03 September 2009

Dead Kennedys

The Cranky Professor | How much are the Kennedys worth?:

Here's an interesting article about the Kennedy money.

I remember about 15 years ago some coverage about the Rockefellers selling Rockefeller Center because the folks of my generation needing cash - I seem to remember that their payout from the family trust was only about $150,000 apiece per year. Hard to be a Rockefeller on $150,000, even in 1990.

So how much does the average 35 year old Kennedy get per year above and beyond earned income?
There are Kennedys who earn income? I had no idea.

And when that article linked by Cranky Prof mentions Joseph P Kennedy making his fortune through the liquor industry, they mean "bootlegging." (That may actually be the part of the Kennedy Clan legacy I am most sympathetic to.)

Here's Don Boudreaux on Teddy K's money:
Words are cheap. Anyone can preach compassion, and even be free and generous with other people’s money. The late Sen. Kennedy mastered these talents. But surely what really matters is how generous Mr. Kennedy was with his own money. Sadly, the answer is “not very.”

While he almost always kept his income-tax returns secret, Mr. Kennedy was obliged to release them during his run for the presidency in 1980. These records reveal that Sen. Compassion – worth $8 million at the time (nearly $20 million in today’s dollars) and earning an annual income of close to $500,000 (almost $1.3 million in today’s dollars) – contributed a whopping one percent of his income to charity. This percentage figure is a paltry one-fourth the size of the charitable contributions, made at the same time, of the less-wealthy Ronald Reagan.

Politicians spending other people's money has the same relationship with generosity and compassion as politicians sending other people to war has to courage and bravery.

Matt Welch on Kennedy's deathbed letter to Il Papa:
The text is also a perfect exemplar of something we've been marinating in since the last Kennedy brother died: Legislative motivation exalted to the point of policy tautology. Because Teddy Kennedy intended to champion the poor and fight discrimination, then the results, it has gone without saying, were that the poor and the discriminated-against were better off. What matters is the purity of heart, and loudness of voice, rather than the real-world impact. It's almost as if the people who didn't agree with the efficacy of Kennedy's policies must therefore, by the transitive property of inequality, hate the poor and love discrimination. But as the New York Post's always-entertaining Kyle Smith pointed out this weekend, the real-world impacts were important, too.
[Emph. mine.] You say you wrote lots of laws and approved lots of spending for solving problem X? Well did X get solved? No? Well that's okay, because It's The Thought That Counts.

The It's the Thought That Counts Theory is the processed, aerosolized cheeze-in-a-can of political thought. I reject it, and anyone who practices it.

The wheels are in motion to find something in DC to name after Ted, since John has the Kennedy Performing Arts Center, and Robert has RFK Stadium. The leading proposal, amongst those with a dark sense of humor at least, is to honor Teddy with the as-of-yet unnamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms building. Since that's never going to happen, I'll propose a compromise. We can name anything at all after Ted Kennedy, but we also rename the 14th Street Bridge complex to the M.J.Kopechne Memorial Bridge. Fair?

So who's going to replace Kennedy as Massachusetts Senator? (Or, Duke of Massachusetts?)

With Massachusetts having paid its final respects to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the politics of succession begins in earnest this week - candidates will emerge, a race will take shape, and the Kennedy clan will have to reveal whether it wants to keep the seat in the family.

All eyes now are on Joseph P. Kennedy II, the former US representative, with family members and political allies expecting him to make a decision very shortly on whether to enter the Democratic primary. ...

Payne said Kennedy’s decision to run would have a huge impact. “His candidacy in a special election would force all other candidates - real or imagined - to think twice about whether they want to take on a Kennedy so close to Senator Kennedy’s death,’’ he said.

Joe Kennedy’s decision is likely to determine the plans of the dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, US Representative Edward J. Markey, who is telling associates he is seriously considering running, and US Representative Michael Capuano, a Somerville Democrat who is also thinking of joining the primary race. Both are Kennedy loyalists and would not run against a member of the family, according to people familiar with their thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal political calculations.

"Kennedy loyalists" is a euphemistic way of saying they are clients of the Kennedy's patronage. Here's more on the Kennedy patron-client, special-favors, have-friends-in-high-places, raid-the-public-treasury-to-reward-your-supporters, screw-the-little-guy M.O.

Personally, I'm pulling for Curt Schilling to throw his hat in the ring.

(Little known fact: in addition to being a three time World Series champion, Schilling is also the founder of software company 38 Studios, which is developing a MMORPG for release in 2011. In addition to the geekcred Schilling gets for being a huge gamer, he gets extra credit for hiring comic boko artist Todd McFarlane and fantasy author R.A. Salvatore.

Also: Schilling once lent his name to a wine sold to raise funds to fight ALS. The name? Schilling Schardonnay. Doubleplus style points for the over-the-top lame spelling joke.)

Drinkin' beer in the hot sun
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

I needed sex and I got mine
I fought the law and I won
I fought the law and I won

The law don't mean shit if you've got the right friends
That's how the country's run
I fought the law and I won
I am the law so I won

— Dead Kennedys, "I Fought the Law (and I Won)"
(Jello Biafra is a leftist fraud, so I'm pretty sure he wouldn't intend this to criticize Teddy K, but so what? No really, I'm not being hyperbolic with the fraud claim. He was actually convicted of defrauding his former bandmates.)

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