In the daylight, awake, I have the same dream repeating like an old forty-five (not the pistol, ask your mum).

Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) was sworn in as President on board Air Force One in Dallas at Love Field Airport on November 22, 1963 by Sarah T. Hughes, a Federal Judge and family friend, making him the first President sworn in by a woman. He is the only President to have been sworn in on Texas soil. Johnson was not sworn on a Bible, as none could be found aboard Air Force One; a Roman Catholic missal was discovered in Kennedy's desk, and this book was used during the swearing-in ceremony.

And all of that is true, but it’s the picture of him then that is the constant landscape of my dream, stood there somewhat squashed, a miserable Jackie with her life left in front of her by his side. Him with his palm held up and the crush of folks looking on from the aircraft’s little cabin. He has the manner of a somewhat sanctimonious pall-bearer.

... making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg. It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else.

11/5/2008, 5:52 a.m. EST -The Associated Press           
MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (AP) — Cecil Stoughton, the White House photographer who shot the iconic image of Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office aboard Air Force One, has died. He was 88. Stoughton died Monday evening at his Florida home, his son Jamie Stoughton said Tuesday. He had struggled with health problems after having a hip replaced a few years ago, his children said.
Born in 1920 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Stoughton was John F. Kennedy's White House photographer and followed the president during both public victories and private family moments.His famous picture of Johnson's grim swearing-in ceremony in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, shows Johnson in the cramped Air Force One airplane cabin with Jacqueline Kennedy at his side.
"He was under tremendous pressure," Jamie Stoughton said. "If his camera had failed, who knows what would have happened. It was the only proof that Johnson had been sworn in."

Joseph Robinette Biden (JRB) is the first Roman Catholic to be elected Vice President of the United States and as well as the first person from Delaware to have risen to that office.

Of course we’ve had a Catholic President before. A stretch of Interstate 95 in Maryland, running from the Baltimore Beltway to the State Line, where it becomes the Delaware Turnpike, had been dedicated by President Kennedy on November 14, 1963, eight days before his assassination. It was renamed the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway soon afterwards.

The picture I see is JRB standing in LBJ’s baggy suit, jowls hung down, a tall black widow to his side, perhaps his ancient white-haired mother is next to him also, as she was on polling day, somewhat confused. I cannot see if they’ve found a bible this time. They are not in an aircraft, that part seems unlikely. They are not at Love Field, nor anywhere in Texas.

Jack Valenti, who is by now talked of as the longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America, was in a window seat for the Johnson photograph but is not in the picture as I see it today. Largely because Jack Valenti died on April 26, 2007 on the same day, albeit 30 years earlier, that Tom Welling was born, the actor and former male fashion model, who's most famous for his portrayal of Clark Kent in the television series Smallville. Welling’s father's job required frequent relocation and they moved around a fair bit when he was young including Putnam Valley, New York, Janesville, Wisconsin, and then Hockessin, Delaware whose name derives from the Lenape word "hòkèsa" meaning "pieces of bark" or from a misspelling of "occasion," as pronounced by the Quakers who settled the area originally.

Valenti’s PR firm was in charge of the press during the November 1963 visit of JFK and LBJ to Dallas. Following the assassination (and the photograph) he lived in the White House for the first two months of Johnson's new presidency. Valenti loved Johnson and spinning isn’t new: "If LBJ dropped the H-bomb, Valenti would call it an urban renewal project."

What is the moving target of a man’s purpose? On page 81 of his book Promises to Keep JRB said that after his wife and young daughter were killed when a truck hit their station wagon while they were out Christmas shopping in Hockessin, Delaware, "I liked to walk around seedy neighborhoods at night when I thought there was a better chance of finding a fight ... I had not known I was capable of such rage ... I felt God had played a horrible trick on me." That was his purpose after December 18, 1972, but that was more than thirty five years ago and he has other things to do now.

Keith L. Washington was born on December 18, 1972 in Dallas, Texas about six and a half miles from Love Field. A defensive end, he played nine seasons in the National Football League for four different teams. While on that day in Washington then President, Richard Nixon, who lived to die of mostly natural causes and was himself very partial to football, announced that the United States would engage North Vietnam in Operation Linebacker II, a series of Christmas bombings, after peace talks collapsed with the North Vietnamese on the 13th. ’72 was a leap year.

Him and Her, the most well known of the President Johnson's dogs, were beagles born on June 27, 1963 the day after JFK made his Ich bin ein Berliner speech. In 1964, President Johnson lifted Him by his ears while greeting a group on the White House lawn. Her died at the White House in November1964, after swallowing a stone. Him died in June 1966, when he was hit by a car while chasing a squirrel on the White House lawn.

Taureans fear change for the upset it causes. I fear Joe Biden’s hand on a book. And that’s nothing against Joe Biden who seems a good workaday soul and would probably make a fist of playing a President on television. The upset it causes. And I could mention that I  want to write this down to make it not happen, but I write it down because I feel it clearly and if it happens someday then I can in all my pride point out that I wrote this down already. I had the great foresight to imagine the upset that another assassination would cause America. The foresight to know that the next version of LBJ’s Warren Commission will do a far better job of not letting the waters get so muddy. They’d get it sealed up tight from the get go. Guessing that Biden might put his hand on a book as though anyone else but the Vice President gets to do that when the President’s getting cold. Imagining the scant possibility that the novelty of a black and white man as Commander in Chief might rile up some of the wrong sort of folks.

Hockessin is almost exactly equidistant between New York City and Washington, DC. Since 1990, the population has tripled. The boxer Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins lives there. Oldest man to ever hold the Middleweight Championship. I don’t think Joe Biden will hold a beagle up by the ears.





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