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Archive for February, 2005

I Can See The Future

Saturday, February 26th, 2005

Below is last year’s ASUO Elections editorial, I think I might have, like, ESPN or something. Most prescient points in bold.

Weʼre Late, late, late for a date of minimal importance. With as much emphasis as the folks down in Suite Four place on the ASUO elections every winter or spring, one would think more of an effort would be made to ensure enough publicity for real student participation. Sadly, that is not the case. The elections are a fiasco every year, and this one has been no exception. The difference, however, is in the exact reason behind the newest chapter in the quite sad comedy of errors known as student governance.

The delays caused by the general incompetence of all parties involved are certainly well documented by this point. That doesnʼt really change from year to year. As of publication there were yet to be any grievances filed this cycle, but that will change.

With only 12 days of campaigning, however, these sorts of things are likely to play a smaller role than they have in past years. The major worry this go-round is Progressive Students Starting Today or PSST. Weʼre pretty sure that the PSST kids were really trying to play up the onomatopoeia because they think itʼs clever. Hereʼs a hint, folks, itʼs not clever, itʼs dumb.

Aside from a silly name, and politics just slightly left of your average radical Marxist, the progressives are getting quite preferential treatment from the current ASUO. Each of the PSST candidates is supported by Melton and Morales. Further, Melton is reportedly involved in many of the PSST campaigns. This, quite obviously, sets a bad precedent for the ASUO. The PSST will, undoubtedly, vote for every ethic, environmental, and left-leaning piece of fee-allocation available. Their answers in the ODE vis a vis viewpoint neutrality have been, to be polite, less than adequate. This makes us wonder what exactly would happen to groups that the PSST campaigners did not like.

Viewpoint neutrality, not of groups but of the process by which they are funded, is vitally important to the legal administration of the incidental fee. If the PSST bloc gets elected, and with the low turnout thereʼs a reasonable probability of that happening, groups with unpopular opinions could be in real trouble. The 11 PSST candidates would pose a large bloc of votes on Student Senate, PFC and the ADFC. With only 18 senators, and 10 PSST candidates, a simple majority would be quite easy to maintain. Even worse, the PSST would be only two senators away from a 2/3 voteunder the right circumstances two senators would be easy enough to persuade. If all of the PSST candidates are elected, they will be a nearly unstoppable bloc of power within the Student Senate. Further, the candidates who are under the PSST umbrella for PFC At-Large and ASPAC positions will give even more power to a rather narrow group of kids.

Control over Senate and PFC by the PSST would likely toss viewpoint neutrality out of the game completely. An even greater negative consequence is that the PSST would not likely represent the student body very well. Low turnout in ASUO elections is a constant problem, and the 10-15% of the student body that bothers voting is largely comprised of the same wonks who wish to hold office in the first place.

The average student goes to class, goes home, has a beer or ten on the weekend, and doesnʼt worry too terribly much about being involved in campus life. How is a student whose only goal is to graduate served by paying nearly $600 a year for activities in which he or she has exactly zero interest? We can agree that some level of incidental fee collection is probably allowable, but the level to which the fee has risen at Oregon is really quite ridiculous. Electing a PSST senate will in no way help the pocketbook of the representative student.

That Melton and Morales, whose campaign last year swore to be about ME Working 4 U, are sponsoring this sort of thing isnʼt really surprising, but it is certainly disappointing. The hypocrisy of that sort of campaigning is also commonplace, but equally obnoxious. While trying, most often ineffectually, to meet pie-in-the-sky goals, the Executive loses sight of action that ends up costing students money. A constantly increasing fee is just one more expense students must pay in order to attend the University. If the Executive actually cared about the average student, they wouldnʼt keep milking the student body for money via the fee.

The only recourse that we, as students have, is to say no more. The PSST must be stopped, and it is now that we must stand astride the woeful tide of history and yell stop. Vote against the PSST, make sure that one group of hard-left sympathizers is not allowed to seize control of the ASUO. The consequences for the rest of us would be far too grim.

Thank you, Bret Jacobson!

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Another Oregon Commentator legend returns to castigate this miserable, idiotic administration. Props to the ODE for running Bret’s sharp, accurate commentary. A snippet:

“In 2002 the PFC tried to force the Commentator to change its mission statement (accompanied by a bizarre editorial by the Emerald that supported the move), and this year a particularly driven and notably small-minded minority has again taken aim at the Commentator because it doesn’t toe the liberal line. It happens like clockwork, because the never-changing beast of student government is populated by an ever-changing group of individuals who can’t learn from past mistakes.”

Messing with the OC draws out the current staff and the brilliant alumni. So, PFC, where are your epic PFC warriors of the past? That’s what I thought…they’re non-existent.

Rabbit Rabbit (Shout out, Jeff)

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Just an aside, my new favorite band Gram Rabbit will be playing John Henry’s on Monday night, 2/28.

“Dirty Horse,” the song that converted me, is described by the LA Alternative Press as:

“…the soundtrack to Tarantinos wet dream this is (for all practical purposes) the equivalent of Lee and Nancy dropping acid and sharing a couple of tokes with Satan.”

Especially good soundtrack for driving around town alone late at night, wearing bright red lipstick, smoking cigarettes and feeling mean. My kind of listening enjoyment!

Oregon Commentator = Vice

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

For those who missed it, yesterday’s ODE supplement, the Vice Issue, featured an extended O.C. shout out by the fetching Moriah Balingit, who had this to say about the Commentator’s fetching Editor in Chief:

“If you see O.C. Editor in Chief Tyler Graf, give him a hug and a cigarette. His parents obviously didn’t love him as a child.”

Not true, Moriah. My parents love me, but the cigarettes love me more.

Vagitation Continued (Hidden Message Edition)

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

On February 15, ODE columnist Gabe Bradley wrote a column in which he lambasted the Vagina Monologue for its blatant suckiness. I’ve read better critiques of the yearly twat twaddle, but it was refreshing to read this kind of criticism in the Emerald, if only because I could sense the imminent onslaught of angry letters to the editor.

So let the vagitation begin.

In today’s ODE, student senator and O.C. nemesis Sarah Wells insinuates that Bradley is missing the point.

“I wonder if [Bradley] has sat next to any of the audience members who felt uplifted by the performance, who cried at the sad stories and laughed at the funny ones … ?”

Well, probably not. But what is this, an applause system? Is one man’s objective opinion immediately devalued because an audience was easily placated by simple platitudes and tired clich´┐Ż? That’s a rather cocky rhetorical argument, Sarah. And it certainly isn’t smooth, motherfucker.

Does This Mean I’ll Be Needing A New Passport?

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

Washington is not the only state with a fringe separatist movement. I give you, The Republic Of Texas ladies and gentlemen.

Yes, my current state of residence once was its own nation, and these loons have been around for a bit, but I still find it rather hilarious. Essentially, they want the benefits of statehood without having to pay federal taxes or participate in congress. In short, I’m pretty sure they want to be Puerto Rico. Because, let’s face it, where’s the state going to come up with a reasonable currency that isn’t the dollar? What about military protection? Trade? Yeah…idiots.

The more interesting Texas tidbit is that, purportedly, there’s a provision that allows for Texas to be broken up into five (four?) separate states with the agreement of the state legislature and congress. That’s what all the Texans think, anyway, and it may or may not be true. Law students, this sounds like a job for you! Finding out, I mean, not splitting Texas into bits. [UPDATE: It’s True!. Hattip: Danimal]

The State of Jefferson Has Some Competition

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

Republican state senators in Washington are sponsoring legislation to split the state in twain and create a 51st state composed of the lands east of the Cascades. Restrictions placed on land-use and other regulations are at the heart of the debate, but the controversy surrounding the close gubernatorial race only amplified the division between east and west.

The legislation isn’t being seriously considered, but it provides legislators and opportunity to discuss the subject. Moreover, it would also take a vote by Congress to approve a new state.

Beat On Greenpeace, Then Grab A Pint

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

When Greenpeace activists stormed into London’s International Petroleum Exchange last week they hoped to paralyze oil trading on the first day the Kyoto Protocol went into effect. Instead, the oil traders kicked the crap out of them.

We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs, one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. Ive never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.

Another said: I took on a Texan Swat team at Esso last year and they were angels compared with this lot. Behind him, on the balcony of the pub opposite the IPE, a bleary-eyed trader, pint in hand, yelled: Sod off, Swampy.

Two protesters ended up spending the night in the hospital: One with a broken jaw, and the other with a concussion.

Q: What’s the lesson to be learned here?

A: Don’t piss off British oil traders.

(via Suicide Girls Newswire)

Nanny Staters: Old World And New

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

The White House refuses to drop its insipid case against Oregon’s assisted suicide law. In yet another a blow to small-government conservatives everywhere, the Bush White House continues to press an issue classically left up to the states. My opinon? Nobody forces doctors to assist in suicides, so the ones who wish to refuse are perfectly free to do so. If you’re terminal, in horrendous pain, and qualify for assistance under Oregon’s fairly stringent criteria, there’s probably not much point in being alive anyway. Sometimes a shorter term of suffering is the only way to improve the situation.

Across the pond, an extremely fat man with a genetic disorder has been taken into custody for being an extremely fat man with a genetic disorder. This is where the slippery slope of health-related bans goes, folks. First they take smoking out of bars, then they want to tax fast food, then the CDC’s dietary recommendations propose nigh-on starvation in the name of losing weight not being healthy, pretty soon they’re hauling the fat off to fat prison.

Hunter S. Thompson Dead

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson passed away today at the age of 67. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his home. It’s a very sad way to see him go, especially for those of us who’ve read many of his works.

Rest in peace, Dr. Gonzo.

This One Goes Out To Mr. Jones

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

Your hometown has tried to outlaw nudity. Fortunately, strippers are ever resourceful. [Via Hit & Run. Yes, I’m impersonating Ruff.]

A Moment Of Humor

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

When Osama bin Laden died, he was met at the Pearly Gates by George Washington, who slapped him across the face and yelled, “How dare you try to destroy the nation I helped conceive!”

Patrick Henry approached, punched him in the nose and shouted, “You wanted to end our liberties but you failed.”

James Madison followed, kicked him in the groin and said, “This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!”

Thomas Jefferson was next, beat Osama with a long cane and snarled, “It was evil men like you who inspired me to write the Declaration of Independence.”

The beatings and thrashings continued as George Mason, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans unleashed their anger on the terrorist leader.

As Osama lay bleeding and in pain, an Angel appeared. Bin Laden wept and said, “This is not what you promised me.”

The Angel replied, “I told you there would be 72 Virginians waiting for you in Heaven. What did you think I said?”

[Courtesy Powerline]

I hope the 2.1 Million Fixes the Heartbreak

Friday, February 18th, 2005

Fresh from this afternoon, Boston Herald found guilty of libeling a Superior Court judge.

The reporter, sadly, admitted to misquoting the judge because he was never actually interviewed. Poor judgy-wudgy received death threats, nasty letters, and threats to his daughters in internet chat rooms.
According to the article, the reporter went on television and:

“When host Bill O’Reilly asked Wedge if he was sure Murphy said that the rape victim should “get over it,” Wedge replied, “Yes. He made this comment to three lawyers. He knows he said it, and everybody else that knows this judge knows that he said it.”

Thus began the media frenzy. Too bad “Easy Ernie” had a bad reputation to begin with, as the Herald’s lawyer points out:

“Twice in the same day in December 2001, he allowed two men convicted in fatal drunken driving cases to begin their sentences in January to allow them to spend the holidays at home, Dushman said. Murphy also allowed several men accused of rape to go free without bail before trial, Dushman said.

He pointed out that Murphy expressed sympathy for the rapist of the 14-year-old girl, saying, according to court transcripts, “I know what happens at state prison when people like (the defendant) show up at 17 years old. I am going to do justice in this case as I perceive it.”

I bet picking the jury for this trial was fun. Three years later, the appeals process can begin.

Web Spellcheckers

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

For those of you who seem to type while wearing boxing gloves, there are a couple new web-based spellcheckers that you may find to be useful. Now you don’t need to copy and paste into Word to spellcheck before flaming each other in the comments section.

First, for you Internet Explorer users, there is the new version of the Google Toolbar. For you smarter and more attractive Firefox users, there’s the Spellbound extension.

Update: I should have mentioned that there were three things you have to install in order to make the Spellbound extension work in Firefox, making things a little bit more complicated than most people would like. I’ve collected the links and instructions and posted them below.

When you first click on the links, you will have to allow “www.oregoncommentator.com” to install software. Don’t worry, we’re not l33t enough to know how to create malicious Firefox extensions.

For users of Firefox 1.0:
1. Install the SpellBound extension by clicking the link below:
SpellBound extension

2. Install the Mozilla spell check libraries for your operating system. The one below is the one for Windows:
Windows spell check libraries

3. Install a dictionary if necessary (I did, just in case). The one below is for US English:
US English Dictionary

4. Restart Firefox.

In order to use SpellBound, just right click in a any web form and it should appear in the right-click menu. Hope this helps.

Links found via the very useful Lifehacker.

Back Issues Update

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

While I was archiving the previous issue, I noticed that the summer issues for the past two years weren’t up in the archive. Oops. That’s all fixed now so you can find them here and here.

To refresh your memories, Summer Issue 2003 includes farewell pieces by Bret and Pete (althought Pete’s is written by Tim), and an article about how Tyler lost his crappy job. Summer Issue 2004 includes the best bar bathroom graffiti in town, my own farewell piece, and the edition of “OC Asks” that got us all into this fiasco in the first place (Yes, the one with the talk about penises. Page 7, kids!). Read, and you shall find enlightenment in the context.