September 2nd, 2013 by Neil Killion
The United States’ response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria comes down to a question of deterrence and not necessarily the chemical weapon use. If the United States does not respond then deterrence will take a hit and this could result in serious set-backs to global security.
The United States is in this unpleasant situation because the administration claimed the use of chemical weapons is a red line that would be met with punishment. That red line has now been crossed between nine and fourteen times according to reports and if there is no response our ability to provide credible deterrence will suffer more than it has already.
The United States did not have a credible deterrent against the Assad regime to begin with for a couple reasons. First, the United States does not have a history of retaliating against the use of chemical weapons. Chemical weapons were used in the Iran-Iraq war with no repercussions. They were used by Saddam Hussein against Kurds in northern Iraq; once again with no retaliation. As previously noted, it has been used several times during the Syrian civil war with little response.
Second, Assad is no fool. He knows that after spending over a decade fighting two wars and helping rebels in Libya that the United States is war weary. The people of this nation are tired of being the world’s police. They are tired of having their sons and daughters coming back from far off lands missing limbs or in coffins. This does not make people gung-ho about getting involved in a civil war.
However, President Obama drew a red line at the use of chemical weapons and now we must act. Otherwise other red lines will mean little to our enemies. In the future our presidents should refrain from drawing red lines except for extreme circumstances such as an attack against the United States or its allies and the use of nuclear weapon; not the use of chemical weapons in a civil war. Neither Assad nor the rebels are allies of the United States, and the claim that chemical weapons kill indiscriminately does not hold water either. To push for military intervention over the use of chemical weapons is to suggest that a cruise missile or a drone do not kill innocent civilians.
It would be a better use of resources to provide aid to the nations that have been over-run by refugees fleeing the civil war.
July 30th, 2013 by Neil Killion
Nanny Bloomberg’s “soda ban” was struck down by a New York Supreme Court of Appeals today. The ban prevented restaurants and street vendors from selling sugary drinks like soda, tea, and energy drinks in containers or cups larger than 16 ounces. This is supposedly an attempt to fight the obesity epidemic. Yet, the ban did not restrict coffee drinks blended with milk or milk shakes.
Bloomberg has pointed out that 2,000 people have died of diabetes since the ban was first struck down and promises an appeal. This is typical government knowing what is good for you and passing regulations that in the end will have little if any effect on the supposed problem. Pointing out that 2,000 have died suggests that had the ban been allowed to take effect it could have been prevented.
Obesity is a problem, but you cannot regulate it away. Only those of us falling into the obese category can fix it. Forcing someone to buy more than one drink is not going to do it. Obesity is a problem, but not a disease. You do not catch the obese germ or virus. You become obese because you decide to take in more calories than you burn.
This is the same city that blocks people from donating to food shelters because they cannot monitor the salt content. I am sure the homeless and those unable to provide for themselves care whether or not the food has a high salt level if the choice is that or going hungry.
There are better ways to solve problems and the government is not usually it. As this example once again shows.
July 28th, 2013 by Neil Killion
This year the Oregon Commentator is turning thirty and we are looking for thoughts and memories from past Commentators. Send those thoughts and memories to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. In your emails please include the years you were at the OC and where you are now if possible.
July 25th, 2013 by Neil Killion
A Neighborhood Watch leader follows a suspicious character in the neighborhood and after being assaulted, and having his skull repeatedly bashed into the concrete, shoots and kills the assailant. Most people reading that would probably respond differently than the way some have responded to the media circus and lynching of George Zimmerman. What about this situation is worthy of the hype and uproar that has been thrust upon us for the last year? Nothing! The same situation happened elsewhere only it was a black Neighborhood Watch person and white assailants and surprise surprise, no uproar.
The Stand Your Ground law has been paraded about as another villain in this event, yet it had nothing to do with the event. Unfortunately, not even our supposed constitutional scholar president is able to understand a very simple law. Stand Your Ground says that if you are legally allowed to be somewhere and someone threatens your life you are able to defend yourself without first retreating. In other words if I pull a knife or gun on you while you are walking down the street you can use deadly force (read gun) to defend yourself. You do not have to turn and run. You can stand your ground, hence the name of the law. Now in the Zimmerman case, his head was being bashed into concrete. Retreating is not an option at that point. This was purely self defense. He was not able to retreat once his life became endangered. Mr. Martin was not unarmed, he was using the concrete as a weapon.
The ugly part of this was the race baiting that went on by those in the media and the White House. “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.” I seriously doubt that a child of a president would be thugged out, smoking weed, and getting suspended from school for criminal activity. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson just showed their ability to profit off a tragedy as usual. Why is it that this was considered a white on black crime when Zimmerman is half Peruvian? Oh but Barack Obama is black even though he is half white. In the eyes of some race is the only issue and no matter what it must have played a role. It was the fact that Martin was black, not that he looked like a thug in an area that had seen a spike in break ins, that got him followed.
Now onto the head shake aspect. It is sad to see how many people suck at the teat of celebrities that they blindly accept and follow what ever their favorite celebrities spout. Zimmerman is an evil bastard and Trayvon Martin was a poor innocent thug. No one stopped to question why this case was being pushed over numerous other cases where a black youth was killed. They just continued on with the talking points of the hypocrites who think it is wrong for you and I to defend ourselves while they have armed security guards to protect them.
June 26th, 2013 by Neil Killion
I would caution the cheering crowds that view the Supreme Court’s refusal to rule on Prop 8 to step back for a moment. This ruling raises some red flags, and I hope that those opposing Prop 8 can understand that.
Prop 8 made same-sex marriage illegal in California. It was voted on by the people and passed. The Governor then refused to enforce it. Whether or not you agree with same-sex marriage is irrelevant. The process of direct democracy that so many on the left supposedly believe in was dealt a blow today.
If the governor does not agree with the people’s decision then he does not need to listen. In the future, when the same people that are championing this decision are in the majority and the governor is on the opposing side, the governor will not have to listen to their votes. That should raise major concerns for them because in getting a victory, they are also getting a defeat.
The court did not rule that same-sex marriage should be legal, only that the plaintiff did not have the standing to bring the case before the court. If it had been brought up as a voters’ right issue it is possible it may have resulted in a different decision.
June 26th, 2013 by Neil Killion
While many of you may have been caught up in the joyous revelations that the Ducks will not be banned from the bowls this year, the court handed down a major decisions regarding gay marriage today.
The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled unconstitutional in a 5-4 opinion. The Supreme Court ruled that if you live in a state that recognizes gay marriage the federal government cannot deny federal benefits. It does not rule whether or not gay marriage itself is legal, just that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay couples in those states that do recognize gay marriage.
Although this is a victory for same-sex couples, it is also a victory for states’ rights. The state’s law held supremacy over the federal law in this case. If the state recognizes same-sex marriage then the federal government cannot deny those couples benefits. This may pave the way for other states’ rights issues in the future.
June 13th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
I know I said the Tater Awards release was my last post, but I just need to call attention to some things.
Over two months ago, the Oregon Commentator went through the legitimate avenue to transfer funds into a new line item labeled “Public Records Requests”. Apparently the ASUO Senate was unaware (as was I and the rest of the Commentator staff– go figure) that “state money” cannot be used to investigate the “state”. I learned this only very recently as the UO Administration and the ASUO professional staff alike are determined to stonewall and ultimately stifle the Oregon Commentator. It’s as if their entirely subjective moral compasses are only functioning when they see one of our staff members walk in the door.
Conveniently for General Counsel Randy Geller, President Gottfredson, and the Athletic Department, the mandatory I-fee (student money), is considered property of the state and the $999 we secured to investigate these snakes in the grass is now unusable and will go to waste.
On a related note, FERPA is being used to redact student names from President Gottfredson’s calendar. WTF? is exactly right.
As happy as I am to declare this string of debacles “Not My Problem Anymore”, I feel sorry for the returning and incoming students. Good luck and good beer to all! You are going to need it.
June 12th, 2013 by Martin Hallstrom
Some news about the ASUO reached our ears. Sure we were pretty drunk so it was barely audible. But apparently our dear friends in the ASUO are involved in some in/fighting. Frankly that’s awesome news to us at the OC.
We love watching those greedy, self-centered vultures fight amongst themselves. The reason for this infighting is a Tumblr page that contains memes and jokes made by the self-proclaimed “progressives” of the ASOU senate, mostly on the account of the conservatives in the senate and Taylor Allison.
Finally the ASUO is emulating congress! Fuck bi-partisanship and efficiency, let’s all just observe our differences instead of finding common ground. Because the ASUO senate isn’t already a rotten, bloated, ineffective, cesspool of waste, opportunism and stupidity right?
Link to the blog: Site
June 12th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
I present to you, the Tater Awards.
This is the last issue for the Oregon Commentator I will have worked on and my last post on this blog. I appreciate all the lovers, the haters, and everyone who made any aspect of my experience at the OC possible. I am very proud of the last five months and wish the students at the University of Oregon a happy summer. Cheers!
May 27th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
Last Wednesday, the UO Senate’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) held a meeting at which AAD for Finance Eric Roedl was scheduled to give the IAC information about the athletic department’s budget and some projections about the next 6 years.
The UO Senate voted last week to require the Athletic Department to start paying back some of its subsidies, like that of the Matthew Knight Arena property, so this meeting had attracted myself from the Oregon Commentator, and two Daily Emerald reporters.
Right away there was tension in the air. This was the last IAC meeting of the school year and the AD still hadn’t released minutes from the previous meeting. Glen Waddell was met with an awkward silence when he asked about the delay in preparing the minutes.
“I’ve been really busy and haven’t gotten around to it,” the stenographer said.
Bill Harbaugh then asked IAC co-chair Andy Karduna if he had followed up on the request to the AD for the syllabus for the College of Education FHS 110 class that the athletics department requires all new players to take.
Karduna replied that he hadn’t, and had no plans to ever do so.
I had been under the impression that the IAC meeting was open to the public, as it was – until AAD Roedl realized that the media was present. And so began the discussion of whether or not to allow the media to stay during the presentation of revenue projections.
Some members of the IAC referred to the projections as “confidential… sensitive information”. When asked why projections would be “sensitive information”, those believing it to be sensitive did not want to discuss specifics because the reporters were still in the room.
Read the rest of this entry »
May 22nd, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
The making of public records available is more of a guideline than a “law” to adhere to here at the University of Oregon. In January, Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh requested President Michael Gottfredson’s calendar via the Public Records Office. It took them two months to produce this PDF with redactions and cost Harbaugh $108.
In very related news, the state of Pennsylvania decided last month that the public is entitled to the calendars of public officials in their entirety. This is shocking to reporters here at the University of Oregon, as the Public Records Office and UO chief executives like to interpret Public Records Law according to their personal discretion, rather than according to a transparent and concise procedure. This is acknowledged as lawful by UO Administrators because, as stated by Dave Hubin, “Oregon’s public records law is internally contradictory and ambiguous,” justifying the personal discretion used by those involved in preparing said “public” documents.
As Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center states in his post on April 30, 2013 (see Pennsylvania link above), what applies to a state governor can be applied to chief executives of public universities. The post continues, stating,
“Pennsylvania law, like all state open-records laws, presumes that the public should have the maximum possible access and that any exceptions to access should be narrowly interpreted. That is, appropriately, what the Commonwealth Court did April 23 in Office of the Governor v. Scolforo.”
I have requested Gottfredson’s calendar since January 8, 2013, the cutoff date of the last request. Since this University of Oregon no longer claims to be “Oregon’s flagship university” and is en route to losing its research status granted by the Association of American Universities, I suppose the Administrators won’t really see any pressing need to save the UO brand by improving transparency. Research? Who needs that? That’s what OSU is for.
May 7th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
We are very very proud to release our highly revered HATE issue! Nobody is safe!We take no prisoners!
Click here to read about the illegality of OSPIRG and why it sucks! We also hate on the UO, Sobriety, California and many other abominable topics!
SHARE THE HATE!
May 6th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
An email was just sent to our editorial staff anonymously. The author of the email alleges that there have been a number of instances where information regarding Constitution Court decisions had spread around the ASUO office prior to any sort of opinion being released. When the Court chose to remove Laura Hinman from office, she was apparently aware before it was official. Again before her reinstatement, she alluded to her former staff that the ruling would be overturned. Most recently, the decision by the Court to overturn the spring ASUO election was known to members of the United Oregon campaign over a day prior to the knowledge being made public. The anonymous author concluded, signing as A Very Concerned ASUO Representative:
I urge you to confront Chief Justice Nick Schultz over these allegations, as if the court is compromised, it threatens the stability of the ASUO government for as long as the leak remains.
Honestly, for something with so little stability already, it’s hard to want to care. However, confronting Schultz can’t hurt. Got anything to say, hombre?
May 4th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
Just kidding, that’s at UC Davis.
Here at the UO, getting the records you want can be sort of a hassle. UO Matters has attained public records from both the UO and OSU and the difference in what each institution deems “public” or a “conflict of interest” is disturbing. The difference in pay is understandable. Because Go Ducks? We’re better than beavers right? We gotta keep out the riff raff.
May 4th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
I know this is old news but, in case you haven’t heard, the UO Cheer squad hosted tryouts and invited the public to come watch for a 5 dollar entrance fee. Busted Coverage has the story (and pictures!).
UO Matters has the story, too. On that post you will find a screenshot of a bid war for a pair of Official Women’s Soccer shorts:
Disgusting. And Hilarious. The Busted Coverage gallery is the best though. Locker room pics!
But honestly am just saddened that the ASUO mailing lists didn’t forward any notice of the cheerleading tryouts. I would have forked over 5 dollars any day to get a close up view of the cheerleaders in action. Wait, I take that back. Most of them are too orange for me.
UO Cheer did have an advertisement on their official Twitter feed, though. I wonder what kind of fellows and how many of ‘em were lucky enough to get in there…