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.
This Day in History
A federal judge declared California’s death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of Santa Ana was limited to a single case and had no immediate impact on executions statewide, which have been halted by federal courts since 2006 because of multiple problems in lethal injection procedures.
But if upheld on appeal, the decision would end a California capital punishment system that has been approved by the voters three times – in 1972, 1978 and 2012, when an initiative to abolish the death penalty lost by 4 percentage points. Despite voter sentiment, the death penalty in California has rarely been implemented in recent decades.
The state has the nation’s largest Death Row, with 748 inmates, and its lowest execution rate, with 13 inmates put to death since 1992.
Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has been rebuffed in an $80bn (£46.7bn) bid to buy rival US media and entertainment giant Time Warner.
Together Fox and Time Warner would own a huge range of assets including CNN, Fox News, HBO and movie studios 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros.
Time Warner rejected the $85-a-share cash and stock offer, a 25% premium on the company’s share price, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Murdoch is likely to consider a renewed bid, the New York Times reported.
The octogenerian has long been keen to secure a final mega-merger before handing the reins of his media empire to the next generation of the Murdoch family.
The bid, which would create a combined company with total revenues of $65bn, could prompt a new spate of media consolidation.
[Effort to Avoid Vote on Fracking Falters in Colorado Efforts by leading Colorado Democrats to head off a costly and divisive election-year fight over oil and gas drilling appeared to crumble on Wednesday as Gov. John W. Hickenlooper announced that he did not have enough support to pass a compromise law giving local towns more control over fracking in their backyards.
“Despite our best efforts and those of other willing partners, we have not been able to secure the broader stakeholder support necessary to pass bipartisan legislation in a special session,” Mr. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said in a statement.
The announcement left energy developers and environmental groups girding for battle over two measures proposed for the November ballot that would outlaw drilling within 2,000 feet of homes and schools and give communities more power to restrict drilling with environmental laws. Supporters call the measures sensible responses to the drilling rigs rising like beanstalks across much of Northern Colorado. Opponents say they will spawn legal challenges and could cripple an industry that employs thousands of Coloradans and fills state and local coffers.
A federal court upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s admissions program Tuesday, a year after the U.S. Supreme Court punted on the issue of affirmative action and sent the case back to the lower courts for another look.
“We are persuaded that to deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience,” wrote Judge Patrick Higginbotham for a 2-1 majority on a panel of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
The decision sets up another potential showdown for affirmative action at the Supreme Court. The legality of considering race in college admissions has long seemed to hang by a thread, but last year the Supreme Court declined to overrule precedents upholding affirmative action and reached a 7-1 decision telling the lower courts to reconsider whether UT Austin’s admissions policy was “narrowly tailored” enough to pass constitutional muster. Most of the admissions at UT Austin – about 80% each year – go to students in the top 10% of their graduating high school classes under the state’s Top Ten Percent Plan. Although that plan has improved the diversity of Texas schools UT Austin instituted a “holistic review” process that considered race as one of multiple factors in filling the remaining spots, fearing that the Top Ten Percent process was too mechanical to properly evaluate the benefits an individual student could bring to the institution.
A simple “thanks” was all Vietnam veteran Michael Sulsona had to say after the outpouring of support which led to him receiving a new wheelchair from the office of Veterans’ Affairs on Tuesday.
“It’s incredible,” he said of his new chair, which was delivered to his home in Graniteville. “It’s like getting into a new car. You feel it — everything is tight and secure.”
Sulsona, who lost both of his legs after stepping on a land mine in Vietnam 40 years ago, encountered an unexpected act of kindness last week after his wheelchair fell apart in Lowe’s Home Improvement Center on Forest Avenue in Mariners Harbor.
After seeing what happened, three employees at the store told him, “we’re not leaving here until the wheelchair is fixed,” and proceeded to repair the broken parts.
Must Read Blog Posts
A Navy Medical Officer’s Profound Act of Resistance to Force-Feeding Guantanamo Prisoners by Kevin Gosztola, The Dissenter @ FDL
Steps In Time by Charles P. Pierce, Esquire’s Politicals Blog
Do trans-fat bans save lives? by Brandon Restrepo and Matthias Rieger, voxeu.org
h/t Yves Smith @ naked capitalism
Thrown Out of Court by Lina Khan, Washington Monthly
h/t Charlie Pierce, Esquire’s Politics Blog
The Daily Wiki
Sophism is a method of teaching. In ancient Greece, sophists were a category of teachers who specialized in using the techniques of philosophy and rhetoric for the purpose of teaching arete-excellence, or virtue-predominantly to young statesmen and nobility. The practice of charging money for education and providing wisdom only to those who could pay led to the condemnations made by Socrates, through Plato in his dialogues, as well as Xenophon’s Memorabilia. Through works such as these, Sophists were portrayed as “specious” or “deceptive”, hence the modern meaning of the term. [..]
In modern usage, sophism, sophist and sophistry are used derogatorily. A sophism is a false argument intended to mislead. A sophist is a person who reasons with clever but fallacious and deceptive arguments.
Something to Think about over
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.