Currently browsing the archives for August 2007
This weekend, on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Senator Leahy will discuss the recent resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his pledge to help restore the Department of Justice to an agency worthy of its name and great tradition.
Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace airs this Sunday, September 2 at 9 am ET. I hope that you will tune in to watch Senator Leahy discuss this resignation, the urgency of restoring morale in the Justice Department and the people’s trust in a justice system that should not be corrupted by political influence, and his commitment to hold the Bush-Cheney Administration accountable for its actions.
Green Mountain PAC
What is slightly challenging to identify now in a nighttime picture will become all the more challenging in a few years when it ceases to exist as we know it.
A great article from last year on Harvard and ROTC. This is why institutions such as Harvard should get points for officially supporting such programs! They take the heat and allow young men and women the financial support for school which they deserve when they commit to a period of service in our military. In doing so at places like Harvard they recognize service in our armed forces as an honorable elite tradition.
Speaking directly to the newly commissioned officers, Summers said, “America is strong because it is free; America is free because it is strong. And it is strong because of the service of wonderful individuals like those we commission today.”
I thought there wasn’t anything more important that someone could do than to serve their country … so I admire your courage, your devotion as citizens in joining our armed forces at this crucial moment,” he added. Speaking of the University’s sometimes uneasy relationship with ROTC, he said that more could be done “because whatever you think about policy issues … I believe our country is most important, and I believe our country is best served when great universities like this one stand with those who defend the freedom that makes it possible for us to do all the wonderful things that we are able to do here.” Summers also expressed a wish: “I look forward to the day when it is common and doesn’t draw remark when an Ivy League president attends an ROTC commissioning ceremony.”
Why does’nt Williams have an ROTC program?
What is one of the perks of working in the White House? All your friends can read about your salary in the paper! Cheryl Stanton ’94 makes $125,000 as Associate Counsel to the President. Overpaid? Not these last 6 months . . .
Previous coverage of Stanton here. Stanton, as a right-wing female lawyer with an interest in government service, will probably be nominated for other positions. A judgeship in 2008? You read it in EphBlog first.
Any other Ephs in the salary list?
Did anyone attend the Williams Road Scholars event in July? I think that this is great stuff, although I wish that the College would provide more material on the web (like syllabi and lecture slides). Below is the blurb that was sent out to alumni.
Chris Gondeck’s ’90 podcast, The Invisible Hand, makes the front page of iTunes. What other Ephs can make that claim? If Chris is the leading Eph podcaster, then who is in second?
Dealbreaker admits what we all know to be true.
There comes a time in every Amherst student’s life when she must put aside the feelings of hate that stir in her body for the vile weed that is Williams College and say, in the face of Williams alum Erin Burnett: this chick is hot.
Dealbook links to this article.
For the coming war between CNBC and Rupert Murdoch’s planned Fox Business Channel, the scrappy incumbent is grooming a secret weapon.
That weapon is a petite, blue-eyed brunette who makes her home at a cluttered desk in a cramped studio overlooking the New York Stock Exchange, where she is typically typing furiously on a laptop or asking questions by phone. Erin Burnett, 31, is a co-host on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street (weekdays at 9 a.m. ET), solo anchor of Street Signs (2 p.m. ET) and a frequent guest on network shows, including NBC’s Today. Since making her debut on Squawk during its relaunch in December 2005, the program is up 142% over first quarter 2006 in adults 25-54; Street Signs is up 57% in the demo.
Burnett rises every morning at 5 a.m. and hops in a car bound for the NYSE. Once there, she makes calls, checks e-mail, sets up potential guests and reads the papers–all while getting her hair blown-out and her makeup applied. “She’s a natural,” says Jonathan Wald, senior VP of business news for CNBC. “She’s both energetic and solicitous, but she never appears fawning.”
Just like EphBlog!? On the hotness issue:
Does it matter that some critics see her as just another pretty anchor? “Let’s be honest,” Burnett says. “It is a factor. Initially. But if you want to be good and if you want to be at the top of your game, you have to know the material, and you have to love it. Otherwise, regardless of your looks or your age or whatever, you won’t have any staying power.”
Correct. Burnett would not have gotten hired (or been successfu) if she were not both attractive and smart. Previous discussion here.
Do you think it is a coincidence that so many attractive women work at CNBC? I don’t. If Erin were ugly, she would not have the job that she has. This doesn’t mean (obviously!) that she also isn’t smart and hard-working, but only the PC police would pretend that sex doesn’t sell.
And not just at CNBC! Do you think that the Goldman Sachs recruiters are blind? Do you think that it is a coincidence that so many junior GS analysts are also attractive? Wrong! Note that this is not just true of female GS hires from Williams (i.e., Erin Burnett and Bethany McLean ’92) but also of male hires (Richard Georgi ’87).
Words of wisdom for fall interviews.
Ephblog is also removing comments.
I added one this morning to the Bozeman post questioning whether sending Maxim is ever appropriate. It was deleted and comments seem to have been disabled for that story. What’s going on?
As always, a good play to start is with the FAQ.
Why did you delete my comment?
Because it was rude or obnoxious or off-topic or trollish. We delete comments all the time. We welcome deletion suggestions from readers. Our goal is to create an Eph conversation, an on-line analogue to all the discussion and debate which occurs in the classes and dining halls of Williams. Sharp comments and pointed rebukes are welcome. If you think that someone’s argument is stupid or racist or pathetic, then write that (and back it up). But (true) comments like “Dave is ugly” will be removed. The truth is no defense against a charge of bad manners.
Note that comment removal is always a judgment call. Various authors — including our soon-to-be-announced Board of Directors — have the power to remove/edit any comment/post at any time. Eric Smith and I end up doing most of the removal, but others can and do. Also, we occasionally set up the post to not allow comments at all. Any author has the power to edit/delete comments on the thread that he starts.
In the case of the Bozeman post, Stewart’s intention was to notify EphBlog readers about Bozeman’s contact information. He thought that at least one of the comments was obnoxiously off-topic. He was unaware of the magic button in MovableType that allows one to turn off comments for a specific post. He has decided not to allow comments on this thread and, I suspect, future Adopt-An-Eph postings.
And this is his right as an EphBlog author. If you don’t like it, then the solution is simple: Join EphBlog! Start a thread yourself. If, for example, you think it would be interesting to talk about the Eph distribution among the enlisted and officer ranks, then start that conversation. If you wonder about how many Ephs like Maxim and whether or not they should, you can talk about that.
Since our policies are always evolving, please suggest your preferred changes below. Comments on this thread are open!
“Williamstown was established in 1753 as a plantation called West Hoosac and renamed Williamstown in 1765, when Col. Ephraim Williams bequeathed his estate to the town to establish a free school. (Williams now costs more than $40,000 a year). Students of Williams College, which was chartered in 1793, call themselves the Ephs, pronounced “eefs,” in his honor.”
Simple answer. No. It was given to “Ephs” by the town, from a townie. It is named after a townie. So are all of you alum.
All the banter in recent posts that the town somehow owes the College for its existance and hence the college has a right to do whatever it so desires, damn the town, is just pointless.
First Years arrive on August 28. Does that mean that their JAs are already on campus? Back in the day, JAs did orientation at the end of the prior school year and arrived just a bit before the freshmen. Several years ago (when?) this was changed to having JA orientation just before first year arrival. Either way, now is time for my annual suggestion: Teach all the first years the words to The Mountains. I just e-mailed the JA Co-presidents, asking them to pass it on to their fellow JAs. Do we have any JA readers who can let us know if they did?
Will this work? Well, if the previous 15 years are any guide, No! But windmills need tilting at.
This is the back of a dorm. Which dorm?
Likely unnecessary hint: The front of this dorm has already appeared in a Photo ID.
Great Boston Globe feature on Peter Detwiler 1983. This dude makes me feel like such a slacker. (Then again, rowing 20 miles arguably makes for an easier commute than fighting through the red line hordes on the metro platform).
Marcos Sahm ’04 notes this Gawker post on Brook Perlin’s ’96 girlfriend Katie Couric.
Less than a month after her CBS debut, she attended a cancer fund-raiser in Manhattan where she was introduced to a tall, good-looking young man by the name of Brooks Perlin. Unlike the self-made types Katie had been attracted to in the past – Jay Monahan, Tom Werner, and Chris Botti – Perlin came from a family of privilege. And at thirty-three years of age, he was, biologically speaking, young enough to be forty-nine-year-old Katie’s son.
Perlin grew up in the tony suburban community of Darien, Connecticut. After graduating from Hotchkiss (the same elite boarding school attended by Tom Werner), he went to Williams College. There he was known as a jock who liked to parade around – a la John F. Kennedy Jr. – without his shirt on.
Though Katie found herself drawn to the young and energetic Perlin, their nearly seventeen-year age difference gave her pause. But when Perlin called for a date, Katie couldn’t resist saying yes.
The irresistible allure of an Eph man . . .
I should stop right there.
Anyway, this excerpt is from a forthcoming biography of Couric. See Gawker for more details and lots of snarky commentary. And people say that EphBlog is mean! Prior posts here.
John Bozeman ’98 is now re-deployed to Iraq. He’ll be there for a year and would enjoy hearing from fellow Ephs. His mailing address is:
Sgt John L. Bozeman
FPO AP 96426-2719
If you are interesting in sending a Support Package (I have found that the Priority Mail Flat Rate Box is the least expensive shipping method), John has asked for three things:
Since we will not be going to the same place as my previous deployments or doing the same sort of stuff, I suspect I will need more support.
Mach 3 razors,
Copenhagen Long Cut,
and Laffy Taffy
will be the staples. As for other stuff, I will have to get there and be without it for a while to know what I really need.
All Marines also appreciate Good Coffee, Baby Wipes (try living in 120 degree weather, fully clothed and without showering for weeks at a time), beef jerky and MAXIM Magazine.
Thank you for supporting our deployed Ephs.
Stewart Menking ’79
Apparently some believe that the best way to counter the influence of the admittedly flawed US News & World Report college rankings is to come up with a competing system, even if that system is almost certainly substantially more flawed than that which we already have. And I don’t say this out of a sense of loyalty to my alma mater or indignance over the fact that the Washington Monthly college rankings only has Williams ranked 8th in their liberal arts college category. Or at least I don’t make this argument exclusively for those reasons.
Look, I think it’s great for a college to prize upward mobility or something as ultimately amorphous as “service,” which the Washington Monthly ratings privilege. And I know that the goal of this ranking is to assess what the magazine calls the “common good.” But ultimately the goal of college is to educate and to produce knowledge. That is the best way to serve the common good.
I also only looked at the methodology briefly, but I simply do not see how Presbyterian College can earn a number one ranking given that within the paltry and arbitrary academic categories of the ratings Presbyterian does not rank at all, but beyond that, other than ROTC participation, that South Carolina college also appears underwhelming in the other categories as well. And why ROTC? Why not medical school applicants and acceptances? Lawyers who go on to do pro bono work? People who go on to teach in inner city schools, or work in nonprofits, or who work with the infirm? The more I think about it, the more this particular ranking system seems like a shoddy exercise in contrarianism couched in the accoutrements of an elusive and ill-defined “common good.”
At the risk of coming across as elitist, it is impossible to take seriously a national ranking of liberal arts colleges in which Presbyterian Collage ranks higher than Amherst, Swarthmore, Middlebury, and Williams, never mind in which it is considered the number one college in the nation in the category. In the case of higher education, a certain level of elitism is good as long as the elitism corresponds with merit as opposed to entitlement. Better to err on the side of promoting excellence and relying on those who graduate from your institution to do well and good in the world than to set up arbitrary and mushy benchmarks for virtue.
Ben Slingerland will not be an Eph.
The package from the Georgetown University men’s soccer team arrived at Ben Slingerland’s home in Beverly about six days before his graduation this spring from St. John’s Prep.
Inside was one thick packet, some 20-plus pages, and a yellow laminated card outlining the program’s summer fitness plan for its freshman recruits. For the next 12 weeks, Slingerland would be a prisoner to that workout regimen, and he considers it the best ball and chain he’s ever received.
He took the package, jetted to his room, and hopped onto the Internet, just to look again at Georgetown’s roster for the fall season.
While he was online, he looked down the list of the school’s top recruits, seeing all the big names, seeing some names he didn’t recognize, and finally seeing that his name was nowhere on the list. It was his team, and it didn’t even mention him.
Not a good sign.
The seniors at the Catholic school in Danvers graduated May 20. Slingerland went to the track at Gordon College in Wenham on May 21.
Georgetown soccer coach Brian Wiese would be impressed.
“If you’re not committed to do the work in the summer,” Wiese said, “you’re not going to last in Division 1 athletics.”
Those packets are what turn summer vacation into an extended fall sports season, and, nowadays, almost any athlete prepping for the next level can expect to receive one.
Slingerland could have gone to a Division 3 school and become a star. He was Williams College’s top recruit. But he wanted to go to Georgetown.
“The Division 1 program appealed to me more because I felt if I had gone to Williams, I probably would been coming in here,” he said, holding his right hand high above his left to show the difference in talent level. “Going to Georgetown, I’d have to work my way up. I’m one of the most competitive people out there. So I love just having to work for everything and just having a challenge.”
Good luck. Comments:
1) How does one know that one is the “top recruit” at Williams? Does Coach Mike Russo hand out a trophy?
2) Was Slingerland admitted regular decision and then turned down Williams? Any applicant with Williams-level academics and the ability to play Division 1 soccer would probably be able to get into Harvard/Yale/Princeton. I suspect that Slingerland was not an AR 1 or 2.
3) Should we be upset that he is not at Williams? No! This is one more spot on the team that is available for a more academically qualified Eph. Are you the last guy to make the team this fall? Did you get the last starting slot? You have Slingerland to thank. Remember the “tipped off” Ephs!
4) Did Singerland make the right choice? Hard to know! If he ends up working hard, making the team and eventually starting at Georgetown, then his choice was reasonable. If he ends up not playing much, even quiting the team, he might have been better off at Williams. Would you rather star at Williams or ride the bench at Georgetown?
1) Whatever CNBC is paying Burnett, it isn’t enough to put up with the likes of Cramer.
2) I think most hedge fund professionals have seen this video. It is hilarious, although perhaps a bit confusing to the layEph. When I first saw it, I didn’t realize that the interviewer was Burnett. My mistake.
3) The Fed did decrease the discount rate last Friday, as Cramer suggested.
1) This list does not include the latest (2008) ranks.
2) Younger Ephs may not recall that Williams was not #1 for a ten year stretch from 1994 to 2003. Those were our years in the wilderness.
3) Is it a coincidence that Williams has done so much better since Morty became president? I doubt it! I bet that Morty is very aware of the rankings and how important doing well is in the global marketplace for elite students.
4) What does the future hold? Again, we need someone to crunch the numbers and methodology more thoroughly, but my sense is that Williams is safe in the top 3 for years to come. It also seems that the recent expansion in class size at Amherst will prevent them from challenging us for at least a few years since they will lag on the faculty:student ratio and class sizes until they do some more hiring.
An Eph writes:
Does Williams do anything to violate the Mexico City policy, which requires nongovernmental organizations to agree as a condition of their receipt of federal funds not to perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning? I bet it does.
I have no idea.
This one is a little more difficult because it’s a texture without context. But I believe you can do it.
Because it is more difficult, there is a hint. I have put the URLs below, but have not made them links.
UPDATE: Daily Show Clip –
Some excerpts from the silly FHM-style interview in the Post:
Q: Do you get stopped on the street and propositioned by your fans on Wall Street?
A: Oh God, no. People who recognize me from the show have stopped me a few times, but it doesn’t happen often. In New York, there are a lot of real celebrities running around.
Q: How much e-mail do you get from obsessed viewers?
A: It’s flattering that people notice you, but some of the stuff is just weird. It comes in but I don’t respond to it. I guess it just comes with the job. I actually get a lot of really thoughtful and insightful e-mails from hedge-fund managers and brokers.
Q: What’s your typical day like?
A: I get up at 5 a.m. and head straight down to the stock exchange and there it’s just a race to get ready on the set. Around 7 a.m. we have our first call for “Squawk on the Street” to figure out what news stories we’re following.
Q: Sounds like a lot of work. Do you ever get to go out during the week?
A: By the time the end of the day comes, I’m pretty exhausted. Sometimes I’ll have dinner or drinks with a source but if I have a free night, I usually go to the gym.
Q: How often to you get to the gym?
A: Not as often as I should, but I usually get there three or four times a week counting both Saturday and Sunday. It just makes me feel better. I played field hockey and lacrosse in college so I miss the exercise.
Q: After you graduated from Williams College, you worked at Goldman Sachs. Why did you leave?
A: I loved the experience and I still have a lot of friends there. I just didn’t feel an excitement about it.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: “Henry’s End” in Brooklyn Heights.
Q: Are you getting annoyed with the comparison with Maria?
A: Yeah. The way I look at it, it’s good for CNBC because we have such a strong lineup. People like rivalries. Our styles are very different.
Q: Are you single?
A: The only thing I can say is that I’m not married.
U.S. News rankings come out tomorrow. An anonymous commentator claims that Williams is still #1.
The rankings have supposedly been leaked. Here are the top LACs:
True? I think so. The list has probably been distributed to other news outlets so that they can get a jump on writing their own stories. Even though the information has been embargoed, many people have access. Can anyone provide a link to some more authoritative version of the leak? Or is this an EphBlog exclusive? If this is a spoof, it is extremely well-done since it included the top 24 names, all of which seem plausible and reasonably ordered. Note that it also included West Point and Annapolis, two schools that grouped with the liberal arts colleges last year. See here for the Carnegie classification which is, I think, used by U.S. News. Note also that the Air Force Academy is not included in the leaked list and is not in the same Carnegie category.
So, I think that this list is accurate. We are #1. You read it first on EphBlog.
UPDATE: Confirmed! See here for a leak of the entire news release. How quick is Google? Within an hour, EphBlog was the top item for a blog search of “leaked U.S. News rankings“. Good work DeWitt Clinton ’98!
Reader J notes this story on the battle over college rankings.
U.S. News & World Report releases its annual college rankings Friday in the face of the loudest and best-organized criticism from educators the magazine has ever encountered.
But for all the complaints that the rankings warp college admissions and distract colleges from educating students, U.S. News still has the upper hand. Colleges are having a hard time quitting the magazine’s annual beauty contest.
Sixty-two colleges have enlisted in an anti-rankings campaign led by education activist Lloyd Thacker. But a quick Web search shows even some of those schools haven’t fulfilled a pledge to stop using their rankings to advertise themselves. And none of the highest-ranked schools have formally signed on.
Interviews by The Associated Press with top officials at about a dozen elite colleges confirm a fault line in the rankings debate that’s more than coincidence: It irks educators everywhere to see colleges ranked like basketball teams. But it irks educators at the top-ranked colleges a lot less.
Indeed. My comments are the same as before. The article includes a Williams mention.
The debate has been raging since the magazine began ranking colleges in the 1980s. But the focus this year is on Thacker, a longtime admissions counselor who has made it his mission to restore educational values to what he calls an over-commercialized college selection process. Thacker has been circulating a letter calling on colleges to boycott a portion of the rankings, to swear off using them for self-promotion, and to develop an alternative — something he also is pursuing.
He’s received lots of attention and encouragement from the top schools. But so far no liberal arts colleges ranked higher than No. 30 on last year’s list has signed the letter, nor have any of the top 100 universities.
Thacker and other rankings opponents acknowledge he’ll eventually need to enlist the big names.
The fight against rankings “must be led by the beneficiaries,” Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College in upstate New York, wrote in a recent letter to U.S. News and to fellow college presidents, saying he would sign on to the protest if schools like Harvard, Princeton and Williams do so first. “To end a corrupt and misleading game, the winners, not the losers, have to call it quits.”
Even though this protest is a pointless waste of time, it has served its fundamental purpose quite well. The focus is on Lloyd Thacker, just where he likes it to be.
Not that there is anything wrong with that!
Also, what is the betting on where Williams will be ranked this year? Here is a blog with background information. In general, US News fusses with the weighting scheme each year, generating (spurious) movement at the top, and better sales. If Harvard were ranked #1 each year, sales would be less. But I think that the focus in on the universities. There is less reason for U.S. News to generate movement among the liberal arts schools. If Williams does fall out of the top rank, what will be the reason?
My guess is that, if Williams is not #1, Amherst won’t be either since their recent increase in class size has (yet) to be matched by an increase in faculty; so their faculty-to-student ratio has probably gotten worse.
Reader Lionel Hutz notes this article.
Am I really moving out of Williamstown in protest over the turmoil in the Williams College athletic department? Well, no, but the nastiness aroused by the firing of the nation’s top Division 3 track coach, the dumping of the women’s golf coach and the angry resignation of the men’s golf coach is cause for the pleasure I will have in leaving.
Yes, after 22 years in a house my wife and I thought would be the last one we ever owned we are selling to the college and moving to Albany. We are, in effect, being kicked out by Williams, which is planning to construct new, lighted football facilities across the street and is apparently attempting to buy every house within sight.
Meanwhile, the college is losing Ralph White and Cathy and Rick Pohle, and as two contributors to Ephblog have expressed it, “I feel as though I am in mourning for these coaches who have left, for their athletes and for Williams,” and “It seems as though we add another name (of departing coaches) every month. This can’t go on, can it?” Williams rides roughshod over anything in its way, and I’ll leave it to the blind alumni to defend the college’s actions.
In situations like this, the College is always at a disadvantage since it can’t defend itself. Is Director of Public Affairs Jim Kolesar going to issue a news release claiming that women golfers petitioned the athletic department for a more experienced coach? No.
EphBlog: Blind alumni defending the College since 2003!
As far as I can tell, the turmoil in the Athletic Department started in 2003, with the failure to defend Barnard, followed by his dismissal. Once folks like Assistant Athletic Director Lisa Melendy realized that they could get away with firing a veteran coach, they decided (correctly) that they could do whatever they wanted.
First they came for Barnard, but I said nothing because I was not conservative, stiff-necked, old-fashioned coach. Then they came for Ralph White.
Or did all this trouble really start when Harry Sheehy ’75 became Athletic Director in 2000?
By the way, could someone provide more details on what happened with golf? If Pohle resigned angrily, then there out to be an angry resignation letter. Send it to us.
The Williams town-gown philosophy was, I think, best expressed to me in a note from the college president, Morton Schapiro. I had asked if the college could keep open in the winter a walking path alongside Cole Field.
Schapiro replied that he would try to determine if such action “is feasible for us.” Williams operates like the Vatican — the Vatican is in Italy but not a part of it; Williams is in Williamstown but is not a part of it. All considerations involve “us” and “them.” The college, like Bill Gates, does good with its wealth but only if its actions serve a public relations policy that benefits Williams.
If Williams is the Vatican, is Morty the Pope? Just asking! Whole article is a fun read.
From a reader:
The Ephmen of Williams Swimming and Diving dedicated their 2007 championship season to Nate when they proudly wore their conference shirts emblazoned with the simple words on the back: “Semper Athlete.” (“Semper,” obviously for the Marines, and “Athlete,” one of his favorite terms for any of his teammates.) Nate would be proud of “his boys”: each of the 24 Williams conference team members had a hand in dominating the NESCAC competition. By the time it was over, the Ephmen had scored 2,019.5 points — surpassing the tally of their nearest competitor, Amherst, by more than 50% (711.5 points).
Previous posts here.
Williams’ own Erin Burnett ’98 has a “fan” in “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, though it may have been better to have shown his feelings off air…
Isn’t it about time that WSO’s Factrak was available to first years? Apparently, not.
Q: I don’t have access to Factrack on WSO for some reason. I emailed them but haven’t gotten a response. Any know any other way to find ratings on professors?
A: Eh, this happened to the ’10s last year to, you probably won’t be able to get on until mid September. Until then you just have to be good at guessing.
Too bad. Factrack should be open to first years. In fact, it should be open to everyone. The more transparency and input, the better. Another long term project is to replace Factrack with a more Wiki-type system which would allow for comments on the comments. We shouldn’t delete a student’s opinion that, say, a specific class has a disorganized syllabus, but we should provide an easy mechanism for another student (or alum) to disagree.