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Archive for the 'Narcissism' Category

“Perceived” Rights and Smoker Ethics

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:

  1. Always smoke away from buildings and large groups of people, and/or areas of great traffic.
  2. Stop inhaling and pull the cigarette as far away from passing families with children.
  3. 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.
  4. Put butts out and make sure they’re extinguished before throwing them away.
  5. Throw butts in the trash.
  6. If an officer asks you to put your cigarette out, assess the situation. Fines suck, but so do the deprivation of “perceived personal rights.”
  7. 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.

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

 

Get yours today! Call 541-346-3721

Further Proof of the ASUO Con Court’s Utter Futility, and Seriously, Beware the Ballot

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Petition for Review/Motion for Consideration submitted by Senator Ben Rudin and Former ASUO Prez Sam Dotters-Katz that called for the ASUO Constitution Court to simply look-over an approved ballot measure– has been denied!

Thus, come elections, THIS RIDICULOUS MEASURE shall be voted on: Should students be allowed to vote directly on funding levels for certain incidental-fee funded programs?

In their decision to simply do nothing as per usual, the Con Court upheld…

Only claims relating

to factual errors, procedural errors, the designation of

the prevailing party, or subsequent changes to the

applicable rules or law may give rise to an opportunity

for the Court to reconsider a previous decision. A Motion

for Reconsideration cannot be based on claims that the

Court erroneously construed or applied the applicable

rules or law.

Rudin and Dotters-Katz were trying to question the constitutionality of  a previous decision! No wonder it was denied. They really should have gone after the Court and its decision on more compelling grounds, with more “permissible justifications,” like “procedural errors,” perhaps — rather than a daft questioning of constitutionality. For according to the Con Court,

 None of Co-Petitioners’ claims are

permissible justifications for the Court to reconsider its

previous ruling in 29 C.C. (2011/12). Co-Petitioners

argue that the Court erroneously interpreted the ASUO

Constitution when it approved these ballot measures.

These are exactly the types of claims prohibited under

Constitution Court Rule 10.3.1.

Here are those Constitution Court Rules they’re referring to, (thank you Ben Rudin, I’m a terrible journalist):

10.3.1 A Motion for Reconsideration shall not be based on a contention that the Court erred in construing or applying the law, but shall only be based on one or more of these contentions:

10.3.1.1 A claim of factual error in the order or opinion;

10.3.1.2 A claim of error in the procedural disposition of the case requiring correction or clarification to make the disposition consistent with the holding or rationale of the opinion;

10.3.1.3 A claim of error in the designation of the prevailing party; and

10.3.1.4 A claim that there has been a change in the Constitution, rules, statutes, or case law since the Court’s decision.

ASUO Con Court, I get it now. You’re in a bind. You’re bound by the Constitution. There ain’t nothin’ you can do. Well with that in mind, could you go ahead and elucidate 1) how this ballot measure was passed in the first place, considering its unconstitutionality combined with your being bound to the Constitution and everything 2)  your utility 3) how exactly you serve students, the University in general 4) the reason for your existence, etc. ?

And P.S., the ASUO Senate body talks mad shit about you! And the Ol’ Dirty Emerald has called y’all mole people before. Off the record.

Fuck Justice. Just Fuck It

To readers, I say unto you– vote DOWN the possibility of giving students the ability to choose the funding for I-Fee programs. Denying students this ability isn’t elitist or anti-democratic, it’s just (cringe, wince) standing by the ASUO’s entire purpose.

To the ASUO Senate and respective finance committees, I say unto you the same thing. If students have this ability, your fundamental justification for existence (budgeting, allocating the I-Fee throughout the whole goddamn school year) will be undermined immeasurably. So think about it. C’mon, do you really want any of your authority undermined immeasurably, any of your ego deflated indefinately?

Lastly, long live The ASUO Constitution Court: Ineffectual Mole People 4 Lyfe. Keep up the good work guys. What would we ever do without you?

FINALLY: The Apocalypse Issue!

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Get it while it’s hot, bitches.

The Apocalypse Issue

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.

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.

Ben Eckstein: Confidential

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

What does ASUO President Benjamin Eckstein think about the termination of President Lariviere? That is an excellent question and even though I interviewed Eckstein about the matter I am still left wondering. Below is a summary of the interview. The amount of time it takes you to read is the amount of time the interview lasted. He should get an award for being diplomatic.

Because the majority of the EMU was closed for Thanksgiving the interview took place in the back room of the ASUO office. In the office, there was a pepper shaker but no salt shaker, which I found suspicious but decided to ignore it and start the interview.

Eckstein started out by saying that him and Lariviere have had their disagreements but he respects Lariviere very much and has every intention on working with him if he is allowed to stay. So forth and so on.

Then he mentioned that there are smart people on both sides with good points, and this is a good discussion to have at the state level because it is important.

I thought I had him when he said it’s good it is happening, but he meant that it’s a big issue and should be handled by the state.

After a little prodding (I reminded him that he is a politician and he has to have more to say about the future of his university) he said that he is going to do everything in his power to make sure that students are being held at the forefront of all these decisions because they are they ones being affected. He wants to “give them a seat at the table when decisions are being made.”

He said, “Students should be meaningfully involved and consulted.” He wants to make sure that  people who usually don’t have a voice in these kinds of circumstances have a say in things that will be directly impacting them.

When asked about his testimony, he said it will basically be about students. It seemed like he had students on his mind.

I will try to crack this nut again after the decision is made. But for now, well played Eckstein.

Black Friday

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

This is a public service announcement:  With all this riffraff about the 1%, don’t forget the true meaning of Thanksgiving: standing in line outside a chain-store at 1 a.m. the morning after, eating left-overs and looking like Rudolph because it’s freezing.

Just please don’t have as many Red Bull and Eggnog’s as these guys:

Dead Gaddafi for Halloween

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

I am thinking of dressing as dead Muammar Gaddafi for Halloween. But I want your opinion. Would it be too soon? What about dressing as slutty dead Muammar Gaddafi?

Oregon Ranked Among the Largest in Penis Size

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

In a recent study released by Condomania, Oregon was rated as the second largest state when it comes to penis size. Though this comes as no surprise to anyone who has a passing familiarity with the hulking lumberjacks who comprise our state (or the marble-cut hunks of the Oregon Commentator office), the news comes as a sick shock to neighboring states such as Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, which all ranked in the bottom ten.

According to the survey, the tumescent curve falls between 3” and 10”, falling into a normal Bell curve between 5” and 6”. This data is supported by a 1996 UCSF study, a 1996 German report and a Brazilian study that places average penis size between 5.1 and 5.7 inches. No significant discrepancies were found between African-American males and Caucasian males, although the rankings seem to refute this (New Orleans, Washington D.C. and San Diego are all in the top ten.)

I’m personally bursting with pride. Way to penetrate the top ranks, Oregon. I know the ride was hard, but we shot to the top of the heap. So keep on struttin’ that Cascade cock lumberjacks and don’t let anyone tell you different.

Unless you have micropenis.

The Oregon Commentator: offensive, libelous, etc.

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

So Emi Koyama, the “activist and writer” I referenced in my last post about the Student Insurgent, has written an open letter to me and the Commentator regarding my characterization of her as an advocate for sex trafficking. Apparently, she is not. Her letter can be found here.

The focus of my post was not meant to be on Emi Koyama, but was meant to make fun of the Insurgent. Maybe not the classiest of moves, but whatever. She is right: I did not attend her presentation, and perhaps it was rash of me to jump to such conclusions about her standpoint. According to Ms. Koyama, she is not an advocate for sex trafficking, so there you go.

I assume her letter was sent to our editor’s account, which I no longer have access to, but if she’s out there reading, please respond to the post with your email address and I will send you an email. I’m very curious to talk to you about your viewpoint.

(And, for the record, I am no longer editor-in-chief of the OC, I am the blog editor.)

Media digest will be late, possibly nonexistant, today

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Hi there. If you’re expecting a media digest today, don’t hold your breath.

Much as the idea of putting print content before online content makes my skin crawl, I’ve put so much time into the digests this week that I’ve fallen behind on my actual stories for the magazine. Those, along with sleep will have to take precedence today.

If, once I finish them, I still have time to write a media digest before clocking in to work, I will do it, but there are only so many hours in a day and they are often outnumbered by pesky distractions (making breakfast, doing laundry and dishes, going to the bank). Making a media digest usually takes about four hours, so we’ll see how it all fits together. If I don’t get around to it, the real highlights will appear in Friday’s edition.

Once I start making enough money off journalism to quit my dayjob, you’ll be spared this kind of affront. Maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath for that either.

“As a karate expert … ” Finally, a political candidate about whom I can get excited.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I am not being ironic.

Obviously Jimmy McMillan is not going to win, and I don’t even think he should, not that the identity of New York’s governor is any of this Oregonian’s business. But I read the Register-Guard mailbag every day, and see a few letters every day from suspiciously on-message letters from people purporting to be everyday citizens who wrote them all by themselves. No excess, no matter how slime-smeared* from the Republican or Democrat parties can be considered shocking at this point, but you even see third-party no-hopers using this tactic, or assailed by it.

Additional viewpoints and political alternatives, no matter how whacked-out and gratuitous, are by definition welcome in the America in which I believe. My spirits drop, however, to see so-called alternatives, ones who have no realistic chance of winning, ape the win-at-all-costs methods of the establishment parties, though.

There may be some of that to Jimmy McMillan and his Rent is 2 Damn High Movement party too. I haven’t checked. Honestly, I don’t even know whether or not rent is too high in New York. But he seems more a shrill voice of the popular id. Rather than a hopeless pretender dressing up in the king’s clothes, he’s the gadfly all third parties ought to be. His rent is too high, he’s angry, and he’s not shutting up about it. Politics builds in its practitioners a thick skin, and perhaps his opponents’ skin is already thickened beyond the point that he can “sting (them) and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth.” But at least the man is trying.

Maybe McMillan is the Socrates of our era. Where the original had complicated ontological queries, the new model has only rage, articulated simply. But maybe, cometh the confused, soundbite-obsessed, shallow hour, cometh the focused, soundbite-friendly, uncomplicated man.

Note: Credit to the New Yorker’s Amy Davidson for the blog post that alerted me to McMillan’s existence.

* Only slightly hyperbolic

The dumbest fucking thing ever

Monday, July 19th, 2010

So I was going to do a post bout the Afghan soldier evacuation and the $500 million in planned aid to Pakistan. Then I saw this, a fan made video turned advertisement on Apple’s website touting another use for their titular iPad.

Ignoring the fact that the iPad is pretty much a glorified, expanded iPhone–a less sophisticated computer with a touch screen–this ad takes the cake in Apple consumer pretentiousness.

Effectively touting how you can use velcro to suspend an iPad anywhere in the home/car/work, the ad re-makes the wheel when you remember that it’s just as easy to prop the damn thing up without needing to place velcro all over the house.

The highlight of the video comes as a user places the gizmo on velcro placed on the wall. Not only would two black bars look fucking ugly on the wall when it’s not covered, but this idiot is using the iPad as a picture frame.

Let us compare:

Here’s the rundown of a picture frame

K-Mart 8×10 Picture Frame: $3.90

Photo Print: $2.50 (your milage may vary)

Hammer: $4

A goddamn nail: 10¢

Total: $10.50 and a little elbow grease.

And now iPad and Velcro

Adhesive Velcro: $3.90

Apple iPad: $300

Total: $304 and some ugly ass black stripe on the wall

I enjoy new technology, I really do. But the way this fucking trinket is hyped is goddamn deplorable. There’s nothing new or interesting to see, folks. Move along, move along.

The Oregon Commentator Goes Quarterly

Friday, March 5th, 2010

A new issue of the Oregon Quarterly is out, most notably with an article by Managing Editor Ross West about the Oregon Commentator’s By the Barrel: 25 Years of the Oregon Commentator.

There’s some great quotes in there, and overall the article is pretty positive. You can check out the digital issue of the Oregon Quarterly here or pick it up in person at the Duckstore.

I should take this time to remind you that By the Barrel: 25 Years of the Oregon Commentator is still only $10.