The Breakfast Club (Sons of Liberty)

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

The Boston Tea Party takes place; World War Two’s Battle of the Bulge begins; Ludwig van Beethoven is born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.

Noel Coward

Breakfast News

Kerry tells Putin US and Russia can make ‘significant difference’ in Syria

Russia and the United States should find common ground to end Syria’s civil war and instability in eastern Ukraine, John Kerry has told Vladimir Putin as they met for talks in Moscow.

“Together the United States and Russia have the ability to make a significant difference here,” Kerry told the Russian leader at the start of their meeting.

“It’s been a good cooperative effort, and we’re very appreciative for what has been achieved so far,” Kerry said.

Putin offered only brief remarks before the start of the closed-door meeting, saying, “We are seeking with you solutions to the most acute crises.”

Flint mayor declares ‘manmade disaster’ over lead-tainted water supply

The city of Flint, Michigan, has declared a state of emergency over contaminated water supplies amid calls for a criminal investigation, the resignation of the state governor and a class action lawsuit that could top $1bn.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) sent 28,000 bottles of water to the city on Monday just hours before the mayor declared: “The city of Flint has experienced a manmade disaster.”

Critics believe the entire city has been affected to varying degrees by high levels of lead and other pollutants in the water. This includes the 100,000 residents and those who commute to Flint for work.

At a city council meeting on Monday night, Mayor Karen Weaver said Flint needed federal help to deal with a crisis over water supplies tainted with lead.

Witnesses testify at Homan Square hearing in Chicago

Detainees, legal advocates and activists testified on Tuesday at the first public hearing to examine Homan Square, the Chicago police interrogation facility exposed by the Guardian and falling under renewed scrutiny amid intense examination of the city’s law enforcement.

As protests continue to grip Chicago following the release of video footage and a landmark investigation by the US Justice Department, police practices at the warehouse received a rare political convening at City Hall, which has all but dismissed public comment – despite an ongoing Guardian investigation revealing at least 7,000 people held off the books there.

“It’s fallen to us to shine a light on dark places,” said the Cook County commissioner, Richard Boykin, who convened the group under the board’s human relations commission. “Homan Square is such a place.”

Record US temperatures are work of El Niño and polar vortex, experts say

Meteorologists have blamed El Niño and the polar vortex for record-breaking warm temperatures across the US this week, saying the pair of weather systems will likely keep 2015 warm enough to be the hottest year on record.

This year’s El Niño, a recurring weather pattern caused by unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean, is particularly strong and reaching its peak. The high pressure system, now east of Hawaii, sends warm air along the jet stream over the northern Pacific and into the northern and central US.

The system causes storms in the western US, greater precipitation in the south, and warmer air throughout most of the country. The 2015-16 El Niño is expected to rank as one of the three strongest in half a century.

Facebook changes controversial ‘real name’ policy in wake of criticism

Facebook unveiled changes to its controversial “real name” policy on Tuesday after criticism from transgender people and victims of domestic abuse.

The social network bans anonymity and has insisted people use their birth names on their accounts. The policy has caused problems for people who used different names from the one they were born with, including transgender people and victims of domestic violence who use aliases to hide from their abusers.

Facebook remains “firmly committed” to having verifiable names linked to their accounts, the company wrote in a statement. “However, after hearing feedback from our community, we recognize that it’s also important that this policy works for everyone, especially for communities who are marginalized or face discrimination.”

A coalition led by drag queens in San Francisco pressured the company to review its system last year after users reported problems with the “real name” policy.

Dog DNA study reveals the incredible journey of man’s best friend

Man’s proverbial first best friend was probably a grey wolf that may have made contact with the first human companions about 33,000 years ago, somewhere in south-east Asia.

About 15,000 years ago, a small pack of domesticated dogs began trotting towards the Middle East and Africa. Canis lupus familiaris made it to Europe about 10,000 years ago, and when civilisation began in the Fertile Crescent, and humans began to build farmsteads and villages with walls, dogs were already there to help keep guard, herd the first flocks, and demand to be taken for a walk.

The details of the story – the characters, the action and the precise locations – are unknowable. But the outlines of the great adventure are written in DNA.

Breakfast Blogs

The Billionaire Koch Brothers Teach the Poor How to Be Poor Charles Pierce, Esquire Politics

On Intent, Mental Health, and Terrorism emptywheel aka Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel

Are The US And Al Qaeda Friends Again? Dan Wright, Shadoeproof

When the State Department Tries to Choose Muslim Thought Leaders to Win “Hearts and Minds” Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

The Paris climate conundrum — three facts and a question Gaius Publius, Hullabaloo

DOJ Still Not Informing Defendants About Sources Of Surveillance Program-Derived Evidence Being Used Against Them Tim Cushing, Techdirt