Monday, August 26, 2013


August 26, 2013


London, UK (JFK+50)Earlier this month, James G. Blight published an interesting article in THE NEW STATEMAN* which makes the argument that John F. Kennedy's greatest asset as a decision-maker came from...

"the way he dealt with his physical weakness, and the conclusions he drew from the inability of the top doctors of his time to...successfully treat his array of physical maladies."

*The New Statesman is a political and cultural magazine published in London.  It was founded in 1913 by Sidney and Beatrice Webb.  It is committed to global issues, human rights and the environment.

As president of the United States for 1039 days, JFK was literally the picture of health at home and around the world.

His tanned and youthful image appeared on the covers of countless numbers of magazines.  Those images bore no hint of the health problems President Kennedy experienced.

After all, at age 43, he was the youngest elected president in history.  His wife, Jacqueline, much younger than he, was one of the most beautiful First Ladies ever and JFK was the first president since TR to have young children in the White House.

                     The First Family
         Hyannis Port, Massachusetts
                       August 4, 1962
            Photo by Cecil Stoughon

Most of us know now, however, that John F. Kennedy may well have been one of the most unhealthy men to hold the office of POTUS.

As. James Blight points out, JFK was given the Last Rites of the Roman Catholic Church on "at least four occasions," and his "physical maladies" included
"Addison's disease...degeneration of his spinal cord...and unbearable back pain."

                       Jackie with JFK
                 After Spinal Surgery
                    December 21, 1954
             Photo by Dick DeMarisco
           Library of Congress Image

But despite the healthy image JFK projected from 1961 to 1963, the world was generally aware that he suffered from back pain and while the press refrained from publishing photographs of the President during the times he had to resort to the use of crutches, they did not attempt to cover up his back issues.

One reporter even went so far to ask at a news conference...

"Mr. President, how is your aching back?"

President Kennedy responded in his characteristic self-effacing manner...

"It depends on the weather, political and otherwise."

Mr. Bright goes on to say that the failure of JFK's physicians to successfully cure his health issues led him to "never trust the experts - whether doctors or generals."

JFK's mindset also, Bright argues, contributed to his "disregard for rank and/or experience" and President Kennedy's requirement for PROOF instead of simple reassurance...

"kept the United States and the world from disastrous wars during his presidency."


"Acts of agony," by James G. Blight, The New Statesman, August 7, 2013,


Atlantic City, New Jersey (JFK+50) The 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was nominated here in Atlantic City 49 years ago tonight, August 26, 1964, by the delegates of the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Mr. Johnson assumed the Presidency upon the death of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.

LBJ, who was tabbed for the VP slot by JFK on the 1960 Democratic presidential ticket,  went on to choose Hubert Horatio Humphrey of Minnesota as his running mate.

 LBJ won a  landslide victory over Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona in the November general election.

                            JFK and LBJ
                         August 31, 1961
                  Photo by Abbie Rowe
                    JFK Library Image


Maui, Hawaii (JFK+50) Charles Augustus Lindbergh, the 1st man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, died here in Maui, 39 years ago today, August 26, 1974, at the age of 72.

Lindbergh, who was born in Detroit in 1902, died of lymphoma.

His remains were interred at the Palapala Ho'omau Church in Kipahulu, Maui.

JFK+50 recommends Rick Ryan's new song "Childhood's End." 

                       "Childhood's End"
                            by Rick Ryan