The Breakfast Club (Analyze This)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgModern music, at least in the classical sense, covers the period from 1890 to 1930 and is a reaction against the previous Romantic movement that is generally considered to have lasted for the 95 years from 1815 to 1910.

The Romantic movement was a rebellion against the stylized rationality of the Enlightenment and sought to emphasize Nature, the past (particularly the Middle Ages), the mystic and supernatural, and Nationalism.

Modernism on the other hand celebrated the accomplishments of science and industry and encouraged experimentalism with the elements of music including tonality, rhythm, melody, and harmony.  As a result is sounded very strange and novel to audiences at the time and generated quite a bit of controversy-

Those kids today, they don’t listen to real music.  It’s nothing but noise.

The 3 composers most commonly associated with  the rise of Modernism are Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss and Claude Debussey.

Mahler was much more famous as a conductor than a composer and was not exactly considered prolific which is probably just as well as his works were not very popular.  He paid the bills and made his reputation on wildly successful stagings of popular Operas and Symphonies by the late Romantics, eventually ending his career in New York as the conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Symphony Orchestra, and the New York Philharmonic.

The piece I’ve chosen today, the Eighth Symphony, has kind of a weird history.  Just before it’s debut Mahler discovered his wife Alma, was having an affair with Walter Gropius.  Mahler was kind of upset and went to Sigmund Freud for analysis.  Alma agreed to stay but continued her affair with Gropius.  Still, this symphony is dedicated to her.  Mahler died the next year.

This particular performance is the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

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


Isis gains in Syria put pressure on west to deliver more robust response

Spencer Ackerman, Andrew Sparrow and Martin Chulov, The Guardian

Friday 22 August 2014 15.48 EDT

As US aircraft continued to pound the Islamist militants in northern Iraq, the Obama administration was studying a range of options for pressuring Isis in Syria, primarily through training “moderate” Syrian rebels as a proxy force, with air strikes as a possible backup.

The Pentagon has yet to decide on expanding the US air war into Syria to attack Isis, let alone how a campaign there would develop, officials said Friday. “I’m not going to get ahead of planning that hasn’t been done or decisions that haven’t been made,” rear admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters.

But engagement in Syria itself is fraught with difficulties, not least because it would look like collaboration with the Assad regime. A year ago, after the gas attack in Damascus, those who urged a bombing campaign in Syria wanted Assad to be the target, not the beneficiary. The irony is an uncomfortable one for policymakers.

For all the internal administration focus on propping up moderate Syrian rebels, the US military would not be able to begin training them until October, the earliest that Congressional approval could be obtained for the required funding and authorisation. Kirby said he was unaware of any “plan to accelerate it”.

Nor have critical details for the training program been worked out, despite it being effectively the lynchpin of what the administration considers a long-term plan to defeat Isis. “I can’t tell you where it would take place, or how many people would be trained, and there’s still a vetting process that needs to be fully developed here,” Kirby conceded.

The broader intention is to try to strip Isis of the support of the 20 million Sunni Arabs who live between Damascus and Baghdad. But the difficulties of that approach was underscored when Shia militia gunned down dozens of Sunnis in a village north of Baghdad, killing at least 68 in one of the deadliest attacks this year.

Ferguson: officer relieved of duty after ‘black little perverts’ video surfaces

Jon Swaine, The Guardian

Friday 22 August 2014 18.29 EDT

A police officer involved in the protests over Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, has been relieved of his duty after video surfaced of him describing black people as “little perverts” and Barack Obama as an illegal immigrant.

Page is the second St Louis county officer to have been stood down in controversial circumstances surrounding the Ferguson protests. Lieutenant Ray Albers was suspended on Wednesday after video emerged of him pointing his assault weapon at protestors and threatening to kill them.

Page made his remarks during an address earlier this year to a St Louis branch of the Oathkeepers, an association of former and serving military personnel, police officers and first responders. The group says that its members “pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to ‘defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic’.”

Fear and false alarms as Ebola puts Europe on alert

Ashifa Kassam, Philip Oltermann and Henry McDonald, The Guardian

Friday 22 August 2014 11.06 EDT

There has been only one confirmed Ebola case in Europe since the epidemic broke out in Africa, but a string of false alarms has provoked jitters and charges of overreaction.

From Austria to Ireland, Spain to Germany, there have been at least a dozen cases of west Africans with mild flu symptoms being isolated until it was established that they were not suffering from Ebola.

Pennsylvania puts $1.4m towards extinguishing years-old mine fire

Peter Moskowitz, The Guardian

Friday 22 August 2014 13.11 EDT

The Pennsylvania department of environmental protection announced this week it would spend $1.4m to put out a several-year-old fire near the Pittsburgh International Airport that now threatens to disrupt air travel and cause an explosion at a major gas pipeline.

A years-old fire may sound extraordinary, but underground long-burning fires are relatively common in the state, thanks to Pennsylvania’s abundance of abandoned coal waste piles and closed underground mines. The coal in those piles and mines act as a readily ignitable fuel source, should a stray ember from a cigarette land or a lightning bolt strike in the right place.

Regulators also don’t know who owned the coal pile next to the Pittsburgh airport. DEP officials believe that one is related to a mine that closed in 1939. The fire there may have started as many as seven years ago, perhaps because of a lightning strike. It hasn’t posed a threat to planes or a nearby pipeline yet: at this point it’s only causing wisps of smoke to escape from the ground. But there’s concern among DEP officials the fire could spread to another nearby coal pile, potentially endangering the pipeline, and causing navigation issues for planes.

Fed chair Janet Yellen cautious in speech on ‘damaged’ US economy

Dominic Rushe, The Guardian

Friday 22 August 2014 11.24 EDT

“The economy has made considerable progress in recovering from the largest and most sustained loss of employment in the United States since the Great Depression,” she said. “These developments are encouraging, but it speaks to the depth of the damage that, five years after the end of the recession, the labour market has yet to fully recover.”

The US central bank has kept rates close to zero since December 2008 when the US entered a recession following the bursting of the housing bubble. It has also poured billions each month into the US economy through a series of bond buying programmes known as quantitative easing (QE). QE is due to end later this year, but Yellen gave no clear indication about when, or if, rates would rise.

Chelsea Manning says she is being denied gender-reassignment treatment

Jessica Glenza, The Guardian

Friday 22 August 2014 11.09 EDT

A year after being sentenced to a 35-year prison term for giving secret documents to WikiLeaks, US army private Chelsea Manning says the military is continuing to deny her gender-reassignment treatment.

In a letter sent to NBC news and released on Friday, Manning says the Defence Department has not followed through with its promises after the defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, approved a treatment plan that includes allowing her to dress as a woman.

“Unfortunately, despite silence, and then lip-service, the military has not yet provided me with any such treatment,” Manning wrote in a statement sent to NBC from Fort Leavenworth prison in Kansas. “However, prisons – and especially military prisons – reinforce and impose strong gender norms – making gender the most fundamental aspect of institutional life.”

Goldman to Pay $3.15 Billion to Settle Mortgage Claims


August 22, 2014 8:23 pm

The bank said on Friday that it had agreed to buy back $3.15 billion in mortgage bonds from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to end a lawsuit filed in 2011 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the federal regulator that oversees the two mortgage companies. The agency had accused Goldman of unloading low-quality mortgage bonds onto Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the run-up to the financial crisis. It estimates that Goldman is paying $1.2 billion more than the bonds are now worth.

Goldman had been hoping to avoid settling the suit altogether, contending as recently as last month that many of the government’s claims should be dismissed.

The accusations are similar to those that Goldman confronted in the Abacus lawsuit that was brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010, and in a Senate investigation that grew out of that case. The firm was accused of setting up a complicated mortgage security that it was marketing to investors without telling them it planned to bet against the same loans.

The finance housing agency’s suit was set to go to trial in late September, and it was likely to have dredged up a lot of unpleasant history for Goldman if the bank had not agreed to settle.

The agreement, though, is unlikely to be the last settlement that Goldman will have to reach to put the financial crisis behind it. The Justice Department has extracted the biggest penalties in crisis-era cases and is said to be in the early stages of discussing a settlement with Goldman.

U.S. undercover investigators among those exposed in data breach

By Jim Finkle and Mark Hosenball, Reuters

Fri Aug 22, 2014 9:06pm EDT

A cyber attack at a firm that performs background checks for U.S. government employees compromised data of at least 25,000 workers, including some undercover investigators, and that number could rise, agency officials said on Friday.

Files on background checks contain highly sensitive data that foreign intelligence agencies could attempt to exploit to intimidate government workers with access to classified information.

“They would be collecting this data to identify individuals who might be vulnerable to extortion and recruitment,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, chief technology officer with cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, which sells intelligence on state-sponsored cyber attacks.

NSA and GCHQ employees may be undermining the agencies’ work to hack Tor

by Sean Buckley, Engadget


(N)ew information suggests that the agencies’ floundering efforts may be sabotaged from within.

Naturally, spy organizations see it as a threat, but the Tor Project’s Andrew Lewman says some of the agencies’ employees are undermining their own hacking efforts. “There are plenty of people in both organizations who can anonymously leak data to us and say, maybe you should look ere, maybe you should fix this,” he told the BBC in a recent interview. “And they have.”

Technically, Lewman can’t know if these suggestions are coming from spy agencies, but he says it makes sense. Tor’s anonymous bug reporting system makes it impossible to tell where the reports come from, but the issues that are coming in are so granular, he says, they have to be coming from users who have spent hundreds of hours scrutinizing Tor’s source code.

UPS Store Malware Likely Hit Many Other Companies

By Paul Wagenseil, Tom’s Guide

August 22, 2014 3:28 PM

The Backoff point-of-sale malware infection that hit 51 UPS Stores may be very widespread, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) stated today (Aug. 22) in an alert.

Despite recommendations by information-security experts and federal authorities that full disclosure helps manage outbreaks, many companies fear that admitting data breaches will hurt business, damage reputations or affect stock prices. Target lost more than $100 million in the wake of its own data breach, and the company’s chief executive lost his job.

“Over the past year, the Secret Service has responded to network intrusions at numerous businesses throughout the United States that have been impacted by the ‘Backoff’ malware,” the advisory reads in part. “Seven PoS system providers/vendors have confirmed that they have had multiple clients affected.

MythBusters Stars Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara Are Leaving the Show

by Chris Harnick, E! News Online

Thu., Aug. 21, 2014 7:41 PM PDT

It’s the end of an era for MythBusters: Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara are leaving the series. Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman announced the fan-favorites would depart the show at the end of the Thursday, Aug. 21 episode of the hit Discovery program.


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