"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

Sunday, January 30, 2005

...and pray for Iraq

It's kind of important.

The people of Iraq are in the process of their first election. If you can't find it within yourself to cry a few tears of joy for these people who are now tasting the freedom they desired, then perhaps just look on a successful election as a giant leap towards bringing our troops home in short order.

Equality...of cultures?

One of the greatest errors that is consistently taught in American universities is the precept that all cultures are equal and therefore should have equal standing in the world and even our society. Harmless little thought? Hardly!

Let's look at the implications of such thinking.

First, what people need to understand is that this liberal precept is one of the primary reasons that there is so much hatred for America emanating from campuses. Some of the manifestations that we often see on campus is the perpetual idolization of diversity and the need to be completely accepting as valid--to the point of literal relativism--of all viewpoints and philosophies. Let me also clarify that I don't mean that someone doesn't have the right to their viewpoint or cultural background--that's not what I mean. I mean the push for diversity is unfortunately rooted in the common belief that all cultures and views are equally right or good. This way of thinking conflicts with my core values because 1, I believe, regardless of one's rights, there is still absolute right and wrong--in other words, we have the right to be wrong--2, I do believe that America is a superpower because the values it holds are superior to other parts and countries of the world.

*liberal readers gasp in abject horror at this point*

Recommended reading on this topic is the book by Dinesh D'Souza, What's So Great About America. Before you judge the book by the title let me say yes, it is written in support of western values, but it is hardly a book of right-wing dogma. Mr. D'Souza is an Indian immigrant who has a very balanced perspective. He doesn't pull any punches in his analysis; both liberals and conservatives will find reason to squirm under his sharp, objective insight. This is a really-easy-to-read book of philosophy!

Mr. D'Souza points out that the belief that all cultures are equal is the necessary thought process that produces the dogmatic faith: that America became so powerful and influential through coercion and oppression alone. You see, if each culture is equally meritorious, there can be no getting ahead of the others without coercion--and so thinks the liberal professor. The notion that we might have earned this wealth through a superior way of life and faith is dismissed as absurd and even bigoted.

In conclusion, another spin-off of our status in the world is (duh) we are much envied by both common people of other nations and also--in a more deceitful way--the governments of our rivals. Case in point: I don't think (this is speculation as well as experience) that the average foreigner desires to emulate a Frenchman for style. On the contrary, it is the American style and way of life that is desired and sought after. One of D'Souza's points is that a liberal professor would see a this desire, give a puzzled grunt and tell him he is mistaken to desire it, because, after all, his own culture of dime-a-day wages, contaminated water, and corrupt government is just as intrinsically good as America. I can just imagine the confusion on this hypothetical foreigner's face.

Read D'Souza's book for what it's worth and appreciate what we have for a change.

Cross-posted at Meneltarma

Saturday, January 29, 2005

War For Oil? Hmmm.....

During the past two years since the invasion of Iraq I have encountered many people, young and old, who say this is a war for oil. To some extent, this may be true.

Everyone knows that all natural resources will eventually run out. It is up for debate for when exactly the world's oil production will peak. Some say it is happening now, others say it will happen in 10 years, and even a very small minority of folks say it has already happened.

So lets say this war in Iraq is a war for oil. Is that really a bad thing? I have been doing some thinking and I don't think it is. I will tell you why.

By establishing democracies in Iraq (and possibly Iran) the U.S. will sit a top some of the biggest oil reserves in the world. And in some way, shape, or form they will have a hand in controlling that oil. By controlling the the flow of oil we can guarantee we will be a super power (and much stronger super power than we are now) for many years to come. This will give us a much needed advantage over our enemies. China, North Korea, and any other hostile nations will think twice before attacking the U.S. or its allies. A tight oil embargo on any of these countries would ruin their economies and destroy their militaries ability to fight a long battle. Thus the constant flow of oil would enable us to have military superiority over all other military powers.

So the next time someone comes up to you blabbing about how this is a war for oil take some time to think about. Because it might not actually be a bad idea.

Taking [away] the initiative

Sound Politics' Ron Hebron just posted a piece on the continued attempts to scuttle the initiative process here in Washington. He outlines the various bills now in the works so I think it would be a worthwhile read--not to mention a good perspective that he adds.

I am surprised at the double standard that I've seen among the liberal establishment here in Washington. Most of them say they hate the electoral college because it's not democratic enough--they see it as a filter of public opinion, and in some ways they are right.

The contradiction happens, though, when you have these same "pro-democracy" liberals, who then get all fed-up with the initiatives that are so common on the west coast. I understand that it isn't a huge chunk of liberals, but it is still a noticeable group who, although not usually taking literal action, attack people like Tim Eyman. They don't attack what he does, they just attack him personally and try to pin every sort of dishonesty on him that they can dig up. True Mr. Eyman has had some pathetic initiatives and he as also not always been totally on the level with the public, but that does nothing to condemn the perfectly legal process that he uses to effect change.

I was talking to a professor of mine the other day and this came up. We both agreed to the fact that the initiative trend it a very dynamic feature of the west coast. She didn't give me to believe that she had a very high opinion of it either. She was also not very excited about he revote effort but didn't say why beyond that she thought it was a bad precedent or something.

Either the liberal negativity toward initiatives is based in principle and therefore they are against greater democracy, or it is not based in principle and they are playing simple partisanship because they are in power and therefore have the most to lose through it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Kerry: pundit in chief

Another Drudge link for Drudge junkies like me. It seems Kerry will be on Meet the Press on none other than Jan. 30--yeah, the day of the Iraqi elections. I guess he might even talk about Iraq--his trip to Iraq, that is.

Yes, this is pretty pathetic. I think someone has to be nuts to put the FAILED presidential candidate on TV so he can continue to rant about foreign policy. Go back to the senate chamber and pout there!

The new deal is old

Read this great article from the 2003 Drudge archives. It's basically just Hillary ranting about Bush, but hey, who's to question its entertainment value? I think the most laughable line was her comment about the New Deal...

The former first lady says she has become convinced the Republican administration wants "to undo the New Deal," the Roosevelt-era policies that ushered in Social Security and a host of other governmental assistance programs

Come on, somebody has to agree with me that this is really funny! It made my day. It's like she discovered some stunning piece of history: The Republicans hate the New Deal! WOW, that's new. After all, it was that great Republican FDR who first imposed it on us.

My question for the Senator: "New Deal? How old are you anyway?"

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Your Tax Dollars at Work

The government seems to waste a lot of money. I decided to take a look at how some organizations that receive government money use it, and in some ways cheat to get it.

Three years ago I decided to volunteer for a non profit organization call domestic Violence and Sexual assault Services (DVSAS). This organization deals specifically with domestic violence (DV) and victims of sexual assault. After three months of training I was put on the DV desk. My job was pretty simple. I took phone calls and helped clients who had been abused by their partners.

Being that DVSAS is a non profit group, they get their money from donations and corporate grants. However, most of their funds come from our tax dollars. The government dolls out money based on the amount of "clients" that walk in or call the office. Now I have no problem with this, but many of the people who call or not actually calling for DV or sexual assault.

I would estimate that over 70% of calls are just people asking simple questions (i.e. phone # for sheriff's department or for info on other agencies services). The problem is that DVSAS counts ALL of these calls as clients. So if you called them and inquired about a service that you probably won't ever use, you will be counted as a client.

So DVSAS is taking a lot of money from the government to support "clients" that don't even use their services. I did much of the filing during my two years I was there and can tell you that many people called once and were never heard from again.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for helping people in need. But to have a non profit agency counting every single call as a "client" is robbery. They are taking money away from the government that another agency, or even the government, may need. I think that is a form of robbery, but that is just me.

Magnets attract intolerance

Well, I didn't expect Western to be the most intolerant institution in the world--probably because they are not quite as elitist here as elsewhere...we're just small-fry, you see.

We can start counting our blessings in some cases. The University of Oregon is getting themselves into trouble by banning yellow ribbon car magnets! I really don't think the administration here could even come close to doing that because the magnets are not seen as political symbols as just a goodwill symbols. There are plenty of them around in the parking lot so it won't happen any time soon. I’m sure there are a few who display them and claim it means they want the troops out of Iraq now.

In any case, it seems free-speech is not valued as much elsewhere (read: U of O).

Up next: new contributors

It will not be long before you will be seeing postings on here by names other than mine. That's a good thing because you can look forward to more than my single--oft times dry--perspective. Soon we will also have a page up about us which we will keep up to date according to the number of contributors.

Again, thanks to those of you who have been good enough to add us to your blogroll. We appreciate that you take the time to read our scribblings.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

My 'education' in reality TV

I don't know what she would have said if she knew the college reporter covering the event was part of that vast right-wing conspiracy, from which we derive, of course, the big media corporations who work day and night to desecrate all that feminism has given us.

I attended last Thursday, on assignment by the paper, a lecture on reality TV and the negative affects it has on society and images of women (oh, and men too), by the feminist media critic, Jennifer Pozner. Now, to be sure, I agree that reality TV is anything but wholesome. But that certainly didn't improve the esteem I which I hold the lecture.

She spoke under the assumption that only feminists could agree with her assessment that reality TV is unwholesome, and therefore, she also assumed that there couldn't be any conservatives in the group. Now, I don't know whether I was the only conservative or not, but that doesn't excuse her ridiculous opening comments, in which she thanked all of us for taking time out from our busy inauguration protest schedules to come hear her lecture.

Granted, I am not your typical college student in that I saw more reality TV in her lecture examples than I have seen in my life. I wonder if she would have believed me if I had ventured to open my interview with that piece of information. No matter, though. If it wasn't big media corporations at fault, it was deregulation, or perhaps the Bush Administration--can't let them off the hook, you know. I won't go into the details of the lection--not unless I can get paid for the advertising space from her PR firm.

The next day she also led a workshop for activists. It was simply a class on how to handle the media... You know, how to keep from shouting into the phone even if the reporter deserves it; how to frame your information so the reporter won't feel spun (no joke). If you want to know more, visit her organization's site

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Comments past

My apologies to those good people who have commented here in the past and now find that their comments have disappeared. I just installed HaloScan and it doesn't seem to salvage previous posting...

However, this problem can be remedied by more commenting--something I encourage you all to do so that I can get a feel for what you find interesting. I will continue to post and build the site. All you need to do as you sit back and enjoy the result is drop an occasional line for the writers here regarding something they have written.

Have a good weekend!

Additional reporting on rally stuff

Thursday's counter rally was a small event. My only regret is that I only heard the compliments of some students and not the rest of the somewhat impassioned speeches across the way, nor did I get to see the activity in Bellingham proper. The stuff on campus was negligible by comparison. However, there was a good little article in the campus paper that covered both. There's a picture of the downtown protest that you might find interesting--I did.

The reporter also got a good quote from a liberal who didn't support the rally--kudos for finding more than just standard anti-Bush sound bites!

Friday, January 21, 2005

Starbucks unifies

It's pretty simple to be a youth in Washington State. There are two main requirements.

1st, you must like the rain.
2nd, you must like Starbucks or at least appreciate them or maybe just be dependant on them.

Ok, so I do have a higher opinion than that of Washington's youth. The observation was born out of my reading the profiles of the writers for the Seattle Times NEXT section. What are the chances that a "big corporation" like Starbucks will be portrayed in a positive light by more than one of the enlightened youth of this blue state? Read for yourself:

Karan Gill
...I also love to snowboard and criticize Seattle's sports teams and their poor management skills (but Mr. Shultz, I love Starbucks).

And this:

April Seipp
...I can usually be found at Starbucks or staring out the window when it rains.

And this:

Daniel Thies
...In late 2000, I opted out of my acceptance to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston to pursue my loftier dreams of working at Starbucks and freelancing for The Seattle Times.

And this (on a lesser level):

Anne Kim
...You can quickly see my Seattle roots - I love coffee, rain and gazing at lakes and oceans.

It could just be the writer in all of them--if indeed most writers are fond of rain and coffee. I know this writer is.

Debrief 2

Note: Check the links for the pictures. I've removed them from here because of limited time and resources for upkeep.

Early on: Christy and Lisa with the build-up in the background

Later on: the bunch of us

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Counter-protest debrief

I do owe you all a review of the counter-rally, I know! However, I fear I must report that it was not the such a groundbreaking event after all. In fact, it was probably the most relaxing part of my day. This is indicative of two facts: 1, my day was, on the whole, very busy and 2, the protest and counter-protests were anything but spectacular. I will have a picture or two up in a second, though.

Here's some initial details.

We were there before the other side even showed up. It started with just three of us--Christy (CR president), Lisa and I. We hung out our signage and watched as the crowd across from us grew. There were only a few at first--we kind of ignored each other.

The number of red-shirted conservatives standing out there grew to about 8 or 10 at one point. The short of it is, while we did get our share of "evil" and other even less kosher comments, the majority of people who actually paid us mind had something positive to say. I think the most amusing thing about the whole event was to call out to people and compliment them when they were wearing red. Of course, few knew we would be wearing it, so this would often elicit grimacing and desperate comments like, "oh no, that's not why I'm wearing this."

The protesters themselves were nothing but civil. In fact, there were a few who came over with their signs and we even decided to have a few pictures taken together. I really can't do anything but commend them for being so gracious. At one point when one of their speakers was making an oration from the middle of the crowd, they all started cheering and waving at us. We cheered and waved back (we were celebrating anyway so why not?), and later found out that they had decided we needed a round of applause for coming out and exercising our freedom of speech (thanks Dems!).

There were other interesting happenings. Some students who said they were Democrats came over and said they thought the protesters were being sore losers, were giving the party a bad name and thanked us for standing up to it.

Then there was the police officer who checked up on us to make sure we weren't having any trouble. She asked us if we were planning on going to the down-town rally and we told her no. She commended us for that decision because it was expected to be much more serious (and it was). She then pointed out the emergency phone for our use: "just press the red button." You'll find that mildly ironic when you see the pictures.

In the end, the other crowd dispersed before we did. As a result we gained some sense of majority status before the day was out. I felt like repeating the question from National Treasure to a Democrat: "Is this what you feel like all the time?"

Ok, it's back to work. Sorry to be so tardy in this update.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Rally update: 'peaceful opposition'

"The rally will be at 10:30 in Red Square, wear white as a symbol of peaceful opposition to the administration."

That's the official word from Western Democrats. I'm still a little puzzled by the reason for white. I don't understand how it adds up to "a symbol of peaceful opposition..." Is "peaceful opposition" French for "surrender" and that's the reason for using white? That's the best I can do. Any other ideas?

One thing is for sure: by the end of tomorrow, I will know what to expect next time they plan peaceful opposition to something.

Rally for what?

Tomorrow (Thursday) morning, the Western Democrats intend to hold a protest-against-the-presidential-inauguration rally in Red Square here on campus. First of all, I don't know what they intend to accomplish. It makes me laugh to think about it. Second,, I can't imagine that they expect the CRs to take it lying down. So, not wanting to disappoint them, we intend to be out in force. I heard the dems are planning to wear white--I'm searching for info to confirm that. If that is the case, you can expect the CRs to wear red or something of that sort.

More to follow...

I hope no one is confused by the term "Red Square" because that is not a metaphor. It's the actual name of what is commonly regarded as the center of the WWU campus. I know, you'd think they would be more subtle in their symbolism! An innocent explaination is the color of the brick-work covering the square and indeed the whole campus. I have never accepted that explaination fully. It's just too ironic and fun to think otherwise.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The racist Front?

The Western Front, the student paper for which I write, has had a tolerably good run of issues this quarter--small, but quality. Today, though, I discovered something totally unexpected: The Western Front is racist...

...at least according to one faculty member, that is.

The latest issue had a news scoop about a student in the athletic department who was arrested on suspicion of "delivery of marijuana." It made for a really good front page--as odd as that may sound to the normal people outside of the journalism elite. What I mean is that it was our top story and, as such, it was very eye-catching and newsworthy. It included the guy's football mug and a balanced account from both his side and the police. I have noticed the story get a lot of attention around campus, so I can only assume that it was a success.

I'm sure most people would agree with me too. It's not every day that someone on the football squad gets arrested. Besides, I was surprised at how many people said they knew him or at least knew of him.

Down to the point though. Note: I'm not going to name names or departments for now considering I just heard about it and I want to look into it more.

I happened to talk to a good friend of mine tonight. One of her professors had come into her class with an obvious chip on his shoulder and the reason soon became apparent. He held up a copy of the newspaper and demanded that someone tell him what was so wrong with it. From what I gathered no one answered and so he went on to say that it was a very racist portrayal of the student in question (yeah, he sort of looks like a minority student in his photo). I wish I knew the details of the prof's actual allegations of racism, but by my friend's account, he didn't get very specific but instead went on to say that it was also a poorly written story in the first place. He claimed, erroneously, that it had inadequate sourcing. My friend was good enough to gently point out the fact that it did have enough from the parties involved, but he insisted that the reporter should have talked to the football coach. My friend pointed out to him that the reporter had indeed talked to the football coach and had in fact quoted him, but he again denied this was so. My friend persisted and he finally picked up the paper again, looked the story over, and acknowledged that the quotes from the coach were indeed present. However, as far as I know, he did not retract his accusations of racism. You can judge the article for yourself by following this or the above link.

When I first heard about this exchange, I was naturally incredulous and I figured this guy should be confronted about the accusations he made in front of his class--a typical act of cowardice, not to mention unprofessionalism. He could have confronted the paper about it--who knows, though; maybe he will in the coming days.

But it gets worse...

When I expressed my indignation to my friend at such stupidity and said that he should not get away with such comments, she calmly informed me that this professor is a minority faculty member.

Funny how a detail like that can tilt the situation in a totally different direction.


'What do you think...?'

"What do you think about open-source journalism or blogging?"

I directed this question about a half hour ago in my reporting class to a visiting speaker addressing the class. I figured it might be well placed since he is a technology journalist with loads of experience. He gladly took the time to address question and for the record, I don't think I disappointed (but neither was I impressed) by his answer. He answered as someone who was mostly familiar with the blogs from mainstream news outlets. He seemed genuine about that much.

He detailed the blogs with which he was familiar, for example, the Columbia Journalism Review blog, which covered last year’s elections, and The Note, the ABC blog.

I later followed up with a related question: Do you see a significant conflict between the up and coming blogosphere and the world of journalism? No, he said, because blogging is already a part of journalism.

I don't know.

He did admit to being somewhat surprised that blogging has run the course it has. He was as skeptic to start because, as he so vividly put it, there was a time when the majority of bloggers were "13-year-old girls in Europe."

My conclusion: because this journalist is so accustomed to the affects of technology on the world of communication and journalism, he will not be as resistant to the inevitable changes. I do believe, though, that he is an exception to the general reaction to what is happening in blogosphere. Even now, things are happening which would surprise many journalists. While much has already taken place which has left some former CBS producers out of a job, they better understand that it is not going to stop there.

Elections will be probed; stories will be discredited; people will be exposed. I don't think that it will be all rosy. I'm sure many mistakes will be made along the way; you will see libel suits and desperate struggles for the mind and heart of America.

More important than all this, though, is the restoration of free speech--without the traditional gatekeepers in the media. This is the heart of the blogging revolution, and this is what will continue to drive all such innovations after it.


Read this fascinating article by Steve Outing, from the Poynter Institute. I think he has nailed something here:

With so many new people involved in blogging, most of them having no training in journalism practices, ethics, and media law, personal legal liability is a big deal. Bloggers publishing without the protection of an employer to pay for their libel defense are on their own should they make a mistake. In the years ahead, I expect to see some solo bloggers get in trouble -- and some get driven to personal ruin when they lose libel lawsuits. It's a wonder it hasn't happened yet.

These are the kind of studies that many bloggers need to be watching. Like I said, earlier before finding this info, I do think there will be problems and you will see the fiery crash of many rash bloggers.

Mr. Outing wrote his analysis as a pair of articles, discussing what bloggers and journalists can learn from each other. These articles are compelling for me because I am both a blogger and a student of journalism. Here's the link from his other piece. He makes some other good points:

The popularity of bloggers is leading to a new way of thinking about news. Jarvis said in an e-mail interview that the most profound thing he learned when he started blogging is this: News is a conversation, not just a lecture. The story doesn't end when it's published, but rather just gets started as the public begins to do its part -- discussing the story, adding to it, and correcting it.

i.e. we are more in touch with the readers. Corrections get made faster and comments are taken seriously.

Up in the world

The goal at this blog is not to act self-important about anything. So before I say the following, let me just reiterate that I hope we are able to spark some intelligent discussion here at this liberal arts institution.

Today, though, I'd like to thank Matt Rosenberg, a contributor to Sound Politics, for linking us on his own weblog. We are honored to acquire this recognition. We hope this is a sign of even better things to come for this blog.

Now back to work.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Reactionary 'neutrals'

It's been about two years since I was working for the newspaper at Whatcom Community College here in Bellingham, Washington. I remember one day...

There was some whispers about an important board meeting. I don't recall if I was an editor yet so I couldn't tell you whether I should have known about it before hand or not. Anyway, the meeting finally came about--it included all of the staff, and the topic was announced.

It seems, one of the pro-life groups in the area had submitted an advertisement--an insert for the paper. Our advertising manager had done the right thing and treated it like any other insert. Then someone else found out about it--they dissented and pushed to drop the ad. The adviser and the editor called up the pro-life group and said we had decided not to run it. The group was understandably upset and made some comments about free speech violations--probably not the best language to use, considering that the first amendment really doesn't have much to do with paid advertisements. The threats from the group did make the editor and adviser sit up and think, though. That's when they called the meeting; it was an odd course of action especially since they didn't seem to mind making up their own mind before the group made a stink.

They explained the situation to us all. By this time, the adds had all been printed up--therefore if we had decided to drop it (and here was a real threat) the group was going to force us to pay for all the prints that they did--which was significant. They passed around a copy of the insert in question. The editors said they were in favor of running it because it didn't seem to have the usual "graphic images;" so a vote was taken and the ad ran.

I mention this story because it was a very original feeling to be on the other side of the fence from a pro-life group. It was revealing to see the excuses the "neutral" editors made for their natural reactions. I'm glad they actually did sit down and think about what they had almost done--cancel a paid advertisement based on one person's bigoted complaint.

'Pro-choice' political correctness

On a similar note, I can recall another time at Whatcom. It was my very first quarter there and it was during an essay topic brainstorming session.

The instructor stood there next to the board writing down every reasonable topic as it was called. I remember it well because, as a joke, I called out "cow tipping"... He started to write it up there and got almost all the way through before he laughed and erased it.

Next to me there sat a young lady--another running-start student. She was obvious about most of her views so in one sense it didn't come as any surprise when she called out "pro-choice" as an essay topic. What did surprise me was the fact that she didn't call the topic in the general terms that I was used to hearing. Instead of just saying "abortion," she just blurted out "pro-choice," perhaps without realizing how odd it sounded. The instructor seemed to think so too for he wrote "abortion" up on the board anyway.

Since then, I've discovered why there is such a strong push for exclusive use of sanitized language like "pro-choice" and "reproductive rights." It's all a matter of hiding from the truth. It's a fearful thing to hide like that and I've heard people do it over and over again. In fact, it's a rare moment when you can get a "pro-choice" activist to say whether they believe that life begins at conception or not. Either they will not answer, or they will say they don't know. They will change the subject, repeat their comfortable themes about reproductive rights and the right of a woman to do with her own body whatever she wants.

It's a sad state of mind in which supporters of abortion must find themselves. Imagine supporting abortion and never admitting it to anyone's face--never saying outright, "I support abortion." What kind of torture must that be?

By contrast, former presidential candidate, John Kerry actually did admit that he believes life begins at conception. And yet, despite admitting that, and his own church's creeds, he still came back with his supposed belief in a woman's right to do with her body as she would--a good example of honest moral bankruptcy.

(cross-posted at Meneltarma)

My 21st birthday

So what are the options? Am I set for a binge? Do I suddenly need to get educated on the selection of brews around Bellingham? What a disturbing thought.

But help is on the way! I should have known.

I don't have to worry about a night out on the town. I just glanced at the Events Calendar up on the Associated Student web-site. What luck!

*scrolling down to the 22nd of February*

Tuesday, February 22nd:
Women's Center & AS Films Present: "Breasts"
8:00pm VU 552 $2.00
(co-sponsored by WEAVE & AS Films)

Women's Center Presents: Body Pride Week
Feb 22nd-25th
The events for Body Pride Week include the showing of the film "Breasts" and the Body Positive Belly Dance Workshop. See those events for times and locations.

Isn't it great that there is something worth doing on campus?! I don't have to hit "the city of subdued excitement" to celebrate something like my 21st birthday. All I have to do is watch "Breasts" and that should do it! I will have the satisfaction of witnessing, first-hand, the empowerment of every woman in attendance.

Then, since this film marks the beginning of "body pride week," why stop there? That "body positive belly dance" looks ever so tempting.


Ok, so excuse me for being appalled at the waste of my money. Yes, my money... You know, the money I paid in taxes, that goes into the state education budget, then gets divided up between institutions. Then, when it reaches Western, the portion for the various clubs and campus organizations is set aside. The Women's Center, as you can see, finds very creative uses for my money.

Think this is only one weeks worth?

Thursday, February 10th
Vagina Memoirs Performance
February 10th-13th - FREE (asking for donations)
Feb 10th 7:00pm VU Gallery. Feb 12th 5:00pm Village Books. Feb 13th 7:00pm Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Monday, February 14th
V-Day Ball
7:00pm Multi-Purpose Room, Price: TBA
(Co-Sponsored by AS Pop Music & LGBTA)

V-Day Sales
Vendors row 10am-4pm
We will be selling roses, t-shirts, cards, and vagina friendly products

Wednesday, February 16th
Empowerment Workshop
6 PM VU 565 FREE

Oh, and this one beats them all!

Friday, February 18th
Vagina Monologues
February 18th, 19th and 20th at 7pm in the PAC. $10.00 students/$12.00 non-students

The absolutely hilarious and oh-so-empowering Vagina Monologues written by Eve Ensler will be making another appearance on Western's Campus during V-Week. Interested in volunteering? Awesome, we need it. In fact we still need the entire cast and crew. If interested stay posted: auditions should be sometime in November. Tickets on sale soon at the PAC box office

I'm sure it's just me, but that is a whacked out series of events. There has to be a better time and place to celebrate my 21st birthday. Oh yes, I just remembered--there is! You see, I will be spending my birthday at the County Council for a reporting assignment.

Am I ever relieved!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

After the fact

Yesterday the Washington State Legislature accepted as normal the mess some are calling an election. I did my part earlier to voice my concern over this pending piece of business to the representative I knew would most likely not share my concerns. Today, the day after the untimely inauguration, she has finally responded to my email.

Thank you for your recent email regarding a re-vote of the Washington State Governor’s race. I appreciate the time you took to write and share your thoughts and concerns with me. This race was the closest statewide election in our state’s history and was probably the closest our nation’s history. This is the first time our election system has been tested this way.

The election results have now been certified by all 39 counties and Secretary of State Sam Reed; and the Legislature has accepted this certification. The matter is currently before the Chelan County Court system, which is the next legal step in resolving this election. At this time, the courts must determine whether a new election is required and I will fully support their decision. In addition, I share your concerns and am committed to working Secretary of State Sam Reed, county auditors, and my colleagues from both parties in the House and Senate to help remedy any election flaws that were exposed over the course of this election. The goal of our election process is to provide an accurate count of every legitimate vote.

Thank you again for contacting me as I value hearing from my constituents. As your Representative, I will do my best to ensure that our voting process is legitimate, accurate, and secure. Please do not hesitate to contact me again, should you wish to share additional comments, questions or concerns.



Representative Kelli Linville
42nd District

Thank you ever so much Ms. Linville! Not only did you dodge the issue, you let me know just how lightly you consider your post as a legislator. I thought, having a position of leadership in our state with the power to make laws, you would at least be good enough to tell me why you upheld the "results" of whatever it was that happened last month.

I agree that the next step is in the courts and I appreciate your pledge to abide by their decision--as odd as that sounds, considering your vote yesterday. Either, you support the result of the pseudo-election or you should have rejected it and supported a bill to call a revote.

Perhaps your loyalty to your caucus is more important to you then your duty to serve the people of this state who overwhelmingly support a revote. So instead of taking action for what you may or may not believe, you have instead chosen the easy road of not rocking the boat, forcing the courts to do your job for you.

So thanks again. Just don't expect anyone to believe you next election campaign when you claim to have a record of leadership.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

SoundPolitics illuminated

There's a good reason a small college blog like this should stick to things around campus. Even at the state level, there's no scooping "the shark."

Now that people have caught wind of him, it seems he is letting his face come to light. He spoke at the Olympia rally yesterday, and even had a profile of himself in the PI, which he fully endorsed as accurate on Sound Politics.

Read up on that profile--it's fascinating. It's great to have a front-row seat on someone's rise to stardom!

Monday, January 10, 2005

Call me rash

Why should you bother listening to a humble student journalist's opinion on something like Iraq? What does it matter...is there any merit to it? No, but I'm giving it anyway because, like I said before, I need some placeholder posting for now.

For what it's worth, here's my prediction regarding the elections in Iraq:

They will happen with little or no hitch. People will turn out in droves; the people will make a very big statement. The media will look frantically for "disfranchisement" and discontent among the voters. Most Iraqis will say, "it's worth the trouble and risk. I've been waiting for this all my life."

The Iraqis will elect someone (who is something I cannot predict), and the world will heave a sigh of relief.

End of prediction.

I'm ready to eat my words... I don't really have anything to lose at this point in my blogging experience and there's no reputation at stake. The fact is, the supermajority of people in and around Baghdad say that security issues will not keep them from the polls. See this poll translation.

To top it all off, the Palestinian’s have just elected a new leader amid great optimism. This should do everything to encourage the people of Iraq to participate in their own elections.

I believe the worst thing that could happen would what Prime Minister Allawi called an "imperfect" election... Or, in other words, "if we don't get it perfect, we will next time." The important thing is to make the statement.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

A growing legacy

Blogging is getting more recognition. When it comes to publishing what media tinhorns don't care to muddy their clammy hands with, bloggers are taking the lead.

The latest blogging marvel to hit the books is, you guessed it, right here in my backyard--the Washington race for governor. John Fund makes a beautiful point about the blogger's involved in this issue: gatekeepers can no longer control what reaches the public.

Read it here.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Newsweek and writers

There are those who are growing increasingly angry with Newsweek for some of the "reporters" they employ. Some have gone so far as to call them a mouth-piece for the left, "moveon.org" style. Professing journalism myself, I always find this kind of talk interesting. I know I have shared some of those frustrations and come to think of it, I seem to come away with a bad taste in my mouth just about every time I browse their web archives. Bad taste? No, maybe more like I feel I need to wash my hands after finishing a read.

I just finished reading a couple pieces, this time with mixed results.

The first one I came on was linked by Drudge and I was very interested in subject matter. Here's the link. The first paragraph has revolting levels of biased assumption! The only merit attached to it is that it has a LOT of information in it. I enjoyed it for that fact alone.

The other piece marks the first time I have come away with absolutely NOTHING bad to say. I was impressed--even inspired--by this one. Of course, this could be due to my opinion that speechwriting would be an incredible job--a to-die-for job.

Read them and judge for yourself. To be honest, this post is just yet another attempt to kill time before I get more university relevant posting going on here. You'd think that I would have access to just about all the relevant interesting stuff at Western, being a journalism major. Perhaps, but I'm going to have to be patient. I'm still getting settled in on the campus newspaper staff and it's not easy work. I can't create any conflicts of interest--this blog is one thing, my position on the paper is another.

The first College Republican meeting is on Monday, though. That's a significant thing, I hope.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Misguided zeal

The orange ribbons for cars are hot off the presses it seems. People are catching on. The Dems are fighting back, of course. They needn't worry though, if this site is an example of how we expect to persuade fellow Washingtonians that we are not partisan hacks playing crybaby.

When I was done scrolling down the first page, I began to wonder if this was a Democratic Party plant trying to sabotage the revote effort. This has to be the worst combination of rant and color clash that I have ever seen in one example!

Just look at this excerpt:

8 Questions to help you define your political orientation

Are you: “4” or Against
1. Marriage = 1 man & 1 Woman?
2. Pro Life?
3. Small Government?
4. Tax Cuts?
5. Control on Immigration?
6. Leaving God in the Pledge?
7. Foundation in morality?
8. Limiting liberal activist Judges
ability to Legislate from the bench!

If you are “4” all these points you are Conservative

If you are against 1,2,3,7 & 8 you are a liberal.

If a person is liberal and claims to be a Christian, they are in conflict with a biblical values system!

5 Actions you can take To have an impact on Government and your Future!!

1. Register to Vote!
2. Get informed through conservative talkradio and watch Fox News!
3. Find out Who your Law Makers and Judges are!
4. Program your District Law Makers into your phone!
5. Register and volunteer with www.4wethepeople.com and spread the word.

For one the language is appallingly ambiguous. Then they make an arbitrary list of conservative values (as if we can be put into a bottle to be sold on the shelf). They start making what I can only call philosophical arguments based on nothing (whether true or not, this is hardly the place or time). Since when do I have to watch FOX News to have an impact on my future?!


While the base of revote supporters are by default Republican, we still have to deal with the stigma that we are just sore losers--a favorite accusation of ours when the Dems were behind. This site does everything in the world to keep that image alive. Mr. Rossi did not say he is fighting this because he thinks he is the winner and that he ought to be Governor. He said he is fighting because the system is in shambles--and most people in Washington agree. As cheesy as it may sound, the method employed by this site reminds me of someone advertising hats at a Quaker gathering and then attempting to sell guns to them.

Why do we have to act like this is simply party politics?

Visit the site if you want but don't buy anything from them. Buy real orange ribbons from your local drugstore!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Update on rumor

Drudge has apparently done some reporting and officials have all but completely dicredited the rumor. From Drudge Report:

Tue Jan 04 2005 11:18:47 ET

U.S. military and intelligence sources are denying print and broadcast reports that terrorist Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi has been arrested in Iraq, MSNBC reported Tuesday.

MSNBC said senior U.S. military and intelligence sources told it the reports are not true. A newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, al-Bayane, reported in its Tuesday edition that the Jordanian-born terrorist had been arrested in Baqouba, Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan radio also reported the arrest of al-Zarqawi.

The U.S. military in December said al-Zarqawi likely is in the Baghdad area.

Unconfirmed rumor

Being a Journalism major means that there are some things that are a no-no like publishing unconfirmed rumors. The good thing is that blogging is not held to these standards. Even better, I will let you know when they are unconfirmed rumors that I am spreading.

A prolific tipster friend of mine sent this clip to me. Its claimed source being a Russian News Agency. A quick google search of the headline leads to the China Daily... and a few other sources of questionable dependability.

The rumor is that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been arrested! This would be huge and if confirmed, would be as big or bigger than news of Saddam's arrest. al-Zarqawi's leadership has proved vital in keeping terrorist activity in condition. If he were to be captured, it might not end the "insurgency," but it would certainly be a blow to al-Qaeda.

Here's the UNCONFIRMED clipping:

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi reportedly arrested in Iraq

04.01.2005, 07.18

DUBAI, January 4 (Itar-Tass) - Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, whom the US occupation authorities declared to be the "target number one" in Iraq, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba, the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported on Tuesday referring to Kurdish sources. Al-Zarqawi, leader of the terrorist group Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad, was recently appointed the director of the Al-Qaeda organization in Iraq.

The newspaper's correspondent in Baghdad points out that a report on the seizure of the terrorist, on whom the US put a bounty of 10 million dollars, was also reported by Iraqi Kurdistan radio, which at one time had been the first to announce the arrest of Saddam Hussein.

There have been no official reports about the arrest of the terrorist. Al-Zarqawi, 38, a Jordanian, whose real name is Ahmad al-Khalayleh, aims to turn Iraq into a "new Afghanistan". According to Arab press data, Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad group has divided Iraq into several emirates. The group's independent subdivisions at a strength of 50 to 500 militants operate in the cities of Al-Falluja, Al-Qaim, Diala, and Samarra.

The personnel of the group are on the whole 1,500-strong and include Iraqis and citizens of Arab and Islamic countries. There are demolition experts and missilemen among them.

The group has depots of weapons and explosives in various parts of the country. It intends to frustrate the upcoming parliamentary elections that are scheduled for the end of this month. Al-Tawhid Wa'al-Jihad threatens to do away with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and members of the interim government.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

State of the blog

Here's wishing you all and this blog a very happy and fulfilling new year!

You will excuse me for being self analytical here. I can do it for now because I haven't really officially "launched" this blog. True, it is out there, and I have had two comments, and I cover local issues, and... But the true fact of the matter is that I don't have time to make it into something without contributors--those mighty brothers and sisters who will hopefully join me when I issue them the invitation in a few weeks.

I have great hopes for this lonely corner of the blogosphere. I have not linked my personal blog yet, even though it is much more advanced. It will be up when it can be listed among the group of student contributors. For now, if you want to see what the action, it can be found here on Meneltarma.

The current local scene

On Tuesday the 4th, classes will start a Western. I'm bracing for it. I am in the Journalism Department...and I am on the student newspaper. This will offer a challenge I'm sure especially if, for example, the blog gets big and someone in the department makes the connection. No matter, I'm not concerned. I will do what I can to avoid conflicts of interest an unprofessionalism in the newswriting that I do for the paper. If someone has a problem with me being more than just a student journalist, tough.

The election news is a little overpowering when it comes to issues discussed. Many local bloggers are finding it hard to think about much else. This is too bad and yet, I don't see any alternative when there is so much at stake. Cheers to all the bloggers who are doing such an incredible job on this topic. I salute you and yours--especially the good folks at Sound Politics. Thanks and keep up the good work.