Trump didn’t soften on immigration – but that’s no surprise

‘No amnesty’: Trump vows to deport millions during ‘first hour in office’:

Donald Trump has vowed anew to deport millions of undocumented people and to build a wall on the border with Mexico, defying expectations that he would soften his stance on immigration.

Trump is erratic and apparently only fuelled by things that maximise his ego.

I didn’t believed a single second he would “soften” on immigration – because he’s so keen to believe warm crowds could actually make the election. That’s simple logic: he loves being applauded by crowds, and people in his crowds want him to be though on immigration. So the only way to enjoy these “easy” applauses is… to be though on immigration. Again, simple (Trumpian?) logic.

But considering the negative effects of his incoherent and violent rhetoric against, well, pretty much everybody has on white voters (a core voter group in his campaign strategy), being though on immigration is only good for Hillary Clinton.

Despite low approval ratings, every forecast model predicts she’ll be the next President – and with a huge margin in probability.

What’s surprising with this election is how easily winnable it was by the GOP. “Was”, because at the end the GOP shots itself in the foot.

(Via The Guardian)

The Sunday Picture #3 – A lonely fir

The Sunday Picture #3 – A lonely fir © Olivier Simard-Casanova

November, a lot of clouds, a rocky trail. And this fir, rooted on the rocks, in the middle of nowhere.

This cloudy hike was definitively gorgeous.

Sentier des Roches (Rocky Trail) in Vosges, Lorraine (North East of France) – GPS

Banning the burkini ban: a victory for the rule of law

France’s top administrative court overturns burkini ban – The Washington Post:

The administrative court concluded that the idea of a burkini ban insulted “fundamental freedoms” such as the “freedom to come and go, the freedom of conscience and personal liberty.”

This overturn is a relief. And it’s a strong case against sordid deviations from the rule of law because of an alleged “war on terror”.

The Conseil d’État (the supreme court for administrative cases) overturned the Villeneuve-Loubet ban because she found the city mayor didn’t had the right to impose this ban. One of the “argument” used in favour of the ban was that considering the recent terrorist attacks and the ensued social climate in France, wearing a burkini could threaten public order.

Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez, a top French jurist said (in French) this ruling is a very strong case in favor of civil rights and fundamental freedoms, as it puts some very precise boundaries of what’s “public order”.

By definition, protecting public order can only be done by restricting some freedoms (for instance the freedom to come and go of jailed criminals). And what the Conseil d’État ruled is the following: you need to have a serious and very specific reason to actually restrict individual freedoms to (allegedly) protect public order. Otherwise, these blurred lines could lead to a lot of abuses.

Claiming there’s some “troubled climate” women wearing burkinis can “fuel” is neither serious nor specific, the Conseil d’État wrote.

To me, the core argument that wearing a burkini is a way to show some support for “radical Islam” is nothing but bullshit. (I also disagree that the fight against terrorism is a “war” as I’m not sure ISIS and friends are actually rooted in “mainstream” radical Islam. But that’s two other stories.)

Let’s be honest: most of the mayors who tried to ban the burkinis have some sort of racist agenda. They can be racists themselves or, more probably, they’ve tried to appeal some Front National voters considering a lot of important elections will take place in 2017 (presidential and legislative). South East of France is an area where the extreme right vote is historically very strong – and the vast majority of cities that tried to ban the burkinis are located in this area.

At the end, I’m very relieved by the Conseil d’État’s decision. This is a great victory for civil rights, the defence of fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Racists will have to find something else to push their ugly agenda.

(Via The Washington Post)

“Why the earthquake in Italy was so destructive”

Earthquakes in this region are modest in magnitude — hundreds of 6.2 quakes happen around the world every year. Within hours of the Italian quake, a 6.8-magnitude temblor hit Burma. But that earthquake was much deeper, which means it was less destructive. […] By contrast, quakes like those that hit L’Aquila and Amatrice were centered just below the surface.

“With deeper earthquakes, the waves have to travel farther, so we can have quite deep earthquakes that are not so damaging,” [Susan] Hough said. “But if it’s shallow, the energy released is quite close to the surface, so that’s an immediate punch.”

Source: Why the earthquake in Italy was so destructive – The Washington Post

★ The Sunday Picture #2 – Gazon du Faing

The Sunday Picture #2 – Gazon du Faing © Olivier Simard-Casanova

As you may know, last weekend I went with my friend Florence in the Vosges mountains, 100 kilometers south from where I live. During Saturday’s evening we spent more than a hour lying in the grass, looking at the Perseids. We saw more than fifteen of them! Some very impressive. It was magical.

And the morning after we came back at the very same place where we saw the meteors. This is where and when I took this picture. There’s a lot of my pictures I like, but this one is somehow special. I can’t say why though.

Gazon du Faing in Vosges, Lorraine (North East of France) – GPS

★ Hiking when it’s not sunny can bring beauty too

The last week-end I went in the Vosges mountains with my friend Florence. We went at the Hohneck, which is the highest summit of my region Lorraine (East of France).

As you can see by yourself, the weather was just perfect – so was the view.

At some point, Florence told me such weather is perfect for hiking. I disagreed a bit with her: last fall, I was at the very same place with another friend of mine. The weather was not cold, but cloudy, with a very dense mist. We hiked something like 10 kilometers in such conditions, and oh boy that was insane.

When we reached the top of the mountain (which is not that high, only 1,363 meters – or 4,472 ft), we were inside the clouds. Literally. We were able to see them moving, to feel them almost. It was beautiful, impressive and a bit scary – even if we were perfectly safe.

So yes, you don’t have all the sunshine and the trendy Instagram pictures. And you need to be well equipped to enjoy hiking in these conditions. But the reason you hike is another one. The experience I had with the environment/the nature during this hike was very uncommon (at least for me, who don’t live in the mountains), and somehow it reminded me how little one single individual actually knows about something as big as the world. How could I imagined I could almost touch the clouds? That was a lesson of humility.

If one day you have the opportunity to try this kind of hike, please, consider giving it a try. Maybe you won’t like it, but at least you should try. With the proper state of mind and the right amount of curiosity, it may be one of your best hiking experience. For me, it was.

★ Introducing the Sunday Picture – and an update about the Instagram mess

You’ve probably spotted that this morning I released the first Sunday Picture on the blog.

As you may guess, this Sunday Picture won’t be the last of its kind. Step by step, I’m building the blog I really want.

The idea behind The Sunday Picture is pretty simple: Instagram messed up with its non-chronological feed, destroying months of curation work. Even worst, with the new algorithm the very idea of narration isn’t relevant anymore – something even Instagram acknowledges (see the last question in the link). The problem is I consider myself first and foremost as a… storyteller. Too bad for Instagram.

More generally, I’m sick to be dependant of platforms I don’t control enough. Facebook, Google, now Instagram, so much effort ruined because some stranger I’ll never met made some decision I don’t even know was made. I understand these companies have their own agenda, but I also have mine. I don’t see why I should spend time and effort to produce good quality content for companies that don’t give a shit about it. At the end, I’m just a number, one user in the hundred of millions they have…

As a result, I decided to avoid invest too much effort in places I don’t control anymore – at least where my control falls short. This is why I’ll publish some of my pictures here. Sorry Instagram, you won’t have these anymore.

I’m aware I won’t have all the likes and the “popularity” I may get on Instagram. But I don’t care. I don’t run after some sort of “celebrity” or whatever.

About Instagram itself, I don’t think I’ll finally shut down my account. But I’ll definitively use it in a very different way. Probably more like Snapchat or something like this, as a more visual “chat”. I don’t know yet.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this first Sunday Picture, and I hope you’ll enjoy all the other ones!

To keep updated for the new Sunday Picture, please check out the dedicated RSS feed.

The Sunday Picture #1 – Pagny sur Moselle

The Sunday Picture #1 – Pagny sur Moselle © Olivier Simard-Casanova

Taken on August 7, 2016 during a hike near my parents’ place. The sky was full blue, the sun very shinny and the view, well, wonderful.

Pagny sur Moselle in Lorraine (North East of France) – GPS