Archive for the 'Government' Category
Saturday, January 19th, 2013
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.
Monday, December 17th, 2012
Our hearts go out to the grieving families in Newtown, Connecticut, in the aftermath of an elementary school shooting that killed 20 children and six adults. Shooter Adam Lanza killed himself soon after police were called.
This atrocity is unignorable. The Commentator is working on an article that addresses the gun control debate from all possible angles and from all possible perspectives. For now, our love and condolences are with Newtown.
The Address for donations is: SandyHook School Support Fund c/o Newtown Savings Bank 39 Main St Newtown, CT 06470
The address for the school is where cards, letters, teddy bears anything for the siblings can be sent for the families: Sandy Hook Elementary School 12 Dickinson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT 06482
Thanks to Swamp Fox Green for the donation information (the full post can be read here).
Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Students and faculty at the UO know the power Nike has in Oregon. Even Google knows it. The sports empire has its well-fitted and flashy foot in the door of Oregon’s economy but, like the athletes it equips, faces heavy competition. Intel, a company that employs more Oregonians than any other, is disputing a bill that would give more tax breaks to Nike. Not-so-coincidentally, the bill being supported by Nike cuts out Intel.
The bill allows companies to lock in their tax structure so changes in their business won’t result in tax hikes. However, it doesn’t apply to companies that saved over five million dollars through the Strategic Investment Program. Last year Intel saved 22 million dollars thanks to the SIP.
The process behind how the guideline was added remains a mystery, but it’s clear that this is a skirmish for Oregon’s monetary favor between two titans. Both Nike and Intel promise expansion within Oregon in the near future, but this bill could directly affect their incentives and progress. In turn, Oregon jobs and industry. Governor John Kitzhaber has stated that he doesn’t support the SIP based exclusion, but what form the final legislation will take is still unclear.
What is clear is that’s one fine piece of mustache.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
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.
Monday, November 26th, 2012
With 4,006 total votes in the last EMU referendum, the decision to renovate won by 1,811 votes.
Outlined in red above is the advice of RBI strategies to the EMU Task Force. It was also included in the public records released a week ago. UO Matters has the scoop. This surly Commentator will belatedly summarize the sickening disregard for public records law. It was only after the elections that the redacted “public” documents were released, here.
The emails of Holmes, Gottfredson and Lariviere are heavily redacted per ORS 192.502 (1, 2, 8, 9). The names of the members of the EMU Task Force are redacted as well as about four page-sized chunk.
What’s more, they illustrate “the opponent” as narrow-minded, yet politically active and engaged with opinions born out of misconception.
The heavy elision of this material must be protested. Surely they can’t be hiding behind FERPA for this?
I aim to find out. In the meantime, file a complaint with the Board of Education. A modest example of a complaint:
The Office of Public Records at the University of Oregon redacted a slew of information from emails sent via a public account regarding public affairs. It is very possible that FERPA was used to justify redacting these documents when they were indeed not educational documents at all.
In the end, I am glad I won’t be here to pay for a shiny new EMU that I won’t be using.
Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Special Elections are currently open (my apologies for the late post) and the EMU referendum closes this Friday. Students are urged to educate themselves with the propaganda (self-described as unbiased, but is also outdated? WTF…) that has been distributed to the campus community electronically through emails and verbally by “students on 13th Avenue”. There are a lot of nice pictures and compelling arguments for WHY and WHEN the EMU should be renovated, but there has been little discussion about HOW. It makes sense to renovate the EMU (like the unbiased propaganda said), but there is a big rush and neglect of appropriate action in its planning.
The main problem I see with the proposed renovation is that students are expected to start paying for it beginning Fall of 2014, regardless of year in school. The project is EXPECTED to be finished by the start of the 2016 school year. I’d bet anybody who thinks that deadline will be met $20 bucks that it won’t. The “unbiased” information disseminated is ambiguous as to whether or not the EMU will be in service during the renovation (my guess is that, for the most part, no). Granted, the per term fee has been reduced from $100 to $69 per student, a significant reduction. Furthermore, I concede that it really isn’t that much skrilla (really a mere fraction of the formidable amount we already pay in tuition) to sacrifice for a better-functioning building with more study space. It should also be noted that private donations will account for $35 million of the project. However, that leaves $100 million put on students, starting Fall 2014. Those expecting to graduate in spring of 2015 or 2016 will be paying for something that they will not use, while being unable to use the current one that they will probably still be paying for! And who knows when it will be finished.
And the emails regarding RBI Strategies, of which I have requested the digital records, have yet to be made available.
In related news, concerned student Sophie Luthin filed a grievance against ASUO President Laura Hinman Wednesday afternoon. Her grievance cites non-fulfillment and illegal implementation of elections by the ASUO President. Accusing her of failing to appoint Elections Board officials and instead implementing the EMU Referendum herself, Luthin calls for the removal of Hinman from office.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Order of questioning has been decided by rock, paper, scissors. Click below for more.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Jill Stein is the Green Party’s presidential candidate. The Green Party is a very liberal party, with an emphasis and equality and equal opportunity for all. There is also a major focus on the environment and sustainable practices. Stein is proposing a “Green New Deal” in an effort to control global warming and the financial crises facing America. The deal encompasses government investing in green technologies, higher taxes on oil and petroleum profits, break-up of large financial institutions and stricter tax oversight of large corporations. It is predicted that Stein will win between 1% and 1.9% of the popular vote.
Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. He was the Governor of New Mexico for 8 years, and he notably vetoed 750 bills and left the state a nearly $1 billion dollar budget surplus. He proposes to cut government spending by 42%, and eliminating entirely the federal income tax in favor of the “Fair Tax”, a tax on the amount of money one spends. He is also a proponent of legalizing marijuana and drastically decreasing our foreign involvement. Many have called Johnson a “Ron Paul Libertarian.” He has also climbed Mt. Everest!
Rocky Anderson is the Justice Party’s presidential candidate. The Justice party is a very young political party, being created in November of 2011. Rocky Anderson was the Mayor of Salt Lake City from 2000-2008. The Justice Party doesn’t have a lot of information regarding their platform, but they do want to abolish corporate personhood, end the Bush Tax cuts, and they want to work towards campaign finance reform. They are a party with ecological concerns, wanting to ban mountaintop removal mining and they have a firm stance against the expansion of the Keystone pipeline. Anderson also endorses a single-payer healthcare system to help further equality.
Virgil Goode is the presidential candidate for the Constitution Party. He is running on a basic platform of four points: Restrict immigration, cut back the size of the government, balance the budget and impose congressional term limits. Interestingly, he has been criticized more harshly than any other candidate as being a “spoiler”, taking away votes for Romney and helping Obama, though he is only the third most popular Third Party candidate, behind Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. The Constitution Party is a quite conservative party, and as the name suggests, attempts to determine policy based on the documents that founded our country.
Friday, October 26th, 2012
Once upon a time, in a land very near and dear, the University of Oregon:
On January 1st, 2011, former Editor-in-Chief CJ Ciaramella emailed a request for ASUO Senators’ email correspondence (i.e., those emails sent to and from firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) to Public Records Officer Liz Denecke. As reading this previous post will inform you, Denecke responded via email to CJ’s request saying that in order to fulfill such a request, it would cost him a whopping $428.36– “about half” being used to cover the costs “producing the documents” and “the other half [...] for redaction, and that cost is estimated conservatively and will likely cost more than the estimate.” Denecke’s explanation continues, stating that such emails “will be student records, subject to the protection of student privacy laws. That will require a great deal of redaction and you may end up with documents that do not tell you what you want to know.” Denecke would later tell Ciaramella over the phone that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the students in this case, calling for intensive redaction of student names (i.e., the ASUO Senators’ names) and anything unrelated to ASUO business. Hence such expensive estimated compensation for the production of this Public Records Request. Because of this, Ciaramella abandoned the pursuit, deeming it stonewalled.
Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Measure 77: Authorizes Governor to declare catastrophic disaster and reallocate funds to disaster relief(requires legislative approval), as well as amends constitution to make it easier to call a legislative session in those circumstances. Pros: Allows for quicker aid and support if disaster occurs, and attempts to counteract government stalemate due to existing laws. Cons: Potentially expensive knee-jerk spending, gives the government more power than some would want.
Measure 78: Amends Constitutional language and makes grammatical and spelling changes. Pros: More accurate state Constitution, use of gender-neutral pronouns, gives us another ballot measure to vote on. Cons: How is our state so lame that this is a ballot measure during a Presidential election year?
Measure 79: Amends Constitution to prohibit taxes or fees on real estate transfers. Pros: Potentially blocks ‘double taxation’ due to existing property taxes, helps rural farmers keep family farms, limits Constitutional power of the Legislature. Cons: Could be considered special tax exemption for the real estate sector, limits Constitutionally granted power of the Legislature, partially already the law.
Measure 80: Allows personal consumption of marijuana and expands commercial uses of hemp. Pros: Tax dollars for the state, less wasted government money on marijuana-related crimes, sensible drug policy, LEGAL WEED! Cons: Marijuana more accessible, Taco Bell will need to hire more workers.
Measure 81: Prohibits commercial, non-tribal fishing with gillnets in inland waters. Pros: Allows for the preservation of our native salmon population, helps give recreational fisherman their ‘fair share’. Cons: Fishing jobs lost, unfair regulation of commerce.
Measure 82: Amends Constitution to authorize privately owned casinos. Pros: Percentage of proceeds go directly to the state, ends the unconstitutional monopoly by native tribes on casinos. Cons: Oregon Tribes have had legal right to casinos and will lose profit, ‘gambling related problems’ will be more present in Oregon
Measure 83: Attempting to allow a specific private casino in Oregon; See Pros and Cons of Measure 82
Measure 84: Phases out inheritance tax and all taxes on intra-family property transfers. Pros: Allows for family owned businesses to stay successful and avoid overbearing tax burden, stops ‘double taxation’ on profits. Cons: High-income families getting special tax break, lost tax revenue.
Measure 85: Constitutional amendment to allocate corporate income tax “kicker” refund to K-12 public education. Pros: Supports public education, averages $100-200 million per every three years for K-12. Cons: (No oppositional statements listed in Voters’ Pamphlet) Corporations are overpaying taxes, potential job losses.
Monday, October 8th, 2012
In reading this Register-Guard article and this one by The Associated Press, I find the arguments against Measures 82 and 83 to be silly.
Tim Raphael, Governor Kitzhaber’s spokesman, told The Oregonian that authorizing a non-tribal casino would break the agreement made with Native American tribes. Casinos are illegal in Oregon, however tribes are allowed to operate casino on Native American land under federal law. The agreement: just one casino per tribe, and no competition.
“They kept their end of the bargain,” Raphael explained to The Oregonian. “It’s wrong to break our agreement.”
Former Governors Vic Atiyeh, Barbara Roberts and Ted Kulongoski have also publicly opposed the measures.
A casino may not be the best thing to happen to the Portland area, but the last time I checked,
- competition is good for capitalism
- all demographics of people are entitled to a business
- people should be free to throw their money away
Sunday, October 7th, 2012
I hope everyone is perusing their voter guides! I’ve been waiting for my pamphlet to come in the mail, but I just realized that OregonVotes.org has this not-so-awesome, clunky PDF download page here. All the info you need on candidates and measures is available there– you just have to download each page individually. There are some fun measures up for ballot including amendments to regulations on marijuana (that’s hemp and cannabis separately), constitutional language, commercial fishing, privately-owned casinos and, everybody’s favorite: taxes!
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Every week, students like you and me congregate in the Walnut Room under the title of ASUO Senate. Every week, they make decisions that most of us probably don’t care about. Every year, I’ve paid little to no attention to this shit. But this year, I am condemned to attending these Senate meetings and relaying the information unto you. It was pretty boring at first, but things got heated and interesting with the censure of Constitution Court Justice Cedar Cosner. So here goes my first ASUO Senate meeting:
Matthew Miyamoto is acting as Chair until the election of a President or something. He calls the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. This was followed by introductions and silly one-word recaps of summer. The agenda was approved.
Ben Bowman announces the Emerald‘s Launch Party, which starts at 8:00 p.m. Apparently there is a VIP party at 6:00 p.m. which includes a free meal? You’re not invited; he only invited the Senate and then the audience.
Justice Shultz came in and discussed the new rules for Constitution Court. They can probably be found somewhere, but apparently the “the most startling changes will be with [how] resolutions [are passed].” Senator Bacon expressed concern of the composition of Academic Senators with respect to categorization of senators and how that effects the acknowledgement of constituents. The number of Senate seats has something to do with this.
More announcements. Oh my fucking god, can’t these announcements be emailed?
Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
According to this post on Politico.com by Alexander Burns, political analyst, consultant and strategist Karl Rove “has his eye on an unlikely state for the GOP to target in future presidential elections…” In the post, Burns quotes Rove’s thoughts on Oregon at Politico’s Playbook Breakfast in Tampa on Monday, according to reporter Jennifer Haberkorn:
Oregon, which mystifies me. Oregon, as you may recall, was a battleground in 2000 and this time around there is a little bit of evidence that Obama has some difficulty there.
I think part of it is that you do have this sort of weird element … centered around Portland that looks at Obama as a dangerous reactionary. But you also have something going out there, sort of this libertarian, Western, iconoclastic I’m-not-going-to-be-put-in-a-box. But something’s going on in Oregon. They’ve got a 30-30 statehouse. And Republicans came within 15,000 votes of winning the governorship and yet it’s the most unchurched state in the union. So it’s a weird conglomeration. Oregon might be next.
Hopefully the mystifying elements of this weird conglomeration will persist, or Rove and Portland will have some hashing out to do– wait, what’s this? Is that Rove?
Friday, June 29th, 2012
Drink up more than usual, friends! Today we rejoice as the Oregon Liquor Control Commission discontinues plans to ban cheap drinks in parts of Oregon. The OLCC was trying to make downtown Portland an “Alcohol Impact Area,” (not as fun as it sounds) giving the city of Portland the ability to prohibit businesses from selling disorderly-conduct-causing drinks like malt liquor and inexpensive wine.
So why am I drunk off of a 40 of Mickey’s in downtown Portland as I type this? Many personal reasons actually, but what I mean is, why are they still available downtown? Because it’s been determined that the OLCC doesn’t have the authority to establish AIAs to be recognized by Oregon state law. Cheap booze will live to be drank another day (or should I say, every day) but the city will try to push similar legislation next year.
This conclusion was reached just recently, but the plan has been supported by the organization and Portland officials for two years, and it’s sentiment can still be seen in the community despite the loss. Many businesses have stopped selling the controversial beverages voluntarily, even though the overall reaction of shop owners was mixed when the plan was first proposed.
Due to loss of alcohol related sales, Apu gets a side job.
One of the major arguments for enacting the ban was the supposed success in Seattle, cited by Theresa Marchetti in her original proposal. While the statistics look nice, other sources show that results varied and were ultimately disappointing as people simply found different ways to get intoxicated.
Banning sales of cheap alcohol not only infringes on responsible drinkers and store owners, but it could have some very detrimental results. History has shown that if a person wants a drink, they’re going to get a drink. I see two possible outcomes of this ban. 1) It simply moves riff-raff to another part of the city. Unlike downtown, most parts of Portland are more family-oriented and have more children residents. If we have to have it, let’s at least keep the belligerency in downtown. 2) It creates non-OLCC recognized suppliers in troubled areas. We could be looking at a full on hobo mafia here.
Movements like these have good intentions but generally become a hassle for law abiding citizens and lack worthy results. For example, Portland city commissioner Randy Leonard pushed legislation to lock up spray paint in 2008. It made sales of spray paint to the average Portlander very tedious, and outright banned sales of spray paint to people under 18. Yay graffiti is done! Actually, no significant results have been seen, but you still have to fill out that goddam clipboard in order to paint your bike.
Speaking of geographic memory devices that sexualize fictional characters, anyone in the “Harry Potter Fuck Me Hard” neighborhood can attest that parts of Eugene have staggering alcohol related crime rates as well. Downtown Portland would have been the first AIA in Oregon, but if it passes next year, will it be the last?
Little do these prohibitioners know, Thaddeus T. Rumplebottom was waiting in the sewer with his mouth open.
Past OC articles on the subject