Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 114: Concerning the Chronic "Libertarians For Trump" Cranio-Rectal Inversion


This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is unsponsored. Want to sponsor the next one? Hit the contact form.



In this episode:


  • Thanks For Asking! (2017 Plans, Attack of the Cookie Monster, Trump opposition)
  • Libertarians supporting Trump was dumb, libertarians continuing to support Trump is dumber
Links to some material referenced in this episode:


A Letter to an Editor


From: Thomas Knapp
To: editor@ncc-1776.org
Subject: The Libertarian Enterprise is only 22 ...

... so early onset dementia doesn't seem a likely explanation for its transformation into an authoritarian pro-Trump rag.

That leaves 1) some really bad drugs or 2) a not very well done attempt at satire.

If you guys can't or won't stop shitting all over yourselves in public could you at LEAST change the name so as stop smearing that particular variety of feces all over the libertarian movement too?

Best regards,
Thomas L. Knapp

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I'm Having Some Internet Problems Tonight ...


... so I'm putting off the podcast until tomorrow. Which you will now know, if this posts when I hit "publish." Sorry for the delay.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Modest Proposal: Of Prices and Price Tags


Per Shikha Dalmia at Reason:

Just a single-layer fence -- not a wall -- on the 1,300 miles of the open Southern border will cost upwards of $6 billion -- assuming, as per a CBO study, pedestrian fencing costs of $6.5 million per mile and vehicle fencing costs of $1.7 million per mile. A single Border Patrol agent costs about $171,400 annually. So tripling that force would add up to a whopping $7 billion or so more a year, according to the CBO. Annual maintenance costs would be hundreds of millions of dollars. In short, the total hit if cost projections don't balloon -- a big if, assuming that Trump won't use illegal Mexican workers and will use only American steel -- would be somewhere close to $15 billion upfront, give or take, of even a modest version of Trump's plan.

There's something to be said for the "price tag policy" adopted by Israeli settlers squatters in Palestine. The purpose of that policy is to  "exact a price from local Palestinians or from the Israeli security forces for any action taken against their settlement enterprise." This mostly takes the form of vandalism and property destruction.

Donald Trump allegedly has a net worth of $4.5 billion. Opponents of the border wall (who, don't forget, are being forced to pay for it) should consider that wealth forfeit.  That is, we should find ways to exact penalties, as close as possible to a dollar for dollar ratio with the cost of building and maintaining the wall, in the form of the destruction of Trump's fortune.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Why Voter Fraud is Nearly Non-Existent


Answer before explanation: Because voter fraud is just about the most expensive, burdensome, unreliable and risky way imaginable to rig elections.

The "r" in "voter fraud" is an important letter.

VoteR fraud would be someone pretending to be someone else when voting, or pretending to be legally entitled to vote when he or she is not, or contriving to vote multiple times or in multiple jurisdictions. That is, it would be fraud by someone who is, or is pretending to be, a voter.

If I was a party or campaign operative who wanted to affect the outcome of an election, I'd dismiss voter fraud schemes out of hand. They would require rounding up a whole bunch of people, trusting those people to cast the votes I wanted cast instead of just voting however they felt like voting, and risking each and every one of them getting caught and/or turning coat and outing me. And using "illegal aliens" (as if any such thing existed)? Risible. Their chief concern in life, other than making a living, is to not get caught making a living, so why would they do something dangerous and of little or no personal benefit to themselves like trying to vote?

Now, "vote" fraud, without the "r" on the end of the word "vote," is a different story altogether. It requires many orders of magnitude fewer co-conspirators: Polling place workers and/or vote counters and/or programmers of voting machines. My co-conspirators can find ways to change votes from votes against me to votes for me, or to add fake votes to the totals.

Yes, that happens. I've caught it happening before.

If Donald Trump was asserting vote fraud as a reason for Hillary Clinton getting more votes than him in November's election, it just might come somewhat close to getting into the neighborhood of being marginally believable. But that's not what he's asserting. He's asserting (and now saying he's going to "investigate" his fantasy of) voteR fraud -- the idea that there were "millions of people who voted illegally."

[Addendum, later in the day: I don't usually turn my blog posts into Garrison Center columns, but I do sometimes, and this was one of those times]

Thanks For Asking! -- 01/25/17


This AMA thread (and the podcast to follow) do not have a sponsor ... yet. If you'd like to advertise your product, service or web site to a small but very dedicated libertarian audience for the rock-bottom price of $5.99, hit me using the contact form and we can work it out.

How this works:


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

Jay Hailey primes the pump via Facebook:

Jay: What are your plans, in a general way, for 2017?

Me: Thanks for asking, Jay!

I have some specific plans/goals already: I intend to walk at least 300 miles, and bike at least 1,000 miles, for Charity Miles in 2017; I also hope for the Garrison Center to rack up at least 1,000 reprints/cites/mentions in mainstream newspapers and non-libertarian political publications.

Generally speaking, I intend to get active in my county's Libertarian Party (I tried to get a county affiliate going and failed, but some other motivated Libertarians got it done). I have a couple of writing projects in mind as well.

Jay: What is the name of the Dog we heard in the last episode? Please interview that dog. Or any dog.

Me: That's Cookie Monster. She's a Chihuahua/terrier mix (mostly terrier, I think, probably Jack Russell) who came to us when some people put up a Craigslist ad to give her away nearly three years ago (they had three dogs and were moving into a place that only allowed two). Best. Dog. Ever. I'll see if she's interested in an interview. Here's a photo, which happens to have been taken for another charity hangamajigger I support, Donate A Photo:



Usually I accompany the Thanks For Asking! thread with a video that relates to the topic of questions. This week, more along the lines of "everything old is new again" ...


A Tax Proposal I Can Support


Yes, I finally thought of one. It occurred to me just now:

Each and every one of the 50 states should levy a tax, at a rate of 100%, on all incomes deriving from the federal government. Said tax to be applicable both as to residents and, a la California's habit of taxing out-of-state athletes who play professional sports games in the state, to activities within their jurisdictions.

Effect: If you want to be a federal employee and make any money at it, you can only live, and you can only WORK, in the District of Columbia.

Thoughts?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 113: Which Key is the Any Key?


This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is not sponsored by anyone. Want to sponsor the next one? $5.99 gets your good, service or site personal mentions at the beginning and end of the episode, or a 30-second pre-recorded ad played between a couple of the segments. Hit the contact form and let's work it out.





In this episode:


  • Thanks For Asking! (2016 -- The Year in Stupid; dL's opioid epidemic; Target groups for a libertarian political party);
  • Buckle up, we're in for a bumpy four years.

Godwin's Law, Alt-Right Edition


As an online discussion with an "alt-right" enthusiast grows longer, the probability that he will reveal* his obsession with the idea of his significant other having sex with someone else, probably someone of a different skin tone, approaches 1.

* Via projection, to wit his inability to refrain from blurting out the term "cuck."

Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Bike Review, Part 2: Riding The @CriticalCycles Harper Single-Speed/Fixie


So, the Presta to Schrader adapters I was waiting on arrived Thursday. Got the tires aired up as much as I could with my tiny hand pump (65 psi or so) -- they're rated for max 90 psi and I plan to get them to and keep them at 80-85 -- and took off down the Archer Braid trail to the nearest gas station with one of those super-frap air stations that just lets you set the pressure you want and go to town. A pleasant three-mile ride.

When I got to that gas station, I discovered that the air pump didn't like my tires very well even with the Schrader adapters on them, and that it tops out at 70 psi anyway. OK, so every bike has something about it that proves to be the bane of my existence. On this one, it's those Presta valve tires. And I assume the hole in the rim will be too small to accept a Schrader. So I ordered a decent "stand it up on the floor and hold it with your foot" pump with built in gauge so I can keep air in the damn things. Should be here today. End of digression.

I wanted to put in more than six miles (three each way) on the bike's virgin ride so I took off down a street I know that has some reasonable elevation changes. There aren't really any hills here in north central Florida that I've seen but I wanted to see how well the bike was geared for handling a fairly long (1/4 to 1/2 mile) but not especially steep grade. Answer: It's perfectly geared for that. As out of shape as I am, I averaged better than 10 miles per hour over that that 12-mile ride and the next day's 20-mile ride and handled all the grades without having to stop and shamefacedly walk my bike.

One thing that worried me was the tire size. These are racing tires, only 25 millimeters wide and fairly slick. I was afraid I'd lay the bike down trying to come around curves and corners. But no, it handled beautifully. The bike rides like a Cadillac.

Reader Chris Moore has the same model (only with a coaster/pedal brake -- I use regular hand brakes) and mentions that the tubes are cheap and will need quick replacement. I suspect the same thing of the tires. They look visibly worn after less than 40 miles of riding. So I'm planning to buy two new tires and two new tubes some time in the next few weeks (unless a supporter visits my Amazon Wish List and buys them for me -- the list is full of bike stuff right now, but the tires/tubes are the only thing I'd rate as absolutely necessary ASAP).

Once I was sure I liked the bike, I started hanging all my crap on it -- water bottle, tire pump, brackets to hold my phone and a flashlight (for a headlight) on the handlebars, a little LED taillight on the seat post, transplanted the rear rack from the Trek, etc.:





If there's decent weather for it, and if I have good tires/tubes on the bike by then, I want to do my first "century ride" (100 miles) in late February -- from home near Gainesville to Cedar Key and back, with a short detour to pick up the six extra miles to get me to 100. IIRC my longest ride so far, ever, has been 40-odd miles, but I think I can work up to a century ride in a month or so. My near-term speed goal is to start clocking in at an average 15 miles per hour instead of 11-ish. On a 100-mile ride, that's a difference of three hours or more.

Now if that damn pump will hurry up and get here, I'm going to get out for another cruise. I don't feel really comfortable with a bike until it has a hundred miles or more on it.

Update: Pump arrived, aired the tires to 80 PSI, took off ... and had my first flat at about seven miles (thankfully not that far from home, though -- a mile or so). It took air, got home, it was losing again. Can't find a puncture. Probably cheap/bad tube, so I guess I'm off to the store.

Today: A March by and for Some Women


Of course, the organizers aren't calling it a march by and for some women. They're pretending it's a march representing the values of all women versus the values of Donald Trump and his new administration.

But 42% of women who voted in this presidential election voted for Trump. He took 53% of the white female vote and beat Clinton by 27% among white women without college degrees.

I'm not going to try and justify that, if for no other reason than that I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone, of any demographic category, would have voted for Trump. But it's a simple fact that this march does not represent all women.

It may -- may -- just barely represent a majority of women. But let's call it what it really is: A march for women who

1) don't like Trump and

2) agree with the march's statist center-left organizers on a bunch of issues (the "not welcome" mat was quickly put out for women who disagree with the organizers on abortion)

If Hillary Clinton had won the election and a Men's March on Washington had been called for the day after the inauguration, that event would have been rightly recognized as what this kind of thing is: The most base form of identity politics.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

#NotAllVets


Military.com headline: "Vets Slam Obama's Decision to Shorten Manning's Sentence."

Well, not all of us by a damn sight.

Veterans of Foreign Wars national commander Brian Duffy covers himself and his organization in shame when he says that


President Obama has upended the entire military justice system .... To release from prison former Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who was sentenced to serve 35 years for releasing three-quarters of a million classified and sensitive military and diplomatic communiques, is offensive to everyone who has ever honorably served in uniform.


Even setting aside Duffy's gratuitous gender poke, Chelsea Manning's actions were the very definition of honorable service in uniform. If the US armed forces in the 21st century can claim a single heroic face, that face is hers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Libertarians should love Trump -- he's carrying out their foreign policy"


Yes, someone I don't care to name actually tweeted that.

I'm trying to think of a way someone else could top it to pull ahead and win the "Dumbest Thing Tom Knapp has read/saw/heard this week" award, but I'm drawing a blank.

Heck, it just may stand for the next 49 weeks or so to garner "Dumbest Thing Tom Knapp read/saw/heard in 2017" award. Which is really saying something considering that I'm going to have 11 months and change of President dear God of the United holy cow States Trump to draw on for competition purposes.

Trump hasn't "carried out" anything yet. He doesn't even get inaugurated until Friday.

And based on his public statements and transition actions, e.g. announcing appointees to be confirmed by the Senate after the inauguration, what he intends to carry out is the exact opposite of libertarianism in every area of policy, especially foreign policy.

Comments Bleg


I moderate comments at Antiwar.com. This is something I've done for years, first as a volunteer and now (mostly because they insist) for a little money.

There are several hundred comments a week. Some of them are quite good, some of them are awful, a lot are in between.

A couple of readers here comment over there occasionally. One -- comrade hermit -- does so on a regular basis, contributing a great deal to elevating the conversation.

If you're a non-troll KN@PPSTER reader, I'd love to see you commenting over there; at all if you don't now, and more if do occasionally now. Plz.

Thanks For Asking! -- 01/18/17


Last weekend's podcast was brought to you by the Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus. Since I don't have a sponsor lined up for the next episode, I figure LPAC might as well get credit for sponsoring this week's AMA thread, too. Get over there and like/join!

How Thanks For Asking! works:


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



At Least They Have Enough Moral Compass Left to be Embarrassed


The Heartland Institute, that is.

Until recently, when they ran typical progressive crony capitalist pieces supporting projects that use the theft of land through eminent domain to "create jobs" via "economic development," I could comment to mention that that was what they were doing and remonstrate with them for doing it.

Now I can't -- my comments are held for moderation and then disappear, as happened this morning on this latest piece supporting the theft-powered, big-government Dakota Access Pipeline boondoggle.

Guess I hit a nerve. If I was doing what they were doing, I wouldn't want anyone pointing it out either.

Like The Donkey Said ...


... let's do that again!

Tamara and I caught Jonathan Richman at The High Dive in Gainesville in late 2015, and, as I expected, it was a great show. He's coming back around, so I expect we will be coming back around too.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New Bike Review, Part 1: Assembly of the @CriticalCycles Harper Single-Speed/Fixie


The new bike arrived today -- a couple of hours after we got home from the hospital where Tamara had hernia surgery this morning. Kudos to Walmart -- it arrived a day ahead of the initial promise, and in good shape. I probably shouldn't have assembled it today since I had other stuff to be doing, but what the heck. Looks like it's going to be a pretty sweet bike. Looks like, because I can't ride it yet and won't be able to until Thursday. But I'll get to that.

PROs of the assembly: It was easy. The hardest part, to be honest, was stripping all the packing material away.

The bike advertises as arriving 85% assembled. All I had to do was mount the seat, attach the pedals to the crank set, stick the handlebars in their place, mount the front tire, adjust the brakes, tighten the rear reflector and remove the front one (I'll be mounting a light and cell phone holder on the handlebars, the reflector would use up needed space and be redundant).

Call the assembly half an hour at a leisurely pace. Easy and simple. Oh, and that includes transferring my tire pump and water bottle holder from the old Trek to the new bike (which, unlike last year's $80 bike experiment, has mounting points for that stuff). It comes set up for "freewheel" riding. If I wanted it to be a "fixie" I'd have spent a few more minutes flipping the rear tire over.

CONs of the assembly: There were two, one exceedingly minor, one that's annoying and means it will be at least 48 hours before I can ride the bike.

The exceedingly minor con: Critical Cycles advertises their bikes as "Includes all the tools you need for building and maintaining your own bicycle" (Amazon) and "All the tools you need to build and maintain your own bicycle including three metric Allen wrenches and a flat wrench" (the Critical site). But right on the box it mentions you need a Philips screwdriver, and in the accompanying manual it also calls for scissors and a 15mm wrench or crescent wrench. I needed the first two of those other three things, haven't found any place where I'd need the third (the "multi-tool" has several wrench sizes built into it). Just a nitpick: It either comes with all the required tools or it doesn't. If it doesn't, don't say it does.

The annoying con that delays my actual use of the bike: The bike's tubes have Presta valves rather than Schrader valves. If you don't know the difference, the Schrader valve is the valve you know, the one used to put air in "virtually every motor vehicle in the world today," as well as every bike I've ever had until this one. The Presta valve is, in other words, pretty rare. The justification for it seems to be that it's smaller and that the hole for it to poke through the rim doesn't weaken very thin racing-type bike tire rims as much.

It just so happens that my little hand air pump can accommodate a Presta valve. But my tire gauge can't, nor can I air a Presta valve up at a gas station. Which means that I can't even tell how much air is in the tires right now, even if I air them up. So I've ordered a couple of Schrader adapters, which will be here Thursday. THEN I will be able to air up the tires, ride the bike and tell you how that went.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 112: Oozy rat in a sanitary zoO


This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is brought to you by The Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus ...




In this episode:


  • Thanks For Asking! (Out with Obama, in with Trump; got the Jew-baiting troll blues; Hunter Maats is an annoying know-it-all rich kid);
  • Do the Libertarian Party's original core constituencies still make sense?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ah, Memory Lane ...


One time when I was trying to get a fix on just how violent St. Louis really is, I found an article rating "the most dangerous cities in the world." I think this one is it. Of course there are all kinds of ways of rating danger, but this list isn't unusual. It ranks St. Louis third most dangerous city worldwide. More dangerous than Port au Prince in Haiti. More dangerous than Mogadishu in Somalia. More dangerous than Grozny in Chechnya or Muzaffarabad in Kashmir.

Recently my friend David Klaus has been calling my attention to a new spate of articles on the topic of violence in St. Louis (here's one in the Guardian, and another one riffing on it at the CBS St. Louis web site).

For 12 years, I lived a few blocks south of Natural Bridge Avenue and just west of the St. Louis city limit. My kids both went to school on, or within a block or so of, Natural Bridge. Yeah, it was bad, but if I'd had to guess which street was the most violent in the area (let alone America) I'd have probably guessed Martin Luther King Avenue or Page Avenue, along the same east/west stretch as Natural Bridge, more or less centering on Kingshighway Boulevard.

We lived less than a block north of MLK just west of where it stopped being MLK and became St. Charles Rock Road. Tamara worked on Kingshighway just south of Page, which meant that every day she got to work by crossing some of the most dangerous real estate in the country. It seemed like there was a shooting (not necessarily, but sometimes, fatal) along her route at least once a week.

I only recall having a gun pulled on me one time in the area. I came around a blind corner in Jennings (a town just west of the city and a little north of Natural Bridge) in the ice cream truck I was driving and encountered a crowd of young men wearing red bandanas. Presumably they were with the Horseshoe Posse, the local affiliate of the Bloods gang. MLK was supposedly the turf line -- Horseshoe Posse to the north, Boys of Destruction (affiliated with the Crips, but apparently more loosely than the HP/Bloods situation) to the south. Scowls all around, then one of them pulled a pistol. I did the only thing I could think of to do: I kept coming, hit the gas, and scattered them. If the gun got fired, I didn't hear it. Kind of scary. The ice cream truck company had had a driver shot in the head and left for dead not long before and not far from there.

Mostly north St. Louis County and the city didn't feel that dangerous on a day to day basis. But overall I'd say that while I miss some people in the area, I don't miss the area itself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Next Bike?


OK, so last year's $80 Wal-Mart bicycle idea turned into a fiasco. I tore the Kent 700c single speed apart, used the brakes on my trusty old Trek 7000, and set the other parts aside for any later use that might come up.

I'm really enjoying riding the Trek again. I've been getting out almost daily for rides ranging from 5 miles to 12 miles. But its days really are numbered. The sprockets and shifters/derailleur are showing their age. The handlebars are starting to have a little give to them that can't be tightened out. The rear wheel is out of true -- not terribly, but noticeably -- and it will need new tires long before I've put in the minimum of 1,000 miles I am committed to riding this year.

As much as I'd love to take the Trek frame in to my favorite bike shop and tell them to hang all the new stuff it needs on it, my guess is that would set me back at least $300-400. That's not happening any time in the foreseeable future.

$80 didn't work out. Now I'm thinking more like $180 including tax:


Good reviews for both the brand (Critical) and the specific bike. 57cm frame size available. Single speed with flip-flop hub. I'd rather have quick release for the wheels, and I'll probably want to put a rack on it, but otherwise I'm sold. And I think I can save up the dough for it by spring.

Update: I went ahead and ordered the bike this morning on credit instead of saving up for it. Why? Because last night I noticed the price at Amazon and at the Critical Cycles site was back up from the $169 sale price to the usual $199 price. I hadn't expected that -- my plausible assumption was that they were having a sale in advance of introducing new models. When I went looking, I found it still on sale for $169 at, you guessed it, Walmart.com. I'm having it shipped directly to me instead of having the local store assemble it, though. I like to pay cash on the barrelhead when possible, but in this case credit will save me $30 instead of costing me more (as long as I pay it off in six months or less; I plan to pay it off in two or three).


"Concurrently" -- Politicianese for "We're Gonna Keep Screwing You, Just in Different Ways Than We Were"


The Hill:

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Tuesday that some elements required to replace ObamaCare could be included in the earlier process to repeal the healthcare law.

...

"It is our goal to bring it all together concurrently," Ryan told reporters after meeting with House Republicans behind closed doors.

"We're going to use every tool at our disposal through legislation, through regulation, to bring replace concurrent along with repeal, so that we can save people from this mess."

The only way to "save people from this mess" is to dump the mess, including as much as possible of the mess that existed before ObamaCare was even a gleam in Newt Gingrich's eye.

Repeal the Affordable Care Act in toto, with no "let's do it this way instead" crap.

Individual mandate? Gone.

"Essential health benefits" that all health coverage plans are required by law to cover? Gone.

Ban on denying coverage for pre-existing conditions? Gone.

Etc.

That's the way to do it. Anything less or anything else is just an admission that they've been pissing down our backs and trying to convince us it's raining the whole time.

Above and beyond that, Congress should use the Constitution's Interstate Commerce Clause to forbid state governments to regulate the sale of health policies across state lines.

I'm not sure if there's any legit hook for Congress to hang the end of government licensing for doctors on, but that would be a great next step.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Getting a Little Ahead of Themselves, Aren't They?


From CNN:

President-elect Donald Trump's nominees for top Cabinet posts will be in the spotlight this week as the Senate holds a frenzy of confirmation hearings.

But according to the US Constitution, Article II, Section 2:

The President .... shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for ...

I don't see anything at all in the Constitution about the president-elect nominating anyone to anything.

Problems of tense make me tense


Per WordNet ...

First use: "[A] grammatical category of verbs used to express distinctions of time."

Second use: "[I]n or of state of physical or nervous tension."

From a piece at The Christian Science Monitor:


A group of astronomers has predicted that, five years from now, two faraway binary stars currently orbiting each other will collide, creating an explosion so bright that it will be visible to the naked eye. If accurate, the so-called "red nova" would be the first ever to be predicted by scientists on Earth.

By studying the stars in these final years before the predicted collision, scientists hope to be able to gather valuable information on how binary stars behave in their final years before this kind of explosion. Such observations could provide valuable insights into certain universal mechanisms that are not yet fully understood by astronomers.

The story of the 2022 prediction actually starts in 2008, when a star known as V1309 Scorpii suddenly exploded, temporarily brightening considerably in the night sky.

V1309 Scorpii didn't explode in 2008, nor will the nova in question come into existence circa 2022.

Both of those things happened (if indeed the latter thing did happen) long ago, about the time the Han Dynasty came to an end in China and the Severan Dynasty did likewise in Rome. That is, they happened in the 3rd century, Current Era. The light from the events had to travel for 1,800 years to reach our eyes.

Thanks For Asking! -- 01/09/17


Yep. Early!

Ask me anything -- yeah, anything -- in comments below this post and I'll answer in comments, on the podcast, or both.


Sunday, January 08, 2017

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 111: Unique Up On It


This episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast is not brought to you by a sponsor -- but if you'd like the NEXT episode to be brought to you by you, hit the contact form and talk to me. Prices start at $5.99 per episode.



In this episode:


  • Thanks For Asking! (alien economy; the rumor that I am dating Rachelle Lefevre is not true, as I should know since I started it; learning CSS from women in bikinis; sponsoring the podcast; mount Doom; Detroit proto-punk);
  • Excerpts from a book that won't be finished and published.
  • When you download the S'more app for your Android phone, we both benefit.

All That Jazz


I always wanted to like jazz. I did like some jazz (Dixieland, Swing, and the vocal jazz that I sang as part of a junior high ensemble), but I wanted to like jazz as such. So I studied it. Conclusion: I liked reading about jazz more than I liked jazz.

The reason I liked reading about it so much came down to a few books about jazz in my high school library, by one particular author, sometimes in collaboration with another. This one particular author could really write. It was easy to fall in love with a particular jazz artist just from reading about him, if the person writing about him was this one particular author, and even if I just really didn't get that artist once I found some vinyl.

This one particular author also wrote about civil liberties issues, especially free speech. When I went looking for more of his jazz stuff at my local public library, I flipped to his name in the card file and found The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America. Good stuff.

Then a few years ago, this same author popped up at the Cato Institute, once again hitting on civil liberties issues. Cool.

His name was Nat Hentoff. He died yesterday. He was 91. Jesse Walker has more at Reason.

How They Will "Fix" the Fort Lauderdale "Problem"


The official narrative of the deadly attack at Fort Lauderdale's airport goes something like this:


  1. The shooter checked a bag with a gun and ammunition in it before flying into Fort Lauderdale;
  2. The shooter then retrieved the bag from the baggage carousel, took it to a bathroom, got out the gun, loaded it, and went on his shooting spree.
There's an obvious way to make these kinds of attacks less likely to happen, less likely to succeed, and less deadly when they do succeed. That way is to lift all legal restrictions on the carry of firearms so that criminals know they won't be automatically provided with rooms full of disarmed victims.

It's likely that the various airlines would themselves impose varying restrictions, ranging from "no guns on OUR planes" to "guns on our planes only in the hands of people with special permission slips of some kind" to "frangible ammunition only" (to address concerns of explosive cabin decompression in the event of an on-board firefight), but the overall effect would be to make it harder for murderers to murder.

The likelihood that that obvious solution will be implemented is effectively zero.

There will be calls, of course, to simply outlaw the transport of firearms in checked airline luggage. I doubt that will happen, though. Here's what will happen:

The Transportation Security Administration will require that checked bags with guns be handled separately from other luggage. They will not go onto the regular pickup carousel. They'll be secured with TSA locks and held at a TSA desk. Passengers will be required to pick their bags up at that desk, and to have parked or arranged for pickup in a segregated parking area that has one exit leading directly off of airport grounds. A TSA agent will escort the passenger to that segregated area where the bag will be placed in the trunk or other cargo bay, not the vehicle's passenger area, before the lock is removed.

Naturally, TSA will want more money in its budget to hire more employees to handle these special bags and escort these special travelers. At least part of that money will probably come from a hefty fee above and beyond the regular "September 11 Security Fee."

That won't leave us any safer, but it will leave TSA bigger, more powerful and more expensive.  From TSA's perspective, that's a feature, not a bug.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

My Current Stack


Decided to count up how many pills, etc. I'm taking every day, so I figured I'd share. I've heard that's a thing.

Medications

Metformin 1000mg x 2 (for diabetes)
Gabapentin 300mg x 3 (for neuropathic pain)
Atvorstatin 10mg x 1 (for cholesterol/triglycerides)
Amlodipine 5mg x 1 (for blood pressure)
Lisinopril 20mg x 1 (for blood pressure)
Bupropion 150mg x2 (ineffectual smoking cessation aid)
Aspirin 81mg x 1

Supplements

Multivitamin (Centrum Silver or equivalent) x 1
Fish oil 1000mg x3 (or similar omega fatty acid supplement)
Magnesium 400mg x 1 (oxide, aspartate and citrate, powder dissolved in water)
Vitamin C 500mg x 2
Garlic 1000mg x 3
Ginkgo Biloba 120mg x1
Gymnema Sylvestre 400mg x 6
Vinpocetine 10mg x 3


A Note on the Role of the LNC's Chair


When you run for, and are elected to, the office of chair of the Libertarian National Committee, you have to give up certain things in order to do the job right.

Some of those things are obvious. For example, you give up a lot of your own time, and you spend a lot of your own money, to do the work. You have to give up some personal space, engaging with people you might avoid if engaging with them wasn't your job.

One of those things is less obvious, and people not recognizing that thing is probably a source of personal angst for current chair Nick Sarwark. Thing is, he can't really come right out and say it, because doing so is part of the package of things given up that he accepted when he became chair. So I'm going to say it. Not for him, because he hasn't asked me to or hinted that I should, and because he may not even want me to. But I still think it's important to. So:

When you become chair of the Libertarian National Committee, you give up a large part of your ability to speak solely for yourself. Your obligation is to be speak, and you will almost always be assumed to be speaking, for the PARTY.

So, there's been a little bit of controversy over Sarwark's recent interview on the Lions of Liberty Podcast:



It is not the job of the LNC's chair to criticize the party's presidential ticket. Until and unless the LNC suspends those candidates, it is the chair's job to support those candidates. And as chair, it's probably best for him to let the LNC make up its own mind about that rather than try to push it in one direction or another.

After the election, it remains the chair's job to portray and promote the party in the best plausible light. This is the case even if he thinks the party fucked up massively in some way.

I have no information suggesting that Sarwark believes that to be the case. I'm just saying that even if he does believe it to be the case, his duties as chair preclude him from just going around yelling "we fucked up massively." He represents the party, especially including the majority of national convention delegates who nominated the presidential ticket and who do not seem to have changed their minds about the wisdom of  having done so.

So when Nick Sarwark is asked about Gary Johnson and/or William Weld, no, he is not to be condemned for not jumping up and down on the couch like Tom Cruise while screaming at the top of his lungs about what fuckups they were and how stupid it was to nominate them.

Doing that is my job.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

2017 Exercise Resolutions


This year I will walk at least 300 miles and bicycle at least 1000 miles for Charity Miles.

I think I've mentioned that app before. They line up corporate sponsors who donate to charities of your choice when you walk, run or bike. I usually support Habitat For Humanity or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital with my exercise.

A nice complementary app to Charity Miles is Donate a Photo. Every time you take a photo with your phone and "donate" it (you can do so once a day), Johnson & Johnson gives a buck to a charity of your choice (I usually choose Operation Smile).

When I say "charities of your choice," I mean that the above apps have pretty extensive lists of charities to choose from, not that you can type in any charity in the world. They have arrangements with enough worthy causes that you probably find something you consider worthy of your support.

Naturally, I'm planning to exercise more than just as resolved above. It's just a baseline. But a decent start, I think. Better to set a goal I know I can make with some, but not herculean, effort than to set a really hardcore goal I'm likely to give up on.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Every Year I Think About Going to FreedomFest ...


... and then don't.

A friend of mine who goes every year asked me what it would take to get me to Vegas for it this year.

My answer, on top of the fact that William Shatner is already listed as the keynote speaker:

Jeffrey Tucker and Angela Keaton em-ceeing the banquet would be mightily tempting.

My friend seems to have some input on speaker selection, so I'm guessing maybe it will happen. And then I'll have to figure out how to pay for a ticket and haul my carcass to Vegas.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

No Podcast Tonight ...


... because with the new year I've got about 50 irons in the fire and some of them have to come out temporarily and be come back to later. Since there are two conditions not conducive to podcasting (noisy house and scratchy throat), The KN@PP Stir Podcast is one of those irons. Next day or so, though, would be my guess.

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