Friday, August 1, 2008

Get Your War On!


Also, this the perfect thing for a Friday afternoon.

Hering, Confused


What did Barack Obama mean when he said in Missouri this week that John McCain would try to scare voters by pointing out that Obama “doesn’t look like all the other presidents on the dollar bill”?

The Democratic candidate and his campaign said the the remark was not about race. What was it about, then?


The line probably sounded pretty good to the candidate when he said it. But if he really did not mean it to be about race, he should have been a little more specific so that America could tell what he meant. (hh)

Translation: .... "so that I could tell what he meant."

Some of us got the intended meaning just fine, Hasso. And yeah, it was about race. No question about that - just as is there is no question that there are millions of people in America who will not vote for Obama because he's black. Some of them even admit it when asked by pollsters.

Add one pinch of Habermas to taste

From the incredible AutoAdmit case:

Bartow believes the problem lies in technology outstripping the law and our cultural responses.

Um, yes. Unquestionably, especially our cultural responses.

Or, as Jeff Goldblum once argued in Jurassic Park: "We were so busy worrying about whether or not we could, we never stopped to think whether or not we should."

Or, as an instructor of mine once argued in a debate about whether or not cloning was ethical: What we think is ethical or not doesn't matter, as someone, somewhere, is going to do it anyway, and what's important is not our approval or disapproval, but having a coherent, comprehensive response.

I think the latter holds true here.

Habermas, of course, would probably categorize this as a byproduct of the colonization of the lifeworld (if that goes over your head.... don't worry about it).

Reaction to the Randleman Story

There are, as of this moment, 46 comments on the Express website regarding the Randleman story.

I am pretty sure that's some kind of record. By a factor of ten, probably.

If you plan on reading them, put your waders on. It's pretty rough - and those are the ones that have been approved.

I wanted to note part of one comment here (sorry, can't link directly):

And just because you live across the street from someone does not mean you know anything! How many of us truley [sic] could say that we know our neighbors in such a detail to where you could pin point if they were having an inappropriate relationship with someone?!

I would like to know under what circumstances it's acceptable for a School Resource Officer to have high school students over to their house on multiple occasions and/or late at night. Frankly, I'm not sure there are any - especially when no one else is being told about it.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

If I ever build a shrink ray, I'm going to name it the Internet

Found in the comments to a diary post at Daily Kos, left as part of someone's signature:

If the Earth really were your mother, she would grab you with one rocky hand and hold you under water until you no longer bubbled. -- Kathleen Dean Moore

It's a small world. Kathy Moore works in the Philosophy Department at OSU.

Also, the quote is pretty darn funny.

Observations on the Randleman Story

Observation #1: Without debating the journalistic merits of the level of detail in the recent story on Randleman, I think it was a bad move rhetorically to run that level of detail in the newspaper.

Why? I think it created more backlash than there would have been otherwise, and the story has become at least partially about the Express, and not about Randleman and how the whole thing was handled by the LPD and LCSD staff. Speaking of...

Observation #2: Why are more people not talking about the fact that a) at least two other officers had an idea of what was going on, yet b) neither is being formally disciplined? Oh, sure - Fiala got talked to by Schulte (and probably Healy), but under what circumstances should he have ever given Randleman the benefit of the doubt upon seeing the cars of female high students in Randleman's driveway on multiple occasions?

At the very least, I would think that would demand a very serious conversation with Randleman about what was going on, almost certainly followed by a VERY uncomfortable conversation with Schulte or Healy. The former seems to have happened. The fact that the latter did not happen - as far as I know - does not reflect well on Officer Fiala. Arguably the same could be said of OSP trooper Schott, though I used Fiala as the example because he's part of the LPD and lives near Randleman.

Observation #3:
Police officers have a long history of closing ranks and protecting their own regardless of the nature of the incident (see, for example, almost any incident in which an officer shoots and kills an unarmed civilian and/or Tasers someone to death). Clearly, in this case, Randleman got thrown to the wolves - not only were the other LPD officers probably very, very upset with him, but, to be perfectly honest, they probably realized that there was no way to defend his behavior. And, of course, what Randleman did was wrong, and the LPD was right to investigate immediately, etc. etc. That should go without saying.

Back to the larger point: I'll bet ranks have closed around Fiala. The LPD is not going to punish him for this - they're going to deflect the blame onto Randleman. That strikes me as a shitty thing to do. It also strikes me as one of the reasons police officers get a bad reputation.

... adding, that it's certainly an understandable reaction from police officers, given their training, the fact that they are willing to put themselves in danger, their sometimes-rocky relationship with the public, etc. That doesn't make it right, but it is understandable.

Update: It strikes me that my last point might be better explained by noting that the LPD, like many police departments, is probably choosing to punish Fiala internally and informally (and I use the term 'punish' loosely). This is also understandable, but will also probably contribute to any negative reaction, as it provides the appearance of covering for someone's mistakes. Internal policing is tricky.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fan, Meet Shit. Shit, Here's Fan.

From the Lebanon Express website:

Lebanon police officer Ronnie “Kyle” Randleman, 36, resigned July 14 after investigations by the Linn County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) and the Lebanon Police Department determined that he had lied to detectives probing allegations that he had an improper relationship with a female Lebanon High School student

And away we go.... for the record, I never heard anything about this while I was subbing.

(Sad) Congrats to Express reporter Larry Coonrod for breaking the story, and to the Express for beating the DH (what with the DH being daily and all).

Click the link for the full story.

Immediate Update: While I am normally loathe to make claims about whole populations, I feel compelled to make one here: Just about everyone who works in a high school has thought about this topic - staff/student relationships - at some point or another. It happens in different ways, for different reasons, and in different contexts, but I will just about guarantee it's crossed everyone's mind.

Make of that what you will.

Challenging EW for the "Most Batshit Letter-Writer" Award

A letter in today's DH, reprinted in its entirety:

It’s a communist plot

I find it hard to believe that several people who believe in communism have been elected to high state government offices. Beliefs so firmly entrenched that they are trying to have communistic doctrine made state law.

Two such people are Phil Keisling and Norma Paulus. Fidel Castro would be proud of their efforts to reduce Oregon to a one-party system. I’m not sure what Hasso’s stand is, but I think from his editorials that he too favors the one-party system.

The worrisome part in all of this is the loudmouths pushing for the open primary. They are weak-kneed people that haven’t a backbone to stand up for anything. They complain about being locked out of their constitutional rights. Not true. They choose to join small factions that stand for nothing and therefore have no power.

Wake up and join the world; and if our world doesn’t fit, go someplace else!

M. Paul Lindsey, Lebanon

I..... yeah. There are good arguments against open primaries - the right of a party to choose its own nominee, for example - but this letter does not make use of such arguments.

A second argument, for the record, is that open primaries are a solution that does not fit the problem, which is the presence of a two-party system.

Somehow, I don't think Phil Keisling is a communist. I'd have seen him at the monthly mixer and board game session by now.


Monday, July 28, 2008

From the 'Ungrateful' Files

Syndicated columnist Mona Charen, as reprinted in the DH:

What will George W. Bush be remembered for? If, as Clare Boothe Luce argued, every president gets just one sentence in the history books, then President Bush’s will certainly concern the war on terror and Iraq. His historical reputation will wax or wane based entirely on how well Iraq does in the coming decades. That’s the ballgame for Bush, historically speaking. And yet, as recent news about student test scores reminds us, a poignant aspect of this president’s two terms is his unrequited love for blacks and other minorities.

Say what? Is she kidding? No? You mean she's seriously claiming that Bush has love for people of color? WTF?

Oh, and in case you thought her opening was bad, check out how she concludes the column:

...the total contempt shown by the African-American community toward this president is a staggering injustice.

Yeah - the 'staggering injustice' of the Bush years is clearly how ungrateful African-Americans were for - what does Ms. Charen cite? - No Child Left Behind, AIDS funding for African and faith-based initiatives. Certainly it couldn't be Iraq, the War on Terra', the rapid expansion of the police state, massive deregulation of financial markets (with all the attendant consequences), letting energy companies develop energy policy, or any number of other things. Nope. The 'staggering injustice' of the Bush years is that black people aren't grateful enough. Jesus Fucking Christ, this is getting old.

I can't believe people pay her for this. And I can't believe Hering ran such racist drivel.

I want to puke.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Not what I would call 'prize-winning'

The Oregon State Song:

Oregon, My Oregon
Words by J.A. Buchanan
Music by Henry B. Murtagh

Land of the Empire Builders, Land of the Golden West;
Conquered and held by free men, Fairest and the best.
On-ward and upward ever, Forward and on, and on;
Hail to thee, Land of the Heroes, My Oregon.

Land of the rose and sunshine, Land of the summer's breeze;
Laden with health and vigor, Fresh from the western seas.
Blest by the blood of martyrs, Land of the setting sun;
Hail to thee, Land of Promise, My Oregon.

What a racist, sexist imperialistic pile of crap.

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