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Cheers and jeers

Cheers — To the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers, who meet tonight in the biggest Civil War game ever, with a Rose Bowl berth on the line. The game will be televised nationally, bringing long-overdue attention to the Pac-10 Conference, which is underrated and under-appreciated in other parts of the country, in our humble opinion. May the best team win.

Jeers — speaking of sports— to the Oregon School Activities Association's latest idea: a power ranking system to select playoff participants. The OSAA has blundered in recent years, first forming new conferences that forced teams to travel great distances, then creating "hybrid" leagues in an attempt to address that problem. Now it may attempt to copy college football's Bowl Championship Series? We know how well that's worked out.

Cheers — to Shenanigans Irish Pub in Medford for offering patrons a shuttle service to and from their homes. It's a savvy move for a business that relies on alcohol sales, and it's a community service at the same time. Every patron who rides the shuttle after too many drinks is one less impaired driver on the road. Maybe all the downtown watering holes could chip in and expand the fleet, which now comprises three vehicles. New Year's Eve is fast approaching.

Jeers — to Bill Sizemore, who had the gall to call his indictment on tax-evasion charges a "political attack."

Granted, there is no love lost between the anti-tax activist and public employee unions or the Democratic officeholders who enjoy union support. But Sizemore's protest rings a little hollow.

He and his wife apparently failed to file state income-tax returns for three straight years. Sizemore says they made estimated payments in two of those years and are "trying to figure out" how much they owe for 2008, according to The Associated Press. Then, the Oregon Department of Revenue waited to unseal the Oct. 27 indictment until the deadline had expired for the Sizemores to take advantage of the state's tax amnesty period. They had three weeks to do that, but apparently didn't bother.

When Sizemore announced last week that he was running for governor, state GOP Chairman Bob Tiernan said he "lacks credibility to run right now." If Sizemore had even a drop of credibility left at that point, it has now evaporated.

Cheers — to St. Mary's School, the Medford School District and St. Mary's orchestra director Mark Barnard, for teaming up to continue offering advanced music students a chamber orchestra class. St. Mary's provides the space, charging public school musicians no tuition, and Barnard directs the group without pay. The Medford district gives its students grades and academic credit for the class.

At a time when schools are cutting back on music programs to save money, creative solutions such as this one keep students challenged and motivated. Bravo.