Friday, July 31, 2009

Presidential Medal of Freedom for Kennedy

Senator Edward M. Kennedy received another high honor yesterday, courtesy of President Obama.

The longtime Massachusetts senator was named one of 16 recipients of this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. It is awarded to individuals who “make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural, or other significant public or private endeavors,’’ the White House said, and “this year’s awardees were chosen for their work as agents of change.’’

Kennedy - who is battling brain cancer as Obama and Democrats in Congress try to push through the capstone of his 46-year Senate career, a healthcare overhaul - said he was “profoundly grateful’’ to Obama.

“My life has been committed to the ideal of public service, which President Kennedy wanted the Medal of Freedom to represent,’’ the senator said in a statement. “To receive it from another president who prizes that same ideal of service and inspires so many to serve is a great privilege that moves me deeply.’’

Kennedy’s award citation calls him “one of the greatest lawmakers - and leaders - of our time,’’ lauding his work on improving public schools, strengthening civil rights laws, and dedicating his career to “fighting for equal opportunity, fairness, and justice for all Americans.’’

“He has worked tirelessly to ensure that every American has access to quality and affordable healthcare, and has succeeded in doing so for countless children, seniors, and Americans with disabilities,’’ the citation says.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi congratulated Kennedy on behalf of Congress. “Few have accomplished more in a lifetime than Senator Kennedy has,’’ she said in a statement. “This award - the highest a civilian can receive - honors his steadfast commitment to the American ideal of justice.’’

Obama will present the medals, the first of his presidency, at a White House ceremony Aug. 12. Other recipients include Nobel laureate and physicist Stephen Hawking, former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the late congressman and housing secretary Jack Kemp, antiapartheid leader Desmond Tutu, tennis legend and activist Billie Jean King, civil rights leader Joseph Lowery, the late gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk, Race for the Cure founder Nancy Brinker, and actors Sidney Poitier and Chita Rivera.

“Their tremendous accomplishments span fields from science to sports, from fine arts to foreign affairs,’’ Obama said in a statement.

“Yet they share one overarching trait: Each has been an agent of change. Each saw an imperfect world and set about improving it, often overcoming great obstacles along the way. Their relentless devotion to breaking down barriers and lifting up their fellow citizens sets a standard to which we all should strive.’’
© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

PHOTOS: Jackie O.'s 80th Birthday: See Her Post-Camelot Style

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Anatomy Of A Dead Bill - 1961 By Gordonskene

I just ran across this Sunday Interview show from September of 1961, part of the CBS Radio series "Leading Question" - it deals with the death of The Federal Aid to Education Bill, introduced during the 87th Congress in the early months of 1961.

Why is this important? Because Federal Aid to Education was high on the agenda of the Kennedy Administration during his first few months in office, much like the Health Care Bill is to the Obama Administration is now.

How the Federal Education bill died was due to a lot of political hypocrisy and attachments. It also had something to do with a Summer Recess where factions against the bills passing went into overtime poisoning the waters, so that when Congress reconvened, the bill was dead in the water with no hopes of revival.

In this interview - conducted by Bill Downs of CBS News, Congressmen John Brademas (D-Indiana) and Charles Goodell (R-New York), both explained what went into killing the bill and how it happened.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Walter Cronkite Dead: Legendary Newsman Dies At 92

For more on Cronkite's broadcast career - from his groundbreaking coverage of the Vietnam War and his emotional moment after the JFK assassination to his love of sailing and his moment at a Grateful Dead concert - read this obituary at

Last month, there were numerous reports that Cronkite was gravely ill.

At the time, he was reported to be recovering from an undisclosed illness and recuperating at home in New York with his companion Joanna Simon, sister of singer Carly Simon.

Links to YouTube videos:

Watch the legend at his peak, reporting on the JFK assassination in 1963.

Cronkite reporting on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

Cronkite's earliest newscast in 1962.

Watch this video of Cronkite remembering his famous 1968 Tet Offensive editorial which is considered to have played a major part in the public's growing criticism of the Vietnam War:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy's Truly Timeless Style (PHOTOS)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Obama's Internationalism: Echoes of FDR, HST and JFK

Stephen Schlesinger

Author and Adjunct Fellow at the Century Foundation

President Obama gave a speech last week in Moscow that conjures up memories of our greatest foreign policy presidents, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and John Kennedy. Two lines from Obama's address directly echo the themes and concerns of these three 20th century Democratic leaders.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Robert McNamara, ex-defense secretary, dies

# Robert McNamara was key architect of war in Vietnam under two presidents
# McNamara became lightning rod for his management of that war
# He was member of President Kennedy's inner circle during Cuban Missile Crisis