some bicarbonate of soda, quick – double strength. I know those news mongrels will upset me.

I thought this article was interesting, not so much for the the way it addresses Portgate, but the whole idea of port management being outsourced and how the administration’s stand derails the Bush-Rove fear train,The Boy Who Cried Wolf

So why is the fearmonger-in-chief being so casual about this Dubai business?

Because at some level of consciousness even George Bush knows the inflated fears are bogus. So do a lot of the politicians merrily throwing spears at him. He taught them how to play this game, invented the tactics and reorganized political competition as a demagogic dance of hysterical absurdities, endless opportunities to waste public money. Very few dare to challenge the mindset. Thousands have died for it.

HT to Bad Attitudes. Despite playing the fear card for four years , Bush says that there really isn’t all that much to worry about. My first instinct is not so much to be against UAE, but to ask why this is the only solution. I realize these same ports were or still are managed by a British company; why isn’t there an American company that can manage the ports for the next few years. Its shouldn’t be an argument so much about the UAE managing the ports as much about American control and jobs. The WSJ editorial page always a dependable source of Bush ass coverage has said that the whole deal was fully “vetted”. Their OpEd page is entitled to its opinion, it is not entitled to make up its own facts. Treasury’s Snow says staff handled Dubai ports deal

update:Bush Connections to UAE deal and Money and Connections,

3) Bush’s brother, Neil Bush has reportedly “received funding for his educational software company from the UAE investors.”

4) Treasury Secretary John Snow was the former CEO of CSX rail corporation. After Snow left CSX for the White House, CSX sold their international port operations to Dubai Ports World for “more than a billion dollars.”

update 2: Answering to some degree my own question about why an American company couldn’t manage the ports in question: A Ship Already Sailed

American companies began withdrawing decades ago from the unglamorous business of stevedoring, ceding the now-booming industry to enterprises in Asia and the the Middle East.

So it is no accident that American companies are not in the top ranks of global terminal operators, who have ridden the coattails of the explosion in world trade. That shift has transferred growing financial clout to a handful of seafaring centers in Hong Kong, Singapore and now the emirate of Dubai.

and at least some of these companies have the benefit of their government’s deep pockets.

The biggest players in the global port and terminal management industry are a mixed group. Some are state-owned, some are publicly traded, some have shipping operations, and many are still run by wealthy families or their founders.

Regardless of which side one is on in the ports controversy politically or the motivations behind one’s point of view, it might be a done deal.

“God knows how you’d reverse it,” said one London-based executive involved in the sale, who did not want to be identified because of client confidentiality agreements. British regulators have approved the deal, and shareholders have already voted for it, he said.

“The Arabs own it, what are you going to do? Force them to sell it? Revoke their licenses for United States ports?” he asked.

Either of those measures might spark some sort of retaliation from Dubai in the form of legal action, he said, or even something as extreme as some sort of a restrictions on American-bound shipments passing through the port of Dubai.

I thought Pierce Brosnan was a great Bond. He resusitated the Bond franchise from the insipid Roger Moore years. That said Daniel Craig seems perfectly capable of both handling the role and giving the Bond film series a creative jolt. Maybe because I had seen Layer Cake before the annoucement, I didn’t have too much trouble imagining Graig as Bond. The people that are dead set against Graig aren’t likely to be swayed, but for those that are wavering might want to rent the Layer Cake DVD. During the last few minutes of the film Daniel is James Bond replete with attitude, tailored suit and beautiful companion.

Did the Bush administration “authorize” the leak of classified information to Bob Woodward?

The vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) made exactly that charge tonight in a letter to John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence. What prompted Rockefeller to write Negroponte was a recent op-ed in the New York Times by CIA director Porter Goss complaining that leaks of classified information were the fault of “misguided whistleblowers.”

Rockefeller charged in his letter that the most “damaging revelations of intelligence sources and methods are generated primarily by Executive Branch officials pushing a particular policy, and not by the rank-and-file employees of intelligence agencies.”

Libby himself admitted leaking classified information, he also claims that it was Ok or at least not his fault because his boss, Vice President Cheney told him too. While that may make some eyes roll, old Scooter is claiming that Fitzgerald’s investigation of said administration leaks are unconstitutional. This points up a trend on the right to always try to use an Orwellian wedge on the narrative of truth. Secrets are secrets when the right says they are, but carefully crafted administration leaks to sway public opinion are lies perpetrated for our own good. America should live in fear when when the right tells them to, but put the breaks on that fear when there’s deal in the pipeline benefits friends of the administration. Bush followers masquerade as free press advocates while attacking freedom of the press

…. concerted and escalating attacks launched by the Bush Administration and its followers on the press’ ability to report on the Administration’s conduct. That is why it is so astounding and so grating to see William Bennett parading around as a brave crusader for a free press in his Washington Post Op-Ed today, where he (futilely) drags along Alan Dershowitz with him for cover and credibility.

According to the Op-Ed, “the press has betrayed not only its duties but its responsibilities” by not publishing the Mohammed cartoons. We are then subjected to one of the most nakedly hypocritical statements one will ever encounter:

[O]ur general agreement and understanding of the First Amendment and a free press is informed by the fact — not opinion but fact — that without broad freedom, without responsibility for the right to know carried out by courageous writers, editors, political cartoonists and publishers, our democracy would be weaker, if not nonexistent. There should be no group or mob veto of a story that is in the public interest.

As I’ve said before, I believe the press ought to publish those cartoons as a means of defending their right to publish ideas free of intimidation and attack. But the very last people from whom we ought to be hearing sermons about the importance of free expression and a free press — and about the accompanying duty of the press to publish even those ideas which provoke controversy, outrage and offense — are Bush supporters, who are plainly engaged in a serious crusade to punish any journalists who express ideas which they dislike or which they believe produce undesirable consequences.

The libertarian take on Bennet’s deep deep dive into hypocrisy, Just Asking, Did Lucky Bill Bennett Push For Papers To Show Pics of Piss Christ?

Years ago, Republican party chair Rich Bond explained that conservatives’ frequent denunciations of “liberal bias” in the media were part of “a strategy” (Washington Post, 8/20/92). Comparing journalists to referees in a sports match, Bond explained: “If you watch any great coach, what they try to do is ‘work the refs.’ Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack next time.”

Another subpoena has been issued in the Abramoff investigation

The investigators want to know more about Jack Abramoff and his work for his Russian clients. He represented two top Naftasib executives, Alexander Koulakovsky and Marina Nevskaya. Naftasib is a Russian energy giant, and a major supplier to the Russian military.

But wait! There’s more: investigators also want to know more about Tom DeLay’s work for the Russians. This is the second subpoena to name DeLay. So no bones about it – he is under investigation.

Yet I read another pretentious conservative OpEd today that gives Democrats advice on how to run their party, i.e. become more like conservatives. Since the general modus operandi of conservatism has been to operate like the Mafia on steroids they should be the last ones offering advice; unless they’re not being sincere. Conservatives wouldn’t be insincere now would they.

I think we’re all aware of the grave threat posed by gay vegetarian British pop stars, thank goodness the FBI and British Intell are on the case, MORRISSEY QUIZZED BY FBI

Morrissey explains, “The FBI and the Special Branch have investigated me and I’ve been interviewed and taped and so forth.

“They were trying to determine if I was a threat to the government, and similarly in England. But it didn’t take them very long to realise that I’m not.

“I don’t belong to any political groups, I don’t really say anything unless I’m asked directly and I don’t even demonstrate in public. I always assume that so-called authoritarian figures just assume that pop/rock music is slightly insane and an untouchable platform for the working classes to stand up and say something noticeable.

“My view is that neither England or America are democratic societies. You can’t really speak your mind and if you do you’re investigated.”

Maybe we’re living in a crowded house and we’re all getting on each other’s nerves, The planet’s population is projected to reach 6.5 billion at 7:16 p.m. EST Saturday, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and its World Population Clock.

MRS. SCHUYLER
(stopping him)
What is it, Smythe?

SMYTHE
Pardon me, madam – but what am I
to say to the newspapermen?

Mrs. Schuyler and Grayson. She rises and speaks imperiously:

MRS. SCHUYLER
Dexter, go out and tell those
ruffians I have nothing to say.

Grayson faces her placatingly.

GRAYSON
You can’t do that. Leave it to me.
I know how to handle reporters.

MRS. SCHUYLER
(with a shudder)
All right, then – get it over with.

Grayson turns officiously toward the waiting butler.

GRAYSON
We’ve decided to see the reporters.
Send in the man from the Tribune
first.

SMYTHE
Very good, sir.

MRS. SCHUYLER
Oh, Smythe, some bicarbonate of
soda, quick – double strength. I
know those news mongrels will
upset me.

SMYTHE
I’ve anticipated it, madame. The
bicarbonate is ready.

from the screenplay PLATINUM BLONDE (1931), story by Harry E. Chandlee and Douglas W. Churchill, Adaptation by Jo Swerling, Dialogue by Robert Riskin