Robert Stein 1924-2014

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If anyone has comments, questions or condolences, please feel free to send a private message to the family at robertstein@optonline.net.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saving the Planet is So Boring

Now that the Supreme Court has shut down the big tent, the news carnival is back to telling us more than we want to know about the trivial and ephemeral.

Killjoy that he is, however, Barack Obama devotes his Weekly Address to explaining plans to (snooze alert) reduce carbon pollution and protect our country from the effects of climate change such as “more extreme droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes.”

How? “We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them. We’ll need engineers to devise new technologies, and businesses to make and sell them. We’ll need workers to man assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components, and builders to hammer into place the foundations for a new clean energy age. We’ll need to give special care to people and communities unsettled by this transition. And those of us in positions of responsibility will need to be less concerned with the judgment of special interests and well-connected donors, and more concerned with the judgment of our children.”

In his acceptance speech at the GOP convention last summer, Mitt Romney drew laughs by mocking his opponent: “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.”

Nobody’s laughing now, but the problems are complex and daunting. On an issue such as disposing of nuclear waste, politicians are still grappling with a plan that has been on the table since 1987 while public watchdogs insist that “billions of dollars are being wasted on a specialized nuclear plant that was supposed to produce fuel for nuclear energy and reduce weapons grade plutonium.”

If we shy away from being bored to death by all this stuff, disregarding it will ensure that future generations have to face uglier and more literal forms of demise.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Two Cheers for Gay Marriage

For me, the new New Yorker cover of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie cuddling before a TV image of the Supreme Court is the last straw. There is a difference between approving of gay marriage and celebrating it.

At advanced age, I can’t cheer whole-heartedly the head-swiveling social change from 2008 when both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton championed gay rights but not marriage to President Obama’s abrupt change last year and the Supreme Court’s sudden conversion now.

When the New Yorker appeared in 1925, Harold Ross said it would not be edited for “the little old lady in Dubuque,” but even with the effetely self-mocking Eustace Tilley on the first issue that kept reappearing every year, neither was it aiming at couples of married little old ladies anywhere.

During the glory days of William Shawn from 1951 to 1987, the magazine relentlessly respected freedom of all kinds and was open-minded on every issue including homosexuality. In 1957, when Truman Capote seduced (physically he always claimed, though few believed it) Marlon Brando into an all-night boozy self-revelation for a piece titled “The Duke in His Domain,” Shawn called it “a masterpiece” and gave almost an entire issue to it, as Ross had to John Hersey’s Hiroshima report.

But neither Ross nor Shawn went in for advocacy, as the current editors do with their retrospective of pro-gay marriage covers over the past 15 years.

Call it old-fogeyism of advanced age, but such sudden lurches in what Americans believe make me queasy about a future when all of them may not be as benign as giving legal equality to an oppressed minority.

You don’t have to be a religious bigot not to join in the general applause or to be unhappy about enlisting Sesame Street in the celebration of what was once deemed deviant because it sanctioned behavior that runs counter to the biological process that brought the children who are watching into this world.

Can’t Bert and Ernie just be good friends without being dragged out of somebody’s closet?
  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vampire TV: "Crossfire" Comes Back

Six years ago Jon Stewart nailed the “partisan hacks” of CNN’s weeknight food fight by telling them on camera, “You’re doing theater, when you should be doing debate, which would be great.”

Soon afterward, Crossfire disappeared but now CNN is starved for ratings, Stewart is temporarily away, and the program is rising from the undead with, appropriately enough, Newt Gingrich as one of the regular ghouls, along with conservative cutie S.E. Cupp vs. two former Obama fringe dwellers, Stephanie Cutter and Van Jones.

“We look forward to the opportunity to host passionate conversation from all sides of the political spectrum,” says CNN’s president. “Crossfire will be the forum where America holds its great debates.”

Uh-huh. The show aired on weeknights from 1982 to 2005, featuring such mouths as Rupert Murdoch, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Rush Limbaugh, Arianna Huffington and Howard Cosell before ending up with Tucker Carlson, Paul Begala, Robert Novak and James Carville.

At the 1997 White House Correspondents’ Dinner Bill Clinton joshed about the “very first Crossfire–-from the left, Alexander Hamilton, from the right, Aaron Burr, topic, gun control.”

Jon Stewart, come back soon. We’ll need you to drive another stake through this resurrected bloodsucker.

Do-Nothing Congress Spawns Do-It-All Court

Was yesterday’s decision a tipping point? The Supreme Court’s casual 5-4 butchering of the 1965 Voting Rights Act has awakened the entire political spectrum to the bald fact that, in the face of a President neutered by Congress, John Roberts is running the country.

Suddenly everyone in the House from John Lewis to Eric Cantor sounds the alarm on the Chief Justice’s usurping.

"My experience with John Lewis in Selma earlier this year,” says Cantor, “was a profound experience that demonstrated the fortitude it took to advance civil rights and ensure equal protection for all. I'm hopeful Congress will put politics aside, as we did on that trip, and find a responsible path forward that ensures that the sacred obligation of voting in this country remains protected."

Translation: The Tea Party may love the Roberts Court but isn’t ready to roll over and play dead for the judicial posse.

"Hubris is a fit word for today's demolition of the VRA," Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes in her dissent.

The universal outrage arouses hope that the Justices’ hubris may do more to break Congress’ logjam than any amount of Presidential pleading and sidestepping with executive orders.

A New York Times editorial notes: “The future of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 now lies in the hands of President Obama and Congress. If we had a federal government that was not paralyzed by partisanship, this ruling would serve as an inspiration to take action. Congressional Democrats would quickly prepare a more expansive formula, and the Republicans who voted for the old formula just seven years ago would support the new one.”

If the other two branches respond to such “inspiration,” it could mark a step away from the Roberts Court takeover of the government.

Update: In its ruling striking down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the Court shows its only alternative to Roberts’ one-man rule: Anthony Kennedy’s swing vote with the liberal (and women’s) minority of Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayer and Kagan.


On issues of race, the Chief Justice has a lock but gender is something else as long as Kennedy retains his ability to enrage Scalia.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Race Matters

Skin color in America is still destiny, as the Supreme Court and the George Zimmerman trial remind us this week, but how far have we come in a lifetime and how far do we still have to go?

Below these visible eruptions over race and even more important for the future is the double-edged story of Barack Obama. Yes, we have elected and reelected an African-American president, but how much of the hatred and bitterness directed at him comes, not from his policies and persona, but his race?

Nearing 90, I can’t erase memories of racism when I was a young editor—-the murders of Emmett Till, Medgar Evers and Andrew Goodman; Martin Luther King and the Montgomery bus strike; the Supreme Court school desegregation of 1954; the persistence of laws against interracial marriage until the 1960s; the steady but very slow progress of integration in the North and South in the ensuing decades.

Through all of that, I was a journalist with strong feelings about what Dr. King called the arc of the universe bending toward justice. And if we still argue today about college quotas and the bizarre murder of a black teenager in Florida, have we not nevertheless progressed from those benighted days? 

Yes, but...

Whatever the outcomes of this week’s legal tests, the important issue that plagues current generations is facing our true feelings about Barack Obama.

As his adversaries, with the reflexive complicity of the media, fail to engage in “nuanced debate” over policy issues, real and trumped-up of his second term, do we do ourselves any service by not asking: How much of the GOP vitriol and Tea Party longing for the supposedly good old days is rooted in racism?

We have come a long way from the days of separate-but-equal and lynching, but under the surface of the polite legal arguments this week in courts high and low, how far are we from those days in our hearts?

If we don’t answer that now, we’ll keep paying a high price for our failure in the future.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Traitorous Travel Tour

Hong Kong. Moscow. Havana? Caracas? Edward Snowden is booked for the garden spots of what he may consider the free world, but more conventional Americans must be asking where the self-appointed scold got his ideas of democratic and open societies.

Perhaps from his mentor, publicist and lawyer Glenn Greewald, who could also be serving as his travel agent? Greenwald, who wears many hats in the Snowden Show, now takes umbrage at David Gregory’s logical “Meet the Press” question:

"To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?"

Greenwald huffs back that he finds it "pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies," insisting there is no evidence for the claim he had "aided" Snowden.

Gregory and Greenwald obviously define journalism differently, but it’s painful to see Snowden’s can of worms continuing to hold national attention when the debate about national security vs. individual privacy should be shifting away from his antics to the hard facts of the issue.

Is the government showing good judgment in trying to extradite and put Snowden on trial or wouldn’t it make more sense to allow him safe passage with his new friends and get the national discussion onto less slimy ground?

Legal conviction won’t change the minds of those who consider him a hero but simply upgrade his status to martyr.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

GOP Loopy Latino Lovers

Republicans wooing Hispanics are looking like stiff old men on “Dancing with the Stars,” awkward, embarrassing and tripping themselves into unnatural postures to scale up border walls and land on pathways to citizenship.

Mitt Romney’s thumping among minorities last year persuaded GOP naysayers that 2016 would be about “complexions and elections,” but the stretch from who-the-hell-are-these-people to benvenidos-hermanos is proving to be as long as 700 miles of fence with 19,000 more border cops abetted by drones to tons of paperwork for getting on the back of the line, paying a fine and earning citizenship.

Leading the charge for all these charges is the Republican Great Brown Hope Marco Rubio, abetted by a couple of Senate compadres from North Dakota and Tennessee, John Hoeven and Bob Corker, with few Latino constituents but a strong itch to get on the national stage.

Never mind that their border security will cost $30 billion dollars at a time when roads and bridges are crumbling everywhere else, but it will help Tea Party patriots sleep better with a promise to be 90 percent effective in stopping illegals, a figure Democrats call a pipedream.

In his Weekly Address, the President admits "the bill isn’t perfect.  It’s a compromise.  Nobody is going to get everything they want – not Democrats, not Republicans, not me.  But it’s consistent with the principles that I and others have laid out for commonsense reform.  That’s why Republicans and Democrats, CEOs and labor leaders, are saying that now is the time to pass this bill.  If you agree with us, reach out to your Senators and Representatives.  Tell them that the time for excuses is over; it’s time to fix our broken immigration system once and for all."

Those of us who know first-hand the struggles and privations that European immigrant parents had to overcome to achieve the American Dream for their children have heartfelt compassion for these new generations striving to climb into the Great Melting Pot.

The obstacles back then were many, but they never included two-faced politicians reaching out a helping hand with hidden zappers.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Obama and LeBron

Six years ago, a basketball-playing Presidential hopeful was behind on the scoreboard and did some trash-talking.

“I'm LeBron, baby,” Barack Obama boasted. “I can play on this level. I got some game.”

His enthusiasm was suspect, since Tim Duncan, a gentle giant, had just won the NBA title, not the physically gifted man-child who would power his way into the basketball pantheon last night alongside Michael Jordan, Magic and Larry Bird yet not quite into the hearts of those who love the game.

Even with back-to-back wins, LeBron James and Barack Obama are, in the immortal words of Willy Loman, liked but not well-liked.

As James pockets his new ring after a scowling flurry of frantic jump-shooting, Obama is abroad “hitting a wall” in Berlin, where he was once greeted in triumph.

What’s missing? Both have been playing against swarming defenses with active elbows but Obama, who once projected the easy grace that LeBron lacks, is even more tired and harassed than his counterpart by fouling opponents and errant whistle-blowers.

Just as this year’s NBA finals often resembled a wrestling match, the Washington game has gone nasty, brutish and ugly, and there are no referees to keep the competition within bounds.

LeBron James has another trophy, but can Barack Obama score in the by-elections next year and restore some semblance of sanity to the Washington game?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sopranos Seniors Are Back---On the News

While HBO offers reruns of Tony and his crew, their real-life counterparts are on cable news, geriatric Mafioso flashing pinky rings for a generation that links them with cave men.

Police have stopped digging up a field in Oakland, Michigan for crooked labor boss Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975 after incurring mob displeasure. The tip came from cash-strapped Tony Zerilli, a long-time made man recently released from prison and peddling a manuscript.

According to senior citizen Z, Hoffa ”wasn't shot, he wasn't stabbed, nothing like that. A cement slab of some sort was placed on top of the dirt to make certain he was not going to be discovered. And that was it. End of story."

The FBI, which recently fumbled a tip on the Boston Marathon bombers, found that tale “highly credible” and encouraged the digging.

Meanwhile, back in Boston today, 72-year-old Johnny “The Executioner” Martorano after copping a plea is spilling beans about his former boss in the Winter Hill gang, 83-year-old Whitey Bulger on trial for ordering oh-so-many murders.

Maureen Dowd is watching Martorano with fascination:

“If anybody insulted, implicated or roughed up his brother or a friend’s brother, if anybody looked at him funny while he was with a date, if anybody ratted on his fellow gang members, if anybody could eyewitness a crime committed by an ‘associate,’ he grabbed a .38 or a knife, a fake beard, a walkie-talkie or a towel to keep the blood off his car, and sprang into action. And somebody usually ended up in a trunk somewhere, sometimes still groaning.

“’Family and friends come first,’ said the bulldog-faced enforcer, looking natty with slicked back, suspiciously black hair, a dark suit, pink-tinted wire-rim glasses and a kerchief the color of fresh blood.  'The priests and the nuns I grew up with taught me that. They always talked about Judas. A Judas is the worst person in the world.’”

When his former boss’ lawyer suggested that he might be one for turning on Bulger, Martorano patiently explained his inner feelings: “I didn’t like doing any of it...I never had any joy, never had any joy at all.”

And that, as an older and wiser Tony Soprano might tell his understanding shrink, makes all the difference.


Update: Only hours after posting this reminiscence about “The Sopranos” comes news that James Gandolfini, the brilliant actor who embodied Tony, has died at 51 of an apparent heart attack on his way to a film festival in Italy.

Grief at his passing is compounded by awareness that the lowlifes who inspired his performance have outlived him by decades. Eventually they will be deservedly forgotten, but Gandolfini will live on in one of TV’s most creative achievements.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Privacy in an Age of Preening

When I was editing a mass magazine ages ago, an odd little man on the part-time payroll would stop by or call up to grill me about famous people I had met or bon mots I may have dropped. Known as a column planter, he made a good living converting such stuff into items for Walter Winchell, Leonard Lyons, Ed Sullivan and the dozens of syndicated newspaper columnists who flourished back then.

Now, with Twitter and Facebook, we are all item planters, offering up pieces of our privacy in exchange for what? A sense of community? Bonding with others? Reassuring ourselves that our lives have value and that we are not alone?

The outrage over government surveillance and invasion of our privacy is rather piquant in view of all this voluntary self-revelation.

Parsing such history in the New Yorker Jill Lepore notes “the paradox of an American culture obsessed, at once, with being seen and with being hidden, a world in which the only thing more cherished than privacy is publicity. In this world, we chronicle our lives on Facebook while demanding the latest and best form of privacy protection—-ciphers of numbers and letters-—so that no one can violate the selves we have so entirely contrived to expose.”

Yes, yes, self-exposure is not the same as others snooping, but can’t we find some balance between moral indignation (pace Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald) and Barack Obama’s reassurance that he is not Dick Cheney, bending over backwards to protect our privacy while keeping us safe from terrorist attacks?

Can’t we find some appreciation of the irony that, no matter how much we want to be let alone, we can't be and don’t want to be entirely isolated from our fellow human beings?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Time to Rethink Middle East Wars

What are we doing in Syria and why? And why are we still chained to a discredited foreign policy concocted by Dick Cheney and his armchair warriors before George W. Bush took office almost two decades ago?

After 9/11/01 their fringe call in 1997 for a new century of “American global leadership” with “military strength and moral clarity” drove US foreign policy into, among other misadventures, an Iraq war that cost the nation more than 4000 lives and $3 trillion dollars.

While Congress bickers over responsibility for deaths in Benghazi, the same old voices drive the nation toward intervention into the kind of morass in Syria that led to quagmires in Libya, Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

When and where have we found moral clarity through military strength anywhere? Isn’t it past time for new voices and new ideas about what the hell we are doing in that region of the world?

While white-haired Bill Clinton says the President risks looking like a “fool” and a “total wuss” if he doesn’t move into Syria, he is joined by Cheney, McCain and all the ancient GOP war lovers cheerleading for another bloody enterprise.

Unheard in the din are young senators like Connecticut’s Chris Murphy and New Mexico’s Tom Udall who went to Syria and came back deeply skeptical about what we can do there. Their face time on cable news is minimal.

Unheard too are the American people who have long been showing signs of Middle East fatigue but voting on the basis of Tea Party bombast about the economy rather than foreign policy.

Isn’t it long past time that figures more rational than Rand Paul start campaigning on the issue of why we keep spilling blood and money in endless Arab sands?

Isn’t it past time for the generations who have to fight old men’s wars to have their say?  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Missing Fathers

How many Americans grow up with their fathers physically and/or emotionally absent? Barack Obama is one of them and today he says, “I still wish I had a dad who was not only around but involved.”

Five years ago, as candidate Obama, he was blunter. In a Chicago church he told African-American worshippers, “Too many fathers are MIA, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”

Citing his own father, who left when he was two, Obama stressed how lucky he was to have had loving grandparents who helped his mother give him support and stress education.

"A lot of children don't get those chances,” he said. “There is no margin for error in their lives. I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to break the cycle--that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father."

Looking back over a long lifetime, I would add another definition of manhood: When your kids are in trouble, you go and get them. In the 1970s, the gentlest man I knew went halfway around the world when his teenage age son was in a drug crisis and fought not only criminals but local authorities to bring him home.

In today’s world, how many men and women of any age, ethnicity or social position are sure their fathers would do the same when they are in physical or emotional danger?

“Deadbeat dads” is now a cliché, but even without divorce or separation, children are being cheated of a bedrock certainty that can help them grow into generous open-hearted human beings.

One of the novelist I admire most, Richard Russo, has made such men a staple of his work (think Paul Newman in the 2005 movie of “Empire Falls”). Now in a memoir titled “Elsewhere,” Russo writes about his lifelong emotional struggle with an abandoned mother and a long-gone dad who shows up occasionally to tell him, “You do know your mother’s nuts, right?”

On the day of greeting cards and small gifts, American fathers like Russo and Obama should be honored most of all for not turning out like their own, for showing up in the lives of their children and, no matter what else happens, being there for them.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Face to Face with JFK at His Peak

Fifty years ago this week, John F. Kennedy gave the “best speech of his life,” which led to a nuclear test ban treaty. The next night, as Alabama police were attacking protesters with water cannons and dogs, he was on TV from the Oval Office affirming the rights of African-Americans.

Two days later I was in the Cabinet Room of the White House across a table from him leading editors of seven women’s magazines with 34 million readers to ask questions about preserving peace, the only exclusive interview he had given in his presidency, JFK said, other than one with Khrushchev’s son-in-law, editor of Isvestia.

It had taken much effort to get there. Kennedy was changing the rules in pop culture, but politics were something else. His popularity soared, but the Bay of Pigs was a fiasco, Congress thwarted him on civil rights, the Soviets put atomic warheads into Cuba. Even after the 1962 Missile Crisis, both sides were poisoning the air with nuclear testing. Kennedy was negotiating a test-ban treaty, but the Senate seemed unlikely to approve it.

As editor of Redbook, a magazine for young women, I knew readers were concerned that nuclear tests were contaminating their children’s milk and might lead to apocalyptic war. I had been running articles on the subject. Other women’s magazines were publishing little or nothing.

I asked Pierre Salinger, Kennedy’s press secretary, if the President would give a joint interview to editors of women’s magazines about nuclear war and peace. Salinger did not hesitate. “Yes,” he said. “We’re starved for ways to get people to listen.”

As popular as Kennedy was, lining him up was the easy part. My colleagues, always leery of depressing topics, had to be inveigled. The bait was Dr. Benjamin Spock, who was opposing nuclear tests, and a Republican, James Wadsworth, Eisenhower’s Ambassador to the United Nations, who had written for me on the subject. I invited the editors of six magazines to listen to them over cocktails.

Afterward, I proposed we ask Kennedy for an interview and publish our own versions of it simultaneously.

To my amazement, they agreed, but I could not foresee that that would put me in the position of, in effect, strong-arming the President.

At our first meeting, the editors--of McCalls, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan and Parents--worried that material on survival of the human race might be too “dull” for their readers. We agreed to submit questions in advance, so we could use our time with the President to talk in human terms.

When the answers came back, I had a revolt on my hands. Kennedy’s staff had drafted 15 pages of position-paper jargon. What, my colleagues demanded, was I going to do about it?

As they sat glowering, I called the White House. Salinger was away, leaving his assistant, Andrew Hatcher, to cope with me. “We’re worried,” I told him, “by the tone of the written material. Does the President realize we want to ask questions on a more personal level? Otherwise it doesn’t make sense for us to come down.”

Hatcher, understandably taken aback, could only answer, “But any interview with the President is worthwhile.”

“Of course. But we wouldn’t want to waste his time. Can you make sure there’s no misunderstanding?“ 

Several days later, Salinger called. “We hear you. Come on down.” (When we were making the arrangements, one editor had asked if he could attend and then decide if the material was usable. “Tell him,” said Salinger, who had been a free—lance writer, “the President doesn’t work on speculation.”) 

On June 14, 1963, we were in the Cabinet Room. Kennedy came in and shook hands. We settled into leather chairs around the table. Sitting opposite, I thanked him for seeing us and added, “Between the material you gave us and your speeches, we understand your basic positions. We’d like to ask questions that reflect the concerns of our readers so you can talk to them personally.”

Kennedy smiled, patting the papers in front of him. “I looked over this material. It is somewhat canned. I’ll try to make my answers as personal as possible.”

For the next hour, he did just that, talking about radiation dangers, fallout shelters, the effects on children of air raid drills, easing the arms race, and the value of individuals joining the political debate.

“There is great pressure against peaceful efforts,” he said. “There are an awful lot of powerful groups and interests and people, all very strong patriots, who believe in policies that I think could end up in disaster.” Women working for peace, he added, “are very valuable because they help balance off that pressure. Otherwise we would be very isolated in our efforts toward arms control.”

Most of his answers were, as usual, analytical and rational. But some emotion showed through. “Too many people want to blow up the world,” he said at one point.

"In Cuba, a lot of people thought we should take more drastic action. I think we did the right thing, more drastic action would have increased the possibility of nuclear exchange. The real question now is to meet conflicts year after year without having to escalate."

At one point the talk turned to the brutal and violent instincts of human beings that, in his words, “have been implanted in us growing out of the dust.”

In controlling those destructive impulses, John Fitzgerald Kennedy said sadly, “we have done reasonably well--but only reasonably well.“
 
The meeting ended soon afterward. The President asked how we would like the transcript. “Raw,” I said and he smiled. We posed for pictures, Kennedy showed us around the Rose Garden, and we left.

The following week we received a 31-page transcript. Then in July, Kennedy and Khrushchev signed a treaty banning nuclear tests. Salinger suggested I come down alone for another interview, and in August, I did.

In the Oval Office, I was startled by Kennedy’s appearance. In June he was tanned, smooth-skinned, seemingly glowing with health. Now he still had the tan, but his face was pinched, his eyes sunken with deep lines radiating on the skin around them. The rumors of massive amounts of cortisone for Addison’s disease and dependency on amphetamines and painkillers swarmed through my mind.

In half an hour, we went through the new treaty and the campaign to have the Senate ratify it. Kennedy had given a TV speech, asking for support, because “there is no lobby for our children or our grandchildren” to avoid a nuclear exchange that could mean 300 million deaths. Was he satisfied with the response?

“There are 190 million Americans,” he said wryly, “and we got several thousand letters. Actually I think we got more mail about the new White House puppies.”

From the two sessions, each of the magazines published its own account in November. Letters of support poured into the White House. Salinger called to say the President was very pleased. Several weeks later Kennedy went to Dallas.

What would our world be like if he hadn’t?