Archive for July, 2009
Thursday, July 30th, 2009
With the news being sparse during the summer the ODE has revamped their website. Personally I liked the old design better, I think the new one has to many moving pictures. With the ODE’s recent financial woes it seems that they are moving to a more “user friendly” site aka seizure inducing.
Maybe this is a step forward from the emerald staff that went on strike last year to create a new persona. Most likely they got bored and changed their interface by hiring someone they can’t afford.
In other website news I happened to find out that our new neighbors the college democrats have their own blog up and running.
Now I don’t mean to brag here, but I will. The Oregon Commentator has been using this blog for years and it has only come to the attention of the ODE and several other campus media outlets and groups to start blogging over the last year. We have always been the trend setter and this is starting to prove it. Next you will see the ODE and college democrats with their own cannibalistic anthropomorphic alcoholic beverage mascots.
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Guardian UK. Its Author, Simon Singh, was sued by the British Chiropractic Association and ruled against due to the UK’s stunningly illiberal libel laws. This has been making the rounds today, it’s presented here so that you might read and enjoy. Also, the BCA is kindly invited to fuck right off.
Some practitioners claim it is a cure-all, but the research suggests chiropractic therapy has mixed results – and can even be lethal, says Simon Singh.
You might be surprised to know that the founder of chiropractic therapy, Daniel David Palmer, wrote that “99% of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae”. In the 1860s, Palmer began to develop his theory that the spine was involved in almost every illness because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore any misalignment could cause a problem in distant parts of the body.
In fact, Palmer’s first chiropractic intervention supposedly cured a man who had been profoundly deaf for 17 years. His second treatment was equally strange, because he claimed that he treated a patient with heart trouble by correcting a displaced vertebra.
You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact some still possess quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything, including helping treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying – even though there is not a jot of evidence.
I can confidently label these assertions as utter nonsense because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world’s first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.
But what about chiropractic in the context of treating back problems? Manipulating the spine can cure some problems, but results are mixed. To be fair, conventional approaches, such as physiotherapy, also struggle to treat back problems with any consistency. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is still preferable because of the serious dangers associated with chiropractic.
In 2001, a systematic review of five studies revealed that roughly half of all chiropractic patients experience temporary adverse effects, such as pain, numbness, stiffness, dizziness and headaches. These are relatively minor effects, but the frequency is very high, and this has to be weighed against the limited benefit offered by chiropractors.
More worryingly, the hallmark technique of the chiropractor, known as high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, carries much more significant risks. This involves pushing joints beyond their natural range of motion by applying a short, sharp force. Although this is a safe procedure for most patients, others can suffer dislocations and fractures.
Worse still, manipulation of the neck can damage the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the brain. So-called vertebral dissection can ultimately cut off the blood supply, which in turn can lead to a stroke and even death. Because there is usually a delay between the vertebral dissection and the blockage of blood to the brain, the link between chiropractic and strokes went unnoticed for many years. Recently, however, it has been possible to identify cases where spinal manipulation has certainly been the cause of vertebral dissection.
Laurie Mathiason was a 20-year-old Canadian waitress who visited a chiropractor 21 times between 1997 and 1998 to relieve her low-back pain. On her penultimate visit she complained of stiffness in her neck. That evening she began dropping plates at the restaurant, so she returned to the chiropractor. As the chiropractor manipulated her neck, Mathiason began to cry, her eyes started to roll, she foamed at the mouth and her body began to convulse. She was rushed to hospital, slipped into a coma and died three days later. At the inquest, the coroner declared: “Laurie died of a ruptured vertebral artery, which occurred in association with a chiropractic manipulation of the neck.”
This case is not unique. In Canada alone there have been several other women who have died after receiving chiropractic therapy, and Edzard Ernst has identified about 700 cases of serious complications among the medical literature. This should be a major concern for health officials, particularly as under-reporting will mean that the actual number of cases is much higher.
If spinal manipulation were a drug with such serious adverse effects and so little demonstrable benefit, then it would almost certainly have been taken off the market.
Simon Singh is a science writer in London and the co-author, with Edzard Ernst, of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial. This is an edited version of an article published in The Guardian for which Singh is being personally sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.
Monday, July 27th, 2009
As the Ol’Dirty decides to use it’s sports section to talk about golf players playing non University of Oregon affiliated golf. Former Oregon baseball player and 1942 American League MVP Joe Gordon was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As a second baseman for the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians Gordon won 5 World Series and was a 9 time Allstar. Gordon’s MVP season featured him beating baseball Legends Ted Williams and Joe Dimaggio.
Gordon missed the prime of his career fighting in World War II. Gordon died in 1978 at the age of 68. His daughter accepted the award for him.
Oregon baseball plans on honoring the Duck legend and war hero during next season with a “Joe Gordon Day”
(Fixed Hall of Fame link for you. -ed.)
Thursday, July 23rd, 2009
As some of you may know, I’m in D.C. this summer interning at The Weekly Standard. Anyway, I’m working on a story about the recent revelation that the Fund for the Public Interest, the fundraising arm of the U.S. PIRG (of which our beloved OSPIRGs are a part), settled a $2.15 million class-action lawsuit for underpaying its canvassers and organizers.
Well, today I called both the Fund and the PIRG offices, and I was pleasantly unsurprised when, on the second call, the receptionist said, “Didn’t we just talk?”
“Wait, isn’t this the U.S. PIRG?” I asked.
“Both numbers redirect here.”
Oh, but of course they do. Just like how the Oregon Students Public Interest Research Group and the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group share the same office and phone number. Bigger pond, same damn fish.
(It’s probably pertinent to point out that the Fund doesn’t mention the U.S. PIRG anywhere on its website. It mainly touts itself as a partner with the Sierra Club and the Human Rights Campaign.)
Tuesday, July 21st, 2009
I was browsing MSNBC today when I came across this article.
Used to be that the opinion guys from the Emerald were the most annoying writers in the world but this woman, she wins. Just absolutely wins.
Let me share a few lines from her eloquent prose to show-case her talents:
Yeah, you thought it would be Google, right? The search engine that knows when you are sleeping, knows when you’re awake, knows when you are working, knows when you’re downloading Polynesian lady men … and well, that’s probably true. But still …
Of all the downloaded books in all the InterWebs, how can it be that these two dystopian classics are the ones that are mysteriously removed. (Beware the two-legged merchants!)
Right here she loses for using the “word” Interwebs and her cheeky parenthetical and the exclamation mark. That’s the second of several exclamation marks. I counted five in total. Five, in one article. I don’t remember who the saying comes from but it goes something like this, “In writing you only have one exclamation point, use it well.” This women not only failed to use it just once but she failed on all accounts in her uses of them.
I’ve got a couple more for you.
In a time when highway signs are hacked to warn motorists against the approaching zombie horde, it’s hard to believe this isn’t yet another brilliant hack. And yet it’s not! Oh I tell ya kids, you can’t make this stuff up. Well, you can. If you’re good. Zombie road sign good. Even if you are, reality beat you to it. And thanks to yet another case of Amazon’s ham-fisted customer service tactics, this story isn’t getting old anytime soon.
It’s like she’s trying to speak my language. My attention span broken by Facebook and Twitter she rapid fires sentences at me. Slowly I succumb to the barrage and wistfully chuckle along with her. Haha, oh you Zombie highway signs you.
That’s right, kids! It’s that same craptastic customer service that lead to Amazon’s great public relations debacle of April 09, when the masses realized that thousands of gay and lesbian titles were missing from the inventory.
Kids? Kids? What? Is she trying to make her audience feel younger by referring to them as kids? I’d award her a point for using the word craptastic in a journalistic setting except it makes her seem even more juvenile.
I remember the “great debacle of April 09.” First, it wasn’t really a debacle. Second, does really deserve to remember in the kind of wording like you would give the Chicago Fire of 1918.
Still, it’s hard to trust a two-time loser that fails to see the irony in its own Orwellian FAIL.
I hate people who say, “FAIL” like she does here. It’s both annoying and intensely stupid. Part of me is deeply saddened by the juxtaposition of George Orwell next to that.
Thursday, July 16th, 2009
As improbable as it may sound, the PIRG system is actually slimier and more corrupt than previously believed. From the Daily Beast:
The nation’s largest fundraiser for progressive causes issued checks to thousands of former workers in the last several weeks after settling a $2.15 million class-action suit alleging it subjected workers to grueling hours without overtime pay.
The nonprofit Fund for Public Interest Inc. was set up in 1982 as the fundraising arm of the network of Public Interest Research Groups, which was founded by Ralph Nader. It deploys legions of door-to-door and street canvassers—and once counted a young Barack Obama as one of its New York City organizers—to solicit contributions for the Human Rights Campaign, the Sierra Club, Environment America, and other groups that together spend millions of dollars each year lobbying Congress.
Managers pushed employees to work long hours by repeatedly stressing that they were taking part in a campaign to better the world, not a traditional job. Federal and state labor laws do not recognize the distinction. Some said their experiences led them to give up on activism altogether, which troubled those behind the lawsuit. “I was getting tired of seeing people leave the movement,” Miller said.
In the summer of 2005, the activists tried to unionize their Los Angeles office. The canvassers voted to organize with the Teamsters, Miller said.
“Management basically started changing office policies to try to systematically fire all union employees, while stalling the contract,” he added. Eventually, Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), now Labor secretary, wrote the Fund pressing it to negotiate with workers, to no avail.
Then suddenly, Miller said, “they changed the locks on the doors and they were gone. We were shut down overnight.”
In a separate case in 2006, the office of the Labor Commissioner of the State of California determined that the Fund had denied rest breaks to a worker, awarding a cash payment. The Fund subsequently changed its policies to provide overtime pay. In 2009, it agreed to settle the class-action suit.
But remember: It’s all about “student voice” and “empowering people.” These criticisms are just a vast, right-wing conspiracy to silence progressive voices on campus. Just keep telling yourself that. Seriously, though, this is the group that we so desperately need on campus? The group that is so vital to student activism? Remember this when the OSPIRG neophytes come crawling back to the ASUO next year, begging to be reinstated as a student group.
Hat tip to Reason.
Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
The Summer Senate gathered earlier this evening for the second meeting of the summer. The meeting accomplished very little with all three main discussions being put on the table until further notice.
The first discussion of the meeting was continuing a discussion of branding the ASUO. This “branding” would consist of putting the words “brought to you by the ASUO incidental fee” on everything that is funded by the ASUO. This branding already happens in places like the EMU computer lab.
The second discussion was about Sharepoint. Sharepoint is a BlackBoard like program that would function inside the ASUO. Sen. Stark Mcmillan who was is in favor of the program said during the meeting “I don’t know what we will use this for.”
The last discussion was about where the weekly ego trip called the ASUO senate meetings will be held during the 2009-2010 school year. The two main options are the walnut room and the Ben Linder room. Sen. Demic Tiptino joked that he would resign if meetings were held in the Ben Linder room. Sen Nick Schulz was too worried about making the ASUO more comfortable for spectators and students trying to watch in on the senate meetings. This discussion lasted fifteen minutes or half of the meeting and no decision was made.
At least it was a short one again.
Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
UO grad student Dan Lawton, who penned an opinion piece bemoaning the lack of ideological diversity at the UO, has a follow-up opinion piece in the Christian Science Monitor. Lawton describes his further adventures in diversity-land, such as when he sat down to talk with one of the professors who disagreed with him:
He was eager to chat, and after five minutes our dialogue bloomed into a lively discussion. As we hammered away at the issue, one of his colleagues with whom he shared an office grew visibly agitated. Then, while I was in mid-sentence, she exploded.
“You think you’re so [expletive] cute with your little column,” she told me. “I read your piece and all you want is attention. You’re just like Bill O’Reilly. You just want to get up on your [expletive] soapbox and have people look at you.”
From the disgust with which she attacked me, you would have thought I had advocated Nazism. She quickly grew so emotional that she had to leave the room. But before she departed, she stood over me and screamed.
“You understand that my column was basically a prophesy,” I shot back. I had suggested right-leaning ideas weren’t welcome on campus and in response the faculty had tied my viewpoints to racism and addressed me with profanity-laced insults.
Friday, July 10th, 2009
This photo has caused a ridiculous media stir (I blame the New York Post but they just got the ball rolling, everyone else took it to unnecessary lengths):
The photo looks like President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are enjoying the backside of the young girl in the purple/red dress.
Not to be outdone by their own ridiculous claims the American media immediately turned around and defended Obama with videos like this one:
\”The Truth About the Obama Photo\”
This is one of several videos that I’ve seen about this photo from various news sources.
Interestingly of the videos that I have seen “debunking” the image everyone has a good laugh that Sarkozy looks to be clearly checking out the girl. Beyond the fact that she looks 16 no one seems to be have a problem with Ol’ Kozy checking out the young thangs but if Obama does it’s a media hailstorm on both sides of the issue.
Though I’m not surprised.
Personal Opinion on the photo: Who cares? Guy can appreciate a good looking body, look but don’t touch kind of policy.
If I had to hazard a guess though, based on the image and the video clip I would say that Obama did take some time to discreetly check out that girl’s ass. Sure, he “hid” it behind helping that other girl down the one step but still…
Well, there you go…another example that American media doesn’t need declining paper sales to die off, it’s doing a fine job by itself.
Thursday, July 9th, 2009
The Big O is reporting that authorities have a arrested a large group of activists who were blocking a logging road near the Elliot State Forest. The action was organized by Cascadia Rising Tide and Earth First!. A lot of the activists no doubt came from the Cascadia Summer Action Camp, which was based largely out of Eugene. The activists have a website up at forestdefensenow.org (as opposed to forest defense sometime in the foreseeable future). Besides the obvious silliness of a person sitting in a tree and crapping in a bucket, the Oregonian explains why the protest is absurd:
Earlier this week, Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky of the group Cascadia Rising Tide said the activists are trying to protect native forests that help prevent global warming by storing carbon, as well as providing habitat for northern spotted owls, marbled murrelet and salmon. The blockade was the culmination of the Round River Rendezvous, an annual gathering of Earth First and other groups, she said.
State forestry officials said surveys in 2005 and 2006 found no evidence of marbled murrelets nesting in the 79-acre timber sale site. Spotted owls live in the Elliott State Forest, and about half the 93,000-acre forest is set aside as owl habitat and cannot be logged.
Several small seasonal streams run through the sale area. A year-round stream also runs through the unit, but it does not have migratory fish runs, according to the forestry department. Buffer zones have been established near yet another stream that empties into the Umpqua River.
So what you have, in effect, is a bunch of activists locking themselves down to protest a relatively small, well-planned and conscientious logging operation. Of course, the poseur revolutionaries at the Student Insurgent will let no such facts get in the way of their environmental zeal. No compromise in defense of mother earth!
Snark aside, if y’all want to actually do something proactive for the environment, rather than play martyr, there are NGO’s out there that use these things called “science” and “money” to identify important wilderness areas, buy the property and preserve them. The biggest is perhaps the Nature Conservancy, but there are plenty of other local ones, such as the McKenzie River Trust. Remember, kiddos, money talks just as loud, if not louder, than a stinky hippie in a tree.
Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
In a stunt that seems more fit for “investigative” television programs like “Dateline,” the British government’s “Ethnic Minority Employment Task Force” has wasted £168,700 (or $270,931) of taxpayer money sending out fake resumes to employers to root out racists.
While $270,000 is, of course, a paltry sum by government standards, the thought of governments trying to expose “racists” with these tactics is more than a little unsettling. One wonders if they targeted specific “suspects”, or if they just sent the phony resumes to random employers to see what turned up.
In any case, Joe McCarthy is probably dancing a little jig down in hell right now.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
As president Lariviere has learned new media and started blogging about his hikes with Kitty Piercy, our beloved mascot Sudsy O’Sullivan has started his own twitter account. So if you have a twitter, follow him and see the inner thoughts of a narcicist/alcoholic/cannibal/libertarian beer.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
New UO president Richard Lariviere has officially taken office, and one of his first acts as head honcho was to start a blog. Right now it’s mainly an outlet for photo ops and such, but, along with the OLCC’s blog, this marks another bureaucratic blog for the OC to monitor and lampoon.
The biggest revelation so far from Lariviere’s blog: He is, in fact, a man with a taste for dapper hats.
No sign of a two-way wristwatch radio, though.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
Today, at 5:17 PM the summer senate held it’s first senate meeting of the summer. The senate was down a member today as Jessica Jones resigned earlier in the morning. Since the meeting was quick (Thank God, and partially Sen. Gower) I will give a quick roundup of the meeting.
- The biggest decision of the meeting was the funds request for the upcoming USSA conference. The decision ended up passing 3-2 with Sen. Blanchard (spelling?) abstaining. $2,000 will be allocated from the ASUO executive spending and surplus fee to cover the cost.
- Sen. Nick Schultz left the meeting before the vote leading to a disscussion if 5 out of 7 makes a quorum, it did and the discussion lasted five minutes. DRINK!
- Some of the senate has been slacking on office hours during the summer, the requirement is 2 hours a week.
- ASUO wants to create a “brand name” to get people interested in student politics. Free Sudsy Tank to whoever can come up with the best ASUO brand name slogan.
- Mecha did not show up for their request.