Sunday, November 30, 2014

Some Advice for SodaStream


[Note: This post was published yesterday exclusively for my Patreon supporters ... they don't get to see everything first, but I do share some things with them first. Become a patron today!]

Yes, my family has a SodaStream machine. We bought it on clearance, fairly cheap, during last year's after-Christmas sales period. I wasn't paying attention to the politics at the time, so I'm going to address those first before getting into the meat of the post:

SodaStream is an Israeli company and some Israel boycott activists have targeted it because it ran a plant -- one which it is now closing -- in the occupied West Bank. Even if I had been paying attention to those politics, we'd probably have still bought the unit. In my opinion, commerce between Jews and Arabs in Palestine is a primary path toward peace. People who are working with and trading with each other find their incentives to fight with each other reduced. So that's my brief take on the politics. Now to the question of how SodaStream makes, or should make, its money.

The company's third quarter 2014 profit/loss report was apparently pretty miserable. Sales of the machines and their after-market requirements -- CO2 tank refills to carbonate water and flavors to make that carbonated water into soda -- are down.

In response, SodaStream is changing its marketing strategy from promoting itself as "this is a machine for making soda at home" to "this is a machine for making flavored sparkling water at home."

Although that marketing strategy change is apparently buttressed by trend numbers that say soda is becoming less popular while flavored seltzer is becoming more popular, I still think the change is a mistake.

SodaStream is trying to stay "high end." They want to play Apple/MacOS/iOS to the regular soda market's Windows PC/Chromebook/Android tablet (where Coke and Pepsi are Microsoft and Google and the store brand sodas are those cheap Chinese knockoff tablets).

But carbonated beverages are not, for the most part, high-end products.

I don't know about most people, but when I buy soda I buy the store brand unless there's a REALLY good sale on the name brand (and sometimes even then, because the Publix store brand diet sodas are sweetened with sucralose instead of aspartame).

SodaStream didn't set out to compete on price -- by the time you pay for a CO2 tank fill and the syrup, the end product is a little cheaper than Coke or Pepsi (at full price) but more expensive than the store brand sodas.

SodaStream's initial selling points were "you don't have to lug a bunch of stuff home from the store every week" and "you don't have a ton of cans and bottles filling up your trash or recycling bin."

Now it's time for SodaStream to become competitive on price, too, if for no other reason than that if they don't, they'll eventually face price competition even in the home soda brewing market.


  • The SodaStream machine sells for $70-$100. Guys, it's a piece of plastic that pumps CO2 from a tank into a bottle. The technology is what, 125 years old? Even if there are patented aspects of it, those patents will run out soon. Time to get the retail price of the machine below $50, including the first CO2 tank.
  • SodaStream uses proprietary CO2 tank threading, which allows it to charge about $15 for a tank refill. There are already companies selling adapters that let SodaStream users run their machines using normally threaded tanks. I called a couple of local sporting goods stores to ask about paintball tank refills. They run about $3, for a lot more CO2 than you get in a SodaStream tank. SodaStream needs to get its tank refill charge down below $10, preferably more like $5.
  • SodaStream's syrup flavors cost $5.97 at Wal-Mart. That price point definitely needs to come down to the sub-$5 range. $3.97. Maybe even $2.97.
If SodaStream does these things, it becomes price-competitive even with store brand sodas, while continuing to enjoy the other advantages those sodas don't offer: Mom doesn't have to wear out her lower back carrying around cases of 12-ounce cans or multiple 2-liter bottles; the trash can at home isn't overflowing with empty soda containers; the kids still get to have fun "making their own soda."

If SodaStream doesn't do these things, someone else will. And when someone else does, no, there won't be a "high end" of that market that's big enough for SodaStream to make a profit from.

Like the old saying says, "go big or go home." Or, in SodaStream's case, "go inexpensive consumer product or go broke."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Chromecast: Not a Review. Yet.


So, I've been considering one of them there "streaming devices" for my TV for some time, and finally decided on the Google Chromecast for two reasons:


  • I asked Chris Pirillo for a recommendation and he took the time to do a whole video on the subject of streaming devices. His advice militated in favor of the Chromecast in my particular case because I'm a Google fanboy. I'll embed that video below once it's public. At the moment, it is private for his Patreon supporters. Hey, have I mentioned I'm on Patreon and seeking supporters, too?
  • The Chromecast on sale for less than $25 at Best Buy this weekend.
But, you know, it's always something. Got the little box home, plugged it into my TV, went to the setup page, started following the instructions (I had already installed the Google Cast app on my Chromebox before going to the store) ... and ... nothing.

Turns out my particular router (Chromecast works over wi-fi, requiring the device and the controlling computer to be on the same wi-fi network) is not on the "supported routers" list. I did a little Googling and found examples of, and instructions from, people who got it to work. But those instructions didn't work for me.

Well, that's what I get for having a router that Micro Center moved into the clearance aisle about the time Constantine was having his vision at the Milvian Bridge. I've been meaning to upgrade routers for a long time now. I'd like a router with more range. I like to take the laptop out to the backyard gazebo but it gets a fairly weak signal there. And since I have several devices with built-in dual band wi-fi, might as well get a router that can take advantage of that as well.

So I saved $10 on the Chromecast, but now it looks like I'm going to need to shell out $50-$150 before I can use the Chromecast, and that's going to be awhile. The only real consolation is that I suppose the other devices I considered would have had similar wi-fi connection issues. Anyway, no review, yet, except to the extent that this problem is a review-worthy issue. If you've got an older router, don't count on newer devices working with it.

[Update: Here's that Chris Pirillo video I mentioned]


The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 11/29/14


Brought to you by:





In this episode:


  • Favorite holidays and holiday foods;
  • Joshua Katz, NOTA and the Libertarian Party's 2016 presidential nomination

Friday, November 28, 2014

Review Follow-Up: Micro Touch One Safety Razor @ One Year


About this time last year I reviewed the Micro Touch One Safety Razor. That review was "sponsored" in the sense that I was provided with a free review copy of the razor, case and supply of Dorco "Platinum ST300" stainless blades. This review is not "sponsored" in any way -- I was neither asked to, nor did I agree to, review it beyond that "first take." But as I was shaving this morning, it occurred to me that it's been about a year and that a follow-up isn't a bad idea.

I am still very pleased with the Micro Touch One. A year after I got it, the hardware is still in good shape, the screw-type handle for opening and closing the razor head still feels nice and tight, etc.

I change blades every 60-90 days, when I start to feel the blade tugging at, rather than gliding over, my skin. I don't shave every day, but when I do shave, it's often my whole head, not just my face.

In fact, I like the Micro Touch One so much that there's now a second unit in the house. My son Daniel started shaving recently. He started with one of the name-brand razors that take multi-blade refills. When he saw how much the refills cost (they get you with the cheap razor and one or two blade cartridges, then stick it to you after that), he asked about using a regular razor, so he got a Micro Touch One as a birthday present shortly after. He says he's quite happy with it.

I go back and forth on shave routine. As I've mentioned before, there's a lot to be said for Jeffrey Tucker's "abandon all the weird accessories" idea. But I also like the weird accessories and making shaving into a personal ... well, "event."

My current shave routine starts with a warm water face and head wash, followed by the application of Col. Conk's World Famous Glycerine Shave Soap, with a brush from a mug. Then a leisurely shave, topped off with a quick rinse, pat dry and the application of Fuller Witch Hazel Lotion as after-shave. [Note: Neither of these recommendations are sponsored or compensated -- I used to sell Fuller products but don't any more, and I came across the shave soap at a store where I wasn't even looking for that kind of thing and decided to give it a try].

Some friends responded to the original review with their own shave routines that might be as minimal as "a disposable razor lasts me years and I just use water." And hey, that's fine. Whatever works for you and whatever you enjoy!

As for me, if I am going to shave (and I am going to shave sooner or later -- anything more elaborate than a little chin beard or longer on top than a cocky flat-top tends to drive me nuts), I kind of like making an enjoyable and maybe slightly elaborate ritual out of it.

Heck, I may even go more retro one of these days. I have childhood memories of a razor strop. Those memories are not fond memories, although I suspect they contributed to building a certain amount of self-discipline on my part. But at some point I may just tune up a straight razor and strop and see how I like shaving that way.

But for now, after a year of use, I'm still very happy with the Micro Touch One on every point -- nice, close shave at a reasonable price with something that feels like a fine instrument in the hand.

[Update: Well, the Micro Touch One bit the dust at 17 months -- click here to learn more!]

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Week AMA


Not sure if The KN@PP Stir Podcast will come out on Thursday or Friday this week, but no reason not to get started early on the AMA. Whatever day it publishes, the podcast will be brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:


So anyway, AMA stands for "Ask Me Anything." Do so in comments on this post!

Side note:

On LAST week's podcast, I mentioned that I was awaiting approval of my application to SoundCloud's beta program so that I can get the show into other distribution mechanisms like iTunes and Stitcher. I've since goosed Soundcloud another time and still haven't heard anything.

I have 30 days to cancel the Soundcloud Pro account for a refund and take my business elsewhere. I'm about to start looking at alternatives to Soundcloud with an eye toward doing that if they don't get off the dime, so if any of you have favorites or suggestions, let me know in comments.


Update: Approved for the Soundcloud podcasting beta. I'll be getting registered at Stitcher, iTunes, etc. as soon as possible.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson 187: Some Questions


Question #1 (multiple choice). Did the various police agencies operating in Ferguson:

(a) Intentionally ignore the burning of 10-15 buildings last night so that they could concentrate their attention on the peaceful protesters and blame said protesters for the arsons today?; or did they

(b) Actually carry out, or arrange in advance for the carrying out of, the burning of 10-15 buildings last night so that they wouldn't have to rely on chance to ensure that they'd have something to blame the peaceful protesters for today?; or

(c) Hmmm ... I'm trying to think of some third possibility, but there doesn't seem to be one. As you were.

Question #2 (in four parts):

Part 1: Can Bob McCulloch be disbarred or otherwise sanctioned by the courts and/or the Missouri Bar Association for his flagrant violation of legal ethics in representing the interests of Darren Wilson rather than the interests of his client ("the people of St. Louis County")?

Part 2: Can Bob McCulloch be financially sanctioned in the amount of the pay he collected to represent "the people of St. Louis County" as prosecutor while he was actually representing Darren Wilson as a defense attorney?

Part 3: Can Bob McCulloch be financially sanctioned in the amount of costs to St. Louis County's taxpayers of putting on his "we're going to pretend this is a grand jury proceeding when in fact it will be an all-out effort to prevent and/or sabotage any possible prosecution of Darren Wilson" charade?

Part 4: Since this case never proceeded to trial as it clearly should have, and since "double jeopardy" is therefore not a factor, is it possible that due process for "the people of St. Louis County" might still be achievable by, for example, the governor appointing a special prosecutor to establish probable cause in either a preliminary hearing or before a grand jury so that Wilson can be charged and tried?

Just asking.



Neil Lock Reviews KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff


A second review at the Libertarian Alliance site. And it's also positive! The main non-positive takeaway, which I'll address in comments over there instead of here (I figure I owe it to my reviewers to reply to them where they live; it's the least I can do!):

There's lots of good stuff here, though most is very US-centric. Meaning, that it won't be understood by those from east of the pond, except for a few oddballs like me. ... As the book stands, it is only of interest to US libertarians and anarchists, and to their eccentric friends like me. I think it could be made much more effective and inclusive by aiming it at the rational reader who has no cultural preconceptions, and by making it clear just what prompted each essay.

And now the obligatory self-promotional plug: You can get the book as a free download in PDF format in at least two places, or buy it (very reasonably priced, IMO) in EPUB, MOBI or dead tree format from FastPencil. Click here for the gory details.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sean Gabb Reviews KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff


Over at the UK Libertarian Alliance's web site, Sean Gabb (an accomplished author on both the fiction and non-fiction sides of the street -- that's one of his, under a pseudonym, in the "what I'm reading" sidebar) reviews my new essay collection, KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff.

I appreciate the review, and of course the endorsement of the book. I also appreciate the arguments/criticisms. Please check out the review. And of course you can get the book (there's a free PDF download or order links for other versions) by clicking on the picture of the book cover.

Ferguson Grand Jury: When and Why Prediction


[Note: This post was published for my Patreon supporters about 24 hours in advance of its publication here]

The media's "expected by" date for a grand jury's decision on whether or not to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown was yesterday. That date has come and gone and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the grand jury will re-convene Monday.

I predict that the grand jury's decision will be announced on Monday.

Why the delay? Because a Friday announcement would have left an entire weekend, with low temperatures above freezing and a Sunday high in the high 50s -- relatively balmy for the St. Louis area this time of year -- open for demonstrations.

Starting Monday, the forecast for a whole week features lows below freezing (even into the low 20s), highs of 45 degrees or lower, gusty winds and at least occasional rain. And a Monday noonish announcement puts two-and-a-half regular workdays between the announcement and a holiday weekend that lots of people have to work at least part of and others will plan to be out of town for.

The decision is already made. The timing of the announcement is about reducing crowd sizes and hours of large protester presence by making it harder to get people onto the streets and more miserable for them to stay there when they do come out.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

New Post at Patreon


I'm trying to strike a balance between "put it all out there" and "put it out for my Patreon patrons first." I'm thinking that the people financially supporting what I do should get first peek at something at least once a week or so.

Right now, what the patrons can see that the rest of you can't is a post predicting when St. Louis County, Missouri's grand jury will announce its decision to indict or not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, and why they will do so on the day I predict. Enjoy, patrons! I'll try to remember to make the post public here before the time I predict arrives.

Jonathan Gruber was Right


A lot of people seem to be upset that he called American voters "stupid" in the context of talking about how he helped put the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, over on them.

Well, the results are in and they prove his point.

In 2012, 98.26% of those voters pulled the lever for Barack Obama, whose name is right there in the law's commonly used name, or for Mitt Romney, who test-implemented the law in Massachusetts.

Two-and-a-half years after Gruber helped sell this thing and get it pushed through Congress, more than 98 out of 100 American voters voted for it again.

Like Forrest Gump's mama said, "stupid is as stupid does."

Friday, November 21, 2014

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 11/21/14


Brought to you by ...



In this episode:

  • The Great Big Nothing of Obama's Immigration Speech
  • AMA Questions and Answers
  • Take my book ... PLEASE!
  • Earth to Soundcloud, how about that there RSS feed?
  • And Speaking of feeding, support your libertarian podcaster!
Almost forgot -- in the podcast I promised to embed a Doug Stanhope video (listen and you'll hear why). Here's the video:



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Speaking of Seriously Undermining the Rule of Law ...


US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), writing at Politico on the presumably coming presidential "amnesty" ...

Thankfully, the framers of our Constitution, wary of the dangers of monarchy, gave the Congress tools to rein in abuses of power.

True.

What the framers of the Constitution did NOT give Congress -- in fact, what the framers wrote an explicit prohibition of into said Constitution -- is the authority to regulate immigration.

A partial "amnesty" of those accused of violating laws which cannot possibly be binding per the US Constitution doesn't seem so much like an "abuse of power" as an exceedingly late and far too weak gesture toward the "rule of law" Cruz claims to value.

It's Weekly AMA Time ...


I'm moving "Ask Me Anything" up to Wednesday, at least for this week ... because I'm considering moving the weekly podcast from Fridays to Thursdays. Considering. Not sure yet. We'll see. Anyway, ask me anything that's on your mind. I'll be glad to pick Powerball numbers, predict the gender of your next child, you name it.

And remember, The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry ...



Left, Right, Left


Note: The content of the following post prior to the "additional thoughts" section was made available to my Patreon supporters three days ago. Become a KN@PPSTER patron and get previews of new content, etc.!

-----
Sean Gabb: "If Kevin Carson can have an outreach to the left, why can't some of us have an outreach to the right?"

My reply (with some typos corrected):

Libertarianism and leftism are coterminous. That is, they are the same thing with the same originating point. Libertarianism is the extreme leftmost point on the political spectrum. Therefore, to the extent that someone is a libertarian he is also a leftist and vice versa and all libertarian outreach to non-libertarians is outreach "to the right."

The question is whether such outreach is aimed at pulling those it's aimed at toward libertarianism -- that is, aimed at pulling them to the left -- or whether such outreach is conducted in the false belief that it's possible to remain on the right while simultaneously becoming libertarian.

Note: "Conservatism" is neither "inherently" left nor inherently "right." It is about "conserving" (in the sense of keeping intact in the now, returning to from a not too distant future, or slowing the evolution or abandonment of) some particular value, institution or status quo. It is left/libertarian or right/not-libertarian to the extent, and only to the extent, that that value, institution or status quo is libertarian or non-libertarian. So, for example, an American "conservative" who wants to roll history back a bit to not have mandatory Social Security is libertarian in that preference, while the same "conservative" who wants to roll it back to once again have mandatory government-imposed marriage apartheid is anti-libertarian in that preference.

Additional Thoughts

Political leftism and political libertarianism as I understand them start in the same era (the late 18th century) and even, to an extent, with the same person (Thomas Paine). That's not to say that there weren't instances of political libertarianism and of proto-libertarian thought prior to that time, but it all seemed to come together in revolutionary and post-revolutionary America and France.

The political "left" originated in the French Estates General: The first and second estates (the clergy and the nobility) sat on the right and represented the political class; the third estate ("commoners" -- bourgeoisie, artisans and peasants) sat on the left and represented the productive class.

Marxism was the first major right deviation from libertarianism, aka leftism. Marx's three great right-deviationist errors were:

  • Re-defining the left/right conflict from a battle between the productive class on the left and the political class on the right to a battle between "labor" on the left and "capital" on the right;
  • Historically re-theorizing the bourgeoisie away from the old left (where they had always been and rightfully belonged and belong) and into his own new "right;" and
  • In the name of constructing a "classless" society, calling for his new "left" -- which was actually to the right of the old libertarian left -- to seize, rather than to shatter, the inherently rightist power of the state (to be followed by a far-future "withering away" of the state, yes ... but as he himself said, the state is the executive committee of the ruling class; seizing control of that executive committee seems nearly certain to result in a perpetuation of the class system; see the course the Russian Revolution took for an existence proof).
Of course, it's entirely possible that the bourgeoisie would have found themselves sucked in by the siren song of the political class anyway, but Marx certainly helped that process along by denouncing them as class enemies of a growing socialist -- and, in the hands of Marx and his followers, increasingly statist --movement.

By the end of the 19th century, the political class had theatrically clasped the bourgeoisie to its bosom, simultaneously draining its wealth in general while promoting selected specimens to its ranks. As of the end of that century, libertarianism remained firmly ensconced in the political left.

Over the course of the 20th century, mutant versions of libertarianism ranging from the Chamber of Commerce variety to Ayn Rand's Objectivism and Murray Rothbard's "anarcho-capitalism" came to prominence. The real libertarian movement found itself crushed between the statist left and the theoretically (but unfortunately only theoretically) anti-statist right.

A few luminaries -- the two that come immediately to mind are Samuel Edward Konkin III and Karl Hess -- kept the notion of a "libertarian left" alive in the last half of the 20th century, but it wasn't until the 21st that a new organizational infrastructure including (but by no means limited to) the Alliance of the Libertarian Left, the Molinari Institute and the Center for a Stateless Society emerged, took the Konkin/Hess taper in hand, and used it to light a real bonfire.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Take My Book ... Please!



As you might imagine, I'll be trying to keep a post about KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff up top of the ol' blog for awhile. As you might not imagine, I'm a lot more interested in giving it away than I am in selling it. I'll explain why at length below, but for now: Pretty please, with sugar on top, right-click/save-as this link and grab yourself a free PDF copy.

My understanding is that there are some problems with the $1.99 EPUB/MOBI versions not displaying chapter headings, etc. (thanks to Ivan Burbakov for letting me know about that -- I have a support ticket in with FastPencil and they say they're working on it). I haven't received my own print copy yet, so I don't know for sure how well that's going to come out.

I strongly recommend grabbing the free PDF download first and buying a copy in another format later (I'll update this post when I know the coast is clear on formatting problems, etc.) if you really feel the need to. If you won't take "free" for an answer, there are various tip jar options in the right sidebar.

I don't have stats for free downloads during the first 36 hours or so of the book's release. Since I hooked into Orangedox's cool app for tracking the downloads on Saturday afternoon, I've logged 116 free downloads. So my best guess is that I've given away between 200 and 250 copies so far.

I want to give away a thousand copies by the end of the week. Yes, really.

Why? Well, like Robert Stacy McCain (he of many millions of web hits) says, "Being notorious is not the same as being famous, but it's better than being anonymous." I'm more interested in getting my name -- my "personal brand," if you will -- out there than I am in making money with this book. Not that I don't like money. I just think that "free with a premium option" is my best bet for using the book to achieving more notoriety, maybe even more fame, than I have now and that doing so will pay off bigger, later than trying to squeeze a fast buck out of the book now would.

So I'll be forever in your debt if you not only download a copy for yourself but share this post with your friends and social media contacts.

Thanks to The Center for a Stateless Society, The Libertarian Alliance, The Libertarian Enterprise and other friends whom I'll recognize later for helping get the word out (gotta milk this stuff, see?). Thanks to Garry Reed, aka The Libertarian News Examiner, for interviewing me about it. and to my friends at Independent Political Report for running an article on the interview.

Why I am Joining Tsu


I guess the fun and catty answer would be "because Christopher Cantwell isn't." But that isn't really true. I'm really just throwing that in there because his article is what made me sit up and take notice of Tsu and because hell, any excuse to link to his site is a good excuse to link to his site.

I strongly suspect Cantwell is right about what Tsu is and will become, and that if he isn't right it isn't because he isn't right but because the thing will go under before it has a chance to get where he sees it going. I've seen probably a dozen of these "a social network that pays you!" schemes come and go, and they've all either turned into spam mills or gone under before they could.

But maybe this one will be different. My impression is that they're more seriously funded than most startups of the type ($7 million in venture capital according to Wikipedia).

I use social networks for a number of purposes (making friends and acquaintances, having arguments/debates, finding out about new stuff, promoting my own projects, etc.) and having one more network to post stuff too isn't a huge time sink. It will prove itself worth my while or it won't. If it doesn't, I'll abandon it.

So anyway, I'm going to give it a try. And in the whole spirit of the affiliate marketing thing they're doing here, consider yourself invited to as well.

Virginia Woman Charged With ... Talking About Stuff?


The Associated Press version of this story (the only version I've seen, on several mainstream media sites -- here's the Fox News instance) opens with:

A Virginia woman faces a federal charge after being accused of promoting the Islamic State in social media and offering to help an undercover agent get a friend into Syria to join the extremist group.

Later on, the story seems to change the claim to only a single charge being involved: "[M]aking a materially false statement about an offense involving terrorism."

Two things:

  1. Does "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ..." ring any bells? If the US Constitution is still operative as "the Supreme Law of the Land" it is not -- it cannot be -- illegal to "promot[e] the Islamic State in social media."
  2. No one has any moral obligation not to lie to a government agent. Nor do government agents recognize any obligation, moral or legal, not to lie to us.
This woman sounds stupid, crazy or both, but being stupid and/or crazy isn't a crime. If it was, Lindsay Graham would spend his days in the Florence, Colorado Supermax rather than on Capitol Hill.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I'm Not Always the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer


I had an email yesterday from a friend/supporter who downloaded the free PDF version of KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff and wanted to pay me a little something for it (without going off to buy a different version). He didn't want to do the monthly Patreon thing or crypto-currency, he just wanted to send me a little cash.

Until then, it hadn't really occurred to me that you never see a PayPal button around here unless it's for something specific.

Duh. Fixed. PayPal is now among the sidebar "support KN@PPSTER" options.

Just Fine. And That's the Problem.


Over at the Future of Freedom Foundation, Jacob G. Hornberger examines Max Boot's newest plan for Iraq:

Boot's plan calls for more U.S. bombs to be dropped on Iraq, more U.S. troops to be sent to Iraq, no-fly zones, enlisting domestic support, and nation-building.

What an ingenious plan! Why didn't anyone think of that before now?

But wait a minute! Somebody did think of that before now.

...

We have definitely been down this interventionist road before. How's that original plan for Iraq working out for Max Boot and other interventionists?

Obviously, not very well.

I beg to differ.

The interventionists' plans have worked out, and continue to work out, very well indeed for the interventionists. They continue to enjoy -- take your pick depending on what any particular one of them happens to be after -- political power, media exposure and deference as "opinion leaders" and "experts," and big profits as "defense contractors" or shareholders, lobbyists or front men for same.

It's not working out too well for their victims, of course. Iraqis continue to bleed and die, as does the occasional American troop, contractor or random blowback abductee/murder victim. American taxpayers continue to pick up the tab (cash on the barrelhead every April 15th, putative indebtedness to the extent that the politicians decide not to balance the checkbooks).

But the interventionists themselves? They're shitting in tall cotton pretty much any way you look at it.

For File Sharing, Dropbox + Orangedox = Win


I deprecated Dropbox a few months back. Between various privacy-related droppings of the ball and its incredibly stupid company decision to put Condoleezza Rice on its board of directors, I could no longer confidently recommend the service as a personal file storage/sync application. And I still don't -- I moved all of my personal files off the service and off they remain.

But Dropbox is still very good for one particular use -- public sharing/downloading -- and yesterday I discovered a way to make it even better: Orangedox.

Dropbox lets you share files by storing them in your "public" folder and generating "public links" for them.

Orangedox lets you track the downloads of your Dropbox files.

I changed the Dropbox PDF download link for KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff to an Orangedox link on Saturday afternoon, so now I can tell how many people are downloading the book (52 on Sunday!).

A free account comes with the ability to track 10 download links. If you need more links and more detailed statistics-keeping, "pro" accounts are available too (or you can get more available links by referring new users, as I naturally hope to do with both Orangedox and Dropbox in this very post).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Special Content for KN@PPSTER's Patreon Supporters


I get lots and lots of ideas for stuff to write. Usually I take an initial stab at each idea before it begins evolving into a blog post, C4SS op-ed, whatever. Often, that initial stab is all I take, and it's never seen by anyone except myself and perhaps a friend or two whom I bounce it off of.

By way of offering some "value added" to my Patreon supporters, I'm going to start posting some of those little ideas/snippets on my Patreon "creations" page. For instance, if you were already one of those supporters, you'd have access to a post today that starts a little something like this:

The following is a very rough first-draft piece of writing, based on correspondence with Sean Gabb of the UK's Libertarian Alliance (link below). It may turn into a blog post. It may turn into a piece at the Center for a Stateless Society. It may turn into ... well, nothing. Whatever happens with it, I figured that it was worth showing to KN@PPSTER patrons first:

Sean Gabb: "If Kevin Carson can have an outreach to the left, why can't some of us have an outreach to the right?"

My reply (with some typos corrected) ...

I'm also setting up some goals/milestones at Patreon to make it more interesting.

For example, once I reach $50 per month in support via Patreon, I'll be drawing a patrons' name to receive an autographed print copy of KN@PPSTER's Big Book of Stuff.

Also, for each $100 I bring in through Patreon, I plan to cut my own pay by $50 at other libertarian organizations where I work, freeing up their money to do more cool stuff.

So check it out and think about becoming a KN@PPSTER patron.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's the Weekend, But I'm Working ...


... because there's stuff to do. Like:


  • Applying to Soundcloud's beta program so that I can get an RSS feed for The KN@PP Stir Podcast. That's a prerequisite step to making the podcast available via Stitcher, iTunes, etc.
  • Looking for bloggers, podcaster and other shady critics to review, or interview me about, KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff ... if you resemble that remark, by all means grab the free PDF and get to work. If I haven't emailed you yet, it's because I'm emailing lots of people with actual personal notes and haven't reached your name yet. You can move up in the line by getting proactive and hitting the contact form with any questions you might have, and if your review is negative or you bring me on your show to tell me I suck, I won't hate you. OK, I will, but I'll keep the hate inside. And nurse it. And let it grow. Yeah, it's like that. No, not really.
  • Contacting my local library system to arrange my donation of electronic copies, and one print  copy, of KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff to their collection. If you're interested in helping get the book into your library system, here's a pretty good tutorial.
And other stuff too. I may need a second pot of coffee today.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 11/14/14





On today's podcast:


  • We've got a sponsor -- Darryl W. Perry. See his advertisement up top of this post? You'll be seeing that through the end of 2015. Right now, he's promoting his upcoming Peace Love Liberty Radio tour. Check it out!
  • I wrote a book! But you know that because it's all over the front page of the blog, right? Anyway, check that out too.
  • I've set up a Patreon presence so that all your money are belong to me.
  • AMA answers. Prisons and Joe Arpaio and Christopher Cantwell, oh my!
  • A shout-out for Libertopia and the speakers there this weekend.
  • In the news: Bend Over, Here It Comes Again.
Have a great weekend!

KN@PPSTER's Big Freakin' Book of Stuff


It's here, ladies and gentlemen ...

As promised, there is a free download version. Yep, you can get the whole book in PDF format and it won't cost you a dime (unless you decide after reading it to hit the support/tip jar over in the sidebar, which of course I hope you'll do). Right-click/Save as here for the PDF download.

Would you like it in EPUB or MOBI format? $1.99 at the FastPencil site. No "Digital Rights Management" or anything, by the way; the only thing to stop you from buying it once and sharing it is your decision not to; the book is, so far as I know how to put it there, in the public domain and I don't believe in "intellectual property." If you like it and think it's worth paying for, I'll joyously accept your money. If you don't, well, thanks anyway and maybe next time.

Also via FastPencil, dead tree paper copies. $13.99. The book weighs in at more than 400 pages in a perfect-bound trade paperback edition. In my opinion -- and it's JUST my opinion -- you'd waste that much in paper, ink, printer wear and tear and time printing up an unbound print copy at home, so I think it's priced to sell for those who like their books on paper.

Update, 11/24/14: While I would personally prefer that free downloaders use the Orangedox/Dropbox link above so that I can easily keep track of how many free downloads I've given away, I also know that Scribd is a popular platform and it looks like I can keep track there too, so I've placed the PDF for free download there -- click here to check it out if that's the platform you prefer.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's Coming ...


[Update: Many hours later, I've worked back and forth with the FastPencil support team and the book has proceeded from "your purchase of e-pub/print publishing and a hard copy of the book are stuck in the shopping cart, even though your purchase went through" to "pending." But it's been in "pending" since late last night. Since I was kind of planning on a big Friday-Sunday rollout, I'm a little peeved. But it's still coming, folks ... - KN@PPSTER]

... hopefully any minute now. I'm awaiting resolution of some (hopefully minor) issues with the ebook/print on demand company I'm using. The book is finished, the book is formatted, etc. And I've paid the "put it in our store" fees and for one print copy to be shipped to me. Anyway ...



Yes, there will be a free download available -- not sure what formats yet. Since I'm placing it in the public domain, anyone who wants to break it out into other formats than what I offer will be free to do so (and I'll be happy to link free downloads).

Yes, there will be inexpensive ($1.99) ebook formats.

Yes, there will be a dead tree edition. IIRC, the price on that is $13.99. Not too bad, is it? The book weighs in at more than 400 pages in 6x9 "trade paperback" format.

Just to get things rolling, here's the introduction (after the jump).

Thursday is AMA Day!




And hey, I'm even getting the post up on time!

Here's how it works:


  • Some time Friday, I'll record and publish the latest episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast.
  • One section of the weekly podcast is answers to the weekly "Ask Me Anything" thread.
  • Post your questions in comments on this post and I'll try to answer them (all of them, at least in comments -- if there are two many for an audio show, I'll pick the most fun and interesting ones for the podcast).
Speaking of the show:

  • I got my sponsor! Darryl W. Perry does all kinds of things from print to radio to public speaking ... by purchasing Soundcloud hosting for the podcast, he bought himself advertising for his projects through the end of 2015. Don't be shy about clicking through on that ad (up top, folks).
  • I got my mic! Instead of waiting around for a second sponsor, I bought it for myself as a birthday present. I figure that cost will wash out over time once I set up a "listener financial support" function, which I'll do real soon now.
Have a great day and talk at ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Among Loretta Lynch's Other "Qualifications" for the Post of Attorney General ...


... she's an incredibly successful thief. She got away with stealing nearly $1 billion last year alone. Source: Michael Krieger via the Wall Street Journal.

A Modest Proposal


If the FCC/Obama Internet power grab proceeds to implementation, I suggest that Internet Service Providers respond as follows:

  • Remove all .gov domains from their DNS routing tables; and
  • Automatically delete, without comment or notice, any email or other data passing through their servers which originates with, or is addressed to, .gov domains.
There's more than one playable side of the ol' "show'em who's in charge" game.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

@Walmart Grinds My Gears


Daniel, my oldest son, wants a Sony PlayStation 4. He's actually wanted one for some time, ever since the pre-release hype for the PS4 vs. the Xbox One. And he's probably going to get it, for three reasons:


  1. It's a dual-occasion present -- birthday and Christmas -- and he's OK with that because it's pretty expensive. He's always been laid back about getting the few things he really wants on a non-instant timeline. Unlike some others in the family (cough, cough).
  2. Second helping of the "laid back, no hurry" thing. His current game console is an old Xbox 360, the cheap model with the tiny hard drive (he uses USB drives to store extra stuff). His current computer is a hand-me-down from his younger brother. He spent his allowance and some of last year's Christmas money to upgrade his TV himself (from a giant herniating tube TV we got at a thrift store to a 32" LED flat screen that he found for $70 at a yard sale). So I think he's due for something nice, new and shiny.
  3. It's a triple-use present. He'll be hooking it up to our living room TV, which means that the rest of the family will be able to use it for Netflix streaming and as a Blu-Ray player (we stream via an old Wii now, but the PS4 supposedly has a nicer interface; we've been thinking about buying a Blu-Ray for several years, but never have). So I figure $100 or so of the cost really isn't "present for Daniel" but "stuff for the whole family."
BUT! I'm not just going out and plunking down $400 for a PS4. I'm watching and waiting (see above -- he's cool with waiting) for price breaks, sales, etc. to get the cost down. If it's not until Black Friday or even weeks following Christmas, that's OK. We're all cheapskates here.

So, every day for the last week or so, I've had email from Wal-Mart. ONLINE SPECIALS! SPECTACULAR DEALS! Some of them, if I recall correctly mention FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY!

So every day I click the "shop all specials" link in the email. And every day I use the handy-dandy brand selector to look for "specials" on Sony products. And every day I eventually find myself looking at a picture of a PlayStation 4.

Priced at $399.

The regular price of a Sony PlayStation 4 (without add-on controllers, game bundles, etc.) is ...

$399.

Wal-Mart keeps trying to trick me into wasting my time. And I keep falling for it. Fool me twice, shame on me and all that. But ...

Eventually there's going to be a good deal.

Chances are that good deal  (plus or minus five bucks) will be available at other stores.

And if it is, guess who's not getting my order if they keep messing with me?

Just sayin' ...

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The KN@PP Stir Has Its First Sponsor!


Darryl W. Perry is our top sponsor through the end of 2015 -- thanks, Darryl!

So, what does that mean?


  • It means I'm now committed to a minimum of one podcast per month through the end of 2015. That's a minimum -- I'm planning on a weekly schedule.
  • It means you'll be hearing about Darryl as sponsor, and about his current projects (he has more than one thing going most of the time and we'll communicate so that I can talk up whatever's most important), in each episode of the podcast.
  • It means you'll be seeing banner ads about Darryl's projects at the top of the KN@PP Stir Podcast page and at the top of each episode post, like this:


There's still a second sponsor slot open, for a cost of about $60 through the end of 2015. I say "about" because that sponsorship is available for the price of a Blue Snowball microphone and pop filter. If no one bites on that soon I'll probably just grab it myself and hope that the next revenue model stage (listener support at varying, reasonable pledge levels) takes care of it.

[Update: I just ordered the microphone at Best Buy, for pickup later today, so I'm eliminating the second sponsor request and ad slot. This was an easy decision to make. For one thing, if I still had birthdays (I gave'em up a long time ago so I never get any older), tomorrow would be my 48th, so I figure I can call it a present. For another, I'd rather have one sponsor who gets more attention than two who get less. And for a third, there will be additional monetization schemes associated with the podcast and I expect the cost of the mic to wash out in those revenues over time - TLK]

So, tune in next Friday (if not before) for another episode of The KN@PP Stir!

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Knapp Stir, 11/07/14


Sponsored by ...



On tonight's episode:


  • Mark Bodenhausen, RIP
  • AMA answers on libertarian misogyny and how Libertarian candidates performed in Tuesday's elections.
  • So what's that new "small government Republican" Senate majority planning?
See those two ads up top? They're for sale -- the purpose being to finance podcast hosting through 2015 and a better microphone. If you'd like a year's worth of multi-platform advertising at a pretty good price, hit the contact form and let's talk!

That Tense Feeling ...


I get it whenever Liam wants to do something with hardware.

Today was his second "from the ground up" computer build. He's been stockpiling parts for close to a year, saving up his allowance, Christmas money, etc. and buying stuff from the list he had made. Cooler Masters case, Asus motherboard, an AMD CPU (I think it's six-core), 8Gb of Crucial RAM, A high-end Radeon video card, etc.

So anyway, we got it together, went to start it up ... nothing. A little research later, we figured out that my guess about where the power switch cable plugged in on a motherboard with pins that didn't match what the diagram seemed to indicate was wrong. Fixed.

So then the main cooling fans come on at powerup, but the CPU doesn't seem to be getting power. Another 20 minutes of tracing cables and looking up instructions  ...

Voila, it asks for an OS to be installed or to be pointed to a different boot device. So now that I know he didn't waste all that money on hardware that was either defective out of the box or incorrectly assembled (with my assistance and probably due to my oversights), I can finally sit down and have a heart attack.

All that work, and he's going to ruin it later tonight by installing Windows 7, the little shit.

Friday AMA!


I'll be recording the next episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast later today, and I'm starting to pull together the ongoing format for the show. Two elements:


  • I'll put out an episode each Friday; and
  • I'll do an AMA ("Ask Me Anything") each week.
The idea is that they'll overlap.

You can ask me anything in comments on the AMA thread and I'll answer it EITHER in blog comments OR on the podcast (or maybe both in some cases).

I'll try to start getting the AMA blog thread up earlier (probably on Thursdays) from now on -- this seems a little late.

So anyway, get your questions in ASAP and stand by for an episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast some time this afternoon or evening!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Concerning "Consent of the Governed"


Q: What percentage of Floridians voted for incumbent Republican governor Rick Scott in yesterday's election?

A:  14.6%.

Of the remaining 85%:


  • 14.2% voted for Democratic challenger Charlie Crist.
  • 1.1% voted for Libertarian Challenger Adrian Wyllie.
  • 2/10ths of 1% voted for independent candidate Glenn Burkett.
  • 1/10th of 1% voted for independent candidate Farid Khavari.
  • Unkown numbers represented as 0% of the vote voted for various write-in candidates.
So:

  • 85.4% of Floridians did not affirm their consent to be governed by Rick Scott.
  • 69.8% of Floridians did not affirm their consent to be governed by anyone.
Just sayin' ...


So, About Those Election Results ...


Every time there's an election, and every time I make predictions, a few people say "you're wrong, but we know that you'll come up with some excuse for not admitting it later."

Since I'm usually right, there's not much hard evidence for me to use to dispute that claim of prescience. If nothing else, this election provides such evidence, so let's get with the non-excuses:

I WAS WRONG. BIG-TIME. NEARLY COMPLETELY. ON BOTH SENATE AND GUBERNATORIAL OUTCOMES.

So, now that that's out of the way, a few things ...

  • I'm going to go back through my US Senate and gubernatorial predictions and update them (with a clear system for differentiating my predictions from the outcomes, and a special present for Eric Dondero of "Libertarian" Republican), just so there's absolutely no doubt that when I'm wrong I don't just admit it, but shout it from the rooftops.
  • Will the new GOP Senate majority make Washington "more libertarian?" Well, here's a clue: The Hill just published its first "next on the agenda" story, and that story is that the GOP thinks it now has the votes to to pass a giant corporate welfare giveaway to TransCanada, allowing them to use government power to steal land from hundreds of private property owners to build their "Keystone XL" boondoggle. And they say they may attach it to some kind of "must-pass" budget bill so that US president Barack Obama won't be tempted to do the libertarian thing and veto it. So you kind of have an answer there already, don't you?
  • On the "spoiler" front -- major party candidates, usually Republicans, whining that the Libertarian Party cost them elections -- the worm may have turned. In Florida last night, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie more or less doubled the "spread" between Republican incumbent Rick Scott and Democratic challenger Charlie Crist. I hope there was some exit polling, because there's no doubt whatsoever in my mind that, to the extent Wyllie's votes came from people who would otherwise have supported Crist or Scott, the bulk of were from people who would otherwise have supported Crist. Rick Scott offered libertarian-leaning voters nothing, nada, bupkes, zilch, zero. Crist is at least nominally libertarian on marijuana and marriage freedom, to name two marquee issues. I suspect the same will be found true of Sean Haugh, the Libertarian candidate for North Carolina. And in Virginia, US Senate candidate Robert Sarvis also held the balance of power in a tight, tight race ... and when he ran for governor last year, exit polling said he hurt the Democrat more than the Republican.
  • In Florida's 13th US House district, Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby polled between 24-25% in a two-way race with big-government Republican incumbent David Jolly. That's probably the Libertarian Party's high-water mark this year in major races.
More later. Just wanted to get the admission of complete predictive error out there.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Quick Election Day Ground Game Notes ...


I got out at oh-dark-thirty on my bike and flew the Adrian Wyllie, Libertarian for Governor colors up and down Archer Road (running in and out of Gainesville, Florida) through the morning rush hour.

I was one-third of the Election Day "sign-wave" ground game on that stretch of road. The other 2/3 were standing on street corners -- an intern waving a (Republican incumbent) Keith Perry for State Representative sign (I stopped and talked with him for a moment) and a gentleman with a (Republican incumbent) Ted Yoho for Congress sign.

At the polling place, I put up two Wyllie signs. No Charlie Crist signs in evidence. Two Rick Scott signs, but Scott should fire his sign designer -- they're those "plastic bag" things in sedate colors, not very readable even up close.

The only Democrat sign I noticed at the polling place was for Lee Pinkoson, an incumbent county council representative. That sign had fallen over.

Being a helpful soul, I tried to stand it back up, but it was on a wooden stake and the ground was cold/hard there, explaining why it hadn't been well-anchored in the first place and I couldn't get it to work. I finally broke off the wooden stake and put it up on metal frame I cannibalized from my Wyllie stuff. So I guess the Wyllie campaign made an unintentional in-kind campaign contribution of one yard sign frame to a Democrat.

The Democratic Election Day ground game deficiency may be due to the area I'm in likely being heavily Republican.

Prior to Election Day I had numerous Democratic robocalls and only one (live) call from a GOP candidate. I heard from Charlie Crist. I heard from Bill Clinton on behalf of Charlie Crist. I heard from some former mayor on behalf of Charlie Crist. My only outreach experience with the Rick Scott campaign was a lady putting an absentee ballot request form on my door and walking away. Wouldn't even have known she was with Scott if I hadn't come down and asked her.

I'm planning to get back out on the bike during the noon and evening rush hours. Several thousand cars an hour run down Archer during those periods. In between it's light, mostly commercial traffic (logging trucks, gravel trucks, etc.).

Monday, November 03, 2014

The KN@PP Stir, Episode 2



What's in tonight's podcast:

  • Thoughts about tomorrow's elections.
  • Where I plan to take the podcast, how and why (see below for the first pertinent details).
  • Where I'm podcasting from and why it matters.
  • What I'm wearing during the podcast and why it matters.
  • What I'm drinking during the podcast and why it matters.
  • More thoughts about tomorrow's elections.
The aforementioned pertinent details:

  • I'm operating on a free Soundcloud account (maximum archive of three hours total) and intend to podcast through the end of the year on that account whether I get sponsors/funding or not.
  • If I can find one sponsor willing to put up the $135 for a one-year "unlimited" Soundcloud account, I will commit to a minimum of one podcast per month through 2015. That's a minimum -- there will almost certainly be more (I'm tentatively planning a weekly Friday podcast of 15-30 minutes). The sponsor will be acknowledged verbally early in each podcast and will also enjoy a banner ad and link at the bottom of each podcast's blog post here at KN@PPSTER.
  • If I can find one sponsor willing to put up $50-60 for a Blue Snowball microphone (optionally with the $6-7 "pop filter" to improve the sound I will commit to an additional minimum of one podcast per month through 2015, bringing us to, once again as a minimum, two podcasts per month.That second sponsor will also be acknowledged verbally early in each podcast and will also enjoy a banner ad and link at the bottom of each podcast's blog post here at KN@PPSTER.
  • If you're interested in being either of the sponsors described above, hit the contact form and let's talk it over!
  • Any funding beyond those bare-bones sponsorships to cover equipment and hosting is the fat, the gravy, the extra. Once I've got the sponsorship funding and am podcasting regularly, I'll set up a mechanism for those who'd like to throw a buck or three a month at me to encourage more and better podcasting. As with anything, a little extra spending money is very motivational.
So, that's where we're at. The next podcast will probably be this Friday, and will probably focus on what a predictive marvel I was with respect to tomorrow's election, or to what a putz I was for getting it all wrong. Talk to you then!


Make That at Least TWO Gubernatorial Elections ...


... in which Trek bicycles will play an important role this year.

The best-known instance, of course, is Mary Burke's campaign for governor of Wisconsin. She's the daughter of Trek's founder and the company's former head of European operations.

The second, you'll see cruising up and down Archer Road outside of Gainesville, Florida tomorrow:


Archer Road is a major thoroughfare with high traffic, especially during commute times. There's also at least one polling place along it between the city limits and the turnoff to my place. And there's a very nice bike trail a few feet off the road, where I can fly the Libertarian Party colors very visibly to traffic, hopefully without worrying about getting run down like a dog by some guy in a pickup truck with a "Swamp Life" sticker and pictures of his stick figure family on the rear window.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Election 2014 Handicapping: Gubernatorial Races


Post-Election Update: I'm leaving the original text of this post intact -- not deleting or altering any existing text. What I am going to do is ADD text to illuminate where I was right or wrong. Where I was wrong, I will add the note "WRONG! BOOM!" -- the "boom" being an homage to Eric Dondero of "Libertarian" Republican. Where I was right, I'll just add the note "RIGHT." And of course, I'll add a large admission of error to the top here, like this:

I WAS WRONG. BIG-TIME. NEARLY COMPLETELY. ON BOTH SENATE AND GUBERNATORIAL OUTCOMES.

This post may not look like I was wrong very much of the time, because I picked a winner for all 36 gubernatorial elections. But if you look at the elections that were actually competitive, not just the obvious ones, I was mostly wrong. And in at least two cases (Vermont and Maryland), I didn't think they were going to be competitive. But Maryland switched parties to GOP and Vermont came out razor-thin and will probably end up decided by the legislature for lack of a candidate getting 50%+. So yeah, I completely blew it.

Original post with the additions noted above, below the dashed line:

-----


I made my final US Senate predictions a full month ahead of the election, but only got around this week to analyzing gubernatorial races. And now, with the election only three days away, I need to go ahead and publish, even though I haven't had time to dig more into the Libertarian and other third party campaigns and their likely effects on outcomes as I had hoped to do. Sorry about that. So, here we go.

Current partisan balance of US governorships: 29 Republican, 21 Democrat.

Number of governorships up for election this year: 36.

My general prediction: Net loss for the Republicans, net gain for the Democrats. Republicans wind up with 24.5 governorships, Democrats with 25.5 (see my specific Alaska prediction for the half-a-governorship explanation). WRONG! BOOM!

Specific state-by-state predictions:

Alabama -- Republican incumbent Robert Bentley cruises to re-election vs. Democrat challenger Parker Griffith. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Alaska --  "Independent" (former Republican running as an independent with a Democratic running mate, having "merged campaigns" when the Democrats pulled their slate) Bill Walker unseats Republican incumbent Sean Parnell. Effect on balance: Given the partisan weirdness, I'm going to call it Republicans minus 0.5, Democrats plus 0.5. PROBABLY RIGHT, FINAL RESULTS PENDING

Arizona --  Republican incumbent Jan Brewer is term-limited, but GOP nominee Doug Ducey won't sweat it, easily defeating Democratic nominee Fred DuVal. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Arkansas -- Democratic incumbent Mike Beebe is term-limited and this governorship will change parties as Republican nominee Asa Hutchinson defeats Democratic nominee Mike Ross. Effect on balance: Republicans +1, Democrats -1. RIGHT

California -- Incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown will win his fourth (non-consecutive) term as governor, whipping Republican challenger Neel Kashkari by 20 points or so. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Colorado -- Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper fends off Republican challenger Bob Beauprez. This race looks like a nail-biter and will probably be a lot closer than the last time Beauprez ran (he lost by 16 points), but I think Hickenlooper will pull it off. No effect on balance. PROBABLY RIGHT, FINAL RESULTS PENDING

Connecticut -- Another tossup. Once again, I'm picking the incumbent Democrat (Dan Malloy) to hold out against a Republican challenger (Tom Foley). No effect on balance.  PROBABLY RIGHT, FINAL RESULTS PENDING

Florida --  Six months ago I'd have considered Republican incumbent Rick Scott a near-lock for re-election. Now I think that Democrat (previously "independent" Senate candidate and before that Republican governor) Charlie Crist will win the race. And I think that Libertarian nominee Adrian Wyllie will poll 5% or better. Effect on balance:  Republicans -1, Democrats +1. WRONG! BOOM!

Georgia -- Likely to go to a runoff with incumbent Republican Nathan Deal and Democratic challenger Jason Carter (grandson of former US president Jimmy Carter) both polling in the mid-40s and Libertarian Andrew Hunt at 4%. Carter will win the runoff. Effect on balance: Republicans -1, Democrats +1. WRONG! BOOM!

Hawaii -- Incumbent Democrat Neil Abercombie was defeated in the primary. Democratic nominee David Ige will defeat Republican nominee Duke Aiona, Libertarian Jeff Davis and independent Mufi Hannemann. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Idaho -- A way janky race, with rumors that Republican incumbent Butch Otter may be in trouble but so many candidates (five challengers, at least three of them held by the conventional wisdom to "hurt Otter") and so little multi-candidate polling that anything could be coming together out in the woods. But I predict Otter will cruise. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Illinois --  The polling has Republican nominee Bruce Rauner within the margin of error of Democrat incumbent Pat Quinn. But I don't think it's a tossup. The Democratic machine in Cook County will lock it in for Quinn by hook or crook. No effect on balance. WRONG! BOOM!

Iowa --  Incumbent Republican Terry Branstad has this one sewn up tight versus Democratic challenger Jack Hatch, Libertarian Lee Hieb and Socialist Workers Party candidate David Rosenfeld. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Kansas -- Republican incumbent Sam Brownback goes down to Democratic challenger Paul Davis. Libertarian candidate Keen Umbehr may rack up more votes than the winning difference. Effect on balance: Republicans -1, Democrats +1. WRONG! BOOM!

Maine -- I thought that Republican incument Paul LePage would pull off his re-election bid but the last week has been hard on him. First, independent Eliot Cutler pulled a "sort of but not quite drop out, sort of but not quite endorse the Democrat" stunt; then LePage made an ass of himself in public trying to exploit the Ebola panic and essentially threatening the life of nurse Kacie Hickox over her refusal to accept quarantine. Democrat Mike Michaud will be the next governor of Maine. Effect on balance: Republicans -1, Democrats +1. WRONG! BOOM!

Maryland -- Democrat incumbent Martin O'Malley is term-limited (and considering a 2016 presidential run anyway). The race is a yawner: Democratic nominee Anthony Brown will easily defeat Republican challenger Larry Hogan. No effect on balance. WRONG! BOOM!

Massachusetts -- Democratic incumbent Deval Patrick isn't running for re-election and this governorship will likely change parties. Republican nominee Charlie Baker will defeat Democratic nominee Martha Coakley. Effect on balance: Republicans +1, Democrats -1. RIGHT

Michigan -- Closer than you might expect, but Republican incumbent Rick Snyder looks set to defeat Democratic challenger Mark Schauer. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Minnesota --  Democratic incumbent Mark Dayton easily defeats Republican challenger Jeff Johnson. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Nebraska --  Republican incumbent Dave Heineman is term-limited, but will be succeeded by Republican nominee Pete Ricketts who leads Democrat Chuck Hassebrook by a pretty consistent 20 points in the polls. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Nevada -- Another yawner. Republican incumbent Brian Sandoval delivers a 20-plus-point whipping to Democratic challenger Robert Goodman. No effect on balance. RIGHT

New Hampshire -- Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan fends off Republican challenger Walt Havenstein. No effect on balance. RIGHT

New Mexico -- Yet another incumbent who's not in trouble: Republican Susana Martinez won't have to stay up late Tuesday to learn that she beat Democratic challenger Gary King. No effect on balance. RIGHT

New York -- Have I mentioned yet that incumbents tend to enjoy an advantage? Democrat Andrew Cuomo handily defeats Republican challenger Rob Astorino. The only interesting question in this race is whether or not Libertarian candidate Michael McDermott will break the 50k vote barrier to secure permanent ballot access for his party. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Ohio -- As far ahead as incumbent Republican John Kasich is over his Democratic opponent, Ed Fitzgerald, you wouldn't have thought the Ohio GOP would have had to go so far out of its way to rig the election by keeping Libertarian Charlie Earl off the ballot. Kasich will win dishonestly when he could have won honestly. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Oklahoma -- Republican incumbent Mary Fallin easily retains office versus Democratic challenger Joe Dorman. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Oregon --  Not even some juicy sex scandals have been enough to drag down Democratic incumbent John Kitzhaber. Republican challenger Dennis Richardson won't come close. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Pennsylvania -- Finally, another incumbent who isn't safe! Republican governor Tom Corbett will be packing to move after losing to Democratic challenger Tom Wolf. Effect on balance: Republicans -1, Democrats +1. RIGHT

Rhode Island -- Democratic (formerly independent, formerly Republican) governor Lincoln Chafee is retiring. The race is closer than I expected it to get, but I'm still picking Democratic nominee Gina Raimondo to beat Republican nominee Allan Fung. No effect on balance. RIGHT

South Carolina -- It's Republican incumbent Nikki Haley in a walk versus Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen. No effect on balance. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Haley on the 2016 GOP presidential ticket. No effect on balance. RIGHT

South Dakota -- And even less to see here. Republican incumbent Dennis Daugaard leads his Democratic opponent, Susan Wismer, by an average of 30 points. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Tennessee -- If Bill Haslam was a Democrat, Eric Dondero over at "Libertarian" Republican would be musing that his name is "Muslim-sounding." Since he's a Republican, that's OK. And he's safe for re-election, too, outpolling Democrat Charles Brown by 26 points (good luck to Libertarian candidate Daniel Lewis!). No effect on balance. RIGHT

Texas -- Texas remains red, as it has since Ann Richards. Rick Perry is retiring and Republican nominee Greg Abbott is well ahead of Democratic challenger Wendy "Abortion Barbie" Davis. No effect on balance. RIGHT

Vermont -- Incumbent Democrat Peter Shumlin is secure versus Republican challenger Scott Milne. And against five other challengers, including Libertarian Dan Feliciano. No effect on balance.  PROBABLY RIGHT, BUT BARELY (RACE GOES TO LEGISLATURE BECAUSE NO CANDIDATE GOT 50%)

Wisconsin -- The polls have Republican incumbent and political careerist Scott Walker beating Democratic nominee and successful businesswoman Mary Burke, but almost always within the margin of error. The polls are close enough that this comes down to turnout and the Democrats are just plain better at turnout. Burke will win on Tuesday, putting an end to Walker's rumored presidential aspirations. Effect on balance: Republicans -1, Democrats +1. WRONG! BOOM!

Wyoming -- No surprises here -- Wyoming isn't a good place to be a Democratic office-seeker. Republican incumbent wins by 20 points or so over Democrat Pete Gosar. RIGHT

Three Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide
Some graphics and styles ported from a previous theme by Jenny Giannopoulou