Thursday, March 31, 2005

Protesters 'surprisingly civil'

Hat tip to reader Kat for this one.

I suppose this kind of journalism is more typical of TV news--hence I have never seen something like this.

It's a "citizen's report," an actual contribution to MSNBC for publication. It is unique in that it is just an account of someone who went to Schiavo's hospice to support what he calls the "rule of law" (code for "judges are supreme") and, in the process, encountered something he did not expect.

I was offered ice water by some of the Christians. I nodded pleasant friendly greetings to various folks I'd debated. Actually, it was a strangely warm welcoming gathering. Several of the Save-Terri crowd ended our conversations saying, "Well, we disagree but that's what America is for, right?

He also blathers on about a few other useless issues but I'm sure you will find it an interesting read--an interesting change from getting news in the typical inverted pyramid (news style).

Life: Recharged

I just realized I hadn't posted anything personal on here for a while.

The beginning of the end of my junior year in undergraduate studies has begun. Sound like a big deal? Well, it was worth a try.

My class load consists of 4 classes—all of them in my major. That means I am getting a lot accomplished I suppose. The centerpiece is, of course, working on The Western Front for the second time in as many quarters. It's different, though, in many ways. First, there's the fact that, although I am still a normal reporter, I am miles ahead, experience wise, of where I was three months ago when I started last quarter. I also know more of the people on the staff who are doing it for the first time, so they are always asking for help, which I love to give for the pure joy of not being confined to the asking role. Oh, it's great. The poor little people are so confused and disoriented, staggering from this signup sheet to that section editor, and all the while thinking the floor is going to open up and swallow them if they forget to chew ten times before running into the wall in frustration.

Oh yes, I know the feeling well...

For myself, it is just over two days into classes and I already completed one story and got my first batch of production points. It was a good assignment although I wasn't sure at first. I was sent to do a preview of the men's rowing team. It was my first time reporting for the sports section, but as long as I didn't have to cover a stupid basketball game, I decided it would be fine.

I called the coach on Monday; he mentioned their practice as a possible meeting place.... Oh yes, the practice was at 5 a.m. at Lake Samish (south of Bellingham). I think they were surprised that I actually showed up. Little did they know that I had found it needful to get up at 3:30 in order to get there on time, prepared to spend the entire day on campus afterward.

The practice yielded good pictures and quotes, and the opportunity to speed across a lake at an unholy hour of the morning, snapping pictures of an eight-oar collegiate crew boat (know anyone else who's done that?).

So, the story was finished today and should be published tomorrow (Friday).

Singing for the King

Tonight (Thursday), I will with the Lynden Choral Society, Lord willing, singing in their spring concert the Lenten portion of Messiah, selections from Mendelssohn’s Elijah and an assortment of hymns. I've never gotten to sing Elijah and I have to say I love it! I know the music pretty well already from hearing it so many times over the years as other family members have sung it in previous concerts, but it still takes a good chunk of work to learn. It's so worth it though. Who wouldn't love to sing in a double quartet? If you could, maybe you could pray that there are no serious mishaps. I'm not saying I worry a lot about that. I just know that things can and have gone wrong in the past.

For those who don't know, this concert is also done with the Homeschool Choir from this county, with which I have also sung over the years. They have sort of combined with the Lynden group over the last two years for lack of director and accompanist. They still retain the name in the concert announcements.

Western still unraveling

I've made renewed effort to recharge the Western blog. However, finding likeminded writers with enough zeal to remain consistent is looking increasingly distant. The way I see it, there are three options: 1, I can keep doing what I am and post all alone in relative obscurity until I finally begin the logical process of winding it down to save mental resources. 2, I could go public, with just myself to keep it up in a do-or-die battle to publish a steady stream of material while dodging the political land mines and navigating a busy schedule, all in hopes I will tempt some lonely conservative readers into volunteering to join. 3, against all the odds, I find a few good hearty souls to take up the slack, enabling me to [safely] publicize the blog on campus and beyond.

At the moment, the last option sounds the most irrational. Yet, it is this option that I have been attempting to exercise from the beginning. I will probably continue in this way until I take stock again and decided I am, by default, following the first option.

But there's no harm in hoping and trying. I have to understand that this is something I have been dreaming about for a long time while many others don't yet know that news can be found online--much less at a...oh, what was it you called it? A blog?


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Coulter: New Robes

As we count down the minutes to a state ordered execution of an innocent woman, some are asking "how?" It takes another lawyer with enough righteous rage to give us a succinct and blazing answer: Ann Coulter.

Her latest piece "The Emperor's New Robes" is by no means for the faint of heart, and yet, even the faint of heart should read it. She answers many important questions, including, why no court has over-turned Greer's ruling, why the Congress did not abuse its power in its attempt to save Terri, and she also breaks down (for political junkies like me) who and what groups have sided where and why.

Coulter has again laid down an awesome blanket of fire. This quote almost made me run and hide; it's what I'd call "white hot":
Our infallible, divine ruler is a county judge in Florida named George Greer, who has more authority in America than the U.S. Congress, the president and the governor. No wonder the Southern Baptist Church threw Greer out: Only one god per church!

Read the rest and you will find yourself wishing she added even more heat to that fire brand.

Jesse Jackson signs on?

I can't help but be happy that a prominent liberal has finally used his voice to honor the sanctity of human life—however indirectly. Does it have any bearing on the Schiavo case, though? Unfortunately, it's a little late. I'm not saying he should be dismissed; I just don't really see it as significant at this point.

If this weren't such a highly charged situation, I might bring myself to posit an explanation for Jackson's sudden appearance. However, I can't seem to feel anything more than indifferent at this point.

Some other time, maybe. Read the article here if you haven't already.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Let me qualify that

I know the last post sounded somewhat cynical. If I had been just a little more awake, I might have added what I have to say here on to the end of that post--where it ought to have been.

I described America in these terms:

"the land of lemmings,"
"...can't take it for granted that America is decent and willing to be ruled by principle,"
" dimwitted and propagandized as to lose their ability to overcome their foundationless morals with a keen intellect."

Yeah it sounds pretty bad I know. I'm not going back on it in any way. I've thought about these things for a long time but it's only at times like these that I tend to let them take me too far.

Don't think for a minute that I think I know perfectly the state of the American heart and soul. My thoughts on it tend to shift and slide back and forth based, of course, on the latest events. Ultimately--and I hope I have always made this clear in my past writing--it must always been acknowledged that such things are not under our control, but God's. If there could be another title for this blog--appropriate, for the content--I think I would want it to express my complete and unshakable belief in God's sovereignty.

So how are we to live then?

While we can take our comfort by it, God's sovereignty is hardly an invitation to apathy. As much as it seems nothing we can do has an effect on the world at large, yet we have a calling to fulfill. We are not alone in this work either. It is the work of the church as a whole.

Let me put it this way:

Many people, when they think of how they are to be a light in the world and evangelize, lose sight of something--or perhaps they never see it in the first place--that in order to fulfill the call to spread the gospel, we ought not only to ever be looking outward into the darkness--striking out on our own with a little lamplight in our outstretched hands. Recognizing our place in the church--the Body of Christ--should first make us look inward to the circle of brethren who make up our spiritual family. The gospel is always brighter, always richer, always more powerful, when brethren "dwell together in unity."

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35
What greater and neglected witness to the world than if the church shines as a body.

We should each look to where our light is best utilized--among our spiritual brothers and sisters. We cannot survive or be fully effective workers independent of Christ's Body, anymore than a hand can do a simple task without the attached arm. God did not intend it to be thus, so let us not think it.

So if you want to do something about the those "foundationless morals," let me simple say that the answer is at church!

Ok...nuff said. You see, I'm not a cynic after all.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Terri test, etc.

We have seen in the past few years how a large segment--perhaps the majority--of society can become so dimwitted and propagandized as to lose their ability to overcome their foundationless morals with a keen intellect.

I sometimes think we are the land of lemmings. The only way to make a difference is to make people think they agree with you somehow. If this were not true, why are political campaigns becoming so expensive and important to who takes the top office? Why are there more and more people who claim "non-partisanship" and yet these the ones who are easiest to persuade--you just need to talk louder.

If there is one thing we need to learn from Terri Schiavo, it's that we can't take it for granted that America is decent and willing to be ruled by principle.

A wise friend of mine recently made a scathing comment about Michael Schiavo which serves well to illuminate just how disinterested American's seem to be:
He certainly wouldn't get my vote for sticking with her "through sickness and health" having gone out and found a "honey" while Terri is still alive.
Strange how this man is given the benefit of the doubt when it is not his life, but his wife's life, that is at stake.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The beacons are out

Our family computer, from which most of my word-smithing is done, is down. The hard drive sounds like it's pretty well fried. We are so busy with other things that we haven't had the chance to touch it either. I'm on my grandpa's computer at the moment--the keyboard is driving me around the bend (nothing like a half-sized backspace key to get under my skin)!

This whole situation is not a little disconcerting too because I have been forced out of covering Terri's tube removal in Florida--not to mention the burst of unused intellectual left-overs from last quarter have not had their proper outlet, causing the vast majority of them to die quietly--hehe, maybe that's a good thing.

Last night I attended a party with a diverse group of friends and thoroughly enjoyed myself. During one conversation, the subject of the computer failure came up and it was jokingly pointed out that I was going through withdrawal. I speculated in return-tongue-in-cheek that maybe my life is lived between two and internet.

While this estimation is a little over the top, I can't help but think there is something to the internet part. I know what it is like now to be incredibly restless because I can't blog! I know what it is like to not have access to my usual news sources for blogging inspiration. It's incredible actually because some of it is because I have made everyone else depend on the internet to get a hold of me. It's a rare moment when you can catch me on the phone on a normal schoolday--and I don't do the cell phone thing...I'm too poor.

So do I need to do some evaluating of my priorities and "needs?" It certainly can't hurt anything. Restless or not, I know there are things I have to do here on the web and I don't see anything changing that in the near future. But I shouldn't let it rule may frame of mind. After all, it can't be healthy to have intermittent panic attacks each time I think about my predicament.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Looking tough (for posterity)

(Click for larger version)

This is just a favorite picture of mine. It was taken last August at Summer Encampment. There was a special surprise activity we got to participate in and believe me, the display models I and my two friends are holding here in this picture were not all we got to play with.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Living in 2005

Just received this as a forward--imagine that! It is hilarious--but I just want to add a little plug on my own behalf: I didn't forward it...I blogged it! I am WAY ahead of the author. In fact, I'm adding this to the list:

"You decide to skip the forwarding idea and blog this list instead."

Any other additions? Put them in the comments!



  1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
  2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
  3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
  4. You email the person who works at the desk next to you.
  5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have email addresses.
  6. You go home after a long day at work and still answer the phone in a business manner.
  7. You make phone calls from home and accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.
  8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.
    You learn about your redundancy on the 11:00 news.
  9. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.
  10. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.
  11. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.
  12. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around and go get it.
  13. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.
  14. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)
  15. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
  16. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
  17. You are too busy to notice #8 included two points on this list.
  18. You actually scrolled back up to check #8.
  19. And you decided to check if there were any other numbers missing, and had to check twice.

Coming up for air

My right typing hand is not working very well right now, so my typing is a little apologies for this annoyance... No, actually it must be because I did some softball warm-up yesterday with Ben for a little bit, causing some sore tendons before committing myself to the rest of what became of last night.

So the last week has been a climax of sorts. True, finals week begins on Monday, but I only but one exam on Monday and then I might as well be on spring break--i.e. free to work on applications, taxes, "blog development," reading and the like.

Looking back, I realize the reason this week has been so tough--it involved all of my classes. I finished up on the newspaper (till next quarter), and reporting class--both took up the greater portion of the week. Then last night, after finishing my last reporting assignment that very morning, I finally got the chance to start my final paper for Political Theory. What a sad state of affairs when others in the class have been working on this for two weeks and you have but one night to do it all. Alas, but my life is fun! The sick headache wore off at about 1 this morning, thanks to mom's faithful doctoring, two cups of coffee and a Tylenol, and then it was time to break out the writing prompt and start forming words in some kind of cohesive fashion. The well deserved fruitlessness of my efforts was predictable--at least until 6:30 and I decided to nap for an hour or two. That accomplished, I hit it again and slowly began to chip away at the white space still unfilled. Unfortunately, I had to wrap it up before I reached the minimum length requirements and still ended up about 40 minute late to class. Class was at 11:30.

Being late for this class is significant, not only because the professor is a hard core, old school, philosophical guru type, but also because I have been late more than anyone else in the class...and everybody knows it! Most of the time it's because of an newspaper interview running long or something like that and I think he knows as much. I do have one thing working for me, though: I have never missed a class.

This time I determined to not let it bother me too much. However, as I opened the door to the classroom, I conspicuously averted my eyes and tried to make my smirk a little less noticeable--the door being conveniantly situated between professor and his audience... Thankfully, Professor Miller was in a good humor. I started across the room to the only empty desk and he quipped, "You've only one more day to be late Mark!" Everyone chuckled and that was that.


Ok, did anyone want to know about that? No matter--if I'm fortunate, this will be read widely enough so I won't have to rely it verbally. Now, a little critical thinking test for all of you!

You have good critical thinking skills if,...

...after you read the above anecdote, you questioned what I was doing throwing a softball with a headache and a big assignment due the next morning...

Well...oh fine, so you might have good critical thinking even though you all failed the test!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Another Vatican Schiavo statement

Cardinal Renato Martino president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has made another (belated in my opinion) call for justice in the Terri Schiavo. I know I was highly critical in my last Terri post about the Vatican silence on the issue and they have since stepped up to the microphone, so to speak. I am grateful but still unhappy it took so long to hear anything about such big issue.

On the other hand, this particular statement is thorough and covers a lot and shows a lot of concern (from BlogsForTerri):

... in just a few days, [if her husband and the courts have their way, ]this is exactly what will happen to Terri. She will be completely deprived of water and food. She will have excessive suffering and pain inflicted upon her which will lead to her cruel death ...

We plead, we make the urgent appeal for the life of a helpless human being...a person with whom we all share our God given human dignity.
How can anyone say that her best interests have been taken into consideration?
Do read the whole thing and keep checking back at BlogsForTerri--they provide up to the minute information.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Life: a startling conclusion

I'm about to amend my blogroll in order to accommodate the now populous list of relatives entering the blogosphere.

Speaking of which...

I just finished reading my cousin Jenna's latest blog post, and I was struck by some of her thoughts. However, when I started to comment, the words just started pouring out. My thanks to Jenna for straightening some things out for me!

First of all, I was thrilled by her description of a life I almost forgot:

Simple days equaled simple pleasures. There were the days of orphanage and promenades, and sometimes we were able to persuade Mark to join in on some of our more mature activities, like Chef on the Reimers' woodpile and GUNS. We even had our own patented and famous dishes. There was Beka's carrot-top dish, which sometimes made our mouths water (if it was close to lunch:). And then there was my masterpiece, the illustrious French dish made with clay and "wheat."

Those were the days of peace and eternal prosperity in the mind of a five year old. The days when being a Christian just meant that you prayed to God at night, went to church with Mom and Dad, and obeyed all the big people in all that was right.
The conclusion:

It's just that as things begin to close in and our eyes are made to open wider, life begins to hold very little pleasure. And I must confess that at times I have wished to go back to the days of blissful childhood.

Oh well...a tear and a sigh for the days gone by.
It started me thinking.

I was struck by this conclusion because I remember thinking the same thoughts as I left those years behind--and I do still have rumblings in that direction. Then my mind turned to a recent conversation with someone (I don't remember who or in what setting), where out of the blue, I was inspired to conclude to myself (and I mean this with all the profundity and simplicity it holds): I am very happy.

How does this fit with the loss of my joyful, carefree childhood? The answer is that no matter how busy and complicated my life appears on the surface, yet God is faithful in teaching me to rely more and more on Him for the smallest details. You might even say I am again living a carefree childhood.

True, each day I grow older carries a fresh burden of added responsibility. But the grace of God is such that I am still able to lay all worries down at His feet and even as I strive to live out my life in all diligence, yet I can trust Him to uphold me and work in me His good and perfect plan.

The past two months have been especially potent with the truth of His grace and peace. To live in the joy of His salvation is a life of both child-like trust and obedience.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Blankley: black robes and betrayal

The Supreme Court jabbed hard into one of my supreme sore spots when they ruled that juvenile executions were unconstitutional yesterday. I've made several attempts in the past to write on capital punishment, and to be honest, I'm disappointed that there are so many conservatives who are opposed to it.

This time, I'd like to call attention to Tony Blankley's piece in response to the decision.

The gist of the majority's analysis is that whether the crime is constitutionally "unusual" depends on whether "evolving standards of decency" have reached the point in our history when such punishment has been clearly rejected by society.

It happens that only 15 years ago, the Supreme Court found that the kind of statute in question was constitutional. But, rather than overturning that case, yesterday, the court found that in the last 15 years, a national consensus against such punishment had emerged.
Do read the details that Blankley provides. It's sure to leave many squirming in their seats.

I'm sure he and I are far from alone in our outrage that those who have willfully destroyed the very image of God should still be allowed to continue in the same image... It's bad enough that there are any murder convicts who are not swiftly and efficiently dispatched from this earth, but now we have created yet another rule with no basis--to allow one person undeserved life while executing others with no difference but age is completely irrational.

I think most will agree that in the minds of those who have made this irrational rule, there is only one remedy for this new contradiction--and that is to ban the death penalty altogether.

It's coming. Unless there are people willing to take a stand for the sanctity of life, we will soon see the value of our lives fall from priceless to a standard 20 years of enforced welfare behind bars.

David Brooks: Why not here?

Note: I continue to do a lot of crossposting/crossblogging (whatever you want to call it) because of two very good reasons:

*I find that I don't have many readers who read more than one of my blogs (when they read any), so they often don't know what I'm writing from blog to blog;
*My time is extremely limited as of right now and it's a wonder I'm doing any blogging at all--three levels of original posting is out of a question right now. The credit at the bottom is intended to point to the blog where the post originated.

Spring break should provide a jump in posting.


David Brooks published a fascinating piece in the NY Times editorial page Monday, titled, "Why not here?" The question is a representation of a larger question running through the national minds of many oppressed countries as they look at the success in Iraq; as they look at the revolt in Ukraine; as they see democracy at their very fingertips. If you, like me, are a free subscriber to, I recommend reading the whole piece. Otherwise...

Brooks explains that the American will to dream big dreams and do the impossible is infectious, and stands in stark contrast to the prevailing attitudes of modern Western Europe, as he here explains:

It's amazing in retrospect to think of how much psychological resistance there is to asking this breakthrough question: Why not here? We are all stuck in our traditions and have trouble imagining the world beyond. As Claus Christian Malzahn reminded us in Der Spiegel online this week, German politicians ridiculed Ronald Reagan's "tear down this wall" speech in 1987. They "couldn't imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany."

But if there is one soft-power gift America does possess, it is this tendency to imagine new worlds. As Malzahn goes on to note, "In a country of immigrants like the United States, one actually pushes for change. ... We Europeans always want to have the world from yesterday, whereas the Americans strive for the world of tomorrow."

Stephen Sestanovich of the Council on Foreign Relations wrote an important essay for this page a few weeks ago, arguing that American diplomacy is often most effective when it pursues not an incrementalist but a "maximalist" agenda, leaping over allies and making the crude, bold, vantage-shifting proposal - like pushing for the reunification of Germany when most everyone else was trying to preserve the so-called stability of the Warsaw Pact.
Indeed, Reagan was vilified to an extreme degree. No one could imagine anything else but the continued threat of Soviet Russia as long as there was a Europe for it to threaten. It’s ridiculous to suggest, first of all, that Bush has completely “gone it alone,” as much as it is to suggest that he is the first to ruffle so many feathers.

Crossposted at Head West, Turn Right