Wake! For the Sun, who scatter’d into flight
The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
Drives Night along with them from Heav’n, and strikes
The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light.
Before the phantom of False morning died,
Methought a Voice within the Tavern cried,
“When all the Temple is prepared within,
Why nods the drowsy Worshipper outside?”
And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted–“Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more.”
From The Ru·bái·yát of O·mar Khayyám
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.
(Truth be told, friends, we’re really not that disorganized; the fact that we’ve managed to put this series together and stick with it disabuses the notion that we’re disorganized, right? Also, I wish I had a censored night once in awhile, but alas, this is something my producers made me say.)
This Day in History
Obama, Geithner and the Missing Six Trillion Dollars
by ROB URIE, CounterPunch
WEEKEND EDITION MAY 16-18, 2014
Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama’s first Treasury Secretary and chief architect of many of the various and sundry bank bailouts and associated programs carried out during Mr. Obama’s first term in office, recently wrote a book telling his side of ‘the story.’ To be clear, I haven’t read the book and have no intention of doing so. Life is short and the relevant side of the story, the economic consequences of Mr. Geithner’s policies, is the one of interest here. The prevailing storyline in the banker’s ghettoes of New York and London is of an indispensable and functioning financial system saved and a second Great Depression averted through Mr. Geithner’s necessary but unpopular programs to transfer public resources to nominally private corporations- Wall Street banks, in order to save them. Implied is that the travails Wall Street faced in 2008 – 2009 were the result of ‘natural’ forces and that its restoration is substantially related to restoration of ‘the economy.’ Mainstream economists have put forward variations on this latter claim through repeated assertion that ‘the economy,’ as measured by GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the official unemployment rate, has ‘recovered’ to pre-recession levels.
The other side of ‘the story’ repeatedly put forward as evidence of the success of Obama administration programs to save the banks is the ‘stabilization’ of asset values, mainly financial and housing ‘markets.’ With the recovery in financial asset prices responsible for the recovery in the incomes and wealth of the very rich, a recovery in the fortunes of the poor and middle class, or at least ‘stabilization,’ might seem in order. However, to the point made so eloquently by the late Huey Newton with respect to police existing to protect ‘property,’ the poor don’t own any property. Much of the increase in black wealth of the 1990s and early 2000s came through house prices inflated by predatory loans. Predatory lending has been understood for centuries to be a form of economic looting, hence occasional laws prohibiting it. The entirety of black wealth went up in a puff of smoke with the housing bust that began in 2006. For those who love a good mystery, $6 trillion in housing wealth ‘disappeared’ but the houses remain. So does most of the debt incurred to buy them. That is, housing ‘wealth’ as measured by the stock of houses remains substantially unchanged but somehow $6 trillion of housing ‘wealth’ is no more. On the one hand, this makes intuitive sense- house prices went up in the housing bubble and came down in the bust. On the other, if the houses still exist then the ‘wealth’ still exists. The question then is: where did the $6 trillion go?
Timothy Geithner on his “terrifying days” at Treasury
May 11, 2014, 9:43 AM
“The buck stops here” describes the job of Secretary of the Treasury to a “T,” as former Secretary Timothy Geithner knew it. Anthony Mason sat him down this past week for some Questions-and-Answers:
When Timothy Geithner was offered the position of Treasury Secretary in 2008, he understood it would not win him any popularity contests: “I was pretty confident it was a no-win job,” he laughed.
He would help navigate the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Geithner, to some, became a hero who saved the economy; to others, the villain who rewarded the banks.
Mason asked, “What would you say your worst day in the financial crisis was?”
“I had a lot of bad days. I had a lot of terrifying days.”
“I had a lot of terrifying days.”
Geithner, Staying on Script
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON, The New York Times
May 17, 2014
Timothy F. Geithner, the former Treasury secretary, drew a large and respectful crowd last Wednesday at a Barnes & Noble store in Manhattan, where he was publicizing “Stress Test,” his new memoir about the financial crisis. Mr. Geithner left little to chance at the event: It consisted of a highly scripted chat with a friendly interviewer who screened audience questions. After an hour, Mr. Geithner was whisked from the building.
The audience seemed to buy his story: He acknowledged that the 2008 bank rescues he helped engineer were unfair and offensive because they rewarded the very people who had created the disaster, but he defended them as stabilizing the economy and, ultimately, helping all Americans.
“We weren’t perfect,” he said. “It was messy. We had to learn as we went along.”
Sentenced to Wait: Efforts to End Prison Rape Stall Again
by Joaquin Sapien
ProPublica, May 16, 2014, 3:26 p.m.
Texas prison inmates report being raped at some of the highest rates in the country, and the problem only seems to be worsening: The three most recent reportsissued by the U.S. Department of Justice show stubbornly high levels of reported sexual assault.
But late last month, Texas Gov. Rick Perry wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaling that he’d rather lose federal funds for corrections than comply with new rules under the Prison Rape Elimination Act requiring states to substantially improve detection and prevention of sexual assaults in prisons.
“Washington has taken an opportunity to help address a problem in ourprisons and jails, but instead created a counterproductive and unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulatory mess for the states,” Perry said of the regulations.
What Is This Child Doing in Prison?
By HARVEY FIERSTEIN, The New York Times
MAY 16, 2014
LAST month a 16-year-old child was placed in solitary confinement at the York Correctional Institution for Women in Niantic, Conn. She has never been charged, tried or convicted. What is her crime? That she has survived.
With her father incarcerated and her mother addicted to heroin, crack cocaine and alcohol, the girl – who is referred to simply as Jane Doe, to protect her identity as a minor – had been passed among family members since she was 5 years old. They repeatedly raped, tortured and even prostituted her.
At last rescued by Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families, she was placed in a foster care facility, where she was raped by a fellow resident and forced to have sex with a staff member. When she fought back, she was punished. When caught involuntarily performing sex acts, she was punished. Jane was then placed at a residential facility in Massachusetts, but the sexual assaults continued at the hand of a worker entrusted with her care.
Jailed Connecticut transgender teen ‘deteriorating’ despite move within prison, lawyer says
By Randall Beach, New Haven Register
May 16, 2014
NEW HAVEN >> An attorney for a transgender teenager being held at a Connecticut prison for women says her recent transfer to another part of that prison has not improved her situation.
“She’s deteriorating,” said attorney Aaron J. Romano.
The girl, 16, who has been identified as Jane Doe to protect her identity, is not charged with any crime. State Department of Children and Families officials say she has to be at York Correctional Institution in East Lyme because she allegedly physically attacked staffers and other residents at juvenile psychiatric treatment centers.
In a recent letter Doe wrote, which appeared in the Hartford Courant, she said: “I admit I have acted out and got into fights; many DCF kids fight with staff and other kids.”
I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.
Boko Haram Attack in Cameroon Leaves 10 Chinese Missing
by Moki Edwin Kindzeka, Voice of America
Last updated on: May 17, 2014 12:09 PM
AOUNDE, CAMEROON – The Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram has attacked Waza, in Cameroon’s Far North Region, kidnapping 10 Chinese engineers and killing one Cameroonian soldier, according to local reports.
The attack came shortly before the start of Saturday’s summit talks on Boko Haram in Paris, where five heads of state, including Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, met to map out regional strategies to fight the militant group.
Last month, Boko Haram members kidnapped hundreds of teenage girls from a school in the remote Nigerian village of Chibok, setting off international cries for their release. Some escaped, but 276 girls remain missing.
Boko Haram funds, arms, training focus of summit in Paris
by The Associated Press, CBC News
Last Updated: May 17, 2014 2:23 PM ET
Hours after yet another attack in a Boko Haram stronghold – this time in Cameroon near the border with Nigeria – the leaders agreed to improve policing of frontiers, share intelligence, and trace the weapons and cash that are the group’s lifeblood.
“This group is armed, with heavy weapons of an unimaginable sophistication and the ability to use them,” said French President François Hollande.
He said the weapons came from chaotic Libya, and the training took place in Mali before the ouster of its al-Qaeda linked Islamist leaders. As for the money, Hollande said its origins were murky.
Buhari advises FG on how to end Boko Haram insurgency
by Wale Odunsi, DailyPost, Nigeria Online Newspaper
May 17, 2014
Former military Head of state, Gen, Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), says there must be end to the bickering between the federal and state governments over security issues if insecurity in the country must be solved.
“Security agencies of the (federal) government need closer cooperation with civilian security infrastructure which is in place but seldom considered as a part of the security effort,” he said against the backdrop of the effort to rescue the over 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram in Borno State,” he said.
“The local government structure from ward to district to state level is an excellent starting point for an over-all new security initiative. State-wide effort should be carefully coordinated with federal authorities. It should be a bottom-to-top operation.
France, African Leaders Declare War on Boko Haram
by VOA News, Voice of America
Last updated on: May 17, 2014 11:43 AM
French President Francois Hollande says the Nigeria-based Boko Haram militant group has become a threat to all of West and Central Africa and a “comprehensive plan” must be established to fight it.
Hollande commented at a Saturday news conference in Paris following a meeting with his counterparts from Nigeria and its neighboring countries.
The meeting took place in the wake of the Islamist militant groups’ kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian school girls last month. Nigerian officials say 276 of the girls are still missing.
Boko Haram’s hometown: Living with the ugly Nigerian cult is not fun (+video)
by Heather Murdock, The Christian Science Monitor
May 17, 2014
On a dusty street in this small hometown city of Boko Haram, a young man named Bashir Ali stands at a checkpoint behind a high wall of sandbags. He sometimes stops cars but mostly waves them by.
Local insurgents here are hard to detect: They don’t wear uniforms and usually blend in. But if one starts shooting, Mr. Ali says, at least he has a place to duck behind.
“We’ve seen quite a lot of fighting,” he says as Army trucks circle the neighborhood. “We have suffered enough in the hands of Boko Haram.”
Boko Haram began here in Borno State as a quiet if radical sect about 12 years ago. But the extreme poverty and governmental neglect that left the population feeling marginalized made the area congenial to extreme ideas, helping to transform Boko Haram into a full-blown insurgency.
Narendra Modi’s Ambitious Agenda Will Face Difficult Obstacles
by ELLEN BARRY, The New York Times
May 16, 2014
NEW DELHI – Addressing a euphoric crowd Friday afternoon, Narendra Modi rallied the public to join him in taking on challenges of a vast scale. He has floated the idea of building “a hundred new cities,” of extending a high-speed rail network across the subcontinent and undertaking the herculean task of cleaning the Ganges River.
He has been inspired by China’s model of high-growth, top-down development. But the country he will govern is India: messy, diffuse and democratic.
Mr. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won a historic mandate in the country’s general election on Friday, emerging with 282 of 543 parliamentary seats, more than enough to form a government without having to broker a post-election coalition.
India’s prime minister-elect, Narendra Modi, basked in a hero’s welcome as he arrived in Delhi after a historic election victory by the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) which transformed the political landscape of the world’s largest democracy.
A brass band, drummers and bagpipes played while hundreds of supporters waving BJP flags met Modi at the capital’s airport on Saturday after his address to voters in the western state of Gujarat on Friday night.
With almost all 543 seats declared by Saturday morning, Modi’s BJP looked set to win 282 seats, 10 more than the majority required to rule, and was heading for a tally of about 337 with its allied parties. The BJP said he will not formally take office until after Tuesday.
Modi promises a ‘shining India’ in victory speech
by Annie Gowen and Rama Lakshmi, The Washington Post
May 16, 2014
NEW DELHI – India’s opposition party swept to victory Friday in the country’s national elections, setting the stage for Hindu nationalist and economic reformer Narendra Modi to become India’s next prime minister.
Modi, 63, chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, ran a ruthlessly efficient months-long campaign, spreading his message of hope and revitalization at thousands of rallies across the country. Ultimately, voters overwhelmingly chose his message of change, with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies garnering well over the 272 seats needed for a clear majority in Parliament.
The “Modi wave,” as it was called, meant crushing defeat for the governing Congress party and its 43-year-old scion, Rahul Gandhi, its chief campaigner. Across the country, voters heading to the polls said they were unhappy with corruption scandals and ineffectual leadership after 10 years of Congress party rule under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Illinois Man is Third U.S. MERS Infection, CDC Says
by JONEL ALECCIA, NBC News
A usiness associate of the man who brought the first case of a mysterious Middle East virus to the U.S. has also tested positive for the disease, though he showed no signs of illness, federal health officials said Saturday.
The new infection – the third reported in the U.S. and the first transmitted on American soil – is in an Illinois man who met and shook hands with a health care worker who was hospitalized in Indiana after traveling from Saudi Arabia and was diagnosed May 2 with MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome.
The Illinois man had not traveled outside of the U.S. recently and he did not seek or require medical care, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in announcing the new infection Saturday. Instead, laboratory tests showed that the man had evidence of an apparent past infection in his blood. He continues to feel well, CDC officials said.
MERS Virus Appears To Have Jumped From Human To Human In U.S.
by EYDER PERALTA, NPR
May 17, 2014 4:27 PM ET
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus appears to have jumped from one human to another for the first time in United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a press release that an Illinois man has preliminarily tested positive for the MERS antibodies after he had contact with an Indiana man who contracted the virus abroad.
NPR’s Joe Neel, who listened in on a CDC conference call, tells us:
“This marks the first known transmission of the MERS virus in the U.S. and the third known case of MERS infection in the country.
“In early May, the man had two meetings with an Indiana man on business who is believed to be the first U.S. case and had extensive and close face to face contact. That man worked in a hospital in Saudi Arabia, where more than 500 people have been hospitalized with MERS.”
The CDC says it will continue to monitor the situation, but is not making any changes to its recommendations to the public, travelers and healthcare providers.
This undated file electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows novel coronavirus particles, also known as the MERS virus, colorized in yellow.
Saudis are kissing camels. There’s a reason for that.
By Adam Taylor, The Washington Post
11:20 p.m. CDT, May 16, 2014
MERS is very scary. This week, while avoiding the term global health emergency, the World Health Organization announced that the deadly viral infection was both serious and urgent. So far, there have been 571 confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome; 171 of them fatal.
There’s one place, however, where the mood about MERS isn’t scaring everyone. It’s also the place where the infection was first reported in 2012 and where almost 500 recorded cases have been found so far: Saudi Arabia.
Skepticism about the virus has taken a strange turn there: Saudis have begun kissing camels.
“Do sneeze in my face,” a farmer says in a video clip posted by Gulf News. “They claim camels carry the coronavirus,” he continues in the video, which has been watched over 11,000 times.
Ah, my Belov’ed fill the Cup that clears
To-day Past Regrets and Future Fears:
To-morrow!–Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.
For some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That from his Vintage rolling Time hath prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.
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Daily Wiki: Ruba’i
Rubāʿī (Persian: رباعی rubāʿī, “quatrain”)is a poetry style. It is used to describe a Persian quatrain (a stanza or poem of four lines), or its derivative form in English and other languages. The plural form of the word, rubāʿiyāt, often anglicised rubaiyat, is used to describe a collection of such quatrains. There are a number of possible rhyme schemes to the rubaiyat form, e.g. AABA, AAAA. In Persian verse, the ruba’i is usually written as a four-line (or two-couplet) poem, with rhymes at the middle and end of each line.
An author described;
“basically Ruba’i belongs to Persia and its metres had been created by a non-Arab poet Abul Hassan Rodeki and that was also brought into practice by non-Arab and Urdu poets. Ruba’i (quatrain) has special metres containing 24 categories (one can say “divisions” or “branches” too). Ruba’i can only be composed in those special metres, not any other normal meter. Ruba’i consists of only four lines, its two lines called ‘Sehr’ (Stanza). Ruba’i’s first and second line must end in rhyme (example-as behold and cold.), third without rhyme, but within 24 special metres, that cannot be changed and fourth line again in the selected rhyme, but that fourth line (misra) contains high, strong and complete and deep meanings, that must be related with above three lines. There should be addressed only one point or subject, not as like ghazals or other forms of the poetry have.”
This is an example from Molavi’s Ruba’iyyat from Divan-e Shams.
Anwâr-é Salâhu’d-dîn bar angêkhta bâd
dar dîda-wo jân-é `âshiq-ân rêkhta bâd
har jân ke laTîf gasht-o az lutf gozasht
bâ khâk-é Salâhu’d-dîn dar âmêkhta bâd
(May the splendors of Salahuddin be roused,
and poured into the eyes and souls of the lovers.
May every soul that has become refined and has surpassed refinement
Be mingled with the dust of Salahuddin!)
Happy Birthday Omar Khayyám
Meme of the Day:
Did you say “breakfast?”
I wondered what Omar Khayyám might have for breakfast, so I googled “ancient Persian breakfast” and found the pictured dish, kookoo sabzi, at The Earlybird Kitchen. “Kookoo Sabzi is an ancient Persian breakfast that is traditionally served on the morning of Nowruz, which is the Persian New Year. Timed with the vernal equinox Nowruz welcomes spring, old endings and new beginnings. The word Nowruz means simply, new light. This celebration with its roots in Zoroastrian history is filled with many customs; from jumping over small fires to buying new clothes, the home is thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom, known as ‘khoneh tekhouni’, meaning to ‘shake the house down’. But no Nowruz celebration is ever complete without Kookoo Sabzi and it can be found on every breakfast table.”
Something to Think About Over
See also: History of non-Euclidean geometry and Parallel postulate
Khayyám wrote a book entitled Explanations of the difficulties in the postulates in Euclid’s Elements. The book consists of several sections on the parallel postulate (Book I), on the Euclidean definition of ratios and the Anthyphairetic ratio (modern continued fractions) (Book II), and on the multiplication of ratios (Book III).
The first section is a treatise containing some propositions and lemmas concerning the parallel postulate. It has reached the Western world from a reproduction in a manuscript written in 1387-88 AD by the Persian mathematician Tusi. Tusi mentions explicitly that he re-writes the treatise “in Khayyám’s own words” and quotes Khayyám, saying that “they are worth adding to Euclid’s Elements (first book) after Proposition 28.”This proposition states a condition enough for having two lines in plane parallel to one another. After this proposition follows another, numbered 29, which is converse to the previous one. The proof of Euclid uses the so-called parallel postulate (numbered 5). Objection to the use of parallel postulate and alternative view of proposition 29 have been a major problem in foundation of what is now called non-Euclidean geometry.
The treatise of Khayyám can be considered as the first treatment of parallels axiom which is not based on petitio principii but on a more intuitive postulate. Khayyám refutes the previous attempts by other Greek and Persian mathematicians to prove the proposition. And he, as Aristotle, refuses the use of motion in geometry and therefore dismisses the different attempt by Ibn Haytham too. In a sense he made the first attempt at formulating a non-Euclidean postulate as an alternative to the parallel postulate,
From the Saving the Best for Last Department:
A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and … DeadHead.
DeadHead and I are enjoying a jug of wine and one another’s company. DeadHead doesn’t drink, but as he holds his glass up to the light, he admires the beautiful claret-hued elixir. You can’t tell from this picture, but we had just finished a rousing game of Scrabble, and yes I did win and I did wipe that Scrabble board with his puny silk-wrapped butt. By the time this photo was taken, we had already consumed an entire loaf of bread. I asked him why his turban looks like a brain, and he explained to me that since I’m the kind of person to wear her heart on her sleeve, that he should wear his brain on his hat. Works for me.
“Angel, for thee I shall always wear my brain on my hat.” ~ DeadHead
Stupid Quiet, Deep Shit LaEscapee Wrote:
“He used it well.”
LaEscapee is a man of few words. They say still waters run deep. He ain’t heavy, man, he’s my brother.
Confidential to all you lefty pie warriors:
We get that you’re frustrated, and feel that the community moderation system does not always appear “fair and balanced,” but pretty please with sugar on top don’t bring your pie wars into The Breakfast Club. We don’t want to reinforce our already
dirtier than a dirty fucking hippieangry, hateful, fringy image. Your anticipated cooperation is much appreciated, and That Group thanks you in advance.