"the dumbest blog i've ever seen."

    "Get out a little more dude."

    "Is it more conservative to write about Red Bull, spelling errors, or whining about liberal teachers?" -Former contributor

    "a well-kept and activist-orientated blog"-Chris Collins, Seattle Times

    It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.

    -Samuel Adams

    Comments are only subject to editing in case of spam or malicious, unrelated content. Dissenting opinion on this blog will never be censored

Monday, June 12, 2006

Phase: ______ (fill in the blank)

Since I am no longer a student, per se, at Western (so near graduation that is), the future of this blog indefinitely called into question. I should take this opportunity at the end of this school year to thank everyone who contributed over the two years we have written our thoughts on this spot. I hope it was a worthwhile read at some point for you at least. I can't make any promises regarding any future action for now, but check back later if you want to find out.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Campus election irony

This year's head-shaker was the contest for the Vice President for Diversity position on the Associated Student Board of Directors--what was originally an uncontested race for Marcella Tomlin became a three-way contest with Chiho Lai, president of the Western Democrats and student senate chair, and our beloved David Zhang, guitarist, vandal and suppressor of free, diverse speech. Tomlin won the election with 41 percent.

Chiho joined the race apparently for the same reason's he expressed in his op-ed article to The Western Front during "White Privilege Awareness Week." In that article he took issue with the contention that Western is a racist school and ended up sounding almost conservative along side his leftist colleagues. Read about that article here.

I shouldn't be surprised at Chiho's loss, though realistically, he should have been the favorite. He made his frustration with myopic multicultural standards his primary campaign platform. As he put it in a position statement on Facebook.com:
Diversity includes not just minorities but also students who are traditionally considered part of the 'majority' as well. Diversity exists in all people, regardless of skin color, and no one person is more diverse than another.
On Zhang...

While I'm sure he meant well, I think he should know better than to expect much support after his disturbing attack on pro-lifers in red square. However, I should know better than to think he wouldn't get support anyway. He ended up garnering 217 votes--half as many as Chiho gathered, but still WAY more than he should have gotten. I wish Ms. Tomlin luck in her new job--whatever it is.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The vandal's apology

I should have done a separate post on what happened in Red Square last week Wednesday. It seems that the perpetrator has had a change of heart regarding his actions.

David Zhang, the Fairhaven student who destroyed pro-life signs in red square last week issued an apology to the protesters on his blog:
Although i may disagree with the way certain pro-life advocates choose to get their point across, they have a right to express themselves however they wish. that is their right guaranteed to them by the first amendment, and i respect that.

my actions damaging their signs were wrong and violated their right to free speech. i realize that the way i chose to express my anger was inappropriate and inexcusable. I am truly sorry for any harm that i may have done, and i sincerely ask for their forgiveness.
The previous post is Zhang's own (somewhat dramatized) account of his actions and resulting arrest. It looks like some of the pro-lifers have been commenting and also one comment from the person who took the photo that was published in The Western Front, Andrew St. Hilare. A good read.

Zhang is a somewhat well known figure. Most know him as the perpetually barefooted guitarist who can be found either playing in Red Square at mid-day or "open mic" night at the Underground Coffeehouse.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The great American cop-out

I never thought Western's campus would be big enough to house students who believe the First Amendment is null and void--um, to pro-life groups that is. See this coverage in The Western Front regarding one "offended" student's attempt to ravage the constitution:
In response to the anti-abortion display Tuesday and Wednesday in Red Square, Western senior Cara Pierson started a petition to ban hate speech from campus.

She said the photos of aborted fetuses, lynchings and Holocaust victims bullied and offended women who had abortions or considered having abortions.
For background on the displays and the fallout last week, see this article on the event and this one about the vandalism that ensued from one intolerant youth turned criminal.

Kudos to The Western Front for condemning the petition in this issue's editorial. Honestly, I can't imagine any newspaper coming down on the wrong side of this issue, but I'm sure it's possible.
If this amendment becomes campus policy, it would infringe on every student’s right to free speech.

Western should not ban any display — no matter how unattractive or offensive it may be — unless the display is breaking the law or purposefully inciting violence.
But even some self-described pro-lifers seem to have the makings of this tendency to censor. Censorship is usually motivated by one implicit goal: to squelch debate with hurried value judgments. Even if they aren't out signing petitions to censor, many people have been pointing fingers at the displays themselves instead of being willing to debate the issues. So while I don't know if such graphic displays are the most effective means of starting debate, I try not to distance myself from them because of my visceral discomfort.

Mark Iozzi, candidate for President of the Associated Student board of directors, seemed to attempt a fence-sitting move with regard to the petition:
“It is a slippery slope — infringing on free speech,” Iozzi said. “It is time to re-evaluate [whether] that the line is drawn in the appropriate place.”
No, it's not a slippery slope in this case--it is a cliff.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Thieves among us - did you hear about this?

Recent state audits of Western uncovered upwards of $117,000 that had been stolen from the university by a former employee in the cashier office, according the Seattle P-I today.
The former employee, who was not identified in the audit, was fired in August 2005 after the suspected thefts were uncovered, a state audit of the university said.

The Whatcom County prosecutor charged the former cashier with 11 counts of theft last month, university officials said. The school of about 13,000 students has since changed its cash handling procedures, officials said.
Being a former writer for The Western Front, I hope for their sake and the sake of the student body that they are onto this story.

I haven't seen it till now. Why?

Either this information has been squelched for a while now (the charges were filed last month), or it hasn't been covered well by local media, or....maybe I'm just not as good at noticing what's going on--which is somewhat scary because I know I hear and read and know about what's happening more than the average student (who should know about this).

One way or another, we had all better stay tuned.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Will the real liberals stand up

UPDATE: I have now located the link to the Frontline article referenced by Chiho Lai.

Someone had better get a hold of Western Democrat's president Chiho Lai and push him back into line. It's quite clear he has stepped over the magic line that separates politically correct dogma from sanity.

Lai, and fellow Western junior Brandon Adams wrote a cutting critique of the editorial position The Western Front recently took with regard to diversity at Western (part of the White Privilege Awareness celebrations). This naturally also puts Lai at odds with the more extreme AS Review (see previous post).
19.1 percent of Western’s freshmen enrollment consists of students of color, a greater proportion than exists in the state.Whatever the case, we shouldn’t advocate treating individuals differently based on their race. Applicants to Western ought to be judged on their merits, not the color of their skin.
His dissent is refreshing to say the least. While I'm sure he and I share many differences as officers of two opposing political clubs, I can take this as further evidence that the Western environment is a nursery of socialist (not even liberal) thought.

An ironic side note: Professor Emeritus Hogan, of the Political Science department is back this quarter to teach Law and Society. His early sense of fair-mindedness has since worn off, with at least one student dropping the class out of frustration with the biased content. I heartily concur and a few of us had a good time showing him up on Wednesday. The good professor was visibly frustrated that only one student agreed with his (and the book's) perspective on the issue at hand. He out and out told us we were all being inconsistent, and continued to argue with one student until most had walked out. And yes, a recent issue we have discussed was racism and (according to the good professor) the "inherent flaws" of colorblind policies. Better to establish quotas...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Racists all

I had the opportunity to see The Western Front embarrass itself a few weeks ago over its hyper-interest in immigration issues--no let me be honest--in its hyper-interest in border insecurity and the promotion thereof.

That's all well and good, but AS Review is the real campus embarrassment. It's almost been a week since their latest piece of idiocy was released on our fine campus. The Review is not only consistently ridiculous in their choice of content, but they insist on embellishing it with boring/haphazard presentation, and poor journalistic standards (oops, did I just imply they have SOME journalism standards?)

You'd be right if you thought, after reading that introduction, that I am reacting to something in particular. But I have yet to decide for sure whether it is just frustration over my momentary lapse in judgment sometime this week, when I picked up the latest edition of the Review, or whether the content was especially repulsive enough for me to physically gag. I hope it was just the former. But don't let me keep you in the dark any longer.

The cover of last Monday's issue (not online yet), is graced by a old picture, dating perhaps (by my best guess) to the 1940s. It is a partial photo of several dozen male *students* (perhaps just graduated, if indeed they are students), posing in front of a giant fireplace, most likely in a hall of some sort. Combed hair, clean shaved faces, and suits and ties...if that wasn't enough to condemn those in the picture, it would be the fact that they are all white--a point subtly alluded to by the bottom caption, which reads: "WHITE PRIVILAGE?" Who are these allegedly privileged young people? Goodness knows. Does it matter? They are obviously rather well to do (why else would someone wear a suit and cut their hair? Photo doesn't provide anything like the information I would prefer under something as "provocative" as this.

The point? Oh...well, it seems the White Student Union is sponsoring "White Privilege Awareness Week this month. Oops...that's the Anti-Racist White Student Union (ARWSU). Goodness, I almost implied they were a racist club! Isn't that amazing: They have to include the explicit "Anti-Racist" tag in their club name in order to avoid sounding racist. I guess I should probably join their group since I am a white anti-racist student. Or would that serve to just deny the fact that I prefer to remain color-blind, as a means to avoiding racism?

Underneath the cover of this issue lie two articles by Kelly Sullivan. One is about the "White Privilege Awareness Week," the other is about how everyone at Western is racist. Think I'm joking?

"I think that every institution in this country is racist, and that includes higher education, and that includes Western Washington University," said David Cahn, co-ordinator of the Social Issues Resource Center…

“Racism exists inside of all the people on campus. We’ve internalized these racist values. Unless we’re really challenging that, we can’t help but perpetuate it,” [said, Becky Renfrow, a member of ARWSU]
The reason?
…the GURs at Western only require two courses in the Comparative, Gender and Multicultural Studies bracket. “That’s basically nothing,” [Ian Morgan said]. “White privilege is in the curriculum, in the GURs that aren’t sufficient [to teach about multiculturalism, and ethnically diverse American experiences.] It’s basically the same at most universities.”
Did you catch that? Don’t teach me what I need to get a job. Teach me the doctrine that will make me an nicer person.

I still want to know who’s in that picture and when it was taken.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A peaceful beating...er, dialogue

Was the band of three who stood out in Red Square last Wednesday just lucky? Should we have been beaten for promoting violence? Someone in Maine thinks so.

Even when the beating should be the point (hello!), the AP story does little more than issue a press release with a token "balancing quote" at the end.
The attacker, described as a Hispanic teenager, went after one of three white people carrying signs arguing that illegals have no rights, police said.

As the teen fled, the victim dropped to the pavement after being hit with something heavy that the teen had carried, possibly in a sock or a bandanna, said Portland Police Sgt. Robin Gauvin. There were no arrests as of late afternoon.

The victim, identified as Robert Gorman, 23, of Portland, was hauled away in an ambulance minutes before 200 people gathered. He was treated and released from Maine Medical Center.

"When you promote violence, you get violence," said the Rev. Virginia Maria Rincon, one of the organizers. "Our rally is about promoting a peaceful dialogue."
I suppose I should be thankful to the heavy police presence in Red Square for my current state of health.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Western walkout debrief II

The newest Herald story is up. It includes a very cute photo...

I woke up early enough to catch the early morning newscast from KVOS and they covered it...with a short little snippet from our counter-stand in the square.

Still lacking more photos...hunting them down. Interesting note from the Herald story--apparently Tom Williams from the local Minutemen chapter was on hand downtown. Good to know there was someone on the other end of the march.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Debrief on walkout

What a beautiful day for a protest!

I was out there at 12 with my sign. I emailed the CR list last night as early as I could but it was still pretty short notice. Two other people kindly showed up to support. (thanks!) Sorry for the lack of immediate pictures--I laid my backpack down and, moved to the other side of the square, and didn't return to it for another hour. If I find any pics from either media or organizers, I'll be sure to send you to them. I couldn't follow the train of humanity downtown. I don't know that I would if I could.

Jon Gambrell of The Bellingham Herald interviewed me and also KVOS 12 (TV). Gambrell already filed online--that can be found here (my quotes at the bottom) for now. Don't know if or when it will update. I suppose you should also check channel 12. An educated guess from a look at their programming puts it at 6:30 a.m.

There's got to be better ways of getting a tan.

Herald: MEChA is harmless

John Stark did a short, insightful piece in yesterday's Herald on Western's Prof. Larry Estrada--regarding his profile in David Horowitz's new book The Professors. In it, Estrada claims he is not a "founder" (although he was in attendance at the organizing meeting in 1969) of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán), and also that MEChA is not a separatist group. To his credit, Stark has searched through the pertinent documents to see if that claim squares with the rhetoric:
MEChA’s official documents contain statements that could be interpreted as separatist. For example, its “Plan Espiritual de Aztlan”(link mine) states: “Once we are committed to the idea and philosophy of El Plan de Aztlán, we can only conclude that social, economic, cultural, and political independence is the only road to total liberation from oppression, exploitation, and racism.”

But elsewhere in the same document, the plan seems to define political independence as the development of a separate political party, not a separate country.
I personally didn't see just a classical party implication--I think that's tantamount to donning blinders. Political independence is political independence. A typical political party is easy enough to form, but it, alone, certainly would not provide what the authors are seeking:
A nation autonomous and free - culturally, socially, economically, and politically- will make its own decisions on the usage of our lands, the taxation of our goods, the utilization of our bodies for war, the determination of justice (reward and punishment) (emphasis mine), and the profit of our sweat.

El Plan de Aztlán is the plan of liberation!
“MEChA has never stood for secession from the United States,” [Estrada] said. “It stands for involvement and inclusion.”

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Walkout opposition here

I'm going to be out in Red Square tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon (when the planned student walkout is going on) to oppose the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán, (MEChA) and their separatist goals Read the article in the latest issue of The Western Front. If you believe it's not called "illegal" immigration for nothing, then make yourself a nice poster and come join in.

NOTE: This is not meant to be confrontational. We simply need to be heard and seen and make sure everyone knows that there are plenty of people out there who understand you shouldn't be able to live permanently in the US without becoming a citizen and paying taxes.