A brief rundown on Epicureanism for those new to it

Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is to seek modest pleasures in order to attain a state of tranquillity, freedom from fear (“ataraxia”) and absence from bodily pain (“aponia”). This combination of states is held to constitute happiness in …

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A subsidised CEO takes aim at an impertinent media

Those reporters have such nerve! Last month, a BBC reporter in London asked Jeff Fairburn, the CEO of Britain’s largest homebuilder and the nation’s highest-paid corporate chief exec, about the $98-million “performance” bonus the 52-year-old had pocketed earlier this year. A peeved Fairburn called the reporter’s question “really unfortunate” and abruptly walked out of the …

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Trump’s sanctions on Iran pose a threat he never thought of

Sanctions are used by the US to punish rivals and discourage challenges to American power. The US has imposed (by executive order only) sanctions on a record 944 individuals and entities in the last year. This year it could reach 1000. Such carrots as aid, investment or diplomacy are not even discussed. Sanctions are widely …

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George Orwell, where are you now?

A CNN reporter has been denied access to White House Press briefings on a trumped up charge of manhandling a White House staff member, shown on video. The video indicated absolutely no “inappropriate behaviour” – on the contrary, the inappropriate behahiour was on the part of the Assistant to Sarah Sanders, a shocking suppression of …

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Let’s get back to teaching some practical skills!

75% of English and Welsh children aged 11-16 say it is important to go to university, down from 86% in 2013. The proportion who are “very likely to” actually go to university has fallen from 38% to 32%. (Ipsos Mori/The Guardian) Why should anyone be surprised? University is too expensive, and whitecollar job prospects poor. …

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Eating out in America

You are deep in conversation with your companion (in this case my wife) in a restaurant. The occasion is intended to be romantic, and you really could do without intrusions. When suddenly, actually four times during the meal, you are interrupted in mid-sentence by the waitress: “Is everything o.k?; “Have you got everything you need?”; …

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Don’t blame Brussels, blame Whitehall

“Take back control.” That was always the most potent of Brexit slogans. And the most deceitful. Disenchanted voters were never going to gain control of the rules of EU trade. The one sphere in which they could assert control is over the area where they live: local government. Local councils deliver a quarter of all …

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Price- guaging Big Pharma

Pharma executives have grown so comfortable, and so certain that the Trump Administration will back whatever they do, that they are still pricing Americans out of the life-saving prescriptions they need, and then justifying it in the name of shareholders’ rights. Nirmal Mulye, the CEO of Nostrum Laboratories, was the latest to do so: Nostrum …

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Brexit update for those interested

With thanks to THE WEEK. (3 November 2018). which compiled this situation report. I have lightly edited it for length! (still too long, but it is mind-bendingly complicated) Brexit has arguably been the most threatening issue that has faced Britain since the Civil War nearly 500 years ago, (or, some would say, the Norman Conquest) …

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In case you didn’t know……

These are words used in modern human relationships: Ghosting: Ending a relationship bloody-mindedly by refusing to communicate, relate or explain. Flaming: An on-line argument using bogus, unfair, bullying and unfounded personal attacks. Gaslighting: A form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and ultimately lose her or his …

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“The end of the Trump era may be in sight”. (The New Yorker)

Cheer up, liberal America and all Epicureans, wherever you may be! It may feel like Trump will be around for ever, but the announcement by Nikki Haley that she is standing down as US representative at the UN is a clear sign that his days are indeed numbered. Haley is one of the most astute …

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The slow death of public broadcasting

More than half the jobs in newspaper publishing disappeared between 2001 and 2016, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s much the same story across the developed world, of course. Yet in other countries the loss of local print outlets has been partially mitigated by public broadcasting, which has helped fill the void …

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Buying elections, and all the rest

A small group of 11 hedge-fund billionaires, entrepreneurs, media bosses – and a casino mogul – have put $1 billion into PACs, or one fifth of the $4.5 billion collected for political purposes, since the Supreme Court ruled on the Citizens United case in 2010. Candidates and parties rely increasingly on these donors, who themselves …

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