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Archive for April, 2008

THROWDOWN: The Anti-Imperialists Take on China

April 17th, 2008 by Vincent

In Sean Jin’s post about Zach Besaraba’s characterization of the furor over Tibet amounting to little more than “propaganda with the aim of maintaining US imperialism (for his part, Besaraba makes an attempt to clarify his position in the comments section), I suggested that the “anti-imperialism” crowd (substitute “anti-war”, if you like) has little time to waste on protesting against “imperialism” on the part of anyone besides the United States and Israel.

Well, I’m glad to say that in a letter to the editor of the Eugene Weekly, Pete Mandrapa has proven me wrong, taking China to task for its “deplorable” “actions” in Tibet. Indeed, “some human rights activists’ calls for the boycott of Beijing Olympics and disruption of the Olympic torch travels across the globe”, he says, are “understandable. Good for Pete Mandrava for joining the ranks of the decent left and unequivocally condeming totalitarian aggression wherever he sees it.

But wait! What’s this?

Not satisfied to merely take a principled stand against Chinese imperialism, Mandrapa cites actual horrors like Abu Ghraib alongside such hoary old chestnuts as the “hundreds of thousands of Iraqis” “slaughtered” by American troops (la resistance presumably murders civilians for a higher cause) and the “physical destruction” of that country to argue that as awful as the annexation and decades-long Chinese occupation of Tibet might be it isn’t nearly as bad as the American invasion of Iraq. Evidently, Mr. Mandrapa doesn’t spend much time reading the news, since the only way his comparison would really hold is if the Tibetian “resistance” was butchering mourners with suicide bombs and the Chinese military was working with the UN to restore habitat for oppressed minority populations as well as repairing decaying infrastructure and opening schools.

But never mind all that. This is the Eugene Weekly we’re talking about, and high rhetoric (not to mention high drama) is de rigueur.

Expect this meme to become increasingly common as the Olympic trials draw ever nearer. When moral equivalence is the name of the game, it’s safer to suggest that perhaps American athletes should be barred from competing than it is to risk your activist cred by looking like you’re siding with the neo-con imperialists. China might be bad, but the U.S. is always worse.


A similar dodge, this time from The Guardian.

Things that make my soul wither

April 17th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

1. People dressed in garbage.

I saw the garbage monsters walking down 13th today, beatboxing and telling people to recycle.

One Year

April 16th, 2008 by Sean Jin

Today is the one year mark of the shootings at Virginia Tech. There was a candlelight vigil and ceremony in the Amphitheater tonight, with an acknowledgment of those lost, and a memorial performance by On The Rocks.

One of the speakers, Geoff Palachuk, left us with this inspirational Sanskrit Proverb:

“Look well to this day, for it is life, the very life of life. In it lies all the realities and verities of existence: the bliss of growth, the glory of action, splendor of beauty. For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day, for it and it alone is life! Such is the salutation of the dawn.”

From the table

April 16th, 2008 by Sean Jin

Can’t really say if Senate is more exciting from the perspective of the table. Thanks for asking, Sen. Feldman. I suppose the vicious tension that exists in the ASUO becomes more apparent when at the table. Passive aggressiveness coats just about everything spoken by anyone.

“Soccer is the real Futbol” came in for a special request…they are a new group, and it seems that new groups are tinderboxes waiting to light for the ASUO (please refer to VFSA’s PFC meetings). Soon after “Soccer is the real Futbol” went through with the request, Senate President Athan Papailiou made a comment about how difficult it was for new groups to get started, and how long it took them to get budgets. It seems like special requests from surplus might be a good occasional alternative to unfunded groups.

Vice-President San SunOwen used the opportunity to jump on Athan’s back once again and call him out for being “hypocritical”. Athan may just have to start facing the possibility that he is, indeed, a hypocrit. And a racist. And…I’d continue on but I don’t want to give Vincent alcohol poisoning. $20 says ODE Reporter Robert D’Andrea at least quotes San’s rant or even puts a full text of her rant in his next article.

Senator Billy Hatch also called Athan unprofessional for mentioning his drunken behavior in Senate last week, without Billy being present. Not quite clear on who’s fault it was that Billy stormed out. But seeing as everybody seems to blame Athan for just about anything, I’ll go ahead and venture that he was responsible for that, too.

“Unprofessional” seemed to be the buzz word of the meeting tonight.

Mad Scientist to Lecture Tomorrow

April 16th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Natalie Jeremijenko will hold a lecture tomorrow, April 17, at 7 p.m. in 177 Lawrence Hall. Jeremijenko is a conceptual artist with a background in, among other things physics, neuroscience, biochemistry and precision engineering. Her most well known work, done with the Bureau of Inverse Technology, was the Suicide Box, a motion-activated camera that documented suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge. The BIT later took the data on suicide trends and indexed it against the Dow Jones Industrial Average to create the Despondency Index. Probably the most interesting of her projects, though, has been One Trees.

Lately, Jeremijenko has been working on placing buoys in the Hudson River that light up when fish swim through them. This should be an interesting lecture to say the least. For further reading, Salon has a big ‘ol feature on Jeremijenko.

Top Ten List

April 16th, 2008 by Ossie

Here are the top ten Oregon Commentator bloggers as far as number of posts.

  1. Timothy Dreier – 476
  2. Olly   – 375
  3. Sho   – 272
  4. Ian Spencer  – 260
  5. Ted   – 154
  6. Bret Jacobson  – 126
  7. Pete   – 115
  8. Ossie Bladine  – 108
  9. Danimal   – 100
  10. CJ Ciaramella  – 93

A notable author name on the list is Skeletor Ogboggle – username ‘other,’ – with 8 posts, my favorite of which is: OC In Depth: The Emerald After-Party

Notable news of the day

April 16th, 2008 by Ossie

There are three noteworthy pieces in the Emerald today. First, a student came forward and accused Sara Hamilton of soliciting votes in the dorms for the Oregon Action Team.

Andrew McNulty contacted the Emerald Tuesday afternoon and said Hamilton identified herself by name and talked about her campaign for ASUO president last year.

McNulty, a political science major, said he was familiar with her name but he had no connections to the ASUO or any campaign. He said he had not been following this year’s election, but was surprised when he read recently that Hamilton had no formal role in the Oregon Action Team campaign.

This is just building up for Con Court’s big decision whether or not to order another executive election. It has been stated several times by Sam Dotters-Katz that Hamilton was doing things without his consent. If a new election was called, I am going to go around to every dorm and pressure as many kids to vote as possible. I’ll threaten one hall to vote for Kari and another hall to vote for Sam. With those two campaigns sabotaged, Thunderlove can slip right into the presidential position he deserves.

If Con Court does make this decision in favor of Rock The Yello, there is a chance that the University Administration would step in and not allow another election, and perhaps threathen to strip control from the current ASUO. All the rules have been thrown out the window by this point, so who knows what will happen?

Second, there is a breakdown of campaign spending in the election, which actually isn’t very exciting. The OAT spent a lot of money, but in terms of resources used, having control over the elections board pretty much evens out the playing field.

Finally, there is a nice write-up about the AFF blog contest, which we took second in. Thanks to Jill Aho for the coverage and to David Kirby of AFF for the kind words.

CORRECTION: I was just informed that McNulty is not a freshman, as I originally posted, he is a fifth-year senior living in the dorms. Sorry for the error.

What it means.

April 15th, 2008 by Vincent

A guest commentator in the Daily Emerald today added to the drumbeat of demands for the departmentalization of Ethnic Studies. Amidst all the usual complaints about how the University of Oregon is failing in its stated goal to be “more diverse,” Kit Myers, a graduate student in Ethnic Studies at U.C. San Diego, spelled out what a departmentalized Ethnic Studies might mean for this campus:

Departmentalization for ethnic studies will address many of the six major goals of the diversity plan. It means building a critical mass of faculty of color on campus; it means fostering a culturally responsive community; it means developing and reinforcing diversity infrastructures; it means more dialogue and critical engagement with issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class, which improves campus climate; it means knowledge and growth; and for many students, staff, and faculty of color on campus, it means retention.

Such a formulation seems vague, to say the least. While increasing the number of minority faculty on campus is a laudable goal, Myers seems to be unintentionally implying that a departmentalized Ethnic Studies will adopt hiring practices that favor some candidates at the expense of other candidates who do not pass the skin color test. If this is the case, it is nakedly discriminatory and for this university or any other to purposely adopt a policy that is specifically formulated to exclude a large percentage of the population is unethical at the least, if not flagrantly illegal.

As for the assertion about Ethnic Studies “furthering the discussion of race” on this campus… well, I’ve just gotta call bull on that one. As certain members of our own student government amply prove on a seemingly weekly basis, the “discussion” of race on campus often amounts to little more than accusations of racism hurled around in nearly every imaginable circumstance, and is often used as a bludgeon to curtail free speech, stifle criticism, and shut down debate. How any of this “improves campus climate,” I do not know. I also do not know why “issues of gender and sexuality” are assumed to fall under the rubric of an Ethnic Studies department, but Myers seems to take it as a given.

Of course, my worries about departmentalizing Ethnic Studies may be entirely misplaced. Indeed, I hope they are since the Department of Ethnic Studies seems to be a question of “when” rather than “if” at this point. In fact, I am not necessarily hostile to departmentalization as such but as I’ve written elsewhere, there is precedent for such programs to become highly politicized and exclusive. To date, not a single proponent of departmentalization has to my knowledge bothered to address such criticisms and we’re treated instead to the usual blandishments about diversity.

Instead of moralizing to the student body about how necessary Ethnic Studies is, how about putting together an example of what a typical course of study in that department might look like? What about enumerating where exactly the gaps are in currently available courses and how Ethnic Studies might fill those gaps? How about actually answering some of the worries about exclusion and politicization in an honest and forthright way instead of characterizing critics as racists with no legitimate concerns?

Of course, such conciliatory gestures are probably unnecessary since, as I mentioned, departmentalization is pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point. Despite their loud commitment to “dialogue” and “discussion,” it’s clear that proponents don’t feel the need to spend their time convincing the portion of the student body that still holds reservations that a Department of Ethnic Studies is truly a boon to the University of Oregon.

Thus, we’re left wondering exactly what a departmentalized Ethnic Studies brings new to the table. So far, all we’ve been offered by the likes of Kit Myers is an empty plate and the promise that there’s all sorts of good stuff in the kitchen, if only we’d shut up and let them feed us.

Dueling Crime Initiatives to Hit November Ballot

April 15th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

An initiative sponsored by Republican Kevin Mannix that would set three-year mandatory minimum prison sentences for first-time drug dealers, burglars and identity thieves will appear on the November ballot in Oregon.

According to the Oregonian, the measure “would increase Oregon’s prison population by an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 inmates and cost $128 million to $200 million a year.” Righto, sounds peachy keen! Sure, we already have a strained budget and strained prison system, but dammit, someone’s got to teach those dopers a lesson.

Of course, if voters disagree with the initiative, they will have another, more sympathetic way to waste vast amounts of money. A second initiative sponsored by the Democrat-controlled legislature, which targets repeat offenders, would only incarcerate a projected 1,600 people and cost roughly $50 million a year. It would also include $20 million a year for drug treatment programs and local jails.

If both initiatives are passed by voters, the one with the most votes will become law. (THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE!)

ODE Columnist Bags on OSPIRG

April 15th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

‘Ol Dirty columnist Nik Antovich gives OSPIRG more bad press in today’s Emerald:

Lately OSPIRG has been under considerable public examination; I want to keep it that way, considering that the problems with this organization don’t deserve just lip service but action. This fiscal year we will be handing OSPIRG a check for more than $117,000- a ridiculous amount of money, none of which will be publicly accounted for by the corporation. However, we do know that more than two-thirds of that budget is used to pay the salaries of about eight researches and activists who work in Portland.

Antovich goes on to stump for CFACT, which is kind of the conservative version of OSPIRG, sans off-campus money dumping (allegedly). I have my reservations about CFACT; besides disagreeing with them on some key issues, I’m opposed on principle to increasing the incidental fee. However, it’s good to finally start hearing some substantial OSPIRG criticism on campus.

Is the recent bad press, as well as the election of Dotters-katz and Delashaw, whose platform included decreasing OSPIRG funding, a sign that the Great Hope might finally be realized? Holding your breath is probably inadvisable, although crossing your fingers couldn’t hurt.

Fascinating Logic

April 14th, 2008 by Sean Jin

I saw this on Facebook this morning, in a note by Zach Basaraba from the MCC. Basaraba is the same person that ridiculed Meili Yu for being “Culturally Incompetent”, amongst other things.

“Is the current Chinese occupation of Tibet just imperialism, or is the “Free Tibet” campaign just propaganda with the aim of maintaining US imperialism and an elite monarchy in the region (Considering the Dalai Llama is funded by the US Government and was essentially a puppet state of Chieftain rule)?”

Does the MCC really want someone like this representing them? Wow. Their logic has become so twisted that advocating for human rights is now maintaining US imperialism. These people’s hate for America is so strong that they’d rather advocate for CHINESE rule in Tibet.

But it makes sense for the MCC to do so, because after all, in the United States, here they do execute people and bill their families for the bullet used. And they march practitioners of Falun Gong throughout the street before lining them up on a wall and shooting them in the back of the head. And they censor Internet sites and perform late-term abortions on women that violate the one-child policy.

Wait, did I get something wrong here?

OC blog runner-up in national competition

April 14th, 2008 by Ossie

The official announcement went out today that Joe Malchow of Dartblog took first place in the America’s Future Foundation College Blogger Contest 2008 and will receive the $10,000 prize. The Oregon Commentator blog was runner-up, which would be somewhat anticlimactic except that one of the judges has decided to give us a $1,000 second place prize out of his pocket. Third place went to Surveillance State.

David Kirby of the AFF told me it was a close race and that we received a few first place votes. Going into the competition, we understood Malchov and company were heavy favorites; the fact we gave those Ivy League guys a run for their money calls for a big West Coast cheers.

“I’m so pleased that AFF has had the opportunity to shine a light on so many of the talented writers and journalists who are up-and-comers in the fight for liberty,” Kirby said. “We’re looking forward to building on this year’s success to turn the AFF College Blogger Contest into a consistent leader in encouraging freedom-minded writers to speak up on campuses across the country.”

Thank you AFF for hosting this competition and to all the judges, and a special thanks to the fine gentleman who created the now award-winning OC blog, Mr. Bret Jacobson, Mr. Oliver Ruff, Mr. Pete Hunt, Mr. Sho Ikeda and Mr. William Beutler, and to everyone else who has contributed to the Oregon Commentator for the past twenty four and a half years.

The Commentator is a tradition like no other and it’s a pleasure to continue advocating for conservatism, free thought and individual liberty at the University of Oregon.

Circus, Round 2.

April 14th, 2008 by Sean Jin

Voting in the general elections has started. By now, everyone is sick of seeing people on the streets with pamphlets. And the thing that sucks is that we still have to do it!

To keep the injustices from the Elections Board going, Oregon Action Team member Nathan Perley’s rightful victory has been inexplicably invalidated. He was running for Seat 13, and won an outright majority last week. Suddenly, last night, the Elections Board, without any clear reason, invalidated his win and said that the election for Seat 13 would open again this week.

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

The Elections Board stated that some Business majors were unable to vote for Seat 13, and were complaining about it.

There haven’t given any evidence of this. Furthermore, when has “some people not being able to vote’ ever invalidated an election (national, university, or otherwise)?


April 13th, 2008 by Vincent

I was just reading the Emerald’s story about the Oregon Action Team’s victory, and I noticed this interesting little tidbit:

 “It’s easy to buy an election,” Sen. Nate Gulley, a Rock the Yellow supporter said after hearing the results.

The Commentator wonders if Senator Gulley can provide any evidence whatsoever to back up his statement, or whether he’s just speaking from personal experience.

For his part, Diego Hernandez was quoted as saying that he hadn’t “even processed it yet,” which probably stems from the fact that he’s spent a significant portion of his processing power lately fulminating against white people in the comments section of the Daily Emerald, producing such gleaming pearls as:

Diversity, in the mind of the average white, heteronormative male is obviously or should be non-European…White people suddenly want to be included in the term diversity. This is why Affirmative Action is becoming weaker and scholarships that are meant for people of color are going to white people because diverse means something different.

and leading off with:

Wake is an idiot, he needs to wake up and stop being a racist, uneducated baboso. 

I am guessing your not educated about “race,” especially because Wake’s comment is obviously ignorant and racist, and because you used the term “Hispanic.” I don’t get my definitions from the encyclopedia, especially socially related terms. Race and Racism is so complex that you can major on it and get a Doctorate from the topic. Suddenly, I have to stay silent when I speak about race, because if I talk about it then it might loose it’s meaning.  [emphasis added]

After someone in the comments section (whom Hernandez claimed was “Sean Jin himself or someone associated with him or the neoliberal, neoconservative, ignorant Oregon Commentator” [Gosh, it’s so nice that you’re always thinking of us!!]) pointed out that his sentiments were coming dangerously close to breaching the University’s definition of “discriminatory harassment,” Hernandez suddenly made an about-face, claiming:

But anyway if you read what Wake said, it is obviously not racist, but I thought I should just do it to see what kind of dialogue would come of it. Very interesting stuff…   [emphasis added]

Between churning out such confused vitriol and denouncing Sean Jin’s “hate speech” about the Multicultural Center, it’s no wonder that Mr. Hernandez has been suffering a dearth of CPU power needed for processing the Oregon Action Team’s victory, leaving it to Nate Gulley to instead insinuate election fraud and further drag what remains of the ASUO’s reputation through the mud.

Congrats to the Oregon Action Team for shaking these tossers up a bit.

SI on Dennis Dixon’s Rapid Recovery

April 12th, 2008 by Ian

A must-read for Ducks football fans (and anyone who wonders how well injured players are treated at Oregon):

Because he wanted to travel with the team, Dixon didn’t have surgery until Dec. 15. Two days later he was walking without crutches. After five days he was riding a bike. In two weeks he was throwing, and a month after that, he was running. Day after day, as Dixon lay on a massage table in the training center, Terrell tested the knee’s range of motion and Dixon watched the myriad televisions tuned to ESPN. The draftniks didn’t mention him as they talked about other quarterbacks — Matt Ryan, Brian Brohm, Chad Henne — whom he had outplayed for 2 1/2 months.

Agent pitches to potential draftees are often superficial, all about dropping names and promises. Jeff Sperbeck of Octagon went to Dixon in early January with a concrete proposal. He wanted to turn Dixon’s dormant Heisman website into a platform to broadcast his rehab. The site would rebuild Dixon’s image as trainers rebuilt his knee. He wouldn’t be ready to work out in February at the NFL combine or in March on Oregon’s pro day, but the Internet could help persuade skeptical NFL general managers that Dixon was still worth drafting.