No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Archive for posts by LBGraves.

October 6, 2007

Thanks, Steve

by @ 16:30. Filed under Defending the American Dream.

Thanks, Steve, for letting me liveblog the Americans for Prosperity “Defending the Dream” conference with you here on NRE.

It was great to meet you, Fred from Real Debate Wisconsin, Jo from Fox Politics, Jim from NRO’s Campaign Spot, Bruce from The Gay Patriot, Jason from Citizen Watchdogs, and many more.

If you–or any other Wisconsin bloggers, of any political persuasion–would like to drop by our office in Madison and get some hand’s on coaching on how to file an open records request, just shoot us an email.

October 5, 2007

Free Paul Jacob

by @ 15:28. Filed under Defending the American Dream.

My friend Paul Jacob is here at the AFP Summit, doing interviews with reporters. The Free Paul Jacob website is central intelligence on this story–it’ll be around for a year or more as Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson tries to put Paul behind bars for 10 years.

See also Free Paul Jacob on Ballotpedia, and an article about the Oklahoma 3.

Wisconsin doesn’t have the right of citizen initiative as a state (although we do have the right of recall), but it is the source of the Frami v Ponto decision from federal judge Barbara Crabb in 2003, where she ruled against an attempt by Wisconsin election officials to kick a candidate off the ballot because some of his signatures were collected by out-of-state petitioners. She said the law was an unconstitutional abridgement of the free speech rights of both the petition circulator and the candidate.

Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity tells us about taxpayer-funded lobbying

Nan, a new blogger at the Freedom Works blog and I are sitting here, getting ready to blog-interview Phil Kerpen of Americans for Prosperity.

Nan is adorable and young but I’ll try to be nice to her anyway.

ME: Phil, tell us about your priorities at AFP.

PHIL: At the federal level, our majority priority is to win this fight against the disgraceful earmarks we’ve been fighting for several years, and address institutional issues such as taxpayer-funded lobbying.

NAN: What do you mean by taxpayer-funded lobbying?

PHIL: Well, the forces of big government often use our own tax dollars to hire lobbyists to lobby for higher taxes and higher spending. We’ve seen an explosion in recent years of local governments hiring lobbyists to go to state capitols and Washington, DC, to lobby for higher taxes and spending. As taxpayers, we’re paying them to work against our interests and for higher government. Most taxpayers don’t even know that’s what’s going on.

ME: How does AFP plan to promote awareness of this issue?

PHIL: In March 2007, we did a public relations campaign around the time of the NCAA basketball tournament. We highlighted the fact that lobbyists for public universities could provide free tickets to the basketball tournament, free roundtrip airfare and other goodies to legislators. The University of Florida has a president’s box that provides deluxe seating and treatment to legislators. [The university] claims that because they don’t charge for these tickets, they actually have no value.

The great thing about AFP is that we already have hundreds of thousands of people that we have already trained to be activists, so when we work on an issue like this, and can get the facts and information to them, they are ready to engage with the issue at the state and federal level.

NAN: What has your role been in this event?

PHIL: I helped book speakers–Giuliani and McCain–and I’m moderating the 4:00 panel on policy issues.

ME: Well, then, Phil, are you actually having any fun and if so, please tell us about that.

PHIL: Oh, I’m having a ball. I love seeing the ordinary people from all over America, the energy in the room this morning, and the real excitement about bedrock issues of fiscal accountability that are often disregarded. I’m just really excited to see it.

Jason Moore, Captain Watchdog, straight from Odessa, Texas

by @ 12:35. Filed under Defending the American Dream.

I’m sitting here with “Captain Watchdog”, Jason Moore, a bricklayer and political activist from Odessa, Texas. Let’s hear what Jason has to say about citizen engagement and Americans for Prosperity.

ME: Jason, why are you here?

JASON: It’s time that big government politicians hear from normal people, not government trough junkies.

ME: Tell me a little bit about what you do back in Odessa?

JASON: I mostly watch taxing entities (city councils, school districts, county government) in the Permian Basin–the Odessa/Midland area of west Texas. Our motto is, “We Bark of Behalf on the Taxpayer”. We do a weekly radio show and post regular updates on the Citizen Watchdogs website.

ME: Tell me about your relationship with Americans for Prosperity.

JASON: I could not do what I do without AFP. They introduced me into the political system back when I didn’t know anything or anybody. They showed me by example and helped me find effective ways to communicate with my legislators.

ME: What goals do you have in the coming year?

JASON: To continue to change the language government officials use to communicate with taxpayers. It needs to be more straightforward and simple. Secondly, to educate taxpayers about what the proper role of government is. One of the things I always say is, you can’t demand government do more and more, and expect to pay less and less in taxes.

ME: What’s the most interesting event you’ve attended here at the Summit?

JASON: The rally yesterday on the Capitol Steps was powerful. It put a face on regular taxpayers and it put real bodies in Washington to show Washington politicians we mean business. We’re ramping up, and we’re not going to go away. I think before they relied on the meet, greet and retreat strategy. That’s not going to work again. Fiscal conservatives have to stay in the game. It requires daily vigilance.

Thank you, Jason.

Interview with Al Parinello of “Preserve the American Dream”

by @ 12:12. Filed under Defending the American Dream.

Al Parinello of Old Tappan, New Jersey is standing across from me. He’s been blogging at Preserve the American Dream since March 2007. ¬† He’s already done over 40 radio interviews because of his blog. ¬† It must be the ¬†controversial nature of his subject: rich people as a despised minority.

ME: Al, what’s the story behind your blog?

AL: Very simple. I went out to acquire the American dream, I worked hard, I did it and I became rich. And then I became the enemy. That doesn’t make any sense to me. So, I started fighting back.

ME: When you say fighting back, can you elaborate?

AL: The concept of the website was born after paying close to $2 million in taxes on a business I sold. The state of New Jersey requested another payment. This time they wanted twenty cents more. But, they also wanted close to a thousand dollars in interest on that twenty cents. I realized there is a dual system of taxation. Those who earn large sums of money automatically become demonized. That’s how I got started.

ME: What’s the most fun you’ve had with your blog?

AL: Being invited on Neil Cavuto’s show. We received over 25,000 hits to the blog in one night.

ME: Should other folks start blogs or…. just read yours?

AL: You should only start a blog if you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE DOING. If you know too much, you are sure to fail.

Thank you, Al.

I should say that Al and his great wealth are not typical of the attendees at this summit. The typical person here is someone like Jason Moore of Citizen Watchdogs in Odessa, Texas.

Concrete Bob

by @ 10:14. Filed under Defending the American Dream.

Blogger Concrete Bob, who also writes the DC Protest Blog is sitting next to me. I’d ask him a question except that Vicki McKenna is doing a riff for her WISN 1130 talk show that commands attention.

Sam Brownback on war

by @ 9:56. Filed under Defending the American Dream.

Brownback: “Iraq has been a heavy weight on this party.”

Ron Paul on war, No Child Left Behind, spontaneous support online

by @ 9:48. Filed under Defending the American Dream.

Ron Paul just addressed a crowd of regular reporters and the bloggers on blog roll in the Senate Room.

Comparing his upswelling of online advocates to those of the leading contenders for the GOP presidential nomination, Paul noted that his 950 meet-up groups and network of Ron Paul bloggers came about spontaneously and without the help of hired online political operatives.

Paul is an opponent of NCLB (“No Child Left Behind”). He wants to return “responsibility to the schools, and hopefully more people would be able to opt out of the schools through vouchers or tax credits. Sending education money to Washington and then returning it with strings attached to school districts is not a good idea.”

Law of the Sea treaty? “No, I wouldn’t be interested in that. I’m interested in national sovereignty. I’m not looking for another level of government and when I see some of these treaties and international agreements it’s just another level of government. I’m not much interested in those.”

A blogger asks, “Why would a pro-Iraq war conservative support you?

Paul: “For fiscal reasons, if he can’t be persuaded that that [presumably, staying out of foreign entanglements] was our traditional conservative position. [The war] is flat out is going to break us. All great nations that spread themselves too thinly around the world go bankrupt. This is what happened to the Soviet empire.”

The professional journalists here tend to ask horse-race questions. One of them says, “Does Giuliani think he has this thing won?”

Paul: “There are signs of that.”

Up next: Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee.

Hectic and lively on blog row

by @ 9:04. Filed under Defending the American Dream.

In the hour I’ve been here in the Senate Room–headquarters for blogger’s row–I’ve been doing a quick post at my home blog, comparing requests for lover’s emails from New Jersey and Arkansas. E-mails: If you work for the government, don’t send love or sex e-mails on your government equipment. Just don’t.

In that hour, this room has exploded into a frenzy of activity. In one corner, we have radio talk show hosts interviewing a succession of guests, including Sen. Tom Coburn. Along the sides of the room, intent, focused bloggers staring at the screens, typing and occasionally (rarely) coming up for air.

Ron Paul is at the podium now, following an appearance by Giuliani.

Giuliani scored with this crowd with his Hillary humor but most of all when he said that the practice of earmarks is like the graffiti in New York City when he became mayor: Not the worst thing in the city, but proof that the process is broken.

Giuliani pledged that all anonymous earmarks will stop on “Day One” of his administration.

Revisions/corrections (10:15 am CDT – steveegg) – Changed the category to “Defending the American Dream”

September 24, 2007

Blogging about Americans for Prosperity

by @ 16:02. Filed under Miscellaneous.

Steve and I met because we’re both going to DC at the end of next week to attend the Defending the Dream summit sponsored by Americans for Prosperity.

That’s the first time I’ll be on a blogger’s row and I’m looking forward to it.

Americans for Prosperity first crossed my radar screen when I encountered the pioneering work that their office in Texas has done on the problem of taxpayer-funded lobbying.

Taxpayer-funded lobbying is when cities, counties and school districts pay dues (with money, obviously, from their taxpayers) to belong to groups that spend that money on lobbying.

Here in Wisconsin, that includes groups like the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the Wisconsin Alliance of Cities.

I’d like to see cities, and counties, and public school districts in Wisconsin adopt the habit of putting information on their websites that clarifies how much in dues they pay to belong to these organizations, and what bills those organizations lobby for.

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