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Professor Obama's final
July 29, 2008 5:27 PM   Subscribe

Can you pass a Barack Obama's final?

The NYtimes finds and posts a batch of finals from the 12 years Sen. Obama spent in the University of Chicago law school teaching as a part time law professor. Main story here.
posted by jourman2 (92 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Probably not, but man can that guy write a syllabus!
posted by starman at 5:38 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


> Can you pass a Barack Obama's final?

Back to English class, I'm afraid. :)
posted by digaman at 5:41 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


This will be your last chance to have a liberal intellectual in charge of the free world for many years. Don't screw this up!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:41 PM on July 29, 2008 [17 favorites]


He don't sound like no kinda guy I'd like to chug a brew with.
posted by Flunkie at 5:43 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I, on the other hand, would love to drink any number of brews with the guy after skimming through this stuff. The guy can motherfucking write.

arnold whatzaneger!
posted by the_bone at 5:49 PM on July 29, 2008 [5 favorites]


He don't sound like no kinda guy I'd like to chug a brew with.

I heard he doesn't even watch Nascar.
posted by saraswati at 5:51 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


He don't sound like no kinda guy I'd like to chug a brew with.

I'd chug brews with Obama. But after about five I'd probably start singing "Obama Bobama Banana Fanna Fo Fama Obama!" which depending on the level of his sense of humor would wither makes us pals or make him want to hit me.

(FWIW, I couldn't pass his test nor would I want to take any of his courses, but we're not electing a teacher, we're electing a President. I could do without a lot of the American left's elitism, too, but at the end of the day, I'll take it over what the other side's offering.)
posted by jonmc at 6:00 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Can you pass a Barack Obama's final?

Back to English class, I'm afraid. :)


heheh woops - was originally writing "Can you pass Barack Obama's final?" and decided to change it around, without getting rid of the 's apparently.
posted by jourman2 at 6:04 PM on July 29, 2008


Yes.
Anyone can pass a con law final. The trick is beating the curve.

i am so unbelievably happy that smart people will be back in charge
posted by Saucy Intruder at 6:06 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"You have recently accepted a new job in the general counsel's office of the State of Utopia's new governor, Arnold Whatzanager."

ELECT THIS MAN.
posted by yeti at 6:06 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'd chug beers with Obama. I'd also want to shoot hoops with Obama. That's bound to be more fun than BOO-YAH-GIT-R-DONE-JESUS-TOLD-ME-TO-GO-MOUNTAIN-BIKING sessions with the current White House yahoo.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:07 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Current Issues in Racism and the Law syllabus seems fairly typical to me. Compare with the syllabus for the Race Relations course I took at Washington University's law school in 2007.
posted by jedicus at 6:08 PM on July 29, 2008


That's bound to be more fun than BOO-YAH-GIT-R-DONE-JESUS-TOLD-ME-TO-GO-MOUNTAIN-BIKING sessions with the current White House yahoo.

Exactly. Bush dosen't even drink, and couldn't even field a halfway decent baseball team. He loses on regular joe points, too.
posted by jonmc at 6:10 PM on July 29, 2008


The header to his 2003 final:

Constitutional Law Exam - Autumn 2003 - Prof. Obama

He called himself Prof. Obama... Badass.
posted by pwally at 6:12 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I heart Obama, but no charisma on earth can make me look at another law school exam, ever again.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:13 PM on July 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


I'd probably start singing "Obama Bobama Banana Fanna Fo Fama Obama!"

actually it'd be 'Banana fana fobama,' wouldn't it? Jeez, me of all people.

*flagellates self*
posted by jonmc at 6:17 PM on July 29, 2008


Is a da final gonna be held atta Whatsamatta U?


/shut uppa you face
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:17 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


He don't sound like no kinda guy I'd like to chug a brew with.

Good.
posted by DU at 6:17 PM on July 29, 2008


Hmm, when was the last time a bona fide teacher was in the White House, anyone know?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:19 PM on July 29, 2008


Hmm, when was the last time a bona fide teacher was in the White House, anyone know?

Woodrow Wilson?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:22 PM on July 29, 2008


About this beer thing... he's buying, right?
posted by pompomtom at 6:23 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, Bush put a lot of people in detention, is that close enough?
posted by jonmc at 6:23 PM on July 29, 2008 [17 favorites]


I don't know if it's "bona fide," but Clinton taught at a law school for a year, and LBJ taught high school.
posted by aswego at 6:24 PM on July 29, 2008


Come to think of it, the only President I'd probably enjoy drinking with would be Ulysses S. Grant. That dude knew how to party.
posted by jonmc at 6:25 PM on July 29, 2008


I would have met the dude at Jimmy's back in 1996, sure.
posted by The Straightener at 6:26 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


pleasepleasepleaseplease don't fuck this up America.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:31 PM on July 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


Strangely, while I know what Obama sounds like, I can't mentally hear his voice reading these exam questions. I hear Juan Williams instead.
posted by infinitewindow at 6:34 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good luck, America, and have a fine holiday.
posted by cashman at 6:40 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]



Come to think of it, the only President I'd probably enjoy drinking with would be Ulysses S. Grant. That dude knew how to party.


What about Andrew Jackson?

Jackson was the first President to invite the public to attend the White House ball honoring his first inauguration. Many poor people came to the inaugural ball in their homemade clothes. The crowd became so large that Jackson's guards could not hold them out of the White House. The White House became so crowded with people that dishes and decorative pieces in the White House began to break. Some people stood on good chairs in muddied boots just to get a look at the President. The crowd had become so wild that the attendants poured punch in tubs and put it on the White House lawn to lure people out of the White House. Jackson’s raucous populism earned him the nickname King Mob.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:42 PM on July 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


The best part, I think, are the answer keys. They show just how informed and on top of his game Obama really is. Of course, my first thought in reading these was "these will make him look like way too much of an elite intellectual," and then, for the first time, it really hit me how awful it is that my country now believes being an intellectual is not a good quality for a leader to have. How did we do that? If you asked the average American what makes a good statesman, he or she is more likely to think you're talking about a rock band or a college sports team.

Hmm. The Statesmen would actually be a good band name...
posted by Jon_Evil at 6:44 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sounds cool. I'd also go cruising for babes with Kennedy and Clinton, even if they're not righteous boozers.
posted by jonmc at 6:44 PM on July 29, 2008


The Statesmen would actually be a good band name...

Somebody beat you to it
posted by jonmc at 6:46 PM on July 29, 2008


Obama/Whatzanager '08!
posted by shoebox at 6:48 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


...being an intellectual is not a good quality for a leader to have. How did we do that?

Via Joseph McCarthy, Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh.
posted by DU at 6:51 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Obama's con law exams look like a lot more fun than mine were.
posted by spiderwire at 6:52 PM on July 29, 2008


Via Joseph McCarthy, Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh.

I would have said Goldwater and Nixon.
posted by spiderwire at 6:52 PM on July 29, 2008


"You have just passed the bar in the State of Nirvana..."
posted by sunshinesky at 7:01 PM on July 29, 2008


I'd go shootin' and conservatin' with Teddy Roosevelt.
posted by mullingitover at 7:05 PM on July 29, 2008


Can Barack Obama appoint himself to the Supreme Court?
posted by jonp72 at 7:08 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like the way he went all sci-fi in the 2001 exam, with the designer bioweapons and the genetically engineered babies.

If only he hadn't given up teaching to concentrate on politics, I'm confident that he'd have come up with some great explorations of how the Fourteenth Amendment applies to sentient AIs, or whether a federal ban on time travel was discriminatory against black activists who wanted to go back and stop the slave trade.
posted by flashboy at 7:22 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yes, Obama would make an excellent Supreme Court judge - maybe President Clinton will appoint him. By 2014, he will have recovered from his dramatic loss in the 2008 Presidential campaign, and have garnered enough experience with real legislation to finally find a real home for his prodigious intellect.

Oh, btw, Jimmy Carter is really smart, too.
posted by MetaMan at 7:32 PM on July 29, 2008


Oh, btw, Jimmy Carter is really smart, too.

Didn't he win an election? I hear that Bill Clinton fella wasn't too dumb, either. Roads Scholar or somethin?
posted by spiderwire at 7:40 PM on July 29, 2008


Maybe President Dr Ron Paul will appoint him Secretary for Blimp Affairs.

RONPAUL
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:40 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


Excellent. Hopefully he can be forgiven for FISA now.

If only he hadn't given up teaching to concentrate on politics, I'm confident that he'd have come up with some great explorations of how the Fourteenth Amendment applies to sentient AIs, or whether a federal ban on time travel was discriminatory against black activists who wanted to go back and stop the slave trade.

Both of which are absolutely fascinating questions. Especially the last one, which would make a great book, movie, or TV series.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:42 PM on July 29, 2008


There's some part of me that, somehow, is waiting for some right-wing psycho to claim that the font is wrong, and therefore this can't have been written by Obama.

Another part of me reads this section of the 1997 answer guide:

I have no model answer for the third question in this part; the purpose of the
question was simply to give you an opportunity to consider some of the issues raised
above and arrive at your own conclusions.


...and thinks that January can't come fast enough.
posted by mark242 at 7:51 PM on July 29, 2008


Is that, er, boner fide thing a kinda racist slur?
posted by binturong at 7:52 PM on July 29, 2008


Obama needs to start shitting in a bag that he can safely incinerate later because we're about a week from reporters breaking into the septic tank of the bathrooms he just used to write in-depth exposes on his stool. What does the amount of corn Barack Obama eats say about the way he'll govern?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:55 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


it really hit me how awful it is that my country now believes being an intellectual is not a good quality for a leader to have. How did we do that?

Compare the America of 1956-57, where being an intellectual could make one a television star.
posted by Knappster at 7:58 PM on July 29, 2008


I can't wait for January 20, when MetaMan will insist that we're all suffering from mass hysteria and that there's no way Barack Obama is actually being sworn in as President.
posted by EarBucket at 8:01 PM on July 29, 2008


Well, to be fair Earbucket, it would be pretty cool if Bill Clinton had a third term as president.

Not very likely though.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 8:04 PM on July 29, 2008


What does the amount of corn Barack Obama eats say about the way he'll govern?

I keep waiting for the cigarette butts to surface and magically work in his favor: he does (did? has he quit yet?) smoke Reds, after all. Not Gauloises or Kools, Joe Sixpack.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:30 PM on July 29, 2008


i am so unbelievably happy that smart people will be back in charge

Let's hope.

McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis ranked 894 out of 899.

McCain Admits He’s Dumber Than Bush [video | 01:04].
posted by ericb at 8:33 PM on July 29, 2008 [3 favorites]


For Christ's sake, MetaMan. We're all very sorry that your favored candidate lost the primary. Please accept my sincerest condolences. But every time you jump into a thread that even tangentially mentions Obama and you spew your bitterness around, you look more and more like a petulant toddler. I'd bet even Bill isn't as angry as you seem to be.

In short, GET. OVER. IT.
posted by chiababe at 8:35 PM on July 29, 2008


Come to think of it, the only President I'd probably enjoy drinking with would be Ulysses S. Grant. That dude knew how to party.

May I introduce you to Theodore Roosevelt.

* Historian
* Cowboy
* Soldier
* Big-game hunter
* Trustbuster
* Boxer
* Jiu-jitsu enthusiast ... I shit you not
* Conservationist
* Skinny-dipping enthusiast ... again, I shit you not
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:38 PM on July 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis ranked 894 out of 899.

Hey, I graduated 36th from the bottom of my class, and that never stoped me frum doing mor gooder than my classmats.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:42 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


...never stoped me frum doing mor gooder than my classmats.

First priority of a McCain administration: a treaty with Czechoslovakia (hasn't existed since 1993) and the miraculous creation of a border between Iraq and Pakistan (which has never existed).
posted by ericb at 8:51 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, I guess Obama is a Latex guy..
posted by Chuckles at 9:07 PM on July 29, 2008


Ha! From the syllabus (page 5):

Recently, a Minnesota state court held that a criminal statute that punishes possession of crack more severely than possession of cocaine is discriminatory, insofar as crack is the drug of choice in the black community, while cocaine is more popular among the wine and brie crowd.
posted by teraflop at 9:17 PM on July 29, 2008


I'd also go cruising for babes with Kennedy and Clinton, even if they're not righteous boozers.

A former colleague's husband got to hang out with Clinton in his limo on the way back to the airport after a speaking gig. Big Bill made them stop at a relatively well-known Toronto chain for some wings. Husband said it was unreal the charisma the man had.

And yeah... America, the only country in the world where 'intellectual' is an insult worse than 'racist'.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:26 PM on July 29, 2008


McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis ranked 894 out of 899.

In all fairness to McCain, your grades at the Naval Academy (and other military colleges I believe) are also affected by your conduct. I think (and someone correct me if I am wrong) you can get the equivalent of grade demerits at the NA. His low standing may reflect not his intellect but how rowdy he was in college (which by all accounts he was).
posted by Falconetti at 9:39 PM on July 29, 2008


>and the miraculous creation of a border between Iraq and Pakistan

Isn't this just the continuation of the present plan? Even Obama's on board with this one.
posted by pompomtom at 9:42 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


So McCain was:

a) shitty student
b) poorly behaved
c) both of the above?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:54 PM on July 29, 2008


dnab:

d) a real man, not like interlectual Obama Mia!
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:00 PM on July 29, 2008


Obama will advance the empire.
Heres an article about his foreign policy as told by his advisors.
From the oh-so-very-liberal The Nation (and I like it that way)
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080721/dreyfuss

(sorry, so new to MetaFilter I have yet to learn how to hide the link like you guys do so well)
posted by captainsohler at 10:11 PM on July 29, 2008


I have no model answer for the third question in this part; the purpose of the question was simply to give you an opportunity to consider some of the issues raised above and arrive at your own conclusions.

Now that sounds like Obama.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:12 PM on July 29, 2008


Reading this just made me really really happy my conlaw final was 100% multiple choice. Sure ... section's B and C had to write essays, but not us over in section A, we had the lazy Professor.

I would like to take this moment to thank all the lazy Professors in my life - you have all made school so much easier :)
posted by Arbac at 10:31 PM on July 29, 2008


(sorry, so new to MetaFilter I have yet to learn how to hide the link like you guys do so well)

Basic HTML. [a href="http://www.example.com"]yourtext[/a]. Replace the square brackets with angle brackets.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:37 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Recently USU, as it's affectionately known, hired a new President, and since the new President is a smart lady, she has hired you to serve as USU's provost and general counsel.

Please, America, be a smart lady.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:19 PM on July 29, 2008


Can we please not see a continuation of the epic battle between MetaMan and everyone else*? Kthx.



*See ish #73618! —ed.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:48 PM on July 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


(sorry, so new to MetaFilter I have yet to learn how to hide the link like you guys do so well)

Basic HTML. [a href="http://www.example.com"]yourtext[/a]. Replace the square brackets with angle brackets.


OR, take this shortcut. Look just below the right hand corner of the comment entry box, click on "link", then copy and paste your link in there. You'll then see your URL pasted in the comment window. From there, place your own text between the reversed arrows....><>B and I characters, to get bold and italic, respectively.

It's pretty intuitive, and cool. Thanks, Matt.
posted by MetaMan at 11:49 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: "Hmm, when was the last time a bona fide teacher was in the White House, anyone know?"

Pater Aletheias: "Woodrow Wilson?"

I was thinking Laura Roslin... "So say we all!"
posted by mystyk at 12:47 AM on July 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


The way he voted to give the telecoms immunity was dreamy.
posted by mattholomew at 4:59 AM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wouldn't a hypothesis that Obama is about to lose make the prediction that he'd be behind in the polls?
posted by DU at 5:02 AM on July 30, 2008


I would like to take this moment to thank all the lazy Professors in my life - you have all made school so much easier :)

Yeahhh... someday you might find they weren't really doing you any favors.
posted by starman at 5:15 AM on July 30, 2008


Compare the America of 1956-57, where being an intellectual could make one a television star.
Yeah, but even then, one had to be a good-looking, smooth intellectual. Little, awkward geeks like Herb Stempel were just as reviled then as they are now.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:16 AM on July 30, 2008


As a matter of fact, Obama is exactly the kind of man I'd want to have a beer with. Multiple beers, in fact. And not just because I was trying to get him drunk to take advantage of him.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 6:24 AM on July 30, 2008


Not quite sure how this syllabus thing is relevant...
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:51 AM on July 30, 2008


My brother went to the Naval Academy. Initially, he had an academic goal of being the bottom rank in his class because they got a silver dollar from everyone else in the class. Somehow we convinced him this was a bad idea though.

I'm not real sure grades in school should matter for picking president. I mean, after you've been working for 40 + years, do those grades really reflect how well you'd do in your new job? I've only been working professionally 8 years, and I've taken the GPA off of my resume because it doesn't seem relevent to me.

More fluff about Obama doesn't make the electorate any more knowledgable about which candidate would better represent them.
posted by garlic at 8:15 AM on July 30, 2008


I was thinking Laura Roslin...

Ugh. She turned out to be a religious zealot. I hope Obama can avoid that.
posted by graventy at 8:27 AM on July 30, 2008


Those of you excusing McCain's class rank: McCain himself gets awfully close to admitting that he was a crappy student and poorly behaved because he was a spoiled, entitled son of a famous admiral.

That attitude sound familiar to anyone?
posted by availablelight at 8:45 AM on July 30, 2008


Those of you excusing McCain's class rank

Just to be clear, pointing out that there is more than one possible interpretation of his poor class ranking (all of which are negative) does not amount to excusing McCain in anyway.
posted by Falconetti at 8:51 AM on July 30, 2008


Wow. I just read some of the PDFs.

In the 2003 exam, the first question is about challenging anti-gay legislation, and the second question pokes fun at the Governator, and the credit industry.
posted by mjewkes at 9:46 AM on July 30, 2008


the followup article.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:18 PM on July 30, 2008


I love this! As a current law student, this was very interesting to read.
posted by asst2drsalary at 1:10 PM on July 30, 2008


Just to be clear, pointing out that there is more than one possible interpretation of his poor class ranking (all of which are negative) does not amount to excusing McCain in anyway.

I wonder what FDR's class rank was, or Kennedy's, or Gandhi's. That's so irrelevant to performance in an office like the one we're discussing as to pas the "most ludicrous idea" test.
posted by MetaMan at 1:40 PM on July 30, 2008


FDR entered Columbia Law School in 1905, but dropped out (never to graduate) in 1907 because he had passed the New York State Bar exam.

Kennedy graduated cum laude from Harvard with a degree in international affairs.

Gandhi was by all accounts an average student in high school, but he did go on to law school and by the age of 25 he had founded the Natal Indian Congress.

Doesn't look so irrelevant to me.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:28 PM on July 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just don't know if we're ready for a smart president. We've been doing so well with the current dumbass, why not play it safe and elect another one?
posted by EarBucket at 2:35 PM on July 30, 2008


Justice Stevens was first in his class at Northwestern. Before that he was a cryptographer in WW2 on the team that broke the code that led to Admiral Yamamoto's plane being shot down.

Only tangentially relevant, but interesting nonetheless.
posted by spiderwire at 4:12 PM on July 30, 2008


Roslyn/Airlock '08!
posted by sixswitch at 5:08 PM on July 30, 2008


Is Obama President?
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:07 PM on July 30, 2008


Yeah, unfortunately as brilliant as these things are, I kinda think they can only hurt Obama, not help him. Most liberals already think he's smart, and conservatives will look at this and either say "intellectual" or "OMG gay marriage and gay adoption".

Thate being said, I have a new metric for choosing a president: would I want to take a class taught by this guy?

In that sense, Newt Gingrich is at least more appealing than Bush. He may be a monster but he can teach.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:51 AM on July 31, 2008


President Obama Continues Hectic Victory Tour
posted by homunculus at 8:58 PM on July 31, 2008


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