Archive for the 'National' Category
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.
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Truly a blow to democracy. Check this video.
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.
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, 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.
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
Friday, May 4th, 2012
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.
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.
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!
Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
The internet blackout has begun, and Wikipedia isn’t the only one participating in the blackout. sopastrike.com has a full list of all participating websites, which is, to say the least, impressive.
The above, meanwhile, is an actual screenshot of Google’s current homepage. Yikes.
Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has a tweet for students across the country: “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”
And by “protest”, he means a full-on blackout, taking the sixth most visited website offline for twenty-four hours.
The English Wikipedia anti-SOPA blackout is to signify the possible–and likely–effects that SOPA AND PIPA will have on the internet if they manage to pass at the Congressional level. In case you’re in the dark about SOPA and PIPA, here’s a quick run-down: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act seek to protect intellectual property by enacting stringent laws against the distribution of copyrighted material online. In several melodramatic television spots, they claim that internet pirates are destroying American jobs, decreasing innovation in the entertainment industry, and probably ran over your dog when you were six. What supporters of the bills fail to note is that the language is so vague that any website can be shut down for having any piece of copyright material present on any of its pages. That means YouTube could be taken down if someone posts a video of themselves singing the karaoke version of a copyrighted song. It also means Facebook could be shut down if a copyrighted video is posted on one person’s wall, and thousands of other websites could be stomped out at the drop of a hat.
Oh, and did I mention that a person or entity doesn’t even have to own the rights to the content they claim a website is illegally distributing? And that SOPA and PIPA would effectively give the people who sued a 12-year-old, a dead woman, and claims that ripping music you have purchased to your computer is illegal the run of the internet?
Naturally, most of the tech community (i.e. Google, Facebook, YouTube, eBay, Twitter, and just about every website you will ever use, ever) and anyone with a brain knows that this is a bad idea. So they’re fighting back.
The tech community has been slowly gaining ground on the issue in the last few weeks; former supporters have backed out under pressure, and Congress has finally invited tech community representatives to speak on the issue, where previously they had only heard from representatives of the entertainment industry.
However, Wikipedia is not taking these positive moves as a sign to put the breaks on. The English version of Wikipedia will be blacked out tomorrow as a demonstration of the destructive effect SOPA and PIPA could have on the world wide web. “There’s [..] an element of this sending out a signal to governments in other parts of the world that the Internet is going to get really mad if you try to censor the Internet,” Wales said in an interview with CNN. “It’s quite ironic because the U.S. policy has been quite firmly about discouraging censorship of the Internet elsewhere. So it’s a bit of a shame that we’re trying to do it at home.”
Websites Reddit and Boing Boing will also be taking part in the blackout, and Google will posting a statement explaining its opposition SOPA/PIPA in solidarity with the protest.
The full interview with Wales can be found here. More information on SOPA/PIPA can be found here and here…for now.
Saturday, November 26th, 2011
So here’s what we’ve got:
Governor Kitzhaber calling bullshit on Lariviere, saying it’s about “trust,” and standing behind the state board. From his letter:
First, let me say that the situation involving the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and Dr. Richard Lariviere has nothing to do with an “ongoing difference of opinion over the future of the University of Oregon,” as Dr. Lariviere suggested in an email sent out to faculty and students last Tuesday.
There have been a number of well-publicized incidents involving Dr. Lariviere that have eroded trust and confidence with the Board of Higher Education.
Dr. Lariviere unilaterally granted substantial salary increases to his administrators and faculty. Unlike every other university president in the state, he disregarded my specific direction on holding tight and delaying discussion about retention and equity pay increases until the next biennium to allow for a consistent, system-wide policy on salaries.
Full text of the letter here.
The UO Deans calling it as they see it, urging for reconsideration:
We are unanimous in giving the president an A+ for his vision, his leadership and his unwavering commitment to public higher education. We are confident that an evaluation of his performance based on appropriate metrics would lead to a similar grade. We can only conclude that the state board and the governor gave him an F in “plays well with state bureaucracies.”
President Lariviere was hired by the board and supported by the UO community because he promised to lead us in finding a new model for excellence in higher education in Oregon. The UO community challenges the board, the governor and our president to forge a new path so that we can continue to build a great university for the benefit of all Oregonians.
Full text at the RG
State Board Prez blames it on the trust too. Story here.
& A letter from the senate executive committee:
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
The story of Stephen Glass goes a little like this:
Man has great story idea, works for awesome publication. Man makes up story even though it’d be pretty damn easy to just get the story. Actually, man does this a shit-ton an embarrasses himself, his publication and the world of journalism. Man loses job.
This is of course the children’s book version, sorry I didn’t have time to draw it out. There’s also a movie version called Shattered Glass (excellent film).
So, the moral is that this kid gets kicked out because he isn’t being ethical.
His next choice of careers? What better than law?
Glass is currently waiting for approval from the California Supreme Court so that he can start practicing according to this article.
Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
As many as 5,000 lucky students social security numbers made a sexy special appearance when a glitch in a student loan company’s website showed users other peoples information instead of their own for a good seven minutes before they pulled the plug to do damage control for the next 48 hours. The real victim here is, of course, the loan company who’s reputation was damaged by whistle blowers who carelessly sought the acceptance of their peers by pointing out the mistakes that the company probably didn’t even do.
I mean, come on guys, it’s not like social security numbers even do anything. They’re just the bar code imprinted on your spine by the Illuminati at birth, and everybody knows that, so why make the Direct Loan Program feel like the bad guys? It’s the students fault, anyways, for not having enough money to learn things, and then getting all mad because their private information was released, and it’s like come on guys, you signed a user agreement we can accidentally leak this shit all we want brah. The company was also confronted with claims that their site wasn’t “user friendly enough”, but they were told to go to Hell. The rest of the article is pretty super boring and I wouldn’t try reading it, but people were all mad about shit and stuff went down and I think they promised it to never ever do it again, swear on my mother.
The Daily Caller