Re: Almost

1

Sad. I once overheard him discussing some issue or other with Pete Domenici. I forget what the topic was, but his manner and presence were very memorable.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-25-09 11:37 PM
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I briefly felt bad about writing this up from a political angle and then figured, meh, he'd have it no other way.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:13 AM
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I think Ted Kennedy might've approved naming a health-care reform bill the Edward Kennedy Memorial Act and ramming it mercilessly through Congress. In fact, I'd bet he talked a fair amount about just this before his death. And you just know the Democrats are going to fuck it up.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:29 AM
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2: what other angle is there? He was great with kids. Passs fucking health care.

/barney


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:01 AM
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2

I briefly felt bad about writing this up from a political angle and then figured, meh, he'd have it no other way.

Here is the Massachusetts law on sucession. The governor is supposed to set a date for a special election in 145 to 160 days. The seat will be vacant until then.

So the Democrats will be down a vote in the Senate for the rest of the year. In my opinion Kennedy should have resigned months ago and avoided this situation.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:52 AM
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I was hoping that he would lasy a little bit longer. They were thinking about changing the law. Is it too late to do that now that he's dead? Senate President Therese Murray was ready to go ahead. The letter from Kennedy asking for a modification to the law was written in early July, but it wasn't sent for a whole month.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:56 AM
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The NY Times actually suggested that Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island was a potential successor. I mean, we love our Kennedys, but Patrick isn't that smart and doesn't actually live here. Ted Jr., I know nothing about.

I don't know whether Meehan is considering it. He did retired from the House to take a job at U Mass Lowell.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:33 AM
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My money continues to be on Markey (that twit) as the inside-track candidate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:55 AM
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Markey's my rep now, and I've found him to be lame.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:09 AM
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Poor Teddy. Such a good senator, and such a bad person otherwise.

Does the Senate have anyone else who could plausibly be called a liberal lion?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:10 AM
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8: Is that based on special super secret insider gossip, or just reading the paper?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:11 AM
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11: not-very-secret not-very-insider gossip combined with reading the paper. From what I hear Barney's not particularly interested in running and Markey remains (inexplicably, by my lights) pretty popular in the Mass. dem leadership, and anyhow he's got the most seniority of plausible candidates.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:16 AM
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Barney was going to run in 2004 if Kerry had won the presidency, but I guess that now that the Dems have a majority, Frank is loath to give up his chairmanship.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:20 AM
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1. So this prediction was embarassingly wrong.

2. If Max Motherf*cking Baucus had adhered to the timetable he committed to last fall, we might have had Teddy's vote for health care. The Republicans knew this, and it was one reason for the strategy of delay.

3. "...naming a health-care reform bill the Edward Kennedy Memorial Act and ramming it mercilessly through Congress." Fuck yeah. If you, like I, have ever found yourself on the direct mail list of a right-wing organization, you'll know that Kennedy's name is anathema to the Right. He's their Dick Cheney--the mere mention of him engages their lizard brains. I want the public option to be eponymized like "Pell Grants" were: "Welcome to the clinic. Would you please swipe your KennedyCare card?"

4. Three words: Senator Barney Frank.

5. Hey Mitt Romney, why don't you run in the special election for the vacancy. C'mon, I dare you!

6. I sincerely wish that the Empathic God-like Entity will comfort his family in their grief.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:21 AM
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Such a good senator, and such a bad person otherwise.

When I was in college, I used to have the personal distaste for Kennedy that is fashionable among reformist liberals. I expressed that distaste in front of a middle-aged Italian-American gentleman who was employed by an organization with which I was associated (and who was noted for his unrefined manner). He turned to me and said, "You listen here, you little shit. If we didn't have Teddy, who would be lookin' out for them old people? Huh? Huh?"

He was right. And I've carried that lesson with me ever since.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:32 AM
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I like 3.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:32 AM
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When I first heard an obit on the radio, I was desperately hoping that he had stepped down, but then I quickly googled to find out that he had died.

Who might push 3 and 14.3? I really want to write someone a letter, but Markey has been so lame on this issue.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:38 AM
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4 gets it exactly right.

10: I'd settle for a liberal orca at this point.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:39 AM
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I'll go out on a limb and say that Markey isn't such a bad choice for the special election. I don't agree with him on everything, but I would feel pretty good about voting for him. He has an old-fashioned goo-goo liberal earnestness that is vanishingly rare in the upper chamber (Feingold being a notable exception). Just like it's Utah's role in life to send an Orrin Hatch to the Senate, it's Massachusetts' job to send a reflexive liberal. Markey's OK by that standard.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:40 AM
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19: Right, but can't we do better than OK?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:52 AM
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The "nil nisi bonum, well maybe not quite nil" posts up at The Corner already are really something.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:56 AM
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Why "such a bad person," LB? I'm not being as baiting as I likely sound, I just wonder if you mean something other than Chappaquiddick?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:58 AM
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22: Womanizer through the 80's maybe? Heavy drinker?

On the political front, he was probably too pro IRA for a while.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:00 AM
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23: Wow. I know such bad people.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:02 AM
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He did spend much of the late '80s drunk and chasing tail. On the other hand, given that he also prevented Justice Bork and jammed Rod Dellum's Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act through the Senate (over Reagan's veto) at the time, there's only so worked up I can get over "drunk and chasing tail".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:06 AM
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I've devastated.

The 1980 Dem. convention speech.

The famous bit is at the very end, but I'm fond of the whole thing. (Full text.)

For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.

Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:07 AM
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25:Well, yeah, but the first thing LB said was, "Such a good Senator."

pp: Do you know whether they can change the succession law now or is that discussion moot now that Kennedy's dead?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:08 AM
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24: I contend that Teddy's personal behavior, while perhaps offensive to bourgeois sensibilities, lies not far from the mean of the distribution for his peer groups, by which I mean U.S. Senators and scions of influential rich families.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:09 AM
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Josh Marshall's obit is good on his legacy versus his brothers'.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:10 AM
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spend much of the late '80s drunk and chasing tail

We should all be so lucky.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:13 AM
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Who among us doesn't enjoy getting drunk and chasing tail?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:15 AM
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I was actually for getting drunk and chasing tail before I was against it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:21 AM
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30: So that's not how you spent the late '80s? Man, my image of you as a liberal lion has been shattered.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:23 AM
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Me, I spent the late '80s chaste and tailing drunks.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:25 AM
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Actually, that is how I spent the late 80s, but I was in my early 20s, when it's no sort of accomplishment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:26 AM
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32: I invented getting drunk and chasing tail.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:28 AM
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31: Who among us doesn't enjoy getting drunk and chasing tail and NASCAR?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:29 AM
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WE HAVE NOTHING TO TAIL BUT TAIL ITSELF.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:30 AM
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39

Who is this hound named Theo, and why do we need to watch out for it?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:33 AM
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Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, I'm getting drunk and chasing tail!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:34 AM
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Oops. We need to invent a name for the type of mistake exemplified by 39. Troll-response error?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:35 AM
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No more getting drunk and chasing your own tail to Ted.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:36 AM
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Getting back on topic, the Times obit is well worth reading, especially if you're not familiar with Kennedy's long, long list of legislative accomplishments.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:40 AM
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44

I was going attempt "4 whores and 7 beers ago" but really can't. (praeteritio!)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:40 AM
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Markey is a fucking twit. He is a reliable liberal on many things (and quite good on climate change), but he's exactly awful on the things that I specifically care about (e.g. intellectual property, internet openness, media stuff generally). In general, I think he has an authoritarian streak that's not always obvious. Also, the people I know who know him don't much like him. He seems to be more-or-less grudgingly tolerated, rather than liked, by pretty much everybody.

As far as Teddy, and his personal qualities, womanizing and boozing aside he was (from all I've heard) a generous and kind person to the people in his life that he wasn't trying to bone, and I wasn't kidding in 4 about him being incredibly great with kids. Who knows either way; I didn't know him personally.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:42 AM
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44: It sounds pretty good in a Boston Brahmin accent, I must admit.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:42 AM
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spend much of the late '80s drunk and chasing tail.

It's how I plan to spend my late 80s.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:45 AM
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Womanizer through the 80's maybe? Heavy drinker?

It's not actually immoral, per se, to drink a lot. It may be immoral to do so if you are, for example, doing so during your shift as an air traffic controller. But in your own time? Go for it, America. Get wasted.

FDR knocked it back on a regular basis, and ended Prohibition so the rest of you could do likewise - the first of his great projects to improve the lot of the common man. Think of the Four Freedoms. Who speaks more freely than the drunk? Who is less fearful than the man with a skinful? Who wants less than the happily sloshed? As for freedom of conscience, who is more benevolent, better disposed to the universe and closer to his God (who symbolised this closeness with wine) than the person who's had a few?

NOT DRINKING HEAVILY IS LIKE SPITTING ON ROOSEVELT'S GRAVE.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:45 AM
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46: It sounds even better in a Kennedy accent.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:45 AM
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49: You mean Mayor Quimby, right?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:47 AM
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48: Just to be clear, I wasn't arguing that drinking is immoral. I was just wonering aloud what LB's objections might be. (Drinking so much that one can't function and harms family and one's own livelihood is another matter, but alcoholism is best treated as a medical matter.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:48 AM
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Ask not what your country ca-- Hey baby, nice tail.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:48 AM
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51: fair enough; but in that case the immorality is in harming others, not in drinking; if you become so obsessed with collecting eighteenth-century silver that you start blackmailing your nephew into stealing it for you, it's the blackmail that's immoral, not the collecting.

I'd rather have Elwood P. Dowd than Mr Potter as president.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:52 AM
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53: It was modern Dutch, anyway.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:52 AM
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He is a reliable liberal on many things (and quite good on climate change), but he's exactly awful on the things that I specifically care about (e.g. intellectual property, internet openness, media stuff generally)

On the other hand, who gives a shit about that stuff? Internet openness? Like the Internet isn't already a useless cesspool.


Posted by: Internet Openness? | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:56 AM
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Ask not what your country ca--

Am I the only one who starts humming Guns'n'Roses when they think of this quote? What's so civil about war, anyway?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:56 AM
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he's exactly awful on the things that I specifically care about (e.g. intellectual property, internet openness, media stuff generally)

Yes, I agree that Markey has been a douche on all of those matters. He's not my first choice to succeed Kennedy in any event.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:00 AM
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48 is true from start to finish. It's ironic that we need foreigners to remind us of our own history sometimes.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:01 AM
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I just got forwarded a video of a pissed off Ted on the Senate floor (at 5 AM) declaiming about the minimum wage. Great stuff. I am proud that he was my senator.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:09 AM
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So, policy wonks, this anarchist wants to know: does this mean that healthcare reform is doomed? Or was it doomed already? I've been mostly ignoring the debate (except for a few phone calls to my congresspeople) because it freaks me out so much. (We're all doomed and I'm going to die of cancer in the gutter after losing my house!)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:11 AM
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10: Such a good senator, and such a bad person otherwise.

He did seem to be the embodiment of the public/private morality-liberal/conservative divide. Which is in part why Michael Bérubé's line, "I used to consider myself a Democrat, but thanks to 9/11, I'm outraged by Chappaquiddick." rang so true.

I do recall watching (listening really) to the William Kennedy Smith rape trial on CourtTV** back when they did that kind of thing and the testimony about Ted (who had gone out drinking with William and Patrick, and was at the house at the time of the incident) while not in any way implicating him directly in the alleged crime did leave the impression that his behavior certainly helped set the tone of the evening.

**I did not realize that they (TruTV now) ran The Smoking Gun.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:12 AM
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And not that many of the prominent wingnuts are *really* outraged by private morality lapses (which of course is also embodied in the MB line).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:15 AM
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The 59 senator thing is too infuriating to really even reason about. Collins, Snowe (any other Repub possibilities?) your historical legacy hangs in the balance.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:20 AM
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The 59 senator thing is too infuriating to really even reason about. Collins, Snowe (any other Repub possibilities?) your historical legacy hangs in the balance.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:23 AM
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63: I might put my money on an outlier like Orrin Hatch, who apparently considered Teddy one of his best friends and who seems the sentimental sort.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:23 AM
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61: The William Kennedy Smith thing was kind of gross.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:30 AM
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I'm sure Hatch would be happy to drop all other Senate business and put his muscle behind renaming some important building after Ted Kennedy. As for actual issues that matter, the idea sounds laughable.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:30 AM
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60: Man, Frowner. I was hoping that since you didn't lose your house, you were going to be able to keep your house.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:33 AM
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IIRC, the Vice-President is also, ex officio, the chairman of the Senate, and can cast a vote to break a 50-50 tie.
Points:
1) Is this correct?
2) Can he vote to break a tie at any other time - for example, if the vote were 49-49 because two senators were ill or overseas or something?
3) He wouldn't want to vote to make a tie - if there was a bill with 50-49 support that the White House didn't like, it could just veto.
4) But say there was a bill with 59 votes in favour. Could the Vice-President add his vote to get it past a filibuster?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:36 AM
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FDR knocked it back on a regular basis

I did not know that. The meetings between him and Churchill and Stalin must have been a blast. I wonder who was running the war.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:37 AM
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67: The Teddy Kennedy Memorial Center For Health Insurance Reform.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:38 AM
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1) Yes.
2) Yes.
3) Doesn't get a vote in this case anyway.
4) No.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:38 AM
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Frowner,
I don't think anyone knows how this is going to work out, which is why folks have become desperate to talk about anything else, to avoid the impotent kvetching. The loss of Kennedy in the short term means one less vote, but he hasn't been able to vote for anything for a while. As folks have said already, the hope is that his memory will help galvanize Senators to push through a stronger bill. We'll see.

Thanks for being the sort of anarchist who still calls her reps to push for useful government programs. Seriously. Of our reps, Ellison's been very good on this issue, as he is generally. I don't know what Klobuchar's been like behind senate doors, but her website is all kinds of wishy-washy on the public option/government insurance thing. Since Pawlenty just gutted MNCare, this is especially important.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:39 AM
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The meetings between him and Churchill and Stalin must have been a blast. I wonder who was running the war.

Four words:
William Lyon Mackenzie King


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:41 AM
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But say there was a bill with 59 votes in favour. Could the Vice-President add his vote to get it past a filibuster?

If the Senate was tied 59-59, sure.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:41 AM
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71: well, "regular" not "continuous". I don't think FDR was as heroic a drinker as Churchill or Stalin. But, like most upper-class men of his time, he drank often, and in large amounts by today's mean standards. Martinis, generally. Cocktail parties virtually every night from Pearl Harbor to VJ Day, according to Doris Goodwin.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/27/doris-kearns-goodwin-on-r_n_245908.html


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:44 AM
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70: There's been some hustle and bustle over the notion of pushing health care through the Senate by way of a "reconciliation" vote. I've been figuring the Democrats would figure out how to fuck it up one way or another.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:44 AM
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The world is now waiting for the Second World War Statesmen version of the Monty Python Philosopher's Song. I don't have time to work it up right now, so will simply note that "martini" rhymes with "Mussolini" and leave it to others.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:46 AM
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Cocktail parties virtually every night from Pearl Harbor to VJ Day, according to Doris Goodwin.

Hmmmm. I read No Ordinary Time, and I don't recall anything about the corpse of FDR participating in cocktail parties between April 12 and August 14, 1945.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:49 AM
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Oh I'm a Second World War Statesman and I'm okay.
I drink all night and battle fascism all day.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:50 AM
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Benen quotes to Noam Scheiber over the weekend giving the most optimistic spin.

But here's the thing: If Kennedy were to pass away in the next few months, the Senate math on any health care vote would almost certainly get easier, not harder. For one thing, it would single-handedly make the magic number 51 votes, not 60, since it would be suicidal for the GOP to filibuster the culmination of the last Kennedy brother's lifelong crusade. Beyond that, I suspect the coverage of Kennedy's death would silence healthcare reform critics and boost proponents in a way that netted at least a couple of wavering moderates--so clearing the 51-vote threshold wouldn't be a problem. Heck, you might even see Utah Republican (and longtime Kennedy friend) Orrin Hatch back in the reformist camp

I suspect he does not truly grok the essence of today's Republican party and the almost certain eagerness of many of them to filibuster specifically to posthumously thwart Ted Kennedy. But fuck the cloture dance; it's got to be reconciliation. As someone pointed out recently, the piece of shit Bush Pharma Bill passed 54-44.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:51 AM
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Obama is speaking now.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:51 AM
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79: Hah. Well spotted. "Virtually every night" obviously implying "except for the ones on which he was dead, and drinking a quiet whisky with Lincoln".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:53 AM
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Has no one noted that Obama is in Kennedy's neighborhood now (broadly speaking)? Obviously convened a Death Panel.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:54 AM
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Oof. "In lieu of flowers, pass heathcare reform."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:55 AM
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Always look on the tight side of life


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:55 AM
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he does not truly grok the essence of today's Republican party

Agreed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:56 AM
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it would be suicidal for the GOP to filibuster the culmination of the last Kennedy brother's lifelong crusade.

WTF?

How would a single Republican be negatively affected by doing so, in any way?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:58 AM
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On the 'such a bad man' front, womanizing, in the 'having sex with a lot of women' sense doesn't bother me at all. But what Stormcrow said about the William Kennedy Smith rape case is right on, and there were other stories that I'm not remembering in enough detail to google for details that made it sound as if being around Teddy in the '80s was an unpleasant and unsafe place for young women to be. And the cheating on the Spanish test in college, and Chappaquidick.

But any harm he ever did to anyone was one person at a time, and the good he did was for millions of people. So if you net out the good and the bad, he was certainly well in the black.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:02 AM
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82: I hate msnbc video. I think it hates my Mac.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:02 AM
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I hate msnbc video. I think it hates my Mac.

There's a clue in the name, as my old boss would say.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:06 AM
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So if you net out the good and the bad, he was certainly well in the black.

Chappaquiddick really was kind of horrible. (Similarly, Republicans universally denounced Laura Bush.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:06 AM
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92: I've been told there was an internal Microsoft saying back in the '90s, when Lotus 1-2-3 was still a significant competitor for Excel: "Windows ain't done till Lotus don't run."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:07 AM
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91: There was a time, when their website said that it would only run on a Windows PC.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:09 AM
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94: It runs on my mac.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:15 AM
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92: You know, the funny thing is that while it's the worst thing in terms of consequences, I almost find that one the most forgivable. Back then, lots of people drove drunk -- it was a bad idea, but a very conventional, normal bad idea, and if you judged everyone who drove drunk to be a terrible person, you'd despise the entire population of the eastern seaboard over fifty.

Once you cut him slack for the driving drunk as not extraordinarily evil, there's not much less that he did significantly wrong -- to do any good, he would have had to rescue her in under ten minutes or so, and the odds that someone drunk enough to drive off a bridge was going to manage that is minimal. None of the waffling around wasting time after the first ten minutes made any moral difference, if you see what I mean.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:16 AM
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96 gets it right.

Looks like Michelle Bachman was right about God hating health care.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:24 AM
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96 - It's the failure to report it until the next day that's really the defining moment of moral cowardice in Kennedy's life; I think much of his career was an attempt to erase that. And, I mean, as an American, every day Robert Bork is alive but not on the Supreme Court is part of Kennedy's gift to me. He's Waxman's probable counterpart -- the last great liberal legislator. OSHA, the ADA, the Anti-Apartheid Act... Is there anyone currently in the Senate with half of the impact? But I don't think a 36-year-old man deserves a great deal of slack for "I killed someone in an accident and notified my friends and political advisors but not the police".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:37 AM
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98: Eh. What harm did waiting to the next day do anyone? It didn't do her any harm, it wasn't about trying to claim he was sober (or if there was an attempt in that direction, I hadn't heard of it), and you know, he had just escaped from a car that had gone off a bridge; despite the fact that it was his fault, that's still a reasonable explanation for acting irrationally for a couple of hours.

Driving drunk was a bad thing to do. Trying to cover it up after he'd sobered up and recovered from the accident would have been a bad thing to do. I can't put a lot of moral weight on what he did between the accident and the next day.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:44 AM
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it would be suicidal for the GOP to filibuster the culmination of the last Kennedy brother's lifelong crusade.

Yes, that didn't really make sense to me either. Who on earth is going to harm the Republicans, and how, if they do so?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:49 AM
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98 - Pedantically, he did claim he was sober enough to drive, and had only had one or two drinks at the party. I don't want to sound like I'm a raging Kennedy-hater; it's not for me to decide how that day (and if he was an ass-grabber after that, that behavior) compares to decades of service to the disadvantaged of America. I'll certainly take him over McCain, who apparently was an exemplar in POW camp, but whose life before and after is basically one of mean-spirited self-aggrandizement.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:50 AM
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I have a normal Massachusetts respect for Teddy and his brothers (all of whom died in government service, it occurs to me now), but the drunk driving argument in 96 is not significantly more convincing now than when Christopher Buckley ran it through the WSJ op-ed page in 2000 in defense of innocent, drunken George W. Bush.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:53 AM
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alcoholism is best treated as a medical matter

Right. Treating alcoholism as a moral failing stands in the way of treatment for a good many people.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:55 AM
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It would be nice if Schreiber were right in 81, but it's getting more and more off-pissing to see people give Republicans undeserved credit for decency and being humane.

Yet I have to admit to feeling like a bit of a party pooper here. To the extent that there's a tragedy here - that is, the loss of his vote makes health care reform or other legislative priorities harder - Shearer is right at least on the facts: Kennedy could have prevented that, and I don't see any good reason why he didn't. And in fact, that's only a very small obstacle. I'm dreading all the pontification about what his death "means" for health care reform or the rest of his legacy. His death shouldn't prevent anything, even regardless of the empty seat. Like 14.2 says, that's just a disingenuous excuse.

Looking over his Wikipedia page, he apparently did do a lot of good over the years. Got AIDs funding way back when homophobia was socially acceptable, got an anti-apartheid act passed despite Reagan's support of fucking apartheid, created COBRA... I'm just myopic about it because his most famous legislative accomplishment since I've been old enough to pay full price at the movies, let alone to vote, was NCLB.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:57 AM
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(Similarly, Republicans universally denounced Laura Bush.)

They do? For what?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:00 AM
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The good news, however: Michael Jackson is alive!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:00 AM
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Kennedy could have prevented that, and I don't see any good reason why he didn't.

Guessed wrong about whether he could stay alive long enough to be useful. The problem was that there was time pressure -- reform really needs to happen this year. Any time he resigned, he would have lost two months or so with no Mass. Senator.

If Coleman hadn't successfully tied up Franken for so long, or if Baucus hadn't been such a successful obstructionist, Teddy's holding on might have been tactically the right thing to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:01 AM
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105: Killing her ex-boyfriend in a car accident. The comparison is unfair, though -- she doesn't seem to have done anything wrong (well, bad driving, but she wasn't drunk). Hers was a real accident.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:02 AM
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Oh wow. I didn't realize what a terrible person she is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:03 AM
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Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
you used to be a victim
Now you're not the only one

Accidents will happen
We only hit and run
I don't want to hear it
'Cause I know what I've done

There's so many fish in the sea
That only rise up in the sweat and smoke like mercury
But they keep you hanging on
They say you're so young
Your mind is made up but your mouth is undone

(Chorus)

And it's the damage that we do
And never know
It's the words that we don't say
That scare me so

There's so many people to see
So many people you can check up on
And add to your collection
But they keep you hanging on
Until you're well hung
Your mouth is made up but your mind is undone


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:09 AM
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Killing her ex-boyfriend in a car accident.

Wait, was he already an exboyfriend at the time of the accident? Suspicious!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:15 AM
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This.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:15 AM
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This isn't exactly O/T but "they keep you hanging on/ntil you're well hung" has never struck me as EC's most ept lyric. He means "well hung" like game -- just rotted enough for the meat to be tender -- but it has another more common meaning, at least for people unacquainted with best cooking practice for e.g. pheasant.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:18 AM
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Sometimes it seems as if the ones who do the most public good are the worst in person.

Moreover, we are so rarely in a position to figure out how bad of a person they are. The Mary Jo incident was fairly bad, but how bad? I just dont have a great sense. LB is correct that dunk driving was treated very differently. When I first started in practice, I regularly saw people who 8 or 9 convictions, and almost everyone i knew drove drunk by our standards.

Of course, cocktails were a regular evening feature. Plus, people often drank alcohol during the day.

Mary Jo was prob dead before he could do much. I stll count it as a huge moral failing though,one that should have ended his career for at least 10 years.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:19 AM
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we are so rarely in a position to figure out how bad of a person they are

Yes, this. People are far more (and less) than what we usually know of them.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:23 AM
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107 is exactly right.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:23 AM
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Nobody is still upset at Ted for how he treated Jimmy Carter?

Well...I guess I'm not really either, but Kennedy was a jerk to Carter.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:30 AM
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I need to do some googling there -- I was raised with "Carter was the most decent president we've ever had, and the problem was that Congress was controlled by business interests that cut him off at the knees." As an adult, I've read that the conflicts between Carter and the Democratic half of Congress were due to his trying to pull the party right: cutting social programs, increasing military spending. And that Teddy's primary challenge was an attempt to pull the party back to the left. But I need to do some reading for specifics (I'd been planning to do it earlier -- I got into a discussion of this with my mother, who's a big Carter fan, and was bemused that I didn't think of him as a liberal.).

Anyone got a pointer to some useful facts?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:34 AM
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I stll count it as a huge moral failing though, one that should have ended his career for at least 10 years.

Arguably it did end his chance of winning the Presidency. Without Chappaquidick, there's a good chance he could have secured the nomination in '72 or '76.

I somehow doubt he would have been as good a president as he was a senator.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:37 AM
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117: For years I thought that Senator Kennedy unwittingly paved the way for the Reagan era by dividing the Democratic party in 1980 and showing the world how lame the Carter administration was. But now I think that the economic/world situation in 1980 was so bad that Carter was electorally doomed anyhow.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:38 AM
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117, 118: I remember the 1980 nomination race starkly dividing my family, with certain relatives furious at Carter, and others furious at Kennedy for putting the country at risk of electing that wacko Ronald Reagan.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:39 AM
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Got AIDs funding way back when homophobia was socially acceptable, got an anti-apartheid act passed despite Reagan's support of fucking apartheid, created COBRA

And OSHA, ADA, civil rights, fair housing, stopped Reagan from undermining the Voting Rights Act, women's rights, higher minimum wage, S-CHIP, voted against the Iraq war, helped create the Employee Free Choice Act, was critical in getting Obama elected, and introduced his first universal health are bill in 1969 -- he fought for universal health care almost literally my entire life. (I was born in '68.)

He made plenty of mistakes and supported some bad pieces of legislation, but he was the best goddamn friend the working and middle classes had. (There have been members of Congress with better voting records, but none with the power and effectiveness that Kennedy had.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:40 AM
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But now I think that the economic/world situation in 1980 was so bad that Carter was electorally doomed anyhow.

Carter certainly had a tough hand to play, and he didn't play it particularly skillful, but he was still in contention -- or even favored to win -- until very close to the end. Remember that the Ronald Reagan of 1980 was not the genial grandpa figure that most people remember today. He was a barely reconstructed Goldwaterite with certain views (on Medicare and Social Security, for example) that were anathema to large parts of the electorate. It's not difficult to imagine scenarios where Carter squeaks out a victory. Take away the failure of the hostage rescue and replace Paul Volker with a Fed Chairman as pliable as Arthur Burns was to Nixon in '72, and Carter might well have been a two-term president.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:45 AM
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Further to 123: Two other possible "what might have beens".

- Carter and Brzezinski refrain from baiting the Russians into invading Afghanistan
- Alternatively, Carter refrains from imposing the grain embargo after the Afghanistan invasion


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:51 AM
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I need to do some googling there -- I was raised with "Carter was the most decent president we've ever had, and the problem was that Congress was controlled by business interests that cut him off at the knees."

Interesting, I was raised with "Carter was the biggest wuss of a president we've ever had, and isn't that all that matters, LOL", and recently realized that your description is more accurate.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:57 AM
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Yeah, I've drifted to thinking of him as the Great and Wonderful Oz: "A very good man, but a very bad wizardpresident."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:59 AM
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117, 118: this is ancient history but there is some interesting context. In 1980, Kennedy was furious at Carter for Abscam, which resulted in Kennedy's mentor and buddy, New Jersey Senator Harrison Williams, ending a distinguished and very liberal Senate career in prison. Abscam targeted elected Democrats in the Northeast and Midwest, and seemed at the time to be an attack on Carter's oppositon on the left. Carter's support came mainly form southern and Western democrats, who mysteriously weren't offered bribes.

It was the first big corruption scandal after Watergate, and the journalists at the time seemed curiously reluctant to look into possible political involvement with the FBI. Maybe they didn't want to bring down two consecutive elected presidents.

For thirty years I've been hoping some journalist or historian gets to the bottom of whether the President had anything to do with Abscam, but that hasn't happened yet.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:00 AM
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127: This is something I knew nothing about. Interesting!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:02 AM
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127: Huh. I had never heard that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:03 AM
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Carter certainly had a tough hand to play, and he didn't play it particularly skillful, but he was still in contention -- or even favored to win -- until very close to the end.

As a callow youth I voted for Carter in that election and was astounded that Reagan won. Make that... very callow.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:04 AM
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You know as a NJ kid, I have early memories of the tapes of the senator and the berobed "Arab" being played over and over on the news. Didn't he say that he took the bribe for investigative purposes or something?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:07 AM
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My sister has a very similar story to pp's at 15, but one that featured less belligerence and more tears of gratitude for Teddy's good works.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:07 AM
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One of my earliest memories is of the Carter/Reagan election.

Little rfts: Who are you voting for?
Mama: Carter.
Little rfts: Is he going to win?
Mama: No.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:11 AM
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130: Yeah, Reagan semed like such an extreme right-winger, I couldn't believe the country would elect him. Ah, the naivete of youth!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:12 AM
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Abscam targeted elected Democrats in the Northeast and Midwest

Including John Jenrette (D-SC) and Larry Pressler (R-SD)?

Mildly interesting coda: Jenrette's wife divorced him and subsequently posed nude for Playboy.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:13 AM
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124: the US actually started intervening in Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion, when it was still just a domestic civil war...


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:13 AM
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136: Indeed. While I don't discount the possibility that this is a self-serving revisionist history, Brzezinski later maintained that it was a more or less deliberate attempt to draw the Soviet military into an unwinnable quagmire.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:16 AM
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128, 129: Me neither. Wow. Wikipedia's page on it is pretty vague, but I'll try to read the sources later.

However, it also seems bizarre to imagine a politician misusing government power against a member of his own party. (Except in a primary, obviously.) Again, maybe this says more about me and my times than anything else.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:18 AM
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Further to 135, Abscam also targeted Jack Murtha, who, though a Democrat and from the Northeast, can hardly be described as a liberal.

The story of how Murtha skated from an ethics committee reprimand is an eye-opening chapter in Charlie Wilson's War.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:19 AM
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Come to think of it, it's hard to imagine how a sting operation against Congress that didn't go after everyone equally (or against a very limited number of targets that there was already some, but not enough, real evidence of corruption against) could be anything but improper. Who could you possibly trust to be impartial enough to select the targets?

I'm having trouble finding a complete list of Abscam targets. If I find one, I'll link.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:21 AM
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Further to 135, Abscam also targeted Jack Murtha, who, though a Democrat and from the Northeast, can hardly be described as a liberal.

Not even economically? Murtha's a labor guy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:23 AM
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Wikipedia says the fellow who was filmed actually stuffing Abscam cash into his pockets (and asking "Does it show?") was a Republican, also.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:23 AM
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From the Times, 1980:

Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. of New Jersey yesterday moved to have his Abscam bribery indictment dismissed on several grounds, including one that contended he was a target of "selective prosecution" by the Justice Department because he had supported Senator Edward M. Kennedy over President Carter in the Democratic Presidential primary.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:25 AM
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142: I don't have a list of the targets, and so I'm speaking generally, rather than with knowledge. But if Abscam were a hit job against a list of political enemies, the possibility that the list was padded with other irrelevant targets isn't significant evidence one way or the other.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:26 AM
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RIP

Josh Marshall said the rest.

I, being old enough, remember the family. Including the Schrivers and enough rugrats to fill a gymnasium. Brothers playing football and boating, That very grand matriarch. They provided warmth at a very cold time. They helped generate hope that lasted a decade.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:29 AM
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142 was mainly evidence of "things that make tierce de lollardie laugh out loud while reading wikipedia", I think.


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:32 AM
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3: Byrd calls for health care bill to be named after Kennedy"


Posted by: pp | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:34 AM
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107

Guessed wrong about whether he could stay alive long enough to be useful. The problem was that there was time pressure -- reform really needs to happen this year. Any time he resigned, he would have lost two months or so with no Mass. Senator.

This is not correct. He could have resigned effective at a future date. This would have started the special election process and meant the vacancy could have just been a few days (assuming Kennedy lived until the effective date of his resignation).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:46 AM
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I've been told there was an internal Microsoft saying back in the '90s, when Lotus 1-2-3 was still a significant competitor for Excel: "Windows ain't done till Lotus don't run."

Scurrilous rumor.

I've never seen any credible source (like a non-anonymous ex-MS employee) claim that this was official or unofficial policy, some have stated that policy was the opposite, and MS has a well documented history of bending over backwards and doing technically horrific, sometimes performance-crippling things, in order to maintain backward compatibility with third party applications.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:50 AM
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149: Really? If this is true, I hadn't known it and am surprised. Link?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:50 AM
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150: Never mind, got it. And it looks like you're right. Okay, then he fucked up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:54 AM
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OT:

McArdle is defending the gun-toting imbeciles at town halls. One begins to understand her many detractors.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:55 AM
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147: That's really sweet. I don't expect it to have much effect one way or the other, but really sweet anyway.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:55 AM
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152: Yep. After all, what are the odds that someone's going to get shot, just because excited people are carrying guns around?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 10:57 AM
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152: Begins?


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:02 AM
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152: I wish I hadn't followed that link.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:05 AM
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152: The rhetorical question that I would like to pose to those, like McMegan, who deny the harm to democracy (intimidation, chilling effect, etc.) of ostentatiously bearing arms at political protests: "Let's say there's a strike going on at a factory, and management is trying to bring in replacement workers. Would you be comfortable* with striking union members carrying firearms on the picket line?"

*not "do you think it is legal" or "do you think it should be legal", but "would you personally be disquieted if it happened".


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:08 AM
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155: I haven't paid much attention to her previous trespasses, but people who enable political violence fantasies irritate me.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:08 AM
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I haven't paid much attention to her previous trespasses

Pray don't start now. It's like picking a scab, it is.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:09 AM
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157: The rhetorical question that I would like to pose to those, like McMegan, who deny the harm to democracy (intimidation, chilling effect, etc.) of ostentatiously bearing arms at political protests:

Shouldn't we first get her to acknowledge the harm to democracy of beating the hell out of people at political protests? As I recall, she's fairly iffy on that point.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:15 AM
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Would you be comfortable* with striking union members carrying firearms on the picket line?"

You betcha. And guillotines

but people who enable political violence fantasies irritate me.

I'm so ashamed sometimes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:18 AM
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Oh, she's apologized for that, and explained that she didn't know how big a 2"x4" was.

(But I grow catty, and will stop now.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:18 AM
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160: good catch. IIRC she half-heartedly walked back the 2X4 comment, but still...


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:19 AM
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explained that she didn't know how big a 2"x4" was

Any explanation premised on McMegan's ignorance of facts about the real world is presumptively plausible in my book.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:21 AM
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I find I like it better when I'm in, say, the 90th percentile of misanthropy and bitterness around here. Everyone else treating McArdle as crappily as she deserves take the fun out of it.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:27 AM
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150 151

See if you read my blog you would have known that.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:34 AM
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Nasty Kathryn Jean Lopez is already invoking the Wellstone funeral. Don't you horrible democrats think about talking about the things to which EMK dedicated his life's work!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:41 AM
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I actually do -- I'd comment, but it requires registration. (As I've said before, anyone who comments here with a linked blog? I've probably read all your archives. I will stop at nothing to procrastinate.) Just missed that bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:42 AM
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Excellent, I'd e-mail him to suggest Kennedy Care as the name of the public option, but those forms don't let you contact reps who aren't yours, and I don't have a good West Virginia address to use.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:46 AM
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96

You know, the funny thing is that while it's the worst thing in terms of consequences, I almost find that one the most forgivable. Back then, lots of people drove drunk -- it was a bad idea, but a very conventional, normal bad idea, and if you judged everyone who drove drunk to be a terrible person, you'd despise the entire population of the eastern seaboard over fifty.

So you are willing to give him a pass on the adultery bit?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:52 AM
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So you are willing to give him a pass on the adultery bit?

If marital fidelity ever becomes a qualification for sitting in Congress, they're going to have a hell of a time mustering a quorum.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:54 AM
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Further on Abscam: It wasn't 100% democrats or non-Southerners, but there was a substantial bias.

Republican Larry Pressler wasn't a victim. He was among the very small number politician who were offered bribes and refused. Whether he was uncorrupt, or tipped off, will never be known.

Murtha isn't a liberal now but he was of the pro-Kennedy demographic back then. Abscam also targeted a large group of "working-class" Congressmen, those who didn't have much personal wealth, presumably because they might need the money more. Senator Williams, though, was from an aristocratic background.

The more popular theory at the time was that the FBI, not the President, was targeting Democrats for some internal reason. I still find it incredible that a sting would be set up against a leading Senator who had not previously been suspected of any wrongdoing, without the President being informed.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:56 AM
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99

... It didn't do her any harm, it wasn't about trying to claim he was sober (or if there was an attempt in that direction, I hadn't heard of it), ...

According to wikipedia Kennedy claimed in a televised speech the next day that:

he "was not driving under the influence of liquor".

It appears to me that he delayed reporting the incident in the hope that his involvement could somehow be concealed but his advisors weren't willing to go along.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:58 AM
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170: Most likely not, Shearer. LB was the one who said she disapproved of his personal behavior.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 11:59 AM
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If marital fidelity ever becomes a qualification for sitting in Congress/PTA/ Ballet Board/ Youth Sports Boards/ Church Boards, they're going to have a hell of a time mustering a quorum.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:01 PM
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168

I actually do -- I'd comment, but it requires registration ...

I didn't realize registration was so onerous. I have switched the setting to anyone.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:06 PM
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170: Yep. That's on my list of things I really don't give a damn about if I don't know the people personally. I'm cross with Edwards because of the political implications of other people giving a damn, but I don't.

Also, you're talking about adultery generally or specifically in relation to Chappaquidick? I had the vague memory that Kopechne wasn't a girlfriend, he was giving her a ride home. (Who knows what their plan was for the evening, but assuming there's a demographic out there who's bothered by adultery, no need to say unsupported bad things about Kopechne.)

174: Eh, what I meant, rather than what I said, is that I don't recall the evidentiary issues being serious -- it's not like he would have been convicted of drunk driving or vehicular homicide except that the cops couldn't prove it because too much time had elapsed. He didn't dodge any consequences by going to the police the next morning rather than that night.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:06 PM
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As I've said before, anyone who comments here with a linked blog? I've probably read all your archives.

I imagine you reading my blog thinking, "what is the point?" given your stated feelings about music.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:07 PM
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Nasty Kathryn Jean Lopez is already invoking the Wellstone funeral. Don't you horrible democrats think about talking about the things to which EMK dedicated his life's work!

GNASH.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:09 PM
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178: Admittedly, while I have read some of your posts, your archives I haven't read in their entirety. Too many proper nouns that I don't know what they refer to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:09 PM
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Puke:

We Should Have Done it for the Gipper! [Jonah Goldberg]

If only we thought to say that Bush's social-security privatization plan should have been passed as a tribute to Ronald Reagan. I am absolutely sure Nancy Pelosi & Co. would have agreed instantly with the suggestion.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:35 PM
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I haven't gotten to the Lopez comments yet.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:35 PM
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Okay, Lopez was worse.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:37 PM
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I will stop at nothing to procrastinate.

. . . Too many proper nouns that I don't know what they refer to.

Empirical evidence demonstrating that at which you will stop.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:39 PM
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I dunno, BG, 181 is amazingly awful too. Why choose between them!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:39 PM
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181: Opposition to political violence is all well and good, but Jonah Goldberg needs a horsewhipping.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:46 PM
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Wouldn't it be easier just to read McMegan if you want to bash your head against the wall. Unlike NRO, some of her ignorant mendacity is at least superficially clever.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:46 PM
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?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:46 PM
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The problem with 186 is that he might enjoy it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:47 PM
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Heh. Initially, I thought 188 was a substantive response to 187 until I noticed both were NPH. I was all set to agree, too!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:48 PM
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177

Also, you're talking about adultery generally or specifically in relation to Chappaquidick? I had the vague memory that Kopechne wasn't a girlfriend, he was giving her a ride home. (Who knows what their plan was for the evening, but assuming there's a demographic out there who's bothered by adultery, no need to say unsupported bad things about Kopechne.)

Kennedy's story was that he was giving her a ride home but the weight of the evidence is otherwise. According to this article Kopechne left behind her purse and the keys to her hotel room. Additionally Kennedy's story that he made a wrong turn is implausible and the car was apparently seen at 12:45 am while the last ferry was at midnight.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 12:49 PM
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Including John Jenrette (D-SC)

Despite being indicted on bribery charges, Jenrette actually managed to defend his seat in the party primary. Which, of course, only made his defeat that November inevitable.

Take away the failure of the hostage rescue

Even as a kid, I knew that Carter was doomed when my father woke me up and told me that an attempted rescue mission had failed. It's the sort of disaster you can't recover from, especially in a tight race. Looking back on it, it isn't clear to me why Carter gambled everything on such a tricky mission.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:03 PM
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Additionally Kennedy's story that he made a wrong turn is implausible

For a man drunk enough to drive off a bridge?

I don't particularly care if Kennedy and Kopechne were having sex -- I'm not her mother or her sister. But it's not a well-established fact, and given that it doesn't affect the rights and wrongs of Kennedy's actions significantly, it seems unnecessary to treat it as such.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:04 PM
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Reverting to the topic of the OP, here's a Kos diary with a tribute to one of Kennedy's less celebrated legislative accomplishments.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:11 PM
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pain, you and apo manage to find decent stuff on daily kos. I used to like reading stuff my Meteor Blades, but there's so much crap there that I can't be bothered to sort through it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:18 PM
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195: Actually, I never read it except on a link from someone good. I should have offered a hat tip to the linker, but I don't recall who it was.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:30 PM
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193

For a man drunk enough to drive off a bridge?

There's drunk and there's wrong way driver drunk. If he missed the turn because he was drunk he was really impaired. Driving off the bridge is easier to understand. And his story was that he wasn't drunk at all.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:33 PM
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193

I don't particularly care if Kennedy and Kopechne were having sex -- I'm not her mother or her sister. But it's not a well-established fact, and given that it doesn't affect the rights and wrongs of Kennedy's actions significantly, it seems unnecessary to treat it as such.

The supposition isn't that they had an established relationship, just that on this night for whatever reason they were looking for a secluded spot.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:36 PM
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It takes more impairment to miss a turn than to drive off a bridge?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:36 PM
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Pitch black? No street lights? Tiny dirt roads?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:39 PM
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Stay classy, Glenn Reynolds.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:43 PM
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199

It takes more impairment to miss a turn than to drive off a bridge

I shouldn't have said miss the turn. I should have said took a wrong turn:

They headed for the L-shaped intersection, where the paved road curved left toward the ferry and the hard-to-see right turn led to the bridge.

Kennedy's story has not changed in 40 years: He was confused. He thought the ferry was the other way. He turned right.

There were no lights or signs to alert a nighttime driver to the bridge, which was at an odd angle to the road. By the time Kennedy knew what was happening, it was too late. The front tires of the Oldsmobile lifted up, over the stacked planks that were the only barrier on the right edge of the bridge.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:46 PM
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Glenn's "And how did that work out?" is a totally understandable threat. "We Republicans control the media and will turn this against you like we did the last time you showed any backbone. Just imagine how demoralized you will be." is the message.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:46 PM
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198: Complete non sequitur. But if salacious speculation about a dead woman makes you happy, go crazy with it, Shearer.

197: Huh. I've taken wrong turns dead sober, but I've never driven off a road. If driving errors that cause death seem more likely to you than getting lost, remind me never to get in a car with you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:49 PM
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Looking at John Noonan's Bribes, which has a short summary of Abscam, it appears that Abscam's apparent bias was related to the use of middlemen: the targets were people connected to the people who initially made contact with the Abscam front. This doesn't preclude targeting only certain middlemen, who might be connected to desired politicians, but it does make the connection less direct. One middleman, Angelo Joseph Errichetti, who was mayor of Camden and a member of the state senate (at the same time? I don't know) seems to have been the main source of politicians - he recruited Williams, among others. (For his own part Errichetti tried to scam the Abscam reps.)

Williams was already caught up in the sting in late 1979, so I suppose he may have been selectively prosecuted for something that happened in the 1980 campaign, but he was already a target before the primaries. Noonan claims Williams was still on the fence when he was first brought in, but I have no idea. Anyway, Noonan says that the targets were not chosen for partisan reasons, and that they had to handle the Williams case carefully because of his prominence, but that's about all he says about political considerations. He doesn't spend any time discussing claims that there were political motivations.

Noonan's book came out in the mid-80s and it's really a general study of bribery. Maybe there's some better, more recent source out there.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:53 PM
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204 is a little unfair. Questioning the plausibility of Kennedy's story isn't necessarily impugning the honor of Mary Jo Kopechne.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 1:58 PM
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206: Assuming without strong evidence that Kopechne and Kennedy were fucking is "impugning her honor" by a standard which, although it isn't mine, given the era and circumstances was probably the standard she and her family would have applied. Given that it's completely unnecessary to establish the clear and obvious wrongdoing on Kennedy's part, it seems kinder to her family and her memory not to go there.

But I'm not the tastefulness police around here -- Shearer can say what he likes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:03 PM
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But it's not really suggesting that Kennedy was fucking her, only that he was trying to get her somewhere where he thought he'd have the opportunity. I'm with you on not needing to go there, but working through the details is kind of JBS's thing.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:06 PM
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194 is really interesting, thanks.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:07 PM
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But it's not really suggesting that Kennedy was fucking her, only that he was trying to get her somewhere where he thought he'd have the opportunity.

I'm not following this. Either "they" were looking for a secluded place, in which case my earlier comment about "impugning her honor" by what I'd guess were her and her family's standards applies, or you're saying he was planning to rape her? I don't think that can be what you mean, but I'm lost otherwise. "Opportunity" to do what?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:09 PM
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210: I'm not taking a position on what he, or they, were or weren't trying to do, but a scenario in which he was looking for a spot to take advantage of the poor girl is certainly one view of the situation that emphasizes Kennedy's perfidy without necessarily wronging Kopechne. But I'll drop it.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:16 PM
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But if salacious speculation about a dead woman makes you happy, go crazy with it, Shearer.

I think it's a bit much to say that Shearer was making himself happy by speculating about the sex life of a dead woman. He made it pretty clear above that he what he was interested in was the possibility that Kennedy had engaged in sexual infidelity.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:19 PM
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No harm done, in any event. 204's harshness was largely about my belief that Shearer simply wouldn't follow that I was talking about good taste and kindness rather than settling in for a rousing analysis of the probabilities unless I was clear.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:20 PM
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He made it pretty clear above that he what he was interested in was the possibility that Kennedy had engaged in sexual infidelity.

But that's well established a dozen times over in other incidents. Kennedy was certainly slutting around generally, and anyone who objects to that sort of thing should think ill of him for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 2:22 PM
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JBS, are you saying that he was not drunk, but merely a rapist?

But in that case, shouldn't he likely have raped before, such that he knew the way to a secluded spot suitable for doing so?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:10 PM
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207

Assuming without strong evidence that Kopechne and Kennedy were fucking is "impugning her honor" by a standard which, although it isn't mine, given the era and circumstances was probably the standard she and her family would have applied. Given that it's completely unnecessary to establish the clear and obvious wrongdoing on Kennedy's part, it seems kinder to her family and her memory not to go there.

I am not assuming a pre-existing relationship. Perhaps in my original comment I should have said intended adultery to make this clear. As for the rest accepting Kennedy's story protects Kennedy more than Kopechne.

210

I'm not following this. Either "they" were looking for a secluded place, in which case my earlier comment about "impugning her honor" by what I'd guess were her and her family's standards applies, or you're saying he was planning to rape her? I don't think that can be what you mean, but I'm lost otherwise. "Opportunity" to do what?

I should have said "he" instead of "they". I believe Kennedy was looking for an opportunity to have sex. Her motives are unclear. Possibly she was naive enough to believe he just wanted to take a walk on the beach (or whatever), possibly she was trying to avoid offending a powerful man, possibly she was expecting a pass but undecided about how she would respond, possibly she would have welcomed a pass, possibly the pass already been made and accepted. Hard to say.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:11 PM
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I can't believe y'all let the Republican hijack the thread.

What would Emerson say?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:13 PM
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204

Huh. I've taken wrong turns dead sober, but I've never driven off a road. If driving errors that cause death seem more likely to you than getting lost, remind me never to get in a car with you.

You really have to go out of your way to make this particular wrong turn. Accidentally driving off an unlit, unmarked, no guardrail bridge with a bend at night is easier for me to see.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:16 PM
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216: Good to know your certainty about his motives at an event forty years ago where you weren't present is matched by a concession that her motives were unclear. Have you considered looking for work with the Psychic Friends Network?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:17 PM
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You really have to go out of your way to make this particular wrong turn.

Huh. I didn't know you were personally familiar with the road. You vacation around there?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:19 PM
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Not that any of this is particularly important -- I'm just annoyed by stated certainty from someone without enough information to back it up.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:22 PM
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What would Emerson say?

"I don't comment at unfogged any more."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:28 PM
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"You people mean nothing to me. Stop emailing me. I hate you like I hate economists."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:32 PM
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"You're nothing but a pack of analytic philosophers!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:33 PM
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||

Looks like someone has picked up the torch of mrh's pundit predictions site. This is a good thing, and potentially a great thing.

(h/t themonkeycage.org)

|>


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:37 PM
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I should stop picking at Shearer, but this:

As for the rest accepting Kennedy's story protects Kennedy more than Kopechne.

How? Kennedy is well established as unchaste outside this incident -- whether or not he was fucking or planned to fuck Kopechne has no bearing on his general character for sexual continence: he doesn't have one. At that point, what does where they were headed and what they were going to do when they got there have to do with his wrongdoing (driving drunk, failing to rescue her, failing to report the accident immediately)?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:37 PM
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There's a higher duty of chivalry towards the women one sleeps with? Makes not-rescuing her incrementally worse?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:44 PM
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The Greatest Senator in American History ...Open Left with good comments. Mike Mansfield worked in an impressive and active period.

I think EotAW has a similar post. Somehow putting Kennedy in that historical context reaches me even more than listing his accomplishments.

Greater than Clay. Greater than Webster. Greater than LaFollette. The fucking best ever, which considering the difficulty and thanklessness of the job, the necessity of persuasion over the exercise of power as in the Presidency, the personal tragedies and personal flaws overcome, makes it possible to nominate Kennedy as greatest American ever.

ari can come over and defend Lincoln.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:47 PM
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Senator Kennedy's first piece of legislation may have been his most meaningful: The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. It changed, and is still changing, the country in profound ways. Then again, since America has commonly been made and remade by waves of immigrations during its history, maybe the bill just took us back to our transformative roots, rather than changing us all that much.

No, it may very well have be the most important piece of legislation of the century starting with it's enactment. If you ever again talk about an Democratic advantage in demographics, remember who to thank for it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:57 PM
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Failed to give credit for the blockquote


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 3:59 PM
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220

Huh. I didn't know you were personally familiar with the road. You vacation around there?

If I recall correctly the Wall Street Journal editorial page once published a photograph of the intersection in question. I can't seem to find it on the web but my memory is the clear default course would be to turn left on the paved main road rather right onto an unpaved side road.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:00 PM
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221

Not that any of this is particularly important -- I'm just annoyed by stated certainty from someone without enough information to back it up.

Nothing is certain but it is tedious to always be including disclaimers. My earlier comment was the weight of the evidence is that Kennedy was lying when he said he was taking Kopechne back to her hotel. In other words he was more likely than not to be lying.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:06 PM
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Oh, I shouldn't have argued. If I didn't want a long conversation about Kopechne's sex life, expressing my distaste for it was clearly a counterproductive way of going about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:10 PM
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226

How? Kennedy is well established as unchaste outside this incident -- whether or not he was fucking or planned to fuck Kopechne has no bearing on his general character for sexual continence: he doesn't have one. At that point, what does where they were headed and what they were going to do when they got there have to do with his wrongdoing (driving drunk, failing to rescue her, failing to report the accident immediately)?

It has to do with whether his account was truthful. And I don't believe he was lying to protect her. Nor do I believe that most people objecting to discussing this are primarily concerned with her reputation. Especially 40 years later.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:11 PM
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Kennedy understood what happens when you open the borders, not to the wealthy and educated, but to the huddled masses. It takes a couple generations to bear fruit, but it is guaranteed. Kennedt understood it personally. It certainly wasn't just strategy buy any means, but it was great fucking strategy.

There is a case to be made that the rightward shift after the 70s was at least partially due to the limits to immigration made in the twenties during a Republian era. Again, think two generations leadtime, time til grandkids can vote their parents into office.

And you're talking maps with a Republican.


Posted by: bob mcmanusb | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:16 PM
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It has to do with whether his account was truthful. And I don't believe he was lying to protect her.

If we stipulate that in his long history of unchaste behavior, Kennedy almost certainly at one time or another lied to cover up adultery, is that all you're on about? Because I will agree that Kennedy almost certainly, at one time or another, lied to cover up adultery.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:18 PM
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233

Oh, I shouldn't have argued. If I didn't want a long conversation about Kopechne's sex life, expressing my distaste for it was clearly a counterproductive way of going about it.

Suppose this had been 6 older married male partners in a law firm with 6 younger unmarried female associates. You don't think there was possibly something questionable about the whole setup even if no one had ended up dead?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:22 PM
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I give, Shearer, I give. Speculate away!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:25 PM
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236

If we stipulate that in his long history of unchaste behavior, Kennedy almost certainly at one time or another lied to cover up adultery, is that all you're on about? Because I will agree that Kennedy almost certainly, at one time or another, lied to cover up adultery.

Lying in a police report (sworn statement?) about an incident in which someone died is bit more serious than lying to your wife about where you were.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:26 PM
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Why? If the lie is on a matter irrelevant to your (or anyone else's) legal culpability, what's magic about the police?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:28 PM
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Kennedy as greatest American ever

Probably not. But I don't want to fight and risk offending Witt's delicate sensibilities. Anyway, as you suggest, he certainly merits consideration as the greatest senator in the country's history.

Also, I thought b's appreciation was really well done.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:31 PM
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Also awesome.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:34 PM
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Oh, Bitch's post is great. I've had that thought about privilege in relation to FDR (huh, someone else with all the privilege in the world, but who still couldn't be sheltered by it from shattering personal tragedy); that it can make a person incredibly free to work for other people, because they're free of fears for themselves.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:36 PM
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Watch at 4:45 mark and be ready to cry at the loss of this great man.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:36 PM
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244 as a continuation of 242.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:37 PM
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Aw, thanks, you guys.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:38 PM
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Props on getting a link from "The Way the World Works", Prof. Gelman.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:43 PM
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Yeah, I saw that.


Posted by: r.e. gelman | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:45 PM
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Aw, thanks, you guys.

It would have killed you to give a shout-out to the trans community?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 4:47 PM
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241:I think I'm banned from b's. The right hand column always expands to cover at least half the posttext.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:13 PM
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I'm jealous. I always wanted a link from him, but (either my old policy stuff wasn't good enough or) he wasn't following local water policy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:15 PM
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Nah, that used to happen to me too and I'm sure I'm not banned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:15 PM
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240

Why? If the lie is on a matter irrelevant to your (or anyone else's) legal culpability, what's magic about the police?

Your planned route and intended destination are certainly material to an accident investigation. Particularly if you are claiming you were lost.

And of course lying in an accident report or sworn statement is often a crime while lying to your wife isn't.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 5:37 PM
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250: You're not banned that I know of. The column problem is a factor of whether or not there's an embedded image or something that's wider than the defined column, but I really do try to stay on top of that. If it's a consistent problem you're having, I can't imagine why, which I realize is no help at all.

Of course, if you've been making asshole remarks under a name I don't know, it's quite possible I've banned you, but I haven't seen you doing the kind of thing here that generally gets people banned at my place, so I doubt it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:05 PM
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249: You know what's really sad is that I actively postpone, if not avoid, some trans-related content because I just do not want to put up with the trolls. Which really sucks (and usually I write something eventually anyway, but I sure don't do it off the top of my head the way I do everything else).


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:07 PM
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Last Liberal Lion ...Ian Welsh

None of us want to spend our lives watching the ongoing destruction of everything we believe in, and the endless battles, so often occasioned by yet another retreat, must have been demoralizing. Yet nonetheless he kept fighting. If it is in defeat, rather than victory, that man is measured, then Kennedy measured up well, and always regrouped to fight another day and even won many victories. His legacy is what remains of liberalism, which he fought for all his life.

254:if you've been making asshole remarks under a name I don't know

I always use the only name I have.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 6:51 PM
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||

Aw heck, why not.

"Lenin" argues with Walter Benn Michaels and connects the health care cretins to American racism.

Current reading:From New Deal to New Right which is an anti-backlash history and, I think, an argument against Rick Perlstein. Book starts from Charles Wallace Collins who doesn't even a Wikipedia entry. (The ebay entry may not last. Sorry, apparently the book is sold.)

1947

In this book the author presents "a question in respect to the political dilemma which now confronts the South" The "far reaching Negro movement" is "anchored to a craftily conceived legislative program to make the Negro equal to the white man economically, politically and socially.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:25 PM
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C-SPAN is running Kennedy's 1980 convention speech. Had he basically lost by then? One "Kennedy '80" sign being waved had a "4" covering up the "0".


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:28 PM
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||

I must keep the blog alive! With twitters!

Finished the first two seasons of Mad Men Sunday night. The penultimate episode made the show and should have locked Hamm for an emmy.

Saw a mint-condition snowwhite 1965 Shelby Mustang with complete original racing package in the grocery parking lot today. Came home and changed my underwear.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:30 PM
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Never mind, he had conceded. I was misled by all the signs and "We Want Ted" chants.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 7:54 PM
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225: Wow. That is way better than the site that slacker mrh threw together.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:00 PM
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256: In that case, no, you have definitely not been banned.

"If it is in defeat, rather than victory, that man is measured" then I am basically fucked, because I don't handle failure well at all.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:19 PM
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D'oh "that *man* is measured", b.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:25 PM
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And although I have mixed feelings about bringing up this particular reminder of why identity politics have mattered over these past 40 years, I've been semi-haunted all day by this headline and lead from a NY Times News Service article on Chappaquiddick. Blond Killed In Sinking of Kennedy Car. A 28-year-old attractive blond drowned Saturday ...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:34 PM
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I am excused from discussing Chappaquidick for the rest of my life because I once read Joyce Carol Oates' Black Water (which is a thinly fictionalized account). I would have been happier if I had just drowned.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:41 PM
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I am excused from discussing Chappaquidick for the rest of my life because I once read Joyce Carol Oates' Black Water (which is a thinly fictionalized account). I would have been happier if I had just drowned.

Oh, wow, I had blocked that out. I read it when I was, like, 11, and had never even heard of the original events.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:48 PM
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You both read Black Water? I'm pretty sure you're the only two. Well, I did, too. But I had to -- for work.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:52 PM
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I see that (given publication dates) I must have been older than 11 when I read it, which just goes to show that I was a pretty know-nothing high school student.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:58 PM
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As penance for 264, I just watched the video in 242 and it is indeed great. Don't believe I had ever heard it before.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 8:58 PM
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I am a cretin. I am fairly sure that I gave no thought whatsoever to JCO until I read a something snotty Spy wrote about her in the 90s.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:03 PM
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A little searching reveals that the image linked in 264 comes from a Florida newspaper, whose main headline is "Moon Landing Slated for Today". I had forgotten that juxtaposition of events.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:15 PM
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193, 197 not necessary to re litigate.
Jello shots for all. Comity.


Posted by: E | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:15 PM
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272: Yeah, LB, shouldn't you be offering pastries to James? Here, have a glazed danish.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:17 PM
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Or a Hertz donut.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:21 PM
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Dogbert: A good way to name tech companies is to randomly combine words from astronomy from words from technology. As an example, Uranus-Hertz.

PHB: I like it.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 08-26-09 9:31 PM
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I've been semi-haunted all day by this headline and lead from a NY Times News Service article on Chappaquiddick. Blond Killed In Sinking of Kennedy Car. A 28-year-old attractive blond drowned Saturday ...

I'm haunted too. Especially by the standards of 40 years ago, it should be "blonde."


Posted by: apk01004 | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:30 AM
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Sorry to return to an unpleasant conversation, but I have a question about this, upthread:

Once you cut him slack for the driving drunk as not extraordinarily evil, there's not much less that he did significantly wrong -- to do any good, he would have had to rescue her in under ten minutes or so,

That sounded plausible to me, but a friend, with whom I was discussing Kennedy, pointed me towards this line in the BBC Obit.

Evidence given at the subsequent inquest suggested that she had probably remained alive in an air pocket for several hours and might well have been saved had the alarm been raised at the time.

Does anyone know if that is an accurate description? It seems like it would make a difference by refuting the statement from LB quoted above.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 9:44 AM
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Comparing it to what's on Wikipedia, the obit looks overstated. The evidence referenced seems to be from a diver who said that he thought there would have been an air bubble, and he thought she would have been in it and would have lived long enough to be rescued if someone had called him that night. That is, it's not medical evidence of when she died, but speculation from a non-expert.

But I don't know -- not reporting it instantly may have been more practically important than seems likely to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 10:00 AM
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279: Your response seems completely correct to me -- but also completely lawyerly. I'm reading a transcript right now, and confidently dismissing alleged error as "harmless" because the evidence was plainly admitted for an entirely unrelated purpose. And while this may carry the day on appeal, it's patently obvious to me that normal people wouldn't be looking at evidence this way.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 10:06 AM
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My thought exactly, apko1004. Of course, I still use brunet when appropriate, so perhaps my sensitivities are overly fine.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 10:06 AM
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Joyce Carol Oates' little weirdo thing in the Guardian today plainly asserts that MJK "died an agonising death of suffocation over hours." She of course has no idea, but there you go.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 10:14 AM
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The most contemporaneous account from the diver (from whom all of the speculation apparently arises) seems to be in this Jack Anderson column from about a month later (scanned article in Google News archive).

For non-link-clickers here is a paragraph from a People magazine article in the '80s. (Which I noted also used "blond".)

Kennedy's failure to seek help immediately may have cost Kopechne her life. It took only 20 minutes for John Farrar, head of search and rescue for the Edgartown volunteer fire department, to reach the scene once he was notified--at 8:25 the next morning. Donning scuba gear, Farrar found the body of Kopechne in the overturned car, her hands clasping the backseat, her face turned upward to the footwell above her. "It looked as if she were holding herself up to get a last breath of air," says Farrar, 52, the manager of a burglar-alarm store. "It was a consciously assumed position." Farrar believes the car had contained an air pocket, and that Kopechne "lived for at least two hours down there." But Farrar says he was never given a chance at the inquest to explain what he saw. "I was told outright by the D.A.'s office that I would not be allowed to testify on how long Kopechne was alive in the car. They were not interested in the least in anything that would hurt Ted Kennedy."

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 10:34 AM
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Huh. Now, I'm just talking -- I don't have enough knowledge to really justify an opinion, but if she was conscious and moving around the interior of the car (that is, not pinned in her seat), what kept her from escaping? The doors couldn't have all been jammed shut, because Teddy escaped. This may make more sense then it seems to to me, given that I don't know jack about what happens when people get trapped in cars underwater.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 10:42 AM
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283: Yes, I don't think you were/are being overly "lawyerly". There are several aspects of both the contemporaneous and later accounts which would lead a cautious observer to take them with a grain of salt (disappointed first responder etc.). Not meaning to excuse his lack of notification in any way, just the certainty of the consequences.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 10:50 AM
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284: And that Anderson column says the driver's side window was open. It's confusing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 10:52 AM
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284: The part I read as lawyerly was the emphasis on non-expert speculation. The quote above from Farrar that he was told he wouldn't be allowed to testify on how long Kopechne survived and his interpretation that this was to protect Kennedy suggests he didn't get that distinction -- he wasn't excluded to protect Kennedy; he was excluded because he's not qualified to opine as to time of death.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 11:06 AM
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283

Huh. Now, I'm just talking -- I don't have enough knowledge to really justify an opinion, but if she was conscious and moving around the interior of the car (that is, not pinned in her seat), what kept her from escaping? The doors couldn't have all been jammed shut, because Teddy escaped. This may make more sense then it seems to to me, given that I don't know jack about what happens when people get trapped in cars underwater.

I tend to agree that Kennedy's failure to notify the authorities immediately probably didn't matter in this case. However it is hard to completely exclude the possibility that it did. Kennedy could have gotten out before the car had settled to the bottom and it could have landed in such a way that his exit was blocked. Or Kopechne could have been reluctant to abandon the temporary safety of an air pocket on a chancy effort to escape.

On the other hand there might not have been an air pocket or it might have been too small to matter. It would have taken longer to locate the car in the middle of the night.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 11:18 AM
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287: Right. So why speculate at all?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:03 PM
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286: Right -- he sounded aggrieved by having his evidence excluded, and of course it would have been excluded on that point whether or not anyone was trying to protect Kennedy (not that there's any question that Kennedy was being protected -- he indubitably was). You don't let people testify to their non-expert opinion about what they think probably happened.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:11 PM
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So why speculate at all?

I think Shearer's point isn't that Kennedy would be a worse person if we knew Kopechne would have survived, but that he is a worse person because he kept silent at a time when *he* did not know whether speaking up would have made a difference.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:16 PM
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290: Which is a fair point, generally. My tendency to find Kennedy's after-the-accident actions forgivable is based mostly on not thinking that how you react in an emergency situation when you're probably drunk and have just escaped from a car that went off a bridge means much about your moral character (kind of the same thing as believing that the number of bullets fired in a bad police shooting doesn't mean much. I'll hold a cop responsible for starting the shooting -- the fact that every cop around emptied their guns when they heard gunfire, as in the Sean Bell case, doesn't seem like a separate offense. People hear gunshots and they panic). I still have the sense that the point in the aftermath where I'd start holding Kennedy seriously responsible for what he was doing (he was, of course, responsible for the accident in the first place) was most likely past the point where it was plausible that she could have survived.

But you're right - he couldn't have known at the time that wouldn't have made a difference.

(On a completely irrelevant note: how fast do you bet they got a guardrail up afterwards? The idea of a bridge with no guardrail over a stream big enough to completely submerge a car seems insane to me.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:28 PM
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289 -- Why would the rules of evidence apply to an inquest?

And, even if we're talking about trial, had the DA wanted to bring the case to trial, they surely could have had the guy testify as to what he saw and, possibly, as to his informed lay opinion as a fire chief/rescuer as to whether or not he concluded that there was an air pocket. And then some other expert could easily have used that information to talk about the time of death.

I love Ted Kennedy, and have no idea one way or another as to what happened w/Kopechbe or this guy's evidence, but it's surely not the case that the DA, if he'd wanted to prosecute Kennedy, wouldn't have been able to use this guy's evidence at all.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:28 PM
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they surely could have had the guy testify as to what he saw and, possibly, as to his informed lay opinion as a fire chief/rescuer as to whether or not he concluded that there was an air pocket.

I haven't worked on a lot of trials (and never in Massachusetts -- evidentiary issues are very state specific) but this strikes me as a real stretch of lay opinion testimony, unless the guy had a significant amount of really on-point experience. You really think a prosecutor would have been able to get it in?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:33 PM
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(On a completely irrelevant note: how fast do you bet they got a guardrail up afterwards? The idea of a bridge with no guardrail over a stream big enough to completely submerge a car seems insane to me.)

THANK YOU! That was my thought way upthread when someone (you?) mentioned the absence of a guardrail. I wouldn't want to defend that one. Unless there was ironclad immunity.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:35 PM
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The idea of a bridge with no guardrail

If I recall correctly, it was not a bridge normally crossed by motor vehicles.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:35 PM
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it's surely not the case that the DA, if he'd wanted to prosecute Kennedy, wouldn't have been able to use this guy's evidence at all

The guy didn't say he wasn't allowed to testify at all; just that he wasn't allowed to "to testify on how long Kopechne was alive in the car." Not really an appropriate subject for lay opinion.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:39 PM
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My tendency to find Kennedy's after-the-accident actions forgivable . . .

And, just to recall, you're the person who initially called Kennedy a "bad person."

I don't have a strong opinion at this point -- I believe that his behavior before/during/after the Chappaquiddick accident was disgraceful, but I don't know how much to hold that against him when I consider his legislative successes.

But I do believe it counts against him in a way that, for example, Clinton's affairs don't.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:41 PM
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But I do believe it counts against him in a way that, for example, Clinton's affairs don't.

Eh, I say it counts against both in a way that, at the end of a man's life, who are we really to judge him "good" or "bad." Chappaquiddick was surely bad; Kennedy was human.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:45 PM
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294 -- hard to say; fact specific, and I don't know about MA law. Probably depends on the volunteer fire chief's experience with air pockets, which could be a little or could be a lot. At a minimum, though, the DA surely could have let this guy testify to what he saw, and then have brought in an expert to say that this was consistent with an air pocket, two hour survival time, etc. (Which could be realistic or not, I have no idea). Anyhow, there's no real point here, just that we'd need to know more before deciding that the guy's story that his testimony wasn't wanted is just a case of his misunderstanding the rules of evidence.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:47 PM
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I would like to think that Kennedy posthumoieties* (Kennedy Redeemed and Kennedy Maleficarum, available at your local comic shop) are equally ridiculous, but I suspect that liberals won't be able to make the hay that they would like while conservatives will still be putting unflattering, jowly photographs of Teddy on fundraising pamphlets for the next 18 months.

* Sorry. Had to type it as soon as it popped into my head.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:50 PM
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It's also unclear from the article whether he was prevented from testifying at an inquest or was told that he wouldn't be allowed to testify as to time of death at trial. The rules of evidence wouldn't apply to the inquest.


Posted by: robert halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 12:51 PM
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Eh, I say it counts against both in a way that, at the end of a man's life, who are we really to judge him "good" or "bad."

Yes but . . .

I mean, I agree. See the bit of my comment before the quoted section.

At the same time, I feel a bit like I'm standing on a slippery slope, at the bottom of which is a declaration that nobody should ever judge anyone else, and I'm trying to figure out how close to the top I am.

With Clinton's affairs, particularly the affairs conducted before he was in the White House, I feel like it doesn't require descending very far down that slope at all to say, "his (alleged) sins are strictly in his private life. The people in his life can judge him, and forgive him or not, but I have no reason to do so."

To say of Kennedy, "I have no reason to nor basis for judging his conduct" (and I note that nobody in this thread has said that explicitly) would feel like it require going further down that slope. At the point that someone is behaving in ways which would almost certainly justify investigation by the police, it's no longer strictly a matter of his private life.

So I feel like it would be appropriate to have an opinion, and I don't have a strong one yet, and so I appreciate the argument in this thread for helping my formulate my opinions.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:02 PM
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My take is that the conventional wisdom is about right -- Kennedy was a flawed human being who did not let those flaws prevent him from being a great force for good in the world.

Since we're all flawed -- and since sometimes luck reveals those flaws for some of us in ways it doesn't for others (really, honestly, are you absolutely sure that in Kennedy's position at Chappaquiddick you would have acted more heroically?) -- that's about all one can reasonably ask for in this life. Kennedy rightly deserves to be seen as a great man for what he was able to achieve, and for not allowing either his flaws or his advantages to destroy his capacity for good work.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:09 PM
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I'm pretty willing to judge people generally -- when I called him a bad man, I was thinking about other behavior. Chappaquiddick seems largely like godawful "moral luck" to me, though. Killing someone by driving drunk is a terrible thing to happen, but not really a worse action than driving drunk in the first place, and I'm really not inclined to draw conclusions about someone's character from how they responded to a middle-of-the-night accident that could have killed them. If there's every an excuse to be so shaken up that you act badly or inappropriately in response, that's it. (And of course, the most coldbloodedly cynical and careerist response to the accident would have been to do everything possible to rescue her. If she'd been pulled out of the car alive, we'd probably have had three Kennedy presidents. Screwing up his response that night couldn't have been cynically evil, because the cynical thing to do was also the right thing to do.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:12 PM
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The quoted sentence to which I was responding was, "I was told outright by the D.A.'s office that I would not be allowed to testify on how long Kopechne was alive in the car. They were not interested in the least in anything that would hurt Ted Kennedy."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:20 PM
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Since we're all flawed -- and since sometimes luck reveals those flaws for some of us in ways it doesn't for others (really, honestly, are you absolutely sure that in Kennedy's position at Chappaquiddick you would have acted more heroically?) -- that's about all one can reasonably ask for in this life. Kennedy rightly deserves to be seen as a great man for what he was able to achieve, and for not allowing either his flaws or his advantages to destroy his capacity for good work.

Yes, this. It has been in my least proud moments that I've learned the most empathy. "How could anyone ever" can transform into "oh" more quickly than most of us would like to imagine.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:25 PM
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304

... And of course, the most coldbloodedly cynical and careerist response to the accident would have been to do everything possible to rescue her. ...

Not clear. He could have figured she was likely dead and his best chance was to get one of his advisors to take the blame. There is some evidence he thoughts along those lines.

... If she'd been pulled out of the car alive, we'd probably have had three Kennedy presidents.

Three?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:30 PM
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I pulled a hit and run once*. I only hit a parked vehicle, and I hope that if I had hit a person instead I would have got out and helped them, but leaving the scene was stupid either way, so...

* This became easily my most embarrassing moment in high school, and it's a tribute to white everybody-knowing-my-dad-in-a-small-town privilege that there were no more severe consequences than embarrassment.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:35 PM
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307
Three?

"Three Kennedy presidential terms" is all I can guess - that is, Ted would have been elected and reelected. Either that or LB forgot when RFK died.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:38 PM
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Mental error -- I was thinking of his two politician older brothers, and called them both presidents.

There is some evidence he thoughts along those lines.

Do you mean evidence, or do you mean that you read something speculating along those lines? I suppose there could be an account from an aide who was there that night saying "Teddy asked me to take the blame", but I'd be surprised that I hadn't heard of it. Short of such an account, what's evidence?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:38 PM
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304

I'm pretty willing to judge people generally -- when I called him a bad man, I was thinking about other behavior. Chappaquiddick seems largely like godawful "moral luck" to me, though. Killing someone by driving drunk is a terrible thing to happen, but not really a worse action than driving drunk in the first place, ...

What other bad behavior? If you mean drinking and chasing women Cappaquiddick seems to fit right in.

As for moral luck, I do believe in it to a certain extent. The above argument implicitly assumes all drunken driving is the same. But of course some drunken driving is much more reckless than other drunken driving and thus more morally culpable. In my opinion it is reasonable to presume that bad actions that result in death are worse than superficially similar bad actions that don't.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:38 PM
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Chappaquiddick seems largely like godawful "moral luck" to me, though. Killing someone by driving drunk is a terrible thing to happen, but not really a worse action than driving drunk in the first place, and I'm really not inclined to draw conclusions about someone's character from how they responded to a middle-of-the-night accident that could have killed them.

Hmmm, I'm sympathetic to this argument, but as yet unconvinced.

It seems like it's turns on two assertions:

1) The difference between a drunk driver who kills someone, and a drunk driver who never kills anyone is purely luck (or, phrased differently, the only meaningful difference is luck).

2) It is unreasonable to draw conclusions about someone's character based on how they react to extreme circumstances.

For (1), I just don't have enough experience to judge. I've literally never driven drunk (but I have driven when tired enough to worried about my reaction time), so I don't know. It bothers me that few of his contemporaries (at a time when driving drunk was more common) would have been likely to find this convincing. I think people are responsible for limiting their risk to reasonable levels, and I have no idea whether or not Kennedy did that.

For (2), I started a response, and then realized that I'm still thinking it over. I'm almost to the point where I can agree with that, because I do recognize that behavior in a crisis doesn't correspond to non-crisis behavior, but I'm not quite ready to agree with a strong form of (2) that says that there is no relationship between how someone behaves in a crisis and their day-to-day character.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:39 PM
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Come on people, keep commenting in this thread! There was exactly the same number in this thread and the dumb shoes thread for like half an hour there!


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:39 PM
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312.1: Well, your odds are affected by how often you drive drunk, and how drunk you are, so a drunk driver who kills someone is likely to be more culpable than someone who doesn't. But there's a strong element of luck in it.

.2: I'd draw a distinction between "crisis" generally, and "drunk and just pulled yourself out of an overturned car in a river after going off a bridge in the middle of the night". A crisis could be any stressful situation -- the Chappaquiddick aftermath seems to me as if it would make most people pretty nonfunctional in terms of exercising good judgment.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:45 PM
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310


Do you mean evidence, or do you mean that you read something speculating along those lines? I suppose there could be an account from an aide who was there that night saying "Teddy asked me to take the blame", but I'd be surprised that I hadn't heard of it. Short of such an account, what's evidence?

It is mostly speculation of course but there are facts that can be fit into such a scenario.

1) The long delay in reporting the incident.
2) Kennedy told his aides Gargan and Markham not to tell the girls.
3) Gargan and Markham did not notify the authorities.
4) Kennedy swam across a channel back to his hotel room, put on dry clothes and then made a noise complaint to the hotel manager.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:58 PM
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So how does the Mineshaft regard the convention of not speaking ill of the dead? Is the taboo worth upholding? Or is it more honor'd in the breach than the observance?

Many panties have been gotten in a wad over conservatives bleating "Chappaquidick" in the comments section of every Kennedy tribute. But is this really a convention we're willing to honor on equal terms? I didn't feel any grief over, say the death of Jesse Helms or Robert Novak. I might have even said something uncharitable on those occasions. If Karl Rove stepped in front of a bus tomorrow I'd probably be hard pressed to contain my elation.

OTOH, all these people have families and loved ones, and it seems awfully callous to add to their grief.

Perhaps a suitable rule could be "OK to whisper among like-minded people; not OK to broadcast". I know the virtuous thing is to refrain, but the tribute that vice pays to virtue may be easier live by.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 1:58 PM
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315: It is mostly speculation of course but there are facts that can be fit into such a scenario.

Got it.

316: I think there's a public figure exception on 'speaking ill of the dead'. I don't think it's actually causing anyone who cared about him significant emotional paid to be talking about Chappaquiddick now -- anyone who cared about Teddy Kennedy had to have had emotional callouses an inch thick about that sort of stuff.

When you're talking about private citizens who no longer have the opportunity to defend themselves against attack, I get squeamish about "speaking ill".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:04 PM
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What's the term for a word that describes itself? "Short," for example, is a short word.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:11 PM
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OT, obviously. Sorry.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:11 PM
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Kennedy swam across a channel back to his hotel room, put on dry clothes and then made a noise complaint to the hotel manager.

As long as we're speculating, let's also speculate that Kennedy consumed a hot breakfast and a hogshead of negus before he lodged that complaint.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:12 PM
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314

I'd draw a distinction between "crisis" generally, and "drunk and just pulled yourself out of an overturned car in a river after going off a bridge in the middle of the night". A crisis could be any stressful situation -- the Chappaquiddick aftermath seems to me as if it would make most people pretty nonfunctional in terms of exercising good judgment.

Many years ago I read an article about military training for tactical nuclear war in Europe. Some wise guy asked a question about whether people could be expected to keep their heads with atomic bombs going off around them. The training officer gave a good response, that the purpose of the training was to give them something to fall back on so they would instinctively do the right thing.

Similarly properly brought up citizens are supposed to instinctively notify the authorities in situations like Kennedy's. You shouldn't have to exercise any judgement good or bad because other courses of action shouldn't even occur to you.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:12 PM
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I think there's a public figure exception on 'speaking ill of the dead'...When you're talking about private citizens who no longer have the opportunity to defend themselves against attack, I get squeamish about "speaking ill".

What's the point of speaking ill of private citizens? My question is whether there really is such an exception for public figures. The MSM would have you believe there is not, most people seem to act as if there is, but many people also selectively apply the rule when it's convenient.

I'm curious what the Mineshaft thinks. I suspect that apo will come out foursquare for speaking ill of the dead, while Di and perhaps some others would argue for conventional rules of decorum.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:16 PM
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320

As long as we're speculating, ...

That's not speculation, that's fact (at least according to wikipedia). Speculation would be this was an attempt to establish an alibi.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:16 PM
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Think about that, though. What you've just said is that Teddy's instincts as demonstrated by his actions that night weren't those of a normally properly brought up citizen. And of course they weren't -- his upbringing and adult experiences weren't those of an ordinary person: he was the youngest son of an incredibly rich family, the President's little brother and a Senator himself. For most of his life, his reasonable response to an emergency would have been to turn to the people who worked for him and his family to figure out how to handle it rather than to the authorities, and deal with the formalities later.

The fact that he turned to his people that night, and didn't turn himself in to the police until the next day, seems like pretty much what you'd expect from someone with his training and experiences: the reaction of a very privileged person, but that's not news. He's a Kennedy: we already knew he was privileged. Other than the possible effect on Kopechne's chances for survival, I don't see that as reflecting badly on his moral character, rather than just revealingly on his upbringing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:26 PM
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Cyrus: autological or heterological


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:31 PM
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324

... I don't see that as reflecting badly on his moral character, rather than just revealingly on his upbringing.

Your moral character is influenced by your upbringing.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:39 PM
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325: Thanks.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:40 PM
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322:Attila the Hun had very poor personal hygeine.



Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:41 PM
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Since we're all flawed -- and since sometimes luck reveals those flaws for some of us in ways it doesn't for others (really, honestly, are you absolutely sure that in Kennedy's position at Chappaquiddick you would have acted more heroically?)

I just thought of a specific reference that this argument brings back for me, and it's one that may not speak well for my tastes.

At the beginning of High Fidelity the narrator lists the worst things that he did in his recently-ended relationship (borrowed money with no intention of paying it back, cheated on his SO, behaved in ways which prompted his SO to conceal both a pregnancy and an abortion, and so forth). He then says,

Did I do and say those things? Yes, I did. Are there any mitigating circumstances? Not really, unless any circumstances (in other words context) can be regarded as mitigating. And before you judge, although you have probably already done so, go ahead and write down the four worst things you have done to your partner, even if—especially if—your partner doesn't know about them. . . .

I believe that is a reasonable argument. I also recall that the same friend with whom I had the back-and-forth about Kennedy did not find that at all compelling either.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:41 PM
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apo will come out foursquare for speaking ill of the dead

I'm in favor of speaking of dead people the same way you spoke of them while alive.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:47 PM
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Laydeez


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:51 PM
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while Di and perhaps some others would argue for conventional rules of decorum.

Heh. I do have a bit of a pathological niceness compulsion... I'd probably say you should bite your tongue until after the funeral at least. But mostly, once Rove or someone like him goes, the best thing to do is smile to yourself and be grateful that he can cause no more harm.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:51 PM
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(That's sort of "speak no ill," sort of "Once they're dead, who the fuck cares?")


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:52 PM
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"My mother always told me it's polite to say something good about the dead, so here goes. Joan Crawford. She's dead. Good." -Bette Davis


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 2:57 PM
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I'm in favor of speaking of dead people the same way you spoke of them while alive.

"Michael Jackson's corpse sure can dance!"


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:06 PM
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"Michael Jackson looks weirder and less human every time I see him."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:10 PM
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336: Racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:13 PM
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"Ronald Reagan sure is deep."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:14 PM
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"Bob Novak looks weirder and less human every time I see him."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:14 PM
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"You'll never hear a racist word come out of Jesse Helms' mouth."


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:16 PM
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"Bob Novak looks weirder and less human every time I see bang him."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:17 PM
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It's impolite to speak ill of the recently dead, which of course still leave Michael Jackson and Bob Novak fair game.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:18 PM
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"This country would be a lot better off if we had more Republican Senators like Strom Thurmond."


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:18 PM
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"The Enquirer's reporting Michael Jackson had no nose."
"How did he smell?"
"Terrible!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:22 PM
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291.last: On a completely irrelevant note: how fast do you bet they got a guardrail up afterwards? The idea of a bridge with no guardrail over a stream big enough to completely submerge a car seems insane to me.

Irrelevant detail is my middle name. This article from 1992 on the process of building a replacement bridge would lead me to think that they did not replace.

Since then the bridge fell into disrepair, in part because curiosity-seekers were removing pieces of it. It was closed to vehicles in 1981, and by 1988 it was so decrepit that pedestrians were barred from using it.

From other articles, they apparently tried to sell it in 1984. I'm surprised the Reagan administration didn't buy it and install it over apart of the Tidal Basin.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 3:43 PM
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One of my favorite stories about Senator Kennedy was the speech he gave at Falwell's Liberty University. It seems that Falwell had somehow offered honorary memberships in the Moral Majority to various (all?) members of Congress, along with an invitation to come speak at Liberty University - in any case, somehow Kennedy got on the list. Kennedy accepted, and gave a powerful speech about the relationship between religion, government, and civil society. To their credit, I believe the Liberty students listened politely, and perhaps a few eyes were opened.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 5:30 PM
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291

(On a completely irrelevant note: how fast do you bet they got a guardrail up afterwards? The idea of a bridge with no guardrail over a stream big enough to completely submerge a car seems insane to me.)

Not very fast it would appear. Here is a photo taken the following year with no visible guardrails. And it is a tidal channel not a stream.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 5:41 PM
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310 315 317

For more on a possible coverup conspiracy see this Jack Anderson column.

See also this NYT book review.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 6:23 PM
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Isn't there a chapter on "death cars" in, erm, a Griel Marcus book or something? Robert would know.

(It came to mind due to the "death car" locution in all of these circa 69 articles.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 6:30 PM
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348: Did you read to the end?

What undermines Mr. Damore's account is that these accusations, while seeming to come from a first-hand source, are not direct quotes from Mr. Gargan, nor are they attributed directly to the 1983 interviews. (And this is, otherwise, a carefully attributed book, with 45 pages of footnotes.) One cannot tell if they are true, Mr. Gargan's interpretation of the Senator's behavior or, worse, the author's own interpretation, based on what Mr. Gargan told him in 1983.

And this is from his obituary:

Random House, which gave him a $150,000 advance in 1982, rejected his manuscript in 1987, describing it as libelous and demanding the return of the advance. Mr. Damore, arguing that the book was sound and that the publisher was bowing to the Kennedy family, went to court. After a judge ruled against him, he reached a settlement with Random House and sought another publisher. Regnery Gateway, a small, conservative house, brought the book out the next year, and although it received few reviews, it immediately became a big seller.

Note that 16 years later the publisher, Regnery, published another book about a Massachusetts politician that was also replete with footnotes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 6:54 PM
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350

Some of the questions in the NYT book review might be answered by Damore's papers which have apparently been sitting in the special collections and archives of Kent State University since 1993. These include notes on his interview with Gargan. But:

"The materials were delivered to Special Collections in almost total disarray and much of it had been damaged during storage ..."


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 8:08 PM
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Some of the questions in the NYT book review might be answered by Damore's papers which have apparently been sitting in the special collections and archives of Kent State University since 1993

Road trip!!

and much of it had been damaged during storage ..."

The long arm of the Kennedys.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 8:17 PM
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343 is awesome.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-27-09 9:29 PM
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342 is also awesome.

I don't think it's possible for Biden not to bloviate--even at someone's wake, there was too much about Biden. He was less boring than Kerry, but oh boy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 9:01 PM
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I missed Joe Kennedy's initial talk, but now the TV pundits are saying that he intends to run.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 9:35 PM
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Heaven help us.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 9:36 PM
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Another short EMK story.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 12:14 AM
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Another short EMK story.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 12:14 AM
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Sorry. Sorry.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 12:15 AM
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