Jeffrey Gettleman in Mogadishu: They call her the “Black Hawk Down” lady.
And in the corner of her dirt yard, beneath rags drying in the sun and next to a bowl of filthy wash water, she keeps a chunk of history that most Americans would probably like to forget.
It is the battered nose of a Black Hawk helicopter, from one of the two that got shot down in Mogadishu on Oct. 3, 1993, in an infamous battle that killed 18 Americans, led to a major foreign policy shift and spawned a big movie.
The Black Hawk Down lady stands fiercely at her gate and charges admission to see it.
“You, you, you,” she said on a recent day, jabbing her finger at three visitors. “Pay, pay, pay.”
David Montgomery watches Barack Obama: It’s one thing for Ben Cardin to joke about his charisma deficit. “Who says I’m not flashy?” he quips in a campaign commercial when a supporter suggests: “Ben’s not flashy, but he never stops.”
It’s quite another for him to invite Mr. Democratic Charisma himself onstage for a rally yesterday in the Cardin quest to become U.S. senator from Maryland.
Barack Obama didn’t even have to open his mouth to have a crowd of a few hundred under a powerful spell in a grassy outdoor amphitheater at the University of Maryland in College Park. The junior senator from Illinois — part Kenyan, part Kansan — stood tall and youthful and bronze in a black suit and a baby-blue tie, his eyes half-closed, studying the audience with a kind of seductive lassitude. His arrival sparked an ovation, and he shot a quick amiable wink to the many pols and hopefuls crammed behind him on the stage, mute witnesses to the magic.
Richard Fausset on ATMs for Jesus: Pastor Marty Baker preaches that the Bible is the eternal and inviolate word of God. On other church matters, he’s willing to change with the times.
Jeans are welcome at Stevens Creek Community Church, the 1,100-member evangelical congregation Baker founded 19 years ago. Sermons are available as podcasts, and the electric house band has been known to cover Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” A recent men’s fellowship breakfast was devoted to discussing the spiritual wages of lunching at Hooters.
It is a bid for relevance in a nation charmed by pop culture and consumerism, and it is not an uncommon one. But Baker has waded further into the 21st century than most fishers of American souls, as evidenced one Wednesday night when churchgoer Josh Marshall stepped up to a curious machine in the church lobby.