“Pho Keene Great” Grand Opening: Photos & Review

The line outside prior to PKG's opening.

The line outside prior to PKG’s opening.

This afternoon at just before three, approximately 25 people were in line to be the first paying customers at the new Keene Vietnamese restaurant, “Pho Keene Great“. If you’re new to the Pho Keene Great story, here’s a recap of what happened with their viral showdown with the City of Keene’s Dragon. When the door was opened for the first time today, the initial customers were welcomed by the PKG crew, all wearing black uniforms including t-shirts and hats bearing the Pho Keene Great logo.

PKG’s bustling staff-on-duty numbered at least a dozen plus Chris Rietmann, the proprietor of Route 101 Local Goods, who was at the front at a table offering the hot-selling Pho Keene Great merchandise like t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and the newest item – tote bags. Plus, each customer walking in was given a free limited-run “Live Pho or Die!” sticker in the shape of New Hampshire and featuring the PKG logo character.

If you aren’t able to come to Keene and still want your own Pho Keene Great gear, you can order it online with your credit card or cryptocurrency like bitcoin at Route 101 Local Goods.

Only a fraction of the busy crew on-duty at PKG.

Only a fraction of the busy crew on-duty at PKG.

After the initial group entered, more came in and by the time I left an hour later, not only was I full, but so was Pho Keene Great. Founder Isabelle Rose was seen in the kitchen, constantly active and focused on preparing the delicious food.

The guy sitting next to me at the bar, Matt, has spent most of his life running professional kitchens and he makes a habit of reviewing the restaurants he visits on Yelp. His review for Pho Keene Great was the first the restaurant had received and he left five stars and this review:

I was in line for the grand opening and was served second out of the group. I ordered their meatball pho.

Broth: simple, clear, delicate.
Noodles: perfect.
Meatballs: dense, perfect.

Route 101 Local Goods' Chris Rietmann talks to a happy customer.

Route 101 Local Goods’ Chris Rietmann talks to a happy customer.

Service: excellent, professional, well seasoned.I’ve been a part of at least 20 restaurant openings in my career and looking around at this one, I see very few foibles or parts that need polish. The food was barely too long in coming, but this is literally DAY ONE, HOUR ONE. I’m extremely impressed at how well out together and error-free this has been, and I can’t wait to come back. I’m so happy not only that there’s a pho place in town, but moreso that there’s a place in town with truly fantastic food and service in a restaurant that is perfectly suitable for everything from family dinners and celebrations to business dinners.

Southeast Asian food should tick all boxes when it comes to flavor in each bite. Pho Keene Great delivers on that necessity and does it in a classy but relaxed environment, and at a reasonable price. Definitely recommend.

The restaurant will initially be open at 3pm daily except Tuesdays and offer a limited dinner menu, though with a full bar and liquor license. They even have a beer on tap from Marlborough’s Frogg Brewing.

Later they are planning to expand Pho Keene Great to include lunch and take-out, but for now they’re keeping it simple to get the gears turning. The restaurant is located next door to City Hall at 11 Central Square in Keene, NH. Here are a few more photos I snapped of the grand opening: (more…)

Moving to or already in New Hampshire? Learn how to connect with the liberty community OFF of Facebook.

Welcome to New Hampshire!

Welcome to New Hampshire!

As the New Hampshire Freedom Migration continues into 2019, the liberty movement needs a better way of communicating than facebook. Many still cling to facebook for reasons like, “that’s where everyone is”. Besides the fact that is demonstrably not true, the fact is facebook has made it increasingly difficult to actually reach people without getting your credit card and actually buying reach to the people who you already thought were connected to you or who “like” your pages.

The good news is there are multiple platforms on which people both inside and outside the Shire are meeting online that are much more useful than facebook. Of course, the more people use them, the more useful they become, so consider this your invitation. Facebook has thrown so many features into its platform (then purposely crippled their usefulness), it will require multiple other, better venues to replace it. Here are the key activist-related aspects of facebook and superior alternatives to replace each of them that are already excellent, effective, and free:

  • Facebook Groups – They were never better than forums but used prolifically, “because people are on facebook”. Forums have always been better at organization. Forums can have subforums and posts can be easily moderated and moved between subforums, whereas on facebook the groups are completely separate and no cross-moderation is even possible. Worse, the search function on facebook groups is garbage. However, older forum software feels clunky today, but newer ones like the “Discourse” software that runs the Shire Forum are snappy and user-friendly – it’s a very modern forum experience and people have been loving it. New people planning to move to New Hampshire are coming there every month and posting their introductions – they want to meet you! Please visit and sign up here. You can even use existing logins from other sites like google and github to easily create your account.
  • Activists are leaving Facebook, for good reason.

    Activists are leaving Facebook, for good reason.

  • Facebook Messenger – This still one of the least-crippled aspects of facebook. They couldn’t really take away your ability to directly message people, so that’s still useful. However, it’s also centrally managed by the mega corporate monster of facebook, is unencrypted, and they’re more than happy to turn all of your chats over to law enforcement. Activists in New Hampshire’s western region of Keene have been using Telegram instead for direct and group communications. Telegram is super-useful and has been adopted and continually used here for years to help organize various activities. Similarly, encrypted texting app Signal is widely used for one-on-one communications across New Hampshire.
    There’s also the New Hampshire room on the LRN.FM Discord server, perhaps the most active libertarian Discord server.
  • Facebook Pages – The original idea behind facebook pages was to allow your fans to connect with your brand or organization. You’d create a page and people who “liked” the page would get updates from the page in their feeds. Over time this system seemed to get less effective. Now you are lucky if a fraction of one percent of the people who like your page will see your posts. Of course, Facebook will happily charge you to reach your full number of likes – something you originally got for free. To replace facebook pages I recommend the much more effective and decentralized Mastodon platform. You can easily create a Mastodon account on the server of your choice. There are thousands of servers from which to choose, but many libertarians are posting on the Liberdon server. Here’s what the Free Keene page looks like on Liberdon. Or, if you know what you’re doing, you can just start your own server. Because it’s decentralized and federated, you can still connect your server to most of the other servers out there, unless they don’t want you or you don’t want them connected to you.
  • Liberdon is the Libertarian/Voluntarist Server running Mastodon

    Liberdon is the Libertarian/Voluntarist Server running Mastodon

  • Facebook Events – Yet another crippled feature that once was useful for making people aware of events. Now it’s rare people will see event invitations on facebook in the first place. Frequently events are held where despite being on facebook hardly anyone who attends will say they saw it there. Telegram has been much more effective at communicating events, especially when tied into a Telegram bot that links a Google Calendar so whenever an event is coming up, the bot posts the event details in the relevant chat room for the activists as a handy reminder.

By no means is that an exhaustive list of alternatives to replace facebook and do what facebook once did, and better than facebook. There are many other useful platforms, but these have been working well for us so far. Be part of the solution and join us on the alternatives. Start with the Shire Forum. It’s free and an effective way to communicate with people both inside and outside of New Hampshire.

Anonymous Cryptocurrency User Moves to Keene, NH: Area Crypto-Fans Help Unload Eight Moving Pods!

Perhaps you’ve heard about New Hampshire’s top cities for real-life cryptocurrency use, Keene and Portsmouth. Both small cities are global hotspots where various food and services are available for purchase with Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptos like DASH or Bitcoin Cash (BCH). It’s not random chance that this has happened. The reason these two cities are world capitols for local businesses accepting cryptocurrency at the cash register is because of the New Hampshire Freedom Migration that has been going on for many years.

This month Keene got another boost as an anonymous libertarian cryptocurrency user moved to town and a bunch of us came out to help him move a huge load of stuff into his new home in Keene, Given the love for anonymity of many crypto users, it’s undertstandable why he and some others in the group photo wanted to stay anonymous. The fact is people like this are moving to New Hampshire all the time. Where else will total strangers come help move you into your home?

Another anonymous cryptocurrency user moves to Keene, NH and is helped move-in via strangers who also use crypto.

Another anonymous cryptocurrency user moves to Keene, NH and is helped move-in via strangers who also use crypto.

As has been the tradition with these move-ins over more than a decade, the mover orders pizza and provides refreshments and local libertarian cryptocurrency users show up and help move the person in. This particular move in set a record for most stuff and longest time. Normally we’re done unloading a full size 26-foot moving truck in under an hour. This was six hours of moving stuff in from a series of eight packed-full moving pods that had to be towed in by truck. It was basically a whole day of moving, but this is the level of dedication to this migration these people have. It’s an honor to be part of such a movement.

The ongoing NH Freedom Migration has brought libertarians to New Hampshire in large numbers over the last fifteen years, and libertarians were the ones there at the beginning of Bitcoin. Gavin Andresen, the libertarian programmer chosen as successor by Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto, is a longtime supporter of my radio show, “Free Talk Live” and even spoke on the Bitcoin panel at 2015’s Keenevention.

People who care about liberty and cryptocurrency have been moving to New Hampshire and Keene has always been an activism hotspot. It’s no wonder that Keene is where the crypto-explosion in New Hampshire began. Portsmouth has risen as a major competitor to Keene as the top crypto city, but that’s just because longtime Keeniac Derrick J Freeman moved to Portsmouth, where he and his partner Steven Zeiler then launched the Free State Bitcoin Shoppe as an epic outreach project. Since then, they’ve recruited dozens of Portsmouth-area businesses into cryptocurrency acceptance and then created the Blockchain Institute for Technology and merchant crypto-acceptance provider Anypay.global.

Since then, both Keene and Portsmouth have become close competitors with Caracas, Venezuela for the highest amount of cryptocurrency-accepting businesses per-capita on the planet.

If you love cryptocurrency and liberty, New Hampshire should be your destination. Here are 101 reasons why. Look hard at Portsmouth and Keene.

Helping the Developmentally Disabled: Why Libertarian Solutions are the Most Compassionate

Monadnock Developmental Services Logo

Monadnock Developmental Services Logo

Yesterday evening I was invited along with other Libertarian candidates Darryl W Perry and Jilletta Jarvis to Monadnock Developmental Services for a presentation to political candidates about the frustrations that families with children who have developmental disabilities have with state “assistance” programs. Multiple family members presented their difficult stories to a couple dozen state reps and candidates for office.

I didn’t feel like I was asked there to comment, so I was there just to listen. However afterwards Darryl and I returned to the Keene-based studio of LRN.FM, the Liberty Radio Network, where we were joined by Conan Salada for our live nightly libertarian talk show, Free Talk Live, where we discussed the issues raised in great detail.

If you want, compassionate solutions to healthcare issues that don’t rely on institutionalized violence, you really need to listen to the first hour of last night’s Free Talk Live to find out why Libertarianism and the non-aggression principle is the best way to help our neighbors in need. Here’s the archive:

Hypocritical “Free State Project” Quietly Dumps Cody Wilson from Upcoming Convention

The FSP's Announcement of Cody Wilson's Now-Canceled Speech at Liberty Forum 2019

The FSP’s Announcement of Cody Wilson’s Now-Canceled Speech at Liberty Forum 2019

UPDATED @ 20:31 Eastern 2018-09-22 – I contacted a source within the FSP about this last night, long before going to press. The takedown was confirmed by the source but they would not speak publicly about it.
UPDATED @ 18:10 Eastern 2018-09-22 – See bottom of story for FSP’s response.

Cody Wilson is a libertarian hero who has made countless international headlines in the last several years, first for releasing plans for the world’s first 3D-printable gun, the “Liberator”. After that, he created the “Ghost Gunner” hardware, which makes machining a gun from scratch almost as easy as pressing “start”. All the while, he has bravely thumbed his nose at the oppressive state and federal governments and recently won a major settlement from the federal government that illegally tried to stop him from engaging in the free speech of sharing his 3d-printable weapon files.

Wilson’s a free speech and gun rights champion, no doubt. No wonder the Free State Project had asked him to speak at their 2019 Liberty Forum convention they’ve held in the wintertime here in New Hampshire for over a decade. It wouldn’t be the first time Wilson’s spoken at the Liberty Forum. Here’s a Forbes article talking about Wilson’s speech from 2014’s Liberty Forum. Here’s a video interview of Wilson at the 2014 Liberty Forum by Free Keene blogger Garret Ean.

Sadly, this week an arrest warrant was issued from Austin, Texas police alleging Wilson had met a sixteen-year-old young lady on a website called SugarDaddyMeet.com, took her to a hotel room, had sex with her, gave her $500, then dropped her off at a Whataburger. In Texas the “age of consent”, is apparently 17, which means they are charging Wilson with felony “sexual assault” for the consensual act he committed with his “victim”.

Within a couple of days, the Free State Project (FSP) quietly removed Wilson’s photo and bio from its place on the front page of their NH Liberty Forum website. Wilson’s photo had occupied the top left speaker’s position on their list of expected speakers. That pretty much means he was their top billed keynote speaker.

Cody's still caught in Google's cache of the FSP's Liberty Forum site.

Wilson’s still caught in Google’s cache of the FSP’s Liberty Forum site.

Poof! Just like that, he was gone. It’s not the first time they’ve tried to memory hole something – there was also the time when they tried to suppress video of a well-produced awards ceremony from Liberty Forum 2016 featuring me as a recipient.

Oops! Turns out the FSP forgot to cleanse their Twitter of their announcement of Wilson’s speaking gig which I included as the top graphic here, in case they take the tweet down.

The Free State Project used to be the reason many of us libertarians, voluntaryists, and liberty-loving anarchists moved to New Hampshire. They were known for throwing two great yearly events, including the previously mentioned Liberty Forum and the Porcupine Freedom Festival in the summertime. However in recent years, the FSP has taken a strong turn away from the principles of liberty by jettisoning any people they can associate with any uncomfortable ideas of sexual liberation. Namely, the crazy idea that teenagers could possibly make decisions for themselves. (more…)

NH Libertarian Senate Candidate Answers Questionnaires from Union & Families Groups

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations

As a Libertarian candidate for NH Senate district 10, I’ve been posting my answers to the various questionnaires I’ve received from interest groups. Here are the latest two. One from the New Hampshire AFL-CIO and one from the Campaign for Family Friendly Economy.

Regarding the AFL-CIO’s survey, (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations) a pro-union group, I am pro-union, but I’m against coercion. Unions have for too long looked to government to force their way on individuals who do not wish to participate. Neither unions nor businesses should be using government coercion to get their way. I support market-based mechanisms for workers to ensure better conditions, like unionizing and collective bargaining, boycott, protest, and word-of-mouth. I am opposed to the use of the state to target opponents, however, and union groups like the AFL-CIO have embraced state coercion, so while they have good intentions, their means are corrupt. Coercion has unintended consequences.

The Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy questionnaire appears to want to use government coercion to force businesses to give certain benefits to workers. Individuals should be free to organize for better employment terms, but not use the aggressive coercion of the state, so I couldn’t agree with much of what they were asking. Using violent monopolies to get your way is morally bankrupt and will only make our society worse off. If you want change, find a way to get it by persuasion or peaceful market pressure. Don’t use the violence of “the state”.

Here’s my campaign website where you can learn more about my near-zero budget campaign.