Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Heaven's Angels, And Ports In A Storm

First off, I'm glad these guys found a good use for the obnoxious noise that motorcycles put out. Because the obnoxious noise that comes out of motorcycles is far less annoying than the obnoxious noise coming from the Rev. Freddy Kreuger. (Also, if anyone has a copy of The Slant's Fred Phelps "he's gay" pic, let me know.)

Second, I don't agree with Dub-Style on many things, but this is one of them. There's no reason a company should be barred from operating our ports just because they're Arabs. Anyway, Dubai likes us. It's not like we're turning over our ports to al-Qaeda or something.

This doesn't mean that our port security system is adequate. It's not. It doesn't matter who runs the damn things; we need to beef up port security across the board. It just means that we shouldn't play favorites with our contracts based on country of origin. A private company from the UAE has just as much right to operate a port in the U.S. as a private company from Britain.

Perhaps the most appropriate question to ask is not whether a company owned by Arabs should be operating our ports, but whether our ports should be operated by private companies at all. Nationalizing our ports would probably make security easier, though it would make the operation of the ports less efficient.

Anyway, I was watching the televised version of CNN for some reason, and I noticed that Wolf Blitzer and the horribly irresponsible Jack Cafferty are trying to stir up as much nativist sentiment as they can against the deal.

One final note on the cartoon controversy: you might recall that European powers - rightly - claimed that the publication of the cartoons was protected by free speech and free press concerns. I guess not all speech is created free: Shoah denier David Irving was jailed by an Austrian court for preaching his pseudo-history. There is a list of countries that ban Holocaust denial - notably missing from this list is Denmark. However, those countries whose governments defended the publication of the cartoons - most notably Germany and France - are talking out of both sides of their mouth here. Much of the reason non-Western Muslims don't understand freedom of speech is because of double standards like this.


Matthew B. Novak said...

I concur on the free speech bit - almost posted something on it myself.

But part of the controversy over the port company thing is that it's supposed to be a state-run company taking over, not a private company. And UAE, friendly-ish or not, certainly had ties to al-Qaeda.

Matthew B. Novak said...

I should say too that just because it's a state-owned company doesn't necessarily mean they're any more or less dangerous, and overall I agree that they should be allowed to conduct legitimate business, especially in light of the openness that they've shown towards conforming with extra security measures.

Mike said...

The Fred Phelps pic.

As far as the free speech thing goes, I have come to understand in recent years that such double standards are often associated with a "liberal" or "progressive" mindset by conservatives, which is at least one small reason for those words' negative connotation among that group. Indeed, I too have noticed some liberals are unwilling to put up with anything that isn't PC.

I quote President Andrew Shepherd, Jed Bartlett's predecessor in Aaron Sorkin 's White House: "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours."

Sorry to France, Germany, Austria, radical Islam, but that's what liberty is. I'll take it any day over the alternative.

Anonymous said...

Nationalizing our ports would probably make security easier, though it would make the operation of the ports less efficient.

Yes because nationalizing airport security turned out to be a smashing success!

- miguel