Friday, January 06, 2006


...According to well-to-do residents near their waterfront estates, Don and Joy Rumsfeld blend in, don't inconvenience their neighbors and get around town with minimum fuss since they bought their weekend house a year ago.

But Dick and Lynne Cheney, who settled into St. Michaels last fall, are being blamed by the locals for stopping traffic, keeping neighbors barricaded in their homes while the motorcade passes by, and disrupting sleepers' REM cycles with low-flying Chinook helicopters.

"I hear that Mrs. Cheney is delightful," a disgruntled neighbor, who lives within sight of Ballintober, the Cheneys' $2.7 million estate, told me yesterday. "But I've had great big helicopters fly over my house at 3 o'clock in the morning and at 1 in the morning. I can tell you I'm not happy. They're very noisy. The dogs start barking, and we can't get back to sleep."

The neighbor continued: "When they travel, the Secret Service clears Church Neck Road and prevents people from leaving their property. When they drive into town, people are actually told to stay inside their houses until the Cheneys go by. And I hear that two weeks ago, they told the DNR Police to keep their boats away from Cheney's house because it was ruining his view."...

--New York Daily News today

KABUL, Afghanistan - ...After spending 10 days discussing rules of procedure for Parliament, ... lawmakers on Sunday formally turned for the first time to pressing problems facing Afghans.

For an hour, representatives spoke with passion of the suffering of the homeless from cold weather, disease and poverty, and of government corruption and the fate of people in American military detention.

But the issue that threatens to cause an international incident is frustration about traffic problems in Kabul and the closing of whole districts when foreign or government dignitaries visit -- like when Vice President Dick Cheney attended the recent opening of Parliament.

"We have to open the roads that have been closed by foreign princes and war princes," said Ramazan Bashardost, a populist member of Parliament....

--New York Times, 1/2/06

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