Author Archive | Liam McGonagle

U.S. Administration Officials Charged with Politically Motivated Killings of American Citizens

If only tree-hugging ACLU types like Saul Alinsky wannabe Obama and their radical constitutional originalist opposition like Mitt Romney would stop stoking this issue for political gain!  From Charlie Savage at the New York Times:

Relatives of three American citizens killed in drone strikes in Yemen last year filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against four senior national security officials on Wednesday. The suit, in the Federal District Court here, opened a new chapter in the legal wrangling over the Obama administration’s use of drones in pursuit of terrorism suspects away from traditional “hot” battlefields like Afghanistan.

The first strike, on Sept. 30, killed a group of people including Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric who was born in New Mexico, and Samir Khan, a naturalized American citizen who lived at times in Queens, Long Island and North Carolina. The second, on Oct. 14, killed a group of people including Mr.

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LIBOR Pains: Why Do These Stories Always Seem to Break in Britain?

Probably not because their regulators are any smarter or scrupulous than those in the U.S. – more likely because they’re relatively powerless to conceal them. From Caroline Salas Gage and Joshua Zumbrun at Bloomberg:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York was aware of potential issues involving Barclays Plc (BARC) and the London interbank offered rate after the financial crisis began in 2007, according to a statement from the district bank.

“In the context of our market monitoring following the onset of the financial crisis in late 2007, involving thousands of calls and e-mails with market participants over a period of many months, we received occasional anecdotal reports from Barclays of problems with Libor,” New York Fed spokeswoman Andrea Priest said in an e-mailed statement.

“In the spring of 2008, following the failure of Bear Stearns and shortly before the first media report on the subject, we made further inquiry of Barclays as to how Libor submissions were being conducted,” the statement said.

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Barclays CEO Resigns Under a Cloud of Criminal Allegations

World Economic Forum (CC)

Uh-oh.  In case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s a rolling sh*tstorm breaking out across the pond related to the admitted gaming of LIBOR by big investment banks like Barclays.  You know LIBOR, right?  The rate referenced in practically every major financial contract since 1985.

I wonder how much of that $450 million will go to folks who got the short end of the stick on contracts paid out under a fradulently low LIBOR rate.

From Mark Scott at the NY Times:

LONDON – Barclays is quickly trying to stem the fallout from a rate-manipulation scandal, as its chief executive Robert E. Diamond Jr. [at right] abruptly resigned on Tuesday.

Less than a week ago, the big bank agreed to pay $450 million to settle accusations that it had tried to influence key interest rates for its own benefit, sparking a political firestorm in Britain.

Now, the scandal has claimed three casualties, including Mr.

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Miss Holocaust 2012

Pure class.  I wonder how the acceptance speeches went?  ” . . . and most of all, without whom none of this would have been possible, I’d like to thank . . . ”  From Haaretz:

Grinning and waving, 14 women who survived the horrors of World War II paraded Thursday in an unusual pageant, vying for the honor of being crowned Israel’s first “Miss Holocaust Survivor.”

Billed by organizers as a celebration of life, the event also stirred controversy. In a country where millions have been touched by the Holocaust, many argued that judging aging women who had suffered so much on physical appearance was inappropriate, and even offensive.

“It sounds totally macabre to me,” said Colette Avital, chairwoman of Israel’s leading Holocaust survivors’ umbrella group. “I am in favor of enriching lives, but a one-time pageant masquerading (survivors) with beautiful clothes is not what is going to make their lives more meaningful.”

Pageant organizer Shimon Sabag rejected the criticism, saying the winners were chosen based on their personal stories of survival and rebuilding their lives after the war, and physical beauty was only a tiny part of the competition.

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Sh*t I Personally Guarantee You Will Never, EVER Hear Said Aloud, Even If You Live to Be One Thousand Years Old

The French composer Claude Debussy is quoted as saying that, “Music is the space between the notes”.  I think that’s a very apt recognition of the shared responsibility between artist and audience in unearthing the latent content of any piece of art, and I very much like it.  Make your work too overtly programmatic, and you end up with stale self-parody, a la Norman Rockwell.  Overburden it with too many layers of obscure, self-referential ciphers, like Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake”, and risk alienating your most enthusiastic audience.

But if you have a lot to say, it can really be difficult to avoid the “Finnegan” trap.  The very fact that you are capable of generating enough observations worthy of communication, of making very fine distinctions in kind and degree, springs from a hypersensitivity that can seem emotionally overwhelming, and very much at odds with one of the inviolable principles of effective communication itself:  clarity.

This is where a solid understanding of the rhetorical ecology will come in handy.  In order to be truly effective, you need to be able to “play the music between the notes”, which is to say, have an appreciation for the various types of person who will read your work the context in which it will be read, today, tomorrow and 200 years from now, and what they will be looking to draw from it.  And you need to accept the fact that some of your strongest, most affecting points will not be articulated by you, but by your critics.… Read the rest

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Ron Paul Admits He Draws Benefits From The Social Security System He’s Working to Destroy

Okay, so the mask is finally off.  But honestly, it never really was much of a disguise, was it?  From Erin Mershon at the Huffington Post:

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) may rail against Social Security insolvency in the public eye, but that hasn’t stopped him from accepting the government checks.

The libertarian-leaning Republican and former presidential candidate admitted Wednesday that he accepts Social Security checks just minutes after he called for younger generations to wean themselves off the program, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I want young people to opt out of Social Security, but my goal isn’t to cut,” he said.

The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein then asked Paul, “A bit of a personal question — Are you on Social Security? Do you get social security checks?”

Paul admitted he does, stating, “[It’s] just as I use the post office, I use government highways, I use the banks, I use the federal reserve system.

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Plague: Oregon Man Contracts Yersinia Pestis Bacteria, Cause of the Black Death

Now those damned Ren-Fair kids have taken things too far. Writes Timothy Stenovec at the Huffington Post:
An Oregon man is in critical condition after being infected with the plague, the Oregonian reports. The man was bitten by a cat on Saturday, June 2, while trying to remove a dead mouse from the feline's mouth, according to the Crook County Department of Public Health and the Oregonian. The man checked himself into a hospital the following Friday. The Oregon Department of Public Health confirmed on Thursday that the unidentified man, who's in his 50s, has tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the same bacteria that was responsible for the pandemic that decimated Europe's population in the 14th century. The cat, which was a stray that had lived in the neighborhood for a number of years, has since died. Its body has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing...
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Obama Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers And Broken Campaign Promises

I know. I'm just as shocked as you are. No doubt Mitt Romney will be quick to turn this into an anti-Obama attack ad. Writes Zach Carter at the Huffington Post:
A critical document from President Barack Obama's free trade negotiations with eight Pacific nations was leaked online early Wednesday morning, revealing that the administration intends to bestow radical new political powers upon multinational corporations, contradicting prior promises. The leaked document has been posted on the website of Public Citizen, a long-time critic of the administration's trade objectives. The new leak follows substantial controversy surrounding the secrecy of the talks, in which some members of Congress have complained they are not being given the same access to trade documents that corporate officials receive. "The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of [trade] negotiations," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch in a written statement...
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Why Can’t Real Life Be More Like Double Dragon?

Double Dragon“People get really tired of having all the tough villains front-loaded against them and resent getting short changed on play time because some fat mouth-breather’s hogging it all with a stack of quarters that could knock out a Clydesdale. If that’s all on offer, can you blame folks for staying home?”

Games are the repositories of our culture’s most primal values. As ostensible objects of complete fancy, they (can) deftly sidestep at will many of the extraneous ambiguities that force us to compromise our deepest values and thus help give clearest expression to our highest ideals.

For starters, game consequences are not so final or existential as they are in real life. You’re typically given at least 3 initial ‘lives’ to perform strategy experiments and become comfortable with play options before you’re fatally croaked. And even then you’re usually offered the option to restart the game. You have an opportunity to weigh options with some level of maturity and develop a play style that suits you personally.… Read the rest

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Why Nobody Cares What You Think (And What You Can Do About It)

Electro-CollarLet me start off by stipulating that I am TOTALLY in your corner, homes. I completely feel your pain, the frustration of having to repeat even the simplest proposition over and over and over (and over) again and just not being heard. It’s a real cross to bear, no?

But we can’t just drop it because some lunkhead refuses to see sense. We’ve got a point here, and even if we personally are not inclined to waste our time on trying to educate some feeble-minded half-wit, the integrity of our position is at stake. It’s not like we can just abandon ship in midstream here. Not without seeming to concede our point to some feckless, illiterate buffoon, anyhow.

I’m sure that’s what most of the problem is here. These people just don’t have the smarts or technical background or personal experience to see things our way. After all, they say, “No sense, no feeling.” That HAS to be why they seem to absorb round after round of our impeccably crafted logical salvos and still keep coming back parroting the same tired old chestnuts in response, as if they hadn’t heard a think we’ve said.… Read the rest

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