Archive for the ‘Oprah’ Category

“American Press has Turned Into a Joke” Comparing Obama To FDR, Lincoln

November 19, 2008

“Barack Obama is just like Lincoln,” a youthful and eager fan reported to me.

And I thought: except for the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, the preservation of the Union and his record as President of the United States.

Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner said, “The American press has turned into a joke by comparing Barack Obama to FDR and Abraham Lincoln.  They do him no favor by raising expectations to a level that is not achievable.”

Barack Obama, the first ever black man elected to America’s highest office, should be honored for sure; but we should also put our regard for him in proper perspective and watch how the next four years transpire.

Barack Obama is still, to me, a potential agent of manifest change: and not yet a historically overpowering figure we honor for his many accomplishments.

Oh I agree with others that the election of a Black American is historic and memorable; but while it says a lot about our new President-elect it says more to me about the American people.

The notion that Barack Obama is, in many ways, “Linconesque,” is at least premature and could seem a tad bizarre, especially to historians seeking meaning, accomplishments and proven character.

Obama has not yet managed through his Cuban Missile Crisis, his Vietnam War, his Great Depression or whatever real crises we can anticipate — and even whatever nobody could ever anticipate like George W. Bush’s “Nine Eleven.”

Yet both Lincoln and Obama certainly share Illinois and a place in history.  Lincoln’s place in history is “writ large.”  We do not yet know if Barack Obama is a chapter or two of history; or just a paragraph or two. 

President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist's question ... 
President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist’s question during his first press conference following his election victory in Chicago, November 7, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He graduated from  Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama is an “indoorsman,” who wrote two books about himself and arguably became addicted to his BlackBerry.

Lincoln was an outdoorsman who grew up in a log cabin in the rough “west” of the United States in his time, including Kentucky and Illinois.

Wikipedia says “Lincoln struck out on his own, canoeing down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. Later that year, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods from New Salem to New Orleans via flatboat on the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers.”

Lincoln’s formal education consisted of about 18 months of schooling, but he was largely self-educated and an avid reader. He was also a talented local wrestler and skilled with an axe.

Barack Obama is skilled with a computer keyboard, a teleprompter, and as a very eloquent public speaker and, though I myself have been moved by the style of many Obama speeches, the next day I have found something sometimes lacking. Yet like some of Mister Lincoln’s orations and remarks, Mr. Obama’s speeches are filled with “hope” and “change.”

Obama's speech earned him praise from politicians on the left and right. But not everyone was impressed.

Above: Barack Obama before a crowd in Germany. Photo: Getty Images
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Lincoln participated in the most studied and recalled political debates ever held in America.

Barack Obama’s debates with John McCain will be recalled for one thing only: Obama became the elected president.

“I don’t think we need any big media-run productions, no processed questions from reporters, no spin rooms, just two Americans running for the highest office in the greatest nation on earth responding to the concerns of the people who’s trust that we must earn,” John McCain said well before the debates with Barack Obama.

Famously, McCain said he wanted ten “Lincoln-Douglas” style debates with Barack Obama.

The nation ended up with far fewer than ten debates and not one came close to resembling the famed and historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.

But the world is a different place now and our national attention span and will to concentrate is short for good reasons, even though we are multitasking…

Creators Syndicate

Oprah Already Has Dress For Obama's Inauguration
WireImage
Access Hollywood

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are pretty much comfortable everywhere — from public speaking in Germany to Bill Ayers house and onward to Oprah’s TV show and to Hollywood.

Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd, which many historians believe was at least “on the edge” and probably crazy, were famously uncomfortable in most settings.  Many Hollywood and TV people today say that Lincoln’s looks would probably make him unelectable today.

Lincoln mourned the loss of one of his own children: and he watched in horror as Civil War casualties bled the nation white.  He even took the time to pen a letter to a grieving mother who lost five sons in “Lincoln’s war.”

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s most famous oration, the Gettysburg Address, took just two minutes to deliver.  For more than a century, American school children memorized this magnificent piece of writing and oration, one of the finest speeches ever given in America, some say, and all in less than 280 words.

On the day of that address, Lincoln was not the featured speaker, who droned on for some time.  But nobody without a deep history education can even recall the man who delivered his remarks before Lincoln on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the cemetery in Gettysburg.


Soldiers National Cemetery, Gettysburg

Lincoln freed the slaves and preserved the Union.  So far, Obama freed the media and the electorate of the feeling and belief that racism kept good men of color from key posts.

Lincoln was unafraid of firing his top generals — and then while U.S. Grant was gaining ground and winning battles and his staff said the man was a drunk, Lincoln issued an order to send Grant a case of his favorite spirits, or so the story is told.


Lincoln in the field during the Civil War

Lincoln had to sneak into Washington DC for his inauguration.  Obama will be greeted by a throng of millions.

Lincoln assembled a cabinet that was a train wreck of disagreement to the point of dysfunction.  Some in the media today say that Obama is emulating Lincoln’s ability to be “inclusive” in his cabinet selections.

But Lincoln did famously “reach out” to all great leaders who could help him including the Catholic Archbishop of New York, “Dagger” John Hughes.

Linoln also gave a seemingly open door to the White House to Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who pushed President Lincoln to create and issue the Emancipation Proclamation — against the advice of many including his top military commanders.


Above: Frederick Douglass, in about 1879.

Above:  Lincoln met with his cabinet on July 22, 1862 for the first reading of a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Barack Obama’s challenges have yet to unfold.

Lincoln’s challenges were manifest.

History has judged Lincoln.  Obama’s first full chapter, now, at least in part, well chronicled by eager contemporary media scribes, is mostly still a way off for historians to evaluate.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
November 19, 2008

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The Topeka Capitol Journal began an article on November 9, 2008 with, “Plans are being made to promote a national holiday for Barack Obama, who will become the nation’s 44th president when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.”

My Vietnamese American relatives say, “We seem to have the Easter before the Palm….”

Lincoln’s Day, once celebrated on his birthday, is now largely forgotten and squeezed out by the celebration of other great Americans like Martin Luther King.  Frederick Douglass has no day at all. It might be prudent to hold off on the “Barack Obama Day” just a tad….

Related:
Barack Obama Needs To Know: Lincoln’s Dysfuncional Cabinet Was Not Your Mother’s A-Team
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 Frederick Douglass: Turning Points
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“Most Famous” Lincoln Letter of Civil War Found?

American Media, Journalists Stampede to Love Obama; Healthy?

November 18, 2008

Perhaps it was the announcement that NBC News is coming out with a DVD titled “Yes We Can: The Barack Obama Story.” Or that ABC and USA Today are rushing out a book on the election. Or that HBO has snapped up a documentary on Obama’s campaign.

Perhaps it was the Newsweek commemorative issue — “Obama’s American Dream” — filled with so many iconic images and such stirring prose that it could have been campaign literature. Or the Time cover depicting Obama as FDR, complete with jaunty cigarette holder.

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 17, 2008; C01

Are the media capable of merchandizing the moment, packaging a president-elect for profit? Yes, they are.

What’s troubling here goes beyond the clanging of cash registers. Media outlets have always tried to make a few bucks off the next big thing. The endless campaign is over, and there’s nothing wrong with the country pulling together, however briefly, behind its new leader. But we seem to have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking.

“The Obamas’ New Life!” blares People’s cover, with a shot of the family. “New home, new friends, new puppy!” Us Weekly goes with a Barack quote: “I Think I’m a Pretty Cool Dad.” The Chicago Tribune trumpets that Michelle “is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — combined!” for the fashion world.

Whew! Are journalists fostering the notion that Obama is invincible, the leader of what the New York Times dubbed “Generation O”?

Each writer, each publication, seems to reach for more eye-popping superlatives. “OBAMAISM — It’s a Kind of Religion,” says New York magazine. “Those of us too young to have known JFK’s Camelot are going to have our own giddy Camelot II to enrapture and entertain us,” Kurt Andersen writes. The New York Post has already christened it “BAM-A-LOT.”

“Here we are,” writes Salon’s Rebecca Traister, “oohing and aahing over what they’ll be wearing, and what they’ll be eating, what kind of dog they’ll be getting, what bedrooms they’ll be living in, and what schools they’ll be attending. It feels better than good to sniff and snurfle through the Obamas’ tastes and habits. . . . Who knew we had in us the capacity to fall for this kind of idealized Americana again?”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/16
/AR2008111602374_pf.html

To Oprah and All Her Fans: Everything is Relative

November 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 5, 2007

Oprah Winfrey, “Who hasn’t had a bad day in her life,” according to celebrity disaster control and public relations consultant Peter Shankman of Manhattan, issued a teary-eyed apology to her South African school’s students and their parents after allegations of child sexual abuse by a matron were uncovered.

Ms. Winfrey, the highly regarded mega-millionaire, has invested some $40 million into an South African education center for about 150 young women, which is highly commendable. 

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah said whenever a child has the courage to come forward, adults should listen.

Oprah also said the revelation of the allegations had sparked “one of the most, if not the most devastating experience of my life.”

Now, child abuse and any sexual abuse is insidious, life-changing and often devastating.  It is not to be belittled.  But it is not death, cancer or the life that refugees face either.

Oprah Winfrey said, “This has shaken me to the core.”

This is as bad as Oprah’s life has ever gotten?  Or will ever get?
Talk Show host Oprah Winfrey smiles as she arrives for the Chicago premier of 'The Color Purple' in a  Thursday, May 3, 2007 photo. Winfrey has pulled a discredited children's book, Forrest Carter's 'The Education of Little Tree,' from a list of recommended titles on her Web site, blaming an archival 'error' for including a work considered the literary hoax of a white supremacist.  'The archived listing was posted in error and has been removed,' Winfrey spokeswoman Angela DePaul told The Associated Press on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007, adding that she did not know long 'Little Tree' had been on the site. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file)

Oprah Winfrey

We think what really brought Oprah to tears was the revelation that Jay Leno wouldn’t be able to talk about her dilemma because his writers are on strike. We heard one PR queen say, “She cried like a baby when she heard the story broke on a night with only late night re-runs. Now THAT’S a TRAGEDY.”

And by emphasizing her own emotional distress, Oprah seemed to cover over the people really hurt and wronged.  The students.  Her students.  A PEOPLE Magazine editor we spoke to said, “Oprah is partly to blame.  She put her name on that school then didn’t ensure a safe environment.  She needs to step up.”

Even Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post wrote, “I did wince yesterday when she called allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the girls’ school she founded in South Africa ‘one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life’ — seeming to make it all about her, not the alleged victims.”

On the November 6, 2007 TODAY show on NBC, feelings were expressed, but in very muted tones.

Oprah promised to love, cherish, comfort and care for her “little ones” and she handed out her cell phone number.

She told the media she was their “Mamma Bear.”

But when you are 5 or 6 time zones away and in a different culture and on a different continent, the amount of hugging and helping has to be done through accountants.

We believe, if a crime committed in Africa is the worst thing ever to happen to a Chicago-based multi-millionaire and TV personality; then life is just about as terrific as it can be. Oprah apparently has no clue about what is going on in cancer treatment centers, refugee camps and millions of other places filled with tragedy, crime, unlawful death, pain and agony.

Heck, in Thailand and Cambodia they just don’t abuse little girls, they sell them to predators first.  Try human trafficking as a real cause for celebrity interest.

Oh, Oprah has HEARD all the stories, and even visited some slums in her limo: but she is always free to travel home to her Ivory Tower.

Fifteen minutes in the slums of Bombay or Manila, we bet, would make Oprah lose her lunch.  She’d have no fluids left for tears.

We are tired of teary-eyed divas with few worries worth noting. 

Paris Hilton cried after she was sentenced to a Hollywood slammer for, what, 23 days? Ellen cried because she had to send a puppy (that she had already given away to someone else) back to the adoption agency.  

And Heather Mills cried, I guess, because she might only screw Paul McCartney out of $60 million: not the full $300 million she thinks she deserves.  And besides, says Heather, the newspapers have been “simply wicked.”
Photo

Well my heart is broken.

Lord Have Mercy! These are DISASTERS? Whoever is listening to this drivel and thinks these are real tragedies should run, not walk, to the nearest neighborhood AA meeting and hear an hours worth of real life problems. Heck, in Vegas there are guys that have lost more money gambling than Oprah has ever MADE. Now that’s a tragedy. And a fifteen minute visit to a communist prison in Vietnam or China, we’ll bet, would more than quadruple the trauma Oprah is experience because of sexual abouse 5,000 or more miles away.

And ladies of America, if you have sympathy for these hugely rich people with bad nail and manicure tragedies: go find someone with real heartache and lend a hand. Don’t stew for one second over these charlatans.

Remember “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”?  The song about the tragedy of Evita Peron? Well, she slept herself into South American stardom and didn’t deserve one tear drop.

At least Marie Osmond figured out that tears had been shed over, and over, and over again.  So she fainted!

Evita and Marie deserve no tears.

And neither do any of the above mentioned show people of dubious intentions and questionable tragedies.

Related:
Rich, Good Looking Doesn’t Make You Happy: So Crying on TV Gets Attention?
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Oprah the Avenger

By Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post
November 6, 2007

I  can’t summon any schadenfreude for Oprah Winfrey, just sympathy — both for her good intentions and her determination to live up to them. And I pity anyone foolish enough to stand in her way.

I did wince yesterday when she called allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the girls’ school she founded in South Africa “one of the most devastating, if not the most devastating experience of my life” — seeming to make it all about her, not the alleged victims. Still, my heart refused to harden.

I recalled that when Winfrey opened the $40 million school in January, I criticized her dismissal of inner-city kids here in the United States as only interested in “an iPod or some sneakers.”

I thought that insult was gratuitous and wrong. But I couldn’t argue with her basic point that South Africa has desperate poverty and a rudimentary educational infrastructure, and I applauded her attempt to give a few special girls an opportunity beyond their wildest dreams.

Now that the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is back in the news, but for all the wrong reasons, I’ve got to applaud the way Winfrey is handling the situation. I have the sense that she wouldn’t hesitate to do a little “enhanced interrogation” of some staff members if that was what it took to get to the bottom of what really happened.

A now-fired dormitory matron at the school, Virginia Mokgobo, 27, was arrested last week. She pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of assault, indecent assault and soliciting underage girls to perform indecent acts and was released on bail.

Police said that at least seven students had submitted statements in support of the allegations, but it was not known how many were alleged victims of abuse and how many were witnesses.

“When I first heard about it, I spent about a half-hour going around my house crying,” Winfrey told South African journalists yesterday, speaking from Chicago in a video news conference.

All about Oprah? Not a fair question, when you recall that Winfrey has disclosed that she was the victim of sexual abuse as a young girl. There’s every reason to believe that the allegations of abuse at the school have, as Winfrey said, “shaken me to my core” — not her celebrity core, but her real core.

Since first hearing of the allegations in early October, she has flown to South Africa twice. She put the school’s headmistress on administrative leave and has since said that she will not renew the woman’s contract — the first step in what she described at her news conference yesterday as “cleaning house from top to bottom.”

She apologized personally to angry parents, telling them, “I’ve disappointed you. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” She has hired her own investigative team to assist South African authorities, and if someone is found guilty of the charges, I wouldn’t be surprised if Winfrey offered to build a new prison.

Of course, we don’t yet know if any abuse actually took place. The magistrate who released Mokgobo on bail told her, “These kind of offenses are very prevalent in this court” — an acknowledgment that sexual abuse of girls, usually by male teachers, is far too common in South African schools. But in the case of Winfrey’s school, we don’t yet know the specific allegations, much less whether there is evidence to support them.

We know that students complained months ago about not being allowed to eat junk food — hardly a red flag. But we also know that some parents began complaining in March, just two months after the Leadership Academy opened, that the school was too strict in limiting visits, telephone calls and e-mail contact with their children. In retrospect, that might have been an important warning.

Winfrey’s school — lavishly appointed, with state-of-the-art science labs and a yoga studio — is meant to be an island of unlimited possibility. But isolating the school’s 450 students so thoroughly from negative influences may also have kept out needed sunlight — and may have allowed problems to fester in the dark. As Winfrey cleans house, I think she might want to restructure the model and allow more of an organic relationship between the school and its community.

She gave the students her private phone number and e-mail address so they can contact her immediately with problems and concerns. Winfrey may not be an expert on running a school — yet — but I’m confident she understands the most important thing: There is no more sacred trust than caring for other people’s children.

The writer will answer questions at 1 p.m. today here. His e-mail address is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

White House Race Incomplete Without Newt

September 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 7, 2007

Everyone who believed all the American presidential hopefuls were accounted for had to think again Wednesday night when Fred Thompson announced his candidacy as a Republican hopeful for the White House. Now there is one remaining very talented dark horse to contend with: Newt Gingrich.

We believe Newt Gingrich is the only American looking at the future with a “big picture” vision of hope and destiny. Yet we know Newt has his share of baggage and might not be elected even if he decides to enter the fray. Like Hillary Clinton, Newt’s hard core beliefs appeal to some and turn off others. Both are strong willed politicians and that means, in today’s vernacular, “polarizing.”

Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

Thompson is running to the right of all the other announced candidates.  He is embracing the legacy of Ronald Reagan.  But a careful reading of New Gingrich’s works tells one that Newt is as far to the right as Fred: and that has a certain appeal to a certain group of voters.

This campaign is like no other ever.  The internet, bloggers, text messages, YouTube and Oprah are all now part of the “mainstream.”  Cute young women swooning over candidates in rock videos have become the norm and not an aberation.  Those too old or not in tune enough to keep up will be overwhealmed.

A few of the links below shed more light on Newt Gingrich and we hope readers will take a look and decide for themselves….

From Newt Gingrich: Don’t Legislate Defeat; Work Toward Victory

Newt Gingrich For President

Excellent Gingrich Speech, National Press Club, Aug. 7, 2007