Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why Is This News?

From Yahoo:
(Reuters) - A small, Christian college in South Carolina said on Friday it had not banned gay students or homosexuality from its campus under its controversial new "Statement on Human Sexuality," which calls the practice sinful.

Erskine College has received scrutiny for its board of trustees' decision last week, characterized by some media outlets as a ban on homosexuality. It comes as many religious organizations seek to respond to the national debate over gay rights and same-sex marriage.

The college, affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church,
 held that sexual intimacy is only appropriate between a man and woman who are married.
This is the traditional Christian view of sexuality.  I fear that when Holder talks about relaxing the standard of proof for federal civil rights violations, it will be to go after colleges like this.

It may be time to start phasing down the Prozac

Today, I am feeling full of mental energy, but my body feels a little doped up still.  I think tonight I will start titrating down from the 20 mg dose, and see how I feel tomorrow.

Holder Victim-Stancing

If you haven't heard the term victim-stancing before, it means constanly looking for ways to casdt yourself as a victim, rather than admit that that your problems might be at least partially self-imposed.  This 2/27/15 Politico  article reports that Holder not only wantsw a lower standard of proof for federal civil rights violations, but he was picked by Congress for being black:
Attorney General Eric Holder plans to push, during his final weeks in office, a new standard of proof for civil-rights offenses, saying in an exit interview with POLITICO that such a change would make the federal government “a better backstop” against discrimination in cases like Ferguson and Trayvon Martin.

In a lengthy discussion ranging from his own exposure to the civil rights movement of the ’60s to today’s controversies surrounding the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, Holder also acknowledged that he felt some of his own struggles with Republicans in Congress during his six years in office were driven partly by race.

“There have been times when I thought that’s at least a piece of it,” Holder said, adding that “I think that the primary motivator has probably been political in nature … [but] you can’t let it deflect you from … your eyes on the prize.”

I am tempted to change the name of his political party from Democrat to Victim-Stancer.  Whil there is some ugly history in America about how blacks were treated, the major cause of problems for black Americans today is usually blacks: black criminals picking on their neighbors; black kids treating education by their peers as "acting white"; black politicians who run big cities as public feeding troughs for teacher unions.

And because this victim-stancing is so successful as a political strategy, many other groups have jumped on the victim-stancing wagon of the Democrats: the "rape culture" of colleges; homophobia; you name it.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Let me rage about hot water heater designs

Our hot water heater, after nine years of unremarkable service, suddenly stopped producing hot water.  The son-in-law of someone from church is an HVAC tech.  He found the thermocouple had failed, and replaced it.  Today the problem was the pilot had gone out, and following instructions on the side were of no use.  You hold the pilot button down for a minute, while sticking a lighter into a very dark hole, theoretically in which is the pilot light.  I could not seeany lit pilot.  The HVAC guy showed me where to look to see the pilot light which was on.  Why is this so hard?  A minute!  Is this lawsuit output?

UPDATE: I called Bradford-White technical support and they said they weren't allowed to tell me anything but read the label.  Not even how far in the pilot light is located.  Lawyers are ruining this country.

More interesting discoveries in jaguar land

According to the user's manual, the new Jag has a CD changer, but a bit different from what I am used to.  Instead of a magazine in which you insert many CDs, it reads CDs and stores their contents in a hard drive.  So you can load 10 CDs into it, but they are ejected after each is copied.  It is a bit slower to load than the Corvette, because it takes a couple minutes to upload each CD to the hard drive, but probably less prone to shock disruption of play.

Embarassing Moment

I rewrote my ScopeRoller web page a year or two ago to calculate the pricing for various regions of the world, in Javascript, so it would automatically produce one-click buttons for all the various variations of each product by region.  But suddenly it has stopped producing those buttons.  I should be able to figure out what went wrong; butt the brain isn't what it used to be.  Are you a Javascript whiz?  Interested in making a little money figuring out what went wrong?  View the source at, and try and tell me why produceByVariantRegion function stopped working?

These are the days that I HATE Javascript.

ScopeRollerVHAL.shtml:124 Uncaught ReferenceError: Invalid left-hand side in assignment
  1. ScopeRollerVHAL.shtml:680 Uncaught ReferenceError: regions is not defined
  1. ScopeRollerVHAL.shtml:618 Uncaught ReferenceError: VHALStdUS is not defined

There is something showing up in Chrome that isn't in the source I am uploading for prices.shtml:

// ScopeRollers: ATSPP

is actually:

 // ScopeRollers: ATSPP

Something is scrambling this.

I added this to prices.shtml:

// ScopeRollers: CAVX

but without the comments, of course.

Thanks to all.  First trick of successful web page programming: make sure WS_FTP is pointing at the directory you think it is!

Lois Lerner's Missing Emails Found

From February 27, 2015 Washington Post:
Federal investigators are looking for possible criminal activity in connection with the missing emails of a central figure in the Internal Revenue service’s targeting scandal.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration testified at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Thursday that it tracked down nearly 33,000 emails from ex-IRS official Lois Lerner.

The records date back to 2001, which is 10 years beyond what the IRS has said it could access for investigators....
The watchdog agency found the backed-up emails by consulting with IRS information-technology specialists, according to TIGTA Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Tim Camus.
“They were right where you would expect them to be,” he said at the rare late-night hearing, which lasted until about 10 p.m.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress last year that the backups were no help in recovering Lerner’s lost emails, in part because the IRS overwrites them every six months.
Camus said the IRS’s technology specialists told investigators that no one from the agency asked for the tapes, raising doubts about whether the agency did its due diligence in trying to locate Lerner’s emails, or possibly greater troubles.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Camus said.

Stuff less serious than this brought down Nixon.  But we had journalists back then, not Democratic Party activists with bylines.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whevever I Start Wondering If I Am Really Disabled....

I have a day like today, where I had to lay down for a nap about 1:30, and I didn't wake until 4:15.  My brain is still busy repairing itself.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I Admit It: Too Many Devices on my LAN

Right now I have two routers, one configured as a bridge for the other.  I thinjk I really need an 8port router with wireless N.  My notebook, my wife's, the floating notebook, my smartphone, the Wii, the LG box to talk to Netflix, the color inkjet, the laser printer: things are out of control.

Rehab Isn't Cheap

Blue Cross limits physical therapy to 20 visits per plan year, and I have run through them.  Feeling rich, I decided that I would pay out pocket as long as I was improving.  Bu these 60 minute sessions cost about $300 each.  I'm not that rich.  I am still making progress with my various exercises for this locked up deltoid muscle.  Maybe when the new plan year starts in July.

The Progressive Ivory Tower Pays Badly

From Boise Public Radio:
Instructors at the University of Idaho and Boise State University and colleges around the country are protesting pay and working conditions for part-time faculty. National Adjunct Walk Out Day is meant to highlight the trend in higher education of relying on lower-paid, adjunct instructors who work from semester to semester.
If only public colleges, institutions of progressive thinking, looked out for their employees as well as Wal-Mart.  But colleges are not in a free market, but a government-dominated monopoly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tools I No Longer Need

tabletop drill press
table saw
bench buffer
10" miter saw

I actually still need the miter saw but I want to upgrade.  Probably does not make sense to ship these, but if you are local?

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Two Jaguar Household

Why do we have both the XF and X-type.  While we advertised both the Corvette and the X-type on craig's list, we received no inquiries concerning the X-type.  I tell people that while we have not yet put them in the same garage or said anything to them, we are hoping for Jaguar kittens in the future.

In practice, having a third car with studded snow tires on it is always a god thing.

Facts about mental illness and crime

Over at Volokh Conspiracy, a piece by my co-author Dave Kopel about an upcoming Howard University Law Review article.
This year’s Howard Law Journal symposium challenged participants to search for ideas that can reduce criminal gun violence, and do so while respecting Second Amendment rights. My contribution is an article on mental illness and crime. The co-authors are historian Clayton Cramer, who is the author of the book My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill, and Dr. Carolyn Dobbins, a psychotherapist who is author of the book What a Life Can Be: One Therapist’s Take on Schizo-Affective Disorder. The draft article is available here.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Sort of Headline I Like To See

From February 22, 2015 Telegraph:
More than 1,000 people formed a "ring of peace" Saturday outside Oslo's main synagogue at the initiative of a group of young Muslims.
The event in the Norwegian capital follows a series of attacks against Jews in Europe, including the terror attacks in Paris in January and in neighboring Denmark last week.
One of the eight independent organisers of Saturday's event in Oslo, Hajrah Arshad said the gathering shows "that Islam is about love and unity."
"We want to demonstrate that Jews and Muslims do not hate each other," co-organiser Zeeshan Abdullah told the crowd, standing in a half-circle before the white synagogue. "We do not want individuals to define what Islam is for the rest of us."

It has always been my impression that many peaceful Muslims have been afraid to say no to the lunatics.  This showed some courage.

UPDATE: A number of readers point out that the story is at best, a misrepresentation, but that's what I expect fromprofessional journalists.

Collimating The Big Scope

Yesterday afternoon I decided to collimate the big telescope in preparation for an upcoming star party.  I was thrilled at how easily it collimated.  Colimaton of a reflecting telescope can be very irritating, which is why many small telescopes return such poor images.  They really aren't bad optics, but until you all the mirrors facing each other correctly, you are doomed to crappy images. 

I bought an earlier version of this laser collimator a few years ago, and what difference it makes.

Tonight's star party was a major success.  The collimator meant crisp, sharp images of Moon, Jupiter, Venus, and The Orion Nebula.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

It's Cold Out There

My kids and grandkids were up this evening so I rolled out the scope to show them Saturn (which turned out be Jupiter) and the cold wind just cut through me.  I have star party plans, but I am going to have to dress warmly.

I Need To Pick Your Brains

The neighbor down the hill from me in this subdivision has applied to the county planning department for permission to rent out his house for wedding receptions and reunions.  The CC&Rs for this subdivision prohibit any non-residential uses.  This should be a slam dunk, the county should not issue a use permit in conflict with the CC&Rs.  However, other property owner here insists Idaho law does not allow enforcement of CC&Rs that have not been enforced in the last seven years.  I am quite sure from looking through the court cases that this is wrongm and it would render CC&Rs completely meaningless.  Does anyone know anything differently?

The guy who wants to rent out his house for wedding receptions built a 5000 square foot house that he has been trying to sell for many years, asking upwards of a million dollars.  I think he got in over his head in the early 2000s real estate boom, and now can't sell the house.  I'm soory, but I didn't build here to have traffic jams on the shared single lane gravel road, loud bands, and drunks vomiting on the hillside.  What other sorts of wedding receptions are there?

The other property owner who claims CC&Rs have an expiration date is trying to sell his house, and has listed it as having no CC&Rs, so I think I can see why he wants to think this.

UPDATE: A couple of readers hjave asked if ScopeRoller violates these CC&rS.   I don't think so, so I went looking for definitions of "residential use" and I found this:
Something that is deemed “for residential use” is designed for use at home or rather than for business or commercial use.
and this:
 Describing an area primarily used for housing
 ScopeRoller is a few hours a week in a building that is primarily used for housing.  I think I am safe.  If my neighbor intended to live in his house and use it occasionally for wedding receptions, he would possibly be okay.

Friday, February 20, 2015


I never knew what this was, until Friday.  The Corvette was in its winter quarters, the telescope garage, without enough space to get the driver's door completely open, and I was trying to jump start it.  Because there was little exit room, I was having to slip out, drop my behind on the ground, and back out of the garage.  It would  have made great video.  Later in the day, my right elbow became swollen. It felt like a celluitis problem I had some years ago, so I went into the doctor who said it was bursitis: ice it and compress.

Okay, Things About The Jaguar XF I Don't Like

The glove compartment does not have a lock.  If you leave the car in valet mode, you enter a four digit code, and it locks the glove compartment, disables the radio, and locks the trunk.  To disable, you enter the code when you return.  This is fine for valets, who will be parking the car, but there are times when it is nice to leave the glove/pistol compartment locked even when driving, such as when your overly curious grandkids are in the car, or if you want to let them listen to the radio while you are in the store.

I am sure in time I will find other objections, but right now, I am happy.  The car is returning almost 22 mpg so far, and I have not been driving calmly..

Interesting feature: you can set it up so that holding down the unlick button on the fob does "global open": roll down all windows and open sunroof.  "Global close" should do the opposite.    I may not have it configured correctly.

What I had to say to the State Affairs Commitee in Opposition to HB 2 "Add the Words"

HB 2 was an attempt to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Idaho's public accommodations anti-discrimination law.

No on HB 2

My name is Clayton Cramer.  I teach history at the College of Western Idaho.  My
specialization is Constitutional History.  My work has been cited in multiple decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and in many state supreme courts.

I am asking you to vote against HB 2 because it is an attempt to suppress what has been our country’s tradition of tolerance of different religious beliefs and diversity with respect to laws.
There is a longstanding American tradition of the Right to Conscience:   
·        Colonial and state governments often exempted members of pacifist denominations from the obligation to perform militia duty to prevent conflict between religious beliefs and societal duties.
         Conscientious Objector Status was developed during World War II for those who objected to war based on religious conviction.
A law applicable to everyone will often exempt those who consider it a violation of their religious beliefs:
·        Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972) struck down a mandatory school attendance law because “respondents sincerely believed that high school attendance was contrary to the Amish religion and way of life, and that they would endanger their own salvation and that of their children by complying with the law.” The state’s laws infringed on a fundamental right “such as those specifically protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”
·        Old Order Amish and Mennonites among other denominations are exempt from the requirement to pay Social Security taxes (IRS Form 4029) again based on their deeply held belief that insurance is contrary to their religion.
·        Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2013) held that a law requiring a business to cover contraception under its insurance was contrary to the business owners’ principles because it violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
Adding sexual orientation to Idaho’s antidiscrimination law will infringe on the right of people with a moral objection to homosexuality to express that objection.  Cases around the country involving similar statutes have had the effect of driving Christians out of business because they were unwilling to compromise their religious beliefs.
         Elane Photography v.Willock (N.M. 2013) upheld a substantial fine against a wedding photographer who declined to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony, contrary to her religious objections.
         Masterpiece Cakes in Colorado (2014)  stopped making wedding cakes after they were ordered to make same-sex wedding cakes. 
         (2012) The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights threatened the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association (a United Methodist Church) with loss of its tax exempt status for refusing to book a same-sex wedding reception at its facilities.
         State of Washington v. Arlene’s Flowers (Benton Co. Sup. Ct. 2013) requiring a flower shop to supply flowers to a same-sex wedding.

At the core of “add the words” is the assumption that sexual orientation is something people are born with, like race, or sex.  There is a lot of evidence that this is not true.  Since the 1990s, multiple studies of behavioral and health problems in the gay community have found that non-heterosexuals are very disproportionately victims of childhood sexual abuse.
·        Roberts, Glymour, & Koenen, “Does Maltreatment in Childhood Affect Sexual Orientation in Adulthood?Arch Sex Behav. Feb 2013; 42(2): 161–171 “history of sexual abuse predicted increased prevalence of same-sex attraction by 2.0 percentage points (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4, 2.5), any same-sex partners by 1.4 percentage points (95% CI = 1.0, 1.9), and same-sex identity by 0.7 percentage points (95% CI = 0.4, 0.9). Effects of sexual abuse on men’s sexual orientation were substantially larger than on women’s. Effects of non-sexual maltreatment were significant only for men and women’s sexual identity and women’s same-sex partners.”

·        Wilsnack, Kristianson, Hughes, & Benson, “CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE IN LESBIANS AND HETEROSEXUAL WOMEN,” Child Abuse Negl. Mar 2012; 36(3): 260–265:
¡  Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a strong predictor of adverse physical and mental health outcomes (Koenig, Doll, O’Leary, & Pequegnat, 2004; Lalor & McElvaney, 2010). Recent research has found that CSA is reported more frequently by lesbians than by heterosexual women (Austin et al., 2008;Balsam, Rothblum, & Beauchaine, 2005; Stoddard, Dibble, & Fineman, 2009). Possible reasons for lesbians’ higher CSA rates include childhood maltreatment (e.g., physical and sexual abuse) because of gender atypical behavior (Tjaden, Thoennes, & Allison, 1999), and involvement in behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, running away from home) that increase risks of sexual victimization, following family and peer rejection due to same-gender orientation (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez, 2009).”
¡  The study itself finds that lesbians were far more likely to be victimized as children than heterosexual women, and the severity of that abuse was far more profound.  The odds ratio in Table 1 [in the article] shows how much more common the abuse of the lesbians had been than the heterosexuals -- 3.07 times for any type of CSA, and the severity measures are in nearly every category more severe for the lesbians than for the heterosexual women.

·        Friedman, Marshal, Guadamuz, Wei, Wong, Sawewyc, & Stall, “A Meta-Analysis of Disparities in Childhood Sexual Abuse, Parental Physical Abuse, and Peer Victimization Among Sexual Minority and Sexual Nonminority Individuals,” Am J Public Health. Aug 2011; 101(8): 1481–1494: “Compared with sexual nonminority adolescents, sexual minority adolescents were on average 2.9 times more likely (odds ratio [OR]=3.94; 95% CI=3.45, 4.57) to report childhood sexual abuse. The mean of the absolute prevalence was 40.4% for bisexual females, 32.1%, for lesbian females, and 16.9% for heterosexual females. The mean of the absolute prevalence was 24.5% for bisexual males, 21.2% for gay males, and 4.64% for heterosexual males…The higher rates of abuse experienced by sexual minority youths may be one of the driving mechanisms underlying higher rates of mental health problems, substance use, risky sexual behavior, and HIV reported by sexual minority adults.”

·        Purcell, Patterson, & Spikes, “Childhood Sexual Abuse Experienced By Gay & Bisexual Men: Understanding the Disparities and Interventions to Help Eliminate Them,” in Woltski, Stall, & Valdiserri, Unequal Opportunity: Health Disparities Affecting Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States(2008): 

¡  How Prevalent Is CSA [Childhood Sexual Abuse] among MSM [men who have sex with men]?
“Relatively high rates of CSA have been reported in every sample of MSM that has been reported, with rates similar to rates of abuse for women.  Table 3-1 lists data from 17 different samples from the past 15 years that have reported CSA prevalence among MSM.  The range of prevalence rates is from 11.8% to 37.0%....  A national probability sample of almost 5000 men ages 15 to 44 collected in 2002 for the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) found that 14.9% of MSM reported coercive CSA before age 18.
“Gorey and Leslie estimated prevalence of CSA among the general male population at 5% to 8%....  In general, rates of CSA among general samples of men are less than 10%...”
With so much evidence that homosexuals are disproportionately victims of childhood sexual abuse, perhaps the high rates of suicide, substance abuse, and depression among gays are not because of discrimination, but because of the high rates of childhood sexual abuse?

This bill will not address the deeper roots of the problem and will force many people to violate their religious and moral convictions, which in turn, violates America’s long-standing tradition to the right of conscience. 

Thank you.

Clayton Cramer