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Welcome! "The Evening Blues" is a casual community diary (published Monday - Friday, 8:00 PM Eastern) where we hang out, share and talk about news, music, photography and other things of interest to the community.  

Just about anything goes, but attacks and pie fights are not welcome here.  This is a community diary and a friendly, peaceful, supportive place for people to interact.  

Everyone who wants to join in peaceful interaction is very welcome here.



Hey! Good Evening!


This evening's music features bluesmen Andrew "Big Voice" Odom and Golden "Big" Wheeler who both have birthdays this week.



Andrew 'Big Voice' Odom - Feel So Good


“On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?

There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.”

 -- Martin Luther King Jr.


News and Opinion

As Obama Prepares for 2nd Term, Tavis Smiley Urges Him to Take Up MLK’s Fight Against Poverty
Judge: Bradley Manning’s motive not a defense in WikiLeaks case

A US military judge on Wednesday ruled that Bradley Manning’s motive for allegedly leaking a cache of secret government files to WikiLeaks is no defense against the charges he faces.

Manning, an army private who was arrested in May 2010 while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq, faces trial in June for passing diplomatic cables and war logs to the anti-secrecy website run by Julian Assange.

Manning’s lawyers had argued evidence regarding the soldier’s motivation for illicitly passing the confidential documents to WikiLeaks should be heard at trial, but judge Denise Lind largely threw out the request. ...

A US Army legal advisor told reporters afterwards any evidence regarding Manning’s reasons for orchestrating the leak could only be heard if it was to argue that the soldier did not “knowingly aid the enemy,” chiefly Al-Qaeda, by uploading and then releasing the files.

“In those circumstances evidence can be presented, but otherwise, motive is not relevant, unless the government opens the door in some other way,” the advisor said of the judge’s ruling.

DOJ sends bundle of completely censored documents in response to ACLU lawsuit

Responding to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Department of Justice (DOJ) turned over a bundle of documents that are completely blacked out.

The lawsuit was filed after the DOJ ignored a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking information on how the agency interpreted a 2011 Supreme Court decision (PDF) that bans law enforcement from using GPS technology to track Americans without a warrant.

The Department responded to the lawsuit with 111 pages of attorney memos, but only two pages are legible. The rest are covered by large black rectangles that blot out all useful information.

“The Justice Department’s unfortunate decision leaves Americans with no clear understanding of when we will be subjected to tracking—possibly for months at a time—or whether the government will first get a warrant,” ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump explained in a statement.

Exclusive: Aaron Swartz’s Partner, Expert Witness Say Prosecutors Unfairly Targeted Dead Activist

Latest Assault by 1% on your earned benefits

These guys never sleep and their greed is immeasurable. These two articles lay out the strategy being employed by the greedy 1%ers that want to rob you blind...

U.S. business executives call for raising retirement age to 70

A business group of top executives on Wednesday proposed reforms to Social Security and Medicare that would raise the enrollment age for both programs to 70 but not raise Social Security taxes paid by upper-income Americans.

The Business Roundtable, which represents more than 200 chief executives from some of the largest U.S. corporations, also urged Congress to add a "premium support" mechanism to Medicare, peg Social Security cost-of-living adjustments to a lower inflation gauge and raise Medicare charges for wealthier beneficiaries.

This strategy for "modernizing and protecting our social safety net" would save $300 billion in Medicare spending over the next 10 years, make Social Security solvent for 75 years and help foster stronger economic growth, the group estimated. ...

But the group rejected shoring up Social Security by making incomes above the maximum annual threshold - which in 2012 was $110,100 - subject to payroll taxes, saying that would hurt the economy.

Corporate CEO 'Extremists' Target Social Security, Medicare

'For the wealthy, pampered, and narcissistic CEOs of the Business Roundtable, sacrifice is always for someone else.'

CEOs from America's largest corporations—including its biggest banks, retailers, and insurance companies who helped drive the country into the worst recession in nearly a century— are now calling on Congress to punish the nation's working class and society's most vulnerable by advocating major changes to Social Security and Medicare in a new lobbying push that critics say reveal the cruelty and selfish nature of the country's corporate class.

The Business Roundtable, comprised of more than 200 chief executives and some of the nation's wealthiest individuals, began lobbying DC lawmakers Wednesday in a press conference calling for major cuts to Social Security (including a raise in elgibility age to 70) and a new push to privatize Medicare. ...

The demands of the group mirror those of the recent 'Fix the Debt' campaign, which lobbied to "reduce corporate taxes and shift costs onto the poor and elderly," ahead of the so-called 'fiscal-cliff' talks in December.

The Roundtable CEOs intend to pitch their ideas in meetings with congressional and White House officials ahead of the next impending round of deficit negotiations. And, given the preferential treatment they receive by many corporate media outlets, the group is pushing its message loudly among a public worn out by repeated fiscal battles in Washington.

Syria a Humanitarian Disaster - People Demand a Political Settlement Without Assad

US Taps Pension Fund To Avoid Debt Limit Default

The day after Christmas, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has informed congress that the government will reach its borrowing  limit of $16.4 trillion on December 31, after which “extraordinary measures” will have to be taken in order to avoid the debt limit.

Yesterday, in a letter to congress he announced that the government had begun  borrowing from the Federal Employee Pension Fund (the G Fund) to keep operating without surpassing the limit.  The move he said, will free up $156 billion in borrowing authority while Congress debates increasing the $16.4 trillion debt limit.

Meanwhile the gridlock between the President and the House Republicans over increasing the debt limit persists; GOP standing firm on their decision not to raise it unless the President acquiesces to significant spending cuts.

Guns for Sale: Dispatch From an Arms Fair in New York State

House Passes $51 Billion in Aid for Hurricane Sandy Survivors - Affected Areas Get Much Needed Aid But Activists Warn to Follow the Money

EPA's Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest

When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family's drinking water had begun "bubbling" like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: An oil company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.

At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.

Now a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with company representatives show that the EPA had scientific evidence against the driller, Range Resources, but changed course after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into a common form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing. Regulators set aside an analysis that concluded the drilling could have been to blame for the contamination.

Fewer Than 10 Environment Reporters Left at Top 5 U.S. Papers

The news last week that the New York Times is dismantling its environment desk and reassigning the reporters throughout the newsroom provoked an outpouring of reaction, much of it suggesting that now isn't the time to take risks that could diminish the coverage of climate change. ...

Michael Mann, a climatologist who directs the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said specialized, experienced environment editors and reporters are essential to navigate the escalating politics and complicated science of climate change. "Without properly trained science journalists to serve as honest brokers ... the public is increasingly ill-equipped to sift through the cacophony of anti-scientific propaganda that pervades the public discourse and to identify the emerging threats to our health and our environment," Mann said. ...

Once the Times' environmental desk is dismantled, the nation's top five newspapers by readership—the Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal—will have fewer than 10 reporters and a handful of editors among them whose primary responsibility is to cover the environment.

The Los Angeles Times will be the only one among the five to have a designated environment desk. After losing a large portion of its environmental team during newsroom-wide layoffs in 2008, the Los Angeles Times desk now has one editor, four full-time reporters and one part-time reporter. The paper recently announced an opening for another full-time reporter.

Action Center

Demand justice for Aaron: Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

We and Aaron's friends and family have been in touch with lawmakers to ask for help, and several of them -- who've worked with Aaron and Demand Progress on SOPA and other issues -- are beginning to take action.  We're asking them to help rein in a criminal justice system run amok. Authorities are encouraged to bring frivolous charges and hold decades of jail time over the heads of people who are accused of committing victimless crimes.

1) Representative Zoe Lofgren has introduced what's been named  "Aaron's Law."  It would fix a key part of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which is one of the statutes under which Aaron was indicted.  We need to pass Aaron's Law AND further amend the CFAA.

The CFAA makes violations of a website's terms of service agreement or user agreement -- that fine print you never read before you check the box next to it -- a FELONY, potentially punishable by many years in prison.  That's how over-broad this dangerous statute is, and one way it lets showboating prosecutors file charges against people who've done nothing wrong. ...

2) Additionally, we asked Congressman Darrell Issa -- who controls the powerful Oversight Committee -- to open an investigation into prosecutorial misconduct in Aaron's case.

Amazingly, he's already responded and is sending an investigator to the office of the U.S. Attorney who was pressing charges against Aaron.

We want the inquiry to proceed, and to be broadened to include a more thorough investigation into rampant over-prosecution of alleged crimes with no victims -- as in the case of what Aaron was accused of.  And we want those who abused their power to be held to account.


Blog Posts of Interest

Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.
What's Happenin'

Trove of F.B.I. Files on Lawyers Guild Shows Scope of Secret Surveillance

Aaron's Law

Teacher Rebellion: Refusal to Administer Standardized Testing Spreads in Washington

Don’t You Dare Conflate MLK and Obama

In Santa Fe NM, City Gun Buy Success

It's a start :: Aaron's Law



A Little Night Music



Andrew 'Big Voice' Odom - Woke Up This Morning

Andrew Odom - I Don't Know

Golden "Big" Wheeler - Chicago Winter Weather Blues

A.C. Reed & Big Wheeler - I'm a Jealous Man

Andrew 'Big Voice' Odom - Goin' To California

Andrew 'Big Voice' Odom - Next Time You See Me

Golden "Big" Wheeler - Bad Bacon Baby

"Big Voice" Odom + Andre Christovam - Don't Ever Leave Me Blues

Golden "Big" Wheeler - Man Or Mouse





Debate

Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?

Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.

Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."  ~ Noam Chomsky




mood ring 1

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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