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Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Irene response shows New York has lost its swagger

Thankfully, Hurricane Irene was not as bad as some had feared. Did the experience tell us anything about life in New York and the US today? I think so – here are some observations: The emergence of Irene was something to take seriously. It was not fully clear how strong the hurricane would be by the time it reached the […]

State takes kids from parents found with small amounts of marijuana

A disturbing story in today’s New York Times: Hundreds of New Yorkers who have been caught with small amounts of marijuana, or who have simply admitted to using it, have become ensnared in civil child neglect cases in recent years, though they did not face even the least of criminal charges…. A small number of […]

Weiner: what a rubbish sex scandal

Thumbnail : Weiner: what a rubbish sex scandal

The Anthony Weiner incident shows that politicians are now so lame that they don’t even do scandal well. Read my spiked article in full here.

Not the only Weiner

Thumbnail : Not the only Weiner

How to describe Anthony Weiner? Creepy, pathetic, cringe-inducing… but even those words seem too generous. For those outside the US who haven’t followed this story (or Americans who have been living in a cave), let me briefly provide some background. Anthony Weiner is a member of the House of Representatives for a district that covers parts […]

New York City’s “Department of Moral Guidance”

Thumbnail : New York City’s “Department of Moral Guidance”

New Yorker covers are usually very good, but this week’s is especially so. The drawing, by Bruce McCall, is called “Moral Guidance”.  It depicts three New Yorkers in stocks – for offences of smoking, salt and carbs. Across the bottom, it says “NYC Department of Moral Guidance – No Feeding Backsliders”. By coincidence, Brendan O’Neill writes on a […]

My review of The Social Animal is published in Sweden

Voltaire, a Sweden-based political/cultural online magazine, has re-published my review of David Brooks’ The Social Animal. If you can read Swedish, you can read it here.

Distracted driving: another attempt to use kids to police adults

Thumbnail : Distracted driving: another attempt to use kids to police adults

Jane Brody in the New York Times writes about “distracted driving” – that is, undertaking activities in the car such as re-programming your GPS, searching for a particular CD, putting on make-up or shaving, and so on.  The article mentioned a new campaign set up by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association called […]

Reason versus emotion? It’s a false dichotomy

Thumbnail : Reason versus emotion? It’s a false dichotomy

With its elevation of intuition over reason and the unconscious mind over rational thought, David Brooks’ new book is an explicit attack on Enlightenment values. It’s time we defended rationalism and passion. Read my review of The Social Animal, in the spiked review of books, here.

NPR: talk of “uneducated” Americans is the real outrage

An embarrassing video has led the Chief Executive of NPR (National Public Radio) to resign. Vivian Schiller offered her resignation a day after a conservative film-maker released a video that captured an NPR fund-raiser talking to people pretending to be donors from a Muslim Brotherhood front organization. NPR – the publicly-funded and listener-supporter radio network that many people […]

Debate how to hire, not fire, teachers

With thousands of teachers’ jobs on the chopping block across the country, there is a vigorous debate over how to implement layoffs in a “fair” way. At issue in New York and other states is the policy of LIFO, “last in, first out”. Seniority is the determining factor. There are calls from across the political spectrum […]

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