Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cape Wind Approved, Kennedy Family on Board, Patriarch Joe Wasn't a Bootlegger!

I was tempted to add "Dogs stop chasing cats".

First some history. Here's some on-the-ground reporting of the issues:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Jason Jones 180 - Nantucket

The Kennedy clan vehemently opposed Cape Wind with such cogent arguments as:

But don't you realize, that's where I sail
-Ted Kennedy, quoted in "Cape Wind:..."
The sight of them bothers me

Ted's nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr. argued in a 2005 New York Times Op-ed:
...These turbines are less than six miles from shore and would be seen from Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket...
Now, in a 180-degree change of position, the Kennedys, in solidarity with the project, have embarked on a major transformation of the house that Joe bought with his Wall Street winnings* in 1928:

Here's the eco-friendly Kennedy family's Compound, from the water

That's not all.
In a major revelation Matt Welch directs us to a Michael Okrent Daily Beast article by saying:
So, as Radley Balko pointed out this morning, Joe Kennedy may not have a bootlegger after all. Instead, he was an incredibly well-connected transatlantic political insider and business partner with the president's son who obtained exclusive liquor-import contracts from abroad (while noshing with various current and future prime ministers) and medicinal liquor permits at home, using both to make a bundle selling alcohol during Prohibition. Which is just so much better....
Here's the New York Times on the official okey-dokey:
Big Wind Farm Off Cape Cod Gets Approval
*As I explained in 2007's "Robert Kennedy Jr., Global Warming and Wall Street", Joe Kennedy was involved in some of the largest stock manipulations of the late '20's:
Already a wealthy man Joe Kennedy had another Wall Street trick up his sleeve, a classic pump-and dump. In 1929 he and some other rascals got together to run the .com of the day, Radio Corporation of America.

What a run it was! The pool picked up $5 million in ten days. My BLS inflation calculator says that's a bit over $60 million today (although the PBS special linked below says $100 million).

When the question arose as to who should manage the pool the answer was easy. Who better than the specialist in the stock, Michael J. Meehan! PBS did a good job on their show "The Crash of 1929", even interviewing Meehan's grandson. Here are some of my links, Senate Hearings (4 page PDF), 1948 SEC chief counsel memo on the Act of '33 (5 page PDF), Colliers story on the early SEC.

One of Joe Kennedy's most quoted comments:
"It's easy to make money in this market," said Kennedy, famously, to an associate. "We'd better get in before they pass a law against it."
It must run in the family "We got ours, now you, git..."