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Archive for November, 2004

The Dude Abides

November 5th, 2004 by olly

My friend Sam, recently arrived in this country, brings news from home.

Them There Eyes

November 5th, 2004 by melissa

Ever get the feeling you were being watched?

Someone in the South is watching. I can’t wait to find out the final results of what their angel eyes see…

Darwin’s Origins of Textbooks

November 5th, 2004 by melissa

Like this is a surprise, being Texas and all.

Still, somehow I wonder in a situation like this how Darwin managed to sneak by. Oh, wait, that was last year’s controversy. Looks like I need to brush up on my “Books Banned in Texas” trends.

Battle of the Bulge?

November 4th, 2004 by Sho

Remember when everyone was talking about that bulge underneath President Bush’s suit during the first debate? Well, Wonkette posted a short blurb pointing to some political gossip from The Hill.

According to sources in the Secret Service, the bulge came from a bulletproof vest that Bush was wearing under his suit. The president’s handlers didn’t want to reveal that during the campaign, because disclosing information about the president’s personal security is generally a bad idea.

Are you conspiracy theorists satisfied now?

Mmm, probably not.

Montana: Gay Marriage? No. Marijuana? Yes.

November 4th, 2004 by Sho

It’s sad news for libertarians that 11 states passed laws against gay marriage. On the bright side, the same number of states now have legislation legalizing medical marijuana. Voters in Montana approved an initiative allowing the medical usage of marijuana, making it the 11th state to do so (the 9th west of the Mississippi).

Despite banning gay marriage and helping to re-elect Bush, Montanans passed the medical pot legislation by a wide margin; 62 percent to 38 percent, the highest ever for a medical marijuana ballot initiative.

As the World Turns

November 4th, 2004 by danimal

Well, as our comment threads smolder in a counter-intuitive post-election conflagration over the merits of gay marriage, the world outside Oregon continues to happen.

I awoke today to two interesting news items. Taken together they present a little race between demises I won’t be shedding many tears over. So let’s start the betting: Will Ashcroft quit before Arafat croaks?

New Issue Online, Honest

November 3rd, 2004 by olly

The brand spanking new 32-page Back to the Booze! extravaganza is finally available for downloading from this mechanical Interweb site. To mark the occasion, we have decided to break the website. Any and all graphical features are down for retooling. We ask our readers to use their imaginations, like people had to do when looking at websites in the old days. (Our readers who still use Lynx will notice nothing.)

But the PDF is there in the usual place. Seriously, it is. It’s right over there. Click on it if you don’t believe me.

UPDATE: Some of the graphics seem to be back. Also, there are apparently riots in Portland that have brought the MAX trains to a halt. Can these events be unrelated? Normal service will be restored as soon as we get back from the bar.

UPDATED UPDATE: Not to tempt fate, but everything seems to be working again thanks to Tim and Sho.

Citizens To Oregon: “Give Me A Dollar”

November 3rd, 2004 by olly

While I’m happy to talk about gay marriage – one of the few political issues in this world that I find entirely unproblematic – ad nauseam in the comments section, the most surprising thing I see in the news today is that Measure 37 is passing.

As the saying goes, now it gets interesting. I can’t actually believe that this measure means exactly what it appears to be saying. So if the city of Eugene expands, and property values near the original growth boundary decline as a result, someone is liable to pay the landowners the difference? Does this work the other way? If the state can establish that their actions increased the value of your property, do they get to pocket the cash? Even without that last bit, it still sounds like insanity, but as a wise former Editor once said: “I’m just a guy with one kidney – what do I know?”

Did we rock the vote?

November 3rd, 2004 by Sho

Doing a Google News search on “young voters” turns up a bunch of articles that proclaim that the youth vote this year was monumental, and another batch that says youngsters didn’t turn out to the polls as much as expected. Huh.

MTV announced that 21 million people under that age of 30 voted in this year’s election, up from 18 million in 2000. Voteordierockthevote!! WOO!!!11!

Anyone for a War on Decency?

November 3rd, 2004 by olly

Most depressing feature of the election for this non-voter: All eleven states with gay marriage on the ballot went against it. I’m sure Bill Bennett (see below) is delighted.

Let The Conspiracy Theories Roll!

November 3rd, 2004 by olly

Well, so that happened. It was, on balance, slightly less exciting than watching baseball. However, the morning after, it’s hard not to feel a little like Cartman at the end of the Scott Tennerman Must Die! episode of South Park; just lapping up those sweet, sweet tears. I can only imagine that Ted Rall is not updating his blog owing to his head having exploded.

But who is this approaching from over the horizon? It’s not… it is! It’s Bill Bennett! And what does he have to say?

Having restored decency to the White House, President Bush now has a mandate to affect policy that will promote a more decent society, through both politics and law.

Uh-oh. Anyone else getting a sinking feeling? O ye lovers of freedom: don’t let the intoxicating bouquet of those tears lull you into complacency.

Four dead in Ohio

November 3rd, 2004 by danimal

Drinks, that is. Now that I’ve killed them, I’m out. If I sleep long enough, I may wake up to a president-elect. Have Wolf Blitzer wake me if’n it happens.

I had a post election ballot measure rant going somewhere around here, but I postponed it when it descended into profane rambling. In the meantime, consider these words from God, and take heart:

. . . Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word “NOW”
And you say, “For what reason?”
And he says, “How?”
And you say, “What does this mean?”
And he screams back, “You’re a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home”

Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

Something Wicked This Way Comes

November 2nd, 2004 by olly

This is a momentous day, my friends. Today we enter the crucible of democracy, to test its boundaries and to examine its foundations. Today we come together as citizens (and curious visitors) to gauge our values and to discover their true worth. One more chapter is behind us. Today we begin another journey.

That’s right, it’s the start of the NBA season.

For anyone following any other event that may be taking place today, leaked exit polls have Kerry looking good in some surprising places – although exit polls also had Gore winning handily in 2000. If Kerry wins the electoral college and Bush wins the popular vote, as some polls are predicting, the reaction from both camps is going to be tremendously amusing.

Before I throw my hands up and retire to the bar, here are some wise words from Jesse Walker:

Tomorrow, barring another recount mess, we will have a president-elect. I can’t tell you his name, but I can tell you a few things about him. He wanted George Bush to have the authority to launch a war in Iraq, and he probably would have invaded whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction there. He thinks the Federal Election Commission should strictly regulate political speech, and he thinks the Federal Communications Commission should strictly regulate non-political speech. He supported the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, and he will not be parsimonious with the public purse. He’s a child of privilege who acquired great wealth without earning it in the marketplace. And I didn’t vote for him.

See you on the other side.

Voting Is Awesome!

November 2nd, 2004 by Timothy

Well, I went to a polling place for the first time and did my civic duty (having been an Oregon voter previously I did the mail thing). The electronic machines sure are easy to use, but the lack of a paper trail makes me a little nervous. I’ll go out on a limb and say that the vast majority of poll workers are probably honest, so I guess there’s not too much need to fret, but tangible proof of my vote would be pretty handy. I was not the victim of any aggressive eye-rolling, so I wasn’t intimidated by the nice old people whose job it was to check registrations; it was a bit weird to be asked if I wanted the machine in English or Spanish (because trust me folks, nothing about my appearance screams anything but “honkey”), but other than that it was easy enough.

Democracy Kicks Ass.

ODE: Quite Possibly Suffering From A Dissociative Disorder

November 2nd, 2004 by Timothy

Why am I blogging about student journalism from 2100 miles away at 3:30am local time? Because I start a night job at 3:30am Wednesday and the only way I’m going to be prepared is staying up all night and sleeping tomorrow afternoon. Stay in school kids, because you might need a job moving boxes one day.

In any case, what I find most interesting is that the Ol Dirty’s editorial board has decided to endorse Measure 38 while the columnists all say they’ll “Play it SAIF“. Now, I live in Texas so it’s not like this will affect me one way or the other, but I find it pretty hilarious. I’ve included money lines from each columnist’s bit below the cut.

Chuck Slothower:

It may be Oregon’s most corrupt, poorly run state institution. But it would be a shame if Oregon voters let an insurance company tell them how to run their public policy.

You see there, Chuck, the Oregon voters will decide for themselves how to run public policy, that’s why there’s a vote. SAIF isn’t accountable to voters at all, so it’s not like they currently have a choice in the matter.

Travis Willse:

But these questions and others, coupled with the benefits of better private competition, prescribe the state’s eventual withdrawal from the insurance market. However, the measure’s provisions aren’t sufficiently specific to convince me that its passage wouldn’t do more harm than good during the upcoming years. Vote a (reserved) no on Measure 38.

My first question is just how one votes a “reserved no” on anything. Voting is a binary (trinary if you count not voting at all) there, Trav, so it’s not like you can vote “no, but….” I can understand being wary of unintended consequences, but I’ve yet to see a compelling case for government monopoly over private-sector monopoly or oligopoly.

Jennifer McBride:

SAIF may not be perfect, but it’s good for Oregon. Over the past 14 years, workers’ compensation rates have not gone up, while prices in other states, such as Washington and California, have. A loss of competitiveness resulting from increasing rates will drive away jobs from Oregon and worsen our state woes.

If rates haven’t gone up, but costs clearly have, where does the money come from? That’s right, taxes! You see, Jen, in the real world the government has to get its money by squeezing the taxpayers for more, remember Measure 28 from last year? So if SAIF goes, then taxes could go down. That’s not likely, but at least they won’t have to go up further to subsidize the increasing costs of workers comp (as much of it is medical in nature, we can all agree that the cost of payouts is going up; there’s virtually no debate on the current direction of healthcare costs).

Ailee Slater:

Companies such as Measure 38’s biggest supporter, Liberty Northwest, have internal problems similar to those of SAIF; yet the difference is that these problems will never be solved by for-profit private insurers.

I can see Miss Slater hasn’t yet completed the eight hours of Econ required for the J-school. The thing about a private insurer is that they have incentives to fix exactly the same problems that plague SAIF, as those sorts of problems cause waste and loss of profit. Unlike government, private insurers are accountable to the bottom line. There’s no reason to expect that SAIF would be reformed, because the folks running SAIF don’t care about inefficiencies, they can always just get a bigger check next biennium. The thing about high-risk employers is an interesting point, I guess, but supposing they do have to pay a higher rate, the tax trade-off mentioned above makes the net effect nebulous at best. Further, “aboloshing inefficient state-run agency leads to unemployment” isn’t exactly a likely headline just from, you know, a basic understanding of macroeconomics.

So, because the ODE columnists are such fools, I’d vote yes on 38. Maybe that’s a silly way to determine how to vote, but santaria is frowned upon these days and I’m fresh out of midgets to toss.