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 piano player Jimmy Yancey. Enjoy!
Jimmy and Mama Yancey - How Long Blues
"No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots."
-- Barbara Ehrenreich
News and Opinion
Most arrested in Occupy Oakland protests never charged
The overwhelming majority of the Occupy Oakland protesters arrested during a series of rallies in the past year were never charged with a crime -- an outcome that lends credence to protesters' claims that police overreached as they sought to control the movement.
Since the original Occupy Oakland encampment was torn down by the Oakland Police Department exactly one year ago, more than 700 people have been arrested for a variety of crimes including felony assault and misdemeanor vandalism, according to police.
Yet, most of those protesters never faced a judge as the Alameda County District Attorney's Office pursued criminal cases against just 109 defendants, statistics compiled by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office at the request of this newspaper show. And of those defendants, only 37 have been found guilty. ...
"You could be sure that if the district attorney could prove their case, they would have charged," said Bobbie Stein, a San Francisco attorney who has been active in assisting defendants. "Oakland was sort of reacting and just arresting people."
Sudan blames Israel for Khartoum arms factory blast
The Sudanese government says it believes Israel was responsible for explosions at a military factory in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday.
Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said four Israeli planes attacked the factory and two people were killed. Israel has not commented.
Sudan has blamed Israel for such attacks in the past.
Correspondents say Israel believes weapons are being smuggled through the region to Gaza.
Pennsylvania may force workers to pay taxes to their employers
A bill that landed on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s (R) desk this week would give companies that hire more than 250 new workers a gobsmacking tax incentive: 95 percent of those workers’ state income taxes would be paid to the employer, and not the state.
It’s a bizarre strategy meant to attract companies from other states, specifically designed to lure California-based software maker Oracle into Pennsylvania. It’s also, as Philadelphia City Paper put it, “lavish corporate welfare” writ large across state government.
The bill, HB 2626, passed on October 17 with bipartisan support. Just 80 members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, most of the Democrats, voted in opposition.
Employers that hope to take advantage of the incentive program must hire 250 or more new full time employees and provide health insurance for them, in addition to paying a wage that’s above the county average wherever they’re located. Once those conditions are met, the proposed law would allow companies to absorb as much as $5 million of their employees’ income taxes every year.
Obama and Romney afraid of offending the big banks
Nobel award-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said Wednesday that President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had failed to mention the housing market recovery because both were afraid of upsetting big banks, who are major campaign contributors. ...
“It is one of the things that obviously precipitated the [2008 financial] crisis. I think the reason, in some sense, is they don’t want to offend the banks. The banks have been a major block to doing something about the issue.”
U.S. Sues Bank of America for $1 Billion Over Mortgage Sales
The Department of Justice announced Wednesday it is suing Bank of America for $1 billion, alleging that the nation’s second-largest bank defrauded taxpayers by selling “defective” home loans to the federally-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The 46-page civil complaint centers on a lending program established by Countrywide Financial, the California-based mortgage originator purchased by Bank of America in 2008. Prosecutors allege that the program — referred to within Countrywide and Bank of America as “the Hustle” — was designed to process mortgages at a rapid speed without adequate checks on risk.
Thousands of loans processed between 2007 and 2009 were sold to Fannie and Freddie, which pump liquidity into the housing market by purchasing single-family residential mortgages from lenders. When the loans soured, Fannie and Freddie were left with heavy losses that would ultimately contribute to the decision to seek a combined $188 billion in federal aid. Losses from the Countrywide purchase similarly factored into Bank of America’s request for $45 billion in aid through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Dark Money and Citizens United: What Obama and Romney Would and Wouldn’t Do About It
With campaign finances limits rendered nearly meaningless, election spending is on pace to set records. Where does each presidential candidate stand on how to regulate money in politics?
President Obama talks about changes but hasn’t instituted many. He favors legislation that would require disclosure of donors to dark money nonprofits. The president has also floated a Constitutional amendment to address Citizens United — an idea that’s currently politically impossible. Yet advocates point out Obama hasn’t even instituted campaign finance measures that he could do on his own using executive power.
Mitt Romney has mostly stayed mum. His campaign doesn’t have an official position paper on campaign finance and wouldn’t answer questions. When asked, Romney has said he favors removal of contribution limits to candidates, as a way to bring money from outside groups back into campaigns. He has also said he favors donor disclosure but hasn’t signaled support of specific legislation.
Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General, Threatens To Arrest U.N. Elections Observers
Greg Abbott, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, issued a stern warning this week to members of a United Nations-affiliated delegation expected to be on hand to monitor voting at polling places around the country on Election Day.
In a letter to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a body created by U.N. charter and responsible for helping to ensure the integrity of elections, among other tasks, Abbott warned the diplomatic poll-watchers that their involvement in U.S. elections could have strong legal repercussions.
"It may be a criminal offense for OSCE's representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place's entrance," he writes. "Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE's representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law." Such a restriction makes election monitoring highly difficult.
The OSCE announced earlier this month that it would send 44 observers to polling places around the country on Election Day in order to monitor possible disputes that could arise in the voting process. The move came in response to a petition from liberal-leaning voting rights groups, including the NAACP and ACLU, that suggested the OSCE's presence could help combat what they fear will be a concerted effort to suppress votes from supporters of President Barack Obama.
Entire Indian tribe threatens to commit mass suicide after Brazil court rules they must leave sacred burial land
An entire tribe of 170 Indians have vowed to commit mass suicide after a court in Brazil ruled they must leave what they believe is sacred land, it was reported today.
The community of 50 men, 50 women and 70 children from the Guarani-kaiowa tribe are camped inside a ranch in Brazil's southern state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
In a letter the tribe called on the Brazilian government to respect their wishes to be buried there along with their ancestors.
It read: 'Because of this historic fact, we would prefer to die and be buried together with our ancestors right here where we are now.
'We ask, one time for all, for the government to decree our extinction as a tribe, and to send tractors to dig a big hole and there to throw our dead bodies.
'We have all decided that we will not leave this place, neither alive nor dead.'
Mega-storm threat growing for mid-Atlantic and Northeast early next week from hurricane Sandy
There is a consensus forming in weather forecast models that hurricane Sandy is unlikely to go out to sea. Instead, it more likely will merge with a strong fall cold front and transition into a powerhouse, possibly historic mid-latitude storm along the mid-Atlantic and/or Northeast coast Sunday through Wednesday.
The majority of models now take Sandy from its current position over Jamaica northward over the Bahamas before curving the storm towards either the mid-Atlantic or Northeast coast. Models disagree on where the storm will recurve and make landfall: simulations vary from the mid-Atlantic to Maine. There remains a chance, though diminishing, the storm will slide harmlessly out to sea.
The location of the storm’s landfall is very important for determining exactly what local impacts will be. Not everyone will experience significant or dangerous storm conditions. But suffice to say, coastal regions from the Carolinas through eastern Canada are likely to get battered by tremendous surf and face a real risk of significant to severe coastal flooding. This storm will be a slow mover meaning large waves may pound the coast for lengthy time periods. Not to mention, the wind and waves will raise the water level, bringing ashore a multiple foot storm surge in regions close to where the storm makes landfall (assuming it does so). ...
Inland areas in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, from Richmond to Washington, D.C. to New York City to Boston, may also deal with significant storm impacts. Heavy rains are possible along with punishing winds. But the track is key in determining exactly where and we cannot say which areas, if any, will experience these conditions.
Groups Petition U.S. EPA for Public Reporting of Chemical Releases from Fracking and Other Oil and Gas Operations
The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), along with 16 other local, regional and national organizations petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today to require the oil and gas extraction industry—including companies engaged in fracking—to report to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The oil and gas extraction industry has long used and released large amounts of TRI-listed toxic chemicals, and this has dramatically increased in the last decade with the rapid spread of horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
Today’s petition would finally make this information available for the first time to citizens, communities and lawmakers.
“The Toxics Release Inventory brings daylight to dark corners, by requiring companies to quantify and report their pollution to a public data base for everyone to see,” said Environmental Integrity Project Director Eric Schaeffer. “That makes it easier for communities to measure the environmental impact of local industries, motivates companies to reduce their emissions and gives all of us insight into how well our environmental laws are working. The U.S. EPA estimates the oil and gas industry releases 127,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants every year, second only to power plants and more than any of the other industries already reporting to TRI. Why shouldn’t oil and gas companies be required to report these toxic releases under our Right-to-Know laws, like so many other industries already do?”
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
Jimmy Yancey - Rolling The Stone
Jimmy Yancey - Yancey Stomp
Jimmy Yancey - Five O'Clock Blues
Jimmy Yancey - White Sox Stomp
Jimmy Yancey - South side stuff
Jimmy Yancey - Yancey Special
Jimmy Yancey - Mournful Blues
Jimmy Yancey - The fives
'Mama' Estelle and Jimmy Yancey - Santa Fe Blues
Jimmy Yancey - Steady Rock Blues
Jimmy Yancey - Crying In My Sleep
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