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Archive for May, 2009

Student Censored by Penn. Community College For Advocating Concealed Carry

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

FIRE reports on yet another case of a student being harassed by school administrators for advocating for concealed carry of handguns on campus. The Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania has threatened disciplinary action against one of its students, Christine Brashier, for handing out pamphlets and trying to start a campus chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

The school deans said Brashier was prohibited from “soliciting” her materials or even discussing concealed carry on campus. They even went so far as to order her to destroy all of her pamphlets. Brashier was then grilled by school officials, who demanded to know whether she owned firearms or carried a concealed weapon.

Perhaps the CCAC deans need a refresher course in Constitutional law. It just so happens that pamphleteering is explicitly protected by the First Amendment. In the 1938 Supreme Court case Lovell v. City of Griffin, the Court ruled that such activity fell under freedom of the press, writing:

The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our own history abundantly attest. The press in its connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.

I previously wrote about another student who was harassed by school officials and campus police after advocating for concealed carry in a speech class.

Student Insurgent Endorses Fiscal Conservatism!

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

In the latest issue of the Student Insurgent (at least I think it’s the latest… aside from a calendar advertising events in May at the “Eugene Free School”, I can’t find a date anywhere on this thing), noted advocates for fiscal responsibility, Joey Beats and Cimmeron Gillespie fire a devastating broadside against the Student Rec Center, admonishing the Rec Center for its profligate ways.

We couldn’t agree more! In fact, former OC Editor-in-Chief Ted Niedermeyer scooped the Insurgent on this story about two years ago (story begins on page 20). Still, it’s nice to see the Insurgent kids finally take notice of the massive misallocation of student dollars at the University of Oregon:

This problem of funding as [sic] been a constant issues [sic] for the Rec. Center, as they have gone before student government asking for more money, year after year and received in full, [sic] their requested funding… Such waste is intolerable given the national financial state and our own Fat-Katz administration’s promises of ‘fiscal responsibility’.

No doubt it’s only a matter of time before these newly minted fiscal conservatives at the Insurgent join the Oregon Commentator in demanding higher standards of accountability and less wasteful spending of student money across the board in the ASUO.

Will they reverse their support of that notorious money sink known as OSPIRG? Hope springs eternal.

Then again, one of their letters to the editor in the latest issue describes how the Insurgent gang gave some random anarchist a ride to the Bay Area in a “state-owned” van and proceeded to go “to the co-ops in Berkeley for a naked, neon good time,” so I’m not getting my hopes up.

One can only wonder if that trip was paid for by student money and, if it was, how the Insurgent staff squares that with their sudden commitment to prudent fiscal management.

[EDIT]

The next column in the Insurgent, attributed to “Greenwash Guerillas”, lambasts the U of O for it’s attempts at “greenwashing” through the use of carbon offsets. It begins with the paragraph:

Carbon offsets follow the same logic as indulgences did for the Catholic Church centuries ago. Offsetting argues that if you do something “bad” you can mitigate that by paying someone to do something “good” in your name.

Did we buy up the Insurgent with some of that blog contest money and someone just forgot to tell me, or something?

Keepin’ It Classy at the UO

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

On May 13, the Arab Student Union held a screening of the film “Occupation 101,” which is about the Israel/Palestine conflict. (Take a guess about which side it takes.) Anyway, a student unaffiliated with the ASU showed up and began distributing the t-shirt below:

t-shirt

I emailed the ASU, and they responded saying: “During this educational event, a student unaffiliated with the Arab Student Union began handing out shirts, which this student had individually produced. ASU budget money was not used, and the ASU was not affiliated with the shirts in any way.”

Which is good, but to Mr. Anonymous Student, a swastika on an Israeli flag? Way to keep it classy. You represent your cause well. I also enjoyed the horrible misspellings, especially “Zionest.” Is that the superlative of Zionist, as in “I am the most Zionest”?

Oregon Commentator News: The Swan Song

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Here’s the end o’ year edition of the Oregon Commentator News, brought to you by a definitely-not-high Drew.

Paging Nate Gulley and Diego Hernandez…

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Barack Obama’s new Supreme Court nominee is stealing your act:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” said Judge Sotomayor, who is now considered to be near the top of President Obama’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.

It’s nice to see that the President of the United States is nominating an open believer in race-based identity politics to the highest court in the land.

Ilya Somin at The Volokh Conspiracy weighs in:

I am not yet sure what position to take on President Obama’s selection of Sonia Sotomayor. My general sense is that she is very liberal, and thus likely to take what I consider to be mistaken positions on many major constitutional law issues. I am also not favorably impressed with her notorious statement that “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Not only is it objectionable in and of itself, it also suggests that Sotomayor is a committed believer in the identity politics school of left-wing thought. Worse, it implies that she believes that it is legitimate for judges to base decisions in part on their ethnic or racial origins.

Once again the mask slips and the race politics espoused by people like Diego Hernandez, the Commentator’s erstwhile punching bag Nate Gulley, and Sonia Sotomayor is exposed as little more than racism by another name.

Brother Jed Returns to Campus

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Yes, everyone’s favorite fire and brimstone street preacher, Brother Jed, is back on campus this week. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, Brother Jed or one of his ilk migrate to campus every year to tell everyone they’re going to hell. Here’s a good picture of Jed explaining the birds, the bees and eternal damnation:

bro-jed

Jed’s been trolling college campuses for decades now. He was once a wild and crazy ol’ polecat himself, but Jed found Jesus while on acid in a commune in Morocco. Seriously. A few years ago, Jed had a crazy-time throwdown with former UO professor and noted psychotic Deb Frisch.

Pulled Quotes from the Ol’ Dirty

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

There were some articles in the ODE today that provided very interesting quotes. I know, we’re the Commentator we should be scooping the ODE and blah, blah, whatever.

Just check out these quotes, some are funny, some aren’t. They’re things to mull over as you go into the weekend.

First from UO, ASUO president closer than most.

“Student voice isn’t with Cimmeron Gillespie and the radicals who want to see the incidental fee doubled every two or three years,” Dotters-Katz said. “It’s a ridiculous and disrespectful notion to say that we didn’t listen to student voice. Because we did what students really wanted. They’re talking about the students who are in the EMU and want bigger budgets. We’re talking about the 22,000 students we represent. We did what they wanted.”

A good hit at Cims Gillespie is always a plus in my book.

“(Dotters-Katz had) no regard or consideration for those that he worked with,” ASUO Sen. Deborah Bloom said. “It was pretty upsetting to see our collective morale weared down by his deprecations. It definitely affected how we acted as a body when we had to answer to someone who showed us no respect.”

Dotters-Katz called Bloom’s appointment the worst of his tenure, saying, “Egos of that size don’t have a place in the ASUO.”

Sam’s just flinging the disses around.

Kallaway called McLain’s relationship with the administration “more effective.”

“She not only consulted with the administration, but she told the students what she was saying to the administration,” Kallaway said. “There are times when (Dotters-Katz) has chosen not to share.”

Hmm.

Next one from the Athiest Appeal.

The group applied to be a recognized ASUO group but was denied. The ASUO explained that the group must exist for six months before it can gain official recognition. “The ASUO hasn’t let us use any kinds of materials,” Gubbins said. “It’s like they don’t even want us to be a group.”

I like how Gubbins apparently didn’t pay attention to the ruling at all. Yay, athiests.

The last few come from Andrew Edwards’ Op ed Of briefs, blurbs, and tweets.

The interesting quotes don’t come from him but rather Sean Smith a former editor/writer for Premiere and current one at Entertainment Weekly.

“Brevity is really efficient, and reading Twitter posts, or Facebook status updates, or headlines on an aggregator site like Drudge or Hollywood Wiretap allows you to skim through huge amounts of data in a very short period of time,” said Entertainment Weekly L.A. Bureau Chief Sean Smith, who has written features for Premiere, Newsweek, and Entertainment Weekly. “But what it threatens to do is to turn journalism into a series of headlines, rather than a series of stories,” which he said can’t convey complexity and nuance beyond the most basic facts.

“We become miniaturists, sculptors of non-fiction haiku,” Smith said. “What’s sad about that is that now more than ever, I think, the public needs journalists to step back from the day-to-day of breaking news to make sense of the world around us – to provide insight and context and depth of reporting and knowledge on a subject.”

“My fear is that fewer and fewer people click past the headline at all,” Smith said. “And that leads to the only thing more dangerous to a democracy than an uninformed public: An uninformed public that thinks it’s informed.”

Jemmali Offers Up Abortion Opinions

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

A few months back the Emerald ran a letter to the editor from faculty member Mohammed Jemmali. His letter was about the Anti-Israel protest that occurred at the EMU(and its counterprotest).

At the time Editor-in-Chief CJ Ciaramella and our Publisher Guy wrote these two responses to his Free Speech letter. Jemmali responded in the comments section to the posts. 

It got a little out of hand, essays were written, names were called, Vincent battled it out with Jemmali. It was pretty boring actually. 

But Jemmali’s back and this time he’s tackling an even better issue: ABORTIONS! Yeah. Lets see what he had to say with some of his endearing quotes:

Like Obama and millions of Christians, one can be pro-life at home and pro-choice outside his or her family.

If you’re not pro-choice, then you likely don’t believe in the separation of state and church (or the Constitution), and you like to impose your beliefs on others with disregard to the difficult experiences (such as rape) and emotional pain that some women and families go through when considering an abortion.

I love the contradiction in terms here. Isn’t that awesome. Obama is great because he’s pro-life at home but not in society. At the same time though, Jemmali is saying that Obama likes putting women through emotional pain and that he likes to impose his beliefs on others, that masochistic bastard. How dare he!

When confronted with a dilemma, I like to refer to logic and science for an answer.

Ha!

George W. Bush is one of those pro-lifers. Yet, no U.S. governor has ordered more death sentences (he’s also the only one who never granted a single pardon), and no U.S. president has waged more wars (he waged two). I consider the Americans who voted for him based on his religious beliefs to be the biggest hypocrites of American society.

Wait…

So, Obama’s cool even though he’s pro-life? But Bush isn’t cool because he is pro-life? What?

I’m glad that you could compare getting an abortion to pardoning people from getting the needle and starting wars. 

It’s wonderful that this paragraph gets a jab in at Bush and calls Americans hypocrites for voting for someone they agree with. What happened to that whole abortion issue? 

Oh wait, here it is:

In his speeches, Obama always tries to bring people together by finding common ground. Many people criticize him for his speaking abilities and positive messages. Are they suggesting that Bush, a very divisive and mediocre speaker, is better? Bush spoke at a Notre Dame commencement ceremony, but didn’t get nearly as criticized as Obama. Yet, in front of a tough crowd, Obama was able to get a few standing ovations during his speech, including in response to abortion, calling for measures to reduce unintended pregnancies as a common ground, and citing solutions such as “making adoption more available, providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term … and (making) sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women.”

I swear it’s in there, it’s the fourth sentence in, you know, after the Obama is better because people clapped for him at Notre Dame part. This reminds of something…oh wait, I remember now. It’s Diego Hernandez. 

This letter is almost exactly like the MLK Day editorial that Hernandez sent in this year. Start off with a salient point, then you confuse readers by spinning off in completely random directions for the rest of the article and then in the last paragraph provide a semi-solution that doesn’t really work. 

Oh Jemmali, you sly dog. You almost had me there. I thought you were your own voice but I now realize that you’ve just been training with Hernandez this whole time. I’m a little disappointed, I was hoping that you’d bring a new brand of crazy to the good ol’ UO but you’re just more of the same.

Ideological Diversity Lacking at the UO J-School

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

University of Oregon grad student and ODE columnistDan Lawton has a good article on his personal blog about the lack of ideological diversity in journalism schools and the potential problems that causes.

The article is part of an ongoing project by Lawton on diversity in higher education. I’ve been interviewed for it a couple of times, and there will be a short documentary forthcoming. All in all, it promises to be very interesting.

Using his public records kung fu, Lawton discovers that, of the thirty two full-time faculty in the UO journalism school, none are registered Republicans. Even adding in adjunct faculty, there are only two Republicans. As Lawton notes, “You could walk into a head shop in Berkeley and find a bigger conservative presence.”

Lawton further notes that:

According to a study performed by UO economist Bill Harbaugh in 2006, there are 15:5 registered Democrats in the total UO faculty for every one Republican.  The Oregon Daily Emerald reported that 96% of contributions during the 2008 election cycle went to Democratic candidates; in 2004 the figure was 100%.

The leftist leanings of academia is nothing new, but in an industry that prides itself on its objective, fair coverage of events, you have to wonder (as Lawton does) how well journalism students are served by an almost completely Democrat faculty. (Of course, given the press’ fawning over Obama, maybe they’ve just given up on that whole “objectivity” thing anyways.)

As a J-School student myself, I’d like to say that almost all of my journalism professors at the UO have been courteous, smart and highly professional, even if they disagreed completely with my politics (which comes up more often than you’d think in journalism classes). The only exceptions were part of that select, special group of people you inevitably meet in the course of your life who – politics and ideology aside – are just plain assholes.

Don’t Stop Believing in Eugene

Monday, May 18th, 2009

UO student Mike Calcagno and ODE sports editor Andrew Greif put together this gem. Enjoy.

I personally stopped believing in Eugene about a month after moving here, but it’s good to see some people are still optimists.

Commentator smashes other publications in dodgeball match

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Yesterday was the first ever (to my knowledge) inter-campus publication dodgeball tournament between the Oregon Daily Emerald, the Commentator, KWVA and the Comic Press, and you know who won? You’re damn right: The Oregon Commentator!

Held in the rec center, the round robin tournament was a spectacle of sport and trash-talking. (Okay, so most of the trash-talking was done by the OC.) Our first match was against the ODE. Surly, in varying states of sobriety (or a lack thereof) and clad in our sudsy tank-tops, we quickly dispatched the ‘Ol Dirty with gusto.

CJ Ciaramella, Drew "you could lick me and get drunk" Cattermole and Matt Tham survey the competition

CJ Ciaramella, Drew "you could lick me and get drunk" Cattermole and Matt Tham survey the competition

The Comic Press beat KWVA in the next round, and the stage was set for a clash of titans. After I gave the team an inspiring pep talk, we set out to work. It was a nailbiter of a match. In the end, it came down to two people: OC Managing Editor Matt Tham and a really sweaty, angry-looking guy from the Comic Press. (Seriously, he looked like was going to have a temper tantrum.) But Tham prevailed over the sweaty man! Commentator wins! Holy cow, Commentator wins!

The OC team enjoys some delicious tobacco after stomping the competition.

The OC team enjoys some delicious tobacco after stomping the competition.

Our only loss of the day came at the hands of KWVA, which had a guy on its team who, by the looks of it, must be pitching some AAA baseball in his free time. In any case, all the teams who lost to us are now our slaves in Valhalla.

Dodgeball … blog contests … ain’t no thing.

P.S. Where were you, Kai Davis? I didn’t see you on the field of battle. Your honor is in question, sir!

Boycotting Monocles and Chimney Sweepers

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

ASUO Exec Sam Dotters-Katz brought this to our attention, and it’s hilarious.

Addendum to the Russell Debate

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

I went to last night’s Senate meeting, but I had to leave before the they got to to the sweatshop and Russell Athletics resolutions. (Hey, Senate, it would be great if you could spend less than an hour flapping your jaws about every single point on the agenda. Just a thought.) From my extensive Twitter analysis, it appears both of the resolutions failed.

Anyway, Vincent’s post below pretty much nails it, but I’d like to add this 2004 article in Reason, which cites a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

[W]hen economists looked at reams of economic data on wages and workers’ rights in developing countries, they found that multinationals generally paid more — often a lot more — than the wages offered by locally owned companies. The study cites evidence that affiliates of U.S. multinationals “pay a wage premium that ranges from 40 percent in high-income countries to 100 percent, or double the local average wage, in low-income countries.”

Vietnamese workers in foreign-owned apparel and footwear factories rank in the top 20 percent of the population by household expenditure. Indonesian workers in Nike subcontractor factories earned $670 per year, compared to the average minimum wage of $134. In Mexico firms that exported more than 80 percent of their output paid wages that were 58 percent to 67 percent higher than wages paid by domestic firms.

If Russell is truly acting in an illegal and unethical way, then the university should not renew its contract with the company. However, a broad, “anti-sweatshop” resolution would be (a) less effective and (b) naive and somewhat ignorant given the great benefits of foreign direct investment in third-world countries.

Also, Alex “Tomcat” Scott has a good post over on the ODE news blog with many links for and against Russel.

“According to…”

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Well, campus today is all aflutter for the impending “march on Johnson Hall“. In what seems to be a deliberate attempt to rekindle past glories, the “Step Up, Oregon!” faction is going to demand that Oregon distance itself from a clothing manufacturer accused of employing sweatshop labor, breaking the law, and generally being very, very bad.

Even the ASUO is trying to get in on the action.

I want to avoid weighing in on whether Russell is an evil company or not; They may very well be, and I’m in no position to say they aren’t.

The problem I have with virtually every argument that I’ve seen advocating breaking with Russell (apparently in violation of OUS rules) is that they do little more than repeat Workers Rights Consortium talking points without even a hint of skepticism.

We’re told that closing down a factory “…prompted Worker Rights Consortium investigations, which found that the decision to close the factory was at least partly because of [unionization attempts], constituting a violation of Honduran labor laws.”

That’s all very well and good, but did anyone honestly expect them to come to any other conclusion? The WRC has painted a proverbial target on Russell’s back, and I think everyone would be absolutely shocked if they didn’t reach the exact conclusion that they did, in fact, reach.

To put it another way, I find the WRC’s “findings” about as convincing as a report reading something along the lines of “an investigation by the Democratic National Committee found that George W. Bush was a bad President” or “investigations by the Communist Party of the USA found that capitalism is bad”. Those statements may or may not be true, but, like anything coming from the WRC, they’re not exactly unbiased.

As part of their college education, students are expected to show at least a modicum of skill in critical thinking.

It would be nice if those skills could be put to use questioning the veracity of claims of corporate wrongdoing made by an organization whose express purpose is to accuse corporations of wrongdoing.

I’m not necessarily disputing the claims that Russell may in fact be a rotten company. I’d just like to see people be a bit more careful about repeating what amounts to little more than propaganda.

Then again, hope springs eternal.

Recession Issue Online

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Yes, Vol. 26, issue 6 is now online. Inside there are such gems as:

  • How to brew your own beer by Ian Summers
  • Why the Insurgent is totally dumb by me
  • Vincent Artman’s eulogy for higher education
  • More graphs by Drew!
  • Recession tips from Dane Carbaugh
  • Stadium Park shenanigans by Ross Coyle
  • Carly Erickson’s piece on the jihad against smoking
  • An inappropriate re-enactment of an iconic photograph
  • And much more!