Playing Some Partisan Politics

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With a mere 63 days left until the Presidential election, the blogosphere has lit up with speculation about the personal life of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.  While the daughter of Alaska’s favorite hockey mom may be five months pregnant and questions abound about her readiness to lead the nation should she find herself a 72-year old heartbeat away from the Presidency come November, rumors about Columbia’s favorite son have come up as of late courtesy of the New York Sun.  See what our downtown colleagues have to say about Obama’s days at old alma and perhaps why none of his personal information from his days here have been leaked.  While previous presidential candidates have unabashedly released personal records from their university days, Obama’s have been tightly sealed.  Does good old Bams have something to hide about his “monkish” days buckling down in Butler?

In other political news, IvyGate spoke today with Lauren Salz BC ’11 about life as Executive Director of the College Republicans.  While Salz may take issue with the current state of political life on campus, Bwog can just sense the ghost of Chris Kulawik bursting through the seams of this piece.

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  1. fsdksdl

    Columbia should start begging Obama now to speak at the 09 commencement... Say something about how he's a source of great pride in the student body, etc... I just don't want to get some utter loser like the past few years have been.

  2. insider

    O Lord! The College Republicans supposedly picked their new regime to be the anti-Kulawiks. Looks like it will be more of the same.

    • here's the problem

      to every hardcore campus liberal (which bwog is a subset off) anybody who's right of center is a 'new chris kulawik'

      to the majority of liberals on campus, about 30-40% of american's are chris kulawik's

      it's the political equivalent of somebody saying they think all asian/black/white people look alike because they're too lazy to do anything but build strawmen or genuinely examine their political opponents

      • Well

        Why it insulting to call someone "a new Chris Kulawik"? I don't feel that it implies anything more than that someone is well known as a conservative. The only reason it's such a big deal is that Columbia is, as you said, fairly liberal, so the conservatives that are generally more notable.

  3. nah  

    grades aren't a measure of intelligence at all, though

    they're a measure more of work ethic and focus than anything else

  4. umm

    for the vast majority of people, grades ARE a measure of intelligence. If you say they only measure work ethic and focus, then it would be logical to conclude that the majority of CC is plagued by laziness and ADHD (compared to SEAS, for example).
    Yes, there are some savants like Einstein who were perhaps to intelligent to function in a traditional classroom. Hell, Cavendish appears to have been autistic, and Newton almost certainly had a severe personality disorder. But I don't think anyone is claiming that Obama is a Newton, in which case his grades would in all likelihood reflect something about his intelligence. Unless of course there are other confounding factors, which he is choosing to hide precisely for this reason.
    By the way, as much as I despise him, Bill Gates got into and attended Harvard for some time. He didn't drop out due to failure, but to start his little evil empire. And, though I am ashamed to cite such statistics, he didn't do too poorly on his SAT either.
    Any other trivial examples you would like demolished?

    • you really

      haven't demolished're conflating intelligence with hard work and discipline and utilization of one's intelligence

      the issue was strictly related to 'intelligence' and grades

      grades may certainly point to how intelligence is utilized but not acknowledging what are just some stark examples of intelligence in the face of mediocre grades is stupid..i could name 1000's upon 1000's of people who were successful (and not necessarily historically successful like Einstein/Gates) who had mediocre grades..furthermore your Gates anecdote also actually makes clear the point that is the opposite you one you claim. By your own admission Gates had a high SAT score...however he dropped out of college and is always referred to as a college dropout for that reason. regardless of how you want to frame the context of receiving his education from a vaunted institution he failed..however he clearly demonstrated intelligence in spite of it by making history. Grades/Degrees/etc are a simply a construct which are used to evaluate how a person combines intelligence/hard work/discipline. Logically it's an and statement..not having one of those qualities can doom you to mediocre grades, but the converse is not true.

      it's funny that you think you've demolished anybody's claim when you can't even keep semantics straight and consequently actually disproved the point you were trying to make

    • uhh...  

      The CC average GPA is much higher than the SEAS average which has more to do with CC classes in general being bullshit.

      Now compare grades in courses that fall midway between SEAS and CC subjects and which people in both people take (or just compare SAT scores).

  5. Calvin

    You know how Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!

  6. bill gates  

    also has Asperger's Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

    Highly intelligent people often don't conform to society's expectations of intelligence and education.

    • hahaha

      I'm sorry, but are you implying that Barack Obama is not merely highly intelligent, but should be ranked among the likes of Bill Gates and Albert Einstein? Do accept my apologies for my disbelief, but uhh, I'm going to need an explanation.

      • ...  

        i don't understand why you put bill gates on a pedestal. he was just a smart businessman with a nerdy hobby who happened to be well timed.

        his domination in the business world is impressive, yes. but he sure as hell ain't no Einstein.

        try george westinghouse maybe, but not einstein.

      • good god

        i never tried to compare obama to einstein or whoever..the point was simply that grades don't correlate perfectly with intelligence

        as for obama's grades..i'm sure they were good..even if you believe that he benefited from affirmative action moving from occidental to columbia to HLS requires good grades

        i also believe that there is a written test to make the law review there

        and Gates has been one of the most wildly successful businessman of his time and one of the pioneers at making computers accessible to average people--its undeniable that he's left an enormous mark on history

      • Uhhh no?  

        People were referencing Bill Gates and Einstein and I was merely clarifying that Bill Gates has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, just as Einstein was dyslexic, and I believe the first instance of those references was to make a point that grades aren't everything.

  7. umm

    No? Just because you looked up "conflate" and "semantics" in your little pocket dictionary doesn't make you right. I'd also like to see the first 100 names on your list of "1000's upon 1000's of people." I assume, it's fully cited with their GPAs, exam scores, etc. and not just a summary of anecdotal evidence. Yes, it is useless possible to have a high IQ and no self-discipline, which would lead to low grades. At the same time, no amount of self-discipline can overcome low intelligence. Indeed, self-discipline is hardly exclusive of intelligence. Perhaps we can somehow quantify a candidate's "discipline score" by analyzing his behavior; For the sake of argument, we can assume that Obama has some arbitrarily high level of self-discipline; furthermore from his claim of a "monkish" lifestyle at CU--as compared to his behavior before and after--we might say that he exhibited this level (or something very close to it) precisely during his last two college years. Then it follows that his grades are a direct estimate of his intelligence (if we continue to hold valid your assumption that grades = intelligence + hard work).
    And though I hate to speculate from a subjective perspective, I think this has to be said. If you know anything about Obama, you know that he is as cutthroat a politician as it gets. He uses whatever means are available to him, as long as they don't mar his public image. It is also public knowledge that McCain was not exactly his year's valedictorian. So, if Obama has a good record, why would he work so diligently to hide it, when he could have it "accidentally leaked" to the press--and no doubt give voters yet another reason to support him?
    When you're done giggling about whatever you found funny, perhaps you will realize that you missed the point entirely. I won't make you feel like an idiot by spelling it out; have another try, perhaps you will see it.

    • ad hominems

      are great, but merely claiming that i used a couple words that you struggled with from a dictionary doesn't indispose you from actually addressing the point. In fact you've now came around and admitted that one can be intelligent and still do badly if you don't possess other characteristics. Saying that Obama probably got good grades because he was intelligent and for other reasons doesn't refute the point I was making--if you're now going to claim that good grades are a definite mark of high intelligence i won't argue that..but those that have high grades are clearly a subset of all people who have high intelligence. They just happened to combine it with other traits that helped them succeed in a particular format.

      I mean the argument can also be extended to different subjects. A person can clearly be a brilliant scientist or engineer and yet fail miserably at grammar/english. The converse is also true--I'd bet on average that the most heralded authors don't have the mathematical background or ability of a Lewis Carroll.

      In any event, you've clearly already accepted the point I made and feel like you can disguise it in ad homs. If you want to actually contest it though on its merits I'll be glad to reply.

  8. wait  

    Can we talk about the fact that Lauren Salz "had no idea about Columbia's radical activist tradition. " She definitely did not do her research since that is mentioned in pretty much every college guide. Not '68 per say but the political activism for sure. Geez...

  9. SEAS '09  

    So, something needs to be said about Obama's lack of honors at Columbia: It was very likely impossible for him to receive them. I'm a fellow transfer student, and it frustrates me to no end, but if you're here for only two years you're ineligible for latin honors. You need to attend for three.

  10. okay  

    so I went on bwog to get away from my work for a minute thinking "oh, this'll be fun and there’s always a decent chance that somebody will mention some events that have free food tomorrow." but I had forgotten about how many people's egos at this school need validating w/ a bit of online chest pounding because they can't manage to get laid… and arguing ceaselessly with other anonymous internet lurkers is obviously the next-best form of satisfaction

    seriously, just go lock your door, turn off your lights, have some ‘practice sex’ (don’t worry, you’ll be ready when your big day finally comes after kicking back a few too many appletinis at that med-school grad party)… and please stop filling the bwog comments w/ things that aren’t locations of free food. Thanks

  11. good job

    googling "GPA and IQ." Now, you should Google Columbia's course bulletin, and find yourself a nice course in statistics, or better yet in the applications of statistical methods to scientific studies. Maybe I'm just an elitist engineer, but correlations of 0.5 and lower don't make a particularly convincing case in my eyes. When an author cites a positive correlation of 0.12 as a "reliable" indicator of ANYTHING, it speaks a lot more to their ignorance than to whatever they are writing about. To give you a little perspective on the matter, my predictions about coin flips would be more "reliable."

  12. hmm

    a collection of pretty much everything that's been written on obama's columbia years:

  13. politico  

    I think Obama doesn't want to release his excellent grades (don't forget, the man did get into Harvard Law) because that would actually make him seem more out-of-touch. Ironically, in this country, people value a president who got shitty grades in school.

  14. OMG  


  15. people  

    put him on a pedestal because he has a developmental disorder and still managed to create the most successful operating system to date and become one of the richest men in the world, all while not finishing college. Let's see you do that.

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