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Mika and Joe

Mika Brzezinski ’89 is getting rave reviews for her interview of Joe Biden.

MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski was lauded on social media for her questioning of former Vice President Joe Biden about an allegation that he sexually assaulted a Senate aide in 1993.

Brzezinski questioned Biden for approximately 18 minutes on Friday, asking the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee if he assaulted former staffer Tara Reade, if he would give permission to the University of Delaware to release relevant records, and if he was guilty of hypocrisy given his statements during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.

What do our readers think?


Things Mika Says…

Mika Brzezinski is class of 1989 and a co-host of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC. A little over 30 years ago Mika and I lived in the same dorm at Williams. These days I often start my day by watching her on TV. I thought it might be fun to occasionally quote something that Mika has said and see if that sparks an interesting conversation. Technically, the below quote is not from Mika, it is from her Dad Zbigniew Brzezinski, NSA to President Carter. However, it is on Mika’s twitter page.

“Bipartisanship helps to avoid extremes and imbalances. It causes compromises and accommodations. So let’s cooperate.” ~Zbigniew Brzezinski

This largely reflects my perspective as well. Recent political history presents evidence that this might be a bit naive. However, true that may be, I am hopeful that bipartisanship provides a way forward towards a better America.



Your weekly opportunity to argue about politics . . .


Morning Joe & Psycho

EphBlog loves it whenever a president tweets about an Eph.

For the second time this summer, Donald Trump has used his Twitter account to label a high-profile woman a “psycho.” Last month it was Bette Midler. On Tuesday, Mika Brzezinski who was targeted, as the president laid into her and her Morning Joe co-host (and new husband), Joe Scarborough.

Trump slammed the real-life couple and MSNBC hosts over their TV ratings, then accused them of spreading “fake news.” He went on to credit the show for helping “get me elected.” He then added a tweet tagging the Fox News show Fox & Friends, which is known for toeing the Trump party line.

Want to argue about politics? This is your weekly chance to do so.


Mika Questions


Article here: “Brzezinski questions Franken accuser: ‘Playboy model who goes on Hannity, voted for Trump'”

I was told that you must believe the women.



Sound advice!


JCD is Right!* Hitler is a cliche …

Il Dunce

With the pardon of the sheriff, with the order to the military Re: transgenderpeople in the  service, I’d have slapped up a shot of Der Fuhrer faster than lightning. But JCD is right, I’ve been over-using Hitler as an easy allusion for Drumph and Fascism.

So here is a new simulacrum that I’ll use. It’s a little lighter with a touch of humor. Although the situations grow less and less humorous.

Thanks JCD!

          * see JCD comment, 3rd comment under ‘Very Nice People’ post **


**  Granted, this is a meta reference to Williams. However, one that may be familiar to constant readers.

Addenda items …

At David’s good suggestion to search harder for a Williams College reference, I am adding this more direct beat-back.

This article in the blog of Christian Thorne, Associate Professor of English on 27 February, 2017:

Mussolini’s government, unlike Hitler’s, did not attempt to monopolize the entire sphere of thought and culture. Historians are keen to point out that there was no Italian Gleichschaltung—no effort to bring everyone into line. Within certain parameters, independent intellectuals continued to publish in Italy, which means not that there were still socialists or communists or liberals expressing themselves freely in Florence and Rome—those people really were shut down—but that there remained an outer circle of freelance fascists, the half-fascists or the merely unenrolled, the shirts not of black, but of charcoal and onyx and taupe,

Added by DDF:


Come Hither

From The Weekly Standard:

So there I am Tuesday morning, wheezing away on my exercise bike, trying to stay alert to telltale signs of the inevitable coronary thrombosis, when, for the first time in many, many years, I switch on the TV to watch Morning Joe.

And what am I greeted with? Not Morning Joe’s handsome mug (I think it was Don Imus who first noticed Morning Joe’s eerie resemblance to the banjo-playing boy in Deliverance). Not Mika’s permafrost hairdo or that come-hither body language.

No. Instead I am greeted by a video of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. They were shown at a cabinet meeting with President Trump the day before. Each of them, in brief remarks, was saying nice things about the boss. Really nice things, right in front of him.

Chao explained that when Trump visited her eyesore of an office building the week before, “hundreds and hundreds of people were just so thrilled.” Mnuchin said, “It was a great honor traveling with you … the last year and an even greater honor to be here serving in your cabinet.” Priebus laid it on with a trowel: “We thank you for the opportunity and the blessing … to serve your agenda.”

After this the camera went to Morning Joe and Mika back in the studio, sitting in what we were to take as stunned silence.

“Whoa,” said Morning Joe. “That was some sad stuff.”

“That was sick,” said Mika. “Am I allowed to say that?”

Yes, you are, Mika.

1) Do 50 year old Williams women like it or not like it if they are still perceived as having the ability to pull off a “come hither” look? Asking for a friend.

2) Read the whole article. Fake news at its finest!


Seeing Your Ex at a Rigged Restaurant

Looking for a place to argue about the election? This is your thread!


But, first, some comments from two of our favorite Ephs:

Jon Lovett ’04, a straight shooter respected on all sides, tweets:


In response to Donald Trump’s statement that he will wait and see whether the election is fair before promising to accept its results, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski narrates a montage of statements from Democratic politicians calling the legitimacy of the 2000 and 2004 elections into question.


Trump Tweets @ Mika

Which Eph is most tweeted at by a US presidential candidate? Mika Brzezinski ’89!


Has Clinton tweeted about any Ephs? Has Trumped tweeted about any other Ephs? Not that I have seen. Pointers welcome!

By the way, current odds are about 3:1 in favor of Clinton.


Should we be comforted or shocked by that?

In other news, Trump gave an immigration speech last night after going out for Mexican food (or something). Modern news reports are confusing! If you have thoughts on Clinton/Trump or anything political, than this is your thread for the next week. (Off topic comments in other threads may be deleted without warning.)


Advice from Brzezinski ’89: Sweat Bullets in Front of a Crowd

Town & Country magazine featured an enjoyable recent interview with MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski ’89.

Brzezinski '89 at a 2010 Williams event.  Photo credit Kris Dufour, Sports Information

Mika Brzezinski ’89 at a 2010 Williams event. Photo credit Kris Dufour, Sports Information.

Brzezinski didn’t mention her time at Williams College, but Eph undergraduates are in one of the finest places to take advantage of key elements of her career advice:

[Q:] What life skill do you think is of utmost importance for young women who are starting their careers?

Being able to think on your feet, get on stage, and talk in front of people. I urge every young woman to do that [talk on stage]. I think that it will get you out of your comfort zone and teach you to communicate visually and experience that kind of “hot, red, I’m really embarrassed, everyone’s looking at me” feeling. And you can find these moments, you need to find them, and do them consistently.

If you have a career that has you hiding under a rock, and never having to speak in front of anyone– look elsewhere. Make a toast at a party, give a speech at someone’s wedding. The first few times are awful– and you’ll sweat, and all of the sudden, you’ll realize your outfit is wrong. You’ll look at pictures, and you’ll be able to visualize, and feel what it’s like when it’s showtime in your life. You need to actually communicate effectively. It may be negotiating a contract, or negotiating a marriage. You can’t do that just by thinking you can wing it: “when I get there, I’ll figure it out.” No, practice; get in front of people.

Perhaps not surprising advice from a live-television personality, but it’s good advice for succeeding in almost any field. And through regular classwork, senior theses and academic colloquia, not to mention the unmatched array of extracurricular opportunities in theater, comedy, a capella, student government, and the like, no one should graduate Williams without taking on and overcoming this kind of performance anxiety. Williams students take note: you’ll never have a friendlier, more supportive environment to gain practice communicating in front of a crowd!


On 8-0

The more references there are to Williams in elite media, the better off Williams will be. (Hat tip to Dick Quinn and the amazing job he does in Sports Information.)


Colbert on Mika on Palin

First rule of Ephblog: anytime an Eph appears on, or is mentioned by, Stephen Colbert, it must be shared on Ephblog.  Why?  Because Colbert = God.  Here, Colbert reacts to Mika’s (understandable) exasperation at having to play yet another clip of Palin babbling about herself.  And by the way, Colbert pretty much sums up Palin’s current relevance in his brilliant-as-usual riff.  Enjoy. [Oh, and for those who missed it, Mika herself appeared on Colbert about a year ago].

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'Mika Brzezinski Experiences Palin Fatigue
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> Video Archive

Get off my case, Mika

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Mika versus Miley:

Mika Brzezinski has a new and unlikely rivalry brewing — with tween queen Miley Cyrus!

Brzezinski, the mother of two daughters, was a vocal critic last year after Cyrus performed a pole dance at the Teen Choice Awards.

In a recent interview with PARADE magazine, Cyrus responded directly to Brzezinski:

“My impulse is to say, ‘Get off my case, Mika. Get over it.’ But then I think, ‘Well, that makes me just like her. I’m acting just like everyone else who has some kind of chip on their shoulder.’ My job first is to entertain and do what I love, and if you don’t like it, then change the channel. I’m not forcing you to watch me. I’m not forcing you to talk about me. I would do that pole dance a thousand times again, because it was right for the song and that performance. But, dude, if you think dancing on top of an ice-cream cart with a pole is bad, then go check what 90% of the high schoolers are really up to. It’s funny. I don’t know if a lot of parents remember what they were like as kids. But I’m like, ‘Dude, as if you were an angel!'”

On “Morning Joe” Thursday, Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough reacted to Cyrus’ response.

“What a lovely, lovely girl,” Brzezinski said. “Isn’t she just the sweetest thing?”

“On behalf of all of the parents of young girls in America, I would say this to Miley Cyrus,” Scarborough said. “Dude, it’s not adults that are concerned about it for our sakes, we can change the channel. Dude, our young daughters are watching you. Dude, w really don’t think it’s appropriate for you to sexualize a dance, dude, that 7, 8, 9, and 10-year old girls are watching.”

“I’m not sure what was happening there with the pole and I will definitely stick by what I said,” Brzezinski added. “I thought it was inappropriate and unfortunate.”

I don’t remember Mika’s dancing two decades ago, but I remember the jeans she wore . . .


Joe and Mika on Campus / Election Day Liveblog

Tonight’s election discussion at the ’62 Center with Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski ’89 should be a fun one.  Keep an eye out for excerpts broadcast on their program tomorrow morning (and if possible, capture them and post video here!).  Kudos to SID Dick Quinn for helping make this happen!  Anyone who attends, please share any particularly interesting exchanges.

Also, use this thread to post results and comment on the election prospects of Ephs Chris Murphy ’96 (running for reelection to Congress, and recently received the largest local paper’s endorsement, but faces a very competitive race in a formerly reliably-red district), Walker Stapleton ’96 (running for Colorado State Treasurer, like Murphy, his race is a toss-up), Martha Coakley ’75 (running for reelection as Massachusetts Attorney General, and should have less trouble than she had in the Senate race), and Doug Hoffer ’85 (running for Vermont State Auditor), as well as any other Ephs running for office.


Parents Beware

This is awesome.  Apparently, Mika Brzezinski’s daughter hijacked her Twitter account in an (ultimately successful) attempt to meet tween heartthrob Justin Bieber.

Mika has over 20,000 followers on Twitter.  Does any Eph have more?

Updated: thanks to Ronit for pointing out that Steve Case is likely the most popular Eph alum on Twitter, with over 350,000 followers.

Bo Peabody ’94 remains skeptical about the viability of the social networking business model, but anything with that many regular users, I would think could be turned profitable.


Mika Brzezinski featured in “I’m a Runner”

Each month, Runner’s World magazine publishes an interview with a celebrity who is also a runner. This month, it’s Mika Brzezinski ’89! (Recall that Runner’s World’s editor is David Willey ’89.) Here’s what Mika says about Williams:

Brzezinski: I’m running as we speak. I catch up on a lot of my phone calls for work this way. I know how to monitor my breathing, so I can have a complete conversation with no problem.

Runner’s World: How did you start running?
Brzezinski: My family was always active, and our thing was family walks. Not walks around the block, but more like eight-mile hikes up mountains. I eventually got into horseback riding. In high school, my two older brothers ran track. They’d come home sweaty and mud-covered, and I could tell they enjoyed it. So I started running—I ran a mile down the road and back again—and I haven’t stopped since.

Did you join the track team?
I competed at Williams College [in Massachusetts] in the 3000 and 5000 meters. I loved the open space and hills there, especially a 10-miler to a place called Five Corners.

For the full interview, click the link above. At the end, she mentions that she’s covered 3.5 miles during the interview. Wow!

Hat tip: A fellow Williams ’07 runner linked this on Facebook. He points out that her 10-mile loop is also known as “43-7” (since it is along those two state routes) and that there are much nicer places to run around Williamstown.


Athletics Round-up: Renaissance Ephs Edition

A few athletics stories of note from the past few weeks, many focusing on athletics in an academic / worldly context:

  • Nice summary of another tremendously successful year for Williams athletics (one in which they will soon win yet another Director’s Cup, potentially by a record margin) in the Advocate.
  • Article on Dr. Thomas Graham ’84, “perhaps the nation’s most prominent hand specialist,” who has treated numerous prominent athletes, including Shaq.  Now if only he could fix Shaq’s foul shooting …
  • Great feature on baseball star Al Matthews ’10, whose graduation day was doubly memorable.
  • Williams mathematicians published a paper on the optimal base running path.
  • Nice article about Kathleen Elkins ’14, who will join the three-time champion Eph tennis team following a highly unusual high school experience.
  • Joey Lye ’09 named to Canadian national softball team.
  • Feature in Runner’s World on Mika Brzezinski.
  • Taylor Epley ’14 fared well against big-time players in the Kentucky-Indiana high school basketball all star game.
  • Annie Weisman ’95’s new play “Surf Report,” focuses on, among other things (yes, you guessed it), surfing.  Her prior play, Be Aggressive, centered on a cheerleader dealing with a family crisis.
  • Tom Yankus ’56 retires following legendary (52 year!!!) career coaching baseball at Choate.  Yankus wrote a book, Montana Summer, focusing on his time playing minor league baseball.
  • Article on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his father, former New York Senator Charles Goodell ’48.
  • ESPN’s college recruiting blog features future Eph Alex Scyocurka ’14, who chose Williams over BYU, Brown, and Boston College.  “He chose Williams College, a Division III program,” Phillips Exeter coach Bill Glennon said.  “He went for the education, and I think you have to applaud him for that.”

Odd Couple of Morning TV

Great (and massive) Sunday New York Times feature on Morning Joe, starring Mika Brzezinski ’89.

My favorite (of many choice) anecdote:

The creation story behind this journalistic gallimaufry is worthy of an episode of “30 Rock.” In March 2007, Joe was in Florida, broadcasting his MSNBC program “Scarborough Country” when MSNBC assigned a freelancer to deliver the news segment from New Jersey. That person was Mika, who had worked in the news media for 20 years, and had been abruptly fired from CBS on May 2, her birthday, the previous year. Joe, who had never met her, was struck by Mika’s jesting tone when she signed off, “And now, back to Scarborough Country.”

On a boat the next day, his friends told him, “Dude she’s making fun of your show!” The thought intrigued him. A few weeks later, when MSNBC canceled the “Imus in the Morning” program (after its host, Don Imus, made insensitive remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team), Joe traveled to Secaucus, N.J., with his producer, Chris Licht, to pitch a program to MSNBC’s president, Phil Griffin, to fill the Imus slot. The concept, Mr. Licht explained last month, was, “Hard news for three hours, not formulaic, not focus-grouped, just intelligent people having intelligent discussions about major topics.” Joe wanted to find a fellow host who could stand her ground against him, not a glorified “prompter-reader.”

Sitting on the mini-sofa in Joe’s office at Rockefeller Center, they remembered their first encounter, in Secaucus, three years ago. “I go up to Mika and say, ’Nice to meet you,’ and I said, ‘By the way, I know you make fun of my show.’ ” Mika interjected, “And I said, ‘How can I make fun of a show that I’ve never even seen?’ ” Grinning, Joe continued, “Two seconds later I’m calling Phil and saying I found my co-host.”


Mirth on Morning Joe

In video news, it’s worth watching Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough’s amused reaction earlier this week when Salon pundit Joan Walsh proved unable to name any liberals who could be considered “extreme voices.” It’s pretty clear who Joe and Mika might have in mind:

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough


Brzezinski ’89 on Colbert

Mika Brzezinski ’89 on The Colbert Report.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Mika Brzezinski
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Economy

Thanks to nuts for the link.


Whalen Salary

Frank Uible ’57 writes:

In a major, unwarranted intrusion into privacy, today MNBC on its Morning Joe nationwide TV show gratuitously disclosed a certain annual salary number which it specifically attributable to Mike Whalen. Cute! I’m boycotting the show. You morons, rein in your base instincts and refrain from posting a clip of that disclosure or otherwise mentioning the number.

1) Video, please!

2) For those that don’t know, Mike Whalen is the football coach at Williams. My guess would be that this came up in conversation in the context of the huge salaries that Division I football coaches get. Whalen is, in comparison, paid very little.

3) In fact, as best I can tell, no member of the athletic faculty has ever had his salary made public. (I have never seen a coach salary listed in, for example, the Form 990 filings.) The puzzle then is: Who told Morning Joe Mike Whalen’s salary. There are very few people at Williams who know that number.


Burnett ’98 Congratulates Brzezinski ’89

Thanks to nuts for the pointer and for, I think, uploading this video to YouTube. (You would be welcome to join us as an author so that you could post yourself.)

What do you think it would take for either Burnett or Brzezinski to give a shout out to EphBlog? Suggestions welcome!

UPDATE: nuts, could you change the thumbnail of this video to be from about the 27 or 28 second mark?


Here’s your weekly Brzezinski post

Here’s something about babies and work and stuff. I think there’s something in there about how women who step out of the career track to raise their kids become less “mentally and physically interesting” to their life partner.


Brzezinski Responds

Here’s Part 2 by Brzezinski ’89:

Last week I let you know my thoughts on how children could fit into the lives of the professional woman.

Some were not amused.

“Not only is your post embarrassingly stupid,” began one tweet, “it’s offensive to anyone who believes in reproductive choice”

Thank God the many on twitter only have 140 characters to tell me what they really thought….

Brzezinski quotes feedback she has received about her first post and goes on to speak more on the subject. Read it here.


Make My Man Happy

mikaDon’t want to talk about Bernard Moore anymore? Fine. Let’s talk about Mika Brzezinski ’89. (Previous discussion here.)

For years, feminists have been insisting that we women could have it all. But since diapers, bras and babies have been seen as symbols of oppression from the Old World run by the likes of Don Draper, there hasn’t been enough written about women like me who want to work like hell, rise to the top of my profession, and then rush home to be with the kids and also work to make my husband happy and build his life.

For me, having it all doesn’t mean having the corner office at work and a penthouse at home if there aren’t kids running around as I’m trying to cook my husband something special.

For those who still want to take off their bras and burn them, so be it. But I’d rather find one to wear that is pretty. And when it comes off, its not because it’s being thrown into the fireplace.

Can you imagine what the reaction would have been if I (or some other non-liberal man) had written this as advice to female Williams students?

But I am speaking to the women who DO want to have a family and consider a lifelong relationship valuable, rather than a badge of weakness or a sign that she missed the boat on the women’s rights movement.

I am not afraid to say my relationship with my man is important, even vital, to who I am as a person.

A woman shouldn’t feel the need to shy away from wanting to build a world around a man she loves and do whatever she can to make him happy and whole –as he should for her.

The Record ought to do a story on this topic and interview Williams faculty. Would a single one agree with Mika? Interviewing women in Mika’s class (like my wife, also ’89) would be interesting as well. My comments are the same as they were before.

Brzezinski is exactly right. I have never met an Eph woman who reports that she had kids too soon. I have met Eph women who had kids at the right time. There are many Eph women who regret having waited too long. I suspect that Brzezinski’s has many female Eph friends in that category.

Needless to say, the marriage and childbearing decisions of Ephs would make for a great senior thesis. When do Ephs get married? When do they have children? What do they, decades later, say about those choices?

Does Brzezinsk believe what she is saying or has she determined that defending “traditional” female dreams is a brilliant book-promotion strategy? Both, I think.

Read the whole thing.


Don’t forget to have kids

Mika Brzezinski ’89 posts advice for young women about life lessons and career choices, concluding with this piece of heteronormative patriarchal oppression which seems perfect for an EphBlog post:

Of course all of this advice is not as radical as it would have seemed a generation ago. Most young women expect to have a career and plan to go the extra mile.

But what I find always gets bulging eyes and double takes is when I say something like this as my closer.

“Ladies, one more thing: and perhaps the most important thing I will say here today. If you plan to have a family, please .. PUH-leeease, do NOT forget to get married and have kids. And start now. Even in your 20’s!

Continue reading here.


Brzezinski on Getting Fired

From the Huffington Post After all those years of hard work and dedication, it all ended in a flash. With Dan Rather’s departure came the elimination of managers above him — the very same managers who hired me.

It wasn’t long afterward that I was negotiating my very public and very painful exit from CBS. To my kids I acted like I was giving them a gift. Somehow, I felt it was my duty to protect them from the pain I was feeling. I sugarcoated the whole thing. Big mistake.

Read the rest for an especially poignant story of her visit to her daughter’s school. She was a good speaker at the round table of Bicentennial Medalists, and her story is a good one about getting back on the horse after a fall.


Mika’s Adventures With Vampires and Drunks at the Billsville Piggly Wiggly

A few entertaining moments for Mika Brzezinski ’89 on Morning Joe of late.  First, noted vampire Dick Cheney sent her cupcakes, apparently in an effort to alleviate her crankiness.  Second, check out this Williams mention (hat tip to Nuts):


Convocation ’09

Tomorrows convocation panel discussion sounds like a diverse mix of Ephs. The theme is “Inspired Lives- Paths Well Traveled”

Convocation event featuring Bicentennial Medalists in a panel discussion where they will share their life stories. Bicentennial Medals recognize distinguished Williams alumni for “significant achievement in any field of endeavor.” Medalists are:

The Honorable Karen Ashby ’79 The first African American woman appointed to the bench in the state of Colorado, she is a nationally recognized expert in matters pertaining to juvenile and family law.

Mika Brzezinski ’89 A television news journalist with star power, she is a familiar anchor on a host of NBC shows including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, NBC Nightly News, and Weekend Today.

Gary Fisketjon ’76 Vice president at Alfred A. Knopf, he has been honored for “discovering, nurturing and championing writers of fiction” and is considered an editorial master by established writers worldwide.

John F. Raynolds ’51 This innovator devised strategies that led to development of the U.S. Navy Seals and steered Outward Bound, USA, through its largest growth in history, all the while inspiring others through his speaking and writing.

Senator Mark E. Udall ’72 An accomplished mountain climber, the Senator from Colorado is nationally recognized for his steadfast commitment to addressing challenging environmental issues, including his early support for alternative energy.


Sounds good to me. I hope someone can report back.


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