Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Two-Product Review: Zenwise Labs Sleep Support and Zenwise Labs Resveratrol


Disclosures: As my readers know, I occasionally receive copies of books or samples of products for review. In this case, Zenwise Labs provided me with one bottle each of Zenwise Sleep Support and Zenwise Resveratrol, pursuant to a "get bloggers to review this stuff" campaign [post-publication change: Reference to promotional mechanism deleted at mechanism operator's request]. The foregoing links (and any repeated links below) are NOT affiliate links. I will receive NO commissions should you buy the products through them. Nor have I received any financial or other inducement, beyond provision of the review samples, for writing this review, nor were there any preconditions on the tone or conclusions of the review (in English, nobody said "you have to say you like it"). Finally, I am not a medical doctor and you should not consider this review to be professional medical advice (I am a Doctor of Letters, though, so feel free to get in touch if you have a broken English that needs a cast put on it). All that said ...

Zenwise Sleep Support

This product is right in my wheelhouse, as I often have trouble sleeping, and more particularly, regulating my sleep schedule. Our family of four tends to run on highly variable sleep schedules, so it's not unusual for two of us to be in the middle of our sleep cycles while one is wide awake and the fourth just went to bed.

I've tried various sleep aids over the years. In general, I've found that "sleeping pills" work, after a fashion. They knock me out. But I wake up feeling like I haven't slept (light research says this may be because I don't get sufficient REM sleep, even though I'm not conscious either).

I've also used melatonin on and off, with very mixed results. More light research says this may have to do with "bioavailability" issues. That is, melatonin only goes where it's supposed to go and does what it's supposed to do under certain conditions, i.e. the presence of this amino acid or the absence of that mineral.

For the last week, I've set a target bedtime of between 10pm and 11pm, and used Zenwise Sleep Support on alternating evenings. Put simply, it works. The label says to take two capsules with 8 ounces of water 30-60 minutes before bedtime. On the four nights I've done that, 30-45 minutes after taking the capsules, I feel drowsy; when I lie down, I fall asleep quickly and easily; I sleep through the night; and when I wake up I feel well-rested. On the "off" nights, when I haven't taken the supplement, I'm not especially sleepy at bedtime and either go ahead and get back up for a couple of hours, or toss and turn awaiting sleep.

Why does Zenwise Sleep Support work? I don't really know. It includes 6mg of melatonin, but there's more to it than just melatonin. There's also magnesium (which I'm not deficient in -- I take 500mg daily); L-Taurine; L-Theanine; chamomile flower powder; Valerian root; 5-HTP; GABA; and L-Ornithine. No, I do not know what all those things portend. I just know that the product works, at least for me. I hope that once I get on a regular schedule, I won't need the stuff every night ... but I plan to keep a bottle on hand, and if you have sleep problems, I recommend giving it a try.

Zenwise Resveratrol

This product is slightly harder to review, because its effects aren't the kind that are readily apparent. But I'll give it a whirl.

I don't link to LewRockwell.com very often these days, but in this case I'll make an exception and heartily recommend Bill Sardi's article, "How to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death." As I've mentioned in the not too distant past, this is a concern of mine now that I'm pushing 50. One of the recommendations is to get resveratrol, either by drinking 2-6 alcoholic beverages a week, or as a supplement. I've been trying to do the "at least two drinks a week" thing for months, but I usually forget. I'm just not the drinker I used to be. One or two beers or bourbon-and-diet-colas are more my speed.

On the other hand, if I'm going to spend money on resveratrol, I'd mostly rather get it in a bottle of IPA than in a capsule. That's just me. So anyway, I'm taking the Zenwise Resveratrol right now, in the recommended dosage of two capsules per day, instead of trying to remember to have a beer.

Here's a fork in the road, though: Sardi mentions (and links to supporting literature affirming) that "modest doses of resveratrol (100-350 milligrams) produce the best effect.  Excessively high doses may be counterproductive." The recommended dose of Zenwise Resveratrol contains 600 milligrams of resveratrol (plus something called Bioperine, and a "proprietary blend" including grape seed and acai extracts, among other things). That's well short of the "danger zone" of 1750 milligrams, but I'm planning to cut down to one instead of two capsules per day so that I'm within Sardi's recommended dosage. Your mileage -- or, for that matter, your need for the supplement -- may vary.

I'm prepared to recommend Zenwise Resveratrol for two reasons.

One is that everything I've read says you should be getting some resveratrol, especially if you're a male over 50. As I mention above, I am not a medical doctor and don't intend to misrepresent myself as one. But I can also read, and based on what I've read, resveratrol's a big deal for coronary health.

The second is that even though I can't -- and can't be expected to -- feel any obvious effects from Zenwise Resveratrol, I know that Zenwise Sleep Support works as advertised, and therefore feel reasonably secure that whatever Zenwise Labs says is in their resveratrol supplement is in fact in that supplement (there have been some recent scandals regarding some supplement companies basically selling falsely labeled capsules full of nothing worthwhile).

Thanks For Asking! -- 09/30/15


This week's AMA thread -- and the podcast to follow -- are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:




The rules, as usual:


  • Ask me anything (yes, anything) in the comment thread below this post;
  • I'll answer in the comment thread, on the podcast, or both.



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Not That George Pataki Had a Chance in Hell Anyway ...


... but he decided to prove again today that it is always a gigantic mistake to even consider allowing him anywhere near any position of "authority."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 09/27/15


This week's podcast (like every other one so far this year) is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:



In this episode:


  • Thanks For Asking! (Robert Reich and free markets and capitalism; my off-the-cuff estimates of who the political parties would nominate for president if their conventions were today; more religion and politics; Internet advertising and fake traffic); and
  • a quick wrap-up.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Anachronisms Bug Me


Really. Enough so that when I come across something that looks like one, I research it.

Zeke and Ned, by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, is a fictionalized account of the doings of Ned Christie and Zeke Proctor. So far I've gotten as far as Proctor's arrest for the killing of Jim Kesterson ("T. Spade" in the novel), prelude to the Goingsnake Massacre; he's been put in jail to await trial by a Cherokee judge, and he passes the time by playing Chinese Checkers with anyone available (until his dog eats some of the marbles, anyway).

This would have been in early 1872.

Chinese Checkers wasn't invented until 1892 (in Germany, under the name "Stern-Halma") and wasn't marketed in America under the name "Chinese Checkers" until 1928.

Just thought I'd gripe a little.

Random Election 2016 Thoughts (Clinton and Bush)


Hillary's done for all intents and purposes. Once Biden jumps in, she will slide to a distant third place behind him and Sanders, and maybe even down into O'Malley/Webb/Chafee 1% territory.

But she's never gone gracefully, and never has Bill. Every scandal, they start by denying it, then grudgingly admit it but say there was nothing wrong with it, then say they "take responsibility" but still pretend they didn't really do anything wrong, then pout when there are consequences. Obama beat her in 11 straight primaries in 2008 and she still waited to concede while her gang talked up the possibility of breaking the Democratic national convention and pulling out a win. She'll drag it out, at the expense of her party's chances of holding the White House, taking back a Senate majority, and gaining seats in the House.

Her stubbornness in the face of defeat (not the possibility of defeat, actual defeat) is one of her problems. The other two are related:


  • Nobody likes her; and
  • Nobody trusts her.


At least nobody who hasn't been on her payroll forever. The left Democrats don't like her because she's a centrist. The conservative Democrats don't like her because she's a centrist. The centrist Democrats don't like her because she makes centrists look bad.

Nobody trusts her because she lies like a rug, thinks she's above the law, acts surprised when she's told that's not the case, and is sort of like Mitt Romney when it comes to actually taking a position on anything -- she is always saying whatever she thinks people want to hear, except when it means saying she was wrong or she's sorry.

Yes, she raised big money at the beginning of her campaign, but that was because the big money Democratic donors bought the trademark Clinton "inevitability" hype. Now they're noticing it was BS and looking for another horse to back; that's a fourth problem.

Which brings us to Jeb Bush, who has two of the same four problems.

Bush isn't really unlikable. Watch him some time. He's sort of modest, self-effacing, wonkish. Those qualities may not make for a great candidate when you've got a self-promoter like Donald Trump blocking your path to the White House, but he doesn't personally make my gorge rise like Clinton does.

Nor is he likely to prove as stubborn, to the detriment of his party, as Clinton. When and if he reaches a point where it's clear he isn't going to get the GOP's nomination, he'll pack it in, endorse another candidate, and soldier on for the party. I do predict that he won't do so until after the New Hampshire primary at the soonest, though, and then only if Kasich or Christie is the one pulling ahead, or likely to do so on the strength of his endorsement. If one of the "not a chance in hell of winning the general election" candidates (Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee, et. al) is still surging, he may stay in on the reasonable supposition that that is what's best for his party.

He does have a similar trust problem -- because of his last name, his brother's disastrous presidency and his father's tendency to go weak-kneed as president when pushed by Democrats in Congress.

And he does have the problem that the big money he raised as "inevitable" has probably dried up (3rd quarter FEC reports aren't due for nearly a month) based on him being back in the pack so far.

But his prospects are far better than Clinton's, because he at least has prospects. Hillary Clinton will never be president.

A Ditty, Likely Not of Distinction


Some events deserve memorialization in song, and since no one else has stepped forward to so treat a certain blogger's recent (but long-expected, trial-ballooned several times, and not at all surprising) decision to abandon the libertarian movement and redirect his appeal to slimier audience demographics, here's my new song, "Christopher Can't Dwell." Notes below the embed.


Yes, I am a frustrated musician and songwriter.

No, I'm not very good at it, and it's been most of 30 years since I last wrote and recorded a song -- "The Ballad of Tipper Gore," with Fred Johnson as "The Repulsives," back when the future VP's wife was crusading against rock'n'roll and two guys banging away on an acoustic guitar and a snare drum could get away with calling themselves a "band" (if you're in a charitable mood, think of us as teen would-be Mojo Nixons/Skid Ropers).

Furthermore, I am (at the very top of my game) a mediocre rhythm guitarist. Right now I am just plain bad. I haven't practiced in months because rotator cuff tears/frozen shoulder make it painful to hold and play a dreadnought acoustic guitar like my Epiphone PR-100. I've been messing with a ukulele, which solves the shoulder problem, but as I haven't achieved even mediocre levels of musical accomplishment with it, I decided to record using guitar.

Finally, let's cover the recording/engineering and mixing defects. I recorded the song on one track, standing in my office and playing/bellowing into my Blue Snowmall microphone and using Online Voice Recorder. Then I decided I needed to re-record the a capella bridge to reflect a one-word change in the lyrics, and did some cutting/splicing using the companion online apps Audio Cutter and Audio Joiner. So yeah, it's rough.

But I'm hoping someone with musical skill and talent might take it and do something cool with it. Naturally, like all my stuff, it is covered by the Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication, so it's yours to do anything you like with. I recorded it in G. It's not quite three chords and the truth (in addition to G, C and D, there's that little A7 outlier). Why G? So I could sing the low octave and (not too successfully, I think) go for a Johnny Cash vibe. Here are the lyrics for your convenience:

Christopher can't dwell
In a left libertarian hippy hell
He's gotta find a different story to tell
'Cause Christopher can't dwell

Christopher's a sleaze
So he's weighing anchor for more friendly seas
On a racist transphobic fake populist breeze
'Cause Christopher's a sleaze

Everybody scolds him
FTL cuckolds him
Free-Staters done rolled him
Yeah, I guess they went and told him that

Christopher can't dwell
No the stuff he's been up to well it just won't sell
I'd be lyin' if I said that I wish him well
'Cause Christopher can't dwell

Enjoy. Or not, as the case may be.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thanks For Asking! -- 09/24/15


This week's AMA thread -- and the podcast to follow -- are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:



Ask me anything (anything!) in the comment thread below this post. I'll answer in comments, on the podcast, or both.


A Thought on Joe Biden's Presidential Announcement Timing


As mentioned elsewhere here at KN@PPSTER, I expected US vice-president Joe Biden to announce his candidacy for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination no later than mid-September. I still expect him to jump in, and so do others (as you'll find if you do a little Googling or keep an eye on memeorandum).

It just occurred to me why he may be waiting until "the last minute" (the end of this month or, at latest, early October):

Biden is described as a "devout Catholic," and he and his wife were on hand to greet Pope Francis, in their capacities as vice-president and "second lady," when he arrived for his visit this week. Since the vice-president also presides over the US Senate, Biden will presumably be a prominent figure as the Pope addresses a joint session of Congress (the first time a Pope has ever done so).

If he had announced his candidacy already, he would likely be seen as exploiting the Holy Father's visit as a  "campaign event." Similarly, he's unlikely to announce his candidacy while Pope Francis is still in the US, because that would look like he was using the Pope as a campaign kickoff prop. He would offend Catholics who felt like he was using them, and he would offend anti-Catholics who don't like the idea of Rome playing a part in US politics.

On the other hand, if he waits until the Pope leaves, he will largely avoid those two pitfalls AND he will be announcing right after a week in which he's been unusually prominent (for and as a veep) BECAUSE of the papal visit.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 09/20/15


This week's podcast (and all the others this year!) brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:





In this episode:


  • Musical happy dance (local band Fluffernutter and upcoming Jonathan Richman concert);
  • Thanks For Asking! (The Libertarian Alliance's anti-libertarian immigration position and my sordid Mormon past);
  • Quick update on what's up at the Garrison Center, the blog, and so forth.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Gainesville's Newest Hitmakers!


Tamara and I were privileged to catch Fluffernutter's first time "playing out," Friday night at a tiki bar called Subtropic, somewhere between Gainesville and Alachua. Fun place. Fun band. Several sets of material ranging from 60s/70s classic rock to 80s alternative to a couple of pretty sweet originals.


For the record, I think that Fluffernutter's "Sweet Trans Am" replaces the Morells' "Trans Am" as the single greatest song ever written and performed about Trans Ams (yes, there are others by e.g. Thompson Square and Ke$sha, but they're way down the greatness list).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Couple of Pet Peeves: "We" and "Allow"


I see both terms misused, a lot. Sometimes I even fall into error with respect to the first one ("we") myself. I've been working hard to correct that. I suppose it's possible that I've also abused the term "allowed," but if so it's been awhile and I don't recall doing so.

It helps to have a specific instance of misuse to point to, and I do. But an advance disclaimer: I'm not using this example out of any special desire to pick on Bleeding Heart Libertarians. I do have some problems with some material I've seen on that site, but please don't take this piece as a general critique. It's a critique of a couple of specific usages in one article:


I suspect some of you will immediately grok the problems in that article title (and in the article content). For those who don't:

Both usages beg important questions (if you think "beg" and "raise" are the same thing with respect to questions, well, that's another one of my pet peeves and you're wrong; click that link to learn the difference).

In short, the title assumes the existence and composition a "we" with the legitimate authority to "allow" or "not allow" kidney sales.

In my opinion, such a "we" does exist, but it's not the "we" the article assumes the existence of. 

The article seems to be using "we" to assume the existence of "society" or some other large aggregate of individuals (begging the question of the existence of, to the affirmative) , assuming that said aggregate enjoys a "collective" authority to run the lives of those it claims "belong" to it (begging the question of whether it enjoys said authority, to the affirmative).

My counterclaim is that absent any actual argument, evidence or proof for the existence or authority of that alleged "we," the reasonable assumption is that the only "we" which has any legitimate say in the matter of a particular kidney sale comprises the person interested in selling a kidney, the person interested in buying that kidney, and such persons as might allow themselves to be hired to facilitate the transaction (e.g. a transplant surgeon).

But of course, I've actually stated my counterclaim, and should be prepared to defend it if challenged. The original claim was hidden as a set of two begged questions in Jason Brennan's headline.

Thanks For Asking! -- 09/17/15


Yeah, yeah -- I meant to get this week's AMA thread up right after the podcast, and forgot. And then I ran a day late from the "usual" time. But here it is, brought to you as always by Darryl W. Perry:




How it works:


  • Ask me anything in the comments below this post;
  • I'll answer in the comment thread, on the podcast, or both.


Regarding the "Pastor"


Every so often for the last couple of decades, a self-designated "Christian Identity pastor" runs out of things to do, tracks me down wherever I publish, and cuts and pastes some invective from his stale files  of anti-libertarian, anti-Jewish, and anti-other-things rhetoric. He likes to call me "Judas" (because once I discovered his true beliefs, which he had taken some pains to hide while infiltrating the Missouri Libertarian Party, I opted to disassociate from him rather than become one of his disciples) and has even designated me an honorary "Khazar" (in accordance with his beliefs about racial and ethnic histories).

He stopped trying to engage me for many years after he was (falsely, in my opinion) arrested for child molestation and (illegally and immorally, in my opinion) held in the loony bin for a couple of years for being somewhat eccentric in his non-cooperation with the prosecution (IIRC, the charges were later dismissed when the alleged victim refused to testify and plausibly claimed to have been coerced into making the accusation by police and "social workers").

He started in again a couple of days ago here at KN@PPSTER and over at Rational Review News Digest.

I seldom ban commenters at either site, but I've banned the "pastor." Over the years I've discovered that the small benefits of outing him as a liar, idiot and reprobate in public aren't worth the large costs in time and effort of doing so. But if anyone has any questions regarding him or our mutual history, feel free to ask.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

KN@PPSTER LiveBlogs the Second 2016 GOP Presidential Debate -- The Big Shew


11:13 -- OK, it's over. First impressions ... Rand Paul actually did pretty well, I thought. The only others who weren't complete wastes of time were Trump, Bush and Kasich. Not that I like any of them, but Trump was entertaining and Bush and Kasich tried to be substantive. Hopefully this wraps things up for Carson, Fiorina and Cruz, none of whom are anywhere near ready for prime time.

11:00 -- You're in front of Reagan's Air Force One. How will the world look difference when your Air Force One is in your presidential library?

Paul: Supported Reagan. I'm a Reagan conservative, with goal of peace, war as last resort and constitutionally.

Huckabee: I would like to leave the world a safe place for US and Israel because I threw more money at the US military than ever before. And I'd like to put every man, woman and child on welfare with the "fair" tax and get rid of abortion and make everyone do whatever cops say.

Rubio: Reagan understood America was unique. I'd fly Air Force One to our allies to carry a bunch of money. And to China and Russia to destabilize their governments. And I'd like it to land in a free Cuba even though I'm busting my ass to keep Castro in power.

Cruz: Reagan stood with our allies and I will too. And with Israel, even though nobody seriously thinks they're an ally. And I'll kill all TEH MOOSLIMS.

Carson: I was a radical Democrat before I listened to Ronald Reagan. I hope that I can be as logical as him to unite. Government is fiscally irresponsible is and hides it. I want to bring real leadership.

Trump: If I become president, we will do something really special. We'll make America greater than ever and will be respected like never before because I'm Donald Trump.

Bush: Six million more people are in poverty than when Obama was elected. The next president has a lot to deal with and must create a strategy of high economic growth. We need to lead the world.

Walker: I turned 13 just as Reagan was elected. He was an optimist. I am too. Send powers back to states and people. I took on the unions, and I'm going to pretend again that that has something to do with something.

Fiorina: America must be symbolized by Lady Liberty and Lady Justice. Now I am going to babble like a senile auctioneer for a little bit.

Kasich: I will make this a nation that will solve problems by having elected officials act like they've never, ever, ever before acted in history. I will rebuild relationships with allies. Finally, a little bit of Carly's psychobabble.

Christie: My first vote was for Ronald Reagan. A Christie presidency won't be about me, it will be about you. You're frustrated because you work hard and feel like the system is being gamed. I'll enforce the law, level the playing field. I will not shake hands with Iran.


10:34 --  Woman on the ten dollar bill?

Paul: Susan B. Anthony.

Huckabee: My wife.

Rubio: Rosa Parks.

Cruz: Wouldn't change ten, would change twenty to Rosa Parks.

Carson: My mother.

Trump: My daughter Ivanka, or Rosa Parks.

Bush: Margaret Thatcher ("Ronald Reagan's partner" -- I wonder if Nancy knows).

Walker: Clara Barton.

Fiorina: Wouldn't change the 10 or 20 dollar bill, it's just a gesture. Should recognize women are half the nation, not a special interest group.

Kasich: Mother Teresa.

Christie: Abigail Adams.

Ronald Reagan's Secret Service name was Rawhide. Yours?

Christie: Trueheart.

Kasich: Unit Two.

Fiorina: Secretariat.

Walker: Harley

Jeb: Everready.

Trump: Humble.

Carson: One nation.

Cruz: Cohiba.

Rubio: Gator.

Huck: Duck hunter:

Paul: Justice Never Sleeps.


10:28 --  Paul, Christie plans to re-criminalize marijuana. Would you? Paul: Americans don't like hypocrisy. There's at least one rich kid on this stage who smoked pot, but poor kids go to jail. I want more rehabilitation and less incarceration. The 10th Amendment says the states get to decide this (he leaves out the people too).

Bush: 40 years ago, I smoked marijuana. I admit it, even if my mom isn't happy about it. But we have a serious epidemic of drugs. Colorado should be a state decision, but drugs are a problem. Appropriate for government to play a consistent role.

Paul: Bush campaigned against medical marijuana. Kids get taken away and parents in jail, but Bush skated.

Jeb: I opposed medical marijuana on the ballot because it led to legalization, but supported the legislature making small concessions.

Christie: New Jersey is first state to not jail first-time non-violent drug users, just make them get "treatment." That doesn't mean we should be legalizing "gateway drugs." Drugs are not victimless crimes.

Paul: If they're going to enforce the federal law over the state law, they don't believe in the 10th Amendment. I would let Colorado decide for itself, not decide at the federal level.

Christie: I support medical marijuana, just not recreational.

Paul: Which part of 10th Amendment does Christie not understand?

Fiorina: I buried a child to drug addiction, so we need to "invest" in me running everyone else's life.

Bush, you want to keep guns away from people you say are mentally ill. How far do you take your anti-social tendency toward victim disarmament? Bush: Not very far, should be done by states and not by feds. In Florida we have background checks and condition concealed carry on a bureaucrat's permission.

Rubio: Pass all the gun laws you want, criminals will ignore it. The issue is not what people use to commit violence, but why are they committing violence. We need strong values, strong families. Obama is undermining all that.

Cruz, are you afraid of losing 2nd Amendment rights? Cruz: I have defended 2nd Amendment in front of Supreme Court and in US Senate. I am strongest supporter of  2nd on stage.

Trump, you're really rich. Christie says billionaires like you should not get Social Security. Do you agree? Trump: I'm OK with it, but I'd mostly leave it up to the people instead of making it policy.

Christie: Can't be voluntary, but with Donald in it's a good start. I want to save Social Security.

Rubio, will you be on climate change like Reagan was on ozone? Rubio: No, because it would destroy the economy.

Christie, what about you on climate change skeptics like Rubio? Christie: I don't think Rubio is a skeptic, and New Jersey has already met its 2020 emissions reduction goals. We shouldn't destroy our economy to chase some wild left-wing idea, but we can address climate change.

Rubio: I'm not a skeptic of climate change, I'm a skeptic of the changes the left wants us to make. They will not work, but they will hurt America. I am not in favor of making it harder for Americans to make a living.

Walker: Obama's Clean Climate Plan would cost Wisconsin thousands of manufacturing jobs.

Carson: Backlash against vaccines blamed for measles outbreak. Trump links vaccines to autism. Should Trump stop saying this. Carson: Numerous studies say no correlation between vaccines and autism. Some vaccines are important, some should be optional. Trump can make up his own mind about what to say.

Trump: Autism has become an epidemic. I favor vaccines, but I want smaller doses over a longer period. I've seen kids pumped full of vaccines, get fever, now autistic.

Carson: Trump's an OK doctor. The fact is it's well-documented that there's no autism associated with vaccinations, but yeah, we should reduce the amount over short time of vaccines.

Paul: Parents should have more discretion.

Huckabee: Next president ought to declare war on four diseases (cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes and heart disease).

Break.

10:11 -- Rubio: Radical Islam can't be solved by being smart. We have to be really, really dumb if we want to solve radical Islam. Also, I think that the Sinai is in Libya.

Huckabee: The intelligence has been doctored. If you don't have good intel, you can't make good decisions.

Walker, more US troops to ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Graham says you're not serious unless you'll do that. You say that the 3,000 troops there is enough. Are you serious? Walker: I said we need to lift the political restrictions Obama has put on troops, then listen to military experts and send them as much money and as many body bags as they demand.

Paul, you've said boots on ground to fight ISIS should be Arab boots. But there are only 4 or 5 of them after Obama send money to train them. Paul: If you want war, there are all those other candidates. That's not me. The first war in Iraq was a mistake, and I'm not making that mistake again. The Saudis are funding the jihadists, won't accept refugees, why are we always the patsies who have to go fight for them?

Kasich: I called for boots on the ground many months ago in coalition with allies. The bigger war is battle of ideas. We need to call out Jewish and Christian principles in defense of western civilization.

Fiorina: We need an even bigger military.

Bush, Cruz criticized your brother for appointing Roberts to SCOTUS. Is he right? Bush: Cruz supported Roberts. We need justices with record of upholding Constitution. Recent history is appointing people with no record. We need to change that.

Cruz: I've known Roberts for 20 years, but he was a bad pick for SCOTUS. Conservatives are frustrated because we keep winning elections and then screwing up SCOTUS appointments and now TEH GAYZ CAN GET MARRIED, OMG!

Bush: You're rewriting history, Cruz. But we do need better justices.

Cruz: I wouldn't have appointed Roberts, but yes, I did support his confirmation once he was appointed.

Huck, will you have a SCOTUS litmus test? Huck: Oh, yeah. Abortion. Do you believe that Kim Davis should get to keep collecting her paycheck without doing her job? Do you support the right to bear arms? Do you support the 5th and 14th Amendment (as I want to apply them to abortion). And do you support states rights (he left the "people" part of the 10th amendment out).

Break.

9:52 -- Trump, Rubio says he's concerned that you don't know the names of everyone in Iran and therefore can't be CINC. Trump: Hewitt apologized for quizzing me on names and mispronouncing stuff. He gave me name after name and few people would know all those names. I will have finest team and we will solve problems.

Rubio: If you're running for president, you need to memorize the Tehran phone book. And also Beijing's and Pyongyang's and Moscow's. I will memorize all the names and try to look Kennedyesque, and that's what we need in a CINC. Oh, and someone who throws money at our bloated military and at Israel.

Trump: Rubio has worst voting record (absentee) in Senate, and I will learn those phone books.

Rubio: Yeah, I've missed some votes because the establishment is out of touch. I'm leaving Senate, running for president.

Bush, you said you're not burdened by your name, but then took on the same advisors as those other Bushes had. WTF? Bush: If you're looking at Republican advisors, you have to get them from the last two Republican administrations, which are my dad and my brother. But I'm my own man. US needs to lead the world by throwing more and more and more money at the military and at the people who spy on Americans and torture brown people.

Trump, you promised us great leaders, Bush has a list. When will you give us names? Trump: I'm meeting people. I'm the only person on this stage who fought against us going into Iraq. I'm militaristic, but you have to know when to use the military. (Paul interjects, Trump mutters something about his 1%).

Bush: When Trump talks about judgment, he thought Hillary Clinton was good negotiator. He doesn't understand the way the world works.

Trump: Your brother gave us Obama because he was such a disaster, Abraham Lincoln couldn't have won after him.

Jeb: My brother kept us safe. Remember 9/11? He kept us safe. Errrrrrrr ....

Walker: Obama is to blame for everything, Dubyah was good to go. And now I'm going to pretend again that fighting unions in Wisconsin is like fighting a war as national CINC.

Paul: I was opposed to Iraq war, I was opposed to Syrian war, I was opposed to arming our enemies. When we complain about Iran, remember it was the Iraq war that empowered Iran. We're still paying for W's idiocy and now idiots are talking about toppling Assad.

Bush: The lesson of history is that anytime me or someone from my family fucks things up badly, we should blame the Democrats and see if we can drown the noise out with the sound of some more Americans getting killed by our stupidity.

Rubio: The belief that not acting like idiots is a good idea has been disproven over and over by experience. When we act like idiots, good things happen. I promise to be the most idiotic president ever.

Carson: I suggested to Bush that he not go to war in Iraq. But what cause Islamic jihadism wasn't invading Iraq, it was pulling out of Iraq. We have to be mature enough to recognize that Osama bin Laden is hiding under our beds, and just fork all of our cash over to the Pentagon.

Christie, 14th anniversary of 9/11 attacks. Carson wouldn't have gone to war in Afghanistan. What do you think? Christie: I was made US Attorney on 9/10/01. Couldn't reach my wife who worked near WTC on 9/11. Scary. What the dead people of 9/11 wanted was for us to lose two ground wars in Asia and turn America into a police state.

Carson: Loved Dubya, good friend. I didn't suggest that nothing be done, I suggested that Dubya should be Kennedyesque and use bully pulpit like the space race to become petroleum-independent. That would have made the ayrabs turn over bin Laden.

Christie: Screw subtle diplomacy. You need a leader who will always find a reason to go to war, and I will.

Carson: No argument with strong leader and aggression where it's needed, but it's not needed in every circumstance.


9:38 -- Huckabee, raise taxes on hedge fund managers? Huck: I think we should get rid of all taxes on people who produce, and instead go with the "fair" tax so we can kill the economy and put every man, woman and child in America on a monthly federal welfare check. Reagan didn't get elected bragging how great HE was, but by telling American people how great they were.

Carson, you support scrapping tax code and replacing it with tithing-based flat tax of 10%. Trump wants progressive taxation. Why is Trump wrong? Carson: It's all about America. Trump is advocating socialism. But I might be dumb enough to go for the "fair" tax too.

Trump, what do you think of flat tax? Trump: We've had graduated tax for years, that's not socialism. I know people making lots of money, paying very little tax, not fair.

Paul: Our jobs are being chased overseas by the tax code. I want a flat 14.5% rate for everyone, everything, no more payroll taxes.

Walker, Carson wants to raise minimum wage, why is that lame? Walker: It's all about jobs, you wanna help people get jobs, but not government jobs like I've spent the last 30 years in, everyone else should have to actually work for a living to make my schemes function. I'm only one with plan to repeal ObamaCare on day one.

Carson, Walker didn't really answer question. What do you think? Carson: I said "probably" or "possibly" about raising minimum wage, but we need to negotiate reasonable minimum wage and index it so that we never have to have this discussion again. Except we need two minimum wages.

Walker: I did too answer! Answer isn't minimum wage, answer is to get everyone except me to get real jobs.

Kasich, you don't attack Clinton. Fiorina, you do attack Clinton. Which is right? Kasich: I'm busy introducing myself, no time to attack Clinton. Fiorina: People spend a lot of time talking about track records, and Hillary has to defend hers of lying about various things.

Christie: Who's gonna prosecute Hillary Clinton? I will, during debates.

Break!



KN@PPSTER LiveBlogs the Second 2016 GOP Presidential Debate -- Kids' Table Edition


7:41 -- Final question: What is the one thing you offer that the top tier does?

7:47 -- Quick reaction: Pataki probably won the "serious guy" contest. Santorum probably won the "how does the GOP appeal to proles" contest. Graham actually was kind of authentic but didn't win much -- just too crazy on foreign policy and Santorum stole his "poor guy up by my bootstraps" thunder. Jindal should probably get about shutting his campaign down. He MAY have done OK with evangelical Christians, but I wouldn't count on that even. Back in another post in a few minutes for The Big Shew.


Pataki: TWO things. We have to win the election. None of it matters unless we win. And then we have to govern successfully. You need a leader who actually gets a conservative agenda through. I did that in New York, one of the most liberal states in American.

Santorum: Came to Washington in unlikely way, defeated Dem incumbent. Only thought I'd be there one term, shook things up, ended 40 years of Democratic control. I led that fight.  Outsider, got conservative things done. Now after ten years of seeing GOP retreat, they need me, outsider, to go back and get things done.

Jindal: I'm a doer not a talker. Idea of America is slipping away. If you want incremental change, vote for someone else. Planned Parenthood is selling baby parts and Washington GOP can't find its testicles to fight. Time to take on DC permanent government class. I'm the only guy who has actually shrunk government.

Graham: I will win a war we can't afford to lose, even though everything I've ever suggested on foreign policy before has turned out to be completely wrong and I'm still suggesting the same idiotic policies. Trump is a cartoon character. Kasich wants to close more basis. I want to spend all your money on the military. I'll make your family safe even though it does not seem like it.

7:25 -- Graham, you all oppose nuke deal with Iran. Yahoo John Bolton wants strike Iran. You? Graham: If I believed they were trying to get a bomb, I would. And they know it. We need to stop increasing military spending so little and just put everything into getting as many Americans either dead or in the poorhouse as possible. Kasich wants to sensibly close more basis. The worst nightmare in the world is some Lockheed-Martin executive not being able to buy a private island and a gold-plated bathtub. Spend, spend, spend, and kill as many as we have to to keep the spending up.

Pataki, there are other ways than bombing. Santorum wants to assassinate scientists. What do you think? Pataki: We need a strong America, we need to reject the deal and reimpose sanctions. We should give Israel big bombs to do our dirty work for us. And Clinton was Senator from New York on 9/11 and has been a complete fuckup ever since. We have got to beat her.

Santorum, any means necessary? Still on the table? Santorum: 12 years ago I authored a sanctions bill on Iran and fell four votes short. I've been laser-focused on getting us into war with what I believe to be a massive death cult because getting us into wars with massive death cults isn't batshit insane or anything. On day one, I tell Iran that if they don't consent to be my bitch, I'm going to have my way with you.

Graham, Putin is sending more stuff to Syria to support Assad. Trump says he can get along with Putin. Why would your confrontation work better than Trump's deal-making. Graham: It's all Barack Obama's fault for not getting enough Americans killed. I've told you, I'm willing to kill as many Americans as you'll let me kill, because I'm completely nuts and more bloodthirsty than Manson.

Jindal, how would you get Russians out of Syria? Jindal: I'd rather talk about Iran, which means I'd rather blame Obama for everything. I want to ask Graham, are Senate Republicans willing to get rid of filibuster to kill the Iran deal and get us into the war all of us crazy people want? What's the point of a majority if we're not getting Americans killed?

Graham: Bobby, you were in Congress. If you want to repeal ObamaCare, get a new president. If you want to end Planned Parenthood's corporate welfare, get a new president. We need 67 votes to override Obama's veto, but we need to elect a Republican president, not play shutdown games. I want to lead the party to winning.

Jindal: You just heard a Republican say we can't do anything. Democrats forced ObamaCare without 60 votes, don't Republicans have any fight? If not, it's time to be done with the GOP. No point in being cheaper Democrats. Maybe start a new party. At least Reid and Pelosi fight for what they believe in.

Graham: We're running for POTUS. With that comes certain amount of honesty. Tired of telling people what they want to hear. I would not give Planned Parenthood money as president, but I'm not going to shut down the government now.

Break.

7:17 -- Graham, minimum wage. Santorum wants to increase it. You? Graham: If you increase minimum wage, hard to hire more people. Clinton has a list to help the middle class, they've been squeezed hard. I understand the middle class, and I want to grow the economy, not just screw with the minimum wage. No more money for federal government until there's a plan to get out of debt.

Santorum, defend yourself. Santorum: Less than 1% make minimum wage, if you're not for increasing it you're not for a floor wage in America you suck. GOP supported bailouts, I didn't. GOP supported special tax treatment for business, I didn't. Republicans need to support working people by increasing unemployment. 90% of Americans are wage-earners, not business owners and we need to talk to workers.

Break.

7:12 -- Graham: Republicans need to tell Americans that we get who you are, I want to save Social Security.

Pataki, Jeb and Trump want to raise taxes on hedge fund managers. Do you agree? Pataki: I would throw out the whole corrupt tax code. Get rid of exemptions and loopholes, lower rates. I would propose a law that no congress person can ever be a lobbyist afterward.

Jindal, three Republicans running who support higher rate for hedge fund managers. You? Jindal: Lower, flatter, tax rate. I've done that as governor.

Santorum, do you agree with Jeb that limits home mortgage deduction. Santorum: I propose a 20% flat tax on everyone and everything (income, interest, corporate income). I want to make America number one manufacturer in the world, and fantasize that we can compete on wages in manufacturing even though the last 30 years says our future is elsewhere. But I'm Rick Santorum and I can wave my magic wand and make the impossible happen.

Pataki, you said you'd be OK with raising taxes on hedge fund managers, would you also get rid of deductions? Pataki: No, I'd keep deductions. And I also have a magical mystery plan to bring manufacturing back.



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

You Keep Using That Word ("Crisis"). I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.


I keep hearing about an "immigration crisis." And I'm hearing it from all points on the ideological spectrum -- even people who support immigration freedom are buying into this "crisis" talk.

A crisis is "an unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty" or "a crucial stage or turning point in the course of something."

Immigration never has been, is not now, and never will be a "crisis."

People move all the time. They always have. They always will.

The "crisis" exists only in two kinds of minds:

First, the mind of someone who can't bear the thought of other people living their lives as they choose rather than as he chooses for them -- speaking a different language, listening to different music, eating different food, worshiping a different god than he would have them speak, listen to, eat and worship. It drives him ape, this idea that other people may not be like him and may not want to be like him. And this leads him to swallow nonsense like the supposed sanctity of "borders." If some brown, Spanish-speaking Catholic wants to move from Juarez to El Paso, it's the end of the world. But he'd look at you like you were nuts if you suggested he shouldn't be allowed to move from Richmond, Virginia to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The second type of person with this "crisis" in mind is the demagogue who wants the first type of person to vote for him.  Like Mencken, this politician knows that "the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

What these two types of "crisis" nutburgers have in common is the desire to run other people's lives.

My First Major Election 2016 Prediction Flub?


On August 25th, I predicted that Joe Biden would announce his candidacy for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination on or before September 15th.

It's September 15th, and I haven't heard anything portending an announcement today, so it looks like I missed on that one.

On the other hand, Biden met with one of his boss's top campaign finance "bundlers" over the weekend, during a trip to New York City that looked a lot like a campaign outing. So I may not have been too far off the mark.

I still think he's going to go for it.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 09/13/15


This week's podcast is brought to you by:





In this episode:

  • Garrison schedule change;
  • Thanks For Asking! (is Trump a fascist? Is Beck a libertarian? What kind of lefty stuff do I read?);
  • Hey, I'm running for Congress!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Shenanigans


From Antiwar.com, yesterday:

20-year-old Joshua Ryne Goldberg of Orange Park, Florida, was arrested and indicted today on charges of "distributing information relating to explosives," related to a non-existent bomb plot against the 9/11 memorial in Kansas City.
Goldberg allegedly conveyed information that any reasonably competent junior high school student could figure out in about five minutes -- how to build a "pressure cooker bomb" -- to an FBI agent. There was never any actual plot. There was never any actual bomb. It was all security theater.

I had to look the actual charge up, because I didn't believe offhand that even the current crop of American legislators were stupid enough to put it in writing, or that any FBI agent would have the balls to investigate, or prosecutor would prove idiotic enough to prosecute, such a charge.

But I was wrong. It's in 18 US Code § 842:

It shall be unlawful for any person --

(A) to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence; or

(B) to teach or demonstrate to any person the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute to any person, by any means, information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, knowing that such person intends to use the teaching, demonstration, or information for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence.

How stupid and evil is this?

Well, first of all, it's unambiguously in complete violation of the First Amendment.

And secondly, to any extent that it could conceivably in any way be illegal, it would already be so as an element of another charge: Conspiracy to perform some other illegal act.

Speaking of conspiracy: Every congresscritter who voted for this section of the US Code, the president who signed it, every law enforcement agent who investigates alleged violations of it, and every prosecutor who charges those violations, is also in violation of US law. To wit, 18 US Code § 241:

If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured --

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, they shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.


 According to that section, US Attorney A. Lee Bentley III and his accomplices in the Goldberg affair should be standing by for arraignment right about now. But don't hold your breath. The law is for other people, see?

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Coffee Sweetener Recommendation Bleg


We drink coffee. Oh, yes, we drink coffee.

Tamara prefers something fairly mild -- when it's on sale she buys Maxwell House French Roast or South Pacific Blend. Each night I set our coffeemaker up to turn itself on and  brew six cups at 6am the following morning. That's six cups according to the pot. We drink fairly large cups, so it's really three cups. I have one as soon as I get up, Tamara has one as soon as she gets up shortly after I do, and I drink the remaining cup after she leaves for work.

Later in the day, either once or twice, I brew up four shots of Cafe Bustelo espresso. I'm on my third el cheapo espresso machine in ten years or so. I pick them up for five bucks at garage sales. The current one is a Krups; it works nicely and I suspect it may last a long time.

So anyway, according to conventional measurements, I drink four cups of regular joe and four to eight shots of espresso each day. Wikipedia suggests this may not necessarily be a bad thing, although I've started trying to remember not to brew it up and drink it after 6pm or so. It used to not keep me up; now it does.

BUT!

We both take our coffee with lotsa fru-fru creamer and a little sugar. Or, rather, we used to. Once the diabetes showed up, I switched to stevia for sweetening, and Tamara has now followed suit.

Unfortunately, we haven't found a sugar-free creamer that doesn't taste awful.

So I'm coming to you, dear readers, for sugar-free creamer recommendations. I bet there's something out there that actually works.

And, while you're at it, I'd love to hear about your coffee preferences if you have any. I adore my Cafe Bustelo (it's a Cuban blend, and even the instant version tastes better, to me, than most American coffees), but I'm always interested in trying new things.

Happy Birthday, Caitlin!


My oldest daughter turns 25 today. I love her and will always be very proud of her, although she's chosen to maintain only minimal communication with me for several years.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

And Now For Something Not That Completely Different


This will be the what, seventh time? So no, it's not like it's really different. But anyway:


Monday, September 07, 2015

Thanks For Asking! -- 09/07/15


This week's AMA thread, and the podcast to follow, are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:


Yes, I'm posting the thread on Monday, the day after the previous podcast, instead of waiting for Wednesday (and possibly forgetting until Thursday). Several people (including, I think, Joel Schlosberg) have suggested that and I think they're right.

The rules:


  • Ask me anything (anything!) in the comment thread below this post;
  • I'll answer your question in the comment thread, on the podcast, or both.


Sunday, September 06, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 09/06/15


This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:




It's a holiday weekend and this is an extremely casual and boring episode in which I dish a little on the trouble Darcy Richardson got me into with Roseanne Barr and answer Thanks for Asking! questions from Thane Eichenauer and Joel Schlosberg.

Another Thing That Isn't "Religious Freedom"


Per CNN:

A Muslim flight attendant says she was suspended by ExpressJet for refusing to serve alcohol in accordance with her Islamic faith.

In a bid to get her job back, Charee Stanley filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday for the revocation of a reasonable religious accommodation.
Employers and employees don't owe each other "religious accommodations," whether those "accommodations" are "reasonable" or not.

Either the two parties can come to a voluntary agreement on the requirements of a job, or they can't. If they can't, parting ways without the initiation of force by either party against the other is the only legitimate course.

My Disdain Usually Fades Over Time Unless Refreshed


Not quite two years ago, I noticed a story in the Gainesville Sun about the police raiding and shutting down an "Internet cafe."

That story was actually part of a longer news cycle event in which Florida's politicians took action on behalf of their patrons at Disney, in the casino industry, etc. to suppress competition for the "little old ladies who'd rather blow $20 socializing with other little ladies near home, with some chance of winning $10 back, than spend three or four figures on a weekend in Orlando or Tampa, surrounded by people they don't know, schmoozing with Mickey or pulling slot machine levers" market niche.

But what caught my eye in the story was this:

The raid was welcomed by Adam Brewer, owner of the Adam's Rib restaurant next door.

Brewer said the Internet cafe drew some unsavory patrons and that loitering in the parking lot shared by the business was becoming a problem.

"They are not producing goods or services. They are taking lower-income people and recruiting them in and taking their money. What they are doing is illegal," Brewer said. "The kind of crowd that it does attract is not the crowd that we want in that area. We've seen all kinds of stuff -- potential safety issues, people walking around the parking lot at night."

This grieved me. Adam's Rib was the first restaurant I ate at in Gainesville -- the morning after we arrived in town, I walked in and ordered their lunch special, which was quite good -- and it was well on its way to becoming my permanent go-to barbecue joint of preference in town. I'd eaten there another time or two.

But ... well, just wow. One business's owner giving a public grin and fist pump to the police for shutting down a neighboring business, and going right over the top to insult that business as such in the process?

I haven't eaten at Adam's Rib since.

Talk about serendipity, though. Just the other day, I was thinking that maybe I'd been punishing myself long enough by denying myself good barbecue, and that I might just give the place another chance.

Heck, I'd made my opinion known (in the same public venue that Adam Brewer had, that story linked above), and had spent my barbecue money at other establishments (ranging from well-known chains to sketchy individual proprietorships run out of roadside trailers) over the intervening two years, finding most of it not as good as the food I had enjoyed at Adam's Rib. Time to bury the hatchet?

But yesterday, Tamara and I were driving down 13th Street past Adam's Rib and past the shut-down Internet cafe, which has remained unoccupied since the raid, when I looked over and noticed a sign in the window of the latter:

Coming Soon -- Adam's Rib

I wonder how much less Brewer had to pay to buy or rent that building than he otherwise would have, after two years of potential occupants saying to themselves "no, not worth the risk of the neighbor bellyaching to the cops until they shut me down."

I doubt that this was a carefully pre-planned thing, given the fairly long timeline. More likely he's just willing to take advantage of unintended side effects to his original bad behavior.

But the result is the same. Adam's Rib won't be going back on my "where are we eating barbecue at today?" list any time soon.

Friday, September 04, 2015

I'm Torn


On the one hand, I'm not sure Donald Trump isn't being a little more kind to Hugh Hewitt than decency strictly requires by promoting him to third rate status (as a radio personality, I mean; no, I'm not contesting Hewitt's first class bona fides as an insomnia cure and straight man for friends wearing "I'm With Stupid" t-shirts).

On the other hand, I do feel sorry for Hewitt. After all those years of fruitless searching, he's finally found someone as clueless as himself on foreign policy, and he appears to have blown a promising relationship on the first date.

An Analogy and a Question


Fictional county, fictional state, USA.

This fictional county's government has established a "department of health" and appointed a director of said department.

One of the department's duties is to inspect restaurants for adherence to various legal criteria (mostly pertaining to cleanliness, adequate sanitation measures, etc.) and, provided those restaurants pass said inspections, issue them licenses without which it is illegal for them to sell food to the public.

One day the head of the county health department announces that he has converted to Islam, and that henceforth the inspections and licensing will be contingent upon restaurants adhering to Islamic dietary law. And no, he won't allow his non-Islamic subordinate inspectors to handle inspecting and licensing non-halal establishments. And no, he isn't going to quit the job, give up his paycheck, and let someone who's willing to do the job, do the job. If your food is not halal, you can't operate as a restaurant in the county, because he can't bring himself to sanction, in any way, food or food handling procedures that are haraam.

I can think of lots of arguments that might be offered for or against the inspection and licensing regime (as a libertarian, I call shenanigans on the whole thing).

But my question is this: Would anyone seriously argue that the health department director's decision and actions are an "exercise of religious freedom?"

"Religious Freedom" Jumps the Shark


It's coming from quite a few places, but since he's aching for some attention and can't seem to get any lately, I'll throw a bone to the Ted Cruz edition:

Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith.

Um, no, Ted. Today (actually, yesterday now), a court held a government official in contempt for refusing to do her $80k per year government job and for, alternatively, refusing to at least allow her subordinates to do their government jobs.

If Kim Davis wanted to "live according to her faith," she had numerous options.

If issuing particular kinds of government paperwork violated her faith, she could have resigned her well-paid position as clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky.

If issuing particular kinds of government paperwork violated her faith, she could have polled her deputy clerks and assigned those whose religious beliefs weren't violated by issuing that particular kind of government paperwork to do so.

If none of her deputy clerks were able to get past faith issues to issue that particular kind of government paperwork, she could have said "well, I guess we'll have to put an ad in the paper and hire a new deputy clerk who's willing to do that; I'll go see if the budget has room in it for another clerk or if I'm going to have to lay one of you off."

Instead, she sat on her ass, pouted, and announced that "religious freedom" means  that the taxpayers who cover her paychecks must henceforth live according to her faith rather than according to their faith.

And when a judge told her to do her job, or let her deputies do their jobs, or quit her job, she decided she'd rather sit in jail than give up her "faith-based" claim that she should get to run other people's lives.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Was Buycott, Now Boycott


Here's me eating an Arby's Smokehouse Brisket sammich and curly fries for dinner tonight:


Why? Because the Miami-Dade area's whiny PR flacks for the nation's largest and most violent street gang didn't want me to after an Arby's worker decided he wasn't comfortable serving an armed thug flying the local chapter's colors.

Unfortunately, I've since learned that Arby's lost its collective head and forgot the cardinal rules of dealing with terrorist demands: Never show fear, never back down, never try to appease them. So I guess that's the last time I'll be eating there for awhile.

A Couple of Videos I Recommend


Video #1

I'm going to embed the actual video here, but I'm also going to link it in its embedded context at Liberty.me, because I think everyone should visit and join Liberty.me (I don't think you have to join to see the video). So anyway, Lucy Steigerwald hosts a discussion/debate between Sheldon Richman and Walter Block on left-libertarianism:


Video #2

This time it's Roderick Long and, again, Walter Block. This time instead of left-libertarianism, it's thick libertarianism vs. thin libertarianism. Brought to you by DanielTheSexiest and The Political Cure.



Lots of good stuff. I, as you may recall, am an ultra-thin, paleo-left, brutalist-but-trying-to-be-more-humanitarian libertarian.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Interesting Book Finds


At a garage sale a couple of weeks ago, I was pawing through a table full of books when I chanced to look down at a box beneath the table ...

Yes, that's a swastika on the spine.

No, it's not a book by, or about, Nazis.

It's eight of the ten volumes of the "Sahib Edition" of the works of Rudyard Kipling, published circa 1909. Back then, the swastika was a non-controversial Indian symbol.

I'm not a trained book appraiser, which is fine because I don't buy books with an eye toward resale. But I'd personally grade the condition as ranging from "poor" to "fair," and I feel like the $4 I paid for the lot was a sweet deal (in a few cursory online searches, I have yet to find a single volume from the collection, let alone eight of them, in any condition, for a price that low). Since the works are long out of copyright, I may scan some of the frontispiece illustrations and use them here and there.

At the same sale, I paid 50 cents for a 1918 edition of the Oxford Edition of the Poems of Tennyson. The front cover has been torn off, but I couldn't resist it because of the hand-written inscription inside:

Lake Lodge School
Senior Composition Prize
Kenneth Joyner
Presented by Mrs. Daw
June 1921

The only Lake Lodge School I've been able to track down was a private school in Grimsby, Ontario, which was indeed operating at the time in question. I haven't been able to find any information on Kenneth Joyner or Mrs. Daw yet, but I'd like very much to do so and to give the book to someone for whom it might have sentimental or family history value.

The Case for Trump as a Libertarian Hero


I think there is one, and I think it's to be found by reading between the lines of this piece by Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag.

Most of the piece is nonsense on stilts, of course, but its central point -- that Donald Trump's candidacy has put paid to any libertarian influence in the Republican Party -- is, if true, worthy of celebration.

Greenfield's position, in a nutshell (paraphrased to accentuate the truthiness lamp he hides under a bushel when using his own words):

"Those mean old libertarians were more trouble than they were worth. Sure, they made for a good fig leaf to hide the Republican Party's authoritarian big-government essence, but dammit, they kept trying to make the GOP actually be libertarian. Good riddance to them, thanks to Trump. Now we can stop pretending to favor smaller government, more freedom, less regulation, etc., and just be our big, bad, ugly, fascist selves. 'MURKA!"

If he's right, I think that's a good thing. And if Trump is responsible, libertarians owe him our thanks.

There have always been libertarians who fall for the "libertarian Republican" guff, but the last two presidential cycles really drained lots of libertarian energy into that cesspool thanks to lots of activists falling for Ron Paul's doomed and pointless candidacies.

Coming into 2016 it looked like Rand Paul might have the same effect. Fortunately, he went out of his way to shed any libertarian cachet he might have been counting on before the cycle really got going. Libertarians were abandoning the Party of Big Government (R-Label Edition) even before Trump announced.

But I can buy the notion that Trump really sealed the deal. Thanks to Trump, we are virtually guaranteed that in next year's presidential election, neither major party will put up a candidate who even bothers to pretend he or she doesn't hate our freedoms.

Whether or not the Libertarian Party can bring itself to exploit that gift by offering a real alternative is another question entirely. But hey, we can always hope, right?

Thanks For Asking! -- 09/02/15


This week's AMA thread (and the podcast to follow) are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:



How it works:


  • Ask me anything (yes, anything) in the comment thread below this post.
  • I'll answer in the comment thread, on this weekend's podcast, or both.


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