Friday, February 24, 2006


Some of the News
That may be True

February 23, 2006

News Item: Lawrence H. Summers resigned yesterday as president of Harvard University after a relatively brief and turbulent tenure of five years, nudged by Harvard's governing corporation and facing a vote of no confidence from the influential Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Comment: Former President Derek Bok has agreed to serve as interim President until
a permanent successor is named. Harvard' Board of Overseers will shortly appoint a search committee. It is widely thought that the leading candidate to succeed Dr. Summers is U.S. Ambassador John Bolton.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


At first, I thought that I held a lone contrary view on the outsourcing of port management to a Dubai company. Then, I heard President Bush's strong defense of the arrangement, when he finally learned about it. Agreement with Bush on anything should give one pause. So my support is wavering.

Obviously, management of U.S. ports has already been in foreign hands. So is it wise to draw the line when these hands are Muslim? Not so. A distinction could be made since this Dubai company is a owned by the government. However, there well may be cases where government ownership would not be disqualifying. Canada? Mexico? Singapore? So, depending on what port management really is, the logical, difficult course is to have a set of guidelines on the characteristics of acceptable governments that will not exclude all Muslim nations. The United Arab Emirates may or may not qualify, but Bush will clearly suffer on this one, particularly since he has
failed to take necessary security measures to safeguard our ports.

My other "contrary" view is held even less certainly. It just seems to me that the U.S. and Israel are making a mistake in squeezing the Hamas government in Palestine.
Yes, Hamas has unacceptable views; but at this stage these are mostly just words. Rather than actions such holding back funds that actually belong to the Palestine government, further inciting hostility and chaos, let's give it a chance to evolve, without necessarily explicitly changing its views.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Some of the News
That may beTrue

Washington, D.C. Feb.20 -- This newspaper has obtained, from a former employee of the National Security Agency, secret transcripts of several of Osama bin Laden’s telephone conversations. The source mandated that his identity not be disclosed fearing the serious retribution NSA exacts in all cases of leaks.

The first transcript is of a conversation between bin Laden and his #2 man, Abdullah Rahman on February 18, 2003. Excerpts:

Rahman: I hear, Dear Leader, that there will soon be a heat wave in the
bin Laden: Yes, I thought of that when I had our group relocated. I chose
these highlands precisely because of that unbearable summer heat.
These caves stay cool year round.
Rahman: How wise.

February 27, 2003: Excerpt from transcript of phone call with U.S. contact:

bin Laden: What is going on with the online version of the New York Times? I
could not download it this morning.
Reporter (name deleted):. There has been an electrical power problem at the
website facility. It should be fixed in no more than an hour.
bin Laden: It had better be. I don’t want to rely just on the Weekly Standard.

March 2, 2003. Conversation with bin Laden’s # 2 man, Ahmed Maqdisi. Excerpt:

Maqdisi: I just talked with your wife. She wants you to bring home a gourd
of yak milk to have with dinner.
bin Laden: It’s always something. I’ll be glad when we establish the caliphate
and we can move back to the city.
Maqdisi: She also wants you to clean up your half of the cave.

March 10, 2003. Excerpt from conversation with Muhammad Azzam, # 2 man in
bin Laden’s Al Queda organization:

Azzam: Reports from our sources confirm that the United States forces are about to invade Iraq.
bin Laden: Good. We’ll get rid of that arrogant fool, Saddam Hussein, and then
establish a presence there.
Azzam: Have we heard any more about the search for us?
bin Laden: No. They’re stupid. But I’m sure they’re eavesdropping, so no more
telephoning or e-mails unless we encrypt.