Daniel Bergner writes about an Orthodox Jewish social worker who treats sexual problems in ultra-Orthodox women referred for treatment by their rabbis. The article nicely conveys a sense of the challenges this work presents.
I'd have let the matter drop [his UFO skepticism], but there was one email I want to share, almost beautiful in its simplicity, from reader Charles Yates. It struck me because it conveys a thought I've never seen expressed before. Here it is, in its entirety:
I'm very skeptical when I heard about Roswell years ago. This ufo traveled from distant galaxies, and then when it gets to Earth it......crashes??
Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, has died at age 83. Banks was a beloved figure in Chicago and one of baseball's all-time greats. Beginning a couple of years back, I often saw Banks hanging out at Bongiorno's Pizza on Wabash. I believe he lived next door at the Trump Tower.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was walking by the place and realized that I hadn 't seen Banks in quite some time. Perhaps his health had been failing.
I've been meaning to comment on that not-going-to-pass proposal for free community college. My comment is that I have many thoughts, but no opinion on the proposal. Reader and pseudonymous blogger, Gabriel Conroy shared some of his thoughts on the discussion here.
Stomp on the gas in a new Ford Mustang or F-150 and you'll hear a meaty, throaty rumble — the same style roar that Americans have associated with auto power and performance for decades.
It's a sham. The engine growl in some of America's best-selling cars and trucks is actually a finely tuned bit of lip-syncing, boosted through special pipes or digitally faked altogether. And it's driving car enthusiasts insane...
Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry's dirty little secrets, with automakers from BMW to Volkswagen turning to a sound-boosting bag of tricks. Without them, today's more fuel-efficient engines would sound far quieter and, automakers worry, seemingly less powerful, potentially pushing buyers away.
Car companies are increasingly wary of alerting buyers that they might not be hearing the real thing, and many automakers have worked with audio and software engineers to make their cars' synthesized engine melody more realistic. Volkswagen uses what's called a "Soundaktor," a special speaker that looks like a hockey puck and plays sound files in cars like the GTI and Beetle Turbo. Lexus worked with sound technicians at Yamaha to more loudly amplify the noise of its LFA supercar toward the driver seat.
I'm good with quiet, but I can appreciate that it may not be the best way to sell more cars.
He looked up just as I snapped. Not the best light and not as sharp as I'd hoped, but sometimes the L vibration gets the better of me. Looking behind the image in Photoshop levels, things aren't pretty even after adjustments, but still, I like the shot because of the subjects.
A selfie taken by a group of Miss Universe contestants isn’t normally something that makes international news, but a recent photo showing Miss Israel posing alongside a smiling Miss Lebanon has bucked the trend.
The innocent image was taken by Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, who posted it onto her Instagram account. Social media users soon noticed that Lebanon’s Saly Greige was standing next to her, which led to some angy Lebanese folk calling for their country’s contestant to be stripped of her title for ‘consorting with the enemy’.
Miss Lebanon offered a shameful response to the controversey. Photo and story
Some 2,000 traffic cops in the Philippine capital are being asked to wear adult diapers during next week's visit by Pope Francis to the predominately Roman Catholic country. So, some of them will no doubt feel relieved that they've got a place to go during what promises to be a particularly long and grueling stint at their posts. Others might prefer to just hold it.
This morning, I read an article about Charlie Hebdo that I'll comment on briefly, but there are so many levels to this story, so many ways you can slice it, I'll confine myself to a brief comment on the specific news item I read today.
VoA reported on Muslim protesters objecting to the republication of the post-massacre cover of Charlie (Tout Est Pardonné).
Nihad Awad, founder of CAIR -- or the Council on American-Islamic Relations -- said Muslims largely reject any image, whether it be positive or negative, of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Many voices in the Muslim world expressed the feeling that they have been offended by the republishing of that mag -- that is a healthy and rightful position to take,” he said.
Well, no, there's nothing intrinsically healthy or rightful about that sense of offense.
There are several ways to understand the underlying psychological mechanisms that attract an individual to religious fundamentalism, but it is the relative brittleness of fundamentalist belief that makes challenges to those beliefs so psychologically threatening. And those who are most troubled by underlying doubts about their own belief system tend to be the most offended by anything that resonates with that doubt.
So Mr. Awad has squandered an opportunity to say something helpful to offended Muslims. Better if he were to tell the offended that their sense of outrage reflects their own difficulty with doubt. Would they readily accept that interpretation? No. But they don't need encouragement of their self-deception. They need to hear the truth spoken plainly and without malice, by an ally, again and again.
I've continued my genealogical research, setting to work this week on my mother's family. Almost immediately, I uncovered some information that surprised me and "floored" my mother.
First, some background.
My mother and her siblings always believed that their father was one of three siblings, which was a smaller family by the standards of Sicily during her father's childhood. Her father was the eldest, with sisters Rosaria and Maria who were, respectively, 9 and 11 years younger than he.
Moments after her teenage son pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with plotting to join the militant group Islamic State, Zarine Khan stood Tuesday in the lobby of Chicago's federal courthouse with a tearful message.
With her husband by her side and her hands shaking, Khan blasted the Islamic State and its self-proclaimed leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, for the "brainwashing and recruiting of children through the use of social media and the Internet."
"We have a message for ISIS, Mr. Baghdadi, and his fellow social media recruiters," said Khan, looking up at the television news cameras with tears in her eyes. "Leave our children alone!"
With their son's attorney beside them, Khan and her husband, Shafi, said they felt compelled to speak out on the "unspeakable acts of horror" that unfolded in Paris last week in the name of Islam. She said that as Muslims, they condemned the brutal tactics of the Islamic State "and groups like it."
Last October, the Kahn's son was arrested at O'Hare-Chicago with plans to fly to Vienna and then on to Istanbul. He is charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. A 17-year-old sister and 16-year-old brother were detained with him, but released after questioning.
The parents say they didn't have a clue that anything was amiss until the FBI knocked on their door on the morning of the arrest. Based on what I've read, they strike me as credible. I can hardly imagine the rage and anguish these parents feel toward these Islamic madmen, but this being the internet, there are commenters telling the mother to go home if she doesn't like this country. /headdesk