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A Reminder: Barack Obama Is Still Our President, And He Just Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 21 Awesome People

By Vivian Kane | Politics | November 22, 2016 |

By Vivian Kane | Politics | November 22, 2016 |

As we can’t help but look ahead to the awful, shameful time to which we will soon look back with heads held low, let’s enjoy these last few months in which Barack Obama is still our President. Our Still-President Obama just awarded 21 people the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and they are typically, for Obama, awesome.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

It took me probably a full minute to realize what was funny about that picture there. (Spoiler: there are two people in the picture. There’s a President hiding behind the Jabbar.)

Bruce Springsteen

ka Emmy and Tony Award-Winning Actress Cicely Tyson

Elouise Cobell (posthumous)

Cobell was a Blackfeet Tribal community leader and “tribal elder and activist, banker, rancher, and lead plaintiff in the groundbreaking [2010] class-action suit Cobell v. Salazar,” which “challenged the United States’ mismanagement of trust funds belonging to more than 500,000 individual Native Americans.”

Cobell helped found the Native American Bank, served as director of the Native American Community Development Corporation, and inspired Native American women to seek leadership roles in their communities.

Ellen DeGeneres



P.S. Ellen had a little trouble getting in in the first place.

Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks both got the medal.

Between the two of them, they have twelve Oscar nominations (and four wins), often for playing iconically American figures, both historical and fictional.

Richard Garwin

Richard Garwin is a polymath physicist who earned a Ph.D. under Enrico Fermi at age 21 and subsequently made pioneering contributions to U.S. defense and intelligence technologies, low-temperature and nuclear physics, detection of gravitational radiation, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computer systems, laser printing, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation. He directed Applied Research at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Harvard University. The author of 500 technical papers and a winner of the National Medal of Science, Garwin holds 47 U.S. patents, and has advised numerous administrations.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Frank Gehry

Gehry has designed some beautiful avant-garde structures including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague, and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain, and has literally given that finger to anyone who doesn’t like his work.


Margaret H. Hamilton

Margaret H. Hamilton led the team that created the on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo command modules and lunar modules. A mathematician and computer scientist who started her own software company, Hamilton contributed to concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling and priority displays, and human-in-the-loop decision capability, which set the foundation for modern, ultra-reliable software design and engineering.

Grace Hopper (posthumous)

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, known as “Amazing Grace” and “the first lady of software,” was at the forefront of computers and programming development from the 1940s through the 1980s. Hopper’s work helped make coding languages more practical and accessible, and she created the first compiler, which translates source code from one language into another. She taught mathematics as an associate professor at Vassar College before joining the United States Naval Reserve as a lieutenant (junior grade) during World War II, where she became one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and began her lifelong leadership role in the field of computer science.

Michael Jordan

Maya Linm, who designed D.C.’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Lorne Michaels

FCC Chairman Newt Minow

Eduardo Padrón

Eduardo Padrón is the President of Miami Dade College (MDC), one of the largest institutions of higher education in the United States. During his more than four decade career, President Padrón has been a national voice for access and inclusion. He has worked to ensure all students have access to high quality, affordable education.

Robert Redford

Diana Ross

Vin Scully

Vin Scully is a broadcaster who, for 67 seasons, was the voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. In Southern California, where generations of fans have grown up listening to Dodger baseball, Scully’s voice is known as the “soundtrack to summer.” In 1988, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Scully’s signature voice brought to life key moments in baseball history, including perfect games by Sandy Koufax and Don Larsen, Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series, and Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th home run.

Via The White House.