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
U.S. embassies bombed in E. Africa; Congress OKs powers to expand the Vietnam War; The Battle of Guadalcanal begins; Kon-Tiki ends its journey; Comedy icon Oliver Hardy and news anchor Peter Jennings die.
I went to dance on my little boat
There in the cruel sea
And the sea was roaring
Telling me I went there to steal away
The peerless light
Of the beautiful look in your eyes
Come to find out if the sea is right
Come to see my heart dancing
If I go dancing on my little boat
I won’t go to the cruel sea
Nor will I tell it where I went
To smile, dance, dream, live… with you
Nigerian authorities rushed to obtain isolation tents Wednesday in anticipation of more Ebola infections as they disclosed five more cases of the virus and a death in Africa’s most populous nation, where officials were racing to keep the gruesome disease confined to a small group of patients.
The five new Nigerian cases were all in Lagos, a megacity of 21 million people in a country already beset with poor health-care infrastructure and widespread corruption, and all five were reported to have had direct contact with one infected man.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization began a meeting to decide whether the crisis, the worst recorded outbreak of its kind, amounts to an international public health emergency. At least 932 deaths in four countries have been blamed on the illness, with 1,711 reported cases.
The Italian economy shrank in the second quarter, according to an official estimate on Wednesday, taking economists by surprise and provoking concern that violence in Ukraine and tension with Russia could be pushing the broader eurozone back into recession.
Italy’s gross domestic product contracted 0.2 percent from April through June, compared with the first quarter of 2014, Istat, the Italian statistics office, said in a preliminary estimate. It was the second quarterly decline in a row for Italy, meeting the most common definition of a recession. In the first quarter, output shrank 0.1 percent compared with the previous quarter.
Bank of America has tentatively agreed to pay between $16bn and $17bn to settle an investigation into its sale of mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis, a source directly familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The deal with the bank, which must still be finalised, would be the largest Justice Department settlement by far arising from the economic meltdown. It follows earlier multibillion-dollar agreements reached in the last year with Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been announced, cautioned that some details still needed to be worked out and that it was possible the agreement could fall apart. But the person said the two sides reached an agreement in principle following a conversation last week between attorney general Eric Holder and Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan.
The source said the deal calls for the bank to pay roughly $9bn in cash and for the remainder to go toward consumer relief.
ens of thousands of members of one of Iraq’s oldest minorities have been stranded on a mountain in the country’s north-west, facing slaughter at the hands of jihadists surrounding them below if they flee, or death by dehydration if they stay.
UN groups say at least 40,000 members of the Yazidi sect, many of them women and children, have taken refuge in nine locations on Mount Sinjar, a craggy, mile-high ridge identified in local legend as the final resting place of Noah’s ark.
At least 130,000 more people, many from the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar, have fled to Dohuk, in the Kurdish north, or to Irbil, where regional authorities have been struggling since June to deal with one of the biggest and most rapid refugee movements in decades.
The former Khmer Rouge senior figures Nuon Chea and Khieu Samphan have been found guilty of crimes against humanity and given life imprisonment by a court in Cambodia.
Khieu Samphan, the 83-year-old who was the regime’s head of state, and Nuon Chea, its chief ideologue, now aged 88, still face a genocide trial for their role in the 1970s terror. Both men, in ill health, have denied wrongdoing.
The case, covering the forced exodus of millions of people from Cambodia’s towns and cities and a mass killing, is just part of the Cambodian story. Nearly a quarter of the population died under the Khmer Rouge through a combination starvation, medical neglect, overwork and execution when the group held power in 1975-79.
High-speed rail was supposed to be President Obama’s signature transportation project, but despite the administration spending nearly $11 billion since 2009 to develop faster passenger trains, the projects have gone mostly nowhere and the United States still lags far behind Europe and China.
While Republican opposition and community protests have slowed the projects here, transportation policy experts and members of both parties also place blame for the failures on missteps by the Obama administration – which in July asked Congress for nearly $10 billion more for high-speed initiatives.
Instead of putting the $11 billion directly into those projects, critics say, the administration made the mistake of parceling out the money to upgrade existing Amtrak service, which will allow trains to go no faster than 110 miles per hour. None of the money originally went to service in the Northeast Corridor, the most likely place for high-speed rail.
Google and Barnes & Noble are joining forces to tackle their mutual rival Amazon, zeroing in on a service that Amazon has long dominated: the fast, cheap delivery of books.
Starting on Thursday, book buyers in Manhattan, West Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area will be able to get same-day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores through Google Shopping Express, Google’s fledgling online shopping and delivery service.
Google Shopping, which began operations about a year ago, allows online shoppers to order products from stores like Costco, Walgreens, Staples and Target, and have them delivered to their doors within hours.
The partnership could help Barnes & Noble make inroads into online sales when its brick-and-mortar business remains stagnant. The company has closed 63 stores in the last five years, including some in bustling areas of Manhattan and Washington, leaving it with a base of about 660 retail stores and 700 college campus stores. Its Nook business fell 22 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the period a year earlier, according its most recent earnings report.
Iselle was supposed to weaken as it slowly trudged west across the Pacific. It didn’t — and now Hawaii is poised to take its first direct hurricane hit in 22 years.
State officials are assuring the islands are ready and people should prepare but not panic. Tourists wonder whether their flights and activities would be disrupted and tried to get in some last-minute beach time before the surf’s up, but ugly. And residents are making bottled water tougher to find than a cheap fruity cocktail. [..]
Hurricane Iselle was expected to arrive on the Big Island on Thursday evening, bringing heavy rains, winds gusting up to 85 mph and flooding in some areas. Weather officials changed their outlook on the system Wednesday after seeing it get a little stronger, giving it enough oomph to stay a hurricane as it reaches landfall.
Health experts urge affected countries to focus on controlling, not curing disease
The use of an experimental drug to treat two Americans diagnosed with Ebola is raising ethical questions about who gets first access to unproven new therapies for the deadly disease. But some health experts fear debate over extremely limited doses will distract from tried-and-true measures to curb the growing outbreak – things like more rapidly identifying and isolating the sick.
The World Health Organization is convening a meeting of medical ethicists next week to examine what it calls “the responsible thing to do” about whatever supplies eventually may become available of a medicine that’s never been tested in people.
After 10 years and a journey of four billion miles, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft arrived at its destination on Wednesday for the first extended, close examination of a comet.
A six-minute thruster firing at 5 a.m. Eastern time, the last in a series of 10 over the past few months, slowed Rosetta to the pace of a person walking, about two miles per hour relative to the speed of its target, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
“It is like driving a car or a bus on a motorway for 10 years,” said Andrea Accomazzo, the flight director, at a post-rendezvous news conference. “Now we’ve entered downtown. We’re downtown and we have to start orienting ourselves. We don’t know the town yet, so we have to discover it first.”
Over the coming months, Rosetta and its comet, called C-G for short, will plunge together toward the sun.
— Christopher Becke (@BeckePhysics) August 6, 2014
Must Read Blog Posts
Government Continues to Freak Out about the Intercept, Raise Its Profile by Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel
The Great War (an introduction) by ek hornbeck, The Stars Hollow Gazette
The CIA Still Trying to Cover Up That It Tortured by TMC, The Stars Hollow Gazette
Beware of Human Rights Watch Propaganda by Bil Al, Voices on the Square
Kudos To Wikimedia Foundation For Resisting All Government Requests To Censor Content by Mike Masnick, Techdirt
Who The Fck Is Campbell Brown? by Charles P. Pierce, Esquire Politics Blog
To the FCC on the issue of Network Neutrality by OPOL, Humanitarian Left
Walmart at the Trough: Billions Scammed from Your Tax Money by Peter van Buren, FDL The Dissenter
How to Make More Money in Stocks by Scott Adams
No matter where you go there you are. It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop