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Archive for April, 2011

New Issue Preview: LTD Screamer John Brewster

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Photo credit: Rockne Andrew Roll

This man will be profiled in the issue of the Commentator hitting campus this Monday. Here’s a little taste, the reasons behind his decision to urinate on the floor of a Sprinfield jail:

“They brought me over there. When they take you from Lane County over there, they take you to a bathroom. You’ve got cameras on you, so I turn around, showed them my buns. They gave me hell for that.”

All laughter aside, John Brewster is homeless and about to be kicked out of his campsite in Goshen. The campsite is the most important thing in the world to him, his pride and joy. He calls it “paradise,” and he’s gutted to lose it. He doesn’t know where he’ll go from there. He asked me to tell people that, if they want to help him out, they should e-mail him at johnbrewster60@gmail.com.

Oregon Hates Westboro Baptist

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Thursday, the Oregon House of Representatives passed a bill that, while not mentioning Fred Phelps and his ‘congregation’ by name, is clearly intended at targeting the now-infamous funeral protests of the Westboro Baptist Church.

House Bill 3241 makes protesting a funeral in the state of Oregon a class C  misdemeanor, punishable by 30 days in jail, a $1,250 fine, or both. The bill:

Prohibits picketing of funeral service, burial service or other
memorial service and engaging in activities that are disruptive
of funeral service, burial service or other memorial service
within 300 feet of property line of residence, cemetery, funeral
home, church, synagogue or other establishment where service is
conducted.

The exclusion from the area would last from an hour before the service starts, to an hour after it ends. In a series of additional amendments, a couple acts have been classified as “disrupting a funeral service,” and will be prohibited within 1,000 feet of the funeral, classified as a Class A misdemeanor:

(a) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or
threatening behavior;
(b) Makes unreasonable noise;
(c) Disturbs any lawful assembly of persons without lawful
authority;
(d) Obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic on a public
way; or
(e) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by
any act that the person is not licensed or privileged to do.

The Oregonian noted that while several lawmakers brought up protecting free speech, none of them spoke out against the proposal, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court decided that such bans were unconstitutional, and violated the First Amendment.

Contention Before Cash: ASUO Senate Recap, 27 April 2011

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

EUGENE – Contention was the name of the game for the ASUO Senate this evening as the body worked its way through a long list of special requests. The meeting culminated in the confirmation of a new senator and a sudden adjournment.

While many of the requests were approved as they came in, the Mills International Center’s request for $2,000 to attend a conference was not well received by all. The request included a $70 per day food budget for the attendees as well as money for lodging at $259 dollars per night.

Sen. Brian Powell asked the group if they could manage a cheaper hotel, which the group said they could not. Senator Brianna Woodside-Gomez asked if they could pay for some of their own food, which drew neither an affirmative nor a negative response, prompting Woodside-Gomez to reply, “You aren’t willing to put in any money to pay for your own food, which if you were living in Eugene you would be paying for yourself?” Despite the disagreement, the request was approved at its full amount.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association’s $1,400 request for Chinese Graduate Prom Night was pared down to $150. Sen. Emma Newman was skeptical of the large request, saying, “I’m not sure it’s necessary to have this much money going to an event like this.”

The skepticism only increased when it was revealed that the group had selected the WOW Hall for the event, an $800 expense, as opposed to a cheaper room in the EMU. “In a nice, honest feed back way, you shouldn’t have booked the WOW Hall,” explained Sen. Kaitlyn Lange.

Further disagreement was encountered when KWVA presented its request for more than $13,000 in additional funds to support the appearance of RJD2 and the KWVA Birthday Bash, both now ostensibly a part of Mallard Madness. In a discussion lasting more than an hour and a half, Senators brought up the proximity of the event to the annual Street Faire, the timing of the request (Mallard Madness begins next week), the confusion as to what monies are going where in relation to Mallard Madness (and the various groups that are putting it on) and the size of the request on top of the $65,000 already spent as payment for RJD2’s appearance. After four different amounts were discussed, the request was finally approved at $6,674.

At the close of the meeting, Manny Garcia was confirmed to Senate Seat 8 (AFCF). Despite the short time that he will serve, the Senate was still rigorous in its questioning of the candidate. While Rep. Christian Erichsen was “really impressed” with Garcia, the final vote of 10-1 with two abstentions indicated that not everyone else was.

Powell then moved to adjourn and, despite widespread dissent, the motion passed by a thin margin. As such, officer and committee updates were not heard, and previous minutes were not approved.

Stats:

The meeting lasted 247 minutes, with two recesses. Net expenditures from Surplus totaled $14,113. Sens. Evan Thomas, Thomas Schally and Grace Hochstatter were not present. 8 Senators have resigned from office this year.

 

Oregon Legislature ponders how to make high school even worse

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Apparently just learning how to show up on time and do what you’re told isn’t good enough anymore. The front page of today’s Ol’ Dirty featured a story about Oregon House Bill 2732, which would withhold a graduating high school senior’s diploma until they “showed proof of application to college, the U.S. armed forces or into an apprenticeship program.” Sound like complete bullshit? Apparently not enough bullshit for the majority of the Oregon House of Representatives.

The vote was split 33-26. Two thirds of the House Democrats voted for it, and while the Republicans weren’t so keen on it (only one third voted for it).

So in addition to forcing young adults kids to enlist in the military or take on tens of thousands of dollars of debt in hopes of a brighter job market by the time you’ve hit legal drinking age, it will also create a new breed of dropout for students who don’t want to do either, or don’t know yet. That’ll be great for the already-shaky state of the Oregon educational system. But Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) sees it another way:

“This bill does not intend to tell anyone what the right choice is for them. It merely seeks to prompt consideration of that question,” Read said on the House floor. “Think about the student who intends to work in the family business. Wouldn’t he likely benefit from some accounting or bookkeeping classes at the community college.”

Yes, yes he (or she) would. But does he really think that there’s anyone on the face of the earth who’s thought about that more that the student has? After all, they’ve had a long time to think about it, and by that time probably had to answer to the incessant “So what are you going to do next?” from the family about 470 times. Maybe he knew exactly what he wanted to do at 18, and never spent most of his twenties wondering if what he was doing was really what he should be, (unless everyone else feels that way, too; if so, ignore that last sentence).

Next it moves on to the Democrat-controlled Oregon Senate (60% Democrats / 40% Republicans), where it will likely fester for some time before being passed along party lines and then blocked by the courts.

Senate

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Follow Along Here

Obama reveals birth certificate, Trump revels in success, nation asks why it should care

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Donald Trump is no doubt kicking back a shot of A. H. Hirsch Reserve whiskey after Obama revealed his birth certificate today. According to ABC’s story, Trump effectively creamed himself as he discussed the news with New Hampshire workers.

“He should have done it a long time ago. I am really honored to play such a big role in hopefully, hopefully getting rid of this issue.”

Great, Don. We’re all so glad you resolved this issue, all by your little self. I know that I can rest easier tonight knowing that Barack Obama is indeed an American citizen. I couldn’t trust the authenticity of a state governor, a doctor and a medical certificate.

Right on cue, RNC chairman Reince Priebus jumped on the bandwagon to tell Obama off for playing into a distraction. Because the GOP didn’t drive this debate to where it stands now.

“The president ought to spend his time getting serious about repairing our economy. Unfortunately his campaign politics and talk about birth certificates is distracting him from our number one priority – our economy.”

I’d like to ask the GOP why they’ve been plying this issue for the last three years instead of applying themselves to any number of other national issues.

Maybe Obama didn’t want to release his certificate because he knew that it would make republicans everywhere look like huge jackasses when they’re really just trying to do what’s best for the nation: find out where the president was born.

Apparently Guns Cause Suicide

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

The Oregon Daily Emerald reported today that the family of a university alumnus, Kerry Lewiecki, who committed suicide with a firearm are now pushing the legislature for a waiting period for handgun purchases. From the article:

“People get the idea that they can’t go on living and they act on that within minutes or even hours of having that thought,” said Lewiecki’s father, E. Michael Lewiecki. “If (Kerry) had not been able to purchase a handgun so easily, I think there’s a good chance it might not have happened.”

I sympathize with the family’s  loss, but I don’t see any logic to the argument that people who decide to kill themselves are regularly purchasing firearms at the time of their decision for the express purpose of doing so, even if Lewiecki did. Sad as it may be, I’m fairly confident that, had he not had access to a firearm, Lewiecki would have found another way to kill himself. Unless we as a society are intent on putting 14-day waiting periods on sleeping pills, too, then let’s be careful to not confuse method with motivation.

Recent Violence in West University Believed Gang Related, Says EPD

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

The UO Department of Public Safety sent this email to students earlier today:

April 22, 2011

To: University of Oregon students

From: Doug Tripp, Executive Director and Chief, UO Department of Public Safety

Today, the Eugene Police Department notified the community that there have been a series of potentially gang-related assaults in the West University area.  Please take necessary precautions for your safety and others.

EPD shared that during the past two weeks there have been five random assaults in the West University neighborhood that involve a group suspected to be street gang members. According to EPD, the suspects have been prowling the neighborhood, interjecting themselves into parties, some of which include underage drinking, where the suspects have assaulted unsuspecting men and women. Although no weapons have been involved, the assaults are violent and police are concerned that with the lack of victim reports, the crimes will continue and someone will sustain serious or life-threatening injuries.  More information is available at: http://safetyweb.uoregon.edu/content/eugene-police-news-release-potential-gang-related-assaults-w-university

The Commentator will be following up.

AB-InBev Serves $38.8 Million, Goose Island Binges On Profit

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

For those of you in the beer world who keep tabs on the  Brewers Association or the craft beer scene, you may have heard: Goose Island, a craft beer brewery, has just been bought by Anheuser-Busch (newly acquired by InBev).  What this means is that Goose Island beer could turn into the same watered down piss that AB already brews and bottles.  Typically the bigger company will sacrifice good ingredients like real hops, malt and barely to replace it with cost effective extracts and artificial flavors.  Speaking of beer tasting like piss, the Brewmaster  Greg Hall himself brewed his own concoction of beer the other night. Huffington Post reports:

It’s been a real up-and-down couple of weeks for Greg Hall.

The brewmaster at Goose Island announced in late March that he’d be leaving that role, as the Chicago-based craft brewer was bought up by Anheuser-Busch for a hefty $39 million. He’ll be leaving for an undisclosed new project, according to statements at the time.

And last Friday night, Hall celebrated his 45th birthday at Bangers and Lace, a self-described craft beer and sausage bar that Time Out Chicago recently named its Best New Bar.

Unfortunately, according to the Chicago Tribune, the celebration got a bit out of hand. In a conversation with the Tribune on Monday, Hall didn’t deny accusations made by the Bangers staff that he urinated in two beer glasses and left them at the bar.

Looks like someone partied a little too hard.  The intoxicated Brewmaster made his father’s brewery (of 23 years) become known for more than just beer the other night while celebrating his 45th Birthday at Wicker Parks Bangers & Lace.  Folks, this is quite the drunken tale.

Hall unveiled a brew all his own: pissing in two pint glasses. After throwing a few back Hall proceeded to go behind the counter of the bar and proceeded to urinate in two glasses, leaving them on the bar.  At this point Hall probably should have discreetly left, but he had to be escorted from the premises by staff to his car (hopefully he wasn’t driving).

Yes we can all laugh at the silly over-the-top drunken escapades of a man threw one too many back, but there is a bitter note to this story.  What beer lover might not realize is that Hall’s company has just sold out to a corporate giant which has a monopoly on almost half of the beer industry.  As Huffington Post points out though, craft breweries like Goose Island are doing well, but I guess if I was offered that much money I would probably allow myself to be bought too.

John Hall, the head of Goose Island, said that the company was quickly outgrowing its capacities, having to limit production of some of its most popular beers, and that the deal with Anheuser-Busch would help the company continue to expand. “This agreement helps us achieve our goals with an ideal partner who helped fuel our growth, appreciates our products and supports their success,” Hall said, in a statement on the buyout.

Looking at the real numbers, small breweries are popping up all across the country, the BA lists 85 breweries just in Oregon. Understandably Goose Island was growing but as the rest of the HP article points out, small breweries are gaining attention while bigger companies are losing it.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, craft brewing has been an exceptionally solid performer in an otherwise unexceptional beer market in recent years. Craft beer sales were up 11 percent last year, while the broader industry was down one percent.

I do not disagree with smaller breweries expanding, but typically with these sorts of expansions in the beer industry, it leads to a more generic product using lower quality ingredients just to cut costs.  It also moves the flow of money from within a state economy into the wider commercial economy, which results in states losing money to outside sources.  Whether it is sourcing ingredients for the product from farther away or giving jobs to workers who are out-of-state, it hurts the local economy.

When a consumer buys beer from a small or local brewery they are more likely to receive a fresher, higher quality product because the ingredients used in the beer were sourced locally (fresh is good). Sourcing ingredients locally means that brewers are supporting local farmers, creating a co-op effect within the community.  Radical thoughts: local people stimulating local economy by buying products that are made locally.  I am sorry for the locavore commotion train, but the dollar signs make sense.

Senate?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Due to the Noam Chomsky event on campus this evening, it is questionable whether or not the Senate will have a quorum for its regularly scheduled meeting tonight. Follow along here.

Take Back the Toilet

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Ever yearn for the days of elementary school, when all it took to be cool and edgy was to dare to step foot into the bathroom of the opposite sex? Well your dreams are about to be answered. Tomorrow, in celebration of Trans Week of Celebration and Disability Awareness Week, and coincidentally on 4:20 / Joey Lawrence’s birthday, the women’s restroom on the ground floor of the EMU will be open to people of any sex and /or gender, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Your ASUO representatives, along with members of Oregon Student Equal Rights Alliance and the LGBTQA, will be on site to welcome the tired, weary and huddled masses and promote gender issues as part of the “Be Free to Pee” event.

“There are many UO students who identify as trans, or who don’t identify with the male or female gender,” said ASUO Accessibility Advocate Kai Kubitz. “Many people don’t fit in the gender binary. We want to educate students that there are many genders.”

There are already a couple of gender-inclusive restrooms on campus, such as in the law school, Lawrence Hall and that corner of the Oregon Commentator office that smells kinda funny — but organizers hope that the event will pave the way for more officially-sanctioned genderless restrooms in the soon-to-be-remodeled EMU and Rec Center.

“Gendered restrooms are inherently discriminatory. Gender inclusive restrooms allow people to access the restroom without forcing students to make a statement about what gender they identify as,” said ASUO Gender and Sexual Diversity Kelsey Jarone.

The only real question we have is: Will the seat be left up, or down, when not in use?

… your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

The United States Postal Service recently printed a batch of stamps of our fair Lady Liberty. Great idea for a financially hemorrhaging national government agency! Or it least it would have been if they had used the right photo.

The New York Post is reporting that the $880 million in stamps that went to press carried the face of not our proud Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island, but a Las Vegas replica:

Somehow the Postal Service insists that the stamps, introduced last December, have “no error in the artwork.”

“The error was in the description, which we’ve changed to indicate was a replica,” Betts said.

An investigation by Linn’s Stamp News exposed the mistake after proving that the eyes, eyelids and eyebrows on the Lady Liberty replica were more sharply defined than those of the original statue.

The real difference between the two statues should be obvious to anyone: People arrive tired and poor at the New York one — and leave that way from the Las Vegas one.

The true beauty in government agencies is when they try to cover up their mistakes. And this is a pretty big one. To claim that the USPS intentionally used this photo instead of a photo of the original is pretty silly, and likely untrue — especially since it followed an investigation from a journalistic publication proving the image to be of the Vegas replica.

Is it offensive to those whose families braved the long and arduous journey across the Atlantic to find hope and prosperity within the borders of our great nation? As the member of one of those families, I’m going to say no.

But a hilarious embarrassment on the part of the United States Postal Service? You betcha.

Eugene Weekly letters: better than crack. Or crack-induced. Whatever.

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I opened the Eugene Weekly this week to the letters section (as I often do for entertainment) and came across this gem:

HAND JOB IS BETTER

Another case for legalized prostitution in Eugene:

There is more dignity and public service in offering a $5 hand job than being dressed as a national monument and dancing on 7th Avenue to remind us to get our taxes done.

The fuck, people …

Jeff Albertson, Springfield

The art is in the indignation.

I hit the EW website to find the letter and found another hilarious one:

BIRDBRAIN TIMES

Two days ago, I was staring out a window, when a common jay caught my eye. It was painstakingly burying a large peanut in the leaves right outside. Pecking, digging, stacking leaves … just like a squirrel, and all for a peanut.

Maybe birds should be in charge. On a good day we’d get stork-like treatment, on a bad day, a talon thrill ride into the sunset. At least birdbrains would follow predictable, instinctive behavior.

While we humans are slugging it out with ourselves — our instinct to survive apparently lost; our unpredictability growing.

It’s high time to bring on the birdbrains. What have we got to loose? [sic] Everything.

Dan Dubach, Eugene

Legalizing prostitution and handing the city over to birds: clearly the best way to solve our problems.

Nanny bill runoff

Friday, April 15th, 2011

This installment of Oregon news briefs is all about nanny bills. Special thanks to the Oregon Legislature for plenty of fodder via their vaguely-sexualized obsession with getting involved in other people’s lives.

Despite the fact that we already have anti-littering laws, cops are complaining of a lack of enforcement when it comes to flicking cigarette butts on the ground. Their plan: make a new crime, and classify “unlawful disposal of a tobacco product” as a separate littering offense that would carry a $90 fine. Current laws do cover cigarette butts, but are seldom enforced, possibly because “offensive littering” carries potential jail time, and is sometimes considered too harsh.

(more…)

HAHA- legal drinking age in Michigan 15 months? I think not.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

But this kid got lucky. Gives quite a new meaning to drinking underage.

I foresee freshman sending their parents cards with this kids picture and a note that says “at least I didn’t start when he did. Love you.”