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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 New Orleans musician Dr. John.  Enjoy!

Dr John - There Must Be A Better World Somewhere

"The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool."

  -- Stephen King

News and Opinion

You're going to have to work an awful lot harder then, Mr. President...

Obama: US must 'win back the trust of ordinary citizens' over data collection

Barack Obama confirmed on Tuesday that the US plans to end the National Security Agency's systematic collection of Americans’ telephone records, as leaders of a key committee in Congress insisted they were close to a deal with the White House to revamp the surveillance program.

Under plans to be put forward by the Obama administration in the next few days, the NSA would end the so-called bulk collection of telephone records, and instead would be required to seek a new kind of court order to search data held by telecommunications companies.

The proposals come nine months after the practice was first disclosed by the Guardian, based on leaks from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Obama conceded that the revelations had caused trust in the US to plunge around the world.

“We have got to win back the trust not just of governments, but, more importantly, of ordinary citizens. And that's not going to happen overnight, because there's a tendency to be sceptical of government and to be sceptical of the US intelligence services,” Obama said at a news conference in The Hague, where world leaders are gathered for a summit on nuclear security.

Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy

Obama is calling for the cancellation of the NSA dragnet. So why did all three branches sign off?

Well, at least the phone part of the dragnet. Here's hoping it's the end of laws of the spies, by the spies and for the spies

To anyone who criticized the National Security Agency's phone-records dragnet over the last nine months or so, the American intelligence community had this stock response: all three branches of government signed off on it. ...

In today's New York Times, Charlie Savage reports that the administration has come to the belated realization that its intelligence interests can be accommodated without placing hundreds of millions of people under permanent surveillance. This is to the good, of course. But if the administration is right that the dragnet was unnecessary, we should ask how all three branches of government got it so wrong.

The answer, in a word, is secrecy. When intelligence officials proposed the dragnet, there was no one on the other side to explain that the government's goals could be achieved with less-intrusive means. There was no one there to mention that the law the government was invoking couldn't lawfully be used to collect call-records. There was no one there to mention that the bulk collection of call records was unconstitutional. ...

The intelligence committees that were meant to serve as a further check on unwarranted government surveillance failed just as profoundly. They allowed the intelligence community to launch dragnet programs when narrower programs would have been equally effective. They allowed it to mislead the public about the scope of its surveillance activities. They allowed it to pretend that the government's surveillance technology was directed at suspected terrorists abroad when in fact it was directed at ordinary citizens.

One can confidently predict that the administration's proposal to end the NSA's bulk collection of phone records will not go far enough.

Snowden welcomes Obama's plans for NSA reform as 'turning point'

Snowden said none of these reforms would have happened without the disclosures he precipitated. “I believed that if the NSA's unconstitutional mass surveillance of Americans was known, it would not survive the scrutiny of the courts, the Congress, and the people,” Snowden said.

"The very first open and adversarial court to ever judge these programs has now declared them 'Orwellian' and 'likely unconstitutional.' In the USA Freedom Act, Congress is considering historic, albeit incomplete reforms. And President Obama has now confirmed that these mass surveillance programs, kept secret from the public and defended out of reflex rather than reason, are in fact unnecessary and should be ended.

"This is a turning point, and it marks the beginning of a new effort to reclaim our rights from the NSA and restore the public's seat at the table of government."

Simply 'Stop Spying': Critics Slam NSA Reform Proposals
stop watching us

According to information provided to the New York Times by unnamed "senior White House officials," the Obama administration is proposing to end the NSA's mass collection of phone records by instead requesting them from phone companies on an individual, court-approved basis. The companies would not be required to retain records longer than they already do.

Though little information has yet to be released, many critics of the NSA's vast dragnet operations say the proposal clearly does not go far enough.

"The administration doesn't seem to be contemplating new limits on the agency's authority to retain, analyze or disseminate the records it collects," writes Jameel Jaffer, director of the National Security Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. "And it isn't proposing to end bulk collection of all records – just the bulk collection of phone records."

"Given all the various ways that the NSA has overreached, piecemeal change is not enough," writes Cindy Cohn and Mark M. Jaycox of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Noting that an existing bill—the "USA Freedom Act" by Judiciary Committee chairs Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner—does much of what Obama proposed and more, Cohn and Jaycox say, instead of paltry legislation, "we urge the Administration to simply decide that it will stop misusing section 215 of the Patriot Act and section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and Executive Order 12333 and whatever else it is secretly relying on to stop mass spying."

Obama Ensnared in Bush’s Abuses

When Obama came into power, he had a choice to make as to whether to put into effect the “change” that he had promised, a change away from the illegal, unethical and highly counter-productive actions “justified” in secret memos that his predecessor, George W. Bush, had ordered, just days after 9/11 to wage his “war on terror.” Obama unfortunately decided to go against his promises.

Maybe the history lesson was lost on him or maybe he believed the strength of his speechifying could distract people from the fact there was to be NO (significant) CHANGE, just some minor tweaking, i.e. in the verbiage from “war on terror” to “overseas contingency operations”; switching the emphasis from capture to kill (in “kill or capture”) and the like.

Perhaps Obama gambled that the secret programs would not get out of hand so quickly or that no one would see the official hypocrisy in telling the troops they are fighting “for freedom” when here in the U.S., government officials had already put the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments — freedoms of speech, association, religion, and press; protection from unreasonable search and seizure; rights against self-incrimination and for due process — on the chopping block. Unfortunately, that decision dropped us so far down the rabbit hole that Chairman Feinstein’s apt warning of “constitutional crisis” hardly gets a rise out of her fellow spied-on colleagues, many of whom still seem inclined to continue the partisan gaming of such serious wrongdoing as torture.

By contrast, similar COINTELPRO-type revelations at the end of the Vietnam War and outing of war deceits and cover-ups did meet with widespread outrage and concern, making for bipartisanship that led to the end of the Vietnam War, the Church and Pike Committees’ investigations and Nixon’s resignation. ...

I just hope that Feinstein and other congresspersons now understand they really aren’t in the trusted top echelons of the Deep State Secret Spy Club and ultimately this “nearly Orwellian” apparatus has already been turned onto even other branches of government just as it was upon those foreign country leaders termed “allies.” It’s very much a constitutional crisis!

This is a great article about how creepy our future might be if we don't pay attention now and make some noise.  Clicking the link and reading the whole thing is highly recommended.
Invasion of the Data Snatchers, Big Data and the Internet of Things Means the Surveillance of Everything

Invasion of the Data Snatchers, Big Data and the Internet of Things Means the Surveillance of Everything

Estimates vary, but by 2020 there could be over 30 billion devices connected to the Internet. Once dumb, they will have smartened up thanks to sensors and other technologies embedded in them and, thanks to your machines, your life will quite literally have gone online.

The implications are revolutionary. Your smart refrigerator will keep an inventory of food items, noting when they go bad. Your smart thermostat will learn your habits and adjust the temperature to your liking. Smart lights will illuminate dangerous parking garages, even as they keep an “eye” out for suspicious activity. ...

A future Internet of Things does have the potential to offer real benefits, but the dark side of that seemingly shiny coin is this: companies will increasingly know all there is to know about you.  Most people are already aware that virtually everything a typical person does on the Internet is tracked. In the not-too-distant future, however, real space will be increasingly like cyberspace, thanks to our headlong rush toward that Internet of Things. With the rise of the networked device, what people do in their homes, in their cars, in stores, and within their communities will be monitored and analyzed in ever more intrusive ways by corporations and, by extension, the government.

And one more thing: in cyberspace it is at least theoretically possible to log off.  In your own well-wired home, there will be no “opt out.” ...

Sooner or later, with smart devices seamlessly using sensors and Big Data provided by data aggregators, it will be possible to pick you out of a crowd and identify you in complex ways in real time. If intelligent surveillance cameras armed with facial recognition technology have access to social media profiles as well as the information stored by data aggregators, a digital dossier of your life could be called up on-demand whenever your face is recognized. Imagine the power retailers and companies will exert over your life if they not only know who you are and where you are, but what your weaknesses are — whether that’s booze, cigarettes, or the appealing mortgage rate with the sketchy small print. Are we looking at a future where the car salesman really does know what he has to do to put us in that car?

Big Data is creating the possibility of a far more entrenched, class-based surveillance society that discriminates using our perceived successes and preys on our weaknesses.

Little-known scores rank consumers’ value based on data from Web, mobile apps, loyalty cards

If you’ve bought a house or car lately, chances are you know your credit score, or at least whether it’s good or bad.

But what about your customer loyalty score? Or your identity score? Or your health score?

Most people have no idea that businesses use thousands of such scores to rank consumers based on data harvested from search engine histories, shopping habits, social media networks, mobile apps, surveys and census reports.

The scores rely on computer modeling to determine whether you receive a coupon for free shipping from your favorite clothing store, or one for $10 off, or no discount at all. They dictate whether you see ads for credit cards with high interest rates or for platinum cards with low rates and enticing rewards.

A score that assigns you a value based on the average credit score in your zip code could limit your financial choices by putting you in a less desirable pool of potential borrowers.

Some scores route certain people to higher-ranking customer service representatives based on estimated purchasing power. Other scores designed to catch identity fraud can even affect your ability to open a bank account, purchase a cellphone or board an airplane.

But unlike credit scores, the so-called “e-scores,” or “predictive scores” used for marketing or fraud detection, are not regulated by the government. Consumers have no legal right to see their scores or correct errors in them.

Hey, everybody - Obama's going to put on his fearleader outfit and shake those pom-poms of doom!
Obama to highlight Putin threat to EU during keynote speech in Brussels

Barack Obama is to charge Vladimir Putin with being a menace to an international system built up over decades following the Russian leader's sudden appropriation of part of Ukraine.

In his sole big policy speech of a four-day trip to Europe, Obama, on his first presidential visit to Brussels, the capital of the European Union and Nato's headquarters, will seek to stiffen European spines against Russia and pledge US security guarantees for east European allies on Russia's borders who are alarmed at the Kremlin's expansionist aims.

"The speech itself is an opportunity for him to step back and look at the current events in Ukraine in a broader context," said a senior US administration official.

"Standing at the heart of Europe in Brussels, the centre of the European project, he will be able to speak about the importance of European security, the importance of not just the danger to the people of Ukraine but the danger to the international system that Europe and the United States have invested so much in that is a consequence of Russia's actions … [Europe] ultimately has been an anchor of the international system that we've spent decades to build, and it's that international system that has been put at risk by Russia's recent actions."

What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?

EU to press Obama at summit for aid in cutting Russian gas imports

The EU has already stepped up efforts to reduce its reliance on Russia, which provides around one third of the EU's oil and gas. Some 40 percent of that gas is shipped through Ukraine.

EU leaders dedicated part of a summit to the issue last week and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she supported asking Obama to relax restrictions on exports of U.S. gas.

One way to do that is through the proposed free-trade agreement between the United States and the European Union, which would be the world's biggest accord of its kind, dubbed the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP.

"We should have an ambitious chapter on energy in the TTIP," EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who was due to attend the summit, said at the weekend, referring to EU demands for a clear framework setting out U.S. commitments on gas exports.

Most soldiers in Crimea expected to switch to Russia

The departure of Ihor Tenyukh, a politician who belongs to the right-wing Svoboda party, and his replacement by Col. Gen. Mykhailo Koval, a top officer in the country’s border protection service, came as the depth of the defeat in Crimea _ and Ukraine’s inability to respond to the crisis _ continued to come into focus.

The Defense Ministry said it expected only 4,300 of the 18,000 troops who were stationed in Crimea to remain in the Ukrainian military _ less than 24 percent. Others said they expected that most of the rest would join the Russian army, which has offered much higher pay and more generous retirement benefits to any Ukrainian soldier who switches sides.

“They are Russian, and they will serve Russia,” said Sergey Kunitsyn, a former mayor of Sevastopol in Crimea who’s now a member of parliament representing the region. “What else would they do? They speak Russian. Their heritage is Russian. They accept Russian culture. Their loyalty was to Crimea, not Ukraine.”

The government in Kiev apparently has no plan for absorbing the few Ukrainian soldiers who are expected to come to the mainland, and no plan for their evacuation from Crimea.

'Kiev leaders took power with Right Sector's help, but now afraid of them'

Who Was Oleksandr Muzychko? Ukrainian Police Kill Far-Right Leader Wanted By Russians

As the world fixates on the extraordinary developments in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that the Russian military has forcibly annexed, a bizarre incident in mainland Ukraine led to the death of the one of the country’s most notorious far-right leaders. Oleksandr Muzychko, also known by the alias "Sashko Bily," was shot to death late Monday night or early Tuesday morning by Ukrainian “special forces” during a raid on a café in the western city of Rivne, according to the Interior Ministry.

Vladimir Yevdokimov, Ukraine's deputy interior minister, told a news conference in Kiev that the "Sokol" special forces came to arrest Muzychko, but shot and killed him after he opened fire on them first as he tried to escape. Authorities also described Muzychko as a “criminal gang-leader.” ... Muzychko, an ultranationalist, was a coordinator of the Right Sector group, which participated in recent protests in Kiev that ultimately toppled President Viktor Yanukovych. During those protests Right Sector attacked police vehicles and engaged in repeated violent clashes with authorities.

Muzychko was wanted by authorities in both Ukraine and Russia, the BBC reported. Specifically, Russian officials had issued an arrest warrant for Muzychko for alleged atrocities, including torture, against Russian troops in Chechnya during the 1990s when Moscow was engaged in a war against Chechen separatists. Muzychko had denied the accusations. Interfax, the Russian news agency, reported that Muzychko was a member of an organization called the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian National Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO), which fought on the side of Chechen rebels from 1994 to 2000. Ukrainian police wanted to arrest him for harassing a prosecutor and for general “hooliganism,” Reuters reported.

But there are conflicting accounts of how Muzychko met his end. Before Yevdokimov delivered his version of events, an independent Ukrainian MP named Oles Doniy wrote on his Facebook page that Muzychko was driving in his automobile when two other cars forced him off the road and men abducted him, shot him to death and dumped his body. In essence, Doniy charged police with executing Muzychko.

Ooops! Looks like Goldilocks the Gunner's remarks didn't play well in Germany...
Germany says violent language doesn't help in Ukraine crisis

The German government has cautioned against the use of violent language in the Ukraine crisis in response to reports that the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko said in a leaked phone call that the Russian minority should be "nuked".

"Despite all the opposition to Russia's actions in Crimea and all differences of opinion even of a fundamental kind, there are limits to language and thought that must not be crossed," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert.

US propaganda factories will have to go into overtime production if they are going to support the war effort...
Only a Quarter of Americans See Russia as an Enemy

Ever since the Russian military occupied Crimea, Mitt Romney has been doing something of a victory lap for his much-ridiculed comment, during the 2012 presidential campaign, that Russia was America's top geopolitical foe. But on Tuesday, during a stop in the Netherlands, President Obama refused to call Romney a prophet. Russia, he said, is a "regional power"—and a weak one at that.

Americans, it seems, fall somewhere in between the Romney and Obama camps. In a survey released on Tuesday, the Pew Research Center found that 43 percent of respondents now consider Russia a "serious problem," up from 36 percent last fall, and 26 percent consider Russia an "adversary," up from 18 percent in the fall.

But the top-level numbers mask another trend: It's mainly Republicans who are growing seriously concerned about Russia. ... It's also worth noting that older respondents, who lived through the Cold War, are more worried about Russia.

Egypt’s Courts Further Repression with Journos on Trial & Mass Death Sentence for Morsi Supporters

Turkish court upholds appeal against ban on Twitter

A Turkish court has upheld an appeal against a block on Twitter that has provoked public outrage, local media said, though it was not immediately clear whether that meant the bar would be removed.

Turkey's telecoms authority (TIB) blocked access to Twitter on Friday as the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, battles a corruption scandal which has seen a stream of anonymous postings purportedly revealing government wrongdoing appear on the social media platform in recent weeks.

The blockage triggered local and international criticism days ahead of critical elections.

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro accuses three generals of plotting coup

The Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, has added three generals to the growing list of people and entities he accuses of plotting against him.

Maduro announced on Tuesday that his socialist administration had brought three air force generals before a military tribunal on charges of plotting a coup as anti-government protests continue across the country.

He said the generals, whose names he did not release, were working with the opposition and their attempt failed because younger officers became alarmed. ...

Recently, Maduro has called the protest movement an "evolving coup d'etat," and accused the US of waging an "economic war" and supporting those who wish to do violence to Venezuela. The protests sparked by shortages, runaway inflation and rising crime have left dozens dead.

Analysts said the arrests do not necessarily mean Maduro's administration is losing ground with the Venezuelan military, which has historically decided political fortunes at moments of crisis.

Lift Gaza Blockade for the 'Humanitarian Sense of All': UN

In the name of the "humanitarian sense of all," Israel and Egypt must lift border restrictions on the Gaza Strip, said outgoing head of the United Nations Relief and Works Organization (UNRWA) Filippo Grandi on Tuesday.

While Egypt and Israel often cite "security concerns" in reference to the strict trade blockade on Gaza's borders, Grandi said, "the world should not forget about the security of the people of Gaza. Their security is worth the same as everybody else's security so we appeal to the humanitarian sense of all." ... The import blockade is "illegal and must be lifted," said Grandi. ...

Similarly, Richard Falk, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories said last month that Israel's "systematic oppression" of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza appears to constitute the "inhuman" and "degrading" practice of "apartheid."

"Through prolonged occupation, with practices and policies which appear to constitute apartheid and segregation, ongoing expansion of settlements, and continual construction of the wall arguably amounting to de facto annexation of parts of the occupied Palestinian territory, the denial by Israel of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people is evident," said Falk in his final report after six years in the position.

Obama to Visit Saudi Arabia, Key Source of Funding for Growing Jihadi Militarism in Middle East

Hmmm... conspiracy theory starter kit - remember that rash of banker suicides...
JPMorgan Chase Bets $10.4 Billion on the Early Death of Workers

Families of young JPMorgan Chase workers who have experienced tragic deaths over the past four months, have been kept in the dark on many details, including the fact that the bank most likely held a life insurance policy on their loved one – payable to itself. Banks in the U.S., as well as other corporations, are allowed to make multi-billion dollar wagers that their profits from life insurance policies on employees will outstrip the cost of paying premiums and other fees. Early deaths help those wagers pay off.

According to the December 31, 2013 financial filing known as the Call Report that JPMorgan made with Federal regulators, it has tied up $10.4 billion in illiquid, long term bets on the death of a large segment of its employees.

The program is known among regulators as Bank Owned Life Insurance or BOLI. Federal regulators specifically exempted BOLI in passing the final version of the Volcker Rule in December of last year which disallowed most proprietary trading or betting for the house. Regulators stated in the rule that “Rather, these accounts permit the banking entity to effectively hedge and cover costs of providing benefits to employees through insurance policies related to key employees.” We have italicized the word “key” because regulators know very well from financial filings that the country’s mega banks are not just insuring key employees but a broad-base of their employees. ...

When the General Accountability Office (GAO) looked into the matter for Congress in 2003 and 2004, it found the insidious practice of continuing the life insurance even after the employee had left the company – nullifying any ability to consider him or her a “key” to the business. The GAO wrote: “Unless prohibited by state law, businesses can retain ownership of these policies regardless of whether the employment relationship has ended.” The GAO found that multiple companies held life insurance policies on the same individual.

High court hears case on religious rights of corporations

The Evening Greens

British Columbia Enacted The Most Significant Carbon Tax in the Western Hemisphere—What Happened Next Is It Worked

Suppose that you live in Vancouver, British Columbia, and you drive a car to work. Naturally, you have to get gas regularly. When you stop at the pump, you may see a notice ... explaining that part of the price you're paying is, in effect, due to the cost of carbon. That's because in 2008, the government of British Columbia decided to impose a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, enacting what has been called "the most significant carbon tax in the Western Hemisphere by far."

A carbon tax is just what it sounds like: The BC government levies a fee, currently 30 Canadian dollars, for every metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions resulting from the burning of various fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and, of course, coal. That amount is then included in the price you pay at the pump—for gasoline, it's 6.67 cents per liter (about 25 cents per gallon)—or on your home heating bill, or wherever else the tax applies. (Canadian dollars are currently worth about 89 American cents).

If the goal was to reduce global warming pollution, then the BC carbon tax totally works. Since its passage, gasoline use in British Columbia has plummeted, declining seven times as much as might be expected from an equivalent rise in the market price of gas, according to a recent study by two researchers at the University of Ottawa. That's apparently because the tax hasn't just had an economic effect: It has also helped change the culture of energy use in BC. "I think it really increased the awareness about climate change and the need for carbon reduction, just because it was a daily, weekly thing that you saw," says Merran Smith, the head of Clean Energy Canada. "It made climate action real to people."

Oil spills into Lake Michigan from BP refinery

Oil leaked from BP Plc's Whiting refinery in Indiana into Lake Michigan after a malfunction at a recently upgraded processing unit on Monday afternoon, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

Between 10 and 12 barrels, or around 500 gallons, of crude oil spilled into the lake, according to a local CBS report citing a source. ... The leak had stopped on Tuesday and no injuries were reported, London-based BP said in a statement. It declined to comment on the volume of oil spilled. ...

Oil spills are not uncommon in the United States, where drilling is at an all-time high and energy production is on the rise. Still, Monday's spill will probably spur more environmental opposition to the Whiting refinery, which has been under local scrutiny for releasing pollutants into Lake Michigan.

The spill may also be another blow to BP, whose reputation was tarnished by the Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. That was the worst offshore spill in U.S. history, spewing millions of barrels of oil into the ocean.

Only this month was BP allowed to bid again on new federal drilling leases after a two-year government ban was lifted.

Ohio Pipeline Spill Twice As Large As Original Estimate

20,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a damaged pipeline into a nature reserve in southwest Ohio — double the initial estimates — according to officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ...

The crude oil leached into the 374-acre Glen Oak Nature Preserve, 20 miles north of Cincinnati. ... The spill came from a five inch crack in the Mid-Valley Pipeline, running 1,000 miles from Texas to Michigan. On Monday, the pipeline operator, Sunoco Logistics, said the pipeline had been repaired and reopened.

Far from an isolated incident, the massive leak is “at least the third time in the last decade that oil has leaked in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region from this pipe” and “is the 40th incident since 2006 along the pipeline, which stretches 1,100 miles from Texas to Michigan,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, citing data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Supreme Court Rejects Coal Industry Lawsuit, Defends EPA Veto of Mountaintop Removal Mine

Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied the coal mining industry’s request to hear a case against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for vetoing part of a permit for one of the largest and most harmful mountaintop removal coal mines in West Virginia’s history, the Spruce No. 1 mine. By declining to take the case the Supreme Court refused to reverse the lower court’s ruling that the EPA has full authority to protect clean water whenever necessary to prevent unacceptable environmental harm.

In October 1999, the Spruce No. 1 Mine became the subject of the first significant federal court decision on mountaintop removal mining, won by individual community members and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (represented by Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Public Justice). That case initiated years of controversy and litigation over this proposed mine. In the meantime, the science accumulated showing how devastating this type of mining is for local waters and communities.

In Jan. 2011, the EPA decided to veto the Spruce No. 1 Mine permit based on robust science showing the irreparable harm that would occur if the mining company were allowed to permanently bury and pollute natural headwater streams with mining waste. The permit would have allowed the Mingo Logan coal company to bury and destroy more than six miles of pristine mountain streams under mining waste dumps created from the destruction of more than 2,000 acres of land, releasing harmful pollutants into downstream waters that sustain local communities and wildlife. Appalachian citizen groups have been fighting to save the streams that would be destroyed by the Spruce Mine for more than a decade—as one of the largest, most harmful mountaintop removal mines ever proposed. ...

In 2012, the D.C. district court ruled that the EPA lacked authority to veto the permit after the Corps had issued it, without addressing the scientific merits of the EPA’s decision. In 2013, the D.C. Circuit (in an opinion by Judges Henderson, Griffith and Kavanaugh) unanimously reversed the district court’s ruling and upheld the EPA’s authority to veto whenever there is unacceptable harm, including after a permit has been issued. The full D.C. Circuit then denied the coal company’s petition for en banc review. ...

Today’s denial of certiorari reaffirms what the D.C. Circuit decided—that the EPA has authority to veto a harmful permit after it is issued. The case now goes back to the district court to review the scientific merits of the EPA’s veto decision in this specific instance.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

Zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft Word under active attack

Lawyer sues after FBI foils his quest to learn if he was spied on

Hobby Lobby and the 'Profoundly Dangerous Precedent' for Women's Rights

The Pampered, Delusional Rich

IMF's Involvement Fuels Sudan's Continued Unrest

Why the EU won’t annex Ukraine

A Little Night Music

Dr. John - Such a Night

Dr John - Iko Iko

Dr John - Mac's Boogie

Dr. John - Goin' Back To New Orleans

Dr. John - Right Place Wrong Time

Dr. John Talks about Professor Longhair

Dr. John - Tipitina

Etta James, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint - Groove Me

Dr. John - Mess Around

Dr. John - How Come My Dogs Don't Bark

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 Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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