Monday, October 31, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 102: But It's Got Big Teeth ...

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Buchanan v. Trump; Johnson/Weld 5%?);
  • Me vs. Jason Stapleton on government funding for Libertarian presidential candidates -- listen to his view first at 28 minutes, 30 seconds into the podcast here);
  • Hey, one of my Garrison columns made USA Today!

On the Next KN@PP Stir Podcast ...

... which I intend to record and release tonight or tomorrow, I'll be talking about today's episode of The Jason Stapleton Program, which I've embedded below.

About 28 minutes and 30 seconds in, Jason starts talking about whether or not the Libertarian Party's 2020 presidential ticket should accept the federal funding that will be available to them if Gary Johnson and Bill Weld break 5% of the national popular vote next Tuesday. He even mentions that some people are behind a proposal that I'm fairly sure I was the first one to make -- a bylaws amendment making eligibility for the presidential nomination contingent on a legally binding and legally enforceable agreement not to accept that funding.

Note #1: It seems like every time I mention Jason's program, I'm talking about something I disagree with him on. I should probably mention that he puts out a great show every day, five days a week. Great production values. Great show prep. Great voice. Comfortable speaking style. The reason I mention stuff I disagree with him on is because that's the stuff I want to talk about. Where I agree with him, why would I want to talk about it myself? I can just point you at his talk, right? So ...

Note #2: I gave you the time hack for listening to the portion of the show I plan to respond to. But if I were you I would just start at the beginning of the show and listen to the whole thing. And then do that again tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that and so on.

Feeling Sorry for James Comey

That's just not something my temperament leans toward, and given his generalship in the state's war on encryption, I doubt I have to explain why.

On the other hand, it's hard not to feel for him in the current controversy over the whining from Hillary Clinton's surrogates that he should have continued to cover Clinton's ass for just a little while longer on the Servergate scandal.

I stay away from "here's what we know" claims, because really they are "here's what we'd like to think we know but really may not" claims. So here's what I think we kinda sorta know that may or may not be entirely accurate.

According to CNN, "[b]y mid-October, Comey learned investigators in the [Anthony Weiner sexting] case might have found something that could have an impact on the now-closed probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server, according to one law enforcement official."

Also according to CNN, Comey received a full briefing as to what that something was on Thursday, "triggering his decision to notify members of Congress Friday that the FBI was reviewing emails potentially related to Clinton's server."

A couple of things to keep in mind here:

  • From the Clinton campaign's perspective, there was no "good time" for this information to come out. If it had come out two weeks ago, or two months ago, or two years ago, the Clinton camp would have claimed that it was just a political attempt to derail her presidential aspirations. If it hadn't come out until three weeks from now, they would have claimed it was just a political attempt to derail her presidency. The Clinton campaign's attitude is that Hillary Clinton is entitled to do anything Hillary Clinton wants to do because she is Hillary Clinton, and that anyone who even hints to the contrary is just part of a vast right-wing conspiracy to make The Greatest Human Being in History look bad. So Comey was going to be in trouble from that side if he even feinted in the general direction of doing his job, and no matter when said feint might take place.
  • From the perspective of congressional Republicans, the timing probably isn't TOO bad. On the other hand, it could have been better in several ways. Comey could have recommended indictment/prosecution of Clinton back in July when the evidence clearly called for doing so. Or he could have waited until after the election to reveal this latest so that its effect would be felt more in potential impeachment proceedings instead of election results (personally I think the GOP would be a lot happier with Clinton's head on an impeachment platter than with beating her at the polls, especially if they have to beat her with Donald Trump). But given how things are playing out, you know that if Comey had waited the Republicans would have accused him of playing politics even as they loved it.
So he's just not going to have a good couple of weeks, is he?

He was never going to, but the Clinton camp should be grateful that they got this much grace time.

The only reason Hillary Clinton is on the hustings instead of in the hoosegow right now is that she's Hillary Clinton. Any mere mortal who did what she did vis a vis the security of classified information would have been charged a long time ago, well before Comey gave his "well, we would charge her, but she's Hillary Clinton" press conference in July.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Podcast Delay Note

I've spent most of the day today on the road and am worn out -- it will be at least tomorrow before you see a new episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast. Sorry about the delay!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Word PSA

A lamb is a young sheep.

To go on the lam is to run away from impending capture by e.g. law enforcement.

Ewe really need to remember that.

Went Ahead and Felt the Johnson (Scofflaw Goodness Included)

I really was considering writing in Darryl W. Perry (for whom votes unfortunately wouldn't be counted in Florida) or Zoltan Istvan (who has a cool name and some cool ideas, but who isn't a libertarian) right up to the minute I walked into the voting booth. But I decided sticking with my party was the most reasonable thing to do. Yeah, I'm a hack that way a lot of the time.

Of course I voted for Paul Stanton for Senate.

There weren't any other Libertarian candidates on my ballot, and I don't vote Republican (and especially not for Keith Perry, who must have killed at least 50 trees to put all that crap in my mailbox) or in favor of retention of judges. So I did vote for some Democrats.

Why not just leave those races blank? Because I am phobic. In theory, I could have left them blank and the votes I did cast would be counted. But I'm always afraid that it would instead be treated as a spoiled ballot, especially in a recount situation. So I go lesser evil and vote my whole ballot.

I also wanted to get some civil disobedience in. "Ballot selfies" are illegal in Florida and the state has actually been warning on TV, etc. against taking them. But they are clearly constitutionally protected speech, as federal courts have already recognized in several states by way of suppressing ballot selfie bans.

If anyone wants a test case here in Florida, well, here you go.

I took this photo in my voting booth at the Tower Road branch of the Alachua County library system at 10:07am this morning.

I've posted it to Facebook and I've tweeted it at Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi; I guess not pursuing it would make her an accessory after the fact, wouldn't it?

Authoritahs: Just let me know I'm being charged and I'll come in and surrender myself. But let me warn you in advance that doing that will be both expensive and painful, and that it will produce the opposite of your intended outcome.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Word PSA

I've covered proper use of the apostrophe before in greater detail elsewhere, but this is just a short-form WORD PSA. Which, in the format I'm establishing over time, consists of comparing two similar words with different meanings for the purpose of assisting readers in getting it right when they write. So:

It's is a contraction -- a way of reducing the two words "it is" to one word, e.g. "It's a nice day."

Its is possessive, indicating that "it" owns something, e.g. "I walked up to the dog and took its bone away from it."


Culture Isn't Property. Copying Isn't Stealing.

That's the most concise response I can come up with to claims of "cultural appropriation." I'll probably come up with a far more elaborate response at some point. But for more right now, I suggest listening to the first bit (or better yet, all) of last night's episode of Free Talk Live. Here, I'll make it easy for you:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 10/26/16

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

The rules:

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

I like giving things away. It seems like a good advertising/promotion strategy.

Of course, it may take time for word to get around. So let me prime the pump a bit.

More than a week ago, I put up an Amazon giveaway of five copies of David Hathaway's Immigration: Individual vs. National borders. as "door prizes" for the 100th episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast. To date, only three of the five have been claimed. Want one free? Be one of the next two people to click here. Too late? Sorry, but hey, it's only 95 cents and well worth it.

Over at Rational Review News Digest, I gave away one copy of James Harris's fun new book, The Occult Hillary Clinton. That giveaway went up yesterday morning and I had to run it a second day for someone to win even though daily circulation of the newsletter (between web, email, Facebook, Twitter  and Liberty International "Freedom News Daily" rebrand editions) is well into the mid-four-figures. Partly my fault -- I hid the giveaway down in the material instead of prominently featuring it on the first day, to see how long it would take to claim; it went up top this morning. I'm not giving any more copies away at the moment, but once again, the book is inexpensive and, in my opinion, worth the price (I bought a copy for myself in addition to giving one away).

I'll probably start doing giveaways on a fairly regular basis on the podcast. If you'd like to sponsor one, hit the contact form and let's talk. My angle on this isn't making money directly from you as an advertiser (at least for the moment). It's attracting more listeners to the show. So (again, at least for the moment) your cost would consist solely of paying for whatever it is you're giving away.

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming ...

... for Hillary Clinton. From the latest installment in the Wikileaks Podesta emails dump, we learn:

  • That Huma Abedin and other staff were, at least as of the time of the early Democratic primary debates, worried that Clinton's ongoing problem with brain damage would make it hard for her to handle the questions;
  • That Clinton's staff were worried that US president Barack Obama would get caught in his lie about Clinton's illegal private email server (he claimed to have only learned about it at the same time as the public, when he had actually been exchanging emails with her over it long before); and
  • More about Clinton's solicitation of a $12 million bribe from the king of Morocco (laundered through the Clinton Foundation) in exchange for a visit from the Secretary of State (Clinton didn't stay completely bribed; the king got his visit from Bill instead of from Hill).
But pay no attention to the actual content of the emails. The only thing you're supposed to care about is Clinton's breathless (and thus far evidenceless) claims that !!!THEM DASTARDLY RUSSIANS!!! are the the ones who keep outing her as the pathological liar and career criminal she is.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

New Ways to Support KN@PPSTER ...

Over in the sidebar, I've added two new ways for my adoring fans to express their abiding love, but I should call attention to them because they aren't going to call attention to themselves:

  1. Sending me something from my Amazon Wish List -- I've got some cool stuff for improving the podcast on there (thanks to Michael W. Dean of Freedom Feens Radio for new microphone advice!) as well as just, well, cool stuff that's just cool to me and benefits you not at all with e.g. improved podcast quality. And then there's ...
  2. Yet another cryptocurrency -- Monero. Coming soon if I can figure out how to do a wallet, BipCoin. But for now, Monero will have to do. The address ...  431X2pPS4z7SJwAkAWpB7VLGnJZ4RCvx3KuwdWQ6PDFSZ4t2ryBfJk5WbwaVe4vUMveKAzAiA4j8xgUi29TpKXpm3z9YUbU (here's the QR code if you prefer to do it that way):

Monday, October 24, 2016

Action Item: Please be a Market Force Against Fraud

I noticed and blogged about this scam -- I call it "listing pollution" -- a few months ago. Now I'm trying to do something about it with a petition. I'd much appreciate your signature on that petition.

Note: No, the petition does not ask any government to do anything about the problem. This is something the market can easily handle in the form of feedback to eBay letting them know it's costing them sales.

And it is costing them sales. At least three times in as many months I have gone looking for something at eBay and ended up buying elsewhere (Amazon or brick and mortar) because this phenomenon makes it incredibly hard to find the best price on what I'm looking for. When I need something low-end -- something that costs maybe $5 or $10 if I pick it up at the store here in the US -- that I'm not in a hurry to get, I hit eBay because there's a good chance I can find it for a fraction of the price, shipping included, from some outfit in China. Or rather there was a good chance. These days it's difficult to do that because of so many "99 cents ... oh, wait, we were lying, it's actually $15" listings.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, episode 101

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Vito wants to know where I came from; Darryl wants to know what I think about Julian Assange, a Peace Prize and something Nick Sarwark said; Trolled Much?; Joel wants to know what I think about Disney);
  • Do it to Julian? They better not have!

Strangest Event of my Weekend

I spent yesterday at the Gainesville Pride festival doing several things -- my church had a booth, as did "a community group for Transgender or Gender non-conforming individuals, or family/friends of such people who would like to be supportive in their loved ones' journeys" that Amelia and Tamara helped found and are active with, and then I ran across Russ Wood staffing a Libertarian Party booth all by his lonesome and spent a couple of hours helping out with that (yes, you read it here first -- I campaigned for Johnson/Weld after all).

So anyway, at some point I was standing around eating after visiting one of the food tents and I saw a woman who looked familiar. I was sure it couldn't possibly be her; for one thing, she actually looked younger in person than on television or in photographs ... but several people stopped her and got their pictures taken with her, so maybe it was.

So I finished my food and waited until she walked past, and asked "excuse me, ma'am, are you ...?"

She is.

So now I've met the first person whose full name pops up when I type the word "Debbie" into Bing. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone before whose first name makes her a top search result.

Friday, October 21, 2016

App Review: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock

I don't buy a lot of apps for my Android phone. In fact, the only money I spend on apps comes from Google Opinion Rewards (a "free" app which adds money to your Google Play account in return for filling out surveys -- in other words, for making myself a more marketable product for Google to sell to advertisers). I've so far spent the princely sum of $2.98 on Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock -- 99 cents for the app itself and $1.99 for a one-year subscription to the related web-based service SleepSecure, which maintains more statistics than the basic app (even though SleepSecure is web-based, it's purchased through Google Play as an "in-app purchase").

Damned if I'm going to spend three bucks on something and not get a blog post out of it. I'm happy to report that this is a positive review (and not an affiliate commission kind of thing -- they're not paying me, I paid them). There's a lot to be said for this app (which you Apple lovers will be happy to know is also available for iOS -- here's the company web site so you can pick your poison). The app really has three features, one of them so far as I can tell completely unmentioned in the developer's promotional language but very important to me personally.

Feature Number 1: It tracks sleep cycles and rates your sleep quality.

How does it do this? Through your phone's accelerometer. That's the gizmo that detects the device's orientation and is also sensitive to motion (other apps use it to let a phone act as a pedometer and so forth). The iPhone version of the app, but not the Android version (yet) can optionally use the microphone instead of the accelerometer. People to tend to move more or less frequently and more or less actively depending on how deeply they're sleeping. You place the phone near your head (under the bed sheet but NOT under a pillow or anything else that would substantially hold in heat that builds up) before going to bed (there's a test mechanism you can invoke to make sure it is detecting motion; if not, place it differently). After each sleep the app produces a graph showing your state of wakefulness/sleep over the duration of the sleep. The optional SleepSecure subscription keeps stats for longer and offers more analysis of the data the app gathers. No,  I can't speak to how accurate or scientific all that is. But anecdotally, when I do remember waking up during the night, the app does seem to reflect that fact and the timeframe correctly in its overnight graph. And it also seems to reflect, in its "sleep quality" report, whether I got a good night's sleep or a crappy night's sleep.

Feature Number 2: It's an alarm clock. Belay that -- it's a GREAT alarm clock.

Instead of just telling Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock what time to wake you up, you can choose a range of time in which to wake up leading up to the final time. For example, I get up by 4:30am each day, and I have the range set to any time in the 30 minutes prior. The app looks at my sleep state and picks a time within that range when it judges me closest to wakefulness already, so that it's not startling me to groggy wakefulness from deep sleep if it's possible to avoid doing so.

It starts off with a gentle, user-chosen tone and gets louder over time. If I want to "snooze" I just touch the phone instead of having to hunt for a button -- and there's a setting for set snooze time or "smart snooze." In the latter mode (which is the one I use) it tries to figure out the NEXT optimum time, within a reasonable range, to start trying to wake me. From my viewpoint, this feature alone is worth the cost of the app. My previous alarm clock was my "digital assistant" beeping at me and urgently telling me to "wake up!" Annoying, even though I chose that assistant's usually pleasant female voice. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is much less discombobulating.

Feature Number 3: This is the undocumented one. The app makes sure I don't forget to charge my phone overnight.

Maybe it's because I'm just still not used to being a smart phone user yet, but I've had a bad habit of going to bed and waking up the next morning to find that my phone is nearly drained because I didn't think to put it on the charger overnight after a full day of (to one degree or another use). Which means that if I need to use the phone for anything, especially if that means taking it somewhere with me, I have to plug it in and wait.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock may work without the phone being plugged in to the charger. I don't know because I haven't tried it that way. The instructions say to connect it to the charger before going to bed. So I moved the charger to the outlet behind my bed. When I set my alarm clock, I am also charging my phone as a side effect. Each morning I wake up with a fully charged phone. Once again, that's an effect that's well worth the 99 cent app price to me.

A sort of sub-feature that's in between the cycle detector and the alarm clock functions: The user can use a "sleep aid sound" -- 13 options ranging from ocean waves to rain to wind to white noise, I use "medium wind" -- as a lullaby. The sound can be set to fade out "intelligently" (that is, when the app decides you're asleep), or to run for a certain amount of time, or even all night. Pretty sweet in my opinion.

If you want to use your smart phone as your alarm clock (that seems like a reasonable thing to do -- why have a separate device?), and if you want an app to analyze your sleep so that you can experiment with ways to routinely get a better night, and if you want to never worry about forgetting to charge your phone overnight again, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is 99 cents (or $2.98 with the useful add-on) well spent.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why @WalMart Should Expedite Site-to-Store Shipping on Order #5651664374344

Because I'm just a wee bit miffed and it would make me very happy, that's why.

When last I wrote on the continuing saga of the $80 bike, the sequence had been the following:

1) I ordered the bike at

2) I contacted the store to find out what I had to do to have it assembled at the store; I was told that that request had to be made at the time of pickup, which of course would inevitably add one or more days to the process.

3) Tamara stopped by to make that request when we received notice the bike had arrived. She was told there would be a phone call when the bike was assembled. Several days later, I finally called the store to find out when it would be done. Oh! It's been assembled for a while now, didn't anyone call you?

4) Waited at the site-to-store desk for close to half an hour for someone to get there with a key so I could FINALLY get the bike. With nearly flat tires. Guy assured me that they couldn't be aired up any more or they would explode. When I got them to a nearby gas station air pump, the front tire had 14 pounds of air and the rear tire had 24. They were rated for 50. By this time it was dark and I had to stop at a dollar store to find lights so I could ride the bike home.

Interlude: Nice bike. Love this bike. Really nice bike. Lots of bike for $80. Huzzah.

Back to business:

5) Bike starts displaying defect after less than 100 miles -- left crank arm keeps loosening.

6) I call to invoke the extended protection plan I bought (if I even need that -- I've had the bike for a couple of weeks). I'm told to return the bike directly to the store for repair.

7) I return the bike directly to the store for repair. I'm told they'll call in a couple of days when it's fixed. After a couple of days, I do call. No word. The next day I am in Wal-Mart anyway so I stop at the service desk to ask about it. No word.

8) SIX DAYS after I dropped the bike off, Wal-Mart finally calls. Not to tell me the bike is fixed. To tell me they can't fix it.

9) So today I go in to get things straight. The easiest way through this is just to refund my money, which gets done after about half an hour of people trying to figure out what to do (my impression was that this was not their fault -- it's a new Wal-Mart with lots of new people and they just don't have their interdepartmental communications shit together yet).

10) I come home with the Wal-Mart gift card representing the refund and re-order the same bike and the same extended protection plan.

And according to it's going to take two weeks for the bike to get to the store. After which, if things go as they've been going, another 2-5 days to get it assembled.

I don't want to wait 2-3 weeks for a bike I have now bought twice. Just sayin', I'm not getting any younger here ...

A Conventional Notion I Disagree With

My Tuesday Garrison Center column was about the whole "how dangerous it is to claim the election is rigged" controversy (mainly by way of pointing out that Trump isn't the only one making that claim -- the Clinton campaign is preemptively setting up an "it was !Them Russians! what !STOLE! the election" argument -- and that it's hardly a new or novel claim anyway).

Now Trump has given the conventional wisdom something to double down on the whole idea with. Example, from Peter Beinart at The Atlantic:

At times during tonight's debate, Donald Trump seemed controlled, succinct, even prepared.

It didn't matter. In an instant, he lost the debate and blew his chance of using it to turn around his sinking campaign.

That instant came when Trump refused to say he would respect the outcome of next month's vote.

Beinart offers all kinds of reasons why that answer, especially if it becomes "the new normal," would be devastating to the system of rule commonly referred to as "American democracy." Then he claims again:

The good news is that Trump's answer will devastate him politically -- perhaps even more than the groping scandals. It will devastate him because the minute the debate ends, journalists will begin asking every Republican they can find whether they agree that he doesn't need to concede defeat. And many of those Republicans -- including the ones on Trump's own campaign -- will feed him to the wolves.

If I had a nickel for every time Republicans tried to feed Trump to the wolves and it turned out that he was just too tough to bleed from the bites, I'd have quite a few nickels.

My opinion:

Trump's base is composed of people who have believed for a long time that the whole game is rigged by e.g. "the liberal media," and who are glad to hear Trump saying out loud on a real stage what they've been thinking and muttering among themselves for years, and who will not only not abandon him but are even more likely to get off their asses and go vote in November because they heard him say it last night. They want a candidate who will refuse to concede a defeat they don't believe he can legitimately suffer.

I will be reconsidering my presidential election prediction (that Trump will carry every state Mitt Romney carried in 2012, plus Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida) and modifying or confirming that prediction some time between now and Election Day. Part of my model is this: I predict Trump to win pretty much any and every state where he is polling within 5 points of Clinton when I finalize my prediction. His voters are more motivated to actually turn out, but many of them are less motivated to admit, even to pollsters, that he's their guy.

Reader Cross-Check: Real Tracking or Just Promotional Flash?

I occasionally get emails with subject lines like this one this morning from a group called, aka the Progressive Turnout Project:

Asking you to represent 32608 [Survey ID: #182390]

My ZIP code is in fact correct in the message. But I'm wondering if that Survey ID number really is an individual tracking number or if it's just something thrown in there to make the "survey" (which is actually just clickbait based on the final "debate" to get me to donate in putative support of a Clinton victory) look authentically personalized.

Did you receive that email this morning? If so, what was the Survey ID number? Please share in comments. If we all have the same Survey ID number, we'll know that part is just promo flash BS. If don't, then the question remains: Real personalized Survey ID number, or a script generating numbers at random?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I am Reconsidering my Vote for President

Madonna makes a very compelling case for Clinton.

Word PSA

Then is an adverb "referring to a time specified, either past or future."

Than is a conjunction "used after certain adjectives and adverbs which express comparison or diversity, as more, better, other, otherwise, and the like."

My dilemma:

On the one hand, I am a libertarian. My guiding interpersonal ethical principle is "don't initiate force."

On the other hand, when I come across someone using the former term in a sentence calling for the latter term, the urge to go buy an acetylene torch, track the offender down, and burn off the fingertips which typed said abomination is nearly irresistible.

Please help me stick to my principles. Please.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Saga of the $80 Bike is Already Drawing to a Close

I got the bike -- a Kent 700c single-speed road bike -- on September 24.

I concluded by September 26 that is was pretty damn cool.

The problems started about two weeks ago. I was out on a 10-mile ride when I heard a squeaking sound. Couldn't tell if it was coming from a tire rub against a brake pad or what.

It got worse.

About eight miles into the 10-mile ride, the left crank arm suddenly felt loose. I dismounted, checked, and yes, it was loose. I limped the bike home, got out my socket set, and tightened the bolt which held it to the rest of the crank assembly (there appeared to be a cap missing that should have been over the bolt based on other bikes I subsequently looked at).

The following Sunday, I rode it to church. By the time I got there, it was loose again. A friend with a socket set let me use it to REALLY tighten that bastard down. Made it home just fine. Took it on a five-mile ride the next day. Good as gold.

Then I started off on another 10-mile ride and whaddayaknow, by the time I was approaching home the damn thing was loose again.

So I took it back to the store, invoked the extended protection plan I paid for, and asked for it to be repaired.

That was six days ago. Finally, this morning, Wal-Mart called to tell me that it can't be fixed (by which I assume they mean that it's not worth their time and money to fix it by, say, ordering and installing a new crank set).

RIP, I guess.

Presumably the next step is that they give me my money back and I order a new bike. Not sure whether I'll see if this model is still on sale, or pop a little more money for a slightly better model, or maybe switch styles to something they have in stock at the store instead of ordering online (that would probably mean a cheap mountain bike instead of a road bike).

One Thing I Don't Understand About the "No-Fly Zone" Idea ...

Hillary Clinton, along with various other American hawks and neoconservatives, keeps publicly mulling the possibility of a "no-fly zone" over Syria.

Left unsaid: The US would either appoint itself and its allies, or get itself and its allies appointed by the UN, as the enforcers of that "no-fly zone."

What I don't understand is this: Why don't the Assad regime and its Russian ally beat the US and its allies to the punch?

Step 1: Assad declares a "no-fly zone" over Syria;

Step 2: Assad announces that his government, and its Russian allies, will enforce said zone with aerial patrols, with the use of surface-to-air missiles, or both; and

Step 3: Just to make sure there are no misunderstandings, Assad explicitly informs the US and its allies that if their planes are seen over Syria, they will be shot down.

Seems like it would be hard for the US to object without at least tacitly admitting that it wasn't really serious about a "no-fly zone" but rather was angling for a "nobody flies except us zone."

A Question I Predict Hillary Clinton's Presidential Campaign Will Not Ask

"Why is Ecuador trying to manipulate the US presidential election?"

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 10/17/16

Early. Because I can. And maybe for other reasons, so maybe you should be early with your questions as well. This AMA thread, and the podcast to follow, are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

The drill:

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

* Do not participate in Thanks For Asking! if you take nitrates for chest pain, or guanylate cyclase stimulators for pulmonary hypertension. They may not be enough to protect you from heart attack or stroke when KN@PPSTER gives you a piece of his mind. Discuss your health with your doctor to ensure that you are healthy enough for The KN@PP Stir Podcast. If you experience chest pain, dizziness, ornausea during The KN@PP Stir Podcast, seek immediate medical help. If you experience an erection that lasts for more than four hours, for the love of God go find someone or something you find attractive and take care of it. Nobody wants to see that shit.

If Indeed Julian Assange's Internet Access Has Been Cut by a "State Party" ...

... as claimed by Wikileaks this morning and reported in the media, it seems to me that the logical and ethical next step is for Anonymous et al. to identify this "state party" and cut its Internet access.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 100: Just Here for the Derp Rises?

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

In this episode:

  • Door prizes (to find out what they are and how to win them, you have to listen to the episode);
  • Thanks For Asking! (Robert Milnes doesn't think; thoughts on the Electoral College; favorites; McAfee and cable packages);
  • Two takes on waste.
If you see/listen to this before noon on Monday, October 17, please support my Headtalker campaign to promote it!

In this podcast, I mention Samuel Edward Konkin III's New Libertarian Manifesto and J. Neil Schulman's Alongside Night (book and movie).

Finally, I also mention setting up my Amazon Wish List as a way to support the show and my other work. So I did. Obviously some things are directly work-related and others aren't, but they're all appreciated.

Update, ~6am Eastern on Monday: As of now, there remain unclaimed door prizes. Listen to the episode and follow the instructions you hear therein to get one!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 10/13/16

The Episode 100 AMA thread (like all others) is brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

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

[Note: Just because you don't like an answer, that doesn't mean it isn't an answer. I bring this up because of a complaint over the recent answer "Nathan, Thanks for asking -- I've always wanted to ban you but couldn't until you actually commented here!"]

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

You Should Be Hearing About This Soon ...

... but now it's sooner. Check out The Libertarian Institute. By which I mean, check out their landing page and sign up for email notifications from them. I assume they'll reveal who all is involved when they're good and ready. I'm just exactly in the know enough to tell you that you will likely recognize some of the names.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Did She Really Say That?

You may have seen this by now. I've been hearing about it all morning:

Is it for real?

I've done various searches on the Wikileaks "Podesta Archive" looking for it. I've searched on the offending phrase. I've searched on the alleged sender. I've searched on the message subject. I have not been able to find the message.

I've seen the screen shot linked in the tweet above all over the place. What I haven't seen is any evidence that it's real. I haven't seen a single link to the alleged source email.

Developing ...

UPDATE: Thanks to James M. Ray for finding the actual email, which actually says what the screenshot says it says. And thanks to Nicholas J. Sarwark for providing the context: "It's a translation of a Hebrew language op-ed by [David] Grossman condemning the Israeli people for hard-heartedness. Not her words and used in a pro-Palestinian context."

Five More Reasons to Tune in ...

... to episode 100 of The KN@PP Stir Podcast:

There will be prizes. Five of them. Not huge prizes, but prizes (hint: If you don't have an Amazon Kindle, or the free Kindle reading app installed on your computer or phone, you might want to get on that).

The episode is tentatively scheduled for this Sunday evening (the schedule is always tentative, but I usually make the time hack).

Not to reduce your chances of winning or anything, but I would appreciate it if you participated in the 100th episode Headtalker campaign (it gets your permission to send out a message over your social media accounts telling people to listen to the show).

Monday, October 10, 2016

Clinton Mismatch?

"My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders ..."

That's one of the most-quoted excerpts from Hillary Clinton's paid speeches, as revealed in a Wikileaks dump apparently originating as email to her campaign chair, John Podesta.

There's something odd about it, though. The speech it allegedly comes from is dated May 16, 2013, and was delivered to an audience at Banco Itaú.

Banco Itaú ceased to exist in 2008, when it merged with Unibanco.

What's up with that?

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 99: Don't Need a Weatherman to Know That Trump Blows

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

In this episode:

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Murphy's Law and the Yahoo Surveillance Scandal

I have a Yahoo mail account. Haven't used it as my regular email account for years (circa 2007-2008), but I've kept it for certain purposes that would have been a pain in the ass to change.

One pain in the ass seemingly associated with most web-based email services is that they make it very hard to clean house in a big way -- like deleting every last message when the total comes to six figures.

Last week, I decided to buckle down and do that with my old Yahoo account, with a view toward maybe using it for more things and possibly even transitioning back to a main email account with my name on it instead of the name of a campaign I ran eight years ago.

It took several hours (and I am still monitoring it to cancel the odd list subscription, report spam/phishing, etc.) but I eventually got to "your inbox is empty." Root and branch. Scorched earth. A completely virgin email account.

You've probably come across the report that Yahoo "last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials" by now (if not you should consider subscribing to Rational Review News Digest).

Sort of the opposite of serendipity.

It would really bother me ... if I didn't assume that every other web-based email provider of consequence has also received, and complied with, the same demand.

But yeah, that's what I assume.

Thanks For Asking! -- 10/05/16

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

So, hit the comments, ask me anything (yes, anything), and I'll answer (in the comment thread, on the podcast, or both).

But first:

  • Please support my Headtalker campaign to promote The KN@PP Stir Podcast's 100th episode -- it costs you nothing except letting me make a single (pre-approved and pre-edited by you) post to your social media account or accounts (Facebook and/or Twitter and/or LinkedIn and/or Tumblr) on the 17th of October.
  • If you run an Android smart phone, why not download the app? You can listen to the podcast (current and past episodes) and read the blog right from your phone? Just click the image from your phone (this is a direct download, not from an app store, so you will have to manually approve installation):

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

I Still Don't Get The Phone Thing

Google unveiled its new "Pixel" line of Android smart phones today. The cheapest one goes for $649  seems to be the same price as an Apple iPhone 7.

My own phone is a Samsung S6. It's an Android phone like the Pixel that goes for "only" $400 dollars or so.

The only reason I own the Samsung is that one of the places I do contract work for was willing to pay for the phone and the phone bill (I can do stuff with it while out of the house, including setting it up as a Wi-Fi hotspot for my computer if they need something that can't wait until I get home). I don't even want to know how much they pay per month to keep the thing running (I do try to have a light footprint on data usage, etc.).

I like the phone. It has improved my life in various measurable ways. But when I have to pay for my own phone, I grab a Tracfone flip phone and buy a $20 card every three months. I might hate to do without the cool Android stuff, but not so much that I'd pay what the market seems to be saying it's worth for it.

It boggles my mind that people spend more on a phone than they would on a pretty decent desktop or laptop computer, then top that off with monthly charges that don't come to much, if any, less than the cost a good high-speed cable Internet access plan. Can anyone explain to me how that really makes sense?

My daughter has an Android phone -- a cheapo machine she grabbed for $50 or so and only uses over Wi-Fi for chatting and gaming and such. For actual phone service, she inherited my old $10 Tracfone and $6.77 per month bill.

It's HeadTalker Time Again ...

I expect to record/publish the 100th episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast on Sunday, October 16th. I've set up a HeadTalker campaign to promote that episode in particular and the podcast in general the following day at noon.

If you like the podcast and if you're on social media (Twitter and/or Facebook and/or Tumblr and/or LinkedIn), please join the campaign. Here's how it works:

From the campaign page, you click on the social media services you'd like to participate using, one at at time. Each time you click on one, HeadTalker will show you what message you'll be sending out on October 17th at noon (Eastern US time), ask your permission to send it, let you customize it, etc.

Thanks in advance!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Head to Head: Harry's versus Dollar Shave Club

If you follow KN@PPSTER, you know I do razor reviews now and then and you know I'm a big fan of Dollar Shave Club (yes, that's an affiliate link -- if you join DSC through it, I pick up $5 in credit).

I've had my eye on doing a review of Harry's for some time (NOT an affiliate link, haven't signed up for anything like that yet -- but if you use the promo code STAPLETON at checkout, you can get their "Truman set" for $5 less than advertised cost, and Jason Stapleton will get a cut; figured I'd help a fellow libertarian podcaster out). I became more intent on doing such a review a few months ago when my brother recommended Harry's. And I recently noticed that they have a "just pay $3 shipping" trial. So, here's what the trial package looks like:

The trial set comes with a razor handle (from their "Truman" set -- they also sell a slightly more expensive "Winston" set), one blade, two different kinds of blade cover, and bottles of the company's foaming shave gel and after shave lotion.

I'm going to discuss product/performance before I discuss pricing, shipping frequency, etc. After all, the first concern is whether or not you get a decent shave, right?

Keep in mind here that I am evaluating Harry's "Truman" set against the Dollar Shave Club "4x" product (DSC offers three different handle/matching blade options, the "Humble Twin," "4x" and six-blade "Executive").

Handle: Dollar Shave Club wins this one hands down, at least with me. The Harry's Handle is heavier, longer, and a little simpler than the DSC handle (the Harry's blade just snaps on and off instead of having to push a button to pop the old one off; that MIGHT give Harry's a durability advantage, but after only a few days I don't know). Personally I found the weighting of the DSC handle more comfortable. The DSC handle also has more and better "make it easy to keep a grip on" stuff going on. You do get to choose your handle color with Harry's ("Total Orange," "Nautilus Blue," or "Olive 107"). DSC just sends you a white razor handle. Hey, I can live with the lack of color options. I just like DSC's handle better.

Blade: Harry's would seem to have an up-front advantage, at least if you buy into the idea that more blades are better. The Harry's blade is a 5-blade affair, while Dollar Shave Club's 4x is exactly what it sounds like, a four-blade razor (the "Humble Twin" has two blades, the "Executive" six). The Harry's blade also has a built in "trimmer," a single blade on the top of the blade cartridge. You can get at those difficult areas under the nose, trim sideburns, etc. by turning the razor backward and using that top blade. Note that I said Harry's "seems" to have the advantage, because there's also the

Shave: I shaved with both blades for several days -- one side of my face with each blade, alternating blades/sides daily. I used the same shaving product on both sides of the face each day (Harry's foaming shave gel one day,  boar-hair-brush-applied Col. Conk World Famous Glycerine Shave Soap another, and some dollar store, also brush-applied, stuff, "Wit and Wisdom Shaved Cedar" once). The Conk glycerine product is my usual shave soap of choice because I like tradition and ritual, although I sometimes follow Jeffrey Tucker's suggestion of just using baby oil or even nothing beyond warm water.

On the first day, I felt that the Dollar Shave Club blade was superior. The Harry's blade seemed to tug just a little, I felt a tiny touch of razor burn on the Harry's blade side, and when I asked Tamara which side felt smoother without telling her which was which, she thought the Dollar Shave Club side won by a hair (pun intended). But those things COULD be due to my beard being "trained" to the DSC product, because on subsequent days, frankly, I couldn't really tell a difference. No shaving cuts from either blade during the comparison period.

I have to call the shave quality a wash. Harry's has five blades and DSC only four, but that fifth blade didn't result in any WOW! factor. The "trimmer" blade is cool, I guess, but nothing to jump up and down about.

So that brings it back to the handle. As mentioned above I find the Dollar Shave Club handle more comfortable (even after several days of comparison; I don't think it's just an "old habits die hard" thing). The handle/blade/shave experience resolves to a win for Dollar Shave Club. Not a big, dramatic, no doubt about it win, but a win.

But wait, there's more!

As mentioned above, I shaved with three different products: Harry's foaming shave gel, Col. Conk World Famous Glycerine Shave Soap and Wit and Wisdom Shaved Cedar Shaving Cream (the latter two applied with a brush, the Harry's product just slathered on by hand). I'm going to throw in a fourth, by memory, product for comparison: Dollar Shave Club's product, Dr. Carver's Shave Butter.

I've never bought the Shave Butter product, but I did receive a sample pack that was good for a couple of face shaves and one head shave (I'm not shaving my head right now, so no razor comparison on that). I'm considering buying some, because it is just the nicest stuff I've ever put on my face before shaving. The Harry's product does rank well against all three of the others, though. It squirts in your hand like a shaving gel, but lathers up in a pretty big way like a shaving cream.

The Harry's after shave lotion is quite nice, too -- as the name indicates, it is a creamy lotion, not an alcohol-based "after-shave cologne." Personally, I prefer Fuller Brush's witch hazel lotion, and need to find someone to order a new jar from the first one lasted years). My second preference is one of those alcohol-based products, e.g. Aqua Velva. I guess I like "bracing" better than I like "soothing."

Although I think Dollar Shave Club's "shave butter" is probably the best "soap" of the four I mention, I don't like it so much that I'm willing to pay $6 a pop for the full size ration of it. That's just me. I'm not going to award a "victory" to either company on the basis of their non-blade/handle products.

Finally, there's order/shipping frequency.

For the Dollar Shave Club 4x plan, I pay $6 per shipment and have three choices: One shipment a month, one shipment every other month, or "on vacation" (stop sending me stuff until I say otherwise). Each shipment includes four blade cartridges. I go with the every other month option, so my cost breaks down to $3 a month. A blade lasts me two weeks or a little more (at the moment I am several blades ahead of my shipments; when I'm shaving my head -- I'm not at the moment -- I seem to need more blades just about the time they arrive). The blade costs breaks down to $1.50 a blade. That's a lot cheaper than the store brands of similar blade count, but of course more expensive than plain old double edge single "safety razor" blades (which I have used; my problem with them has been that the handles seem to either wear out and break pretty quickly, or to be poorly designed vis a vis blade positioning/adjustment such that it's hard to get a good shave and not cut myself to ribbons).

Harry's promotes three different product plans on their signup page (blades only, eight blades per shipment, $15; blades plus two bottles of foaming shave gel, $27; or blades, two bottles of shave gel and 1 tube of a daily face wash product, $34). There are other plans/products and you can customize. They offer three different pre-fab automatic shipping plans based on how often you shave: Every two months, Every three months, or every five months). You can increase or decrease the frequency, up to a minimum of every six months. I don't see a "vacation" option, but you can cancel your plan and just order stuff when you need it (my brother liked Harry's for that reason; he didn't like the Dollar Shave Club autoship-only premise). The cost per blade, depending on the size of your order, runs between $1.75 and $2.00 per blade -- a little more than DSC, but not "break the bank" more.

Frankly I prefer the Dollar Shave Club setup. The blades are cheaper, I can pause and restart easily if I need to, and the choice between monthly and bi-monthly shipments is enough flexibility for me. When it comes to their other products, I get an email before each shipment to let me know it's time to add anything I'd like to the box before they send it.


I hit Wal-Mart's site and looked for a major brand razor blade refill package comparable to these two companies' offerings. The first one I came across was Gillette's "Fusion" product. That's a five-blade cartridge with the little top-of-cartridge "trimmer blade" like Harry's offers. Cost per blade when bought in a four-pack: $3.86. If you use two blades a month, you're paying about four bucks per month more than with Dollar Shave Club or Harry's, and you either have to go to the store to pick it up or manually order it instead of it arriving automagically about the time you should be needing it.

SO: I would say that if you shave at all frequently and feel like you need a multi-blade setup you should consider one of these two options. The quality is great and the price beats the stuff in stores all to hell.

Of course, I want you to choose Dollar Shave Club because when you do I make a little money. But it won't break my heart if you go to Harry's and use promo code STAPLETON instead. If you do that, maybe you'll also let Jason know I sent your business his way and generate some reciprocal good will :)

Some Evidence for the Existence of the Cult of the Omnipotent State

Some people say it doesn't exist and object to its inclusion in the Libertarian Party's Statement of Principles.

Among those who disagreed -- at least as of March 18, 1766 -- were Great Britain's House of Commons, House of Lords, government and king (emphasis by bolding mine):


Whereas several of the houses of representatives in His Majesty's colonies and plantations in America have of late, against law, claimed to themselves, or to the general assemblies of the same, the sole and exclusive right of imposing duties and taxes upon His Majesty's subjects in the said colonies and plantations; and have, in pursuance of such claim, passed certain votes, resolutions, and orders derogatory to the legislative authority of Parliament, and inconsistent with the dependency of the said colonies and plantations upon the crown of Great Britain: may it therefore please Your Most Excellent Majesty that it may be declared, and be it declared by the king's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That the said colonies and plantations in America have been, are, and of right ought to be, subordinate unto, and dependent upon the imperial crown and Parliament of Great Britain; and that the king's Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, of Great Britain, in Parliament assembled, had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the crown of Great Britain, in all cases whatsoever.

II. And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all resolutions, votes, orders, and proceedings, in any of the said colonies or plantations, whereby the power and authority of the Parliament of Great Britain to make laws and statutes as aforesaid is denied, or drawn into question, are, and are hereby declared to be, utterly null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 98: Welllllllllllllld! is the New Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!

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

In this episode: