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.
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.
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…)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Libertarians Protest Unfair Debates Outside St. Anselm College Yesterday
As of 2016’s election, the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire has gained full ballot access as a major party on par with the Democrats and Republicans. This is a big deal as it means we no longer have to jump through ridiculous ballot access hoops like petition gathering to get candidates on the ballot here. This has resulted in more Libertarian candidates appearing on the ballot here in Keene than Republican candidates. If the LPNH’s gubernatorial candidate, Jilletta Jarvis, can receive at least 4% of the vote this year, the party’s major ballot access status will continue for the next two years.
Sadly, the two largest mainstream media entities are working to help stop Jarvis from getting her ideas exposure in their debates they are hosting this week. WMUR-TV and the Union Leader are putting on the “Granite State Debates” and have set the rules to where only the Republican and Democrat candidates will qualify. To get in to their debate, a candidate must have received 12% in a recent poll and have raised over $25,000. Ironically, Darryl W Perry told me that both organizations have opined in favor of getting money out of politics, but when it’s a metric they can use to exclude the Libertarians, they apparently support money in politics.
The idea that such rules are in any way necessary is totally ridiculous. There are only three ballot qualified candidates for governor. It’s not like they’d need eleven podiums on the stage. They could have kept it fair and allowed in all ballot-qualified candidates, but they stacked the deck against the Libertarian campaigns. It’s pretty clear the exclusion was done on purpose, likely to appease the other two parties’ candidates, who as we saw recently may refuse to attend if the Libertarian is invited.
It wasn’t just the race for governor. Last night they held their debate for NH’s 2nd congressional district and excluded Libertarian Justin O’Donnell. In an interview with Free Keene, O’Donnell said this on the matter:
Radio and TV broadcasters are given free access to use public airwaves worth more than half a trillion dollars in exchange for a requirement that such broadcasters “serve the public interest” and provide a fair and unbalanced reporting of the news to inform the American people. By hosting a facade of a debate, and failing to include all the options who have qualified to be on the ballot, these broadcast organizations are negligent in their duty to inform the people.
Tomorrow, Libertarians will gather to protest starting at 5pm, two hours before the beginning of the gubernatorial debate at St Anselm College. They will be standing near the college’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics at 100 Saint Anslem Drive in Manchester. LP gubernatorial candidate Jilletta Jarvis will be present. Last night the turnout was approximately a dozen activists – hopefully we’ll have as much or more tomorrow night! The fake “debate” begins at 7pm Eastern. Here is a facebook event for the protest.
Guess what? There have been no polls that have included the libertarian candidates!
It’s not like WMUR and their newspaper partner the Union Leader can use the excuse that without their rules there would be too many candidates on stage. There are three ballot qualified candidates for governor in New Hampshire. There are three candidates each in the two US House races.
Oh yeah, and they want the candidate to have $25,000 in the bank. So, only wealthy candidates may apply.
Libertarian Jilletta Jarvis Announces Run for NH Governor in 2018
According to Jarvis, if she’s invited to a debate, the other candidates will protest. She told me that North Country Community Radio recently invited all three gubernatorial candidates to debate. Incumbent republican Chris Sununu responded and declined the station’s invitation and democrat Molly Kelly ignored their invite entirely. Instead of the planned debate, the station gave a two hour interview to Jarvis and reminded their audience of the major candidates’ conspicuous absence.
Though Jarvis was told personally by WMUR’s Political Director Adam Sexton that the Libertarian candidate for governor WOULD be invited to debate, News Director Alisha McDevitt later told Jarvis that Sexton was not authorized to make that promise on behalf of WMUR. Sexton by the way, HAS been fair to the Libertarians in his various coverage – kudos to him for that.
If you’re upset by these blatantly biased rules, please reach out to the debate organizers at WMUR and the Union Leader and let them know how you feel. NH congressional district two candidate Justin O’Donnell has created a petition you can sign here. Jilletta Jarvis, the LP’s gubernatorial candidate has set up a page from which you can send an email to the News Director at WMUR, Alisha McDevitt.
Hopefully your input can help Ms. McDevitt change her mind, do the right thing, and invite the Libertarians to debate the two-party duopoly, giving the people of New Hampshire an actual choice.
Interestingly, Jarvis’ campaign has raised more than any other LP candidate for governor since 1994, but she’s still $16,000 short of WMUR’s $25,000 campaign finance goal. You can donate to her campaign here.
Redneck Muslim Imam Will Coley and his co-host Aria DiMezzo of daily libertarian talk show “The Call to Freedom” announce the new “Help ICE Kick the Bucket Challenge” to benefit pro-immigration organizations like the ACLU, CATO, the Libertarian Party, Detention Watch Network, Immigrant Defense Project, National Immigration Law Center, United We Dream, and the Refugee Right Coalition. Here’s a combo of two videos originally streamed earlier today in front of the LRN.FM studio in Keene: