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 Louisiana guitarist and the writer of a number of kinda spooky songs John Campbell. Enjoy!
John Campbell - Person to Person
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
-- Harry S. Truman
News and Opinion
Talking to Reporters Is Not A Crime: New Leak Investigation Threatens Press Freedom
A disturbing report in Saturday’s Washington Post describes an FBI investigation of a large number of government officials suspected of leaking classified information to the press, engulfing an unknown group of reporters along the way. The investigation includes data-mining officials’ personal and professional communications to find any contact with journalists. Just to be clear: It seems officials are being targeted for just talking to the press.
While the Obama administration has already shamefully prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other administrations combined, this investigation—given its unprecedented scope and scale—has the potential to permanently chill both press freedom and the public’s right to know. ...
Unlike other investigations, the FBI is not targeting one or even a few government employees, but is engaged in a wide-ranging fishing expedition. According to the Post’s anonymous source, the investigation engulfs “everybody—at pretty high levels, too. There are many people who’ve been contacted from different agencies.”
The net now seems to be cast over the entire government, and in return, the entire Washington press corp. The Post is reporting the FBI is using new, “sophisticated software to identify names, key words and phrases embedded in e-mails and other communications, including text messages, which could lead them to suspects.”
Court: Iceland doesn’t need to repay UK and Dutch depositors
Iceland was entitled to refuse to pay immediate deposit guarantees to savers with failed online bank Icesave in Britain and the Netherlands, a European court said Monday.
The ruling is the latest twist in a bitter dispute which has clouded negotiations on Iceland’s ambitions to become a member of the European Union.
The Court of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which covers economic and trading relations between non-EU countries that are a part of the European Economic Area (EEA) single market and their European Union partners, was ruling on Reykjavik’s response to the collapse of the Icelandic banking sector in 2008-9.
The British and Dutch governments spent 3.9 billion euros ($5.5 billion) compensating 340,000 of their citizens who lost their savings in the collapse.
Iceland did not, and the EFTA Court upheld its approach, the court saying it had “dismissed the application” supported by London, The Hague and the European Commission.
US Shopping for New Drone Base in Africa
Reporting in the New York Times Monday reveals that the US government is busy in west Africa looking for a country willing to host a military base for a portion its fleet of Predator drones.
Officials who spoke to the newspaper say that only un-armed surveillance drones would be part of an original plan to establish a base, but "they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes" if they consider it necessary in the future.
According to the Times:If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of that country. The American military’s Africa Command is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said.
US Increases Aid to France for Mali Quagmire
The U.S. has significantly increased its aid to France for its current military operations in Mali, the Pentagon announced Saturday night, including aerial refueling and more planes to transport soldiers from other African nations. ...
The move comes as French forces attempt to violently regain power in the former French Colony and current 'trade partner', alongside the Mali military, for fear that Islamists will take over the West African nation.
Critics of U.S. support for French intervention have pointed out that U.S. law forbids foreign assistance funds to leaders that came to power through a coup, the Post reports. Mali’s military leaders, many of whom were trained by U.S. troops, seized power last year via military coup, causing an increase in conflict in the country—a hint towards the complex effects of U.S. foreign policy on Mali's internal politics, which, as many have argued, has largely been exacerbated in the rifts created in the region by the recent U.S. and NATO intervention in Libya.
As the current conflict heightens, French forces reportedly move quickly through the country, and reports surface of innocent civilians being killed—including children—many commentators have shown that an imminent quagmire has already formed for the involved nations.
Three-mile oil sheen follows barge crash on Mississippi river
An oil sheen was spotted up to three miles away after two barges smashed into a bridge near Vicksburg, Mississippi on Sunday, the Coast Guard said in an advisory.
The Old Vicksburg Bridge was not significantly damaged, but officials said that one of the barges carrying up to 80,000 gallons of crude was seriously damaged and spilled an unknown amount of oil into the river.
Reports from area media suggest that one of the boats suffered a 24-foot gash along its side.
Huge crowd turns out to denounce possible transport of tar sands in region
PORTLAND –More than 1,400 people marched from Monument Square to the Maine State Pier to protest the possible use of the Portland-to-Montreal oil pipeline to transport tar sands crude oil to Casco Bay.
Billed by organizers as the largest rally against tar sands oil in the Northeast, the protest featured more than a dozen speakers, including U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, and Portland Mayor Michael Brennan.
"I'm going to ask the Obama administration to do a full environmental review of any attempts to pump tar sands through that pipeline," said Pingree.
Portland police estimated the crowd at between 1,400 and 1,500 people. Most other protests against either the use of tar sands crude oil or the Keystone XL pipeline -- proposed to transport the oil from Canada to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast -- have been sporadic and smaller than the one in Portland on Saturday.
New Report Warns of Fracking's Hazards
A new report to be presented in Annapolis today by a western Maryland community group warns that developing the state’s Marcellus shale is likely to be destructive to the region and challenges the gas industry’s forecast of an economic boom.
Jannette Barth, a private economist whose report also compares industry claims in several states against actual results, finds that widespread industrialization could permanently disfigure rural areas of Garrett and Allegany counties.
“In the long-term,” Barth writes, “the two counties may be worse off if shale gas development is permitted.“
Her fact-driven analysis starkly contradicts a year-old set of rosy predictions paid for by the gas industry. Local and state elected officials, along with business groups and large land-owners, have relied on the projections to push for drilling. They want an ongoing study of fracking by Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration to be expedited, in hopes that drilling can begin soon.
In her criticism of last year’s report by Baltimore’s Sage Policy Group, prepared for the Maryland Petroleum Council, Barth writes that “economic benefits are overstated and significant costs” are ignored. In addition, costs associated with standard “boom-and-bust” extractive development are not calculated, Barth says, adding that future generations of Maryland taxpayers are likely to bear the burden of those costs.
You Ain't Gonna Frack Near Maggie's Farm: Action Blockades Shell Site
We need farms, not fracking.
This was the message from a group of concerned activists on Sunday afternoon as they blocked a Shell fracking site in Pennsylvania in part of the wave of rising actions against fossil fuels.
Wearing signs reading "Fracking Threatens Food" and "Protect Farms for Our Future," members of the Shadbush Environmental Justice Collective rallied behind the passionate Maggie Henry, whose organic pork and poultry farm is less than 4,000 feet from Shell's drilling site.
"People buy my food because they know that it is literally the purest that you can get. My animals run around out on ground, in pasture. They're not cooped up in cages," said Henry, who's been farming for 35 years. "Agriculture, not fracking, is the number one industry in Pennsylvania. This threatens my air, my water, my farm, my livelihood."
She's put her blood and sweat into her "beyond organic" farm, she said. "Every single penny we've earned we've invested into this farm."
With her farm, water and environment potentially ruined from Shell's fracking, Henry asked, "How is this different from Shell sticking their hand in my pocket and stealing from me?"
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
John Campbell - Devil In My Closet
John Campbell - Louisiana Blues
John Campbell - Saddle Up My Pony
John Campbell - Crossroads Blues
John Campbell - Walkin' Blues
John Campbell - Deep River Rag
John Campbell - When The Levee Breaks
John Campbell - Angel Of Sorrow
John Campbell - Couldn't Do Nothin'
John Campbell - Ain't Afraid of Midnight
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