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Archive for October, 2006

ODE Watch: Abortions and Sex Shows Edition

October 17th, 2006 by Ian

The Ol’ Dirty takes on the parental notification issue in an editorial yesterday. Some of you may remember a similar editorial from about two months ago addressing the same subject.

I’ve always tried to avoid writing directly about abortion law since it is unquestionably the least productive and most polarizing of subjects to write about. Both sides are dominated and largely represented by extremists, much to the detriment of civil debate and political progress.

But with that said, I’ve always found the pro-choice movement majority’s inconsistent treatment of the implied right to privacy to be one of the more hypocritical (drink!) positions taken by either side. To use the Emerald as an example, their Editorial Board supports the right of a 15 year old girl to have an abortion without the knowledge of her parents. But one year ago they were adament in opposing individual rights in Oregon as they applied to adults. According to their logic, parental notification laws, which are overwhelmingly supported by a majority of Americans, should be unconstitutional under the implied right to privacy. Meanwhile sex shows, which are not widely supported, should not be protected by similar rights. As I pointed out then, this is an inconsistent position to take. It essentially reduces the implied right to privacy to nothing more than an implied right to have an abortion or take contraception. Yet another reason why rights should be written into the Constitution, not divined from the bench.

It would be interesting to see if, with its new composition, the Emerald’s Editorial Board has altered its view on the legality of sex shows.

Good News

October 16th, 2006 by Timothy

In one of life’s strange and frequent coincidences, John Huddleston is the son of a very good friend of my boss here at the bank. Glad he’s made a full recovery.

Forget Mac vs. PC — try Mac vs. SUV

October 13th, 2006 by Blaser

Back when PCs actually used to compete against Macs, we were always wondering who would surface to the top of the shuffle as king of the computing world. Now that Mac has sufficiently given PC companies the beat-down, it has moved on to its next battle for dominance: taking on the evil SUVs that roam the earth.

As reported by our personal fave Parker Howell, a woman was hit by one of these demon cars while riding her bike down Alder. While she broke many bones and was fairly shaken up by the incident, she is only alive to tell the story today by the grace of her new mac: “… a burgundy GMC Yukon slammed into her, sending Layton rolling across its hood and into the air. She landed on the street, her newly purchased Macintosh laptop cushioning her face as it hit the pavement. She feared for her life.”

As Layton describes the incident, “That’s when the enormous Suburban death vehicle came, and I realized she wasn’t stopping … I had my computer and my purse on my back. My computer flew around and hit my face just as I hit the ground, so that kind of saved me because I had a padded computer case.” Amen!

And if there was any remaining doubt about who won this round, Layton’s friend put down the final blow: “She was screaming, crying, as I would be if I got hit by a SUV.”

Mac: 1 Sport Utility death Vehicle: 0

Student Senate Report 10/11/2006

October 12th, 2006 by Niedermeyer

In Which The Student Senate Learns The Meaning Of The Phrase “Appearance of Impropriety”

The Student Senate met last night at the Living Learning Center, in an effort to “increase the visibility” of the Senate. Why they would try to court any increased visibility is frankly baffling, given that the meeting (as usual) drifted between being deathly boring, and laughably embarrassing. This venue change will not be permanent, and for the next meeting, our elected officials will scuttle back to the EMU boardroom, and to the obscurity they so richly deserve.


KKKolumbus? Are You Serious?

October 11th, 2006 by Timothy

Look, Ty, we get it, okay? You don’t like Columbus. You know, on the merits you’re pretty correct: Columbus was really the start of the colonialist movement in the Americas and did a lot to get that whole Carribean slave-trade thing off of the ground. I don’t have a thing to say in the man’s defense, really. I won’t even go with that “product of his times” nonsense, because people in the past were basically backwoods jackasses and nostalgia is for chumps. I’m completely willing to say that some cultures are better than others, and that modern Western (classical) liberal culture is a whole hell of a lot better than anything in the past and anything else presently. Okay, so, look, I’ll give you that Columbus was a bad dude sponsored by other equally bad people during a backward, horrible time in human history (it should be noted that in 400 years the present will be a backward, horrible time in human history). We probably shouldn’t laude his achievements, really, but I’ll take any excuse for a day off of work.

That said, Mr. Schwoefferman, your insistence upon a moronic and obnoxious spelling convention (or “konvention” as you might put it) is not only a distraction, but also incredibly off-putting. I’m sure glad your “kopy editor” “kaught” at least one of them, I guess. I suppose maybe the other kids in your dorm haven’t seen this “klever” leftist way of relating objects of scorn to the Ku Klux Klan, but to the rest of us it isn’t exactly new, and it certainly isn’t entertaining.

And, while I’m at it, I’d like to take a minute to laugh at your idea for “Indigenous Solidarity Day”. Let’s ignore that the “indigenous” peoples of the Americas did a pretty good damn job of killing one another long before Columbus ever showed up, and just note that trying to make today’s white US citizens feel guilty for the events of 500 years ago is roughly equivalent to making you feel guilty that your Germanic ancestors sacked Rome.

Wearing Your Egg On Your Sleeve

October 10th, 2006 by Ian

A UCLA study has recently shown that there is a noticeable changes in how women dress during their menstrual cycle. The researchers claim that, in general, women show more skin and dress more fashionably when they’re most fertile. How this is a surprise to anyone is beyond me, because it makes perfect sense: if it’s the best time of the month to fuck, then you’re going to wear things that maximize your chance of fucking. Apparently, however, this defies popular wisdom amongst sexless academics. From the above ABC News article:

People have long thought that women hid all signs of ovulation, even from themselves and their mates. Haselton’s study shows that many signs do exist, though they’re subtle.

Of course, ovulation doesn’t simply alter a woman’s view of herself and potential sex partners– it also changes her perception of potential rivals:

Women’s interactions with each other can change too.

“There is preliminary evidence that women rate other women as less attractive during ovulation. One possibility is that they feel better about themselves. Maybe they feel better so they dress better,” Haselton said.

High on Mushroom Clouds

October 9th, 2006 by Niedermeyer

So Kim Jong Il has decided that baby’s been in the corner long enough, thank you, and has reportedly tested a small nuclear device. As with Iran’s recent Security Council shenanigans, the “how could we let this happen” hand wringers seem to be leading public opinion, implying that somehow nonproliferation hasn’t failed. Our impotence at the Security Council this summer will probably not be repeated, but North Korea has little to lose from sanctions, and the military option is a strategic non-starter.

Then again, perhaps America is not fully utilizing its full range of policy options. Might the Stalinist eagle scouts of the Happy Shiny Peoples Democratic Republic of North Korea be willing to see things differently if *wait for it* the ASUO Student Senate weighed in on the matter? Remember, last spring the Senate changed it’s rules to allow the passing of resolutions, or statements of position on any old matter they feel like taking a principled stand on. Unfortunately for global stability, the flagship resolution condemning Iran’s nuclear program failed, despite a certain Senators cheery confirmation that “By all means I support going into Iran and killing them all.” Since that fateful meeting, the Senate has yet to pass a resolution on anything, suggesting either that they are focused on the real work of responsibly spending our incidental fees, or that AIPAC hasn’t been turning the screws. This could be about to change though, as newly elected Senate President Sarah Hamilton suggested at the 9/5 Senate meeting that more resolutions would be forthcoming in her tenure.

Although the ASUO does have the international political clout to provide bold leadership in troubled times such as these, perhaps they should continue to stick to the job they have rather than weigh in on situations they do not understand and cannot affect. Guys, I understand you want to discuss the stuff that makes you sound all grown up, but A) no one cares whether or not you think Iran or North Korea or whomever is making the wrong security choices etc, and B) the few students who do pay some attention to you guys would really rather you just stuck to your jobs. Call me crazy, but administering over $1 million of other peoples money sounds like enough work on it’s own.

Uncle Teddy Will Provide (And The ODE Nod Approvingly)

October 5th, 2006 by Timothy

To further waste my time mocking the student daily at a school where I haven’t been a student in over two years (what does that say about me?), let me opine for a moment on today’s ODE Editorial. Essentially, they’re in support of taxing stupid poor people more, and in support of making sure the government provides for the upper-middle class.

I’m usually the last to trot out “what about the poor” as a reason for anything, but let’s think about this logically for a second. One of the primary reasons given that native Oregonians have an almost pathological aversion to the sales tax is that it’s “regressive”, coming down harder on those who make less. Well, guess who buys the most cigarettes? Poor people! So if you ostensibly care about helping out the “less fortunate” or whatever the hell, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to go heavily taxing something they buy in disproportionate numbers. Especially when that tax is going to be used to subsidize the health care of people making $70,000 a year.

That’s right $70,000 a year, that’s 1.12 times Oregon’s median four-person family income. If you’re making $70,000 a year, it hardly seems reasonable for you to expect the state to pick up any of your bills, let alone your health insurance.

Somebody Should’t File His Own 1040

October 5th, 2006 by Timothy

Ol’ Dirty News Reporter Calvin Hall certainly won’t be earning his CPA any time soon. Nor would his work earn a passing grade in WR121. He writes:

Measure 41 would allow taxpayers to take either a tax deduction on their state returns in the amount deducted from federal taxes, which is about $3,200, or to claim the existing Oregon personal exemption credit, which was about $154 in 2005, according to documents on the secretary of state’s Web site.

If one takes a minute to read either the ballot summary [PDF] or the full text [PDF] of Measure 41, one can clearly see that Mr. Hall hasn’t a clue. The measure allows tax payers to claim the same deductions they do federally for themselves and all dependents. Mr. Hall neglects to mention that last little tid-bit, implying that the personal exemption is the only one counted. Simply adding “per claimed dependent” to the end of his first appositive in the above passage would to wonders to clarify. Furthermore, the current Oregon personal exemptiondependent tax credit (see update) is not $154, but $154 multiplied by the number of lawfully allowed Federal exemptions. Mr. Hall could have made this clear with a simple explanatory statement, but that would’ve required him to, I don’t know, learn to read.

For example, let’s take the usual example of the “typical American tax-payer”: A single-earner family of four with income less than $250,000 a year. Under the old system the earner in the household would be able to claim a $616 deduction from his or her income taxable by the state of Oregon and a $12,800 deduction from his or her income taxable by the Federal government. Under the new system the deduction would be $12,800 from both state and Federal taxes. Lowering one’s taxable income by $12,800 is obviously a whole heck of a lot better than lowering it by $616. Assuming that this hypothetical family of four is making 2006 fiscal year’s median income of $61,570, the tax savings of the new plan over the old plan at Oregon’s 9% tax rate are $1,097 (ceteris paribus).

Now, $91 and change a month isn’t exacly a whole ton of cash, but it’ll pay the cable bill.

UPDATE: Commenter Randy makes obvious exactly why I didn’t major in accounting. Thanks Randy:

I would suggest to read the measure again or read a tax book. Currently, Oregon allows a $154 per person TAX CREDIT and the measure would allow a $3200 per person exemption from TAXABLE INCOME. Meaning the the family of four in your example, the after tax effect would be $1152 ($3200 x 4 x 9%) compared to $616 for a difference of $536. So go back to school or something.

Which makes the score something like:

Mr Hall: Illiterate
Timothy: Innumerate
Randy: My stern but groovy master.

Parker Howell on UO Front Page

October 4th, 2006 by Ian

I don’t know how long this has been up, but Parker Howell is one of the featured graduates on the UO home page. I expect that once I graduate the UO will do the right thing and, in the interest of fairness, feature me on the home page as well.

For the record, my “Accomplishment of note” is that I got an A in an Art & Gender course.

R-G On Oregon Fundraising

October 3rd, 2006 by Ian

There are two articles on state election fundraising in today’s Register-Guard. The first looks as the Governor’s race and the second lists fundraising totals in various state senate races. There’s nothing shocking here, but it’s always interesting to see who is getting how much.

Public Meeting 10/3

October 2nd, 2006 by Niedermeyer

We are having a public meeting at 6:00 Tuesday for anyone interested in contributing to our next issue. The meeting will be held in the Commentator Office, room 319 in the EMU — please bring ideas about the upcoming elections, wedge issues, or whatever is getting your panties in a twist.

‘Uncompetent’ Headline Writer Uses Perfectly Cromulent Word.

October 2nd, 2006 by Timothy

Oh, Ol’ Dirty Emerald, how I missed you this summer. In a front-page story about the manslaughter conviction of Darrell Sky Walker the UO’s paper-of-record manages to use a word that doesn’t, you know, exist.

Now, I’ve nothing really to say about the Walker case. I haven’t followed it, and while it seems a little suspicious that somebody else bragged about throwing the fatal punch, eye-witness accounts are notoriously suspect so it isn’t exactly surprising that the testimony of four people varies. In any case, it’s a serious matter and the ODE should at least take it seriously enough to headline the story with an actual word.