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On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, the governor of the State of Alabama signed a new, highly restrictive abortion law:

This is the gist of the law:

LifeNews has more (emphases mine):

Lawmakers approved the ban on a 25-6 vote and it now heads to pro-life Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican. The legislation will take effect six months Governor Ivey gives the bill her signature unless court stops it. The Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted 74-3 in favor of the proposal.

Although abortion activists claim the bill targets women, the language of the bill makes it clear that’s not the case: “This bill would provide that a woman who receives an abortion will not be held criminally culpable or civilly liable for receiving the abortion.”

ABC News explains:

Alabama’s state Senate voted and approved one of the most controversial and restrictive abortion laws in the country.

The ban prevents women from seeking abortions by making any abortions a felony for the doctor who performs them, making this different than the so-called “heartbeat” bills that have passed in other states recently, like Georgia. Those bills point to the detection of a fetal heartbeat as the point at which an abortion is banned, but the Alabama ban goes further.

The Alabama measure does not provide any exemptions for cases of rape or incest, meaning that the women or children who are victims in those cases would have to carry a pregnancy to term. The only exception allows for abortions in cases where the woman’s health is at risk.

So, no, the bill does not punish women. It prosecutes physicians performing abortions:

The debate was heated in Alabama’s Senate. This is a must-watch video:

It is highly likely that this law will be challenged in the courts.

It will be interesting to see how this law plays out in the years to come, not only in Alabama but also in influencing other American states’ abortion legislation.

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Now that Robert Mueller’s probe is done and dusted, President Trump’s administration is free to look at Spygate.

Department of Justice officials want to know exactly who was behind the accusations of Russian interference and spying on then-candidate Donald Trump.

Jeff Carlson, who writes for Epoch Times, has laid out a Twitter thread (also see Threadreader version) about what is likely to happen in the coming months. It could be a long hot summer for some!

This concerns last week’s appointment of John H Durham, US Attorney for Connecticut, to investigate the Russia probe.

To top it off, Attorney General William Barr will be working not only with the FBI, but also the CIA on this.

Carlson has included Trump administration history for greater context:

I certainly hope so.

Many of us are familiar with the old saying:

The wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow, but they grind exceedingly fine.

The origin of that dates back to the Ancient World, referring to Roman gods and the grinding wheels of a mill, or millstones.

From Wikipedia’s entry, Mills of God:

Plutarch (1st century AD) alludes to the metaphor as a then-current adage in his Moralia (De sera numinis vindicta “On the Delay of Divine Vengeance”):

“Thus, I do not see what use there is in those mills of the gods said to grind so late as to render punishment hard to be recognized, and to make wickedness fearless.”[3]

Plutarch no doubt here makes reference to a hexameter by an unknown poet, cited by sceptic philosopher, Sextus Empiricus (2nd century) in his Adversus Grammaticos as a popular adage:[4]

Ὀψὲ θεῶν ἀλέουσι μύλοι, ἀλέουσι δὲ λεπτά.
“The millstones of the gods grind late, but they grind fine.”[5]

It was later Christianised:

The expression was anthologised in English translation by George Herbert in his collection of proverbs entitled Jacula Prudentum (1652), as “God’s mill grinds slow but sure” (no. 743). German epigrammatist Friedrich von Logau in his Sinngedichte (c. 1654) composed an extended variant of the saying, under the title “Göttliche Rache” (divine retribution),[10]

Gottes Mühlen mahlen langsam, mahlen aber trefflich klein,
ob aus Langmut er sich säumet, bringt mit Schärf ‘er alles ein.

translated into English by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (“Retribution”, Poetic Aphorisms, 1846):[11]

Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all.

Nowadays, we often read ‘justice’ substituted for ‘God’.

Nonetheless, may God’s grace work through those involved in this investigation. May justice be done.

Fox’s Empire, the show no one ever heard of, which used to star someone we’d never heard of — until a few months ago — comes to an end in 2020.

Who can argue with this assessment?

Jussie Smollett, who played Jamal Lyon, was reportedly paid $60k per episode.

These days Smollett is likely sitting at home, because of his hoax crime in Chicago.

Vanity Fair summarises the situation well (emphases mine):

Smollett’s troubles began in late January, when the actor was hospitalized following what he claimed was a racist, homophobic attack. Police initially investigated the incident as a possible hate crime, but eventually set their sights on Smollett, arresting him on 16 counts of disorderly conduct. Weeks later, the charges were abruptly dropped—though Smollett and his legal team have continued to battle lawsuits from multiple parties, including the city of Chicago. In the midst of all of this, Smollett’s character was written off of the last couple episodes of Empire’s fifth season.

Deadline explains that Smollett’s character could be written back into the show’s sixth — and final — season, but there are no plans at present to do so:

… Fox Entertainment and now Disney-owned 20th Century Fox TV “negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett’s option for Season 6.”

However, with Jamal already written out of the final two episodes of Season 5 months ago as the situation around him grew more convoluted, the network and the studio added on April 30 that “at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire.”

Now there are no more plans for Empire to return to Fox beyond its next upcoming cycle, a fact that would have seemed absurd just a few years ago. In its first and second seasons, the  blockbuster drew big number from almost every facet. In fact, breaking the status quo of steady decline, for a while Empire was on a winning trajectory of growing almost every week in the ratings to hit new highs.

Not surprisingly, Fox Entertainment’s CEO did not discuss Smollett. From The Independent on Tuesday, May 14, 2019:

“We are turning the final season of Empire into a large television event,” Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier told a teleconference on Monday.

“One of the great benefits of announcing a final season is that you actually allow the fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.” 

Collier dodged questions about Smollett’s future in the show. Earlier this year, the actor was accused of allegedly staging an attack in which he said two masked men beat him, hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, doused him with a chemical substance and put a rope around his neck.

The hoax was difficult to believe from the start. First, it took place on the coldest night in recorded weather history. Secondly, no one would ever describe Chicago, a city full of Democrats, as ‘MAGA country’. Stupidity on stilts.

On Tuesday, May 14, 2019, Zogby Analytics published a poll showing that President Trump’s popularity continues to rise:

Even the British noticed:

Larry Elder posted the link to Zogby’s findings:

Zogby’s article says, in part (emphases mine):

A new Zogby Poll® of 852 likely voters nationwide in the U.S., conducted from 5/2/19-5/9/19, with a margin of sampling error of +/-3.4 percentage points, shows President Trump’s job approval rating at its best since we’ve been tracking the figure

President Trump’s job approval rating has seen a post Mueller report boost! We called it a few weeks ago. But that’s not the complete story as to why the president has reached a peak in his job approval rating. Trump is also riding high on positive economic news-a record high stock market, low unemployment, and solid GDP growth at home. At the moment President Trump’s approval rating is higher than Obama’s at the same point in his presidency-Zogby Analytics had President Obama at 48% approve/52% disapprove on 05/09/2011.

Also:

One of the demographics to give Trump a very good job performance rating were self-identified social networkers (59% approve/40% disapprove-people who engage with social media). Trump has a huge following on Twitter and often utilizes his Twitter account to frequently get his message across to the public. The president also made strides with college educated voters (55% approve/45% disapprove), and saw support increase slightly with non-college educated voters (47% approve/50% disapprove).

Great news for 2020!

Any Remainers who missed last week’s BBC4 Storyville documentary about Brexit from a Brussels perspective must watch it before voting in the EU election on May 23, 2019.

The two-part documentary was made by Belgian film-maker, Lode Desmet, who spent two years with Guy Verhofstadt and his team in Brussels.

I did not watch it at the time, because it features Verhofstadt, whom I consider to be odious.

At the weekend, I read a British website where two Remainers commented after watching it. Both said they had changed their minds — to NO DEAL! Amazing.

After that, I looked the Storyville documentary up on YouTube, because BBC iPlayer said their videos could not be played at that time. On BBC iPlayer, part one is here and part two is here.

Each part is just under an hour long. I highly recommend them to everyone, particularly Remainers:

 

Conservative MP Mark Francois is absolutely correct:

What follows is part of his article for Brexit Central (emphases mine):

On one occasion – incredibly, bearing in mind he was on camera – one of Verhofstadt’s staffers, exclaimed on hearing that we had agreed to the 585-page so-called “Withdrawal Agreement”, that “We have made them a colony!”. The sheer joy that was evidenced on the faces of the European negotiators when it became apparent that we had acceded to the “Withdrawal Agreement” tells you everything you need to know about why they regarded it as a clear victory over Britain.

Again and again throughout the documentary, the UK’s negotiating tactics are derided by their interlocutors, including the EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier. The Prime Minister and her team are repeatedly disrespected and only on one occasion – when Dominic Raab took over as the Brexit Secretary – did any of the Europeans appear to believe that we had started to resist …

Verhofstadt and his highly self-satisfied team are then filmed watching the result of the first Meaningful Vote in Parliament in January 2019. When the “Withdrawal Agreement” was defeated by 230 votes (the largest defeat in parliamentary history as it turns out), their disappointment is palpable. The pattern is repeated for MV2 and MV3 – by which time Verhofstadt cannot bear to watch, as he has clearly realised what is going to happen.

I have never doubted that I was right to vote against the “Withdrawal Agreement”, but this dramatic insight only confirmed my deep conviction that we were fighting a surrender to the European Union all along. Indeed, Martin Selmayr, the Secretary General of the European Commission said some time ago (although not in the programme) that “Losing Northern Ireland was the price the UK would pay for Brexit”. It seems on reflection the House of Commons was not prepared to pay this price – and rightly so.

One other thing struck me when I watched the programme – as a patriotic Brit – which was that I could not help but be angered by the sheer arrogance of the people on camera and the utter disdain that they had for our country and its people. I was discussing this only yesterday with a TV producer who is a self-declared Remainer but who told me, in her own words:

I have always been pro-EU and I gladly voted Remain, but when I saw that documentary all I could think was – how dare you talk about us like that, f**k you!

As a media expert, she also volunteered that these people were not in any way self-conscious about being filmed – because they clearly thought that they were doing nothing wrong.

Ultimately:

I would urge every MP and indeed everyone who is thinking of casting a vote in the European Elections on 23rd May (which I hope will be as many people as possible) to watch this programme before deciding how to cast their ballot.

The European elite have completely given themselves away – on camera – and proven once and for all via this programme that 17.4 million people were right all along.

The EU elite do not give a fig about Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They are interested only in our money to fund their lavish Brussels lifestyles.

I am surprised that the BBC even showed this documentary, because it really paints a most unflattering portrait of the EU elite.

Therefore, this is one of those rare times I can honestly say, ‘Thank you, BBC!’

Trump supporting actor James Woods has thrown in his Twitter towel.

The DC Patriot founder, Matt Couch, broke the sad news on Saturday, May 11, 2019:

Millions of us read Woods’s daily contributions and will retain fond memories of his wit and truth.

Not only did he tweet about the Democrats’ madness, he also cared about the state where he lives and his audience:

So, what was James Woods guilty of on Twitter?

The DC Patriot quoted Woods’s statement (emphasis in the original, the one in purple mine):

Twitter demanded that I rescind my tweet paraphrasing Emerson,” Woods said in a statement to The Daily Wire. “It now seems they have chosen to delete that tweet from my account without my permission. Until free speech is allowed on Twitter, I will not be permitted to participate in our democracy with my voice. As long as Jack Dorsey remains the coward he seems to be, my Twitter days are in the past.

The tweet read:

“If you try to kill the King, you better not miss.” #HangThemAll

I remember reading that tweet when it appeared and agree with Deb:

Fortunately, Woods’s back catalogue of tweets, up through April 19, is still available.

President Trump noticed Woods’s absence:

This is yet another sad day for conservative voices online.

I’m well aware that this closing down of various accounts is to stop the wave of support for Trump in 2020.

However, social media’s efforts to shut people up will not succeed.

Social media censorship must stop.

Why be afraid of another person’s viewpoint? Isn’t that what the Internet is all about — a free exchange of ideas?

In thinking about Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, I will never forget the power that a beautiful house of worship can have on the human heart.

I saw several French cathedrals for the first time decades ago.

When taking tours of Notre-Dame cathedrals in Paris and Chartres, the respective guides told us that those majestic houses of worship were built for ‘the glory of God’.

Confession

A Catholic woman of my acquaintance visited Notre-Dame in Paris a few years ago for the first time. She had not been to confession in at least 20 years and suddenly felt compelled to confess her sins before a priest. She duly did so in the magnificent cathedral.

The priest held out a large crucifix and gently urged her to touch Christ’s wounds as she made her confession. She was moved to tears. She said it was one of the most meaningful religious experiences she’d ever had.

Conversion

Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke said that the surroundings of Notre-Dame de Paris were so powerful that the French poet Paul Claudel converted to Christianity.

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, the day after the fire, The Daily Wire reported (emphases mine):

Not only did Notre Dame glorify God with its beauty, it also had the power to convert men’s hearts, according to the cardinal, as in the case of poet Paul Claudel.

“It is fitting to recall that it was in the same cathedral that the poet Paul Claudel (1868-1955) had a singular experience of the beauty of God, during the chanting of the Magnificat while attending Vespers on Christmas of 1886,” said Burke. “His singular experience on that Christmas night led to his conversion to the Catholic faith. It should not escape us that the via pulchritudinis, the way of beauty, is a most important and irreplaceable means of announcing God to a culture fraught with secularism and materialism.”

I could not agree more.

Contemplation

At the very least, most visitors to Notre-Dame enter a spirit of contemplation.

Everyone is quiet, and that, to me, seems in spite of rules about decorum.

I always wanted to sit there for an afternoon to meditate and pray after touring the cathedral. Unfortunately, because of busy schedules during my visits, I was never able to spend much time in contemplation and prayer. My friends were always waiting for me, the last one to leave.

House of God

Cardinal Burke had this to say about Notre-Dame’s beauty and the intention behind it:

“For Catholics, churches are not monuments but are the House of God, in which we really and truly encounter Heaven,” he said. “Because of God’s immeasurable and unceasing love of us in the Church, churches are also the House of the Church.”

That relationship with God, Burke notes, is what spurred our Medieval ancestors into erecting such a glorious monument. “For that reason, the faithful in the 12th Century employed only the most beautiful and enduring materials in constructing the Cathedral which was intended to last throughout the ages until the Coming of Our Lord at the end of time,” he said.

Why more people do not understand that is beyond me. That includes Christians, too, by the way.

Going into Notre-Dame de Paris or any of the other great cathedrals is as close as we can get in this transitory life to a glimpse of Heaven.

Let us pray that Notre-Dame is rebuilt and restored — respectfully and lovingly — to its original state for future generations.

Not knowing the circumstances surrounding the inferno at Notre-Dame in Paris is bad enough.

Now lovers of the mediaeval cathedral, the French capital’s monumental house of worship, wonder what is meant by the words ‘restoration’ and ‘rebuilding’.

Does the French government consider the two words to be the same as the average person who treasures what was lost? What about expert architects? What about building contractors?

This was what the cathedral looked like at the end of the day on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Protective coverings were placed over the vulnerable parts of the structure:

One week later, on Tuesday, April 30, Paris police released aerial footage of the protective sheet covering the cathedral’s massive roof from a drone’s eye view:

That day, Le Huffington Post reported findings of a YouGov poll they commissioned in France which showed that 54 per cent of people want a restoration ‘identical to the original’. Only 25 per cent support President Macron and Prime Minister Philippe’s plan for an ‘architectural gesture’:

Twenty-one percent of the people surveyed were undecided.

The more conservative the participant, the greater the desire for a full, authentic restoration: from 66 per cent to 69 per cent, depending on political orientation.

A design firm from Lyon, NAB, released its plans for a greenhouse roof garden and spire containing beehives unlikely to please those who love the original structure with its dramatic vaults. Le Huffington Post published NAB’s shocking images on April 26. Have a chair nearby, because you’ll need a sit down and a cuppa after seeing them.

That same day, Le HuffPo released a short video wherein an architect, a historian, an urban design expert and a sociologist gave their opinions of the current buzz by government officials, architects and building firms about the cathedral’s reconstruction. Interviewed separately, they said the same things. The project seemed to be politically motivated, with an objective of proposed plans devised too hastily involving companies eager to make money at the expense of France’s — and the world’s — heritage. One said that the stone needs at least a year to dry out thoroughly, therefore, completing the reconstruction in five years’ time was a nonsense:

Those hoping to be part of Prime Minister Philippe’s working group on the way forward for Notre-Dame will need to take UNESCO’s perspective on board, too. Fortunately, UNESCO agrees with the French public with whom YouGov spoke:

The Art Newspaper‘s editorial begins with this (emphases mine):

The 28 April appeal by over 1000 academics, restorers and architects for an extension to President Macron’s five-year deadline for the restoration of Notre Dame can find comfort in the the cathedral’s status as a Unesco World Heritage site, because the guidelines on how to approach restoring such a great monument already exist.

They are implicit in the conditions accepted by France when Notre-Dame was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991 as part of a grouping that includes the great buildings along the Seine from the Pont de Sully to the Pont de Bir-Hakeim.

First and foremost, Notre Dame’s World Heritage status calls for international principles of restoration to be integrated into the discussions on how to restore it. Decisions will have to be taken on how to consolidate its structural parts, restore the damaged surfaces, reconstruct the roof, the spire and the stained-glass windows. All these choices need to be made in accordance with the conservation principles promoted by the World Heritage Convention and expressed in the Conservation Charters of the International Council on Museums and Sites (Icomos). While the international documents, starting with the 1964 Venice Charter, do not bear legal value per se, they are recognised by the French Codes as the basis for decisions on the conservation and reconstruction of historical monuments.

So far, so good.

The editorial goes on to say that this does not preclude using modern technologies and techniques to achieve a more ‘resilient and secure’ result. These would not affect what a visitor or regular worshipper sees, however:

The “contemporaneity” of this gesture will lie in its in its construction techniques and monitoring technologies, rather than the visible forms of the building.

But — and it’s a big ‘but’ — more modern stained glass might be part of the renovation and restoration:

if new windows are needed, it could be a great opportunity for contemporary artists, as with the designs of Marc Chagall and Imi Knoebel for Reims cathedral.

UGH. No, just no. Those modern stained glass designs are horrible, and I’ve viewed a number of them in European cathedrals from the 1970s to the present.

So, although that is just one man’s opinion, he happens to be Francesco Bandarin:

an architect and former senior official at Unesco, director of its World Heritage Centre (2000-2010) and assistant director-general for culture (2010-2018).

I do think a lot of French people will be upset if Notre-Dame is not restored to the original design. Admittedly, the following discussion took place on Holy Thursday, three days after the fire, when emotions were running high. From RMC’s Les Grandes Gueules:

One of the panellists, a young Protestant, said she wanted the cathedral restored to the original. She put forward her case with passion:

She said that she was quite conservative when it comes to restoring historic buildings because they are testaments to their respective eras:

Traditionalists could find 21st century help a boon to their cause.

In 2015, Andrew Tallon, an architectural historian, had the foresight to capture the complete design of Notre-Dame digitally:

As for the actual building work, BFMTV’s high-tech expert Anthony Morel said that the use of 3D design enabled one monument in Egypt to be rebuilt to the original, down to the smallest detail. He says the same can be done with Notre-Dame. This is a great little video. Just watch the pictures:

As for recreating the Forest — the oak roof — offers have been coming in from around the world from owners of large estates with old oak forests who are willing to cut down trees a few hundred years old and replant new ones.

So, although one of France’s heritage experts said on April 16 that rebuilding the Forest cannot be done

Bertrand de Feydeau, vice-president of Fondation du Patrimoine, said the cathedral’s roof cannot be rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire because “we don’t, at the moment, have trees on our territory of the size that were cut in the 13th century.”

… do a search online for offers of oak donations and there are many news articles to read, including this one from England’s Nottingham Post on April 19:

The Duke of Rutland has pledged to send ancient oak trees from the Belvoir Castle estate to France to help with the rebuilding of Notre-Dame following a devastating fire.

The historic cathedral in Paris was hit by fire on April 15, causing huge damage to the building, large parts of which were made from wood.

Donations have been pouring in from around the world to help with the project, and British estates and gardens have also got in on the act.

Around 100 historic homes have pledged to donate oak trees which were planted hundreds of years ago to be used for timber, including the Duke of Rutland, who owns Belvoir Castle.

He said: “Anyone who lives in an old building knows there’s something special about the way it was built and the materials used.

“The trees in the original roof at Notre-Dame probably started growing over a thousand years ago.

“We’re able to donate replacements because my great-great-grandfather had the foresight to plant trees that would only be valuable long after he died.

“And in turn we’ll replant every tree we fell – someone will need them for something in another few hundred years …

Belvoir Castle itself has been destroyed by fire, last being rebuilt in 1832.

It is a member of Historic Houses, an association for independently owned historic homes and gardens in Britain.

It was the Duke of Rutland who suggested to the members they should donate oaks towards the rebuilding of Notre-Dame.

And even though they will only be able to donate a fraction of what is needed, they hope it will inspire others to do the same.

There is hope. People WANT to help — and ARE helping!

Let us continue to pray for the proper and full restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

My next post will look at Notre-Dame from the perspective of the positive influence of aesthetics on the meaningful religious experience.

Last week, I posted various opinions about the mysterious cause of the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

This second part largely concerns the oak beams in the roof and what one architectural expert said in an interview afterwards.

I have also added a Twitter thread identifying the mystery man from the cathedral’s tower.

The oak Forest

On Tuesday, April 16, 2019 — the day after the blaze — Canada’s National Post reported on the cathedral’s roof, known as the Forest (emphases mine):

Among the biggest challenges facing the reconstruction of the iconic church is rebuilding the intricate latticework of wooden beams that made up the roof’s frame, known as the “Forest.”

The 800-year-old oak beams were added to the cathedral in 1220. Because of the building’s gothic style which called for high vaulted ceilings, tall, sturdy oaks were sourced from nearby forests.

Each beam that held up the lead roof was constructed from a single tree, requiring about 13,000 individual trees in total, CNN reported.

When workers began constructing the roof hundreds of years ago, they cleared 21 hectares of oak trees. To reach the heights required for the style, carpenters needed to use massive trees. That meant when the trees were cut down, they likely would have been 300 to 400 years old. In other words, the trees used to build the cathedral — immortalized in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” — sprouted in the eighth or ninth centuries.

To get the dimensions and structure right in the Middle Ages, workers first built the frame on the ground. Then, it would be disassembled and hoisted to the ceiling with lifting gear, where it was reassembled. The oak beams would be set at 55-degree angles as the gothic style called for.

“Its dimensions are impressive,” the church’s website says. It’s more than 100 metres long, 13 metres wide and the transept is 10 metres high.

The article has impressive photos, by the way.

A 210-pound lead roof went on top of the Forest. The builders had to use lead instead of traditional clay, because Paris is not near any clay deposits.

Therefore, it is not surprising that samples of the oak are being investigated.

I will come back to the oak and an architect’s interviews later in the post.

What was and wasn’t happening

The following Twitter thread clarifies various aspects of the fire, including the identity of the man walking around one of the towers early on.

By Wednesday of Holy Week — April 17, 2019 — some questions were answered:

These two relate to the mystery man in the tower:

Now on with the rest of the thread:

This is the final tweet:

Former French chief architect speaks

On Tuesday, April 16, Benjamin Mouton, Chief Architect of Historic Monuments in France from 2000 through 2013, gave an interview to one of France’s news channels, LCI (La Chaîne d’Info):

Benjamin Mouton has spent his entire career working on France’s historic monuments, including their restoration. He has also been awarded some of France’s highest accolades including Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor, Officer in the National Order of Merit and Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.

NewsWars has this important soundbite, translated, from the video:

“So, you’re telling us that this type of timber doesn’t burn like that?” Mouton was asked by an LCI host.

Oak that is 800-years-old is very hard – try to burn it,” Mouton said. “Old oak, it is not easy at all. You would need a lot of kindling to succeed… It stupefies me.”

Batiactu, a website that reports building trade news, was also able to interview Mouton that day. Excerpts follow (translated):

As Chief Architect of Historic Monuments, Benjamin Mouton was in charge of Notre-Dame Cathedral from 2000 to 2013, for which he led the heavy fire detection project. He has not yet been able to go inside the building, but already fears the impact of the fire and the collapse of the frames on the overall stability of the building.

Mouton repeated the words of his successor Philippe Villeneuve, with whom he stays in contact:

Benjamin Mouton affirms to Batiactu that he was “totally incredulous” in the face of this fire that could have spread from the renovation site, and that suspicions could be focused on the “valley”, where the nave and the transept of the cathedral meet.

He explained that:

the melted scaffolding will not be doing the vaults any good, as this creates a significant mechanical shock

He said that the stones that made up the vaults were turned to ash. They were the most important part of the building:

The stones are going to turn into lime, and the water fired by the firefighters creates a second heat shock.

As for the fire detection and prevention systems in place:

The fire protection set up in the cathedral was at its highest level.

When I took care of the fire detection, which was very expensive, it took only a few minutes for a fire officer to resolve any doubt. We had many wooden doors replaced by fire doors [and] we limited all electrical appliances, which were forbidden in the attic.

He also told Batiactu:

In my 40 years of experience, I have never known a fire of this sort.

He also pointed out the slow burn of oak:

The fire could not start from a short circuit, from a simple incident. It takes a real heat load at the start to launch such a disaster. Oak is a particularly hard wood.

Different types of wood have different burning temperatures

On Thursday, April 25, RMC’s Les Grandes Gueules had a segment on their news and talk programme about the fire.

I was quite cross to hear that they thought a smouldering cigarette butt could have started the fire!

I have a plank of seasoned oak that I almost posted to them with a letter asking them to leave a lit cigarette on it to see if it would burn the wood. While there might be a burn mark left, the oak is highly unlikely to ignite!

South Yorkshire Firewood has a page on different types of wood and how they burn. The reason Benjamin Mouton brought up the maturity of the oak was that thick, 800-year-old oak planks would not burn very quickly at all.

South Yorkshire Firewood deals in firelogs. The company rightly points out that logs need to be ‘seasoned’ before burning. Afterwards, one generally wants a slow yet steady burn in the fireplace. Therefore, one needs kindling and one needs good wood. They explain:

Hardwoods are generally more dense than softwood and therefore burn for longer and produce more heat …

Despite providing a more efficient fuel source, hardwood can be difficult to ignite from cold. Softwood kindling is therefore best used to get a fire started, the resinous and fibrous nature of softwood helping it to burn from cold. Once a fire is established and there is some heat in the base of the fire, it should be fuelled with hardwood to maintain a slow burning fire with a good heat output.

Softwood can produce a very pleasing flame to look at but it will burn very quickly and you will get through a large volume of wood in a very short time.

As for oak:

The density of the wood also affects how long it needs to be seasoned for. Oak is a very dense wood and can take up to 2 years to season fully.

One of the best firewoods but needs a long seasoning period due to its density. Burns slowly and is long lasting. On smaller stoves it is best burnt in smaller pieces than other woods.

Now, I am not for one moment suggesting that someone put lit kindling on the cathedral’s oak beams, but if anyone thinks a lit cigarette caused this fire, they need to read up more on oak, particularly old oak!

Although Benjamin Mouton was not in a position to say so, there’s something mighty suspicious about this fire.

Tomorrow, I will report on what rebuilding Notre-Dame might mean and what such a reconstruction would entail.

Wow.

Twitter just banned a parody account which clearly stated it was a parody account.

Not only that, Twitter banned the account of the person who created said parody account.

The parody account’s creator belongs to a minority religious faith. He happens to be a conservative.

His ban is not a suspension.

It is a permanent ban from Twitter.

Here’s the story via another prominent Twitter conservative:

So, it’s okay to have multiple parody accounts of President Trump, but not one of a freshman congresswoman?

Mike Morrison’s parody tweets were so clever, they seemed like the real thing. That tells one a lot about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Human Events spoke with Morrison, who said (emphases mine):

I think Twitter banned AOC Press for the increasing amounts of attention it’s been receiving lately.

In the past month and a half alone the account grew by roughly 50,000 followers. We’ve had tweets with over 30,000 likes on them, so I think Twitter decided it was time for [the account] to go. They didn’t like how popular an account created by their political opposition had become.

There might have been a different factor at play in Morrison’s personal account having been banned:

As the creator of the parody, Morrison presumes his personal account was banned by Twitter for having mocked their political allies, though many on the service have pointed to Morrison’s Jewish background and the fact he had also tweeted critically of Hamas in recent days.

Other prominent Jewish conservatives were also banned after tweeting about how terror group Hamas should be destroyed.

Overall, however, bans have also gone on at other social media sites:

The ban is the latest foray by Big Tech into the Presidential Election campaign of 2020.

Last week, high profile Trump supporters such as Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Milo Yiannopolous were banned from Facebook and Instagram.

Morrison is also MAGA.

Message to Jack Dorsey: UNBAN MIKE.

Jack might be interested in studying the 2017 Supreme Court ruling that says participating in social media is a constitutional right, even for convicts:

Quartz has a good article on the ruling. Excerpts follow about Packingham v. North Carolina:

Public space in the digital age has no shape and no physical place. But the US Supreme Court is now sorting out what that means for free-speech rights. Today (June 19), the justices unanimously held that states can’t broadly limit access to social media because cyberspace “is one of the most important places to exchange views.”

… Acknowledging that every advance in technology leads to new abuses by criminals, the notion that states can bar access altogether is anathema to the high court

As justice Elena Kagan put it then, “Everybody is on Twitter.”

Well, nearly everyone. The rest of us do read and enjoy Twitter.

With that 2017 Supreme Court ruling in mind, I hope that Twitter unbans Mike Morrison — and other conservatives — soon.

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