Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Back from the trip we took to Tucson to help my parents move from the house they’ve lived in since 1970 to a new place in town. I’ll post more on that later when I get some pictures up and running. Give me patience, as work is pretty insane right now, especially with my having to play some catch up with projects left a bit in the lurch with the Tucson excursion.

But I see that the insanity didn’t abate while I was gone. Reading the paper today I note that the Bush administration has decided that it is in our nation’s best interest to outsource port security in New York City and five other ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. Mind, not a company in the UAE but a company owned by the UAE. A nationalized company.

What has given the right wing vapors over this is their usual xenophobia on the issue – witness the rending of garments over the potential sale of Unocal to the Chinese petroleum company earlier last year, and the citing of national security as the primary reason. Never mind the fact that most of Unocal’s oil holdings are abroad, not in the United States, and that any effort by the Chinese to corner the world oil market would be a dismal failure, up there with the 1980’s Japanese efforts to corner the US real estate market.

Of course what people are finally waking up to realize is that at no point in our history have three Chinese nationals participated in a massive terrorist attack on the United States mainland, and at no point in our nation’s history did said terrorist organization have logistics meetings in a city in China.

Even the rabid right is recognizing this decision as Harriet Miers 2.0. Unfortunately the bugs in the software haven’t been fixed yet, and the stakes are now higher, what with the Bush Service Pack fix out today, promising to veto any congressional override – what would be the first of his presidency.

Digby sums it up nicely in his post today, The Trifecta, but he also makes the point well in a post from Monday:

“I've never really subscribed to the great man theory, but I have to say that in my experience organizations do take their cues from the person at the top. When you have a president who says things this ridiculous every single day, for more than five years, I think it's safe to say that he is a boob. And his government is a perfect reflection of him: incompetent, arrogant, short-sighted, impulsive, secretive. A failure. That is the story of Bush's life. let no one ever say again that it doesn't matter who the president is because he'll have great people around him. Bush's government is as bad as anyone could have predicted when we saw him flub that answer about foreign leaders back in 1999 --- he was clearly unprepared and unqualified. And he's proven it.” [corrected for some spelling mistakes.]

Earlier last week a meme on the developed that never took hold, probably because the snow in New York City never took hold either: A comparison between how the federal government handled New Orleans after Katrina and how New York City’s government handled the worst blizzard since the Civil War. The contrast between a gutted and outsourced FEMA screwing it up at every possible moment and in every possible way and an Old School Unionized Department of Sanitation solving the problem in 16 hours and in time for a problem-free Monday rush hour. People talk about how conservative government concepts regarding minimal and outsourced government services is the solution to our glorious and tax-free lives. It seems to fail on all counts. Putting someone who despises government solutions in charge of government is going to be as successful as putting a large group of non-violent pacifists on the front lines of an army. Our President, of course, would have no personal knowledge of that analogy.