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Member since: Thu Feb 14, 2008, 10:58 AM
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Les Tuileries: The Phantom Palace of Paris

PARIS — There is an enormous void in the heart of Paris.

The millions of visitors who walk over, around, and through the empty space every year take little notice, and most are only dimly aware they tread where a grand palace, home to kings and emperors, once stood. It is just not there after all.

But when the great Chinese-American architect I.M. Pei was commissioned to rethink, restore, rebuild, and, one might almost say, resurrect the Louvre Museum in the 1980s, that nothingness became something of an obsession.

What’s missing is the Tuileries Palace, the royal residence that once formed the western side of the Louvre complex. Without it, the symmetry of the city, the harmony, the feng shui, if you will, is seriously askew.

Imagine, for a moment, that this is 1870. If you stood at the front door of the Tuileries and looked in the general direction of the setting sun your eye traveled straight down the main promenade through the Tuileries Gardens, through the Place de la Concorde, where an obelisk stands like the needle in a gun sight, and on upward along the Avenue des Champs Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe.

Such was the Grand Axis of Paris, the spine of a city that dearly loves its classical proportions, grand perspectives, and carefully calculated geometry.

Goethe, alluding to the Pythagorean roots of harmony, both aural and visual, said, “Architecture is frozen music.” Part of the wonder of walking through Paris is its architectural harmony, like a frozen classical symphony.

But in this part of the city, once you took away the Tuileries Palace, things didn’t quite line up anymore. The rest of the Louvre complex, developed on much older foundations, is not square with the axis.


Rochester Could Break Through the Thin Blue Line Protecting Abusive Police

We know what happens when we allow police to police themselves. Too often, they escape punishment when they abuse the people they are supposed to protect. A lack of meaningful police accountability not only skirts justice, but people’s lives are in danger when officers who repeatedly harm civilians keep their jobs.

The Rochester City Council in New York introduced a draft bill this week that addresses this fundamental problem. The bill would create a civilian-controlled Police Accountability Board with the power to investigate complaints from residents and to discipline officers who the board determines have abused people. Rochester would be the first municipality in New York State — and one of just a handful in the country — with a civilian board that has the power to discipline officers.

Most civilian review boards only have the power to make recommendations for what consequences officers should face, with final disciplinary decisions usually left up to the chief of police. Rochester already has a civilian review board, but that board lacks the authority to conduct its own investigations or to impose punishments. This bill would change that.

The Rochester bill is part of a national trend towards creating independent mechanisms for oversight and accountability of police. This trend encompasses calls for the appointment of special prosecutors to investigate police killings, inspector generals to oversee police policies, and even legislation that takes decisions about acquiring surveillance tools out of the hands of police departments.

The people of Rochester, like Americans across the country, regularly see reminders in the media of why we need greater police accountability.


$1 home deal triggers property stampede in Sambuca, Italy

(CNN) — Tempted by the deal offering homes for just over $1 in the town of Sambuca on Italy's island of Sicily?
You and everyone else.

Since CNN Travel broke the news about the €1 ($1.14) offer aimed at revitalizing a beautiful but depopulated community, there's been a stampede to buy.

Within 48 hours of the story going live, the town has been inundated with tens of thousands of inquiries from people hoping to grab their piece of the rural Italian dream.

Giuseppe Cacioppo, the town's deputy mayor, says he's excited by the level of interest, but is freaking out.

"This is great, I'm flabbergasted by the response," he says. "I haven't come up for air since the story appeared.



Trump's chyron obsession: "Rove is a dope"


Sims describes Trump as he watches TV in his private dining room off the Oval:

He consumed TV like the late Roger Ebert must have watched movies. ... He commented on the sets, the graphics, the wardrobe choices, the lighting, and just about every other visual component of a broadcast. Sure, he liked to hear pundits saying nice things about him or White House officials defending him from attacks, but everything came back to how does it look?

With that in mind, the most Trumpian tactic the comms team employed was arguing with TV networks about the "chyrons," the words displayed at the bottom of the screen that act as headlines for whatever the commentators are discussing.

"People watch TV on mute," the President told me, "so it’s those words, those sometimes beautiful, sometimes nasty little words that matter." ...

When the President would deliver a speech somewhere outside of D.C., the research team would take screenshots of all the chyrons that aired while he was speaking. Then, adding those images to headlines and tweets from influential reporters and pundits, they would race to print out a packet before Trump made it back to the White House.

The goal was for Sarah or Hope or me — or whoever hadn’t traveled with him — to meet him on the ground floor of the residence and hand him the packet to review mere moments after Marine One landed on the South Lawn.


Sen. Durbin: Stood with @SenateDems today to tell President Trump enough is enough...

Stood with @SenateDems today to tell President Trump enough is enough – end this hurtful and unnecessary shutdown.


A Year After Dolores O'Riordan's Death, The Cranberries Unveil 'All Over Now'

Exactly a year after the death of Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan, the band's surviving members have unveiled "All Over Now" — the first material released from the Irish band's eighth and final album In the End, set for release in April.

The song has the stately, lovely feel of a Cranberries staple, weighed down and made somber by O'Riordan's repetition of the titular refrain: "It's all over now."

"All Over Now" and In the End were both in the works prior to O'Riordan's untimely passing. The band had started the recording process in 2017, cutting a demo with completed vocals by O'Riordan by the end of the year. Plans to complete the album were postponed after her death, but in a statement released on The Cranberries' website, the band explained the motivation behind finishing the album.

"As time passed, we began to think about how we might best honour our close friend and bandmate," the band wrote. "This was a very painful process. We remembered how Dolores had been so energised by the prospect of making this record and getting back out on the road to play the songs live, and realised that the most meaningful thing to do was to finish the album we had started with her. We felt that this is what she would want. We spoke with Dolores' family and they agreed."


Exclusive: Trump plans shutdown compromise

Source: Axios

President Trump plans to use remarks from the Diplomatic Reception Room on Saturday afternoon to propose a notable immigration compromise, according to sources familiar with the speech.

The offer is expected to include Trump's $5.7 billion demand for wall money in exchange for the BRIDGE Act -- which would extend protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) -- and also legislation to extend the legal status of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, according to a source with direct knowledge.
Show less

Jared Kushner and Mike Pence have led the crafting of this deal and the negotiations with members, according to White House officials.

Even some top Republicans are skeptical Trump's overture will be enough to break the logjam.

Read more: https://www.axios.com/trump-expected-immigration-compromise-speech-border-wall-a8713395-d085-4921-a0c8-699872dcd534.html


'It's like hell here': Australia bakes as record temperatures nudge 50C

It was 48.9C last Tuesday in Port Augusta, South Australia, an old harbour city that now harvests makes solar power. Michelle Coles, the owner of the local cinema, took off her shoes at night to test the concrete before letting the dogs out. “People tend to stay at home,” she said. “They don’t walk around when it’s like this.”

It’s easy to see why: in the middle of the day it takes seconds to blister a dog’s paw or child’s foot. In Mildura, in northern Victoria, last week gardeners burned their hands when they picked up their tools, which had been left in the sun at 46C. Fish were dying in the rivers.

Almost every day last week a new heat record was broken in Australia. They spread out, unrelenting, across the country, with records broken for all kinds of reasons – as if the statistics were finding an infinite series of ways to say that it was hot.

The tiny town of Noona – population 14 – reached the highest minimum ever recorded overnight in Australia – 35.9C was the coldest it got, at 7am on Friday. It was 45C by noon.


Elizabeth Warren is stepping up her social media game:


Trump to meet with top North Korean official to discuss 'fully verified' denuclearization

Source: The Hill

President Trump will meet with a top North Korean official on Friday to discuss progress on Pyongyang’s “final, fully verified denuclearization,” the White House said.

Trump was scheduled to meet with North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol, who is spearheading negotiations with Washington on denuclearization, at 12:15 p.m. in the Oval Office.


Read more: https://thehill.com/policy/defense/426033-trump-to-meet-with-top-north-korean-official-to-discuss-fully-verified
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