Category Archives: politics

RFK Jr.’s Wife Mary Dead of an Apparent Suicide

Mary Richardson-Kennedy at the couple’s Westchester home in 2009.

The “lost and alone” estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. hanged herself  Wednesday in a barn behind her Westchester home — the latest tragedy to claim a member of the famed Camelot clan.

Mary Richardson Kennedy, 52, was the mother of four children, the oldest 17 and the youngest 11. She was discovered by a family housekeeper, sources told the New York Daily News.

The Kennedys, who married in 1994, split almost exactly two years ago in what friends say was a devastating blow to Mary.

RELATED: HER CAMELOT DREAM SLOWLY SOURED AND FELL APART

The May 2010 divorce filing, coupled with the media frenzy following her arrest for drunken driving three days later, started Mary Kennedy on a tragic downward spiral that ended with her suicide on her Bedford property, friends said.

She had struggled with alcohol for years and went into rehab in February, a family friend told the Daily News.

RELATED: DON’T BLAME KENNEDY CURSE BECAUSE CURSES DON’T KILL

“She always seems lost these days, whenever she came into the village,” said a neighbor. “Lost and alone and sort of out of it.”

Her husband, a prominent environmentalist and high-profile member of the Kennedy dynasty, has been living primarily in California, palling around with movie stars and dating TV actress Cheryl Hines.

Mary Kennedy had not found a new romance.

News of her suicide stunned her family and friends.

“She’s my best friend,” said her sister-in-law, Kerry Kennedy, who introduced Mary Kennedy to her brother.

“Our whole family is devastated by the loss and we appreciate everyone’s prayers.”

Bedford police responded to the house at 1:36 p.m. to investigate a “possible unattended death,” according to a press release. It was not immediately clear when she died.

The children were away from home — the two oldest at boarding school and the two youngest with their father, family sources said.

Kennedy Grounds

Photo: Richard Harbus for New York Daily News

Emergency crews rushed to the Kennedy estate, but there was little they could do.

One family source said Mary Kennedy was due to fight her husband for custody, but that could not be confirmed.

An autopsy will be performed Thursday, said Westchester County spokesman Kieran O’Leary.

A somber RFK Jr. arrived at the house late Wednesday amid a stream of mourners. He said nothing to gathered reporters.

Kennedy Barn

Mary Kennedy had hanged herself in one of the outer buildings of her Westchester County property.

“We deeply regret the death of our beloved sister Mary, whose radiant and creative spirit will be sorely missed by those who loved her,” Mary Kennedy’s family said in a statement.

“Our heart goes out to her children who she loved without reservation.”

She had overseen the renovation of the couple’s home into an environmental showpiece.

Family and friends descended on the red brick mansion Wednesday night, bringing food, flowers and comfort.

“Why? This is terrible. We don’t need this,” said one teary-eye woman holding a bouquet.

Mary Kennedy was working as an architectural designer in Manhattan when she became the Kennedy heir’s second wife just three weeks after he divorced his first bride.

She had been friends with the family for years, since meeting Kennedy’s sister, Kerry, when they were teenagers. They were so close they chose to room together at Brown University, and Mary was Kerry’s maid of honor in 1990.

Mary and Robert Kennedy tied the knot on a boat on the Hudson River.

A Catholic Mass was followed by a civil ceremony, with Kennedy’s two children from his first marriage on deck with the bride and groom.

They had four kids together — Connor, Kyra, William and Aiden — before he filed for divorce on May 12, 2010.

Kennedy Family Daughter

Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

Mary Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and their daughter Kyra LeMoyne Kennedy attend the RFK Center Ripple of Hope Awards dinner at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in Nov. 2009.

Three days later, she was arrested for driving under the influence after police saw her drive over a curb outside a school carnival.

She failed a number of sobriety tests and her blood-alcohol level registered 0.11. The criminal charge was dismissed and she was given a one-year conditional release.

On Aug. 21, 2010, she was pulled over in Dutchess County and arrested for driving under the influence of drugs.

She had mixed prescription medications. The charge was later dismissed.

“Bobby tried really, really hard to shield the kids from her condition,” a source said.

The divorce that so upset her has not yet been finalized.

Neighbors in Bedford called Mary Kennedy a lovely woman who was active in community and school affairs, but had recently seemed a “bit off” — either medicated or intoxicated. But a friend of Mary’s told The News that Mary feared her husband was trying to “gaslight” her — make her think she was going crazy.

Although the split hit her hard, her problems began long before Robert filed for divorce.

As early as 2007, Robert Kennedy tried to drive her to a hospital for treatment, but she left the car and ran into the road.

“I remember she was acting kind of out of it, kind of crazy,” witness Rae Kesten told the Journal News at the time. “She was running into the street and flailing her arms around. He was trying to restrain her. I didn’t know if they were fighting or not, but I was concerned.”

Robert Kennedy is the third of 11 children of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968, five years after his older brother President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas.

Michael Kennedy, one of his younger brothers, died in 1997 when he slammed into a tree while tossing a football on a ski slope. Another brother, David, died of a drug overdose in 1984.

- With Kenneth Lovett and Edgar Sandoval

Leave a comment

Filed under politics, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys

“The Kennedys” Miniseries Debuts on Reelz Channel

Television review: ‘The Kennedys’

Despite several strong lead performances, it turns out that even an eight-part miniseries can’t do justice to the story of one of the country’s most dynamic, if flawed, political families.

April 01, 2011|By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic

 

The main problem with “The Kennedys,” the rumor-plagued, eight-part series that was rejected by the History Channel, which had commissioned it, before landing at ReelzChannel, is not one of politics or even accuracy but of scope. It is impossible to tell the story of this iconic family even in eight parts, even by limiting the timeline, as creators Stephen Kronish and Joel Surnow have done, to the years between the beginnings of World War II and the assassination of Robert Kennedy. There is too much back story, too many important events, and too many Kennedys.

Kronish addresses the last of these problems by simply cutting the family in half. “The Kennedys” that the title refers to are Joe Sr. (Tom Wilkinson), Rose (Diana Hardcastle ), John F. (Greg Kinnear) and his wife, Jacqueline (Katie Holmes), Bobby (Barry Pepper) and his wife, Ethel (Kristin Booth). Fourth daughter Patricia is seen briefly in one of the later episodes, married to Peter Lawford and playing hostess to one of his Marilyn Monroe-studded soirees, while Rosemary, the victim of an early lobotomy, appears briefly in flashback. But Kathleen (who died in an airplane crash in 1948); Eunice, who founded the Special Olympics and was married to Kennedy advisor Sargent Shriver; Jean, who eventually became U.S. ambassador to Ireland; and Edward (Teddy), the longtime Massachusetts senator and onetime presidential candidate, are not only not present, they are never even mentioned.

Which is much more troubling than the various scenes of infidelity (Joe’s and Jack’s), election “rigging” (Joe’s), mob connections (Joe’s) and drug use (Jack’s and Jackie’s) that have apparently raised the blood pressure of Kennedy historians, History Channel execs and various industry watchers for reasons that, while watching the actual episodes, is inexplicable. There is nothing in “The Kennedys” that hasn’t appeared before in reputable books, films and articles in the Kennedy-obsessed “Vanity Fair.”

An argument could be made that a channel called “History” might want to avoid docudramas, which rely on artistic interpretation, but if it was the intention of producer Surnow, a political conservative, to sully the Kennedy name, he certainly went about it in a strange manner. Jack and Bobby emerge splendid, smart and heroic despite their flaws, and even Joe, though portrayed as a ruthlessly ambitious father and truly awful husband, appears in the end guilty of little more than old-time campaign tactics and a once-oppressed immigrant’s dream of joining the ruling class.

Casting went a long way toward balancing the script’s inclusion of the unsavory side of being a Kennedy. Wilkinson can do just about anything at this point in his career, and he illuminates equally Joe’s hubris and desperate fear of failure, while, with his perpetually worried eyes, Kinnear plays a JFK in constant pain — from his back, from his father’s expectations, from his own infidelities. Don Draper certainly never felt this guilty about getting a little on the side.

The revelation of “The Kennedys” is Pepper, most recently seen as the snaggletoothed villain in “True Grit,” who delivers an Emmy-deserving performance, slowly building a Bobby who becomes the family’s, and the Kennedy administration’s, spine of steel, aware of the choices and sacrifices he is making and prepared to make them every time. As attorney general, Bobby is the president’s hammer even as he attempts to be his conscience.

The scenes among these three men alone are worth trying to find out if you get ReelzChannel. Unfortunately, they are too often being moved through historical events as if they were chess pieces and are surrounded by a supporting cast not up to their level. Holmes is pretty as Jackie, but her emotions are confined to happy (“I love him”) and sad (“He cheats on me”), with absolutely no nuance and only the occasional flash of spirit, intellect and inner strength that made Jacqueline Kennedy an icon in her own right. As Ethel, Booth is almost unbearably perky in early episodes, although she mellows as the series unfolds; the scenes between Bobby and Ethel are far more poignant and powerful than those between Jackie and Jack. Hardcastle (married to Wilkinson) can’t do much with a Rose who spends most of the series saying her rosary and making pronouncements about God’s will in a broad Eastern accent — it isn’t until the final episode that mention is made of the crucial role Rose played in the political careers of her sons.

But she is just another victim of the genre’s biggest danger. In attempting to be both sprawling and intimate, “The Kennedys” winds up in a narrative no-man’s land. So the tensions of Bobby taking on organized crime, the riots in Mississippi, the Cuban missile crisis and the strained relationship of the brothers with J. Edgar Hoover and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson are treated with the same time constraints and dramatic emphasis as Joe’s endless “recovery” from his stroke and Jackie’s realization that being a first lady is difficult.

While this “greatest-hits” pace does take the potential sting from the more salacious details — Jack’s infidelities are few and far between, Frank Sinatra is blamed for any mob-related fallout, the pep-me-up shots Jack and Jackie receive do little more than pep them up — it also buries the fine performances of its leading men, who too often seem to be simply marching toward their characters’ inevitable doom.

mary.mcnamara@latimes.com

2 Comments

Filed under caroline kennedy, jackie kennedy, JFK, JFK Jr., John F. Kennedy, john f. kennedy jr., lady bird johnson, LBJ, lyndon b. johnson, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys

New Gallup Poll: JFK Still Most Popular U.S. President

 

85% Says It All

 

According to a new Gallup Poll, President John F. Kennedy continues to earn the highest retrospective job approval rating from Americans, now 85%.

Ronald Reagan ranks second, with 74%. While these presidents’ ratings are largely unchanged from 2006, Bill Clinton’s rating has improved, putting him in third place, while Jimmy Carter, at 52%, has dropped from third to sixth. Richard Nixon remains the lowest rated.

The poll was limited to approval ratings for American presidents who have served in the past 50 years.

Approval of How Past Presidents Handled Their Job -- Recent Trend (2006, 2010)

The Nov. 19-21 Gallup poll asked Americans to say, based on what they know or remember about the nine most recent former presidents, whether they approve or disapprove of how each handled his job in office.

Kennedy has consistently ranked No. 1 in this Gallup measure initiated in 1990.

 

 

Read full story here: Kennedy Still Highest-Rated Modern President, Nixon Lowest.

Leave a comment

Filed under caroline kennedy, jackie kennedy, JFK, JFK Jr., John F. Kennedy, john f. kennedy jr., lady bird johnson, LBJ, lyndon b. johnson, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys

Kennedy’s Wife Avoids Jail Time for DWI

FILE – In this Sept. 18, 2008 file photo, Mary Richardson Kennedy, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is shown. The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has resolved her New York drunken-driving case by pleading guilty to a lesser charge. Mary Kennedy pleaded guilty Thursday, July 22, 2010 to driving with ability impaired. She was arrested in May after a police officer reported seeing her drive over a curb outside a school in Bedford, 30 miles north of New York City. (AP Photo/Andy Kropa, File)

RFK Jr.’s wife guilty of driving impaired in NY

By JIM FITZGERALD (AP) – 8 hours ago

BEDFORD HILLS, N.Y. — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. settled her drunken-driving case without jail time Thursday night by pleading guilty to a minor charge.

Mary Kennedy admitted in court that her driving ability was impaired when she drove over a curb outside a school in Bedford, 30 miles north of New York City, in May.

Robert Kennedy, who has reportedly filed for divorce, was not in court. He also was not among the many relatives and friends who wrote supportive letters to Town Judge Kevin Quaranta.

“He was not asked,” said Mary Kennedy’s lawyer, Kerry Lawrence.

Robert Kennedy’s mother, Ethel Kennedy, and his sister Kerry Kennedy wrote letters, with Ethel Kennedy telling the judge her daughter-in-law is “kind, loving, gentle and generous.”

Mary Kennedy, 50, would not comment after the court session. Her lawyer said she was “pleased to get some closure.”

The charge of driving while ability impaired is a violation and carries no jail time. The judge fined Kennedy $500, suspended her driver’s license for 90 days and ordered her to attend two drunken-driving programs.

The judge also said Kennedy’s psychiatrist must submit quarterly reports about her progress.

“You’re going to have to live up to the continuation of your treatment,” he told Kennedy.

“Absolutely,” she replied.

The judge told Kennedy the letters from family and friends, including actor Dan Aykroyd and environmentalist Alex Matthiessen, praised “your life, your role as a parent.”

“I hope we don’t see you here again,” he added.

Kennedy was arrested May 15 on a charge of driving while intoxicated after a police officer reported seeing her drive over the curb. Her only passenger was a dog.

Police said her blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent; the legal limit is 0.08 percent.

The arrest came three days after Robert Kennedy filed a matrimonial action with the Westchester County clerk’s office, naming his wife as defendant. Several news reports said he had filed for divorce, and most such filings are divorce suits, but the papers are sealed and both Kennedys have refused to comment. Lawrence would not comment Thursday night.

Robert Kennedy, a prominent environmental lawyer, is the son of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy, both assassinated in the 1960s. Mary Kennedy is his second wife. They have four children.

Robert Kennedy had two children with his first wife, whom he divorced in 1994.

Bedford police said in May that they had responded to the Kennedy home twice in the week before Mary Kennedy’s arrest but no crimes had been committed.

1 Comment

Filed under climate change, environment, global warming, JFK, politics, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., the kennedys

RFK Jr. Divorces Wife

The Kennedys at an NRDC Event, Apr. 1, 2008

 

July 13, 2010

Bobby Kennedy Jr. sues wife for divorce

Shawn Cohen and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
spcohen@lohud.com

WHITE PLAINS — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. filed to divorce his wife of 16 years just three days before Mary Kennedy was charged with drunken driving, according to records obtained by The Journal News.

The May 12 divorce filing also came a day before Bedford police responded to the Kennedy home for a “domestic incident” during which her husband alleged she was intoxicated, records show.

It was among several police visits to the Bedford estate in recent years, according to police incident reports.

Robert Kennedy, a prominent environmentalist at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, declined to comment this week.

“I’m not going to talk to you about my personal life,” he said Monday.

He is the son of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in California in 1968 during his run for president.

According to records on file with the Westchester County Clerk’s Office, the Kennedy family scion filed the papers on May 12.

On May 10, two days before the filing, Mary Kennedy called 911 herself, police said. Officers responding to the house reported she was “visibly intoxicated” and had “great difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating her reasons for calling.” She told police her husband was “verbally abusive to herself and her children.”

On May 13, officers were summoned to the South Bedford Road home at 9:16 p.m. and filed a state domestic incident report before leaving.

On May 15, Mary Kennedy was stopped outside St. Patrick’s School on Greenwich Road near the couple’s home and charged with driving while intoxicated. Police said she had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent at the time of her arrest. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

She was ordered to undergo evaluation for potential alcohol abuse and is due in Town Court on July 22.

Her lawyer in that case also declined comment on the divorce proceeding.

Details on the divorce filing, including grounds, were unavailable. New York state does not have a “no fault” divorce law, though it will go into effect in September.

The couple has four children.

This would be Kennedy’s second divorce. He was married to Emily Ruth Black. They divorced in 1994, a month before he married his current wife.

2 Comments

Filed under climate change, environment, global warming, live earth, media, politics, religion, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys

Mary Kennedy’s DWI Hearing Continued

Mary Kennedy, right, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., leaves Bedford Court in Bedford with her sister on Thursday, as she appears on her DWI charge. The matter was adjourned until July 22.

 Mary Kennedy, right, the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., leaves Bedford Court in Bedford with her sister on Thursday, as she appears on her DWI charge. The matter was adjourned until July 22.

(Photo: Mark Vergari / The Journal News)

 

BEDFORD, NY — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared Thursday night in Town Court on a drunken-driving charge in a brief hearing that ended with no resolution to her case.

At her previous court appearance May 28, Mary Richardson Kennedy’s lawyer predicted he could wrap up her case Thursday. But Town Justice Kevin Quaranta said she needed to provide the court with more information. He did not say what was required, but Kennedy, 50, was previously ordered to undergo an evaluation to determine if she needs treatment for alcohol abuse.

The hearing was continued to July 22.

Kennedy was arrested about 9 p.m. May 15 outside St. Patrick’s School after she steered her 2004 Volvo station wagon over a curb while driving to an annual carnival there.

She was charged with driving while intoxicated after her blood-alcohol level measured 0.11 percent, police said. The state’s legal limit is 0.08 percent for DWI.

Kennedy pleaded not guilty. During the May 28 court appearance, she was ordered to surrender her driver’s license and undergo the evaluation.

The arrest exposed problems in the Kennedy household, with police records detailing several domestic disturbances.

Just two days before the DWI arrest, Bedford police filed a state domestic incident report after a 911 hang-up call from the residence on South Bedford Road. Police reported that Robert Kennedy, a leading environmentalist, drove the couple’s children to the carnival that day after an argument with his wife, telling police she was intoxicated and “acting irrational.”

On May 10, Mary Kennedy called 911 herself, police said. Officers responding to the house reported she was “visibly intoxicated” and had “great difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating her reasons for calling.” She told police her husband was “verbally abusive to herself and her children,” records state.

Twice in 2007, Robert Kennedy told police he was worried that his wife might hurt herself, including once that September when he restrained her in the roadway after driving her to Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco to see a psychologist.

By Shawn Cohen, The Journal News. Full article at http://www.lohud.com/article/20100709/NEWS02/7090332/Mary-Kennedy-s-DWI-hearing-continued

1 Comment

Filed under climate change, environment, global warming, media, politics, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys

Wife of RFK Jr. Busted for DWI; Pleads Not Guilty

RFK Jr. and wife Mary Richardson Kennedy in Dec. 2008

 RFK JR.’S WIFE BUSTED FOR DWI

BEDFORD, NY — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was
ordered to surrender her driver’s license and
undergo an evaluation to determine if she needs
treatment for alcohol after she pleaded not guilty
Thursday to drunken driving.

Mary Richardson Kennedy, 50, smiled nervously
during the court proceeding, saying only “yes” when
Justice Kevin Quaranta asked if she understood the
charge.

“This is going to be treated like any other case, “
Quaranta said.

Kennedy refused to answer questions outside the
courthouse before she was driven away in a black
Mercedes-Benz.

“We hope there will be a resolution of this case at
the next court appearance,” said her attorney, Kerry
Lawrence.

Kennedy’s husband, a leading environmental
activist, did not accompany her.

She is due in court July 15.

Mary Kennedy

Mary Kennedy leaving court on May 27, 2010 (Photo: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News)

Kennedy was arrested about 9 p.m. May 15 outside
St. Patrick’s School on a charge of driving while
intoxicated. She had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11
percent, police said. The state’s legal limit is 0.08
percent for DWI.

Police said she steered her 2004 Volvo station
wagon over a curb as she drove up to an annual
carnival at the school.

Just two days earlier, Robert Kennedy drove the
couple’s children to the carnival after an argument
with his wife, according to Bedford police records
obtained this week under the state Freedom of
Information Law.

“Mr. Kennedy stated that his wife was intoxicated
and was acting irrational, so he took the children to
the carnival to remove them from the situation,”
Police Officer David Novick wrote in a state domestic
incident report filed after a 911 hang-up call from
the Kennedy home.

The incidents were the latest in a series of domestic
disturbances at the South Bedford Road estate,
police records show.

Mary’s mugshot, May 15, 2010

On May 10, police received a 911 call from Mary
Kennedy at 5:55 p.m. in which she “reports a
dispute between her husband and her children,”
police said.

“Mrs. Kennedy was wearing a white bathrobe and
was barefoot,” Bedford officers wrote in a report.
“Mrs. Kennedy was visibly intoxicated and had great
difficulty collecting her thoughts and articulating
her reasons for calling 911 for assistance .”

“During the interviews, Mary Kennedy repeatedly
stated that she has ongoing issues with her
husband Robert, referring to him as verbally
abusive to herself and her children,” the report said.

Less than an hour after officers left the home, police
said Mary Kennedy called 911 three times within 10
minutes, but the officers “stated they had difficulty
understanding her.”

There were also two incidents involving the
Kennedys in 2007 — one in Bedford and one in
neighboring Mount Kisco.

On March 17, 2007, St. Patrick’s Day, Bedford police
were called to the Kennedy home at 9:51 p.m., the
records show.

“Responded to the Kennedy residence for a report
from Mr. Kennedy that his wife might be trying to
hurt herself,” police said.

Officers arrived to find Mary Kennedy, her sister and
her sister-in-law in the home.

“Spoke to all the parties and it was determined that
their (sic) must have been a (sic) error in
communication between Mr. Kennedy and his wife,”
the police report said.

On Sept. 4, 2007, Mount Kisco police reported a
disturbance between the Kennedys outside Northern
Westchester Hospital Center. According to an
incident report, Robert Kennedy took his wife to the
hospital to see a psychologist because he was
concerned about her mental state.

Mary Kennedy ran into the roadway and had to be
restrained by her husband “to keep her from hurting
herself,” the police report said. He summoned a
motorist to call police and later agreed to drive her
home.

In two earlier encounters with the Kennedys,
Bedford police said they received a 911 call from the
couple’s home on May 12, 2004.

When officers arrived, the nanny told them that one
of the Kennedy children accidentally dialed 911.

On April 22, 2003, Mary Kennedy told police that
her son had mistakenly dialed 911.

Story from LoHud.com. By Shawn Cohen and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon • spcohen@lohud.com • May 28, 2010

Leave a comment

Filed under climate change, environment, global warming, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

Opinion: History Channel Kennedy Miniseries will be “Shamalot”

 

The Kennedy Brothers

 

ISN’T ASSASSINATION ENOUGH?

LET THE KENNEDYS REST IN PEACE

Dear Friends –
 
I am taking time today to write and express my extreme displeasure with The History Channel’s planned miniseries The Kennedys. After reviewing portions of the draft script, I was floored by the sheer number of inaccuracies, distortions and omissions of essential facts in this docu-drama.
 
This is not what future generations should be learning about the presidency of John F. Kennedy.
 
As we reach the 50th anniversary of JFK’s inauguration this year, presenting an epic miniseries which is not only grossly inaccurate but clearly designed to assassinate the character of a president who gave his life for this country, is wholly unacceptable to me. 
 
My daily concern as a historian, author and museum curator is the quality of education we are giving our children in the field of history. As a radio/print journalist, Kennedy scholar, and founder of several websites devoted to the Kennedy family legacy, I have devoted 25 years of my life to providing accurate information to anyone who is interested in learning about our nation’s 35th president and his family.
 
So when I see a script like The Kennedys, proposed to air on (of all places) The History Channel, I shudder to think of the potential and far-reaching consequences.
 
When fiction is presented as fact, that is entertainment. It is not history and has no place on The History Channel.
 
I am also highly offended that the same History Channel which brought us such outstanding documentaries as JFK: A Presidency Revealed and Turner’s The Men Who Killed Kennedy would ever stoop this low, becoming little more than a mouthpiece for right-wing rumormongering and propaganda the likes of which we would expect from Fox News.
 
Many of my fellow historians and researchers have joined together to let the History Channel know how we feel. We must try and stop this miniseries from being produced as currently written.
 
Please ask The History Channel to allow JFK’s living decendants, friends and key advisors – as well as credible historians and researchers – to consult on production of The Kennedys miniseries. Then, and only then, can we rest assured that this presentation on the Kennedy family is truly “fair and balanced.” 
 
Please take a few minutes to learn more about The Kennedys miniseries here:

History channel draws flak for planned JFK miniseries

Pittsburgh Post Gazette – Dave Itzkoff – ‎Feb 19, 2010‎

 Also please visit the website http://StopKennedySmears.com to view a short film directed by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films which features interviews with Ted Sorensen, David Talbot, Nigel Hamilton, Rick Perlstein, David Nasaw and other Kennedy historians expressing their shock and outrage at this deeply-flawed production. You can view some excerpts of the script and decide for yourself is this is what you want your grandchildren to know about President Kennedy and his family. 

If Jack Kennedy were alive today, he’d surely sue them for defamation of character and win. But since he’s sadly not here to defend himself, looks like it’s going to be up to those of us who still care to speak up before it’s too late. 

If you agree, I hope you will add your name to the petition at StopKennedySmears.com and tell the History Channel to present real history. 

Thank You,
 
 
New Frontier
Founding Editor

 

2 Comments

Filed under caroline kennedy, jackie kennedy, JFK, JFK Jr., John F. Kennedy, john f. kennedy jr., lady bird johnson, LBJ, lyndon b. johnson, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

Rep. Patrick Kennedy Pulls a Lyndon

In other shocking political news today, Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy announced that he will not seek re-election, leaving the U.S. Congress without a Kennedy for the first time since 1947.

Wow. Now that’s what I call “pulling a Lyndon,” allright.

“I shall not seek, nor will I accept…oh to hell with it, I quit, ok?”

After Scott Brown’s stunning victory in the Massachusetts special election for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, is the tide turning in American politics? For better or for worse? Your thoughts?

1 Comment

Filed under JFK, John F. Kennedy, lady bird johnson, LBJ, lyndon b. johnson, media, politics, president kennedy, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., senator robert kennedy, the kennedys, Uncategorized

Kennedy Clashes With Environmentalists

* Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the New York Times and on Greenwire.com.

Kennedy testifies at the House Appropriations Committee Energy Hearings last December

Kennedy testifies at the House Appropriations Committee Energy Hearings last December

ENVIROS ASK:

IS RFK JR PUTTING PROFIT ABOVE PRINCIPLES?

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is no stranger to hardball politics.

The environmental attorney has confronted polluters of the Hudson River, been arrested in Puerto Rico for trying to block U.S. Navy training operations and scrapped with oil companies looking to drill in remote parts of Alaska.

Along the way, he has worked for environmental groups large and small, lending his famous name to a burgeoning movement fighting to bring attention to macro-issues like climate change while protecting local wildlife habitat. In 1999, he was named a Time magazine “Hero of the Planet” for his work with the advocacy group Riverkeeper.

But in California’s emerging battle over renewable energy development, Kennedy has gained new enemies: fellow environmentalists.

Kennedy, the son and namesake of the late Attorney General and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), is at the center of a nasty dispute among environmental groups, energy developers and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) over the future of federal lands in the sun-soaked Mojave Desert.

The Mojave’s 22,000 square miles straddle California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. Given its elevation, heat, aridity and proximity to population centers on the California coast, the region is viewed by many as the ideal venue in North America for building a new generation of large solar-thermal power plants, especially in a state where utilities are required to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2010 and likely 33 percent by 2020.

Among the leaders in a group of aggressive solar prospectors is an Oakland-based company called BrightSource Energy Inc., which has been making a splash lately for its plans to build 2.6 gigawatts of power for California’s investor-owned utilities, much of it to be located — on paper, at least — in the Mojave Desert.

But some California-based activists are worried that solar developers like BrightSource are getting a free pass in a headlong rush to build clean energy and capitalize on federal stimulus dollars now available for such projects. These activists have enlisted Feinstein to push for the declaration of a national monument in the desert and intend to unveil legislation with the senator in September that would apparently protect 1 million acres in the eastern Mojave to limit development.

Enter Kennedy, who calls the national monument, as it is likely to be drawn, a bad idea. To Kennedy, the instinct to protect local ecosystems has collided with the goals of a progressive national energy policy.

“I respect the belief that it’s all local,” Kennedy said in an interview. “But they’re putting the democratic process and sound scientific judgement on hold to jeopardize the energy future of our country.”

But here’s the rub: Kennedy has a stake in BrightSource through VantagePoint Venture Partners, a venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley that was instrumental in raising $160 million in financing for the solar startup. Other investors include Chevron Corp., Google.org and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

That Kennedy is a senior adviser at VantagePoint, and an open promoter of BrightSource in public speeches, is an irony not lost on David Myers, an activist who charges Kennedy with shilling for a company intent on using his political clout. To Myers, the lure of profit if BrightSource makes it big is why Kennedy, a cousin of California’s first lady, Maria Shriver, wants to stop the national monument before it ever gets off the ground.

“I’m getting pretty tired of BrightSource using their Kennedy connection,” said Myers, executive director of the Wildlands Conservancy. “BrightSource [is pursuing] the worst projects in the worst locations, but they have the best PR firm, because Robert Kennedy is involved.”

Feinstein’s monument

Next, enter Feinstein, a longtime advocate of desert conservation and lead appropriator for the Interior Department in Congress. Her office is working on a bill to be released this month that some sources said will cut off 1 million public acres in the desert — up from a previous estimate of 600,000 acres — to protect a threatened species of desert tortoise and preserve its habitat.

Feinstein, according to several sources who spoke anonymously, is livid about the pace of development on public lands and has bluntly told the solar developers not to challenge her on the national monument designation. Calls to several solar companies seeking comment seemed to bear this out, as none would take a position on the measure.

Myers has been instrumental in developing the boundaries of the monument, sparking rumors that he is cozy with Feinstein and is dictating the terms of the legislation. The boundaries would stretch from Joshua Tree National Park to Mojave National Preserve, including nearly 100,000 acres of National Park Service lands and 210,000 acres spread across 20 wilderness areas controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.

That area includes lands previously owned by Catellus Development Corp., a real estate subsidiary of the former Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroad. Myers insisted that the purchase was made years ago in the name of conservation, a promise that he says Feinstein takes seriously.

And though he would not release details of the bill, Myers said none of the land would come from the federal energy zones marked by the Interior Department for development. Nor does he believe solar companies will have trouble finding land to build on elsewhere in the region.

“The land in the monument is minuscule,” Myers said. “There are so many other places where solar is being proposed throughout the state.”

But Kennedy still disagrees with the national monument push. He points out that BrightSource and 18 other companies have petitioned BLM and the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build in areas that overlap the Catellus lands, which would likely be closed to development under the Feinstein bill. Those applications represent about 10,000 megawatts of power, or 30 large-scale solar power plants; and though much of that would never get built, Kennedy says closing down Broadwell is a significant blow to the companies that have invested there under the guidance of federal land managers.

“This area is probably one of the best solar areas in the world,” Kennedy said. “All that the solar industry has said is, ‘Look, let’s respect the robust process in place,’ a process that is among the most transparent in the world through the CEC and BLM.”

That process is still proceeding. BLM has received 66 applications for solar, totaling 577,000 acres, most of which would be located in the desert, an agency spokesman said. BLM is also processing 93 wind applications, representing 815,000 acres.

Yet the monument bill may have already produced a chilling effect. John White, a renewable-energy policy expert at the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, says the proposal has cast a “shadow” over these projects just as they are vying for financing and federal stimulus dollars only available until 2010. To White, setting aside 1 million acres in the eastern Mojave would mean “less land for solar than for off-road vehicles … in the very best land that has the highest solar radiation.”

“I’m astonished that nobody’s said that,” said White, who refused to comment further on the political wrangling.

Myers countered that most of those 19 companies have agreed, in private discussions with Feinstein, to build elsewhere. Florida Power & Light Co., Cogentrix Energy LLC and Stirling Energy Systems Inc., among others, have informed Feinstein that they filed “shotgun applications” in the Broadwell area and are more than willing to drop those and find other areas, he said.

“They’re fine going outside the monument,” Myers said. “BrightSource is the laughingstock of the industry right now.”

Kennedy vs. Myers

For his part, Kennedy was unfazed by Myers’ allegations or his harsh take on BrightSource, calling the political heat familiar territory, given his family’s unique place in U.S. history. In the same breath, he urged Feinstein to take a step back before proceeding with the monument.

“I don’t think it does anybody any good to start making personal attacks,” Kennedy said. “Let’s argue this on the merits. I think if we argue this on the merits, I think BrightSource and 19 other companies are going to win the debate.”

Kennedy added that he has a “limited stake” in VantagePoint and denied asking for special treatment through Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) or anyone else in the state government.

“I don’t care enough about BrightSource to compromise my integrity or the national interest,” Kennedy said. “I’ve never talked to anyone about choosing BrightSource over anybody else. I’ve never asked for any favors from any politician or any regulator or any human being, ever.”

In the next breath, Kennedy went negative himself and questioned Myers’ relationship with a competitor to BrightSource, Pasadena-based eSolar Inc. Like BrightSource, eSolar is a solar-thermal outfit whose business model is built around reflecting radiation from mirrors into a large tower to convert steam into electricity. Unlike BrightSource, eSolar has no stake or planned projects in the Broadwell region.

Myers, Kennedy pointed out, has his own overlap issues with Silicon Valley money through eSolar. A major donor to the Wildlands Conservancy is the venture capitalist David Gelbaum, who has poured his own funds into eSolar and reportedly owns a fat stake in the company. eSolar would stand to benefit from the national monument, several sources said, because it is not involved in the Broadwell area.

Adding to the fire is Myers himself, who recently appeared at an eSolar press event in person to praise the company for siting projects on industrial lands near power lines in Lancaster, Calif. Yet Myers denies an inappropriate relationship and blamed Kennedy and BrightSource for stoking the rumors.

Gelbaum, Myers said, donated $45 million seven years ago to help acquire the Catellus lands. Myers said the donation and pledge to keep the lands off-limits took place well before BrightSource came into being.

Not stopping there, Myers slammed Kennedy for opposing a wind project off the coast of Nantucket, Mass., and questioned his recent environmental credentials. He said Kennedy is hiding behind the local versus national environmental debate when his real motivation is turning a profit through VantagePoint.

“Bobby Kennedy told us they did not want to see windmills in Cape Cod, that they had to put it all in the California desert,” Myers said. “The real story here is, Bobby Kennedy is on the side of major industrial development, and he’s against distributed generation.”

Kennedy responded in kind. “He is very focused on a narrow piece of land, which I respect,” he said of Myers. “All I’ve ever asked for is a rational process that is democratic, that is transparent, that is robust. That process is in place.”

View from the bleachers

Spectators on the sidelines were hesitant to comment on the flare-up between Kennedy and Myers or the shape of the monument designation. Most said they could not take a position on the forthcoming Feinstein bill until it is publicly available, which a spokeswoman said has not been finalized.

Officials at BrightSource, who contacted Kennedy for an interview after receiving a call for this article, said the focus had been placed unfairly on their company when the future of the entire solar industry is at stake.

“The debate over renewable development and desert protection is not adversarial,” said Keely Wachs, a spokesman at BrightSource. “We all have the same end goal of protecting the environment.”

White, whose organization is meant to bridge industry and environmental groups, said “a little bit of land rush” followed the stimulus frenzy and perhaps led to tense feelings on both sides. He urged the players to learn from the experience, even as he cautioned that the political process has yet to play out.

“It’s one thing to introduce a bill and another thing to get it through both houses,” White said. “I think that this really is the beginning of a long conversation about where and how to put solar in the desert.”

Elden Hughes, a former chairman of the Sierra Club’s California-Nevada Desert Committee, blamed BLM for promoting lands bought from Catellus years ago and said officials there should have respected a promise that those lands be conserved. He said BLM has only recently changed its tune.

Calling BLM officials “two-faced SOBs,” Hughes said, “For some months, they were telling us they were protecting the land, while at the same time they were taking developers out there.”

BLM spokesman John Dearing would only say that the agency’s job is to process applications. BLM has no right to block any entity from seeking a right of way on the Catellus lands, he said, adding that the agency will pursue “high-level reviews” for any proposed impacts to lands meant for conservation.

“They might want to steer away from that area,” Dearing said of the developers. “But they’re not prohibited from making an application.”

 

Copyright 2009 E&E Publishing. For more news on energy and the environment, visit www.greenwire.com.

2 Comments

Filed under barack obama, climate change, environment, global warming, live earth, media, politics, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr.