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CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
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December 22, 2019 1:52 pm

CBS Sunday Morning

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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December 22, 2019 1:52 pm

The crowd sourcing website GoGFundMe is changing charities. CBS News Contributor David Pogue reports. With songs like "White Christmas" "God Bless America" and "Puttin on the Ritz," Irving Berlin was a composer for all seasons, as Mo Rocca tells us.

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This is 5G built right. Good morning. I'm Jane Pauley and this is Sunday morning. Christmas day is coming this Wednesday.

Hanukkah begins tonight at sunset. We're in the season of giving. And in a sign of our social media times, crowdsourcing websites are making it possible for people to donate money to perfect strangers in need. David Pogue examines the gift of giving in our Sunday morning cover story.

At age 14, Morgan Stickney was an elite swimmer with Olympic aspirations. At 22, she has lost both her legs to a rare vascular disease. There's expenses that people don't even have any idea as far as losing work and taking time off and it never ends. Eventually, total strangers came to the family's financial rescue on a site called GoFundMe.

People think of it all the time when there's a problem, you start a GoFundMe. Coming up on Sunday morning, America's safety net. Our Sunday profile is of Jennifer Lopez, the recent Golden Globe nominee who many say could earn another big acting nomination in the near future. She's talking with Tony DeCopel.

What are you going to do, go back to minimum wage? If there's one reason for the Oscar buzz surrounding the role Jennifer Lopez plays in Hustlers, it may have to do with her new approach to acting. Would you feel like this was different, this felt better than maybe I had done before? It definitely felt different. I'm going to be fearless in a way I've never been before.

The fearless Jennifer Lopez later on Sunday morning. Tis the season for Hanukkah and treats hot off the griddle. From Martha Teichner this morning, a taste of tradition. So my personal favorite way to eat latkes is with creme fraiche, hand sliced salmon. You could also have these crispy potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream.

That's really good too. Or caviar. For latke lovers, Hanukkah is less about lighting candles, more about eating.

But why latkes? Ahead this Sunday morning, a deep fried mystery. He was a legend in the music world, a composer for all seasons. No wonder the songs of Irving Berlin live on and on, as Mo Rocca will remind us. Bing Crosby first performed White Christmas in 1941. The Irving Berlin song has been a yuletide staple ever since.

He spoke directly to our heart. That's, to me, what makes it timeless. Why Irving Berlin's music still matters later on Sunday morning. And we'll have more music, compliments of the young people's chorus of New York City. Plus, we'll have more music from the young people's chorus of New York City. Plus, holiday cheer from Steve Hartman, a dash of humbug from Jim Gaffigan, and more. All coming up when our Sunday morning podcast continues. The gift of giving is what one social media innovation makes possible all year long.

David Pogue shows us how it works and who it helps in our cover story. Morgan Stickney of Bedford, New Hampshire, has always been something of a mermaid. What are all those? They're just medals from over the years. By age 14, she had a room full of swimming medals and was dreaming of the Olympics. This was at sectionals.

That was when I was ranked top 20 in the country. But one day, in eighth grade, her entire life changed. I was walking to swim practice and then my left foot just all of a sudden started hurting. Over the next six years, the pain became excruciating. Her doctors at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston eventually determined that she had a rare vascular disease and that there was only one sure solution. We did a below the knee amputation. Wait, hold on.

That seems like a big deal. Yeah, I mean, I was struggling for six years. I was on opioids and my life was kind of just like there really wasn't much left of it, it felt like. But only three months after the surgery, Morgan was back in the pool. She won two events in the 2018 Paralympic Games. But then the disease came back in her right leg. It was amputated in October. Losing my left leg actually, emotionally, I did really well. It was the next step that I can move on with my life.

When this happened with my right leg, it was devastating for me and my family. You had health insurance going in, right? And of course, they paid for all of this.

That would be wonderful. We do pay a large portion, of course, but there's so many expenses that are not covered. Tony and Sherry Stickney have spent over a quarter of a million dollars of their own on medical expenses. And they're in debt. During these medical procedures, is there a tally in the back of your head going, oh my God, how am I going to afford this?

Never even thought about it once. Most important thing is getting Morgan healthy. This past September, just before Morgan's second amputation, Sherry's best friend offered to start a GoFundMe campaign. She said, I think that this would be something that could really help you guys. It's not something that we would ever have hoped that we would, you know, have to get involved in other than to donate to somebody else.

But Morgan needs a lot, you know, long term. GoFundMe is a website where anyone can appeal to the public to contribute money for pretty much anything. Before it was founded in 2010, you might have waited for help from the government or charities if you were in trouble. But today, people turn to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe after a natural disaster, or a mass shooting, or when they need money for funeral expenses, for acts of kindness, or for acts of politics, like this one to build a border wall in New Mexico. But a third of all GoFundMe campaigns are for medical expenses like Morgan's.

So far, her campaign has raised more than $45,000. We've become the world's largest crowdfunding site. People think of it all the time when there's a problem, you start a GoFundMe.

Rob Solomon is GoFundMe's CEO. More than $9 billion has been donated on the platform. And this is pretty staggering, 120 million donations have happened on GoFundMe. This is our homepage and right up here, just start a GoFundMe. GoFundMe wouldn't tell us exactly how many campaigns are on its site, but says that 10,000 new campaigns are created every day. There's no charge to set up a campaign. You can ask for any amount of money, leave the campaign running as long as you want, and keep whatever comes in. There are people who are going to see this, who are going to go, it's that easy?

I could do that for myself. Should we set some expectations on how many of them actually succeed? They don't always hit their goal. The reality is you have to tell a very compelling story, you have to be very transparent about what you're doing, you have to share your campaign. Sharing means spreading the word on social media like Facebook and Twitter, or even the news media. The more eyeballs you can get on a fundraiser, the more potential it has to raise money. For years, GoFundMe kept 5% of every donation for itself, plus 3% for credit card fees.

But in 2017, CEO Rob Solomon made a change. Instead of taking a cut of every donation, GoFundMe now asks every donor for a voluntary tip. There's no way that would work. It works. It works very well. The majority of people who donate on the platform actually leave a small tip.

Well, okay. It's wonderful that this for-profit Silicon Valley tech company is actually helping people every day. But it's not all sunshine and bunnies. Whenever a lot of money changes hands, there are always scammers nearby. New tonight, a Chester County woman is arrested for faking cancer, charged with collecting donations through a GoFundMe page. And then there was the New Jersey couple who raised over $400,000 to help a noble homeless man. Turns out the three of them were working together to scam the public. What's to prevent that sort of thing from happening? We've probably added 100 people just focused on nothing but trust and safety as we call it. So we're using a lot of technology.

We use machine learning and artificial intelligence. It's very rare. We have less than one-tenth of 1% of our campaigns have any type of misuse associated with them. Of course, that number includes only the scams that GoFundMe catches. Fortunately, when it does, GoFundMe says it refunds all donations.

Anytime you have a fraudulent transaction, I think that raises a lot of concerns because it reduces trust. Una Asli is the Associate Dean for Research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. We started tracking disaster giving going back to 9-11. She studies the economics of charity. If people give money to crowdfunding campaigns, are they then less likely to give to traditional charities?

So far, we are not seeing that in the data. Compared to more traditional fundraising campaigns, crowdfunding is still a small slice of the pie. What we are seeing though is that crowdfunding is changing and shifting how nonprofits raise money to use social media to tell their stories in a more compelling way.

Some charities, like the American Red Cross and United Way, have even partnered with GoFundMe to help raise money. Meanwhile, CEO Rob Solomon encounters the best and the worst of human nature every day. If bad things happen, it's like a dagger in the heart. But I think people are innately good. I would like to believe that. It's true. I can prove it every day.

Okay, roll back. As for Morgan Stickney, her fight continues. She'll soon get a second prosthetic leg to match her first one. It has mermaid scales on it. For a swimmer, of course.

Yes. Part human, part mermaid. In the new year, she hopes to be back in the pool, training for the 2024 Paralympic Games.

Your legs don't define who you are. Cheered on by her GoFundMe supporters. To hear that people from all over the country believe in me and that they think that I'm an inspiration means a lot to me, because I'm just trying to live my life and get back up on my two feet. And now a page from our Sunday morning almanac. December 22nd, 1997, 22 years ago today. The day the FDA approved Propecia, a once-a-day pill for combating the genetic condition known as male pattern baldness. The supposed link between hair and virility dates back to at least the biblical story of Samson. Advertisements touting supposed baldness cure-alls flourished during the 19th century and absolutely blossomed during the TV age.

And by the way, I'm not only the heckler president, but I'm also a client. As for Propecia, a prescription-only pill, it can slow hair loss or even promote limited hair growth among some men. But in a bitter irony, it can adversely affect virility in some who take it as well.

Definitely ask your doctor would be our best advice. Heads up, men. Far from camouflaging their hair loss, some bald but bold men have always embraced it.

We just believe if you don't have it, flaunt it. Way back in 1985, our late colleague Bob Simon paid a visit to a bald-headed men of America convention. And in 2004, our John Blackstone dropped in for lunch at a bald-friendly restaurant in Lodi, California. Every Wednesday, the restaurant features a bald guy's menu. The less hair, the bigger the discount.

Treat it, hide it or flaunt it. More than enough options for any bald man to try to wrap his head around. For more from this week's conversation, follow the Takeout with Major Garrett on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Tis the season for these delicious treats. Latkes, hot off the griddle. As much a part of Hanukkah as tonight's initial lighting of the menorah, Martha Teichner invites us to a tasting.

After the second or two it takes to light that candle, what is the logical thing to do next? Eat. Latkes, of course. Crispy, fried, slightly oniony potato pancakes with decadence, that's a euphemism for fattening, toppings. Why latkes? The simple answer is that they're meant to remind Jews of the miracle of the oil associated with Hanukkah.

But this story is anything but simple. In 164 BCE, a devout Jew who called himself Judah Maccabee and his followers overthrew the Syrian Greek king who was trying to impose Greek customs and religion on the people of Israel. Hanukkah means dedication. It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees who retook the temple.

Jane Cohen is a Jewish food historian and cookbook writer. And when they re-sanctified the temple and cleaned everything, they needed ritual oil for the candelabra. And the only ritual oil that was pure enough was only enough to last for one day, according to the story. But miraculously, it lasted eight days. Centuries after the fact, Jews were told to celebrate by eating foods cooked in oil.

But again, why latkes? Enter Judith, darling of the art world. Judith was, according to all accounts, this beautiful widow. And she set out to seduce Holofernes, who was holding the town of Bethelia under siege. And she had these very salty pancakes, levivot, and filled them with a salty cheese. And Holofernes, who intended to seduce or rape her, kept eating these. And he became so thirsty that he just drank incredible quantities of wine, until he passed out. At which point, this beautiful widow chopped off his head.

How does Judith get connected with Hanukkah? That's where the bizarre part comes in. Nobody is actually sure how the two became conflated.

But they did. And by the Middle Ages, Jews in Italy were eating cheese pancakes during Hanukkah. Now, we come to the potato. Potatoes were cheap.

And thanks to poverty among Eastern European Jews, potatoes became the key ingredient in latkes, Yiddish for pancakes. Like, just a normal day, when there's no holiday, we make a thousand a day. And then during Hanukkah, we'll make 5,000 a day. Wow. Nikki Russ-Fetterman is a fourth-generation owner of Russ & Daughters in New York City.

For 105 years, her family's business has been Jewish food. The latkes are made in small batches, by hand. You commune with the ancestors when you do this.

Oh, I suppose you do. Is there a technique to squish and just squish? If there's a secret to getting latkes right, it's this. This is fun. I like this.

It's fun. I like this. Straining out extra liquid.

Press it down. The mixture is formed into patties, which are first fried on the glitter, then deep-fried in oil, canola oil here. They're meant to be eaten crispy and warm. The story of Hanukkah and the latke is one of perseverance and a little bit of magic.

And that's a universal story. Which is how the Brooklyn Museum justifies certain liberties taken by chefs participating in its annual latke festival. Have you ever heard of Vietnamese latkes? Or how about Korean sweet potato latkes? Hanukkah is considered a minor holiday for Jews, but it's got this going for it. We made them. We might as well, you know, eat them.

The Talmud, Judaism's book of laws, decrees that during Hanukkah there is to be no grieving and no fasting. These are really good. No problem. That's really good too. If the latkes are good and plentiful.

Yum. White Christmas is just one of the hundreds of songs composed by that legend of popular music, Irving Berlin. The story of how he came to America and how he came to write so many of our most loved songs is the story Mo Rocca has to tell. Nat King Cole lit up a room with him.

What'll I do? Judy Garland broke hearts with him, and Fred Astaire danced to him. Now if you're blue and you don't know where to go to, why don't you go where fashion sits? As did Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle, sort of, in Young Frankenstein. As a fellow songwriter once said of the man who wrote all those songs, Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music. Broadway musical director Andy Einhorn is a longtime fan of Irving Berlin's. I think what's interesting now is we hear these songs and we define them, the term that people always say, why are they timeless?

You know, he spoke directly to our heart. Berlin wrote more than 1,500 songs for every mood and every occasion. Yes, Berlin wrote White Christmas, which Bing Crosby first performed on his NBC radio show on Christmas Day, 1941. He also wrote the classic Easter Parade. Perhaps surprising when you consider that Berlin was a Jewish immigrant. Irving Berlin is actually the quintessential American dream.

Irving Berlin was born Israel Bailin in Russia in 1888. As a five-year-old, he watched as his family's house was burned to the ground. Victims of religious persecution, they found refuge in America, settling in New York City's Lower East Side.

When Berlin was 13, his father died. The family needed money. One of the things he did was busking. Singing on the street?

Yes, yeah. Singing on the street, singing for, you know, at restaurants, singing in clubs. Josh Perlman is chief curator at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia. Berlin soon started writing his own songs, words, and music. He bought this piano at 21, and this was the first piano he owned personally. And he owned it when he composed Alexander's Ragtime Band, his first international hit.

His process was often to imagine the music in his head, and then use what skills he had as a pianist to find the melody. This is the first piano I ever owned. Berlin was not a great pianist. He could only play in one key. I only play an F sharp in the black key. Oh, the black key. That's right. So he bought this special piano.

By pulling this knob, the whole keyboard moved, changing keys. Here's Berlin explaining it to Dinah Shore. Could I say that again, please? In the 1920s, Berlin fell in love with a young heiress, Ellen Mackie. If you tell young people today, well, he was Jewish, she was Irish Catholic, they'd say, so what? Right. It was a big deal, right? It was a big deal. Her father did not approve. Well, he initially disowned her, right?

Yes, he did. But the marriage lasted 63 years. Catherine Sweat is Irving and Ellen, Berlin's granddaughter.

What is the story behind where we are now? This house was bought by my grandfather for my grandmother in 1938. Sweat came here to the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York every summer until she was a teenager. And he bought it and gave it to her as a Christmas present. And it's a place that we all came to as children and adored.

Would you like to hold it? Here's Berlin's 1942 Academy Award for White Christmas, a song with an origin story that wasn't exactly merry and bright. It has a melancholy underpinning, the song, and my grandparents had a baby boy, Irving, Berlin Junior, and he died on Christmas Eve when he was just four weeks old. So Christmas Eve, 1928. Were you aware growing up that privately they were grieving on that day? It was not something we could talk about.

They were very private about it. While the storm clouds gather far across the sea In 1918, while Berlin was serving in the U.S. Army, he wrote a musical review for his fellow troops that initially included a song called God Bless America. It wasn't quite making it up to snuff, so they decided, okay, this isn't R.I.P., so he put it away in his trunk. Twenty years later, with Hitler threatening the world order, Irving Berlin thought the song's time was right as a message of peace. He ended up slightly revising the lyric and then he gave it to the singer Kate Smith. God bless America, and that I love you. Smith sang it on her radio show in 1938.

And guide her through the night with a life from above. And it quickly became a kind of second national anthem. But for Berlin, the song was personal. And my mother always likes to point out that it's God bless America land that I love, right? Not we, but it's about his love of America, and I think that's very sincere. I think he really was very grateful to this country. Kate Smith raised hundreds of millions of dollars in war bonds singing God bless America.

But this year, the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Flyers stopped playing her version, and the Flyers removed a statue of her after it was discovered that Smith had sung two songs with racist lyrics in the 1930s. But a different kind of controversy swirled around God bless America early on. There were anti-Semites who said, who is this Jewish man to call on God to bless America? God bless America, land that I love. I'm a fifth generation American. God bless America.

I can be here singing for the whole America and staying true to who I am. Shulam Lemmer is an ultra-Orthodox Jewish singer who grew up in Brooklyn. When is the first time you heard it?

Do you remember? Um, actually, the first time I heard the song was in Yiddish. It was a Yiddish version. There's an album called Mamadoshin from Mandy Patinkin.

Yes, I know that now. I listened to that album growing up. He has the God bless America, and he sings it in Yiddish.

Shulam has sung the song at Major League Baseball games. How do you feel when you sing it? Very grateful. We're all very grateful for the United States, for America, for their involvement in World War II, like especially us as Jews. Who knows what the population would be if not American involvement in World War II? So I feel very grateful. And as an Orthodox Jew, what better way to express gratitude to the United States than with a prayer to God? And that's exactly what the song is. on Paramount Plus.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-28 06:22:44 / 2023-01-28 06:33:02 / 10

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