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Archive for December, 2008

I’ve told bits and pieces of this story in response to comments on various threads in various places. Having done so over and over, I feel the need to go ahead and put it all out there now so that everyone has one place to turn to for my perspective as state chair. I’m going to go over this first in timeline format, then share a few additional facts about WV and the ballot access situation for us and other parties. If something in the timeline is a bit confusing, see the facts section for clarification.

December 2007: Bill Redpath approaches then-chair Kirsten Milligan about assisting WV with national party funds for ballot access. I was secretary of the party at that time. Kirsten discussed it with the executive committee, and the concensus we reached was that since we did not have a gubernatorial candidate for 2008, national party funds would be better spent elsewhere, and that we would pursue ballot access in 2012 when we had a gubernatorial candidate so that we could achieve major party status and never have to petition again.

March 2008: Kirsten Milligan resigns, and I become interim chairman.

April 2008: Russ Verney contacts me about the possibility of the Barr campaign going for ballot access in WV if Barr wins the nomination. He seems enthusiastic, and I am as well. Mr. Verney comes across very well, and I’m genuinely looking forward to working with him on this together at that point.

May 2008: I’m elected chairman for a full term. Tad Britch is elected to replace me as secretary.

May 2008: Several Barr campaign folks speak to me about the possibility of ballot access in WV while I’m in Denver as a delegate, both before and after Barr receives the nomination. Shane Corey and Russ Verney are among them. I ask them to keep in touch moving forward, and state that I’d love to bring out whatever volunteers the state party has available, but that we have very little in the way of funds, and not enough to really pay for petitioners. I state that we would like some training for our volunteers who primarily reside in the north-central area of WV. This is the last time I would be in contact with any Barr campaign staff, however. I mention to Paulie and others that I’d like to have them come petition and party with me in WV if the Barr campaign sends some funds to the state party for ballot access.

June 2008: Towards the very end of June, Jake Witmer contacts me, and says they are petitioning. I mention that I’d like to get some volunteers trained from the state party’s volunteer base. Jake states that he is in Charleston (a few hours south of the north-central area, where we have very few activists and likely no volunteers.) Jake tells me Shane Corey is coming to the Charleston area, and that he’ll be contacting me. I ask if any petitioners are active in northern WV. Jake doesn’t know. Jake sends me some documents including petitions.

July 2008: I’m still in contact with Jake every once in a while. I offer to house petitioners in my home since Morgantown/Fairmont/Clarksburg/Bridgeport is a good area for petitioning. He says he has a friend who might take me up on it if his friend is brought in by the Barr campaign. That never occurs. I also mention that several other members of the state party would likely volunteer couch space or an air-bed. Later on, Jake gives me contact info for Shane who is apparently in Charleston. I am never able to get in contact with Shane, and he never attempts to contact me.

August 2008: The Barr campaign fails to meet its deadlines. Our state party volunteer base was never utilized. Barr also fails to register as a certified write-in candidate, so that write-in votes for Barr would be counted.

September 2008: A state party member calls me, asking about the Barr lawsuit. This is the first I’d heard of it.

Now for some facts. Ballot access is a 2% theshhold of prior-election voters in WV. To achieve major party status (which means you get free ballot access without petitioning) you must have a gubernatorial candidate who receives 1% of the popular vote. After the national convention, the only person who I was ever in contact with regarding the ballot access efforts was Jake Witmer. Jake was not equipped to really do what needed to be done, as a petitioner and not someone with any real authority. In the future, ballot access efforts will be undertaken by the LPWV. I firmly believe this will better serve the interests of LP candidates throughout the state as we move forward.  The Constitution Party achieved ballot access by petition in 2008 for their presidential candidate, as did Ralph Nader as an independent.  The Green Party affiliate, which is called the Mountain Party, had major party status and did not need to petition.

– Matt Harris, LPWV Chair

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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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So a few of us – namely Paulie, George Donnelly, Mike Seebeck, and myself, along with a few others who have expressed an interest, have been talking a lot about forming an LP Transparency Caucus.  At this point, we’re sure that we’re moving forward with this, so we thought it a good time to start soliciting thoughts and ideas from the community at large instead of just talking amongst ourselves.  We’ve got the internet site stuff set up, and just needs some design/content/etc – anyone interested in helping out, please let us know.

Here’s what we’re thinking so far: The LP Transparency Caucus is completely non-partisan in terms of reformers, radicals, etc.  All we do is try to bring greater openness to the LP.  This includes everything from the LNC (we plan to push for live video from every LNC meeting from now on) to bylaws and platform committees, etc.  We will be putting out reports or pushing to have reports put out in as timely a manner as possible.  We want as much information as feasible to be available to the entirety of the LP membership without in any way compromising the goals of the LP.  Certain things are supposed to be public – and we’ll always be lobbying to make sure they are.

Beyond that, we’ll be sending candidates for internal positions such as the LNC and various committees surveys.  We will publish the results of these surveys, as well as endorse the best candidates.  Once elected, we will help to ensure that these candidates comply with the campaign promises made in terms of transparency and a culture of openness within the given committee.  We believe that this will foster such a culture by encouraging candidates to take up pro-transparency positions as well as stick to them once in office.

So have at it – what other ideas and suggestions do you folks have?  What else can be done?  Keep in mind that bonus points are awarded for doers, not for talkers.  Over the coming months and years, we’ll be putting our boots on the ground to try and achieve the goals we’re working on here.  If you want to help by doing stuff, don’t hesitate to say so!  All are welcome, and we hope you’ll find this idea worthwhile.

Thanks, Matt

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The Libertarian National Committee (LNC), at its December 6 meeting in San Diego, voted to form a committee that would deal with the Angela Keaton affair, which entails a pending resolution calling for the suspension of LNC At-Large Representative Angela Keaton. The vote, which was triggered by a motion made by LNC Vice Chair Mike Jingozian, passed unanimously, which effectively called for a committee of six members from the board.

This new committee comprises of the following six LNC members:

  • Rachel Hawkridge
  • Mary Ruwart
  • Retired Admiral Michael Colley
  • Mike Jingozian
  • Tony Ryan
  • Rebecca Sink-Burris

Readers who want the skinny on yesterday’s events can surf here.

[Cross-posted at my blog The Freedom Chronicles.]

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Videos after the jump. Youtube sometimes takes down music videos
at the requests of record companies, prudes, etc., so catch ’em while you can and if you get a “video no longer exists message” that is probably why.

(more…)

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Thanks to Marc Montoni

membership2008-11

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Nevada’s Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki was indicted today by a grand jury on four felony counts related to his previous stint as state treasurer: 2 counts of Misappropriation and Falsification of Accounts By Public Officer, and 2 counts of Misappropriation by Treasurer. Krolicki had just last week announced he planned to run against Harry Reid for Senate in 2010, and claims this indictment was a politically motivated conspiracy hatched by Reid and Nevada’s Democratic Attorney General. The main problem with his story is that the indictment is hardly out of the blue. It has its roots back in January 2007, when the State Treasurer who took office after him, asked and received permission for an audit looking into possible improprieties. Krolicki even admits he was informed about a probable grand jury indictment late in November, so he announced his intention to run against Reid knowing it was coming.

The Hill happily pimped Krolick’s claim in an article titled: Top Reid challenger indicted.  In the article The Hill also mentioned that two other Republicans, who were considered possible challengers to Reid in 2010, had their political fortunes greatly decreased by losing their reelection bids last November. One of those was Congressman Jon Porter, and the other was State Senator Joe Heck. From The Hill article:

The two GOP names most often floated as top-notch challengers, however, have had difficult years of their own. Rep. Jon Porter, who represents Southern Nevada’s 3rd district, just lost his bid for a fourth term to state Sen. Dina Titus; and state Sen. Joe Heck lost his seat by fewer than 1,000 votes thanks to a Libertarian candidate.

Thanks to a Libertarian candidate? Not due to Heck’s lack of appeal in his district? The Hill conveniently failed to mention that an IAP candidate was a fourth contender in the field, who performed fairly well.

Candidate Party % vote votes
BREEDEN, SHIRLEY DEM 46.57% 46,420
HECK, JOE REP 45.81% 45,655
HAGAN, TIM LIB 4.77% 4,754
BLANQUE, TONY IAP 2.85% 2,843

Source: Nevada Secretary of State

Given the political views of Independent American Party members, it seems much more likely that Heck lost, “thanks” to the IAP candidate, not the Libertarian.

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