Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for October 14th, 2013

Movies report

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I just watched a couple of films on Netflix streaming: Von Ryan’s Express, a so-so Frank Sinatra WWII POW escape film, and If I Were You, an increasingly intriguing film starring Marcia Gay Harding. It’s a film that bubbles with things I enjoy and find clever. The Sinatra film was pretty much predictable and by the book and not very convincing, but it was interesting for two things: the absolutely enormous number of extras used—something you don’t see much anymore, nor ever likely again, what with CGI, and the movie was made at a time when trains still exercised their allure. (Though good train films are still being made: Unstappable will keep you on the edge of your seat.)

Written by Leisureguy

14 October 2013 at 5:43 pm

Posted in Movies & TV

Oh, wow: the Medal of Honor scandal just took a turn decidedly for the worse

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You can search this blog on “medal of honor” and find previous stories. Basically, what seems to have happened was that a command decision was made that this Medal of Honor was for the Marines to get, and so the Army nominee’s paperwork was destroyed and they (quite successfully) pushed him aside, until news started to leak. I would imagine that there remains a cadre of officers to whom such conduct seem dishonorable and unbecoming, and I imagine some of those contacted McClatchy. As the publicity mounted, the stalled paperwork was found and, much later, Cpt. Swenson gets the MoH: an honor but the toll opretty much wrecked his life. At any rate, now we get more information from McClathcy in a report by Jonathan Landay (who surely must be going to write a book on this), including video:

In his memoir of the 2009 battle in Afghanistan that brought him the Medal of Honor, Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer describes how he reflexively switched from his machine gun to his rifle and back to his machine gun as he mowed down a swarm of charging Taliban from the vehicle’s turret.

“My mind was completely blank. I fired so many thousands of rounds I didn’t think what I was doing,” Meyer, then a corporal, wrote in his 2012 book, “Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War.”

But videos shot by Army medevac helicopter crewmen show no Taliban in that vicinity or anywhere else on the floor of the Ganjgal Valley at the time and location of the “swarm.” The videos also conflict with the version of the incident in Marine Corps and White House accounts of how Meyer, now 25, of Columbia, Ky., came to be awarded the nation’s highest military decoration for gallantry.

The videos add to the findings of an ongoing McClatchy investigation that determined that crucial parts of Meyer’s memoir were untrue, unsubstantiated or exaggerated, as were the Marine Corps and White House accounts of how he helped extract casualties from the valley under fire. The White House and Marine Corps have defended the accuracy of their accounts of Meyer’s actions. The Marine Corps declined to comment on the videos.

Army National Guard Sgt. Kevin Duerst, the helicopter crew chief whose helmet camera recorded one of the videos, confirmed the absence of insurgents on the valley floor as the aircraft flew in on a first run to retrieve casualties.

“We totally flew over everything. . . . There was nothing going on down there,” Duerst said in a telephone interview Friday. “There was no serious gunfight going on.”

Former Army Capt. William Swenson, who’s to receive a Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama on Tuesday for gallantry in the same battle, declined in an interview Sunday to directly address questions about the purported swarming of Meyer’s vehicle. . .

Continue reading.

UPDATE: Ah, here’s why Swenson was the target of such underhanded treatment. From later in the story:

A nearby U.S. base failed to provide air support or adequate artillery cover to the Afghan and U.S. forces for 90 minutes. Two Army officers later received career-ending reprimands, while Swenson – in an interview with military investigators – accused senior U.S. commanders of imposing politically driven rules of engagement that were getting U.S. troops killed.

Written by Leisureguy

14 October 2013 at 5:17 pm

NY Fed moves quickly to hide the facts in the examiner’s suit

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Jake Bernstein reports for ProPublica:

A federal judge in Manhattan is pondering whether to grant the request of the New York Federal Reserve to seal the case brought by a former senior bank examiner Carmen Segarra.

As reported by ProPublica last week, Segarra filed a lawsuit against the New York Fed and three of its employees alleging she had been wrongfully terminated last year after she determined that Goldman Sachs had insufficient conflict-of-interest policies.

On Friday, the Fed asked for a protective order to seal documents in the case as well as parts of the complaint. In a letter to U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, New York Fed counsel David Gross said the information should be removed from the public docket because it is “Confidential Supervisory Information,” including internal New York Fed emails and materials provided to the Fed by Goldman.

“These documents show that at the time (Segarra) left the employ of the New York Fed, she purloined property of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System,” Gross wrote, citing Fed rules that prohibit disclosing supervisory information without prior approval of the Fed.

Gross argues that the Fed’s obligation to keep bank supervisory records secret outweigh the public’s right to know. “The incantation of a ‘public right to know’ cannot ever be a license to discharged employees that they may violate Federal law simply by filing a complaint in Federal court,” Gross wrote.

Segarra and her lawyer could not be reached for comment.

While Abrams considers her decision, Segarra’s lawsuit and appended documents have been removed from Pacer, the online records system for federal courts. The complaintand related documents are available via links in ProPublica’s story and have been published elsewhere online.

Gross states in his letter that Segarra previously made a $7 million settlement offer. The Fed rejected it.

The New York Fed has historically been one of the most opaque financial regulators and maintains that it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act because it is not a public agency. . . .

Continue reading.

Unfortunately, this move will raise even more suspicions about the conduct of the Fed.

Written by Leisureguy

14 October 2013 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Business, Government, Law

Absolutely perfect shave

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STOD 14 Oct 2013

Of course, the odds favored this shave: a two-day stubble, a slant, and lots of previous practice. Good products, too: my Omega boar brush worked up a fine lather from Kell’s Original English Rose. You can sort of make out what I assume is a rose petal embedded in the soap. I like the soap, but I think he’d be well advised to move to a container of larger diameter: that would make loading the brush much easier.

Three very easy and light passes with the Eros Slant, still with the Gillette 7 O’Clock Super Platinum blade I started with. Absolutely perfect BBS—seldom if ever a smoother face—and no trace of nick or burn. This is one I keep feeling.

A nice splash of Saint Charles Shave Bulgarian Rose, and the week begins—with no mail delivery and a debt default in the offing.

Written by Leisureguy

14 October 2013 at 8:16 am

Posted in Shaving

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