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
The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg begins; The first nuclear weapons test in peacetime; TR’s assault on San Juan Hill; Britain’s Princess Diana born; Hong Kong returned to China; Actor Marlon Brando dies.
Something to Think about over
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
After a decade in the shadows, a secretive surveillance court that authorises the bulk collection of American telephone records seized on its last chance to show off a little personality on Tuesday.
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, well, at least for 180 days,” wrote judge Michael Mosman in an unusually colourful, and public, ruling that granted an extension (pdf) to the programme one last time.
Congress banned the bulk collection of telephone metadata – first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden in the Guardian in 2013 – by passing sweeping NSA reforms in the USA Freedom Act earlier this month.
But the legislation also proposed a six-month transition period while the NSA moves to a new system that relies on asking telephone companies for specific records rather than maintaining a central government database.
Greece was left alone, insolvent and almost bankrupt after five years of €240bn (£170bn) in European bailouts dried up and the country became the first in the EU to default on its creditors. The country failed to make a €1.5bn payment to the International Monetary Fund on time and has thrust the eurozone into an emergency.
The long-running debt debacle left Greece on the brink of financial collapse, worsening recent years of wrenching austerity, and represented a historic blow to a Europe committed to the irreversibility of its 16-year-old single currency.
The deadline on Greece’s bailout programmes, inaugurated in 2010, ended at midnight on Tuesday night, leaving the country without a financial lifeline.
In a sudden referendum called on creditors’ bailout terms which are formally no longer on the table, Greeks are to vote on Sunday on what EU leaders say is a choice between quitting or staying in the euro.
The Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, appears poised to further crack down on dissent after announcing he would fast-track the judicial process in the aftermath of the assassination of the country’s lead prosecutor.
On Tuesday, Sisi promised new laws that will allow Egyptian courts to speed up hearings, and appeared to suggest that the appeals process would be circumvented to guarantee the execution of those on death row.
Speaking at the funeral of Hisham Barakat, the state prosecutor killed in a car bomb on Monday, Sisi said: “The arm of justice is chained by the law. We’re not going to wait for this. We’re going to amend the law to allow us to implement justice as soon as possible.”
Barack Obama will announce on Wednesday that the US and Cuba have reached an agreement to open embassies in Havana and Washington, a senior administration official said.
The announcement marks a major step in ending hostilities between the longtime foes.
The US and Cuba have been negotiating the re-establishment of embassies following the announcement in December that they would move to restore ties. [..]
The US president and secretary of state John Kerry are expected to speak Wednesday morning about the embassy openings. The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter ahead of the president.
More than a dozen Catholic organisations will on Wednesday launch a campaign calling on people to make radical changes to their lifestyle choices – including cutting energy use, eating less meat and buying locally produced food – after the release last week of Pope Francis’s sweeping environmental encyclical.
The plan by CIDSE, an international alliance of 17 Catholic social justice groups from Europe and North America, will be announced at a press conference at the Vatican that will include Peter Turkson, the Ghanaian cardinal who helped draft the papal document, and Naomi Klein, the Canadian author and anti-globalisation activist, who has said that the only hope of avoiding catastrophic warming of the earth requires “radical economic and political change”.
Several European governments have issued weather warnings as a heatwave sweeping through Portugal, Spain and France pushes temperatures above 40C (104F), raising concerns for elderly people and children.
Paris, which has activated its national heatwave emergency plan, is particularly sensitive to the risks after a European-wide heatwave in 2003 led to nearly 20,000 deaths, killing thousands of isolated elderly people in France.
The French ecology minister, Ségolène Royal, has called on those in charge of air-conditioned public spaces, such as libraries, cinemas and shopping malls, to let in the public for respite from the heat. “I don’t think this heatwave will have the same consequences as the one in 2003 because we weren’t as prepared at that time,” Royal said.
A Liberian has died of Ebola in the first recorded case since the country at the heart of the epidemic was declared free of the virus on 9 May, said the country’s deputy health minister, Tolbert Nyenswah.
“A 17-year-old corpse was tested positive for Ebola virus. This took place in Margibi county. There is no need to panic. The corpse has been buried and our contact tracing has started,” said Nyenswah on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
The case is a setback for Liberia, officially declared Ebola-free six weeks ago by the World Health Organisation. However, the country has remained vigilant because of the continuing incidence of the virus in neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone.
The USA and Germany may be the best two teams in the world, but their path to the Women’s World Cup final was paved with penalty kicks.
A successful spot kick from Carli Lloyd punished Celia Sasic for missing her own penalty, keeping USA’s dream of winning their third Women’s World Cup alive. Germany, ranked No1 and the tournament’s strongest attacking unit, looked unprepared for USA’s pressure.
“We knew we had this in us. This team had a lot of confidence and we’ve done a really good job of blocking out you guys,” USA coach Jill Ellis told reporters after the game. “We had every belief we could win this game and that’s part of the spirit of the American player.”
Must Read Blog Posts
Too bad so sad that the sky is falling for Christian hypocrites Frederick Leatherman, FDL
Is the Supreme Court Really About to Gut Public Sector Unions? Charles Pierce, Esquire Politics
Can Real Americans be terrorists? digby, Hullabaloo
Them boys ain’t goin’ gentle into that good Knight Tom Sullivan, Hullabaloo
In Course Pitch, Scooter and Wolfie Admit Iraq War Failures, But Make No Mention of Iraqi Casualties Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel
Judge Orders Lying, Cheating Government To Return $167,000 To The Man They Stole It From Tim Cushing, Techdirt
Your Moment of Zen