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Thursday, March 31, 2016

George Clooney Explains Why Marriage to Amal Alamuddin Is Going So Well

Courtesy Vanity Fairy

By Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

The newlyweds have a few ground rules.

It's hard to believe that it has been a year and a half since George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin in Venice, Italy—putting an elegant canal-side end to his storied bachelor years. But eighteen months have lapsed, and despite the very busy careers of Mr. and Mrs. Clooney—which span international law, political activism, and filmmaking, and take both spouses around the globe on a regular basis—marriage seems to be going swimmingly. In a new interview, the Oscar winner even reveals some of his secrets to a strong first year and change of wedded bliss.

“We have a rule whereby we are never apart for more than a week,” the filmmaker tells Hello!(via Us Weekly). “We also stay in touch via social media, so we try to keep close even if we’re in different parts of the world.”

(We presume that Clooney is referring to video-chat services but may we take a moment to imagine Clooney chuckling while crafting bunny-eared Snapchats for Amal while sitting in traffic.)

Fortunately, the globe-trotting couple has homes in various corners of the world. And Clooney reveals that each of their houses has their perks for the couple.

“We have a place in London now where it’s easy for us to spend a lot of time together and I can work on new film projects—writing, reading scripts,” Clooney says, presumably referring to the country home 50 miles outside of London that is reportedly decked out with a spa and theater and is where the couple spent their honeymoon. “Or we can go to Lake Como,” the star adds, of his longtime tranquil Italian retreat (photographed here).

When neither London nor Lake Como will do, Clooney explains that the couple can “spend time in Los Angeles.” Of course, that home base is more of Clooney's, as the filmmaker explains that they hole up there “when I need to have meetings for my acting work, or hang around with some of my friends.”

“It takes some planning, but it’s actually been working out very well for us,” Clooney says, adding that mister and missus have a strurdy marital foundation. “We have a very strong connection and she’s an extraordinary woman doing great work. . .We’re both committed and share a common concern for causes like the refugee crisis, but what really brings us together as a couple is the fact that we’re good friends and we enjoy each other’s company.”
Last month, Clooney revealed how he proposed to his lawyer love interest. The two were at home—although which one, we're not sure—after he'd cooked a nice dinner, started playing his aunt Rosemary Clooney’s song “Why Shouldn’t I,” and hidden the engagement ring in a place where she would find undoubtedly find it.

Alas, his plans went awry when, “Amal got up to do the dishes. Which she's never done,” Clooney said. When she finally returned from the kitchen, she discovered the ring but didn't quite realize what was happening. “She looks at it and she's like, ‘It’s a ring’—like as if somebody had left it there some other time.” The whole bungled proposal lasted about 25 minutes, Clooney said, before he ended up just plead[ing] mercy—“I need an answer. I’m 52 and I could throw out my hip pretty soon.”

Last September, the couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary—reportedly by having a low-key dinner at the Sunset Tower Hotel’s Tower Bar in West Hollywood. Although the 10 P.M. meal was “quiet,” the source who phoned in the report added that both were in celebratory moods, sipping champagne and decked out in appropriately glamorous movie-star finery. Not that we would expect anything less from Mr. and Mrs. Clooney.

Interfaith Marriages on rise in the United States

Nearly 45% of Marriages in the United States are interfaith – that is two people from different faiths choosing to marry each other.

It is disappointing to many a religiously oriented first-time marrying couples, when their clergy or a parent invariably insists that the other person to convert to their faith tradition, some do, and some fake it and some are not comfortable with the idea at all.
When a couple is deeply committed to marry, they go ahead and get married any way but sorely miss out on the ceremony. Over the years, I have seen too many couples miss out on the joy of that additional sense of completeness that comes with a religious ceremony. Marriage is between two individuals, and their families and friends ought to be supporters and cheerleaders to celebrate and complete their joy.

As a Pluralist, I have chosen to officiate the weddings of such couples to reflect the essence of Bride and Groom's tradition. I laud such couples who embrace genuine humanity by respecting the otherness of other, and accepting each other's uniqueness. If the couple prefers to please the religiosity of their parents, relatives and friends, the sermon would include reflections and essence of the faith of the couple.

Kelvin Stile writes, “
Interfaith marriages are symbol of tolerant societies. This century has witnessed a rapid growth in interfaith marriages. There are more interfaith couples today than they were in the previous century. The statistics say that there were 20% interfaith couples before 1960 which has grown into 45% only in the first ten years of this century.
America is one of the leading countries with a higher number of interfaith couples in the world. According to a 2010 survey conducted among 2450 Americans, Jews has the highest rate of interfaith marriages followed by the Muslims and Mormons. This shows a growing religious tolerance in American society.”

Nearly 50% of Jewish marriages are interfaith, followed by Muslims 40% and Mormons 34% and Hindus about 10%.

The fastest growing group among Americans is NONES – that is people who do not proclaim a religious affiliation or identity with any group. They are spiritual, meaning they believe in the power of a higher energy that has created a perfect perpetual self balancing system. They have no problem with any religion, but prefer not to follow any one.

Please visit http://InterfaithMarriages.blogspot.com  for more information.  
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.MikeGhouse.net and www.TheGhousediary.com for his exclusive writings.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Good Parenting and Interfaith marriages

Good parenting and interfaith marriages |http://interfaithmarriages.blogspot.com 

Once your kids turn 18, you would know if you have failed or succeeded as a parent. I am pleased to share the two sides of the coin.

On Friday the 18th day of March 2016, it was a joy to officiate an interfaith marriage between a Muslim bride and a Mormon groom.  What transpired there was a joyful union of not only of the man and the woman but of their families.  I am pleased to share a few good things after the ceremony. I hope some of you can relate with it, and some rejoice it knowing that there are so many great parents out there.

Some of the most beautiful moments of the weddings that I cherish were; the statement made by bride’s father, "My daughter took complete charge of this ceremony; it's all her planning." He was very proud of the fact that his little daughter is so capable. The Mother of the Bride on the other hand was standing quietly and admiring her daughter’s freedom and independence.  I wish I had taken her picture, she was standing right in front me absorbed in her daughters happiness.  The Grooms parents acknowledged how they have raised their son to be open minded about fellow humans. Of course I can relate with his faith, one of my best friends was a Mormon. Groom’s mother was serenely happy and the father felt proud of seeing his son making a great choice.

This is the ultimate achievement of good parenting that your kids are independent and are ready to live their lives on their own terms. When you off spring becomes free, it is the ultimate in joy!

On the other hand, if your kids fear you, you are missing the beauty of the relationship, but don't lose hope, you can start the process of restoring the relationship now.

In one of the interfaith weddings I officiated a few years ago, a Christian man turned Atheist was marrying a Hindu girl, and his parents had disowned him and did not want to talk with him unless the girl is converted. (Conservatism is a part of every religion).  It took some counseling and the father agreed that he will attend the wedding ceremony if I call on Jesus as witness, and groom agreed to live with it.  After all that is the whole purpose of interfaith marriage ceremony, to give a semblance of their faith in the sermon.  After the ceremony, the father who was standing aloof in the corner, walked up to me and gave a big hug and joined his kids in the celebrations. Thank God, the tenseness between the families evaporated.

You may consider watching the movie “2 States” with English subtitles; it is one of the finest Bollywood movies made about a tyrant father restoring his relationships with his son. However the main plot of the movie is humor that comes with inter-ethnic marriages.
Good parenting involves a good relationship. Here is the litmus test; If your kids are excited to share their story or talk with you without fear, you are a damn good parent, and you are blessed with the relationship to cherish for a life time.

Discipline yes, punishment no.

I never spanked or screamed at my kids, there was no need for it, but, I am glad their mother gave them the discipline while freedom was my thing.

It tears me apart when a few men shout at their kids, let alone beat them up. What a shame it is, they are incapable of respecting their own offspring, what will they respect then?

One of the greatest lessons I have learned from my ex-wife was to keep love to discipline ratio to be above 4: 1, that is, give them love and hug four times before a disciplinary command. It worked well for me even though I was a failed disciplinarian, I just couldn't be tough, particularly with my girl, when she responded with Yes Sirs, nor was it with my boy, I could not stand humiliation on his face.  Now, as a Grandfather I watch him deal with his little son, and what a joy it is for me that he treats his kid with patience, logic and reason, and the little sucker responds to him, just like he did with me. I am all smiles.

A few men have the arrogance to believe, that, unless you scream and frighten your kids, they don't learn, that is baloney!  Imagine working for a boss who screams at you, thank God that is a disappearing breed now. I had one like that in India.

What is the need to control kids?  Instead you ought to think about these to restore your relationship with your family members; 

Take the pledge!

"Let them be who they are"
"Let me get out of their way"
"Let me shed my arrogance to teach them"
"Let them make mistakes and correct themselves"
"Let them be independent"
"Let them make their own decision”
“Let me be a good listener to my kids”
“Let me not interrupt them while they are talking”
“Let me believe them when they say even the most outrageous things”
“Let me be their friend”

It is never too late, both the parent and the kids desire, want, and seek this, take the first step and enjoy the relationship with your family members.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer, news maker, Interfaith Wedding officiant, and a speaker on Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, politics, terrorism, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine, motivation, and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. Visit him (63 links) at www.MikeGhouse.net and www.TheGhousediary.com for his exclusive writings. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mixed marriages are changing the way we think about our race

Mixed marriages are changing the way we think about our race
Courtesy - Washington Post

For all the talk about immigrants refusing to embrace American ways — a defining controversy of this GOP presidential race — the evidence has been scant.
The National Academies of Sciences deflated most of the myths in a definitive report last year. Today’s immigrants are more educated and better English speakers than their predecessors, and they are far less likely to commit a crime compared to the native-born. They are quickly becoming part of American communities.
In fact, new immigrants may be assimilating a lot faster than than we had ever thought. A new study this week from economists Brian Duncan, of the University of Colorado, and Stephen Trejo of University of Texas, Austin finds that the descendents of immigrants from Latin-American and Asian countries quickly cease to identify as Hispanic or Asian on government surveys.
According to the authors, these are mostly children of interracial couples that aren’t writing down their diverse heritages. Mixed marriages are increasingly common in America — Pew finds that about 26 percent of Hispanics marry a non-Hispanic these days, and 28 percent of Asians marry a non-Asian. To accommodate this trend, government surveys now allow you to check multiple boxes for your race and ethnicity.
But it turns out that many aren’t doing that.
The report from Duncan and Trejo has two major consequences. First, it casts some doubt on the government's projections of the future Hispanic and Asian populations. Famously, the Census Bureau has predicted that non-Hispanic whites will become outnumbered in America by as early as 2044. But as Pewhas pointed out, these calculations don’t take into account trends in how the children of mixed marriages report their own race. A fair fraction of people with Asian or Hispanic heritage actually consider themselves exclusively white (or black).
Second, the report may cause us to reconsider what we think we know about Hispanics and Asians. A lot of social science research relies on people to disclose their own racial and ethnic identities. If people who are part-Asian or part-Hispanic stop identifying that way, they, in a way, disappear from the statistics. What we think we know about Hispanics, for instance, may be wrong because a lot of people with Hispanic heritage don't consider themselves Hispanic.
Duncan and Trejo focused on the Current Population Survey, a monthly study of American households that supplies much of what we know about earnings and employment in America. For instance, the CPS is what helps the government calculate the unemployment rate, and it provides data for reportson, say, the racial wage gap.
The CPS contains a number of questions about heritage. People are asked for their race, their ethnicity, where they were born, and where their parents were born. Using this information, Duncan and Trejo analyzed how first- and second-generation immigrants from certain countries self-identified.
They looked at four Latin-American nations (Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic) plus Puerto Rico; they also looked at five Asian nations (China, India, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines).
Among the first-generation Latin-American immigrants — people born in one of those five places — 98.6 percent checked the “Hispanic” box. Likewise, 96.3 percent of the first-generation Asian immigrants identified as Asian.

But the second-generation immigrants were less likely to identify as Hispanic or Asian. Only 93 percent of people with a parent born in a Latin-American country themselves identified as Hispanic. The difference was more dramatic for Asians. Only 79.1 percent of second-generation Asian immigrants identified as even part-Asian.
It’s important to remember that the CPS allows people to check multiple boxes for race. You can be any combination of black, Asian, white, Native American, and so forth. On top of that, the government also asks a separate question about whether you are Hispanic. This means you can be white and Hispanic, black and Hispanic, even white-black-Asian triracial and Hispanic.
The point is that it’s easy for people to indicate complex heritages on the survey form. Yet, many who are multi-racial are not doing this.
They might have Hispanic grandparents, but don't consider themselves Hispanic. They might have an Asian and a black parent, but only consider themselves black.
Duncan and Trejo also have some data on the children of second-generation immigrants, where the trend continues. The CPS asks parents to provide racial information about their kids. Of the kids with at least one Latin-American grandparent, only 81.7 percent were marked down as Hispanic. Of the kids with at least one Asian grandparent, only 57.5 percent were marked down as Asian.
These statistics highlight an overlooked way that immigrants assimilate in America — by literally blending in and blending families with the native-born. "In a lot of ways, intermarriage is the most intimate kind of assimilation," Trejo says.
But this phenomenon may also present problems for researchers looking to measure progress among minorities.
Duncan and Trejo have found that the second-generation Latin-American immigrants who refuse to call themselves Hispanic are more educated, on average, than their counterparts who embrace their Hispanic identity. It’s still unclear how big of a deal this is, but it seems that we have been underestimating the progress of Hispanic immigrants and their offspring because some of the more successful ones don’t mark themselves as “Hispanic” on government surveys.
A lot of this should have been obvious. Immigrants are everywhere in American public life. Countless celebrities, including Frankie MunizAubrey Plaza, and Fergie, are second or third-generation Hispanic. Latina Magazine has a whopping list of 109 stars “you never knew were Latino!”
These are some of the faces that we may want to recognize in any debate about immigration and assimilation in America. The irony is that some have blended in so well, we hardly recognize them as the children of immigrants anymore.
Jeff Guo is a reporter covering economics, domestic policy, and everything empirical. He's from Maryland, but outside the Beltway. Follow him on Twitter: @_jeffguo.