I realize how annoying it is for some self-important newbie (5 1/2 years ago, I didn't know a mile marker from a highway exit sign) to subject intelligent and experienced long-timers to his bloviating. Yet every time I discover something I didn't know, I assume that I have broken through the frontiers of human knowledge, and I want to share it. That may be a form of narcissism, but it also might be that I actually have found something that should be shared.

My most recent eye-opening discovery is this: members of Congress don't want to be bothered by people who can't vote for them. I have long suspected so, but my suspicion was in-my-face confirmed yesterday when I tried to e-mail Congressman Charlie Wilson (D-OH 6th). His website flat-out says, "if you don't live in my district, don't bother me or my staff." To e-mail him you must enter your 9-digit zip code; he apparently has a filter that automatically trashes all out-of-district messages. Paper mail apparently is trash-canned without being opened if its return address shows a wrong zip code.

I don't know whether Wilson is more arrogant or simply more honest than his colleagues -- but I doubt that he is hugely different. Whichever the case, it confirms the central thought of my prior thread: if you want to be heard away from home, you have to channel your thoughts through local influentials -- and let THEM write to their congressman and senators.