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Obama’s Medal of Freedom Picks: Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jordan and Hollywood Actors

Thursday, November 17, 2016 3:23
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President Obama, who’s leaving office January 20, has announced 21 picks for the 2016 Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed by the commander-in-chief in the United States, and among are musician greats, sports greats and a handful of Hollywood’s greatest elites.

The names: Pop rock star Bruce Springsteen. Motown singer Diana Ross. Former basketball stars Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And actors Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro and Robert Redford.

Robert De NiroRobert De Niro is one of nearly two dozen recognized by President Obama as Medal of Freedom worthy.

Also on the list are Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda, television talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, actress Cicely Tyson, architect Frank Gehry and sports broadcaster Vin Scully.

Can you say whaaat?

“The Presidential Media of Freedom is not just our nation’s highest civilian honor,” Obama said in a statement. “It’s a tribute to the idea that all of us, no matter where we come from, have the opportunity to change this country for the better.”

The medal’s supposed to go to those in the nation who’ve provided terrific benefits for society at-large, specifically in the fields of security or U.S. interests, but also in the areas of world peace and culture.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was one of Obama’s previous picks; so were baseball’s Yogi Berra, singer Bob Dylan, and Hollywood director Steven Spielberg

The White House press office includes brief explanations of the intended recipients’ contributions.

Here are excerpts:

“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the National Basketball Association’s all-time leading scorer who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships and the Milwaukee Bucks to another. …

“Ellen DeGeneres is an award-winning comedian who has hosted her popular daytime talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003 with her trademarked humor, humility, and optimism. …

“Robert De Niro has brought to life some of the most memorable roles in American film during a career that spans five decades. …

“Bill and Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. …

“Tom Hanks is one of the Nation’s finest actors and filmmakers. He has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role five times, and received the award for his work in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. …

“Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes of all time. Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. …

“Lorne Michaels is a producer and screenwriter, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live, which has run continuously for more than 40 years. …

“Robert Redford is an actor, director, producer, businessman, and environmentalist. In 1981, he founded the Sundance Institute. …

“Diana Ross has had an iconic career spanning more than 50 years within the entertainment industry in music, film, television, theater, and fashion. …

“Vin Scully is a broadcaster who, for 67 seasons, was the voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. …

“Bruce Springsteen is a singer, songwriter, and bandleader. More than five decades ago, he bought a guitar and learned how to make it talk. …

“Cicely Tyson has performed on the stage, on television, and on the silver screen. She has won two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, and is known for her performances in Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and The Help.”

Just a thought: Wonder if there are any Republican voters among them?


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