Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (October 2014)|
|Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.|
Kennedy in October 2007
|Born||Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr.
January 17, 1954
Washington, D.C., United States
|Education||Harvard University (B.A.)
University of Virginia (J.D.)
Pace University (LL.M.)
|Occupation||Radio Host, Attorney, Environmental Activist|
|Spouse(s)||Emily Ruth Black
Mary Kathleen Richardson
Cheryl Hines (2014–present)
|Parents||Robert Francis Kennedy, Sr.
Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr., (born January 17, 1954) is an American radio host, activist, and attorney specializing in environmental law. He is a son of Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy, Sr., the former United States Senator for New York and the 64th U.S. Attorney General, and the nephew of former President John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy. He currently co-hosts Ring of Fire, a nationally syndicated American radio program.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Legal career
- 3 Politics
- 4 Media work
- 5 Books
- 6 Marriage and family
- 7 Personal life
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Kennedy is the third of eleven children born to Senator Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy, Sr., and socialite Ethel Skakel as well as a paternal nephew of World War II casualty Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy, Jr., President John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, and longtime Senator Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy. Kennedy was close to 10 years old when his uncle John was shot while in the White House as President. Kennedy remembered crying with his father upon seeing him after hearing of his uncle's assassination. He had been informed by his mother of President Kennedy's death. He was 14 years old when his father was assassinated while running for President in the 1968 election. He spoke and read excerpts from his father's speeches at the mass commemorating his death at Arlington National Cemetery. Following his father's death, Kennedy had difficulty coping and got in trouble at home and with the law, getting arrested for loitering and marijuana possession. At fifteen, Kennedy was expelled from Millbrook School because of his behavior and poor grades.
After obtaining his high school diploma from Pomfret School, Kennedy continued his studies at Harvard University and the London School of Economics, graduating from Harvard College in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in American History and Literature. He then obtained a J.D. from the University of Virginia and a Master of Laws degree from Pace University.
In 1984, Kennedy joined the Riverkeeper organization to satisfy the 1,500 hours community service to which he was sentenced. He worked with the group to sue alleged polluters of the Hudson River. After his 1,500 hours were complete, the group hired Kennedy as its chief attorney. While at Riverkeeper, Kennedy hired William Wegner, a falconry friend who had pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges of smuggling bird eggs from Australia in contravention of the laws of Australia and the United States. Robert Boyle, NY Riverkeeper's founder and former president, fired Wegner but Kennedy re-hired him. Eight members of the Riverkeeper board walked out of the board meeting in protest and resigned from the board. Riverkeeper was founded in 1966 by a group of fishermen and residents from New York.
Kennedy also founded and is the current chairman of the umbrella organization Waterkeeper Alliance, which connects and supports local waterkeeper groups. Today there are 191 waterkeeper programs worldwide operating under the trademarked "Riverkeeper", "Lakekeeper", "Baykeeper", or "Coastkeeper" names.
Since 1987 Kennedy has served as a Clinical Professor of Environmental Law and co-director of the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University School of Law. The clinic allows second- and third-year law students to try cases against alleged Hudson River polluters. Kennedy also serves as a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit organization based in New York which works to expand environmental laws and restrict land use.
In 1998, Kennedy, Chris Bartle and John Hoving created a bottled-water company that donates all of its profits to Waterkeeper Alliance. They named their Manhattan-based company Tear of the Clouds LLC., after the lake of the same name, the source of the Hudson River in the Adirondack Mountains. Their product is bottled under the name Keeper Springs. In 1999, Kennedy accused Rudy Giuliani of putting his political ambitions above the protection of New York City's drinking water by failing to enforce a 1997 watershed agreement to regulate development around reservoirs which provided drinking water to the city. Kennedy insisted New York City's Department of Environmental Protection was becoming "an agent of destruction in the New York City's watershed."
In April 2001, Kennedy was arrested for trespassing at Camp Garcia, the United States Navy training facility on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Kennedy and others were protesting the use of a small section of the island for training. The trespassing incident forced the suspension of live-fire exercises for almost 3 hours. Despite the best efforts of his counsel, former Governor of New York Mario Cuomo, on July 18, 2001, Kennedy was sentenced to 30 days in jail by Judge Hector Laffitte. In February 2013, while protesting the Keystone Pipeline, Kennedy was arrested for blocking a thoroughfare in front of the White House during a protest. Kennedy's son Conor was also arrested.
In a December 16, 2005, editorial for The New York Times, Kennedy argued, "As an environmentalist, I support wind power, including wind power on the high seas. I am also involved in siting wind farms in appropriate landscapes, of which there are many. But I do believe that some places should be off limits to any sort of industrial development. I wouldn't build a wind farm in Yosemite National Park. Nor would I build one on Nantucket Sound, which is exactly what the company Energy Management is trying to do with its Cape Wind project." This position angered some environmentalists.
In 2005, Kennedy was criticized for hypocrisy because he receives royalty payments for participation in two family-owned oil drilling companies, and also for using private jets while lecturing about the perils of global warming.
On July 7, 2007, Kennedy appeared in New Jersey at the Live Earth event. His speech challenged the public to question the implied position of the energy industry that economic and environmental policies are mutually exclusive. He referred to several media personalities (Glenn Beck, John Stossel, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh among them) as "flat-Earthers", and "traitors". Kennedy's speech concludes with the statement "And I will see all of you on the barricades." He is a self-described pro-life supporter on the issue of abortion. Kennedy also sits on the board of directors of the Food Allergy Initiative.
In June 2011, Kennedy appeared at select screenings of The Last Mountain produced by Bill Haney, and co-written by Haney and Peter Rhodes. The film depicts a battle in Appalachia between a local community and a large fossil fuel company over coal exploration. In October 2012, Kennedy gave a phone interview with Politico, where he called on environmentalists to direct their dissatisfaction towards U.S. Congress, as opposed to President Obama. Kennedy reasoned that Obama "didn't deliver" due to having a U.S. Congress "like we haven’t seen before in American history". Kennedy still wanted climate change to receive more attention in the 2012 presidential election, then only a month away.
Kennedy's early environmental work is featured in two films by director Les Guthman: The Hudson Riverkeepers and The Waterkeepers. In September 2014, Kennedy voiced his wishes that there were a law which punished skeptics and deniers during an interview with Climate Depot during New York City's People's Climate March. He also accused politicians who failed to act on climate change policy as serving their own special interests. “Those guys are doing the Koch Brothers bidding and are against all the evidence of the rational mind, saying global warming does not exist,” Kennedy said. “They are contemptible human beings.” He accused the Koch Brothers of "polluting our atmosphere" and confirmed that he believed they were treacherous. On the Koch Brothers, Kennedy further stated: "The Koch brothers have all the money. They’re putting $300 million this year into their efforts to stop the climate bill. And the only thing we have in our power is people power, and that’s why need to put this demonstration on the street." The following month, Kennedy endorsed Eric Schneiderman for re-election, citing his record on the environment. Kennedy expressed optimism in partnering with Schneiderman and his second term. "I look forward to partnering with Eric over the next four years on this important work, and I’m proud to endorse him for re-election.” Kennedy's endorsement was criticized by a spokeswoman of John Cahill, the Republican candidate running against Schneiderman.
Views on autism and vaccines
Kennedy is an outspoken opponent of the inclusion of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal in vaccines. In June 2005, Kennedy authored an article in Rolling Stone and Salon.com alleging a government conspiracy to cover up connections between the vaccine preservative thimerosal and childhood autism. The article contained a number of factual errors, leading Salon.com to issue five corrections and ultimately to retract the article completely on January 16, 2011. The retraction was motivated by accumulating evidence of errors and scientific fraud underlying the vaccine-autism claim. Previous to this retraction, sometime in 2010, Rolling Stone had also deleted Kennedy's article from their archives without explanation. As of January 2011[update], the original, uncorrected, version of the article was still posted on Kennedy’s website, including his factual errors which Salon had corrected.
Views on 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections
Kennedy endorsed John Kerry in the 2004 American presidential election, noting his strong environmental record, while also criticizing George W. Bush. In an article in the June 5, 2006, issue of Rolling Stone titled "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?", Kennedy comes to the conclusion that the Republican Party stole the 2004 American presidential election. Farhad Manjoo, Technology staff writer for Slate.com, has criticized Kennedy's interpretation and methodology. Kennedy responded to Manjoo's criticisms in detail.
"By now you may have read or heard that our cousin, Caroline Kennedy, and our uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, have come out in favor of Sen. Barack Obama. We, however, are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton because we believe that she is the strongest candidate for our party and our country."
Kennedy was also featured in an ad campaign for Clinton alongside the grandson of Cesar Chavez. In October 2008, on the Etown radio program where he received their E-chievement Award and was interviewed, he cited the need to elect Barack Obama.
Views on 2012 Presidential election
Kennedy supported President Obama's reelection. Both he and Mitt Romney aimed to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil by continued development in domestic energy resources. Kennedy however believed President Obama and Romney's plans were different in important ways. He thought Romney was primarily interested in helping allies in the traditional energy industry.
Views on JFK assassination and the Warren Commission
On the evening of January 11, 2013, Charlie Rose interviewed Robert Kennedy Jr. and his sister Rory in Dallas at the Winspear Opera House. This was part of Mayor Mike Rawlings hand chosen committee’s year long program of celebrating the life and presidency of John F. Kennedy. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said that he was convinced that a lone gunman was not solely responsible for the assassination of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy; and said his father believed the Warren Commission report was a "shoddy piece of craftsmanship."
Kennedy first considered running for political office in 2000 when he considered running for United States Senator in New York. After deciding not to run in that election, he again considered running in 2005 for Attorney General. With the possibility of a matchup against his then brother-in-law Andrew Cuomo generating media interest, Kennedy again decided not to run, despite being considered the frontrunner if he ran.
In a January 2007 interview in O: The Oprah Magazine, Kennedy said he would consider running for the potentially open seat of then-United States Senator Hillary Clinton of New York if she were to win the 2008 Presidential election. RFK Jr.'s father was elected to that seat in 1964 and held it for more than three years. Clinton did not win the election, but was then tapped for Secretary of State, and Kennedy announced on December 2, 2008, that he did not want to be appointed to the U.S. Senate, feeling it would take too much time away from his family.
Kennedy co-hosts Ring of Fire which was previously on Air America Radio with Mike Papantonio, even though Kennedy suffers from spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder that makes speech difficult and causes the voice to sound quavery. "Ring of Fire" is now independently syndicated.
Kennedy has written two books and several articles on environmental issues. His articles have appeared in works such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside magazine, and The Village Voice.
- Kennedy Jr., Robert F. (1978). Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr: A biography. Putnam. ISBN 0-399-12123-4.
- Cronin, John; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (1999). The Riverkeepers: Two Activists Fight to Reclaim Our Environment as a Basic Human Right. New York: Scribner. p. 304.
- Kennedy, Jr., Robert F. (2005). Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Highjacking Our Democracy. New York: HarperCollins. p. 256. ISBN 0-06-074687-4.
- Kennedy, Jr., Robert F.; Dennis Nolan (Illustrator) (2004). St. Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy. Hyperion. ISBN 978-0-7868-1875-4.
- Kennedy, Jr., Robert F. (2007). Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s American Heroes: The Story of Joshua Chamberlain and the American Civil War. New York: Hyperion. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-4231-0771-2.
Marriage and family
Kennedy has been married three times.
On April 15, 1994, three weeks after divorcing Emily, Kennedy wed Mary Kathleen Richardson aboard a research vessel along the Hudson River. They had four children: Conor Richard Kennedy (born 1994), Kyra LeMoyne Kennedy (born 1995), William Finbar "Finn" Kennedy (born 1997), and Aiden Caohman Vieques Kennedy (born 2001). On May 12, 2010, Kennedy filed for divorce from Mary; three days later she was charged with drunken driving. On May 16, 2012, Mary was found dead in a building on the grounds of her Mount Kisco, New York, home; the death was ruled by the Westchester County medical examiner to be suicide due to asphyxiation from hanging.
In 1983, Kennedy was arrested in a Rapid City, South Dakota, airport for heroin possession. A search of his carry-on bag uncovered 182 milligrams of the drug. Upon entering a plea of guilty, Kennedy, then 29 years old, was sentenced to two years probation, periodic tests for drug use, treatment by joining Narcotics Anonymous, and 1,500 hours of community service by Presiding Judge Marshall P. Young.
In September 2013, The New York Post released excerpts from Kennedy's diary from 2001 in which Kennedy detailed multiple affairs, and penned his opinions about public figures, notably writing that the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton “give me the creeps,” in a July 5 entry. Kennedy said the paper had printed "...excerpts from a 13-year-old diary illegally stolen from me...”.
Kennedy is a licensed master falconer and former president of the New York State Falconer's Association. He is also an avid whitewater rafter and has led several rafting trips in Canada and Central America. He appeared in the IMAX documentary film Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk, riding the length of the Grand Canyon with his daughter and with anthropologist Wade Davis.
- "Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on JFK's Assassination: 'We Were All Crying'". Parade. November 18, 2013.
- Storrin, Matt (June 7, 1969). "Folk Mass Honors RFK". Boston Globe.
- "Robert Kennedy's Words Sung In Mass Marking Assassination". The New York Times. June 7, 1970.
- "Robert Kennedy, 17, Fined for Loitering; Pleads No Contest". The New York Times. August 24, 1971.
- Oppenheimer, p. 498.
- The Backbone Cabinet – A Progressive Cabinet Roster, backbonecampaign.org
- About Robert F. Kennedy Jr, robertfkennedyjr.com
- Official website, Riverkeeper.org
- Worth, Robert (June 22, 2000). "Eight at Riverkeeper Resign over Kennedy's Hiring of a Rare-Egg Smuggler". The New York Times.
- Our Story, Riverkeeper.org
- "Waterkeeper Alliance". Waterkeeper.org. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- Mission, Waterkeeper Alliance
- Staff, law.pace.edu
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr, robertfkennedyjr.com
- The Idea, keepersprings.com.
- Charlie Rose, A conversation about the Hudson River pollution with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and John Cronin, charlierose.com.
- Official website, Keeper Springs.
- Vaughn, Jacqueline (2003). Environmental Activism: A Reference Handbook. pp. 156–157. ISBN 978-1576079010.
- "Kennedy Gets Noted Defense, And 30 Days". The New York Times. July 7, 2001.
- "US Navy resumes Vieques war games". BBC News. August 2, 2001.
- "Robert F. Kennedy Jr., others arrested in Keystone pipeline protest at White House". Washingtontimes.com. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- An Ill Wind Off Cape Cod, The New York Times, December 16, 2005.
- The Wind and the Willful, grist.org, January 1, 2006.
- Schweizer, Peter (25 October 2005). Do as I Say (Not as I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy. Doubleday. pp. 272 pages. ISBN 0-385-51349-6.
- RFK JR – Live Earth on YouTube.
- Paulson, Michael (March 15, 2005). "A natural devotion". The Boston Globe.
- "FAI Leadership". at Food Allergy Initiative. 2008. Retrieved November 12, 2008.
- "The Energy of Bobby Kennedy, Jr.", Above magazine, Summer 2009.
- Rosenblatt, Roger (July 19, 1999). "In Search of the Beauty And Mystery of Home". Time. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Dixon, Darius (October 12, 2012). "Robert F. Kennedy Jr.:Don't Blame Obama for green failures". Politico.com.
- Cusick, Marie (October 3, 2013). "Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls natural gas a "catastrophe"". StateImpact Pennsylvania.
- "The Hudson Riverkeepers (1998)". IMDb. February 6, 1998. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "The Waterkeepers (TV Movie 2000)". IMDb. February 23, 2000. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Chumley, Cheryl K. (September 23, 2014). "Robert Kennedy Jr.: We need laws to 'punish global warming skeptics'".
- "Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: "The Only Thing We Have in Our Power is People Power!"". September 22, 2014.
- Lovett, Ken (October 7, 2014). "Robert Kennedy Jr. endorses Eric Schneiderman for reelection". New York Daily News.
- R. F. Kennedy, Jr. (June 20, 2005). "Deadly Immunity (corrected)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 22, 2006.
- Kerry Lauerman (16 January 2011). "Correcting our record". Salon.com. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
At the time, we felt that correcting the piece—and keeping it on the site, in the spirit of transparency—was the best way to operate. But subsequent critics, including most recently, Seth Mnookin in his book "The Panic Virus," further eroded any faith we had in the story's value. We've grown to believe the best reader service is to delete the piece entirely..... But continued revelations of the flaws and even fraud tainting the science behind the connection make taking down the story the right thing to do."
- Edwards, Jim (January 21, 2011). "Rolling Stone Retracts Autism Article, but Lots of Junk Journalism Remains". CBS BNET.
- Oransky, Ivan (January 16, 2011). "Salon retracts 2005 Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. piece on alleged autism-vaccine link". RetractionWatch. Retrieved October 27, 2011.
- Welch, Craig (October 29, 2003). "RFK Jr. blasts Bush, champions Kerry". The Seattle Times.
- Was the 2004 Election Stolen?, Rolling Stone.
- Was the 2004 election stolen? No., Salon News, June 3, 2006.
- Was the 2004 election stolen? RFK responds, Salon News, June 6, 2006.
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. endorses Hillary Clinton, CNN, November 29, 2007.
- Kennedy Family Split On Endorsements, CBS News, December 16, 2007.
- Kathleen Hartington Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Mary Kerry Kennedy (29 January 2008). "Kennedys for Clinton". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 29, 2008.
- Beth Fouhy (2 February 2008). "Clinton Ads Feature Kennedy, Chavez Kin". Associated Press. Retrieved February 2, 2008.[dead link]
- Show Number: 0841, Air Date: week of October 8, 2008, "Etown at the DNC Pt. II", ETown
- Blodget, Henry (October 23, 2012). "Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Renewable Energy Is Key to U.S. Growth". Daily Ticker.
- "RFK children speak about assassination in Dallas". The Big Story. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "YouTube". Youtube.com. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "RFK Jr: Dad believed Warren Commission "shoddy"". Cbsnews.com. January 12, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "Kennedys make rare visit to Dallas, say RFK questioned 'lone gunman' theory in JFK assassination". Dallasnews.com. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "JFK assassination: Robert Kennedy speaks out about the death of his uncle - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "RFK Jr. ponders attorney general run". Usatoday30.usatoday.com. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "Robert Kennedy Won't Run for State Attorney General". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Tony Allen-Mills (21 January 2007). "Kennedy Jr. eyes Hillary’s Senate seat". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved February 2, 2008.
- Robert F. Kennedy’s Son Not Interested in Senate Seat, The New York Times.
- Ring of Fire, Air America Radio.
- Leibovich, Mark (25 June 2006). "Another Kennedy Living Dangerously". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2007.
- "Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Weds Law Classmate". The New York Times. April 4, 1982. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "Robert Kennedy Jr. Gets Quick Dominican Divorce". Orlando Sentinel. March 27, 1994. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Brozan, Nadine (April 20, 1994). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
- Brozan, Nadine (November 13, 1997). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- "Bobby Kennedy Jr. sues wife for divorce". The Journal News. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
- "Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, Dead". ABC News. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- Hall, Christine. "Police: Mary Kennedy Committed Suicide". The Bedford Daily Voice. Retrieved 5 July 2012.
- Button, Liz. "Hanging Confirmed as Cause of Kennedy's Death". The Bedford Daily Voice. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- "Robert Kennedy Jr. weds actress Cheryl Hines at Kennedy compound". CNN. August 4, 2014.
- "AROUND THE NATION; Kennedy Son Given Probation in Drug Case". The New York Times. March 17, 1984.
- "RFK’s sex diary: His secret journal of affairs - New York Post". New York Post. September 8, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "Diary bombshell: RFK’s slams against Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Gov. Cuomo - New York Post". New York Post. September 9, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr, metroactive.com
- Our President, Waterkeeper Alliance
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