The Breakfast Club (Color Me)

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

 

 

 

Today in History for July 1st

  

 

 

   

The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg begins; The first
nuclear weapons test in peacetime; TR's assault on San Juan Hill;
Britain's Princess Diana born; Hong Kong returned to China; Actor Marlon
Brando dies.

Breakfast Tunes

 

 

 

Blondie-Call Me

  

 

 

   

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

 

If there is no struggle, there is no progress.

Frederick Douglass

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Sometimes rudeness is effective

 photo Jennicet_Gutierrez_insert_courtesy_B_Loewe_zpss4dmdcwf.jpgI have, until now, mostly held my tongue about the incident in the White House involving Jennicet Gutiérrez, other than adding a link to my diary, Free Nicoll after someone wondered why there had been no important diaries on the immigrant detention of transgender women.

Miraculously, ICE released a memo yesterday urging agents and facilities to respect transgender detainees and directing staff to house transgender immigrants in housing that corresponds with the detainee's gender identity rather than sex at birth.

That's a shift from long-standing ICE (and general prison) policy, which often sees transgender women housed with men, where they face a starkly elevated risk of sexual assault and harassment.

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The Importance of Platform

One of the most frustrating things about the activism I do was exquisitely demonstrated last night. I've been actively activisting since I transitioned 23 years ago, on various platforms (email lists, the web, IRC, in public appearances and presentations, and in the past decade, blogging).

Yet last night, on Last Week Tonight John Oliver reached more people in 17 minutes than I have in all my efforts.

I'm not complaining, mind you. It is a fantastic thing that Oliver did. And it's not his fault that he has a platform available to him which I shall never experience.

Good on you, John Oliver. May you begin a trend.

 

 

 

 

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Outraged

Andrew Cuomo is outraged! Outraged, I say! He's so outraged, he wrote an Angry Letter on Friday.

In one of my least successful diary efforts, Indignity in New York from this past week I recounted how the NYCLU had released a report charging that the state of New York was a failure at protecting transgender and gender non-conformiing students as charged under the Dignity for All Students Act of 2010.

This lack of action appears to have resulted in harassment and violence being perpetrated against transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

--Cuomo

According to the report, 19% of the 24,478 incidents of harassment reported in New York schools during the 2012-13 school year involved gender stereotypes.

Cuomo called the report “truly disturbing” and demanded that Acting Education Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin “take any and all necessary action” to address its findings.

Now that's scathing!

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The Breakfast Club (Electric)

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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She tried

 photo Jess Shipp2_zpscbzqqyg3.jpgThis is a day we on which, I guess, we should be celebrating like all get out. But last night I discovered some hard news. Such news is easier to bear when it is shared.

Jess Shipps spent eleven years in the Air Force. She spent a decade locating and bringing home the remains of soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam, Laos, and New Guinea. For the last two years, she taught others her talent for video and photography.

Nine months ago, Jess left the service so that she could begin a transition from male to female. On Tuesday, shortly after sending a few people important to her the message

I tried.

Jess Shipps took her own life.

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The Breakfast Club (Weird)

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.
 photo 807561379_e6771a7c8e_zps7668d00e.jpg
   

This Day in History

 

 

 

Today in History for June 26th

  

 

 

   

President John F. Kennedy rallies West Berlin during
the Cold War; The U.N. Charter signed; Scientists complete first rough
map of the human genetic code; Charlie Chaplin's 'The Gold Rush'
premieres.

Breakfast Tunes

 

 

 

The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night - Official Video

  

 

 

   

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

 

I used to think that anyone doing anything weird was
weird. I suddenly realized that anyone doing anything weird wasn't weird
at all and it was the people saying they were weird that were weird.

Paul McCartney

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Indignity in New York

In 2010 New York passed the Dignity for All Students Act.

The Dignity Act prohibits acts of harassment and bullying, including cyberbullying, and/or discrimination, by employees or students on school property or at a school function, including but not limited to such conduct those based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (defined to include gender identity or expression), or sex.

The Act was to go into affect in July 1, 2013.

In a new report Dignity for All? Discrimination Against Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students in New York State the NYCLU is charging that he state has failed to protect students from discrimination and bullying on the basis of gender identity or expression or sexual orientation. You can download the report here.

Children’s rights remain largely misunderstood by educators and administrators.

--NYCLU

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The Breakfast Club (Lucky Us)

 
breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgSometimes
the Science section scares me and I have a hard time coming to grips
with issues that are more immediately and politically important like
Climate Change and the Environment, instead favoring those that are more
esoteric and intellectual. 

This is one of those weeks where the news in general has been
uniformly depressingly bad and the only place we seem to be making any
progress at all is on the silly issue of whether the Battle Flag of the
Army of Northern Virginia represents racism and should be removed from
government sponsorship.

Of course it does.

But it is just another in the littany of Social Issues the
Plutocrat thieves and their NeoLib minions use to divide and distract us
from the fact they are robbing us blind and destroying the Environment,
the Economy, and Peace and Freedom in the process.

I like to think as a writer I'm a positive and cheerful person
(and what you think doesn't really matter to me, I write for myself) so I
make an effort to select good news and there is just not as much of it
as I had hoped today.

So instead of pointing out how Genetically Modified Organisms are
likely to create a world full of health problems and unintended
consequences (add 'Space Germs' to your reading list), and the pettyness
of Scientists (see 'Jellyfish Gene' and 'Sexism in Science'); or
talking about the destruction of our environment for marginal monetary
gain and the determination of our government to strip us of our last
scrap of privacy, freedom, and dignity; I have chosen instead today to
focus on just how lucky we are.

Some physicists consider it a puzzle that certain constants they
have discovered have the particular values they do because they seem
random and arbitrary.  Those who argue this way are fond of pointing out
that should any of the values vary the Universe as we know it wouldn't
exist.

There are 3 main camps of thought on this issue.  The first is
called 'Weak Anthropomorphism' and basically contends the Universe is a
fluke and we should all just be happy it is the way it is.  The second
is called 'Strong Anthropomorphism' which says the Universe responds to
observation like the Quantum State of Schrodinger's cat.

The third, and this is the one to which I subscribe, says simply
that if the values were different the Universe would be different.
 Everyone pretty much accepts now the idea that the Universe will keep
expanding until all the energy in the system is equal and after that
nothing much will happen.  It's called the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

It was fashionable for a time to think this would not occur, that
a limit would be reached where the energy expanding the Universe would
be overcome by Gravity and it would collapse on itself in another Big
Bang.  Indeed for quite a while the existence of a Big Bang was denied
entirely and a Steady State Universe was proposed where everything was
always the same.

 

Nine Inch Nails - Every Day Is Exactly The Same

 

What changed?

Well, as we checked out the values of specific items predicted by
each of the discarded theories we found out they weren't that, they
were something else.

But if they were that then that's the kind of Universe it would be.

Now those who subscribe to the first two camps (and indeed physicists who insist this is a very important question) tend to dismiss this attitude as a mere multiverse cop out, but it's much more subtle than that.

In complex equations there are often more than one right answer and their very nature frequently depends on the results of the previous ones.

Our mathematical structure is fundamentally arbitrary and derives
it's validity from internal consistency and practical use.  That means
it's not impossible to imagine a different mathematical structure.

Humankind's Existentially Lucky Numbers
by George Johnson, The New York Times

JUNE 22, 2015

Rejecting the possibility that this was nothing
more than a lucky accident, physicists have been looking for some
underlying principle - a compelling explanation for why everything could
only have unfolded in this particular way.

...

But physics isn't played that way: If a number called alpha, which
governs the strength of electromagnetism, were infinitesimally larger or
smaller, stars could not have formed, leaving a lifeless void.

Alpha's value seems no more predictable than digits randomly spit out by a lottery machine: 0.0072973525698.

...

Other values, like the mass of the Higgs, or the strength of the
force that binds together the cores of atoms, appear to be just as
finely tuned. Bump the dials just barely, and nothing like our universe
could exist.

...

Finally there are followers of a middle path, who seek to prove that
the universe is not accidental but inevitable, with its set of defining
numbers as constrained and mutually consistent as the solution to a
Sudoku puzzle.

That was the goal of string theory when it rose to prominence
three decades ago. The mathematics, with its extra dimensions and
pretzel geometries, was so mesmerizing that the theory seemed almost
certain to be true - a tightly woven description, when ultimately
deciphered, of a universe just like our own.

Instead, string theory spiraled off in another direction,
predicting a whole multitude of other universes, each with a different
physics and each unobservable except for our own. Maybe some of the
other universes have spawned different kinds of conscious beings, made
from something other than atoms and just as puzzled (in some
unfathomable equivalent of puzzlement) as we are.

What fundamentaly drives this issue is our collossal, egotistical,
anthropomorphism that insisted for centuries that the world is flat and
the Sun revolves around us.

Plenty of multiverse skeptics remain open to some
version of string theory, one that doesn't require redefining what
counts as real. Maybe, lurking still hidden in the thicket, is a magic
equation, showing that this universe is, after all, the only one that
can be.

See?  It's the same attitude that faced Copernicus.  What doesn't change is people and their self centered ignorance.

Science Oriented Video

 

Decoding The Universe | The Great Math Mystery | Science Documentary

 

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think,
the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to
you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with
Maxwell's equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If
it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these
experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found
to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope;
there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

-Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science News and Blogs

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

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