The World On Fire

Grind for April 18th, 2019
“The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax.” – Albert Einstein

Up In Flames

The Headline

The Notre Dame Cathedral is on fire

The Grind

The famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris went up in flames Monday, adding another chapter to the church’s storied history.

Thousands of people, including French President Emmanuel Macron, gathered to watch as more than 400 firefighters worked to bring the flames under control.

“It’s unbelievable to think how centuries are going up in smoke,” said local architect Hugh Dutton. “It really hurts to see this. I’m in shock.”

The Details

Construction on the Gothic cathedral began in 1160 and was largely completed by 1260.

The church’s iconic spire, which collapsed in the blaze Monday, was built from 1844 to 1864 during a restoration project prompted by Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame (published in 1831).

Officials have yet to determine the cause of the fire, but the blaze appears to have started amid scaffolding erected as part of a $6.8 million renovation project.

From there, the flames climbed up to engulf the ancient oak beams inside the church’s roof.

“Essentially it’s kindling,” said Anne Lester, a professor of Medieval History at Johns Hopkins University. “It’s made from tinder that’s now hundreds of years old. It would have been dried out.”

Much of the church’s roof was burned away, but officials say the limestone structure is undamaged.

Are We There Yet

The Headline

Mueller report expected to be released Thursday

The Grind

We can expect to read the full Mueller report on Thursday, announced Attorney General William Barr on Monday.

The 400-page report marks the culmination of Robert Mueller’s counterintelligence investigation into the 2016 presidential election.

Key questions to answer included:

— Did the Russian government interfere in the election?

— Did President Trump’s campaign participate in Russia’s interference?

— Did Trump obstruct justice by interfering with investigators’ efforts to look into those questions?

The Details

On March 22nd, nearly two years after the investigation began, Barr sent a letter to lawmakers announcing that Mueller’s investigation found no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The investigation did not exonerate Trump from accusations that he obstructed justice, but Barr’s letter failed to provide details.

Hopefully we will learn more when the report is released Thursday.

In the meantime, Barr is gearing up to launch an investigation into the other side of the story (AKA “Spygate”): accusations that government agencies displayed political bias and broke the law when they investigated Trump’s campaign.

Did you know… According to the University of California, people who blush easily are more generous and trustworthy than those who don’t.