The Third Passenger Theory of Chappaquiddick. It Makes Sense.

Ted Kennedy’s actions after the incident at the Dike Bridge, indicates that he did not know Mary Joe was in the car that evening. This article explains why.  

I read the book and found its argument compelling. 


New Chappaquiddick Book Presses Theory of Third Person

CHAPPAQUIDDICK TRAGEDY: Kennedy’s Second Passenger Revealed. Donald Frederick Nelson. Pelican. 191 pages, hardcover, sold in bookstores and online.

A new book by a Vineyard author tackles an old controversy. Anyone interested in the 1969 Chappaquiddick tragedy will find it compelling reading.

A car driven by U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts plunged off Chappaquiddick Island’s Dike Bridge and submerged in Poucha Pond at approximately 12:45 a.m. on July 19, 1969. Mr. Kennedy escaped the vehicle, but a passenger named Mary Jo Kopechne did not. Mr. Kennedy said he dove repeatedly and unsuccessfully into the water, attempting to rescue Miss Kopechne. Then, he said, he walked 1.2 miles (past two lighted homes and a firehouse) back to Chappaquiddick’s Lawrence cottage, where he had been partying with political associates and six young Kennedy acolytes known as the “boiler room girls.”

Later, according to his testimony, because the On Time ferry ceased operations to Edgartown around midnight, the senator flung himself into Edgartown Harbor’s outgoing tide, crossed to a beach near the Edgartown lighthouse and walked back to the Shiretown Inn where he was staying. In the aftermath, which is painstakingly detailed in the book, accommodating police, politicians and attorneys general did a slapdash job of investigation, and Mr. Kennedy got off with a brief license suspension and a suspended two-month jail sentence for leaving the scene of an accident. None of the investigators uncovered, though it was on the public record, the fact that as a law student at the University of Virginia, Mr. Kennedy had been convicted of three moving violations. The information wasn’t disclosed until the morning Mr. Kennedy pleaded guilty.

Suspicions grew immediately. For one thing, back problems dating to a plane crash he’d survived several years earlier raised eyebrows about the desperate swimming he described. Mr. Kennedy had competed in the Edgartown Yacht Club sailing regatta on July 18 and subsequently took a bath to ease his pain. Was he in any position to dive into dark waters off the bridge and later fight the harbor’s current (which was actually incoming), even though a phone line at the dock could have summoned the ferry after hours? And since Miss Kopechne might have been breathing in an air pocket at the back of the car, why did he bypass two houses and a fire station and fail to report the accident until nine hours later? Moreover, if he was aware of her predicament, why was he chatting amiably with fellow guests at the inn hours later?

The truth, says author Donald Frederick Nelson, is that Senator Kennedy didn’t learn about Miss Kopechne’s fate until he subsequently received the news by phone from his cousin, Joseph A. Gargan, and former U.S. Attorney Paul F. Markham.

There have been dozens of books, studies, television investigations, blogs, rumors and innuendo about the tragedy. A few weeks ago, a Hollywood film crew arrived to shoot scenes for a major motion picture. And now we have an exhaustingly researched book by a retired, award-winning research physicist who lives in Worcester and Oak Bluffs with his wife Margaret. I know Mr. Nelson, 86, from Island bridge clubs and find him sober-sided and fact-oriented. By his account, he consulted 204 sources and read through thousands of pages of legal proceedings. His writing is as lyrical as it is factual.

The author reasonably asks why Mr. Kennedy didn’t seek help immediately and concludes that he didn’t realize there was a passenger in the back seat of his Oldsmobile 88. Mr. Nelson writes that Miss Kopechne, who had imbibed three or four alcoholic drinks in her last hour and probably more during the four-hour party, according to later blood work, had crawled into the back seat of the car to sleep the alcohol off. And then Mr. Nelson delivers a crushing blow to the Kennedy account that had been speculated for years but probably never given such exhaustive proof. He contends there was a another passenger, Rosemary (Cricket) Keough, sitting in the passenger seat and who successfully exited the vehicle after its plunge. Neither she nor Mr. Kennedy noticed the dozing woman behind them. Since there was apparently no tragedy, there was no hurry to report the incident.

“Kennedy was guilty of reckless driving and lying repeatedly about the wreck, but he was far from being so callous as to knowingly walk away from a trapped, dying person,” Mr. Nelson writes.

The author builds an impressive case for Mr. Kennedy’s additional passenger. Miss Keough’s handbag was found in the front of the car. If another woman had entered the vehicle to drive off with the senator, surely she’d have alerted Miss Keough and returned the bag to her, Mr. Nelson suggests.

Ms. Keough claimed to have left the handbag from an earlier drive, a supposition disputed by a next-door neighbor who had been watching the raucous party. Miss Keough wasn’t grilled sharply at the inquest. Questioning the politician on the morning of July 19, Edgartown police chief Dominick J. Arena asked: “Can you tell me, was there anybody else in the car?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Kennedy.

But Chief Arena never followed up on that disclosure. When Ms. Keough visited Mary Jo’s grave on the first anniversary of her death, she said: “My friend Mary Jo just happened to be in the wrong car at the wrong time with the wrong people.”

Miss Keough repeated those exact words to the Boston Globe Spotlight team of investigatory reporters five years later. The author notes that “people” is a plural noun.

Unfortunately, one piece of clinching evidence is still missing. Mr. Nelson writes of Mr. Kennedy: “His companion, sitting in the front passenger seat, was thrown violently against the right front door and window and then against the ceiling, as the car struck the water first on its right side and then its roof. Upon impact, shards of sharp, tempered glass from her shattered side window struck her head, shoulders and right arm. There were no restraining seatbelts. Lacerations, abrasions and contusions on the face, head, arm and shoulder seem inevitable for a front, passenger-seat occupant. But there were no such injuries whatsoever to Mary Jo!”

Were there signs of injury on Ms. Keough? She called Chief Arena asking for her handbag, and he told her to come to the station. But she sent someone else and was quickly whisked off the Vineyard. Ms. Keough did not answer phone messages left by the author.

Mr. Nelson offers an ironic afterthought. If Mr. Kennedy had come clean about everything from the beginning, he might have escaped with nothing more than a license suspension and been free to pursue the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1972. As Richard Nixon, the sitting president at the time, would discover, sometimes the cover-up is worse than the crime.

Jim Kaplan is the Gazette’s bridge columnist and the author of Clearing the Bases: A Veteran Sportswriter on the National Pastime.

How The Austin Bomber Was Located. The Panopticon State Works.

The Austin Bomber was traced using cameras and cell phone data. His every move was followed from FedEx stores to his hotel. This is the world we live in. Get used to it. 

Austin bombing suspect dead, apparently tracked down by surveillance state

A 24-year-old “white male” suspect in the bombing spree afflicting Austin, Texas is dead after blowing himself up in his car while being fired upon by police.  Information is still very fragmentary, but according to reports on Fox News this morning, police were led to him through the blanket surveillance capabilities that have come characterize American society in the wake of the “war on terror.”

Specifically (and keep in mind that early information in huge media events often is subject to change), the suspect was photographed dropping off two packages at a FedEx office in Austin.  (Update: photos.)

Hat tip: Conservative Treeehouse (source link).

He was wearing a hat and wig, reportedly, so no facial identification was possible, but police were able to use cell phone tower data to identify everyone who was in the area with a cell phone turned on.  Evidently, the individual in question was already on some sort of police lists, and that identified him as a strong suspect.  From that point, getting to his location was inevitable.  Some reports indicate that police were able to trace his Google searches and identify the hotel where he was staying.  But if he had the same cell phone on his person, that could have led police to him also.

No doubt some of this information will prove mistaken, but the underlying point remains sound.  If you have a cell phone on your body with the battery in it, the police probably can know everywhere you have been and where you are now.  And with the proliferation of security cameras, they can see you and what you are wearing.

This is called the “panopticon” state that can see you everywhere.  China is spending a lot of money and devoting intellectual resources to becoming the most thoroughgoing panopticon state in human history.  But if you think you are not subject to constant surveillance and keep a cell phone with you, the police can find out where you’ve been and where you are now, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The demise of the presumptive perp in Austin is an upside of this situation.  The downside has yet to be fully plumbed here, but in China, it is clear that it is a foundational element of twenty-first-century tyranny.

Prepare yourself for further information on the suspect’s motivation.  Leftists are hoping he is some sort of rightist or racist, giving them moral bragging rights.  Conservatives are hoping he is a leftist for similar reasons.  If the leftist hopes are realized, expect a huge wave of accusation leveled at everyone to the right of Lindsey Graham dominating the mainstream media.  If he was a lefty, expect the mainstream media to change the subject.

Meanwhile, people in central Texas have to still worry about other packages that may be somewhere in the delivery systems of any provider of such services.

The Tariff Explained

In this article, the secretary of Commerce, explains the strategic need for this steel and aluminum tariff. The need is read and is intended to preserve strategic industries in the US.

President Trump announced Thursday that he is imposing tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports, with exemptions for Canada and Mexico. The president acted because steel and aluminum imports have helped erode the domestic industry to the point that it threatens national security. Unfair trading practices from countries like China have distorted the global steel and aluminum markets. It is time to halt the damage.

Since 1998, countless steel mills and aluminum smelters have closed. More than 75,000 steel jobs alone have disappeared. Today the U.S. has only one steel mill that can produce the advanced alloys used in armored-vehicle plating; one aluminum smelter that makes the high-grade aluminum needed for defense aerospace applications; and one steel mill that makes the materials needed for infrastructure like electrical transformers.

These tariffs aim to reverse this sorry state of affairs. Companies that produce steel and aluminum have said these tariffs will allow them to reopen mills, expand operations, attract new workers, and maintain critical steel- and aluminum-making skills.

It is true that higher steel and aluminum costs could mean price increases for American consumers. But they should be small for individuals and families. Monthly payments for a typical mass-market car might increase by $4 because of the tariff, according to Commerce Department estimates. Is that a fair price to pay for protecting national security? We think so.

Will it start a trade war? It shouldn’t. The U.S. isn’t the only country that has expressed concern about the types of unfair trade practices that are prevalent in the steel and aluminum industries. Countries like China have provided massive subsidies to their companies, and this is harming markets world-wide.

The U.S. has tried to work with others to address these problems. Unfortunately, mechanisms like the Global Steel Forum have fallen woefully short of their aims, with other countries failing to adhere to even basic transparency commitments.

The president will not stand idle while unfair practices erode America’s steel and aluminum industries and threaten national security. Other countries understand that.

Further escalating this issue is counterproductive. Rather, countries should take responsibility for their unfair practices and work together to address the underlying problems facing these industries. The U.S. is ready and willing to engage in such efforts.

The president has the authority to adjust or exempt countries from these tariffs at any time based on circumstances and national security considerations. That is why he is exempting Canada and Mexico. We expect continuing negotiations to create more national-security benefits than the tariffs.

Meanwhile, we will not hesitate to continue standing up for American families, American businesses and American workers.

Mr. Ross is U.S. secretary of commerce.

The Al Franken/Roy Moore Connection

Al Franken is in his second term as a Democratic Senator from Minnesota. Roy Moore is running for his first term as a Republican Senator from Alabama. Both have been accused of bad conduct with women years ago. For Franken, six years ago; for Moore, as much as forty years ago.

The two cases are closely connected because Democrats are trying to block Moore’s election by smearing Moore and they think pushing Franken out of the Senate helps that claim.  The issue here is a Senate seat, not Franken’s behavior. A young woman asked me what the issue was as, in fact, that in her opinion, he’s done nothing seriously wrong.

The issue is that Franken will be replaced by a Democrat in Minnesota, probably a woman, maybe a minority woman. If Moore loses in Alabama, they gain a seat in the Senate and Democrats will go to any extreme to gain that seat. In short, the fury over Franken ends on December 12, whichever way the Alabama election turns out.

In the interim, Democrats, especially Democratic women, will be signaling virtue by battering Franken.  I hope he has the courage to withstand the onslaught that will only increase in ferocity as Roy Moore gains in the Alabama election polls.  After Tuesday, it will be all over. He can withstand six days.




From Paul Mirengoff at


I’m not on Facebook, but I was told that Cleta Mitchell’s page contains a brief discussion of the legal implications of the Hillary Clinton-DNC scandal. As many of our readers know, Cleta Mitchell is a star lawyer. She has played a leading role in defending conservatives targeted by the IRS under the Obama administration and in pushing to hold the IRS accountable for the targeting.

Here is Cleta’s take on the Clinton-DNC scandal as it appears on Facebook, according to what I was told (her first sentence is a quote from Donna Brazile):

“Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.”

If this statement by Donna Brazile is true and if those transfers actually happened, then what she says the DNC and the Clinton campaign did was a massive violation of federal law, and triggers criminal penalties. It underscores what I’ve always said: the Democrats and left wing groups have no compunctions about demanding contribution limits and restrictions on the free speech rights of the American people because THEY have no intention of abiding by the rules and the laws they write for others.

Political Party committees such as the DNC have statutory limits on the amount of money the party can give (or transfer) to a candidate. A joint fundraising committee such as the one Donna Brazile describes cannot be used to circumvent the contribution limit for any donor. ANY DONOR. So IF the DNC transferred funds to the Clinton campaign as stated by Donna Brazile, it was a knowing and willful action involving amounts of $25,000 or more. Which triggers a criminal offense under the Federal campaign finance law.

John McCain: Where are you? This was in your bill in 2002. New York Times and Washington Post: where are you? This is the Law at whose altar you worship.

So, did the DNC actually transfer the proceeds from the joint fundraising committee – or ANY other source – to the Clinton campaign? Yes or no. Easy answer. But doubt they will answer. Time for a criminal investigation.

Trafalgar, 212 Years Ago Today, Nelson’s Genius and His Tragedy.

In October 1805, the British Fleet commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson, finally found the French and Spanish fleets (Herenafter “French”) off the Spanish Coast near the Cape of Trafalgar south of the port of Cadiz. Nelson had been searching for this fleet all summer and that involved sailing into the Caribbean and back across the Atlantic.

The French were sailing south for Gibralter and the British approached from the west. Naval war was typically fought with both fleets parallel to each other as they pounded each other with heavy cannon.  Because of the alignment of the two fleets, and the fact the French outnumbered the British, Nelson introduced a new tactic. He divided his line into three parts and had each sail into the French line at different places, cutting the line into three segments.

The danger of this approach was the British would be exposed to the broadsides of the French ships on the approach and be subjected to potentially damaging fire.  Nelson, however, analyzed the situation and dismissed the danger. He did so for two reasons. First, the French were taking waves on the beam, or side of their ships, hence, rolling from side to side. It’s very hard to aim cannon is such a situation. Second, Nelson knew that the French cannons were fired with a slow match. This is a length of twine impregnated with pitch that burned slowly but allowed for the firing of a cannon when touched to the firing hole in the cannon. The firing did not take place instantly. Nelson knew that on a rolling deck with a slow match, the French gunners would be highly inaccurate with shots falling into the sea or flying high. He was right. British cannon was fired with flintlocks that cause immediate combustion and were easier to aim.

The British closed with the French in three points on the line. Nelson issued his most famous order as the lines closed, “England Expects Every Man Will Do His Duty.” They did. Passing through the French line, the British then had the advantage as their ships fired close broadsides into the bows and sterns of the French ships at close range. The destruction was catastrophic for the French.

When the battle ended, the French had lost 28 ships and the British 1.

Tragically, Nelson was shot by a French marine positioned in the mast. His descending shot went through Nelson’s body and severed his spine.  He was carried below and died soon thereafter. His body was packed in a barrel of rum and taken to England. He was aware of his great victory before he died.

The battle ended French maritime hopes of invading England.

Happy Columbus Day

Around this date in 1492, ships commanded by Christopher Columbus and flying the Spanish Flag landed Columbus and sailors on Watlings Island in the New World. He thought he was in India. Regardless of what you think of this holiday, the European development of the new world was inevitable. So lamenting the European influx and impact is fatuous. It was going to happen and did. The Indians never sailed to Europe and the only seafaring Asians were the Chinese who conducted extensive exploration of the Middle East, Africa both east and west. had reportedly failed to sail to Europe because as they reported, “We knew about England and saw it as a source of wool and bad wine. We had enough of that.” The Chinese also landed in the North American west coast but did not establish permanent settlements.

The point is that the 15th Century was the age of discovery and having Europeans or Chinese discover America was inevitable. The result was the introduction of European technology to the New World. This technology included the introduction of the wheel, unknown to indigenous peoples at the time.  The highest expression of indigenous technology north of the Rio Grande was the Clovis point. People in Mexico and Peru were advanced in math, astronomy, and agriculture.

The world of exploration explodes in the next century carrying  American crops to Europe and Asia. The potato came from Peru!  Let’s not get carried away by anti-Columbus hysteria, but the left needs a new hysteria on a regular basis. As to the notion that Europeans gave indigenous people diseases for which they weren’t resistant, it may have been the animals that came with Europeans who transmitted the diseases. This is often cited as a single sided issue and it is forgotten or overlooked that the indigenous people gave Europeans syphilis and tobacco. Some would say they won that long-term battle.

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