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.
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Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features delta blues musician Tommy McClennan. Enjoy!
Tommy McClennan - Whiskey Head Woman
"Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out...and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel. ..And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man"--with his mouth."
-- Mark Twain
News and Opinion
Declarations of War? Israel's Suspected Bombing of Syria Raises Stakes
Reports of additional Israeli missile attacks overnight raise tensions between neighboring countries
Explosions that rocked the outskirts of Damascus overnight were caused by missiles unleashed by the Israeli military, according to various media reports. If these reports are confirmed, said one Syrian official on Sunday, the attack would be considered as a "declaration of war" by Israel.
Reporting on the latest response from the Syrian government, Al-Jazeera reports:Syria's information minister has given warning that Israeli air raids against three targets on the outskirts of Damascus "open the door to all possibilities".
Omran al-Zoabi's comments in Damascus on Sunday came after an emergency cabinet meeting organised to respond to what a Western source said was a new attack on Iranian missiles bound for Lebanon's Hezbollah.
Although Zoabi did not hint at a concrete course of action, he said it was Syria's duty to protect the state from any "domestic or foreign attack through all available means".
He claimed the Israeli attacks are evidence of the country's links with "Islamic extremist groups" trying to topple the Syrian government.
‘Containing Iran’: Israel ‘in talks’ to join alliance with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey
Israel is considering partnering with several moderate Arab states in a US-brokered defense alliance that would be aimed at containing Iran, which is accused of nuclear weapon ambitions, a British newspaper reported Sunday.
The alliance would see Israel teaming up with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey and the United Arab Emirates to forge a Middle East ‘moderate crescent’ to contain, rather than confront, Iran, the Sunday Times reported, citing an unnamed Israeli official.
According to the report, such an alliance would give Israel access to radar stations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in exchange for its own early warning radar information and anti-ballistic missile defense systems, the source said. ...
The proposal, known by participating diplomats as ‘4+1’, is being brokered by the United States. If successful, it would represent a marked shift in Middle East policy at the White House, which in the past has said it is not interested in containing Iran, but rather preventing it from achieving nuclear weapon capability.
Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?Hat Tip Ginger1:
A former FBI counterterrorism agent claims on CNN that this is the case
The real capabilities and behavior of the US surveillance state are almost entirely unknown to the American public because, like most things of significance done by the US government, it operates behind an impenetrable wall of secrecy. But a seemingly spontaneous admission this week by a former FBI counterterrorism agent provides a rather startling acknowledgment of just how vast and invasive these surveillance activities are.
Over the past couple days, cable news tabloid shows such as CNN's Out Front with Erin Burnett have been excitingly focused on the possible involvement in the Boston Marathon attack of Katherine Russell, the 24-year-old American widow of the deceased suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. As part of their relentless stream of leaks uncritically disseminated by our Adversarial Press Corps, anonymous government officials are claiming that they are now focused on telephone calls between Russell and Tsarnaev that took place both before and after the attack to determine if she had prior knowledge of the plot or participated in any way.
On Wednesday night, Burnett interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone conversations between the two. He quite clearly insisted that they could:BURNETT: Tim, is there any way, obviously, there is a voice mail they can try to get the phone companies to give that up at this point. It's not a voice mail. It's just a conversation. There's no way they actually can find out what happened, right, unless she tells them?
CLEMENTE: "No, there is a way. We certainly have ways in national security investigations to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. It's not necessarily something that the FBI is going to want to present in court, but it may help lead the investigation and/or lead to questioning of her. We certainly can find that out.
BURNETT: "So they can actually get that? People are saying, look, that is incredible.
CLEMENTE: "No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not."
White House Rescinds $4.9 Billion in Mostly Military Spending Cuts
The Obama administration is canceling $4.9 billion of the $85 billion in automatic U.S. spending cuts that took effect March 1, a move that restores some funds for defense and diplomacy, according to a White House official. ...
About $3.7 billion will be restored to the Pentagon’s budget with another $700 million going to the State Department, said the official. The remainder would be dispersed across a number of programs at other agencies. ...
Democrats have said the automatic budget cuts would throw 70,000 children off the Head Start program, eliminate four million meals for seniors, take 600,000 people off a nutrition program for mothers and young children, and mean 125,000 fewer vouchers to help poor families pay for rental housing.
Apple Dodges Enough Taxes to Cover Much of the Sequester
The scheme that Apple cooked up this week to finance a $55 billion stock buyback for its shareholders was orchestrated to avoid paying $9.2 billion in taxes, Bloomberg reported Friday.
- Paid for rescinding the furloughs of air traffic controllers without raiding $250 million from an airport improvement fund.
- Restored Head Start funding to avoid having to kick an estimated 70,000 people out of the program this year.
- Kept Meals on Wheels funding for seniors intact.
- Restored National Institutes of Health funding, so that research on cancer treatments and other diseases could continue uninterrupted.
- Rescinded cuts of up to 10.7 percent in unemployment checks to people who have been looking for work for more than six months without success.
- Kept paying for public housing assistance and housing vouchers for people who might otherwise be homeless or in substandard living conditions.
- Rescinded cuts in programs for children with special needs and learning disabilities.
- Kept already stretched Occupational Safety and Health inspectors on the job, doing the 1,200 workplace inspections that are being shelved by sequestration.
- Fully funded disaster relief programs, a particularly critical need now that a wildfire is currently causing serious damage in southern California.
- Restored $480 million now cut from the FBI’s operations.
- Kept intact the federal programs responsible for safeguarding our nuclear weapons.
- Avoided cutting $770 million in various State Department health and economic aid programs, plus another $650 million in funding for diplomatic activities.
- Fully funded NASA operations, which would have been a boon to central Florida and to Texas communities already hurting because of the end of the space shuttle program.
Far-left protesters reject austerity on Hollande anniversary
Ten of thousands of far-left French protesters marched to denounce economic austerity on Sunday to mark the end of President Francois Hollande's first year in office.
The march, organized by the Left Front coalition, drew a range of left-wingers from greens to trade unionists to the symbolic venue of Bastille Square, site of a Paris prison that was stormed during the French Revolution of 1789.
Turnout was estimated by organizers at 180,000 but by police at just 30,000. Although not massive, it highlighted fierce opposition on the left to the Socialist president's market-friendly reforms, such as corporate tax breaks and the loosening of labor rules to make hiring and firing slightly easier.
With France on the edge of recession, unemployment at an all-time high and euro zone partners pressing him to cut the budget deficit, Hollande has suffered the sharpest fall in popularity of any president in more than half a century.
'There Is No Alternative' to Austerity, Troika Reiterates
Neither high unemployment in the Eurozone nor numerous protests derail IMF, ECB claims that austerity is the only course to take
Members of the "troika" continue to trumpet austerity as the only way forward despite the massive unemployment and anger at the policies that have catalyzed protests across Europe.
"There is no alternative to austerity," International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde told Swiss broadcaster RTS.
In an interview with the news agency a day after thousands upon thousands marched in European cities against austerity measures, Lagarde defended staying the austerity course, and underscored Germany's success, a country she said was "harvesting the fruits of its policies."
Syngenta Charged for Covering up Livestock Deaths from GM Corn
Biotech giant Syngenta has been criminally charged with denying knowledge that its genetically modified (GM) Bt corn kills livestock during a civil court case that ended in 2007. ...
The charges follow a long struggle for justice by a German farmer whose dairy cattle suffered mysterious illnesses and deaths after eating Bt 176. They were grown on his farm as part of authorised field tests during 1997 to 2002. By 2000, his cows were fed exclusively on Bt 176, and soon illnesses started to emerge. He was paid 40 000 euros by Syngenta as partial compensation for 5 dead cows, decreased milk yields, and vet costs. ... During a civil lawsuit brought against the company by the farmer however, Syngenta refused to admit that its GM corn was the cause, claiming no knowledge of harm. The case was dismissed and Gloeckner remained thousands of euros in debt. ...
But in 2009, the farmer learned of a feeding study allegedly commissioned by Syngenta in 1996 that resulted in four cows dying in two days. The trial was abruptly terminated. Now Gloeckner, along with a German group called Bündnis Aktion Gen-Klage and another farmer turned activist Urs Hans, have brought Syngenta to the criminal court to face charges of withholding knowledge of the US trial, which makes the company liable for the destruction of the farmer’s 65 cows. Syngenta is also charged with the deaths of cattle in the US trial and on Gloeckner’s farm, which should have been registered as “unexpected occurrences”. Most seriously, the German head of Syngenta Hans-Theo Jahmann, is charged for withholding knowledge of the US study from the judge and from Gloecker in the original civil court case.
Killer Air: Study Links Pollution to Heart Disease, Stroke
New research finds leading cause of death in US impacted by the "motor vehicles and power plants" around us
Air pollution suffocates. Its effect on breathing is clear. But the impact of fumes, car exhaust and other particulates on other organs is less established.
A new study which appears in the April issue of PLoS Medicine found that long-term exposure to air pollution similarly suffocates our primary arteries, a condition linked to increased instances of both heart disease and stroke.
The leading cause of death among adults in the US is coronary artery disease—a cardiovascular disease in which the buildup of fatty deposits ("atherosclerosis plaques") within the heart's arteries slows blood supply, potentially causing a heart attack. Similarly, stroke—the fourth leading cause of death in the US—occurs when these fatty deposits block blood supply to the brain.
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
Tommy McClennan - I'm A Guitar King
Tommy McClennan - Cross Cut Saw Blues
Albert King - Crosscut Saw
Tommy McClennan - Deep Blue Sea Blues (Catfish Blues)
Jimi Hendrix - Catfish Blues
Tommy McClennan - Bottle It Up And Go
Tommy McClennan - Robert Petway - Boogie Woogie Woman
Tommy Mcclennan - New Shake Em On Down
North Mississippi Allstars - Shake 'Em On Down
Tommy McClennan - Blues Trip Me This Morning
It's National Pie Day!
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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.
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