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.
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This evenings music features influential jazz tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet who created the first R&B saxophone solo on the tune "Flying Home." Enjoy!
Illinois Jacquet - Illinois Jacquet and his band in the "Jive Crazy" scene from the 1949 noir movie "D.O.A."
"Witnesses incur responsibilities, as anyone who has ever seen a traffic accident and had to go to court to testify, knows. In the new world of globally televised war crimes, the defence of 'not knowing,' or neutrality, will dissolve for everyone. To be a witness or bystander is not a value-free choice but, inadvertently, a moral position; and in this sense the 'guilt' of people who live with the memory of crimes committed by members of their families, or communities, has been unwittingly extended to everyone who watches appalling pictures on the news.”
-- Erna Paris
Israel launches massive airstrikes on Gaza after Tel Aviv bombing
Israeli forces have launched numerous missile attacks on Gaza, killing at least 6 after a bomb struck a bus in Tel Aviv, injuring 16. It is the eighth day of Israel’s ‘Pillar of Defense’ campaign, which has killed over 130 Palestinians so far.
Israeli war jets pummeled Gaza’s Al-Yarmouk football stadium with more than 10 consecutive attacks, Al Jazeera reports. Several casualties were reported following the assault.
The IDF claimed they are striking key Hamas targets, while the Palestinian Authority criticized the attacks for killing civilians.
The escalation of attacks comes off the back of a bomb attack on a Tel Aviv bus that left 16 people injured. Israel’s government called an emergency meeting in response to the first terrorist bombing in the city since 2006.
Death in Gaza, Déjà Vu
Aerial strikes now soar into the hundreds and every non-combatant person is at risk. It is becoming more and more difficult to cover up the fact that the civilian population of Gaza, the families, children, shopkeepers, street vendors, pharmacists, doctors, construction workers, teachers, journalists, and others are not the ‘collateral damage’ in an angry war against “militants,” “terrorists,” and primitive rockets. Rather they are themselves are the primary targets. They are the ones who must be culled from the land. The “militants” are merely the means to their demise. The ‘unpeople’ who clutter the land like trash are the genuine, singular targets of US-Israel foreign policy, standing as they do between the messy, inconvenient present and the most sacred and coveted of goals: rule over the land unencumbered by Arabs; access and control of the resources with no pretense of sharing; open spaces for development and investment and future profits. That the planners will also get tourist attractions of a bygone civilization whose cultural artifacts can be served up as souvenirs in shops with restaurants serving ‘native’ cuisine may have been unintended, but are opportune, byproducts. When Gaza is flushed free of its human squalor and the land and resources reintegrated methodically into the Jewish State, quietly and without fanfare, America’s Israeli terror over the land will end, or so it is presumed. Events could still go this quietly, and Palestinians will be likened to the Sioux. ...
All the sounds and sights and smells of slaughter verify the damage and danger of aerial assaults and targeted killings; Apartment buildings still buzzing with human activity when missiles pierced through their ceilings offer up their dead and wounded to the deafening skies. Progressive US President Barack Obama and his allies applaud Israel’s masterful techniques of preventive war as self-defense; its sophistication at using state of the art weaponry against mosques, homes, markets and schools; re-emphasize at press conferences the right of Israel to defend itself against the human cattle they have justly corralled into densely packed camps to be bound and slaughtered or starved and transferred elsewhere. All of it is happening again, today, before our very eyes; before the universal documents proclaiming the rights of mankind and international humanitarian law; before the leaders who have so eagerly abandoned due process and civil liberties but fear the rising tide of rebellion in the Middle East and elsewhere? How dare we pontificate on the atrocities of Damascus after sponsoring such a Juggernaut for Jerusalem? For Gaza? What educated public can still claim they didn’t know? How can anyone any longer pretend the earth was not boiling beneath us like lava under an active volcano?
'Shadow Banking' Still Thrives, System Hits $67 Trillion
The system of so-called "shadow banking," blamed by some for aggravating the global financial crisis, grew to a new high of $67 trillion globally last year, a top regulatory group said, calling for tighter control of the sector.
A report by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) on Sunday appeared to confirm fears among policymakers that shadow banking is set to thrive, beyond the reach of a regulatory net tightening around traditional banks and banking activities. ...
The multitrillion-dollar activities of hedge funds and private equity companies are often cited as examples of shadow banking.
But the term also covers investment funds, money market funds and even cash-rich firms that lend government bonds to banks, which in turn use them as security when taking credit from the European Central Bank. ...
The United States had the largest shadow banking system, said the FSB, with assets of $23 trillion in 2011, followed by the euro area — with $22 trillion — and the United Kingdom — at $9 trillion.
Extremely Rich Wall Street CEO Wants Americans To Work LongerSenator Patrick Leahy has really let us all down. His rewrite of what was a somewhat decent bill to protect Americans from unwarranted intrusions by government into their digital privacy has been rewritten and is now a monster. This monster is coming up for a vote next week. You can follow the bill's progress here. A letter to your Senators would be a good idea!
Lloyd Blankfein — evidently taking a break from doing “god’s work” as the CEO of Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs — told CBS News’ Scott Pelley that he believes the retirement age needs to be raised because “in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained“:
Maybe working until a later age is fine for a Wall Street CEO whose net worth is $450 million. But it’s simply nonsense to assert that the retirement age needs to go up because Social Security is no longer affordable.
Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants
Proposed law scheduled for a vote next week originally increased Americans' e-mail privacy. Then law enforcement complained. Now it increases government access to e-mail and other digital files.
A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law, CNET has learned.
Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns, according to three individuals who have been negotiating with Leahy's staff over the changes. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.
Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies -- including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission -- to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.
Most American Jail Inmates Have Not Been Convicted Of Anything
The Tea Party is right. Our freedom is being stripped away. However, the threats to our liberty are not coming from gun laws. They aren’t coming from tax laws. In many cases, they aren’t even coming from the government. The threats to our freedom are coming from the prison industrial complex, and for nearly 2/3rds of American jail inmates, their crimes have not yet been proven.
A recent study by the Pretrial Justice Institute has found that 61% of people sitting in jail are still awaiting trial. Only 39% are serving actual sentences. As recently as 1996, that number was about evenly divided.
According to the study, the shift has been caused by the way the accused are allowed to post bail. Courts are required, by law, to strike a balance between the safety of society and providing the least financially restrictive way possible for an accused felon to await trial while maintaining some level of freedom. The least restrictive way, of course, would be to release the accused without financial conditions. The most restrictive way is with secured money bonds, which require assets. In 1990, money bonds were required of 53% of felony suspects. Today, it’s 70%.
To put it more simply, those with money, regardless of the severity of the accused crime, are less likely to be sitting in jail than those without money. Not coincidentally, those who are unable to post bond are also most likely to be convicted.
Hostess talks break down - issue back in court
The maker of Twinkies and Ding Dongs said late Tuesday that it failed to reach an agreement with its second-biggest union. As a result, Hostess plans to continue with a hearing on Wednesday in which a bankruptcy court judge in White Plains, N.Y., will decide if the company can shutter its operations.
The renewed talks between Hostess and The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union came after the company declared last week that it would move to wind down its business and start selling off its assets in bankruptcy court. The company cited a crippling strike that was started on Nov. 9 by the union, which represents 30 percent of Hostess workers.
After making its case to liquidate on Monday, the bankruptcy court judge noted that the two sides hadn't yet tried resolving their differences through private mediation. The judge noted that 18,000 jobs were on the line and urged the company and union to try to resolve their differences. Both sides agreed to hold mediation proceedings on Tuesday.
In a statement late Tuesday, Hostess said it would not comment on the breakdown in talks other than to say that mediation "was unsuccessful." There was no immediate comment from the bakers union.
The Great Mexican Maize Massacre
Outrage and alarm rang out through Mexico when the world’s two largest commercial seed companies, Monsanto and DuPont (whose seed business is known as DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.), and Dow AgroSciences (the world’s 8th largest seed company) applied to the government for the planting of 2,500,000 hectares (more than 6 million acres) of transgenic maize in Mexico. The land area is massive – about the size of El Salvador. Scientists have identified thousands of peasant varieties of maize, making Mexico the global repository of maize genetic diversity. If the agribusiness applications are approved, it will mark the world’s first commercial-scale planting of genetically modified varieties of a major food crop in its center of origin.
“If Mexico’s government allows this crime of historic significance to happen, GMOs will soon be in the food of the entire Mexican population, and genetic contamination of Mexican peasant varieties will be inevitable. We are talking about damaging more than 7,000 years of indigenous and peasant work that created maize – one of the world’s three most widely eaten crops,” said Verónica Villa from ETC’s Mexico office. “As if this weren’t bad enough, the companies want to plant Monsanto’s herbicide-tolerant maize [Mon603] on more than 1,400,000 hectares. This is the same type of GM maize that has been linked to cancer in rats according to a recently published peer-reviewed study.”
Battered Rockaways Need Good Lawyers
Along with generators, warm clothing, candles and batteries and food and water, Hurricane Sandy survivors need pro bono legal help, according to lawyers volunteering in the Rockaways.
A line for a makeshift legal clinic set up at a table outside St. Gertrude Parish in Far Rockaway stretched to the end of the block on Beach 38th Street.
Several lawyers volunteered through 596 Acres, a nonprofit that helps communities organize, coordinating with the National Lawyer's Guild and Occupy Sandy, a project of Occupy Wall Street. ...
Caroline, a recent New York University Law School graduate, said the legal clinic's most pressing goal is helping people meet deadlines to apply for emergency assistance.
Federal Emergency Management Agency applications are due within 60 days, and disaster unemployment must be filed within 30 days.
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.
A Little Night Music
Illinois Jacquet - Flying Home
Tenor sax battle - Flying Home
Illinois Jacquet - The Blues That's Me!
Illinois Jacquet - Harlem Nocturne
Illinois Jacquet Quartet - C Jam Blues
Illinois Jacquet Big Band - Perdido / Sunnyside of the Street
Illinois Jacquet - Black Velvet
Illinois Jacquet Quartet - Sassy
Illinois Jacquet - Weary Blues
Illinois Jacquet - 1942 Blues
Illinois Jacquet & Ben Webster - After Hours
Illinois Jacquet - the Kid and the Brute
Illinois Jacquet - I wanna blow now
Illinois Jacquet - Birthday Party Blues
Illinois Jacquet - I Wrote This for the Kid
Illinois Jacquet - Watermelon Man
Illinois Jacquet Quintet - Illinois Blows The Blues
Illinois Jacquet - Just a settin' and a rockin'
Illinois Jacquet - Adam's Alley
Illinois Jacquet - Lazy Blues
Illinois Jacquet + Wynonie "Blues" Harris - Here Comes the Blues
Illinois Jacquet + Wynonie "Blues" Harris - She's Gone With The Wind
Texas Tenor: The Illinois Jacquet Story
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