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Archive for December, 2004

Thought Experiments & The First Amendment

December 16th, 2004 by olly

If you have a moment to skim a few of our back pages, indulge me:
one, two, three, and four. The alert reader will notice a certain unity of tone in these posts.

Ask yourself: is this hate speech? Does this create an unsafe environment on the campus?

If so, what can one say about public figures (such as members of the ASUO Senate) on campus, and about their political stances? Do we acknowledge a distinction between argument, satire, lampooning, and harassment? At what point does the threat of reprisal create a chilling effect on speech – especially when selectively enforced?

The answers to these questions may become very relevant in the not so distant future.

Website Weirdness

December 15th, 2004 by Sho

For some reason the blog isn’t letting me post the word “s e x”. I get a html page that says:

Not Acceptable
An appropriate representation of the requested resource /mt/mt.cgi could not be found on this server.

However, fuck, shit, bitch, asshole, etc. seem to be okay. I’m also seeing the same problem on my personal MT blog. I disabled MT-Blacklist on my blog, which should only target comments anyway, and still had this problem. And now I can’t import the blacklist from the OC to my blog, probably because it contains s e x.

It could be server related, since both my blog and the OC blog use the same host. For Christ’s sake, I think John Ashcroft is the ghost in the machine.

Anybody else having this issue?

Update (12/16): As of 9:40 am this morning, I can post the word sex. Sex sex sex sex sex sex sex. I am totally on crack, or something.

Update (12/17): Looks like our host has been setting up filters to help combat comment spam, and they’re still working on some bugs. I’ll probably get in touch with them if any problems show up when people are posting stuff.

A Non-PFC Related Topic, But Also Filled With Flimflam and Chicanery

December 15th, 2004 by Sho

Just a little plug for the paper I’m currently interning at:

Turns out there were several people, including some at the Oregonian that knew about former state governor Neil Goldschmidt’s inappropriate relationship with his kids’ babysitter. Most found out or heard rumors about the “affair” years after Goldschmidt stopped meeting with the 14-year-old girl, and most didn’t tell the press (or write about it themselves, if they were at the Oregonian).

It’s interesting to read about all the figures, some still involved in high levels of local politics, who may have known all about what happened when Goldschmidt was Portland’s mayor.

Plus Ca Change

December 15th, 2004 by olly

…plus ce c’est la meme chose.

UPDATE: My French is, how you say, not so good.

Undue Hardship…

December 15th, 2004 by flood

I am amused that these First Circuit types couldn’t find it in their hearts to declare the Church of Body Modification a non-church. They did find against the “Modifier”, which seems right to me, but really to read this thing…

I’ve got to start a religion of my own. Of course, if I’m looking to get fired, probably not showing up would work as well, and without all that pesky, new religion paperwork.

“She Was Not Accepted At The University Of I’d Hit It”

December 14th, 2004 by olly

I missed it at the time, but that peerless Slater column from last week apparently got listed on Fark, whose posters show Ms. Slater every bit of the polite restraint for which they are famed, right from the first comment.


December 14th, 2004 by olly

A couple of follow-up points to Dan and Tyler’s comments:

Firstly, something quite similar to this happened two years ago. The principle of “viewpoint neutrality” as applied to student programs means that the PFC cannot, when deciding whether and how much to fund a student group, use that group’s politics as a factor in their decision. Sundry PFCs have misread this to mean that student programs themselves cannot express opinions on political issues. One glance around the campus will convince you, however, that they are not enforcing this rule with much vigilance; it is kept in a closet and dusted off every so often in an attempt to defund this humble little publication.

Second, the business about being “advantageous to the cultural or physical development of students”. I had supposed this to be a no-brainer, since having a wider variety of viewpoints discussed and explicated on campus surely meets the first of these criteria. (As for the second, students are welcome to come and carry boxes of issues around.) But I wasn’t thinking carefully enough. The PFC is considering only the “cultural development” of students participating in the program, not the consumers of the end product. Hence the concern that we are not hiring enough Marxists.

Leave aside the fact that the OC has a wide variety of more or less sane political persuasions among its ranks (to the extent that we might need some kind of affirmative-action program for Republicans here) and the mission statement is carefully worded to admit conservatives, libertarians, classical-liberals, and virtually anyone who has a bone to pick with the frequently bizarre milieu of Eugene. If the PFC is going to apply this standard to everybody (viewpoint neutrality, remember) then there will be no student programs left. I for one have not derived the slightest benefit from the Ornithology Club. At our friendly little chat earlier today, I asked how, then, we were supposed to bring about the cultural development of people who don’t volunteer to write for us. Answer came there none.

Ultimately, this is the first salvo of what will be an interesting few months. Updates will be forthcoming.

Programs Finance Committee to students: “free speech is bad for you”

December 14th, 2004 by danimal

In a decision made when the largest, most-read and most-frequently published supporter of free speech on campus, the Ol’ Dirty Emerald, is conveniently on vacation, the ASUO Programs Finance Committee rejected the Oregon Commentator’s mission statement, declaring our little rag not to be “advantageous to the cultural or physical development of students.”

The decision is based on unspecified “material” in “several” issues. (At least) two problems with this:

1) Can the PFC declare an entire journalistic enterprise not advantageous to the cultural development of students based on a small amount of objectionable material?

2) Does the PFC realize that its finding regarding that objectionable material might just raise a few problems under the First Amendment? Perhaps we should publish a copy of Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia and see if they find that culturally advantageous.

Decision as follows:

“I am sorry to inform you that we did not approve your mission and goals, due to the fact that several of your issues contain material that is in violation with Oregon State Statute 351.070 3d that states”prescribe incidental fees for programs under the supervision or control of the board found by the board, upon its own motion or upon recommendation of the recognized student government of the institution concerned, to be advantageous to the cultural or physical development of students. Fees realized in excess of amounts allocated and exceeding required reserves shall be considered surplus incidental fees and shall be allocated for programs under the control of the board and found to be advantageous to the cultural or physical development of students by the institution president upon the recommendation of the recognized student government at the institution concerned.”Our decision was also made based on Executive rule R94.3 ASUO Recognition status that states The ASUO Executive will only grant the status of “Recognition” to programs that add to the “cultural and/or physical development of the University Community”. That status is a privilege and may be revoked if the program does not conduct itself in a manner consistent with ASUO rules, UO rules, and State law.”

Please do not resuscitate the cancer patients

December 14th, 2004 by jeremy

A slight problem has arisen with Lance Armstrong’s cancer awareness campaign.
As many of you already know, Armstrong’s Livestrong campaign is represented by the yellow wristbands with “Livestrong” written on them. So many people have bought them that they are turning into a kind of fashion statement. Specifically the statement is, “I support cancer research” or, “please do not take any measures to save my life if my vitals flat line” depending on where you are.

Some hospitals have been removing or covering up the wristbands because they too closely resemble yellow wristbands that hospitals put on patients with a do not resuscitate order.

Fortunately, they caught it before letting Timmy, the bald, 8-year-old leukemia patient, go into cardiac arrest without grabbing the paddles. No one has died yet because of a mix up, but the irony is still sweet. Oh so very, very sweet.

Too Little, Too Late

December 13th, 2004 by melissa

So, Scott Peterson is found guilty. Now the jury returns to recommend the death penalty. Here’s my problem with the defense appeal and plea.

“…Geragos begged jurors to spare his client, saying a life sentence would mean that Peterson would not stand a chance of getting out of prison.

“He will stay in that cell every single day until he dies,” Geragos said. “There does not need to be any more death in this case.”

No more death, except to Caliornia pocketbooks to feed and protect the bastard!

Per the third quarter CDC stats:

-Number of inmates in California prisons with life without parole: 30,392
-Cost of a single excecution in the State of California: cost of housing the inmate plus minimal cost for the actual lethal injection excecution.
-Cost of keeping an inmate alive for the usual 20 years he waits on death row: $618,580, minimum.

Putting it on the California taxpayers’ tab? Priceless. Those starving kids didn’t need to eat anyway, as long as Scott Peterson stays in prison for life, right? Maybe instead of full cable TV privilages, they should limit him to QVC and HSN.

Update: Using the lame-ass defense attorney as an appeal loophole. Way to go, Geragos.

I Am Not Yet Available For Yard Work

December 13th, 2004 by olly

Without a steady stream of Emerald articles to serve as fuel, I’m afraid my blogging output is going to revolve around my daily collection of frets and worries. Hence teaching, basketball, and this marvellous piece from (surprise!) Reason on immigration. My own opinion on the issue is entirely predictable. (Optional Practical Training, here we come.) Some choice quotes:

The fashion across the political spectrum, from the tree-huggers at the Sierra Club to Rush Limbaugh’s pugnacious “ditto-heads,” is to hammer away at immigrants. They steal our jobs. They use up our national resources. They dilute our culture. The timid few who demur are almost universally scorned as ivory-tower knuckleheads who mistake poetry for policy. They aren’t out there in the real world. They don’t “focus on the immigration influx in practice, as opposed to libertarian theory,” as National Review acidly puts it.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton seems to be considering a policy feint in this unpleasant direction:

People have to stop employing illegal immigrants. I mean, come up to Westchester, go to Suffolk and Nassau counties, stand on the street corners in Brooklyn or the Bronx. You’re going to see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work and construction work and domestic work.

Reason’s Nick Gillespie responds in fine form:

Yeah, that’s really fucking heartbreaking to see people lined up to work in the morning. God, this used to be a beautiful country, before all these people–many of whom look different than Hillary–started getting up early in the morning and working really hard at shit jobs for a living.

This piece – also by Glenn Garvin, also linked to by Gillespie in the Hit & Run entry above – is also fantastic. Especially notable is the story that opens the piece, which is the best example of “journalism as blunt object” that I’ve seen in a long while. You’ll know the bit I’m talking about. It involves a violin.

Question: The FCC and broadcast media

December 10th, 2004 by danimal

The latest National Nanny News has me wondering something.

Though Bubba the Love Sponge and Howard Stern have plenty to complain about, FCC head Michael Powell’s crackdown on indecency began with Janet Jackson’s boobing appearing on broadcast television. And it has stayed alive thanks to recent (largely questionable) complaints about the network broadcast of Saving Private Ryan and, er, the GODDAMNED MOTHERFUCKING OLYMPICS. So, by and large, it has focused on broadcast television.

Yet broadcast television is very nearly an anachronism. Only the few major networks and their affiliates are “broadcast” and thus still subject to the FCC’s regulation of the free, public airwaves. Much as Howard Stern can broadcast anything he wants to his subscribers on satellite radio, and I can (and do) view all manner of degenerate filth over my paid-for wireless internet connection, the FCC has no statutory power to regulate cable television, which is subscription-based.

So I’m tossing this question out there for anyone with more knowledge:

I have no antennae set up to receive Rick Dancer. All of my “broadcast” reception comes via my paid cable service.

Given that I, and an ever-increasing number of viewers of “broadcast” television, actually receive my / our “broadcasts” of “broadcast” television networks via cable, why don’t the major “broadcast” networks simply bid traditional broadcasting a fond farewell, join entirely with cable and satellite services, and invite the FCC to kiss their receding asses?

Either unpaid-for “public” broadcasting still counts for enough of the major networks’ viewership that it would be economically foolish to abandon the format, or there is some legal restraint I’m unaware of.

Since I’m too busy to research this myself, I invite knowledgable comments. Non-knowledgable but amusing comments are also invited.

Heartbroken in Boston, Mass.

December 10th, 2004 by melissa

Dear Abby: Should we return the unopened wedding gifts?

This is just about the stupidest, most pointless AP article I’ve ever read.

To get rid of the lawyer factor, regardless of sexual orientation, I suggest the Do-It-Yourself Divorce Website , complete with happy smiling pretty receptionists and sunny beaches. You even get a free gift… your prepared final hearing statement!

I nominate this as the “huh?” part of the article:

“The most difficult part of the settlement appeared to be custody of their three cats, who will live exclusively with the professor. But “in recognition of the emotional hardship of such relinquishment,” the settlement reads, the professor agreed to provide his ex “with periodic updates, photographs, and any health-related information pertaining” to the cats.”

Nomination for Biggest Jerk with No Basis For Assertion:
“We’re not surprised,” said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which is fighting for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. “Particularly among male homosexuals, the promiscuity is just phenomenal.”

Nomination for Best Comeback:
“That’s a cheap shot,” said gay rights attorney Mary Bonauto, who represented seven gay couples in the landmark Massachusetts lawsuit.”

Root of All Evil? Define “Root” and “Evil”

December 10th, 2004 by melissa

The headline reads:
U.S. Money Helped Opposition in Ukraine

A brief excerpt from article: “No U.S. money was sent directly to Ukrainian political parties, the officials say. In most cases, it was funneled through organizations like the Carnegie Foundation or through groups aligned with Republicans and Democrats that organized election training, with human rights forums or with independent news outlets.”

U.S. officials say, “the activities don’t amount to interference in Ukraine’s election…”

Lorne Craner, a former State Department official who heads the International Republican Institute says, “There’s this myth that the Americans go into a country and, presto, you get a revolution,”

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says, “Our money doesn’t go to candidates; it goes to the process, the institutions that it takes to run a free and fair election.”

Melissa says, “Who’s paying my tuition next term?! Funnel some of that goodness over here!”

Meanwhile, Yushchenko’s in the hospital to find the cause of the face that will haunt children’s nightmares for years.

Slow Break

December 10th, 2004 by olly

On a less serious note, if you care at all about that game where they try to put the ball in the hoop-like thing with the net, then you should be following Bill Simmons’ LA Clipper Götterdämmerung. Here‘s the latest instalment. (He remains to be convinced about Luke Jackson.)