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.
(Truth be told, friends, we're really not that disorganized; the fact that we've managed to put this series together and stick with it disabuses the notion that we're disorganized, right? Also, I wish I had a censored night once in awhile, but alas, this is something my producers made me say.)
Just so you know, I usually spend hours working on my breakfast club posts, but I'm having a brunch tomorrow and will be entertaining my boyfriend from high school (a cool rock musician) and his wife (a cool doctor), and a new friend I met on a temp job and her fiancee, who are moving to the Midwest in a few days. I want to get back into the kitchen! We are having a quinoa salpicon, green tea noodle salad, oeuf cocottes with salmon and dill, mini quiches, charcuterie and cheese, nuts, olives, bread, fruit and coconut jello with fruit! Plus I am going to juice some oranges and add prosecco to that for yummy brunch drinks. So, forgive me if it seems like I'm rushing through this post because, in fact, I am.
This Day in History
Fighting Poverty Wages
by Sarita Gupta, TalkPoverty.Org
We’re at a critical moment in our economic recovery that requires real leadership and people power to ensure true economic democracy in our country. There is incredible work being done to build a strong antipoverty movement, and spaces like these are fundamental to encourage an open dialogue about our strategies and tactics as well as our successes and failures.A New Teacher Union Movement is Rising
As corporate profits keep soaring, workers’ wages continue to stagnate, creating the widest income inequality gap our nation has seen in modern times. At Jobs With Justice we still believe that in America, people who work hard should be paid enough to live with dignity and raise a family. Today, millions of people go to work every day and still don’t earn enough money to feed their families. If people can work full-time and still can’t afford groceries, rent and medication, then the entire model is flawed and unfair. We can’t continue down this path of creating bottom-of-the-barrel, low-wage jobs that condemn our friends and neighbors to poverty.
A critical first step toward regaining our country’s shared prosperity is to insist that lawmakers adopt a meaningful increase in the minimum wage. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would update the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour and give the law teeth by indexing it to inflation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, even this slight increase—which would be the first since 2009—would raise 900,000 Americans above the official poverty level. And it would boost pay for 30 million people, many of whom are teetering just above the poverty line.
by Bob Peterson, CommonDreams.Org
A revitalized teacher union movement is bubbling up in the midst of relentless attacks on public schools and the teaching profession. Over the next several years this new movement may well be the most important force to defend and improve public schools, and in so doing, defend our communities and our democracy.Man Can't Live on Cabbage Alone
The most recent indication of this fresh upsurge was the union election in Los Angeles. Union Power, an activist caucus, won leadership of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the second-largest teacher local in the country. The Union Power slate, headed by president-elect Alex Caputo-Pearl, has an organizing vision for their union. They have worked with parents fighting school cuts and recognize the importance of teacher–community alliances.
In two other cities –Portland, OR, and St. Paul, MN – successful contract struggles also reflect a revitalized teacher union movement. In both cities the unions put forth a vision of “the schools our children deserve” patterned after a document by the Chicago Teachers Union. They worked closely with parents, students, and community members to win contract demands that were of concern to all groups. The joint educator-community mobilizations were key factors in forcing the local school districts to settle the contracts before a strike.
By Jill Richardson, OtherWords | Truth-Out.org
I ran into an acquaintance recently and he told me he'd started seeing a new nutrition expert. "You know what?" he said, "It turns out I'm gluten intolerant."The Economics of Contempt
OK. Him and everyone else. I told him I was glad he found an expert who could help him.
A week later I saw him again. "I went back to the nutritionist," he said. "I can't have nightshades either." That means no more potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, or eggplant.
The next time I saw him, he'd given up dairy, corn, black pepper, and sweet potatoes. I'm not really sure what exactly he is eating at this point, besides cabbage. He's also taking a long list of supplements, all on this new nutritionist's orders.
I suspected that this "nutritionist" has no license of any sort. She's certainly not a registered dietitian.
I finally asked him how she tested him for allergies. She had him hold a glass vial of a particular food in one hand and, with the other hand, hold his thumb to the tip of his middle finger. Then she tried to pull his finger and thumb apart. If she could, then she proclaimed him allergic to whichever food was in the vial he was touching.
by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR, CounterPunch.Org
If it’s spring, it must be time for Barack Obama’s annual drive-by of black America, where he piously lectures African-Americans on the state of their lives. Though the tinsel adorning his rhetorical flourishes is getting somewhat frayed, the president didn’t disappoint this year. Indeed, he treated the nation to two speeches on civil rights in a single week–a rare double-header for the commander of drones.Festering and forgotten, Pakistan's other war burns on (+video)
On April 10, Obama could be found in Texas, delivering an arid speech at the LBJ Presidential Library, studded with pompous non-sequiturs (“history not only travels forwards, it travels backwards”) and awkward allusions to civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King, for whom Obama has little natural affinity.
The main takeaway from the Austin speech was that the legislative landmarks of the mid-1960s were about as good as it’s ever going to get. “Half a century later, the laws LBJ passed are now as fundamental to our conception of ourselves and our democracy as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Obama said. There was no mention of new legislation or programs to address unemployment, job discrimination, malnutrition, decaying public schools or poverty. At best Obama made a rather timid call for the defense of the old Johnson era laws, which, in his tendentious narrative, are being gnawed away by the reactionary right.
By Umar Farooq, Correspondent / May 24, 2014, Christian Science Monitor
TURBAT, PAKISTANTHE CHAOS ENGULFING EASTERN UKRAINE
In Turbat's main square, dozens of troops from the Frontier Corps spend their day nervously scanning traffic. One soldier, his machine gun resting on the bulge in his flak jacket, visits the square's shopkeepers one by one, checking in with them.
More than 55,000 troops are deployed in Balochistan, but this is a war most Pakistanis have no idea is occurring. An eight-year old insurgency – the fifth one in the province since Pakistan’s founding in 1947 – shows no signs of diminishing. Indeed, the insurgency appears to be growing as abuse by security forces goes unchecked. But the remote location and threats on journalists that report here mean very little information gets out.
In the evening, the soldiers jump into pickup trucks and olive-drab armored personnel carriers to race down the main road in a daily show of force.
RECOMMENDED: How much do you know about Pakistan? Take this quiz.
The front of nearly every shop they pass is covered in graffiti. One popular motif – “March 28th, 1948: Balochistan's bloody day” – laments the day that federal troops were sent in to curb the first separatist uprising here. Another reads, “We won't accept Pakistan's occupation of Balochistan.”
POSTED BY JOSHUA YAFFA, The New Yorker
Velyka Novosilka is an agricultural hamlet of sixteen hundred people, a charming and archetypically Soviet provincial town with nearly empty streets and an unusually large Lenin statue in its central square. It sits in a flat expanse of green farmland, an hour and a half by car from Donetsk, the regional capital and the epicenter of an insurrection against the government in Kiev. In Donetsk, and in towns to the northeast like Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, pro-Russian separatist militias have set up armed roadblocks and barricaded themselves in government buildings.Thailand coup: Junta disbands Senate, tightens grip across country
In recent weeks, the fighting in eastern Ukraine has taken on its own grinding, self-perpetuating momentum, independent of developments taking place in Kiev, Moscow, or the West. An array of militia forces on both sides launch attacks almost daily, and within each respective camp—insurgent and pro-Kiev—the proliferating paramilitary brigades do not necessarily communicate, or even care for one another. Earlier this week, on May 21st, a group of unidentified anti-Kiev insurgents launched an attack in Blahodatne that killed sixteen Ukrainian soldiers, a sign of their deadly strength. A few months ago, larger powers—whether the Kremlin or Ukrainian oligarchs who thought that a rebellion in the east could further their own interests—may have had some operational control or sway over the militias in eastern Ukraine, but that influence appears to have waned. The men with guns are the ones in charge now. That is a thoroughly depressing development for Ukraine. Even if there is a negotiated solution to the ongoing conflict—itself an unlikely development—it may not be sufficient to halt the cycle of violence across the Donetsk region.
Velyka Novosilka lies to the west, farther from the strongest, most concentrated hostility toward Kiev along the border with Russia. Here, the encroachment of separatist feeling has been more subtle, and certainly less forceful. On the morning of May 14th, around fifty people gathered in front of the regional administration building for a rally in support of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the imaginary breakaway state declared by separatist leaders earlier this month after a dubious “referendum” on May 11th. They chanted and made speeches, and, soon enough, the red-blue-and-black flag of the would-be republic hung from the flagpole out front. The handful of regional bureaucrats inside the building didn’t do anything to stop them; the police were similarly idle. The passive response seemed understandable. Why risk your life to defend a distant, ineffectual government in Kiev that isn’t very popular in the east, especially when it seems possible that the Donetsk People’s Republic—or simple anarchy—will win out after all?
by Lindsay Murdoch, The Sydney Morning Herald
Bangkok: Thailand’s military junta has dramatically tightened its grip across the country, disbanding the Senate and purging the bureaucracy of senior officials seen as allies of the deposed government.Nigeria’s Army Hampers Hunt for Abducted Schoolgirls
The junta has also called in dozens of prominent writers and academics and said top political leaders, including deposed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, were being held in secret locations without charge to give them ''time to think''.
The rolling crackdown comes as the junta sent thousands of heavily armed troops on to Bangkok’s streets as hundreds of anti-coup protesters defied an order banning gatherings of more than five people.
By ADAM NOSSITERMAY 23, 2014, The New York Times
ABUJA, Nigeria — Intelligence agents from all over the globe have poured into this city, Nigeria’s capital, to help find the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram more than a month ago — but there has been little or no progress in bringing the young women home.Santa Barbara shooting rampage ends with 7 fatalities, 13 injured
The problem, many involved in the rescue effort say, is the failing of the Nigerian military.
There is a view among diplomats here and with their governments at home that the military is so poorly trained and armed, and so riddled with corruption, that not only is it incapable of finding the girls, it is also losing the broader fight against Boko Haram. The group has effective control of much of the northeast of the country, as troops withdraw from vulnerable targets to avoid a fight and stay out of the group’s way, even as the militants slaughter civilians.
Boko Haram’s fighters have continued to strike with impunity this week, killing dozens of people in three villages in its regional stronghold, but also hitting far outside its base in the central region. Car bombs have killed well over 100, according to local press reports.
Tribune newspaper and wire reports
10:11 p.m. CDT, May 24, 2014
Santa Barbara, Calif. -—The gunman in the Isla Vista, California, shootings has been identified as Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old student at a city college who had three previous contacts with local law enforcement,Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters on Saturday in a second press conference.
"This incident appears to be a mass murder situation," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told a televised news conference Saturday morning. "We currently have seven people confirmed dead. That includes the suspect and six victims." Thirteen more were injured -- four injured by the suspect's car and eight sustained gun shot wounds.
"It is very, very apparent the the suspect was severely mentally disturbed," Brown said.
According to officials, the shooting spree began at the suspect's residence when three males were murdered. The victims at the home were repeatedly stabbed.
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Did you say "breakfast?"
I know that this is not a traditional breakfast dish, but it is one of the dishes I am preparing for today's brunch. It has green tea soba (noodles), sesame seeds, a dressing of mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, scallions, garbanzo beans and plus, for color, I am adding chopped red bell pepper. Bon appetit!
Something to Think About Over
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats 5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…. 10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, 15
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, 20
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes; 25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate; 30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go 35
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— 40
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare 45
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, 50
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all— 55
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? 60
And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress 65
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets 70
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! 75
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? 80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, 85
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while, 90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”— 95
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while, 100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: 105
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . . . . .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use, 115
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old … 120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me. 125
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown 130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
From the Saving the Best for Last Department:
Nothing much to report on DeadHead this week except that I'm taking him to Alaska with me as soon as my son graduates from high school. It's just getting too hot in Seattle, lately, what with climate change and all, and DeadHead and I are truly wilting violets.
Stupid Quiet, Deep Shit LaEscapee Wrote:
I Had a Whole Diary.
"I was nowhere near a computer and had no pen or piece of paper on hand. "
LaEscapee is a man of few words. They say still waters run deep. He ain't heavy, man, he's my brother.
Confidential to all you lefty pie warriors
We get that you're frustrated, and feel that the community moderation system does not always appear "fair and balanced," but pretty please with sugar on top don't bring your pie wars into The Breakfast Club. We don't want to reinforce our already
dirtier than a dirty fucking hippieangry, hateful, fringy image. Your anticipated cooperation is much appreciated, and That Group thanks you in advance.