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Ted Kennedy dies at age 77

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Here is a statement released by the Kennedy family:

 

"Edward M. Kennedy - the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply - died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port," the statement said. "We've lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism, and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever. We thank everyone who gave him care and support over this last year, and everyone who stood with him for so many years in his tireless march for progress toward justice, fairness and opportunity for all. He loved this country and devoted his life to serving it. He always believed that our best days were still ahead, but it's hard to imagine any of them without him."

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DSC01133.jpg

 

Edward M. Kennedy

 

Teddy had the respect of many Americans. He was the friend to the invisible hand of decision makers. Ted Kennedy was a promoter of equality of all races. His thoughts defined history. A brother to giants. The lion of liberty, guarding free Thought. Ted was also just a man like you and me.

 

I saw him speak. I saw him weep. I saw him admit mistakes.

 

I listened to people judge him. I listened to people praise him.

 

Ted Kennedy was a true Statesman.

 

He was one of the oarsman stearing the United States Senate.

 

Defending the rights of the working class.

 

He was a Citizen of the United States of America.

 

Ted has been a Catholic icon to me.

 

He taught me how to be Free.

 

He taught me how to listen and respect others in my community.

 

He will be missed.

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Guest Rep. Chris Van Hollen

With the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, a family lost its patriarch, the U.S. Senate lost its most gifted legislator, and America lost an unparalleled leader.

 

Senator Ted Kennedy was elected in Massachusetts, but to millions of Americans he was our Senator. A tenacious fighter for working men and women who share the belief that America is the greatest country in the world. His passion and purpose were dedicated to righting wrongs and ensuring that our better days are ahead.

 

Senator Kennedy said that 'health care is the fight of his life.' Today, we pick up the torch and recommit ourselves to health insurance reform.

 

Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Kennedy's wife, children - including our friend and colleague Patrick, his family, his friends, and his constituents.

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Guest Big Think

The United States Senate lost one of its most accomplished statesmen late last night, and the country lost a committed public servant. During which one of Ted Kennedy's final interviews he shared his wisdom from a life on the front lines of political struggle.

 

* Positive social change can't come about by political struggle alone. It must be accomplished with the help of community groups such as churches and student organizations.

 

* Cost should never be a barrier to attending college for those who are accepted, and student debt should never impede one's ability to contribute to the country.

 

* America's history is filled with inspiring stories of immigrants: they are the foundation of the country's greatness. As such, the government owes new immigrants a chance to be a part of the United States' continuing success.

 

* Though the undue influence of money on the political workings of the country presents a dangerous challenge, the basic idealism and devotion to democracy held by politicians has never wavered.

 

* The primary challenge of globalization is to maintain an old-fashioned sense of community by continuing to value and invest in human capital.

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Guest The White House

DEATH OF SENATOR EDWARD M. KENNEDY

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

A PROCLAMATION

 

Senator Edward M. Kennedy was not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy. Over the past half-century, nearly every major piece of legislation that has advanced the civil rights, health, and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. With his passing, an important chapter in our American story has come to an end. As a mark of respect for the memory of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset on August 30, 2009. I also direct that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of his interment. I further direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same periods at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

 

BARACK OBAMA

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Guest U.S. Senator John McCain

My friend, Ted Kennedy, was famous before he was accomplished. But by the end of his life he had become irreplaceable in the institution he loved and in the affections of its members. He grew up in the long shadow of his brothers, but found a way to be useful to his country in ways that will outlast their accomplishments.

 

Many of his fellow senators, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, will note today that Ted was sincerely intent on finding enough common ground among us to make progress on the issues of our day, and toward that end he would work as hard and as modestly as any staffer. Many will recall his convivial nature, his humor, his thoughtfulness. We will praise as his greatest strength the integrity of his word. When he made a promise to you, he kept it, no matter what.

 

What is harder for us to express is the emptiness we will feel in the Senate in his absence. Even when we are all crowded in the chamber for a vote, engaged in dozens of separate conversations, it will seem a quiet and less interesting place, in the knowledge that his booming voice, fueled by his passion for his convictions, will never encourage or assail or impress us again.

 

I will miss him very much.

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Guest Maryland Democratic Party

Today across our state and around the nation, millions of Americans are mourning the passing of US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, one of the most celebrated standard bearers of the Democratic Party's history and a man President Barrack Obama called "The Greatest US Senator Of Our Day."

 

Over 47 years in the US Senate, Edward Kennedy changed the face of our country by helping lead the fight for civil & voting rights, pay equity & equal access to opportunity for women, and the expansion of Medicare and health care to cover millions of Americans. He proved himself a steadfast ally to the cause of ensuring every American child has the right to high quality education and that all American workers earn fair wages. Across the globe Senator Kennedy was revered for his commitment to advancing Human Rights and Democracy.

 

His diligence and fidelity to the highest ideals and principles of public service was matched only by his compassion for people. His love for, and desire to defend; the "everyday, ordinary, hardworking, individual" fueled his diligence in advancing the causes most important to us all. Our lives as Marylanders and the lives of our neighbors are better because Senator Kennedy served his country.

 

Senator Kennedy's family has asked that in lieu of flowers, well-wishers consider a contribution for educational programming at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for The United States Senate: http://www.tedkennedy.org

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Guest Congressman Kucinich

I first met Senator Kennedy on May 4, 1971, when he visited me at St. Alexis Hospital in Cleveland. I was then a Cleveland City Councilman recovering from an injury and, somehow, he discovered I was in the hospital and paid a surprise visit to my room. He was visiting hospitals as part of his national effort to raise awareness of the need for reform of our health care system. I was elated to meet him. The visit began a friendship which has spanned four decades, during which time I had the privilege of serving with Senator Kennedy in the United States Congress.

 

His compassion and caring was always personal and always real. When my brother Perry died unexpectedly in December of 2007, Ted Kennedy was one of the first to call with condolences, sharing his sympathetic understanding of what it means to lose a sibling.

 

He had a powerful sensitivity to human emotion and his life writ large the range of human experience: great triumphs and sudden reversals. His tenacity often came against the heavy burden of deep personal tragedy, which enlarged the quality of his spirit, and made his frequent expressions of humor poignant and profound. Yes, he made himself into one of the greatest Senators, with his advocacy for human rights for health care, education and worker protections.

 

But Ted Kennedy was more than a great Senator. He was a great friend.

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Guest DC Vote

Ted Kennedy became animated, his hand slicing the air in front of him. "It's just outrageous how this country treats the District of Columbia," he said. "In the next Congress, we'll have the votes. And I'm with you, Ilir, on this House vote. It is a first step. But it is not enough. We have to get two senators for DC, and we have to get statehood. You tell me what to do, and I'll do it. Whatever it takes, I'm there for you. We have to end this national disgrace."

 

It was 2007 and we were at his house for a Senate fundraiser. A group of us spent about 20 minutes with him talking strategy. He had the same message for me, in fact, every time I saw him: "whatever it takes . . . you can count on me." No matter where you saw Ted Kennedy, if he had a few minutes, he would stop to talk to you. He was accessible and kind in that way.

 

Ted Kennedy was a Bostonian, yes. But, he was also a Washingtonian. He loved the District, the way he loved America. And his passion for social justice in America extended to the District of Columbia. He was one of the lead champions of the DC voting rights constitutional amendment in the '70s. He promoted and led the fight in the Senate for DC statehood. He worked behind the scenes to promote bipartisan support of the DC House Voting Rights Act. And he was a strong supporter of DC Vote.

 

I learned three important lessons from Ted Kennedy: keep your eyes on the big goal while achieving step-by-step reform; never give up, no matter how distant victory may seem, because eventually you will win; when you fight for the common good, your spirit will soar. So enjoy the fight and have fun.

 

Thanks, Senator Kennedy, for all the good works you left behind. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ilir Zherka

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Guest Nancy Reagan

I was terribly saddened to hear of the death of Ted Kennedy tonight. Given our political differences, people are sometimes surprised by how close Ronnie and I have been to the Kennedy family. But Ronnie and Ted could always find common ground, and they had great respect for one another. In recent years, Ted and I found our common ground in stem cell research, and I considered him an ally and a dear friend. I will miss him.

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Guest Luke

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

 

Departure to Boston12:00 p.m. - Private family Mass will take place in the Senator’s home in Hyannis Port.

 

This event is closed to the public and press.

 

1:00 p.m. - Senator Kennedy and his family will depart Hyannis Port by motorcade en route to Boston.

This event is pool press and closed to the public.

 

Motorcade Route to Boston

A map is attached.

 

Senator Kennedy will travel Route 3 North to Route 93 North into Boston. (Approximately 3:00 PM)

 

Senator Kennedy will exit at Government Center, and travel down Hanover Street into the North End, past St. Stephen’s Church, where his mother Rose was baptized and her funeral mass celebrated.

 

Continuing down Hanover and crossing over the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the park Senator Kennedy joined community leaders in creating that gives mothers and their children green space in the heart of the city. The park sits on the same land young Rose Fitzgerald enjoyed as a child.

 

Senator Kennedy will pass Faneuil Hall where Mayor Menino will ring the bell 47 times.

 

Continuing to Bowdoin Street, Senator Kennedy will pass 122 Bowdoin, where he opened his first office as an Assistant District Attorney and President Kennedy lived while running for Congress in 1946.

 

He’ll pass the JFK Federal Building where his Boston office has stood for decades, and and then travel to Dorchester Street into South Boston and to the JFK Presidential Library.

 

People who wish to honor Senator Kennedy are urged to line the motorcade route at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, City Hall Plaza and the Boston Common, in front of the Statehouse on Park Street

 

Arrival at John F. Kennedy Library and MuseumApprox. 4 p.m. - The motorcade will arrive at the JFK Library.

The arrival is open to the press and to the public.

 

Guidance note: Senator Kennedy spent decades building the Library built for his beloved brother, President John Kennedy, into a national treasure as a place of debate on the issues important to the American people, and source of inspiration for future generations of public servants.

 

Lie in Repose at John F. Kennedy Library and Museum6 p.m.-11 p.m. - The Senator will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

The Senator will be joined throughout the day and night by a civilian honor guard of family, friends, and current and former staff.

 

He will also be joined by a military honor guard.

 

This is event is pool press and open to the public.

 

Friday, August 28th, 2009

 

Lie in Repose at John F. Kennedy Library and Museum8 a.m.-3 p.m. - Senator Kennedy will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

This event is pool press and open to the public.

 

 

Celebration of Life Memorial Service7 p.m.-9 p.m. - There will be a Celebration of Life Memorial Service at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Presidential Library.

This event is closed to the public and press will be pooled.

 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

 

Funeral Mass10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. - Senator Kennedy’s funeral mass will take place at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston, Massachusetts.

1545 Tremont Street

 

This event is closed to the public and press will be pooled.

 

Guidance Note: While his daughter, Kara, was battling lung cancer at a nearby Boston hospital, Senator Kennedy attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help each day and prayed for Kara and her recovery. Over time, the Basilica took on special meaning for him as a place of hope and optimism.

 

Arlington National Cemetery5:30 p.m. - A burial service for Senator Kennedy will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

It is closed to the public and pooled press.

 

Guidance Note: Senator Kennedy will be laid to rest next to President Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy at Arlington National Cemetery. The nation’s resting place for its heroes, Senator Kennedy spent more days than most at Arlington visiting the graves of his beloved brothers and paying tribute to the fallen men and women of Massachusetts who gave their lives for our country.

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Guest Donald

Is anyone going to remember Mary Jo Kopechne today? She is the woman Ted Kennedy killed on Chappaquiddick Island in Massechusetts in 1969. Ted Kennedy left the scene and did not report the accident. Mary Jo's body was found the next day. Why did Ted Kennedy leave the scene? Why did he not report the accident immediately? Please let me know at dgdguns@gmail.com

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Guest Donald

Is anyone going to remember Mary Jo Kopechne today? She is the woman Ted Kennedy killed on Chappaquiddick Island in Massechusetts in 1969. Ted Kennedy left the scene and did not report the accident. Mary Jo's body was found the next day. Why did Ted Kennedy leave the scene? Why did he not report the accident immediately? please let me know at dgdguns@gmail.com

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Guest On the bench

Chappaquiddick was a catalyst for Kennedy to gain redemption during the next 40 years in the Senate. He was a passionate apostle of Big Government and Free Choice. Which I do not support. But, I do respect his ideological commitment. Here is what former political rival, President Carter said about Chappaquiddick.

 

I think he suffered from the consequences of it. He bore it like a man, and he survived in the minds and hearts of the American people.

 

 

America is indeed the land of second chances. May the Lord show mercy on his soul.

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Guest Mark Eddington

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) made the following statement today upon learning of the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA).

 

“Today America lost a great elder statesman, a committed public servant, and leader of the Senate. And today I lost a treasured friend.

 

“Ted Kennedy was an iconic, larger than life United States Senator whose influence cannot be overstated. Many have come before, and many will come after, but Ted Kennedy’s name will always be remembered as someone who lived and breathed the United States Senate and the work completed within its chamber.

 

“When I first came to the United States Senate I was filled with conservative fire in my belly and an itch to take on any and everyone who stood in my way, including Ted Kennedy. As I began working within the confines of my office I soon found out that while we almost always disagreed on most issues, once in a while we could actually get together and find the common ground, which is essential in passing legislation.

 

“For almost two decades we alternated as Chairman and Ranking Members of the Senate Labor Committee, now called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. During this time we were able to come together in a bipartisan fashion to craft some of this nation’s most important health legislation.

 

“In the current climate of today’s United States Senate it is rare to find opportunities where both sides can come together and work in the middle to craft a solution for our country’s problems. Ted Kennedy, with all of his ideological verbosity and idealism was a rare person who at times could put aside differences and look for common solutions. Not many ever got to see that side of him, but as peers and colleagues we were able to share some of those moments.

 

“Elaine and I express our deepest condolences to Ted’s beloved wife Vickie, and their extended family,” Hatch added. “I am hopeful that they will find peace and comfort in the memories and life they were able to share with this giant of a man.”

 

A few highlights of the Kennedy-Hatch legislative accomplishments include:

 

• Orphan Drug Act – provided tax credits for encouraging the development of medicines for rare diseases.

 

• Ryan White Aids Act – which established a federally funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS, with an emphasis on providing funding to improve availability of care for low-income, uninsured, and under-insured victims of AIDS and their families.

 

• State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – provided health insurance to thousands of the working poor across our country.

 

• Mammography Standards in 1992

 

• Americans with Disabilities Act – provided individual protections from discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

 

• FDA Revitalization Act of 2007 – addressed many critical issues including the need to provide proper incentives and support for the development and review of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and the need for heightened efforts to assure the safety of medications.

 

• PDUFA – a program that created drug user fees to help expedite the approval of new drugs. This legislation continues to be reauthorized.

 

• Health Centers Renewal Act of 2007 – reauthorized the health center program for five more years and provided people with essential health care services.

 

• FDAMA – FDA Modernization Act of 1997 – regulated prescription drug advertising, food safety, and codified the requirements for access to life saving medicines.

 

• Bioshield Legislation – increased federal, state, and local infrastructure for bioterrorism preparedness.

 

• And the latest collaboration was the Serve America Act, which renewed America’s call for volunteer service to meet some of our country’s most challenging problems and needs.

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Guest Senator John Kerry

We have known for some time that this day was coming, but nothing makes it easier. We have lost a great light in our lives and our politics, and it will never be the same again. Ted Kennedy was such an extraordinary force, yes for the issues he cared about, but more importantly for the humanity and caring in our politics that is at the center of faith and true public service.

 

No words can ever do justice to this irrepressible, larger than life presence who was simply the best -- the best Senator, the best advocate you could ever hope for, the best colleague, and the best person to stand by your side in the toughest of times. He faced the last challenge of his life with the same grace, courage, and determination with which he fought for the causes and principles he held so dear. He taught us how to fight, how to laugh, how to treat each other, and how to turn idealism into action, and in these last fourteen months he taught us much more about how to live life, sailing into the wind one last time. For almost 25 years, I was privileged to serve as his colleague and share his friendship for which I will always be grateful.

 

Teresa and I send all our love to Vicki, Teddy Jr., Patrick, Kara and their family, and to the entire Kennedy family for whom Teddy was always a rock at times like this. Massachusetts and our entire nation shares their loss and grieves with them.

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Guest ALWAYS RED

True Republican sediments.

 

Rush Limbaugh: Did you see the TV ratings for the cable networks that have gone wall-to-wall Kennedy? They're in the tank. They're in the tank. The only people that really care about this, to the extent they do, are the media. It's a closed little circle. It's a closed little clique. The rest of the country is not interested in it.

 

And I tell you, I watched some of this, and I don't remember this lovey-dovey devotion to Ronald Reagan when he died. I remember the media being stunned and shocked that so many people showed up at the parades in California. Well, the people lining the route as the hearse was going to his library, the stuff in Washington, the official state funeral in Washington. The media was stunned. But nobody's watching it. I mean, these people are dying doing this. They're just talking to themselves. That's really what they're doing. They're talking to themselves and nobody is watching.

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Guest Human

Let it go Red, Kennedy chose Barack Obama as his President, and Barack with the help of the democrats are going to Emasculate the internet "Under White House Control".

 

The General Public is going to learn the hard way what it really means. A rather ironic legacy to leave " http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10320096-38.html " in the end.

 

It's a contradiction of what the man stood for "Opportunity for all".

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There goes our Freedom of Speech.

 

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

 

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

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Guest Human

Now Do you Understand? All of it IS inter-related.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aug 26, 2009 ... Obama Cabinet. COLUMNISTS ... Melody Barnes, the director of President Barack Obama's Domestic Policy Council, was Kennedy's chief counsel on the Judiciary ... White House counsel Greg Craig also worked for Kennedy. ...

thehill.com/.../kennedy-legacy-includes-long-list-of-prominent-aides-2009-08-26.html -

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Guest Alexander Cockburn

The obituarists have glowingly evoked Kennedy's 46-year stint in the US Senate and, as 'the last liberal', his mastery of the legislative process. These obituarists miss the all-important fact that it was out of Kennedy's Senate office that came two momentous slabs of legislation that signalled the onset of the neo-liberal era: deregulation of trucking and aviation. They were a disaster for organized labor and the working conditions and pay of people in those industries.

 

The theorists of deregulation were Stephen Breyer who was Kennedy's chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Alfred Kahn, out of Cornell. Prominent on Kennedy’s dereg team was David Boies. Breyer now sits on the US Supreme Court, an unswerving shill for the corporate sector.

 

In the mid to late 1970s these Kennedy rent-a-thinkers began to tout deregulation as the answer to low productivity and bureaucratic and corporate inertia. Famous at that time was a screed by Breyer, then a Harvard Law School professor, quantifying such things as environmental pollution in terms of assessable and fungible “risks” which could be bought and sold in the market place. (The Natural Resources Defense Council, adorned by Ted’s nephew, Robert Kennedy Jr., has long espoused this disastrous approach.)

 

The two prongs of Kennedy’s deregulatory attack – later decorated with the political label “neo-liberalism” – were aimed at airlines and trucking, and Kennedy’s man, Alfred Kahn was duly installed by Jimmy Carter at the Civil Aeronautics Board to introduce the cleansing winds of competition into the industry. By and large, airline deregulation went down well with the press and, for a time, with the public, who rejoiced in the bargains offered by the small fry such as People’s Express, and by the big fry striking back. The few critics who said that within a few years the nation would be left with five or six airlines, oligopoly and higher fares, were mostly ignored.

 

No one ever really wrote about the terrible effects of trucking deregulation outside the left press. It was certainly the most ferocious anti-labor move of the 1970s, with Kennedy as the driving force. Some of Kennedy’s aides promptly reaped the fruits of their legislative labors, leaving the Hill to make money hand over fist trying to break unions on behalf of Frank Lorenzo, the Texan entrepreneur who ran the Texas Air Corporation and its properties, Continental Airlines and its subsidiary, Eastern.

 

Did Kennedy fight, might and main, against NAFTA? No. As Steve Early relates in his piece on this site today, he was for it and helped Clinton ratify the job-losing Agreement. Then he put his shoulder behind GATT, parent of the World Trade Agreement.

 

We also have Kennedy to thank for 'No Child Left Behind' – the nightmarish education act pushed through in concert with Bush Jr's White House, that condemns children to a treadmill of endless tests contrived as "national standards".

 

And it was Kennedy who was the prime force behind the Hate Crimes Bill, aka the Matthew Shepard Act, by dint of which America is well on its way to making it illegal to say anything nasty about gays, Jews, blacks and women. "Hate speech," far short of any direct incitement to violence, is on the edge of being criminalized, with the First Amendment going the way of the dodo.

 

The deadly attacks on the working class and on organized labor are Ted Kennedy’s true monument. But as much as his brothers Jack and Bobby he was adept at persuading the underdogs that he was on their side. If it hadn’t been for Kennedy, a lot more people would have health coverage . In 1971 Nixon, heading into his relection bid, put up the legislative ancestor of all recent Democratic proposals, but Kennedy shot it down, preferring to have this as his campaign plank sometime in the political future.

 

After reelection, Nixon did promote a health plan in his 1974 State of the Union speech, with a call for universal access to health insurance. He followed up with his Comprehensive Health Insurance Act on February 6, 1974. Nixon said his plan would build on existing employer-sponsored insurance plans and would provide government subsidies to the self-employed and small businesses to ensure universal access to health insurance. Kennedy went through the motions of cooperation, but in the end the AFL-CIO, with a covert nudge from Kennedy, killed the bill because Nixon was vanishing under the Watergate scandal and the Democrats did not want to hand the President and the Republicans one of their signature issues. Now the Republicans scream “socialism” at exactly what Nixon proposed and Kennedy killed off 38 years ago, in 1971.

 

To this day there are deluded souls who argue that Jack was going to pull US troops out of Vietnam and that is why he was killed; that Bobby, who worked for Roy Cohn and supervised a "Murder Inc" in the Caribbean, was really and truly on the side of the angels; that Ted was the mighty champion of the working people, even though he helped deliver them into the inferno of neoliberalism.

 

By his crucial endorsement last year he helped give them Obama too, now holidaying six miles from Chappaquiddick, on Martha's Vineyard, another salesman for the inferno. But because his mishaps were so dramatic, few remember quite how toxic his political “triumphs” were for those who now foolishly mourn him as their lost leader.

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