Daily Archive: 05/11/2014

May 11 2014

AC Meetup: Mother’s Day and Humane Cat Herding–Know Our Rights and Fights! by Galtisalie

“Happy Mother’s Day” in many countries in the world. Hopefully you did not have to prepare a hormone-laden turkey dinner for eleven as in Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want” painting. I’m not an art critic, so no problem with his Thomas Kinkade style, but I never liked the composition of the painting, and now I pretty much hate it–it’s unchallenging paternalism, the grins, particularly of the younger men, the bourgeois crystal, linen, “silvah,” and china, unh-unh–it did not strike me as, shall we say, reflective of the seriousness of the challenge of resolving hunger in most of the world, or even of “coming out of” the Depression in the U.S. with a fledgling of a welfare state. What an incredible cultural missed opportunity to educate Amurrricans. On the other hand, we have to know our fights, and “our” rights will be met or unmet on tables both alike and unlike this one, and maybe we should suppose that those young men might indeed be overjoyed with the first feast they have had ever or in a long time. IMHO, best not to get too picky with our potential political allies in such matters. So, Norman, if you’re up there, hope you don’t mind my imaginative doctorin’; you did some good popularizing work on human decency, but in this case, thanks for nothing. I sort of love that, according to the most trusted name in news, in 1948 you voted for another Norman, Thomas, but you soon fell off that wagon (and by voting for him you in a tiny way almost helped throw the election to another Thomas, Dewey, and because I am a pragmatist on the left wing of the possible, I would not have liked to see that happen). I will not be holding any candles in your late afternoon-glow honor.

I will try to be at least a little more pro-system change in this diary than a Rockwell painting. This has turned into a socialized Mother’s Day wish directed equally to men and women–not to deprive mothers of deserved praise but in hope of one day achieving a world that will bring all women, and children and men too, freedom from want and fear, if not an occasional huge Butterball. If we want to achieve such a world we must first recognize the clear moral justification for it, something Rockwell completely missed, undoubtedly on purpose, and for that he is morally accountable in my accounting. This moral justification is the underpinning for “rights,” not hoped-for Thanksgiving Day bounty. However, “visualizing” our rights to freedom from want and fear, while incredibly important, is obviously not the same thing as “achieving” it. This diary is also about pursuing the most efficient and peaceful path to such a world. To be as efficient and peaceful as possible on the journey to a just and loving world, we need to know our fights as well as our rights. As many people as possible need to learn about humane “cat herding.”

I hesitated (not really) to raise this confusing cat-laden subject at a website that devotes a lot of cyberspace to cute kitty stories, and they are adorable, concerned that I would be rebutted with expertise about actual cat behavior, glorious traits, etc. In all seriousness, at the outset I do want to disclaim any intent to talk down to anyone, but especially the poor and their allies, by using this soon to be extremely tiresome cat herding motif, which will go on for several paragraphs and then abruptly end, I promise. It is just an illustrative tool. Please do not think that I think that any human beings, even the fat cats running our world, are actually less than full human beings and somehow lower forms of life, such as cats. That is not at all what I am trying to suggest. This diary will be clunky from start to finish, but it is with good intent, and not intended to disparage anyone by suggesting that I think any human beings are literally cats or “subhuman.”

Nor do I want to promote a “vanguard” approach to cat herding. I certainly do not mean to suggest that “the masses” are stupid, waiting around for a free turkey dinner, or even in need of external or hierarchical leadership. Rather, as I just stated in the above italicized sentence, “As many people as possible need to learn about humane ‘cat herding.'” Capital’s mercenaries, themselves the dominant cats in my illustration, are already herding us around with their sharp teeth and claws away from the world’s sustainable buffet table, which is derived from our rightful land. To defend ourselves and future humans justly and lovingly, we must learn to fight back efficiently while recognizing the inhumane but still all too human predilection for tribalism and susceptibility to the exploitative divisive tactics of the right.

I am endorsing and promoting the full democratization of cat herding. When we all become cat herders, the mercenaries will themselves be herded, if not declawed, and we will rise to our best non-Rockwellian expression of our inherent worth and beauty as human beings in full possession of HUMAN rights, not cat rights. And the only cats left will be the 1% or less, that’s right, the fat cats. All on the left have a role to play in deeply democratic cat herding. As much as possible, we all should become our leaders. We each, IMHO, have to figure out our most effective leadership role on one or more of the fronts against capital.

Women, whether they are mothers or not, often have been and still are forced to herd most of the cats. This typically reflects a desperate and unfair state of affairs antithetical to socialism, both in terms of the need for cat herding to begin with and in terms of the involuntary roles of women. Again, I am not advocating a vanguard of cat herders, whether composed of women or some secret society of enlightened cat herders. Certainly, if there is a need for cat herding, supplying this need should be equally done by men and women. However, I do believe that on the long journey to global deep democracy massive amounts of cat herding will be required and that when conscious united species beings arise with insistence to demand our HUMAN rights, most will naturally become cat herders wanting to make a positive difference in one way or another. In winning a global deep democratic revolution this special skill can at least partially be redeployed from internal nuclear family survival to external human family survival. Perhaps more women than men will in fact tend to lead the female and male “cats” of the world to “unite” and demand true freedom with full HUMAN rights.

Solidarity requires that beings formerly acting more like cats learn to cooperate in order that we may collectively lose our “chains” (Marx’s word). While “chains” is still an apt metaphor for the restraints on billions of women and other humans around the world, probably a better metaphor in many places is “the silver-inlaid concrete” of the paternalistic institutions imposed on us by the racist white males who have run our world for millennia, wrote the U.S. Constitution, and have since developed and imposed a system of global neoliberalism. So, let’s go with that. “Concrete,” as I use it, is something of a play on the word as used by Herbert Marcuse when he was giving a talk in 1966 about his late friend Paul Baran:


I would like to discuss the topic assigned to me by first dealing with Paul Baran’s critique of the social sciences. In his critique of the social sciences he emphasized the dialectical element in the Marxian method. The sentence he liked to quote again and again was “the truth is the whole.” To him it was a revolutionary principle of thought, because it broke with the fetishism and reification, with the fallacy of misplaced concreteness, prevalent in the social sciences, a pseudo-empiricism which in his view tended to make the objectivity of the social sciences a vehicle of apologetics and a defense of the status quo. Baran defined this dialectical principle negatively and I will read to you the definition, the short definition, he gives in “The Commitment of the Intellectual”: “The principle ‘the truth is the whole’-to use an expression of Hegel-carries with it, in turn, the inescapable necessity of refusing to accept as a datum or to treat as immune from analysis, any single part of the whole.”

I would like to supplement this negative definition by a positive one to the effect that in and for the social sciences every particular phenomenon, every particular condition, every particular trend, in a given society must be analyzed and evaluated in terms of its relations to the whole, i.e., to the established social order. Isolated from this whole the respective phenomenon, condition, or trend remains a false, at least incomplete, and inconclusive datum concealing rather than revealing its true place and function in the social order. The social order itself, the social order as a concrete whole, is determined and defined for Baran following Marx by the material process of social reproduction and by the hierarchy of functions and values established in this social process of production. But the concrete relation between any particular fact, datum, condition, or trend, on the one side, and the whole social order, on the other, is never a direct and immediate one. It is always established through various intermediate factors, agencies, and powers, among them psychological factors, the family as agent of society, the mass media, language, images prevalent in a society, and so forth.

(Footnote omitted.)

In politically but not economically “democratic” nation states, we are supposed to make-believe that the silver-inlaid concrete of the paternalistic institutions all around us are sufficiently malleable to be in our best interests; and that we can “participate” on an equal footing in national or sub-national elections, and maybe even national or sub-national court proceedings now and then, and these institutions can somehow be conformed to “our” satisfaction, consistent with free market supremacy of course. All this deception is intended to ensure that “the gold” of the world stays with the fat cats, and that the workplaces and fields of the world are producing that “gold” and not the gold of grains for hungry mouths to feed and other useful things.    

No, “Brother Francisco,” aka Galtisalie, did not get into the bad acid again. I do tend to mix and match my metaphors like unto a tie-dye shirt. (“You think,” the generous manage to chuckle.) Again, I did not intend to make this a “Mother’s Day” message at all. I, a privileged male, have no qualifications to address women of the Deep South of the U.S., where I live, on Mother’s Day or any other day, much less the women of the world. But I am going to try anyway to address women as well as men, crummy metaphors and all. While I am hopeful that men in general will become truly free leaders deserving of the words in the revolutionary future, I know enough to doubt that men generally have the best stuff “to lead” our world any longer, and I am begging women of the left to error on the side of democratically taking over elective and other leadership positions before it is too late. I am not pandering, or giving up my own right to vote and otherwise participate in the forms available to me in these flawed institutions. I simply have the honesty to admit that men have messed up the world big time, so I reject on the basis of abundant evidence any paternalistic mindset as a qualification for leadership and look for leadership far outside of that paradigm. While I am not asking for a substitution of maternalism for paternalism, “far outside” of paternalism points me in the direction of the hearts and minds of women of the left.

I am definitely not trying to say I can tell women of the left what their priorities should be, as concerns for instance, the relative weight any or all should give to the class struggle versus “women’s” struggles. I know from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man that it is unfair for “white people,” even well-meaning white people of the left, to seek to impose a world view on African Americans. Similarly, it is unfair for me, a male, to seek to impose a world view on females–on this or any other day of the year. When I say, “know our rights and our fights,” I am not trying to pre-determine the rights and the fights that are most important to you. For one woman at any point in time, the most important right may be the right not to be attacked or beaten by an abusive person, for another it may be the right to reproductive freedom. But, whatever your most important of our rights, you and I must know how to build unity to assure that they and hence we are protected. So, I hope that this diary will, without seeming to dictate “rights and fights,” help to identify “fronts” where the rights and fights most important to you, whatever they are, may be vindicated.  

I certainly did not intend to talk to my comrades about cats. I am not at all suggesting that cats disprove dialectical materialism. Rather, “they,” (i.e., the cats a narrow “we” in the “wealthy” pet-keeping and powerful, typically northern, portions of the world, such as the Deep South of the U.S., typically think of when “we” think of cats, i.e., puddy tats which are well-fed and domesticated), seem to have a lot of priorities that are not measurable in caloric intake. (They do not truly need to eat Tweety, if you will–head spinning, stay with cat motif and away from birds.) While greedy capital runs the human world, focusing on the emotion of fear, in the “they” cat world pride and aloofness seems to be dominant.

My cat-related thesis begins first with the observation that because humans who reach high levels of capitalist power, be it in the, now transnational, “business world” or in the silver-inlaid concrete institutions that serve capital, be they the true fat cats or merely their handsome mercenary cats, do not fear where their next meal is coming from, when they are not purely motivated by greed at the behest of capital at their best tend to behave like well-fed spoiled-rotten self-centered cats. They use the walls of the halls of the silver-inlaid concrete institutions as posts to scratch their claws. Second, billions of hungry cats around the world are in a severely weakened and fearful state, and perhaps a billion or two more are comparably just enough more comfortable to still be extremely fearful of losing the extra that is “theirs.” These combined billions are unlikely to depose the cat powers that be, at least without a “united” effort, which these institutions are designed to prevent; so they need to build their own new institutions as much as possible, both locally where they live and globally to unite and self-humanize, with full HUMAN rights, cats everywhere. IMHO, the world-wide cat-human revolution primarily needs to take place on the ground level, wherever we can put our paws on the actual earth, and at the international level, where the silver-inlaid concrete is not quite completely dried. Third, because even ideally “conscious” masses of cat-humans cannot have full access and control of the earth and its resources without deeply changing national and sub-national institutions which undercut deep local and global democracy, and because we have to survive during a long revolution for there to be a successful revolution, we must continue to participate and in fact try to take over the very institutions that are most rigid so that we can eventually, somehow, someway, fundamentally change them to the extent they deserve to continue in existence.  

For humanity, penned in by oppressive and repressive capitalist institutions, to accomplish great things for itself by all appearances will require great skill at cat herding. Being herded is against the nature of cats. The most archetypal domesticated felines are the least cooperative. Some well-fed cats perhaps can be made to cooperate if they do not realize they are being herded and can instead receive particularly tasty warm milk or stroking, but generally speaking, well-fed cats could not give a flip about where a well-meaning human wants them to go. Once in a while, however, through enormous effort and skill, all the necessary herding takes place to present a quorum or win an election and thereby accomplish something for some of the rest of the cat-human world.

The temptation on the left has sometimes been simply to call all of this faux democratic quorum-seeking, electioneering, and judge-justice appointment-seeking out for all of the bullshit that it is, because out there, outside the halls of power, billions of cats are not well-fed, and we cannot wait on behalf of the hungry, that is not our right. While I understand this, I do not think that we (the broader and inclusive non-fat cat “we”) can avoid cat-herding. Thankfully, with anarcho-socialism at the base of my ideal world, and even today in some places, we can potentially say, “screw you fat cats” to a limited degree and build our own new truly democratic and non-autocratic institutions of cooperation. But the fat cats do not want these oases of freedom to exist. So, in order to get to build most of our cooperatives, etc., we are going to have to have a “revolution” by most of the non-fat cats. And, that revolution will involve all manner of cat herding, not only of the proletariat cat-humans but also of the fat cats themselves, as well as the robust cats who form the mercenaries protecting the fat cats, as well as the not currently starving but fearful cats who form the bulk of the population in the so-called developed world, where they have civil and political rights entitling them to vote on the mercenaries.    

May 11 2014

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart: Bullets Points Over Benghazi

Bullets Points Over Benghazi

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May 11 2014

On This Day In History May 11

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

May 11 is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 234 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1934, a massive storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta.

At the time the Great Plains were settled in the mid-1800s, the land was covered by prairie grass, which held moisture in the earth and kept most of the soil from blowing away even during dry spells. By the early 20th century, however, farmers had plowed under much of the grass to create fields. The U.S. entry into World War I in 1917 caused a great need for wheat, and farms began to push their fields to the limit, plowing under more and more grassland with the newly invented tractor. The plowing continued after the war, when the introduction of even more powerful gasoline tractors sped up the process. During the 1920s, wheat production increased by 300 percent, causing a glut in the market by 1931.

The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936 (in some areas until 1940). The phenomenon was caused by severe drought coupled with decades of extensive farming without crop rotation, fallow fields, cover crops or other techniques to prevent erosion. Deep plowing of the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains had displaced the natural deep-rooted grasses that normally kept the soil in place and trapped moisture even during periods of drought and high winds.

During the drought of the 1930s, without natural anchors to keep the soil in place, it dried, turned to dust, and blew away eastward and southward in large dark clouds. At times the clouds blackened the sky reaching all the way to East Coast cities such as New York and Washington, D.C. Much of the soil ended up deposited in the Atlantic Ocean, carried by prevailing winds, which were in part created by the dry and bare soil conditions. These immense dust storms-given names such as “Black Blizzards” and “Black Rollers”-often reduced visibility to a few feet (around a meter). The Dust Bowl affected 100,000,000 acres (400,000 km2), centered on the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and adjacent parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.

Millions of acres of farmland became useless, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes; many of these families (often known as “Okies”, since so many came from Oklahoma) migrated to California and other states, where they found economic conditions little better during the Great Depression than those they had left. Owning no land, many became migrant workers who traveled from farm to farm to pick fruit and other crops at starvation wages. Author John Steinbeck [ later wrote The Grapes of Wrath, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and Of Mice and Men, about such people.

May 11 2014

Happy Mother’s Day

clip flowerI tease my mother by calling her Emily after Emily Gilmore both because overall my family reminds me very much of the Gilmores and because she’s never met a brand name she didn’t like whereas I’m perfectly content to buy generic.

I thank her among many things for a thorough grounding in the domestic and other arts.

Mom teaches first grade and is actually famous in a quiet sort of way.  The kind parents brag about and angle their kids for though she’s won national awards too.  Of course I owe everything I know about educating to her and among my own peers I’m considered an asskicking trainer.

She also insisted we learn to perform routine self maintenance, little things like laundry and ironing, machine and hand mending. basic cooking.  Of course she always indulged us with trips to museums and zoos, made sure we got library cards, did the usual bus driver thing to swim practice, had this huge second career as a Brownie/Girl Scout Leader for my sister.

At one point when I was old enough for it to make an impression she took her Masters of Fine Arts in Art of all things, so I know a little Art History with Far Eastern.  I understand how to bang out a copper pot and make silver rings because she took me to class once or twice.  She liked stained glass so much that she and dad made several pieces (you use a soldering iron and can cut yourself pretty bad so it’s a macho thing too).  They also did silk screening which taught me a lot about layout and graphic arts.

But she always liked fabric arts and in addition to a framed three dimensional piece in the living room, there are Afghans and rugs and scarves and pot holders and wash cloths and hats and quilts and dolls.

And the training kits and manuals for her mentorship programs, and the adaptations and costumes for the annual first and fifth grade play.  Did I mention she plays 3 instruments, though mostly piano?

She touch types too.

So to Emily, a woman of accomplishment and refinement, Happy Mother’s Day.

May 11 2014

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Sunday’s guests on “This Week” are: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel; and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

The roundtable pundits are emocratic strategist and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile; Weekly Standard editor and ABC News contributor Bill Kristol; Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); and radio host Michael Smerconish.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s guests are: chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers (R-MI);  former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Joining him on his political panel are: David Ignatius of The Washington Post; Michael Crowley of Time; and CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brennan.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Would you believe MTP is preempted for Barclays Premier League Soccer: Manchester City vs. West Ham.

I knew David Gregory’s rating were taking but soccer???!!

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MI); and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

She will host two panels this Sunday. The first will discuss Monica Lewinsky with Hilary Rosen, Susan Page, and Ramesh Ponnuru; and the second on the role of women around the world on this Mother’s Day with authors and moms Claire Shipman, Iris Krasnow, and Jennifer Senior.

May 11 2014

Formula One 2014: Circuit de Catalunya

So Vettel starts in 15th because his gearbox blew up and Vergne in 21st because he left the pits with a loose wheel.  Maldonado could barely complete 2 laps in Qualifying before crashing.

It’s all very entertaining if you’re a Mercedes fan and this appears to be their year.  They have the only reliable power plant (ok, Ferrari is reliable but it’s also slow).

On offer are the Hards and Mediums because Circuit de Catalunya is notoriously abrasive.  It will be 66 laps and unlike other years there has been no testing there this season.  At that it may be a two stop race for the leaders.

Caterham has booted their technical director but honestly, who cares?  There may be the first woman driver since 1976 next year.  Renault is considering cutting off the deadbeat teams which, considering its power plants are unreliable and slow, may or may not be such a good idea.

This is Ayrton Senna Memorial weekend-

Other stories about Formula One-

Formula One Interactive Track

Oh, you want to hear about Bernie-

Formula One holds its breath as Bernie Ecclestone’s bribery trial begins

Paul Weaver, The Guardian

Wednesday 23 April 2014 13.34 EDT

The judge Ecclestone will be up against does not take any prisoners; or rather, he does. Peter Noll convicted the former German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, a central figure in the Munich hearing, and sent him down for eight-and-a-half years in 2012. In his concluding statement, Noll said: “In this process we assume the driving force was Mr Ecclestone.”

Last month the same prosecutors, who have spent two years preparing for the Ecclestone case, brought down Uli Hoeness, then president of the European football champions Bayern Munich. Hoeness was jailed for three-and-a-half years for tax evasion.

If all this was not enough to seriously daunt Ecclestone – who will be 84 in October – Noll has also been handed what could be a loaded gun. In February Ecclestone – who denies any wrongdoing – won a civil case brought by the German media company Constantin Medien.



But although F1’s chief executive won that time, the comments by Mr Justice Newey were immensely damaging. He said it was “impossible” to regard him as a “reliable or truthful witness”.

Bernie Ecclestone launches defence against bribery charges

Philip Oltermann, The Guardian

Thursday 24 April 2014 08.44 EDT

The 256-page indictment against Ecclestone, formulated after a two-year investigation, accuses him of bribing a German banker with the intention of cementing his powerful position at the top of the motorsport.

The banker, Gerhard Gribkowsky, was notionally the chief risk assessment officer for the Formula One shareholder Bayern Landesbank at the time. But, the indictment alleges, payments totalling $44m (£26m) and the promise of future employment in Formula One swayed Gribkowsky to act against his employers’ interests, easing the sale of Bayern LB’s share to a company that had guaranteed to keep Ecclestone in charge as chief executive.



Far from being an easily manipulated pawn, Ecclestone painted a picture of Gribkowsky as a power-hungry man who dreamed of becoming “Mr Formula One” and owning his own race team.

In one meeting, Ecclestone said, the German had made himself comfortable in the chief executive chair and smoked a cigar throughout, causing Flavio Briatore, then a senior figure in Formula One who had recently quit smoking, to storm out halfway through the meeting.

The indictment acknowledged that Gribkowsky had made “insinuations” about Ecclestone being ultimately in charge of Bambino, but seemed to dismiss the possibility of blackmail as Ecclestone had “no concrete evidence to hand”.

Ecclestone’s defence is that he had been forced to act even though he felt he had done nothing wrong in his affairs with Bambino, because the risk involved of a reputable banker like Gribkowsky contacting the UK tax authorities was “hard to calculate” and could have led to a fine of “more than £2bn”.

“Some people have asked me how it is possible that someone like Bernie Ecclestone can be put under pressure”, said his statement. “I say: Yes, it’s possible, if you know exactly where to apply the right pressure, and Gribkowksy got the right spot for me and Bambino”

May 11 2014

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Ukraine rebels hold referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk

 11 May 2014 Last updated at 07:58

The BBC

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s two eastern regions are holding “self-rule” referendums – a move condemned by the Ukrainian government and the West.

BBC correspondents at polling stations report chaotic scenes, no voting booths and no electoral register.

Self-proclaimed leaders in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are going ahead with the vote despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call to postpone it.

Ukraine says the vote could result in the “self-destruction” of the regions.

Overnight, fighting was reported around the rebel-held city of Sloviansk, which remains sealed off by Ukrainian government troops conducting what they describe as an “anti-terror” operation.




Sunday’s Headlines:

Nigeria is mired in violence and inequality. It’s the girls who suffer

‘Some want special soap, others want bananas…’: Brazilian hoteliers surprised by World Cup teams’ extravagant demands

Rare rallies in Vietnam say ‘hands off’ to China over sea row

‘Fresh Meat’: A Bulgarian Businessman Moves His Village to Germany

Banned! 7 things you won’t find in China

May 11 2014

The Breakfast Club 5/11/2014 (Mothers’ Day)

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.

The Breakfast Club Logo photo BeerBreakfast_web_zps5485351c.png

This Day in History

Pentagon Papers Charges Are Dismissed; Judge Byrne Frees Ellsberg and Russo, Assails ‘Improper Government Conduct’

By Martin Arnold, The New York Times, 5/11/1973

New Trial Barred But Decision Does Not Solve Constitutional Issues in Case

Los Angeles, May 11 — Citing what he called “improper Government conduct shielded so long from public view,” the judge in the Pentagon papers trial dismissed today all charges against Dr. Daniel Ellsberg and Anthony J. Russo Jr.

And he made it clear in his ruling that the two men would not be tried again on charges of stealing and copying the Pentagon papers.

“The conduct of the Government has placed the case in such a posture that it precludes the fair, dispassionate resolution of these issues by a jury,” he said.

David R. Nissen, the chief prosecutor, said, “It appears that the posture is such that no appeal will be possible.”

Mother’s Day Turns 100: Its Surprisingly Dark History

By Brian Handwerk, National Geographic

As Mother’s Day turns 100 this year, it’s known mostly as a time for brunches, gifts, cards, and general outpourings of love and appreciation.

But the holiday has more somber roots: It was founded for mourning women to remember fallen soldiers and work for peace. And when the holiday went commercial, its greatest champion, Anna Jarvis, gave everything to fight it, dying penniless and broken in a sanitarium.

It all started in the 1850s, when West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis-Anna’s mother-held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College. The groups also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

In the postwar years Jarvis and other women organized Mother’s Friendship Day picnics and other events as pacifist strategies to unite former foes. Julia Ward Howe, for one-best known as the composer of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”-issued a widely read “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870, calling for women to take an active political role in promoting peace.

Around the same time, Jarvis had initiated a Mother’s Friendship Day for Union and Confederate loyalists across her state. But it was her daughter Anna who was most responsible for what we call Mother’s Day-and who would spend most of her later life fighting what it had become.

Breakfast Tunes