Snooze alarm.

Notes from the political sidelines.
March 16 2006 9:07 AM

Snooze Alarm

The side effects of Bush fatigue.

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I'm not sure which should trouble us more: that the president's security advisers think a group of Cuban ballplayers poses a serious threat of espionage, or that it took the president himself to come up with a transparent ruse to ignore his own Cuba policy.

Doctor Che: Like Bush, Fidel Castro lives for baseball and is using every ounce of his dictatorial powers to inspire his young team. On Sunday, he brought the team to the Palace of the Revolution and told them to win one for the Guevara: "I leave you with the words of Che: 'Struggle until victory forever!' "

In its first game yesterday, Cuba struggled until victory in extra innings. Cuba won gold in three of the last four Olympics, but this new team is young and untested. Just in case the future of communism depends on a B-12 shot, Castro's son is the team's trainer.

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Every world leader should be a baseball fan, and if the World Baseball Classic somehow advances the cause of global understanding, there are plenty of other reasons to get rid of baseball commissioner Bud Selig. What's troubling about Bush's going to bat for Cuba is the stark contrast with how rarely he seems to go to the same trouble for folks back home. If there were a videotape of the National Security Council and the Treasury Department briefing him on Cuba's exemption, it would no doubt show the president asking a barrage of questions.

George Bush is fast becoming a man without a country and even a man without a party. Six months ago, he blamed the aftermath of Katrina on Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin. Now he's blaming the House Republican caucus. Today's decision by Dubai to pull the plug on the ports deal suggests that after five years without use, the veto has now become the common-law property of Congress.

Ironically, the president's attention to detail on Cuba's behalf underscores what Dubai and Katrina have in common: Bush is paying the price for those disasters because he just wasn't paying attention.

When the president came to office, the White House touted his CEO-style of management. Now we know Bush is a hands-on manager, after all. Government just turns out not to be the game he's managing. ... 5:01 P.M. (link)

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Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2006

Sunken Treasure: This weekend, several readers urged me to take a deeper look at Scotland on Sunday's claim that Dubai's $500 million Persian Gulf resort will be the world's first underwater hotel. It turns out that rich foreigners aren't the only ones getting ready for global warming. The world's first underwater "hotel" is right here in the U.S.A: the Jules Undersea Lodge off Key Largo, Fla.

No one should underestimate the nation that gave the world Flipper, Aquaman, and SpongeBob. Let the U.A.E. build the world's first underwater luxury hotel, the Hydropolis. In the Jules Undersea Lodge, America boasts the world's first dive-inn.

The men who started the Jules Undersea Lodge didn't have millions of petrodollars to sink into a playpen for the wealthy. They're research scientists, and the Jules is a converted research facility, named for Jules Verne. Divers like to stay overnight there as a quick way to run up their dive times.