Adventure on the highways.

I had to drop off friends at Miami Airport this morning - two flights at 6.55 and 7.15am.

Started at 5.15, and within 20 minutes I was on the ramp to the airport, when my friend read the road sign and exclaimed, "Oh, so you have Fort Lauderdale airport too in the same area!!??"

@#$!@#. I am happy I kept that to within myself. I had - by sheer habit - taken them to the other airport - Fort Lauderdale! I immediately started thinking remediation, and my friend helped by staying preternaturally calm - "that's okay, we can make it, I sure."

Went around the airport for a U-turn, took I-595 to I-95 south. The GPS came alive late, but confirmed that I could reach by 6:13, which was not too bad. I decided to take the 'Express Lane', without being absolutely sure that it would have an exit to the airport; but then, why would it not?  (Btw,  that Express lane is really that - smooth as silk and very little traffic; maybe the $0.25 toll deters many!)

Long story short, I dropped them at 6.10, and he first rushed his mom to deposit her luggage (he had checked in at home) while I tried to get to a parking spot : just in case they bumped his mom for not being present 45 minutes before the departure time and I had to take care of her plans. But he called me soon enough to confirm that she was in, no problems. Whew!

Next time, I'd better check with my passengers before starting : where are we going, please? :-)

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Barkha the blot

I always found Barkha Dutt the extreme of the 'in-your-face' journalism that many mistake for 'investigative' journalism. Ckunte blogged about it, but had to retract and remove the post. I am posting it here if anybody is interested in knowing what he said. I dunno how NDTV found something here to hand-twist him. Seems just an opinion piece, and a popular opinion at that.

If Ms. Barkha had a defence, she'd respond to just the two points right at the top of his post (bulletted with asterixes) - who did she think she was helping with these two instances?

Date: Thursday, 27 Nov 2008 20:39

Appalling journalism. Absolute blasphemy! As I watch the news from home, I am dumbfounded to see Barkha Dutt of NDTV break every rule of ethical journalism in reporting the Mumbai mayhem. Take a couple of instances for example:

  • In one instance she asks a husband about his wife being stuck, or held as a hostage. The poor guy adds in the end about where she was last hiding. Aired! My dear friends with AK-47s, our national news is helping you. Go get those still in. And be sure to thank NDTV for not censoring this bit of information.
  • In another instance, a General sort of suggests that there were no hostages in Oberoi Trident. (Clever.) Then, our herione of revelations calls the head of Oberoi, and the idiot confirms a possibility of 100 or more people still in the building. Hello! Guys with guns, you’ve got more goats to slay. But before you do, you’ve got to love NDTV and more precisely Ms. Dutt. She’s your official intelligence from Ground zero.

You do not need to be a journalist to understand the basic premise of ethics, which starts with protecting victims first; and that is done by avoiding key information from being aired publicly—such as but not limited to revealing the number of possible people still in, the hideouts of hostages and people stuck in buildings.

Imagine you’re one of those sorry souls holed-up in one of those bathrooms, or kitchens. A journalist pulls your kin outside and asks about your last contact on national television, and other prying details. In a bout of emotion, if they happen to reveal more details, you are sure going to hell. Remember these are hotels, where in all likelihood, every room has a television. All a terrorist needs to do is listen to Ms. Barkha Dutt’s latest achievement of extracting information from your relative, based on your last phone-call or SMS. And you’re shafted—courtesy NDTV.1

If the terrorists don’t manage to shove you in to your private hell, the journalists on national television will certainly help you get there. One of the criticisms about Barkha Dutt on Wikipedia reads thus:

During the Kargil conflict, Indian Army sources repeatedly complained to her channel that she was giving away locations in her broadcasts, thus causing Indian casualties.

Looks like the idiot journalist has not learnt anything since then. I join a number of bloggers pleading her to shut the f⋅⋅⋅ up.

Update: In fact, I am willing to believe that Hemant Karkare died because these channels showed him prepare (wear helmet, wear bullet-proof vest.) in excruciating detail live on television. And they in turn targeted him where he was unprotected. The brave officer succumbed to bullets in the neck.

Update 2 [28.Nov.2300hrs]: Better sense appears to have prevailed in the latter half of today—either willfully, or by Government coercion2, and Live broadcasts are now being limited to non-action zones. Telecast of action troops and strategy is now not being aired live. Thank goodness for that.

Update 3 [30.Nov.1900hrs]: DNA India reports about a UK couple ask media to report carefully:

The terrorists were watching CNN and they came down from where they were in a lift after hearing about us on TV.

Lynne Shaw in an interview.

  1. Oh, they have a lame excuse pronouncing that the television connections in the hotel has been cut, and therefore it is okay to broadcast. Like hell!
  2. I’m thinking coercion, since Government has just denied renewing CNN’s rights to air video today; must’ve have surely worked as a rude warning to the Indian domestic channels.

Tough - what is it?

So when a city starts living it's life as usual, and seems to have 'risen above' recent atrocities, it's called tough. But when does tough end, and callous begin? At what point do you stop applauding people for going about their daily lives 'bravely', and start wondering how heartless it must feel to the families which are now living the aftermath of death and destruction?

I am starting to believe, tough is a misnomer. No Other Option is more like it. Wonder how the terrorist mastermind on the other end of the satellite phone is now seeing it. Is he happy with the distraction of a few days, or is he upset it's now just a political blow-hard between two incompetent and uncaring administration?

Mumbai Attack in the news

Let's see, an array of newsreports -

In Pictures :





Rest of the pictures here : Mumbai Pics on Boston.com

Some details of the hijacked police van on Dawn's website (Pakistan) :
Gunmen spoke Hindi with strong Punjabi, north-Indian accent

Brutally bare commentary on Savage Politics : Ready To Crumble

If we needed further word, on BBC : 'Rot' at heart of Indian intelligence

So we have the whole world talking - when are we gonna talk, and admit that there's a lot to be fixed in our law enforcement?

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