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December 7, 2011


The third thing JFK could teach President Obama, according to Chris Matthews, is to take responsibility.

After the Bay of Pigs fiasco in April 1961, JFK told reporters:

“I’m the responsible officer of the government.”

Castro’s Prisoners at the Bay of Pigs
                        April 1917

Chris Matthews reminds us that shortly after the event, JFK’s Gallup poll approval rating reached 83%.

Chris says “It’s another basic.  It’s easy to spot the leader.  He’s the one who deserves to take the lead because he’s the one who takes the heat.”

              JFK Speaks to Publishers 
                  about the Bay of Pigs

Historian Arthur Schlesinger once said that “politics is essentially a learning process” & Matthews believes Mr. Obama needs to show that he is learning by showing that he has “adjusted his thinking & learned what has not worked.”

Most historians would support Matthews’ view that JFK learned from the failure of the Bay of Pigs.  The fruit of that learning was his successful handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

Chris Matthews concludes:

“Nobody (will) believe the 2nd term (will be) better than the 1st unless Obama lets it be known he’s learned from his mistakes.”*

*Source:  “Five Things JFK Could Teach Obama,” Time Magazine, November 7, 2011.

December 7, 1963


New York City (JFK+50) “Dominique”, a song recorded early this year in Brussels, Belgium by Soeur Sourire, reached the coveted #1 spot today.

Dominique, nique, nique
s’en allait tout simple ment
Routier pauvre et chantant
En tous chemins, entous lieux,
il ne parle que due bon Dieu.

Dominique, nique, nique
over the land he plods along
And sings a little song
Never asking for reward
he just talks about the Lord.

Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile) is Sister Luc-Gabrielle of the Dominican convent in Fichermont, Belgium.

                         Soeur Sourire
                   “The Singing Nun”

Since being in the convent, the sister has written, sang & performed her own songs which have been well received by the order & she was eventually permitted to record an album.

“Dominique” is a song honoring St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican order.*

*”Dominique” stayed at #1 for 4 weeks. Many US radio stations played the song in the aftermath of JFK’s death.

 Souer Sourire would later drop out of the church & attempted a musical comeback with a new stage name.  

Jeannine Deckers (Souer Sourire) died by suicide with her partner in 1985. 

Grave of Soeur Sourire (Jeanne Deckers)
               & partner Annie Pecher
       Photo by Patrick.trimbur (2009)

December 7, 1941


Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands (JFK+50) Lt. Ruth Erickson, NC, United States Navy, talked about her experiences today during the Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.*

“(Today was) to be my day off.  Two or three of us were sitting in the dining room…having a late breakfast.  Suddenly we heard planes roaring overhead.

I leaped out of my chair & dashed to the nearest window in the corridor.  Right then there was a plane flying directly over the top of our quarters. 

The rising sun under the wing of the plane denoted the enemy.  Had I known the pilot, one could almost see his features around his goggles.  

He was obviously saving his ammunition for the ships.  Just down the row, all the ships were sitting there.

My heart was racing, the telephone was ringing, the chief nurse, Gertrude Arnest (said) ‘Girls, get into your uniforms at once. This is the real thing!’

I (changed) into uniform.  It was getting dusky, almost like evening. Smoke was rising from burning ships.

I dashed across the street, through a shrapnel shower, got into the lanai & just stood still for a second.  (When I reached the hospital) we drew water into every container we could find.  Fortunately we still had electricity & water.

The 1st patient came in…at 8:25 a.m. (the attack began at 8:00) with a large opening in his abdomen & bleeding profusely.  They started an intravenous & transfusion.  I can still see the tremor of Dr. Brunson’s hand as he picked up the needle.  

Everyone was terrified.  The patient died within the hour.”**

                Captain Ruth Alice Erickson

*Captain Ruth Alice Erickson was born in Virginia, Minnesota in 1913.  She graduated from the Methodist Kahler School of Nursing in Rochester, Minnesota in 1934. 

She served as the Director of the US Navy Nurse Corps from 1962 to 1966 & served in the US Navy from 1936 to 1966.  

Captain Erickson died in Rochester, MN in 2008.

**Source:  Naval History & Heritage Command

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