Who are Trump’s American “elite”?

– They have a measure of actual education. – They believe in and keep up with advances in science. – They possess a measure of self-control and self-discipline. – They have empathy for the poor, the sick and the dispossessed – and actually give real money to charitable causes. – They are polite and considerate …

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Amazon Echo and electronic snooping

A Portland couple were discussing hardwood floors. Their Amazon Echo was listening, recording their discussion, then sending the recording randomly to someone in their contacts list, without the couple’s knowledge. The wife told Seattle TV station KIRO 7 that they learned something was amiss when they received a phone call from an employee of the …

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British grammar schools vs. technical and vocational education.

Yet again, the British political class is arguing about grammar schools. This row will “never be resolved, because it’s about competing values: the Right prizes opportunity above equality, and the Left vice versa”. But this is the wrong argument to be having in any case. The real problem with our education system is not too …

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The more excessive salaries are publicized, the higher they go

Many of us dread the monthly credit card statement and plan, maybe, for a leaner month. But for CEOs such as Persimmon’s Jeff Fairburn, who was recently awarded a bonus of almost £110m, “it will still feel like Christmas”. The same goes for lavishly rewarded university vice-chancellors and the handful of GPs identified as earning …

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Dignitas

The founder of the Swiss physician-assisted suicide organisation Dignitas went on trial last Friday, on charges of profiteering and exploiting patients’ suffering for his own benefit. In Switzerland, providing assisted suicide services is legal as long as it is not done for “self-serving” motives. The case against Ludwig Minelli concerns the assisted suicide of an …

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Australia ain’t what it used to be. The great Brexit delusion.

Twenty-six years of unimpeded growth and waves of immigration into Australia have created a diverse and prosperous nation that is completely focused on Asia. Its traditions may be western, but Australia is becoming emotionally detached from its former rulers. Too many members of the Conservative Party in Britain think Australia and the other Commonwealth nations …

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Trickle down economics

Republicans, unbelievably, are once again forcing trickle-down economics on the United States, despite the idea being almost unanimously derided by reputable economists and financiers. It’s almost as if Republicans are unaware that the latest experiment in trickle-down has practically bankrupted the state of Kansas and has done little or nothing for North Carolina. But they …

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Smacking children

Opponents of smacking say that children who are smacked are more likely to misbehave, and to engage in delinquent, criminal or antisocial behaviour, and even develop mental illnesses. They say that research has found that physically punishing children can have disastrous consequences in later life, that parents who smack their children are less likely to …

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Shooting schoolkids

Another day, another massacre of schoolchildren. The usual suspects, anxious to safeguard the NRA and gun manufacturing income, are telling us that the armed guards in the latest school horror, prevented the deaths being more numerous. They can’t prove that and in any case there should be no school shooting, anytime, anywhere. Period. The fact …

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The cry of the self- made man: I did it all myself (a poem)

“I did it all myself. For sure, I did it all myself. I never used networks or old college friends On whom the success of so many depends. I went out to work at the age of eighteen Thin as a rake, but determined and lean, And I laid rows of bricks and mixed tons …

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Further education again: the decline of the liberal arts

The proportion of university undergraduates studying the liberal arts in the US has fallen by almost 50% since 1970. Business studies is the favourite; up and coming are statistics and data science. The justification for studying the liberal arts – set out several times on this blog over the years – is that they teach …

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Thought for the day from Inequality.org

According to Jeff Bezos, billionaires have a hard time finding ways to spend their money. In an interview with Axel Springer CEO, Mathias Döpfner, the Amazon head and richest person in the world called space travel the only way he could imagine using his vast financial resources. But billionaires don’t need to go to space …

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