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Swirling the Snow in a Frenzied Dance – Random Thoughts on Dubai and Sheehan

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When it comes to the weekends, I pretty much have my routine down fairly well. Saturdays are usually my do-whatever-I-feel-like days. And usually what I feel like doing during this time of year is going out for breakfast, snowshoeing, taking a drive, browsing at the bookstore, or just sitting at home doing nothing but relaxing on the couch with a magazine or newspaper.

This winter hasn’t been much for snowshoeing, though. Come to think of it, I haven’t been out snowshoeing once this winter. A week before Christmas, we had a half-footer that was washed away by the rain that followed the week after. What snow we’ve had since then has been of the 1 to 2 inch variety. Here today, melted tomorrow, and a lot of rain in-between.

It’s been plenty cold this week. Coldest week we’ve had thus far this winter, but a little late considering we’re going into March. The temperature this morning was bumped down right next to zero, and tomorrow morning, it actually might be sub-zero. Even though it feels like winter, the struggle continues with actually trying to look like it. If not for the snow squall we had Thursday that dropped a couple of inches, we’d still have bare ground.

I’m not sure what six weeks of winter Punxsutawney Phil had in mind, but as far as I’m concerned, this winter is pretty much over. Of course, there’s that one chance of getting a one-footer before the vernal equinox, but at this point, I don’t see myself digging the snowshoes out of the closet.

Usually when I sit down to relax with the paper, I’ll have the news on. Why, I don’t know, especially since I don’t seem to pay much attention to it. Much of what is reported on the news is hyperbolic rhetoric, a slug fest of words between the Democrats and Republicans that the media feasts on as if it were the best prime rib in town.

In response to any perceived blundering or acts of incompetency by Bush, you can pretty much count on Kennedy or Clinton or Schumer to say bananas and baloney. But this weeks response by the Democrats and a few Republicans to the news of P&O’s proposed purchase by Dubai Ports that would “surrender management of our ports to an Arab-based firm” went beyond bananas and baloney: “Bush not aware of the Dubai Ports World bid of P&O before it was proposed;” “Hillary Clinton and other Senate leaders oppose Dubai’s 6.8 billion dollar purchase of P&O;” “Take over of our ports by Dubai poses a serious threat to our national security.” Excuse me, but can anyone say, “Xenophobia?”

If the faulty assumptions that are being made here cannot be clearly seen and understood, then I think we’re in even bigger trouble that goes way beyond last week’s fodder-all over Cheney’s accidental shooting of one tough old bird. The United Arab Emirates, aside from being a very strong ally, also represents the very model of a “moderate” Arab/Muslin government that is beginning to take hold in Afghanistan, and, hopefully, will begin to take hold in Iraq.

Contrary to what some people would like to think, this is not a case of the fox being let in the hen house, or as Letterman put it, “letting Britney Spears baby sit your child.” If anything, it’s a case of ignorance on our part, thus kudos to Karl Rove for suggesting a “cooling off period” so that we might put this argument in proper context, and back away from absurd arguments such as given by Schumer, who said we should be careful before we outsource our “sensitive homeland security duties.” First of all, “security duties” are performed by our U.S. Customs and U.S. Coastguard. The actual operation and management of the port would be by the company, which, incidentally—and I’m sure much to Schumer’s surprise if someone where to tell him—is now operated and managed by a British owned company.

If the brouhaha over the Dubai purchase wasn’t enough, the media’s Chicken Little News Events has turned the spotlight once again on Cindy Sheehan. Like the caricature in the game, “Where’s Waldo?” Sheehan keeps popping up in the most unlikely places. Newsflash: see Cindy Sheehan arrested while attending the State of the Union Address; see Cindy with Hugo Chavez; see Cindy with Veterans for Peace in New Orleans. And where will she be next? Who knows? Who cares? Yawn.

Whatever sentiments one may feel toward her, especially considering she has experienced the loss of two of her children, she is not a modern day Joan of Arc, and the more the media strives to portray her causes as noble and worthy of our attention, the more pathetic and contemptible she becomes.

Enough of the couch and TV. Tomorrow is Sunday. Clothes to wash, and then housecleaning. Later in the afternoon I’ll be going over to my mother’s for dinner. I make a cup of orange spice tea with a dab of honey, and then sit down at the table. I turn the light off, and stare out the window. On a cold night like tonight–the wind busy swirling the snow in a frenzied dance across the yard–I’m amazed by how bright the stars shine.

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About S L Cunningham

S L Cunningham is a freelance writer and has poems and feature articles published in several small press magazines and newspapers. His column, "Unburned Pieces of the Mind" has been featured in the Village Soup Citizen. A former resident of Belfast, Maine, he now lives in Houston.