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Archive for November, 2006

Maybe Now He Can Afford a Subscription to O-Zone

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

The Register-Guard’s Greg Bolt has a story detailing departing Oregon Athletic Director Bill Moos’ resignation agreement with the University. And what an agreement it is:

Departing University of Oregon Athletic Director Bill Moos will receive almost $2 million over 10 years as part of his agreement to leave the university.

The money will come from private donations provided by longtime UO supporter Pat Kilkenny and a small group of fellow donors, according to UO general counsel Melinda Grier. None of the money will come from university funds.

The deal between Moos and the UO, a copy of which the university released Wednesday to The Register-Guard, includes a noncompete clause that bars Moos from working as an athletic director at any major athletic conference schools west of the Mississippi River for the length of the 10-year payout. It also bars him from soliciting any current UO donors on behalf of another school.

Not a bad deal for Moos, although this does mean that he’ll have to wait ten years to get the EWU Eagles the big-time Nike money.

Hat-tip: Meghann Cuniff, also sends along a link to this story about classy local government officials in Idaho.

ASUO Senate 11/29: How do we get to Responsibility from here?

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Just another crazy night in the boardroom, complete with “concerned students for a much higher PFC Benchmark”, another attempt to rescind the ADFC benchmark, a late-night informal pact, a resignation , cage-free egg debate, Angela Davis, a Con Court nomination, and plenty of good old fashioned hand wringing, bickering, and recrimination. What’s not to like?

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Best Headline Ever?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

From BoingBoing: Naked man smokes crack and gets attacked by an 11-foot alligator.

Incredibly, the story lives up to the headline’s potential:

Judd said Apgar told deputies he was smoking crack-cocaine at the adjacent park, but it was unclear why he was naked or why he was attacked by the alligator.

The only thing that could make it any better is if he were a Seminoles alum.

In other news: why oh why can’t the final papers I’m working on be this interesting?

Ducks in Sin City!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

No, not that Sin City. The one where your money is gambled away and you don’t get to pull a lever.

The Ducks men’s basketball team had a great win tonight in Georgetown, beating the #14 #18 Hoyas 57-50. The game was close all the way through, but the Ducks pulled it out eventually despite a dismal shooting percentage. I only watched the last two minutes of the game, but I did get to catch a shot of Oregon Senator Ron Wyden… who was sitting directly behind former UO College Republican Chair Anthony Warren. (Well, it was either Anthony or his twin brother Nik.) Oh, the angry stares and mutterances that must have taken place!

Resigned to Humor

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

After a week of blissfull absence, ASUO Senate meetings resume today. To lighten the mood, I humbly submit the resignation letter of a short-lived Con Court Justice, Jeremy Riel. Reading this for the second time, I find it funny that he was so turned off by the debate over Senate rules, when despite Jared reading this letter aloud to the Senate, the benchmark debates became far more rancorous and divisive. Enjoy!

Hey Jared and Juliana,

I would have delivered this to you in person, but I am swamped today
with lots of writing assignments that I need to get done. I hope you
receive this before the senate meeting to prevent yourselves some
undue stress, but this was the soonest I could get on the computer.

I have been thinking a lot this past week about the position of
Constitution Court Justice and my filling that office. I have been
weighing school, family, and other potential activities that I would
perhaps like to pursue, and have decided that I would like to formally
withdraw my application from consideration for the position. After
attending the senate meeting on Wednesday last week, I witnessed
something that really turned me off – unnecessary internal struggle in
an organization that should be working together, especially in the
midst of a potentially productive legislative session for students. I
have always had an idealistic view of how student governments should
operate, and don’t see my involvement in the organization as a
positive use of my time right now. Don’t get me wrong, you and Juliana
both know that I am extremely committed to student advocacy and
improving the education system in Oregon. However, I will work with
organizations that will help exact the most progress, and I don’t feel
that my involvement as a Constitution Court Justice would fulfill my
desire to help students, especially in an environment where I would be
required to mediate between internal struggles. This is my senior
year, and I would like to enjoy it without excessive stress.

If an opportunity arises where I can help make positive advances for
students, I will be right there beside you. I will be glad to work
with your lobbying efforts of the legislature starting in January. I
have faith that the ASUO can do great things this year.

Just to prevent misunderstanding, I will not be attending the senate
meeting tonight. I am not a particular fan of being used as a pawn by
an organization to attack others, like what happened last week. Thank
you for understanding and I hope that you aren’t too upset by my
important decision (and believe me, I tossed it around all week back
and forth). Thank you very much for the opportunity to serve, and I
hope that we can work together in the future.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Riel

Art School Exit-stential

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

There’s basically nothing about this story in the current Portland Mercury that isn’t hilarious:

Bob Averill’s classmates at the Art Institute of Portland had finished up their work in a character development class on November 8, and were chatting to pass the time until class was over. The discussion moved toward spirituality. Averill, a Game Art Design student and a devoted atheist—he even runs a blog called Portland Atheist—sidled over and joined the conversation.

It was the last time he’d be in an Art Institute class—within two weeks, he was expelled, less than a year before he’d hoped to graduate.

In the classroom that day, Averill says one young woman was talking about her belief in energy layers and astral beings.

“I jokingly asked her if she believed in leprechauns. It turns out, she does. They live on another energy layer,” Averill wrote in notes to himself later that day. [My Emphasis] “In the interest of bringing my own view to the discussion, I began to ask her how she knew these things. Again I know all too well that people can be sensitive about their spiritual beliefs, so I was pretty much walking on glass as I did so.”

Averill says he wasn’t trying to disprove the other student’s religious beliefs, but “to convince her not to insist that they were scientifically proven.”

The student, apparently offended, complained to the teacher. Averill was called into a meeting that evening, he says, with the Art Institute’s dean of education, associate dean, and the dean of student affairs.

According to Averill, he was told the meeting was “because of my altercation with [the other student].” Averill says he pointed out that he’d “only offered a different viewpoint in a discussion that [my classmate] had started.”

“They didn’t respond well,” Averill told the Mercury. “Their mantra was ‘no discussing religion in school,’ which is fine except that I did not initiate the conversation, she had.” Averill was suspended for four days, until a judicial hearing with the dean of student affairs.

Well, he sounds like a calm and reasonable young man! Let’s see what his blog has to say…

Hold on now! Before you go and get the wrong idea, this ISN’T another rant about why religion is bad, or why it’s wrong. Of course, it IS bad, and it IS wrong. But this is so blindingly obvious that it no longer needs to be said. Instead, this is a direct attack on you, the religious person. The argument? That your failure to reject religion indicates you are colossally, irredeemably stupid.

[…]

I refuse to respect religious beliefs, and I refuse to respect people who hold them.

Your willful ignorance is inexcusable, and it disgusts me.

What could possibly go wrong in a conversation between him and someone who strongly believes in leprechauns?

For bonus laughs, check out the conversation on the Something Awful forums, where Bob was (is?) a member.

Executive Fires back on Benchmark “Cuts”

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

In a memo circulated to the Student Senate (and just now hand delivered to the Commentator Office by President Axelrod), the Executive has gone on the record in its opposition to the recently approved 2.5% increase in the Programs Finance Committee benchmark. Having initially asked the Senate to approve a 5% increase, and been knocked down to a 2.5% increase, the Executive has decided to be entirely uncreative in their response to the much-needed fiscal responsibility movement by raising the tired spectre of “substantial cuts in services and student employment.” Thats right folks, not only do groups have nowhere to cut the fat, but also there are no surplus funds with which to maintain the most vital services.

The memo asks us, the mean-spirited, tightwad crypto-bigots to recognize that “many of the budgets… already reflect programs’ efforts to be as efficient as possible with their money. Departments and programs have shown a commitment to shift money away from administrative costs…” Yes, but surely buying 100 roller skating passes for the “Come OUT and Skate” party, or the free lunch for a “Community Dialogue to discuss how we can teach practical skills of self-love and caring relationships” are non-administrative costs which could be considered more “fat” than “muscle,” no?

But rather than accepting the Senate mandate for reasonable cost-cutting, the Executive would rather scare students into thinking that basic services that are open to all students will be cut. To bolster this perception, the memo contained an attached memo from Dennis Munroe, director of the Physical Activity And Recreation Services, explaining all of the horrible effects that this “cut” (one cannot emphasize enough that this is not a cut, but a reduction in the budget increase), would have on our beloved Rec Center. And Mr. Munroe gives the Executive just the ammunition it was looking for, by stating that the only real place to cut fat is in the student work force. Additionally, old equipment won’t be replaced, the Rock Wall could charge a participation fee, the towel service might be eliminated, among a litany of other tragic consequences. This tactic is a complete red herring. The Senate (as I see it) was not asking the PFC to cut programs which are available to everyone, widely used, and fundamental to the health and development of the student body at large. Rather, marginal groups, groups that have been funded without oversight year after year, groups with large off-campus revenue sources, groups with large travel and food budgets, and groups with overt political agendas are the places that the Senate was asking PFC to make cuts.

The Executive, however, seems to believe that such cuts could not be done in a viewpoint-neutral manner, and that even trying to make such cuts is “uneven” (read: unfair), because of the funding levels of the EMU and ADFC. “If the Senate decides that reductions in service level are necessary, we know that students would want them applied across the board,” reads the memo. Oh, is that so? Funny, because I’d assume that most students understand that there are some services which are inclusive, open and necessary (such as the Rec Center of the Exec’s scare tactic example) and should be fully funded, but that money also goes to groups which provide no real service, are wasteful, and noninclusive , and should be cut. It’s the difference between getting liposuction, or just hacking off a limb to lose weight.

At the end of the day, the whole brouhaha is a first class red herring. When you are sitting on an $800,000 surplus fund, the Cassandra and Chicken Little routine can only be seen as a cynical ploy. Here’s an idea for the entire ASUO: Increase this years budget as much as you fucking want. Fund free ice cream cones with helpful information about the Darfur genocide written in delicious chocolate on them. Fund a workshop on ethically-sound hair care for conjoined twins. I don’t give a damn. Just do me one favor: make sure that every penny over last years budget comes out of the Overrealized Fund. It’s known as balancing the budget. Give it a shot.

Big Moos-take

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Resignations, particularly when publicly explained in press conference format are rarely candid. They are almost always comfortably couched in talk of family, “personal reasons,” and reiteration of the successes of the soon-to-be departed. The resignation of Athletic Director Bill Moos has thus far fit the traditional resignation mold well… from the outset, justification has centered on “personal reasons,” and there was talk of cattle ranching and spending more time with the kids. Let’s face it though, people who claw their way to positions like Moos’s don’t just drop everything to hang out in rural Idaho because they woke up one morning and realized that life was slipping through their fingers. So, to find the real reasons, the press conference must be dissected and parsed for any indication of the bureaucratic wrangling that inevitably precedes an unexpected high-profile resignation. Luckily for lazy arses like myself, the ‘Ol Dirty Emerald has obligingly reported the details of the conference, from which a fun, if speculative, hypothesis can be drawn: Phil Knight got Moos fired!

The previously linked Register-Guard fluff piece mentions this possibility ever so briefly, but then curtails all speculation in favor of Moos’s “farm and family” line simply because “when asked if the Moos resignation was being in any way orchestrated by Knight or to appease Knight, a source close to Moos said ‘absolutely not.'” The press conference, which was held after the Reg-Guard story, certainly paints a different story, especially when taken with the requisite press conference grain of salt. According to ‘Ol Dirty, “Moos made the decision after conversations with Frohnmayer about the direction of the athletics department, most notably Oregon’s plans to build a new basketball arena to replace the aging McArthur Court. Plans have recently stalled because of inadequate financial backing.” Oh, and by-the-way, the story goes on to mention, not only has Phil not signed on to the plans (a requisite for the University to do anything expensive), but Moos and Knight have sparred in the past. “I don’t really think we’ve had feuds,” Moos said of Knight. “I think we’ve had some differences of opinion on some things, but there’s never been a nasty scream-fest or anything.” I’m sorry, but if you have to publicly state in your resignation press conference that you and the Universities sugar daddy have not been having a 12 year-long “nasty scream-fest,” then something is afoot.

So here’s the conspiracy theory: After years of a not-quite scream-fest between Knight and Moos, culminating in the track team controversy of a year ago, Knight had had enough of Moos, and decided that the new arena was the stick he would use to squash him like a  little bug. Knight summoned Frohnmayer to his throne of skulls, removed his wrap-around shades and spoke in a deep and terrifying voice “Moos must go… I command it.” Prostrating himself before Knight, Frohnmayer managed to squeak “but master… he has served us so well. Our athletics have come such a long way under his guidance.” “Silence fool,” thundered Knight, his voice booming with wrath, “All our success has come from my money, and my uniforms, and my marketing… this is Nike U! And if you want to even consider the possibility of a new basketball arena, you will do my bidding. Exile him to Idaho!” To which Frohnmayer could only answer “yes, my dark prince.” That’s how it really happened.

Bill Moos to Resign?

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

Joe Giansante just announced on Oregon Game Day that UO Athletic Director Bill Moos will be resigning sometime this week for “personal reasons.”

No other details (or official confirmation) are available yet, but KEZI’s Giansante should probably be considered a reliable source considering his access to the team. No word yet on if “personal reasons” is a codeword for “overseeing a crappy football season.”

Clarification: I wrote “retire” instead of “resign” in the original post. Giansante specifically said that Moos will announce his resignation, not retirement.

Update 11/26: The Register-Guard’s Bob Clark has a front page story on the resignation in today’s paper with more details.

Next Time, Punch Him When He Doesn’t Have His Helmet On

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Fellow NFL fans probably remember last Sunday’s hilarious Chargers/Broncos game starring Jake “The Snaaaaaaake” Plummer and LaDainian Tomlinson. Well at the end of the game, Chargers defensive lineman (and Oregon alum) Igor Olshansky punched Broncos Center Tom Nalen after Nalen had tried to cut block him in the knees on a spike play. It’s no surprise that Igor would react so vehemently to such a dirty play– he had arthroscopic knee surgery about a month ago . Anyway, here’s a video:

Emerald Takes Bold Stance Against Military Draft

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Today’s Emerald editorial discusses the impending involuntary military draft. Charles Rangel (D-NY) recently stated that he’ll attempt to introduce a bill to reinstate the draft, claiming that if it made a comeback lawmakers would be far less likely to, say, start an unnecessary war. Hmmm… I wonder why he didn’t talk about this before the election?

Unsurprisingly, the ODE opposes Rangel’s proposal. And unsurprisingly, House Dems have already killed the proposal since they’re hoping to not play Glass Joe in 2008. But what is surprising is the Emerald’s refutation of Rangel’s logic:

We should not need a draft to make lawmakers thoroughly consider whether the nation should go to war. As a result of the bad intelligence and somewhat shady reasoning that drew America into Operation Iraqi Freedom, Congress should be even more inclined to deliberate any justifications given for war, even above and beyond what the public expects.

Congress tends to take far more stock in current popular opinion than lessons from the past. It isn’t often that I can say this, but Rangel is absolutely correct: it’s difficult to imagine that the Iraq war would have been authorized had the draft been a prerequisite. Public opinion would have been dead set against the war rather than strongly supportive of it. That doesn’t mean that the draft is a good idea– god only knows how poorly the Army would operate with infantry platoons full of Sociology and Gender Studies students– but it does mean that we as a citizenry should not be surprised when a war that a majority of us are in favor of is started. Where Congress did drop the ball is in the examination of prewar intelligence (which the Emerald correctly points out) and oversight of the war’s execution and progress. And you can bet that these problems wouldn’t have existed had involuntary conscription been in effect.

Brown Throws Down II: Grievance Day

Monday, November 20th, 2006

Former ASUO Senator Dallas Brown has filed a grievance alleging that Senate President Sara Hamilton improperly allowed PFC members to vote to approve their budget benchmarks, according to ‘Ol Dirty. The story goes on to say that Hamilton denies the allegations, because the wording of the rules in question is such that there is no clear prohibition of Senators voting on the benchmarks for their respective committees. If this position is upheld in the Con Court, the rule should be changed.

Hamilton admits that it is “traditional” for Senators to abstain from votes on their respective committees benchmarks, and just two short weeks ago, ADFC Senators all abstained from voting on the ADFC benchmark. I know this, because when Senator Guerra got pissed about the PFC’s low funding levels, and made a motion to raid the ADFC benchmark which had already been approved, he needed to get a second from someone who had voted nay or abstained. No one voted against that benchmark, and yet for some reason all of the ADFC Senators had abstained. Senator Hamilton was the only other abstention on that vote, and she seconded Guerra’s motion, allowing the five-percenters to waste more of the Senates time and good will. Hamilton should smell the coffee here, and realize that the PFC is playing by different rules than the ADFC is, and that they are doing so based on narrow-minded self interest (hence, the crying, PFC raid, etc). If the Con Court can’t clarify this rule, a Senator or the Executive certainly should, and should do so in a way that clearly prevents the conflicts of interest which have plagued the Senate for too long.

**UPDATE**

The Emerald is reporting that the Constitutional Court “requires additional information before the judicial branch of government will consider it.”  No word yet on what information it might need, or whether Dallas plans on proceeding.  It appears that this grievance has not exactly struck fear into the hearts of student leaders, but that hardly seems the point… Senators should want this rule clarified, and should move to clarify it  with a Senate bill. Either way, Dallas has assumed a vital role in the ASUO scene, namely that of the student watchdog. It is safe to say that, at this point, he has already had more impact on the Senate this year than many sitting Senators themselves. More students should be as engaged and curious as he.

Spellchecking Legislation

Friday, November 17th, 2006

According to today’s ODE, there was, uh, a little bit of a mix up with the Senate’s proposed rule changes:

The ASUO Constitution Court, the judicial arm of student government, has rejected rule changes submitted by the Student Senate “due to typographical errors, ambiguities, unintelligible language and inconsistencies with Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) and the ASUO Constitution.”

The changes would have affected wording within the Green Tape Notebook, student government’s rule book, regarding gifts, donations and fund-raising accounts.

The document submitted to the court contained misspellings and referred to rules the court found do not exist.

Whoops! Well, at least the ASUO Senate will take responsi…

The rules were primarily written by ASUO accountant Lynn Giordano, Hamilton said.

“I don’t want to pass blame on anyone, but these rules weren’t written by Senate,” she said.

No, just approved by the Senate, which surely could’ve checked and made corrections to the rules before approving them.

Fomer OCer, Drunk Makes The Big Time

Friday, November 17th, 2006

Congratulations are in order for Oregon and, ever so briefly, the Commentator’s own Eric Pfeiffer on his piece in the newest issue of Reason magazine. He points out the inconsistencies of the “fiscally responsible” RSC, and puts the lie to any hope that Congress will rein-in spending any time soon.

Blood in the Boardroom: Budget Battles Divide Senate

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

It was a long, bitter meeting for ASUO Senators last night, as battle lines were drawn in the fight for fiscal responsibility. The Program Finance Committee, which funds student groups, and the EMU Board both had hearings before the Senate on their budget benchmarks, which are their spending goals for the next school year. Take away all the bickering, whining, weeping and petty retaliation, and you’re left with a few important numbers:

ADFC benchmark: 7%
PFC benchmark: 2.5%
EMU benchmark: 5.5%

The Good Stuff (TM) is after the jump… (more…)