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.
AP’s Today in History for January 31
US launches first satellite into orbit; Libyan intelligence officer convicted of Pan Am 103 bombing; US Soldier executed for desertion during World War II; Norman Mailer born; Franz Schubert born. (Jan. 31)
Something to Think about, Breakfast News & Blogs Below
Judge rules FBI unlawfully refused to comply with information act requests
Sam Thielman, The Guardian
The FBI unlawfully and systematically obscured and refused to answer legitimate requests for information about how well it was complying with the Freedom of Information Act (Foia), a Washington, DC court found last week.
US district judge Randolph D Moss ruled in favor of MIT PhD student Ryan Shapiro, finding that the government was flouting Foia, a law intended to guarantee the public access to government records unless they fall into a protected category. Moss found that the FBI’s present policy is “fundamentally at odds with the statute”.
Shapiro has, with his attorney Jeffrey Light, provided documents obtained using Foia requests to the Guardian in the past.
The bureau shot down requests for information so regularly and thoroughly – sometimes saying that records were unavailable, sometimes that they didn’t exist, sometimes that it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of records – that Shapiro and his co-plaintiffs asked for more information about the process by which they had been so often refused. …
Leaking Classified Info Not Such a Big Deal (Except When Whistleblowers Do It)
Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams
In what some are calling another example of a two-tiered justice system, the Pentagon said Friday that it would not demote Retired General David Petraeus, who was convicted in 2015 of leaking classified information to his biographer and mistress.
The former CIA head reached a plea deal with the Justice Department last year, and the new development means no further action against Petraeus. “As you know, the Army completed its review of his case and recommended no additional action. Given the Army review, Secretary Carter considers this matter closed,” Stephen C. Hedger, the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, wrote in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee and seen by news outlets.
A demotion from his four-star general ranking “could have cost him tens of thousands of dollars a year in pension payments,” the Washington Post reports.
As USA Today reports,
Petraeus, the highest-profile commander of his generation, lied to FBI agents, divulged a massive amount of sensitive data to Paula Broadwell, and fretted about how she handled them in an interview she recorded with him, court documents showed. She was the co-author of a biography about Petraeus titled, All In, The Education of General David Petraeus.
The federal court levied a fine of $100,000 against him and placed him on probation in the plea deal.
He served no prison time. …
Georgia businesses assess costs of ‘religious freedom’ law
Timothy Pratt, Al Jazeera
When the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce hired economist Tom Cunningham to fill a newly created position in July, one of his first assignments was to study the potential economic consequences if “religious freedoms” legislation is enacted in Georgia.
Cunningham’s study, released in November, estimated that Georgia could lose at least $1 billion if such a law is passed in the state. The same month, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, a tourism agency, produced a report predicting similar losses for the state. Around the same time, former state Senate Majority Leader Ronnie Chance began meeting with a small group of business leaders concerned about the issue.
The growing sense of unease came to a head earlier this month, only days before Georgia’s 2016 Legislature convened, with the launch of Georgia Prospers, a coalition of several hundred businesses, including large corporations emblematic of the state such as Coca-Cola, Home Depot and Delta Airlines. …
Baltimore warns that children are at risk of lead poisoning from paint
Baynard Woods, The Guardian
…Although there have been dramatic reductions in lead poisoning in Baltimore over recent decades, an investigation by the Baltimore Sun in December showed that more than 4,900 children have been affected by lead in the last decade – 129 in the last year alone.
But Saul Kerpelman, a lawyer who has handled thousands of lead cases, says these numbers don’t really show the extent of the problem. Those numbers, he said, are calculated based on a blood lead level (BLL) of 10 micrograms per deciliter (mg/dl). But the CDC has recently determined that any amount of lead in a child’s blood can immediately and irreversibly cause brain damage. Kerpelman said that if you cut the BLL number in half to the current threshold number of 5 mg/dl, there could be as many as 4,000 cases in Baltimore last year and if the acceptable lead level were set to zero, it could be as many as 10,000 exposed children. Kerpelman said that out of the more than 4,000 cases he has dealt with, “99% are black”.
One of those cases was a suit filed by Freddie Gray, who lived in a Rochkind-owned home as a young boy and tested with a blood lead level of between 11 and 19 mg/dl. He suffered from the effects of lead poisoning, which studies have linked to decreased IQ and short and long-term memory impairment, causing numerous related social problems. Researchers have also found a significant link between lead exposure and crime. Kerpelman calls it “a root cause” of bad schools, crime and drug use. “It all relates back to lead poisoning and because it is black kids we’re not doing anything meaningful.”…
- Billionaire Paul Allen’s Yacht Wrecks Cayman Islands Coral Reef
Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac
A Bloomberg Poll Finds Little Support for Michael Bloomberg
Michael Barbaro, NYT
DES MOINES – A Bloomberg-sponsored poll, made public in extravagant Bloomberg style amid shrimp and champagne, delivered some sour news about Michael R. Bloomberg himself: Few Iowa voters like him as he weighs a third party White House run.
A poll of likely caucusgoers conducted for Bloomberg Politics and The Des Moines Register and released on Saturday night found just 17 percent of Democrats and 9 percent of Republicans had a “favorable” view of Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.
Among likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa, half had an unfavorable view of Mr. Bloomberg; 26 percent of the Democrats had an unfavorable view of him.
By comparison, 50 percent of the Republicans polled had a favorable view of another Manhattan billionaire, Donald J. Trump, whose candidacy has offended and baffled Mr. Bloomberg. And 46 percent of the Democrats had a favorable view of Martin O’Malley, who is faring poorly in polls, nearly three times the proportion viewing Mr. Bloomberg favorably. …