Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s Accomplishments

August 29, 2009


Senator Edward M. Kennedy (1932-2009) has authored more than 2,500 bills throughout his career since 1962 in the United States Senate.  Of those bills, several hundred have become Public Law. 

Here is a sample of some of those laws, which have made a significant difference in the quality of life for the American people.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton in North Korea

August 4, 2009

John Fitzgerald Kennedy shaking hands with teenager Bill Clinton.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy shaking hands with teenager Bill Clinton.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton made a surprise visit to North Korea to try to convince the government to liberate two imprisoned U.S. journalists.

The journalists – Euna Lee and Laura Ling, of U.S. media outlet Current TV – were arrested on the North Korea-China border in March. The women were sentenced to twelve years of hard labour for entering the country illegally and for “hostile acts.”

Bill Clinton is well respected in North Korea, as he almost visited Pyongyang toward the end of his presidency, and because he met with North Korea’s top military commander, Jo Myong-rok, in Washington in 2000. North Korea and the United States also made a deal to freeze plutonium-based nuclear reactor at Yongbyon under the Clinton administration.

Former South Korean government official Park Chan-bong tells the Wall Street Journal the talks will probably serve as a launching point for bilateral discussions between the two countries.

Read full story.

Terry McAuliffe for Governor of Virginia: The Final Debate

May 21, 2009

Dear Friend,

This race is getting heated – and it’s moving at lightning speed.  While Terry continued to communicate his positive vision for growing Virginia’s economy at yesterday’s final debate in Annandale, Brian Moran launched the first TV attack ad of the race, and a firestorm of criticism erupted in the aftermath of his false radio spot.  

You’ve built this campaign from the ground up.  And with just 20 days to go, we want to make sure you don’t miss a beat.

The reviews are in.  News outlets reported Terry was “unfazed,” “jovial”, “confident and carefree,” while his opponents engaged in “McAuliffe bashing,” “going after [Terry] with a bit of a vengeance” in their fifth and final debate.  WTOP political analyst Mark Plotkin said Terry “definitely dominates at these debates – feels very relaxed, very comfortable, very much at ease.”  And The Hill ran with the headline: “McAuliffe emerges as leading candidate in VA primary.”

The most telling moment of the afternoon occurred when Creigh Deeds disparagingly asked Terry how he planned to implement all the proposals he’s put forward on the campaign trail.  Terry was all over it. Taking the opportunity to reinforce his positive vision for growing Virginia’s economy, Terry delivered the best line of the debate:  “John Kennedy didn’t say we’re taking the rocket halfway to the moon – it goes all the way to the moon. That’s how I think.”

VCU Professor Bob Holsworth observed “a bit of an irony” in Moran’s and Deed’s suggestion that Terry won’t be able to follow through on his agenda:

“Nationally, the Democratic Party has fared very well because it is the party of hope and not the party of no.  Wasn’t Bill Clinton the boy from Hope (Arkansas, that is)?  And wasn’t Hope Obama’s real middle name?…  Democrats have to ensure that in trying to defeat McAuliffe, they don’t also run down the major rhetorical advantage they’ve had over the GOP in the last few years.”

First Attack Ad on TV

Yesterday afternoon, Brian Moran’s campaign launched its first television ad.  However, instead of using the spot to introduce Brian to voters, they launched a terribly misleading and viciously personal attack that unfairly characterizes Terry’s record as an entrepreneur with 13 years experience running large organizations. 

But we were ready. Within an hour of getting word about Moran’s attack, we’d cut and released a response ad that sets the record straight.

The truth is that Terry is the only candidate in this race who’s created thousands of jobs. Terry’s been completely forthcoming about his business record, and reporters have taken an extensive look at it during this campaign.  In this economic climate, Terry’s record of turning around struggling institutions is precisely what Virginia needs.

Criticism of Moran Radio Ad Mounts

Brian Moran’s radio ad is taking a beating.  It’s deliberately designed to deceive voters into believing Terry opposed Barack Obama’s candidacy last November – and in an article entitled, “Moran’s Miscues in Virginia,” the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s calls out the ad for its misleading claims.  Noting that the ad doesn’t provide adequate context when it mentions Terry’s appearance on the Daily Show, the independent organization wrote that “McAuliffe never worked against President Barack Obama, or Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. And when last we checked, Clinton was serving as Obama’s secretary of state, indicating there’s been a burial ceremony for some old swords. Maybe Moran missed it.”

Even Moran’s own supporters are disgusted. Joel McDonald – a longtime Brian Moran supporter who blogs at Virginia Beach Progressives – wrote that, “Spreading half-truths and rumors in a desperate attempt at shifting opinion about your opponent is not the way campaigns will be won this year.”  Noting that Moran’s attack bears a striking similarity to the attacks Republicans waged against Obama, McDonald said, “For a campaign to truly use Barack Obama’s influence, they have to campaign using his example.”

We obviously think Terry did great, but you should decide for yourself.

This election is still close.  Anything could happen, and we’re counting on you to help mobilize the voters on Election Day – June 9th, 2009.  So if you haven’t done so already, please sign up to volunteer immediately.

Thanks so much for all your help,

HIRAM7 REVIEW & The Friends of Terry McAuliffe

United States presidential election, 2008: The State of Patriotism

June 27, 2008

What is the American idea? It’s the fractious, maddening approach to the conduct of human affairs that values equality despite its elusiveness, that values democracy despite its debasement, that values pluralism despite its messiness, that values institutions of civic culture despite their flaws, and that values public life as something higher and greater than the sum of all our private lifes. (The Editors of The Atlantic Monthly)

This was the secret of America: a nation of people with the fresh memory of old traditions who dared to explore new frontiers, people eager to build lives for themselves in a spacious society that did not restrict their freedom of choice and action. (John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

In a new cover story in Time Magazine, Peter Beinart looks at what patriotism means in the United States of America.

“How to Be a Patriot. On inspection, the liberal and conservative brands of patriotism both have defects. In a country where today’s nativists are yesterday’s immigrants and where change is practically a national religion, conservative patriotism can seem anachronistic. To be Spanish or Russian or Japanese is to imagine that you share a common ancestry and common traditions that trace back into the mists of time. But in America, where most people hail from somewhere else, that kind of blood-and-soil patriotism makes no sense. There is something vaguely farcical about conservative panic over Mexican flags in Los Angeles when Irish flags have long festooned Boston’s streets on St. Patrick’s Day. Linking patriotism too closely to a reverence for inherited tradition contradicts one of America’s most powerful traditions: that our future shouldn’t be dictated by our past.”

Read full story.

40th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Assassination

April 2, 2008

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of both the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (he was shot April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis), and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act), which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex and family status.

Memphis legend Elvis Aaron Presley pays tribute to Martin Luther King
President Lyndon Baines Johnson signing Civil Rights Bill, April 11, 1968

President Lyndon Baines Johnson signing Civil Rights Bill, April 11, 1968

In a 1967 speech he urged Americans to be “dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family is living in a decent sanitary home.” From 1966-1967 Congress considered but failed to pass the Fair Housing Act. When Dr. King was assassinated, President Johnson urged for the bill’s quick passage and it was signed into law seven days later, in time for Dr. King’s funeral.

Book Recommendations

A Nation of Immigrants, by John Fitzgerald Kennedykennedybook.jpg
I Have a Dream, by Martin Luther King Jr.i-have-a-dream.jpg

United States presidential election, 2008: ADL launches discussion guide for John F. Kennedy’s ‘A Nation Of Immigrants’

January 31, 2008
Press Release
New York, January 31, 2008 – In an effort to broaden understanding of immigration policy among high school students, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) developed a discussion guide to accompany A Nation of Immigrants, President John F. Kennedy’s landmark essay, which has just been reissued with a new introduction by Senator Edward M. Kennedy and foreword by Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. The guide makes available to teachers and educators lessons and ideas that can be implemented in the secondary level classroom, and provides tools to help guide student reading, facilitate discussion and build critical thinking skills.

“This guide is an invaluable teaching tool that will enhance classroom discussion about an important and timely topic,” said Abraham H. Foxman. “It is especially important today, as anti-immigrant, xenophobic sentiments have entered the mainstream discourse“.

“It is critical for our youth to have a thorough understanding of immigration issues and to appreciate the important role immigrants play in our country’s past, present and future.”

When A Nation of Immigrants was first published in 1958, the country was locked in a fierce debate over the direction of our immigration policies. Today, as the issues of immigration and immigrants have taken center stage, the essay is as relevant as when it was written by John Fitzgerald Kennedy 50 years ago at the request of ADL.

That is why the Anti-Defamation League and Harper Perennial are reissuing this landmark essay on the contribution of immigrants to American society. With a new introduction by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants offers inspiring suggestions for immigration policy and presents a chronology of the main events in the history of immigration in America.

“The reissuing of A Nation of Immigrants on its 50th anniversary is not only commemorative but has great relevance for us today,” Abraham H. Foxman writes in the Foreword to the new edition. “Then, as now, nativism, bigotry and fear of competition from foreign labor were dulling the collective American memory of its own immigrant history and its ideals,” writes Mr. Foxman. “Then, as now, hate groups were beating the drums of anti-foreigner slogans and tried to sway the public and elected officials toward a restrictive immigration policy.”

A Nation of Immigrants was written by Kennedy in 1958 after ADL reached out to the then-junior senator from Massachusetts asking him to highlight the contribution of immigrants at a time when the country was locked in a debate about the direction its policy should take. As the last manuscript President Kennedy ever wrote, the book was first published posthumously.

“The history of this monograph is deeply intertwined with the story of America’s struggle for a fair and compassionate immigration policy,” said Mr. Foxman.

Through ADL’s network of 30 regional offices, there will be a series of local programs and events centered around the release of the new book and the Introduction and Foreword.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who has been at the forefront of calls for meaningful immigration, has described his brother’s essay as a seminal document in the struggle for immigration reform.

“Every time the Senate takes up the issue of immigration reform, I re-read my brother’s book for inspiration,” Senator Kennedy said last year in remarks to ADL’s National Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. “The words he wrote half a century ago ring just as true today.”

In his essay, John F. Kennedy wrote of immigration: “This was the secret of America: a nation of people with the fresh memory of old traditions who dared to explore new frontiers, people eager to build lives for themselves in a spacious society that did not restrict their freedom of choice and action.”