Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ACORN and Citizen Journalism

Bill Whittle on ACORN and BigGovernment.comBill Whittle over at PJTV has an excellent 10 minute report on's strategy for releasing the ACORN videos. Watch the whole thing as there is an important warning at the end. As Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying: Don't get cocky.
Stanley Kurtz in The Corner on Patrick Gaspard, ACORN, and Obama
We are talking about a persistent and shared political-ideological alliance between President Obama and the complex of community, labor, and party organizations controlled by ACORN. (See especially "Life of the New Party" for more on New Party ideology.)

Public (University) Choice Theory

Robert J. Birgeneau and Frank D. Yeary offer "A New Model to Help Finance Higher Education" at the WaPo:
While America is fortunate to have many great private universities, we do not need to add to the list by privatizing Berkeley, Illinois, Rutgers, etc. On the contrary, we need to keep our public research and teaching universities excellent and accessible to the vast majority of Americans.
I might be convinced as long as the educational products, namely classes, that these public universities are producing are recorded and made freely available on YouTube or a similar service. I'd recommend using open source textbooks too. Heck, if a textbook is written by a university professor on the taxpayer dime, shouldn't it be made available electronically for free?

Let's look at incentives next:
...the federal government should create a hybrid model in which a limited number of our great public research and teaching universities receive basic operating support from the federal government and their respective state governments. Washington might initially choose a representative set of schools, perhaps based on their research achievements [ed: favor past performance and pedigree], their success in graduating students [ed: encourage grade inflation], commitment to public service [ed: genuflect to the almighty Godverment] and their record in having a student body that is broadly representative of society [ed: encourage implicit quota systems].
Wait, it gets better....
Philanthropy must continue to be an important resource. To ensure stability, the federal government should agree to match, at a rate of 2-to-1, and the state government at 1-to-1, private endowment funds raised by these public universities for 10 years. If such a public-private partnership raised private philanthropy of $150 million per year, the university would have $6 billion contributed toward a new endowment at the end of 10 years.
Ok. Give a dollar to a public university, DC will pitch in two more and your state will add another. Give a dollar to a private college, and that college wont get any matching support from the national and state governments. Someone that makes a large donation to a university often gets to direct those funds (see: Glassboro State College). So, the proposed system enables the most generous donors to marshal taxpayer dollars for the donor's pet project(s) at the public university while smaller donors will still have little say.

No Incumbent Should Run

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit:
CQ POLITICS: A GOP Challenge for West Virginia Rep. Mollohan. “West Virginia Democratic Rep. Alan B. Mollohan, who was unopposed in his last re-election campaign, has drawn a 2010 challenge from a Republican state legislator.” Personally, I think that no incumbent should run unopposed.
Personally, I think that no incumbent should run.

Supply and Demand

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek provides a free education to a protectionist:
In a letter appearing in Sunday’s Washington Times, protectionist William Hawkins accuses Adam Smith of being “dreadfully wrong” to insist that the ultimate goal of economic activity is consumption rather than production.

Alas, the dreadfully wrong one is Hawkins. He confuses means with ends. Flour, sugar, apples, an oven, and labor are necessary ingredients for baking an apple pie, but these means are valuable in this use only if someone wants to consume the pie. If no one wants to eat apple pie, then using these ingredients to produce the pie would be wasteful.

Adam Smith correctly understood that the desire to consume is what justifies production, and not vice-versa.
I wonder if the language lends itself to this sort of misunderstanding. An economy grows when productivity increases, but if the added capacity only goes to fill warehouses, then the gross national product (GNP) will eventually have to fall... until those warehoused goods are consumed. I would say that production must be informed by consumption. It is the consumption of goods and services at some rate and at a mutually agreed price that conveys to the producer whether more (or less) goods and services can profitably be produced.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The AP is reporting that the FDIC is expected to ask banks to prepay $36B in fees:
It would be the first time the FDIC has required prepaid insurance fees. Under the plan, banks would have to pay in advance their insurance premiums for 2010-2012, bringing in about $12 billion for each of the three years,...

Off the table, at least for now, are the options of tapping the agency's $500 billion credit line with the Treasury Department...

Borrowing from the Treasury could create the undesirable impression of another taxpayer-financed bailout...
Now we know why banks aren't lending. They've been hording money to pay for an FDIC shakedown because bailing out the agency that bails out failed banking institutions is less tolerable.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ed Martin: On ACORN and Voter Fraud

In mid-August I caught up with Ed Martin at one of his "Ask Ed Anything" sessions. It's taken a while to get the video posted because my computer crashed and other things came up. In the video above, Ed talks about his time on the St Louis Board of Election Commissioners fighting voter fraud in the city.

Ed has been exploring a run for Missouri's third Congressional District. On Wednesday evening (6PM), at McArthur's Bakery, he will announce the results of that exploration.


Video Coverage of 9/12 March on Washington has extensive video coverage of the 9/12 March on Washington including the video above of St Louis's very own Ken Gladney. Ken was punched and kicked by a couple of SEIU thugs after a healthcare townhall in south county. That beating won the SEIU a new nickname. Because the SEIU thugs were wearing purple shirts, they're now known as the Purple People Beaters.

As for the video above... it's a bit of a racial enigma to me. I don't think the guy waving the stars and bars was trying to intimidate Ken—heck, he even looks supportive—but, er, could we agree that maybe that flag should've been tucked away while the black man spoke?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ed Martin Announcement Rally, Wednesday, 9/30

Erstwhile Honduran President Zelaya and UN work to undermine November elections in Honduras:
Micheletti said he was prepared to meet with Zelaya and a delegation from the Organization of American States, but only to discuss one topic: November elections.

On Wednesday, the U.N. cut off all technical aid that would have supported and given credibility to that presidential race. Conditions do not exist for credible elections, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

Honduran Embassy in DC Remains Loyal to Zelaya

Destroyed Police Vehicle

The Honduran Embassy is still carrying a torch for Zelaya:
September 22, 2009 – The Embassy of Honduras in Washington DC strongly condemns the use of violence and intimidation by military and police forces controlled by the illegitimate government of Micheletti against the people of Honduras and calls for the immediate restoration of peace in Tegucigalpa. According to reports from the ground, peaceful demonstrators supporting the return of the constitutional president of Honduras are being attacked and beaten and an overall atmosphere of insecurity is now being imposed around the Embassy of Brazil where President Manuel Zelaya is stationed.
La Gringa's got some pictures of those peaceful, masked, pitchfork-wielding demonstrators and much more on the violence and who's behind it. I just want to know who's paying to keep the lights on in Zelaya's Tilden St propaganda office.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Via Greg Mankiw's Blog, the WSJ has a great story about how businesses respond to perverse incentives:
The fabric is shredded, the steel parts are broken down, and everything is sent off along with the glass to be recycled.

Why all the fuss and feathers? Blame the "chicken tax."

The seats and windows are but dressing to help Ford navigate the wreckage of a 46-year-old trade spat.
Clearly, more regulation is called for: 1) a steel breaking tax, 2) a fabric shredding tax, and 3) a recycling tax might do the trick. Government meddling can always be mitigated with more government meddling—it demoralizes the whiners!
In her debut speech in Asia, Sarah Palin slamed Obama's spending: "...she praised the economic policies of former US President Ronald Reagan and criticised the current administration for intervening too much during the recent financial crisis."

Gateway Pundit is reporting that Canada will walk out of Ahmadinejad's UN speech today: "The Canadians will boycott Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech today at the United Nations."

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek schools and Malcolm Potts for claiming "that slowing population growth is essential if poverty is to be eradicated":
On what basis do the reporter and Mr. Potts believe that a larger population is necessarily incompatible with the eradication of poverty? The standards of living of at least 4 billion of the approximately 6.8 billion people alive today are incomparably higher than were the standards of living for nearly everyone who lived prior to the industrial age – and the living standards of today’s other 2.8 billion are not obviously worse than were those of the great majority of our pre-industrial ancestors. Yet world population until the industrial age was no higher than one billion.

Empirically, it appears as if poverty eradication is quite compatible with population growth, and perhaps even a result of this growth as much as it is a cause of growth. and Potts should add Julian Simon to their remedial reading list because people are The Ultimate Resource:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tea Partiers Stand with Hondurans for a Pro-Democracy Rally in St Louis

Angela with Honduran Flag

Most of the Crowd at the Honduran Pro-Democracy Rally

Sue, an immigrant from Honduras, calls for Hondurans to Stand Strong

Karim with a plate of delicious Honduran tacos from Papagayos

GatewayPundit called for Americans to respect Honduran Democracy

We had a good crowd at the Pro Democracy Rally outside Papagayos on Manchester in St Louis. I'd estimate that we had fifty people in total—not bad for a weekday evening.

I asked Karim (he helped organize the rally) how Americans might support Honduras. Specifically, I asked what businesses and products we could buy. Papagayos at 6922 Manchester Av, which is a combination Honduran market and restaurant, is an option for St. Louisans. He also mentioned that Hanes manufactures most of their garments in Honduras. Look for a "made in Honduras" label on T shirts and other clothing you're thinking of purchasing and do your part to BUYcott Honduras!

Patch of and Michelle of both got video. I was struggling with equipment problems—video camera wouldn't work, camera batteries died, and the voice recorder I used for an interview didn't work. Patch had a spare set of batteries. I don't know what I would do without that guy. It's like he's my very own nanny state. Checkout their sites later this week for video!

Welcome Instapundit readers! Thanks for the link Glenn! You'll find a picture of the Instapundit amid my extensive Quincy 912 Project coverage. I've got some thoughts about citizen journalism there under the Citizen Journalism: Technology and Techniques section.

Cross Coverage:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Freedom Rally to Support Honduras

Papagayos on Manchester (click picture to enlarge)

Leftist leader Manuel Zelaya was removed from office after he violated the Honduran Supreme Court's injunction against a referendum. He violated that injunction by having ballots for his illegal referendum printed in Venezuela and distributing them in violation of the Honduran Supreme Court. He's now effectively under house arrest at the Brazilian embassy in Honduras.

GatewayPundit has news about a rally to support Honduras:
...Hondurans are fighting back against the misguided Obama administration foreign policy. The St. Louis Honduran community is planning a Freedom Protest on Tuesday September 22nd.

PLEASE-- Come out and support the Honduran people.
We will meet in front of Papagayos at 6 PM CST on Tuesday. Papagayos is located at 6922 Manchester Av, St. Louis, Mo. 63143—see picture above.

Please wear blue and white!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quincy 912 Project and Citizen Journalism

The YouTube playlist above is my complete video coverage of the Quincy 912 Project. All of the videos are linked in order below:
Citizen Report
The Quincy 912 Project was a lot of fun. I got some good pictures, met some big name bloggers (including the Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds), and enjoyed hanging out with friends from protests past. I think my favorite picture from the event is this one of Dana. Since she spends a lot of time in front of the camera, you may not realize that Dana Loesch is quite a good photographer, too.

photographer Dana LoeschDana Loesch Reporting from Quincy 912 Project

While two of the St Louis Tea Party videographers headed off to DC, we still had a strong presence in Quincy. Sharp Elbows, Paulette Revere, and Michelle Moore (pictured below) were all rolling film. There were others as well and our still camera contingent was well represented.

ATraditionalLifeLived.comMichelle Moore live streaming the Quincy 912 Project

Glenn Reynolds interviewed me for PJTV. He asked me where I thought the Tea Party movement was headed and I said shareholder meetings of publicly traded companies. I have no idea if they'll use that video, but it was awesome to finally meet the Instapundit! I also saw Jim Hoft, the Gateway Pundit. The first time I met Hoft he went off on how he doesn't know how Glenn Reynolds can be so prolific. He was truly exasperated. Yeah, me too. I've had like three posts this week and Glenn's probably closing in on three hundred. Hoft's probably taken down another czar. Here's a shot of them:

Glenn Reynolds and Jim HoftGlenn Reynolds and Jim Hoft

I provided some live coverage of the Quincy 912 Project via twitter. My twitter coverage consisted mostly of single quotes from the speeches accompanied by a picture sent to Here are my tweets from Quincy:
Citizen Journalism: Technology and Techniques
I took my usual camera equipment:
  • Canon A520 point-n-shoot
  • Two Traveler DV-5000 flip-like video cameras
  • Sony HDR-HC1 video camera
  • Cowon iAudio U2 MP3 player/recorder
  • Treo 650 cellphone
  • Camera Tripod
The one innovation for this event was a little hardware hack on my tripod. First, let me explain why I needed the hack. At McCaskill's Inadvertent Tea Party, I used a new technique for recording video. Since I post everything, I decided to shoot it all in 10 minute (or less) segments using two cameras so I could skip post production. As the first camera is reaching it's time limit, I start recording on the second camera. There's a few seconds of overlap to make sure I get everything. Among the St Louis Tea Party video team, this technique is called live cutting. To do this, I need two tripods. I only have one and Patch is tired of me asking to borrow his, so necessity being the mother of invention... I decided to bolt a camera mount onto my tripod using a plastic shim as an extension arm (pictured below).

Hacked Tripod with Two Camera Mounts

The shim could never hold my HDR-HC1 especially with the extended battery. My flip-like cameras are light enough that the shim can bear their weight easily. Yeah, a second tripod isn't that expensive, but where's the fun in that?

I haven't paid much attention to audio over the past several months. The flip-like video cameras have sub-par mics and only record mono. I'm usually setup close enough to an amp/speaker that clipping (exceeding the top end of the mic's range) can be a problem. My audio issues really came home at the Labor Day Tea Party in Union, MO. The audio from one song was brutal, so I decided to try something at the Quincy 912 Project to improve my audio quality.

I found the guys running the sound board for the PA system and asked if I could record off their master to my MP3 recorder. They said ok, but I needed a cable. They handed me a bag of spare cables. After looking through the bag I was able to assemble something that would get me the left channel. Not perfect, but useful.

That recording worked as a kind of safety net. I was late starting my video of Gina Loudon; however, I was able to reassemble her speech using still photos to fill in the visual hole and my MP3 audio track from the main mixing board. During the second part of Kevin Jackson's speech, the batteries on both of my flip-like cameras quit. I switched to my Sony, but there was a gap that had to be filled with the audio from the MP3 recording (and the disturbing spackle of still photos).

While the recording off the board was helpful, it wasn't as good as I had hoped. There's almost no crowd noise on that recording. The podium mic is gathering the sound, and it doesn't pick up the crowd. My recorder captures MP3s at a maximum of 128kbps which may also result in some quality issues. I'm sure I'll do this again at other events. In fact, I've loaded my bag with the audio cables I'll need to get stereo sound next time!

What's Next
There are several memorable lines from Quincy. Two of those lines capture the revolutionary idea of a journalistic army of Davids:
  • Breitbart: "The American people ARE the Fourth Estate."
  • Dana: "We have a new kind of revolution."
Dana elaborated on her "new kind of revolution" by explaining that dollars, tweets, pictures, video, and blogs are the weapons of this revolution. Going Galt is one strategy. Posting the evidence of past radicalism (Van Jones) is another. Undercover video reporting of corrupt organizations like the work of O'Keefe, Giles, and is a third.

One failure of old media has been to distort truth with their video editing decisions. I recognize that a five hour event has to be boiled down to 90 seconds for the evening news; however, I would like to see hyperlinked video. When you're watching those 90 seconds, you should be able to click-through to the source video and watch it all. I applaud Breitbart and for posting the full audio of their undercover investigation. I hope they're working on the technology that would enable what I've just described.

Video collaboration has to improve (and it is, slowly) I suspected that I was the only person recording audio off the mixing board. I mentioned this to David Vickers who was working with Glenn Reynolds/PJTV and he asked for a copy knowing that he had a hole in his coverage from earlier in the day.

The next step for video collaboration is "scalability." Something is scalable, if, when you add one more unit, it takes less time or efficiency improves in some other way. Shooting video is scalable—add a camera and you can shoot more video. Uploading video is scalable—each person uploads their video using their own Internet connection so it's all uploaded simultaneously. Annotating (adding a title, comments, and keywords to) each video is scalable, but assembling a YouTube playlist is NOT scalable (it's also not that much work).

I'd like to see conservative groups become hobbyist videographers. They are the Fourth Estate. I know of a couple groups in the St Louis area that would be great for this. I'd recommend the group agree to get one kind of camera, but this is not a strict requirement. If you're price conscious (like me), look at the store circulars in your area. As a point of reference, I bought my first Traveler DV-5000 at Aldi (yes, Aldi) in November 2008 for $100. In January or February, Aldi put them on clearance and I got my second one for $70. About a month ago, I noticed that BigLots had a flip-like camera on sale for $35.

The downside of the flip-like cameras is that they have a fixed focal plane which means that they can't zoom (never use digital zoom). That is why I always setup as close to the stage as possible. You may also want to buy memory cards and tripods. In theory, I can record over two hours of 720p video on an 8GB card. My experience has been that the camera battery dies after an hour and a half, long before the card is filled. (FWIW, 720p is the best resolution that YouTube supports at the moment, so don't shoot in a better resolution like 1080i or 1080p because it will just be more data for you to upload and YouTube to down sample.)

Coordinate with one another to live cut an event. Label your cameras (I use masking tape and a sharpie). You may want to take notes on the speakers so it's easier to annotate your videos once they're uploaded. Agree on a file naming scheme and who's responsible for organizing the YouTube playlist. If your group has regular meetings, you may want to setup the playlist at one of them. And leave a note in the comments below about your work!

Cross Coverage:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Video of Quincy 912 Project

It's a work in progress. This is NOT everything I shot Saturday, but it's going to take a few days for me to get my other video cut and posted.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Breitbart to Media: You Want a War? A War it is What You Are Going to Get

Saturday in Quincy, IL, at the site of the sixth Lincoln Douglass Debate, Andrew Breitbart called out the legacy media. In his closing remarks he said: "You want a war? A war it is that you are going to get." His comments were made defending the cutting edge reporting that he has produced on this past week and were aimed squarely at the coastal elites. Breitbart was clearly disgusted that Acorn accused investigative journalists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles of racism and that media outlets like CNN tried to re-frame O'Keefe and Giles' undercover video coverage of corruption at a tax payer funded non-profit into an attack on FoxNEWS.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Andrew Breitbart arrives in St Louis

Andrew Breitbart and Paul Curtman

Andrew Breitbart flew into Lambert Airport Friday evening in route to Quincy, IL. Quincy is hosting one of the many 912 Projects tomorrow and Breitbart is one of the guest speakers. He's pictured above with marine Paul Curtman who recently announced his candidacy for State Rep in Missourit's 105th district.

The GatewayPundit

There were a dozen or so people from St Louis area conservative groups and blogs there to greet Breitbart when he arrived. Among them was Jim Hoft, the Gateway Pundit. Hoft will also be speaking in Quincy on Saturday.

I will be attending the 912 Project in Quincy on Saturday, so blogging will be light. I plan to live tweet the event, so please check out my coverage on twitter.
Jay Cost of the HorseRaceBlog on Obama's Healthcare address to Congress:
However, [Obama's healthcare speech] failed to address the reason for their doldrums. Democrats need rallying because of internal divisions over actual policy disagreements. President Obama did not deal with those divisions. When you strip away the setting, the soaring rhetoric, the poetic cadences, and all the rest, you're left with the criticism that both Hillary Clinton and John McCain leveled at him through all of last year: he voted present.'s Michelle Moore tells her daughter's story and cautions that the public option may not have saved her little girl as the private option did: "This is my daughter. She was born at 22 weeks 3 days into my pregnancy. She weighed 1 pound 3 ounces."
Turbo Tax Timmy Geithner on the importance of prolonging government interference:
"We're going to be careful not to withdraw too soon," Geithner said. "The classic mistake that countries make in crises is they put the brakes on too early, they reignite the recession ultimately at much greater fiscal costs and much greater damage to the economy. That's the balance we've got to get right."
I wonder if it has occurred to him that they may just be deferring the damage without actually changing its magnitude.

9-11: We're Just Americans

The video above is a heartfelt response to 9-11. I found it here. Freedom isn't free.

This remembrance is always worth a watch.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ACORN Provides Tax Advice for Prostitution Again

THIS JUST IN: There's corruption in DC!!!! And I'm not just talking about the Federal Government. James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles visited an ACORN office in the Nation's Capitol seeking help. They needed tax advice on setting up a brothel and ACORN was more than willing to help.

More Coverage at
Glenn Reynolds on electric cars:
PREFERENCES: Survey says… nearly half of Americans want to buy something like the Volt, but do they want to pay? Pre-bailout, I was interested. Now, not so much. And, in fact, the very first comment to this story is “GM can suck it. I’m buying a Nissan Leaf.” I wonder how many people feel that way?
A lot. It's Ford or foreign from now on, because the American people will do what our betters in Washington were too cowardly to contemplate: send the UAW automakers into receivership.
Reason Magazine: Obama's Lies Matter, Too:
It is telling that so many people who claim to be speaking on the side of Truth, Justice, and the American Way of Journalism have consistently focused their outrage-o-meters at individual townhall attendees, political broadcast entertainers, and the lesser lights of a lame (if resurgent-by-default) opposition party, while letting walk nearly fact-check-free the non-irrelevant occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If calling out lies and misrepresentations about a significant policy proposal is such pressing journalistic business—and it should be!—you'd think the watchdogs might start with the guy doing the proposing.
I have to admit that I sometimes hope for a media bailout so more people will realize that they're government stooges and propagandists.
More professional courtesy shown to Chris Dodd: "...the Senate Ethics Committee has opined that Chris Dodd's status as a VIP friend of A-Moz and associated discounts does not violate the moral high road, the Senate Banking Committee Chairman can get back to his bread and butter- playing Monday morning quarterback for the financial crisis." I was surprised to learn that the Senate Ethics Committee is even aware of a moral high road.

Whole Foods Store Tour

I decided to follow-up last week's Whole Foods BUYcott by taking the Whole Foods Store Tour. Store tours are offered monthly and they're designed to help you better understand how to maximize the value of each dollar you spend at Whole Foods. It covers the product labeling, store layout and departments, money saving tips, and information about in-store events. I decided to go to the Town and Country store, but it's more likely that I will shop at the Brentwood location in the future. (Use those links to find out more about each location including directions, sale fliers, and upcoming in-store events.)

Before diving in, let me tell you a about my shopping habits. I do most of the grocery shopping for our household. Prior to the BUYcott, I had often said that my ideal shopping center would include Costco, Trader Joe's, and Aldi. From that list you can conclude that when I have to choose between price and quality, price usually wins. Quality is paramount for certain products I purchase. One such product is chocolate. Sadly, there isn't a Teuscher's in Saint Louis, so I'm forced to buy chocolate bars that cost less than $10—and, yes, Teuscher's chocolate is worth the price. Trader Joe's is where I typically find my chocolate fix, but Whole Foods could fit that niche.

While chocolate is the draw to Trader Joe's, I always buy additional things when I shop there. Often its fresh bread, beer, or their pizza sauce. Whole Foods carries the same kind of products, and they have more variety, so they could replace Trader Joe's in my ideal shopping center.

One way to spot a value priced item at Whole Foods is to look for products with their private label. I've put the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value label to the right. Items with that label will have a lower price than similar name-brand products. Their 365 products will still meet the stringent quality standards that Whole Foods demands of its suppliers, so you're not trading off quality. This is they're big selling point and what sets them apart from other grocers. They promise that none of their products have artificial colors, sweetners, or flavors. They don't have anything with nitrates or aspertame. They work with third party certifying agencies to ensure that all their growers, suppliers, and stores meet these rigorous quality standards. I'll admit that I'm a little indifferent to most of those standards; however, I have a personal aversion to aspertame and every once in awhile I find that I've purchased something containing it. Shopping in a store where you know you never have to check a label has a certain appeal.

I cannot emphasize enough how impressed I was to learn that Whole Foods works with non-government certifying agencies. Tea Partiers across the land should be shouting their praise for that. The government does not have to be involved in policing everything!

Items that are on sale are labeled with orange tags that read "GreatBuy!" Those are in-store sales so they'll vary from location to location. Whole Foods corporate is behind the "Sure Deals" program that you'll find listed on their website and available in all their stores. One cost saving option I was excited to learn about is the 10% case discount. If you purchase a case of something—say, chocolate bars—they will give you 10% off the total price. In some instances, you can mix and match. The Town and Country store offers 10% off any six bottles of wine. You should ask store personnel what qualifies for a case discount.

The core values of Whole Foods drive their efforts to make a positive difference on the environment. As a result, they offer 10 cent refunds when you reuse a bag.

There are many other things to recommend (their bulk food bins, great made in-store gelato, freshly made cashew butter); however, the thing I found most surprising was that they offer to cook any fresh fish that you purchase. Having grown up on the coast, cooking fish doesn't seem like a challenge to me. Nonetheless, many midwesterners are justifiably worried about making a mistake with a food that is relatively costly. They'll cook your fish while you shop. It will be ready to take home for the family or you can eat it with friends at their in-store dining area.


ACORN Provides Tax Advice for Prostitution and Child Trafficking

The original is at (I'm reposting because they seem to be down at the moment.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What holds these pieces of personal travel data together?
  • Credit card number and expiration (really)
  • IP address used to make web travel reservations
  • Hotel information and itinerary
  • Full Name, birth date and passport number
  • Full airline itinerary, including flight numbers and seat numbers
  • Cruise ship itinerary
  • Phone numbers, incl. business, home & cell
  • Every frequent flyer and hotel number associated with the subject, even ones not used for the specific reservation
If you said "a homeland security database", then you're right!
Sharp Elbows StL: has video of "our betters" in Washington identifying with their constituents.
DC Democrats are in it for the money:
Even though thousands upon thousands turned up at town halls over the summer to voice opposition, even though the polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans not only oppose Obamacare – but also disapprove of the the way the president is handling the government, some bull-headed Democrats are convinced that they know better and intend to push it through anyway.

It gets better, though: they’re exploring ways to fine you
WSJ: safe, clean nuclear power is back in vogue: "A majority of Americans thinks nuclear power, which emits virtually no carbon dioxide, is a safe and effective way to battle climate change..."
Girl Scouts Team Up With Government: "The Department of Homeland Security, the Citizen Corps and the Girl Scouts are teaming up to combat Terror, Hurricanes and Other 'Disasters'." I wonder what they pack in their bug-out box.
HorseRaceBlog: Obama To Give Historic Speech...Again:
Another historic, monumental speech from the 44th President of the United States. He's averaging about one of these every three weeks now, isn't he?

...I think this will be little more than a change in tone - perhaps from cool/slightly mocking Obama to angry/forceful Obama. From the looks of it, the President is still planning to make all the same points he's been hammering for months. He'll ask for bipartisan cooperation while remaining cagey on the public option (a deal breaker for 99% of the Republican caucus). He will again insist the time for debate is over and the time for action is now. He'll make a not-terribly-compelling case about how this somehow relates to the current economic morass, even though the benefits do not kick in for years. He'll fearlessly stand up to Republican straw men, who never offer anything except disingenuous attacks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

McCaskill's Healthcare Townhall at Jefferson College

I cut the video above such that each YouTube clip captures a different question and Senator McCaskill's response. There are some introductory remarks before that starts in the third clip.

On August 11th, Senator McCaskill (D-MO) addressed a capacity crowd at Jefferson College. I and other members of the Tea Party Coalition were there. Michelle at had planned to live stream the event; however, no laptops were allowed into the townhall meeting, so she was unable to stream it.

I had to leave early, so I made arrangements with Michelle to run my equipment after I left. Unfortunately, there was a ruckus about 30 minutes after I left near where my camera was setup. Michelle was pulled out of the way by a helpful attendee. Thankfully, my camera was not knocked down. Michelle wrapped up shortly after that, so I do not have the entire event; however, this is pretty representative.

I used my older camera because it had the zoom I needed to get a decent shot. I also used a gun mic which I think helped with the audio. Let me know what you think.
Michael Moore has a new film coming out: Capitalism is evil. That is the conclusion U.S. documentary maker Michael Moore comes to in his latest movie..." Accepting Moore's premise, I wont pay to see his movie. Related thoughts in a review of The Fiction of a Thinkable World:
In a world where theory and political action are all too often combined with the deepest folly, it is a shame to have another anti-capitalist lawyer, let alone an aspiring philosopher, running around. But I don't want to be unfair. If Mr. Steinberg thinks the abstract misrepresents his book, or that I have misunderstood it, he is welcome to strike a blow against consumerism by sending me a free copy."
Adam Smith would not be optimistic: "it is not impossible that the US will experience the kind of economic collapse from first- to third-world status experienced by Argentina under the national socialist governance of Juan Peron."

Union MO Labor Day Tea Party

Here are my tweets from the event ( links go to pictures from the event):
Paulette Revere has posted some highlights to YouTube:

In an email, Paulette commented on how excited she was to see so many new faces and meet so many new tea partiers. One of the speakers asked the crowd how many were attending their first tea party. At least a quarter of the hands went up and I wouldn't be surprised if it was closer to 35%, 40%. I think the tea party demographic has changed and it's changed because of healthcare. Over the weekend, my wife read off Glenn's post about 18,000 tea partiers in Cincinnati. I was surprised. Then I commented: "You know what this means... It means that the seniors attending all those townhall healthcare meetings mingled with tea partiers and decided that they weren't half bad for young whipper-snappers." I'd like to thank the president and Congress for facilitating the organization of the conservative community ;-)

POedPatriot has a highlight reel and some photos. Bill Hennessy was also sporting a camera at the event. Thanks to the Franklin County Patriots for throwing a wonderful Tea Party.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Amateur Hour at the White House:
Democratic leaders in the White House and on Capitol Hill have only recently begun to take seriously the internal divisions within their own party.
Jay Cost over at the HorseRaceBlog has a map to illustrate the point, so read the whole thing!
Honduran Headache seems self inflicted: "Now [the Obama Administration] pulled $30 million in aid and threatens to extend this crisis to forever by not recognizing Honduras' November elections." Perhaps Honduras should be the beneficiary of the next Tea Party BUYcott.
Jonah Goldberg at The Corner on media whining about Van Jones:
...listening to Friedman and Brokaw disparage the internet as a useless news medium, makes them sound like cranky old monks lamenting that flash-in-the-pan printing press.
The WSJ reports from Caracas, Venezuela: "Tens of thousands marched through Venezuela's capital on Saturday to protest what they call growing authoritarianism by President Hugo Chávez." Apparently, Tea Party operatives have infiltrated Venezuela...
Left Coast Rebel sees lefty incompetence in Van Jones's resignation:
This story also points to the fact that the Left-boycott of Glenn Beck was an incredibly mismanaged collective backfire. Even though I haven't even spoken of the boycott here at LCR and hadn't necessarily planned on it, the ousting of Van Jones points to a sweet poetic justice that we all can learn from. You cannot stifle free speech, hear the roar of the right.
I'll also add that I did not give St Louis's very own Gateway Pundit enough credit yesterday. He was all over the Van Jones story. Bill Kristol praised him for out performing the MSM.

Yeah! What She Said!

H/T Sharp Elbows StL.

Healthcare as a "Right"

Patch Adams braved a rainy Saturday to join Janet's K & N corner protest. He has a video with an 18-year old counter protester who claims that healthcare is a "right". I don't think the counter protester understands how rights work. I'd recommend this lengthy article Rights, Responsibilities, and Communitarianism:
Thus a "right," plain and simple, always implies some duty in others: they must observe your right through some kind of appropriate behavior or recognition. Thus, if you have a "right" to have a job, it is going to mean that someone is going to have the duty of giving you a job. A "responsibility" is a duty. What we can call the responsibility to take care of one's own interests really means a duty not to be a burden to others, which means a duty not to use them by trying to fraudulently impose a non-contractual duty of commission on them.
Andy McCarthy at The Corner on Van Jones flying under the radar (emphasis added):
The point, of course, is that Obama vetted Jones just fine. President Obama is not Mr. Magoo — haplessly gravitating to Truther Van and Ayers and Dohrn and Klonsky and Davis and Wright and the Chicago New Party and ACORN, etc. Jones is a kindred spirit. Obama knows exactly who he is. Jones was given a non-confirmation job precisely because that circumvented the vetting process. This isn't one of those things that just happen. This is Barack "Transparency" Obama gaming the system.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

State Finances and Mankiw's Unit Root Hypothesis

Glenn Reynolds mentions an article in the WSJ by Indiana governor Mitch Daniels The Coming Reset in State Government:
During the last decade, states increased their spending by an average of 6% per year, gusting to 8% during 2007-08. Much of the government institutions built up in those years will now have to be dismantled.

...unlike the aftermath of past recessions, odds are that revenues will take a long time to catch back up to their previous trend lines—if they ever do. Tax payments have fallen so far that it would require a rousing economic rally to restore them. This at a time when the Obama administration's policies on taxes, spending and more seem designed to produce the opposite result. From 1930 to 2008, our national average annual real GDP growth rate was 3.49%. After crunching the numbers, my team has estimated that it would take GDP growth of at least twice the historical average to return state tax revenues to their previous long-term trend line by 2012.
That reminded me of Greg Mankiw's Unit Root Hypothesis. Here are a couple of key quotes from that:
...according to the [President's Council of Economic Advisors], because we are now experiencing below-average growth, we should raise our growth forecast in the future to put the economy back on trend in the long run. In the language of time-series econometrics, the CEA is premising its forecast on the economy being trend stationary.
Mankiw's research [PDF] suggests that the trend stationary premise is incorrect:
The data suggest that an unexpected change in real GNP of 1 percent should change one's forecast by over 1 percent over a long horizon.
In mid-August the professor added this:
What Olivier is saying is that the shocks to the level of GDP from banking crises are typically permanent...

By the way, the administration's midsession review, with its updated forecast, should be coming out soon. Will Team Obama continue to forecast a rebound to the previous trend path, as they did earlier in the year, or will they change their view and take to heart the kind of evidence Olivier describes above? Either way, it will be noteworthy.
Slashdot Technology Story ELF Knocks Down AM Towers To Save Earth, Intercoms
ScentCone writes:
"The ELF (Earth Liberation Front) has claimed responsibility for destroying the primary AM towers used by radio station KRKO in Washington state. From their statement: 'AM radio waves cause adverse health effects including a higher rate of cancer, harm to wildlife, and that the signals have been interfering with home phone and intercom lines.' The poor intercom performance must have been the last straw."
It's not exactly news that there are nutters in The ELF. Thankfully, slashdotters provide some great comments. Here's my favorite:
The electromagnetic spectrum [] is not a hard concept to grasp. Radio waves are about the most harmless radiation there is. They have a lower frequency than microwaves, infrared, or ... ordinary visible light. Are they going to blow up the sun next?

Yet another group of ignorant children playing dangerous games in the adult world. Sigh.
Middle Class & Mad as Hell finally gets an email response from Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO):
I think it's safe to say that Mad as Hell will be voting for the other guy on 4 Nov, 2010.

Glenn Beck gets Results: Van Jones Quits

My Way News - Obama 'green jobs' adviser quits amid controversy:
President Barack Obama's adviser Van Jones has resigned amid controversy over past inflammatory statements, the White House said early Sunday.
. . .
Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck repeatedly denounced Jones after a group the adviser co-founded,, led an advertising boycott against Beck's show to protest his claim that Obama is a racist.

It doesn't pay to boycott. The new trend is to BUYcott!
Cross Coverage:
Van Jones resigns
Obama 'Green Jobs' Adviser Quits Amid Controversy

Video Collaboration at the BUYcott

I finally met Alex, the man behind He asked me to help conduct an interview with Jay, a guy that had trouble getting to the BUYcott because information (411) kept giving him the wrong phone number and address.

The Saturday after the BUYcott, I went to Whole Foods for their Store Tour (I'll have a post about that later). I asked my tour guide how old the store was: maybe a year and a half. I explained that Jay had had trouble finding the store and she told me that others have reported problems with 411 and also with online maps not knowing where the store is or providing incorrect directions. They're aware of the issues and working on them.