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On the occasion of John Glenn’s 1998 “return to space” aboard space shuttle Discovery (the same one that is in orbit right now on its final mission), USA TODAY founder Al Neuharth held a star studded party in John Glenn’s honor. The soiree took place on a beautiful October evening on the seaside grounds of Neuharth’s “Pumpkin Center” in Cocoa Beach. I was there to cover the event for Florida TODAY’s (another Neuharth invention) social column. I no longer have access to the column, but fellow journalist Leslie Doolittle at the Orlando Sentinel wrote this:
USA Today founder Al Neuharth opened his home Wednesday night for a star-studded beachfront soiree. Among the guests were Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, her uncle Ted, Jimmy Buffett, Sen. John Warner, R-Va. – without Barbara Walters – Buzz Aldrin and Wally Schirra.
The talk of that gathering was about another to take place aboard Buffett’s yacht. Said to be invited to that get-together with the singer were Tom Brokaw, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Walter Cronkite.
Buffett is covering the event for Rolling Stone. He interviewed Glenn this summer in Washington and plans to meet with him in the Keys after his return.
“I’m working,” Buffett grinned, piling a plateful on the buffet line.
TV news personalities working the launch will range from Cronkite and Brokaw to Dan Rather and Peter Jennings.
The Lion of the Senate was there with his lovely niece, the intellectual giant Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. They had just arrived and were standing at the edge of the tented area that housed the liquor and food stations. I approached Kennedy to introduce myself as a fellow Massachusetts native, but he looked over my head, scanning the scene. In fact, neither of the Kennedys were interested in chatting it up with a fellow Bay Stater. Rude, arrogant, pompous, the Conscience of the Senate seemed more interested in scoping out where the bar was. Those were my impressions then, and they haven’t changed since.
One more anecdote: Jimmy Buffett… ah, yes. Another A-list A-hole. Here’s what I wrote about meeting Mister Lost Shaker of Salt:
I met Jimmy Buffett when I was writing a social column for Florida TODAY on Florida’s Space Coast. Buffett was a friend of astronaut John Glenn’s and was here for the shuttle mission that took Glenn into space a final time. Buffett was writing a piece about it for Rolling Stone magazine.
At a pre-launch party hosted by USA Today/ Florida TODAY founder Al Neuharth at his seaside Cocoa Beach home, I ran into Buffett and made my way over to introduce myself and chat him up. He looked at me as if to say “who the hell are you?” and brushed me off to his “publicist”. Evidently not in the mood to be “bothered” with small talk from a fellow guest at this VIP event.
The following day at the Kennedy Space Center press site, I approached Buffett again to get a few quotes, and he was just as rude.
“Oh my God, here she is again”, he said with arrogant disdain. I wrote it up verbatim in my column, letting my readers conclude that this rude man was obviously in dire need of a Margarita or three.
His music was fun. He wasn’t. Jimmy Buffett. Classic example of an a-hole who made it big. Now he’s a big a-hole, still looking for his lost shaker of salt. Any suggestions as to where he might find it???
OK, enough reminiscing. Here’s the latest on the Chappaquidick Kid, courtesy of Doug Ross:
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained previously redacted material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) file of the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, who died in August 2009 from brain cancer. Judicial Watch obtained the records pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit originally filed on June 9, 2010 (Judicial Watch v. FBI (Case No. 10-963)).
…The documents include a December 28, 1961, State Department memo describing a tour of several Latin American countries taken by then-Assistant District Attorney of Suffolk County Kennedy. This document as it was originally made public was almost completely redacted. After an initial challenge by Judicial Watch, a version with fewer redactions was released. Judicial Watch continued to argue that the blackouts were baseless and, after six more months, the FBI relented. Among the statements previously withheld but now made available to Judicial Watch:
• “While [the married] Kennedy was in Santiago he made arrangements to ‘rent’ a brothel for an entire night. Kennedy allegedly invited one of the Embassy chauffeurs to participate in the night’s activities.”
• “[I]n each country Kennedy insisted on interviewing ‘the angry young men’ of the country. He wanted to meet with communists and others who had left-wing views. …Ambassador Freeman, Bogota, said the first person whom Kennedy wanted to meet was Lauchlin Currie.” (The document subsequently identifies Currie as a person who “had been mentioned in Washington investigations of Soviet spy rings.”)
• “[I]n Mexico Kennedy asked Ambassador Mann that certain left-wingers be invited to the Embassy residence where interviews could be held. Mann took the strong position that he would not invite such people and stated that if any such interviews were to be conducted, all arrangements should be made by Kennedy himself.”
In 1978 Kennedy reportedly used a go-between to establish a relationship with the KGB in order to sabotage President Jimmy Carter’s foreign policy efforts. Kennedy, of course, was interested in running against Carter in the 1980 primary.
Furthermore, Kennedy approached the Soviets with an offer to help undermine Ronald Reagan’s 1984 presidential reelection campaign. Kennedy proposed a public relations blitz and mentioned his friends — Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters, by name — as willing to assist in the propaganda effort.
That Kennedy is held out as some sort of heroic Democrat figure is an outrage. But it shows just how far afield the Party of Weakness and its media sycophants have wandered.
In the words of James Taranto, Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.