Oct

20

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Sex sells… tickets for arthritis benefit!

Guys, in case you weren’t tapping through the Ivy League Snapchat Story in Butler last night, AOII had their philanthropy event, AOKaraoke, and it was wild. Bwoggers Victoria Arancio and Aliya Schneider checked it out.

This year’s AOKaraoke event’s theme was Pillow Talk. In all honesty, the theme at first caused me to cringe: watching people try to sing in addition to trying too hard to be overtly sexual sounded like it would just make me really uncomfortable. Once the music started playing, my doubts and reservations were overpowered by Jason Derulo’s, “Trumpets” and Bruno Mars’, “Marry You.” Despite the event’s theme, intended to celebrate women’s ability to take control of their own sexual narrative, the performers—mostly men—proved to instead embrace their self-humiliation, objectifying themselves. It was messy. It was fun. My expectations were low. The event surprised me in the best way possible. I’ll give you the run down on all things karaoke: how the fraternities and sororities performed, what they sang, and more.

Get the full run down, including the salacious pics!

Oct

20

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“Yasss Queens”

Mary Stuart is premiering tonight and tomorrow as well, so go buy tickets while you can and experience this Victorian drama for yourself. More information and tickets can be found here.

When considering Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, many envision a woman donning a Victorian-era gown, sashaying through lavish palaces, and, perhaps, sipping tea in a well-maintained garden. Few imagine the queen as a prisoner, though this is how she spent the latter half of her life. Even fewer envision the queen in a full-leather outfit, exiting a prison cell after nearly 20 years of confinement, while hymn-like music plays in the background, and yet this idyllic vision is the final scene in director Gisela Cardenas’s adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart.

The show took place in the Minor Latham Playhouse, located in Barnard’s Milbank Hall. As I entered the theater, I was greeted by acoustic guitar, and soft, white lighting on the stage illuminated two of the actors. One held the guitar, and the other, facing away from the audience, seemed to be pondering a notion of great importance. With a sense of calm about me, I took a seat next to a fellow theater-enthusiast and friend, and within a few minutes, the show began.

The production centers on Stuart’s final days of captivity under Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Stuart, played by Lily Whiteman, a junior Theatre major at Barnard, is loud, bold, and unashamed of standing up for herself while she attempts to negotiate her way out of prison. Various friends and lords try to help the captive, but the threat of Queen Elizabeth’s wrath hangs over their heads, and for the duration of the show, Stuart’s future hangs in the balance.

Read more about the production after the jump.

Oct

20

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How do we find meaning in music?

The Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience kicked off this year’s series of seminars with “Music and Meaning,” a seminar designed to examine the ways we find meaning in music from an interdisciplinary perspective. Bwogger Ramisa was there.

The seminar began with a welcome from Pamela Smith, Professor of History and Chair of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience. David Freedberg, Professor of the History of Art and Director of the Italian Academy, then briefly took the podium to discuss the history of these seminars before handing the podium back to Smith, who introduced the moderators of the seminar, Jacqueline Gottlieb, Professor of Neuroscience, and Andrew Goldman, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

Gottlieb began by introducing the topic of music and how it relates to neuroscience by providing two contrasting viewpoints. First, she stated, “Music is an essential part of our lives. Without music, life would be a mistake.” She countered this, however, with, “From my perspective as a neuroscientist, music should not exist.” She explained that nervous systems are adaptive systems to learn to increase biological fitness, and from this perspective, music and art are just signals that should be ignored like other stimuli that have little to do with biological fitness. Tying this topic into the idea of “meaning,” Gottlieb then defined meaning as what humans look for in everything; human beings have a drive for making sense of the world, constantly searching for predictability, which in turn becomes meaning. We, however, are struggling to find out what we find meaning in. Gottlieb left the audience with two questions. What do we find value in? And what makes things interesting and worthwhile to us? She then introduced how the speakers would address those questions.

The speakers address the question after the jump!

Oct

20

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I wonder if this is why the McBain fire alarms are always going off…

Tired of straight vodka chugged from the bottle because midterm season is stressful, oh so stressful, oh god why did I ever sign up for these classes? Well then, we’ve got the recipes for you. All you need to do is BYOB and swipe ingredients with the help of your swipe!

Cape Cod, or “I stole this watered down vodka from a frat and want to seem fancy”
● Your choice of vodka
● Cranberry juice stolen from Ferris (when it hasn’t been replaced by another apple juice dispenser)

Cuba Libre, or “I don’t want to call it a ‘rum and coke’ because I want to seem cultured”
● Light rum
● Coca Cola acquired from the John Jay drink dispensers

Screwdriver, or “I couldn’t afford a mimosa”
● Vodka
● JJ’s orange juice (with pulp) or a bottle grabbed amongst your 4 afforded snacks

Sangria, or “A food blogger told me to use ‘bold, fruity, dry Spanish wine’ for this and I don’t know what that means”
● Red, red wine
● John Jay apples and oranges
● Cane sugar from John Jay

More after the jump!

Oct

20

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one of the most serious of the bunch

Anonymous work from the Sexual Respect Initiative Arts Option

CW: This article discusses sexual assault as well as incapacitation and memory loss due to alcohol.

On Thursday, Title IX Coordinator and Associate Vice President Marjory Fisher sat down with a small group of students for one of many Sexual Respect Initiative workshops offered during October. All incoming students are required to participate in one of the many and varied SRI options. Fisher’s event focused on the topics of incapacitation and consent with particular attention towards alcohol, and how the university as an adjudicating institution thinks of the connection of those ideas.

Fisher’s first major point was that it is possible to have consenting, positive sexual interactions while using alcohol or other drugs. For Columbia and for the state of New York, intoxication occurs on a scale. While intoxicated people can give consent, incapacitated people are incapable of doing so. Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual conduct because they lack the ability to understand their decisions and make rational, reasonable choices. Signs of incapacitation considered by the university include dizziness, slurring, unawareness, and vomiting, among others.

Fisher also emphasized that even blacked out individuals may be able to consent under Columbia’s and New York’s definitions. Blackouts occur when the hippocampus cannot write memories, resulting in the inability to recall events in fragments or en bloc. Fisher shared anecdotes from her experience of men and women with no memory who were, by bystander accounts, totally lucid and aware during their periods of amnesia. Because memory-writing may be independent from other functions, Fisher explained that a respondent may not be able to use their blackout as evidence of their inability to consent at the time of a sexual encounter or assault.

However the state of intoxication may affect a survivor, respondents cannot use their drunkenness as an excuse for sexual assault. Even if a person was too drunk to determine if a partner could consent, the burden for committing Gender Based Misconduct comes when an individual “knows or should know” of the incapacity of another. If a reasonable sober person could tell that a survivor was incapacitated, then that shows to Columbia that their assaulter “should have known” and can be held responsible. Conversely, if the respondent had no reasonable way of knowing that someone was incapacitated (for instance, if the respondent did not see any alcohol consumed or observe any signs of incapacitation), that may make it challenging for Fisher to push forward with a case.

Even more takes from the Title IX coordinator after the jump

Oct

20

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Try reading this entire article without a David Attenborough accent. It’s tough.

Like spotting a gazelle on the plains of Africa, one Bwogger recently ran into former Barnard President Deborah Spar. And now, the moment it happened in breathtaking detail. 

At a recent engagement, I had the pleasure of running into DSpar, a figure as pivotal to Barnard’s history as the late magnolia tree. As she strutted down the block, her assistant in tow, pedestrians (including myself) were entranced by her aura. Could I stop this poised gazelle in her tracks? She sauntered away as quickly as she had appeared like a rare bird alerted to the gaze of its audience. Like seeing an ex-flame, I found myself perplexed: Do I pretend like I’m doing great without her? Or do I still strive for her approval? To be honest, my reaction was to simply think to myself, ‘I love her.

Whether you like her or not is a moot point–she’s the epitome of an icon, in that she represents a lioness that signifies both effortless confidence and a meticulously curated image. When she walks, you can almost see the ambition seeping out of her manicured hands. Though I had experienced this demeanor in a climate of aptly liberated millennial, DSpar was now in her natural environment. Surrounded by a group she described as her elite peers that run in her New York City social circle, this lioness was emboldened by her captivated entourage. This was not my DSpar who had served me french toast sticks in Diana, but instead an Alpha in a herd of her own species.

More on this rare sighting after the jump

Oct

20

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“This next one’s called Wonderwall”

Happening Around The World: US-backed militants declared total victory over the Islamic State in the Syrian city of Raqqa. The pronouncement was made in the same dusty soccer stadium where the ISIS militants made their last stand earlier this week. (CNN)

Happening In The US: Famed white supremacist Richard Spencer (read his profile in the Atlantic here) spoke at the University of Florida yesterday enticing many protests, including a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the black national anthem, on the school’s bell tower. (CNN)

Happening In NYC: The Westin New York hotel in Times Square is preparing a return of its $1,000 bagel, previously available for a limited time in 2007. The bagel will feature white truffle cream cheese, goji berry-infused Riesling jelly and golden leaf flakes and is only a tad more expensive than the average Nussbaum schmear. (Pix11)

Happening At Columbia: As today’s date is, in fact, 10/20, Notes and Keys are holding their Midsemester Concert called “ThrowNAK: The (10)20’s” which is themed around “celebrating flappers, women’s suffrage, and our favorite local speakeasy, 1020!” Is it too much to hope for a surprise appearance by Lin-Manuel?

Overheard: “Wait, if we’re just gonna be prostitutes, why do we have to go to law school?”

Bop of the Day: Digital Witness by St. Vincent

Oct

20

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(logo by pentagram design in collaboration with the ghost of frank lloyd wright)

If you have a Twitter account, you’ve probably seen your fair share of funny bot accounts. One of them keeps track of how far through the year we are (80% through 2017, as of today!) while another tweets every color. We here at Bwog were tired of automation not yet taking our jobs, and so we… uh… repurposed some code found on the Internet and created a verified automated smash: @notbwog.

Our child, uh, I mean the cold, unfeeling bundle of ones and zeroes that we definitely haven’t developed a personal bond with, posts around once every three hours. And while a good number of them are nonsense (just think of them as Sappho fragments, but hornier) a few of them could actually be Bwog articles. We’re definitely going to write some of these in the future.

Enjoy some selections from the bot’s nearly two weeks of near-sentience. Hopefully when Skynet takes over we’ll be remembered as some of the good humans.

1. Raise your hand if you’re feeling personally attacked. I know I’m not the only one. 

2. This paradoxical clickbait would definitely work on me.

3. Hey bro can you look over my cover letter? It’s just the word ‘cheese’ over and over. 

4. Is it a statement or a question? Either way, we’re here for it.

5. This isn’t an actual tweet. A robot wrote this. 

6. And finally, some insight into Deputy Editor Youngweon’s thoughts. 

Oct

19

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Jason (Hugo Wehe) and Medea (Grace Meriam).

Bwoggers Leo Bevilacqua and Gabrielle Kloppers review KCST’s adaptation of “Medea,” which was directed by Asya Sagnek, BC ’19, produced by Sophie Seidenberg, BC ’19, stage managed by Ally Han, CC ’19, designed by Breanna Beaudrault, BC ’19, and Kalina Ko, BC ’21, and with dramaturgy by Luke Cregan, CC ’19. 

Medea, one of the most celebrated Greek tragedies, is a tall order for any director. What Asya Sagnak, undertakes is truly ambitious and powerful; a story of a persecuted foreign queen who attempts to gain agency in a male-dominated world is pertinent to the current political climate. Sagnak and her creative team edited the long tragedy to about 70 minutes, highlighting the theme of displacement.

The Lerner Black Box was another appropriate choice for this performance, as Medea, Rose Meriam, CC ’19 was attempting to find a center, a home. At the Black Box, the set was bare but nonetheless symbolic. Medea’s “home” at Corinth featured a closet with plenty of her clothes, a few scattered chairs, a bedside table, and a lamp. The debris of domestic life were an effective means of bringing the story of Medea into contemporary circumstances, making it more digestible for modern audiences. Medea’s murderous behavior might initially be shocking; however, when the audience is confronted with her desolate and dark home, her solitude, pain, and impetus for murder are elucidated.

More about the performance after the jump

Oct

19

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On October 13, President Donald Trump announced that he would decertify the Iran nuclear agreement. What exactly does this mean for global politics and energy policy? Staff writer Zöe Sottile trekked to the School of International and Public Affairs to find out.

Foreign affairs leaders announcing the framework for the Iran nuclear agreement in 2015.

This Wednesday morning, three top global policy experts took their seats on the 15th floor of SIPA to engage in a lively discussion called “Decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal: What Does It Mean?” Jason Bordoff, moderator and founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy, introduced the panelists: Richard Nephew, former Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy at the Department of State, who helped design the current U.S. sanctions against Iran; Avril Haines, former White House Deputy National Security Advisor, and former Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for the Obama Administration, and Helima Croft, Head of Commodity Strategy at ‎RBC Capital Markets. I was clearly the youngest person there and also the only one wearing jean shorts, which made for a great start to the morning.

The panel began with a discussion of what exactly Trump’s decision means. Richard Nephew explained that the Iran nuclear deal is an international agreement designed to limit Iran’s nuclear programs by providing sanctions relief, with specific legislative frameworks for its implementation signed by each involved country. Essentially, the U.S. agrees not to sanction Iran, and Iran agrees not to build nuclear weapons. Every ninety days, the president is required to certify both that Iran is complying with its obligations and that the deal is in America’s national security interests. While no one disputes that Iran is complying with its obligations, Trump has started trouble by claiming the deal isn’t good enough for the U.S. In particular, according to Nephew, the Trump administration claims that the deal isn’t long-acting enough and that it doesn’t address non-nuclear issues. Trump wants to impose sanctions again on Iran – a quest Nephew called foolish because “the nuclear deal explicitly allows the U.S. to use sanctions in nonnuclear ways.”

So if we withdraw from our agreements with Iran, what do we do then? Avril Haines pointed out that the next step of action lies with the majority or minority leader of Congress, who can introduce legislation in the next sixty days that would be subject to an easier, expedited legal process. Most experts agree, though, that the U.S. would have to reimpose all of the old sanctions to receive this expedited process – in other words, sanctions against Iran are all or nothing. Moreover, the U.S. government, has the option to reach out to the United Nations and trigger a process that would reenact the sanctions the UN held before the agreement. This would put pressure on other countries to sanction Iran in ways inconsistent with the existing agreement.

Nephew built on Haines’s thoughts, adding that U.S. sanction law is extraordinarily complex. It has many different sources of authority, ranging from national emergency to specific statutes. There are many sanctions against Iran, but also many waivers making those sanctions temporarily void that the president has to recertify every 120 days. So even if Trump comes out with a clear decision about snapping back the old nuclear sanctions, it’s unclear what he’ll do about the current waivers.

One of the key comments of the talk came from Haines, who pointed out that the objective of the nuclear deal in the first place was to make it harder for Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Whereas before the deal, the nation was only a few months away from having nuclear weapons at any moment, now it would take at least a year. In other words, the deal has worked so far. Haines also commented that much of the rhetoric around withdrawing from the agreement involves claiming that the U.S. can’t trust Iran. Haines pointed out that it’s because we don’t trust them that we have to make a deal with them to keep their nuclear weapons in check.

Helima Croft, finally, addressed the impact of these nuclear negotiations on the energy market. She said that Trump’s decision has injected a “political premium” into the oil market. The price of oil, she predicts, will rise by a few dollars and the price floor will solidify out of fear that Iranian exports may be reduced.

Nephew closed the discussion by connecting this specific decision to the larger Trump administration. He described the current government as having a “strong regime-change focus”, leading them to make drastic changes like decertifying the nuclear deal. On the other hand, he claimed that the administration doesn’t have enough staff to manage imminent crises, so they’re forced to deal with them on a situational basis. Faced with the mass of different policy crises sparked by decertification, Nephew imagines that Trump will likely sign on to a deal quite similar to the original nuclear agreement – leaving us where we started in the first place.

The panel was recorded and should be available online in a few days.

Photo via Flickr / U.S. Department of State.

Oct

19

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Are these the very “pinwheels” that were served in John Jay?

If you were to read the January 27, 2013 brunch menu for John Jay Dining Hall, you would find that the dishes served were not all that different from the cuisine provided by John Jay today. January 27’s menu offered the familiar John Jay plain pancakes, the made-to-order omelette line, the obligatory dishes of beans and a fancy grain you’ve never heard of before coming to college (in this case, couscous), and…pizza?

Yes, John Jay once had pizza. While the selection might not have quite been the Ferris array, this particular day had cheese pizza, broccoli pizza, and “pinwheels.” According to other historical menus courtesy of CU Dining, other varieties included BBQ chicken pizza, mushroom pizza, mushroom jalapeno pizza, and vegan cauliflower pizza.

Further research concluded that reviews of said pizza were mixed. While one Yelp Reviewer called the dish “palatable,” the Columbia Lion described this John Jay staple as “a crime.” Out4lunch.tumblr.com said: “The pizza often has a soggy crust and is literally dripping in oil. I usually have to dab it with napkins so I don’t feel like I’m going to go into cardiac arrest after finishing a slice.”

Regardless, John Jay would later discard the pizza station; in October of 2013, Student-Worker Solidarity gathered a petition with 1100 signatures demanding lower temperature working conditions at John Jay dining hall. Despite worker requests, the administration reportedly refused to install air conditioning units in the kitchen, which reached temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This issue set off a series of events in an administrative search for solutions, both long-term and short-term.

The first major culprit that the administration recognized was the pizza ovens – because they provided a major source of heat in the kitchen, Columbia Dining at first moved pizza baking downstairs. On October 9, 2013, the administration decided to get rid of the John Jay pizza altogether.

Thus, the community saw the end of an era – a mysterious, greasy, overheated era completely unbeknownst to current students. And with this end, Columbia ushered in a new era, one of better working conditions and sushi rolls, composed of pairings both simple (cucumber and avocado) and strange (celery and pear). But what can we compare it to? It’s the reality we know.

Little Wheels of Dough via Pixabay

Oct

19

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With Family Weekend beginning tomorrow for Barnard students, you may find yourself wondering if there’s a playlist out there that can transition from a much-needed Bed, Bath and Beyond excursion with your parents to your average weekend debauchery. Luckily, Bwog has you covered! Check out the list of songs below.

Your mom will definitely be posting this exact picture on Facebook this weekend.

  1. Uber Everywhere by MadeinTYO: This is a classic pregame anthem that, for the weekend, could become your reality because your mom probably thinks the subway is dirty and dangerous.
  2. Little Lies by Fleetwood Mac: It’s not actually hurting anyone when you tell your parents that you haven’t really been letting the Columbia stress culture get to you, that you’ve been washing your bedsheets twice a month, or when you assure them that you have been eating regularly and healthily.
  3. Working for the Weekend by Loverboy: This is what your parents are convinced you’ve been dedicating your time to in the days leading up to their arrival, blissfully unaware of the impending terror that will set in on Sunday night when you’re met with the responsibilities you’ve been putting off in favor of brunches and sightseeing.
  4. Breakfast in America by Supertramp: “It’s been some time since we last spoke, and this is gonna sound like a bad joke, but mama, I fell in love again…” It’s still too soon to determine if that hookup from NSOP is ever going to develop into a real relationship, which is a shame because you probably won’t have another opportunity to introduce your parents anytime soon. But that won’t keep you from telling your mom about it if she asks about your love life, in hopes that it will alleviate her fears of never having grandchildren.
  5. Let’s Groove by Earth, Wind, and Fire: Putting this one on the playlist almost feels like cheating. Earth, Wind and Fire is one of the few musical acts that somehow manage to completely transcend generation and are guaranteed to both get the party started and put a smile on your dad’s face and make him think that maybe your generation isn’t a lost cause, after all. 
  6. So Fresh, So Clean by Outkast: This is how it feels after you convince your parents to let you use their hotel room’s bathroom and you finally remember what it feels like to shower without shoes on. This song is exactly four minutes long, so it should only take about seven plays to last the duration of your shower.
  7. Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash: Embodies the dilemma you’ll face when you receive that “Come to Mel’s” text just as your parents are asking if you want to go to one last dinner with them before their flight leaves tomorrow morning. You should choose your parents, if for no other reason than you never appreciate the free dinners you have until they’re gone.
  8. Miss Independent by Ne-Yo: For anyone whose family isn’t from a city like New York, they will no doubt be impressed at your ability to navigate the entire ten-block radius around campus. The illusion that you are, in fact, fully independent might bring your mom to tears, but the weekend will also be a sobering reminder that you may never stop relying on your parents for some things, like the Chobani Flips you’ve been depriving yourself of for weeks because you can’t justify buying them yourself.

Photo via Barnard First-Year Blog.

Oct

19

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Intoxication for a general requirement we’d rather not fulfill isn’t something foreign to Bwog staff. Last night, one Bwoggie channeled her inner Jenny Slate and got high as the stars for her Astronomy lab.

It all started when someone recommended that I watched Jenny Slate talking with Seth Meyers about going to her astronomy lab at Columbia stoned. Yes, a true valedictorian. I thought it would be a great way for me to honor Jenny Slate, and might possibly set me on the path to becoming Jenny Slate herself.

So, the other night, before my astronomy lab accompanying my astronomy class that I’m only taking to fulfill my science requirement, I smoked a bowl. It hit me right before class started, and even though I only took two hits so that I wouldn’t be too zoned out, I stayed high for the entire 3-hour lab.

High enough to confuse astronomy with…you know.

I rushed over to my class building, worried I would be late. I arrived a full 10 minutes early, but then spent 7 minutes of my extra time in the bathroom washing my hands because, according to the notes I was taking, “the water felt so good.” I walked into class two minutes before it started and found myself the only one in the room with the TA, thus having to make conversation until everyone else arrived. “A lot of this is just going to be shutting the fuck up so I don’t say anything stupid, I thought to myself.” –Direct quote from my notes, third person reference to myself and all.

Only minutes in, I realized something important: I was hungrier than I had ever been in my entire life. I only had coffee with me, so I spent most of the rest of the time fantasizing about what I was going to eat at JJ’s after getting out of there. “Umm wish I had food,” I wrote in my notes.

(more…)

Oct

19

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Don’t do them in pen.

We know, it seems like they’ve been going on for weeks, and they’ll go on for weeks after this. However, today is officially designated as midterm date by Columbia’s registrar and academic calendar. This means you can no longer ignore them, but you can add them to your list of things to procrastinate. (Or you could be, you know, a good student and study. There’s always that option.)

Whatever your midterm season shapes up to be, good luck!

Oct

19

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Happening Around The World: Egypt’s government has heightened its crackdown on LGBTQ+ individuals, ordering café raids in Cairo and tracking dating apps to arrest those it finds deviant. More than 60 people have been arrested in the last month. The intensified scrutiny comes after a widely publicized incident in which rainbow flags were waved at a rock concert in the capitol. (Washington Post)

Yeah, we don’t like to make phone calls either, but we’re not the POTUS.

Happening In The US: For someone who’s always on his phone, you wouldn’t think President Trump would find it hard to make a call. After waiting nearly twelve days to call the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, who was killed in action in Niger, Trump reportedly told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for”. Yikes. (The Guardian)

Happening In NYC: Saw the city lit up in orange and thought we were getting ~spooky~ for Halloween? You thought wrong: It’s DeBlasio showing his “desperation” for Amazon to put their new headquarters. Today’s the last day for cities to submit proposals, so here’s hoping we have something better to show Bezos than fancy lights. (Gothamist)

Happening At Columbia: ‘Tis the season…for srat charity events! Following Delta Gamma’s Anchor Splash and Alpha Chi Omega’s Runway Warriors is Alpha Omicron Pi’s AOKaraoke! According to AOII, it’s a “bracket-style competition in which fraternities and sororities sing karaoke songs on-stage and compete for a grand prize, with all tickets proceeds from the event going to our national philanthropy, the Arthritis Foundation.” Check it out tonight in Roone Auditorium at 7.

Overheard: “I’m not a Democrat.” *audible gasps*

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