Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Arab Americans are blaming the uproar over an Arab company assuming control over U.S. ports not on security concerns, but on bigotry. Arab American Institute president James Zogby says, "I find some of the rhetoric being used against this deal shameful and irresponsible."
He adds that politicians who oppose the deal are merely exploiting post-9/11 fears, saying, "The slogan is, if it's Arab, it's bad. Hammer away." And a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations says, "The perception in the Arab-American community is that this is related to anti-Arab sentiment."
State Department Shake-Up
Some changes at the State Department aren't sitting well with career bureaucrats, who complain that the administration is cracking down on dissenting views. Some disgruntled employees say that they no longer have a back channel around their supervisors, as they did when former secretary Colin Powell would ask arms control officers to bypass John Bolton — one of the few staunch supporters of Bush foreign policy within the department at that time.
Officials also tell The Washington Post that administration critics are being passed over for promotion in favor of less experienced supporters like one junior officer who publicly ridiculed the International Atomic Energy Agency's Nobel Peace Prize and now heads the bureau dealing with the IAEA.
More fallout from the publication of those controversial cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. A Swedish Internet provider has shut down a feminist Web site that posted several of the cartoons. This comes one week after the government pressured another Internet provider to close down the Web site of a far-right political party for publishing a new, user-submitted cartoon mocking the uproar.
And in Saudi Arabia, a paper that printed some of the cartoons as part of a call for action against Denmark — where the cartoons were originally published — has been suspended by the government.
Cheney on Target?
The former chairman of New York University's Department of Journalism says Vice President Cheney's failure to promptly inform the major media about his hunting accident was no mistake. Instead, Jay Rosen suggests that the move was contrived to ignite the press and keep other, more damaging stories off the front pages, saying media outrage over the disclosure of the accident kept the press from pummeling Scott McClellan over administration failures.
Rosen adds that Cheney "followed procedure — his procedure" and "took the opportunity to show the White House press corps that it is not the natural conduit to the nation-at-large."
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report