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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 r&b singer Betty Everett.  Enjoy!



Betty Everett - Shoop Shoop Song


“The social function of narrative is not limited to 'primitive' people sitting around the fire telling each other where Fire came from and why they're sitting around it.”

  -- Ursula K. Le Guin


News and Opinion




The Danger of False Narrative

The American people got a nasty taste of the danger that can come with false narrative when they were suckered into the Iraq War based on bogus claims that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction that he planned to share with al-Qaeda. ...

But perhaps an even more dangerous problem coming out of the Iraq War was that almost no one in Official Washington who pushed the false narrative – whether in politics or in the press – was held accountable in any meaningful way. Many of the same pols and pundits remain in place today, pushing similar false narratives on new crises, from Ukraine to Syria to Iran.

Those false narratives – and their cumulative effect on policymaking – now represent a clear and present danger to the Republic and, indeed, to the world. The United States, after all, is the preeminent superpower with unprecedented means for delivering death and destruction. But almost nothing is being done to address this enduring American crisis of deception.

Today, Official Washington is marching in lockstep just as it did in 2002-03 when it enforced the misguided consensus on Iraq’s WMD. The latest case is Ukraine where Russian President Vladimir Putin is accused of committing “aggression” to expand Russian territory at the expense of noble ”democratic” reformers in Kiev.

Not only is this the dominant storyline in the U.S. media; it is virtually the only narrative permitted in the mainstream press. But the real narrative is that the United States and the European Union provoked this crisis by trying to take Ukraine out of its traditional sphere of influence, Russia, and put it in to a new association with the EU.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Ukraine joining with the EU or staying with Russia (or a combination of the two) – depending on the will of the people and their elected representatives – this latest U.S./EU plan was motivated, at least in part, by hostility toward Russia.

Obama Suddenly Defends US Invasion of Iraq—Mainstream Media Shrug

President Barack Obama, in a speech in Brussels yesterday after Russia (and many Europeans) pointed out our loss of moral authority because of our war in Iraq in hitting Putin on Crimea, defended our 2003 invasion. This was deeply disheartening—and hypocritical, since he largely owes his election in 2008 to being able to brag (vs. Hillary Clinton and John McCain) that, unlike them, he opposed the war in 2003.  

Yet media outlets such as The New York Times barely mentioned his Iraq statement — which included several key distortions — in passing. (Another typical example at the Los Angeles Times.) Others in the mainstream, such as at the MSNBC site, offered more space — but merely relayed Obama's quotes with no fact-checking or commentary. ...

In a New York Times op-ed this week, our recent ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, wrote, “As ambassador, I found it difficult to defend our commitment to sovereignty and international law when asked by Russians, ‘What about Iraq?’”  Apparently Obama felt the need to respond, even if with untruths.

The Iraq War's Real Legacy

Best snark so far:
Obama Paints Crimea Secession as Worse than Iraq War

With fully one Ukrainian soldier confirmed dead and several others wounded in myriad clashes, world leaders seem agreed that the Russian annexation of Crimea is the worst thing to happen within their collective memories. Then someone, likely just to bum everyone out, brought up Iraq.

Speaking in Brussels today, President Obama went on a lengthy diatribe about how the decade-long US occupation of Iraq, which left roughly a million people dead and the entire region awash in al-Qaeda factions, was nowhere near as bad a thing as Crimea.

Barack Obama: Russia must pull back troops from Ukraine border

Obama told CBS News that the decision by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. to assemble forces on the border may "simply be an effort to intimidate Ukraine, or it may be that they've got additional plans".

Although estimates of troop numbers vary, Obama said that "to de-escalate the situation" Russia should "move back those troops and begin negotiations directly with the Ukrainian government as well as the international community".

He also said Putin had been "willing to show a deeply held grievance about what he considers to be the loss of the Soviet Union", and the Russian leader should not "revert back to the kinds of practices that… were so prevalent during the cold war".

Russia criticizes U.N. resolution condemning Crimea's secession

Russia said on Friday a U.N. resolution declaring invalid Crimea's Moscow-backed referendum on seceding from Ukraine was counterproductive and accused Western states of using blackmail and threats to drum up "yes" votes.

The non-binding resolution passed with 100 votes in favor, 11 against and 58 abstentions in the 193-nation U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, in a vote that Western nations said highlighted Russia's isolation. ...

It accused Western states of using the "the full force of the unspent potential of the Cold War-era propaganda machine" to whip up support for the resolution.

"It is well-known what kind of shameless pressure, up to the point of political blackmail and economic threats, was brought to bear on a number of (U.N.) member states so they would vote 'yes'," the ministry said.

UN Assembly adopts res'n backing Ukraine's territorial integrity

The G7 and the limits of Russia’s ‘political isolation’

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama delivered the major address of his weeklong trip to Europe, focusing on the Russian incursions into Ukraine and the coordinated Western retaliation. “Together, we have isolated Russia politically, suspending it from the G8 nations,” Obama said. For annexing Crimea, Russia was punished with temporary exile from this coalition of advanced industrial democracies, a group of Western countries that collectively act on their shared values.

There is just one problem: Russia never shared these values, and the G7 has neither represented global interests nor driven the international agenda for quite some time. ...

Where we see global political coordination, it is largely ineffectual. Take the March 27 United Nations General Assembly resolution, a vote on the legitimacy of the Crimean referendum. At first glance, the result looks like an international rebuke of Russia’s behavior. One hundred countries voted in favor of Ukraine’s denouncement of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Only 11 countries voted against the resolution, including Russia, with its only support coming from neighbors it can bully (Armenia, Belarus) and rogue states with grudges against the established order (Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela).

But this rare example of global coordination comes with many asterisks. Powerful emerging players like China, Brazil and India were among the 58 countries that abstained from the vote, and many more of the 193-country assembly did not participate at all.

IMF to Ukraine: We'll Give You Money If You Give Us Austerity

The International Monetary Fund announced on Thursday a $14 to $18 billion "bailout" for Ukraine that is contingent on Kiev's imposition of stringent austerity measures. ...

According to Reuters, the IMF's requirements include: "allowing the national currency, the hryvnia, to float more freely against the dollar, increasing the price of gas for the domestic consumer, overhauling finances in the energy sector and following a more stringent fiscal policy."

Ukraine's new government on Wednesday passed a drastic increase in domestic gas prices, to take effect May first, and pledged to gradually reduce energy subsidies — a widely unpopular move that former President Viktor Yanukovych refused to take.

Henry Kissinger's Legacy of War Crimes Exposed by Secret Yale Visit

Senate panel vote on releasing CIA study delayed

Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats, locked in an unprecedented power struggle with the CIA, have added substantially to the material they want made public from their study of the agency’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on suspected terrorists, committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Thursday.

“It has been expanded,” she told McClatchy.

Feinstein didn't say what had been added, but others said the expansion added 100 pages to the study’s 300-page executive summary. That will delay a vote that Feinstein had promised by the end of March to send the document to an executive branch declassification review.

That would be the final step in the process of releasing the executive summary of the four-year investigation into the detention and interrogation program. The full report, which cost $40 million and runs in excess of 6,300 pages, likely won’t ever be released.

Feinstein said the declassification vote now likely will be April 3.

A Debate on Torture: Legal Architect of CIA Secret Prisons, Rendition vs. Human Rights Attorney





Mike Rogers wants a bigger megaphone to broadcast his ignorance and shill for the NSA:
Mike Rogers to retire, host radio show

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers plans to leave Congress after this year to host a talk radio show for Cumulus Media Inc, the Michigan congressman said on Friday. ...

Rogers, a former FBI agent who has led the House intelligence panel since 2011, has been a fierce critic of the Obama administration, including its handling of Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. ...

He has also been a strong supporter of the National Security Agency surveillance programs and this week unveiled a bipartisan measure to reform metadata collection that is similar to President Barack Obama's plan.

"As I close this chapter in my life, I am excited to begin a new one that allows me to continue serving as a voice for American exceptionalism and support a strong national security policy agenda," Rogers said on Friday.

Obama proposal still allows NSA to review too much phone data, critics say

The White House on Thursday announced President Barack Obama’s proposal to end the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk collection of information about Americans’ cellphone usage, confirming that under the president’s plan cellphone companies would be required to provide so-called metadata only on specific numbers when ordered by a court.

But the details of the proposal still drew opposition from some civil liberties advocates, who said the president was allowing the NSA too much discretion by letting it review data from numbers two “hops” removed from the targeted phone. Under the proposal, the NSA could investigate all the numbers that had been in touch with the targeted phone _ the first “hop” _ plus all the numbers that the owners of those phones had contacted _ the second “hop.”

“Being ‘two-hops’ from a suspicious person should not subject innocent Americans to a government data grab,” said Mike German of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. “The president’s proposal fails to address, and in fact perpetuates, the collection of completely innocent Americans’ data for inclusion in the NSA’s ‘corporate store,’ where it can be used for myriad purposes, not just terrorism.”

Obama NSA Reforms Must Be 'Beginning Not End': ACLU

As a major critic of the Obama administration over the NSA's bulk surveillance programs, the ACLU responded to the president's Thursday announcement regarding reforms to mass collection of telephone records by saying it was a welcome first step, but that much more would be needed before they and other rights groups would be satisfied.

“The president’s plan is a major step in the right direction and a victory for privacy. But this must be the beginning of surveillance reform, not the end," said Anthony D. Romero, the ACLU's executive director. ...

"Today's announcement leaves in place other surveillance programs with equally troubling implications for civil liberties," he said. "Comprehensive reform should begin with passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill that safeguards privacy while also ensuring that the government has the tools it needs to investigate real threats. We must restore the proper balance between security and our constitutional rights.”

Are "Two Hops" Too Many?

President Obama today unveiled his proposal to end the bulk collection of Americans' phone records. The proposal, which still needs congressional approval, would require the government to get individualized court orders before acquiring the phone records of suspected terrorists.

You might think that this requirement would end mass surveillance, but not so fast. The government is still pushing for the authority to obtain records "two hops" removed from its suspects—or translated from newspeak: the records of people who are not suspected terrorists themselves but who have called, or have been called by, suspected terrorists.

That detail matters because phone-records requests can quickly balloon out of control when the government gets additional hops. If, for example, a surveillance target has talked to 200 different people in the last 18 months (a low estimate based on our informal sampling), and if each of those 200 people has also called or been called by 200 different people, then a two-hop request would vacuum up records relating to 40,000 people. And it only gets worse if one of the numbers in the first hop belongs to a high-volume caller—like a pizza shop, an advertising company, or a hospital. ...

Before we allow the government to exponentially expand its surveillance by adding hops, we should insist that it demonstrate a need to do so. The government should either satisfy a high standard of proof for its initial phone-records request or go back to a court for permission to track additional individuals. After all, if the government does not have any reason to suspect someone at the "second hop" of any wrongdoing, why should it be able to confiscate all of that person's phone records?

Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated

U.N. rights forum calls for use of armed drones to comply with law

The United Nations called on all states on Friday to ensure that the use of armed drones complies with international law, backing a proposal from Pakistan seen as taking aim at the United States.

A resolution presented by Pakistan on behalf of co-sponsors including Yemen and Switzerland did not single out any state. The United States is the biggest drone user in conflicts including those in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia. ...

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 27 states in favour to six against, with 14 abstentions at the 47-member Geneva forum. The United States, Britain and France voted against.

The Council "urges all states to ensure that any measures employed to counter terrorism, including the use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones, comply with their obligations under international law ... in particular the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality".

The text voiced concern at civilian casualties resulting from the use of remotely-piloted aircraft or armed drones, as highlighted by the U.N. special investigator on counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson in a recent report.

Turkey blocks YouTube amid 'national security' concerns

The Turkish government reinforced its heavily criticised clampdown on social media on Thursday, blocking YouTube a week after it restricted access to the micro-blogging platform Twitter. The latest curbs came hours after an audio recording of a high-level security meeting was leaked on the video-sharing website.

According to Turkish media reports, the decision to block YouTube was taken by Turkey’s telecommunications authority (TİB) as a “precautionary administrative measure.” In February, Turkey passed a much criticised new internet law that allows the telecommunications regulator to block websites without a court order. Turkey previously banned YouTube in 2007, but lifted the ban three years later. ...

The move by the TIB came hours after an anonymous YouTube account posted a leaked audio recording allegedly of a confidential conversation between Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, undersecretary of the foreign ministry Feridun Sinirlioglu and deputy chief of the general staff, Yasar Gürel, discussing possible military action in Syria.

A source at the prime minister's office told Reuters that the government had taken action against YouTube after the leak of the voice recordings created a "national security issue". The source said that Turkey was in talks with the video-sharing platform and may lift the ban if YouTube agreed to remove the content.

Turkish PM divides nation and neighbourhoods ahead of local elections

In response to allegations of mass corruption inside the government, Erdogan appears to have opted for a strategy of dividing the country into loyalists and traitors. He purged the police and judiciary of critics and passed laws that weakened constitutional checks and balances on the executive. ...

The consequences of this divide-and-rule strategy are evident in Okmeydani, a neighbourhood in Istanbul's central Beyoglu district, that recently made headlines following the deaths of Berkin Elvan, a teenager who died after being hit in the head by a teargas canister during last summer's protests, and of Burakcan Karamanoglu, a 22-year-old who was shot in the head during clashes between opposing groups in the neighbourhood.

The youths lived on opposing sides of the riven community. In the upper part of Okmeydani, predominantly housing the Alevi minority, countless graffiti slogans show the dominance of radical leftist groups. "No entry to fascists" and "Berkin Elvan is immortal", they read. On the other side of the "border", the flags of rightwing, Islamist and conservative parties prevail. Graffiti proclaims "Okmeydani will be a graveyard for communism" and "Martyrs never die". Almost all the shops on the lively high street display posters mourning Karamanoglu. ...

Erdogan repeatedly lauded Karamanoglu as a martyr during campaign rallies, while calling 15-year-old Elvan, who was killed by a teargas capsule while going to buy bread, a terrorist. ... A local shop owner said he was alarmed by the prime minister's comments: "If you call one boy that was killed a terrorist, and another that was killed in the same neighbourhood a martyr, what do you think will happen?"

After big buildup, Egypt finds itself nervous about el-Sissi’s run for the presidency

Many Egyptians suggested that the near certainty of el-Sissi’s election to become the country’s fourth president in three years was in part to blame for decidedly mixed feelings about his candidacy. On one hand, many called el-Sissi, who’s been the nation’s de facto leader for the past eight months, Egypt’s last hope for stability and security. On the other, they said they were fearful of what giving the presidency to an already powerful man could portend.

Some conceded that an el-Sissi presidency was more likely to return Egypt to the autocratic practices of the past than it was to usher in the kind of democratic reforms Egyptians once called for in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square. Many said they were willing to pay that price for stability after three years of unprecedented turmoil, a polarized public and an economy in freefall. But the reaction nationwide suggested such a swap also muted enthusiasm for el-Sissi’s presidency. ...

El-Sissi will be the first presidential candidate in the post-2011 uprising period to confront a muted opposition. With the leaders of the anti-Mubarak movement in prison and the Muslim Brotherhood broken by a nationwide crackdown that has killed hundreds, the sectors that once led Egypt’s protest movements have been neutralized.

And that is precisely what has many here quietly nervous about el-Sissi’s presidency.

“Everyone wants el-Sissi, but they are afraid that if he turned out badly, they won’t be able to remove him,” explained Amr Ashraf, 24, a shoe salesman in the impoverished Cairo neighborhood of Dar Salaam.

Rescue of Rio slums shaky on failed promise of basic services

After a half-century of neglect, it seemed the government finally cared about Rio's notorious slums, or favelas. Five years into the program, police now occupy 37 major favelas, home to 1.5 million people.

Because of early success in expelling drug traffickers, the effort became a closely-watched experiment that officials in other emerging countries thought they might replicate. It also became an important gauge of whether Latin America's biggest country could fulfill the ambitious developmental goals it set for itself during a recent decade-long economic boom.

Many of the marquee projects cooked up during the good times have already fallen by the wayside, including a bullet train to São Paulo and bigger and better airport terminals, both of which were supposed to be ready by World Cup kickoff June 12.

But more galling to many is that officials in Rio have yet to deliver on far more modest promises, even sewers and basic water service for poor communities. The delayed developments - stymied by red tape, faulty budgets and other political priorities - make even the head of the state security forces fear the pacifications [police efforts to rid the areas of drug gangs and criminals] are being undermined.

"This is like a medical procedure in which we provide the anesthesia," says Mariano Beltrame, the state security secretary. "If surgery doesn't follow, the patient wakes up with the same problems."

Domino's pizza outlets in New York agree payout for 'wage theft'

The owners of 23 Domino’s pizza outlets in New York have agreed to pay out $448,000 to hundreds of employees who were paid less than the minimum wage due to a variety of labour law violations.

Six Domino’s franchisees in New York City and elsewhere in the state reached the settlement after admitting they broke the law, New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman announced on Thursday. It is estimated that some 750 workers will receive between $200 and $2,000 each.

An investigation by Schneiderman’s office into “wage theft” found that some stores violated state laws that workers must be paid for at least three hours work if they are sent home early because of slow business, and paid an extra hour when working shifts that last more than 10 hours.

Delivery workers were being paid $5 an hour – 65 cents less than the state’s legal minimum for delivery staff who receive tips – and were not reimbursed for expenses relating to the use of their cars and bicycles. Other workers were not properly paid for working overtime.

“The violations in these cases demonstrate a statewide pattern of Domino’s franchisees flouting the law and illegally chiselling at the pay of minimum-wage workers, who struggle to survive as it is,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

How Corrupt Politicians Like Chris Christie Partner with Wall Street to Rip Off American Retirements

Working through well-funded media campaigns and strategic investments in politicians who carry out their plans, the Wizards of Wall Street have done a triple whammy on any hope we had for a decent retirement. They’ve attacked Social Security and pretended that it’s unaffordable and/or insolvent, they’ve worked to move us into fee-riddled private investment accounts, and they’ve looted our pensions.

They couldn’t have done it without friends like Gov. Chris Christie. Over in New Jersey, the big man is showing us how it’s done. ...

As Lee Fang of the Nation Institute has reported, Governor Christie wasted little time after his election to launch a fear-mongering campaign to “reform” New Jersey’s pension system by raising the retirement age and cutting benefits. But somehow that process of reform also included bringing Wall Street into the game — despite the fact that Christie has pummeled his predecessor, John Corzine, for doing just that. After Christie’s election, the man who had helped bankroll his campaign, one Paul Singer, hedge fund manager and head of the conservative Manhattan Institute, would see his investment in Christie pay off big-time. A gold-plated bromance blossomed between the two men. As Fang writes:

“In his second year in office, Christie’s administration proposed giving Singer’s hedge fund, Elliott Associates, a contract to manage $200 million in state public pension funds. Elliott Associates won the contract in 2012. Singer again demonstrated his political loyalty to Christie in December 2013, shortly after Christie became chair of the RGA, a coveted post for GOP presidential aspirants. This time, Singer gave the group $1.25 million, making him the largest contributor that year and significantly enlarging the RGA’s war chest under Christie.”
... The foxes came racing into the henhouse, tumbling over one another to get a piece of the action, bent on maximizing returns to Wall Street and minimizing benefits for hard-working people. Lee states:

 

“Under Christie, the amount of retiree money in the hands of outside managers, such as private equity firms or hedge funds like Singer’s, dramatically increased, while the share going to less risky and more traditional investments like treasury notes or the S&P 500 declined.”
That same hustle is happening in other parts of the country, and your state or city could well be next.




The Evening Greens




Forget Russian Gas, Just Frack Europe: Obama

Speaking after a meeting with European leaders at the EU-US summit in Brussels on Wednesday, President Barack Obama suggested that the U.S. is open to exporting fracked shale gas, once promised as the source of American "energy independence," to the EU  and urged the EU to open up its own fracking reserves amid energy fears related to the crisis in Ukraine. Environmental groups have warned these policies will do nothing by way of energy security and everything for global environmental destruction and climate chaos.

"Once we have a trade agreement in place," Obama said at a news conference in Brussels in reference to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal currently in the works, "export licenses for projects for liquefied natural gas destined to Europe would be much easier, something that is obviously relevant in today's geopolitical environment." ...

While insisting that U.S gas exports could be done sometime in the future, Obama used more candid language to suggest EU leaders should first open up their own shale gas reserves to fracking—amongst other energy options such as increased nuclear power.

"I think it is useful for Europe to look at its own energy assets, as well as how the United States can supply additional energy assets," Obama said. "Because the truth of the matter is, is that just as there’s no easy, free, simple way to defend ourselves, there’s no perfect, free, ideal, cheap energy sources.  Every possible energy source has some inconveniences or downsides. And I think that Europe collectively is going to need to examine, in light of what’s happened, their energy policies to find are there additional ways that they can diversify and accelerate energy independence."

Obama Is Negotiating an Agreement That Could Unleash Fracking Around the World

There is a river running through Quebec called the St. Lawrence. It touches New York state as it connects the Great Lakes to the North Atlantic. It carries boats, waters crops and feeds aquifers. It darts out into swimmable lakes and canals, and if it were polluted with toxic chemicals ... it would be a great loss. This is why Quebec placed a moratorium on fracking when American energy company, Lone Pine, decided to frack beneath the river.

Now, the Quebec government is being sued for protecting its citizens and environment over the companies' interests under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It's an illustrative example of what's wrong with some international trade agreements: they effectively reduce regulation by preventing individual nations from enforcing their own rules and regulations.

Scenarios like this one could start playing out all over Europe and the United States if another trade deal, currently being negotiated, goes through. It would be the largest in the world: the transatlantic free trade agreement, knitting together the United States and Europe in a major trade network that could have massive repercussions on our environment (among other things) and lead to a fracking boom.

Admiral Dennis Blair: "We Sent Troops to Middle East...Because of Oil-Based Importance of Region"

At the just-completed U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing titled, “The Geopolitical Potential of the U.S. Energy Boom,” Admiral Dennis Blair — former Director of National Intelligence, President and CEO of Institute for Defense Analyses and Commander in Chief of U.S. Pacific Command — admitted what's still considered conspiratorial to some.

Put tersely: the U.S. and allied forces launched the ongoing occupation in Iraq and occupy large swaths of the Middle East to secure the flow of oil to the U.S. and its global allies, explained Blair. ...

We did not send troops into the Middle East to take possession of oil fields [or] to take over the oil. But we sent them there in large numbers because of the oil-based importance of that region to the world economy and therefore to the U.S. economy and the stability and security of that region was important to us from a national security point of view.

Had we not been so dependent on the Middle East in that sense, we would have treated the troubles there the way we do in other parts of the world where they're going through turmoil, where there's suffering going on, where there may be a combination of interests and opportunities. But this huge investment in military force there was caused by the oil-importance of that region, so I agree completely that energy security for this country — more flexibility in terms of our energy picture — would make a huge difference in terms of the position of the United States in the world.



BP Doubles Initial Size Estimate of Lake Michigan Oil Spill

Three days after spilling crude oil into Lake Michigan, BP has doubled its spill estimate to between 470 and 1228 gallons. The leak happened at its refinery in Whiting, Ind.

Although some of the oil has been cleaned up, it's unclear how much is left in the lake, a drinking water source for about seven million Chicagoans. ...

The day after the spill, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), as well as U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) issued press releases in which they pledged to hold BP accountable for the spill. Durbin and Kirk also wrote a follow-up letter to BP, requesting a meeting with BP.

“Any unanticipated spill is cause for concern, but given the Whiting refinery’s recent expansion of its operations to double the amount of heavy oil sands being processed, this spill raises questions about the long-term safety and reliability of BP's new, expanded production at Whiting,” they wrote.





Meet my new little friend:

IMG_5103s

IMG_5105s

IMG_5108s




Blog Posts of Interest

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

The New York Times and the National Endowment for Democracy

Obama Got $20 Million from Healthcare Industry in 2008. Was Killing Single Payer Part of the Deal?

Get ready to have your biometrics tracked 24/7

Policing Gender



A Little Night Music



Betty Everett - I'll Weep No More

Betty Everett - You're No Good

Betty Everett - Getting Mighty Crowded

Betty Everett - Tell Me, Darling


Betty Everett - Chained to Your Love

Betty Everett - My Love

Betty Everett - Ain't Gonna Cry

Betty Everett - Hands Off

Betty Everett - Someday Soon

Betty Everett - Until You Were Gone

Betty Everett & Jerry Butler - Ain't That Loving You Baby

Betty Everett - Sweet Dan

Betty Everett - Killer Diller

Betty Everett - Too Hot To Hold

Betty Everett - Bye, Bye Baby





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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