The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator
 

Archive for August, 2007

New Permanent Public Safety Chief Chosen

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Kevin Williams has been named as the first permanent director of DPS in four years, according to a Daily Emerald report. Williams has been a Lane County Sheriff for the past two years, where he was responsible for introducing Tasers into the Lane County Jail. According to the Emerald story, Williams is “in favor of arming DPS officers with Tasers” and has “said he would support turning DPS into a full-blown police department.” He also “has ideas to alleviate parking pressures at the University,” and is a fan of Duck football.

Although the hiring process has been open to students, the final two choices for DPS director were both strong proponents of transitioning DPS into a full-fledged, armed police force, a position which is hardly popular among students. Naturally the “DPS serves students” rhetoric has been splashed around throughout the hiring process, but the Administration has made it clear that the DPS is headed towards police department status, and that issuing Tasers to officers is now practically an inevitability. Choosing Williams not only brings in the public face of Taser advocacy in Lane County, but compliments that with what seems to be a deep suspicion of the students he has been hired to protect. During the hiring process, Williams “said he would also like to encourage a training day on campus for area police officers, to prepare for what might occur should a riot start or a group of student protesters get out of hand.”

The choice has been made, in a “fair” and “open” process, which was only guaranteed to have a minimum of student input because it occured in the middle of summer. This allowed the Administration to push its agenda of a a tougher, armed DPS while reinforcing in their minds the perception that students are too lazy or ignorant to care.  That’s cool though, because we will just have to continue to be highly suspicious of the DPS and its  institutional drift towards ever more power and interference into the lives of students. So with that, allow me to extend a hearty welcome to Mr. Williams. You have your agenda, we have ours… as long as you are willing to talk to us (unlike the late, lamented, lamentable Mr Driscoll) we’ll all manage to get along somehow. At least until the first on-campus Tasing.

The Great Big Sexy Bonobo Debate

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Everyone has heard it at some point. Usually it will be at a lackluster party, in which flagging conversation is suddenly renewed by the topic of everyone’s favorite incitement to promiscuity: Bonobos. You know, as in “oh my God, wouldn’t it be like, sooo great if we could all just solve our problems by fucking instead of fighting? Bonobos kick ass!” But the Bonobo is not just the spirit animal of the conversationally ungifted lech, apparently it has become the mascot of the dreaded “SP” (Secular Progressive) and as such, it must be attacked by those who seek to protect us from the spectre of “G-G rubbing” as a tool of social harmony.

Enter Dinesh D’souza, the guy who blamed 9-11 on liberals, who “debunks the myth of the promiscuous Bonobo”, by way of attacking the crazy lefties who can’t get enough of the horny little buggers.  Although lines like “I’m surprised the Democratic Party hasn’t changed its symbol from the donkey to the bonobo” are good for teh lulz, D’Souza is clearly trying to score culture warrior points by “proving” that Bonobo sexuality is a perversion caused by captivity. And why wouldn’t he, considering that it makes liberals look like bad scientists as well as huge pervs?

Of course there’s no question that D’Souza is willing to blur a few lines in order to make a partisan point, because that’s what he does for a living. What is a little more surprising is that the article he cites is more than a little, erm, lacking in credibility. Frans DeWall, whom D’Souza attacks, responds at Skeptic (NSFW!) with a long, but worth-reading piece giving a nuanced summary of Bonobo behavior, that impresses with it’s balance, proving once again that science with an agenda is no science at all.

Karl Rove Resigns, Get’s All Choked Up Thinking About The Good Times

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Yup, Turd Blossom is out. Karl Rove, probably the only man with the political acumen to get George W Bush elected twice has resigned as Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Advisor to the President is gone, leaving only the question who will bust out with the funky-fresh flow to keep the press corps distracted? Go ahead, watch the President call Rove “a dear friend,” and watch Rove choke up at the remembrance of things past… just don’t blame us if you cry a little too.

So what’s next for Rove? Back to Texas to make some money, and escape the Captain Ahabs of Congress who are after his Moby Dick (Oh Yes). Apparently he shouldn’t have too hard a time getting a job either, as his employment record is quite extensive.

Rove, who never graduated from college, joked that he has “an employment record that I think would be attractive to any employer. I’ve worked in an industrial kitchen in a hospital; I’ve waited tables; I’ve worked in convenience stores and have been robbed at the point of a gun twice; I’ve pumped gas; I’ve babysat; I’ve cut lawns; I’ve delivered newspapers.”

Sorry Karl, but we all know it was mostly babysitting.

Is there anything beer can’t do?

Monday, August 13th, 2007

So what do OC staffers and Irish archaeologists have in common? Some of our best ideas come after booze-filled nights at the pub, of course.

According to BBC World News, Irish archaeologists have seemingly solved the ongoing mystery of fulacht fiadh, or burnt mounds, which are abundant on the Irish landscape.  Once thought to be ancient cooking areas left behind from the bronze-age, Billy Quinn and Declan Moore easily solved the mystery after a long night of drinking, as nursing a hangover brought the epiphany that all men seek to alter their minds, so why not bronze-age Irishmen?

They immediately began brewing beer in a burnt mound for the next three days to produce a surprisingly tasty ale, which they testify to being comprable to modern brews. Pretty impresive, considering some fulacht fiadh are dated to 2500 BCE.

I can’t wait for the day archaeologists start digging up 21st century bathtubs in order to cook up the ancient version of  strawberry quick …

RIAA Sues UO Students

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Everyone’s buddies at the Recording Industry Association of America are suing 17 UO students for illegaly downloading copywrited material over the Universities network, according to local news reports. Apparently the RIAA asked the University to identify a number of network users, and offer them settlements in their ongoing legal struggle to prevent people from stealing food from Lars Urich’s children. The pre-litigation settlement offers were not forwarded to the John Doe defendants, according to UO General Counsel Randy Gellar.

“It’s our policy not to send those letters along because we are neither the agent of the RIAA or any students,” Geller said. “As far as I know no students have been sued by the RIAA.”

Similar attempts by the RIAA to discover the identity of illegal downloaders on University networks failed at the University of New Mexico earlier this year. Although the UO may pose as the defender of student privacy, it did block network access to as many as 24 students per week last year for illegal downloads on the University network. Thank god someone is looking out for these poor people.

Surprise: 1934 now “Warmest Year on Record,” not 1998

Friday, August 10th, 2007

According to this Daily Tech blog entry, they have discovered a flaw in the NASA study that reported 1998 as the warmest year on record. In response, one of the NASA scientists who did the study admitted they screwed up, and the newly-corrected data now shows that 1934 is the warmest year on record, and five of the ten warmest years on record occurred before World War II.

“Global warming” has to be the one of the few topics where large groups of people blindly accept the results of studies often without independent confirmation or even peer review. Hopefully this revelation will result in a serious attempt at peer-review of popularly-accepted (I’m looking at you, Al Gore) climate studies.

Eugene Homeless: “Glad it wasn’t here.”

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

This story comes from the Cincinnati Enquirer.  I am going to take a little creative license with the general gist of this story.

“Excuse me miss, got any change.”

Woman reaches into her pocket as if she is digging for change, but instead of producing a quarter, she is now wielding a gun.

“Here’s your change.”

Yes, a woman in Cincinnati shot and killed a homeless man after he asked her for change.  I can only imagine how well this woman would cope in Eugene.

“Want to buy the world’s funniest joke books?”  BAM!

“Can I take your empty beer cans?” BAM!

“Want to buy a bicycle seat I stole from a college kid to fuel my meth addiction?”  BAM! 

It would be like a slightly sadder but still entertaining Death Wish sequel. 

To catch an undercover journalist

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Ever wonder what happens when “hard-hitting, investigative journalism” goes bad?

Dateline reporter Michelle Madigan found that outfirsthand when she attempted to go undercover at Defcon, a computer hacker convention in Las Vegas. The convention, for obvious reasons, has very strict rules about filming and recording. That didn’t deter Madigan, who snuck in a concealed video camera, determined to find some nice, incriminating footage of hackers discussing their trade. Just to state the obvious: It’s always a good idea to try and go undercover in a convention hall full of people who are experts at finding information you don’t want them to have.

If this sounds a little sketchy, it’s par for the course for Dateline. The broadcast news program also runs the popular “To Catch a Predator” series, which entraps, humiliates and arrests pedophiles on national television. Not that I have a lot of sympathy for pedophiles, but as former OC editor Tyler Graf argued in the Daily Emerald, journalists should not be in the business of law enforcement.

Anyways, Madigan’s ruse was (surprise) short-lived. She did not know this, of course, until one of the convention directors approached the podium and announced a new contest called “spot the undercover reporter.” Madigan quickly vamoosed, followed by a large group of hackers who decided to play paparazzi. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet (a vast series of tubes, from what I understand), you can watch the whole thing on YouTube. I think if you look up “poetic justice” in the dictionary, this is what you find.

One point that bears noting is that Madigan was asked four timesif she was a journalist and denied it. Now, a lot of hardnose reporters will say that, like cops, they’re not obliged to announce their profession unless directly asked, but I’m willing to bet very few would advocate lying about it. It’s not just an ethical thing; you could get in some serious trouble if your cover is blown. Lucky for Madigan, she was only covering a bunch of pasty, computer geeks and not a mafia meeting, although I’m sure her MySpace profile and Flickr account are now clearing houses for tentacle porn.

For more of the broadcast media’s obsession with clandestine computer groups, you should educate yourself on the dangers of truly epic lulz.

DPS: bad at counting, good at tweaking

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

The ODE reported yesterday on former DPS meter attendant Orion Martin pleading guilty for stealing change from campus parking meters to feed his methamphetamine addiction. The ODE reported that he must repay $2,000, along with undergoing 18 months probation (he should read to elders) and some drug treatment.

In statements taken by EPD, Martin’s ex-wife said she divorced him because of his drug habit and because he was stealing thousands of dollars from the University. She said he was stealing hundreds of dollars a week.

This is a tough blow for the already pathetic reputation of a program that was found to have $96,000 unaccounted for in 2005, resulting in positions being replaced. Taking an even tougher blow, however, is the tweaker community of Eugene. It has been said by secret sources of to the OC (a.k.a. our crack babies) that Martin had recently been promoted to No. 1 in command of the Nickel-and-Dime Brigade of the West Eugene Tweaks (WETs). The organization has yet to name a replacement.