Sunday, February 26, 2006

Dubai? Buy this blog!

The Vice President shot a guy.
Oh, get over it. Except every time I say that sentence out loud, it makes my jaw drop all over again. I’m getting pretty good at it. I can knock over small objects with my jaw!

Any old port in a storm…
President Bush thinks it’s just ridiculous that everybody’s making such a fuss about the deal to turn over major U.S. seaports to a United Arab Emirates-owned business.

Well, maybe people got their knickers in a twist about it because, back in the pre 9/11 days, the United Arab Emirates recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan. Oh, and two of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE, the banks of which helped with the money end of the 9/11 operation. And the UAE has been a transfer point for nuclear components shipped to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

So what? That’s just the free market in action, you might say. The market is always right! Capitalism knows the best way – instinctively.

And David Brooks of the New York Times is not alone when he claims that critics of the deal are isolationist xenophobes. If you don’t want a gaggle of sheikhs running our ports, claim many, you’re a racist, nativist, anti-globalist hysteric.

On the other hand, why is it a good idea for ANY foreign entity to run American ports? Isn’t there some outfit in New Jersey that could run the New Jersey port? Whatever happened to “Buy American?” Why not have the federal government run them? Oh wait, that would be socialism. So let’s have a corporation owned by a foreign government run them! Oh wait, that would be… socialism.

And if it’s such an innocent deal, why was President Bush so secretive about it? And why is he so adamant about it? Oh, it’s because the UAE is our ally. Okay, I’ll take his word for it. Denmark is our ally as well. Isn’t there some corporation in Denmark that could take over the ports? If we offered the deal to Denmark, it would be a nice gesture, especially in the wake of this administration’s mealy-mouthed and craven response to the “Danish cartoons.”

Last week, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow defended the deal; he told reporters: "The implications of failing to approve this would be to tell the world that investments in the United States from certain parts of the world aren't welcome. That sends a terrible message."

Boy, am I chastened. Or am I…?

Here’s David Lazarus in the San Francisco Chronicle: “…Treasury Secretary John Snow… previously served as head of transportation giant CSX Corp. The company sold its global port assets to Dubai Ports World for $1.15 billion a year after Snow left for the White House. Snow's Treasury Department was the government agency that subsequently vetted and approved the $6.8 billion sale of a British company to state-run Dubai Ports World. The Dubai conglomerate in turn will take over the British firm's management of six U.S. ports.”

Snow claims that he didn’t even know about the deal until it had publicized earlier this month. Okay.

But here’s John McDonald in the U.S. News and World Report: “Shortly after Snow’s departure, CSX sold its port operations to Dubai Ports International for $1.23 billion. There was only one hitch to the deal. The sale was subject to review and approval of the little known Committee on Foreign Investment. But not to worry, the Committee just happened to be chaired by the newly minted, not to mention newly rich Treasury Secretary John Snow.”

Whether the sale was for $1.15 billion or $1.23 billion, I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for all this. Look at Cheney and Halliburton! They both came out of the exhaustive and painstaking review process (we did have one, right?) as pure as the driven snow.

Yes, there may not be any fire behind all the smoke. On the other hand, when an administration makes as big a stink as this one does, sooner or later America is bound to hold its nose.

I apologize to readers of my little blog (And you are legion! Legion!) for being somewhat remiss in posting more often. I have been dealing with family issues for the past few months. My Dad has, if not Alzheimer’s, then a facsimile thereof. (Last week, he went across the street to the mall to get a haircut, and kept forgetting why he was going to the mall – five times. Finally Mom wrote a note for him, and the mission was accomplished.) My 80-year-old mother is his main caregiver, and she doesn’t drive, and is probably going to have to have a hip replaced. So I’ve been going to their double-wide (located in Leisureville, you’ll be pleased to know), to shlep them around. This week, they are going into managed care. It looks like my Dad’s shrewd youthful investments and various pensions will pay for it, with enough left over for their grandchildren to enjoy. I’ll be going there to help with the move, and next week to take my mother to a physician in Davis who, it is hoped, will dull the edge of the hip replacement threat. It’s not easy being old. It’s not easy being middle-aged, even with intact hips.

By the way…
My parents, both Independents, have voted Republican for as along as I can remember. They always considered Republicans to be more pragmatic than Democrats. They despise President Bush and everything he represents.

Crime Story
AP: Tyrone Burgo, 20, was arrested in Boston, Mass., for allegedly selling drugs. Police say it wasn't that he was driving a car with a license plate from another car that led to his arrest, nor that he was driving with a suspended license. Rather, they were led to Burgo because he had advertised his cocaine on the Internet, listing his real phone number. Officers called, set up a meeting, and arrested him after he handed over the drugs.

What a wonderful world.
A new production of HEDDA GABLER opened this month in New York, with half the major roles played by robots. It’s called HEDDATRON.

Finally, from the Roanoke News
Two local meteorologists at the same local station have admitted to an heroin addiction. Could this indicate a wider trend? Film at eleven! If we don’t nod off.


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