After getting off of work in the dungeon that is the Knight Library basement, I stepped into the afternoon rain. I pulled a pre-rolled cigarette from my pocket (Bugler brand – mangy, disgusting Bugler) and lit it. Standing off to the side so as not to spread smoke, an elderly woman shot me the evil eye before stopping in front of me: “There’s no smoking on campus. Go smoke across the street.”
I stared at her until she left.
This kind of situation has become all-too-common since the Healthy Campus Initiative, in partnership with the UO Health Center and the administration (with a special guest funding appearance from the ASUO), implemented a campus-wide smoking ban at the beginning of the Fall. The idea of a smoking ban isn’t anything new; the Smoke Free Campus Task Force (SFTF) issued a report in 2008 that sought to
tak[e] up the matter of campus smoking policy with the understanding that the issue is fueled by strong personal convictions for perceived personal rights, both the right to be free from the effects of secondhand smoke and the right to choose to smoke cigarettes (STFT Report, emphasis mine)
The rest of the report either references student support from polls drawn from other universities, or flat-out neglects student responses in order to reference various studies, policies, and polls from other universities. Under “Synthesis of Survey Findings of UO Faculty, Staff, and Students,” the report states that
Many survey respondents are ready to support the move to a smoke free campus… [and] also were confident that this could be accomplished with designated smoking areas… (Ibid.)
Oh, hey, there’s a reasonable point. But no! The STFT simply cannot concede, because “enforcement becomes very difficult and compliance suffers as a result.” You don’t say.
No matter what the administration does, what programs it implements, what funding it pulls or pushes, students will push against it. Lord knows the Commentator will. The Healthy Campus Initiative tried to remedy this student disconnect with the “STFU” posters, a internet-conscious campaign that seemed to confuse people more than encourage quitting (check out this post about the issue from our very own Editor Emeritus Sophia Lawhead).
Another argument is that it unfairly targets lower-income UO workers. Even those filthy hipsters at the OV agree with us on this point. Making workers go off campus for a 15 minute smoke break is not only inconsiderate, but damaging to already-strained labor relationships.
“All I wanted was a non-fat, cream-jizzed latte with peasant tears in it!”
So why bring up this almost-5-year-old report, you may ask? Because Frances Dyke and company never really cared about what students thought. The UO has become a brand, and it needs to sell itself in order to keep flagging state funding and private donor contributions steady. The publicity surrounding the ban has relentlessly focused on the “progressive” aspects of the program without attending to the opinions of students or faculty – and if so, only through narrow data samples used to prop up their point.
But the effects of secondhand smoke are serious. I completely understand the goal behind the smoking ban. Cigarette butt litter continues to be a problem, and has only been exacerbated by the ban — take a look at the 13th and Kincaid entrance to campus if you don’t believe me. Families with young children and people with respiratory problems are also rightfully concerned.
The only way to fight this ban, then, is to implement a personal smoker code of ethics to demonstrate smoker commitment to a healthy campus and personal freedoms. Here’s mine:
Always smoke away from buildings and large groups of people, and/or areas of great traffic.
Stop inhaling and pull the cigarette as far away from passing families with children.
If someone asks you to smoke off campus, politely decline or simply don’t say anything at all. You’ll be finished if and when they call DPS.
Put butts out and make sure they’re extinguished before throwing them away.
Throw butts in the trash.
If an officer asks you to put your cigarette out, assess the situation. Fines suck, but so do the deprivation of “perceived personal rights.”
Overall, recognize that your activity is looked down upon. Take pride in this.
It’s not perfect, but it works for me. The Commentator will continue to fight this arbitrary ban with articles, letters, appeals, and upcoming events like Tobacco Appreciation Day. But the ball is in smokers’ courts. We at the Commentator will do our best to point out the massive cavalcades of bullshit directed at students who make the choice to smoke. This smoking ban is just another attempt at nannying the student populace; the administration never does anything without direct benefit to them, and they’ve fucked smokers to bolster their public image under the pretense of “knowing what’s best.”
The whole campaign feels like yet another pat on the head, another assumption about our intelligence, actions, and responsibilities. But we’re not kids anymore. We’re adults, students, workers, and yes, smokers. So smoke ’em if ya got ’em. It’s going to be a long, long battle.
As Politico and The Huffington Post can attest, Delaware Senate Candidate Christine O’Donnell is nutters. Since a good campaign slogan is catchy and lets a voter make sense of the candidate’s views, I propose these new slogans for the O’Donnell campaign, as well as the quotes their based off of:
“It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can’t masturbate without lust.”/ “I’m a young woman in my thirties and I remain chaste.”
Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: If you get aroused, the terrorists win.
“I dabbled into witchcraft. I never joined a coven.” / “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar.”
Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: I will turn Chris Coons into a fucking toad!
“You know, these are the kind of cheap, underhanded, un-manly tactics that we’ve come to expect from Obama’s favorite Republican, Mike Castle… Mike, this is not a bake-off, get your man-pants on.”
Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: Mike Castle is a pansy.
God may choose to heal someone from cancer, yet that person still has a great deal of medical bills.
Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: Obamacare is a sin.
“During the primary, I heard the audible voice of God. He said, ‘Credibility.'”
Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: God tells me what I don’t have.
“American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”
Christine O’Donnell for US Senate: I am bat-shit crazy.
Racism. It’s at the heart of every disagreement with “progressive” policy reforms. Meet Diane DeVillers of Eugene, who lays it all out in today’s issue of the Eugene Weekly:
There is not as much confusion about the health care issue as we are led to believe. Much of the resistance is all about not wanting President Obama to succeed. The town hall haters, gun-toting radical right wingers, have been steaming since our President was elected. It has taken them this long to finally have the nerve to tell America how much they hate the fact that a black man won the election. It is all about being racist.
While the sane people in America try to get health care reform, the minority is trying to mislead and ruin any attempt for this bill to pass. This includes the whole Republican party… Their loyalties are only to themselves. The majority of people elected this president, so they need to get used to it.
The majority of Americans want health care reform, so the Democrats should just do it, any way they can…
Everyone in the room should yell back for them to be silent and let the discussion continue.
With the Obama Administration on its last legs after less than a year, having spent what was left of its political capital in a savage, blood-soaked gladiator brawl over questions about the President’s place of birth and in the wake of ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s sudden resignation from office and her subsequent abortive foray into avant-garde poetry, rumors abounded that the Oregon Commentator’s own Sudsy O’Sullivan was already preparing for an easy cruise through the 2012 election.
Sadly, it seems that Sudsy’s Presidential ambitions have been stymied before the beloved anthropomorphic mug of beer’s campaign even got of the ground with the revelation that Mr. O’Sullivan was, in fact, born in Kenya.
Via operatives planted at the headquarters of the “Birther” movement, the Oregon Commentator has obtained a copy of Sudsy O’Sullivan’s birth certificate, which we have reproduced below:
Despite torpedoing President Obama’s entire Administration and forcing the nascent O’Sullivan campaign to scuttle its plans for a 2012 run, one of the leading lights in the so-called “Birther” movement, the amusingly named Orly Taitz, has praised California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger, saying:
Governor Schwartzenegger has done a fantastic job here in California. The state has never been in better shape. People poke a lot of fun at Governor Schwartzenegger’s so-called “accent”, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s a patriotic American, through and through.
In fact, we’re hoping he’ll consider a 2012 Presidential run because we’re confident he has a good shot at the Oval Office. At least he’s demonstrated that he knows how to run a responsible budget, unlike that stinking foreigner who’s been treating America like Occupied Poland since January 20th…
Well, tonight saw President Obama’s “health care forum”. The ABC network has come under a great deal of criticism for its perceived kowtowing to the Obama Administration and refusing to sell ad time to the dissenting Republicans (can you imagine the outrage had the players instead been Fox News and President Bush, circa 2004?). The Republicans are calling the whole thing an “infomercial“. Media Matters is calling Fox News a bunch of hyporites (I guess whether “turnabout is fair play” or “he who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster” is a more appropriate slogan for the left’s sudden enthusiasm for uncomfortably close ties between the government and the media depends on which side of the aisle one hails from…). Meanwhile, reports indicate that ABC employees donated to the Obama campaign by a factor of roughly 80:1 ($124,421 to Obama, $1,550 to McCain) and Michelle Malkin is howling about “astroturfing“. Other statistics (“damned lies…” and all that…) indicate that 89% of Americans are more or less satisfied with their health care, raising the question of why exactly it’s so urgent to push through health care reform right now — as others have mentioned, maybe fixing Medicare first would provide an encouraging example of Obama’s brilliant ideas on health care — or is Walter Reed a harbinger of state-run health care (actually Walter Reed is state-run health care…)?
But never mind all that. The masthead says “a conservative journal of opinion” and, since we’re not getting any of that sweet, sweet, free stimulus money (and since we find the idea of the government bailing out newspapers utterly repugnant– sorry journalism majors), I thought I’d call attention to Cato’s crucial coverage of what’s poised to be a total health-care debacle — one of positively federal proportions. In any case, you can find an informative live-blogged response to the President’s err… “highly adversarial” appearance on ABC here.
And in case you don’t give two squirts of piss about the de facto socialization of health care in this country, I invite you to instead discuss this article, which seeks to establish whether or not the “FreeCreditReport.com band” is “legit” or not. But I’ll never respect you again.
I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life,” said Judge Sotomayor, who is now considered to be near the top of President Obama’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.
It’s nice to see that the President of the United States is nominating an open believer in race-based identity politics to the highest court in the land.
I am not yet sure what position to take on President Obama’s selection of Sonia Sotomayor. My general sense is that she is very liberal, and thus likely to take what I consider to be mistaken positions on many major constitutional law issues. I am also not favorably impressed with her notorious statement that “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Not only is it objectionable in and of itself, it also suggests that Sotomayor is a committed believer in the identity politics school of left-wing thought. Worse, it implies that she believes that it is legitimate for judges to base decisions in part on their ethnic or racial origins.
Once again the mask slips and the race politics espoused by people like Diego Hernandez, the Commentator’s erstwhile punching bag Nate Gulley, and Sonia Sotomayor is exposed as little more than racism by another name.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY — The Modern Whig philosophy is to empower the states with the resources to handle their unique affairs.
ENERGY INDEPENDENCE — Reduce dependence on foreign oil by developing practical sources of alternative energy. This will have the simultaneous effect of changing the national security dynamic.
EDUCATION/SCIENTIFIC ADVANCEMENT — Increased public and private emphasis on fields such as space, oceanic, medical and nanotechnology. Also, providing common-sense solutions to enhance our educational system from pre-school to university-level studies.
STATES RIGHTS — Each state can generally determine its course of action based on local values and unique needs.
SOCIAL PROGRESSION — Government should refrain from legislating morality.
VETERANS AFFAIRS — Vigilant advocacy relating to the medical, financial, and overall well-being of our military families and veterans.
A sensible, socially liberal, fiscally conservative platform with no crazy Constitution Party-esque God-bothering. Why couldn’t the Republicans have run someone like that the last few times around?
I spend my time studying the Caucasus. It’s what I do in my free time. It’s what I’ll be doing for the better part of the next decade as a graduate student.
So, while it’s no secret that I’m not a fan of our current President, I respected Barack Obama’s repeatedpromises to recognize the Armenian Genocide for what it was: the systematic murder of ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
Unfortunately, as with so manyothercases, the candidate of “Hope” and “Change” has once again revealed himself to be little more than a cynical opportunist who’s more than content to blow smoke up the electorate’s ass and otherwise continue with the policies of the past, in this case choosing to kowtow to Turkish “sensibilities” rather than live up to promises he’s made in the past.
President Obama comes to this issue with an unusually clear and unambivalent record. In 2006, for example, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia, John Evans, was recalled for employing the word genocide. Then-Sen. Obama wrote a letter of complaint to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, deploring the State Department’s cowardice and roundly stating that the occurrence of the Armenian genocide in 1915 “is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.” On the campaign trail last year, he amplified this position, saying that “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president.”
It is now being hinted that if either President Obama or the Congress goes ahead with the endorsement of the genocide resolution, Turkey will prove uncooperative on a range of issues, including the normalization of the frontier between Turkey and Armenia and the transit of oil and gas pipelines across the Caucasus. When the question is phrased in this thuggish way, it can be slyly suggested that Armenia’s own best interests are served by joining in the agreement to muddy and distort its own history. Yet how could any state, or any people, agree to abolish their pride and dignity in this way? And the question is not only for Armenians, who are economically hard-pressed by the Turkish closure of the common border. It is for the Turks, whose bravest cultural spokesmen and writers take genuine risks to break the taboo on discussion of the Armenian question. And it is also for Americans, who, having elected a supposedly brave new president, are being told that he—and our Congress too—must agree to collude in a gigantic historical lie.
Were it any other President, it would be tempting to simply write off Obama’s fairly radical shift as little more than giving more value to good relations with a regional power like Turkey than with a political non-entity like Armenia. But, as noted above, Obama’s pre-election rhetoric on this issue was unequivocal.
Obama campaigned as the candidate of “change.” Sadly, it seems that “change” often applies to the President’s ethics, from “don’t ask, don’t tell” to warrantless wiretapping. Sadly, it seems that we can add the Armenian Genocide to the list.
ODE columnist Truman Capps wants you to “do your part for America“, and by “your part” he obviously means community service (emphasis added):
I had never felt bad about ducking my civic duties before Obama came to town. President Bush clearly did not want or need the help of the American public (as indicated by his unwillingness to consult us on matters of domestic wiretapping or FEMA appointees) and I didn’t want to give it to him. […]
It’s important now that we start pulling our own weight – not because President Obama wants us to, but because it’s what we should have been doing all along. […]
And yes, it’s very convenient that the liberal columnist is changing his views now that the Republican president has been replaced with a Democrat. However, I think this issue is bigger than politics. Hopefully Obama will do what we put him in office to do, but for it to work – and for it to keep working with the next president, regardless of his or her party – we’ve got to do our part, and not just with patriotic bumper stickers.
In case you didn’t catch the message, National Greatness is back! America is no longer the Orwellian, fascist dystopia of the Bush years. Now liberals can proudly listen to schmaltzy pro-America songs and pledge to serve their president. Y’know, the same thing they use to lampoon conservatives for. Jesus, guys, why don’t you just go to a Toby Keith concert and just get it over with?
For more on how everything is different now, check out yesterday’s ODE opinion piece, “Right-wing hypocrisy,” which happens to contain this delightfully hypocritical closing graph:
None of this [complaining] is productive. Acting like a 6-year-old does not accomplish anything except making a fool of oneself. It’s been a week now – the time for grieving is past – and it’s time to accept that the American people want to try it a new way.
With the inauguration of Barack Obama only days away and and the Eugene Weekly trumpeting that “Our Long National Nightmare is Over“, I found today’s column by Peter Beinart in the Washington Post both refreshing and instructive. In the context of a plea for Democrats to finally recognize the success of the “Surge” in Iraq, Beinart cautions liberals and progressives, especially young ones, the likes of which one frequently encounters around the University, against excessive hubris:
Because Bush has been such an unusually bad president, an entire generation of Democrats now takes it for granted that on the big questions, the right is always wrong. Older liberals remember the Persian Gulf War, which most congressional Democrats opposed and most congressional Republicans supported — and the Republicans were proven right. They also remember the welfare reform debate of the mid-1990s, when prominent liberals predicted disaster, and disaster didn’t happen.
Younger liberals, by contrast, have had no such chastening experiences. Watching the Bush administration flit from disaster to disaster, they have grown increasingly dismissive of conservatives in the process. They consume partisan media, where Republican malevolence is taken for granted. They laugh along with the “Colbert Report,” the whole premise of which is that conservatives are bombastic, chauvinistic and dumb. They have never had the ideologically humbling experience of watching the people whose politics they loathe be proven right.
In this way, they are a little like the Bushies themselves….
Come Tuesday, there’s likely to be a lot of celebration and triumphalism among Democrats and other liberals here in Eugene and indeed nationwide. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’d do them well, though, to keep in mind that Peter Beinart isn’t really talking about the “Surge” at all. He’s warning against the temptation to believe that, after eight years of the “national nightmare,” the return of the Democratic party to the Oval Office has vindicated the “progressive” worldview as being inherently superior to competing ideas.
The idea that the Republican party has become a “permanant minority” or little more than a “regional” Southern party might be comforting to some, but it’s more than a little reminiscent of Karl Rove’s “permanent majority” rhetoric. Conceiving of conservative thinking as a whole — from the Republicans to the Constitution Party, Libertarians, and others — as wholly discredited and fundamentally unserious (as Beinart argues the Bush Administration treated its critics) or simply viewing them as an undifferentiated mass of Bible-thumping racists might feel good on a visceral level, but it’s not really grounded in reality and it certainly isn’t good long-term thinking.
Indeed, anyone who thought Barack Obama was going to work that way has already tasted disappointment. Some have already begun to jokingly refer to the Obama Administration as the “third Bush term“. While such quips are obviously tongue-in-cheek, they do reflect “progressive” disappointment that Obama himself hasn’t shown much interest in waging an ideological crusade against Republicans and conservatives in Washington.
“Being proven right too many times is dangerous,” Beinart concludes. “It breeds intellectual arrogance and complacency.”
If Democrats and “progressives” follow the same path along which the Republican Party has trudged since 2000 (Or 1994. Or 1981.), toward arrogance and complacency, they might find themselves hunkering down and bracing for the next “national nightmare” in 2012. After all, what happened in November 2008 wasn’t a revolution. It was just a Presidential election. And these things happen.
The gist of the article is that President-elect Barack Obama is alienating himself from the liberals that supported him with such stances as:
-Letting the tax cuts of people who make $250,000+ expire in 2010
-A “responsible drawdown” from Iraq
-Appointing Hillary Clinton, keeping Robert Gates, and having a centrist cabinet
-Not taxing the windfall profits of oil companies
To sum up this article:
Now it’s Obama’s Cabinet moves that are drawing the most fire. It’s not just that he’s picked Clinton and Gates. It’s that liberal Democrats say they’re hard-pressed to find one of their own on Obama’s team so far – particularly on the economic side, where people like Tim Geithner and Lawrence Summers are hardly viewed as pro-labor.
Apparently, what they want is a cabinet made entirely of Nanci Pelosi.
Today’s cover story in the Eugene Weekly purports to be a debunking of the gun rights lobby’s concerns about the incoming Obama Administration. The author, Rick Levin takes as his starting point a random, poorly written blog comment on Politico.com in which the the poster claims to be scared of Barack Obama and insists that the NRA is deterring an “open attack” on America’s heartland. Having managed to dig up this unquestionably authoritative representation of gun rights advocates nationwide, Levin feels comfortable announcing that “likely it is just this breed of hysteria that has caused local and national gun sales to spike.”