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A few observations from the road
Dan Chung (left) and Gary YoungeSo having been on the road a few days I have a few observations.
The polls predict a huge Republican defeat. The people aren't so sure
People, on the other hand, are anything but straightforward. They dissemble, evade and lie - even to themselves. They confuse what they want to be true with what they know to be true. A person who does not contradict himself or herself is a bore, an ideologue or both. To fit people into a bigger picture, you must first change their shape.
Obama: Black Like Me
Less than ten years ago I found myself one Sunday in a white Baptist church in rural South Carolina listening to a sermon titled "Surrounded" and sincerely wishing I was somewhere else. For more than an hour I sat there, gradually realizing that my own considerable discomfort was dwarfed by that of the worshipers around me. The stares I received betrayed not hostility but genuine confusion. In a segregated town that was 60 percent black, my presence in this white space was itself a statement. But about what, no one knew. The eyes fixed upon me desperately sought answers. "What are you doing here? You know the rules. Everybody knows the rules. We don’t go to your churches, and you don’t come to ours. Why are you doing this to us? What do you want?"


A stormy sky over the US-Mexico border. Photograph: Carlos Cazalis
All along the ramparts
More than a century and a half later, Jose Gavito, one of Manuel's direct descendants, describes himself as "Texican". His pioneering forebears settled in what later became Brownsville. Gavito is still there. The Mexican border is just four blocks away from his desk in the heritage centre. It is a unique city, he says - bilingual, bicultural, with a bi-heritage. "Every day there are new immigrants coming in. Whether legally or illegally, the flow has never stopped."
Make way for the landslide
When the Republicans start spending money in Idaho, you know they have a problem. Bar Utah it is about the most loyal Republican state you can find. Yet over the last 10 days the erosion of support for the GOP has been so pervasive that the issue now appears to be not whether they will lose the House but whether they will lose it by such a huge margin that Democratic moderates no longer hold sway.
Forget Iraq and Guantánamo; this is about the bottle and the zipper
And so it is that, as the extent of the carnage in Iraq becomes evident and North Korea goes nuclear, America's political class obsesses over a single Congressman's predilection for teenage boys.
Let's have an open and honest discussion about white people
The next day the home secretary, John Reid, went to Leyton, in east London, and told a room full of Muslims how to raise their kids so they won't grow up hateful. "Look for the telltale signs now and talk to them before their hatred grows and you risk losing them for ever," he told them.
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Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
book review
'It often takes an outsider to look inside. This is especially true of the United States.'
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