ABC Reports: Zarqawi Dead

Perhaps it’s because I’m on the West Coast, but immediately when the ‘Special Report’ music broke into Nightline, I thought for a second that I must be watching Saturday Night Live.

Of course, 11:35pm Nightline in L.A. plays 3 hours behind the East Coast, where, for some reason, ABC has broken through in all time zones with an Abu Musab al-Zarqawi special. Granted, I have visited the headquarters of other major networks and know that certain obituary pieces are pre-produced and ready to go (Gerald Ford, Nancy Reagan, to name a couple), but “Now with Zarqawi gone, the U.S. can claim a tangible victory in Iraq,” stated on tape by Brian Ross, seems a bit far-fetched.

Zarqawi had a 25 million dollar bounty on his head. Considering the “insurgency” and all, I find it hard to believe that the non-profit U.S. troops would have hauled in the prize.

This will keep me up for a few hours, nonetheless.

UPDATE: Iraq PM Nouri al-Maliki and Gen. Casey just announced the death of Zarqawi on Iraqi TV. He was killed in a U.S. military-led airstrike at a “safehouse” north of Baquba, 30 miles north of Baghdad and not far from a handful of horrific beheadings earlier this week. Christiane Amanpour, on CNN Pipeline, is saying that the applause that followed the announcement of Zarqawi’s death is reminiscent of the official announcement of the capture of Hussein.

Gen. Casey is quick to add, “this is just a step….” Here is a link to the AP report that will continue to update with details. Full press conference at 3pm Baghdad time, 5am here in Pacific Daylight Time.

From the Dead Dog

Guilty pleasure of late has been digging Ed Harcourt’s upcoming release, The Beautiful Lie. Much more inventive than say a Rufus Wainwright, Ben Folds or Elton John (to name the countryman-keyplayer he for some reason gets compared to) and several levels less pretentious than Thom Yorke, dude can flat-out write some killer-diller melodies.

As if that weak-ass-of-a-review isn’t convincing enough, check out Visit From the Dead Dog, a song with a feel and title that somehow reminds me of Mark Eitzel’s “Seeing Eye Dog.” There is much more at his website. Some other blogs have spoken, primarily UK-based. Couple other new cuts via Harcourt’s myspace page.

Training With Vikings I

by Daniel Heimpel, on assignment in Iceland.

“Spricccun!” Ari yelled at us. It means something like go, or run, or attack! So up I went; up the steep 50-foot grass covered embankment for the fifth time. My lungs were burning and I came down fast, just behind a hyper-muscled black man, a boxer in his thirties from Spain. What’s he doing here training to box in Iceland? Oh yeah what am I up to?

I pitched my editor out here an idea – train for fight against Viking. She said okay. Life is good.

“Have you been training?” asked Radar, a man in his mid-twenties who had been boxing since the sport was re-legalized in 2001, since being banned in 1953. We were standing by a dumpster outside of Reykjavik’s premier boxing gym, the same that won eight titles out of 12 in the last nation-wide boxing tournament.

“Not really. Just been in New York and London.” At this I tipped an imaginary 40-oz bottle to my lips. I always figure that references to alcohol are always good with Norsemen – either that or thunderbolts, sails or big hammers.

Continue reading “Training With Vikings I”

Reporting in Iraq

The recent car bomb that took the lives of two CBS crew members and left correspondent Kim Dozier in critical condition has sparked, yet again, a conversation about reporting in Iraq.

Dozier and her crew were attacked on Memorial Day, while producing a piece about “fighting on in memory of those who have fallen,” according to an e-mail sent by Dozier to her colleagues that morning.

The LA Times’ Tim Rutten attempts to make sense of it all as best as anyone can.

I highly recommend reading this entry from Ms. Dozier on CBSNews.com, reprinted last week in the LA Times:

journalists face awful, dangerous risks in Iraq, more so than almost anyplace else on earth right now.

But it’s nothing compared to the people we cover.

Also, today the LA Times reports that a record 1,400 bodies were brought into the Baghdad Morgue in May.