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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy dead at 77



(CNN) -- Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, the patriarch of the first family of Democratic politics, died Wednesday at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was 77.
Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, known as the "Lion of the Senate," died Wednesday at 77.

"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," a family statement said. "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."

Kennedy, nicknamed "Ted," was the younger brother of slain President John F. Kennedy and New York Sen. Robert Kennedy, who was gunned down while seeking the White House in 1968. However, his own presidential aspirations were hobbled by the controversy around a 1969 auto accident that left a young woman dead, and a 1980 primary challenge to then-President Jimmy Carter that ended in defeat.

But while the White House eluded his grasp, the longtime Massachusetts senator was considered one of the most effective legislators of the past few decades. Kennedy, who became known as the "Lion of the Senate," played major roles in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, and was an outspoken liberal standard-bearer during a conservative-dominated era from the 1980s to the early 2000s.

"Senator Ted Kennedy's legacy in the United States Senate is comparable and consistent with the legacy of his entire family for generations," Kennedy's biographer, Ted Sorensen, said.

Kennedy suffered a seizure in May 2008 at his home on Cape Cod. Shortly after, doctors diagnosed a brain tumor -- a malignant glioma in his left parietal lobe.

Surgeons at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, removed as much of the tumor as possible the following month. Doctors considered the procedure a success, and Kennedy underwent follow-up radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

A few weeks later, he participated in a key vote in the Senate. He also insisted on making a brief but dramatic appearance at the 2008 Democratic convention, a poignant moment that brought the crowd to its feet and tears to many eyes.

"I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States," Kennedy told fellow Democrats in a strong voice.

Kennedy's early support for Obama was considered a boon for the candidate, then a first-term senator from Illinois locked in a tough primary battle against former first lady Hillary Clinton. Kennedy predicted Obama's victory and pledged to be in Washington in January when Obama assumed office -- and he was, though he was hospitalized briefly after suffering a seizure during a post-inaugural luncheon.

Kennedy was one of only six senators in U.S. history to serve more than 40 years. He was elected to eight full terms to become the second most-senior senator after West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd.

He launched his political career in 1962, when he was elected to finish the unexpired Senate term of his brother, who became president in 1960. He won his first full term in 1964.

He seemed to have a bright political future, and many Democratic eyes turned to him after the killings of his brothers. But a July 18, 1969, car wreck on Chappaquiddick Island virtually ended his ambitions.

After a party for women who had worked on his brother Robert's presidential campaign, Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick, off Cape Cod and across a narrow channel from Martha's Vineyard. While Kennedy managed to escape, his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned.

In a coroner's inquest, he denied having been drunk, and said he made "seven or eight" attempts to save Kopechne before exhaustion forced him to shore. Although he sought help from friends at the party, Kennedy did not report the accident to police until the following morning.

Kennedy eventually pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. In a televised address to residents of his home state, Kennedy called his conduct in the hours following the accident "inexplicable" and called his failure to report the wreck immediately "indefensible."

Despite the dent in his reputation and career, Kennedy remained in American politics and went on to win seven more terms in the Senate. Kennedy championed social causes and was the author of "In Critical Condition: The Crisis in America's Health Care." He served as chairman of the Judiciary and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committees and was the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary and Armed Services committees during periods when Republicans controlled the chamber.

Obama named Kennedy as one of 16 recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor. A White House statement explained that the 2009 honorees "were chosen for their work as agents of change."

"Senator Kennedy has dedicated his career to fighting for equal opportunity, fairness and justice for all Americans. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that every American has access to quality and affordable health care, and has succeeded in doing so for countless children, seniors, and Americans with disabilities. He has called health care reform the "cause of his life."

Born in Boston on February 22, 1932, Edward Moore Kennedy was the last of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy, a prominent businessman and Democrat, and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Joseph Kennedy served as ambassador to Britain before World War II and pushed his sons to strive for the presidency, a burden "Teddy" bore for much of his life as the only surviving Kennedy son.

His oldest brother, Joe Jr., died in a plane crash during World War II when Kennedy was 12. John was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, in 1963, and Robert was killed the night of the California primary in 1968.

Ted Kennedy delivered Robert's eulogy, urging mourners to remember him as "a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it; who saw suffering and tried to heal it; who saw war and tried to stop it."

The family was plagued with other tragedies as well. One sister, Kathleen, was killed in a plane crash in 1948. Another sister, Rosemary, was born mildly retarded, but was institutionalized after a botched lobotomy in 1941. She died in 1986 after more than 50 years in mental hospitals.

Joseph Kennedy was incapacitated by a stroke in 1961 and died in November 1969, leaving the youngest son as head of the family. He was 37.

"I can't let go," Kennedy once told an aide. "If I let go, Ethel (Robert's widow) will let go, and my mother will let go, and all my sisters."

Kennedy himself survived a 1964 plane crash that killed an aide, suffering a broken back in the accident. But he recovered to lead the seemingly ill-starred clan through a series of other tragedies: Robert Kennedy's son David died of a drug overdose in a Florida hotel in 1984; another of Robert's sons, Michael, was killed in a skiing accident in Colorado in 1997; and John's son John Jr., his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette died in a 1999 plane crash off Martha's Vineyard.

In addition, his son Edward Jr. lost a leg to cancer in the 1970s, and daughter Kara survived a bout with the disease in the early 2000s.

Kennedy was forced to testify about a bar-hopping weekend that led to sexual battery charges against his nephew, William Kennedy Smith. Smith was acquitted in 1991 of charges that he raped a woman he met while at a Florida nightclub with the senator and his son Patrick, now a Rhode Island congressman.

Like brothers John and Robert, Edward Kennedy attended Harvard. He studied in the Netherlands before earning a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School, and worked in the district attorney's office in Boston before entering politics.

Kennedy is survived by his second wife, Victoria Ann Reggie Kennedy, whom he married in 1992; his first wife, Joan Bennett; and five children -- Patrick, Kara and Edward Jr. from his first marriage, and Curran and Caroline Raclin from his second.

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57 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The man was a killer and a coward.

August 25, 2009 11:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Ha ha it looks like Higby scooped Joe, as did everyone else.

August 25, 2009 11:03 PM  

Blogger Joe B. said:

MS scoops everybody. I just wanted to add a bit to the eulogy.

August 25, 2009 11:05 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

He was a Democratic HERO! RIP Ted.

August 25, 2009 11:10 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

RIP

August 25, 2009 11:14 PM  

Blogger Red Spot in CD 14 said:

Hope he kept the Buick on the bridge over to the after life.

August 25, 2009 11:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

He was no hero Joe.

Look at this photo and tell us why he waited TEN HOURS before reporting it, leaving by a 29 year old woman to drown.

http://www.911familiesforamerica.org/images/maryjo1969.jpg

THIS MAN IS A COWARD NOT A HERO.

August 25, 2009 11:23 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

if the boss scooped you joe, there's no need for a redundant post. and you could have spared the blog the space if you simply provided a link.

typical bleeding heard.

August 25, 2009 11:23 PM  

Blogger Joe B. said:

As a typical bleeding "heard" I have no choice but to mourn the loss of a
great senator.

August 25, 2009 11:42 PM  

Anonymous Kennedy said:

You know, Ted Kennedy has died... just a sad day for America don't you think?

August 26, 2009 12:10 AM  

Blogger Phil Jennerjahn said:

My sympathies go out to his family.

As a side note... I don't think ANY elected official should stay in office for 47 years. It is unhealthy for the office, the officeholder, and for Democracy in general.

August 26, 2009 12:32 AM  

Blogger s said:

I think legislation and the constitution and economics and foreign policy are all serious and extraordinarily difficult. We need some lifelong individuals in there, preferably true patriots from both parties. In any event, here's the President's statement on the passing of this great hero.
http://www.obama-mamas.com/blog/?p=359

August 26, 2009 2:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I agree with 11:02. He's no better than Simpson who also got away with murder! It just reinforces the fact that money can buy a way out of anything, even murder! But so what, dum dums who are sheep, keep electing these people. Wake up, we deserve better! There are quality people out there who truly want to serve for the right reasons.

August 26, 2009 3:07 AM  

Anonymous magnetic cash gifting said:

May God rest his soul.

I admire anybody who champions the rights of others. He did what he thought was right and had conviction, 2 traits which are envied by many, practiced by few.

Ryan

August 26, 2009 3:28 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

JUDGE THE PERSON BY THEIR ACTIONS WHEN THE CAMERAS AREN'T THERE.

THE MAN LEFT A LIVING WOMAN IN A SINKING CAR, AND HID AWAY UNTIL THE BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL SUBSIDED.

HE COULD HAVE SAVED HER LIFE, BUT WAS A COWARD WHEN THE CAMERAS WEREN'T THERE.

BEYOND THAT, HE WAS A LUSH AND A WOMANIZER. ASK JOAN KENNEDY.

AND WHEN HE WASN'T BREAKING THE LAW OR BEING AN EMBARRASSMENT, HE WAS AROUND OTHER SCENES OF TROUBLE, SUCH AS HIS PRESENCE DURING THE WILLIAM KENNEDY SMITH RAPE ALLEGATION (FOR WHICH HE WAS ACQUITTED).

BUT SOMEHOW, THE MAN COULD NOT STAY AWAY FROM ALCOHOL OR TROUBLE. MENTION HIS NAME TEN YEARS FROM NOW, AND THE WORD ALCOHOL AND THE NAME MARY JO KOPECHNE WILL BE FOREVER ATTACHED TO HIS NAME.

REGARDLESS OF THE DECADE, TROUBLE AND ALCOHOL FOLLOWED HIM WHEREVER HE ROAMED. ALCOHOL AND WOMANIZING GO BACK WITH THIS FAMILY TO THE JOE KENNEDY ERA, AND IT INFECTED THE WAYS OF MOST OF THEIR CHILDREN. AND WHEN IT WASN'T THAT, IT WAS THE WOMANIZING.

August 26, 2009 8:33 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Jesus, do you know about his GETTING KICKED OUT OF HARVARD FOR CHEATING????????????

My, how conveniently Joe B. glossed over his cheating scandal.

He got another student to take an exam for him. He was a cheater in school, a cheater with woman, and a lush.

Beyond that, he was great.

August 26, 2009 8:34 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The man got tossed out of Harvard for cheating on a Spanish examination.

Dishonesty was a hallmark of his life. I wouldn't want my children to emulate him.

August 26, 2009 8:43 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

When I think of Edward Kennedy, I think of bloated indulgence and someone who could not live up to his brothers' achievements, despite their own serious flaws.

August 26, 2009 8:46 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Lots of demons in this man's soul.

August 26, 2009 8:48 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I agree with 11:02pm. Kennedy was a killer and a coward. It reflected negatively on the entirety of his life.

Someone on the news just mentioned that he "wasn't the sharpest knife in the Kennedy drawer."

August 26, 2009 8:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Two words: "Au Bar"

Google them.

August 26, 2009 8:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Good riddance and goodbye lush with the ruddy complexion. Glad to show you the door.

Say "hello" to Mary Jo.

August 26, 2009 9:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This man needs to be seen for his private hypocrisy, not just his public life.

August 26, 2009 9:04 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

He never managed to pass healthcare legislation, despite having been in the Senate since 1962. Lots of great words from the Kennedys, but look what it has done for the poor in this country: THEY'RE STILL POOR!

Welfare was a well intentioned, poorly executed notion that has hurt the blacks as much as it helped them. Welfare made the blacks more dependent, not freer. It took Bill Clinton to get people off of the public welfare rollcall.

Sad but true.

August 26, 2009 9:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Don't let the door hit you on your way to hell Edward. Mary Jo Kopechne would like to have a word with you!

August 26, 2009 9:08 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Kennedy's maker is going to hold him accountable for all of the wrongs he committed in his life.

He was no RFK, and he only wished he could be as good as Zuma Dogg.

August 26, 2009 9:09 AM  

Blogger Petra Fried in the City said:

Bye Ted.

'Nuff said.

August 26, 2009 9:19 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This man was no hero. Think about it; his successes kept the poor and downtrodden on welfare. He meant well, as did most of the kennedys, but their actions by and large kept 'em down.

August 26, 2009 9:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

This obit glosses over the fact that Kennedy would have gone to jail for killing mary jo kopechne while drunk, but stayed out of prison because of his name. This is his legacy.

August 26, 2009 9:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

47 years and he is best known for being a drunkard.

August 26, 2009 9:45 AM  

Anonymous derek said:

That’s a terrible thing for American…and the world; we all lost a great man and also a long legacy of family patriots and supporters to the American people and politics. We will miss you. Condolences to the family.

August 26, 2009 9:45 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The Kennedys, taken as a whole, had at least as many negatives as goods.

You can start by looking at papa Joe, who was a boozerunner. That is how the family made its money in the first place. Obviously, they didn't pay taxes on those crimes, either.

It all starts from there.

August 26, 2009 9:46 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Teddie was the Kennedy family's own "Fredo."

August 26, 2009 9:58 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

To hell with this killer. 1102 said it all when he or she said that Kennedy was a "coward." I could not agree more. I would also call him seriously flawed given his inability to stay away from trouble.

Next thing you know theyll say his shit don't stink. It stank plenty.

August 26, 2009 10:13 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

BREAKING NEWS: TED KENNEDY WILL NOT BY LYING IN THE CAPITOL. HE WILL BE IN THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE, BUT HE WON'T BE ON THE HILL, AND THAT TELLS YOU EVERY THING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS MAN'S TROUBLED HISTORY.

August 26, 2009 10:14 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Joe you are a wiseass for correcting the commenter's typo on the word "heart" since you CRY LIKE A PUSSY any time someone corrects you.

I'll remind you of that the next time you're the one with the typo.

August 26, 2009 10:18 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Kennedy made Mary Jo go Kaputnik!

August 26, 2009 10:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Fuck this bastard!

August 26, 2009 10:23 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Judge anyone's life on the balance. Did Teddie get away with "murder" (figuratively speaking, of course) -- of course, the rich always do?

They also reap their own rewards for that in terms of wasted lives and dysfunctional personal relationships (healthy relationships with others being the best "reward" for living a decent personal life).

But salute the man for 5 decades of public service, where he at least tried to improve the lives of others. Agree with his methods of not -- how many of the really rich in this country dedicate even one year's worth of their life to that?

August 26, 2009 10:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

3:07 typifies the Stupid Faction of the Republican Party. "No better than Simpson" is also such a nasty, heartless thing to say, typical too.

Simpson did not spend his life trying to make the world a better place. Yes his explanation about Chappaquiddick, that he tried to find her in the murky cold waters, then got too fatigued to think straight, are probably a cover for just plain panic, and waiting til his blood alcohol level went down. It suitably kept him from becoming president, and he's had to live with it his whole life. He had until then drunk and partied too much, but this shocked him into a better phase of his life. Maybe to make up for it he kept on trying to be the voice for the helpless, sick and poor. "Just like Simpson."

I may not agree with all his proposals since they involve lots of big government and spending, but he was clearly a million times better man than those who write such nasty posts will ever be. (Let me guess some of your other everyday targets on this blog.0

August 26, 2009 10:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I think we are missing the fact that Rose Kennedy stood by and allowed Joe to get away with all of his illegal businesses and carousing, and that led to her sons being the same way, from JFK to RFK, and Senator Ed too.

It all starts with the parents and Rose & Joe are plenty to blame for their sons' bad behavior. It's uniform across the board.

August 26, 2009 10:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

LOL! Ha ha!

August 26, 2009 11:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

These are great becuz I think we should spit on this killer's grave.

He had NO REGARD for the life of a young woman and ran away like a COWARD

But that wasn't enough. I too remember his proximity to the William Kennedy Smith matter and Au Bar.


Trouble following him like a beer chaser. He was as corrupt in his private life as were his brothers RFK and JFK.

I'm not going to lose any sleep over this "loss"

August 26, 2009 12:04 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Ted Kennedy has a lot to be answerable to by God. He is going to pay a dear price for what he did to people when he wasn't in the public eye. There is a trust there that he and Robert and John did to people, and they are all being held to standards of hell. I am glad to see here that I'm not the only one who sees it this way.

August 26, 2009 12:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Like we are not going to be drenched with him on the news and a state funeral for a drunk, womanizer and allegely committing a homicide. Of course everyone will say that he was the best senator in the country and all that shit but at the end of the day he was a mess. And then the Gropinator will go and we have to deal with him and Maria and get more press time. What would happen if no press covered the story? If the did not cover Michael Jackson's issues or Parislut Hilton would anyone care?

August 26, 2009 12:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

??Lion of the Senate???

I'd say "Lyin' of the Senate";he was also often referred to as "The Distinguished Senator from Chappaquiddick".

He has now met his maker; let him explain to Him about how hard he tried to save that poor girl.

Rot in Hell you dispicable immoral asshole.

August 26, 2009 1:39 PM  

Anonymous Ricardo said:

"We have to get Teddy a Senate seat. He's too stupid to get a job." Joe Kennedy

August 26, 2009 6:07 PM  

Anonymous Tech said:

May he rest in peace. He was a good man.

August 26, 2009 7:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

He was a cheater at Harvard
He was expelled.
He cheated on Joan, his first wife.
He had distant relationships with his children.
He ran away like a COWARD when a womnan's life was on the line, and she died.
He didn't report the accident until the blood cleared out the alcohol TEN HOURS LATER.
He couldn't avoid trouble like the Au Bar situation.

A liar, a cheat, a killer. Great man. I spit on his grave. NOTE THAT HE IS NOT LAYING IN THE CAPITOL, BUT IN BOSTON. I REPEAT, I SPIT ON HIS GRAVE FOR BEING A COWARD AND LETTING HIS DRUNKENNESS TAKE A YOUNG WOMAN'S LIFE.

August 26, 2009 7:55 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Poor old fellow-drunkard Chris Dodd will have to find a new buddy to make "waitress sandwiches" with.

August 26, 2009 8:20 PM  

Anonymous Father Guido said:

Hey 1:39- Get with the program.

You don't have to tell "your maker" anything. Even if you did and were Ted Kennedy, the most you'd have to say is that you lied to the police about your drinking, if that. Big deal. That you had a tragic accident really doesn't sway things up there like it does for hypocrites like you down here.

You on the other hand, will have to explain to YOUR maker WTF was up with you condemning people to hell all the time. He doesn't like that, you know.

Good luck, sucker.

August 26, 2009 8:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

i spit on the graves of all kennedys, rose included. they made their money bootlegging. thus they are all tainted.

i spit~~~~~~on their graves.

August 26, 2009 8:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

8:29- A prohibitionist.

Yikes.

August 26, 2009 9:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Phil:

Wouldn't democracy best be served by the voters who they want to represent them? If they want someone for 47 years, that's democracy.

August 26, 2009 9:40 PM  

Anonymous Sigmung Freud said:

What is all this grave-spitting about? Is it Greek? Italian? Armenian? Is DeNiro in da house?

Will you actually go to the grave and spit on it? Can I come and watch you spitting?

How far are you willing to spit? Do you spit a lot? How far CAN you spit? When was the last time you spit (spat?) Who else's grave have you spit on? Do you orgasm when you spit (on graves)?

If someone spit on your grave, how would that make you feel? Would you try to stop them (from your place in heaven/hell?) If someone spit on your mother's grave, what would you do? Your father's?

Are you imitating a role you have seen/heard, or do you have a truly natural and intrinsic drive to spit on graves?

Does your urge to spit on a grave worry you? Have you acted out and really spit on any graves, or is it just an innocent grave-spitting fantasy?

Do your loved ones know about your grave-spitting fetish?

Sigmund wants to know...

August 26, 2009 9:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The other Kennedys never killed anyone and weren't drunks like the gasbag we just got rid of.

He was aliar, a cheat, a reprobate, a drunk and a murderer.

I feel no loss.

August 27, 2009 8:21 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Here's the thing; Dominick :Nick" Dunne passed away yesterday.

There went a class act.

To anyone that knew Nick, even a little as did I, he was kind, brilliant, unassuming, and a wonderful writer and racontuer.

Compared to the gasbag Teddy Kennedy, Nick was a saint.

Let's forget the Senator from Chappaquiddick and honor Dominick Dunne.

August 27, 2009 8:27 AM  

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