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Robert F. Kennedy

From a speech he gave in 1966 (repeated by his younger brother at RFK's funeral):

"... surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again. 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. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to the obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger that come with even the most peaceful progress."


FYI, my friend Angus has made a film about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the environmental policies of the Bush Administration. The movie is inspired by Kennedy's book "Crimes Against Nature." Here's an early trailer. The movie should be in theaters sometime this fall.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 5, 2008; 6:22 PM ET
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Next: Guantanamo: The Movie



Posted by: jUMPER | June 5, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

My impartial sleaze meter went towards some technical fouls by the writer in Vanity Fair the other day. Pot boiling.

Posted by: Jumper | June 5, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The present is born, lives and dies just as soon as you look at it.

That's why I prefer to live in the future.

And I want my d@mn flying car already.

(btw... very good quote to pick from RFK's many, Joel... them Kennedy brothers all had/have a way with words.)

Posted by: martooni | June 5, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

You know, this quote kind of goas along with Frosti's quote from EdWeek yesterday about cramming new technology into old techniques.

Posted by: TBG | June 5, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

i wasn't alive when RFK was killed - but by that speech and by the countries extreme mourning... he seemed like he was a pretty cool guy. i wonder if the sentiment of the "young" were the same that those my age feel about bush and the current war...

btw - i guess i can disclose this now after the fact, but arbusto was at the official groundbreaking ceremony of the Institute of Peace on 23rd and Constitution... (ruining my commute and work access) - all i'm going to say is... can someone give me the definition of "irony"?

Posted by: mo | June 5, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

The Point Montara lighthouse/fog signal had one of the last two civilian keepers from the old Lighthouse Service. The Coast Guard kept them on after it took over the Lighthouse Service. The other last civilian keeper was at Point Blunt on Angel Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

Posted by: bh | June 5, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

2 tablespoons horseraddish,1 teaspoon ketchup,1/4 cup hot sauce.

Recipe courtesy of the "Flaming Lips"

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 5, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Things I know about Bobby Kennedy:

1) Redefined nepotism.
2) Killed by a guy with the same first and last name.
3) Took Jack's sloppy seconds.

Not to be glib, but that is about it. I guess if pressed I could come up with more, but not much. And a lot of it would be confused with plot points from 'Winter Kills'. Maybe he would have changed the world. Maybe he died for our sins. We'll never know.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Mo, 40 years ago, my oldest brother was a blissful only child busy spitting up baby food. I'll have to ask my parents about it.

I wonder if the mourning that still continues is also in part because Richard Nixon won that election instead-- by a squeaker.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

*Observes that there is no Richard M. Nixon Stadium in Washington, D.C.*

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse


Just how many people do you know? I know a few people that have had public access shows. I don't know anybody that makes movies or stars in them. Although I do have a Bacon number of 2 to John Goodman.

The Jack Johnson soundtrack to the trailer is a nice touch. I can't hear JJ without thinking of the oil derricks just off the coast of Seal Beach that the windsurfers use as obstacles.

I have to take one quibble with Bobby Jr. Environmental responsibility is never free. It's the classic problem of the commons. It always costs somebody somewhere something.

Clean air and water are luxury goods. Like buying Bud longnecks instead of cans. I'm willing to pay a little more. I'm worth it. I'm decadent that way.

And when the movie comes out, I smell Boodle Screening Party.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

yello... you know I luv ya, my friend... but it's hard to believe the same guy who wrote about the four-year-old who waited to hear his daddy's voice also wrote your 7:34.

Posted by: TBG | June 5, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

As an outsider, I've often pondered the myth of the Kennedy curse, or Kennedy tragedy, or whatever it is. The fact is, almost all families have multiple losses and griefs. The two assassinations were clearly caused by what, but not who, they are (that is, ambitious, political and in the public sphere) but all the other deaths and trials and foolishnesses and addictions and... are just what every family suffers. I conclude that the "curse" is that they are like us, only news.

Nonetheless, I was 10 years old, living in Switzerland, when Bobby was killed and I watched the news clips and his funeral (all in German!) on TV, and I'm persuaded that it was that overwhelming experience that made me interested in politics and current events. That is morally neutral, but something I've been grateful for all my days.

Posted by: Yoki | June 5, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, TBG.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 5, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to disappoint you, TBG.

Honestly, he is just a cipher to me. A side plot in a long tawdry gossip-flecked generations-long tale of unbridled ambition, unchecked lust, and unfulfilled destiny.

Bobby was a man from a political dynasty who was killed before he could fulfill his promise or disillusion his supporters. By falling to an assassin's bullet, people link him with others that achieved much more than he did. But does he merit the same level of respect as those that fought dogs and hoses rather than gangsters and starlets? We don't herald his accomplishments, we mourn his unreached potential.

No one's life deserves to be stopped so short so soon, but to this day I don't know why or how he fits into any cohesive narrative. Maybe he doesn't.

Someday the true Greek tragedy of the Kennedys will be told, but it's going to take time, distance, and genius to distill all the disparate elements that have shaped that pathos-soaked clan.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

That was a better way to put it, yello. Thanks (sorry for being critical).

It is true that he's mourned for the loss of his potential. But I think his death also kind of stopped a movement in its tracks.

I was just a kid then, too, probably 12 or so, but I liked hearing Mudge and Kguy talk about it in the previous boodle.

Posted by: TBG | June 5, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

G'Night everybody.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 5, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

for martooni, and cassandra, and Curmudgeon (he is probably the originator of this knock knock joke)...

For little kids, especially grandkids

Martooni: Knock Knock.

Little Bean: Who's there?

Martooni: Banana

Little Bean: Banana who?

Martooni: Knock Knock.

Little Bean: Who's there?

Martooni: Banana

Martooni: Knock Knock.

Little Bean: Who's there?

Martooni: Orange

Little Bean: Orange who?

Martooni: Orange you glad I didn't say Banana again?

Posted by: omni | June 5, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Ok Any Takers?

Celtics vs Lakers?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 5, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

for martooni, and cassandra, and Curmudgeon (he is probably the originator of this knock knock joke)...

For little kids, especially grandkids

Martooni: Knock Knock.

Little Bean: Who's there?

Martooni: Banana

Little Bean: Banana who?

Martooni: Knock Knock.

Little Bean: Who's there?

Martooni: Banana

Little Bean: Banana who?

Martooni: Knock Knock.

Little Bean: Who's there?

Martooni: Banana

Little Bean: Banana who?

Martooni: Knock Knock.

Little Bean: Who's there?

Martooni: Orange

Little Bean: Orange who?

Martooni: Orange you glad I didn't say Banana again?

Posted by: omni | June 5, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

I was fifteen when Bobby was assassinated. My memory is that a friend of my dad's called and we all got up to watch the coverage, it being the wee hours on the East Coast.

Yello, Bobby was Jack's Attorney General (you knew that) and he was much better than one we had recently, by a long, long shot. His death, in such a violent manner, was a tragedy for all of us, not the least because Nixon went on to win that election. 1968 was such a terrifying and terrible year; I hope I never see anything like it again.

Posted by: slyness | June 5, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

RFK stood up to J. Edgar Hoover, that by itself made me love him posthumously. I was 7 when he was killed but when I read "No Left Turns," the hilarious memoir written by a retired FBI agent, at 14 it put RFK's career as Attorney General in a highly favorable light. Who couldn't admire someone willing to stand up to such a bad man? Mark Shields on The News Hour last night said RFK was the last "tough liberal." I thought that a fair assessment. How much I agree with his point that Obama is the first tough liberal on the national stage since his death remains to be seen. (sorry, I can't help myself, we need a pure science kit, stat)

Jonathan Yardley reviews "No Left Turns" here as part of the Second Reading series (should I feel silly for being relieved he still likes a book I liked at 14?)

Posted by: frostbitten | June 5, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Lakers, don't you think?

I can't say I know much about RFK, but one element that's intriguing about him is that he wasn't a static figure: He evolved. And maybe it's partly just mythology, but the story is that he was really moved by what he saw when he campaigned for president in places like Appalachia. There weren't a lot of votes in some of those places. In the Angus movie, there's a really powerful scene in with Bobby Jr. talks about his father coming home one day and saying that he had been in a home where the children didn't have enough to eat, or enough clothes, or shoes. And he told his kids: "Someday I want you to help those people."

Go read what Bobby Kennedy said the night MLK was shot, in Indianapolis, in a black neighborhood where even the police were afraid to go for fear of riots.

Or watch the You Tube of his final speech at the Ambassador Hotel.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 5, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

jgonore my 8 *:$^ FORTY-SIX

with all its errors and jglom onto my 8:54

Erroor 2008.

I have such ham fingers with this keyboard...

Posted by: omni | June 5, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm behind on my K/B readin'

martooni asked for silliness...I hope I wasn't out of line.

I was going on six,but you all know that

Posted by: omni OK | June 5, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Everyone watching the game?

Posted by: bh | June 5, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yello, yello. I want to echo TBG; you know I like you, too, and tease you, and you make me laugh. But if Bobby is a cipher to you, perhaps you ought to not have so many opinions about him, or if you have to have them, maybe refrain from sharing them, especially since (in my view anyway) a lot of them are either crass, wrong, argumentative or hurtful. I've Boodled quite a lot about RFK over the past year or two, and don't want to drag it out over and over again. And I've been trying pretty hard to keep my lip zipped, but I gotta tell ya, you're making it hard for me, my friend. This is the 40th anniversary of a day that broke my heart, and I'm having some trouble keeping it together, so how about mellowing out for me, just as a favor, OK? I got some wounds just won't heal, and this is one.

Thank you.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 5, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Where are my manners? Good evening boodle. It's been a long day, made all the longer by dealing with rush hour traffic, in city that's short a bridge, during a thunderstorm.

Posted by: frostbitten | June 5, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

But bh, the game was last night. The Red Wings won.

Posted by: Yoki | June 5, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I am thinking Lakers,but gotta root for the Celtics,they wear green don't they?

Posted by: greenwithenvy | June 5, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Obama met with Hillary Clinton tonight before he left the DC area...

Posted by: TBG | June 5, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a specific memory of hearing about RFK being shot - or I've convinced myself I don't remember. Maybe I heard about it in the morning, then went to school and heard he had died when I got picked up from school (which is the memory I had, but thought because of the timing it could not be correct). Anyway, it was a punch in the gut - so soon after MLK's murder, with Vietnam raging. I was a McCarthy supporter, not exactly thrilled that RFK was stealing his thunder, but RFK had the charisma, the words, the humor. It was a great loss, to have two leaders taken that way. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the Kennedy family. I think his assassination dispirited people, scared people, angered people - and Nixon got elected. I would love to know the universe where both Kennedy's and MLK lived. Maybe we'd still be at the same place, but I don't think so. Maybe not significantly better, but different.

Looking forward to the movie - wasn't there one last year, too, about the RFK campaign?

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 5, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

The Celtics' Kevin Garnett graduated from the same Chicago high school as Kim Novak and Pat Sajak as well as a lot of sports notables. Something in the water there?

Posted by: bh | June 5, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

To all, here is a pretty good link of the life of RFK.

When he was assassinated, I had been married for almost eight years and we had two little boys. Because of his outspokenness, his passion for the civil rights movement, many predicated that he would be killed. I can understand that. At that time, in the South, many whites absolutely hated the Kennedys. One, because they were Catholics, two because they wanted to help the blacks. They even hated Jackie for her role as first lady.

When JFK was killed my dear father said "they killed the wrong Kennedy", not an uncommon sentimate at that time. But even as he said that terrible, terrible thing, he knew in his heart that integration was inevitable.

I will never forget RFK's speech to the people of Indianapolis, telling them MLK Jr. has been shot. It took great courage, and although there were many riots that night, in that city there were none reported. I've seen part of his speech on YouTube, but can't find it. It would be great if someone could find it and put it up here in the boodle.

Posted by: VintageLady | June 5, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, I don't know anything about hocky. But the last shot made by the Penn's was something. Even after several replays and slow motion I still couldn't figure it out.

Posted by: bh | June 5, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Mostly, maybe in that universe, W would be prime minister of Canada.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse


What decade are we in?

Will Magic or Larry be game MVP?

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Scattered memories about RFK's killing: I was eight in '68, and felt that fear that the world was bad, very bad. So much of the news was horrifying and Vietnam was beginning to enter our neighborhood as older brothers and cousins of classmates prepared to go. C. Murphy's brother T's funeral was held at about the same time. For me, the trinity of deaths was MLK, RFK, and T Murphy. JKF died in '63 and I remember only my stricken parents'faces.

My nuns had Franco accents; I remember them speaking with us about these events for several days, with many Masses said that month for RFK and family. We knew that the last child was not yet born; I believe that Rory Kennedy was born about one month later. My mother cried at the news and the thought of that brood, so freckled and gingerhaired, without a father.

Much of the political scene receded for me. I thought first of the family, like mine with so many stair-step children (11 for them, and 7 for us). At eight, my response was primarily, "Who would shoot somebody's daddy?"

I grew up around guns but they were for hunting deer, grouse, and varmints. Gun accidents were that, unintended.The whole situation was extremely unreal; but the message was that the outside world was not a safe place. Later, in Life magazine I saw pictures of Sirhan Sirhan. I thought, he is young with huge sorrowful eyes. He did not mean this to happen.

Mudge -- I have always liked your commentary on RFK. I had often thought to add that I read a spiritual biography about him in college in a class on liberation theology. RFK was the most devout of his brothers. I think faith was very real to him and informed his daily life.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 5, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

The Celtics lost me 3 months of my hard liquor ration in Korea. Do you know how hard it is to watch Miami Vice on Sunday mornings without a pitcher of margaritas? However, you can't accuse me of being a fair weather fan, and it really spins Mr. F up for me to root against his team, so Go Celtics!

Posted by: frostbitten | June 5, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh, duh, Angus's movie is about RFK *Jr* - a thousand apologies. I'll still look forward to it.

The feeling now that the country is really going to heck in a handbasket - approximates the feeling in 1968, as I remember it. Lots of differences, of course, but the feeling that things are going to fly apart and never be the same - very reminiscient.

And you know, I pretty much expect that the inspirational leaders will be cut down in their prime, which leads to some pretty conflicted feelings about Obama, I must say.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 5, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I do not ever want to see the whereuniverse W is PM of Canada.

I do not consider Political dynasties much different than children following in their parents career paths - teachers, police, doctors, lawyers - it is only when it is politics that people seem to take issue with it. What should really matter is the qualification of each individual not who they are related to.

Off to bed to have nightmares of PM W.

Posted by: dmd | June 5, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

This is a bad day for the non sequitor nature of the boodle.

I know your 8 year old feelings CP. At 7 I knew about JFK, and Malcolm X, and MLK but in the young person's way of thinking that what you know is how it's always been and will always be. When RFK was killed it cemented the idea of the US as a scary place in a war that was never going to end. Beloved Uncle Draftee Frostbitten was in Vietnam that summer. Our annual pilgrimage to MN from Ft. Eustis, VA was no fun without him. I think of this a lot around young soldiers' families-their children don't know our nation without the Iraq war.

Posted by: frostbitten | June 5, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

On the bright side, dmd.. in that whereuniverse, W has invaded both Texas and Mexico in vengance for the New Zealand sheep-dipping napalm incident.

(I know. My grasp of history is hair-raisingly baad.)

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the kingdom of Texas (covering parts of Mexico) had ewes of mass destruction, and they were building them a shifty-looking high-speed cattle collider or something like that. It made sense at the time, oh yeah.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

VintageLady, here it is:

Sad, sad, sad.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 5, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, I grew up with the cold war. It does create a temporal fingerprint on the soul.

I found the book review of "No Left Turns" interesting, it sounds like a funny, good, and slightly scary book for a teenager to read to get a glimpse of how crazy bureaucractic politics can be. Good preparation.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

You are thinking of the LHC (Large Holstein Collider)

Posted by: frostbitten | June 5, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

OK! frostbitten just cracked me up. San Pellegrino water spewed.

Posted by: Yoki | June 5, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I stand corrected.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

FOX says HRC and Obama are meeting at Diane Feinstein's house, CNN says at HRC's house.

Posted by: frostbitten | June 5, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Joel, when you said that RFK wasn't a static figure, that he evolved, you're dead right. That's what I was trying to say earlier when I was talking about how it was wrong to view RFK, as well as that period, as "snapshot," a single point in time. Because it wasn't; it was fluid, is was dynamic, it was transformational. Yes, the point about Bobby isn't where he started from, in January, nor where he ended up, politically and in terms of issues, on the night of June 5, nor on any other single day, save the night of that Indianapolis speech. He was about change, about, a kind of growth, about seeing things in new ways, about changing first himself, which he was doing, and then changing everything around him. You could see he was on a journey, and it wasn't a pleasant one, there was a lot of pain and anguish in it. And the reason he attracted the following he did wasn't because we agreed with him on any given day about this issue or that policy, or whatever. It was because *we* were also making journies along with him; we were transitioning too. [I don't like the word "change" here very much. There is a connotation in the word "transition" that captures something that the simpler word "change" does not. Perhaps it lies in the fact that in "change" there is embodied the notion of "change for change's sake," which is not especially useful or even desirable, whereas there is no comparable idea of "transition for transition's sake." "Transition" carries a sense of seriousness and purpose that "change" does not.]

So yes, you have to see it as movement, as motion. This is why the anthem was "The Times, They Are A' Changin'." That's what it meant. And we knew, instinctively, that it wasn't just RFK who was changing,, nor RFK plus we his followers. It was the entire country -- and this is key -- including everybody even on "the other side," because they were being forced to make changes and adapt, too: their children were running off to Canada, or dying (basically in vain) in Asia, or growing long hair, and/or smoking grass, and/or shacking up and "living in sin," and a host of other cliches.

The entire Civil Rights Movement was about transition; it, too, evolved in unanticipated (and often tragic, heartbreaking) ways. When Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, a black kid and a couple of Jews from New York, were killed about a week after my high school graduation ceremony, about a hundred thousand college and college-bound kids all had the same single thought they had never once had before: "Christ, that coulda been me. There's some redneck [a$$hat] in this world that would effing shoot me just for signing up a black man to vote. This is some serious s---." And see, we didn't know that before. We knew *black* people could get killed, but somehow we didn't know our own northern-raised lilly-white a$$es were also suddenly on the line. We knew perfectly well some slanty-eyed Asian guy in black pajamas could and would kill you in Vietnam without batting an eye. But we didn't know some "upstanding" white guy in a U.S. state would also do it, too, in a heartbeat, and with premedition. And then a year and a half later a white woman, Violet Liuzzo, a housewife from effing Detroit, and mother of five kids, was shot and killed. A white housewife from Detroit, where they make cars. And so for those of us who grew up in an "American Grafitti" world hanging around the malt shop, the world had pretty quickly become a *very* different place than what we'd been led to believe. People only got shot on television, and even then they were pretty much just the bad guys. Eff, nobody shot white kids, nobody shot housewives fer crissakes. Nobody shot presidents, not since Lincoln (nobody remembered Garfield or McKinley; the run went pretty much Lincoln straight to JFK).

So the world had pretty much divided itself up as those who were changing (whether they liked it or not) versus those who weren't (our parents, LBJ, Ed Sullivan). And so when we saw RFK being thrust by fate into the same turbulent waters we were all struggling in, there was no choice but to identify with him. It had nothing to do with issues. It had nothing to do with his past history, the fact that he'd once worked for Roy Cohn, or had a vendetta against Hoffa. Eff Hoffa; who cares? Nobody gave a crap about Hoffa. Yeah, he had been too timid and too slow to stand up against LBJ; who the eff hadn't? So had we all. He came late to the party? Yeah, so what? A lot of us came late to the party. A lot of us didn't stand up soon enough or often enough or hard enough, until finally we *did* stand up. So what a lot of you just don't get is *that's* what we saw, what we identified with. A guy cruising along on top of the world, and then inexplicably his hero gets gunned down, and he is suddenly in a new world he didn't know existed, where things suddenly got exponentially harder. And where often you *don't* know exactly what to do, and all the choices are harder than you ever thought they would be, and suddenly people are dying all over the damn place and the game has gotten a whole lot more deadly and serious, and suddenly you become aware that theren't people who would easily kill *them* -- the problem is that they'd just as soon kill *you.* And you didn't even have to go overseas to become some a$$hat's target. So yes, you are afraid. Yes, you hesitate, too long. But then finally you just say, eff it. And you *do* stand up, and that's all that matters.

So yes, when RFK finally stood up, (too late, some of you say, but yes, too late, like many others of us, but we stood up, too), then *that's* the guy you identify with, not some ivory-tower poet like McCarthy.

And then there's the day King got assassinated, and Bobby goes into Indianapolis, and gives that speech. And that's the night he becomes the guy we would follow into the Gates of Hell. That's the night that has nothing whatsoever to do with politics or issues. And I can understand how, if you weren't there to see it, you can never understand it. And that's OK.

The simply fact is, 1968 was the single-most ... and I don't even have a good word for it... single-most "dynamic? transitional? difficult? historic? I dunno, whatever-- year in the 20th century. And "you had to be there" to appreciate it. I'm sorry a lot of you guys missed it. It was one hell of a show (and not in a good way), and we could have used you. Yoki, CP, Martooni, we sure could have used you guys back then. (Martooni, I swear you *were* there. If there was ever such a thing as reincarnation, man, you were there.) TBG, you would have kicked some a$$.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 5, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't mean to pick any scabs, mudge.

The 60s are as distant to me as the Norman invasion. I grew up in a much more cynical era where we had no mythic heroes. I envy you in that you had dreams that could be destroyed.

My 7:34 was beyond tasteless in that I summarized the salient bullet points of the RFK resume in the crassest way imaginable without consideration to those whose lives he touched.

Some things are too sacred to ridicule and I only learn what they are the wrong way. I will now heed the Rule of Holes and stop digging.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 5, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Mudge. Transcript of RFK's Indianapolis speech here, mostly for my own benefit.

The classical greek references stand out to me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

I saw a documentary on RFK's trip through the poverty stricken south. It was part of a senate investigation I believe.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Ahh... but you learn, grasshopper... er, I mean yellojkt.

Good stuff, Mudge. Thanks for the explanation and thanks, too, for the nod of confidence.

Not to change the mood or anything, but Daughter recently scanned in some pictures from her Baby Album to post on her Facebook. This is one she selected; even though she's not in it, it's one of her faves. One of mine, too...

Posted by: TBG | June 5, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Many thanks, Mostly. I hope everybody will take the time to watch it. Yes, it is, as you say, sad.

And, Mudge, you just about said it all.

Posted by: VintageLady | June 5, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

In the way of the boodle, we have the civil yet heartfelt exchange of YJ, Mudge plus Mudge, then YJ.

YJ -- admire the honesty and humility.

Wow. Mudge says I coulda been in the movement. Watched it unfold; was part of the first Earth Day in 1970, which we celebrated with a huge parachute silk from Malstrom AFB (imagine the nuns in modern habits and airmen in working blues playing with us). My seven sibs and I wore buttons and silly straw campaign hats for McGovern because his family homesteaded with my moher's family. We met his campaign at the Great Falls airport, later famous in the D.B. Cooper saga.

Who says the prairie doesn't count?

Frosti: yes, fear for the children who grow up knowing too much fear.

Sleepy; setting up copious pillows for rib shrouding.

Posted by: Coll | June 5, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

One moving thing about that video of RFK's Indianapolis speech is the crowd's silence during most of it. Thanks for providing the link, mostly.

Posted by: TBG | June 5, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Ah, c'mon, CP, you *know* you'd a been there. You're the liberation theology gal. You'd have been at the Berrigan rallies, the one in the back row, knitting -- but still listening intently and nodding her head. (Probably the one holding the stash, too, cuz nobody'd expect you to be the one.)

(Also, now that I ponder on it, you might also have been the one shacking up with martooni. In its own twisted way, it makes perfect sense: (a)it would have been the least-likely match-up [and anyone who's ever seen a Hollywood movie knows this to be EXACTLY how it works]; (b) you'd have been the only one who "saw" into him, understood him, and could tame him/calm him down/control him [all in good ways]; (c) he'd be the one who "got" you and made you laugh. You'd fight like hell over religion, but he'd follow you around like a puppy dog.)

Oh, I see these things, I see these things. Sometimes it's scary.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 5, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

*faxing Mudge mind bleach*

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 5, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

LOL. G'night, Wilbrod.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 5, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

rfk was before my time, and i know a lot less about him than jfk or mlk.

there was a video in the l.a. times about a regional coordinator for the rfk campaign who was there the night rfk was assasinated. he was the guy who stood at the podium right afterwards calling for a doctor. he talks about personal heartbreak and the very long road to get his life back on track. he is now a history teacher at the high school a few blocks down the street from me. if you go to the l.a. times video section, look for the video "in an instant" under politics or california/local.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 6, 2008 3:15 AM | Report abuse

OK, so I was not quite one when we lost RFK. All I have to go on is history, which is always distorted in one way or another, but 'Mudge's putting things in context sure jibes with how I've come to understand that period.

Just please, nobody mention Rory again. Very sore spot there. Thanks.

Friday again? Whooda thunk it? :-)

*starting the countdown to NukeSpawn's arrival for a lengthy visit with a brief anticipatory happy dance*

What was that about the Lakers, JA? *chuckling in the Celtics corner wif Sneaks and frosti* :-)))))

*hoping-for-a-quiet-and-short-TGIF Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 6, 2008 4:49 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I would have been out there with Fr. Berrigan, but I definitely would have been campaigning for Pigasus.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 6, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Really good Gene Robinson column this morning. Why am I not shocked to see Krauthammer (probably) echoing G. Will and supporting high gas prices? I didn't even read the *^%$# piece, but with Krauthammer virtually never do.


Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 6, 2008 6:06 AM | Report abuse


You've given me a Bacon number upgrade. I rode the elevator with John Goodman at the Windsor Park Hotel in New Orleans.

I'll finish the back-Boodling later.

Have a good day, everybody!

Posted by: a bea c | June 6, 2008 6:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't like basketball much but of course am rooting for the Celtics. The game ended too late for me to stay up and watch, although "S" tried and failed. There was a piece on our local news about how the winning ways of the Sox and the Celtics have brought added tourism to town.

Great piece last night Mudge. I confess to mixed feelings about RFK back then but also a limited attention span at that time. We moved into our first house the day he got shot and I could only follow the news sporadically. I do remember feeling very sad and scared at the second assassination in just a few months time.

Daughter is home from the hospital with a full compliment of meds to keep her comfortable. When she checked out we met the doctor and saw the before and after x-rays. They were amazing, I am awestruck at what he was able to do to put her back together. Happy Friday everyone.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | June 6, 2008 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mudge, for putting 1968 in perspective. It was the year the earth moved under us, for good or evil.

Morning, all, hey, Cassandra. Hope everyone keeps cool today; it's supposed to be 99 here and 100 tomorrow. Global warming, anyone?

So nice to be home and working on the new computer. I like everything but the mouse, so we'll be working on that.

Sneaks, glad to hear that things are going okay with the dottir. Another reason to be grateful for modern medicine. Seems to me that the owner of the dog that ran into her has some liability for medical care and income replacement, yes?

Posted by: slyness | June 6, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning Boodle.
I enjoyed your posts, Mudge.
I can't remember what the fight was about nor even the context I used it in, but I'll never forget the look on her my fiance's face when told her that her hero ,JFK, had worked for Joe McCarthy on the House Unamerican Activities Commitee. The gulping "fish out of water" expression so frightened me I found myself babbling about how young lawyers work for their clients without necessarily sharing their views etc., etc., but she would have none it and got on the phone to Daddy back in Brooklyn (unheard of!). I learned that day that you can be right and horribly, stupidly wrong all at the same time. It was mighty frosty in the apt. for a few days.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 6, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Bad Sneaks,
I told you these saw bones were miracle workers.

Even though Chuckie K cribs off Georgie's paper a lot, I gotta give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. He cites his prior art on the call for onerous taxes on gasoline so that the windfalls would go to the Treasury instead of the Saudis. George Will the other day was brushing off a coulda-been-written-anytime-in-the-past-twenty-years screed on opening up ANWR for gang-pillaging by oil companies.

Krauthammer's position would probably result in the same thing, but at least he is more subtle about the reasoning. The secret not-so-unintended consequence of his proposal would be to remove any competitive forces amongst the people selling us dead dinosaurs.

These little punditry storms are never isolated incidents. NPR had a story yesterday that hundreds of off-shore drilling leases "accidentally" omitted the ratchet tax that would kick in at $100 a barrel. Oops. Bet no heads roll at the Department of the Interior for that foul-up. This little clerical error could cost the taxpayer tens of billions of dollars which would at least pay for a few days of our dirty work for Halliburton.

The Russians always bragged that we would sell them the rope. Fortunately they were not very good knot tyers. Instead we are trading rope for trips to the corner store. One hundred dollar crude buys a lot of mischief in Basra.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 6, 2008 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Another of the co-vivant's heroines (is using "heroine" as sexist as saying "actress"?) was Bela Abzug. Thank the FSM that the whole "hat thing" wasn't taken up by girlfriends generation.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2008 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Slyness, unfortunately the man whose dog ran into her has nothing. Daughter knows him and his dog as they frequent the same areas for dog walking. She has heard from friends who want her to do their books and from the restaurant she works at that is finding jobs she can do sitting down. I hope this keeps her busy and helps fight the depression she is feeling.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | June 6, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I am so tired of Camelot. What is with these monarchist?

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | June 6, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Re Angus Yates film: I can't get the trailer to work in either Firefox or Safari. Others?

So Mudge, now I am a Madame LaFarge type?

Neighborbood greenery has that sodden look and sour mold smell. Will be steamy today.

I think we need a fluffy or science-y kit, soon.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 6, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

GM. While I understand your antipathy towards Lerner and Loewe ( I'm a Rodgers and Hammerstein man myself), I can't imagine what you have against butterflies.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 6, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

How can you be tired of something that's been gone for forty-five years come November?

Posted by: Arturis | June 6, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Masters might be tired of Robert Goulet, you never know.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 6, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, all.

Good stuff, everyone.

A few quick items

I, too, think the Lakers will win.
Not because I think they're a better team - I don't - but because I think the Celtics might run out of gas here soon. They've played some long series in this NBA post-season, and they're not a bunch of spring chickens. My heart is with the Celtics, but my head says Lakers, who wouldn't be in the finals without Kupchak's miracle acquisition of Gasol this season IMO.

Mudge, you might have hit on something: Imagine a documentary film of the year 1968, maybe based on Kurlansky's book "1968." [if there isn't one already. Angus, are you reading this?] MLK & RFK, the Tet offensive & Mai Lai, the '68 Olympics (Smith & Carlos' salute), riots at the Dem Convention, the US going off of the gold standard, Nixon winning the general election for Presidency of the US, Apollo 8 circling the Moon and reading from the Book of Genesis in lunar orbit. The Beatles' White Album, too, I guess.

Personally, I'd add the death of Scottish racer Jimmy Clark at Hockenhiem; Dan Gurney's victory at the Belgian GP at Spa, the only F1 win by an American in a car of his own design and construction (the gorgeous Eagle-Weslake V-12), and the relase of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

An astonishing year, really.
I was only beginning school, but I remember many of those bits 'o '68.


Posted by: bc | June 6, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad to hear that her friends are stepping up, Sneaks. That *does* make the situation more bearable for her, I'm sure.

Arturis, you're making me feel old. Forty-five years, indeed. A whole lifetime ago. But, you know, I like where we are now, in terms of human knowledge and some social progress, better than where we were then.

Posted by: slyness | June 6, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Bad Sneaks, so glad to hear your daughter's doing well.

And yellojkt, thanks for the follow up.

Now, to read the Robinson piece...


Posted by: bc | June 6, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Robert Kennedy, Oct. 29, 1963:

"I may be a minority, but I don't see that this [the coup proposed against Diem and his brother] makes any sense on the face of it...We're putting the whole future of the country and, really, Southeast Asia in the hands of somebody we don't know [Gen. Minh] very well...Maybe it's going to be successful, but I don't think there's anybody, any reports that I've seen, [indicting] that anybody has a plan to show where this is going."


"What is remarkable about the discussion on October 29, 1963, is that a broad array of top officials voiced doubts about the coup, including JFK himself, without any actual effect on the course of events. President Kennedy does not announce a clear decision, but the group proceeds as if the United States does support the coup."

--Historian John Prados in his introduction to the published transcript of the meeting.

Posted by: Loomis | June 6, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Mudge... are you trying to get me into trouble? It's a good thing Mrs. M. doesn't read the A-Blog or I'd be banished to my daughter's play house in the back yard.

But you're right... CP would probably have had me whipped into line and following her around like a puppy dog in no time.

For that matter, probably half of the Boodle's fairer half would have had similar success.

(I may sound like trouble sometimes, but I'm easy trouble) ;-)

In other news... 90FF projected for today here (one of those F's means Fahrenheit... you can guess the other). Let's just say today's beer run may require attaching a trailer to our minivan.

Peace out (and good job on the silliness yesterday, btw)


Posted by: martooni | June 6, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Krauthammer's column makes sense IMO. I know. I know.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 6, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Marvin Gaye covering
"Abraham, Martin, and John" (1968).
Song-poem-ballad of that time.

Dick Holler.

First recorded by Dion and nicely done here:

I remember that B. MacGregor sang this at Mass, later in 1968, after communion. B. wore a white turtleneck and sport coat. No dry eyes, including my crusty Mountain Man father.

B's voice cracked at the mention of Bobby in that third verse or bridge sequence. Otherwise,perfect invocation of the earnestness of youth and the intensity of those times.

In our basement hung two posters, again of the time:

War is not
Healthy for
Children and
Other living

AND this from Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.:

Someday after mastering winds, waves, tides and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love. And then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will discover fire.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 6, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Except for this:
"Some things, like Arab-Israeli peace, are impossible."
Which is why the neocons must be marginalizeed in what ever country you find them in.

Posted by: Boko999 | June 6, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I was six, so I'm not going to be on topic!

Nothing silly about Silly.

This is the best I could do, but remember: I don't know the German language...

Für Raysmom:

In memory of Tamara Danz (A woman who made German sound like a romance language when she sang)

'Battalion d' Amour'

Like white cloths
The fog swims by the cold city
It makes the paving-stones wet
The roads shines smoothly

From my hall falls
A yellow flaming light
That gets me from the darkness
A pale child face

I think the girl knows you
Nevertheless is hardly 13 years
And flees already into the dawn
Already the night has gone

Battalion d' Amour
Battalion d' Amour

Two narrow boy hands Stroke their chest
touches me as I go past

A warm breath of the desire
And on the wet skin of the road there's affection
Itself their shade loudless
And enticement

Enticement itself into the love
As into a labyrinth
We cannot resist it
simply only begins

Battalion d' Amour
Battalion d' Amour

Posted by: omni | June 6, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm gonna try to catch up now...

Posted by: omni | June 6, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Royal SCC: I was thinking of a wholly different German woman when I put that parenthetical in my 9:24 post...

Posted by: omni | June 6, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

G'morning boodle. I don't quite envy the boss all his travel, but I have run 2 miles, showered, had a balanced breakfast, answered my email and read half of the latest issue of Time and it's not quite 8:30 CDT. Boy you can get a lot of work done at a hotel where the laundry, vacuum, cats, and garden aren't beckoning.

Looks like Fox scooped everyone else in the great HRC stakeout last night. I know this because the fitness room tv was tuned in to Good Morning America. Talk about anachronistic-newsprint has more going for it than the morning tv "news" shows.

Posted by: frostbitten | June 6, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I was 7 in '68. I have a foggy memory of the events of the times, but a clear memory of my parents. My mom and dad were 28 and 30, respectively. Your post last night took me inside *their* hearts and heads in 1968. You helped clear the fog. Thank you for that.

Posted by: lyssa | June 6, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Interesting quiz for today...

2/7, which shows you why NukeSpouse prefers to take care of cleaning herself.


Posted by: Scottynuke | June 6, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

And apparently K is wrong about where all the oil money's going.

I'm shocked, shocked.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 6, 2008 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Hi lurkerinneed, long time no see.

Posted by: omni | June 6, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I think those gray boxes are JPGs that don't finish loading. It's probably just an ad...

Posted by: omni | June 6, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

About this time in 1968, I would have been settling into an Intensive Spanish program at Delaware State College. Typical of the times, the relatively-new building was without air conditioning, and it was a hot summer. It was just a bit weird to go from a tragic and turbulent year to freshman fall at a university where the Big Deal was a wildly successful football team.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | June 6, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

By boycotting Will's column today you missed a good nautical anecdote:

"On the eve of the battle of Trafalgar, Admiral Nelson, addressing his captains on HMS Victory, picked up a fire poker and said: It does not matter where I put this -- unless Bonaparte tells me to put it a particular place. Then I must put it someplace else."

Can we get confirmation on the quote, Mudge?

His point is that Obama cannot choose Hillary as a running mate precisely because she wants him to.

Earlier in the column he expressed gratitude on behalf of those that suffer from Clinton Fatigue:

"...many Democrats do not fathom the gratitude that less-blinkered Americans feel for Obama because he has closed the Clinton parenthesis in our presidential history."

I'm not sure if that counts as an endorsement of Obama or not.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 6, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

OK, before we go to fluffy or science-y kit-information, here is this RFK 1968 text. REQUIRED READING. This is an early critique of the limited of GDP. The mantra today is Growth is ALL. Word.

(I do not believe this for one minute, but very good people have drunk the KoolAid of Growth is a God we must serve and obey.)

Full text here at Jfk Library:

Here are my selected paragraphs:

"We will never find a purpose for our nation nor for our personal satisfaction in the mere search for economic well-being, in endlessly amassing terrestrial goods.
We cannot measure the national spirit on the basis of the Dow-Jones, nor can we measure the achievements of our country on the basis of the gross domestic product (GDP)
Our gross national product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage.
It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials.
It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."


Wow. Talk about prescient thinking.

Posted by: College Parkian | June 6, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

On money:

Myth-maker, Joel:
In the Angus movie, there's a really powerful scene in with Bobby Jr. talks about his father coming home one day and saying that he had been in a home where the children didn't have enough to eat, or enough clothes, or shoes. And he told his kids: "Someday I want you to help those people."

Myth-buster, Paul Fay, "The Pleasure of His Company":

In December 1959, the family was assembled at Palm Beach; someone mentioned money, "causing Mr. [Joseph] Kennedy to plunge in, fire blazing from his eyes. 'I don't know what is going to happen to this family when I die,' Mr. Kennedy said. 'There is no one in the entire family, except Joan and Teddy, who is living within their means. No one appears to have the slightest concern for how much they spend.'" The tirade ended with a Kennedy sister running from the room in tears, her extravagance condemned in open family session. Characteristically, Jack deflected the progentor's wrath with the comment that the only "solution is to have Dad work harder." A story which contradicts incidentally, Mr. [Pierre] Salinger's pious "Despite his great wealth and his generosity in contributing all of his salaries as Congressman, Senator and President to charities, the President was not a man to waste pennies."

Myth-buster, Gore Vidal in his essay "The Holy Family," in which he dissects the three themes which dominate Kennedy sacred storytelling: money, image-making, family. [You may want to watch these leitmotifs carefully in the upcoming campaigns between McCain and Obama.]

On image:
The famous comedy of errors [Mrs. Kennedy's recollections taped by author William Manchester, while working on his book, "The Death of a President"] that ensued not only insured the book's success but also made current certain intimate details which the family preferred for the elctorate not to know, such as the President's selection of Mrs. Kennedy's dress on that last day, as he put it, "to show up those cheap Texas bro@ds," a remark not calculated to give pleasure to the clients of Neiman-Marcus.

Those Kennedys, such nice folks, weren't they?

(No strain whatsoever.)

Posted by: Loomis | June 6, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Hey lyssa... good to see you!

Yes... Mudge's piece was very good and should be required reading for students of recent history. I'm forwarding it along to folks I think will enjoy it. Hope you don't mind, Mudge.

Posted by: TBG | June 6, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Late morning greetings to all. Still have neither internet nor television at home. It's like barbaric or something.

Honestly, all I know about RFK is what I have read. Although I was six when he died, I have no memory of him or his murder. I am sure it made a great impression in our household since I know my mother absolutely worshiped the Kennedys. She later told me that they inspired her when life was hard. And there is value in that.

Of course, all I remember about the outside world from 1968 in general is Nixon becoming President and Apollo 8 - both of which happened towards the end of the year.

Of course, my mind is going.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 6, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

aahhh. you remembered, omni! shucks. i actually get to see you and the gang quite frequently. laugh when ya'll laugh, cry when you cry, and send out positive vibes to the boodle all the time.

happy summer, boodle.

Posted by: lyssa | June 6, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Scottynuke, I was 7/7 on the quiz. Of course, I do all of the cleaning.


Posted by: bc | June 6, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Just so we can stay as far off-topic as possible...

The local classic rock radio station I listen to all day long just played Edgard Winter Group's "Frankenstein". I've always loved that tune, maybe because it was the background music for another (now defunct) local radio station's "concert calendar".

Heheh... I'm just too damn good sometimes... "defunct" is the perfect way to describe a radio station going out of business.

Back to getting high on lacquer fumes...

Posted by: martooni | June 6, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

And, sadly, martooni, my 17-year-old son only knows that most excellent song from a Buick commercial featuring Tiger Woods.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 6, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

'nother kit. The dude's, like, on fire.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 6, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

2/7 on the clean quiz. Everything I know of cleaning, my mommy taught me.

Posted by: Kerric | June 6, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

CP, I borrowed your RFK speech for my blog. That was beautiful.

Posted by: a bea c | June 6, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, your dog-in-the-manager attitude is annoying and not remotely as witty as you think it is.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 6, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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