Shalom Auslander is also the author of the short story collection <em>Beware of God</em> and a memoir, <em>Foreskin's Lament</em>. He is a <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/contributors/shalom-auslander">frequent contributor</a> to <em>This American Life</em>.
Years ago, when my daughter was a toddler, my husband and I were friendly with another couple who had a child the same age. The friendship came to an end when the wife of the couple let slip that her husband had dressed their daughter as JonBenet Ramsey for Halloween. "He has an offbeat sense of humor," the wife explained to me. That's one way to look at it. Or else, as I thought, maybe hubby's "humor" wasn't funny at all — just perversely detached from the horrific death of an actual 6-year-old.
Eight people were killed in the city of Homs today. While the circumstances are not entirely clear, we do know that among the dead was Gilles Jacquier, a French journalist with France 2.
The AP reports that the television channel announced his death, saying he was in Syria on a government-authorized reporting trip. "News director Thierry Thullier of France Televisions, the parent station of France-2, told French TV BFM that Jacquier appeared to have been killed by a mortar or rocket as part of a series of attacks," the AP reports.
Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot as he arrived for a court hearing earlier today (Jan. 11, 2012) at the Lurigancho prison in Lima.
Credit Ernesto Benavides / AFP/Getty Images
Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway in Aruba, this morning pleaded guilty to the 2010 murder of a 21-year-old Peruvian woman, Stephany Flores, in Lima.
The Associated Press reports that van der Sloot told a court in Lima that "yes, I want to plead guilty. I wanted from the first moment to confess sincerely. ... I truly am sorry for this act. I feel very bad."
A <em>New York Times </em>crossword puzzle clue asking for a 5-letter word that means "Wack, in hip-hop" led to an email and an argument over the real meaning of "illin'."
Under editor Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword puzzle has won fans for being in touch with the modern world — relying less on arcane words and more on a working knowledge of America's cultural landscape.
But according to some, Shortz took a false step with this past Saturday's puzzle, when he included a clue steeped in hip-hop slang. The clue asked for a 5-letter word that means "Wack, in hip-hop."
Before Sept. 11, 2011, there were 16 intelligence agencies in the United States. But after the attacks, the 9/11 Commission recommended creating a 17th intelligence agency — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) — to coordinate intelligence operations.
The 16 already existing agencies didn't react well, says historian and former intelligence analyst Matthew Aid.
Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 9:47 am
Fannie Mae President and CEO Michael Williams testifies before the House Financial Services Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee in December.
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Michael J. Williams said he is stepping down as chief executive of the quasi-governmental mortgage giant Fannie Mae. The company made the announcement late last night, saying Williams will wait to step down until the board of directors names a successor.
"I decided the time is right to turn over the reins to a new leader," Williams said in a statement.
A Twinkie shows off its creamy filling in this file photo from 2005. A snack-cake sales slump is one reason Hostess Brands is seeking protection from its creditors.
Credit Tim Boyle / Getty Images
Twinkies maker Hostess Brands Inc., is again seeking protection from its creditors, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as the company tries to cope with high debt and rising costs of labor and raw materials.
Hostess, which also makes Ho Hos, Sno Balls, and Wonder Bread, is a privately held company based in Irving, Tex. It owes millions to suppliers and labor unions. The company has reportedly found some financing to keep it running during bankruptcy proceedings.
Pakistani officials say the United States launched a drone strike early Wednesday morning for the first time since November. The AP says the drone strike killed four in North Waziristan, which is close to the Afghan border and has been a hot spot for U.S. strikes.