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Archive for March, 2009

OSPIRG Jumps the Shark

March 10th, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

OSPIRG continues its nasty little habit of claiming other people’s victories:

Stretching a bit? I’m not really sure what a lobbying group like OSPIRG has to do with student involvement in the civil rights movement, but there you go. By the way, I received this in an email titled “cultural appropriation at its worst.”

OSPIRG bravely fights “sediment of apathy” [Updated, 03/11]

March 10th, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

Well, OSPIRG has officially been cut from the ASUO budget, but don’t think those goons are giving up. Since they couldn’t sway the student government (even though they were given four opportunities to do so), OSPIRG is taking its message to “the people.”

You may notice (in fact, you will be forced to notice) the dweebs on campus trying to get you to sign a petition for something called the “student voice campaign.” OSPIRG, masquerading as the “coalition for student voice,” is trying to collect enough signatures to put a ballot measure up for vote. The measure reads:

Should the ASUO fund student-directed programs that address issues that affect both students and all Oregonians, using methods such as: research; press conferences; letter writing drives; demonstrations; public forums; advocating to the City Council, Legislature, Congress, and corporations; and hiring professional staff to work to amplify and empower student voice both on and off-campus in places like Salem and Washington DC?

I just wish for once in its insipid history OSPIRG could be honest with students. It’s pathetic that they have to couch their campaign in smarmy platitudes about “student voice” – worse that they can’t even bear to mention OSPIRG itself. If you get confronted by one of these clipboard-wielding mouth-breathers, write down your feelings on their signature sheet. That’s what I do.

Also, Eugene’s crappiest metal band, The Athiarchists, played a concert in support of OSPIRG. That should tell you enough.

There’s a delightfully nonsensical letter from wordsmith Jesse Hough after the jump. (more…)

Baseball Team and Stadium Review

March 9th, 2009 by Drew Cattermole

Recently, I was able to go to the first University of Oregon baseball home game. Let me say that already PK Park is one of the best looking stadiums in college baseball. Sadly, there is no beer garden in place yet, but $2 hotdogs and a sweet view of Autzen make up for it with atmosphere.

The student section is small but seats will always be available at home games. Even though they are temporary stands they are really close along the left field sideline and allow students to get up close when heckling opposing players.

If you want to become a fan, I highly suggest smooth hitting shortstop KC Serna, a Eugene native and first Duck to hit a home run at PK Park. Other notable players are Antony Kreitz and our Ace and future pro, Tyler Anderson.

I must admit one thing pissed me off about PK Park, though. After I caught a foul ball during the game, my first foul ball after hundreds of baseball games, stadium personnel then hunted me down and made me return the ball.

Reason on Beer

March 9th, 2009 by Vincent

‘Cause why not?

Your Tax Dollars At Work, Part Bleah…

March 8th, 2009 by Vincent

Just in case you had any faith left in your state government, they’ve gone and done it again. House Bill 3008 aims to force cyclists to register their bikes. The registration will cost $54 and must be renewed every two years. The bill will also make it a crime to remove or alter the serial number on a bike or to ride an unregistered bicycle. Even better, it will create a database of bicycle registrations, available to law enforcement agencies, that will track the name, address, phone number, and date of birth of the owner, a whole mess of information about the make, model, etc. of the bike, and “any other information the Department of Transportation considers necessary.” The money is ostensibly going to go into a fund that will be used to pay for bicycle infrastructure.

Furthermore, bike owners will henceforth need to notify the government within fifteen days any time a bicycle changes ownership. Even more bizarrely:

The bill says ODOT can contract with “any private person or entity or other unit of government”. The “agent” that issues the registration would keep one-third of the money and the other two-thirds would go back to ODOT.

I can’t imagine what might go wrong with that.

The bill has already outraged the smug, self-righteous cycling set in Portland (they interviewed some woman on the news tonight who complained about being shouted at by “overweight people in their cars” when she’s just out there… you know… “trying to be healthy”), which means this thing probably doesn’t stand much of a chance. In fact, OregonLive reports that the chief sponsor, Wayne Krieger, who hails from my home town, “conceded the legislation probably won’t pass, particularly with ‘everybody struggling’ in the bad economy.”

It’s too bad Mr. Krieger can’t find a better way to spend his constituents’ money in this bad economy than introducing utterly absurd legislation that even he admits is dead-on-arrival.

The ban on novelty lighters looks like the Code of Hammurabi compared to this abortion.

Dawkins Displeases Diversity Douchetrucks

March 6th, 2009 by Vincent

Here at the University of Oregon we’ve long since become accustomed to the “diversity” gang’s dog and pony show: they find some reason to get offended, write a few letters to the Emerald denouncing whatever it is that’s got them in a huff, engage in a lot of nail-biting and childish, unconvincing theatrics in the ASUO, and basically bully whomever they disagree with by smearing them as racist, sexist, homophobic, or whatever.

Unfortunately, a different U of O — the University of Oklahoma — is learning first-hand how the whole “diversity” racket works. In an interesting twist, though, it’s not a group of professional victims and serial whiners in the student body that’s causing trouble… it’s the Oklahoma legislature. Upset by the University’s decision to invite militant atheist and polemicist Richard Dawkins to campus to commemmorate Charles Darwin, the legislature took it upon itself to draft HR1015 (RTF file).

The text of the resolution contains all of the usual pablum:

[T]he University of Oklahoma is a publicly funded institution which should be open to all ideas and should train students in all disciplines of study and research and to use independent thinking and free inquiry

[T]he University of Oklahoma, as a part of the Darwin 2009 Project, has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book “The God Delusion”, and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma…

[T]he Oklahoma House of Representative strongly opposes the invitation to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma to Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published statements on the theory of evolution and opinion about those who do not believe in the theory are contrary and offensive to the views and opinions of most citizens of Oklahoma…

[T]he Oklahoma House of Representatives encourages the University of Oklahoma to engage in an open, dignified, and fair discussion

Any of this stuff sounding familiar? About the only thing that’s missing are the words “safe space”.

Now, personally I can’t stand Richard Dawkins. I think he’s as shrill and intolerant as any god bothering evangelical. Regardless of my opinion or anyone else’s, though, the man has every right to speak in a public venue at a public university. HR1015 does not prohibit him from doing so. It’s merely a pointless waste of taxpayer dollars that expresses the displeasure of a nosy and self-important legislature that’s sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has thus given us yet another reason to distrust anyone in government, proving once again that nearly all of them are blithering, power-hungry idiots. Furthermore, it’s a strong reminder to look askance at anyone who is pimping the whole “diversity” scam. As should be abundantly clear by now, such individuals, regardless of whether they’re halfwit undergrads from the MCC or halfwit lawmakers in the Oklahoma legislature, are mostly interested in silencing speech they don’t agree with.

(via Slashdot)

Keep the ODE Independent

March 4th, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

I’m issuing this as an editorial. I’ve talked with Guy, the publisher, and he is in agreement with it. If any of the staffers disagree, that’s fine. You’re welcome to write your own opinion and post it on the blog. Without further ado:

It has come to the Oregon Commentator’s attention, as it probably has to most of the campus, that the Oregon Daily Emerald is on strike.

In a front-page editorial and separate broadsheet issued this morning, the Emerald presented what it says are unacceptable conditions forced on it by its Board of Directors and stated that it would cease publishing until the board meets the staff’s demands.

The full substance of the Emerald’s argument will not be restated in this editorial, but we will summarize it for context: The Board of Directors, going directly against the wishes of the Emerald staff, hired Steven Smith to be the paper’s new position of “interim publisher” for a year while it searched for a permanent publisher. (more…)

More on Lariviere

March 3rd, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

If you want to read more about soon-to-be president of the UO Richard Lariviere, check out this profile of him, written by the University Daily Kansan in March, 2008:

[Lariviere] has a soft voice and strong ideas. He can speak three languages fluently, four with some difficulty. He has written three books in Sanskrit and has just returned from his annual trip to India.

He’s always been interested in how law and religion work together to shape society. Fluent in French and Hindi, if there’s one person that is aware, it’s Lariviere.


Lariviere is able to read half a dozen different languages and write published works in the Indian language Sanscrit, which can be found in the Watson Library. He can’t recite all the places he’s been without stopping for air.

“I’ve been to all the countries of Europe, most countries of Asia and South America, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Northern Africa and Texas,” Lariviere said.

With such worldly experience he is able to see the University through a unique perspective.

Which is pretty much the exact opposite of Frohnmayer. The Frohn is Oregon-born and raised, and he’s spent pretty much his whole life here – not much of a world-traveler, at least compared to Lariviere. Also, whereas Lariviere is a career academic, Frohnmayer worked in law and politics before becoming involved with the UO. (He served three terms in the Oregon House and three terms as the Oregon attorney general.)

It’s an interesting question: Which is better for leadership – intimate knowledge of an area or wide-ranging experience? What do you guys think?

P.S. I also submit a request to readers for a good sobriquet or nickname for our upcoming president, although I don’t think it will be able to match “Das Frohn.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Next UO President

March 2nd, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

State officials announced today that University of Kansas provost Richard Lariviere will be the next president of the University of Oregon, succeeding Dave Frohnmayer when he steps down this year.

Lariviere was the sole finalist of the UO’s closed search for the next president. Before holding the provost position at KU, he was dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.

In my limited research into Lariviere, I’ve already discovered a few things: First, Freedom for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has given both the University of Kansas and the University of Texas at Austin a “red light” rating for censoring student speech. This isn’t so much a direct indictment against Lariviere, but it should raise some concerns. I would certainly hope that these universities’ positions on free speech do not reflect Lariviere’s.

Second, if you were hoping that the new president would make the campus wet again, forget about it. During his time at KU, Lariviere forced the bowling alley in the student union to stop selling beer. From a 2008 interview:

[A]lcohol abuse–binge drinking, irresponsible and dangerous behavior while under the influence–is a huge problem on every college campus. KU is no different. One of the arguments for selling 3.2 beer in the Union was that it might be a venue for showing students how to drink responsibly–limiting sales to individuals to two beers, putting up materials to educate students on the dangers of drinking to excess, etc. In the end the decision was mine, and I didn’t see how the positive message of responsible drinking would be adequately conveyed by our selling beer.

It’s much too early to make any definitive conclusions about him, but I have serious misgivings about a man who doesn’t understand the joy of bowling and drinking.

I will be looking more into Lariviere’s work at KU and UT. Until then, please enjoy the comment thread on this story about Lariviere’s upcoming departure from KU. Oh, and let me be the first to say: The Oregon Commentator looks forward to working with you, Dick.

The Sound of Milton Friedman Rolling in His Grave

March 2nd, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

I’ve been up all night working on a research paper, so I really wasn’t in the right mental state to watch this video posted over at Blue Oregon:

I’ve heard all about the horrible scourge of income disparity, but, frankly, I’ve always wondered what happens after the Great and Just Redistribution of Wealth. Lets just assume, as shown in the video, that that the private wealth of the country is equally divided and every family gets $500,000. What happens next?

Color me crazy, but wouldn’t people just, y’know, get rich and poor again? Or would we continually redistribute wealth to stop any sort of evil income disparity? Would people who make good business decisions or investments have their earnings redistributed to people who blew their $500K on strippers and coke (read: me)? Of course, maybe the presenters in the video are just assuming we’ll be in the midst of the glorious dictatorship of the proletariat by then.

I’m reminded of my days back in a 100-level polisci class when we discussed wealth redistribution. One of my classmates, a staunch Republican, spoke up and said, “If you gave everybody the same amount of money, some people would buy Cheetos … and some people would buy a Cheetos factory.”