#barack obama
Bwoglines: Numbers Edition

One is the loneliest number

1,000,000—Dollar amount of the reward offered for ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner. All turn to dust again. (USA Today)

34,000—Troops Obama promised, during his State of the Union address, to bring home from Afghanistan in the next year. (NY Times)

24—Hours it takes a sea slug to regrow its detachable penis. (BBC)

16—Papal wardrobe malfunctions. Janet Jackson would be proud. (Buzzfeed)

5—Reasons given for disliking Valentine’s day by DateMySchool.com’s Columbia graduates. (Glamour)

And a partridge in a pear tree?

Bird and fruit Christmas gift set via Shutterstock


10/3 Presidential Debates

Last night, campus political groups the Columbia Political Union, CU College Republicans, CU Dems, and the Roosevelt Institute hosted a live screening (with free pizza!) of the first Presidential Debate being held at the University of Denver, Colorado. Bwog’s Debate Devotee Maren Killackey watched intently as America’s favorite presidential candidates went at it.

The air of Lerner Piano Lounge where the screening was held was electric in those first few minutes before the debate as politically involved and concerned students chatted excitedly about expectations of their future president, who they planned to vote for, what issue they were most worried about, and pizza… mostly the pizza. Presumably, a significant portion of the sixty odd people seated in chairs, on the floor, and on, yes, on the computer bay came to mooch free food, but stayed for the hilariously predictable political nonspeech.

The players:
Jim Lehrer: of PBS NewsHour, moderator, ineffectual
Barack Obama: uhhhhh… current President
Mitt Romney: the Challenger, “kind of attractive” (overheard)

The questions:
1) How does each candidate differ on jobs?
2) How does each candidate differ on how they’d cut the deficit?
3) Is there a major difference between each candidate’s position on Social Security?
4) What is each candidate’s view on the level of federal regulation of the economy? Is there too much or should there be more?
5) Why does Romney want to repeal Obamacare?
6) What role does each candidate think the federal government plays in people’s lives?
7) What would each candidate do about partisanship?

The answers:
1) Jobs – Obama: I want to create more of them. Romney: Yeah. What he said.
2) Reducing the deficit –  Romney: Does it get government funding? Yes? Is it necessary? No? Gone. (Cue horrified look on Lehrer’s face) Obama: I didn’t inherit this! Blah blah blah balance blah blah young people.
3) Social Security – Obama: I wouldn’t cut it. He’s going to cut it. Romney: What? I’m not going to cut it. You’re going to cut it.

Actually, by this point a fairly recognizable pattern had been established:

Lehrer: How do you two differ on this super general category?

Obama/Romney: Well, Jim, basically my opponent, Governor Romney/President Obama, would do some obviously stupid thing that I don’t agree with. On the other hand, I would do this totally awesome thing that’s pretty vague but sounds good.

Romney/Obama: (If Obama response, add “zinger” such as “His big bold plan was ‘Nevermind’” (on Romney supposedly renouncing the tax plan he’s advocated for the past 18 months) or “Donald Trump is a small business, though he doesn’t like to think of himself as small anything” (on not giving tax cuts to the top 3% of small businesses)) What President Obama/Governor Romney just said is entirely not true and he needs to check his facts/math/teleprompter (not really but Bwog wishes there had been a teleprompter joke). I would do EXACTLY what President Obama/Governor Romney just said. In fact, it’s him who’s not going to do what he just said he was going to do and attacked me for not doing… Er, random statistic you can’t dispute!

Obama/Romney: Well, I raise your random statistic an adorable anecdote about my childhood -

Lehrer: Gentlemen, we are out of time!

Romney & Obama: (Completely ignoring Lehrer) Crosstalk!

Keep reading, anything could happen!

Barnard Commencement Lottery Now Open to Columbia Seniors

According to an email just sent out by Dean Shollenberger and his GS counterpart, all graduating seniors in CC, SEAS, and GS will be able to enter the lottery for tickets to Barnard’s Commencement ceremony (the one with the President speaking)—which was previously open only to Barnard students. The full email, with the most important parts highlighted, is below:

Dear Graduating General Studies, Columbia College and Columbia Engineering Student,

As you know, Barnard College will welcome President Obama on Monday, May 14th, as their 2012 Commencement speaker.

We are pleased to announce that Barnard has reserved a block of tickets for Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and General Studies seniors to attend the ceremony on May 14th. For those of you who wish to attend the ceremony where the President will deliver the keynote address, we offer you the opportunity to enter your name into a lottery to receive one of the tickets.

To enter the lottery, please complete the survey by Wednesday, May 2nd at 5:00 p.m. Applicants will be drawn at random and those selected will be notified via email by Monday May 7th. Students will be required to sign a confirmation form upon receiving their ticket. Tickets are non transferable and may not be sold.

Best of luck as you finalize your last papers, problem sets and presentations and prepare for your last final exams as Columbia undergraduates!


Scott Halvorson
Dean of Students
School of General Studies


Kevin G. Shollenberger
Dean of Student Affairs
Columbia College / The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Student Life
Arts and Sciences


We were going to launch a campaign to round up all you summer readers and bring this urgent question to the President’s attention. Then the heat got the better of us or something, but it’s the thought that counts right?

Bwoglines: Going Places Edition

Critics called the purchase "Andrew Johnson's Polar Bear Garden"

Approaching its $4 Billion capital campaign goal, Columbia is raking in the dough (Spec).

Learn to bike like a champ. The cycling master who taught Joseph Gordon-Levitt to barrel down Broadway demonstrates how to “be a fish in the coral.” (City Room).

Obama hits the road. (NYTimes)

Way back when on October 18th, the United States bought Alaska (History Channel).

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

How to Get Obama to Speak at Commencement

On the Low Steps? Could be.

Columbia College 2011 President Sean Udell and Vice President Alexandra Coromilas have founded the CUPOTUS Project. As you might guess, its goal is to secure President Barack Obama CC ’83 as speaker for university-wide Commencement. But wait!  Before you shake your heads and dismiss it as a pipe dream, listen up–their strategy is different. In the words of Udell himself:

Here’s the deal: President Obama has been sent the official invitation by President Bollinger and the Class of 2011. But he’s been sent invitations before. What we think will do the trick, however, is to demonstrate a grassroots movement made up of a united student body. That’s a tall order, but I have a feeling that we can pull this off.

Here’s what you can do to help:

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Bwoglines: Curiosities Edition

People taking cars that don’t belong to them. (NY Daily News)

People taking children that don’t belong to them. (Yahoo! News)

Strange people doing strange things. (Gothamist)

Jobs and industries of tomorrow taking root beyond our borders.” (NYT)

Colors you’ve never heard of before. (Jezebel)

Reality stars who just won’t go away. (Entertainment Weekly)

Columbia on TV. (C-SPAN)

Bwoglines: Truth Edition

Plato-raphaelBarack Obama CC ’83 accepts the Nobel Peace Prize, tells the “hard truth” about warannoys the entire population of  Norway, departs with lingonberry jam and a bag of frozen Swedish meatballs; all in a day’s work.

Florida judges and lawyers shouldn’t be Facebook friends; courtroom attorneys are, of course, always entitled to “Like” the verdict.

There’s plenty of swine flu vaccine to go ’round.

NYC homeless shelters may not be keeping up their end.

And Barnard’s War on Fun is just as pertinent as all of the other Wars on Fun.

QuickCPR: 1969 Is Jealous


The October issue of the Columbia Political Review is out.

The tongues of former commies and renegade colonists are back in style,

Young idealists are still hopping on the bandwagon,

Barack Obama spreads hope and change,

 San Francisco finally puts its money where its (progressive) mouth is,

and Conservatives pretend its 1773.


Bwoglines: Some People Have All The Luck

President Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize, basically for existing. (Times)

Harvard students lose the “right” to a hot breakfast. (Times)

Harlem braces for trouble with getting an accurate census. (Spec)

NASA “slams” two probes into the moon to look for hidden ice. No launch date yet for the follow-up mission, which will look for “hidden cheese.” (AP) 

Most student veterans are still waiting for their GI Bill benefits. (Denver Post)

- Photo: Leo Reynolds/Flickr

Bwoglines: Greener Pastures Edition

Sometimes you just have to call it quits, pull up stakes, and head home to greener pastures. A number of people are doing just that this weekend, and Bwoglines brings you their stories.

You know you must not be wanted when even Gov. David Paterson is worried you’ll make him unpopular. (Gothamist) 

Speaking of the governor, Paterson just got an “It’s not me, it’s you” letter from Obama. Guess our favorite be-bearded, Senate-stymied, cocaine-use-admitting gubernatorial alumnus won’t be sticking around Albany much longer. Class Day speaker, anyone? (NY Times)

Among other politicans you won’t be seeing again for a long, long time: John Edwards. (Daily Intelligencer)

The one guy not leaving the scene any time soon? NYU President John Sexton—at least, not until 2016, by which point PrezBo will have already retired to a 10 p.m. primetime talkshow slot. (NYULocal)

But, for everyone else who managed to survive this week in New York: stay safe, work hard, and keep plucking that chicken. (City Room)

The 69th Semiannual Orgo Night

 - An eager crowd awaits the band’s entrance

If you missed Orgo Night, fret not – the show was recorded and will be available tomorrow on CUMB’s blog. Now, the Bwog review:

After entering to the usual “Roar Lion Roar,” the Columbia University Marching Band noted that, due to the recession, this year’s show would be sponsored by the Columbia University Show. “We also thank the Varsity Show,” a band member opined, “for lowering expectations for the past 35 years.” As the Hillel-distributed stress balls flew in the air over the spectators (one eventually landing in a tuba sousaphone), many were still looking for seats, but the band told them not to worry: “if you can’t hear the jokes, there’ll be plenty seats open by intermission.”

Thus began one of the best Orgo Nights in recent memory, though, in typical marching band fashion, some of the jokes skirted the edge of tastefulness. Surprisingly, the end of the election and the departure did not dampen the band’s taste for political humor- the first two segments focused on Ann Coulter (simply described as “fucking crazy” and Fox News respectively (with “Beat It” and “More Than A Feeling” mixed in), and mostly had fun at “Coultergeist’s” expense, including asking “If she thinks kindergartners are being taught fisting in kindergarten, what are they being taught in high school? (more…)

Disowned, Scorned, Still Proudly Self-Deprecating

Loyalty is not something ingrained in students at this spirit-deprived school.  Even with all the excitement, we knew deep inside that Barack Obama (CC ’83, now some kind of important person) would never speak at Class Day.

After all, what with saving the world, how could he possibly have time to visit his Alma Mater?

As it turned out, our intuition was correct – Obama won’t be our Class Day speaker.  He’ll be the commencement speaker for other schools.

That’s right, schools, pluralized.  Two days ago, the White House issued a little-noticed press release announcing that Barack Obama would serve as commencement speaker at three colleges: Arizona State, Notre Dame, and the US Naval Academy.

Bwog’s analysis would suggest that he’ll touch on themes such as “the economy,” “the future,” and “you unemployable history majors.”

The press release promises “more details” at a later date, but we’re not holding our breath.  We’re too bitter.

Smell of Hope Not Included

Image by Joe Schumacher

Want to sightsee, but worried about finishing that paper on time? Why not visit an alley?

Well, more specifically, the alley where Barack Obama spent his first night in New York, as he mentioned in Dreams from My Father. Arriving at his new apartment only to find no one to let him in, Obama enjoyed the alley’s fine hospitality, and in the morning availed himself of the local shower (a.k.a the hydrant).

And it’s not hard to access – Gothamist tipped us off yesterday to a Harlem blogger’s fine photos of the locale. You can also check out his photos of Obama’s various former residences on West 109th, East 94th, and West 114th Streets. Hurry, before they’re commercialized!

Inauguration Time!

Despite the cold, Columbians have turned out in force for the inauguration viewing on Low Plaza. If you were hoping to see Obama’s speech outside, prepare to stand at the back.

Whether you’re in DC, around New York, or on campus, send in your Inauguration Day photos to bwgossip@columbia.edu. For those of you staying in to watch the speech, there are a plethora of options, including C-SPAN and CNN.