The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

Archive for January, 2004

Cellphones Can Kill. No, I’m Not Talking About Brain Cancer.

January 27th, 2004 by Sho

Check out this video footage of a cellphone gun in action. No word on when the digital camera/scope version will be out at your local Radio Shack.

Also, here’s a cellphone stun gun, still legal in 43 states!

From Wes Clark To Sylvia Plath In One Easy Freudian Slip

January 27th, 2004 by olly

Wonkette – as predicted, already an essential part of my morning procrastination, and I don’t even live in DC – continues to ask the questions that matter. In this instance, the question that matters is apparently “What is it with the slutty blondes and Clark?”

Two Studies In Title Inflation

January 27th, 2004 by olly

Comedy newspaper moment of the weekend: although I must warn you, this is a bit of a strange one. (I have no idea why Common Dreams is reprinting an LA Times story – damn you, corporate media! – but they helpfully don’t require registration. It was also in Sunday’s R-G.) The George Kenney writing this bizarre little piece isn’t State Rep. George Kenney of Pennsylvania, although it would be much, much funnier if that were the case. Here we go:

The only way to restore genuine democratic representation is a substantial, long-overdue increase in the size of the House. We need a fivefold increase now, and a longer-term goal of maintaining districts of about 100,000 people.

It’s mind-boggling, to be sure, to contemplate a House of 2,000 or 3,000 seats, or more. Such a change would cause huge disruptions. But reluctant as we may be to do it, the alternatives are far worse. Let’s not quibble over practicalities.

That last sentence is always welcome in an op-ed. To indulge for a moment, though: we need an additional (say) fifteen hundred congresspeople? Each one earning $150K? Presumably that figure doesn’t include things like staff and travel budgets. I think George Kenney just earned a seat of honor on that free ice-cream trip we alluded to yesterday.

In related news, Gregg Easterbrook tackles the difficult task of writing TMQ in a week when no football games were actually played, and ends up musing:

If General Motors had the same ratio of titles to revenue as the Houston Texans, GM would boast 1,928 vice chairmen, 4,820 senior vice presidents and 13,496 directors.

That sounds about right. But let us not be distracted from the real matter at hand, people. You know what this country really needs to set it on the right track? I’ve figured it out: more graduate students. Tens of thousands of graduate students. No, seriously.

It begins…

January 26th, 2004 by danimal

A federal district court judge in LA just ruled parts of the PATRIOT Act unconstitutional. Thanks to the “I’m not sure what this here word means” nature of wire coverage of legal decisions, I don’t know much more than that right now. It seems to say that a portion of the Act targeting individuals who provide “expert advice and assistance” to suspected terrorists was overbroad in view of the 1st and 5th Amendments. I’ll try to find the decision in a minute here.

Significant? Not really, not at the moment. But wait til the 9th Circuit gets their handses on it. This ought to be fun.

Penguin Baseball for the Steroid Era

January 26th, 2004 by danimal

For those of you who couldn’t match my punishing 323.5 slugging, this little tweak will make you feel better.

"’EEEEEEYYYYAAAHHHH!!!!’ is not, per se, an unpopular sentiment…"

January 26th, 2004 by olly

Jonathan Chait sounds like he knows he’s on the home stretch.

A Moment Of Clarity

January 26th, 2004 by olly

PFC Sen. Colin Andries, considering the inevitable OSPIRG budget.:

“(The funds) just go to Portland, and they get to spend it as they please,” he said.

How true. Result? Increase of 14.6%, to $115,265. Does anybody care? Not particularly.

Also, documented here, the Survival Center’s request for additional stipend funds garnered the following response from Sen. Joe Snyder:

I would rather see a request for an increase in programming funds than a request to put more money in your pockets.

But the ODE informs us, with a hint of weary irony that I may just be imagining, that

During lengthy haggling by senate members, the executive controller suggested that a stipend increase for the Survival Center would be in line with what the PFC has done for similar organizations, such as OSPIRG…

Oh, I give up. Everyone can have all the money they want, and then we can all go out for free ice cream.

I’m Sure You’ve Seen This Already

January 26th, 2004 by Timothy

But if you haven’t, here it is. Is it just me, or is this vaguely reassuring? I’m not sure why, but I’ve got to feel all right about a man who A) just wants some ribs, dammit. And B) Is willing to talk down to a reporter about how the economy works.

For Immediate Release

Office of the Press Secretary

January 22, 2004

Remarks by the President to the Press Pool

Nothin’ Fancy Cafe

Roswell, New Mexico

11:25 A.M. MST

THE PRESIDENT: I need some ribs.

Q Mr. President, how are you?

THE PRESIDENT: I’m hungry and I’m going to order some ribs.

Q What would you like?

THE PRESIDENT: Whatever you think I’d like.

Q Sir, on homeland security, critics would say you simply haven’t spent enough to keep the country secure.

THE PRESIDENT: My job is to secure the homeland and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. But I’m here to take somebody’s order. That would be you, Stretch — what would you like? Put some of your high-priced money right here to try to help the local economy. You get paid a lot of money, you ought to be buying some food here. It’s part of how the economy grows. You’ve got plenty of money in your pocket, and when you spend it, it drives the economy forward. So what would you like to eat?

Q Right behind you, whatever you order.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m ordering ribs. David, do you need a rib?

Q But Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT: Stretch, thank you, this is not a press conference. This is my chance to help this lady put some money in her pocket. Let me explain how the economy works. When you spend money to buy food it helps this lady’s business. It makes it more likely somebody is going to find work. So instead of asking questions, answer mine: are you going to buy some food?

Q Yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good. What would you like?

Q Ribs.

THE PRESIDENT: Ribs? Good. Let’s order up some ribs.

Q What do you think of the democratic field, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: See, his job is to ask questions, he thinks my job is to answer every question he asks. I’m here to help this restaurant by buying some food. Terry, would you like something?

Q An answer.

Q Can we buy some questions?

THE PRESIDENT: Obviously these people — they make a lot of money and they’re not going to spend much. I’m not saying they’re overpaid, they’re just not spending any money.

Q Do you think it’s all going to come down to national security, sir, this election?

THE PRESIDENT: One of the things David does, he asks a lot of questions, and they’re good, generally.

END 11:29 A.M. MST

Despotism ain’t so bad…

January 26th, 2004 by Timothy

…If you’re at the right end of the shredder, that is. My Favorite Democrat has said yet another stupid thing. Yes, the standard of living in Iraq was better when Saddam was in power. For the despot and his cronies. I’ll bet Dr. Duck’s medical license that the average Iraqi citizen is a whole lot better off now than under Saddam, and that the situation for that representative citizen is only going to get better with time. Makes me glad to see Kerry and Edwards doing well after Iowa (eventhough the caucus doesn’t mean a thing), makes me think that maybe the entire Democratic party hasn’t lost its head.

When The McShit Hits The Fan

January 25th, 2004 by Tyler

I have a very personal reason for wanting to see this movie. Not only am I gainfully employed by a certain restaurant specializing in glucose-laden, sodium-enhanced, aorta-hardening food items, but I believe that my father’s neighbor actually came up with this idea. Except he wasn’t the guinea pig, his kids were. But after a week of feeding them nothing but Happy Meals, their shit turned white. So I think he turned to Pizza Hut after that.

That man is my parenting hero!

It’s not a habit it’s cool, I feel alive….

January 25th, 2004 by Timothy

There’s a lot of good stuff going on over at Marginal Revolution these days. But, this post really caught my eye. I can imagine the upshot of this: “Well, honey, it’s not that I don’t want to be with you, but the doctor says I’ve got to kick my addiction or I’ll surely die.”

Also, be sure not to miss this nice little paper on the costs and benefits of regulation. It’s got some nice methodology and takes a pretty good look at what are and are not effective rules. Oh, and it uses a pretty high value for “statistical lives,” $7 million.

"What we have here, folks, is a school of fat, slow-moving fish, a barrel shallow enough to see the bottom of, and a howitzer."

January 25th, 2004 by olly

One more thing to slavishly page through in the mornings: Wonkette.

While it is inevitable that I will post something fawning every time I come across a new endeavor headed by someone who used to write for Suck, I think this really looks like a winner. Especially if she’s going to keep on and on and on at Tina Brown, because we like it when people do that. Oh yes, we do.

(Also, there is this:

Some of you have noticed that we cannot spell and that we make silly grammatical errors. There is a good reason for this: We are very, very drunk.

…which is (ahem) difficult to argue with.)

The Institution Of Marriage Must Be Protected From Scott Austin!

January 25th, 2004 by olly

Jared at the ODE reports on the increasingly depressing same-sex marriage debate:

College Republicans Chairman Jarrett White said his group is “100 percent behind the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman,” and the group supports a Constitutional amendment. White said marriage is a sacred union created by God and the issue of same-sex marriage should be a federal issue and not left to the states.

“You can take if [sic] from the biggest states’-rights guy on this campus,” he said. “It should be a federal issue. It should all be the same.”

Manfully suppressing my initial reaction to this quote – which, as Tim pointed out, may well have been libellous – let me be content with a statement of fact: Jarrett White is manifestly not the biggest states’-rights guy on this campus.

This is relevant, as far as the legal discussion goes. This is also good. However, the next problem – at least from where I’m sitting – comes at the state level, where some 37 chunks of the Union have already passed constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Eugene Volokh fears that the FMA would preempt (what he sees as) the likely move by state legislatures towards liberalizing marriage laws over the next few decades. Do the state constitutional amendments have the same potential impact? Can the state amendments themselves be more easily amended, or what?

Worth noting that Oregon does not currently have one of these amendments: but I rather fear that the charming Oregon Citizens Alliance will have something to say on the matter once they return to Earth orbit for another brief fly-by.

This Kid Is A Little Like Jesus…

January 25th, 2004 by Tyler

You know, if Jesus were an xenophobic attention whore.

Tim Bueler (the Jesus/whore-like figure in question), a high school student from a small liberal town in California, has received a lot of press coverage recently after starting the Conservative Club, which publishes a flier in which students can report “un-American activities” among left-leaning faculty. Ho ho!

Quote from flier:

Liberals welcome every Muhammad, Jamul and Jose who wishes to leave his Third World state and come to America – mostly illegally – to rip off our health-care system, balkanize our language and destroy our political system.

Like a pint-sized Michael Savage, the pubescent pundit has lay waste to his liberal enemies with a scarifying level of ridiculous rhetoric. As a result, Bueler has received threats from students and faculty alike, giving him street cred among certain conservative circles.

I must give props to the young Bueler for speaking his mind; that’s admirable, even if the purpose of his rhetoric is to elicit anger, not change. But I think that Bueler and others are underestimating the ability of high schools to stifle speech if, for any reason, it may counteract with the learning environment (am I right, Dan?).

Some conservatives believe that this kid could be the new messiah of young conservatism, but I doubt it. His level of discourse leaves the unsavory impression that he is trolling for attention. I think all this huff will blow over once the kid gets laid.

Sounds Like An Average Thursday At The OC

January 25th, 2004 by Bret

A girl in England is ebay-ing away her virginity as she auctions herself off to pay for school.

She is currently forced to work long hours in poorly paid part-time jobs to pay her tuition fees.

Sounds like most people to me. You’ve got to give it to the girl (pun? what pun?), she’s willing to go the extra mile — she’s a lesbian willing to sleep with a man to pay for school. Note to Olly: This would’ve been a much faster way than earning 3 masters and working on a Ph.D.