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Archive for May, 2006

Happy Birthday Johnny Boy.

May 17th, 2006 by Timothy

I’ll spare y’all any more at-length Mill quoting, but the good folks at Catallarchy are marking the 200th anniversary of his birth.

[Via Hit & Run]

The Management Would Like To Lighten The Mood

May 17th, 2006 by Timothy

In the midst of all this cartoon nonsense, things have gotten a bit serious around here. Be sure to check out our comments section for some lovely trolling (Hi guys!). I especially like the “JS Mill would’ve spit in your face, you pig” comment by “ray”. Quite insightful.

Thusly, I think it’s high time for a useless filler post to lighten the mood. Among the 1486 key phrases that our lovely cpanel has tracked, there are a few wonderous gems. Most are variants of “Oregon Commentator” or “Insurgent” with something about “Jesus Cartoons” tossed in for good measure. This is unsurprising, as the most recent installment of As Campus Turns has brought out yet another group of students and non-students who just can’t quite get their mind around simple concepts like viewpoint-neutrality and freedom of expression. But, friends, some of the phrases, documented below, are befuddling in their ingenuity and strangeness. So, below I have picked some of my favorites.

Rebecca Newell Nude
cinco de mayonnaise (#2, actually)
how to thank god by giving me this opportunit to work for t charm
why did you kill me mommy?
Gabe Bradley vagina
brett wheat-simms
total net worth uk us japan france
indonesian girlfriend
sideways vagina
what does v.o. mean in a whiskey

“‘Tyler is totally right,’ Frohnmayer said.”

May 17th, 2006 by Ian

Well, as those of you who saw tonight’s Factor know, Bill O’Reilly came out against President Frohnmayer for his failure to take action against the Student Insurgent. The Commentator’s own Tyler Graf was on the program and bravely defended the Insurgent’s right to publish whatever they wish, even if they always seem to end up wishing for some combination of humorless anarchist ranting, tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories, and pictures of Jesus with a hard-on.

The ODE has a news article up about the Factor’s coverage:

[Tyler] Graf also conceded to O’Reilly that the images may have been intentionally offensive but argued that Frohnmayer had no legal ability to shut down the publication.

Frohnmayer agreed.

“Tyler is totally right,” Frohnmayer said. “Bill O’Reilly doesn’t know the first amendment from the back of his own hand, which is a shame because he takes full abuse of it.”

Mr. O’Reilly was, unfortunately, on the wrong side of this issue. While President Frohnmayer has his faults as University president, he has absolutely no say and, legally, no course of action to be taken on this particular issue. The unanimous Southworth Supreme Court decision of 2000 set the precedent that University administrations may not defund or otherwise punish fee-funded campus publications in a non-viewpoint neutral fashion. In other words, when it comes to campus media it is all or nothing: either you allow every sort of publication to be funded by the University or you allow none. From Southworth:

When a university requires its students to pay fees to support the extracurricular speech of other students, all in the interest of open discussion, it may not prefer some viewpoints to others. There is symmetry then in our holding here and in Rosenberger: Viewpoint neutrality is the justification for requiring the student to pay the fee in the first instance and for ensuring the integrity of the program’s operation once the funds have been collected. We conclude that the University of Wisconsin may sustain the extracurricular dimensions of its programs by using mandatory student fees with viewpoint neutrality as the operational principle.

Fortunately or unfortunately, this same decision also forbids universities from holding referenda on student groups, thereby preventing the student body from voting on which programs they’d like to be funded. The ASUO, voice of the student body though it putatively is, also acts as an arm – a tiny, shrivelled arm, but an arm nevertheless – of the state government.

The Commentator’s position has, for many years, been that no campus publication should be funded by the incidental fee, and neither should a lot of other things. We’d prefer it that no student on campus had to pay for the Insurgent, the Voice, the Siren, the Daily Emerald, or even the Commentator to publish political speech. Students come to the University of Oregon to take classes, not fund speech they disagree with. Of course, there are educational benefits (of the “here’s what not to do” variety, but still) to having publications like the Insurgent around, even when they publish offensive things. Indeed, as Tyler Graf pointed out in an ODE guest commentary, this very incident could be a teachable moment. But ultimately, at least in my mind, students value their hard-earned dollars more than they value offensive, teachable moment-creating speech.

Whatever the case, Tyler Graf was absolutely correct when he said that the decision was out of Frohnmayer’s (and Goward’s) hands. Could the President have handled the situation better? Yes, absolutely. But he should not be fired for not ignoring established Supreme Court precedent. As for the Insurgent, the more people get to read their Aroused Jesus issue, the stupider they look. Allowing them to keep publishing is the legally correct decision, and it’s a reminder of an important moral principle – but in the long run, it’s also the most fitting punishment of all.

‘He’s Not A Mouth- Breathing Troglodyte’

May 17th, 2006 by Timothy

That’s Mr. Tyler Graf on The Frohn just now. O’Reilly is, like expected, completely ignorant of the relevant case law. And he’s giving Jethro a lot more time. I sort of wish that we’d gotten “viewpoint neutrality” out there, or maybe a plug for the website, but overall nice job Tyler.

Freedom’s just another word for another excuse to drink

May 17th, 2006 by Bryan

The Commentator crowd will be convening at Rennie‘s at 5:00 to watch Tyler Graf defend free speech on The O’Reilly Factor. Advance word is that Billy is calling for Frohnmayer’s head. It’ll be a party– join us!

Also: due to this engagement, we may be a few minutes late for tonight’s 6:00 meeting. So if you’re showing up for that, just hang out– we’ll be back to the office soon.

Good Luck, Tgraf!

May 16th, 2006 by Timothy

Now that we know Tyler is going to be on O’Reilly tomorrow, I just thought I’d wish him luck and leave him with the words of John Stuart Mill for inspiration:


‘Interestingly, while this does not mean Pentecostals are Muslim, it does mean that Muslims are Jehovah’s Witnesses…’

May 16th, 2006 by olly

To cleanse the palate after all this exposure to Aroused Jesus and paranoid Insurgent rants about Catholicism, try this. As someone who tries to have as little to do with religion as possible, I found it highly informative.

(Link via Jane Galt.)

Volokh On Insurgent

May 16th, 2006 by olly

Eugene Volokh, of the eponymous Conspiracy and UCLA Law, tackles the Insurgent/SoF mini-debacle:

In any case, cheers for the University of Oregon, and a mild Bronx cheer to the Students of Faith. I understand why they’re offended, and I understand that undergraduates can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of First Amendment jurisprudence. But if you’re making assertions about First Amendment law — as the students were doing in their grievance — then you ought to check them with a First Amendment lawyer. And if you’re making arguments for why certain speech should be excluded from university-supported publications, it would help to think harder about the implications of those arguments for speech besides the sort that has made you angry in this particular case.

I know the Students of Faith have been claiming the support of five (?) local attorneys. I’m not sure what legal basis they were/are asserting for their challenge, but I’d be very interested to hear more about it.

Bill O’Reilly, Sudsy, and Ward Churchill

May 16th, 2006 by Ian

…sounds like the hot tub at Wilbon’s!

There’s a lot going on this week: At 5:00 tomorrow the Commentator’s own Tyler Graf will be on the O’Reilly Factor to talk about the Insurgent. At 6:00 is the Commentator’s weekly Wednesday meeting (in our office, of course.) And at 7:30 on Thursday Ward Churchill will be giving a speech in the EMU Ballroom. (Coincidentally, a news release from Colorado University announced today that Churchill has been found to have committed several acts of plagiarism and fabrication in some of his research. Surprise!)

Self Interest: Catch Me on the O’Reilly Factor Tomorrow

May 16th, 2006 by Tyler

I’ve just been booked on the O’Reilly Factor for tomorrow, where I’ll be discussing the Insurgent’s Christ-Penis debacle, as well as Frohnmayer’s handling of the situation. Joining me will be someone from Students of Faith, the ad hoc student group whose petition calling for an open apology from the Insurgent was recently rejected by David Goward. Surely this will be must-see television.

UPDATE by Ian: Just a quick reminder, the Factor‘s on at 5:00 and 8:00pm PST on Eugene Comcast channel 48.

Goward rules in favor of Insurgent

May 16th, 2006 by Ian

ASUO Programs Administrator and Bureaucrat David Goward today announced that he has ruled against the “Students of Faith,” a group created “in response to the recent escalation of religious intolerance at the” UO. Their basic contention is that the Student Insurgent published images and articles which slandered Jesus Christ and that this somehow violates school policy. Goward rightly points out that the publication of offensive images does not affect any student’s educational or professional access:

The Student Insurgent did not practice discrimination. Although students may have been offended by the content, no privileges or opportunities were denied to any incidental fee paying student through the publication of the Student Insurgent. Nor did publication affect a student’s ability to practice her or his religion.

Goward also touches on Southworth:

Decisions regarding awarding incidental fee revenues to and use of incidental fees by student groups must be viewpoint neutral as cited in Soutworth v. University of Wisconsin “We conclude that the University of Wisconsin may sustain the extracurricular dimensions of its programs by using mandatory student fees with viewpoint neutrality as the operational principle.” Except to determine if the publication contributes the physical and cultural development of students, decisions regarding award of incidental fee revenues may not be based on content.

Overall it’s a good, well-written decision. (A 42k .pdf of the ruling can be found here)

Hack Attack ’06

May 11th, 2006 by Ian

I’ve heard people are into the whole “new issues are good” thing. Well, I call that rubbish. Check out Vol 19, Issue 9, for instance… that’s pretty damn solid.
But for those of you who do enjoy new issues, well, here ya go:

Vol. 23 Issue 6: Hack Attack

Long, Belabored Sigh

May 11th, 2006 by Timothy

I thought we were done with this crap. But now, much like their international overlords, some Campus-based believers have gotten together to call for the legal suppression of speech they find offensive.

Way to go, guys. Aside from not knowing the difference between libel and slander, you’ve managed to co-opt the very same rhetoric that the PC Crusaders have been using for years. Congratulations, you’ve now removed any illusions anyone might have had that there’s a discernable difference between the threats to liberty presented by the left and right. The relative merits of the incidental fee as a whole (I’m against it) are a different concern, but so long as it exists it cannot be legally, or morally, distributed based on the viewpoint of those in receivership. This is especially true for groups that are 1) publications and 2) have been receiving funding for years.

Either shut up and go home with your grievance filing and your amazingly silly quotations:

“I don’t think free speech should be suppressed, but that doesn’t mean what people say will be right, or inoffensive, or that they shouldn’t be ostracized for it,” Ivezic said.

Or start publishing your own Pro-Jesus rag. You’ve got, what, 96 signatories on your petition? Imagine the sort of student publication you could put out with that many staffers. Hell, the OC has had less than 20 committed members of staff for as long as I can remember (so like, since 2000) and it seems to muddle through just fine. Get over yourselves, get over your indignation, and use your outrage to put more speech out there rather than demand that a publication be shut down because your oh-so-delicate sensibilities were offended.

“Like Ron, who did fold napkins, the Senate isn’t totally useless…”

May 10th, 2006 by olly

…Senators have approved several special funding requests, often for campus groups to have pizza.

Credit where it’s due: I think this is really good stuff. Maybe the ODE editorial board works better when they’re all pissed off about people demanding that they fire their reporters.

“If the Suns’ players were diplomats, America would be in a dang good place right now”

May 10th, 2006 by Ian

Oh my

There is a growing poker/hooker/bribery scandal involving lobbyists, congressmen and maybe, probably — considering he just resigned for no apparent reason — Porter Goss. Now the Washington Post speculates that the nomination of Porter Goss’s replacement, Michael Hayden — a military man with a distinct reputation — may be a political strategy to shut down Donald Rumsfeld’s out-of-control spying habit.

It really seems like we’re entering some sort of political VH1 Best Spring Ever or something. But what could have done it? Why is everything, at least in my eyes, so gosh-darn great right now? It’s simple. The world has a new role model: The Phoenix Suns.


If the Suns’ players were diplomats, America would be in a dang good place right now. Barbosa came off the bench in game six against the Lakers when Raja Bell was serving a one game suspension for a flagrant foul against Kobe Bryant (Bell watched that game on TV at an LA restaurant full of Lakers fans — gutsy). He was amazing, really hitting his stride, and the team is decidedly stronger since we called on him in a time of need. If America could suck it up and invite South and Central America to play as equal players in the world trade game, the whole world would be stronger.


The Suns, however, aren’t just winning games, they are playing the game. And we could all stand to take a lesson or two from them.


And speaking of Steve Nash, I think he should run for president in 2008. Not literally, but we really do need a Steve Nash type leader. Nash, who was just named MVP for the second year in a row, is the heart and soul of the Suns. Former Sun and MVP turned TNT sports analyst Charles Barkley said that Steve Nash makes everyone on the team better. It’s true. Nash not only scores in the double digits in most games, he leads the NBA in assists. He is smart, creative, humble, and speaks his mind to the press. His team and his fans respect him, and since he returned to the Suns in 2004, they have only improved. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a president like that? Right now we have a Kobe Bryant type in the Oval Office, and look at how that has turned out. His own team has lost faith in him, and the majority of the country believes he is guilty of a crime that has as of yet gone unproved.

What did Raja Bell’s clotheslining of Bryant in game five represent? John Kerry’s presidential run? Stephen Colbert’s roasting of Bush? The Iraqi insurgency? A pretzel? Ailee, I think I know who snatched your stash!