Apropos my SPINE on the artificial jurisdictions in the Gulf, I plum forgot other people who'd be affected by the spreading economic havoc in the world. The emirates have been trying to reinvent themselves as the new Chatauquas of the world, Dubai especially. And with that reinvention came a renewed salesmanship for the art of the conference. Still high-minded, still chat rather than thought, still speakers who never surprise. They were paid as much as $300,000 per talk, and Bill Clinton probably got more, maybe even much more. Plus first class travel. One friend who was flown by Emirate Airlines first class said he no longer desired a private jet.  Anyway this gravy train is also over. Clinton does not know how to earn a honest living. So he'll have to find a new way of satisfying his cash demands and desires. So will Mrs. Albright and Colin Powell.

The Bush retirees had probably counted on this kind of labor to satisfy their wants. They won't even have the chance to see whether they can speak their soporific stuff and still give the illusion of excitement and charm.