John F. Kennedy


Lee Harvey Oswald's Troubled Time In NYC

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's been fifty years since Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.



Timeline: JFK's Legacy to Classical Music

Monday, November 18, 2013

President Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy brought a particular zeal to hosting musicians at the White House. After JFK's death, many musicians wrote tribute pieces in his memory.

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The Takeaway

Love and Hate in Dallas

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Two new, distinct art projects are trying to reclaim the city of Dallas' reputation by casting a new narrative. The first is called "Dallas Love"—a rebuff to those who dubbed Dallas "the city of hate." Karen Blessen is its Executive Director. The second is a documentary film, directed by Quin Matthews, called “City of Hate: Dallas and the Assassination.” Blessen and Matthews join The Takeaway to discuss their own memories of Kennedy's death and how the city is responding some 50 years later.

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Transportation Nation

Ray LaHood: 50 Years Ago, JFK Talked Transit

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Really interesting post from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today on his fast lane blog, which we're reprinting here, in it's entirety.

LaHood is using the post to push Congress to pass an actual transportation bill, but still, history buffs, have a look.

(Text and photos from US DOT)

Here you go:

A lot changes in 50 years.  In 1962, the U.S. population was 186.5 million, compared to today's 311.6 million, and a gallon of milk cost only 49 cents.

One thing that has not changed, however, is our country's need for good transportation.


In fact, on this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy wrote a Special Message to Congress on Transportation, and his message is as relevant today as it was in 1962:  "An efficient and dynamic transportation system is vital to our domestic economic growth. Affecting the cost of every commodity we consume or export, it is equally vital to our ability to compete abroad."

1960s congestionIn 1962, a mix of inconsistent and obsolete policy threatened the transportation system of the day.  As President Kennedy said, "This patchwork does not fully reflect either the dramatic changes in technology of the past half-century or the parallel changes in the structure of competition."

In the half-century that has passed since that moment, another patchwork has emerged in the form of transportation extensions rather than a long-term solution.

President Kennedy understood that passing a national transportation plan would be no simple matter for Congress, even in 1962, but he urged legislators to persevere: "If direct and decisive action is not taken in the near future, the undesirable developments, inefficiencies, inequities, and other undesirable conditions that confront us now will cause permanent loss of essential services or require even more difficult and costly solutions in the not-too-distant future."

One of the most interesting aspects of President Kennedy's 1962 letter is its special emphasis on public transit: “The program I have proposed is aimed at the widely varying transit problems of our Nation's cities, ranging from the clogged arteries of our most populous metropolitan areas to those smaller cities which have only recently known the frustrations of congested streets.”1960s transit

And for the first time, President Kennedy offered the basis for long-term public transit funding: "Only a program that offers substantial support and continuity of Federal participation can induce our urban regions to organize appropriate administrative arrangements and to meet their share of the costs of fully balanced transportation systems.”

It took 20 years, but in 1982 President Ronald Reagan signed into law a transportation plan--passed by a bipartisan majority in Congress--that added a dedicated transit account to our gasoline tax. This wasn't without an effort on President Reagan's part; to shepherd the bill through Congress, he had to end a Senate filibuster from his own party.

President Reagan signs Surface Transportation Act of 1982

President Reagan's words upon signing this plan also remain relevant 30 years later: "Because of the prompt and bipartisan action of Congress, we can now ensure for our children a special part of their heritage -- a network of highways and mass transit that has enabled our commerce to thrive, our country to grow, and our people to roam freely and easily to every corner of our land."

American transportation--from roadways to runways and transit to tugboats--has benefited from a long history of bipartisanship. Unfortunately, today's Congress can no longer find its way to keep our national quilt stitched together.

And we find our infrastructure in a position that President Reagan understood was unacceptable: "Common sense tells us that it will cost a lot less to keep the system we have in good repair than to let it disintegrate and have to start over from scratch. Clearly this program is an investment in tomorrow that we must make today."

We've got work that needs to be done; we've got workers ready to do it. If we want to keep this country moving forward, it's time to put aside partisanship on transportation.


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Annotations: The NEH Preservation Project

Senator John F. Kennedy on Overseas Press Club, 1957

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Three years before he was elected President of the United States, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography for his book Profiles in Courage, which he co-wrote with his adviser and speechwriter Ted Sorensen. The day the award was announced, May 6, 1957, Senator Kennedy addressed a special Overseas Press Club event honoring the accomplishments of members of the foreign press, which was broadcast over WNYC on May 31, 1957.

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The Takeaway

New Tapes Show a Different Jackie Kennedy, and the Pressures of Being First Lady

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Newly released interview tapes with Jacqueline Kennedy show a very different side to the resilient and charming first lady who gracefully lead America through one of the nation’s greatest tragedies. The tapes, which will be made publicly available tomorrow, show Kennedy as deeply opinionated, angry, judgemental and even, as our guest says, downright "nasty." Do these tapes shed light on a dark side to Kennedy, or, do they reveal a larger story, of the stress and responsibility that comes with being America’s First Lady?

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R. Sargent Shriver, Peace Corps Founder, Dead at 95

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Robert Sargent Shriver was the brother-in-law of President John F. Kennedy and the Democratic candidate for Vice President in 1972. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2003.



Ted Sorensen, Kennedy Speechwriter, Dies

Monday, November 01, 2010

President John F. Kennedy's aide, close confidant, and long-time speechwriter, Theodore C. Sorensen, has died at the age of 82.  Sorenson's wife, Gillian, said her husband died Sunday at New York Presbyterian Hospital, of complications from a recent stroke.



Talking with Former Kennedy Speechwriter Ted Sorensen

Monday, November 01, 2010


WNYC pulls interview with Ted Sorenson from the archives; the lawyer, author and John F. Kennedy counselor died on Sunday.