The Denver Mint

Okay, the list of dos and don't bring into the US Mint isn't as wide as I was led to believe. Still very security conscious though, but surely not bothersome as the TSA is at airports.

Interesting fact: The U.S. Mint is the one federal government agency turning a profit. (Well, an honest profit, anyway if you take the IRS into account)

They make the coins and sell them for face value, as well as the many collectable / investment coins that they produce. But it's still a government agency. The penny and nickel both cost more that face value to produce. The tour guide told us this fact, but responded to the suggestion that the penny be phased out by saying that it would put a good chunk of Mint employees out of work. (Geez, couldn't we take the paper dollar out of circulation and increase the dollar coin production?)

The penny in fact makes for over half of the Denver Mint's output.

But by the same token, the mint used to produce coins for foreign countries as well (as was shown in the tour). Apparently they haven't done so since the mid 80's, if this was to accommodate the demand for pennies, maybe the mint could get back into that business. I know, entrepreneurial thinking is alien to government agencies.

During the walk over to the mint I had the opportunity to flex my geek muscles a bit by talking comics and comic book movies with a fellow delegate who stopped reading comics about the time that Superman died in the early 90's.

No "special" rights for journalists.

From his arguement against shield laws for journalists, Frank Cagle:

There is a false argument raging on the Internet about whether bloggers are “journalists” and whether they should be accorded the same rights and privileges. This is idiocy. The rights and privileges belong to every American citizen, whether they work for a newspaper or whether they even have a blog. For it to be any other way the government would have to be able to define what constitutes journalism. Any takers?

I am an extremist on this issue. I find it appalling that citizens have to turn out their pockets and subject themselves to a search to enter public buildings. Often, security people vet journalists and give them entrance ID’s—just like the lobbyists, the bureaucrats or the office holders. Instead of taking the ID, the journalists should be asking why lobbyists have a “get in free” card every day while average citizens “lobbying” have to be searched. Are you one of “us” or one of “them?” There are 500 lobbyists in Nashville. The assumption is made every day that they aren’t a security risk—that they don’t have a pocket knife or a can of mace. There is an assumption no legislator is “packing” a firearm, a dangerous assumption in Tennessee. But the citizens are suspects until proven innocent.