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Archive for February, 2008

Senate Undermines PFC’s Job

February 18th, 2008 by Sean Jin

The recent controversy regarding the Veterans’ and Family Student Association has revealed, if anything, more failures and flaws of the ASUO and the budgeting process. Before I continue, let me note that PFC, for the most part, has done a far better job that most years past, with a fairly realistic model and consistent views.

However, both Senate and the Executive undermined the PFC process throughout the past several weeks, with statements at meetings such as “You have money, why not just give it to them?” or “I think you’d be ok if you spent more money” or “Don’t worry about Senate, we aren’t fiscally conservative anymore” or “I will not vote for a budget giving X group higher than Y amount, no matter what”. The political pressure that the Executive and certain non-PFC Senators exerted on the PFC body inhibited their ability to do an already difficult job.

All of this reeks of the political games that cloud the already convoluted process.

And while it is important for the Senate not to be a rubber stamp and approve any budget set before it by the PFC, threatening to vote down a budget based on a number alone is also extremely arbitrary and disregardful of the qualitative analysis done by the PFC body. It is also wrong that Steven Wilsey should have so much influence over the Senate’s decisions. Yes, he was the person that put a lot of work into the model and yes, he did have a lot of numbers right, but solely following his opinion is disrespectful and blatantly inconsiderate of the rest of the PFC body’s legitimacy.

The Senators pledging to follow Wilsey are saying: Regardless of the fact that six agreed on a budget painstakingly and unanimously, because one person, ONE PERSON, who is NO LONGER on the body, disagrees, we will vote it down.

The system is not perfect. Not even close. But for it to work somewhat, each respective position and body need to stay in their lanes and stop undermining the judgment of the others.

Belgium Educates ASUO on Viewpoint Neutrality

February 18th, 2008 by Sean Jin

The following is a letter from Belgian pundit Neil Brown, former Senator of the ASUO.

Dear ASUO,

Wow. First, I would like to congratulate Nick on being a what appears to be a beacon of sanity in what appears to be a Senate that has completely gone off the tracks. I really regret that I was unable to serve with Nick. I just wanted to advise everyone to grow up.

The people who gripe the most about viewpoint neutrality are the people who appear to understand it the least. I’m referring to those who think viewpoint neutrality means one should discard every meaningful factor in regards to determining funding and simply focus on what makes us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. My friends, that is the polar opposite of viewpoint neutrality.


Student elections info tonight; free pizza

February 18th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Tonight at six p.m. in the Ben Linder Room of the EMU there will be an informative meeting about the upcoming student elections. Also, free pizza. I’m in it for the pizza, but if anything noteworthy or funny comes out, I’ll write a little something.

No word on free punch and pie.

“The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds”

February 17th, 2008 by Ossie

It’s been almost 40 years since Lane County and the Oregon State Highway Division blew up a whale. The story is slowly but surely securing a popular spot in Oregon’s history, not to mention the list of most hilarious uses of public money ever. Here’s the video, in case you haven’t heard of it., “the definitive exploding whale website,” chronicles the popularity of the story and collects other evidence that in 1970, Oregon blew up a dead, beached whale carcass with a half ton of dynamite.

OSA structure under review

February 15th, 2008 by Ossie


Portland State University Student Body President Ryan Soto is withholding over $100,000 of his school’s contribution to the Oregon Students Association until it agrees to add a general assembly with proportional representation. In the proposal, OSU would have seven members in the assembly, U of O six, PSU five and the other school would have one – it comes out to one rep per 2,500 full-time students. Specific duties of the assembly will be negotiated. Soto’s proposal says the assembly would choose the board members – there would still be two members from each school – recommend lobbying issues and perhaps set membership dues.


Harbaugh Harasses Honchos… Again

February 15th, 2008 by Niedermeyer

Economics professor Bill Harbaugh has struck again in his hundred-year war on UO Administrator chicanery, an effort which has become the University of Oregon’s answer to those endless Family Guy chicken fights. His target this time is the Administrations pointwoman on all things douchy, University General Counsel Melinda Grier. According to the ‘Ol Dirty, the Oregon Department of Justice is looking into Harbaugh’s claims that Grier delayed the release of public records and made false statements about the new basketball arena, and the Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Plan. Although this is not an official investigation, the “inquiry” originated at the desk of AG Hardy Myers, apparently within hours of this hard-hitting blog post going up over at OregonLive… even though Harbaugh raised the allegations to the DOJ back in January .

It only takes one look at how Grier “handled” Harbaugh in the past to understand why these allegations have been raised, and to believe that there is probably something to them. I know that when I was working on a lengthy story about the Rec Center finances last year, and made multiple requests for information from Griers office, I was completely ignored by phone, email and in person. Harbaugh isn’t commenting on these current allegations for the moment, citing legal concerns, but you can always learn more about the Administrations resident thorn-in-the-side by reading our coverage of last years ethics charges against Frohnmayer and Harbaugh’s concerns about the UMRP… or better yet check out his own faculty site and alternative diversity plan. Keep up the good work Bill, and Phil Knight might just buy you that Alouette to keep you quiet!

OR Dems declare health care “fundamental right”

February 14th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Yesterday, the Oregon House held an atypical debate on natural rights, specifically a natural right to health care. The House Democrats successfully referred a bill to the November ballot that would make health care a constitutional right for every Oregon citizen.  From the Oregonian article:

House Joint Resolution 100 would amend the Oregon Constitution to make health care “a fundamental right” and order the Legislature to adopt a plan for giving every legal resident “access to effective and affordable health care on a regular basis.” (more…)

Rumble in the Board Room: Feelings Hurt

February 14th, 2008 by Sean Jin

The meeting started off with an inauspicious start, as Permias Eugene (an International Student Group for Indonesian students) bumbled in with a couple surplus requests. Thankfully they got what they need for their event, Indonesia Night, but this was a clear example of the ever-continuing visibility issue with ASUO. Its own student groups don’t even know how to make special requests. In fact, I have to say that it’s impossible to know how to make special requests without sitting in on ASUO meetings.

Note to self: Increase accessibility of ASUO to students.


Loaded Orygun endorses, undermines John Kroger for state AG

February 14th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

The folks over at left-leaning Loaded Orygun have endorsed Democrat John Kroger for state Attorney General. (I previously wrote about Kroger’s ambitious, silly plan to end the “meth epidemic” here). However, reading through LO’s justifications for endorsing Kroger makes me wonder if they are actually running some sort of back-handed smear campaign against him. I mean, if someone wrote this about me, I might ask them to take the endorsment back (emphasis mine):

As pleasant and apparently very competent as Macpherson is, Kroger’s enthusiasm, sharply detailed vision and obvious desire for public service–in all senses of the phrase–make him the more compelling candidate. He better exemplifies the borderline-angry demand of the electorate for post-partisan change, post-fear. He’s ready to fight, but on principles for people, not for parties and politics.

What does “post-partisan change, post-fear” mean? Post-fear of what? Post-fear of witches? Post-Fear of a Black Planet? Read on to see the rest of the endorsement, with emphasis on the especially humorous parts. (more…)

The ASUO is so Emo

February 13th, 2008 by Jake

In what seems to be the cool thing to do now in the ASUO, Senator Steven Wilsey has resigned from his postion on the Senate and PFC. According to the Ol’ Dirty, Wilsey resigned because he disagreed with the additional funds PFC allocated to the Veterans and Families Students Association.

According to the article, Wilsey objected to what he perceived as advocacy by the ASUO Executive to spend as much money as possible. Wilsey was willing to allocate $3,000 to the group, which was about $3,000 under what was asked. (more…)

The UO wishes you a safe, happy Valentine’s Day

February 13th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

In case you missed it, the Peer Health Educators at the University Health Center ran a “Safer Sex Menu” in today’s Oregon Daily Emerald. The ad described its safer sex menu as “tasty” and “sure to have something for everyone to enjoy.” It was divided into three categories: Appetizers, Entrees and Desserts. Here’s some of the good, clean fun that the UO wishes upon its students:

  • Playing strip poker, strip backgammon
  • Petting with no clothes on
  • Licking whipped cream off your partner’s body (except for unprotected body openings)
  • Making sexy videotapes or playing with a camera
  • Talking to each other about safer sex

Wow, the UO is so hip and “with it.” I mean, I really felt like it understood my generation after it advised me to slather my partner in whipped cream. And nothing says kinky like whipping out the ol’ backgammon board. Yeah, baby, I just rolled double sixes. Take it all off!

New details in mercy killing case

February 12th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

The Oregonian ran a follow-up today on the strange case of John Roberts, who claims to have killed his wife out of mercy, saying she was suffering from AlS and did not want to wait for a doctor-assisted suicide. I wrote about the story here.

Although friends and family came to Roberts’ defense, prosecutors are starting to punch holes in his story, including the claim that his wife actually had ALS. The Oregonian reports that a doctor who examined Roberts’ wife in January told authorities that she did not have the disease. A fair amount of character evidence against Roberts has also come to light.

Nevertheless, I think the larger point of my previous post is still valid. Oregon needs to revise its assisted suicide laws. Although Oregon is the only state in the nation to legalize the practice, a patient with a terminal illness still has to be within six months of death before he or she can request a doctor-assisted suicide. This can leave people who would rather die in terrible pain for months, maybe years.

Update on the new arena

February 10th, 2008 by Ossie


The $100 million pledge by Phil and Penny Knight has a timeline, reported by the Oregonian Saturday and the RG today. The agreement of the Knights’ gift says none of the $100 million may be used for construction purposes and it expires on June 1. So unless the Legislature approves the $200 million in bonds for construction of the new arena by Feb. 29, when the current emergency session ends, the athletic department will not get the $100 for the Legacy Fund.

“We’ve said from the beginning, to people who’ve asked about it, that (the Knights’) pledge is contingent on us being able to move forward on the arena project,” said Allan Price, the UO’s vice president for advancement, when contacted Saturday. “But we haven’t made a big deal about it.”


“Clearly, we’ve said that the arena project is the highest priority for the athletic department,” Price added. “And if we can’t move forward on it, why give that money to the Legacy Fund?”

And if the Legislature doesn’t approve the bond request? Then it looks like that would be a deal-breaker on the Knights’ donation, Price said

Mercy killing reveals sad state of assisted suicide

February 7th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

As reported in today’s Oregonian, John Roberts has been charged with the murder of his wife. However, Roberts and those close to him and his wife claim it was a mercy killing. Roberts’ wife was suffering from debilitating ALS and chose to die quickly rather than wait for an official assisted suicide. From the Oregonian article:

[Friends and family] say Virginia [Roberts] had her reasons for not using Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, the only law in the nation that allows terminally ill patients to end their lives. Virginia did not want to deteriorate until doctors determined she was within six months of death, as required by the physician-assisted suicide law, they said. Nor did she want to take her own life because of her Catholic beliefs.

Like Sophocles’ Antigone, the story illuminates a sad disparity between state law and natural law. Unfortunately, I doubt the State of Oregon will realize its error any time soon. The assisted suicide laws will not be revised, and Roberts will no doubt face jail time on murder charges (manslaughter if he’s lucky). Until then, we will probably continue to hear these sorts of stories – people who take the law into their own hands after it fails them on a gross level.

Can McCain do it?

February 7th, 2008 by Ossie

The game has been played well by those backing a John McCain run for the presidency, as his biggest opposition in the Republican Party bowed out today, for his love of America. (My professor in Game Theory is sure it was Karl Rove in the back pulling strings to catapult McCain over Romney on Super Tuesday.) As the Republican Party gears up for its national presidential campaign, all eyes will be on the democrats, who will be asking themselves, “who is better equipped to beat McCain?”

I originally thought Obama had a better chance to take the presidency, but now I’m just not sure. Either way, I think McCain’s early appointment (as it seems to be now) as the GOP nomination will give him a much needed boost to convince Americans to vote conservative. Nice strategery boys!