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, 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.

Dog Handlers Pt. II

Following up on my post a couple months ago, in which I dwelled upon the six month sentence given to Sgt. Michael Smith for his involvement in torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib with dogs, videotaping peanut-buttered testicles and more.

At the time, a Pentagon spokesman declared, ?What you?re seeing is what the department has committed itself to ? a very broad and a very deep review of its detention operations across the board.?

Today, the second Abu Ghraib dog handler was “sentenced” — and I use that term in its lightest and most fragmented form — to a few months of hard labor and a reduction in rank — no suspension or pay loss whatsoever.

Sgt. Santos A. Cardona was convicted of dereliction of duty, but was acquitted of more serious charges “including unlawfully having his dog bite an inmate and conspiring with another dog handler to frighten prisoners into soiling themselves.”

Dear B_st_rd Airways

The following is the letter I have sent to British Airways.

* * *

Dear British Airways,

I had the displeasure of flying with you on the last day of May, 2006.
I was on the 7:30 A.M flight from Gatwick to Reykjavik.

When I arrived a smug little woman, whose nametag read Susan, told me I was overweight. Not that I physically am (I am and that would have been offfensive), but that my bags were. She waved me away towards the customer service desk, where I was told by a smug man named Peter that I needed to pay at ticketing.

There I met another smug woman by the name of Cora. By this point I
noticed that you never include last names on your nametags. Perhaps
you have had to fire so many employees for their exceeding smugness
that you must reuse the tags? Continue reading “Dear B_st_rd Airways”

For the Love of Frank

Black Francis is back, and as usual, unable to filter his prolific songwriterness down to one simple CD. Fast Man, Raider Man is out later this month on Back Porch, home of Alejandro Escovedo, among others.

Swallowing disc 1 is like slow sipping a 24 oz. Tecate — definitely as back porch-style as Frank Black has ever sounded. Perhaps the Pixies reunion has left him longing and feeling as free as ever to recorded a country record. But, don’t be dissuaded, each cut on Fast Man has the mark of Black’s unique, timeless songcraftsmanship.

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