Friday, July 31, 2015

OK, It's Fundraising Time

Yes, I hate it too. But since my revenue model is "create content, ask people who like it or its effects to cough up for it," I have to do it.

At this moment, my "support KN@PPSTER" recurring (as opposed to "one-time donation") revenues are at $277 a month. But $250 of that was a six-month commitment from a long-time supporter, whom I expect will end or reduce it after the August payment. Bottom line: In order to keep doing things the way I'm doing things, I need to keep that number above $250. The closer to $500 the better.

Here's what you're supporting if you choose to hit the "support" links in the right sidebar:

  • At the end of January, I launched The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. High-falutin' name, but it's not a government-registered "non-profit;" it's just me. Occasionally I'll pay an outside writer to pen an op-ed, but not that often -- IIRC, a total of three times out of more than 75 op-eds so far. The Garrison Center is my "libertarian outreach" project. I write libertarian op-eds and submit them to mainstream newspapers and non-libertarian political publications. So far in July, I've made 46 publication placements. My initial goal was to average 50 placements per month by the end of the year. I'm pretty much already there (and have a plan to drive that number up quite a bit starting next week).

    If you value "libertarian outreach," this is the ticket. It's also the thing I'll have to cut back on or quit if I can't make the financial nut. I spend about 40 hours a month on it. If it can't carry its financial weight, I'll be knocking on (virtual) doors in the libertarian think tank community and offering them that 40 hours or more per month for a regular paycheck. Which would be a shame, because I think my Garrison Center work gets a lot more bang per solicited buck (low- to mid-four figures per year) than does the similar work of outfits operating in the six- to eight-figure range.
  • This blog. It's been online since 2004 and lately I try to average a post a day. Some months I make that goal, sometimes I fall short. It's my "personal space for throwing ideas around." Some of you readers seem to find those ideas interesting. Maybe even, say, $12 a year (a buck a month!) interesting. If you think you're getting value here, I hope you'll cough up some filthy lucre in return.
  • The KN@PP Stir Podcast. Fifteen minutes or so, once a week. Definitely still in its experimental phase (by the end of the year, I expect it to have more professional presentation, etc.). The listening audience seems to run to 25 people or so per episode. My goal by the end of the year is 100 listeners per episode ... and I'd like to blow the doors off that goal.

There are other things -- a couple of freely downloadable books, for example, one of which I'm still considering issuing a revised and expanded edition of (the other one is a 20-year collection of my political writing). And then of course there's Rational Review News Digest (the oldest daily libertarian email news roundup on the Internet), which has its own separate fundraising setup but which I think is relevant to whether or not you might find my work worthy of support. But those three bullet-pointed ones are what I'm throwing at you as a "help keep me at $250 or more per month" pitch.

Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thanks For Asking! -- 07/29/15

As always (so far, and at least through the end of 2015), this week's "ask me anything" thread and the podcast to follow are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

And as always, the rules are simple:

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

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 07/26/15

This week's podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks for Asking! (can Rush Limbaugh talk down Donald Trump?);
  • NYT calls for minor, cosmetic military cuts ... hey, how about REAL cuts?

Saturday, July 25, 2015


I am not surprised that some government (or, for that matter, private sector -- but especially government) employees think they have "rights" to jobs (or, rather, continuing paychecks for jobs) that they refuse to do.

I am surprised that there are lawyers lining up to file suits claiming such rights.

This is not that complicated, people:

If your religious beliefs (or any other principles you hold) require you to refrain from doing X, do not apply for or accept a job that requires you to do X. If you're already in such a job when its conditions or your belief change, quit that job and go do something else.

If your religious beliefs forbid you to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, don't run for county clerk or apply for a job at the county clerk's office (or, in this case, do hand in your resignation when the job requirements change in ways that conflict with your religious beliefs).

If you oppose the death penalty, don't throw your name in the hat for that position as executioner at your state's penitentiary.

If you keep kashrut or halal, don't call up the HR department at HoneyBaked Ham to see if any taster positions are open.

If you're Amish, a career at Uber may not be for you.

"Freedom of religion" does not imply a guaranteed paycheck, from the taxpayers or anyone else.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Every once in awhile, I like to mention that everything I write at KN@PPSTER is in the public domain, and that you're free to reproduce/use it in any way you damn well please. I've been meaning to put out an update on the "free libertarian content" front for awhile, but I'm just now getting around to it. The bullet points:

  • Everything at KN@PPSTER is published under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication. That means you can do anything you want with it. Re-post it, quote it, turn it into lyrics for your artsy-fartsy experimental jug band, you name it. While I'd love it if you attributed it to me and maybe linked to KN@PPSTER, that's just a preference. Public domain is public domain.
  • Everything at The Garrison Center (except photos from off-site, which are marked with "intellectual property" info) is also published under the CC0 license, so the same goes for it. Three op-eds a week, intended mostly for non-libertarian political and "mainstream" media, but if you can think of anything you'd like to do with them, go for it.
  • And then there are the podcasts. Right now, I'm doing four per week most weeks. Yes, four. There's The KN@PP Stir, of course. That's just 15 minutes of AMA and me ranting. I record at Soundcloud, which doesn't include CC0 as one of the licensing options. I went with their least restrictive licensing option, "Attribution 3.0 Unported." Under that license, you are free to share, copy, redistribute, adapt, remix, transform, etc. for any purpose, including commercially, but you have to attribute it to me. I'm going to see about finding a way to tag it with the CC0 license so that you don't even have to attribute, and I wouldn't try to enforce attribution anyway, so feel at ease when re-using. The other three podcasts each week are recordings of my Garrison Center op-eds, and they are CC0. Feel free to copy them, embed them, edit them so that Shia LaBeouf can be heard yelling "JUST ... DO IT!" in the background, use them to "quote" me in your own podcast ... whatever. Just ... do it!
  • Oh, the book. I almost forgot the book. That's in the public domain, too. Enjoy.

Looks Like Biden's Running

From the New York Times last night:

Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.

What does that have to do with whether or not Joe Biden intends to run for president?

Well, the relationship between the Obamas and the Clintons has always been -- to put it mildly -- strained.

There are all kinds of reasons why. The Clintons resent the righteous ass-whipping Obama handed Hillary in the 2008 Democratic primaries. The Obamas resent the fact that the Clintons remained enough of a force in the Democratic Party that they had to give her pretty much whatever she wanted, which turned out to be her train wreck tenure as Secretary of State. And so on, and so forth.

So anyway, it's comeuppance time. Obama has no intention of letting Clinton follow him as president. He doesn't want his fingerprints to be too visible on her downfall, but neither does he want to wait and let the Republicans take credit for pushing him into appointing a special prosecutor (especially to the extent that they would tie the whole thing into the Benghazi attack).

He also wants to avoid a mud-wrestling match between Clinton and his preferred candidate, but to keep things moving fast so that there's no time for someone else to move into "front-runner" position after Clinton goes down and before that preferred candidate announces. Biden is reportedly planning an announcement soon. The time to get this over with is right about now.

Enter the executive branch. The State Department and the "intelligence community" are asking for a criminal investigation. Shortly, the Department of Justice will, more in sorrow than anger, announce that it's conducting that investigation.

By the time Biden announces, Clinton will either have exited the stage or obviously be in the process of doing so (depending on just how much public humiliation she is willing to suffer in an attempt to remain relevant).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Quick Explainer: Why Congress's Opinion on "the Iran Nuclear Deal" Doesn't Matter

The lower house of Congress, the US House of Representatives, doesn't get any say in treaties.

For a treaty to be ratified by the upper house, the US Senate, after which it has force of law equivalent to the US Constitution, it has to receive a 2/3 vote.

"The Iran nuclear deal" received that vote seventy years ago next week.

The US Senate ratified the United Nations Charter, which obligates its signatories to conform/comply with resolutions passed by the UN Security Council pursuant to Chapter 7 of said charter, on July 28, 1945.

A Chapter 7 UN Security Council resolution approving "the Iran nuclear deal" passed on Monday.

The end.

Quote of the Week: Cantwell on Planned Parenthood

Quoth Cantwell:

Planned Parenthood claims that federal funds are not used for abortions, that would be illegal, of course. They say only 3% of the services it provides are abortions, but roughly 92% of pregnant women who walk into Planned Parenthood end up having an abortion.

These explanations might as well read "We do not sell baby parts or use federal funds for abortions because unicorn, frisbee, hologram." By this I mean, it is complete nonsense. When 92% of the pregnant women who walk into your clinic get an abortion, you are an abortion clinic. When you accept payment in exchange for provision of goods and services, you are selling things. When the bulk of your funding comes out of the pockets of taxpayers, you are a government agency.

He also briefly recounts the organization's actual history and original purpose (which, on the statistical evidence, it continues to pursue with some successs) -- reducing, or at least holding down, the number of African-Americans as a percentage of US population.

I haven't followed the "selling baby parts" video scandal closely. I've noticed allegations that the videos were heavily edited to make Planned Parenthood personnel seem to say things they weren't actually saying. Since I don't care enough to investigate, I'm not really entitled to an opinion on that particular angle. Nor am I that interested in debating the issue of abortion per se.


The abortion industry IS an industry. It's a heavily government-subsidized industry.

Planned Parenthood poses as a "non-profit," but all that means is that it doesn't have stockholders who receive dividends. It's a billion dollar per year business (with half that money coming from taxpayer subsidies) with 820 local franchises. Its CEO knocks down half a million a year, and other Planned Parenthood executives and franchise managers earn $100-250k.

Planned Parenthood is a business.

More to the point, its operations fit the profile of the way "Big Business" uses government to pad and protect its profits.

I'm not just talking about that half-billion dollars per year in direct corporate welfare from Uncle Sugar, although that's obviously a big deal.

I'm also talking about its lobbying against "over the counter" contraception, which would let women bypass the Planned Parenthood doctor/prescription mill and cut down demand for its abortion services.

And its lobbying against treating abortion just like any other medical procedure (e.g. parental consent for minors, basic safety standards for clinics, etc.). And so on and so forth.

These people aren't philanthropists. They're rent-seeking, regulatory-capturing crony capitalists.

Thanks For Asking! -- 07/22/15

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

Ask (in comments), and it shall be answered (in the comment thread, on this weekend's podcast, or both).

Monday, July 20, 2015

In Which I Consider Supporting a Republican

A "libertarian-leaning Republican" friend of mine asked me the other day what it would take to get me to support US Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL -- 3rd District, where I happen to live) for re-election next year.

I am, for the most part, a yellow dog Libertarian -- I'd vote for a yellow dog before I'd vote for a Republican.

However, I am prepared to be reasonable in this case. My vote can be earned. All congressman Yoho has to do to get my vote is hook me up with an expensive escort and some top shelf liquor.

My terms, Yoho: Ho, and a bottle of rum.

This IS a Tasty Burger! But ...

There's a new eatery in Melville, South Africa. The food sounds a little ... fru-fru ... for my taste, but I admit the theme is interesting. The place is called "Pulp Fiction," so of course some of the dishes riff on that film. Here's my problem:

The burgers are real hunger busters and they offer a choice of the Royale with cheese, a 200g beef burger with chimichurri sauce and camembert, or the Bad Motherf***er, consisting of a 250g beef patty, homemade bacon jam, chilli relish, fresh avocado and blue cheese.

Emphasis mine.

If you're going to name a Pulp Fiction themed burger "Bad Motherf***er," it needs to be a burger that Jules Winnfield would eat. And Jules would not eat that burger:

Chickenhawks on Parade

They just keep turning up like bad pennies.

Ben Shapiro filed a police report targeting a trans woman after he went out of his way to be insulting to her and she suggested that he might want to cut back on that if he didn't plan to home in an ambulance. You may remember Shapiro as the UCLA/Harvard student columnist who was a leading cheerleader for the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, but who for some reason never seemed to be able to find his way to a recruiting office.

And former US Senator Saxby Chambliss -- who sat out Vietnam on student deferments then ran against Vietnam veteran and triple amputee Max Cleland as "weak" (i.e. not militaristic enough for Saxby's taste) -- called Edward Snowden, a genuine hero who does more for America on any given day than Chamblis has in his whole miserable life, to be publicly hanged.

I guess maybe I'm getting old and cranky, but the way I remember the past is that shitheads like these guys used to get dragged down the hall for swirlies in high school ... and later, seek work as janitors cleaning up the next generation of swirlie messes at said school.

These days, people actually seem to care what nimrods like Shapiro and Chambliss think about stuff.

It's like the Kardashians, minus any sex appeal. Boggles the mind.

You Can't Spell "Analysis" Without "Anal"

The traditional etymology of the word "analysis" is from the Greek analusis, meaning "a breaking up," where ana means "up, throughout" and lysis means "a loosening."

I prefer a construction in which "analysis" comes from anal (of the ass) and the ysis part correlates to kidney dialysis, in which bad stuff is removed from the body. So "analysis" would pretty much mean "talking out of one's ass."

This might seem surprising from someone whose working title at his last two institutions has been "senior news analyst," but it's really a load I've been wanting to ... er, get off my mind.

Over the years it's become trendy for newspapers and other magazines to differentiate between "opinion" and "analysis."

"Opinion" is someone saying what he thinks about Issue X.

"Analysis" is an "expert" or "authority" on Issue X, giving you the real scoop.

But most "analysts," myself included, are just opinionating like anyone else. We're not scientists in lab coats, pouring Issue X in and out of test tubes and faithfully recording outcomes. We're people telling you what we think and putting a rhetorical lab coat on our opinions to make them seem more authoritative.

That's not to say that one opinion is just as good as another, or that any given "analyst" is no better informed on Issue X than his or her audience.

When I write political op-eds for a general audience, I don't think I'm being haughty in assuming that I pay more attention to politics, and have done so for far longer, than the average newspaper reader, and that therefore my opinion is likely more informed and therefore of value to that reader.

But here at KN@PPSTER, I suspect it would be haughty to assume that I pay more attention to politics, and have done so for far longer, and therefore have a more informed opinion than you. If you're so absorbed in politics that you follow this blog, you're probably at least as qualified to act as an "analyst" as I am.

Just sayin' ...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 07/18/15

This week's podcast is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (space exploration, Austin Petersen's libertarian stereotyping, beer and podcast recommendations);
  • Riffing on the Austin Petersen/Libertarian Republic question, a rant about monetization of Internet content; and 
  • The wrap-up where I hit you up for support.
A number of sites and podcasts are mentioned in today's show. Links to a number of them can be found in the comment thread on this week's "Thanks For Asking!" post. But I might come back later on and put them here to make finding them easier for you ;-)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Here We Go Again With the "Terrorism" BS

Words mean things, and continuous/conspicuous misuse of words to mean something other than what they mean damages language and makes it more difficult to discern truth. Thus this periodic PSA. Per the Los Angeles Times:

A gunman opened fire on two military centers more than seven miles apart on Thursday, killing four Marines and wounding three other people in what authorities are investigating as a terrorist attack.

NO NO NO NO NO. I call bullshit. I call shenanigans. I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.

terrorism, n. the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear

Emphasis in the foregoing is mine.

An attack on military personnel and facilities is, by definition, NOT terrorism. That news lede is the equivalent of "a burglar broke into two homes more than seven miles apart on Thursday, stealing four televisions and breaking three windows in what authorities are investigating as driving under the influence and public urination."

And the thing about this that really drives me bugfuck is that the people who insist 24/7 that "this is WAR" and "we are at WAR with Islam" and "STFU about civil liberties because WAR" are the first ones to squat and pee all over their lace-embroidered pink skivvies and start wailing about "terrorism" when US military personnel and facilities get attacked.

What's even more embarrassing is that some of the people who do the wailing these days are Marines. Back when I was in the Corps, it was well understood that if it's war there are enemies, and that if there are enemies they can be expected to attack. Buy the ticket, take the ride. Whining about it like you got cheated at cards or someone stole your beer or something is, in two words, conduct unbecoming.

Calling this something it isn't doesn't make it any less tragic for those four Marines or their families. All it does is dishonor their memory and insult the intelligence of everyone else for a little cheap political mileage.

Scott Walker and "Government Dependence"

For reasons that really don't matter, I was listening to Scott Walker's presidential campaign announcement earlier today and I noticed a term I thought I'd heard from him before: "Government dependence." I ambled on over to Google and did a search on the terms "Scott Walker" and "government dependence." More than 5,000 results. "Government dependence" seems to be his bete noire.

Except, of course, he's the poster boy for it.

As a kid, he participated in the American Legion's "Boys Nation" where he says he caught "the political bug." In college, he participated in student government and ran for school president (he lost, after allegations of campaign rule irregularities).

Once he dropped out of college in 1990, he worked in the non-profit sector (for the Red Cross) for a little while, but seems to have mostly concentrated on getting himself on the government payroll. After losing an election for state representative in 1990, he moved to a friendlier district and managed to win a seat in 1993.

Ever since then, his ass has been cradled by a government chair, and his family has been fed by the taxpayers, continuously. State representative from 1993-2002. Milwaukee County Executive from 2002-2010. He ran for governor in 2006 and lost. Then he ran again in 2010 and won.

Teeth firmly clamped on the taxpayer teat for 22 years straight, and he's running for president on a platform of getting people off that teat. Color me skeptical.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ever Notice That Lew Rockwell ...

... always claims that anyone not in lockstep with his enthusiasm of the moment hates independence? For example, libertarians who aren't fans of Donald Trump (but I repeat myself). It's not a position he takes from libertarian principle, of course. I still remember when he and Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul cooked up the Peckerwood Populist strategy he seems to be hoping to run with Trump on at the moment (after running with Paul on, and before that running with Pat Buchanan on).

Thanks For Asking! -- 07/15/15

This week's Thanks For Asking thread (and the podcast to follow) is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

And a one, and a two, and a three, and a four:

  • You ask me anything you want to ask me, in the comment thread to this post;
  • I answer, in the comment thread, on this weekend's podcast, or both.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Finally, I Agree with Donald Trump on an Important Issue

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Politicians Who Scare Me ...

... are the ones I believe.

It doesn't bother me when politicians lie about what they intend to do and end up outing themselves as venal chiselers who were just saying whatever crazy shit they needed to say to get elected so that they could finish out their careers giving speeches for six figures a pop or as richly compensated lobbyists or whatever. And that's how 99% of politicians end up going, regardless of how idealistic they may have seemed early on.

But every once in awhile you get a peek into the mind of a reasonably successful politician who's clearly stark-raving nuts. For example, Rudy Giuliani:

Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

Your run-of-the-mill grifter would never say anything like that. It's pretty much the equivalent of masturbating on a street corner or jumping up on the counter at a deli and taking a dump in front of horrified fellow customers.

So when Rudy Giuliani says it, we can be reasonably certain that yes, he really does think that "freedom" means "do whatever Rudy says." And from that we can infer that it would be incredibly dangerous to ever let him anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, even if New Yorkers were crazy enough to elect and re-elect him as mayor.

Some people seem to think that when Donald Trump says something similarly insane, he doesn't really mean it. He's just playing to a particular crowd, they say. No one could be that fvcking stupid and that fvcking rich.

I disagree. I think The Donald really does mean what he says. So if voting, especially in the GOP presidential primaries, is your bag, I encourage you to listen closely to what he's saying, assume he means it, and act accordingly.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 07/11/15

This week's podcast (like every episode in 2015) is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Michael S. Rozeff, Lew Rockwell and Alexander Hamilton, Oh My!);
  • Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren say they want to lower my cable bill, but I'm skeptical;
  • The Miscellaneous Stuff.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Recommendation: Unseen

Disclaimer #1: This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase a premium account at Unseen using those links, I will receive a commission on your purchase (and you will receive a 10% discount!). Other than the prospective commissions, I have received no payment or gratuity for promoting Unseen.

Disclaimer #2: I am NOT an Internet security or cryptography expert, and I do understand that there are potential security compromises involved in using web-based email. I will mention some of those possible compromises in this post, but the bottom line is caveat emptor and do your own risk assessments.

So, disclaimers out of the way, I do like Unseen. It's a web-based (but also with downloadable apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS) "secure" email, chat and voice calling service based in Iceland. There's a free version and a reasonably priced premium version with extra storage and other goodies. If I earn any commissions by referring KN@PPSTER readers there, I'll spend them on upgrading to premium myself.

I haven't used the chat or voice calling functions of the service, because I seldom use chat or voice calling services of any kind. According to the FAQ, Unseen uses the xAES algorithm for chat with NTRU for key exchange, and TLS 2048 for audio and video calling.

The web mail is reasonably user-friendly and includes openPGP key generation and management online. You can encrypt and send mail. You can receive and decrypt mail. So far I haven't been able to find a way to digitally sign plaintext mail using openPGP on Unseen, but remember that I am using the web interface. The downloadable apps may have that feature.

Obvious security concern: Your keys are stored on Unseen's server, so you're trusting them to keep them secure. Can you trust that security? There's no way to know. If I wasn't running an entirely web-based OS (ChromeOS), I'd keep my keys on an encrypted thumb drive hidden somewhere convenient but non-obvious when they weren't in actual use. But since I am on a Chromebox/Chromebook, that's a compromise I have to put up with.

One up side, and a promise I consider bankable, is that Unseen is domiciled in and operates its servers from Iceland, honors only Icelandic court orders for turning over data (Iceland is known for having good Internet freedom and privacy protection standards), and deletes all of its logs on a fortnightly basis. So to the extent that you don't want e.g. the FBI just demanding your data and getting it without a fight (and without you even knowing!), Unseen seems like a good bet.

Check it out. If it seems to fit your needs, as it very well may, give it a try. If it fits your needs well enough that you want more of what it offers, upgrade to the premium version. Thanks in advance for any commissions you send my way!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Are we in the Middle of a Ginormous Cyber Attack?

United Airlines went down hard this morning, with flights grounded nation-wide due to a "router problem."

Now the New York Stock Exchange has been down hard for hours over a "technical issue" (they're saying, at the moment, that it's not a cyber attack, but I can think of reasons why they would say that even if it wasn't true).

Both of these things, by the way, the day after Julius "zeekill" Kivimaki was convicted on 50,700 hacking charges, including Lizard Squad's assaults on the Playstation Network, Xbox Live and Tor. Coincidence?

Update: Turns out the Wall Street Journal was also knocked offline. "Homeland Security" bureaurat Jeh Johnson says "It appears from what we know at this stage that the malfunctions at United and at the stock exchange were not the result of any nefarious actor." Which, if the usual DC measure of honesty and competence obtains, means the malfunctions at United and the stock exchange were almost certainly the result of a nefarious actor.

Update, early Thursday morning: So now I hear that Anonymous sent out a tweet to the effect of "it would be a shame if anything bad happened on Wall Street today" -- at midnight before the NYSE went down. I'd say that pretty much confirms my suspicions. I say "I hear" because I'm hearing it on Wednesday night's episode of Free Talk Live. So if you're interested, why not give it a listen? If you're not a fan of FTL already, you should be.

I Support Sanctuary Cities

Mood music, for those so inclined:

Yes, I do support "sanctuary cities." And not just because I consider "borders" to be no different in principle than any other street gang turf lines. Even if you're an idiot you support immigration regulations and restrictions, you should support sanctuary cities as a practical matter.
All a "sanctuary city" really is is a city government telling the federal government "it's not our fvcking job to enforce your laws for you. No, we're not going to spend our citizens' hard-earned money questioning people about their 'federal immigration status' for you. No, we're not going to use our jail budget warehousing anyone you might happen to want to talk to about their 'federal immigration status.' If you want that done, do it yourself. But not here. See that sign -- No dogs or jackbooted thugs? This means you."
"Sanctuary cities" are, in a word, federalism in action.
OK, so an "illegal immigrant" (actually, there's no such thing -- the US Constitution strictly forbids the federal government to regulate immigration) killed a woman in San Francisco, and suddenly the usual suspects have all got their panties in a nativist wad and want bigger, more powerful, more centralized government
Horseapples. If the usual suspects didn't have their panties in a wad and want bigger, more powerful, more centralized government over "sanctuary cities," they'd have their panties in a wad and want bigger, more powerful, more centralized government over something else.

Statists gonna state.

UPDATE: dL notes in comments that US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) threw in immediately with the big-government side of this non-issue, instead of dragging us all through his usual five day "I'm kinda sorta maybe a little bit like a libertarian on this ... but ... what was that, you said you'd vote for me if I dress in an SS uniform and fellate a Great Dane in public? ... woo-hoo! Let's find a costume shop and a damn dog!" routine.


On the one hand, my life has become much easier since I switched from visiting 80-100 web sites every day (for RRND) to plugging all those sites into an RSS feed reader. All the sites I cover show up in a list on the left side of the screen. I can see what sites have new material, and by selecting any site I can see what the new material is and decide whether or not it's interesting before opening it up to read, excerpt and link.

On the other hand, my life has become much harder over the last couple of months as my RSS reader of choice, Inoreader, has become slower and slower. I don't know what the problem is, but the site itself churns a lot while trying to bring up material, and also seems to slow everything else running on my machine. Which sucks, because I really like the way Inoreader is set up.

I'm test driving three other readers at the moment so that I have a replacement ready and waiting if I need to make a jump.

Awhile back, on a post I barely recall, a commenter recommended The Old Reader. Two others I've come across and finally decided to try out are Feedly and Digg Reader.

All of them do the same thing, of course: They keep track of "my" site feeds (I exported them as an OPML file from Inoreader and imported them at each new reader site), show me what's new, etc.

But I'm sure differences will show up (one thing I've noticed is that it's highly variable, between both sites and readers, as to how long it takes for material to show up in my feed reader after it's posted at a site).

Anyone got other suggestions for browser-based RSS readers to try out? At the moment, I feel like Inoreader is costing me an extra half hour or more per day waiting on stuff to happen. I won't be putting up with that for long.

Thanks For Asking! -- 07/08/15

This week's "ask me anything" thread (and the podcast to follow) is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

The rules, as usual:

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

Saturday, July 04, 2015

No Podcast Today ...

If there HAD been one, it would have been brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

But a confluence of circumstances came about which resulted in me not doing one, including but not limited to:

  • It's a holiday -- I spent about seven hours smoking ribs, and then there were evening fireworks to mess with; and
  • In between all that, I was mowing; and
  • In between all that, I was feeling pretty crappy (my left "frozen shoulder" is almost but not quite gone; on the right, it seems to be at its worst point, even though I started the exercises I learned in physical therapy for the left one as soon as the right one started revealing itself); and
  • As you may recall, even though I generally do a podcast every week, I'm only committed to one per month, so I didn't feel too bad about taking this week off; and
  • Finally, I'm working on getting into the right headspace for tomorrow night's concert: Supposedly the last concert the Grateful Dead will ever perform. A pay-per-view purchase of that is Tamara's "gettin' over the cancer" present to herself. Of course, she's been to real live Grateful Dead shows before. I never have. This is the closest I'll ever get to seeing one live.
I just might rear back and pass a mid-week bonus podcast. If not, this week's "Thanks For Asking!" stuff will be answered on next week's podcast.

Hope you're all having a great weekend. Of course, I'm not big on celebrating the US government these days, but I do like fireworks and barbecue, regardless of the excuses for either.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Whatever Happened To ...

... "Full service" gas stations?

Yes, I know, "self service" became all the rage in the 1980s. Circa 1984-85, as a high school student, I worked at a station that offered both options. Full service cost a penny or two more than self service.

Full service: Bell rings when a car pulls in (running over an air hose that pings the bell). Attendant runs out, takes the gas order ("fill'er up, regular;" "five bucks, unleaded"), washes the windshield, offers to check the oil, checks tire pressure if the customer asks for it.

Self service: Car pulls up, customer pumps gas (and washes his own windshield/checks his own oil if he wants).

Now here's the thing:

In the 1980s, when most gas stations were still JUST gas stations (and maybe a car repair shop attached), "self service" made a lot of sense for the owner. He didn't have to pay as many people to handle customers buying gas.

But these days, most gas stations are also convenience stores. When you have a customer pull up, pay at the pump by swiping a debit card, pump his own gas and then drive away without ever entering the store, you're losing those addition "impulse sales."

I'm also betting that you could do a pretty good full service business charging 5-10 cents more per gallon for that extra service. Supposing the average is 10 gallons per customer, that's an extra 50 cents to a dollar per car. At 10-20 cars per hour, the pump jockey would pretty much pay for himself even before the customer decides to wander in and buy a soda, candy bar, pack of smokes, etc. while his gas is being pumped.

I'm not rich, but I think I might pay 50 cents to a buck extra per fill-up for full service, at least occasionally (for example, when I'm dressed up for church or some fancy occasion and would rather not risk getting splashed with gasoline).

I see drivers pumping their own gas into $60,000 cars over on the nice side of town. Those are people I'd expect to happily pop an extra buck for a windshield wash and the convenience of having someone else do some minor dirty work for them.

I hear a couple of states (New Jersey and maybe Oregon?) prohibit self service by law, which of course I don't support.

What am I missing that makes full service a market niche nobody's interested in filling?

Thursday, July 02, 2015

You Keep Using That Word, "Federalism." I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

I keep seeing objections -- allegedly libertarian in character -- to the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that rely on an appeal to "federalism." Here's one that throws the error of those objection into such stark relief that I'm going to use it as my example. It's from a piece by Gary Kittilsen at Voices of Liberty:

The word marriage is never mentioned in the Constitution, not one time. I put the entire Constitution in an Excel sheet and did a lookup for the word marriage, and it's not in there, which according to the 10th Amendment makes this a states issues. This is why you get a state issued marriage license.

The problem with jackleg "federalism" reduced to the pernicious doctrine of "states rights" is that it leaves a couple of things out. Here's the part of the 10th Amendment that Kittilsen notices:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively ...

And here's the part he leaves out:

... or to the people.

He also leaves out the entire 9th Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Federalism is not a uni-directional doctrine with two parties. It is a multi-directional doctrine with three parties (United States, states, people). And when any one of those parties steps on the toes of one of the other parties' prerogatives, the offended party is fully justified in kicking the offending party right in the shins, and invoking the third party's assistance in doing so.

The right to marry is clearly an unenumerated right "retained by the people." Marriage -- including same-sex marriage -- has been around since long before state "licensing," long before the Constitution, long before the state as we know it.

In the United States circa 1790, if you wanted to get married, you might go about it in several ways ranging from formal (consulting your church to get its blessing and have your marriage entered in its records) to casual (moving in together, commingling your property, and "holding yourself out as married" to the community around you). Asking for the government's permission was not one of those ways, and suggesting that it should be would likely have involved you in tar, feathers and so forth.

It wasn't until the 1830s that the states began unconstitutionally seizing the power to "license" marriages -- initially to stop whites and blacks from marrying each other, but incidentally embedding the dominant religious doctrine of the time (heterosexual marriage only) in its licensing schemes as well. That nonsense has been going on for 180-odd years now. It was wrong when it started and it's never stopped being wrong. It's just that one bad bit of it has only just now finally worked its way through the courts.

The proper SCOTUS ruling would have been to void all state "marriage license" schemes, as they are clear violations of federalism insofar as they unconstitutionally seize on behalf of one party (the state) as a power something which belongs to another (the people) as a right.

Barring doing the right thing, it wasn't that unreasonable for SCOTUS to at least rein in the states' illegitimate seizure of power and tell them that they don't get to wield their ill-gotten power prejudicially against one particular segment of the people (same-sex couples).

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Periodic Notice to Government Creditors

Apropos of the Greek and Puerto Rico situations ...

Suppose I come to you for a loan, and when you ask about my income source I tell you that I am a mugger, embezzler and extortionist by trade, and that I intend to pay you back with revenues from future muggings, embezzlement schemes and extortion rackets. Would you loan me money? I don't think so. At least I hope not.

The only difference between that situation and "investing in government securities" is that in the latter case you're dealing with a criminal gang rather than an individual criminal.

If you loan money to politicians based on their promises to pay you back by stealing more from their victims in the future, you deserve to lose your money, and I hope you do. I don't owe you squat.

Thanks For Asking! -- 07/01/15

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

By the book:

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