September 27, 2004

Democrats' dirty tricks include registering more voters than Republicans

Democrats May Steal Election as Voter Registration Grows

[Excerpts]

Despite Kerry's lagging polls, the Democrats still plan to win this November.

How?

Perhaps by the old fashioned way: stealing the election.

That's the word from a top Republican strategist in Washington who tells NewsMax the Democrats have put an unusual amount of resources into "voter turnout" efforts.

NewsMax's Insider Report reported weeks ago that the 527 groups supporting Kerry, and backed by the likes of billionaire George Soros, were earmarking most of the $160 million they have raised toward voter registration and "get out the vote" efforts.

Republicans believe many of these voter registration efforts open up the door for qualified and multiple voting schemes on Election Day.

Worse, the 527's are now claiming they will spend three times what has been previously reported to "get out the vote."

Posted by jules_siegel at 07:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 23, 2004

Monica's blue dress crashes Stamps.com stock

Yahoo! News - Stamps.com Falls on Concern Over Product Test

[Excerpts]

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares of Stamps.com (Nasdaq:STMP - news), which sells postage over the Internet, fell 11 percent on Thursday on concerns that its PhotoStamps service, which allows the creation of personalized stamps, might be discontinued, an analyst said.

Mike Crawford, an analyst at B. Riley & Co., who recommends buying the stock, said the stock fell on uncertainty surrounding the market test of PhotoStamps.

Crawford said the U.S. Postal Service is concerned about inappropriate images appearing on stamps after The Smoking Gun (http://www.thesmokinggun.com/) Web site submitted infamous images of celebrities to test what would appear on postage stamps.

Pictures of Lee Harvey Oswald and organized crime figure Sammy "the Bull" Gravano were rejected by the service, when The Smoking Gun submitted them.

Photos submitted by The Smoking Gun that made the cut included Unabomber Ted Kaczynski's high school and college yearbook photos; Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites), the former Yugoslav President who is facing a war crimes tribunal; Monica Lewinsky's blue dress; and New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey with Golan Cipel.

Posted by jules_siegel at 08:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 22, 2004

Autumn arrives today


Click image to enlarge

Left, from my journal, September, 1970

The Sun enters Libra today at 12:30 pm EDT.

The leaves never know
which leaf will be first to fall.
Does the wind know?

--Soseki Natsume (1867-1916)

Posted by jules_siegel at 09:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Liberal dailykos.com pulls more visitors than FoxNews.com

Chris Bowers reports that the ten most trafficked political blogs logged 28,000,000 unique visits during the 31 days previous to Sept. 8.

"FoxNews.com had 5.7 million unique users in May, compared with 22.3 million for CNN.com and 21.1 million for MSNBC.com," writes the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Caroline Wilbert.

Bowers comments: "Particularly amazing is that Dailykos, with around 7 million unique visits over the past 31 days, now has a higher monthly website traffic than Fox News."

Posted by jules_siegel at 09:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 19, 2004

Anger management counselor turns dogs on hurricane refugees in shelter

People in storm say dogs were sicced on them

By Teresa Lane

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, September 19, 2004

[Excerpts]

STUART Ñ — A mental-health counselor was charged with aggravated battery Friday after witnesses said he unleashed two pit bulls on a crowd of hurricane refugees in a Stuart office building just as Frances' eye wall was passing Sept. 4.

Ryan C. Moore, 54, of 2011 Westmoreland Blvd. in Port St. Lucie reportedly released his dogs with a command of "Go get them" while he and other employees were holed up in the A.G. Edwards building at 10 Central Parkway, police reports state.

William E. Schoonmaker of Jensen Beach suffered deep bites to his stomach, face, throat and hands, and Sabrina Stuart was bitten in the leg as she tried to help Schoonmaker's wife escape shattering glass, reports state.

Moore specializes in treating patients with addictions and sexual and anger-management problems.

Moore denies he instructed the dogs to attack anyone. "It is absolutely absurd to think I would instruct my dog to attack a human being," said Moore, who claims the more-aggressive dog, Sugar, belongs to his estranged wife.

Posted by jules_siegel at 08:20 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

"President Bush You Killed My Son"

The Trentonian

Grieving mother lashes back
PETE DALY, Staff Writer 09/18/2004

[Excerpts]
HAMILTON -- The trespassing charges against a Pennington woman who was arrested after interrupting a speech by first lady Laura Bush were dropped yesterday, but the controversy has ignited a political firestorm.

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office has declined to prosecute Sue C. Sapir-Niederer, the mother of 24-year-old Army Lt. Seth Dvorin, who was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq Feb. 3.

Niederer was arrested outside the Colonial Fire Co. hall on Kuser Road after she yelled questions at Laura Bush as the first lady was delivering a speech during the Republican rally.

As Bush began speaking on U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, Niederer, wearing a T-shirt with a picture of her son that read, "President Bush You Killed My Son," yelled toward the podium.

She said later she was asking Bush why her daughters and the children of congressmen and senators were not serving in the military to fight the war on terror.

Niederer was escorted from the hall by Hamilton police, and reportedly also by Secret Service agents, and was subsequently arrested when she refused their requests to leave the area outside the hall.

Niederer had a ticket to attend the rally, but claimed it was taken by Hamilton police after her arrest.

Posted by jules_siegel at 08:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2004

New Bush Guard memo overlays

Click to enlarge
Virtual Composer font designed by Thomas Phinney to duplicate the characteristics of IBM Selectric Composer fonts.

Click on image to enlarge (261 kb). Then continue for comparison image.

Please use this story for all comments until advised. Some publicity in the wind might precipitate a server load (I hope). I am working on an alternate page for Font Wars, but it isn't read yet. Almost everything you need to know is here. Scroll down to see previous entries and graphics.

Click to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge (237 kb).

Which one is the better fit?

Posted by jules_siegel at 04:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 15, 2004

LA Times confirms Drudge on Killian secretary

Ex-Guard Secretary Recalls Memos Criticizing Bush
By James Rainey

George W. Bush's commanding officer in the Texas Air National Guard wrote memos more than 30 years ago objecting to efforts to gloss over the young lieutenant's shortcomings and failure to take a flight physical, according to the officer's secretary. But Marian Carr Knox of Houston said the memos unveiled by CBS News were forgeries, not the ones she typed at the time.

Posted by jules_siegel at 07:06 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Killian's secretary says memos are fake, information real

TEXAS GUARD SECRETARY SURFACES: SAYS CBS DOCS 'FORGERIES', BUT STANDS BY ACCUSATIONS AGAINST BUSH

[Excerpts]

The DRUDGE REPORT has found Lt. Col. Jerry Killian's former secretary who claims that the Texas Air National Guard documents offered by CBS in its 60 MINUTES II report filed by Dan Rather last week are indeed 'forgeries'.

"I typed memos that had this information in them, but I did not type these memos.

Knox speculated as to how she thought the forgeries were created saying, "My guess is that someone in the outfit got hold of the real ones and discussed it with a former Army person."

"What really hecked me off was when it was somebody on TV, associated with the White House, who said that all of this information was lies. And I got excited at the time because I knew that I had typed documents with this information because a person like Bush stood out from the others -- because of his association with his father."

Asked about reports that Lt. Col. Killian's wife and son saying he didn't type, Knox stated, "He didn't need to. He had me."

Posted by jules_siegel at 06:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

Is it a fake?

Umm.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge.

[Updated Sep. 15, 2004 6:50 a.m.]

Oops. Thomas Phinney writes: "Pfeh, I realized today that the Composer featured variable-width spaces, and that the space wasn't even in the width table that I copied, so I didn't get it quite right."

It's a microscopic issue that doesn't affect the alignment. He's going to fix that.[Update: See newest versions in stories above.] Meanwhile, given today's news from Killian's secretary, we get to have it both ways. The memos are fake; the information real. Isn't the Internet great!

I created the image in much the same way as the one in "Replicating the superimposition," using Thomas Phinney's Virtual Composer font, but I carefully move dthe lines of the Virtual Composer image to line up vertically with the CYA memo.

As you can see, the line endings are very close, so close that any variations can be explained as image generation artifacts. Allow me to quote myself:

I am not going to go on record as convinced that it couldn't be done on a Composer because I am afraid that someone will do it and make me look like a fool.

A statement from IBM that no Composer font balls ever had superscript "th"s would be the strongest evidence that it could not have been used. Show me that and I will heartily agree that the memos could not have been created on a Composer.

Anything else is conjecture. My position is that it's all conjecture. I'm comfortable with that. I'm very uncomfortable taking a definitive stand one way or the other, because either one could blow up in my face.

Comments?


Posted by jules_siegel at 06:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 13, 2004

They are fake.

[Current draft]

By Jules Siegel

Folks, you know that if Yellow Dog Democrat Jules Siegel tells you that they are fake, they are fake.

How bad an election can it be when typography is a national issue? My faith in the utter absurdity of human nature is restored.

Now comes Thomas Phinney, Program Manager, Fonts & Core Technologies, Adobe Systems. This guy is my ultimate typography guru. I got to know him during the conversion of Adobe's entire line of type to a new format called OpenType, which was one of his main responsibilities. This kind of work makes rocket science look like Lego.

Until the advent of OpenType, a given font of a typeface was limited to 256 characters. OpenType fonts have more than 65,000 characters, finally making it feasible to set Chinese on a computer, among other typographical wonders.

Without consulting any mathemeticians, I feel confident in saying that setting proportional type implies an underlying order of complexity that would be represented by a Very Large Number approaching infinity. No one uses all that complexity all at once. There is more to be written about love than would fill all the leaves of all the trees that ever were or yet shall be. Yet it all ultimately boils down to "I love you."

The physical length of "I love you" when set in type depends on the character widths of the typeface you use to set it.

In proportional type, each character occupies a unique discrete space. An "l" is thinner than an "m." Every "l" is the same width as every other "l in a given font." Every "m" is the same as every other "m." The same goes for every character in the font. They are Legos. Sentences with identical character sets will always come out the same length, just as a given set of numbers will always add up to the same total.

[Jules asks himself here, what about word and letterspacing?]

Speaking for himself alone and not for Adobe, Phinney observes, "The incredibly bad reproduction of the memos makes it hard to state many things definitively. But one thing that is not degraded by the reproduction is the simple question of relative line lengths. Where does each line end, relative to the lines above and below it?"

"Given proportionally spaced fonts, and a large enough sample (as these four memos are)," he continues, "these line breakings offer a sort of digital fingerprint of the widths of the font used. The memos precisely match current digital versions of Times (and previous phototype and hot metal typesetting versions), but they do not match the IBM Composer fonts, nor do they match any version of the IBM Executive)."

From what I know about type (plenty, believe me, at almost 69, after having begun at 14) I am fully satisfied that this means that the memos could not have been created on either an IBM Selectric Composer or an IBM Executive typewriter. Since these would be the only devices that Jerry Killian could have used in 1973 to produce his memos in a proportional typeface similar to Times, they are fake.

I'll have more on this tomorrow. Meanwhile, let's look at Phinney's detailed reasoning.

The number of possible character widths was much more limited for the Composer (all characters were 3-9 units wide) and the Executive (all characters were 2-5 units wide).

It is worth noting that the digital versions of Times available today are all based on an earlier 18-units-relative-to-height ("to the em" in font-geek-speak) system. So while they have relatively discrete widths for common characters, these widths are at a "finer grain" than early typewriters or low-end typesetters of the 70s such as the Executive and the Composer.

Today's digital versions of Times have widths that descend from those used in Linotype's phototypesetting and earlier hot metal versions (source: correspondence with John Warnock and direct testing). Monotype had previously had a version with different widths, but when Microsoft licensed their version, they wanted it to be compatible with Adobe's, so the widths were changed to match the Adobe/Lino versions. Thus all the main digital versions of Times used today have the same widths.

(1) The IBM Composer proportional fonts all had the same relative character widths, regardless of font design. Thus there is in essence only one "fingerprint" for the Composer fonts. Times matches the memo fingerprint, but not the Composer fingerprint.

Contrariwise, given a couple more hours, I can do a digital version of a Composer font (since I have the widths info). This would allow me to do "virtual Composer" simulations and prove in the reverse direction, that the relative line lengths set with the virtual Composer are quite different.

(2) The IBM Executive did not offer switchable fonts, so you literally had to buy a different typewriter to get a different proportional font. None of them is particularly close to Times.

Posted by jules_siegel at 03:47 PM | Comments (9)

September 12, 2004

Replicating the superimposition

One of the principal arguments for the forgery side is that by simply typing the text of a memo into Word using the default settings, you will get an exact letter for letter match. I tried this and found it to be more difficult than claimed, but feasible. In the interests of journalistic integrity, here's my latest try:

I exported the CBS CYA memo as a Tiff. I did not try to fix any rotation problems.

I went back to the Word memo text. I made sure to put double spaces in the same places this time. This caused the text to format completely differently from the CYA memo. My default margins turn out to be 1.18 in., maybe because I am working in the Spanish-language version of Office, which is based on centimeters, or because I changed the defaults to picas and when they converted to inches the came out 1.18.

I reset the margins to 1.25 and 1 in. The text formatted correctly. I don't know if these are default Word settings. They are standard secretarial correspondence settings, though.

Then I made a PDF of the same thing in Word. I didn't print it out and scan it because I am getting tired of it all. Given the quality of the original scan, it's good enough. I rasterized it in Photoshop at 144 dpi, the same as the CYA memo export. The difference in vertical spacing is a faxing effect, I'm sure, as is the rotation. The two images were drastically different in size. I reduced the Word image to fit the CYA memo measure.

So this is a point for the forgery side.

The only way to solve the puzzle is to see the original documents. Even high-resolution scans are not going to resolve all the questions. A physical test will easily determine if they were printed with a carbon film ribbon or a laser printer. CBS is going to stonewall on that. Therefore the argument falls into the category of phenomenology. There is no physical evidence, just digital images whose provenance can never be determined by visual inspection.

Do not fall in love with any given hypothesis. This is a swamp. Nothing is real. At the moment, CBS holds all the cards. If they have decided to crush Bush, it's Nineteen Eighty-Four. It's not like they don't have the resources to create anything at all that they want or need to do it.

In 1977, Mike Salisbury showed me the originals for Marlon Brando's dossier in Apocalypse Now. They were on screen for seconds. They were absolutely perfect as far as I could tell. They didn't look like stats. They looked like actual documents -- an article from Life magazine really stood out. I think he may have had it printed on a small offset press, but I will have to ask him to be sure.

Given the poor quality of the scans, I don't see how anyone can definitively show a space in front of a th. It's like the kerning. I don't see it. The rest is maybe. You can't have it both ways on the scans. If the inconsistent apostrophes are generation artifacts, then I will argue that it's not valid to compare them with 100% accurate laser output.

My typography guru is convinced that it wasn't done on a Composer. A lot of people who have worked on Composers are claiming that it would have been entirely feasible. They say that Composer font balls with superscripts were available, both on special balls with many other symbols, and also hybrid balls that had standard typographical refinements, including fractions. The Composer had automatic centering. They also say that IBM routinely made custom font balls.

Now that I've actually matched the Press Roman letter forms to the memos, it will take a lot to convince me that they could not have been created on a Composer.

You can't say that Killian wouldn't have known how to have operated a Composer. It's well established that he never used a typewriter. Neither does Bill Clinton. Does that mean that his correspondence is fake?

Now let me drop a name: Chester Anderson, the founder of The Communication Company. I went to the print shop in Mendocino in 1973 looking for someone to type a book-length manuscript. They sent me up to see Chester. I said, "The Chester Anderson?" He responded, "The Jules Siegel?"

I gave him the manuscript and he said he would give me an estimate on typing it. I came back a few days later and he had set half of it in type. He loved the book and just whaled into it. Why set it in type? "It's all the same to me. This is the machine I use for everything."

I later worked on that very Composer in Mendocino in 1975 after Chester quit. That's how I learned to set type. I used Press Roman because it was the closest to real type. I wrote my Playboy story about Thomas Pynchon on it and also another called "A Modern Romance" that appeared in Chic. The owner used to give me letters to do because he liked the way they looked.

You can look at this in two ways:

[1] Jules/Chester = Killian/Operator

[2] Owner/Jules = Killian/Operator

If you can't shoot down the Composer theory on the basis of the physical evidence, such as it is, you have to argue not just that it's unlikely that he had access to one, but show historical evidence that he didn't. That is not going to be a trivial task.

No arguments based on superimpositions are valid, not even mine, because the scans have no evidentiary value. My images are visual aids. They aren't any kind of proof. The scans I am now using were extracted from the PDF with Acrobat 5 as TIFFs. They are beyond fucked.

When my typography guru got very heavy about the mathematical impossibility of creating the memos on a Composer, I wrote an update agreeing that they are probably fakes. It would be a great thing to send out. It wouldn't embarass me at all. It shows my devotion to truth and integrity, exactly my favorite image.

Once I actually fiddled with the Press Roman specimens, I got the very strong feeling that it was looking very possible to recreate these memos on a Composer. Gerry Kaplan came really close. To fully satisfy myself either way I would have to sit down at a Composer and try it myself. I am not going to go on record as convinced that it couldn't be done on a Composer because I am afraid that someone will do it and make me look like a fool.

A statement from IBM that no Composer font balls ever had superscript "th"s would be the strongest evidence that it could not have been used. Show me that and I will heartily agree that the memos could not have been created on a Composer.

Anything else is conjecture. My position is that it's all conjecture. I'm comfortable with that. I'm very uncomfortable taking a definitive stand one way or the other, because either one could blow up in my face.

I think it will dissolve into a he said she said argument. Kitty Kelley is next. That's going to be a lot more interesting than fonts.

We are on Tropical Storm Warning in Cancun right now. Hurricane Ivan is going to brush us tomorrow. It's already begun to rain in fitful torrents and the front door is leaking. Tomorrow is going to be an absolute mess. I hope it stays on the current forecast track. Otherwise we will be in the soup. I just dread the thought of being evacuated from the Hotel Zone.

Font Wars become quite trivial when you look at the satellite images of Hurricane Ivan bearing down on your home, believe me.

Posted by jules_siegel at 10:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Hmmm.


Now look here:

Some rather abstruse mathematical arguments may be forthcoming about character widths, but I think this image makes a compelling case for Press Roman used on an IBM Selectric Composer.

According to my typography guru, the narrow W is a characteristic of typewriter fonts. You can see this in the first image, where the MS Times Roman W is distinctly wider than the W in Press Roman.

Yet the Ws line up very well when superimposed in the memo scan. Admittedly, this is not a scientifically precise demonstration. The scan is awful. After a certain point in reduction, similar typefaces begin looking identical. The width differences between the two Ws are probably not strong enough to survive the effects of scanning and reduction.

The shape of the 5, however is very distinctive, and it matches just about perfectly. In general, the letterforms of Press Roman are a good match for MS Times New Roman.

Until high resolution scans from the originals are made available, this is going to be difficult to refute on mathematical grounds. The mathematics don't apply because too many uncontrolled and unknown variables have entered.

Posted by jules_siegel at 10:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 11, 2004

A Selectric Composer replica

As you see there are some anomalies, but it really does begin to look as if the memo could have been produced on a Selectric Composer with a font ball that had the superscript "th." Here's what Shape of Days says about this:

The IBM Selectric Composer

Typing "IBM Selectric Composer" into that search site took me to the aptly named ibmcomposer.org, which describes itself as "the only site on the Internet completely dedicated to the IBM 'Selectric' Composer line of typesetting machines." The site, which is run by Gerry Kaplan, includes information, scanned user manuals, and photographs of the only working IBM Selectric Composer I've been able to find. And, fortunately for me, it also includes an e-mail address.

When I first heard back from Gerry, I felt a little bad for having bothered him. He'd been fielding calls and letters all day, he told me, including an inquiry from CNN. But he was a trouper, willing — enthusiastic even — to help out.

I asked Gerry, in a fit of hubris, if he wouldn't mind trying to reproduce a sample from one of the CBS memos on his Selectric Composer. Just over an hour later, he emailed me back a sample, typed up on his Composer using the 11-point Press Roman type ball and scanned into his computer.

[Update]

People are wondering why I would use this item and link to The Shape of Days site when it contains supposedly devastating rebuttals of Gary Kaplan's replica. What do I care what he says? I can pick apart any of his arguments. The replica was a hurriedly created sample. He's comparing ridiculously distorted scans with original copy. As you've seen, I make the opposite case, using the same material. He needs too much verbal exposition to explain what his images mean. Mine speak for themselves. They don't prove anything, but I don't claim that they do. They just demonstrate my doubts in a compelling visual aid that could easily be displayed on a TV screen. You don't even need my voice over explaining what they mean.

My fundamental argument there are too many style inconsistencies in the memos for them to have been composed in MS Word. That may not make sense on TV, but it makes perfect sense to anyone who's actually used Word, especially someone who also happened to use electric typewriters. Word automatically irons out inconsistencies. The defaults in Word are a pain to change, even if you've managed to do it occasionally. You have to poke around in options and preferences dialogs.

The opposite is true of devices such as the Selectric Composer. You always have a choice of using superscript or regular "th"s, curly and straight quotes and apostrophes. It's extra work to make the typographically correct choices. You have to use a different key or key combination and/or change the font ball or daisy wheel. Therefore if a document shows inconsistent style choices, it is more likely to have been composed on a device thatrelies on operator choice than MS Word.

Posted by jules_siegel at 12:29 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Font wars hit prime time

By Jules Siegel

634 words

"TV ads that are saying "the memos are fake" or "Kerry's isn't a hero" are the main focus of the campaign right now," comments High Times contributing editor Preston Peet in the course of a very spirited discussion about the disputed Killian memos on newsroom-l, one of the Internet's principal email discussion lists for journalists.

"It's sick, to put it mildly," he observes.

To me, it's not all that bad, because I think that campaign ads are the distilled reflection of the candidates' personalities. The discussion brings this out even further. The real question under scrutiny is whom do you trust. Moreover, because I have devoted my life to type, whether as a journalist or a graphic designer, I am happy that TV screens are filled with discussions of arcane font identification details and the capabilities of the otherwise forgotten IBM keyboard devices at which I spent much of my youth.

If they ever ask me to go on TV to explain the difference among MS Times New Roman, Linotype Times Roman and Monotype Times New Roman, I will ask them to display the interesting visual experiment now featured on Newsroom-l.

Look what happens when I match up the scan of a date from one of the Killian memos (blue) with the same text composed in Word in MS Times New Roman and Bembo, laser-printed at 300 dpi and scanned at 300 dpi. Bembo was designed by the legendary British typographer Stanley Morison, who also created Times New Roman for the Times (London) in 1931. Judge for yourself which one fits better.

Most of the case against the Killian memos rests on the claim that the typeface is MS Times New Roman, which was not available on typewriters in 1973, although other versions of Times were. My general impression is that this is way too tricky to call without seeing the original documents or, possibly, excellent scans. At the same time, after very close study, I don't think this is MS Times New Roman. It's not Bembo either, but it could be a bastard version that I think combines elements of Times and Bembo (or a similar face). It might be either Aldine or Press Roman, which were created by IBM for the Selectric Composer.

A world-reknowned authority on type who wishes to remain anonymous at this time assures me that based on his mathematical calculations of character widths (an unerring type identification fingerprint, he says), the memo face is MS Times New Roman. He's probably right about that. In a media urination contest, however, which will be more effective -- a mathematical formula or a visual image?

When it comes to trust, Bush just got hit with a faceful of unrecycled horse manure. It's worse than the Swift Boats. Kerry had plenty of documentary and eyewitness evidence to demonstrate not only that they were lying, but also that he was a hero.

Here the preponderance of the evidence is that Bush never showed up for duty, even if you discount the Killian memos, which are now related to the category of hearsay. Arguing about the authenticity of the Killian memos just keeps bringing the subject back to four little letters: AWOL.

It is possible that the documents were forged. If so, maybe some Democrats learned a lot from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. I don't approve, but it does make me smile.

I was talking about some of this with my beloved bride, the beauteous Anita Brown. She's more conservative than I am. I mentioned the right wing argument that this is all old stuff, that even if Bush committed youthful indiscretions, they have no bearing on the election. She replied, "If he is to be forgiven for his youthful indiscretions, why should the youth of today go to prison for the same offenses?"

--
Jules Siegel is a writer and graphic designer whose works have been published in Playboy, Best American Short Stories, Library of America's "Writing Los Angeles," and many other publications. He administers Newsroom-l, one of the Internet's principal email discussion lists for journalists.

Posted by jules_siegel at 10:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

A picture is worth a thousand words



Look what happens when I match up the scan of the memo date (blue) with scans of the same text composed in Word in Times and Bembo, laser-printed at 300 dpi and scanned at 300 dpi.


Authenticity backed on Bush documents

By Francie Latour and Michael Rezendes, Globe Staff | September 11, 2004

[Excerpts]

Philip Bouffard, a forensic document examiner in Ohio who has analyzed typewritten samples for 30 years, had expressed suspicions about the documents in an interview with the New York Times, one in a wave of similar media reports. But Bouffard told the Globe Friday that after further study, he now believed the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time.

Bouffard, the Ohio document specialist, said that he had first dismissed the Bush documents because the letters and formatting of the memos did not match any of the 4,000 samples in his database. But Friday, Bouffard said that he had not considered the IBM Selectric Composer. Once he compared the memos to Selectric Composer samples, Bouffard said, his view shifted.

In the Times interview, Bouffard had also questioned whether the military would have used the Composer, a large machine. [Note: It's not a large machine. It's a little bigger than a standard Selectric. --JS] But Friday he provided a document indicating that as early as April 1969 the Air Force had completed service testing for the Composer, possibly in preparation for purchasing the typewriters.

As for the raised "th" that appears in the Bush memos, Bouffard said that custom characters on the Composer's metal typehead ball were available in the 1970s.

"You can't just say that this is definitively the mark of a computer," Bouffard said.

Posted by jules_siegel at 08:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 10, 2004

It's not Times Roman

It's not Bembo either, but probably Aldine, a knock-off that was one of the fonts used on the Composer. It might also be Press Roman, but I've been unable to locate a specimen so far.

Posted by jules_siegel at 07:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 09, 2004

Bush Guard memo "forgery" a hard sell

Right wing sources argue that the Killian memos are forgeries. They claim that they use proportional characters that supposedly weren't available in 1973.

Proportional characters were used on IBM typewriters as early as 1941, and became widespread after 1950, when the Executive model was introduced. Below, an ad for the IBM Executive published in 1954.

.

Although the Times New Roman face used by MS Word as the default font is superficially similar to the typeface used in the memos (because both Microsoft and IBM were inspired by Times Roman, one of the most successful commercial typefaces of all time), it is not identical. The numbers are especially different.

They also allege that the memos use "smart" (curly) quotation marks. I see a couple of possibly "smart" apostrophes. As you can see in the ad, this was a feature of the IBM Executive, a surprisingly sophisticated machine, typographically, that I used while working in public relations 1959-60. The most damaging evidence is the superscript "th." If the IBM Executive did not have this capability, the document is subject to considerable doubt until the issue can be resolved.

I'll be interested in comments from other typographers on this.

[Note: In response to a comment on the Newsroom-l mailing list, I have recreated the text in Word, printed it out and scanned it. The original memo is a very bad scan, possibly from a copying machine, but I think the differences in the "g" and the "3" are substantial.

Go to Font Wars for latest updates.

Posted by jules_siegel at 05:28 PM | Comments (78) | TrackBack

September 07, 2004

Anti-Vietnam vets pass the torch to anti-Iraq vets

By Stephen S. Noetzel, Vietnam Veteran Against the War AGAIN

Their signature banner read: IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR!

The PAST (Sunday Reunion #1, August 29, 2004.)

Funny how most of them haven't changed all that much….in over thirty years "on the barricades". I could already spot them on the subway platform at 23rd Street, as we emerged into the brilliant morning sunshine, of a typical Manhattan Dog-Day of August.

But obviously, they were showing their years; in fact, more than their years. Despite having grown "rotund", most of the Grizzled Vets still managed to squeeze into the remnants of the bestraggled uniform "artifacts" they had saved….for important Protest Events, for many years, even decades. Tattered and faded military shirts, hats & vests…festooned with ironic mixtures of Military and Peace Movement Insignia. The same stuff they wore when they took over the Mall, in Washington DC, in the spring of '71 when they emerged as the heroes of the Anti-War movement. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

And I was right there with them. Wearing my wool Green Beret; modified only slightly, to announce my Political Stance while at the same time stopping the beads of sweat trying to roll off my now bald head. Instead of the regulation Special Forces Patch that originally commanded attention directly over the left eye, there was a round Veterans for Peace "Patch", splashed with the red/yellow colors of Vietnam; yet held in place by my original 5th Special Forces Pin….with it's swaggering Logo-Phrase written in Ironic Latin: "De Oppresso Liber". Liberator of the Oppressed, my ass. Like all of the Old Experienced Ones who have been through the fires of the Anti War struggles for decades, I knew better.

So we marshaled on 22nd Street in the heat, for One Last Parade. For 2 hours we waited at the head of the "Line of March", while politicians and celebrities made speeches in front of us, and a half million Protestors against the Bush War Machine gathered behind us. We carried our signs aloft:

IRAQ is ARABIC for VIETNAM.
Vietnam Veterans Against the War - AGAIN!
Vietnam Vets Action Plan: Job 1; Fire BUSH; Job 2: EXIT IRAQ.
And mine: Vietnam Vets for Kerry - LOVED him in '71; Support him in '04

The same No Apology sentiments we've pronounced unabashedly….for over 30 years. As the Line of March "stepped off" at noon, one could read it all in the eyes of the spectators pressed to the far side of the barricades. From the under 40 crowd; "Wow…Cool….Look at Those Guys". From the other side of 40, a somber closed-mouth slight nodding of the head. Déjà vu, all over again.

But there WAS something new…."walking point" at the very head of the parade. Carried by a small squad of clean-cut YOUNG American men, their signature banner read: IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR!

For these guys….a universal cheer….and a Standing Ovation from the sidelines. And they deserve it. Given the heretofore unprecedented and (not very) veiled threat of Governmental Retaliation, the young band of Veterans of "Operation Iraqi Freedom" strode forward with the Military Posture and the serious faces that only hinted at the courage required to make their Statement. But make it they did…."in spades" for all the world to see.

We were proud to march behind them. For us, they represented the very soul of our life-long sentiment; articulated anew. We marched the Parade Route together. Two Generations; One message: Peace. NOW!
By 2pm the Front line of the massive Protest Parade had reached the terminus at Union Square. It was hot; energy flagged, and the Vets, young and old, were looking for "R&R". They pulled the rumpled handbills from their pockets, and re-read their "orders".

VETS REUNION…..at SUMMIT ROCK; 1700 hours in Central Park!

LET'S TAKE THE HIGH GROUND!

This INVITATION goes out primarily to ALL the VVAW troops…but also just as warmly to Vets for Peace, VVA, Citizen Soldiers…COs, Deserters, Just Plain Ole' Vets, Vet Groupies, and most assuredly to members/Potential Members of the (brand New) IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR.

On Sunday afternoon, after the parade, there will be a VETS REUNION at SUMMIT ROCK….Highest point in Central Park. (WEST SIDE of the park…between 81st and 85th Street).

It's quiet & "private", with nice shade trees. Pack in your MREs. Make your Pit Stop before you climb to HIGH GROUND! We will Leave No Trace. We Field-Strip everything we smoke.

No Speeches….no Circus….no Politicians…..no Headliners. A PERFECT PLACE for a GRAND REUNION OF VETERANS, families, friends. A place to hug….in private. A place to tell War Stories….from Day's Gone By.

It's about COMING TOGETHER….ONE MORE TIME! Nothing more than that. Whaddaya say??? Shall we TAKE THE HIGH GROUND together?

The PRESENT (Sunday Reunion #2)

Truth be told, no one knew if anyone would show. It was WAY uptown. A tricky subway ride followed by a search in the park, to find the unmarked Summit Rock. But they are still vets, still self-sufficient, resourceful, and still dependable. By 5:15pm there were 85 of us "falling out…..at ease" under the leafy shade trees at Summit Rock.

A magical mixture of Vets and Their Own. "Where you in from?" Minneapolis, Iowa, Seattle, San Francisco, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Upstate New York, Brooklyn. The Old Guard…comparing notes. "Were you at Dewey Canyon III in D.C. ?" "Sure was, but I had long hair back then". (Duhhhh) "Were you in the Hearing Room with Kerry when he testified before Senator Fulbright?" "Negative…I was still in The Nam. Got back in '72 and joined VVAW as soon as I got back to The World".

And the inevitable "gear talk". "What's that Body Armor like?" "Hot as a mother. Gotta have it. Gave some of our extras to Reserve Unit Joes". "Gave em? Hell our unit was buyin' them from the Cops, before we left home!" And among the young vets of Iraq, a deep, universal distain for the US Contractors and Corporate Mercenary Troops…."gettin rich on our blood".

Also the inevitable Speech. No PA system, but one grizzled ex-Marine climbs a shelf-rock and yells out "Let's hear it for IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR!". Joe goes on to cite the Announcement of the Founding of IVAW…."7/24/04, in Boston Mass!" "Come on up here Mike, and say a few words". This call interrupts a historic moment, taking place just a few yards away. Mike Hoffman, founder of Iraq Veterans Against the war, is engaged in quiet conversation, with the ever understated Jan Barry, founder of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The Passing of the Torch.

Then Mike is up on the natural "stage" of Summit Rock. He's introducing additional members of IVAW, and thanking the Vietnam Vets for their Inspiration and Mentorship. Each of the New Vets takes their turn at "a few words for the brothers". Their confidence and polish is immediately evident. "Just like you guys", says one, "….we are growing like wildfire….because, like yours, our leadership has failed us, and our cause is JUST". "Just like you guys", says another, "….we answered The Bell, and did our job. Now it's time for THEM to do right by US!".

Dave Cline says a few words to define the Moment. Like many old Vietnam Vets, he recognized long ago, that the Invasion of Iraq had DEEP parallels with our sad mis-adventure in Vietnam. For starters, yet another immoral, illegal war. He's been working tirelessly since the very start of the Bombing of Baghdad, to bring the collective experience of VVAW to the grunts in uniform, doing the dirty work of our Government, in the heat, and sand, and chaos, that is Iraq. "The torch is being passed", says Dave. "Right here, Right now, my long-time dream is coming true, and the Torch is being PASSED!". A mighty cheer arises in Central Park. When it's over, Dave has a Post Script for us all.

"That doesn't mean your job is done…." He shouts to the Old Vets within earshot. "….You're not 'Retired' yet! We've still got work to do. We are Still in Service, and we need to continue to support these guys, and ALL the troops still over there, and Bring them back Alive….and Right NOW!"

Dave closed his remarks with a call for a Moment of Silence for the Fallen. The Extended Line of Fallen. From Vietnam to Iraq. The warriors doing their job for Dubious Leaders, cowering in safety. The civilian populations, who couldn't find safe haven. In that moment of silence, the Torch was being passed.

A few more vets said a few more words. A Vietnam Vet from San Francisco told everyone about how the IVAW movement was growing on the West Coast, and how Seasoned Vets were mentoring Iraq vets back there. A few words were spoken by Parents of Troops in Iraq right now. Anxious words that promised to swell the ranks of these new Winter Soldiers….if they can only make it back home, alive.

To close the Reunion, the assembled vets huddled together, young and old, while loved ones and Media snapped photos of history. The Torch won't be visible in those photos, but it sure as hell was there. You had to be there, to FEEL it being passed….from one generation to another.

By 7:30pm the High Ground Reunion was breaking up. The vets were hungry, and looking forward to the Evening Event. The day was already long and hot….and there was still one more Reunion to attend…..tonight.

The FUTURE (Sunday Reunion #3)

The final Vets and Friends contingent re-assembled at 9pm; back again in Lower Manhattan. A young crowd lined the sidewalk outside Joes Pub in the Park….at New York's famous Public Theatre, at Astor Place. It was to be a Concert for Peace, presented by a cooperative of many artists, performing during the week, to raise funds for numerous groups dedicated to Peace, and Regime Change in the US of A.

Tonight, Singer-Songwriter Stephan Smith was performing to raise funds for IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR. Before the venue doors were opened to the ticket holding public, the manager opened the entry gate to escort in our group of perhaps 25 Vets, Friends, and Military Families. We took seats at tables just under the lip of the stage. As we settled into our seats and ordered libations, the venue filled with hip New Yorkers, and visitors from everywhere.

Stephan Smith opened his show with a solo performance of his new anti-war song "THE BELL". Tall and lanky, he was Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dillon combined….at 25 years of age. The song lyrics were moving, but his rap after The Bell touched everyone. Most of the audience (including me) had no idea when he started, that Stephan was "Half Iraqi". He explained that indeed MOST of his family lived in Baghdad. Moreover he was especially worried about them just now because he hasn't been able to get in touch with them for almost two weeks; whereas previous contact was almost every other day. We all felt the tension and anxiety as he sang another song or two about the destruction of the land of his ancestors.

After these introductory songs, Stephan introduced VVAW leader Dave Cline, who in turn introduced THREE of the Founding Members of IVAW. Primary founder Michael Hoffman, took the stage, along with xxxxx, and xxxxxx.

The audience grew stone quiet as Mike told the story of his Introduction to Iraq. "The truest words I've ever heard", he said….were told to him and his Marine platoon, on the night before they embarked for their Mission in Iraq. Hoffman recalled the speech almost verbatim:

"I want you guys to know why we're going over there….and why we're NOT going over there", said his battle seasoned Platoon Sergeant. "….I want you all to get this straight. We are NOT going over there to get Saddam Hussein. We are NOT going over there for Regime Change….or to 'Free' the people of Iraq". "We are NOT going over there to capture Weapons of Mass Destruction. There are none, and we won't find any. Marines, we are going to Iraq for one reason, and one reason only…..and THAT reason is OIL."

But "gunny" wasn't done yet. "….and there are TWO REASONS, and two reasons only….why you are going to go over there and do your duty. The FIRST reason, is that you signed a contract with the US Government. That contract says that you will GO anywhere we send you; that you will DO anything we tell you to do, and
That you will perform your job, as we define it, for as long as we tell you to do it". "That is your Contractual Obligation".

"Second" he continued….."….you will go there to protect the back of your buddy. An HE is going over there to protect yours. THAT'S how a UNIT works. Everyone trains, everyone goes, everyone does their job, and no one shirks. We do our JOB, and we ALL come back together; the living and the dead."

The audience pulled forward to the edge of their seats, as the naked truth of this "most truthful speech" hit home to every listener. We "veteran" Vets nodded our heads in silence. Hard Core….. we've all heard them before. But solid. We veterans respect these Warrior Masters. They are what makes an army work. No justification required. No hyperbole. No Hype. Just the truth….and it works. Men go to die for those words; but they hit like thunder to an audience of protected civilians.

After his introductory "bombshell", Hoffman passed the microphone to another young vet….to continue their Raison D'Etere Message.

"So yes….we went to Iraq and we fulfilled our contractual obligation. Every last piece of it. We did our job, ands with little or no complaint. We endured the heat, the chaos, the lack of clear command strategy, and the lack of adequate equipment".

"We did what was asked of us, and more….and all the while we watched our buddies back. Sometimes, the best we could do was not enough. The casualties we took were not about our commitment to Watching our Buddies Backs….but more about a lack of overall protection by the command structure above us."

The third young vet put the "lock" on the argument. "We want it to be perfectly clear to all. By forming IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR….we are not turning our backs on our Contract, OR our Mission.
Quite the contrary. By telling our story of a War Gone Wrong….we are STILL covering the backs of our buddies. We are STILL protecting them….by calling for an immediate end to the Occupation, and the safe return of each and every precious life. In short, we Continue, in our Mission!"

The presentation could have ended right there. The audience at Joes Pub was sold. These guys were On the Right Track, and courageous young patriots to boot. But there was more to come. There was a live telephone hook-up….primitive as it was, from yet another Veteran of Iraq, who wanted to tell his story, to the 250 people gathered at the Pub. A clumsy old Desk Phone was dragged out from backstage. It was switched on to Speaker Mode. While one vet held the phone aloft, another held the House Mike above the Speaker Phone. It was exquisitely Low Tech to be sure, but everyone could hear XXXXXX loud and clear.

"Let me tell you all about MY Iraq" he began, "….but I want everyone to help me out. I want each and every one of you listening to close your eyes tightly, and come with me on Patrol in Iraq. We are all standing at a bend in a road, just outside Baghdad. A whole Platoon of us; eighty strong, or more. We are the last Checkpoint in Perimeter Security. And it is black as ink. As black as it is when you shut your eyes tight. No moonlight, no shadows, no ambient light from anywhere. And suddenly in the distance, the flickering of headlights. A vehicle is approaching. No one needs to issue an order. We are at the ready in an instant. Fingers silently slide the safety switches off…on dozens of rifles. No light at all is needed to adjust the feed for the machine guns. Fear and anticipation are palpable, but not a word is spoken. The vehicle headlights move ever closer. It crosses and imaginary Yellow Line, and now you can hear it's engine as it moves ever closer. A brave Marine steps out to the edge of the road, and throws up a hand in an unmistakable sign of HALT! Or is it a sign of Greeting. We've been told it's a common sign of greeting out here. Whatever. The Brave Marine steps back into the safety of the formation. He's no longer silhouetted by the left headlight; no longer in the line of fire….from either the vehicle, or from his own platoon. And the damn vehicle just keeps on commin! It crosses an imaginary (but fatal) Red Line. The riflemen hear only one word of the two-word command…..OPEN…."

"….The soft silent night is shredded with the ear splitting clatter of gunfire. The glass of the headlights shatter, the target is dark in an instant. But no light is needed. The range has been found, as a thousand steel jacket bullets are loosed. The target is riddled like a scene out of 'Bonnie & Clyde". Now there are powerful spotlights and flares, and all can see that the vehicle poses no further threat. The barrage of gunfire abates, and our Marines move cautiously toward the carnage; rifles pointed 'at ready'. The search is swift, and frantic, but thorough. Dead bodies are pulled from the car. An old man from the driver's seat. Two women; three children. All killed in an instant. But the frantic search continues. Young soldiers gulp for oxygen in the thick night air…as they pull apart the car seats, the floorboards, the trunk. Looking frantically for a Justification for Murder. A rifle….explosives….a bomb…..For Christ's sake….Please God….ANYTHING! But there is nothing. Only blood, shattered glass, and shattered bodies".

There was dead silence in Joe's Pub….perhaps a faint "no". The vets holding the phone in the spotlight let their heads droop to their chest. The audience gasped and swallowed hard….trying to hold back tears while simultaneously trying to swallow a lump in the throat. The telephone voice returned:

"…..That was MY Iraq." "But not only mine. It's happened many times over. It's what's known as Collateral Damage". Then: "Thank you for listening to my story. Help us bring our troops home NOW".

The evening went on….the concert continued. Stephan sang "Slash and Burn", and more. But the Phone Call kept burning deeper into the consciousness of every person in the room. For each and every person who witnessed the Passing of the Torch, in Joe's Pub…on the evening of that historic day; that Phone Call became and Endless Loop in our Constant Awareness. It cannot be escaped.

We must help these brave young men carry the torch of truth We must help them complete their Mission. We must stop the carnage, and bring their comrades home to safety.

Yours for an America to Love Again
Stephen S. Noetzel, Vietnam Veteran Against the War AGAIN,
(back in) San Francisco, California

Posted by jules_siegel at 07:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 03, 2004

Swift Boat Editorial Cartoons

Editorial cartoon by John Sherffius on Swift Boat smear

Click on Those Swift Boat Ads to see the rest.

To me, the only area in which newspapers compete with TV is the
editorial cartoon.

Keep that in mind as you page through these cartoons. Some made me laugh
out loud. I was really impressed by the general level of
draftsmanship, too, but the one by John Sherffius is an absolute knockout.

Posted by jules_siegel at 08:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack