topic: USA

why do electorates divide nearly 50:50?

Have you ever wondered why so many recent political votes divide their electorate almost 50:50? This is my attempt at a simple—perhaps obvious—explanation. The results of the referendum for Scottish Independence (No 55.3%: Yes 44.7%) and the Brexit Referendum in the UK (Leave 51.89%: Remain 48.11%) seem to me remarkably close—especially given that in one case you had 3.6 million people voting, and in the other 33.6 million. Why were these not 60:40, or even […]

9/11 in a Mexican jungle…

On the 11th of September 2001, we returned from a miraculous day wandering, eventually barefoot, through a jungle in the Mexican Yucatan, led by a Mayan girl to waterfalls that tumbled down steps gouged into smooth bowls in the soft limestone. Between the trees enormous blue crabs scuttled. At last, exhilarated, we found ourselves in the girl’s hut, a circular house with a palm frond roof and an earth floor and, bizarrely, satellite TV. As […]

what price victory?

So Osama Bin Laden is, apparently, dead – but at what cost to America, the West and the rest of the world? I can’t help feeling that we, and the US in particular, mishandled the whole 9/11 catastrophe. At the beginning of a new millennium, attacked, all we could do was to resort to an eye for an eye. Worse, we used it as cover to attack an Iraq that clearly had nothing to do […]

50 in New York

ricardo in Time Square...

Something I’ve rabbited on about before is how the world is homogenising – the more I travel, the more it seems to me that everywhere is becoming the same. If this is even true for Sri Lanka, then how much more so is it for travelling between the UK and New York? But before I go into that (I think this is going to become quite a ramble, but hopefully you will forgive me, now […]

manners

Moctezuma meets Cortez

When Cortez first met Moctezuma, the emperor of the Aztecs advanced towards him half-carried by a couple of his relatives, as if he were some fragile invalid. This affectation was one that Moctezuma could allow himself, lord as he was of the conquerors of Central America that, to its inhabitants, was the navel of the Earth and the greater and best part of the world. No doubt this kind of posturing was copied by lesser […]