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Obama: Police who arrested professor 'acted stupidly'
(CNN) -- President Obama said that police in Cambridge, Massachusetts, "acted stupidly" in arresting a prominent black Harvard professor last week after a confrontation at the man's home.
Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. talks Wednesday about his ordeal with Cambridge police.
"I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played," Obama said Wednesday night while taking questions after a White House news conference.
Cambridge authorities dropped disorderly conduct charges against Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Tuesday.
Obama defended Gates on Wednesday night, while admitting that he may be "a little biased," because Gates is a friend.
"But I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home and, No. 3 . that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately."
The incident, Obama said, shows "how race remains a factor in this society." Watch the president address the incident »
The mayor of Cambridge said she is going to meet with the city's police chief to make sure the scenario that caused Gates' arrest does not happen again.
"This suggests that something happened that should not have happened," Mayor E. Denise Simmons said on CNN's "American Morning." "The situation is certainly unfortunate. This can't happen again in Cambridge." Watch how the mayor plans to handle the situation »
Gates said Simmons called him to apologize.
He told CNN on Wednesday that although charges had been dropped, he will keep the issue alive.
"This is not about me this is about the vulnerability of black men in America," Gates told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. Have race relations improved since Obama's election?
Gates said he'd be prepared to forgive the arresting officer "if he told the truth" about what the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research said were "fabrications" in the police report.
The officer, Sgt. James Crowley, told CNN affiliate WCVB earlier Wednesday that he will not apologize.
"There are not many certainties in life, but it is for certain that Sgt. Crowley will not be apologizing," he said.
Gates said the mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, called him to apologize about the incident, in which he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Watch Gates talk about his arrest »
CNN could not confirm Wednesday night that an apology was made. Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons did not respond to requests by CNN for comment.
Crowley wrote in the Cambridge police report that Gates refused to step outside to speak with him, the police report said, and when Crowley told Gates that he was investigating a possible break-in, Gates opened the front door and exclaimed, "Why, because I'm a black man in America?" the report said. Was the professor profiled? »
The report said Gates initially refused to show the officer identification, but eventually produced a Harvard identification card, prompting Crowley to radio for Harvard University Police.
"While I was led to believe that Gates was lawfully in the residence, I was quite surprised and confused with the behavior he exhibited toward me," Crowley said, according to the report.
Gates was arrested for "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space" and was released from police custody after spending four hours at the police station.
He said Wednesday that he and his lawyers were considering further actions, not excluding a lawsuit.
Gates said that although the ordeal had upset him, "I would do the same thing exactly again."
Earlier this week, a prosecutor dropped the charge against Gates and the city's police department recommended that the matter not be pursued.
Obama Was Breaking Barriers 25 Years Ago Today
President Barack Obama became the first black president 25 years ago today -- of the Harvard Law Review, that is.
The New York Times shared a screenshot Friday of their 1990 profile of Obama, which ran after he became the first black student elected to preside over the Review. Obama was 28 years old at the time.
In the 1990 interview, Obama told the Times that he believed his election showed "a lot of progress."
"'It's encouraging," he said. "But it's important that stories like mine aren't used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don't get a chance."
The profile explained that the president of the Review "usually goes on to serve as a clerk for a judge on the Federal Court of Appeals for a year, and then as a clerk for an associate justice of the Supreme Court." Obama followed a less conventional path, it seems.
4. George W. Bush, 1946-
President George W. Bush Addresses Joint Session of Congress, 09/20/2001. Image credit: The U.S. National Archives/Flickr.com
George W. Bush was the 43 rd President of the United States, serving from 2001 to 2009. He was the second person in his family to assume the office of the presidency, after his father, George H.W. Bush. Though he did his undergraduate studies at Yale University, George W. Bush completed an MBA at Harvard University in 1975. He was elected the governor of Texas before ascending to the U.S. presidency. Shortly after becoming president, George W. Bush would lead the U.S. into the so-called War on Terror, following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
First Black Elected to Head Harvard's Law Review
The Harvard Law Review, generally considered the most prestigious in the country, elected the first black president in its 104-year history today. The job is considered the highest student position at Harvard Law School.
The new president of the Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago's South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.
''The fact that I've been elected shows a lot of progress,'' Mr. Obama said today in an interview. ''It's encouraging.
'ɻut it's important that stories like mine aren't used to say that everything is O.K. for blacks. You have to remember that for every one of me, there are hundreds or thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don't get a chance,'' he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment.
Law reviews, which are edited by students, play a double role at law schools, providing a chance for students to improve their legal research and writing, and at the same time offering judges and scholars a forum for new legal arguments. The Harvard Law Review is generally considered the most widely cited of the student law reviews.
On his goals in his new post, Mr. Obama said: ''I personally am interested in pushing a strong minority perspective. I'm fairly opinionated about this. But as president of the law review, I have a limited role as only first among equals.''
Therefore, Mr. Obama said, he would concentrate on making the review a 'ɿorum for debate,'' bringing in new writers and pushing for livelier, more accessible writing.
The president of the law review usually goes on to serve as a clerk for a judge on the Federal Court of Appeals for a year, and then as a clerk for an associate justice of the Supreme Court. Mr. Obama said he planned to spend two or three years in private law practice and then return to Chicago to re-enter community work, either in politics or in local organizing.
Professors and students at the law school reacted cautiously to Mr. Obama's selection. 'ɿor better or for worse, people will view it as historically significant,'' said Prof. Randall Kennedy, who teaches contracts and race relations law. 'ɻut I hope it won't overwhelm this individual student's achievement.''
Change in Selection System
Mr. Obama was elected after a meeting of the review's 80 editors that convened Sunday and lasted until early this morning, a participant said.
Until the 1970's the editors were picked on the basis of grades, and the president of the Law Review was the student with the highest academic rank. Among these were Elliot L. Richardson, the former Attorney General, and Irwin Griswold, a dean of the Harvard Law School and Solicitor General under Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.
That system came under attack in the 1970's and was replaced by a program in which about half the editors are chosen for their grades and the other half are chosen by fellow students after a special writing competition. The new system, disputed when it began, was meant to help insure that minority students became editors of The Law Review.
Harvard, like a number of other top law schools, no longer ranks its law students for any purpose including a guide to recruiters.
Blacks at Harvard: New High
Black enrollment at Harvard Law School, after a dip in the mid-1980's, has reached a record high this year, said Joyce Curll, the director of admissions. Of the 1,620 students in the three-year school, 12.5 percent this year are blacks, she said, and 14 percent of the first-year class are black. Nationwide enrollment by blacks in undergraduate colleges has dropped in recent years.
Mr. Obama succeeds Peter Yu, a first-generation Chinese-American, as president of The Law Review. After graduation, Mr. Yu plans to serve as a clerk for Chief Judge Patricia Wald on the of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Mr. Yu said Mr. Obama's election ''was a choice on the merits, but others may read something into it.''
The first female editor of The Harvard Law Review was Susan Estrich, in 1977, who recently resigned as a professor at Harvard Law School to take a similar post at the University of Southern California. Ms. Estrich was campaign manager for Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts in his campaign for the Presidency in 1988.
Obama, Critical Race Theory, and Harvard Law School
Watching Breitbart.com’s footage of law student Barack Obama praising radical law professor Derrick Bell gave me a strong sense of déjà vu. I arrived at Harvard Law School in August 1991, just a couple months after Barack Obama graduated. It would be hard to overstate the level of poison and vitriol that pervaded the school throughout the early 1990s. In 1993, GQ dubbed the law school “Beirut on the Charles” as HLS campus politics made national news.
This was the era of proud political correctness — including booing, hissing, and shouting down dissenting voices in class — combined with the vocal ascendance of the “crits.” Critical legal theorists rejected American legal systems root and branch, decrying them as the products of an irretrievably broken racist patriarchy. Their “scholarship” was unorthodox (and that’s being charitable), their voices were strident, and their student followers tended to be vicious. Many of the “crits” also had magnetic, preacher-like personalities, and it was more than a little disturbing to see the psychological hold they had over their student constituency.
Conservatives navigating this environment had to watch themselves. I can remember seeing cut-and-paste pictures of gay porn on the walls of the Harkness Commons, with the faces of Federalist Society leaders superimposed on the nude figures of the gay “actors.” If you truly angered the activist Left, they would call your future employers demanding that job offers be revoked, and I can recall receiving more than one note with some variation of “die, you f***ing fascist” for my pro-life advocacy. I was shouted down in class and verbally attacked by teachers. If it weren’t for the courageous free-speech advocacy of professors like Alan Dershowitz, the atmosphere would undoubtedly have been even worse. (I don’t mean to imply that Barack Obama ever participated in acts of political intimidation — I never heard that he did — but these stories do provide some sense of the background political intensity.)
Two events truly caused the campus to explode in the early 1990s. The first was the denial of tenure to Regina Austin (Jake Tapper tells the story here), and the second was the granting of tenure to four white male professors. The first event occurred during Barack Obama’s time at the law school, and the second almost two years later. In both instances there was enormous pressure on all left-leaning students to unite in outrage — and unite they did.
But what does all this mean now? In 2012? There’s little doubt that law student Obama was a political radical by any conventional, society-wide measure of the term. But that’s not the end of the story. At Harvard at least, radical was mainstream and conservative was radical. In fact, the radical view was so mainstream that one couldn’t help but think that even the loudest students would graduate, go to law firms, and fit in just as seamlessly to the new mainstream of their legal professions. And, in fact, most did. They weren’t intellectual leaders they were followers.
My reading of Barack Obama’s political biography is pretty simple: He’s not so much a liberal radical as a member of the liberal mainstream of whatever community he inhabits. In that video, he was doing no more and no less than what most politically engaged leftist law students were doing — supporting the radical race and gender politics that dominated campus. When he went to Chicago and met Bill Ayers, he was fitting within a second, and slightly different, liberal culture. He shifted again in Washington and then again in the White House. But radical, “conviction” politicians don’t decry Gitmo then keep it open, promise to end the wars then reinforce the troops, express outrage at Bush war tactics then maintain rendition and triple the number of drone strikes.
Obama’s biography is essentially the same as many of the liberal mainstream-media journalists who cover him. They’ve made the same migration — from leading campus protests, to building families in urban liberal communities, to participating in a national political culture. At the risk of engaging in dime-store pop psychology, they like Obama in part because they identify with him so thoroughly and see much of themselves in him. They call him “pragmatic” or “moderate” or “technocratic” because they’re fully aware of legions of leftists who never made the transition from the purer form of activist politics. The pure activist is still leading campus protests or camped out in various parks across the country or writing radical tracts for minuscule readerships. The more moderate Left is running the country.
I would imagine that law school Barack Obama would never imagine ordering drone strikes on American citizens on foreign soil or Navy SEAL raids deep into Pakistan. Law school Barack Obama would likely think Obamacare was a thoroughly unsatisfactory half-measure and oppose it bitterly. Law school Obama is not our president, and I’m not sure that the videos tell us much at all about the man who sits in the oval office.
[DidYouKnow] Black History Month Daily Fact: Feb 5th f. Barack Obama (Harvard Law Review)
On this day in 1990, our very own first Black President, Barack Obama was named the first black President of Harvard Law Review. According to, Harvard Law Today, “He arrived on campus at the age of 27 in the fall of 1988, older than many of his classmates after a stint as a community organizer in Chicago.”1990, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama in 1990, during his tenure as President of the Harvard Law Review. Barack Hussein Obama (born August 4, 1961) is the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois. In November 2004, he was elected to the Senate as a Democrat. He is married to Michelle Obama and is a father to two daughters.
This month marks a special place in the heart of America as we acknowledge our African-American pioneers for their bravery, drive and dedication to make this world a better place. We’ve reached greater heights, broken records, and stood fearless throughout trials and tribulations. This month does not define us as a group of people or minorities this month glorifies our strengths, each and everyday for the month of February located on #UseYourCache you will receive a new Historical Black Month Fact. Contact me for any suggestions @cachecastelow
In July 2004, after delivering a stirring keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama burst onto the national political scene, later winning a landslide victory to become a U.S. Senator from Illinois. He became only the fifth African American in congressional history to serve in the U.S. Senate.
Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961, the son of Barack Obama, Sr., and Ann Dunham Obama. Barack, Sr., an economist, was born and raised in Kenya and grew up raising goats with his father, who was a domestic servant for the British. 1 He met and married Ann Dunham, who grew up in a small town in Kansas, while both were students at the University of Hawaii. When Obama, Jr., was two years old, his father left to attend Harvard. Soon thereafter his parents divorced. He lived for a while in Jakarta, Indonesia, when his mother remarried to an Indonesian oil manager. The family resettled in Hawaii, where Obama attended the Punahou Academy. From 1979 to 1981, he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, before completing a bachelor of arts in political science at Columbia University in 1983. He moved to Chicago in 1985 to work for a church–based group that sought to improve living conditions in impoverished neighborhoods. He then attended Harvard Law School, serving as the first African–American president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1991, he graduated with his J.D. and married the former Michelle Robinson. The couple have two daughters, Malia and Sasha. 2
Obama entered local politics through his work as a community activist in a blighted South Side Chicago neighborhood. He practiced civil rights law and lectured at the University of Chicago Law School. In 1996, he was elected to the Illinois state senate. He served in that capacity from 1997 through 2004, pushing through a state earned income tax credit and an expansion of early childhood education. In 2000, he unsuccessfully challenged four–term incumbent U.S. Representative Bobby Rush in the Democratic primary for a seat representing most of Chicago’s South Side.
In 2004, after incumbent U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, a Republican, announced his retirement, Obama joined a crowded field of candidates in the Democratic primary for the open seat. He garnered 53 percent of the vote, topping two favored candidates—State Comptroller Daniel Hynes and a wealthy securities trader, Blair Hull (who spent $29 million on his campaign). Obama emerged as a national figure during that campaign, delivering a rousing keynote address on the second night of the Democratic National Convention in the summer of 2004, when he dared Americans to have “the audacity of hope.” He explained, “It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs. The hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores. . . . The hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.” Obama won a landslide 70 percent of the vote against Republican candidate Alan Keyes. 3
When Obama took his seat at the start of the 109th Congress (2005–2007), he received assignments on three committees: Foreign Relations, Environment and Public Works, and Veterans’ Affairs. In the 110th Congress (2007–2009), Obama left the Environment and Public Works panel and earned two additional committee posts: Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. During the 110th Congress he also served as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs.
During his first three years in the Senate, Obama focused on issues such as lobbying and ethics reform, veterans’ benefits, energy, nuclear nonproliferation, and government transparency. From his seat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Obama secured disability pay for veterans and advocated greater services and assistance for returning service members who served in Iraq. As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Obama sought to reinvigorate a national dialogue about developing more–energy–efficient vehicles and alternative energy sources. On the Foreign Relations Committee, he worked with then–Chairman Richard Lugar of Indiana to initiate a new round of nonproliferation efforts designed to find and secure nuclear and conventional weapons around the world.
In 2008, Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination. On November 4, 2008, he was elected the 44th President of the United States, defeating the Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain, with 53 percent of the vote. As President–Elect, Obama resigned from the Senate on November 16, 2008. He won re-election in 2012 to a second term as President.
Barack Obama and the Harvard Years: The Interesting Information We Found That You May Not Have Heard
This article is a special contribution by freelance writer Charles C. Johnson.
Obama during his Harvard years. (Photo: Harvard University News Office)
By now, it is not news that Barack Obama was elected president of the Harvard Law Review in the early 90s. But what has gone largely ignored is what happened after that took place. What motivated the young Obama? What was his focus during his tenure? Does that time reveal anything about who he is?
In that spirit, TheBlaze went digging. What we found is worth noting, and reveals that the Obama of old was someone quite interested in race, especially in a newly-uncovered school newspaper interview he gave. Additionally, he may have not been as popular with conservatives as you've been told.
Obama and Race at Harvard
After his election to the presidency of the Harvard Law Review, Barack Obama told the Harvard Law Record -- the student newspaper of Harvard Law School -- that “he is especially interested in Constitutional law, noting the ways in which issues of race relations and resource allocation ‘are often played out in Constitutional terms,’” according to archives recently viewed by TheBlaze.
“His work as a community organizer has given him an appreciation for business law as well," the article, published after Obama's Harvard election by Paul Tarrr and John Thornton, says.
“Those interested in public policy have to think about how the private sector can be harnessed to promote urban development,” he told the paper.
And while Obama owed his election to the Harvard Law School presidency to conservatives, he nonetheless thanked controversial black professors. “My election is a positive sign in that it shows people are ready to put in leadership positions black folks who have strong concerns about black issues,” he said.
The founder of Critical Race Theory, Derrick Bell, “said a member of the Review called him at home at 12:50 a.m. Monday, minutes after Obama’s election,” according to the Record. (The debates had begun at 8:30 a.m. the previous morning.) “I’m very pleased,” Bell told the Record. “I guess I tend to be one who stays in a state of constant pessimistic despair about chances of America ever doing the right thing as far as race is concerned. Well, I grasp these little indications as a sign that maybe it might work after all.”
Obama repaid the compliment. “I’m walking through doors other folks broke down,” he told the Record. “A whole bunch of people worked real hard to allow me to be in this position—folks at BLSA, Prof. Bell, Edley, Ogletree and a lot of others. They are the groundbreakers.”
Obama “emphasized that HLS has a long way to go to attract a more diverse faculty and student body, but he attributes his election partly to strides the law school already has made in these areas. He said he enrolled in HLS because there was a core group of professors examining legal issues of concern to minorities,” the Record wrote.
Obama was doubtlessly referring to the critical race theorists of whom Edley and Bell were practitioners. Critical race theory is the controversial idea that all of law is simply the enshrinement of white privilege, rather than justice. Obama identified with these professors.
“The fact there were diverse viewpoints on the faculty was important to me, and the fact there was an active black students organization was important to me," he said in the article." It also helped that there were a lot of students interested in public interest law.”
“I believe all this stuff helped pave the way for my being elected because it creates an atmosphere that allows a person of my interests and perspective to be in the mainstream. It means white conservatives can trust me, and it means I can stake out my positions and be myself.”
Obama said it is “vital” that HLS “start thinking about its relationship to the larger society and about the kind of commitment the school should make to assure kids like me get in these positions again.” Though Obama said he was only the “first among equals,” he saw “his new position as an opportunity to broaden and sharpen the scholarly orientation of the Review, making it more inclusive of minority and ‘alternative’ perspectives,” according to the Record. Obama had told the Harvard Law Record that he was “personally interested in pushing a strong minority perspective,” on the law review.
Those alternative perspectives included awarding the honorary foreword position to Robin West, a law professor at University of Maryland “at the time and an expert on feminist legal theory,” according to David Remnick, author of "The Bridge."
Still, he didn't want to read too much into his own election.
"It's important to note that stories like mine aren't used to say everything is O.K. for blacks," he told the Record. "You have to remember that for every one of me there are hundreds of thousands of black students with at least equal talent who don't get a chance. ."
Was Obama Really Popular With Conservatives?
One of the enduring myths of Barack Obama’s time at Harvard is that he reached out to conservatives. In fact, he was just the lesser of two evils, at least as far as the conservatives on the Harvard Law Review were concerned. Brad Berenson, class of ’91, and the rest of the conservative bloc threw their support to Obama over David Goldberg because they saw Obama as more conciliatory and less strident in his liberalism. The thinking was that Obama, who was a good three years older than most of the editors would proceed in better faith.
“Obama was not a uniter. To portray him as someone who brought everyone together wouldn’t be accurate,” Berenson told TheBlaze, “but he was a non-combatant. He was mature and held himself above the fray. He was courteous, decent, and respectful," says Berenson, even toward conservatives, who were a distinct minority on the law review staff.
To the more politically left-wing members of the Harvard Law Review, this was too much, says Berenson, and Obama clashed with them on occasion. The first skirmish between Obama and the far left members of the Law Review started early. Several of the more left-wing members of the Harvard Law Review wanted Obama to appoint them to positions on the coveted masthead, but Obama, says Berenson, played it straight and appointed people to positions based on merit. “I’m as conservative as they come—I didn’t vote for him in ’08 and won’t be voting for him in ’12—but Obama always treated me well. I liked and respected him.”
But whether or not Obama was a rigorous editor remains to be seen. “Obama was friendly and outgoing, but the class succeeding him wanted a tougher editor to lead them. [David] Ellen, quiet and fair-haired, had graduated summa cum laude in history and science from Harvard College in 1987. He had worked at "The New Republic" in 1989, the summer before starting law school, and was seen as someone who would be a more rigorous blue-penciler,” wrote Eleanor Kerlow in "Poisoned Ivy: How Egos, Ideology, and Power Politics Almost Ruinted Harvard Law School."
Obama never wrote a bylined piece as editor of the law review, perhaps because his interests extended beyond. “I don’t think Barack sees this as a steppingstone to the academic aspects of the law,” Rob Fischer, a close friend of Obama back at Harvard, told the Record at the time.
“But whatever he does, he is extraordinarily committed to making a contribution to the resolution of social problems in this country.”
Barack Obama: Harvard - HISTORY
“There have been many hundreds of books for and against Israel but no volume presenting the essential information about its domestic politics, its society, as well as its cultural life and its economy. This gap has now been filled.”—Walter Laqueur, author of A History of Zionism
"A sound, basic survey without a rigid agenda, useful for students, tourists and those planning aliyah."—Kirkus Reviews
"[An] essential resource for readers interested in learning the truth about the Zionist project in the 20th and 21st centuries."—Sol Stern, Commentary
“Offering in-depth perspectives with encyclopedic breadth on the makeup of the Jewish state, focusing only briefly on Israel's struggle for self-preservation. The section "History" provides a masterful summary of Israel's past from its socialist beginnings before independence to the modern struggles with the Iranian regime. . . .”—Publishers Weekly
“A well-written portrait of a vibrant nation at the center of turmoil in the region.”—Jay Freeman, Booklist
"It is indeed just a starting point, but Israel: An Introduction, if disseminated among our universities to the extent it deserves, will at least allow students of the Middle East and of Jewish history to start off on the right foot. A glimpse into the real Israel may do more for the future of U.S.-Israeli relations than any amount of rhetoric ever could."—Daniel Perez, Jewish Voice New York
Written by a leading historian of the Middle East, Israel is organized around six major themes: land and people, history, society, politics, economics, and culture. The only available volume to offer such a complete account, this book is written for general readers and students who may have little background knowledge of this nation or its rich culture.