Bipartisanship returns to congress (or the parties of no)

President Obama has bemoaned the lack of bipartisanship in congress during his presidency, so it’s not without some irony that his State of the Union proposal to tax 529 plans unified both Democratic and Republican opposition to it. Furthermore, it’s not just low ranking Democrats that were opposed. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Budget Committee […]

California’s citizens get the vote Seattle’s did not

Three cheers for the likelihood that California’s ban on plastic shopping bags will end up on the ballot for voters to weigh the pros and cons. It was scheduled to be phased in starting in July, but opponents appear to have gathered enough signatures to allow citizens rather than legislators to decide. This is as […]

Contrasting attitudes in New Zealand and Hong Kong

Originally published 22 July 1997 in Nexus, the University  of Waikato student magazine, as part of a regular series I wrote under the banner of “Postcard from Hong Kong” What is the “New Zealand dream”? One could be forgiven for thinking that the answer is to simply leave this earth in no worse state than […]

The end of a generation


We’re mourning the passing of a great matriarch of the family, Jennifer’s grandmother and Penelope and Harrison’s great grandmother, Mimmie. She lived to the age of 92 and was fortunate to be healthy, sharp and vibrant for all of those years. A true Texan, she lived independently right to the end, still driving herself around town and living in […]

Life expectancy and infant mortality – poor health care performance measures

Supporters of Obamacare or those who want to go further and implement universal health care in the US often make the argument that America spends more than most countries on health care, but relatively speaking gets pretty lousy results. Having personally experienced universal health care systems in the UK, New Zealand and Australia this argument […]