Tony
Blog
Click to access RSS
Archive

Q4/14

Q3/13

Q2/13

Q1/13

Q4/12

Q3/12

Q2/12

Q1/12

1/12

12/11

11/11

10/11

9/11

8/11

7/11

6/11

5/11

4/11

3/11

2/11

1/11

12/10

11/10

10/10

9/10

8/10

7/10

6/10

5/10

4/10

3/10

2/10

1/10

12/09

11/09

10/09

9/09

8/09

7/09

6/09

5/09

4/09

3/09

2/09

1/09

12/08

11/08

10/08

9/08

8/08

7/08

6/08

5/08

4/08

3/08

2/08

1/08

12/07

11/07

10/07

9/07

8/07

7/07

6/07

5/07

4/07

3/07

2/07

1/07

12/06

11/06

10/06

9/06

8/06

7/06

6/06

5/06

4/06

3/06

2/06

1/06

12/05

11/05

10/05

9/05

8/05

7/05

6/05

5/05

4/05

3/05

2/05

1/05

12/04

11/04

10/04

9/04

8/04

7/04

6/04

5/04

4/04

3/04

2/04

1/04

12/03

11/03

10/03

9/03

8/03

7/03

6/03

5/03

4/03

3/03

2/03

1/03

12/02

11/02

10/02

9/02

8/02

7/02

Indexes
>Time
>Alphabet

Letters
Blog
To find an archived article, simply click on Index and scroll the subject titles, or do a Ctrl-F search

TALLRITE BLOG 
ARCHIVE

This archive, organized into months, and indexed by
time and alphabet, contains all issues since inception, including the current week.

You can write to me at blog2-at-tallrite-dot-com
(Clumsy form of my address to thwart spamming software that scans for e-mail addresses)

September 2004

Issue #86 : Miscellaneous Posts During September 2004 [652]

bulletRathergate's Lack of Mistakes
bulletExcusing the Beslan Murderers
bulletStupid Bush
bulletThe Accidental Hero and the Swiftee Smears

Raththergate's Lack of Mistakes

What a cracking story about US TV Anchorman Dan Rather's forged documents, apparently signed by George Bush's (now long dead) commanding officer Lt Col Jerry Killian.  They purportedly demonstrate George Bush's flaky service with the National Guard in the 1970s, and efforts to use influence to facilitate him.  They were apparently written in order to be filed away rather than sent to anyone.  

Dan Rather is, of course, America's most revered newscaster, the equivalent perhaps of the BBC's David Dimbleby or Channel 4's Sir Trevor MacDonald.  

He broke his story on CBS's flagship 60 Minutes programme, whose equivalent in the UK is the BBC's Panorama and in Ireland RTÉ's Prime Time.  

The list of evidence that the four memos he presented, such as this one, are phony is astonishing.
bullet

The memos use military phraseology and abbreviations that were not in use in the 1970s (eg grp for group - should have been gp) 

bullet

Killian did not use the customary form of his own rank and position

bullet

There are doubts about the veracity of Killian's signature and handwriting

bullet

The memos were typed in New Times Roman, a font not available to the public until the 1980s

bullet

They include the superscript th, as in 111th, which Microsoft Word produces automatically, but which no typewriter in the 1970s was capable of typing

bullet

The formation of the letters, the variable pitch, the spacing, the word-wrapping and the overall layout correspond exactly with the default settings of Microsoft Word - an impossible coincidence

bullet

The wife and son of Killian say that he never typed, rarely even wrote, relying instead on his memory

bullet

Various events and people do not match up date-wise (eg Col Staudt had left the service 17 months before he supposedly pressured Bush's supervisor)

bullet

Not a single document-expert has supported the genuineness of the documents

The mistakes are so obvious - many spotted by bloggers within an hour of publication - that the the forger was undoubtedly someone too young to have used the mechanical or mechanical/electric typewriters that pre-dated personal computers.  

But I am not; I've been touch-typing since 1962, and until PCs came along never went anywhere without my trusty portable.  And for this reason, I have observed one further piece of irrefutable evidence that no-one seems to have picked up on.  

The memos are typographically faultless.  
bullet

not a single spelling mistake or correction,  

bullet

no black squares, 

bullet

no overwritten letters, 

bullet

no double spaces, 

bullet

no missing words or letters hand-inserted with a ballpoint, and 

bullet

nothing manually scratched out.  

Believe me, that is impossible for any but the most skilled and dedicated typist, carefully and meticulously wielding those white correction pads and prepared to retype entire pages when the corrections could not be adequately disguised.
bullet

Could a non-typist have produced such perfect documents ?  NO

bullet

Would a non-typist, or even a skilled typist have bothered with such perfection for memos destined only for his/her own files ? NO

This piece of evidence alone is enough to prove forgery.  

Back to List of Contents

Excusing the Beslan Murderers

Dominic Bryan is an academic with Queens University Belfast.  In commenting on 7th September in the (subscription-only) Irish Times on the evil terrorist murder of countless children, teachers and others in Beslan, he accuses America and Britain of terrorism, and says terrorism is anyway nothing new, so what's the big deal.  And he ends with this outrageous apologia for the conduct of the murderers.

We have to attempt to understand why non-state actors commit such terrible atrocities as that in Beslan. We need to understand why they use certain tactics. And we need to change the political contexts in which these activities are legitimised. Just calling them all terrorists helps no one.

On 9th September, the Irish Times, to my surprise, printed my response.  

Madam, - Dominic Bryan of QUB's Institute of Irish Studies (September 7th) blathers that we have to attempt to understand why non-state actors commit such terrible atrocities as that in Beslan. We need to understand why they use certain tactics...”  Actually, we need to hunt down such non-state actors and kill them. No excuses. 

Back to List of Contents

__________________

The following two posts are based on letters I wrote in response to articles which appeared in the subscription-only Irish Times (and elsewhere), but which the editor chose not to publish.  
Not sufficiently anti-Bush, perhaps.
 
__________________

Stupid Bush

Howell Raines, the prestigious New York Times' former editor, who was fired for protecting the plagiary of reporter Jayson Blair, has a problem with facts.

In a recent article in the Guardian (naturally!) and other newspapers, he repeats a variety of assertions about President Bush's mental abilities. 

President George W Bush is 

bullet of low IQ, 
bullet stupid, 
bullet a village idiot, 
bullet thick, 
bullet dumb, 
bullet not smart enough, 
bullet of questionable mental capacity, 
bullet of questionable imagination, 
bullet intellectually weak.

He asks, Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I'm sure their SATs and college exam papers would put Kerry far ahead.  But if he had any facts to back this up, you can be sure he would trumpet them.  It's because he hasn't that he's spoofing.  

So here are a few facts in the public domain. 

bullet Mr Kerry was awarded a bachelor's degree by Yale 1966 shortly before he joined the US Navy. 
bullet Two years later, so was Mr Bush. 
bullet In 1976 he earned a law degree from Boston College (where?)
bullet But the previous year Mr Bush had earned an MBA from Harvard. 

So Kerry is a double-bachelor graduate from Yale and Boston; Bush is a bachelor+masters graduate from Yale and Harvard.  On this objective evidence, the score is Kerry 2-, Bush 2+. 

So, Mr Raines, who's the dumb one? 

Back to List of Contents

The Accidental Hero and the Swiftee Smears

In an article published in several newspapers, Professor David Gergen, erstwhile adviser to four US presidents, recently decried the anti-Kerry ads by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.   Andrew Sullivan, who has recently turned anti-Bush, also considers the ads an unworthy smear.  They are just not cricket.  

But such commentators would be more convincing if they were to address the actual issues raised by the disaffected Swiftees.  John Kerry himself has not faced reporters in a serious interview since August 1st, apparently for fear of questions about these matters.  

It's worth summarising in one place the main things in the public domain that he needs to clarify:

 
bulletMr Kerry claimed before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1971 that thousands of US soldiers in Vietnam were war criminals; he subsequently included himself
bulletHe claimed on the floor of the Senate in 1986 that he had spent Christmas 1968 under fire on a gunboat (illegally) inside Cambodia, which his campaign has now admitted was false
bulletIn respect of Mr Kerry's wounds that earned him three purple hearts and an early exit from Vietnam, Senator Bob Dole recently remarked, three Purple Hearts - he never bled that I know of ... they were all superficial wounds ... he never spent one day in the hospital 
bulletHis campaign has effectively admitted that the first of his purple-heart wounds, which according to his doctor required only a band-aid, was self-inflicted albeit unintentionally
bulletFor his silver star, there are, extraordinarily, three separate citations, signed by three different officers, over a 12-year period, with two very different accounts; moreover his website claims the medal includes a V for valour which it doesn't
bulletIn 1971, he threw his medals away in an ostentatious anti-war protest, but in 1984 they mysteriously reappeared in his office
bulletIn the early 1970s, as a leading anti-warrior and whilst still a US Navy officer, he consistently took the North Vietnamese negotiating positions, so much so that to this day he is honoured with a photograph in the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), which shows him meeting the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.   

Andrew Sullivan also considers it underhand that the Swiftees started preparing their case (and their book, Unfit for Command) well before Mr Kerry declared he was reporting for duty at the Democratic Convention.  In fact, he embarked upon his Vietnam re-journey months ago during his primary campaign, which is when and why the Swiftees began preparing their case.  Why, the issue was so well known that even I was commenting on Mr Kerry's accidental heroics back in February.  

Unless the Accidental Hero can provide sensible answers or allow the release of his full military records, he will prove to have been most unwise to make his paltry four months service in Vietnam the centrepiece of his presidential campaign. 

Back to List of Contents

Equestrian Cian O'Connor, Ireland's Olympic Gold Medallist (its eighth ever).  Did you ever see such a happy face? 
Equestrian Cian O'Connor, 
Ireland's Olympic Gold Medallist (its eighth ever).  
Did you ever see such a happy face?

Update November 2004
Sadly, it looks like he's going to have to hand it back because his horse, Waterford Crystal, tested positive for a banned substance, albeit one that could not have enhanced performance in any way.  

Back to List of Contents

Head transplant
Don't you just love this curious headline 
from Dublin Sport dated 25 August 2004 ?
Think about it ... 

Back to List of Contents

See the Archive and Blogroll at top left and right, for your convenience

Back to Top of Page

Return to Tallrite Blog

 

Now, for a little [Light Relief]

Hit Counter

2013 RWC7s Logo

Gift Idea
Cuddly Teddy Bears
looking for a home

Click for details  “”


Neda Agha Soltan, 1982-2009
Neda Agha Soltan;
shot dead in Teheran
by Basij militia

Good to report that as at
14th September 2009
he is at least alive.

FREED AT LAST,
ON 18th OCTOBER 2011,
GAUNT BUT OTHERWISE REASONABLY HEALTHY

Support Denmark and its caroonists!

Thousands of Deadly Islamic Terror Attacks Since 9/11

BLOGROLL

 

Adam Smith  

Alt Tag  

Andrew Sullivan

Atlantic Blog (defunct)

Back Seat Drivers

Belfast Gonzo

Black Line  

Blog-Irish (defunct)

Broom of Anger 

Charles Krauthammer

Cox and Forkum

Defiant  Irishwoman  

Disillusioned Lefty

Douglas Murray

Freedom Institute  

Gavin's Blog 

Guido Fawkes

Instapundit

Internet Commentator

Irish Blogs

Irish Eagle

Irish Elk

Jawa Report

Kevin Myers

Mark Humphrys 

Mark Steyn

Melanie Phillips

Not a Fish

Parnell's Ireland

Rolfe's Random Review

Samizdata 

Sarah Carey / GUBU

Sicilian Notes  

Slugger O'Toole

Thinking Man's Guide

Turbulence Ahead

Victor Davis Hanson

Watching Israel

Wulfbeorn, Watching

 

Jihad

Terrorism
Awareness Project

 

Religion

Iona Institute
Skeptical Bible  

Skeptical Quran  

 

Leisure

Razzamatazz Blog  

Sawyer the Lawyer

Tales from Warri

Twenty Major

Graham's  Sporting Wk

 

Blog Directory

Eatonweb

Discover the World

 

My Columns in the

bullet

Irish Times

bullet

Sunday Times

 

 What I've recently
been reading

The Lemon Tree, by Sandy Tol, 2006
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy Tol (2006),
is a delightful novel-style history of modern Israel and Palestine told through the eyes of a thoughtful protagonist from either side, with a household lemon tree as their unifying theme.

But it's not entirely honest in its subtle pro-Palestinian bias, and therefore needs to be read in conjunction with an antidote, such as
The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz, 2004

See detailed review

+++++

Drowning in Oil - Macondo Blowout
This
examines events which led to BP's 2010 Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. 

BP's ambitious CEO John Browne expanded it through adventurous acquisitions, aggressive offshore exploration, and relentless cost-reduction that trumped everything else, even safety and long-term technical sustainability.  

Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in Russia.  

The Macondo blowout was but an inevitable outcome of a BP culture that had become poisonous and incompetent. 

However the book is gravely compromised by a litany of over 40 technical and stupid errors that display the author's ignorance and carelessness. 

It would be better to wait for the second (properly edited) edition before buying. 

As for BP, only a wholesale rebuilding of a new, professional, ethical culture will prevent further such tragedies and the eventual destruction of a once mighty corporation with a long and generally honourable history.

Note: I wrote my own reports on Macondo
in
May, June, and July 2010

+++++

Published in April 2010; banned in Singapore

A horrific account of:

bullet

how the death penalty is administered and, er, executed in Singapore,

bullet

the corruption of Singapore's legal system, and

bullet

Singapore's enthusiastic embrace of Burma's drug-fuelled military dictatorship

More details on my blog here.

+++++

Product Details
This is nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’s incredible story of survival in the Far East during World War II.

After recounting a childhood of convention and simple pleasures in working-class Aberdeen, Mr Urquhart is conscripted within days of Chamberlain declaring war on Germany in 1939.

From then until the Japanese are deservedly nuked into surrendering six years later, Mr Urquhart’s tale is one of first discomfort but then following the fall of Singapore of ever-increasing, unmitigated horror. 

After a wretched journey Eastward, he finds himself part of Singapore’s big but useless garrison.

Taken prisoner when Singapore falls in 1941, he is, successively,

bullet

part of a death march to Thailand,

bullet

a slave labourer on the Siam/Burma railway (one man died for every sleeper laid),

bullet

regularly beaten and tortured,

bullet

racked by starvation, gaping ulcers and disease including cholera,

bullet

a slave labourer stevedoring at Singapore’s docks,

bullet

shipped to Japan in a stinking, closed, airless hold with 900 other sick and dying men,

bullet

torpedoed by the Americans and left drifting alone for five days before being picked up,

bullet

a slave-labourer in Nagasaki until blessed liberation thanks to the Americans’ “Fat Boy” atomic bomb.

Chronically ill, distraught and traumatised on return to Aberdeen yet disdained by the British Army, he slowly reconstructs a life.  Only in his late 80s is he able finally to recount his dreadful experiences in this unputdownable book.

There are very few first-person eye-witness accounts of the the horrors of Japanese brutality during WW2. As such this book is an invaluable historical document.

+++++

Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies
Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies

This is a rattling good tale of the web of corruption within which the American president and his cronies operate. It's written by blogger Michele Malkin who, because she's both a woman and half-Asian, is curiously immune to the charges of racism and sexism this book would provoke if written by a typical Republican WASP.

With 75 page of notes to back up - in best blogger tradition - every shocking and in most cases money-grubbing allegation, she excoriates one Obama crony after another, starting with the incumbent himself and his equally tricky wife. 

Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel, Valerie Jarett, Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Steven Rattner, both Clintons, Chris Dodd: they all star as crooks in this venomous but credible book. 

ACORN, Mr Obama's favourite community organising outfit, is also exposed for the crooked vote-rigging machine it is.

+++++

Superfreakonomics
This much trumpeted sequel to Freakonomics is a bit of disappointment. 

It is really just a collation of amusing little tales about surprising human (and occasionally animal) behaviour and situations.  For example:

bullet

Drunk walking kills more people per kilometer than drunk driving.

bullet

People aren't really altruistic - they always expect a return of some sort for good deeds.

bullet

Child seats are a waste of money as they are no safer for children than adult seatbelts.

bullet

Though doctors have known for centuries they must wash their hands to avoid spreading infection, they still often fail to do so. 

bullet

Monkeys can be taught to use washers as cash to buy tit-bits - and even sex.

The book has no real message other than don't be surprised how humans sometimes behave and try to look for simple rather than complex solutions.

And with a final anecdote (monkeys, cash and sex), the book suddenly just stops dead in its tracks.  Weird.

++++++

False Economy: A Surprising Economic History of the World
A remarkable, coherent attempt by Financial Times economist Alan Beattie to understand and explain world history through the prism of economics. 

It's chapters are organised around provocative questions such as

bullet

Why does asparagus come from Peru?

bullet

Why are pandas so useless?

bullet

Why are oil and diamonds more trouble than they are worth?

bullet

Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?

It's central thesis is that economic development continues to be impeded in different countries for different historical reasons, even when the original rationale for those impediments no longer obtains.  For instance:

bullet

Argentina protects its now largely foreign landowners (eg George Soros)

bullet

Russia its military-owned businesses, such as counterfeit DVDs

bullet

The US its cotton industry comprising only 1% of GDP and 2% of its workforce

The author writes in a very chatty, light-hearted matter which makes the book easy to digest. 

However it would benefit from a few charts to illustrate some of the many quantitative points put forward, as well as sub-chaptering every few pages to provide natural break-points for the reader. 

+++++

Burmese Outpost, by Anthony Irwin
This is a thrilling book of derring-do behind enemy lines in the jungles of north-east Burma in 1942-44 during the Japanese occupation.

The author was a member of Britain's V Force, a forerunner of the SAS. Its remit was to harass Japanese lines of command, patrol their occupied territory, carryout sabotage and provide intelligence, with the overall objective of keeping the enemy out of India.   

Irwin is admirably yet brutally frank, in his descriptions of deathly battles with the Japs, his execution of a prisoner, dodging falling bags of rice dropped by the RAF, or collapsing in floods of tears through accumulated stress, fear and loneliness. 

He also provides some fascinating insights into the mentality of Japanese soldiery and why it failed against the flexibility and devolved authority of the British. 

The book amounts to a  very human and exhilarating tale.

Oh, and Irwin describes the death in 1943 of his colleague my uncle, Major PF Brennan.

+++++

Other books here

Rugby World Cup 7s, Dubai 2009
Click for an account of this momentous, high-speed event
of March 2009

 Rugby World Cup 2007
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the Rugby World Cup
scores, points and rankings.

 

After 48 crackling, compelling, captivating games, the new World Champions are, deservedly,
SOUTH AFRICA

England get the Silver,
Argentina the Bronze.  Fourth is host nation France.

No-one can argue with
the justice of the outcomes

Over the competition,
the average
points per game =
52,
tries per game =
6.2,
minutes per try = 13

Click here to see all the latest scores, points and rankings  
Click on the logo
to get a table with
the final World Cup
scores, points, rankings and goal-statistics

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com