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Archive for February, 2009

Fear of an Armed Planet

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Since we recently wrote about the case of concealed carry over at Western Oregon University, I found this story to be quite relevant:

Over at Central Connecticut University, a professor recently filed a complaint against a student, saying the student made the class feel “scared and uncomfortable” after he gave a presentation advocating concealed carry on campus. That night, the student was called into the campus police station, where police grilled him about the firearms registered in his name and where he kept them.

How wonderful that students are being harassed by universities and police for merely speaking up for the Second Amendment. I can’t really say anything more concise or to the point than the money quote at the end of the article, though:

“If you can’t talk about the Second Amendment, what happened to the First Amendment?” asked Sara Adler, president of the Riflery and Marksmanship club on campus. “After all, a university campus is a place for the free and open exchange of ideas.”

On a related note, the Eugene Weekly is at it again. After the smashing success of its last gun article, the EW has once again shown it has nothing but ignorance and contempt for the Second Amendment, writing (emphasis in the original):

Wow, Lane County Sheriff Russ Burger must have a lot of extra time and money on his hands. Burger reportedly has sent letters to more than 10,000 concealed gun nuts to stir up support for his opposition to public records laws and create a problem that did not exist. What’s next, mass mailings to concealed hairdresser permit holders? This expenditure of untold tens of thousands of dollars and staff time comes while Burger complains he doesn’t have the money to stop burglaries. If this is a mass mailing for a NRA-backed re-election campaign, the sheriff should have paid for it himself.

The EW is referring to to the current legal kerfuffle over whether or not to make the names of concealed handgun license holders public record. Of course, making the names public defeats the whole purpose  of concealed carry, but I imagine that’s what liberals are aiming for anyways. It’s not a public records issue. Plenty of personal information is off-limits to public record –  school records, for instance.

Oh, and by the way, if CHL-holders are “nuts,” then there are currently 11,000 insane people in Lane County alone.

Hat tip to The Agitator for the first story.

On Government and Carpetbaggers

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Over at Blue Oregon, one of their bloggers has used Bobby Jindal’s speech as a launching pad to explain why “sometimes government is exactly what we need.” To wit:

One of the more ruinous myths within the American story is that private enterprise, the great domain of the individual entrepreneur, is where we find our nation’s greatest innovators, achievers and success stories; government, on the other hand, is composed of scoundrels, carpetbaggers, fools and sycophants. For almost thirty years, we’ve lived with Reagan’s big lie, that “government is the problem.” Yet it was Reagan who grew the national government’s reach and cost to unprecedented size while simultaneously leaving fewer and fewer Americans under that government’s care and protection — or able to pursue the American Dream. And even as quickly as we are seeking to forget Bush, let us understand that he outdid Reagan’s lies, growth of government, and abandonment of citizens by huge margins.  And let us remember as well that he, like the Gipper, was a conservative, no matter how vociferously conservatives seek to deny him.

Oh, so Bush is conservative because you decide he is. How convenient. Well, I might as well point out this new study by George Mason University economist Daniel Klein and graduate student Jason Briggeman which finds that “conservative” magazines (y’know, the kind that defend Bush and his policies) don’t actually support liberty and limited government. From Reason:

On issues related to drugs, gambling, and sex, Klein and Briggeman find, these magazines have been more likely to support the status quo or increased restrictions on freedom than to advocate liberalization. The one partial exception has been National Review, especially in the area of drug policy, where pro-liberalization articles outnumbered those favoring current policy or calling for greater government intervention by a ratio of more than 2 to 1 from 1955 through 2007. But by and large, say Klein and Briggeman, the leading conservative magazines are not “real champions of liberty” because they “more often than not fail to oppose government intrusion into America’s bedrooms, gambling places, and drug activities.”

So yep. Still scoundrels and carpetbaggers as far as I’m concerned.

I’ll Speak Out

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

The ODE published an anonymous letter today, titled “Speaking out,” which related a tale of sexual assault. It’s a usual story of date rape: I thought you were my friend – I thought I was safe – I got sauced up on drugs and booze until I was comatose – I can’t believe you took advantage of me – I am traumatized – You are a jerk.

I am aware that I’m opening a real can of worms here because such conflict exists between the  personal responsibility and “blaming the victim” crowds. I just don’t think letters like these serve any purpose (outside of being therapeutic for the author). Sexual assault prevention advocates often defend the practice of passing out drunk by saying “girls have the right to have fun.” That’s true; they do. It could also be said that you have the right to sleep on train tracks, but that isn’t going to stop you from getting hit by a train. Which brings me to my point: No one ever talks about what is really important – not getting raped in the first place.

As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” How come there isn’t any emphasis on teaching women that if they incapacitate themselves with drugs people will take advantage of them given half a chance?

If you know why, tell me all about it in the comments.

We Salute You, Sergey Tuganov

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

From The Sun:

A SEX-MAD Russian died after guzzling a bottle of Viagra pills to keep him going for a 12-hour orgy with two women pals.

The women had bet mechanic Sergey Tuganov £3,000 that he wouldn’t be able to satisfy them both non-stop for the half-day sex marathon.

But minutes after winning the wager, the randy 28-year-old dropped dead with a heart attack, revealed Moscow police.

One of the women, named only as Alina, said: “We called emergency services but it was too late, there was nothing they could do.”

I would like to confer upon Tuganov the posthumous title of Ol’ Polecat – the highest honor the Commentator awards. The last person we bestowed the title on was a 112-year-old WWI veteran who claimed his longevity was the result of “cigarettes, whiskey and wild women.”

Hat tip to Fark, where commentors have declared Tuganov “a modern day John Henry.”

Today’s ODE Sports Coverage Brought to You by the AP

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

This paragraph is from an AP story by Michael Marot about Rulon Davis, a defensive-end competing in the NFL combine who survived a horrible accident:

In July 2005, he was rear-ended on a California highway, thrown off his motorcycle and into the path of an oncoming semitrailer, which ran over both his legs. Somehow, Davis survived with no broken bones and no ligament damage, though he couldn’t walk for a month and had to retrain his legs.

And this is a paragraph from today’s Oregon Daily Emerald article about the combine by Robert Husseman:

In July 2005, Davis was rear-ended by a semi on a California highway while riding a motorcycle, throwing him off the bike. The semi ran over both of Davis’ legs. Somehow, his bones weren’t broken and his ligaments weren’t damaged, but it took Davis a month to relearn how to walk.

Hmm.

UPDATE: Husseman also incorrectly listed the top four football positions in terms of highest average score on the Wonderlic test. (He claimed they were offensive tackle, quarterback, center and guard.) The correct order is offensive tackle, center, quarterback and guard.

Saluting Joe Biden/Alum Sighting

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The folks over at Reason have put together this great video saluting Joe Biden, real man of genius:

Also, Oregon Commentator alum and National Review staffer Mark Hemingway was recently on the Reason.tv talk show, discussing mandatory minimums, drug legalization and the future of conservatism, among other things.

Oregon to Ban Novelty Lighters In Swell Use of Taxpayer Time, Money

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The state of Oregon is going to ban the sale of novelty lighters. That’s right, no more lighters shaped like genitalia, pistols or nekkid ladies.

And my friends ask me how I can be so completely anti-government. Sheesh.

Spider-man can sing?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

In a lighter note, apparently Spider-man will be in a musical

This news isn’t really political, and I’m not trying to make this an entertainment piece. What I want point out is this ridiculous fact:

Producers say the musical, directed by Julie Taymor, will feature a score by Bono and The Edge.

Maybe it’s just my personal hatred of U2 and Bono but…does this strike no one else as a terrible idea?

All this after the tragedy that was Spider-man 3 and the Obama fist-pump issue.

It’s like a slow-motion trainwreck. It just keeps going and when you think that things are done something like this happens.

Bono wants to ruin everything that was good about childhood, first the Beatles and now comic books, soon I expect he’ll be producing a rock opera using politically themed porn, then what will we have?

Student Activists are Hillarious, Part MMXIII or “When ‘Keeping it Real’ Goes Wrong”

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

This video of the ignominious end of some kind of student protest at NYU has been making the rounds today, and it really is worth a laugh. It kind of reminds me of the 2000 occupation of Johnson Hall by a motley assortment of protesters demanding that the U of O join the Workers Rights Consortium.

The NYU kids, though, had an even more hillarious list of demands than did the WRC protesters. In addition to the usual laundry list of college progressive smegma, they decided to include such reasonable requests as the establishment of a student commission with full power “to vote on proxies, draft shareholder resolutions, screen all university investments, establish new programs that encourage social and environmental responsibility and override all financial decisions the committee deems socially irresponsible, including investment decisions” (and you thought the ASUO was bad…), forcing the university to “donate all excess supplies and materials in an effort to rebuild the University of Gaza”, and demanding that someone else pick up the tab for their political theatrics by compensating “all employees whose jobs were disrupted during the course of the occupation.”

My favorite part of the video, though (aside from the cameraman bleating out platitudes about “consensus”, “hierarchy”, and “power structures” that he obviously thinks makes him sound “academic”), comes at the end when he’s making video of the protesters’ possessions just in case campus security confiscates their stuff. After making sure to document all the MacBooks, iPods, and headphones the rabble-rousers are carrying around in their bags, he proclaims that the police won’t be interested in confiscating a water bottle, since “they probably drink corporate water.”

Fight the power!

We Get Email

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

From our inbox:

This may have been brought to your attention 10 years ago. “Beyond Erniedome,” by Melissa Logan. Oregon Commentator, May 17, 1999, Vol. XVI, Issue X. From a sidebar story: “Caught Traveling.”

“[Mike] McShane will be playing next year in Division II for Montana State University for a coach who seems to care a little more about his players than his personal image.”

Montana State University competes in the Big Sky Conference at the NCAA Division I level in basketball and the Football Championship Series (FCS — formerly Division I-AA) level in football.

If this was already corrected, thank you. I found your article doing a search using the terms “ernie kent lousy.” I was challenged by a die-hard Ernie Kent supporter on a Register-Guard sports blog to examine the “body” of Kent’s work. I suggested it may be time for cremation, because the “body” stinks.

Keep up the good work.
Jeffrey S. McDowell
Missoula, Montana

‘The Singing Revolution’ To Be Screened Tomorrow

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Lawrence 177 there will be a screening of “The Singing Revolution,” a documentary about Estonia’s fight to be free from the Soviet Union.

Estonia, which has one of the richest choral traditions in the  world*, held massive protests throughout the 80s where tens of thousands of people would sing nationalist folk songs. I would urge everybody to go to the movie. It’s a great story of perseverance and spirit in the face of totalitarianism. Check out the epic trailer below: (more…)

Student with CHL Arrested and Suspended at WOU

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

Jeffrey Maxwell, a marine and student at Western Oregon University, was approached by campus security on Jan. 28th for having a pocketknife clipped to his pocket. According to his sister, Kim Maxwell, the situation escalated from there to “a huge ordeal” where Jeffrey had to remind the security guards to remain professional. Monmouth police arrived, and he was arrested for possessing a firearm (two shot derringer) in a public building. He was also issued a formal trespass barring him from school property.

Except that with his valid Oregon concealed handgun license he was statutorily exempt from the prohibition on gun possession in public buildings. Since he had not committed a crime, the Polk County DA quickly dropped the charges, issuing a statement to the Oregon Firearms Federation’s attorney (who is representing Maxwell) that said, “I believe the Monmouth Police Department issued the citation in good faith and that there was an arguable violation. However, a careful reading of the statue and the facts led me to conclude the charge was not in the best interest of justice.”

Unfortunately, Jeffrey is not free and clear. According to an Oregon Firearms Federation news alert, a tribunal of four students and one WOU staff member sentenced him to:

“a psychological evaluation stating he is not a threat to himself of others” and a mandatory “ten page paper” ” with references, “citing, but not limited to:
1) the importance of following the law, even through civil disobedience.
2) the importance of accepting responsibility for one’s actions
3) and recognizing the impact possession of weapons on college campuses has on others.”

This is not the first time a permit holder has been caught on campus with a concealed weapon. Last term, a student here at the UO who wishes to remain nameless was detained by DPS and the Eugene Police Department. He was not charged with any firearm related offenses, but the police did seize his weapon (a snub nosed revolver) and his shoes. The UO student was initially expelled from the University, but upon legal threats the expulsion was reversed, but the student was required to attend alcohol abuse and anger management classes.

While it is completely legal, it is clear that if a student is caught carrying a concealed firearm even with a valid license they will be harassed. (The UO student got his shoes back after a couple days.)

More updates to come. Also, in the next issue there will be an in depth look at the history of concealed carry in the Oregon University system. (This new case could have interesting implications in regards to UO graduate student Brian Stubbs’ failed lawsuit against in the University regarding his carrying of a concealed firearm. For more on that case, check out Tyler Graf’s article in Vol. 21, issue 7/8, pg. 16.)

Spot On.

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Well, President Obama has signed the bailout bill, for better or worse. You can see some excerpts of the speech he gave for the occasion here.

For a different President’s take on how to deal with a very similar situation, scroll to about 4:30 in this video and watch until the end:

I’m not the biggest fan of Ronald Reagan in the world, but what he says in that speech about individualism rings a lot more true than any of President Obama’s talk about the government riding to the rescue and saving us all from “catastrophe.”

OSPIRG Zero-funded

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

It is my pleasure to report that OSPIRG may be no more. In a unanimous vote tonight, the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee canceled OSPIRG’s contract, completely defunding the group.

The ACFC’s budget must still be unanimously approved by the ASUO Senate, but even if the Senate rejects the budget, it doesn’t have the power to write or modify contracts *. For the moment, it would appear that OSPIRG is dead in the water.

OSPIRG was given another opportunity to present its case tonight, and members said they were presenting new information. On further questioning, though, one OSPIRG member was forced to admit that their presentation was “a different perspective on the same information.”

One presenter claimed that the ASUO would see a 1,300 percent return on its “investment” of $120,000. It was a little redundant when he then started a sentence by saying, “Now, I’m no economist, but …”

The ACFC first motioned to approve OSPIRG for a $27,866 budget, but the committee could not get clear answers on how that would affect the group.

The ACFC continually pressed the group to explain exactly how their budget would be affected by the cut and what services they could still provide, but OSPIRG waffled every time. When ACFC member and Senate President Alex McCafferty asked for a “yes, no or maybe” answer on whether or not a campus organizer could still be provided for $27,000, one of the  presenters said they would have to talk to the OSPIRG board of directors.

This is what caused the committee to vote down its original proposal and later motion for a zero-percent budget.

The room was split between OSPIRG supporters and detractors (left to right, coincidentally). ASUO Executive Sam Dotters-Katz spoke out against the group several times throughout the hearing.

“The issue that I have is not the good things they do for the world,” Dotters-Katz said. “But the purpose of the Incidental fee is not to save the world. It’s to improve the experience of students on campus.”

Department Finance Committee member Brendan Good had strong words for OSPIRG as well, saying “a pig is still a pig, anyway you look out.” (He handed out flyers earlier that said OSPIRG wasn’t kosher. Get it?)

Several ASUO Senators spoke against the group also, such as Derek Nix and Demic Tipitino. Tipitino recommended that OSPIRG be completely defunded and return next year to apply as an ASUO program. (Programs are required to have strict, line-item budget.)

On the other side, Jesse Hough, who ran for ASUO vice-president last year, said that defunding OSPIRG would silence students. Actually, his exact words were, “You’re tearing out my larynx here!”

Former ASUO Senator Diego Hernandez, displaying his trademark wit and tact, also told Dotters-Katz to “shut up” at one point and later went on to accuse several in the room of sexism (for disagreeing with a female OSPIRG supporter, presumably).

All the cries of “student empowerment” and sexism were for naught, though. After about an hour and a half of hearing speakers, the ACFC called the vote to question. ACFC member Tina Snodgrass, after a moment of deliberation, gave the final “aye” for a vote of 4-0-0.

It’s unclear how this will all play out, but kudos to the ACFC for taking a firm stand against the unethical practices of OSPIRG. We’ve been for fighting for this for a long time, and I hope this is truly the end of OSPIRG at the University of Oregon. Until that last nail is finally in the coffin, though, you can count on the Oregon Commentator to keep you updated.

*Senate President and ACFC member Alex McCafferty, in a comment below, says this isn’t the case. I’m assuming then that the ACFC budget must only pass a majority vote by Senate.

Second OSPIRG Hearing Tonight

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Tonight is the second and hopefully last budget hearing for OSPIRG. It will be held at 7:10 p.m. in Lillis 112. I’d encourage all students who care about fiscal responsibility and transparency to come out and voice their opinion.

I will be twittering during the hearing. If you’re into that kind of thing, you can also follow @atomchak, the Emerald’s ASUO reporter, and @KWVAnews.