My doppelganger.

For years, I’ve thought of Caroline Kennedy as my doppelganger, if you stretch the term a bit. On most counts we have nothing in common — she’s rich, skinny and has excellent bone structure, while I’m none of those things. But we are almost exactly the same age; I was born two days before she was, on the date that would become her baby brother’s birthday three years later. (More proof that there’s nothing else to do in February.) So I’ve always taken a certain interest in Caroline, the way a changeling might watch the one having the life that was obviously stolen. Caroline summered on the Cape; I, at the city pool. Caroline went to Harvard; I enrolled at Ohio University. Caroline got a mega-rich stepdaddy with a yacht and the sort of inheritance that provides one with a comfortable life of wealth on Park Avenue, spent raising children and doing Good Works; I got…well, I got what I got. I’m not complainin’. I’m just sayin’.

By the way, an aside: My Caroline scholarship foundation text is this, a cookbook that came to the newsroom a few years back, and which I immediately nicked for myself. It’s part memoir, part recipe collection, written by Marta Sgubin, the woman who was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ cook and later, nanny to Caroline’s family. The recipes are better than you think, but the anecdotes will make you want to chew your leg off. Thanksgiving, for instance, spent at Jackie’s Virginia hunt-country house, where everyone arises early for the Thanksgiving Day foxhunt, then home for a light lunch of minestrone soup before the banquet later in the day. Changeling! Changeling! This was supposed to be my life, dammit. (Thanksgiving is also when Caroline and John Jr.’s birthdays are celebrated; Caroline always wanted chocolate roll, a recipe I never tried.)

Anyhoo.

So of course I’ve been following the discussion of whether Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg — which she’s never called, by the way; did she stop using her married name? — should inherit Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate seat. And while I’ve never begrudged my doppelganger anything, from the summer vacations on Skorpios to cinnamon toast made under the broiler, by a goddamn servant, after sledding in Central Park, I’m putting my foot down on this. And it’s not class envy, but simple justice: No Senate seat for the martyred president’s daughter. Got that, Gov. David Paterson?

Others have made the case against her with clarity and bullet points. Jane Hamsher:

Her leadership could have been really helpful when we were trying to keep the progressive lights on and getting the stuffing beaten out of us by a very well-financed right wing for the past eight years. But when things were tough, she was nowhere to be found.

Now that the Democras are in power, she’d like to come in at the top. We have absolutely no idea if she’s qualified, or whether she can take the media blast furnace of being a Kennedy in public life. She’s certainly shown no appetite for it in the past. She’ll have a target on her back and if she can’t take it, if she crumbles, she will become a rallying point that the right will easily organize around.

The woman has never run for office in her life. We have no idea how she’d fare on the campaign trail, or how well she could stand up to the electoral process. She simply picks up the phone and lets it be known that she just might be up for having one of the highest offices in the land handed to her because — well, because why? Because her uncle once held the seat? Because she’s a Kennedy? Because she took part as a child in the public’s romantic dreams of Camelot? I’m not quite sure.

Richard Bradley, who mixes in a little personal score-settling:

Kennedy would become senator simply by doing something at which she has long excelled: working the phones with powerful people who take her calls because of her last name. And though such talents aren’t irrelevant to a senator’s job—and though Kennedy has long experience fulfilling ceremonial obligations, another senatorial duty—they are far from sufficient. Sometimes a senator has to get her hands dirty.

Disclosure: My view of Kennedy is shaped by personal experience. Before my book “American Son,” about working with John Kennedy Jr. at George magazine, was published in 2002, surrogates of Caroline tried to prevent its publication. They failed, but it was ugly stuff. If Caroline Kennedy didn’t know the specifics of their efforts—which ranged from threatening my original publisher to planting negative stories about me in the media—she certainly knew of their existence. How do I know? Because I told her, in letters to which she never responded.

Michael Wolff sees it as a fait accompli, and shrugs:

The fact that she has never had a job, other than as a retailer of sentimental poetry, and keeper of the flame, and occasional figure-head on commissions and committees, is beside the point. What she has is glamour—true, old-fashioned, gives-you-a-little-buzz glamour—which is quite remarkable, given the oddness, ungainliness, and general lack of sociability of the latter-generation Kennedys.

…Assiduously courted by benefit committees and PR types, she’s a china doll. A kitschy presence. In real life, she is said to be rather droll and, even, quite captivating on the subject of her bizarre family (come on, they are bizarre) and unimaginable life. So much so that it is a kind of perk of power and status to get near to her at a dinner party or benefit gala and receive a small tidbit, an insight or witty view, about what it is really like to be a Kennedy.

Whereas Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post merely embarrasses herself, and ho ho, she’s got a doppelganger, too:

On the question of Caroline Kennedy for Senate, my head says no, on balance. My heart says yes! Yes! Right now, as you might guess from the hedging on the former and the exclamation points on the latter, my heart is winning.

…What really draws me to the notion of Caroline as senator, though, is the modern-fairy-tale quality of it all. Like many women my age — I’m a few months younger than she — Caroline has always been part of my consciousness: The lucky little girl with a pony and an impossibly handsome father. The stoic little girl holding her mother’s hand at her father’s funeral. The sheltered girl, whisked away from a still-grieving country by a mother trying to shield her from prying eyes.

In this fairy tale, Caroline is our tragic national princess. She is not locked away in a tower but chooses, for the most part, to closet herself there. Her mother dies, too young. Her impossibly handsome brother crashes his plane, killing himself, his wife and his sister-in-law. She is the last survivor of her immediate family; she reveals herself only in the measured doses of a person who has always been, will always be, in the public eye.

Oh, shut UP. Of all these, I think Bradley gets closest to the truth: She shouldn’t be a senator — a representative of the people, after all — because she doesn’t particularly like people. If she did, she might get out and about among them once in a while. Of course, we all know she’s been dealt a different hand, and for a daughter of Jack Kennedy, getting out among them means paparazzi, blind items in Page Six and other pains in the neck. On the other hand, her brother had all the same burdens, and carried them with evident grace. Both siblings got law degrees, but only John actually practiced law. Caroline got a big apartment on the upper east side, wrote a couple of unreadable books and, in the cliché phrase, “zealously guards her privacy.” Again, under the circumstances, these are entirely defensible decisions for a woman to make. But there have to be consequences, even for a Kennedy. And sorry, you don’t get to simply waltz in and claim a prize like this, because why, exactly? Your uncle is dying and the United States Senate has a Kennedy affirmative-action spot?

This is still America. In your world, you can become one of the incoming president’s “dearest friends” simply by picking up a phone. But to be a member of the Senate, you still should have to shake a few unwashed hands. Sorry, you don’t qualify.

So, a little bloggage before I go out in the chill freezing rain for the one thing that can get me out in the chill freezing rain: We’re out of coffee.

I can’t find it now, so no link, but I was surprised by some of the blog reaction to the SUV prayer services in Detroit stories yesterday. Commenters in particular seemed appalled that cars were brought into the church itself, on “the altar.” You’d think even if you haven’t been in a church lately, you’d know that when you read this phrase — “the 8,000-member Greater Grace Temple” — we’re not talking altars as they’re commonly understood. These folks are Pentacostals, anyway, and don’t do altars per se; it’s the One True and related outfits that make a big fuss over altars and chalices and genuflection. The SUVs were on a stage. Get over it. (Which reminds me: Apply for credentials for the auto show in January. Should be interesting.)

Mother of the Year, Detroit-style.

Coozledad got his mules. My money’s on Jane putting a hoofprint on his ass before they reach an understanding.

A break in the rain! I’m off.

Posted at 9:22 am in Current events |
 

74 responses to “My doppelganger.”

  1. Jenflex said on December 9, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Blagojevich just got arrested…check out the Trib.

  2. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2008 at 9:55 am

    This is why I love living in Illinois. Politics here is like an endlessly fascinating ant farm. . .there’s always something going on. Of course, it figures that the “reform” Democratic governor who replaced the corrupt old Republican –that would be George Ryan, who has been in the headlines as Sen. Dick Durbin advocates for a commutation of his 6 1/2 year federal prison sentence– is himself dirtier than dirt.

    An FBI spokesman on WBBM-AM more or less confirmed good ol’ Blago was trying to “sell” the vacant Senate seat left by Barack Obama. This is in addition to a wide array of hinky political actions ranging from the gov’s pretty wife Patty getting fat contracts to the usual influence peddling.

    The insufferable John Kass of the Trib refers to the Illinois political establishment as “the combine,” because there is usually no discernible difference between the GOP and the Dems. So long as everyone is making money and wielding power, they’re happy to work together. He’s correct. We seem unable to field quality candidates and have not had an honest governor since Republican Jim Edgar in the 1990s.

  3. Dorothy said on December 9, 2008 at 10:01 am

    My brother Jim was born the day before, and same year as, John Kennedy Jr. 11/24/60 was Thanksgiving Day and my older sibs tell me we had no turkey dinner that year, of course. I wonder if that’s the year my dad made meatloaf with carrots in it? Greg still talks about how awful it was.

  4. Peter said on December 9, 2008 at 10:03 am

    In the words of that great political prognosticator, Kenneth “Hawk” Harrelson:

    HE GONE

    And good riddance to bad rubbish. Actually, this will either be a great opportunity or a great meltdown, as the Lt. Gov., Pat Quinn, has that rarest quality in Illinois – he’s honest. Which means that nobody likes him, although compared to the current jailed governor, what’s zero friends compared to one or two?

    And as for Nancy’s riff on Caroline – For all of its sophistication, New Yorkers sure lap up celebrity more than LA – think about it, Robert Kennedy was senator from NY – yeah, he lived and worked there a long time – Hilary, seriously, could she have been elected senator anywhere else? Caroline just fits the mold.

  5. moe99 said on December 9, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Yeah, I figure it’s a done deal for Caroline, if she wants it. My sister Barb had a Caroline Kennedy doll, which was odd coming from my very Republican parents, but perhaps the fact that the Kennedys were Catholic helped with the allure for my mother.

  6. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Peter, you rascal, nothing like mocking a Cub fan like Blago with a White Sox slur, lol.

    I agree Pat Quinn would be a good state leader. He’s one of the few who doesn’t deserve banishment. I’ll bet House Speaker Mike Madigan is licking his chops at the thought his daughter might be able to elbow her way into the governor’s mansion. She might be that bad, despite her pedigree. She’s done a pretty fair job as a.g.

    Meanwhile, which rightwing commentator will be the first to say that Blago’s perfidy shows that President-elect Obama is indeed a product of the “Chicago machine?”

  7. Colleen said on December 9, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Yanno, I hadn’t given it much thought, but yeah, you’re right. Talk about a sense of entitlement.

  8. Jolene said on December 9, 2008 at 10:22 am

    I had much the same reaction on hearing that Caroline Kennedy might want the Senate seat. In particular, I heard several times on MSNBC that Uncle Ted “really wants her to have it.” Oh well, then, what the heck. Let’s give it to her.

    On the other hand, she does seem to have done some good in the world. From Wikipedia:

    From 2002 to 2004, Kennedy worked as chief executive for the Office of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department of Education. During this time, she helped raise more than $65 million for the city’s public schools. [5] She currently serves as the Vice Chair of The Fund for Public Schools, a public-private partnership founded in 2002 to attract private funding for public schools in New York City.

    I know this is the work of the rich, but, still, it’s useful. I didn’t look for more detail, but several people have spoken favorably of this in the news. Perhaps someone knows more?

    Also, the Wikipedia piece says that, although she is sometimes referred to as Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, she never actually changed her name.

    But, anyway, yeah. I’m looking for a job, and when I heard about this, I thought, “Hey, I could do that. I have longstanding interests in politics too.”

  9. John c said on December 9, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I haven’t been in Chicago for 8 years. So I’ve missed Blago as governor. But I’m not surprised. I knew him back when he was just the son-in-law of Dick Mell. All you need to know about Mell is that he’s a Chicago alderman, 33rd Ward if I’m not mistaken. Nuff said.

  10. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2008 at 10:49 am

    The 76-page indictment is being parsed right now. They have tape of Blago talking about what he wants in exchange for an appointment to Obama’s open seat including a quote where he says he needs something because a Senate seat is “&^%$ valuable.” He’s also considered appointing himself to the position.

    Blago is almost beyond stupid. He knew he was under federal scrutiny and he’s mouthing off like Jimmy Cagney in an old Warner Brothers movie.

  11. brian stouder said on December 9, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Well, I want to disagree with the (entirely cogent and compelling) criticisms of Caroline Kennedy’s qualifications, but I can’t, really.

    But on a visceral level, though, I WILL say that she didn’t get to choose the circumstances of her life; she didn’t choose the ill-starred historic family she was born into, nor the early loss of her dad; and she didn’t choose the untimely death of her head-turning brother; and she didn’t choose the enduring attraction that her name and her visage consequently has always (and will always) draw.

    So if, after President-elect Obama selected Senator Clinton to be his Secretary of State, Caroline looked at the open Senate seat and thought “I can do that”; if she chose to harness the unendingly public nature of her life, and jump into the arena (albeit while bypassing the rubber-chicken circuit and landing directly in the Senate Chambers!) – I won’t disagree with THAT, either!

    She would be, afterall, opening herself to ALL the retail politics that elective office entails in just a dozen and a half months, when the voters of New York get a chance to weigh in. Afterall, being in the habit of calling powerful people and getting them to take your call is indeed something she already does; and she can raise money without selling her soul, so she would be freer than many to judge contentious issues free from those self-same ‘powerful people’ on the other end of the line.

  12. moe99 said on December 9, 2008 at 11:11 am

    apropos of yesterday’s discussion, one of the biggest churches in Seattle is found at the Center for Spiritual Living, just down the road from where I live. We were there this weekend for a sing along Messiah to benefit the orchestra of two of my kids’ public high school, Garfield. What does anyone here know about the Church of Religious Science (an offshoot of Christian Scientists that believes stuff entirely separate from them)?

    http://www.religiousscience.org/xindex02.html

  13. LA Mary said on December 9, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Fran Drescher has announced she wants the senate seat, so Caroline is out of luck. Who wouldn’t want Fran Drescher as their senator?

  14. brian stouder said on December 9, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Moe – I clicked your link, and was intrigued by a subsequent link for “Our Founder”

    http://www.religiousscience.org/ucrs_site/our_founder/index.html

    He looks like Mr Wilson of Dennis the Menace.

    Mary – Fran Drescher is hot! As you say – what’s not to like?

  15. Joe Kobiela said on December 9, 2008 at 11:40 am

    We in the aviation world still believe that Hillery had John Jr shot down so he wouldn’t get her senate seat. Think about it, he was flying a $250,000 airplane with a 3-axis auto pilot that will fly a approach right down to the runway,all he had to due if he was suffering from spacial disorientation was hit two buttons hdg and alt, the navy was in on the search from the beginning, I don’t think that would have been done for me,or any other regular pilot, there were never any pictures released showing the plane, so we never could see what kind of damage there was, the faa made a quick assessment of the accident when it usually takes a year, not to mention the facts that a lot of enemy’s of the Clintons had a way of winding up dead. We all just figured Hillery lied and John John died. If I were Caroline I would watch my back.
    Pilot Joe

  16. alex said on December 9, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Really, Joe? I thought it was Hillary who blew up the World Trade Center. But what do I know?

  17. John said on December 9, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Alex,

    She just dropped the south tower, Vince Foster got the north one.

  18. Jenflex said on December 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    JeffB: What got me was that he felt “stuck” as governor. And, I just learned Illinois doesn’t have term limits for gov???? WTF?

  19. Woodwards Friend said on December 9, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    “In this fairy tale, Caroline is our tragic national princess.”

    I suppose that qualifies her to be a gay icon, a kind of political Liza Minnelli, but not a U.S. Senator.

  20. beb said on December 9, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I came in to work this morning. fired up the browser and checked a few blogs — nothing much going on. Sit down for lunch, open up the browser and Holy Carp! the governor of Illinois has been arrested! Wow!

    One comment I’ve seen involves the CEO of the Trib, who apparently wanted to flob the Cubs off on some state agency as a way of avoiding some taxes. Obviously it didn’t happen, but sinc the offer seems to have been made, doesn’t this amount to attempted tax evasion? Can’t Zell be prosecuted for that? Amd what about all the people who approved his acquistion of the Trib using an Employee Ownership provision that Zell obviously was qualified to use? Should they be proesecuted for failure of Fiduciary responsibility? Can’t we throw someone in jail — just because.

    On making Caroline Kennedy I’m of two minds. Has she shown any talent for the position? That’s a totally irrelevent question. Mrs. Sonny Bono didn’t have any experience as a Senator before being selectioned to finish off her late husband’s term. For that matter Sonny never showed any talent either. If talent was an pre-requisite for being a Senator, the chamber would be strikingly empty.

    But the idea of appointing a kennedy just because she’s a Kennedy is troubling. We’ve already had two Bush’s and if Hillary had won, that would have been two Clinton’s with jeb Bush waiting in the wings till 2016 so he can run. that would have been 36 years with the country rules by just two families. Stuff like that has got to stop. I think we ought to amend the Constitution to bar the spouses and children of Presidents and Congressman from inheriting their parent or spouse’s seat.

  21. Connie said on December 9, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    Brian, I don’t think senators should be selected on the basis of hotness. Just doesn’t seem a necessary skill set. And if Fran Drescher got it? I’d have to stop watching the news for fear of hearing her voice.

  22. Connie said on December 9, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    I see the SUV church service to which your post yesterday referred has made it to my favorite scientist/atheist page: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

  23. MarkH said on December 9, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Joe —

    All conspiracies aside, was JFK, Jr. qualified for that night flight? His wife’s sister kept them waiting until after dark, he made the decision to head for Martha’s Vineyard anyway, when, according to most editorial coverage at the time, he lacked instrument qualifications. Having said that, what I remember from my meager private pilot training is that (when) spacial disorientation happens, and you must always be cognizant of your artificial horizon, air speed and rate of climb/descent. Even when VFR. Right? I think he was a bit arrogant, and that night, too impatient.

    It’s Caroline’s for the taking, of course, but I haven’t seen any clear indication she will take it or really wants it(?). She has said almost nothing about it, and maybe she’s on the equivalent of a “listening tour”? Hamsher nails it, along with Nancy’s line of Kennedy Affirmative Action line. I mean, we ALWAYS have to have a Kennedy in the senate, don’t we? I’ve always like her though.

    Wow. Another scab comes off the festering wound that is Illinois/Chicago politics. Only this time, the arrogance of the perp (Blagojevich), if not the outright (ok, ok, ALLEGED) criminality, is mind-blowing. Everything seems to be on the table here. Yes, eventually Rezko. Any speculation as to where THAT will lead? Precious little discussion over the previous months (or today) regarding our president-elect’s deliberate decision to latch onto this machine to forward his political career, and subsequent bed-sharing with Rezko. How far into that territory will Fitzgerald go? Last summer’s New Yorker article should have opened anyone’s eyes to the politically calculating nature of Barack Obama.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/21/080721fa_fact_lizza

  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Moe, i’m recalling that Cecil B. DeMille and those ubiquitous Ten Commandments monuments had something to do with them, but i’m not at a spot where i can hunt about much.

    Joe, please tell me you’re kidding. Really. Horizon disorientation combined with being sure you’re right — apparently a Kennedy family syndrome (see Pigs, Bay of) — can auger you in right quick no matter what bells and whistles your dashboard carries.

    So someone explain to me why Sam Zell isn’t the one declaring bankruptcy? How is he solvent, the Trib board unindicted, and the reporters who are still breaking stories the ones who are bankrupt?

  25. Danny said on December 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Last summer’s New Yorker article should have opened anyone’s eyes to the politically calculating nature of Barack Obama.

    Anyone remember Rep. Jerrold Nadler telling the Jewish voters of Florida how Obama lacked political courage to walk out of Wright’s church? Here’s a video of him saying it.

    Yeah, its very arguable from his associations that there was some “calculation” going on. I’d say all politicians at the national level have this to deal with. I am still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for a few years in office. Hopefully, he has enough of a mandate rise above.

  26. mark said on December 9, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    It’s a shame Caroline didn’t know there was a seat for sale in Illinois. And at prices well within her reach. (jk)

    Seriously, it’s a dem’s seat, and if they want to fill it based on who has the most People magazine covers or the support of two out of three hosts of “The View,” I won’t be knocked over with surprise or sleepless with concern.

    Hillary’s earned some of my admiration for her hard work. From what I read, she spent almost as much energy in performing her Senate duties as in her presidential run.

    I tend to think that it may be a little late in life for Caroline to learn the habit of hard work.

  27. LA Mary said on December 9, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Jeff TMMO, there’s Pigs, Bay of. There’s football, skiing while throwing. There’s Chappaquiddick, bridges near. There’s Ambien, driving/operating heavy machinery while using. It goes on and on.

  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Mark, nah, with Fitzgerald’s track record (and look at his handling of this mess alone), if there was more flame or even smoldering embers beneath the thin wisps of smoke over Resko re Obama, he would have put it out there before the election. When we got past Oct. 28th without any filings on that, i’ve been convinced that’s all she wrote on Resko re Obama.

    If we can’t trust Fitzgerald on this one, i can’t imagine who should be trusted, and i’m not that utterly cynical. Yet.

    Blagocantspellit is an amazing story, right down to the 6 am “is this a joke?” Never underestimate the power of willful stupidity and self-delusion; it can cause you to fly a plane when you shouldn’t, or offer a price for an office when you already know you’re being watched (i.e., phonetapped) for corruption.

  29. Bruce Fields said on December 9, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    “Last summer’s New Yorker article should have opened anyone’s eyes to the politically calculating nature of Barack Obama.”

    Err, he just spent the last two years or so running a successful campaign for President of the United States. “Politically calculating” doesn’t begin to cover it.

  30. brian stouder said on December 9, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Brian, I don’t think senators should be selected on the basis of hotness.

    Connie – true enough. But she is still seriously, seriously hot!

    http://www.frandrescher.net/pictures.html

  31. Jolene said on December 9, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I tend to think that it may be a little late in life for Caroline to learn the habit of hard work.

    I’m not sure it’s fair to say that she is unacquainted w/ activities that require effort. She’s never waited tables, and she hasn’t had to compete for opportunity, but she hasn’t spent her life working on her tan.

  32. John said on December 9, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Doesn’t anyone else see her more in the Audrey Hepburn role at the UN?

  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    OK, now Audrey Hepburn — hot. (Sorry, Brian!)

    Plus, she played God in “Always.”

    If we’re gonna make familiarity with hard work a qualification for the Senate, we have more vacancies to fill than Rod Blagojevich could fill even if he asked his potty-mouth missus to help with names and prices. That’s not exactly a hall filled with self-made, bootstrap-up-pulling folk.

    Exhibit A — the incomprehensible career of Jay Rockefeller. Et cetera.

  34. Joe Kobiela said on December 9, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Yea just kidding about JFK Jr, While he was legal to fly that night he was not really prepared. You can look back and see this crash building. Weather was marginal, had not flown for awhile, was late getting started, had pressure on him to get there. After spending the last 18 months flying over Lake Erie and Michigan it can still be vfr legal (1000ft ceiling and 3 miles vis) but you had better have your game on. Haze over the lakes at night is bad news. You can get a glimpse of a light, perhaps a boat or navigation beacon and you would swear you are straight and level, and you look at your artificial horizon, and your in a bank or a climb. I teach instrument flying and I drill into my students, trust the instruments not what your feeling. I really shudder to think of JFK going down that night, thinking to himself, what the hell is wrong ? and his wife and sis-inlaw in back, asking , are we ok? He got it into a spiral and pulled up hard on the yoke pulling the tail off. He had a great auto pilot in the plane and was probably using it until he thought he had land in sight and then for some reason shut it off. In my job as a charter pilot, if we have passenger or freight on board we are required to fly all are approaches coupled to the autopilot and we let the ap fly until decision hgt or we can see the runway. Then we disconnect and hand fly the landing. Commercial flights are flown the same way.
    Pilot Joe

  35. MichaelG said on December 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Fran Drescher hot? Sorry, can’t see it. For openers, as Connie said, I can’t get past the voice.

    I also don’t like the idea of Caroline Kennedy being named senator.

    Haven’t you seen that grainy picture of Hillary standing on the MV beach with a smoking stinger launcher?

  36. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    For the person who was asking about Sam Zell, Governor Rod, Wrigley Field and tax evasion, here’s what I recall.

    Former Illinois Gov. “Big Jim” Thompson, a free-spending Republican who put the state’s finances into freefall and was considered a powerful backroom operator despite his lack of indictments, wanted to have the State of Illinois purchase Wrigley Field. (The state already owns U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox.) His motivations were never completely clear, but yes, there would have been significant but legal tax advantages for Mr. Zell if/when the ballclub and stadium were sold. Sympathetic onlookers might argue Big Jim was trying to protect the legacy of Wrigley from new owners who might screw around with it, but he’s not that altruistic, at least not about buildings. He and his law firm, Winston & Strawn, did spend $20 million in their unsuccessful attempt to keep former Gov. George Ryan out of the federal pen. It was a major defeat for Big Jim and a former prosecutor, Dan Webb, who has flipped sides and is a top criminal defense attorney commanding enormous fees for Winston & Strawn.

  37. Julie Robinson said on December 9, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Let’s not forget that Hillary Clinton has to be confirmed before there is a vacant Senate seat in New York, since she is not resigning until said confirmation.

    Re Blagojevich: all my life I’ve had to hear my Republican mother complain about the Chicago Dems and she has really hated Blago. Wonder if I can skip this Sunday’s call?

  38. Ricardo said on December 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    All they need to do is show Fran Drescher acting in the Cheech and Chong movie “Nice Dreams” and she’s eliminated as a choice for Senator.

    Arianna Huffington and I share the exact same birthday and she is my doppelganger.

  39. Jeff Borden said on December 9, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Julie,
    The Dems in Chicago and Cook County are pretty awful, but as noted, the Republican Party in suburban Chicago and throughout Illinois has been peopled by the same kind of ethically challenged doofuses forever and a day. Ask your mom to compare and contrast Blago’s transgressions with George Ryan’s. Blago’s are the more breathtaking, but you could argue Ryan’s were more dangerous, since he openly sold commercial driver’s licenses to unqualified semi-truck operators, putting hundreds of thousands of motorists nationwide at risk.

  40. brian stouder said on December 9, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    Arianna Huffington and I share the exact same birthday and she is my doppelganger.

    Gee Ricardo, I’ll have to change the speaking style I have assigned to you in my imagination, from slightly-jaded-Californian to Zsa-Zsa-Gabor-Hungarian

  41. Julie Robinson said on December 9, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Don’t I know it, Jeff! But when it comes to politics, Mom has selective memory. I try very hard to deflect and change the subject and recently she’s been pretty good about respecting that. This one will keep her going all through the long winter.

  42. Scout said on December 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Oh I dunno, I kind of like the idea. And here is what Al Giordano has to say about it in his piece, “Caroline Kennedy: “No Drama” before “No Drama” Was Cool:

    >On a policy level, it would be an even more brilliant move from the perspective of liberalism and progressivism: Attorney Kennedy is underestimated by some only because she’s lived by the “no drama” approach to politics long before Obama made it popular. Most people have little idea of her accomplishments because her style has been to seek results not credit for them. I know, because in the 1990s, as political reporter for the Boston Phoenix, I covered the Kennedy family and all its doings – including Ted Kennedys 1994 reelection battle against Mitt Romney – very closely. Caroline, at the helm of the Kennedy library, has served as the true executive director of the family and all its political and policy interests. She has also been the family’s ambassador nationwide and around the world: the one that attended funerals and other matters of statesmanship on the family’s behalf. That she generally avoided the spotlight in doing so, and always avoided personal scandal – a particularly difficult challenge for anybody named Kennedy – is testimony to her skill and finesse at the political game.<

  43. alex said on December 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Can’t get too exercised about Caroline being handed that seat. At one time people were saying similar things about another neophyte who aspired to and was handed that very same seat — its current occupant.

  44. Colleen said on December 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Barack Obama and i have the same birthdate, but he’s a few years older than I.

    Definitely not my doppelganger.

  45. LA Mary said on December 9, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I have the same birthday as Loretta Young, Danny Thomas, Joan of Arc, and Nancy Lopez. I’m the doppelganger of every one of them. I hear voices, do spit takes, adopt children who look miraculously like I do, and play a mean game of golf.

  46. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Joan of Arc played golf?

  47. brian stouder said on December 9, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Joan of Arc, eh? Well, she’s pretty hot, especially with the form-fitting leather

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Joan_of_arc_miniature_graded.jpg

    My birthday offers Bruce Willis, Ursula Andress, and Wyatt Earp….which reminds me of a joke my dad used to tell, about the new movie starring Joe Lewis, Shirley Temple, and John Wayne (“Fight, F*ck or Draw!”)

  48. Cosmo Panzini said on December 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Caroline as NY state senator? Hell no 1000 times. If the Dems are already so drunk with power and arrogant enough to countenance this, then they’ll deserve everything the right-wingers can dredge up to throw at them.

  49. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Shania Twain, Emma Sams, Scott Hamilton, and my favorite (probably my doppleganger, darn it), Melvin Dummar.

    Tolstoy and Goethe, in my dreams. I’m not sure what astrology does with that set of names et moi.

  50. alex said on December 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    I share mine with Gregg Gillis, Jon Heder, Cary Elwes, Lauren Tewes (from the Love Boat), Hillary Clinton, Pat Sajak, Jaclyn Smith, Bob Hoskins, Jackie Coogan and Mahalia Jackson.

  51. brian stouder said on December 9, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    I always thought Jaclyn was 10X hotter than Farah

  52. coozledad said on December 9, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Jimmy Hoffa, Vic Morrow and Florence Henderson.
    Sounds like the day is cursed.

  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 9, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Hey, who says Hoffa is dead?

  54. coozledad said on December 9, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Wherever he is he’d be in awe of Blagojevich’s balls, or stupidity, or both.
    Is it too late to appoint Fitz deputy AG?

  55. LA Mary said on December 9, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Hmmm, Coozledad. You share your birthday with someone buried under the endzone at the Meadowlands, someone who was decapitated by a helicopter, and someone who had to wear those tacky polyester culotte suits on the Brady Bunch? I thought my list was grim.

  56. coozledad said on December 9, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Florence probably is the brightest spot in that crew, except for the fact she had the hots for Greg. Got to question her judgment.

  57. Jolene said on December 9, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Lots of cool people on my list: Sigourney Weaver, Matt Damon, Chevy Chase, and Jesse Jackson.

  58. Jolene said on December 9, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Have y’all been getting lots of email re paying off Hillary’s campaign debts? I’ve gotten half a dozen or so messages. Apparently, she can’t fundraise after she becomes Secretary of State.

  59. MichaelG said on December 9, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    I have Dwight Eisenhower, Lillian Gish, e. e. cummings, Roger Moore and Ralph Lauren.

    You’re right, Brian. Joan of Arc was pretty hot there toward the end.

    Hillary has Bill to panhandle for her.

  60. LA Mary said on December 9, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    I dressed as Joan of Arc for mandatory office Halloween one year. I kept acting as though I was hearing voices, and I wore a plastic breastplate over slightly singed grey long underwear. Very few people got it. I hate mandatory office Halloween.

  61. joodyb said on December 9, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    cooz, will you be my valentine?

  62. Deborah said on December 9, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Caroline Kennedy, otherwise known as Mrs. Edwin Schlossberg, in my mind would make a fine Senator of NY. No better or worse than many. Better than quite a few actually. Why not? Schlossberg by the way has an exhibit design company that’s quite laudable. Of course I’m a sucker for the Kennedy’s, the immediate family, not the extended family so much, although I do like Robert Kennedy Jr. I heard him speak last summer here in Chicago. Funny voice, but excellent speaker.
    Reeling over the Gov here in IL, I must say. What a slime. Saw him in person once, he’s even slimier in person.

  63. coozledad said on December 9, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    joodyb: A woman I used to tend bar with just shook her head and said, “No way. I could see Halloween being your birthday, or maybe Pearl Harbor day.”

  64. joodyb said on December 9, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    it’s an odd little club. a colleague was born 4 hours before me, 3 if we allow for different time zones. i’d have preferred Neewollah as my nascent day.

  65. Dexter said on December 10, 2008 at 1:23 am

    I always say my birthday-based-doppelganger is Bruce Springsteen because he was born when I was 5 days old and I am a huge fan and have been since 1975.
    Really, though , it’s Prince Charles…he’s ten months older than me and I remember seeing pictures of him all my life, Life and Look magazines, Time and US News and World Report, teevee and radio. I remember looking at the young Charles in what I considered “sissy-boy” shorts and “girly” hats and ridiculing the photos with a classmate. I grew up with across-the-pond -Charles , who recently turned 60, and truly seems in his element now. He only appears to be goofy to me now when Craig Ferguson breaks out the English teeth.
    My other boy, Bru-u-u-u-uce , was rumored to have dumped Patti Scialfa last year; I read it and sighed as it appeared that Bruce must have got that old urge again…but no…Bruce & Patti are happy as clams and living large, coming into NYC and spending lotsa cash, enjoying each other’s company.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I was not overly surprised that Caroline expressed interest in the Senate seat in New York. I guess Bobby Kennedy , Jr. would rather fish beer cans and trash out of the Hudson (credit for that to Ron Bennington of Sirius197-XM202) than even being considered for the US Senate. You ever see Kennedy on an interview show? Think Bob Newhart playing Major Major Major Major in “Catch 22”—very nervous, jumpy…odd, even.
    I sort of thought Rory Kennedy might be a good senator…maybe not enough pizzazz?
    I guess Caroline was above the fray in the Bush wars with Al and John, 2000 and 2004…
    Maybe she is tired of the Park Avenue life and wants to get her hands dirty, probably not like Madonna did in Malawi with the orphans or Sean Penn and Brad Pitt did in N’Orleans…but maybe….

  66. moe99 said on December 10, 2008 at 3:19 am

    Disclaimer: I’m in favor of a bailout. But this is worth posting:

    http://buffalobeast.com/133/bigthree.jpg

  67. brian stouder said on December 10, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Funny stuff, moe!

    I think the term “bailout” will wear well; it makes me think of people with their sleeves rolled up, busily righting a situation that has gone wrong.

    Prediction: the first phase of whatever health care reform effort is made, will be referred to as a national “bailout”

  68. MichaelG said on December 10, 2008 at 8:49 am

    I like it, Moe!

    I think the point is not whether Ms. Kennedy would be a teriffic senator. The point is that she shouldn’t be able to just whistle up an appointment to the club whenever she gets the urge.

  69. basset said on December 10, 2008 at 9:19 am

    Joe, your post about instrument flying reminds me of something that happened way back when I used to do tv news. we were going somewhere in a helicopter (Jet Ranger), had a real top of the line pilot with over seven thousand hours and we were in total IFR conditions, couldn’t see past the window glass.

    so we got to talking…

    “What happens if the power to these instruments fails?”

    “There’s a backup circuit, they’ll still work.”

    “What happens if that fails?”

    He looks at me, dead serious:

    “Then you might as well just open the door and jump out, because you’re gonna die.”

  70. brian stouder said on December 10, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Hey moe – I thought this was a somewhat appalling article, from your state – about a “high pressure, low experience, and minimum oversight job that has resulted in more deaths per capita than any other job in the U.S.”

    http://www.king5.com/business/stories/NW_112408INV_cell_tower_workers_SW.1e44f1528.html

    an excerpt –

    In the ultra-competitive wireless world, each network is pushing to deliver the clearest, fastest, most reliable service. And that means going to great heights for the people who build and upgrade the towers that make that wireless possible. But there’s a price for the high-tech convenience, and it’s being paid in human lives. In the past few months, two Washington state telecommunications workers have died in falls.

    (maybe on those commercials where they show the dozens of workers supporting each customer, they should be stepping around the remains of one or two guys smashed on the ground)

  71. Dorothy said on December 10, 2008 at 10:09 am

    I’m late to the party – but Van Morrison, Richard Gere and Chris Tucker. Any my friend Fred Ricketts (former neighbor) and my cousin’s daughter, Chrissy.

  72. moe99 said on December 10, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Brian,

    I’d still pick that job over being a crab fisherman off the coast of Alaska. Now’s their busy season.

  73. brian stouder said on December 10, 2008 at 10:51 am

    moe – I dunno; I’m no “heights” person, in any case – let alone with no safety harness! But – ditto on the crab fisherman! 87 ways to get injured, plus the ever-present chance to die an excruciating death in the icy cold waters…no thanks!

    Dorothy – Richard Gere, eh? Further to Nance’s new post, I suppose I could kiss that guy, if the role I was playing required it! (but I’d still prefer Fran Drescher, or the smokin’ hot [thanks, Michael!] Joan of Arc)