A Look Back at 2010

2010. A year of the same old Princeton happenings–bitching about Dean’s Date, bitching about grade deflation, bitching about bad FML posts. But there were a few things that we think set Oh-Ten apart: Robot Unicorn Attack, Supreme Court dominance, and the demise of Four Loko.

Here’s what happened in 2010:

  • January: There were exams. There are always exams. For the four years you are at Princeton, you will never have a January that isn’t at least partly awful, on account of exams. However: Dean’s Date liveblog. —DCW
  • February: Chatroulette was just starting to become a campus phenomenon, and by phenomenon, we mean something that people would do at parties when they were drunk. In February, we brought you the story of three friends who ran into each other on Chatroulette–while 16,216 other users from around the world were also chatting and nexting each other. -AW
    All month, we crossed our fingers and it happened: February 10th — Snow Day! With classes cancelled, Princetonians’ inner five-year-olds came out to play. The day unfolded like a story — like Beginner’s Reading story from Highlights For Children where nothing bad ever happens ever and instead the characters perform one wholesome recreational activity after another until it’s time to go home and get warm and Mom’s made hot chocolate with marshmallows oh yeah! It was simple. It was uncool. It was so, so wonderful. It was: Snowball fight in the Junior Slums! Quick now sled down Whitman Hill! Hide out in an igloo! Build a snowman on Alexander Beach! How could you not go to bed that night with a smile? — DCW
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    Thought you had a bad week?

    Yeah, midterms have come and gone, and they hit some of us hard (I currently am watching a passed out underclassman drool on a table littered with sheets of math in Frist). Can you imagine what it’s like in the real world, though? More specifically, in the political world?

    Take note all you Woody Woo majors: it gets worse!

    ...then CA was like, meh

    ...then CA was like, 'meh'

    • The cherry on top of Meg’s campaign? At least she’s kind of like, the female “Governator,” or at least according to this attack ad running now.

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    Whitman calls someone “Dracula” in first gubernatorial debate

    With a little over a month until election day in California, former CEO and President of eBay Meg Whitman ’78 and Democratic nominee Jerry Brown met to swap insults at the first gubernatorial debate. The showdown was held at the University of California at Davis and was the first of three scheduled in the race to succeed Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    The NBC KCRA-TV channel in Sacramento, a sponsor of the debate, is calling Brown the winner, with polls showing a 57%-43% preference for the former governor and current California Attorney General.


    Well, regardless of whether she actually could win or not, Whitman still threw some punches. Her most memorable zinger? Apparently, putting Brown in charge of the state’s economy when it is in such a wreck would be like “putting Count Dracula in charge of the blood bank.”

    Which is… pretty hilarious. (No offense to Brown or anybody but, really? Dracula? That’s a keeper.)

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    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?

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    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:

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    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.

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    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.)

    Ranking Residential Colleges By Their Namesakes’ Political Aspirations

    Meg Whitman ’77 has had a bumpy start to her gubernatorial campaign since she announced her decision in February. First, it turned out she was a lot more conservative than many thought–including her former gay employees at eBay–when she came out in favor of Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.

    Then, fellow Silicon Valley alum Steve Poizner, who is also running to be the GOP candidate, began attacking Whitman’s business leadership at eBay. The company’s new CEO has been frantically undoing everything Whitman did because it hasn’t been working.

    In the meantime, continuing our miniobsession with Whitman’s run for office out in the Sunshine State Golden State, we decided to take a look at all the residential colleges through the political prism:

    wilson1. Wilson College
    Woodrow Wilson: President of Princeton University, governor of the “great” state of New Jersey, the 28th President of the United States, and the hands-down winner of this list.

    forbes2. Forbes College
    Malcolm “Steve” Forbes ran in the 1996 and 2000 Republican Presidential primaries. His pseudo-libertarian flat tax agenda only won him Arizona and Delaware in 1996, and he dropped out early in 2000. Still, he remains an important financial supporter and logistical adviser to many members of the Republican Party.

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    Whitman to Spend $150M on Gubernatorial Run

    castateflag vs.

    [caption id="attachment_563" align="aligncenter" width="250" caption="(image source: princeton.edu)"](image source: princeton.edu)[/caption]

    Meg Whitman ’77, who has announced her intention to run for governor of California, has predicted that her campaign could cost $150 million, much of it self-financed.

    The $150 million figure is about the same amount of money it took Princeton to build Whitman College ($136 million). But Whitman didn’t finance the entire cost of the fieldstone/limestone clusterfuck that was built to last 200(!) years: she “just” donated the initial $30 million to kick start the project.

    This, of course, means that Whitman loves California about five times more than she loves Princeton. Alternatively, it could also mean that her campaign will be five times better than Whitman College, which can only be a good thing because the 250,000 sq. ft. complex is an ugly monstrosity.

    (Also: Did you know that Community Hall, Whitman’s dining hall [a.k.a. barn], isn’t named for the Princeton University community, but for the eBay community? WTF?)

    Meg Whitman: The Historical Precedent?

    [caption id="attachment_16" align="alignleft" width="186" caption="Meg Whitman '77: California Guv Wannabe & Builder of Great Castles"]meg[/caption]

    About a week ago Meg Whitman ’77 threw her hat into the ring for the California Gubernatorial race (info here). And while the rest of the world may know her as the former Ebay CEO, we of course think of her first and foremost as a Princeton alum. But did you know that, if elected, Whitman wouldn’t be the first California Governor somehow linked to Princeton?

    That honor belongs to Princeton-born Robert Stockton, a Navy Commodore who in January 1847, during the Mexican-American War, appointed himself the first Military Governor of California. His tenure, however, was short lived, as in February of that same year he was ousted by the actual appointed (by the US government) Governor, General Stephen Kearny.

    [caption id="attachment_235" align="alignright" width="156" caption="Robert Stockton: Sort of California Guv"]rfstockton[/caption]

    And while Stockton never actually attended Princeton University (he joined the Navy when he was 16), he was born in Princeton, he died in Princeton, and he’s buried in the Princeton cemetery (there’s also apparently a rest stop named after him on the New Jersey Turnpike.) So remember Robert Stockton, just in case Meg ends up winning and calling herself “the first Princeton Governor of California.”