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Dennis Donovan

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Member since: Wed Oct 15, 2008, 06:29 PM
Number of posts: 9,981

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John Dean Tweet; Republicans are a pathetic lot. They've descended into trying to out-Trump

John Dean ✔ @JohnWDean

Congressional Republicans are a pathetic lot. They’ve descended into trying to out-Trump, Trump. This is the way authoritarian followers strut their stuff for their leader. It is pretty weak but if I can provoke them to show the true nature of their vile behavior that is good.

5:47 AM - Jun 11, 2019

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jun 11, 2019, 07:41 AM (25 replies)

64 Years Ago Today; Tragedy at LeMans


The 1955 Le Mans disaster occurred during the 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race at Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France on 11 June 1955. A major crash caused large fragments of debris to fly into the crowd, killing 83 spectators and French driver Pierre Bouillin (who raced under the name Pierre Levegh) and injuring nearly 180 more. It was the most catastrophic crash in motorsport history, and it prompted Mercedes-Benz to retire from motor racing until 1989.

The crash started when Jaguar driver Mike Hawthorn cut in front of Austin-Healey driver Lance Macklin to reach his pit stop, prompting Macklin to swerve into the path of Levegh, who was passing on the left in his much faster Elektron magnesium-alloy bodied Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Levegh rear ended Macklin at high speed, overriding Macklin's car and launching his own car through the air. Levegh struck a protective dirt berm at 200 km/h (125 mph), disintegrating and igniting his car, throwing him onto the track where he was instantly killed, and sending large pieces of flaming debris cartwheeling over the berm and into the packed grandstand—including the engine block and hood.

There was much debate over blame. The official inquiry held none of the drivers specifically responsible and criticised the layout of the 30 year-old track, which had not been designed for cars of this speed.


Immediate cause

On lap 35, Hawthorn and Fangio were racing as hard as ever. In his biography, Hawthorn said he was "momentarily mesmerized by the legend of the Mercedes superiority... Then I came to my senses and thought ‘Damn it, why should a German car beat a British car.'" The lap before, Hawthorn's pit crew had signaled for him to come in the next lap. He had just lapped Levegh (running 6th) after Arnage (one of the corners of the race track) and was determined to keep Fangio at bay as long as possible. Coming out of the Maison Blanche portion of the course, he rapidly caught Lance Macklin in his Austin Healey 100S, who had seen him and moved over to the right to let him pass. Putting another lap on Macklin coming up to the main straight, Hawthorn then raised his hand to indicate he was pitting and pulled across to the right (from Hawthorn's testimony). What caught Macklin out though was that Hawthorn, using his advanced disc brakes, braked very hard to be able to slow the Jaguar from such a speed in time.

There are two key points to the track layout here – first, there was no designated deceleration lane for cars coming into the pits, and second, that just before the main straight, there was the slightest right-hand kink in the road just after where Hawthorn started braking.

Macklin, who also braked hard, ran off the right-hand edge of the track, throwing up dust. Macklin tried to avoid Hawthorn, whether it was an instinctive swerve from surprise, or a loss of control from going onto the change of road-surface, or his car's disc brakes operating unevenly. As a result, Macklin's car veered across to the centre of the track, apparently briefly out of control. This however put him into the path of Levegh's Mercedes-Benz, closing at over 200 km/h (120 mph), intent on doing another lap and in front of Fangio, who was patiently waiting to pass. Levegh did not have time to react, but with possibly his last action, raised his hand warning Fangio, thereby probably saving Fangio's life. Fangio, with his eyes shut, but with his own quick reflexes, squeezed through the carnage, just brushing Hawthorn's now-stationary Jaguar in the pits, but getting through unscathed.

Levegh's right-front wheel rode up onto the left rear corner of Macklin's car, which acted as a ramp and launched Levegh's car into the air, flying over spectators and rolling end over end for 80 metres (260 ft). Levegh was thrown free of the tumbling car, but his skull was fatally crushed when he hit the ground.

That critical kink in the road put the car on a direct trajectory toward the packed terraces and grandstand. The car landed on the earthen embankment between the spectators and the track, bounced, then slammed into a concrete stairwell structure, and disintegrated. The momentum of the heaviest components of the car – the engine, radiator, and front suspension – hurtled straight on into the crowd for almost 100 metres (330 ft), crushing all in their path. The bonnet lid scythed through the air, "decapitating tightly jammed spectators like a guillotine." Spectators who had climbed onto ladders and scaffolding to get a better view of the track, and those crowding to use the underpass to get to the pits, found themselves in the path of the lethal debris.

Jaguar driver Duncan Hamilton, watching from the pit wall, recalled, "The scene on the other side of the road was indescribable. The dead and dying were everywhere; the cries of pain, anguish, and despair screamed catastrophe. I stood as if in a dream, too horrified to even think."

When the rest of the car landed on the embankment, the rear-mounted fuel tank exploded. The fuel fire raised the temperature of the remaining Elektron bodywork past its ignition temperature, which was lower than that of other metal alloys due to its high magnesium content. The alloy burst into white-hot flames, showering the track and crowd with magnesium embers, made worse by rescue workers totally unfamiliar with magnesium fires, pouring water onto the inferno, greatly intensifying the fire: see flammability of magnesium. As a result, the car burned for several hours.

Meanwhile, Macklin's car, heavily damaged, rammed the left-side barrier, then veered to the right of the track into the pit lane, narrowly missing Kling's Mercedes-Benz, Roberto Mieres's Maserati, and Don Beauman's Jaguar, all of whom were already in the pits refueling before the accident. Macklin's car hit the unprotected pit-wall, just short of the Cunningham and Mercedes-Benz pits where Shell and Lockheed equipment were stationed, running down a policeman, a photographer and two officials (all seriously injured), then rebounded back across the track again to end up skating down the left-side fence for a second time. Macklin survived the incident without serious injury, jumping out of the wreck and over the bank.

Following hours

Hawthorn had overshot his pits and stopped. Getting out he was immediately ordered by his team to get back in and do another lap to get away from the total confusion and danger. When he pit stopped during the next lap he staggered out of the car completely distraught, adamant that he had caused the catastrophe. Ivor Bueb and Norman Dewis, both Le Mans debutants, had to step into their respective cars for their first driver stints. Bueb in particular was very reluctant, but given Hawthorn's condition had no choice, as Dewis adamantly pointed out to him.

Everyone expected the race to be red-flagged and stopped. Given the scale of the disaster, however, the race officials kept the race running because, if the huge audience crowd had tried to leave en masse, they would have choked the main roads around, severely impeding access for medical and emergency crews trying to save the injured.

Levegh's co-driver, American John Fitch, was suited up ready to take over the car at the upcoming pit-stop and was standing with Levegh's wife Denise Bouillin. They saw the whole catastrophe unfold. Levegh's lifeless body, severely burned, lay in full view on the pavement until a gendarme hauled down a banner to cover it. His wife was inconsolable and Fitch stayed with her until she could be comforted. Half an hour after the crash he realised that news was probably being broadcast on the radio, and he needed to telephone his family to reassure them that he was not the driver of the crashed car. When he got to the media centre to use a telephone, he got his first inkling of the sheer enormity of the disaster, overhearing a reporter filing that 48 deaths were already confirmed.

When Fitch returned to his pit he urged the Mercedes-Benz team to withdraw from the race, he could see that win or lose would be a public relations disaster for Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz team manager Alfred Neubauer had already reached the same conclusion, but did not have the authority to make such a decision. After an emergency meeting and vote of the company directors by telephone in Stuttgart, Neubauer finally got the call approving the team's withdrawal just before midnight. Waiting until 1:45 am, when many spectators had left, he stepped onto the track and quietly called his cars into the pits, at the time running first and third. Their retirement was briefly announced over the public address system. The Mercedes-Benz trucks were packed up and gone by morning. Chief engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut had gone to the Jaguar pits to ask if the Jaguar team would respond in kind, out of respect for the crash victims. Jaguar team manager "Lofty" England declined.

Conclusion of the race

Le Mans Memorial Plaque

Mike Hawthorn and the Jaguar team kept racing. With the Mercedes-Benz team withdrawn and the Ferraris all broken, Jaguar's main competition had gone. Hawthorn and Bueb won the race by an easy margin of five laps from Aston Martin. The weather had closed in on Sunday morning and there was no victory celebration. However, an inopportune press photograph showed Hawthorn smiling on the podium swigging from the victor's bottle of champagne. The French magazine L'Auto-Journal published it with the sarcastic caption, "A votre santé, Monsieur Hawthorn!" (In English, "To your health, Mr. Hawthorn!" )

After the race
Accounts put the death toll at 80 to 84 (spectators plus Levegh), either by flying debris or from the fire, with a further 120 to 178 injured. Other observers estimated the toll to be much higher. It has remained the most catastrophic crash in motorsport history. A special mass was held in the morning in the Le Mans Cathedral for the first funerals of the victims.

The death toll led to an immediate temporary ban on motorsports in France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and other nations, until the racetracks could be brought to a higher safety standard. In the United States, the American Automobile Association (AAA) dissolved their Contest Board that had been the primary sanctioning body for motorsport in the U.S. (including the Indianapolis 500) since 1904. It decided that auto racing detracted from its primary goals, and the United States Automobile Club was formed to take over the race sanctioning and officiating.

Most countries lifted their racing bans over the next year. However Switzerland's ban, which also extended to the running of timed motorsports such as hillclimbs, was not. This forced Swiss racing promoters to organize circuit events in foreign countries including France, Italy, and Germany. In 2003, the Federal Assembly of Switzerland started a lengthy discussion about whether this ban should be lifted. The discussion focused on traffic policy and environmental questions rather than on safety. On 10 June 2009, the Ständerat (upper house of the Swiss parliament) defeated a proposal to lift the ban for the second time. In 2015, the ban was relaxed for electric vehicles only, such as cars involved in Formula E electric racing.

The next round of the World Sports Car Championship at the Nürburgring was cancelled, as was the non-championship Carrera Panamericana. The rest of the 1955 World Sportscar Championship season was completed, with the remaining two races at the British RAC Tourist Trophy and the Italian Targa Florio, although they were not run until September and October, several months after the catastrophe. Mercedes-Benz won both of these events, and was able to secure the constructors championship for the season. Having achieved that, Mercedes-Benz withdrew from motorsport. The horror of the crash caused some drivers present, including Americans Phil Walters (who had been offered a drive with Ferrari for the rest of the season, ) Sherwood Johnston, and John Fitch (after completing the season with Mercedes-Benz), to retire from racing. Lance Macklin also decided to retire after being involved in another fatal crash, during the 1955 RAC Tourist Trophy race at Dundrod Circuit. Fangio never raced at Le Mans again. At Le Mans, the audience stands at the pits were demolished.

Much recrimination was directed at Hawthorn, saying that he had suddenly cut in front of Macklin and slammed on the brakes near the entrance to the pits, forcing Macklin to take desperate evasive action into the path of Levegh. This became the semi-official pronouncement of the Mercedes-Benz team and Macklin's story. The Jaguar team in turn questioned the fitness and competence of Macklin and Levegh as drivers. The first media accounts were wildly inaccurate, as shown by subsequent analysis of photographic evidence conducted by Road & Track editor (and 1955 second-place finisher) Paul Frère, in 1975. Additional details emerged when the stills reviewed by Frère were converted to video form.

The media also speculated on the violent fire that engulfed the wreck, that intensified when fire marshals poured their water-based extinguishers on the flames. They suggested that Mercedes-Benz had tampered with the official fuel-supply with an explosive additive, but the intensity of the fire was due instead to the magnesium-alloy construction of the chassis. Neubauer got the French authorities to test residual fuel left in the wreck's fuel injection and the result vindicated the company.

Opinions differed widely amongst the other drivers as to who was directly to blame for the crash, and such differences remain even today. Macklin claimed that Hawthorn's move to the pits was sudden, causing an emergency that led him to swerve into Levegh's path. Years later Fitch claimed, based on his own recollection and from what he heard from others, that Hawthorn had caused it. Norman Dewis ventured the opinions that Macklin's move around Hawthorn was careless and that Levegh was not competent to meet the demands of driving at the speeds the 300SLR was capable of. Both Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz issued official statements, mainly in self-defense against the accusations leveled against them and their drivers. Neubauer limited himself to suggesting improvements to the pit straight and making pit-stops safer.

Macklin, on reading Hawthorn's 1958 autobiography, Challenge Me the Race, was embittered when he found that Hawthorn now disclaimed all responsibility for the crash without identifying who had caused it. With Levegh dead, Macklin presumed that Hawthorn's implication was that he (Macklin) had been responsible, and he began a libel action. The action was still unresolved when Hawthorn was killed in a non-racing crash on the Guildford bypass in 1959, ironically when overtaking a Mercedes-Benz in his Jaguar.

The official government inquiry into the accident called officials, drivers, and team personnel to be questioned and give evidence. The wreckage was examined and tested and, finally, returned to Mercedes-Benz nearly 12 months after the catastrophe. In the end the enquiry ruled that no specific driver was responsible for the crash, and that it was merely a terrible racing incident. The death of the spectators was blamed on inadequate safety standards for the track design. Tony Rolt and other drivers had been raising concerns about the pit straight since 1953.

Over the next year, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) set about making extensive track improvements and infrastructure changes—the pit straight was redesigned and widened to remove the kink just before the start-finish line, and to give room for a deceleration lane. The pits complex was pulled down and rebuilt, giving more room to the teams, but thereby limiting spaces to only 52 starters rather than the previous 60. The grandstand was demolished and rebuilt with new spectator terraces and a wide ditch between them and the racetrack. Track safety technology and practices evolved slowly until Formula 1 driver Jackie Stewart organized a campaign to advocate for better safety measures ten years later. Stewart's campaign gained momentum after the deaths of Lorenzo Bandini and Jim Clark.

John Fitch became a major safety advocate and began active development of safer road cars and racing circuits. He invented traffic safety devices currently in use on highways, including the sand-and-air filled Fitch barrels.

Macklin's Austin-Healey 100 was sold to several private buyers before appearing on the public auction block. In 1969, it was bought for £155. In December 2011, the car was sold at auction for £843,000. The car retained the original engine SPL 261-BN and was valued at £800,000 before the auction. Its condition was reported to be 'barn find'.

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jun 11, 2019, 07:10 AM (5 replies)

56 years Ago Today; The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door


Attempting to block integration at the University of Alabama, Governor of Alabama George Wallace stands at the door of Foster Auditorium while being confronted by US Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach.

The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door took place at Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. George Wallace, the Democratic Governor of Alabama, in a symbolic attempt to keep his inaugural promise of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" and stop the desegregation of schools, stood at the door of the auditorium to try to block the entry of two African American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood.

In response, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 11111, which federalized the Alabama National Guard, and Guard General Henry Graham then commanded Wallace to step aside, saying, "Sir, it is my sad duty to ask you to step aside under the orders of the President of the United States." Wallace then spoke further, but eventually moved, and Malone and Hood completed their registration. The incident brought Wallace into the national spotlight.


The incident

Vivian Malone Jones arrives to register for classes at the University of Alabama's Foster Auditorium.

On June 11, Malone and Hood pre-registered in the morning at the Birmingham courthouse. They selected their courses and filled out all their forms there. They arrived at Foster Auditorium to have their course loads reviewed by advisors and pay their fees. They remained in their vehicle as Wallace, attempting to uphold his promise as well as for political show, blocked the entrance to Foster Auditorium with the media watching. Then, flanked by federal marshals, Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach told Wallace to step aside. However, Wallace interrupted Katzenbach and gave a speech on states' rights.

Katzenbach called President John F. Kennedy, who had previously issued a presidential proclamation demanding that Wallace step aside, and told him of Wallace's actions in ignoring the proclamation as it had no legal force. In response, Kennedy issued Executive Order 11111, which had already been prepared, authorizing the federalization of the Alabama National Guard. Four hours later, Guard General Henry Graham commanded Wallace to step aside, saying, "Sir, it is my sad duty to ask you to step aside under the orders of the President of the United States." Wallace then spoke further, but eventually moved, and Malone and Hood completed their registration.

In the days following the enactment, the National Guard were ordered to remain on the campus owing to a large Ku Klux Klan contingent in the surrounding area. Wallace and Kennedy exchanged volatile telegrams over it. Wallace objected to Kennedy ordering the Guard to remain on the campus and said that Kennedy bore responsibility if something happened. Kennedy responded stating that Executive Order 11111 made it clear that responsibility for keeping the peace remained with the State Troopers under Wallace's control and said he would revoke the order if assurances were made. Wallace refused stating he would not be intimidated and cited that Executive Order 11111 was passed without his knowledge.

Executive Order 11111 was also used to ensure that the Alabama National Guard made sure that black students across the state were able to enroll at previously all-white schools. It was complemented by Executive Order 11118, which provided "assistance for removal of unlawful obstructions of justice in the State of Alabama."


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jun 11, 2019, 06:52 AM (2 replies)

4.4 Lake Erie earthquake strikes Cleveland area

Source: cleveland.com

EASTLAKE, Ohio - An earthquake registering 4.4 was detected in Lake Erie, a half-mile north of Eastlake, shortly before 11 a.m. Monday morning.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said an aftershock of 2.2 was detected eight minutes later at 10:58 a.m. Both recordings are considered preliminary, said Eric Heis, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Information from multiple seismic stations are taken into account, Heis said.


Though earthquakes are infrequent in Ohio in comparison to other areas of the country, ODNR reports that there have been at least 200 earthquakes with epicenters in Ohio since 1776. Among those, at least 15 have caused at least minor damage.

Generally, according to ODNR, an earthquake 3.5 to 4.1 is felt by most people, with possible damage to windows. More, but small damage, normally can occur with earthquakes of 4.1 to 4.7.


Read more: https://www.cleveland.com/news/2019/06/was-that-an-earthquake-that-rattled-northern-ohio-monday-morning.html

Not a place you think of when earthquakes are mentioned...
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jun 10, 2019, 11:44 AM (6 replies)

KasieDC Tweet; "Have you read the Mueller report in full? Why not?"


Kasie DC ✔ @KasieDC
@Kasie: Have you read the Mueller report in full? @RepRobWoodall: I have not. @Kasie: Why not?

10:46 PM - Jun 9, 2019

What a goddamned idiot!
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jun 10, 2019, 06:56 AM (14 replies)

Alabama is one of only 2 states that allow rapists custody of children conceived by that rape


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jun 10, 2019, 06:14 AM (1 replies)

75 Years Ago Today; The SS massacres 642(!) civilians in Oradour-sur-Glane


Wrecked hardware – bicycles, sewing machines etc. – left in the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane

On 10 June 1944, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in Haute-Vienne in Nazi-occupied France was destroyed, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company.

A new village was built nearby after the war, but French president Charles de Gaulle ordered the original maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.

In February 1944, the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" was stationed in the Southern French town of Valence-d'Agen, north of Toulouse, waiting to be resupplied with new equipment and fresh troops. Following the D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944, the division was ordered north to help stop the Allied advance. One of its units was the 4th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment ("Der Führer" ). Its staff included regimental commander SS-Standartenführer Sylvester Stadler, SS-Sturmbannführer Adolf Diekmann commanding the 1st Battalion and SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Weidinger, Stadler's designated successor who was with the regiment for familiarisation. Command passed to Weidinger on 14 June.

Early on the morning of 10 June 1944, Diekmann informed Weidinger that he had been approached by two members of the Milice, a collaborator paramilitary force of the Vichy Regime. They claimed that a Waffen-SS officer was being held prisoner by the Resistance in Oradour-sur-Vayres, a nearby village. The captured officer was claimed to be SS-Sturmbannführer Helmut Kämpfe, commander of the 2nd SS Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion (also part of "Das Reich" division). He may have been captured by the Maquis du Limousin the day before.

On 10 June, Diekmann's battalion sealed off Oradour-sur-Glane and ordered everyone within to assemble in the village square to have their identity papers examined. This included six non-residents who happened to be bicycling through the town when the SS unit arrived. The women and children were locked in the church, and the village was looted. The men were led to six barns and sheds, where machine guns were already in place.

According to a survivor's account, the SS men then began shooting, aiming for their legs. When victims were unable to move, the SS men covered them with fuel and set the barns on fire. Only six men managed to escape. One of them was later seen walking down a road and was shot dead. In all, 190 Frenchmen died.

The SS men next proceeded to the church and placed an incendiary device beside it. When it was ignited, women and children tried to escape through the doors and windows, only to be met with machine-gun fire. 247 women and 205 children died in the attack. The only survivor was 47-year-old Marguerite Rouffanche. She escaped through a rear sacristy window, followed by a young woman and child. All three were shot, two of them fatally. Rouffanche crawled to some pea bushes and remained hidden overnight until she was found and rescued the next morning. About twenty villagers had fled Oradour-sur-Glane as soon as the SS unit had appeared. That night, the village was partially razed.

Several days later, the survivors were allowed to bury the 642 dead inhabitants of Oradour-sur-Glane who had been killed in just a few hours. Adolf Diekmann said the atrocity was in retaliation for the partisan activity in nearby Tulle and the kidnapping of an SS commander, Helmut Kämpfe.

Murphy report
Raymond J. Murphy, a 20-year-old American B-17 navigator shot down over Avord, France in late April 1944, witnessed the aftermath of the massacre. After being hidden by the French Resistance, Murphy was flown to England on 6 August, and in debriefing filled in a questionnaire on 7 August and made several drafts of a formal report. The version finally submitted on 15 August has a handwritten addendum:

About 3 weeks ago, I saw a town within 4 hours bicycle ride up [sic] the Gerbeau farm [of Resistance leader Camille Gerbeau] where some 500 men, women, and children had been murdered by the Germans. I saw one baby who had been crucified.

Murphy's report was made public in 2011 after a Freedom of Information Act request by his grandson, an attorney in the United States Department of Justice National Security Division. It is the only account to mention crucifying a baby. Shane Harris concludes the addendum is a true statement by Murphy and that the town, not named in Murphy's report, is very likely Oradour-sur-Glane.

German response
Protests at Diekmann's unilateral action followed, both from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, General Gleiniger, German commander in Limoges, and the Vichy government. Even SS-Standartenführer Stadler felt Diekmann had far exceeded his orders and began an investigation. However, Diekmann was killed in action shortly afterwards during the Battle of Normandy, and many of the third company, which had conducted the massacre, were also killed in action. The investigation was then suspended.

Postwar trials
On 12 January 1953, a military tribunal in Bordeaux heard the charges against the surviving 65 of the 200 or so SS men who had been involved. Only 21 of them were present, as many were in East Germany, which would not permit their extradition. Seven of those charged were German citizens, but 14 were Alsatians, French nationals whose home region had been annexed by Germany in 1940. All but one of the Alsatians claimed to have been forced to join the Waffen-SS. Such forced conscripts from Alsace and Lorraine called themselves the malgré-nous, meaning "against our will".

On 11 February, 20 defendants were found guilty. Continuing uproar in Alsace (including demands for autonomy) pressed the French parliament to pass an amnesty law for all the malgré-nous on 19 February. The convicted Alsatian former SS men were released shortly afterwards, which caused bitter protests in the Limousin region.

By 1958, all of the German defendants had also been released. General Heinz Lammerding of the Das Reich division, who had given the orders for retaliation against the Resistance, died in 1971, following a successful entrepreneurial career. At the time of the trial, he lived in Düsseldorf, in the former British occupation zone of West Germany, and the French government never obtained his extradition from West Germany.

The last trial of a Waffen-SS member who had been involved took place in 1983. Former SS-Obersturmführer Heinz Barth was tracked down in East Germany. Barth had participated in the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre as a platoon leader in the "Der Führer" regiment, commanding 45 SS men. He was one of several charged with giving orders to shoot 20 men in a garage. Barth was sentenced to life imprisonment by the First Senate of the City Court of Berlin. He was released from prison in the reunified Germany in 1997 and died in August 2007.

On 8 January 2014, Werner Christukat, an 88-year-old former member of the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the "Der Führer" SS regiment was charged, by the state court in Cologne, with 25 charges of murder and hundreds of counts of accessory to murder in connection with the massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane. The suspect, who was identified only as Werner C., had until 31 March 2014 to respond to the charges. If the case went to trial, it could have possibly been held in a juvenile court because the suspect was only 19 at the time it occurred. According to his attorney, Rainer Pohlen, the suspect acknowledged being at the village but denied being involved in any killings. On 9 December 2014, the court dropped the case, citing a lack of any witness statements or reliable documentary evidence able to disprove the suspect's contention that he was not a part of the massacre.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jun 10, 2019, 05:58 AM (6 replies)

56 Years Ago Today; JFK Signs The Equal Pay Act of 1963


The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a United States labor law amending the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex (see Gender pay gap). It was signed into law on June 10, 1963, by John F. Kennedy as part of his New Frontier Program. In passing the bill, Congress stated that sex discrimination:

-depresses wages and living standards for employees necessary for their health and efficiency;

-prevents the maximum utilization of the available labor resources;

-tends to cause labor disputes, thereby burdening, affecting, and obstructing commerce;

-burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce; and constitutes an unfair method of competition.

The law provides (in part) that:

No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section [section 206 of title 29 of the United States Code] shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs[,] the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex [...]



1973 Public service announcement featuring Batgirl, and the other guys.

American women’s salaries have risen relative to men's since the EPA’s enactment, from 62.3% of men’s earnings in 1979 to 80.4% in 2004. The EPA’s equal pay for equal work goals have not been completely achieved, as demonstrated by the BLS data and Congressional findings within the text of the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act.

The EPA did not originally cover executives, administrators, outside salespeople, and professionals, but the Education Amendments of 1972 amended the EPA so that it does.

As a senator, Hillary Clinton first introduced the "Paycheck Fairness Act" on April 20, 2005, which, among other provisions, proposes to amend the EPA’s fourth affirmative defense to permit only bona fide factors other than sex that are job-related or serve a legitimate business interest. Representative Rosa DeLauro first introduced an identical bill in the House of Representatives on the same day. On January 29, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which overturned the holding of a Supreme Court case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear, regarding the applicable statute of limitations. This bill, providing that each gender-unequal paycheck is a new violation of the law, was the first signing of the Obama Presidency and came almost forty-five years after the Equal Pay Act.

Initially, a 2007 study commissioned by the Department of Labor cautioned against overzealous application of the EPA without closer examination of possible reasons for pay discrepancies. This study noted, for example, that men as a group earn higher wages in part because men dominate blue collar jobs, which are more likely to require cash payments for overtime work; in contrast, women comprise over half of the salaried white collar management workforce that is often exempted from overtime laws. In summary, the study stated: "Although additional research in this area is clearly needed, this study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers." But due to the fact that woman have to go on maternity leave and are mostly in charge of childcare, the wage gap still exist.

However, later, in 2014, the Department of Labor observed, "some causes for the wage gap remain unexplained by existing research. For example, gender discrimination may be responsible for some portion of the unexplained wage gap. .... And there is more to the story: women of color continue to face significant racial wage gaps on top of the gender wage gap. [*The gender wage gap is bigger for black and Hispanic women compared to white, non-Hispanic men.] To ensure the health of our economy and the economic security of our nation's families, we must do more to eliminate the gender wage gap."


But we still do not have an ERA...
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jun 10, 2019, 05:23 AM (1 replies)

84 Years Ago Today; Dr Bob takes his last drink; Bob and BillW form Alcoholics Anonymous


Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship with the stated purpose of enabling its members to "stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety." AA is nonprofessional, self-supporting, and apolitical. Its only membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking. The AA program of recovery is set forth in the Twelve Steps.

AA was founded in Akron, Ohio when in 1935 one alcoholic, Bill Wilson, talked to another alcoholic, Bob Smith, about the nature of alcoholism and a possible solution. With the help of other early members, the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism was written in 1939. Its title became the name of the organization and is now usually referred to as "The Big Book". AA's initial Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946 to help the fellowship be stable and unified while disengaged from "outside issues" and influences.

The Traditions recommend that members remain anonymous in public media, altruistically help other alcoholics, and that AA groups avoid official affiliations with other organizations. They also advise against dogma and coercive hierarchies. Subsequent fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous have adapted the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to their respective primary purposes.

AA membership has since spread internationally "across diverse cultures holding different beliefs and values", including geopolitical areas resistant to grassroots movements. Close to two million people worldwide are estimated to be members of AA as of 2016.



1935 Dr. Bob sober
Silkworth believed Wilson was making a mistake by telling new converts of his "Hot Flash" conversion and trying to apply the Oxford Group's principles. He advised Wilson of the need to deflate the alcoholic. He told Wilson to give them the medical business, and give it to them hard: tell them of the obsession that condemns them to drink and the physical sensitivity that condemns them to go mad or die. He believed that if this message were told to them by another alcoholic, it would break down their ego. Only then could the alcoholic use the other "medicine"—the ethical principles he had picked up from the Oxford Groups.

Subsequently, during a business trip in Akron, Ohio, Wilson was tempted to drink and realized he must talk to another alcoholic to stay sober. He phoned local ministers to ask if they knew any alcoholics. Norman Sheppard directed him to Oxford member Henrietta Seiberling, whose group had been trying to help a desperate alcoholic named Dr. Bob Smith.

While he was a student at Dartmouth College, Smith started drinking heavily and later almost failed to graduate from medical school because of it. He opened a medical practice and married, but his drinking put his business and family life in jeopardy. For 17 years Smith's daily routine was to stay sober until the afternoon, get drunk, sleep, then take sedatives to calm his morning jitters. Seiberling convinced Smith to talk with Wilson, but Smith insisted the meeting be limited to 15 minutes. Smith was so impressed with Wilson's knowledge of alcoholism and ability to share from his own experience, however, that their discussion lasted six hours.

Wilson moved into Bob and Anne Smith's family home. There both men made plans to take their message of recovery on the road. During this period, however, Smith returned to drinking while attending a medical convention. During his stay at the Smith home, Wilson joined Smith and his wife in the Oxford Group's practice of morning guidance sessions with meditations and Bible readings. The Bible's Book of James became an important inspiration for Smith and the alcoholics of the Akron group. Wilson spent a month working with Smith, and Smith became the first alcoholic Wilson brought to sobriety. Smith's last drink was on June 10, 1935 (a beer to steady his hand for surgery), and this is considered by members to be the founding date of AA.

A new program

Dr. Robert Smith's House in Akron

Wilson and Smith sought to develop a simple program to help even the worst alcoholics, along with a more successful approach that empathized with alcoholics yet convinced them of their hopelessness and powerlessness. They believed active alcoholics were in a state of insanity rather than a state of sin, an idea they developed independently of the Oxford Group.[35][36]

To produce a spiritual conversion necessary for sobriety and sanity, alcoholics needed to realize that they couldn't conquer alcoholism by themselves—that surrendering to a higher power and working with another alcoholic were required. Sober alcoholics could show drinking alcoholics that it was possible to enjoy life without alcohol, thus inspiring a spiritual conversion that would help ensure sobriety.

The tactics employed by Smith and Wilson to bring about the conversion was first to determine if an individual had a drinking problem. To do this they would first approach the man's wife, and later they would approach the individual directly by going to his home or by inviting him to the Smiths' home. The objective was to get the man to surrender, and the surrender involved a confession of powerlessness and a prayer that said the man believed in a higher power and could be restored to sanity. This process would sometimes take place in the kitchen, or at other times it was at the man's bed with Wilson kneeling on one side of the bed and Smith on the other side. This way the man would be led to admit his defeat. Wilson and Smith believed that until a man had surrendered, he couldn't attend the Oxford meetings. No one was allowed to attend a meeting without being sponsored. Thus a new prospect underwent many visits around the clock with members of the Akron team and undertook many prayer sessions, as well as listening to Dr. Smith cite the medical facts about alcoholism. A new prospect was also put on a special diet of sauerkraut, tomatoes and Karo syrup to reduce his alcoholic cravings. The Smith family home in Akron became a center for alcoholics.

Two realizations came from Wilson's work in Akron. The first was that to remain sober, an alcoholic needed another alcoholic to work with. The second was the concept of the 24 hours—that if the alcoholic could resist the urge to drink by postponing it for one day, one hour, or even one minute, he could remain sober



Dr Robert Smith...
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jun 10, 2019, 05:03 AM (44 replies)

Beschloss tweet: Truman CRUSHES Joe McCarthy in scathing telegram!

Tailgunner Joe got his ass shot off!
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Jun 9, 2019, 09:59 PM (8 replies)
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