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This is the personal weblog of Aakash Raut, established Sept. 2002. It will cover current affairs, worldwide & national topics, local & university events, and provide insight and commentary on contemporary issues and the news from his perspective. Enjoy!

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    Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    Pray for the one who's inspired me the most...

    Before I start posting my planned entries, I need to comment on something that I discovered just last night - though I wish I had found out about it sooner.

    As I mentioned below, I have moved back onto campus housing; I wasn't living here last school year, but I did the year before (I moved onto this campus, for the first time, in the Fall 2002 semester). Within about a month, I started this weblog. As I've said before, doing so is one of the best things that I've accomplished while a student here.

    There were several good weblogs and bloggers who I came across around that time, something that inspired me to start a weblog of my own, and to keep working on it, and to participate in the activities of the Blogsophere community as well. I was just looking through my UIS e-mail inbox earlier this evening; there are still e-mails in there from two years ago... and I came across a Washington Post article about fellow youth blogger Ben Domenech, which I had forwarded to others shortly after starting my blog - I think I was using that as an example of how people my age can be involved in politics and current affairs, and can deliver insightful commentary and analysis about the contemporary issues and controversies in the world around us.

    Also around that time, I began regularly reading, and posting comments at, the IU family of blogs - Hoosier Review, Paul Musgrave dot net (now Paul Musgrave dot com), and of course, the weblog of Josh Claybourn. It is the latter-mentioned individual who I've said, several times before, is the #1 collegiate conservative blogger - and is, without a doubt, one of the most principled, prolific, honest, and friendly individuals in the Blogosphere. I mentioned this in a comment post at the blog of another "Joshua" - Mr. Price - and I showed how my blog is a 'child' of, as per the blog 'family tree' system. ( is, by the way, actually a child of Paul, another excellent Hoosier weblog, whose author I also admire.)

    But the purpose of this entry of mine is not just to comment on what some of you already know, but also, to send my condolences to Mr. Claybourn in regards to something that I found out last night, while looking for some material that I was wanting to use for a composition for class. In the process of doing that, I came across Josh's blog's front page (in the past, I've been reading it regularly... but in the past several months, my Blogosphere participation has been drastically less, and at times, almost non-existent). At his front page, I saw the news from about two weeks ago, about something very sad that happened in Josh's life. His mother passed away.

    So, for the first time that I can recall since I found his great blog (and perhaps, for the first time ever), has gone without daily posting. Guest bloggers will take over there very soon, but I hope that everyone who is reading this now will check out the touching and poignant web page that Josh has put together, in remembrance of his mother, describing what happened on her final day.

    Once again, I wish that I had been reading Josh's blog regularly, like I had been doing before, and that I had known about this sooner.

    From my observations and interactions with him, I think that Josh is a very strong individual, and a man of strong faith and conviction. A situation like this is one that everyone our age hopes that we will never have to experience; I cannot even imagine how hard something like this must be. But out of sadness and grief can come renewal and growth, and with the help of friends, family members, and the goodness of God, we become able to continue leading our lives fulfillingly, while never, ever losing the memories and experiences that we know we will forever cherish.

    Josh is a courageous and gifted individual, and I am sure that he will remain so in the near and distant future. I want to extend my deepest condolences to him and his family, and to ask that you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

    - If you have a website, please consider 'signing' this digital card from Dr. Adrian Warnock.
    - Here is the pertinent post at blogs4God by Dean Peters.
    - Here is a prayer for the Claybourn family from Rick in VA.
    - Here is the local newspaper's obituary for Mrs. Michele Diane Tooley Claybourn.

    Update: Please read this excellent and pertinent post by Ryan Reynolds. And, as Ryan and Andy have reminded us, now would be a good time to call your mother... Call your father, as well.

    "...For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
    Jeremiah 29:11

    First Week

    Settling in... (on campus, once again); getting things in gear... participating in things... Getting CR stuff organized, etc...

    Check back soon!

    (later today, hopefully...)

    Update: Don't you just love the OfficeMax commercials - with "Rubberband Man"? Check this out.

    I actually found this via Neal Boortz. For some reason, I was at this blog the other day. Boortz claims to be a libertarian (perhaps he is), but he has been a cheerleader for "the liberation of Iraq" and "the War on Terrorism." This created some controversy when he was asked to once again address the Libertarian Party's national convention.

    In a column about this matter, Mr. Boortz does mention the Iraq issue, but instead chooses to focus on the [quite legitimate] criticism of the Libertarians with regard to the issue of drug legalization.

    I think that Boortz will be backing Bush, not Badnarik, in this year's election. (Though I'm not sure about this, I think the same may be true for conservative/libertarian Larry Elder, even though he endorsed Harry Browne over George W. Bush in the last election.)

    This column by Boortz is horrible and misleading - what he is doing is criticizing Democrats for not voting in favor of liberal, Democratic foreign policy measure; check out Jonah Goldberg's article about this. But at least this later column by Boortz is pretty cool.

    Sunday, August 08, 2004


    It was a blast

    There were a few setbacks, but the 26th annual National Conservative Student Conference was an overall success. I met a lot of great people there, who share a lot of my views on major issues, such as life, liberty, foreign policy, immigration, neoconservatism, government, President Bush, and current affairs... There was also some diversity in the viewpoints among the conservative and libertarian students there, regarding these subjects. There were many excellent speakers there (though I would have liked to have seen some others as well), and it was a very educational and captivating time. The greatest event that I participated in at the conference was the exciting - and combative - "bull session" with the unbelievably outstanding Reginald Jones; issues were raised about lockstep partisanship, the statist and neoconservative philosophy, and about the Republican Party leadership's perceived treatment of its conservative base. Also - when Rich Lowry was our dinner banquet speaker on Thursday night, three of us traditionalists ganged up on him in the lobby following the dinner... It was a good debate, and I think that we perhaps won (though he might disagree). A major discussion point of the conference was the dissatisfaction by many of us at the policies of the Bush administration, but uncertainty about what to do about it - many of the students indicated that they would end up voting for President Bush however, though they wish the situation wasn't like it is. When we attended a White House briefing at the Einsehower Executive Office Building, the spokesman, during the question-and-answer session, got an earful, as student after student raised issue with the policies of this administration, on issues such as prescription drugs, profligate spending, amnesty for illegal aliens, border security, and Bush's perceived lack of dedication to conservative principles. In defense of President Bush, the guy made some pretty ridiculous, and rather arrogant, remarks; that was rather troubling to hear. Anyway, I will go into more detail about the conference events, the speakers we heard from, the issues that they raised, and about the broader topics regarding current affairs and politics, in future entries. This conference is likely an experience that I will never forget, and I would highly recommend that other conservative/libertarian students (college as well as high school) look into attending Young America's Foundation events, and contact YAF to get involved with their activities. They can help provide the resources, information, assistance, and inspiration that can help us make our campuses, our communities, and our country, better places in which to live.
    (800) USA-1776

    Related material:

    NEW! - Time Magazine article on our convention
    NEW! - Agape Press: Commentary and News Briefs (2nd to last news item)
    NEW! - Even the liberals know that:
    We are WINNING the 'campus wars'!!
    NEW! - Family News in Focus: Conservative College Group Holds Convention
    Judge Roy Moore to students: U.S. legal system has lost its way
    Taking on Liberal Newspapers, Hans Zeiger [Good luck in the contest, Hans!]

    Republican Party at war with itself, Kyle Williams
    No Room for Nationalists on Kemp's "Shining Hill", Pat Buchanan
    The GOP's Blue-State Convention Slate, Terence P. Jeffrey
    Conservative Congressmen want Hyde in Prime Time, Joseph A. D'Agostino
    Don't Push Me, Mr. Bush, Edward Daley
    Unhelpful Conservative Bush-Bashing, Bill Sizemore
    Bush-Bashing Conservatives should focus on the big picture, Bobby Eberle
    Why Bush Will Win Re-Election, Alan Caruba

    Media Catches up with Spoons, Say Uncle
    [See my comment at that entry... Our friend from central Illinois has been making this point for awhile, and while I myself am not advocating anything, this is related to the party phenomenon issue that I brought up at a conference event, and which I've discussed before. Sometimes, the lesser of the two evils can yield worse results than the better evil.]

    WorldNetDaily Exclusive - Whistleblower Magazine:
    Why the Republican Party is losing conservative voters

    NEW - There's Only One Choice, Charley Reese
    [Conservative columnist Charley Reese's endorsement of Bush in 2000 may have been key to his victory in Florida, i.e. - his election to the White House.]
    NEW - Conservative gets immigration platform plank, Washington Times
    [Congresswoman Hart was a speaker at the 2002 YAF Conservative Student Conference... We need more people like her in Congress!]

    NEW - Conservatives push for prime time spots at convention, LA Times
    NEW - The Conservatives case against George W. Bush, William Bryk, NY Press

    Update (8/11/04): Here is some of the material that I referenced or referred to on the convention floor (in connection with the scheduled events):

    At the Ron Robinson speech:
    Activists on Right fear waning influence, Washington Times
    Memo from Donald Devine (American Conservative Union): Revitalizing Conservatism
    The Return of Fusionism
    Frank Meyer and Fusionism

    At the Nigel Ashford speech:
    Christopher Hitchens --- Peter Hitchens
    "This is a left-wing conflict and Conservatives should not support it", Peter Hitchens

    Pertinent background material:
    - Paul J. Cella on the Hitchens/Hitchens dichotomy
    - Yours truly [commenting] on the Hitchens/Hitchens dichotomy
    - Dr. James Joyner on the intersection of neoconservatism and liberal internationalism

    - Yes, Lady Thatcher might perhaps now be possibly opposing the Iraq war....

    At the Edwin Meese speech:
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Ginsburg is linked to liberal group

    At the Dan Flynn speech:
    Daniel McCarthy's column on young traditionalist conservatives: Young Men of the Old Right
    Jonah Goldberg's entry before Mr. McCarthy's column
    Dan Flynn's entry regarding Mr. McCarthy's column
    NY Times article that initially prompted Jonah's comments

    I just looked again at Mr. McCarthy's column - though he wrote that a couple of weeks ago, what he wrote about was relevant to this convention, as well as, I see, to YAF conventions of the past. Check out his mention of Reginald Jones! That column is a must-read for all YAFers, and for all young conservatives & libertarians and College Republicans.

    Wednesday, August 04, 2004

    Why Do These Things Happen?

    I had a pretty bad experience at the convention tonight. I'm kind of secluding myself in the computer lab here, not wanting to be around the other conference attendees for the moment (though they're all pretty much really nice).

    At this hour, I don't know if I have the emotional or physical fortitude to keep on blogging, but I will say this:

    Our libertarian friend Radley Balko, in a previously-mentioned entry at his blog - with a humorous fisking of an Ann Coulter speech, included a story that showed Ms. Coulter's softer side. I am not Ann Coulter (just as last night, Charles wasn't Jeane Kirkpatrick), but tonight, I thought I could relate - even though our situations were different... Here's what commenter RHJunior said at that above-mentioned entry by John Cole (in which Radley's entry is excerpted):

    The woman puts up on a daily basis with nastiness, pettiness, viciousness and outright libel and slander that would send any leftwing dingleballs into **public** wailing and blubbering for sympathy.
    Whatever made her break down and cry, Anne Coulter did so *offstage.* Then she wiped her face off and went on with the day like every other.... kicking liberal a-- like it so richly deserves.

    Very good.

    Here is some good stuff:
    - 'Be not afraid to fall down... You stall rise'
    - Hero

    And yesterday was a first for me, on a matter regarding the Blogosphere and fellow bloggers. Charles and Allison know about that. The rest of you will have to wait until I'm better able to blog... which hopefully won't be too long from now.

    This has, overall, been a neat convention so far. C-SPAN has been covering a lot of it - yesterday C-SPAN 2 covered about 4 hours in the afternoon, including a speech by John Stossel, Dr. Walter Williams, Ed Meese (I asked a question during that one), and Christina Hoff Sommers.

    I think that I see the sun starting to come up... perhaps over The Watergate Hotel (which is right across from where we're staying). Well, the sun coming up over Watergate could be the signal of a new day ahead... hopefully, better than the last.