Monday, August 31, 2009


Rassmussen has reported that 57% of likely voters would like to replace Congress with 535 new faces. I'll take that as validation of this blog's founding principal: legislators should not be allowed to serve consecutive terms.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Coveting Healthcare

As I've written before:
The socialist argument for redistribution requires a populace that actively violates the tenth commandment and a government that abets them by violating the eighth. Here's a refresher:
TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'

EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
Thinking about that in the context of the current healthcare debate has led me to this question which is worse: one person coveting a million dollars or a thousand people each coveting a thousand dollars worth of healthcare?

Two Words: Professional Courtesy

Glenn Reynolds quotes the NY Post on Rep. Charles Rangle's (D-NY) tax evasion: "House Democrats are willing to rally around Rep. Charles Rangel in his latest spate of tax missteps."

Yup, that's professional courtesy.

Glenn adds: "there’s also a risk of criminal prosecution, but I suppose he feels pretty safe with Eric Holder at Justice, who’s already shown considerable willingness to let politics influence decisions on who to prosecute."

Again, professional courtesy.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday's Corner Protest with Janet

Three to four hundred Tea Party protesters came out to Highways K and N in OFallon, MO, to support Janet's Corner Protest August 29th, 2009. Thousands of cars honked as they passed the crowd and its free market and anti-Obamacare signs. (Video below...)

The stilts guy was back! I saw him it one of McCaskill's townhalls recently and at the 100 Days/Arnold Tea Party.

And there were new faces in the crowd—some guy and the devil. Checkout the enthusiasm on "some" guy's face.

Mike Garrity and his channel 5 news team interviewed Janet about her street corner protest. Mike's story is online available: KSDK 5 Report.

Video Coverage:

The first video is a walk along the side of the street when I arrived at 12:15 to get an estimate of the crowd.

The second video is of the channel 5 team interviewing Janet.

The third video is my interview with Janet. I think this is the best of the bunch, so I've put it below. If you only watch one video, this is the one!

The fourth video is the crowd at 1:45 as the event began to wind down.

I have a couple of thoughts about my video coverage compared with KSDK 5's. I think Mike conducted several good interviews and produced a balanced report of today's protest. The television format definitely boxed him in time-wise—I found myself wishing that more of his interview with Janet was included. In this regard, I think my interview with her is better; however, from a news perspective, Mike checked several boxes that I did not. He provided context including an explanation of the police presence and a couple of short interviews with folks stopping at the nearby gas station who, unlike the protesters, support the healthcare legislation.

The St Louis Tea Party video team strives to accurately report news at tea party events, but we're still not doing that well. We're learning and we're growing (I met a couple more bloggers and videographers Saturday), but we need to remember to get opposing views.


Janet's K & N Protest

Janet's corner protest at the intersection of highways K and N is just getting started this week. Good crowd and lots of support from passing cars!

Alton Tea Party Video

This is my video coverage of the Alton Tea Party. The playlist above is composed of the following fourteen videos (the links on the video numbers go to the HD version of that segment on YouTube):

  • Video 1: Opening Prayer
  • Video 2: National Anthem
  • Video 3: Pledge of Allegiance
  • Video 4 and 5: Elijah Condellone
  • Video 6, 7, and 8: Jonathan West
  • Video 9: Kathy of the Alton 912 Project
  • Video 10, 11, and 12: Bill Hennessy
  • Video 13 and 14: Rhonda Linders

Previously on RebootCongress:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gateway Pundit Makes the Top 10

Saint Louis's very own Gateway Pundit made the top 10 list of Wikio's Top Political Blogs. Gateway Pundit is currently tenth, just behind Glenn Reynold's Instapundit. Congratulations Jim! Now let's see if you can move up the chart!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Obamacare Coverage

SharpElbowsStL got some great coverage of a St Louis area pro-Obamacare event on Thursday. That event was announced Wednesday afternoon. Even on very short notice the Tea Party Videographers were able to get someone there to ask a question. Great job Sharp!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Remembering Rose Friedman

The wife of the late Milton Friedman, Rose Friedman, has died at the age of 98. She collaborate with her husband on many of his economic endeavors, but perhaps most famously as co-author of Free to Choose. She also collaborated with Milton on his best known book: Capitalism and Freedom. The book Free to Choose followed the release of PBS series by the same name which is available at A brief Wikipedia entry has more details about the book and TV program.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jean Carnahan

I find it ironic that former Missouri Senator Jean Carnahan would call for more decorum and dignity at townhalls while displaying so little of either herself:
In recent weeks we have seen disruptions at town halls, mob hysteria, arrests, death threats, and remarks that border on treason. Those who should be in control of the GOP remain mute or, even worse, they bless the hordes that take up pitchforks to puncture the idea of health care reform.
Yes, boys and girls, the anti-government tea baggers are being ginned up anew to squelch the president’s health care plan.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coming Soon

Last Thursday I attended one of Ed Martin's (R) "Ask Ed Anything" events in South County. Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO) is pictured above. He attended the event to show his support for Ed who is exploring a run for Congress in Missouri's 3rd Congressional district. I had hoped to have video online Friday, but, well... technical difficulties. I'm currently on vacation; nonetheless, I hope to have some video from Thursday online early this week!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obama on Single Payer Healthcare

Here's an interesting video mashup of Obama debating himself on a single payer healthcare system.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coffee with Cleaver

They're doing some great video work across the state in KC. The video above is a series of interviews with people waiting in line to speak with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A New Beginning

I got an email from Let's Stop and Think drawing my attention to a post which reads in part:
Currently there are enormous issues to deal with. The economy, unemployment, government and corporate corruption, health care, and the environment are such issues.
I agree that those are enormous issues; however, I think we're facing much more pressing ones. The economy, corruption, healthcare, and the environment are the wave currently crashing on the beach. The waves behind them are bigger.

Yesterday I read the following on Slashdot:
The college where I work has decided to forego ordering a textbook for the computer class that I teach this fall. Does anyone know of a free, open-source textbook for basic computer literacy concepts (overview of hardware, software, operating systems, and file systems)?
I've followed the Open Source movement for many years. I've spoken at conferences about using Open Source software. What the Slashdotter is asking about is Open Content—a book, probably in electronic form, that is freely available.

There were many responses to his request.

Some authors are apparently willing to write without remuneration. That's not surprising; after all, there are a lot of bloggers doing the same thing. Wikipedia rivals and, in some areas, exceeds the best encyclopedias you can buy. It's available for free.

What the Slashdotter may not understand is that his lectures can be replaced by recorded ones and it's possible to automate his tests (Brainbench comes to mind). In other words, I see very little value add from teachers and professors. In the unaccredited St. Louis City School district, I see none. While recorded lectures will not work for all age groups (young children need teachers) and all subjects (you probably need hands on instruction to learn the oboe), we could jettison a huge part of education spending, to say nothing of mitigating future pension obligations, simply by recording the best teachers and firing the other million.

Somewhat related to that is the question: what is the carbon footprint of a school/college/university? I'm not a global warmonger, so I don't particularly care; however, it strikes me as odd that we have two places for almost every person: home and work/school. As more and more people work and learn from home, property values will decline.

However, we need to learn a lot more before working from home becomes a norm. As a former boss of mine remarked back in 1999:
You're walking down the hall and you meet someone. You talk. Work gets done. We don't yet know how to facilitate that hallway meeting.
He's right, for now. Tools like twitter and Facebook are beginning to change that. The killer business app for Facebook will be a collection of tools that 1) filter your content so that you only see co-workers and work related material, 2) prioritizes the content so that you see your project's tasks, then your department's, then your company's, 3) automates your Facebook updates so that others are aware of your progress without you doing anything (other than your work), and 4) manages complex work-flows like document revision and sign-off, financial reconciliation, etc.

Working from home will have little impact on manufacturing, retail, and restaurants. Nonetheless, the impact from other industries combined with all those unpaid authors and unemployed teachers will drive down GDP and tax revenues.

Why do we have libraries? It used to be that librarians knew where to find obscure bits of knowledge. Today, you're probably better off Googling for it. Libraries have added services to remain relevant: internet connected computers, book readings for children, etc. However, the ability to keep a library on a Kindle is almost here—once they workout that ironic Orwellian bug.

This transition is not limited to government funded operations. Record labels and journalism are the obvious commercial interest that are facing implosion. A talented band could make a go at a career with a blog and an Ebay store to sell their music. Other industries will also be effected. It seems likely that banks and other financial institutions will need very few employees in the future. My bank has one location and I've never been there. About two years ago, they began accepting scanned checks—go to their website, scan the check, and it's deposited. When I last refinanced my house, I met my mortgage broker at a restaurant—even without a secretary to direct me to his office, we were able to complete the transaction.

Journalism... I've blogged about it before, journalism is in transition. Thousands of years ago, if you wanted something written down, you hired a scribe. Today, we're all scribes. I see the same thing happening with journalism. It will be painful for journalists, but I believe it will, eventually, be good for society. The crossroads we're standing at is best described in an article by Clay Shirky about newspapers and thinking the unthinkable. Television and radio will face similar problems.

And this is why I think the waves behind those now crashing on the beach are of greater concern. We're standing at 1500 AD. Our printing press is technology: cell phones, cameras, computers, networking. As Shirky writes:
Elizabeth Eisenstein’s magisterial treatment of Gutenberg’s invention, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, opens with a recounting of her research into the early history of the printing press. She was able to find many descriptions of life in the early 1400s, the era before movable type. Literacy was limited, the Catholic Church was the pan-European political force, Mass was in Latin, and the average book was the Bible. She was also able to find endless descriptions of life in the late 1500s, after Gutenberg’s invention had started to spread. Literacy was on the rise, as were books written in contemporary languages, Copernicus had published his epochal work on astronomy, and Martin Luther’s use of the press to reform the Church was upending both religious and political stability.

What Eisenstein focused on, though, was how many historians ignored the transition from one era to the other. To describe the world before or after the spread of print was child’s play; those dates were safely distanced from upheaval. But what was happening in 1500? The hard question Eisenstein’s book asks is “How did we get from the world before the printing press to the world after it? What was the revolution itself like?”

Chaotic, as it turns out. The Bible was translated into local languages; was this an educational boon or the work of the devil? Erotic novels appeared, prompting the same set of questions. Copies of Aristotle and Galen circulated widely, but direct encounter with the relevant texts revealed that the two sources clashed, tarnishing faith in the Ancients. As novelty spread, old institutions seemed exhausted while new ones seemed untrustworthy; as a result, people almost literally didn’t know what to think. If you can’t trust Aristotle, who can you trust?
That is our world—the emerging second world.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Carnahan Townhall Report *UPDATED* shot the video above. After the gymnasium had filled up, the doors were closed. The crowd moved to a secondary door where some people were able to get in. The video at implies that only pro-Obamacare people got by. SharpElbows has an interview with someone who was at the secondary door.

I was inside and only a few feet away from the secondary door while the video above was recorded. Three or four policemen ran by to make sure the door was secured. I don't have a clear memory of how many people got in, but at least one of them got an earful from a police officer. I was on my way out and decided that a different door would be the best option.

I saw the folks that had entered late go directly into the gymnasium without signing in—perhaps they didn't know they were suppose to.

As I walked down the hall, I saw Kathy, one of Congressman Carnahan's (D-MO) staffers, at the sign-in table. I introduced myself as someone opposed to HR3200 and asked if I could interview the Congressman on camera about healthcare reform. I left my contact information and Kathy told me that I may not be contacted until HR3200 comes to the floor. I'd love to speak with the Congressman this month because I think a one-on-one interview between the Congressman and myself (and/or other constituents opposed to HR3200) will advance the healthcare debate while putting the rancor aside. We'll see.

Shortly after leaving the building, I heard the crowd singing God Bless America. I later learned that tensions had flared after the doors had been closed. Heated discussions ensued, but calm was restored as Tea Partiers began singing God Bless America.


The video above was shot as I arrived at the event. While I say that I got there at 5PM, it was really closer to 5:10.

In this video I ask Eileen about the "Band of Brothers" t-shirts she's selling, but the conversation quickly turns to the downturn in the economy. Both of her children are small business owners who have seen their business drop over the past several months. (Eileen, Thanks for the t-shirt! I tried emailing, but it bounced back.)

I had to go back to the car for provisions. As I was walking back I meet these three women with signs. I interviewed them and then, on the way back, they had turned their signs around, so I shot a second video of them. The first of these two takes a second to get going, but then it moves right along. The reason for that is that they don't know who I am and so they're not inclined to trust me. The development of rapport and trust within the Tea Party movement is a book length topic. I hope someone writes about it someday.

This is where I enter the gymnasium. Towards the end, you'll notice that the chairs closest to me have white paper "reserved" signs on them. It's a little hard to see those signs because of the camera angle.

Cross Coverage:

Update to follow...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

99 Corners Project

Over the weekend, Bill Hennessy wrote about the inspiration he took from a 67 year old Tea Partier named Janet who drew a crowd of 80 people on a rainy Saturday. Bill's vision is to get many more leaders like Janet. He wants "99 leaders to identify a location, day, and time for a weekly 1-hour protest. These protests will run through at least September 30."

The Tea Party movement needs leaders. America's future leaders are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, so we need the leaders of yesterday to lead again... and the spouses, children, and even grandchildren of America's future leaders to step up.

But an hour a week through September 30th... some people will think that's huge commitment. Some will decide not to participate because they'll be on vacation one week and a business trip another.

I would temper Bill's call like this: figure out how you can integrate activism and protesting into your lifestyle. Do it incrementally and with your friends, your network. If you can only do one hour. Get out and do that hour. If you can't fit it in, but you jog a couple times a week, then fashion a sign that you can wear while jogging. Let Bill know by sending an email to with the subject line "99 Corners Leader". And try to get a picture or video each time you're out. You can email it to Bill or myself and we will post it. If you start blogging and post the picture yourself, email us and we'll link to it! If you're in the Saint Louis area, let us know and we will try to stop by.

Make a difference on your corner of America, so we can make a difference in Washington.

Cash for Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers program reminds me of Bastiat's parable of the Broken Window from his essay on What is Seen and What is Not Seen. Cash for Clunkers destroys something that is working and replaces it with an equivalent thing of greater value. That greater value is where the Clunkers program diverges from Bastiat in a pernicious way. Here's an excerpt from the parable:
Have you ever been witness to the fury of that solid citizen, James Goodfellow, when his incorrigible son has happened to break a pane of glass? If you have been present at this spectacle, certainly you must also have observed that the onlookers, even if there are as many as thirty of them, seem with one accord to offer the unfortunate owner the selfsame consolation: "It's an ill wind that blows nobody some good. Such accidents keep industry going. Everybody has to make a living. What would become of the glaziers if no one ever broke a window?"

Now, this formula of condolence contains a whole theory that it is a good idea for us to expose, flagrante delicto, in this very simple case, since it is exactly the same as that which, unfortunately, underlies most of our economic institutions.

Suppose that it will cost six francs to repair the damage. If you mean that the accident gives six francs' worth of encouragement to the aforesaid industry, I agree. I do not contest it in any way; your reasoning is correct. The glazier will come, do his job, receive six francs, congratulate himself, and bless in his heart the careless child. That is what is seen.

But if, by way of deduction, you conclude, as happens only too often, that it is good to break windows, that it helps to circulate money, that it results in encouraging industry in general, I am obliged to cry out: That will never do! Your theory stops at what is seen. It does not take account of what is not seen.

It is not seen that, since our citizen has spent six francs for one thing, he will not be able to spend them for another. It is not seen that if he had not had a windowpane to replace, he would have replaced, for example, his worn-out shoes or added another book to his library. In brief, he would have put his six francs to some use or other for which he will not now have them.

Let us next consider industry in general. The window having been broken, the glass industry gets six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is seen.

If the window had not been broken, the shoe industry (or some other) would have received six francs' worth of encouragement; that is what is not seen.

And if we were to take into consideration what is not seen, because it is a negative factor, as well as what is seen, because it is a positive factor, we should understand that there is no benefit to industry in general or to national employment as a whole, whether windows are broken or not broken.

Now let us consider James Goodfellow.

On the first hypothesis, that of the broken window, he spends six francs and has, neither more nor less than before, the enjoyment of one window.
In the Cash for Clunkers case, today's car buyers are enjoying a better car at the expense of future generations and the cost of used cars is increased at the margin as the clunkers are scrapped. The program taxes our children and grandchildren while making used cars more expensive for those that can't afford a new one—often the lower middle class and poor.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When in Rome...

We've got taxpayer subsidized bread and circuses now!

Interview with Ed Martin Part 5

In part five of my interview with Ed Martin, Ed explains that he plans to explore his run for Congress by talking to the people of Missouri's third district. He will do that by holding "Ask Ed" sessions where voters will be able to press him on the issues they care about. He hasn't nailed down a specific format—it could be a kitchen table conversation or something larger. I decided to avail myself of the opportunity and ask Ed about the founding principal of RebootCongress: ending consecutive legislative terms. Specifically, I asked Ed if he would be willing to commit to serving one term and possibly having another go in 2014. He supports term limits, but he was unwilling to promise one term, for now. Clearly, I've got to work harder on my sales pitch!

Since it may come up in the comments, here are some advantages of eliminating consecutive legislative service:
  1. Losers of a primary have an incentive to support the winner since they'll likely be vying for his position in a couple years and, therefore, his blessing.
  2. Once elected the politician expects to return to their district instead of Washington, so they'll be less interested in serving Washington (consolidating power) and more inclined to serve their district.
  3. Once elected the politician has no need to collect donations for a campaign.
  4. Nor do they have any need to campaign while on our dime. They may do it for a favored candidate, but that might be a turn-off to voters since the new expectation is that there's no campaigning while serving.
  5. They'll get to live like a regular member of their district's community, re-familiarizing themselves with that community, but, more importantly, re-acquainting themselves with common humility.
  6. Politicians will not be unassailable in a consecutive primary (since they wont be in it)—incumbent advantage is drastically reduced. This means that it will be easier to get rid of the tainted politicians and it will take a national spotlight off of them (usually) so that they can clear their name while out of office (if possible).
  7. It helps to add depth to the bench. It gets more people involved in government.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Saint Louis Tea Party: Too Legit to Quit

The Riverfront Times has noticed the effectiveness the Tea Party movement has had at recent Carnahan and McCaskill events. There's more to come as Tea Partiers prep for their 99 Corners protest, the August 22nd Recess Rally, and the Quincy IL 912 Project/Tea Party.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Roundup 'Round the Arch

Here's some coverage from Saint Louis Tea Party bloggers:

Interview with Ed Martin Part 4

This is part four of my interview with Ed Martin. In this segment, I ask Ed about earmarks and what can be done to shrink the size of government. Ed emphasizes the importance of executive leadership to reduce the government Leviathan.


Interview with Ed Martin Part 3

In the third part of my interview with Ed Martin we discuss the Saint Louis Tea Party movement. Ed has spoken at the February Tea Party under the Arch, the Tax Day Tea Party, and the Washington/St Louis Tea Party on July 4th. I think Ed would like to continue to speak at Tea Party events, but I don't think he'll be invited to speak. Bill and Dana have said that the Tea Party movement will not endorse candidates, but that it is looking for candidates to endorse the Tea Party's core principals.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Interview with Ed Martin Part 2

This is part two of my interview with Ed Martin. In this segment Ed talks about his experience and focuses on his efforts to stop InBev's take over of Anheuser Busch. He was instrumental in the effort and points out that some of their fears have been realized now that AB has been taken over.

Full disclosure: I profited from the sale of AB to InBev. I can't remember if I owned shares prior to the vote on the sale to InBev—my initial investment was acquired in August or September '08—but I would have voted for the merger if presented with that option.