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Archive for March, 2005


March 11th, 2005 by Timothy

Presuming that there will be coverage of the ASUO Elections this year, and presuming that y’all are going to run a candidate, the Elections Packet is now available. Pick one up, and fill it out by March 31 MARCH 18th*. Nice to see the E-board on top of things as usual. At half of last year’s length, this year’s one-week cycle is likely to be an even bigger joke than the PSST. Congrats, ConCourt and E-Board, perhaps a whopping 12% of students will vote this year!

*Thanks Matt Miles.**

** Thanks Miles

Current Account Deficit: Still Not Debt

March 10th, 2005 by Timothy

Don Boudreaux, GMU Economics department head, explains this with a very simple example. He also makes fun of Warren Buffet, which is always nice to see. Remember kids: Making money in arbitrage is very different from understanding what the current account imbalance means.

Superman Visits Eugene

March 9th, 2005 by Tyler

I swear on my mother’s eventual grave that I did not Photoshop this.


If only I could build a time machine and travel back to the ’70s. I’d have a lucrative career as a comic book writer. Frank Miller be damned!

For more stupid comic covers click here

PFC ya!

March 7th, 2005 by danimal

The ASUO Constitution Court, ruling on a petition alleging defiant violations of viewpoint neutrality during the budget proceedings of a certain student magazine, has completely and finally relieved Programs Finance Committee members Mason Quiroz and Eden Cortez of their student government duties. Quoth the Court:

Mason L. Quiroz is found to have acted in willful defiance of viewpoint neutrality as outlined in Rosenberg {sic} and Southworth and the ASUO Constitution. As a proper remedy, Mason L. Quiroz is hereby removed from the Program Finance Committee to be effective immediately.

Ditto Cortez. It should be noted that although the PFC’s business is largely done for the year, this was no empty act of removal. Cortez also lost his seat on the Senate, which has yet to touch this year’s budget. And Quiroz? He held a two-year term on the PFC, now terminated before one year’s time. I suppose now he’s free to do . . . whatever it is he does when he’s not at work.

And now I think we can stop talking about this.

UPDATE 3/8: We can’t stop talking about this yet. Eden Cortez is apparently challenging the ruling against him because it is based entirely upon words he didn’t exactly say.

In my petition to the ASUO Con Court, I alleged the following about Eden Cortez:

During the Oregon Commentator’s Feb. 1 budget hearing, PFC member CORTEZ repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to consider the Commentator’s published content in making decisions about whether to pass our Mission and Goals Statement. All of his statements are available as a public record, but one statement in particular stands out in flagrant defiance of CORTEZ’s legal responsibility to allocate funds in a viewpoint-neutral manner under the constitutional rule announced in Rosenberger and clarified in Southworth. Responding to ASUO Executive Adam Petkun’s statement that the PFC could not consider the Commentator’s content at a budget hearing, CORTEZ said, in effect, “Of course we can look at content in determining a group’s value. Otherwise this job could be done by robots.”

(Emphases added.)

As you can see, my petition did not allege the “robots” quote as being exact, but rather as the essential effect of Cortez’s words, and I took pains to direct the Con Court to review the public record itself.

It appears that the Con Court did not do so, and treated the quote in my petition as a verbatim factual allegation. Here’s a quote from the Court’s decision:

On February 1st, the Program Finance Committee met to recall and rehear the Mission and Goals of the Oregon Commentator. At the meeting, Cortez made the following public statement: “Of course we can look at content in determining a group’s value. Otherwise this job could be done by robots.”

Eden Cortez voted against the motion to approve the Mission and Goals of the Oregon Commentator.

(Emphasis added.)

This lack of follow-through by the Court is unfortunate, particularly if it gives Cortez enough grounds to successfully challenge his removal. I never alleged the quote to be verbatim public record, as the Court treated it, and had the Court actually gone and reviewed the public record of our Feb. 1 budget hearing, it would have found ample defiance of viewpoint neutrality on Cortez’s part, even if the exact words I alleged were never put together in that order. That the Court instead entirely based its ruling on an inaccurate quote is disappointing. Cortez does not deserve to get out of this with a job.

The Logic of Khanh

March 4th, 2005 by melissa

Everyone’s favorite nonsensical PFC member, Khanh Le, demonstrating the brain trust of the PFC. Courtesy of the ODE, and the lovely Meghann Cuniff.

“Le said the time it takes to calculate the financial impacts of the various definitions of current service levels may mean the committee will have to make a decision and deal with the consequences as they arise.”

“My suggestion is not voting on it, just doing it first,” Le said. “I just want to do it then figure it out later.”

Famous. Last. Words. Didn’t Custer say the same thing at Little Big Horn?

Long Live Freedom of the Press!

March 3rd, 2005 by melissa

Pop open those bottles of bubbly, y’all! The Collegiate Network (thank you, Steve Klugewicz) and the FIRE (thank you, David French!) are toasting our victories as we speak.

Excerpt from the FIRE press release:

President Frohnmayers refusal to correct the PFC was irresponsible, commented Greg Lukianoff, FIREs director of legal and public advocacy. The students needed guidance on the law from the administration, and from President Frohnmayers response it looks as though the students were never provided with the guidance they neededuntil FIRE decided to write the students directly.

We certainly hope that the ASUOand the UO administrationhas learned its lesson and that, from now on, student fees will not be used as a tool to favor or disfavor particular viewpoints. FIRE will continue to monitor the situation at UO to ensure that this attempt at censorship does not happen again, concluded FIREs French.

Hats off to the Collegiate Network and our supporters on campus for having faith in our ability to remain a strong presence at the University of Oregon.

Judge to Citizenry: Shut up already. Cato to Gov. Teddy: You stink!

March 3rd, 2005 by Timothy

While I am waiting for this data to finish appending itself to an SQL table, and because it is my birthday, I have decided to make you endure a longish blog post. The two subjects are quite nearly unrelated, but both drive me mad. I do not like being mad on my birthday, I’d rather be drunk, but I guess this will have to do.

“We, meaning Congress, Hate Liberty”

The Blogfather has posted a link to this fascinating interview with a member of the FEC.

Under the auspicies of the deviant affront to liberty that is McCain-Feingold, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ruled that communication over the internet that is related to campaigns must be regulated by the FEC. That’s right folks, unless they decide to give bloggers press exemption the political speech of individual US citizens will be subject to regulation and fine by an arm of the US Government. Whatever happened to “Congress shall make no law…”?

Despite supporters’ protestations to the contrary, McCain-Feingold was never about getting the money out of politics. The law is about one thing, and one thing only: protecting incumbent members of government from competition from the dullards that compose the American body politic. Between McCain-Feingold and the odiousness of gerrymandering in the House of Representatives, which isn’t new by the way, Congress has removed itself almost completely from accountability to those from whom its power is derived. Then, of course, we have Senators arguing that the internet must be regulated:

Senators McCain and Feingold have argued that we have to regulate the Internet, that we have to regulate e-mail. They sued us in court over this and they won.

Persons with the attitude that speech over the internet must certainly be regulated have no place in American government. It’s a sad day when both sides of the aisle are more concerned about protecting their jobs than performing those jobs correctly. It has, apparently, been a sad day for a very long time.

Uncle Teddy: [Via The Mises Blog

The CATO Institute’s report card on state governors is out. Oregon’s Governor Ted Kulongoski scores a 58 and earnes a grade of D. Only 20 governors scored worse than Teddy. I am not surprised by this, and Bret will likely still be angry at me for throwing my vote away on Tom Cox during the last cycle, but I doubt Mannix would’ve been any better.

Oregon’s budgetary structure is designed specifically with heavy taxation in mind. It’s been argued by smart folks that Oregon is not a high-tax state, and that may be nominally true, but the heavy reliance on the personal income tax for state revenue begs to be abused. The cyclical nature of income tax receipts leads the state to a boom-bust spending cycle and major budgetary shortfalls when incomes cycle downward. Of course, when revenues are up the massive givaways that are so ingrained in the Oregon way of life and spending on other public projects skyrockets. When revenues fall, and they always do, those programs are nigh-on impossible to cut and lead to proposals for “temporary” tax increases or surcharges like we’ve seen in the last few cycles. This is an argument I’ve made before.

In short I think Kulongoski’s very poor grade is endemic* of a wider problem in Oregon politics that is unlikely to be solved simply by changing the governor. Oregon needs to shift away from the personal income tax as a primary source of revenue, it needs to eliminate state programs that are completely redundant, and it needs to get rid of the tax-kicker program to institute a rainy-day fund. Is any of this likely to happen? You decide, but it’s been said that native Oregonians are born screaming: “NO SALES TAX, NO SELF-SERVE GAS!”, so I wouldn’t suggest getting one’s hopes up.

*fixed for Dan, now it won’t go having any little baby spelling errors. My job, while making me smarter at banking, is turning me into a real dunce at writing.

Two Completely Unrelated Subjects in One Blog Post

March 3rd, 2005 by Ian

Tim just recently posted about the Justice Department’s war against Oregon voters, but considering how important the Gonzales v. Oregon case is I think it’s worth keeping a steady eye on. An article about this case, as well as a completely unrelated, ancient article regarding freedom of expression follow. Read on if you’re interested. (If not, just click here for a funny picture.)

Reason Magazine Assistant Editor Julian Sanchez recently wrote an article about Gonzales v. Oregon. Here’s the money quote:

When we consider what it is about people that makes them deserving of respect, that makes a murder tragic, we almost never cite the chemical differences that separate our DNA from a chimp’s or the processes that suggest biological “life.” Rather, it’s our plans and perspectives, our ways of seeing the world, that make us each unique and wonderful and irreplaceable. It is, in other words, the thoughts and choices that constitute each distinct person. A notion of “good medicine” that subordinates the will of the person to mere biological life gets things preposterously backwards.

In his article, Sanchez links to and fisks a National Review article by Wesley J. Smith. Smith appears to believe that terminally ill patients should not be able to choose their own fates and the federal government should be the moral authority of America. He wraps his hatred of state’s rights in a disturbing cloak of “federal rights.”

Enter Attorney General John Ashcroft. Yes, he opposed assisted suicide personally, but he also believed that the CSA should be enforced uniformly throughout the country. Thus, after ordering an extensive legal review to determine whether the federal government has the power to regulate medical practice in the states as it relates to the enforcement of federal law, and learning that indeed there is a long history of the federal government acting in this limited way, Ashcroft issued a new “interpretation” reversing Reno’s and finding that assisted suicide is not a legitimate medical use of controlled substances. Oregon sued, and the rest is history in the making.

If Ashcroft acted wrongly, it was in his failure to promulgate a formal federal regulation to cover assisted suicide and the CSA through the normal administrative processes. That could have provided a solid federal rule, consisting of clear and precise terms to be reviewed by the courts, thereby avoiding the arcane issue that also permeates the case, concerning the level of respect courts must give to administrative interpretations.

In other words, Ashcroft morally disagrees with assisted suicide so he declared that it is no longer a legitimate use of controlled substances. Sorry Wes, but the people of Oregon should decide whether or not assisted suicide is a legitimate medical procedure in Oregon, not the federal government. Democracy and state’s rights are good things.


Additionally, an article by Jonathan Rauch that ran in Harpers way back in 1995 was recently brought to my attention. It’s titled “In defense of prejudice: why incendiary speech must be protected” and is most certainly worth a read despite its length. While much of the speech Rauch cites isn’t in the same stratosphere as the most controversial things ever printed in The Commentator, his defense of such speech is applicable to almost anything deemed inappropriate by the “purists”:

What is especially dismaying is that the purists pursue prejudice in the name of protecting minorities. In order to protect people like me (homosexual), they must pursue people like me (dissident). In order to bolster minority self-esteem, they suppress minority opinion. There are, of course, all kinds of practical and legal problems with the purists’ campaign: the incursions against the First Amendment; the inevitable abuses by prosecutors and activists who define as “hateful” or “violent” whatever speech they dislike or can score points off of; the lack of any evidence that repressing prejudice eliminates rather than inflames it. But minorities, of all people, ought to remember that by definition we cannot prevail by numbers, and we generally cannot prevail by force. Against the power of ignorant mass opinion and group prejudice and superstition, we have only our voices.


March 2nd, 2005 by Sho

Guys, I can’t believe that you still haven’t put a post up about this yet. It happened TWO DAYS AGO. Why wasn’t I informed? It’s because I’m involved with public broadcasting now, isn’t it? You’ve turned your backs on me, ya free-market-hugging bastards!

Remembering Hatoon

March 2nd, 2005 by Sho

Hatoon brought a little bit of weirdness to the lives of anyone who met her, including the Commentator.

The 2000 Tater Awards issue, featuring this cover, kept disappearing in droves from our boxes overnight. This puzzled us, as we didn’t think there was anything overly controversial in the issue to warrant dumping. Then-OC-News-Editor Ben Nahorney soon learned that Hatoon was at the center of the mystery, as he had regular conversations with her in front of the Knight Library. Here’s the story from the following Summer Issue:

Cartoon Eyes and Cartoon Suits

Apologies are far and few between up here in Room 205. That is, unless
someone knocks over your beer; then, its just a matter of tact.
Nevertheless, we are compelled to straighten out a misunderstanding
about our most recent issue.

Throughout July and August, Issue XIII routinely disappeared
from distribution boxes around campus, particularly from our
box behind PLC, next to the Knight Library.

It wouldn’t be the first time, and usually we can chalk it up to the
hippies or whatever group has been maligned by the most recent issue.
However, following an interesting conversation with one of this campus
unsung icons, it turns out that the real culprit is Hatoon: the talkative
“crazy lady” outside the library.

According to Hatoon, “All the children of the world are being born
with cartoon eyes,” and somehow, the OC is responsible. While the OC
categorically denies any and all connections to such a cartoon-eyed
newborn syndrome, we regret any actions on our part that may lead one
to think otherwise. Neither the management nor the staff of the OC
would condone such a thing, and we would like to go on the record as
to say so explicitly, so there are no further misunderstandings.
Now please, Hatoon, leave the goddamned issues alone already.

Our issues stopped disappearing once the Summer Issue came out. When Ben asked her if she stopped taking issues she said something to the effect that the children of the world were safe once again.

Hatoon, you kept Eugene weird for all of us. Rest in peace.

Hatoon Killed in Bike Accident

March 2nd, 2005 by Sho

This is currently unsubstantiated, but I have just learned through a chain of friends that the campus figure known as Hatoon was hit by a car while biking on Franklin and later died at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Link to KEZI story here. Video report from KMTR here.

UPDATE: Hatoon’s death has been confirmed. Emerald stories here and here.

Family To Sue City Over Son’s Lack of Judgement

March 1st, 2005 by Timothy

Here’s hoping this gets laughed out of court. Let’s think about this for a second, shall we? This kid decides to jump the gap between a couple of parking garages at a height of 80ft, and now the parents want the garage owners held responsible for the injuries suffered when he failed to make the distance? What’s worse is this quote from the story:

Orlando Tower LP, the private parking lot owner, refused to comment about their responsibility, according to the report.

“Refused to comment about their responsibility…” marinate on that for a mintute. Not “Refused to comment about the incident” or “Refused to comment about moronic teenager’s near accidental suicide.” The responsibility of the garage owners in this case is zero, zilch, at least morally speaking. Legally, well, you know, I’m pretty sure that the garage isn’t violating any laws by not expecting dumb as mud teenagers to try and leap from building to building. Whether or not the scum-sucker who took this case can persuade a jury full of south Florida soccer moms otherwise is a different question. Really, though, the owners should, at most, be forced to put up a sign that says “Warning: Leap between six-story buildings at your own risk. 80ft fall may be fatal or injurious.”