Monday, November 28, 2005

Sheehan: over and out?

It's a good question.

I'm sure more than a few "moderates" are thinking Cindy Sheehan's star has gone the way of a black hole. Here's a couple links that indicate a great deal of disenchantment over someone who has turned her "private grief" into a marketable bushbash.

First, there's the pretty AP photos from her Crawford book-signing.

Then, wow...a scathing Salena Zito column, putting Cindy down (to use the lighter term) for the infamous "open letter to Barbara Bush."

Sheehan has become the quintessential freak show, making everyone uncomfortable as we watch the drama -- her drama -- play out. In our heart of hearts, we really do not want to believe this mother has become a handmaiden of the Left.

Few things ever are what they seem to be. Truth often is awkward. And facing the reality that Sheehan's sincerity has ended and absurdity has taken hold is one jagged little pill to swallow.
Indeed, that's just a fraction of the criticism. I recommend reading whole column.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

'I'm just dad'

Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana has done more in his five years in congress for the conservative cause than many do in their lifetime.

A super communicator, socially and fiscally conservative, a proven record of true leadership...what more could you want. I'm almost tempted to say to those who want him to run for president to just let him stay in congress so he can keep doing some good there. But then I look at the current field of RINOs and I'm more inclined to agree with the Draft Pence Movement.

That title quote comes from an article in The Indianapolis Star.

Crossposted at Head West, Turn Right

Xbox wars

Forget the war game simulations on the XBox console. The real action is among the shoppers out for the next edition. 300 shoppers got all bent out of shape over buying procedures at a Wal Mart in Maryland. The police had a time of it trying to settle, but they didn't arrest anyone. I suppose gamer rioting isn't on the books yet.
An Elkton police officer assigned to monitor the crowd called for backup. In all, it took more than 10 officers from Elkton, the state police and the sheriff's office to restore peace.

Then Wal-Mart decided to cancel the sale and police ordered everyone to leave.
Somebody shoot me now.

Thrillin rides and chillin vibes

I'm pausing to record before the affects of surrealism wear off completely.

First, the thrilling anecdote: I had a late night drive home from campus last night after Bible study. My drive was earlier than last week, when we left Michelle's place at about 11. 10 o’clock allowed for a little more traffic on the freeway. Nevertheless, I usually take the Guide exit instead of Sunset because it is a shorter distance to drive when the traffic is marginal at night.

So, I was just passing Sunset when, two cars ahead of me, there arose an odd situation. One car was being tailed in the left lane. He moved over and the car tailing him followed in perfect rhythm. Back again, he moved into the left lane and the tailing car repeated his stunt. This went on till both were again in the left lane. It was disturbing to say the least.

Now here's the cool part: I was in the left lane and the car behind me took off around me to the right. He came up along side the nuisance car. Immediately the car ahead of him took advantage of the blocker and moved to the right. We were coming up to the Guide now and the nuisance car was signaling as if he wanted to get over too. The blocker car stayed abreast though, keeping him pinned away from the other escaping car. As the Mr. Nuisance slowed down to get over behind the blocker, I, being in the right lane ready to exit, sped up to get onto the ramp in between the escapee and Nuisance. With Escapee in front of me and Nuisance behind, I slowed down and took my time, letting Mr. Escapee get ahead and around the corner to the right before I even got close. That was the end, though. Nuisance took a left.

Now, I don't claim to know if any foul play was intended, nor do I know what led up to the freeway antics. I just know it was obviously unsafe. was kind of fun outmaneuvering Nuisance.

So I have no class today, just a project to work on before the holiday hits and I lose all my sources to turkey and stuffing. I'm in Starbucks, chillin to the...classical music? Yeah, they are kicking off Christmas this week. I was here Monday too and the music was so relaxing! Loving it. It's not as consistent as it could be, but it's nice to not have to tune the music out all the time.

Back to work, though. Have a happy Thanksgiving Day everyone.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The dragon

It just won't go away...the specter of Chinese domination. It's an old, old story that no one seems to know what to do with.

The Washington Times did a series of features on Chinese buildups during the summer--I had the chance to glimpse a friend's copy. Condi Rice has recently been critical of continued Beijing military buildups.

Now, it seems those closer to the giant have an acute sense of insecurity--no surprise. Allies such as Japan plainly don't think U.S. support is enough to secure their safety in a crisis, according an article from Insight Magazine...
The overwhelming assessment by Asian officials, diplomats and analysts is that the U.S. military simply cannot defeat China. It has been an assessment relayed to U.S. government officials over the past few months by countries such as Australia, Japan and South Korea....Most Asian officials have expressed their views privately. Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara has gone public, warning that the United States would lose any war with China.
The upside is that it may motivate our allies in the region to be a little more enterprising with their own military budgeting. I believe a limited but solid presence in the region is essential. But we should only be there to maintain a threat and foot in the door--not the primary defenders of a dozen sleepy at-risk countries.

Perception of U.S. weakness seems a little exaggerated.
Mr. Ishihara said U.S. ground forces, with the exception of the Marines, are "extremely incompetent" and would be unable to stem a Chinese conventional attack. Indeed, he asserted that China would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against Asian and American cities—even at the risk of a massive U.S. retaliation.
Yes, we can always improve. Let the Japanese think we are weaker than we are, though, if it means they will be more assertive in securing themselves.
As a result, Asian allies of the United States are quietly preparing to bolster their militaries independent of Washington.
Go for it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


If you like acronyms, you might like the proposed name for the so called global so-called War on Terror--not a perfectly accurate name either but it does better than GSAVE (Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism).

It hasn't caught on though. The president himself has avoided it in his recent speeches according to columnist Joel Mowbray. Read Mowbray's entire article here at It's not about the acronym--it's like me to get a kick out of a little detail.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let's build a fence...duh!

It's a bright spot in the bleakness of recent reporting. An article in USA Today declares support for a fenced southern border has risen considerably. It just so happens that there is already a fence going up near San Diego, which has helped show how effective it might be. Check it out:
A once-radical idea to build a 2,000-mile steel-and-wire fence on the U.S.-Mexican border is gaining momentum amid warnings that terrorists can easily sneak into the country.

In Congress, a powerful Republican lawmaker this week proposed building such a fence across the entire border and two dozen other lawmakers signed on. And via the Internet, a group called has raised enough money to air TV ads warning that the border is open to terrorists.

Even at the Homeland Security Department, which opposes building a border-long fence, Secretary Michael Chertoff this fall waived environmental laws so that construction can continue on a 14-mile section of fence near San Diego that has helped border agents stem the flow of illegal migrants and drug runners.

“You have to be able to enforce your borders,” says California Rep. Duncan Hunter, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He's proposing a fence from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas. “It's no longer just an immigration issue. It's now a national security issue.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thus says Cheney!

"The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.

We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them..."
Amen and amen! Read the rest of the except on the Drudge Report.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A little off topic

"My nose was bleeding, my eyelid was split and all my eyes were swollen up."
What? All three eyes?

Sorry folks. Talk about being a little distracted by the details. Some British language quirks just amuse me to death. The original context for that quote is here in the BBC--a story about an award-winning student getting attacked by bullies. Forgive me for being so entertained by that quote. It's not very compassionate of me, I know.

Friday, November 11, 2005

FastMail down

One of the servers on my main email service is down--my account was on that server. Here's the latest excerpt from the FastMail.FM blog:

We’ve been working hard trying to get server4 back up. The good news is that you won’t lose any mail. New mail is being queued, and old mail is safe. The bad news is that the file system is corrupted. We have to restore from backups onto a fresh file system.

The first user restores will be complete in around 10 hours. All users should be restored around 45 hours after that, although we’ll restore the smaller mailboxes first, such that 75% of users will have their mail restored after around 6 hours from the start of the process.
Well...I'm getting tired of not being able to check my email every two hours or less. But I'm sure I'll get over it. If you'd need to email me, I recommend my hotmail address for now. (after this crisis is over, I'll remove that email link from this post so I don't accumulate too much of the inevitable spam)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A quick dump

I feel like I just broke free of a leg iron--I just turned in my last final drafts for Klipsun.

Yesterday, I mentioned to a friend that journalism requires you to manufacture inspired work on a daily basis. That I failed to achieve that threshold with these drafts is a mute point. I doubt they will get published and, I hate to say it, I don't care if the do or not. They are done. That's the important part.

Now I need to go turn in my other draft for Feature Writing...*chink* with another leg iron.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Chivalry comes to Western

Walking into the room a little early wasn't enough to grant me a seat. For once we were going to have class in the lab--all 35-or-so many of us, spreading ourselves among the 20 chairs. We had been warned to come extra early if we wanted to secure one of the plush computer chairs.

I wasn't concerned, though. I had already passed on the idea of even trying for one. I made my way to the back wall and sat on the floor, engrossed with a fellow student on a mutual project we had.

The room started to fill up with more floor sitters and suddenly Matt got up with a look of impatience...

"Caleb, get up! You too Chris! Let one of the others sit down," he said referring to the group of females by the door.

Matt is an interesting guy. No student in the journalism program is more respected. I say that with complete conviction because I respect him too (yes, even though he did beat me out for the Tribune internship--that was a no-brainer). He was Editor in Chief for my first quarter on The Western Front, and before then, he set the record for the most writing points accumulated by a reporter on the Front. Despite his high-powered abilities and skills, I sometimes think he's the most easy-going, even-tempered student at Western.

For my part, I do what I can on my own but the thought never crossed my mind to openly tell someone else they should practice it too. I guess if any student is going to be outspoken enough to promote chivalry in his fellow students, it would be Matt.

Crossposted at Western Washington Unraveled

You thought Bush had problems?

Paris - The city of love is what if it's because it's burning.

Sorry to use a cheap Disney quote.

I think the French are going to need to suck it up and realize they are experiencing jihad. Oops? Did I just say that? How impolitic of me... Honestly, perhaps they will finally get the message: there is no winning friends on the other side. Islamic terrorists will fight you wherever you are. If you sit at home, they will come visiting.

Links of interest:
The Washington Times: Police fear rioters' heavy arms
Newsweek: Rage on Rue Picasso
Associated Press: Rioting in France Spreads to 300 towns

Saturday, November 05, 2005

GOP: Media's best friend

What is a good indication of political balance in the media? When lawmakers and politicians from both parties support media "shield laws" to protect confidential sources.

In the past, I've tended to consider this a more liberal issue, but not totally. My hesitation stems from being leery of the liberties many journalists take in using anonymous interviews--as I wrote in The Western Front last spring. At the moment, there is no federal shield law to protect journalist from grand jury subpoenas and the like. What conservatives have come out in support of more journalistic protection? The names are surprising.

Congressman Mike Pence, a conservative superstar in the Midwest, and increasingly more recognizable as one of the most effective conservative leaders in the House, has become one of the primary sponsors of a federal shield law. I hate to say it, but The New York Times reporter, Judith Miller's fight to protect a Republican source may have had something to do with the surge in GOP attention. That source, Cheney aid, “Scooter” Libby, has since, of course, been indicted in the leak you all know so much (or so little perhaps) about by now.

Note: I added a new link from my good friend Aaron Hankin, who heads up the "Draft Pence Movement" dedicated to promoting his name for a presidential bid in 2008. There's a lot of material in his blog.

On the Washington state level, conservative Attorney General Rob McKenna has garnered the respect of journalists everywhere by first getting his hands dirty cleaning up the access laws (freedom of information laws) in Washington, and now, by publicly endorsing a state shield law. While Washington doesn't have a shield law per se, some Washington courts have ruled favorably to journalists in the past, setting minor precedent for partial protection. As stated in The Seattle Times, many would like the protection to be more water tight.

"Someone might say we don't need it; we've only had a few cases," (McKenna said.) "But not having it can chill the speech of a confidential source. You don't have to have a case where someone is being put in stocks in the public square for this to be a good idea. It will encourage confidential sources to reveal important information to the media."

It bears noting that Stefan Sharkanski of Sound doesn’t really care about it, just as long as bloggers are included, and I would agree that there can’t be special privileges granted to some citizens just because they are gathering the information for a certain kind of publication. If the first amendment is going to be construed to protect one person, there had better not be a double standard.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Whither property rights

This is in answer to Joshua's comment regarding the origins of property rights...and while the constitution is almost a secondary source of property rights theory, it still has much to say. John Locke, one of the inspirations of the founders, has a lot to say as well.

Regarding the constitution though...

The 3rd, 4th and 5th amendments all touch on property rights.

3: no military quartering in time of peace without consent.

4: no unreasonable search and seizure (the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects...)

5: No person shall... "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

This last one is especially pertinent to the smoking initiative because private property in this case is being treated like public property. In fact, I have heard that very language. They are calling the businesses in question "public," which is legal absurdity.

There is a similar (although more extreme case) where some courts have declared shopping malls part of the "public square," forcing the owners to give space to political speech on their property. The arguments for this are varied and it depends on the state usually. Some say that malls are replacing the public arena (the street sidewalk) and therefore must give space for the otherwise available public speech.

Regardless, a smoking bar is still private property, and while there isn't a legal expectation of privacy, like in a residence, the question of who can do what on the premises is still in the hands of the owner.

I-901: the great conservative sellout

I hate to use such a vitriolic headline, but I can't find better words for it. I'm seeing just how uneducated conservatives can be in their own professed philosophy. I'm seeing Washington republicans throw away their principles just because they happen to not like smoking.

The source of my problem is Initiative 901, which is intended to effectively ban smoking anywhere but reservations and your own house (you might get away with it if you stand in the middle of an intersection too). Of course, you'll also probably have to be careful that you shut all your doors and close all your windows and light up in the basement...just in case your neighbor smells it inside his equally sealed house, get's a headache and lung cancer, files a complaint, or worse, sues you to pay for his lung transplant. If you happen to own a bar that smokers like to frequent, you'd better get a whole new set of customers because catering to smokers will be against the law.

Property rights? What are those?

Susan Rosenberry of The Western Front did a good job of covering it in last Friday's issue. One quote that struck me:

If it passes, the initiative would ban smoking inside Washington public spaces, including restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and public transportation vehicles such as taxis, said Dr. Chris Covert-Bowlds, a Bellingham physician and sponsor of the initiative. The smoking restriction would also extend to 25 feet away from the entrance of the public establishment, he said.

“It’s not that we are trying to force people to stop smoking,” Covert-Bowlds said. “We are just trying to protect employees’ rights to breathe smoke-free air.”

WHAT RIGHT WAS THAT? Where do we keep coming up with all these new-and-improved, extraconstitutional rights? What right can an employee claim if they knew they were applying to work in a smoke-filled environment?

A friend of mine who is a leader in the Whatcom County Republican Party (he helped write our county platform last year) had this to say about his support for the initiative when I asked him (email excerpt):

Never ask an ex-smoker (like me) how they feel about smoking! We converts/previous smokers all hate it and can't stand the smell of it!...Bottom line, your ability to smoke ends at the end of my nose and if I can smell it, you can't do it. Majority always rules sooner or later.

I have never heard anything quite so abhorrent to the basic principles of our constitution or the free market. He complained he can never bowl because they all are smoking establishments. So? Start your own bowling alley...don't sit there and force them, through trumped-up laws, to cater to you just because you have a medical aversion to something they do.

Is there a better way of saying this that I'm missing? Is something unclear? Does anyone know what private property means?

Smoking is still legal. Until it is outlawed, I will not support anything that restricts a business owner's right to cater to smokers. I'm sorry if your nose starts running and you get a headache...I sometimes do too. You've survived up to this point.

The government isn't here to make laws for my convenience!

Crossposted at Western Washington Unraveled

Andrea's pics

I'm sure she won't mind me pulling her picture links:

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The superfluous side

It's cold out.

Last weekend was a good one--plenty of celebration in commemoration of Reformation Day. On Friday we had our church's Reformation Day dinner, complete with a ton of costumes, food, music and a skit. While not a packed house, it was still a good time, and those who attended complimented the organizers profusely. I had hopped to have some pictures up by now but that is still pending. On Sunday, we were casted in Jackie's play depicting Anne Askew the martyr, at the Oak Harbor OPC. Although a dialogue heavy play, it was still a hit. After it ended we sang the poem Anne Askew wrote before she died a capella--it is set to the tune of "Oh Sacred Head," so that wasn't too difficult. Mom was just thrilled that we stayed right on pitch through all four verses without accompaniment.

School's the same: full of take-you-to-the-brink thrills and every-other-week, one-evening pauses like tonight--I'm sitting in the Underground Coffeehouse again...and yes, the music is pounding again...*sigh* (the rap artists have had the floor for the last half hour)...

It's really hard to believe, and yet encouraging, that the quarter is over half over. I really can hardly wait--for more reason than one. So the short version is that I'll be taking a trip to Ontario in December right after Christmas though the rest of the year. I promise I'll fill in the details soon.