What does the Pope and the people of Oregon agree upon.

Not much, when it comes to full-body scans. The Pope says no. The people of Oregon say yes.

In a Catalyst poll, 1042 people were asked if they “approve of airports using full-body computer imaging scanners. Two-thirds said yes.

The Pope made his remarks at a meeting in the Vatican, where he told an audience from the aerospace industry that “the primary asset to be safeguarded and treasured is the person, in his or her integrity”.

Yes: 639, 61%
No: 403, 39%
Total Respondents: 1042

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 13 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • a retired professor

    to eagle eye: In answer to your questions on an earlier blog, where comments have been terminated:

    In brief: It would not cost that much to deal with the salary issue, maybe 5% of the available budget (I’m leaving out things that are not available, like dorm fees, research grants, athletic revenue). It’s a matter of priorities. There was an excellent plan about 10 years ago but the administration at UO lost interest. Maybe things will change with a new UO president.

    On tuition: I don’t see how tuition can keep rising at the rate of the past couple of decades. On the other hand, strong pressures on cost that will not go away. Partly it’s a matter of priorities. Administrative growth? Perhaps a reorientation of private giving to support core operating expenses.

    • eagle eye


      What are “the strong pressures on cost that will not go away” that you are saying keep driving up tuition beyond “sustainable” levels?

      • a retired professor

        It’s like something called the “Baumol effect”. Labor intensive services that don’t have increases in productivity have cost increases that are above the CPI increase, if the overall per capita income is growing. I’ve read that college tuition almost exactly tracks dentist fees, over decades. It applies to K-12 schools, too.

        • valley p

          I haven’t heard that term, but it applies to a lot of private sector service oriented businesses, including the one I am in (design and environmental consulting). Productivity is very hard to measure in professional services, and darn hard to improve because the quality of service is proportional to the time spent thinking about and testing solutions. Thinking faster does not generally produce better results. The main tool for improving service productivity is technology, but new software often has perverse effects, like having to add an IT staff, and long learning curves that once mastered, are soon started over. The other is lowering overhead, but since that should only amount to perhaps 25% of total cost, you can’t squeeze much from that turnip. And at times lowering overhead is counter productive because it dumps necessary lower skill work onto higher paid employees, from typing to mail drops to kitchen duty.

          Schools, universities, and most government services are similar. They are by necessity labor intensive, and for the most part require well educated and trained people. They are not like industrial production, which often can make more widgets every year with fewer labor inputs.

          It seems to me that the big issues to tackle in the public sector are health and pension costs. Unfortunately our country is allergic to a single payer health care system which would save a lot of money. And changing pension systems results in future, not current savings due to the pipeline effect.

          The other big issue is tackling civil service career tenure. Its long past time we made public employment less rigid and more of a privilege than a right.We need people moving into and out of public sector work more easily.

          • a retired professor

            You are right about technology at least in higher education. It helps with record keeping and internal communication, but people just keep demanding more information, so it probably doesn’t save money. In teaching, it is an added cost. Unless you go to mass online education. But that has a lot of problems, and besides, it’s not clear how much money it saves.

            I’m biased, but I don’t think tenure for faculty increases costs. It probably decreases them, at least in fields where there is competition from outside employers (think: science, business, finance, law, engineering).

            At UO, at least, most of the support staff were productive and motivated. The big exception was the building crews, and there, they are outsourcing more and more.

          • valley p

            My experience with tenure is from past work with the US Forest Service and current work as a consultant. Downsizing agencies leads to the more talented and ambitious heading to the exits and the less talented clinging to the bottom of the ship hull. I don’t think this is the case in higher academia, but it is the case in other government agencies.

            I’d like to see something along the lines of renewable service contracts, say 5 years at a time. That way if someone slacks off they can be let go without appealing to the pope for blessings. In academia, there is some benefit to the students if professors step in and out as well, especially in active professional fields like law, business, and engineering. It would relieve burnout, keep more fresh blood coming into the system, and allow profs to test theories in practice. Plus the students get more exposure to real world work and employment ops.

            But I agree that one outcome might be the need to pay more money in exchange for less job security.

          • a retired professor

            Whether 5 year contracts would be a good idea or not — I happen to doubt it — there is no way Oregon universities can remain in the national and international market for faculty if they don’t offer tenure-track positions. As long as the rest of the country operates with a tenure-track system, at least at major universities, Oregon simply doesn’t have much to offer without the prospect of tenure. The five-year plans with enhanced salaries — say by 20% — have been tried at a few universities in a few departments. It really hasn’t had much success.

        • eagle eye

          “reorientation of private giving to support core operating expenses”

          Can you elaborate?

          • a retired professor

            Yes. I’ll use UO as an example since I know it better than any other place. At least a couple of years ago, they were aspiring to take in on the order of $100 million/yr in private donations. But if you look at where that money goes, surprising little goes to core academic functions. The rest goes to new buildings — think the new arena, the new jock teaching center, new ed, music, and science buildings; supporting various worthy activities like the Bach festival, to endowment (the income from which goes partly to core academics), and many other things.

            Some of that money could be used, if priorities changed among both fund raisers and donors, to relieve the increases in tuition costs. For various reasons — I’ve outlined many nearby — I don’t think these increases are going to be completely ameliorated by reining in costs, without a drop in quality.

            So, if the tuition increases are unsustainable, which I think they are, something else is going to have to happen. It would mean funneling a few million more each year into offsetting tuition increases.

  • Kathryn Hickok

    Mandatory, universal use of full-body scanners as a basic condition of travel is disturbing. In terms of our rights as Americans, what do freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and the maintenance of a right to privacy, in any legal sense, mean if people are required to consent to have their bodies viewed as a condition for travel?

    Full-body scanners are a virtual strip search. To strip-search every single passenger is a frightening erosion of the basic human right to dignity—preserving the integrity and privacy of one’s person—let alone our Constitutional right to freedom from unreasonable search.

    If strip-searching individuals who are not suspected of carrying dangerous contraband is not an unreasonable search, I do not know what is. If Americans give up defending the integrity of their person, the most basic of human freedoms, I wonder what we still think worthy of defense.

  • Alex

    Hate to break it to you, but the readers of Catalyst are not a very good reflection of Oregonians over all.

  • valley p

    A “Catalyst poll”? Is that a poll of Catalyst readers? I can’t believe there are over 1000 who read this thing. Or is it a statistically valid poll of Oregonians or Americans? Who did you poll?

    Assuming the Catalyst poll by some quirk reflects what most Oregonians or Americans think, people have almost always been willing to trade away individual rights for increased security. I’ve seen polls that suggest most Americans would repeal the 1st amendment if they were given a vote on it.

    And, I’ve seen Catalyst on many occasions complain that most people are in favor of taxing the rich at higher rates.

  • Wayne Brady

    We must have a bunch of liberals responding to the Catalyst poll. Liberals give up freedoms readily.

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