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.
Breakfast Tune: Folk Alley Sessions: Leyla McCalla “Changing Tide”
Today in History
Highlights of this day in history: The U.S. battleship Maine explodes in Havana harbor, bringing America closer to war with Spain; The Soviet Union’s last troops leave Afghanistan; Astronomer Galileo and suffragist Susan B. Anthony born.
Breakfast News & Blogs Below
Google boss warns of ‘forgotten century’ with email and photos at risk
Ian Sample, The Guardian
February 13, 2015
Piles of digitised material – from blogs, tweets, pictures and videos, to official documents such as court rulings and emails – may be lost forever because the programs needed to view them will become defunct, Google’s vice-president has warned.
Humanity’s first steps into the digital world could be lost to future historians, Vint Cerf told the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in San Jose, California, warning that we faced a “forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century” through what he called “bit rot”, where old computer files become useless junk.
Cerf called for the development of “digital vellum” to preserve old software and hardware so that out-of-date files could be recovered no matter how old they are. …
Guess who’s not coming to dinner: Obama cyber push rankles tech giants
Gregg Levine, Al Jazeera – The Scrutineer
February 13, 2015
Amidst the pomp and pageantry of what’s been dubbed a “White House summit,” President Barack Obama journeyed to Palo Alto, Calif., today to meet a collection of tech industry leaders a jitney ride from their own back yard.
In a speech to the general audience assembled at Stanford University, Obama promoted government efforts to thwart cyberattacks, focusing on his data-sharing initiative, previously announced in his State of the Union address, touting the benefits to consumers in the wake of a bevvy of recent mass data breaches in the financial and retail sectors. But consumer protection is the easy-to-swallow spoon full of sugar in the administration’s plans; government concerns about private industry’s push for tougher data encryption – and White House demands that U.S. intelligence be allowed some sort of “back door” – are making the president’s proposed cyber-medicine unpalatable to some tech giants.
While the president will met today with the heads of AIG, Bank of America and Visa, to name a few, the CEO’s of Facebook, Google and Yahoo were noticeably absent. …
USDA Approves GMO Arctic Apples Despite Opposition
Wenonah Hauter, Eco Watch
February 13, 2015
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the Okanagan Specialty Fruits’ genetically engineered Arctic Apples. These apples are engineered to resist browning when sliced. The USDA’s environmental review received 73,000 comments that overwhelmingly opposed the commercialization of Arctic Apples. This decision marks the first approval of an aesthetically-improved genetically engineered food and will expand the reach of GMO products into the produce aisle, which currently only offers a small number of GMO foods.
This apple was produced using a relatively new method of genetic engineering, known as RNA interference. This technology uses RNA to silence a target gene, but mounting evidence has shown that meddling with the genes could have unintended effects within the plant and also on organisms that eat the plant. The particular gene targeted by this technology allows the apples to be sliced without turning brown, which could mislead consumers into thinking they are eating fresh apples when they might be eating apples on the verge of rotting. Browning is an important indicator to consumers in determining the freshness of an apple or apple slice. The silenced gene is also heavily involved in a plant’s natural defense against pests and pathogens, which could lead to trees that are less healthy than non-GMO apples and rely on more chemical treatments to ward off pests and disease.
The domestic apple industry is opposed to the commercialization of GMO apples and some food companies have already said they would not sell Arctic Apples. The U.S. Apple Association, Washington Apple Commission and other grower groups have voiced their disapproval due to the negative impact GMO apples could have on the apple industry, and in 2013 Gerber and McDonald’s announced that they would not use GMO apples in their products. …
‘Unconscionable’: New Federal Analysis Paves Way for Arctic Plunder
Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams
February 13, 2015
The federal government on Thursday issued an updated assessment on fossil fuel activity in the Chukchi Sea that conservation groups fear paves the way for an Arctic disaster.
In January of 2013, conservationists claimed a “victory for the Arctic” when a federal appeals court ruled in favor of groups who had challenged the U.S. government’s opening in 2008 of millions of acres in the Chukchi Sea to oil companies, called Lease Sale 193. The court found that the Bush administration hadn’t adequately assessed environmental impacts of the sale.
In response to that court order, the Department of the Interior just issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for the sale. …
Bat and ball the weapons as India and Pakistan go to war
Omar Waraich, Al Jazeera
February 14, 2015
Sports events, wrote George Orwell, can amount to “war minus the shooting.” Few moments exemplify that aphorism more clearly than when India and Pakistan face off on the cricket field. The two countries became independent in 1947, when Britain withdrew its empire – but left behind the complex ritualized combat of bat and ball which remains the safest form of battle between the sibling states separated at birth, and which have fought three major wars since then.
“This is world sport’s fiercest local derby,” wrote the great (and perhaps only) American cricket writer Mike Marqusee, who passed away earlier this year. “It arouses the greatest passions among the greatest number of people, and is over-stuffed with political, cultural and religious connotations.” The contest will be resumed Sunday, at cricket’s quadrennial World Cup in Australia. Over 1 billion people are expected to watch the game on television, bringing a ghostly quiet to many of South Asia’s notoriously crowded and bustling streets.
No analogies can accurately convey the significance of Sunday’s game on the subcontinent. In countries suffused with a devotion to deities, passion for cricket rivals religious fervor. No living politician or cultural figure in India can match the exalted status of the country’s greatest cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar. And in Pakistan, Imran Khan has for over two decades ridden his fame as the country’s only World Cup winning captain to become its leading opposition politician, and its sole global celebrity. Passion for cricket in both countries overrides ethnic, political, class and religious fault-lines, providing a source of rare national unity. …
- Germany owes Greece for Nazi-era debts, by Paul Hockenos
- Drone Strikes and the Sanitization of Violence, by Teun van Dongen
- Doctors Worldwide Blast TPP’s ‘Chilling Effect’ on Health, Climate Protections, by Deirdre Fulton
- Marriage is no cure for poverty, by Susan Greenbaum
- Junk the phrase ‘human capital’, by Branko Milanovic
Something to Think about over
Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputations… can never effect a reform.
Susan B. Anthony