- - Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Image problem

“Bryan Bender reported on the Kennedy family’s tight-fisted and iron-willed efforts to keep the official papers of Robert F. Kennedy secret. Those papers, spanning Kennedy’s public career, are housed under close guard at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston …

“For historians and others who care about the Cold War and events of that period, the stakes are high. Bender reports that some historians believe the documents may contain evidence that Robert Kennedy’s ruthless anticommunism led him to break laws and engage in other abuses of power … [Said] Philip Brenner, a professor at American University, who has written extensively about US-Cuba relations: ‘It is very unusual for an attorney general to be in charge of an international covert operation. … [Perhaps] It involved the violation of so many domestic laws you needed the top law enforcement officer to oversee it.’

“Maybe the documents show wrongdoing; maybe they don’t. The point is we should know. Let’s find out. For the Kennedy family, the stakes are also high. Maybe the documents show that in addition to being the good guy of mythology (the supporter of civil rights and social programs and, later, ardent opponent of the Vietnam War) Robert Kennedy also was a thuggish lawbreaker. Okay. So be it. The Kennedy family will not be able to forestall truthful revelations forever.”

John Tierney, writing on “Shame on the Kennedys,” on Jan. 24 at the Atlantic

Oscar snub

“But how could America’s teachers unions not have been thrilled with the news that Davis Guggenheim’s damning indictment of the devastation they have brought down upon America’s public school system and millions upon millions of children was snubbed by the Academy this morning?

“Objectively, from a pure documentary filmmaking point of view, ‘Waiting for Superman’ is a superbly crafted piece of cinematic advocacy that not only displays great humanity for its subjects but also effortlessly takes the audience through a complex argument. That is what great documentaries do and as someone who has openly praised Michael Moore’s films, unlike some, I can park my politics at the door when it comes to judging the quality of the work based on objective merits.

“Furthermore, ‘Superman’ is incredibly persuasive in making its case for charter schools and against the abomination of public school teacher tenure. With compassion and an intellectual scalpel, Guggenheim finally puts to rest the liberal lie that ‘certain’ kids can’t learn and that public schools lack funding.”

John Nolte, writing on “No Surprise: ‘Waiting for Superman’ Snubbed by Oscar,” on Jan. 25 at Big Hollywood

Holy Facebook

“Wracked with Catholic guilt every time you access Facebook? Worry no longer — the Pope approves.

“In a message entitled ‘Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age,’ Pope Benedict XVI gave social networking his blessing, but warned that it cannot replace real human contact. The proclamation, created for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Communications, noted, ‘I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible.’

“The pontiff encouraged social networkers to be open and honest in their communications, and to not confuse online friendships with deeper, lasting ones. … Though the Pope, 83, does not have his own personal Facebook page, the Vatican has made social media strides through its site, Pope2you, which links users to YouTube and Facebook pages and even an iPhone application. Who knew the Holy See was so down with the kids?”

Megan Friedman, writing on “Faithful Facebook: Pope Benedict Blesses Social Networking,” on Jan. 24 at Time

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