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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 folk, blues and gospel singer Odetta.  Enjoy!

Odetta - Jim Crow Blues

"Exaggeration is truth that has lost its temper."

  -- Khalil Gibran

News and Opinion

Pentagon report: scope of intelligence compromised by Snowden 'staggering'

• Classified assessment describes impact of leaks as 'grave'
• Report does not include specific detail to support conclusions
• 12 of 39 heavily redacted pages released after Foia request

A top-secret Pentagon report to assess the damage to national security from the leak of classified National Security Agency documents by Edward Snowden concluded that “the scope of the compromised knowledge related to US intelligence capabilities is staggering”. ...

But while the DIA report describes the damage to US intelligence capabilities as “grave”, the government still refuses to release any specific details to support this conclusion. The entire impact assessment was redacted from the material released to the Guardian under a presidential order that protects classified information and several other Foia exemptions.

Only 12 pages of the report were declassified by DIA and released. A Justice Department attorney said DIA would continue to process other internal documents that refer to the DIA report for possible release later this year. ...

The assessment excluded NSA-related information and dealt exclusively with non-NSA defense materials. ... The classified damage assessment was first cited in a news report published by Foreign Policy on January 9. The Foreign Policy report attributed details of the DIA assessment to House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers and its ranking Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger. The lawmakers said the White House had authorized them to discuss the document in order to undercut the narrative of Snowden being portrayed as a heroic whistleblower. ...

"This report confirms my greatest fears — Snowden’s real acts of betrayal place America’s military men and women at greater risk. Snowden’s actions are likely to have lethal consequences for our troops in the field," Rogers said in a statement at the time.

But details to back up Rogers' claims are not included in the declassified material released to the Guardian.

Neither he nor any other lawmaker has disclosed specific details from the DIA report but they have continued to push the “damage” narrative in interviews with journalists and during appearances on Sunday talk shows.

The Pentagon report on Snowden's 'grave' threat is gravely overblown

For months, defenders of America's spy agencies have been touting a classified Pentagon report as proof that Edward Snowden's unprecedented disclosures have grievously harmed intelligence operations and placed American lives at risk. But heavily redacted excerpts of that report, obtained by the Guardian under a Freedom of Information Act request and published on Thursday, suggest that those harms may be largely hypothetical – an attempt to scare spy-loving legislators with the phantoms of lost capability.

The first thing to note is that the Pentagon report does not concern the putative harm of disclosures about the National Security Agency programs that have been the focus of almost all Snowden-inspired stories published to date. Rather, the Defense Intelligence Agency's damage assessment deals only with the potential impact of "non-NSA Defense material" that the government believes Snowden may have obtained. Any harm resulting from the disclosure of NSA-related material – in other words, almost everything actually made public thus far – is not included in this assessment.

In fact, the unredacted portions of the report don't discuss published material at all. Instead, the Pentagon was assessing the significance of the information "compromised" by Snowden – all the documents they believe he copied, whether or not they ever see the light of day.

It certainly makes sense for the government to try to gauge the harm that could result if all that information was disclosed, but that's very different from saying harm has occurred.  ... Astonishingly, the government still appears not to have any idea how much information Snowden copied. Intelligence officials estimate that he accessed some 1.7m documents, and are operating on the assumption that he took every document he had access to. Yet there's no reason to believe that assumption is true, and journalist Glenn Greenwald – one of the few with full access to the Snowden trove – has consistently described it as containing "tens of thousands" of documents, not millions.

Michael Ratner: Twitter Storm between WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald

NBC's Brian Wiliams Lands Snowden/Greenwald Interview in Moscow

Evening anchor for NBC News Brian Williams traveled to Moscow this week, it was revealed on Thursday, in order to conduct a joint interview with exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald. ... The hour-long interview will air as a primetime special next Wednesday, May 28 at 10 p.m. Eastern/9 p.m. Central.

House Rejects Measure to End War on Terror

Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D – CA) efforts to repeal the 2001 Authorization on the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which the Bush and Obama Administrations have used as the legal cover for virtually all military operations since, failed today in a 191-233 vote.

The bill had initially been seen as having some administration support, but that myth evaporated after yesterday’s fiasco in the Senate, where officials argued the AUMF had nothing to do with anything, and that President Obama would attack whomever he pleased, whenever he pleased. The officials came out for vague, non-specific changes to AUMF, but not for repeal.

This led hawks to angrily condemn Rep. Schiff’s bill, with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R – TX) accusing him of having “forgotten” 9/11. The Senate’s AUMF efforts don’t look promising either, with some now arguing in favor of “revisions” that would greatly expand the war powers to authorize President Obama’s attacks on groups not even cursorily linked to al-Qaeda

Senate Confirms Drone Memo Author as Appeals Court Judge

After yesterday‘s preliminary approval vote, the Senate today gave final confirmation to David Barron, author of the Barron Memo on drone strikes, as a judge in the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Today’s vote was 53-45, and pretty much identical to yesterdays, split nearly 100% along party lines, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D – WV) and Mary Landrieu (D – LA) joining the “no” votes.

Judge blasts Defense Department but allows forced-feeding to resume

WASHINGTON — An unhappy federal judge blasted the Defense Department for its “intransigence” but has lifted a ban on forced-feeding of a hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay detainee.

In a three-page decision dated Thursday, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler said she had little choice but to remove a temporary restraining order that had blocked officials from feeding Syrian detainee Mohammed Abu Wa’el Dhiab.

“Thanks to the intransigence of the Department of Defense, Mr. Dhiab may well suffer unnecessary pain from certain enteral feeding practices and forcible cell extractions,” Kessler wrote.“However, the court simply cannot let Mr. Dhiab die.” ...

Kessler noted that Dhiab has indicated his willingness to be enterally fed, if it could be done at the hospital in Guantánamo Bay. Kessler said Dhiab also wants to “be spared the agony of having the feeding tubes inserted and removed for each feeding, and...the pain and discomfort of the restraint chair.”

“The Department of Defense refused to make those compromises,” Kessler stated.

Guantánamo inmate vomited blood after force-feeding, documents show

New documents filed in a federal court in Washington have revealed that a Guantánamo Bay detainee contracted a chest infection as a result of force-feeding, leading him to repeatedly vomit blood.

The filing on Thursday came a day after a federal court forced the government to reveal that it has secretly recorded dozens of force-feedings of one hunger-striking Guantánamo detainee, raising the possibility that the US military may have similar films of other detainees.

The fresh documents, filed in the US district court for the District of Columbia, relate to a detainee named Ahmed Rabbani, a Pakistani father of three who has been held without charge for more than a decade.

In the papers, Rabbani describes through his lawyer how a string of force-feedings with improperly inserted feeding tubes caused him to develop pain in his chest and left him with a chest infection.

He developed pain after a tube was wrongly inserted multiple times, he says. The next day, he asked to be granted a day's rest. The request was ignored, he says, and the following day he “vomited blood on himself three or four times” before losing consciousness. He was still taken to the feeding chair. ...

Cori Crider, Reprieve strategic director and counsel for Rabbani, said: “Because of a peaceful protest aimed at securing basic legal rights, my client has been put through a painful, near-daily ordeal.

“All this would be unnecessary if the [Obama] administration would just follow through on its promise to close the prison.”

'No' to Gitmo': Dozens of global protests over Obama broken promise to close prison

CIA secrecy over detention program threatens 9/11 prosecutions, senators warned Obama

WASHINGTON — Two powerful Senate committee chairs told President Barack Obama earlier this year that the CIA’s insistence on keeping secret how it treated prisoners under its enhanced interrogation program threatens the country’s ability to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Intelligence Committee, and Carl Levin, D-Mich., head of the Armed Services Committee, sought the president’s help in getting information declassified about the CIA’s so-called harsh interrogation techniques and stressed the need for transparency on a program that essentially had ended in 2006 and that Obama formally killed when he took office in 2009.

The two senators blamed the CIA’s obsession with hiding the details of the program for the logjammed military commission process that has yet to try any of the alleged 9/11 conspirators, some of whom have been in custody for nearly a dozen years.

“We write to urge that you direct all appropriate action to address the ongoing delay in the military commission trial of Khalid Shaykh Mohammad (KSM) and four other detainees being prosecuted at Guantanamo in connection with the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” the committee chairs, using an alternative spelling for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, wrote in a Jan. 6, 2014, letter obtained Thursday by McClatchy. “Much of the delay is related to the continued classification of the information concerning the now defunct CIA Detention Interrogation Program.”

Obama's drone speech was a sham

We were promised drone memos. And a case for legal targeted killing. And no more Gitmo. We're still waiting

Twelve months ago today, Barack Obama gave a landmark national security speech in which he frankly acknowledged that the United States had at least in some cases compromised its values in the years since 9/11 – and offered his vision of a US national security policy more directly in line with "the freedoms and ideals that we defend." It was widely praised as "a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America".

Addressing an audience at the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, the president pledged greater transparency about targeted killings, rededicated himself to closing the detention center at Guantánamo Bay and urged Congress to refine and ultimately repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which has been invoked to justify everything from military detention to drones strikes.

A year later, none of these promises have been met. Instead, drone strikes have continue (and likely killed and wounded civilians), 154 men remain detained at Guantanamo and the administration has taken no steps to roll back the AUMF. This is not the sort of change Obama promised. ...

Obama's speech a year ago offered real promise. In the 12 months since, the US could have disclosed the full legal basis for targeted killings, allowing the public to engage in an informed debate about whether and under what circumstances the US may use lethal force away from the battlefield . It could have implemented a new drone policy that would have sharply reduced civilian loss of life and provided compensation for those families harmed by US strikes. Obama could have closed Guantánamo not by simply moving it elsewhere but by bringing US policy in line with the basic principle that people who have not been charged with crimes should not be imprisoned – and that those who are charged deserve fair trials.

Instead, US counterterrorism policy remains shrouded in secrecy, and the "transparency and debate" Obama pledged so eloquently have been stymied by his own polices. Rather than marking a turning point, Obama's speech turns out to have been a roadmap for what he would not accomplish in the coming year.

Iona Craig: Dire Situation in Yemen as Backlash Grows From U.S.-Backed Offensive Against Al Qaeda

Most US drone strikes in Pakistan attack houses

Domestic buildings have been hit by drone strikes more than any other type of target in the CIA’s 10-year campaign in the tribal regions of northern Pakistan, new research reveals.

By way of contrast, since 2008, in neighbouring Afghanistan drone strikes on buildings have been banned in all but the most urgent situations, as part of measures to protect civilian lives. But a new investigative project by the Bureau, Forensic Architecture, a research project based at London’s Goldsmiths University, and New York-based Situ Research, reveals that in Pakistan, domestic buildings continue to be the most frequent target of drone attacks.

The project examines, for the first time, the types of target attacked in each drone strike – be they houses, vehicles or madrassas (religious schools) – and the time of day the attack took place.

It reveals:

  • Over three-fifths (61%) of all drone strikes in Pakistan targeted domestic buildings, with at least 132 houses destroyed, in more than 380 strikes.
  • At least 222 civilians are estimated to be among the 1,500 or more people killed in attacks on such buildings. In the past 18 months, reports of civilian casualties in attacks on any targets have almost completely vanished, but historically almost one civilian was killed, on average, in attacks on houses.
  • The CIA has consistently attacked houses have throughout the 10-year campaign in Pakistan.
  • The time of an attack affects how many people – and how many civilians – are likely to die. Houses are twice as likely to be attacked at night compared with in the afternoon. Strikes that took place in the evening, when families likely to be at home and gathered together, were particularly deadly.
As Washington Focuses on Another Benghazi Probe, Could a Civil War Be Brewing in Libya?

Chocolate tycoon heads for landslide victory in Ukraine presidential election

Poroshenko's current popularity has much to do with adroit positioning. He wasn't one of the three opposition leaders – the current prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, boxer Vitali Klitschko and ultra-nationalist Oleh Tyahnybok – who signed a deal with Yanukovych. And his business fortune came not from the murky world of energy but from something altogether more palatable: chocolate.

"Poroshenko was on the Maidan [central square in Kiev]. But at the same time he escaped unpopular decisions," said Olexiy Haran, a professor of comparative politics in the capital. "He managed to present himself as balanced, reasonable and successful." Even when he popped up on Maidan, paying for food, water and firewood for protesters, he was careful to play both sides. "Russia isn't our opponent, but our partner," he told the liberal Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta. "Understand, Euro-Maidan is not a movement away from Russia, but from the Soviet Union."

Born near Odessa, in south-west Ukraine, Poroshenko launched himself as a business consultant in the 1990s after studying economics in Kiev. (He met his wife, Maryna, a cardiologist, at a university disco; they have four children.) Poroshenko took over state confectionery plants and transformed them into a lucrative empire. ...

Following years of oligarchic misrule, does Ukraine really need another rich man in charge? "I think he has this feeling of public service in him," said Orysia Lutsevych, a research fellow with Chatham House's Russia and Eurasia programme. Lutsevych acknowledged that Poroshenko was wealthy, with his own business interests. But she added: "His business looks legitimate. It wasn't built on corrupt trade in gas and oil with Russia." Unlike other Ukrainian politicians "he was never involved in any big scandals". ...

On the campaign trail, Poroshenko has cast himself as the man who can rescue Ukraine from its numerous afflictions: break-up, corruption, a rampant shady economy and lousy governance. His long-term goal is to transform his nation of 46 million into a modern European state. He wants to decentralise power, amend the constitution and sign the latest chapter in the EU association deal, which he personally drafted as foreign minister. The European path will help Ukraine modernise, he argues, and – as his campaign slogan puts it – "to live in a new way".

But the spectre of a Yugoslav-style collapse remains. Poroshenko takes a hardline against pro-Moscow separatists. "What language do we have to speak with terrorists? That's right, the language of force," he told an election rally last week, according to the Kyiv Post.

Putin seeks better ties with West but blasts U.S. over Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he wanted better ties with the West but fiercely criticized U.S. policy on Ukraine and the global economy - and acknowledged that sanctions were hurting Russia.

In a speech to foreign and Russian businessmen gathered at Russia's answer to the Davos World Economic Forum, Putin sent mixed messages, signaling he would work with whomever is elected Ukraine's president on Sunday and trying to woo foreign investors by promising reforms.

But, describing the situation in Russia's neighbor as civil war, he accused the United States of fomenting unrest in Ukraine and aggravating global economic problems, and reiterated concerns that Ukraine would one day join NATO. ...

He said Washington had "crapped" in Ukraine by encouraging the removal of pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich, but that European businesses had shown a more pragmatic approach - the European Union has been reluctant to impose tough sanctions because of its heavy reliance on Russian natural gas supplies.

"The world has changed," Putin said. Indirectly criticizing Washington, he added: "The unipolar vision of the world ... has failed."

Prince Charles attacked by Russian-funded TV channel over Putin remarks

A Kremlin-funded news channel has hit back at Prince Charles likening Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler by highlighting the royal family's historical links to the Nazis.

The unashamedly pro-Russian broadcaster Russia Today said Charles should look to his own family history before criticising Putin over Russia's actions in Ukraine.

"If anyone knows real Nazis it's the royal family," said RT senior political correspondent Anissa Naouai on its In the Now programme. She then introduced a slick video graphic of a mocked-up photo album providing a pictorial guide to the House of Windsor's Nazi links.

Thai military detains politicians and activists

Thailand's military has detained more than 150 politicians and activists and banned them from leaving the country, a day after the army chief seized power in a coup declared necessary to "restore order and normality" in the politically divided nation.

The group includes members of the prominent Shinawatra family, including former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, who was forced to step down two weeks ago.

Those disobeying the army's summons were warned that they would be arrested and prosecuted, the army's new governing body, the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC), said. ...

It is unclear what the army's summons entail, as media are not allowed inside the base and reporting has been highly restricted, with many Thai and international TV channels off-air.

Some leaders have since been released but others are still being held in an undisclosed Bangkok safehouse. ...

Thursday's coup – the country's 19th since an absolute monarchy was abolished here in 1932 – has been condemned by a number of nations, including France, Japan, Australia, the EU, UN and US.

Pepe Escobar: Thailand's coup in four minutes

Golden Dawn ditches boots for suits in European election makeover

Neo-Nazi Greek party Golden Dawn is softening its image and tempering its rhetoric before Sunday's European elections.

Replacing boots with suits, the party has sought to shed its menacing persona, fielding middle-class professionals in an effort to broaden its appeal. Among its 42 candidates are university professors, lawyers, surgeons, businessmen and a former Nato commander.

"Golden Dawn is in a new phase of development due to Greece's ongoing social and economic crisis," said Giorgos Kyrtsos, a political commentator who is running as a Euro MP with the ruling centre-right New Democracy. "With the middle class determined to avenge the government for policies that have seen its living standards collapse, the far right has understood strong-arm tactics are no longer necessary." ...

Despite facing government accusations of involvement in murder, extortion and racist violence – and the discovery of portraits of Hitler and Nazi paraphernalia in the homes of Michaloliakos and other MPs - the party clawed back lost support with a surprisingly strong performance.

In Athens, the area worst hit by record unemployment and six straight years of recession, Ilias Kasidiarias, Golden Dawn's mayoral candidate, won 16.1% of the vote – more than double the party's showing in general elections in June 2012. Although the former commander, whose left shoulder is emblazoned with a large swastika tattoo, failed to make it into Sunday's runoff, his success was echoed in working-class suburbs, where the party polled more than 20%. ...

Human rights groups are expressing alarm at Golden Dawn's rise. The far right's ability, Europe-wide, to move into the political mainstream on a platform of hate has raised fears of alliances being formed that will ultimately undermine democratic norms from within.

Jackson Rising: New Economies Conference Highlights Cooperatives as Alternative Economic Model

The Populist Tradition

The movement that gave populism its name swept out of the Plains states in the late 19th century as small farmers and steelworkers, day laborers and sharecroppers came together to take on the trusts, the railroads, the distant banks that were impoverishing them.

They railed against a government that handed public lands to the railroads, kept interest rates high, coddled monopolies and cracked the heads of workers trying to organize.

But in challenging the corrupted government, they came to a profound realization: that in the emerging industrial economy, simply cutting back government and limiting its powers would only free monopolies and banks to gouge even more from workaday Americans.

They concluded that they had to take back the government, turning it from the arm of the privileged to the people’s ally.

This led to two other challenges. First, they had to mobilize people to counter what Roosevelt called “organized money.”

And second, protest wasn’t enough. They had to invent new ideas, sweeping reforms to make the economy work for working people.

That populist movement lasted only a few years as an independent party, but the reforms it championed set the agenda for progressives for more than half a century – the minimum wage, the eight-hour workday, antitrust laws, the progressive income tax, a flat ban on subsidies to private corporations, and worker cooperatives. It mobilized millions around a new monetary policy. It pushed to expand democracy through direct elections of senators, initiatives and referenda. There’s a direct line from the Omaha Platform of the People’s Party in 1892 to FDR’s Four Freedoms and Economic Bill of Rights, to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, whose 50th anniversary we honor this week.

Can a New Populist Movement Fight Off American Oligarchy?

Bernie is "seriously considering" it.

Warren says, "I'm not running."

A few Democratic governors are reportedly dabbling.

But with progressives nationwide yearning for a bold populist movement, is there any chance their hopes will be met in the upcoming midterm elections or on the 2016 presidential battlefield?

At the 'New Populism Conference' hosted by the Campaign for America's Future on Thursday, a number of progressive thinkers and activists—not to mention Senators Warren and Sanders themselves—spoke to the idea of the "new populism" they say is desperately needed to release the nation from the stranglehold of corporate interests and a politics dominated by big money.

Striking a resolute and outside message at the conference was Rev. William Barber—head of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the Moral Monday protests in his state—who rejected the idea that hope should come from Washington, DC or the establishment of either major party. ...

Barber said a truly populist and progressive movement must face off against both parties. "I'm sorry to tell you, if no one did," said Barber, "but sometimes Democrats don't do what they should even when they have the power. And Republicans do what they shouldn't do when they have the power."

The real solution, Barber declared, is "to have an independent movement which says, 'It doesn't matter who's in power! There are some things that are just right and we demand that they be done!'"

[Here's all 9 hours of the conference:]

McDonald's CEO insists fast-food giant pays 'fair wages' as protesters rally

McDonald's offers “real careers” and “competitive wages”, CEO Don Thompson told shareholders on Thursday, as hundreds of protesters chanted for better pay outside the fast-food giant’s annual meeting.

As demonstrators staged a second day of protests against the company’s wage scale outside the company’s suburban Chicago headquarters, Thompson told shareholders: "We believe we pay fair and competitive wages.”

“I know we have people outside,” said Thompson. “I think that McDonald’s provides more opportunity than any other company … We continue to believe that we pay fair and competitive wages,” he said. ...

Thompson comfortably survived a vote questioning his $9.5m pay package for 2013. The “say on pay” protest vote was organised by Change to Win Investment Group (Ctw), which recently won a similar vote at Chipotle, which is now reviewing executive compensation.

The Koch Brothers Kick Detroit While It’s Down

Over the last five months, a deal has come together that would solve some of the most contentious issues in Detroit’s bankruptcy. It would minimize the pension cuts for 30,000 retirees and city workers, save the city’s art collection and give a reasonable amount of money to the city’s bondholders.

As expected, there were some objections from a few big insurance companies that stood to lose heavily. But with the support of Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, the deal seemed to have a shot in the state legislature, which would be required to spend about $195 million of tobacco-settlement money on behalf of Detroit’s pensioners.

And then, a few days ago, a loud and depressingly familiar voice rose in protest. The Koch brothers, through the screeching megaphone they built known as Americans for Prosperity, condemned the deal and announced plans to contact 90,000 conservatives around the state to build up pressure against it. The Associated Press reported that the group threatened to run ads against any Republicans in the legislature who voted for the deal in the coming days.

AFP has already set up a website — “No more bailouts for Detroit!” — that plays on the long-running, sometimes racially inflected resentment of Detroit around Michigan.

The Evening Greens

Revealed: Former Energy in Depth Spokesman John Krohn Now at U.S. EIA Promoting Fracking

For those familiar with U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) work, objectivity and commitment to fact based on statistics come to mind. Yet as Mark Twain once put it, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

That's where John Krohn comes into play. A former spokesman for the gas industry front group Energy in Depth (EID), Krohn now works on the Core Team for EIA's “Today in Energy!“  ...

Krohn follows in the footsteps through the government-industry revolving door of the man President Barack Obama named to head the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for his second term, former Massachusetts Institute of Technology “frackademic,” Ernest Moniz. DOE is the parent agency for EIA.

Further, EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, another second-term appointee of President Obama, also passed through the same revolving door as Krohn and Moniz in his pathway to heading EIA. He formerly worked in the world of oil and gas finance.

In big public push, White House seeks to smooth way for carbon curbs

Last month, Washington's top environment advocate went to the Cleveland Clinic to talk about how President Barack Obama's landmark efforts to crack down on power-plant carbon emissions would ease a range of respiratory illnesses. ...

The meetings, and hundreds more like them over the past year, mark an unprecedented campaign by the White House and the EPA to win broad public and state backing for rules expected to come June 2 to limit for the first time carbon emissions from power plants, which are the biggest source of greenhouse gases.

Both the message and the method reflect a conscious effort to avoid the problems that two years ago nearly sank Obama's health care reform, another contentious policy milestone that will become an indelible part of his legacy, according to officials and sources familiar with the process.

The proposed curbs will form the cornerstone of Obama's climate action plan, a multi-layered blueprint for fighting global warming unveiled a year ago. The plan is critical to fulfilling U.S. commitments to reduce emissions agreed to at an international forum in Copenhagen in 2009.

It is also key to carving out a legacy for Obama's second term, after the administration was frustrated in its efforts to make progress on other goals such as immigration reform and gun control. Taking strong steps to fight climate change could be the biggest achievement of the last two years of his presidency, administration officials say.

More oil spills ahead for Puget Sound?

It looks like Puget Sound – which isn’t actually a noise but a sprawling and ecologically rich estuary in Washington state – is about to get a whole lot oilier.

An ugly trifecta of fossil fuel export projects proposed around the sound would substantially boost shipping traffic, and a new report funded by the EPA and produced by academic scientists for a state agency warns that can be expected to bring oil spills with it.

If the Gateway Pacific coal export terminal is built at Cherry Point, Wash., and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline into Vancouver is expanded, and Vancouver’s Deltaport is expanded, the report warns that the frequency of ship groundings and collisions could rise by 18 percent. Regionally, the risks of a large oil spill could rise by about two-thirds, the researchers found.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

Greenwald: A Response to Michael Kinsley

Feces meets fan in Rochester

A Little Night Music

Odetta - Blues Everywhere I Go, Trouble In Mind (w/Pinetop Perkins)

Odetta - Aint no grave can hold my body down

Dr.John & Odetta - Brother Can You Spare a Dime

Odetta - Careless Love

Odetta - Sail Away, Ladies

Odetta - Another Man Done Gone

Odetta - Tomorrow Is A Long Time

Odetta - Down On Me

Odetta - Baby, I'm in the Mood for You

Odetta - Cotton Fields

Odetta - Goodnight Irene

The Last Word: Odetta

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!

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Fri May 23, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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