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Archive for June, 2009

Apropos of Nothing in Particular

June 10th, 2009 by Vincent

Well, anyone who’s been following the news in the last few days knows that the European Left took a bit of a drubbing in recent elections. In some ways it’s heartening. But then you remember that fascists like the BNP won some seats and that kind of puts a damper on the whole thing.

Anyways, the preceding paragraph merely served as an excuse for me to link to this YouTube video:

Just in Time for Summer

June 10th, 2009 by Vincent

Scientists brew beer derived from 9,000-year-old recipe. The stuff’s going to be marketed by Dogfish Head, which means here in Eugene we’ll probably stand a reasonable chance of finding it on the shelves at Market of Choice, Sundance, the Bier Stein, or some other place that stocks specialty beers. The Beer Babe Blog has a review of the stuff, being sold under the name “Chateau Jiahu”, describing it thusly:

It’s pretty cloudy and smells like sweet grapes, with an amber color and some carbonation that isn’t overwhelming but reminds you that it isn’t wine. I think this would be a good candidate for aging, and I am hankering to have this on a moonlit summer night for some reason.

It is very smooth, not overly sweet but the honey is a delightful compliment.

No word yet on how much it’s going to cost, but being Dogfish Head, I’m sure it’ll come in a 12-oz. bottle and won’t be cheap.

Journalism teacher says conservatives are Dixie-loving hicks

June 9th, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

Journalism grad student Dan Lawton has a new post over at his blog with responses to his recent ODE opinion piece on the lack of ideological diversity on campus. The  responses are all very predictable (“There are no Republican professors because you have to be smart to be a professor. Hurr hurr hurr!”). But then you get to the comment from UO journalism teacher Dan Morrison, who is on the record as saying (emphasis added):

You may be very upset that the University of Oregon, which, I may point out, is funded by people who live in a liberal state, and therefore, no surprise, tends to be liberal, attracts professor applying for a job who tend to be liberal. But as a student you have a choice. You do not have to come here. You most certainly can choose to spend your money to go to school in Alabama, or Texas, or Mississippi, or Georgia, or Louisiana or South Carolina.  And if you like conservatism, you can certainly attend the University of Texas, and you can walk past the statue of Jefferson Davis every day on your way to class.

Whoa, whoa, hold on. Full stop. Really? I don’t know where Morrison gets off, but the last time I checked, being conservative does not mean one is some sort of neo-Confederate. In fact, that’s a fairly disgusting and disingenuous statement to make. Way to really raise the level of discourse there, tiger. Of course, maybe Morrison has just been yukking it up with his UO colleagues so long that he doesn’t realize everyone’s not an effete, latte-sipping pinko. (Do you see how that works?)

Second, perhaps some of us can’t afford out-of-state tuition. Perhaps some of us simply want a decent education at the state’s supposed “flagship university.” And as a “flagship university” or a “hot brand” or whatever the UO’s touting itself as these days, maybe we’re upset because we’re paying to sit in class and listen to pious, liberal professors tell us how evil cars/Bush/guns are instead of trying to provide us with an actual education.

P.S. I forgot to mention: Lawton challenged Morrison to an open debate of the subject, which Morrison declined.

On Failure

June 9th, 2009 by Vincent

In case you’re interested, Ben Cannon (D-Portland), the guy who wanted to raise Oregon’s beer tax by ~1600%, has a piece over at Blue Oregon in which he tries to “aw, shucks!” his way out of legislative embarrassment:

There is no training manual for being a legislator. You don’t have a boss, you have 60,000 voters. Heck, you don’t even have an official job description to fall back on.

Like many jobs, this is one you learn by doing.
As my second legislative session draws to a close, I can assure you that I am still learning.

Well, golly. It’s nice to know Ben’s learned something from this massive waste of taxpayer dollars. I guess now that he’s got a little experience under his belt, he realizes what a terrible idea his proposal was, and has abandoned any illusions of trying to resurrect it, right?

Absolutely not… I have tried to apply the above lessons to a new version of the tax.

The first thing on his list of reasons why we need to increase the tax?

Oregon hasn’t raised its beer tax in more than 30 years.

One of the posts in the comments section put it nicely:

I love the rationalization the just because a tax hasn’t been raised in awhile it is your profound duty to see that it be raised.


The End of Education

June 8th, 2009 by Vincent

California set to abandon the use of textbooks in schools in favor of “internet aids”:

Gov Schwarzenegger believes internet activities such as Facebook, Twitter and downloading to iPods show that young people are the first to adopt new online technologies, and so the internet is also the best way to learn in classrooms.

I think there may be a logical fallacy skulking around in there somewhere.

How can the world’s fifth largest economy not have enough money to be able to outfit schools with textbooks? I’m sure it has nothing to do with out of control entitlements spending. Nope. Nothing to see here. It’s a revenue problem, you see.

Introducing the Under-represented Minority Fine Dining Plan

June 5th, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

The latest post over at UO Matters, a new watchdog blog about the university, digs up some information on the university’s Under-represented Minority Recruitment Plan (UMRP). The UMRP gives up to $90,000 to departments that hire minority faculty*. UO Matters has an accounting statement from a professor’s UMRP account. Most of the money went towards salary, but the professor also used the account for, among other things, an $82 meal at Excelsior and $227 for “catering.”

Now, the UMRP is considered legal because it awards money to departments, not minority faculty themselves, but I’m not sure of the legality of using UMRP as a Diner’s Club card. AS UO Matters says: “Affirmative action law (in our view appropriately) allows employers to make certain specific extra efforts to recruit minorities – but it is completely illegal to use race, ethnicity, or gender when determining pay, benefits, or working conditions.”

*Or faculty who self-identify as a minority, to be specific.

Conservative Paper at OSU Censored by Administration

June 5th, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

Our friends at The Liberty, the conservative student publication at Oregon State, are currently in a kerfuffle with the administration over their right to distribute issues. The OSU administration told The Liberty that, since it’s not an officially recognized OSU publication (whatever that means), it can’t have distribution boxes around campus. The Liberty says this is little more than de facto censorship. From a guest opinion in the Daily Barometer:

To censor, as a transitive verb, means “to keep from being published or transmitted: ban, black out, hush (up), stifle, [or] suppress.” Todd Simmons, OSU’s spokesperson, said in an interview with KEZI regarding the University’s treatment of The Liberty’s distribution, “I have never seen an instance that they haven’t been readily available at multiple locations around campus. So if that qualifies as censorship, I’d have to be educated as to what the thinking is there.” If we don’t count the term (winter ’09) that OSU officials ordered the removal every single Liberty bin from the OSU campus and tossed them by a dumpster at 35th and Washington, then the multiple locations that Mr. Simmons is referring to are The Memorial Union and Snell Hall. In other words, the only locations that the university is allowing The Liberty to place its bins are in and around the buildings that are owned and run by the student body (ASOSU). By restricting our publication to a single block, if even that, of campus, OSU officials are stifling and therefore censoring The Liberty.

The OSU administration also claims the Daily Barometer’s long history and association with the university give it special rights to distribution. Sorry, but the First Amendment doesn’t work on the merit system. OSU needs to give all of its student publications equal access to campus, regardless of their history or how much the administration likes them.

No. [updated 06/11/09]

June 4th, 2009 by Vincent

I’ll confess: until a few days ago, I’d never heard of Dr. George Tiller. I’m basically pro-choice, but the abortion issue is just not one that I follow particularly closely. While I’ve heard of (and very much dislike) some of the more notorious anti-abortion groups like “Operation Rescue”, my general sense is that most people on the pro-life side of the debate are fundamentally good people who simply have different values (on this question, at least), than I do.

But my intent is not for this post to muse over whether abortion is right or wrong — so please keep your comments on that issue to yourself; no one here cares what you think about it, so I’ll just delete those that try to turn the comments section into an abortion screaming match.

What I want to talk about instead is identity politics, the flawed notion of collective responsibility, and attempts to shape the narrative by seizing on events like the murder of George Tiller and using them for political gain.


New Hampshire Legalizes Gay Marriage

June 3rd, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

Speaking of The Gay, New Hampshire just became the sixth state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage. Congratulations to NH and all its residents. For being so “forward-thinking” and “progressive,” Oregon is starting to look a little sad.

Pacifica Forum to Address “Teh Gay”

June 3rd, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

Yep, brace yourself. Friday’s topic at the Pacifica Forum is “Thinking Through Sexuality: Everything You Thought You Knew About Homosexuality Is Wrong.” I’ll have some more details soon, but for now just savor the thought of the Pacifica Forum debating sexuality.

Hate Issue Online!

June 2nd, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

The ’09 Hate Issue is now online. Thanks to the staff members who put in a lot of time on it and everyone else who contributed, especially the guest artists. Enjoy.

The Verdict

June 2nd, 2009 by Timothy

AK Breniman, OC alumn from way back and author of one of the best pieces of EPD investigative journalism (page 6) I’ve seen, has opened a fine boozing establishment!

The Verdict Bar & Grill is located in the bustling metropolis of Oregon City and just opened recently. I heard a rumor that even the mysterious RR “Pete” Hunt has made an appearance. I’ll be dropping in sometime in July, but show some loyalty and hit the place up if you’re local. Or in Eugene. 100 miles is not too far to drive home, trust me.

A Message from Your Oregon Commentator

June 2nd, 2009 by Vincent


ODE Columnist Offers Up More On Ideological Diversity

June 2nd, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about Dan Lawton’s research into political diversity at the UO. Well, Lawton penned an opinion piece for the Ol’ Dirty yesterday that expands on his original article.

Among the full-time faculty of the University departments of journalism, law, political science, sociology and economics, there are 111 registered Oregon voters. Two of them are Republicans.

[T]here were 98 Democrats, nine Independents, two Republicans and two members of the Pacific Green party staring back at me. Both of the two Republicans were in the School of Law, and one of them was University President Dave Frohnmayer.

Frohnmayer, you ol’ polecat! But seriously, you should read Lawton’s whole article. It’s an argument that we at the Commentator have voiced many a time: namely that a politically homogeneous faculty is doing a disservice to students who come here to be intellectually challenged.

Comic Press Challenges OC to Drinking Contest

June 1st, 2009 by CJ Ciaramella

Have you seen that student publication around campus that talks about drinking, calls people ol’ polecats and rips on the Daily Emerald? Obviously I’m talking about The Comic Press.

Still smarting from its dodgeball defeat at our hands, the Comic Press has once again thrown down the gauntlet and challenged us to a keg race to be held no later than June 14.  (You might remember when some of the Comic Press staff made an appearance at our last keg race.) An official OC response is forthcoming.

In any case, I won’t be attending. I’ll be in Prague drinking real pilsner and generally enjoying not being anywhere near Eugene. And frankly, a keg race would be a little pedestrian after our recent victory party, where we and our friends killed three kegs, at least eight bottles of various hard alcohol, about ten bottles of champagne and a few banana creme pies. But hey, good luck with that.