Chappaquiddick

(Directed by John Curran) (2018) We all know what we know of the story: in July 1969 Edward Kennedy, Senator for Massachusetts, competed in the annual Edgartown Yacht Club Regatta.  Most of the Senator’s entourage were staying at a hotel on the mainland.  A cottage on Chappaquiddick Island (near to the larger island of Martha’s Vineyard) was hired for a reunion of The Boiler Room Girls, six single women in their twenties who had worked for Robert Kennedy during his fatal presidential campaign. At sometime during the night of Friday July 18, the Senator and a secretary, Mary Jo Kopechne, left the…

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American Pharaoh

The Mayor at the opening of the Lake Front Festival, 1973, showing his sartorial flair

Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation (by Adam Cohen & Elizabeth Taylor) (2000) What other book to buy in the south side of Chicago? TVC was only a few blocks from Bridgeport, where Richard J Daley lived and died, with his wife of five or so decades and 7 children, bog Irish and loyal to their neighbourhood to an insane degree, so loyal that they looked down on Irish families that moved to the suburbs, the ones so pretentious that they “had fruit in the house when nobody was sick,”  Having selected this and one other book, TVC…

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Socialism as Religion

Be careful who you give awards to...the Reverend Jim Jones, 1977's Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian award winner

Born May 13 (1931), the Reverend Jim Jones is famous for his deep Christian-Socialist beliefs, his humanitarian impulses, his Peoples’ Temple in San Francisco where he organised leftist demonstrations, and of course, the workers’ paradise he established at Jonestown in Guyana.  His passionate commitment to equality and fairness drew inspiration from thinkers such as Jesus, Buddha, Lenin, Marx, Castro and Mao, and won him kudos from the likes of well-known lib-labs Walter Mondale, Rosalynn Carter, Jerry Brown, and Harvey Milk (who called the Reverend “a man of the highest character.”) In any case, the socialist paradise shuddered to a halt…

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The Glorious Dead at Arlington

April 15, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, HISTORY, POLITICS, TRAVEL |

April 2018 ‘Over there…’ The seemingly endless rows of graves (over 600 acres’ worth), begun to accommodate the charnel house that was the Civil War, testify to the blood and treasure hazarded by the US over the years, and not just on the battlefield… Recently a series of photos were featured of the funeral train that took RFK’s body from New York (after it was flown from California, where he was shot) to Washington, to be buried near his older brother. People lined the track to pay homage, and even to reach out and touch the passing carriages, as if to lay hands…

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You Heard it Here First

April 7, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, POLITICS |

We have noticed that after a supine period of Olympian insouciance, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has awoken, flexed his muscles and started ‘governating’. He recently moved to heal factional rifts in the NY Democratic Party and then swooped to carry off a key piece of education policy from the hands of hapless NY Mayor, Bill de Blasio, leading to one of the New York Post’s typically urbane headlines: “Daddy’s Home.”  (OK, so it’s not as good as “Ford to New York: ‘Drop Dead’” but still quite satisfyingly pungent.) We just hope that somewhere along the way Mr Cuomo has…

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