Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dirt Track Racin'

I went to my folks house for the weekend and it is the first weekend of the stock car races at Southwest Arkansas Motor Speedway, where my dad races this beast. 

After the races were over, I got to take it for about 5 laps.  What a thrill!  I skidded a bit in the corners, and the steering was hard to get used to.  I can see there's quite a bit of skill involved in driving on a dirt track oval.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Caucus update.

I got a nice email about my status as a delegate, despite a stormy caucus where the election took place, including the chairman just walking out in the middle of proceedings. 


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: RonPaul HQ Westport <>
Date: Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 8:11 PM
Subject: Delegate Update - Fifth District
To: RonPaul HQ Westport <>

A note from volunteer HQ.

(This is going to serve a few purposes, as it is hard to send e-mails to 150
people once, so we'd rather avoid having to do it twice.  Once we get a
distribution list compiled, it will be easier to send separate e-mails per

First will be an update for the basic question "so what's up with our
delegates".  Then, at the bottom we have included an "intellectual toolbox"
- facts so you can combat misinformation about the Jackson County caucus,
and information to devastate the most likely arguments from those who would
have you believe our caucus was somehow tainted or should be invalidated.)

First, the delegate situation.  We realize it's been awhile since we've been
in touch, but that's for good reason - we just did not have anything to
confirm.  In case you're not aware of why, the story on that is further down
the e-mail.

For those who intended to be delegates and attended the caucus - you know
what happened.  We finally have confirmation that the names filed by us are
the only ones accepted by the state for Jackson County.  Thus, you are a
delegate.  Clear your calendars for April 19th and May 31st, as attendance
is just as vital here, except it will be a lot easier.  We'll send out
district convention location information when we see it, or it will likely
appear on no later than about April 5th.

For those who told us you would be delegates but were not able to attend -
Less strict requirements helped our cause.  At the caucus we found out soon
enough that the Republican county chairman, Bunk Farrington, was not
expecting that delegates HAD to attend.  That was obvious because he had a
full slate of 187, but they're lucky if they had even 130 total people
there.  Thus, we no longer had to consider attendance either.  Because of
that, and our caucus victory, you have moved on as an official part of the
Ron Paul Revolution.  Obviously, you don't HAVE to attend the further
conventions, but you have been elected, and will receive official notice,
and this is the time that we need you more than ever.  Please if you have
any concerns, let us speak with you so that we can address them.  Anyone who
was at the caucus can tell you that the most important thing for the usual
attendee was merely being there, and that will hold true for the district
and state convention.  And if you weren't at the caucus, the 5th district
convention will be your chance to find out first hand how satisfying victory
is.  Don't worry, now that things are settled, we'll get everybody on the
same page.  In the meantime, recall the dates we've said endlessly during
calls and meetings - April 19th for district and May 31st for State.

A Possibility to Recognize.  Considering the Jackson County chairman's and
the State Republican party's behavior, it is possible (even likely), that
some or all of us will be challenged as delegates.  For now, we'll just say
that there is MUCH time to get ready for that, that we feel good about
providing a devastating defense to such challenges.  We'll do our best to
update you in general regarding that.

For those who would are interested in being nominated to be in a national
delegate (for the Republican National Convention in St. Paul in September),
please send an e-mail to

George Burton pointed out a very interesting fact - He says that before the
news that OUR caucus made across the country, there were about 16,000
precinct leaders signed up on ronpaul2008.  Now there are over 20,000!  YOU
did that!

NEVER underestimate the power of a small group of people united for a just
cause!  Let's perform some more freedom miracles TOGETHER!

Thank you, and GREAT JOB!

Your brothers and sisters in freedom at the Westport Ron Paul Volunteer

(816) 349-2283

PS. The "Intellectual Toolbox" follows. Please keep for your reference. It
is intended to help you combat miscoverage, properly inform the public, and
pressure the Republican Party to do the right things by shining the bright
light of truth.  There is certainly an editorial tinge at times, but if you
read it all, you'll see it is well backed.  Please feel free to call us with
any clarifications about facts or arguments.

What is included:

1.  An account of the caucus

2.  Why the initial chairman, Mr. Farrington, was WRONG in nearly every way
a caucus chairman can be wrong.

3.  Why any blanket challenge to the caucus will be WRONG in nearly every
way a challenge can be wrong.

4.  What in HAY has Mr. Farrington done with the caucus sign-in rosters?

5.  A quick explanation of why it took THIS long to verify the delegate

1)  An Account of the Caucus (to the best of my knowledge):  I'd like to
tell you that merely reading the newspaper articles gave you the full story,
but that just isn't true. I know the important things I told Dave Helling
for the page one Kansas City Red Star story, and I know how many of those
things he didn't bother to include.  If this doesn't look to you like a
"quick account", I'll start off by saying the meeting was over three hours
long. ;-)

Before the meeting, while the lobby was stuffed with people, many clearly
Ron Paul supporters, the Jackson County Republican Chairman Bunk Farrington
got everyone's attention to explain the sign-in situation.  In doing so, he
said that those attending had to be Republicans for the day.  Among other
things, he explained being checked against the voter log and signing in.

The caucus started off at least a half-hour late, as Mr. Farrington had seen
our very good attendance numbers and had decided to negotiate a slate from
the very beginning.  Of course, this is despite that he fully expected to be
the caucus chairman, which according to the governing Robert's Rules
requires not only impartiality but the avoidance of any appearance of
impartiality. He recruited Deb Wells as our person to make the deal with.

Once the meeting started, it went smoothly enough at first.  Farrington was
voted in as chairman, and because of our numbers he conceded Ron Paul
participation in the committees, as well as conceding that the secretary
could come from our numbers.

Cutting to the chase, a vote happened that for all practical purposes
allowed us to truly understand our voting strength (the vote was 130 to 74).
At that point, I believe that the details of the initial compromise delegate
slate had been shared with the assembly.  If not, it obviously was shared
with the assembly later.  The question on many minds was whether we should
accept such a slate since we clearly had greater numbers, and could vote in
any slate we desired.  Someone (indeed one of our core people) decided he
did not like the compromise, and rolled the dice on getting a nearly-full
slate made up of only Ron Paul people elected.  The compromise slate would
have given us 107 out of 187 delegates.  The chairman, in a
less-than-impartial fashion, didn't like that someone else had their own
ideas.  Rather than having to sit and potentially preside over his slate
being defeated, he decided to leave.  He did so without turning over the
chairmanship to anyone.  As if impartiality hadn't been damned enough by his
negotiation of the compromise slate, Mr. Farrington damned it some more by
grabbing the opportunity to be dramatic and denouncing the activities,
trying to pin the developments on Deb Wells, as though she had some power
over free and equal caucus participants.  Deb told him that she can't
control 200 people (paraphrase).  Mr. Farrington said something to the
effect that you don't break your word in politics, and then... left.

A short editorial (but factual) comment here - Mr. Farrington was absolutely
and positively doing the exact opposite of what he should have been doing,
and the implication he projected was utterly wrong.  Check out further
description below.

Back to the meeting.  After Mr. Farrington left, the assembly got a little
loud with someone saying that it was time for "real" republicans to stand
up, and (editorial comment) imagining that somehow we thought that we were
all Democrats and would stay seated.  Umm... we all stood up.

Our Secretary (Ralph Munyan) had to take the floor to tell people that a
five-minute recess would be taken so that Robert's Rules could be consulted
to figure out what to do in the situation.

After 5 minutes, Ralph Munyan said that as senior officer he would take
over, but invited people to show him differently with the rules if they
could.  No one objected, or said they knew differently, and the meeting

Somewhere after Mr. Farrington left, many others decided to "protest" and
leave too.

Also sometime soon after Mr. Farrington left, there were several police
officers in the auditorium (five? Ten?).  They said nothing and did not
interrupt the proceedings in any way, and then left without incident.

There was heated debate on the two delegate slates.  The second slate (all
Ron Paul - no compromise) won only by ten votes (72 to 62?), even though
many of the "non Ron Paul" people didn't bother to stick around to vote.

At some point during the meeting after Farrington (and others) had left, it
was realized that the roster sign-ins, which are required for caucus
filings, were missing.  At the end of the meeting, makeshift sign-ins were
used.  The voter lists were also missing.

Many platform amendment resolutions submitted by the Ron Paul groups passed,
with nearly no changes.

Life was good.

2) Why the initial chairman, Mr. Farrington, was WRONG in nearly every way a
caucus chairman can be wrong.

Please look at Robert's Rules and you'll find that the whole idea is that
the chairman is merely a referee.  He is charged merely with running the
meeting smoothly and fairly. In some regards, he can be considered to have
LESS power than ANYONE ELSE, in that he cannot even vote except to break a
tie or to cause a draw.

At the other extreme, by Robert's Rules, any member can make a motion.  Any
member can make an objection.  Any member can make a point of order.  Any
member can second.  Any member can nominate.  Thus, ANY member can offer a
slate of delegates.  Deb Wells did NOT go back on her word. The initial
slate still existed and was eligible.  She was clearly stunned by the
developments.  As we've said several times about the meeting, Mr. Farrington
clearly confused an open and public caucus with backroom politics.

By leaving, the only true practical thing Bunk (and supporters) accomplished
was to sacrifice their own representation.  The slates had not been VOTED
on. They still had a chance to affect things.  You lose your right to affect
the results when you voluntarily disappear.  You don't regain them by
unfairly trying to negate the whole process afterwards.

3)  Why any blanket challenge to the caucus will be WRONG in nearly every
way a challenge can be wrong.

There will be some who try to point to some small "mistakes" that the
replacement chairman may have made, and act as though that is cause for
throwing out the entire caucus.  Robert's Rules says that the rules are made
to serve assemblies, and not the other way around.  They're made to help the
will of the assembly be properly heard.  They're not meant as a means to
second guess, nitpick, and invalidate results of a fair and proper caucus.
Jackson County completed a fair and proper caucus.  Even in a court of law,
the principle is that in order to appeal a ruling, a lawyer must first
preserve his right by objecting to the supposed error at the time.  Robert's
Rules is not a tool to review meetings minute-by-minute in order to overturn
their results.  Results of a caucus should only be overturned when it was
clearly unfair and consistently out of order, where people tried to preserve
their rights but were nonetheless shunned.  Jackson County was not such a
suspect or unfair meeting.

With that in mind, the thing to remember is that as a rule, for the parts of
the caucus that some may latch on to try to unfairly invalidate the
proceedings, there were not objections.  The Robert's Rules provides for
objections, as well as points of order to ask the chairman if something is
in keeping with Robert's Rules, and also provides for a process to override
the decision of the chairman.  Those tools were left conspicuously unused.

Some might claim NOW that the Secretary shouldn't have taken over.  First,
Robert's doesn't fully anticipate the situation we found ourselves in after
Mr. Farrington irresponsibly abandoned the caucus.  Second, our secretary
was the only other OFFICER there, so he had to do something.  Third of all,
he consulted Robert's Rules.  Fourth, when he announced the decision to take
over rather than elect a new chairman, noone objected even though he gave
them the opportunity.  Fifth, anyone could have moved to elect a chairman
instead.  Sixth, even if they had moved to elect a chairman, we already had
the numbers, and likely would have just nominated and elected the same guy
(or another of our own) anyway. Seventh, in the case of an overwhelmingly
fair meeting, it is NOW too late to claim the secretary shouldn't have taken

By now you probably understand the scope of power of the chairman, and know
perfectly well that if someone tries to claim that the meeting was stopped
just because Mr. Farrington walked out, then that someone is... misinformed.
As you would expect, the chairman has no right.  Someone has to move to
adjourn the meeting, and then it has to be voted on.  No one did.

Regarding any other details that might be second-guessed, suffice it to say
that the new chairman acted quite deliberately, with exemplary fairness, and
consulted often with his parliamentarian (one who can advise on Robert's
Rules).  The initial chairman didn't even have a parliamentarian.

All this is not to say we have some guarantee that someone won't try to
challenge on these very bases, and there is no good reason to believe that
the state Republican Party might not be tempted to entertain such a
challenge.  That's why it is important to tell people what happened, and why
a challenge would be unfair - your friends, the media, the state and
national Republican Party.

Note: There is a challenge they might get a foothold with.  I won't go into
it here, but rest assured we're thinking about it.  If you get challenged
individually, let us know.

4.  What in HAY has Mr. Farrington done with the caucus sign-in rosters?!

That's a great question.  We don't know.  The new caucus chairman tried to
communicate with Mr. Farrington on multiple occasions regarding getting the
caucus sign-in rosters.  They are required to properly file the caucus
results.  Deb Wells once got through to him.  We filed the results, with an
explanation as to why we did not include the roster, and explaining that we
continued to try to get them.  That was 9 days ago.  This is outright
wrongdoing, and an outright attempt to sabotage a proper and fair caucus.
We don't know that such a transparent attempt will be entertained for even
two seconds at the state offices, but it is possible.  It never hurts to
expose wrongdoing.  It may be the case that he has shared that list with the
state, but if so, he hasn't told us, and neither has the state.

Don't be surprised that if someone will keep records that are clearly NOT
his, than someone else in the same camp might try to challenge our filing as
incomplete since we don't have those records.  Seems to be the way they're
playing.   Just be ready to shout it from the rooftops if they do.

5.  A quick explanation of why it took THIS long to verify the delegate
information.  Simply enough, the state wouldn't allow us to see the filings.

We had people in Jefferson City a week ago, so they would have time to
review the filings to ensure all our people across the state were seated,
and challenge the filings if they were not.  That timeline was quite
reasonable, since it was two days after the filings were due, and the
challenges were due by the end of business on the following Tuesday (two
days ago), and had to be in writing and have specific evidence or testimony.

No, we're not sure how we're expected to challenge delegates when we don't
know who was on the list.  It is not as though our people expected to see
the entire state all at once, so certainly they could have continued
inputting data with nearly the entire state while our people looked at a
small fraction of it at a time.  Nonetheless, the Missouri Republican Party
executive director had no good solutions.  His explanation as to why we
could not see the filings basically amounted to "it's not going to happen".

On Monday evening, the party finally shared a list of delegates with Debbie
Hopper. While the addresses were missing (even though they're technically
needed in order to challenge) they did have the names.  We were able to
compare our names submitted to that list.

So... there you have it.  We'll send out some more e-mails regarding
reassurances about the district convention, and meetings and coordination
for it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chemical goodness

I read this in hard copy when I got the magazine in the mail and nearly cut out the page.  It's about Hostess Fruit Pies, and the true interpretation of the ingredient list.  I never once tasted the red algae.  I guess the "natural" fruit flavor covered it up.  The fact that the word "natural" is on the label is a bit ironic.  I guess red algae is natural.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Lisa, click this link and halfway down there's the video I was talking about.  This is on the verge of funny, but without knowing the circumstances, it never crosses that line from being purely mean.

Huge technology lawsuit.

Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, a little old lady in New York, who holds some very widely used patents for low-wavelength LEDs (green, blue, violet), is ready to get paid for all these Blu-Ray players, handheld devices, stoplights, and everything else that uses them.  She's suing the big boys.  Philips already paid up.  Sony, Nokia, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Pioneer and a big list of others should respond to the case.  She has sent cease and desist letters.  Does that mean these types of devices may stop shipping unless they cut her some checks?  I'm not sure it's ethical to wait until the technology is widely in use to demand money by suing the companies making the products, or they might have chosen another royalty-free design to accomplish the same thing. 

On the other hand, if she sticks it to them, and therefore anyone wanting cheap gadgets, they'll do their patent research a bit more thoroughly in the next design cycle for these type of products, so the royalties can be negotiated on the front end and priced in before the technology becomes a household standard.  Meanwhile, I bet we start seeing more red, yellow, and white LEDs, since her process isn't needed for making the higher wavelength ones.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cable DVR is doomed.

With a pair of servers I have replaced my set-top DVR, and I have a ton of new features. 

This began when the very expensive bulb went out on my projector after I gave away my regular TV.  Now, to see the shows I usually watch, I have to download them to storage on a Linux server and stream them to my laptop via my home network.  At first, this was a manual, annoying, time-consuming task.  Then I found
Videora.  I find this to be so flexible and the quality very acceptable, I may take my cable DVR back to the cable store. 

MythDora 4 Linux distribution with a special interface card records my shows off of cable (in HD).  I watch them and share them on the internet using the BitTorrent protocol with Videora from a Windows machine with a drive mapping of the /video partition on my MythDora box.  Videora downloads content via RSS subscriptions to BitTorrent seeds for the types of content which I would like to watch, whether my cable provider has it or not (including hockey coverage from Canada and Britcoms).  Videora content is stored on my MythTV server using drive mappings, so I can watch the shows on my laptop, either by using the MythTV Player over the network, or by copying the show onto the hard drive and using some other MPEG2 player. 

I'm modifying an XBox to run a MythTV client that will work on a regular TV, so when I get a replacement bulb for my projector, the modified XBox MythTV frontend menu will be the interface.  If the quality from the XBox (720p max) isn't great, I'll go get an HDHomeRun box (1080i).  If the TV networks figure out Videora for distributing their shows, the cable folks will be out of the picture.  Furthermore, with the MythFlix plug-in, my NetFlix movies are downloaded over the internet and appear on my MythTV menu.  Being able to request movies and watch them a while later is just great!  The ability to just pick a hockey team and watch every game on my own time using Videora's Season Ticket feature. . . also great!  If I start watching more internet stuff than regular cable, I may be able to cut my cable bill down by a lot by just getting really fastinternet only, but I'm not sure I'll be able to completely replace the content I get via cable TV.  I'd like to add more storage.  Having my music collection on the same menu system with my TV shows is so sweet!  The greatest benefit is I can burn DVDs of shows I might want to watch again or take on the road.  The second greatest benefit is that I have all my media on one central server and I can watch, pause, and rewind live or recorded shows from any computer or TV (with modified XBox or HDHomeRun) in my house, including laptops over the wireless network.  I can watch HD shows on my laptop screen out on the deck, in the garage, or in the tub.  Commercial skipping is one or two button presses and it's instant.

I haven't tried it yet, but I should be able to configure TCP ports on my router to allow me to use a web browser to look at my program guide and schedule recordings from any internet connection.  With the MythStreamTV plug-in, I should be able to watch shows from my media server over the internet at a lower video quality, as well.

AppleTV + iTunes OR BeyondTV + Cable/Satellite do the same thing, but with fewer features and choices.  I think I prefer the more Internet-centric BitTorrent and NetFlix approach.  To be able to combine Internet delivery plus cable PVR with one menu system accessible from any screen is a dream come true.  You can put your photos on this thing, too.  TV has come to the computer network and it's here to stay.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Audio Technology

If you listen to the radio, you'd think that technology has destroyed music.  After seeing the latest audio technology demo here, I think there's a chance we'll get past the endless repetition that dominates right now.  Cut and paste music can now be manipulated in new ways without a loss in sound quality. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Penny Postcards by County

I stumbled upon a website with postcards organized by geography.  It's interesting to see how these neighborhoods looked fifty or a hundred years ago.  The towns around my birthplace were merely train stations, grain elevators, coal bins, and cotton gins.  Kansas City had streetcars and many of the landmark skyscrapers are still around.  The 1908 flood in Kansas City must have been a lot like Katrina for New Orleans.


"My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you will join with me as we try to change it." - - Barack Obama

Thanks for forwarding that, mom.  It could just as well have been George W. speaking, though.  I wonder if the campaign trail wears a person down, so they just start babbling.  I notice that they hit all the hot topics in these speeches to get applause, but in the end, they never really give you their philosophy.  It's like candidates' brains become disengaged and their speeches resemble PowerPoint slides.  But if you boil it down, Obama wants to upgrade our infrastructure, which is already happening at the state level as states compete for industry.  Besides that, he doesn't have anything new to say.  And when he starts talking about the tax structure, I become very afraid.  His tax reform ideas actually make it more complicated.  And the IRS is just going to tell you how much tax you owe, instead of people preparing tax returns.  Oh, boy, I'm sure that'll work out great.  In reality, for our country to become competitive again, we need to get rid of the IRS.  It is an illegal organization and needs to be disbanded.  Sales taxes work better.  Let Wal-Mart and Conoco do the paperwork.  I'll pay my taxes at the point of sale to my state, where it can be apportioned to the Federal government.

There is no U.S. statute requiring you to pay taxes on wages for labor.  It is purely voluntary.  Obama seeks to make it involuntary, even though I believe he has no constitutional ground on which to stand.

Watch this more exhaustive video on the topic:

or this one, which is the raw evidence, with every citation from the regulations, statutes, and the Constitution which show that the amounts you have been volunteering as your "taxable income" or "gross income" on your 1040 under penalty of perjury has been wrong all along (although the 861 argument has not stood up in court, it is helpful to understand how these rules relate to each other):

Here's a rebuttal to that video:

NOTE:  I'm still researching.  I find these opinions interesting, but I'm sure it takes some hefty legal fees to defend oneself against tax evasion, as the IRS sees it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Look ready!"

It's the usual problem I have on Tuesday night after playing hockey.  I can't sleep.  Too much adrenaline.  It's much more intense than the Sunday night game.  I got more shots on goal, more passes, and I'm way out of my league on Tuesdays, but I'm playing with guys who have played their whole lives.  I get free coaching, and that's worth it right there.  A lot of the guys who play on Tuesdays are coaches and referees and former (or current) college players.  They have great advice.  Tonight I learned that the defense men won't pass to me unless I have both hands on my stick and "look ready", so I have something to work on next week.  I made very few mistakes tonight.  One guy who plays for Iowa State was on my line.  It was fun watching him play.  On the other hand, a slap shot from my teammate nearly took my head off.  I put my stick in front of my face and the puck hit my stick.  There were comments that being hit in the face by that shot could have ended my career.  Yikes.  The only time I was ever as scared is when I wasn't wearing any chest protection and a puck hit me just below the sternum.  If it had broken my sternum, I could have bled internally.  That reminds me.  I need a new chest protector.  Money is tight this month, so it'll have to wait a couple of weeks.  In all, my only permanent injury from hockey is a little tiny scar by my right eyebrow.  I still have all my teeth.

This month is the perfect storm on the money front.  I have a bathroom remodel at one house, a plumbing leak inside the wall at another house, every tenant payed late, I have expense reports in excess of $2500 which are owed to me by the company I work for, and I have a legal bill because I'm doing an eviction.  I had way more money going out than coming in, and I couldn't have forecast it.  I knew it was going to be bad, but I got the bills paid.  Consequently, at one point this month my bank account was negative over seven hundred bucks.  I thought they were going to harass me and make me feel shame, but they just charged some crazy fees and sent me a few notices.  I passed the fees on to my tenants for the most part.  I'm not wasting one minute turning in expense reports going forward.  If I get a receipt, it's going into the system as soon as possible.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The process works.

I've been reflecting on what happened yesterday at the Jackson county Republican caucus.  I think nine tenths of politics is showing up. . . and sticking around.  I saw some people who thought their power was earned and not given decide not to play and take their ball and go home.  It really is your civic duty to attend these type of meetings, or shut up and take what they give you on the ballot and the party platform.  This stuff is changeable.  I watched it happen.  Many proposals were made, up and down votes were taken, and I watched the landscape of Republican politics changing before my eyes.  Some feelings got hurt, but nobody bled.  Nobody had to storm the Bastille.  In the end everyone (who stayed) shook hands and left having made a unified decision.  We have an awesome process in this country, but it requires some participation.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Parade skipping and G.O.P. juvenile conduct.

When I woke up this morning and saw snow falling, so fell my enthusiasm for attending a parade.  To my friends who missed me at the Snake Saturday Parade, I apologize for missing the whole thing.  Here's what I did do today.  I attended the Republican Caucus for my area.  I am fiscally conservative, but not so much socially conservative.  I don't care who clones what or if fetal tissue was involved.  I don't care who gets married, as long as liberty-loving people can pursue their own happiness and the government stays largely out of my business.  I'm sick of being taxed to the point that I don't want a raise at work, because the government gets the increase.  I'm on all the political mailing lists, so when an issue which matters to me pops up, I'm aware.  I read this email this morning, which prompted me to actually attend, to see how it played out and to vote.  I'm glad I did.


The R3VOLUTION is worrying the Missouri GOP.
Missouri Ron Paul Grassroots to me
@ 7:37 PM (21 hours ago)

Dear Charles Hill,

This is one of several emails the Republican Establishment
has sent out about our plans to participate in the party
process tomorrow:

From: "Jared Craighead" <>

The GOP Voice
Volume 25, Edition 2     March 14, 2008

REMINDER - County and local caucuses are being held

Visit to find your caucus
location. There are rumors swirling that the Ron Paul
campaign plans to flood the caucuses and try to overturn
already established rules, which they cannot do.  PLEASE
participate and have your voice heard. We don't want
supporters of an unsuccessful campaign causing trouble - we
need your participation!!!


Ron Paul's supporters have discussed the fact that it does
seem unfair that McCain gets all the delegates while only
getting 30% of the vote.  We have also discussed how to
legitimately change the standing rules at the State
Convention in the Spring on May 31st by following the
by-laws of the Missouri Republican Party.

Dissent from the majority is not "causing trouble" and Ron
Paul needs you and everyone you know who who values the
freedom of assembly and speech with integrity in a public
process to stand principle to go to your caucus tomorrow.
Please try to be there an hour in advance!  Most caucuses
start at 10am but some start as early as 9am, and some are
later in the day.

Your caucus location seems to be

3/15/2008; 10:30 a.m.
William Chrisman H.S., 1223 N. Noland Rd., Independence, MO 64050

If the location is blank here, or you have any other
questions, contact your JACKSON County Ron Paul Leaders:

Kent Andel (Inside K.C.) 816.674.4408; Larry Holland (Outside K.C.) 816.517.9598 M 816.361.3300 H

For freedom,

Ruth Carlson
Missouri Field Coordinator,
Congressional Districts 1, 2, 3


When I arrived at the caucus location at about 10am, the parking lot was lined with Ron Paul signs.  Almost every car in the parking lot had a Ron Paul sticker.  There was aRon Paul table in the entry staffed with people answering questions about how to participate in a caucus.  I signed in, entered, and every single seat in the auditorium had upon it Ron Paul pamphlets outlining his stance on issues.  I sat in the 5th District area on the left half of the auditorium, within earshot of the mainstay Republican crowd, which I'll call the Ward Parkway Republicans, like good ole Claire McCaskill.  There was a very long delay as people continued to file in.  Candidates in upcoming elections, like Sarah Steelman, who is the Secretary of Treasury for Missouri and wants to become Governor, met and greeted up and down the aisles and spoke with anyone who would listen.

The meeting began, and a chairperson from among the established core group was quickly nominated and accepted.  Bunk Farrington presided over the selection of a secretary, who was elected from among the Ron Paul supporters.  He began taking minutes.  Committees were quickly formed by nomination and immediate appointment by the chair, including a balance of folks from each faction.  The agenda was presented by the Secretary.  The agenda includes electing a slate of delegates for the district and, thusly, state conventions, deciding on amendments to the party platform, and any resolutions which should be forwarded on to the conventions.  Some speeches were given by present office-holders and movers and shakers in the state legislature while the committees were working.  Then, there was a long recess, while rules and procedures were read, and politicking went on in various parts of the auditorium. 

After the break, resolutions to be passed along to the conventions were to be approved.  There was one controversial resolution to change the party rule that delegates to the national convention must vote according to the winner of the primary election, but each delegate could vote their conscience.  There was outrage and many red faces.  That would make Missouri a caucus state for Republicans instead of a winner-take-all state.  It passed, to the chagrin of the Ward Parkway crowd.  Then, slates of delegates were to be nominated.  The leaders from the Ron Paul faction, specifically Deb Wells, nominated a slate of delegates and alternates to include a mix of 107 Ron Paul supporters and 80from the Ward Parkway establishment which had been discussed in a huddle of faction leaderships prior to the nominations.  The chair accepted the nomination, thenone of the other Ron Paul supporter types, Michael Michelson, interjected, moving to debate what the chair was saying about a mixed slate of delegates alternating from two lists as being thenomination.  Since it was a nomination, there wasn't anything to debate, really, just take a vote up or down.  There was a delay and some disruption from the audience, then the chair let the young man know that he could nominate an alternate slate, which could be voted upon, but the current nomination wasn't up for debate.  Mr. Michelson proceeded to nominate a slate consisting of 100% Ron Paul supporters without compromise or politics as usual.  That was quickly seconded, and a debate ensued.  Ross Perot was mentioned, tempers flared, someone who was out of order said it was time for the real Republicans to stand up.  And everyone in the room stood.  Then, there was some mumbling, and the chairperson stepped off the stage, faced the Ron Paul leadership and said "In politics, your word is your bond.", then he stepped toward the exit along with the bunch on the left side of the auditorium who grabbed their things and left. 

Again, there was a delay, because nobody knew how to proceed when the chairperson just leaves without adjourning.  Many people pulled out copies of Roberts Rules of Order and began thumbing feverishly through it for guidance.  Then, the rules committee reconvened briefly, there was some discussion and the secretary took over the chair position, being the senior person on the stage.  Another secretary was elected.  A parliamentarian was appointed by the chairperson.  The meeting proceeded.  Debate in favor of the and against the first slate of delegates took place, then debate about whether or not it was okay to vote on a slate which was no longer present at the meeting, since they had taken the list (and the rolls of attendees) away when they left, then we voted to continue to vote on the nominated list, even though it could not be read.  That was okayed.  Then there was a vote.  It was very close. . . something like 62 to 70, so the mixed slate which was agreed upon between factions failed.  The slate containing 100% Ron Paul delegates, including myself, passed.  The irony is that if the Ward Parkway contingent had stayed, their agreed upon slate would have passed.  After that, the meeting went on.  There was debate about 18 or so platform items, and all but one or two of the items passed.  Some comments were made and the meeting was adjourned.

How the press views what happened at this caucus may be positive or negative, but I saw how the system works in all it's ugliness.  I saw how an 18 year old kid with zeal and a enough knowledge of Robert's Rules can throw the wrench into politics as usual, and how supporters of a cause can band together and make change happen.  The question now is about whether or not the Ron Paul faction of the Republican party can maintain this momentum. 

There was a lot of institutional G.O.P knowledge and experience in that room who took a big slap in the face when the mixed slate was not just immediately accepted.  There are people who almost always go to the state convention who now cannot, including some sitting politicians.  Now, because of a poorly attended caucus, all of the Jackson county delegates will be Ron Paul supporters.  And it wouldn't have been so, if the Jackson County Republican mainstays hadn't acted like juveniles and walked out before voting.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I've been using Seeqpod to discover new music, and it's a cross-section of every genre and quality.  I've found some great music blogs by checking out the URLs where some of my favorite stuff is posted.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuna Mercury

So, I'm looking for a better tuna salad recipe, because I'm bored with my current one and I find myself hating mayo and Miracle Whip, so I'm trying everything else and ranch dressing seems to be an adequate lean substitute. . . and in my searching, Google Ads for a test kit to test your hair for mercury keep appearing.  There's a lot of mercury making its way into canned tuna and sushi these days.  Light tuna is safe unless you eat it daily, Albacore (white tuna) has toxic levels of mercury.  Guess who's selling the self-test kits?  Greenpeace.  They are trying to determine if the current government regulations against emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants are adequate.  Mercury damages the central nervous system and is particularly harmful for developing fetuses.  Scary stuff, if you ask me.  Here's an excerpt from their site.

"Why should I participate in Greenpeace's National Hair Sampling Project for Mercury Exposure?

We are encouraging you to participate because we have reason to believe that current and proposed governmental regulations for mercury are not adequate to protect the public health. You have an opportunity to ascertain for yourself whether you have an abnormal level of mercury in your system. Should you find that you do have these high levels, you can take corrective action to protect your health.

Learn more about mercury and Greenpeace's National Hair Sampling Project for Mercury."

I like cheap electricity like the next person, but my take on coal-fired power plants is that they are bad in the long term.  Scandinavian countries burn trees for electricity and the trees grow back and do not contain mercury.  In fact, when trees grow, they take carbon out of the atmosphere.  Taking carbon that's already in the biosphere and recycling it makes sense.  Taking carbon in the form of coal out of the ground and spewing it into the atmosphere in wholesale quantities, along with pollutants like mercury, can't be completely benign.  I always wonder if we would get smart and thin the trees for making power, if we'd have fewer major forest fires, which is a giant problem in the West.  Some of those old stands of treespecies burned so hot, they'll never be restored.  Before we came along there were incremental burns that happened naturally that didn't burn as hot, because there was less fuel on the ground.  We have more trees in this country now than ever were here.  Using them to make energy instead of using fossil fuels seems very logical to me.  We don't use wood to heat our homes much any more.  It's just an obvious semi-clean renewable energy source which isn't discussed much.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No MO income tax!

Looks like we get to vote on replacing MO income tax with a state sales tax this November.  Wow.  I'm thrilled.  I'll be more thrilled when it passes.


03/11/2008 -  SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON TAX REFORM Voted Do Pass HB2112
Establishes the Fair Tax Act of 2008 which requires the Department of Revenue to develop methods for replacing the state income tax with a state sales tax

8. The passage and approval of the prohibition on the taxation of income and the levy and imposition of a tax upon all use or consumption of taxable property or services under this section shall not become effective unless such passage and approval is submitted to the qualified voters of this state for approval or rejection at the election which shall be held and conducted on the Tuesday immediately following the first Monday in November, 2008, (and that is November 4, 2008!)  under the laws and constitutional provisions of this state applicable to general elections and the submission of referendum measures by initiative petition, and it shall become effective when approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon at such election and not otherwise.

Poker on Facebook

If anyone wants to play a friendly sit-n-go poker tournament among friends.  Let's play on Facebook Texas Hold'Em.  I want to try it out on Thursday night.

Election spoiler

Just when I think The Onion is turning lame, they put up something that gives me belly laughs.  Apparently, when a Diebold electronic voting machine seg-faults a blue screen appears and reveals the rigged results of the 2008 presidential election.  AOL Journals won't allow embedded video from The Onion, so you'll have to click here to see who's going to win.

Monday, March 10, 2008


The Wall Street Journal keeps using the word Obamanomics.  They should just say abominable economics.  His spendy fiscal agenda exceeds $300 billion.  That's even more than Hillary's agenda (by 36%)[ref.].  If he gets elected, we'll be out of the frying pan and into the fire.  If a presidential candidate is talking about monkeying with the economy and it doesn't involve a tax cut, I'm not really interested in hearing about it.  I'm in a tax bracket which is abusive.  In 2007, I paid more in taxes than the 2006 median income per household member [ref.].  Not just a little more; I could have bought a new car with the difference.  I'm a frequent visitor to the National Taxpayers Union website.  When you read about the tax money that is completely wasted, while you're having to budget to make the money they didn't take last until the next payday, it's truly sickening.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Snake Saturday Soon

There are enough Irish folks in Kansas City to put on a pretty impressive parade.   On March 15, I'll be there to check it out.

The ice at Carriage Club melted on Sunday when it was 74, so they just shut 'er down for the season.  Tuesday night hockey is moved back out to Pepsi Ice Midwest.  I'm not going tonight, because I was so busy yesterday at work, I forgot to RSVP.  Oops.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Crazy, wacky, wild weather.

The Kansas City weather roller coaster is some ride.  It went from 74 and partly cloudy to 37 and raining cats and dogs.  They're predicting snow and 17 degree temps tomorrow.  It was the nicest day all winter, and now it's going to flood, freeze, snow, and drop into the teens.  Who ordered this?

I wouldn't want to try to play hockey in 72 degrees.  I went to an outdoor rink today with Drew and Claire, and the water was a half inch deep in places.  You can't move a puck on water covered ice, but you can skate on that as long as you stop one footed.  A two footed stop means one foot is spraying water on the other leg.  I learned this the hard way and my right skate was full of water.  Claire liked skating in the wet part, because it was more fun when she fell. . . it's like a slip 'n' slide.  Timmay's son, Charlie, is a natural born skater and can skate very fast for 6 years old.  I was skating backwards as fast as I could with him chasing me and he fell face first in the deepest part and slid 30 feet with water spraying everywhere.  It was impossible not to laugh, but I felt partly to blame.  I helped him up, but he's built tough and was unfazed.  Drew laughed when Claire fell in the water.  Seconds later, he fell in the water on his back!  He said it was karma, so when she fell again, he didn't laugh.  I laughed at him, and I didn't fall.  I found a diamond ring in the parking garage.  So much for karma.

The warm-up skate was good for my game.  We had a great win tonight.  It was good to have two full lines show up.  It made for a fun game.  And our goalie played well.  Furthermore, we were up by two points in the last period and their team made stupid penalties out of frustration, which pretty much sealed it.