JFK, 50 years later

January 20, 2011 2:42:18 PM PST
It's the first Presidential inauguration I can remember - both because I was 10 and because it was at the time most widely broadcast speech from the Capitol ever.

January 20, 1961. Pres. John Kennedy, on the Capitol steps on a frigid day, and issuing a clarion call for service. Ask not, he would say, what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

It's a fascinating juxtaposition - that Presidential urging up against the out-of-control spending that now is pretty much bankrupting the country.

Mr. Kennedy was socially liberal but fiscally conservative. And it would be fascinating to get his take on what became of his call. The death of Sargent Shriver this week - who helped found the Peace Corps under Kennedy's watch - reminds us of how far the President's call echoed. But the nation's debt, and the wars it's mired in, well, it's hard to imagine he'd much approve of that - even though he did little to stop the escalation of the Vietnam war, a war that would grow and grow under his two immediate successors, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

So we remember Pres. Kennedy's most famous speech on this, the 50th anniversary.

For some reason, it was left to House Speaker John Boehner to point out at a ceremony honoring the assassinated President's inaugural address, that this is the first Congress not to have a Kennedy as a member since 1946.

Quite a stat.

One more note about the Kennedy Administration. Tomorrow the Dept. of Justice will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the swearing-in of the President's brother, Robert Kennedy, as the Attorney General. Ironically, RFK made battling the mafia a top priority of his Justice Dept. and today, the battle continues. More than 125 alleged organized crimesters were rounded up, and charged with murder and extortion.

Their nicknames are unusual and worth noting. The Village Voice did a "Top 20" today - including "Tony Bagels," "Johnny Bandana," "Jimmy Gooch," and "Vinny Carwash."

Right out of the Sopranos.

Or the Untouchables.

Now to our 11 p.m. newscast.

Yet another storm coming tonight - we could get several inches of snow. Meteorologist Lee Goldberg is leading our coverage at 11.

We're also following the saga Carlina White, the 23-year-old woman who as a 19-day-old baby was kidnapped from a hospital room in Harlem. She has been reunited with her parents, after she conducted her own detective work. Carolina Leid has the latest on this remarkable reunion, at 11.

And what a weird-science story involving the murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. A group of students and faculty from Georgetown University studied the case and found that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed "mastermind" of the Sept. 11 terror attacks - personally killed Pearl. They concluded that by comparing pictures of the killer's veins - shown in photos - to the veins of Khlaid. It's called "vascular technology" and it's fascinating.

And Tim Fleischer takes a closer look at what kids eat - and their eating habits. He has some surprising results.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers is in Pittsburgh with a preview of the Jets conference championship game against the Steelers this Sunday. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.


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