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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 R&B saxophonist Big Jay McNeely.  Enjoy!



Big Jay McNeely - Jay Walkin'


“Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance.”

  -- Obama-Biden Transition Project: Office of the President-elect and Office of the Vice President-elect


News and Opinion




More Intrusive Than Eavesdropping? NSA Collection of Metadata Hands Gov’t Sweeping Personal Info

The Obama Surveillance Revelations Are Pushing Liberals Over the Edge

The email went out shortly after midnight Thursday, a few hours after the news broke about the Obama administration's large-scale monitoring of Americans' cell-phone records: "You are being spied on."

It was sent by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a leading liberal organization, to its list of supporters, and it asked them to sign a petition demanding an investigation of the cell-phone surveillance. "It's simply unacceptable," the email said.  ...

"We just think that what's happening here is so outrageous, progressives can't afford to stand on the sidelines," PCCC's Zaid Jilani said. "We have to stand up for accountable, transparent government that respects your rights." ...

There is some heartburn about being at odds with Obama and in the same camp as some of his bitterest enemies. But the progressives blame the administration for alienating them, said Becky Bond, political director of Credo Mobile, the liberal cell-phone provider and political organizing group. As of Monday night, Credo had collected nearly 90,000 signatures on a petition it plans to deliver to the White House demanding that the administration acknowledge and provide a legal justification for its surveillance efforts.

Is Edward Snowden a Hero? A Debate With Journalist Chris Hedges & Law Scholar Geoffrey Stone

Snowden Claims U.S. 'Trying to Bully' Hong Kong for Extradition

"I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American."

"I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” NSA leaker Edward Snowden told the the South China Morning Post Wednesday morning, referring to the ongoing speculation over his move to Hong Kong from Hawaii after leaking extensive documents from his former employer, the NSA.

“People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden stated.

However, as the Post revealed in a series of articles detailing their interview with Snowden, Snowden claims that the U.S. has been “trying to bully” Hong Kong’s government into extraditing him.

Snowden stated:

I heard today from a reliable source that the United States government is trying to bully the Hong Kong government into extraditing me before the local government can learn of this [the US National Security Agency hacking people in Hong Kong]. The US government will do anything to prevent me from getting this into the public eye, which is why they are pushing so hard for extradition.
Assange on NSA leak: Snowden will be prosecuted for years

ACLU Sues Obama Administration Over NSA 'Dragnet' Surveillance Revealed in Historic Leaks

NSA phone surveillance will have 'chilling effect' on ACLU's ability to protect civil liberties

Following this past week's groundbreaking NSA leaks, the ACLU has now filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the agency's vast phone spying practices—a move that could pose an eventual Supreme Court challenge to the NSA's now exposed "dragnet" surveillance network.

As a Verizon customer, the ACLU—who is known as an active critic and opponent of U.S. government secrecy and overreach—was targeted by the NSA, and has thus had their ability to "engage in legitimate communications with clients, journalists, advocacy partners, and others," undermined, the ACLU argues.

The ACLU says the unprecedented 'metadata' now known to be collected by the NSA, "gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious and intimate associations," adding that it “is likely to have a chilling effect on whistle-blowers and others who would otherwise contact” the ACLU.

James Clapper: Obama stands by intelligence chief as criticism mounts

Admission that James Clapper gave 'least truthful answer' on domestic surveillance could become a problem for the president

As the Obama administration insists that Congress was fully informed about the National Security Agency's widespread surveillance on Americans' phone records, its intelligence chief is becoming a complication.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, has now admitted he gave the "least untruthful" answer to a direct question in March about the extent of surveillance on US citizens. The admission sets up a critical test of Clapper's relationship with the congressional committees that oversee him – committees the Obama administration is relying on for its defense of the surveillance efforts.

The Obama team is expressing support for Clapper as criticism of him mounts. "The president has full faith in director Clapper and his leadership of the intelligence community," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told the Guardian on Wednesday.  ...

Clapper is in danger of becoming a meme signifying government deception about surveillance. The hashtag #Clapper on Twitter is filled with acerbic tweets mocking the "least untruthful" line.

'NSA 'bamboozling' lawmakers for access to Americans' private data' - agency veteran

Unfortunately, I couldn't embed the video of this statement.  It's classic Al Franken, whose best comedic skill has always been to deliver outrageous statements with a certain earnestness and a straight face.  He's never been more on top of his game:
Al Franken Returns To Comedy

US Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., says he’s not surprised by revelations that federal security agencies collect phone and computer data on American citizens.

The National Security Agency secretly gathered personal data on Americans since 2007, including their internet use and cell phone service. It’s something Franken says he “was very well aware of.”

“I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people,” Franken said.

Franken, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he got secret security briefings on the program and he says it prevented unspecified terrorist acts.

NSA surveillance played little role in foiling terror plots, experts say

Obama administration says NSA data helped make arrests in two important cases – but critics say that simply isn't true

Lawyers and intelligence experts with direct knowledge of two intercepted terrorist plots that the Obama administration says confirm the value of the NSA's vast data-mining activities have questioned whether the surveillance sweeps played a significant role, if any, in foiling the attacks.

The defence of the controversial data collection operations, highlighted in a series of Guardian disclosures over the past week, has been led by Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, and her equivalent in the House, Mike Rogers. The two politicians have attempted to justify the NSA's use of vast data sweeps such as Prism and Boundless Informant by pointing to the arrests and convictions of would-be New York subway bomber Najibullah Zazi in 2009 and David Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. ...

But court documents lodged in the US and UK, as well as interviews with involved parties, suggest that data-mining through Prism and other NSA programmes played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots. Conventional surveillance techniques, in both cases including old-fashioned tip-offs from intelligence services in Britain, appear to have initiated the investigations. ...

The Headley case is a peculiar choice for the administration to highlight as an example of the virtues of data-mining. The fact that the Mumbai attacks occurred, with such devastating effect, in itself suggests that the NSA's secret programmes were limited in their value as he was captured only after the event.

Key anecdote to defend NSA data gathering is full of holes

Defending a vast program to sweep up phone and Internet data under antiterror laws, senior U.S. officials in recent days have cited the case of David Coleman Headley, a key plotter in the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said a data collection program by the National Security Agency helped stop an attack on a Danish newspaper for which Headley did surveillance. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the Senate intelligence chairwoman, also called Headley’s capture a success.

But a closer examination of the case, drawn from extensive reporting by ProPublica, shows that the government surveillance only caught up with Headley after the U.S. had been tipped by British intelligence. And even that victory came after seven years in which U.S. intelligence failed to stop Headley as he roamed the globe on missions for Islamic terror networks and Pakistan’s spy agency.

Supporters of the sweeping U.S. surveillance effort say it’s needed to build a haystack of information in which to find a needle that will stop a terrorist. In Headley’s case, however, it appears the U.S. was handed the needle first 2014 and then deployed surveillance that led to the arrest and prosecution of Headley and other plotters.

The Establishment Strikes Back

Meanwhile, down in Obama's tropical gulag, he's added more people to the list of those he intends to detain indefinitely without charge or trial:
More Men Added to List of Gitmo's 'Indefinitely Detained'

Of the 166 detainees currently being held at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, less than twenty are likely to ever be tried and sent to trial, according to the war tribunals chief prosecutor.

Following a 2010 review, President Barack Obama's Guantanamo Review Task Force said that 36 of the detainees could be prosecuted, though Army Brigadier General Mark Martins stated Monday that those numbers were "ambitious," estimating the the number tried would be "20 at most."

In essence, that means at least 15 additional detainees will now be added to the list of 48 who the administration plans to hold indefinitely without charges.

Greek Government Attempts To Shut Down Greece's Only Public TV Station

The European Broadcasting Union has stepped in to help Greek TV journalists keep the country's state broadcaster on air after the government announced on Tuesday night it was closing it down as an austerity measure with immediate effect.

A number of ERT staff have defied the government order, staying overnight in the broadcaster's headquarters and managing to continue broadcasting a makeshift schedule of news and talk shows.

However, there are fears that police will move to empty the building, cut off power and seize all ERT equipment later on Wednesday.

ERT's TV and radio services went off air overnight, but had been broadcasting over the internet. "This is a blow to democracy," said ERT newsreader Antonis Alafogiorgos at the end of the main TV station's final broadcast.

Turkish Police Beat and Arrested Attorneys in Courthouse

Caglayan Courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey, was a scene of scuffle and disgrace earlier today, when a group of police officers beat up and detained more than 50 attorneys who were in the courthouse to represent their clients. The majority of the attorneys were the legal representatives of some of the protestors who were illegally detained or injured by the Turkish police during the ongoing protests in Istanbul and throughout the country.

In a move that casts doubt on the Turkish government’s commitment to the rule of law, an additional 30 attorneys were dragged out of the courthouse by force when they tried to stop the arrest of their colleagues. Meanwhile, the undercover police operators tried to stop the media representatives from filming or taking pictures of the situation.

Istanbul's Skies 'Filled with Teargas' as Thousands of Police Storm Square

Witnesses report plainclothes police officers wielding Molotov cocktails in attempt to discredit the protesters

Reports that an "overwhelming force" of thousands of riot police mowed down an estimated 20,000 protesters who had assembled in a mass demonstration in Instanbul's Taksim Square are surfacing Tuesday evening.

Speaking with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, reporter Richard Engel said that "hundreds if not thousands of police stormed the square" as the skies above "filled with tear gas" and the officers cleared the swelling crowd with powerful water cannons. ...

"It's going to be hard for Edrogan to explain this away, to send in an overwhelming force to clear people away who were just chanting," said Engel.

Turkish cops water cannon wheelchair protester, 'civil war may be sparked'?

Democrat strips anti-sexual assault measure out of military spending bill

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) stripped a measure proposed by fellow Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) that would have taken sexual assault reporting out of the chain of command out of a defense spending bill on Tuesday.

Gillibrand’s bill, which had 27 co-sponsors — four of which were Republicans, was opposed by military personnel as well as Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The bill also received lukewarm support from Democratic leadership. Levin promised an alternative measure that would allow other commanders to review cases of sexual assault. ...

NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell reported that Gillibrand plans to make another attempt at adding her amendment to the defense spending bill when it comes up for a final vote later this summer.

How Did Hepatitis Get into Organic Berries?

The latest example of how even health-conscious eaters are not immune from foodborne illness outbreaks came last week with a recall of organic frozen berries contaminated with Hepatitis A. The products were sold under the brand name of Townsend Farms at two large chains: Costco stores in the west and Harris Teeter stores.

The latest count from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention is 87 people infected in eight states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Washington. Of these, 36 have been hospitalized.

According to the CDC, Hepatitis A “usually occurs when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene.” However, the source of this particular strain is still unclear, except that it probably did not originate in the U.S.




Blog Posts of Interest

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

Un-American behavior: Maltese conservative leader apologizes to transpeople

When You Support George W. Bush's Policies, like Obama, I Get to Call You a Republican

Losing the War on Terror

Biden tells country that meta data is "very, very intrusive"



A Little Night Music



Big Jay McNeely - There Is Something On Your Mind

Big Jay McNeely - There Is Something On Your Mind

Big Jay McNeely and Detroit Gary Wiggins - Deacon's Hop

Big Jay McNeely - Nervous Man Nervous

Big Jay McNeely and Detroit Gary Wiggins - 3D

Big Jay McNeely - Psycho Serenade

Big Jay McNeely at Green Bay - Get On Up And Boogie

Rockin´ Comets /w Big Jay McNeely - Get On Up And Boogie

Big Jay McNeely - All That Wine

Big Jay McNeely - Back Shack Track

Big Jay McNeely & The Big Four - Big Fat Mama

Big Jay McNeely - Rock´n´Roll

Big Jay McNeely - Blow Your Brains Out

Big Jay McNeely - Deacon In Minor

Big Jay McNeely - Pretty Girls Everywhere

Big Jay McNeely - Sad, Sad World

An Interview with Big Jay McNeely

Big Jay McNeely - The Squat

Big Jay McNeely - The Goof

Big Jay McNeely - Rockin'and Rollin'

Big Jay McNeely - Funky Bug

Big Jay McNeely with the Ray Collins Hot Club - Do You Wanna Jump Children?

Big Jay McNeely with the Ray Collins Hot Club - Insect Ball

Big Jay McNeely - Minnie

Big Jay McNeely - Everybody Loves Somebody

Big Jay McNeely - Oh What A Fool

Big Jay McNeely - Young Girl Blues

Big Jay McNeely - Peter Gunn Theme  

Big Jay Mc Neely - K & H Boogie





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 Wed Jun 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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