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Archive for December, 2010

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2010 by Melissa Haskin

That is all. Continue with your drunken merriment.

Gordon Smith, NAB attempt to thwart community radio projects

December 27th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian writes about the Local Community Radio Act of 2009 and how the National Association of Broadcasters and former U.S. Senator from Oregon Gordon Smith are trying to halt its passage in Senate:

Smith is now president of the National Association Broadcasters, which is fighting legislation that would allow the creation of hundreds of low-power, non-commercial radio stations around the country.

The Local Community Radio Act passed the House and has strong support in the Senate, thanks in part to the unusual coalition behind it ranging from the Christian Coalition to the Prometheus Radio Project (which says it is devoted to “freeing the airwaves from corporate control”).

In part, the community radio movement has been driven by the sweeping consolidation of the radio industry, which in many cases has led smaller communities to lose local programming.

Not surprising, the National Association of Broadcasters opposes the bill, saying it’s concerned the bill would lead to interference with with stations owned by commercial broadcasters.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought the National Association of Broadcasters was supposed to be “the voice for the nation’s radio and television broadcasters.” I didn’t know that meant only commercial stations. Indeed, I know many non-commercial and low-power radio people, including the general manager at KWVA (UO campus radio), who are NAB members.

Radio is one of the premier mediums for dissemination of information around the world. In many places, it’s the only medium. There are multiple organizations — Radio Free Europe, for one — that work to provide unbiased information to individuals living in nations without free media. And it’s no coincidence that one of the things you’re supposed to have with you in an emergency situation is a battery-powered radio.

And I’m not the only one who feels this way.

“Gordon Smith is silencing voices across the country by opposing the expansion of community radio,” said Pete Tridish of the Prometheus Project, which had demonstrators juggling and whirling hula hoops.” So we’re here to say: Gordon Smith, don’t make a circus of our democracy – stop making us jump through hoops; work with Congress to pass this bill.”

Non-commercial radio, in addition to its immediate importance in emergency situations, provides opportunities that commercial radio does not — for example, the ability to play or talk about whatever you damn well please. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be fighting for? A free and independent media is guaranteed to Americans, and the best way to do it is to fucking do it. So let them fucking do it.

Oregonian calls Lariviere’s proposal selfish but kind of endorses it anyway

December 26th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

The Oregonian has an editorial out today-ish that doesn’t really endorse UO cheese Richard Lariviere’s “New Partnership” proposal but doesn’t fail to endorse it either. See here:

As drafted, it is an every-man-for-himself, look-out-for-No.-1 plan. And if all was well in Oregon’s university system, we’d be happy to join those eager to shoot it down without so much as a hearing.

All is not well. And as Lariviere is fond of asking, do you, does anyone, have a better idea? If so, it’s time to bring it to Salem.

The editorial asks for the other state universities to be involved in it somehow, which probably won’t go over well in Johnson Hall, considering UO cheese emeritus Dave Frohnmayer once described the other universities to me as “anchors that drag and inhibit the UO’s flexiblity, it doesn’t help us and it doesn’t help anybody else.”

Also, the Oregonian writes that the UO should “not repeat its mistakes of the 1990s, when it jacked up tuition, priced thousands of students out of higher education and led to the first generation of Oregonians with lower college attainment than their parents.”

But the UO’s attempts to gain independence, historically, have aimed directly or indirectly at increasing tuition, not decreasing it. Lariviere’s proposal itself promises only:

  • “greater predictability in tuition pricing”
  • “relieving pressure on tuition to offset state funding reductions”
  • “greater tuition predictability”
  • “protect[ion] from tuition fluctuations”
  • “undergraduate tuition stability”
  • that the UO’s board will have the authority to set tuition.

Which is not the same as tuition not going up at all. When Frohnmayer talked to me about a nascent version of this plan two years ago, he implied tuition would go up (although he also said there would be more opportunities for aid because the UO could put state money toward it).

Minor quibbles, I suppose; the thrust of the editorial is that, while the Oregonian’s associate editors don’t like Lariviere’s proposal, nobody in power in Oregon’s really brave enough to fund higher ed properly or smart enough to come up with a solution to higher ed’s problems that will do anything.

On a side note, I won’t be putting out a media digest tonight. I’ve got a flight to catch in the morning and the media’s heart isn’t in it over Crimbo anyway.

UPDATE: Forgot to link to the Phil Knight interview the Oregonian put out on the fifth, which is an important piece of this puzzle.

Redistricting may cost Kucinich his seat; (or: merry Christmas to all, now bring me a beer)

December 25th, 2010 by Ben Maras

A little while back we posted about the huge affect that political redistricting can have on the political process. Around the country right now, we’re seeing seats lost and gained, which will have an unknown affect on the already-turbulent balance of power in congress. One effect we’re seeing already though is that several-time Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich might lose his Senate seat, as the NY Times outlines here.

Along with for having a really hot wife (proposed image caption: Damn, it feels good to be a gangster!), Kucinich has been known as a hardline progressive populist since the country learned how to pronounce his name during his 2004 Presidential bid. Maybe it’s because he’s seemed to mellow out a little bit since he got married (just an observation), but he seems to be taking the possible loss in stride so far:

With Ohio losing two seats, political analysts expect the Republicans to eliminate a Democratic seat from the Cleveland area — possibly the one now held by Representative Dennis J. Kucinich.

“My Aunt Betty called me after the news report, and she says, ‘Dennis, what are we going to do — are they putting you out of Congress?’ ” Mr. Kucinich said in an interview, explaining that he would try not to worry about it right now, since it is beyond his control. But he added that “the fundamental rule of politics is you have to have a district to run.”

Truth be told, it’s unlikely we’ll see the end of him even if his seat is eliminated. He’s got a lot of followers around the country, and perhaps the pluckiest little goldfish in all of history was named after him.

Dennis Kucinich entered our lives several Christmases ago when a roommate won him and this brother, Ron Paul, at a carnival (or something).

For several months they shared equal power in their fishbowl, and were an inspiration to all of us. Then one day we woke up to find Ron Paul dead. We were sure it was him because he was floating on the right hand side of the tank. We just assumed it was because he couldn’t stomach the political climate in his little fishbowl, but I always suspected it had something to do with his habit of eating his own poop.

In the face of such adversity, a lesser goldfish would have gone belly up. But not Dennis Kucinich. For almost four years, he was the only one in the fishbowl talking about the issues that matter.  People would stop by the house and marvel that he was still alive, despite the inadequate short-term memories of his owners.

For a while we had dream of buying him bigger and bigger fishbowls to see if we could try to grow him bigger than his human counterpart, it wouldn’t last long. His maker and other plans for him, and one day, as mysteriously as he came in to our lives, he shed his mortal coil, and we were left with nothing but memories.

So here’s to you, Dennis Kucinich. Jesus loves you more than you will know.

P.S. Merry Christmas, everyone. Remember that Sudsy O’Sullivan is always there for you to help you through the holidays with your families.

UO Admin Responds to Ticket Scandal

December 25th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

Upon reading my post regarding ticket packages for the 2011 BCS National Championship Game (the Ducks are playing, in case you didn’t know), UO VP for Student Affairs Robin Holmes had this to say:

It is unfortunate that things are being portrayed
this way, but I can totally understand how folks feel. It is not true that
we received the mass amount of tickets that folks think. Because the arena
is so much smaller, we really did only receive a small amount of student
tickets–it was just plain not enough. Compared to the Rose Bowl
distribution (they got 5800) our amount is paltry–but that’s the way it
goes when you have 30,000 less seats in the arena. Also, all of the money
that is loaded onto the tickets less the face value and is going right back
into student activities associated with the Bowl game–none of it will be a
profit to the University–I am happy to provide an accounting that will show
that when we settle up after the event. The travel agency that is handling
everything for us does get a small profit from the sales of the tickets.
Given how much time and effort they have put into this, the profit will not
cover their time and resources. We could not have done it without them. In
terms of the Corvallis game and releasing the tickets too early that was our
mistake. To be honest, we were so excited about finally being able to
release the tickets, we used poor judgment and released them too early.
Every student who contacted us and verified they were at the game and wanted
to buy a ticket were allowed to do so. We are very excited about being able
to put this opportunity together for students. It is our first time doing
this, so we have a lot of learning to do. We are saddened that so many
students were frustrated and hope to do better next time.

No percent for me. Your Crimbo media digest.

December 25th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

There’s not a lot of news about the UO this Crimbo, which is unsurprising considering that the UO probably isn’t open. From here, I can’t see myself navigating the intro without some tired Crimbo puns, which would be sickening, so I’m just going to plop a picture and a jump down and get out.

Yeah, this happened on Dec. 25 too


Know Your Rights!

December 24th, 2010 by Nick Ekblad
Last Saturday, I hosted a party for my 20th birthday at my parents empty house. My family had just moved out of it and all that remained were two couches. At the height of the party, there were about 50 people packed in this house, with my friend mixing on his turntables in the corner. It was about midnight; a distressed friend came up to me and informed me of a policeman’s presence at the front door.
I quickly locked the door, set a chair in front of it and told my friend to not let anyone out. I then ran out the back door and around my house, approaching the piggy. I said to him, “What’s up?”
“Is this your house? We had a noise complaint.”
“It is my parents house. I’ve just got a few friends over. We checked the noise level from the edge of the property and couldn’t hear it.”
“How old are you?”
“I am 20.”
“So you got some underage drinkin’ goin’ on in there?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“But that’s what’s going on. Now you’re going to let me inside so we can call all of their parents to make sure that they get safe rides home.”
“No, that’s not happening.”
“Do you want me to go down to the station and get some friends of mine and come back? Because I’ll do that.”
“If that’s your way of saying you wanna go get a fucking warrant, then go ahead and fucking do it. But you’re not coming in my house. Now get the fuck off of my property.”
“I don’t need a warrant. I’ve got reasonable cause.”
At this moment, an underage and very dear friend of mine, who will remain unnamed, came drunkenly marching up my wheel chair ramp. Not paying attention to more than his direct surroundings, he walked up to the cop until his badge was right in front of his face. “Oh daaammn,” he slurred.
“Oh damn is right,” said the cop smugly and my anonymous friend fled the scene immediately.
“I’m getting out of the cold and you’re not allowed in. That’s the end of it. Get off my fucking property,” I said and started to walk away.
Grabbing my arm, he oinked loudly: “No! You’re being detained!”
This REALLY pissed me off. This cop put his hands on me on my own property. He had no right to do this. And in case you are under-informed and unaware, he had no right to come into my house, either. Cops lie. They can do this. You, however, cannot lie to a cop. It is against the law. You don’t say shit!
“Get your fucking hands off of me, you piece of shit! I am not being detained, you have no right to! Now get the fuck out of here!”
This guy was persistent. He followed me to the back door, which had been locked, as well. After trying the knob, I turned to him and said, “Well, I guess we are both locked out.”
“I’m on a ten hour shift, buddy. I can wait here all night.”
“I don’t need to be back to school ‘til January, so I can wait too.” I sat down on my stoop.
“Oh so you’re a big, smart college boy! Think you know all your rights do ya? Well, you’ve got some lessons to learn.”
I could sense this pig’s desperation. I texted my brother, telling him to keep everybody inside. People had already busted out screens and dipped. He went around closing the windows and refusing the people’s desire to escape.
Then, one of my silly friends thought he’d try his luck with this piggy. He opened my back door with the intention of wooing the officer, but I stood up immediately, grabbed him and pulled him in with me. As the cop took a step toward my open door, I slammed it in his face and flipped the deadbolt. Within five minutes, the police cruiser had left. The following hour, they were patrolling my whole neighborhood. He never came back and neither did his friends. Nobody at my party was harassed by police that night.
Moral of the story: A cops job is to seek out the illegal. He will lie and use scare tactics. When I first refused his entry into my house, he didn’t even let me finish my sentence. He put his hand in front of my face and said some numbers into his radio. My first reaction, drunk and drastic, was “Oh shit! He’s calling more cops over here! He’s getting ready to arrest me!” However, thinking about it more, I realized his method. You have to make the decision in your mind that you are innocent until proven guilty. They want you to confess because it makes their job easier. MAKE THOSE FUCKING PIGGIES WORK FOR IT!

Media Digest, Dec. 24, 2010

December 24th, 2010 by Alex Tomchak Scott

I intended to go to the beach today, but it didn’t work out. I grew up on the rainy part of O’ahu, but I’ve gone to visit my dad, who has moved to Kīhei, where it is not supposed to rain. So inevitably, there was a thunderstorm today. So in lieu of the beach, here I am, posting this. Merry Crimbo. Don’t count on one tomorrow.

He started it.


How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2010)

December 24th, 2010 by Melissa Haskin

Recently, students at Stanford had a novel idea: they petitioned to be excused from classes during the Orange Bowl. Of course, that went down in flames- glorious flames. Their commendable effort leaves me wondering “why UO hasn’t asked the same?”

The petition, signed by over 1,600 Stanford students did not ask for a shift in the academic calendar, but merely the excusal of those students traveling with the team. The petition argued that Stanford was known as a team that didn’t travel well and students wanted to change their reputation but were worried about missing valuable class time:

Stanford has been ruthlessly defamed across the country as being a school that doesn’t “travel well”, a highly contestable assertion given our presence at last year’s Sun Bowl. We believe that Stanford students should have the chance to attend the Orange Bowl without fearing that a professor will drop them from a course.

Therefore, President Hennessy, we petition you, Provost Etchemendy, and Vice Provost Elam to excuse the absences of those students who will be traveling to Miami, so we may witness a piece of Cardinal history while once and for all putting to rest the notion that Stanford fans do not support their world-class sports teams.

The request was both logical and reasonable, in fact, too reasonable. Why should campus only close for traveling students and students affiliated with the team? All of these students take up a significant portion of the student population, at UO it’s estimated at about 2,000 students (out of the university’s 23,389). With all of these students absent from classes, it would make more sense to shift the academic calendar.Yeah, it would be slightly inconvenient, but less of a mess than the disaster no-show drops are going to cause. In addition, when too many individuals are absent, the whole class suffers as they try to catch up.

Furthermore, traveling students are not the only ones affected by Bowl games. It’s not an excuse, but it’s a fact that for many students, watching their team on TV and getting smashed are simultaneous. Presumably, faculty also partakes in the football watching, though  the after game tradition of celebrating by drinking or drinking ones sorrows away seem to include the whole community. The day after a bowl game is a day needed for necessary recovery. Therefore, when a bowl game conflicts with an academic calendar, it is in the best interest of that school to readjust its schedule. But I digress; students from Stanford were met with a somewhat pointed letter from the Provost (emphasis mine): (more…)

Why we need net neutrality, and can’t trust the FCC to do it

December 23rd, 2010 by Ben Maras

Net neutrality has reared its head again in the passed couple weeks, thanks both to a new piece of legislation (which isn’t all it’s cracked up to be) and a lot of shotty interpretation of what net neutrality is and why we need it.

Basically, net neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers, like Comcast and Time Warner, are not allowed to differentiate between types of Internet data even though it’s delivered via wires and tubes that they own. This means subscribers get the “whole” Internet, without discrimination based on format or content. Doing this prevents ISPs from charging more for certain sites, blocking sites of their choice, or throttling traffic speeds based on content, pay, or the amount of data used.

It isn’t what’s espoused by some of my colleagues, that “local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Time Warner Cable must treat [one’s] illicit video with just as much urgency as [another’s] life-saving medical data.”

It’s also about a lot more than protecting music and software pirates from legal action. The term may be new to a lot of people, but net neutrality itself isn’t a new idea. It’s a new name that’s been tacked on to describe something that’s been the norm since the dawn of the Internet until pretty recently; one that stands at the core of the Internet as the cultural driving force it has become.

Why we need an open Internet

In the early days of the Internet, it wasn’t so much an issue because the technology that allows “deep-packet inspections” – intercepting and analyzing data on that large a scale – just didn’t really exist yet. Besides, there wasn’t enough on the Internet to be worth regulating.

So all of the content that was put on the Internet was free, and open for anyone to access. All you needed was a phone line and an ISP subscription, and the entire Internet was at your disposal: a virtual wild west for information junkies.

And then there was porn. And porn meant money. Whether a good or bad thing, it drove the expansion of the Internet since the very beginning, and helped spur new advances in images and video on the Internet. Soon people were sending pictures and video to their friends, and more and more people were getting online. (Random cool fact: Even before it was possible to send images, people were sending text-generated ASCII porn to their friends. It goes that far back.)

Fast forward 15 years or so. Now we have Wikipedia, YouTube, Google, iTunes, Google Earth, and the entire peer-to-peer file-sharing universe, which with the help of others comprise the biggest library in all of human history. You can read a 2,000 word entry about the use of the umlaut in heavy metal on Wikipedia, watch old videos of Jack Kerouac on YouTube, and then download every book Mark Twain ever wrote and the entire Clash discography in as few mouse clicks to count on one hand. Am I the only one who thinks that, from a cultural standpoint, that’s pretty freaking cool?

The best part? So can anybody else with open access to the Internet. Regardless of nationality, social strata, race, religion, or any other divider, as long as one has access to an Internet terminal, they can experience just about any event they want, even if it happened ages ago and they’d previously only read about it in a dry history book.


Holiday Stories of Stupid

December 22nd, 2010 by Rockne Andrew Roll

As families come together for the holiday season, it’s important for us to remember the less fortunate among us. Even as we share in the joy and love of this time of year, there are still those poor souls who quite obviously don’t have two brain cells to rub together to warm themselves during these cold winter nights. So let us pause to remember those who, but for the grace of common sense, we could easily be this December. Like these idiots:

Airport security officers in Lafayette, Louisiana who, after seeing an “odd and not readily identifiable” package in a scanning machine, evacuated the terminal and closed the airport while they figured out what it was. It turned out to be a headlamp and some frozen chicken. Bonus points available if Homeland Security bans meat products in checked baggage. (Thanks for this one to The Daily Advertiser)

Administrators at a high school in Haymarket, Virginia who couldn’t give the same reason twice for why they slapped ten unsuspecting bros with detention and other punishments for giving candy canes to their fellow students. Their stated motivations varied from preventing litter to student safety (administrators alleged that the candy could be fashioned into a weapon.) Furthermore, one official seemed to thing that the “Christmas cheer” the students were spreading could cause other students to commit suicide. (Thanks to WUSA-TV)

The editorial board of The New York Times who proclaimed President Obama’s legislative agenda during the 111th Congress to be a rousing success. Except for the part where Congress, driven by a heavily marginalized Republican Party, basically held him at gunpoint to massively rewrite his health-care proposal, refused to pass the Dream Act, forced him into extending the vast majority of the tax cuts he campaigned against, and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” not because they wanted to, but because the Federal Judiciary was about to do so for them. Yeah, guys… quite the grand achievement on the national political scene.

St. Paul, Minnesota school officials who are apparently banning not only the sale of, but the possession and consumption of candy and other sweets during the school day. As told by The Star Tribune: “’All my friends say, ‘This really sucks,’’ said Misky Salad, a 10-year-old fifth-grader at Chelsea Heights Elementary. ‘A lot of us feel it should be up to us to determine what we should do with our bodies.’” Look forward to kids in St. Paul ducking into bathrooms to “hit some M’s (M&Ms)” and sitting out back drinking Coca-Cola from a brown paper bag.

Everyone involved in the arrest of a 13 year old who was caught writing on a piece of paper with a permanent marker in class one day in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The boy’s teacher, thinking the marker would bleed through the paper and stain the desk, and citing an obscure ordnance against the possession of such markers, promptly called the police who transported the suspect to a juvenile detention facility, while taking the marker into evidence. It pains me to decide who is more absurd in this instance: the teacher who called the cops, the officer who actually arrested this kid, the police chief who had not fired that officer yet, or the local lawmakers who voted to ban Sharpies. Stories like these make me feel better about covering the ASUO because it really could, in all reality, be a lot worse. Ok, maybe just a little worse. (Thanks to The Smoking Gun)

Public records law.

December 21st, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

Our favorite anonymous professor over at UO Matters has a breakdown on proposed changes in public records legislation for the state of Oregon to be addressed in the new legislative session. The first provides some clarity on fees and deadlines for filling public records requests, and the second requires certain public bodies to digitally record their meetings and make those recordings available. Interestingly, the second also requires the Attorney General to create trainings for public employees on public meetings law. Our anonymous professor’s comments:

Delays and fees are a common strategy of UO Public Records Officer Liz Denecke, as they were for her predecessor Melinda Grier. The OUS board, meantime, has not prepared written minutes of its meetings since Dec, 2006. So I think both these laws will have an immediate and positive effect for transparency at UO.

Songwriting by UO Marketing?

December 20th, 2010 by Melissa Haskin

“I have seen the library, I have studied a lot, I deserve my grades…..” these are the catchy lyrics of “Call Me a Duck”, the new single by On the Rocks.

Recently featured on the NBC show The Sing-Off, On the Rocks, or OTR is a University of Oregon men’s a cappella group known for their showery. UO is showing it’s pride in the group not by featuring works the group has done, or their website, but rather by showcasing OTR’s new single “Call Me a Duck” on the UO homepage.

It could be the graphing calculator, the globe, the line about how they’ve seen the library, or the appearance of Puddles, but the song seems like a shameless plug for UO created by the advertising department and not something written by the group.

Though the song may lure gobs of teenage girls to apply to the university, the single doesn’t hold a candle to other works by OTR, or for that matter, “I Love My Ducks”. If you really must watch the video (though I wouldn’t suggest it) see below:

My advice, skip “Call Me a Duck” and just watch “Bad Romance” over and over again (yes, I know Alex is probably wincing, but a girl’s got to support her ducks):

State of Oregon to allow spell check on state writing tests. Yes, we’re serious.

December 20th, 2010 by Ben Maras

Starting next year, Oregon high school and middle school students will be allowed to use spell check on the state writing test. Yes, you red that right. Education officials say that it will allow graders too focus more on the righting style and quality of the righting and less on typos.

The decision to allow spell check was made buy an administrative panel that met throughout the passed year and apparently found no use in making people remember and use the fundamentals of written communication.

“We are not letting a students keyboarding skills get in the way of being able to judge there righting ability,” said state Superintendent Susan Castillo. “As we’re using technology to improve what we’re doing with assessments as a nation, we believe that spell check will be won of those tools.”

Likewise, Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, called spell check a valuable tool to help students with pour spelling skills to adapt (read: not have to understand why they have to type “their” instead of “there”). Others said it would be fairer to student’s whom were trying to demonstrate proficiency in a subject mater, not prove they’re grammar skills.

Fourth graders wood knot be able to use automatic spell check on the test because it’s too important to learn the fundamentals of grammar, the department of education says. But apparently if you haven’t learned it by then, a simple button clique is good enough to replace these skills for the rest of your life.

Spell check is already allowed on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or “the nations report card” as it is called, and Oregon was a pioneer in online adaptive testing for students’. Test takers can currently have access to a dictionary, but in the passed they have been restricted from using an automated spell checker.

The new spell checker wouldn’t automatically correct errors, but it wood automatically catches them and give suggestion for words to replace misspelled ones with.

Editor’s Note: I decided to follow the Department of Education’s advice and use spell check to adapt my life and embrace technology. Instead of editing, I ran spell check and called it good. Do you have any idea how many times you can check Face book in the amount of time it takes to edit a 375 word story? Talk about change for the better.

More on Student Tickets

December 20th, 2010 by Lyzi Diamond

Oregon’s Attorney General John Kroger and the DOJ have some more tips and tricks regarding the BCS National Championship Game:

  • Scammers often use the lure of cheaper tickets to take consumer’s money. Be suspicious of any offer that seems too good to be true, because it probably is.
  • Purchase tickets from a reputable ticket distributor. Do not purchase tickets sight unseen unless you are using a reputable ticket distributor.
  • If using Craigslist, meet the seller face-to-face in a public place. Ask questions about the seats and seller. Get reliable contact information from the seller in case the tickets are counterfeit.
  • Confirm that the section, row and seat on your ticket corresponds with a location in the stadium.
  • If possible, use a credit card or account-to-account transfer service such as PayPal. If the tickets you purchased aren’t delivered, not as advertised or counterfeit, you can dispute the charge.
  • Never wire money or give out personal account information to individuals you do not know.
  • Purchase tickets before going to the game. Scammers use color printers to create very real-looking tickets and will try to sell them to desperate fans outside of the stadium for quick cash.
  • If you purchase a travel package, contact the airline and hotel directly to make certain the reservations are legitimate.
  • Verify that any travel agent you are working with to book a travel package is a member of a recognized trade association, such as the American Society of Travel Agents.

Hat tip to the Willamette Week. Check out their post for some sweet Ducks photos.