The Breakfast Club (The Ides)

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

Julius Caesar assassinated in Rome; Johnson urges passage of Voting Rights Act; Worldcom CEO Bernard Ebbers convicted of fraud; Elizabeth Taylor marries Richard Burton; “My Fair Lady” debuts on Broadway.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

I do hope that some of my dissents will one day be the law.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Happy Birthday, Justice Ginsberg, and many, many more.

Breakfast News

Vladimir Putin orders start of Russian forces’ withdrawal from Syria

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has abruptly declared that he is withdrawing the majority of Russian troops from Syria, saying the six-month military intervention had largely achieved its objective.

The news on Monday, relayed personally to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, in a telephone call from Putin, followed a meeting in the Kremlin with the Russian defence and foreign ministers. He said the pullout, scaling back an intervention that began at the end of September, is due to start on Tuesday.

His move was clearly designed to coincide with the start of Syrian peace talks in Geneva and will be seen as a sign that Russia believes it has done enough to protect Assad’s regime from collapse.

Merkel refuses to abandon refugee policy despite election setbacks

Angela Merkel has described Sunday’s regional elections in Germany as a “difficult day” for her party after the strong gains made by the anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), but said she would stick by her open-door policy on refugees.

“The refugee question requires a European solution – a sustainable solution – and that solution requires time,” the German chancellor said at a press conference in Berlin on Monday.

AfD entered state parliaments in all three regions that voted, winning 24% of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt and more than 10% in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) lost support in Baden-Württemberg, a region dominated by the CDU since the end of the second world war, and Rhineland Palatinate but remained the largest party in Saxony-Anhalt.

She conceded that the rise of the AfD was a sign of protest against the “unresolved question of the number of refugees” and “fears about integration”. She said she saw the AfD as “not an existential problem for the CDU, but a problem”.

Utah prepares for legal showdown with government over control of public lands

Utah lawmakers are setting aside millions of dollars for a legal showdown with the federal government over control of public lands in a fight fueled by the same rightwing activism that inspired an armed standoff in Oregon.

Republican legislators have earmarked $4.5m in taxpayer funds for a potential lawsuit, which would seek state control of more than 31m acres of land that the federal government currently manages within Utah’s borders.

The substantial budget allocation and the increasingly serious threat of litigation put Utah in a position to be the next frontier in the contentious dispute over public lands in the west, with anti-government activists organizing in recent years to protest environmental and wildlife regulations that they say unfairly restrict ranching, logging and other land uses.

Endangered right whales return to Cape Cod in ‘mindblowing’ numbers

Cape Cod is seeing a lot more of some singularly welcome tourists: endangered right whales enticed by the fine dining possibilities of its plankton-rich bay.

Experts tracking the creatures, which are some of the rarest on the planet, say nearly half the estimated global population of 500 or so animals has been spotted in Cape Cod Bay over the past few springs.

They are back this year in what looks like record numbers, thrilling amateur photographers and scientists still worried over their future.

“It’s rather extraordinary and somewhat mindblowing,” said Charles “Stormy” Mayo, a senior scientist and director of right whale ecology at the federally funded Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown.

Discovery of brainy T rex ancestor sheds light on dinosaur’s dominance

The dusty remains of a horse-sized tyrannosaur have shed light on an evolutionary mystery that eventually resulted in the most fearsome predators to walk the Earth, not to mention nightmares for countless four-year-olds.

While Tyrannosaurus rex topped the food chain 70m years ago, the earliest known tyrannosaurs were far less impressive beasts. Skeletons dating back 165m years reveal the ancestors of T rex were not much larger than a human. Quite how they rose to dominance has long been obscured by a 20m-year gap in the fossil record.

The discovery of a partial skull belonging to a 90m-year-old tyrannosaur has now given dinosaur hunters their best clue yet. While the animal was still small, at only 250kg and 3 metres long, its brain had evolved an impressive sensory system. The more advanced brain may have helped secure the tyrannosaurs’ rise to dominance.

Breakfast Blogs

Rahm Emanuel’s Disastrous Stint as Chicago Mayor Is Officially a Campaign Issue Charles Pierce, Esquire Politics

The Problem of the Liberal Elites Part 1 Ed White, emptywheel

DOJ’s Clear Threat to Go After Apple’s Source Code emptywheel aka Marcy Wheeler, emptywheel

What’s The Problem With ‘Free Trade’? Dave Johnson, Crooks and Lairs

You’re God Damn Right We’re Tired driftglass