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Robert Kennedy Jr.’s belief in autism-vaccine connection, and its political peril

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The Washington Post

By Keith Kloor

Sen. Barbara Mikulski listened impassively 
as Robert Kennedy Jr. made his case. He had to talk over the din in the marbled hallway just outside the Senate chambers, where he was huddled with Mikulski, two of her aides and three allies of his who had come to Washington for this April meeting.

Kennedy, a longtime environmental activist and an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council,  had thought Mikulski would be receptive to an issue that has consumed him for a decade, even as friends and associates have told him repeatedly that it’s a lost cause. But she grew visibly impatient the longer he talked.

A mercury-containing preservative known as thimerosal, once used widely in childhood vaccines, is associated with an array of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, Kennedy told her, summarizing a body of scientific research he and a team of investigators had assembled. Thimerosal, which is an antifungal and antiseptic agent, was taken out of those vaccines in 2001, but it is still used in some flu vaccines. If it was dangerous enough to be removed from pediatric vaccines, Kennedy contended, why was it safe at all? What’s more, he said, the federal government knew of the dangers all along. These were claims he had made in the past, both publicly and in private conversations with other Democrats in Congress, none of whom have taken him seriously.

The Maryland Democrat turned from Kennedy without a word. “I want to hear what you have to say,” Mikulski said, looking up at the lean man standing next to her. Mark Hyman, a physician and best-selling author, is Kennedy’s chief collaborator on a then-unpublished book titled “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak,”  which is scheduled to come out next week. The book argues that ethylmercury — a component of thimerosal — is harmful to human health. (Not so in trace amounts, scientific authorities have concluded.)

“The bottom line,” Hyman said to Mikulski: “We shouldn’t be injecting a neurotoxin into pregnant women and children.” Thimerosal should be taken out of the flu vaccine, Hyman and Kennedy argued.

Mikulski didn’t react, except to suggest they contact Sen. Bernie Sanders, who “cares about brain health” and oversees a related subcommittee.

As the meeting broke up, Mikulski’s brusque disposition toward Kennedy softened. “We miss your uncle here every day,” she said, referring to Senator Edward Kennedy, , a tenacious public health advocate during his long Senate career. He died of cancer in 2009.

Robert Kennedy Jr. said nothing. He was used to getting the brush-off by now. And he was already thinking ahead to his next move.

Robert Kennedy Jr belongs to a storied political family whose tragedies are woven into the American fabric. The third of Robert and Ethel’s 11 children, he was 9 when Lee Harvey Oswald killed his Uncle John, the 35th president. He was 14 when Sirhan Sirhan killed his father, who was running for president.

After his father’s death, the teenaged Kennedy experimented with drugs, like many of that generation’s youth. A reckless period spiraled into addiction and led to his arrest for heroin possession in 1983. He cleaned up, then embarked on a successful career as an environmental lawyer. He is also a professor at Pace University in White Plains, N.Y., where he runs a law clinic.

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Pallbearers, including a young Robert F. Kennedy Jr., carry the coffin of Sen. Robert Kennedy to the grave site at Arlington National Cemetery on June 8, 1968. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

He travels the country, giving 200 speeches a year, many on renewable energy. He sits on the boards of several green tech companies and is heavily involved in solar and wind power construction projects, with business that takes him to Europe, China and the Mideast.

His private life, befitting a Kennedy, has been fodder for the gossip pages. He had two children with his first wife, Emily Black. Three weeks after their divorce in 1994, he married Mary Richardson. They had four children, then Kennedy filed for divorce in 2010 and took up with Cheryl Hines, the actress who played Larry David’s wife on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” They plan to marry in August at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. Mary took her own life in 2012. A year later, embarrassing 10-year-old entries from Kennedy’s private journals made tabloid headlines.

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RFK Jr will be deposed in bitter divorce battle by the husband of his ‘mistress’ - in the same week he plans to wed Cheryl Hines

Robert F Kennedy Junior is set to be deposed by the estranged husband of his alleged mistress Chelsea Kirwan - just days before he marries actress Cheryl Hines.

The twice-married, father-of-two, will marry the Curbed Your Enthusiasm star over the weekend of July 25, sources say.

However, just days before, he may be called to court in Connecticut on July 22 by plastic surgeon Laurence Kirwan, who is embroiled in a bitter divorce battle with his wife - and is trying to negotiate more time to see his three children with her.

At the very least, the exact nature of Chelsea’s relationship with Bobby will come out in court when Prof Kirwan will appeal to try and modify the protection order currently in place over his visitation rights with his three children with Chelsea.

MailOnline last week revealed that Cheryl, 48, plans to marry Bobby, 60, despite allegations that he cheated on her for two years with mom-of-four Chelsea, 42.

Sources confirm the wedding is ‘imminent’ and that the ceremony will be held at the Kennedys compound on Hyannis Port, Mass.

Close friends and family, including Bobby’s mother Ethel Kennedy, 86, will be in attendance.

Cheryl stood by Bobby last week as the allegations surfaced, accompanying the environmental lawyer to Cuba, tweeting: ‘Just met w Fidel Castro re importance of protecting Cuba’s reef system.’

Breaking her silence, Chelsea - who is believed to have met Bobby at a gym in Armonk, New York - has tried to warn Cheryl of going ahead with the wedding, calling it a ‘recipe for disaster’.

As MailOnline told Chelsea and Bobby were pictured together at an event in Seattle in April 2013, where Bobby feted mountaineer Jim Whittaker. And she is believed to have accompanied him around the country.

A source close to Prof Kirwan, 62, told MailOnline last week that the high-profile surgeon knew of her close friendship with Bobby, saying: ‘He was well aware that his wife and Bobby had a friendship before their split and that they have had ongoing telephone calls.’

It is believed a friendship started well before the Kirwans separated on July 4, 2012 - and a source reveals how Chelsea’s cell phone records show she was speaking to RFK Jr five times a day in August 2012.

RFK Jr began dating Cheryl in 2012, months before his estranged wife, Mary Richardson, tragically committed suicide in May 2012 at their Mount Kisco, New York home aged just 52.

And asked about their relationship, Cheryl said recently: ‘We share the same values. Family first. We like to have a good time and work hard. It’s fun to have a partner…It’s a good match-up.’

(Source: Daily Mail)

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Robert F Kennedy Jr and actress Cheryl Hines engaged

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Robert F Kennedy Jr. and actress Cheryl Hines are engaged.  According to a report from Us Weekly, the couple announced the news at Muhammad Ali’s Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix, Arizona on April 29. 

This will be the second marriage for Hines, 48, and the third for her Kennedy, 60, who have been dating for two years.

It seems Hines and Kennedy enjoy an active lifestyle together. “I do feel like I’m more of a survivalist now,” the actress told US Magazine of dating Bobby Jr., the son Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy.  ”I appreciate socks like I never have before. Apparently when you’re out in the wild, your socks can really be helpful. You can strain water,” she said.

When they’re not traveling together, the couple enjoys volunteering and promoting their respective causes. “It’s fun to have a partner,” she explained to US Magazine in April. “He’s so dedicated to the environment and clean water, so we take turns. He’ll come to my United Cerebral Palsy event and walk the red carpet with me. It’s a good match up.”

RFK Jr. has six children from his two earlier marriages, Cheryl has one daughter, 9-year old Catherine.

His oldest two children, Bobby III, 29, and Kathleen, 26, are with first wife Emily Ruth Black. 

He shared his other four kids, Conor, 19, Kyra, 18, Finn, 16, and Aiden, 13, with second wife, the late Mary Kathleen Richardson, who committed suicide in the wake of her split from the lawyer. 

Cheryl, who played Larry David’s wife on Curb Your Enthusiasm for a decade, currently plays Dallas Royce on ABC’s Suburgatory - a play of words between suburban and purgatory.

The actress happily received her star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on January 29.

Cheryl and Kennedy’s relationship was marred when his estranged wife Mary - and the mother of their four children - committed suicide just days after being served divorce papers in May 2012.

(Source: Daily Mail)

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Biography of ‘reckless’ Bobby Jr

Best-selling author Jerry Oppenheimer is writing the first biography of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. following the tragic death of his wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, last month. Oppenheimer — who’s written tell-alls on Hillary and Bill Clinton, Anna Wintour and Barbara Walters, and who released a biography of RFK Jr.’s mother, Ethel Kennedy, in 1994 — has signed a deal with St. Martin’s Press. He tells us of Bobby: “He had none of the movie-star looks of his glamorous cousin [John Kennedy Jr.], but he had a far more dramatic, far more successful, far more controversial and far more scandalous life.” He added: “I want to make it clear I am not out to do a hit job on this guy. Bobby was in his teens when he lost his father. He was so wild, his mother basically kicked him out of the house … he’s had a difficult life. This is a man who is driven by a lot of passion and also driven by demons, it is really a cautionary tale. He is a sympathetic guy, but he is also driven and ambitious and — what we know now about his relationships with women — rather reckless.”

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