Monthly Archives: July 2008

Kennedy Building New “Green” House


* Now, before you laugh out loud at that headline and say, “you’ve got to be kidding me!” – check out this July 25 story from the NY Daily News:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Bobby Kennedy Jr. has snatched victory – and a TV deal – from the jaws of toxic mold.

For years, the environmental crusader and his wife, Mary, had battled a deadly fungus that had infested their Westchester County home.

“We finally came to the conclusion that there was no way to save the house,” Kennedy tells us. “We had to tear it down. We didn’t feel it was conscionable to sell it to someone else.”

The Kennedys moved to a rental house, hoping someday to build again on their land.

Now they are planning to erect a state-of-the-art green home whose construction will be supervised by “This Old House” star Bob Vila for a 13-part TV series.

Having the last laugh on the mold, the Kennedys are recycling every nail and piece of plasterboard from their old place. They’re hoping that the solar-powered manse will win a coveted Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We’re pretty confident we can get a gold LEED,” says Kennedy, who is entertaining offers from several TV networks. “Platinum is harder. Some of the ratings depend on how close to rail stations and grocery stores you are.”

The show also will look at houses that are “extremely affordable,” says Bobby.

The couple is also using recycled materials from a former Dutchess County mental institution where Bobby once volunteered. “Mary thinks it’s good that we’re living in an insane asylum,” he laughs.


* Story copyright 2008, the New York Daily News.



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Unearthing News the Mainstream Media Forgot to Report



By Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle


Ashcroft Claims Waterboarding Isn’t Torture

Former Attorney General John Ashcroft told the House Judiciary Committee last week that waterboarding is not torture. Ashcroft also claims waterboarding is more effective than other interrogation techniques and has served a “very valuable” purpose.

“I believe a report of waterboarding would be serious, but I do not believe it would define torture,” Ashcroft testified. He added, “the Department of Justice has on a consistent basis over the last half-dozen years or so, over and over again in its evaluations, come to the conclusion that under the law in existence during my time as attorney general, waterboarding did not constitute torture.”

Republican Representative Howard Coble of North Carolina asked Ashcroft, “Waterboarding, as we all know, is a controversial issue. Do you think it served a beneficial purpose?”

“The reports that I have heard, and I have no reason to disbelieve them, indicate that they were very valuable,” Ashcroft replied, adding that CIA Director George Tenet indicated the “value of the information received from the use of enhanced interrogation techniques — I don’t know whether he was saying waterboarding or not, but assume that he was for a moment — the value of that information exceeded the value of information that was received from all other sources.”
More Details Emerge On How White House Blocked CO2 Cuts

Jason Burnett, a former Bush EPA appointee, told the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming last week that the White House was persuaded by “individuals working for particular oil companies, Exxon Mobil,” and oil industry trade associations to delay and ultimately block EPA’s efforts to regulate CO2 during the remainder of Bush’s term in office.

Burnett said that White House officials initially supported EPA’s efforts to create a framework to regulate CO2 emissions, but reversed course after a carefully choreographed lobbying campaign by representatives from Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, and the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association, who argued that Bush should not undermine his legacy by regulating greenhouse gases. Burnett, the former EPA deputy associate administrator, claims that the coal and oil industries successfully persuaded the White House to block the EPA’s determination that CO2 and other greenhouse gases pose a significant threat to public health and the climate and should be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

Burnett explained to the committee how the electric power industry, particularly the Edison Electric Institute, “thought their members would be better served by getting out in front and actively engaging” regulators trying to shape CO2 standards, “rather than trying to fight what they judge to be inevitable.”

Burnett said he and other EPA staff were ordered by administration officials to downplay the risk of global warming: “We were told . . . that the [document] should not establish a path forward or a framework for regulation, but should emphasize the complexity of the challenge.”

EPA announced last week that the agency has no intention of regulating global warming emissions until after President Bush’s term ends. Days later, the agency issued detailed warnings confirming that global warming poses “substantial” threats to the United States. Heat waves, hurricanes and infectious diseases will increase and “it is very likely” that more people will die during extremely hot periods in future years, with the greatest impacts on the elderly, the poor and those in inner cities, according to the new EPA report.
Closing Coal Plants Benefits Children’s Brain Development

A new study by researchers at Columbia University’s Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) concludes that shutting down coal-fired power plants has a direct, positive impact on infant brain development.

The study, published in the July 14th edition of the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives, tracked the development of two groups of children in China – one in utero while a coal-fired power plant was operating in the city of Tongliang and one in utero after the Chinese government had closed the same plant. The group exposed to coal plant emissions in the womb had significantly lower average developmental scores and reduced motor development at age two than children in the control group with no exposure to the coal plant emissions.

“This study provides direct evidence that governmental action to eliminate polluting coal-burning sources benefits children’s neurodevelopment,” said Dr. Frederica Perera, lead author of the study and Director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. “These findings have major implications for environmental health and energy policy as they demonstrate that reduction in dependence on coal for energy can have a measurable positive impact on children’s development and health — in China and elsewhere,” said Perara.

Earlier studies conducted by the CCEH on coal’s health impacts found that newborns with high levels of prenatal exposure to air pollution from coal-fired power plants have smaller head circumference at birth, lower growth rate in childhood, and significantly worse performance on developmental tests at two years of age. Additionally, newborns in utero during operation of the coal burning power plant had higher levels of DNA damage due to prenatal exposure to air pollutants than newborns in either New York City or Krakow, Poland.
Green Energy Sector Jobs Surge, Coal Industry Employment Continues Falling

A new report by the Worldwatch Institute confirms that a transition to renewable energy sources will lead to significant global job gains. Meanwhile, coal industry employment continues to plummet. In the United States alone, coal industry employment has fallen by half in the last 20 years, despite a one-third increase in production.

An estimated 2.3 million people worldwide currently work either directly in renewables or indirectly in supplier industries. The solar thermal industry employs at least 624,000 people, the wind power industry 300,000, and the solar PV industry 170,000. More than 1 million people work in the biomass and biofuels sector, while small-scale hydropower employs 39,000 individuals and geothermal employs 25,000.

These figures are expected to swell substantially as private investment and government support for alternative energy sources grow.
Ford Finally Shifts Focus to Offer More Fuel Efficient Vehicles In the U.S.

Ford Motor Company’s two-decade obsession with selling Americans millions of gas-guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks is finally waning. The company announced plans to drastically shift its focus to building more fuel-efficient cars. Ford plans to convert three of its North American assembly plants from producing trucks to cars, and to realign its factories to manufacture more fuel-efficient engines. Ford will also begin domestic production and sales of six of the car models it currently sells only in Europe.

Many Americans are reacting to high gas prices by purchasing smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, and since Detroit had little to offer to meet those priorities, Japanese automakers have capitalized on surging consumer demand for their more fuel-friendly cars and hybrids.

Ford posted the worst quarterly performance in its history this week, losing $8.67 billion in the second quarter. The company lost $15.3 billion in 2006 and 2007 combined. Ford slashed more than 40,000 jobs in the past three years, and sold off three of its European luxury brands to raise money to cover the losses from declining SUV and truck sales.

The company is faring only slightly better than General Motors, which is facing the possibility of bankruptcy thanks to Detroit’s collective gamble that Americans would keep buying big trucks and that gas would remain cheap. Honda announced record profits for the quarter, and Toyota beat General Motors in worldwide sales in the first half of the year, setting a pace to strip GM of its long-standing title as worldwide auto sales leader.
Judge Restores Endangered Species Act Protections for Yellowstone Wolves

Yellowstone area gray wolves are once again protected by the Endangered Species Act, after a federal district court judge restored the wolf’s endangered status last week. The protections were lifted by the Bush administration earlier this year as ranching and hunting interests prevailed over science. Environmental groups sued the Interior Department and the Fish and Wildlife Service to re-list the species, which faced the possibility of irreparable harm if planned hunts had proceeded this fall, when hunters in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming were set to kill 500 wolves.

The district court judge restored the protections after a review of the science, calling the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to de-list the wolves “problematic.” The judge criticized FWS approval of Wyoming’s plans to allow the wolf population to fall to just eight breeding pairs instead of the 15 pairs the federal government once required based on the science. The judge pointed out that federal authorities previously rejected Wyoming’s plans based on the science and that the FWS move to de-list the wolf “represents an agency change of course unsupported by adequate reasoning.”

Relief for the wolves may be temporary, as the judge’s preliminary injunction could be reversed. Since the Bush administration delisted the wolf in late March, more than 100 wolves have been killed in the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Wolves Return to Oregon Wilderness

Oregon state officials confirmed last week that the state’s first wolf pack appears to have settled into the Grants Pass area, a century after federally-funded bounty hunters eradicated the species from the west. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf coordinator Russ Morgan identified at least two adults and two pups last week when they answered his early-morning howls in the Umatilla National Forest. The pack likely descended from reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone, and either swam or found a bridge across the Snake River to reach the Oregon wilderness.

Thousands of gray wolves roamed the Rocky Mountains before being slaughtered and eliminated from 95 percent of the lower 48 states by the 1930s. The reintroduction of wolves by the federal government 12 years ago has measurably improved the natural balance in the Northern Rockies and benefited bird, antelope and elk populations, according to NRDC. Wolf tourism contributes at least $35 million to the local Yellowstone area economy each year.
Texas Approves a $4.93 Billion Wind Power Transmission Upgrade

Texas regulators approved a $4.93 billion wind-power transmission project last week, a move that will help ease a transmission bottleneck and deliver far more wind energy to Texas customers. The infrastructure expansion will enable the transport of 18,500 megawatts of electricity from remote west Texas wind farms to the state’s major population centers, providing enough power for 3.7 million homes on a hot day with peak demand.

Currently, some Texas wind turbines are shut off while the wind is blowing because existing transmission capacity can’t handle the load, a problem also hindering wind development in other states. The transmission infrastructure expansion is expected to lower electricity costs, ease pollution and create jobs, while also providing relief for Texans whose electric bills have soared along with rising natural gas prices.


White House Tries to Define Contraception As Abortion

Catering to the religious right, Bush administration health officials are attempting to redefine many forms of contraception as abortion. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposes to allow any federal grant recipient to deny a woman’s access to contraception, undermining recent state laws enacted to ensure that women can get contraception when they want or need it.

The federal government previously followed the definition of pregnancy endorsed by the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; both agree that pregnancy begins at implantation. The new regulations would cut off federal funds to hospitals and states where medical providers are obligated to offer legal abortion and contraception to women.

The HHS proposal states that “the conscience of the individual or institution should be paramount in determining what constitutes abortion, within the bounds of reason. … The Department proposes, then, to allow individuals and institutions to adhere to their own views and adopt a definition of abortion that encompasses both views of abortion.”

The regulations would enable anyone working for a federal clinic, or a health center that receives federal funding — even in the form of Medicaid – to deny access to contraception at any time.
Shoddy KBR Electrical Work Threatens Soldiers at U.S. bases in Iraq

Internal Army documents confirm that the Pentagon hid the extent of deaths and injuries from fires and shocks caused by shoddy electrical work by defense contractor KBR on U.S. military bases in Iraq. Soldiers housed on KBR-built bases face much more widespread and dangerous risk of electrocution and fire than the Pentagon and KBR have admitted publicly. While the Pentagon previously reported only 13 electrocutions in Iraq, the documents show that many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks resulting from poor electrical work. No single document tracks the exact number of deaths and injuries, making it impossible to determine the exact toll from KRB’s shoddy performance.

KBR’s own internal study found a “systemic problem” with its electrical work, although the company denies any link between its work and the electrocutions. Electrical problems are the most urgent noncombat safety hazard for soldiers in Iraq, according to a 2007 Army survey. A log from one Baghdad building complex detailed soldiers complaints of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis.

But the Pentagon did little to address the issue until a Green Beret, Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Maseth, was electrocuted in January while showering. KBR and other contractors have collected millions of dollars to repair and upgrade military facilities in Iraq, including their electrical systems. The documents reveal that KBR and other firms delegated electrical work and other duties to subcontractors who hired unskilled Iraqis who were paid only a few dollars a day.

The Bush administration’s heavy reliance on private contractors in Iraq led to rampant abuse by contractors, particularly KBR which is also accused of overbilling taxpayers, providing unsafe water to soldiers and failing to protect female employees who were sexually assaulted.

Article courtesy of The Huffington Post.

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Q&A With RFK Jr.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is this year’s keynote speaker at the annual Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky (happening all weekend, with RFK Jr.’s speech scheduled for Sunday at 2:30 p.m.).

In advance of his appearance at Forecastle, Kennedy gave an interview to Velocity Weekly, in which he discusses green solutions to our energy crisis, the 2008 election, why he’s supporting Senator Obama for president, and hints at his own political plans for the future.

Although the interview is quite good, we did have to wonder, “what’s up with that photo?” As for the cutesy caption, we think what the cutline editor meant to say was “Don’t mess with this Kennedy” rather than “don’t miss with this Kennedy.”

Perhaps Bobby should consider sending one of his hawks over there to demand a correction.


Robert Kennedy Jr.
Sound environmental policy is in our economic and security interest, the Forecastle keynoter says

By Joseph Lord


What got you involved in environmental activism?

I’ve been interested in the environment from when I was a little kid. I went hunting and fishing when I was very, very young. I was just involved with animals. I was raising homing pigeons when I was 10 years old, training hawks when I was 9, which I still do today. My father took us to lakes and to see the wildlife in the area, and he was very careful about explaining to us that this is part of our American heritage. The environment was a source of our virtues and our values as a people. I always looked at the environment as a civil rights and human rights issue — the most important one.

You co-host a program on Air America Radio, but what other environmental work do you do?

For 25 years I’ve been working for the Riverkeeper and the National Resources Defense Council. As an attorney, I’ve worked on several hundred public interest cases against polluters on the Hudson River and waterways across North America. Riverkeeper was a group started by a blue-collar coalition of commercial and recreational fishermen to protect their livelihood. And it was very much consistent with the kind of values I’d been raised with, to believe that a clean environment was a democratic right, that the best measure of how a democracy functions is how it distributes the goods of the land: the air, the water, the wildlife, the fish — assets of the community. Does the government allow those to be concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy people, or corporations, or does it maintain it in the hands of all the people?

Are you encouraged by the recent surge of interest in environmental issues?

There’s a vested interest by powerful people in continuing to pollute — it’s not a battle that you “kind of” win. It’s one you have to keep fighting. But today, there’s much more of a realization that good environmental policy is also 100 percent of the time good economic policy. For individual corporations, governments and nations, we need to start focusing on our environment.

So what is the most serious environmental issue we’re facing?

In the United States, the most critical issue is the way we use energy. We use it in a way that weakens our national security and makes us more prone to entanglement with foreign dictators who hate democracy and who are despised by their own people. We’re more likely to be involved in trillion-dollar wars. And it causes global warming. It also destroys our economy. We’re buying oil mainly from nations that don’t like us, that don’t share our values. Are we going to continue down that path or are we going to look at the alternatives? We have really extraordinary alternatives in this country. Every country that has de-carbonized its economy has experienced immediate prosperity. We’re losing jobs abroad — if we invested in a clean economy, we’d be creating an economy that can’t be outsourced. We’d be building solar and wind and geothermal plants in this country and growing our economy and creating jobs that can’t be sent to other countries.

What one action, if every American took it, could improve the environment?

One small thing: Vote for Barack Obama. That’s the one small thing that’s more important than recycling your garbage or buying a Prius or a compact fluorescent light bulb. There are these politicians who are just indentured servants of Big Coal and Big Oil.

You were an early Hillary Clinton supporter, right?

Yes. I’ve always loved Barack Obama, too. I always thought we had two great candidates. I’m proud to be supporting him and working for him now.

Have you ever considered seeking public office yourself?

You know, I’ve got six kids, and my priorities are there. But if something opened up, I would definitely consider it.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will give the Forecastle Festival keynote address at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Belvedere.


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Opinion: Obama is NOT the Next RFK

* We’d like to share with our readers this Letter to the Editor of the Washingtonian in response to a recent article asking “Is Barack Obama the next RFK?”

The author (who is a frequent commentator on this blog) sent us a copy and granted permission to post it here at the Kennedy for President website as well. We think you’ll enjoy what she has to say.



To: The Editorial Staff of the Washingtonian 

I thank you for allowing me and like-minded others to address this important issue.  Your article on RFK was very painful to read, as I was a young, passionate campaigner in that glorious quest that was Robert Kennedy For President in 1968. 

What is all this nonsense of comparing Obama to Robert Kennedy?  Are all of you deaf and blind to the fact that one of the most charismatic, capable, and noble of men is alive and well?

He is right now one of the smartest stewards of Planet Earth.  A man who draws crowds of strangers who walk away disciples.  A man capable of leading when major societal surgery is necessary.  A man who will appeal to cross generations of Americans, a man who can appeal to Blacks, Muslims, Jews and Catholics alike.  A man who will once again inspire our youth with patriotism and give them effective programs, like JFK’s Peace Corps,  in which to invest their talents and skills in a way that supports our country at large. 

He is a man every inch his father’s son and his name is ROBERT F KENNEDY, JR!  

We missed the opportunity this year, but I pray somebody in agreement with me, somebody REAL powerful and passionate about Bobby Kennedy Sr. will see the light and get RFK’s torch in his hand.

There is a group of devoted volunteers and Kennedy supporters who have started a web site and petition to encourage RFK Jr. to run for the White House. I invite readers, or whoever happens to read this in editorial office to take a peek at

I have nothing against Obama, but he does not move me like Kennedy, Jr. does and I can not, for example, see him coaxing Americans to find and implement radical new ways of transportation to keep ourselves alive in the years to come.  Our enviromental policy has been disasterous; we can no longer keep giving our money and wealth away to the Arab Emerates.  We live in deadly serious times that cry for a level of charisma, common sense, and leadership that I have only seen evidenced in Bobby, Jr.  As Barry Goldwater, a good friend of JFK, used to say, “In your Heart You Know He’s Right!”. 

Right now the dreams of many of us who were behind Bobby Kennedy for 2008 seem dimmed.  However, the times we are living in are so crazy, this campaign has gone off into the most aberrant directions in both campaigns that yes, I CAN, visualize millions of voters going to the polls and drafting our Next President.  After all that is going down, what was once unthinkable is now plausable.


— Suzanne Silverstein


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RFK Jr. Endorses Obama


* After a long and contentious primary battle between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, a fight which divided the Kennedy family and threatened to split the Democratic party, the time has come for unity.

In that spirit of party loyalty, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime ally and supporter of Hillary’s, has finally endorsed Senator Obama. He was on the campaign trail yesterday in Wisconsin, singing the presumptive nominee’s praises and encouraging Democrats to come together for a win in the fall.

Kennedy’s Wisconsin appearance was covered by the Stevens Point Journal:


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. autographs a book Wednesday night before his keynote speech to the National Wellness Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.


By Kelly Fraser
For the Journal

It was standing room only Wednesday afternoon at local Democratic Party headquarters on Main Street when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. dropped by to stir up support for Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and the campaigns of local Democratic candidates.

More than 200 people attended the event, estimated Gary Hawley, Portage county Democratic Party co-chairman. Hawley said turnout was good, considering the short notice of the event — Kennedy was in Stevens Point to speak at the National Wellness Conference on Wednesday night.

Kennedy, who principally spoke of the dangers of the Bush administration’s ties to lobbyists with corporate interests, gave his full support to Obama.

“To me, Barack Obama is the one American who can restore our prestige, our influence, our moral authority across the globe,” he said.

RFK Jr. told excited supporters why he feels Obama will bring a welcome change to every aspect of our country.

“There’s literally no more important issue in the world than getting Obama elected,” Kennedy said. “This country has lost so much prestige, our moral authority. We’ve lost our influence across the globe.”

Kennedy was introduced by State Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, State Rep. Louis Molepske, D-Stevens Point, and Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson, who all expressed their hope that Obama will win the majority in Wisconsin come November.

Many audience members said they felt inspired by Kennedy’s remarks, including Lauren Hewitt, 14, who attended the event with her mother.

“One thing I’ve always struggled with is patriotism and love for my country,” she said, adding that Kennedy’s memories of traveling abroad with his father were encouraging.

“He’s an excellent speaker, and he’s right on,” said Judy Martin of Junction City. “We need to have someone in the White House who cares about us, not big business.”

The event served as the local kick-off for the Wisconsin Campaign for Change. In the next few weeks, the Wisconsin Democratic Party plans to host similar kick-off events at several dozen offices around the state in preparation for the upcoming general election.

During the event, party staff members also were registering volunteers for phone bank shifts and door-to-door canvassing.

We also bring you coverage of Kennedy’s speech at the National Wellness conference from the Wausau Daily Herald:


STEVENS POINT — In the keynote address of the National Wellness Conference, environmental activist and lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. stressed the importance of natural resource conservation and its importance to Americans’ health.

“We’re not protecting the environment for the sake of the fishes and the birds, we’re protecting it for ourselves,” he told Wellness Conference participants gathered in the Laird Room of the Dreyfus University Center on Wednesday night.

Kennedy was invited to deliver the address at the 33rd annual conference, held on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus this week, to drive home the green theme of the conference, “A visionary turning: well Earth, well people.”

Kennedy gave a grim review of environmental policy under the George W. Bush administration, supplementing statistics with his personal experience prosecuting polluters in Appalachia and working with water-protection groups the Hudson Riverkeepers and the Waterkeeper Alliance, which he founded.

Kennedy also paused to outline what he said was a failure of the American media to inform the public about global warming and the Bush administration’s environmental wrongs.

“Today we know more about Paris Hilton then we know about global warming,” he said. “We’re the best entertained and worst informed country on the face of the earth.”

Kennedy also touched on environmental issues facing Wisconsin including mercury contamination of freshwater fish and air pollution emitted from coal-burning plants.

“We’re living today in a science fiction nightmare,” he said. “Where my children, and all children of Wisconsin, and (all) of the children in America, can now no longer engage in the seminal, primal activity of American youth. Which is to go fishing with their father or mother at the local fishing hole and then come home and safely eat the fish because somebody gave money to a politician.”

Early on in his speech, Kennedy emphasized that this scenario could be turned around quickly with the support of committed politicians and citizens.

“This is something we can do in a few years — not a few decades — if we had the right political leadership,” he said.


Hmm. Indeed, we can do this. We can turn things around with the “right political leadership.” Yes We Can

…but is that leader Barack Obama? Many “Good Democrats” are starting to wonder if he’s The Right Man for the Job, so we’ll open the floor to our informed and always-opinionated readers. Your thoughts?


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Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Remembering JFK Jr.

* EDITOR’S NOTE: It would likely surprise our readers to learn that over the lifetime of this humble blog, the one article which gets more reads than any other is not about Robert F. Kennedy Jr…Nor is it a story about his father, his uncle Ted, or even President Kennedy.

Believe it or not, our most popular blog post of all time is a story about John F. Kennedy Jr., who died in a plane crash nine years ago today. The accident, officially ruled pilot error by the NTSB, also killed his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette.

While we never would have expected an article about JFK Jr. being the top-rated post on a website about RFK Jr., it just goes to show you how much people still love dear “John-John” (even though he never liked being called that silly nickname), and most importantly, that he is not forgotten, even after nearly a decade.

On this sad anniversary, we decided to re-post the original article about JFK Jr. from our archives. So if you missed it last year, or perhaps you’re ready to read this one again, the full story is reprinted below.

All of us at the Kennedy for President website want to thank you, our readers, for keeping John Kennedy Jr. alive in your hearts, and for making this the #1 post of all time at


Article originally published on July 16, 2007

John F. Kennedy, Jr.


NOVEMBER 25, 1960- JULY 16, 1999

Hard to believe it has really been eight years since John F. Kennedy Jr. left us.

On July 16, 1999, when the private plane he was piloting disappeared off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, the whole world prayed. We waited, holding our collective breath, for the next five days, hoping that somehow, this was all some kind of horrible mistake. It just couldn’t be possible.

Surely, we thought, he’s going to turn up somewhere, alive and well, and he’d ask us with a smile what all the fuss was about.

“If anyone can make it, it’s John,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. assured a reporter. “My guess is that he’s probably marooned with the others on some small, uncharted island off the Massachusetts coast.”

But when the word finally came to us that the wreckage had been found and there were no survivors, it still seemed impossible to comprehend somehow. How could our beloved John-John, the former President’s only son, that charming, whip-smart, beautiful young man who carried the hopes of a generation on his shoulders, be taken from us so suddenly? So unfairly?

Eight years later, the loss still tugs at our heartstrings. And one can’t help but be tempted to think about the “what-if’s”…

Had he lived, he may have run for the mayorship of New York City and shown us how a *real leader* handles a crisis in the aftermath of September 11. Hell, he might even be President by now (just imagine what a different world this would be today had he been running the country instead of George W. Bush these past eight years)!

He and Carolyn would probably be watching their children grow, enjoying this summer vacationing on the Cape together. Most likely John would now have thousands of flight hours in his logbook, taking to the skies every weekend in his Piper Saratoga, now more commonly referred to as “Air Force Three”.

Then again, John F. Kennedy Jr. may have instead chosen to remain a private citizen, focusing instead on making George Magazine his life’s work. He could have published several books by now, and had his first Pulitzer prize sitting on the mantle at home. He would be 47 this November, and no doubt, still making hearts flutter. He’d still be making self-depricating wisecracks about being “the sexiest man alive.”

Whatever he’d be doing today, you can bet that it would be something he loves. He’d be making the most of every day, never taking for granted that each moment of life is a gift. (Isn’t that why they call it “the present?”)

“Every Gift But The Gift Of Years”

During his memorial service on July 23, 1999, John’s uncle Ted Kennedy said: “We dared to think that this John Kennedy would live to comb grey hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But, like his father, he had every gift but length of years.”

We were so fortunate to have him on this earth for 38 years. He brought us so much light, laughter, and hope. Even if that hope was so tragically dashed, we shall never forget that every day of his life was a gift to us all.

For all he gave, we are thankful.

For all he never had the chance to give, we mourn.

We remember him as this nation always did: as the brave little boy who stood erect and saluted as his father’s funeral procession went by on November 25, 1963. Even at the tender age of three, he inspired us all to stand tall and be strong in the face of tragedy and sadness.

Shortly after John’s passing, then-Vice President Al Gore said: “He carried his legend with enormous grace and a commitment to live up to his father’s legacy and his mother’s love…One cannot help but reflect that the Kennedy family has given more to our country than any family should have to do. But our country is so much better because of the gifts that they have given.”

Indeed. And so today, those of us who now turn our eyes to Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in hopes that he will pick up the torch would like to pause and say a very special thanks to the Kennedy family for all they have given, and all that they will continue to give their country in the future.

We remember those who have gone before their time…Joe Jr., Kathleen, Jack, Bobby, David, Michael, Carolyn, Lauren, and John-John. We shall not forget you. And we salute you!

Robert F. Kennedy Sr. and Jr.John F. Kennedy Jr. salutes his father


* Copyright 2007 by All Rights Reserved.


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RFK Jr.’s Weekly News

Here’s this week’s “Unearthed” news report from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle (courtesy Huffington Post):



Home Foreclosures Could Affect Voting Rolls

The mortgage foreclosure crisis may pose a problem in the November election as voters still registered at their former addresses could lose the opportunity to vote or be forced to cast provisional ballots which might not get counted. The problem could impact election results in battleground states, particularly Ohio, where several cities were hit hard by foreclosures and Republican operatives jump on any opportunity to challenge voter eligibility in heavily Democratic urban areas. In 2004, the Ohio Republican Party challenged the registration of more than 31,000 Democratic voters statewide after letters it mailed out in a targeted disenfranchisement effort came back as undeliverable. Ohio’s requirement that voters show ID at the polls along with a new state law requiring counties to mail their own notices to all registered voters set the stage for another round of pre-election challenges by Ohio Republicans. Other battleground states where foreclosures could impact voter eligibility include Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Colorado, New Jersey and Georgia.

Pentagon Seeks to Transport Deadly Chemical Weapons On U.S. Highways

A proposed Pentagon plan to ship deadly chemical weapons to military sites in four states in order to accelerate their destruction would expose neighboring communities to potentially catastrophic risks. In order to meet a Congressional deadline requiring the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile by 2017, the Pentagon wants to ship munitions to military destruction sites in Utah, Oregon, Alabama and Arkansas. The weapons shipments, which would include lethal nerve agents and mustard gas, could travel up to 1,200 miles on U.S. highways in some instances if the plan is approved. Lawmakers from the affected states object to the plan, citing the potential risk of terrorist attack and traffic accidents among other concerns. Congress would have to repeal laws forbidding the transport of the weapons in order for the proposal to proceed. The Pentagon previously confirmed that it would miss the 2012 deadline agreed upon at the 1993 international Chemical Weapons Convention.

Georgia Judge Blocks Coal Plant Due to Global Warming Concerns

In an unprecedented ruling, a Georgia Superior Court judge stopped the construction of a coal-fired power plant due to the enormous emissions of carbon dioxide the plant would generate without a system to capture the global warming pollution. Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore relied on the pivotal April 2007 Supreme Court decision confirming that carbon dioxide – the main driver of global warming – is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Judge Moore ruled that “[t]here is no dispute that the proposed power plant would be a ‘major emitting facility’ as defined by the [Clean Air] Act,” which therefore mandates that the plant incorporate the “best available control technology” to limit CO2 emissions. “There was no effort to identify, evaluate or apply available technologies that would control CO2 emissions and the permit contains no CO2 emission limits,” Moore wrote in her June 30 ruling, overturning a lower court’s decision to issue an air-pollution permit to Dynegy’s Longleaf power plant near Columbus, Georgia. The Sierra Club and Friends of the Chattahoochee brought the suit against Dynegy, arguing that the proposed plant would emit 9 million tons of CO2 annually – the equivalent of emissions from 1.3 million cars – far more than a typical coal-fired plant which emits an average of 3.7 million tons annually, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dynegy plans to appeal the ruling.

Japan Automakers Control 34.7 Percent of U.S. Market, Detroit Falters

Consumer demand for more fuel-efficient cars and hybrids due to record high gas prices is causing a predictable problem for Detroit’s Big Three automakers. The market share of GM, Ford and Chrysler dropped to 45.8 percent of the total U.S. market as consumers continue to shun Detroit’s bloated selection of gas-guzzlers and the companies scramble to overhaul their selections to finally focus on efficiency. Conversely, Japanese automakers are struggling with U.S. inventory shortages of popular fuel-sipping models like the Toyota Prius and hybrid Camry. The three major Japanese automakers increased their U.S. market share to 34.7 percent, led by Honda which overtook Chrysler to gain third place in U.S. market sales. A J.D. Power survey found that 72 percent of Americans are interested in buying a hybrid. While Detroit’s gas-guzzling SUVs sit on dealer lots, Toyota reports that customers face a six-month waiting list in some areas for the popular Prius and similar shortages of other efficient models.

Justice Department Seeks to Use Racial Profiling Rather Than Evidence to Launch Terror Probes

The Justice Department proposes to let the FBI use racial profiling rather than hard evidence to launch investigations into U.S. citizens suspected of terrorist activities. The plan would enable FBI agents to investigate Americans based on a review of public records including racial and ethnic background, military training and travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, regardless of whether any hard evidence on targeted individuals exists. The plan would shatter America’s long-standing legal doctrine of the presumption of innocence, and enable the FBI to operate “by assuming that everyone’s a suspect, and then you weed out the innocent,” said Caroline Fredrickson of the American Civil Liberties Union. The changes – which do not require congressional approval – would allow FBI agents to ask Arab- and Muslim-Americans open-ended questions about their activities or investigate them if their work or travel backgrounds match trends that analysts deem suspect.

President Bush has condemned racial profiling as “wrong in America” and openly criticized an airline in 2001 for refusing to let an Arab-American Secret Service agent board a commercial flight, stating “If he was treated that way because of his ethnicity, that will make me madder than heck.”

Serious Methodological Flaw Discovered in Wildlife Extinction Rates – Likely 100 Times Faster

Methods used to predict wildlife extinction rates dramatically underestimate the bleak outlook for endangered species, which may become extinct 100 times faster than previously thought, according to a study in the journal Nature. Scientists say the error means the threat to global biodiversity is much more serious than previously believed. Current methods used to predict when wildlife species will die out dramatically underestimate the speed at which extinctions could come by failing to account for the proportion of males to females in a wild population, and failing to account for the variation of reproductive success between individuals in the wild.

“The older models could be severely overestimating the time to extinction. Some species could go extinct 100 times sooner than we expect,” one author of the study said. An estimated 16,000 species worldwide currently face extinction, a figure sure to rise when conservation groups account for these methodological flaws in upcoming analyses.

Greenpeace Activists Held By Japanese Without Bail For Exposing Illegal Whale Meat Transfers

Two Japanese Greenpeace activists face theft and trespass charges for exposing corruption in the Japanese whaling fleet, and will likely be held without bail until their trial. The two activists tracked a package sent by crewmembers of the Nisshin Maru whaling “research” ship that was marked “cardboard” and shipped to a private address. Greenpeace intercepted the package – one of dozens of similar packages offloaded from the ship – and found it actually contained thousands of dollars worth of prime whale meat cuts. While Japan claims its annual Southern Ocean whaling expeditions are conducted strictly for research purposes, Greenpeace claims much of the meat is embezzled by the ship’s crew and finds its way onto Japan’s black market. The group turned the intercepted package over to Tokyo authorities as evidence and provided additional documentation from Greenpeace’s four-month investigation into corruption in the Japanese whaling industry. Instead of investigating the crew or bureaucrats in charge of the program, Tokyo police raided Greenpeace Japan’s office, seizing computers, documents and cell phones, and arrested the two activists. The pair were held for three weeks without charge before learning they are accused of theft and trespass, and face likely convictions under Japan’s strict laws.

EPA Whistleblower Reveals Cheney Deleted Half of CDC Testimony on Global Warming Health Impacts

A former EPA administrative staffer claims the Vice President’s office ordered the deletion of every mention of the health impacts of global warming from draft testimony on climate change by the director of the Centers for Disease Control. Former EPA associate deputy administrator Jason Burnett – who resigned last month citing the Bush administration’s inadequate response to global warming – told the Environment and Public Works Committee that Cheney’s office and the White House Council on Environmental Quality instructed him to “work with CDC to remove from the testimony any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change.” The cuts amounted to six pages out of the 14 pages submitted by the CDC director for White House review, and included a table of the likely public health impacts of global warming.

U.S. Exports to Iran Grew Tenfold Under Bush Administration

U.S. exports to Iran increased tenfold under President Bush, who labeled the country part of an “Axis of Evil” yet oversaw the escalated trading of weapons and consumer products worth $546 million to Iran since 2001. The U.S. exported at least $148,000 in weapons and military gear to Iran during Bush’s time in office, including rifles and aircraft carrier accessories. An Associated Press review found that the Bush Treasury Department denied only 178 out of at least 4,523 license applications by companies seeking to export goods to Iran during Bush’s presidency. Cigarettes accounted for $158 million of the exports to Iran, more than any other product. Senator John McCain responded to the news of rising U.S. cigarette exports to Iran by joking crudely, “maybe that’s a way of killing ’em.”

Guantanamo Interrogations Based on Faulty Chinese Communist Techniques
Military trainers at Guantanamo taught interrogation techniques for possible use on detainees based on a document copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of methods used by Chinese Communist interrogators on American prisoners during the Korean War. Despite the original study’s conclusion that many of the confessions obtained through use of the “coercive management techniques” were false, the Pentagon based its training on Communist methods that the United States long labeled as torture. The title of the original study from which the interrogation methods used in the recent past by the CIA and the military was “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War.” President Bush repeatedly argued that the use of the communist techniques by military and CIA interrogators helped provide critical intelligence and prevented new terrorist attacks.


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Filed under climate change, election 2008, environment, global warming, impeach Bush, media, politics, RFK, RFK Jr., robert f. kennedy, robert kennedy jr., the kennedys, Uncategorized