Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – March 3, 2011

The G.O.Tea Party seems to be running a contest for “America’s Dumbest” in searching for a candidate to run against Barack Obama. Now Mike Huckabee has stumbled into the lead by falsely claiming that President Obama was raised by his Kenyan father in……..Kenya! We should not, however, take our eyes off Africa as the winds of change seem to be on the verge of heading south from Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. We should, however, avert our eyes from the Charlie Sheen debacle.

America’s Dumbest!

In a radio interview earlier this week, Mike Huckabee claimed that President Obama had a different view of the world because “he was raised in Kenya by his Kenyan father and grandfather”.

He went on to claim that this was where he obtained his anti-imperialist views (presumably a bad thing on the Planet Huckabee) and also where he learned to sympathize with the Mau Maus.

Perhaps Governor Huckabee was mangling the Gospel according to Dinesh D ‘Souza who has also opined that President Obama was channeling the philosophy of his anti-colonialist father.

The facts are that Barack Obama never lived in Kenya, that he was born in Hawaii that he spent a few years of his early childhood in Indonesia and “grew up” in the United States. Clearly Mike Huckabee won’t let facts get in the way of a good lie.

Of course this is all part of a damnable effort to demonize and delegitimize Barack Obama. It is important to people like Mike Huckabee to turn President Obama into the “other” so that useful debates regarding ability, quality of thought and vision never enter take place.

It would appear that people like Huckabee and other neo-birthers feel that they will come up short if the political discourse addresses ability, quality of thought and vision instead of fairy tales.

Eyes on Africa

Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim is a name that we should all know. Mo Ibrahim is a billionaire who made his fortune bringing cell phone systems to Africa.

He has now established a multimillion dollar “Ibrahim Prize” to reward African leaders who actually lead and engage in good governance. In an excellent article in the New Yorker magazine – http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/03/07/110307fa_fact_auletta – Ken Auletta profiles Mr. Ibrahim and his dream of a progressive Africa led by progressive leaders.

This may not be just a dream. Remember that in last week’s “Weekend Edition” I mentioned some of dynasties and oligarchies that were standing in the way of progress in Africa – Teodoro Obiang – Equatorial Guinea – 32 years, Robert Mugabe – Zimbabwe – 24 years, Yoweri Museveni – 25 years, the Bongo family – Gabon – 43 years.

As of this writing these African oligarchies persist. But events move rapidly as Hosni Mubarak can attest. Keep an eye on Mo Ibrahim and his movement.

Sick Transit Charlie Sheen

During the past week we have been inundated with Charlie Sheen screeds, rants and ravings. Clearly there is no news or entertainment value in viewing to what is an increasingly sad meltdown.

It is also sad that there is a voyeuristic aspect to the news and entertainment industries that makes people want to watch self destruction in real time.

Richie Havens once wrote, “Hey, c’mon, you’ve got something better to do.”

Have a great weekend!

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