Archive for May, 2011
Tuesday, May 31st, 2011
This Friday, the Oregon Voice will be facing off against Ethos Magazine for the second annual dance-off, at 12pm at the EMU Amphitheater. The Oregon Voice has made a promo/pump up/scare the competition video, which, I must say, is pretty awesome:
OV Vs. Ethos Dance-Off Preview from Quinn Moticka on Vimeo.
I’m not sure, but I’ve heard our very own Sudsy O’Sullivan will be making an unplanned appearance. Plus, it’s going to be hilarious and awesome. We will be there.
Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Inside Oregon is spreading the news about their new feature, classifieds. In an email with the subject of “UO ‘Craigslist’ available to campus community!!” Karyn Kaplan wrote,
The University of Oregon’s Inside Oregon e-newsletter, now has a feature for posting classified ads. This is a giant bulletin board to post items for sale. Check it out to see what’s on there and also please get out the word to other students and campus community members, it’s a great opportunity to share resources within our community. This is for PERSONAL items ONLY. [...] http://insideoregon.uoregon.edu/inside-oregon-classifieds/
The website currently has about 23 ads, dating back to February. There is quite a menagerie of items, including bikes, clothing and even houses. Just like Craigslist, the website is open to everyone-users do not need a .edu address to post. Unlike Craigslist, there isn’t a section for jobs or “personals,” nor is the navigation as straightforward. In essence, it’s a simpler version of Craigslist on a university website.
The website is relatively new and there are many directions it could take. With a little tweaking (design and requiring a .edu address) it could be very successful. To post an item or browse what’s already there click here.
Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Earlier this year eduHookups.com went viral. What started as a casual sex site for UChicago students turned into a dating/sex site for many universities across the nation.
The website had just barely made its way from the Ivies to the University of Oregon before it was sold. And for how much? $1,000. Seems a bit odd considering how many users were on the site. According to this website which may or may not be very trust-able, eduHookups was facing security problems.
A look at their twitter confirmed not only that eduHookups was sold on eBay but that the original site, www.UChicagoHookups.com, is now for sale as well.
Now the website redirects to http://www.ratemylasthookup.com where you can describe your last hookup in terms of bases, like you’re in second grade again! How exciting! You can even list their initials!
The Commentator deeply regrets the loss of eduHookups and in memorial (and on Memorial day) will be launching our own casual sex website www.oregoncommentator.com/ran_out_of_girls_at_the_district: A Sudsy Site for Casual Friends.
The Oregon Commentator, an independent journal of seduction/fornication etc.
*Nicholas Ekblad contributed to the reporting of this article.
Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Firstly, why the fuck is there even such a thing as an autopen? As I type this, spell check underlines that word with the squiggly red line of blunder. According to Frank James of NPR, “It is apparently the first time in U.S. history this has been done.”
Frank Jame’s article cites this part of the Constitution:
“Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.”
The automatic signature was affixed to a bill extending the Patriot Act. Georgia Representative Tom Graves of Georgia sent a letter to Obama, asking him to confirm whether he takes the constitution seriously.
…Just kidding, Tom Graves didn’t say that. But he did sort of call him out. This whole happenstance is excruciating political bullshit. Read the article outside, or next to a toilet. There are pictures of the autopens, too. They show six different kinds.
It would seem to me that having such a device would eventually debase, maybe even eliminate the importance of a signature. However, Obama is in Europe and that’s why it was done. He even signed a document authorizing the use of the autopen while abroad. So, I guess I understand that.
But the fucking Patriot Act?
Goddamnit, Obama… Goddamnit.
Thursday, May 26th, 2011
In a time where young people learn about history through video games and summer blockbusters and blogs are more highly read than books, a significant challenge is presented, not only to teachers who are trying to move students through the education system, but also to parents, politicians and those trying to educate and inform the the next group of young Americans about, among other things, the history of our great nation. In a culture so fragmented and disengaged, it is necessary to change the way we look at education in all forms, but it is arguably most important that young Americans know why there here, what that means, and how it all came to be.
It is likely with this in mind that the Bill of Rights Institute, an nonprofit based out of Arlington, VA that charges itself with educating young people about the United States Constitution, has started a new project: live-blogging the 1787 Philidelphia Convention.
This summer, the Bill of Rights Institute will be blogging the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.
Beginning … May 25 – the date when enough delegates had arrived to give the Convention a quorum – the Bill of Rights Institute’s ”A More Perfect Blog” will give weekly accounts of the key actions and conversations of the Convention.
The project is already underway, starting yesterday with the election of convention leadership, convention rules and the Virginia Plan. You can read the blog here. And please, tell as many young people as possible. It’s oging to be an amazing summer, made only greater by young Americans being informed about their history and the rights and freedoms they are granted because of it.
(Hat tip to Adam Kissel over at FIRE for pointing us to this cool project.)
Thursday, May 26th, 2011
A study recently released by the Harvard Graduate School of Education seeks to solve the growing disconnect between the job market and academia by focusing on job training and education.
With barely half of the students enrolled in four-year colleges completing their bachelors degrees in six years and even less completing an associates degrees in three years, it is evident that college-prep should not be the only focus of High School. Indeed, many students drop out because the relationship between their courses and possible jobs is blurred.
This is not only a problem in High School, but college as well. With the variety of courses required for graduation being confusing at best and alluring course offerings like Zombies in Popular Media, Philosophy and Star Trek, and Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame, one can easily be distracted from reality. Moreover, the connection between education and career can be befuddling— what can you do with a history or Latin degree? What kind of job can you get a bachelor’s degree in economics?
What’s more, while Community Colleges face lower funding, they often produce graduates that earn more than those who earn a degree from a four-year university. “Pathways to Prosperity”, the study recently published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education reports, “27 percent of people with post-secondary licenses or certificates—credentials short of an associate’s degree—earn more than the average bachelor’s degree recipient.”
Professor Vedder of the Ohio State economics department made similar comments in his October article “Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?” stating ” the growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all” noting that more than 317,000 waitresses have college degrees.
Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
“I have become a preaching machine!”
Thumping a well-worn blue Bible, Jed Smock – or Brother Jed, as he likes to be called – is one of the new faces generating controversy around the EMU Amphitheater for his confrontational preaching method. Sporting a bowtie, a sweater vest and a blue blazer, Brother Jed addresses individuals in the amphitheater audience and calls out to “wicked” and “promiscuous” students about how to “change their ways and follow Christ.”
A self-admitted “former hippie” who “found Jesus on a hippie commune in Africa,” Brother Jed is usually met with disdain, mockery and impassioned debate from students, groups such as the Alliance of Happy Atheists and random people walking by the amphitheater.
I had a chance to sit down with Brother Jed and talk about his presence on the University of Oregon.
Oregon Commentator: Why did you decide to preach in the University of Oregon amphitheater?
Brother Jed: I mean, you’re not going to get college students to get up and go to church early in the morning. So we need to go to them.
OC: Would you say you’ve made an impact [on campus]?
BJ: Oh, yes. I was just talking to someone who recently started reading the Bible. I get letters on my website, brotherjed.org, letters I’ve received from student over the years. They go something like this: “Dear Brother Jed, Your preaching made me so mad that I started reading the Bible to prove you wrong.” And then they find the faith!
OC: So is provoking people the main way you get your message across? It seems very in-your-face, very uncomfortable.
BJ: Yes, you need to engage the audience. I call it confrontational evangelism. The radical left [in the 1960s] talked of “confrontational politics,” really challenging the establishment. Whether you agree with their position or not, it worked… So yes, I want to stir up controversy and dialogue and debate… all college students are thinking about is mundane. They’re not asking “What is our moral foundation?” They aren’t the true questions, the right questions. They’re just focused on “Oh, I’ve got a test today” and “I hope I get laid tonight.” You’re distracted from God.
OC: Let’s talk a bit about how you became a Christian. You mentioned that you lived on a hippie commune in Africa…?
BJ: Yes, I did. One day a man who was dressed in Arabic attires – you know, a turban, a robe, all that – came preaching Jesus to us on Christmas Day, 1971. And we all laughed at him! But as a historian I had to admit that the Bible has great literary qualities. I mean, I was the son of an English professor and some of the greatest works of literature have been inspired by the Bible. So I thought I should read it for academic and spiritual purposes. I was going to study under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India but I thought “Why don’t I study my religion instead?”
OC: So Judaism, Islam and Christianity all recognize Jesus as a prophet.
BJ: Well, the Jews don’t.
OC: Right. But still, all three religions come from the tree of Abraham. Would you say there’s kinship between Jews, Muslims and Christians?
BJ: Islam denies that Jesus died on the cross. The Qur’an says that “God had no son”… so really Islam is an attack on Christianity. They deny Jesus’ sacrifice. We’re different. No, we believe in the Trinity. We believe Jesus is God!
OC: Has being in academia informed how you preach?
BJ: Yes. I remember reading the Bible and wanting to tell the good news to people! But there’s only so much you can do inside a building, so I decided to go outside.
OC: Would you say you appeal to reason in your preaching?
BJ: It’s about preaching but it’s also about teaching. It’s an appeal to man’s conscience, recognizing this party lifestyle and trying to get them thinking about their life. Most students aren’t thinkers, they’re feelers. So I appeal to that emotion.
OC: Let’s talk about Satan. Do you believe in Satan, that there is an evil force out there?
BJ: I do believe in a fallen angel, Lucifer does mean “bringer of light.” He was perfect in all of his. But they found sin in him. So he rally one third of the angels to rebel against God. Now that took a long time, that’s not an overnight thing… I do believe Lucifer became frustrated with God because God governs the universe not by sheer force but by love. And love puts restraints on us all. It’s like our soldiers over in Afghanistan… if we didn’t have this Christian morality, we’d just wipe ‘em all out, get it over with, y’know? [Laughs] But God is about love, so we can’t do that. God is gonna demonstrate that love always wins. The Devil has all this experience in the realms of hate and power, but what looks stronger than Jesus hanging on the cross? Love defeated hate on the cross. Love will defeat evil.
OC: Would you say the devil is on college campuses? How do you reason that?
BJ: I do believe in demonic possession. I don’t think any students are possessed, but the Devil does influence us with temptations.
OC: What kind of temptations?
BJ: The drugs, the alcohol and the sex before marriage… they all make us morally weak. Drugs and alcohol puts our conscience to sleep. And the music! They’re listening to this decadent rock music, or hip-hop and this music is seductive!
OC: Thank you for your time, Brother Jed.
A story on the controversy surrounding Brother Jed will be available in the forthcoming Commentator.
Monday, May 23rd, 2011
Senate Bill 764, which has made its way through the Oregon Senate and has been referred to the House Business and Labor Committee, allows the OLCC to adopt a new rule: municipalities with over 50,000 residents can, through a petition from a representative, declare alcohol impact areas. As it stands currently, the only municipalities that can petition for an alcohol impact area are those with over 300,000 residents, of which there is only one: Portland.
In September 2010, Portland filed one such petition, which was approved in December. The alcohol impact area in that case included that licensees in portions of downtown and northwest Portland and had many stipulations regarding malt beverages and wine, including that OLCC licensees cannot sell malt beverages of over 5.75% alcohol by volume (ABV) and wine or cider over 14% ABV.
From what I understand, these impact areas are designed to cut down on public intoxication and general disorderly conduct in public places. Eugene has experimented with this before, over in the Whiteaker neighborhood: Commentator contributor Ben Maras has a great post about those over on his blog. On the Whiteaker experiment:
With the Whiteaker experiment last year, three stores were asked to participate by removing high content (8% alcohol by volume) hooch from their shelves, and one agreed to participate on its own.
After 90 days, advocates looked at crime statistics and decided that yes, correlation was as good as causation. They declared it a runaway success, comparing it to similar experiments in Washington that yielded a drop in alcohol related crime – shockingly – where people couldn’t buy their booze of choice.
The response from business owners who rely on these products for much of their revenue has been less than enthusiastic. Of the 43 businesses the OLCC spent months courting to voluntarily join the “alcohol impact zone” only nine were game. This was in part because of the amount of their reported sales that malt liquor and bum wine comprise (30%, according to some), and part in fear that if they complied and other businesses didn’t, they would lose business. The OLCC’s response: Force everyone to comply.
The forward movement of the bill likely has to do with the success of the experiment, which, if passed, would definitely impact Eugene and its 156,185 residents.
The question then comes to, as it often does on the Commentator blog, at what point are we sacrificing our personal choice for a “greater goal” (perceived safety, in this case)? One of the OLCC’s stated goals is to prevent over-saturation in the state by regulating the 143 liquor stores in Oregon (yes, all of them are state-run) and owning/distributing every drop of liquor in the state. But when do post-prohibition policies run their course? When do we trust Americans to make their own decisions?
Depending on the passage of this bill, only time will tell. For now, I’m going to buy a 40 of Mickey’s and enjoy it while I still can.
(P.S. Serious hat tip to the Oregonian for Your Government, which allows Oregonians to keep track of their representatives and the pieces of legislation they sponsor.)
Monday, May 23rd, 2011
So Emi Koyama, the “activist and writer” I referenced in my last post about the Student Insurgent, has written an open letter to me and the Commentator regarding my characterization of her as an advocate for sex trafficking. Apparently, she is not. Her letter can be found here.
The focus of my post was not meant to be on Emi Koyama, but was meant to make fun of the Insurgent. Maybe not the classiest of moves, but whatever. She is right: I did not attend her presentation, and perhaps it was rash of me to jump to such conclusions about her standpoint. According to Ms. Koyama, she is not an advocate for sex trafficking, so there you go.
I assume her letter was sent to our editor’s account, which I no longer have access to, but if she’s out there reading, please respond to the post with your email address and I will send you an email. I’m very curious to talk to you about your viewpoint.
(And, for the record, I am no longer editor-in-chief of the OC, I am the blog editor.)
Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
The Student Insurgent, in a surprising turn of events, is actually doing something. I would be proud, if their actions weren’t entirely asinine.
First, they hosted a guest speaker last week who advocated sex trafficking. No joke. From their blog:
War on Terror & War on Trafficking:
Why Irrational Panic over ‘Modern Day Slavery’ Harms Women
Thursday May 19th, from 6-730pm in Condon 104, University of Oregon.
Presented by Emi Koyama, War on Terror & War on Trafficking examines “facts” promoted by the anti-trafficking groups and “experts,” and exposes how they have distorted our conversations about sex trafficking and prostitution and harmed women, sex workers, immigrants, and others.
The presentation also explores many ways in which the new War on Trafficking resembles the so-called War on Terror in its worldview, approach, and devastating impact on vulnerable communities. [...]
Come to find out why:
• Average age of entry into prostitution is not 12-14 year old
• 300,000 children are not at risk of being trafficked
• A third of runaway youth are not trafficked within first 48 hours
• Super Bowl and World Cup did not contribute to human trafficking
• Portland is not “Pornland, Oregon”
• “End Demand” approach targeting “johns” harms women
• Anti-trafficking “experts” should not be trusted (remember Bill Hillar?)
• Trafficking is often the State’s excuse to raid immigrants and communities of color
• Anti-trafficking movement distorts reality and misleads public policy
Clearly, the Student Insurgent advocates sex trafficking. The Commentator will be looking more into this story, including whether or not the Student Insurgent is housing underage, trafficked prostitutes in their office. Look for that next week.
Additionally, as I was walking by the Commentator distribution rack outside McKenzie Hall this afternoon, I saw this flier sitting on top of our HATE issues in the rack:
You know the Commentator. Constantly committing acts of ableism (which, and I’ve looked through our archives, I can’t find), objectifying women AND men, and generally slandering our fellow students.
Any responses to this flier should not only be directed to Dr. Shang (who, by the way, won the Professional Baller Tater Award last year) but also to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Best response receives a Sudsy t-shirt and a hug from me and Sophie — AT THE SAME TIME. How can you say no?
On a more serious note: free speech, bitches. Deal with it.
EDIT: I can’t be sure this flier was indeed placed by the Insurgent, but based on the conversations I’ve had the last week, I can only guess.
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
The Center for Disease control wants you to be safe in the case of all possible. Including cannibalistic undead uprising. On Monday the CDC released “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse,” urging Americans to think of the safety of themselves and their loved ones in the unlikely case of a ghoul situation.
There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.
Whether one calls them ghouls, zombies or just “the infected” is a matter of semantics, of course. As the article points out, the term “zombie” originally came from Haitian / voodou origins, and referred to a reanimated corpse brought back by some form of necromancer to follow the evil priest’s will. But realistically, that isn’t the sort of zombie you’ll be up against in the case of undead infestation. More likely, it’d be Night of the Living Dead-style ‘ghouls': slow, stumbly groaning monsters with a penchant for human flesh. (more…)
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
The Oregon Supreme Court ruled today that qualified medical marijuana card holders can also apply for and receive a concealed-carry license. The case goes back to a retired bus driver in Grants Pass, who made the mistake of admitting that she was a cardholder in the state-run medical marijuana program when she went to renew her concealed carry license. Officials branded her as a drug addict and said that her medical treatment program barred her from the right to carry a concealed weapon under federal law. But the Supreme Court of Oregon reminded cleared things up for them.
The ruling issued in Salem, Ore., upheld previous decisions by the Oregon Court of Appeals and circuit court in finding that a federal law barring criminals and drug addicts from buying firearms does not excuse sheriffs from issuing concealed weapons permits to people who hold medical marijuana cards and otherwise qualify.
“We hold that the Federal Gun Control Act does not pre-empt the state’s concealed handgun licensing statute and, therefore, the sheriffs must issue (or renew) the requested licenses,” Chief Justice Paul De Muniz wrote.
In other words: states’ rights, bitches. Labeling law-abiding medical patients as dangerous criminals because their treatment is “wrong” in the eyes of authoritarian lawmakers is not only petty and childish, but also downright dangerous when real criminals come into the picture.
The more innocent people get caught up in the prohibition mentality, the more ambiguous the justification for these laws becomes. If the goal is merely to keep guns out of the hands of violent offenders (who are less likely to follow concealed carry laws anyway), it’d be difficult to find anyone less violent than a stoned medical marijuana patient. Oregon has nearly 40,000 registered marijuana patients, who don’t fit the Cheech and Chong paradigm, and have had their medicine prescribed for any number of reasons. Their rights, as well as the rights of the states to make their own policy on guns, drugs, etc., should trump federal meddling of how things “ought” to be.
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
Hey hey, look to your right. Yeah, see that? It’s the HATE ISSUE and you want to read it. Trust me. We’ve got hate everywhere. See you can download it here as well. You can also pick up a print copy today on campus, provided you got your lazy hungover ass out of bed (here at The Commentator we don’t judge you for your Tuesday drinking antics).
In it you will find lots of charming rants about the tea party, so-cal girls, student loans, football, the Greek system, iClicikers, Vegans and the ASUO.
But the fun doesn’t stop there! Our own Alex Tomchak Scott interviewed University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere and there’s a four page transcript to prove it!