the kennedy legacy…

…includes a belief in entitlement…and wanton womanizing.

I’ve read a number of biographies about the Kennedy dynasty. The latest, RFK Jr. – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Dark Side of the Dream by Jerry Oppenheimer, is by far the most disturbing. The fact that he probably continues to live a life driven by the demons which have haunted many family members following in the footsteps of patriarch Joseph Kennedy, is downright scary.  Scary for those driven mad when they get tangled up with the Kennedys. A family living on the edge…pushing the envelope. I would even go so far as to say, Princess Diana’s embattled years with England’s royal family pale by comparison.

The Kennedy women, beginning with its matriarch Rose, turned a blind eye to the philandering of their men. Her husband, Joseph, carried on with Hollywood legend Gloria Swanson. President Kennedy followed suit by bedding tinsel town’s blonde bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, among many others. When he was done with her, he handed her off to brother Robert. Until he married his last wife, Vicky, Ted Kennedy was an infamous philanderer as well. Brother-in-law, actor Peter Lawford likewise cheated on Kennedy daughter Pat. Maria Shriver famously suffered the same fate when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was found to have fathered a child with their live-in housekeeper.

Whatever the reason…religion for Rose…wealth for Jackie…obsession for Ethel…naivete for Joan…family first for Pat and Maria…all these women enabled their husbands by their quiet subservience to the status quo. That they loved their husbands was beside the point. Their gilded trappings belied their comparable situation to ghetto women suffering the same fate at the hands of abusive husbands. The only difference is that the Kennedy women had the means to escape the trauma of their everyday lives.

Turning a blind eye to their husbands’ indiscretions fed these men’s sense of entitlement. With wealth and a wife to keep the home fires burning, they could confidently set about vanquishing the world beyond…especially women mesmerized by the Kennedy charisma.

What none of these couples seemed to consider was the serious effect their transgressions would have on their offspring.

For some philandering was like a right of passage.

Michael, the 6th child born to Robert and Ethel, carried on a 5-year relationship with babysitter, Marissa Verrochi…in front of his children. According to biographer Oppenheimer…

 

Michael Kennedy’s trip to rehab had followed within hours the shocking discovery by Vicki Gifford Kennedy of her husband in bed with Marisa Verrochi in one of the Kennedys’ spare bedrooms at their home.

Kennedy had blamed his drinking for his illicit affair with the teenage babysitter and family friend, and his wife believed him for the time being. …

Around that time, Michael Kennedy was caught stalker-like on a security camera breaking into the garage where the teenager kept her car. He left behind a bizarre offering–an “artificial penis” that he had attached to the windshield. …

Kennedy subsequently did a stint in an Arizona rehab center for his sex addiction, and he followed one of the rules set down for him: identify in writing the names of all of the women with whom he had had sexual trysts. (A few years later, Bobby, in a diary, would do something similar.)

When the sordid details of Michael Kennedy’s philandering were revealed, Vicki Gifford Kennedy–shocked by the number of women with whom he obsessively had had sex, some of whom she knew–took their children in the spring of 1997 and left him after sixteen years of a troubled marriage. …

Having turned eighteen and become a college freshman, Marisa finally decided to confess all to her parents. Her mother was so devastated that the next day she climbed to the roof of the trendy six-story Boston building where she and her husband had a chic apartment and threatened to jump. According to reports, a spokesman for the family denied that suicide was the motive.

Bobby Kennedy, Jr.’s history of womanizing rivals that of the elder Kennedy men.

With his diary entries, Bobby became the first Kennedy male known to have documented his philandering in writing, albeit in a private journal. His reputed womanizing forebears–the patriarch, Joe; his uncles JFK and Ted; and Bobby’s own father–had never done so.

Reading published portions of the diary, one might wonder whether Bobby inherited his uncle Jack’s affliction. As the president told power broker Bobby Baker, “You know, I get a migraine if I don’t get a strange piece of ass every day,” according to Seymour Hersh’s The Dark Side of Camelot.

The almost four-hundred-page diary had a legend. The number “10” represented women with whom he had had intercourse. Sixteen had fallen into that category. In one day alone, less than two weeks before he and his family celebrated Thanksgiving 2001, he documented that he had had three separate sexual encounters. That same month one woman’s name–only first names were written–was noted in the diary twenty-two times, and on thirteen consecutive days, the Post reported. …

In early November 2001–two months after 9/11–he wrote that he felt “great,” and went on to note, “So I’ve been looking for ways to screw it up. I’m like Adam and live on Eden, and I can have everything but the fruit. But the fruit is all I want.”

At another point, he boasted: “I have been given everything that I coveted–a beautiful wife and kids and loving family, wealth, education, good health and a job I love yet always on the lookout for something I can’t have. I want it all. No matter how much I have–I want more.”

Sadly, confronted by the reality of her husband’s womanizing,and his desire to end their marriage for another woman, Mary Richardson, his second wife, committed suicide on May 16, 2012. She was obviously not prepared to be left behind, even though Bobby had gotten her pregnant when he was still married to his first wife, Emily Black, whom he had also left to marry again.

One of the big shockers for Mary, a confidante maintained, was when she learned that Bobby was having an affair with the TV actress Cheryl Hines, who would become his third wife. It was a shocker because Mary claimed she had introduced Hines to Bobby at a charity event, although Bobby and Hines asserted that their friend the comedian Larry David had brought about the introduction. Still, Mary felt “very betrayed” by what she termed the “Sisterhood,” said a confidante. “The Sisterhood was very important to her–women sticking together, women supporting one another.”

Hines already was publicly boasting about her relationship with Bobby, which infuriated and humiliated Mary. Online, she saw that Hines had tweeted that she had become friends with one of Mary’s pals, the actress Glenn Close, and had bonded with Kerry Kennedy. [Bobby’s sister] She boasted on Twitter that she had become pals with Bobby’s then-eleven-year-old son, Aiden, talking football with him.

In the wake of Hines’s controversial and embarrassing tweets, an Internet commenter observed, “Was Hines so self-absorbed that she did not think her giddy and public celebration would have no effect on the woman left behind?

According to the N.Y. Post online article “43 Suspected Mistresses Found in RFK Jr.’s Phone,” dated 7/13/14,

Kennedy’s name was dragged into another divorce battle last month when he was alleged to be the “other man” in Kirwan’s divorce from plastic surgeon Laurence Kirwan.

Laurence Kirwan believed his 42-year-old wife was having an affair with Kennedy, whom she met at a Westchester gym, a confidant of the surgeon told The Post. The couple separated in July 2012, but Laurence Kirwan believed the relationship began several months earlier, while Richardson was still alive, the friend said.

Cellphone records showed Chelsea Kirwan and Kennedy spoke five times a day in the summer of 2012, according to the friend, who said Kennedy, 60, could be called as a witness in the divorce case.

Chelsea Kirwan is supposed to testify on July 22 in a Stamford, Conn., court hearing.

Her name and number were copied off Kennedy’s Sprint Samsung phone by Richardson.

When contacted by The Post, the mother of four asked to know where her name fell on the list and whether there was any notation beside it.

According to the Daily Mail’s online article “EXCLUSIVE: The wedding is still on: RFK Jr WILL marry Cheryl Hines despite affair allegations with surgeon’s wife.”

And so, it seems, Hines was willing to turn a blind eye to her fiance’s philandering…

…continuing in the kennedy family tradition.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

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from #2…to #1

One thing that comes to mind when I see Hilary Clinton, aside from all the obvious political ones, is how she remained married to her husband, Bill Clinton, after the Monica Lewinsky fiasco.

I’m pretty sure most of us, women and men alike, would’ve dumped the jerk. Obviously Hilary knew the man she had married…his ability to be a great President, as well as his tendency towards personal self-destruction. As it turned out, she was right. Bill Clinton has become an American statesman on the world stage. And the more I see and hear him speak, I agree that he does have a lot of good to contribute at a time when our country is in such a state of flux.

After I get past that flash from the past, I’m amazed at Hilary Clinton’s fearlessness in holding her own against the preponderance of white men in politics. She does not allow them to define her as a person, let alone a politician. I’m in awe of the confidence she displays time and again, despite the barrage of negative attacks heaped upon her. The fact that she’s eager to play with the big boys as President is nothing short of phenomenal.

How many women are up to the job? Maybe one. Carly Fiorina. Maybe. Or Senator Elizabeth Warren, whom I’d support should she think about it in the future.

Just as Barrack Obama was singularly up to the challenge as the first black, American president, so too is Hilary Clinton ready to shoulder the mantle as the first woman President of the United States.

I am more than ready to give Hilary that opportunity. Heck. She can’t do any worse than some of our former presidents…George W. Bush among them. If we wind up with troops on the ground in the Middle East, it won’t be a move she initiated without help from her predecessors. Like Obama before her, she has to continue fighting the battle Bush started when he took out Sadam Hossein. The balance of power has been on the slide ever since his removal. The U.S. got involved where it probably shouldn’t have, unless we were prepared to remove all the dictators in the area, including Syria’s Bashar al-Asad.

Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor is a prime example of an extremely proficient leader. According to Forbes…

German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues her reign as the most powerful woman on the planet for 10 years running. Why? She clinched a third four-year term of Europe’s most vibrant economy in December 2014, making her the longest-serving elected EU head of state. She fought off a national recession during the global economic crisis with stimulus packages and government subsidies for companies that cut hours for workers, and she is in the thick of trying to help Greece revive its economy. She has used her power against ISIS, breaking the post-Nazi-era taboo of direct involvement in military actions by sending arms to Kurdish fighters. In the Russia-Ukraine crisis, she has been engaging in shuttle diplomacy trying to broker a peace deal with Vladimir Putin. There’s only one woman who has a chance of endangering her tenure as No. 1 in 2016 — the world’s No. 2 most powerful woman.

And who is that you ask? 

Hillary Clinton has appeared on this FORBES ranking every year since it launched in 2004 as, in order, a senator, secretary of state and influential personality. In 2015 Clinton is No. 2, just a breath and a ballot away from the Most Powerful Woman crown.

I for one…plan to see that Clinton moves Merkel…

…to the #2 spot.

………hugmamma.

stand-up comics…

…Donald Trump and Kurt Schlicter. 

We know who Trump is, but have you ever heard of Schlicter? I hadn’t a clue until he popped up on CNN today in defense of Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. Actually, Trump also defended his fellow Republican candidate for not being politically correct, and telling it like it is. They all agree on one thing…the second amendment, the right to bear arms.

Carson said about the Umqua Community College shooting…and continues to say…

“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me. I would say ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can’t get us all,'” Carson said.

Wow!

Okay. Maybe in our wildest fantasies as super humanoids we might automatically go there…take a bullet and die like heroes. In fact one brave soul did do just that.

Chris Mintz, a 30-year old veteran who served 10 years in the army wasn’t “…going to stand around and watch something this horrific happen,” according to his cousin, Derek Bourgois of North Carolina. He went on to say of Mintz ” ‘He was on the wrestling team and he’s done cage-fighting so it does not surprise me that he would act heroically.’ “

Carson had not heard of Mintz’s heroism when asked by a reporter.

It’s so easy for Carson, Schlicter or Trump to say that the Umqua victims should have taken Mintz down. Are these men so sure they would have done exactly that…in the heat of the moment…when your brain is still in shock, unable to make any sense of the situation, knowing in seconds you may be dead? How do you process all that information with a gun pointing in your direction? Unless you’re trained to fight back from the get-go, as Mintz was, flight is usually the first thing you think of.

Flight or fight? It’s not fight or flight.

Our brains are primed to flee. Fighting is not an automatic for those of us in normal daily living mode. It might be different if our children were in the line of fire, then we might go into mama bear/papa bear mode. The same could be said for a husband willing to die to save his family. But strangers barely connecting before a mass shooting? Especially students in a classroom who are sitting ducks.

It’s for sure these men who throw words around just because they’ve got an appreciative audience, would eat their own words if their children or wives were those same sitting ducks. I can’t imagine Carson thinking…”I hope my son (he has 3) volunteers to intercept a madman trying to kill others.”

In an online article, “What The Hell Is An Angry Conservative Suppose To Do?,” Kurt Schlicter, a conservative commentator, derides the various and sundry Republican candidates for president. Of Carson, Schlicter says…

The outsiders shouldn’t be president. Sorry. Dr. Carson is a nice man who has no instinct for ripping out his opponents’ jugular. I want to hear some liberal womyn lamenting the crushing of our enemies, Doc, but you’d probably go and comfort them.

And of Trump, Shlicter says…

And then there’s Donald Trump, whose embarrassing debate performance started the trend of people saying, “You know, it was fun for a while but this guy has become tiresome.”

Trump has the aggression – that’s the only thing I like about him – but it’s also the only thing he has. The polls are showing that his novelty is wearing off; people can only deal with so much whining. He’ll always have a hardcore set of minions, but for the first time in weeks I don’t think we have to seriously contemplate the notion of Ivanka the veep.

So what makes Schlicter an expert on presidential candidates…or for that matter, politics?

He is a successful Los Angeles trial lawyer, a veteran with a masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and a former stand-up comic. …Kurt rose to the rank of Army colonel (Infantry), commanded a cavalry recon squadron, and served in Desert Storm and Kosovo as well as multiple disaster operations. He lives in the South Bay area of Los Angeles where his hobbies include red meat and red wine.

I think it’s what he said at the end of his article on being an angry conservative…that makes me dislike Schlicter intensely.

Which leaves Carly. She seems ticked off. I like that. She kicks tail. I like that too. She can put together a coherent sentence. Finally. I don’t despise her. That’s something new for a GOP candidate. And, best of all, I think the elite distrusts her and Hillary fears her – in fact, she could mop the floor with the Orange Pantsuit Lady.

Yeah, maybe Carly.

Maybe.

But if not her, and if there’s no one else, then I’m still ready to burn it all down.

That’s the trouble with the extreme rightists…

…they’d just as soon america go to hell…

…than work with obama and the democrats.

………hugmamma.

vacation home rentals…

It’s become a thriving business…renting your home to vacationing tourists. And in our family’s case, short term rentals for our daughter when she’s gone out of town for dance gigs.

The first rental I booked was when we returned to Honolulu, Hawaii for my mother-in-law’s funeral several years ago. Hotels in Waikiki are understandably uber-expensive, thanks to the island’s booming tourist industry. Access to the beaches makes that strip of land prime real estate. So instead I decided to have a look at VRBO…Vacation Rentals By Owners.

It’s been about 4 or 5 years since we booked that first condo. It wasn’t exactly as I’d expected from the photos. The balcony off the bedroom…where 2 chairs were sandwiched between the sliding, glass door and the wrought iron railing…overlooked a huge parking lot. IMG_4456Good luck sitting out there to enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Needless to say hubby and I didn’t dare go there. The view of the mountains was a peekaboo one…a sliver of green between two skyscrapers. The balcony off the living room was exactly like the other, except it had a couple of tall, potted plants which the owner asked if I could water. I think I tried to oblige…once. The kitchen, newly remodeled, was awkwardly configured…cabinet doors opening into one another…knick-knacks taking up valuable counter space, what little there was…dishes stored where a “shrimp” like me couldn’t reach. And because the vent fan in the bathroom, which must have been original to the unit, was sooo loud…I’d do whatever I needed to do in the tiny bathroom by candlelight. You see, the light and the vent were on the same switch. All of this combined, however, did not compare to a couple of other downsides to this rental.

The linen closet where the towels were stored was rigged with an old-fashioned light bulb screwed into a porcelain base. The worst part was that the switchplate to turn on the light was not secured to the wall. It stuck out an inch or so. So when I flipped the switch, sparks flew. You can bet I never used the light when searching for anything in that closet again.

Another drawback, albeit minor by comparison, was that the carpet in front of the wicker dresser was wet a good bit of the time. We’d lay down beach towels to soak up the moisture which seemed to work for awhile. When I mentioned the problem to the housekeeper, she agreed that the air conditioner might be to blame. 

I never did complain to the owner about my disappointment with her rental. You see she was out on a yacht with friends somewhere off the coast of Canada. Getting a hold of her the first time to book her condo was a trick, especially when I’d awoken her in the middle of the night…or early morning. I had no clue where she was from her cell phone number. So how could I know she’d be asleep. 

According to the owner, I was the first one to book her recently updated unit in a building that dated back to the 1960’s. She’d not even seen it since the renovation. And thinking I would love it as much as she, she asked if I’d write a review recommending her rental to others. After what I’d experienced…I didn’t have the heart to say anything. Instead I moved on to another unit in the same building the last day we were in the islands, because the first one wasn’t available for our entire stay. And thank goodness it wasn’t.

The unit we rented our last day was far and away a step up from the first. In fact, it was 8 floors up, on the 16th floor, with an ocean view…AND a balcony where two of us could sit facing one another across a bistro-style table. But who needed to sit out there when we could enjoy the panoramic view through the sliding glass door wall, comfortably lounging on the sofa and chairs in the living room. The price, $159/night could not be beat! Needless to say, it’s been our home away from home whenever we visit family in Hawaii.

Finding such a gem encouraged me to investigate other rental properties when we traveled. My daughter stayed in two different ones for a couple of jobs she had with the Houston Grand Opera. Both were found on AirBnB, another site where owners can rent their properties.

IMG_5126The first place was somewhat of a disappointment. As with the first Honolulu rental, the photographs did not show the hidden flaws…one overhead light bulb in the living room (we bought cheap lamps for more lighting)…an antiquated gas stove that burnt food if you weren’t careful…a French door in the bedroom whose frame was cemented shut with putty making egress extremely difficult if there was a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Worse was the open flame heating system which, thank God, our daughter never had to use even though the mornings could get cool.

Thankfully, the second rental my daughter stayed at in Houston was a newly built apartment over a garage. The owners whose house occupied the front of the property were very gracious and the accommodations were exactly as pictured. 

Another time my daughter spent 7 weeks summering in NYC…dancing, what else? We rented from owners who lived in Chicago. Because of the lengthy stay, we were able to get their family rate of $175/night. Extraordinary for The Big Apple. It was a 1 bed/1 bath with a 24-hour doorman in a residential area, directly across from a small Broadway theater where “Kinky Boots,” which won the year’s Tony for Best Musical was playing. Surprisingly enough, once inside the upper-floor apartment, we were oblivious of the street noise below. It was a magical time…for my daughter who thrived on the big city vibe…and for us as a family when my husband and I joined her for a week. Being close enough to the action without being IN it was the best we could hope for in…”the city that never sleeps.”

Needless to say I’ve once again turned to looking for a rental when my daughter marries next year. Close family members from Hawaii plan to join us for the happy occasion. Finding a house large enough to accommodate 8 or more is like “looking for a needle in a haystack.” Take it from one who’s been searching for a couple of months. That’s why I started my search this far out. There aren’t many affordable ones out there. The savings are well worth the effort, however. Hotel rooms in June can go for $300/night and more. Divvying up the cost of a house is a lot less than a hotel room for 2, and provides a lot more space to gather and enjoy everyone’s company. And being that we’ll get to spend time with family whom we only see every so many years is priceless.

Just when I thought we’d nailed down “the deal of the century,” along comes a hitch. A big one. The owner has a clause in his rental agreement which states that he won’t refund us our money if on the day we check in, his house is uninhabitable due to some unforeseen event beyond his control.

The fact that the owner has 3 other properties, one which he and his family occupies, makes me think he uses renters’ monies to pay his mortgages…like “taking from Peter to pay Paul.” A “red flag,” I think. Yes, we would be refunded our money if we cancelled 30 days prior to check-in. After that, we’d forfeit all. However, learning that we had nowhere to stay on the day we arrived, out the money we paid in advance, would cast a tremendous pall over what should be one of the happiest occasions in our family’s life.

So we’re backing away from this rental. Way far away.

And so, it’s back…

…to the drawing board.

………hugmamma.

parents matter…

The role we play in the lives of our children really does have a lifelong impact. Whether we are good at it or not so good, will affect the adults our children grow up to become. It follows the rule of…cause and effect.

For most of us the path is unpredictable. It’s not like hitting a bull’s eye with a bow and arrow. Or is it?

I’ve never shot an arrow, but I imagine that when you pull the arrow back there’s a quiver in the movement which you must control so as to hit the target. That momentary quiver might be compared to the push and pull parents and children engage in as they strive to become independent. Not all “hit the mark” set by society.

Special needs children are doubly challenging for parents ill-equipped to manage their youngster’s early years, not to mention when they become teenagers and young adults. Their journey towards independence requires a lot more strength…to keep the bow from quivering so much that the arrow misses its mark altogether. More patience is required to keep a steady hand, no matter the repetitive practice involved.

Introducing guns into the mix is likely to upset the fine balance necessary in youngsters’ lives already compromised. Once they begin to think for themselves, they begin to make their own judgement calls.

A gun in the hand of a youngster beset by his own trials and tribulations can be a tool to end it all…as in the cases of the Newtown, Connecticut and Umpqua,Oregon shooters.

California just adopted the “right to die” law allowing assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. It is only the 5th state to enact this law. A testament to the fact that lawmakers, all right-thinking adults politically appointed to make decisions for their constituency, have pondered long and hard whether or not to allow suicide under any circumstance.

Why then would a parent put a gun in the hands of a youngster who, at times, struggles with life? The responsibility if he takes his own life and the lives of others must be shared by those making guns accessible to him…

…including those who love him.

………hugmamma.

the top one percent…

…are the ones in control of the U.S. economy and therefore what happens, or doesn’t happen, in our country. The country’s purse strings are essentially managed by these few. If they consider something that’s good for the country is also advantageous to their bottom line, these mostly white men will put all their weight behind the cause. However if there’s even the smallest doubt that they will benefit from the outcome, these few will either step aside and let the cause die a natural death, or use whatever it takes to ensure that it dies.

Lack of gun control.

Global warming.

Two issues that are killing people. Unless the top one percent are personally affected by either problem, they will continue to fan the flames of our destruction. It might be that they’re hedging their bets.

Until the earth self-destructs, the uber-wealthy will continue to line their pockets with gold. Meanwhile, it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan…they’ve booked a flight into outer space on Virgin Airlines. Such a likelihood was depicted in the movie Elysium.

Of course some of the wealthiest, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet among them, are notable philanthropists. I’m not sure where they stand on gun control and global warming. Whatever their stance, however, I don’t see them or any of the other wealthiest one percent in America taking on those lobbying against gun control, namely the NRA, and global warming.

Charles and David Koch, and Donald Trump for that matter, are arch defenders of capitalism at any price. They put their substantive pocket books where their mouths are. They walk the talk.

No gun control.

No global warming.

As long as the wealthiest one percent in America can defend themselves against guns and global warming, they won’t take action against either. It would require too much effort…

…and too much of their amassed fortunes.

………hugmamma.