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Archive for May, 2008

Pic and Letter from Yesterday’s Smoke-in

May 13th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

As you can see, yesterday’s smoke-in was pretty awesome. We also got a nice letter about it, which you can read below the fold. (more…)

Shocker: Paying Off Departments for Hiring Minorities Possibly Illegal

May 13th, 2008 by Vincent

As reported in the Daily Emerald yesterday, the University of Oregon is under investigation because its “Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Program” may be violating civil rights laws:

The Department of Justice has information that the University of Oregon may be engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination against newly hired non-minority faculty members with respect to the disbursement of salary and other employment benefits via its ‘Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Program,'” according to a letter sent to University General Counsel Melinda Grier that is signed by David Palmer, chief of the employment litigation section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Emerald piece does a pretty good job of summarizing the issue, so I’m not going to get too far into that. In any case, the jury’s still out as to whether or not the program is illegal or not, so it’d be unfair to condemn as unlawful a program that may in fact be perfectly legal, as President Frohnmayer asserts that it is.

Basically, the program gives monetary incentives – to the tune of $30,000 a year for 3 years – to departments that hire minority faculty who are under-represented in the field. According to this article from 2007, the average amount of money allotted for new non-minority hires is roughly $7,000 per year for the same period – a clear disparity based solely upon race (it’s not clear if “minority” in this case also refers to religious minorities, homosexuals, or other cultural minorities).

While Melinda Grier says that “the money goes to the professor’s department, not to the professor,” the Emerald article makes it clear that this isn’t really the case:

The funds can be used for anyone in the department to start a new program, but a portion of the funds do go directly toward the minority hire, which is what’s drawing controversy.

It is “appropriate and common” to use the funds for “direct support to the new faculty member as part of a negotiated start-up package (e.g., research and travel funds, summer pay, course buy outs, equipment),” according to the program’s description. [emphasis added]

Whether or not this program proves to be unconstitutional, all of this seems rather amiss. Russell Tomlin, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, defends the program and the ongoing quest for campus diversity by saying “we’re trying to do something that makes the world better.”

One wonders if this isn’t somewhat begging the question.

Metal Monday: Up in Smoke Edition

May 12th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Today’s Metal Monday is going with an “up in smoke” theme for two reasons. First, the OC hosted the first Springtime Great American Smoke-in down in the EMU amphitheater. Freedom-loving students proudly lit up their cigars, pipes and cigarettes, and there was much harrumphing had by all. In fact, it was so much of a success that OC Publisher Guy Simmons vomited freedom-chunks all over the ground after smoking two fat stogies.

Second, a report released on Friday by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy found that teenagers who frequently smoked pot were twice as likely to have experienced depression within the last year. Of course, this is from the same government that also told us that smoking pot will make you shoot your friend in the face and run over little girls on bicycles. And never mind all those other studies that found no causal relationship between marijuana and mental illness.

Good thing we have that watchdog press, though. “High teens down and out” says the Boston Herald headline. “Report: Depressed teens, marijuana a dangerous mix” warns CNN.

But if all that sensationalism doesn’t scare Little Timmy away from the bong, try this: Compared to their sober peers, teenagers who regularly smoke marijuana are 100 percent more likely to start bands like Electric Wizard.

On a very metal side note, check out this graph from the Boston Herald story:

Even more disturbing, three teens in Texas were arrested this week after they dug up a child’s grave and turned his skull into a bong. The remains are believed to be that of an 11-year-old boy who died in 1921.

Beijing Olympics Raise World Lumber Prices

May 11th, 2008 by Sean Jin

As if the protests about Tibet and other gripes about China weren’t enough, it seems that the Beijing 2008 Olympics have struck again: lumber prices are rising from growing demand for boards for Taekwondo training and insufficient supply. With the looming recession and a housing market already in collapse, this is only adding to the negative forces in the U.S. economy by raising construction costs for homes and furniture. (more…)

In Oregon on Monday: Bubba Clinton at EMU Ballroom, McCain in PDX

May 11th, 2008 by Ian

Former President Clinton will give a speech at the UO EMU Ballroom tomorrow night at 8:30. Be sure to thank him for helping torpedo his wife’s campaign and his party’s chances in the general election! Good work, big fella. Just remember to stay away from those girls at the soft serve in Carson.

And if you have $1,000 to $33,100 to spend on a man who voted for campaign finance reform, why not attend the John McCain “Portland Finance Reception” tomorrow night at the beautiful airport Sheraton? Because nothing defines a straight talkin’ man of the people better than holding a closed door $33,100/head dinner at a crappy airport hotel.

Update: More on McCain’s speech here.

Happy Mother’s Day

May 11th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

You can send Hillary Clinton an e-card wishing her a happy Mother’s Day. But what to say? There’s so many possibilities. I was thinking maybe: “Congratulations on fulfilling one of the seven phenomena of life. Only six more to go to prove you’re not a satan-robot!”

Hat tip to the always classy gals at Wonkette.

See? It’s not just us

May 11th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Over at The Weekly Standard, Matt Labash spills the beans on how he has survived 12 consecutive White House Correspondants’ Association Dinners. The answer?

I part with these secrets reluctantly, since when I lecture in schools, I like to tell the kids not to drink unless it’s for a very good reason, like making the pain stop. But our twofold approach is simple: (a) Have no shame, and (b) ingest copious amounts of free hooch. Neither is usually a problem for us. We are, after all, journalists.

Cheers to that.

Obama not a man of the people

May 10th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Well, Vincent, Katy and I tried to get press access to the Obama rally yesterday. We didn’t have press passes, but that didn’t seem to be a problem last time. Unfortunately, some irate Obama staffer told us that having our names in the masthead of the magazine wasn’t good enough. So much for the audacity of hope. Vincent and I decided we didn’t really want to see Obama anyways, especially if he was going to be such a dick. Properly embittered, we left to cling to our guns and religion. (Actually, being deficient in both areas, we mainly ended up clinging to booze).

Dumb and dumber.

May 10th, 2008 by Vincent

Okay, so I’m not a big fan of Barack Obama (and his dick of a handler not letting the Commentator through the press line last night didn’t help score any points, but I’ll let CJ post about that…). I don’t think he’s the best choice for President, and I don’t like the messianic everything-to-everyone posturing of his campaign. As far as I’m concerned, there are tons of perfectly legitimate criticisms of the man. Nevertheless, I’m beyond tired of all the drummed-up “controversies” that keep cropping up every couple of weeks or so on right-leaning blogs. Until now, the most idiotic of these was the Case of the Missing Flag Lapel Pin. Heinous!

Alas, after dragging my hung-over self out of bed this morning to check my usual blogs, I see that not one but two silly new stories are making the rounds. First off, evidently Senator Obama mis-spoke during a speech up in Beaverton and said that he’d visited 57 states.The horror! How can he not even know how many states there are in the Union he wants to lead?! How such a dolt could ever be considered qualified for the Presidency is impossible to imagine.

Second, scholars of history are savaging the benighted Senator for suggesting that he would consider meeting with unfriendly heads of state, in the tradition of other American Presidents like FDR, Truman, and Kennedy. Evidently FDR and Truman meeting with Stalin doesn’t count, despite the fact that the United States had been staunchly anti-Soviet from the very start, because we were both fighting Nazi Germany at the time. Citing Kennedy’s meetings with Khruschev is also apparently off-limits because um… Kennedy had more experience in politics than Obama does… or something. And never mind Nixon going to China or Reagan meeting with Gorbachev. None of that matters, you see,  because Senator Obama clearly needs a history lesson, otherwise he’ll end up just like poor old Neville Chamberlain.

Jack Kelly ends his post on Real Clear Politics thusly: “The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling.” I couldn’t agree more, chum.

Obama to return to campus

May 8th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

Apparently, Obama is returning to campus to speak tomorrow in the Memorial Quad outside Knight Library. Doors (?) open at 5:45 p.m. The only source I have for this is a Facebook Event, but it appears to be hosted by Students for Obama. I’ll keep you updated. If it’s true, you’ll be able to watch the whole thing (sans sound) through the old Obelisk Cam.

UPDATE: Yep, it’s confirmed on Obama’s website.

Former President to introduce changes to Constitution

May 8th, 2008 by Sean Jin

Former ASUO President Jared Axelrod has been hired by the current Executive to make some changes to the ASUO Constitution, Senate rules, committee bylaws, etc…

He presented to Senate last night some of the changes he’s making, a large part of them mainly housekeeping and cleanup of old, defunct, and obsolete rules. He wants to introduce a check to the Con Court, something along the lines of Senate needing to approve Con Court rulings on Constitutional changes. Con Court needs more checks on it, but I don’t know if just having a final approval from Senate is enough. The irony is that Con Court will have to approve that rule change. However, some of the changes he suggested last night raise red flags: Adding the Rules and Recognition Committee to the Constitution? RRC is ineffective and bureaucratic, and reform is necessary to the system. Having it in the Constitution will make it more difficult for these important reforms to happen.

And why now? Why at the end of the year? The timing of this is suspicious, and I’m curious to see what other changes President McLain and Mr. Axelrod will be cook up.

Dotters-Katz, Delashaw stump for 24-hour library

May 7th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

ASUO Exec-elects Sam Dotters-Katz and Johnny Delashaw have submitted a Senate over-realized request to allow Knight Library to operate 24-hours a day, five days a week with regular hours on the weekend. The request for the amount of $54,000 would fund the extended library hours for a one-year trial period, during which student usage will be monitored. According to the request, “should the data indicate the extended service is worthwhile, funding for institutionalization of the program will be solicited from a variety of sources, including the University Administration, the Library Administration and the ASUO.”

This seems like as good a use of the over-realized fund as any. Actually, it sounds better, since it will benefit the whole campus. I’d be a fan of 24-hour library service, seeing as how I’m a raging insomniac and procrastinator. The request also noted that a previous library study found that “demand for extended library hours come disproportionately from non-traditional students who are busy during the library’s daily hours.” So there you go: 24/5 library service would also help minority students. And if it doesn’t work out, well, we can just scrap it after the trial period. Wait, a sensible plan coming out of the ASUO? Pardon me, I have to go find something to be curmudgeony about.

Eugene fines local bar for shrubbery, sense-making

May 7th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

The city of Eugene has fined the Horsehead bar $12,960 dollars for a row of arborvitae in the bar’s outdoor smoking area. The city’s smoking ordinance mandates that at least 75 percent of a smoking area be open to outdoor air, and, according to the city planning commission, that row of plants constituted a wall, violating the ordinance.

The owners of the Horsehead are understandably pissed, especially since they already spent $10,000 tearing down the old fence that used to enclose the area in an attempt to conform to the 2005 smoking ordinance. The new row of arborvitae was supposed to allow air to circulate and give patrons privacy from downtown Eugene’s omnipresent street kids and hobos.

Apparently the city of Eugene has a very loose definition of “wall” because the planning commission also deemed the wrought-iron fence around Jameson’s outdoor area violated the code. Patrons are no longer allowed to smoke there, either.

Just another ridiculous moment in the annals of bureaucracy. For all those interested, there will be a smoke-in on Monday, May 12, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the EMU amphitheater to protest all such asinine ordinances and laws targeting smokers. See you there.

P.S. The R-G story I linked to up top has a picture with the offending “wall” in the background. See for yourself. If that’s a wall, then I’m the bastard child of Elvis and Mother Teresa.

P.P.S. Hey everyone, we’re on Fark. So, uh … go us.

Israel’s 60

May 5th, 2008 by Sean Jin

With Israel’s 60th birthday coming up (May 14th), both our friendly neighborhood Jews, their proponents, and their opponents have been making a lot of noise. I’m not the biggest fan of Israel’s operations in Palestinian land, and I think a lot of the settlers use the victim mentality to justify pushing injustices on others. And no, criticism of Israel’s foreign and domestic policies does not equate to Anti-semitism.

But signs like “Israel @ 60: Celebrating Genocide” do not help the discussion of a convoluted and complicated issue. And yes, I saw those over campus today, including other ones that said “Celebrating Racism” and “Celebrating Terrorism”. I’m interested to see what else these clowns come up with.

Metal Mondays!

May 5th, 2008 by Vincent

So, CJ and I were talking about doing a “Metal Mondays” feature on the blog because… uh… it’ll be fun. And why not, right? I don’t really know what we’re actually supposed to be doing in the space, but I figured I’d kick it off by doing a quick and dirty run-down of some of the different types of heavy metal music that are out there. (Note to any other metalheads reading: this list is not intended to be exhaustive. If I didn’t write about your favorite genre or you think I’m giving short shrift to Vagina Carnage Goresnot or whatever your favorite group is, get over it. I don’t care).

So, if you give two squirts of demon piss about metal, read on. If you don’t, read on anyways, weakling.