The Breakfast Club (Inconceivable!)

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I do not think that word means what you think it means.

So recently I’ve seen a couple of pundits, columnists, and reporters who should know better use “Baroque” to describe something.  For example-

Argentina accuses US of judicial malpractice for triggering needless default

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph

7:56PM BST 31 Jul 2014

In a sign of how Baroque this saga has become, Argentina actually tried to wire the payment to US banks in New York but the money was returned in order to comply with a court order, leaving it unclear whether this will trigger credit default swaps on Argentina’s debt worth $1bn. The Argentine press said the government may pay the interest into an escrow account to maintain the goodwill of the main bondholders.

Baroque is an artistic style that uses exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance, and music.

I think, from context, instead they mean Byzantine (definition 4)- overly complex or intricate, or of a devious, usually stealthy manner of practice.

So Baroque is kind of exactly… the opposite.

Now I could waste a lot of time and pixels explaining why the Eastern Roman Empire inspired that kind of definition, but that’s about 1200 years of history and I’d rather talk about music and not misshapen pearls.

Although it was long thought that the word as a critical term was first applied to architecture, in fact it appears earlier in reference to music, in an anonymous, satirical review of the première in October 1733 of Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, printed in the Mercure de France in May 1734. The critic implied that the novelty in this opera was “du barocque,” complaining that the music lacked coherent melody, was filled with unremitting dissonances, constantly changed key and meter, and speedily ran through every compositional device.

Well, that would be “every compositional device” known to the Renaissance where ‘daring’ meant 4 part harmony (with feelin’ and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining how it is to be used in evidence against me.  Sucks to have a logical mind, gravity, and a VW Microbus with shovels, rakes, and implements of destruction, I might not be moral enough).

We’ll just wait until it comes around on the Gamba again.

This particular piece by Montaverdi is an example of mid-Baroque and like many was Liturgical in nature, the title translates roughly to “Prayers for the Blessed Virgin” and has 8 part harmony.

Which, though it seems rather pedestrian today, was peculiar in the most unusual way they could cook up back when they were still figuring out how to write music down at all and weren’t even concerned about 12 tone atonalism and serial minimalism (no, I don’t really understand Philip Glass either).

Any who, Obigatories, News, and Blogs below the fold.


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


US forces bomb Isis militant positions in northern Iraq

Martin Chulov, Julian Borger, and Dan Roberts, The Guardian

Friday 8 August 2014

US warplanes bombed Islamic militants outside the Kurdish capital of Irbil on Friday, pulling the US back into Iraq conflict for the first time since President Obama withdrew ground troops in 2011.

After initial strikes outside the city, the US military launched a second and third round later in the day. Then, early on Saturday morning, the US military announced it had conducted a second air drop of food and water for thousands of refugees trapped in Iraq’s Sinjar mountains.

The White House stressed the limited aims of the operations, aware that one of Obama’s proudest achievements in office has been the extrication of America from Iraq after eight gruelling years of war.

Friday’s air strikes were framed as being a necessary step to protect a US joint operation centre in Irbil, used to coordinate defences with peshmerga fighters.

“The fact of the matter is we have people in Irbil and if Irbil is allowed to fall, they will be at risk,” Ben Rhodes, the national security council spokesman, said.

The president’s orders gave his commanders discretion to use air power to protect US military advisers and diplomats in Irbil and Baghdad, and to break the siege of the Yazidis on Sinjar.

It was unclear how long the air strikes around Irbil might last, or how America might extricate itself from an ever evolving and deepening conflict. Isis has proved itself a formidable force, which has rapidly spread its control over a large swath of Syria and Iraq, capturing oilfields and one city after another. Its fighters have declared themselves eager to take on American troops. They have seized control of a dam near Mosul, which if destroyed, could unleash a 20-metre wall of water on the valley, engulfing Iraq’s second largest city.

Gaza conflict: talks continue in Cairo as rockets fly in both directions

Jason Burke and Patrick Kingsley, The Guardian

Friday 8 August 2014

Both the rocket fire from Gaza and the Israel air strikes on Gaza have been of significantly lower intensity than at the height of the conflict, suggesting a mutual desire to avoid immediate escalation. The rockets being fired from Gaza were all short range, targeting towns close to Gaza.

Israel’s military said it had hit 33 “terrorist targets” since midnight. These included several mosques and houses across the length of Gaza.

In four weeks of violence more than 1,900 Gazans have been killed. Sixty-seven people have been killed on the Israeli side, including three civilians.

Migrant courts’ quick fix for recently arrived children brings new problems

Rory Carroll, The Guardian

Friday 8 August 2014 12.50 EDT

They are called “rocket dockets”, and ricochet through immigration courts in what critics say is a blur of confusion, anxiety and frustration.

The goal is to accelerate the processing of recently arrived child migrants from Central America, but the result can be chaotic and counterproductive, judges and attorneys warned this week.

Critics said there were two problems: lack of due process- especially when cases required documents and testimony from Central America – and longer delays for the other 375,000 undocumented migrants awaiting hearings, straining an already overburdened system.

There were 227 full-time judges to deal with around 375,000 pending cases – an average of 1,651 cases each. Marks has more than 2,400 cases on her own docket. “I’m setting cases now into the spring of 2018. We are direly under-resourced.”

Ebola Response Too Slow as Tally of the Dead Nears 1,000

By Makiko Kitamura, Business Week

August 09, 2014

Doctors Without Borders, with almost 700 workers in the affected region, also was critical, saying in a statement that it has been repeating for weeks that “a massive medical, epidemiological and public health response is desperately needed to save lives and reverse the course of the epidemic.”

The outbreak has killed 961 people in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone since it was first reported, with 68 new cases reported over two days, the WHO said yesterday.

Ebola has no cure. Current treatment is to hydrate patients, replace lost blood and use antibiotics to fight off opportunistic infections. The hope is that the patient’s immune system will be able to fight the disease off.

US Ebola victim writes from hospital: ‘I am growing stronger every day’

Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian

Friday 8 August 2014 15.13 EDT

Brantly was the first named Ebola victim to be treated in the US, and is one of two American charity workers infected. The other, Nancy Writebol, is also being treated in Atlanta.

The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak, the world’s largest and longest, an international public health emergency on Friday.

Former White House press secretary’s death ruled a homicide

Associated Press

Friday 8 August 2014 19.16 EDT

After the shooting, Brady undertook a high-profile, personal crusade for gun control, which continues to be one of the country’s most hotly debated issues. The Brady law, named after him, requires a five-day wait and background check before a handgun can be sold. President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 1993.

Officials at St Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, where Hinckley is a patient, have said that the mental illness that led him to shoot Reagan in an effort to impress actress Jodie Foster has been in remission for decades. Hinckley has been allowed to leave the hospital to visit his mother’s home in Virginia and can now spend more than half of his time outside the hospital on such visits.

Afghanistan’s presidential rivals reach agreement after Kerry flies into Kabul

May Jeong, The Guardian

Friday 8 August 2014 12.08 EDT

The announcement followed the arrival of the US secretary of state, John Kerry, in Kabul on Thursday. Kerry flew into the Afghan capital in an attempt to salvage the faltering political and technical agreements that he had brokered between Ghani and his presidential rival, Abdullah Abdullah.

Those agreements had been reached four weeks ago and were meant to produce a winner in Afghanistan’s election. However, the deal soon fell apart, with fistfights breaking out in the auditing centre where disputed ballots are being assessed and that process being halted numerous times.

The two-day negotiation yielded an agreement which would, among other things, create the role of a chief executive officer for the runner-up in the election. It remains unclear, however, what this new role would entail and whether Ghani and Abdullah had agreed upon anything more specific beyond agreeing to agree. Work to hammer out the details would begin immediately, Ghani said on Friday.

Hawaiians brace for Hurricane Julio as Iselle forces hundreds into shelters

Jessica Glenza, The Guardian

Friday 8 August 2014 15.55 EDT

Iselle was the first of two storms tracking near the Hawaiian islands. Hurricane Julio, now a category two with sustained 105mph winds, is expected to bring tropical storm-like condition to the islands over the weekend. Julio’s eye is currently tracking north of the islands.

The storms threaten to disrupt more than just vacations on the islands – voters are scheduled to cast ballots in a hard-fought Democratic primary on Saturday. Governor Neil Abercrombie faces Senator David Ige in the gubernatorial race and Senator Brian Schatz faces Representative Colleen Hanabusa for the Senate nomination.

Abercrombie signed an emergency proclamation on Wednesday, allowing officials to access emergency funds set aside by the legislature. Officials are recommending residents keep a week’s worth of food, water and batteries on hand, in addition to a week’s worth of special items, such as prescription drugs or baby formula.

Primary election postponed for 2 precincts in Hawaii after storm

Associated Press

Published August 08, 2014

Hawaii election officials were scrambling Friday to set up polling stations ahead of the state’s primary election, which officials determined will go ahead as planned despite rain and winds from Tropical Storm Iselle that have pounded the islands and another storm that could arrive later this weekend.

Officials postponed voting in two precincts on the Big Island where “there are miles of roads that are obstructed” and power outages, Attorney General David Louie said. About 8,000 affected voters will be able to cast absentee ballots later.

In another top-ticket race, incumbent U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz faces a challenge from U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to fill the rest of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye’s term. The race divided Democrats after Abercrombie nominated Schatz, his lieutenant governor at the time, to replace Inouye after his death in 2012 despite Inouye saying he wanted Hanabusa to succeed him.

Oregon wildfire threatens 740 homes as residents told to evacuate

Associated Press

Friday 8 August 2014 13.33 EDT

The blaze covered about 5 square miles by Friday morning with a forecast of low humidity and high winds increasing the danger, according to fire officials.

Thursday afternoon, gusts pushed the flames back into areas where residents had only hours before been given the OK to return home. A few residents were again evacuated while crews put out fires that had run across containment lines.

Winds Friday afternoon were expected to pick up again, with gusts up to 30 mph, making white caps on the Columbia River as it flows by the fire scene spread out along the southern bank.

Washington marijuana retailers bring in $1m for state in first month

Associated Press

Friday 8 August 2014 17.12 EDT

Excise taxes are paid at three different points in the process: When the grower transfers the marijuana to the processor, when the processor transfers it to the store and when the retailer sells it to the consumer. The tax rate at all three points is 25%.

The Legislature is not banking on any marijuana revenue until the next fiscal year begins in July 2015. They have forecast tax collections totaling $122m in the next two-year state budget cycle.

The state of Colorado has collected $34.9m in all marijuana taxes, fees and licenses since recreational sales became legal in January. That number includes medical marijuana taxes.

Air traffic growth rates will outpace emission reductions, research shows

Press Association

Friday 8 August 2014 05.45 EDT

Efforts to reduce aviation carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will be outweighed by the growth in air passengers, according to new research.

Plane ticket prices would need to rise by at least 1.4% a year for emission levels to fall, the research by the University of Southampton said.

“Some mitigation measures can be left to the aviation sector to resolve,” said Prof Ian William, the head of the Centre for Environmental Science at the University of Southampton.

He went on: “For example, the industry will continue to seek improvements to fuel efficiency as this will reduce costs. However, other essential measures, such as securing international agreements, setting action plans, regulations and carbon standards will require political leadership at a global level.”

The research suggested that the UN body the International Civil Aviation Organisation “lacks the legal authority to force compliance and therefore is heavily reliant on voluntary co-operation and piecemeal agreements”.

Payment cards with chips aren’t perfect, so encrypt everything, experts say

Lucian Constantin, PC World

Aug 8, 2014 6:30 PM

The EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) standard is widely deployed around the world, and for the past 10 years or so it has been the de facto payment card system in Europe, where it’s also known as chip-and-PIN. The cards authenticate with ATMs and payment terminals using the combination of a customer PIN and information stored securely on an integrated circuit.

In order to drive EMV adoption in the U.S., the credit card brands plan to shift liability in October 2015, after which parties that haven’t deployed the system will be held liable for fraudulent transactions.

However, the EMV specification suffers from both regulatory and security issues, some of which have already been exploited in real-world attacks, according to Ross Anderson, a security engineering professor at Cambridge University with 25 years of experience in payment systems security.

United States says would view Russia aid deliveries to Ukraine as invasion


Saturday, 9 August 2014 – 8:01am IST

Any bid by Russia to deliver humanitarian aid into Ukraine would be viewed as an invasion, the United States said on Friday, warning that Moscow voiced similar concerns for civilians before its brief 2008 war with Georgia.

Russia has offered to send a convoy of aid across the border for displaced civilians. The offer came at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that Russia called on Tuesday on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, where a pro-Russian uprising threatens to break up the former Soviet republic of 46 million people.

(Samantha) Power said on Friday that Russia had voiced similar concern for civilians in Georgia in 2008 before its five day war with the former Soviet republic.

“Similar words have presaged military action,” she said.



    • BobbyK on August 10, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    As in

    You done broke it. Now ye have t’buy it.

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