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Archive for July, 2008

Found in Condon Hall; lame

July 21st, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella


“Arm your desire” sounds like a bad cologne slogan.

Campus Smoking Ban Set to Go

July 18th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

According to one of our nefarious sources, the Smoke Free Task Force is recommending to the administration that campus become completely smoke-free. Once enacted, the ban would not actually be enforced for a couple of years. (This would be the transitional “culture change”). However, after this there will be $15 fine if one is caught lighting up on campus.

To read the sordid history of the smoking ban, check the archives.

Happy (Belated) Cost of Government Day

July 17th, 2008 by Vincent

I noticed at Oregon Catalyst that yesterday was “Cost of Government Day” — that is, the day that the average American finishes paying off their portion of what the government (federal, state, & local) spends. Only 197 days into the year, and whatever money you make from here on out is officially yours!

Dotters-Katz Voter Reg Effort Questioned

July 17th, 2008 by Niedermeyer

When ASUO President Dotters-Katz kicked the OSA campus coordinator off campus, you could almost hear the heads exploding at OSA headquarters. Now, like any good lobbying group that has been called out as unnecessary, the OSA is in full-on self-justification mode. And it begins with a story in the Daily Emerald, in which we are introduced to a troubling side effect of Dotters-Katz’ rash move: without OSA there will be no voter registration at the UO. Well, according to the student body president of PSU, anyway.  “I let him know how hard it’s been to not have (a campus organizer) for the last couple of months,” ASPSU President Hannah Fisher confides to the ‘Ol Dirty. “If U of O fails then we all fail,” says Fisher of the OSA’s statewide voter reg effort. “If it’s not broken you don’t fix it.”

But Dotters-Katz doesn’t seem too concerned about the dire warnings from Portland. In fact, his executive has publicly committed to registering 10,000 students at the U of O. Dotters-Katz tells the ODE: “there’s going to be a huge presence on campus, and we expect that we will met our goal due to the effective planning of my team and the work of a huge corps of volunteers.” From classrooms to club sports to the Athletic Department, Dotters-Katz plan seems to have left nowhere to hide from hordes of voter registrators. And yes, he does somehow expect to do this with help only from Building Votes, a Bus Project-affiliated initiative.

And what of the criticism from Fisher that “not having a vote organizer on campus is going to make it a lot harder to meet his voter registration goal?” Well, if we look back to the last election year, we can see that the OSA (via then-Legislative Affairs Honcho Emily McLain) registered “only” 6,876 students. Now that’s quite an accomplishment, but it also means that if Dotters-Katz only achieves half of his goal he’ll still nearly match the OSA’s last election year result. And he’ll have saved students $30k, or over one dollar per student per year in the process. So when you inevitably get hassled to register to vote this fall, please just do so. It’s an easy way to reward leadership that takes on challenges to save students money, instead of outsourcing a simple job to a cynical lobbying group.

Coming to a University Near You!

July 17th, 2008 by Vincent

Some members of Congress, along with certain “women’s groups” (the Times article doesn’t mention which ones), are pushing for gender quotas in the sciences, and Congress “quietly ordered agencies to begin the Title IX compliance reviews in 2006”:

Applying Title IX to science was proposed eight years ago by Debra Rolison, a chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory. She argued that withholding federal money from “poorly diversified departments” was essential to “transform the academic culture.”

Because that’s what’s important, isn’t it? Not good science. Transforming the culture. Science be damned. As usual, every other consideration is to be sacrificed upon the altar of “diversity”.

Thankfully, some people aren’t having it:

“Colleges already practice affirmative action for women in science, but now they’ll be so intimidated by the Title IX legal hammer that they may institute quota systems,” Dr. [Christina] Sommers said. “In sports, they had to eliminate a lot of male teams to achieve Title IX parity. It’ll be devastating to American science if every male-dominated field has to be calibrated to women’s level of interest.”

I’m not sure the diversity gang cares a whit about “American science”. Diversity must come first. Always.

Nation Tries to Bring Sexy Back; Epic Fail

July 17th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

In case you didn’t find Norman Solomon whining about the media erotic enough, The Nation (AKA “The Never-ending Block of Grey Text”) has just started a sex column titled “Carnal Knowledge.” Written by JoAnn Wypijewski, the column “will explore sex as desire, as work, as play, as the screen against which America projects its fantasies and fears.” Why, that almost sounds interesting! I wonder what the first column, “The Shadow of His Smile“, is about?

In politics as in pop, legions of little girls jumping out of their panties can’t be wrong. That’s the vital lesson so far of Election ’08. I watched a throng of them in November 2006, teenagers in their short skirts and breathlessness, jumping and jittering, hands to cheeks, screaming for Barack Obama.

Sigh. For reals? I can’t say I’m surprised. Just disappointed. But wait, it gets worse. So much worse:

Those girls represented what they always have in America, a cultural longing. By ’07 even the boys were Obama Girls, and their parents were borne along on the energy, feeling young and hip and a little damp in the drawers themselves […] Like someone ground down by years in a bad relationship, America needed a seduction and, then, like the starlet on the crooner’s arm, the reflected shine.

Wow, projecting much? The column also compares Obama to Frank Sinatra, compares and contrasts his libido with JFK’s and opines on the significance of his “mingled blood.” See if you can read the whole thing without plugging your eyes out. Hat tip to Wonkette.

P.S. “Wypijewski” sounds like it should be the name of one of the sweathogs on Welcome Back, Kotter.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

July 17th, 2008 by Vincent

Reason is running an interesting article about the demise of Microsoft’s “PlayForSure” music standard and the legal obstacles that have been put in place to prevent people from circumventing DRM (digital rights management) schemes that supposedly protect “content” from unscrupulous computer users:

Convinced that the tight integration between iTunes and the iPod was the secret to Apple’s success, Microsoft abandoned the PlaysForSure approach, shuttered the MSN Music Store, and built the Zune around yet another proprietary format.

As a result, music in the PlaysForSure format will not play—for sure or otherwise— on a Zune music player.


In ordinary circumstances, you would expect entrepreneurs or volunteers to pick up Microsoft’s slack and offer software to convert those old recordings to another format.But the Digital Millennium Copyright Act transforms what would normally be a promising business opportunity into a federal felony. Not only will PlaysForSure music not play on a Zune, but the DMCA makes it illegal, punishable by up to five years in jail on the first offence, for third parties to offer utilities to bridge that gap…  Under the DMCA, no one may “circumvent” a copy protection scheme without the permission of the platform’s owner.


125 Must-go Places to Drink Beer

July 16th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

I found this list of 125 places to drink beer before you die. Oregon is well represented with Henry’s in Portland, the Kennedy School, the Rogue Brewery and the Deschutes Brewery all making the list. What, no love for the vomit-encrusted alley next to John Henry’s?

Wherefore This Sphere of Blog?

July 16th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

There’s an interesting kerfuffle going on over at local Oregon blog Quark Soup. Last week, the author wrote a post lamenting the sad state of the blogosphere*, basically saying it’s where good writers go to die and bad writers never leave:

There just isn’t much meat out there. Amateur bloggers just seem to spread useless gossip. And what’s especially bad, “professional bloggers” seem so intent on posting 20 times a day that all of their individual posts are basically useless, conveying nothing whatsoever.

The author laid into Atlantic bloggers Andrew Sullivan and Matt Yglesias in particular. Surprisingly, both Sullivan and Yglesias responded on their respective blogs. Yglesias’ response was rather muted, but Sullivan had some interesting things to say.

Sullivan claims that blogging is “a form of conversation, not a medium of absolute authority.”

The point is that I don’t expect or hope that any reader relies on the Dish alone. The Dish is a portal as well as well as a blog – to all the information and ideas percolating out there. And my role has evolved from purely an opiner to a web DJ of sorts, re-mixing and finding and editing the thoughts and images and facts of others.

I like the idea of bloggers being web DJ’s, especially considering the general douchebaggery of most DJ’s and bloggers. (more…)

I knew UW was a crappy school, but …

July 15th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

This is just silly:

The University of Washington says its computer keyboards will now be cleaned weekly, after a student research project found high levels of fecal coliform bacteria on some of them.

Way to keep it classy, Huskies.

Oregon Ranks 18th in Alcohol Culture

July 11th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

According to the Gannet Wisconsin Media’s “State of Drinking” special report (complete with interactive map), Oregon ranks 18th in the nation for permeation of alcohol in our culture. I was hoping for a higher score, considering Portland has more breweries than any other city on earth, but whatever. We still kicked California, Washington and Idaho’s ass. Wisconsin came in first, and Alabama came in last (“sweet home” my ass!).

Department of Justice Not So Interested in “Justice”

July 10th, 2008 by Vincent

Juan Cole at Salon:

The U.S. Justice Department is considering a change in the grounds on which the FBI can investigate citizens and legal residents of the United States. Till now, DOJ guidelines have required the FBI to have some evidence of wrongdoing before it opens an investigation. The impending new rules, which would be implemented later this summer, allow bureau agents to establish a terrorist profile or pattern of behavior and attributes and, on the basis of that profile, start investigating an individual or group.

 If the aim is to identify al-Qaida operatives or close sympathizers in the United States, racial profiling is counterproductive. Such tiny, cultlike terror organizations are multinational. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, is a Briton whose father hailed from Jamaica, and no racial profile of him would have predicted his al-Qaida ties. Adam Gadahn, an al-Qaida spokesman, is from a mixed Jewish and Christian heritage and hails from suburban Orange County, Calif.

Sadly, this sounds a lot less far-fetched than the Department of Homeland Security’s “shock bracelet” story from a couple of days ago. That famous old Benjamin Franklin quote seems particularly apt here. Our government has long been intent on selling away our liberties for safety and security, often with the cowed acquiescence — if not outright encouragement — of the people. Perhaps in this case the tradeoff will appear so high enough as to a reaction not limited merely to the ACLU, disgruntled, anti-Bush liberals, and other civil libertarians.

(via Tololy’s Box)

Harry’s Place Facing Hamas Lawsuit

July 10th, 2008 by Vincent

Hot on the heels of the Mark Steyn/Maclean’s case in Canada, a British law firm, acting on behalf of Mohammed Sawalha, the President of the British Muslim Initiative and mastermind of “much of Hamas’ political and military strategy”, has filed suit against UK blog Harry’s Place:

Mr Sawalha claims that we have “chosen a malevolent interpretation of a meaningless word”. In fact, we did no more than translate a phrase which appeared in an Al Jazeera report of Mr Sawalha’s speech. When Al Jazeera changed that phrase from “Evil Jew” to “Jewish Lobby”, we reported that fact, along with the statement that it had been a typographical error.

Mr Sawalha says that the attribution of the phrase “Evil Jew” to him implies that he is “anti-semitic and hateful”. Notably, he does not take issue with our reporting of the revelation, made in a Panorama documentary in 2006, that he is a senior activist in the clerical fascist terrorist organisation, Hamas.

A member of Hamas has no reputation to defend.

If Mr Sawalha persists in attempting to silence us with this desperate legal suit, we will need your help.

We won’t be able to stand up to them alone.

The Oregon Commentator, Saving Civilization One Pitcher at a Time

July 10th, 2008 by Vincent

George Will explains how drinking beer helped civilization survive waterborne diseases like dysentery:

“The search for unpolluted drinking water is as old as civilization itself. As soon as there were mass human settlements, waterborne diseases like dysentery became a crucial population bottleneck. For much of human history, the solution to this chronic public-health issue was not purifying the water supply. The solution was to drink alcohol.”

Often the most pure fluid available was alcohol — in beer and, later, wine — which has antibacterial properties. Sure, alcohol has its hazards, but as Johnson breezily observes, “Dying of cirrhosis of the liver in your forties was better than dying of dysentery in your twenties.” Besides, alcohol, although it is a poison, and an addictive one, became, especially in beer, a driver of a species-strengthening selection process.

I knew there was a good reason this monkey was on my  back all the time.

Found in the office bookshelf

July 9th, 2008 by CJ Ciaramella

July ’05 copy of “Out Magazine.”

Is there anything you alumni from ’05 want to tell us?