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.
by John Masefield
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
Why our brains love the ocean: Science explains what draws humans to the sea
By Wallace J. Nichols, Salon
Since time immemorial, humans have been captivated by water. And the reasons go beyond evolution
It’s only recently that technology has enabled us to delve into the depths of the human brain and into the depths of the ocean. With those advancements our ability to study and understand the human mind has expanded to include a stream of new ideas about perception, emotions, empathy, creativity, health and healing, and our relationship with water. Several years ago I came up with a name for this human-water connection: Blue Mind, a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. It is inspired by water and elements associated with water, from the color blue to the words we use to describe the sensations associated with immersion. It takes advantage of neurological connections formed over millennia, many such brain patterns and preferences being discovered only now, thanks to innovative scientists and cutting-edge technology.
For those of you who never raced the wind on the open sea and why so many are drawn to the ocean, I give you Wind.
This Day in History
The Obama administration is reopening the eastern seaboard to offshore oil and gas exploration, approving seismic surveys using sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor.
Friday’s announcement was the first real step towards what could be a transformation in coastal states, creating thousands of jobs to support a new energy infrastructure. But it dismayed environmentalists and people who owe their livelihoods to fisheries and tourism.
The cannons create noise pollution in waters shared by whales, dolphins and turtles, sending sound waves many times louder than a jet engine reverberating through the deep every 10 seconds for weeks at a time. Arguing that endangered species could be harmed was the environmental groups’ best hope for extending a decades-old ban against drilling off the US Atlantic coast.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acknowledged that thousands of sea creatures will be harmed even as it approved opening the outer continental shelf from Delaware to Florida to exploration. Energy companies need the data as they prepare to apply for drilling leases in 2018, when current congressional limits expire.
The Houston suburb of League City is adjacent to Nasa’s Johnson Space Centre, but the city council did not have space exploration in mind last week when it passed a resolution about “aliens”.
Migrant children are officially unwelcome in League City, where the resolution directed local authorities to “refuse requests or directives by federal agencies to permit or establish any facility for the purposes of processing, housing, or detaining any illegal aliens, designated as ‘refugee’ or otherwise”.
There have not been any such requests. Still, with more than 57,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border with Mexico since last October and the government seeking to house many of them in new temporary shelters across the country, League City council members launched a pre-emptive strike, citing concerns that a torrent of undocumented immigrants will overwhelm local schools, healthcare facilities and law enforcement, prompt financial ruin, spread disease and even help terrorists.
A series of bombings, including three in the space of less than 10 minutes, killed at least 27 people across Baghdad on Saturday, shaking the fragile sense of security the capital has maintained despite the Sunni militant offensive in northern and western Iraq.
The attacks are among the most significant in Baghdad since insurgents led by the Islamic State (Isis) captured Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul last month at the start of its advance across the country.
After the fall of Mosul, the government moved aggressively to try to secure Baghdad in response to fears it might fall as well, and the city has seen few major attacks in recent weeks.
Saturday’s deadliest bombing took place in the Shia neighborhood of Abu Dashir, where a suicide attacker drove a car packed with explosives into a checkpoint, killing at least nine people and wounding 19. Four policemen were among the dead, a police officer said.
A jury in northwestern Florida awarded a staggering $23 billion judgment late Friday against the country’s second-largest tobacco company for causing the death of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer at the age of 36.
The company, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, promised a prompt appeal.
Michael Johnson Sr. died in 1996 after smoking for more than 20 years. In 2006, his widow, Cynthia Robinson, of Pensacola, sued R. J. Reynolds the maker of the Kool brand cigarettes her husband had smoked, arguing that the company had deliberately concealed the health hazards its product caused.
The four-week trial ended Wednesday. The jury deliberated for 18 hours over two days, first awarding $17 million in compensatory damages and then emerging at 10 p.m. Friday with a $23.6 billion punitive judgment.
The recently documented mistakes at federal laboratories involving anthrax, flu and smallpox have incited public outrage at the government’s handling of dangerous pathogens. But the episodes were just a tiny fraction of the hundreds that have occurred in recent years across a sprawling web of academic, commercial and government labs that operate without clear national standards or oversight, federal reports show.
Spurred by the anthrax attacks in the United States in 2001, an increase in “high-level containment” labs set up to work with risky microbes has raised the number to about 1,500 from a little more than 400 in 2004, according to the Government Accountability Office.
A 1975 image of smallpox. Two of six vials of smallpox stored at the National Institutes of Health since 1954 contained live virus capable of infecting people, it was announced Friday.014
Yet there has never been a national plan for how many of them are needed, or how they should be built and operated. The more of these labs there are, the G.A.O. warned Congress last week, the greater the chances of dangerous blunders or sabotage, especially in a field where oversight is “fragmented and largely self-policing.”
The House Republican staffer arrested Friday after carrying a firearm into a congressional office building had a semiautomatic 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and an ammunition magazine containing nine hollow-point bullets, according to court documents made public Saturday.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Gerald I. Fisher ordered Ryan Lee Shucard, press secretary for Rep. Tom Marino (Pa.), released from custody pending a preliminary hearing Aug. 7. The 26-year-old Alexandria resident is charged with a single count of possessing a gun outside a home or office, a felony.
Marino, whose 10th Congressional District includes areas north of Scranton, said in a statement that Shucard has been placed on indefinite unpaid administrative leave.
Must Read Blog Posts
A Modest Proposal for Eric Holder: Back Off the Banks by Davis Dayen, The Fiscal Times
AG Holder: “The U.S. Announces the Indictment of Citigroup’s Senior Officers for Fraud” by William K. Black, New Economic Perspectives
“The most important money-in-politics race this year”: Why lefty Tea Party may be here by Matt Stoller, Salon
EO 12333 Threatens Our Democracy by Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel
The Internet’s Own Boy review: Remembering-and honoring-Aaron Swartz by Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica
Russia caught editing Wikipedia entry about downed Malaysian airliner by Kadhim Shubber, Ars Techninca
Manuel Noriega Files Lawsuit Over Video Game He Alleges Defamed Him by Darren Smith, Jonathan Turley Blog
Something to Think about over
A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it.