Saturday, June 30, 2012

When The Basic Facts Are Wrong By the Second Paragraph...

Fortune has an article attempting to defend Fast and Furious, and it is amazing how much error it contains.  Let's start with the second paragraph:
Some call it the "parade of ants"; others the "river of iron." The Mexican government has estimated that 2,000 weapons are smuggled daily from the U.S. into Mexico. The ATF is hobbled in its effort to stop this flow. No federal statute outlaws firearms trafficking, so agents must build cases using a patchwork of often toothless laws. 
Let's see, there's the official campaign of BATF to remind people that you can go to prison for strawman purchases:

Buying a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from possessing one or for someone who does not want his or her name associated with the transaction is a "straw purchase."
1. An illegal firearm purchase (straw purchase) is a federal crime.
2. An illegal firearm purchase can bring a felony conviction sentence of ten years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.
3. Buying a gun for someone who can't can cost you your good name and land you in big trouble.
Here's the web page telling you that you need an export license to permanently export firearms out of the U.S.

I'm sorry, but when someone has so much wrong by the second paragraph, and quotes Legal Community Against Violence as a credible source, why bother reading the rest?

Any Way To Reduce Low Frequency Volume On A Video

My wife had to record an audition for an upcoming event by KTSY radio here in Boise, but with a single microphone input, there's no easy way to adjust her voice up and the guitar down.  Because the guitar is mostly in the lower frequencies, a graphic equalizer that could be applied to the WMV file below would be useful.

Any suggestions?  It's just an audition tape, so it doesn't have to be perfect, but the guitar is somewhat overwhelming her voice on some songs.

UPDATE: In Ulead Video Studio, there are only very limited audio filtering capabilities, but I split the audio track out from the video, and loaded it into Audacity, which is a rather interesting audio editing tool.  There I applied a high pass filter at 1015 Hz, which took out many of the low frequency (and therefore, high amplitude) parts of the guitar.  Then I amplified the rest by 5.0 db, and while it is not a dramatic change in sound, I do think her voice cuts through the guitar more effectively now.  I'll upload the changes later.

UPDATE 2: Fiddled a bit more: 1500 Hz high pass filter, 6.5 db amplification.  Her voice is definitely cutting through the guitar better, and sounds less muddy to me.  I'll upload the revised video shortly.

If I Wanted America To Fail

Marvelous video, although it makes it sound as though all of this was an intentional effort to destroy America, when really, it was a mixture of scientific ignorance, hypocrisy, crony capitalism, and godless Americans seeking a new religion: Gaea:

Analyzing Violence Policy Center's Concealed Carry Killers

An analysis of the Violence Policy Center's Concealed Carry Killers database to determine if it accurately represents the risks that shall-issue concealed weapon license laws represent to public safety.  This was written in support of a challenge to Maryland's may-issue concealed weapon permit law.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Goldfinches: Far More Beautiful Than They Need To Be

This is in the back yard.

Osprey Nest

Down by the Payette River in Horseshoe Bend.

You can see the baby osprey heads in one of the pictures.

Awash in Frogs

Even though there is no water nearby, we are always finding frogs in the most unlikely of places.

Cute little ones at that.

I'll Blame McDonald's & Supersizing For This

I mean, how else would marmots get so fat?  

These adorable creatures hang out on a big rock next to the old highway, which we usually take when heading into Horseshoe Bend.

Something Too Kinky & Perverse For the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade TV Coverage

Pink Pistols (the gay gun group).  One of my gay acquaintances tells me that the groups before and after Pink Pistols made into the KOFY TV full length coverage--but not Pink Pistols.  I guess the notion of self-defense is just too weird and kinky.

Book Sales and Promotion

I wasn't expecting to retire from sales of My Brother Ron (and money was never the goal of this book anyway), but I was expecting a bit more activity--34 sales for the Kindle, and one for the Nook so far.  I have one radio talk show set up in Texas in early July, but I am having no luck at all trying to organize anything else, even with local talk radio hosts.  If you have any radio or television talk show host contacts that can help get some media attention for this, please let me know.

UPDATE: Good news: NRA TV will have me July 5th at 11:40 PM Eastern.

UPDATE 2: Instapundit is waiting until the paperback edition is available--likely to produce more sales that way.  I agree.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Speeding Up Punishment of Eric Holder

Arms and the Law points to an expedited approach that Congress has used in the past, and can use again--and one that Democrats just a few years ago proposed to use against a Republican.  Hint: Congress has a jail cell.  My guess is that this might start Civil War 2.0, however.  That would not be wise.

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare

In particular, they recognized that the individual mandate is not constitutional under the commerce clause (what Obama's lawyers argued), but it is constitutional under Congress' authority to tax (what Obama's lawyers denied). I can't deny the validity of that formulation.

Most Americans are upset about the individual mandate.  I will be curious to see if Republicans are smart enough to use this in the election cycle.  As Chief Justice Roberts' decision points out:

Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments.  Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them.  It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

Weird Dream

For some reason, I have to go back and complete 12th grade.  (I have dreams like this occasionally.)  But this time around, as part of a placement exam, my high school has given me:

1. An almost illegible set of hand-written instructions.

2. A canister of R-35 (presumably refrigerant for recharging an air conditioning system).

3. A record (yes, one of those antique pieces of vinyl) with a song by Cream which I must interpret for my instructions of what to do.

It appears from the instructions that I must capture a honeybee for this--or perhaps they neglected to include one with the testing kit.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If You Find Typos in My Brother Ron

Add them to the comments list.  One reader noticed:

 It's the first page of chapter 2, near the bottom ("Location 341 of 7960" according to my droid -- is there another way to do this?). "Depression sometimes lead to suicide --"

Also, location 287 (the "last happy moments" photo in chapter one), you should list the persons from left to right and say so.

One good thing about demand publishing of the paperback edition is that once I have gathered enough corrections (or if someone finds something really tragically bad), I can apply that change to new prints of the book.

The paperback edition should be available shortly on Amazon.  (I have already pulled the trigger on the proof for the paperback, so it's too late to get the changes above rolled in.)


I saw that a jury convicted a Saudi student of planning a terrorist attack in Texas (alliterative headline for the ensuing civil suit if he had set off the TNP-based bomb: "Texas terror TNP torts today").  From June 27, 2012 USA Today:

Khalid Ali-M Aldawasari, who was legally in the U.S. on a student visa, was arrested in February 2011 after federal agents secretly searched his apartment near Texas Tech University in Lubbock and found bomb-making chemicals, wiring, a hazmat suit and clocks.
Authorities also discovered Aldawsari's journal, handwritten in Arabic, in which he wrote he'd been planning a terror attack in the U.S. for years and that it was "time for jihad," or holy war, court documents show.
Part of what led the FBI to investigate, including using one of those secret searches that caused panty-twisting for many people after passage of the PATRIOT Act, was that he ordered $435 of TNP from a chemical supply house, Carolina Biological Supply, who immediately informed the FBI that the order was suspicious.
Separately, Con-way Freight, the shipping company, notified Lubbock police and the FBI the same day with similar suspicions because it appeared the order wasn't intended for commercial use. 
Congratulations to both companies for noticing the suspicious nature of the order, and informing the FBI.  But what is TNP?  I did not recognize the acronym--until I looked it up, and discovered it was a chemical that I know well, 2,4,6-trinitrophenol, under its older name, picric acid.  If you took organic chemistry in college (or were just a hopeless explosives nerd, as I was in high school), you will recognize from the IUPAC name that it is a close relative of TNT, but with phenol instead of tolulene as the aromatic ring to which the nitro groups are attached.

What made picric acid so fascinating to me long ago was that while a decent high explosive in its own right, when placed in contact with most metals, it produces an even more unstable salt--an interesting way to render common objects dangerous.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

So Cool...It Almost Makes The Cost Worth It

I shudder to think what it costs, but if works even close to as well as this promo, it must keep Russian and Chinese air force generals up at night.

Progressives Spamming

Almost daily I get progressive political spam that is essentially just leftist talking points.  It is well enough written that I suspect that it is put out one of the big organizations, but there is no way to unsubscribe, and it is always sent from a false email address.  Here's an example:

Subject:  What will happen if the Affordable Care Act is Ruled Unconstitutional?
From:  "Noreen Kimmons"
Date:  Tue, June 26, 2012 3:04 pm
To:  "clayton"
Priority:  Normal
Options:  View Full Header |  View Printable Version  | Download this as a file  | View Message details

What will happen if the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") is ruled unconstitutional or repealed by Congress? The rulling would have a negative impact on nearly every American.
Two hundred million Americans with private health insurance will again have to worry that their insurance may be canceled if they have a serious and expensive-to-treat illness, or that their benefits will be cut off if they exceed an annual or lifetime limit.
They once again will have copays and deductibles for preventive measures such as mammograms and colonoscopies, and many will not be able to afford the copays. Americans covered by insurance from their employer will know that if they lose their job they and their family will lose their insurance. If they are among the 50percent of adults with a chronic condition, it may prevent their qualifying for new health insurance and they will be wary of changing jobs.
The 52million Americans without health insurance will know they have lost their chance to purchase discounted insurance or to be covered by Medicaid if they have a very limited income.
It mostly goes into my spam folder, but not always, and I resent them wasting my bandwidth and disk space with this.  Can someone tell me how you determine the actual sender?  Here is the full header:

Return-Path: <>Delivered-To: clayton@claytoncramer.comReceived: (qmail 8902 invoked by uid 89); 26 Jun 2012 19:04:35 -0000Received: from unknown (HELO (     by 0 with ESMTPS (DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA encrypted); 26 Jun 2012 19:04:35 -0000Received-SPF: softfail (0: transitioning SPF record at does not designate as permitted sender)Received: (qmail 5904 invoked by uid 89); 26 Jun 2012 19:04:35 -0000Received: by simscan 1.2.0 ppid: 5864, pid: 5879, t: 2.7193s     scanners: spam: 3.2.5X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.3.2 (2011-06-06) on spamd1.hrnoc.netX-Spam-Level: *****X-Spam-Status: No, score=5.2 required=8.0 tests=FB_SAVE_PERSC,     FH_HELO_EQ_D_D_D_D,FREEMAIL_FROM,HELO_DYNAMIC_IPADDR,HTML_MESSAGE,MISSING_MID,     RDNS_DYNAMIC autolearn=disabled version=3.3.2Received: from (HELO (     by 0 with SMTP; 26 Jun 2012 19:04:42 -0000Received-SPF: softfail (0: transitioning SPF record at does not designate as permitted sender)From: "Noreen Kimmons" <>Subject: What will happen if the Affordable Care Act is Ruled     Unconstitutional?To: "clayton" <>Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="uHn29Svoq38QuBEHAfCkJHHy5koO=_SNTF"MIME-Version: 1.0Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bitDate: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 12:04:29 -0700
 The IP address is in Austin, Texas, but this is probably not the actual sender.

Getting Child Molestation Convictions Isn't Real Easy

The charges are, to most Americans, utterly shocking.  If Jerry Sandusky had one accuser with no corroborating evidence, I suspect that the jury might have found the possibility that this was just a setup for a civil suit sufficient reason to find him innocent.  But the number of accusers, and the corroborating evidence involving the grad student who walked in on Sandusky in the shower, sealed Sandusky's fate.  But just in case, police had Sandusky's adopted son available as a rebuttal witness if Sandusky had been crazy enough to take the stand in his own defense.
Matt Sandusky, in a 29-minute taped interview with police on the eve of Jerry Sandusky's trial on child sex abuse charges, describes how he was allegedly molested by his foster father from age 8 to 15, NBC's Today show reports.
 To be blunt, there is something obviously self-destructive about someone like Sandusky.  Did he think none of his victims would ever blow the whistle?

Some of what I have read suggests another explanation: that victims of abuse who become abusers suffer some sort of emotional development freeze, and that they see themselves as still being 10 or 11 -- and thus see their victims as peers.  Some works on the subject suggest that victims of abuse with mixed emotions about what happened to them (humiliation combined with physical pleasure) may combine both their need to be in control this time with a notion that, "I enjoyed it, therefore my victim will enjoy it" to justify their unstoppable abuse.  This is part of why it is so important to stop the repetitive cycle of abuse -- to reduce the number of victims who transition to victimizers.

Obama Is Concerned About Being Outspent

From the June 26, 2012 Washington Times:
"I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far," Mr. Obama said in his plea. "I'm not just talking about the super PACs and anonymous outside groups — I'm talking about the Romney campaign itself."
This from the guy who won the 2008 election by refusing public funding and then outspending his Republican opponent more than 2:1 (who took Obama at his word that he would accept public funding and spending limits).

Righthaven Receiver Fires CEO Steve Gibson

I love it!  Vegas Inc. reports that the court-appointed receiver has fired Steve Gibson and his wife Raisha "Drizzle" Gibson.  In addition:

In the latest development, Pearson filed a report with U.S. District Judge Philip Pro in Las Vegas on Monday saying:
• "Instead of satisfying Righthaven’s substantial judgments, Gibson apparently has elected to allocate Righthaven funds that have been concealed from me to pursue appeals over rights that Righthaven no longer owns and has done so in a manner that further imperils what is left of Righthaven’s assets with additional attorneys' fees awards and sanctions."
And a malpractice suit is apparently being contemplated for Gibson's actions!  There is something positively Shakespearean about this whole sordid story: Gibson's greed (thinking that there were "millions, if not billions" of dollars of copyright infringements that he was going to monetize); claiming to own copyrights that they did not own in order to file shakedown suits; now he is fired, and is probably going to spend the next several years fighting legal battles over his actions.  Hubris: there are consequences.

I had some hopes at one time that there might be a lawsuit against Righthaven's backers for the money that they extorted out of myself and hundreds of others based on, it turns out, their false claim that they owned the copyrights for which they were filing suit.  But it does not seem to be likely to happen.

An Interesting Exercise

On the Kindle community page, Kindle authors are discussing various technical issues, but someone proposes a brain exercise: try to describe your new book in exactly ten words.  My entry:

Mentally ill deinstitutionalized results in homelessness, mass murder, suffering, degradation. 

Those Ugly Nasty Stereotypes...Where Do They Come From?

From the June 25, 2012 San Francisco Chronicle:

San Francisco police have arrested veteran gay rights advocate Larry Brinkin in connection with felony possession of child pornography.
Brinkin, 66, who worked for the San FranciscoHuman Rights Commission before his retirement in 2010, was taken into custody Friday night. He spent the night in jail before he was released on bail, according to a spokeswoman for the sheriff's department.
The details of the photographs involving adult men and children aged 1-3 years old are too grotesque for me to quote.

During his 22-year tenure at the Human Rights Commission, Brinkin was best known for championing equal rights for gays and lesbians. He helped craft San Francisco's groundbreaking Equal Benefits Ordinance, which became a national model for workplace equality.
Upon Brinkin's retirement, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution declaring the week of Feb. 1, 2010, "Larry Brinkin Week" in San Francisco, saying his "dedication to advance the civil rights of all people has never stopped."
Where do these nasty stereotypes about gay people come from?

UPDATE: The June 25, 2012 SF Weekly (an "alternative" newspaper who don't find the Chronicle far enough left) reports that he "led the fight for the city to recognize same-sex partnerships."  Some commenters are finding the fiercely racist remarks in the email associated with the porn so unbelievable that they are assuming that Brinkin's email was hacked.  That could be.  It is surprisingly easy to do, and it might even be someone taking advantage of an unsecured wireless connnection.  But Brinkin apparently hasn't made that defense.

The Danger Of Exposing Brett Kimberlin's Terrorist Past

Aaron Walker SWATted immediately after winning a victory for free speech in the Maryland courts against Brett Kimberlin.  (Kimberlin would like his terrorist past to not be discussed, now that he is an important part of progressive politics.)

If you don't know what SWATting is: 911 gets a call that purports to be from your home (and is spoofed to make it appear to be from your phone number).  The caller says, "I just shot my wife."  The goal is to get the police to respond with maximum force, and hope that in the resulting confusion, the police end up killing you.

It is amazing what progressives are willing to do to suppress free speech.

Monday, June 25, 2012

End Of A Refrigerator

In 1985, my wife and I bought a Sears refrigerator for the apartment we had in Irvine.  That refrigerator has followed us ever since.  When we had our current house built, we had all new appliances--but that refrigerator ended up in the garage.  When my daughter and son-in-law rented our house in Boise, it went to them, and when they bought their first house, it followed along.  It finally has some sort of leaking problem, so my daughter recycled it, and bought a new refrigerator.  

I think we have had one minor repair on that appliance during that whole time--which is pretty impressive.  Think about it: I think it cost us less than $500, and it worked well for 27 years.  The salescritter who sold my daughter its replacement said not to expect new ones that last anywhere near that long.  His claim is that the EnergyStar requirements shorten their life, and not to expect more than 5-7 years from new ones.

Perhaps he was just trying to sell an extended warranty--but if he is right, then perhaps the EnergyStar requirement is just one more environmental idiocy.  How much energy did we save by having the same appliance operating for 27 years?

Born To Be Wild

Remember that song from the 1960s?  This guy took it to heart.  From June 22, 2012 KTVB's coverage of Idaho's "Ten Most Wanted" list:
Iverson says Jones has a history of robbery, aggravated battery, burglary, petty theft, grand theft auto, reckless driving, resisting and obstructing, unlawful taking of vehicle, unlawful possession of a switchblade, being under the influence of heroin, attempted murder, possession of a controlled substance, armed robbery, and attempted escape.

The Court Blows a Raspberry at Obama

From Reuters:
(Reuters) - The Supreme Court upheld a key part of Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants on Monday, rejecting the Obama administration's stance that only the U.S. government should enforce immigration laws in the United States. The nation's highest court, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, unanimously upheld the state law's most controversial aspect, requiring police officers to check the immigration status of people they stop.
Other parts of the law they did overrule, but even this is a reminder to Obama that if the federal government won't enforce federal law, states may enforce their own, non-conflicting laws.

UPDATE: And it appears that the one part of the Arizona law that the Court was prepared to uphold--the Obama Administration is going to prevent them from using.  From the June 25, 2012 Washington Times:
The Obama administration said Monday it is suspending existing agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws, and said it has issued a directive telling federal authorities to decline many of the calls reporting illegal immigrants that the Homeland Security Department may get from Arizona police.
Administration officials, speaking on condition they not be named, told reporters they expect to see an increase in the number of calls they get from Arizona police — but that won’t change President Obama’s decision to limit whom the government actually tries to detain and deport.
“We will not be issuing detainers on individuals unless they clearly meet our defined priorities,” one official said in a telephone briefing.
The one part of the law that Arizona was allowed to use, checking to see if this person was an illegal alien, has now been rendered meaningless because the Obama Administration is going to deport illegal aliens if it fees like it--and they are not going to pick up the phone when Arizona calls.

As We Prepare For The Court To Read Kaddish Over Obamacare (in Full or in Part)

It's important to remember that our horribly flawed health care system, the one that isn't anything like those smart actually better by many measures.  This article from November 23, 2011 Forbes lists 5 year survival rates for various cancers:
Yes, you read that right. The U.S. is #1. Pretty impressive for a horribly flawed health care system. The article also points out that the longer life expectancy of some other industrialized nations has a lot to do with lower death rates from fatal injuries (traffic accidents and murder), and not so much to do with health care:
A few years back, Robert Ohsfeldt of Texas A&M and John Schneider of the University of Iowa asked the obvious question: what happens if you remove deaths from fatal injuries from the life expectancy tables? Among the 29 members of the OECD, the U.S. vaults from 19th place to…you guessed it…first. Japan, on the same adjustment, drops from first to ninth.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Are Stupid People Running Banks?

I mentioned last May that I had attended a real estate auction across the road from my house.  I attended partly because the minimum bid was $50,000 for a modest, 1750 square foot home on a bit less than seven acres.  If no one showed up--well, that would be a reasonable investment.  (No, more like a steal deal.)

A number of people showed up, and there were even online bidders.  The high bid was $93,000, from a couple that included the daughter of another neighbor.  Ever since, I have been waiting to see them move in--but it didn't happen.

I talked to the neighbor today, and he told us that the bank refused the bid.  They certainly have the right do so--but I find myself wondering: if you were not prepared to accept $93,000, why did you set the minimum bid at $50,000?  I'm sure that the bank had to pay the auction company some money for setting up and running the auction.  Why bother doing this when you know that you aren't going to accept $93,000?  This is just stupid.

My Brother Ron Now Available On Kindle!

Click here to order your own copy!

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Brother Ron in Kindle Edition Should Be Visible On Amazon By Tomorrow

Assuming no glitches get in the way during the Kindle review process.  The paperback edition will take a few more days.

One of you has an e-reader that uses ePub format (the Nook, I think)?  Please contact me so that I can use you as a guinea pig.  It may be a few days before I can figure out how to use Calibre to do this.

Actually, it looks like Calibre really isn't the right tool.  Or maybe I just didn't try the right options.  Still trying.

UPDATE: Yes, Calibre does the conversion pretty darn well from MOBI format (what Mobipocket Creator outputs on the way to Kindle format) to ePub.  I still have some problems with fonts changing at the beginning, but that's what Sigil, a WYSIWYG ebook editor is supposed to do.

UPDATE 2: Interesting.  A reader recommended Adobe's Digital Editions program to verify the ePub format--and sure enough--it seems to read Calibre's ePub output just fine.  It may be that Calibre's viewer isn't completely healthy.

Now, if someone has a genuine Nook that I can send the ePub format to....

UPDATE 3: Very cool.  I just used Calibre to convert my wife's book Running From Your Nineveh to ePub format, and Digital Editions seems to think it is fine.

UPDATE 4: My Brother Ron should be available for the Nook on Barnes & Noble's website within 72 hours.

UPDATE 5: Weird.  My Brother Ron showed up on Amazon in Kindle format--but with no price, and a typo in the description.  I fixed the description, and resubmitted.

What A Great Way To Unite Americans...

Ask them to make a donation to Obama's campaign, instead of a wedding gift:

Got a birthday, anniversary, or wedding coming up?
Let your friends know how important this election is to you—register with Obama 2012, and ask for a donation in lieu of a gift. It’s a great way to support the President on your big day. Plus, it’s a gift that we can all appreciate—and goes a lot further than a gravy bowl.
Setting up and sharing your registry page is easy—so get started today.
Yes, Americans who don't think much of Obama are going to be so pleased to have this opportunity.  I hope that this is a sign of desperation.
And as a commenter pointed out at WeaselZippers, it's called a gravy boat, not a gravy bowl.

Mortgage Rates At Historic Lows

My credit union is advertising 3.706% APR for 30 year fixed rate mortgages.  More impressive, I notice that along with 15 year mortgages (which have always been a good idea for those with lots of money to spend each month) they are also advertising 10 year fixed rate mortgages, at 3.107% APR.  For a $100,000 mortgage (which would be a pretty nice middle class home in the Boise Metro area), that's $960 a month--a perfectly reasonable payment if you had a good job.  (I know that good jobs still exist in this area, even if I am age unqualified for them.)

Typo Madness

My daughter made a number of useful suggestions, and of course, making those changes introduced a couple of new typos.  I should have this done Saturday and available in Kindle by Monday.  Nook version a day or two later.  Paperback edition by next Friday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Social Media As Idol

It is sad how some people reacted to Twitter going down:

"Twitters broke, my life has no meaning anymore," one user wrote on the social media website Tumblr.
Another wrote, "twitter is down and my life is over."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Last Formatting Changes...

A number of my readers contributed some very nice suggestions for book covers last year--and they were well-done.  (Even the ones that didn't win were well done.)  CreateSpace has changed their cover creator recently to be a bit easier to work with than before.  Consequently, I used a powerful photograph of a homeless, almost certainly mentally ill main that I found through WikiCommons and the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Next week: the paperback and Kindle versions will be available.  The Kindle version will be $1.49. I'm not quite sure of the paperback edition yet--still waiting for the final print size to be determined.

I'm not usually up this late, but I want to get the paperback proof printed and on its way so that I have it by Saturday.  Lots of little niggling details to catch, then go back through and check all the pages online one more time...

UPDATE: Oh, this is getting old.  The last change, for no apparent reason, and one line of the Introduction went to a new page.  This would not be so bad if I did not have to get up for my day job in the morning.

I often fantasize about being to afford to teach college and write for a living.  I'll keep thinking of Dr. Evil in that Mike Myers movie: "One million books."

UPDATE 2: It looks like Calibre is the free tool for converting to ePub format used by Nook.

UPDATE 3: Another delay.  My daughter finished reading it, and was very impressed (and she is not prone to false praise).  She has a few suggestions, and since her bachelor's is in psychology, her master's is in social work, she has worked in a mental hospital, and she is very smart, I think her suggestions are well worth folding in.

Nice To See Those Chicago Goons Getting Reined In

I mean the ones still in Chicago.  Professor Volokh points to a decision from a federal judge ruling that Chicago's ban on granting a license to have a gun in your home to people convicted of non-violent misdemeanors is void for vagueness and unconstitutional.  In this case, the misdemeanor was possession of a firearm in his home without the necessary license.

Actually, possession of a firearm without a license was originally a felony when this guy was convicted in 1995, but the state courts later concluded that this violated a state requirement concerning single subjects for legislative bills, and reduced all of these felonies to misdemeanors.  But even then, Chicago still wouldn't let this guy have a license to have a gun in his home.

There's a legitimate distinction from a constitutional standpoint between felonies and misdemeanors, and arguably a distinction that might limit the rights of those convicted of violent misdemeanors.  But the only crime here was that the defendant owned a gun in his home, and didn't get the right paperwork for it.

Executive Privilege

As former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams points out at PJ Media, Obama invoking executive privilege to refuse to turn over 140,000 pages of documents to Congress is really raising the stakes:

One thing executive privilege can’t accomplish for Eric Holder is hiding his Department’s wrongdoing. Richard Nixon got that scolding from the Supreme Court in 1974 in a case deliciously named United States v. Nixon.
In that case, the Supreme Court held,
neither the doctrine of separation of powers nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances.
Executive privilege cannot be used to cover up criminal wrongdoing, such as lying to Congress.
Even more important: executive privilege is generally understood as limited to communications between the President and his Cabinet officers and other direct reports in the White House.  Essentially, Obama is claiming that Fast & Furious was not a renegade operation deep in the Justice Department.  He has essentially admitting that White House staff were involved, or he would have no basis for executive privilege claims.  From the June 20, 2012 Christian Science Monitor:
According to an authoritative Congressional Research Service history of executive privilege, at least three important elements must be present for a legally correct assertion of the power. First, the communication the president wishes to withhold must bear on a core power of the presidency, such as the right to grant pardons or conduct law enforcement. Second, the communication must have come from or to the president or a close White House adviser. Third, the communication can’t contain info so unique that investigators can’t figure it out by looking elsewhere.

This is going to get fun, especially watching the same people who were furious with Nixon's use of executive privilege to hide crimes by White House staff (and Nixon) justify why this is completely different.  With a little luck, Obama can make the Democrats rue the day that they picked this crooked fool.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Controlling Where Endnotes Go in Word 2010

I have decided that as much as I prefer footnotes, I really need to make this next book use endnotes.  While Word 2010 will convert footnotes to endnotes painlessly, I cannot seem to find a way to control where the endnotes go.  Ideally, they would go into a section labeled Notes, just before the Bibliography section.  But I have yet to find a way to do this.  Any hints?

UPDATE: Here's the instructions.  They are not very clear, but that's because this is an incredibly ugly hack.  I am absolutely sure that Microsoft never intended to do this.

The Brain: A Highly Redundant System

When I helped create telephone switches and datacomm equipment (back when I was young enough not to be considered senile and useless by private industry because I am over 40), many components were redundant: there would be both an A and a B side to the switch.  If a power supply failed on the A side, then the B side power supply took over.  If the A side incoming fiber card failed, the B side took over.  The theory was that if one card failed, it would inform the operator, and the other side would take over.  The chances of one of these components both failing before the phone company had a chance to swap out the bad card was quite small.  

This is what redundancy gives you: if your equipment is 98% reliable, and you can silently (or nearly silently) switch over to another piece of equipment of similar reliability, and you can get the first failed equipment replaced within a couple of hours, the likelihood of losing service was tiny--fractions of 1%.  (Some equipment, such as individual cards responsible for providing service to several subscribers, were usually not redundant.  This was a cost tradeoff.)  

If you have seen the X-ray of the guy with a spear through his head -- and who managed to remain conscious and talking through the ordeal -- think of this as a reminder that an astonishing amount of your brain is clearly redundant.  (Or perhaps, not even used!)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Taliban & Blazing Saddles

One of the few memorably clever sequences out of Blazing Saddles is when Cleavon Little, playing the black sheriff in a very redneck Western town, takes himself hostage:

That's all I can think of when I see this June 18, 2012 New York Times article:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Pakistani Taliban commander has banned polio vaccinations in North Waziristan, in the tribal belt, days before 161,000 children were to be inoculated. He linked the ban to American drone strikes and fears that the C.I.A. could use the polio campaign as cover for espionage, much as it did with Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped track Osama bin Laden.

The commander, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, said that the vaccinations would be banned until the Central Intelligence Agency stopped its drone campaign, which has been focused largely on North Waziristan.
Mr. Bahadur said the decision had been taken by the shura-e-mujahedeen, a council that unites the myriad jihadi factions in the area, including Taliban, Qaeda and Punjabi extremists.
Yeah...make sure that a generation of likely Taliban supporters die young, or grow up crippled.  Perhaps they can use their wheelchairs to hide suicide bombs.

Attempts To Shut Up Mass Resistance

I find the tone of Mass Resistance's stuff about homosexuality a bit strident for my tastes, but there is apparently a pretty major effort to intimidate them into silence--and apparently because they have published a letter by a gay youth leader that reveals some disturbing aspects of one of the gay student organizations.  What is interesting is that this letter was published some years ago by one of the Maine newspapers, and even the dispassionate and even-handed news account is pretty astonishing:
ROCKLAND -- On Tuesday, January 16th, Michael Heath, the director of the Christian Civic League received an interesting letter. The author, Adam E. Flanders, of Belfast, Maine, is a former leader of "Out As I Want To Be" (OUT), a gay youth organization, until recently headquartered at 501 Main Street in Rockland, Maine.
In his letter to Heath, Flanders alleges many instances of inappropriateness and several specific crimes having been committed by members of the organization, chief among them being sexual activity between adult advisors and youth members of the organization, and between youth members and other adults in the community.
The organization was a rebirth of "Outright," a non-profit organization, based in Rockland, Maine, for support, affirmation, and advocacy of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. With the closure of the Coast AIDS Network, the organization lost its primary source of funds, and regrouped as "Out As I Want To Be," which consisted of several youth members and a few adult advisors.
Another part of the article reports:

The organization's former president would tell "affectionate stories" from Greek literature, about young boys having sexual relations with men, and would put a positive spin on the subject of pedophilia. According to Flanders, this form of sexual abuse became a common part of OUT, its advisors and youth members, "almost like a mutual joke shared by everyone but making many if not most of the youth very uncomfortable and distressed."
Of course, anyone who would suggest a connection between pedophilia and homosexuality must be a homophobe, right?  Perhaps Flanders was making the whole thing up, and couldn't think of any better way to advance gay rights than to accuse an organization like this of attempting to normalize pedophilia and encouraging adults to pursue minors for sex.  But which do you think is more likely?  This is an organization run by adults primarily tied into questions of sexuality among minors.  What would you expect?  If a bunch of heterosexual adults formed an organization for the purpose of making minors feel more comfortable about expressing their heterosexuality, would anyone be surprised by a similar set of events?

Went Shooting Yesterday With My Son

The place that I normally shoot, off Pearl Road, was heavily cattle infested, so we went down to the area off Black's Creek Road.  It was hot, and quite a ways away, but at least I didn't have to worry about destroying the natural beauty of the place.  (It was pre-destroyed in that respect.)

I haven't shot the AR-15 in several years, and I had forgotten how pleasant it is to shoot.  I still don't have the scope properly sighted in, but the iron sights seem to be spot on.  My son hasn't fired this rifle before, and he was pleased.  The Marlin Camp Carbine 9mm was great fun to shoot--what a neat little gun this is.

After dinner, we pulled out a longbow and did a bit of box shooting with that.  This is only a 25 pound pull, and yet a few minutes of it caused various upper body muscles to remind us that it really is a bit of work.  You have to wonder what the English archers at Crecy and Agincourt were like, using 130 to 180 pound draw weight bows.  Wow.  Men of steel.

Puppies for Panhandlers

Small Dead Animals pointed me to this article in the June 18, 2012 Sacramento Bee that is so crazy that I had to verify it wsn't from The Onion.  It is more proof that drugs are bad for you, especially if you run a city government:
San Francisco hopes a cold nose and a warm heart will help end the problem of panhandling.
In what could be the first program of its kind in the nation, the city beginning in August will offer panhandlers up to $75 a week to stop begging and foster puppies from the city animal shelter until the pups are ready for adoption.
The pilot program, called Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos, or WOOF, is intended to meet panhandlers' need for income while helping more animals avoid being euthanized.
"You can make it difficult for people to panhandle, but ultimately they're just going to go do it somewhere else," Bevan Dufty, the mayor's point person on homelessness, told the San FranciscoChronicle ( "Why not try to meet their needs for income in a way that helps the city and its animals?"
The city has previously tried to reduce panhandling with laws, including one banning sitting on sidewalks, outreach by service providers and an employment program.
Applicants for the WOOF program will be screened to weed out the homeless. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most panhandlers have housing, but beg to supplement their income or pass their time, the Chronicle reported.
I am dumbstruck by the thinking that infests San Francisco city government.  As a number of commenters pointed out, panhandlers make far more than $75 a week.

Read more here:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Insanely Busy...

But here's a joint effort we couldn't sell:

America in the Emergency Room

Picture this: The sirens are blasting, the doors of the ER burst open, and anxiety is written all over the EMTs as they wheel in a young man.  The sheets are dripping with blood.  It is clear by where the bloodflow is most fierce that the patient has a hole in his chest.  The ER room suspends all activity as everyone turns to him.  The ER explodes into life with people grabbing all sorts of medical equipment—people are barking orders to one another—the whole focus of the ER is now on that young man, with his terrifying wound that is carrying his life away without mercy. 

A window of opportunity has opened: every step, every appropriate medical procedure must happen now to save this young man’s life.  The ER workers must act precisely but quickly to stop death from conquering him.  There can be no distractions: no phone calls; no flirting with the cute nurse; no time out for a bite or a cigarette.  The window is open, but it is small compared to the overwhelming danger that this young man will die.  Yet everyone in the ER is trying to squeeze through that window—not just any solution, but the doctors need the right solution to save him.  They do not know exactly when the window of opportunity will slam shut, but everyone knows that it will—and very shortly.

The ambulance with our country in it is rolling up to the ER.  It is not too much of a stretch to say our country will shortly be on the gurney, wheeled in and needing expert and an all-hands-on-deck kind of approach to fixing our economy.  The Congressional Budget Office is warning us—again—of impending financial disaster if we do not bring spending under control—not too dissimilar from the blood flowing out from our young man’s chest.  Current spending and taxes policies means that the national debt will be “almost 200% of gross domestic product in 2037.”   This country will collapse well before we reach that point.  We now have a window of opportunity, small as it may be, but it is a window, it is open, and when it will slam shut, no one knows.  

Republicans, hear this: run this election, and what happens after you gain control of the White House and both houses of Congress, as if this country is about to bleed to death.  Squeeze through the window with economic policies that will bring the hemorrhaging deficit under control, and keep a vigil over this patient for the long haul—no quick fixes, but a true program to bring health back to our nation.  No distractions: no chasing pages or extramarital affairs.

We either love this country enough to save it, or watch it being parceled out by those who would use it as their own personal piggy-banks, while the country eventually collapses from these current hemorrhaging policies that have depressed and will eventually destroy this country.  Act now, Republicans, and you Democrats who see this land worth fighting for—now is the time:  the window of opportunity is going to close.  We can’t say exactly when, but be assured, it will close.

There are a lot of special interests that rely on members of Congress to keep their troughs filled with taxpayer money: military projects that the Defense Department doesn’t want; farm price supports going to individual farmers and businesses who receive millions of dollars a year; “green” subsidies that the Obama Administration’s corruption has brought into the open, but which are not Obama’s invention; the student loan bubble, which is producing large numbers of heavily indebted college graduates who can’t find jobs.

Yes: we know that the institutions and wealthy individuals who really run things in Washington (regardless of which party is in power) fund political campaigns because they expect to get something back for it.  We are not expecting an outbreak of public spiritedness by the people who have corrupted our political system.  We do expect them to rein in their greed long enough that the patient gets from the ER into a regular hospital bed, where he can recover, before any more fatal blows are delivered by Washington.  Dead patients don’t produce any blood.

This is going to take some real courage: members of Congress are going to have to tell the special interests that demand taxpayer money and special favors to chill out until the economy recovers.  Americans have become pretty cynical about the political process, but if Congress and the White House don’t take immediate steps to reduce spending and the ever-growing deficit, this is going to end very badly.  When we say “end very badly,” we mean a conflagration that will destroy not just our political system, but risk destroying the accumulated wealth that special interests have sucked out of the Treasury for the last few decades.

It is apparent that another four years of Obama will bring this country to a poverty and desperation from which genuine mass, revolutionary violence could easily spring.  The history of such revolutions is not pretty, and we see no reason to believe that it would lead to something like the first American Revolution.  Republicans after the general election in November will have this window of opportunity during which really radical, serious ideas, such as Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, should be considered and debated.  Blow this window of opportunity, and America is finished.
Clayton & Rhonda Cramer teach history and English at the College of Western Idaho.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sex Education For Fifth Graders

Apparently the principal, who was teaching sex education, went a bit beyond what the parents thought was appropriate for fifth graders:

Fifth-graders at Onalaska Elementary School were supposed to get a lesson about HIV-AIDS, but the class discussion turned graphic when a child asked about other forms of sexual activity. The principal, who happened to be teaching the class, then told the children about oral and anal sex.
“I’m one pissed off cowboy,” parent James Gilliand told Fox News Radio. “I didn’t appreciate them teaching my daughter – who is innocent of that – at all.”
Gilliland and his wife, Kadra, were among the moms and dads in Onalaska, about 73 miles south of Tacoma, demanding answers from their local school system – and so far – they are still waiting.
The Pannkuk and Gilliland families said they knew something was wrong when the daughters came home from school. They were quiet and withdrawn.
“You could tell she was embarrassed,” Jean Pannkuk told Fox News Radio. “She didn’t want to have to repeat what had been said. It was really sad to see her struggle with feeling like she was responsible.”
Pannkuk and her husband sat their daughter down and asked her explain what she was taught in the class.
And then the description becomes far more graphic than I am willing to quote.

I am shocked that there are still parts of America where fifth graders can be shocked by this.  But then again, I have a pretty negative view of what the mass media are doing to kids--excuse me, "pre-adults."

Robur the Conqueror (1886)

I just finished reading Jules Verne's Robur the Conqueror, first published in 1886.  Think of it as a cut-rate Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea at a somewhat higher elevation.  Not quite as intriguing--or is just that I am 45 years older now than when I first encountered Captain Nemo?  Still, not a bad way to amuse yourself.  Verne clearly saw the future of air travel and air superiority was with heavier-than-air craft, as well as the opportunities for strafing runs.

Like Off On A Comet!, the racism of late Victorian times is clearly apparent in its portrayal of the black servant of one of the Americans, although it is far less blunt than the anti-Semitism of Off On A Comet!  You could almost talk yourself into believing that it wasn't a general contempt for black people.  Almost.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Hope This Is An Error By The Journalist

More on the Maryland cannibal case.  From June 14, 2012 USA Today:
BALTIMORE (AP) – A Maryland cannibalism suspect faces a more serious charge of attempted murder in a different attack at a Baltimore university dorm.
Please: tell me that attempted murder is not a more serious charge than murdering and eating someone.  Even in Maryland. 

What Next?

Face-eating cannibals...collapse of the Euro...Black Death in Oregon.  What can possibly come next?

Stories Like This Make The Case For Fornication Laws

If the government didn't end up involved in child support payment rules (and likely some TANF funding as well), you could argue that stuff like this isn't the government's business:
(Memphis) Latoya Shields says she had to sit down when she heard the news, “During the whole relationship, I only knew of four children.”
When a prosecutor told her that the father of her child had 20 other children she said her knees buckled, “At that time, three years ago, my child was the 21st child. Yeah, that would be overwhelming for anybody.”
She says after spending almost 8 years with Terry Turnage, she had no idea what he what he had been up to.
WREG tried to find out by going to Shelby County Juvenile Court.
Turnage had filed a petition there to lower his child support payments for 15 different women.
If you want to know where this is taking us: see Idiocracy.

Fortunately, New York Has a Pretty Restrictive Gun Control Law...

So this must have happened in the alternative universe New York:

Police in Buffalo, N.Y., issued an alert to law enforcement agencies nationwide and parts of Canada Thursday for a trauma surgeon and former military weapons expert suspected of fatally shooting a receptionist at the hospital where they worked.
Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda told reporters at a press conference Thursday that evidence now points to a carefully planned exit strategy devised by Dr. Timothy Jorden, 49, prior to the shooting.
The guy they are looking for is likely to be a real problem: book smart (he's a doctor) and street smart (ex-Special Forces).  He apparently planned his exit strategy, so unless his apparent mental breakdown over the last few months was drug-related, he probably has a sizable cache of money.

One of the research projects I am working on right now really reminds me of much domestic violence cases like this are a stubborn problem.  These are not your run of the mill hoodlums, but often quite middle class people who are often squeaky clean before something like this.  They aren't the norm among murderers (as much as gun control advocates like to pretend otherwise), but they are not completely unusual, either.

I've read a few too many news accounts of late that involved a guy who murders his soon-to-be ex-wife on the day that the divorce decree finalizes, then kills himself.  I can understand the guy who commits suicide because he can't imagine life alone.  But these murder-suicides on the day of the divorce decree leave me both saddened and confused.

Exploding Targets Are Fun; Range Fires Aren't

The June 14, 2012 Idaho Statesman reports:

A new shooting craze has started range blazes and can make shooters liable for damages.
It was first reported that bullets caused four fires that have burned hundreds of acres of public rangeland in Idaho this year.
Four of the 19 human-caused fires in Southwest Idaho this year instead were caused by the targets, which have become popular among target shooters. Three of those blazes were in the Treasure Valley this week: Two wildfires near Kuna on Sunday burned about 800 acres, and a fire on Monday burned 370 acres south of Marsing.
I've never used the exploding targets, but I confess it sounds fun.  Until you get the bill for putting out the fire.

Read more here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Good News For Romney...

But I shudder to see how AFL-CIO is going to spend their money:

The AFL-CIO has told Washington Whispers it will redeploy funds away from political candidates smack dab in the middle of election season, the latest sign that the largest federation of unions in the country could be becoming increasingly disillusioned with President Obama.The federation says the shift has been in the works for months, and had nothing to do with the president's failure to show in Wisconsin last week, where labor unions led a failed recall election of Governor Scott Walker.
Yeah, right.

It does appear that having figured out that Obama might lose the election, AFL-CIO is looking to try and retain control of Congress.

They're Coming For Your Milk Shakes!

June 13, 2012 Fox New York is reporting that Bloomberg's nanny state isn't stopping at your Big Gulps:
The New York City Board of Health showed support for limiting sizes of sugary drinks at a Tuesday meeting in Queens. They agreed to start the process to formalize the large-drink ban by agreeing to start a six-week public comment period.
At the meeting, some of the members of board said they should be considering other limits on high-calorie foods.
One member, Bruce Vladeck, thinks limiting the sizes for movie theater popcorn should be considered.
"The popcorn isn't a whole lot better than the soda," Vladeck said.
Another board member thinks milk drinks should fall under the size limits.
"There are certainly milkshakes and milk-coffee beverages that have monstrous amounts of calories," said board member Dr. Joel Forman.
Read more:
Yet New York City is still working its way slowly towards decriminalization of marijuana.  Health is clearly not the big concern driving this.  Or at least, not in any consistent way.

For what it is going to cost them to pass these regulations, wouldn't it make more cost-effective for NYC government to start running ads reminding people that they won't hot and sexy if they keep drinking too many calories?

Unionizing the Unemployed

This is weird.  The June 13, 2012 Daily Caller reports that labor unions are trying to organize the unemployed into...what?...non-labor unions?

America’s jobless are unionizing, or at least furthering an agenda of one of the nation’s biggest unions.
An organization aimed at giving the unemployed more influence has announced it now has more than 100,000 jobless activists in their ranks.
The Union of Unemployed (UCubed) Activists is an Internet-centric “community service project” of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) — one of the country’s largest industrial trade unions.
“Our objective is to pull together unemployed Americans in a way that allows them to connect, communicate and press their political leaders for policies that will get them back to work,” Rick Sloan, UCubed’s executive director and IAM communications director, told The Daily Caller.

Read more:
If they don't get their way, will the shop steward yell, "Down tools!" and all the jobless activists stop agitating?  Is that a promise?

The Old Joke About a Person Who Speaks Only One Language?

You know the joke: "bilingual" is someone who speaks two languages, "trilingual" is someone who speaks three languages.  What do you call someone who can only speak one language?  An American.  Alas, it seems to be increasingly true.  I am astonished at how few of my students have studied any foreign language. 

I was looking at the University of Iceland's website, and I don't know whether to be shamed at how few Americans learn a foreign language, or engage in jingoistic "We're number 1" rhetoric:
The University of Iceland offers a diverse selection ofcourses taught in English. A few academic programmes are offered entirely in English, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and all schools offer single courses taught in English.
The University of Iceland works in an international environment, and cooperates with a multitude of international universities and research institutions on research, student exchanges, staff exchanges, and more. Hundreds of international students study at the university each year, and their numbers are growing. The University of Iceland is ambitious in attracting international students and scholars, and the number of single courses taught in English is steadily increasing.
I confess, every time that I see an Icelander interviewed, I am impressed with how flawless his English is.  Admittedly, Iceland was in some weird sense a protectorate of the United States for decades, with a huge U.S. Air Force base near Reykjavik.   

Felons & Guns Don't Mix

Washington's Department of Corrections (the agency that runs prisons, not the agency with the Liquid Paper) is trying very hard to impress upon prisoners that are about to be let out: we do not want to see you again.  From the June 12, 2012 Seattle Times:

Coleman was among several dozen inmates who on Tuesday attended the Firearms Crimes Enhancement Program, a panel discussion hosted by the state Department of Corrections (DOC) and designed to educate felons about the serious legal penalties they face if they're caught possessing firearms after their release.
The presentation by members of various police departments, prosecutor's offices and DOC community-corrections officers, is also an opportunity to provide a little preventive outreach, according to Cmdr. Terry Morgan of the Redmond Police Department.
"We want you to get out of here and not ever come back," Morgan told the inmates, all of whom are scheduled for release before the end of the year. "But the bigger reason is that we want the killings and shootings to stop."
Inmates were asking questions about what weapons they are allowed to own--and before you get too upset about this, remember that ex-felons tend to have lots of acquaintances on the outside who aren't necessarily nice people.

This Is Idaho: You Can Get Life For Repeated DUIs

From the June 12, 2012 Idaho Statesman:

Terry Lee Ash will find out in August if he will ever leave prison again after an Ada County Jury found him guilty of a felony DUI Tuesday — his 14th drunken driving arrest.
The jury also found the 55-year-old Ash, who has seven previous felony DUI convictions, guilty of being a persistent violator of the law, following a two-day trial. 
The crime of felony DUI is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, but since the jury also found that Ash is a persistent violator, he could be sent to prison for the rest of his life.
Read more here:
Pretty clearly, this is someone who can't stay away from alcohol, and can't stay away from driving.  If you want to drive drunk and endanger people's lives--and you can't learn from past mistakes--stay in California.  Perhaps you can get elected to the state legislature.