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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 the somewhat obscure blues, r&b and soul musician Ray Agee.  Enjoy!

Ray Agee - The Wobble-OO

“When our bones are dust, our search engine history will be the fossil record of our lives. The internet is our benevolent overbearing mother walking in on us in the shower. We just shout about the invasion of privacy – but it’s the only way she can fully measure our development.”

  -- Bauvard

News and Opinion

Are the FBI and IRS Secretly Reading Your Email Without a Warrant?

Naked Citizens

New York judge questions efforts of NYPD's stop-and-frisk 'all-star'

In late summer 2009, few New York City police officers could match Kha Dang in street stops. Working with an aggressive plainclothes unit in Brooklyn's 88th precinct, the eight-year veteran of the force was among the NYPD's top four stoppers.

Dang racked up a total of 127 stops in the third quarter of that year. He performed 75 frisks and, on 37 separate occasions, searched inside suspects' clothing or belongings. He was, in the words of one civil rights attorney, an NYPD "all-star".

Despite his efforts, Dang's hit rate – the number of times in which his stops led to an arrest or summons, or removed a gun from the streets – was called into serious question in federal court this week.

Dang made a total of six arrests out of his 127 stops. He wrote one summons. He found contraband once. He never recovered any weapons and he only stopped people of color, primarily African Americans, 115 times to be exact. He never stopped a white person. ...

Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, over 4.4 million people have been stopped, roughly 88% have walked away without an arrest or summons and nearly nine out of 10 have been African American or Latino.

Justice Department Redefines Terrorism by Putting Assata Shakur on FBI List

Big Labor’s Tool of Empire: The Reprehensible Meddling of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center

Just before the April 14 Presidential elections in Venezuela, RT News reported on a Wikileaks Cable from 2006 in which, in the words of RT, then “ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, outlines a comprehensive plan to infiltrate and destabilize former President Hugo Chavez’ government,” including through programs of the USAID and its Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI).   On May Day, Bolivian President Evo Morales informed the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia that he wanted USAID to leave Bolivia because he (quite reasonably) suspected USAID of trying to subvert his own government as well. ...

One of the major recipients of USAID monies in the Andean Region, which includes Venezuela, is the AFL-CIO’s international wing, the Solidarity Center.  The Solidarity Center was quite embarrassed in 2002 when the union it was working with and funding in Venezuela — the anti-Chavez CTV — actively participated in the coup against President Hugo Chavez.   However, the Solidarity Center was not embarrassed enough to relent from continuing to support the CTV and to even support the management-led strike against the Venezuelan oil company (PDVSA) which greatly damaged the Venezuelan economy.

And, the Solidarity Center is still working in Venezuela, thanks to a recent grant of $3 million from the USAID for its work in both Venezuela and Colombia. ... That the Solidarity Center is following the State Department and USAID program exactly should not be surprising given that the Solidarity Center receives nearly all its funding from the USAID and other funders directly linked to the State Department and U.S. foreign policy interests (e.g., the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)).

Despite Evidence of Massacres, Former Guatemalan Dictator Proclaims Innocence at Genocide Trial

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt battles genocide charges

Former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt denied charges he ordered a massacre of indigenous people during his 1982-1983 regime, as he testified for the first time at his genocide trial.

“I declare myself innocent,” the 86-year-old told the court after asking to take the stand in the final arguments of his landmark trial.

“I never had the intention, the aim to destroy any national ethnic group,” he said. “I am not genocidal.”

Rio Montt denied the prosecution’s charge that he authorized military plans to exterminate the Ixil Maya population. ...

The former strongman, taking sips of water during his 50-minute testimony, insisted that he had no control over the actions of troops operating in indigenous areas.

“I don’t know what the squad leader did. I was the head of state,” he said.

Prosecutors have requested a 75-year prison sentence against Rios Montt and his former military intelligence chief, Jose Rodriguez, over the massacre of 1,771 Ixil Maya people in the northern Quiche region of the Central American nation during its civil war.

Everything Is Rigged, The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever (w/ Matt Taibbi)

part 2  part 3  part 4

California sues JPMorgan for allegedly harassing credit card customers

The US state of California filed suit Thursday against JPMorgan Chase, accusing the Wall Street bank of illegally abusing credit-card customers and misusing the court system to harass them with lawsuits.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed the suit in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging the bank “committed debt collection abuses against tens of thousands of California consumers.”

“Defendants have flooded California’s courts with collection lawsuits against defaulted credit card borrowers based on patently insufficient evidence — betting that borrowers would lack the resources or legal sophistication to call defendants’ bluff,” Harris said in the filing.

The bank filed more than 100,000 lawsuits against credit card holders between January 2008 and April 2011, and on one day alone, April 1, 2010, it filed 469 cases, the state alleged.

On the Run: No jobs, slave wages drive Portuguese abroad

Greek unemployment climbs to 27 percent

Greek unemployment climbed to 27 percent of the workforce in February compared with 26.7 percent a month earlier, the state statistics agency said on Thursday.

The number of unemployed rose to 1,320,189 while 3,568,186 were registered as employed.

The highest rate was registered for youths aged 15-24, at 64.2 percent.

A year ago in February unemployment had been 21.9 percent, the agency said.

Arab League's Peace Initiative Puts Israel in an Embarrassing Position

Israel's 'Segregation Policies' Drive Soaring Poverty in East Jerusalem

UN report finds over 80 percent of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem live in poverty

Israel's discriminatory "segregation policies" in occupied East Jerusalem have forced the isolation of Palestinians living in the city, driving households to extreme poverty compared to both Israelis and Palestinians living elsewhere, according to a new United Nations report published Thursday.

The report by the UN's Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), The Palestinian economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring annexation, isolation and disintegration, found that 82 percent of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem were living in poverty in 2010, compared to 45 percent of Israeli children in the same area.

Further, between 2009 and 2010, the poverty rate of Palestinian households in the city rose from 68 percent to 77 percent, compared to 25% just percent of Israeli households in (both East and West) Jerusalem which were classified as poor in 2010.

East Jerusalem is home to the largest concentration of Palestinians, with over 280,000 living in the city and another 80,000 in the surrounding suburbs.

As the report explains, following the 1967 Israeli occupation, "authorities began to pursue a policy of physical, political and economic segregation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT)," employing strategies such as the city’s annexation, the expansion of Jewish settlements and the construction of separation wall.

Pakistani Court Rules CIA Drone Strikes Are Illegal

In the first major Pakistani court ruling on the legality of the CIA’s drone campaign in the country, a Peshawar High Court judge said this morning that strikes are ‘criminal offenses’. Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan ordered Pakistan’s government to ‘use force if need be’ to end drone attacks in the country’s tribal regions.

He ruled that US drone strikes in Pakistan constitute a ‘war crime’ and are a ‘blatant violation of basic human rights’, killing hundreds of civilians. He ordered the government to ‘forcefully’ convey to the US that it must end drone strikes and called on the UN Security Council to intervene.

The Pakistani government should also gather data on those affected by drone strikes, and offer redress to the victims, Khan added. At present the only data systematically released on drone strikes comes from independent monitoring organizations such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has been investigating drone strikes and tracking reported casualties since 2011.

Imran Khan's 'Tsunami' Sweeps Nation as Pakistan Prepares to Vote

Anti-Drone, Anti-Corruption platform strikes a chord

Hundreds of thousands of energized Pakistani voters filled Islamabad's Parade Avenue (D-Chowk) Thursday night for the final rally of the surging campaign of Pakistan's populist Imran Khan on the last day of campaigning ahead of Saturday’s national election.

Kahn has captured the pulse of the nation with his anti-corruption, anti-US drone platform. Khan and his PTI party's 'Tsunami' campaign has drawn massive crowds and enthusiasm all over Pakistan in the closing days of campaigning. A poll earlier this week said Khan was nearly tied for support with the presumed front-runner Nawaz Sharif.

Mayflower Families to Kerry: Come and See What Tar Sands Has Wrought

Victims of tar sands spill in Arkansas plead with Secretary of State to come see their devastated town before decision is made on Keystone XL

Ahead of a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, families directly impacted by the tar sands pipeline spill in Mayflower, Kansas in March traveled to Washington, DC this week to deliver an invitation and a message to Secretary of State John Kerry.

The invitation: Bring your staff and come see the destruction of our community for yourself.

Their message: Together with President Obama, reject the Keystone XL pipeline and save others from experiencing a similar, or an even larger, disaster.

"Before you issue your final evaluation of Keystone XL, we ask that you and your staff come to Mayflower to see what happens when a tar sands pipeline ruptures in your backyard," the families wrote in a letter that several Mayflower representatives hand-delivered in Washington, DC.  "We ask that you observe the remnants of black tar, smell the toxic chemicals that are polluting our air, and ask yourselves whether you can in good conscience inflict this same devastation on families along Keystone XL’s route."

The Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower ruptured on March 29, and a "22 foot gash" spilled more than 5,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the local watershed and flooded people's backyards with heavy crude that was literally running in the streets. The cleanup effort in Mayflower continues with many residents complaining of ongoing air-quality problems and health concerns.

Hat tip to Agathena:
Fracking Our National Parks: America's Best Idea Threatened By Oil and Gas Addiction

Teddy Roosevelt must be rolling over in his grave. Elkhorn Ranch, where the great Republican conservationist sat on his porch overlooking the Little Missouri River and conceived his then-progressive theories of conservation, is at risk of being despoiled by fracking.

Now sitting in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, you’d assume that Roosevelt's "home ranch" (as he called it) was protected from fossil fuel development. But the view from Elkhorn could soon be dominated by a new gas well staked just 100 feet from the site, a new bridge over the river and a new road to service nearby fracking fields. “Astronomers at Theodore Roosevelt National Park -- which once offered some of the nation’s darkest, most pristine night skies -- also see a new constellation of flares from nearby fracking wells,” writes the National Parks Conservation Association.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is not alone. Around the country -- from Big Sky Country to the water gaps and rivers of the East -- National Parks and recreation areas are being threatened by rampant, fracking-driven oil and gas development.


Blog Posts of Interest

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

National Parks, America's Best Idea, Being Ruined

A Little Night Music

Ray Agee - Tough Competition

Ray Agee - I'm Not Looking Back

Ray Agee - I'm Losing Again

Ray Agee - Your Precious Love

Ray Agee - You Hit Me Where It Hurts

Ray Agee - It's Hard To Explain

Ray Agee - Love Bug

Ray Agee - Mr. Clean

Ray Agee - Leave me alone

Ray Agee - The Monkey On My Back

Ray Agee - Swingin' Partner

Ray Agee - It's a Helluva Thing

Ray Agee - My So Called Friend

Ray Agee - Flirting Blues

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!



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