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Silly Obama Rumor Debunked: Obama Had to Have Graduated From Columbia.

One of the sillier Obama rumors going around questions whether Barack Obama ever graduated from Columbia. The primary arguments are that (1) supposedly no one remembers him, and (2) Obama's picture is not in the yearbook.

This rumor is easy to explain and debunk:

1. Contrary to some assertions, Obama was indeed remembered by both some Columbia students and some Columbia faculty. Transfer students, especially ones living off campus, are seldom as well known as people who bonded with their freshman classmates.

2. Some yearbooks do not have individual pictures of the graduating class; it is not known whether Columbia at the time had such a practice.

3. When he applied to Harvard Law School, Obama would have filled out a form directing Columbia to submit his transcript to the Law School Data Assembly Service. The LSDAS would have computed his combined undergraduate GPA from both Occidental and Columbia and sent it to law schools, including Harvard, along with his LSAT score, and an index combining his GPA and LSAT. Since Obama applied in 1987-88, when he was living in Chicago, long after he left Columbia in 1983, the transcript would have had to have shown that he graduated for Harvard to admit him.

4. Even if Obama had somehow claimed that he was still atending Columbia when he applied to Harvard in 1987-88, I'm certain that Harvard would have required of Obama what was required of me when I was admitted to the University of Chicago during my last year at Yale College: proof of graduation by the start of first-year law classes.

Thus, it makes no sense to imagine that Obama would have been admitted to Harvard Law School without graduating from Columbia. And it would have been impossible for him to claim falsely that he had graduated if he really hadn't, since Columbia would have submitted his transcript to the Law School Data Assembly Service, which would then have sent it on to Harvard before they considered his application for admission.

Asher (mail):
Why would a bright Northwestern Law faculty member even go to these sites? First I heard of this was from some nut in the comments on your last post. Do you really even need to dignify such silliness with a debunking? It isn't as if any of the people stupid/crazy enough to believe this were ever considering voting for the guy.
11.3.2008 3:45am
James Lindgren (mail):
1. I did not encounter this claim at any of the sites I linked. I saw it in comments at several places, but when I searched, these are the ones that came up, so they are the ones I linked. Several of them appear to be quoting something from Reason magazine or its website. If so, they are not all deriving from silly sources. And you admit that you encountered this false rumor earlier today, so it's timely.

2. It's important to debunk false claims made, as I did in June on the Michelle Obama "whitey tape" rumor. My debunking of that, which marked a tipping point on opposition to it, was featured prominently on Obama's own website. Those bloggers who debunked other ridiculous rumors (e.g., Obama was not born in the US; McCain is not a natural born citizen) deserve praise -- or at least silence -- not insults.

3. I'm hoping that, after the election, people will regain their sanity and become more serious than dismissive when people post trying to understand who President Obama is.

Jim Lindgren
11.3.2008 4:06am
Cornellian (mail):
Those bloggers who debunked other ridiculous rumors (e.g., Obama was not born in the US; McCain is not a natural born citizen) deserve praise

McCain's circumstances are not a rumor at all, let alone a ridiculous one, it's the legal conclusion derived from those circumstances that some people have argued about. There's no dispute about his birth date, or the fact he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Some have suggested legal arguments to the effect that McCain isn't eligible for the presidency because of his date and place of birth but however weak such arguments may be, they're arguments, not rumors.
11.3.2008 4:20am
TooTrue (mail):
One "seminar" class at Columbia does not a degree make. The posting at Protein Wisdom makes the case. The writer there basically said if the leftie loons Obama were hanging around with back then planted bombs, how hard would it be to plant a graduation record. Not very, if you have the right connections. The only known instance of anyone remembering Obama comes from that one class. If Obama faked his graduation, he would be smart enough to get himself into one senior class so that he could get his professor recomendation for future endeavors, which apparently he did with Baron. That still does not prove anything.
11.3.2008 5:27am
gwinje:
Professor Lindgren,

An odd rumor to debunk, but praise worthy nonetheless.
11.3.2008 6:05am
PersonFromPorlock:

Thus, it makes no sense to imagine that Obama would have been admitted to Harvard Law School without graduating from Columbia. And it would have been impossible for him to claim falsely that he had graduated if he really hadn't, since Columbia would have submitted his transcript to the Law School Data Assembly Service, which would then have sent it on to Harvard before they considered his application for admission.

While I agree the rumor's probably silly, I'm not sure this argument against it works; Obama could have graduated from some lesser school, been admitted to HLS, and now be falsely claiming to have graduated from Columbia.
11.3.2008 6:28am
Side Notes (www):
I didn't attend my undergrad cattle-call graduation, as my friends who had attended previously indicated it took about six hours to get the entire college of liberal arts across the stage. I didn't submit any kind of picture for a yearbook either; I didn't really do extracurricular activities, being more concerned with working to pay my tuition. And I doubt many professors would remember me - most classes were huge. So I guess I must not have graduated. It was all a figment of my imagination.
11.3.2008 7:01am
ef:
One key part of the rumor is that the Ayers/SDS/WU types had enough influence, or proper placement to falsify his Columbia records, and did so as a reward for whatever involvement Obama is imagined to have had during his mystery years. While it is absence-of-evidence speculation on the part of those making the claim, that he was accepted into HLS does not prove false that line of reasoning.
11.3.2008 7:10am
Pragmaticist:
I worked in the Columbia University Bookstore at that time, and personally remember Obama coming in to browse in the bookstore in the late afternoons. (I'm a libertarian reluctantly supporting McCain because I live in a toss-up state.) I have no personal knowledge of his having graduated Columbia though.
11.3.2008 7:14am
Bob The Lawyer:
Sensible people do not make allegations of fraud on the basis of zero evidence.

The posting at Protein Wisdom is implausible on its face - there's is no reason to believe that Obama "hung around" with people who planted bombs. It's also silly - academic fraud was not exactly the Weather Underground's style (and in the early 80s they were rather preoccupied with getting arrested).

Obama's explanation - that he was working so hard he was "like a monk" at Columbia is plausible on its face.

Persisting with this kind of argument looks a little unhinged.
11.3.2008 7:18am
davod (mail):
"Obama's explanation - that he was working so hard he was "like a monk" at Columbia is plausible on its face."

Didn't he say in one of his books that he worked with the Sanctions against South African Apartheid groups while at Columbia. Hardly low profile.

Like his Health records, I find it strange that he didn't release his Columbia transcripts.
11.3.2008 7:34am
Smallholder (mail) (www):
Yes, the rumor is easy to debunk.

That's not the point.

I keep getting forwarded e-mails from my parents that say that Obama was born in Kenya, he took the oath of office with the Koran, he is a muslim, hates America, he's bestest buds with Billy Ayers, he lied about whether he attended Wright's church, etc.

I have debunked each of these claims point by point. The last e-mail from my Mom had 13 separate easily falsifiable lies. When I asked her why she believes lie #14 from e-mail correspondents who lied 13 times before, she said "There are so many things, there must be something there. I have never heard so much bad stuff about a candidate before. Something's fishy."

These claims are targeted at the low-information voter and are designed to give remnant racism a morally palatable "reason" to vote against Obama - even if the person can't name one of McCain's positions on the actual issues.

I feel badly for McCain - if he does manage to pull out a victory tomorrow it will be on the backs of racists and idiots. (NB to McCain supporters: yes, yes, I know YOU have good issue-based reasons to support McCain - I'm talking about the idjits who are "undecided" today and will go to the polls and vote for the white guy.

This makes me sad - I like McCain and think he'd be a reasonably competent president. I just don't like how he is going to win.
11.3.2008 7:38am
smitty1e:
@davod:
Concur. As with the Aunt living in Boston, more transparency would help. The records of the opposing ticket have been traversed with a fine-toothed comb and a magnet; why not Senator Obama's?
11.3.2008 7:40am
hawkins:
Its funny how Obama supporters are accused of always making false claims of racism. Has any other presidential candidate ever been accused of lying about his undergraduate university? Has any other presidential candidate's wife been falsely accused of such inflammatory speech, when absolutely no such evidence exists?
11.3.2008 7:55am
Helen:
Hawkins asks:

Has any other presidential candidate's wife been falsely accused of such inflammatory speech, when absolutely no such evidence exists?

A vicious rumor accused Kitty Dukakis of burning the American flag in a protest march. No evidence of the incident ever surfaced.
11.3.2008 8:10am
arg11 (mail):
"One key part of the rumor is that the Ayers/SDS/WU types had enough influence, or proper placement to falsify his Columbia records, and did so as a reward for whatever involvement Obama is imagined to have had during his mystery years. While it is absence-of-evidence speculation on the part of those making the claim, that he was accepted into HLS does not prove false that line of reasoning."

ef, do you realize how crazy you sound, despite pretending to be moderately weighing the evidence? The idea that Bill Ayers/SDS have a significant amount of influence with university registrar's offices, at Columbia, no less, is batshit insane. These are the people who butted heads with university administration at every single opportunity. There is no way they had enough influence to get a transcript forged. The Manchurian Candidate bullshit has got to stop.
11.3.2008 8:32am
JosephSlater (mail):
(1) Smallholder: The good news is, Obama is going to win.

(2) I also personally wish to debunk the story that John McCain and Sarah Palin routinely torture kittens and puppies while watching child pornography. As far as I can tell, there is no truly convincing evidence supporting these charges.
11.3.2008 8:38am
JB:
I was going to castigate Lindgren for dignifying this absurd rumor with a post, but then TooTrue showed why it was necessary.

As Hawkins says, anyone who accuses Obama supporters of crying racism at everything is simply pretending not to hear the dog-whistles.
11.3.2008 8:41am
wm13:
"Its funny how Obama supporters are accused of always making false claims of racism. Has any other presidential candidate ever been accused of lying about his undergraduate university? Has any other presidential candidate's wife been falsely accused of such inflammatory speech, when absolutely no such evidence exists?"

Hello? Sarah Palin has been accused of faking a pregnancy--possibly wearing a "pregnancy suit"--and pretending to give birth in order to cover up her daughter's pregnancy. She was accused of this not by commentators on obscure blogs, but by a writer for The Atlantic, who went on, ad nauseam, to demand that she release her gynecological records. (We can't evaluate breeder candidates, apparently, unless we have medical evidence about what's been in and out of their vaginas.) So I don't think it's McCain's supporters who are the nutty ones.

I definitely don't recall any Obama supporters, here or elsewhere, stating how offensively insane the rumors in The Atlantic about Gov. Palin were, but maybe I missed it. hawkins, got a cite for us on that?
11.3.2008 8:46am
WhosDat (mail):
Whether you are decided or not, make sure to read this list of unbiased articles for the election. KNOW THE FACTS
11.3.2008 8:46am
Happyshooter:
The problem is that the extreme left, the bomb throwing evil ones, have so much power in the university that it is easy for people to believe these stories.

Bill Ayers and his wife were flat out evil killers, and the academic world set them up with great high level jobs. Ayer's wife, Dohrn, can't get a law license because she is so evil, but she sure can be a professor of law at a top ten law school.

The same story plays over and over. Black panthers ran around killing folks? Give them all professorships as soon as they get released. Any left wing group killed folks? Free professorships, no matter what they did and no matter what academic quals they have.

Is it too much to believe that a working man having seen this happen his whole life, hears 1) that several years are missing from Obama's life while 2) he was working with and for the 60s loons, 3) that his time at Columbia is a secret, and 4) all of the sudden he got into HLS, 5) on review, and 6) a free professorship at Chicago law, all 7) while his political masters Ayers and Wright held his hand evey step of the way....is it too much for that working man to conclude the academic system was rigged yet again?
11.3.2008 8:50am
DiverDan (mail):
Yes, the rumor is silly, but I don't buy the line of argument that just because he was accepted to Harvard law he MUST have a degree from Columbia. I have no knowledge of the admission standards of HLS, but I am aware of several graduate schools that, for the right student and in proper circumstances, will waive the requirement of a degree as a condition of admission. I had a close friend in High School that skipped his senior year at high school (with no High School Diploma) for early admission to Carleton, left Carleton early, without a B.A., for early admission to grad school, and went directly to his PhD - no high school diploma, no Bachelors or Masters degree, just a Doctorate. I am aware of other cases where prestigious grad schools admitted promising students while waiving the requirement that they get their Bachelors degrees - in each case, the student had very high grades, excellent GRE scores, and was no more than an elective or so short of the degree. So just how important is the B.A. if all you need to complete it is 1 or 2 classes in Recreation? Will the fact that you didn't feel like taking "500 Playground Games" or "Construction &Use of the Monkey Bars" really discredit the rest of your undergraduate career? For all I know, Harvard may have done the same with Obama. But so what? I fail to see any point at all to this rumor. If a J.D. from Harvard Law is insufficient academic credentials for these voters, the lack of a B.A. from Columbia seems like nothing. BTW, I am NOT an Obama supporter - there are too many GOOD reasons not to like his policies to be distracted by this kind of crap.
11.3.2008 8:58am
Bdog (mail):
The simple answer to all of the above speculation is for Obama to release his grades from Columbia. Now that I think about it, he should release his grades from Harvard too.

That he hasn't done so speaks volumes to me, and it should speak volumes to everyone who reads this blog. He can't apply for a job without providing those transcripts, except apparently, for the position of President of the United States. For Obama supporters, his grades are just a 'distraction'.....as is every other question about his fitness for the office.

Dear God, you wouldn't hire anyone for your law office without getting their transcripts (and bar exam grades), why would you vote for some one who won't provide them?

Obama supporters are uninformed racists, happy to vote for a man simply because of the color of his skin. Unwilling to simply ignore the content of his character, they insist that it isn't even an issue worthy of examination.

Release his grades!!! Unless there is something to hide, of course.

The post on this issue, like the previous comments, only obscures the issues. What were his grades at Columbia and Harvard, and why haven't they been released?

Any answers to those questions? (crickets chirping)
11.3.2008 9:03am
ef:
@ arg11

The claim is not mine, nor do I endorse or otherwise claim merit to the argument. My comment was only made to point out that the claims by the OP do not directly refute those made by Goldstein or others. I had hoped that the phrasing f my comment would make such clear.
11.3.2008 9:07am
UChicago student:
While I agree that the rumor is stupid, I do want to say that one argument you provided may not necessarily be true: I am also a University of Chicago law student and the Law School did ask me to submit my transcript after I graduated (since I applied while still an undergrad)... but I'm fairly sure that I forgot to do so. The law school should have no official record of me being a college graduate and I'm already a 2L.
11.3.2008 9:08am
Anonymouse Troll:

JosephSlater (mail):
I also personally wish to debunk the story that John McCain and Sarah Palin routinely torture kittens and puppies while watching child pornography. As far as I can tell, there is no truly convincing evidence supporting these charges.


The real questions are whether Palin's administering a taser shock to a kitten is in fact "torture" - Palin believes otherwise - and if national Republican leadership is correct that the use of simulated children in the pron makes otherwise indecent material into legal speech.
11.3.2008 9:08am
therut (mail):
Who cares. I would be ashamed to attend that school much less graduate. At least leaving after seeing the stupidity on parade there would show some good sense.
11.3.2008 9:09am
Matt_T:
As Hawkins says, anyone who accuses Obama supporters of crying racism at everything is simply pretending not to hear the dog-whistles.

But that's exactly the problem! Vicious rumors are part of every election and persist even when there isn't an election in sight. Many Obama supporters attempt to insulate their candidate from criticisms both worthwhile and spurious by casting them as racism - look to the whole "socialism means he's black" meme circulating among left blogs. The "dog whistle" only exists when you attempt to cast Obama as unique in being on the receiving end of these rumors rather than a predictable recipient.
11.3.2008 9:14am
Sarcastro (www):
No one owes Orin Kerr a beer! Stop the rumors! It is worth the trouble to debunk the silly idea that anyone owes Orin a beer.

And Obama hasn't released any proof he's a human being. I think this speaks volumes! It's simple to just go to a doctor and get a certificate you're not an evil alien trying to take us over. Why hasn't he done that?

I think the answer is clear as the domestic beer no one owes Orin.
11.3.2008 9:18am
John Martin:
therut:

Amen.
11.3.2008 9:20am
David Hecht (mail):
As a graduate of Columbia myself (CC '79, SIA '80), I can say that Columbia does not really emphasize (or at least, didn't at that time) the communal experience of the campus. Because it is in the heart of the greatest city in the world (OK, that's what we believed when we were there, OK?), there really isn't much campus life to begin with: if you wanted pretty much anything other than classrooms and libraries, all you had to do was take the #1 train or the M104 or M4 bus downtown.

Most of my friends weren't in my year group, and I'd be hard-pressed to remember any of those in my year group. I actually have gone to 1981 reunions because I know more folks in the 81 year group than any other!
11.3.2008 9:33am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lindgren:

It's important to debunk false claims made


I agree, and I appreciate your work in this regard.

However, when I pointed out (here and here) that you had quoted York quoting McCain's spokesman making a false claim, this resulted in no correction or comment. I find that disappointing.
11.3.2008 9:33am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
davod:

Like his Health records, I find it strange that he didn't release his Columbia transcripts.


You seem to be implying the McCain released his health records. Trouble is, he didn't. He let some reporters look at them for a few hours, under very restricted conditions.

You also seem to be implying that other candidates have released transcripts. Wrong. Bush never voluntarily released his college transcript. It was leaked. See here.

Kerry did eventually release his transcript, as part of releasing his military records.

Candidates Bush and Kerry did not voluntarily release their college records. With Bush, it wasn't voluntary, and with Kerry, it only happened after he was no longer a candidate.

By the way, have you seen McCain's transcript? Or Palin's?
---------------------------------------
bdog:

you wouldn't hire anyone for your law office without getting their transcripts (and bar exam grades), why would you vote for some one who won't provide them?


I guess that means you won't be voting for McCain and Palin.

And I think Nader and Barr haven't released their transcripts, either.
11.3.2008 9:33am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smitty:

As with the Aunt living in Boston, more transparency would help.


By "more transparency," I guess you mean more suspicious leaks of government information on the eve of an election?
11.3.2008 9:33am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
happy:

Bill Ayers and his wife were flat out evil killers


I thought your post was satire, but then I realized it was you.

Please show your proof that Ayers ever killed anyone.
11.3.2008 9:34am
jpnatiem (mail):
The rumor might be silly but I think Jim Lindgren overstates the case. It's extremely unlikely that Harvard Law would have accepted a degree-less Obama but not impossible or unprecedented.

When I was an undergrad, Yale Law caused a stir by admitting someone who not only had no college degree but had no college credits at all. It made the NY Times in 1994:


No College Credits, and No Problem

The article goes on to say:

"With 36,000 matriculants admitted each year at 176 law schools, maybe one student every 5 to 10 years is admitted with only a year or two of work toward a bachelor's degree," said James P. White, for 20 years the chief consultant on legal education to the American Bar Association and the acknowledged doyen in the field."

While there is probably a better chance of winning the lottery, with Obama's luck you never know. University of Chicago Law School reportedly offered him a full tenured professorship despite have little to no record of distinguished legal scholarship:

Inside Professor Obama's Classroom

I'd be curious what Lindgren makes of that.
11.3.2008 9:36am
JosephSlater (mail):
Obama supporters are uninformed racists,

You're calling a majority of Americans uniformed racists? Love it or leave it, pal.

Anonymouse Troll:

Re "torture," you make a good point. The Constitution isn't a suicide pact, after all. But again, I personally don't have any actual proof of what particular "stressful" acts McCain and Palin are performing on kittens and puppies while watching child pornography. Thus, while the issue may raise some questions about their judgment, in the end I think it would be best if people stopped talking about it.
11.3.2008 9:37am
JB:
Matt_T,
Obama supporters contend it it worse. Few Presidential candidates are called foreign terrorist traitor manchurian candidates. Few are smeared by being accused of being a religion not their own in the face of all evidence, few have their birth circumstances seriously questioned, their educational records, etc. Few are attacked on spurious connections ranging from the absurd to the other-guy-is-as-closely-connected.


Maybe it's just that the Rove-era Republicans have never been losing so badly they had to dip this deep into the cesspool, and had Kerry been up 5-10 points the same type of garbage would have come out. Nevertheless, for whatever reason the McCain campaign has been significantly dirtier than the Bush, Kerry, Gore, Clinton, Dole, and Bush I campaigns. Desperation, tactical purpose, or racism? You make your call, but none of those three are unreasonable.
11.3.2008 9:39am
jpnatiem (mail):
Meant to add to my post above that even the NY Times was surprised (to say the least) by Chicago Laws offer of tenure to Obama:

"Even more unusual is Chicago's claim that Barack Obama was offered a fully tenured position. The University of Chicago is one of the most elite law schools in the country, and it would be extremely rare for the law school to offer a tenure-track position to someone without any legal scholarship, much less one with tenure. The course materials and examination questions prepared by then-Professor Obama demonstrate a deep and nuanced command of the law, but for that to have resulted in an offer to the tenured or even tenure-track faculty, the normal course (indeed, nearly the only course) is for that command of legal subjects to have first manifested itself into published articles."

Does anyone no which is more rare:

1) Admission to an elite law school without a college degree
2) Offership of immediate full tenure (not just tenure-track) to an elite law school with no published scholarship
11.3.2008 9:45am
Mike Rulle (mail) (www):
Jim,

I am pretty sure Harvard Law could waive its normal requirement for an undergraduate degree if it chose to. I have no idea if Obama graduated or not from Columbia. McCain says he graduated 894 out of 898 in the Naval Academy. Why would a presidential candidate not release his undergraduate records? At age 47, what possible reason could he have? This does not strike you as very odd, regardless of the reason?

Isn't it disconcerting that our potential next president exhibits such peculiar behavior over so minor an issue? If you ran a business and asked a candidate to provide his transcripts and he said "no", would you hire him? This is pretty obvious, isn't it?

It is not whether we can create a hypothetical path of logic to show he must have graduated that is the issue. The issue is that a candidate for president won't provide such an innocuous document to begin with.

Why is that not a bright red flag?

Mike Rulle
11.3.2008 9:47am
fortyninerdweet (mail):
Isn't it "foreseeable" a national candidate declining release of key personal records might find opposing "nutjobs" attempting to fill in those blanks? Entirely preventable, imo.

In previous campaigns we've had a national press doing that job. This year most seem to be wearing wetsuits for some reason, and can't or won't find time between Fairbanks trips to resolve other trifling ambiguities.
11.3.2008 9:48am
Per Son:
I think it is very odd that McCain refuses to give all of the details regarding what he did on the night of October 23, 2003. I am going to assume he must have been burning Torahs and crosses, because there is no evidence proving he did not do such an act.
11.3.2008 9:51am
Kristen (mail):
The Times says, "He said he was somewhat involved with the Black Student Organization and anti-apartheid activities, though, in recent interviews, several prominent student leaders said they did not remember his playing a role."

In 1981, while a student there herself, Barbara Ransby, a prominent UIC professor who wrote a letter to the Chicago Tribune supporting Wm. Ayers, was the founder of a group at Columbia called Coalition for a Free South Africa. It was the group responsible for eventually getting Columbia to divest from South Africa.

Barbara Ransby is a well-known author of the book, "Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision," a book that has citations everywhere (just google it). The New York Times either did not interview her, THE 1981 founder of Columbia's anti-apartheid group, or did but did not cite her, a well-known author. Either way, it's a huge red flag for me.

Many Americans would consider Ransby controversial and radical, considering her membership and/or support for rabidly anti-Israel groups like End the Occupation (along with Rashid Khalidi, BTW), Black Radicals for Obama, and MDS.

If you're a candidate trying to convince all Americans, not just the far left who don't think those associations present any problem, that you're not a far-left guy, the last thing you going to do is to let people investigate your Columbia friends and associates. Not when they've simply moved on to other far-left, actually socialistic or authoritarian causes. Not when you've already got other people like Rev Wright in your corner.

It's a lot safer to have Ben LeBolt, your spokesperson, say "He doesn't remember the names of a lot of people in his life." Uh-huh. You know what? I'm not buying it.
11.3.2008 9:53am
Mad Max:
The simple answer to all of the above speculation is for Obama to release his grades from Columbia.

But you see, that would establish (or not) that he was in a specific place at a specific time. The other folks who took Poli Sci 101 at that time would be able to corroborate that claim (or not) - unless the presence of a tall, handsome, articulate African-American was eminently forgettable...

Most of my friends weren't in my year group, and I'd be hard-pressed to remember any of those in my year group.

Um, any of them running for President right now?

I think I'd remember someone from one of my classes umpteen years ago if they subsequently became internationally famous.
11.3.2008 9:57am
Pauldom:
jpnatiem,

The VC successfully demonstrated awhile ago that Obama was NOT offered tenure at U of Chicago despite a thin publication record.
11.3.2008 10:02am
Happyshooter:

I thought your post was satire, but then I realized it was you.

Please show your proof that Ayers ever killed anyone.


You must be a pretty good lawyer. 'Prove my clients, while CEO and controller, of the company, had knowledge of the option backdating they approved.'

Okay, I will play. Professor Bill Ayers, while head of the WUO, directed the murder of Sgt McDonnell (and blinded officer Fogarty).

The 'townhouse explosion' took place while his team was assembling the nail bomb to be used to kill non-commissioned offcers and their families at the Fort Dix NCO dance. The scumbag was going to attack enlisted families.

His group also bombed many other times, and only through the grace of God were more people not killed.
11.3.2008 10:04am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Sarah Palin has not released any medical records despite a promise to do so. Can someone explain why this is less important than Obama's transcripts?

I suppose this means her pregnancy was faked, plus she has VD, plus she procured an abortion, plus she has scurvy. And a sex-change operation.

Fair is fair.
11.3.2008 10:05am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I have no idea if the rumor is true. That is, I HAVE NO IDEA, there being no evidence one way or another except Obama's word. His word is the issue here.
Two things occur to me. One is that it is implicitly wrong, somehow, to presume that something which is not demonstrably true must still be believed as if it were demonstrably true. Yes, he did graduate from Columbia. To say otherwise is to be mean or something. Would that be applied to McCain or Palin? Not on this board.

The other thing is that the debunking is framed as "would have", or would have had to. Or, implicitly, couldn't have not happened because it has to happen normally. This sort of "proof" is normally considered unfounded speculation.

Sounds like Prof. Lindgren has been Stockholmed to the point of going 'way out on a limb to show he really is a nice guy.
11.3.2008 10:09am
jpnatiem (mail):
Pauldom,

Thanks for link. I should've know better than to rely on a single source especially when thay source is Jodi Kantor of the NY Times.
11.3.2008 10:13am
Donny:
Lindgren said, "I'm hoping that, after the election, people will regain their sanity and become more serious than dismissive when people post trying to understand who President Obama is."

If people are no longer dismissive of the racist, xenophobic, Islam-hating, disingenuous bullshit that passes for serious discussion about "who President Obama is," that will be a sad day.

I'm hoping that, after the election, people on your side will regain their sanity and make the paranoid conspiracy theorists find their own party. If not, Obama will have no serious opposition. And everyone can use rational, serious opposition.
11.3.2008 10:13am
David Hecht (mail):
DH: "Most of my friends weren't in my year group, and I'd be hard-pressed to remember any of those in my year group."

Mad Max: "Um, any of them running for President right now?

"I think I'd remember someone from one of my classes umpteen years ago if they subsequently became internationally famous."

Unless someone made an impression when you "knew them when", there's no reason to suppose they'd have become any more memorable simply because they became famous later on.

I went to the same high school as Dan Brown--as in "The Da Vinci Code" ("internationally famous" enough for you?). In fact, his dad taught math there and I was a good friend of his (that is, of Richard Brown, the dad). He (Dan) was two years behind me, so he'd have been a sophomore when I was a senior. It's even possible that his dad introduced us at some point.

Nevertheless, I have absolutely no recollection of him from our time together.
11.3.2008 10:13am
AF:
Thanks for clearing that up, Jim.

Next in line is the silly Internet rumor that Obama's for compulsory universal service.
11.3.2008 10:19am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Supposin' for supposin's sake that one or two of these silly rumors is true:
Will those who denied them say, "Oops. Stupid me. I apologize, especially for all the nasty names I called you guys."?

Or, "So? So what? What difference does it make that he [pick two] or didn't [pick two]? Huh? Just exactly what difference does it make?"?

Or. "Suckers!! Chumps!!"
11.3.2008 10:24am
AThought:
I think the reason Obama won't release his transcript is that it will not be perfect and thus he will have to defend against people saying he has just been benefiting from AA his whole life (never mind graduating magna from HLS). Given the choice between defending charges of AA benefits or charges of not graduating from Columbia, I think it's pretty clear why he is not releasing transcripts.
11.3.2008 10:27am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
jpnatiem:

I'd be curious what Lindgren makes of that [an offer of tenure to Obama].


Here's a clue:

Barack Obama is smart enough and writes well enough to be a tenured law professor at any law school in the country.
11.3.2008 10:30am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mike:

Why would a presidential candidate not release his undergraduate records?


fortyninerdweet:

a national candidate declining release of key personal records


Have you seen McCain's transcript? Palin's? Why aren't you calling for the release of those transcripts?
11.3.2008 10:30am
PC:
Will those who denied them say, "Oops. Stupid me. I apologize, especially for all the nasty names I called you guys."?

I'll be happy to. I'll also apologize to the "9/11 was an inside job" nut cases if they ever prove their wild ass conspiracy theories. Same goes for the chupacabra people, the "Hillary killed Vince Foster" people, and the "Queen of England is a reptilian shape shifter" folks.
11.3.2008 10:32am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
happy:

Professor Bill Ayers, while head of the WUO, directed the murder of Sgt McDonnell


McDonnell's death is an unsolved crime. No one was ever arrested. If you can prove otherwise, please do so.

Still waiting for you to show your proof that Ayers ever killed anyone.
11.3.2008 10:32am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
paul:

The VC successfully demonstrated awhile ago that Obama was NOT offered tenure at U of Chicago despite a thin publication record.


Wrong. According to Dean Fischel as quoted by Jodi Kantor, Obama was indeed offered tenure:

When the law school tried to hire Mr. Obama after his failed 2000 congressional race, it was for a tenured job, according to Daniel Fischel, the dean at the time. In our interview, I asked him if he meant "tenure-track," and he said no. "He would be hired as a tenured professor," he explained. The faculty would vote, but Mr. Obama already had their support, he added.


VC never proved that this report is wrong.
11.3.2008 10:33am
Rodger Lodger (mail):
People who read his first book tell me he is strangely sparse on his school experiences, professors, ideas, etc. Odd for a 30 year old writing his memoirs not to spend substantial time on his education. On the other hand, what will it mean if it transpires he's a fraud about that? He'll be rightly judged on his performance in office. I went to Ivy League college and law school and would lose quite a bit of sleep if most of the people I knew there became president.
11.3.2008 10:35am
Kurmudge (mail):
I do wish that people would get off of silly conspiracies and shoot The Vacuous Garment down for his astounding lack of substance. He isn't a Muslim, he graduated from college (probably without particular distinction like most who were more into the real world than pure scholarship).

He has taken all he was given and accomplished next to nothing with it, and he is farther left than McGovern and Dukakis put together. That's the reason he should be voted down, not nonsense like this.
11.3.2008 10:36am
Sarcastro (www):
Richard Aubrey's point about what would happen if the rumors are true seems awesomely more useful than actually evaluating the rumors, hypothetically.
11.3.2008 10:40am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mad:

I think I'd remember someone from one of my classes umpteen years ago if they subsequently became internationally famous.


Gosh, that's funny. See here:

Sarah Palin's college years left no lasting impression

In the five years of her collegiate career, spanning four universities in three states, Palin left behind few traces. Not many professors or students even remember her. …

"Looking at this dynamic personality now, it mystifies me that I wouldn't remember her," said Jim Fisher, Palin's journalism instructor at the University of Idaho, where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in journalism in 1987.

Palin, he said, took his public affairs reporting class, an upper-division course limited to 15 students. "It's the funniest damn thing," Fisher said. "No one can recall her."

"I don't remember her," said Roy Atwood, Palin's academic advisor at the university.

Indeed, interviews with a dozen professors yielded not a single snippet of a memory.

Most were perplexed and frustrated that they could offer no insight into a woman who has become their most famous former student. Only a few classmates recalled her, and those with the strongest memories were people she had grown up with in Alaska.

Some of her college anonymity is understandable. "She enrolled in and finished my class, American government, but I have had 12,000 students in my career, and maybe remember 400," said political scientist Tony Stewart, now retired from North Idaho College, which the future vice presidential candidate attended in 1983. Palin, he added, was not among them.
11.3.2008 10:40am
JosephSlater (mail):
Wow, more stuff on this very thread about McCain burning crosses and torahs, Palin having scurvy and being pregnant with Bristol's kid. That's in addition to the torturing kittens and puppies and child pornography stuff I noted earlier I didn't have any proof of.

That's a lot of stuff I haven't heard McCain deny. And it would be so easy to do so. I was an undecided voter before this thread, but now I'm not sure I can vote for McCain.
11.3.2008 10:42am
Passerby:
See what happens when you try to debunk a rumor? the crazies start coming out of the woodwork to support the rumor or even expand upon it! Please stop trying to help, you are only making things worse.

I think the problem is that this blog has "conspiracy" in its title, so you get all the idiots - the 9/11 Truthers, etc. Now, you get the crazies of the political persuasion.

I'm sure the hit count of VC has gone up, but at what cost? When the election is over and the Conspirators try to go back to posting about legal issues, will these idiots go away? Or will they fill the comments with "Did you hear President Obama kills babies?"
11.3.2008 10:44am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
kurm:

he is farther left than McGovern and Dukakis put together


Poole-Rosenthal scores show that Obama is roughly at the center of his party.
11.3.2008 10:44am
PC:
It's too bad Robert Anton Wilson is no longer with us. He could make a lot of money penning The Obaminatus Trilogy.
11.3.2008 10:44am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
passer:

Or will they fill the comments with "Did you hear President Obama kills babies?"


Sorry, it's already been done: "Ohio Christians !against! baby-murdering Muslims for president."
11.3.2008 10:46am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Well, Sarc, PC et others.
I guess I'm too clever for you.
My supposition is that some of these rumors may be true--I have no idea and being told that I must believe they are not, absent evidence or be a meanie is not convincing--and that many of his supporters know, believe, or hope they are true because they want what the rumors hint.
They do want to wuss out on the WOT. They do want to use the government to shut down speech which bothers the left. They do want to socialize the nation. They do want to bankrupt the coal industry. They do want to make the public ed system more left-indoc than it currently is. They do want the mandatory voluntary public service. I say this because I know, personally, people who want each of these things. Emphasis on "personally". Heard them say it.
Some of them are cagey enough to know that you can't sell this stuff on the open market. So they deny.
Thus, if any of the rumors to those effects are proven true, I rather doubt PC will actually apologize. He'll be laughing too hard.
11.3.2008 10:49am
UChicago student:
jukeboxgrad:

Its hard to go against a direct quote like the one from Fischel, but it just flies in the face of everything else I have heard here from the people who were also involved in that decision. From my understanding Obama almost certainly would have gotten a tenure-track offer (but no such vote was ever officially made) and people I spoke to were confident he had the intelligence to produce scholarship and get tenure... but it just didn't happen.

And even Fischel's quote does not mean Obama actually got a tenured offer. Read it closer: all Fischel is saying is that he would have given Obama a tenured offer and he was confident the faculty would approve. But the faculty never voted on it, so the offer was never approved, and thus Obama never actually received a tenure offer.

Another thing from that article that I find a little surprising (but not improbable): a job for Michelle Obama directing the legal clinic? Wow. Perhaps directing one project within the clinic or maybe serving in some secondary administrative role in the clinic? I could see that, but directing the whole clinic? I'm pretty sure the job of Director of the clinic went from Randolph Stone to Abner Mikva... and I find it hard to believe they would give the job to someone who had previously been an Associate Dean at the college... but perhaps I'm wrong.
11.3.2008 10:50am
Sarcastro (www):

Palin having scurvy

Why are there no pictures of her eating limes? This raises questions that the MSM really should ask.
11.3.2008 10:56am
PC:
My supposition is that some of these rumors may be true

Which rumors? That Obama is a secret Muslim? That he is a commie Manchurian Candidate? He was born in Kenya? That the SDS and Weather Underground modified his Columbia University transcripts so he could get into Harvard Law?

I heard a rumor that Gov. Palin wants women to die from botched, back alley abortions. I heard a rumor that John McCain wants poor people to die from lack of health care.

Do you mean dishonest rumors like those? btw, when you say you have "personally" heard people that want "those" things, I've "personally" heard people that want to imprison Americans "they" consider to be un-American.

What's your point?
11.3.2008 10:56am
Donny:
Hey Aubrey, McCain has the same coal plan as Obama (cap-and-trade). Are you voting third party or moving to Canada?
11.3.2008 10:57am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
slater:

Wow, more stuff on this very thread about McCain burning crosses and torahs, Palin having scurvy and being pregnant with Bristol's kid. That's in addition to the torturing kittens and puppies and child pornography stuff I noted earlier I didn't have any proof of.

That's a lot of stuff I haven't heard McCain deny.


And there's lots of proof to back up those claims. You just have to know where to look:

We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.
11.3.2008 10:58am
Sarcastro (www):
I finally understand Richard Aubrey's point. It's that the liberals on this site are Commies. And what better proof than a hypothetical about a hypothetical about Obama!

Well, that's a useful addition to this debate.
11.3.2008 10:58am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
uc:

And even Fischel's quote does not mean Obama actually got a tenured offer. Read it closer: all Fischel is saying is that he would have given Obama a tenured offer and he was confident the faculty would approve. But the faculty never voted on it, so the offer was never approved, and thus Obama never actually received a tenure offer.


I think you're doing some hairsplitting.
11.3.2008 11:02am
UChicago student:
jukebox: I have to hair-split when I'm trying to resolve conflicting information from sources that (a) are trustworthy and (b) have no reason to be wrong.
11.3.2008 11:12am
Pauldom:
jukeboxgrad:

VC never proved that this report is wrong.

True. I should have said that VC convinced me that the report [of Chicago's offer of tenured position to Obama] is wrong. The issue didn't affect my vote one way or the other, though.
11.3.2008 11:15am
guest 0299:
I worked in the Columbia University Bookstore at that time, and personally remember Obama coming in to browse in the bookstore in the late afternoons.

I have no doubt that Obama graduated from Columbia, but I'm calling shenanigans on the notion that anyone remembers seeing a random, unknown student at the bookstore 26 years ago.
11.3.2008 11:24am
MarkField (mail):
I'm excited to be the first to report that the reason John McCain has not released his full military records is that he was secretly a double agent for Ho Chi Minh.

Prove me wrong.
11.3.2008 11:30am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Sarc

To waste time, seeing I have so much of it, the point is that if any rumors which are being so vigorously disputed turn out to be true, I don't foresee apologies of the type PC claimed he would offer.
Now, as I say, if Obama wins and one or two of these currently-disputed rumors are true, I don't expect to hear anything but gloating laughter from the people I know personally. To presume that none of the VCers are the same type is foolish.
11.3.2008 11:34am
Mad Max:
Unless someone made an impression when you "knew them when", there's no reason to suppose they'd have become any more memorable simply because they became famous later on.

There is every reason to suppose that, because when they become famous it will trigger such memories. Maybe not in everybody, but there should be a lot more people saying they remember taking classes with Obama at Columbia than there are. He is not, after all, a non-descript, non-memorable guy!

On the other hand, what will it mean if it transpires he's a fraud about that? He'll be rightly judged on his performance in office.

We're being asked to vote for him based on his qualifications, not his performance (since after all, he's never done anything). If his qualifications are a fraud, why should we vote for him at all?

Hey, why don't we ask Joe Biden whether academic fraud should be grounds to disqualify anyone for running for President?

He has taken all he was given and accomplished next to nothing with it, and he is farther left than McGovern and Dukakis put together. That's the reason he should be voted down, not nonsense like this.

Agree.
11.3.2008 11:41am
JosephSlater (mail):
Aubrey writes: My supposition is that some of these rumors may be true

That's what I've been saying about the Palin/McCain scurvy, kitten-tortuning, child pornography, fake-pregnancy stuff! Again, I don't have any proof of any of it, and some of it probably isn't true, but I guess I should suppose that some of it is. After all, I did read it on the internet. And right here on the VC too.
11.3.2008 11:43am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
uc:

jukebox: I have to hair-split when I'm trying to resolve conflicting information from sources that (a) are trustworthy and (b) have no reason to be wrong.


Fair enough. I see your point. But if he didn't get a tenure offer, then he got a rough approximation of such a thing. Meanwhile, there are people saying they're not sure he's bright. In other words, in the broader context, the distinction you're raising is not terribly material.
11.3.2008 11:49am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

if any rumors which are being so vigorously disputed turn out to be true, I don't foresee apologies of the type PC claimed he would offer


And what about the reverse? Should we foresee apologies from you?
11.3.2008 11:50am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mad:

there should be a lot more people saying they remember taking classes with Obama at Columbia than there are.


Nice job ignoring the comparable evidence I posted regarding Palin.
11.3.2008 11:51am
PC:
I don't foresee apologies of the type PC claimed he would offer

If Obama turns out to be a secret Muslim I will apologize. If you are talking about something dishonest like, "wuss out on the WOT," that's a policy difference. I'm assuming you mean wanting to leave Iraq is wussing out. That's a difference of policy and opinion, so I'm not sure what I would need to apologize for.

As for shutting down speech, I have to assume you mean the Fairness Doctrine. I've already said I think it a stupid policy and will work to make sure it isn't enacted.

Socialize the nation? Dishonest.
Bankrupt the coal industry? Dishonest.
Leftist indoctrination? Does that mean no "teach the controversy?"
Mandatory voluntary service? I'm still trying to figure out WTF that means. Prof. Lindgren's posts on the issue have only confused the issue for me.

Now will you apologize if chupacabras really exist?
11.3.2008 12:05pm
LN (mail):
Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law, but I want to see his Columbia grades so I can vet him properly. Also, I think Sarah Palin is much smarter than people give her credit for, and I don't understand why all the snobs make such a big deal about her going to 5 different undergraduate institutions. Book-learnin' is over-rated. I'd rather be ruled by a league of plumbers than by Ivy League ignoramuses. We've been ruled by Yale-educated morons for decades now and all it's led to is socialism and stupidity. Finally, America is the greatest country that has ever existed and electing the socialist Obama would undermine everything our great government has ever done for us.
11.3.2008 12:06pm
Lazlo Holyfeld:
Did anyone read the entire Wayne Allen Root transcript?

"My counselor at Columbia said don't even bother applying to Harvard Law School, because you can get into any law school in the country with your record, except Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Princeton."

Can't make this stuff up.
11.3.2008 12:16pm
Triangle_Man:
LN said...
We've been ruled by Yale-educated morons for decades now


You misspelled Harvard there.
11.3.2008 12:18pm
TooTrue (mail):
Bill Ayers might not have ever personally killed anyone, but then again neither did Hitler or Osama Bin Laden. Like most terrorist thugs, they are too cowardly to do so and direct others to go out and do their dirty work for them. Doesn't make them innocent.

One thing we need to remember is that record manipulation is not that hard in today's world. A college records department is not some holy fortress. All you need is one stooge to give you access. Bill Ayers father, a wealthy man, had big connections to the board Bank Street College, a sister school to Columbia where Bill Ayers went, and also Columbia. It wouldn't be that hard to manipulate the data. We only have Obama at ONE class in CU. It's not enough.

As to Obama being a Muslim, it's something to take seriously, not some nutty idea. His father was a Muslim, his stepfather was a Musim, his stepfather put down his religion as "Muslim" in school, he studied Islam in Indonesia, his mother was probably a Muslim if she married two Muslim men. At what point was he raised a Christian? We have no evidence he was. His friends in college were mostly Muslim. At what point did he not become a Muslim? Probably like Obama says, he thanks Wright for "introducing" him to his Christian faith. And by the way, Muslims can worship Jesus as well and still be Muslim.
11.3.2008 12:19pm
cjwynes (mail):
I was admitted to law school early, before I completed my undergraduate studies. A "D" in a final spring semester history class prevented me from graduating that spring, and the law school was immediately aware of it and sent me a letter concerning it. I had to assure the law school that I would be completing my undergraduate studies that summer and get them to hold my spot open.

So yeah, I think Harvard Law would have known the exact status of his Columbia studies when they admitted him and even afterwards.
11.3.2008 12:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Juke
PC.
I don't mean the Fairness Doctrine. The lawyers around here have convinced me it doesn't stand a chance. From which I predict it has a fifty-fifty chance of becoming the law of the land.
Thinking instead of vaguely threatening letters from the FCC to, say, military commentators. Previously-sealed divorce decrees becoming mysteriously public. More letters from the FCC. Civil rights suits like that against the folks protesting a group home in their area.

And I don't intend to apologize for something I didn't say. I have never claimed this stuff is true. I believe there is the possibility that some are true. After all, the backpedaling wrt the relationship with Ayers is based on the facts that were not as originally promoted by Obama. IOW, he lied. And, in fact, he's even quit backpedaling even as more and more information comes out. Can't go any further, I guess, and he knows that his fans don't give a rodent's patootie.
I have said, wrt the current issue, that claiming to debunk something by saying the procedures make it unlikely is not generally considered debunking, and only Obama partisans would consider it such.Not that they do, of course, but it satisfies.
Imagine this technique used by a historian and critiqued by other historians. .
Imagine saying a republican is proven not to have done something because the various circumstances would have made it difficult. That would fly, right?
11.3.2008 12:28pm
Toby:
This is silly. I have a friend who dropped out of the University of Chicago afer being admitted to medical school. It was not discovered until toward the end of the fall semester. It took until early March for conclusive information. At that point, he was already in the top three of his class, so no one cared anymore.

I, who am strongly Anti-Obama, feel this is the cheesiest sort of so what. I am much more concerned that the Dean of the OofC Law School has indicated he would happily prostitute his schools faculty selection process to his political beliefs. On the other hand, this does not feel to foreign to my daughter's experience when she attended the UofC.

As to documentary evidence of Obama on campus, some quick googling is enough to answer any questions
11.3.2008 12:31pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
One of the Ivies very nearly graduated a fictitious person some years ago. I believe it was meant to be a short-term practical joke which ended up with legs.
My mother, many years ago, got an A in a class she had not taken in grad school.
If "would have" is good enough to debunk, anecdotes of screwy admissions and grade happenings are good enough to throw doubt.
11.3.2008 12:40pm
Floridan:
TooTrue: "As to Obama being a Muslim, it's something to take seriously, not some nutty idea. "

No, sorry . . . it's a nutty idea.
11.3.2008 1:09pm
Lifeofthemind:
The burden is on Obama to prove he is honest and reliable and worthy of the office he is asking for. The burden is not on his critics to prove that he really did not know who Bill Ayers was and should not have been expected to. Nor for that matter is it the responsibility of Mr. Ayers critics to give him credit for failing to personally murder anyone during his career of participation and leadership in a group that advocated, organized and conducted acts using deadly force. The burden is not on Obama's critics to prove that he did not graduate from Columbia or did not otherwise conduct himself in a manner that would discredit him.

Everything you could want to know about McCain is a matter of public record. All of his failings, as a wild midshipman, as a divorced husband, as a Senator meeting with Charles Keating, have been revealed by him. We know what happened and we know how he has become a better man. Obama reveals nothing but his gift for secrecy, conspiracy, self pity and manipulation.
11.3.2008 1:11pm
MarkField (mail):

Everything you could want to know about McCain is a matter of public record. All of his failings, as a wild midshipman, as a divorced husband, as a Senator meeting with Charles Keating, have been revealed by him.


This is simply not true. McCain, for example, has not released his full military records.
11.3.2008 1:44pm
ruralcounsel (mail):
A mixture of one side grasping at slim straws of highly questionable truth (sometimes admitting the questionable truthness) and clearly whacko ideas, and the other side an odd amalgram of incomprehensible refusal to produce documents that should easily clear their guy, unreasoned denial, probabilistic and reasoned denial, counter-attack and Rovian ridicule, and willful ignorance.

We're in for a lovely 4 years. The continuing drift of American politics to extremism and polarization. I suspect next election both parties will be recruiting bombmakers and snipers a la Kosovo. At least the Democrats will already have signed up Ayers.
11.3.2008 1:46pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
Obama's obviously hiding his grade in his freshman class in Women's Literature. He doesn't want to admit he didn't finish Beloved.

This is a silly rumor for the reasons Jim stated, and just another example where Obama's critics want him to jump through hoops at their command. If he showed them his diploma from Columbia, they'd just start some stupid rumor requiring his high school transcripts or his vaccination records or a DNA test proving that he's not a space alien.
11.3.2008 1:50pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
wrt being a Muslim, secret or not:

It's been said on various blogs that a certain view of Muslim doctrine resembles that of the Bates Motel. You can check in, but you can't check out.
IOW, given his background, he cannot be anything but a Muslim, no matter his preferences, sincere or otherwise. His views don't matter, others' ideas of the situation don't matter. Some Muslims--the story goes--will consider him a Muslim. Problem is that some non-trivial proportion of Muslims think the proper penalty for apostasy is death and, to the extent Obama claims he's not a Muslim, he's an apostate.
If he is elected, it will be interesting to see if he runs into some ramification of this idea.
As I say, this view is independent of what Obama thinks or says, and of what anybody else thinks about it.
11.3.2008 1:50pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
My understanding is that no Muslim scholar believes a child can be an apostate.

I've decided that Sarah Palin is not only hiding scurvy in her promised by unrevealed medical records, she has also had a boob job.
11.3.2008 2:14pm
Mad Max:
Nice job ignoring the comparable evidence I posted regarding Palin.

So you want me to believe it is as difficult to remember a remarkable man at a comparatively small elite university as it is to remember an entirely unremarkable woman (intellectually, anyway) at a huge no-name state school?
11.3.2008 2:14pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
I graduated from Columbia in 1987, four years after Obama. My yearbook included photos of individual graduates, but only if they chose to sit for a photo and to have it included. Many did not. Quite a few of my classmates who graduated with me are not shown in the yearbook. My best guesstimate is that at least 10% of my classmates are not pictured. (As far as I know, the yearbook had not changed significantly since 1983.)

Moreover, the graduates who don't sit for yearbook photos are not a random cross-section of the class. People with fewer ties to their classmates are less likely to bother getting their picture into the yearbook. As Prof. Lindgren notes, Obama had transferred in as a junior. In those days, transfer students couldn't get university housing. Obama lived far from campus and was friends with far fewer classmates than he likely would have been had he arrived as a freshman. His absence from the yearbook is not very surprising.

One other note: at least one alumni publication noted in 1990 (or maybe '91) that Obama had become the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. The Columbia administration thus recognized him as an alum long before he entered public life or became well-known.
11.3.2008 2:36pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
TooTrue wrote:
Bill Ayers father, a wealthy man, had big connections to the board Bank Street College, a sister school to Columbia where Bill Ayers went, and also Columbia. It wouldn't be that hard to manipulate the data. We only have Obama at ONE class in CU. It's not enough.
Bank Street College of Education is not a "sister school" of Columbia. It happens to be a few blocks south Columbia's main campus, but it has no ties to the university at all. Its employees certainly don't have access to the records of Columbia's registrar and can't falsify those records.

Columbia's education programs are at Teachers College ("TC"), a legally separate entity which is affiliated with Columbia in much the same way as Barnard College and which is across the street from the northern edge of the main campus. Columbia has no reason to make Bank Street a sister school when it already has such a relationship with the much larger and more renowned TC.

I have no idea what sort of "connections" TooTrue thinks Ayers has to Columbia, but the very idea that such connections would enable him to falsify Obama's records is absurd.
11.3.2008 2:53pm
Uh_Clem (mail):
Wow. Quite the collection of nutbars on this thread.

This is why the comments here represent some of the best comedy on the 'net. I know that's not what Eugene et. al. intended for this site, but the clowns show up in force for all the kook threads.

Kudos to Prof. Lindgrin for debunking this silliness.
11.3.2008 3:08pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Uh,
Do you think "debunking" by pointing out normal procedures would work anyplace else?
The original post says nothing, not a thing, about what actually happened, or didn't happen. Only that to get where he was, he "would have". Clearly, that's what needs to happen most of the time, but it proves nothing whatsoever about what happened this time, only that, had it happened, it would have been irregular.
I have no idea about the question, since I've seen no direct information about the actual facts.
11.3.2008 3:34pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
too:

Bill Ayers might not have ever personally killed anyone, but then again neither did Hitler or Osama Bin Laden. Like most terrorist thugs, they are too cowardly to do so and direct others to go out and do their dirty work for them. Doesn't make them innocent.


Nice try. It's not just that there's no evidence that Ayers ever killed anyone. There's also no evidence that WUO ever killed anyone (other than themselves). On the other hand, McCain did actually drop actual bombs, but I don't hold it against him.

life:

leadership in a group that advocated, organized and conducted acts using deadly force


WUO had a policy of using warnings to get places evacuated. This is probably why they didn't kill anyone.

Everything you could want to know about McCain is a matter of public record. All of his failings, as a wild midshipman, as a divorced husband, as a Senator meeting with Charles Keating, have been revealed by him.


Wrong. He never signed SF-180. Most of his records are still secret. He crashed several planes under conditions that suggest recklessness and impulsiveness. There are still many unanswered questions about those crashes, like how he got away with it.
11.3.2008 3:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
aubrey:

Problem is that some non-trivial proportion of Muslims think the proper penalty for apostasy is death and, to the extent Obama claims he's not a Muslim, he's an apostate. If he is elected, it will be interesting to see if he runs into some ramification of this idea.


You seem to be saying that certain Muslim extremists might have a desire to kill an American president. And this would be new in what way, exactly?
11.3.2008 3:49pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
max:

So you want me to believe it is as difficult to remember a remarkable man at a comparatively small elite university as it is to remember an entirely unremarkable woman (intellectually, anyway) at a huge no-name state school?


Huh? What university is "comparatively small?" Columbia has 25,000 students.

Huh? "A huge no-name state school?" University of Idaho has 12,000 students.

Palin also attended Hawaii Pacific University. 9,000 students. And she attended North Idaho College. 4,700 students. And she attended Matanuska-Susitna College. 1,700 students. All schools a lot smaller than Columbia. And hardly anyone remembers her.

What was that you were saying again about "small" and "huge?"

an entirely unremarkable woman


She had nearly won Miss Alaska. She was a babe. Why would no one remember her? What makes you think she was ever in college at all? Where's your proof that Palin actually went to college, or graduated?
11.3.2008 3:54pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
juke.
The problem is not solely that extremists want to kill him. The problem is that this would possibly increase the number of extremists who want to kill him. The one-issue types.
And it also may have, probably not, an effect on the way some people view Muslim extremism. Some people simply won't get beyond the view that it's all our fault that the warm, friendly (pick any enemy of the US) are angry at us and justifiably so.
To discover that, potentially, the nutcases are angry at Obama for apostasy, which has and can have nothing whatsoever to do with us, might be a wake-up. Naw.
11.3.2008 4:08pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
jukeboxgrad wrote:
Huh? What university is "comparatively small?" Columbia has 25,000 students.

Huh? "A huge no-name state school?" University of Idaho has 12,000 students.

Palin also attended Hawaii Pacific University. 9,000 students. And she attended North Idaho College. 4,700 students. And she attended Matanuska-Susitna College. 1,700 students. All schools a lot smaller than Columbia. And hardly anyone remembers her.

What was that you were saying again about "small" and "huge?"
The large majority of Columbia's students are in graduate programs. Columbia College -- the division Obama attended -- had only about 3,000 students at the time. Its entire undergrad enrollment -- including Barnard, the engineering school and the School of General Studies (for older and part-time students) -- was about 7,000. The other student bodies you describe likely include relatively few grad students.
11.3.2008 4:12pm
baldilocks (mail) (www):

Its funny how Obama supporters are accused of always making false claims of racism. Has any other presidential candidate ever been accused of lying about his undergraduate university?
Don't know, but I do know of one sitting president who was accused of falsifying his military records and of desertion. Was that about race?
11.3.2008 4:43pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
edward:

The large majority of Columbia's students are in graduate programs.


I know. But it's still a large urban campus with a lot of students running around, which means that it's easy for one person to not be noticed.
11.3.2008 5:13pm
davod (mail):
I get a little tired of the simpleminded defences for the Weather Underground. Ayers was the man in charge. Then again, maybe he was just a figurehead for his wife (You know how chauvenistic everyone was in the old days).

Weather Underground: Honoring the Cops They Killed. "The Weather Underground was responsible for bombing several government targets throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, and a building used by the New York City Police Department. To finance their domestic terrorism activities the group also conducted "traditional" robberies, which occasionally led to murder.

What you don't usually hear in modern-day news coverage of the group, is that three of those murders were of police officers killed in the line of duty."

I believe at least one security guar was killed as well.

Oh! and the bomb that blew up prematurley, and killed the morons, was destined for a Dinner dance at the Fort Dix NCO club. If they had succeeded in bombing the dinner dance I suppose they, and you, would class the mothers, wives, girlfriends, fiancees and staff also killed as collaborators.

They also bombed a New Jersey's judges house. Three bombs, front and back of the house plus the car.
11.3.2008 6:31pm
James Lindgren (mail):
No Presidential candidate releases their grades that I'm aware of. As I remember, the Yale grades of Gore and Bush were improperly leaked, either from Yale or from some job or school that they once applied to. Gore's Vanderbilt grades, which were reputed to be terrible, were never released.
11.3.2008 6:41pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
davod:

Weather Underground: Honoring the Cops They Killed


The article you're pointing to says this about McDonnell:

the case has never officially been solved


Exactly. No one was ever arrested. You have allegations, but you don't have proof. Not the same thing.

And the Brinks robbery took place in 1981, after WUO didn't exist anymore. If an ex-member of that group commits a crime next week, is that also Obama's fault?

the bomb that blew up prematurley, and killed the morons, was destined for a Dinner dance at the Fort Dix NCO club


Ayers suspects that Oughton blew it up intentionally because she opposed that plan.
11.3.2008 6:57pm
courtwatcher:
I guess I appreciate Lindgren's debunking - but the day before the election, after a long campaign, it's rather sad that this "issue" is the focus of anyone's attention. There are clear choices out there for the next four years in the executive branch, folks, based on differences in policy and likely governing style that will affect the work of all executive branch agencies as well as the legislative agenda in Congress. And this is what people are discussing on Nov. 3rd?
And once Obama (or McCain) starts governing, there will be important work to be done - rumors about their past will be even less relevant.
11.3.2008 6:58pm
James Lindgren (mail):
jpnatiem:

You ask what I think of the false claim that the U of Chicago law faculty made a tenured offer to Obama. I debunked that one on VC at length, confirming its falsehood with the relevant officials in the law school and the central administration.

Neither the faculty appointments committee nor the faculty was ever asked to consider making Obama a tenured offer. The dean at the time, the source for the NYT story, is now not so certain of what sort of offer/promise he might have made Obama, but I can assure you that the faculty never even considered such an offer. Further, neither the faculty nor the provost would have approved it.

An offer with a quick road to tenure and a low publishing standard (a near guarantee if he wrote) might well have gone through. That's a deal I probably would have supported myself at Northwestern. He's an awfully smart guy.

Jim Lindgren
11.3.2008 7:07pm
TooTrue (mail):
"Bank Street College of Education is not a "sister school" of Columbia. It happens to be a few blocks south Columbia's main campus, but it has no ties to the university at all."

Wrong Edward. Look at this I got from a little google:

"In 1984, Bank Street entered into an agreement with the Milbank Memorial Library of Teachers College, Columbia University to serve as a repository for the records of Bank Street College of Education. Bank Street's papers were transferred and organized by the staff of Special Collections at Milbank Memorial Library with support from Bank Street and Teachers College faculty."

Bank Street had a connection with the Teacher College which was a part of Columbia. If A=B and B=C, then A=C, right? Obviously a pretty good connection if Bank Street transferred all their records over in 1984. Hmmm, 1984. The year Ayers graduated from Bank Street. Perfect time while transferring the records over to Columbia to get into a little Columbia records monkey business, isn't it?
11.3.2008 7:13pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
TooTrue, this sounds like a donation of historical records. There is a large collection of original papers from the Spanish Civil War donated to the Princeton University Library. That doesn't make Princeton part of Spain.

Is the remaining right wing really this brain-dead, or are they all trolls?
11.3.2008 7:29pm
TooTrue (mail):
"this sounds like"

"Sounds like" is not good enough proof. It's not a game show. "Records" of the Bank Street College of Education are not "documents" or "papers". "Records" of the Bank Street College of Education "sounds like" 'education records' to me. Either way, there is obviously a connection there between the two colleges. And, by the way if you keep reading the link, the records were transferred back to Bank Street some years later.
11.3.2008 9:00pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):

Special Collections at Milbank Memorial Library
Do you think active records are kept in a Library??

Here is what you are dishonestly leaving out from your own link.
Due to the closing of Special Collections at Milbank Memorial Library, the records were returned to Bank Street in 2003. Because of ongoing processing of the collection, on-site visits to the archives are not yet possible. The collection is now being arranged and described by Project Archivists Kate Kearns and Lindsey Wyckoff.
My emphasis. If Columbia were in some sort of operational relationship with Bank Street, then of course the records would have gone elsewhere in Columbia. Now we see that these records are not even accessible at the moment. Does that sound like current, useful data? Or historical records that Bank Street thought belonged in a larger, better-known research institution?

Yeah, there is a "connection". By this argument, Bank Street is also connected to the Sanitation Workers Union, for the records they throw away.

The level of paranoid idiocy from the anti-Obama forces is a little frightening, like half the Republican Party has been taken over by LaRouchies.
11.3.2008 9:10pm
Lady on the Left:
TooTrue: "As to Obama being a Muslim, it's something to take seriously, not some nutty idea. "


Regardless of what you believe about Obama or who you're voting for, I think it's worth quoting at length General Powell's comments on this subject on Meet the Press:


I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.
11.3.2008 9:52pm
Edward A. Hoffman (mail):
TooTrue wrote:
Bank Street had a connection with the Teacher College which was a part of Columbia. If A=B and B=C, then A=C, right? Obviously a pretty good connection if Bank Street transferred all their records over in 1984. Hmmm, 1984. The year Ayers graduated from Bank Street. Perfect time while transferring the records over to Columbia to get into a little Columbia records monkey business, isn't it?
Your argument that "if A=B and B=C, then A=C" fails because A does not equal B and B does not equal C.

Other commenters have already explained that placing records in another school's library does not a sister-school make. Columbia's libraries are a repository for documents from many individuals, organizations and governmental entities, but that doesn't make it their affiliate and certainly doesn't suggest that any of them has the ability to falsify student records at Columbia.

Moreover, your claim that TC "was a part of Columbia" is wrong. As I explained in the very post yours supposedly addressed, TC is legally separate from CU. It has its own administration, its own faculty, its own finances, its own buildings and its own library. Columbia doesn't control any of it (though each must abide by the terms of its contract with the other). Thus, even if TC really did have some sort of close working relationship with Bank Street, it would not follow that Columbia had one.
Obviously a pretty good connection if Bank Street transferred all their records over in 1984. Hmmm, 1984. The year Ayers graduated from Bank Street. Perfect time while transferring the records over to Columbia to get into a little Columbia records monkey business, isn't it?
You seem to equate delivering boxes of Bank Street papers with the ability to access and change sensitive Columbia records. Your analysis is absurd, and would be even if TC were a part of Columbia. Librarians don't have access to the registrar's data, so they can't give such access to others.

I have no idea why you think the fact that the transfer happened during the same year that Ayres graduated from Bank Street matters at all, let alone that it materially strengthens your argument. Do you think everyone who graduated from Bank Street that year was able modify Columbia's records at will?
11.3.2008 9:56pm
TooTrue (mail):
"Now we see that these records are not even accessible at the moment. Does that sound like current, useful data?"

Well we wouldn't know if they aren't accessible now, would we? Besides if there was something nefarious going on, wouldn't that be the way to go, to make the records inaccessible during the election? But, I repeat again, either way, there is a connection of some sort between the two schools, some tie, not NO ties. And I think the left is not paranoid enough. They are too trusting, making themselves easy to swindle.
11.3.2008 10:09pm
TooTrue (mail):
"Columbia doesn't control any of it (though each must abide by the terms of its contract with the other). "

Well, okay maybe the connection is not direct, but there is SOME connection, however small it may or may not be.

"You seem to equate delivering boxes of Bank Street papers with the ability to access and change sensitive Columbia records."

I just think it's something to think about. This does not sound like just a few boxes, this seemed like a long invloved task. It would make sense that someone with access to one part of or distant relative of Columbia records might have an easier time faking access to another part. Just my guess. If Obama released his records and we had more than students from one seminar class come forward, I would admit my error.
11.3.2008 10:17pm
TooTrue (mail):
To Lady, true it doesn't matter if Obama was a practicing or former Muslim. But it shouldn't have mattered that Mitt Romney was a Mormon either, but it seemed to, to a bunch of people. What I hate is this mind control exercised by the PC media that we all have to repeat in unison, "No Obama was never a Muslim" when we see he had a long history as a young child being educated as a Muslim. We also see many associates of his up until college age were mostly Muslims. We have no evidence that he was ever educated as a Christian or that his parents were Christian. Yet we are supposed to deny what we see in front of our eyes. I don't have a problem with him being Muslim. I have a problem with the hypocrisy and dishonesty of it all.
11.3.2008 10:26pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Too.
Yeah. There are certain things said about Obama which simply must not be said. There is little evidence that they are not true, some that they are, but they simply must not be said. Or, for that matter, seriously investigated. Or you're a poopyhead. For example, Prof. Lindgren has "proven" that O graduated from Columbia by showing that getting into HLS without doing so would be inexplicable or irregular.

Well, hell. I was in jump school with a guy who'd had no military training at all--being a pro football player who got drafted--but called his college coach, Bear Bryant, and ended up a second lieutenant with no branch specialty. Irregular. Inexplicable. My commission was signed by Nixon, but apparently Bryant had his own sources. Still, the guy was there. Nice. Clueless. Using Prof. Lindgren's standards, it didn't happen. Poor guy had the military bearing of a toilet seat and knew he was in the wrong place. Almost funny, in a sad sense.
11.3.2008 11:11pm
Lady on the Left:
Too True,

Literally as I'm writing this (I live in the swing state of PA), I'm watching a McCain commercial featuring the Reverend Wright, the controversial Christian pastor whose church Obama attended for over twenty years, was baptized and married at, and had his children baptized at. I don't like the Reverend Wright, but he's a pastor of a Christian church. You can't have it both ways.

I'm also reading this Wikipedia page stating that "Obama is a Christian...baptized at Trinity United Church of Christ in 1988." I'm not really sure where this "long history" of being educated as a Muslim or "many associates" who are Muslim comes from (I'm pretty sure Bill Ayres is not a Muslim). I'm also not sure what "evidence" one shows of being educated as a Christian (maybe Obama will release his childhood Bible school records with his records from Columbia?). I haven't seen any "evidence" that John McCain is a Christian, I just kind of believe him when he says it, just like I believe any person who genuinely professes his or her own faith. As for Obama's parents, again I don't have any "evidence", but I'm pretty sure that a woman named Ann Dunham from small town Kansas probably wasn't a Muslim. His father was a Muslim, and I don't think Obama or anyone in the media has denied that, but it's also pretty well-known that his father left him when he was two years old.

Should it have mattered that Romney is a Mormon, Kerry a Catholic, Lieberman a Jew? No, and the fact that some people have faced prejudice doesn't make it any more acceptable to be prejudiced towards others.
11.3.2008 11:14pm
davod (mail):
"Regardless of what you believe about Obama or who you're voting for, I think it's worth quoting at length General Powell's comments on this subject on Meet the Press:"

The point is, if he is a Muslim then he has been misleading. Maybe he practising Taqiyya.
11.3.2008 11:16pm
TooTrue (mail):
"Obama is a Christian...baptized at Trinity United Church of Christ in 1988." I'm not really sure where this "long history" of being educated as a Muslim or "many associates" who are Muslim comes from (I'm pretty sure Bill Ayres is not a Muslim)"

Yes in 1988, when he was about 27 years old. He was educated as a Muslim as a child in Indonesia, he took intense classes in Islam at his school there. His father was a Muslim and left when he was two, but his mother went on to marry another Muslim when he was around 6. People in Indonesia remember Dunham as a practicing Muslim. She spent later years in Pakistan for a job and learned Urdu. Although his mother was born in Kansas, people can and do convert, even in Kansas. Ayers has given his children Muslim names and seems to be a Muslim dabbler, if not an actual Muslim, it goes with the black power groups Ayers hung out with. So Obama's formative years were spent as a Muslim, it seems pretty clear. So let's assume if he starts his life as a Muslim with a Muslim family, chances are he was a Muslim until he converted.

I think it's almost as offensive to assume that just because Obama moved to the US at 10 or 11 years old he all of a sudden converted to Christianity. Living in the US does not autimatically make you a Christian. No it takes more than that to convert, it takes a conscious action. He talk about Wright "introducing" him to his Christian faith when he joined Wright's church. Obama does not talk of converting to Christianity before that.
11.3.2008 11:42pm
LM (mail):
Richard Aubrey,

For example, Prof. Lindgren has "proven" that O graduated from Columbia by showing that getting into HLS without doing so would be inexplicable or irregular.

And testimonial evidence debunking other parts of the allegation, plus the fact that the allegation itself was even more flimsy and anecdotal. The same way he proved Obama was never offered a fully tenured professorship at Chicago. He didn't actually prove either instance conclusively, but only someone with an ax to grind would deny that his conclusions in both cases were almost certainly correct. Occam preferred razors to axes.
11.4.2008 2:32am