W. Earl Allen, long a libertarian activist in Colorado, died August 9 in a plane crash. The Denver Postreports, “A Broomfield flight instructor and his student died Saturday when the small plane they were flying crashed near Steamboat Springs. Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg identified the two as William Earl Allen, 62, and a flying student, Terry Lynn Stewart, 60, of Houston.” This is devastating news to the many people who knew and loved Earl.
Of those aspects of his life with which I was familiar, three of Earl’s loves stand out: His love of liberty, his love of flying, and his love of public speaking. I knew him from his political activism. In answering a survey a couple years ago, Earl said he read Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose when he was a college teacher, and he owns “three copies of Atlas Shrugged, one of which is falling apart at the seams due to overuse.”
Earl promoted a free-market in health care while at a 2010 rally (see the 2:55 mark in the video). In 2009, he joined me and other activists to protest legal restrictions on beer sales. Following is a photograph from that event; Earl is at left, with Amanda Muell, Justin Longo, Dave Williams, and me.
Regarding his flying, Earl was featured in a 2011 student video about his career as a flight instructor.
Earl’s death is a great loss to his family, his friends, and his fellow advocates of liberty.
August 13 Update: I just received an email from Earl’s wife with the following notice: “William Earl (Earl) Allen was born on March 18, 1952 in Provo, Utah and passed away on August 9, 2014 in Routt County, CO at the age of 62. He is survived by his wife Maralyn Mencarini; his mother Donna Sharp (Norman); siblings Edward (Madalyn), Eric (Ying), Esther (Nathaniel), and Evan (Rachel); eight nieces and nephews; and six great-nieces and nephews. . . . As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made at https://secure.eaa.org/development/index.html to the EAA Young Eagles Program.”
In the past, I’ve linked to all of my blog posts published by The Objective Standard from my personal web page. But these days TOS is publishing most of my writing, so it seems pointless use my personal page to link to everything over there. Readers are welcome to check out my catalog of posts at TOS.
I’ll still link to my print articles and possibly to some of my more notable blog posts as well.
Along these lines, recently I wrote a post about a Colorado case in which the government is seeking to force a businessman to bake a cake for a gay wedding. That article has received a fair amount of play; check it out if you haven’t already done so.
I have been using the trademark “Free Colorado” for many years, and I here assert my right to keep on using it.
Unfortunately, another group has called itself “Free Colorado,” and that group claims to be “a non-profit organization registered in the State of Colorado.” (I was not able to find a record of the group on the Secretary of State’s web page.)
This group could not possibly have failed to notice that I have registered “FreeColorado.com” or that I call my site “Free Colorado.”
Unfortunately, this other group lists no contact information on its web page, FreeColorado.net. And a “whois” search of that domain lists only Proxy, LLC of Arizona as the contact information.
I have nothing against this other group (other than it using my name), but I wish it had picked some other name, or at least asked me first if I’d sell them or give them the rights to call their group “Free Colorado.” At this point, I request that the group select some other name.
At this point, I want to clarify that I have nothing to do with this organization, and it has nothing to do with me (besides using my name without my permission).
If you find my work to be a value, please consider making a contribution!
When I read a set of gun-related statistics in a December 28 Denver Poststory, the reported claims didn’t seem right to me. So I started digging into the data and found very different figures. By the end of the day I had written two articles on the matter, the Denver Post had issued a correction to its online article, and Glenn Reynolds had linked to my main article through his Instapundit.
Originally the Post reported the following: “More than 500 children in the United States die in gun accidents each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a 2007 report, which estimated 1.7 million children live in homes where guns are kept.”
But, I discovered, that single sentence contains three serious errors. First, in 2007, 112 minors (under age 18) died from unintentional shootings. Second, the “1.7 million” figure refers to the number of children who (based on unreliable survey data) live in homes where unlocked and loaded guns are kept. Third, there was no 2007 CDC report reporting those figures.
However, obviously it’s a very bad thing when anyone dies of unintentional gun fire (or any other hazard); I wrote about that general problem in a follow-up article, “The Tragedy of Fatal Hazards for Children.” I found, among other things, that children are more likely to die from drowning, falls, fire, poisoning, suffocation, or transportation than they are to die from unintentional gun fire.
Because of my write-up, I was invited on to the December 30 radio show for NRA News. I spent about ten minutes explaining the statistics and the positive trend lines in terms of reduced deaths due to unintentional gun fire.
My reporting even earned some praise from left-leaning blogger Jason Salzman, who wrote on his Twitter feed, ”Some conservatives mindlessly slam The Post, but here’s an example from @ariarmstrong of how to complain constructively.” (Of course, I don’t consider myself a conservative, though I am friendly with many conservatives.)
Articles for The Objective Standard
I also coauthored an article for The Objective Standard, wrote a book review, and wrote four posts for the journal’s blog. (Of all the work listed in this write-up, I get paid directly only for my work for that journal, in addition to my work with Liberty In the Books).
I was also quoted in the Durango Herald on the campaign laws: “I think it’s a travesty and a mockery of the First Amendment that Colorado citizens are being dragged into court for daring to engage in the political process.” (Diana Hsieh also was quoted by the AP on the matter.)
Also, Matt Arnold reported that an audio clip from my video of State Senator John Morse was used in a segment for 560 KLZ radio.
I posted 442 Tweets on my Twitter feed (ending the month at 10,932 total Tweets), and I gained 51 new followers, moving from 1,168 to 1,219.
On my YouTube channel, I posted eight videos, all about the campaign laws except for one about Ayn Rand’s We the Living. That brings my total to 173 videos. Following are two of the December offerings.
Other Major Blog posts
I posted 21 articles to the blog in December. The major ones include the following:
As 2011 draws to a close, I wanted to review my writing and political activism for the year. A friend suggested that I start to offer monthly summaries instead, so that’s what I’ll do starting next month. Thankfully, there’s much to review for the entire year!
If you find my work to be a value, please consider making a contribution!
Hoiles Finalist and New York Trip
Perhaps the biggest news of the year was the September announcement naming me as a finalist in the Hoiles prize for regional journalism. See my media release,which links to the articles entered for the contest.
My Facebook author page has 211 followers (please give it a “Like”); I use it to announce my new articles, videos, and media appearances.
My Twitter feed has 1,168 followers. I love Twitter and use it to aggregate news I find interesting (especially Colorado-related news), as well as to link to my own work. My Tweets are retweeted or mentioned nearly every day. If you’re not following me on Twitter you’re missing out on a large portion of my commentary.
I’ve loaded a total of 166 videos onto my YouTube channel, with 77 this year. My most popular video remains my shortest: “‘USA Union Rally” at 26 seconds garnered 10,770 views. All my videos for the year got 30,849 views.
I think the following video is my favorite of the year; it contrasts the anti-capitalist sentiments of Occupy Wall Street with a defense of capitalism by my wife and a friend.
Liberty In the Books and The Objective Standard
Thankfully, I get paid directly for some of my work. I have now added fifteen works to the Liberty In the Books web site, and (thanks in part to a marketing campaign) the group’s Facebook page has 408 followers. (Please give it a “Like!”) I also moderate the monthly Denver reading group. Last year I raised funds for this work in an amount that covers it through the first part of next year. Liberty In the Books is a project ofLiberty On the Rocks.
The Objective Standard also pays me for my articles. I am now a regular contributer to the blog there. Following is the list of my TOS articles so far this year:
TOS has been a great forum for me to address more national issues.
Articles for Other Publications
I’ve written articles for various Colorado newspapers (some through the Independence Institute) as well as for Pajamas Media. (Neither the publications nor the Institute paid me for any of this work).
My dad Linn and I continue to write a twice-monthly column for Grand Junction Free Press. See the complete list of those articles. In an online September poll hosted by the paper, we were listed as the favorite columnists!
I’ve also placed several articles with other Colorado papers:
I’ve posted 208 articles to this blog in 2011 prior to this one. Sometimes I use the blog to summarize my work elsewhere and link to it, but often I publish substantive and original content directly to the blog. Following are a few of those posts:
Ari Armstrong Announced as Hoiles Finalist for Regional Journalism
Colorado free-market writer Ari Armstrong has been announced as a finalist in the 2011 Hoiles Prize for regional journalism. The award, offered by the International Policy Network (IPN), takes its name from R. C. Hoiles, former head of Freedom Newspapers.
“I’m honored to be included in this impressive group of finalists,” Armstrong said. “I’m also very pleased that IPN recognizes this important regional work. I’ve long believed that advocating liberty at the regional level forms the bedrock of a strong republic.”
Armstrong joins six other finalists, and the three winners will be announced November 2 in New York. The same evening, IPN will also announce the winners of the prestigious Bastiat Prize.
Armstrong coauthored four of the six essays submitted for the contest with his father Linn for Grand Junction Free Press.
An IPN release announces the following details:
“Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Dallas Federal Reserve, will speak at the tenth annual dinner for the Bastiat Prize at the Four Seasons Restaurant… in New York on Wednesday, November 2, 2011. … This year a new prize, the R.C. Hoiles Prize for Journalism, will be given for American work. The prize celebrates courageous journalists who explain the importance of free markets and risks presented by excessive government intervention. …
“The seven nominated Hoiles finalists are: Ari Armstrong (Colorado Daily), Sara Burrows (Carolina Journal), Bill Frezza (RealClearMarkets.com), Steven Greenhut (The Orange County Register), Steve Malanga (Manhattan Institute, The Wall Street Journal), Bruce Ramsey (The Seattle Times) and Damon Root (Reason).”
The following six articles were considered for the prize:
[January 28, 2013, Update: Obviously the contents of this post are out of date. I include it here for archival purposes; it originally appeared at http://blog.ariarmstrong.com.]
My internet publishing is undergoing a major change. As should be obvious, my blog is now at http://blog.ariarmstrong.com/. (I am also posting quite a lot to Twitter @ariarmstrong, where I mention interesting links and offer brief commentary.)
Recently Google announced that its Blogger service will no longer support FTP publishing, meaning the service will no longer send material to a domain hosted elsewhere. Instead, to use Blogger, one must host the blog through Google. A Blogger user can use a “blogspot.com” blog, register a domain with Google and use it for a Google-hosted blog, or register a domain or subdomain elsewhere and set the DNS to Google (such that Google hosts the content). I’ve decided to go with the last option.
I also strongly considered abandoning Google altogether. Not only am I miffed that Google is shutting down its FTP service, but I’m still annoyed that Google shut down the blog of economist George Reisman. Nevertheless, as one of my friends pointed out, Blogger is a free service, so it’s a little hard to complain too stringently about it. If you really hate Blogger, don’t use it. That said, I do think it would be absolute foolishness to give Google control of one’s domain (if one cares about keeping content online). Because I own and control my subdomain, I can reclaim it and republish my content elsewhere if need be.
Blogger just works well. It’s extremely easy to use. I helped set up a friend with Word Press and quickly learned that that service, while okay, is a lot harder to operate. I seriously considered going back to hand coding my page (based on templates created in Dream Weaver). But then a single blog post would require updating at least four pages: the index, the individual post, the archives, and the feed. Major hassle. So I’ll stick with Blogger.
Here’s how I’m handling the change. I’m leaving all my existing content online at AriArmstrong.com and FreeColorado.com. I’m starting a new blog (this one) at http://blog.ariarmstrong.com/. Rather than run two different blogs, I will henceforth publish only this blog. (I’ll publish a few residual posts at FreeColorado.com and cross-post here.)
Thankfully, there’s an easy way to create a feed based on labels. My FreeColorado.com blog feeds into People’s Press Collective; now I will use the “PPC” label for all relevant content. The PPC-related political feed is this:
(I may also use a generic “politics” label for national stuff.)
The general feed for all my content is this:
Others might be confused as to how to direct a subdomain to Google. Here’s how I accomplished that. I checked in with my registrar and learned that I can create a subdomain there only if the DNS points to that registrar. Because I host my (other) content with Web Hosting Buzz (a great service, by the way), I had to submit a ticket to that company’s technical support team, asking to create the subdomain and direct its DNS settings to Google. Then I created a new blog at Google and switched its URL to the subdomain. It took me a while to figure out, but the process itself is very easy. (Things get more complicated if you want to move old content over to Google, which is one reason I didn’t go that route.)
I’ll slowly convert all my existing content at my two main pages to Dream Weaver files, such that I can easily edit the template and have it apply to all the files. (My wife tells me that all my old framed files are deprecated.) I’ll run the political feed from this blog (as well as my Twitter feed) on FreeColorado.com. I’ll turn AriArmstrong.com into my home page, with links to all the archival material as well as to my active projects. (I may run the blog feed there as well.)
This might be a good time to briefly summarize my history of web publishing. Back in late 1998 (before the term “blog” had been coined), I started publishing the “Colorado Freedom Report” at co-freedom.com. I quickly figured out that a hyphenated URL is a major pain, so within a few years I switched to FreeColorado.com. In late 2007, I started up AriArmstrong.com with the idea of making that my main blog, but then I realized that I didn’t want to let FreeColorado.com lapse, so I converted that to a blog to begin 2008. But now I’m finding that running two blogs is hard, given my activity on Twitter and my other projects.
So now this integrated blog in 2010 marks a new stage in my internet publishing. However, some things never change. What matters most is content, and, as always, my goal is to make the tech serve the ideas.