July 29, 2015 archive
Jul 29 2015
Jul 29 2015
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
Britain’s Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer; Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini born; President Dwight Eisenhower signs an act creating NASA; Artist Vincent Van Gogh dies.
Something to Think about over
What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?
Jul 29 2015
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
Click on images to enlarge
July 29 is the 210th day of the year (211th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 155 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1858, the Harris Treaty was signed between the United States and Japan was signed at the Ryosen-ji in Shimoda. Also known as the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, it opened the ports of Edo and four other Japanese cities to American trade and granted extraterritoriality to foreigners, among other stipulations.
The treaty followed the 1854 Convention of Kanagawa, which granted coaling rights for U.S. ships and allowed for a U.S. Consul in Shimoda. Although Commodore Matthew Perry secured fuel for U.S. ships and protection, he left the important matter of trading rights to Townsend Harris, another U.S. envoy who negotiated with the Tokugawa Shogunate; the treaty is therefore often referred to as the Harris Treaty. It took two years to break down Japanese resistance, but with the threat of looming British demands for similar privileges, the Tokugawa government eventually capitulated.
Treaties of Amity and Commerce between Japan and Holland, England, France, Russia and the United States, 1858.
The most important points were:
* exchange of diplomatic agents
* Edo, Kobe, Nagasaki, Niigata, and Yokohama‘s opening to foreign trade as ports
* ability of United States citizens to live and trade in those ports
* a system of phttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterritoriality extraterritoriality] that provided for the subjugation of foreign residents to the laws of their own consular courts instead of the Japanese law system
* fixed low import-export duties, subject to international control
The agreement served as a model for similar treaties signed by Japan with other foreign countries in the ensuing weeks. These Unequal Treaties curtailed Japanese sovereignty for the first time in its history; more importantly, it revealed Japan’s growing weakness, and was seen by the West as a pretext for possible colonisation of Japan. The recovery of national status and strength became an overarching priority for the Japanese, with the treaty’s domestic consequences being the end of Bakufu (Shogun) control and the establishment of a new imperial government.
Jul 29 2015
Recently President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 46 non-violent drug offenders which was the largest clemency granted since 1960. This was a drop in the bucket considering nearly half of the 207,000 men and women in the federal prison system are serving sentences for drug crimes. Mandatory minimum sentencing arouse in the 70’s and 80’s during the height of the drug epidemic in this country that saw a dramatic increase in crime.
Congress is now considering two bipartisan bills to scale back mandatory sentences.
As senators work to meld several proposals into one bill, one important change would be to expand the so-called safety-valve provisions that give judges discretion to sentence low-level drug offenders to less time in prison than the required mandatory minimum term if they meet certain requirements.
Another would allow lower-risk prisoners to participate in recidivism programs to earn up to a 25 percent reduction of their sentence. Lawmakers would also like to create more alternatives for low-level drug offenders.
While theses bills are commendable they fall far short of addressing the whole problem, John Oliver, host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” points out in this week’s segment:
“Ridiculously long sentences are not a great deterrent to crime,” Oliver said. “Prison sentences are a lot like penises: If they’re used correctly, even a short one can do the trick – is a rumor I have heard.” [..]
There should be a lot more pardons and commutations. But if we really want to address this problem permanently, we need states and the federal government, not just to repeal mandatory minimums going forward, but to also pass laws so that existing prisoners can apply for retroactively reduced sentences.
Because almost everyone has agreed that mandatory minimum laws were a mistake. And we cannot have a system where people are continuing to pay for that mistake – and where perhaps their best chance of getting out of a prison that they should no longer be in is somehow finding a turkey costume and hanging around the fucking White House at Thanksgiving.
VOX‘s German Lopes has an excellent background article as a follow-up to John Oliver’s segment.
Jul 29 2015
This week’s guests-
The Church of Scientology says that a human is an immortal, spiritual being (thetan) that is resident in a physical body. The thetan has had innumerable past lives and it is observed in advanced Scientology texts that lives preceding the thetan’s arrival on Earth were lived in extraterrestrial cultures.
At least Tom doesn’t believe in any wierd culty things like, oh, say, Mormonism.
The real news below.