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Archive for October, 2005

They send you off to college to get a little knowledge, but . . .

Monday, October 31st, 2005

This is interesting news:

Last year for the first time, women earned more than half the degrees granted statewide in every category, be it associate, bachelor, master, doctoral or professional.

57% of Minnesota college students are women, to be exact. (Of which 12% are wymyn.) (Sorry.)

My only concern, if this reflects a national trend, is that I’m afraid it means that more men will decide to go to college not for the sake of learning or careers, but because there are lots of chicks. That’s how we think.

Slater: Getting Medieval

Monday, October 31st, 2005

I can’t… words fail… I don’t know how to describe… this is… this is unbelievable. I’m certainly laughing from an inner state of jollification, if I wasn’t before – and yet even with all the wine I’ve spilled over myself, I’m still not sure how I feel about the base degradation that now defines us both. Oh, just read it.

People in the Middle Ages knew how to throw a party that everyone was invited to.

That’s… an interesting way of putting it, Ailee. Not a History major, I’m assuming?

Early nominee for Column of the Year, I’m saying. At this rate, Ailee Slater should be all over the front page of the Huffington Post within a couple of years.

Should “Alitist” Mean For The Nomination, Or Against?

Monday, October 31st, 2005

The SCOTUS mulligan pick is apparently this fellow. What does this mean? No idea. What makes these nominations so fun is that whenever one is announced everyone has to run around frantically trying to learn about the nominee’s judical record, (unlike the previous two, Alito actually has one) and a crucial element of randomness is introduced to the learning process by the fact that most of us are not lawyers. (UPDATE: some of us are less like lawyers than others.)

So, on the one hand, Alito ruled that a law banning student newspapers from running ads for alcohol was unconstitutional (Yay!); on the other hand he ruled that “Not only is strip searches of 10-year-old girls okay [sic], but of wives as well since they are all merely that man’s chattel.” (Boo!)

Wait a second. No, he didn’t. The thing that’s really fun about these nominations is the ideological pie-fight that’s about to ensue. For what it’s worth, enough of the right people seem to be happy, and that’ll do for now.

Can We Get One of These for the Office?

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Let’s take a break for a moment from subjects like a new issue, dorm death threats, and bicycle accidents and move onto a more serious topic: video games.

There’s nothing quite like memories of playing classic arcade games with Pete down in the EMU break room when we probably should have been working on an issue or being in class. Now, I have the chance to do that without spending a quarter each time; well, if you don’t count $500 as 2,000 quarters. Pete, why don’t you spend the money you earned this summer on this baby so you can get your ass handed to you in Joust.

That’s right, you heard me, Mr. “I got the highest score in Ms. Pac-Man!”

Volume 23, Issue II Now Out

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

The new issue’s out. There’s lots of good stuff in it, including Brian Bogart reportage, meal point plan changes, smoking ban nonsense, RRC delights, state constitutional craziness, and, of course, guns. Hooray for a non-gimmick issue!

And now, I sleep. Email all flames/corrections/naughtybits to ocomment@uoregon.edu.

Dorm Life Finds Way To Get Worse

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Meant to pick up on this one yesterday. ODE editorial here. Not a huge amount to take issue with in the coverage, although the editorial wrings its hands a bit much. (“We must ponder who should be held responsible for this flagrant incident. The individual or individuals who made the alleged remarks should clearly be accountable for their actions. But…”) and the last paragraph is phrased strangely:

We are shocked that this sort of flagrant behavior would happen on campus. Administrators and student groups have taken steps to create a welcoming environment and a more diverse mix of students, but these efforts are in vain if students espouse racist attitudes.

The overuse of the word “flagrant”, in this context, is quite odd. I also think the conclusion is unduly defeatist. A world in which no student acts like an asshole is, alas, an impossible dream. That doesn’t mean a robust mechanism to punish people who (say) make racially motivated death threats to non-white students is a vain effort.

University Housing needs to investigate this seriously. Unfortunately, in order to do so they need concrete allegations against the individuals responsible, and at this point it’s not clear whether any will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, a point worth making again: if someone is found to have threatened the life of an incoming freshman – based on his race, his height, his sexuality, or because he looked at them funny – it’s not a “hate crime”, it’s a crime, and here’s hoping they find themselves in a whole world of trouble.

Rubberneck Dept.: Boulevard of Broken Distal Phalanges

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

For no other reason than to scoop the Emerald on an otherwise unremarkable story, I describe to you the scene at the intersection of 13th and Hilyard roughly twenty minutes ago on my walk home from class: a young man wearing flip-flop sandals over socks, lying motionless on his backside next to a very nice bike in the street. There is no visible blood. A pickup truck with police lettering idling in the intersection, lights flashing with no siren.

Two black-shirted Fire Rescue personnel kneeling afront the fallen rider and one pink-shirted matronly lady kneeling behind him, asking questions/ providing instructions that are inaudible from the sidewalk. A maroon minivan is also idling in the street, but it moves curbside on Hilyard and another black-shirted authority approaches, asking questions, maybe looking at insurance info. There is no one in handcuffs. A fine assortment of gawkers on all four corners, asking questions of one another regarding the obvious. The fallen rider puts an arm into the air (right only) and squeezes his fist. He moves his right knee up and down. He tries to sit up, looks at the crowd, and one of the Fire Rescue guys puts out an arm, presumably saying, “Slow down, guy; take it easy.” He lies down again. Traffic is still moving, slowly, through the intersection, and no one is trying to stop it. Sacred Heart Medical Center is directly behind the fallen rider’s location in the street. Everyone wonders when the stretcher will arrive, or whether perhaps the fallen rider will walk away without one. I don’t have time to find out.

The Habeaser You Drink, The Corpuser You Get

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

With Harriet Miers mercifully out of the running, it’s time to look about the nation and select the best and brightest legal mind for the job. Personally, I like the looks of this Ian M. O’Flaherty:

A Fairfax County judge who believes Virginia’s drunken driving laws are unconstitutional has begun dismissing cases, including five DWI cases in a week, and has threatened to throw a veteran prosecutor in jail for arguing with him.

Judge Ian M. O’Flaherty made it known in July that he felt Virginia’s DWI law unfairly deprived defendants of the presumption of innocence if breath tests showed that they had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, levels at which people are presumed to be intoxicated.

Story here. (Hat tip: Hit & Run, who ask, “did he have to be Irish?”)

Miers Withdraws Nomination

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination this morning.

While this is almost certainly a good thing in the long term, I’m pretty pissed off that she had to withdraw her name only hours before our next issue is due out. You’ll see why in a bit, assuming I don’t fall asleep in my chair.

Update: Here’s the best joke I’ve seen thus far regarding the withdrawl:

I think it’s best to put this in perspective:

Harriet Miers nomination as a member of the Supreme Court was willfully aborted 4 weeks after conception.

This is about as close to Roe vs. Wade as she ever got.

Apparently, Pullman Has A Lot Of Whitney Houston Fans…

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Jesus, this is what happens when I only read the FIRE website once in six months. I blame burnout from the whole PFC debacle. How the hell did we miss this story?

Someone see if they can get some MCC cash to get Chris Lee’s Mangina Monologues to come on tour, stat.

UPDATE: It continues. By the way, how creepy does the Office of Campus Involvement sound?

Price adjustments have also been made. A range of $5 for students to $100 for WSU or University of Idaho administrators will be enforced.

As for Lees upcoming plays, [Center for Human Rights Director Raul] Sanchez plans to attend in case another controversy arises.

Itll probably shorten the amount of investigation we have to do if Im actually a witness there, he said.

Sanchez is not usually comfortable discussing cases, but Lee has made the case public already, he said.

Sounds like it’s getting personal up there.

“[T]he case appears to signal that CSU campuses may have more latitude than previously believed to censor the content of subsidized student newspapers…”

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

One to keep a wary eye on in the Midwest.

From reading the FIRE release above (and not being a lawyer) the critical designation seems to be that of a “non-public forum”. While this could apply to student-run newspapers bearing the imprimatur of a university or college – although it’s a fairly horrifying and authoritarian notion – I’d be curious to see how extensively such a decision could be applied to, oh, student-run online forums like, say, this one, or the ODE’s largely dormant blog smorgasbord. My instinct is that cracking down on online expression in all its depressing forms would require some even more heinous work of douchebaggery, and so, depending on whether SCOTUS decides to hear the case, we might be heading for a serious old media/new media schism on campuses nationwide.

Itinewank

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

I will be in Eugene this weekend, Thursday (Oct 27) evening through Tuesday (Nov 1) midday. Much of this time is already allocated out to various endevours. If you need me, you have my number. Friday is a 21er for my dear, sweet gal, I’ll let you know where we will be “at” as they say.

Picture Worth A Few Hundred Words On Page Two

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Embattled illustrator speaks!

You know, with all the lunatic cartoonists from the Baggs/Layton school the ODE has employed down the years, it’s weird that this is the one defending himself on the Commentary page. Not even Bret Furtwangler’s overtly Republican (and very well-drawn, by the way) pieces drew much of an outcry, which always disappointed me.

Anyway, the only real point of interest in DuChateau’s column is the bit where he takes a shot at his predecessor:

…repetitive, cryptic and had virtually no relevance to campus life and the everyday activities of the majority of Emerald readers…

If he’s referring to Furtwangler there, I’m not sure what to say. Those cartoons were many things, but – assuming the majority’s everyday activities include “reading a newspaper” – “cryptic” is not one of them.

Tonya Harding: You’re Not Going to Believe This

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

I’m blown away:

Tonya Harding tussled in her home with a man she described as her boyfriend, prompting an emergency call by the figure skater-turned-boxer and an arrest of the man.

Christopher Nolan was charged with assault and pleaded not guilty Monday. He told deputies Harding threw him down and bit his finger when he said she had too much to drink on Sunday. The 27-year-old Nolan was ordered to stay away from Harding and to avoid alcohol.

Is there any Oregonian more famous than Harding?

Take Another Peace Of My Heart…

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

The Register-Guard covers our own little peace activist who couldn’t, here. In the process, Greg Bolt uncovers a serious objection that actually hadn’t occurred to me before. Bogart’s proposed (I think – the specific goals seem to change from week to week) restrictions on permissible funding sources would be a major blow to the academic freedom that not only allows working scientists to seek external support to make research projects possible, but also allows (to deploy a cheap example) Ward Churchill to rant and rave to his heart’s content. Bogart appears to be claiming that any research the Department of Defense is willing to fund is inherently bad, no matter what. This is unlikely to please many of the people actually trying to get the funding; here, for instance, is UO research chemist Michael Kellman:

If the university ever tried to tell me I couldn’t apply for (unclassified research) grants from the military, I’d be out of here and so would a lot of other people, I would think. I wouldn’t stay at a place like that.

Bolt makes the point that it is already against the rules to use University resources to engage in classified research projects – research the fruits of which the University community would not be able to subsequently access – which seems reasonable. Meanwhile, Bogart and the inevitable Frank Stahl sound more and more like they’re living in some as yet unmade Terminator prequel:

“I think if a lot of American universities recognize the wisdom of this stand, it could have an impact,” Stahl said. “It could retard the rate at which the Department of Defense becomes so high-tech and so effective that a small group of very rich people could control the world.”

Right, because a low-tech military is a much better idea. Contrast with the following entirely refreshing quote, also from Kellman:

I believe the United States should have a strong military, and I believe that the military needs the best research available. I think it’s fine to be helping the U.S. military, and it’s fine for the University of Oregon to be doing that, and I think 80 percent of the people of Oregon would agree.

Most of the establishment seems to be ignoring Bogart and waiting for him to go away, which is a very sensible course of action, but it’s still good to have someone, just once, say that in public.

(Full disclosure, for anyone who cares: Prof. Kellman was on my Ph.D. committee. However, I hasten to add that none of my research has any conceivable military application – although who knows whether it’s sufficiently “people-based” to be conducted on a college campus?)