Richard N. Goodwin, White House Speech Writer, Dead at 86

Richard N. Goodwin, an aide, speechwriter and liberal force for the Kennedys and Lyndon Johnson who helped craft such historic addresses as Robert Kennedy’s “ripples of hope” and LBJ’s speeches on civil rights and “The Great Society,” died Sunday evening. He was 86.

Goodwin, the husband of Pulitzer Prize winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, died at his home in Concord, Massachusetts. According to his wife, he died after a brief bout with cancer.

“It was the adventure of a lifetime to be married for 42 years to this incredible force of nature – the smartest, most interesting, most loving person I have ever known. How lucky I have been to have had him by my side as we built our family and our careers together surrounded by close friends in a community we love,” said Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Richard Goodwin was among the youngest members of John F. Kennedy’s inner circle and among the last survivors. Brilliant and contentious, with thick eyebrows and a mess of wavy-curly hair, the cigar-smoking Goodwin rose from a working class background to the Kennedy White House before he had turned 30. He was a Boston native and Harvard Law graduate who specialized in broad, inspirational rhetoric – top JFK speechwriter Theodore Sorensen was a mentor – that “would move men to action or alliance.”

Thriving during an era when few feared to be called “liberal,” Goodwin also worked on some of Lyndon Johnson’s most memorable domestic policy initiatives, including his celebrated “We Shall Overcome” speech. But he differed with the president about Vietnam, left the administration after 1965 and would later contend – to much debate – that Johnson may have been clinically paranoid. Increasingly impassioned through the latter half of the ’60s, he co-wrote what many regard as then- Sen. Robert Kennedy’s greatest speech, his address in South Africa in 1966. Kennedy bluntly attacked the racist apartheid system, praised protest movements worldwide and said those who speak and act against injustice send “forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

Goodwin’s opposition to the Vietnam conflict led him to write speeches in 1968 for Kennedy and to manage the presidential campaign for anti-war candidate Sen. Eugene McCarthy. But McCarthy faded, Kennedy (”My best and last friend in politics,” Goodwin wrote) was assassinated and Republican Richard Nixon was elected president. Goodwin never worked for another administration, although he and his wife were fixtures in the Democratic Party and he continued to comment on current affairs for Rolling Stone, The New Yorker and other publications. In 2000, he was called upon for one of the least glamorous jobs in speechwriting history: Al Gore’s concession to George W. Bush after a deadlocked race that ended with a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Bush’s favor.

Goodwin was admired for his rare blend of poetry and political savvy, and criticized for being all too aware of his talents. Even one of his supporters, historian and fellow Kennedy insider Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., would say that he “probably lacked tact and finesse.” But Schlesinger also regarded Goodwin as the “archetypal New Frontiersman” of JFK’s brief presidency.

“Goodwin was the supreme generalist,” Schlesinger wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Thousand Days,” published in 1965, “who could turn from Latin America to saving the Nile Monuments, from civil rights to planning a White House dinner for the Nobel Prize winners, from composing a parody of Norman Mailer to drafting a piece of legislation, from lunching with a Supreme Court Justice to dining with Jean Seberg – and at the same time retain an unquenchable spirit of sardonic liberalism and unceasing drive to get things done.”

Richard Naradof Goodwin was born in Boston on Dec. 7, 1931, but spent part of his childhood in suburban Maryland, where he would recall being harassed and beaten because he was Jewish. His enemies only inspired him. He graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University, at the top his class from Harvard Law School, then clerked for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, the first of a series of powerful men Goodwin worked under.

His road to Kennedy’s “Camelot” began not with an election, but with the corruption of TV game shows. He was an investigator in the late `50s for the Legislative Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives, which helped reveal that the popular “Twenty One” program was rigged. Goodwin’s recollections were adapted into the 1994 film “Quiz Show,” directed by Robert Redford and featuring Rob Morrow as Goodwin, who was one of the producers. The film received four Academy Award nominations, including for best picture, but was criticized for inflating Goodwin’s role in uncovering the scandal.

His efforts were noticed by Kennedy, then a U.S. senator from Massachusetts and aspiring presidential candidate. Goodwin was hired to write speeches for the 1960 race, advised Kennedy for his landmark television debates with Nixon and held a number of positions in the administration, from assistant special counsel in the White House to an adviser on Latin America. After Kennedy’s assassination, in 1963, Goodwin was urged – implored – to stay on by the new president: “You’re going to be my voice, my alter ego,” Goodwin remembered Lyndon Johnson saying.

​There was constant tension between Johnson, a Texan, and the “Harvards” around Kennedy, but Goodwin initially had strong influence. He was assigned key policy speeches, including the 1964 address at the University of Michigan, when Johnson outlined his domestic vision of a “Great Society.” Johnson’s 1965 civil rights speech to a joint session of Congress, written by Goodwin on less than a day’s notice and in the wake of the bloody marches in Selma, Alabama, ended with an exhortation that drew upon the language of the protest movement and reportedly left the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and others in tears.

“Their cause must be our cause too,” Johnson said. “Because it is not just Negroes, but all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”

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Gay Man Says Pope Told Him: ‘God Made You Like This’

A gay Chilean man who survived abuse by a Catholic priest said Pope Francis told him that his sexual orientation “doesn’t matter” to him and that “God made you like this.”

Juan Carlos Cruz said he spoke to the pope about his homosexuality during their recent meetings at the Vatican. The pope invited Cruz and other victims of a Chilean predator priest to discuss their cases last month.

“Juan Carlos, that you are gay doesn’t matter,” Cruz said Pope Francis told him, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais. “God made you like this and loves you like this, and it doesn’t matter to me. The pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”

The Vatican has refused to confirm or deny the remarks, citing its policy not to comment on the pope’s private conversations.

Cruz, who was abused as a child by the Rev. Fernando Karadima, Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest, told the paper that his sexual orientation came up during the discussion because he has been targeted for being gay after speaking out about his abuse.

Whether the pope’s comments will bring about change within the Catholic Church is debatable. Pope Francis has sought to make the church more welcoming to gays, most famously with his 2013 comment, “Who am I to judge?”

He also has spoken of his own ministry to gay and transgender people, insisting they are children of God, loved by God and deserving of accompaniment by the church.

While the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that people with “homosexual tendencies” “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity,” it also calls a “deep-seated” homosexual inclination and its acts “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law.”

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Turkey’s Erdogan Says Nuclear-Armed States ‘Threatening the World’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused countries with nuclear weapons of “threatening the world,” and criticized the United States’ withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“Those who have more than 15,000 nuclear warheads are currently threatening the world,” he said, referring to the approximate total number of warheads worldwide, most of which are held by the United States and Russia.

Apparently referring to such states as Iran, he added: “Why are countries with nuclear warheads posing a threat to them?”

“If we are to be fair, to show a just approach, then the countries with nuclear weapons, which portray nuclear power stations as threats, have no credibility in the international community,” he said at an iftar dinner for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Erdogan said the Middle East had to be cleansed of all nuclear weapons, in an apparent reference to Israel, believed to be the only nation in the region to possess them.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States 10 days ago from the deal between Tehran and six major powers which limited Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Trump ordered that sanctions be reimposed.

Earlier on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded Iran take additional steps such as pulling out of the Syrian civil war. Iran dismissed Washington’s ultimatum and a senior Iranian official said it showed the United States was seeking “regime change” in Iran.

The U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal comes as relations between NATO member Turkey and Washington have soured over a host of issues, ranging from U.S. policy in Syria to Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. France, Germany and Britain have said they will try to save the nuclear deal with Tehran.

“As Turkey, we do not accept re-igniting issues, including the Iran nuclear deal, that have been put to bed. We find the other signatories stating their loyalty to the agreement in the face of the U.S. administration’s decision very positive,” Erdogan said.

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Netflix Says It Has Signed Barack and Michelle Obama to Deal

Barack and Michelle Obama are getting into the television business with Monday’s announcement that they had signed a multiyear deal with Netflix.

The former president and first lady have formed their own production company, Higher Ground Productions, for the material. In announcing a deal that had been rumored since March, Netflix offered no specifics on what shows they would make.

Netflix said the Obamas would make “a diverse mix of content,” potentially including scripted and unscripted series, documentaries or features.

“We hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the wider world,” Barack Obama said in Netflix’s announcement.

The Obamas can be expected to participate in some of the programming onscreen, said a person familiar with the deal, not authorized to talk publicly about it, on condition of anonymity. The programming itself is not expected to be partisan in nature; a president who often derided the way things were covered on cable news won’t be joining in.

The type of people that Obama — like other presidents — brought forward as guests at his State of the Union addresses would likely provide fodder for the kinds of stories they want to tell.

“Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others,” Michelle Obama said.

No content from the deal is expected to be available until at least 2019, said the person familiar with the deal.

The former president appeared in January on David Letterman’s Netflix talk show, “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” Obama is said to be friendly with Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, and discussions for other programming were already under way.

“We are incredibly proud they have chosen to make Netflix the home for their formidable storytelling abilities,” Sarandos said.

Netflix has 125 million subscribers worldwide. The company has always been reluctant to discuss how many people watch its programming, but it clearly dominates the growing market for streaming services. Roughly 10 percent of television viewing now is through these services, the Nielsen company said.

Forty-nine percent of streaming being viewed now comes through Netflix, and no other service comes close, Nielsen said.

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Through Sand Art, Former Tibetan Monk Spreads Message of Peace

Over the centuries, Tibetan monks have created mandalas, fanciful images of the universe with complex iconography. Losang Samten is one of those monks. The American scholar and artist is best known for creating mandalas in colored sand for the public and sharing messages of healing and peace. VOA’s June Soh caught up with him in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Molly McKitterick narrates.

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МОН розробило нову модель оцінювання в перших класах

У Міністерстві освіти і науки розробили нову модель оцінювання в перших класах і надіслали її в школи, що пілотують новий Стандарт початкової освіти.

Як повідомляє прес-служба МОН, ця модель ґрунтується на формувальному оцінюванні, що дозволяє оцінити насамперед процес навчання, а не результат (тобто кількість помилок), а також поступ кожного учня. Зокрема, за запропонованим зразком свідоцтва досягнень учителі оцінюватимуть, як активно дитина працювала на уроці, чи була допитливою, чи добре співпрацювала з іншими.

У міністерстві додають, що документ уже надіслали для апробування в школи, які пілотують новий стандарт початкової освіти – після оцінювання в цих класах і зворотного звязку від учителів внесуть корективи і нададуть нову форму оцінювання всім першим класам для 2018/2019 навчального року.

«Цим ми наближаємось до того, як має виглядати оцінювання у початковій школі. Завдання такого оцінювання – розкрити потенціал кожної дитини, підтримати її і надихнути навчатися далі. Ми також виставили зразок свідоцтва на сайті МОН, щоб отримати зворотний зв’язок, доопрацювати документ, розширити методичні рекомендації і дати всім українським школам до 1 вересня, щоб оцінювання в новій українській школі справді відбувалося по-новому», – розповіла міністр освіти і науки Лілія Гриневич.

Міністр додала, що в новій українській школі хочуть відмовитися від слова «табель».

«Бо значення слова табель – це відомість або список. А школа має надавати учневі і батькам розгорнуту характеристику про досягнення дитини, так як наведено в зразку свідоцтва для 1-го класу», – сказала міністр.

Читайте також – До школи по-новому: що думають батьки про нові правила вступу до перших класів

Як повідомляла міністр освіти Лілія Гриневич в коментарі Радіо Свобода, влаштувати першокласника в школу не за місцем проживання в цьому році можна буде лише у разі наявності в школі вільних місць, на такі місця в школах можуть почати приймати за жеребкуванням.

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Grenfell Tower Survivors Weep as Inquiry Begins in London

Survivors of a devastating high-rise fire in London wept Monday as relatives paid tribute to some of the 72 victims at the opening of an inquiry into Britain’s deadliest blaze in decades.

The Grenfell Tower inquiry is beginning with two weeks of tributes to those who died when a fire that began in a faulty fridge raced through the 24-story apartment block in June 2017. The statements from friends and family members are meant to keep the victims at the center of the inquiry, which will try to determine how the disaster happened and prevent a similar tragedy happening in the future.

“When we die, we live on in the memories of those who knew and loved us,” said retired judge Martin Moore-Bick, who is leading the inquiry. “It is fitting therefore that the opening hearings … should be dedicated to the memory of those who died.”

The victims included baby Logan Gomes, who was stillborn after his family escaped from the 21st floor of the building.

“He might not be here physically, but he will always be here in our hearts, and will be forever,” said his father Marcio Gomes, his voice breaking. “I know he’s here, with God, right next to me, giving me strength and courage to take this forward.”

The inquiry heard a message left by Mohamed Amied Neda from inside his apartment.

“Goodbye, we are leaving this world now, goodbye,” said the 57-year-old, who came to Britain from Afghanistan and ran a chauffeur company. He was found dead after falling from the building. His wife and son were left comatose but survived.

Mohammadou Saye remembered his 24-year-old daughter Khadija Saye, a promising visual artist whose work was shown at last year’s Venice Biennale.

“Her burning passion was photography, encouraged by her mother, Mary Mendy, who also lost her life in the same fire,” he said in a statement read by a lawyer.

“Khadija said to me one day: `Daddy, I’m in love with images.”

Moore-Bick’s inquiry will look at causes of the blaze, the response of local authorities and the country’s high-rise building regulations. But some survivors are critical because it won’t investigate wider issues around social housing that many residents had wanted to include.

Many residents accuse officials in Kensington and Chelsea, one of London’s richest boroughs, of ignoring their safety concerns because the publicly owned tower was home to a largely immigrant and working-class population.

Police say they are considering individual or corporate manslaughter charges in the blaze, but no one has yet been charged.

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Чубаров: Велієв, якого ФСБ звинувачує в екстремізмі, майже рік не був у Криму

Помічник депутата Верховної ради України Мустафи Джемілєва Ерол Велієв, якого російські силовики звинувачують у підготовці екстремістської групи в Криму, був останній раз на півострові восени 2017 року. Про це 21 травня сказав глава Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу Рефат Чубаров на прес-конференції в Києві, повідомляє кореспондент проекту Радіо Свобода «Крим.Реалії».

«Я сьогодні спілкувався з Велієвим. Він сказав, що він останній раз був в Криму у вересні 2017 року. Стешенко на камеру ФСБ каже, що це було в січні 2018 року. Після цього він сказав, що не був у Криму. Все відразу ламається», – сказав Чубаров.

Федеральна служба безпеки Росії заявила 21 травня, що припинила «діяльність екстремістської групи» в окупованому Криму. У повідомленні на сайті ФСБ стверджується, що групу створив помічник депутата Верховної Ради України Мустафи Джемілева Ерол Велієв «за вказівкою Рефата Чубарова, розшукуваного лідера Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу за підтримки СБУ».

Як стверджує російська спецслужба, «до складу групи, сформованої в Харкові, крім Велієва увійшли колишні спортсмени-боксери Стешенко і Третьяков», які нібито підпалили будинок муфтія Криму Еміралі Аблаєва.

Муфтій Криму Еміралі Аблаєв раніше входив до складу Меджлісу кримськотатарського народу. У 2015 році він був виключений зі складу представницького органу. За словами депутат Верховної Ради України Мустафи Джемілєва, Аблаєв «став маріонеткою в руках окупаційної влади».

СБУ заяви про організацію нею «екстремістської групи» спростовує.

Після анексії Росією Криму на півострові ФСБ проводить регулярні затримання, обшуки і допити незалежних журналістів, кримськотатарських активістів, опозиційних і проукраїнських громадських діячів і представників релігійних меншин. Правозахисники називають ці дії російських силовиків політично мотивованими.


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EU Parliament to Broadcast Zuckerberg Hearing

A European Parliament meeting on Tuesday with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be broadcast live, parliamentary officials and the company said on Monday after controversy over plans for a closed-door hearing.

Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who was criticized by legislators and some senior EU officials over arrangements for the discussion on public privacy concerns, tweeted that it was “great news” that Zuckerberg had agreed to a live web stream.

A Facebook spokeswoman said: “We’re looking forward to the meeting and happy for it to be live streamed.”

Zuckerberg, who founded the U.S. social media giant, will be in Europe to defend the company after scandal over its sale of personal data to a British political consultancy which worked on U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign, among others.

He will meet Tajani and leaders of parties in the European Parliament in Brussels from 6:15 p.m. (1615 GMT) on Tuesday.

He is also due to meet French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday.

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Defiant New Catalan Leader Wants Jailed Separatists in Government

Catalonia’s newly-elected president is showing no sign of backing down from the region’s political standoff with Spanish authorities, insisting he wants jailed former lawmakers to join his pro-independence Catalan government.


Quim Torra says Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, prominent secessionists who are in pre-trial detention, are keen to become government ministers and have asked a judge to release them. Torra visited them at their jails near Madrid on Monday.


But Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he won’t grant Catalonia independence and won’t allow anyone under criminal investigation to take office there.


Torra also wants Antoni Comin and Luis Puig, separatists who fled to Belgium, in his Cabinet.


Torra’s four picks were members of a Catalonia government dismissed by Rajoy following October’s illegal declaration of independence by regional lawmakers.


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