Week In Review: Who’s On The Rise, Who’s Falling Down Edition (June 21 – June 27)

Top of the agenda this past week: Gen. David Petraeus *85 *87 is tapped to replace Gen. McChrystal as the Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. Which got us to thinking – what other Tigers found themselves on the rise this week? And, since we believe in a strictly zero-sum world, which Princetonians have seen their stock tumble faster than  BP’s? Here’s our run down of who had the best and worst weeks.

Best Weeks:

Gen. David Petraeus ’85 ’87

Gen. David Petraeus offers to pitch in for the war effort in Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus offers to pitch in for the war effort in Afghanistan

As we reported on Wednesday, Gen. David Petraeus *85 *87 will be taking over in Afghanistan (the Senate confirmation hearing is Tuesday, but it’d be a shocker if Petraeus wasn’t confirmed).

Granted, most people wouldn’t consider being put in charge of a complex, costly, and potentially unwinnable war a “good week.”  But David Petraeus is not most people. And from a political standpoint, the pick of Petraeus is furthering talks that there might be a presidential run in his future.

Of course, if a year from now Afghanistan is worse than ever and the General’s press office starts giving freelance reporters from Rolling Stone unfettered access, then we may look back on this week as somewhat inglorious. But for now, Good Week!

Heidi Miller ’74

“Who?” you ask. Well, all you aspiring Wall Street types, listen up:

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon announced last week that Miller would head up the new Global Corporate Bank. Miller is described as Dimon’s confidant and a possible pick to someday run the giant bank.

So, yeah, Good Week.

Ellie Kemper ’02

Ellie Kemper '02

Ellie Kemper '02

Arguments in favor of Kemper (known to the uninformed as merely Erin on The Office) being every literary nerd’s dream girl:

1. She writes for McSweeney’s.

2. And The Onion.

3. And she announced this week that she has a contract for a new book she’s writing with her sister.

Sounds like a Good Week to us.

And the unfortunate?

Continue reading…

Breaking the Ice — “Shirley Tilghman: Not a Bro”

"Dick Van Buren" icing Prez Shirley Tilghman

"Dick Van Buren" '10 icing Prez Shirley Tilghman

That up there is Shirley Tilghman, President of Princeton University. Opposite her is “Dick Van Buren” ’10 (who asked we change his name for this article). In the photo, DVB is icing Shirley Tilghman. This is his story.

But, let’s backtrack for a second — if you haven’t yet heard of icing, well, I guess you’re not a bro, bro. Quoth the Times:

The premise of the game is simple: hand a friend a sugary Smirnoff Ice malt beverage and he (most participants have been men) has to drink it on one knee, all at once — unless he is carrying a bottle himself, in which case the attacker must drink both bottles of what [one bro] described as a “pretty terrible” drink.

The trend’s struck colleges across the country, and has even started to creep into everyday bro life. (Icing a bro when he gets to his office desk in the morning, icing a bro when he gets back from the gym, icing a bro coming out the bathroom — classic, all of them.) Unfortunately, the chronicler of the offline meme, BrosIcingBros.com, has stepped down. But if you stuck around for Reunions this year, you might have seen the wreckage of the beautiful game around campus — freshly downed bottles of Ice were strewn about campus much of the weekend.

And one of those Ices had Shirley’s name on it. DVB tells us how things went down.

Continue reading…

Gen. David Petraeus *85 *87 to become commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="504" caption="via electricityandlust.wordpress.com"]via electricityandlust.wordpress.com[/caption]

Some breaking news for you this Wednesday afternoon: Even after his fainting spell last week, Gen. Petraeus, a four-star general with a master’s degree and PhD. from the Woodrow Wilson School, replaced Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the commander of American forces in Afghanistan. Politico reports:

President Barack Obama has relieved Gen. Stanley McChrystal of command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, POLITICO has learned, and replaced him with Gen. David Petraeus – putting a general well-known throughout the world for his work in Iraq in charge of the mission in Afghanistan.

The Petraeus move is in some ways a demotion for the four-star general – who as head of U.S. Central Command was McChrystal’s boss, in charge of the whole Middle East theater. But it signaled a desire by Obama to move swiftly to cap the McChrystal situation by picking a sure-footed new commander, familiar with combat zones, counter-insurgency and how to deal with the press.

The move came in response to a very forthcoming Rolling Stone profile of McChrystal released yesterday. In it, McChrystal spoke out against high-level American officials, including Vice President Biden (who he referred to, charmingly, as “Bite Me”) and President Obama, who he found unprepared and unengaged in some meetings with him.

Petraeus, who wrote his Princeton dissertation on “The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam,” recently spoke at Alumni Day this past March.

Hopefully al Qaeda hasn’t seen this picture already. Not very threatening.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="via ivygateblog.com"]via ivygateblog.com[/caption]

Week In Review: Minor Medical Incident Edition (June 14 – June 20)

If you are one of the poor phantoms haunting this ghost campus right now, craving some marginally-Princeton-related excitement, this might be the fix you need. We’ve got our mainstays– Whitman’s gubernatorial race, Bradley’s World Cup squad — but this was also a week of broken ankles, bloody noses, and fainting spells. Oh, and heinous refereeing. Tigers sorta set the media aflame this week, for better or for worse.

Something tells us a Fortune cover with a thoroughbred isn't the best candidacy PR move

Something tells us the front cover of Fortune with a thoroughbred isn't exactly the best PR move

Running for office tends to bring all the unsavory bits to the surface, as Meg Whitman ’78 probably knows by now. Her whole family seems to be fair game: gossip rags have had a field day mining all the exploits of Whitman and her sons, Griff Harsh ’09 and Will Harsh ’11. A few days ago, Gawker conveniently rolled it all into one, hyper-hyperlinked, mud-slinging blog post. They lead things off with Griff allegedly breaking some lady’s ankle, and not on the b-ball court:

According to a police report filed later that night, [a 22 year-old woman Valerie] Sanchez and her friends had mocked his fraternity and said “fuck you” and “fuck your fraternity” to him before Sanchez swiped Griff’s baseball cap off his head. The altercation escalated when both parties arrived at Blue Chalk Cafe. According to Valerie’s statement to the police, they were inside the bar when Griff “pushed” her “with two open hands on her chest and shoulder area.” She fell down and felt her right ankle “snap.” A nearby security guard witnessed the event and corroborated Valerie’s version of the events.

The aftermath? Whitman “posted Griff’s $25,000 bail with a cashier’s check and brought her son home,” and the charges were eventually dropped under vague circumstances.

And further stoking the Whitman media flame: maybe-governor Meg apparently roughed up one of her young eBay employees, as the New York Times reported on Monday:

Ms. [Young Mi] Kim later told at least one colleague that Ms. Whitman used an expletive and shoved her. According to one of the eBay employees knowledgeable about Ms. Whitman’s version of the incident, Ms. Whitman said that she had physically guided Ms. Kim out of the conference room.

Unlike Griff’s incident, there was no word as to her actual technique — did she also use the patented Whitman family double-open-hand shove? — but at least Ms. Kim escaped unscathed. Maybe Whitman was just getting in the right mindset, taking after her potential predecessor? Unanswered questions.

There was no roughhousing involved, but General David Petraeus *87 apparently fainted during a congressional hearing on Afghanistan strategy. Senator McCain aimed a question, then “stopped mid-sentence, his face frozen, as Petraeus slumped forward from his seat on to the witness table.” The general recovered quickly, chalked it up to dehydration and jet lag, and shrugged it off … pretty reasonable. (Happens to the best of us. Now that I think of it, happened to that one kid at that one bar mitzvah in 7th grade.)

Meanwhile, the media proceeded to grossly overreact and degenerate into some kind of weird speculative frenzy, best summed up by a genius Huffington Post video:

One of our Press Clubbers works with a DC intern who was present at the hearing and said it was a pretty low-key affair: he left, got some water, came back and apologized. Leave it to the media to blow things violently out of proportions!!!

And after the jump, graphic images of Congressman Jared Polis ’96 bleeding out of his face. Proceed at your own risk:

Continue reading…

Week in Review: World Cup Edition (June 7 – June 13)

Top of the agenda this past week: World Cup. Princeton alums had a hand on all sides in the run-up to the tournament, from coaching, to hosting, to lambasting on Comedy Central. More sports on the docket too, as some Tigers got picked in the MLB drafts this past week. And other stuff: Paul Krugman made funny sounds in an unfunny movie and Meg Whitman ’78 won an election to go to another election.

Bradley 80 led the U.S. Mens Soccer Team to a tie with England on Saturday

Don't mess: Bradley '80

Unless you’ve recently slipped into a coma, or are one of millions of Americans who are wondering why people are playing football with their feet, you’ve probably tuned into a few of the World Cup matches. The biggest news of the Cup on this side of the Atlantic has to be the unexpected tie between England and the U.S. on Saturday.

Strangely, Princeton has a hand in all this: you may have heard that the U.S. Men’s National Team trained at Princeton’s Roberts Stadium from May 17 to May 23. Not only that, but the team’s coach, Bob Bradley ’80 earned a history degree from the University, coached soccer at Princeton for 11 years, and his brother, Scott Bradley, coaches Princeton’s baseball team. Eerie, we know.

Princeton-soccer-Comedy Central connections abounded on Thursday, as The Daily Show‘s John Oliver reported from Princeton on the state of the U.S. Soccer Team. Here’s the clip, complete with tons of shots in Princeton’s rather indistinguishable stadium (save for some orange and black and Fine Hall in the distance):

But even afterwards, on the Colbert Report, Comedy Central kept on with the Princeton-soccer vibe.

Continue reading…

Paul Krugman’s Six-Syllable Cameo

Get Him to the Greek didn’t do much for me. But it may have jumpstarted a new comedy career — I mean, to the extent that six syllables can jumpstart a career. In one scene, Russell Brand’s woozy rockstar character makes a Today Show appearance, and he is followed by none other than our own Nobel Laureate/NYT columnist/professor of economics/demigod Paul Krugman. Jonah Hill, who plays Brand’s agent, bumps into the professor backstage and conveys his father’s appreciation of Krugman’s work. The scene brought a jolt of, um, comedic energy to the movie, according to a lot of people on the internet. I thought it was pretty funny. Here is some sketchy camcorder footage of the scene, courtesy of New York‘s Daily Intel blog:

For those too lazy to look, these are Professor Krugman’s nuggets of deadpan humor:

1. Uh, yeah.

2. Thank you.

3. Oh boy.

Meg Whitman ’78 wins California Republican primary

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="352" caption="How much would the state of California cost if it were up for auction on eBay?"]How much would the state of California cost if it were up for auction on eBay?[/caption]

In her quiet plot to take over the world, former CEO and President of eBay Meg Whitman ’78 won yesterday the Republican candidacy in California’s gubernatorial election this fall. Whitman defeated state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner with 64% of the vote compared to his 26%. Some news sources call this a landslide. To me it sounds like California hasn’t subscribed to grade deflation.

Her win comes after she spent $80 million ($71 million of which were her own) in the race and made the primary the costliest in Californian history, which would have made it awkward if she hadn’t won, because, dude, that’s like two Whitman Colleges. The victory also makes Whitman the first woman to ever hold the Republican nomination for California’s governor position.

Oh, right, and before we forget, to save the media the trouble, we’ll just let you know now: Whitman’s senior thesis was titled The Marketing of American Consumer Products in Western Europe and was 83 pages. No word on her report card, but she graduated, says Wikipedia, with honors. So that’s fun.

Also fun: If Whitman wins, she will be the one one of two Princeton-educated governors in the United States, and will be head of a state that is severely screwed and running a $20 billion deficit. So hopefully Whitman can market some Californian products to Western Europe, which also slowly collapses under the heavy weight of its debt.

At any rate, Whitman will face Democratic ex-governor and California Attorney General Jerry Brown in the gubernatorial election. Good luck Meg, and cheers — here’s to having another Princetonian be important.

(image via solidprinciples.com)

(Ed.: An earlier version of this post stated Whitman’s victory in the fall would make her the one governor from Princeton, but we forgot Mitch Daniels from Indiana.)

Week in Review (May 30 – June 6): Campus Diaspora Edition

Since it’s summer and we know you’re busy at your super-important [insert bank here]/[insert NGO here]/[insert research institution here] internship or backpacking across Europe or voraciously watching back episodes of Gossip Girl, we here at The Ink round up the week’s news so you don’t have to. Today we’ve got some graduations stuff, some art crime stuff, some reality TV show stuff, some fratty stuff, and generally, stuff.

First up this week: Alumni swarmed Princeton this weekend, as you might have guessed, for Reunions. There was debauchery, there was dunko (as per the Wall Street Journal), and good times had by old people. God reportedly attempted to smite the revelers, but only knocked out a few trees. Fun!

A tree near Dillon Gym faced the wrath of nature

A tree near Dillon Gym faced the wrath of nature

Also, graduation happened, which is weird to think because that means a quarter of the student body has moved on into the real world. At Baccalaureate on Sunday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ’86 told the Class of 2010 about his grandmother and to be kind.

And then NBC news anchor Charlie Gibson ’65 cracked some jokes, along with Class Day speakers Zach Zimmerman ’10 and Becca Foresman ’10. Reports indicate everybody had a good time. Too bad superstar student body commander-in-chief CDY wasn’t there, because he was racing with Jonathan Schwartz ’10 while filming an episode of the CBS reality show The Amazing Race.

The Class of 2010 marched on anyway, and 1,166 seniors passed through FitzRandolph Gates, with some special guests. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was given an honorary degree for a bunch of stuff, among them being a trailblazer for women’s rights and being pretty old.

Valedictorian David Karp (who had 29 A’s and A+’s!?) spoke, along with salutatorian Marguerite Colson, who gave her address in Latin to a bunch of people who couldn’t understand her:

Because few students today know Latin, the new graduates follow along using printed copies of the remarks. These include footnotes telling when to applaud (plaudite) and laugh (ridete). Guests and other audience members do not have the annotated copies, a practice dictated by tradition because the salute is directed to the members of the class.

Here’s a slick video Princeton made of the happenings. Money shot’s near the end, with the Class of 2010 on the steps of Blair Arch, doing the creepy Heil singing “Old Nassau.”

We’ll miss you guys!

And then, that huge sucking sound you heard on Wednesday? That was campus being evacuated for the summer. News grinded to a halt, but stuff still happened, apparently:

Continue reading…

IN PRINT: University to Consider Banning Frats & Sororities, Tilghman says

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="199" caption="John Burford '12, former SAE pledge"]John Burford 12, former SAE pledge[/caption]

The administration will consider over the summer banning fraternities and sororities outright from campus, President Shirley Tilghman said in an interview.

Tilghman said she was considering three options: 1) keeping the University’s current policy of non-recognition, 2) recognizing fraternities and sororities in the hopes of increasing regulation and University oversight, and 3) banning Greek life from Princeton outright.

“At the moment I am keeping an open mind about all options,” including retaining the University’s existing policy of non-recognition, Tilghman said in an e-mail to PAW. One way to ban Greek life, she said, would be to require matriculating students to pledge not to join fraternities or sororities, the same method used when fraternities were banned from Princeton between 1855 and World War II.

Tilghman’s comments came the week after John Burford ’12, a former Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) pledge, described allegations of serious fraternity hazing in The Daily Princetonian’s article, a story that had been recorded for a fall journalism class and posted on The Weekly Blog at PAW Online in February.

While most fraternity and sorority alumni said they enjoyed their Greek life experience, some alumni now say they have their doubts. The founding president of Theta, Mim Stokes Brown ’85, told the PAW: “My personal feeling is that the school doesn’t need them. Between the eating clubs and residential colleges, it just seems unnecessary… I can’t think what value is added by having fraternities and sororities.”

Read the rest of the PAW exclusive here.

(image source: Princeton Alumni Weekly)