"Hey America!"

Of course the ports deal matters, both in a practical sense and as a symbol. Letting a foreign nation where two of the 9/11 hijackers are from operate six of the country's most important ports? What could go wrong?

As it is, only about 1% of shipping cargo containers are inspected. And even that is by fairly superficial means. There are gaping holes in our security, and the ports are one.

You can see this one coming: Nobody envisioned that terrorists would use cargo containers to conceal an attack.

If somebody wanted to know the ins and outs of shipping, working for the port operator is an ideal situation. No, they aren't directly involved in security or inspection. But it provides opportunity to learn the systems, to identify weaknesses and vulerabilities, to put components into position.

But we'll still be in charge of security, the administration says. This from the top-notch "slam dunk" people who had us welcomed as liberators in Iraq, and got the Gulf Coast back on its feet after Katrina, and....oh. Right.

It means even more as a symbol. We're told that we're in an unprecedented global war on terror, an era so extraordinary that our mutual security depends on the detention of more than 90,000 (mostly innocent) people; snooping on American citizens; suspension of the 8th and 14th Amendments; kidnappings and torture. We're scanned and searched at the airport, taking off our shoes and grasping our jeans to keep them from falling down.

You're either with us or you're with the terrorists, Bush told us. "We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism," he said in an address to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001, while the World Trade Center was still smoldering.

That was then. This is now. Let an Arab nation operate our ports? Sure, why not?

You gotta wonder: Why would Bush go to the mats over the ports deal? Why threaten his first veto?

Why is it so important?

He says that it send a message to allies in the war on terror.

What message does it send to the rest of us?


George Bush eats kittens!

I'll tell you why this administration is so despicable.

I can forgive a few personality flaws -- invading a sovereign nation on false pretenses, engaging in torture lite, snooping on other people's phone calls, pathological lying -- but there are limits to decency.

Sure, Dick Cheney will shoot you in the face on a whim. Just because he can. Okay, fine.

But some things are way over the line. What got me into this state?

George Bush eats kittens!

I don't mean that he gives kitties a tongue bath or affectionate nibbles. George Bush eats kittens! Fur, bones, guts and all!

George Bush eats kittens!

Republicans are very scary people. They have laser eyes and want to rip your still-beating heart from your chest. Not cool.

Democrats are frightening too, but in a different way. They're more like your wacky aunt who giggles too loudly, or the guy wearing four sweaters who scribbles fervently in a mail order catalog in front of Caribou.

But Republicans, man, they want a leader who eats kittens. They're some crazy mofos.