21st Century
The Future
World Travel
Books & Film
Original Fiction
Opinion & Lifestyle
Politics & Living
Film Space
Movies in depth
Kid's Books
Reviews & stories

The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Reality Check + Readers Responses

Edward Moore Kennedy 1932-2009
James Campion

It is a good thing Ted Kennedy is Irish Catholic. He is going to heaven. That's how it works. No matter what kind of sham your life is, what type of negligent homicide you're guilty of, scores of hypocrisy you've dabbled in, and the fraudulent legacy you leave behind, the slate is clean. They bring a priest in, throw some incense on you and you're fast-tracked to the pearly gates.

And if there's something akin to the heaven the Kennedy's believe in, then Mary Jo Kopechne will be waiting there to greet him; the beautiful, young Boiler Room Girl with bouncy blonde locks and a dazzling New England smile standing across from the ravaged, wrinkled, cancer-ridden shell of the man who left her to drown in a dark inlet at Chappaquiddick 40 years ago.

And if there is a God, she will kick him squarely in the testicles. Twice.

It is a heartwarming story worthy of Revelation; the part of the Holy Bible where it all comes to pass -- the shit rain, the seven-headed beasts, bottomless chasms, and the torture of the unrepentant. Humanity, in a phrase, is "kicked in the testicles". Twice.

It is a book Ted Kennedy knew well. Every Kennedy knew Revelation backwards and forwards. Mother Rose insisted on it. She made them read it aloud every night before cookies and milk, later admitting it was a veiled attempt to wipe away the terrible iniquities of her husband, the bootlegger, who after visiting 1930s' Germany framed the Jewish slaughter in Europe this way: "They brought it on themselves." Later, the patriarch became a master at fixing elections, buying off laws, and hosting Senator Joseph McCarthy and his loving family up at Martha's Vineyard for weekend détentes on how to "strip Commie Jew bastards of their rights".

But despite the insanity of their parents and the ill-gotten fortune they would exploit to power, three of the four Kennedy boys became victims; the eldest, Joseph Jr. in World War II, and Jack and Robert to assassins' bullets two decades later. Not baby, boy, Ted. He was a survivor. He was the one Kennedy that understood the lessons of Revelation. The Big Bad Senator had to look out for Number One. And this philosophy served him well for 47 years of public service.

Edward M. Kennedy was the genetic run-off of America's Royal Family; a boorish toad of a man with the scruples of a desperate crack addict and the brains of a dung beetle. Everything he stood for or achieved was bought for him, handed down from the crimes of greater men and far more accomplished cretins. He was a failure and a geek and caused so much family embarrassment he was repeatedly sent on beer runs during the famous shirtless Kennedy football games. He was booted from Harvard as a dumb ass jock and stumbled into the Senate in a cesspool's sludge of nepotism.

His professional career consisted of manic bluster on inconsistent drivel, including flip-flopping on abortion whenever it benefited him. He personally screwed two Democratic presidential candidates by stringing the party along like a coquettish debutante; leaving the doomed George McGovern to choose a shock-treatment patient for vice president during a cantankerous convention the Kennedy Camp ignited. Four years later, Kennedy blew his best chance at the White House when his shameless behavior of six years earlier - leaving a girl to die on a drunken night of lunacy with his pregnant wife convalescing at home - forced him to back out. Four years hence, he and his cronies haunted the weakened incumbent in a nasty primary race, all-but sealing the fate of an embattled Jimmy Carter. Minutes before the death rattle, Kennedy ignored party diplomacy and snubbed the president on the convention stage, symbolically hoarding his delegates and creating what later would become the Reagan Democrats.

Kennedy wasn't even a decent drunk; surpassed by his first wife, Virginia Joan Bennett's Herculean consumption of barbiturates and vodka. Mrs. Kennedy's lasting comment on living with Teddy was she eventually had to check into several rehab stints after trying to drive her car off a cliff in a botched escape scheme. But escape she did in 1978, separating from Kennedy, but inconceivably remaining married to aid his botched1980 presidential run before divorcing him outright the next year.

Even from the grave Teddy remains a survivor. Just this week, on his deathbed, Kennedy lobbied to strike a 2004 law he championed to let the naming of his successor fall into the hands of the governor rather than the previous law, which handed it over to a special election, a process that could drag on for months and leave a crucial Democratic seat open for the eventual vote on Health Care Reform; his lifelong political objective.

It was a seamy, partisan, almost mean-spirited move, but summed up what Ted Kennedy, like any servable political survivor excels at. And no one clinging to this ragged democracy should begrudge him. Ted's problem was that he could never keep his mouth shut when the other side pulled the same treacherous chicanery. He flew into a rage upon the pardoning of Richard Nixon in 1974, only four years after his Chappaquiddick fiasco, mustering the gall to comment, "Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?"

Kennedy's spectacular exercise in hypocrisy was also on display during his vocal attacks on Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork in 1986 and Clarence Thomas in 1991, the latter of which he had to slink away due to its "sexual harassment" theme, something the Kennedy boys, and most assuredly Teddy Boy turned into an art form. In fact, only weeks before the hearings, the senator's nephew, William Kennedy Smith was arrested on rape charges, allegedly meeting the victim at a bar with his soused uncle.

I am proud to say in the wake of his passing, having thrown words down for public consumption over 20 years and in this space for a dozen now, I have never, ever written a single positive thing about Ted Kennedy.
Until now.
He was no Jesse Helms.

© James Campion August 28th 2009


Ah, the true voice of reason speaks once again! (THE HEALTHCARE SHUFFLE -- Issue: 7/29/09)
If I could maintain a sense of humor in the face of all the crap I hear on the news, from either political bent, such as you somewhat evince here, maybe I wouldn't feel such agita over what's going on. I thought we were done with this mess when Hillary's plan was sent to bed, and the fact that we're facing it again, at an accelerated pace with Obama, scares the living shit out of me. No question some reform has to happen - i.e. the reduction in the cost of healthcare - but for the government to control it or make that determination? Shoot me now. If Medicaid and Social Security are already in trouble, what makes anyone think public healthcare would work even better? Who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? Hello! Stop the freakin' insanity!
Elizabeth Vengen from the Villa

Bravo...Obama is trying to push this monstrosity through based upon his likeability. By the time this mess is finished, his tarnish could be completely off. "We can fund two-thirds of this, we just need to find a way to come up with the other third. Sounds easy until you realize that other third is in the trillions over a 10 year period! Tax the "rich" (families making over 380 k ) won't cut it on this one!
Donald Brown

Dear Mr. Campion:
I realize that your final paragraph was just a shot at USDHHS (sic), but I wanted to say that when it comes to cigarettes, I fully support every sketchy and bizarre little effort by various organizations at all levels of government to get restrictive legislation passed. I know that "Big Tobacco" will never be duly inconvenienced by such piddling restrictions as we have in the U.S., and Christ knows we will NEVER get Tobacco declared an illegal drug (guffaw), but these little radical efforts help keep us all a wee bit healthier. Yes it is our choice to be obese, listless and dissipative, but the parents who are smoking like chimneys in cars and homes with their children involuntarily joining in their habit is something that I think should go the way of the dodo. Meanwhile, Big Tobacco is free to continue a full court press in addicting the "developing world" while saying out of the other side of their collective mouth "we're spending money to keep kids in the U.S. from smoking! Smoking is bad for you!"
Jonathan Young
N.Kingstown, RI
p.s. Love your column, have been reading since the start of the Iraq war (I was Over There).

What is funny is that in NY, NJ and MA, we already have ObamaCare. Granted we call it Small Group Healthcare Reform but it is in essence ObamaCare.
In the 3 "reform" states we have guaranteed issue, limited and liberal Pre-X rules that definitely favor the consumer, mandated coverages and rates both new and renewal that are approved by the state government. So that means government tells us what carriers will be allowed in the state, what plans will be offered, what services will be covered at what amount and what premium the people will pay for that coverage.
In NJ, NY and MA there is already government run healthcare and it is a non-competitive mess. Renewals are averaging 20% a year, no new carriers get admitted and no relief is in sight.
As a broker I have been saying for the last 2 years that we are at a saturation point. It can't get any worse or the product will be priced to the point of unaffordability.
Government cannot cure this as they are the cause of it. So, just so you and your readers will see that the GOP is not simply a party of "No" here are some real reform ideas that do not include ObamaCare.
1. Allow for Catastrophic Care plans. Many people look at healthcare in the same way they look at homeowners insurance in that they are only looking to insure the major issues. Currently, state run healthcare systems do not provide for this coverage.
2. Allow for Association Health Plans in all 50 states. Currently NY, NJ and MA do not allow these plans which is destroying effective competition by not allowing small business owners in like businesses to band together to increase their pool number which will lower their exposure risk and help lower premiums for all involved.
3. Allow Small Business Owners to Waive Mandates. Currently the mandates are taking up to 40% of an average premium. Allowing a small business owner who is either skewing younger or healthier, this is a way to cut down premiums.
4. Allow Small Business owners to waive guaranteed issue. Allowing a small business owner who is skewing younger demographically or have employees living a healthy lifestyle they should be able to reap the benefits of that healthy lifestyle by having lower health premiums through a proper risk management evaluation.
5. Disband either Medicaid or NJFamilyCare and merge their membership into one organization. By ending one bureaucracy and absorbing their membership into one organization there will be cost savings to be found not to mention the network building power that will ensue which will help their members get access to more and better care.
6. Allow AARP to offer their "55 Plus" plan. Right now, the government is not approving the AARP's "55 Plus" plan. Right now, these folks are just shy of Medicare eligibility are on group plans which is killing the median age and thus driving up the rates. If the government got out of the way and allowed this plan this would help everybody. It would give coverage to the people who need it and it would help provide a good waiver on group which will help lower rates.
7. Effective and Fair Tort Reform. Lowering med mal rates will help lower what doctors need in reimbursements to stay in business. This will ripple across to all carriers in what they are paying out doctors and thus will not need as much in premiums from consumers.

See, we do have ideas. HillaryCare was wrong and stupid and ObamaCare is no better. Let the market figure this out, government intrusion has only made it costlier and tougher to afford.
Bill Roberts

The answer is pretty simple--not to socialize medicine, but basically to socialize insurance. It's simple and it'd be cost effective. You buy it if you want it. It won't be as good as the privates, but if you can't afford any better, it beats nothing. I think this is the gist of what Obama wants to do (I gave up following) calls for a lot of money. I don't know why. If people pay in, that should generate most of the revenue. It shouldn't be free ... just affordable.

Hope it does go down. Remember all the drunken conversations we've had about this crap. The future of our drunkenness would be under scrutiny and disallow us medical treatment. Thank you Blue Cross.
Tom Carlson

Last Temptation of Obama
James Campion
Joe Cool Must Rally To Save Progressive Movement - Barack Obama is, as stated more than once in this space for over a year, the yin to Reagan's yang
Un-American is Un-American
James Campion
the Speaker of The House and its Majority Leader decided it would be a good idea to deftly illustrate how arguments can be utterly bereft of reason while simultaneously driving home the point of their opponents.

More Comment


© Hackwriters 1999-2009 all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibility - no liability accepted by or affiliates.