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Archive for August, 2004

The OC’s new mascot?

August 19th, 2004 by jeremy

Or at least Rainier Beer’s newest advertising campaign

Schadenfreude, Making Me Glad That I’m Not You.

August 18th, 2004 by Timothy

Okay, I know this is beating a horse that has long since died, been buried, eaten by maggots, and is now pushing up a cornfield somewhere in Eastern Oregon. Maybe there’s not corn out there, I don’t know, some other crop then. Anyway, here is the now, apparently, defunct LiveJournal of one Eric Bailey. You may remember Mr. Bailey from two consecutive losing ASUO Executive campaigns. The first one even involved a grievance against our very own former Publisher, Bret Jacobson. Yeah, I’m probably a bad person.

UPDATE: Extracted from a couple of posts down the LiveJournal, the more recently updated but still just as sad Eric Bailey Webpage.

Illegally downloading movies makes Jesus cry.

August 18th, 2004 by jeremy

And I thought these people were financed by drugs, or weapons deals. For our friends in the UK, however, the real culprit is file sharing

Won’t Someone…

August 18th, 2004 by Timothy

Please think of the animals?

As Usual

August 18th, 2004 by Timothy

Tom Tomorrow’s little website isn’t that funny. There is this Yale Yearbook photo of the President getting a little out of hand playing rugby. Knowing what I do about Yearbooks, I’d say that the caption writer probably took a little liberty with the actual event. The photo, though, is entertaining enough in its own right. I think it’s probably the moment after a poorly thrown tackle, judging from Bush’s position and the angle, plus where the other guy’s non-ball arm is…anyway, just thought I’d point that out. Lore, as usual, got there first and is funnier.

More Election-Related Thoughts

August 17th, 2004 by Timothy

Via The Blog Father, I have come across a most excellent piece in Reason magazine. Mostly it covers Kerry’s record on civil liberties. This raises even more doubt in my mind about a Kerry presidency. You should read the whole thing, but there are a few key points that jump out at me.

1) Kerry was for the cryptography export laws. Essentially, he was for punishing technology rather than criminals who use technology. Kerry is basically in favor of making all software have a “back door” for law enforcement. For obvious reasons, this should disturb any civil libertarian greatly. John Ashcroft, oddly enough, was against this.

2) Kerry favors asset forfeiture laws that allow the property of people who are not accused of crimes to be seized. Kerry was in favor of any property used in drug-related crimes being taken by the government, even if the owner was not charged. The owner would then have to sue, and prove that he/she had no knowledge of the crimes in question, in order to get property back. I’m against government seizure of property under any circumstances, even that of criminals, because private property is one key to individual freedom. Ashcroft was also against these laws when he was in the Senate. Some bits were, apparently, recinded after the bill to do so was made weaker by the Reno DOJ.

3) Kerry is in favor of imposing undue regulations on the banking industry. For the uninitiated, banking is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the nation already. There are required reserve ratios, laws about deposit insurance, myriad securities laws, banks cannot own certain types of assets, and they are required to report any withdrawls over $10,000 to the government. Kerry would have all electronic fund transfers monitored, and would not give banks or their customers any privacy what so ever. Not to mention that he authored the hyper-obnoxious banking bits of the PATRIOT Act.

It’s clear that Kerry favors government power over individual liberty, at least on some issues. What Bush’s positions on those issues are is probably not too dissimilar, except the banking thing, probably. Although, the cryptography regulations were undone in 1997 and the PATRIOT act and Ashcroft DOJ made no effort to reinstate them. I also have a feeling that Bush’s take on private property might favor individuals more, but given that he’s definitely for the War on Drugs, as it were, those two things probalby come into conflict. There are, of course, other civil libertarian issues that Bush has got wrong (abortion, gay marriage, stem cells), but Kerry hasn’t up to this point said terribly much to give me confidence on the gay marriage thing, and he’s made rather cryptic statements about abortion. Overall, things in this regard look like a toss-up, and as stated below, there are other issues that are important enough to make me go Bush.

We’re #1!

August 17th, 2004 by Sho

The Princeton Review just published its annual “Best 357 Colleges” report yesterday and it looks like the University of Oregon has jumped up a few spots in a couple of categories and made a new appearance in another, though they probably aren’t the categories in which the administration would like to see the school make advancements.

#14 in Party Schools (we were unranked last year)
#5 in Reefer Madness (up from #13)
#1 in Dorms Like Dungeons (up from #2)

Looks like a winner is us!

Categories where we dropped out:
Most Politically Active (#16 last year)
Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians (also #16 last year)

Huh. I guess there really wasn’t much to protest this past year except for the Vagina Monologues, oh, and a war. I guess you need to mention sweatshops in order to get people pumped up around here.

By Popular (Okay One) Demand (Read, Polite Request)

August 16th, 2004 by Timothy

Mr. Chris Crawford of Jacksonville has requested in comments to this Bill post has requested a discussion with some reasonable Bush supporters. Well, I fancy myself such, and I’ll gladly discuss my reasons. I want to run this particular comment Tacitus style. Please be polite, no profanity (unless it’s funny and not ad hominem), et cetera, et cetera. Yeah, okay, that’s a hilliarous set of requests coming from yours truly, but I’ll do my best to be cordial. Perhaps we can get the same going from the Kerry supporters among us. Ruff (even if you are a non-voting felon)? Flog? Should I be looking at you guys? All right, my Bushpinions after the break.

Huzzah! Here we go, in handy list format:

1) Let me preface this by saying that I do not support all of Bush’s policies. He’s wrong on stem-cells, abortion, gay marriage, the damnable Medicare give away, the damnable Dept. Of Homeland Security [and it’s even got a really lame title], and John Ashcroft. I also think he’s grown the size of federal government too much, and done a piss-poor job vis a vis trade policy. I’m not exactly sure the man has a good grasp on Federalism, but that’s a discussion for another time. Those are the negatives, as I see them…there are others but mostly of the niggling detail variety.

2) I think Bush is right on the things that matter most to me, though. That is, taxes and terrorists. I think marginal tax rates in the US are too high on individuals across the board, and I think the Bush tax cut did a great job of reducing that burden. Steve Verdon, Steve Antler, Don Luskin, and a whole host of other people who are smarter than me have covered this in some detail and at great length. I’ll even give that rich people benefited the most from the reduction in rates, but then again rich people pay most of the taxes, so I don’t really see a problem with that. I’m not sure if I buy Grover Norquist’s “starve leviathan” hypothesis, but I don’t see how reducing the tax burden across the board is a bad thing. Bush’s tendency toward protectionism is sort of worrying, but I think there’s a big enough free-trade element of the Republican party left to counter balance a lot of it. And, besides, big labor always goes Dem anyway, so there’s no point in courting the AFL-CIO and their brand of neo-Mercantilism.

As far as terrorists are concerned, I’m definitely of the “find them and kill them” school of thought. I think it should’ve been happening since the 1970s, but Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, and Clinton all dropped the ball very severely. It certainly should’ve started after the first WTC bombing, or the embassies, or the USS Cole, but didn’t. As far as I’m concerned each of those is a declaration of war against the US, and the instant you do that, your life if forfeit. Maybe that’s not the most PC opinion in the world, but if you think of the US as the Great White Satan, chances are our continued existence is mutually exclusive, and I’m okay with somebody else taking the fall. I also don’t buy that terrorism is our fault, at all. Terrorism is the fault of, well, terrorists and the horrible dictatorships that spread their lies and give them recruits. Hating the US distracts the masses from the fact that, hey, those Mullahs have it pretty good and our lives suck, what’s the deal? It’s a classic diversion from the real problem: theocratic, despots or oligarchs.

And that’s the reason I’m behind both the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war. If we can succeed in establishing functional democracies in those nations by working with the locals who aided our overthrow of two of the world’s worst regimes, we can give a decent alternative example to the rest of the Arab world. Iran is ripe for a change, and I wish the students there all the best. The Middle East was once the bastion of civilization, even as recently as the early 20th century, and it’s sad state can be undone. I’m optimistic about a sort of democratic domino theory, and hopeful that it succeeds. This is also Bush’s opinion, so he and I agree on that and, with the taxes thing, well, that secures my vote.

3) I’d vote for Kerry if I trusted him, at all, to do what I think is the right thing in Iraq. Over thirty years in the Senate, and Kerry has voted against every major defense package that’s come across his desk. He came back from Viet Nam and called his comrades in arms war criminals in front of the US Senate. I’m not attacking his record of military service, I’ll leave that up to his former boat mates, but he did testify to certain things when he was with Viet Nam Veterans Against The War and his testimony coupled with his voting record give me no confidence, what so ever, in his interest in maintaining a strong military. As a person who believes that the military is one of few duties of government, that’s important to me. During peace time I might settle for gridlock, that’s why I voted for Gore in 2000, but there’s a war on. Kerry is essentially running the Mondale platform (I’m going to raise your taxes and make the government bigger, dammit!) but it’d never get through a Republican controlled congress, but I think he’d do exactly the wrong thing with Iraq…if he managed to make his mind up about it at all.

So, for the above reasons, I’m going Bush in the fall. Which doesn’t really matter anyway, because I live in Texas now and it’s not like GWB isn’t going to win here. The electoral college may be pretty genius, as it makes small states actually matter in an election, but some places are certainly easily predictable. Anyway, that’s the pocket synopsis of my Bush vote, play nice kids. Play nice, self.

Gilmore v. Ashcroft

August 16th, 2004 by Sho

John Gilmore, a wealthy computer programmer who was one of the first employees of Sun Microsystems, is waging a court battle against the federal government’s requirement that airport security officials ask passengers for photo ID in order to board a plane. Gilmore filed suit today in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Here are the origins of Gilmore’s suit, as found on his website:

On the 4th of July 2002, John Gilmore, American citizen, decided to take a trip from one part of the United States of America to another. At the airport, he was told he had to produce his ID if he wanted to travel. He asked to see the law demanding he show his ‘papers’ and was told after a time that the law was secret and no, he wouldn’t be allowed to read it.

He hasn’t flown in his own country since.

Interestingly, another program that requires the showing of ID is the Watch List and No-Fly List. Airlines must check IDs of passengers to names on the lists, which has resulted in many cases of mistaken identities. This is the case for hundreds of fliers named David Nelson.

Could It Be More Pedantic?

August 15th, 2004 by Timothy

I’m speaking of this interview with Ray Fair in the NYT Magazine [horrible, free subscription required]. The Fair Model is an econometric model used to predict Presidential elections. And it’s been pretty good, (+/- 2.5% on average) on the whole. There’s a lot of potential here for a really interesting interview, but instead Deborah Solomon has exchanges like this one:

In your book ”Predicting Presidential Elections and Other Things,” you claim that economic growth and inflation are the only variables that matter in a presidential race. Are you saying that the war in Iraq will have no influence on the election?

Historically, issues like war haven’t swamped the economics. If the equation is correctly specified, then the chances that Bush loses are very small.

But the country hasn’t been this polarized since the 60’s, and voters seem genuinely engaged by social issues like gay marriage and the overall question of a more just society.

We throw all those into what we call the error term. In the past, all that stuff that you think should count averages about 2.5 percent, and that is pretty small.

It saddens me that you teach this to students at Yale, who could be thinking about society in complex and meaningful ways.

This is what passes for journalism. Ask Ray Fair questions, lady, don’t banter meaninglessly about your opinions. Science (yes, science, Ruff) doesn’t care whether you’re sad or not, and Ray Fair is a good Economist for teaching his students econometrics without getting all emotive about it. You want sociology, Ms. Solomon, you’ll have to go over to the Op-Ed desk and ask Krugman. [Via Antler]

Lampooning MoveOn

August 13th, 2004 by Tyler

I just received a press release today from the National Lampoon (yes, strangely that hallmark of brash, politically incorrect 70s humor still exists in the form of a website, and for some reason they are sending me press releases), which notified me of its latest heelarious satirical venture, a parody of

I was actually surprised by how ambitious the site was; it features video clips and animation, and there are moments when its pretty spot on (the way they constantly ask for donations is a nice touch). For the most part, though, it’s pretty hit or miss the Fahrenheit 9/11 parody I Am Not An Asshole, although well made, is pretty stupid, but the video Bush is Hitler and Worse is kind of funny.

This site and the National Lampoon homepage sort of make me yearn for the good ol days, when the National Lampoon had writers like John Hughes, P.J. ORourke and huh,Paul Greenfield? What the fuck!

Also, they ripped off my schtick.

Max’s Tavern Closed?

August 11th, 2004 by Sho

Brought up in the comments on the previous post, there are rumors that the popular East 13th Avenue bar is now closed. Others say that it is closed for renovations and will reopen next year. Because I’ve never been a part of its scene, I’ll leave it to other OC alumni to discuss the fate of the bar. Autumn and Brandon have thoughts on the situation.

(Curiousity satisfied Courtney?)

Protestor Tech

August 10th, 2004 by Sho

Here’s an interesting blog entry on some of the technologies that will be put to use by protestors at the Republican National Convention later this month. One that caught my eye is an internet-enabled bike that will allow users of an anti-Bush website to send text messages that will be chalk-sprayed onto the street from a device latched on the bike.

Another idea that brings a funnier image to mind is a balloon attached to a roller blader that will float over protestors with a digital camera so a more accurate head count can be determined. See, it’s funny just to picture that. I don’t know if the NYPD is going to let the balloonist/roller blader go, or just laugh.

(via Gizmodo)

Definitely Maybe

August 10th, 2004 by wwb

For all of you still trying to justify a vote for John Kerry this November, it should come as some relief that he eagerly took on Bush’s challenge about whether Kerry as presdident would have invaded Iraq, based on what we know now. But you may be distressed to hear his response:

    “You bet we might have!”

You bet we might have? You bet we might have? As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up. It’s too soon to tell yet, but this could be a gaffe on the level of “I actually voted for it before I voted against it.” Has he yet said something that so perfectly encapsulated his nonexistent vision for US foreign policy? I know one thing — he’s never said anything so pithy that would reassure someone about the vision thing.

Good thing John Kerry is so darn electable! Because if he wasn’t, he’d be a major embarrassment.

P.S. Hey! It’s been awhile. I’m on hiatus from my other blogs, which means the OC is the lucky beneficiary of my near-compulsive musings. Or unwilling recipient. Whichever.

This Is How We Do It

August 9th, 2004 by Timothy

Well, Papa Bush was not in attendance at my godmother’s wedding this weekend, but the former CEO of Hearst was, and a few other Houston-area notables. I didn’t talk to any of them, really, I got drunk instead. Real, real drunk. You can take the boy out of the OC, but you can’t take the OC out of the boy. Or something.