aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Fake palace boom across Germany
On Marketplace tonight:
A conference center planned for Hanover will look just like the Herrenhausen palace that was wiped out in 1943. In Potsdam, the state parliament just voted to move into a $200 million replica of a baroque palace. Frederick the Great stayed there sometimes. It was also destroyed in the war. Total cost, around $200 million. In Berlin, the government plans to rebuild the decimated former home of Prussia’s royal family. That tab, $700 million. Palace-building hasn’t advanced much in the past couple of hundred years. Stone masons, sculptors, 80 percent of the cost is labor, only now the workers are paid union wages. Why spend this much money to rebuild palaces that few Germans can even remember?
PETER SCHABE: It’s linked to an anxiety about globalization. People want a place to identify with, and they want to create cities that looked like they did a long time ago.
Peter Schabe works for the German Foundation for Historic Preservation. He says a lot of Germans are sick of modern architecture. These new-old buildings remind Germans of their proud past, while conveniently skipping the 20th century. This back-to-the-past movement started in Dresden, which was flattened by Allied firebombing. After Germany reunified in 1990, the city’s famed, domed Frauenkirche was resurrected from a pile of rubble. Today, nearly eight million tourists a year flood the city. Cities without palaces to rebuild, such as Frankfurt, don’t want to be left out. They’re building brand new “historic districts.”
A side-effect of all this? “Money spent creating fake new buildings means less money going to preserve authentic historic buildings.”
Dream ticket a nightmare for Democrats
On Monday Andrew Sullivan had a piece about the possibility — and what he claimed was the powerful logic — of a unity Obama-Clinton ticket for the Democrats.
They call it the “dream ticket” - a unity deal, brokered at the Democratic convention in Denver, Colorado, that puts both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on a bumper sticker and, hopefully, in the White House. Now that the mainstream media, Clinton’s greatest ally, has finally recognised the legitimacy of Obama’s triumph over her grinding and obdurate campaign, the dream ticket has lost any speculative vagueness of Beltway cocktail chat. Now, that dream is a matter of deadly seriousness - because it is now Hillary’s dream, and her last remaining option. Make no mistake: going into Denver with a heap of white votes and fortified by the new power of the post-Cheney vice-presidency, Hillary Clinton intends to force her way onto the ticket. If it knows what’s good for it, the Democratic party should stop her.
He details how Hillary has consistently put her own interests and passions above those of her party, everything that Obama’s about has demonstrated that he’s as good or better than she (wasn’t that why we went through this extended primary battle?), and there is no VP “problem” to begin with.
The nomination of Barack Obama presents the Democratic party with more than its fair share of historic opportunities, and not just skin deep. Among these - and I think Obama would be the first to agree - are the possibilities which open when Democrats realise that the 2008 campaign is about more than the petty personalities of particular persons. Democrats have a once-in-a-generation chance, sorely needed, to fully refresh their national leadership. This chance has conveniently come at a time when Republican fortunes are at lows unseen since the last days of Herbert Hoover. To accept the GOP’s most profitable punching bag onto the national ticket after Democratic voters have plainly rejected her is to sacrifice the party’s best hopes to its worst habits. With American citizens of all persuasions crying out for fundamental change in Washington politics, such a failure hurts not just the Democratic party but the country as a whole.