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OMG Ted Sorensen died
#1
This is so huge.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/31...76663.html
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#2
Well crap.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/31...76663.html

Ted Sorensen DEAD: John F. Kennedy Speechwriter, Obama Supporter, Dies At 82
HILLEL ITALIE | 10/31/10 06:57 PM |

NEW YORK — President John F. Kennedy's aide and speechwriter, Theodore C. Sorensen, a symbol of hope and liberal governance, died at a time of contempt for Washington and political leaders.

Sorensen's passing Sunday came just as supporters of his friend and boss were preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a very different moment in history: The election of Kennedy as president and the speech that remains the greatest collaboration between Sorensen and Kennedy and the standard for modern oratory.

With its call for self-sacrifice and civic engagement – "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" – and its promise to spare no cost in defending the country's interests worldwide, the address is an uplifting but haunting reminder of national purpose and confidence, before Vietnam, assassinations, Watergate, terrorists attacks and economic shock.

But to the end, Sorensen was a believer.

He was 82 when he died at noon at Manhattan's New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center from complications of a stroke, his widow, Gillian Sorensen, said.

Sorensen had been in poor health in recent years and a stroke in 2001 left him with such poor eyesight that he was unable to write his memoir, "Counselor," published in 2008. Instead, he had to dictate it to an assistant.

President Barack Obama issued a statement saying he was saddened to learn of Sorensen's death.

"I know his legacy will live on in the words he wrote, the causes he advanced, and the hearts of anyone who is inspired by the promise of a new frontier," Obama said.

Hours after his death, Gillian Sorensen told The Associated Press that although a first stroke nine years ago robbed him of much of his sight, "he managed to get back up and going."

She said he continued to give speeches and traveled, and just two weeks ago, he collaborated on the lyrics to music to be performed in January at the Kennedy Center in Washington – a symphony commemorating a half-century since Kennedy took office.

"I can really say he lived to be 82 and he lived to the fullest and to the last – with vigor and pleasure and engagement," said Gillian Sorensen, who was at his side to the last. "His mind, his memory, his speech were unaffected."

Her husband was hospitalized Oct. 22 after a second stroke that was "devastating," she said.

Of the courtiers to Camelot's king, special counsel Sorensen ranked just below Kennedy's brother Bobby. He was the adoring, tireless speechwriter and confidant to a president whose term was marked by Cold War struggles, growing civil rights strife and the beginnings of the U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

Some of Kennedy's most memorable speeches, from his inaugural address to his vow to place a man on the moon, resulted from such close collaborations with Sorensen that scholars debated who wrote what. He had long been suspected as the real writer of the future president's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Profiles in Courage," an allegation Sorensen and the Kennedys emphatically – and litigiously – denied.

They were an odd but utterly compatible duo, the glamorous, wealthy politician from Massachusetts and the shy wordsmith from Nebraska, described by Time magazine in 1960 as "a sober, deadly earnest, self-effacing man with a blue steel brain." But as Sorensen would write in "Counselor," the difference in their lifestyles was offset by the closeness of their minds: Each had a wry sense of humor, a dislike of hypocrisy, a love of books and a high-minded regard for public life.

Kennedy called him "my intellectual blood bank" and the press frequently referred to Sorensen as Kennedy's "ghostwriter," especially after the release of "Profiles in Courage." Presidential secretary Evelyn Lincoln saw it another way: "Ted was really more shadow than ghost, in the sense that he was never really very far from Kennedy."

Sorensen's brain of steel was never needed more than in October 1962, with the U.S. and the Soviet Union on the brink of nuclear annihilation over the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Kennedy directed Sorensen and Bobby Kennedy, the administration's attorney general, to draft a letter to Nikita Khrushchev, who had sent conflicting messages, first conciliatory, then confrontational.

The carefully worded response – which ignored the Soviet leader's harsher statements and included a U.S. concession involving U.S. weaponry in Turkey – was credited with persuading the Soviets to withdraw their missiles from Cuba and with averting war between the superpowers.

Sorensen considered his role his greatest achievement.

"That's what I'm proudest of," he once told the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald. "Never had this country, this world, faced such great danger. You and I wouldn't be sitting here today if that had gone badly."

Robert Dallek, a historian and the author of "An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-163," agreed that Sorensen played a central role in that crisis and throughout the administration.

"He was one of the principal architects of the Kennedy presidency – in fact, the entire Kennedy career," he said Sunday.

Of the many speeches Sorensen helped compose, Kennedy's inaugural address shone brightest. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations includes four citations from the speech – one-seventh of the entire address, which built to an unforgettable exhortation: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Much of the roughly 14-minute speech – the fourth-shortest inaugural address ever, but in the view of many experts rivaled only by Lincoln's – was marked by similar sparkling phrase-making:

_ "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

_ "If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich."

_ "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

As with "Profiles in Courage, Sorensen never claimed primary authorship of the address. Rather, he described speechwriting within Kennedy's White House as highly collaborative – with JFK a constant kibitzer.

In April 1961, weeks into the Kennedy presidency, the Soviet Union launched the first man into orbit. Less than a month later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space with a 15-minute suborbital flight. The idea of a moon landing "caught my attention, and I knew it would catch Kennedy's," Sorensen recalled. "This is the man who talked about new frontiers. That's what I took to him."

Shortly after Shepard's landmark flight, Kennedy said: "I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth." U.S. astronauts met that deadline in July 1969.

Kennedy reinforced the Eisenhower administration's commitment of sending advisers to South Vietnam, but Sorensen maintained that the president, had he not been assassinated, would eventually have withdrawn American troops. Sorensen also believed that the president would have passed the civil rights legislation that successor Lyndon Johnson pushed through.

On the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, Sorensen was leaving his home in Arlington, Va., where he had stopped briefly after lunching with a newspaper editor, when he was summoned to the White House.

There, his secretary told him that the president had been shot in Dallas.

"Sometimes," Sorensen told an interviewer in 2006, "I still dream about him."

Sorensen's youthful worship never faded, even as he acknowledged Kennedy's extramarital affairs. "It was wrong, and he knew it was wrong, which is why he went to great lengths to keep it hidden," Sorensen wrote in his memoir. "In every other aspect of his life, he was honest and truthful, especially in his job. His mistakes do not make his accomplishments less admirable; but they were still mistakes."

Sorensen would witness a brief revival of Camelot with the presidential election of Obama, whom Sorensen endorsed "because he is more like John F. Kennedy than any other candidate of our time. He has judgment as he demonstrated in his early opposition to the war in Iraq."

A year after Obama's election, Sorensen said he was disappointed with the president's speeches, saying that Obama was "clearly well informed on all matters of public policy, sometimes, frankly, a little too well informed. And as a result, some of the speeches are too complicated for typical citizens and very clear to university faculties and big newspaper editorial boards."

Theodore Chaikin Sorensen was born in Lincoln, Neb., on May 8, 1928. His father, C.A. Sorensen, was a lawyer and a progressive politician who served as Nebraska's attorney general.

His son described the elder Sorensen as "my first hero." Growing up, Sorensen once joked, "I wasn't involved in politics at all – until about the age of 4."

He graduated from Lincoln High, the University of Nebraska and the university's law school. At age 24, he explored job prospects in Washington, D.C., and found himself weighing offers from two newly elected senators, Kennedy of Massachusetts and fellow Democrat Henry Jackson, from Washington state.

As Sorensen recalled, Jackson wanted a PR man. Kennedy, considered the less promising politician, wanted Sorensen to poll economists and develop a plan to jump-start New England's economy.

"Two roads diverged in the Old Senate Office Building and I took the one less recommended, and that has made all the difference," Sorensen wrote in his memoir. "The truth is more prosaic: I wanted a good job."

At the 1956 Democratic National Convention, the charismatic Kennedy attracted wide attention as a candidate for vice president. He eventually withdrew, but his exposure at the convention led to a flurry of invitations to speak around the country.

During the next four years – the de facto beginning of Kennedy's presidential run – he and Sorensen traveled together to every state, with Sorensen juggling various jobs: scheduler, speechwriter, press rep.

"There was nothing like that three-four year period where, just the two of us, we were traveling across the United States," Sorensen told The Associated Press in 2008. "That's when I got to know the man."

After Kennedy's thousand days in the White House, Sorensen worked as an international lawyer, counting Anwar Sadat among his clients. He stayed involved in politics, joining Bobby Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968 and running unsuccessfully for the New York Senate four years later. In 1976, President Carter nominated Sorensen for the job of CIA director, but conservative critics quickly killed the nomination, citing – among other alleged flaws – his youthful decision to identify himself as a conscientious objector.

Besides "Counselor," his books included "Decision Making in the White House" (1963), "Kennedy" (1965) and "The Kennedy Legacy" (1969). In 2000, Hollywood turned the Cuban missile crisis into a movie called "Thirteen Days." Actor Tim Kelleher played Sorensen.

His role, according to Sorensen? To "think and worry. ... often bent over."

Gillian Sorsensen told the AP that a public memorial service would be held for her husband in about a month, but the exact date has yet to be set. She said there would be no formal funeral.

Survivors also include a daughter, Juliet Sorensen Jones, of Chicago; three sons from his first marriage, Eric Sorensen, Stephen Sorensen and Philip Sorensen, all of Wisconsin; and seven grandchildren.
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#3
Imagine them now, together again, their respite brief ... "the fatal light in their faces a reminder that the contest is never quite over, the field never quite ours."
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#4
[Image: cb_kennedy_sorensen_100921_mn.jpg]
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#5
Published on Sunday, October 31, 2010 by CommonDreams.org From Our Archives: A Time to Weep

by Ted Sorensen

Commencement speech at the New School University in New York on May 21, 2004

This is not a speech. Two weeks ago I set aside the speech I prepared. This is a cry from the heart, a lamentation for the loss of this country's goodness and therefore its greatness.

Future historians studying the decline and fall of America will mark this as the time the tide began to turn - toward a mean-spirited mediocrity in place of a noble beacon.

For me the final blow was American guards laughing over the naked, helpless bodies of abused prisoners in Iraq. "There is a time to laugh," the Bible tells us, "and a time to weep." Today I weep for the country I love, the country I proudly served, the country to which my four grandparents sailed over a century ago with hopes for a new land of peace and freedom. I cannot remain silent when that country is in the deepest trouble of my lifetime.

I am not talking only about the prison abuse scandal, that stench will someday subside. Nor am I referring only to the Iraq war - that too will pass - nor to any one political leader or party. This is no time for politics as usual, in which no one responsible admits responsibility, no one genuinely apologizes, no one resigns and everyone else is blamed.

The damage done to this country by its own misconduct in the last few months and years, to its very heart and soul, is far greater and longer lasting than any damage that any terrorist could possibly inflict upon us.
The stain on our credibility, our reputation for decency and integrity, will not quickly wash away.

Last week, a family friend of an accused American guard in Iraq recited the atrocities inflicted by our enemies on Americans, and asked: "Must we be held to a different standard?" My answer is YES. Not only because others expect it. WE must hold ourselves to a different standard. Not only because God demands it, but because it serves our security.

Our greatest strength has long been not merely our military might but our moral authority. Our surest protection against assault from abroad has been not all our guards, gates and guns or even our two oceans, but our essential goodness as a people. Our richest asset has been not our material wealth but our values.

We were world leaders once - helping found the United Nations, the Marshall Plan, NATO, and programs like Food for Peace, international human rights and international environmental standards. The world admired not only the bravery of our Marine Corps but also the idealism of our Peace Corps.

Our word was as good as our gold. At the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis, former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, President Kennedy's special envoy to brief French President de Gaulle, offered to document our case by having the actual pictures of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba brought in. "No," shrugged the usually difficult de Gaulle: "The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me."

Eight months later, President Kennedy could say at American University: "The world knows that America will never start a war. This generation of Americans has had enough of war and hate ... we want to build a world of peace where the weak are secure and the strong are just."

Our founding fathers believed this country could be a beacon of light to the world, a model of democratic and humanitarian progress. We were. We prevailed in the Cold War because we inspired millions struggling for freedom in far corners of the Soviet empire. I have been in countries where children and avenues were named for Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. We were respected, not reviled, because we respected man's aspirations for peace and justice. This was the country to which foreign leaders sent not only their goods to be sold but their sons and daughters to be educated. In the 1930's, when Jewish and other scholars were driven out of Europe, their preferred destination - even for those on the far left - was not the Communist citadel in Moscow but the New School here in New York.

What has happened to our country? We have been in wars before, without resorting to sexual humiliation as torture, without blocking the Red Cross, without insulting and deceiving our allies and the U.N., without betraying our traditional values, without imitating our adversaries, without blackening our name around the world.

Last year when asked on short notice to speak to a European audience, and inquiring what topic I should address, the Chairman said: "Tell us about the good America, the America when Kennedy was in the White House." "It is still a good America," I replied. "The American people still believe in peace, human rights and justice; they are still a generous, fair-minded, open-minded people."

Today some political figures argue that merely to report, much less to protest, the crimes against humanity committed by a few of our own inadequately trained forces in the fog of war, is to aid the enemy or excuse its atrocities. But Americans know that such self-censorship does not enhance our security. Attempts to justify or defend our illegal acts as nothing more than pranks or no worse than the crimes of our enemies, only further muddies our moral image. 30 years ago, America's war in Vietnam became a hopeless military quagmire; today our war in Iraq has become a senseless moral swamp.

No military victory can endure unless the victor occupies the high moral ground. Surely America, the land of the free, could not lose the high moral ground invading Iraq, a country ruled by terror, torture and tyranny - but we did.

Instead of isolating Saddam Hussein - politically, economically, diplomatically, much as we succeeded in isolating Khadafy, Marcos, Mobutu and a host of other dictators over the years, we have isolated ourselves. We are increasingly alone in a dangerous world in which millions who once respected us now hate us.

Not only Muslims. Every international survey shows our global standing at an all-time low. Even our transatlantic alliance has not yet recovered from its worst crisis in history. Our friends in Western Europe were willing to accept Uncle Sam as class president, but not as class bully, once he forgot JFK's advice that "Civility is not a sign of weakness."

All this is rationalized as part of the war on terror. But abusing prisoners in Iraq, denying detainees their legal rights in Guantanamo, even American citizens, misleading the world at large about Saddam's ready stockpiles of mass destruction and involvement with al Qaeda at 9/11, did not advance by one millimeter our efforts to end the threat of another terrorist attack upon us. On the contrary, our conduct invites and incites new attacks and new recruits to attack us.

The decline in our reputation adds to the decline in our security. We keep losing old friends and making new enemies - not a formula for success. We have not yet rounded up Osama bin Laden or most of the al Qaeda and Taliban leaders or the anthrax mailer. "The world is large," wrote John Boyle O'Reilly, in one of President Kennedy's favorite poems, "when its weary leagues two loving hearts divide, but the world is small when your enemy is loose on the other side." Today our enemies are still loose on the other side of the world, and we are still vulnerable to attack.

True, we have not lost either war we chose or lost too much of our wealth. But we have lost something worse - our good name for truth and justice. To paraphrase Shakespeare: "He who steals our nation's purse, steals trash. T'was ours, tis his, and has been slave to thousands. But he that filches our good name ... makes us poor indeed."

No American wants us to lose a war. Among our enemies are those who, if they could, would fundamentally change our way of life, restricting our freedom of religion by exalting one faith over others, ignoring international law and the opinions of mankind; and trampling on the rights of those who are different, deprived or disliked. To the extent that our nation voluntarily trods those same paths in the name of security, the terrorists win and we are the losers.

We are no longer the world's leaders on matters of international law and peace. After we stopped listening to others, they stopped listening to us. A nation without credibility and moral authority cannot lead, because no one will follow.

Paradoxically, the charges against us in the court of world opinion are contradictory. We are deemed by many to be dangerously aggressive, a threat to world peace. You may regard that as ridiculously unwarranted, no matter how often international surveys show that attitude to be spreading. But remember the old axiom: "No matter how good you feel, if four friends tell you you're drunk, you better lie down."

Yet we are also charged not so much with intervention as indifference - indifference toward the suffering of millions of our fellow inhabitants of this planet who do not enjoy the freedom, the opportunity, the health and wealth and security that we enjoy; indifference to the countless deaths of children and other civilians in unnecessary wars, countless because we usually do not bother to count them; indifference to the centuries of humiliation endured previously in silence by the Arab and Islamic worlds.
The good news, to relieve all this gloom, is that a democracy is inherently self-correcting. Here, the people are sovereign. Inept political leaders can be replaced. Foolish policies can be changed. Disastrous mistakes can be reversed.

When, in 1941, the Japanese Air Force was able to inflict widespread death and destruction on our naval and air forces in Hawaii because they were not on alert, those military officials most responsible for ignoring advance intelligence were summarily dismissed.

When, in the late 1940's, we faced a global Cold War against another system of ideological fanatics certain that their authoritarian values would eventually rule the world, we prevailed in time. We prevailed because we exercised patience as well as vigilance, self-restraint as well as self-defense, and reached out to moderates and modernists, to democrats and dissidents, within that closed system. We can do that again. We can reach out to moderates and modernists in Islam, proud of its long traditions of dialogue, learning, charity and peace.

Some among us scoff that the war on Jihadist terror is a war between civilization and chaos. But they forget that there were Islamic universities and observatories long before we had railroads.

So do not despair. In this country, the people are sovereign. If we can but tear the blindfold of self-deception from our eyes and loosen the gag of self-denial from our voices, we can restore our country to greatness. In particular, you - the Class of 2004 - have the wisdom and energy to do it. Start soon.
In the words of the ancient Hebrews:
"The day is short, and the work is great, and the laborers are sluggish, but the reward is much, and the Master is urgent."
Ted Sorensen, a former aide to President John F. Kennedy, gave this moving commencement speech at the New School University in New York on May 21, 2004. (The "President Kerrey" he refers to is former Senator Bob Kerrey who is president of the New School, not US Senator John Kerry.) Sorensen died in New York City on Sunday, October 31, 2010, a week after suffering a stroke.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/31-8
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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#6
Thanks Phil. That's a great photo.
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#7
Keith - great to see you back posting here at DPF, and thank you for post #5.

Judging by his 2004 speech, Ted Sorensen had a powerful and enduring moral conscience.
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
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#8
Jan Klimkowski Wrote:Keith - great to see you back posting here at DPF, and thank you for post #5.

Judging by his 2004 speech, Ted Sorensen had a powerful and enduring moral conscience.


Yes thank you posting that speech Keith.

It sounds naive to me. Did Sorenson actually believe that Americans can replace leaders by voting?
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