May 31, 2012

US Medal of Freedom for neighbourhood bullies

See, it's right there in the USA Today headline:

Bob Dylan, John Glenn Among Medal of Freedom Winners
Hmm, that can't be right. I've never heard anything about John Glenn singing or being a neighbourhood bully.  But my headline says "bullies".  Now Bob Dylan wrote a nasty hasbara song called Neighbourhood Bully so he must be one of them.  


But what's this Medal of Freedom all about?
From civil rights to government service, from the author of Beloved to the composer of The Times They Are A-Changin', President Obama honored 13 individuals on Tuesday who have made singular contributions to national life.
And who else is on the list?
Some of recipients are well-known cultural icons. Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison, author of Beloved, Jazz, and Song of Solomon, has a new book on the best seller lists: Home, the story of a Korean War veteran who returns to his racially segregated town in Georgia.
So that's three so far and only one under the heading neighbourhood bully. So any more?
Other pioneers honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom included Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State.....


Other recipients: John Paul Stevens, the third longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, who wore his trademark bow tie of the ceremony; William Foege, a physician who led the charge to eradicate smallpox during the 1970s......


Attorney John Doar represented the government in some of the toughest civil rights cases of the 1960s, from murders in Mississippi to the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march in Alabama.....


Dolores Huerta helped organize migrant farm workers along with Cesar Chavez..... 

Three of this year's Medal of Freedom honorees are deceased.


Two of them defined heroism during World War II: Gordon Hirabayashi, who defied the U.S. internment of Japanese citizens, and took the government to court; and Jan Karski of Poland, who delivered one of the first eyewitness accounts of the Nazi Holocaust against Jews.


Obama also honored Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts a century ago this year.
Ok, we're populating our list of 13. We even have some who could qualify as neighbourhood bully. How many have we now?  I make it eleven. So who else:
The sports world was also honored: Pat Summitt, the Tennessee women's basketball coach who retired this year after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.
Well Madeleine Albright did a good bit of bullying in her time but not usually in her own neighbourhood and we still only have twelve recipients of this presidential award for "individuals .... who have made singular contributions to national life." So who is this neighbourhood bully, number 13 on the list? Who is this person who has made a "singular contribution to national life" worthy of a US Presidential Medal of Freedom?
Israeli President Shimon Peres, lauded for his efforts to find Middle East peace, is another recipient of the Medal of Freedom. Peres did not attend the ceremony because of obligations back home.
Or maybe the USA is flirting with universal jurisdiction. USA Today had more to say about the racist war criminal, Peres:
Israel President Shimon Peres -- An ardent advocate for Israel's security and for peace, Shimon Peres was elected the ninth President of Israel in 2007. First elected to the Knesset in 1959, he has served in a variety of positions throughout the Israeli government ... Peres served as Prime Minister from 1984-1986 and 1995-1996. Along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then-PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work as Foreign Minister during the Middle East peace talks that led to the Oslo Accords."
Ok, all very interesting but how does any of that count as a "singular contribution to national life" in the USA?

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