Paris Update

Jan 25 2015

The rue du Faubourg St. Honoré in front of the Elysée palace -- home to the French Président -- is now closed to all traffic, though the H&K MP-5-carrying policeman there assured me that this state of affairs would not last too long. That said, one thinks of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House, which has been shut down since 9/11.

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Later on my bicycle ride, I was stopped by a hurrying young trooper when I tried to photograph the U.S. Embassy. He went so far as to look at the last images on my iPhone 6 to make sure that nothing depicting the fortified building was recorded there.

The Embassy is surrounded by heavy, concrete posts at about one-foot intervals -- in order to prevent bomb-carrying vehicles from parking directly against the building's walls. It seems that a distance of several feet from a wall allows a bomb's blast to disburse, limiting interior damage significantly. This fact was once explained to me by a Guinness salesman on the Falls Road in Belfast, when I asked him why there were garbage cans filled with concrete all around the pubs that we were visiting to collect money. He also enjoyed telling this erstwhile Bain consultant, after the fact, that in one of the bars we entered, "everyone was carrying a gun."

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The Hunting Ground

Jan 25 2015

A film about sexual assault on campus with the name The Hunting Ground appears ready to be released in March. There is no mention of Dartmouth in the official trailer, but at 1:15 an image of SAE appears, and a young woman asserts that the letters stand for "Sexual Assault Expected":

The same filmmaking team produced The Invisible War, an exposé of sexual assault in the military. That film focused on the problem of serial predators, a scourge previously evoked in these pages.

Addendum: Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine will also reach theaters this year.

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The Saviour of His Country

Jan 24 2015

Churchill Nobel.jpgGovernment Professor Russ Muirhead, who graciously allowed me to audit his Political Speech seminar four summers ago, is a fellow admirer of Winston Churchill. He is also the kind of guy who has a favorite footnote. On the 50th anniversary of Churchill's death, let's enjoy it together. Historian A. J. P. Taylor's included the note in his 700-page English History, 1914-1945 (Oxford History of England). Please read all the way through to the end:

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To my mind, one can fairly make the assertion that Winston Churchill singlehandedly saved more than Britain; he saved the world.

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