Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 11/30/16

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

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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 106: YYYThe chair is against the wall. John has a long mustache.YYY

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

In this episode:

Товарищи, мы обнаружили!

According to an anonymous group of self-proclaimed "experts," I am either "being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers, or .... at the very least acting as [a] bona-fide 'useful idiot' of the Russian intelligence services ..."

I work for one web site appearing on PropOrNot's "Initial Set of Sites That Reliably Echo Russian Propaganda" (, and my work has been published by at least three others (Before It's News, CounterPunch and OpEdNews).

Oh, no! How could this have happened?!?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving For Asking! -- 11/24/16

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

And yes, I did go a day late with the thread just so I could change the name.

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 105: European on my Lawn!

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Paulie's health; if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the C4SS Minnow would be lost; blobs; Brito; Monty Hall; Trump's cabinet);
  • Concerning my predisposition to profanity. Trigger warning: Profanity.
I'm detecting a slight whistle in the audio that wasn't there last week. Anyone else hearing it? I'm not sure if I screwed something up with my mic setup or if my voice has more whistle than usual because of this damn cold I'm getting over.

@KentBicyles: Perhaps a Bit of Public Shaming is in Order

I've now gone through two Kent 700c single speed road bikes.

Both have failed at less than 100 miles of fairly gentle riding (road and paved bike path -- I don't even ride my bikes across my yard, I walk them in from the road -- and not hell for leather, just be-bopping along at commute or light cardio workout speed).

The failure in both cases was the same: The bolt holding the left crank arm loosens up. I don't know if this is due to a materials defect or to poor assembly, but I suspect the former -- on the first bike, the bolt would not remain tight when I re-tightened it.

From reading reviews, I see that this is a frequent problem with Kent bicycles. I've seen it mentioned in various reviews of various Kent models as sold by various web sites. So it isn't just a problem with the particular model I bought. Which, granted, is basically the least expensive road bike Kent (or anyone else) offers. But just because it's inexpensive that doesn't mean that it's OK for every instance of the product -- and I'm now two for two -- to come with the same known defect.

This time, the bike broke down six miles from home (this was the first time I trusted the bike for a 20-mile round trip; big mistake) and I had to chain it up and leave it. I'll be going back later today. Maybe it will still be there, maybe it won't, or maybe it will be there minus parts, or whatever.

I haven't decided whether to return the bike to Wal-Mart for replacement with yet a third bike, or whether to just disassemble the bike and use it for parts.

I do know that I'm planning to do the opposite of recommending Kent bicycles to friends and family. So far, they don't seem reliable enough even for the "occasional recreation" category of use my teenagers would likely put them to.

Update, 11/20/16, 5pm: Went to pick up the bike. Something seems to be different about it. Can't quite put my finger on what:

I wonder if I can still return it. Whoever stole the rear wheel wouldn't have had an opportunity to do so if the defect in the bike hadn't manifested too far from home for me to just walk it back to the house and too severely for me to safely ride it somewhere else.

For some reason I thought it would be reasonably safe, chained up five feet off one of Gainesville's main drags (Archer Road), in plain view and right next to an operating business. But now that I think about it, that may have been the least safe place to leave it. Whoever walked up and removed the rear tire was brazen about it. Anyone who noticed probably just assumed they were pulling off the rear tire to change a flat on their own bike.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Second $80 Bike, Same Malfunction

Six miles from home on the way to meet a friend for dinner,  of course. Bam, left crank arm goes loose.  I  see another trip to Walmart in my future.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thanks For Asking! -- 11/17/16

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

Yes, I'm a day late this week. Sorry, life's been a madhouse, not even counting the upper respiratory bug that tore through the family (requiring, among other things, re-scheduling of hernia surgery for Tamara).

The rules haven't changed, though:

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

So Now We Find Out ...

... whether or not the Democrats are serious about a comeback.

Howard Dean knows how to win elections. He was elected to five full terms as governor of Vermont (after taking over from the position of lieutenant governor when the incumbent died, and after two terms in the state legislature).

He would have whipped George W. Bush's ass in the 2004 general election, but the Clintons backed John Kerry to the hilt for the Democratic nomination. Why? Because they knew Kerry would lose and leave the way open for Hillary Clinton in 2008 (she blew that one in the primary before blowing the general election this year).

After the Clintons screwed him for the presidency, Dean took over the Democratic National Committee, implemented an aggressive 50-state strategy -- and the Democrats took back the House, the Senate and the White House.

From 2009 (when Tim Kaine took over as chair) on, the Clintons worked assiduously to regain complete control of the DNC so that Hillary Clinton could be the 2016 nominee, whether that was good for the party or not (it wasn't).

Now Dean is back, ready to rebuild the party after yet another Clinton-created disaster.

Are Democrats smart enough to let him do it?

If not, they deserve to remain a minority party.

Florida, Ceteris Paribus

With presidential elections comes talk of secession, this year more than usual. I wrote on that yesterday over at the Garrison Center, and overnight it occurred to me to look at some Florida numbers.

Ceteris paribus -- and yes, I know that lots of other conditions would not remain the same, but this is just for fun -- Florida as an independent country would rank:

  • 90th worldwide in land area at 65,755 square miles -- larger than, to name a few, Greece, Ireland, either of the Koreas, Tunisia or Cuba.
  • 59th worldwide in population at 20.27 million -- more populous than, to name a few, Syria, Chile, the Netherlands, Somalia, Sweden or Portugal.
  • 17th worldwide in GDP at $838 billion -- more than Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Philippines or Austria.

131 airports including seven hubs. 1,350 miles of coastline and six of the 100 largest seaports in the (current) US by cargo volume.

Maybe a little more reliant on tourism than would be comfortable for an independent country, but it's not the state's only asset. Florida is a major producer of citrus and sugar and provides 75% of the phosphates used for farming in the US (25% of the world supply).

Long after the Soviet Union's last gasp, Russia still launches its rockets into space out of Baikonur in Kazakhstan. I see no reason that Cape Canaveral shouldn't continue to provide launch services to e.g. NASA even if Florida goes its own way politically.

Independence looks plausible to me.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 104: "... Not Wreck My Election!"

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

In this episode: Thanks For Asking! (birthday; rain; running for office versus other outreach; why Trump won; Trump v. ObamaCare; the Libertarian Party -- What is to be Done?); Weekly rant (wrecking the election). Thanks to Clayton Hunt for my fantastic new Samson Q2U microphone, as recommended by Michael W. Dean of Freedom Feens Radio! Please comment on whether or not you think the audio is better (I think it's MUCH better).

Note to Libertarians Who Think the Trump Win was Some Kind of Victory for Freedom

The absolute most positive possible spin I could put on it from that perspective would be ... well ...

Like I said, the absolute most positive possible spin.

The spin-free version would necessarily include words like "idiot" and "drug-addled."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

And Now a Few Words from Hillary Clinton ...

... to the protesters in the streets and to those petitioning the Electoral College to carry out a coup d'etat:

Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans. This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for and I'm sorry that we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.


I still believe in America and I always will. And if you do, then we must accept this result and then look to the future. Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.

Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don't just respect that, we cherish it.

Those words are from Clinton's Wednesday concession speech. Why are so many of the people who claim to support her rejecting them?

I'm not a Clinton supporter, nor am I a Trump supporter, nor am I a supporter of the system the two were vying for the top slot in. But how about a little consistency, folks?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Everyone Has An Opinion ...

... on how and why Trump won the election and Hillary Clinton lost the election.

And yeah, everyone's entitled to an opinion.


Some people told me I was crazy for predicting that Trump would carry Michigan.

Some people told me I was crazy for predicting Trump would carry Ohio.

Some people told me I was crazy for predicting Trump would carry Pennsylvania.

Some people told me I was crazy for predicting Trump would carry Florida.

And as for predicting that he would carry all four and win the election, those people were pretty much chasing me around with straitjackets and syringes full of thorazine until about midnight on Tuesday.

Now all of a sudden those same people are earnestly explaining to me what happened and why. To them:

I know what happened and why.

I knew what was going to happen before it happened.

I tried to tell you what was going to happen, and you rolled on the floor laughing.

So I'm thinking maybe you should have a nice hot cup of shut the fuck up with the explaining business.

Spoil Sport

Of course Democrats are whining that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein "spoiled" what would otherwise have been Hillary Clinton's triumph. Umm ... horseapples, as I explain in yesterday's Garrison Center op-ed.

Basically the "spoiler" argument boils down to an argument that voters are too stupid to choose wisely.

Even if that's true (and I'd say that either likely outcome in this election would have constituted strong supporting evidence), it doesn't strike me as a great campaign line. "Hey, you should have only been allowed to vote for me last time because you're dumb as a box of rocks, how about we try again?" probably isn't going to appear in any ads before an "I approve of this message" voiceover, for good reason.

Hillary Clinton ran a condescending campaign. She took two particular voting blocs for granted, namely blue collar workers in the Rust Belt and Latinos nationwide,* and her hubris vis a vis those demographics cost her Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In other words, it cost her the election.

Gary Johnson and Jill Stein were, to be perfectly blunt, not stellar candidates. Yet they both did quite well compared to their parties' usual presidential results. Why?

Because Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton suck, that's why.

Note to Democrats and Republicans: If you don't want to lose voters to third party candidates, stop sucking instead of whining about the other candidates and their voters.

* Trump did better with Latino voters this year than Mitt Romney did in 2012.

How Bad Could it Get?

According to a Politico piece on the presidential transition, former US Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) "has been mentioned" as a prospective pick for Secretary of Defense in the coming Trump administration.

I've had occasion to follow Talent's career with some interest, including managing the campaign of a US Senate candidate who ran against him and debated him in 2002 (that candidate also happens to be my wife, and btw she kicked his ass all over the stage in that debate) and running for Congress myself in his former district.

When I read that General Tommy Franks had called then under secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith "the dumbest fucking guy on the planet," my first thought was "obviously the general has never met Jim Talent."

How abysmally stupid is the guy? In one US Senate debate (not the one Tamara took him on in), he explained his opposition to human cloning by saying he didn't want to meet himself walking down the street. Yes, really.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

PSA: Regarding Peter Thiel

The Wall Street Journal ran a piece by Rolfe Winkler today titled "Silicon Valley Investor Peter Thiel Wins Bet on Trump" (you may or may not be able to read the whole thing -- WSJ pulls a lot of weird paywall nonsense.

The upshot of the piece is that Thiel backed the right horse when he threw $1.25 million at the president-elect's campaign back when almost nobody (except me) thought he was going to win the election. All of which is very interesting, but here's what brought me up short:

A staunch Libertarian, Mr. Thiel identified the undercurrent of economic distress that political pundits failed to appreciate but that exit polls showed drove so many voters to the polls.

If Peter Thiel is a "staunch libertarian," Pol Pot was Murray Fucking Rothbard.

Thiel postures as a "privacy advocate." What he means by that is that if Gawker publicly notices he's gay, he'll help Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, sue Gawker into bankruptcy for publicly noticing that Hogan had sex with someone else's wife. Somehow using lawfare to suppress speech that bugs you has become a synonym for "libertarian."

In reality, Thiel is exactly the opposite of a "privacy advocate" -- or a libertarian. His company, Palantir Technologies, produces software to power the US surveillance state and warfare regime.

Peter Thiel is an authoritarian scumbag, not a "staunch libertarian."

That is all.

Thanks For Asking! -- 11/09/16

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

In comments below this post: You ask.

In comments or on this weekend's podcast: I answer.

The Libertarian Party Dodged a Bullet ...

According to Dave Leip's Atlas of US Presidential Elections, the Libertarian Party's 2016 presidential ticket (Gary Johnson and William Weld) received 3.23% of the national popular vote yesterday. That might shift around a little as late returns filter in, but probably not much.

If the ticket had blown past 5% of the vote, the party's 2020 nominee would have been eligible for a multi-million dollar federal welfare check. At that point the immediate existential question facing partisan Libertarians would have been "can the party find a way between now and 2020 to forbid its nominee to accept those funds, or is a new libertarian political party needed to replace one that's now a few election cycles away from, and on rails to, de facto extinction?"

3.23% is far better than any past LP ticket has done (and 0.93% better than my prediction), and it buys us at least four more years to work on making the Libertarian Party libertarian again. Pretty good outcome all around!

Election 2016, Summarized

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election 2016: My Prediction vs. Actual Results

POST EXPLAINER, ADDED ~11am Eastern: This post will be updated through the day as the spirit moves. Some bloggers put updates at the top, so everything is reverse chronology. I'm one of those bloggers who puts updates at the bottom, so if you're coming back and trying to catch up, scroll down. And hey, comments are welcome. To the extent that there's KN@PPSTER "election coverage," it will all be found in this post unless something just over the top happens that absolutely requires a separate bit - TLK]

9am Eastern: Here's a screen shot of my state-by-state prediction for the 2016 US presidential election -- that Donald Trump will carry every state Mitt Romney carried in 2012, plus Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida (you can drum up your own map at RealClearPolitics):

My friend Darcy Richardson's prediction is slightly different in that he has Trump losing North Carolina but carrying Wisconsin. I think those are our only differences, but I could be wrong.

We're probably both wrong on one state. As of the most recent polling, Iowa looks like it's going to go to Trump rather than to Clinton. But I'm not making any last-minute changes. Right or wrong, I made my prediction and we're going to see how right or wrong it was.

I'll update this post during the day and evening, assuming there's something worth updating it for. And at the bottom, where you can already see abbreviations for each state set up, I will update as I see them called for one candidate or the other (some of them possibly tomorrow if I crap out and go to bed before we hear results).

Update, 10:45am: A few days ago I made my predictions regarding third party performance over at Independent Political Report. Here they are:

Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party): 2.3% +/- 0.3%
Jill Stein (Green Party): 1.9% +/- 0.3%
Darrell Castle (Constitution Party): 0.5% +/- 0.2%
Evan McMullin ("Never Trump" Republican): 23% +/- 1% in Utah

I didn't try to predict how McMullin will do in the 10 other states where he's on the ballot. I'm guessing low single digits in all of them, but it's hard to tell.

Update, 12:45pm: Reuters is reporting that "Banks warn clients to brace for FX volatility after U.S. vote." The idea being that "the gap between buying and selling prices that determines the cost of trading [is] expected to widen sharply if Donald Trump were to win." Are the banks a little less certain of a Clinton victory than e.g. the prediction markets?

Update, 3:10pm: This blog usually racks up around a thousand page views per day. As of mid-afternoon, it is approaching TEN thousand page views today. Welcome to KN@PPSTER, new readers! If you like what you see here, feel free to poke around, and also to check out my podcast, the libertarian op-ed mill I run, and the daily email newsletter I publish.

Update, 3:20pm: I wonder if I'm having a case of confirmation bias today. That Reuters story mentioned above perked my ears up. Then a couple of minutes ago I was walking past the TV and heard the MSNBC anchor say that when they come back a reporter will be talking about "whether turnout is strong enough to keep Hillary Clinton's hopes alive." Is that a perception shift? It seems to me that usually phrases like "hopes alive" are said about an underdog, not a favorite.

Update, 7:01pm: Polls are beginning to close in the Eastern time zone. I'll start filling in states as MSNBC calls them, way down at the bottom, without comment up here except when there's something to actually talk about.

Update, 7:20pm: MSNBC just announced very early numbers from Florida. Trump 59%, Clinton 30%. Those numbers are already changing according to Politico. As I type this, Trump 50.4%, Clinton 47.1%, Gary Johnson 1.8%, Jill Stein 0.5%, Darrell Castle and Rocky de la Fuente 0.1% each. Looks like the state is going to swing back and forth all night and it may be a nail-biter.

Update, 10:20pm: As I write this, MSNBC is calling Ohio for Trump but has not called Florida and North Carolina yet. They are looking good for Trump. Michigan also looks like it's going to go for Trump as I predicted, but that's not quite as solid. Pennsylvania hasn't been called for Clinton yet, but I'm thinking it's probably going to go with her. I'm looking like 4 for 5 in those states on my predictions. I'm going to go sleep for two hours and come back. Hey, dL, are you as confident in a Clinton win as you have been up to now?

Update, 11:22pm: Couldn't sleep for all the bellyaching in the other room (I left MSNBC on). At present, of the states that MSNBC has actually called, I am 37 for 37 on my predictions. I'm expect it will turn out that I was wrong on Iowa and possibly Wisconsin (I picked them both for Clinton, they're looking like Trump states), as well as quite likely Pennsylvania.

Update, 11:35pm: Florida goes for Trump. Just like I said it would. Geez ... if you people would just listen to me we wouldn't have to stay up all night counting votes, would we?

Update, 12:02am: Finally my first bad pick. I had Iowa down for Clinton. Goes for Trump.

Update, 12:25am: Wow, I missed it -- some time in the last 24 hours or so, this blog passed 1 million page views since I started using Google stats to keep track (Sitemeter crapped out at nearly a million visits several years ago).

Update, 1:55am: MSNBC has not called Pennsylvania for Trump yet. However, Politico, The Hill, and the Washington Post all have. So I'm going to call it as well. MSNBC is just milking it. With 99.3% of precincts reporting, Trump is up by 2.2%, about 75,000 votes. Trump is now six electoral votes short of 270 and victory.

Update, 5:14am: OK, had to crap out. I see that MSNBC finally called Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (and, therefore, the election) for Trump, with New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, and Arizona still up in the air. Of the states where the winner is known, I predicted 44 of 46 accurately.

I'm under the impression I had a better predictive outing than most pollsters, pundits, and analysts this year. That and five bucks will get me an iced white chocolate mocha latte at Starbucks. But you know I'm going to brag about it for the next two to four years, right?

State-by-state results:

AK -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
AL -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
AZ -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: ?
AR -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump  ✓
CA -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
CO -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
CT -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
DE -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
FL -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump  ✓
GA -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump  ✓
HI -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
ID -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump  ✓
IL -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
IN -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump 
IA -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Trump 
KS -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
KY -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump
LA -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
ME -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓ (Note: Trump gets 1 electoral vote, Clinton 3; I did not predict the split)
MD -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
MA -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
MI -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: ?
MN -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: ?
MS -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
MO -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump  ✓
MT -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
NE -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
NV -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
NH -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: ?
NJ -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
NM -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
NY -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
NC -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump  ✓
ND -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
OH -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump  ✓
OK -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump 
OR -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
PA -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
RI -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
SC -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump
SD -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
TN -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
TX -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
UT -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓
VT -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton
VA -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
WA -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Clinton ✓
WV -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump
WI -- My Prediction: Clinton | Actual: Trump 
WY -- My Prediction: Trump | Actual: Trump ✓

Some Election Morning Photography

Instead of taking my daily bike ride at 4am, I decided to leave about 6:30 and see how things looked at "my" polling place as voting was set to begin (in Florida, poll hours are 7am-7pm). I got there about 10 minutes before 7.

This isn't all the signs, of course, just a sample that fit nicely into a photo. There were some signs for Democratic Party candidates ... but none for Hillary Clinton. On the presidential level, only Trump had signage there.

On one hand, west of Gainesville to the Gulf Coast -- rural Alachua County and all of Levy County -- is generally GOP territory (while I was out and about last night, I saw last-minute Trump signs springing up, a guy driving a pickup truck down the road flying a giant Trump flag, etc.).

On the other hand, this particular area is smack in the middle of upscale university city suburbia, so I'd expect it to be something of a Democratic island. I haven't looked at prior presidential election returns for the area, and frankly the area is in enough flux with new developments, etc., that I'm not sure they'd tell me anything. But I'd say it's telling that Democratic sheriff Sadie Darnell and Democratic congressional candidate Ken McGurn and Democratic state senate candidate Rod Smith and Democratic state legislature candidate Marihelen Wheeler have signs up at that place and Hillary Clinton doesn't.

Ten minutes before the polling place opened, there were more than 20 people lined up to vote. I've definitely seen longer lines, but in Florida nearly half of the state's voters had already cast their ballots by yesterday in early voting. I'm guessing that with lines at 6:50am on election day too, Florida will beat its 2012 turnout of 72%.

How did the early voting play out? Hard to tell. As the Miami Herald story linked above notes:

  • Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.6 million Democrats and 2.5 million Republicans voted early this year -- a party affiliation differential of less than 100,000 votes. In 2012, that differential was twice as large in favor of the Democrats. Advantage Trump.
  • On the other hand, early voting turnout was higher in Miami-Dade (55%) and Broward (52%) counties, Democratic strongholds, versus the rest of the state (49.5%) -- also a reversal, as those two counties usually lag the state in turnout. Advantage Clinton.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

The $80 Bike Rides Again ...

When last I broached the subject, it was to troll Wal-Mart a little: I had dropped the $80 bike off for repair, it took them six days just to let me know they couldn't fix it, I had gone in for a refund and used that refund to order a second instance of the same bike, and was informed that it would take two weeks to get here. Personally, I thought they should expedite the shipping a little.

They did. The bike arrived five days ahead of schedule, on Halloween. Huzzah!

Of course, then there was the matter of assembly. They'll assemble bikes for customers at the store, but if it's ordered online you have to wait until it arrives to ask for assembly. So Tamara stopped that evening after work to "pick it up" and ask them to assemble it. She was told that because the holiday season is starting it might take up to ...

20 days!

Wow. I started to feel a little hot under the color.

They called the next morning -- 12 hours later, maybe 14 hours later -- to say it was ready. Huzzah again!

So that night I rode it home, several days earlier than anticipated. Thanks! Wal-Mart.

I've only had time to put 10 miles on it, but I keep thinking I hear the same squeak/grind that preceded the big problem with the last bike (the bolt holding on the left crank arm loosens and when re-tightened won't stay tight).

But you know, that may just be paranoia talking. Maybe this time the $80 bike will turn out to be one helluva deal.

If not, I have two possible courses of action in mind:

  1. Return it again, and let them know that I'm going to keep buying that same bike and bringing it back every time it turns out to be defective, so maybe they would prefer to just go ahead and replace it with a better bike that isn't going to break down with less than 100 miles on it.
  2. Strip it and use the parts on my beloved Trek 7000. It looks like the brakes would work out, and depending on chainline considerations, that rear wheel might be just the ticket for converting the 18-speed to a single speed bike.
If I follow course #2, I expect I'll be getting more than $80 worth of value out of the thing. I'll have two spare tires, two spare wheels, a set of brakes, etc. I might move the $80 bike's handlebars over as well.

My goal is to fairly quickly get back to riding more than 10 miles a day, probably the 10.5 mile round trip down the Archer Braid trail from my house to the trail's terminus at Archer and back each morning.

The KN@PP Stir Podcast, Episode 103: This Too Shall Pass Said the Kidney Stone

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

In this episode:

  • Thanks For Asking! (Ideal presidential nominees, Garrison naming trivia, Cookie Monster shout out, Election Day plans, peckerwoodstuff, I far ... er, I voted);
  • My presidential election predictions (an extended riff on this blog post).

Friday, November 04, 2016

This Election Still Looks Like a Trump Win to Me

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011
in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My prediction since some time ago (August I think, but possibly July or September) has been that Donald Trump will carry every state that Mitt Romney carried, plus Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida for 289 electoral votes.

Right now the RealClearPolitics "no tossups" map -- where they call the race in each state for whichever candidate is currently ahead -- has Hillary Clinton winning with 297 electoral votes to Trump's 241.

Now, remember what I've been saying lately -- I think Trump will almost certainly carry any state where he polls within 5% of Clinton. Why? Two reasons:

  • I think that a non-trivial fraction of Trump voters won't say they're voting for Trump. Not even to a pollster. They don't want their family, friends and neighbors to know, so they're not telling anyone.
  • Even though this is an "open" election with no incumbent, there's an extent to which it is a referendum on Barack Obama's presidency and the Democratic Party. That makes Trump the challenger. Voters who wait until the last minute to decide vote for the challenger, not for the incumbent. That effect may be a little muted since it's the incumbent party, not person, we're talking about here, but it's still the way things tend to go. This means that Trump is going to be gaining, not losing, over the next few days.

Note that neither of those things are really depending on e.g. some kind of massive Wikileaks bombshell than ends with something like Hillary Clinton being perp-walked in leg irons and orange coveralls on Monday. Not saying that couldn't conceivably happen. Just saying that my prediction doesn't depend on it happening.

Now, have a look at that RCP "no tossups" map and think about the non-Romney states I said Trump would carry. RCP's "no tossups" calls three of them -- Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida -- for Clinton, with only Ohio going for Trump (as I think it will, and he is 5 points up there).


  • The two Michigan polls done since Tuesday, the first of the month,  have Trump within either 3 or 4 points of Clinton -- 3 if Jill Stein is included.
  • The only Pennsylvania poll done since Tuesday has Trump and Clinton tied.
  • The only Florida poll done in November has Clinton 4 points up on Trump. That's toward the edge of my formula and right at the edge of Margin of Error, but I'm fairly confident in Trump winning the state.

So, Clinton was at 297 and Trump was at 241 in the "no tossups." Looking at those three states and assuming the rest of the map is in fact correct:

If Trump wins Florida but not Michigan or Pennsylvania, he wins the election with 270 electoral votes.

If Trump wins Michigan and Pennsylvania but not Florida, he wins the election with 277 electoral votes

If Trump wins Michigan and Florida but not Pennsylvania, he wins the election with 286 electoral votes.

If Trump wins Pennsylvania and Florida but not Michigan, he wins the election with 290 electoral votes.

If he wins Michigan AND Pennsylvania AND Florida, he wins the election with 306 electoral votes.

Unless there's some massive fundamental shift between now and Tuesday, I believe Trump will win that round of voting and, barring faithless electors or personal incapacity of some sort (i.e. severe illness or death), will be the next president of the United States

No, I don't like that any more than you do.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Without Comment

Camera 1, March 5, 2015:

Date: 2015-03-05 00:01
Subject: Re: Emails development


Sent from my iPhone 
> On Mar 4, 2015, at 8:01 PM, Margolis, Jim wrote:  
> Yes.
> If there is a release of the 55K, are there others that are not being
> released?

Camera 2, March 10, 2015:

[A]fter I left office the State Department asked former secretaries of state for our assistance in providing copies of work-related emails from our personal accounts. I responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work-related, which totaled roughly 55,000 printed pages.

Garrison State

Fun pun, eh? I don't report here at KN@PPSTER on the state of The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism nearly as often as I should, but it's definitely horn-blowing time.

October was the best month in the Center's history on two fronts:

  • More reprints of Garrison op-eds in mainstream newspapers and non-libertarian political publications. The previous record was in June, with 77. For October: 92.
  • Prior to October, the largest newspaper (by circulation) to pick up a Garrison column was the Dallas, Texas Morning News. In October, a Garrison column ("'Rigged Election' Rhetoric: A Dangerous Two-Way Street") was picked up by USA Today, as well as by 24 of its affiliated local newspapers.
Every list I find of US newspapers ranked by circulation differs, and I haven't found one newer than 2013. But:

Back when the Dallas Morning News picked up a Garrison column, as best I could tell it was the 11th largest newspaper in the US by circulation.

USA Today may be THE largest. That's what some sources say, so that's what I'm gonna go with. Others have it mixed in with the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times in various ways as the top three, though.

As far as I can tell, at least five of the USA Today affiliates that grabbed this column were  in the top 100 US newspapers by circulation, and one of them (the Arizona Republic) is possibly in the top 10 and certainly in the top 20.

So far I have identified more than 681 Garrison reprints this year against a goal of 750. I say "more than" because I count pickups for the previous month at the beginning of the following, and I almost always come across some later that didn't make the original count. At the end of the year I'll be going back through for a true count, and that true count will be higher than the aggregated initial counts.

Of course, if Garrison averaged 92 pickups a month, that would come to more than 1,100 per year. I'm working on it, folks.

The Garrison Center is one of the projects that keeps me standing on the streetcorner in fishnet stockings asking passersby if they wanna party. Or, rather, it's one of the projects you can support by supporting me, which you can do from over in the sidebar.

A Modest Proposal Regarding the Personal Security of Julian Assange ...

Resolved, that the personal safety of those inciting his abduction from Ecuador's London embassy should be openly and strongly linked to his safety from said abduction.

To put it a different way: It should be made abundantly and publicly clear to these assholes that if Assange is taken, as many of those as possible who called for him to be taken will come down with e.g. House Burned Down Syndrome, outbreaks of Why Are The Police Seizing My Hard Drives and How Did That Child Porn Get on Them? Complex, and maybe even moderate to severe .22 Caliber Round in Base of Skull Disease.

Just sayin' ...

Wednesday, November 02, 2016


Kennedy to Gary Johnson in the closing seconds of this interview:

All right Gary, I appreciate you, I like you, I believe in you, but please keep Bill Weld away from the Libertarian Party.

I knew there was a reason why I love her.

Thanks For Asking! -- 11/02/16

This week's AMA thread, and the episode of The KN@PP Stir Podcast to follow, are brought to you by Darryl W. Perry:

The procedure:

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

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

I Feel Like Michael W. Dean is Trying to Tell Me Something ...

... about The KN@PP Stir Podcast. This came in the mail today along with a bunch of other buttons and stickers (you can get your own bag of weirdness from the Freedom Feens, and you probably should, just to be safe).

But seriously: I'm currently rocking a Blue Snowball microphone and was considering upgrading to the Blue Yeti. Dean knows his audio and told me that was a bad, bad move. I'm planning to buy the Dean-recommended Samson Q2U real soon now if someone doesn't buy it for me first. Hopefully you'll be getting better audio out of me by the end of the year one way or another. Thanks for the advice, the buttons and the worms, Michael.

We're Into Bonus Material Territory Now ...

My goal for this year was to average one KN@PPSTER post or more per day -- a posting rate I haven't managed since 2005.

This is post #378 for the year, so mission accomplished, heckuva job Brownie. I expect to break 400 posts and maybe even close in on 450.

I don't think I've cheated by just drumming up complete crap so I can say I posted. Yes, the quality of the material is highly variable, but I've tried to imbue each post with at least some value.

In terms of quantity, if my posts for the year average 150 words each (this post is 187 words long according to, I'll have blogged the equivalent of a mid-length novel.

Thanks to my supporters for buying the time I spend on blogging, podcasting and writing columns for The Garrison Center. I like doing these things much better than other things I might have to do (and have in fact done) to keep myself in Smack Ramen and women. If you'd like to be one of those supporters, see the sidebar for various options.