The Breakfast Club (12 Tones)

It’s really not as revolutionary as it sounds.  Anyone who’s fingered an instrument (and c’mon, who hasn’t wanted to give an instrument the finger) knows about the chromatic scale, the one with all the sharps and flats and even musical idiots know this little ditty-

Do- a deer, a female deer

Re- a drop of golden sun

Mi- a name i call myself

Fa- a long long way to run

So- a needle pulling thread

La- a note to follow so

Te- a drink with jam and bread

That will bring us back to doh!

Now in the original lyrics they use contractions but that would never do for Julie Andrews

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgAnyhow the most common musical scale for Western Art Music is the Heptatonic or 7 note scale illustrated by Ms. Andrews above.  I, of course, favor the Monotonic pioneered by Steven Wright-

  • Why is the alphabet in that order?  Is it because of that song? The guy who wrote that song wrote everything.

And Ben Stein-

  • Bueller?  Bueller?

Because the fingering is easier, I only need the middle one.

Arnold Schoenberg is reviled and despised not just because he’s a Jewish degenerate, but because he ditched that Mary Poppins 7 note musical image for atonality which he hated being associated with and actually never used, favoring instead the twelve-tone technique which is equally revolutionary but should in no way be confused with the former (meaning atonality, but in English there is no word for ‘middler’ being betwixt as it is between “Mary Poppins 7 note” and “twelve-tone technique”).

I hope I’ve made myself perfectly opaque, a black hole butcher of language.

If you have followed me this far down the rabbit hole, in brief the Art Music “Establishment” had been in violation of Hepatonic scaling for centuries and Schoenberg just made it explicit.  For his pains he received reveiws like this-

(T)he self-gratification of an individual who sits in his studio and invents rules according to which he then writes down his notes.

To which his reply was “Ernst Krenek wishes for only whores as listeners.”

And so, like Jazz and “Modern” art, Schoenberg abandoned popularity and conventional norms, not that he wasn’t capable of composing Late Romantic music like this-

Or even use mildly revolutionary inspirations like Hemingway

Two people are walking through a bare, cold wood;

the moon keeps pace with them and draws their gaze.

The moon moves along above tall oak trees,

there is no wisp of cloud to obscure the radiance

to which the black, jagged tips reach up.

A woman’s voice speaks:

“I am carrying a child, and not by you.

I am walking here with you in a state of sin.

I have offended grievously against myself.

I despaired of happiness,

and yet I still felt a grievous longing

for life’s fullness, for a mother’s joys

“and duties; and so I sinned,

and so I yielded, shuddering, my sex

to the embrace of a stranger,

and even thought myself blessed.

Now life has taken its revenge,

and I have met you, met you.”

She walks on, stumbling.

She looks up; the moon keeps pace.

Her dark gaze drowns in light.

A man’s voice speaks:

“Do not let the child you have conceived

be a burden on your soul.

Look, how brightly the universe shines!

Splendour falls on everything around,

you are voyaging with me on a cold sea,

but there is the glow of an inner warmth

from you in me, from me in you.

That warmth will transfigure the stranger’s child,

and you bear it me, begot by me.

You have transfused me with splendour,

you have made a child of me.”

He puts an arm about her strong hips.

Their breath embraces in the air.

Two people walk on through the high, bright night.

Time for my inner Hemmingway

The woman scratched the dog’s ears.  In the distance he could see the smoke from the train.  The coffee was still too hot.  He would have to speak.

“Train coming.”


The dog grinned.  The woman scratched.  The dog’s tail wagged.

“It will be here soon.”


Suddenly the dog got up, scratched it’s neck vigorously, then laid down and rolled on it’s back.  The woman leaned over to rub it’s tummy.  He stared off into the distant mountains.

The dog’s left hind leg twitched.  With a loud noise the train came into the station and ground to a halt.  The dog didn’t care until the woman stood up abruptly.



He turned away and whistled for his dog.  As they left the station it growled at the English Major.  When he told me this story he said-

“Do you want fries with that?”

So much more entertaining than my inner Faulkner

The cool mist settled in the hollows of the night as the idiot stood by the fence contemplating (as well as his child-like mind could) the bovine somnolence that stood before him, serenely dreaming lactative 4 stomach dreams of endless fields of daisies, yes daisies for that was her name- Daisy, bright as the summer sun, long slow munching of grass and partially digested grass, methane producing, global warming Daisy.  She smelled of the earth and as he approached her side, careful not to disturb her gentle ‘earth gifts’, he could feel the heat of her fermentive power, the transformation of cool clay, the wetness of spring floods, and the greenness, the awesome greenness of the whole valley.

Gently he pushed her and she collapsed, even now unconscious, the pastures of her youth playing in her mind as the idiot re-crossed the boundary between what was her and her kind’s alone, back to the mundane reality that waited for him, back to his own kind and their cruel taunts.

As the sun rose the mist fled.  Daisy, startled, rose to her feet and resumed her life as if nothing had happened.  The idiot, wracked by guilt, finished his undergraduate degree in english literature, not only never forgetting his youthful indiscretions but in fact REVELING in them as he said to me-

“Do you want fries with that?”

Or my inner Steinbeck

I been thinkin’ about Okies.  About how Okie use’ta mean ya was from Oklahoma and now it means you’re scum who’ll vote for the most ign’rant greedy people on the face of the earth.  Livin’ like pigs while 85 people are wealthier than 50% of the world put t’gether.  B’lievin’ that your god allows ya to keep wimmin barefoot and pregnant like slaves…

Well, men are sorta – well, they’re sorta jerks.  Thinking they can rape the land, and poison the sky and the water and it all just brings Jesus and Judgment Day closer thinkin’ they’re part of the elect and will be raptured and not realizin’ that they’re the ones that will be judged.

I’ve been thinkin’ about us too and how much bigger 3.5 Billion is than 85 and I been wonderin’ if we all got together and yelled louder…

Oh Tommy, the NSA is already spying on yer every move.  They’ll call ya a terrerist and if the DEA and FBI don’t bring in their paramilitary SWAT teams, ICE will bust ya for bringing your iPhone into a theater!

They’ll get me anyway.  It ain’t that big.  The whole world ain’t that big.  There ain’t room enough for you an’ me, for their kind an’ my kind, for rich and poor, for thieves and honest men.  For hunger and fat.

Tommy, you’re not calling for revolution.

No Ma, not that, except in the small things.  I’ll buy Compact Flourescents and LEDs.  I’ll make sure my tires are properly inflated and drive less often.  I’ll stop watching and reading the Versailles Villagers and I’ll be scornful, disdainful, and downright rude to the Wall Street Masters of the Universe.

They seem to resent that.

How’m I gonna know ya Tom.

If they strike me down I shall become more powerful than they can possibly imagine.  I’ll be everywhere.  In every fight so poor people can eat.  In every Occupy they can gas and bulldoze.  In every inconvenient question at a press conference or Town Hall.

I don’t understand it Tom.

Me neither Ma, but just somethin’ I been thinkin’ about.

Oh, I should have warned you, spoilers!

For the present, it matters more to me if people understand my older works … They are the natural forerunners of my later works, and only those who understand and comprehend these will be able to gain an understanding of the later works that goes beyond a fashionable bare minimum. I do not attach so much importance to being a musical bogey-man as to being a natural continuer of properly-understood good old tradition!

Soon enough you get tired of painting the same fence.

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


Senate Panel Faces New Obstacle to Release of Torture Report


DEC. 5, 2014

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday faced a new obstacle in its efforts to make public its report on the torture of prisoners once held by the Central Intelligence Agency after last-minute warnings from the Obama administration that the report’s release could ignite new unrest in the Middle East and put American hostages at risk.

The warnings were delivered on Friday during a phone call between Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who leads the committee. According to congressional officials, Mr. Kerry warned that allies were concerned that the report could incite violence in the Middle East.

“It is hardly surprising that there is an 11th-hour objection to releasing this vital report because there have been objections at every hour for quite some time,” said Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon. “My own view is that many Americans will be deeply angered when they read this report about misdeeds and mistakes and out-and-out falsehoods. It is critically important that this report not be pushed under the rug, buried before the American people have a chance to see it.”

With control of the Senate about to change hands, there has been rising concern among Democrats that the report’s Republican opponents could move to shelve it once they gain control of the Intelligence Committee in January. This has given new urgency to the push by Ms. Feinstein and other Democrats to finish negotiations with the Obama administration and make the report public.

Hmm… like these hostages.

2 Hostages Killed in Yemen as U.S. Rescue Effort Fails


DEC. 6, 2014

United States commandos stormed a village in southern Yemen early Saturday in an effort to free an American photojournalist held hostage by Al Qaeda, but the raid ended badly with the kidnappers killing the American and a South African held with him, United States officials said.

The hostages – Luke Somers, an American photojournalist and Pierre Korkie, a South African teacher – were killed by their captors when the militants, from Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, realized the rescue effort was underway. President Obama said he had authorized the operation, led by two dozen SEAL Team Six commandos, after concluding that Mr. Somers’s life was in “imminent danger.”

The raid was the second failed operation by United States forces to rescue Mr. Somers from Yemen in less than two weeks. The deaths of the hostages – as well as several Yemeni civilians – seemed likely to raise new questions about the Obama administration’s reliance on military power to free its captured citizens. It also raised questions about the timing: Mr. Korkie was expected to be released by the militants on Sunday, according to a disaster relief organization that said it had successfully negotiated the teacher’s release.

It’s worse than that, they’re dead Jim, Dead Jim, DEAD!

Police Killings Reveal Chasms Between Races

By JOHN ELIGON, The New York Times

DEC. 5, 2014

Ms. Bernaugh was somewhat surprised by her family’s reaction after Darren Wilson, a white police officer here, killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Forced into more frank discussions about race with her family than ever before, Ms. Bernaugh, 29, said her relatives seemed more outraged by the demonstrations than the killing, which she saw as an injustice.

“They don’t understand it’s as prevalent as it is,” Ms. Bernaugh said, referring to racial discrimination. “It’s just disappointing to think that your family wants to pigeonhole a whole race of people, buy into the rhetoric that, ‘Oh, these are violent protests.’ ”

It is as if Ms. Bernaugh, a nonprofit organizer living in the St. Louis suburb of Florissant, is straddling two worlds. In one, her black mother-in-law is patting her on the back, saying she is proud of her for speaking out against Mr. Brown’s killing. In the other, her white family and friends are telling her to quiet down because “you don’t know the whole picture.”

U.S. to Continue Racial, Ethnic Profiling in Border Policy


DEC. 5, 2014

The Obama administration will soon issue new rules curtailing the use of profiling, but federal agents will still be allowed to consider race and ethnicity when stopping people at airports, border crossings and immigration checkpoints, according to several government officials.

The new policy has been in the works for years and will replace decade-old rules that banned racial profiling for federal law enforcement, but with specific exemptions for national security and border investigations. Immigration enforcement has proved to be the most controversial aspect of the Obama administration’s revisions, and law enforcement officials succeeded in arguing that they should have more leeway in deciding whom to stop and question.

The new rules expand the definition of racial profiling to include religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity. Under the rules, law enforcement officials cannot consider any of those factors, along with race, during criminal investigations, or during routine immigration cases away from the border. Agencies whose officers make traffic stops, such as the United States Park Police, may not use them as a reason to pull someone over. The rules will apply to local police assigned to federal task forces, but not local police agencies.

The rules also eliminate the broad exemption for taking into account those factors in cases involving national security, but F.B.I. agents will still be allowed to map neighborhoods and use that data to recruit informants from specific ethnic groups.

Police Shooting in Phoenix Fuels Protesters’ Outrage


DEC. 5, 2014

As in other recent episodes, those who knew the victim said they did not accept the police version of how things played out. The police said they had a tip about a suspected drug deal outside a convenience store, and a police car tracked the license plate to the S.U.V. parked at the Cobblestone Apartments, where the confrontation with Mr. Brisbon took place. They pointed out that although Mr. Brisbon was not armed when he was shot, drugs and a gun were found in his car, and his arrest record depicted a pattern of behavior.

The police spokesman said that while the confrontation went terribly wrong, the officer, a 30-year-old man with seven years on the force, was doing his job, following up on a report of crime.

“We don’t have a duty to retreat,” said Sgt. Trent Crump, a spokesman for the police. “We have a duty to investigate.”

But Mr. Brisbon’s family – and much of Phoenix’s black community – saw the shooting as a horrifying overreaction to a father of four who was carrying a fast-food dinner. That he could be gunned down at the apartment where family members were waiting seemed to confirm a suspicion that white police officers confronted with black men feel so threatened that they become too quick to shoot.

“This man, no matter what he was before, at that moment he was a father carrying dinner in one hand and reaching for his keys with the other,” the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a civil rights activist and community leader, said in a telephone interview. “He was unarmed, he did not have a weapon” when he was shot, he added.

“It gives you the impression that it’s open season on killing black men,” Ann Hart, chairwoman of Phoenix’s African-American police advisory council, said in a television interview. “We need to take a deeper dive into why police officers are feeling compelled to shoot and kill as opposed to apprehend and detain, arrest and jail.”

Third night of US protests following decision on the death of Eric Garner

Lauren Gambino, The Guardian

Saturday 6 December 2014 00.31 EST

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets for a third night of protest after a grand jury declined to bring charges against a white New York police officer in the chokehold death of unarmed black man Eric Garner.

Demonstrations on Friday touched off in cities including New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Oakland Miami and Phoenix. Chanting “Hands up don’t shoot” and carrying signs that read “Black lives matter”, thousands marched, lay down on the ground to stage “die-ins”, blocked traffic and engaged in civil disobedience in an effort to draw attention to police use of deadly force, especially against black Americans.

Protesters marched in Cleveland for Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy fatally shot by a rookie officer who mistook his airsoft gun for a real weapon. Protesters chanted at Cleveland police officers: “CPD what do you say? How many kids have you killed today.”

The boy’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city on Friday, one day after the police department was determined to have systematically used excessive force.

In Phoenix the death of an unarmed black father in an encounter with police fuelled protests, while in Boston hundreds of Tufts university students marched from campus toward Harvard Square, holding “die-ins” along the way.

In Chicago hundreds continued to protest the failure of two grand juries decisions to bring charges amid demands for systematic change to America’s police forces.

Minnesota vote lets transgender high-school athletes compete as women

Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian

Friday 5 December 2014 11.59 EST

A succession of board meetings have been held over the past year to debate the policy. They have included testimony from transgender students and their family members as well as people opposed to the policy. Following Thursday’s vote, one person told board members they would be judged, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune.

Elliot Kunerth, a 17-year-old transgender male, told the Pioneer Press the vote was a “huge victory“.

“The passing of this will change the lives of so many transgender people who are going through hell,” Kunerth said. “With the passing of this, I hope it will erase the ignorance and help people understand that trans kids are just looking for equal opportunities.”

Minnesota governor Mark Dayton and US representative Keith Ellison, both Democrats, praised the result of the vote. In a statement of support, Ellison rebuked those who opposed it.

“Too often when trans kids speak out, they’re told that they’re sick, or joking, or just plain wrong,” Ellison said. “Many of the people who opposed the MSHSL’s policy suggested that trans students might threaten other students’ safety. These depictions are bigoted and do not protect our students.”

7Obama nominates longtime Pentagon official Ashton Carter as new defense secretary

Tom McCarthy and Paul Lewis, The Guardian

Friday 5 December 2014 13.28 EST

His career as a top Pentagon official extends to the Clinton presidency, when he served as assistant secretary of defense. He has been noted for his management and budgetary skills and technical mastery of the half-trillion dollar Pentagon bureaucracy. Carter served as acquisitions chief under secretary Robert Gates and was deputy secretary to Leon Panetta.

Carter takes the helm as the department continues to grapple with the effects of the budget sequester, which implemented across-the-board cuts to defense programs, as well as new strategic challenges. Hagel’s departure was said to stem in part from the need to implement a new war footing in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Carter is a nuclear weapons expert and is closely identified with calls for a strategic “pivot” to Asia.

Surveillance law allows police to act in an unacceptable way, say MPs

Alan Travis, The Guardian

Friday 5 December 2014 19.01 EST

Britain’s surveillance laws, which have recently been used by the police to seize journalists’s phone records in the Plebgate and Huhne cases, are “not fit for purpose” and need urgent reform, a Commons inquiry has found.

The Commons home affairs select committee says that the level of secrecy surrounding use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) allows the police to “engage in acts which would be unacceptable in a democracy”.

The committee chairman, Keith Vaz, said the surveillance law was not fit for purpose: “Using Ripa to access telephone records of journalists is wrong and this practice must cease. The inevitable consequence is that this deters whistleblowers from coming forward.”

ICC drops murder and rape charges against Kenyan president

Owen Bowcott, The Guardian

Friday 5 December 2014 09.10 EST

“Given the state of the evidence in this case, I have no alternative but to withdraw the charges against Mr Kenyatta,” the Gambian lawyer explained. “I am doing so without prejudice to the possibility of bringing a new case should additional evidence become available.”

He added: “This is a painful moment for the men, women and children who have suffered tremendously from the horrors of the post-election violence, and who have waited, patiently, for almost seven years to see justice done.”

Kenyatta had been charged with crimes against humanity including murder, rape, persecution and deportation as an “indirect co-perpetrator” in violence that flared after Kenya’s 2007 elections, leaving more than 1,000 people dead.

Orion spacecraft’s flawless test flight puts Mars exploration one step closer

Stuart Clark, Alan Yuhas, and Ian Sample, The Guardian

Friday 5 December 2014 15.23 EST

The mission tested how Orion fares in the extreme conditions of space travel. Nasa has designed the capsule to take up to six astronauts into deep space, and its 16ft-wide heat shield and sophisticated service module are among the features whose durability will be inspected upon return.

The capsule not only survived launch and orbit, but also temperatures of about 2,200C (4,000F) as it returned through Earth’s atmosphere. Nasa also tested an emergency abort function developed to save astronauts in the event of a malfunction during launch.

The agency has planned a second unmanned flight for 2018, and a manned mission to travel around the moon for the 2020s. Eventually, it hopes to send astronauts on an Orion mission through deep space to an asteroid and Mars in the 2030s.

Nasa had to postpone an initial launch on Thursday after a boat entered the launch area, strong winds forced automatic aborts and two valves failed to close properly.

11Typhoon Hagupit: More than half a million Philippines residents flee storm surge


Saturday 6 December 2014 00.15 EST

Tens of thousands fled coastal villages and landslide-prone areas in the central Philippines on Friday as typhoon Hagupit bore down on the eastern coast where thousands were killed in a devastating storm last year.

About 10 million residents of the Bicol and eastern Visayas regions were deemed at risk from flooding, storm surges and strong winds. AccuWeather global weather centre said more than 30 million people would feel the impact of the typhoon across the country.

The United Nations office for disaster risk reduction in Geneva said 200,000 people had been evacuated in the central island province of Cebu alone.

“Typhoon Hagupit is triggering one of the largest evacuations we have ever seen in peacetime,” said spokesman Denis McClean.

Who is Ashton Carter?

by Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian

Friday 5 December 2014 10.19 EST

Ashton Carter was almost out of Schlitz.

It was 2010, and Carter was the US undersecretary of defense in charge of acquisitions – everything the most cash-flush military in the world buys, from aircraft carriers to bandwidth. The unglamorous job is a buzzsaw for attempts at saving money, as purchasing priorities pivot to the threat of the moment, gear runs over budget, and defense contractor veterans cycle in and out of the Pentagon. Carter, speaking at the Center for American Progress, was driven to a beer metaphor.

His plan accepted cost overruns as an inevitable cost of doing business. Carter said the military would offer an equal split with defense contractors for projects that went 20% over budget. But past a hypothetical $120 for a $100 item, the company would be bear the entire financial burden and risk losing its contract altogether.

“When we get to $120,” Carter told an audience at the CAP, a liberal DC thinktank favored by the White House. “I’m out of Schlitz and it’s all yours.”

The results of what Carter termed Better Buying Power, his signature initiative as acquisitions undersecretary, are mixed. The companies do bear overrun burdens. But Carter’s Better Buying Power plan has had limited success in incentivizing premier projects to stay on-budget, such as Boeing’s KC-47 tanker ($1.1bn past budget) or Lockheed’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ($163bn  past budget), which Carter’s successor Frank Kendall called “acquisitions malpractice”.

As for cancelling over-budget contracts, “I’m not sure if that’s actually been implemented or not,” said Todd Harrison, a respected defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington.


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