Thursday, June 2, 2011

2 June 2011: News of the day

Reading Le Parisien...

The DSK and Georges Tron affairs have liberated women to speak out against sexual harassement and violence.  Yvette Roudy, the creator of the short-lived Ministry of Women's Rights, explains that the reaction is not so much to DSK's arrest, but to the sexist reaction of male politicians and others to the arrest. In their "man in the street" interviews, one of the responders is an Englishwoman who lives in France. Her name is given as "Miranda Hobbs". Any similiarity of SATC's Miranda Hobbes is surely a coincidence. The issue of sexual harassment and violence does get two pages. Not bad.

The next full page is devoted to clunt "philosopher" Luc Ferry, who is now part of the investigation he launched by claiming that a former minister was caught in a pedophiliac orgy in Marrakesh. He keeps trying to dig himself out of his own hole, but just keeps making matters worse. He says that to make an accusation without proof is diffamatory... and then says that if he refuses to name names, it's because he has no proof.

Dominique Marie François René Galouzeau de Villepin, graduate of Sciences Po and ENA, says that the caste system is too strong in France. Spitting up. Hold on.

There is an odd practice in French politics where you don't have to live in a place you represent. And where people are "parachuted" to safe seats, or to further their career. People don't seem to mind that these elected officials don't actually live, or haven't lived long, in their district. And you even have cases where politicians are elected simultaneously to two different offices in two different locations (for example, Jacques Chirac, mayor of Paris and MP from Corrèze). Anyhow, François Fillon is thinking about running for Mayor of Paris, and so is leaving the Sarthe where he has always been elected. But where to run? After redistricting, there's a new seat in the 7th that's ultrasafe for the UMP. But Rachida Dati, mayor of the 7th and MEP, also is keen to run for the French National Assembly, and reckons that the seat has her name on it. So the latest idea is this (hold on to your hat): there are new seats for overseas French in the National Assembly. Finance Minister, Member of the City Councils of both Paris and the 12th Arrondissement, and bocce player Christine Lagarde looks to be heading to Washington to replace DSK at the IMF. She was lined up to hold the seat of representative of North American overseas French, so that seat is now "open". So let's get Pierre Lellouche, who currently holds a seat in the 8th Arrondissement, to take that North America seat, and let Fillon take his seat in the 8th. It's all so democratic!

Speaking of Rachida, she's holding a film festival in the 7th! And her special VIP guests include Gérard Depardieu, Vanessa Paradis,Michael Lonsdale, Nicole Garcia, Jean Rochefort, Xavier Beauvois, François Ozon. Or so she says.

A decision never seen before in France, as far as I know: a primary school in the suburbs has banned recess because of frequent gunfire and fears of a stray bullet injuring a child. The shooters are drug dealers who control the neighborhood.

The city wants to buy the abandoned stations on the abandoned Petite Ceinture line. My windows look onto the only open air bit of the line in the 20th.
Aujourd’hui désaffectée, la ligne de la petite ceinture fait le tour de Paris. Avec ses vingt-neuf gares, dont la plupart sont à l’abandon (d’Auteuil à Courcelles, jusqu’à l’avenue de Clichy, Ornano, avenue de Saint-Ouen, jusqu’à Vincennes, Ménilmontant, Maison-Blanche et Point-du-Jour), elle servait autrefois à affiner la desserte des quartiers parisiens.
La voie ferrée, d’une longueur de 32 km, située à l’intérieur des boulevards des Maréchaux, servait uniquement au transport des marchandises entre 1852 et 1869, puis fut ensuite ouverte aux voyageurs. Détrônée au profit du métro, cette ligne de petite ceinture est finalement fermée en 1934, puis interdite aux marchandises dans les années 1990. Désormais, Paris veut reconquérir ces gares et ces talus, en les transformant en jardins partagés, dont certains sont réalisés par des chantiers d’insertion.
The station Charonne, rue de Bagnolet, is the charming and popular live music venue known as the Flèche d'or. I wish the city good luck, cuz RFF, the government-owned entity that owns the tracks and stations, is very, very greedy, and use claims of wanting to reuse the line to prevent any conversion of the line or stations for public use (gardens, for example). We have a project for a community garden on our bit, but RFF is asking for thousands and thousands in annual rent for the land (which currently produces no income at all).

Local public transport prices go up soon, with a large hike for all, except those in zone 6, which will merge with zone 5. The region is divided into several concentric zones: the more zones your pass covers, the more you pay. The Greens pushed an incredibly stupid idea of a single price for all. It's expensive, and not at all ecologically sound. All that happens when you reduce the cost of travel from the distant suburbs is to increase the attractiveness of those suburbs, at the expense of denser and more environmentally friendly housing and business development. A fausse bonne idée if there ever was one. Fortunately some Greens are seeing the light and are contesting such plans.

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