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!
Today is inauguration day. Obscene amounts of money will be lavished by lobbyists-on-the-make upon the event. Given that these wealthy lobbyists and corporations aren't total fools, they expect to get something for their investment. This evening's music features songs from the other side of K Street where folks don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the cookie jar to purchase themselves some representation. Enjoy!
Randy Newman - Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)
News and Opinion
Obama turns ‘austerity inauguration’ into a dash for corporate cash
When Barack Obama became president, in 2009, he kept his promise to shake up Washington by imposing a $50,000 cap on all donations to his inaugural fund, declining any financial gifts from corporations or trade unions and releasing full details of all the individuals who had contributed.
What a lot has changed in four years. As Obama prepares to revel in his second inauguration, on Monday, there is no ceiling on what an individual can give, corporations and lobby groups are very welcome and the presidential inaugural committee has been going on a fundraising binge as though there was no tomorrow.
On surface appearance, the inauguration is a sober and scaled-down affair compared with 2009. The number of Inaugural Balls on Monday night has been slashed from 10 to two – a Commander-in-Chief Ball and an Inaugural Ball. But don’t be fooled by the outward semblance of austerity. In fact, says the government transparency watchdog, the Sunlight Foundation, this year’s inauguration has been turned into an orgy of cash generation.
“Here’s a guy who four years ago was Mr Transparency, vowing to change the way business was done in Washington, and now it all looks very much as though its business as usual once again. That’s puzzling,” said the foundation’s Kathy Kiely.
For Most Minorities, King's Dream of Economic Justice a 'Long Way from Home'
Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, the hope for economic justice and equality is still a long way off for most minorities in the U.S., says a new report released Monday.
The average net worth of white families is more than six times higher than that of the average black family and 5.7 times greater than that of latino families, according to the tenth annual State of the Dream (pdf) report issued by the progressive economic group United For a Fair Economy.
"Dr. King devoted the last years of his life to challenging economic injustice and the vast racial economic divide, but his work remains unfinished," the study's executive summary states. "Black and latino families continue to face significant economic disadvantages relative to white families."
Black and latino families faced a "shocking" loss of wealth between 2007 and 2010: the average net wealth of white families decreased by 6.7 percent, but black families lost 27.1 percent of their average net wealth, and latino families 41.3 percent. Black and latino families also carry substantially more debt than white families.
Obama's Drone Program Escalates as Second Term Begins
Three US drone attacks in Yemen in as many days—which have left as many as fifteen people dead— gives further proof that the CIA, according to recent comments made to the Washington Post by a former government official familiar with Obama's assassination program, has "put the pedal to the metal" when it comes to administering the controversial tactic.
And, as Obama was sworn in to his second term in Washington Monday, critics of the 'kill list' took the opportunity to once again warn against the insidious consequences of his ongoing program. ...
These latest strikes in Yemen continue a noted escalation of US attacks that began near the end of 2012.
As Agence France-Presse reports, "Monday's raid brings to at least 25 the number of people killed in US drone strikes since such assaults were intensified on December 24."
Torture of prisoners persists in Afghanistan: UN
Afghan police and intelligence agents persist in torturing suspected insurgents through beatings, electric shocks and other means, despite foreign efforts to curb abuse, the United Nations says.
The UN issued a follow-up to a report on torture a year ago, as Kabul seeks full control over prisons and prisoners from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force despite the misgivings of the US-led ISAF.
Other forms of torture included hanging suspects by the wrists from chains for long periods and threatening them with sexual violence, the UN mission in Afghanistan said in its 139-page analysis released late Sunday.
Many of those tortured to extract confessions were children under the age of 18, it said.
Iraq demands U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil abide by constitution
Iraq’s premier Monday called on ExxonMobil to respect the country’s constitution in rare talks with the US firm’s chief, an apparent reference to a deal with the Kurdish region Baghdad says is illegal.
Nuri al-Maliki also appeared to once again rule out production-sharing deals that Exxon has signed with Kurdistan, arguing that Iraq’s substantial oil reserves “belong to all Iraqis,” an oft-cited phrase in Iraq’s constitution that central government officials see as justifying per-barrel service fees.
The meeting was the first between Maliki and Exxon chief Rex Tillerson since the firm signed an agreement in October 2011 for oil exploration with Kurdistan, angering the central government in Baghdad, which regards deals signed without the expressed approval of the federal oil ministry as illegal.
“Iraqis are partners in the oil that is discovered in any part of Iraq, they can not be partners in Basra and not partners in other areas”, Maliki said, according to a statement from his office, referring to Iraq’s southern oil-rich province.
Investigation ordered after Spanish politicians got ‘salaries’ from private companies
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ordered Monday an internal investigation into the finances of his centre-right Popular Party which was shaken by allegations of under-the-table payments to party officials.
“To dispel any doubts he has ordered a deep and exhaustive internal investigation regarding the party’s finances and the way that Popular Party staff are remunerated,” party secretary general Maria Dolores de Cospedal told a news conference following a meeting of party officials.
The results of the internal investigation will be submitted to an external audit, she added.
The centre-right newspaper El Mundo reported Friday that senior members of the party, which Rajoy has led since 2004, had received undeclared salaries, mainly from private companies, over a 20-year period.
Citing unnamed former members of the Popular Party leadership, the newspaper said the party’s former treasurer Luis Barcenas distributed envelopes containing thousands of euros to party officials on top of their official salaries.
MIT Actively Participated In Aaron Swartz Prosecution
New information on MIT’s conduct in the Swartz affair seems to contradict earlier statements from the university that it was not an active participant in the investigation and only reluctantly participated in the prosecution. ...
MIT’s decision to launch an operation to catch “the hacker” who was downloading too many free articles lead to a “cat and mouse” game with MIT using hidden cameras and electronic surveillance against Swartz. The information collected from that game was turned over to prosecutors despite MIT not being a law enforcement organization acting under an official warrant.
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.What's Happenin'
A Little Night Music
Mavis Staples - Hard Times Come Again No More
Maddy Prior - Honest Work
Catfish Hodge - Unemployed
Albert Collins - When the welfare turns its back on you
Bob Marley - Concrete jungle
Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues
Ry Cooder - Do Re Mi
Woody Guthrie - Do Re Mi
Old & In the Way - I Aint Broke But I'm Badly Bent
Barbecue Bob - Poor Boy A Long Ways From Home
Tangleweed - Hard Times
Brother Can You Spare a Dime - Dr.John & Odetta
Randy Newman - I Think It's Going to Rain Today
Hop Wilson - Broke And Hungry
Jimi Hendrix & B.B King - Like a Rolling Stone
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