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Archive for September, 2010

Christine O’Donnell Campaign Slogans

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

As Politico and The Huffington Post can attest, Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell is nutters. Since a good campaign slogan is catchy and lets a voter make sense of the candidate’s views, I propose these new slogans for the O’Donnell campaign, as well as the quotes their based off of:

“It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can’t masturbate without lust.”/ “I’m a young woman in my thirties and I remain chaste.”

Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: If you get aroused, the terrorists win.

“I dabbled into witchcraft. I never joined a coven.” / “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar.”

Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: I will turn Chris Coons into a fucking toad!

“You know, these are the kind of cheap, underhanded, un-manly tactics that we’ve come to expect from Obama’s favorite Republican, Mike Castle… Mike, this is not a bake-off, get your man-pants on.”

Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: Mike Castle is a pansy.

God may choose to heal someone from cancer, yet that person still has a great deal of medical bills.

Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: Obamacare is a sin.

“During the primary, I heard the audible voice of God. He said, ‘Credibility.'”

Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: God tells me what I don’t have.

“American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”

Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: I am bat-shit crazy.

Like the oil spills they loathe…

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

OSPIRG is seeping its way back on to the UO Campus. A representative, whose name I missed but for whom this is apparently her first year at UO (coincidence?), made a pitch to my J 4/583 class this morning, delivering the usual OSPIRG story about how nationwide activism for “causes that you’re passionate about” is worth gobs of your money. When I asked her point blank about what manner of events OSPIRG wanted to hold on campus, I got a long explanation that basically amounted to (and I’m paraphrasing) “we’re going to collect signatures and recruit students to phone bank and write letters to President Obama to maintain the moratorium on new offshore oil drilling.” ODE Managing Editor Lauren Fox was insightful enough to ask if OSPIRG had supported one slate or another in the most recent ASUO elections, which the OSPIRG Rep. emphatically denied. Her denial was carefully crafted to obscure for the class the connections between OSPIRG and the current Executive, or that combination’s plans to re-fund the former. Her appearance was intended to be an exercise in interviewing, but the distribution of interest cards and voter registration materials made it seem something else entirely. On the bright side, she’s coming back next week for a follow up. This will be fun, then.

Senate!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

For live coverage of a meeting of rhetoric and bullshit, click here.

Riot Update

Monday, September 27th, 2010

In a stunning display of independence and maturity, 400ish freshmen rioted in the intersection of 14th and Patterson last Friday, the 24th. It took about 50 police in SWAT gear to subdue the drunken masses, which finally cleared out a little after midnight (can you say after-riot party?). Tear gas was thrown, street signs torn down, and nine people arrested on alcohol-related charges.  UO President Richard Lariviere called the rager “completely unacceptable,” and pledged to improve the University’s relations with the surrounding neighborhood. Longtime West University residents seemed nonplussed by the incident, stating that it was, “earlier this year than in previous years.” The damages, which also included broken car windows (not cool, Freshies,) will cost the city about $10,000.

Both police and citizens have speculated on the cause of the riot, one theory being a deficit of large houses that, in years past, could accommodate tens of partiers. Without these Animal Houses smaller apartment parties have become the norm, but with small space and loud people come the inevitable spillage of drunks into the street.

One may wonder what this ridiculous episode means about the incoming class of ’14 and the future of UO partying in general. Clearly, these freshmen are ready to get their swerve on right away and at unprecedented levels. True, the first exhilarating taste of freedom can go to one’s head, but their overly enthusiastic antics spell problems for the rest of us. Increased party patrol vigilance will be a definite result, and pissing off residents could mean police visits to your house if your little Gleek party gets a smidge too loud.
If only there was a place where underage students could gather and get super shitfaced without getting arrested. Imagine, a gymnasium sized room to which freshman alchies could bring their 30-bombs and cheap handles and drink their little brains out. It wouldn’t need anything inside, no chairs, no decorations, just let them bring their pong tables, boomboxes, and nude playing cards. Who would need to riot when you have a chill spot like that?

Personally, this writer believes the true victims in this incident are the street signs. Every street in the West University neighborhood is a mish-mash of aging houses and pop-up apartment complexes that shit all looks the same. It is easy to get lost and impossible to find what street you’re on due to a large amount of missing street signs, which the city refuses to replace. It is understandable that they are frustrated with stupid kids stealing them all the time, but is there truly no way to bolt that them down a little better? It appears, from looking at the remaining signs, that they are just thin rectangles that slide in and out of a metal frame. Let’s try something a little more substantial, hmm?

More Riot Coverage

Monday, September 27th, 2010

If you like reading about silly freshmen making a fuss on a Friday night, you can read about it in the Register Guard and the Oregon Daily Emerald. From the RG article:

“The mass of people was admonished to disperse, but ignored commands, continued chanting obscenities, threw bottles and projectiles at officers, broke car windows and tore down street signs,” [Eugene Police Lt. Doug] Mozan said in a statement. “Tear gas was deployed only after the admonishments were ignored and when the crowd began throwing objects at police.”

The end of the Daily Emerald article shows a real victory for students, with President Rousseau making the best statement of her presidency yet:

ASUO President Amelie Rousseau condemned EPD’s response to the event, and said she believes that the use of weapons against students was an uncalled-for escalation of force, and identified it as “crude and disproportionate.” She also said that she believed the incident has affected her views on whether or not DPS should adopt a sworn and armed police force pending the passage of state legislation.

“I think this should make all students and the University administration think twice about bringing this type of intimidation on to campus.” Rousseau said, “This is exactly why we don’t want a police force on our campus.”

WHAT?!

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The first Ol’ Dirty of the year is out today, with a sexy new redesign and a ridiculous editorial titled, “Summer Senate deserves payment for work.”

Though the go-ahead was granted, the votes were so narrow, and the debate was it such a deadlock, that the senators decided not to file the paperwork to receive the stipend.

They figured it was in the best interest of the group to leave the money alone. They agreed to meet twice a month, unpaid, through the entire summer.

Though their decision was morally sound, it was very risky.

In the past, summer senates were not paid. Sen. Jeremy Blanchard said this lack of pay caused them to struggle to accomplish things.

The pay was, by no means, 11 senators asking for a raise, or demanding money for a new pair of shoes.

Rather, it was a way to pressure the summer senators to attend and do work worthy of students’ mandatory fee money.

Without payment, the resulting summer senate was clumsy at best.

“It went pretty quickly to a fail,” Lange said. Summer senate met quorum less half of the time.

Senators often left early, skipping out because of other summer time commitments. Some even ignored repeated texts and e-mails from other senators that questioned their whereabouts.

I would like to make a correction to the Editorial Board’s statement: The ASUO summer senate this year met quorum ZERO times. Because there were no official resignations from summer senate, every meeting was invalid. Oh, and when they did meet, they didn’t take minutes — at least I haven’t seen any. Last year’s summer senate at least had legitimate meetings, and — WOW — didn’t get paid.

Additionally, there’s this fancy document called the Stipend Model that most ASUO folks don’t understand and thus choose to ignore. This document outlines who gets stipends in great detail, from how much per month to how many months per year for each specific program. Senators would do well to look at documents that pertain to them, even if they’re difficult to read and understand. Stipend model outlines basic student senator stipends as $150/month for 9 months (Sept-May or Oct-June, depending), with NO money for the summer. These are things to keep in mind.

Finally, there’s this from the ASUO Constitution:

4.6 Conflict of interest prohibited. No member holding an elected position on the Student Senate, the ASUO Programs Finance Committee, the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee, Department Finance Committee or the EMU Board may vote on the budget of any ASUO or EMU program in which they will be holding a paid position during the year the fiscal budget is in effect. This section shall be construed so as to prohibit conduct that creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, as well as an actual conflict of interest.

This would disallow the ASUO Senate from voting on anything having to do with their own budget — including summer stipends.

The end of the article is my favorite. Lots of LOLz to be sure, but this takes the cake:

This year’s summer senate was a poor showing, but it did manage to accomplish a couple goals; including establishing a table at Intermingle on Sept. 24 from 5 p.m. to midnight, approving various special requests, and creating a project committee designed to scout the campus for concerns and issues to be addressed fall term.

HOORAY, you got a table at Intermingle! Clearly we should be evading rules to pay you for all your hard work.

Dissidents out of the woodwork

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

The Oregon Commentator has been made aware of a new student group on campus. Ducks 4 Liberty, which is not affiliated with the ASUO, is a small group of student leaders who are concerned with creating a real voice for real students. From their website:

Ducks 4 Liberty is an independent student organization with the desire to increase the student voice, fight apathy, and promote cooperation. Through several events and contests, we hope to reach out to the community and shine light on the many issues facing university attendees, such as sparse parking spaces and increasing tuition rates. D4L would like to boost collaboration amongst students while supporting the responsible growth of programs. Lastly, it’s important to protect student rights on campus and our investments in the University. Ducks 4 Liberty is working with the administration, ASUO, and student leaders, to better communicate student desires and increase accountability.

The description of Ducks 4 Liberty seems to me to be what the description of the ASUO should be. The ASUO should be protecting student rights, bringing student issues to light, and supporting the responsible growth of programs. The roadblocks exist in process, bureaucracy and the us-versus-them mentality to which so many insiders subscribe.

Oh, and, you know, making students care.

I think the most powerful thing Ducks 4 Liberty could do would be to succeed in making student issues real for students. It’s the biggest struggle every year for the ASUO, and I don’t see it getting any easier, especially considering that the newest UO students are likely more lazy and apathetic than any generation before (thank you, high speed internet). They’re off to a quick start though, with lots of events on their Facebook page, including a writing contest about how you would improve the ASUO.

My first thought? Slip-N-Slides in every dorm hallway. That definitely would have enhanced my freshman experience.

Last Night’s Riot

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

There was totally a riot in Eugene last night, in the West University neighborhood. Someone got a video:

Wow, freshmen are crazy. WELCOME TO COLLEGE, WOO! Sophie will have a longer post about it later. From what I hear, it was between 300 and 400 kids. Nuts.

UPDATE:
A brief from the Register-Guard.

Back to School, Back to the Booze

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Back to the Booze is on stands today! Get it while it’s hot. Inside we explore Summertime in Eugene, A Guide for Freshmen Transfer Students, as well as an introduction to everyone’s favorite waste of time: The Associated Students of the University of Oregon.

ASUO Summer Senate, September 22

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

If you click the link below, it will take you to live coverage of the September 22 ASUO Summer Senate Meeting.

ASUO Summer Senate, September 22!

ASUO Senate Resignations . . . Already.

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Two ASUO senators have already resigned, making me wish I had picked a higher number than six for total resignations this year. The two senators are PFC Senate Seat 1 Brennan Lowes and Education Seat 20 Mike McInerney, both elected with Alex McCafferty and Alden Williams on the Reality Check slate.* Their respective resignation letters are below:

Hi Kaitlyn,

This is Brennan Lowes, Senate Seat 1 on PFC. It is unfortunate that I have found myself in a position to have to relinquish my position as Senator. Given my schedule this school year, I do not feel that I could fully commit to the responsibilities associated with PFC and Senate. I want to be fair to the other Senators and the student body; therefore I feel that it is best to resign. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. Please let me know how I can help make this transition as smooth as possible.

Best,
Brennan Lowes

Dear Fellow Senators:
I hope this email finds you well and ready for a fun and successful fall term 2010. I write this email with the utmost respect to each and everyone of you. Currently I am dealing with a large amount of stress due to two majors, one minor, an internship, a job, and fraternity obligations and I have reached a point where the load is becoming overwhelming. I there must respectfully resign Senate Seat 20 effective immediately. I apologize to any of those who are angered or disappointed by this, but I please ask you to understand that this has nothing to do with any of you. I have the utmost respect for the ASUO and the service you all provide to the students at the University of Oregon. Again, if there is any questions or concern to me, please feel free to contact me. I feel that you need to have your full passion and heart/mind into a position such as senate, but due to my heavy course load and other additional activities, I could not provide my full time and dedication to the role. I wish you luck in the upcoming year in all activities each of you participate in, and if there ever is any way I can help any of you, I am always available.

High Regards,
Mike McInerney

If turnover continues like this, it’ll be difficult for the Senate to get anything done. The resignation of a finance senator, like former Sen. Lowes, is even more detrimental because the finance committees are so small, and after a certain point it’s hard to catch those members up on procedure. I guess we’ll just have to see.

*Full disclosure: Prior to working for the Oregon Commentator and coming to my senses, I was heavily involved with the ASUO election process – specifically with the Reality Check slate. Those allegiances are no longer in my line of vision, and I promise to snark on the whole ASUO equally – within reason, of course.

UPDATE:

Just received this email from Summer Senate Chair Kaitlyn Lange:

Hi everyone,

Unfortunately I have some bad news. Though I do not think he will be sending a resignation letter, Tyler Griffin will no longer be a part of senate. He has some extraordinary circumstances that will be preventing him from participating in senate.

-Kaitlyn

University to push for campus police force

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

The “Back to the Books” edition of the Oregon Daily Emerald highlighted the University’s plans to create a campus police force and the effort to legislation allowing them to do so. This would give officers on the UO Campus a much broader range of authority, as well as the possibility of these campus officers carrying firearms or other weapons. Current state statutes prevent campus security officers from carrying firearms, and while state law permits non-lethal weapons such as stun guns, University policy prevents UO Department of Public Safety officers from carrying them.

It is difficult to imagine, in light of incidents like the attempted drowning of two DPS officers by a suspect (reported in the Register-Guard), why Public Safety wouldn’t want to have at least some form of less-lethal self-defense available. Moreover, it’s somewhat interesting that the UO wants to jump from a Department of Public Safety that can’t even carry tazers to a sworn police force that would, by every estimation, carry firearms of some kind. Isn’t that skipping a few steps?

Similar legislation has been introduced repeatedly in the past, but the bill planned for the upcoming legislative session carries the full support of the UO. A “working group” to implement a UO police force was created in January by VP for Finance and Administration Frances Dyke.  Their progress thus far seems to be limited to the creation of a blog displaying links to articles on the subject in the Register-Guard. UO Public Safety has created a rather extensive FAQ page about the process, which can be viewed here.

What is notable about the process thus far is the complete lack of student input. The only student voice seen in any of the articles about the subject was that of ASUO President Amélie Rousseau, who, according to the Register-Guard article cited above, said “that if the public safety department wants expanded authority, it also needs to accept expanded oversight by the university and students.” This can be roughly translated as ASUO wanting a say in how law enforcement is conducted on campus, which is a surprise to . . . absolutely nobody.

The creation of a campus police force is already the stated goal of the University; there seems to have been no opportunity for student input in the process. While such a process would most likely include immeasurable whining about mean, fascist cops running around shooting students at random (as Rousseau did earlier in the RG’s article), its kind of unsettling that the student body has been fairly well excluded from having any sort of input on issue. Given the University’s history of cherishing student input, the outlook for student involvement on this subject is, to put it mildly, bleak.

Ding dong, the witch is dead . . .

Monday, September 20th, 2010

The Ol’ Dirty’s Back to the Books issue is on stands today, and new campus and federal politics reporter Franklin Bains has stretched his legs with not one, not two, but three boring articles about the ASUO intended to introduce coverage of the topic. I’m going to summarize each article quickly:

1. Rousseau has big plans for first few weeks of fall term: ASUO President Amélie Rousseau wants to do more legislative work (see: get a job with the Oregon Student Association or United States Student Association after graduating). She’s going to try and go talk to Greeks, because she wants “to do a better job of reaching out to students who don’t usually get heard.” The ASUO is registering voters, like every year. Amélie appointed her boyfriend, Robert D’Andrea, to the highly controversial Political Director position that she created just for him, but he has since resigned, “saying that his presence detracted from the ASUO’s ability to deal with important issues.” [More on this later in the post.] She moved money designated for the 2009-10 budget for use in the 2010-11 budget, which no other student program has been allowed to do, ever. AND, finally, she is “attempting to implement a smoke-free campus to protect students and staff from the adverse effects of secondhand smoke.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” Rousseau said.

First of all, great justification, Amélie. Seriously, top notch.

The Oregon Commentator has long held the opinion that a smoke-free campus is an absurd and draconian response to the issues created by students being able to exercise their rights on campus. The City of Eugene and the state of Oregon both have laws surrounding smoking near doorways and places of business — sometimes individuals must smoke ten feet from the door, sometimes 25 feet — that are as of this point not enforced by the Department of Public Safety on this campus. To create a smoke-free campus at this point would be putting the cart before the horse and simply an attempt by President Rousseau to say that she actually did something while holding the position. There are other problems associated with a smoke-free campus, including student safety and, y’know, policing adults consuming tobacco products in the ambient air.

The Oregon Commentator and the Coalition of On-Campus Smokers regularly organize smoke-ins in the EMU Amphitheater. Look forward to announcements of a fall term smoke-in around week two or three.

2. Who’s who at the ASUO: Descriptions of ASUO President Amélie Rousseau, ASUO Vice President Maneesh Arora, Summer Senate Chair Kaitlyn Lange, ASUO Legislative Affairs Coordinator Sara Marcotte-Levy, and Former ASUO Political Director Robert D’Andrea. From that section:

After Rousseau created this executive post in May, she announced this month that Robert D’Andrea would be stepping down from his position. D’Andrea said his involvement detracted from the ASUO’s focus on campus issues because of the controversy surrounding his appointment. D’Andrea’s appointment drew some criticism from the ASUO Senate for appointing her boyfriend because of how it might affect the running of the ASUO. Rousseau insisted that D’Andrea’s appointment to the post was based on the years of experience he had at the Emerald as an ASUO reporter, news editor and opinion editor. D’Andrea worked as a campaign manager for Rousseau and Arora in the 2010 ASUO election. As political director, he would have assumed some of the strategic functions similar to the chief of staff, while also directing other members of staff in media communication . Nevertheless, he will still be involved with campus groups.

What this article neglects to mention is the fact that since becoming ASUO Political Director, Robert has assumed the position of chair of the Working Class Caucus in the United States Student Association. For those playing along at home, many a former ASUO politico has gone on to get a position in the Oregon Student Association, United States Student Association, Fund for Public Interest, or other similar political organizations that seek to fund themselves from student money and support. In fact, some say it has a hand in who gets elected each spring. Robert is no different, and assuming he is still a student come fall term, I’m sure we’ll see him continuing on in this position.

3. ASUO’s importance exists in representation of students: An article outlining the structure of the ASUO, its various finance committees, and who technically has power over whom.

The one comment on that article, by “Thom,” states:

This article explains the ASUO’s functions, but falls flat on explaining the importance of such functions to the everyday student. The ASUO is a disconnected group of children playing esoteric games with other people’s money.

Thank you, Thom. I couldn’t agree more.

The Scariest Thing This Side Of The Steering Wheel

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

So we all know that Canada sometimes deals with municipal issues in an . . . interesting way. In my humble opinion this monstrosity takes the cake:

GAHHHHH!!!!!!!

Today, West Vancouver officials will roll out a new way to keep drivers alert and slow them down: a little girl speed bump. A trompe-l’œil, the apparently 3D girl located near the École Pauline Johnson Elementary School is actually a 2D pavement painting . . .

In what sounds like a terrifying experience, the girl’s elongated form appears to rise from the ground as cars approach, reaching 3D realism at around 100 feet, and then returning to 2D distortion once cars pass that ideal viewing distance. Its designers created the image to give drivers who travel at the street’s recommended 18 miles per hour (30 km per hour) enough time to stop before hitting Pavement Patty–acknowledging the spectacle before they continue to safely roll over her.

This is SO CREEPY I can’t even imagine. Isn’t it more likely than not that after these traffic calming devices are implemented drivers are actually going to hit more little kids? Like the boy who cried wolf, “Pavement Patty” will lull drivers into a false sense of security, creating more accidents than already existed.

Thanks, Canada, for the innovation. Let us know how it works out.

Diversity Quotas, Hooray! [UPDATED]

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Just received this email via ASUO Multicultural Advocate Alexis White, via the infamous United States Student Association:

Currently the USSA Board of Directors is in violation of diversity guidelines. It is important that we respect these guidelines for reasons we all might or might not understand. The Board has not met the diversity guidelines stipulated in the Constitution, which require that 30% of the Board identify as openly queer. So there are opportunities for those that are interested in applying for the DREAMERS Caucus Chair or as a at large Board member.

This is very important and I am taking the diversity guidelines very seriously. When we set guidelines as a organization it is important that we all do our part to meet them. I have attached the documents via Google docs underneath. Please consider applying to the positions and/or forward to anyone you know that might be interested.

The question arises: does one need to identify directly with a specific group of people to advocate on their behalf? I have a good friend — a white friend — who recently started work with the NAACP. She advocates on behalf of a population she is NOT a part of and — SURPRISE — does a pretty damn good job. It is certainly possible for individuals outside a certain demographic to advocate for those in that demographic. Maybe this is why the ASUO has been without a Non-Traditional Student Advocate for so long. Maybe if the student government understood that traditional students can advocate on behalf of non-traditional students, the non-trads might be better off.

Additionally, where did the 30% figure come from? Why not 20%, or 10%, a figure closer to the general makeup of the out-and-queer population of the United States? It’s likely an arbitrary number that a few students in a room (traveling on the student dime) came up with and decided they needed to fulfill, to maintain a commitment to diversity, or something. Personally, I’d prefer competent students serving on USSA boards regardless of sexual orientation than limiting the open positions to a very specific demographic, thus creating a smaller pool of applicants and a likely less competent supply of board members. But that’s just me.

This brings up another good point. How gay do you have to be to be a member? Is there some sort of gay-o-meter? What if you make out with a girl at a party, does that count? Do you have to date your girlfriend/boyfriend for a specific amount of time in order to be considered? Oh, but I digress.

The United States Student Association (and also the Oregon Student Association) have long faced criticism from the Oregon Commentator for wasting student money on conferences so people can discuss various pieces of legislation and continue to “advocate for students.” Bigger pieces of that tasty financial pie go to board members. Why not open that up to all members of the student populace? Isn’t that the point of the United States Student Association, to advocate on behalf of all students? Then let all students apply to be on student boards, regardless of skin color / sexual orientation / breakfast food preference. Maybe USSA could ACTUALLY serve students instead of taking student money and hiding it away at a retreat site in Seattle.

UPDATE:

Dear USSA,

Please upload your governing documents in a format that has a file extension, so interested parties can open them.

Thanks,

Oregon Commentator