August 25, 2015 archive


The Breakfast Club (Tramps Like Us)

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

Paris liberated during World War II; A first swim across the English Channel; Actor Sean Connery, composer Leonard Bernstein, and musician Elvis Costello born; Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run’ released.

Breakfast Tunes

Don’t Panic

Or rather, panic about the right things-

The GOP’s austerity hawks are throwing away a golden opportunity (again)

by David Dayen, Salon

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2015 05:58 AM EST

The U.S. Congress should have gaveled in an emergency session yesterday to react on the latest twist in the capital markets. Failure to do so creates unnecessary pain and will damage American competitiveness for the next generation.

I’m not talking about the stock market.

Right now, the U.S. can borrow money for 10 years at around 2 percent – a staggeringly low number, made so by an increase in global demand for Treasury bonds. When the economic winds shake globally, investors lead a “flight to safety,” looking for any instrument that won’t lose money. And despite the tumult of the past decade, investors still see Treasury bonds as the safest investment in the world.

What this means is that investors will hand over cash to the U.S. government with effectively no interest in real terms.

Significant borrowing, to repair crumbling infrastructure like bridges and water systems, or upgrade the electrical grid and broadband capacity for the entire nation, would have a seriously stimulative impact on an economy that’s already showing some labor market success. It would help arrest the persistent demand deficit that has existed in our economy since the outset of the Great Recession.

The lack of government debt is a problem for the world, as Paul Krugman pointed out recently. Former White House economist Jared Bernstein goes further, explaining that budget deficits lead to smoother and stronger economic growth. Our deficit is falling fast, and the government not only can handle throwing a couple hundred billion at upgrading the basic structures that make the country go, but would benefit handsomely from it.

This actively harms our economic potential over the next several years. We can’t have nice things because we’re still governed by a backwards ideology that thinks the government should run the country like a family manages their budget. But if a family could borrow money for free and use it to make all kinds of improvements in their lives, they’d jump at the chance. If we ever want to make America great again, we have to get over this dysfunction and get out our checkbook.

Those letters nice and friendly enough for you?

On This Day In History August 25

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.

August 25 is the 237th day of the year (238th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 128 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1768, James Cook began his first voyage to travel to the Pacific Ocean to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun. This would be the first of three voyages that would be hailed as  heroic by the scientific community.


The routes of Captain James Cook’s voyages. The first voyage is shown in red, second voyage in green, and third voyage in blue. The route of Cook’s crew following his death is shown as a dashed blue line.

In 1766, the Royal Society hired (James) Cook to travel to the Pacific Ocean to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun. Cook was promoted to Lieutenant and named as commander of the expedition. The expedition sailed from England in 1768, rounded Cape Horn and continued westward across the Pacific to arrive at Tahiti  on 13 April 1769, where the observations were to be made. However, the result of the observations was not as conclusive or accurate as had been hoped. Cook later mapped the complete New Zealand coastline, making only some minor errors. He then sailed west, reaching the south-eastern coast of the Australian continent on 19 April 1770, and in doing so his expedition became the first recorded Europeans to have encountered its eastern coastline.

On 23 April he made his first recorded direct observation of indigenous Australians at Brush Island near Bawley Point, noting in his journal: “…and were so near the Shore as to distinguish several people upon the Sea beach they appear’d to be of a very dark or black Colour but whether this was the real colour of their skins or the C[l]othes they might have on I know not.” On 29 April Cook and crew made their first landfall on the mainland of the continent at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula, which he named Botany Bay after the unique specimens retrieved by the botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. It is here that James Cook made first contact with an Aboriginal tribe known as the Gweagal.

After his departure from Botany Bay he continued northwards, and a mishap occurred when Endeavour ran aground on a shoal of the Great Barrier Reef, on 11 June, and “nursed into a river mouth on 18 June 1770.” The ship was badly damaged and his voyage was delayed almost seven weeks while repairs were carried out on the beach (near the docks of modern Cooktown, at the mouth of the Endeavour River). Once repairs were complete the voyage continued, sailing through Torres Strait and on 22 August he landed on Possession Island, where he claimed the entire coastline he had just explored as British territory. He returned to England via Batavia (modern Jakarta, Indonesia), the Cape of Good Hope and the island of Saint Helena, arriving on 12 July 1771.

LGBT Rights: The Battle For Equality Has Just Begun

In a passionate plea, John Oliver, the host of “Last Week Tonight,” explains why the need for the federal government must put an end to the discrimination that the LGBT community faces. He does it like no else could.