Photo by Tony Sampas.
Photo by Tony Sampas.
President John F. Kennedy stands in an open car while a large crowd cheers as the President’s motorcade passes through Cork, Ireland. June 29, 1963
With today’s meeting of Queen Elizabeth and former IRA leader Martin McGuiness now part of history, it seems appropriate to remember another historic visit to Ireland that also took place on June 27 . John Fitzgerald Kennedy – the first Catholic elected as president of the United States – was quite proud of his Irish roots and heritage. As part of his 10-day trip to Europe in late June/early July of 1963, Kennedy stopped over in Ireland for four days. He visted deValera in Dublin, then Cork and Galway where he was wildly greeted. A special visit to his ancestral home in Dunganstown, County Wexford, the cottage of Mary Kennedy Ryan a distant relative and the welcome from his Irish cousins may have been the highlight for the President. A local crowd waving both American and Irish flags greeted the President and he was then serenaded by a boys choir that sang “The Boys of Wexford.” The ballard – commemorating the Irish Rebellion of 1798 – had Kennedy singing along as he must have done many times with his maternal grandfather, former Mayor of Boston John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald ~ (Chorus): “We are the boys of Wexford /Who fought with heart and hand /To burst in twain the galling chain /And free our native land.”
President Kennedy and his sisters, Jean Kennedy Smith* and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, during their visit to the Kennedy family’s Irish homestead in Dunganstown, County Wexford, for a family reunion. June 27, 1963
When warned by aide Kenny O’Donnel that “You’ve got all the Irish votes in this country that you’ll ever get… If you go to Ireland, people will say it’s just a pleasure trip.” To which Kennedy responded: “That’s exactly what I want!”
The stop in Ireland came just after President Kennedy’s memorable and famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech at the Berlin Wall. The fact that JFK was tragically assassinated months later only makes this trip all the more poignant. From the Cork Examiner ~ “When John Fitzgerald Kennedy set foot on Irish soil he made a mark on the history of this country that can never be effaced.”
JFK bids a fond farewell to the land and people of his roots! President Kennedy leaving Ireland from Shannon Airport ending his 1963 visit.
*Note: Jean Kennedy Smith later served as the 25th U.S. Ambassador to Ireland (1993-1998) – appointed by President Clinton.
“River Board” by Richard Marion (c) 2012
The image was painted many years ago on a cabinet door found by the artist along the Merrimack River.
See more artwork at www.richardmarion.net
Great finish at the Lowell Regatta…
The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.
That whoosh you hear is the sound of money, gobs of it, flying from wellheeled donors to political candidates and “independent” committees on behalf of candidates. The roar is increasingly deafening especially when the money is coming from corporations and superPAC’s (and, to a lesser extent, labor unions. Corporations, Mitt Romney explains to us, are “people too,” and yesterday the Supreme Court affirmed that interpretation, meaning that the floodgates are welded open.
The issue before the Court was whether the 2010 Citizens United decision applied to a century-old Montana law limiting corporate contributions. Montana, no bastion of liberal reform, wanted to uphold a law that dated from a time when mining companies were throwing their monetary weight around, buying favorable governments and outcomes. And, that’s what we’re going to get more of at both state and federal levels with the reaffirmation and extension of Citizens United.
We’ve already seen the effect on the presidential campaign, though big money is not solely the province of corporations. Wealthy individuals can distort the political process as well, though it is somewhat gratifying that billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s multi-million contribution couldn’t buy the Republican nomination for Newt Gingrich. Now he has given another $10 million to a super PAC backing Romney, but the GOP isn’t alone on the receiving end. Big money buys access, no matter the party of the candidate.
The White House says it’s disappointed by the Supreme Court decision but won’t unilaterally disarm. Its superPAC will continue raising unlimited money. Of course, Obama took the same position in 2008, refusing public monies for the election in order to avoid the resulting constraints. That calculation (running against campaign finance reformer John McCain) effectively ended public financing of Presidential campaigns.
In Massachusetts’ 2010 election, independent organizations, including labor, spent about $18 million, half of which came from the Republican Governors’ Association in support of Scott Brown. It will be interesting to see if Brown’s pact with Elizabeth Warren to keep outside money out will hold through the fall election.
It’s staggering to contemplate the several millions that President Obama collected yesterday in Boston. One event cost $40,000 a head; another, nearly $18,000. According to the Boston Globe, Obama has raised only half the allowed individual $2500 contributions he did four years ago. But the huge individual donations are permissible when they are divided among the party’s National Committee, state committees, and other joint committees, like the Obama Victory Fund. (It reminds me of the slicing and dicing of collateralized debt obligations, including mortgage-backed securities.)
Last weekend Mitt Romney rewarded big donors with a lavish retreat at a resort in Utah, where those who had personally given at least $25,000 or had raised at least $100,000 could mingle with top GOP office holders and other movers and shakers. Similar events were also being held at Carlsbad and Beverly Hills. This, according to the L.A. Times.
It’s enough to make one’s head spin. And it drives home the depressing message that ordinary folks can’t possibly matter. Thanks, U.S. Supreme Court. We owe much of the sordid mess to you.
But then again we owe it to ourselves. As Finley Peter Dunne’s Mr. Dooley aptly said in 1901, “No matter whether th’ Constitution follows h’flag or not, th’ Supreme Coort follows th’ election returns.”
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