Cross Currents

A cross cultural blog
SEPTEMBER 18, 2012 5:35AM

We're in the 47%

My husband and I are in the 47%. We’re voting for Obama and there’s nothing Mitt Romney can do to change that.  Here’s the thing, We’re rich and we’re successful. In one year, a few years back, we paid more in federal income taxes than my twenty-year old self ever iRead full post »

FEBRUARY 19, 2012 3:36AM

The Way Things Are "Supposed To Be"

Families can be divided into two types: those created by parents who use birth control and those which don't.  According to Rick Santorum, one type is "counter to the way things are supposed to be."

Which of these two families do you feel is the way a family is supposed… Read full post »

Mitt Romney released his tax returns. It’s now official: he paid 14% of his income of $21.6 million in federal income taxes. A family below the poverty line, with in income of $16,000 is asked to pay more --15%. 


In a single day, Romney earned about $35,000. If that wasRead full post »

DECEMBER 7, 2011 2:06AM

Scenes from the Russian Election

The ending words say, United Russia, the Party of Crooks and Thieves. 


A radio show announcing the reported election results: United Russia won just under  50% of the vote in Moscow. ‘Do you know anyone who voted for United Russia?’ asked thRead full post »

JULY 26, 2011 8:12PM

Heidi and the Horse, Part 1


The boom box was blasting Talking Heads while I washed my clothes at the tap in the backyard of Heidi and Martha’s house in Croix-des-Bouquets.  I had been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Haiti long enough to appreciate the luxury of running water and electricity, so I was feeling/Read full post »

MAY 13, 2011 3:38AM

Building a Road in Russia

The village, Timeless Russia


Our dacha is in a little village with the famous Russian roads that slowed Hitler’s tanks and preventeda blitzkrieg.  They are dirt and in the spring and fall, turn into muddy ruts.  Some springs we couldn’t get to the house, but had to park some distance away an/… Read full post »

A federal anti-poverty program that benefits billionaires? Tax dollars advocating teaching Intelligent Design in schools or a ban on same-sex marriage? Government subsidies for Porsche Cayennes? Peak tax rates for middle incomes? Welcome to the US tax code. 

Our tax system is an incredibly complRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 6:05AM

Fired! Moscow's Mayor


 Fire that corrupt son-of-a-bitch! During the eighteen years Yuri Luzhkov has been Mayor of Moscow, his wife became the country’s wealthiest woman with a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine to be just shy of three billion. That’s US dollars, not rubles.  Comrade YRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 21, 2010 1:53AM

The Spirit of Potemkins Lives!


While Prince Potemkin was rumored to create whole villages to give Catherine the Great the impression that her empire was prosperous, Prime Minister Putin’s goal is to convince the Russians. To do so, he took control over television shortly after his election to the presidency in 2000.&nRead full post »

AUGUST 7, 2010 11:13AM

Russia Burning

There are over 500 fires raging across western Russia. Smog from the fires is making breathing in Moscow difficult. Some buildings have been forced to close because their smoke detectors are clanging non-stop. Over 50 people have died and 2,000 homes have burned. Over 125,000 hectares of forest haveRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 22, 2010 4:21AM

The Elephant in the Room

Throughout my childhood, I viewed my family as average: four kids, stay-at-home Mom, ranch house in the suburbs, public schools.  The drama of my youth was equally banal: broken arm, awkward teen years, best friend moved away. Utterly typical, except for the elephant in the room. I was so used tRead full post »

JUNE 24, 2010 3:52PM

Corruption and Insurance

Corruption and insurance: what’s the difference? 


In some places, not much. Afghanistan’s government is suffering from a serious corruption problem. Most of the country is run by warlords or men who have just recently graduated from warlord status. 


I doubt the couRead full post »

Yes, I’m starting with Gone With the Wind. Bear with me. 


Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  I loved this book when I read it in 5th grade. It took me a day and a half to plow through all 1047 pages. I peered in the mirror and discovered/Read full post »

MARCH 6, 2010 6:34AM

Haiti, History, and Santayana

Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I’m appalled at how many people don’t know recent Haitian history. The 30 years of the Duvaliers gets condensed into one phrase, “The US-supported Duvalier regime.” For US policy, theRead full post »

FEBRUARY 19, 2010 6:24AM

Taxes, IRS, and average Joes

Let’s face it. Many of us had some sneaking sympathy for Joe Stack and his rage at the IRS. The fault isn’t the IRS; our tax system is a mess of exclusions, exemptions, deductions, phase-outs, tax credits and special accounts.  Not only does this cause the average taxpayer to loatheRead full post »

JANUARY 21, 2010 8:40AM

Let Them Eat Cake

During a famine in France, when the poor were rioting over a shortage of bread, Marie Antoinette is rumored to have said, “Let them eat cake.” 


I am reminded of these words when I read news commentators pontificate on solutions for Haiti. When I lived in Haiti from 1985 toRead full post »

DECEMBER 14, 2009 7:29AM

Welcome to Holiday Hell!


Most airlines have reduced the limit of checked baggage to one bag per passenger. Additional bags can be checked only with a fee. For a long-haul flight between Europe and the US, a typical fee is $50 to $60 per bag. Land’s End is selling a wheeled carry-on at the maximumRead full post »

OCTOBER 16, 2009 2:58AM

Diplomacy or Hot Air?

Gay Rights Activists seem to be demanding the Obama Administration to regularly kow-tow to them. That’s the only way I can interpret the blogosphere’s condemnation of Hillary Clinton’s supposed failure to address gay rights in her “meeting” with Moscow’s homophobicRead full post »

OCTOBER 5, 2009 5:39AM

Preventing those Preventable Diseases

According to the CDC, chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, cancer, and diabetes, are both the most common and the most preventable of medical problem. They account for 75% of the nation’s health spending. 


To cut health care costs, the answer is simple: prevent thoseRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 6:38AM

The Breast Wars

Yet again, another shocking case of a woman publicly breast feeding has made the news. We “lactivists” think nursing a baby is  a perfectly natural function that should be welcome in the public arena. 

Others think that when a woman’s breast is involved, so is sex. Bill MaRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 4, 2009 7:04AM

Atticus Finch or Professor Poopypants?

In a recent article in the New York Times, Mokoto Rich discussed a trend in school language arts programs to get rid of required reading in favor of letting student read anything they like. The 7th and 8th grade teacher in the article ditched To Kill a Mockingbird. The books herRead full post »

JUNE 16, 2009 9:51AM

A Tale of Two Health Systems

Several years ago, my son fell on the playground in Bulgaria and broke his arm. The fracture was near the growth plate of the bone. Damage to the growth plates leads can cause the bone to stop growing or to grow abnormally. At the hospital, the doctors took an x-ray, decidedRead full post »

I have a brother with autism. Having lived with him, my worst nightmare for my children was that they would have autism, too. So when the vaccine-autism scare came out, I looked at the issue very closely. My children were more vulnerable than the average child -- they may have aRead full post »

FEBRUARY 16, 2009 1:46PM

OS needs customization options

OS is like a magazine with no focus. A serious article giving dating advice to teens girls faces the same readers as a humorous piece about the problems of an aging prostate.  Light humor, political polemics, silliness, deeply moving accounts of personal tragedies, recipes, pictures of pets, traRead full post »

I named this blog cross currents with the plan of writing about cross-cultural experiences, so I thought I’d start at the beginning. (PS does anyone know how to make a banner from my pictures?)


In 1983, I graduated from college. I was an idealist. I thought with good-will, effort andRead full post »