Archive for October, 2009
Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
Last night’s senate meeting was like pulling a band-aid, quick and painful. The meeting started on a focus to keep up the ever falling ASUO senator retention rate. So far five senators have resigned, this leaves a lot of work for the senate to fill up those holes before budget season starts this winter. It seems like last weekends senate retreat could not help the retention rate as a mere 50% of the ASUO senators attended the retreat.
The upcoming Powershift conference received funding through a CAER line item request. The conference expects hundreds of students from all over the west coast to attend. The Powershift movement is focused on addressing climate change.
The majority of senate meeting was comprised of rule changes to the senate rules. This is more of a formality in the student senate. The longer the rule changes went on the more I thought about stabbing my thigh with a pen for fun. The highlight came when the senate got to the section about student stipends. They have not made a formal decision about what model to use for stipends, more on this later. I did learn however that ASUO president Emma Kallaway calculates that with her stipend and presidential duties she makes $3.25 an hour. She should have modeled her campaign in the ThunderLove mold and increased presidential stipends %10,000 percent. Then she would make $32,500 an hour.
The highlight for me was my first dive into the world of twitter. Expect to see the twitter account being used more often during ASUO senate meetings.
Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
The image found on a brochure given to us by OSPIRG
We were in the office yesterday, sifting through piles of random papers when out dropped a brochure from our recent trip to an OSPIRG meeting. On the front of this brochure was the image above, the windmill being one of OSPIRG’s main branding images.
Taking a page from PETA, OSPIRG obviously wants the viewer of the image to associate their cause with the greatness of those who raised the flag at Iwo Jima.
Let’s put this into perspective though, shall we?
At the Battle of Iwo Jima almost 7,000 American soldiers lost their lives. A massive part of the struggle in the Pacific during WWII, including wounded it was the only battle during the war in which American casualties outnumbered Japanese casualties. A sculpture of “Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima” stands at the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Conversely, OSPIRG is a lobbyist organization whose practices and transparency are shady at best.
Using the “Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima” imagery as promotional for anything, much less propaganda for a lobbyist organization, is absolutely shameful. The “raising the turbine” image shows disrespect for the Americans who fought and died at Iwo Jima (and possibly even for the entire war as the image is the most powerful and well known from WWII).
Disrespecting our veterans (and for many of us, our own kin) in this way shows OSPIRG’s true lack of taste. Whatever your opinion is on OSPIRG, there can be no disagreement that their use of this image for their own self-promotion is absolutely depraved, disgusting and immoral.
Thursday, October 22nd, 2009
[Insert "Now that Hummer is owned by China" joke here]
According to an ABC news story brought to our attention by our own Josh McCormick, there has been a huge spike in electric golf car sales in the last year.
The article says that the sales of the golf cars, which are “golf carts that can be driven on public roadways as well as golf courses” is due to the fact that since the golf cars are road legal (headlights etc) and electric, they qualify for a humongous tax credit.
Those who live on golf courses usually have their own carts, but one has to wonder how long this phenomenon will go on before the bylaws of a place like McNary Estates starts including a “No Hummer H2 Cart” clause.
Additionally, will the trend continue to expand to the non-golf course adjacent populous? How come the yuppies in Eugene haven’t picked this up?
“Still driving around in your gas-hogging Prius, I see? I’ll take my Hummer any day, thank you.”
Wednesday, October 21st, 2009
1. The spit on the handrail on his way upstairs
2. Going to get the key only to find my door open upon return
3. We were listening to the Bloodhound Gang’s “Fire Water Burn”
4. Speaker wire wrapped around sprinklers
5. Duct Tape on door seams
6. 8+ plugs in one outlet
7. Broken Frisbee on sprinkler
8. Over-sized refrigerator running on extension cord to the closet
9. Spanky’s dirty underwear hiding the extension cord.
10. Sublime hat on sprinkler
11. The GoJo and toilet paper I stole from the community bathroom
12. The need for the replacement of signs reminding us not to smoke weed in our rooms
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
“Simpsons did it!”
It has recently come to our attention that the Comic Press, a “newspaper” at the University of Oregon, has been running a twitter feed titled “ASUO Spew” for quite some time. We have sat idly by while the Comic Press has made use of our own recycled jokes, references and phrases over the last two years, but this is the final straw.
Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
The recent protests against the celebration of Columbus Day has been an interesting topic to watch develop, especially because it has been discussed by so many who have not a clue what they are talking about. Always an intelligent contributor to the conversation about race, Diego Hernandez decided to make his opinion known in today’s Daily Emerald. Hernandez wrote a response to University of Oregon student Ben Eckstein’s guest column from the Emerald last Wednesday.
Whatever your opinions are on Columbus Day, they need not be covered here. What is most unsettling about Hernandez’s argument is the manner in which he frames it. Hernandez repeatedly misquotes Eckstein in order to portray him as an “ignorant white man”.
“Eckstein argues in his commentary that he is American, but he is also “Native American,” and because he is Native American and white he understands the issue and controversy of Columbus Day.”
Unfortunately for Diego, what Eckstein really said was
“My ancestors may have come from other places around the world, but I was born in this country and I am, as an individual, a native American just as much as anybody else born in this land.”
Hernandez lodges his complaint against this misquote later on in his diatribe as well
“The audacity of a white man calling himself a Native American is sickening. Just because Eckstein was born in this country doesn’t mean that he is Native American. Eckstein will never be a Native American because he does not belong to that community.”
Eckstein called himself a “native American” with the word “native” uncapitalized. Hernandez quotes Eckstein as calling himself “Native American” which is a proper noun relating to a specific race of people (otherwise improperly labeled as “American Indians”). The difference between these two classifications is not subtle, and I find it hard to believe that Hernandez glossed over this fact by accident.
Hernandez’s entire complaint against Eckstein could be invalidated after this obvious attempt to set up a straw-man argument, but it gets better.
“When you don’t have to know anyone else’s truth but your own, then it’s what many scholars like to call white privilege.”
Ignorance of another race’s trials and tribulations is just that, ignorance. The classification is free from race, and saying that “many scholars” have titled that ignorance “white priveledge” is false. Further, relating that kind of ignorance to white people and white people alone is presumptuous and quite frankly, racist.
Telling Eckstein that he is not a part of this country the same way that Native Americans are a part of this country is counter-productive. It only helps further the divide between peoples of different races, whether they be “Native” or “native”.
Monday, October 19th, 2009
Reedies have never exactly been renowned for anything at all except for being rich, pompous and insufferable. Sadly, they can now add to that list “have a worse student publication than the Comic Press.” For a long time, I was convinced that student-run publications couldn’t get any worse than the UO’s own Student Insurgent. Then the Comic Press (neè The Weekly Enema) started putting out issues and the bar was really and truly lowered.* Alas, my attention has now been drawn to “The Pamphlette“, a student publication at Reed College that has been embroiled in controversy after running an article charmingly entitled “LC [Lewis & Clark -ed.] students kill Jewish people” after swastika graffiti was discovered in Lewis and Clark’s library.
Monday, October 19th, 2009
We were forwarded an e-mail (and the subsequent OSPIRG response) from a concerned reader of our blog and the response he got from the Southern Oregon University OSPIRG Chair. During our visit to our very own UO OSPIRG meeting, the campus organizer (paid employee) told us how the UO OSPIRG was able to continue their endeavors despite being de-funded on this campus last year, “We’re being paid by the State of Oregon OSPIRG, which is funded by all the other university chapters in the state of Oregon… so LCC has one and SOU has one.”
As an alum and parent of a current student I’m concerned about a statement made by U of O OSPIRG representatives that funds from other Oregon Universities are being used to keep the U of O chapter afloat after being defunded by the student government. Is this in fact true? My son was approached by an OSPIRG representative on campus yesterday before this news was available so could not ask directly. Thanks for your prompt response.
Class of ’84
Dear Mr. Plunk,
In response to your question, it is not in fact true that the other student chapters are/will be funding the U of O chapter.
Thank you for your interest in the SOU chapter of OSPIRG. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.
OSPIRG SOU Chapter Chair
The SOU OSPIRG does not send direct payments to our UO OSPIRG chapter. What the SOU OSPIRG does is send their money to the administrators for the State of Oregon OSPIRG. At that point, State of Oregon OSPIRG executives divvy up that money to be able to “do the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people”.
Technically, the SOU OSPIRG chair did not lie to our concerned SOU parent. The SOU OSPIRG does not write a check out to the UO OSPIRG chapter. But the funding the UO OSPIRG chapter gets from the State of Oregon OSPIRG comes from the SOU OSPIRG.
Ms. Westover answered Mr. Plunk’s question “straightforward” and without frills. What she failed to mention, however, was how OSPIRG’s funding really works. Without explaining the funding to our concerned parent, I can only assume that Westover was being intentionally deceitful. It’s rather obvious what Mr. Plunk was asking and answering in the way she did doesn’t accurately describe the answer Mr. Plunk was looking for.
Of course, doing that would require a modicum of transparency. That’s not really OSPIRG’s bag.
Monday, October 19th, 2009
Reversing the Bush Administration’s absurd policy of prosecuting users of medical marijana, regardless of individual state laws, the Obama Administration has announced that it
will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws…
Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws.
Score one for states rights.
Saturday, October 17th, 2009
OSPIRG apparently made an appearance in a PPM 201 class last week and their claims about the organization were less than trustworthy.
When asked why they were defunded the OSPIRG representative replied, “A group of students said we shouldn’t be able to support things that were not entirely on campus, but now the ASUO supports reinstating OSPIRG.”
Let’s start with the obvious fact that the “group of students” that wasn’t in support of OSPIRG last year was the ASUO, the elected representatives of the student body. The Geology Club can be called a “group of students”. The ASUO is arguably the most important, if not the most powerful, student organization on campus. To downplay their opinion from last year by qualifying them with the nondescript term “group of students” is intentionally misleading.
Second, the fact that the OSPIRG rep admits that the money is “not entirely on campus” says it all. The entire contention against OSPIRG is not the fact that they may or may not be doing good things. It’s merely a question of whether or not mandatory tuition fees should go towards things that do not benefit you as a student. It’s not that opponents of OSPIRG “hate environmentalism” (or whatever propaganda they tell you), we simply hate paying for office space in Portland and paying for gas for trips to Salem.
Last, I find it entirely too telling that the OSPIRG rep said that “the ASUO supports reinstating OSPIRG”. While there very well may be some support for the group within the ASUO, there is just as much (if not more) opposition to the group. In any case, saying that the entire ASUO supports OSPIRG is an outright lie.
Further, the effect that lie has on students who may not be quite informed gives them the perception that OSPIRG is a normal, incorporated piece of the University of Oregon. Like their lawless usage of the famous “O” symbol, OSPIRG is trying to use the ASUO to brand themselves as “part of the team”.
If I was a member of the ASUO I’d be pissed the group was using my name as an endorsement of their product. As a student, I’m angry they’re spewing propaganda at my peers without batting an eye.
(The student responsible for this information wished to remain anonymous)
Friday, October 16th, 2009
“We’ve got to save the Alaskan Moose habitat!”
Earlier this morning I was reflecting upon my meeting with OSPIRG (and subsequent blog post) with a few friends when we came across a stunning realization.
OSPIRG is run by Reaganites.
Think about it. Every time you speak with one of these “campus organizers” they tell you that the money you spend spent on OSPIRG goes towards lobbyists, who in turn “try to lower textbook costs, tuition and work on environmental issues”. Of course this is a very roundabout way of doing things, as the direct correlation between money spent and money returned cannot be mapped out on paper.
It hit us like a ton of bricks… OSPIRG is a fan of trickle-down economics. Needless to say, we never thought the shady organization would be associated with policies popularized by Ronald Reagan.
Congratulations on your entry to the Republican party, OSPIRG. You’re right at home with all the other dirty thieves.
Thursday, October 15th, 2009
Just distributed to our boxes at the Kincaid bus stop, the hot dog stand, Lillis, 13th and University, Mac Court, EMU steps, EMU elevator, Rec Center and the Living Learning Center.
Expect to see distribution boxes come in to Carson and Hamilton as well in the coming week.
Wednesday, October 14th, 2009
The OSPIRG “Activist Toolkit”.
Yesterday Guy Simmons and I made an appearance at the OSPIRG meeting down in Suite 1. We introduced ourselves with our real names with no intention of hiding from who we are. We received a plethora of materials, including an “Activist Toolkit” that, among other things, included instructions on how to “rap” with kids about OSPIRG. (Because it’s still 1968 and the word “rap” is culturally relevant in that context)
The question I was asking myself as we sat down with these people was, “How are these people still here?” OSPIRG is not a funded or ASUO recognized group, yet they still have office space, computers, an internet connection, a phone and electricity (lights, etc) given to them at the cost of the EMU (and presumably the students).
Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
During a Commentator meeting this past summer Guy, Dane and I were in the office working on the Summer Issue. The temperature reached a blistering 109, the humidity was at 97. Our 3rd floor office in the EMU became so hot the computers over heated. Our only item on the meeting’s agenda was to set a goal for this year, our goal was to have more issues printed than Legarrette Blount rushing yards by October 14th. For those not keeping score at home.
Blount’s Rushing yards= -5: Oregon Commentator Issues=2
Monday, October 12th, 2009
I was interested in reading the Emerald’s article about yesterday’s anti-Columbus Day protest held in the EMU Amphitheatre by the Native American Student Union (NASU). In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past fifteen or twenty years, there’s been a somewhat high-profile effort nationally to end the celebration of Columbus Day because of the centuries-long decimation of peoples indigenous to the Western Hemisphere that happened in the wake of Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas.