You may well ask why I’m concentrating on French composers (those of you who’ve noticed) and the answer is of course 2 words- Le Tour. At the turn of the century there were few names more closely associated with French classical music than Claude Debussy (the other would be Maurice Ravel and you can hardly write about him without everyone asking, “Where’s Boléro and Bo Derek?”).
Just don’t call it Impressionist because he hated that.
He wrote only one Opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, based on a Symbolist play of the same name by Maurice Maeterlinck. It’s in five acts rather than the traditional 2 or 3 and according to Wikipedia the plot goes a little something like this-
Prince Golaud finds a mysterious young woman, Mélisande, lost in a forest. He marries her and brings her back to the castle of his grandfather, King Arkel of Allemonde. Here Mélisande becomes increasingly attached to Golaud’s younger half-brother Pelléas, arousing Golaud’s jealousy. Golaud goes to excessive lengths to find out the truth about Pelléas and Mélisande’s relationship, even forcing his own child, Yniold, to spy on the couple. Pelléas decides to leave the castle but arranges to meet Mélisande one last time and the two finally confess their love for one another. Golaud, who has been eavesdropping, rushes out and kills Pelléas. Mélisande dies shortly after, having given birth to a daughter, with Golaud still begging her to tell him “the truth”.
What is truth? (John 18:36) Eh, crucify him.
Now among French composers this particular work was almost as influential as Wagner of whom Debussy was for a time (as were many) a great admirer, though it is hard to imagine a style more different and fundamentally innovative. As far as I’m concerned Wagner was a derivative hack who never had a musical thought he didn’t steal from Beethoven.
Pierre Boulez is still alive as far as I know and was conducting as recently as 2008.
Obligatories, news and blogs below.
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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.
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–Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)
This Day in History
Attack on Flight 17 brings Ukraine crisis to Europe’s doorstep
by Michael Pizzi, Al Jazeera
July 18, 2014 2:38PM ET
An international investigation is underway to determine who fired a Russian-made missile at Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on Thursday, blowing the passenger jet out of the sky and killing all 298 people on board. But with Washington’s statements on Friday that the missile came from an area in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists, there seems to be little doubt about the culpable party.
If it’s true that Russia or its separatist proxies in Ukraine are responsible for downing Flight 17, the tragedy will vindicate Kiev’s insistence that crushing the separatists in Ukraine’s east – where Flight 17’s wreckage is scattered – is not only a Ukrainian imperative but a regional one. After months of waffling and divisions among European leaders about how to deal with perceived Russian aggression in Ukraine, many feel it’s time for action.
“There are consequences to escalated conflict in Ukraine. It’s not localized. It’s not going to be contained,” President Barack Obama said in an address at the White House on Friday. The loss of more than 200 Europeans, he said, “sadly brings home that the stakes are high for Europe, not just for the Ukrainian people.”
Why Planes Still Flew Over Ukraine Until MH17 Was Shot Down
By Alex Davies and Jordan Golson, Wired
07.18.14 1:40 pm
The aviation industry is used to changing conditions that can suddenly render airspace too dangerous to move through. Under a well-established system, authorities like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) can issue orders recommending or requiring that aircraft avoid certain areas. These restrictions can be applied for reasons including armed conflict, movement of VIPs like the president, and natural disasters. The 2010 eruption of the Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano spewed ash-which is terrible for jet engines-and caused a six-day ban on most flights in European airspace.
However, in cases of military risk, flight restrictions often apply only under certain altitudes. Planes are most exposed to ground-level threats when they’re taking off and landing-that’s when they’re within range of small arms and shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles (this is why the FAA recommends planes avoid Kenya). It requires much more sophisticated weaponry to take out a plane flying 33,000 feet above the ground. The risk posed by that kind of military hardware explains why almost no one flies over Syria-a full-blown war zone-or North Korea.
The situation in Ukraine was thought to be fairly safe, and local authorities cleared planes through their airspace as long as they stayed above 32,000 feet. The Malaysia jet, a Boeing 777-200ER en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was at 33,000 feet when it was hit.
MH17: rebels block access to part of site of crash as evidence against them grows
Shaun Walker, Harriet Salem, Dan Roberts, and Philip Oltermann, The Guardian
Friday 18 July 2014
A unit of heavily armed rebels blocked the 30-strong team from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), cordoning off a large part of the crash site. The inspectors retreated after an hour-long standoff, having been unable to gain access. They were sent on their way by warning shots fired by the rebel unit commander.
“We will keep coming back tomorrow and the next day and the next day,” said OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw. “Tomorrow will be a crunch day. There are a lot of experts from the Netherlands and Malaysia gathering in Kiev as well as relatives. The bodies are starting to bloat and decay. An expert team is clearly needed. There is a lot to be done in a short amount of time.”
In Washington, Obama called for a full, impartial investigation and said the tragedy should cause people to “snap their heads together” and stop playing games in Ukraine. In veiled criticism of the lack of European support for US-led economic sanctions against Russia, Obama said the loss of so many European lives should serve as a wake-up call for Europe.
Islamic State seizes major Syrian oil fields, aids Assad regime
By Roy Gutman, McClatchy
July 18, 2014
Extremist fighters of the Islamic State, already in control of a third of Iraqi territory, are on the attack in Syria, where they’ve seized more oil fields, facilitated the Assad regime’s advance in Aleppo and started a new offensive against Kurds, Syrian opposition figures say.
The Islamic State now controls more than 35 percent of Syrian territory, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based pro-rebel group, reported Friday. Its holdings include nearly all of Syria’s oil and gas fields.
It’s in Aleppo that the regime owes a major debt to the Islamic State, according to senior aides in the U.S.-backed Syrian opposition. President Bashar Assad’s forces captured the industrial zone in the northeast of the city earlier this month by “carpet bombing” with air-to-ground missiles, bombs and artillery, according to Monzer Akbik, the senior aide to Ahmad Jarba, the outgoing president of the anti-government coalition.
The advance was facilitated by Islamic State forces, which allowed it to proceed unopposed. “No one fired a bullet at the advancing forces as they moved through villages” held by the group, said Hussam al Marie, a spokesman for Free Syrian Army rebel troops in northern Syria. “And the regime did not fire a bullet at IS.”
Iraqi civilian death toll passes 5,500 in wake of Isis offensive
Friday 18 July 2014 11.59 EDT
The Islamic State (Isis) and other Sunni insurgents seized control of the city of Falluja, as well as part of nearby Ramadi in Anbar province in early January. The militants then launched an offensive in June that has brought a huge swath of northern and western Iraq under their control.
In its report, the UN mission to Iraq says at least 5,576 civilians were killed and another 11,665 wounded from 1 January until the end of June. Another 1.2 million have been driven from their homes by the violence, it adds.
The pace of civilian deaths over the first six months marked a sharp increase over the previous year. In all of 2013, the UN reported just over 7,800 civilians killed, which was the highest annual death toll in years.
Iran nuclear talks extended, diplomats say
July 18, 2014 9:21PM ET
Iran and six world powers on Friday agreed to a four-month extension of negotiations on a long-term nuclear deal that would gradually end sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, diplomats close to the talks said.
Iran will be allowed to access $2.8 billion of its frozen assets during the four-month extension, but most sanctions against Tehran will remain in place, U.S. officials said.
In exchange for the money, Kerry said, Iran has agreed to continue neutralizing its most sensitive uranium stocks – uranium that has been enriched to a level of 20 percent – by converting it to fuel for a research reactor in Tehran that is used to make medical isotopes.
Merkel calls for ‘sensible talks’ over alleged US spying on Germany
Friday 18 July 2014 10.54 EDT
Washington has dismissed the idea of a “no-spy” agreement demanded by Germany since reports last year that the US National Security Agency was conducting mass surveillance of German citizens – and eavesdropping even on Merkel’s cellphone. The discovery of two alleged US spies in Germany earlier this month further stoked German anger, prompting Merkel to demand the departure of the CIA station chief in Berlin.
“Trust can only be restored through talks and certain agreements,” Merkel said in her first lengthy news conference since the two spy cases came to light. “We will seek out such talks, though I can’t announce anything concrete right now.”
Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany where state surveillance was a fact of life, said her administration and that of US President Barack Obama had “different positions on what’s needed to guarantee security and at the same time protect personal data”.
Largest US sentence reduction in history approved for drug offenders
by Evan Hill, Al Jazeera
July 18, 2014 8:10PM ET
Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have said they strongly support new policies that place less emphasis on prosecuting the kind of low-level, non-violent drug offenders who make up a large part of the federal prison population, which currently stands at around 216,000 people, exceeding capacity by 32 percent.
The commission estimates that around 4,600 inmates will receive sentence reductions that exceed the amount of time left in their prison terms, making them eligible for immediate release, though under the special rule they would not be let out until next November.
In April, the commission voted unanimously to reduce sentencing guidelines for most drug offenders going forward. In the months that followed, the commission received more than 60,000 letters regarding whether those reduced guidelines should be made retroactive. The letters “overwhelmingly favored” reducing old sentences, according to the commission.
Wildfires in Washington burn homes, lead to evacuations
July 18, 2014 4:43PM ET
The blaze, known as the “Carlton Complex Fire,” had blackened 260 square miles by Friday morning, up dramatically from the last estimate of 28 square miles.
Officials reported no injuries, but said the wildfire has burned about 100 homes and prompted the evacuation of Pateros, home to about 650 people in Okanogan County. A hospital in nearby Brewster was also evacuated as a precaution.
A separate blaze called the “Chiwaukum Creek Fire” left a heavy layer of smoke visible, with two-day-old evacuation orders still in effect early Friday for nearly 900 dwellings near the town of Leavenworth.
At a press conference on Friday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the state had deployed about 2,000 firefighters, 12 helicopters from the Department of Natural Resources and the National Guard, and a Washington State Patrol spotter plane to fight the two fires.
Appeals court upholds ruling voiding Oklahoma gay marriage ban
July 18, 2014 4:24PM ET
The decision by the three-judge panel of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the latest in a series of rulings by judges in federal and state courts to find such exclusions violate the U.S. Constitution.
The appellate court last month upheld a decision that gay couples have a right to marry in Utah. Gay marriage is on hold in both Utah and Oklahoma while appeals are being resolved.
Numerous lawsuits and rulings regarding same-sex marriage bans have followed the U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had codified marriage as only between a man and a woman. The Utah ruling was the first at the appellate level since the Supreme Court decision.
There are now 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal. In another nine states, federal judges have struck down bans on same-sex marriage but the rulings have been put on hold pending appeal.
EPA blocks huge Alaska mine project with environmental restrictions
Peter Moskowitz, The Guardian
Friday 18 July 2014 16.26 EDT
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a set of restrictions that will in effect prevent the development of a controversial copper and gold mine in Alaska which many said would have been disastrous for the state’s largest salmon fishery.
Pebble Mine, located in south-west Alaska near Bristol Bay, would have been one of the largest opencast mines in the world – more than a mile deep, the depth of the Grand Canyon. And the total impact of the mine – from the project itself to the huge waste ponds and piles it would have required – could take up an area the size of Manhattan, according to the EPA. That, the EPA’s regional administrator, Dennis McLerran, said on Friday, was unacceptable for the environment, for those who rely on the salmon in Bristol Bay for work, and for the Native community who have argued that the area is integral to their way of life.
The agency’s decision does not rule out future development of the mine, but it sets environmental restrictions so burdensome that moving forward with the project would probably be financially untenable. While more action from Pebble Partnership and other supporters of the project is likely, those against the mine viewed the EPA’s announcement as a decisive win.
University of Connecticut settles sex assault case with five women
Friday 18 July 2014 11.01 EDT
The bulk of the settlement, $900,000 (£530,000), will go to a former UConn hockey player who joined the Title IX lawsuit last December, a month after it was originally filed by four other women. She alleged she was kicked off the team after reporting she had been raped by a male hockey player in August 2011.
The school, which has repeatedly defended its policies for responding to sexual assault complaints, did not admit any wrongdoing.
“It was clear to all parties that no good would have come from dragging this out for years as it consumed the time, attention and resources – both financial and emotional – of everyone involved,” said Larry McHugh, the chairman of the school’s board of trustees. “In order to do this, compromise was required on both sides, which is reflected in the settlement. I hope this resolution will help the students find closure on this issue.”
Staten Island man dies after NYPD officers put him in chokehold
Lauren Gambino, The Guardian
Friday 18 July 2014 14.22 EDT
On Thursday afternoon, Eric Garner of Staten Island went into cardiac arrest after officers attempted to take him into custody on charges of selling illegal cigarettes. He was pronounced dead at the hospital about one hour later.
Bratton said the use of chokeholds is prohibited by the NYPD because of the concern that they can cause serious injury or death.
“This would appear to have been a chokehold,” Bratton said. “But the investigation both by the district attorney’s office as well as by our internal affairs will seek to make that final determination.”
Last year the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent board that investigates alleged misconduct by the NYPD, received 233 allegations of incidents involving chokeholds, according to its 2013 complaint data.
Of those, only two cases were substantiated, and for the vast majority – more than 60% of the allegations from that year – there was not enough evidence to determine what happened.
With liberals pining for a Clinton challenger, ambitious Democrats get in position
By Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, Washington Post
July 18 at 5:08 PM
Even as Hillary Rodham Clinton looms as the overwhelming favorite for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, the party’s base is stirring for a primary fight. There’s a pining for someone else, and a medley of ambitious Democrats are making moves – many of them previously unreported – to position themselves to perhaps be that someone.
In stark contrast to the overt maneuvering on the Republican side, the 2016 Democratic presidential sweepstakes has been largely frozen in place as Clinton decides whether to run. But with the former secretary of state’s book-tour stumbles exposing a serious vulnerability with grass-roots voters, small cracks are beginning to emerge.
The driving force behind the Democratic maneuvering is a yearning among progressives for a candidate who will champion their economic populist agenda. Anna Galland, executive director of the liberal group MoveOn.org, said income inequality will be the driving issue for the base, just as the Iraq war was in 2008.
“Our members don’t want to see their preferred candidates going to give speeches to big Wall Street banks,” Galland said, a reference to Clinton’s paid speaking gigs, including one next week to a group of financiers in Boston. “They want to see them talking about inequality.”
One thing made clear by the scene in Detroit – and others like it recently from West Virginia to Oregon – is that candidate Clinton would be running against Warren in the primaries whether or not the Massachusetts senator enters the race.
“This primary will be about the Wall Street wing versus the Warren wing of the party,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a liberal group that spun out of Dean’s 2004 campaign. “The question is, will Hillary be with Wall Street like she’s been all along or will she evolve like the party to be with the Warren wing?”
Obama Moves Closer to Seismic Testing for Oil in Atlantic
By Jim Snyder, Bloomberg
Jul 18, 2014 3:10 PM ET
The Obama administration took a step toward allowing oil and gas drilling off seven Atlantic Coast states for the first time in decades, establishing guidelines for seismic testing that would gauge offshore reserves.
“Not only is seismic exploration a gateway drug to offshore drilling, it is a major assault on our ocean itself, with far-reaching impacts on marine mammals and fish,” Michael Jasny, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection Project, said in a statement.
“With today’s decision President Obama is bowing to pressure from Big Oil rather than listening to the thousands of voices calling on him to protect our natural resources and coastal economies,” Douglass said.
For years the Atlantic area was protected by congressional and presidential drilling moratoriums. While those were lifted in 2008 as rising gasoline prices led to complaints from drivers, Obama hasn’t since taking office in 2009 opened the area to bids from producers interested in searching the region.
The Interior Department is currently writing a leasing plan for 2017 to 2022.
- Report: Legalization of Prostitution In Rhode Island Led To Improvements of Both Public Health and Public Safety by Jonathan Turley
- How US satellites pinpointed source of missile that shot down airliner by ArsTechnica
- The left’s existential dilemma: How Joe Biden’s Netroots speech revealed his party’s crossroads David Dayen, Salon
- The Senate Is Giving More Power to the NSA – in secret by msmolly, My FDL
- DailyDirt: New-Fangled Pizza Making by Micael Ho, Techdirt
- Lawsuit Filed To Force NYPD To Respect Citizens’ First Amendment Right To Record Police Officers by Tim Cushing,Techdirt
- FedEx Indicted For Failing To Look Into Its Packages To See If Any Online Pharmacies Were Sending Drugs by Mike Masnick, Techdirt
- Six Years After the Global Financial Crisis, What Have We Learned? by Catherine Cashmore, MacroBusiness
- UN High Commissioner: Mass Surveillance Violates International Law … and Snowden Should NOT Be Prosecuted Washington’s Blog
- CA Halts Injection Of Fracking Waste, Warning It May Be Contaminating Aquifers By ProPublica, Crooks & Liars
- Inspector General’s Report Slams DOJ For Mishandling Its Investigation Of FBI Crime Lab Problems by Tim Cushing, Tech Dirt
- Edward Snowden’s Smut By emptywheel
- The Anglo-American Data Empire By emptywheel
- Walk On The Water By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire
- A Whistleblower Speaks Out: Air Force Contract Fraud By: Peter Van Buren, Firedog Lake
- Former CEO Of California Pension System Pleads Guilty To Fraud And Bribery By: DSWright, Firedog Lake
- Germany Bucking Toxic, Nation-State Eroding Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism