Sanitizing Mumbai?

A mostly political weblog.
Nov. 29 2008 4:04 AM

Sanitizing Mumbai?

Holder's Defense: 'I was played for a sucker by a lobbyist!' From the NYT today , the lawyer for Attorney General nominee Eric Holder defends him in the Marc Rich Pardon scandal:

 "There’s no question that [Marc Rich lobbyist Jack] Quinn played him and it was astute by Quinn because he did catch Eric unawares."

Advertisement

Creative defense. Unfortunately, the NYT story makes it pretty clear that Holder knew too much about the case to have been unwillingly played. Seems more like the buddy system at work. ...[ Thx to reader J. ] 12:10 P.M.

___________________________

Undernews Alert: Rezko sentencing set for January 6. The Tribune story  suggests this means he is not cooperating with prosecutors (if he was cooperating it would be delayed). ... [ via NewsAlert 11:47 A.M.

___________________________

On Warren Olney's To the Point , LAT veteran Doyle McManus says Robert Gates  

is in the unusual position of being a cabinet member who can't really be fired because if the President and the Secretary of Defense were to end up at loggerheads on an issue, that could be politically very damaging  for the president. [E.A.]

This seems astonishingly wrong. Obama can fire Gates more easily because Gates is a Bush holdover, no? Obama won an election by opposing Bush's policies. ... Maybe Sam Zell had a point about McManus. ... 2:14 A.M.

___________________________  

Monday, December 1, 2008

'You should never have made those loans groups like us pressured you to make!' The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a "community-based organization," is suing Wall Street ratings services for approving bonds backed by home loans to African American and Latino home purchasers with "insufficient borrower income levels."

The firms "knew or should have known" that subprime loans disproportionately were marketed to minority consumers -- a process known as "reverse redlining" -- and that those borrowers would ultimately default and go into foreclosure at high rates, according to the coalition's complaint.

Hmmm. Didn't community-based organizations push for exactly this sort of reverse-redlining? I think they did . It's one thing to argue that they maybe weren't the major cause of the subprime meltdown . It's another for them to pose as victims wronged by the very system they worked hard to set up (including the securitization that enabled banks to keep up "reverse redlining"). ... 2:21 A.M.

___________________________

Here's a Saturday Belfast Telegraph story about Sebastian D'Souza, the photographer who took a now-famous photograph of one of the Mumbai terrorists in the process of gunning people down in a train station:

But what angered Mr D'Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. "There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything," he said. "At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, 'Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!' but they just didn't shoot back." [E.A.]

Here's a Sunday New York Times front pager about the "troubling questions" the attacks raised about India's "ability to respond":

[T]he most troubling question to emerge for the Indian authorities was how, if official estimates are accurate, just 10 gunmen could have caused so much carnage and repelled Indian security forces for more than three days in three different buildings.

Part of the answer may lie in continuing signs that despite the country’s long vulnerability to terrorist attacks, Indian law enforcement remains ill-prepared. The siege exposed problems caused by inexperienced security forces and inadequate equipment , including a lack of high-power rifle scopes and other optics to help discriminate between the attackers and civilians. [E.A.]

Read the Times story and you'll see a numbing litany of "systemic" problems with Indian security, including " Ill-paid city police [who]  are often armed with little more than batons," and " little information-sharing among law enforcement agencies" and all that inadequate equipment, including  "old, bulky bulletproof jackets" and lack of  thosehigh-power scopes and " no technology at their disposal to determine where the firepower was coming from ..." [E.A.]  It reads like the budget-increase proposal submitted by the Mumbai police bureaucracy --The Indian Omnibus Anti-Terror Funding Act of 2009.  Nowhere in the NYT story will you learn what American blog readers learned a day earlier when Instapundit (among others) linked to the Belfast story: Police had lots of guns, and no problem seeing who and where the terrorists were, but they wouldn't shoot at them.

I'm used to a sort of Liebling-like hierarchy of news sources, with twitterers and bloggers being fastest, but maybe less reliable, while the grand institutions of the MSM weigh in later with more comprehensive and accurate accounts. But that's not what is happening with this Mumbai story. The "fast" sources are telling you what happened. The "slow" MSM sources are using their extra time to sanitize what's happened, to build euphemistic assumptions into their very reporting of the events themselves --in this case, it just so happens,  liberal assumptions: 1) the idea that there is no problem that can't be solved by greater funding for government bureaucracies and more interagency taskforces**  2)  the predisposition to think widely-distributed small arms and a willingness to use them can never be a good idea and 3) an antipathy to any suggestion that an aspect of foreign culture is inferior to nasty American culture. (Maybe we Americans are trigger happy. But do we think that a handful of terrorists could have gone on a similar rampage in New York City without quite quickly encountering a fair number of cops who would have shot back--let alone armed civilians who did the same)? ...

**--Substitute "lousy test scores" for "vulnerability to terrorist attacks" and you have the stereotypical liberal MSM template for reporting on inner-city education failure: insufficient spending leads to ill-paid teachers who lack the latest technology! ... 1:27 A.M.

___________________________  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A friend of mine who occasionally visits the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai tells me that earlier in November the hotel bristled with security, including aggressively manned checkpoints--security that had been absent a few months earlier. Apparently the security was withdrawn before terrorists attacked the hotel this week. ...I don't know what to make of this, but it at least suggests that the attacks might not have been "a complete surprise," as the headline on Slate 's home page (but not the article to which it links ) claims. ... Maybe they were anticipated but on an earlier date?  ... Maybe the extra security caused the terrorists to postpone them. ... If so, were they originally planned for before the U.S. election? ...

Update: Hotel's owner says "we did have such a warning, and we did have some measures," which were relaxed before the attacks. But he argues they wouldn't have made a difference because ... the gunman didn't go in the front door.

However, [Tata Group chairman Ratan] Tata said the attackers did not enter through the entrance that has a metal detector. Instead, they came in a back entrance, he said.

"They knew what they were doing, and they did not go through the front. All of our arrangements are in the front," he said.

Reminds me of the time I visited Hyannis Port when JFK was staying at the family compound there. The Secret Service was protecting it closely, except for a one-way street leaving the area, which was left unguarded--apparently on the theory that an assassin wouldn't go wrong way down a one-way street.  ...  More: kf 's friend says that during the early-November high-security period the rear doors to the hotel were locked. Not that that would necessarily have stopped the terrorists. Still, they seem to have preferred low-security to high-security. ... 1:21 A.M.

___________________________

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 21 2014 1:38 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? See if you can keep pace with the copy desk, Slate’s most comprehensive reading team.