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Slant 7-3-2014

• Nothing celebrates freedom on the Fourth of July like a police state crackdown! Eugene’s plans to begin “no refusal” blood test weekends with Independence Day Friday has drawn criticism from across the country. “No refusal” means suspected impaired drivers who refuse breath testing will be blood tested for alcohol. Is it legal? A 2013 Supreme Court decision says it is that as long as the police have a warrant for the blood draw. Warrants can be achieved with a quick phone call to a judge. Some drivers refuse to blow because breath-to-blood ratios vary and the Breathalyzer can be inaccurate. Others refuse because they hope they will sober up a little before the blood can be drawn. We’re as freaked out by images of Eugeneans getting held down and stuck with needles as anyone else, but we’re pretty freaked out by drunk drivers, too. Our advice? Have a designated driver, and if you feel the police are doing you wrong, use your cell phone to calmly video the interaction. 

• Kudos to Gov. Kitzhaber for appointing Nancy Golden, former superintendent of Springfield schools, to head his Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB). Called the state’s “education czar,” Golden ran through the board’s policy goals June 27 for the City Club of Eugene, including all-day kindergarten (coming a year from now), all kids reading by the third grade, 40 percent of Oregon kids finishing four-year college, 40 percent finishing two-year colleges and 20 percent finishing high school with the skills to go to work. She said the OEIB is still working on its budget priorities to take to the Legislature. After listening to her, we have a simple suggestion: Stop draining America’s resources on weapons and war and invest them instead in education in Oregon and every other state.

• Idiotic, backward decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court lately remind us how important it is to keep conservatives out of the White House (and politicians out of our uteruses). Presidential appointments to the Supreme Court carry on their wisdom or mischief long after squabbles between our legislative and executive branches of government are forgotten. Meanwhile, the court’s ruling allowing corporations to dictate family planning options for their employees just reinforces the arguments for single-payer health insurance. FYI: Hobby Lobby will be opening a store in Gateway Mall in the spring of 2015. 

• We never understood the convoluted rationale behind killing Oregon Ducks wrestling in 2008 and replacing it with competitive cheer and baseball, other than resentment of Beaver baseball success. The Oregon wrestling program, with 70 percent of the athletes coming out of Oregon high schools, won NCAA championships and even sent five wrestlers to the Olympics. Oregon was famous for its homegrown wrestlers (including Ken Kesey), but then-president Dave Frohnmayer and then-athletic director Pat Kilkenny apparently wanted more spectacle and big stadium crowds. Fortunately, the Save Oregon Wrestling Foundation (SOW) is still raising money, giving college scholarships to outstanding high school wrestlers, and working to restore and fund this traditional sport at UO. Former UO head wrestling coach Ron Finley coached the 1984 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team and is on the SOW board.