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Archive for June, 2004

Oh The Humanization!

June 24th, 2004 by Sho

First talking dinosaurs, now talking cars? I’m sad to say it’s all downhill from here for Sullivan. This is his second cartoon and he’s already starting to recycle ideas. Unlike another cartoonist, at least he hasn’t reached the point of labeling the cars “cars” and drawing somebody holding a newspaper with the headline, “GAS PRICES DROP.”

Anarchists Enforcing Order With Violence? That’ll Never Happen!

June 24th, 2004 by Sho

Gather a few hundred peace activists and anarchists, with thousands more expected, into one space and what do you get? Well, for one attendee, it was a shovel to the head and a punctured lung.

Southern Oregon blogger RoguePundit links to an article by the Klamath Falls Herald and News on the “Rainbow Family Gathering of Living Light” being held in Northern California’s Modoc National Forest. Trouble has already started with one attendee breaking the windshield of a truck and then assaulting the two occupants. He was apparently pissed off because they were driving through the camp at an unsafe speed.

The Forest Service is encountering other problems such as permit conflicts and the logistics of having upwards of 20,000 people live in the same area for a week or more.

Anyone planning to go camping at Modoc during Independence Day weekend should probably avoid it, unless you like pointing and laughing at anarchists. In that case, you may want to practice on ducking your head.

NCAA Places UofO Football on Probation

June 23rd, 2004 by Sho

Blah blah blah Ducks, blah blah blah football, blah blah blah NCAA, blah blah blah probation.

UPDATE: Today’s Emerald story covers most of the details fairly well.

SpaceShipOne Problems

June 23rd, 2004 by Sho

Reason has a link to an article on at least one life-threatening problem with the private space launch from earlier this week, but at least the company is working on the issues (instead of ignoring them, which is something that NASA seems to do, re: Space Shuttle).

Air America: A Sinking Ship?

June 23rd, 2004 by Sho

For those of us who haven’t been following news on Air America, Megan McArdle provides an update on the liberal radio network’s financial troubles and other structural problems. Among some of the indications of financial instability are reports of employees not receiving reimbursement for costs to attend a swanky $70,000 Manhattan party celebrating Air America’s founding, and a fight over Al Franken’s $1 million contract. Worst of all, Air America has claimed to have raised $30 million when in fact the network has raised only $6 million.

The WSJ article is subscriber only, but I found an AP/WSJ article at

UPDATE: The article is down now so I guess you’ll have to find yourself a copy of Monday’s WSJ, but I found a story about Air America ratings over at Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, which isn’t a great source but it’s still an interesting read.

Out With Baggs, In With Sullivan

June 22nd, 2004 by Sho

Okay, so the joke is lame but Aaron Sullivan, the new Ol’ Dirty Emerald cartoonist, drew dinosaurs in his first Emerald political cartoon. Dinosaurs, as we all know, are totally awesome. Right? Right???

Another Beheading in Iraq

June 22nd, 2004 by Sho

This time the victim is translator Kim Sun-il, 33, who worked for a South Korean company supplying goods to the U.S. army.

UO Receives $200k Gift from Alumna

June 22nd, 2004 by Sho

Didn’t catch this story from the Register Guard till just now.

So It Begins Again

June 22nd, 2004 by Timothy

I was reading a rather interesting Hitchens piece about how much he dislikes Michael Moore, and it seems that one of the clamis of Moore’s new film is that:

Saudi capital in general is a very large element of foreign investment in the United States.

Well, I decided to do a little investigating. This BEA Report is the most recent I could find, and has data up through 2001. On a historical-cost basis, “Middle East” Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the US makes up about 0.045% of FDI. By contrast Canada makes up about 8.22% and “Europe” makes up about 71.7%.

On a capital flow basis, the “Middle East” as a region actually recieves more FDI from the US than it sends here. Middle East capital inflows in 2001 were -$159 million, meaning that US businesses sent $159 million more of capital to the Middle East than the entire region sent to the US. Middle Eastern FDI only accounts for about 1.95% of income from FDI in the US.

But wait, there’s more! That only covers the income/production side of FDI, what about Middle Eastern holdings? Well, the second table in that same document has information about non-bank foreign affiliates in the United States. Of total assets held by foreign non-bank affiliates, Middle Eastern investment makes up 0.66%.

The other data in the tables points the same direction, that Middle Eastern investment in the United States is a relatively small proportion of FDI and, even assuming that ALL of that investment is Saudi, Saudi investment in the United States is a tiny proportion of the FDI that happens here, which is in turn a tiny proportion of the economy (10-15%).

It should be noted that in a lot of cases a “foreign firm” is sort of a nebulous term, but IIRC the US reporting standard is that being 15% foreign-held makes a firm “foreign” for the purposes of FDI reporting. A brief summary of the reporting requirements for FDI in the United States can be found here.

I’ll cover the personal investment side later, because that data isn’t really as interesting, is far afield from my areas of knowledge, and will take a lot longer to dig up.

Nader Campaign Update (Whoopdedoo.)

June 22nd, 2004 by Sho

Portland-area blogger Michael Totten links to this post by The Nation’s Marc Cooper on Ralph Nader’s pick for VP. As Totten puts it, Nader has “jumped the shark” with his choice of Green Party figure Peter Camejo, a former Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate.

Cooper has some interesting final words on Nader’s campaign and his re-alliance with the Greens:

Nader could very well then finish this weekend as, once again, the official Green nominee. But the Party itself is almost certain to emerge from the convention weakened and split.

I dont think much of this matters very much as I wrote earlier this year. The Green Party, like Western Civilization, is a good idea that never really got off the ground. Nader, meanwhile, seems to be rapidly squandering a lifetimes worth of well-earned respect. Running a third party campaign during this election cycle would have been tough enough even if conceived and implemented in the most thought-out, strategic, and serious manner. Now, with Camejo as his running mate, Naders lonely quest threatens to turn into nothing more than a carnival sideshow.

ODE Updates

June 21st, 2004 by Sho

An obituary for Michael Joyce, the pre-journalism student killed on June 12 when his bicycle collided with automobile driven by another UO student, is up at the Oregon Daily Emerald Web site.

Also, this is an especially stupid thing for a couple of kids to do. I’ll leave it at that.


June 20th, 2004 by olly

Before we get started, I have a couple of things to say about Aaron Shakra which may seem out of character, and which have kept me from being all mean-spirited about his last few commentary pieces as I am now exhorted to do…

  • I appreciated him being a good sport about bringing the comedy for our Hate issue, and I have to acknowledge his point about the “near-fetishistic level of detail” in which we (and mostly I) have responded to his work.
  • Also, I was mightily amused to learn from his Hate piece that someone has taken to leaving copies of the OC on his desk: thank you, whoever that was.
  • He deserves a shout-out for this piece on Jim White, whose “No Such Place” album has never been far from my CD player these past four years. The writing is vintage Shakra (“The existence of Jim White might be likened to some ripple in the fabric of space-time.“) but the subject matter, at least, is right on.

    However, that said, we are left with this.

    So now, as it’s finally over, I struggle to exist in the moment I’m experiencing.

    I am still convinced that Shakra is the quintessential student columnist. His writing is a closed system upon which the outside world barely impinges – and when it does, it does so in unpredictable ways, as when he discovers that he has a literature paper overdue. He represents the very worst tendencies in all of our writing – towards grandiloquence, obfuscation, melodrama, narcissism, and cant – to such an extent that it would not surprise me to learn that the whole thing has been a spoof. But even if it is, it has been a valuable one. Believe me, folks, there’s a little Aaron Shakra in all of us.

    And, as he wanders off into the sunset, what do we have to conclude the rants about Society, materialism, militarism, feminism, and (more often than not) haiku?

    Because after all, these stories are merely conception, a narrative I construct to order my experience, to mark beginnings and ends. When I take time to breathe, I know better.

    Well, quite. Happy trails, sir.

    Perhaps these words will linger a while longer, as ashen sage smoke swimming amongst the places where I once existed, leaving traces of who I once was. Perhaps some will remember.

    I think we will. And that ain’t sage, incidentally.

  • Absence of Bylines in the WSJ

    June 18th, 2004 by Sho

    Megan McArdle notes yesterday that reporters for the Wall Street Journal have ceased to include bylines in their articles to protest against stalled contract negotiations. This is interesting, especially to those of us who will end up working for major newspapers. A Google search (minus WSJ) reveals that it’s not an uncommon tactic used by newsroom staff. The question is, will readers actually notice?

    It was OFF THE HOOK apparently.

    June 18th, 2004 by Sho

    You may recall a November 2003 incident where members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were responsible for damages to a rental property in Sunriver, which they apologized for and made some restitution (e.g. community service, letters of apology, etc). Now the owners are suing the fraternity for $500,000. What’s really sad/amusing about the whole thing is the difference in tone between the information given to the property owners by SAE and what appeared on the frat’s website (note that according to the lawsuit, SAE said that only two couples and some children would stay at the home):

    After the party, Crockett left the Brocks a note that read: “We had a wonderful weekend at your home. It was a peaceful relaxing weekend. Due to the rain and snow, some mud was tracked into your house. Children can be careless! We cleaned it as best we could. I apologize again, and hopefully we can stay here again next year.”

    On Nov. 18, according to the lawsuit, the fraternity published on its official Web site, “Last weekend was the Sunriver trip … all I can say is it was OFF THE HOOK!”

    And we used to sing Shakra la la la la la la la la la te da

    June 18th, 2004 by danimal

    This is, simply, a plea to Mr. Ruff to fulfill his duty by fisking Shakra’s farewell column. Sure, it’d be two weeks late, but, man, he’s reached self-parody! Let’s be done with it! Witness:

    I could have taken more women’s studies classes, taken more African dance and drumming, Japanese literature courses — I could have taken Urban Farm every term. If only …

    It’s uncanny. I used to make jokes that began like this.