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Archive for May, 2008

Goodbye 20th Century

May 20th, 2008 by Vincent

This week in the New Yorker, George Packer writes about “the fall of conservatism”. Usually, such screeds amount to little more than “progressive” triumphalism, one-dimensional “analysis” of the failings of the Bush Administration, or barely-informed rants about “neocons”, but Packer avoids most of that and an awful lot of his piece rings true.

“Conservatism”, at least of the classic Nixon/Reagan variety, is a spent force, a movement that lost its raison d’etre the moment the Soviet Union collapsed and after which it itself collapsed into an uneasy alliance of “libertarians, evangelicals, neoconservatives, Wall Street, [and] working-class traditionalists”. It was the remains of a movement that found itself holding the reins of government and realized it had no idea what to do with them.

Conservatives (or at least Republicans), Packer argues, had figured out how to win elections — look no further than the machinations of Karl Rove — but what we ended up with was President Bush, whose entire term in office has consisted of a series of stupefying blunders — a political thrashing-about, if you will, that has had the effect of destroying whatever credibility “conservatism” had left with the public (and let’s be frank, whether or not “Republican” really equates to “conservative” these days is irrelevant to a public that almost always conflates the two).

I’m not going to attempt to summarize the whole of Packer’s article; it’s a fairly substantial piece that deserves to be read in full. I will, however, state that I largely agree with his conclusions (though in this election year that has, in so many ways, celebrated the “spirit of ’68”, I disagree with him when he claims that liberals have really engaged in many serious “rebranding efforts” or “earnest policy retreats”, but I digress). For years, the “conservatism” I encountered resembled little more than intellectual parochialism and slavish Reagan-worship.

I think it should be pretty clear to everyone that those days are over. If John McCain wins this election — and I seriously doubt he will — it won’t be because he’s a great candidate with fresh new ideas; he’s a Republican in the post-Reagan, post-Gingrich, George W. Bush mold. If he wins, it’ll be because Barack Obama will have been unable to overcome working-class white distrust, feminist bitterness over his triumph over Hillary Clinton, and simple, brute racism. A win for John McCain basically means political stagnation.

Still, I’d be lying through my teeth if I claimed I had all the answers (or any answers, for that matter). But Packer’s article has got me thinking. If conservatism is going to have any chance of regaining any sort of credibility, it’s going to have to come in a form not of a kind with what we’ve become accustomed to since Nixon. Instead of hearkening back to the halcyon days of Reagan, some new ideas are going to have to be laid on the table for once.

Got any?

Ted Kennedy Diagnosed with Brain Tumor.

May 20th, 2008 by Vincent

It’ll be all over the nightly news, but it seemed significant enough to post about here: After having been taken to the hospital for seizures this weekend, Senator Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.

I’d like to wish him well. After everything that guy’s family has been through, it’d be nice to see at least one of them enjoy a long, happy retirement and eventually go peacefully in their sleep.

ADFC to present E-Ticketing to Senate

May 20th, 2008 by Sean Jin

The Athletics Department Finance Committee will be presenting its Electronic Ticketing proposal to ASUO Senate this Wednesday.

All year, (former) ADFC Chair Kyle McKenzie and the rest of the committee has been developing this plan to make the football and basketball Duck games more accessible, and fairer for students with greater time constraints such as graduate students. The plan also seeks to cut down on no-shows by tracking whether students actually attended the games they received tickets for, as well. (more…)

“I Broke the Dam.”

May 19th, 2008 by Vincent

Let me start this post by stating that I am a firm believer in the theory of anthopogenic global warming.

I’m a bit more sketchy on the currently prevalent trend of trying to tie everything into global warming and generally trying to frighten the public into supporting certain political movements. We’ve been told repeatedly that there is a strong link between global warming and the intensity (and, depending on who’s doing the talking, the frequency) of hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons worldwide.

A new study, however, disputes that, claiming that there will, in fact, be a decrease in the number of hurricanes though there may be a “modest” increase (~1-2%) in the power of such events. Of course, the devil’s in the details, and climate change models are only that — models. Some models give weight to certain factors and others do not, and they all have their failings. Only the most dishonest scientist would tell you that his model is definitive.

Most people, however, aren’t scientists, and both sides of the global warming debate have a vested interest in supporting whichever model “proves” their side is “right”. So expect to see this study adopted by global warming skeptics as evidence that global warming is rubbish (or at least not anthropogenic) with the same zeal that past studies have been utilized by environmental groups to advance their agenda.

I guess the point I’m trying to make here is to distrust anyone in the global warming debate who claims that such-and-such study “proves” a damned thing. Chances are that most partisans on both sides have probably never really looked at any of the science or bothered to learn much further than what Al Gore said in “An Inconvenient Truth”. Sadly, the issue has long since passed into the hands of those who’re just informed enough to use “global warming” and every study that comes out about it as a cudgel with which to batter their political foes rather than treating it as an important scientific question. Much like the results of the anti-nuclear hysteria of decades past, I fear that the current atmosphere of partisanship re: global warming will eventually leave us in a much worse position than we are today.

WVMF 2008

May 19th, 2008 by Amy

The Ol’ Dirty did a sufficient job of covering this year’s Willamette Valley Music Fest’, but, as a Cultural Forum employee I feel I experience the festival differently.

As with any traditional Eugene event there was a multitude of nude, unsupervised children, and sagging, unclothed breasts, both burning in the sun. But, I think this year’s real treat was this Bill Murray (well at least his character, Ernie McCrackin, in the 1996 movie Kingpin) look-a-like.

Bill Murray

Bill Murray Dancing

Unfortunately, I was working when he asked me to dance, but I assure you, beholding his presence and scent in real life was simply enough.

Beranek v. McLain, Opinion Posted

May 19th, 2008 by Amy

Opinion 28 C.C. 2007/2008 has just been posted by Con. Court. In short, it’s been decided that Emily McLain was in non-fulfillment of duties and should be removed from office, based on last year’s happenings with Sara Hamilton and the 48-hour agenda nonsense. But, because Sam and Johnny will be sworn-in in six days, McLain will not be removed from office. Instead she will simply not receive her last month’s stipend.

There goes my hopes of seeing Athan as our student body president! I hope the next six days pass with Godspeed.

Metal Mondays: Imperial Presidency Edition

May 19th, 2008 by Vincent

Gene Healy, at Reason, has written about the rise of the “imperial presidency” in the American political tradition. Healy traces the slow transition from the reticent early Presidents to the radical increase of Presidential authority under Franklin Roosevelt and forward to the present.


Ink by the Barrel

May 16th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Mark Twain once said, “Never pick a fight with someone who buys their ink by the barrel.” Unfortunately, this is a lesson the ASUO Senate has not taken to heart. Editor-in-Chief of the ODE Laura Powers has already filed a spat of grievances, against the Senate for violating Oregon Public Meeting Law, and today she added another to the list.

The Senate Over-Realized Committee held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming requests. This was illegal because (a) it was only announced five hours beforehand, instead of the required 24, and (b) the meeting included a non-binding, up-down vote on the requests. This was done in the name of “consensus building.”

When the Con Court prohibited the Senate “from implementing any rule, policy or resolution currently under review,” they went ahead and did it anyways. Likewise, when Senate President Athan Papailiou told senators not to bring up the clandestine meeting, Nate Gulley went ahead and did it anyways.

In response, Powers issued a broadside against the Senate in today’s ‘Ol Dirty, calling them out for blatantly disregarding OPML. Read excerpts from it, as well as a douchebaggy email from Nate Gulley, after the jump. (more…)

Every Marriage Should Be Gay!

May 16th, 2008 by Timothy

California Supreme Court give go-ahead for same-sex marriage. Of course, homophobic bigots plan to try to amend the California Constitution in the fall in order to make sure that Adam & Steve cannot enter into this particular kind of contract. From Anti-freedom crusader Brian Brown:

The ruling) is not the way a democracy is supposed to handle these sorts of heartfelt, divisive issues,” said Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, one of the groups helping to underwrite the gay marriage ban campaign. “I do think it will activate and energize Californians. I’m more confident than ever that we will be able to pass this amendment come November.”

At the heart of the matter isn’t really the debate over two persons of the same sex enganging in the marriage contract — to my mind the state has no business being involved in such personal matters in the first place — but rather the extent to which government is malleable by the majority. The worrisome thing about the behavior of same-sex marriage opponents is their obvious belief that the will of a scant majority of voters should trump the importance of deep principles such as equality before the law, and the limitations of government power.

It’s as if they simply to not recognize the place of the judiciary branch of the legal system. Any appropriate government is limited by its charter, but it’s also inevitable that over time those who make law will seek to expand the sphere of their own power, meaning that there must be a counterbalancing force to ensure that all new law fits within the scope of government’s defined powers, which is the place of the judiciary. Same-sex marriage opponents, seemingly, do not recognize this role and believe that the judiciary should show complete deference to the legislature. I suppose that would mean ruling in favor of government power almost universally…that certainly doesn’t sound very “conservative” to me.

UPDATE: A friend and I have declared today “Gay Marry An Illegal Immigrant Day!” If you’re single, and you live in California, see if you can help somebody out with a green card , somebody of the same sex. This is vital for the Republic, as the health of our nation rests squarely on irritating the nativist and homophobic right.

Rumors say Hillary Coming to Campus

May 15th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Word on the street is that Hillary Clinton is making a “surprise” visit to campus tomorrow. Nobody knows where; nobody knows when. My ultra-reliable sources say she will arrive as mysterious, black-masked avenger, swinging down from the chandelier, drawing her rapier and challenging scurrilous Obama supporters to defend their honor with steel. Or not. I’ll update this as more news comes in.

Nonie Darwish to Speak on Campus

May 15th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian-born American writer and speaker, will be on campus Thursday, May 22, 7-9 p.m. in Lillis 282. Darwish is the author of Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror. She has a rather atypical perspective on the issue, so regardless of one’s stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, this should an interesting lecture to say the least.

The event will be hosted by the College Republicans. For more information, check the Facebook event.

Aw, isn’t that cute?

May 14th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

So as I was wandering through the EMU, eating pizza and glaring at Don Goldman, as is my wont, I noticed a strange new publication sitting on the racks – The Weekly Enema. Being immediately impressed by its 4-page, junior high layout (it’s actually an 11-by-17 sheet of paper folded in half), I decided to peruse it at my leisure. (more…)

Shocker: Senators violate Public Meetings Law

May 14th, 2008 by Ossie

Ol’ Dirty Editor-in-Chief Laura Powers has filed three grievances against the Senate Vice President Patrick Boye, Sen. Billy Hatch and the remainder of the Senate over-realized fund committee for deliberately violating Oregon’s Public Meeting Law.

The Student Senate over-realized committee met last night in what members said was an unofficial meeting after no public notice of the meeting was provided 24 hours in advance, a violation of Oregon Public Meetings Law.

A notice of the meeting was e-mailed at 2:06 p.m. The meeting began at 7 p.m.

… Powers told the committee it would not be in compliance with the law and the meeting should be postponed. Senate Vice President Patrick Boye said the meeting would continue in an informal capacity.

The committee discussed the proposals for over-realized fund projects, did not take minutes, did not follow Robert’s Rules of Order and used a voting system of thumbs up, thumbs down, and sideways thumbs, Powers said. It is unknown if they took a recess to play Heads Up Seven up.

Senate President Athanasios Papailiou sent out public notice last night at 7:01:39 p.m. that the Senate over-realized committee will be having a meeting today at 7:00pm in Room 175 of the Law School – in order to approve the proposal that was created last night – and that the Senate meeting has been moved to 7:20 p.m. I hate to be a stickler, but the notice went out 23 hours, 58 minutes and 21 seconds before the meeting, making it also invalid.

Powers said she requested the senators be penalized one month’s worth of stipends.

Open forums about smoking ban

May 14th, 2008 by Ossie

As advertised in the Ol’ Dirty this week, there will be two open forums held by the Smoke-Free Task Force to hear public opinion about proposing a smoking ban on campus. The first is tonight from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the second on Thursday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Both are in the Knight Library Browsing Room. Comments have a three minute time limit and must be “respectful and relevant to the topic.” It’s time to start shaking those fists toward the nicotine Nazis.  

A Real American Hero

May 14th, 2008 by Vincent

Did the Washington Post switch stories with the Onion today, or something?

President Bush said yesterday that he gave up golfing in 2003 “in solidarity” with the families of soldiers who were dying in Iraq, concluding that it was “just not worth it anymore” to play the sport in a time of war.

“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” Bush said in a White House interview with the Politico. “I feel I owe it to the families to be as — to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”

Some people give their lives for their country. Some people wave goodbye to their children, who’re deploying overseas, not knowing if they’ll ever see them again. President Bush gave up golf.

America appreciates his sacrifice.