All lessons
Browse the lessons at your listening/reading level and go practice now.

Most people are aware that Canada and the United States are two very large countries in North America. However, most people do not know how these countries came to exist. The story of the creation of these countries is a very interesting one. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some people from England and from France moved across the Atlantic ocean. English people lived on what is now the east coast of the United States, and French people lived in what is now Quebec, in the eastern part of Canada. The kings of England and France were often at war with each other. This meant that there was often fighting in North America between the soldiers of England and France.

By about the year 1750, there were many more people in the English colonies than in the French colonies. When the next war began, the English king was determined to defeat the French and gain complete control of North America. The English assembled a large force of ships and soldiers and attacked the French at Quebec. The French fought bravely, but they were too few in numbers, and the English won the war. England then gained control of all of North America.

After this war, the people of the English colonies in North America began to feel dissatisfied with their government. They were not represented in the English government, but they had to pay taxes to the English king. The taxes were used to pay for English soldiers who defended the American colonies, but the Americans did not want these soldiers. In 1775, the American settlers began to rebel, and in 1776 the Americans declared their independence. For several years, there was much fighting between the Americans and the English soldiers. For a while, it appeared that the Americans would lose, even though they fought bravely. Then, the king of France decided to help the Americans. He sent his ships and soldiers to America, and they helped the Americans to defeat the English forces. England recognized the United States of America as an independent country in 1783.

However, England kept control of Canada. When the American colonies rebelled against England, some of the people who lived in those colonies did not rebel. Those people were called Loyalists because they were loyal to the king. When the war ended, the Loyalists had to leave the country. They moved northward to Canada, where they started new English-speaking colonies. During the year 1812, the Americans invaded Canada, but they were not able to conquer the country.

During the nineteenth century, the people of Quebec continued to speak French and to maintain their French culture. Meanwhile, many more people moved to the English-speaking areas of Canada. In the year 1867, Quebec and the English-speaking colonies agreed to form a single country, Canada. By this time, there were two very large countries in the northern part of North America!
0:00
0:00
 
  |  9280 learners#Politic #Essays

I want to talk to you about a new feminism for the 21st century. There are three pillars to this new feminism: Dignity. The word no. And men. That's right, men.

But before I expound on these three ideas, you need to know something about me. I was very involved in the feminist movement, including being on the board of directors of the National Organization for Women. For this I feel much pride and some guilt. Pride because feminism has pushed forward some very important and needed changes; and guilt because it has also done a lot of damage. My work now is to reverse that damage.

So in that spirit, let's talk about the first pillar of this new feminism: dignity.

Dignity is at the core of what feminism should always be about. Dignity means that a woman should be able to freely choose her own path in life. That's what feminism once held. But does it still? Ask almost any female college student today what she aspires to be and she'll list any number of career choices. The one she won't list is wife and mother. In fact any time someone has the temerity to suggest that a woman might want to look for a husband while in college, as a very successful Princeton grad recently did in a letter to the school's newspaper, feminists go nuts. A new feminism will value and respect all responsible choices.

And while we're talking about dignity, I can't think of anything less dignified for women than the feminist belief that in the sexual arena, women are like, and therefore ought to act like, men. Is this what the truly liberated woman wants? To have casual sex and think nothing of it like men do? That's what feminism aspires to? Sad to say the answer has too often been yes.

So, let's add this up: Feminism has downplayed the desire for women to have a family while at the same time hyping the rewards of career and casual sex. Not exactly a recipe for success or happiness.

The second pillar of a new feminism is the word: no. It's very much tied in with the first pillar.

Throughout history women have made great use of the word: no. Of course many times women said: yes, when they should have said no, and that's the basis of more than a few classic stories and novels. But this was the exception, not the rule. There is great power in that word: no. And women, for the most part, knew how to wield that power. But in the last few decades they've lost it. And the consequences have been catastrophic.

Women, who fought not to be treated as sex objects, have become more objectified than ever. You see it everywhere: in music videos, on billboards, in the hookup culture on campuses. And now we have the tawdry spectacle of teenage girls sexually pursuing teenage boys the way boys pursued girls. How did this happen? Because feminism began to advocate that women should behave like men. Whatever men did and however they did it, that's what women should do. Feminists were angry at men, but they wanted to be like them at the same time. No wonder our society is so confused.

Women are robbing themselves of the ability to say no; the solution is to take that power back. This is especially true for young women. Saying: no, means, I will not be defined by anyone else, not by feminists, and not by men's sexual desires. That is female power.

This is a good segue to my third pillar of a new feminism, men. It is easy for feminists to forget this, but it was men who gave up their monopoly on political power and gave women the right to vote, men who invented birth control, the refrigerator, the washing machine, and so many other devices that liberated women.

And men are different from women. Academics like to speculate that men and women are basically the same, that they're only socialized differently, but as George Orwell famously noted: that's an idea that only an intellectual would be foolish enough to believe.

Moreover, the sexes need each other. For example, women civilize men. It's what we are supposed to do. But in order to accomplish this critical task, we must preserve our dignity.

Not be afraid to use the word no, and, see men as partners, not as competitors, let alone oppressors.

That's the way to a new feminism. And the way to a better world for both sexes.
0:00
0:00
 
  |  9272 learners#Politic #Speeches

Why is the government so bad at healthcare? They've been at it for seventy-five years and still can't get it right. It's expensive. Access is spotty. It's mired in bureaucracy. And it's fraught with waste.

Obamacare was supposed to fix all this, but instead, like every other government healthcare program before it, it just made things worse. Why? Because the government is a third-party payer.

Let me explain. Suppose you are going to buy something for yourself. You have two priorities: price and quality. You want the highest quality for the lowest possible price.

Say you're buying a television. You have many options: the size of the screen, the quality of the image, the price. Only you know which one best suits your needs and your budget. And a lot of companies are competing for your business. You do your research; you make your choice.

This is called a first-party purchase, the person paying is the person using.

Now, let's suppose that either the price or quality is not controlled by you; in this case, you are buying something for someone else. You care about the price because you are paying for it, but you are a little more flexible on the quality. A good example would be a wedding gift, say, a coffee maker.

You might think, by the time it breaks they'll forget who gave it to them anyway the cheaper one will be fine.

All of us have bought things for others we never would have bought for ourselves. We care about the price because we're paying for it, but not so much about the quality because we're not going to use it.

Or, suppose that we're going to use something, but we're not going to pay for it. Then we're concerned about the quality because we're consuming it, but the cost is not as important because we're not paying for it. Any father who ever got roped into paying for an open bar at a wedding understands this program. Nobody ever orders the cheap stuff when it's free.

These are called second-party purchases. The person paying is not the person using.

And now, for the coup de grace: when it is not your money paying for something, and you don't use it. Then you're not concerned about either the price or the quality.

Suppose the boss gives you 150 dollars to buy a door prize for the office party. In a store window, you see a six-foot tall stuffed frog marked 149 dollars You think, Oh, that's perfect, let's buy it. The raffle winner is awarded the six-foot frog. Everyone laughs at the gag.

Now, this is called a third-party purchase, a purchase that is made with money that is not yours, therefore you don't care about the cost, to buy something you're not going to consume therefore you don't care about the quality.

Here's the point: By definition, all government purchases are third-party purchases. The government spends other people's money on things it won't consume. It doesn't care about the price or the quality. Thus, there will always be waste in government spending.

That is why, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, government should do only those things that a man can't do better for himself.

If 300 million Americans were free to buy health insurance for themselves, just as they buy their own life and home and car insurance, then that little gecko on television would offer us health insurance with a little more coverage for a little less cost.

And he wouldn't be the only one. Insurance companies and hospitals would be working night and day to get our business. Quality would go up, and prices would go down. It's already happened with laser eye surgery. It used to cost 2200 dollars per eye. Now it can cost as low as 500 dollars per eye. That's the way free enterprise competition works every time.

But when the government gets involved, costs go up, waste and fraud go up, essential medical services are denied or unavailable. These are the hallmarks of government healthcare bureaucracies around the globe.

The sooner we make health insurance a first-party purchase again, the sooner Americans will get the health care they want finally.
0:00
0:00
 
  |  9127 learners#Politic #Speeches

Do you believe in free speech? Do you believe that people should be judged by their character, not their skin color? Do you believe in freedom of religion?

If you believe these things, you're probably not a progressive. You might think you're a progressive. I used to think I was. My show, The Rubin Report, was originally part of the progressive Young Turks network. Progressives struck me as liberals, but louder. Progressives were the nice guys; they looked out for the little guy; they cared about women and minorities; they embraced change.

In short, who wouldn't want to be a progressive?

But over the last couple years, the meaning of the word progressive has changed.

Progressives used to say, I may disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it. Not anymore.

Banning speakers whose opinions you don't agree with from college campuses, that's not progressive. Prohibiting any words not approved of as politically correct, that's not progressive. Putting Trigger Warnings on books, movies, music, anything that might offend people, that's not progressive either.

All of this has led me to be believe that much of the left is no longer progressive, but regressive. This is one of the reasons I've spent so much time on my show talking about The Regressive Left.

This regressive ideology doesn't judge people as individuals, but as a collective.

If you're black, or female, or Muslim, or Hispanic, or a member of any other minority group, you're judged differently than the most evil of all things: a white, Christian male. The Regressive Left ranks minority groups in a pecking order to compete in a kind of Oppression Olympics. Gold medal goes to the most offended.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream that his children would be judged by their character and not their skin color was a liberal idea, but these days, it's not a progressive ideal.

And what about religious freedom, the idea that no one else can tell you what you have to believe? Surely progressives still support that basic right. Well, not so much.

I'm a married gay man, so you might think that I appreciate the government forcing a Christian baker or photographer or florist to act against their religion in order to cater, photograph or decorate my wedding. But you'd be wrong. A government that can force Christians to violate their conscience can force me to violate mine. If a baker won't bake you a cake, find another baker; don't demand that the state tell him what to do with his private business.

I'm pro-choice. But a government that can force a group of Catholic nuns, literally called the Little Sisters of the Poor, to violate their faith and pay for abortion-inducing birth control can force anyone to do anything.

That's not progressive; that's regressive!

Today's progressivism has become a faux-moral movement hurling charges of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia and a slew of other meaningless buzzwords at anyone they disagree with.

The battle of ideas has been replaced by a battle of feelings, and outrage has replaced honesty. Diversity reigns supreme, as long as it's not that pesky diversity of thought.

This isn't the recipe for a free society, it's a recipe for authoritarianism.

For these reasons, I can no longer call myself a progressive. I don't really call myself a Democrat either. I'm a classical liberal, a free thinker, and as much as I don't like to admit it, defending my liberal values has suddenly become a conservative position.

So, if you think people should be able to say what they think without being punished for it; that people should be judged by their behavior, not their skin color; and that people should be able to live the way that they want to live, without government interference, then there's not much left on the left for you.

I'll keep trying to explain that to progressives until I'm totally left out.
0:00
0:00
 
  |  9037 learners#Politic #Speeches

Why are you Right? Yes, you, conservative person. Can you answer that question?

I think it's so important that I wrote a book about it. How to be Right? The Art of Being Persuasively Correct. Because if you can't be persuasive about why you are right, then we, the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands, are lost. So, here is the simple answer to why you are Right: It is a more practical, generous, and compassionate way to live. Let me explain:

There have been a bunch of academic studies on how those on the Left and Right approach problems. They pretty much all come to the same conclusion. The Right tends to be risk averse, more concerned about external threats like tyranny and terror. Conservatives, get this, tend to be conservative. They are less likely to play with fire, in just about every sense: financially, artistically, sexually. They are cautious about changing traditions, sometimes to a fault, which is why they cling to that crazy Constitution they like so much and to their guns and their religion.

We conservatives also focus on what we can fix, and accept what we cannot which is one of the many reasons we're not obsessed over global warming. With Radical Islam we know what the threat is, and that it's a lot worse than a few missing polar bears. I know that makes me sound mean, sorry polar bears.

Liberals, the research tells us, are generally more outgoing, more likely to try new stuff. They are open to new ideas though not school choice, or flat taxes, or a market based health care reform, and are less likely to feel threatened by unfamiliar things. This is why, in general, they seem to have more fun. They are more likely to try drugs, for example which is fine, as long as they don't end up throwing up in my toaster. In short, liberals are pretty liberal. They feel free to take risks that the risk-averse usually end up paying for, over and over. Which explains the necessity for conservatism. We are the clean-up crew.

Liberals may seem to have more fun and many do, but according to polls they aren't as happy as conservatives. And with all the fun they're having, I've never quite figured out why the angriest people I've encountered in my life have been liberals. Maybe it's because short-term fun doesn't translate into long-term happiness. Marriage, families and religion do that and those are the things conservatives most value. Liberals tend to live for now. Conservatives for later.

A risk-averse conservative is more likely to save money. He is more likely to protect his investments. He is more likely to protect property, and advocate for rule of law and preservation of individual protections. And he offers no excuses for looting. Instead, he empathizes with the Asian, Arab and black small businessman whose convenience store, laundry or restaurant goes up into flames during the riot that liberals reflexively endorse as an understandable response to injustice.

Of course, conservatives aren't risk-averse in everything. But they take risks with their own lives, not with the society. Conservatives risk all to build businesses. That risk, however, is rooted in a fact-based belief not faith in the free market. If people want the product or service you're supplying at the price you're asking, you will succeed and the risk will pay off.

Over time, it's conservative risk-taking that creates a civilization, by building families, businesses, and nations. All of which creates more wealth, wealth that can then be used to help those in need. You need money to make money, but you also need money to give money. Conservatism makes what liberalism takes.

So, for example, for liberals to get their minimum-wage hike, first we need conservatives to build businesses, to think like businessmen, to sacrifice their own salaries in order to pay others; to sleep on floors if necessary in order to break even. Then when they make a profit, and things are going great when the calm sets in, liberalism can appear and say, How dare you not pay these people a living wage? Once the tables are full of diners, and bills are being paid, and you're thinking about opening a second joint, liberalism arrives to demand its cut. Think of it as a protection racket. Sort of like the Gambino family, but without loyalty, job prospects, and track suits.

In short, conservatism doesn't compete with liberalism, it sustains it. And so when a liberal asks you, why are you a conservative? Simply say, so that you can be a liberal.
0:00
0:00
 
  |  9128 learners#Politic #Speeches

One of the most tragic parts of the history of North and South America is the period of African slavery. For hundreds of years, many people were taken from Africa, by force, to work in the fields of many different countries in North and South America.

When Europeans first came to the Americas, some of them realized that they might make money by growing crops and selling them in Europe. However, in order to make money, they would need a cheap source of labor. Few Europeans would come to the Americas to work for low wages, so instead, the landowners looked for slaves. In the areas of the great farms, or plantations, there were few Indians, so they used another source of slaves, Africa. The plantation owners usually obtained slaves by buying them from local kings in western Africa. This led to many wars between rival kings within Africa, who tried to capture each other's people in order to sell them as slaves. A few kings tried to avoid the slave trade, but this was very difficult.

During a period of several hundred years, from the 1500s to the 1800s, about 12 million people were taken from western Africa to the Americas. Many more people died as slaves before leaving Africa, and many more died on the ships that took them to the Americas. This was because the conditions on the ships were extremely unhealthy! the ships were far too crowded, and there was little food and water.

When the African slaves arrived in the Americas, the plantation owners made them work on farms that produced goods such as cotton and sugar. In many places, the work was very hard, and many of the slaves died from overwork. They were then replaced by other slaves who arrived from Africa. However, many slaves survived despite the brutal conditions.

In some places, the African slaves were able to revolt against the plantation owners. However, this was difficult because the slaves who had recently arrived spoke many different languages. Some slaves escaped into wilderness areas and were able to remain free from the plantation owners. As time went by, many people in Europe and in the Americas realized that slavery was wrong. By the 1830s, slavery had been ended, or abolished, in islands owned by the British, and in parts of the United States. In the southern United States, slavery was ended in the 1860s, during the Civil War. In some countries, such as Brazil and Cuba, slavery only ended in the 1880s.

Today, many millions of people in North and South America are the descendants of slaves who were brought from Africa. The effects of slavery have lasted for many generations, and there was much racial prejudice against African people when slavery ended. However, some have achieved success despite these disadvantages Today, the people of African background in North and South America are a very important part of the population in many countries.
0:00
0:00
 
  |  9257 learners#Politic #Lectures

The United States government is composed of three major sections. It is based on the Constitution of the United States of America that was put into effect in May, 1789. The three parts of the US Government are the executive, legislative and judicial branches. Each branch works independently of the other two and each has its own responsibilities. This system is in place to ensure that no branch can carry more power than the other. This is called the separation of powers, which was written into the Constitution.

The executive branch is the branch that most Americans are familiar with. It includes the president of the United States, the vice-president, and the cabinet. The president is the leader of the country and is the commander in chief of the US military. The vice president is second in command, and will act as president if the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office. The cabinet acts as agents of the US President, and carry out the duties they are entrusted with. The legislative branch of government consists of the House of Representatives, and the Senate. Together they form the congress, which can levy and collect taxes, mint money, and establish federal courts. It can also declare war and raise and support the army, navy, and air force to protect the country.

The House of Representatives has four hundred and thirty five members and the Senate consists of one hundred senators, with two from each of the states. Any legislation, or new law must be approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The judicial branch is entrusted to apply the laws created by the legislative branch of government. It has the power to create lower courts under the Supreme Court of the United States. It works closely with state courts, although they are separate.
0:00
0:00
 
  |  8913 learners#Politic #Essays
Not completed (0 - 99%)  |   Passed (100%)  |   Failed (< 100%)  |   Not learned (0%)

The filters

Reset

New lessons

Trees in the Forest
Basic - American
Bird watching
Basic - Others
Growing roses
Basic - American
Let's recycle
Basic - American
A Picnic by the River
Basic - American
The history of tea
Advanced - American