Bwoglines: Healthy Debate Edition

Everybody has to object sometimes

On many Ivy-League campuses where banks recruit heavily, OWS vitriol is being channeled towards the I-banking recruitment process. Those protesting wonder whether the slick recruiting creates a brain-drain away from other industries. (NYTimes)

On the other end of the career spectrum: The New York Times Style section profiled The New Inquiry, a blog staffed largely by recent Columbia and Barnard graduates that hosts a veritable 21st century literary salon. (NYTimes)

Some say that New York state’s proposed rules against fracking will not be strong enough to protect NYC’s water supply. (Bloomberg)

HP officials are firing back at the Columbia Study that claimed hackers could remotely ignite HP printers. According to officials, a security problem does exist, but hackers cannot circumvent the cooling devices in place. Let’s hope the argument doesn’t heat up too much. (Bloomberg)

Last night the Rockefeller center lit the Rockefeller Tree Dankest of Pines. It’s reassuring to know that despite the debate we can still all get together and erect a massive evergreen covered in tinsel and five miles of lights. (AP)

Healthy debater via wikimedia.


The Planned Parenthood and Title X Controversy

With midterms madness, Bwog sometimes forgets it’s a national citizen. A few months ago we tried to sort through the lame duck congress that soared, and now we’re back covering the craziness on Capitol Hill. Bwog probs shouldn’t be your go-to source for national news, but things are happening in the world outside of Morningside Heights! Over the past two weeks, the House has erupted in debate over federal funding for Planned Parenthood, America’s largest sexual and reproductive healthcare provider. Planned Parenthood receives funds under Title X, a federal grant program dedicated to providing family planning and preventative care services, particularly for low-income women. We offer a very brief summary of the controversy.

  • On February 1, a group called Live Action (a self-described “youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion” according to their website bio) posted video of an undercover operation in a New Jersey Planned Parenthood. The video features a man posing as a pimp, asking the manager for advice about STD testing, abortions, and contraception on behalf of his prostitutes. The manager appears to give advice freely. He was subsequently fired.
  • The same operation was repeated at other centers. In the other cases, those who spoke to the “pimp” reported him to their superiors.
  • Obama has defended Planned Parenthood, despite the negative reaction to the undercover video.
  • Just over two weeks later, on February 18, the House approved Republican Rep. Mike Pence‘s amendment on a budget bill to completely strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood under Title X. The federal family planning program for low-income women offers birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other reproductive health services. By law, no Title X funds—no federal money— can be spent on abortions.
  • The 240-185 vote to defund Planned Parenthood, mostly split on party lines, ignited fierce debate between liberals and conservatives. (more…)
Dems and Repubs Spar on the Abolition of Public Education

This slice of relevance provided by Wikimedia Commons

Sarah Camiscoli is a shoe-leather journalist! She sat in on the College Dems vs College Republicans final debate of the year, and everyone yelled a lot.

The chalkboard in Fayerweather 313 blared: “Resolved: The public school system should be replaced with vouchers.” This was to be a long evening. Before the debate got underway, the College Republican moderator noted that this was the last debate of the year. “It’s been fun while it lasted,” he said. He then introduced Will, a passionate advocate for the abolition of public education, as someone who claims to have “killed a goat with his bare hands.”

Opening with the statement that “everyone knows” that current education system “is broken” and offering statistics such as the “increase in 185% in real dollars” that have been “thrown at” students in low income areas with “no effect,” the Republicans claimed that they wanted to offer “parents a choice” by enrolling each eligible student in the United States into a “radical voucher program” that would offer each family a sort of subsidized ticket to assist them in affording an education that would no longer be free. (more…)

LectureHop: The Health Care Debate

scrubsLast night’s Columbia Political Union Healthcare debate boasted no special format: the soothing power of the free market versus humanity and logical responsibility. Their respective groupies cheered, scoffed and even engaged in some raucous Joe Wilson-ery.  More valuable than watching the news, less valuable than personally investigating the issues, but more time-effective than either – it was as perfect as perfect can be in dialogue on a contentious issue. So is Bwog’s empty, conflicted soul a pre-existing condition?

The Republicans agreed that the healthcare system is broken, but because of overregulation. By their account, a freer market and a shift to individual healthcare policies (not employer-based policies) should remedy the problem. They also took a quick jab at the Democrats, claiming that they desire a single-payer system, want to use the public option to take over the health industry, and are essentially reckless social experimenters – not the most constructive use of a debate, but at least no one started a semantics catfight.

Logically, the Democrats took the opposing stance with equal certitude and equally misused facts.   The healthcare system is broken and it is because of profiteering insurance companies who care more about making a buck than saving a life. Thousands are dying, millions are uninsured. It’s all so preventable with early-stage medical care, itself helped along by a public option, which would be cheaper overall than private insurers and eventually nullify its own cost.  “These are facts. You can’t argue with them.”


CCSC 2010 Debate: Preparation, Inspiration, and Smurf

 - Anonymous photo of the CC ’10 presidential candidates in friendlier days (aka “last week”)

The 2010 Class Council hopefuls gathered in cramped Lerner 568 to wade through students’ favorite topics this evening.  Guessing, perhaps, that there would be little new and exciting to hear, there were not more than ten people in the audience, including the moderator, Brenden Cline, and Elections Board Head James Bogner.

The debate was between The Party Party (not a typo) and The Clear Party.  Though punsters both, The Clear Party was clearly more tickled with its name, never missing an opportunity to end its alloted time with a flourish of, “I think we’ve been Clear.”

Cline’s questions covered familiar territory and were met with familiar answers.  Both parties responded on topics ranging from engaging and uniting the senior class to student life initiative proposals to throwing parties.

Indeed, engaging the senior class after three years of moderate disinterest was the focus of both parties tonight. AJ Pascua, The Party Party President, was firm in his belief that senior year has to be a turning point: “Senior year is incredibly different,” he said.  “It’s all about traditions.”  Cliff Massey, The Clear Party President, countered that new perspectives were needed; the council should not rely on tradition alone. (more…)

Lecture Hop: Is God Necessary for Morality?

 - Photo by CEE

Bwog Theism Bureau Chief James Downie grabbed a stiff plastic chair in Roone Arledge for the first Veritas Forum event. The second event will be tonight at 8:00 PM in Miller Theater.  The third event, which includes Matisyahu, will take place tomorrow at 7:00 PM in Miller Theater. 

The evening began on an odd note, after the moderator, Professor David Eisenbach, remembered that he had a new television show coming out. Called “Beltway Unbuckled,” and appearing on the History Channel in March, Eisenbach asked the attendees to watch the pilot,  promising that “you’ll never look at Abraham Lincoln the same way again.” The audience groaned at the image.

The evening’s question was “Is God Necessary for Morality?” and the first speaker, Yale philosophy professor Shelly Kagan, argued no. Kagan instead posited that a self-sufficient morality can be constructed from basic rational desires, such as helping rather than harming others. As to why the belief that evil is wrong is so strong, and where that strength comes from, he admitted that atheist philosophers disagree on answers. Some believe in social contracts between people, others suppose a veil of ignorance, but, more importantly, there is some rational basis under all of it – “the rules of morality are an objective fact, what philosophers refer to as categorical.” Contemporary Civ references would only increase as the night went on. (more…)

New Dates for ROTC Survey

Since Bwog broke the news of the ROTC referenda last month, the logistical details behind it have still been debated. However, it appears that the student councils at last have a plan. In an email sent by SGA earlier today, a letter from the four councils at the end spelled out more about the timing of, and the run-up to the survey. 

The survey itself will go out to the student body the week of November 17th. Original plans had considered late October as the most likely date, but, according to the email, “we have had to postpone the dates due to difficulties in getting the survey technology set up.” The survey will have one question (“Would you support NROTC on Columbia’s campus?”), though it is unknown at this time how many possible answers the question will have.

The week beforehand, there will be two forums, one at Barnard and one at Columbia, in a “pro vs. con setup.” The panels themselves will be composed of students as well, and students can submit questions. Deadline for participation in panels, despite the email not having reached any other undergraduate schools yet, is this Wednesday, October 22. The full email is after the jump. (more…)

Third-Party Presidential Debate Cancelled

With such a short time before the election, apparently even third-party candidates are prone to last-minute cancellations. The CPU-sponsored debate between Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Chuck Baldwin that was scheduled for Sunday evening in Lerner has been cancelled.

In an email sent a short awhile ago, CPU Communications Director Lauren Salz wrote, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, several of the candidates decided not to participate in the debate at the last minute.” No word on which candidates spoiled the party first.

CPU’s next big event will be an appearance by Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel, next Friday at 2:45 p.m. in Lerner Cinema. The full cancellation announcement is after the jump.


QuickDebate: Average Joe edition

So, having flubbed Spec’s tricky midterm schedule (just go read yesterday’s issue), we’re back again to Quicking something else—this time last night’s final presidential debate, conclusively won by some guy named Joe.

plumberPolitico’s Ben Smith – who is obsessed – uncovers that Joe isn’t registered to vote!

Slate’s John Dickerson anticipates a feud with Bob the Builder

The Times’ Gail Collins: give that man a “really fancy blog”!

The New Republic wonders if he’s met Joe Six-Pack

E. J. Dionne says that Joe thinks Obama is a socialist

McArdle worries we’re focusing too much on the fate of Plumbing Americans

And Joe himself:  “you can speak pretty, but there’s gotta be action behind it”

(…although, via Wonkette, it appears he may be an impostor!)

All the Exciting Debate Details

Catch the final installment of the exciting presidential debate series tonight at 9 PM. Your favorite campus political enthusiasts—the CUGOP, the Dems, and CPU—will be watching this thing in Lerner Cinema. 

If you’re stuck studying, try procrastinating with some liveblogs. Bwog recommends New York Timesthe Caucus, Wonkette and Jonathan Martin/Ben Smith of Politico.

Tickets Available for Third Party Presidential Debate

CPU has released ticketing information for the Columbia-hosted Presidential Debate that will include Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and Chuck Baldwin.  There will be 275 of the 400 seats reserved for CUID holders and you can get them either here or at the Lerner Lobby.  The debate is this Sunday, 8 p.m. in 417 IAB.  Full email from CPU is after the jump.



Third-Party Candidates to Debate At Columbia This Sunday

After the extravaganza that was the Obamacain ServiceNation Forum, other presidential candidates apparently could not help but get in on the action. According to McClatchy, three third-party candidates will be debating at Columbia this Sunday. Ralph Nader (independent), Cynthia McKinney (Green), and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution) will all participate in a debate moderated by Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio.

Libertarians will be disappointed to learn that nominee Bob Barr will not be participating. According to McClatchy, “Barr said he has a scheduling conflict, but debate organizers say he wanted to appear only with Nader.”

The debate will be carried on C-SPAN and www.thirdpartyticket.org.

UPDATE (7:55 PM): The debate is being sponsored by CPU, and will take place in 417IAB at 8 p.m. As for tickets, CPU Communications Director Lauren Salz tells Bwog that CPU is “making every effort to reserve as many seats as possible for CUID holders. Registration details will be announced as soon as possible, probably sometime tomorrow.”

The Town Hall Tussle

The highly anticipated second Presidential debate of the 2008 election commenced mere moments ago.  Tonight’s affair should prove to be quite the slug-fest, as both camps have turned up the heat with nasty smears and negative ads as of late, with just under thirty days until election day.  Also, tonight’s debate from Belmont University in Nashville, TN will prove to be extra-interesting as it features the first and last time that Obama and McCain will square off in a Town Hall-style format.

In typical fashion, the Columbia Democrats, College Republicans and the CPU (and LionPAC!) have teamed up to turn the Lerner Piano Lounge into the campus debate-watching hub.  So, stop by and grab a lime-green seat, a corner of the suede swirly thing.  If you can’t make it out to the Piano Lounge this evening, Bwog’s got you covered with news from around the blogosphere.


CU Democrats and Republicans Spar In Lerner

Bwog headed to Roone Cinema this evening ready for our daily dose of lively intellectual discourse, today’s source being the first of three debates between the College Democrats and Republicans on issues pertinent to the upcoming election. We settled into our cushy seat surrounded by a vast sea of argyle sweaters and watched the games begin.

Tonight’s debate, hosted by the CPU, focused on foreign policy and energy solutions. Each side was told to stick to their respective party platforms, even if their personal views differed. The Dems kicked off the night, using their precious 120 allotted seconds to discuss the various failings they found with the Bush Administration, calling the War in Iraq “stupid” and explaining the economic policies of the Administration as forming a collective “wrecking ball to the economy.”


TV Hop: the Democratic Presidential Debate

Bwog editor Pierce Stanley hops a lecture on the national stage, and wonders why more Columbians aren’t doing the same.

Come Presidential election time, Lerner Piano Lounge transforms into a hotbed of political activity, with Columbia’s political organizations frequently hosting watch parties for important debates, election returns, and speeches made by the candidates. This celebration of all things political in one of Lerner Hall’s strangest rooms always comes with the added benefit of loads of handouts of free Famiglia pizza. However, last night was a quite the exception, as the College Dems hosted a watch party in the piano lounge for the twentieth (and perhaps final) debate between the contenders for the Democratic nomination for President. With the Democratic nomination just about sealed up by the new front-runner, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, last night’s debate watch party was a decidely low-key affair, attended by only a mere spattering of debate faithfuls. Perhaps this lack of enthusiasm by Columbia students for last night’s MSNBC debate is indicative of the current state of the race on a much broader level. Perhaps, this race is all but wrapped up, and its only a short time until Hillary decides to concede before risking destroying her political future.