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Archive for August, 2009

Remembering Ted Kennedy

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Since CNN and MSNBC have been eulogizing Ted Kennedy for the past 78 hours straight – apparently having a talent for demagoguery and maintaining power make you an American hero – I thought I’d share a little remembrance of Ted that I heard from a friend of mine who’s worked in the restaurant industry in D.C. for a while:

A friend of hers worked at the New Heights restaurant, where Ted often dined and drank … and drank some more. (According to said friend, he would order tumblers filled to the rim with bourbon.) Anyways, one time this lady saw Ted Kennedy scratch his back with his butterknife … and then proceed to stick the same knife in his bottle of ketchup.

Remember this man, for he was boozy and gross.

Call the Waaambulance

Friday, August 28th, 2009

In a list about something or other (to be honest I didn’t read the blog post, I was just skimming. He’s lucky he got that) former ODE opinion columnist Truman Capps tried to sneak in a little rabbit punch.

While I wholeheartedly agree that both the Democrats and Republicans are full of shit, I’ve noticed that some Libertarians can be awfully self-righteous about how they and they alone recognize the truth and beauty of the free market and individual liberties.

“Some libertarians” Truman? Maybe it’s time to sack up and just call us by name, hmm?

You’ve fully committed to that Craig Sager haircut of yours, you’ve told everyone on campus that “guns are yucky”–you might as well complete the trifecta of manliness and call us out. Or maybe you’ve learned a lesson by watching Kai Davis get his ass handed to him?

On second thought, good move not calling us out by name. You shouldn’t fuck with people who buy their ink by the barrel.

Quote of the Day

Friday, August 28th, 2009

“[Y]ou could hardly ask for a more poignant fin de civilisation image than a stampede of broody lesbians stymied only by defective semen, like some strange dystopian collaboration between Robert Heinlein and Russ Meyer set in a world divided into muff divers and duff donors.”

Thanks for that mental image, Mark Steyn.

Low Hanging Fruit: “Have You No Shame?!” Edition

Friday, August 28th, 2009

It’s been awhile since I’ve regularly checked Blue Oregon. Once Obama moved into the Oval Office, got rid of some dusty old bust of Winston Churchill, and made himself comfortable, the wind kind of left their sails. The zeal for victory that had seemingly been the trademark of all Democrats before January 20th faded and what replaced it was so much sore-winner chest-pounding and a sudden disdain for that “highest form of patriotism” which they’d long championed through those long, dark years of incipient fascism between 2000 and 2008.

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Nonsense on Stilts

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Vincent linked to this piece of drivel over at the Eugene Weekly blog, titled “One Big Way to Honor Ted Kennedy,” in his post below, but in case you were too lazy to click on it:

While the nation mourns the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, there is a meaningful way to assure his legacy, and that would be for Congress to pass comprehensive health care legislation in his name.

Kennedy has been quoted many times over many years saying effective health care should be “a right, and not a privilege.” Let’s make it so.

Listen, everybody: I’m sorry, but health care is not a natural right. As much as you would like it to be, as much as you bleat and whine and posture, it’s not. Natural rights are moral, not material. They are rights that are immutable by time, place and circumstance. They are rights that exist, in the lofty conception of classical liberal thought,  in the “soul.” In other words, they are things that you inherently possess, not things that you demand the government give you.

To wit: If you were lost in the desert, the Founding Fathers would say you still possessed all of your natural rights – moral conscience, free speech, self-defense. Hell, you could even build a little shelter and claim it as your own. But you could shout yourself silly, and an ambulance wouldn’t magically appear to grant you free medical care.

So please, if you’re going to claim the government should provide everyone with health care, at least don’t try to frame it in some sort of neo-enlightenment nonsense. You just make yourself look stupid.

Layin’ It All Out

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Racism. It’s at the heart of every disagreement with “progressive” policy reforms. Meet Diane DeVillers of Eugene, who lays it all out in today’s issue of the Eugene Weekly:

There is not as much confusion about the health care issue as we are led to believe. Much of the resistance is all about not wanting President Obama to succeed. The town hall haters, gun-toting radical right wingers, have been steaming since our President was elected. It has taken them this long to finally have the nerve to tell America how much they hate the fact that a black man won the election. It is all about being racist.

While the sane people in America try to get health care reform, the minority is trying to mislead and ruin any attempt for this bill to pass. This includes the whole Republican party… Their loyalties are only to themselves. The majority of people elected this president, so they need to get used to it.

The majority of Americans want health care reform, so the Democrats should just do it, any way they can…

Everyone in the room should yell back for them to be silent and let the discussion continue.

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Statistical Evidence

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

I’ve been reading Fivethirtyeight.com lately, and I thought I should point out something particularly interesting and rather insane. Nate Silver, after successfully predicting Obama’s win, has followed through on his promise to try to predict senate races. While the model is solid for the moment it’s important to remember that it’s long term accuracy is admittedly shaky, even by it’s creators.

In any case, the exercise is pretty cool and if it all goes to pot then at least it will be funny. Here’s what the top 15 races look like for the month of August.

senaugust

Of course, if somehow the world cruises along at it’s current pace and the model holds, then we will have another amazing prediction from Nate Silver and his buddies. In case you don’t know who Mr. Silver is by now, he’s the guy who predicted the winners of the Oscars and the presidential election within fractions of their actual outcomes. Oh yeah, and this.

Kudos to Dracobly for this one.

Oregon Commentator Book Preview

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

The Oregon Commentator’s book is coming along swimmingly. I am now in the stage of “take a vacation while I demand that alumni turn in articles”. Let me tell you, it’s great. Anyways, I figured I’d give the plebes a little taste of glory with a selected piece by Scott Camp. Enjoy.

This fall marks the 26th Anniversary of our beloved Oregon Commentator, and my 18th year as a member of University of Oregon’s most controversial journalistic enclave. It is also arguably U of O’s most widely misunderstood group. Our history is colorful and checkered, including concerted attempts to cut our funding, receiving national accolades, death threats, unrivaled preferential treatment, and performing totally pointless and fantastic indulgences of every weakness in the human condition. There were days when I found being a member of the Commentator more of an immutable genetic predisposition than anything else. It turns out that I was correct. I was not just on the staff of the Commentator – I was a Commentator, and still am today. It is not about politics or policy or economics. It is not about academics or journalistic recognition. As in 1991, the Commentator is about freedom, and the bare knuckles defense of the original American spirit. It is about one person’s right to think critically, without approval from group-think cabals or the sensitivity police, and the desire to engage in the ongoing war of ideas. The Commentator is the media representation of what happens when you try to stifle and intimidate intelligent people with views that do not subscribe to the conventional wisdom of mass idiocy.

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Obligatory Health Care Post

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Radley Balko calls this “the most thorough, clear elucidation of the problems with U.S. health care” that he’s seen. I’m inclined to agree, even if I don’t necessarily buy the author’s prescriptions (no pun intended) for fixing the problem.

It’s a long read, but well worth it and a far cry from the usual “death panels” and “racists” bilge that the right and left have been tossing about in the last few weeks.

Study Says Marijuana Protects Your Brain From Alcohol

Friday, August 21st, 2009

arnold-smoking-weed

On doctor’s orders only.

A study was published today by the journal of Neurotoxicology and Teratology that says that smoking marijuana while binge drinking may actually help protect your precious little noggin.

The study set up three groups: binge drinkers, binge drinkers who puff the dragon, and a control group who did little or none of the drugs.

As expected, the binge-drinking-only group showed evidence of white matter damage in eight regions examined, as demonstrated by lower fractional anisotropy (FA) scores. But in a finding the researchers describe as “unexpected,” the binge-drinking/marijuana group had lower FA scores than the controls in only three of eight regions, and in seven regions the binge-drinking/marijuana group had higher scores — indicating less damage — than the binge drinkers who did not use marijuana.

This is great news for college students everywhere who want to get “crossed”. Unfortunately this may also be a dangerous path of justification for many a rambunctious partygoer. I guess now they can make an excuse for their excess that’s at least passable.

“Hey man, it’s science.”

Vote for the OC as best Eugene blog!

Friday, August 21st, 2009

It’s that time again. the Eugene Weekly has opened the polls for its annual Best of Eugene survey. If you’re a fan of the Commentator, feel free to vote for us as best local blog. Even if you’re not a fan, surely you could still appreciate how much it would piss all the whiny hippies off. Think about the whiny hippies, won’t you?

Also, vote for Rennie’s Landing as best bar and one of Ninkasi’s fine creations for best beer.

Oregon Represents At Track and Field World Championships

Friday, August 21st, 2009

The track and field world championships are currently underway in Berlin, and a slew of 2008-2009 UO graduates (from what is arguably the greatest track team in school history) and Oregon-based runners have made strong showings. Here’s the breakdown on the UO grads, all of whom were NCAA champions in their respective events:

  • Galen Rupp placed 8th in the men’s 10,000 meter. His Nike training partner, Dathan Ritzenhein, took sixth.
  • Rachel Yurkovich,  placed 12th in the javelin. She was the first U.S. woman to advance to the world championship final in the javelin throw since 1983.
  • Brian Theisen took 15th in the women’s heptathlon, setting a lifetime best in the 800 meter.
  • Ashton Eaton placed 18th in the decathlon. Eaton was in fifth place at the end of day one, taking second in the 100 meter dash and notching a lifetime best in the long jump.

And here’s the list for Oregon-based athletes:

  • Amy Yoder Begley and Shalane Flannigan, both from Portland, took sixth and 14th in the women’s 10,000 meter, respectively. Begley was the highest placing U.S. competitor in the event.
  • Nick Symmonds of the Oregon Track Club Elite has advanced to the semifinals in the men’s 800 meter.
  • Three other runners for the OTC will be competing in the 5,000 meter: Matt Tegenkamp, Chris Solinsky and Evan Jager
  • Portland runner Kara Goucher is looking to make a strong showing in the women’s marathon. Her main U.S. competition, world-record holder Paula Radcliffe, was forced to withdraw from the race.

She flies with her own wings indeed.

UPDATE: Nick Symmonds just advanced to the final. Get some!

Newsweek Smacks of Sense? No…really?

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

In case you weren’t aware the American media machine has been slowly (or quickly depending on your viewpoint) going insane over the past few years. Mostly I think it’s anxiety over the “death” of print journalism.

Either way this Newsweek blog post about Michelle Obama should put some perspective about how desperate and fucking retarded American media is.

The Examiner declares Obama beautiful, then bemoans the fact that “some members of the media and the public” are upset. Who are those members of the media and the public? We don’t knowthe article then goes on to endorse Obama and rebuke the nameless attackers.

The Huffington Post says Obama “may” take flak for baring her “gorgeous gams” (after all, we were up in arms about her sleeveless dresses),  then polls the readers as to whether shorts are an appropriate look. More than 80 percent of the respondents were OK with shorts, though a third of them took issue with the length.

The L.A. Times blog says “some people are actually outraged” … and links to the Examiner post as proof.

For the most part the first half of the article is about the ridiculous fact that reputable journalists are linking to other media outlets while none of them have proof of any outrage.

It’s something that should probably more heavily exposed considering how stupid this is making this places look.

The second half devolves into a mini discussion on objectifying women and how we objectify Mrs. Obama. Boo-hoo. Don’t bitch about objectifying a celebrity first lady if our current celebrity culture is all about staring at “gorgeous gams” and tight or not so tight stomachs.

Once again, if you hadn’t seen this slow motion train wreck in action here’s further proof of the demise of intelligence in most mainstream American media. Save I suppose this one woman at Newsweek but I’m just waiting for her to slip up. Hell, she probably sits next to that columnist that wrote an entire article on why he hates Crocs.

Oregon AG Blocking Sale of E-Cigarettes

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

As I’ve noted before, when it comes to nanny-state paternalism, Oregon is always ahead of the curve. Via the AP:

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has gone to court to block sales of electronic cigarettes made by a Florida company.

Kroger said the company, Smoking Everywhere, made false health claims about nicotine and targeted children with sweet flavors such as bubblegum and chocolate.

Manufacturers say electronic cigarettes are safe because they use a water vapor mist to deliver flavor and ingredients, unlike the burning tobacco that creates smoke in a real cigarette.

Electronic cigarettes have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which says they contain some cancer-causing ingredients.

Kroger said Oregon is the first state to take legal action against an e-cigarette manufacturer.

Of course, the hypocrisy is that normal cigarettes, which contain a lot of cancer-causing ingredients, are approved by the FDA. From Reason:

Given the enormous differences between this vapor and tobacco smoke, the companies that sell e-cigarettes online and from shopping mall kiosks are on firm ground in advertising them as safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes that can be used in places where smoking is banned. The arguments of e-cigarette opponents, by contrast, reek of red herrings.

The critics warn that nicotine is addictive, that it may contribute to cardiovascular problems, and that smokers may use e-cigarettes as way of coping with smoking bans, continuing their habits instead of quitting. All of these objections also apply to the nicotine gum, patches, sprays, and inhalers the FDA has approved as safe and effective smoking cessation tools.

E-cigarettes are less expensive than those products and may be more appealing to smokers looking for an experience that’s closer to the real thing. Although they have not been subject to the sort of rigorous testing the FDA demands for new drugs, the drug they contain is not new. It’s the same one delivered, in a much dirtier manner, by the cigarettes that the government says kill 400,000 Americans every year.

As Michael Siegel notes on his tobacco policy blog:

What the Oregon Department of Justice is saying is that they would rather have Oregonians smoke cigarettes — with their more than 10,000 chemicals and 57 carcinogens — than inhale electronic cigarette vapor, which has not been shown to deliver any of those 10,000 chemicals or 57 carcinogens in anything more than trace quantities.

From a public health perspective, this is the most absurd, non-science-based, and potentially damaging policy decision by a state government that I have witnessed in a long time.

Way to be, Kroger. Way to be. I razzed on Kroger back when he was running for AG here. Also, check the archives for more on our long, quixotic fight against smoking bans.

Your Morning Happy Moment

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Lagarrette Blount, Oregon running back and general badass, getting ready for Boise State: