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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Day the President was Shot

On November 22, we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas. Hard to believe that fifty years have passed since that day. For my generation, that date and, of course, September 11, 2001, resonate in the way that December 7, 1941, did to an earlier one.

I attended elementary school in what was a fairly liberal town, Palo Alto, California. Well, better stated, the cultural and educational elite were "liberal," the town itself, before the dot com revolution in which Palo Alto played such a central role, was a middle class town full of war vets, largely apolitical and decidedly old fashion social conservative sorts. Except at election time, politics did not play a big role in most people's lives. The federal government was seen as a benign but remote presence. We generally had no idea who was a Republican and who a Democrat.

Our family had a huge three-level house that dated from the beginning of the twentieth century, and which my immigrant parents had bought in 1957 for the shocking amount of $12,000 (note: according to Zillow, the current value of that house exceeds five million dollars--alas!) Our immediate neighbor, a burly, gruff Marine veteran, severely injured on Iwo Jima, walked with a pronounced limp and harbored an intense hatred for all things Japanese. Across the street, we had a rarity, a family who had fled from Communist China by way of Hong Kong. A little further down the street, my best friend lived. His dad worked as an engineer at an aerospace firm; his English mother, a wonderful and kind lady, had suffered polio as a child, also had a limp, and cheerfully drove a small odd-looking British-made Ford Anglia. I liked going to his house when his British grandfather would visit. He came straight out of central casting complete with an elaborate white handlebar mustache, proper manners, hearty laugh, and an accent that recalled the valiant stoic Brits in those war movies to which I had become addicted. My own English was mediocre, and he, unfortunately, could not understand anything I said. My friend had to play interpreter.

The school, fairly rare for those days, was racially integrated and even had a black principal. One of my teachers was married to Felix Greene, British journalist, Communist "fellow traveler," and cousin of Graham Greene. Felix worked at that time for the San Francisco Chronicle, was a big fan of and apologist for Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and, later, Castro, and had some sort of visiting gig at Stanford. In the 1960 elections, the teachers came out for JFK in almost total unanimity, and made no secret of it. They were enthralled by his youth, status as a "war hero," speeches, accent, James Dean/Steve McQueen coolness, and his emphasis on education. In contrast, Nixon seemed dour and unexciting. Looking back, I can see that many of those teachers we now would call "liberals," or "progressives," or more accurately "socialists." Readers might have some other labels, as well.

As noted above, my English was not very good. With my bizarre accent, the occasionally odd word that I would utter that provoked gales of laughter, and the weird food my mother put in my Wagon Train lunchbox, I was self-conscious about being somewhat of an outsider. I generally did not participate in schoolyard discussions of the elections in which my colleagues repeated what they had heard at the previous night's dinner table. Our family's dinner table discussions, by contrast, tended to revolve around the Spanish Civil War, which I confused with the American Civil War: I couldn't get straight whether Franco had fought for the Union or the Confederacy.

On November 22, 1963, in Miss Sarzin's fifth grade class we had just finished watching a documentary film about the islands of the South Pacific. Miss Sarzin was packing up the 16mm projector when two older kids ran into the room. They dashed up to Miss Sarzin and whispered to her. I remember her gasping, and saying, "No!" She froze with the projector cord in her hand. In walked the vice-principal, another of those tough no-nonsense WWII vets who announced, "Children, the President has been shot." He went to the front of the room, turned on a large radio, and left. We could hear the announcer, growing ever louder as the set warmed up, saying over and over, "The President is dead. The President is dead." Behind me, my friend Charlie tearfully said, "I wish he'd stop that!" We sat stunned. For once, there was not a sound in the room. We were sent home where we watched hour after hour of television coverage of the unfolding story in Dallas. Convinced WWIII would commence presently, my mother frantically and unsuccessfully sought to call her mother in Spain to "warn" her--placing an international call was a major undertaking back then, especially on the eve of WWIII.

JFK's assassination, understandably, left a deep impression on Americans alive at the time. Television, if nothing else, ensured that. One would think, however, that getting assassinated would not guarantee one getting idolized. I remain intrigued and puzzled by the generally high regard Americans continue to have for JFK (here, for example.) He, after all, was an incompetent. Even his war record was marked by incompetence and dereliction of duty. His affair with a known German spy in Washington DC, and his inept handling of his PT boat, which resulted in it getting rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, should have meant a court martial. His father's political connections, however, and JFK's, admittedly, brave leadership of his shipwrecked crew, avoided that fate and got him a medal for "Life Saving," not, however, one for valor as his father wanted--the Navy would not go that far. He had an undistinguished career in Congress and, eventually, became a Chauncey Gardiner President.

He made a hash of the anti-Castro policy inherited from Eisenhower; got outplayed by Khrushchev at his first summit meeting; nearly got us into WWIII, for real, with his bungling of the October Missile Crisis which ensured Castro's survival, again; made a mess of our Vietnam policy, arrogantly having the leader of South Vietnam assassinated; and began a reform of our immigration laws which resulted in the disastrous 1965 Immigration Act that turned our focus from Europe to the Third World. He was regularly consorting with all sorts of questionable women which left him open to blackmail; used powerful pain-killing drugs; and kept the parlous state of his health a secret.

JFK, however, was the first modern "liberal" president. He was the father of the "liberalism" that now runs and ruins our country. His administration saw the melding of Hollywood and Washington, from the dishonest hack hagiographic PT 109 movie to the mixing it up with Sinatra, Lawford, and, of course, Monroe. It was the new liberal royalty. They had the pretty wives dressed by French designers. They had gone to the fancy schools, and earned the fancy degrees. They were true sophisticates who knew the world, and had a vision of a better one and a plan to lead us there. They looked so good, so smart, so educated, so photogenic, so, so . . . well, so unlike the stodgy, grey, and serious Eisenhower, Nixon, Dulles, etc.  The journalists ate it up, protecting him and covering for his lies and deceptions. They, too, wanted to play with and be like the cool kids.

The current disaster we have in the White House is the child of the Kennedy era. He represents the rebirth of the demand for coolness and hipness as the primary qualifications for the most important job in the world. As was discovered by the abandoned Cuban freedom fighters on Playa Giron; by our veterans of Vietnam as well as by the people of South Vietnam; by our people in Benghazi; by our friends and allies around the world; and now by millions of ordinary Americans watching as their health insurance plans collapse and their jobs go away, there is a real world price to be paid for making hipness and coolness the requirements for the presidency. That is the legacy of JFK and the modern day liberals who so admire him.


  1. Holy Heck, Dip - we're the same age! I was in the fifth grade also, but about four hundred miles south of you, in a very distant suburb of Los Angeles. Miss Gibson, Sunland Elementary, in Sunland-Tujunga.

    There was a educational radio program that Miss Gibson liked us to listen to; dramatized biographies of various important Americans- it was scheduled to come on shortly after our scheduled recess. Miss Gibson dismissed the class and everyone else ran out to the playground, but another girl and I had some question for her - and we were standing on either side of her when she turned on the radio in the classroom and tuned it to the right channel. The first thing we heard on the radio then was an announcement that the President was dead, shot in Dallas.

    We knew it was true, because Miss Gibson began to cry. The other little girl and I ran out to the playground and began to tell everybody what we had heard. Looking back on it now, this may have been my first scoop as a proto-blogger.

    My parents were solid Eisenhower Republicans, so they had never been very gone on the Camelot Mystique, anyway. My mother was in a local grocery-deli at the meat counter when someone announced the news over the store intercom, and Mom looked at the guy packaging up her purchases and said grimly, "That's not what Americans do - political assassinations."

    I suspect that we share a certain disinclination to fall into Kennedy worship. Practically everything about them turned out to be fake, save for Jackie's good taste and dress-sense.

    1. Remember the big to do about her hats?

    2. The pillbox hat became the absolute fashion accessory. Even ten-year old girls going to church wore them.

    3. Heck, the Air Force uniform for women included a dark blue felt beret-pillbox hat. I wore it for years, until it was phased out. The Class-A uniform combination for a good few years was a very Jackie-esque suit, with a short jacket. The good thing about them was that it did look good on women with less than optimal figures, unlike later uniform combinations.

  2. And the event gave us LBJ with carte blanche for the start of the lib/soc agenda. I had just become a teenager and remember well and yes I was on that bandwagon. You know Mr. Mad thinking back I remember when young how institutions, people, and just "things" seemed so permanent, but to find as I got older how wrong that is and understand what the Founders meant about eternal vigilance. A small confession: I was one of those who scoffed at you Foggy Bottom Boys, but now I realize just how good a job you'll really did.

  3. Just reading the Headline for this post, I thought you were talking about our Dear Leader, King Obama.

    Sadly, I must read further....

    1. Don't know how you could have missed all of the (liberal) hype during the past few weeks about the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of Kennedy's death.

      In any case, PLEASE don't let anything happen to Obama. I am holding out a very small hope that (many years from now) history will (belatedly) reveal what a horrible president he was. If he gets shot, he would become Kennedy II (with a dash of MLK Jr. added on top). Plus his policy disasters would probably be excused with thoughts like "he never got a chance to fix Obamacare."

    2. Totally agreed, Anon. Further, the entire idea of "President Biden" sends chills down my spine. He has probably been Obama's best life insurance policy.

  4. I was living on Dyess AFB (B-52 base) where my father was serving. They sandbagged the gates and had ‘Ma Deuces' installed. They stopped my school bus and checked ID cards. I had never, not even during the Bay of Pigs, seen security like that.
    The military was very concerned that this was the start of an attack. I understand that we sent the B-52 fleets to their Failsafe Points and scared the sh*t out of the Russians who stood their military down as a sign to us that this was not the start of something. Remember, Curtis LeMay was Air Force Chief of Staff and he advocated preemptive nuclear war against the USSR if we thought they were planning an attack.

    I agree that he was an incompetent and probably would have lost the next election.
    He is also the fool that let the Federal Government workforce unionize.

    1. I worked with a guy who was in the Army in West Germany when Kennedy was killed. He told me the Soviets rolled their tanks up to the border when the assassination happen.

  5. What made Mr. Kennedy special to the left is that he was (after T.W. Wilson) the first Adlai Stevenson president: the first who fairly openly--or whose people fairly openly--had contempt for the constitution and people of America.

    .. which is the very defining characteristic of the modern Democrat.

    Possibly apocryphal story:

    Woman otherwise unknown to history: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!"

    Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam; we need a majority!"

    Again excepting Wilson, no previous Democratic president could have said that, or thought it, not even the aristocratic F. Roosevelt.

    And from Kennedy on, no Democratic nominee could not have said it--except for Lyndon Johnson, who did not see ordinary Americans as brainless clods, like the others, but as hapless marks.

    1. I see I forgot something.

      I was in high school. I have no idea what I was doing on Der Tag. I do remember the following week, in that there was no network television except the Royal Funeral. (Television now matters a lot less to me.)

  6. I'll be ding-busted, Dip. I was in fifth grade, too. The principal got on the PA, called all teachers into the office, so Mr. B, our teacher, gave us some busy work and told us to behave. About ten minutes later, he was back in the room, ashen faced, and announced that the President had been shot. A few minutes later, the Principal got back on the PA and announced that the President had died. We were all sunk in grief, even though we were sent home early.

    In retrospect, the thing that I marvel about concerning those days was that Mr. B could leave a roomful of ten- and eleven-year-olds alone and come back to find nothing stolen, nobody beaten up, and everyone dutifully doing the busy work--and Mr. B was by no means a Prussian martinet. My second brother, while in High School (he had just finished), belonged to a marksmen's club, for which he had to pack a .22 (bolt out, of course) and a box of shells, which went into his locker and came out at the end of the day when, under the supervision of a teacher, he and several other teens blasted paper targets to pieces before a high bank in back of the school (number of student and teacher victims of gun violence or accidents: ZERO). Today, the school admin where I teach can't trust kids to carry a backpack or wear a coat in the hallways.

    What's changed? Kennedy's acolytes took over the country. Robert Strange Macnamara, the man with the anti-Midas touch, turned the American military into an overly bureaucratized center of political jockeying, buck-passing, and incompetence; just as he had done as president of GM and would do later when in charge of the World Bank. Gold into dross. Lawyers of Kennedy's kidney have pushed an agenda that demands big government because familial and social discipline are not allowed.

    Had Kennedy lived, his presidency and political career would've been destroyed by the Silly 'Sixties launched by those who idolize him now. He'd be seen as the betrayer of Civil Rights legislation which he would've pushed, and the vicious anti-Communist oppressor of the "brave patriots" of Viet Nam--not Johnson. The spotlight would've been turned on his extended family, and their various shenanigans would've been moralistically condemned rather than "understood" or seen as something akin to a waling Greek tragedy.

    And, perhaps, the conservative revolution would have happened earlier and lasted longer, since the Left would've had no martyr.

    Curse you, Lee H. Oswald, for being too good a shot!

  7. Perhaps VP LBJ had the insider's view as he labelled JFK privately as "that spavined hunchback".

  8. If only I could work with you again! You are scary smart and write with knowledge, style and grace. Thank you for your posts. I'm surrounded by radical liberals and am ready to leave the FS. (Jean)

    1. Ah, Jean! Nice to hear from you. Please keep reading and keep me honest when I start rambling about life in the FS.

  9. It appears many of us a very close to the same age. My paternal grandfather was born in 1872 and upon the murder of JFK, he began to jog his memory of two prior presidents who were also assassinated--- Garfield and McKinley. Even at his advanced age he would talk about "the shameful things" people in this nation will do. He was a mountain foothills Republican and had no use for the Democrat species. I guess I got it from him. Granddad died 3 years after JFK. I never cared a whit for the Camelot thing and I looked forward to the end of that self loathing breed of aristocrats.

  10. Walking across the quad to class in my junior year when the word came that Kennedy had been shot. I skipped class to follow the news. . My first thought when his death was announced was that he was now a martyr.

    I was scoutmaster of a local boy scout troop and we had a camping trip scheduled for thew weekend that I thought about canceling, but one of the parents said the boys would be better off camping in the desert than listening to the morbid news. Of course we couldn't know Oswald would be shot on national TV, an event that I and my scouts would miss. I think we were about the only Americans who missed the televised shooting.

    In Zaire many years later I came to know Maurice Templesman, before he became Jackie's consort. I thought she could have done better, but I have to admit he was able to keep her in the manner to which her previous marriages had accustomed her.

  11. Haha, Dips readership skews old. Good post, I also enjoyed the reminiscences it evoked from the commenters. Alas, the assassination was before my time. Will comment that I have never understood how people regard Obama as cool. probably superficial as hell of me, but his jug ears, narrow shoulders and weak nose are off-putting for me. And that is before consideration of his lack of any qualifications for any sort of managerial position. Honestly, I have been flummoxed to explain these last several years and it makes me doubt my perceptions. Kennedy was a mess- no doubt- but he was under fire and I can sorta appreciate how some might see him as charismatic... but Obama?

  12. I guess it makes me an "old phart" but I had been in uniform for two and a half years when John Kennedy was assassinated.

    Lots of wailing and tearing of hair in our Oz media but in the service at my level, "Ho hum he's not one of ours". Perhaps a little insensitive at 21 but he didn't belong to us and it was no big deal.

    Our CO did tell us it could turn nasty if it was a foreign op but things still went on.

    There has been a pretty honest series of docos on the Kennedy clan being shown here [to mark the anniversary]. The party machine and media did a good job of turning a naughty boy into the Messiah [with apologies to the Life of Brian].

    Having said that there are only two civilised ways of ousting a sitting head of government; i.e. the ballot box or being declared ineligible to be in government for some legitimate reason. You are a civilised country after all.

    1. David good am. I see you are a bit older than some of us. May I say you write well for a gentleman of your age...;).

    2. He writes better than most gentlemen of any age. Max.

    3. G'day Whitewall,

      ----and intending to get a lot older [God willing].

      Thank you Max - the product of an education I didn't really appreciate at the time.



  13. I was too young to remember, a mere toddler. Having read extensively on Kennedy, I have always wondered at the veneration; it is so at odds with any reasonable understanding of his presidency.

  14. I was in the fifth grade at a Catholic school in a working class neighborhood. My class mates' blue collar Catholic parents had, in general, adored Kennedy as a sign of their own legitimacy as Americans. . My parents, who had some college, did not think highly of him. . My mother, who was politically active with the Republicans, was particularly dismissive. She knew of the fraud in the 1960 election, had heard through the grapevine both of Kennedy's rampant womanizing and that old man Kennedy had basically bought Jackie's silence on the issue.

    Part of Kennedy's appeal as our first celebrity president was the inferiority complex many voters had. Catholics were still not accepted by many as full participants in the American Dream and rallied to the image of the large Catholic in name only Kennedy family. The WWII vets entering early middle age had, in many cases, felt a bit awed by the sophistication of parts of the world they marched through. Now these veterans were coming into their own in politics and as business leaders. Here was a president their own age whose level of sophistication seemed to make him an equal to the heads of those far older nations.

  15. A generation later, I was in sixth grade when Reagan was shot. Though I don't remember any specific comments, there was definitely a sense of "good riddance" from the teachers. Needless to say, school was not canceled that day.


  16. I'd played hooky that day, was watching TV and when the "news announcer" announced I in turn announced to Mom, "Mom, the President has been shot dead."

    For some forgotten reason (I asked) Mom said, "Why would anybody shoot the President of the Rotary Club?"

    Mom came into the den (yes, den - we even had a fallout shelter - Dad the previous year had left the Navy and returned himself to Arkansas) anyway, Mom came into the den and made me get up and switch the television -later to the become the TeeVee, and still later "remotes" were invented and miraculously, Mom even learned how to switch channels-

    Mom watched in silence for a few minutes then tried calling my "Uncle Pete" - no relation, except that when Dad'd left Twenty-Nine Palms "Uncle Pete" & family along with the "Arkies" family travelled from California through ... well, I remember well me and friend Jan hiding a couple of pieces of The Petrified Forest (Park Service People? Jan and I were just little kids then - besides, at least far as I'm concerned, pulling out my fingernails I doubt could even get me to remember where the evidence is)

    Jan and I later ... oh Jan, do I remember you (not a question)

    Anyway, "Uncle Pete" (USMC retired) stopped with his family - I miss you to this day Jan - in Dallas. - Oddly enough, sometime after JFK's Dallas, Dad and I flew down there to visit ... ooh I miss you Jan ... back on point, "Uncle Pete" owned a "Naughty Bar" in Dallas - mighta had something to do with Jan's having been further along with her "education" than I had picked up in Hillbilly Arkansas ...

    Back to my reminisces of this anniversary ... Mom tried calling "Uncle Pete" but only talked to "Aunt Jonny" [pretty sure her name was actually Jonnece] - anyway, "Uncle Pete" had taken Jan to go see the President.

    They stood on a grassy knoll. "Uncle Pete" had been an infantry officer in Korea. He assured Dad (I was present) "no shots originated from the area" [reason I suppose I've never understood how in the world so many later conspiracy theories came about] ... but that listening to "Uncle Pete" was not the reason that particular visit to Dallas stands out in my memory.

    Anyway. After Mom and I watched a little television 50 years ago she said, "Your Dad'll probably be home soon - probably be best you turn that off and not say much about it."

    "Why Mom?"

    "You remember being on that big airbase that day your Dad and Uncle Pete got so mad at for having to stand at attention for so long while that man talked?"

    "Yes Mom, what's that got to do with it?"

    "Well ... that man who was doing all that talking was the President."

    "But what does that have to do with the Rotary Club Mom?"

    "Come to think of it Arkie, might be best you go to your Aunt's house to recuperate."

    Oh Jan ... I haven't thought of you for awhile.


  17. Was in sixth grade, in LA. No school that day. Neighbor kid told my brother and I the news. Told my brother the kid was full of s...
    Sums up my life.
    The TV was all assassination, all weekend long. Watched Ruby gun down Oswald. Not too much later, was done with the event and sorely missing my usual, crappy TV fare. Cal Worthington spoke to me. Suffered extreme boredom; guess I should have been grieving.
    Great one paragraph precis of the JFK presidency. Scary smart, indeed.
    V/R JWest

  18. Of all the things Nixon did that I disagreed with, not making a stink about the stolen 1960 election was the worst. That taught the Democrats that they could massively cheat in national elections without consequence. While they did cheat in earlier elections (see Tammany Hall), the election changing amount that we see now became common.

    When it did not work in Florida for Gore they were visibly shocked and outraged.

    Question, did Obama actually win in '08 or '12?

    1. I am troubled by the same thought. We need to see what role fraud played in the '08 and '12 elections

    2. Diplomad?

      Might find this interesting:


      It's part of a blogpost a friend has up. Here:



  19. I was a 15 year old in the north of England and not terrilbly politically aware about US politics. The Kennedy era only left a few imprints on my consciousness. First his father was deeply despised in the UK for his opinions on our ability to fight Germany and his perceived Nazi sympathies. Second I remember walking to school in the Missile Crisis and discussing with my best friend if we could be incinerated in a nuclear attack that day. Third, the cancellation of TV programs when the assisination was announced (including my favoured Coronation Street). I think it was the latter act that impressed on my mind the importance of the event!!

    I don't know if you saw the article on the invention of the Camelot myth by Jackie Kennedy in the NY Post?


    If this is true, then Obama may be a child of Jackie Kennedy not of the President!!

    1. Ha! Good point about Obama and Jackie. Yes, Ambassador Joseph Kennedy was an all-round despicable person obsessed with making one of his sons President. He was a disaster as an Ambassador in Britain and FDR had to call him back, eventually, but not before he did a great deal of damage.

    2. Interesting stuff, here. I wasn't born yet but certainly grew up with the whole "legacy of Camelot" thing. My dad was Watch NCO at SHAPE HQ the night it happened--he said it was a pretty busy time for what was usually a quiet duty and several NATO officers thought it was the beginning of a coup or a decapitation strike (interestingly enough).

      He was a targeter at SHAPE and was there for the missile crisis. That was also an "interesting" time and the closest we've come to actually pulling the trigger he told me. Interesting to think what "might have been" had JFK not made such a poor impression on Krushchev initially--and we're watching a lot of it playing out again with the current emptiest of empty suits.

      Ironically, Obama makes JFK look like Metternich.

    3. "--and we're watching a lot of it playing out again with the current emptiest of empty suits". That is a powerful observation. Nice.

    4. I was in 6th grade at a Catholic School not far from you in San Francisco. JFK being POTUS was a pinnacle event when Catholic schools were in their golden age. The PA system in all our classrooms came on so we could all listen to the news and updates. The news had started reporting that JFK had been shot, then updated to shot in the head, and later that he had died.
      Soon at lunchtime, we were out in the yard and the immediate fear was that we'd all be incinerated any minute by the Soviets. We went home early, watched the marathon TV coverage, and saved all the news clippings (which I still have).
      Mine was a divided family in that my father was not a Catholic, and was an Eisenhower Republican. When my school had us reading "Profiles in Courage" my father had me reading up on Nixon and his having weeded out Communists & Alger Hiss in government. (This in 4th grade, if that says anything about education then and now.).
      My grandfather then had keen memories of dastardly Chester Arthur who had probably helped knock off his boss and who nobody had ever trusted anyway for not having been "a natural born citizen" anyway. The family had been Midwest farmers, but having lost everything in the Depression due to crackpot New Deal measures (referred to as the Raw Deal), there was never anything but scorn and distrust for the Democrats & "gubmint."

    5. My two cents' worth after observing an Irish-American nominal Roman Catholic colleague who's a Kennedy-worshiper:

      I think that there was a strain of bitter, unforgiving Irish Nationalist in Joe Kennedy's makeup, and that may well have colored his view of Britain in those black days of WWII. Irish-Americans and German-Americans had been among the strongest opponents of American entry into the First World War (so I heard from my father, whose own German-born father had been outspoken on the issue), and I suspect that for many, the attitude continued on through the interwar years.

  20. I was a freshman at Ole Miss when President Kennedy was assassinated. Exactly where I was when I heard the news I don’t recall. But when I returned to my dorm, the proctor was roaming the halls wearing a Kennedy mask with a red splotch on the forehead. I just shook my head. He said it was the only way.

    In those days John Kennedy was not popular in Mississippi. The year before the assassination, James Meredith had integrated Ole Miss with the help of the Kennedy administration. My roommate, a sophomore from Illinois, was on campus during the riots. His take on the violence was that out-of-towners were mostly involved – not faculty or students. Blacks matriculated at Ole Miss between 1963 and 1967 (when I graduated), and I don’t recall any serious on campus racial incidents during that time.

    What I do remember, however, is a visit Robert Kennedy made to Ole Miss back in 1966. It took no small amount of courage, since he was President Kennedy’s attorney general during the 1962 riots. He spoke, un-heckled I believe, to the student body. This was many years ago, but here’s my takeaway:

    Governor Ross Barnett – a Democrat who supported segregation – had vowed to chain himself (metaphorically) to the gates of Ole Miss to prevent the enrollment of James Meredith. Confidential negotiations with the Attorney General ensued. Barnett would step aside if the Feds held guns to his head, and Kennedy agreed.

    I don’t know if the Feds ever actually un-holstered their weapons, but that’s my recollection of Robert Kennedy’s version of how Ole Miss was integrated.

    So did this back-room schmoozing between the governor and the U.S. attorney general have anything to do with competing commitments to segregation and civil rights, or was it all about Democratic Party politics? Whichever, four years later Robert Kennedy, spooling up for a run at the presidency, backstabbed Ross Barnett in his own bailiwick.

    A commenter at Althouse penned this on how reflections on John Kennedy could be affecting Obama:

    "Maybe the attention to Kennedy's 50th has another unintended consequence for present day Democrats: it shows how political hagiography & revisionist history goes back at least 50 years. It shows how ideas basic to Democratic self identity (e.g 'Kennedy was killed "by a climate of hate"'. No, he was shot by a pissed-off commie. 'Kennedy was the man to get us out of Viet Nam & pushing hard for civil rights.' No to both). Kennedy was a man of many faults, who, because he [was] one of the "beautiful people" was given a pass by the press, who knew very well he was a shit to those around him.

    "The real story here is that some folks can't leave Camelot behind & will torture reality to create it yet again. And we [shall] all suffer for it."

  21. Hw writes better than most gentlemen of any age. Max.

  22. Got a completely off-topic question here... I'm trying to figure out what the procedures are that kept the USS George Washington away from Tacloban for nearly a week? It's certainly not our responsibility to assist, but it's something we generally try to do as a good will gesture. From what I read, the carrier was in Hong Kong and remained there for several days.
    I'm just trying to figure out... were they waiting for supplies? Were they awaiting orders from the whitehouse? Were they waiting for an invitation from the Philippine government?
    I'm pretty sure they *could* respond faster, but what was the purpose of the response that occurred?

    1. Don't know it's a full explanation but I know the CVN GW did an unrep.

      And depending on what it's "underway at the time status" was - it's possible (I'll check further) more stores had to be taken at sea.

      Too, [just took note of it's being in Hong Kong] mighta had to do with whether it'd just got there ... admittedly I haven't paid much attention to detail.


    2. Here's a list of assets headed (there now I'd imagine) to PI. I suspect there was a heckuva lot of "coordinating at sea" went on prior to the CVN being able to be on station - security should not be overlooked.



    3. An additional link (likely the final - *note USMC units were on the ground at the time). I'd add Dip's posted before [can't recall the date of the post] on the response for humanitarian missions the USN is fully capable of.



    4. Okay, final link for sure. Keep in mind the GW is very big. And not just above the waterline. From the GW itself:



    5. Er, maybe just one more link to peruse ... as Diplomad as pointed out in the past, "The first thing the UN does when it gets onsite is book all the best hotels."

      I only mention the UN because ...


      (Oh, not that it matters but the GW had been in Yokosuka - nearabouts 24OCT, underway "near" Taiwan. I suspect the ship to've been "somewhat" pre-positioned.)


    6. thanks for the pointers
      - reader #1482

    7. Welcome 1482.

      I might've been a bit more expansive on what an "unrep" is - it's "underway replenishment." Actually a pretty complex maneuver.

      The CVN first sets a course hopefully with minimal wave heights/chop and winds allowing for the max straight-line heading. A tanker/stores ship then pulls alongside gradually drawing alongside then matching speed.

      Lines (smallish ropes) are fired from one ship to the other, the small lines pulling ever larger lines between the ships until the lines are large/strong enough to support fuel lines. Then the tanker pumps the CVN's tanks full of fuel - depending on whether the CV's tanks were already full of jet fuel, since survival supplies were needed, mighta had to pump some jet fuel out first, then top off with helo fuel. Stores are transferred via heloes while all the fuel transfers are going on.

      That sorta op takes some time.

      Hope I've helped.


  23. David from Oz and Krikbride:

    My wife's from Taiwan, and sort of remembers being told that Kennedy was a good man on the day he was shot.

    I appreciate your comments on JFK's assassination because they're a healthy reminder to us Americans that the universe doesn't necessarily revolve around us.

    But, reading these comments, I'm actually somewhat encouraged, and hopeful about the American future. The Kennedy assassination gave the Left a martyr and a carte blanche to drive the country to the edge of a precipice. The fact that the O hasn't been assassinated may allow our country to see what a hollow excuse for a man he actually was, and come to openly criticize his attempts to be president when he'd have served us all better by staying on the golf links!

  24. I fully agree with your assessment of "Camelot", Mad. "St. JFK" is entirely an artifact of the left.

    I was in high school during that period, and was pretty cognizant of what was going on politically at the time.

    My memories of "Camelot" consist of Jackie, Jackie, Jackie. In the movie "The RIght Stuff", the astronauts' wives squealing with delight over being able to meet Jackie (forget the president!) was dead on. It completely conforms to my own memory of the time. I remember seeing articles in the paper about JFK going somewhere for some conference or meeting, with one or two paragraphs of what he was doing, and three columns about what Jackie wore, where SHE went, and who she saw. JFK's famous line in his speech in Paris was not an isolated incident, it was the way things actually were: "... I'm the guy who came to town with Jackie."

    The one and only thing I can remember supporting JFK on was the space program.

  25. Geez, with all the talk about age I can smell the Old Spice without going into my bathroom! Anyway I've more to say, but my Malt O Meal is ready so another time.

    1. :)) so you need to rescue your teeth from the Polident glass first?

    2. Hey, hey there now. I keep them in my mouth, harder to lose.

  26. Might somebody offer me a little reassurance? I'm afraid I mighta had a Rip Van Winkle sleep last night - tho my office isn't smelling anything like Old Spice at the moment.

    At about 0850 CDT awhile ago a nice lady had just handed me a cup of coffee and the first words I managed to discern from the tv was a guy saying, 'So & so will be at Gettysburg "for the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of President Reagan's address."

    I checked my watch, it was 0900.



    1. G'day Arkie,

      Hope you didn't spill the coffee.

      To some people any occurrence with a date in a century beginning with 19 is ancient and one with a date beginning before that is pre-history.

      I can remember your President Reagan and I don't think he and I were around when Abe Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address - mind you some days I wonder. Perhaps the announcer was one of those smart young things that cannot remember a world without computers and for whom the Cold War was a battle in the Arctic.

      Lincoln's short address must stand as one of the finest pieces of English prose ever.

      I've been to Gettysburg and wandered the battlefield - sobering.

    2. Well David, I found out later it was CNN so ...

      But I think you might've missed my allusion to RVW - from American "Literature" ... Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

      No. I didn't spill any, actually it took a second or two for it to register.


    3. G'day Arkie,

      Yep I missed it completely. I've read Sleepy Hollow but it was several decades ago. There is a copy on my bookshelves somewhere so perhaps it is time to find it and read it again.

      I blame my taste in [mostly classical] literature on an English teacher I had in High School. He could make even Thomas Hardy readable and that is no mean feat. Lovely man, ex WW2 vet from Africa and New Guinea and one of the reasons I went into uniform. Now long gone to God as he'd done his share of Hell.

  27. Very well written. I read all of your posts, so just because I hardly ever comment, I believe there are many like me, so don't think we aren't here. Keep writing. You do it well.

    His name is Barry. He was never cool. They re-designed him.

  28. I know this is OT, but, what's your take on Kerry's recent criticisms of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? Is Kerry a stalking horse for a new US policy, or is there a rift within the maladministration? Or, is it something else? I'm frankly waiting with anticipation for your interpretation of these most recent tea leaves.

  29. It's come to Realpolitik Kepha.

    In the "Bismarckian sense."


  30. Isn't it strange that when a president is of the correct party the media slobbers all over itself to praise him to the heavens but when a Republican is in office it is the media's responsibility to reveal all his mistakes and foibles. It can't be because they're biased, they always swear that they don't let their personal feelings influence their reporting and, of course, we believe them. Don't we? After all it's isn't like they flung poo at Bush 43 for eight years but so far in Zero's administration there is nothing to report. That might be changing, but I wouldn't bet a plugged nickel on it.

  31. Oh. Thought to add.

    Neither Kerry is certainly no Bismarck. & Obama wouldn't have any whether Kerry was, is, or, whether he'd been advised on the subject at any rate.

    Kerry might suggest, "Let them eat cake."

    Obama would say, "What if they actually like cake?"

    Kerry : "Mr President, I'm the Sec/State."

    Obama: "Oh fuck I forgot. If they liked caked they could keep liking cake."

    Billy Pilgrim