Barack Obama, the first African American elected President of the Harvard Law Review, 1990
(I can’t work out if he was elected on February 5 or 6 in 1990, different places give different dates – maybe the election was one day, and the results the next? So, we’ll make it a two day anniversary celebration!).
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.
”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,” he said, alluding to poverty or growing up in a drug environment.
….. Professors and students at the law school reacted cautiously to Mr. Obama’s selection. ”For better or for worse, people will view it as historically significant,” said Prof. Randall Kennedy, who teaches contracts and race relations law. ”But I hope it won’t overwhelm this individual student’s achievement.”
LA Times (March, 1990): Barack Obama stares silently at a wall of fading black-and-white photographs in the muggy second-floor offices of the Harvard Law Review. He lingers over one row of solemn faces, his predecessors of 40 years ago. All are men. All are dressed in dark-colored suits and ties. All are white.
It is a sobering moment for Obama, 28, who in February became the first black to be elected president in the 102-year history of the prestigious student-run law journal.
The post, considered the highest honor a student can attain at Harvard Law School, almost always leads to a coveted clerkship with the U.S. Supreme Court after graduation and a lucrative offer from the law firm of one’s choice.
Yet Obama, who has gone deep into debt to meet the $25,000-a-year cost of a Harvard Law School education, has left many in disbelief by asserting that he wants neither.
“One of the luxuries of going to Harvard Law School is it means you can take risks in your life …. You can try to do things to improve society and still land on your feet. That’s what a Harvard education should buy – enough confidence and security to pursue your dreams and give something back.”
After graduation next year, Obama says he probably will spend two years at a corporate law firm, then look for community work. Down the road, he plans to run for public office…..
10:10: The President and Vice President meet with governors at the White House
1:0: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
The President will participate on Tuesday in his first television interview since the election. Bloomberg’s White House correspondent Julianna Goldman will do the questioning. According to a preview, they will discuss the fiscal cliff and his priorities and agenda for his second term. The interview will air at 12:30 p.m. EST on Bloomberg TV. (See here)
Paul Krugman: It goes without saying that the Republican “counteroffer” is basically fake. It calls for $800 billion in revenue from closing loopholes, but doesn’t specify a single loophole to be closed; it calls for huge spending cuts, but aside from raising the Medicare age and cutting the Social Security inflation adjustment – moves worth only around $300 billion – it doesn’t specify how these cuts are to be achieved. So it’s basically the Paul Ryan method: scribble down some numbers and pretend that you’re a budget wonk with a Serious plan.
….. for all the seniors or near-seniors who voted Republican because you thought they would protect Medicare from that bad guy Obama: you’ve been had.
NYT Editorial: ….. under pressure from the White House, Republicans finally released their opening position in the negotiations – a remarkably shallow one that demonstrated a lack of seriousness in negotiations, or farsightedness in policy.
…. The only way to produce the necessary revenue is to combine some limits on deductions with an end to the Bush tax cuts on the rich, and Mr. Obama, fortunately, has been adamant he will not consider any plan that does not do so. The Boehner letter, by contrast, actually advocates lowering rates, suggesting that Republicans are still clinging to the notion, rejected by voters, that was put forward by Mitt Romney.
….. Monday’s offer may simply be intended to show the most conservative Republicans that their leaders fought before the compromises to come. For everyone else, they show a party unwilling to approach the bargaining with responsibility.
Eugene Robinson: How dare he? President Obama, I mean: How dare he do what he promised during the campaign? How dare he insist on a “balanced approach” to fiscal policy that includes a teensy-weensy tax increase for the rich? Oh, the humanity.
…. “Right now, I would say we’re nowhere, period,” said Boehner. “We’re nowhere.”
Not true. It’s just that we’re somewhere Republicans would prefer not to be. We’re just past an election in which Obama won a second term and Democrats gained seats in both houses of Congress. And we’re nearing a “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and budget cuts that horrify Republicans more than Democrats.
… There is no guarantee that Obama will get everything he wants out of this showdown. But I’d rather be playing the president’s hand than Boehner’s.
Steve Benen: The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, despite occasional setbacks, but today’s report is the best we’ve seen in quite a while.
About a month ago, initial jobless claims matched a four-year low, and as of today, they managed to get even better, exceeding expectations by dropping to the lowest level since February 2008:
The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 5,000 last week to 348,000, the lowest level since February 2008, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday…..
Greg Sargent: How Romney used to respond to high gas prices: An important scoop from Alex MacGillis, who discovers that Romney (who is now bashing Obama over high gas prices) responded to them when he was Governor of Massachusetts just as Obama has been:
Befitting his profile as a moderate Republican who cared about the environment, Governor Romney responded to price spikes by describing them as the natural result of global market pressures and by calling for increases in fuel efficiency – the same approach that he now derides Obama for taking as president.
Key Romney quote from 2006: “I don’t think that now is the time, and I’m not sure there will be the right time, for us to encourage the use of more gasoline. I’m very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.”
Steve Benen: When Eric Fehrnstrom, the communications director for Mitt Romney’s campaign, appeared on CNN, he couldn’t possibly have predicted how much trouble he was about to cause for his boss.
…..Tabitha Hale tweeted this afternoon, “This Etch-A-Sketch situation is not going to go away… maybe ever.”
I’m very much inclined to agree. The knock on Romney since Day One has been that he’s a shallow, unprincipled politician, willing to say anything to anyone to win. “Etch A Sketch” is so perfect a metaphor, it’s extraordinary that it came from the candidate’s own communications director.
Howard Kurtz: ….. In a phrase so potentially damaging it might have been hatched in a laboratory by James Carville, Romney communications director Eric Fehrnstrom bobbled a routine question on CNN….
….. His response: “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
The unmistakable image: Romney has no fixed principles. Forget about what he’s saying in the primaries, all we have to do is hit the reset button. His positions are no more firmly held than the leaden particles that form those boxy images on the screen and then dissolve with a mere shake.
ThinkProgress: During an interview with Public Radio International’s Marketplace, President Obama defended the individual health insurance mandate and reiterated that likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney enacted a very similar policy as governor of Massachusetts. “[W]e designed a program that actually previously had support of Republicans,” Obama told host Kai Ryssdal, “including the person who may end up being the Republican standard bearer and is now pretending like he came up with something different.”
Marketwatch: The U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February while hiring in January and December was revised up by a combined 61,000, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The unemployment rate remained at 8.3%, largely because more people entered the workforce in search of jobs.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast the U.S. would add 213,000 jobs last month, with the jobless rate holding steady at 8.3%.
Subtracting another decline in government jobs, the private sector boosted payrolls by 233,000.
….job gains for January were revised up to 284,000 from 243,000 – the biggest monthly increase since the recession ended – and December’s employment gains were revised up to 223,000 from 203,000. The past three months of full-time job growth is the fastest since early 2006
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Ernestina Mills, First Lady of Ghana, at the State Department in Washington, D.C., March 8. (Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
10:40: PBO departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
11:35: Arrives Richmond, Virginia
12:15: Tours Rolls-Royce Crosspointe
12:30: Delivers remarks at Rolls-Royce Crosspointe
2:40: Departs Richmond, Virginia en route Houston, Texas
3:40: Arrives Houston
4:50: Delivers remarks at a campaign event
6:50: Delivers remarks at a campaign event
8:10: Departs Houston
ThinkProgress: Rush Limbaugh’s advertising exodus is deep into its second week, and despite the radio host’s claim that the impact of 50 companies pulling their business has been negligible, listeners in the nation’s largest media market were treated to over five minutes of radio silence where Limbaugh’s advertisers once stood today.
There were four separate instances during this afternoon’s broadcast on WABC 770 AM in New York City where the network fell silent. During the lead in to the show, two and a half minutes of silence was broken up by a single, solitary ad before Limbaugh hit the air.
…. with Safak Pavey, the first disabled woman elected to the Turkish Parliament
Read about the 2012 Women of Courage here and here
InsideHigherEd: … Roughly two-thirds of public and private college presidents say they plan to vote for President Obama in November, and only 1 in 10 believe the Republican candidates for the presidency have laid out a helpful vision for higher education.
…. 65.1 percent said that they planned to vote for the president this fall. Among sectors, support was stronger in public higher education (75 percent at public doctoral and master’s institutions, 85 percent at public baccalaureate institutions and 66 percent at community colleges). The lowest level of support was in for-profit higher education, where only 29 percent of presidents said they plan to vote for Obama this fall.
…. Only 10 percent of all college presidents believed that the Republican candidates have offered a higher education vision, but that figure is inflated by a high proportion of yes answers from for-profit higher education (44 percent). The figures are much lower for the rest of higher education – 4 percent among public doctoral institutions, 3 percent among public master’s institutions, and not a single private doctoral university president agreeing.
Steve Benen: The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, though there have been occasional setbacks. Today’s report appears to be one of them.
Though still low by recent standards, filings went up over the last week, a little more than expected: “Jobless claims in the U.S. rose to the highest level in five weeks, climbing by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000…”
….. when these jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it’s considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape. When the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly. Though today’s report is disappointing, we’ve now been below 370,000 for five consecutive weeks, and six of the last eight weeks.
Charles Pierce: I have tried to avoid the mighty efforts of the heirs of Andrew Breitbart to make his name more of a synonym for “jackass” in death than it was when he was alive. So, instead, let’s just play a little Harvard bingo, shall we?
Barack Obama once went to the Harvard Law School. Derrick Bell once taught at the Harvard Law School.
…. In 1992, Derrick Bell thought that “none” was an insufficient number of minority faculty members at the HLS. He decided to make a little noise about it. At a rally, Barack Obama introduced him and, after doing so, hugged him….
…. This, of course, proves that Barack Obama is a lifelong coddler of, and sympathizer with, black radical revolutionaries.
Res ipse loquitur! QED! Scoreboard, bitches!
I expect a job offer from Big Something in the morning.
President Obama meets President John Evans Atta Mills of Ghana in the Oval Office, March 8
TPM: President Obama enjoys massive leads in Maine, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) …. Obama leads both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum by the same margin in the Pine Tree State, 58 – 35. Maine has voted for a Democrat for president in the last five elections, but that doesn’t mean Dems dominate the state – Republicans currently hold the governorship, both houses of the state legislature and the two US Senate seats (Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)).
ThinkProgress: Questions about women and womens’ health have dominated the political debate over the past weeks, and at least one female Republican lawmaker is unhappy with her party’s record. New York Assemblyman Teresa Sayward (R), who is retiring after serving a decade in Albany, told the New York political program Capital Tonight that she does not support any of her party’s presidential candidates, because of their stances on women.
She also took an apparent shot at Republicans’ opposition to President Obama’s birth control mandate, saying, “It’s disheartening for me to see our party move away from what it was always about and that is to stay out of people’s lives, let them live their lives, don’t impose their religion on anybody else.”
Asked which Republican candidate she supports, Sayward replied: “I do not have a favorite in the presidential race, if I had to vote today, I’d vote for Obama.”