Monday, March 31, 2008

Poor article on Anscombe Society, similar clubs at other Ivies

The New York Times loves to announce new phenonmena. Often, these involve Ivy League students. (Remember the article on Ivy League women choosing marriage over careers?) Apparently, if smart women who go to Harvard and other Ivies do something, their actions reflect a new, positive trend in female women's choices.

The latest trend is abstinence, as announced in the Sunday magazine. But is The Times reporting an actual phenomenon or wishing for one to happen? I can't help but sense a little bit of bias in The Times' failure to report what the general student bodies think of organizations such as Anscombe at Princeton and True Love Revolution at Harvard. A scan of The Crimson and IvyGate's "esteemed commentators" suggests that the majority of students don't support their tactics. Not to mention the depiction of Janie Fredell, the president of True Love Revolution as a self-depriving martyr and Lena Chen, a sex blogger as an over-indulgent sensualist:

"Chen was a small Asian woman in a miniskirt and stilettos who ate every crumb
of everything, including a ginger cake with cream-cheese frosting and
raspberry compote. Fredell, when the dessert menu came, paused at the
prospect of a "chocolate explosion," said, "I may as well — I mean, carpe diem, right?" And then reconsidered — she really wasn't that hungry."


Dorm Profiles: Witherspoon

Here's the first in a series of dorm spotlights. Underclassman room draw is finished (I think?), but here's a look at one of the nicest dorms available to a few lucky freshmen and sophomores.

Witherspoon filled up this year before 10:00 during Rockefeller room draw, due in part to its amenities: it has bathrooms for both sexes on each of its five floors, laundry, a computer cluster, and two kitchens. It is also notable for some of the most coveted rooms on campus - it has 5 quads with huge common areas that widen around Witherspoon's turret, making the rooms spacious and full of the light that streams in from regular and stained glass windows alike.

A former resident of this room, 517 Witherspoon, said, "It is the best room on campus, bar none." Witherspoon doubles are also often de-bunkable, which a resident noted, "Made the experience of sharing a double with a stranger during my freshman year a much easier transition."

Named after John Witherspoon, sixth president of the University, the building housed President Woodrow Wilson and is part of the "historic part of campus." Built in 1877 as the first dormitory in the country to feature indoor plumbing, it was renovated in 2002.

Pros: Large rooms, beautiful building, hallways form sense of community.

Cons: Far from Frist, the Street, some academic buildings.

Verdict: Definitely worth the trek; swoon for 'Spoon, just invest in a bike!


Welcome! Or not...

By now most of the ickle high school seniors (who doubtlessly will take offense at being called ickle) who applied to Princeton know whether they got in or not.

To those of you who did get in: Congratulations! (More on you later...)

To those of you who didn't get in: Better luck next...wait, never mind. You won't get the chance to apply to Princeton again, at least not as an undergrad, but I'm sure you got into other great schools where you'll take really great classes, learn really cool things, and meet good friends. Rejection letters should all read "Drink Coke, play again." Do with yours what you'd do with a bottle cap: toss it and don't think about it.

Back to those who did get in: Congratulations! AGAIN! All of your hard work through high school has paid off. Now all you have to do is get through four more years of that and then you'll be all set for the real world. By which I mean investment banking. Or not. There's always academia.

Now, if you were cool enough to get into Princeton, I'm assuming you were cool enough to get into other schools, which means that you have an agonizing decision ahead of you. Harvard or Princeton? Yale or Princeton? The list goes on and on, but I'll stop there. Personally for me it was Yale vs. Princeton, and as my comrades from high school can attest, I was probably more stressed out by that decision than I was by the whole rest of the college admissions process. A bit of advice: don't stress. Another bit of advice: come to Princeton. A third bit of advice: don't trust me; I have an agenda and want you to come to Princeton. A fourth bit of advice: do whatever is right for you.

Which of course will be coming to Princeton. :-)


Open Forum -- "Senior sues Tiger Inn, University"

Today's issue of The Daily Princetonian had a story about a student filing a lawsuit against Tiger Inn and the University that raises significant topics about campus life. The Prince is hosting this open forum to discuss and debate the broad issues raised by the story regarding the social environment of the eating clubs.

We hope that the campus community will share their thoughts in comments in this forum in a civil manner that is germane to the topic, and all comments are subject to moderation by editors of The Daily Princetonian to ensure the privacy of any students involved.


Good article on Anscombe Society, similar clubs at other Ivies in Times

The Prince has featured several letters and columns with many comments on the subject of abstinence and birth control in college and the choices students make, and this story from the New York Times discusses the Anscombe Society and similar clubs at other Ivy League Schools. No matter which side you're on, it's an interesting and in-depth read.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spotlight on...Dorie Golkin '08

Top to bottom: "Legs," "Silver," "Stereo," and "Orchid"

Artist statement: "The Pose: Inside, Out" is about the way we see, the way we experience and the way we occupy. The absence and presence of forms and figures alter perceptions and change moods. Objects and people pose differently whether contained privately (inside) or publicly (out). Public social spaces call for photographic abstraction: forms are entangled, blurred and unfamiliar. Directly opposed to these chaotic images are the orderly interiors. Inside photos allow one to understand the space or figure as a whole without piecing together truncated parts. The experience with these spaces and these photographs is deeply personal and unique. I hope you enjoy the show.

Dorie's senior thesis show "The Pose: Inside, Out" opens on Tuesday, April 1 in the Lucas Gallery at 185 Nassau; there will be an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.


wireless web woes

Is anyone else having trouble with their wireless internet? Maybe most Princeton students are too diligent for YouTube, but videos load really slowly for me or not at all, at least when I'm in my dorm room.

I feel like OIT is trying to resolve this problem though: I keep getting notification of new wireless networks. I started the year on puwireless and then puwireless 2, but in a semester and a half it's progressed through puwireless 3 to Networks 4, 5, and 6. Not sure where 3-5 went, but I'm currently connected to three different wireless networks.
Does this make my internet connection faster, or just more confused?


Runway to Street: 3.1 Philip Lim

For his spring '08 line, Philip Lim created crisp, casually chic clothes that work perfectly for a spring interview or a day when you feel like dressing up a bit. The base of this outfit is a pretty, clean white dress -- we found this one at Old Navy, always a good place to turn to for cheap finds and currently trying to revamp its selection. The blazer on top should fit loose and long in a tomboy style to contrast with the femininity of the dress. This men's blazer from LL Bean could work perfectly if tailored a bit at the shoulders; you can find similar options at any thrift or vintage store. Flat sandals from Anthropologie complete the look with a bit of red.

Note: if you click on the image above, you can go straight to the links for all the items.

Dress: Old Navy, on sale for $17.50
Blazer: LL Bean, $89
Sandals: Anthropologie, $58


Friday, March 28, 2008

RIP, Robert Fagles

"...And that, I think that breaks my heart"

Cassandra's last words, Homer, The Odyssey, IX, 1330

as translated by Robert Fagles (1933-2008)


Weekly WTFs: the most important, least important, weirdest, funniest, or just plain stupidest news items of the week

Monday: Eating club presidents can sue too! "Well, if you're not going to press charges, I guess I might as well! I mean, someone has to."
Tuesday: Social websites can get sued too! Be careful what social websites you create. Facebook, I'm looking at you.
Tuesday: Muggles try to play Quidditch. But the brooms don't even fly! Harry Potter would laugh himself sick.
Wednesday: 256 signatures in two days, not bad! I still don't understand what we're saving Forbes from though.
Thursday: Rock Paper Scissors tournament. I guess Twister would take too long.
Friday: What Princeton Students are really interested in. Five stars, really?


The Late Meal - Friday, March 28

Your daily fare, served fresh - and a week late:

Pseudorandom Room Draw '08 - Josephine Wolff writes an excellent piece in the Prince today, deconstructing the logic behind the supposedly 'random number generator' that was responsible for giving you the last draw time in Forbes. Then again, in spite of all the drama and angst caused by Room Draw, the system here can't be so bad: GW allows its undergraduates to bid for higher draw times, while Trinity College in Cambridge bases its room selection order on students' GPA. If either of those systems were used here at Princeton, Whitman would be full of wise men, or Rockefeller College would be full of... Rockefellers.

No. 4 Tigers to shoot for Final Four - As a Canadian, I've never really understood America's general lack of understanding or enthusiasm over hockey, whether it is the absence of media attention when sunbelt teams win the Stanley Cup or the NHL's efforts to color the puck on American TV screens for slower US audiences. Princeton, I guess, is no different: we have one of the finest hockey teams in the country, yet somehow students are still more concerned over how much money they lost last Friday when Kansas State (#11) upset USC (#6) on their other brackets.

Public Safety requests firearms - So the joke goes: Q: Why did Princeton Public Safety request firearms? A: To protect students from the Princeton Borough Police.

Thesis slog continues; April is the cruelest month - Thesis season has once again produced its inevitable levels of overly caffeinated and Vitamin D-deficient rage, albeit creative rage. My friend Sarah explains 'thesis' in acronym form (T.H.E.S.I.S.: The Hell Every Senior Is Suffering), while another friend Cheryl has likened thesis writing to giving birth: "Both involve 9 months of preparation, a final 2 weeks of dread and anticipation, an excruciating 24 hours of sleepless pain, and a new baby at the end."


Guitar Hero tournament in Frist? -- Someone please tell me more!

A cryptic flier in Frist seems to offer a guitar hero tournament on the 100 Level of the campus center this Saturday. "Win sweet prizes and show off your skills -- " Does this mean a guitar hero tournament in Frist, on one of the massive TVs? We can only hope...anyone who knows more, please leave a comment below!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Course Guide posted - I'm like a kid in a candy store!

This is my first blog post, and I thought I'd save it for a great occasion, and I think it's here, because that most hallowed of days is upon us - the release of the 2008 - 2009 courses!

Try to contain your excitement and pay attention in the rest of your classes...there may or may not be gaps in my HIS 380 notes for today :)


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Room draw puts my life into perspective.

Even poor grades on midterms seem to matter less, when I realize that I lost the room that I wanted and that I am stuck on the fourth floor of a building.


Room Draw Rumba (seis por ocho)

1) First draw time in Forbes, cha-cha-cha! From nice Main Inn double + private bath to first pick of Forbes: friends, you are talking to the luckiest freshman alive! Only without the lips moving.

2) At first I wondered why they posted all our netids on the list - I stopped wondering when the emails started rolling in:

Hey, congrats on first room draw! ­­­Any idea what you're going to pick yet? Me and the guys were thinking of getting the singles on third floor. If you're going for singles, could you stick to the first floor ones?
And apparently singles here are The Thing. Why wouldn't they be? Forbes singles are sweet. The top few draw groups all emailed us asking about singles. No prob! They're sophomores now, they're not afraid to be lonely.

At dinner on d-day (draw day) someone in my zee group sat down with a grin. "Got the last single in Forbes," he proudly announced. "I am so happy right now."

3) Of course, too much choice can sometimes be overwhelming. We deliberated carefully, pored over floorplans, knocked on a few doors. Should we be jerks and take up three third-floor singles? Nah, we went for the triple. I am so looking forward to this.

4) By now I've found out who's going to be living in my room next semester. It's a nice room, I'll be sad to leave it, but then again she's a nice girl. We're hallmates, we pull all-nighters together when the problem sets get rough and BSE is starting to seem more and more like BS with every aching minute.

It's odd to think about it: she's going to be living here next semester, wrestling with the window, struggling to fit all the furniture against these bizarrely designed walls.

I'm thinking about leaving her surprises, like cats do. I have this image of her pacing the room during midterms next semester; she bumps into a lamp, it sways dramatically, crashes into the wall, and breaks through to the secret compartment that I've meticulously carved out of the plaster. Dry-erase pens rain down around her, rainbow-colored like a shower of Skittles.

"Argh, who was living in this room before me??" No more late-night study buddy for me.

5) I'm surprised that professors don't know more about the room draw process. Considering how many students bring laptops to draw in their classes, I'd think they'd be intimately acquainted with the details.

Perhaps this is one downside of wireless internet all across campus. Who can concentrate on the lecturer's voice when Facebook is available anywhere you go?

Disclaimer: The contents of this post are not entirely fabricated, nor are they entirely true.


Campus style: the colorful spectator


Campus style: not your everyday uniforms


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Campus style: a splash of red


Monday, March 24, 2008

Quidditch through the ages

Ok, so I'm not really a big fan of sports, spectator or otherwise. But I have to say, Quidditch is pretty fun. It was a cool thing to read about in Harry Potter, a cooler thing to read about in the NY Times (I swear they had a joke issue from the year 3000 where they reported on a Quidditch Match, but I can't find it...), and of course, it was really awesome on the big screen (well, except for that chariot race with Harry and Draco, but whatever...).

What to say then about intercollegiate Quidditch?

Well, I can't really honestly say it's cool. It's probably the very antithesis of "cool." Let's be honest--it's actually really, really dorky. But then again, so am I.

But what intercollegiate Quidditch lacks in coolness, it makes up tenfold in fun. Trying to do my Nietzsche reading while watching the match just adds a whole new level of fun/dorkiness/meaning to my weird Slytherin obsession.

In any case, we lost.


Embarrassingly so the first time, less so the second time. In any case, I can't help but feeling that there was an element of foul play. Tigers are like lions, and by that wonderful and infallible logic, our opponents must be snakes. They provided the snitch. Seriously, who in their right mind trusts a snitch provided by Slytherins? (Disregard this post!)

Anyway, we must regain our honor next year by getting an excellent team with excellent brooms. (Maybe Meg Whitman would like to provide us all with Firebolts? Or does someone have a rich daddy with Ministry connections?) And of course, as was said, next time, we're bringing the snitch.

Ok. Well that's enough of that. Nietzsche calls. Dinner too. Never tickle a sleeping dragon.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Quidditch coming to Princeton, to be covered on ESPN -- Seriously...

The Harry Potter series may have sold more books than all but the Bible, the quotations of Chairman Mao, the Qur'an, and Don Quixote, but who would have thought that the sport of Quidditch would make it into real life. For the uninitiated, Quidditch is a sport played by wizards in the Harry Potter series flying around on brooms and trying to score goals in three hoops.

In our world, the Middlebury Quidditch team is on a tour of the northeast and has challenged several other colleges to the "muggle" -- non-wizard -- version of the game. One of those colleges is Princeton. From the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus:

The tour will take Middlebury's quidditchers to Bard, Penn, Princeton, Columbia, Vassar, Wesleyan, Amherst and Dartmouth...
The team has been garnering significant media attention, and Benepe said it will be filmed by MTV at Penn and ESPN at Princeton and Columbia. The team is also slated to appear on the CBS early show while at Amherst on March 28.
In other words, Quidditch, at Princeton, on ESPN. After digesting that, you may ask, how can real people play a sport with flying brooms? A reasonable question, and only a somewhat reasonable answer:

Friends at Middlebury tell me that their Quidditch program is "the best in the nation."

The game is scheduled for tomorrow, at Alexander Beach. The time of the game isn't posted anywhere I can find, if someone has it please comment!


Friday, March 21, 2008

If the Presidential Candidates Lived in Princeton...

...who would they be? Here are my guesses:

Barack Obama - the celebrity professor in the Religion department

Hillary Clinton - the administrator in Nassau Hall who announces the new alcohol policy

John Edwards - the Community Action coordinator

Mitt Romney - the Wall Street recruiter giving a presentation for Bear Stearns at the Nassau Inn

Bill Richardson - the director of Frist Campus Center, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new C-Store

Mike Huckabee - the chaplain of the Baptist Students Fellowship, with an office on the third floor of Murray-Dodge

John McCain - the townie who eats breakfast every morning by the window of Carousel

Ron Paul - the auditor sitting at the back of McCosh 10

Mike Gravel - the angry alumnus from the Class of '55 decrying the decay of campus traditions and morality under Shirley Tilghman

Dennis Kucinich - the Dinky conductor

Chris Dodd - the Public Safety officer breaking up another party in Brown

Joe Biden - the wise-cracking dad who embarrasses his daughter on an Orange Key Tour

Fred Thompson - the head of Annual Giving

Ralph Nader - Ralph Nader


Let the games begin!

Room draw times have been posted on the Housing website! Click here to log in and check your times. And just remember – with only one exception – you could have a worse draw time!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Scharf fought the law and ... Scharf won

Charges against former Charter president Will Scharf '08 have been dropped. Not content with vanquishing the Borough, Scharf is suing the police and prosecutor as well:

Scharf also intends to file a civil suit against Princeton Borough and the Princeton Borough Police Department for “false arrest, malicious prosecution, and federal civil rights claims,” the statement said.
Hell hath no fury like a senior forced to divert his attention from his thesis to fight legal charges.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Have a good spring break!

The Prox will return to regular posting after the break.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Housing Facts almost as alarming as the SHARE ones.

The Housing Office, with VP Burstein and Dean Malkiel, have decided to convert Spelman 8 and an entryway in Little into Whitman and Mathey, respectively, while returning Spelman 7. The USG has made a survey to gauge student opinion in a formalized manner. We urge you to help us to share student opinion with the administration.

5% more students applied to Spelman, it is oversubscribed
522 students applied to Whitman, compared to 470 last year

Do the Whitman statistics account for underclassmen and just that it's really nice to live in Whitman? (Especially with their exclusive college nights, etc)
When has it even been a good solution to take away housing from something that is "oversubscribed"?

I am just generally confused about the situation, but you know, I'm pretty sure the members of the administration know what they're doing...



"Make an informed decision, but let us inform your decision"

In his referendum to the student body over the fate of Spelman 8 (and now a poor entryway in Little, too?), Josh Weinstein is right to inject a bit of voter education in the process:

Please be sure to read the pros and the cons before submitting your input. This survey is critically important and urgent for our campus right now and the long-term viability of the 4-Year Residential College program.
But by golly, if you're gonna list the pros and cons of each option, don't do it in so biased a manner [see the 'Should Whitman Annex Spelman?' box] - or in a way that shows that the USG is willing to cave in to some of the Administration's demands [see the 'Should Mathey Annex More of Little?' box].

There's a reason why referendums seldom have a list of points-counterpoints attached to them, at least in functional democracies. Rather than enlightening voters, laying out the arguments on both sides usually insults their intelligence - not to mention limits the debate, and skews the vote. Josh, next time you want to clear up the smoke and mirrors (which, admittedly, have clouded much of this current debate), just give me the facts.

On the bright side, hooray that Spelman 7's been spared.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Update III: Spitzer resigns

From the New York Times, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer '81 announced his resignation today, saying,

“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Check back on the main 'Prince Web site for more information throughout the day, and interview may be in the works...


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Trying to Look at the Bright Side.

Good things about This Week
1. Everything is funnier when you haven't slept.
2. Free food at Frist.

I wish I had more to say, maybe when I'm not so miserable...


Update II: Spitzer expected to resign (or not...)

According to several sources, including the New York Times and Mark Halperin's blog , Governor Eliot Spitzer is expected to resign in the near future. Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson is slated to take over if Spitzer leaves office, and would become the nation's first legally blind governor.

A report from the New York Sun says that Spitzer may resist calls to step down.

The Princeton Tory's blog has more comments here.


And in the Daily Weather Forecast: FIRE! ...Just kidding.

Forbesians were awoken this morning at 8:03 AM by the shrill blare of the fire alarm. It's not as though we haven't had false alarms before, but it was way too annoying to sleep through. We stumbled blearily out into the chilly world, huddled like lost, pajama-wearing sheep. (Actually most of us were skeptical enough of the alarm to have at least stopped to grab jackets, and one group of geniuses was actually huddling together under a huge green comforter: A++ to them.)

Either some cosmic power is taking extreme measures to ensure that I make my 9 o'clock class, or our alarm system is malfunctioning again. Oh, unless we still have fire drills? Do we do that in college? Because 8AM, midterms week, while we're still adjusting to DST... was not the best time to pick.

(There might also have been an actual fire somewhere that was, well, not my room. Who knows. I'll keep my eyes peeled.)


Monday, March 10, 2008

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer '81 linked to prostitution ring

Shocking news from the New York Times:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer has informed his most senior administration officials that he had been involved in a prostitution ring, an administration official said this morning...

Just last week, federal prosecutors arrested four people in connection with an expensive prostitution operation. Administration officials would not say that this was the ring with which the governor had become involved.

But a person with knowledge of the governor’s role said that the person believes the governor is one of the men identified as clients in court papers.

The governor’s travel records show that he was in Washington in mid-February. One of the clients described in court papers arranged to meet with a prostitute who was part of the ring, the Emperors Club VIP on the night of Feb. 13.

A troubling day for Princetonians in government service. Spitzer was the USG Chairman (the position now called president) during his time at Princeton, and won the New York governorship with more than 65 percent of the vote in 2006.

Update II: Spitzer apologized to his family and the public, stating according to CNN that he "acted in way that violates his obligation to his family," and continuing to say "I am disappointed that I failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself." According to several sources, Spitzer could resign as early as tonight.


Saturday, March 8, 2008

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

Q: What is the most precious commodity for a Princeton student? Is it money? Free food? Sex?
A: None of the above.

And as if time wasn't scarce enough already, DST has to come along and collect its yearly 60-minute tariff. Spring forward, guys! It doesn't help that it's the weekend before midterms, when we really need time the most.

On the bright side, compared to the amount of time I spend procrastinating on a given weekend, an hour doesn't seem all that bad. Then there's always the tax return to look forward to in the fall.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Got Permission?

Got this in my inbox the other day. Was perplexed: I thought most college students were over the age of majority. Do we still do that parent/guardian thing?

Anyway, the cartoonish font and the jarring return to middle school permission slips, while nostalgic, might not be the best way to appeal to us mature adults. College is serious business.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Someone hasn't thought this through...

New York Times reports: Arizona Weighs Bill to Allow Guns on Campuses

Apparently the solution to student shooters is...
More guns on college campuses!

By this logic, we should give every nation in the world nuclear technology in order to avoid nuclear war.

Is it me, or do I smell disaster?


Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Well, since we're two for two on political commentary on the Prox, I think I'll make it three for three.

So, the beautiful, dignified Democratic campaign has soured over the last few days. It's like a really bad email conversation or a pathetic little arms race.

Hillary makes an add:

Obama answers:

Hillary answers Obama's answer:

And the whole thing gets nastier and nastier as it goes along. The fans don't help either. They're nastier and more vicious than either of the candidates. But they're pretty funny too: check out a couple unofficial responses to Hillary's "children" add on the Comedy Central Indecision 2008 Blog.

Hillary seems to be going into overdrive, with recent appearances on SNL and the Daily Show, although she doesn't seem to be interested in the Colbert Bump:

And then of course, there's that Jack Nicholson ad which is just plain weird.


The audacity!!

An interesting look at book sales, since the primaries are tonight.

What Do Customers Ultimately Buy After Viewing This Item? [Just for clarification, this item would be Clinton's autobiography, Living History]

Living History
62% buy
Living History 3.1 out of 5 stars (700)
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
14% buy
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream 4.3 out of 5 stars (413)
A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Vintage)
11% buy
A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton (Vintage) 3.7 out of 5 stars (68)
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
9% buy
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance 4.6 out of 5 stars (156)

Oh, I see. Well, at least only 21% of her "fans" (actually, I have no idea how Amazon even collects these numbers, but let's suppose that I do) crossed over to the "Barack" side.

Anyway, on a mildly unrelated note: best thing about primaries?
Just kidding.
Kind of.

P.S. Why is "Barack Obama" underlined in red? Does spell check keep up with current events? Or maybe it's a right-wing conspiracy?
P.P.S. For actual content, read Stephen's post below.


Monday, March 3, 2008

And the Winner of the 2008 Election is...

[*Disclaimer: This is my first political blog post. It will hopefully be my last. I am not very political; in fact, I am not even legally allowed to vote in the United States. If you're looking for good political commentary, read one of our Prince columnists. They're professionals. And if you feel I should stick to cartooning, let me know. Comments welcome!]

I can predict it already.

The winner of the 2008 election will not be Barack Obama, John McCain, or even Hillary Clinton... but the American People.

Why, you ask? Because, for once, the American voter is cursed with the problem of having too many good candidates to choose from.

Don't get me wrong: each of these candidates has their own shortcomings and flaws (because George Washington and Thomas Jefferson clearly didn't). But these shortcomings -even differences- have been greatly exaggerated in the hysteria of the primary season, both by the MSM and by the candidates themselves. Indeed, in spite of the attack ads, the attack ad responses, and the dueling SNL appearances, we tend to forget how lucky we are to have the choices we currently have. Whatever your politics may be, the three remaining contestants in this race - Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama - are all solid, competent candidates who will each bring strengths, new perspectives, and freshness to the Oval Office. If you doubt this last claim, contrast this to what the slate of candidates could have been, with Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, or even John Edwards possibly on the ticket. Or contrast this to 2004, when Middle America had to choose between which Presidential candidate 'sucked less' (as the bumper sticker goes).

So what would a McCain, Clinton, or Obama Presidency bring to America?

For one, Barack Obama brings change. I know, I know: 'change' is getting 'old', and one could argue that all three candidates will bring 'change' (especially given the current administration's low bar). But what's credible about Obama's claim to change is that he has already demonstrated change. My friend Dennis likes to describe Obama as the 'Tiger Woods of politics', because, as the analogy goes, no one started watching golf until Tiger started playing, and winning. In the same manner, over the course of two months, Obama has shown us more than that he is electable, that he can bring new voters into the process, that he can reach across the aisle, that he can win independents, or that he could successfully take on the establishment (See: 'Clinton', 'political machine') - he has also made us interested in politics (and in speeches) again. And as President, Obama will no doubt do the same -- at least, I'm confident that he would. Clinton likes to claim that Obama is not ready on Day One, but Obama will already accomplish much by being in the Oval Office on Day One: he will contribute to an immediate 'rebranding' of America in the eyes of the world, and he will have legions of youth and new C-SPAN watchers actively engaged with him in the political process. It's more than what any foreign policy shift or domestic program introduction could ever accomplish.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, brings two major assets to the White House: the first is her experience; the second is Bill. (Just kidding) "35 years" of experience may be exaggerating it (If serving as First Lady counted on a resume, then Laura Bush could be running the Free World, too), but Clinton doesn't lie when she says she's tested and she's ready. Of course, there is her baggage, but baggage is an inevitable by-product of years of learning and experience. And I know that I wrote a big, bloated paragraph in support of Obama just now, but I believe Clinton will be the better President, hands down. At the same time, she may even be more electable in the general election than Obama, whose lack of gray hair and non-nuanced approach toward Iraq may turn out more to be liabilities when running against Mr. McCain.

And yes, finally, there is John McCain. For all the flak that he's been receiving from the conservative media and the New York Times (politics does make strange bedfellows), one must keep in mind two things when judging this man: Firstly, McCain is a man of character. To prove this to the swiftboaters, let me tell you a quick story. As a P.O.W., McCain was invited to check out of the Hanoi Hilton early, when his father became Naval Commander of all US Forces in Vietnam. He didn't, but stayed on four more years -- supposedly to avoid giving his captors a propaganda coup and to show solidarity with his fellow prisoners. I don't know about you, but that says a lot about the character of the man - to do the right thing when others weren't looking - and this reveals the kind of character that he would bring to the Presidency. Secondly, McCain is a man of conviction. He has voted on the Senate Floor along his conscience, not along the party line, and he was even invited to become John Kerry's running mate in 2004. As a result, he may have paid the price politically with his party, but he has earned major props in the eyes of the American people. John McCain is a true American hero.

I conclude by ending with my favorite line from the movie Casablanca. As the Humphrey Bogart character declares, "the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." In the same manner, as voters in four states head to the polls tomorrow (for what will be the real "Super Tuesday"), they should not feel torn by the headache of choosing among three highly qualified candidates, but comforted to know that the country has already won. [Okay, so I don't know how that Casablanca quote related...] Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or Barack Obama -- not one of these candidates will ill serve America.

So let the best man or woman win. In the meantime, congratulate yourselves.


When it rains...

Sorry if it seems like I'm monopolizing the blog with my email complaints. But it seems as if though the Princeton University Webmail has it in for me this week. Over the course of the last seven days, the IMAP Webmail has

1) refused to allow me to logon,
2) refused to allow me to access my inbox, and now
3) refused to allow me to access my contacts...

I wonder what will be the next thing to go missing.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Worse than the Blue Screen of Death


Story of my life...


Saturday, March 1, 2008

omg, detention! that's, like, unconstitutional!

In a prime example of JG's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory, reports on an eighth grade prank-turned protest: 29 eighth graders decided to pay for their $2 lunches entirely in pennies. The lunch ladies got a headache, the kids got detention. All in a day's work, right?

Well, not quite. Some of the kids get the brilliant idea to turn the whole prank into a supposed protest against too-short lunch periods. Within 24 hours, the article explodes with 200+ comments consisting almost entirely of:

"Last time I checked, pennies were still legal tender."
"These kids are just exercising their democratic right to buy lunch with pennies!"
"This is the problem with America! People trying to protest shouldn't get punished for it - that would be communism!"

Let's get real here. Some kids thought it would be funny to pull a prank, they get afterschool detention, and we're all upset that this is unfair?

Democracy is all well and good, but even the students admit that the idea of a protest was something they came up with afterwards. (See news video.) If they really thought it was too short a time in which to consume their lunches, they could at least have brought the problem up in a civil conversation with the administration before they decided to (Get this, this is good) hold up lunch lines further and make sure no one gets food.

Maybe it's because I'm from communist China, but I have trouble with anything that is used as an unbeatable excuse, be it democracy or the r-word (the touchy one that ends with -eligion). It's a little like Godwin's Law: somehow if you're on the side of democracy, you can't be wrong. People (especially those posting anonymously) try to cling to democracy as this magic bullet that can win all their arguments for them. As long as something is democratic, it is good; any perceived threat to said goodness should either be protested MLK-style or deported to the panda lands far East.

But imagine, if you will, that lunchtime was considered adequate each day. The kids each show up with 200 pennies, serve 2 detentions, lesson learned. It's not even as though a detention is a particularly harsh punishment (though perhaps 2 in a row is unthinkable!!!).

Now we decide to claim that it was a protest (because in eighth grade we're really going to be organizing Kingian civil disobedience), and suddenly we have everyone's support. The administration has transformed into this fire-breathing tyrant, plucked straight out of that movie where it had quite a good thing going knocking over skyscrapers in Tokyo, and the pranksters become valiant defenders of social justice, grossly mistreated.

Really, if we're going to style ourselves the young Rosa Parkses and Gandhis (or Gondi, according to a commenter) of this new generation, we're going to have to be prepared to deal with the repercussions. After all, it's not particularly heroic if we don't risk our lives and/or our weekday afternoons in the process!

In that case, let's all just bludgeon the principal with blunt instruments!

Okay, but don't forget to get the lunch ladies too!

No prob, they're just stupid lunch ladies anyway.

Yes, because I count to 5,800 every day.


And you thought the disappearing inbox was bad...

Enter netid.


Enter password.


Cue purple login-in rectangle.

Check email. Enter netid. WTF?

I have discovered a new webmail plague... Will the tortures never end?