Jun 14 2014

The Breakfast Club (Requiem)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgMozart was a supremely talented asshole who lived fast, died young, and stayed pretty.  It is said he was working on his Requiem when he croaked, but I suspect that when he died he was busy dying and his major contribution (such as it was) was over.

You see it was a piece of ghost writing from it’s inception, intended to be passed off as a creation of Count Franz von Walsegg in honor of his recently deceased wife and at least half of it was done by Franz Xaver Süssmayr who, if he’d been talented at all and not just a hack, we’d be including in “Süssmayr, Bach, and Brahms.

But we don’t, do we?

The Süssmayr completion of the Requiem is divided into fourteen movements, with the following structure:

  1. Introitus: Requiem aeternam (choir and soprano solo) (D minor)
  2. Kyrie eleison (choir) (D minor)
  3. Sequentia (text based on sections of the Dies Irae):
    • Dies irae (choir) (D minor)
    • Tuba mirum (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo) (B-flat major)
    • Rex tremendae majestatis (choir) (G minor-D minor)
    • Recordare, Jesu pie (soprano, contralto, tenor and bass solo) (F major)
    • Confutatis maledictis (choir) (A minor-F major, last chord V of D minor)
    • Lacrymosa dies illa (choir) (D minor)
  4. Offertorium:
    • Domine Jesu Christe (choir with solo quartet) (G minor)
    • Versus: Hostias et preces (choir) (E-flat major-G minor)
  5. Sanctus:
    • Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth (choir) (D major)
    • Benedictus (solo quartet, then choir) (B-flat major)
  6. Agnus Dei (choir) (D minor-B-flat major)
  7. Communio:
    • Lux aeterna (soprano solo and choir) (B-flat major-D minor)

The Confutatis is well known for its string accompaniment; it opens with agitating figures that accentuate the wrathful sound of the basses and tenors, but it turns into sweet arpeggios in the second phrase while accompanying the soft sounds of the sopranos and altos.

“Agitating figures that accentuate the wrathful sound.”  I like that.  Obligatories below.

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD.  And I am highly organized.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

This Day in History


Obama Finds He Can’t Put Iraq War Behind Him

By PETER BAKER, The New York Times

JUNE 13, 2014

Democrats expressed nervousness about becoming entangled in Iraq just two and a half years after leaving. Even former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who voted for the 2003 invasion as a senator but is now positioning herself for another run for president, said she opposed the use of American force to help save the Iraqi government without assurances from Mr. Maliki.

“Not at this time, no,” she said to the BBC in an interview recorded on Thursday. Mrs. Clinton, who if she ran and won would inherit the Iraq situation, said the White House should continue to reject Mr. Maliki’s request for airstrikes until he has demonstrated inclusiveness. “That is not a role for the United States,” she said of military force.

Liberal activists were more vehement. “For the last 12 years, Iraq has been Bush and Cheney’s war,” said Becky Bond, the political director for an activist group called Credo. “But if the president decides to double down on George W. Bush’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq by launching a new round of bombing strikes, Iraq will become Barack Obama’s war.”

That would be the last thing Mr. Obama would want. For him, Iraq has been the template of everything foreign policy should not be. He opposed the invasion as a state senator in Illinois, and many of his decisions as president have been measured against the lessons he took from Iraq. To him, the war proved that military intervention more often than not made things worse, not better.

When he agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan, he insisted on a timetable for pulling them out. When he decided to intervene in Libya, he used only air power and made sure that NATO allies took the lead. When the Syrian civil war broke out, he resisted calls to step in even with air power or, for a long time, arms for the rebels. The longer he has been in office, the more skeptical he seems to have grown about the utility of force as a means of changing the world for the better.

Iraq crisis: Iran and US join fight against Sunni jihadis of Isis

Martin Chulov, Spencer Ackerman, and Paul Lewis, The Guardian

Friday 13 June 2014

The United States and Iran are moving rapidly to defend Iraq from rampaging Sunni Islamist insurgents, with Washington urgently considering air strikes on the jihadi militants and Tehran dispatching its foremost powerbroker to help arrange the defence of Baghdad.

The jihadi grouping, consisting of no more than 7,000 men, has upended regional calculus this week, seizing key Iraqi cities and towns in the north, sending the army fleeing as they sweep south to within 50 miles of the capital. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are on the move, seeking safe haven. The UN has warned that the Isis fighters have committed summary executions and rape on their irresistible advance.

Officials told the Guardian that options under discussion include an air campaign, using either air force or navy warplanes or both. The duration of such a campaign has yet to be determined. Drone strikes remain under consideration, but manned aircraft are said to the preferred option, owing to their superiority against moving and manoeuvrable targets.

Iraq’s oil industry faces setback to revival

Clifford Krauss, The New York Times


The stakes for the oil markets are high as the Iraqi government tries to gain control over the situation. An eventual decline in Iraqi exports would put pressure on China and India to increase their imports of Iranian oil again, weakening the United States government’s position in negotiations with Tehran over nuclear policies. Russian oil exports would become more crucial for global markets, potentially strengthening the Kremlin’s hand in Ukraine. And a major spike in global oil prices could help unfriendly regimes like Venezuela.

“The collapse of Iraq would bring an international oil crisis,” said Dragan Vuckovic, president of Mediterranean International, an oil service company that supplies state oil companies in Iraq. “It would mean crude oil would go up to $150 a barrel. It could spread unrest to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.”

Sadad Ibrahim Al-Husseini, former head of exploration and development at Saudi Aramco, said the new terrorist attacks would mean “higher prices for sure and delayed investments in the south.” But he added that they had also created “three fundamental new realities in Iraq” – some of which could be helpful for global markets, at least in the short term.

The Saudi oil man said heavily armed Kurdish militias would now “fill the power vacuum in northern Iraq and take over the disputed giant Kirkuk oil field and other fields around it.” Second, the central Iraqi government will be forced to redirect exports of southern Iraqi oil that once went through Turkey to leave from the gulf. And finally, he said, “the Turkish government will now have no choice but to commit itself to supporting the Iraqi Kurds” in order to maintain security on its southern border and protect Kurdish oil supplies that go through Turkey.

Afghanistan goes to the polls in second round of presidential election

Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian

Saturday 14 June 2014 00.17 EDT

The run-off election is the second voting day in less than three months after no candidate won more than 50% in the April poll.

The last vote was hailed as a huge success after voters turned out in unexpectedly high numbers and a barrage of Taliban attacks did little to disrupt polling. Still, the drawn-out election process has been a huge challenge for a desperately poor country in the grip of a tenacious insurgency.

The election pits former foreign minister and mujahedeen Dr Abdullah Abdullah, who won 45% of the vote in the first round, against World Bank technocrat and former finance minster Ashraf Ghani, who claimed 32%.

Voting Underway in Afghanistan’s Presidential Runoff Election


JUNE 14, 2014

Voters were choosing between Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister, and Abdullah Abdullah, a prominent opposition politician, to succeed President Hamid Karzai, who exhorted people to vote with an appeal to Afghan pride. “Choose your destiny with your hands and save us from foreign dependency by casting your vote,” he said in a statement.

With the presidential race down to Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah, the campaign began to take on a harder edge. Afghanistan’s president has vast powers and appoints nearly every official in the country – from cabinet ministers to district police chiefs – and supporters on each side are well aware that backing the loser could cost them their livelihoods.

In recent weeks, Afghanistan’s ethnic divide has also become an undertone in the campaign, with Mr. Ghani, a Pashtun, facing off against Mr. Abdullah, who is of mixed ancestry but is widely seen as a Tajik.

Ukraine rebels shoot down military plane

Kevin Rawlinson, Paul Lewis, The Guardian

Friday 13 June 2014

Pro-Russian separatists have shot down a large military transport plane in eastern Ukraine, reportedly killing 49 people on board in a major blow for the government’s efforts to quell the insurgency.

An Il-76 is a four-engined jet that can be used to transport heavy equipment and people. Luhansk, near Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia, is an area where separatists have seized government buildings and declared independence after holding disputed referendums.

On Saturday, the Russian energy firm Gazprom said preparations were underway to avert gas supply cuts and possible flow disruption to Europe amid demands for Ukraine to pay £1.15bn of its debts by Monday.

“We are ready to seek compromise, but it is useless to put pressure on us,” Gazprom’s Sergei Kupriyanov said. Previous talks between Russia and Ukraine, brokered by the European commission, have ended without a firm agreement.

On Friday the US state department said a convoy of military vehicles, including three tanks, had been transported from a Russian depot into Ukraine this week. Three T-64 tanks, multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles crossed from Russia into Ukraine near the town of Snizhne, the state department said, describing the action as unacceptable. The vehicles – apparently out-of-use Russian tanks – appear to have been commandeered by Ukrainian separatist forces.

Russia Sent Tanks to Separatists in Ukraine, U.S. Says


JUNE 13, 2014

A convoy of three T-64 tanks, several BM-21 multiple rocket launchers and other military vehicles crossed the border near the Ukrainian town of Snizhne, State Department officials said. The Ukrainian Army reported Friday that it had destroyed two of the tanks and several other vehicles in the convoy.

The T-64 is an obsolescent tank no longer in active use by Russian forces, but still stored in southwest Russia.

“Russia will claim these tanks were taken from Ukrainian forces, but no Ukrainian tank units have been operating in that area,” the State Department said Friday. “We are confident that these tanks came from Russia.”

“We also have information that Russia has accumulated multiple rocket launchers at this same deployment site in southwest Russia, and these rocket launchers also recently departed,” the State Department added. “Internet video has shown what we believe to be these same rocket launchers traveling through Luhansk.”

2 Private Equity Settlements Followed Failure of Broader Talks on Collusion Lawsuit

By WILLIAM ALDEN, The New York Times

June 13, 2014 9:59 am

For six years, the biggest private equity firms fought a lawsuit that accused them of illegal collusion during the buyout boom. Their strategy, through rounds of difficult settlement talks, was to stick together.

But this week, two of the firms – Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs – broke ranks and struck their own settlements, ratcheting up the pressure on the remaining firms.

The settlements, worth a combined $121 million, highlight the risks that the five remaining defendants must weigh as they face a trial in November. A loss at trial could translate into billions of dollars in liability, multiplied by three under antitrust law. The settlements this week would not reduce the damages the plaintiffs are seeking.

The lawsuit accused private equity firms of colluding to drive down the prices of takeovers before the financial crisis, a period when private equity was booming. The case touches some of the era’s biggest deals, including buyouts of the chip maker Freescale Semiconductor and the hospital chain HCA. It was filed by former shareholders of the acquired companies.

Citigroup, BofA Said to Face U.S. Lawsuits as Talks Stall

By Tom Schoenberg and Dakin Campbell, Buisness Week

June 14, 2014

Justice Department officials suspended negotiations with the banks June 9 because they’re unsatisfied with the offers, said a person familiar with the discussions who asked not to be named because they are confidential. A civil lawsuit against Citigroup could be filed as early as next week, the person said.

The department has asked for more than $10 billion from New York-based Citigroup and $17 from Bank of America, though prosecutors are willing to consider proposals below those amounts, the person said. Bank of America has offered about $12 billion while Citigroup has put forward less than $4 billion, the person said.

The Justice Department is taking a tougher approach following criticism that it hadn’t done enough to punish large institutions for their role in the collapse of home prices and ensuing financial market turmoil. Prosecutors are demanding multibillion-dollar penalties from banks for wrongdoing including tax evasion and sanctions violations and have used the threat of lawsuits to reach settlements.

The department was prepared to sue JPMorgan last year after the two sides failed to reach an agreement, which led to a critical meeting — and eventual deal — between Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Exclusive: Complaint about shutting off Camaro with knee dates back a year

By Bernie Woodall and Paul Lienert, Reuters

Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:56pm EDT

U.S. safety regulators received a complaint about a Chevrolet Camaro driver accidentally shutting off the car with a knee more than a year before General Motors on Friday recalled half a million of the sports cars over the issue, which is similar to the defect linked to 13 deaths in older GM small cars.

Asked about the consumer complaints, Adler responded, “We were not tracking complaints for Camaros. Once we look at them, they need to be studied to determine if they are related to a certain cause. That is why we have listed the crashes and injuries in today’s release as inconclusive. We know there were no air bag deployments. We are not certain whether this was related to the ‘knee bump’ issue or not.”

The ignition switch problem in Chevrolet Cobalts and other older model small cars led to the recall of 2.6 million vehicles. In those cars, a bump of the key fob could turn off the engine, disabling power steering and air bags. GM has said it took too long to respond to the problem, which engineers first noted more than a decade ago.

The first of the 18 Camaro incidents in the complaint database occurred in September 2009, in a 2010 model car, as the owner was traveling on I-80 from Reno to San Francisco, according to the complaint.

“Without warning, my 2010 Camaro had 100 percent loss of all power and operating functions,” wrote the driver, who reported being injured after “jamming (the car) into the guardrail” on the freeway.

Autopsy on Oklahoma death row inmate shows IV not inserted correctly

Jessica Glenza, The Guardian

Friday 13 June 2014 12.48 EDT

An independent autopsy conducted on the Oklahoma prisoner whose execution lasted 43 minutes while he writhed and groaned appears to show the intravenous needles that were supposed to deliver lethal fluids were never correctly inserted.

A forensic pathologist hired by Lockett’s attorneys to independently examine the body, Dr Joseph Cohen, declined to comment except to confirm the documents were genuine. However, his report appears to show that phlebotomists failed to properly insert intravenous needles near Lockett’s groin. The IV was supposed to deliver a lethal cocktail of three chemicals.

This is despite Cohen’s finding that Lockett had “excellent integrity of peripheral and deep veins for the purpose of achieving venous access”. Cohen said he found bleeding beneath Lockett’s skin, which the report says show attempts to insert an IV.


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