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

Archive for March, 2004


March 16th, 2004 by danimal

The Beaver County beats the Duck County to the party.

Papa’s Got A Brand New Baggs

March 16th, 2004 by olly

Groucho Marx and Quentin Crisp ruminate tastefully on recent events in Spain, here.

Same-sex Marriage Supporters Inadvertently Helping The Opposition?

March 16th, 2004 by Sho

Christopher Frankonis of the Communique has a guest commentary in today’s Portland Tribune. Frankonis alleges that same-sex marriage supporters who are criticizing the clandestine process that Multnomah County commissioners took to allow the marriages are “unintentionally doing the work” of same-sex marriage opponents:

“Commissioner Lonnie Roberts is a perfect example of why I’m irked that so many supporters of same-sex marriage are jumping onto the process-bashing bandwagon. What Roberts is doing is cynically using people’s mistrust of government to hammer away at the process issue, because he knows that he’ll find more political support for his efforts on that than he would if he was trying to rally people to join him in his prejudices.”

Frankonis points out that county commissioners routinely work on some matters solely with other commissioners who support them. For Roberts to complain about this publicly is tantamount to “rank hypocrisy,” according to Frankonis.

I Don’t Even Care If This Is Real

March 16th, 2004 by Timothy

Apparently Skippy is no longer allowed to do 213 things in the US Army. Damn, that’s a lot of things.

Classified As A Sell-Out

March 15th, 2004 by Bret

You may remember this little bastard when he was doing the good work of ratting out the Ol’ Dirty for its nefarious coverage of the tragic death of a student.

Now, apparently, even the most bright-eyed young salesman will shill for the Big O’s Classified section.

Follow-up To A Very Old Post

March 15th, 2004 by Sho

Armed Prophet posted this story a year and a half ago on ecoterrorist “Tre Arrow,” who was wanted for setting fire to logging trucks in a 2001 protest of the Eagle Creek timber sale. Well, it looks like the Feds finally caught him.

I Have To Admit, The Headline Scared Me

March 15th, 2004 by Timothy

This Seattle PI Story has the headline: Agency initiates steps for selective draft. That’ll scare the pants off any male under 26 right quick. Fortunately, this turns out to be a non-story. The Pentagon has no plans to ask for a draft, Congress would most likely not authorize one, and DoD made sure to say that there’s no “draft movement” as it were. Turns out they’re only adding linguists and computer specialists to an existing list of professions to rapidly mobilize, here’s the quote:

The agency already has a special system to register and draft health care personnel ages 20 to 44 in more than 60 specialties if necessary in a crisis. According to Flahavan, the agency will expand this system to be able to rapidly register and draft computer specialists and linguists, should the need ever arise. But he stressed that the agency has received no request from the Pentagon to do so.

Sounds like somebody is trying to get the word “draft” out there to scare a few folks…why can the boomer generation only see things through the Vietnam lens?

[Note: I do not like conscription. I believe that it is against the principles of representative government to be compulsed into military service. If the government is the citizenry, then the government really has no authority to make members of the citizenry go out and get shot at against their will. I’m against the death penalty for similar reasons, among others.]

Somehow, I Don’t Think This Is Going To Catch On

March 14th, 2004 by Timothy

Feb 14 one either feels lonely, but also like a tool for letting a made-up sap holiday get to one, and thus ends up drinking heavily. Or, if one is in a relationship, one ends up shelling out a pile of cash for a meal and some trinket or flowers and feels equally like a tool because, again, the greeting card companies have gotten to one. Not that I don’t appreciate a holiday entirely concieved for the purposes of capitalism, I most certainly do, but I also hate feeling crappy or shelling out close to $100 for consumables. Furthermore, why the fuck are flowers so expensive? Okay, yeah, I know why [The Market], but that’s not the point. Just buying the goddamn rosebush would be cheaper and last longer.

That’s why March 14 has been declared Steak and Blowjob day! Heck, just so everybody can have a good time, it can be Steak and Oral Sex day for all I care! It’s much simpler, more to the point, and at worst you’re only paying $20 or so for a couple of nice ribeyes and some beer. I know it’s a little late to make any plans for this year, but there’s always next. Or, alternatively, you can always just wait for No Pants Day to celebrate.

At The Request Of The Prophet

March 14th, 2004 by Timothy

I am going back to talking economics for a minute. Volokh links to this Gregg Easterbrook post which, in turn, points us to this chart of US gasoline prices in 2002 dollars from 1950-2002. On the same topic, we also have Steve Verdon [DRINK!]

First of all, it’s nice to see our friends up in Corvallis doing some good work. Secondly, it’s good that somebody is pointing out this sort of thing. While it is easy to complain about gas prices at the pump, especially here in Oregon where we pay about 16 cents more than the national average, it’s important to adjust that for the scale of the economy as a whole. A quick calculation gives me that in 1998 dollars; I’m paying about $1.65 per gallon today. That’s 35 or so cents per gallon higher than I was paying in 1998. Now, that might seem like a bundle, but consider the minimum wage and tax increases in Oregon since then (not to mention that Eugene has a city-wide gas tax of three cents per gallon, which Portland did not) and things are probably a lot closer to similar. I don’t mean to completely discount market effects, but gas prices really aren’t that out of line with historical trends.

Also, consider OPEC’s declining market share. During the oil crisis OPEC had roughly 55% world market share, but it’s been in decline ever since. Late 90s measurements had OPEC’s share at about 42%, and it’s still falling. They are a cartel, and their heads do need some bustin’, but with discoveries of deposits in parts of the former USSR, the recent feasibility of deep-sea exploration, and deposits in Alaska, the threat of an OPEC based oil-shock is much lower than it has been historically.

So, kids, when you hear Dan Rather and Katie Couric blather on about how the high price of gas is killing American families, or beating up puppies or some other such nonsense, ignore them and smile with your knowledge of real-dollar valuation.

Okay, So Some Regulations Work

March 13th, 2004 by Timothy

A report issued by the federal government says that the US is using less water than it did 30 years ago. A lot of the savings have been in industry. Marginal Revolution has more. Success of these efforts, however, does not mean that further regulation would be a good idea.

A Moment For Total Geekery, Courtesy My Continued Adventures In Sleep Deprivation

March 13th, 2004 by Timothy

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fucking geek. It’s also widely known that I enjoy videogames from time to time…okay, if by “time to time” one means “every goddamn minute I can get free.” I spent most of this evening, despite attempts involving liquor to sway me from my course, playing Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles with two other Commentator staffers who shall remain unnamed. Having played with the single-player a little, I can say that Crystal Chronicles is only good multiplayer. Particularly, if you’re playing with folks who don’t take the whole thing too seriously. Great game, very fun, but it’s not worth gettings stressed over.

Also, I’ve been playing Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time. It, also, is great. Challenging, with hard puzzles and difficult fighting, but the controls are intuitive, and the plot is interesting enough. Also, be prepared for the most insane jumping puzzles the world has ever known. There were some jumping puzzles in Viewtiful Joe (also a great game, but the last level is so obnoxious as to have driven me from bothering to finish it), but Prince of Persia’s are much, much more challenging. Also, the game as a whole is a lot more fun.

And, finally, I’m also playing Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. It’s a follow up to what I would consider the best game on the original Playstation. Yes, I’m counting FF7 and FrontMission3. Tactics Advance is, honestly, the most addictive fun you can have with a GBA these days. Seriously, go buy it. Yeah, get the GBA too if you don’t have one already. It’ll help the economy, and you’ll get some kickass games. Speaking of the economy…oh, nevermind.

March 12th, 2004 by pete

In an alternate reality only an infinitely folded fourth dimension away, Luke Jackson narrowly avoided having his three point attempt blocked and put Oregon up for good with two minutes left. Pete Hunt decided not to get drunk by himself in his bedroom at his parents’ house, and instead went to the nearby (24 miles) Seven Feathers Hotel and Gaming Center to celebrate the big win. After boozing and schmoozing with some friends at the bar, he went onto the floor and won two hundred dollars playing black jack. Management invited Pete and his large entourage back to a secret “Players Club” behind the waterfall. There, he won another $500 (American) playing poker against an aging Reno lounge singer, a shady female boxer promoter and an old one-eyed Indian named Pecos Willy.

In a way, the only sad thing about Haiti is the way we keep trying to make it into Ohio. Because it never will be, and only looks ridiculous trying, giving the local killers fancy democratic names. If we just let Haiti be Haiti–a crazy, gory voodoo kingdom–people might learn to respect the place.

Yo’, I might be a little late on this one (I don’t want to be know as one of those “soooo September 10th” guys), but here’s a link to a to a two part story that sums up the history of Haiti. Part one is here. Part two is here.

And I was going to post something on infighting in the Sierra Club over immigration policy, but I couldn’t find the link I was looking for. Instead, here’s an interview with the Aqua Teen Hunger Force creators. It’s on the Suicide Girls website. I’m actually a Suicide Girls member. It’s a long story, but basically Sho introduced me to this girl who had posed for Suicide Girls, and after meeting someone who willingly posed naked online, you’re pretty much morally obligated to pay the four dollar registration fee and see what all the hype is about. And I’m not trying explain myself to anyone, because if I want to look at pretentious goth porn, that’s my business. It’s not like I live down the street from a strip club that offers stiff drinks and free pool.

Sigma Nu Responds to Fliers’ Rape Allegations

March 12th, 2004 by Sho

In a guest commentary in today’s Daily Emerald, Sigma Nu President Andy Newsom defends the fraternity against allegations of rape that were printed on inserts illegally placed in Emerald issues. According to Newsom, the alleged rape happened at a party that was not hosted or sponsored by the fraternity, which is not an University-recognized fraternity because of its refusal to go dry. Newsom states that the perpetrator is not a member of Sigma Nu.

An excerpt:

“The unfortunate truth of this situation is that the flyer released takes the form of an attack which in turn provokes our fraternity into a defensive mode. The important issues, which involve the safety and well-being of the young woman, the punishment (if necessary) of the alleged perpetrator and the materialization of the actual facts, are at risk of being ignored. In spite of the urge to focus on defending ourselves from an attack, we will continue instead to do the best we can to assist in the investigation — not as good members, but as good people.”

Concurrently, the Emerald ran a story today on the predominance of criminal activities that are associated with fraternities. According to Student Judicial Affairs Director Chris Loschiavo, violations of the law and student conduct code by fraternity members occur almost every weekend. However, it appears that very few incidents are reported to police and only about 10 fraternity-related crimes are reported to Student Judicial Affairs every year.

Useful News For Anti-War/Anti-Globalization/Anti-Bush/Anti-Etc. Protesters

March 11th, 2004 by Sho

The Oregon Supreme Court today struck down a law that allowed police to use force against protesters who “failed to disperse” when ordered. The court unanimously stated that the law violates state constitutional rights of free speech and peaceful assembly.

However, police are still free to use force when protesters are committing crimes or are threatening injury to officers or others. So, to put it in simple terms for all you anarchists out there, throwing a garbage can through the window of your neighborhood Starbucks is still an act of unprotected speech.

(via Portland Communique)

Shouldn’t Be A Surprise

March 11th, 2004 by Bret

A woman accused of spying for Iraq “worked for Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. in 1993 and then Rep. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in 1994 before joining the office of former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun as press secretary in 1996. From March to May 2002, she worked for Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.”