Reporters on the Job
• Nano? No Thanks: Staff writer Mark Sappenfield went to the Indian auto show in New Delhi to see what all the fuss was about over the new Nano, a $2,500 car for the masses. But he has no plans to buy one for himself.
Mark owns and operates another Tata brand auto, with a suitable moniker: Sumo. "Let's just say that if my circa 1990 Sumo got into a fight with one of the new Nanos, "the people's car" would be in a whole lotta hurt. Three words: Monster-truck rally," he laughs.
"India, you see, is not the most orderly place to drive. One can always drive defensively, but given that driving the wrong way down streets is by no means uncommon, one must always take extra precautions. Ours is to drive a car that also does a passable impersonation of the USS Nimitz. The Nano? Fascinating. But not for us. At least until you can up-armor it like an Army Hummer. Then it would be Delhi-worthy," says Mark.
• Big Chill: Winters in Iraq can be cold, but staff writer Scott Peterson knew that snow in Baghdad last week – the first to fall on the Iraqi capital in living memory – would mean even colder climes in Diyala Province. And sure enough, the embed with US forces this week was one of the coldest Scott can remember.
"The 'air assault' was a frigid ride in a helicopter jammed with soldiers that ended in a dark and frozen field," says Scott. Many hours later, the sun came up and warmth was reestablished. But there was no heat or electricity in the houses where Scott and the US troops were staying (see story). "We laid down carpets and any blankets underneath our sleeping bags to stay warm," says Scott. When asked about bedding for Iraqi detainees held overnight in one large room – the same one Scott was staying in, a US officer responded: "They're Al Qaeda. Their hatred keeps them warm."
– David Clark Scott