Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama, Caroline Kennedy Play In Oval Office

To mark the President's First 100 Days, the White House released a ton of behind the scenes photos taken by Pete Souza. Some of the photos have already been seen, but there is a huge amount that show the President goofing around, acting affectionate with his wife and children and holding late night meetings with aides. Buried in the amazing collection is a photo imbued with White House history. It shows President Obama playing in the Oval Office with Caroline Kennedy. Is the President pretending to be John Jr. when he played in his father's desk? Is he trying to figure out how John got into the desk? Check out the photos to see for yourself. Follow the link to the photos of the entire slideshow from the White House.

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

E. Howard Hunt. Murky pasts and clandestine motives

E. Howard Hunt Firing Line Interview with Wm. F. Buckley"

Shadowy figures from our deep-dark past. The name E. Howard Hunt will always be synonymous with Watergate and Nixon, but his ties to the CIA and clandestine activities go back further. It's interesting how, with all the revelations and allegations regarding the Bush Administration, there had to be some model established, some precedent set for a White House run amok. It's been said that Karl Rove looks like a rank amateur compared to the likes of Hunt. Between this interview and the deathbed confession, that assessment would seem to be spot-on.

Here is an interview, in its entirety from the Firing Line series hosted by Hunt's long time friend, Godfather of his children and executor of his wife's estate, William F. Buckley from May 12, 1974.

My Father's Stand on Cuba Travel

By Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Thursday, April 23, 2009

"The present travel restrictions are inconsistent with traditional American liberties," the then-U.S. attorney general argued in a behind-the-scenes debate over the ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba. I hope that this will soon be the position advanced by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. as the Obama administration ponders its next step on Cuba -- which should be to move beyond allowing only Cuban Americans to travel freely to the island and to address the rights of all Americans, most of whom are still not free to go.

In fact, this position was put forth by the attorney general in 1963, my father, Robert Kennedy.


Kathleen Kennedy Townsend served as lieutenant governor of Maryland from 1995 to 2003. The documents cited above can be read on the Web site of the National Security Archive,

Robert Kennedy tried to lift Cuba travel ban: documents

WASHINGTON (AFP) — One month after president John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, his brother, attorney general Robert Kennedy, tried to convince the US government to lift its travel ban to Cuba, according to documents released Thursday by the National Security Archive.

Freedom to travel to Cuba, Kennedy wrote in a memo to then secretary of state Dean Rusk in December 1963, "is more consistent with our views as a free society and would contrast with such things as the Berlin Wall and Communist controls on such travel."

President Dwight Eisenhower broke diplomatic relations and imposed the travel ban on Cuba in January 1963, only days ahead of John F. Kennedy's inauguration as the 35th US president.

President Kennedy was subsequently assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

"It is going to be extremely difficult, under the best of conditions, to prevent travel to Cuba and this problem is likely to be increasingly embarrassing to us," Robert Kennedy wrote in a memorandum.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Schmidt compares Obama, Kennedy

Ben Smith
April 23, 2009

I quoted McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt just now comparing Obama to Bobby Kennedy.

The whole riff was fairly remarkable. It came in response to a student's question about the youth vote:

If you read history about Bobby Kennedy's unfinished race in '68, this was, in my view, the unfinished Bobby Kennedy campaign – the idealism, the passion, the inspiration he gave to people, it was organic and it was real and it wasn’t manufactured at a tactical level in the campaign. It was a function of the president's unique skill set and presence, and it was really taken advantage of by a campaign that for the first time using the social networking technology....

The words may not be that surprising. But the speaker is. This is McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt on the Obama campaign ...

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The origins of Earth Day

What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked.

Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.

Gov. hopes to open State House plaza

By Matt Viser, Globe Staff

Governor Deval Patrick said this afternoon that he hopes that the State House can soon reopen to the public a plaza that features a statue of President John F. Kennedy.


The statue of President John F. Kennedy outside the State House.
(John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/file)

"I love this plaza," Patrick said during a press conference and Earth Day event, adding, "We really want to open it. It's a lovely corner of the grounds and I hope to see it done soon."

The area has been restricted since security was increased after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Patrick said security and handicapped access complicate opening the area to the public. Hiring additional staff to oversee another checkpoint could also prove difficult; previous estimates have put that cost at $250,000 annually.

Calling on Americans to volunteer

Obama urges citizens to undertake national service

WASHINGTON—Calling on Americans to volunteer, President Barack Obama signed a $5.7 billion national service bill Tuesday that triples the size of the AmeriCorps service program over the next eight years and expands ways for students to earn money for college. "What this legislation does, then, is to help harness this patriotism and connect deeds to needs," said Obama, a former community organizer in Chicago.

"It creates opportunities to serve for students, seniors and everyone in between," he said. "And it is just the beginning of a sustained, collaborative and focused effort to involve our greatest resource -- our citizens -- in the work of remaking this nation."

Joining Obama was Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who has been battling brain cancer. Kennedy championed the legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and the bill was named in honor of the Massachusetts Democrat.

Kennedy told the audience that included former President Bill Clinton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former first lady Rosalyn Carter that Obama's efforts echoed those of his late brother, President John F. Kennedy.

"Today, another young president has challenged another generation to give back to their nation," Kennedy said, citing his brother's advocacy for the Peace Corps.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

JFK Lancer's Debra Conway on Radio Tonight

Dr. William Lester Show
Guest: Debra Conway of JFK Lancer

Debra Conway is co-founder and president of JFK Lancer Productions & Publications, a historical research company specializing in the administration and assassination of President John F. Kennedy; founded in 1995 by Thomas A. Jones and Debra Conway. JFK Lancer works with the largest, most active group of JFK historical researchers and at JFK Lancer's past conferences have had many of the most respected of the researchers and authors from around the world speak on both the both John and Robert Kennedy's assassination and policies.

A tenacious researcher herself, Debra spends much time working with authors publishing their work with JFK Lancer, assisting with both the research and editing. She also administrates the Lancer website and forum, along with several other JFK assassination websites for example, witness James Tague, and authors Joan Mellen, and Larry Hancock. Debra worked very closely with the staff of the Assassination Records Review Board during the time the Board considered millions of pages of documents to be released under the JFK Act. Debra attended every open meeting but one and spoke at the special Washington DC meeting on the "taking" of the Zapruder film.

Check our resources of speakers at previous "NOVEMBER IN DALLAS" Conferences here:

For a very low price you can keep up with the latest research and help JFK Lancer!


Debra Conway

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Judge Orders Release of Hoffa Records

Judge unseals some Hoffa grand jury records
April 14th, 2009 @ 5:12pm
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal judge in Tennessee is ruling that some secret grand jury testimony used to indict former Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa should be unsealed.
U.S. District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell ordered prosecutors Tuesday to unsealed the testimony from Walter Sheridan, a top aide of then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Sheridan testified before a Nashville grand jury that indicted Hoffa in 1963 on a charge of jury tampering.
Retired law professor William L. Tabac argues the testimony will answer lingering questions over whether the government used improper evidence to indict Hoffa.
The testimony was not immediately released to the public. Prosecutors have until April 27 to recommend redaction of parts of Sheridan's testimony, and they could appeal the judge's decision.


Monday, April 13, 2009

'Virtual JFK' ponders a provocative 'What if?'

How John F. Kennedy handled crises is a key consideration in the film. How John F. Kennedy handled crises is a key consideration in the film. (Jfk presidential library)
By Ty Burr
Globe Staff / April 10, 2009

The premise of "Virtual JFK," a documentary opening at the Coolidge today, is both profound and deeply inconsequential. What would American foreign policy have looked like if John F. Kennedy hadn't been assassinated? Specifically, would the Vietnam War have happened?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arizona Mentality vs Democracy

Richard Blankenburg
April 11, 2009
Arizona State University has invited America´s new President Barack Obama to be the speaker of their commencement, however, the University determined that they would not confer the customary honorary doctorate on President Obama because of ´his lack of experience´; it is an obvious affront to the President and humiliating.

I am not an alumnus of Arizona State University but I am an alumnus of ASU´s rival school, the University of Arizona, earned Ed. D. 1966. When I read of ASU belittling the Democratic President of the United States, Barack Obama, by inviting him to commencement but denying him a customary honorary doctorate for ´lack of experience´, I was hardly surprised because of a traumatic experience I had at U of A.

Churchill Downs displays Gallopalooza horses

photo by Sam Upshaw Jr., The Courier-Journal

The "Black Jack" horse by Flags-4-Vets has images of President John F. Kennedy and his funeral caisson painted on its sides.

Public gets first look at charity art work

By Andrew Wolfson • • April 12, 2009

Black Jack, the coal-black riderless horse that mesmerized America in President John F. Kennedy's funeral procession, died in 1976. But yesterday, he was brought back to life at Churchill Downs, replete with black leather boots reversed in the stirrups, symbolizing the lost warrior.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Professor Seeks Hoffa Records

Professor seeking sealed Jimmy Hoffa case records
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The government's hard-won conviction of Jimmy Hoffa on jury-tampering charges is under assault 45 years later.
A retired law professor has persuaded a federal judge to consider unsealing secret grand jury records to set the historical record straight. William L. Tabac wants to prove his theory that the Justice Department — then led by Hoffa's nemesis, Robert Kennedy — used illegal wiretaps and improper testimony to indict the Teamsters leader.
"I think there is prosecutorial misconduct in the case, which included the prosecutors who prosecuted it and the top investigator for the Kennedy Department of Justice," Tabac said.
James Neal, the special prosecutor who convicted Hoffa in 1964 in Chattanooga, calls the claim "baloney."
But the petition from Tabac, who taught at Cleveland State University and has been gripped by the Hoffa case since his days as a law clerk, will be heard Monday in a Nashville courtroom.
To prepare for the hearing, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell ordered the Justice Department, FBI and other agencies to turn over any sealed records from the Hoffa grand jury related to testimony by investigator Walter Sheridan, wiretapping or electronic eavesdropping.
It's yet another post-mortem look into the affairs of the controversial trade union leader, whose career, disappearance and presumed death continue to spawn conspiracy theories decades later.
The special grand jury convened in 1963 after the federal government had failed for the fourth time to convict Hoffa of corruption charges while he led the Teamsters. The grand jury indicted Hoffa on charges of jury tampering in a Nashville case that accused Hoffa of taking payoffs from trucking companies but ended in mistrial.
A jury in Chattanooga found Hoffa and three co-defendants guilty. Hoffa, later convicted in Chicago of fraud and conspiracy, continued as Teamsters president even as he served four years in prison until stepping aside and getting his sentence commuted by President Richard Nixon in 1971.
Multiple reports describe open animosity between Hoffa and Kennedy, who investigated Hoffa while in the Senate and as attorney general.
Tabac contends the indictment may have been based only or in part on the testimony of Walter Sheridan, a Kennedy special assistant who headed the investigation. Sheridan's testimony "was, in effect, Kennedy's," said Tabac.
"Even during the Cuban missile crisis he (Kennedy) was in touch with Nashville all the time," Tabac said. "I believe he testified to the grand jury through his top aide and I believe it was wrong, especially if that is the basis on which he (Hoffa) was indicted."
Tabac (TAY'-bak) also thinks Edward Grady Partin, a Teamsters official and Hoffa confidant who testified for the prosecution, may have worn a concealed microphone to record conversations with Hoffa and those were heard by the grand jurors.
Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, Partin died in 1990 and Sheridan, who wrote the 1972 book "The Fall and Rise of Jimmy Hoffa," died in 1995. Tabac says only the grand jury records can reveal what happened.
Federal prosecutors oppose Tabac's petition, saying it doesn't meet Supreme Court standards for lifting grand jury secrecy.
Hoffa was last seen in July 1975 in suburban Detroit, where he was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.
Hoffa was declared legally dead but his body has never been found, spawning innumerable theories about his demise. Among them: He was entombed in concrete at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, ground up and thrown in a Florida swamp or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant. The search has continued into this decade, under a backyard pool north of Detroit in 2003, under the floor of a Detroit home in 2004 and at a horse farm in 2006.
Neal, a fledgling lawyer when Kennedy chose him to prosecute Hoffa, said the government did nothing illegal.
"Apparently, he (Tabac) thinks if he got the grand jury material he would see that we obtained evidence by wiretaps. It's baloney," Neal said.
Even if Tabac can prove his theory, it's unclear if that would lead to overturning the conviction.
"The problem is just that everyone is dead, so it is pretty hard to do," Tabac said. "If there is perjured testimony, I think the relatives may have standing to bring some kind of ... name-clearing procedure."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Indiana Remembers Martin Luther King; And RFK

Martin Luther King was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee forty one years ago today. Thus ended the life of a sixties icon, one who had caused many to dream, and many to hate. While in the end it might seem that those who hate may have won, Dr. King's dream lived on and inspired those who would not give up believing in an American where we could all truly be free; free of racial prejudice and racial hatred. This was Dr. King's prayer, that one day there would be an America in which the color of one's skin would no longer matter. While that dream is still not a full reality, we can rejoice in the progress that has been made. But we should not allow ourselves to be contented with that. It was also forty one years ago today that Robert F. Kennedy received the news of Dr. King's murder as he campaigned in Indiananapolis. Facing the cameras there, Robert Kennedy achieved one of his finest hours, as he implored his fellow citizens not to react with rage and violence. While other cities erupted in riots and looting after Dr. King's death, Indianapolis remained calm as its citizens heeded his call to remain calm and to remember the values Dr. King stood for:
" I'm only going to talk to you just for a minute or so this evening, because I have some -- some very sad news for all of you ..... and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world; and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it's perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black -- considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible -- you can be filled with bitterness, and with hatred, and a desire for revenge.
We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization -- black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand, and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion, and love. For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with -- be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man.
But we have to make an effort in the United States. We have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond, or go beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poem, my -- my favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote:
Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forgetfalls drop by drop upon the heart,until, in our own despair,against our will,comes wisdomthrough the awful grace of God.
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.
So I ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King -- yeah, it's true -- but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love -- a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.
We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past, but we -- and we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; and it's not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings that abide in our land.
And let's dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.
Thank you very much."
Today the citizens of Indianapolis dedicated a memorial to remember Dr. King and Robert Kennedy and that sad night in 1968. It is a park dedicated to both men, and honors a moment of sanity in a time when all seemed lost in grief and rage.
Last year a new documentary was released to also commemorate the event.
See the trailer and more information here: