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Archive for February, 2011

Because I care about you

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Hey kids, this isn’t a good idea.

Oregon Senate Passes Bill Attempting To Reinstate Home-Brew Competitions

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

As some of you may remember, Oregon home-brewers came under fire last summer following a DOJ decision regarding ORS 471.403(1). The law states:

No person shall brew, ferment, distill, blend or rectify any alcoholic liquor unless licensed so to do by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. However, the Liquor Control Act does not apply to the making or keeping of naturally fermented wines and fruit juices or beer in the home, for home consumption and not for sale.

The DOJ interpreted this to mean that once a home-brewer’s product is consumed outside the immediate home, the brewer loses his or her exemptions under the law and must be licensed by the OLCC. The effect of this and the reason for the initial inquiry were questions regarding the legality of home-brew competitions, such as those at the Oregon State Fair. As a result, the 23rd annual Amateur Beer Competition was canceled and Oregon legislators began searching for a way to continue the time-honored tradition of Oregon craft brew judging and consumption.

Enter Floyd Prozanski, the Democrat from Eugene and an avid home-brewer, who, back in August of 2010, stated he was set to propose a change in legislation during the next legislative session to allow for these competitions to occur legally. Introduced by Prozanski on January 10, 2011, and passed by the Oregon Senate on February 22, 2011, Senate Bill 444 seeks to “expand exemption of homemade beer, wine and fermented fruit juice from Liquor Control act,” as well as, “allow licensee to conduct organized judging, tasting, exhibition, contest or competition of unlicensed malt beverages and wine or homemade beer, wine or fermented fruit juice, or related events, at licensed premises subject to Oregon Liquor Control Commission restrictions.”

Prozanski was concerned when he learned of the existing law, prompting his jump into action:

“I was shocked,” Prozanski said about last year’s legal ruling. “My brew partner was extremely concerned because we brew at my house. Under current law, he would be subject to prosecution for transporting his portion home.”

But the bill passed the Senate without debate, and assuming it goes through the House, it should be in place in time for summer and fall home-brew competitions. It seems, for the moment, Prozanski and the approximated 20,000 home-manufacturers in the state are in the clear regarding transporting their goods.

As an aside, here’s some interesting info regarding the law and how it compares to other states:

Gary Glass, director of the American Homebrewers Association, said Oregon has one of the oldest laws in the nation, dating to the Prohibition era.

Even though it’s been a tough time for Oregon home brewers, he suggests it could be worse. Two states, Alabama and Mississippi, have laws that prohibit home brewing altogether.

OSPIRG Thrice Denied: ASUO Senate, 23 February 2011

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

OSPIRG State Board Treasurer Katie Taylor discusses the group's appeal with Senate members Wednesday night. Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll

EUGENE – The tension in the room was noticeable and focused Wednesday night. Even a group dinner at Sen. Kaitlyn Lange’s house prior to the meeting couldn’t erase the unease the 21 members of the ASUO Student Senate displayed throughout the evening, though one can only imagine what it would have looked like without the informal gathering prior to.

The rest of the agenda passed in a blur, until just past 10 P. M. After the meeting had returned to order, four students stepped into the open space at the end of the U-shaped table in the EMU Walnut room and almost five months of deliberation, debate and anxious anticipation came to a crescendo as the Senate took up OSPIRG’s appeal of the contract decision handed down by the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee.

The presentation from OSPIRG and the public comment period that followed were only a prelude to the Senate discussion that would follow, but it still OSPIRG’s first presentation to the Senate this year, and they used it for all it was worth. OSPIRG State Board Chair Charles Denson told the senators that OSPIRG was important to students because, “Rather than just doing things on campus, they’re able to take up a bigger perspective.” Denson went on to say that “Students want to be at the forefront of solving problems.”

With the conclusion of public discussion, the Senate speaker’s list was opened and almost every senator quickly stuck their hands out across the table to be added to it. Sen. Lamar Wise started out the evening’s discussion by saying that he thought that OSPIRG would be a good compliment to the campaigns the ASUO runs on various issues and moved to add a $45,000 contract to the ACFC’s Budget.

Sen. Evan Thomas was the first to speak against the contract. “I like your mission statement,” he said, but continued, “I don’t think this is where you should be getting your funding.”

Potential legal ramifications of funding OSPIRG were also discussed by Thomas, who said, “For senators that aren’t aware, this has been an issue across the country since 1983. There have been dozens of lawsuits.” Thomas expressed his belief that, without significant infrastructure changes, funding OSPIRG would result in a lawsuit directed against the University.

Sen. Kerry Snodgrass disagreed with this rationale, saying, “Please consider that as ASUO senators we are not responsible for making legal decisions for the University of Oregon.”

Others were more philosophical in their disagreements with OSPIRG. “I see no hindering of this state, campus, or nation by not funding OSPIRG,” said Sen. Max Barkley.

For many senators, it simply came down to a matter of dollars. Without an OSPIRG contract, the ACFC’s budget was set to grow by seven percent next year, the legal maximum for a major program budget. Other methods of channeling money to the ACFC were considered, as was drawing money from the athletic department. But a number of senators were not comfortable with these options. “We can’t joke about the fact that this money will be taken away from athletics,” said Lange. “We still don’t have the funds for this.”

Sen. Kristina Harding summarized these sentiments very succinctly, saying, “it just seems like that money isn’t there.”

The discussion got heated at times, prompting Sen. Zachary Stark-MacMillan to remind the body to, “Remember that we’re all students. Please be respectful.”

The arguments flew back and forth for almost two and a half hours. Eventually, Wise declared, “I don’t think we’re going to get much of anywhere.” Despite this, it still took three attempts to call the question and the number of names on the speakers list never dropped below double digits.

But it was bound to happen eventually, and it finally did a little after midnight. As Stark-MacMillan read off the roll, just as happens multiple times a week every year, the whole room held its breath as the results of the vote that everyone had waited for finally came in. Five ayes, 14 nays.

Some of the votes were unexpected. When asked about his nay vote, Sen. James Dos Santos told the Commentator that, to him, “The money really doesn’t exist. It’s like a hypothetical figure.”

Sen. Grace Hochstatter, who voted nay, told the Commentator, “I’m in support of OSPIRG and everything they do.” She continued to say that she felt the organization needed to be structured differently. “I think that this will be a catalyst, a conduit for that reconsideration, and hopefully good will come of this.”

Like a wave crashing on the beach and then quickly rolling in, the meeting accelerated towards its conclusion. ACFC’s final budget was quickly passed with minimal opposition, and the procedural matters of committee and officer updates were but a soft, delicate coda to a symphony of a meeting.

But the symphony is not yet over. When asked by the Commentator if she still intended to veto the ACFC budget, ASUO President Amelie Rousseau paused before flatly saying, “yes.” She continued to explain that, “The Executive is the only entity that’s providing a proactive option to have the most amount of students be happy with the ACFC budget.”

Stats, Notes, and Opinion after the jump. (more…)

SENATE: The Final Chapter

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

At least the agenda makes it looks like its going to be the end before we get out of here. Follow along with Franklin Bains (Ol’ Dirty) and myself here.

Irony?

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

“I applaud her for … questioning authority and holding power accountable,” Lariviere said.

This is a quote from Emerald reporter Stefan Verbano’s article today. And yeah, I think it is the same Lariviere who’s president of the University of Oregon. The one that hides behind the power of his office to avoid the accountability of face-to-face interviews.

Quinlan to Remain on ACFC, Says Con Court

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

EUGENE – Andrew Quinlan, at-large member of the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee, was found not guilty of non-fulfillment of duties by the Constitutional Court today. The decision, a result of a grievance filed on January 18 by university student Kevin Cronin, was signed by Chief Justice Andrae Washington and Justices Jerrett Glass and Casey King.

According to the findings of fact, “Quinlan had not filled out office hour information for winter term and had also not submitted contact information” as of January 18 when Cronin inquired as to the office hours of all senators and members of the ASUO’s finance committees. Cronin submitted his grievance, asking Con Court to remove Quinlan from the ACFC, the same day.

While the Court agreed that Quinlan had not posted his hours in accordance with the committee’s bylaws, they decided that the decision find a member in non-fulfillment was discretionary. The Court cited the presence of the word “may” in the ACFC bylaws, saying, “The word ‘may’ allows for discretion on whether or not to find non-fulfillment if any of the listed subsections apply. If this Court were to read otherwise the consequences would be downright draconian and reduce the Court to merely being the rubber stamp enforcer of the other branches.”

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Nick Schultz, joined in part by Justice Megan Benevento, argued that the rest of the Court had ignored the law to protect Quinlan. “In working to ensure that a harsh sentence is not levied against Mr. Quinlan, the Majority has failed to hold Mr. Quinlan accountable for his conduct.  In the end, Mr. Quinlan has been neither admonished nor reprimanded for his misconduct, which is in clear violation of the ACFC Bylaws,” Schultz said.

ASUO President Amelie Rousseau said “The GTN makes it really clear what the responsibilities are… I would hope that people would know the responsibilities of the job before they are elected.” Rousseau went on to say, “I do agree with the ruling that [Quinlan] is doing his job now.” She concluded by saying, “I respect the Court’s decision.”

When asked for his reaction, Cronin told the Commentator that, “Hopefully the decision will raise awareness.” Cronin went on to say that “ASUO members need to be well trained and need to learn how to do their jobs.” Though Cronin said a number of senators and committee members had not filed office hours, he filed the grievance against Quinlan specifically because “Quinlan was the worst of the worst.”

Calls and emails to Quinlan from the Commentator were not returned.

Sighted Around Campus

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

OSPIRG State Board Chair Charles Denson was observed talking to Sen. Max Barkley about the upcoming OSPIRG vote this afternoon in front of the EMU. According to sources close to the Commentator, Denson, along with ASUO Vice President Maneesh Arora, was also spotted discussing the subject with Sen. Brian Powell.

Tomorrow night will be fun.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly indicated that former ASUO Political Director Robert D’Andrea, not Vice President Arora, was seen conversing with Sen. Powell. The Commentator regrets this error, which has since been corrected.

And I Thought University Administrators Were Supposed To Be PR Professionals

Friday, February 18th, 2011

On Wednesday February 16th, 2011, University President Richard Lariviere did an interview with Professor Laufer’s J483: Journalistic Interview class. The Commentator‘s very own Melissa Haskin was in attendance and, like a good reporter, asked him why he has refused to do an interview with the Oregon Commentator.

The conversation:

Melissa Haskin: How come you turned down a face to face interview with the Oregon Commentator?
Richard Lariviere: I don’t see that that’s going to be of any use to the university in any way.
MH: How so?
RL: Well, I make my decisions about how to spend my time on the basis, almost all my time, on the basis of whether or not it’s going to be contributing in some manner to the fundamental mission of the university and that can take a whole range of activities with a whole range of groups, but I have to be able to take the group seriously.
MH: And why do you not take the group seriously?
Mr. Eddy (another student): Why not the Commentator, why this particular publication?
RL: Because when they asked me, I went and looked at their previous issue.
Mr. Eddy: And?
RL: And it was sophomoric and an embarrassment.
MH: How was it an embarrassment when the majority of the articles where academic? For instance, there was a several page article on why we need net neutrality.  So, how is that sophomoric? Would you like to see it?
RL: You asked me why I didn’t do it, that’s why I didn’t do it.

The audio of the full interview can be downloaded here. The part above occurs around 27:20. (The conversation continues to some ridiculousness, as I will mention in a moment.)

The best part about Lariviere’s explanation of his interview refusal is that there was no warrant. He gave no specific reasons as to why the Commentator is not worth his time. The president of the University of Oregon told a group of students involved in an extracurricular activity that their time was not only worthless, but an embarrassment, and seemingly didn’t think it was important to explain why, or how, or to empower these students in any way.

One problem here is how the Unviersity president is treating student programs. Could you imagine if he were to call any other student group an embarrassment? The LGBTQA? The Women’s Center? I love Jennifer Busby, but she walks around in a giant vagina costume and sings a medley of pop songs on behalf of the ASUO Women’s Center. As compared to the Commentator, is that not sophomoric? (Editor’s note: For the record, in my opinion, neither the vagina costume nor the Commentator is an embarrassment. Just illustrating a point.) If Lariviere had made this sort of comment about almost any other student group, the whole campus would be up in arms.

There are ~24,000 students at the University of Oregon, and only around 1 percent of them are involved with student programs. What business does the University president have demonizing those who care about their collegiate experience enough to try at something, anything?

Additionally, Lariviere is refusing to communicate with a student publication, a very clear way to communicate with the greater student population. (Yes, believe it or not, people actually read the Oregon Commentator.) Later in the interview, when asked how he intended to communicate with students, Lariviere mentioned how he was impressed with the Oregon Daily Emerald, how Higher Education Reporter Stefan Verbano is doing a great job, and how he would be happy to speak with him.

When I talked to Stefan later that evening, he mentioned the fact that he had been trying to interview President Lariviere in person for about a month regarding the Riverfront Research Project, and had that day received this email from UO Media Relations Director Julie Brown:

Hi Stefan,

I checked with the president about talking with you for the Riverfront Research Park story. He’s unavailable and recommended that Rich Linton can provide the administration’s point of view on the project. Rich is traveling quite a bit and would prefer if you contact him by email. You can reach him directly at rlinton@uoregon.edu.

Let me know if you don’t hear back from him promptly and I will follow up on your behalf.

Thanks,
Julie

Just to point out, this is going from an in-person interview with the president of the university to an email Q & A with the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies — a significant step down. Stefan came back to Ms. Brown to clarify that he still wished to speak with Lariviere in person, and asked if there was another time he would have time to talk to the Emerald (he also scheduled an interview to talk to VP for Finance and Administration Frances Dyke, just to explain the top part of the email). Brown’s response [emphasis mine]:

Hi Stefan,

I have you scheduled to interview Frances Dyke next Friday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m. She has up to 30 minutes available in her office.

For the Riverfront Research Park story, the president isn’t available and doesn’t have additional information to provide. Because the RRP is within Rich Linton’s research portfolio, he is the most appropriate source for you from administration.

Thanks,

Julie

First of all, the administration should not be directing traffic for journalists. But the problem, here, is that if the president doesn’t talk to us, he is not accountable to us. President Lariviere’s constant reluctance to be accountable to the body that he was made representative of is nauseating and makes us consider what it is that he is hiding.

This is basically what I wrote to him in my interview request later that day, which I also sent to Senior Assistant to the President Dave Hubin and Vice President of Student Affairs Robin Holmes:

From: Lyzi Diamond
To: Richard Lariviere
CC: Dave Hubin , Robin Holmes
Date: Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 5:10 PM
Subject: Oregon Commentator Interview Request

Dear President Lariviere,

I have just spoken with one of my staff writers, Melissa Haskin, about an interview you did with her journalism class this afternoon. She told me that when she asked about you declining an interview with the Oregon Commentator, you called our magazine a “sophomoric publication” that wasn’t worth your time.

As I wrote in my last letter to you, it is my opinion (and, I believe, your opinion) that every student in the University community benefits from being involved in extracurricular activities. I feel it was unprofessional of you to speak about a group of students who are involved in an extracurricular activity in such a flippant manner, especially when that activity has been continuously recognized and funded by the ASUO throughout its decades-long existence.

As I mentioned before, the Oregon Commentator exists to provide an alternative viewpoint to campus politics and discussion, and has done so for nigh on 28 years. Our blog has won multiple awards, and being involved in the magazine has provided amazing opportunities both for current students and OC alumni. To speak of an activity that is so important to so many students in such a negative manner is shocking, especially coming from a university president.

I would like to sit down with you and talk about the state of student affairs in the University of Oregon community. I am available at any time that is convenient for your schedule. We believe an interview with you is definitely worth our time, and that of our readers — and that talking with students should be worth your time, too.

Sincerely,

Lyzi Diamond
Editor-in-Chief, Oregon Commentator

As of 3:00pm on Friday, February 18th, I have heard no response from Hubin, Holmes or Lariviere. As I said in my email, his conduct was incredibly unprofessional, and to speak of a student group in such a manner is abhorrent. It’s outrageous. It should outrage you. Any university administrator that does not even put up the veil of trying to communicate with students is probably not a student administrator you can trust.

Editor’s note: Melissa Haskin will be posting a longer piece on the full range of answers Lariviere gave during his interview in a few days.

UO bottled water ban part of national groundswell

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The University of Oregon may ban the sale of bottled water on campus, due to its environmental effects, a growing trend on campuses nationwide.

The movement is part of a national campaign called “Take Back the Tap,” which was adopted and promoted by the Climate Justice League, a superhero cape-wearing environment-advocating student group at the U of O.

“Bottled water is not necessary because we already have perfectly good tap water, and it’s terrible for the environment. It’s better just to get it out of our economy, and out of our ecosystems,” said freshman Manny Garcia, co-coordinator of UO’s Take Back the Tap.

“If you were to take, in 2009, all the bottled water, and you stacked them on top of each other, you would go to the moon and back 65 times,” he said, adding that only 5 percent of those are recycled worldwide.

The Associated Students of the University of Oregon has voted to support Take Back the Tap’s proposal to ban the sale of bottled water; the proposal was passed 12-3-1.

There is no official data yet on how many bottles are sold on campus. Officials have collected data on the dining halls, but do not yet have figures from the food vendors in the student union or the athletics department, which they expect to be a substantial percentage of the total.

(more…)

Not homeless, just digital arts students

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Taking furniture outside isn’t exactly a rare site in Eugene, but Patience Stepp and Chane Gan decided to take the concept to the next level for a digital arts class, Artd 251: Time Based Digital Arts.

Patience Stepp and Chane Gan set up their "home" beneath the rain shelter outside the EMU.

As students crossed the intersection of University and 13th streets, they were greeted by the strange site of a green armchair and end table adorned with picture frames deposited beneath the green rain shelter. This wasn’t a Eugene transient’s temporary set up but the two digital art students class project about college students and home.

(more…)

On The Agenda – Everything: ASUO Senate, 16 February 2011

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Kate Bidwell addresses a question from Sen. Tom Schally (foreground) during her confirmation hearing Wednesday. Bidwell was confirmed to Senate Seat 12 (AAA, Psychology, Music) with no nay votes. Photo by Rockne Andrew Roll

News:

EUGENE – Nothing loomed larger over the ASUO Student Senate during its meeting Wednesday evening than the sheer size of the agenda. By the time the meeting had adjourned, senators had filled all its vacancies, dealt with five special requests, publically discussed public records handling and the dwindling surplus, approved the Department Finance Committee’s budget for next year, and gave the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee more money to fund the Lane Transit District contract.

The meeting commenced with UO Public Records Officer Liz Denecke discussing public records requests and how they affected student government. Denecke explained that, while ASUO records (including emails and other correspondence sent between senators) were considered public records, many of student government’s records were educational records, and thus required a significant amount of sanitization before they could be released in order to comply with federal statutes regarding student records confidentiality. Denecke advised senators to utilize their university email accounts to conduct business regarding the ASUO.

The Senate then moved on to discuss recent expenditures from surplus and their effects on the availability of funds for student groups later in the year. Sen. Evan Thomas expressed dissatisfaction with what he described as excessive allocations over the last few weeks, saying, “I think we have to be more frugal with our money.”

Surplus, the fund consisting of money that programs requested but did not spend during the previous academic year, is the Senate’s main tool for financing the special requests that are brought before it during the year. Many senators were concerned that current surplus levels would leave the body unable to fund large requests from organizations such as sports clubs, which regularly request surplus funds to finance their participation in tournaments and other competitions.

Sen. Brianna Woodside-Gomez, however, did not want these concerns to prevent the Senate from funding other requests that were deserving of student money. “Why is it fair to them that we were fiscally irresponsible before?” Woodside-Gomez said. After some discussion of possible alternatives to the current funding model used for Club Sports, a definitive conclusion was not reached.

The Senate followed the discussion with six special requests. While the Saudi Student Association did not attend to present their request, the Appropriate Dispute Resolution Board was granted a new line item in their budget to fund their attendance of a regional competition and the Multicultural Center, People of the Pacific, and Dance Oregon received a combined total of $7,740 in surplus funds. A request from the American Marketing Association was tabled for next week due to membership requirement concerns.

Transitioning to procedural matters, the Senate then voted on final allocation of $65,000 it had previously earmarked from Over-Realized Funds to fund a concert being planned by the Jewish Student Union for later this year, followed by sending funds received through the Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit to ACFC to help defray the costs of the ASUO’s contract with LTD. The Senate, with little debate, also approved DFC’s budget for next academic year. DFC, the first of the major program budgets to be approved, will distribute $971,528 to 11 campus departments which are fully or partially funded by student fees. This figure represents a 2.6 percent decrease from this year’s funding level, and was approved by a vote of 16 to zero.

Finally, the Senate fully filled its own ranks for only the second time this year with the confirmations of Kate Bidwell and Molly Bacon to Seats 12 (AAA) and 13 (Business), respectively. Bidwell, a graduate student in architecture, was very well received by the senators, who complimented her on her initiative in contacting senators prior to her hearing. “I think you would bring a lot to our Senate and our discussions,” said Rep. Christian Erichsen. Bidwell was confirmed by a vote of 15 to zero, with one abstention.

Bacon, on the other hand, did not have as smooth a hearing. Questions were raised as to her professionalism and qualifications for the position. “I think you need some training in how to conduct yourself in a professional environment,” said Sen. Kaitlyn Lange. Lange continued to say that “I think some business students might be embarrassed.”

The concerns didn’t stop there. “I disagree with your definition of leadership… It just seems a lot about you and how you want to be a leader,” Woodside-Gomez said. Sen. Blake Sedgley also questioned whether, as a pre-business student, Bacon could effectively represent students who were already enrolled in the business school. Nevertheless, by a vote of nine to seven with one abstention, Bacon was confirmed.

After a brief discussion of meeting duration and effectiveness, concluded by Sen. Grace Hochstatter asking senators to “Please think of how you yourself can be more efficient,” the meeting was adjourned.

Lyzi Diamond contributed reporting to this article.

Stats and Opinion after the jump. (more…)

Public Records.

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Tonight, the UO’s esteemed Public Records Officer Liz Denecke spoke at the ASUO Senate meeting about public records requests and how they relate to the Senate.

As some of you may remember, I submitted a public records request to the ASUO Senate for correspondence over the Senate listserv. That request was referred to Miss Denecke and, according to her testimony at tonight’s meeting, that was the appropriate avenue to take.

At the meeting, Denecke made it clear that the ASUO is an entity of the University, and all public records requests should be forwarded to her. She also expressed that the emails sent between senators discussing the business of the Senate or governance are a part of the public record.

It is with interest, now, that I take you to a recent request that was made for records on the ASUO Senate listserv. The request was not made by me — it was made by Oregon Commentator Editor Emeritus CJ Ciaramella. Below the jump is a series of emails between Ciaramella and Denecke. Read on if government transparency is important to you.

(more…)

Senate Senate Senate

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

ASUO Senate, 16 February, 2011. Follow along here.

It’ll just be me and Franklin for a while, then Rockne will show up. You can find the agenda here.

Sex advice: Ask An Tae Sik

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

This is highly suggestive to me. What about you?

Dear An Tae Sik,

My partner and I have been together for two years now, or four cycles of the Lunar Awakening. I’m a bisexual existentialist vegan sex addict and my husband is a pagan alcoholic transcendentalist baker with a liking for water sports. How can we incorporate all of our beliefs into one fuck-to-death shitshow of a sex session?

Sincerely,
Moon Goddess in Heat

Dear MGH,

Religion is the opiate of the masses. Trancendentalism is a false dogma perpetuated by the imperialists of the West. Alcoholism is highly counterrevolutionary. Veganism is bourgeois and objectionable. Homosexuality and bisexuality are pretty much OK, as long as they are not in public and do not embrace the bourgeois artifices of Western homosexual culture, though.

Just keep in mind: any sexual act you perform, as long as it is between two legally consenting partners, is admissible if you follow two simple rules. 1.) In your mind, you must picture the coming-together of your body parts as the peaceful, righteous reunification of the Korean peninsula under the banner of the Juche idea, and any orgasms as the bringing of happiness to all Koreans at home and abroad, under the fruits borne by the Dear Leader’s vision.

2.) There must be a portrait of Dear Leader Kim Jong Il hanging over the site of the intercourse and, should he want to participate, he must be allowed to do so.

Oh, I am getting hot under the collar now!

Dear An Tae Sik,

I have a mud fetish. I like being smeared with clay, dirt, mold, any kind of rubbish you find around the house. Here’s the thing: some people think that’s weird. And not just weird like nerdy weird, like WEIRD. One lady even spat on me! My question is: is my fetish normal?

Sincerely,

Dirt Is My Friend

Dear DIMF,

I don’t see what the big deal is. Back when I was nine and worked at the paracetamol factory in Rason, I used to come back from work smeared in mud all the time. Women never spat on me, but that’s because women weren’t allowed to be overseers in the plant. I certainly grew to like it, although I admit that was before I experienced running water — have you tried that, by the way? It’s quite nice. And if it’s normal in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, it certainly ought to be normal wherever you are.

Childish ASUO-related artwork anyone?

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Here’s an anonymous submission. Also, note that the photo itself, the work of Emerald photo-editor Aaron Marineau (to whom congratulations on the promotion), is funny in its own right for the melodramatic longing in Charles Denson’s eyes. It’s even more effective in the context of the headline’s text and styling.