On vacation this week not far from Ted Kennedy’s family home, President Barack Obama emerged this morning to describe the late senator as “a singular figure” in American history.
** FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS TAKING SHAPE. The late Senator Ted Kennedy will be honored in several ceremonies over the next several days.
The official tributes and funeral services for Senator Edward M. Kennedy will begin on Thursday morning, when his body is carried by motorcade from the family compound in Hyannis Port to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
There, his body will lie in repose beginning in the afternoon and evening for public viewing, and again on Friday. On Friday evening, a formal wake will be held at the library, with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Senators John Kerry and John McCain among the notable featured speakers.
On Saturday, a funeral mass will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica. President Obama will speak at the mass. Afterward, Senator Kennedy’s body will be carried by plane to Virginia, where a burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery will take place in the afternoon. The times have not yet been officially released.
He will be buried near the grave of his late brother, Robert F. Kennedy. In addition to his central role in American life as US senator for nearly half a century, Ted Kennedy also served in the US Army. Unlike his three brothers, Joe, Jack, and Bobby, who were all Navy men.
Senator Ted Kennedy’s dramatic speech to the 2008 Democratic National Convention came a year to the day before his death. “The hope rises again, and the dream lives on.”
** CAMELOT ENDS, AGAIN: THE PASSING OF SENATOR TED KENNEDY. Camelot has ended. Again.
The death late last night in Massachusetts of Ted Kennedy, one of the historic lions of the United States Senate, followed swiftly on the heels of his sister, the Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who passed away on August 11th. With the passing of these two very public personalities, only one of the siblings of JFK and RFK, the much more private former Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, remains.
Camelot has ended again. Which means that it has ended before. And probably will again. For it is a legend, and legend seldom dies for long, if at all.
Camelot was the nickname for John F. Kennedy’s thousand day administration of the early 1960s, chosen because of the young president’s fondness for the hit Broadway musical about the legendary court of King Arthur.
But it was really about much more than a single presidential administration, or the immediate promise of another under a President Robert F. Kennedy, or the long lingering promise of yet another under a President Edward M. Kennedy, or even the transferred promise of another under a President Barack Obama.
It’s about a spirit, a spirit which to many seemed to have been captured like lightning in a bottle in the early 1960s, an exciting time of promise and peril, which accounts for that era’s powerful hold on the American popular imagination.
Ted Kennedy himself captured the spirit of the thing in his great eulogy for Robert F. Kennedy at New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral on June 8th, 1968 when he quoted from his second slain brother’s speech to the youth of South Africa on their Day of Affirmation a few years earlier.
“The answer is to rely on youth. Not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.” …
Senator Ted Kennedy passed away late last night in Massachusetts.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama, along with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha, is in Martha’s Vineyard this week on vacation.
Obama has received his daily intelligence and economic briefings.
He appeared briefly early this morning to note the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, calling him “the greatest senator of our time.”
“Even though we knew this day was coming, we awaited it with no small amout of dread,” Obama said. “For his family, he was a guardian. For America, he was a defender of a dream.”
Back in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden, diverging from planned remarks at an event at the Department of Energy, fought tears as he recalled his fallen friend.
“I truly, truly am distressed by his passing,” Biden said. “You know, Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fair and more just America. For 36 years, I had the privilege of going to work every day and sitting next to him and being witness to history. He restored my sense of idealism.”
Later today, Biden holds a Middle Class Task Force planning luncheon with Cabinet members and agency representatives at the White House.
Biden also Biden delivers remarks at the Minority Enterprise Development Conference at the White House.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will soon have another Kennedy family funeral to attend with First Lady Maria Shriver.
At noon today, he participates in a moderated Q&A with Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams at http://www.tweetcast.in/.
Schwarzenegger yesterday launched www.MyIdea4CA.com, a Web site for Twitter users to share their ideas for moving California forward. Ideas can be submitted to the Web site through a Twitter account with the hashtag #myidea4ca.
He issued this statement very late last night.
Maria and I are immensely saddened by the passing of Uncle Teddy. He was known to the world as the Lion of the Senate, a champion of social justice, and a political icon. Most importantly, he was the rock of our family: a loving husband, father, brother and uncle. He was a man of great faith and character.
Teddy inspired our country through his dedication to health care reform, his commitment to social justice, and his devotion to a life of public service.
I have personally benefitted and grown from his experience and advice, and I know countless others have as well.
Teddy taught us all that public service isn’t a hobby or even an occupation, but a way of life and his legacy will live on.
** MAD MEN REVIEW: “LOVE AMONG THE RUINS.” … From my August 24th column.
** OBAMA AND THE AFGHAN ELECTION: WHAT IT MEANS, WHAT IT DOESN’T. The Obama Administration should be sighing with a sense of relief after the presidential election in Afghanistan. However, for those with nascent/encroaching nation-building fantasies, what happened with the Afghan election should be thoroughly disabusing.
The Taliban failed in their threat to halt the election, and were unable to pull off any of the promised spectacular attacks demonstrating a strong military capability. But that’s to be expected, as some 300,000 US, NATO, and Afghan troops were fanned out across the county to prevent just that. Better to keep our eyes on the real world goals in Afghanistan: Denying it as a base to Al Qaeda, and moving on in the mission of dampening Islamic opposition to America.
While we slid by in this election, it would be a huge mistake to imagine that we are any closer to realizing persistent nation-building fantasies in Afghanistan. It’s nowhere near a 20th century democracy, much less a 21st century democracy. Perhaps a 19th century democracy. But for the powerful forces ever insistent on dragging it back into the Dark Ages. … From my August 20th column.
** MAD MEN: “OUT OF TOWN” … SEASON 3 OPENER SATISFYING NOT SCINTILLATING. … From my August 18th column.
** MAD MEN RETURNS: THE ‘60S ADVERTISING DRAMA IS A TIME TUNNEL TO THE PRESENT. The much acclaimed, if not so much watched, Mad Men makes a welcome return for its third season Sunday night. I’ve found the series, now the flagship show on AMC, a channel once best known as a reliable source for late night viewings of Commando, to be very compelling from the beginning, if not exactly action-packed.
There are a number of ways to view Mad Men. For my own part, I can take it as a period piece, a sort of time capsule of the early ’60s, at once relatively close yet far enough away to be intriguing for its unfamiliarity. Or as an evocation of style, with the sort of glamour and cool associated with JFK and the early Bond films, in this case a New York variant including chain smoking, constant drinking, and sexual play continually tinged with sexual harassment.
It’s a character study, as well, for the surface glitter of the persuader class and those who attend them masks confusion and lack of identity. That could also make it a cautionary tale, albeit one set during the height of the post-war expansion of American affluence.
Which makes it, in turn, a meditation on the American Dream. Not entirely unlike The Sopranos, on which Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner served as an Emmy-winning writer and producer. Well, except for the fact that Mad Men protagonist/anti-hero Don Draper is a charismatic and enigmatic New York ad man, not a perpetually depressed, poetically crude New Jersey mob boss. … From my August 14th essay.
** SOTOMAYOR, OBAMA, AND THE LOOMING REPUBLICAN RACE PROBLEM. … From my August 13th column.
** WHEN SHOULD GAY MARRIAGE ADVOCATES TRY TO REVERSE CALIFORNIA’S PROP 8? … From my August 11th column.
** OBAMA’S CAIRO ADDRESS: TWO MONTHS ON. … From my August 5th column.
** IS OBAMA GETTING OVEREXPOSED? … From my July 28th column.
** ANOTHER ‘60S ANNIVERSARY: THE UR-ACTION BLOCKBUSTER GOLDFINGER. … From my July 21st essay.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti. While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate last fall, prior to the global economic meltdown, with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included. Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $71 per barrel.
This is up about $37 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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