Friday, March 10, 2006


Now that the White House and Dubai have adopted what Bush hopes is a save-face solution, let's see what the results may be.

As background, I supported the deal, posting last month: "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."

Despite statements of nefarious transshipment of electronic equipment, I have heard nothing to change my mind. Far be it for me to help the Bush administration, but it's easy to see how they might have avoided the political firestorm. They could have provided to the Congress and the public a lot of information and visuals covering such items as the details of terminal lease operation, existing foreign ownership,and port security. At the same time additional safeguards for these terminals could have been implemented and a U.S. subsidiary could have been set up.

It could also have been pointed out that none of the world's terrorist attacks has been effected by infiltration into corporate operations, foreign or domestic.

The fall-out? Delay in the transfer to U.S. ownership, sale to Halliburton, campaign issues for the Fall elections. Plus economic retaliation by Dubai, such as purchase from Airbus instead of Boeing, and Muslim enmity even from moderates.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Republican Candidates

Some polls show former NY mayor, Rudy Giuliani, leading the pack for nomination to run for President in 2008. He has also been anointed by TV host Chris Matthews. Senator John McCain occupies second position and both are far ahead of other prospective candidates.

The strong showing by Mr. Giuliani is perplexing. He earned this prominence by his stalwart performance following the 9-11 attacks on buildings in his city. But now, in the interim of almost 5 years, his main claim to fame has been his recommendation of his friend and colleague, Bernard Kerik, for the important and sensitive position of Director of Homeland Security. Mr. Kerik turned out to be a person of questionable ethics and financial dealings and the nomination had to be withdrawn. And before, during his mayoral term, his success regarding law and order was offset by frequent public disputes, civil liberty problems, and confrontation with art museums.

Whatever Mayor Giuliani's qualities, as a divorced person who recognizes abortion rights and gay rights, he cannot win a Republican nomination. So no ideal campaign, Rudy vs. Hillary.

On the other hand, Senator McCain seems to have clear track for the nomination, assuming that, as expected, he chooses to run. I wonder if Karl Rove will say that Mr. McCain has anger issues. Or whether Mr. Rove will campaign for him in South Carolina.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Yesterday's depressing news.

Iraq continues its downward slide. Just about as sad is the news that Tom Delay won his primary battle by a large margin. We were hoping for more of a backlash against his sordid behavior and maybe a run-off race against his closest rival.

An NPR broadcast shows what difficulties face those who want to oust the failed Bush administration. Interviews with some social conservatives in central Florida showed strong support for President Bush. One woman emphasized how important it is to her that President Bush doesn't make decisions on his own. He not only consults with his advisors but also consults with God. How do you contend with that?

Monday, March 06, 2006


Some of the News
That may be True

Google Announces Agreement with Florida Town

March 4, 2006 Google issued today a press release announcing a special agreement with the new Florida town of Ave Maria. This planned community, sponsored mainly by the founder of Domino's Pizza, Thomas S. Monaghan, was founded with the intent that it be governed by the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. It is expected that pornographic materials will be banned, pharmacies will not sell condoms or birth control pills, and cable TV will carry no X-rated channels.

The principal effect of Google agreement is that a search entered with words that could lead to porn websites will result in connection to the Vatican library website. The same will happen for searches for “pro choice”, “evolution” or other words indicating misguided thoughts. In a brief press conference, Google spokesman, Roger Blandon,
pointed out that, in the context of this town, the search limitation was in furtherance of the Google principle of not being evil.. He also noted that Yahoo and other search engine companies had reached similar agreements.

The Ave Maria mayor, Mary Major, praised the agreement, noting that the town’s citizens could now use internet search engines without risk of being led to wicked websites. She said that her administration was close to an agreement providing for an exclusive town-wide wireless internet access with similar protection. She also announced the formation of a committee to make recommendations for immigration policy.