Categories
Movies Podcasts

‘White Noise’: A Poignant Look at the Alt-Right

This chilling documentary offers an inside look at white nationalism in the United States (the alt-right), including Richard Spencer, Lauren Southern, and Mike Cernovich:

The documentary was directed by Daniel Lombroso. Lombroso was interviewed on this episode of People of the Pod podcast, which is produced by AJC.

Facts matter.

Categories
Travel

COVID Testing Required for International Air Travelers Starting January 26

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an Order on January 12, 2021 requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the US. This Order will be effective on January 26, 2021.

This Order applies to all air passengers, 2 years of age or older, traveling into the US, including US citizens and legal permanent residents.

The Wall Street Journal has a helpful guide to the new rule.

The coronavirus is controlling the entire world.

Categories
History Photography Travel

The Sheridan-Kalorama Neighborhood of DC

Art on Call, Washington, DC, Artist: Peter Waddell Photograph: © David H. Enzel, 2021

Yesterday, I was walking in the Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC. I stumbled across one of the many works of art in Washington’s abandoned police and fire call boxes. The project is called “Art on Call.” I have been making photos of these call boxes as I come across them. They have educated me about the city’s rich history.

This call box explains that three chief justices of the United States Supreme Court lived in Sheridan-Kalorama:

  • William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States was appointed Chief Justice by President Harding, after serving as President. Taft is the only person to have served in both of these offices. He lived at 2215 Wyoming Avenue.
  • Charles Evans Hughes, a U.S. Secretary of State and an unsuccessful candidate for President in 1916, became Chief Justice in 1930 and resided at 2223 R Street.
  • Harlan Fiske Stone, a U.S. Attorney General, occupied 1919 24th Street. during his tenure.

In addition, other prominent Supreme Court justices have lived in Sheridan-Kalorama including Louis Brandeis, Joseph McKenna and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female justice of the Supreme Court.

The rendering of the Supreme Court in the call box is the creation of Peter Waddell, a native of New Zealand who came to Washington in 1992 and became a U.S. citizen in 2002. Waddell’s beautiful paintings focus on America’s history and architecture. Waddell’s view of the United States is inspiring.

The Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood also includes a number of diplomatic residences, including the residence of the French ambassador at 2221 Kalorama Road, shown below.

The French ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. is located at 2221 Kalorama Road, N.W., in the Kalorama neighborhood of northwest Washington, D.C. The residence was built in 1910. © David H. Enzel, 2021

The Sheridan-Kalorama neighborhood is worth visiting.

Categories
Music

Stacey Kent

Stacey Kent is an American jazz singer with a glorious voice. She was born in 1965 in New Jersey and is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Her paternal grandfather was a Russian who grew up in France. He later moved to the United States where he taught Kent French. Once she learned French, it was the only language she spoke with her grandfather. Kent travelled to England after college to study music in London, where she met saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, whom she married in 1991.

I have the impression Kent is better known in France than in the United States. Her album Raconte-moi was recorded in French and became the second best selling French language album worldwide in 2010.

Kent has also faced serious health challenges. In a 2004 interview with Robert Kaiser of The Washington Post, Kent recounted that she’s been in comas three times caused by brainstem encephalitis:

Each time, baffled doctors were not certain they could bring her back. The last coma was in 1999, and Tomlinson nursed her through it. On doctors’ advice, he brought records to her hospital room. When she awoke he was playing Mildred Bailey, one of the great jazz singers of the ’30s. “There’s just so much emotion in that voice,” Kent says. “It’s a cry - even when she’s singing a happy song.”

I love Stacey Kent’s music and discovered this marvelous 2018 interview en français with her. The interview is also available as a podcast.

Categories
History

US Supreme Court to Hear Two Holocaust-Related Cases on December 7th

Seventy-five years after the end of WWII, the US Supreme Court will hear two Holocaust-related cases on December 7, 2020:

Republic of Hungary v. Simon No. 18-1447:

JNS reports that this case concerns “14 Holocaust survivors—four of whom are naturalized U.S. citizens—suing the Hungarian government and the government-owned railroad for their role in transporting Jews to death camps. They are seeking restitution for the property that was confiscated by the government at that time.”

Question Presented :

May the district court abstain from exercising jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act for reasons of international comity, where former Hungarian nationals have sued the nation of Hungary to recover the value of property lost in Hungary during World War II, and where the plaintiffs made no attempt to exhaust local Hungarian remedies?


Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, No. 19-351:

This case concerns an art collection known as the “Guelph Treasure” (or “Welfenschatz”) should be returned to the heirs of four Jewish art dealers in Germany. The collection is reported to be worth about $250 million. See also, Washington Post story.

Questions Presented

(1) Whether the “expropriation exception” of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which abrogates foreign sovereign immunity when “rights in property taken in violation of international law are in issue,” provides jurisdiction over claims that a foreign sovereign has violated international human-rights law when taking property from its own national within its own borders, even though such claims do not implicate the established international law governing states’ responsibility for takings of property; and

(2) whether the doctrine of international comity is unavailable in cases against foreign sovereigns, even in cases of considerable historical and political significance to the foreign sovereign, and even when the foreign nation has a domestic framework for addressing the claims.

Both cases raise significant procedural issues that could prevent the Court from reaching the substance of the claims. These cases are a long way from the Nuremberg War Crimes trials.

The SCOTUSblog has a good summation of the two cases.

Categories
History

Remembering the Lessons of the Holocaust

Christopher J. Dodd served in the United States Senate from 1981 to 2011. His father, Thomas J. Dodd (1907 – 1971) also served in the United States Senate. Earlier in his career, Thomas Dodd served as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials. He held the number two position on the prosecutorial team which was led by Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892 – 1954).1

Thomas J. Dodd, front left, executive trial counsel, and Robert Jackson, front right, chief U.S. prosecutor and associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. (Thomas J. Dodd Papers, Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries) – UConn Today

In a letter to the editor of The New York Times former Senator Dodd marks the 75th anniversary of The Nuremberg War Crimes trials and explains that the “lessons of Nuremberg must be continually relearned and that the work of protecting dignity and promoting justice are the responsibility of each generation.”

He adds that at this moment, human rights, “the rule of law and even truth itself are threatened by continuing violence, resurgent authoritarianism, racism and anti-Semitism, and rampant conspiracy theories, propaganda and disinformation.”

Dodd reminds us that we have not yet learned the lessons of the Holocaust and that we ignore these lessons at our peril.

  1. Imagine a sitting Justice of the United States Supreme Court traveling to Germany to serve as a criminal prosecutor.