Let's Open A Bottle

The health police are at it again. After whipsawing the public about the benefits and risks of coffee, butter, and meat, and the sustainability or not of cattle farms vs. almond groves, the experts have the latest word on alcohol. It does no good at all.

That beer at the 4th of July barbeque, that glass of wine at dinner, that cocktail on the patio under a star-studded summer sky, all those occasions in the thousands of years of human history in which people enjoyed the fermented fruit of the grape and the grain—are and were all bad choices, according to an article by Susan Dominus in the New York Times. In  https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/15/magazine/alcohol-health-risks.html?te=1&nl=from-the-times&emc=edit_ufn_20240625 she asks, “Is That Drink Worth It to You?”

Ms. Dominus quotes Tim Stockwell, a scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, who changed his mind about the benefits of alcohol after a careful analysis of the data.  He concluded that no amount of alcohol is really safe.

After learning all the longevity risks, the writer pinned Dr Stockwell down on the projected loss of life in terms of actual glasses of buzz-inducing beverages. The answer: It’s complicated.

One could also say it is reassuring.

Read more
The Soft Power Of Mothers

On Saturday I had the privilege of hearing Hauwa Ibrahim speak on her work with the Peace Institute. This remarkable woman was born in poverty in Nigeria. She is now an internationally known human rights lawyer, has taught at Harvard University and the University of Rome, and is a visiting scholar at Wellesley College.

She defended women sentenced to death and children sentenced to amputation under Shariah law. In 2005 she was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought.

The Peace Institute, which she founded, is an international initiative to (among other things) educate young people in countries where they are likely to be recruited into terrorist activities as an alternative to unemployment.

Among the programs carried out by the Peace Institute is “Mothers Without Borders.” Hauwa realized the “soft power” of mothers, and it was this that persuaded the young men in the Islamist terror group Boka Haram to release some of the 230 Nigerian school girls they kidnapped in 2014. One of the beliefs of this Islamist terror group is that the education of girls is a sin. Yet Hauwa’s own story shows that education saves all humanity. Promised in marriage at the age of

Read more