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Archive for March, 2006

Riotous Behavior

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

For those who didn’t already know, I just got back from Europe, where I had the opportunity to catch the beginning of the French riots. One wrong turn and I found myself heading towards a voluminous cloud of noxious smoke and screaming plainclothes police officers. At the time, I didn’t know what was happening. The last thing I thought was “labor dispute”.

But, alas, that seems to be the case. French youths have taken to the streets to demonstrate (read: riot and loot) against a proposed law that would make it easier for companies to fire anyone under 26.
“‘You can’t treat people like slaves. Giving all the power to the bosses is going too far,’ said a 21-year-old student.”
Claire Berlinski finds some choice quotes of her own for her Washington Post article about the protests.

[T]he students on the streets today espouse economic views entirely unpolluted by reality. If the CPE [the new law] is enacted, said one young woman, “You’ll get a job knowing that you’ve got to do every single thing they ask you to do because otherwise you may get sacked.”

Imagine that.

Berlinsky continues …

France, like every European country, remains blackmailed by its history. French rulers, seemingly unable to appeal to the legitimacy they possess as elected leaders, instead behave as popular kings, or as leaders of some faction — like a king’s ministers. They cannot seem to forget what happens when a king loses his popularity. There are thus two choices for the French ruling elite, as they see it: toady or go under.

What these French students (and by proxy their toadying politicians) don’t understand, or refuse to understand, is that the CPE is intended to revitalize France’s stagnant economy. One of the reasons why European unemployment rates are so high is because European countries have ridiculous, protectionist worker policies. Europe’s average unemployment rate hovers around 8 percent. That’s the average.

When I originally lived in Germany, back in 1998-1999, that country was looking for economic reforms. Helmut Kohl was out, Gerhardt Schroder was in. Schroder’s primary campaign promise was to lower the unemployment rate, as the unemployed had taken to the streets to protest. Of course, Germany’s worker woes were partially borne of re-unification, and partially worker protectionism: in the east, unemployment was often double the rate it was in the west, which only exacerbated the east-west divide.At the same time, France’s unemployment rate was in double digits, yet there were no protests.

Many Europeans are actually content with high unemployment rates. Why? Because employment protection is the primary reason they exist, in addition to generous benefits and wage inflexibility. It is extremely expensive for an employer to terminate a worker, thus employers are extremely hesitant to hire people in the first place. Hence this new law.

Not to be outdone by a bunch of snail-eating twits, America is having its own demonstrations. Students around the country have been marching and protesting against legislation that would strengthen laws against illegal immigrants. In Fort Worth, Texas, students rushed the Dallas City Hall, perhaps mistaking it for the federal Capitol Building. The proposed legislation would drastically penalize anyone hiring illegal immigrants, as well as anyone dispensing aid. The legislation also calls for the construction of fences along parts of the Mexican-American border, in addition to other measures.

The anti-immigration claptrap is so disheartening because it’s so disingenuous and it crosses party lines. This issue isn’t about border safety, it’s about the sheer number of immigrants coming to our country. Now, is this a good or bad thing? If you believe that immigrants risk their lives crossing a border so they can sit on the government dole or steal your job picking pears, you should disabuse yourself of that notion. The majority of immigrants come to America looking for a better life. The work that immigrants initially seek in this country is plentiful precisely because you and I would not do it, yet it must be done none the less.

For the second time, we direct you to this wonderful piece by Glenn Garvin. It says everything that needs to be said about immigration, illegal or otherwise, and the economic repercussions of closing our borders.

And we can be thankful that our protests have been, for the most part, peaceful.

Election Watch: ‘Nobody puts baby in the corner’

Monday, March 27th, 2006

Amy Higdon, assistant campaign manager as well as assistant girlfriend to executive candidate Todd Mann, has one of the most hilarious MySpace profiles I’ve ever seen. She loves Jennifer Aniston, ducks and her own crotch, according to her photo montage. Long live the ASUO election season!

Oh, and if you think it’s odd that the assistant campaign manager is also the girlfriend of a candidate, you’re not the only one. Although she doesn’t say it, Higdon is perhaps upset that Nick Hudson is dating ASUO exec candidate Amy DuFour. Count the number of times that Hudson is named in this piece, despite his not running for exec. To be fair, all of this is political, and Higdon does mention Filipelli and Axelrod a number of times as well. None the less, the ODE fails to catch or show the connection.

Enjoy Higdon’s crotch.

Election Watch: Enter Vishanoff

Saturday, March 25th, 2006
  • As the deadline is over we now have the preliminary candidate list available. Please note that it’s not the finalized list- according to ASUO Elections Manager Dante Vivanco there are a couple of changes that need to be made.
  • Notice some people missing from the list? So did we. Most notable among them is Zach Vishanoff, who despite not making the deadline or actually being a student has a Facebook group dedicated to his election. There are dots to be connected, I’ve heard.
  • While the Todd/Jontae and Dallas/Emily Executive tickets have had websites up for at least a week, Jared/Juliana and Jacob/Amy still apparantly haven’t gotten anything up yet besides the usual Facebook groups.
  • Two Commentator staffers, Andy Dolberg and Ben Hartley, have joined the Executive race. Their platform is essentially to lobotomize the incidental fee. Sounds good to me. Now get a Facebook group or website up, fellas!

UPDATE: Jacob and Amy’s website can be found at http://www.jacobandamy.com/

So, what does the bearskin rug symbolize?

Saturday, March 25th, 2006

This is a few days old, but it’s hilarious nevertheless:

A nude Britney Spears on a bearskin rug while giving birth to her firstborn marks a ‘first’ for Pro-Life. Pop-star Britney Spears is the “ideal” model for Pro-Life and the subject of a dedication at Capla Kesting Fine Art in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg gallery district, in what is proclaimed the first Pro-Life monument to birth, in April.

Dedication of the life-sized statue celebrates the recent birth of Spears’ baby boy, Sean, and applauds her decision of placing family before career. “A superstar at Britney’s young age having a child is rare in today’s celebrity culture. This dedication honors Britney for the rarity of her choice and bravery of her decision,” said gallery co-director, Lincoln Capla. The dedication includes materials provided by Manhattan Right To Life Committee.

“Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston,” believed Pro-Life’s first monument to the ‘act of giving birth,’ is purportedly an idealized depiction of Britney in delivery. Natural aspects of Spears’ pregnancy, like lactiferous breasts and protruding naval, compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean’s head.

I think this may have “Roe Roe Roe v. Wade; forty million dead” beat, Tyler.

Anyone who believes that abstinence-only education works is a moron…

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

But despite what many in Eugene think, our president isn’t a moron, he just knows how to reward his political allies with the hard-earned tax dollars of regular Americans:

For years, conservatives have complained about what they saw as the liberal tilt of federal grant money. Taxpayer funds went to abortion rights groups such as Planned Parenthood to promote birth control, and groups closely aligned with the AFL-CIO got Labor Department grants to run worker-training programs.

In the Bush administration, conservatives are discovering that turnabout is fair play: Millions of dollars in taxpayer funds have flowed to groups that support President Bush’s agenda on abortion and other social issues.

[...]

The Compassion Capital Fund, which distributed $148.3 million from 2002 to 2005, was created “to expand the role that faith-based and community groups play in providing social services to those in need,” according to the White House.

The Community-Based Abstinence Education grant program was enacted by Congress in 2001, and $391.7 million has been appropriated for it.

Beneficiaries of more than $2 million each from the compassion fund include five organizations run by black and Hispanic leaders who endorsed Bush and Operation Blessing, a charity run by television evangelist Pat Robertson. It has received $23.5 million, which includes $1.5 million from the Compassion Capital Fund and $22 million in surplus dry milk from the Agriculture Department.

Read the whole damn thing. This has been going on for years under Democratic governance, but the Republican leadership has taken it a step further with all this “faith-based” nonsense. It’s a disgusting misappropriation of tax revenues, and anyone stupid enough to have voted for Bush in the last election under the pretense that he was anything but a big-spending religious welfare liberal ought to be ashamed of themselves. It’s people like you who have corrupted the conservative movement. Get out.

Election Watch: Unbecoming Conduct Code Conference? Edition

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Note: Election Watch is a new blog feature with which we’ll track the latest ASUO election developments. Please send any news/tidbits/press releases to ocomment@uoregon.edu.

  • The ODE printed a guest commentary by Amy L. Higdon today. In it, Higdon repeatedly blasts Conduct Code Committee members Jared Axelrod, Mike Filippelli and Nick Hudson for a press conference they held on March 6. What neither Higdon nor the Emerald note is her involvement in the Mann/Grace campaign- she is dating Todd Mann and is listed as his Assistant Campaign Manager on Facebook. It should also be noted that Axelrod is running against Mann in the Executive race, Nick Hudson is dating Vice-Presidential candidate Amy DuFour and on his Facebook profile Filippelli lists himself as a supporter of the Axelrod/Guzman ticket. I don’t know about anyone else, but this piece strikes me more as political posturing than anything else.
  • Also in the ODE: a story by Senior News Reporter and Lincoln Franklin High basketball sensation Nick Wilbur on election deadlines and uncontested candidacies. If you’re at all interested in running for office just know that the deadline for signing up is March 22nd.

Say WA?

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

I hereby nominate Washington’s new tourism slogan not only the worst slogan ever, but the worst waste of government dollars ever.

It took them 18 months, wasting tourism promotion dollars along the way to come up with the new slogan: SayWA. That’s pronounced “say wahhh.”

Of course nobody, and I mean nobody likes it.

And here I thought Oregon’s new “we’re for dreamers” slogan was pretty lame.

If this is the best that Washington can do, imagine the list of rejected slogans, starting with “WA’s UUUUUUP!!!!!!!!”

Interestingly enough, a quick look at the official Washington tourism site and doing a search for “SayWA” reveals a lot of broken links. The main page also no longer mentions “SayWA,” which it did a day ago. It took public outcry to make the geniuses that thought of it realize it was f***ing stupid? You’d think they would have assembled a focus group or two.

If they decide to stick with “SayWA” as their slogan, maybe we can change ours to outdo them. The new Oregon slogan could be “ORgasm.”

Its that time of year again… Redux

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

The campaigning has begun…

Columbia 150 Election Posters

A Big Thank You

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

A big, big thank you is due to the following people who chipped in money in order to give us two brand spankin’ new boxes: Bill Beutler, Ed Carson, Bret Jacobson, Owen Brennan Rounds, R.S.D. Wederquist, and, of course, Tim Dreier. Tim was instrumental in organizing and paying for the purchase of the boxes (not to mention this website, which he pays for out of pocket.) This magazine is what it is today thanks to our alumni- without them, we’d be just another characterless rag. Thanks a lot, fellas.

New OC Box

This doubles our total number of outdoor distribution points. You can find Commentator boxes across the street from the UO Bookstore, next to the PLC bus stop, on a kitty-corner from the EMU Amphitheatre, and on Agate St. across from Hamilton. You can find indoor racks in Lillis, Hamilton, Carson, and the EMU. We will be adding two more outdoor boxes soon enough, this time out of our fundraising account.

ODE Watch: Daily Paper, Monthly Blog Edition

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

The ODE‘s blog hasn’t been updated in a month, and even that post was ripped straight from Zane Ritt’s LiveJournal. Has the experiment in democracy already failed, or is it simply hibernating during the long, cold winter? Even more importantly, could this experiment be used in Iraq? Maybe blogging could win this war!

Update: Maybe the ODE is lending their experiment to the U.S. Army. That might explain its absence here and the escalating tensions in Iraq. How does Operation Jeff Jarvis sound?

It’s that time of year again…

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

It’s March- both the best and the worst time of year if you’re an American sports fan. It’s the best because we get the NCAA Tournament- undoubtedly the premier sporting tournament in the United States. It’s the worse because it’ll soon be all over, with nothing to entertain sports fans for six months besides regular season baseball. Ugh.

Anyways, here are my final four picks for the Tournament. First, the men:
Texas v. Kansas – I feel that Texas is a better, more rounded team than Duke despite the beat-down they received from the Blue Devils earlier in the year. While I’d love to see LSU come out of the Atlanta region, I just don’t feel they are an Elite Eight-calibur team. Kansas, meanwhile, has gone relatively unnoticed despite a 15-1 record in their last 16 games. There’s no question in my mind that they can beat Memphis if they get the opportunity to play. I’d love to see Gonzaga come out of the Oakland region, but I just don’t see enough depth and ability to match up with well-rounded, athletic teams like Kansas and UCLA.
Connecticut v. Boston College – Look for Uconn to come out of the D.C. region. It’ll be tough—Washington, Illinois, and North Carolina all are superb teams—but Uconn is the deepest (and perhaps best coached) team in the nation. Boston College, meanwhile, is likely going to have two huge hurdles in Nevada and Villanova. I think Villanova’s four guard system will hurt come tournament time. Sure, guard play wins NCAA championships… but it’s far better to have a well-rounded team with two superb guards than a lopsided team with four good guards.
Texas v. Connecticut – Uconn wins it, again.

Now, the women (please forgive the depth of analysis, my interest in Women’s college basketball is limited to LSU):
Tennessee v. Arizona State – Pat Summit’s pissed off, and that’s not a good thing for the superb North Carolina team that’ll likely have to face her Volunteers in the Elite Eight. I’m picking Arizona State purely because I’m a Pac-10 homer and because Kovesdy’s a solid interior player.
Duke v. LSU – I don’t have a reason to pick Duke other than that I’ve heard they have a good team this year. Meanwhile, I’m picking LSU because I’m a big-time Lady Tigers homer. If I were rational on this issue, I’d likely pick Oklahoma, whose 6’4” 250lb Freshman Center Courtney Paris has more interior presence than Maarty Leunen and Ray Schafer combined.
Tennessee v. LSU – LSU wins it, defeating both Tennessee and Hurricane Katrina in one fell swoop.

A Post About Television… I’m Sorry.

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

I wouldn’t normally play the role of TV guide, but there are two notable things (besides Selection Sunday) on television tonight. The first is ESPN’s Through the Fire, which shows at 5:00 and 9:30pm PST. Through the Fire is a documentary chronicling a year in the life of Blazers Guard Sebastian Telfair. The filmmakers followed Telfair around the year before he was drafted, and from what I’ve read the results are outstanding. Think Hoop Dreams: New York.

Also on is the season premiere of the Sopranos, which certainly needs no introduction. Wish I had HBO.

WordPress Upgraded to 2.0.2

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Please reply if you run into any errors.

Huskies Throwing Elbows? Cool. Ducks Throwing Elbows? Ejection Time!

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

I’m watching the Ducks and Huskies play in the second round of the Pac-10 Tournament against the Huskies and Aaron Brooks has just been ejected from the game. Brooks threw an elbow into Husky Guard Ryan Appleby‘s face after Appleby, on the previous possession, appeared to intentionally elbow Brooks in the face. Both Brooks and Appleby were bleeding. The officials didn’t call a foul on Appleby but did throw Brooks out of the game, crippling the Ducks’ chance to win. That’s Pac-10 officiating for you.

Also, Ernie Kent is horrible at teaching rebounding and defense. It’s absolutely incredible that someone whose players have no concept of how to box out or play proper defense isn’t on the coaching hot seat.

FPEP Biased Against Homosexuals? Duh.

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

The ODE runs a story today about the Family Planning Expansion Project:

Some members of the gay community on campus say a much-lauded federal program that offers free family planning services, among them sexually transmitted infections screening and oral contraceptives, is discriminatory.

The Family Planning Expansion Project, funded by a federal grant, was started in 1999 to provide comprehensive family planning services to low-income men and women and reduce unintended pregnancies, according to the 2005 Oregon FPEP Program Manual.

Reporter Susan Goodwin goes on to describe how many people feel that this is discriminatory. Two points:

  1. This program shouldn’t exist in the first place. It isn’t the federal government’s job to discourage breeding.
  2. The purpose of the program is to reduce unintended pregnancies. As far as I know, only heterosexual coupling can lead to unintended pregnancies. Thus, the program targets heterosexuals. Complaining that this is discriminatory towards homosexuals is like a man complaining that his HMO won’t cover birth control pills for his own personal use. Of course it’s discriminatory, but that doesn’t mean it’s insititutionalized bigotry. If the purpose of the program was to reduce reduce STDs, then it would be open to people of all sexual orientations.