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May 10, 2008 02:54 AM

Barack Obama spoke to a cheering crowd of roughly 5,000 at the UO on Friday night.

Here's a link to audio of his speech with video clips of the rally.

May 9, 2008 12:37 PM

TV news watchers may soon see less car wrecks, fires, cop chases and other "if it bleeds it leads" coverage on local broadcasts.

The Eugene police department sent out a memo May 5 to local media on the upcoming switch of police radio to digital. That means the old analog scanners that TV reporters use won't work.

Even with digital scanners, EPD Capt. Chuck Tilby writes that "some frequencies will be encrypted in compliance with the new Oregon Consumer Theft Protection Act passed by the legislature in 2007. Eventually all channels may be encrypted."

This may not be a great loss. Local TV news has long been derided for lazy, fear-mongering scanner chasing that fills local news with titillating gore without real reporting or news value.

Then again, scanners brought us the OJ car chase, but they sometimes also offer an important public eye for police accountability. Here's a recent example from Philadelphia:

Tilby writes that "another program that we've been working on, while not equaling the usefulness of a newsroom scanner, may provide some supplemental assistance to you in newsgathering. Soon to be released will be a Eugene Police internet activity log that will be refreshed as calls clear, instead of every 24 hours."

In Portland, scanner audio is on the internet.

May 9, 2008 08:22 PM

It took us a minute to realize why it was so empty everywhere. The Safeway parking lot, the streets, Brails ... oh, wait! Everyone must be on campus. Right? We thought about biking down there, but that would have meant forgoing our delicious containers of leftovers (bi bim bob for him, pork bulgogi for me), and that simply wasn't an option. We'd wolfed down all the side dishes — how I love small pickled/fermented things — but each Brails entrée was definitely enough for two meals. And they serve beer and wine with dinner! As if you needed more reasons to eat there. (Though the mellow evening hours are quite a change from the long lines on weekends — not that lines will ever keep me away from a plate of hash browns and bacon.)

It's quiet in Eugene tonight. At least so far. At least around Willamette Street. I hear the Lakers game is good. How was Obama? Report in, folks!

May 9, 2008 06:37 PM

obama clinton

Eugene is Obama country, judging by federal campaign contribution data.

Barack Obama has raised about four times more money here from about four times more contributions. Through the end of March, Obama reported raising $114,622 from 955 donations from Eugene. Hillary Clinton raised $29,111 in donations from 224 contributions from Eugene.

Obama’s contributions averaged $120. Clinton’s averaged $224.

Nearly a third of Clinton’s contributions came from donors identifying themselves as retired. Obama reported 17 percent of his donors were retired.

Some retirees may list themselves as not employed. About a quarter of Obama’s contributors listed themselves as retired or not employed, while half of Clinton’s contributors listed themselves as retired or not employed.

Only 2 percent of Clinton’s donors identified their employer as the University of Oregon. About 11 percent of Obama’s money came from professors and other UO employees.

About 5 percent of Clinton’s Eugene donations listed employment as mom or homemaker. Only one Obama donor listed themselves that way.

May 9, 2008 04:52 PM

Not everything in the world, obviously, makes it into the paper. There are two more shows this weekend that caught my eye despite the fullness of the music section. Tonight, you might go see the charmingly monikered The Little Penguins and The Tea Cozies, whose bio, in part, reads as follows:

The three female member of Tea Cozies had been playing together for years before they found someone who was man enough to handle their brand of brit-inspired garage pop. Jeff joined Jessi, Brady and Kelly in December of 2005 and, like Doug Flutie's Hail Mary pass in Boston College's 1984 game against Miami, it was a miracle. Well, not a real miracle like curing lepers, but a minor miracle just the same. These Seattle-ites sound like the bastard child of Elastica and Talking Heads, but with their own twist. 75% of the band has seen Dave Matthews Band live, and 25% of the band liked it.

I'd be won over even if both bands hadn't sent totally charming records. (Can you tell I'm posting in a hurry? Hence the sad lack of elaboration.)

The Little Penguins, The Tea Cozies and The Arithmetic Danger Club (who dropped off their press stuff some time ago in a giant bubble envelope decorated with a drawing of an octopus which, yes, I still have around here somewhere) play tonight at Diablo's Downtown Lounge. Sorry, kids, that means it's 21+.

Then, tomorrow night, head out of the house (I know, I know — it's scary out there!) to see Conrad Ford, a band which gets extra super bonus points for being named after director John Ford and cinematographer Conrad Hall. Also, they have charming record art and stickers. But you should go because the sometimes spare, story-wrapped, big-sky-small-town songwriting is just right for the time of year when you're delighted that it's getting warm, but still finding it hard to leave behind the holed-up, hidden-away charms of crisp weather. Or maybe that's just me. (Also, they do sound a bit like Eels, as a KEXP DJ notes on their bio.)

Conrad Ford plays at ... OK, wait. I wrote all this up only to find they're not listed where they said they were playing. So maybe you should just keep this band in mind for the future...

May 9, 2008 01:34 PM

With Jim Torrey running for mayor again, local videographer Tim Lewis has posted a reminder on YouTube of what it was like under Torrey. The video features dramatic footage of the June 1st incident in 1997 in which Eugene police emptied every can of pepper spray they had on non-violent tree sitters standing in the way of the Broadway Place project downtown.

For more information on the event, here's a link to EW's coverage of its 5th-year anniversary:

The city settled a lawsuit by some of the protesters for $30,000 and reduced somewhat the use of pepper spray on non-violent demonstrators. But the city and EPD never apologized or admitted that they did anything wrong. Now EPD is armed with tasers with no ban on using them against demonstrators.

Lewis has also published other videos on YouTube and plans to do more. Search the site for "picture Eugene."

May 8, 2008 12:47 PM

This week's EW has a story about the mayor's race that includes information about a recent political attack ad by Jim Torrey. Here's the ad with fact checking by EW:

May 5, 2008 04:58 PM

A trio of articles came to my attention today thanks to a super-wicked-awesome mailing list I'm on:

1. "Is There a Real Woman in This Multiplex?"
by Manohla Dargis in The New York Times

2. "Where Are the Roles for Superwomen?"
by Tammy Oler in New York Magazine

3. "Iron Men: The real reasons why summer movies became a boys' club"
by Robert Moline on MOLI

(Is it worth nothing that two of these titles are questions and one a statement? Perhaps.)

I'm abusing this blog like del.icio.us right now so that I'll remember to read these (more than the initial cursory scan) and post my thoughts later. But hey, you can post your thoughts now! Maybe you're presently less scattered than me.

I miss the X-Men; the group name may be typical, but at least the group's makeup wasn't always so.

April 29, 2008 11:07 AM

UO President Dave Frohnmayer has announced that he will resign by the summer of 2009.

Here's an email he sent out to UO faculty and staff this morning:

Dear Colleagues:

Today I formally notified Chancellor George Pernsteiner and Governor Ted
Kulongoski of my intention to retire as President of the University of
Oregon at the conclusion of the 2008/09 academic year. It has been a
great privilege to work with truly stellar faculty, staff, students and
alumni for nearly a decade and a half. I intend to return to teaching and
other assignments after I step down in summer, 2009.

I have given extended notice of my decision to allow ample time yet this
quarter and through the summer for a smooth search and transition process.
I have the utmost confidence that a presidential opportunity at this
internationally recognized institution will draw the attention of the
finest academic leaders. In recent days I have conferred with faculty
leaders to assure that our campus dialogue about immediate needs and
future priorities can command our focused attention in the next year.

It has been nearly twenty years since a full-fledged presidential search
has taken place for this campus. We are armed with the results of many
important perspectives, such as our recently concluded decennial
accreditation self-study, our Campaign Oregon strategic plan, and the
campus profiles that have been thoughtfully prepared for provost,
vice-presidential and dean searches. Nonetheless, the forthcoming search
process will provide a healthy period of reflection and engagement as the
university develops plans for a major leadership transition.

As you may know, the State Board of Higher Education conducts presidential
searches. I have spoken with the Board leadership to gain assurance that
our strongest and best voices will be heard. I expect that the Chancellor
will meet with faculty leadership in the near future to map out next
steps, and I hope that our campus engagement will be broadly based.

I am eternally grateful for the literally thousands of you who have
brought joy, energy and inspiration to the work of the university. You
have endured sustained economic privation; collaborated thoughtfully on
new initiatives; worked ceaselessly to improve our teaching and research;
greeted students, their families and the larger community with warmth and
good spirit; made our buildings and grounds places of serene beauty; and
celebrated the achievements of each other with an enduring sense of pride
and community. Lynn and I are grateful beyond measure for the many acts
of kindness in our times of family loss and grief and in moments of shared
pride for the university.

We endeavor always to improve even more. I look forward to working with
you in these next months.

Warmest wishes,
Dave Frohnmayer

April 29, 2008 05:13 PM

So for tomorrow's paper, I spent several hours yesterday watching stoner comedies. And lo, they were funny, though epically dude-centric. (Still, when two of said dudes are John Cho and Kal Penn, I can manage to redirect my mild ire.)

But neither film could touch the smokin' hot genius that is the red-band (i.e. R-rated) trailer for the upcoming Pineapple Express (August 8). If I ever thought to myself, Self, I sure am tired of that Seth Rogen fellow, well, I'm over that now. (But when Seth Rogen's costar is the stunningly-cheekboned — and amazingly funny — James Franco, well, that helps too.)

You must see this. You also must see Forgetting Sarah Marshall, so you could kill two birds with one stone by heading to your local movie theater of choice. But if that's not on your schedule at the moment, you can check out the dirrrrrrty trailer here. Do not pass go; do not collect $200; DO NOT watch the tame trailer. It's just not nearly as funny.

* If you know what this is a reference to, we should totally be friends.

April 28, 2008 11:49 PM

UO big wigs have been taking a lot of hits in the media recently for kowtowing to the almighty swoosh.

On April 16 the Oregonian reported that the UO had evaded state anti-corruption laws to hand the contract for the basketball arena—the most expensive public building in state history—to a Nike subsidiary and Nike related contractor and architect without a competitive or public bidding process.

On April 20, Oregonian columnist Steve Duin wrote that under President Dave Frohnmayer, "This public university has, on any and all questions about the arena, suddenly adopted a code of secrecy worthy of the KGB."

On April 23, Willamette Week awarded Frohnmayer its "Rogue of the Week" award for "hiding the ball" when it comes to Nike, the arena and the state's public records law.

Who's making all these decisions at the UO? Frohnmayer is helped by three "retired" UO vice-presidents who recently got a big pay increase by converting their full time jobs to half time, according to numbers in an Oregonian story last month.

The paper reported that John Moseley, Lorraine Davis and Dan Williams all recently retired but were hired back as half time contractors. According to numbers in the story, Williams earned $162,800 before he retired. After retirement he earned PERS at about 83 percent of salary or, by our estimate, about $135,000. Frohnmayer then hired him back to work at the UO half time for $100,000 a year, according to the Oregonian. So in retirement working half time Williams earns a total of about $235,000 a year, a 44 percent raise over what he earned working full time.

For Moseley the raise works out to 35 percent or a total of $285,000 in post "retirement" salary, by EW's calculations. Davis got an estimated 33 percent raise for going half time, a total of $222,000 a year in post retirement pay.

These three Frohnmayer cronies working half as much for almost half more pay are now among the highest paid public officials in the state. By comparison, the Governor's salary is $93,600.

Wow, no wonder the UO has a hard time getting funding from the Legislature. Of course Frohnmayer or his princely paid assistants won't pay the price for the public esteem swooshing out of the institution. It will be some kid busing tables for tuition.

April 25, 2008 02:06 PM

Here's an old Herblock cartoon from 1970 when tricky Dick Nixon was escalating the Vietnam war despite campaign promises to end it.

Herblock

Déjà vu?

So what would the caption be now? How about:

"You see the reason we’re dying in vain here in Iraq is so dying in Iraq will have some purpose."

Any other suggestions?

April 25, 2008 05:44 PM

If you enjoyed the cover story this week about Eugene's new City Manager Jon Ruiz, you'll love listening to the hour and a half of interview audio here .

Here's Ruiz at his public swearing in and speech on April 14:

Well, now Ruiz is on the record in print, audio and video with a lot of good-sounding promises of what he'll do as Eugene City Manager. Let's see if he sticks to them.

April 25, 2008 09:47 AM

So a few weeks ago I confided in the pages of the EW that I have a weakness for pop punk. Then, oddly, the show I was previewing was canceled. But no matter! A better, sleeker, poppier and, well, gothier show has risen to take its place in my heart:

Alkaline Trio at the Indigo District

Photobucket

I think it still confuses friends that I'm such a nerd for these silly boys in black suits who sing maudlin, sometimes macabre love songs about walls painted black, bitter breakups and washing one's bloody hands at the marina and, every so often, about, like, mushy stuff ("Every Thug Needs a Lady"). "Help Me," the new single (from Agony and Irony, due out July 1) that autoplays on their website, has a little too much mucking about with the vocals on the chorus, but I can take it. Their mastery of the pairing of pop hooks with crunchy guitars and power chords is unmatched; their glossiness just makes all the deathly imagery almost, um, sweet.

Last time I saw the Trio, I got my favorite sweatshirt ripped dancing with the kids. I hope I'm not way too old to do that again.