Archive for the 'Drugs' Category
April 5th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
Remember these things?
They’re coming back. On Wednesday April 3, 2013 the Associated Students of the University of Oregon did something utterly hilarious. They decided to spend $1,960 on another feel-good measure, but this time, it’s all flippity floppity. Almost $2,000 was authorized to be spent on– *DRUMROLL*– cigarette butt receptacles!
Wait, it gets better! They are being installed off campus!
These receptacles were ripped out of the ground 7 months ago on the student’s dollar and now they are needed again, because our University still looks all trashy. Who is surprised? Not this Commentator.
Yes, totally unforeseen by the ASUO and supporters of the Healthy Campus Initiative was the fact that a toothless ban on smoking wasn’t going to stop smokers. All it did was alienate and inconvenience people. Their response was to take their smoking to the UO borderlands where half-smoked cigs fall to the ground or flow into the sewers.
So the ASUO Executive branch put forth a special request to the Senate on Wednesday, asking for $1,960 to be spent on designated cigarette butt receptacles to be installed at two major campus entrances. These receptacles are to be multi-purpose trash bins (or something) with signs. The requesters explained that the sign would depict not just cigarette butt disposal, but other trash as well (in order to discourage littering while not endorsing smoking).
The motion to fund this back-patting flippity flop passed like a hot potato. I can’t say I disagree that the University needs these smoking stations, as they will come to be with people congregating all about them, basking in the last few puffs of their cigarettes. But now when people enter the UO, they’ll see smokers and their butts littered around an all-to-obvious trash can and have to walk through all their smoke.
I guess that’s better than having a designated smoking area ON campus but AWAY from the main flow of traffic right?
I would say I told you so. But I’d probably be told to Shut The Fuck Up.
February 15th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
This is Wes. He lives in the Whiteaker neighborhood. In past few months, he’s been taking action to stop the sale of what he calls meth pipes around his home.
January 19th, 2013 by Nick Ekblad
From left to right: Photo of Joseph Kelley in Utah J.C. Penny taken by Cindy Yorgason;President Obama presenting his proposals in a photo posted on NewsWhip.com; “Pioneer” statue on UO campus carrying his rifle.
The following post contains views and opinions that are my own (Nicholas Ekblad) and do not necessarily represent those of the Oregon Commentator as a whole.
Now, I spent about half of my childhood in The-middle-of-nowhere, Arizona and the greater half in rural eastern Oregon. I was taught by my father how to use a gun and how to use it safely. My father did not make light– ever– of the power and responsibility of a holding a firearm in hand. I firmly believe in the Second Amendment, though it might surprise a lot of people to learn that I support “gun control” in its general sense (READ: the control of guns is as necessary and already as prevalent as the control of, say, the license to drive a motor vehicle)(fully automatic weapons have been outlawed since 1936). That being said, here is my take on Obama’s proposals to congress.
December 11th, 2012 by C.W. Keating
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.
September 6th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad
Well, in the wake of this revealing (though not surprising) ESPN report, detailing the presence of a “pot culture” in Oregon Football, the UO athletic department is adopting new rules regarding the drug testing of student-athletes. Now, testing is to be random according to a number generator. University spokesman Phil Weiler is quoted in this Register Guard article, citing the “safety of student-athletes” as the cause for concern of the testing policy. (more…)
September 5th, 2012 by Nick Ekblad
As of September 1st, UO campus and all University owned property are now tobacco and smoke-free. In my previous post, I wrote that DPS will not be issuing tickets or fines to enforce this ridiculous, hot-air, self-back-patting policy. I cited an old Commentator post as having this information. The policy must have been updated since that post, however, because upon actually reading the policy’s representative website and Oregon Administrative Rule 571-050-0005, I have realized that the policy is exceptionally vague. According to OAR, emphasis my own:
(2) Prohibitions. […] An employee who violates this rule may be subject to discipline. A student who violates this rule may be subject to sanction under the Student Conduct Code.
(3) Citation and Appeals. Anyone else who violates this rule may be issued a citation for thirty dollars ($30). Any complaints about citations issued or appeal of an issued citation may be directed to the Vice President for Finance and Administration or that person’s designee. […]
August 31st, 2012 by Nick Ekblad
Well, it’s that time of year. The STFU time of year. Summer is ending, the leaves are changing and students will be shut the fuck up. No, not us respectable students. Only those lower than us who beleaguer our campus with the dangerous, abhorent drug tobacco will be put in their place by this policy change. The Smoke and Tobacco Free University policy will take effect tomorrow September 1st. Put away your bics and Zippos and take out your evil eye and pointer fingers. However, DPS will not be able to take out their ticket books.
The implementation of this policy calls for the use of an $800,000 grant from PacificSource. As aptly explained in an old post of Lyzi Diamond’s:
The $800,000 grant that was received from PacificSource was actually received by Paula Staight, the Health Promotion Director at the UO Health Center, and is to be spent over five years. The grant will allow the Health Center to hire one full-time and two part-time employees to work on three aspects of a healthy lifestyle: Food, Movement, and Tobacco (specifically the eradication of). There will be no campus-wide policy attached to the smoking ban (see: you can’t get fined or face disciplinary action for smoking on campus).
As I understand it, ciggy recepticals, like the one in the photo above, will be removed within a two-year period as part of the policy change. Though I only care enough to wait and see, I am curious as to why that would really be advisable, why they would actually even consider this. Sure, let’s marginalize those lower than us, but if we are not going enforce the policy with legal repercussions, what’s to stop these dirty people from dropping cigarette butts all over the place? Shan’t we keep Oregon green?
Lyzi linked the Smoke Free Task Force report, but here’s the link for convenience. I just want to say that I see this policy change as one that intends to construct an environment that condemns certain people (who are making personal decisions that only effect them). Tobacco is legal (as other drugs should be, because the government has no business dictating what goes into any individual’s body)(you’d think that this goes without saying, right?). And being a mostly college-admitted community, can we not assume that most UO students are aware that tobacco is harmful to their health? If this policy aims to educate students about the dangers of tobacco, what does this say about our students? This is more of a look-down-our-noses thing than it is an educational thing.
It seems like a slippery slope. Perhaps such discrimination stops with these trouble-makers, but can we be sure? I for one will be organizing another Smoke-In with my cohorts at the Commentator. Join us on the dark side. Of the lung.
November 1st, 2011 by Spencer Madison
Oregon Ducks cornerback Cliff Harris has apparently learned absolutely nothing from an 18-month suspension from driving, as evidenced by getting caught driving without a seat-belt, insurance, or a valid Oregon drivers license. While most people in this situation would be facing serious legal problems, one of our star athletes merely “could” lose his license for another 30 days.
Considering this is the 4th suspension in a 24 month period, can we just take away this retard’s license for a little longer than a month? I enjoyed the part where his family said they would contest the citations even though he was caught completely red handed. Coach Chip Kelley said that he would remain suspended from football play while they “gathered information”, a suspension which shouldn’t last much longer than when they need to field one of their star players. I realized that the majority of college football players are probably well rounded individuals, but the ones we tend to hear about are pampered racehorses who would only get suspended a few games for burning down city hall.
I realize that throwing a ball for a living is really really hard, but if you can’t balance that with your studies (without free breaks) and without breaking the law flagrantly (Jeremiah Masoli, anyone?) you shouldn’t remain on the team, even if you can run across a field really fast (Hey, LaMichael’s girlfriend!). Hell, I wish I could get a scholarship for playing Xbox. I could play Madden while not doing my homework, because my teachers totally understand bro. And, you know, maybe I accidentally commit a hate crime, but I was really sorry about it so it’s all good.
November 1st, 2011 by Emily Schiola
Starting February 4th, a “social host” ordinance will be going into effect. This means that if the police are called to a party, the owners or renters of the house will be fined if there are people under 21 attending. The first time it is a fine of $250 and a warning. If it happens again within three years the fine is raised to $500 plus the cost of the law enforcement officers that were called. The third time it happens within 3 years, the fine will reach $1,000.
The Lane County Board of Commissioners, due to concerned homeowners, drew up this ordinance. It appears that community members who live near campus are being greatly affected by underage parties. The committee responsible for putting the “social host” ordinance into motion calls themselves “party patrols.” This group consists of residents of homes near campus.
The whole idea behind “party patrols” is to cut down on student binge drinking. Along with a host fine, the fine for noise ordinances and minors in possession will be increased starting January 4th. Michael Kinnison, neighborhood services program manager, brought these and 14 other ideas to the Lane County Board of Commissioners.
“There need to be significant consequences for negative behavior,” he said. “And law enforcement needs to be part of the solution.”
According to the “party patrols,” these laws are not meant to target all student residents, just repeat offenders.
June 22nd, 2011 by Ben Maras
Tomorrow, Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) will introduce bipartisan legislation to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. Under the new legislation-to-be, each state would be able to legalize, regulate and tax it (or not) as they see fit, without interference from the federal government.
News broke earlier today, when the Marijuana Policy Project made a press release announcing the legislation, which was later confirmed by a spokesperson for Rep. Frank.
Here’s some more info from the press release:
Other co-sponsors include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.
Rep. Frank’s legislation would end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens.
May 24th, 2011 by C.W. Keating
“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.
May 19th, 2011 by Ben Maras
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.
April 15th, 2011 by Ben Maras
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.
March 17th, 2011 by Melissa Haskin
Picture borrowed from www.dutchbros.com
Thanksgiving Eve in Eugene this year was marred by a shootout at a Dutch Bros coffee stand. While one (alleged) robber, Sirius Combs was shot dead, another, allegedly Brandon Lee Plunk fled the scene. The trial began on Tuesday with the defense alluding that the robbery was not in fact a robbery, but rather a drug deal. According to the defense, Plunk had been told by Combs that Combs was picking up money which was owed to him.
When asked if he had framed Combs, the barista responded that he had “absolutely not.”
Plunks integrity was brought into question when Plunk was shown telling police that he was not with Combs that evening and then footage from a Wendy’s showed the two men eating together.
The bartista, who brought his .40-caliber Glock to work testified “I recognized I was in a vulnerable position all by myself.”
According to the Register Guard, while Combs was in the kiosk with the barista and distracted the barista “quickly pulled his own gun, from his waistband holster, put a round in the chamber, and began firing at Combs.”
(Perhaps this is a silly question, but if the barista had a gun in a waistband holster and said robber was in close proximity wouldn’t the robber have noticed?)
February 28th, 2011 by Melissa Haskin