Jeff Trigg is an Illinois Libertarian and he has first hand experience dealing with punitive ballot access signature requirements. He calculates the numbers, and it ain't pretty.
Let me add to his comments by noting that gathering petition signatures is very expensive and time consuming. A popular and well-funded candidate can wind up using all his cash and volunteers' efforts just to get on the ballot, and have none left over for the actual campaign.
Don't think that isn't exactly how the career politicians intend the system to work.
Here in Colorado ballot access was liberalized for the 2000 election cycle. The Libertarians and other parties ran quite a few candidates, with some success. Some legislators have been trying to restrict ballot access ever since.
:: Walter 7:40 AM [+] ::
A Lakewood man died after he and his uncle tried to show two boys that a protective vest would deflect a knife attack.
Gabriel Aranda, 26, died at St. Anthony Central Hospital Friday of a laceration to the heart.
His uncle, Amando Aranda, 32, was being held without bond at Jefferson County Jail Monday on a first-degree murder charge.
Police were called Friday afternoon to a home in the 9900 block of West 20th Avenue where Gabriel Aranda was found bleeding from the chest.
Inside, they found Amando Aranda, along with a 14-year-old boy and a 4-year-old boy.
According to the arrest affadavit, Amando Aranda told police he and his nephew wanted to show the 14-year-old, a cousin of the victim, what the protective vest could do.
"Gabe told Amando to grab a good knife," the affadavit said. "In the kitchen, Amando grabbed a long, black handled knife and poked the vest worn by Gabe. The knife penetrated the vest and Gabe's chest."
That's a bulletproof vest, fellas.
Andy at the World Wide Rant scooped this story yesterday.
:: Walter 7:56 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, June 21, 2003 ::
Holiday Coming Soon
Fireworks are illegal in Denver. So in honor of the upcoming Fourth, I did not just now go out and set off a couple of loud firecrackers on my back deck. My dogs, big, ferocious Malamutes, did not go scurrying off in search of safety.
This makes me think of the time, a few years ago, when my brother came into town to visit right on the Fourth. His little boys and their mother came out to the golf course that night with him and on that occasion I did not light a bunch of illegal fireworks purchased in Wyoming. They did not thrill at the sight of big mortar shells, in vivid blues, greens, and oranges, exploding against the black sky. I did not launch various missiles over the pond at the golf course where the colors did not reflect off the still water for added effect.
None of this happened, because fireworks are very dangerous, and the wise city fathers and mothers have decided that it is not in my best interest to do such things. I strongly recommend that whoever you are, wherever you are, you do not go out and do these things to celebrate our freedom.
Please give a warm welcome to Dave Cullen. He's, like, a professional writer and all, so he writes real good, unlike some amateurs.
Seriously, he's a local writer who's been kind enough to talk with me about a piece he's writing for 5280 Magazine about local bloggers. I don't give spots on the blogroll away easily, and when I add a new blog I usually remove an old one. My blog doesn't get a huge number of readers and if I had hundreds of linked blogs they wouldn't even notice the traffic from my site. So I try to keep my blogroll under a couple of dozen, and I read each of those regularly so that I don't miss anything posted there. I tend to favor other small blogs that deserve more readers. The big guys and gals certainly don't need my help. The famous blogs in my blogroll are there for my reading convenience.
:: Walter 6:06 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 19, 2003 ::
A Fanboy's Notes
Jim Henley proves his worth and justifies his spot in the blogroll with this post. A sample:
For those of you reading these words I have one request:
COULD I GET A LITTLE ALARMISM HERE, PLEASE?????
What has the appeals court authorized?
Please say those words aloud. "Secret detentions." Now use them in a sentence:
The US government engages in the practice of secret detentions.
to my friend Kelly Schaub. She has qualified to play in the U.S. Open, which will be played in Oregon the first week of July.
The best I could manage is the Denver Open. That will be played in late July, and I'm pretty excited about it. Y'all come out and watch.
:: Walter 6:12 AM [+] ::
...[T]he new concealed carry law does not prohibit permitted concealed weapons in Colorado's public colleges and universities.
A student at one of these institutions can legally stuff guns into their backpack. A student with a concealed-carry permit might "lose it" and shoot one of their professors for a failing grade.
Hillman also conveniently forgets to mention that the new concealed-carry law does not prohibit permitted concealed weapons in Colorado's public buildings, unless they have metal detectors. Any disgruntled customer could walk into a government building with their concealed weapon and start shooting up the place.
At the risk of insulting the intelligence of my dear readers, I'll point out what each of you are probably thinking already.
Lacking metal detectors, there's nothing stopping those people from wreaking havoc with guns right now. Legal concealed carry won't change that one iota.
OK, I made that last bit up.
:: Walter 8:32 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 11, 2003 ::
No Blegging Here
Unlike some big blogs, this blog sees no need to beg for donations, no need to put a tip jar on the sidebar.
Instead, gentle reader, you may buy actual products from my wife. The men's products are really good, too.
:: Walter 7:49 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 ::
I often write about the idiocies of the drug war, how many innocent people are killed, money is wasted, etc., but this one subject, the Rave Act, leaves me apoplectic. But even I didn't imagine it could be this bad.
First, a little background. Most of the readers of this blog will know about the Rave Act. The Act's proponents imagine that nightclubs and festivals that feature electronic dance music promote drug use. So they set out to shut down the electronic music business. Before my blood pressure hits the ceiling I'll just quote some other bloggers.
Don Watkins' Anger Management:
This is correct, but as Glenn notes, "the DEA has been after not just drug use, but the 'rave scene,' and electronic music in general, which it regards as part of a 'drug culture' that it sees as a legitimate target."
This is serious stuff, friends. This isn't just another insane drug law. The RAVE Act is an assault on a particular group of people defined, not by what chemicals they do or do not use, but by the music they happen to enjoy. I know a lot of people who make their living as club owners, promoters, or DJ's. These people are being targeted by power-hungry pols and police who have decided to make electronic music the latest scapegoat for America's drug problem, and unlike drug laws that (unjustly) punish a person for putting illegal substances into his own body, the RAVE Act is designed to punish a person for what other people put into their own bodies.
My biggest problem as a club owner was that the kids drank water. I was in the business of selling alcohol. Water is free in the bathroom, and cheap as hell in refillable plastic bottles. Imagine how I hated them for drinking water -- ungrateful little brats! I needed to pay my g.......ed rent!
Well guess what! Now I could be arrested for selling them water.
I am absolutely not kidding. Congressional findings state explicitly the intent of the federal government to criminalize water:
"congressional findings" that, according to the Washington Post, declare bottled water, chill rooms and glowsticks to be drug paraphernalia. It also retains the crackhouse law sentencing guidelines: Party organizers whose patrons get busted with drugs can face fines in the millions and up to 20 years in federal prison.
OK, to recap for those unfamiliar with the rave scene, basically a rave is a non-stop dance party that goes to the wee hours of the morning. Party-goers dance until they're beat. Like any nightclub or concert crowd, some participants use illegal drugs, including ecstacy and other mild stimulants. These people, whether on drugs or not, tend to get dehydrated. Concerned club operators have been known to provide cool-down rooms, with cold water available, for the comfort and safety of patrons.
Which practice could now net the proprietor 20 years in the pen.
I spent the afternoon working a Libertarian Party booth at the People's Fair in Denver. The Fair is a chance for city residents to showcase their wares, especially the artsy types. Bands play, restaurants sell food samples, and it's a good time. Every year a collection of non-profit groups host booths, and the LP gets in the act.
We get attendees to take the World's Smallest Political Quiz, and discuss libertarianism. Sometimes the debates are lively, and often we gain new members and activists. Whether people agree or disagree with our positions, I enjoy the interaction and discussing politics. It's fun to find folks who share my viewpoint, and it's also entertaining to challenge people's beliefs, watching their eyes grow wide when I say things like, 'Don't you think welfare programs create more poverty rather than help the poor?'
I've worked a number of events in a similar capacity, most of them gun shows, but the People's Fair is more fun. Gun show participants tend to score on the right-wing side on the quiz, but at Denver's People's Fair the results run solidly to the left. The funny thing is we have much more success at the People's Fair. At gun shows we might get a half dozen or so new registrations, but today we got close to fifty. Libertarians are often seen as ultra-conservatives, (a serious slander) but we have seem to have much more success with leftist crowds.
Adjust your prejudices accordingly.
Oh, and one more thing. Next to the LP booth some sort of gay and lesbian outfit had a space. Fair organizers thought it would be cool to give the spot across the sidewalk to a fundamentalist Christian church touting anti-gay literature. Somebody sure has a sense of humor.
We can't change the way that newspapers are written but we can sure change the way people read them.
- Perry de Havilland
:: Walter 8:26 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, June 05, 2003 ::
Carnival of the Vanities
I entered a post into the weekly fray that is the Carnival, the first time I've ever tried it. The post recieved some very positive comments, and thanks to all who've visited in the last day. And thanks to Drumwaster for hosting.
:: Walter 10:24 AM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 ::
Good For Something
If nothing else the Libertarian Party is good for some inspired prose. This is from a press release announcing a new national party director:
WASHINGTON, DC -- The incoming executive director of the nation's
third-largest political party is issuing a bold appeal to the American
electorate: Help us fire the government.
"There are just two things standing in between the American people and
their freedom: Democrats, and Republicans," says Joe Seehusen,
incoming head of the Washington, DC-based party. "Government at all
levels has become too big and too bossy, and it's time to cut it down
Eric Rudolph. What can you say about this guy? He hates women. He [allegedly] plants a bomb at a gay nightclub. What could motivate him? Religion? A disturbed childhood? Mental instability? I couldn't say.
Then I saw this picture, and it all fell together.
Eric. Freddie. It can't be a coincidence. Where was Freddie about 36 years ago?
Go ahead, sing along. We are the champions, my friend.....
:: Walter 9:53 PM [+] ::
Obligatory Mayoral Campaign Post
It's hard to get excited about Denver's mayoral race, which will be decided tomorrow. It's a run-off between Don Mares and John Hickenlooper. The field originally was an incredibly diverse group. Seven Democrats. Six of them current or former office holders In other words, a bunch of insider political hacks. Hickenlooper was the only non-politician in the bunch. As a political outsider in that group he became the frontrunner, which speaks more to the level of dissatisfaction with government in this city than any charm Hickenlooper might possess.
The campaigns each of the candidates ran were standard boilerplate - more services for group X, more money to be spent on project Y. Hickenlooper managed to get in a few words about fiscal responsibility between pledges to expand funding for light rail, among other things. I haven't heard any knowledgeable observer who thinks any of them would shrink city government down to a reasonable size.
The most positive aspect of the campaign was the abysmal failure of one Ari Zavaras. As a former chief of police he was one of those most responsible for the spy files fiasco, (I've been writing about that for months) and although he was an early favorite he generated very little support, and didn't even come close to making the run-off. Sources tell me he had a very negative image in minority communities, and rightly so.
So here's the Walter in Denver endorsement: Vote for Hickenlooper! Or stay home. Might be a good day for golf. Probably doesn't matter. I don't think you can write in another candidate on a run-off ballot.
Steven Den Beste discusses why those two labels don't adequately describe political differences in the U.S. He maps out political views on various other axes, conservative vs revolutionary, liberal vs autocrat, tolerant vs conformist.
Only one measure means much to me, and that's statist vs individualist. More on that in this space at a future date.
:: Walter 6:09 AM [+] ::