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February 2015
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Robert Kennedy, Edith Green and the Last Whistlestop

The last whistlestop tour in American politics was Robert Kennedy's trip from Portland to Eugene before the May 1968 Oregon Primary. The primary is also of interest because it was the first election a Kennedy ever lost.

An anecdote, widely reported at the time but not easily findable on the Internet, illustrates Bobby's problem:

U.S. Rep. Edith Green, Kennedy's Oregon campaign manager, was in a car with the Senator. "Take me to the ghetto," he requested. Mrs. Green took him to Oregon's only substantially black neighborhood, Albina in North Portland. As they cruised past streets full of tidy, well-kept homes and thriving businesses, he is reported to have put his head in his hands and said, "I'm doomed."

If you read almost any of the books that mention Bobby Kennedy's Oregon loss, they highlight Oregon's lack of poor and minority voters. I repeat the anecdote here so it will have an Internet presence.

Full disclosure: I was a Kennedy volunteer in Portland, Oregon. I was set to be taken to California by the campaign, but at the last minute, Kennedy aide William Vanden Heuvel said, "No one under 18 gets transported by the campaign." I was 16. I was out of luck.

This and That: Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Humor Labs

It has come to this: not even a mini-review, just a piece of advice. I loved the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a story of retirees stretching their money in a dilapidated Indian hotel. There's now a sequel, the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. No more Tom Wilkinson, whose character died in the first film; instead we get Richard Gere. What happened? How can Richard Gere be playing an old guy? Anyway, the advice is: see it if it is still around where you are. Or, since this advice is so late, see it on Netflix.

Humor Labs: We're Number 3:
The Top 11 Things Overheard at the 87th Annual Academy Awards
* "It was sweet of the Academy to pay tribute to 'Boyhood' by having the ceremony last 12 years."

And no. 8:
The Top 11 Surprises in the Newly Discovered Dr. Seuss Books
* The Food and Drug Administration wants to know why the eggs and ham are green.

And No. 5 (combining two of my favorite Top 5 list words)
The Top 12 Signs You're Not Sticking With Your New Year's Resolution

* Your daily half-hour of Lambada has deteriorated to a daily half hour of Macarena.

Daniel Dern found a link that asks, What if Toy Story was a gritty action picture?

Dan Grobstein offered up a New York Times article about the length of time between a person's first mention in the newspaper and their attainment of the presidency: Hillary Clinton, and Names Fit to Print -