Archive for September, 2004

The main point that the forged CBS memos were supposed to bring home is: “Bush got preferential treatment to enter the Texas Air National Guard, and his records there were sugar-coated to cover up various rule violations and/or AWOL incidents.”

According to the memos, the person who issued those orders to Killian to “sugar coat” Bush’s records is retired Colonel Walter Staudt. He was Brigadier General at the time.

Well, Staudt has just come forward and given ABC an exclusive interview to the basic effect of, ‘That’s bullshit. I never issued any such orders, nor was I ever pressured by anyone else to do so. Even if I had, how would CBS know it? They weren’t there and nobody from CBS ever interviewed me about it.’ Staudt remembers Bush because apparently “[h]e was highly qualified. He passed all the scrutiny and tests he was given.”

I’m not a brilliant career journalist like Dan Rather, but if I were going to lie about something someone said, I’d make damn sure not to do it while they were still alive and kicking.

The utterly pathetic “Fake But Accurate” stance CBS has taken in recent days is now just a “Fake” stance. I have to say, there’s been something strangely, horribly fascinating about watching this train wreck unfold over the past week.

Bill Hobbs sums it up: “Dan Rather should not resign immediately. He should be fired.”

Via Instapundit.

This morning I put $1.50 in a vending machine at work and pressed the “Dr. Pepper” button. Nothing happened. So I pressed it again…and got bottled water.

Is there a message there?

It’s not even good water. “Bottled by Bottling Group LLC, Hayward CA”. Good god, filtered Alviso tap water, aka “Aquafina”.

This picture showed up earlier today on Fox News as a background for their Hurricane Ivan coverage. I managed to capture it before it disappeared shortly afterward. I guess someone at Fox noticed what I noticed and decided it was inappropriate. But I’m willing to spread it around. ๐Ÿ™‚

hurricane_boats_kerrysign.jpg
Credit: AP

Leftists in America often wonder aloud why anyone abroad would want to come live here, considering how evil America is, and Bushitler, and “OMG it’s a conspiracy”.

But in Iran recently, people got a chance to see Michael Moore’s latest propaganda piece, Fahrenheit 9/11. One young man made the following intriguing observation:


“It sure is a great country, where someone like Moore trashes the president and gets away with it — and makes so much money!”

That, ladies and gentleman, is why liberty is worth fighting for, and why America is the greatest country in the world.

Now this is interesting.


Documents allegedly written by a deceased officer that raised questions about President Bush’s service with the Texas Air National Guard bore markings showing they had been faxed to CBS News from a Kinko’s copy shop in Abilene, Tex., according to another former Guard officer who was shown the records by the network.

I was wondering when, and if, someone was going to be able to get a hold of the faxes themselves and trace them. Fax machines leave marks indicating their origin, and sometimes other information. Kudos to Michael Dobbs at WaPo for doing the legwork on this.

So you’re thinking, “A Kinko’s. So what? That doesn’t narrow the trail any. There are zillions of those shops.” Ah, but apparently not in Abilene, there aren’t. There’s exactly one. That means there are employees who might be questioned (although that’s unlikely to yield anything useful, since thousands of people go in and out of Kinko’s all the time). But what other interesting factoids might be relevant?


There is only one Kinko’s in Abilene, and it is 21 miles from the Baird, Tex., home of retired Texas National Guard officer Bill Burkett, who has been named by several news outlets as a possible source for the documents.

Bill Burkett has a personal axe to grind with Bush, as a result of denied medical care for an illness he suffered while in the military in 1998. He is the apparent source of the claim that Bush’s people deliberately purged Bush’s TANG records in order to cover up something potentially embarrassing. Burkett has written voluminously and frequently about his gripes with the Bush administration, U.S. involvement in the Middle East, and various other viewpoints-lacking-evidence that can be charitably described as “speculative”.

Kevin Drum has written at length about Burkett (and believes Burkett is telling the truth, in spite of the lack of hard evidence). Hat tip to Fried Man.

But although Burkett may be credible, and may indeed be telling the truth, the intensity of his vitriol toward Bush gives him motive and predisposition to providing (if not actually creating) the forged memos to CBS. Of course, the evidence that he did so is entirely circumstantial right now, but Burkett is a plausible suspect, and was a suspect even before the apparent source of the faxes became known.

Whether the information actually related in the memos is true or not is completely irrelevant. At issue here is the fact that CBS acquired documents that are obviously false, and based a major hit piece on 60 Minutes II on those documents even after being told by their experts that the documents were probably fake.

Further, CBS is not entertaining any serious investigation of this fraud, and neither is Dan Rather. Both are stonewalling in the hopes the controversy will go away (perhaps as hurricane news dominates the media in the following days). CBS was supposed to issue a “statement” at 12pm EST on Sept. 15. Noon came and went with not a peep from CBS. A statement finally showed up at around 6:15pm on Drudge, followed by a longer one at 7:39pm.

Why the delay? That kind of “dead air” is fatal to news organizations, especially in this day and age. CBS did not comment on the delay itself, so it was presumably not the result of some kind of technical malfunction beyond their control (although how every single one of their computers, phones, and cameras might fail simultaneously is an exercise I leave for the reader).

The most likely explanation is that there was infighting going on. The people at CBS could not come to an agreement on exactly what stance they were going to take. Perhaps the suits were trying to get Dan Rather to come clean, or resign, or something, and he refused. It suggests, at least, that there are still people at CBS who have some kind of sanity and/or journalistic integrity. It will be interesting to see if any of those people jump ship and start selling their story.

If I were the President of CBS, I would be utterly livid that Dan Rather had torpedoed my company’s reputation like this. I would fire him in a heartbeat. So why hasn’t that happened? Does Dan Rather really have that kind of clout? Does he have some kind of dirt on the CBS brass?

WaPo link via Instapundit.

If you own a certain kind of Kryptonite U-Lock with a circular key, that lock can be opened in a few seconds using the back end of a standard Bic ballpoint pen. Have you ever had your bike stolen and found the lock still locked on the rack? This might be how the thief did it.


Today I was hanging out with a friend and we got to talking about that – he said his friend showed him just recently how to open a U-Lock with a ball point pen.

Of course I didn’t believe it. That is until just thirty seconds ago when I opened my own Kryptonite Evolution 2000 with a bic ball point pen!

Here’s the thread about this on BikeForums. Click here for a direct link to the video showing how to do it.

Here’s a second video with a different lock

Via Boing Boing by way of Stumax

UPDATE: This story has been picked up by Wired, and they are hosting one of the videos, as well. I decided to send the following email to Kryptonite Locks:


To whom it may concern,

A few days ago I caught wind of the apparent flaw in some of your cylinder lock U-Locks:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=66128&page=1&pp=25
http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,64987,00.html

I noted this story on my blog (http://www.leftist.org/haightspeech/archives/000228.html) and I am concerned about something I read in the Wired article. Your company indicates it is rushing to market a new, more secure version of the locks. But it says nothing about any redress for the thousands of customers who have a flawed, expensive lock that is now worthless. Do you intend to force these people to pay for a new lock? Do you really think they will ever buy another Kryptonite lock again if you do that?

Surely you intend to replace the flawed locks your customers already have. Please let me know so I can spead the information on my blog and report it to BikeForums, Boing Boing and Instapundit. I will be posting a copy of this email on my blog, as well.

Anne Haight
Haight Speech
http://www.leftist.org/haightspeech

We’ll see if they reply or not, and what the answer is.

UPDATE (10/4/04): Kryptonite has replied to my email.

Thank you for contacting Kryptonite. We understand your concerns regarding tubular cylinders used in some Kryptonite locks. The tubular cylinder, a standard industry-wide design, has been successfully used for more than 30 years in our products and other security applications without significant issues. Over the past couple of weeks the internet has fueled information on lock picking methods which we have never seen in the past. Any product with a tubular cylinder could be susceptible to this type of theft.

In 2000, Kryptonite introduced the disc-style cylinder in its premier line of products, the New York series. In 2002, Kryptonite began development of a new disc cylinder system for both its Evolution and KryptoLok product lines, which currently use the tubular cylinder design. These products are scheduled to be introduced in the next few weeks.

If you haven’t done so, please log on to our website and register for the Lock Exchange Program. More information will be e-mailed to you once you register.

Customer Service Rep.
Kryptonite
437 Turnpike Street
Canton, MA 02021
Phone: 800-729-5625
Fax: 781-821-4777

According to Anne Morse at the National Review Online, RatherGate isn’t the first time Dan Rather has perpetrated a fraud on the American public and then refused to apologize for it.


On June 2, 1988, CBS aired an hour-long special titled CBS Reports: The Wall Within, which CBS trumpeted as the “rebirth of the TV documentary.” It purported to tell the true story of Vietnam through the eyes of six of the men who fought there. And what terrible stories they had to tell.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, drug abuse, alcoholism, joblessness, homelessness, suicidal thoughts: These tattered warriors suffered from them all.

The The Wall Within was hailed by critics who — like the Washington Post’s Tom Shales — gushed that the documentary was “extraordinarily powerful.” There was just one problem: Almost none of it was true.

Morse goes on to reveal that only one of the men interviewed had ever even served in combat, while the others held decidedly non-assassin jobs such as equipment repairman, an MP guard in a non-combat area, and an ammo handler. A couple of them also seem to have collectively spent a lot of time in the brig for going AWOL.


As Burkett notes, the records of all of these vets were easily checkable through Freedom of Information Act requests of their military records — something Rather and his producers simply didn’t bother to do.

…Thomas Turnage, then administrator of the Veterans Administration, [was] appalled by Rather’s use of bogus statistics on the rates of suicide, homelessness, and mental illness among Vietnam veterans — statistics that can also be easily checked. Rather initially refused to comment, and CBS spokeswoman Kim Akhtar said, “The producers stand behind their story. They had enough proof of who they are.” For his part, CBS president Howard Stringer defended the network with irrelevancies. “Your criticisms were not shared by a vast majority of our viewers,” he sniffed, adding that “CBS News and its affiliates received acclaim from most quarters . . . In sum, this was a broadcast of which we at CBS News and I personally am proud. There are no apologies to make.”

One would imagine that the reason most of the viewers didn’t dispute the story was because they didn’t know it was fraudulent. Duh. And critical acclaim doesn’t change the fact that something is a lie.

Perhaps Dan Rather knew the story was a fraud. Perhaps he was just lazy and didn’t bother to actually do any, you know, research before airing the show. I thought this guy was supposed to be a journalist. He looks down on all us pajama-wearing blogger peons who have no appreciation of the skill and hard work involved in Being Dan Rather™.

In either case, he is a fool, or at worst, a yellow journalist of the highest caliber.

UPDATE: I had forgotten about this one. Berke Breathed had this guy pegged years ago. Via Instapundit.

…is from Stephen Green over at VodkaPundit:

News has always been a dog-eat-dog business… CBS’s problem is, they seem to be determined to act like a Milk-Bone instead of a dog.

That just about sums it up.

From The American Spectator:


While talking about the economy, health-care policy, Kerry went off speech and began stumbling immediately. Kerry said that he would always tell the public the truth, and if the audience didn’t believe him, they could “[g]o to a web site. It can be johnkerry.com or go some other place. Go to truth.com, if there is one, and find out what’s really happening,” Kerry said.

Truth.com won’t set you free, but at least you’ll be able to see a bit more clearly. Truth.com is operated by Truth Hardware, makers of a complete line of locks, window hinges and remote-controlled power window systems.

I think Kerry is probably already an expert at locking people out.

We interrupt your Memogate RatherGate coverage to point your attention to something potentially much more important, especially if it turns out to be true:

SEOUL, South Korea – A large explosion occurred in the northern part of North Korea, sending a huge mushroom cloud into the air on an important anniversary of the communist regime, a South Korean news agency reported Sunday. . .

“We understand that a mushroom-shaped cloud about 2.2 miles to 2.5 miles in diameter was monitored during the explosion,” the source said. Yonhap described the source as “reliable.”

(UPDATE: More on this at Fox News.)

An explosion that leaves a cloud more than 2 miles across, regardless of its shape, has to be nuclear in origin. There’s no convention type of blast that could do that. Is this report correct? If so, was this a nuclear test or an accident?

Via Fark.

UPDATE: There’s a little more info over at Global Security. Check back there often — those guys are on top of this stuff. They also have some articles about the North Korean WMD program and speculation concerning possible nuclear tests.

What the fuck is going on in that country? I still want to know what the real story is behind that huge blast at the train station that leveled the entire damn town.

The New York Times (use login: “refuse”, password: “registration” to access) appears to have run an article today that may tie in to this:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 – President Bush and his top advisers have received intelligence reports in recent days describing a confusing series of actions by North Korea that some experts believe could indicate the country is preparing to conduct its first test explosion of a nuclear weapon, according to senior officials with access to the intelligence.

More proposed theories, as gleaned from conversation on Fark:

1. Runaway nuclear reactor accident, like Chernobyl.

2. U.S. has bombed a North Korean reactor site (preemptive strike).

I have attempted to find some seismic data concerning this event, but the USGS is not in the habit of reporting vibration data that is not directly earthquake related. There are other organizations devoted to tracking nuclear activity around the world using seismic information (such as the U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command), but they don’t run live data on the internet, for obvious reasons.

UPDATE: Here is a seismic waveform record for the date in question, from a seismic station located in Japan. It has been pointed out that nuclear explosions produce a waveform that is noticeably different from the way this one looks. Note characteristic double spike in the nuclear graphs. Sample 1. Sample 2. Big thanks to adamjaskie and Gregersonsalvage of Ricecop for these links.