Welcome! "What's Happenin'?" is a casual community diary (a daily series, 8:30 AM Eastern on weekdays, 10 AM on weekends and holidays) where we hang out and talk about the goings on here and everywhere.
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Red rhododendrons in the sun. May, 2012. Photo credit: joanneleon
With the tears a Land hath shed
Their graves should ever be green.
~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
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Many thanks to the people who contribute to the News section content by sending in links to news stories especially our most frequent contributors of news items: Agathena, Earth Bear, frandor55, joanneleon joe shikspack Lady Libertine, ZhenRen.
Propaganda firm owner admits attacks on journalists
WASHINGTON – The co-owner of a major Pentagon propaganda contractor publicly admitted Thursday that he was behind a series of websites used in an attempt to discredit two USA TODAY journalists who had reported on the contractor.
The online "misinformation campaign," first reported last month, has raised questions about whether the Pentagon or its contractors had turned its propaganda operations against U.S. citizens. But Camille Chidiac, the minority owner of Leonie Industries and its former president, said he was responsible for the online activity and was operating independently of the company and the Pentagon.
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The distribution of federally funded propaganda for domestic targets could be a violation of a federal law prohibiting the Defense Department from spending money for "propaganda purposes within the United States." The company said no federal funds were used.
Fights brewing over massive coal-export plans for the Northwest
Physicians fret about an explosion of locomotive exhaust, while mayors grumble about the potential for long traffic-snarling trains. Washington state fears 1,200 new barge trips on the Columbia River could spark more accidents and marine-vessel groundings. Tribes worry that spilled coal could poison aquatic food webs.
But as the federal government begins its first lengthy review of plans to ship coal through Northwest ports, it's not clear how - or if - the feds will weigh in on perhaps the most far-reaching issue: the potential effect new markets for coal could have on greenhouse-gas emissions.
If each of the proposed terminals, which range from Bellingham, Wash., to Coos Bay, Ore., is built to capacity, Washington and Oregon eventually would export 150 million or more tons of coal a year - half again as much coal as all U.S. exports combined in 2011.
MSNBC's Up With Chris Hayes To Be First Sunday Show To Host Experts Blaming GOP For Gridlock
Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, two well-respected, centrist congressional experts, will make their first Sunday talk show appearance on the June 3 edition of MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes after being largely ignored by the media following their recent conclusion that Republicans are responsible for the current "dysfunctional" Congress.
Hot Stuff: Stop-and-Frisk Lawsuit
Smiley & West celebrate a rare victory in federal court as a judge upgrades the lawsuit against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy to class action status, opening it up to thousands of victims.
A Tour of Drought as it Unfolds Across the U.S.
In addition to the West, drought conditions are also prevalent in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and parts of the Northeast as well, along with a small pocket in the Upper Midwest. In all, 56 percent of the Lower 48 states were experiencing drought conditions as of May 8, almost twice the area compared to last year at this time, according to data from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
An Open Letter to the Mainstream English Media, From Montreal
Thank you; you are a little late to the party, and you are still missing the mark a lot of the time, but in the past few days, you have published some not entirely terrible articles and op-eds about what’s happening in Quebec right now. Welcome to our movement.
Some of you have even started mentioning that when people are rounded up and arrested each night, they aren’t all criminals or rioters. Some of you have admitted that perhaps limiting our freedom of speech and assembly is going a little bit too far. Some of you are no longer publishing lies about the popular support that you seemed to think our government had. Not all of you, mind you, but some of you are waking up.
That said, here is what I have not seen you publish yet: stories about joy; about togetherness; about collaboration; about solidarity. You write about our anger, and yes, we are angry. We are angry at our government, at our police and at you. But none of you are succeeding in conveying what it feels like when you walk down the streets of Montreal right now, which is, for me at least, an overwhelming sense of joy and togetherness.
Bill C-38 protest has 13,000 websites going dark across Canada this June
Saturday is the one month anniversary of the introduction of the so-called omnibus budget bill, a 425-page bill that amends 60 different acts, repeals a half dozen others and adds three more. Opposition parties have repeatedly said that the bill is too big and includes changes that ought to be broken off and presented as separate legislation. But the Conservatives are forging ahead with it as-is.
While Canadians haven't hit the streets en masse yet, they are showing their dislike for the bill even one month later. On June 4, 13,000 website owners across Canada, including the NDP, PSAC and even Margaret Atwood, will be darkening their websites in protest of Bill C-38 as part of the 'Black Out Speak Out' campaign.
And political analysts also continue to speak-out against the bill.
This week, the National Post's Matt Gurney, who could never be accused of being a left-wing radical, said the bill was "sneaky" and "undemocratic."
Support builds for the “End Polluter Welfare Act”
The public has reached a strong verdict on the billions of dollars of subsidies that our government hands annually to fossil fuel corporations making historic profits: end them. According to one recent poll, seventy percent of the public opposes giveaways to oil, coal and gas companies, support that largely holds up across the political spectrum.
It’s no wonder. In fiscal year 2011, oil and gas giant Exxon Mobil made $41 billion in profits, meaning that in the fifteen minutes it might take you to read a regular blog post like this one, the company reeled in more than a million dollars in profits. At every level, financing these kinds of corporations with taxpayer money makes no sense.
Hundreds Pack EPA Hearing Calling for Climate Action
People of every stripe took to the podium on Thursday in Chicago and Washington, D. C., in support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide pollution emitted from power plants. From anglers to students to teachers, people praised the EPA, with many speakers stressing that the agency’s “carbon rule” is a first and an unprecedented step toward curbing global warming.
8 civilians killed in NATO airstrike in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan and U.S.-led coalition officials are investigating reports that eight civilians – including six children – were killed when their home in the eastern province of Paktia was bombed on Saturday by a coalition aircraft.
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“Mohammad Shafi is not on the black list of our security forces,” Samoon added. “That means he was neither Al Qaida nor Taliban.”
He said that Afghan security forces in the area had not been contacted before the strike by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the formal name for the U.S.-led coalition.
“Our concern is that ISAF troops don’t share these issues with the Afghan security forces,” Samoon told McClatchy. “If they had shared this with us, this (tragedy) wouldn’t have happened.”
UK may bar Syrian officials from Olympics over human rights abuses
Nick Clegg has said that the government would stop Syrian military figures accused of human rights abuses from visiting the UK during the Olympics.
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Joumaa’s challenge to the UK coincided with fresh violence in Syria, where more than 90 people, including 32 children, were killed in a regime-backed massacre in Houla.
Crash, attack kill 3 NATO troops in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A helicopter crash killed two NATO servicemembers in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, while a third died in an insurgent attack in the south, the U.S.-led coalition said.
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Also Monday, a second coalition aircraft crashed in eastern Afghanistan, but no fatalities were reported. The coalition said this incident was not related to the helicopter crash that also occurred in the east.
Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans Filing For Disability Benefits At Historic Rate
-- America's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen.
A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press.
What's more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.
US on 'right track' in Afghanistan: Defense secretary Leon Panetta
WASHINGTON: Defense secretary Leon Panetta today defended the Obama administration's plans to wind down the more than decade-long war in Afghanistan, saying the US is on "the right track."
"We still have a fight on our hands," Panetta said today on ABC television's "This Week."
"The American people need to know that. The world needs to know that ... but we're on the right track," he added.
Blog Posts of Interest
Droney on DailyKos by Tom Tomorrow
A Pacifist's Thoughts on Memorial Day on DailyKos by cabaretic
Would you like to end the war? on Hullabalo by Digby
Arizona Homeowners File Suit Against State for Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Fund Raid on FDL News by David Dayen
Memorial Day & the Abuse, Corruption & Lies of War on The Dissenter by Kevin Gosztola
Obama’s War: Criminalize the Left on BlackAgendaReport by Glen Ford
Memorial day: Smells like PTSD in the morning on DailyKos by BOHICA
Transpeople in the News on DailyKos by rserven