Thomas L. Knapp

Tom Knapp is the publisher of Rational Review.


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Situation Report
A Rubicon of sorts
by Thomas L. Knapp

Where we are

On Monday, several important things happened in the life of Rational Review News Digest: we published our thirtieth edition; entered our seventh week of publication; and the publication to which we who produce RRND formerly contributed, Freedom News Daily, returned.

That's not all that has happened recently, of course.

  • Our web site experienced dramatic growth in January, serving a total of about 11,000 unique users, up from about 6,000 in December.

  • RRND's daily email circulation rose from less than 100 at the end of its first week to nearly 1,900 at the end of its sixth.

  • We added a new Rational Review editor, Mary Lou Seymour, and achieved the resurrection of her former Free-Market.Net column, now hosted on Rational Review as Liberty Action of the Week. The email edition already has more than 100 subscribers.

  • Rational Review's "zine" operation published no fewer than 14 articles and cartoons in January, compared to its previous usual five or six.

  • While we're not yet at the funding level we need to reach for long-term survival, our readers have responded. There are too many who have helped to list separately (and I don't have the permission of all of them to name them publicly), but I'd particularly like to thank two of our donors:

    • Our very first donor, Fred Mangels, who responded with a contribution on the very first day of RRND's publication.

    • Our largest single financial supporter, Jim Lark. I conversed extensively with Jim about RRND's mission and prospects. He demonstrated his support for, and belief in, that mission and those prospects with a check for $1,000! More importantly, Jim inspired us and lifted our spirits. The fact that he thinks so highly of what we are doing is a huge confidence booster that makes us more determined than ever to continue our work

Not a bad month!

Where we're going

I worked with Free-Market.Net for about seven years, in one capacity or another. The other three RRND editors -- Mary Lou Seymour, Steve Trinward and R. Lee Wrights -- also worked with FMN.

The four of us were major players on the team that produced Freedom News Daily. We were bitterly disappointed at FMN's suspension of operations, and it was that suspension that led directly to the creation of RRND.

So, now that Freedom News Daily is back, is RRND going to go away?

In a word, no.

RRND has established its own identity. It's different from FND. In some ways, we believe it is superior, or at least different:

  • Our editorial policy allows us to wander far and wide for the very best content; we're not obligated to coverage of particular organizations which have paid us for that service, as FMN is.

  • RRND is published early in the morning, almost always before 7 a.m. EST. This means that it reaches most of our readers' inboxes in time for them to start their morning informed. FND is a mid-day feature.

  • Even now, and especially as time goes on, FND and RRND will display different "personalities." Each publication is there to serve its readers, and each publication's editors will see different opportunities to do so in different ways.

That said, we're not so much bent on "competing" with Freedom News Daily as we are on producing a unique feature which serves the needs of its readers. If you only want to receive one daily news update, we hope you'll choose ours, of course -- but there's no reason you can't make good use of both.

How you can help

In the past, I've asked you to financially support Rational Review and Rational Review News Digest. Now, for a limited time, I'm going to offer you a chance to help two worthwhile organizations with one donation.

When Free-Market.Net suspended operations, it carried a great deal of debt on its books. Much of that debt was in payroll, and about $5,000 of it was owed to the four of us who produce RRND.

The Henry Hazlitt Foundation has auctioned off most of its resources, and will be using the proceeds to defray its debt. Unfortunately, the proceeds did not come to enough to totally erase that debt.

In a spirit of good will, we at RRND are making the following offer: donations received via the link below will in turn be written off against the Henry Hazlitt Foundation's debt to RRND's editors.

If you donate $1 to RRND, we'll take $1 off what HHF owes us. If you donate $1,000, we'll take $1,000 off what HHF owes us. Your donation will not only help us continue publication and improvement of RRND, it will lower the amount of debt on HHF's books, making its assets stretch that much further toward erasing its debt.

If we take in more in donations than HHF owes us during this period, we'll send half of any additional revenues to HHF, allowing them to further defray their debts to other parties.

This is, of course, a limited-time offer. HHF will have to close its books and declare its debt when it goes into bankruptcy proceedings. We'll stop this offer when they tell us that time has come.

This "two birds with one stone" offer is only good through the link below, and we can't offer the subscription deals or book premiums available here for donations pursuant to the offer. We're also accepting donations for this purpose by PayPal only -- e-gold values in fiat currencies fluctuate, Amazon Honor System charges an exorbitant commission fee and, since the matter is time-sensitive, we might not get a check in time to let HHF know before it closes its books.

This offer is unilateral. I did inform Louis James, the president of HHF, of it, and he is passing the word on to HHF's board, etc., but upon rethinking it, I realized that we don't really need anyone's "permission" to do this. We're taking in contributions, and in turn forgiving debt of, and possibly even making contributions to, HHF. We'll be glad, of course, to let HHF audit our PayPal account if it wishes to ensure that we're keeping our word.

Here's the link for donating in this "two for one" manner (it will be deactivated when the offer closes):



The bottom line

The last two months have been both difficult and exhilirating for those of us here at RRND. We're not "up to speed" financially yet. FMN's collapse left me short two months' back pay, and the others in similar straits. RRND hasn't met its funding needs yet. But it will. Our goal is to put Rational Review and Rational Review News Daily on a solid foundation that will allow it to grow and become even more an indispensable part of its readers' daily lives.

With your help, we will make that happen.

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review