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Nanny Bloomberg Loses Another One

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Nanny Bloomberg’s “soda ban” was struck down by a New York Supreme Court of Appeals today.  The ban prevented restaurants and street vendors from selling sugary drinks like soda, tea, and energy drinks in containers or cups larger than 16 ounces. This is supposedly an attempt to fight the obesity epidemic.  Yet, the ban did not restrict coffee drinks blended with milk or milk shakes.

Bloomberg has pointed out that 2,000 people have died of diabetes since the ban was first struck down and promises an appeal.  This is typical government knowing what is good for you and passing regulations that in the end will have little if any effect on the supposed problem.  Pointing out that 2,000 have died suggests that had the ban been allowed to take effect it could have been prevented.

Obesity is a problem, but you cannot regulate it away.  Only those of us falling into the obese category can fix it.  Forcing someone to buy more than one drink is not going to do it.  Obesity is a problem, but not a disease.  You do not catch the obese germ or virus.  You become obese because you decide to take in more calories than you burn.

This is the same city that blocks people from donating to food shelters because they cannot monitor the salt content.  I am sure the homeless and those unable to provide for themselves care whether or not the food has a high salt level if the choice is that or going hungry.

There are better ways to solve problems and the government is not usually it.  As this example once again shows.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Zimmerman, Stand Your Ground, and the Racial Circus

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

A Neighborhood Watch leader follows a suspicious character in the neighborhood and after being assaulted, and having his skull repeatedly bashed into the concrete, shoots and kills the assailant.  Most people reading that would probably respond differently than the way some have responded to the media circus and lynching of George Zimmerman.  What about this situation is worthy of the hype and uproar that has been thrust upon us for the last year?  Nothing!  The same situation happened elsewhere only it was a black Neighborhood Watch person and white assailants and surprise surprise, no uproar.

The Stand Your Ground law has been paraded about as another villain in this event, yet it had nothing to do with the event.  Unfortunately, not even our supposed constitutional scholar president is able to understand a very simple law.  Stand Your Ground says that if you are legally allowed to be somewhere and someone threatens your life you are able to defend yourself without first retreating.  In other words if I pull a knife or gun on you while you are walking down the street you can use deadly force (read gun) to defend yourself.  You do not have to turn and run.  You can stand your ground, hence the name of the law.  Now in the Zimmerman case, his head was being bashed into concrete.  Retreating is not an option at that point.  This was purely self defense.  He was not able to retreat once his life became endangered.  Mr. Martin was not unarmed, he was using the concrete as a weapon.

The ugly part of this was the race baiting that went on by those in the media and the White House.  “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.”  I seriously doubt that a child of a president would be thugged out, smoking weed, and getting suspended from school for criminal activity.  Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson just showed their ability to profit off a tragedy as usual.  Why is it that this was considered a white on black crime when Zimmerman is half Peruvian?  Oh but Barack Obama is black even though he is half white.  In the eyes of some race is the only issue and no matter what it must have played a role.  It was the fact that Martin was black, not that he looked like a thug in an area that had seen a spike in break ins, that got him followed.

Now onto the head shake aspect.  It is sad to see how many people suck at the teat of celebrities that they blindly accept and follow what ever their favorite celebrities spout.  Zimmerman is an evil bastard and Trayvon Martin was a poor innocent thug.  No one stopped to question why this case was being pushed over numerous other cases where a black youth was killed.  They just continued on with the talking points of the hypocrites who think it is wrong for you and I to defend ourselves while they have armed security guards to protect them.

Prop 8 Problems

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

I would caution the cheering crowds that view the Supreme Court’s refusal to rule on Prop 8 to step back for a moment.  This ruling raises some red flags, and I hope that those opposing Prop 8 can understand that.

Prop 8 made same-sex marriage illegal in California.  It was voted on by the people and passed.  The Governor then refused to enforce it.  Whether or not you agree with same-sex marriage is irrelevant.  The process of direct democracy that so many on the left supposedly believe in was dealt a blow today.

If the governor does not agree with the people’s decision then he does not need to listen.  In the future, when the same people that are championing this decision are in the majority and the governor is on the opposing side, the governor will not have to listen to their votes.  That should raise major concerns for them because in getting a victory, they are also getting a defeat.

The court did not rule that same-sex marriage should be legal, only that the plaintiff did not have the standing to bring the case before the court.  If it had been brought up as a voters’ right issue it is possible it may have resulted in a different decision.

 

Neil Killion

DOMA Unconstitutional

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

While many of you may have been caught up in the joyous revelations that the Ducks will not be banned from the bowls this year, the court handed down a major decisions regarding gay marriage today.

The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled unconstitutional in a 5-4 opinion.  The Supreme Court ruled that if you live in a state that recognizes gay marriage the federal government cannot deny federal benefits.  It does not rule whether or not gay marriage itself is legal, just that the federal government cannot discriminate against gay couples in those states that do recognize gay marriage.

Although this is a victory for same-sex couples, it is also a victory for states’ rights.  The state’s law held supremacy over the federal law in this case.  If the state recognizes same-sex marriage then the federal government cannot deny those couples benefits.  This may pave the way for other states’ rights issues in the future.

Neil Killion

What will Gottfredson hide this time?

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

The making of public records available is more of a guideline than a “law” to adhere to here at the University of Oregon. In January, Economics Professor Bill Harbaugh requested President Michael Gottfredson’s calendar via the Public Records Office. It took them two months to produce this PDF with redactions and cost Harbaugh $108.

In very related news, the state of Pennsylvania decided last month that the public is entitled to the calendars of public officials in their entirety. This is shocking to reporters here at the University of Oregon, as the Public Records Office and UO chief executives like to interpret Public Records Law according to their personal discretion, rather than according to a transparent and concise procedure. This is acknowledged as lawful by UO Administrators because, as stated by Dave Hubin, “Oregon’s public records law is internally contradictory and ambiguous,” justifying the personal discretion used by those involved in preparing said “public” documents.

As Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center states in his post on April 30, 2013 (see Pennsylvania link above), what applies to a state governor can be applied to chief executives of public universities. The post continues, stating,

“Pennsylvania law, like all state open-records laws, presumes that the public should have the maximum possible access and that any exceptions to access should be narrowly interpreted. That is, appropriately, what the Commonwealth Court did April 23 in Office of the Governor v. Scolforo.”

I have requested Gottfredson’s calendar since January 8, 2013, the cutoff date of the last request. Since this University of Oregon no longer claims to be “Oregon’s flagship university” and is en route to losing its research status granted by the Association of American Universities, I suppose the Administrators won’t really see any pressing need to save the UO brand by improving transparency. Research? Who needs that? That’s what OSU is for.

Go Ducks!

The Latest from New Hampshire: Police Do What They Want

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

I sure am glad to live on the West coast.

During a block party, a fight breaks out and riot police respond, non-lethals ablazing, spraying pepperballs into the crowd all willy-nilly. They then proceed to force everyone to “move along” in order to “secure the area”. After watching the all the different videos a few times, I decided that the video linked above puts it all together pretty well. However, this one has some extra goodies.

It seems like the cops were bored or behind on quota. Perhaps they even just wanted to push around some college kids at gunpoint. Let’s just hope that giving our officers guns doesn’t give them this kind of confidence.

Shoot the police.

camera

Temple, Texas Cops Illegally Arrest Active Duty Soldier

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Truly a blow to democracy. Check this video.

Grisham

 

Active duty soldier (veteran of the Iraq and Afganistan wars) and Concealed Handgun Licence holder Christopher J. Grisham was unlawfully disarmed and arrested on March 16 while hiking with his son, who was earning his Eagle Scout rank. Now Temple  police have a lawsuit on their hands. Grisham has begun to raise money for his court case and his fellow gun rights-advocating Americans are not letting him down!

After two days of fundraising for his court case, he reached double his fundraising goal. Read about his fundraising campaign here. This is a prime example of illegal search and seizure by over-zealous police. This is CHL holding active duty soldier walking with his son. He wasn’t menacing. The police needlessly handcuffed and disarmed this man. I’m all for police protecting themselves, but I hope every cop in America is watching this and notes that Americans are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY and will not have their guns taken away. As Grisham says on his blog,

No one should have to fear being illegally disarmed without warrant, especially someone who has never committed a crime in his life.

GUNZ

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.

 

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Newtown, CT Shooting

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).

College Democrats Vs. College Republicans at McKenzie Hall

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Order of questioning has been decided by rock, paper, scissors. Click below for more.

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Third Party Candidates

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.

“The Ironing is Delicious.” And Fucked Up.

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

In reading The Daily Caller this morning, I couldn’t help but notice a pair of ironically “punny” events. It’s like we’re living in a crappy movie. It’s too perfect. Don’t deny they don’t get you thinking about the apocalypse. It’s a chilling trend we see– indeed less severe than the recent outbreak of cannibalism, these events are  all too coincidental:

Lady Gaga gets “Poked-in-her-face”, suffers concussion.

‘Kindness of America’ author hospitalized after ‘random’ drive-by shooting.

Wrinkle-free in a post-apocalyptic world

 

MCA of The Beastie Boys Dies at 47

Friday, May 4th, 2012

"MCA"

 

Adam Nathanial Yauch, a great hero and matchless artist of the innovative group The Beastie Boys– the three original proponents of fighting for our right to party– has passed away. He sadly lost his long battle with cancer this morning.

Having announced his battle with a cancerous parotid gland and lymph node  in July of 2009, MCA, along with fellow Beasties Ad-Roc and Mike D, postponed their new album and tour. Just last month, The Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame– only the third hip-hop group to accomplish this.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself how to play bass guitar and formed a hardcore punk band with his friends Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz. Their transition to hip-hop led them to break unknown ground in the world of music and bestowed upon them unmatched sound and fame, along with multiple Grammys.

Play ‘em loud all day in remembrance. Rest in peace, MCA.

 

MCA slappin' bass

The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 introduced in the House

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Students out there drowning in their own little puddle of the almost $1 trillion United States student loan debt might see a little bit of metaphorical sun this year in the form of student loan forgiveness. HR 4170, or the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, will “provide that if a student loan borrower equal to 10% of their discretionary income for a period of ten years, the balance of their federal student loan debt will be forgiven,” according to the bill’s author, Rep. Hansen Clarke. In his speech to the House, Clarke asserted that in addition to assisting students with sometimes crippling financial burdens, this bill will help stimulate the economy by freeing up funds for millions of individuals, which would in turn help the American job market (I believe the technical term is an “economic tripple whammy”). An official press release on the Clarke’s website further filled out details of the bill:

“This bill would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by giving borrowers the option to enter the 10/10 loan repayment plan. Borrower’s discretionary income will be defined as any annual income exceeding 150 percent of the poverty line for an individual or family. This bill would also allow graduates who enter public service professions, such as teachers and first responders, to have their loans forgiven in five years instead of ten as well as cap interest rates on federal loans at 3.4 percent.”

“It’s time for Congress to stand up for the rights of student loan borrowers,” Clarke claimed on the House floor to conclude his proposal. “It’s time to forgive these student loan debts.”

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed as this bill starts its long and vicious journey through the House. I know I would personally love to stimulate the economy by picking up a few more six-packs than I could otherwise.

A video of Clarke’s speech to the House can be found here.

Fix UC Eugene? 20 Years, %5 of Your Income, Free Tuition

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Students at UC Riverside organized as Fix UC have formally proposed their own tuition reform proposal to the University of California Board of Regents. The proposal is called the “UC Student Investment Proposal,” and it calls for free tuition.

Why does this matter?

Well, the Ol’ Dirty Emerald found that, “Without a doubt, the Oregon University System finds itself facing the same conundrum that the California system and countless others are currently experiencing: Keep raising tuition or sacrifice the quality of the education.”

The article quotes ASUO President Ben Eckstein, saying “a movement like this would be absolutely acceptable. I don’t see any reason why we can’t see a ‘Fix OUS’ movement at Oregon.”

Then there’s Diane Saunders, the director of communications for OUS: “The kind of program that Fix UC proposes might stratify who attends your university,” she said. “For those who might have higher incomes, it may be too much to pay in the long run.”

Oh, whoops. You don’t even know what she’s talking about. I forgot to explain how exactly Fix UC’s proposal works! Well I’ve taken a few answers from Fix UC’s FAQ page for some elucidation on their whole “free tuition” thing:

 

1. Wait, so like. Why is it called UC Student Investment Proposal? I thought this had to do with like, tuition and shit.

Fix UC: Under the proposal, the University of California would invest in its students to attend the university with no up-front costs, with the expectation that they will graduate and financially contribute once they enter a career.

This “investment” would be the University of California collecting %5 of their students’ income for 20 years after graduation.

Oh and let me remind you: In Oregon, if your income range is over $7,601, your tax rate on every dollar of income earned is %9, with a top rate of 11% kicking in at an income level of $250,000.

So just imagine, if the OUS were to adopt this, you’d be sending away %14 of the fruits of your labor until you were forty or so.

That’s right, now read the next question.

2. Hey, hold on. My dad’s fucking loaded, so I don’t want to pay like that. Can’t I just like, pay the tuition up front like we do now under this proposal?

Fix UC: No. An option to pay an up front fee would run contrary to one of the core concepts behind the proposal.Graduates of the UC will maintain a connection with their university not just for the time they spend there, but for a lifetime. A UC education is not a product, and its value is a complex one. The proposal requires a rethinking of the role of education in people’s lives, not simply as a product in the form of a degree…

This may just be the History major talkin’, but this sounds a lot like a little thing called indentured servitude. You know, that labor system prevalent in Colonial America during the 17th century, where poor immigrants would sign contracts committing several years-worth of their labor and wages in return for free ship fare..

 

Another day, another dollar

 

Like indentured servitude, Fix UC’s proposal seems kind of, I don’t know, binding maybe. The “%5 of your income” isn’t like a loan you can simply pay off once you have the money. It’s a tax. It’s a fee that rises as your income rises. AND IT DOES NOT GO AWAY.

What if you graduate and and end up working at Best Buy for 20 years?

What if you graduate and become extremely successful?

Or even worse yet, what if you graduate and become exponentially more successful each year, for 20 years, like most people?

When asked about his thoughts on Fix UC’s proposal, University of California president Mark Yudof told NPR, “In its current form, frankly, it’s unworkable.” Yudof did say, however, that he was “impressed” when students presented the idea at a recent meeting of the UC Board of Regents, and that his “best number crunchers” are reviewing the plan.

Like Yudof, the Oregon Commentator is admittedly impressed as well. Why? Well, simply because Fix UC emerged out of the staff of a student publication, just like us!

On Fix UC’s About page, it cites “after publishing editorial after editorial on the subject of the budget cuts and their impact on students, the editorial board of the Highlander newspaper at UC Riverside began developing an out-of-the-box, long-term solution for the University of California that addresses its most fundamental shortcomings.”

It’s true. Chris LoCascio, President of Fix UC, is also the Editor-In-Chief of UC Riverside’s newspaper, the Highlander.

Now I can’t say that our own Editor-In-Chief, Sophie Lawhead, will ever write a highly-debatable tuition proposal for a public university system in her spare time. But I will tell you that she will never let herself become editor of anything called the Highlander. I also cannot say that us on the OC editorial board will ever collectively develop some “long term solutions” to any “fundamental shortcomings.” In fact, I can personally attest that that will never happen. But please know, we want lower tuition too. We all do. And if we had to write a tuition reform proposal, it would look a little like this:

The Oregon Commentator’s OUS Tuition Reform Proposal:

1. Cut out some of that Oregon University System bureaucracy.

2. Cut out some of that mother fuckin’ Oregon University System bureaucracy!