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Archive for January, 2012

FINALLY: The Apocalypse Issue!

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Get it while it’s hot, bitches.

The Apocalypse Issue

ASUO Senate – 1/25/11

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

A Most Unholy Union

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

(photo credit: Lumiere)

As reported by Emily Schiola in today’s ODE, ASUO Vice President Katie Taylor and former OSPIRG Board Chair Charles Denson have been engaged in wedlock since November 2009, when Denson was working for the notorious fee-wasting “student” group.  Since Denson was the chair of OSPIRG’s board until a month ago, this raises huge questions of favoritism and conflict of interest in the support the Eckstein-Taylor administration has shown for OSPIRG. Apparently there were also members to the ASUO who were complicit in hiding this important piece of information from the student body.

“Taylor acknowledged that there are members of the ASUO who know about the marriage,” Schiola wrote, “but said [she] doesn’t talk about her personal life often.”

Though both Taylor and Denson assert  “that they keep their professional and personal lives separate,” it seems incredibly unlikely that they wouldn’t be at least doing a little ASUO role-play every now and then (“I make a motion to put myself inside you….” “Motion accepted.”).

All sex talk aside, its incredibly shady and irresponsible of Taylor to hide this from the student body she claims to support, especially with the OSPIRG budget decision looming (for those not in the know, they want to up it by 97 percent. Yes, really.) How can approving an unnecessary budget increase for a program that your HUSBAND was Board Chair of not more than a month ago not be construed as favoritism? We will have to see how Taylor rationalizes that one.

There have been rumblings that this is purely a sham marriage concocted to receive better financial benefits (much like my own) something that is incredibly illegal and distasteful for two people holding public office (but completely acceptable for two editors of a political humor rag.)

What will come of this explosive revelation? Probably nothing, because 80-9 percent of the student body has no idea what OSPIRG is beyond the annoying canvassers who stand outside of Lillis. But for the tiny percentage of us who give a fuck about the dishonest conduct of our governing body, Taylor has amends to make. She should either A) divorce Denson and defund OSPIRG; B) renew their vows together in the Fishbowl on a crowded Wednesday afternoon and defund OSPIRG; or C) engage in polygamy with Robert D’Andrea and Denson to make this Devil’s threesome complete and defund OSPIRG . These are the only acceptable way for her to rectify her insidious betrayal to the students of UO.

(Edit: an earlier version of this post was published under Alex Tomchak Scott’s name. The real author was Sophie.)

OC editor, former publisher also married

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Publisher Emeritus Ross Coyle (pictured) and Editor-in-Chief Sophia Lawhead have been in a sham marriage for two years. They have never so much as been photographed together.

Look, it didn’t occur to us until now that this would be an issue, but our editor-in-chief and publisher emeritus have been married for two years.

Better financial aid packages are available to married students and, though Publisher Emeritus Ross Coyle’s schooling was paid for because he is a member of the US Army Reserve, Editor-in-Chief Sophia Lawhead would not have had the money to attend the University of Oregon if her sham marriage to Coyle didn’t up her financial aid.

Coyle has said he thought the marriage would be a romantic union when he entered into it. Lawhead admits she perpetuated that illusion.

The Commentator is unapologetic about this situation. It’s a matter of class. Some of us have rich parents who can pay our way through school. Others need to defraud the government. It’s all in the game.

Lawhead said her relationship with Coyle “has not had any impact” on the Commentator’s affairs.

“This year, I have been more removed from the Oregon Commentator than I ever have,” Lawhead said.

We wouldn’t have even mentioned it except that it seems this kind of thing is such a big deal to everybody.

OLCC Officer gets “Best Use of Government Office Space” Award

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

A state liquor inspector has resigned after allegations that he had sex with his wife and with a girlfriend in an office in the Hillsboro Police Department’s East Precinct. He also was accused of using a state account to buy gas for his personal car.

 Harry Hyun is one of the OLCC’s 40 sworn peace officers who “monitor activities and enforce rules at state-run liquor outlets and at bars licensed to sell hard drinks.”

 After a rough day of visiting bars to monitor their alcohol consumption, who wouldn’t want to finish it with a nice shag on top of the copy machine?

Hyun confessed “that he had brought his wife and girlfriend into his office and on several separate occasions he had engaged in sexual activity with them.”…  The visits to the office apparently had been going on over a period of two years before they were discovered.

 TWO FUCKING YEARS!!! Perhaps someone in the OLCC office knew about about Hyun’s desktop copulation but didn’t report it (more likely, they got to participate). Regardless, the OLCC doesn’t appear to effectively monitor how their employees spend their time or money.

It’s important to point out that “the internal investigation found no evidence of illegal misconduct.” It’s not actually illegal to have sex in a government office; it’s just bad PR. In the history of taxpayer-funded sexcapades, Hyun’s situation is one of many small-scale repeats of Bill Clinton’s blowjob-under-the-Oval-Office-desk scandal: it would have made a great story if he didn’t get caught.

Harry Hyun chose to resign as investigations of his office yielded more surprises:Investigators found state motor vehicle records on his desk that apparently were for personal use rather than official business… Hyun signed an agreement with the state to immediately repay $345 to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for the gas.

Because Hyun violated self-evident ethical principles like stealing (read: because Hyun was caught and brought to the media’s attention), he “agreed never to seek work with the state again.” Thanks, Harry, we all feel better now. I’ll bet you $345 that he’ll find another government agency to screw around with.

 They might as well pat him on the head and say, “Okey-dokey, Harry, run along now and be a good boy!” Shouldn’t sworn peace officers be held to a higher standard? If any other citizen stole gas or siphoned state funds for personal use, they couldn’t just “pay it back and promise not to do it again.” Way to let your own folks off the hook, OLCC!

Your Art Degree Might Not Be So Useless Afterall

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

From the NYT via UO Matters, a recent survey of the college degrees earned by the notorious one-percenters gives some insight into the earning potential of your major. The highest earners were fairly predictable: pre-med, economics, biochemical science, and biology, but zoology can apparently get you the big bucks, and Art History and regular old History are surprisingly high on the list. The NYT just had to point out that journalism and mass media are a depressing 1,902 and 1,903, respectively, on the list, but hey, it’s still ahead of computer sciences.

Undergraduate Degree Total % Who Are 1 Percenters Share of All 1 Percenters
Health and Medical Preparatory Programs 142,345 11.8% 0.9%
Economics 1,237,863 8.2% 5.4%
Biochemical Sciences 193,769 7.2% 0.7%
Zoology 159,935 6.9% 0.6%
Biology 1,864,666 6.7% 6.6%
International Relations 146,781 6.7% 0.5%
Political Science and Government 1,427,224 6.2% 4.7%
Physiology 98,181 6.0% 0.3%
Art History and Criticism 137,357 5.9% 0.4%
Chemistry 780,783 5.7% 2.4%
Molecular Biology 64,951 5.6% 0.2%
Area, Ethnic and Civilization Studies 184,906 5.2% 0.5%
Finance 1,071,812 4.8% 2.7%
History 1,351,368 4.7% 3.3%
Business Economics 108,146 4.6% 0.3%
Miscellaneous Psychology 61,257 4.3% 0.1%
Philosophy and Religious Studies 448,095 4.3% 1.0%
Microbiology 147,954 4.2% 0.3%
Chemical Engineering 347,959 4.1% 0.8%
Physics 346,455 4.1% 0.7%
Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration 334,016 3.9% 0.7%
Accounting 2,296,601 3.9% 4.7%
Mathematics 840,137 3.9% 1.7%
English Language and Literature 1,938,988 3.8% 3.8%
Miscellaneous Biology 52,895 3.7% 0.1%

A statement

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

It has come to our attention that the Oregon Daily Emerald, or as we prefer to call it, the Ol’ Dirty Emerald, plans to publish a story of allegations against us. At the time of writing, the story is unreleased, so though we have heard rumblings from sources in the Emerald newsroom, we don’t know the exact allegations it contains. By the time this statement is released, the Emerald may have already published the article and you may have already read it. In that case, you know more than us.

We have heard from sources inside the Emerald that this article will allege we used student money to pay for subscriptions to six horse pornography websites. This is false. One of those sites did not include any images of horses, only some images depicting mules.

It is said that “an EMU janitor” discovered two staffers after hours in the Commentator office watching equine pornography with their pants around their ankles. That is an inaccurate characterization of the number of staffers involved and their state of undress, and to say that we then threatened “the janitor” at “knifepoint” is irresponsible and false. The correct terminology is “custodian” and no member of the Commentator staff owns or possesses a bladed weapon bigger than a dirk or shuriken, with the exception of the publisher emeritus, who was in Florence on the night of the alleged incident.

Anyway, our purpose in exploring horse porn was clearly journalistic. Unfortunately, the relevant staff e-mails that would support our case and exonerate us have mysteriously disappeared from the internet — possibly deleted by an Emerald staffer vindictively and cynically trying to quash evidence that would jeopardize a juicy scandal piece, all though there is no concrete reason to believe that is the case. If they still existed, they would show that the use of these sites was part of a large and potentially groundbreaking expose we were planning to publish on equine erotica and the abuses that surround it. It seemed like the piece wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t watch some of the porn in question while naked, to put ourselves, as do so many users of equine porn, at the mercy of whatever desires our flesh might furnish us, indeed allow it to arouse us.

The results of our research, however, were inconclusive and we couldn’t go forward with the story. Those are the breaks sometimes; it is the nature of the journalistic beast. Really it shouldn’t surprise anyone that an institution as seemingly committed to sloppy, lazy, halfhearted “reporting” as the Emerald should want to target those who display the brand of robust, full-bodied journalistic rigor we did in pursuing this story.

One more thing — the e-mails only went to the Women’s Center by accident. One OC staffer, whom the Emerald story names in the shame-the-victim tradition of Emerald reporting, sent a link to a photo from chicks-sucking-off-horses.com to an address he thought was his editor’s. It was accompanied by a message that might have looked lewd and even threatening if viewed by an outsider, but was a perfectly innocent inside joke in the context in question.

But it wasn’t the right e-mail address at all! The staffer who sent it suffers from dyslexia and his condition led him to pick the wrong address from his contacts list. Instead, it was delivered to a member of the Women’s Center staff who had happened to have an angry run-in with the staffer earlier that day.

His intended recipient was seated across the room from the sender. After he told her to check her inbox, she informed him she hadn’t received the e-mail. He told her he would get her the e-mail and clicked “send” again, repeatedly, but each time he felt compelled to revise the original message and it became increasingly insistent, graphic and threatening (mirroring his frustration with what he thought was a computer error).

This continued for several hours. He was so focused on what he was doing that he sender failed to notice several very agitated messages from the Women’s Center.

It is unfortunate that, just before the police arrived at the OC office, the staffer sending the message spilled hot coffee on his lap, obliging him to remove his pants and underwear in an effort to avoid severe burns. His editor then left the office to preserve his modesty while he worked on making sure the e-mail got through. She also took his pants, underwear, and the coffee mug home with her to wash. This is why the police discovered no evidence to support his side of the story.

It should go without saying that he has learned a profound lesson about fate.

There is just one more thing we need to tackle. We spent $2,000 of student money printing and photocopying horse porn. Of course we did.

There’s no excuse for that. There doesn’t need to be. It was the right thing to do. Uptight, prudish ASUO types will undoubtedly try to remove our funding over this, but let’s just ask you this: Didn’t you just know we were doing this all along? Would you really have been in favor of supporting a Commentator that didn’t take your money and use it to mass-produce images of sexual intercourse between people and horses in the most inefficient and time-consuming way possible?

We thought not.

In case you forgot…

Friday, January 20th, 2012

In the midst of monsoon Hailey (I named it, you’re welcome) we might all be wondering “Why did I choose to come to Oregon for school?” There are thousands of Universities in this country, and even more in the world, so why would we choose a school where we have to wear scuba gear to class? Why would I go to school in a place where I sincerely worry about tripping and drowning every time I cross the street?

Here’s why: University of Oregon is a great school. Recently ranked in the top 100 “best values” in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, UO is recognized for “its high four-year graduation rate, low average student debt at graduation, abundant financial aid, a low sticker price and overall great value.”

We go to UO, because it apparently rocks. Out of over 500 schools evaluated, it was chosen as one of the top 100. It was also in the top 108 of over 4,000 schools for “very high research activity,” according to the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Lastly, UO is one of only two schools in the Pacific Northwest in the Association of American Universities.

At this point, you might be wondering who built this great pedestal on which we rest upon. Who worked so hard to make us better than the average university? Richard Lariviere, folks.

ASUO passes resolution saying how much they don’t like stuff, expects you to care

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Every once in a while, one looks at the front page of the ODE, pauses for consideration, and realizes that there is a huge divide between how much clout the ASUO has, and how much it thinks it has. On those days, it strikes one that ASUO has something of a Twitter Famous mentality: the small amount of power they are allotted makes them feel as if they have infinitely more sway than they actually do.

This is one of those days.

Last night the ASUO passed a resolution declaring its opposition to concealed-carry on campus. According to the Ol’Dirty, “The resolution reasons that a ban on conceal-carry weapons is not a Second Amendment restriction after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010 stated schools were considered a ‘sensitive’ place, and thus laws barring firearms were not restricted.” Further, it was noted that because the primary purpose of a gun is to “cause lethal bodily harm”, it should not be permitted on campus, versus potentially dangerous but useful objects such as knives.


Those potatoes aren’t going to chop themselves.

Nowhere in the Daily Emerald article, however, is the meaninglessness and inanity of the whole situation specifically noted. What purpose does this serve? Who was banging down the ASUO’s front door begging them to send down their official declaration on the matter from on high? Contrary to what the Emerald’s headline claims, the ASUO does seem to have enough self-awareness to know that they didn’t actually change state law by passing this resolution. Their hope seems to be that if (with the implicit “and when” undoubtedly present in their minds) the state decides to revisit the concealed-carry on campus situation, the ASUO will be in support of a reinstated ban. My question is, why does the ASUO think the state gives a shit?

Please senators, for the love of God, I beg of you–do something useful with yourselves. How long did this resolution take to argue out? How many man hours were lost that could have been better spent on actually doing something that is within your limited power to do?

The Commentator has had an equipment request waiting on your nod since November. Why not manipulate that power?

ASUO Sustainability Center Decision Floating Like An Ominous Turd

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Last night Prez Beckstein attempted to transfer a reported $40,516 from the Exec budget to the Sustainability Center, setting a dangerous precedent of favoritism among programs and allowing the ASUO Exec to, in the words of Senator Lange, “pick and choose who to bring up through the ranks while ignoring the process.” The lovely Lyzi Diamond first called it back in October 2010.

Ex-Commie and ASUO legend in the making Emily Schiola explains it all in the ODE:

The ASUO Executive’s request to transfer money from their budget to the budget of the Sustainability Center sparked a discussion of process last night at the ASUO Senate meeting and ultimately brought a failed vote.

According to certain members of the Programs Finance Committee, the center has a questionable past.

In September 2008, the ASUO Internship Class being taught by the Oregon Student Association’s campus coordinator chose to instead hire a Graduate Teaching Fellow to teach the class under the directive of then-ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz.

In 2010, Emma Kallaway decided to eliminate the GTF position and give the class back to the OSA. She then allocated the money that was previously used for the GTF to the coordinator of the center.

Since the center was not yet a program, they had to be given money from the Executive’s budget.

Now the center is officially a program, and ASUO President Ben Eckstein is requesting to move budget money into the center’s own budget so it will no longer be placed in the Executive Budget.

What appeared to be a simple act of housekeeping quickly turned into a question of process. Many senators showed concern that the Sustainability Center wasn’t created through the proper channels.

Sen. Kaitlyn Lange was concerned that this program was only created because they used their friends in the Executive to bypass the system.

“I feel like the Exec can pick and choose who to bring up through the ranks while ignoring the (Programs Finance Committee) process,” she said.

Her feelings were echoed by Sen. Benjamin Rudin.

“It isn’t fair that programs can jump the queue,” he said. “(Executive) is making winners and losers.”

While some senators saw this as an excuse to keep the Executive more accountable, others viewed is a straightforward money transfer.

“How does voting no on this put a stop to things like this in the future?” Sen. Ben Bowmanasked. “The Sustainability Center has been a success, and it wouldn’t be here today if that hadn’t happened.”

Lange countered by arguing if the money is transferred and never discussed again, the way the center was created might be overlooked and could happen again.

A wary-looking Eckstein again made the point that this transfer would make it so transferring the money is a way to match up what is being spent on the center.

The tension in the room mounted, and the Senate became increasingly divided when a vote was finally called, deciding not to transfer the money at this time.

 

We’ll have to wait until next Wednesday to see if the transfer passes the senate.

ASUO Senate 1-18-12

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

The Internet Goes On Strike

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

The internet blackout has begun, and Wikipedia isn’t the only one participating in the blackout. sopastrike.com has a full list of all participating websites, which is, to say the least, impressive.

The above, meanwhile, is an actual screenshot of Google’s current homepage. Yikes.

Wikipedia Going Dark to Protest SOPA/PIPA

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has a tweet for students across the country: “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”

And by “protest”, he means a full-on blackout, taking the sixth most visited website offline for twenty-four hours.

The English Wikipedia anti-SOPA blackout is to signify the possible–and likely–effects that SOPA AND PIPA will have on the internet if they manage to pass at the Congressional level. In case you’re in the dark about SOPA and PIPA, here’s a quick run-down: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act seek to protect intellectual property by enacting stringent laws against the distribution of copyrighted material online. In several melodramatic television spots, they claim that internet pirates are destroying American jobs, decreasing innovation in the entertainment industry, and probably ran over your dog when you were six. What supporters of the bills fail to note is that the language is so vague that any website can be shut down for having any piece of copyright material present on any of its pages. That means YouTube could be taken down if someone posts a video of themselves singing the karaoke version of a copyrighted song. It also means Facebook could be shut down if a copyrighted video is posted on one person’s wall, and thousands of other websites could be stomped out at the drop of a hat.

Oh, and did I mention that a person or entity doesn’t even have to own the rights to the content they claim a website is illegally distributing? And that SOPA and PIPA would effectively give the people who sued a 12-year-old, a dead woman, and claims that ripping music you have purchased to your computer is illegal the run of the internet?

Naturally, most of the tech community (i.e. Google, Facebook, YouTube, eBay, Twitter, and just about every website you will ever use, ever) and anyone with a brain knows that this is a bad idea. So they’re fighting back.

The tech community has been slowly gaining ground on the issue in the last few weeks; former supporters have backed out under pressure, and Congress has finally invited tech community representatives to speak on the issue, where previously they had only heard from representatives of the entertainment industry.

However, Wikipedia is not taking these positive moves as a sign to put the breaks on. The English version of Wikipedia will be blacked out tomorrow as a demonstration of the destructive effect SOPA and PIPA could have on the world wide web. “There’s [..] an element of this sending out a signal to governments in other parts of the world that the Internet is going to get really mad if you try to censor the Internet,” Wales said in an interview with CNN. “It’s quite ironic because the U.S. policy has been quite firmly about discouraging censorship of the Internet elsewhere. So it’s a bit of a shame that we’re trying to do it at home.”

Websites Reddit and Boing Boing will also be taking part in the blackout, and Google will posting a statement explaining its opposition SOPA/PIPA in solidarity with the protest.

The full interview with Wales can be found here. More information on SOPA/PIPA can be found here and here…for now.

ASUO Senate

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The Jock Box–Not as Self-Sufficient as You Thought

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Or as waterproof.

Some of you may remember the water damage caused to the Jacqua Center’s custom wood flooring as a result of a faulty drinking fountain. Well, the ODE reports that the numbers are finally in: $121,647 for repairs, to be covered by a state insurance policy. However, like you learned that time you crashed your mom’s concerto into Mrs. Roberts’ rose bushes after a bit too much Milwakuee’s Best, utilizing one’s insurance usually comes with at least one unfortunate fee. That fancy wooden floor is no exception, and according to the Ol’ Dirty, no one knows yet who’s going to pay for that:

The athletic department has assured that, while maintenance costs will be covered by the academic budget, the costs for these repairs will be completely covered by an insurance claim.

However, according to the University’s department of risk management, the University will be charged fees by the insurance company after the repairs are made. The department that will pay for this is not yet certain.

It will be interesting to see how this develops. And by “interesting” I mean, “boring until the record shows that the Jock Box is being paid for with academic funds, at which point we get to say we told you so.”