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    Thursday, September 29, 2005

    Welcome to Washington (and not DC)

    So I made it to the farthest state from Florida in the mainland of the United States. I keep telling the students I meet how far I have come to travel to meet them. It's true. From Philly I must be about 2,500 miles and from South Florida, definitely over 3,000 if not 4,000. That is far!

    Anyway, I made it into Olympia, Washington (another state capital!) and met with some folks at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. There is a former ISI Honors Fellow working there, on Education Reform. We talked about each other's organizations and how we could work together, as both organizations fight for the ideas of liberty, one on campuses (ISI) and another in the public policy world (EFF).

    I then met with two student leaders for dinner - one leads an ISI Group at the Evergreen State College (a very very Leftist school) and other leads a College Republicans group at St. Martin's University. Both are in the Olympia area. After dinner, I was a "guest speaker" at the College Republicans meeting at St. Martin's University. About 7 students in total were there and they all signed up for ISI of course. I also helped establish some good relations with the two student leaders, so hopefully they will see some ISI Lectures on their campuses in the near future.

    Meredith, the student leader at Evergreen State College is now graduated but she is helping to make sure the other student leaders that are still there running the conservative groups are staying well-connected with ISI and keeping up the good work she has done. That is the hardest thing about being a campus leader - making sure that the students following you keep up the good work you have done. Props to her!

    After the meetings, it was about 8:45pm, another long day... and I still had about a 50 minute drive ahead of me to my hotel in Seattle. I got in here about 9:45pm and I'm ready to just relax now... my first meeting with some new ISI faculty members and some well-established ISI Faculty Associates here at several schools in the Seattle area begins tomorrow at 11am.

    Driving the Pacific Coast Highway...

    ... again, Oregon style.

    So, I took a little "scenic route" today. Ok, a pretty long scenic route, took me almost 2 hours out of the way, but I got to the pacific coast of Oregon and drove for about 30 miles of highway right along side the Pacific Ocean, which was amazing.

    The beach extends at least a hundred (if not several hundred) feet from the water and the highway is probably another 100 feet elevated from the beach, sort of overhanging it like a cliff. The coast is also very rocky and somewhat mountainous, and of course, freezing cold (though i didn't get close enough to actually touch it).

    However, I did stop off at several viewing locations to take some pictures (unfortunately only on an instant camera, as my digital isn't working for some odd reason as of a couple days ago). At one stop, some other tourists told me I should look for some whales, as they were congregating in that area... and sure enough I saw one pop up out of the water just a minute later. I saw them several times actually... pretty neat, but also too far for my camera to capture it I'm sure.

    I then had a nice scenic drive out of Oregon, into my 28th or 29th state (i'm losting count now), into the "Evergreen State" of Washington. And both Oregon and Washington could certainly be classified as "ever green".

    The Civil War (Oregon Style)

    What a day... I woke up at 7am this morning ready to conquer the Oregon Trail. I started the day off in Salem, Oregon (where I woke up) and visited Corban College (formerly known as Western Baptist College). I literally did a "pop in" visit to campus, and met one of the Career/Academic Advisors on campus and introduced him to all of ISI's programs.

    He said Corban College is a "conservative Christian" schoool... so he was very receptive and thought our missions ran very parallel to one another. Good visit overall.

    Next, I drove about an hour south down to Eugene, Oregon to set up a table at Northwest Christian College. I had contacted a guy that works for them, he heads up the Student Activities at NWCC and he told me I could come put a table in front of the entrance to the cafeteria, where all the students would come to eat around 11:45am just after chapel. So, I did. I only signed up about 10 members, but I handed out about 50 ISI Brochures and talked with some key people. One was the Student Body president, who was very happy I was there and was happy to learn about ISI. He wants to host ISI lectures on his campus. Also, the guy who I had originally contacted didn't know too much about ISI. When he figured out we were conservative and focused on traditional values, he was very happy to have me there, saying that even though NWCC is a "Christian" school, there were many instructors who "challenged students' faith." Unreal, I thought. He also said they have a very "inclusivist, relativist" attitude, not really a strong established faith. He thinks ISI can help combat this moral relativism on this Christian campus.

    Next up... I went right over to the University of Oregon, home of the "Ducks!" It is literally right next to the NWCC campus. And, it's full of hippies. WOW. There were things I saw on campus that I didn't expect (despite the warnings ahead of time). I felt like this could have been Berkeley in the 1960s. I even saw one demonstrator on campus with a table, and he had signs advertising that he was against the war, for socialism and was happy to provide "free abortions on demand" (or at least tell the "liberated women" where to get some). I'm sure the University health office probably provides them. Disgusting. I almost wanted to punch the guy, but then realized his blunt "honesty" was probably going to help the pro-life side, so let him keep at it.

    While on campus, I popped into the Oregon "Commentator's" office - they are the Collegiate Network publication on campus. Two of them were actually there and we had a nice chat for about a half-hour about all things ISI. They were happy to see me, saying it was a "pleasant suprise." Colin from CN had just paid them a visit a few days before.

    After leaving Eugene, I drove up to Corvallis, about a 45-minute drive, to the home of the "Beavers" at Oregon State. In 45 minutes, I had driven from one side of the "Civil War" to the other (that's the name of the U of O and OSU football rivalry).

    I met with some long-established ISI and CN'ers - including Luke and Nathanael, who head up the OSU Students Alliance and the OSU Liberty, the ISI Group and CN publication on campus. Good guys, and they brought out a few other good people on the staff of this very successful CN publication. I've gotten to know Luke and Nathanael pretty well over the last 6 months - both have made visits to ISI this summer and Nathanael attended our camping trip in the Shenandoah. I think I even took Luke to his first MLB baseball game with the Phillies-Marlins this summer. They are awesome people and I'm glad that ISI has provided me the opportunity to get to know them that much more. And, they are also faith-filled students. Four of the students there tonight all attended the same Christian high school in their hometown, which is about 30 minutes from the OSU campus. It's great to see them remain good friends over the years and have the opportunity to attend college together and make a nice dent on the OSU campus with their group and publication.

    Good things are surely in store for these guys... they're smart, energetic, friendly, and people like them. Whatever they want to do, they'll get to do. It's hard to find more well-rounded people. On that note, I'll end my long, yet fun-filled day (we spent about 2 hours at dinner and another 3 at the bar). No complaints here. I got to see a nice chunk of Oregon, reach students at 4 schools today (9 total for the 3 days here), and have a good time doing it. Life is good.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2005

    Three Schools

    It was quite a day... I visited with people at 3 different schools today, all within an hour's drive of each other.

    My day began with a visit to Reed College, rated by the Princeton Review as one of the "best educational programs" in the country, yet with "the least religious" student body. My work was cut out for me. Due to an ISI faculty member at Reed, I was put in touch with someone in the administration there, who works with the public affairs side of things. I introduced him to all of ISI's programs - highlighting our fellowships and honors program, and our College Guide and Student's Guide. He seemed very receptive. He said Reed is a "strange place." They have "probably the most conservative curriculum in the country," but the student and faculty population lean pretty Left. And, they're seen as "God-less" by the likes of Princeton University, an image he hopes to change in the eyes of the public.

    Next stop... was to probably one of the more religious schools in the country, certainly in Oregon... George Fox University. I met with an ISI Faculty Associate there, who teaches politics. He was very happy to see me and share with me the many positive aspects at George Fox University, a school that boasts such notable alumni, as President Herbert Hoover - they're "claim to fame" as one student put it. This professor had told some students I would be coming by and about 10 or 12 of them came to hear my presentation on ISI. For those of them that were not yet members, they signed up... and everyone learned what I had to say about all of ISI's programs. Perhaps I encouraged them a bit more to take advantage of our offerings. They seemed very "hungry" for more involvement and they were happy to talk to me about the different programs ISI offers. They were very good kids, with a lot of great questions.

    Next stop... Willamette University. The State Chair of the Oregon Federation of College Republicans, John Swanson, attends Willamette University, "the first university in the West." It was founded by Methodists who wanted to preach to the heathen Indian population. Anyway... I was the guest speaker at the College Republican chapter meeting at Willamette... about 10-12 students attended the meeting and all who were not members (I think only one or two already were), signed up for ISI membership and hopefully they were encouraged to get more involved with ISI. They seemed very excited about our lecture program and the honors program.

    One pattern I keep seeing is that all these people seem so excited to have someone from ISI on their campus... I guess things are different out here, compared to the east coast where there are so many lectures and things. The students realize how far I had to come to reach their campus and they really appreciate the outreach to them. Also, out here, people just seem friendlier and more laid back and so that may contribute to the positive reception as well, but it's nice to hear.

    So far, after 2 days of my 13-day trip... the mission is moving forward. The outreach effort I hoped for is taking shape and more people are hearing about ISI who otherwise would not of. I always say, "If I can reach just one student, my mission is a success." I think we've gone beyond the one student in just 2 days and reached many students, faculty, and even administrators. I think from top to bottom, people are thirsty for a real educational experience and for the opportunity to dive into the world of ideas.

    Everyone looks like a hippie

    Yea seriously, it's uber-liberal out here. I didn't notice it as much until I walked onto the campus of Portland State. The campus just blends right from the city into the university. It's a very nice urban campus. The city also is a good-sized city (let's say a big city) with a small-town feel. I'd put it somewhere between the size of Indianapolis and Dallas.

    On campus though, it's hippie-ville. Guys with long hair (even dreads) are frequent, people with tattoos and piercings seem common. And yea if I took a poll, I'd say nearly half (maybe more?) are atheist/agnostic. The students here have an uphill battle for sure.

    I met tonight with Shah Smith and 2 other students on the staff of the noteworthy Portland State Spectator. A good group... Shah is a real conservative warrior, he the "take one for the team" kind of guy. Principled, honest, and the first to charge into battle. But the others seem less optimistic, or maybe I should say, more pessimistic (or realistic?) on the scene they're up against.

    But, hey... who could blame them. The city, the culture, and the campus and its culture aren't looking too good for conservatives these days. But, I'll say it again, they are the remnants: they are keeping the conservative dream alive. Shoot, they are keeping the traditions that have made this country so great alive. And, I'll stand with Shah and take them into battle any day.

    Monday, September 26, 2005

    Observations in Portland

    People out here are VERY active, even in the city. Everywhere today around Portland, from the morning, noon and night, I see people running everywhere. And, I've seen a lot of people biking.

    Granted, Portland State University is here in the city (an urban campus), but I've seen people running across the city, even in the outskirts of the city near (and on my way to) the University of Portland.

    It's no wonder Addidas and Nike got their big starts in this region! Also, maybe that Prefontaine guy (famous Olympic runner if you're not familiar) inspired people around here to run... he was from Oregon.

    Well I guess I've already assimilated... I went for a workout in this health club across the street from my hotel (which is complimentary for guests here). It was great, and another thing I've noticed - the music out here is a bit different. Well, let's just say I heard a mix of songs at the gym, everything from Everclear (a Portland band) to Blues Traveler to Ace of Base (could have spared that). And, even in the pizza place I was just at... something different in the air. I liked it though, except for that Ace of Base. But it was the gym, where music usually isn't the greatest. Hearing some old school Everclear (not the drink) was very welcoming to Portland.

    Now, I'm getting ready to meet with some of the staff of the Portland State Spectator, a CN newspaper here. Looking forward to it!

    On the Oregon Trail

    Yesterday, I took the day-long journey to get to Oregon. As long as it seemed (a 2-hour flight to Chicago from Philly, a 90-minute layover, and a 4-hour flight from Chicago to Portland), it is amazing how times have changed. A century and a half ago, our ancestors took many months to go from the East Coast (or even from Missouri, the middle of the country), all the way to the splendor of Oregon. Some died on the journey, many got sick, many didn't make it. But they all came west to start a new life and to make something of themselves.

    Well, I'm just out west for about 13 days. But, I will say, my first impression is great. Portland is a very nice city, I'm staying downtown. Everything seems very clean, a lot of restaurants and shopping. And, a nice mountain range is off in the distance, with the peak of Mt. Hood (it's pretty spectcular) overlooking the city. It's also a volcano, I just found out. But it hasn't erupted since around the time of Lewis and Clark and just after.

    Today, I began my ISI outreach trip with a visit with a philosophy professor at the University of Portland. This professor has been involved with ISI for many decades but he "hasn't seen an ISI face on campus in at least several years." When I heard that, I was even more happy that I made the trip. It really means something to our ISI members and particularly our Volunteers (he's an ISI Faculty Associate), when we pay them some attention.

    We had a nice 30-40 minute conversation about all things ISI, about the status of the University of Portland (a notable Catholic institution) and about his own life and times, from personal experiences with Adlai Stephenson to Presidents Reagan and the current President, George W. Bush. I was surprised to hear that "Dubbya" made a remarkable impression on him when he was somewhat recently invited to the White House for a panel with the President on the status of education. He said Bush was "very articulate" and "very knowledgeable" and "he didn't have any notes with him." He said his personality was also very down to earth and he hasn't met any leader that impressive since, well... Adlai Stephenson. (I didn't want to bring up the Gipper's name in all this, but I was thinking it).

    This philosophy professor also encouraged me to bring some more lecturers to the ISI Lecture Program, particularly more that were focused on philosophy (rather than politics and history, which tends to dominate our program). I told him of the noticeable attractiveness of the field of philosophy to many ISI students and encouraged him to recommend to us some notable lecturers in his field of study.

    After our meeting, I was checking out the beautiful campus, which overlooks Portland from the outer edges (with Mt. Hood in the back drop). As I came across the chapel, I noticed daily mass had just started (it was about 12:05). I attended mass (even though I was a tad late). It is also great to celebrate the Eucharist from campus to campus. It is surely one remnant that is everlasting. I prayed that the power of the Eucharist would fill the hearts of every student at the University of Portland. We can only hope.

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Villanova College Republicans

    On September 21 (Wednesday night), I was invited to be a "guest speaker" at a meeting of the College Republicans at Villanova University, a Catholic institution in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

    I was told ahead of time about how many students I should expect, but I really didn't believe it. When the meeting began, there were about 80 students, a few even standing to the side, as almost all the seats were filled in this large classroom.

    I spoke to the students about all things ISI, encouraging them to take part in all of our programs and giving them a little history of ISI and a quick introduction into the philosophy of Russell Kirk. I also reminded them about all the people that paved the way for our generaton and showed them why they should educate themselves on the first principles of America's founding and our Western heritage.

    I also reminded them that first come ideas, and then the politics follows. Mostly, however, I told them that we, as conservatives are "remnants". We are carrying on the traditions of the past, against all odds that the modern age places in front us. Ideas, I said, are also remnants, as long as they are carried from age to age by people and recorded history. The Villanova Times, for example, was started in 2000/2001, but somewhere in the middle of that time since, they didn't publish for about a year - but the idea remained - the remnant remained. And, once good leadership and a more active student body came to the forefront again, the remnat was able to thrive.

    After the talk, I presented the student group with some free books to help them start a group library or give out as awards to their members. In return, they gave me a Villanova College Republicans t-shirt. On the back it says "I Think Therefore I'm Republican." Exactly.

    Villanova College Republicans

    On September 21 (Wednesday night), I was invited to be a "guest speaker" at a meeting of the College Republicans at Villanova University, a Catholic institution in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

    I was told ahead of time about how many students I should expect, but I really didn't believe it. When the meeting began, there were about 80 students, a few even standing to the side, as almost all the seats were filled in this large classroom.

    I spoke to the students about all things ISI, encouraging them to take part in all of our programs and giving them a little history of ISI and a quick introduction into the philosophy of Russell Kirk. I also reminded them about all the people that paved the way for our generaton and showed them why they should educate themselves on the first principles of America's founding and our Western heritage.

    I also reminded them that first come ideas, and then the politics follows. Mostly, however, I told them that we, as conservatives are "remnants". We are carrying on the traditions of the past, against all odds that the modern age places in front us. Ideas, I said, are also remnants, as long as they are carried from age to age by people and recorded history. The Villanova Times, for example, was started in 2000/2001, but somewhere in the middle of that time since, they didn't publish for about a year - but the idea remained - the remnant remained. And, once good leadership and a more active student body came to the forefront again, the remnat was able to thrive.

    After the talk, I presented the student group with some free books to help them start a group library or give out as awards to their members. In return, they gave me a Villanova College Republicans t-shirt. On the back it says "I Think Therefore I'm Republican." Exactly.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    God and Man at Yale

    In the early 1950s, William F. Buckely, Jr. (ISI's first president), wrote God and Man at Yale to explore what he saw happening at Yale - a deterioration of the curriculum and the erosion of Western heritage, particularly the Christian traditions that Yale was founded on.

    Today, I am happy to report the opposite... I see a turn around at Yale. Surely, it does not represent the dominant mode of thought (yet), but it is a turnaround in the right direction. What is happening is happening slow, as it should.

    Some of the folks leading the way are Peter J. and Geoff E. (I don't want to get these folks in trouble). Peter is a freshman and is an impressive guy. He told me his ultimate career goal is "to be President of the King's College" in NYC - by the time he's 35! Geoff, on the other hand is (can't remember - a junior or senior). He and his girlfriend Deb lead a student group called "C.L.A.Y" which stands for "Choose Life at Yale." They are taking the right approach to things.

    Peter was an ISI Honors Fellow before he was even enrolled at Yale! And, before freshmen orientation he asked me (without me even offering) if I could send him 100 copies of ISI's Student's Guide to the Core Curriculum (written by Mark Henrie) so that he could distribute at Yale's freshmen orientation and sign new students up for ISI membership on day one. Well, on day one he already signed up about 50 students, and he's continuing to distribute the guides. Yale has a unique 2 week period at the beginning of freshmen year, where students can "survey" all the courses and then choose their core courses for the next 2 years. Peter was thinking ahead of the game, for him, for Yale, for ISI, and for the "souls" of these students, that they might be liberally educated and be guided by ISI through that process.

    Geoff, on the other hand, always provides me with unique experiences on my visits to Yale. Last year, he invited me to pray the rosary with some Catholic students one evening at Yale. It was a very awesome experience - and he even gave a book to me on "the secret of the rosary" - a book that I still read a few pages from at least once a week or so. This time, he invited me to come with Deb and himself to a "pro-life holy hour" to pray for life at this nun's house with about a dozen other people. After the hour of prayer (which we were late for!), everyone in the room had some dessert and shared stories of why they are part of the pro-life movement. There were some incredibly moving stories. Geoff, Deb, and I remarked how we all felt "so young" and so "inexperienced in life" in comparison to the others (all mostly middle-aged adults) in the room.

    For instance, one of the moving stories included one by a lady in her 50's or so that had an abortion in the 1970s, coerced by a doctor at Planned Parenthood. She later felt guilty for the abortion - so guilty she felt she must be going to hell, until she had a moving experience at mass one day, one that borders on the miraculous for sure. Without going into too much detail here, her story was truly moving and inspiring, not just for the pro-life movement, but for those looking to get deeper with their faith.

    Geoff and Deb are not your "political" types (even though Geoff is part of the Conservative Party at Yale and Deb is the president of CLAY). They are more interested in the culture and the counter-cultural movement on campus. Peter, though maybe a little bit more politically motivated is much more culturally and academically motivated than most activist-minded students. And, this is what is unique for the conservative campus movement. It's not as concerned with politicizing, but rather with influencing the culture in a positive way, to introduce students to ideas, to traditional liberal learning, and to moving beyond that feeling of "emptyness" to a greater feeling of fulfillment. And, for Geoff, Deb, and Peter (and myself), that greater feeling of fulfillment is best accomplished when people open themselves to Christ.

    Mr. Buckley, the relationship of God and Man has returned to Yale.

    Sunday, September 18, 2005

    Parties of the Right at Yale

    I spent Thursday and Friday in New Haven, Connecticut, at the wonderful school that is Yale University, composed of its many colleges and multiple groups of conservative students. It is also the alma mater of William F. Buckley, Jr., who was ISI's first president in 1953 and is the author of many books and hundreds of articles, including his most famous work, God and Man at Yale.

    This was my second official visit to Yale on behalf of ISI and so I was somewhat already used to the "parties" on the Right within the prestigious Yale Political Union (YPU). There are 3 parties "on the Left" and three parties "on the Right." Of course, ISI maintains a strong relationship with the three on the Right.

    On Thursday evening, around 5:30pm, I had dinner with four students from the Yale Free Press, a Collegiate Network supported newspaper, which also is associated with Yale's "Party of the Right," from which it pulls most of its writers from. Great group of students - we discussed many ideas on how to improve their paper and I hope the one thing I left them with is to do a lot less reporting and commenting on national stories and more reporting on campus stories or campus-related issues. Other than that, they seem to be doing great (their layout could be improved a bit too, but overall they run a fine productin).

    Later that evening around 7:30pm, I attending a "debate" of the Yale Tory Party. How these "debates" work is that each party holds one about once a week - usually every Thursday night. They don't usually debate with other parties, but instead hold parliamentary-style debates where everyone within the party debates the "resolution" at hand that week. For this past Thursday, the resolution was "Resolved: Judges should uphold unjust laws." (or something close to that). Anyone can stand up and make a speech and the "chairman" adjudicates who can speak and when, etc. Then, after each speech, anyone can ask the person who just delivered a speech (in the affirmative or the negative) questions based on that speech.

    The debate lasted several hours, and when people are done giving speeches, a motion is given to "vote" on the resolution. Around 10:15pm, this resolution was voted upon and failed. I really enjoyed the debate and the students in the Tor Party are really great - a lively bunch for sure.

    So, I then moved on to the Yale Conservative Party's debate, which was being held one college over. They were still deeply involved in their debate (and would be until 1 am!) The resolution they were debating was "Resolved: The Purpose of Government is to Promote Equality." Oh boy.

    I arrived and the debate still had many hours to go... I even delivered a speech, in the negative. I said "The purpose of government is to promote justice" and reminded them that over the Supreme Court, there is a motto that says "Equal JUSTICE under the Law," saying that justice is what should be applied, and of course, it should be applied equally. Government's purpose should be to promote equality - of opportunity, and we are all "equal" in the eyes of God, but for a government to promote equality is purely utopian.

    Anyways... the resolution failed, but barely! I was shocked it was even that close, but I guess the word "equality" dazzles even conservatives sometimes.

    The next day, Friday, I had lunch with the Tory Party at Mory's, a "members only" dining club across from Yale, however it's not that exclusive since almost any student or alumnus of Yale can be a member and they can take guests... but still a nice place and I was there for nearly three hours, immersed in good conversation with the Tories. I'll have more to say on a few individuals I met with on this trip... but this blog is getting long already... can you tell I love Yale and all the good experiences it brings?

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    The Conspiracy Begins!

    I just came from a meeting with the Columbia College Conservatives Club... or the "C4" as they're known. I finally got to meet the young protege Chris Kulawik, who is leading the march for the campus conservative movement at Columbia.

    It's an uphill battle all the way... but I met with representatives from the Conservatives Club, the College Republicans, and the Students for America group. And, although I didn't meet the CN Editor, I will soon. A great group of kids... very motivated - and very courageous, I might add. This is one of the most Leftist and one of the most politically charged campuses in the country. But, the conservative students here have hope, they are growing in numbers and they have a number of groups that are united in their efforts, and filled with a lot of great ideas... and as we say at ISI, "ideas have consequences."

    Go get'em Chris! Here's their website:

    Sunday, September 11, 2005

    ISI makes "The Point"

    The following three links are from "The Point," a one-minute daily commentary that is intended to stimulate public discourse syndicated to TV Stations across the nation through Sinclair Broadcasting. they visited ISI back in late July and interviewed various staff. They did three commentaries involving ISI (you should be able to watch these broadcasts and also read the transcripts):


    I'll be there on Friday and Saturday.

    Here's the website you need to know:

    Still Remembering

    Today is the fourth anniversary of the horrific attacks on U.S. soil that happened four years ago. It changed everything. Yet, four years later some people are "remembering" the victims, but forgetting about the culprits and the radical Islamic ideology that led them to their acts.

    Today, I'm remembering the victims - they'll be in my prayers. And, I'm not forgetting about the radical Islamic ideologues - they'll be in my prayers too.

    Friday, September 09, 2005

    "George Bush doesn't care about black people"

    On a Red Cross telethon to raise money, some entertainers got together to raise money for the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. Hip-hip "artist" Kanye West couldn't help himself though.

    He said "George Bush doesn't care about black people." No joke. Check out the look on actor Mike Myers' face! Myers was standing right next to Kanye West as he uttered these words. Then, it appears the producers must have cut away quickly from Myers and West and gone right to Chris Tucker. Tucker's face is just as baffling. Keep playing this video over and over... it's hilarious and yet, sad.

    Before that, West also said that the soldiers that could be helping us are instead "fighting another war" (here's where Iraq comes into play)... and then continues one step furhter in a bizarre twist that even Mike Myers doesn't seem quite to get, West continued, "they've given them permission to go down and shoot us". I guess he's referring to "us" as black people. So apparently those soliders that are in Iraq that can't come to Louisiana are also given permission to come down to Louisiana and shoot black people. Yea, I don't get it either.

    Here's the clip:

    Thursday, September 08, 2005

    Finding the Remnants in Carlisle, PA

    I am here... in Carlisle, PA to meet with the "Credendum Reading Group," an ISI Group at Dickinson College. I just met with them this evening at the John Newton International Center for Christian Studies.

    3 students and one advisor came... and they were really great people. Here it is, the John Newton Center, a little "remnant" left over from the days gone by, when a "Christian education" was a vital part of every college and university in this country. Dickinson College started out in the middle of the eighteenth century, with a Christian founding. Today, it's gone secular, but the John Newton Center and the students involved in the ISI reading group are keeping together a small remnant of the past.

    Perhaps when other Dickinson students have gone mad in this nihilistic, post-modern world, they will find themselves at the John Newton Center, or at perhaps some other remnant on campus (unknown to me) and they will rediscover purpose in their lives and in their community.

    Carlisle, PA by the way is a great little town... truly American in every sense of the word. I'm staying at a bed & breakfast here called the "Carlisle House". It's located just 4 blocks from the college, right in historic downtown Carlisle. This place is great! The room is awesome, the service is great, and the hostess was very welcoming and friendly. This is what customer service is all about - or I was thinking, what it used to be about. I think this little bed and breakfast is also a "remnant" of things of the past. But, hey, it's still around and probably thriving.

    I've realized just today that all these things "conservatives" complain about that are no longer around, really are. You just have to find them... the remnants are here, and we can make use of them, discover them, and experience them. We just have to find the remnants and then once we do, we have to help them thrive.

    Photos from the Shenandoah

    This was the sunset view from our balcony... quite nice isn't it? Posted by Picasa

    This is a side view from our balcony, where you can see the other lodges overlooking the valley/mountains. Posted by Picasa

    Here I am 4,000 feet up in the Shenandoah Mountains, with the valley below me. Posted by Picasa

    At the top of the Stony Man Mountain Trail, a 4,000 foot (plus a few) peak. After taking in the view, we held an hour-long discussion here in the sky. Posted by Picasa

    Redeeming the Time in the Shenandoah

    This past Labor Day weekend... I labored away with my ISI job. But, you can hardly call this "work." Can I reiterate how much I love my job.

    I spent the weekend in the Shenandoah Mountains with two of my ISI colleagues, Brian and Maggie, and about 11 students representing 7 different colleges/universities and one other ISI Alumnus representing another conservative organization in DC (Brendan at FreedomWorks).

    A few weeks earlier, I had distributed to each participant, a complimentary copy of Russell Kirk's collection of essays, "Redeeming The Time." The book contains essays, each based on a series of lectures Kirk gave at the Heritage Foundation in the 1980s and early 1990s. The essays contain prescriptions on how we can renew the culture and redeem the time.

    Beginning with a cook-out on Friday night, we held 4 discussions, each based on one essay in the book. The students we invited were spectacular, coming from nearby Patrick Henry College, Christendom College, Shenandoah University, the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia, and one visiting student from Oregon State University as well as a nursing student from the University of Pennsylvania. All of them are involved in an ISI Group on their campus. Each brought with them great ideas, a sound faith in Christ and an adequate ability to use reason to bring the intellectual discussions up to par, as we discussed the greatest strengths - and weaknesses - of Western Civilization, and how we can each do our part to renew the culture and redeem the time.

    In a period of decadence, Kirk's ideas helped us all to discuss how we can overcome the malaise in our culture and use our faith in Christ to redeem Western Civilization and further the American Mission of ordered liberty.

    The Shenandoah Mountains were a prime location to help us to do this - as we were able to escape the realities of the world for a few days and enjoy the tranquility of nature (we saw a bunch of deer, even a bear, and lot of other unique creatures). It was also neat to see the vast valley below the Skyland Lodge at which we stayed and we climbed up to the 4,000-foot peak during a nature hike and held a discussion from the top of the "stony mountain trail". We were able to experience nature, discuss grand ideas, and at night, gather round the campfire and look up to the stars, as we gazed upon the heavens. The students' discusssions helped inspire me that we are in fact taking a venture beyond our post-modern world to help redeem the time. Through faith in Christ, all things can be redeemed.

    Russell Kirk put his faith in both Providence and in the rising generation... through my experience with this job at ISI and the many people I work with, both staff and students alike, I now understand just what Kirk saw and why his faith in Providence and in the rising generation is not hard to fathom.

    Thursday, September 01, 2005

    I made the ISI Event Calendar! I'm an event!

    Check out the ISI Lecture Calendar. I'm on there... speaking on my usual topic, "Bringing Conservative Principles to Your Campus."

    Right now, I'm scheduled to give talks to conservative groups on the following campuses:
    - Dickinson College (Sept 9)
    - Villanova University (Sept 21)
    - Palm Beach Atlantic (Oct 27)

    More dates and schools to come...