Au Courant Weekly: August 8, 2015

Aug 08, 2015

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The Simple Sophisticate, episode #51


French investigators announced on Wednesday that the piece of a wing, known as a flaperon, from a Boeing 777 is from Malaysia flight 370 which went missing on March 8, 2014. Found on Reunion Island in late July which is located in the Indian Ocean, the announcement provide some closure to the families of 239 people who lost their lives on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. French investigators are continuing to examine the wing and other debris.

National: United States

On Monday, President Obama announced a major change to cut greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants. “The Clean Power Plan” already had its critics threatening to file suits against the government as the plan requires states to meet specific carbon emission reduction standards, based on their individual energy consumption. The plan also includes an incentive program for states to get a head start on meeting standards on early deployment of renewable energy and low-income energy efficiency as reported by CNN News.

The first Republican Presidential Debate hosted by Fox and Facebook aired Thursday and offered two hours of intriguing exchanges, Gov. Chris Christie and Senator Rand Paul engaging in one of the most heated with a back and forth over the fourth amendment and national security. In the Happy Hour forum that was held for the seven candidates not making the cut in the top ten, Carly Fiorina was the name to applaud for her preparedness and performance from many news pundits on both sides of the aisle.

On Wednesday a Texas Federal judge ruled that a Texas ID Law violated the Voters’ Rights Act of 1965. The Texas law in question requires voters to bring a government-issued photo ID to the polls. Accepted forms of identification include a driver’s license, a United States passport, a concealed-handgun license and an election identification certificate issued by the State Department of Public Safety. Whether or not they will appeal to the US Supreme Court or adjust the law has not been officially announced.


Joe Biden, according to Maureen Dowd’s weekly opinion column, is seriously considering a run at the White House. While she is keeping her sources close to her vest as any seasoned journalist would, Joe’s son Beau is quoted as ardently encouraging his father to bring Biden values back to the White House just prior to his passing from brain cancer this past June.


Delaying fatherhood is good for one’s health. The Los Angeles Times reported that men who wait until age 25, and with even better odds if they wait until 30, are more likely to live a long healthy life. The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health studied 30,000 fathers in Finland and found “that men who had their first child before age 22 were 26% more likely to die between the ages of 45 and 54 than men who waited until they were at least 25”. The sample of men where all born between 1940 and 1950, and they also identified 12,000 who had a brother who was also a father. Norming for marital status, education level, total number of children and region where they lived, the study brought to light the stress on men at a young age to care for their children financially as well as emotionally being ready to be a father. Cardiovascular disease was the primary cause of an early death.

Mediate to reduce the inner critic. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy performed a pilot study and while the number of participants were small (38 people), during 2011 and 2012, each individual had a high self-critical perfectionism score which identified them for the study. After seven weeks of 90 minute weekly sessions of a form of meditation designed to “cultivate feelings of warmth and kindness to all people, including oneself”, participants saw decreased scores in “self-critical perfectionism and inadequacy, while scores for self-compassion and self-reassurance increased”. The results lasted for three weeks if the meditation practice was not adhered to consistently. With self-criticism perfectionism having shown to be a source in a handful of psychological conditions such as eating disorders and depression, the researchers wanted to see how powerful the simple act of meditation could be. Turns out, it can have a positive effect.


After 35 years, a rare Stradivarius violin is reclaimed by its beloved owner’s family. If you listen to NPR and hone in on any Supreme Court story, you know doubt know the voice of Nina Totenberg. Well, her father, the talented violinist Roman Totenberg’s Stradivarius violin was stolen from his office at Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, more than 35 years ago and on June 30th of this year, Nina and her sisters received the news that it had been found. Stolen by whom her father had suspected, a young aspirational violinist Philip Johnson, who later died at the age of 58 while Totenberg lived to be 101, dying one year after Johnson, Johnson’s ex-wife found the violin four years after his death. The 1734 violin made by the most famous violin-maker of all time — Antonio Stradivari (only 550 violins are believed to have been made), was authenticated and on Thursday returned to the sisters in a formal ceremony the United States Attorney’s office in New York. The sisters have said they will be selling the violin so that it can be used to its full potential by the talent during our time. (The bow was not recovered, but the FBI is hopeful it too will be returned.)

Women’s Issues

Planned Parenthood funding is receiving a backlash recently, as controversial undercover videos are being released, and while it has been the topic of discussion on Capitol Hill, it has also caused a bit of back and forth with the Presidential candidates. Prompted by the funding of Planned Parenthood and the videos, on Tuesday Jeb Bush while speaking to Southern Baptist Convention event in Nashville, made a comment, regarding funding stating he was “not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues.” Both Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina criticized him, and by the end of the day Wednesday Bush quickly stated that he had “misspoke”.

Bendite Event of the Week

Have you finished Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman? If you have, and you would like to hear what others are thinking about the story as well as how it changes the reception of To Kill A Mockingbird, stop by the Smoke Room at McMenamin’s Old St. Francis School on Wednesday August 12th between 5-6pm at 700 NW Bond St in Bend. The discussion is free and open to the public. I’ll be getting there early.

French Word of the Week

“En terrasse”

Bonjour, this is Géraldine from Comme une Franç I’m here to share the latest French Word of the Week: a simple very French word for your Simply Luxurious Life in France.

La terrasse is THE place to be in summer. La terrasse is the outside part of “un bar” or “un restaurant”.

Une terrasse is a terrace. En terrasse means outside in front of a bar. Notice that we don’t say “sur la terrasse”, even if in English you say “on the terrace”.

From May to October, your favorite phrase will become “Apéro en terrasse ?”.

And if you’re booking  a table at a restaurant ask “Vous avez une table en terrasse ?”.

Une terrasse can also be a huge balcony in a house, like a patio.

But, in a city, we mainly use it to talk about the outside of a bar or restaurant.

In winter, for the ones who really like to eat outside, there are “des terrasses chauffées”” heated terraces.

Remember: “En terrasse”

If you want to add more French in your Simply Luxurious Life, join me on Comme une Franç for weekly video tips to sound French, even to the French! And it’s free.

Thought to Ponder


~AU COURANT WEEKLY posts from the Archives:

~August 1, 2015

~July 25, 2015

~What is Au Courant Weekly? Find out here.

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