"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, May 29, 2005

Oregon Daily Emerald: 10 reasons not to kill Bush

A recent commentary in the Oregon Daily Emerald, a newspaper at the University of Oregon, made its way into the Drudge Report today. The provocative title, "10 reasons not to kill Bush," probably had more than a little part to play in attracting that kind of attention.

While written from a liberal perspective, I found the column by Jennifer McBride to be extremely refreshing and perceptive.

In all seriousness, I don't hate President Bush. I dislike a lot of his administration's choices, but I think he's a good man doing a difficult job. As a leader, you're always going to be hated. I am too often shocked by the vitriolic repulsion many people feel for our leader and America in general, especially because the loathing is often poorly informed. I've met people on this campus who see America as the worst human rights abuser in the world (unlike the angelic paradise of Cambodia) and people who sway liberal not because they actually know anything about issues but because it's popular.
If you want to see the original at the Daily Emerald's site, here's the link. If the site is really slow (as it was with me), the link at the top is faster.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Front opinion: Newsweek and anonymous sources

My last commentary for this quarter in The Western Front is up online. The angle I took on the Newsweek lunicy is hardly my only thoughts on the issue--it's probably one aspect of the issue with which many liberals might agree: mainstream media needs to stop using anonymous sources as a staple.

Give it a read, for what it's worth.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

World's biggest spamfest?

Earlier today I paid a visit to the AS Review and was just in time to be interviewed for an article Landis is working on. It was about a big protest that is planned for June 1. In fact it was titled "World's biggest protest." The focus is on Bush, calling for his removal from office, and reiterating all of the same ultra-liberal lines about war for oil, war crimes, etc.

I gave her a few lines about how they aren't saying anything new and they just like to protest and it's not going to accomplish anything.

It wasn't until later that I realized what the event actually consists of. The event is a completely online protest, by email. The goal is to encourage people to email hundreds of media news desks and politicians requesting Bush's removal and investigation.

It seems almost laughable to me. I hate to break it to you, but swamping the media with email is probably not the protest wave of the future. In fact, I would venture the guess that thousands of emails in one day about removing Bush from office will probably not help the cause even with those who oppose Bush. Rather, it will make the recipients mad. I know at least for myself, getting hundreds of emails in one day with the same old info I've heard hundreds of times could get really frustrating.

The other part I find humorous is the fact that there is almost no advertising for this event. I'll be interested to see if they really get the huge response they expect. Even if they do, how will people know all of the emails aren't from one person with 20,000 email addresses?

I guess I think the event is silly. But I'm interested to see if and how the media responds to the massive influx of spam. I'm also interested to see how Landis frames her article. She seemed to think the idea was somewhat crazy too.

By the way, the event seems to be run by the "Independent Media Center" who apparently just opened a branch here in Bellingham. After searching online I found a copy of the flier Landis showed me but with a different title here.

Oh, and I just found the one for Bellingham here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Think before you call foods racist

I typically don't read the AS Review every week but today I was eating lunch in Arntzen and it happened to be sitting on the table. When I got to the last page I knew the fun was about to begin. Unfortunately, the AS Review does not appear to publish their articles online.... so get your copy of the May 23 while it's hot.

In fact, you may want to obtain your copy before reading this, but it's your choice.

The article is by Johanna Landis and is titled "Think before you eat racist pastries" It's so scandalous that I can't decide where to begin.

First of all, it appears poor Johanna was observing us for a fairly long period of time at the bake sale but never actually talked to a single CR. Either that, or she just didn't think our views jived with her thesis. I mean, unless she was using binoculars and earplugs or something...

Second, although she can certainly dish it out, she apparently doesn’t understand sarcasm when she sees it from others. This could end up being a problem for her. She claims the pricing of the foods was supposed to be less offensive than actually affirmative action. But that was honestly never the point. The point was to be offensive. What she ignores is that we were saying that we were offended by it too. I guess we should be glad she was offended, but disappointed that she couldn't catch our sarcastic point that affirmative action is no less offensive as our bake sale pricing.

Third, she makes false assumptions that could easily have been cleared up had she asked any one of us.

We were not trying to hide our intentions or the situation. Our original pricing plan was not shot down by higher-ups in the VU. We were threatened (or maybe just warned) by the Dean of Students and some token minority (I have no clue who he was or why he came with the dean, but maybe that was why. I don't mean it to be offensive. That’s just what it looked like).

But not only by them, but also by I-200 through which affirmative action has been made illegal in this state. Newsflash: affirmative action has been made illegal in this state. Yup, it is 100% illegal. The second assumption was regarding our pricing, which is really laughable because there was no specific implication between what was lower and what was higher price, the thing we were just trying to show was the stupidity of having different colors at different prices. In fact, I willingly pointed out that you could interpret our pricing many different ways and none of them was correct (besides, most of the "white" students bought brownies). Also, as a personal note, I'll argue with you that those lemon bars were easily worth a dollar for 6 of them as opposed to 50 cents for 1 brownie.

Fourth, she refers to our medium items as "swirled white and chocolate." I don't think we had swirled anything… She also referred to our "dark" items as "all-chocolate" although there were nuts in some of them.

Fifth, she "newsflashes" on our suggestion that maybe socioeconomic status should be used instead of race in affirmative action. But her newsflash never does anything to rebut the point.

Sixth, she ignores one of our main purposes in the "building a platform" department. She ignores it because she apparently never came within voice shot. We gave away two pieces of literature. One was the handout she came across somehow, the other was the information about the debate between Dinesh D'Souza and Tim Wise which was happening the following evening. Apparently in her eyes, getting people interested or offended one day and inviting them to come hear a solution the next is the same as providing no "platform" at all.

Landis seemed to miss a fundamental part of this demonstration against affirmative action. Ok, at least six of them. But I can't sit around all day and argue with her. It's funny that with most people during the sale, the same questions and objections popped into their heads, and we feel like we responded to them in an open manner even if we didn't change our overall views, and neither did the ones asking the questions.

Our main goal of the bake sale was to open a dialogue and get people talking, discussing and learning from each other about where our ideas might not be as strong as we thought. Even if it wasn't their intention, I would still have to thank the Anti-Racist White Student Union for being very respectful and working toward that goal. Unfortunately, that seems about as far as possible from Landis' main goal. I would venture to guess that she would rather call Republicans racist than discuss ideas with them. That’s not much of a guess though, because that's what she did.

Also don't forget that you can't sell your own non-racially assigned pastries on Vendors' Row, unless you do it as a club, or you pay $20.

The art of affirmative action bake sales

You always start to wonder when a group supporting affirmative action just happens to show up right next to you, and happens to be giving away free baked goods, if there isn't some scheme to undermine you.

I propose to them either they just flat-out announce that they believe the college republicans are racist or change their name to the Anti-Racist Anti-College-Republican White Student Union. But I guess at a more important level, their attempt to undermine the CRs actually worked the opposite way.

We may have been negative on profits, but for most of the day we had attracted a mob of people just waiting for us to say something they could be offended by (ok, no one actually said something to that effect, but that was the vibe I got from a lot of the "customers").

It was really interesting to me to hear the arguments people would come up with to suggest that affirmative action is necessary. It tended to start with the question, "are you aware that affirmative action is already illegal in this state?"--as if we would be surprised by it after talking to people all day (or maybe we would decide our goal was accomplished and leave). It always opened the door for us to get into a conversation with the upper hand. For instance, "yes we know that; that's exactly why we can't sell with affirmative action pricing." Or maybe, "yes, that's a good start (outlawing it in Washington), but it is still an accepted policy across the nation, which goes to show that it clearly isn't just a conservative or republican issue.

Another tact was to ask about legacy scholarships? That's a good question but it doesn't apply as far as I can tell. It seems like an attempt to trap someone and say they're racist. The answer is that legacy scholarships aren't covered by affirmative action and we're not talking about them. But we would be willing to consider whether or not they are good. It just doesn't have any bearing on the issue.

Then there are the arguments that affirmative action is intended specifically as reparations for slavery, which, if true, is a poor solution because it's not targeted at all. But if you respond like this, they immediately go for the "you don't think slavery hurt people" angle, which (in case you were wondering) is not what we were saying at all. We were saying that it is wrong to hurt some people in order to atone for what someone with the same skin color of their great, great grandparents might have done to someone else with the same skin color of their great, great grandchildren...

We usually seemed to arrive at just the conclusion we were hoping for: The "customer" understanding that we weren't racist, and that we care about quality of life and success for minorities. We just don't think affirmative action is helping. Rather, it is hurting that cause. But we are definitely open to looking for better solutions and helping promote real change. Of course, they agreed with us on the last part, but not the first.

When it was all said and done, we were not perceived as racist...for the most part.

Dave Johnson lecture wrap

All things considered, a lot of credit goes to Joel for ramrodding a last minute advertising campaign in red square. We had more than a dozen people spread around in that classroom. Thanks Joel!

Mr. Johnson made some good points. The talk was centered on his latest polling data (found here at his Web site). The data points to a growing disillusionment with the Democratic Party. The Democrats have, so far, lost the public relations war, Johnson said, starting with when some suggested "cherry picking" certain counties for hand recounts.

Mr. Johnson said election court challenges will be the wave of the future, building on a polarized political climate and the Florida and Washington precedents. He quoted Howard Dean as tagging Washington State as the Democratic model for dealing with close races last week at Cornell University. (I'm out trying to verify that --Johnson said no one reported it except the college paper).

Thanks to Mr. Johnson for making a second effort after missing the first attempt. Much appreciation for the informative talk and Q/A session.

Monday, May 23, 2005

David Johnson Speaking at Western Today

That's right, Pollster, political analyst, and CEO, David Johnson, who was previously scheduled to speak here in April but had to cancel due to food poisoning, will be giving his interpretation of the events surrounding november's gubenatorial election.
Unfortunately, due to a situation, there hasn't been an email about it to the college republicans yet. Which only means it will be harder to advertise.
The event will be at 6pm in miller 104 tonight.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Skin workings

You've noticed changes by now...

My main goal before this last round of work, amateur that I am, was to accomplish one thing: add a second sidebar. I'm pretty inexperienced and am forced to work through problems by examining other people's code and then implementing the ideas through trial and error--so, twenty-four hours later, we have two sidebars, more space, and some art from pictures I took just a matter of hours ago on campus. The title-art is a work in progress, as I figure out new ways of implementing the Western scene.

If you have feedback or suggestions on the layout and/or art, just shoot an email our way.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Front opinion: McConnell v. Le Moyne college

Today's issue of The Western Front has my latest commentary on Scott McConnell, his expulsion from Le Moyne and his subsequent $20 million lawsuit against the college.

The article titled "College should allow all viewpoints" is not intended to justify McConnell's lawsuit--indeed, I think it is excessive. True, I think he probably didn't deserve to be expelled, but I fail to see where $20 million should play a role in rectifying the problem. While Le Moyne is a private, Jesuit college with the right to dismiss whoever they want, they are looking ever so hypocritical by pretending to be inclusive and then kicking someone out at the first sign of anti-PC. If they are discriminatory about what they allow students to believe on something as simple as classroom discipline, they should just say that and be done with it.

Anyway...here I go, saying what I could have said in the article.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Comparing 'Sith' to politics; can the temptation be resisted?

So, after declining my invitation to the 3 a.m. showing (I came home after the midnight one instead), I couldn't help but click on the link to a review. What I found was a shame. A "review" of the movie that basically just said it was not a great movie and was all a political analogy and since you've all seen A New Hope you know the rest.

I'm not saying that comparing star wars to contemporary politics is a bad thing, or that it shouldn't be done (it most obviously will). Just that doing it in the form of a "review" of a new film is really biased and out of place no matter how you interpret it. Lucas didn't just write the film and decide to make it about today's politics, it's pre-scripted sci-fi.

Shame on writers and news sources who feel that review readers would much rather hear half of the review as a critique of modern politics as opposed to some kind of discussion of the merits of the film itself.

Maybe I'm a little harsh on the guy, but half of the review is definately too long to dwell on the subject. And it was positioned in such a way as to appear to be the main review for MSN.

Could we please just let Star Wars be Star Wars for at least a few days or weeks before tainting it with politics? After that we can let the outrageous comparisons fly. Besides, if Republicans are the dark side and democrats are the Jedi and Anakin is the american public being duped into supporting the wrong side. Then we know what the democrats might have in store for us. Sorry, I just had to.

oh, here's the link

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Affirmative action, part 2

Tonight was the ultimate exposé of liberal political correctness on campus... Gasps whenever Dinesh would say something wild like, "the founders weren't racists." ... You get the point. I, having already read many of his arguments, was glad enough to see what the real reaction is when they are employed.

I'm sorry I don't have good pictures of the actual debate--I couldn't deflash my China-made camera.

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Ok, so the real exciting part was meeting Dinesh and having him sign my copy of "What's So Great About America." Then there's the photo-op with yours truly.

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STEPPING BACKWARD

Yesterday, the college republicans did a little Affirmative Action bake sale...

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Just doing their part to promote the debate. This has become a common activity for conservatives on many campuses across America. Most operate by selling cheaper to colored customers and more expensive to whites. It was made clear to the CRs, in no uncertain terms, that this type of activity would not be tolerated and would be shut down, were it attempted. Instead, they settled on just calling it an Affirmative Action bake sale (as an attention grabber) and selling the different baked goods for different prices.

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(Liam, Steve and Justin discuss Affirmative Action with various "customers.")

Joel was there most of the time--I'm going to leave him to provide any details of the event.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Affirmative action in action

There's an affirmative action debate to take place tomorrow featuring the great (excuse the blatant bias) author, Dinesh D'Souza and author Tim Wise. I won't go into a ton of detail about them but here are the details of the event:

Debate on racism with Dinesh D'Souza & Tim Wise
Hosted by The Civil Controversy Series

Time and Place:
Date: Wednesday, May 18
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room
Western Washington University
516 High Street, Bellingham

Contact Info:
Phone: 360.650.2526

School-yard politics

Just a little notice regarding an active comment string. Check the comments on the April 17 post "Childish tactics." It's regarding the politics of judicial appointments. Some of the comments are interesting and I thought I'd point them out and see if anyone wants to chime in.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The other side of politics

As the battle over the Washington governorship continues to play out, so does the satirical and fun side.

Accounting students at Washington State U switched from numbers to word-smithing when Gregoire came to call their commencement ceremony. Kudos to the graduates for the creative and deft jab.

Others have taken to merchandising slogans like the one below.


(Click for a larger version at Cafepress)

I'll let you judge it for what it's worth. The obvious hole is that no Republican would think it's funny if our female governor and senators were Republicans. Yes, some humor can be better directed.

Hat-tip to designer Clint

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

It's how you use it

As an educator, this pushes my buttons.
This cheers me up, but only just.

I worry about our higher education institutions. I foresee a day in the not-too-distant future, when colleges such as Western Washington University, entangled by their own beauracracy, endeavor to cut costs by eliminating admissions essay readers. Instead, they think to themselves, we will use the national standard set by the essay-writing portion of the SAT. Surely the National Board knows what they are doing. Floods of letter-jacketed newbies, released into the college pool and reassured by the national standard scores, will be in for a sore surprise when they realize that their professors and future employers care more about content than length.

Scrap the SAT essays, and focus instead on teaching our kids how to write for content. And if you insist on testing writing skills in this way, at least provide correct information for the students to base their essays on, so they have no excuse if they fall flat on their facts.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Abortion article disregards a lot of other stuff

UPDATE: to clear up the confusion you can now click here to see the original article.

***

Being a fairly adamant pro-life person, I'm always disappointed to see only pro-choice articles in the opinion section of The Western Front. But at the same time, it doesn't seem like a rare enough occurrence to write home about.

However, for as accusing as the tone of the article was, it seemed filled with just plain unfounded and fuzzy-logic arguments. I'd like to point out and comment on a few of the highlights and then leave you with a chance to pray for the state of The Western Front (I had to work the National Day of Prayer in there somewhere).

"Conservatives should not use their political power to attack constitutional provisions granting women the right to choose.

"House Republicans successfully passed H.R. 748, or the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, Wednesday."
Actually, 54 democrat representatives voted in favor of the bill. It wasn't just the republican representatives pushing through the bill with their majority.
"The bill would represent the fifth measure aimed at reducing the number of abortions since President Bush took office in 2001, according to the article."
It seems to me like a ton of liberal democrats are in favor of reducing the number of abortions, what's wrong with that?
"Parental consent laws are unnecessary for stable and supportive families, and they are ineffective for unstable families."
I guess she's implying that the vast majority of families are one or the other? I'd guess that the vast majority are somewhere in between where the laws could definitely be a benefit (not that they wouldn't in the two above situations).
"Women do not have abortions as a matter of convenience, but as a matter of necessity."
That's simply not true. Maybe it's possible that there are some instances where it's a matter of necessity but it's outright false to call all abortions a matter of necessity.
"Parental consent laws for abortions will only have negative consequences."
Riiiiight.

And just when you thought you had seen it all, Kuck clearly outlines the logic behind the article for all to examine.
"Whether abortions should be legal relies on the answer to the question of whether and at what point a fetus is a person. The answer to this question is based on a person's beliefs.

Separation of church and state reflects the American value that citizens do not want their government to decide their beliefs for them. This is why abortion needs to remain a personal choice."

It took me a while to grasp the logic of this sequence, but once I did I realized the whole basis for her abortion views is quite simple.
whether abortion should be legal = when/if fetus is a person
When/if fetus is a person = a belief
then because of separation of church and state
Constitutional rules =/= anything that comes from a belief
Constitutional rules trump other laws
Therefore the "Constitutional provisions" providing for legal abortion should not be subject to whether they should be legal or not. That's a stretch of logic if I've ever seen one.

After that she goes on though and makes the accusation:
"What is important to understand is that an argument is taking place between legislators in the federal government using religious beliefs to deteriorate the constitutional rights Roe v. Wade established."
Whoa now. Where did the "religious" part come in? Kuck, with no shred of backup in her article suddenly makes parental consent laws something based on religious beliefs.

Finally:
"While conservatives usually advocate less government control in other areas, such as social programs and the economy, they are pushing for more government control regarding what a woman does with her own body."
Actually, they are putting more government control regarding what doctors and other non-parents do with a young girl's body (and that of her baby) without the parent's permission.

The bottom line, I guess, is that I don't mind arguing with an article that supports abortion rights. No big deal. But this article doesn't even give support for abortion. It throws out a few outrageous statements, ignores some facts, and uses a contorted logic to demonstrate the cause's immunity from anyone's ideas or beliefs. I'm not sure why the Front chose to print that article but I am really hoping that the Front is moving toward and not away from better quality of opinion letters. I'd also like to encourage Ms. Kuck to look deeper into what the church and state issue was really about.

Election wrap-up...this time for real

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AS presidential candidates Tony Russo (left) and Nick Cizek (right) begin presenting their cases during the final grievance hearing on Thursday, April 28. After Russo's resulting disqualification, Cizek decided to drop his own candidacy, giving the victory to Shannon Hutchinson after Wednesday's run-off made it official.

The election is finally over. Read up on Peter's latest Front coverage. Cizek's official statement for dropping out is included.

Friday, May 06, 2005

UC 'tent university' commentary

The Western Front has a rare conservative commentary in the current issue. I wish I could say it is on something really applicable to Western students--I'm allowed to criticize it because I wrote it...

But I'll not go too far without letting you read it for yourself.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

AS Board of Directors upholds disqualification

For an update on the election, check out Peter's latest story in the Front.

Very interesting statements by Peter Graves and there could be more developments. I'm checking into it. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

New lounge use policy

Apologies to our readers for not taking this issue in hand sooner. If you are in the CCF or ResLife community, you have probably already heard of the new lounge policy or even been involved already. We'd love to hear from you if you have, so please write in and let us know your thoughts.
For those of you off campus or simply unaware, there has been some spice lately in the AS Board meetings concerning the new "lounge use" policy recently approved by ResLife. Joel has been doing some research into this, as have I, and what we have discovered bears repeating.

The Background:
Formerly, common areas in the dorms were open to any student group, any time, with the exception of certain reservations made by Hall Council. If you wanted to use the lounge, you just showed up with your group and claimed it. If it was already busy, you went somewhere else, no big deal. Now, it appears that some residents have felt "unwelcome" in their lounges due to "regular reservations" by student groups.

The Impact:
Technically, large group activities wanting to use the lounge should reserve these common areas through the Hall Council. However, this issue seems to be hard to pin down primarily because some groups do not formally "reserve" a lounge for activities, but rather plan on meeting on a regular basis without going through any channels of residence authority. Without setting up a regular schedule of lounge use time, which is counterproductive in most halls since it negates the purpose of a "common area," I see little resolution in store. Yet, with a schedule, it is inevitable that some groups will be excluded from the roster due to space and time restrictions. Based on the priorities and limitations for reservation, groups such as Bible studies and even academic study groups may be excluded from the possibility of reserving space.

This issue has an impact on a number of student groups, notably Campus Christian Fellowship, whose small groups - known as "cores" - meet weekly, often in the lounges in question. If the policy is approved as it stands now, core groups would not be able to plan ahead more than a week in advance, leaving many of their members at a great disadvantage. And what of groups who require the use of equipment that can only be found in the lounge, such as certain sports equipment or a television? Would these groups be forced to disband because of a lack of access?

The Politics:
The policy regarding lounge use has so far remained the same, with the addition of two points. The first addendum as I understand it, is merely a rephrasing of the inclusion policy, stating that "You may not angage in any activity that is not open to all residents." It is the second addition that seems to be causing most of the fervor among the campus groups: "All residence halls with more than one lounge must maintain at least 50% of lounges open to non-scheduled use. For any hall with one lounge, the hall council may not restrict scheduled use to less than 20% of available time." (taken from a handout from the April 27th AS Board meeting)

These additions are in response to oral and written feedback that residents have felt on a consistant basis that they have been excluded from their own lounges due to the activities of groups that meet on a regular basis (i.e. every Wednesday evening) such as Bible studies or pool afficianados.

One Woman's Opinion:
The three years I lived in the dorms (Nash and Kappa) and attended a core group, this was never an issue. There were always lounges available, and we often relocated if our normal lounge was busy. I think this is molehill turned mountainous based on isolated cases of lounge-hogging. Reservations for lounges, filtered and sifted through the fine grate of the hall council and ResLife, will be limited to Hall Council-planned activities and little else. The policy will have become one of "if we can't use it, no one can." which benefits no one and harms all.