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Archive for May, 2005

PSA: To Keep The Front Page Unblank

Friday, May 27th, 2005

In two weeks time I shall be making a journey westward. Be advised, I’ll be in Oregon June 10-19, we’ll all have to get drunk and play ping-pong. You have been warned.

Coming Soon: Hate 2005

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

The OC is (apparently) on its annual pre-Hate hiatus. I have just returned from assignment sleeping on the streets of Berkeley, Atkinson has convinced the staff of the Sixth Street Grill to create a margarita large enough for him to be bodily suspended therein, Ian is still at work on a system of subterranean tunnels designed to give us easier access to Johnson Hall, Melissa is engaged in strategic discussions with Ward Connerly, and Ben Hartley is off spending some quality time with his hookah.

As for our heroic editor-in-chief, I’m not sure what the story is. However, I’ve fielded three calls from EPD within the last two hours enquiring as to his whereabouts, so I’m sure it’s good news.

I Love It When A Five-Year Plan Comes Together

Thursday, May 19th, 2005

For the dedicated follower of controversy, this (PDF link) is required reading. Ladies and gentlemen, the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity’s Five-Year Diversity Plan: it’s what we’re all going to be screaming at each other about next year.

(By the way, I would like to take this opportunity to declare a pre-emptive moratorium on “five-year plan” jokes. Seriously, couldn’t they have picked a different number?)

Released without fanfare (and, coincidentally enough, one day before the final University Senate meeting of the year) to an uncritical write-up from the ODE, the brouhaha surrounding this document has been steadily building over the last couple of weeks as more people have actually gotten a chance to read it. (Including, as detailed here, some who were rather upset to learn that they had supposedly been involved in writing it.) Put simply, it is an audacious institutional power grab on the part of the OIED – as the plan currently reads, they would have a say in the funding of new academic positions, hiring decisions, tenure review, salary levels, and virtually every significant operational aspect of every University department. The standard by which all departments will be judged is the nebulously-defined one of “cultural competency”, and you won’t need three guesses to figure out which branch of the University administration will be in charge of deciding who is “culturally competent” and who is not.

This is, as they say, developing – and it’s likely to get interesting before too long. First salvo: the MCC is apparently holding a demonstration in the EMU amphitheater at 2 PM today in support of the plan. Hold on to your hats, folks.

It’s Not Censorship If We Just Forgot To Mention It

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

Absurdly short notice, but it might be worth pointing out that there’ll be a panel on campus press censorship this evening, organized by the Bias Response Team. If you haven’t seen the expressions that cross Tyler’s face as people explain to him that the OC should be run out of Eugene on a rail, you’re missing out; and we sincerely hope that this will be the last chance you get this year.

6:30 PM, 111 Lillis.

Dan Flynn Liveblogging

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

Hey everybody,

It’s 8:08 pm in beautiful Eugene, OR. I’ll be liveblogging Dan Flynn’s speech on “Why the Left Hates America.” He’s coming on the stage, so let’s begin…

Dan says that there is a difference between “Liberals,” “Democrats” and the “Far-left.” He asks the crowd what some examples of liberals are… the crowd responds with “Kerry,” “Hillary,” “Jesus,” etc.

Update 8:17
Flynn tells us that the far-left only makes up about 10% of the population, but makes a joke that Eugene is “the belly of the beast” and that the far-left makes up perhaps 90% of the population here. “The buzzword is diversity” at the University of Oregon, he says. “The kind of diversity you’re going to get, is a group that wants to look like the United Nations.”

Flynn points out that nearly (perhaps all) universities had a faculty campaign donations ratios heavily in favor of Kerry rather than Bush, pointing out that Dartmouth and Oregon had ratios of Kerry-Bush that equalled infinity

Berkley is “the Rome of leftists” in the country, he says. Flynn tells the crowd that he was mooned in Berkeley. He tells the audience, “please don’t moon me. *laughs* [..] I’m serious about that. *laughs*”

Update 8:22
Says that he went to a Black Panther rally for Mumia Abu-Jamal. Tells people that he was attacked by people, but was able to beat them off because he was bigger than them. Makes a pretty funny joke about aging leftists attacking him, most of the crowd laughs.

“It’s a good idea to start things out with a joke. [...] So rather than tell you a joke, I brought along a video clip that I want to play. It’s from Monty Python’s Life of Brian [...] Not the most conservative movie in the world. [...] It’s from a group that calls itself the People’s Front of Judea.” Plays the clip, which talks about what the Romans gave the Jews… including irrigation, medicine, education, aqueducts, public baths. “What have the Roman’s ever done for us,” Cleese asks.

Update 8:26
“America has its own People’s Front of Judea, it’s called the left,” Flynn says.”A few months after 9-11, we met John Walker Lindh. I’m not sure if we can call him a leftist. [...] He went to a high school where the students make their own curriculum. Who needs teachers?”

“What has America ever done for anybody,” Flynn quotes Lindh as having said. He tells the crowd that he wants to give us the answer tonight. Also tells us that he’s interviewed over a thousand different leftists at various rallys. Quotes a New Mexico professor as having said that “anyone who blows up the Pentagon has earned(?) my vote.”

Update 8:30
Flynn tells the crowd that he didn’t think going to war in Iraq was a very good idea. And he thinks the reason the war in Iraq started was because the protestors were so shrill, so offensively left-wing. “It must have been cathartic to make so [crazy] a statement.”

“The purpose of protest is to win over policy-makers.” Who are you going to win over when you hold up a sign that says “we support terrorists who shoot their own officers,” he asks, presumably meaning soldiers.

The first heckler speaks up, saying that the peace movement “kept you out of Vietnam.” Flynn responds, saying that “I was born in 1973, man. Something else kept me out of Vietnam.”

“It’s a very strange peace movement that we have.”

Now he’s about to play some audio clips…

Update 8:35 (Olly)

I’m not going to focus on the content so much, because life is too short.

Flynn’s technical assistant to the rescue. The audio clips are pretty much what you would expect: silly people saying silly things. How much longer is this going to last? Oh, he’s about to mention ANSWER.

My problem with Flynn is that, while he’s giving an amiable enough performance, it would be just as easy to stand up there and quote a bunch of horrible assholes from the other side. On the other hand, looking around the hall at the stony faces, this might be exactly what they need to hear, so I’m conflicted on this one. ANSWER, Workers World Party, blah. Yes, they’re bad.

“What’s the matter with being a worker?” asks this annoying old bastard in my row, loudly. If we are suddenly cut off here, it is because I have thrown the laptop at him.

Ward Churchill! Holla! Alas, nobody in the audience seems to have heard of him. I’m sure they’d be all for him.

Update 8:40
Oh, we’re on to immigration, something I take some interest in. One country has taken in apparently 60% of all immigrants between the years of 1820 and the early 1900s.

“Sweden!” says some asshole. Oh, wait, that one was me. The chair-elect of the College Republicans gives me an “et tu, Brute?” look. Flynn is absolutely right on this one, but the chuckles continue.

Tiananmen Square. Utter silence. Flynn brings up the fact that the demonstrators being run over by tanks were holding up the Declaration of Independence. “Just like Kent State!” says some asshole. I had not heard this about Kent State.

This is beginning to deteriorate. People are making more hostile comments. I am feeling bad for saying “Sweden!” back when it was relatively quiet. The general format of the talk is now apparent: Flynn says that America is not, really, that bad of a place, and sundry assholes in the crowd make asinine comparisons along the lines of “Tiananmen Square = Kent State”. I hope the pie-throwing contingent has shown up.

Update 8:42
A guessing session as to which of the first thirteen colonies originally allowed women to vote devolves into anarchy.

Flynn, perhaps rashly, refers to the state of affairs in his audience members’ heads as “a Candyland game”. Audible bridling at this. “Let’s compare America to countries that actually exist!” he suggests. China is horrible for various reasons; there are dowry killings in India; I am tempted beyond belief to shout “Just like at Kent State!”

People are getting unruly. “Totally irrelevant!” some asshole shouts. “HOW MANY DOWRY KILLINGS WERE THERE IN AMERICA LAST YEAR?” asks Flynn, with the air of a man making a telling point.

Update 8:45
Why can’t this guy just cut to the chase, seems to be the vibe. “Why does the left hate America?” shouts someone. “Shut up” shouts some girl. Everyone applauds. Flynn adeptly weaves this into a feelgood moment about campus tolerance, and everyone feels good about themselves for a minute. Bo-ring! Come on, assholes, you can do better than this.

Thirty seconds later, the asshole in my row shouts something about Fox News, and I am happy again.

Update 8:50
“Why does the left hate America?” Flynn asks, by way of winding up. “They’re jealous!” says some prankster.

Flynn makes the Horowitzian point that black Americans do not, actually, live in unimaginable squalor for the most part. Anathema to this crowd. Someone nearby is vocal about her disbelief that he just said that. Flynn wonders why immigrants from, say, Haiti, bother coming to this terrible racist hellhole. “Haven’t they read their Howard Zinn?” he asks. Dead silence.

Closing quote comes from Edmund Burke, described as a “fellow Irishman”. Strange, Flynn doesn’t sound Irish. As with much of the talk, it makes a simple point that is, on its own terms, indisputable, and goes over like a lead balloon with about half of the room.

Update 8:52
Questions! Awesome! Let’s get ready to rumble!

First guy accuses Flynn of wasting 45 minutes of his time. Why does the left hate America, he wants to know. Flynn responds by comparing America favorably to the USSR. This, I feel, will not satisfy our questioner. He may demand a refund. “America stands against the Left’s ideals,” Flynn points out. This is going to piss off a lot of people here who think of the Left as being them and their amiable young friends and not, say, Noam Chomsky.

“So, Noam Chomsky hates religion and capitalism. Does that mean he hates everything about America?” asks a stoned-sounding guy. Jesus Christ. The response compares America favorably to Cambodia and Cuba and Afghanistan. Again, it’s just not going to play, Dan, although I wish it would.

Update 9:00
“What makes the far right better than the far left?” – good question. Flynn, mercifully, doesn’t try to duck it. What he does do is apologize for it – his far-right representatives are Klansmen and hill people, and his far left representatives are Hollywood actors.

Flynn makes a strong close on this one: “The reason there is my book and not a book called ‘Why the right hates America’ is that – for the most part – the left embraces their loonies and the right rejects them.” Applause.

Next questioner wants to talk about the Romans. My fingers hurt. This guy isn’t getting blogged. In fact, here’s Ian again.

Update 9:09 (Ian)
There’s a question about his Martha Burke statement, where the questioner says that these sorts of problems aren’t anything in comparison to genital mutilation. The questioner says that he doesn’t think this is a huge issue compared to many others, including school lunch programs being cut. Flynn’s response, “the government doesn’t owe your kid brother a lunch.” Applause and yelling. The questioner responds, saying that it is a real problem, etc. etc. Flynn responds, again saying that the government doesn’t owe his family anything. He says that he doesn’t think charity’s a good system.

Questioner asks what the solution for poverty is if government won’t step in to help people. “Freedom,” Flynn responds. Howling and disbelief. “The difference is freedom,” giving examples of Communist and fascist countries as countries that are not free and have horrible human rights and nutrition.

Next question is “I was wondering if you’d call on a woman tonight.” *Laughs* And then he calls on a woman. She asks about what he thinks of the European system, where they have embraced liberal economics yet have plenty of government-run social programs. “They’re not better off than we are,” Flynn responds.

(Tyler)
A man stands up, saying that he is one of the divers from Blind Man’s Bluff. Apparently this is very important to the man, but he doesn’t have a question. He sits down happy in the knowledge that people know he’s a hero.

Next, health care. Surprise, Flynn isn’t for nationalized health care. People in the audience are incensed … INCENSED! They haven’t heard of Medicare…

‘In socialism, everyone is a loser.”

A girl in the back asks if we should be satisfied as first-world citizens. Flynn counters that the complaints lobbed at America, however, are reflexive. America is still the best place in the world to be an American. Redundancy acknowledged. Brain hurts. So, so tired. Everybody else is already at the bar. Bastards.

Update 9:15
LIGHTS SUDDENLY GO OUT! DARKNESS! HELP!

Update 9:16
WHEW! LIGHTS COME BACK ON! Nobody has been assassinated.

Old crazy man from Olly’s row asks question of sorts. It’s pretty good: “I love my country, Ace! … I love my country but I can’t trust my government.”

Some horrible, horrible asshole screams, “Then you should get the hell out.” He does.

Update 9:20 (Olly)
A homosexual atheist over the age of 40 wants to ask a question. He’s friendly, and eventually gets around to asking whether Flynn feels he’s being too much of a polarizing influence. Flynn, thank God, says that well, it’s a book title, and brings up, thank God, the outcry on the right against Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson post 9/11. He also characterises Christopher Hitchens as a dissident of the left, which these days will come as a surprise to Hitch.

Last question. Why did Flynn look at donations to Kerry to find influence of sinister leftism on campus, and not, say, Nader? Flynn is willing to give a little ground on this one.

We’re done, and now the crazy people start shouting questions. Nothing coherent makes it over to this side of the room. People start shouting requests for clarification. Flynn wraps it up with “Americans need to face the truth about themselves, no matter how pleasant the truth may be.” Not everybody is mollified by this.

That’s it. I’m out. Inaccuracies and typos to be cleared up later. (written by Ian, Olly, and Tyler)

Update 10:26
Prose cleaned up at bar. Any obvious errors removed. Presence at bar inevitably results in new inaccuracies being added. We’ll get them tomorrow.

Campus Now Marginally Less Diverse

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

So, farewell then, Gregory J. Vincent. After eighteen months of coordinating the more-chaotic-than-usual diversity effort on campus, our Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity will become Vice Provost for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Effectiveness at the University of Texas.

He will be remembered as a law professor who encouraged student officials such as Dan Kieffer to break the law if they feel like it, as one of the administrators whose bad advice led Toby Hill-Meyer into this year’s quixotic battle against the press, and as a diversity maven who responded to the safety concerns of minority students who didn’t toe the party line with, at best, silence. We wish him all the best for the future.

So which is it, then?

Monday, May 16th, 2005

This image has been featured prominently at Yahoo! News since Newsweek retracted the Gitmo Koran-flush story:

uhhh.jpg

And the conflict between these signs has been bugging me for hours now. If the first guy’s sign is to be taken as a call for consequences when the news media is inaccurate, then that totally deflates the second guy’s sign, right? Newsweek was wrong about the Koran desecration, so why should Bush apologize for something that didn’t happen?

On the other hand, if the desecration story were true, as the second guy clearly believes, then by all means his sign would be right. But if so, then why should Newsweek be banned? For exposing the alleged injustice? Does the first guy really want to ban media that break stories he finds important? So now the first guy looks like an ass. These signs just can’t be reconciled.

Unless, of course, all these guys really mean to say is “Marg-bar Amreeka!” If so, I recommend they stick to it. Simplicity begets clarity; the devil lurks in the details.

The Ol’ “I’m Takin’ This Fake Cock to My Cousin” Ruse

Friday, May 13th, 2005

When will Onterrio Smith learn: Airport security will always find your stash of plastic cocks and freeze-dried urine. Always, my friend.

ODE: Leaving out the important things.

Friday, May 13th, 2005

So, I submit this to the ODE yesterday. They printed it without hacking it to pieces, but left out one key passage.

Per the grossly overquoted Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.”

That gave context to the whole submission. Thanks, ODE. Thanks a lot.
But thanks for running it 24 hours after I wrote in. That was a classy move.

Wisdom from Mr. T

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

“Heyyyy! This is Mr. T talkin’! That’s capital T that rhymes with me! I wanna tell you about somethin’ that happened to us in Seattle! You know, sometimes we get so wrapped up in how a problem bothers us, we don’t see what the problem really is! You know, my little friend Kim found that out the hard way when we tangle with this mean dude who was messing with people minds [sic] and stealin’ they thoughts [sic]! Which is why we call this case the Mystery of the Miiiiind Thieves!”

Truly words to live by.

[via agony booth]

The Death of Blogging — The Huffington Post

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

Bask in the crapulence that is the Huffington Post. Then read Nikki Finkes semi-insane rant about just how crapulent it is.

Option Two: Electric Boogaloo

Wednesday, May 11th, 2005

As reported in the Emerald today, our friends at the MCC, whose views on legality and fairness have been extensively recorded, have created a petition in support of restoring $94,600 of lost stipends. Mike Sherminator Sherman has cleverly named this second option Option Two. The money would come from overrealized funds.

[Kit] Myers said group members are “really hoping” for the second option because pay cuts disproportionately affect low-income students and students of color. He said group leaders’ pay is small, but it allows some students to participate who might otherwise have to work elsewhere.

Blah blah blah race blah blah blah poverty blah blah. Clearly, there are problems with the new stipend model, with some groups like KWVA and the MCC receiving all their stipends and other groups like APS being cut drastically and for no apparent reason. Most of the ethnic student unions had one or two of their three stipended positions cut, which is disproportionate only because there are so many groups.

Here’s my solution: If you are a low-income student (full disclosure, I am a low income student), which is not synonymous with student of color, you should probably seek gainful employment outside of the ASUO. If you want a leadership position, then suck it up. Leadership opportunities and resume fodder should be their own rewards. And seriously, can anybody live off $125 a month? Is that anything but beer money? Maybe thats why these students are so damn poor.

Read Ian Spencers take on the new stipend model and its flaws in the last issue for the real scoopThe Senate will convene tonight to vote on Option Two.

Hack Attack!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

Hack Attack ’05 is now available for your perusal. Enjoy!

From The “Let Me Taste Your Tears” Desk: International Edition!

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

I know I’ve been going on about foreign affairs a bit lately, but these elections only happen once every four or five years.

Anyway: I am going to be keeping an eye out for the prose stylings of this Richard Gott fellow from now on.

Blair has followed in [Neville Chamberlain's] footsteps, and is destined for the same place in history’s hall of infamy. Like Chamberlain, he is an arrogant and God-fuelled appeaser, the unseemly ally of an unbridled country that presents a global threat similar to Germany in the 1930s.

Your eyes do not deceive you: he really did just go there!

The most popular slogan at the moment is “Blair must go”. This simple message echoes across the political spectrum from the Conservative party to Respect, and even into the ranks of Labour itself. It clearly has majority support in the country. Blair is a war criminal who should be locked up behind bars without a vote, not standing for election.

Mmmm. Sweet, delicious tears. Do not be misled by reports of Labour’s “sharply reduced” majority: compared to any British parliament with the exception of the last two, a majority in the sixties is thoroughly convincing.

I Demand Residuals

Tuesday, May 10th, 2005

Gabe Bradley ripped off my editorial!