Today’s ODE has a Q&A session with Aaron Tuttle, ASUO elections coordinator. As I mentioned yesterday, one of the big non-issues of the election is spending limits – money, after all, being the root of all evil. Here’s Tuttle talking about changes to elections rules brought on by the almighty dollar (emphasis added):
We really just want to limit bribery, and that aspect of things. We solved that. These are issues … across the board for ASUO and elections in previous years. Another rule would be the spending cap, which we’ve been focusing a lot on. (Spending) went from $2,000 to $10,000 in the period of a year, and that’s just ridiculous. We really wanted to limit that because it’s a student election. You’re not running for a state office; you’re not running for a federal office. You’re here to represent students. And that image of you spending a lot of money, what does that say to people? You’re going to be their voice, basically. We really feel that, the financial aspect, leads to a lot of other issues. You’ve got to limit that. But theOregon State Constitution states “no spending limits.” … It limits free speech, which is what the Oregon State Supreme Court, or whatever it is, says. So we kind of had to brush that off and head toward voluntary and see what candidates might be willing to do. […] Historically speaking, there’s obviously a huge correlation between the amount spent and the people who win, so it puts us in a bit of a pickle to figure out what they’re going to do. It’s a tough situation for everyone. Other schools in the state have spending caps and they just haven’t had to deal with the legality of it. It’s “a waiting for it to happen” kind of thing. Other schools comparable to our size … have campaigns of about $1,500.
Legality, Constitution, Supreme Court, whatever. But seriously, the ability to spend your money as you see fit is freedom of speech. People only whine about “disproportionate influence” and “concentration of power” when it comes to things they disagree with (e.g. You never hear Democrats complain about George Soros’ vast wealth and power).
Tuttle also talked about how this year’s ASUO elections are shaping up to be a kinder, gentler affair. Speaking of which, the grievance count remains at zero. Anyone want to start a pool for when the first one will be filed?
Much like the facile equation of Iraq with Vietnam, the substitution of the credit crunch for the Great Depression is based on a few superficial similarities but breaks down under even cursory scrutiny. As with Iraq, however, the cheap comparisons have inspired people to look to past solutions for today’s problems.
Unfortunately, their prescriptions, based as they are on caricatures, have little to do with reality. In no case is this more true than with Franklin Roosevelt’s “first 100 days”, which many hoped Obama’s first 100 days in the Oval Office would be modeled on. In his review of the recently published Nothing to Fear: FDR’s Inner Circle and the Hundred Days that Created Modern America by Adam Cohen, Daniel Rothschild of the Global Prosperity Initiative ably deconstructs the fashionable inaccuracies regarding Hoover and FDR that have been gaining currency:
Hoover was not the Grinch that Cohen wants him to be; he believed in aid to the poor, preferring it to be raised and delivered through means as close to the recipient as practicable. (This was essentially the same position Roosevelt held as governor of New York.) More important, he was by no means a proponent of unfettered markets. An engineer by training, Hoover believed fully in the power of central planning and technocratic government to better society.
In a campaign address, he argued that the American economy “is no system of laissez faire” but rather “demands economic justice as well as political and social justice.” Hoover was complex, both as a man and as a president. Cohen’s caricaturization may advance his angel-replaces-devil storyline, but it ignores the similarities between FDR and his predecessor, in both their philosophies and their policies.
For the people who’re pimping the “Obama-as-FDR” meme and getting all spittle-flecked about “Hooverites”, however, the “Great Depression II” narrative is all too easy to cast as the story of hard-nosed and noble progressives struggling to undo the evils of feckless, greedy, and dishonorable conservatives (aided in no small measure by the behavior of the Republican Party over the last eight years). But one should not mistake ill-informed polemics as authentic historiography. Indeed, as Rothschild notes
… Cohen’s actual agenda probably has more to do with influencing the present than understanding the past. The book was timed to appear less than two weeks before Obama’s inauguration, and its jacket carries an alarmist blurb from the historian Blanche Wiesen Cook, progenitor of the Eleanor-Rooseveltas-lesbian theory: “At this critical moment, with our nation imperiled by the ‘starve the beast’ crowd, this book offers a hope for what is now again most needed: the restoration of democracy, and the restitution of New Deal agencies to promote dignity and security for all.”
They may yet get their way. After all, fiscal conservatism has been utterly discredited, right?
Yes, today marks the beginning of the most wonderful/awful time of the year: ASUO election season. This year there are a record 83 candidates running for various positions in the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, including five candidates for ASUO executive president (along with their respective VP’s).
Three major slates have also formed: the Oregon Action Team, True Blue and Students First. Don’t worry about getting them confused. As per tradition, the slates are color-coded for your convenience; OAT = green, Students First = purple, and True Blue = (take a guess).
With so many candidates and slates, this year’s election is sure to be, at the very least, enormously entertaining. For example, the ODE already ran an article on the spending arms race between the slates. (I wonder how much the True Blue campaign dropped on its fancy-pants website?)
I will be blogging more about the candidates, slates and their platforms. In fact, the Commentator will be extensively covering the elections, so check back here often for updates or follow us on Twitter.
Speaking of which, we are officially starting Grievance Watch 2009. Today’s grievance count is: 0
Being from the Portland Metro Area I always pay attention when the ODE has some news about what’s going on back home.
Recently the only news has really only been about the White Stag building in Portland and the ‘Made in Oregon’ sign atop it.
Perhaps I’m jaded, perhaps I don’t know anything about “tradition” but am I the only one who honestly couldn’t care less about the University wanting to change the sign?
Portlanders are getting pissy because the sign is important to the city’s “identity” and yet it’s only been the way it currently is since 1997. Portland’s identity is not wrapped around a stupid sign.
Portland’s identity is wrapped around how far its residents can shove their heads up each others’ asses in their attempts to “keep Portland weird.” Pretentious assholes.
This sign thing has gotten so out of hand that the city council is considering using eminent domain to keep the sign the same. If it’s that important to them they should just buy the sign.
I’m so glad that with everything else that Portland needs to deal with like Trimet cutting several of its lines, an increasingly smaller budget, and their on-going homeless problem that the city council and its members couldn’t find anything else better to do than worry about a sign, that’s changed several times since its inception.
Personally, I want to see the sign changed so I can shove it Portlander’s faces. I enjoy Portland, as a city it’s nice, the culture is pretty good, and downtown is great on a spring weekend. However, the city also reeks of pretention and I do get some enjoyment when they get slapped across their faces.
A United Nations “human rights” body has approved a proposal that urges UN member states to outlaw criticism of religion under the guise of “protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion.” Uh huh.
Thankfully, the motion isn’t binding, and there’s virtually zero chance that any state, outside of the collection of Islamic dictatorships, Belarus, and “progressive” darling Venezuela that supported in the first place will take any actual steps toward implementing any of its recommendations.
Still, it’s something to keep in mind the next time someone starts singing the praises of the United Nations and getting all misty-eyed thinking about the possibility of enshrining “tolerance” in law.
In the wake of the Oregon Daily Emerald strike, I’ve heard a lot of people on campus say that it was little more than a publicity stunt. I’ve even been asked if I regret supporting the strike. The short answer is no.
Even if the methods and process of the strike were a little dubious, which even some of the ODE staffers will admit, I still support the decision because I think independent newspapers are a vital public service. Believe it or not, all of these “obsolete” newspapers still act as a powerful check on government, and student governments and college administrations would like nothing more than to be free of them.
For example, the faculty adviser of the student newspaper at Clark College was mysteriously denied tenure after she pushed the paper to do more critical reporting on the administration. (She also fought the administration’s desire to pre-screen articles.)
Or there is there is the ongoing battle at Montclair State between the paper and the student government. The paper is currently suing the student government for breaking public meeting law. Last year, the student government froze the paper’s budget during a battle over the government’s decidedly odd habit of meeting in private.
OR take Western Oregon University for another example. WOU fired a faculty newspaper adviser and disciplined a student journalist after the daily paper revealed a serious privacy flaw in WOU’s computer system.
These are all examples from college papers, but this happens at every level. David Simon, creator of The Wire, recently wrote an article about how the city of Baltimore is running ramshod over public record laws in lieu of an aggressive newspaper presence.
Which is why I can’t fathom why some technophiles and bloggers are gleeful about the death of newspapers. I mean, if you like your government to do whatever it pleases without oversight or accountability, by all means, throw a party because the future’s looking great.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a California law school is not required to recognize religious groups that have closed or discriminatory membership requirements. In essence, this mean that the college can defund any campus religious group that requires its members to follow a particular faith.
David French over at Phi Beta Cons sums up why this a horrible precedent:
From a common-sense standpoint, this is absurd. Imagine telling a Baptist church that its search for a new pastor had to include equal consideration of Buddhist or Hindu candidates. Imagine telling a synagogue that they were engaged in unlawful “discrimination” if they categorically refused to permit imams from functioning as rabbis. How can student guarantee that they can maintain their distinctive voice if each group essentially has to be open to all students, regardless of those students’ beliefs or intentions?
Of course, the ruling extends beyond religious groups to any campus club or organization. Maybe it’s a reductio ad absurdum, but I wonder what this kind of “non-discriminatory environment” would look like at large. For example, the Oregon Commentator has pretty loose membership requirements, aside from my explicit “no hippie nonsense or ASUO fan-fiction” rule. Could the magazine be defunded for not printing or associating with hippie nonsense?
Likewise, could I go to the Student Insurgent and demand to have my articles on laissez-faire capitalism printed? Like French notes, what happens to distinctive voice when you have no control over membership? Or, as the late great Groucho Marx once said, “I don’t care to belong to any club that would have me as a member.”
Via The Agitator, if “ringing the doorbell” wasn’t enough for you (see the “Spew” section of the “Dark Night Train of the Soul” issue of the Commentator), you can now listen to noted wordsmith Bill O’Reilly read his acclaimed novel “Those Who Tresspass.” In the audiobook version, you can hear Mr. O’Reilly utter such timeless prose as “[s]ay baby, put down that pipe and get my pipe up” and “[c]unnilingus involves the lips and tongue”.
Once you finish dry-heaving and clean the blood off of your forehead after you get done smashing it against the wall, you can move on to listening to President Barack Obama read from his audiobook. “That guy ain’t shit. Sorry ass motherfucker” and “[y]ou ain’t my bitch, nigga” are sure to go down in history along with Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech and Washington’s farewell address.
People who walked past 13th and Kincaid around 12:30 today were greeted by the sight of a group of young boys and girls dressed in traditional garb holding large cardboard signs bearing slogans such as “UO Gives PhD in Akha Genocide!” and “Richard Haugland Loves Baby Akha girls for Their DNA!”
Pictures and a little bit about what this is all about below the fold.
About a month ago, Eric Holder, the Attorney General of the United States raised some eyebrows (and heckles) when he said that America is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to issues of race. The phrase “national conversation on race” has been repeated ad nauseam since Barack Obama delivered what many hailed as a “historic” speech in the wake of the controversy surrounding his then-pastor, the bilious race huckster, Jeramiah Wright.
Apparently they didn’t get the message in Portland. The Oregonian is reporting that an 11-year old boy, Dru Lechert-Kelly, was banned from performing a skit in which he was to wear a mask of President Obama and sing a song. It seems that “some of the parents” in the audience were indignant at the sight of a white boy wearing a mask of the President that he bought at a costume shop. The principal of the school said that the skit was “inappropriate and potentially offensive”.
One is reminded of the “offense” taken by certain members of the ASUO Senate when Commentator Editor-in-Chief CJ Ciaramella recited the President’s inaugural address during his Senate run. I think Dru Lechert-Kelly’s parents have it about right:
“I understand the history of black face and how African Americans were caricatured by it,” Lechert said. “However, we now have a popular biracial president who is admired by white and nonwhite people. At what point will it become OK for an 11-year-old admirer to dress up as the president without fear of offending someone?”
Both Don Surber and the Oregonian point out that Obama himself wore just such a mask during an appearance on Saturday Night Live. There’s a picture of Obama holding said mask toward the bottom of Surbur’s post.
Maybe Holder was right about all that “nation of cowards” stuff. Only I think the “cowards” are the very people who fancy themselves the most “progressive” on racial issues.
Blue Oregon has a related post about some high schoolers being banned from putting on a performance of Steve Martin’s play Picasso at the Lapin Agile because of outrage over profanity and sexual references. When they were disallowed from performing the play at the High School, the Eastern Oregon University College Democrats stepped in to pay for the students to put on the play at the University campus. Then Steve Martin himself offered to fund the whole thing.
All the manufactured “outrage” and feigned “offense” on both sides of the ideological spectrum is getting really old. Unfortunately, it works.
Via Protein Wisdom, the greivance train rolls on. Thankfully, I’m fairly sure that any effort to re-brand St. Patrick’s Day (because celebrating saints is like… exclusionary, and stuff…) as “Shamrock Day” is destined for utter failure.
In carrying out its general purpose under subsection (a), the Commission shall address and analyze the following specific topics:
(5) The effect on the Nation, on those who serve, and on the families of those who serve, if all individuals in the United States were expected to perform national service or were required to perform a certain amount of national service.
(6) Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.
No word yet on whether or not the name “Reichsarbeitsdienst” is being considered for the new program.
Because some governors might not accept the money, Congress added a unique provision, in subsection 1607(b): “If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State.”
If state law does not give the state legislature the right to bypass the governor, how can Congress just change that law? Where does Congress get the power to change a state constitution?
Well, there’s more, and it hasn’t gotten any less weird. An image for your consumption:
My apologies for the size, I had to do it in paint and photobucket…a frustrating task.
Look, I realize that the Emerald is out to make money, they are a business of sorts. My only issue with the ongoing persecution of their advertisements is the lack of sensible marketing behind it.
Three different ads for lawyers based in Portland? Really? Because that’s going to help anyone who gets in trouble in Eugene, especially students.
They got rid of the sex toys advertisement which is somewhat disappointing. The mortgage refininancing is still there which is a nice touch, you know for all those homes that I’m buying.
The only two that make any sense are the Debt consolidation and Tote bags links. Although the tote bags one is pushing it. I looked at the site, they sell Safeway bags with your name on it. Because when I’m shopping for food at the local Safeway what I really need isn’t a generic Safeway brand bag but a bag with my name on it. It really sends the message that I care about…something.
My favorite ad though was the one for the Adult Shop in yesterday’s print ODE. Apparently, Sasha Grey and Jesse Jane will be in Salem this weekend, in case you happen to like those particular porn stars.
Not quite as good as the Ron Jeremy visit my freshmen year.
[Ed. Note: The writer was misinformed. Sasha Grey and Jesse Jane will be appearing in Salem on April 4th, not this weekend. Apparently, it will be from 7pm to 10 pm at 2410 Mission St. SE. Salem, Or. We are sorry for the misinformation.}