May 02 2015

The Breakfast Club (Unfinished)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgThe thing about Shubert is that he actually completed 7 Symphonies and a large body of other compositions and didn’t really leave very much  unfinished in comparison with other composers who often labored longer than his entire lifetime of 31 years on one singular work they considered their magnum opus.

Schubert was remarkably prolific, writing over 1,500 works in his short career. The largest number of these are songs for solo voice and piano (over 600). He also composed a considerable number of secular works for two or more voices, namely part songs, choruses and cantatas. He completed eight orchestral overtures and seven complete symphonies, in addition to fragments of six others. While he composed no concertos, he did write three concertante works for violin and orchestra. There is a large body of music for solo piano, including fourteen complete sonatas, numerous miscellaneous works and many short dances. There is also a relatively large set of works for piano duet. There are over fifty chamber works, including some fragmentary works. His sacred output includes seven masses, one oratorio and one requiem, among other mass movements and numerous smaller compositions. He completed only eleven of his twenty stage works.

On the other hand he did die relatively young, some say due to complications of syphilis or Mercury (which was commonly used to cure it) poisoning.

So he was a James Dean type character that people could impose their own interpretations on after his death and he soon rose to great heights of popularity in the Art Music crowd in particular because of this supposedly “great” unfinished work that was merely #8 of 9 (or 10 depending on who you believe).  Among his admirers were maybe Beethoven (because serious musical historians, doubt the veracity of that story) but certainly Listz, Schumann and Dvořák.  He is beloved by a certain type of Art Music fan not just because he led an appropriately Byronic (said descriptively and without a trace of byrony which is a pun and not a misspelling) existence, but because his music was considered a bridge between the late Classical style of Mozart and the early Romanticism of Beethoven.

Compared to his contemporaries he was a tunesmith, putting together new melodies, rather that a technician stealing folk songs and orchestrating them so I think he deserves a little recognition for that.  I just feel that the adoration lavished on the “unfinished” Symphony by virtue of its unfinishedness is mostly projection.  It isn’t even his only unfinished one, he laid out the sketches for a Symphony in D minor mere weeks before his death.  He also wrote other symphonies you know, including today’s 9th Symphony which is nicknamed “Great” since it mostly is.

It’s hell on the Woodwinds and String Section though and is performed less frequently than it might be due to the difficulty (lazy musicians).

Obligatories, News and Blogs 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


6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death


MAY 1, 2015

The state’s attorney for Baltimore City, Marilyn J. Mosby, filed the charges almost as soon as she received a medical examiner’s report that ruled Mr. Gray’s death a homicide, and a day after the police concluded their initial investigation and handed over their findings. Officials had cautioned that it could take considerable time for her office to complete its own investigation and decide whether to prosecute.

The officers who were arrested, three white and three black, include a lieutenant with 17 years on the force, several near-rookies and a woman who had just been promoted to sergeant.

The most serious charges were brought against Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr., who was driving the van that carried Mr. Gray to a police station after his April 12 arrest. Along with involuntary manslaughter, Officer Goodson, 45, was charged with “second-degree depraved heart murder,” which means indifference to human life.

The Baltimore chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police called the speed of the prosecutor politically motivated. “The actions taken today by the state’s attorney are an egregious rush to judgment,” said Michael E. Davey, the union’s lawyer. “We believe that these officers will be vindicated, as they have done nothing wrong.”

Ms. Mosby faulted the police conduct at every turn. The officers who arrested him “failed to establish probable cause for Mr. Gray’s arrest, as no crime had been committed,” she said, describing the arrest as illegal. Officers accused him of possession of a switchblade, but Ms. Mosby said, “The knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law.”

A. Dwight Pettit, a lawyer who handles police brutality cases in Baltimore – and worked to help elect Ms. Mosby – said her emphasis on the officers’ lack of probable cause in arresting Mr. Gray was significant. Rarely, he said, are police officers prosecuted for making false arrests – and too often, they do not worry about lacking probable cause.

He called the charges of false imprisonment “something new for police activity, which offends the constitutional rights of citizens.”

My 49 hours in a Baltimore cell – for being a reporter

Shawn Carrié, The Guardian

Saturday 2 May 2015 09.30 EDT

As a working member of the press, I was arrested on 27 April, just as Baltimore began to erupt, and detained for 49 hours before being released without charge. A flurry of legal maneuvering, coupled with the fog of a state of emergency, meant that myself and several others were deprived of our constitutional protections under the first, fourth, sixth, and eighth amendments.

A line of riot police then charged against a throng of rioters – I followed them, camera in hand, trying to capture the tumultuous scene. I was hit directly in the forehead with a plastic “less lethal” projectile that explodes with an irritant powder on impact. I stumbled over to the sidewalk. Everything went black for a moment, and the next thing I saw were faces staring down at me as I lay on the grass.

Stunned, I got up and tried to continue reporting. Within a few minutes, the intersection cleared, and the riot squad stood at bay. A few television cameras remained, and I joined them to try to snap some photos of the police line. An officer from behind the line came up to me and told me that I needed to move. I reached in my jacket to show my press pass, and asked the armor-clad giant which way I should go. He started to say, ” I don’t know, but you can’t stay here …” and was interrupted by a captain barking: “Him! He goes!”

Before I could say another word, I was thrown to the ground and put in handcuffs.

I was brought over behind the police lines to sit behind an armored vehicle, where I would remain with my arresting officer for about two hours. I tried to make small talk with him to buy some leniency, telling him I was just a reporter. He asked me where I’m from; I said New York City. He then became much more convivial, chatting about Washington Heights, where he was from, saying that he’d much rather be at home eating dinner with his family.

I heard him say to another cop: “I don’t even know why they told me to lock this guy up. He’s a reporter.” But reporter or not, I was now under arrest and on my way to Central Booking.

In jail, your constitutional rights are worth about as much as the food they feed you. Asking to see a lawyer when it took four hours to get water was like asking for caviar. When I cited the fourth and sixth amendment protecting due process, and Maryland state law requiring that detainment beyond 24 hours without a charge and statement of probable cause was unlawful, the COs told us that the state of emergency meant that “24 hours is out the window”.

We pleaded to talk to someone, anyone. When I asked one of the higher-ups, a lieutenant, what he was doing to ensure that the law was being followed, he told me bluntly: “They are violating your rights. And everyone here knows it.”

Some time on Wednesday, lawyers arrived. One of them looked at me and saw the bruise on my forehead, stopped, and asked: “Are you the reporter?” She introduced herself as Katie D’Adamo, and told me she was with the Maryland office of the public defender. I told her I’d been in there for at least 36 hours, and hadn’t been told what I was being charged with, nor seen a lawyer. I explained my story in scant privacy through the door of the cell while, she filled out a habeas corpus petition addressed to Warden Carolyn Scruggs and told me it would be filed in the circuit court demanding our immediate release. Orion did one, too. Then they left.

Bridgegate scandal: Christie aides indicted as David Wildstein pleads guilty

Jessica Glenza and Tom McCarthy, The Guardian

Friday 1 May 2015 16.20 EDT

David Wildstein, a former executive of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on Friday, shortly before a 23 April indictment against Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni was unsealed.

Kelly was fired by Christie as his deputy chief of staff after the plot came to light, and Baroni resigned from his job as deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. They are charged with nine counts, including conspiracy and fraud and are expected to appear in a Newark, New Jersey, court on Monday morning.

In September 2013, at least three top Christie aides allegedly shut down two of three tolls on local access ramps to the George Washington Bridge, from the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey. The crossing into Manhattan is one of the busiest in the world.

The resulting flood of traffic nearly paralyzed Fort Lee, where the bridge is footed, an effect that the indictment alleges was part of a plan to amplify the traffic problems. The plan, according to the indictments, was meant to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, for refusing to endorse Christie during his most recent gubernatorial run.

When local officials asked about the plan the three alleged co-conspirators treated them to “radio silence”, according to the indictment, ignoring their pleas for help. A Port Authority appointee ended the lane closures on 13 September 2013. The three later told a state legislative committee, reporters and the public that the traffic jam was part of a “traffic study”.

“That calculated scheme created havoc for Mayor Sokolich and his constituents,” said New Jersey federal prosecutor Paul J Fishman. “They just kept the scheme going as long as they could.”

4Hurricane Katrina: government liable for some flooding, judge rules

Associated Press

Friday 1 May 2015 17.37 EDT

Friday’s ruling came in an October 2005 lawsuit filed by the government of St Bernard Parish – adjacent to New Orleans – and several property owners. It focuses on the now-closed Mississippi River Gulf Outlet – a navigation canal built by the US Army Corps of Engineers and blamed by many for flooding in St Bernard Parish and in New Orleans’ lower ninth ward after Katrina.

The suit says the construction, dredging and operation of the navigation canal, known in south Louisiana as “Mr Go,” contributed to conditions that led to catastrophic flooding during Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Hurricane Rita weeks later and other storms. In effect, the suit argued, the damage caused by the flooding was an illegal taking of private property by the federal government without adequate compensation.

Braden agreed, ruling that the corps’ “construction, expansions, operation, and failure to maintain the MR-GO” led to storm surge and flooding that amounted to “a temporary taking under the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Two Arctic ice researchers presumed drowned after unseasonably high temperatures

by Amy Westervelt, The Guardian

Friday 1 May 2015 19.46 EDT

“We think we see thin ice in front of us, which is quite interesting, and we’re going to research some of that if we can,” Cornelissen said in his last message.

Models have projected that summer sea ice will remain there through 2050. Ice researchers in the area hope to determine whether those predictions will bear out. Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund is spearheading an effort to launch a sea ice management program in the area to protect the ice for polar bears.

The type of thin ice Cornelissen and de Roo encountered could be an obstacle to that effort. According to Stephanie Pfirman, an environmental science professor at Barnard College, the latest research brief on the area indicates the region has “less and less of the thick, old ice that persisted from one year to the next. Because the ice is thinner, it is easier to melt all the way through, making it more vulnerable to future warming”.

Greece Races to Bridge Gap With Creditors Before Debt Bill

by Nikos Chrysoloras and Corina Ruhe, Bloomberg News

12:33 PM EDT May 1, 2015

“One thing from the history of the euro crisis that we know is that all of these deadlines can shift, but if there is an actual deadline they will make a decision beforehand,” Christian Schulz, an economist at Berenberg Bank, said in a Bloomberg TV interview on Friday. “They’re still miles apart on pretty much everything.”

Dijsselbloem said it was too early to say whether talks with Greece had reached a turning point. While there has been progress in terms of the process after Tsipras reshuffled the negotiating team, pushing aside Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, there is still a long way to go on the substance, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named because the talks are private.

An agreement with creditors could still meet opposition within Tsipras’s government. Varoufakis said on Thursday that Greece wouldn’t discuss pension cuts or a sales-tax increase as part of the current talks, although he indicated that any pension reform could be part of a broader agreement in June.

Nine things you might want to know about the massive Pacific trade deal

by E. Tammy Kim, Al Jazeera


The TPP goes well beyond reducing import fees and other barriers to international commerce: It could set rules for intellectual property, food safety, fisheries management, carbon emissions, labor conditions and the rights of private investors.

As with the controversial North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993, the TPP has been written behind closed doors. Participating governments say this is necessary, given the complexity of the text and the back-and-forth nature of negotiation. In the U.S., this logic has supported fast-tracking trade since the 1970s, and Congress is attempting to do the same now.

An official draft of the TPP isn’t available, but the Obama administration has offered favorable numbers to make its case, and nongovernmental proponents and opponents have weighed in with calculations of their own. Boosters say the TPP could add $77 billion per year in income benefits to the U.S. economy. Critics such as the AFL-CIO, the largest union confederation in the country, say the TPP will put Americans out of work.

‘Without our children, what are we?’ Maine cited for removing Native kids

by Marcelle Hopkins, Al Jazeera

May 1, 2015 11:00AM ET

A commission has found that Native American children in Maine are five times as likely to be placed in foster care as non-Native children.

The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) presented its preliminary findings and recommendations on Thursday at the first in a series of public forums in Maine.

TRC Executive Director Charlotte Bacon told a group of a few hundred Maine residents gathered at Husson University in Bangor that the higher rate of foster care for Wabanaki children stems, in part, from racism and cultural differences in childrearing.

“One of the things we found is that there are real differences for people who are working inside the state system and people who are Wabanaki around the idea of safety – what constitutes safety, what does it look like,” Bacon said.

‘Gaza Is Hell’

Alice Su, The Atlantic

May 2, 8:00 AM ET

Eight months after last summer’s war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, Gaza remains in ruins. Drive five minutes into the territory from the crossing point in southwestern Israel and you reach Beit Hanoun, one of the areas hit most severely by land and air during the conflict. Bright blue sky spreads over buildings with big bites taken out of them. Half-eaten bedrooms and kitchens yawn open to reveal tangled wires, broken rock, and household goods: a slipper, a pack of sanitary pads, a ripped-up schoolbook. People peek over mounds of rubble from tents behind their former homes, like aliens come to settle an abandoned planet.

But ask what people are doing, and they say, “Sitting. Waiting.” Hamas’s rhetoric is all about resistance, but most people I met in Gaza were not so much defiant as desolate, not so much resisting as resigned. Those who survived last summer’s war are trapped in 360 square kilometers of trauma and contradiction, choking on war and blockade, disillusioned with the Palestinian leadership and disempowered by the aid community. They sit without jobs, relief, or means of rebuilding, waiting for things to change.

Gaza, which was under Israeli occupation from 1967 until 2005, when Israeli troops and settlers withdrew from the territory unilaterally, has been overseen by Hamas since the organization defeated the PLO-affiliated Fatah party in Palestinian elections in 2006. Fighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah the following year, leaving Hamas running Gaza and Fatah running the West Bank. Israel responded by imposing a blockade on Gaza to deter Palestinian rocket attacks and other militant activity against Israeli civilians-forbidding all access by air and sea, controlling physical movement through its crossings, and placing restrictions on access to commercial goods as well basic supplies like fuel, electricity, food, and medicine. Israel has also launched three military operations in Gaza since the Hamas takeover, with the latest leaving 2,131 Palestinians and 71 Israelis dead. Almost 70 percent of the slain Palestinians were civilians, including at least 501 children.

Conservative Party’s fortune is cautionary tale for GOP

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

May 2 at 1:05 PM

What has happened to the Conservatives over the past half-dozen years is a cautionary tale about the difficulties of rebranding a long-standing political party, lessons that are likely to play out inside the GOP over the next year as the party picks its 2016 nominee.

As Cameron’s experience has shown, striking a balance between energizing the party’s conservative base and attracting new voters through modernizing efforts is far from easy. More than stylistic shifts and cosmetic changes are needed to bring about real change against the forces of resistance. Britain is in the final days of one of the most fascinating and unpredictable elections in a generation. Neither Cameron’s Conservative Party nor the Labor Party under leader Ed Miliband appear able to command a majority of seats in the House of Commons. That would lead to a messy aftermath that could leave either party in charge but hardly in control.

Even if the Conservatives emerge from Thursday’s voting with the most seats in the House of Commons, Cameron might not be able to hold on as prime minister. If he does remain prime minister, it will not erase the party’s structural problems. If anything, the campaign has highlighted them.


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