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!
Tonight's music features Chicago bluesman Byther Smith who has been performing since the 1950's. Enjoy!
Byther Smith w/Bobby Radcliff and Brad Vickers - Got My Mojo Workin'
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
-- Jimi Hendrix
How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party
Rhee, the controversial former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor known for her hard-charging style, has worked with Republican governors to push her reform ideas in states across the country. Her ongoing pitched battle with the teachers unions has put her at odds with one of the Democratic Party's most important traditional constituencies.
Yet there are signs that Rhee's persona non grata status in her party is beginning to wane -- starting with the fact that the chairman of the Democratic convention, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, spoke at the movie screening Rhee hosted at the convention earlier this week. Another Democratic star, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, spoke at the cocktails-and-canapes reception afterward. Across the country, Democratic officials from governors like Colorado's John Hickenlooper to former President Clinton -- buoyed by the well-funded encouragement of the hedge-fund bigwigs behind much of the charter-school movement -- are shifting the party's consensus away from the union-dictated terms to which it has long been loyal. Instead, they're moving the party toward a full-fledged embrace of the twin pillars of the reform movement: performance-based incentives for teachers, and increased options, including charter schools, for parents.
The inroads made by the education reformers go all the way to the top -- to President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the "Race to the Top" initiative that required states to make reforms to get federal education funds -- and they amount to a major shift for the Democratic Party on one of its signature issues. "These are some of the most high-profile Democrats out there," Rhee says, also mentioning Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, Philadelphia's Michael Nutter, and her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. "They are taking on the unions. They are fighting for what they believe in. It definitely signals a new day."
Story Time: U.S. State Financial Capitalism, Presidential Politics, and the Management and Manipulation of Expectations
It doesn’t get much more emblematic of the plutocratic nothingness of what passes for a democratic political culture in the U.S. than a recent televised conversation between United States President Barack Obama and “CBS This Morning” anchor Charlie Rose. Reflecting on “what we've done well and what we haven't done well," Obama told Rose that "the mistake of my first term - couple of years - was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right."
While good policy is important, Obama elaborated, “the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times." The problem with his first term, he said was (in essence) an excess of substance relative to style. ... Forget for a moment whatever discomfort you might have about the paternalistic notion that presidential statesmanship involves spinning tales and weaving narratives for the childlike citizenry. Yes, story time is for parents or grandchildren or baby-sitters and small children, not “we the people” and our purported elected representatives. ...
But put these problems aside for a moment and think about “the policy” that Obama says his administration “got right.” Amidst the rising misery of the Great Recession’s fully flowering in 2008 and 2009, Washington rushed to bail out the corporate and financial institutions that had crashed the economy while claiming to have empty pockets when it came to helping ordinary working people. The epic transfer of trillions of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street started under George W. Bush and proceeded to record-setting levels under Barack Obama. It was not accompanied by any comparable aid for the millions of Americans who were running out of ammunition in the war on destitution. It was not matched by any remotely adequate government investment in urgently needed public works and jobs programs, housing assistance, or cash assistance for families.
Canada closes embassy in Iran, expels Iranian diplomats
Canada has suspended diplomatic relations with Iran and is expelling Iranian diplomats from Canada, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced in a statement today.
Speaking to reporters in Russia, where he's attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation summit, Baird said the government is formally listing Iran today as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.
That will theoretically allow Canadians affected by terrorism supported by the Iranian regime to sue.
Later in the day, Baird added Syria to the list of terror-sponsoring states.
New Book Reveals How Bush's CIA Director Fought Obama On Torture
During the 2008 campaign, then-Sen. Barack Obama railed against the intelligence programs implemented under President George W. Bush and vowed to end practices like extraordinary rendition and the "enhanced interrogation techniques" that many considered torture. Almost immediately after his election, President-elect Obama was lobbied heavily by CIA Director Michael Hayden, a Bush appointee, to leave the existing policies in place.
In The Obamians, a forthcoming book chronicling the president's foreign policy that was obtained before publication by The Huffington Post, author James Mann details how Obama was subjected to "a classic example of the ways in which America's permanent government bureaucracies, like the CIA, maneuver to win over a new president and to preserve the status quo." Hayden, Mann concludes, achieved some major successes.Privately, Hayden and some senior intelligence officials had a name for it: the "Aw, shit!" campaign. The idea was to make incoming Obama officials realize that they needed to be pragmatic; that the realities of American foreign policy didn't fit into the world as they had imagined it from the outside; that they couldn't live up to all their campaign statements and promises for change. Once Obama and his aides realized the hard truths of what American policy required -- so it was hoped -- the incoming officials of the new administration would say to themselves, 'Aw, shit!' and abandon the position they had taken before coming to office."There was no single scatological moment of the kind that Hayden had envisioned," Mann writes. "But on the many issues, the president's views 'evolved,' and the policies of his predecessor stayed put."
Democrats Retreat on Civil Liberties in 2012 Platform
What a difference four years makes.
In 2008, Democrats were eager to draw a contrast with what they then portrayed as Republican excesses in the fight against Al Qaeda. Since then, the Obama administration has in many cases continued the national security policies of its predecessor—and the Democratic Party's 2012 platform highlights this reversal, abandoning much of the substance and all of the bombast of the 2008 platform.
Germany keeps up austerity drive with Central Bank help
Germany’s finance minister warned Sunday that debt-laden eurozone states must stick to promised reforms and cuts despite last week’s offer of help from the European Central Bank that calmed markets.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Bild am Sonntag weekly, Wolfgang Schaeuble also expressed confidence that Germany’s top court would not shoot down the eurozone’s proposed new rescue fund on Wednesday.
“It would be a grave mistake to interpret the ECB decision incorrectly as meaning that (reform) efforts can now be slackened. The opposite is true,” said Schaeuble.
“The problems of the eurozone can only be tackled where they are at the moment: in the member states,” he added, pointing to the need to cut public deficits and boost competitiveness.
In looming federalism fight, three states say feds can't 'unmarry' gay couples
Three states where members of the clergy and justices of the peace today marry gay couples argued on Friday that it’s a violation of states’ rights for the federal government to then “unmarry” those people under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In an amicus brief to a New York case involving a lesbian widow, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York argue that the federal government had no right, despite the federal designation of marriage as being between a man and a woman, to demand $350,000 in estate taxes when Edie Windsor’s partner died. That would not have happened under a marital tax deduction that lets other married couples pass their assets to their spouse without penalty.
The three states who filed amicus briefs argue that states regulate marriage and family relationships and that Congress doesn’t have constitutional authority to interfere with that license at any level.
Caribbean coral reefs face collapse
Caribbean coral reefs – which make up one of the world’s most colourful, vivid and productive ecosystems – are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10% of the reef area showing live coral cover.
With so little growth left, the reefs are in danger of utter devastation unless urgent action is taken, conservationists warned. They said the drastic loss was the result of severe environmental problems, including over-exploitation, pollution from agricultural run-off and other sources, and climate change.
The decline of the reefs has been rapid: in the 1970s, more than 50% showed live coral cover, compared with 8% in the newly completed survey. The scientists who carried it out warned there was no sign of the rate of coral death slowing.
Coral reefs are a particularly valuable part of the marine ecosystem because they act as nurseries for younger fish, providing food sources and protection from predators until the fish have grown large enough to fend better for themselves.
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
Byther Smith & the Chicago Kingsnakes - Little Voice
Byther Smith & Jim Kohler Band - You Treat Me Like Dirt
Byther Smith - Funky Man
Byther Smith - 35 Long Years
Byther Smith - I Don't Like To Travel
Byther Smith & Jim Kohler Band - The Thrill Is Gone
Byther Smith & The Night Riders - Mississippi Kid
Byther Smith - Come on in this house
Byther Smith - I Got So Much Love
byther smith - i'm movin' on
Byther Smith - The Man Wants Me Dead
Byther Smith w/Bobby Radcliff and Brad Vickers - Sweet Home Chicago
Byther Smith w/Bobby Radcliff and Brad Vickers - I'm A Mad Man
Byther Smith - 300 Pounds of Joy
Byther Smith - Play the blues in Paris
Byther Smith - I'm A Mad Man
Byther Smith - What My Mamma Told me
Byther Smith - Live On and Sing the Blues
Byther Smith - Love Me Like I Love You
Byther Smith - Money Tree
Byther Smith - Hold That Train
We are ready for some serious change. We are ready to take up the tools of a free and analytic press to peacefully undermine the stranglehold of the kleptocrats on our battered democracy. We are ready to expose and publicize their greed, lies and illegal machinations and hold their enablers in government and the media to account. Are you in?
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead