This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Comments here or emails to me at abulsme@abulsme.com are encouraged... or follow me on Twitter as @abulsme.

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March 2006
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Ports and Such

I have been meaning to post something about the whole DP World blow up thing ever since it started, but just never got around to it. Noticing as I eat lunch here today that Phatback has commented I thought this would be a good time…

Here is my thought… I disagree with W on almost everything he does, and think is not only wrong but dangerous in most things… but, as much as I hate to say it, W (and Al) are completely right on this one.

Were there some problems with the process in terms of it following the procedure it probably should have followed? Yes. Definately. And that is bad. Do I have an issue with the fact that DPW is not just a foreign company, but is actually completely owned by a foreign GOVERNMENT… yes… But… while both of those things were mentioned in the debate a decent bit, it was not the focus, the focus was that DPW was Arab and the risk was higher because of that. Looking at all that has come out I think that in the end the conclusion the administration seems to have been completely sound. And the orgy of xenophobia and proivincialism from both parties that erupted over this was absolutely shameful.

Are there security issues at the ports? Yes. Damn right there are. People have been pointing out how vunerable they are since well before 9/11, and certainly ever since. But do they have to do with the ownership of the companies that run the ports? Not at all. They are completely independant issues. Why was it OK that the Brits were runniing things, but suddenly when it is another ally of ours that happens to be Arab it is not OK? Come on…

And some people have even been pushing the idea that NO foreign company should be involved in these sorts of things AT ALL. Now, at least that idea is a bit more self-consistant, but it is so isolationist and backwards… Get with it… it is a global economy… national borders will mean less and less as the decades progress. International ownership is not an apriori bad thing. In fact often it can be very positive. And if we are going to decide it is bad across the board, get ready to say goodbye to many things we take for granted….

Anyway…. for the past several weeks while this depate flared up I just kept shaking my head every time I heard the talking heads… taking something which should be a non-issue, and flaring it up to a major thing… with the only end result being that in the end we further decrease trust in the world about us (already at an all time low), discourage foreign investment in the US and give some port business to a US company (as Al says, probably Halliburton)… and do absolutely nothing at all to improve the security at our ports.

Thank you to the raving irrational xenophobic hordes in both parties for that one.

(These same bipartisan folks are also working on such fun things together as making internet gambling illegal even when using overseas sites and on extending bad campaign finance laws so they extend to internet postings thus perhaps making the 1st amendment meaningless for thousands of bloggers… thanks for that too…. Urgh!)

No No Please Stop!

I just went to Google to look something up for work and instead of the normal Google home I got this:

image

Please no. Please stop. Please don’t ruin Google like Yahoo was ruined years ago. I don’t want a damn portal. I want to search. I have never really liked portal sites. They try to do too much for too many and just end up sucking. Even if you use the personilization features. Just too much crap.

Perhaps Google would do better, but this screen shows no evidence of that. I think you have been able to get this page before, but this is the first time it ever came up as the default for me when I just typed in google.com, and I’m not happy about that at all.

Yes, they have a link to the “Classic Home” on the page, and I’ll try to make sure that on the rare times I actually go to google.com instead of using the Google search box in Safari or Firefox, I’ll go there and not this awful “Personalized Page”. But still…

Google is doing more and more stuff that dilutes what gave them their power and made them THE place to go to find stuff. Some of it clicks and is cool. Others just… no. Please don’t.

And while we’re on google… time to reverse that China policy as well as the similar ones in various places in Europe and say screw you, we won’t censor results at all, and if you want to block us, go right ahead, people will find their way around it. And keep fighting the disclosure the DOJ is trying to do in the US, and if you are forced to submit in the end, deliver it in hard copy!

OK. Thanks.