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February 24, 2006



Dark figures flitted in the half light between the cold corrugated steel walls of the almost endless rows of containers.Like willow the wisps hovered and moved,gradually a pattern emerged,the figures were searching for something at last they hover around one container.One of the figure rapped on the side,suddenly there was a flash of bright light,a door had opened in the side of the container.The figures entered and the light diappeared as if it had never been as the door closed noiselessly behind them.
"I'm Karl" siad the man with his back against the blue light which illuminated the interior of the container with six computer screens.
"Good to meet you again Karl",said the man standing forward of the other two,he pulled his keffiyeh from his face,revealing his aquiline features and dark good looks,"I believe we have a problem"
"I prefer to see it as a challenge your Highness,our media and loyal opposition are kicking up a fuss about your deal for the terminals,politically it is a hard sell with the American people.Is there anything you can give us to put you in the good guy frame?"
"Money,his Highness said somewhat distastefully, are you getting like the Persians?"
"No not at all ",said Karl,"Do you have information as to the whereabouts of a certain individual who is a problem for both out countries,the President would be most grateful,as he will tell you when you meet later" "I can think of one such",said the Arab.
"Can I give you a lift?" said Karl,"No thanks", the Arab replied,"I have my own boat"."We will meet at the Whitehouse then"
The Arabs left the container yard and climbed aboard the 60 foot cruiser docked at the quay.
A giant fourlegged crane picked up the container and move slowly across the terminal.

JM Hanes

Keeper of the Golden Books, eh?: As a woman of letters, I must say the acronym suits you to a (wet)T.


Great post PeterUK !

Soylent Red

Among the rows of stacked metal boxes, longshoremen shuffled aimlessly, the glow of their cigarettes periodically brightening the course and slackened faces from which they dangled.

From the inky shadows, the Bald Man emerged.

"Omar, it's safe to come out now," he said quietly.

A short, swarthy man emerged and hurried to catch up to the Bald Man as he strode purposefully through the steel canyons.

"Do you think it can actually work?" Omar asked.

The Bald Man shrugged, and continued on. "Of course it will work. We're dealing with cretins here."

Omar looked doubtful but knew that questioning The Bald Man was out of the question. He had once witnessed this unimposing figure snap the neck of a collegue in Mumbai, much like one might snap the neck of a quail during a hunt in south Texas.

"Please then," Omar said cautiously. "Explain it again, for my benefit."

The Bald Man sighed. The brown people were useful for certain purposes, but it was no wonder the Jews had thrashed them soundly several times. They lacked the capacity for, shall we say, creative manipulation.

"Omar, I'm going to try to put this as plainly as possible, so please try to keep up.

In all the Muslim world, only in the U.A.E. can an infidel get a pork chop dinner, a stiff drink, and an all-night hooker on a Friday night. Your little slice of the Middle East, if anyone found out about it, would completely disrupt the American perceptual experience we have carefully maintained."

The Bald Man paused to let this sink in before he continued.

"Americans need to be afraid, Omar. They crave it more than drugs or assinine reality TV. Without enemies they make imaginary ones up, or worse, start investigating the government's activities. We obviously can't have that." At this thought, the Bald Man thought of his own beginnings, and chuckled softly.

"I, of course, identified this opportunity early on and have capitalized on it for the better part of my life. Inciting demonstrations and riots throughout the Muslim world, getting Ahmadinejad elected, forging intelligence documents. All part of doing what is necessary to give John and Jane Q. Public their enemy.

Now, your little slice of paradise is about to screw all of that up. Americans don't want to believe in a Muslim version of Indiana, they want blood thirsty Moorish hordes and Beau Geste!"

Omar reflected on what the Bald Man had said. He hesitated, and then asked, "But how do the Emirates help you in this goal?"

The Bald Man stopped and turned to face the startled Arab. "I'll tell you how, Omar.

"Democrats cannot live with the idea that The Boss might actually do something right. Therefore we must give them attractive windmills to tilt at. Tilting which, as it would happen, propagate our plans."

"You see Omar, Orwell thought that the state would try to convince people that 'War is Peace'. In fact, war is money. And the government would like to keep that very, very quiet.

"Every time some Arab flareup happens anywhere in the world, the boys at KBR stay up nights raking up the piles of cash that flow in. The Boss can enact new Executive powers to infringe on individual liberties and consolidate power. In short, we keep people off balance enough, even when it isn't founded in reality, and they'll keep letting us shred the Constitution and reach into their wallets."

The Bald Man turned and began walking again. "Of course, your country will continue to profit in inflated oil revenues. This little venture should give you enough cover to raise prices by five to ten percent, as 'payback' or whatever you want to call it. And hey! What are you gonna do? 'Those damn Arabs' and so forth."

"Meanwhile, we'll go ahead and let good old American Halliburton take over the job. It's like a double whammy really."

Omar finally said excitedly, "Your Democrat party must be fools not to see this! Truly this plan cannot fail, inshallah!"

At this the Bald Man erupted in laughter. "God has nothing to do with it Omar! Nothing at all!"

Miles away, the Pakistani dock crew finished loading the device into a shipping container, and quickly sealed it.

The man they called Phani arose from the crate he was sitting on nearby, and produced an official looking document. He wordlessly took the clipboard containing the manifold from the foreman, and replaced it with his own.

"The payment has been made to the account number emailed to you yesterday. I'm sure you will find it quite generous. All that remains is for you to sign this at the indicated spot."

The foreman nervously scanned the bustling area near the berth, and affixed his signature above the line "F.O.B. Hon. Hillary Clinton, Esq. United States"

Rick Ballard

I choose not to use the acronym in general discourse, although I take your meaning. Now, having dispensed with minor vacillations arising from an innocent (I am sure) misunderstanding, may we proceed to an appropriate reconciliation? Of accounts, I mean.

TAC waits for no man (nor woman, either).

Let us let bygones be bygones (with the explicit understanding that tolling has continued throughout.)

richard mcenroe

You're missing the real point. Dick Wolf will get an entire new season of Law & Order eps out of this.


Just for clarification...I'm a little dense, it would seem...is the Bald One Rove? Or Cheney?


Bravo Soylent Red!

Soylent Red

BTW, I think, once my check clears, I'd like to have a position in TAC. Perhaps Chief Historian and Virgin Inspector General.

I'd settle for just Virgin Inspector General, though.

Rick Ballard

Now now, Soylent. Mustn't let "True Colors" spoil the show.


The Bald One is always Rove-hence Rove/Soros/Schrum

Soylent Red


The Bald One is R/S/S. He really should be "The Bald-ING One", but I opted for the terminal case because, well, he does have a really, really big forehead.

"All the better to conspire with my dear..."



Thanks. I thought so, but I couldn't see Rove in the neck snapping role. Cheney fit it. Carry on...you guys are great...


Soylent (Virtual)Virgin Inspector General it is. See Rick about the details. BTW I need a little help with the divinations if you've time. You have a certain--literary flair.

Soylent Red


Also, as for the neck snapping bit, I envision the Bald Man as sort of an evil Republcian version of George Smiley.

Chubby and unimposing, but dangerous at all levels.

Soylent Red


It is with humblest gratitude and deference to The Most Worshipful Goddess that I offer my requisite 23 pieces of literary flair.


"Well,my little turdblossom",said the Prresident over the satellite like,"How is operation Boxcar going?"
"George by any measure we are ahead in the field of container munitions"."So all we have to do is plant them all over the world in docks and freightyards?" Asked the president.
"Already there just waiting for the satellite to go over", "We are completely clean,the containers are UAE and Chinese", said his companion.""The fleet's elswhere and our submarines are in for refit.
"So we can go anytime" asked the President,"whenever we have to",said his Turdblossom.

JM Hanes

"TAC waits for no man (nor woman, either)."

You will, however, have to wait till my MUSES have finished the laundry, cher. Kindly route future invoices to mM directly; if they take a liking to you, you'll discover that they dispense my funds with alacrity, if not, well, you may end up thinking that it's just not worth the trouble, as I do. Perhaps you'll have better luck with 'em, the perverse little gadflies.


Terrific as usual. Saw a reference to the "manifold" use by one of the "useful idiots" but don't know which one actually said
Love to know, as that is a definite keeper for someone who long ago was employed with an exclusively containerized ship line. Sadly we had no RORO vessels.

JM Hanes

So, did the newly appointed vVIG sign on because he thinks that virgins are virgins, or because he knows they're not, I wonder?


In Riyadh, Emir BigShmeer was angry. This delay in the P&O takeover was going to cost him. "I told that shmuck accountant this would happen. Ten year bonds and some nice property in Nice was fine for me, but not Levenberg said P & O P& O!"

Just then his aide tapped him gently on the foot with his forehead. "Effendi, Ambassador last name lastname, that WASP guy from Boston is here."
"Let him in, but hide the whiskey first and bring us some of the disgusting sweet tea we pretend to drink when he's around"

The Emir lifted his 500 pound body slowly from the filligreed gold throne custom made to fit his ample tuchas.."Ambassador"

"Emir ,"he said, a queasinesss overtook him as he saw the aide approaching with one of those cups of revolting sugar tea.Still, he maintained the smile and composure ten generations of last name last name had bred in his bones. He politely waved aside the halavah knowing that with the tea, his jaws would be stuck together in a glucosely paste.

"Emir," he repeated."I know this delay will cost you money, and we don't want that at all."
The Emir smiled. Not losing money always made him happy. Making money made him happier still. Four wives, dozens of concubines, Hundreds of children and countless courtesans shtups made money essential.
"Here's our plan. We have a couple of our top guys in shmatas approach Al Agiabba this afternoon, you shot (and miss) at them. We issue a statement from AQ saying we mounted the attack. You issue a statement saying you repelled it and how important this facility is. Then raise the oil price by 50 cents a barrel with no one bitching at all."
They were men of honor after all. They shook on the deal knowing each would carry out his desingated part.


Sue - I was intrigued by those two NY Times editorials, but even the first one, after pounding the table, backs the Schumer-King bill calling for a delay and more study.

I don't know - if they've shifted, it didn't look like much.

JM Hanes

OMGoddess, a mead in the keyboard moment! When you finish with lastname lastname, I'd love to add him to my collection of passalong plants.

JM Hanes


Delay & study is the standard win-win isn't it? Everybody remembers the roaring opposition, nobody notices when the thing finally passes.


Consider lastname lastname a gift , JMH

Soylent Red


Bonus points for current events and "glucosey paste", which elicited an amused snort on my end.


I wish I could take credit for the manifold reference. It was accidental, as the brain cell containing "bill of lading" was temporarily 404.

Rick Ballard

Tooch glared at the printout in his hand. Those pezzi di merda WASP accountants of his would probably call it an income statement but no bastardo di mal sangue would ever see it. Income from the docks had weakened quite a bit since he had been forced to deal severely with the Colombian. Well, you either had honor, or you didn't. If you didn't, why should you be allowed to live?

It wasn't a hard decision.

Now income looked like it might slip again. Christ, there wasn't even any contraband involved. This was just a matter of a new "boss" taking the place of the usual people on the docks. But it made "his" people nervous - and he had to do something. The greasy scmeck he had put in the Senate wasn't worth crap. He was a friggin' magnet for cameras but his head was so far up his butt that he would die without seeing daylight.

The yenta, (why the hell did yiddish have a word that Italian lacked?) was going to pay off better than Chuck the schmeck could ever be expected to. What had he heard form those Indonesians - "You buy these assholes, they stay bought."

That's the kind of pol he wanted in his pocket - and he didn't need the Lippo Group's help putting her there.

Soylent Red


As vVIG, I endeavour to do the following:

1. Ascertain which are not. Develop database of contact information for future research purposes.

2. Ascertain which are.

3. Ascertain which should continue to be.

4. Pass those ones along for sacrifice.

It's a dirty, thankless job. But for the good of the cult, as Rove is my witness, I'll do my best.


Schrummy checked on the recent report from Porter at the CIA." Thank God that disaster of SLAm Dunk fame was gone...
I know Bushie loved him but don't let the door hit you in the ass when you leave. "God this place has been the thorn in my side for months" It leaks like a sieve,and I'm convinced Tenet is behind all this Plame business that had my shorts in a twist for a while.." I don't think I can ever forgive him for that..but my motto is -Don't get mad -get even." Well I did one thing right this week-I shut down those NSA hearings with Roberts and the intelligence committee. God that Ports deal was the PERFECT distraction! Of course Russert on MTP started it off on Sunday and poof Gunslinger Cheney and NSA hearing -gone in a puff of smoke. " Am I good or what? Why I'm almost indispensable." Almost-Thank God for Luskin!"


I can see you're perfect for the job, Soylent. Another great personnel decision.

It was freezing on the dock and Ricco who'd inherited his longshoreman's job form his Father Ricco II who'd inherited it from his father Ricco I was a happy man. So much had "fallen off the truck" that day that he ould add another wing to his Turnsberry Isle mansion. And that didn't include the three packs of heroin he got as his take from the shipload of Columbian palm hearts..the cans with the white star his brother said, and bingo once again he was right.

As he left his shift, he waved to Smith the customs guy. They he slipped him a carefully palmed c-note .

Smith never demanded much. He had someone on the side and a few hundred bucks a day from the guys was all he wanted..Not too much .

Smith, in turn, appreciated Ricco and his gang. Anything funny going on at the pier and they were the first to report it. Like that bomb in the shipment from Venezuela or that half starved raghead in the rope from Pakistan.
They had too much to lose to let anything interfere.



Yes, the 1st op-ed did call for the Schumer-King bill calling for a delay and more study, but ended by saying "President Bush should make the bill unnecessary by acting on his own to undo the ports deal." The 2nd op-ed says "The United Arab Emirates deserves a serious, respectful explanation if Dubai Ports World is not going to be given the right to manage American ports — a right that has already been granted to companies from countries like Britain and China."

Quite a difference in Bush making the bill unnecessary and ending the ports deal and showing the UAE serious, respectful explanations.


His week was coming to an end. He'd promised his wife they'd go to the movies and dinner tonight..a rare night on the town. Just one more detail-Fitzjerkoff. He'd done a great job getting a mole on his enormous staff..a cute kid who knew just how to do the job.

Moley, as he called him, persuaded Fit to go for broke in the presser. "Really slam the guy," he urged Fitzjerkoff. If you don't people are going to say what? You indicted him for different versions of what thoe yutzes Russert and Cooper said he said?No one believes them.Say she was 'classified' say something dramatic about national security. Throw in 'kicking sand in the prosecutor's face'. Be careful not to let them pin you down. You know the tap dance we did in the brief to Tatel."

But now they were getting to crunch time. Libby was fighting back and it was time to set up the pratfall.
"Moley, he whispered into the phone."
Moley was at the phone booth on Dupont Circle where he'd waited in the cold for the call, fending off two drunks and a tourist from France who thought the new style booth was a pissoir.
"Here's the next thing we do. Get him drunk.I'm sending over a gal who he thinks is from the NYT. Urge him to tell her how he has no limits whatsoever..that he's God's prosecutor, that Comey and Margolis promised him he'd be more famous and powerful than Starr and all the other independent and special prosecutors ever.That he has no limits whatsoever..

She'll be wired, of course."

JM Hanes

Very good, then vVIG. I'm anti-virgin myself, but I suppose someone has to deal with the little FauVes, and a certain, shall we say, skepticism is bound to be useful.

Soylent Red

Downtime was a luxury The Bald Man had sworn off years ago. Still, he occasionally allowed himself to ease up a bit. Friday nights, alone beneath the Washington suburbs in The Grotto, The Bald Man often allowed his intellect to turn to less pressing matters.

"PoPo, bring me another Remy Martin, then you may retire," he said.

The 350-lb Samoan nodded and went to fetch the cognac. The Bald Man lit a Zino and reflected on the gargantuan man as he receded into the darkness. He had won PoPo in an all night card game in Bangalore, and had been generally pleased with his services. The elaborate facial tatoos were a bit disconcerting, but PoPo had proven to be most trustworthy. Moreso since The Bald Man had had his tongue removed.

PoPo returned with the warmed snifter in his enormous paw, and delicately set it on an enameled coaster bearing the royal seal of the Emir of Bahrain, within easy reach of The Bald Man.

"You may retire for the night, PoPo," The Bald Man said as he returned his attention to the monitor.

The news cycle was winding down for the week, and The Bald Man allowed himself a bit of harmless recreation. Reaching for the middle cell phone in the row of three, he hit 7 on speed dial and cleared his throat.

"Al, it's Schrummy. How goes the battle?" His delivery was near perfect. "Caught your comments in Saudi. I just have to tell you-brilliant. Absolutely brilliant."

The drawl on the other side of the line sounded tired and lethargic. You gotta lay off that fried chicken Al, The Bald Man thought to himself. Between that and the vein poppers you're gonna stroke yourself out.

"Bit of trouble with the network, but I've been meaning to call you. This port deal is hot right now. Think you can work something up for me over the weekend? I've got a conference coming up in Helsinki and I'd like to tie it in with global climate change," Al said.

Sweet Jesus, The Bald Man thought. This guy is the gift that keeps on giving.

"I'll see what I can do for you. Check your email around 3 p.m. on Monday. I'll turn out some real top of fold stuff for you," he said, carefully adding that peculiarly gritty Schrum cackle.

"Well, you know, I'd really appreciate that. I've always thought that..."

Ten minutes later, when Al had wrapped up his usual eco-riff, The Bald Man returned his attention to the phone.

"OK Al. Give my love to Tipper and the kids. Keep an eye on that email Monday," The Bald Man said as he flipped the phone closed before Gore could respond.


The Bald Man took a sip of warm cognac and opened a new Word document. He had taken the liberty of modifying the simplistic code a bit over a lunch break earlier in the year, and the new modifications allowed him to quickly cull Democratic Underground talking points and hammer them into a real barnburning rant. He clicked on the pull down menu titled "Rhetorical Style" and selected "Cotton Mather".

As the document saved and archived itself, The Bald Man let out a large sigh of smoke and Remy Martin fumes.

Since he knew Gore would have begun checking his email compulsively starting about 9 seconds after he had hung up, The Bald Man set the auto sender to 2:59:58 PM for the following Monday. Gore was always more greatful when his systolic was elevated.

He then opened up his own proprietary climate control software, scheduled a moderate cold snap and blizzard for Helsinki on the date of the conference, and set the trigger for 16 minutes after Gore's speech started.

Relaxation was good for the soul, The Bald Man thought.


You are the master , Soylent. A real eye for detail.


For we of lessor talents it is better to be early and be warm up act for Soylent's starring performaces. Will remember that for next week's FNL.

With satellite TV and the Internet he didn't have to wait for the trusted couriers he'd inherited from his father to deliver the news
of the world or monthly reports. He looked out at the vista of the sylvan hills of Sicily. It surprised him that he did not miss the sophisticated life he had led in England while earning his degrees from Cambridge and the London School of Economics. He asked his father once,
"How can you be the King of a kingdom you have never seen?" "When you are the true
King, you are the Kingdom, my son."

The new Kingdom pressed a buzzer for his consigliere who would be happy that Tuchini had gone too far. "Come please and bring
his file."

Guido, 32 years older, had served his father well. He was waiting for this day. The CSPAN
brought that Bastarda Senator Schumile challenging the honor of an Alito to Guido's cottage. Tuchini should have paid then for
the insults. But his nephew said this was the way of U S politics, it meant nothing, is show.
"Alito will sit on the Supreme Court of the United States of America right beside Scalia.
Two out of nine, reason to be proud," he said. He had been correct about Alito.

"You were right, Uncle Guido, about the two of them. Stoopidones! I know you've
been watching it all, four going on five days of it. And Tuchini put him up to it, Tuchini is proud
of it. Keeping the ragheads out" he said. "He knows nothing of the history of Sicily and loves to throw in that Venito dialect of
his mother. "Means more union members", he said. "But not your union, Stoopidone! A FEDERAL Homland Security union, FCS!"

"When?" Guido asked. "Gillespi will receive the Senator's file on Monday morning. Calliguri is already making the preparations
for a burial at sea. Should we move Soprano over and teach New York a real lesson? That's what I want to talk to you about."

"And here's my handwritten note
that's to be hand delivered to the
White House by our Ambassador.
Just a simply thank you to President Bush for giving Italian
Americans another reason to
celebrate their success in the new



The creation of the Homeland Security Agency was the biggest peacetime mobilization ever.

Maybe I should qualify 'ever' a little. Ignorance is bliss.


Would it be possible to raise the curtain a little earlier,I was going to bed when you called overture and beginners,about 3:30am here.


P&O Ports has a terminal operations division and a stevedore operations division.

I have the following information on the terminal operations in North America:

The New York City Passenger Ship Terminal: 5 berths

Port Authority of New York and New Jersy Port Newark Container Terminal: 7 berths (In this operation P&O is a partner with a Danish company)

Philadelphia: ? berths

Baltimore: 13 berths

Port of Miami Terminal Operating Co.: 7 berths

New Orleans: 4 berths

Vancouver, Canada: ? berths

I don't have much information on the stevedore operations other than the locations given on their web site.

Questions to ponder:

What happens if the US blocks the deal as far as the US is concerned but Canada allows DP World to operate in Vancouver?

When will the contracts be up for each operation at each location?

When will any subcontracts be up up for each operation at each location?

When will the union contracts be up at each operation at each location?


It's not nice to mess with Mother Market. Where would you have the money invested?

And Ledeen's solution sound practical if it's not just bluff. Why would anyone really want to be silent investors?


From the Port of Houston Authority's web site:

Fact Sheet: Implication of the Proposed Acquisition of P&O Ports by Dubai Ports World on the Port of Houston Authority
HOUSTON, Feb. 23, 2006 -- The recent announcement of plans by the Dubai Ports World (DP World) to purchase P&O Ports (P&O) will not have an impact on any of the facilities or operations of the Port of Houston Authority (PHA).

The PHA is a political subdivision chartered by the state of Texas. It owns and either operates or leases 12 public facilities. The PHA does not own or operate private facilities.

Specifically in Houston, P&O leases space at the PHA's Barbours Cut Container Terminal for container and chassis repair and container storage. At the PHA's Turning Basin Terminal, P&O maintains a freight handling assignment and is licensed to provide stevedore services. P&O does not own or operate public (PHA) facilities.

P&O, a private company headquartered in London, is involved in worldwide container terminal operations and stevedore services for the maritime industry.

The Port of Houston comprises more than 150 public (PHA) and private terminals along the 53-mile Houston Ship Channel. The port's private terminals include several U.S.-based, foreign-based and multi-national corporations. Approximately 85% of cargo that moves through Houston's port is handled at private facilities. A large portion of the port's private facilities are engaged in production, refining and transportation operations related to the global oil, gas and chemical industries.


All port facilities in the U.S. that are engaged in commercial activities across interstate lines or international borders -- whether public or private, domestic or foreign -- are subject to state and federal security statutes as well as the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.

The federal government takes the lead in protecting America's ports. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, primarily through the activities of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Coast Guard, runs many programs to secure U.S. ports. The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for maritime security and reviewing and approving security plans for vessels, port facilities and port areas which are required by the MTSA. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for cargo security, and screens and inspects cargo entering the U.S. through every U.S. port.

Other cargo security programs include:

-- Container Security Initiative (inspection of U.S. import cargo
by CBP prior to leaving the outbound foreign port)
-- Use of radiation detection equipment to screen for weapons of
mass destruction
-- Use of other non-intrusive inspection devices
-- Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT), which
encourages maritime stakeholders to verify their security

The Port Security Grant program and the pending implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) are also important parts of America's port security portfolio to provide layered security.

While the federal government takes the lead on waterside and cargo security, overall security is a shared responsibility with port authorities, facility and vessel operators, and state and local law enforcement agencies providing additional security. The Maritime Transportation Security Act also establishes local security committees to evaluate and make improvements in each port.

In general, port infrastructure throughout the U.S. and around the world consists of diverse collections of docks, warehouses, and terminals. For the past two decades, it has been a common maritime industry practice for private port facilities in some countries to be operated by organizations that are based in other countries. This is widely regarded as the nature of trade and commerce in today's global econom


Very good larwyn--Molto bene.

Peteruk--you needn't wait for me to begin FNL.



The fog continues to lift over the harbor.

My guess is that the PHA arrangement re DP World will be quite similar at other ports.

Id est, DP World will be leasing some cargo container terminals at the larger ports and take over some stevedore operations at the smaller ports.


Soylent Red


Why couldn't we expand/retool the Merchant Marine to handle all dock and airport operations? Make them a sixth branch.

The longshoremen and TSA would pitch a fit, but with all the talk of "jointness" in national defense I think it could be sold to the American public as a logical defense initiative. As a military branch, it would have Congressional oversight (no UAE "debacles"), plus information would have a less circuitous stream into the intelligence community.

It damn sure would put the kibosh on the union stranglehold, which is enough for me.

Just curious where the flaw in my thinking is.

Rick Ballard

"Just curious where the flaw in my thinking is."

Guido and Sal will drop by shortly. A crystaline clarity will be achieved and your knowledge of salient factors will expand exponentially. I advise taking quite a bit of aspirin prior to their arrival.


Yes, indeed, Rick..I'm glad I put Soylent in charge of the VVirgins and you in charge of the books...


Why can't I be in charge of the Virgins?

Gary Maxwell

Fox meet henhouse mean anything to you?


Man--the political alignement on this issue is weird I just read that Justin Raimondo is for it? Did Hillary just lose the "base" and the middle?


Butt out Gary. I'm trying to get the job.


The job is Soylent's as long as he lives.And don't get any ideas. There is a food, beverage and entertainment concession to be filled.

Gary Maxwell


If you get the job its going to make my position in the Honor Guard that much more difficult. Just a bit of proaction so that the honor guard is lark not a vigil.

Soylent Red


Of course the unions and the unsavory elements that sponsor them will go apeshit.

But suppose the unions could be offered a permanent sub-contract under MM oversight. Like what the groundpounders do with KBR.

Solely on the basis of increased ease of intelligence flowthrough I think the whole system would be really neat.

So discounting union freakouts (which, granted, is a large element to discount) could the CoC simply retask MM, or would it take Congress?

I dunno. It's still a germ of an idea, and no one listens to me anyway. But I always fall back on the old saw that interesting problems require interesting solutions.

Soylent Red

Commander in Chief (CiC), rather.

Johnny E.

Damn. I wonder what all you neocons would be saying if Bill Clinton tried to do something this stupid. It is sad how the Bush Goose Steppers bless anything the Crawford idiot passing before them. Connect the DOTS.


And what an appealing and persuasive, not to say well-reasoned argument that is,Johnny. Working on the theory that you can catch more flies with vinegar--that's the ticket.

Rick Ballard


The MM consists of privately owned ships carrying the US flag and partaking in various subsidy arrangements which contain a proviso that the ship may be "nationalized" if needed. Personnel involved are primarily sailors and there are not really that many of them. They are all union members though.

If you are talking about oversight only, then the DoT is the right agency but it definitely would take legislation to make any such scheme work - and it would quickly become a rather sticky political as well as legal issues.

I still haven't seen a lick of evidence that a problem exists so I can't get excited about any fixes.


"Damn. "Wash your mouth with soap young man,

"I wonder what all you neocons would be saying if Bill Clinton tried to do something this stupid. It is sad how the Bush Goose Steppers bless anything the Crawford idiot passing before them. Connect the DOTS."

I will try and connect the DOLT,this was a private sale of one company to another,neither company is US owned,either privately or publicly,Bush has nothing to do with the sale.
If the UAE do not buy then someone else will.P&O are going to sell so the left will have to live with it,just as they will have to live with the race of the new owners.

JM Hanes


"Alito will sit on the Supreme Court of the United States of America right beside Scalia."

ROTFLMAO! Took all day for my keyboard to dry out. :)


Someday, Soylent Red, and sooner rather than later, the Transportation Safety Administration will have its mandate expanded to include freight.


Johnny E. The dots have been carefully placed there by someone much more artistic, creative, and clever than you, but if you do your part just right there will be a wonderful picture emerge. Be good, remember your numbers, and you may erase if you make a mistake.


I have come to the conclusion that it would be of questionable utility for an AQ cell to control a port terminal. Say they had a nuclear weapon that they wanted to smuggle into the US via container cargo. Their first problem would be to successfully forge documents and evade inspections overseas and thereby place the container on a ship bound for the US. If they have done all of that without arousing suspicion what difference does it make who controls the damn dock it is unloaded at? (And BTW I am suspicious that all the money we are spending on radiation monitors is a waste of money with regard to finding a nuclear weapon...lead shielding is cheap).

It seems to me that the greatest danger is that a nuclear weapon could be inserted into a legitimate cargo container while in transit on the high seas...so we should worry more about AQ ownership or control of ships.

And just as disturbing in a way is that politicians can demogogue these issues with impunity because it would be irresponsible to shoot down their crap because that might tip off the enemy as to which avenues to avoid etc.


Demagoguery is what the Democrats have come to be all about. They just reek of it.


SR, In my humble opinion the movie Soylent Green was the greatest B movie ever made starring, of course the estimable Charlton Heston, friend of gun ownership notwithstanding. Who will ever forget his exclamation "its made out of PEEEEEPULLLLL!" upon making that horrific discovery?

Anything of interest behind Soylent Red?


Thw WaPo today has an excellent diagram showing how the container shipping security program works. I am sick to death of the Kerry meme about only 5% of the containers being checked. It's utterly false.


Five percent of the contents of Kerry's skull gets regularly inspected.


Would that such head inspections were the case, kim.

Here's the cite to this excellent graphic:


And only by the wisp of a little old lady bearing a faint lantern, and sighing "Integrity, Integrity, Integrity", words tumbling and rebounding throughout the cavern.


Why do you suppose that was the admonition of a dying woman to a man she knew better than anyone else?


Well, it is a measure of his political tonedeafedness. First of all, I don't believe it is true; we know he has a rich fantasy life, and it is just the sort of thing that he would make up thinking his audience would be impressed, seeing it the same way he does. That brings up the second point, that if true, we don't really know the context, though any speculation for the need for such an admonition leads easily to dark thoughts. Perhaps she was recollecting her own life, and son John, in his typical way, thought she was talking to him about him. But still, to bring it up is artifice, true or not. Phony as John Kerry bill.


To continue with our examples of the incompetence and hysteria of our news media on this issue, I give you today's AP lead (in part) discussing the delay in the deal:

Broader U.S. review of the security risks from its deal to take over major operations at six American ports.

Again: "take over major operations at six American ports".

As noted above again and again and again, DP World will lease a few cargo container terminals at the six ports (24 terminals of 829) and lease some stevedore operations at 21 other smaller ports.

By no definition of the term does that equate to "major operations". This is a small part of some of the operations at the six ports.

Again, this is today's AP. Five days after the story first broke they still can't get the basic information out.



at 21 other smaller ports.

Correction. At 15 other smaller ports.

The total is 21 ports: 6 major and 15 smaller.


Rick Ballard


The WaPo article gets it wrong beginning at Step 1. First off, no American company with a modicum of sense assumes carriage risk from foreign manufacturers dock to their own warehouse dock. Second, American "freight forwarders" (unless they have a branch in Italy - and their are some) do not arrange trucking in Italy. And the quickest (and least expensive) route from Northern Italy to a customer in Maryland is probably 'K' lines - Genova/Norfolk.

Most deals I've seen transfer title to goods based upon signed B/Ls - it has to be on the boat before there's a deal.

There are a few other laughers in there - maybe I'll do a blog on it.


Please--because I think people don't know and it is important. I bet Thom would love a fisking of the WaPo piece..

Rick Ballard

I don't think I will, this time. They have many of the facts mostly correct and I don't detect much bias. That's the "gold standard" for the WaPo and we shouldn't discourage their journos from trying to do factual reporting.

I would really like to see a picture of a ship that could carry 10,000 40 foot containers, though. I believe 9,200 20 footers is the current record. Picky, picky, picky - I know.


've been watching this hooha develop and realize that I missed two good career choices:(a) demagogue--it's soooo easy; and(b) a Krugman type economics professor at Princeton--you can be batshit crazy and still live in a 14K sq fr house in Princeton, get cushy consulting deals, etc.

What was I thinking? What are all you thinking? Let's set up our own placement operation:Shit for Brains Economists and Security Experts.Inc.


You're right that WaPo oversimplified and skipped fact that a more "normal" shipment of a container from "over-there" would have intermediate ports of call.
I posted at A J Strata after I used
the link to WaPo chart that Clarice
provided over there.

Freight forwarders also consolidate freight from different shipper and load it into same container - they get special rates
and can make big $$$ by mixing high
value with high conference shipping rates into the mix, as there Freight All Kinds rate is low.

It is a PULSE BOMB that the experts
are most concerned about. Wipe out
our electronics and we are in stone age - hope all have a manual
can opener handy and that your water supply doesn't depend on pumping stations - not to mention finding a store that would have clerks that even knew price of any item without barcode readers - not to mention, can't open cash register, you can't use your credit or debit card.

And even the supposedy "shielded" systems would be compremised if at
any point a tiny bit of insulation
was missing.

A "dirty bomb" or "chemical weapon"
going off inside a port is localized.

A pulse bomb must be detonated high
above ground level - so a missle on a little AQ pirate ship or old Ruskie sub is what is really occupying the highest levels of our protectors. Need Nuke warhead
and missle to deliver only as close
to our shore to have target point
in range.

My Tom Clancey senario at AJ Strata
won't fly if we have close eye on cargo and suspicious stowage/berthing of containers on the ships.

And as we can't even get on consensus on Osama or Usama, wouldn't some Arabs come in handy - they can tell historical tribal links just by being able to read the Arabic name.

God save us from President Biden -
his guide to everything security is the 911 Ommission!

Soylent Red


Actually, Soylent Red was one of the many Soylents in that movie. There were several varieties mentioned in one scene with Heston and Edward G. Robinson. Green was the latest version.

But as Green was made of people ("You've got to let the world know!), my particular incarnation of Soylent Red is made up mostly of lunch meat and black coffee, with liberal doses of nicotine and beer.

Sorry to disappoint...

Now away with me, back to the virgin processing compound.

Soylent Red

The EMP/pulse bomb scenario is just plain hokum in the real world.

It comes from a 2003 conference in which a bunch of Cold Warriors scientists were brought together for the nominal purposes of "investigation", but all were affiliated in one way or the other with the missile defense system.

The study presumes a Soviet-sized nuke being detonated at a certain atmospheric sweet spot. All the wild-eyed doomsday theorists like to tie that in to the freighter-launched Shahabs in Iran.

Unfortunately, these presumptions don't map well with reality as

A. Iran won't be capable of making a nuke of that size until well into the future.

B. A nuke of the correct size would require a better delivery system than a Shahab.

A container-borne ground burst would only produce localized effects, so an EMP attack requires that the detonation go off somehwere inside the prescribed sweet spot in the atmosphere.

I'll see if I can dig up the commission report and the stuff I read on how EMPs actually work and what the effects are.

Comparing the two served to enlighten me a great deal about how this particular threat is pretty far down on the list of things to worry about.


Tks Soylent,
if you locate. That is what truly freightens me.
What is smaller warhead on missle
that just delivered over NYC/New Jersey area - what then? All
financial corps are "supposed" to have back-ups scattered in other regions - but do they?

Once flyovers of damage area from
Katrina/Rita was shown, and fools were saying this could have been a terrorist attack with no warning - so even more people would have been
trapped, I asked a friend to compute area using damage radius of
FatMan or Little Boy.

He came up with ~90 nukes to cover
same area.

And as you seem to know about these things how can people be living in, and tourists be visiting
both Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Only ~60 years have passed - what about the half life estimates we hear if one went off in NYC??/


Clarice: "(I've got chants and divinations to work out and virtual cirgins to pick.)"

Not to mention malicious speculation.

"Now whoever ahasn't been
assigned, let me know what you're iterested in, There's room for everyone and with Rick handling
the finances, we've money enough to compensate everyone richly."

I've been looking for full-time work. May I be your proofreader/editor? (j/k sweety. You keep firing & I'll keep reading.)


Larwyn, suggestion as time saver: On the sites allowing comments but requiring sign in, I keep an MS notepad handy and copy and paste my comment on it before posting, just in case the system spits me out (which seems fairly often). TypeKey, for instance, really sucks.

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