Archive for the ‘mistakes’ Category

How India fumbled response to Mumbai attack

December 4, 2008

It took 10 minutes for word of the Nov. 26 , Mumbai terror assaults to reach the top of the government of Maharashtra state, but nearly 10 hours for India‘s best commando team to reach the scene.

That delay may help to explain why it took three days for India’s security forces to overpower 10 assailants who police say killed at least 188 people and wounded more than 280.

By Padma Rao Sundarji, McClatchy Newspapers

Indecision by politicians and the delay in launching the commando force, however, don’t fully account for the extent of the slaughter, which now threatens to escalate into conflict between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan , where the attacks are thought to have been planned.

“This was not the fault of any one organ of the security apparatus, but a systemic failure,” said Arun Bhagat , a former chief of India’s Intelligence Bureau , India’s main domestic intelligence agency.

Indian officials ignored advance intelligence warnings. Police officers ran away from the scenes of carnage because they lacked weapons, and their bulletproof vests were said to be defective. The Indian coast guard doesn’t have night vision equipment, much less the more advanced human detection gear used by China , Japan and other countries.

India’s security agencies are now rushing to point the finger at each other.

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Oops: Bush Regrets Use of Iraq `Mission Accomplished’ Banner

November 12, 2008

President George W. Bush said he regrets the display of the “Mission Accomplished” sign as backdrop for a speech he gave about a month after the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Holly Rosenkrantz, Bloomberg

“To some, it said, well, `Bush thinks the war in Iraq is over,’ when I didn’t think that,” he said in a CNN interview today. “It conveyed the wrong message.”

US President George W. Bush addresses the nation aboard the ... 
US President George W. Bush addresses the nation aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in May 2003, as it sails for Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California. Bush’s successor inherits a world of troubles come January, including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, a defiant Iran, and a US economy battered by the global financial crisis.(AFP/File/Stephen Jaffe)

The sign was hung on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, when Bush landed on the carrier wearing a flight suit to declare that major combat operations in Iraq were over. That speech has since served as a rallying point for critics of Bush’s policies in Iraq.

Bush also cited other regrets in the CNN interview, which was conducted aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid in New York after a Veterans Day ceremony.

“I regret saying some things I shouldn’t have said,” Bush said. He cited comments he made after the Sept. 11 attacks, when he said of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden: “I want justice. There’s an old poster out West that said, ‘Wanted, dead or alive.”’

He also said he regretted telling Iraqi insurgents in 2003: “There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring ’em on.”

`Be Careful’

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US comedians sharpen claws for Obama presidency

November 6, 2008

Even left wing comedians and satarists are getting ready for new meat: Obama-Mania!

Photo from 1997 Emmy Awards.

They love him now, but America’s razor-tongued, left-leaning comedians say president-elect Barack Obama will soon be the butt of jokes.

Satirical cartoonist Ted Rall said he couldn’t wait to move on from Republican President George W. Bush.

“Making fun of George Bush is so easy — it’s just kindergarten stuff,” Rall complained at a post-election comedy discussion panel Wednesday. “Doing Obama is going to be so much more fun.”

Political humor enjoys something of a golden age in the United States after a presidential campaign where TV shows like Saturday Night Live not only made fun of news, but made news.

Most comedians are strongly Democratic and their juiciest targets were Republicans, especially Sarah Palin, the Alaskan “ice hockey mom” chosen as vice president on John McCain‘s defeated ticket.

Now Obama, who takes office in January, is in the firing line.

“Obama is so stiff and uptight, he’s just asking for it,” said Rall, who proudly proclaims his liberal credentials. “I’m going to be fascinated.”

Stand-up comedian Roseanne Barr said the coming Obama presidency — already burdened by huge expectations and vast challenges — would provide rich material and “raise the intelligence of the jokes.”

The discussion, held in Manhattan at the opening of the New York Comedy Festival, soon gave a foretaste of the edginess likely in wisecracks about Obama, the country’s first black president-elect.

When Barr innocently predicted “very pointed jokes, tip of the spear jokes,” fellow comedian Robert George, who is black, asked in mock shock: “Did you say tip of the SPEAR jokes about a black man?”

For now, most comedians, including the panel on Wednesday, seem to be holding back from making fun of an election victory they all wanted.

Rather un-comic passions exploded during a row between the comedians and one of the panel’s two lone conservative guests, Monica Crowley from the right-leaning Fox News channel.

“This is getting out of control,” Crowley muttered during a shouting match about Iraq and McCain’s negative campaign ads.

But satirical newspaper The Onion is already plunging ahead into the era of Obama humor.

The latest issue carries this story under the headline “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job.”

“African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America….

“As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind.”

One thing that’s sure, comedian Lizz Winstead told the discussion panel, is that the jokes will get close to the bone.

“Basically, it’s going to be about how he handles power. Is he going to blow it? Will he become an egomaniac?” she asked.

To which Rall responded:

“Of course he’ll blow it — they always do!”

From AFP

Obama’s Many “Helpers” Can’t Keep Gaffes (Or Words) To Minimum

November 1, 2008

Joe Biden is so well known for his gaffe filled language that the media hardly notices anymore.

But when it comes to easy to recall numbers, Obama and his “helpers” are all over left field.

Yesterday New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said, “What Obama wants to do is, he is basically looking at $120,000 and under, among those that are in the middle class, and there is a tax cut for those.” (KOA-AM, Interview With Gov. Bill Richardson, 10/31/08)
Just A Few Days Ago, Biden Lowered The Ceiling For Tax Cuts To $150,000, Confirming What Obama Let Slip Earlier In The Campaign — That Americans Would See Higher Taxes Starting At $150,000:

Biden: “Spreading the wealth was not — he was talking about is all of the tax breaks have gone to the very, very wealthy. For example you have right now, this year, under the old tax policy that was just — that was put in by George Bush, people making an average $1.4 million a year, good people, decent people, patriotic — they’re going to get an $87 billion tax break. What we’re saying is that $87 billion tax break doesn’t need to go to people making an average of $1.4 million, it should go like it used to. It should go to middle class people — people making under $150,000 a year.” (WNEP-Scranton, Interview With Sen. Joe Biden, 10/27/08)

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, left, and Democratic vice presidential ... 
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, left, and Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., finish a rally with a friendly handshake Friday, Oct. 17, 2008 in Mesilla, N.M.(AP Photo/The La Cruces Sun-News, Shari Vialpando)

Notice that Biden gets the number wrong and uses about twice the words as Richardson.
What does Obama say?

 In June 2008, Obama Told Reporters He Would Raise Taxes On The Top 5 Percent Of Earners. “Speaking to reporters in St. Louis, he said he would eliminate the capital gains tax ‘for the small businesses and startups that are the backbone of our economy.’ His income tax plans, Obama said, would cut taxes for 95 percent of U.S. workers, while rolling back the Bush administration‘s tax reductions for the highest-earning 5 percent.” (Matt Apuzzo and Charles Babington, “McCain, Obama Trade Jabs On Economy, Taxes,” The Associated Press, 6/11/08)

Obama: “It Is True That Those Like Myself Who Are In The Top 5 Percent, We’re Going To See A Tax Increase. I’m Going To Roll The Bush Tax Cuts Back To The Levels They Were In The 1990s.” (Fox Business’ “Fox Business,” 6/26/08)Biden, Obama, Richardson, Tax, Taxes, gaffe, gaffes, “helpers”,

In 2006, The Cut Off For The Top 5 Percent Of Earners Began At About $150,000 — Well Below Obama’s $250,000 Threshold. “Including all tax returns that had a positive AGI, taxpayers with an AGI of $153,542 or more in 2006 constituted the nation’s top 5 percent of earners.” (Gerald Prante, “Summary Of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data,”, 7/18/08)

Biden’s Bloopers: Terrific and Meaningful Yet Largely Unreported by Media

October 29, 2008

By Kirsten Powers
New York Post

Barack Obama’s choice of Joe Biden as his running mate prompted a small wave of warnings about Biden’s propensity for gaffes. But no one imagined even in a worse-case scenario such a spectacular bomb as telling donors Sunday to “gird your loins” because a young president Obama will be tested by an international crisis just like young President John Kennedy was.

Scary? You betcha! But somehow, not front-page news.

Again the media showed their incredible bias by giving scattered coverage of Biden’s statements.

There were a few exceptions. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” co-host Mika Brzezinski flipped incredulously through the papers, expressing shock at the lack of coverage of Biden’s remarks. Guest Dan Rather admitted that if Palin had said it, the media would be going nuts.

So what gives?

The stock answer is: “It’s just Biden being Biden.” We all know how smart he is about foreign policy, so it’s not the same as when Sarah Palin says something that seems off.

Yet, when Biden asserted incorrectly in the vice-presidential debate that the United States “drove Hezbollah out of Lebanon,” nobody in the US media shrieked. (It was, however, covered with derision in the Middle East.) Or when he confused his history by claiming FDR calmed the nation during the Depression by going on TV, the press didn’t take it as evidence that he’s clueless.

And Biden is the foreign-policy gravitas on the Democratic ticket, so his comments are actually even more disconcerting.

The outakes of his Sunday remarks don’t begin to capture the magnitude of what he said. After warning the crowd that there would be some sort of international incident – Biden could think of four or five scenarios – he told the donors: “We’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”

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Joe Biden: Fool Muzzled?

October 29, 2008

By Dana Milbank
The Washington Post
October 29, 2008; Page A03

OCALA, Fla., Oct. 28 Joe Biden spoke to supporters here for 14 minutes and 25 seconds Tuesday morning — and that’s big news.

Until he became Barack Obama’s running mate in August, Biden could take that long just to say “good morning”; now the Democratic senator from Delaware has to give his entire stump speech in that span. On Capitol Hill he used to speak endlessly on any subject to anybody who asked for his view (and many who did not); now he has to read his words carefully from a teleprompter, squinting into the bright sunlight to avoid missing a syllable of the text that had been written for him by his Obama handlers.

The muzzling of Biden seems unnatural and inhumane, like taking a proud lion into captivity. Biden, who once scolded Sarah Palin for ducking reporters, hasn’t given a news conference since Sept. 7. The king of the rhetorical jungle hasn’t taken questions from voters in a town hall forum since Sept. 10, when he famously said that Hillary Clinton is “more qualified than I am to be vice president” and “might have been a better pick than me.” He doesn’t even do much chitchat with supporters at events since he was caught on tape on one such occasion contradicting Obama’s energy policy.

Now even Palin takes questions from reporters on her campaign plane. But the wordiest man in Washington has to make his remarks short, sweet and canned.

Here he was at an Ocala horse farm reading a seasonal joke written for him: “Look, folks, I know Halloween is coming, I know Halloween. But John McCain dressed up as an agent of change? That costume just doesn’t fit, folks.”

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Thousands Face Mix-Ups In Voter Registrations

October 18, 2008

It is impossible to know how many voters are affected nationwide.  The trouble is cropping up in many states including Ohio, Alabama, Michigan, Wisconsin and other states….

By Mary Pat Flaherty
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 18, 2008; Page A01

Thousands of voters across the country must reestablish their eligibility in the next three weeks in order for their votes to count on Nov. 4, a result of new state registration systems that are incorrectly rejecting them.

The challenges have led to a dozen lawsuits, testy arguments among state officials and escalating partisan battles. Because many voters may not know that their names have been flagged, eligibility questions could cause added confusion on Election Day, beyond the delays that may come with a huge turnout.
Election MG 3455.JPG
Above: A basic system of voting

The scramble to verify voter registrations is happening as states switch from locally managed lists of voters to statewide databases, a change required by federal law and hailed by many as a more efficient and accurate way to keep lists up to date.

But in the transition, the systems are questioning the registrations of many voters when discrepancies surface between their registration information and other official records, often because of errors outside voters’ control.

The issue made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which yesterday blocked a challenge to 200,000 Ohio voters whose registration data conflicted with other state records.

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