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Archive for January, 2009

Can the Ol’ Dirty be read?

Friday, January 30th, 2009

I’m probably jinxing this but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that today’s (Friday, Jan. 30, 2009) print version of the Ol’ Dirty is actually worth reading in between classes.

The front page has what seems like a record FOUR stories gracing it. I assumed that they only covered 2 max.

Not only that but the lone op-ed piece is good. To preface, I opened it up expecting a diatribe on gays and how wonderful the LGBT is but the piece is decent, other than the crying while watching ‘Milk’ part. Gus van Sant is not that good, but that’s another thing. Anyway, Andrews actually comes across as rational, unlike certain ODE columnists named Conley.

Of course, the sports section is always good, it’s the lone saving grace of the paper. Generally, the sports section is the only thing worth reading. I don’t know how they do it but somehow they keep getting consistently good writers for sports. I lie a little bit here. There was that tool last year who said that the University should get rid of wrestling because he didn’t get it.

Here is the most amazing part about today’s issue of the Emerald.

Not counting the classifieds there are 28 advertisements (including ones for the Emerald) in this issue. Sure it sounds like a lot for an eight page spread but considering that normally the Emerald has 40+ for eight pages that number is astonishing. If you count the classifieds there are 47 ads total.

This means that there are actually words in today’s Emerald. Stories, pictures even. My god.

With the news of the I-fee going down and the Emerald actually producing a readable paper…

It’s a damn good Friday.

Incidental Fee Goes Down, Minds Blown

Friday, January 30th, 2009

This, ladies and gents, is what it’s all about. For generations, the OC has railed against the ever-rising Incidental Fee. For decades, we’ve been the only folks who have given a shit about trying to hold it steady or bring it down. And then Sam Dotters-Katz was elected. For some crazy reason or another, Sam actually agrees that saving students I-Fee money is a worthy cause, and unlike any ASUO president (that I’m aware of) he has actually made the effort cut the Incidental Fee. That’s right, for Spring term, your incidental fee has been cut from $195 to $95. The best part? He also proved that fiscal responsiblity is not code for “racist (or otherwise despicable) defunding of student groups and services.” Rather, Dotters-Katz used the overrealized fund to buy down the fee, saving students $100 for Spring Term and eliminating an irresponsible, unaccountable million dollar (or more) annual giveaway. I’ve never found a record of the fee being cut in this manner before in ASUO history, and the fee for Spring Term will be the lowest it has been in over a decade.

As part of a proud tradition of OC fiscal conservatives, I can’t help feeling immensely proud that our magazine and this website helped carry the torch until this moment. Fighting for fiscal responsibility in the ASUO has always seemed like tilting at windmills, but this confirms that every little bit makes a difference. I’m sure other alumni can speak to how improbable this development sounds. If half the students who came to the UO could bring their idealistic sights down to an attainable goal (like saving every student $100 per term) this campus would be a better place. Congratulations to Sam for keeping his commitment to this goal, despite the many distractions and temptations to just do ASUO business as usual. This is a historic achievement! Hit the jump for Dotters-Katz’s press release.

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The Death of My Senate Run, Irony

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

My confirmation hearing to Senate was last night, and, in what can only be described as a gross perversion of democracy and justice, I was voted down 0-12-2. I’ll let ODE reporter and blogger Alex “Tomcat” Tomchak take it from here:

CJ Ciaramella’s appointment to the ASUO Senate failed Wednesday after the Oregon Commentator editor responded to concerns he would not take the position seriously by trimming his facial hair in the style of Wilford Brimley and reciting Barack Obama’s inaugural address before the Senate.

Not one senator voted to appoint Ciaramella to the empty seat representing the journalism school after a hearing that forced one spectator to leave the EMU Board Room clutching his mouth to stifle his laughter and several Senators unable to restrain grins.

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Now Would be a Good Time to Invest in KY

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

The handout bailout stimulus package has passed the House 244-188. It will now proceed to the Senate, where the battle will (hopefully) be tougher.

At HuffPo, some bloke is calling everyone who voted against the bill (even after a “face-to-face” with President Obama! For shame.) a traitor who “voted against their country” and accuses them of “ersatz patriotism.”*

On the other side of the spectrum, Jacob Sullum at Reason says:

Even as President Obama promises that the federal government will spend the $1 trillion or so contemplated in the stimulus legislation in a utterly open, totally transparent, and absolutely accountable way, he demands that members of Congress vote for the 647-page monstrosity before they can possibly have time to read and digest it.

Did everyone forget how the USA Patriot Act got rammed through the legislature before anyone had the time to read it. Did everyone forget what a horrible piece of legislation that was?

What could possibly go wrong with $825,000,000,000 of our money on the line? Oh, right. Hope. Change. New dawn, and all that. Let the professionals do their jobs.

* That thumping sound you hear is the progressives’ newfound patriotic chest-beating.

Check Plus.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

This year’s stable of ODE columnist is hardly a dream team, to say the least. On one end of the spectrum are writers like Matt Petryni, who is frequently readable if often conceptually dodgy (though kudos for standing up to OSPIRG). On the other end are the insipid scribblings of Alex Conley, whose columns often come across as clumsy and self-conscious attempts at trolling.

Situated somewhere betwixt the two is Truman Capps, who comes across like that good-natured Mormon kid you knew in high school who really dug marching band and was preternaturally enthusiastic about just about everything. Mr. Capps’ latest piece, “Do your part for America” echoes the suddenly popular calls to “serve the nation” now that President Obama has assumed power (mercifully, Capps avoids the sort of nauseatingly earnest grovelling that has become synonymous with many Obama supporters). Interestingly, he hits a slightly different note than some of the others currently pimping the “national service” idea:


It’s important now that we start pulling our own weight – not because President Obama wants us to, but because it’s what we should have been doing all along. We’ve got to start taking better care of our parks, roads and neighborhoods – our community gives us more than we realize, but its
[sic] up to us to keep what we’ve got in good working order. [emphasis added]

What Capps actually seems to be describing (whether he realizes it or not) is not President Obama’s “mandatory volunteerism” so much as a renewed sense of individual responsibility. Even supposing that “President Bush… did not want or need the help of the American public”, as he claims, if we really wanted this “change” in our communities Capps admits that we could’ve been doing something about it all along. You know. If people hadn’t been spending their time whining about the Bush Administration and waiting for Obama and the government to come along and fix everything for them.

This is in stark contrast to “self-ascribed moderate” Alex Conley, who is apparently unaware of individual volunteer opportunities and practically chomping at the bit for the government to mandate service so he can “again be proud to be American.” One suspects this noble sentiment arose ex nihilo on January 20th and will wane the next time a Republican occupies the White House.

But volunteering was a worthy pasttime long before the Patriots of January 20th started bombarding us with schlocky YouTube videos and behavior that would be frankly embarrassing from prepubescent girls who got to meet Miley Cyrus backstage. By contrast, Truman Capps seems to grasp that volunteering is a fundamentally individual decision. It’s also one that loses much of its significance and takes on a new, somewhat more sinister character when mandated by the government.

So Truman Capps gets a gold star sticker today. Check plus.

Because Things Are Different Now

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

ODE columnist Truman Capps wants you to “do your part for America“, and by “your part” he obviously means community service (emphasis added):

I had never felt bad about ducking my civic duties before Obama came to town. President Bush clearly did not want or need the help of the American public (as indicated by his unwillingness to consult us on matters of domestic wiretapping or FEMA appointees) and I didn’t want to give it to him. [...]

It’s important now that we start pulling our own weight – not because President Obama wants us to, but because it’s what we should have been doing all along. [...]

And yes, it’s very convenient that the liberal columnist is changing his views now that the Republican president has been replaced with a Democrat. However, I think this issue is bigger than politics. Hopefully Obama will do what we put him in office to do, but for it to work – and for it to keep working with the next president, regardless of his or her party – we’ve got to do our part, and not just with patriotic bumper stickers.

In case you didn’t catch the message, National Greatness is back! America is no longer the Orwellian, fascist dystopia of the Bush years. Now liberals can proudly listen to schmaltzy pro-America songs and pledge to serve their president. Y’know, the same thing they use to lampoon conservatives for. Jesus, guys, why don’t you just go to a Toby Keith concert and just get it over with?

For more on how everything is different now, check out yesterday’s ODE opinion piece, “Right-wing hypocrisy,” which happens to contain this delightfully hypocritical closing graph:

None of this [complaining] is productive. Acting like a 6-year-old does not accomplish anything except making a fool of oneself. It’s been a week now – the time for grieving is past – and it’s time to accept that the American people want to try it a new way.

On My Imminent Apotheosis

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Today’s ODE has an article about my upcoming appointment to the ASUO Senate, complete with sexy-time photo. According to the lede, I am a “high-profile conservative” on campus. Also, I am described as “a good guy” by Sen. Lidiana Soto (aw, thanks!), but some Senators did not appreciate my cover letter, which was apparently “flippant.”

There are several comments on the online story, my favorite of which simply says:

BLACK METAL FOR SENATE.
DETH TO NON-BELIEVERS.
CJ FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE.

SIGNED 800

Speaking of which, If confirmed by Senate, I promise to represent my metalhead constituents to the best of my ability. Hail Satan, etc.

We Didn’t Start the Fire

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Most regular readers of the Commentator know that we lambast people, places, events, and organizations with great regularity. Generally speaking our vitriol is in jest or we use humor to ease the pill of “truth” that we’re trying to feed you (at least that’s how I see it).

It’s the reason that I joined the Commentator and what makes it a good read for me. 

However, this isn’t about the Commentator. This is about a “journalist” lambasting someone, and me wanting to showcase an example of that gone horribly, pretentiously wrong. 

Normally I like the online magazine, Slate.

Normally.

This recent article though, is just…awkwardly terrible. Mostly, it’s the author’s hipster pretentiousness, but to really get at this man’s feeble cries in the night to be accepted by people, you only need this paragraph:

Therefore, I decided to make a serious effort to identify the consistent qualities across Joel’s “body of work” (it almost hurts to write that) that make it so meretricious, so fraudulent, so pitifully bad. And so, risking humiliation and embarrassment, I ventured to the Barnes & Noble music section and bought a four-disc set of B.J.’s “Greatest Hits,” one of which was a full disc of his musings about art and music. I must admit that I also bought a copy of an album I already had—Return of the Grievous Angel, covers of Gram Parsons songs by the likes of the Cowboy Junkies and Gillian Welch, whose “Hickory Wind” is just ravishing—so the cashier might think the B.J. box was merely a gift, maybe for someone with no musical taste. Yes, reader. I couldn’t bear the sneer, even for your benefit.

So glad that the cashier was there to validate your choices. God forbid she sneer at you, the world would end!

I realize that I’ve posted some whiny posts on here but this just strikes me as particularly bitchy with a side of moan.

Regardless of how you feel about Billy Joel and his music, there is no need to devolve one’self to please hipsters. Take a moment and imagine the rage that would build in this man if someone ripped apart his beloved Bob Dylan. Mmm, juicy. 

My point is that I feel that there’s no excuse to be this blindingly obtuse as a journalist, especially one who works for a respected publication. Yes, I realize that here on the Commentator blog there are articles similar to this in bad journalism, it doesn’t excuse this particular piece. 

I also realize that I somewhat reverse lambasted the author of this article, but there’s something very sad about his need for attention and love from readers that shines through this article in such a painfully obvious way. 

Also, since I used it so much: The word of the day is lambast.

Naked Barack Obama on a Unicorn Landing U.S. Air Flight 1549 in the Hudson River

Monday, January 26th, 2009

???

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Your Tax Dollars at Work, Part 34634

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Now that Barack Obama has ascended moved into the Oval Office, our country is ready to tackle the big problems, the tough questions, the fundamental issues that have bedeviled us for the past eight years and dragged this once-great country into the gutter of financial ruin and international ignominy.

I am, of course, talking about perverts with cell phone cameras. Hot off the desk of Representative Pete King (R-NY), we have H.R.414, which has been given the dramatic moniker “Camera Phone Predator Alert Act.” If passed, this crucial new law

[r]equires any mobile phone containing a digital camera to sound a tone whenever a photograph is taken with the camera’s phone. Prohibits such a phone from being equipped with a means of disabling or silencing the tone.

With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan basically wrapped up and the economy on a confident upswing, it’s heartening to know that our government is finally able to spend at least some of its time writing laws forcing cell phone manufacturers to include a “camera shutter” sound that can’t be disabled so that we, the public at large, will know when some degenerate is taking our photograph.

What more could one expect from as dedicated a public servant as Representative King, who was last heard exhorting his colleagues to join him in “supporting the goals and ideals of the Knights of Pythias“?

Indeed, as we begin to get our W-2’s in the mail, we can rest assured that our tax dollars will not only end up as part of a massive bailout package for failing industries and pay raises for our bold civic leaders. Some of that money will go toward making sure wasted sorority girls receive an audible cue whenever a sleazefuck frat boy takes a topless picture of them on their iPhone.

America breathes a sigh of relief.

The Oppression of Graphic Design

Monday, January 26th, 2009

From a letter in today’s Emerald, “Poster exemplifies need for respect for women“:

As I walked across campus today, I noticed that the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is celebrating its new remodel and expansion with (among other things) a large billboard of a piece of artwork by Agustin Bejarano. The painting, called La Coqueta VII (Mujer Embarazada), depicts a side view of a heavily pregnant woman sitting on a stool. [Picture of the painting]

It’s a beautiful picture, which has also been featured on the cover of the most recent edition of the Eugene Weekly. And if I hadn’t seen it on the cover of the Weekly, I never would have noticed that the JSMA’s billboard crops out the woman’s stomach entirely. It’s as if it has been cut off – the billboard ends at the woman’s breasts.

To some, this may not seem like an issue. To me, it is a crystallization of how our culture views women, pregnancy and reproduction in general. In a society that has embraced abstinence-only education, that often views pregnancy and childbirth with embarrassment and disgust, and that frequently deconstructs images of women into individual body parts in movies, magazines and advertisements, it should really come as no surprise that the JSMA has censored the image of a woman blooming with life, fertility and power.

Projecting much? I mean, really, which is more likely: “I think this picture is more aesthetically pleasing cropped like this,” or “This woman is too full of ‘life, fertility and power,’ so I will crop her big pregger-belly out.”

It was only a matter of time

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Sam Adams

This is a t-shirt you can buy. Thanks to our friend Burton for the tip.

Power! Unlimited Power!

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

The great political machine chugs on, and I am closer than ever to a seat on the ASUO Senate, closer to striding the corridors of power. Today ASUO Exec Sam Dotters-Katz sent out an email announcing my appointment. As you might remember, I submitted an application earlier for the vacated journalism seat. But alas, the news of my appointment barely had time to dry on the page before the liberal media began their vicious assault on my character. Behold:

I honestly don’t know which side of CJ Ciaramella will be on display during his confirmation hearing. The tone of the letter suggests that it will be the one that led him to request (and recieve) $3 in ASUO money for a live unicorn and a stripper pole during the Commentator’s budget hearing before the PFC, having stumbled smoking a Camel menthol from the direction of Rennie’s Landing moments before. It wouldn’t make him so out of place. Everyone likes a joke, and I know of several current and former Senators who have intimate relationships with fifths of corn whiskey and $2 beers.

However, Ciaramella could also surprise us and draw on the strongly ideological side that led him to speak out at Athan Papailiou’s confiramtion hearing, calling the former Senate President the only obstacle to the “gravy train” chugging along under the aegis of the programs-friendly crowd.

This is nothing but cheap libel! I have not nor will I ever smoke a Camel menthol. I demand a retraction! Is this what passes for journalism? For shame, for shame! Let all the honest, hard-working, small-town Americans see how the latte-sipping, liberal elite look down their noses on us!

P.S. Yes, the Oregon Commentator now has a stripper pole line item on its budget.

P.P.S. Headline reference here.

Senate Round-up for 1/21/09

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I’ve got your weekly ASUO Senate bullet-points, but before I get to that … I will be on the campus radio station (KWVA 88.1) tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. talking about ASUO news with Sen. Nick Schultz and the wonderful Lyzi Diamond. Tune in or listen online. Moving on …

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Law and Order: Deb Frisch Unit

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Breaking news from Teh Daily Squeak: Our old friend and former UO psychology professor Deb Frisch is facing felony charges of physical harassment and illegal use of mace/pepper spray/taser. (The charge is a catch-all, so I can’t say for certain which one.)

The inimitable Ms. Frisch has wisely rejected a settlement offer from the DA and decided to take the matter to trial, where I’m sure she will be found certifiably Not Crazy by a jury of her peers.

To catch up on all the Frisch fun, check out the archive. There’s also the Deb Frisch comic, which is one of the best things the Commentator has ever run in its 25 year history. If you want the history of the long, sordid affair, also look at the Deb Frisch Timeline.