Monthly Archives: December 2005

“Kirkuk will be Ours.”

From Holden:

Via John at AMERICAblog, here comes the civil war.

Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan.

Five days of interviews with Kurdish leaders and troops in the region suggest that U.S. plans to bring unity to Iraq before withdrawing American troops by training and equipping a national army aren’t gaining traction. Instead, some troops that are formally under U.S. and Iraqi national command are preparing to protect territory and ethnic and religious interests in the event of Iraq’s fragmentation, which many of them think is inevitable.

The soldiers said that while they wore Iraqi army uniforms they still considered themselves members of the Peshmerga – the Kurdish militia – and were awaiting orders from Kurdish leaders to break ranks. Many said they wouldn’t hesitate to kill their Iraqi army comrades, especially Arabs, if a fight for an independent Kurdistan erupted.

[snip]

Their strategy mirrors that of Shiite Muslim parties in southern Iraq, which have stocked Iraqi army and police units with members of their own militias and have maintained a separate militia presence throughout Iraq’s central and southern provinces. The militias now are illegal under Iraqi law but operate openly in many areas. Peshmerga leaders said in interviews that they expected the Shiites to create a semi-autonomous and then independent state in the south as they would do in the north.

[snip]

“Kirkuk is Kurdistan; it does not belong to the Arabs,” Hamid Afandi, the minister of Peshmerga for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the two major Kurdish groups, said in an interview at his office in the Kurdish city of Irbil. “If we can resolve this by talking, fine, but if not, then we will resolve it by fighting.”

In addition to putting former Peshmerga in the Iraqi army, the Kurds have deployed small Peshmerga units in buildings and compounds throughout northern Iraq, according to militia leaders. While it’s hard to calculate the number of these active Peshmerga fighters, interviews with militia members suggest that it’s well in excess of 10,000.

Afandi said his group had sent at least 10,000 Peshmerga to the Iraqi army in northern Iraq, a figure substantiated in interviews with officers in two Iraqi army divisions in the region.

“All of them belong to the central government, but inside they are Kurds … all Peshmerga are under the orders of our leadership,” Afandi said.

”Kirkuk will be Ours.”

From Holden:

Via John at AMERICAblog, here comes the civil war.

Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan.

Five days of interviews with Kurdish leaders and troops in the region suggest that U.S. plans to bring unity to Iraq before withdrawing American troops by training and equipping a national army aren’t gaining traction. Instead, some troops that are formally under U.S. and Iraqi national command are preparing to protect territory and ethnic and religious interests in the event of Iraq’s fragmentation, which many of them think is inevitable.

The soldiers said that while they wore Iraqi army uniforms they still considered themselves members of the Peshmerga – the Kurdish militia – and were awaiting orders from Kurdish leaders to break ranks. Many said they wouldn’t hesitate to kill their Iraqi army comrades, especially Arabs, if a fight for an independent Kurdistan erupted.

[snip]

Their strategy mirrors that of Shiite Muslim parties in southern Iraq, which have stocked Iraqi army and police units with members of their own militias and have maintained a separate militia presence throughout Iraq’s central and southern provinces. The militias now are illegal under Iraqi law but operate openly in many areas. Peshmerga leaders said in interviews that they expected the Shiites to create a semi-autonomous and then independent state in the south as they would do in the north.

[snip]

“Kirkuk is Kurdistan; it does not belong to the Arabs,” Hamid Afandi, the minister of Peshmerga for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, one of the two major Kurdish groups, said in an interview at his office in the Kurdish city of Irbil. “If we can resolve this by talking, fine, but if not, then we will resolve it by fighting.”

In addition to putting former Peshmerga in the Iraqi army, the Kurds have deployed small Peshmerga units in buildings and compounds throughout northern Iraq, according to militia leaders. While it’s hard to calculate the number of these active Peshmerga fighters, interviews with militia members suggest that it’s well in excess of 10,000.

Afandi said his group had sent at least 10,000 Peshmerga to the Iraqi army in northern Iraq, a figure substantiated in interviews with officers in two Iraqi army divisions in the region.

“All of them belong to the central government, but inside they are Kurds … all Peshmerga are under the orders of our leadership,” Afandi said.

Required Reading For All 101st Fighting Keyboarders

How’s your toy war working out for you these days?

The Hague is too good for the motherfuckers who started this mess.

A.

Jenna, Your Country is Calling

From Holden:

The Army National Guard needs fresh blood.

The Army National Guard thinks it has cooked up the right potion to cure its recruiting dilemma.

A load of pizza, a heaping helping of NASCAR, and a dash of free MP3 downloads and video games — plus some cash incentives — are luring the next wave of part-time soldiers. This formula, which is being used to reach those who the Guard thinks are most likely to join, is helping reverse a precipitous decline in the ranks.

[snip]

Enter the pizza — actually, the pizza box. On it is a picture of a young woman. The written message on the box says that if you join the Guard, the government will pay you and help cover tuition.

Since October, the boxes have shown up in mom-and-pop pizza places in 700 to 900 college towns nationwide, said Lt. Col. Mike Jones, the Guard’s deputy division chief for recruiting and retention.

[snip]

Another cost-effective campaign has been offering a free iTunes download for those who view certain Guard material on the Guard’s Web site and fill out their personal information. At a cost of about 87 cents a download, he said, it’s a lot cheaper than spending about $8 to give away a Guard hat.

[snip]

The idea of spending one weekend a month training has been replaced with the possibility of going to war, and the Guard has been hemorrhaging members.

U.S. troop levels dropped to 331,000 in July — 19,000 below the authorized strength of 350,000 — with about 16,000 members from Pennsylvania and about 6,000 from New Jersey.

[snip]

The Guard’s advertising budget for new recruits, which was $38 million in 2001, is $76 million this year, and the number of full-time recruiters was increased from 2,700 last year to 5,100 this year.

[snip]

Military recruiters in the United States acknowledge that getting first daughter Jenna Bush to join would be a far bigger boost than even doubling the recruiting budget again, Moskos said.

“Unless you get privileged youth to serve, you’ll have recruitment difficulties,” he said. “This is trying to convince working-class youth they otherwise have a worthless existence.

Bob Novak: Probably a Douchebag

From Holden:

What an insufferable ass.

In an interview on CNN’s Situation Room Friday, Robert Novack said he “probably” regrets writing the column that revealed the name of CIA employee Valerie Plame.

[snip]

“I probably do [regret writing it]” he told anchor Wolf Blitzer, “because it’s caused me so much trouble. I don’t think I did anything wrong, but as a practical matter, it wasn’t a big scoop. You know, I think it was in the seventh paragraph of a 13-paragraph story or 11-paragraph story…. And so it was just a throw-away line.”

Poor Novak, his leak caused him “so much trouble.” It cost Valerie Plame her career (watch out for that civil suit, Bob) and it caused untold damage to this country’s efforts to monitor the spread of some of the most dangerous weapons ever invented, but the “trouble” it caused Bob Novak is paramount.

Scottie Shuffles Off

From Holden:

WaPo’s Jim VandeHei is anything but subtle.

With the administration moving ahead with plans to renovate the dirty and decaying press room off the West Wing of the White House, spokesman Scott McClellan — or his replacement, if he steps aside before then — intends to start briefing the world from historic Jackson Place, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, as early as July.

I’ve been predicting a Scottie exit for months, ostensibly to rescue his mom’s flagging Texas gubernatorial campaign. In fact, Scottie has lost his credibility with the press corps and is no longer a viable mouthpiece for the Assministration.

Sick, Ghoulish People

From Holden:

Damn, I hate the Bushes.

President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush personally awarded a Purple Heart to a former Idaho high school track star who lost both his legs in an explosion in Iraq.

Marine Cpl. Travis Greene, who graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1999 and was given a track scholarship to Boise State University, received the medal last week at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where he is being treated.

[snip]

[Cpl. Greene’s father] said nurses adjusted his son’s pain medication before the president’s visit.

“They turned down Travis’ medicine so he could be awake,” Terry Greene said in a phone interview with The Times-News of Twin Falls.

[snip]

Travis Greene has had more than 100 blood transfusions since being wounded in Iraq.

“He’s had surgeries every other day and it’s taken a toll on the man,” Terry Greene said. “He’s had emergency surgery twice at his bedside because he was too unstable to move. The doctors tell us he is the most critical patient on the intensive care unit. He’s a fighter. He’s getting through these things, but it’s taken its toll.”

Terry Greene said his son is still on a ventilator and will probably have to go on dialysis soon because of the strain on his kidneys.

The 24-year-old, in his third tour of duty in Iraq, was part of a team of Marines who on Dec. 7 were evacuating other Marines who had been injured in an explosion. During that effort, a second explosion occurred. Three other Marines and one Navy corpsman also lost one or both of their legs in the blast. Two were badly burned.

[snip]

The Greenes said it’s difficult to see their athlete son without legs in a hospital bed.

“You sit here day after day and you go in and see him and it’s kind of depressing,” Sue Greene said. “We have our moments. When the doctors talk pretty frank to you, it’s a hard pill to swallow.”

Third Time’s the Charm

From Holden:

Since when is going in circles considered to be progress?

U.S. troops in Iraq will try this month for the third time in three years to return the Sunni city of Samarra to Iraqi police to escape the cycle of violence.

You’ve Been Christmas Caroled!

All right, because we’re all bitter anti-Christmas liberals on this blog (and you, Mom!), tell me which Christmas song you absolutely hate.

Me, I cannot effing stand Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.

A.

The Weary World Rejoicing

Those of you who read here regularly know that God and I have a complicated and not always amicable relationship. This time of year He’s trying to charm me using carols and candles and wreaths and Midnight Mass, and I’m asking my girlfriends to remind me of all the times I said I’d never go back to Him no matter what He did or said. Falling back in love with God at Christmas is the worst kind of cop-out, like taking back a cheating boyfriend because he brings you flowers. I’m a sucker that way, though: sing me O Holy Night and the wheels start turning, I start seeing the value in addressing the whole God question again, and next thing you know it I’m back in the pew. I can’t break up with anyone successfully.

The thing is that it makes a lot of sense, Christmas. The bitter agnostic who occupies my head a lot of the time says that Christmas was invented just to get us through the ever-loving cold that’s taken over; lately it’s so dark and icy outside that it seems like the world just might give up this time, stop heaving itself around the damn sun already. I spent this past week in an unusual holiday-blues mood, annoyed at the early darkness, cooped up in the house with the flu, watching Holiday Inn and listening to Andy Williams in a futile attempt to get into the holiday spirit. I put off wrapping presents. Baking, which I love, seemed a chore. Everything on the news made me want to hit something. There was no other word for it but UGH. And no remedy but a 70-mile trip northward, where loved ones waited with Bailey’s on the rocks and an eagerness to hear all about the life I was finding so troublesome. Hugs to give and get and hands to hold and my grandmother’s Christmas morning omelette.

It makes a desperate kind of secular sense at this time of the year: light up your house and your trees and invite people inside. Pull whatever love you have around you like a blanket and talk the darkness away.

At the heart of it, all details of my on-again, off-again Catholicism aside, I love the pagan roots of this holiday, and so when my ex-editors at my old paper asked me to work up some of my rusty Christianity for today, that’s what I went back to:

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the story still will be told: a poor woman traveling, hugely pregnant and exhausted, along on a dirt road. Her husband, going door to door, looking for shelter and finding none. Off the beaten track, in the hay beside the animals, she gives birth, and even though her child is manger-born, something happens: People come to see him. They tell others. Word reaches the shepherds high in the hills.

This is a holiday that, at its heart, is about grace from unlikely beginnings and hope in dark times, about stories spread among the poor and the outcast about someone who was coming to give them a chance. It’s a holiday well suited to a time of ancient rites designed to remind people of light in the darkness: the Norse Yule, the Roman Saturnalia, celebrations of family and harvest, warmth and plenty, in the coldest and shortest of our days.

Be warm and well, all of you, today.

A.

Good Rest to You, Sweet Liberals

From Tena:

Good Rest to You Sweet Liberals,

Let nothing you dismay –

remember down in Austin Earle

has cornered Tom Delay,

The Hammer’s days are over they’re going to make him pay –

O Tidings of Comfort and Joy,

Comfort and Joy!

O Tidings of Comfort and Joy.

And to our nation’s capital

an honest man has come

he’s gathered lots of evidence

and presented has he some,

Dear Patrick Fitzgerald has beaten Libby like a drum –

O Tidings of Comfort and Joy,

Comfort and Joy!

O Tidings of Comfort and Joy.

Now gather round Sweet Liberals

and hear this wondrous word,

and know it’s being said aloud

and more and more is heard

Impeach we must this President,

High Crimes and treasons have occurred!

O Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Comfort and Joy!

O Tidings of Comfort and Joy –

A most Happy Holidays to all; Merry Christmas to those who insist (rolls eyes); And Joy and more Joy to you and to all the World.

Friday Ferretblogging: ReRun Edition

I’m making a cheesecake and the ferrets are napping in preparation for tearing open their presents later tonight, so here’s a fittingly festive photo of them from a couple of months ago:

Stripe continues to gain weight and eat well, and nuzzles all of you for giving him so much love.

A.

The War to End All Christmas Wars

From Tena:

the long, jolly slog

“I hear they got Rudolph today,” says me.

“No!” says Giblets. “Not Rudolph! With his unmatched dogfighting skills and his nose so bright he was invincible!”

“It’s true,” says me. “Zombie Judah Maccabee shot im down over the Island of Misfit Toys with his dreidel of doom.”

“Damn you Hannukah!” says Giblets. “Will your eight days of madness never end!”

“Do you think Santa really has a secret plan to take the Kwanzaan capital an win the war?” says me.

“Of course he does!” says Giblets. “And once Christmas spreads to Kwanzaa it will inspire Hannukhan dissidents to rise up and overthrow their oppressive anti-Christmanian leadership, and from there Christmas will spread to Eid and New Years and Halloween and Arbor Day until every day is Christmas!”

“Work will become obsolete in the new Christmas-based economy,” says me. “All resources will be directly mined from wells of infinite jollity.”

“Secularists do not believe in jollity,” says Giblets. “They believe in a series of random chemical processes which over millions of years have created the appearance of jollity.”

“Secularists don’t decorate Christmas trees,” says me. “They decorate Secularmas trees, which are big holes dug in the ground to demonstrate the absence of trees.”

“On Secularmas, they do not exchange presents,” says Giblets. “They exchange identical cardboard boxes filled with rocks and mold and broken childhood dreams and nothing!”

“But even so,” says me, “maybe we can make peace with the secularists by comin to understand their strange but unique culture.”

“Never!” says Giblets. “That would only embolden them to steal Christmas again! Whoville changed everything!”

“There was never a convincing link between Hannukah and the Grinch, Giblets,” says me.

“Well Giblets can’t let them win now!” says Giblets. “Not after what they did to Frosty!”

“Giblets, you can’t keep blamin yourself for Frosty,” says me. “There were menorahs fallin everywhere. You hadda save yourself.”

“Giblets should have gone back for him!” says Giblets. “And by the time we did all that was left was an old top hat and a button nose!”

“Giblets, you gotta let Frosty go,” says me.

“Tell that to the eyes of coal that haunt Giblets every night!” says Giblets.

It’s quiet in the trenches tonight. We can hear Suzy Snowflake playin a harmonica down along the wire.

“Some day this war’s gonna end,” says Giblets.

“Maybe on Boxing Day,” says me.”

the inimitable Fafnir, of course.

Entirely Trivial and Completely Non-Political Humor

Google “Hey Crackhead.”

Trust me on this.

A.

All Memes Go To Heaven

Via NYMary, who I will get for this later:

Seven Things To Do Before I Die

1. See Jerusalem.

2. Finish my next book.

3. Make peace with the people I hate.

4. Finish a bike race.

5. Have a child … maybe.

6. Go skydiving.

7. Get a tattoo.

Seven Things I Cannot Do

1. Sing.

2. Sit still.

3. Be late.

4. Let it go, already.

5. Break up with someone.

6. Swim.

7. Drive stick.

Seven Things That Attract Me to…Blogging

1. Getting to argue all the time.

2. Meeting smart people.

3. Being read by more than six people.

4. Always having someone to complain to.

5. Flirting. Politically.

6. Talking about Battlestar Galactica.

7. Having an excuse to take pictures of the ferrets.

Seven Things I Say Most Often

1. “What, squirrel nut?”

2. “Have you seen my glasses?”

3. “What an asshole.”

4. “Put that down.”

5. “Can I ask you to do me a favor?”

6. “Did I forget to tell you … “

7. “Dude.”

Seven Books That I Love

1. Winter’s Tale, Mark Helprin

2. Trinity, Leon Uris

3. Shoeless Joe, W.P. Kinsella

4. Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

5. The Sparrow, Mary Doria Russell

6. One Goal, John Powers & Arthur Kaminsky

7. The Once and Future King, T.H. White

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again

1. Mystery, Alaska

2. Miracle

3. The Girl in the Caf

4. Live from Baghdad

5. The Paper

6. Little Women (Winona Ryder’s version)

7. The Master Blackmailer (TV, I’m cheating a little)

Seven People I Want To Join In Too

Commenters, have at it!

A.

Winning

Now Harry Walker is the one that manages this crew

He doesn’t like it when we drink and fight and smoke and screw

But when we win our games each day

Then what the fuck can Harry say?

It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

— Ball Four, by Jim Bouton

I hate to interfere with a good fanwank such as that going on over this profile of Kos in Washington Monthly, but it was actually something the author said not about Kos but about his readers, his “generation” if you will, that pissed me off:

The younger-than-35 liberal professionals who account for most of his audience seem an ideologically satisfied group, with no fundamental paradigm-changing demands to make of the Democratic Party. They don’t believe strongly, as successive generations of progressives have, that the Democratic Party must develop more government programs to help the poor, or that racial and ethnic minorities are wildly underrepresented, or that the party is in need of a fundamental reform towards the pragmatic center—or at least they don’t believe so in any kind of consistent or organized manner.

Jesus Christ and A Pimp Called Slickback. It’d be nice if the author could quote anybody saying you know, we’re just fine with how the party’s managed to lay down and open its legs for any pro-business, anti-immigration, marriage-“protecting” lobbyist who wants to come around with flowers, so long as we win and they don’t. I love how a conversation about tactics becomes a conversation about how tactics is all we’ve got.

We’re not changing paradigms enough for this guy? The dominant paradigm of the Democratic Party for the last decade has been to be as close as we can get to Republicans without them taking out a restraining order, in order to confuse voters into forgetting which candidate is which and voting for ours. I’m sorry, I’d like to change the shit out of that paradigm, if you please.

We don’t believe the government should develop more programs to help the poor? We aren’t concerned about underrepresentation for minorities and women? What the fuck are we here for then? The Republicans’ cocktail parties have better food. There must be some reason we’re over here sipping stale ginger ale and eating Fritos.

I’ve been reading Kos’s site, and sites of Kos bloggers and Kos readers and others, for a good couple of years now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that what this “generation” wants is a return to the traditional values of the Democratic Party, the values that made us the party of America for decades. And if that wasn’t important to us, we wouldn’t do this work.

However, we’re not college sophomores. We do recognize that without any kind of political power, any apparatus with which to convince people of the veracity of our vision, that vision and a sack gets us a sack. We’d like to win our games each day, and then we can get back to talking with Harry about our fighting and drinking and smoking and screwing. First things fucking first.

If that makes this “generation” of Democrats seem shallow to Mr. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, I suggest he go examine the high-minded, ideologically pure and policy-driven campaigns of the Republicans in recent years. He might want to start with something called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

A.

Serious People

Look. There are Republicans in Congress who are clearly intelligent people. I may disagree with them strongly, I may think their worldview is paranoid and unfortunate, I may think they’ve been supporting a government contrary to their own stated principles for the past five years and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to see them removed from office and replaced with a Democrat.

Nonetheless, they clearly understand our system of government, their own responsibilities, rules and procedures, and how things are done. They recognize that what they do is a job and they’re serious about doing it as they feel is right.

Then there are the guys who got in because in the aftermath of 9/11 people were voting for anything with an R after its name and if you gave a halfway competent speech to the Rotary Club you got elected. They spout Freeper talking points and they fear The Arab and The Homosexual and The World Government and they’re just plain not living on the same planet as the rest of us.

This difference was illustrated pretty clearly, I thought, during the Bolton confirmation hearings, during which George Allen, that splendid rubber yam, gave a speech to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in which he blathered on about how if you don’t like John Bolton, you want the UN to be corrupt. It was bumper-sticker discourse at its most mediocre. And Chuck Hagel had to take Allen outside and explain how the world turns:

“If you’re against John Bolton you’re against reform at the United Nations? That’s patently ridiculous. We’re talking about something bigger than just those easy characterizations.”

So I’m not surprised, though I am pleased, to see Hagel smacking Bush/Cheney around today:

“This should be about elevating the debate and enhancing America and finding the solutions that we need to move forward. It doesn’t help when you characterize people who disagree with you or threaten them or characterize them as unpatriotic or not caring about our people or our security. The American people see through that and it is beneath the dignity of this country.”

The obvious rejoinder, of course, is where were you on this when it mattered, Chuck? I admire party loyalty. There comes a time, however, when you simply have to step forward and speak up, and serious Republicans, those who want the respect of the American people and of the opposition, should know it’s long past time for that to occur.

A.

Gold Digger

I’m enjoying reading the Steve vs. Jen vs. commenters mudfight going on over at the News Blog.

And the reactions to this over at the crack den as well.

I say enjoy not because I like watching people smack one another around but because this is the stuff we don’t talk about often enough, how much we make and how much we think others make, expectations and class assumptions and how that affects our perceptions of our so-called “service economy.” And it plays into all kinds of political discussions we’ve had: remember Jonah Goldberg cluelessly asking why people didn’t just pack up and leave NOLA, just unable to understand that some people don’t have $300 and a car available?

Addressing these things backwards, I think the Romenesko letter-writer Atrios smacks around for calling journalism pay scales a “sobering statistic” is mainly responding to perceptions that journalists make a lot of money. That perception comes from the fact that people think Bill O’Reilly and Katie Couric somehow equal a night cops reporter in Milwaukee. It also comes from the idea, beloved of lots of dumb journalists, that they’re professionals and not tradesmen. Which is bullshit, by the way. Journalism isn’t an art and it sure as hell isn’t a profession. It’s a craft and the best of its practitioners view it as such, they work hard and hone skills and don’t worry so much about the Society of Professional Journalists because if they’re good at what they do, they don’t need a Society to tell them what they are. And by the by, they call themselves reporters (as I did) or writers or editors or sportos or photogs or hacks. “Journalist” is a term, as a former editor used to tell me, for somebody who worries about his clothes too much.

Now, the NYC transit strike is something I know less than nothing about but I was highly amused yesterday when one of Steve’s commenters posted about how his college degree and his good job for a nice boss gave him security and so he didn’t need a union or a pension or any kind of employment protection, and these TWU pussies should just shut up. I say amused because Mr. A, who has a college degree and had a nice job for a good boss, recently spent six months embroiled in a grueling job search that was like your worst nightmare of dating: he’d go out on interviews, people would love him, then they wouldn’t call. A good friend of ours had a great job for 13 years, job he adored. Out of work for a year after the firm imploded, and he had a college degree. I don’t know where anybody ever got the idea that a college degree was some kind of job security. Maybe it’s just that I spent years writing about the screwed in our society, but it gave me a deep and abiding sense of terror about the unpredictability of life and a hoarding complex that impresses my grandma, and she grew up in the Depression, okay? I don’t know where people get the idea that oh, well, I’m such hot shit that it’ll all just work out. I couldn’t live with that kind of fear; I have to have multiple contingency plans.

I don’t know, what do you guys think?

A.

Vice President Asshole

Another for the “imagine if Clinton did it” file, this one courtesy of Froomkin:

“Working passengers began lining up their laptops to share the power from a couple of working outlets – particularly the reporters who urgently needed to prepare their articles to transmit during a quick refueling stop in England.

“But when Cheney said his iPod needed to be recharged, it took precedence above all else and dominated one precious outlet for several hours. The vice president’s press staff intervened so a reporter could use the outlet for 15 minutes to charge a dead laptop, but then the digital music device was plugged back in.”

A semi-serious question: Cheney’s playlist. I’m trying to imagine it, but I just can’t. The Star Wars Imperial March keeps running through my head and distracting me.

A.