferguson that said winning is the most important principle,” President Clinton told IPR’s Paulie over a few lines of coke in a Bessemer, Alabama truck stop restroom. “That’s been my view for many years, and I’m glad to finally find a political party with the balls to say it openly.”

Clinton acknowledged that people may be skeptical of his conversion, but he pointed out “look at my old nemesis Bob Barr. Back in 2002 y’all were working to get him out of Congress. By 2006 he was on your national committee, and two years later he’s your Presidential candidate. If Ol’ Bob can do it, why can’t I?” He also pointed out that former Democratic US Senator Mike Gravel switched from running for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination to that of the Libertarian Party just last year while remaining consistent in his views.

Bill mentioned that he is working on getting his wife Hillary to switch as well, pointing out that she was a Goldwater girl in 1964, and that her best bet to beat Obama in 2012 will be in the general election rather than in the primaries. He also sent a shout out to Alan Greenspan for introducing him to the works of Ayn Rand.

Asked about his future political plans, Clinton told Paulie that he was considering running for LNC as well as a future run for US Congress, and will be starting a new civil rights organization to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution. “I was hoping to be appointed Ambassador to the UN, but Obama’s being a total dick about it,” he said. “Just because I was the real first black President doesn’t mean he has to be that way.”

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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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I’ve heard a number of genuine, dyed-in-the-wool Libertarians lately talking about *not* voting for the party’s presidential candidate, Bob Barr.  There are a lot of folks who just don’t think he was a good choice and I can understand that.  That said, it’s important to consider all of the facts before making a decision like this one.  In this case, one important fact is that the number of votes for a presidential candidate impacts the number of delegates that one’s state gets to the LP national conventions.  This means that states with more people who support, and hence vote for, Barr are likely to get more national convention delegates than states with Libertarians who will refuse to vote for Barr on principle.  Think about it! Personally, I want the most principled individuals serving as delegates to the LP national conventions.  Of course, this advice is only what it is.  I’m not necessarily urging anyone to take any specific course of action.  What I am doing is urging everyone to consider all of the facts in this, as in any situation, prior to making a final decision.

I’ll be back later to read comments.  For now, I’m off to go vote for Bob Barr.

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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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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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