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Archive for January, 2008

Focus the Nation holds teach-in; I learn nothing

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Today from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Focus the Nation, a “national teach-in on climate change,” was held on the UO campus, mainly focused in and around the EMU. There were a multitude of panels, lectures and booths to help assuage your horrible, consumer guilt … I mean, uh, ecological footprint. Lectures were held every hour on the hour by university professors, and a sustainability fair was set up on the first floor of the EMU.

Here’s ten ways you can fight climate change, according to a poster board at the sustainability fair (and some helpful additions from me):

  1. Recycle (or let hobos recycle for you)
  2. Reduce, re-use
  3. Buy green energy
  4. Replace your bulbs
  5. Ride bikes and buses (I would have suggested something classier, like “Save the earth. Ride me.”)
  6. Go vegetarian
  7. Turn things off (including other people’s computers and televisions)
  8. Use less heat (the earth’s warming up anyways, right?)
  9. Don’t use plastic (which is why I only use condoms made from sheep intestine)
  10. Shop eco-friendly (as opposed to eco-ambivalent)

More of my experiences in sustainability land after the jump.

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Students having a cow over Holy Cow removal

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

As the ODE reported on Jan. 23, the university has decided not to renew the lease of Holy Cow Cafe – the long-standing vegan/vegetarian restaurant in the EMU; Holy Cow is slated to be replaced by Laughing Planet Cafe.

The decision came as a surprise to many, including the owner of Holy Cow, Kathee Lavine, who said that she had “been led to believe we were doing a good job.” A committee composed of five EMU employees and one university student thought differently; they unanimously voted to replace the restaurant. EMU Food Services Coordinator John Costello said that Laughing Planet Cafe “could provide everything Holy Cow could do in terms of organic, vegetarian food, and more.”

Needless to say, this has made many vegan/vegetarians on campus very unhappy. The ten year-0ld restaurant is popular among students for its commitment to local business and produce, as well as its sustainable business practices. While Laughing Planet Cafe also caters to the non-meat crowd, it is a non-local chain that serves chicken in some of its dishes. An impromptu campaign to save Holy Cow has sprang up on campus. For example, here’s the Facebook group, The Holy Cow Nation. Holy Cow supporters have been attending EMU meetings, rustling up petition signatures and generally setting up a popular front.

However, not everyone is on Holy Cow’s side. (more…)

Bush to America: “harrumph, harrumph, harrumph”

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

President George W. Bush’s final State of the Union address last night was awesome! He even quoted Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The USA.” How cool is that? Well, he said “made in the USA,” but we all know “W” was rocking out in his head while he spoke.

Highlights at a glance: shedding 151 bloated government programs totaling $18 billion (harrumph); trust people with their own money (harrumph, harrumph); Al Qaeda is on the run in Iraq and this enemy will be defeated (harrumph, harrumph, harrumph); and a well-deserved ovation for Bob Dole. Of course, the nit-picky democrats just had to respond indifferently. (more…)

Sudsy caught parading inside the Ol’ Dirty, Emerald tests self for rohypnol.

Friday, January 25th, 2008

On Tuesday, the Emerald featured a front page article and a two-page spread inside on the Oregon Students Public Interest Research Group, titled, “The OSPIRG you can’t see.” One could certainly receive better insight into the program by perusing through the OC archives, but the ODE hits the main points. The Ol’ Dirty mentions the “Nader Raider” beginning of the group, the Emerald’s 1971 editorial calling the group “the most powerful weapon ever held in the hands of students,” and the opposing forces through the years, which includes the OC on numerous occasions and recently Portland State’s student government.

“It’s just not fair,” [former Portland State OSPIRG member Claire] Tripeny said. “We’re paying people’s salaries who are not on campus … I just haven’t seen any of the results affect my campus, and if we’re paying for it I’d like to see it.” …

University of Oregon members say the funding model is fair. Wih the professional conglomeration that comes from paying salaries off campus, OSPIRG is able to “run with the big dogs,” and “magnify the voice and impact of the average student,” according to papers filed to the PFC.

Two letters to the editor were printed this week in favor of OSPIRG, so I wrote this guest commentary, which was in the Emerald today:

If you go to the Web site of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group and the Oregon Students Public Interest Research Group, you will notice that contact information for the two groups, which claim to not be tied together, are the same: 1536 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR; (503) 231-4181 … For all we know, the rent could be a convenient way to launder money to the state OSPIRG, which could then use student funds to lobby its campaigns in the state agenda. …

Don’t worry, students. If you don’t like OSPIRG’s history of political tactics, it does not mean you hate the environment (they will probably tell you that to get support).

Despite a little negative press here and there, however, UO OSPIRG chapter received a 2.89% budget increase, the executive recommendation, last night by the Programs Finance Committee. The group’s 2008-09 budget will be $117,244.

I would have an in-depth coverage of the hearing, but I was doing research on the atmosphere of Mac Court during the Oregon-UCLA basketball game. The Emerald’s Robert D’Andrea told me the discussion was tabled once and took about three hours total. Several PFC members were not supportive of OSPIRG’s funding, but ASUO Senator Nick Meyers was the most outspoken. He was harshly told by ASUO President Emily McLain and ASUO Accountant Lynn Giordano to leave politics out of the discussion and focus on the numbers. Leave politics out of an OSPIRG discussion? That’s like leaving booze out of an OC staff meeting.

The opposition mounting at Portland State could lead to a huge blow to OSPIRG. The campus chapter there received $128,235 this year, about two-fifths of OSPIRGs budget. With this type of momentum, it may be time for another vote at the U of O to decide if students still believe they should be paying for OSPIRG.

Remember, your body needs 8 glasses of fluid daily. Straight up or on the rocks.

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

“Conservative, Libertarian, Whatever” P.J. O’Rourke was the guest last night on A Daily Show with Jon Stewart. His new book “On ‘The Wealth of Nations’ ” was the topic of conversation. O’Rourke’s book dissects the economic theories of Scottish political economist Adam Smith. His 900 page opus “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” was published in 1776 and argues in favor of a free-market economy.

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Obama Compares self to Reagan: Suicide or Smart?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

In an interview Monday, January 14th with the Reno Gazette-Journal editorial board, Presidential candidate Barack Obama compared the type of presidency he hopes to have with that of former President Ronald Reagan. Many have taken these remarks out of context, including his opponent Hillary Clinton during the Debates on this past Monday. This was one of the main topics for the first 20 minutes of the smackdown. Here are both the pull quote and a link to the entire video.

“I don’t want to present myself as some sort of singular figure. I think part of what is different is the times. I do think that, for example, the 1980 election was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. They felt like with all the excesses of the 60’s and the 70’s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think he tapped into what people were already feeling. Which is we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

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Banking for the poor

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Muhammad YumusMuhammad Yunus’s banking plan is simple enough.

“I just have to look at what the conventional banks are doing and do the opposite.”

Yunus founded Grameen Bank in Bangladesh 31 years ago. He pioneered the idea of microcredit, and he and his bank were awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for their efforts. Yunus spoke at the Bagdad Theater in Portland on Sunday, part of a tour for his new book, “Creating a World Without Poverty.” Yunus believes, “because poverty is artificially imposed on society, it can be removed.” (more…)

Are You Ready to Rumble?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Last night’s Democratic CNN Debate started off more like a WWF Smackdown than a presidential debate. Now that 5 primary events have passed (both caucuses and elections) and the media has had many a field day, the Democratic presidential candidates are going negative and aren’t looking back. It was not quite clear who was dominating whom with issues like ‘who is really running, you or your husband?’ and ‘how much do you love the republicans?’ being addressed. I had completely forgotten that John Edwards was even there until about 20 minutes into the debate when he finally spoke saying,

What I want to say first is, are there three people in this debate, not two? And I also want to know — I also want to know on behalf of voters here in South Carolina, this kind of squabbling, how many children is this going to get health care? How many people are going to get an education from this? How many kids are going to be able to go to college because of this?

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How not to be a spy

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Tim Lussier, a 20 year-old employee of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has been caught trying to infiltrate the campaign of Democrat Jeff Merkley in what can only be described as a monumental failure in espionage. (more…)

PF lecturer calls MLK “moral leper and communist dupe”

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

As I previously reported, the Pacifica Forum held a discussion on Friday titled “Martin Luther King: Communist?” Given the forum’s recent move towards white nationalist conspiracy-mongering, I predicted it would be a smear of the esteemed civil rights leader. Sadly, I was right. Jimmy Marr, a Pacifica Forum regular, opened his lecture, “Martin Luther King: The Man Behind the Media Mask”, thusly:

Look at your calendar. The founder of this country, George Washington does not have a federal holiday in his honor. Thomas Jefferson doesn’t. Abraham Lincoln doesn’t. Neil Armstrong […] doesn’t. What did King accomplish to merit or deserve to be honored above George Washington? Yet every year in January Americans endure the same propaganda blitz when the media go into a kind of almost spastic frenzy of adulation for this so-called Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King.

[…]

But the truth is that he was everything but that and certainly no hero that any American should look up to. To start with, even his name is a fraud.

And he’s just getting started, folks! (more…)

The Scoop On Why Donnie Flew the Coop

Friday, January 18th, 2008

After a 15 minute discussion about whether or not to have a discussion, followed by recess, and then another discussion – with three motions made to get the heck out of there in the mean time, two rescinded – the ASUO Senate finally decided to have a discussion about the resignation of Senate Vice President Donnie Kim. (more…)

Uptick In Skillet-Related Violence Finally Explained

Friday, January 18th, 2008

My curiosity was piqued by CJ’s last post, so I just looked at the Pacifica Forum site for the first time in God knows how long, and I was immediately struck by the following item from last year:

08/31 – Metting [sic] on the upcoming Tolerance/Intolerance Breakfast.

Immediately afterwards we have

09/07 – Further discussion about the Tolerance/Intolerance Breakfast.

Then there’s a brief spell of 9/11 conspiracy theories and whatnot, before the ominous/hilarious conclusion:

9/21 – Post-Mortem on the Tolerance/Intolerance Breakfast, (reports and discussion)

Now, apart from the fact that it sounds like the title of one of the experimental films from Infinite Jest, I can’t help but imagine what the minutes from that meeting were like. (Be it resolved: at future events, the intolerant people should not be allowed more than one bloody mary.)

Pacifica Forum lecture to focus on MLK, communism

Friday, January 18th, 2008

The Pacifica Forum plans to hold a lecture titled “Martin Luther King: Communist?” today (Friday) at 4 p.m. in the Walnut Room of the EMU. The poster for the lecture describes it as “a discussion of whether or not Martin Luther King was a communist and of implications of the answers.”

That’s it. I am beyond disgusted with the Pacifica Forum. (more…)

Students for a Democratic Society reforms, unaware Vietnam already over

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Some forward-thinking students on campus have decided to start a chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, looking to recapture some of that 60’s flower power. The new, zombified SDS meets at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays in the ground floor of the EMU next to Suite 1.

If you haven’t cracked open your American History textbook from high school in a while, SDS (Wikipedia article here) was one of the largest and most prominent student activist groups of the 1960’s; in fact, the Port Huron Statement issued by SDS is often considered the opening salvo of the “New Left.” Of course, the group devolved into bitter in-fighting and ineffectiveness, ultimately disintegrating in the turmoil of 1969. (Also, the infamous Weather Underground happened to be a splinter group of SDS).

I trudged down to the SDS’s meeting to try and scrounge up some quotes, but all I found were about eight hippies in various states of outrage about … well, something or another. I asked if anyone was in charge, but they just looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. Of course not. Then I asked if I could interview someone after the meeting, and I was told to come back in a couple weeks because the group “had just been started.” If this is any indication, the new SDS should be just as successful as their predecessors! Jeez, why can’t they just go for the gusto and reform the Yippies?

P.S. The small print in their poster says “subversives welcome,” so feel free to infiltrate their meetings and slowly brainwash them.

Did no one catch it?

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

In the sleazy advertising world, they call it a bait-and-switch. They advertise one thing or one price, and then offer you something else when you try to buy.

In the ASUO, I guess they call it normal business. Did no else catch this in the meeting tonight? The Black Student Union came in with a special request for $3,000 for an Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration that they’ve been fundraising and preparing for next week. Ok, good. High amount request, but it’s a worthy cause for an admirable character in history.

Then the BSU, in their presentation, mentioned additional fundraising that had happened since the request form was filled out. Logic would proceed that less money would be requested, right? Sen. Jones seemed to be on this track when she brought up the additional fundraising, but somehow flipped a bitch and asked about ‘advertising costs being higher than anticipated’. Then the BSU representatives said they needed $4,700 to cover the unforeseen costs. And the request was amended right there, without any further questioning.

While the BSU’s story about higher advertising is probably true, and this event could be deemed as important, enriching, and beneficial to the student campus, that is not an excuse to allow student groups to come in with a request for one number, and then tack on an extra $1,700 and get away with it without questions asked.