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.
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Cripple Clarence Lofton - Monkey Man Blues
“The news isn't there to tell you what happened. It's there to tell you what it wants you to hear or what it thinks you want to hear.”
-- Joss Whedon
News and Opinion
"Manufacturing Consent" 25 Years Later
The propaganda model is a structural model. Its features are--it features ownership, who owns the media, the fact that it is based on advertising as the main funding source. The main sources for the media are powerful people in the United States--Pentagon officials and corporate officials and so on. Another factor in the model is the extent to which negative feedback, flak, comes also from powerful people. And then another element in the model is that there's a basic ideology in the United States--anticommunism, the belief in the free market--and these are accepted by the mainstream media people.
So we have this set of factors that make up the propaganda model, and they are powerful factors. They still are relevant today.
Some people think that the new media, which has somewhat displaced the old media, is going to make for change. But the interesting fact is that the old media did a lot of journalism. It wasn't good journalism, but the old media--newspapers, magazines especially--had investigative journalists. And with the rise of the new media, the new media's absorbing a lot of the advertising, so the old media, the newspapers are well known to be in a crisis. They're losing ads and they're cutting back journalistic staff on a huge scale, and the new media's not picking up the slack.
But I thought and a lot of people thought that the new media meant they were going to have to do more democratic media. But media concentration has grown in the new media. And a lot of new media is what is called social media. It involves a lot of personal connections and ego-building, and it doesn't do investigative journalism. Google, Facebook, these outfits are not very--they don't do investigative journalism to any significant degree. They gather stuff from others and they sell it, and they want to sell it to advertising. So in the new media, you've had a competition for advertising with the old media, and the new media spent an awful lot of time figuring out how to place ads.
[Manufacturing Consent is on youtube - if you've never seen it, it's a couple of hours well spent]
Following Bombing That Killed Afghan Children, Karzai Fingers CIA
Following a US bombing that killed at least ten children in Afghanistan earlier this month, President Hamid Karzai is pointing his finger at a shadowy program led by the US Central Intelligence Agency in the country.
The controversary centers around 'unofficial commando units'—composed of Afghan soldiers but controlled and coordinated by the CIA—which operate outside the control of the Afghan intelligence service but in areas where traditional US and NATO military forces cannot.
As The Guardian's Emma Graham-Harrison reports from Kabul on Friday:Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi said the CIA controlled large commando-like units, some of whom operated under the nominal stamp of the Afghan government's intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), but were not actually under its control. ...
One of these groups was involved in a battle with insurgents in a remote corner of eastern Kunar province in early April that left several Afghan children dead, Faizi said. Karzai has fired the provincial head of intelligence in connection with the incident.
The US citizen who died during the battle was advising the Afghan intelligence service, and the airstrike that killed the children is believed to have been called in after he was fatally injured.
The US embassy declined to comment on CIA issues, but sources with knowledge of the battle said he was an agent, and his name has not been released, usually an indication of intelligence work.
'Terror Returns'–but When Did It Go Away?
"TERROR RETURNS" ran across USA Today's front page in inch-high letters. TERROR RETURNS: USA Today front page, April 16, 2013. Below, the story it referred to had a smaller headline: "That Post-9/11 Quiet? It's Over." ...
But what happened in Boston that hasn't happened since September 11? All we really can say with confidence so far is that somebody tried to kill a large group of people; as USA Today itself has reported, such mass slayings are alarmingly common in the United States, with 774 people killed in 156 incidents between 2006 and 2010. "Mass Killings Occur in USA Once Every Two Weeks," the headline pointed out. ...
The Southern Poverty Law Center has a lengthy list of right-wing terrorism incidents since the Oklahoma City bombing, more than half of which occurred since September 2001; Wikipedia has a list that's less extensive but more ideologically diverse. ... The fact that journalists assigned to cover this story could fail to remember that political violence has been part of the United States landscape for the past decade and more is testament to a narrow definition that dismisses right-wing domestic violence as not really terrorism–and to a will to believe, for partisan or psychological reasons, that George W. Bush "kept us safe" after 9/11. The reality is not so comforting.
Majority in the US: Redistribute Wealth, Enact 'Robin Hood Tax'
A majority of people in the U.S. want more equal wealth distribution and support a "Robin Hood tax" on the rich to achieve that, according to results from a Gallup poll released Wednesday, evidence that the economic policies that concentrate wealth and fuel inequality are out of line with what most people want.
Only 33% of respondents said that the current distribution of wealth in the U.S. is fair, while 59% said it should be more evenly distributed.
The poll results reflect a longstanding sentiment. Wanting more equal wealth distribution has consistently been the position of the majority of Gallup poll respondents since it started asking the question in 1984. At its lowest point in 2000, support for more wealth equality was still the majority opinion at 56%, and was at its highest level in April 2008 at 68%.
John Kerry Finally Meets a Close Election He Wants to Recount
"The other day, Hugo Chavez’ successor Nicolás Maduro beat opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski by 2% of the vote. In the days since, opposition figures have sown violence, claiming vote fraud.
Yesterday, Secretary of State Kerry encouraged a recount.
Mr. Kerry, in comments to a House committee, said, “We think there ought to be a recount.” He added that he had not yet evaluated whether Washington would recognize Mr. Maduro’s victory. ...
This, in spite of the fact that when Bush beat Kerry with precisely the same percentage of the vote in 2004 amid reports of (limited) electoral oddities, Kerry chose not to demand a recount." ...
Most interesting of all is something James Clapper just said in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. In response to a question from Richard Blumenthal about whether there had been fraud in the election, Clapper said (my rough transcription):There may have been some, but it’s unclear whether it was of sufficient magnitude to merit recount. Right now it doesn’t appear to be....
At this point, the Administration’s hesitation at recognizing Maduro and Kerry’s support for a recount do nothing but stoke violence.
The Genocide Trial of General Efrain Rios Montt Has Just Been Suspended
For a while it looked like Guatemala was about to deliver justice.
But the genocide case against General Efrain Rios Montt has just been suspended, hours before a criminal court was poised to deliver a verdict.
The last-second decision to kill the case was technically taken by an appeals court.
But behind the decision stands secret intervention by Guatemala's current president and death threats delivered to judges and prosecutors by associates of Guatemala's army.
Many dozens of Mayan massacre survivors risked their lives to testify. But now the court record they bravely created has been erased from above.
Pro-CISPA forces spend 140 times more lobbying than opponents
Interests supporting a controversial bill aimed at improving cyber security, set for a House vote Thursday, spent 140 times as much lobbying Congress as those on the other side of the debate and have dozens of former Capitol Hill insiders working on their behalf, an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation's Reporting Group shows.
Sunlight's review of lobbying disclosures from the last session of Congress in Influence Explorer shows that backers of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act had $605 million in lobbying expenditures from 2011 through the third quarter of last year compared to $4.3 million spent by opponents of the bill. While it's impossible to say how many of those dollars were devoted to trying to influence votes on the CISPA bill (many of those entities have multiple interests before Congress), it provides some measure of the lopsidedness of the resources available to each side.
Remember CISPA? We killed it once but it's a zombie!
Fresh off the press from the Electronic Freedom Foundation:
U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the SenateFind out how your rep voted here
It's critical that you contact your Senators because, Obama Veto Threat Likely Untrue Making Senate Key Battleground!
Senate voting could begin as early as today.
Click here to contact your senators and tell them to stand with their constituents in voting NO on CISPA.
The Solar Cell That Turns 1 Photon into 2 Electrons
MIT researchers develop an organic solar cell that breaks 100 percent quantum efficiency
Solar cells are picky. If an incoming photon has too little energy, the cell won’t absorb it. If a photon has too much, the excess is wasted as heat. No matter what, a silicon solar cell can never generate more than one electron from a single photon. Such harsh quantum realities severely limit the conversion efficiency of photovoltaic cells, and scientists have spent decades looking for work-arounds.
Now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Excitonics have published a compelling case that the key to greater solar efficiency might be an organic dye called pentacene. In today’s issue of Science Daniel Congreve, Jiye Lee, Nicholas Thompson, Marc Baldo and six others show that a photovoltaic cell based on pentacene can generate two electrons from a single photon—more electricity from the same amount of sun. Scientists have suspected for some time that this might work; today’s paper is proof of concept.
European Carbon Markets Fail - It's Time for RegulationCheck this guy out. If you were to write a script to be delivered by a character described as a corporate douchebag, you couldn't beat this guy's message and delivery.
It's really a time for the big-picture problems, because the major climate strategies are now in question as of a vote on Tuesday, April 16 in the European Union not to bail out the European Union Emission Trading Scheme. That's the carbon market that was started with the 1997 Kyoto Protocol's mandate. And the idea was to put a cap on emissions and slowly bring that cap down and allow companies and governments to trade the ability to pollute within that cap, and then to be able to sell the right to those that were more efficient, and therefore maximize economic output while still achieving emissions reductions.
And the problem is it just hasn't worked at all. In fact, Union Bank of Switzerland estimated that over $300 billion has been wasted because none of the anticipated outcomes have materialized. ...
Time magazine asked, if it can't work in Europe, can this carbon market strategy to reduce emissions work anywhere, just as California's up and running this year, as Australia, New Zealand, and some of the emerging markets are also thinking about it?
Nestlé chairman says water is not a human right
In a candid interview for the documentary We Feed the World, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck makes the astonishing claim that water isn’t a human right. He attacks the idea that nature is good, and says it is a great achievement that humans are now able to resist nature’s dominance. He attacks organic agriculture and says genetic modification is better.
Nestlé is the world’s biggest bottler of water. Brabeck claims – correctly – that water is the most important raw material in the world. However he then goes on to say that privatisation is the best way to ensure fair distribution. He claims that the idea that water is a human right comes from “extremist” NGOs. Water is a foodstuff like any other, and should have a market value.
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
Big Maceo Merriweather - County Jail Blues, Ramblin' Mind Blues + Texas Blues
Cripple Clarence Lofton - Strut That Thing
Big Maceo Merriweather - Worried Life Blues
Cripple Clarence Lofton - Streamline Train
Big Maceo Merriweather + Tampa Red - I Can't Get Along With You
Cripple Clarence Lofton - In The Mornin'
Big Maceo Merriweather With Tampa Red - Texas Stomp
Cripple Clarence Lofton - Had a Dream
Big Maceo Merriweather + Tampa Red - Poor Kelly Blues
Cripple Clarence Lofton - Crying Mother Blues
Big Maceo - Big City Blues
Cripple Clarence Lofton - Brown Skin Girls
Big Maceo Merriweather + Tampa Red - Kid Man Blues
Cripple Clarence Lofton - Juice Joint
It's National Pie Day!
The election is over, it's a new year and it's time to work on real change in new ways... and it's National Pie Day. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to tell you a little more about our new site and to start getting people signed up.
Come on over and sign up so that we can send you announcements about the site, the launch, and information about participating in our public beta testing.
Why is National Pie Day the perfect opportunity to tell you more about us? Well you'll see why very soon. So what are you waiting for?! Head on over now and be one of the first!