Holy Mary, mother of God

There comes a time in everyone’s lives when we find our paths veering in a somewhat confusing direction, but when all we can do is clutch on for dear life and ride with the wind.

This is precisely what my first ride on a taxi-moto looked like.

I would describe the experience as falling somewhere between humor and fear – with one adrift, starving American girl clenching her fists around the back handle of a motorcycle, balancing her tote bag on one shoulder and a broken-strapped helmet on her head.

I had no clue where I was going. Neither did my driver. Continue reading

Just why do nations fail, anyway?

Way back in 2002, when George W. Bush was trying to muster an international military force to take out the Taliban from Afghanistan—how’d that work out, by the way?—one of the arguments he used was that Afghanistan was a “failed state.” As I recall, he tried to use that argument for Iraq as well, although he used others that had a bit more persuasion at the time—WMD. We do know how that turned out. But he was was actually on more solid ground with his failed state argument—Afghanistan, by any number of measures, has not been a state worth emulating for some time. It was a classic failed state by any measure—economic, political, legal, educational.
Continue reading

The young and the disenfranchised

This election cycle seems to be fraught with the idea of voter fraud. The idea that thousands of unregistered or wrongly registered voters would stuff the ballot box and sway the electoral college away from a “true” winner.

To be honest, I have heard only one story of voter fraud in my lifetime, and it was my grandmother.

In the 1960s, my grandfather went blind. He used to take my grandmother into the voting booth with him and asked her to push the buttons for his chosen candidates. I know for a fact she didn’t always pick the candidates he asked her to. Continue reading