Saturday, April 29, 2006


I laughed out loud. I hope I didn't disturb anyone in the Starbucks in Sehome Village (here in Bellingham).

"Immigration rights" advocates have been commiserating, ranting, and consoling one another about the continued presence of the Minuteman project in Whatcom County. As reported in The Bellingham Herald yesterday, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, descended on Bellingham to hear all the teeth-gnashing. Predictably, Western professor Larry Estrada (see David Horowitz' The Professors) attended and "delivered perhaps the most heated denunciation of the Minuteman group" and, I assume, got the 200 strong ovation of "whoops and...applause."
“Latinos have been many times persecuted,” Estrada said. “We have been under the gun by vigilantes, and that’s not going to happen any more."
Even more inspiring was another quote the Herald highlighted in a related article about the Minuteman response:
"I ask the law enforcement: What is your plan when the lynching happens and what is your plan when the intimidation happens?"
-Bern Haggerty, 41, Bellingham attorney
Coming from an attorney? ...

That's where I laughed.

Crossposted at HWTR

Will the real liberals stand up

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

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

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

Crossposted at Western Unraveled

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Some quotes that I've stumbled upon recently:
Where can a dead man go
a question with an answer only dead men know
but I'm gonna bet they never feel at home
if they spent a lifetime learning how to live in Rome
-Chris Thile

In the darkness, men can shine flashlights on a sundial and make it tell any time they want. But only the sun tells the true time.
-Randy Alcorn

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
-Albert Eintstein

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.
-John Locke

For he that thinks that absolute power purifies men's blood, and corrects the baseness of human nature, need read but the history of this or any other age, to be convinced of the contrary.
-John Locke

Whatever each man can separately do, without trespassing upon others, he has a right to do for himself; and he has a right to a fair portion of all which society, with all its combinations of skill and force, can do in his favor. In this partnership all men have equal rights, but not to equal things. He that has but five shillings in the partnership has as good a right to it as he that has five hundred pounds has to his larger proportion. But he has not a right to an equal dividend in the product of the joint stock.
-Edmund Burke

It is an undeniable privilege of every man to prove himself right in the thesis that the world is his enemy; for if he reiterates it frequently enough and makes it the background of his conduct he is bound eventually to be right.
-George Kennan

Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water.

And some interesting perspectives on what I'm headed toward now (thanks Jackie):
What hath night to do with sleep?
-John Milton

I love sleep because it is both pleasant and safe to use.
-Fran Lebowitz

The crunchy details

It was a beautiful evening to be driving west on that stretch of Kok Rd. just before the Guide…

Ok, so some guy turned left out of the new Rite Aid parking lot and right into me as I was driving by. I had my lights on so that makes it even more ridiculous. Be that as it may, I noticed the car moving toward my door so I kept my speed up, hoping I could squeeze by or maybe he would take the sunglasses off or something. Since neither of these scenarios played out, I was forced to accept a jolt to the side of my trunk, whereupon I glanced behind me and turned into the DQ lot to inspect the damaged goods that was my trunk. The tall dark-haired guy with a tie and five-o-clock shadow inspected the corner of his Buick (Read: Big Ugly Indestructible Car Killer), and confirmed that there was only a rub mark on his bumper from the rubber strip on my car. However, there is a wheel-sized cavity on Old Smokey's side.

I remember saying (and I don't recommend this to anyone) "she's seen worse." Then I said I didn't care and goodbye. Folks. That was dumb, so be sure to get at least some reliable contact info if such a happenstance befalls you. I'm not saying anything bad has happened because of this but you shouldn't go by what you can see to assess the damage. In this case, I was just glad he missed my back wheel.

Concluding thoughts: Buicks are mean and nasty, and also annoying when driven by someone with no apparent depth perception, or outright blindness, accompanied by a, tie, five-o-clock shadow...and a boned-fish handshake.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


But my car is fine. So am I.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Stars vs. stars

As soon as it came to light that (surprise!) some generals don't like Sec. of Defense Rumsfeld, the anti-rummy crowd from left and right jumped up and crowed triumphantly. Pat Buchanan, someone I have long found thoroughly exasperating, wrote a vague column citing the people who somehow get instant credibility since they are retired generals and supposedly know. But it certainly isn't that simple.
Major Gen. Paul Eaton, first of the five rebels to speak out, was in charge of training Iraqi forces until 2004. He blames Rumsfeld for complicating the U.S. mission by alienating our NATO allies.

Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs up to the eve of war, charges Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith with a "casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -- or bury the results."
Etc, etc...the list includes a couple more. But Pat got some worthwhile feedback from military readers:
These generals are largely politicians. Zinni, Shinseki and some of the others rose to command during the Clinton years, and gained those posts not because of demonstrated command skill, but because they knew how to kiss Democrat a**. Wesley Clark was the most blatant, and his failings as a field commander had been known since Vietnam. Some political generals in our past proved to be able commanders, but most (Sigel, Butler, McClernand) proved to be disasters. It doesn't matter if a general has a West Point commission, if he's a politician, he'll be a lousy commander.....and the generals who are complaining were lousy commanders.
To put it in the words of a classmate of mine (a Marine on reserve) who got to video conference with him, "he's all business." The Washington Times further debunked the charges from these politician/generals with counter statements from other commanders, as well as the continuing stream of praise from the White House (well worth the read). However, especially interesting is the explanation some had for the criticism.
Several retired senior officers also say the calls from the six generals were inspired by Mr. Rumsfeld's far-reaching transformation of their services and his refusal to increase active forces by a large number.

The officers defending Mr. Rumsfeld say the complaints are an institutional battle between the generals, who think Mr. Rumsfeld is damaging the Army, and the defense secretary, who thinks he is better organizing it for post-Cold War 21st-century threats.
This checks closely with what Rowan Scarborough writes in his biography of Mr. Rumsfeld and the issues he faced at the outset of the Bush presidency. Rumsfeld's War is an eye opener if nothing else. I had a profound respect for Mr. Rumsfeld's conduct even before I read the book, and I came away with a much better understanding of the man who has helped decide the destiny of our nation many times over the past half-century.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Digging on a hill

In the latest from the UK's Times, is written a piece regarding a cool mystery that someone is trying to resolve once and for all. I have to make mention of this because my brother Nathan is being sent to Bosnia...the place where this story is unfolding.
...beyond Visoko rises an extraordinary triangular hill, 700ft (213m) high and looking for all the world like an ancient pyramid.
Some say that is precisely what it is — a huge pyramid built perhaps 12,000 years ago by an unknown civilization. And yesterday they set out to prove it.

In the spring sunshine, watched by crowds of locals, journalists and the contestants in this year’s Miss Bosnia competition, a team of archaeologists began excavating the so-called Pyramid of the Sun, hoping for one of the greatest finds in modern history.
Visoko looks like it is quite close to Sarajevo! The story (as told by the person financing the investigation) is intriguing:
There is more, claims Mr Osmanagic, who sports an Indiana Jones-style cowboy hat. “Radar analysis showed there are tunnels inside and they are perfectly straight and the intersections are at 90 degrees.” Satellite thermal images indicate that the hill cools faster than its surroundings, suggesting that is less dense. There was a curious “resonance” from the hill when the town was shelled during the Bosnian war.

“We’re talking about a huge construction effort here. The size of this pyramid will shock the archaeological world. It’s substantially higher than the Great Pyramid of Egypt,” said Mr Osmanagic, who has spent 15 years researching the pyramids of Central and South America.
Anyway...whatever. Maybe I should tell Nathan to do some digging.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Where is he?

He's sitting up later than he should, contemplating his apparent and unexpected ineptness at multitasking between school, family, relationships...and blogging.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Walkout debrief II

The newest Herald story is up. It includes this cute photo.

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

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

Background notes:

Don't know how much you've heard about MEChA, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (Chicano student movement of Aztlán), the organization behind the walkout. It's a separatist group with the avowed intent to create:

A nation autonomous and free - culturally, socially, economically, and politically- will make its own decisions on the usage of our lands, the taxation of our goods, the utilization of our bodies for war, the determination of justice (reward and punishment) (emphasis mine), and the profit of our sweat.
-“Plan Espiritual de Aztlan” (spiritual plan of Aztlán)
BUT, according to Western professor Larry Estrada, who was recently featured in David Horowitz new book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America:

“MEChA has never stood for secession from the United States,” [Estrada] said. “It stands for involvement and inclusion.” (The Bellingham Herald - April 4)
Estrada also denies Horowitz' charge that he is a founder of MEChA, even though he admits he was present when they formed in 1969.

Seattle illness

Matt Drudge just posted several links pointing to instances of the rare flesh-eating disease "necrotizing fasciitis" in the Northwest. It's nice to see that the good news of a Seattle Times story is about 6-year-old Jacob Finkbonner of Ferndale... His cousin (corrected from "brother"--sorry) Jeremiah is my coworker, and it looks like he is improving:
If caught early, chances of survival are high. Last month, for instance, 6-year-old Jacob Finkbonner of Ferndale contracted it after cutting his lip playing basketball. He was hospitalized at Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Center in Seattle, and his condition has been upgraded from serious to satisfactory.
Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The aftermath

I've been somewhat silent on this blog as to the events of the last few hours. I basically have been making a nuisance of myself on campus. Or I probably shouldn't even flatter myself thus because I was by myself until Michelle E., and one other person from the College Republican email list, kindly showed up to support. (thanks!)

Read the details as I post them at Western Unraveled. Jon Gambrell of The Bellingham Herald did interview me and also KVOS 12 (TV). Gambrell already filed online--that can be found here (my quotes at the bottom) for now. Don't know if or when it will update.

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

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hey wassup

I met up with an old friend of mine while walking across campus today--his name is Spring...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Vision when we need it

Conservatives often look toward Capitol Hill these days with the deep revulsion someone might feel at seeing a band of double-crossers—a group of people who are deaf to the warnings around them. To use the words of Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana in a February speech (which I recommend reading despite its length:
It's one thing to drift off course...

It's quite another thing to continue that course when half the crew and passengers are pointing out that nothing looks familiar ... not to mention the tens of millions of Americans lining the shoreline screaming, "You're going the wrong way!"
Indeed, Americans probably feel like they've screamed themselves hoarse...

Pence also just recently co-authored a "Contract with America, Renewed" along with Rep. Jeb Hensarling. The introduction is concise, detailed, and altogether inspiring if you are sick of hearing the common fair and political lingo. Here a link to the intro...and some excerpts right here:
In 1995, the new Majority in the House acted boldly and with initial success to enact the reform agenda it promised in the Contract. In particular, the first House Republican budget resolution that year (H.Con.Res. 67) sought to rein in the size and growth of government as the Contract called for, with all but one member of the new majority voting in favor...

...Unfortunately, we are once again at a historic crossroads in the nation’s future. Despite initial successes, Republicans today are confronted with familiar challenges: expanding government, a worsening fiscal position, and an explosive growth in spending and earmarks....

...This is not the legacy the Members of the Republican Study Committee wish to leave, a massive government and a crushing burden on future generations. In crafting this year’s budget, we have sought to update the budget passed by the first House Republican majority in a generation...We too believe that America is at a crossroads, and we too choose the path that leads to the restoration of the American dream.
The complete budget proposal is posted here on the RSC(Republican Study Committee, which Pence chairs) Web site. It's a large document so I recommend the introduction for public consumption.

Crosposted at Respectfully Republican

On gullibility and polls

Yesterday, my good friend James and I met in class and, just as the lecture began, he asked me the rhetorical question: "So Mark, are you a part of the MAJORITY of Americans that don't approve of Bush anymore?" You see, James has a unique set of views that range from pro-capital punishment to anti-war. It's great fun to trade jabs.

His question didn't really faze me at the time. And now I know why. Some things just don't lend themselves to credibility in my mind—one being the veracity of most of the polls cited in the media. Hearing that a "majority" of Americans say Bush is doing a bad job, or don't support the war, or (insert liberal campaign slogan here), just doesn't surprise me anymore because I've been hearing the same thing ever since Bush took office.

Ann Coulter (who has a recent string of worthwhile columns), did little work with some back files of New York Times headlines:
Poll Finds Most in U.S. Support Delaying a War (2/14/03)

Opinions Begin to Shift as Public Weighs Costs of War (3/26/03)

World's View of U.S. Sours After Iraq War, Poll Finds (6/4/03)

Study Finds Europeans Distrustful of U.S. Global Leadership (9/4/03)

Despite Polls, Pataki Backs Bush on Iraq All the Way (10/3/03)

Poll Finds Hostility Hardening Toward U.S. Policies (3/17/04)

Support for War Is Down Sharply, Poll Concludes (4/29/04)

Rising Casualties, One Falling Poll (5/2/04)

Polls Show Bush's Job-Approval Ratings Sinking (5/14/04)

Bush's Rating Falls to Its Lowest Point, New Survey Finds (6/29/04)

If these poll results were accurate, support for the war should be about negative 3,000 percent by now. The public would have stormed the White House, seized the president and flogged him to death.
James: I hope you and the rest of the MAJORITY keep the (blind) faith in polls--because that's all you have.

Crossposted at Western Washington Unraveled