On surveillance, the Northwest is particularly prickly: 200 wiseguy words

By:  The Oregonian - David Sarasohn
Source: The Oregonian

At the end of last month, 26 U.S. senators, responding to the revelations of extensive National Security Agency collection of information about Americans, wrote to James Clapper, director of national intelligence, with some questions. They were worried that NSA intelligence practices "could clearly have a significant impact on Americans' privacy and liberties ..."

The letter didn't have a postmark -- except, of course, U.S. Senate, which may be all it needs -- but the return address might have been the Northwest.

It was signed by just over a quarter of the Senate, but by all four senators from Oregon and Washington -- Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell -- with organizer Wyden's name at the head of the list. Even farther to the northwest, both of Alaska's senators, Democrat Mark Begich and Republican Lisa Murkowski -- one of four Republicans -- set their names to it. From the eastern reaches of the Northwest, and of the Bonneville Power Authority, so did the two senators from Montana, Democrats Max Baucus and Jon Tester.

Of 26 signers, 14 are from the Rockies and points west.

Western independence, Northwestern independence, can be a cliché. But you don't have to be riding a lonely horse across a vast landscape to think that living this far away from Washington, D.C., you're particularly unhappy to have it pop up in your phone calls.