Monday, June 30, 2014

Test your higher-level English vocabulary

parochial - narrow minded, having a limited perspective, not open-minded

heedless - not taking enough care while doing something, careless, reckless

libidinous - being motivated by one's sex drive, slang: being 'horny'

duplicity - dishonesty

to parry - to defend oneself from an attack (this word comes from the sport of fencing - to parry a thrust is to stop one's opponent from hitting you with his sword tip by using your sword to deflect his thrust away)

overweening - too confident, too filled with pride, smug, arrogant

conciliatory - trying to make another happy or satisfied instead of making the person angrier; pacifying

to disabuse - to show someone that what he/she believed was inaccurate or false

a martinet - someone who values discipline excessively; someone who is super strict when it comes to leadership

prudish - someone who is too easily offended or embarrassed by sexual discussions or topics

Answers are below the exercise:

1. After the Civil War President Lincoln's policy toward the South was quite _________________. He indicated that he did not want to seek revenge but, instead, he wanted to welcome the South back into the Union and to help develop the South economically.

2. It was Icarus and not Daedalus who had been ________________; Daedalus knew that flying too high or too quickly would bring disaster, but Icarus failed to show this type of humble self-restraint.

3. Some parents have been complaining that the Diary of Anne Frank contains references to an adolescent's curiosity concerning the development of one's own sexual organs. They feel this book should not be read by young students. Other parents feel these parents are being ____________ and that there is no harm in reading the Diary of Anne Frank.

4. Do you think that a person who does not travel much will have a _______________ outlook on the world? Or, can a person be open-minded and intelligent without visiting other countries?

5. When she saw the child fall into the lake, Mary was ______________ of all risk and jumped in to save him. 

6. During the Middle Ages there was much corruption in the Catholic Church and you see this in the tales of _________________ priests in Boccaccio's book Il Decameron.

7. A young officers in the military should try to avoid excessive discipline in regard to his squad lest he acquire the reputation for being a _________________.

8. Bob was able to ____________ Mary's criticism that he was not a strong disciplinarian by saying that he felt positive reinforcement was more effective in regard to raising a child than punishment.

9. You seem to believe that the Persian Empire was run by a series of inhuman dictators, but I would like to _____________ you of that misconception by pointing out that Cyrus was loved by his people and admired around the Mediterranean area.

10. Bob was a straight-forward and honest guy and any form of ________________ bothered him deeply.

Answers are below:


1. conciliatory
2. overweening
3. prudish
4. parochial
5. heedless
6. libidinous
7. martinet
8. parry
9. disabuse
10. duplicity

Daniel Gauss ---->

My ESL book:

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Where did human language come from?

Here is an interesting little article about how human language might have developed. Actually, I don't think these researchers are on the right track (moving toward a right or correct answer).  But this article helps to show how mysterious the origins and nature of human language are.  We use it every day and we often don't think about where it came from or what it really can and cannot do.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

syntax - basically this means sentence structure or how words are arranged to make sentences

amplifies - makes it bigger or larger or stronger

hypothesis - this is a theory or guess as to why something happened or exists

birdsong - the songs birds sing

primates - monkeys

an endangered primate - a monkey that seems to be dying out

vocalize - use it's voice to make sounds. I found something on youtube about the silvery gibbon vocalizing:

signal territory - to indicate through sound that a certain territory belongs to him

a mere curiosity - something that is just strange; here they are saying this is not just unusual or strange behavior but a possible clue or key to understanding the evolution of human langauge

a clue - a clue points to something that will help to solve a mystery

communication modes - methods of communicating

derived - got

melodic - the melody part, the part with a rhythm

pragmatic - useful

fused - joined

finite - limited

unbounded - no limits to what can be expressed

antecedents - something that came before

integration - when things come together; the opposite of segregation - when things are kept apart

mutable structure - changeable structure

to reside - to live

a linguistic phenomenon - something that happens in language

to be embedded - to be placed

anti - this means against

adjacency - nearness

discrete - separate

it bolsters our case - it makes our argument or theory stronger

something novel - something new

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Did Suarez bite another soccer player in the World Cup?

So there seems to be a Uruguayan player who has a track record (a history) of biting other players.

Based on everything I was able to read about this player, it seems that his behavior, in general, can be erratic (not predictable, strange). I think he might have some minor mental illness - like mild autism or something. Continually punishing him will not help - I think he needs a psychological examination to determine what his problems are and he should receive help so he can be at peace with himself and live his life well.

{{Yesterday - after I posted the above - FIFA banned Suarez for four months and 9 FIFA tournament games, and fined him $112,000.  I believe this is an injustice.  Neither FIFA nor Suarez' club team seems to care about the psychological problems he has and neither group seems interested in helping him overcome his problems.}}

Here's an article about this unfortunate player:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a striker - a player whose job is to score goals

to face a lengthy ban - he might be forced to miss several games, he may be prevented from playing several games.

to be found guilty - the opposite of being found innocent; if you are guilty of something, you did something 'wrong'

disciplinary proceedings - a process to determine whether this player is guilty and how he should be punished if he is guilty

television footage - videotape of the match from a TV station; footage means a length of videotape

a defender - someone who tries to stop the other team from scoring

documentation - material to prove he is innocent

the sanction - the punishment

the body - the group, in this situation

the scope - how severe the punishment will be

duration - how long it will be

spitting - forcing the clear liquid in your mouth out at another player

the benchmark - the standard, so if a person spits and gets banned for 6 games, biting should require a more severe penalty

condemnation - when people attack something as having been wrong

the pictures are damning - the pictures seem to show that something wrong happened

a gumshield - a plastic device to cover one's teeth

racially abusing - attacking someone because of his skin color

stamping - stepping violently up and down

prompting - causing

alleged bite - it hasn't been proved to have happened so it can only be alleged or claimed that it happened

a sneak - someone dishonest who tries to do things without being caught

clash - fight, conflict

Daniel Gauss ---->

Monday, June 23, 2014

Test your higher-level English vocabulary ----> 5 tough words

to adumbrate something - to outline something vaguely, to express in a shadowy or not perfectly clear way

to decry something - to verbally attack something, to openly and strongly criticize something

fecund - capable of producing a lot, fertile

indefatigable - unbeatable, refusing to quit or give up

manifold - many, various, a bunch o

Answers are below the exercise:

The female Ocean Sunfish is especially _______________. She carries more eggs than any other vertebrate - and can release hundreds of millions at a time.

Many conservatives are using the recent immigration crisis at our Mexican border as an opportunity to ____________ the immigration policies of the Obama administration.  They claim that this administration has welcomed people to engage in illegal immigration.

The reasons Bob gave for the policy failure were ________________ but not one of them was satisfying.

When Richard Nixon ran for the presidency in 1968, he did not even _______________ a plan to end the Vietnam War; he simply lied and said he had a fully articulated plan prepared and ready to go should he be elected. 

The West German national soccer team (from 1954 to 1990) had a reputation for being _________________. Over and over again they would come back from behind and tie or win games.  They never seemed to stop striving.

Answers are below:


1. fecund
2. decry
3. manifold
4. adumbrate
5. indefatigable

Daniel Gauss ---->

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Central American children are illegally coming across the US border in tens of thousands

Over the past couple of weeks, Americans have learned something shocking.  About 40,000 children from Mexico, Honduras and Ecuador have crossed the US border, often without their parents, in the last several months.

Americans are still confused as to why this is happening.  Apparently many people in Central and South America have finally learned how to misuse the US legal system to their advantage. For example, if you are from Honduras and want to live in the USA, you can simply cross the border from Mexico into the USA and surrender to a US border guard (to surrender means that instead of trying to escape you give yourself up to the guard).

The guard cannot just send the illegal immigrant back.  According to US law, everyone, including an illegal immigrant, has the right to a trial or hearing before a judge.  So the illegal immigrant is given a piece of paper that tells him/her when his/her trial is.  The trial is usually in 90 days. During those 90 days the illegal immigrant will disappear into an American city and will never be caught and sent back home.  He or she will survive by doing various jobs for which he/she will be paid in cash - waiter, busboy, nanny etc.

These are difficult and low-paying jobs but people seem to want to do this.  Frankly, restaurants, and wealthy people who need cheap baby sitters, profit the most from these 'illegals'.  Frankly, these people often live like slaves in the USA.

There is also an aspect of the law which states that if a child comes into the USA illegally, and he/she has an illegal immigrant parent in the country, the child can be sent to live with the illegal immigrant parent.

Now people in Central America have learned that if they push their children across the border, the USA will not push them back.  Tens of thousands of these children are now entering the country illegally in order to meet up with at least one parent or relative who previously entered the country illegally.

Here is an article about this:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

flawed - if something is flawed, it doesn't work properly, there are things wrong with it

undocumented children - people in the United States are not supposed to use the term 'illegal' in regard to people who come into the country illegally.  We are supposed to say these people are 'undocumented' - which means they don't have the right paperwork, which means they are ILLEGALLY in the country. There are many Latinos in the United States and they do not like the term 'illegal' - they prefer the term 'undocumented' - and politicians do not want the huge numbers of Latinos to vote against them, so they use the term 'undocumented.'

fleeing - running away from, escaping

poverty - not having enough money to live according to humane standatds

without consequences - without being caught and punished

chief reasons - main reasons

overburdened - overworked, having too much work to do

welfare - in this case it means the safety of the children

dramatic increases - huge increases

the recognition - the realization, the awareness that if a child enters the USA, the USA will not do anything to send the child back

a moderate risk - a low risk, if a child comes into the USA he/she will probably never be caught and sent back to his/her home country

a resolution - and ending or solution to a problem

a crisis - a terrible situation that could lead to disaster

ill-equipped - not made to do something; if something is ill-equipped to serve a function, it was not established to serve that function; the facilities are not adequate or good enough

shelters - places where people can stay

perceptions that these children will be allowed to stay.... - basically the US is denying that children are pouring into the country because their parents believe they will not be sent back home.  This is a lie. Obviously these children are pouring in because their parents believe they will be allowed to stay.

desperate situation - a hopeless situation

apprehended - caught, captured

backlogged - there are too many cases so everyone has to wait a long time before a case can be heard

pending cases - cases that are waiting

a surge - a huge and quick increase

beleaguered - overwhelmed, troubled, struggling

absorbs the cases - gets to and deals with

asylum - if a person is in danger of being killed by his government, he may seek asylum (safety) in the USA. So every illegal immigrant states that he/she is in danger of being killed by his government.

politically inopportune - this is a bad time for this to happen to Obama because it will hurt his goal to turn all the illegals in America into citizens.

deportation - getting kicked out of the country

a failure to enforce immigration laws - the Obama administration has not done a good job of punishing people who break US immigration laws, he has failed at doing this

Saturday, June 21, 2014

US veterans of the Iraq wars are shocked by what is currently happening in Iraq

A 'veteran' is someone who once served his/her country in the military.

One of the most stupid decisions in modern American history was when George Bush organized the second war against Iraq by the USA in 2003.  It wasn't just George Bush's decision, however.  Hilary Clinton supported this war as well.  Indeed, the Congress of the United States voted to have this war.  So George Bush, alone, cannot be blamed.

The second most stupid decision made in recent history was when Barack Obama removed all US soldiers from Iraq in 2011.  Now a civil war has started between the two Islamic groups that have never gotten along with each other in the country: the Sunnis and the Shiites.

Many Iraqi citizens died from 2003 to 2011 and many American soldiers died as well (about 5,000).  Many of the soldiers who fought in that war are now shocked and upset about what is happening now.  It looks as if all of their efforts were wasted (were in vain).  They fought in Iraq for 8 years and the situation was not improved. Indeed, the situation is now worse than ever.

Here is an article about how some veterans feel about what is happening now:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

vets - veterans

to be heart-broken - to feel incredibly sad, depressed, disappointed

civil war - a war within a country

to overtake Iraq - to completely take over the country, to overwhelm the country

two tours of duty - two periods of time in the army. After you finish one tour you can either leave or re-enlist.

infantry - these are soldiers who fight directly with other soldiers. They are 'foot' soldiers.

a sergeant - this type of soldier is usually the leader of a small group of soldiers called a squad.  A sergeant had 3 stripes on his uniform:

injured - hurt, wounded

resident - he lives in Warren, Michigan

al Qaeda inspired militants - the USA is claiming that the organization primarily supporting this war, or causing it, is al Qaeda, the organization responsible for the 9/11/2001 attacks in the USA.  A militant is someone who is fighting in a war but he does not necessarily belong to a country's army.

to rampage or go on a rampage - to violently attack and destroy things and kill people

embroiling the country in - causing the country to engage in or become involved in 

a sectarian war - a war between 'sects' or rival or enemy groups

insurgency - the fighters who are against the current government.  This ex-soldier feels that the city of Baghdad will fall soon to the insurgents because the Iraqi army and police cannot 'hold their ground' - stop the insurgents from taking territory

dismay - you feel dismay when you are shocked and saddened at the same time

bitterness -  the opposite of sweetness; you feel bitter about something if things turned out differently from how you wanted them to turn out

Saddam Hussein - he used to be the dictator of Iraq. A dictator is one ruler who controls everything.  When he was the dictator of Iraq he often cause wars with neighboring countries (Iran and Kuwait) but there was no civil war in Iraq.  After he was captured and hanged by the USA, a civil war started and it will not seem to end.  Hussein was a Sunni Muslim.  The current government is made up of Shiites, the enemies of the Sunnis.

a major - this is another rank in the army or marines.  A major is a highly ranked officer who is in charge of leading a large group of soldiers.  Here si the ranking system from lowest to highest:  private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major, colonel, general.

the sacrifice we made might be in vain - a sacrifice is when you give up something to get something else.  to be in vain - this means you made an effort but got nothing from it.  i.e.  50,000 US soldiers died in vain in Vietnam since the USA lost the war.

prosperity - wealth, good times, a situation that was generally good

on the verge of collapse - near collapse, to collapse means to fall apart

coalition - the coalition was the group of countries that were stupid enough to fight with the USA in the 2nd Iraq war

wounded - they were not killed but they were seriously hurt

tactics - strategy

to have the stomach for - will tolerate; if you don't have the stomach for something, you really don't want to do it

to oust - to get rid of, to eliminate

a new front - a new area from which to fight

a vacuum - an empty area; in this case a vacuum means there was no strong army left to stop any insurgents; a vacuum is literally an area without any air - empty space

under siege - under attack

misconception - a false belief

they were not stepping up - they were not fighting hard enough

the chow lines - the food lines, a chow line is a line soldiers get into when it is time for them to be served food

been at each others' throats - been enemies of each other, been fighting against each other

India attacks charities that oppose pollution caused by Indian companies

{image taken from}

There seem to be a huge number of social problems in India.  

Slavery still exists in parts of India and, in fact, half of the world's slaves (about 15 million people) are located in India.  Source:

About 3,000 children die of starvation in India EACH DAY.  That means over 1 million per year. Source:

There is a huge amount of poverty in India and recently the world has learned that about 500 million Indians do not even have indoor bathrooms. Source:

One of the big problems is that the Indian government - which is supposed to be a democracy - does not seem to care.  Here is a very strange story in which the government of India seems to be attacking international charity organizations who oppose pollution in that country.  The government seems to feel that these charities are bad for Indian businesses.

The article:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to oppose something - to be against something

a charity - an organization that tries to help people without making a profit

slavery - when people are forced to work for little or no money and they are not free to leave their situation

starvation - dying from a lack of food

poverty - not having enough money to live according to basic standards

pollution - when  the air or water becomes dirty

a Greenpeace activist - Greenpeace is an organization that wants to protect the environment. An activist is someone who tries to change things and make them better.

a protest - when a group of people dislikes something and they join together in public to express their disapproval

cracking down/ to crack down on - if a government cracks down on something, they take very severe action against something to try to stop it.

alleging - claiming, stating

GDP - Gross Domestic Product, the amount of money a country makes

rallying communities against polluting industries - these organizations are encouraging communities to protest and fight against companies that are polluting the environment (to rally means to organize and encourage)

to serve as tools etc. - so the Indian government is saying that other governments are trying to harm Indian companies by pointing out that these companies pollute the environment

sparked a firestorm of debate - caused a lot of arguments among Indians as to whether the government should be doing this. To spark something is to cause something.  a if it is raining fire.  debate - arguments.

until they are cleared - until they are declared 'OK'

they called the allegations ludicrous - an allegation is a claim that someone or some group did something wrong.  To be ludicrous means to be so inaccurate or wrong that it is funny.  So the charities are saying that the report is ridiculous and that they are not harming the economy of India.  It seems that the companies that are polluting the environment do not want these organizations to rally people against the pollution that is being caused.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A sports journalist tells Juergen Klinsman to get out of the USA (sounds good to me, as well)

I have been a World Cup soccer fan since I was very young.  I watched my first World Cup in 1982.

Like many Americans, I am disgusted by the way Juergen Klinsmann has been coaching the US team. (To feel disgusted means that something has made you feel sick, as if you want to vomit/throw up.)

Just today I learned that he is bringing over 5 players from Germany to play on the US team.  It seems that these 5 players have German mothers but American fathers.  Most of them were born in Germany and have never played in the USA.  Yet, under World Cup rules, they are eligible (qualified) to play on the US team.

This is outrageous!  (outrageous means very shocking - something outrageous also makes you very upset or angry)  The whole idea of hiring Klinsmann was for him to help develop the US soccer program - not to destroy it and replace it with guys from Germany!  He should be fired immediately and replaced with a coach who will use American talent.

OK, it's true - US soccer sucks.  It sucks because there are so many other sports here. The best athletes play baseball, basketball or football.  In fact, kids who grow up in large cities like Chicago, New York and LA just don't enjoy playing soccer.  Only rich suburban kids play soccer. (The suburbs are safe, quiet areas just outside of a city.) So our best athletes don't play this game.  That's fine - to be honest with you, nobody in the US expects the rich white kids on the US national team to play well.  We can live with that.  Just don't bring over these fake American guys - if we are going to lose, let's lose with some dignity. (dignity means self-worth or honor)

Furthermore, Klinsmann sucks as a coach.  In 2002 Rudi Voeller took the German team to the finals with Oliver Khan in goal.  Klinsmann stupidly left Khan off the 2006 team and Germany got eliminated easily by Italy (the German goal keeper missed a couple easy shots).  Klinsmann SUCKS!  

Here is the article where the journalist tells Klinsmann to just, please, leave the USA:


get out off - leave

taken some heat - received criticism, received negative assessments

a roster - a list of eligible players for a competition

his reasoning - the logic or reasons that he used to come to his decision

Post columnist - a writer for the NY Post

had no shot at winning - has no chance or hope of winning

Pardon the Interruption - the name of a TV sports show.  Pardon means the shows title means please excuse us for interrupting your day/night

gutless - lacking in courage, not having courage, being scared, being a coward

A mentally ill man stabbed two children repeatedly in a NY City elevator

I chose to post this story for a couple reasons.

First of all, there are many people in New York City who suffer from various types of mental illnesses and they are not being helped.

Second of all, many of these people commit crimes, they are arrested by the police, they are diagnosed as being mentally ill, but they are then thrown in jail and do not receive treatment for their mental illnesses - and they become even worse. They are then released from jail and commit worse crimes.

So here is a story about two children who lived in a housing project in a terrible neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City.  A housing project is a giant series of apartment buildings provided by the city for poor people (they pay very little, if anything, to live there).  They had left their apartments to go outside and buy ice cream and as they attempted to ride the elevator back to where they lived, a man entered the elevator and began stabbing them with a knife. He killed a 6 year old boy but did not kill the 7 year old girl (even though he stabbed her 12 times).

It turns out that this man has a history of mental illness, everyone knew this, and nobody helped him.  Now, he will go on trial and he will be treated like a monster and found guilty and thrown in jail.

America has more people in jail than any other country in the world.  America is a country that believes in punishment and deterrence (deterrence - you punish anyone who commits a crime to stop others from committing crimes), yet it has one of the highest crime and violence rates in the world.  The approach this country takes to crime and violence is clearly not working.

Here is an article about this:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to be accused of: it has not been 'proved' that he stabbed the children; for now he is being accused of stabbing the children - it is being claimed or stated that he stabbed the children

to stab - to take a sharp object, like a knife, and to use it to violently and forcefully pierce the skin of another person

schizophrenia - this is when you cannot tell what is real and what is not; it is a severe mental illness which makes people do violent things

suspected in other attacks - it is thought he has attacked other people in the past

to be arrested - to be caught by the police

near-fatal - almost causing death (if something is fatal it causes death)

urinating in public - peeing in public; you urinate into your toilet bowl; so this guy was caught by the police urinating in a public space but they did not realize he was the killer they were all looking for. After the police let him go, he apparently stabbed a man in a neighborhood called Chelsea.

a brutal attack - a very violent, aggressive, vicious attack

the suspect - the person police believe committed the crime

to cling to life - to hold onto life, to continue to live but just barely

no meds and no psychiatric referral - no meds means no medicine to help him control his aggressive feelings; no psychiatric referral means they did not recommend that he should go see a psychiatrist nor did they provide him with a free doctor that could help him, even though he clearly needed help

a murderous ticking time bomb - a time bomb is an explosive device which will explode if given enough time; if a person is called a ticking time bomb, that means he can explode and harm people under the right circumstances

a unsuspecting public - the people of New York could not have known they were in danger from this guy

a paranoid schizophrenic - this is someone who feels that others are trying to hurt him and who does not know what is really happening in his life

in the slammer - in jail

to strangle - to put something tightly around another person's neck to stop blood from getting to the person's brain

operating without a safety net - he did not have any type of support or help after he left jail.  A safety net is usually placed under circus performers who walk on the high wire.

when he was sprung - when he was released (spring, sprang, sprung)

Clinton Correctional Facility - a jail, a prison

critically injured - seriously injured

she pleaded with officials for help - she begged them to help her brother, she continually contacted them and emotionally sought their help

to be diagnosed with something - this is when a doctor identifies an illness or mental illness

aspects of drug-induced psychosis - apparently he was taking drugs that made him lose touch with reality even more

discharged with medication - when they leave prison they are also given medicine

behind bars - in jail

to be busted - to be arrested, caught by police

a manhunt - a hunt for someone suspected of committing a crime; a search for a man

vandalizing - he was writing something in paint on public property, to vandalize property means to ruin it or destroy it

graffiti - writing on public walls or property in paint or marker

spoke volumes about his twisted state of mind - what he was writing indicated he was suffering from severe psychological problems

punctuated - a period is a type of punctuation ---> .  so is a comma ---> ,  He ended what he had written with this symbol:   ;)

weighed in on - gave his opinion on

unleashing - allowing someone freedom

an ex-con - an ex-prisoner (con stands for convict - a convict is someone convicted - found guilty of - a crime)

a de facto mental health system - so the mayor (leader) of NY is saying that jails are not mental health hospitals, but, in reality, they are being used to hold severely mentally ill people.  de facto means 'in reality'

tragic - horrible

a lament - an expression of sorrow or sadness

to be charged with a crime - to be officially considered, by the police, as the person who committed the crime.  The person still has the right to go to trial in order for the state to prove that he committed the crime. If you are 'charged' with a crime, the police say you committed it and have filed the paperwork to the prosecutors office for the trial.

a butcher - a person whose job it is to cut up dead animals for food; they are calling the killer a butcher because a butcher uses a knife to kill and cut up animals

in a cell - a small room

raving - loudly complaining

booed and jeered at him - to boo is to literally say, "Booooooooo!" It is an expression of hatred and disapproval.  To jeer is to also express that you are not happy with someone.  However, this guy is severely mentally ill and nobody helped him - why aren't they booing and jeering at the state officials who did nothing to stop this person from killing others?

a prime suspect - a unique suspect, the best suspect

a wake and funeral - a wake is when the dead body is presented in a coffin at a funeral home for a night; a funeral is when the dead body is buried in a cemetery (buried - placed in the ground).

I'm going to be there with bells on - this is not a common expression. She seems to be saying that she is eager to see the killer punished.

She's not out of the woods yet - she is not safe yet

sanity - being mentally sane, having good mental health

allegedly - apparently, supposedly

blacked out - lost consciousness

correction officer - jail guard

deemed fit to stand trial - this means a psychiatrist said he was not crazy enough to avoid going to court.  So one group was saying "He's really crazy, he is not responsible for his actions." Another group was saying, "What!? He's not crazy!  Punish him!  he knows what he is doing!"  Deemed fit means that a person is considered Ok or fit or acceptable to go on trial.

a parole officer - the killed had been released from jail on parole; this means he had to meet with a representative from the state every few weeks in order to maintain his freedom

committed, involuntary commitment - being put into a mental hospital after prison to make sure that the person cannot harm others

hallucinations - you see things that are not there

through the project - the housing project (the building where poor people live)

flyers - sheets of paper

plastered - put up, glued up

wasn't taken into custody - was not taken to the police station

DNA results - if people are arrested in NY, the police can take a DNA sample. Apparently they found a DNA sample on the knife that was used to kill the boy and they traced it back to this mentally ill man

depicted - shown, represented

muscle-bound - having huge muscles

arraigned - a formal legal proceeding in which formal charges are brought against a suspect 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Are women safe in India? More reports of 'gang rape' and murder

{{{photo from}}}

Recently two young Indian girls - age 12 and 14 - were gang raped and murdered in India. (Rape is a sexual crime in which a man forces himself on a woman. A gang rape is when several men abuse a woman sexually.)

The nation of India has significant problems.  

Half of the world's slaves are currently in this country (yes, slavery still exists even though it is illegal). A huge percentage of Indians also live in terrible poverty (poverty is a condition where a person lacks enough money to live meaningfully).  

This article below points out that about half of India's population - over 500 million people - do not even have indoor toilets! So poor women who do not have indoor toilets have to go outside to relieve themselves and men sometimes wait for them and rape them when they do this.

The world needs to put greater pressure on the nation of India to solve its problems - or at least try to solve its problems. 

Here is an article about the situation of rape in India among poor women.

An article about this situation:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a risk - a chance you take that may have negative consequences; a situation in which there could be something bad which happens

a trek - a walk, a journey

under the cover of darkness - at night, in a situation where there is no light

vulnerable - at risk of being harmed, without protection

an abduction - when someone is taken or captured against his/her will, kidnapping, 

to lynch - to hang a person by the neck until the person dies

to relieve themselves - to go to the bathroom

an ordeal - a situation which is difficult and even dangerous; basically some Indian women can't even relieve themselves in the countryside without being worried about being harmed

a meager living - not much money, very little money

harassed - bothered

reluctant - if you are reluctant to do something, you really don't want to do something

fatal - leading to death

pounced on them - jumped on them

communal latrines - bathroom facilities shared by a community

to defecate - to poop; I really don't know any other way to define defecation. When you relieve yourself in the bathroom but you do not urinate. I wonder how defecate is defined in a dictionary?

acute - in this case acute means bad.  Especially acute = especially problematic, troublesome, strong, bad

impoverished - very very poor

rural - in the countryside, the opposite of urban (urban means related to the city)

to ensure the killers are brought to justice - to make sure the killers are adequately punished

a daunting challenge - a difficult challenge, a tough challenge

plaguing - causing continual and big problems for

stagnant water - water that does not just stands in a pool and becomes rotten or unhealthful

raw sewage - when you flush your toilet, the water takes your excrement (poop and pee) into the sewer system. Raw sewage means this type of material.

potholed dirt lanes - a pothole is a hole in a road; in the spring there are usually many potholes in city streets due to changing weather conditions - the potholes have to be filled or car wheels will be destroyed

to fuel - literally to fuel something means to provide gas for energy to some type of vehicle; figuratively to fuel something means to cause something to become bigger

carry more weight - to be more important; so basically the government just ignores poor people in the rural areas

the incidence of rapes - the existence of and the numbers of

fast-track courts - places where guilty people can be punished quickly; but, is deterrence enough to stop these rapes?  Deterrence means that if you punish some people severely, others will not do the same thing later.  I do not think deterrence is enough to stop these rapes.  Also, frankly, I think Akhilesh Yadav is an irresponsible asshole for his attitude toward rape in his country.  I thought 'socialists' cared about other people?

low caste - India has a highly stratified society.  There are different layers to their society, from high to low. If a person is in a low-caste, he/she does not have much power or money or many opportunities in life.

entrenched - a trench is a long hole in the ground.  To entrench is for a soldier to dig a long hole to defend himself.  If something is entrenched somewhere, it has existed for a long time and it will be hard to change this situation.

prejudiced against their caste - the police do not like people of that social layer and did not want to do anything about children from that social group who were raped

boys will be boys - so a member of India's government literally said that boys or men will just naturally commit rape - it is part of being a guy.  This country has huge problems and it looks as if the people in charge are TOTAL IDIOTS.  The world needs to put pressure on these idiots.  I would never travel to India now under any circumstances.