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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 Texas gulf coast musician Phillip Walker.  Enjoy!

Phillip Walker - Linda Lu

“Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of decay may be distant, but
it will surely come, for even the White Man ... cannot be exempt from the common destiny.”

  -- Chief Seattle

News and Opinion

Will Feb 17th Protest Stop the XL Pipeline and Shift Climate Debate?

Action Center

At 12 Noon on Sunday, February 17, thousands of Americans will head to Washington, D.C. to make Forward on Climate the largest climate rally in history. Join this historic event to make your voice heard and help the president start his second term with strong climate action.

What: The largest climate rally in U.S. history.

When: February 17, 2013, Noon - 4:00 p.m. (please arrive by 11:30 a.m.)

Where: The National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Gather at the northeast corner of the Washington Monument
(Closest Metro subway stations: Federal Triangle and Smithsonian)

For more details about the rally -- including information about coordinating and riding buses to Washington -- please read our FAQ. Also check out the nearly 100 organizations leading and supporting this rally!

"Forward On Climate" Blogathon: February 11 - February 15, 2013
This week, you can find diaries for this DailyKos blogathon at the Climate Change SOS group.
President Obama: Don't cut Social Security

As part of the fiscal showdown negotiations, President Obama has proposed cutting Social Security for almost all current and future beneficiaries.

Social Security should not be a part of the negotiations. It does not contribute even $1 to the deficit, and according to even the most pessimistic projections it is 100% solvent for more than 20 years.

Send an email to the White House telling President Obama to immediately stop proposing any cuts to Social Security.

White House:
Phone:(202) 456-1111
Fax:(202) 456-2461

[This is an email campaign led by DailyKos]

Can America Go 'Forward' on Climate?

The Sierra Club, Bill Mckibben's fight-climate-change crew, 130 other organizations, plus thousands of Americans from all walks are meeting at Noon on Sunday, February 17 in Washington, D.C. to make "Forward on Climate" the largest climate rally in history.

Their first goal is to convince Obama to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline once and for all, for it could unlock vast amounts of additional carbon the planet simply cannot afford to burn. But his final decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will only be a test of whether he's truly serious about walking his talk. The Forward on Climate Rally will put unparalleled pressure on Obama to act on his word, and in an unprecedented way. It is their hope that he will do all in his power to face, and combat, global warming. ...

The president spoke somberly about climate change for half an hour this Tuesday during his State of the Union speech, earning him brownie points with some, but the eloquence of his promises have never been something to be contested. Despite his rhetoric, and avowal to address global warming and not betray future generations, he fails to face the elephant in the room. With less than five percent of the world's population, it is the USA that consumes a quarter of the world's fossil fuels.  ... But what about the root of our climatic, environmental problem: the exploitative economic paradigm we operate, the political stagnation that goes with that, the social inequalities we are forced to endure, the cult of hyper-consumption that defines American culture – it is this systemic destructiveness that endorses ravenous fossil fuel use in the first place.

Until Obama, and the activists putting pressure on him, stop confounding the symptoms with the disease, there will be a stark limit to how effective, enduring and powerful a revolutionary movement can be.

GAO report: Obama acting too slowly on climate change

The US government is exposed to high risk from climate change, and Barack Obama has not moved fast enough to manage those new dangers, the government auditor said on Thursday. ...

The report had harsh words for the Obama administration's planning for future risks. It singled out the White House for failing to respond to the GAO warning two years ago to develop a set of strategic climate change priorities.

"In May 2011, we found no coherent strategic government-wide approach to climate change funding and that federal officials do not have a shared understanding of strategic government-wide priorities," the report said.

"At that time, we recommended that the appropriate entities within the Executive Office of the President clearly establish federal strategic climate change priorities, including the roles and responsibilities of the key federal entities, taking into consideration the full range of climate-related activities within the federal government. The relevant federal entities have not directly addressed this recommendation," the report said.

Four States Introduce Keystone XL Resolutions, Lifting Language from ALEC and TransCanada Itself

Legislators in four states have introduced bills in recent weeks supporting the controversial TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline, with language that appears to have been lifted directly from a "model" American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bill and from TransCanada's own public relations talking points.

Some of the first bills proposed in Missouri, Mississippi, Michigan and Minnesota in 2013 have been resolutions calling on the president and Congress to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which the Obama administration delayed last year in response to a wave of protest and civil disobedience. Environmentalists oppose the pipeline because extracting oil from Canadian tar sands would unlock huge amounts of carbon, increasing the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Media campaign against windfarms funded by anonymous conservatives

Secretive funding network channelled millions to stop state governments moving towards renewable energy

Conservatives used a pair of secretive trusts to fund a media campaign against windfarms and solar projects, and to block state agencies from planning for future sea-level rise, the Guardian has learned. ...

Now the Guardian can reveal the latest project of the secretive funding network: a campaign to stop state governments moving towards renewable energy.

The campaign against wind and solar power was led by a relatively new entity, the Franklin Centre for Government and Public Integrity. The Franklin Centre did not exist before 2009, but it has quickly become a protege of Donors Trust.

The Franklin Centre, headquarters barely one-tenth of a mile away from the nondescript Alexandria, Virginia town home of its funders, received $6.3m from the two funds in 2011. It was the second largest disbursement to any entity by the Donors that year, according to tax records.

The largesse to the Franklin Centre signals a shift in priorities for the conservative billionaires who are funding the anti-climate cause towards local and state-level organising.

Worker Owned Businesses Point to New Forms of Ownership

Why are Unionization Rates at Historic Low?

Cornel West: Obama is a ‘war criminal’ who has killed ‘over 200 children’

Appearing on the radio Thursday with host Tavis Smiley, professor Cornel West argued that President Barack Obama is, like Presidents George W. Bush and Richard Nixon before him, a “war criminal” uniquely responsible for the deaths of “over 200 children.”

West’s words were in response to a question about the administration’s seeming preference for killing terrorism suspects from the air rather than risking American lives to take them prisoner and hold them for an indefinite amount of time in military custody. A legal whitepaper obtained by NBC News recently exposed the Obama administration’s once-secret justification for the program, which authorizes a deadly airstrike if intelligence officials believe it may take out any “senior operational leaders” of al Qaeda or “associated forces,” even if that includes an American citizen.

“I think, my dear brother, the chickens are coming home to roost,” West told Smiley. “We’ve been talking about this for a good while, the immorality of drones, dropping bombs on innocent people. It’s been over 200 children so far. These are war crimes.”
Obama, the US and the Muslim world: the animosity deepens

Another new poll, this one of Pakistan, shows: a central promise of Obama for improving US security is an utter failure

In his first inaugural address, back in 2009, Barack Obama announced: "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." Improving how the US was perceived among the world's 1.6 billion Muslims was not about winning an international popularity contest but was deemed as vital to US national security. Even the Pentagon has long recognized that the primary cause of anti-American Terrorism is the "negative attitude" toward the US: obviously, the reason people in that part of the world want to attack the US - as opposed to Peru or South Africa or China - is because they perceive a reason to do so.

Obama's most devoted supporters have long hailed his supposedly unique ability to improve America's standing in that part of the world. In his first of what would be many paeans to Obama, Andrew Sullivan wrote back in 2007 that among Obama's countless assets, "first and foremost [is] his face", which would provide "the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan". Sullivan specifically imagined a "young Pakistani Muslim" seeing Obama as "the new face of America"; instantly, proclaimed Sullivan, "America's soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm".  ... None of that has happened. In fact, the opposite has taken place: although it seemed impossible to achieve, Obama has presided over an America that, in many respects, is now even more unpopular in the Muslim world than it was under George Bush and Dick Cheney.

In sum, while Europeans still adore Obama, the US is more unpopular than ever in the Muslim world. A newly released Gallup poll from Thursday, this one surveying public opinion in Pakistan, provides yet more powerful evidence of this dangerous trend. As Gallup summarized: "more than nine in 10 Pakistanis (92%) disapprove of US leadership and 4% approve, the lowest approval rating Pakistanis have ever given". Worse, "a majority (55%) say interaction between Muslim and Western societies is 'more of a threat' [than a benefit], up significantly from 39% in 2011." Disapproval of the US in this nuclear-armed nation has exploded under Obama to record highs.

What accounts for this pervasive hostility toward the US is clear: US actions in their country. As a Rumsfeld-era Pentagon study concluded: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies." In particular, it is "American direct intervention in the Muslim world" - justified in the name of stopping Terrorism - that "paradoxically elevate[s] the stature of and support for Islamic radicals".

It's Just Shocking What the Drone War Cheerleaders Are Willing to Say Out Loud

At a moment when we should be having a broader conversation about alternatives to permanent war, we've got politicians talking about how humane killing people by drones is.

Sen. Angus King's (I-Maine) comments justifying the drone war last week:

"Drones are a lot more civilized than what we used to do," he told a cable television audience. "I think it's actually a more humane weapon because it can be targeted to specific enemies and specific people."
Designed to obscure mounting civilian casualties, King's Orwellian phrase "humane weapon" is the crux of the larger argument. The idea is that an intensifying drone war is necessary - and even humane! - because it is more surgical than violent global ground war, which is supposedly America's only other option. As New York Times columnist David Brooks summed it up: drone strikes are great because "they inflict fewer civilian deaths than bombing campaigns, boots on the ground or any practical alternative." Or, as one drone-war defender put it on Twitter: "Drones? 160,000 pairs of boots on the ground? Hmm."

In a country whose culture so often (wrongly) portrays bloodshed as the most effective problem solver, many Americans hear this now-ubiquitous drone-war argument and reflexively agree with its suppositions. Having been told in so many ways that killing is the best and only possible policy prescription, most simply assume that our only national security choice is between drone wars and ground wars - between different forms of preemptive violence, and nothing else.

The failure to question such an assumption represents what can be accurately described as a fundamentalist religion. After all, if faith is the belief in something without proof, then refusing to question martial assumptions represents a theology of militarism. And it's not just any such theology - but one so willfully blind that it will not allow the realities of blowback and civilian casualties to shape its catechism.

Pentagon Announces New "Purple Hard Drive" Medal For Cyberwarriors Wounded In Line of Duty

Following up on its recent announcement of a Distinguished Warfare Medal for exceptional achievements in piloting robotic airborne killing machines, the Pentagon today announced a new award for those keyboard commandos wounded in the line of duty.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Bruce Force said today at the announcement press conference, "America needs to recognize the full range of sacrifices made by our valiant cyberwarriors; the Purple Hard Drive Medal will be awarded to those warriors who develop crippling maladies such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, degeneration of eyesight, low back pain, hemorrhoids and hangnails."

Drones Across US Skies Closer to Reality

A day when thousands of drones are flying across U.S. skies is not that far away.  In a step to bring this closer to reality, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Thursday it was soliciting proposals for six drone research and test sites around the country.

Transportation secretary Ray LaHood said, “This research will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation’s skies.”

Michael Toscano, president and CEO of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said in a statement that the FAA's announcement was "an important milestone on the path toward unlocking the potential of unmanned aircraft." Toscano lamented that the number of test sites had been limited to six, saying, "states across the country have been eager" to be a designated test site.

The FAA predicts 10,000 domestic drones in use by 2018, the Associated Press reports.

Women of the world unite to oppose violence through One Billion Rising

There were marches in Afghanistan, human chains in Bangladesh and a debate in the British parliament on Thursday to celebrate One Billion Rising, a campaign to raise awareness of violence against women.

Started by activist and Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler, the campaign asked participants to dance in solidarity with the one billion women estimated to be abuse survivors.

After women in countries ranging from Somalia to Australia took part, Ensler said the day's success was beyond her wildest dreams. ...

In Germany, events in 126 cities highlighted how sexual violence is dealt with in the criminal system; a parliamentary debate in the UK focused on sex and relationship education in schools.

Hundreds of women and men marched through streets in Afghanistan.

NAACP: New Election Commission Needed to Address Voter Suppression, Attacks on Voting Rights
Nancy Pelosi feels that it's incredibly important for the dignity of the job of congressworms to be "rewarded" with a regular (quite sizable compared to most folks) paycheck.  Unfortunately, she is not so certain that the basic human dignity of her fellow citizens must be maintained by assuring that they receive decent income support and medical care support after they are no longer able to continue with their own life's work.  What a swell lady!
Nancy Pelosi Wants Her Biscuit

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she opposes a cut in congressional pay because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers' jobs.

"I don't think we should do it; I think we should respect the work we do," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "I think it's necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded."

The Greek Trap

Blog Posts of Interest

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

Why Was the Biggest Protest in World History Ignored?

Tar Sands: Poisoning Earth and Canada's Good Name

Drone Wars! The ACLU and ACAD (Alameda County Against Drones) Fight Back.

Heavy Sigh

Forward on Climate: The Tar Sands Ecocide NEEDS the Keystone XL!

A Little Night Music

Phillip Walker Band - Hello My Darling

Phillip Walker - Trouble In My Home

Phillip Walker - Big Rear Window

The Phillip Walker Big Band Blues Show

Percy Mayfield with the Phillip Walker Blues Band - I need love so bad

Phillip Walker Big Band - Reconsider baby

Beatrice Beatrice - Philip Walker

Phillip Walker - What's The Matter Woman

Lonnie Brooks ~ Phillip Walker ~Long John Hunter ~ Two Trains Running

Phillip Walker - Busted

Phillip Walker - Hello Central

Percy Mayfield - Baby Please

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 Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Team DFH.


Do you think that the Keystone XL protests will cause Mr. Obama to cancel the project?

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