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Archive for June, 2006

U.S. House To Media: Stop Reporting News

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

As one would expect, both parties have embarassed themselves with Congress’ resolution to “condemn” media outlets for reporting on President Bush’s secret, quasi-/semi-/non-legal method of, well, examining the banking activities of American citizens without first obtaining warrants or showing probable cause. (Side note: it’s never been proven, but most would agree that the term “probable cause” was invented by the same elitist homosexual cabal that runs Hollywood, E! Television, Olive Garden, and Def Jam Records.) The Republicans have embarassed themselves by, well, pissing on the Constitution and greedily sucking down whatever droplets of the Executive’s love juice that could be had. And even if what they supported was, uh, Constitutional, then they should at least not waste our money introducing and voting on resolutions so pointless they would make an ASUO Senator blush.

The Democrats, meanwhile, continue to be Democrats. Stuck between their adoration of government power and a sort of passive sense that the Constitutional may have once held value to fringe voters, they’ve decided to oppose the resolution on the grounds that they’re not sure if the program they support is legal or not:

Democrats reacted angrily to the GOP majority’s refusal to allow them to offer an alternative that would also have expressed concerns about the unauthorized leak of classified information but would have left out language defending the legality of the program.

And from the NY Times article:

Democrats complained that Republicans refused to allow a vote on a Democratic alternative, which supported tracking terror financing and raised concern about leaks of classified material, including the “names of clandestine service officers of the Central Intelligence Agency,” a clear reference to the Valerie Wilson case.

So the Democrats resolution would have “expressed concerns” about leaking information on programs that they think may be illegal? And people wonder why I think the Dems are going to lose seats in the upcoming elections.
Here’s my idea for a resolution:

Whereas breaking the law is illegal;

Whereas violating the Constitutional is unconstitutional;

Resolved, That the House of Representatives–

(1) Humbly asks the Executive branch to stop breaking the law and violating the Constitution.

Congratumalations

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Congratulations to the Oregon State Men’s Baseball team on their victory in the 2006 College World Series. Way to go guys, NCAA Div 1 Baseball Champions.

The Battle for Michigan: OC Alum Edition

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Oregon Commentator alumnus, Mark Hemingway, has a new piece in the Weekly Standard about the behind-the-scenes Republican scrum for the Michigan primary. It’s well worth  reading.

As some may already know, this is Mr. Hemingway’s second major article in the Weekly Standard, his first  being his extremely popular article about Jack Abramoff and the making of Abramoff’s filmic opus, Red Scorpion.

Props to Hemingway, a man most of us haven’t met, but who is doing this publication (and the Weekly Standard) proud.

 

Table-Based Layouts are the Way of the Future

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

I’ve restored the website template, changing a couple of the images and WordPress features in the process. Please reply to this post if you find any problems or inconsistencies with the new design.

Hate Issue Online

Saturday, June 17th, 2006

It’s been available on stands for four days now, but here’s an optimized .pdf of Hate 2006:

Hate 2006 .pdf

OC In Depth: The Emerald After-Party

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

A Night in the Life of an Alpha-Male

I somehow found myself at the Oregon Daily Emerald’s end-of-the-year bash at my old house on Kincaid St. While enjoying a pleasant conversation with ODE Editor-in-Chief Parker Howell about the role of the paper (a personal note to Parker: I think you may overestimate the paper’s readership, and I have photos from the EMU to prove it), belligerent alpha-male Lucas Calderon interrupted and asked if either of us wrote for the Emerald. My guess is that he was making sure there was someone there to offend before he started speaking. As I have previously stated, Lucas Calderon, the instigator in the “drunken hilarity”, is one of the dumbest people I have ever met, and here is why:

  1. The fight began because Calderon first criticized the Oregon Daily Emerald for trying to tell students that they could not get drunk at football games. After Howell and I refuted this point by clarifying the role of the newspaper (being that the paper’s job is to report on what is going on, and it cannot be held responsible for the administration’s decisions), Calderon moved to a backup argument. I do not know if Calderon thought this next point was more valid, but this is what he insisted: “the newspaper should only write articles about how you can’t make fun of minorities.” I wish I could make this comment seem even more idiotic than it actually was, but I am not blessed with such miraculous writing abilities.
  2. Calderon refused to leave a party where he was everyone’s enemy. Personally, I am usually very conscious of when my presence is unwanted, and at times, I overestimate the level of resentment towards me and just leave anyway. Calderon, however, seems to lack any sort of self-awareness, and perhaps even normal human consciousness. He instead chose to stand in the kitchen and belligerently yell at an encircling crowd of pissed-off party-goers.
  3. Calderon’s lack of normal human reflexes indicate a sub-normal intelligence. Not only did the Corona bottle he threw completely miss Howell, it instead went straight into the back of Catie Hager’s head. Additionally, when Emerald reporter Nicholas Wilbur (who was painted yellow, by the way) pushed Calderon out of the house, Calderon unresponsively flopped out of the door like a rag doll. While some people may point out that alcohol impairs reaction time, they need to keep in mind that although Calderon was drunk, stupidity has a far more detrimental effect on human reflexes.
  4. Calderon followed up his night of wacky antics by faking a phone call to the Eugene police in which he claimed he was sexually harassed at a party. This was probably an amusing gesture on Calderon’s part at the time. However, his phone call is what inspired Hager et al. to call the police themselves. So, without that insignificant little act of revenge, Calderon would not have found himself with felony second-degree assault charges. Brilliant move.

Did I mention that immediately upon arriving at the party, Calderon had me participate in a drinking game in which five people pretty much stood in a circle and pounded cans of Milwaukie’s Best Ice? I can only imagine what the future holds for this up-and-coming History major. Personally, I am going to be watching my back and perhaps wearing a helmet in case any beer bottles are sent my way.

Editor’s Note: The OC was not invited to this party. Our contributor is not a member of the OC or Emerald staff. Our researchers tell us that Negro Modelo bottles make far better projectiles than Corona bottles.

Staff Meeting

Monday, June 12th, 2006

There will be a meeting this Wednesday at 1pm at our office at EMU 319. All staffers are asked to attend, as are all those interested in contributing to our summer issue, or becoming contributers/staffers in the fall. We are looking for columnists, reporters, staff writers, editors, artists, technical advisors, webmasters etc to help keep the Commentator on top of its game. If you like what we do and want to join in on the fun, show up.

OC Special Coverage: The Daily Emerald Awards Banquet

Sunday, June 11th, 2006

The venerable Gerlinger Lounge was the site of the Annual (‘Ol Dirty) Daily Emerald Awards Banquet last night. Our reporter, embedded with the catering staff tended a mean bar (see photos) and was there for all the thrills, highlights and technical malfunctions. A hearty turnout of some 50 staff were treated to campus caterings “not quite donor level” cuisine and a full soft-drink bar. The resulting overcaffeination was, sadly, unable to inspire much more than consciousness through the seemingly endless affair (word to ‘Ol Dirty… every other awards show we cater springs for the hosted beer and wine bar… for good reasons.)

All the luminous names were there, as outgoing Editor-In-Chief Parker Howell emcee’d with the confidence of a true leader. With only the most requisite of self-congratulation, Howell recalled the highlights of ’05-’06 Emerald journalism, from Keggergate to the Great Flood of Some Campus Buildings. A sweet slide of classic memory moments highlighted the fact that the Emerald is more than just a dull, mediocre rag that does manage to print every day: it’s a family.

But the main event was clearly the awards. When the dinner was over, the guest speaker was done talking about the good old days, and the advertising department had showed up, Managing Editor Shadra Beesley introduced the ceremony by thanking her “very special people… for all their ‘special-ness'”. Senior News Reporter Nick Wilbur won three awards, including the “Inch Master” award for writing some ridiculous amount of copy. Wilbur’s fans will be saddened to hear that he did not beat the Emerald record which was set by Howell last year, a fact noted by Howell after Wilbur had received his award. On another depressing note, Gabe Bradley was not present to receive some award referencing his column about penises.

Hands down the funniest award went to Ailee Slater, who won the “Most Spewed” title for her groundbreaking weekly columns (word to Howell, that’s a Tater award, thank you… now we’re gonna have to name a new one after you). Refreshingly, Ms Slater was able to have a sense of humor about he award, allowing us to bring you our high-quality camera phone images to immortalize the event.

Eventually, the guests left to their oft-mentioned “after-parties” (guys… if that was the “party”), leaving my sorry ass to clear up their dishes, recycle their Dr Pepper cans, and adios Shawn Miller’s dead hooker. Really though, they were a great group, and it’s cool that they didn’t tip… no one else ever does.

Ailee Slater: She's Spew-tastic, and a great sport

Ailee Slater: She’s Spew-tastic, and a good sport too

Emawardbard.jpg

Bar choices at Daily Emerald Awards Show

Tatorbar.jpg

Artist rendering of bar choices at Commentator Awards Show

UPDATE: Emerald Awards Banquet After-Party Erupts into Drunken Hilarity

Student Exploitation: Not As Hot As It Sounds

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

Poor college students. We are constantly being exploited, whether by Joe Francis, of Girls Gone Wild fame, credit card companies, or The Man. Now we’ve got another exploiter, in the form of internships.

Sonia Smith, a former intern, writes a terrible — TERRIBLE — piece of drivel for her former Mas’ah, Slate.com. This is some real sub-par high school journalism shit here.

 Slate was great (honest!), but I’d have much preferred a paycheck to the course credit. … But fulfillment won’t put money in your pocket. The credit I got for my internship was one of 19 that I accumulated above my school’s required number. And the credits are worthless for a lot of students: Because of the rise of Advanced Placement exams, savvy overachieving freshman (the same ones who tend to chase after internships) enter college with more credit hours than any previous generation.

 Yes, Sonia, that sounds awful. But here’s the catch: We’d all like to make vast amounts of money for the work we do. However, there are trade-offs that we make in life. These trade-offs can often be measured in opportunity costs. Getting an internship at a high powered company may not fill your pockets with gold bullion, but it will add an impressive line to your resume and allow you to network with professional mucky-mucks, some of whom might find some space in their on-line publication for your ignorant whining.

Smith isn’t the first to deride internships. Anya Kamenetz, author of the apparently abysmal Generation Debt, has been making a career out of it. Go to her blog and weep tears of anger. Anya Kamenetz is like an Ailee Slater with a book deal and professional cred. Will Wilkinson says all that needs to be said about Kamenetz here (hat tip: The Agitator)

 So I wonder, if internships are so terrible, why do college students apply for them? Or do I not understand Kamenetz and Smith’s point altogether?

Man, it’s, like, totally bullshit that we college students have to work within this capitalist system that exploits us so that these rich weasels can simply get richer. What we need to do is unionize the youth, and topple the power structures that feed the dominant paradigm … Oh, shit, I’m late for my brunch date with Jann Wenner at Le Cirque.

There must be people who read this blog who have gotten internships while in college. How were your experiences, and did you find them helpful in the future?

When Voting Legally, Senate Chooses Hamilton

Friday, June 9th, 2006

In a stunner, Senate today changed its mind and elected Sara Hamilton as Senate President for the Summer. In an illegal, secret vote on Wednesday the Senate had purportedly elected Athan Papailiou.

So why the switch? Either the ballots were manipulated during the secret, illegal election or at least two Senators changed their votes. Additionally, why didn’t any Student Senators (including the three who were nominated for leadership positions) question then-President Stephanie Erickson when she broke the law at Wednesday’s meeting? There wasn’t a peep from the entire body– despite the fact that it was a rather brazen violation of Oregon Public Meetings Law.

Look at it this way: if the Commentator and Emerald hadn’t brought the illegal nature of the vote to light (and threatened to file a grievance), Hamilton wouldn’t be Senate President.

And in related Senate news, they’ve finally gone to the trouble of posting the minutes from the 5/24 Walk Out meeting. Good times.

Anticipating the Emerald’s Monday Issue

Friday, June 9th, 2006

Monday is the last day of regular printing for the Ol’ Dirty this year. They have a tradition of printing opinion columns from departing news and editorial staff in their final Spring issue of Spring, and if last year is any indication, expect things to be mushy, pointless, and nearly unreadable.

But it did get me to thinking, what will this year’s staff write about? My guesses for their headlines:

Shadra Beesley: I Doesn’t Always Come Before E, You C?
Parker Howell: According to the SPJ, Stephen Colbert is a Blogger, not a Journalist
Amy Lichty: The NY Times Could Learn a Thing or Three from Pitchfork
Steve Neuman: My Only Regret is a Lack of Podcasts
Jared Paben: I Covered the Bar Stories No One Else Dared To
Ailee Slater: Zarqawi: Terrorist, Feminist, or Both?
Nick Wilbur: Why I Voted for Dallas Brown
Kai-Huei Yau: The Weyerhaeuser Plant’s in Millersburg, Jackass

Aaaaaand it’s 4:34 in the morning.

“Special Senate Meeting” Friday Night

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

And by “special,” I assume they mean “law-abiding.” Here’s the agenda:

ASUO Senate Agenda
Special Senate Meeting
Date: June 9, 2006
Room: EMU Board Room
Time: 5:30pm

I. Call to Order
II. Approval of Agenda
III. Approval of Minutes
IV. Old Business
A. Elections of Summer Chair
B. Elections of Summer Vice Chair
V. New Business
A. Summer Senate Committee
VI. Announcements
VII. Adjournment

Also: meeting minutes are still not available online for the 5/24 and 5/31 Senate sessions. And one can only wonder what the 6/7 minutes will say in regards to the voting.

UPDATE: An ODW story on the new meeting can be found here.

Reports: Abu Musab al Zarqawi is dead

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

It’s 12:15 AM and reports are coming in on Eugene TV channel 16 stating that Abu Musab al Zarqawi was killed by U.S. Special forces. Nothing on Google news or Fox news on it just yet, so I’m leaving that question mark in the title until I see some more sources come in.

Update: Ian points out (in comments) that MSNBC has also stated that Zarqawi is dead
Update 2: Fox News is now reporting it as well, says it was a bombing attack that got him. Gabrielle also points out CNN‘s headline (story) (it feels so good to have gotten this online before they did!)

Update 3: Reuters UK reports that one of his key aides was captured.

Update 4: 12:55 AM, the Fox News site no longer has the Zarqawi headline. 12:58 Now they’ve replaced it with a story.

Reports are now all over Google News.

There Oughta Be A Law … Oh, Wait …

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

With all the attention Southworth has received lately, you’d think that the plebes in student government would start paying attention to the law. You know, all those rules and strictures that aren’t delineated in the oft-vaunted-yet-completely-overrated Greentape Notebook – the ones that actually matter. Obviously, this is not the case.

At tonight’s meeting, Stephanie Erickson, whom you may remember from her role in the Great Senate Walkout of 5/24 (we must note that the minutes for that meeting are still not online), oversaw the election of the summer session Senate President and Vice-President. For those of you unfamiliar with this process, allow me to throw some knowledge your way: This process is a complete joke.

Two candidates – or, as is often the case, one candidate – stand before the Senate body and deliver short speeches. After the candidates finish, they leave the room; this makes it easier for the rest of the Senators to make paranoid comments like, to paraphrase, “Dude, I’m not gonna name names or anything, ‘cause that’s just not how we roll at Sigma Nu, but that chick totally has an agenda.” Then they cast their ballots, which are tallied by the acting Senate President – in this case Erickson.

This seems simple enough, right? Wrong. What happens when a journalist throws a monkey wrench into the proceedings, by, like, asking questions and stuff? Well, this is when student government resorts to making shit up, because they apparently expect everyone to be as clueless as they are. And this is exactly what happened tonight, when, following the election of Jennifer Lleras, ODE reporter Nick Wilbur asked for the vote tally. This exchange followed:

Wilbur: So, what’s the tally?
Erickson: I can tell you that after, off the record, if you like. Okay?
Wilbur: Why isn’t it on the record?
Erickson: I can just tell you that she [Lleras] overwhelmingly won.
Wilbur: Why can’t you tell me the actual balloting?
Erickson: It’s a matter of privacy … with people not wanting to make their vote in public.

Whether senators want their votes made public is not up for debate; legally they must make their votes public. The simple question that Wilbur asked, which was for the sake of journalistic completeness, was not unreasonable. Erickson – in fact, the entire Student Senate – violated Oregon State Meeting Laws (ORS 192.650):

All minutes or recordings shall be available to the public within a reasonable time after the meeting, and shall include at least the following information: [...] (c) The results of all votes and, except for public bodies consisting of more than 25 members unless requested by a member of that body, the vote of each member by name.

And, from the 2004 Attorney General’s Public Records and Meeting Laws booklet:

6. Voting

All official actions by governing bodies must be taken by public vote.

Not only must a governing body tally the votes publicly, it must also divulge the names of those voting. Oregon prohibits the use of secret ballots at public meetings. Thus, Erickson is mistaken on two counts.

So one may ask, what is student government all about? Is it about governing, as its name suggests? Of course not. It’s about friendship. It’s about knowing the secret handshake. It’s about posturing, building a resume, playing telephone, and making a name for oneself – despite the inability to lead, form complete sentences, add numbers correctly, or know basic legal principles. It’s about togetherness. Damn facts, laws, and other sundry details of the outside world. We’ve got our clubhouse in Suite 4.

Don’t believe me? Where do you think Erickson is heading after the school year, when she eventually graduates? She will be joining the “non-partisan” part of former ASUO President Adam Petkun’s progressive political circle jerk, the Bus Project. Good riddance.

Student Senate ended with a bang. Expect the ODE’s Nick Wilbur – who’s willing to scour the Trashcan of Truth for the voting records he needs – to have the full story on Thursday.

Expect the OC to file a grievance on Friday. It’s the principle, you know?

UPDATE: The Emerald‘s story can be found here.

Committee of Three Upholds Goward Insurgent Decision

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

The Committee of Three (ASUO President Jared Axelrod, ASUO Multicultural Advocate Lorena Landeros, and Student Senator Erica Anderson) has heard and rejected the Students of Faith’s appeal of David Goward’s original decision. Appropriately enough, the Committee points out that it cannot evaluate the Insurgent’s compliance with the Student Conduct Code and soundly rejects the claim that student groups themselves must remain viewpoint neutral. A good, fairly well-written decision. (63k .pdf)

UPDATE: I should have pointed out that the Students of Faith appeal (100k .pdf) essentially attempted to attack the Insurgent on different grounds than in their original grievance. To the Committee of Three’s credit, they pointed this out and decided to slap the appeal down anyway.