The Kennedy Legacy

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Posts tagged John F. Kennedy

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50 Years After Camelot: A new generation of Kennedys

On Friday’s 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, it’s only natural to dwell on how the tragedy affected the nation. But while we remember and pay tribute to the charismatic 35th President half a century later, it is also relevant to assess the Kennedy legacy and look forward. 

The Kennedy family has shaped the politics, news and minds of America. Their power and allure continues with the new generation of Kennedys. JFK’s grandchildren, great nieces and great nephews are making names for themselves in a variety of fields. Read on to learn more about the most recent members of the Kennedy family tree, and why you should expect to see their names in the news. 

Jack Schlossberg: The Heartthrob

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Relation to JFK:
 Jack is the youngest child of JFK’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, and her husband, Edwin Schlossberg. 

Claim to Fame: Twenty-year-old Schlossberg has recently received attention for his resemblance to his late uncle John F. Kennedy Jr. JFK’s only grandson graduated from the Collegiate School New York as valedictorian and is currently attending Yale. He also made news as an eighth-grader for co-founding ReLight New York, a project which raised money to provide affordable lighting for low-income housing 

Joe Kennedy III: The Politician

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Relation to JFK: 
Joe is one of the twin sons born to Sheila Rauch and Joe Kennedy II, who is the son of JFK’s brother Robert F. Kennedy. 

Claim to Fame: This Kennedy is the first politician of the sixth generation. Following in the family business, Joe Kennedy III was elected to Massachusetts’ 4th congressional district in 2012, taking Congressman Barney Frank’s seat. The congressman, 33, serves on the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology

Patrick Shriver Schwarzenegger: The Adorable Entrepreneur

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Relation to JFK:
 Patrick is the firstborn son of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. Shriver is the daughter of JFK’s sister, Eunice Kennedy. 

Claim to Fame: While you might recognize Patrick from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent scandals,  the 20-year-old has been working hard to make his own name. Patrick started a philanthropic clothing line known as Project 360, which raises awareness about issues like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Shriver’s son has also done some modeling work. 

Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy: The Hipster

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Relation to JFK:
 Kathleen or “Kick” is the second child of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his first wife, Emily Black. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the second son of JFK’s brother Robert F. Kennedy Sr. 

Claim to Fame: Many assume that all Kennedys are destined to pursue politics, but “Kick” is one of the first from the family to venture into acting. The 25-year-old landed a role on The Newsroom and has taken method acting classes. “Kick” is also known for keeping it cool in New York City, frequenting pool halls and dive bars. 

Conor Kennedy: The Heartbreaker

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Relation to JFK: Conor Kennedy is the oldest child of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his second wife, Mary Richardson. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the second son of JFK’s brother Robert F. Kennedy Sr. 

Claim to Fame: Eighteen-year-old Conor soared into headlines when he was romantically linked to relationship connoisseur Taylor Swift.  The pair briefly dated in 2012, splitting after a few months due to distance.

Bobby Kennedy III: The Artist

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Relation to JFK: 
Bobby is the first son of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his first wife, Emily Black. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the second son of JFK’s brother Robert F. Kennedy Sr. 

Claim to Fame: The 26-year-old descendant made news in 2011 for his directorial debut in theater. His one-act comedic play, ELEW: Life from Infinity featured puppets enacting mythical stories about defending your musical high ground. Aside from this venture, Robert F. Kennedy’s grandson is also known for being photographed in fedoras.

Katherine Schwarzenegger: The Author

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Relation to JFK
: Katherine is the oldest child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver. Shriver is the daughter of JFK’s sister Eunice Kennedy. 

Claim to Fame: In 2010, at 20 years old, Katherine wrote the book Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who’s Been There and Back. The book focuses on Katherine’s own struggles with her body image and provides advice for other young girls dealing with the same insecurities. 

Filed under Kennedy Jack Schlossberg John F. Kennedy JFK New Generation Bobby Kennedy Conor Kennedy Kick Kennedy RFK Bobby

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John F. Kennedy’s granddaughter pays respects at memorial ceremony in Britain

Caroline Kennedy’s daughter, Tatiana Schlossberg, represented the family at a memorial site in Runnymede Meadow, Berkshire. Friday is the 50th anniversary of her grandfather’s assassination in Dallas.

John F. Kennedy’s granddaughter honored his memory during an intimate ceremony in Britain on Friday.

Caroline Kennedy’s daughter, 23-year-old Tatiana Schlossberg, spoke solemnly about the popular president’s legacy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

She also revealed how she stayed close to the grandfather she never knew.

"For me, my grandfather lives in my imagination, in his words, and in the lessons he has left us," Schlossberg said. "Throughout my life, I have been able to connect with him through the study of history."

But 50 years after his death, the woman is beginning to realize that her grandfather’s story is beginning “to belong more and more to history.”

"Today is a difficult day because it is a reminder of a moment of profound sadness for my family, for America, and for the world," Schlossberg said.

She was the only representative from the Kennedy clan to make a pilgrimage to the memorial site in Runnymede Meadow, Berkshire. But she’s following in the footsteps of her grandmother, Jacqueline Kennedy, who made the same trek in 1965 with her two little children, Caroline and John F. Kennedy, Jr. The trio met Queen Elizabeth at the site and unveiled a stone tablet and garden dedicated to the president. The British people, through public subscription, had donated one acre of land around the site to the people of the United States. It is the only plot of American soil in the United Kingdom, according to local paper Get Surrey. 

On Friday, Schlossberg laid a wreath at the foot of that same stone memorial. The woman, who has inherited Jacqueline Kennedy’s dark brown locks, paused for a moment to read the engraving.

It was a quote from her grandfather’s inaugural address.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty,” the stone reads.

Matthew Barzun, the U.S. ambassador to the U.K., and Lord Jonathan Hill, the leader of Britain’s House of Lords, were also present at the ceremony.

"I can think of no better place to honor him to tell and remember his story," Schlossberg said. "And to look again, as he would have wanted us to, towards the future."

Schlossberg  is the middle granddaughter. She graduated from Yale University and has been working as a journalist at The Record, a local paper in New Jersey.

Older sister Rose Schlossberg is a Harvard grad who is working as an artist and videographer in New York, according to Ridgewood Patch. 

While Rose has stayed out of the spotlight, younger brother Jack traveled with his great aunt Ethel Kennedy to the Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old Yale student joined Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton to pay respects at Kennedy’s eternal flame at Arlington Cemetery. 

Mom Caroline Kennedy has been absent from the 50th anniversary memorials. Obama recently appointed her as America’s ambassador to Japan.

Filed under JFK John F. Kennedy Jack Kennedy Kennedy Tatiana Schlossberg Schlossberg

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50 years after: Kennedy murder a breakpoint in time

On Nov. 21, 1963, John F. Kennedy gave a speech in San Antonio. Americans “stand on the edge of a great era,” the president declared, “filled with both crisis and opportunity, an era to be characterized by achievement and challenge.”

Those words might be written off as standard presidential boilerplate, uplifting rhetoric of the sort that Kennedy did so well.

Except that, because of what happened the next day, they can’t be written off. Those words assume an eerie prescience. A new era, gruesome as well as great, followed Kennedy’s assassination. The 1960s, as state of mind and cultural epoch, had arrived.

Kennedy’s death didn’t trigger that era. Demographic trends, economic growth, technological advances, and much else besides combined to produce the upheaval that was the ’60s. But that awful day in Dallas retains enormous symbolic importance as touchstone: marking a boundary between a pre-assassination then and a post-assassination now, a now that in significant ways remains with us.

The shock of Kennedy’s death eventually faded. Shock always does. Yet the confusion and suspicion that followed haven’t. They’ve become part of our cultural climate. We have not only grown accustomed to doubt and skepticism but come to expect them — so, too, with a normalization of violence and expectation of random direness.

As the ‘X-Files’ tagline has it, ‘The truth is out there.’ Dealey Plaza is where ‘out there’ begins.

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Phrases like “conspiracy theory” and “distrust of government” were rarely if ever heard prior to Nov. 22, 1963. Soon enough they became commonplace. That a popular ’90s television series, “The X-Files,” would have three recurring characters known as the Lone Gunmen wasn’t necessarily surprising. (They even got a brief-lived spinoff series.) The trio could have as easily been called the Grassy Knolls or the Oswald Patsies. Assassination terminology, with its weird blend of the sinister and casual, had long ago entered everyday vocabulary.

The surprise was the Lone Gunmen being portrayed as eccentric misfits. The great legacy of the assassination is how many people take for granted that the only place to find the truth is outside the public square. Or as the “X-Files” tagline has it, “The truth is out there.” Dealey Plaza is where “out there” begins.

The 50th anniversary brings abundant evidence of the hold Kennedy’s death retains on the popular imagination. Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s “Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot” remains a bestseller more than a year after its release. It’s the most prominent of numerous books published in observance of the anniversary.

A cable movie adapted from “Killing Kennedy,” starring Rob Lowe as JFK, is one of many television movies and documentaries being shown throughout November. A theatrical film, “Parkland,” was released last month. It centers on events in and around Dallas’s Parkland Hospital, where Kennedy was taken after the shooting.

Art exhibitions relating to Kennedy and the assassination are on display in museums ranging from the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover and the Yale University Art Gallery to the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth and New York’s International Center of Photography. Kennedy understood the camera as few public figures have, and his responsiveness to it contributed even more than his glamorous looks and heroic bearing did to there being so many striking images of him.

Kennedy had excited artists and writers even before he became president. The most famous example is Norman Mailer’s adulatory 1960 essay “Superman Comes to the Supermarket.” And artists and writers, no less than other citizens, responded to the assassination. Igor Stravinsky composed an “Elegy for J.F.K,” with text by the poet W. H. Auden. The architect Philip Johnson designed a memorial in Dallas. Andy Warhol executed silk screens of Kennedy and his wife, of Lee Harvey Oswald, and of related images from Dallas. Books about Kennedy became a small industry.

So intense and varied a response makes perfect sense. It was of a piece with the renaming of public facilities and streets to honor the murdered president. What couldn’t have been predicted is how Kennedy and the assassination would endure as artistic inspiration.

Of course the nature of that inspiration evolved. Piety and grief gave way to disquiet and obsession. The Vietnam War and Watergate contributed to a darkening view of society, as did the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Kennedy’s brother Robert. But no other event carried quite the psychic charge that JFK’s death did. When a singer is shot onstage in Robert Altman’s 1975 film “Nashville,” a character tries to reassure the audience. “This isn’t Dallas.” No, it’s not. A dozen years after the assassination, everywhere was.

The most popular television series of the ’80s shared a name with the Texas city. Did the association with Kennedy’s murder no longer matter — or did it matter in a different way? Oswald and Jack Ruby, as individuals, seemed so puny compared to their crimes. (That, too, was part of the sense of dislocation the assassination visited on the culture.) J.R. Ewing, now there was a villain to reckon with.

Oswald is the protagonist of Don DeLillo’s 1988 novel, “Libra.” Seven years later, Mailer devoted nearly 800 pages to him in the nonfiction account “Oswald’s Tale: An American Mystery” — this after having published a 1,400-page novel about the CIA, “Harlot’s Ghost,” in 1991. Not surprisingly, the Kennedy assassination figures prominently in the book. Oswald never appears in James Ellroy’s 1995 novel “American Tabloid.” He’d just get in the way of Ellroy’s luxuriating in all the tawdriness (the Mafia especially) surrounding JFK and events leading to the assassination.

For Oliver Stone, the assassination is a kind of creation myth in reverse. Eden became Gehenna just outside the Texas Schoolbook Depository. Stone’s 1991 “JFK” takes conspiracy as a given — but also Kennedy’s absolute virtue. Even though he’s seen in only the briefest of glimpses, Kennedy haunts the movie. By comparison, the way Kennedy’s memory haunts Clint Eastwood’s character in the 1993 thriller “In the Line of Fire” makes perfect sense. Eastwood plays a Secret Service agent who was on duty in Dallas 30 years before.

Our national horror stories subsequent to the assassination at least had redeeming elements: the bravery of soldiers in Vietnam, the way Watergate demonstrated the system worked, the heroism and sacrifice of New York firefighters and Flight 93 passengers on 9/11. Sometimes the redemption takes time to come out, as with the success of Tony Mendez’s hostage-rescue mission, portrayed in “Argo.” There are no second acts in American lives, F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said. There certainly are silver linings in American failures, and Americans love finding them. (That’s one reason “Argo” won its best picture Oscar.) Not the Kennedy assassination: There were no silver linings. Even something as basic as conclusiveness would qualify as a silver lining. “We know who did it. We know how he did it. We know why he did it. Okay? That’s that.” Nothing like that was forthcoming.

Kennedy’s assassination was a political act and historical event. Its failure to resolve itself was, and still is, a cultural phenomenon. There have been so many investigations of the assassination, starting with the Warren Commission: by journalists, authors, obsessives, even the House Select Committee on Assassinations, in the late ’70s. The name sounds like the title of a Philip K. Dick novel. The sum of the answers they tried to give, and the further doubts they raised, contributed even more to how what happened in Dallas has ramified than the actual killing did.

That cultural phenomenon has a pair of defining texts, its Old Testament and New: the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission report, with its finding that Oswald acted alone; and the Zapruder film, the 26.6 seconds of 8mm home-movie footage shot by Dallas clothing manufacturer Abraham Zapruder, with its recording of the actual event. One created the post-assassination landscape. The other, as some saw it, offered the promise of revelation, an answer at last.

The Warren Commission report offers the truth, such as it is, handed down from on high. Commission members included the chief justice of the United States, eminent leaders of Congress, and a former head of the Central Intelligence Agency.

It’s one measure of how vastly the assassination changed the United States that the idea of a past CIA director being part of any comparable investigation now is inconceivable. The truth may or may not be out there, but wherever it is, the CIA is not to be trusted with it.

The report was obsolete the moment it was published, an overdetermined, contradictory, confusing, and often-implausible monument to what DeLillo has called “the endless fact-rubble of the investigation.” DeLillo has likened the report to a nonfiction counterpart to James Joyce’s famously hermetic novel, “Finnegans Wake.”

The Zapruder film has no counterpart. What counterpart could it have? The film’s opaque brevity is as confusing as the report’s numbing immensity and claim to finality. In fact, the report’s attempts to interpret the film are no small part of the confusion, as the commission attempted to explain why the backward jerk of the president’s body didn’t suggest a bullet fired from somewhere other than Oswald’s perch. The phrase “magic bullet” entered the post-assassination lexicon. Yet precisely because of that capacity to confuse, the 486 Zapruder frames possess an ongoing relevance and suggestiveness given to very few works, let alone one intrinsically artless and inexpressive.

Instead of counterparts, the Zapruder film has progeny. Every decade, the British film journal Sight & Sound polls critics for a list of the ten best films of all time. The most recent results, in 2012, named Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” as number one. There’s no need to solicit votes for the most discussed and analyzed film of all time. That would be the Zapruder footage.

For years, the film was impossible to see. Life magazine had bought it from Zapruder, a great journalistic coup — except that it wasn’t. To protect the magazine’s investment as well as for reasons of decency, the film was never shown. But everyone knew about it. It was widely discussed and referred to. Individual frames and sequences were reproduced in Life and elsewhere. It was a kind of like atmosphere: invisible yet everywhere.

Inaccessibility made the Zapruder film seem at once dubious (not seeing is not believing) and all the more authoritative (evidence that’s impossible to see is evidence that’s impossible to refute). Now you can see it on YouTube. In slow motion? Digitized? Zoomed in? With Dictabelt soundtrack? Hosted by Geraldo Rivera? Take your pick. The footage is there among countless cat videos and karaoke numbers and the latest viral sensations. All access, all the time. Ho hum. Except that 50 years later viewing it remains utterly unnerving — and stays so, no matter how many times you watch it. The horror of watching the impact of the second bullet, in frame 313, cannot be exaggerated.

Watching the footage is unnerving for another reason: how familiar it seems. A Zapruder aesthetic, as one might call it, long ago emerged: low-res, dreamlike, handheld, voyeuristic (the subjects unaware they are being viewed), affectless, detached, so visually unknowing as to seem (to sophisticated eyes) the height of knowingness, marked by unmediated violence and reliance on shock. Aspects of the aesthetic are there in Warhol’s underground films, cinema-verité documentary, Hollywood paranoid thrillers, video games (the violence and shock), security-camera and drone footage. Abraham Zapruder went out that day intending to take a home movie to show to his family. What he ended up with was something incalculably different, a piece of history unlike any other. Except that it did turn out to be a home movie, too: everyone’s home, everyone’s movie.

Filed under JFK John F. Kennedy

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The contact sheet from Jacque Lowe’s first shoot with John Kennedy at their home in Hyannis Port, Mass, 1958: ‘He was reserved but when my dad asked if Caroline and Jackie could be involved, he became more at ease, providing a more intimate shot.’ Thomasina Lowe is the daughter of the late Jacques Lowe, a photographer who met Kennedy in 1958. Lowe’s intimate access to the Kennedys created some of the most iconic images of JFK’s presidential and family life. Photograph: Estate of Jacques Lowe.

The contact sheet from Jacque Lowe’s first shoot with John Kennedy at their home in Hyannis Port, Mass, 1958: ‘He was reserved but when my dad asked if Caroline and Jackie could be involved, he became more at ease, providing a more intimate shot.’ Thomasina Lowe is the daughter of the late Jacques Lowe, a photographer who met Kennedy in 1958. Lowe’s intimate access to the Kennedys created some of the most iconic images of JFK’s presidential and family life. Photograph: Estate of Jacques Lowe.

Filed under JFK John F. Kennedy Jack Kennedy Jacqueline Kennedy Jackie Kennedy Caroline Kennedy Sweet Caroline Kennedy Jacques Lowe

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Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a Party is not to our Party alone, but to the nation, and, indeed, to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom.
So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake.

Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause — united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future — and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.

The last lines President Kennedy would have given the night of his assassination

Filed under JFK John F. Kennedy Jack Kennedy President Kennedy

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Parkland (2013) starring Zac Afron, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden

November 22, 1963: A recounting of the chaotic events that occurred at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

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"If Shakespeare were alive today, he would have written about the Kennedy family, and JFK would have been a titular character and actors would play him as a rite of passage." — Rob Lowe“Killing Kennedy” premieres November 10 at 8 PM ET/PT on National Geographic channel.

"If Shakespeare were alive today, he would have written about the Kennedy family, and JFK would have been a titular character and actors would play him as a rite of passage." — Rob Lowe

“Killing Kennedy” premieres November 10 at 8 PM ET/PT on National Geographic channel.

(Source: politicspoetry)

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JFK 50th draws Camelot mania

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has unleashed Camelot mania.

While hearkening back to that grim day on Nov. 22, 1963, the appetite for all things Kennedy has been ratcheting up all season, and the media world is eager to feed the public’s interest with books (there are more than 100), as well as dozens of movies, documentaries, TV specials, and iPad apps.

The challenge for the Kennedy anniversary projects, according to those involved, is to be respectful when recalling a national tragedy, while at the same time finding ways to stand out in a super-saturated field. That’s led to some creative (and unusual) efforts to say something fresh about historical events that already have been dissected for five decades - for example, in perhaps the most extreme bid to find a new angle, there’s even a book imaging what would have happened had Kennedy lived.

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“The public just can’t get enough,” said Shana Capozza, the director of marketing and publicity at The Globe Pequot Press, which is promoting three new JFK books: “Where Were You? America Remembers the JFK Assassination,” “Kennedy and Reagan: Why Their Legacies Endure,” and “JFK in Ireland: Four Days that Changed a President.”

“When you think about how many different ways that story can be told — on an historical, personal, political, or cultural level — you recognize that the increased public interest in the Kennedys because of the looming 50th anniversary offers a plethora of opportunities for authors and publishers to engage with and fulfill the needs of readers on a number of different levels,” Capozza told POLITICO.

And plethora it is: “Parkland” hit theaters last month and tells the story of the assassination and its aftermath from the perspective of the medical staff Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where Kennedy was pronounced dead. Magazine racks are filled with special anniversary editions from Vanity Fair, The Atlantic and LIFE, which first brought the Zapruder film to the American public, and has a new book out featuring the complete Zapruder film.

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Traditional book publishers are leaping at the opportunity as well — perhaps more so than any other platform. A search for “JFK” on Amazon finds more than 100 books with a publication date between September and December. One examines the five days surrounding the assassination, another just the day of Nov. 22, 1963 and a third takes a look “minute by minute.” Other works examine the assassination in novel form. There’s even a spoof on the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, dubbed “Lose your own adventure.” More seriously, another book takes a look at what might have happened if Kennedy hadn’t been shot.

“For a book publicist, there is no better time to be working on a book about JFK,” said Lorna Garano, the founder of Lorna Garano Book Publicity, which is promoting, “The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination” by Lamar Waldron. “If you have a credible book with new information or an original perspective, you’re almost guaranteed media interest.”

“There is an entirely new generation to be introduced to the Kennedys, and it may be through all of the exhibits, books and movies that will spring up,” said Jayne Sandman, principal at BrandLinkDC.

Aimed at that new generation is anniversary digital content. The NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth, KXAS, has made an iPhone app, called “NBC 5 Remembers,” which “offers unique historical insight into events leading up to and surrounding that tragic day.” University of Virginia politics professor Larry Sabato’s new book, “The Kennedy Half-Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy,” also has an app coming with audio of the Dallas police dispatch from the day of the shooting.

Hugh Morton, who has been trying to bring his “Who Killed JFK?” app to the market, says, “There’s plenty of room for everyone in many diverse media, old and new, provided they keep their projects grounded in fact and not get carried away with demeaning and confusing rumor and innuendo.”

For moviegoers who’ve may already have seen “Parkland,” Warner Bros. is re-releasing Oliver Stone’s 1991 film “JFK” in theaters and on Blu-Ray. The Smithsonian Associates will also screen Stone’s film at the National Museum of American History on Nov. 1, followed by a sold-out discussion with the director.

Just down the street at the Newseum, there will be a “JFK Remembrance Day” on Nov. 22 featuring a full lineup of discussions and the rebroadcasting, in real time, of CBS News’ live television coverage from that day. In New York, the International Center of Photography is offering its “JFK November 22, 1963: A Bystander’s View of History” exhibit.

It’s possible to ride the Kennedy anniversary wave without ever leaving home, just by flipping on the television: NBC is planning a special called “Where Were You?” (the two-hour documentary has a book companion, as well). The Military Channel will air “What If…? Armageddon 1962,” which explores the thwarted plot to assassinate Kennedy by a political fanatic named Richard Pavlick in Palm Beach, Fla., in 1960. PBS will air its four-hour, two-part special “JFK” beginning Nov. 11. And TLC is scheduled to air “Letters To Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy” on Nov. 17.

(Source: politico.com)

Filed under Kennedy JFK 50 Assassination John F. Kennedy

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Poll: John F. Kennedy tops presidential rating

As the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination approaches next month, polling released Tuesday as part of a new book about Kennedy’s legacy shows that he remains one of the most highly rated presidents of the past 50 years.

Asked to rate all the presidents from 1950 to 2000 on a scale of 0 to 10, Kennedy scored the highest, at 7.6. He was followed by Ronald Reagan, at 6.9, Dwight Eisenhower, at 6.8, and Bill Clinton, at 6.7. None of the other presidents scored above a 5.0.

Nevertheless, Kennedy would not be Americans’ first choice to bring back as the next president, if any former leader alive or dead could serve again. Asked who they would most want to bring back, 24 percent of adults chose Reagan, 21 percent chose Clinton and 13 percent chose Kennedy. Abraham Lincoln was next, at 9 percent.

The findings, from a survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted this summer, were released Tuesday to coincide with the release of a new book from University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato, which takes on evidence of popular conspiracy theories about Kennedy’s assassination and analyzes his lasting legacy.

At a press conference unveiling his book at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Sabato said it was the findings on the impact Kennedy’s life has had that most struck him, not the findings about his death.

“The most important thing didn’t have anything to do with the assassination, it was the fact that even though John Kennedy had a terribly abbreviated tragic presidency, he’s actually lived for 50 years through nine successors,” Sabato afterward told a handful of reporters, which included press from the U.K., Germany and Korea.

The 624-page book, “The Kennedy Half Century: The Presidency, Assassination, and Lasting Legacy of John F. Kennedy,” was the result of five years of research, and it examines the findings of the Warren Commission and House Select Committee on Intelligence on Kennedy’s death as well as the ways that Kennedy’s successors invoked him in their own presidencies.

Sabato said the other important takeaway from the book was debunking one of the most widely cited conclusions of a conspiracy in Kennedy’s death, the conclusion by the House committee that a police recording proves there were more gunshots than Lee Harvey Oswald could have fired.

“The second finding clearly is the assassination one, because there has been so much cynicism generated about the assassination and so many of the theories are just bogus, they’re just completely wrong. Now we haven’t eliminated all possibilities, but we certainly have taken one right off the table,” Sabato said.

In a preview of the book to POLITICO, Sabato unveiled Monday that a key piece of evidence used by the House committee investigating Kennedy’s assassination to support a conspiracy theory about his death was disproven by his research.

Sabato’s study found that an audio recording from a police officer’s motorcycle that purportedly captured the sound of four gunshots, none from the grassy knoll, was actually nothing of the sort. The police officer was more than two miles away from the motorcade where investigators had previously placed him, Sabato said, and the sounds on the recording are not gunshots at all.

The audio was part of a collection of recordings of all police dispatch communications in Dallas made the day of Kennedy’s assassination, and Sabato announced Tuesday that as part of the book project, the entire 30,000-word audio and transcript of those will be released as part of an app next week.

On Tuesday, Sabato said that his research also confirmed that the Warren Commission’s investigation into Kennedy’s death was inadequate, and a definitive explanation of the day’s events is likely lost forever. In rushing to release findings that confirmed what they wanted to believe, Sabato said, the Warren Commission’s actions have left us with as many questions than answers.

“The many inadequacies of the Warren Commission have condemned us as a nation to 50 years of unending suspicions and cynicism about the assassination,” Sabato said. While the American public was willing to pay whatever it took and wait as long as needed for the commission’s findings, “instead the Warren Commission’s shortcuts and hidden deceptions have led to a half century of second guessing and a cavernous credibility gap.”

Sabato said while he believes Oswald fired the shots that killed Kennedy, Americans will likely never know if he acted alone or was encouraged or supported in his actions by anyone else.

A key missing piece of the puzzle, Sabato said, are documents from the CIA and FBI that are sealed until October 2017, and he urged the public to do its part to ensure that release isn’t blocked, including asking all 2016 presidential candidates whether they will seek to prevent the release of any of the documents.

“No one can write the definitive book on this subject without examining those documents,” Sabato said.

The book and app are part of the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ larger Kennedy Legacy Project, which also includes an online course, a website and a forthcoming PBS documentary.

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