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Sep 23 2014

The Breakfast Club (Autumn in the North)

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.

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This Day in History

Richard Nixon gives his ‘Checkers’ speech; Rome’s Augustus Caesar born; Lewis and Clark finish trek to America’s West; Psychologist Sigmund Freud dies; Musicians Ray Charles and Bruce Springsteen born.

Autumn arrived in the Northern Hemisphere last night at 10:29 PM EDT.

During both the vernal and autumnal equinox, day and night are balanced to nearly 12 hours each all over the world.

Instead of a tilt away from or toward the sun, the Earth’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the Earth and the sun during an equinox.

Daylight in the Northern Hemisphere continues to gradually diminish until the winter solstice, which occurs on Dec. 21, 2014. The opposite occurs in the Southern Hemisphere, where daylight continues to grow longer.

How King Arthur Pendragon will be Celebrating at Stonehenge

Druid leader King Arthur Uther Pendragon is preparing to celebrate one of his favorite events of the year at Stonehenge – the autumn equinox.

Arthur, the leader of the druids and self-declared reincarnation of King Arthur, explained the rituals and meaning behind the equinoxes – the lesser known dates in the druid calendar after the summer and winter solstices. [..]

“We’ll be leading the festivities and ceremonies at Stonehenge. English Heritage will allow us in just before dawn and we’ll get into the centre circle, then myself and one of the arch druids will be leading the ceremony in the centre circle.

“After the centre circle I’ll be doing my own ceremony over by the heel stone where we’ll have drummers and pipers and poetry, dance, and so on. One of the things about the Druid tradition is it’s a celebration. What we tend to do at Stonehenge is to celebrate whatever we’ve set up for, which is the turning of the wheel.”

Druids celebrating the equinox have a similar prayer for all major events. They will call to the four quarters to ask for peace: “We’ll say ‘is there peace in the east?’ and the response would be ‘there is peace in the east’. Then we’ll go around to the south, west and north, then we’ll turn inwards and say is there peace or let there be peace throughout the whole world.”

The group will then have a celebration, with poetry, dance and music. In ancient times, the equinox would signify the start of winter. People would begin stocking up on food.

Fall Begins Monday: Equinox Myth Debunked

Referring to the equinox as being a time of equal day and night is a convenient oversimplification. For one thing, it treats night as simply the time the sun is beneath the horizon, and completely ignores twilight. If the sun were nothing more than a point of light in the sky, and if the Earth lacked an atmosphere, then at the time of an equinox, the sun would indeed spend one half of its path above the horizon and one half below.

But in reality, atmospheric refraction raises the sun’s disc by more than its own apparent diameter while it is rising or setting. Thus, when the sun looks like a reddish-orange ball just sitting on the horizon, it’s really an optical illusion. It is actually completely below the horizon.

In addition to refraction hastening sunrise and delaying sunset, there is another factor that makes daylight longer than night at an equinox: Sunrise and sunset are defined as the times when the first or last speck of the sun’s upper or lower limbs – not the center of the disc – are visible above the horizon. [..]

Certain astronomical myths die hard. One of these is that the entire Arctic region experiences six months of daylight and six months of darkness. Often, “night” is simply defined by the moment when the sun is beneath the horizon, as if twilight didn’t exist. This fallacy is repeated in innumerable geography textbooks, as well as travel articles and guides.

But twilight illuminates the sky to some extent whenever the sun’s upper rim is less than 18 degrees below the horizon. This marks the limit of astronomical twilight, when the sky is indeed totally dark from horizon to horizon.

The gifts of the autumnal equinox

Most of us have very mixed feelings about the autumnal equinox. We all understand the way it can (quite literally) darken one’s spirits. That’s especially true in a place like Vermont, where summers are breathtakingly beautiful and dispiritingly short. Everywhere, however, the autumnal equinox reminds us that another summer has past, the natural world is growing quiescent (or dying), and we are older. There is less sunlight. Less warmth. No blueberries.

Soon that ultimate bacchanal of death will be here, Halloween.

And what follows Halloween? The gray morass we call November. That’s usually the month when I finally get around to raking the trillions of leaves that have swooned (starving) to their death in my yard. Some are still phantasmagorically beautiful. All are annoying when they stick to the tines of my rake.

For the next three months, the days will continue to shrink and the nights will grow very, very long. There will be days in the not too distant future when it will feel here in Lincoln that the sun is falling behind the ridgeline to the west a little after lunch.

Have I depressed you enough?

But here’s the strange and wonderful reality that marks this time of the year: It actually feeds the soul’s need to cocoon. To nest. To hunker down after the zeal and sheer busyness of summer. I love those first fires I build in the woodstove – the aroma, the warmth, the luminescent little blaze through the palladium glass windows. I love collapsing on the floor in the den in the waning light of a Sunday afternoon and reading – often with a cat on my back. (Occasionally, as a matter of fact, with a 17-pound cat on my back.) I love the permission that short days and long nights give me to watch DVDs of two-decade old episodes of “Seinfeld.” [..]

The truth is, I really don’t mind the autumn. For the first time in months, we can savor the sluggishness that all of us, once in a while, crave. After all, in a mere 90 days – 13 weeks – the days once more will begin growing longer.

Breakfast Tunes

Polly Bergen 1930 – 2014

Breakfast News

U.S. airstrikes hit ISIS inside Syria for first time

.S. jets began airstrikes in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, early Tuesday, the first strikes against the terror group inside the country since President Barack Obama’s announcement this month that he was prepared to expand the American efforts beyond targets in Iraq, a U.S. official told CNN.

The U.S. and “partner nation forces” began striking ISIS targets using fighters, bombers and Tomahawk missiles, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said, though he didn’t specify a geographic location.

Citing the ongoing operations, Kirby said the Pentagon would not provide additional details immediately.

Dozens arrested as police face off with Flood Wall Street protesters

Dozens of protesters were arrested after hundreds of people gathered in New York City’s financial district on Monday to denounce to denounce what organisers say is Wall Street’s contribution to climate change.

Flood Wall Street demonstrators, primarily dressed in blue to represent climate change-induced flooding, marched to New York City’s financial centre to “highlight the role of Wall Street in fuelling the climate crisis,” according to organisers.

While the day started off peacefully, demonstrators began trying to push back metal barricades when trading closed on the New York Stock Exchange at 4pm.

Police used pepper spray to push them back and later broke up the gathering. A core group of a few dozen activists staged a sit-in steps away from Wall Street, and police officers handcuffed and walked them away one-by-one, taking them to police vans parked nearby.

Earlier in the day, police had arrested three protesters. An New York police department representative could not give an exact tally of how many protesters had been held.

Taking a Call for Climate Change to the Streets

Legions of demonstrators frustrated by international inaction on global warming descended on New York City on Sunday, marching through the heart of Manhattan with a message of alarm for world leaders set to gather this week at the United Nations for a summit meeting on climate change.

Coursing through Midtown, from Columbus Circle to Times Square and the Far West Side, the People’s Climate March was a spectacle even for a city known for doing things big, and it was joined, in solidarity, by demonstrations on Sunday across the globe, from Paris to Papua New Guinea. [..]

From the scientists holding an oversize chalkboard to the Hurricane Sandy victims toting life preservers, the march was a self-consciously inclusive affair, with the organizers intent on creating a very big tent, which they hoped would hammer home the relevance of climate change and its effects.

TV News Misses Yet Another Opportunity To Cover Climate Change

The People’s Climate March on Sunday was perhaps the largest climate change protest in history. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of New York City. Celebrities and high-profile politicians were among the marchers. The protest was a huge topic on social media.

All in all, it was a perfect opportunity for some of America’s biggest news organizations to cover the topic of climate change, something that usually gets either ignored or badly handled. For Sunday talk show hosts, there was even a nice political hook, since the march was pegged to a UN summit that President Obama will be attending.

Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity of Fossil Fuels

John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels.

The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses.

The announcement, timed to precede Tuesday’s opening of the United Nations climate change summit meeting in New York City, is part of a broader and accelerating initiative.

Hong Kong students begin democracy protest

Week-long boycott of classes in protest against Beijing’s decision to rule out fully democratic elections

Thousands of Hong Kong students boycotted classes on Monday to protest against Beijing’s decision to restrict electoral reforms in a week-long strike marking the latest phase in the battle for democracy.

Students from more than 20 universities and colleges streamed into the grounds of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where they were greeted by banners saying: “The boycott must happen. Disobey and grasp your destiny.”

Cameron faces pressure to seal Scotland deal

An attempt by David Cameron to outflank Labour on a new constitutional settlement for the UK ran into trouble on Sunday night when a senior Liberal Democrat cabinet minister said that the plans for devolution in England should not proceed without attempting a cross-party consensus [..]

An 11th-hour vow by the three Westminster leaders last week, promising more devolution if Scotland rejected independence, has been in disarray after Cameron appeared to attach new conditions. The prime minister said on Friday that negotiations on only English MPs voting on English laws “must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace, as the settlement for Scotland”.

Must Read Blog Posts

No, they really don’t get it, Digby riverdaughter, The Confluence

Apple Still Has Plenty of Your Data for the Feds Micah Lee, The Intercept

Justice Department Bans Reporters, Non-Residents from Ferguson Town Hall Meetings Kevin Gosztola, FDL The Dissenter

Another Terrible Health Care Problem Which is Easily Solved – But Won’t Be Jon Walker, FDL Action

Goldman Sachs Admits Paying Bribes To Gaddafi Regime DSWright, FDL New Desk

Climate Change Protest a Success!, Peace and Antiwar Not So Much Big Al, The Stars Hollow Gazette

E.O. 12333: End-Running the Fourth Amendment Peter van Buren, FDL The Dissenter

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus

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