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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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I am fascinated by the meaning of money. Not just on a workady, "I don't got no money" level (though I am extremely familiar with that), but on the level where economics & finance meet chaos theory & psychic hotlines. Credit ratings sit at the center of this stuff. If you're a big business, Standard & Poor's is always watching, judging, dealing. Talking about you. It's village gossip for the imperialist set.

April 24, 2004
Leo C. O'Neill, 64, Executive Who Led S.& P. Expansion, Dies

Leo C. O'Neill, who guided Standard & Poor's as it expanded from an American bond rating firm into an international concern whose opinion could be critical to the terms on which companies and governments could borrow money, died on Tuesday at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. He was 64 and lived in New York.

The cause was complications of cancer, according to a spokesman for Standard & Poor's.

The death came less than a month after his illness forced him to step down as chief executive of S.& P., which is a division of the McGraw-Hill Companies.

Mr. O'Neill joined S.& P. in 1968 as an equity analyst but soon switched to bond analysis and by 1984 had become the top bond rating official in the company, with the title of executive managing director. He was put in charge of the rating business in 1989.

It was in 1984 that S.& P., historically an American bond rating service, opened its first foreign office, a two-person office in London. It now has offices in more than 20 countries. Over the last several decades, international capital markets gradually replaced banks as the most important providers of capital for major businesses, and credit ratings became critical to the ability to raise money.

In 1999, Mr. O'Neill became president of S.& P., giving him authority over the equity side of the business, including its stock indexes, as well as the credit ratings business.

In 2002, in the wake of corporate accounting scandals, he announced new procedures to calculate what S.& P. called core earnings, including as expenses things like the value of stock options granted to executives. He said that would make earnings figures "easier to understand, more comparable across companies and more useful to investors and analysts."

Mr. O'Neill was born in Geneva, N.Y., and graduated from Hobart College in 1962.

His first marriage, to Mary Jo O'Neill of Edgewater, N.J., ended in divorce.

He is survived by his wife, Kip Bleakley O'Neill; his mother, Eleanor O'Neill of Geneva, N.Y.; a brother, James of Geneva; three sisters, JoAnne Swenson of Fabius, N.Y., Theresa Felice of San Diego and Mary Cluff of Phoenix; three children from his first marriage, Brynn Van Schaick, of Clayton, N.C., Brendan of Jackson, Wyo., and Matthew of New York; a stepson, David Bleakley of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; a stepdaughter, Andrea Moriarty of Poughkeepsie; two grandchildren; and three stepgrandchildren.

Reporters = Poets

I passionately love good reporters. They are the best poets around. Here in the middle of "Be Condescending to a Poet Month", all hail Murray Illson.

April 8, 2004
Murray Illson, 91, a Times Reporter Who Gave a Deft Touch to the Mundane, Dies

Murray Illson, a retired reporter for The New York Times who covered police news, education and a variety of general New York City topics, often with a wry inflection, died on Tuesday at a retirement community in Louisville, Colo. He was 91.

Queen of Angels Catholic Parish Nicodemus Ministry

His death was reported by his son John, of Boulder, Colo.

Mr. Illson was born in New York on March 30, 1913, and attended public schools. He came to The Times as a New York University correspondent in the 1930's, working for the sports department and the city desk. He graduated from N.Y.U. in 1938 with a bachelor's degree in art education and was named to the reporting staff in 1940. He retired in 1978.

During World War II, he served in the Army as a rifleman in Europe and was awarded a Bronze Star.

As a reporter, Mr. Illson often applied a deft touch to the mundane. Asked to write an explanation to readers for an error in a March 1967 crossword-puzzle clue about leap year, he wrote a four-paragraph disquisition on the Julian calendar, remarked on subsequent adjustments made by Pope Gregory XIII and ended with the following:

"The next year that will be a leap year is 1968; the next centesimal leap year will be 2000. Mrs. Margaret Farrar, who has been editing the crossword puzzles in The New York Times since 1942, said yesterday that she would keep all this in mind."

After a wounded bank robber fled the police on Aug. 6, 1971, Mr. Illson wrote:

"After holding up a Bronx bank, a robber was shot in the leg by a detective yesterday but managed to escape in a crowded city bus. He did not have the required exact fare, but he did have two guns."

Mr. Illson's wife, the former Dorothy Spence, died in 1990. Besides his son John, he is survived by his sons Richard, of Rocky River, Ohio, and James, of Seattle; a sister, Madeline Rosenberg of Hartsdale, N.Y.; and two brothers, Edmund, of San Diego, and Robert, of Sun City West, Ariz.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

The Swearing of Condoleeza Rice

KEAN. Thank you.

Dr. Rice, would you please rise and raise your right hand?


Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?


--From the text of her testimony as published in the NYT


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.