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Dennis Donovan

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Member since: Wed Oct 15, 2008, 06:29 PM
Number of posts: 11,110

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"The only time it's acceptable to bunt."


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Aug 31, 2019, 09:48 AM (16 replies)

22 Years Ago Today; Princess Diana, Dodi Fayed, driver Henri Paul die in car accident in Paris


Flowers left outside Kensington Palace in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales

On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in hospital as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes S280, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth passenger in the car, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, was seriously injured but survived.

Although the media blamed the behaviour of the paparazzi who followed the car, a French judicial investigation in 1999 found that the crash was caused by Paul, who lost control of the Mercedes at high speed while he was intoxicated and under the effects of prescription drugs. As a result, it was confirmed that no criminal charges would be issued against any of the pursuing photographers.

Paul was the deputy head of security at the Hôtel Ritz at the time of the crash and had goaded the paparazzi waiting outside the hotel earlier. His inebriation may have been made worse by anti-depressants and traces of an anti-psychotic in his body. The investigation concluded that the photographers were not near the Mercedes when it crashed. After hearing evidence at the British inquest in 2008, a jury returned a verdict of "unlawful killing" by Paul and the paparazzi pursuing the car.

Diana's death caused a substantial outpouring of worldwide grief, including numerous floral tributes, and her funeral was watched by an estimated 2 billion people. The Royal Family were criticised in the press for their reaction to Diana's death.

Events preceding the crash

A car similar to that involved in the accident.

On Saturday, 30 August 1997, Diana left Sardinia on a private jet and arrived in Paris with Dodi Fayed, the son of Mohamed Al-Fayed. They had stopped there en route to London, having spent the preceding nine days together on board Mohamed Al-Fayed's yacht Jonikal on the French and Italian Riviera. They had intended to stay there for the night. Mohamed Al-Fayed was and is the owner of the Hôtel Ritz Paris. He also owned an apartment in Rue Arsène Houssaye, a short distance from the hotel, just off the Avenue des Champs Elysées.

Henri Paul, the deputy head of security at the Ritz Hotel, had been instructed to drive the hired black 1994 Mercedes-Benz W140 in order to elude the paparazzi; a decoy vehicle left the Ritz first from the main entrance on Place Vendôme, attracting a throng of photographers. Diana and Fayed then departed from the hotel's rear entrance, Rue Cambon at around 00:20 on 31 August CEST (22:20 on 30 August UTC), heading for the apartment in Rue Arsène Houssaye. They did this to avoid the nearly 30 photographers waiting in the front of the hotel. They were the rear passengers; Trevor Rees-Jones, a member of the Fayed family's personal protection team, was in the (right) front passenger seat. It was believed that Diana and Dodi were not wearing seat belts. After leaving the Rue Cambon and crossing the Place de la Concorde, they drove along Cours la Reine and Cours Albert 1er – the embankment road along the right bank of the River Seine – into the Place de l'Alma underpass.

The crash
At 00:23, Paul lost control of the vehicle at the entrance to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. The car struck the righthand wall and then swerved to the left of the two-lane carriageway before it collided head-on with the 13th pillar that supported the roof. The car was travelling at an estimated speed of 105 km/h (65 mph). It then spun and hit the stone wall of the tunnel backwards, finally coming to a stop. The impact caused substantial damage, particularly to the front half of the vehicle, as there was no guard rail between the pillars to prevent this. Witnesses arriving shortly after the accident reported smoke. Witnesses also reported that photographers on motorcycles "swarmed the Mercedes sedan before it entered the tunnel."

The aftermath

The entrance to the Pont de l'Alma Tunnel, the site where Diana was fatally injured

As the four occupants lay in the wrecked car, the photographers, who had been driving slower and were some distance behind the Mercedes, reached the scene. The photographers were on motorcycles. Some rushed to help, tried to open the doors and help the victims, while some of them took pictures. Airbags were deployed. Police arrived on scene around 10 minutes after the crash at 00:30 and an ambulance was on site five minutes after the police, according to witnesses. France Info radio reported that one photographer was beaten by witnesses who were horrified by the scene. Five of the photographers were taken into custody. Later, two others were detained and around 20 rolls of film were taken from the photographers. Police also impounded their vehicles. Firemen also arrived to help remove the victims.

Still conscious, Rees-Jones had suffered multiple serious facial injuries and a head contusion. The front occupants' airbags had functioned normally. The occupants were not wearing seat belts. Diana, who had been sitting in the right rear passenger seat, was still conscious. Critically injured, Diana was reported to murmur repeatedly, "Oh my God," and after the photographers and other helpers were pushed away by police, "Leave me alone." In June 2007, the Channel 4 documentary Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel claimed that the first person to touch Diana was Dr. Maillez, who chanced upon the scene. He reported that Diana had no visible injuries but was in shock. Diana was removed from the car at 01:00. She then went into cardiac arrest and following external cardiopulmonary resuscitation, her heart started beating again. She was moved to the SAMU ambulance at 01:18, left the scene at 01:41 and arrived at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital at 02:06.

Fayed had been sitting in the left rear passenger seat and was shortly afterwards pronounced dead. Paul was declared dead on removal from the wreckage. Both were taken to the Institut Médico-Légal (IML), the Paris mortuary, not to a hospital. Paul was later found to have a blood alcohol level of 1.75 grams per litre of blood—about 3.5 times the legal limit in France.

Despite attempts to save her, Diana's internal injuries were too extensive: her heart had been displaced to the right side of the chest, which tore the pulmonary vein and the pericardium. Despite lengthy resuscitation attempts, including internal cardiac massage, she died at 04:00. Anesthesiologist Bruno Riou announced her death at 06:00 at a news conference held at the hospital.

Later that morning, Jean-Pierre Chevènement (French Minister of the Interior) visited the hospital with French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. At around 17:00, Diana's former husband, Charles, Prince of Wales, and her two older sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, arrived in Paris. The group visited the hospital along with French President Jacques Chirac and thanked the doctors for trying to save her life. Prince Charles accompanied Diana's body home on Sunday. Her body was taken to the Hammersmith and Fulham mortuary in London for a post-mortem examination later that day.

Initial media reports stated Diana's car had collided with the pillar at 190 km/h (120 mph), and that the speedometer's needle had jammed at that position. It was later announced the car's speed on collision was about 95–110 km/h (60–70 mph). The car was certainly travelling much faster than the speed limit of 50 km/h (31 mph). In 1999, a French investigation concluded the Mercedes had come into contact with another vehicle (a white Fiat Uno) in the tunnel. The driver of that vehicle has never been conclusively traced, although many believe the driver of the Fiat was Le Van Thanh but the specific vehicle has not been identified.

It was remarked by Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary, that if the accident had been caused in part by being hounded by paparazzi, it would be "doubly tragic." Diana's brother also blamed tabloid media for her death. An 18-month French judicial investigation concluded in 1999 that the crash was caused by Paul, who lost control at high speed while intoxicated.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Aug 31, 2019, 08:33 AM (24 replies)

33 Years Ago Today; Aeromxico Flight 498 collides with a Piper PA-28 Cherokee over Cerritos, CA


The DC-9, missing its horizontal stabilizer as a result of the collision, plummeting into Cerritos

Aeroméxico Flight 498 was a scheduled commercial flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles, with several intermediate stops. On Sunday, August 31, 1986, the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 operating the flight was clipped in the tail section by N4891F, a Piper PA-28-181 Archer owned by the Kramer family, and crashed into the Los Angeles suburb of Cerritos, killing all 67 on both aircraft and an additional fifteen on the ground. Eight on the ground also sustained minor injuries from the midday crash.

Blame was allocated equally between the Federal Aviation Administration and the pilot of the Piper. No fault was found with the DC-9 or the actions of its crew.


An Aeroméxico DC-9, similar to the aircraft involved in the accident

The larger aircraft involved, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 with tail number XA-JED named Hermosillo, was delivered in April 1969 to Delta Air Lines as N1277L before entering into service with Aeroméxico in November 1979. It was en route from Mexico City to Los Angeles International Airport (with intermediate stops in Guadalajara, Loreto, and Tijuana).

A Piper PA-28-181 Archer, similar to the aircraft involved in the accident

N4891F was a privately operated Piper PA-28-181 Archer owned by the Kramer family, which was en route from Torrance to Big Bear City, California. The Piper aircraft with pilot William Kramer and two passengers aboard, had departed Torrance around 11:40 am PDT. Kramer had 231 flight hours and had moved to southern California within the last year from Spokane, Washington.

The cockpit crew of Flight 498 consisted of Captain Arturo Valdes Prom, 46, First Officer Jose Hector Valencia, 26. The captain had 4,632 hours of flying experience in the DC-9 (technically referred to in an accident report as "in-type" ) and a total of 10,641 flight hours. The first officer had flown 1,463 hours in total, of which 1,245 hours had been accumulated in-type.

Accident summary
On Sunday, August 31, 1986 at about 11:46 am PDT, Flight 498 began its descent into Los Angeles with 58 passengers and six crew members on board. At 11:52 am, the Piper's engine collided with the left horizontal stabilizer of the DC-9, shearing off the top of the Piper's cockpit and decapitating Kramer and both of his passengers. The heavily damaged Piper fell onto an empty playground at Cerritos Elementary School.

The DC-9, with all of its horizontal stabilizer and most of its vertical stabilizer torn off, inverted and immediately entered a dive. It slammed into a residential neighborhood at Holmes Avenue and Reva Circle in Cerritos, crashing into the backyard of a house at 13426 Ashworth Place, exploding on impact. The explosion scattered the DC-9's wreckage across Holmes Avenue and onto Carmenita Road, destroying four other houses and damaging seven more. All 64 passengers and crew on board the DC-9 were killed, and fifteen people on the ground; a fire added to the damage.

An annotated aerial view of the Aeroméxico DC-9 crash site

Passengers and crew
Thirty-six of the passengers were citizens of the United States. Of the twenty Mexican citizens, eleven lived in the United States and nine lived in Mexico. The Salvadoran citizen lived in the Bay Shore area of the town of Islip, in Suffolk County, New York. Ten of the passengers were children.

Of the passengers and crew on the Tijuana–Los Angeles leg of the flight:

Two passengers and six crew members boarded in Mexico City.
Six boarded in Guadalajara.
Thirty-one boarded at Loreto Airport.
Nineteen boarded in Tijuana.

Investigation and aftermath
The National Transportation Safety Board investigation found that the Piper had entered the Los Angeles Terminal Control Area airspace without the required clearance. The TCA included a triangular slab of airspace from 6,000 to 7,000 feet (1,800 to 2,100 m) altitude, reaching south to 33.714°N 118.007°W, across the Piper's intended flight path. The Piper could legally fly beneath this airspace without contacting air traffic controllers, but instead climbed into the TCA. The air traffic controller had been distracted by another unauthorized private flight – a Grumman AA-5 Tiger – entering the TCA directly north of the airfield, that also did not have clearance.

The Piper was not (and was not then required to be) equipped with a Mode C transponder, which would have indicated its altitude, and LAX had not been equipped with automatic warning systems. Apparently, neither pilot attempted any evasive maneuvers because neither pilot sighted the other aircraft, though they were in visual range. When an autopsy revealed significant arterial blockage in the heart of the Piper's pilot, public speculation existed that Kramer had suffered a heart attack, causing incapacitation and contributing to the collision; further forensic evidence discounted this, and error on Kramer's part was determined to be the main contributing factor to the collision.

As a result of this accident and other near midair collisions (NMAC) in terminal control areas, the Federal Aviation Administration required that all jets in US airspace be equipped with a traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), and required that light aircraft operating in dense airspaces be equipped with Mode C transponders, which can report their altitude.

A jury ruled that the DC-9 bore no fault, instead deciding that Kramer and the FAA each acted equally negligently and had equal responsibility. U.S. District Judge David Kenyon agreed with the notion that the FAA shared responsibility. Federal Air Regulations 14 CFR 91.113 (b) require pilots of all aircraft to maintain vigilance to "see and avoid" other aircraft that might be on conflicting flight paths. The relative positions of both aircraft at the moment of collision showed no sign of any attempt at avoidance maneuvering by either aircraft.

One of the lawsuits involving victims on the ground had the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit apply the Supreme Court of California's ruling in Thing v. La Chusa to extend recovery for negligent infliction of emotional distress to Theresa Estrada, whose husband and two of four children were among the 15 on the ground killed in the crash. Although she did not witness the crash (which was a major requirement for recovery under Thing), she returned minutes after to witness the home consumed by fire and surrounded by burning homes, cars, and aircraft debris. In a separate trial on damages, the Estrada family was awarded a total of $868,263 in economic damages and $4.7 million in noneconomic damages, including $1 million for the negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The flight number has been put back into service. Flight number 498 is now the flight from Mexico City International Airport to McCarran International Airport via Monterrey International Airport using an Embraer 190 operated by Aeromexico's subsidiary Aeromexico Connect.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Aug 31, 2019, 08:15 AM (0 replies)

Is Trump tweeting secret intel? Twitter users want to know


Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump

The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran. I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One.

1:44 PM - Aug 30, 2019


(((DeanObeidallah))) ✔ @DeanObeidallah

Dear U.S. Generals: Please do not tell Trump anything else you are up to unless you want Trump to take to Twitter like this and brag about US covert intel operations. Trump must be putting lives of undercover US operatives in Iran in risk!

1:50 PM - Aug 30, 2019

On edit: adding screenshot of tweet in case the adults in charge make him pull it:
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Aug 30, 2019, 01:56 PM (13 replies)

Legendary bodybuilder Franco Columbu Dies


Franco Columbu is the former Mr. Olympia who died on August 30 at the age of 78. Columbu, a native of the island of Sardinia in Italy, won Mr. Olympia the year after Arnold Schwarzenegger retired from bodybuilding. Columbu was long considered one of Schwarzenegger’s closest friends and confidants. Columbu passed away just over three weeks after his 78th birthday. The bodybuilding legend is survived by his wife, Deborah and their daughter, Maria.

Columbu’s sad passing was first reported by multiple reports from his homeland. Columbu had lived for years in Los Angeles. During his career, Columbu won Mr. Olympia, Mr. Universe, Mr. World, Mr. International, Mr. Europe and Mr. Italy.

In the 1980s, Columbu made appearances in the Schwarzenegger movies, “The Terminator,” “Conan the Barbarian” and “The Running Man.”

La Nuova reports that Columbu drowned while swimming at the beach in the town of ​​San Teodoro in Sardinia at around 2 p.m. local time. Other reports says that Columbu suffered a heart attack while swimming. Emergency services airlifted Columbu to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Aug 30, 2019, 01:43 PM (1 replies)

56 Years Ago Today; the Moscow-Washington hotline becomes operational

https://tinyurl.com/n2ekasp (Wikipedia link)

ITT Intelex Teletype L015, as displayed in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

The Moscow–Washington hotline (formally known in the United States as the Washington–Moscow Direct Communications Link; Russian: Горячая линия Вашингтон — Москва, tr. Goryachaya liniya Vashington–Moskva) is a system that allows direct communication between the leaders of the United States and Russia. This hotline was established in 1963 and links the Pentagon with the Kremlin (historically, with Soviet Communist Party leadership across the square from the Kremlin itself). Although in popular culture it is known as the "red telephone", the hotline was never a telephone line, and no red phones were used. The first implementation used Teletype equipment, and shifted to fax machines in 1986. Since 2008, the Moscow–Washington hotline has been a secure computer link over which messages are exchanged by a secure form of email.


Several people came up with the idea for a hotline. They included Harvard professor Thomas Schelling, who had worked on nuclear war policy for the Defense Department previously. Schelling credited the pop fiction novel Red Alert (the basis of the film Dr. Strangelove) with making governments more aware of the benefit of direct communication between the superpowers. In addition, Parade magazine editor Jess Gorkin personally badgered 1960 presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, and buttonholed the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev during a U.S. visit to adopt the idea.[1] During this period Gerard C. Smith, as head of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, proposed direct communication links between Moscow and Washington. Objections from others in the State Department, the U.S. military, and the Kremlin delayed introduction.

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis made the hotline a priority. During the standoff, official diplomatic messages typically took six hours to deliver; unofficial channels, such as via television network correspondents, had to be used too as they were quicker.

During the crisis, the United States took nearly twelve hours to receive and decode Nikita Khrushchev's 3,000-word initial settlement message – a dangerously long time. By the time Washington had drafted a reply, a tougher message from Moscow had been received, demanding that U.S. missiles be removed from Turkey. White House advisers thought faster communications could have averted the crisis, and resolved it quicker. The two countries signed the Hot Line Agreement in June 1963 – the first time they formally took action to cut the risk of starting a nuclear war unintentionally.

The "hotline", as it would come to be known, was established after the signing of a "Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Establishment of a Direct Communications Line" on June 20, 1963, in Geneva, Switzerland, by representatives of the Soviet Union and the United States.

Technical details: United States
At the Pentagon, the hotline system is located at the National Military Command Center. Each MOLINK (Moscow Link) team historically worked an eight-hour shift: a non-commissioned officer looked after the equipment, and a commissioned officer who was fluent in Russian and well-briefed on world affairs was translator.

Messages received in Washington automatically carry the U.S. government's highest security classification, "Eyes Only - The President".

The hotline was tested hourly. U.S. test messages have included excerpts of William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, encyclopedias, and a first-aid manual; Soviet tests included passages from the works of Anton Chekhov. MOLINK staffers take special care not to include innuendo or literary imagery that could be misinterpreted, such as passages from Winnie the Pooh, given that a bear is considered the national symbol of Russia. The Soviets also asked, during the Carter administration, that Washington not send routine communications through the hotline.

On New Year's Eve and on August 30, the hotline's anniversary, greetings replace the test messages.

Upon receipt of the message at the NMCC, the message is translated into English, and both the original Russian and the translated English texts are transmitted to the White House Situation Room. However, if the message were to indicate "an imminent disaster, such as an accidental nuclear strike," the MOLINK team would telephone the gist of the message to the Situation Room duty officer who would brief the president before a formal translation was complete.

Political criticism
The Republican Party criticized the hotline in its 1964 national platform; it said the Kennedy administration had "sought accommodations with Communism without adequate safeguards and compensating gains for freedom. It has alienated proven allies by opening a 'hot line' first with a sworn enemy rather than with a proven friend, and in general pursued a risky path such as it began at Munich a quarter century ago."


An East German Siemens T63-SU12 teleprinter from the hotline, as displayed in the National Cryptologic Museum of the NSA. The black box behind the teleprinter is an ETCRRM II encryption machine.

The Moscow–Washington hotline was intended for text only; speech might be misinterpreted. Leaders wrote in their native language and messages were translated at the receiving end.

In Finland there are still several signs marking the cable's location. This one is in Forssa. The text reads "Post and telegraph department". The cable was also used for the ordinary national telephone service.

The first generation of the hotline used two full-time duplex telegraph circuits. The primary circuit was routed from Washington, D.C. via London, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki to Moscow. TAT-1, the first submarine transatlantic telephone cable carried messages from Washington to London. A secondary radio line for back-up and service messages linked Washington and Moscow via Tangier. This network was originally built by Harris Corporation.

In July 1963 the United States sent four sets of teleprinters with the Latin alphabet to Moscow for the terminal there. A month later the Soviet equipment, four sets of East German teleprinters with the Cyrillic alphabet made by Siemens, arrived in Washington. The hotline started operations on August 30, 1963.

A Norwegian-built device called Electronic Teleprinter Cryptographic Regenerative Repeater Mixer II (ETCRRM II) encrypted the teletype messages. This used the unbreakable one-time pad cryptosystem. Each country delivered keying tapes used to encode its messages via its embassy abroad. An advantage of the one-time pad was that neither country had to reveal more sensitive encryption methods to the other.

In September 1971, Moscow and Washington decided to upgrade the system. The countries also agreed for the first time when the line should be used. Specifically, they agreed to notify each other immediately in the event of an accidental, unauthorized or unexplained incident involving a nuclear weapon that could increase the risk of nuclear war. Two new satellite communication lines supplemented the terrestrial circuits using two U.S. Intelsat satellites, and two Soviet Molniya II satellites. This arrangement lasted from 1971 to 1978; it made the radio link via Tangier redundant.

In May 1983, President Reagan proposed to upgrade the hotline by the addition of high-speed facsimile capability. The Soviet Union and the United States agreed formally to do this on July 17, 1984.

According to the agreement, upgrades were to take place through use of Intelsat satellites and modems, facsimile machines, and computers. The facsimile terminals were operational by 1986. The teletype circuits were cut in 1988 after several years of testing and use proved the fax links to be reliable. The Soviets transferred the hotline link to the newer, geostationary Gorizont-class satellites of the Stationar system.

In 2007, the Moscow–Washington hotline was upgraded; a dedicated computer network links Moscow and Washington. The new system started operations on January 1, 2008. It continues to use the two satellite links but a fiber optic cable replaced the old back-up cable. Commercial software is used for both chat and email: chat to coordinate operations, and email for actual messages. Transmission is nearly instantaneous.

The first message transmitted over the hotline was on August 30, 1963. Washington sent Moscow the text: "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back 1234567890". This included all the Latin alphabet, as well as all Arabic numerals and the apostrophe, to test that the keyboard and printer were working correctly.

The primary link was accidentally cut several times, for example near Copenhagen by a Danish bulldozer operator, and by a Finnish farmer who plowed it up once. Regular testing of both the primary and backup links took place daily. During the even hours, the US sent test messages to the Soviet Union. In the odd hours, the Soviet Union sent test messages to the US.

The first official use of the hotline by the United States was when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on 22 November 1963.

The first official use by the Soviet Union was on 5 June 1967 during the outbreak of the Six-Day War.

The Moscow–Washington hotline was also used during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War; during the Yom Kippur War (1973 Arab–Israeli War), when there was a United States nuclear alert; in 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus; in 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and several times during the Reagan Administration, with the Soviets querying about events in Lebanon and the United States commenting on the situation in Poland.

On October 31, 2016, the Moscow–Washington hotline was used to reinforce Obama's September warning that the U.S. would consider any interference on Election Day a grave matter.


*Ring ring!*
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Aug 30, 2019, 11:45 AM (1 replies)

Jim Leavelle, Dallas Detective Cuffed to Oswald Dies at 99


Dallas Police Detective Jim Leavelle, who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby, has died at the age of 99.

Several sources close to the family have confirmed that Leavelle died while on a trip to Colorado on Thursday.

Leavelle was honored by the Dallas police department in 2013 for his work.

The department's Detective of the Year Award now carries Leavelle's name.

Oswald was killed by Ruby, a nightclub owner, on Nov. 24, 1963, on live television. Oswald was in custody in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy two days earlier.


He was also a Pearl Harbor survivor.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Aug 29, 2019, 11:00 PM (8 replies)

Blow Me Up - Will and the Bushman

I first heard this on an indie Tulsa station around Xmas 1989

Nostalgia on my part.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Aug 29, 2019, 06:12 PM (0 replies)

Fascinating juxtaposition; only 3 degrees of separation between Elena Kagan and Louis Brandeis


Louis Dembitz Brandeis (/ˈbrændaɪs/; November 13, 1856 – October 5, 1941) was an American lawyer and associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1916 to 1939. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Jewish immigrant parents from Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic), who raised him in a secular home. He attended Harvard Law School, graduating at the age of 20 with what is widely rumored to be the highest grade average in the law school's history. Brandeis settled in Boston, where he founded a law firm (that is still in practice today as Nutter McClennen & Fish) and became a recognized lawyer through his work on progressive social causes.

Starting in 1890, he helped develop the "right to privacy" concept by writing a Harvard Law Review article of that title, and was thereby credited by legal scholar Roscoe Pound as having accomplished "nothing less than adding a chapter to our law". He later published a book entitled Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It, suggesting ways of curbing the power of large banks and money trusts. He fought against powerful corporations, monopolies, public corruption, and mass consumerism, all of which he felt were detrimental to American values and culture. He also became active in the Zionist movement, seeing it as a solution to antisemitism in Europe and Russia, while at the same time being a way to "revive the Jewish spirit."

When his family's finances became secure, he began devoting most of his time to public causes and was later dubbed the "People's Lawyer". He insisted on serving on cases without pay so that he would be free to address the wider issues involved. The Economist magazine calls him "A Robin Hood of the law." Among his notable early cases were actions fighting railroad monopolies, defending workplace and labor laws, helping create the Federal Reserve System, and presenting ideas for the new Federal Trade Commission. He achieved recognition by submitting a case brief, later called the "Brandeis Brief", which relied on expert testimony from people in other professions to support his case, thereby setting a new precedent in evidence presentation.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson nominated Brandeis to become a member of the Supreme Court. His nomination was bitterly contested, partly because, as Justice William O. Douglas wrote, "Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible ... [and] the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court." On June 1, 1916, he was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 47 to 22, to become one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court. His opinions were, according to legal scholars, some of the "greatest defenses" of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the Supreme Court.


Justice Kagan took over for Justice John Paul Stevens, who took over for Justice William O Douglas, who took over for Justice Brandeis. Neat!
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Aug 29, 2019, 02:08 PM (2 replies)

Did you know they had a smoking room on the Hindenburg?

I know a punchline was expected after reading the thread title but there really WAS a smoking room.


The Smoking Room

Smoking Room aboard LZ-129 Hindenburg (Airships.net collection)

Perhaps most surprising, aboard a hydrogen airship, there was also a smoking room on the Hindenburg. The smoking room was kept at higher than ambient pressure, so that no leaking hydrogen could enter the room, and the smoking room and its associated bar were separated from the rest of the ship by a double-door airlock. One electric lighter was provided, as no open flames were allowed aboard the ship. The smoking room was painted blue, with dark blue-grey leather furniture, and the walls were decorated with yellow pigskin and illustrations by Otto Arpke depicting the history of lighter-than-air flight from the Montgolfiers’s balloon to the Graf Zeppelin. Along one side of the room was a railing above sealed windows, through which passengers could look down on the ocean or landscape passing below.

Smoking Room aboard LZ-129 Hindenburg (Airships.net collection)

The smoking room was perhaps the most popular public room on the ship, which is not surprising in an era in which so many people smoked.

Pressurized Smoking Room aboard LZ-129 Hindenburg, showing door to the bar, with the air lock doors beyond. (Airships.net collection)

A modern equivalent to the Hindenburg's smoking room would be Trump's White House bedroom, the birthplace of many tweets.

Okay, guess there was a punchline.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Aug 29, 2019, 12:17 PM (12 replies)
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