Mighty peculiar, if you ask me 2

JISHOU, HUNAN — It seems potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who was governor of Arkansas for 12 years, had all the hard drives in his office wiped clean of data and then physically destroyed. Supposedly, backups of the data are with one of his associates, but their whereabouts are unknown. Additionally, Huckabee, a former minister for 12 years, has also destroyed records of his ministry and blocked access to videos of his sermons. No, I ask you, if someone is trying so hard to cover his tracks, does it suggest he’s feeling guilty — or at least nervous — about something? And he wants to be president someday. I guess he’s a graduate of the Richard M. Nixon School of Political Transparency. If you don’t know what I mean, Google “nixon tapes” sometime.

Just call me Hussein 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — No-nothings are dragging Barack Hussein Obama’s name through the mud, alleging his middle name, especially, identifies him as an Arab and/or a Muslim. So I’ve decided we all should — at least temporarily anyway — adopt the name Hussein. One of the more inspiring stories from World War II comes from Denmark during the Nazi Occupation. The Nazis required all Jews to wear a six-pointed star. Led by the king and queen of Denmark, the Danes responded by everyone, Jew or otherwise, wearing the star. It was at once a show of solidarity, of peaceful resistance, and of rejecting prejudice. These ignorant anti-Obama Americans (see below) act as if “Hussein” is also some kind of identification badge. Rather, it is a common name — meaning “handsome” or “good” — among Arabs and Arab-Americans, much as my given names, “John” and “James” are common (in a myriad of forms) among Christians worldwide. But my names do not automatically confer upon me membership in the Christian faith. The fact that John Wilkes Booth and James Ruby were famous killers in US history does not imply I am one twice over. No, my parents honored my heritage by naming me ...

In which I reveal my superpower, political obfuscation

JISHOU, HUNAN — So, the last time I left the States, eight years ago, the entire state of Florida lost the ability to count and we ended up with George W. Bush as president … eventually. My friends in South Africa at the time joked each day about whether the US had picked a president yet. The implication (and it wasn’t too far off the mark) was that the most powerful nation on Earth had the same kind of political ineptitude as some two-bit, would-be African democracies. I mean, counting votes. How hard is that? Well, that’s all behind us now. So, I’m out of the country again, and what happens? The underdog Republican candidate picks, apparently at the last moment, an inexperienced, “I’m a governor but I’m also a mom, and a grandma!” running mate. I mean, what was he thinking? Sure, it’s cool that McCain, a maverick Republican with only lukewarm support from the conservatives in his party, picked a much younger woman to be the vice presidential nominee. On the surface, he looks like he’s really progressive — a woman, after all — but really, wasn’t there someone else? From what little I can glean from this ...
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