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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 Louisiana pianist and singer Cousin Joe Pleasant.  Enjoy!

Cousin Joe - So Much Troubles

"In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli."

  -- Howard Zinn

News and Opinion

All those people who have been screaming about how Russian military and intelligence are directing the insurgency in eastern and southern Ukraine can now start admitting that the US has been in this thing up to their eyeballs from the start and are also involved in directing the counterattack against those Ukrainians by a puppet government of dubious legitimacy.

US CIA and FBI agents are in Kiev advising actions against insurgency in Eastern Ukraine

[Translation with assistance from Google]

The Ukrainian transitional government in Kiev is advised by dozens of specialists from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bild am Sonntag has learned from German security circles.

The U.S. agents are helping Kiev in quashing the rebellion in the east of the country and establishing a functioning security structure.

The agents were not directly involved in the fighting with the pro-Russian militias in the Eastern Ukraine. Their activity is limited to the capital, Kiev. ...

In mid- April, CIA Director John Brennan visited Ukraine. The intelligence chief initially entered the country under a false name.

According to the U.S. State Department, Brennan's trip to Ukraine was a routine visit.

Washington responsible for fascist massacre in Odessa

In what can only be described as a massacre, 38 anti-government activists were killed Friday after fascist-led forces set fire to Odessa’s Trade Unions House, which had been sheltering opponents of the US- and European-backed regime in Ukraine. ...

As the Odessa outrage occurred, US President Barack Obama, at a joint White House press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, explicitly endorsed the military offensive being carried out by the unelected Kiev government against protesters occupying official buildings in eastern Ukraine.

Despite Western media attempts to cover up what happened in Odessa—with multiple reports stating that “the exact sequence of events is still unclear”—there is no doubt that the killings in the southern port city were instigated by thugs wearing the insignia of the Right Sector, which holds positions in the Kiev regime, along with the like-minded Svoboda party. ...

The violence started as around 1,500 supporters of the Kiev authorities, who recently arrived in the city, gathered at Sobornaya Square in central Odessa. Armed with chains and bats and carrying shields, they marched through the city, chanting “Glory to Ukraine,” “Death to enemies” and “Knife the Moskals [derogatory for Russians].” ...

At his press conference with Merkel, Obama seized on reports that two Ukrainian helicopters had been struck by ground fire. He cited unconfirmed allegations by the Ukrainian intelligence agency SBU that one was hit by a heat-seeking missile as proof that Russian forces were involved. By the evening, however, even the New York Times admitted that no evidence had been produced of heat-seeking missiles. [link added, admission buried in penultimate paragraph of a long article. - js]

Along with Obama’s incendiary claim, his backing for Kiev’s military onslaught points to a drive by the US and its European partners to create civil war conditions and goad Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration into intervening, in order to provide the pretext for crippling economic sanctions and a NATO confrontation with Russia. ...

Russia called another emergency UN Security Council meeting Friday to denounce Ukraine’s actions. Moscow’s ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, warned of “catastrophic consequences” if the military operation continued, only to be denounced by his US counterpart, Samantha Power, who called the attack “proportionate and reasonable.”

Will Ukraine Be NYT’s Waterloo?

On Saturday ... the dominant story from Ukraine was the killing of more than 30 ethnic Russian protesters by fire and smoke inhalation in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odessa. They had taken refuge in a building after a clash with a pro-Kiev mob which reportedly included right-wing thugs.

Even the neocon-dominated Washington Post led its Saturday editions with the story of “Dozens killed in Ukraine fighting” and described the fatal incident this way: “Friday evening, a pro-Ukrainian mob attacked a camp where the pro-Russian supporters had pitched tents, forcing them to flee to a nearby government building, a witness said. The mob then threw gasoline bombs into the building. Police said 31 people were killed when they choked on smoke or jumped out of windows.

“Asked who had thrown the Molotov cocktails, pro-Ukrainian activist Diana Berg said, ‘Our people – but now they are helping them [the survivors] escape the building.’”

By contrast, here is how the New York Times reported the event in its Saturday editions as part of a story by C.J. Chivers and Noah Sneider focused on the successes of the pro-coup armed forces in overrunning some eastern Ukrainian rebel positions.

“Violence also erupted Friday in the previously calmer port city of Odessa, on the Black Sea, where dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists. The fighting itself left four dead and 12 wounded, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said. Ukrainian and Russian news media showed images of buildings and debris burning, fire bombs being thrown and men armed with pistols.”

Note how the Times evades placing any responsibility on the pro-coup mob for trying to burn the “pro-Russian activists” out of a building, an act that resulted in the highest single-day death toll since the actual coup which left more than 80 people dead from Feb. 20-22. From reading the Times, you wouldn’t know who had died in the building and who had set the fire.

Odessa police release 67 anti-govt activists after crowd surround police HQ

Sixty-seven anti-government activists detained by police in the south Ukrainian city of Odessa have been released after a crowd of locals blocked the Interior Ministry building. Those released reportedly included survivors from the deadly May-2 fire.

A crowd of Odessa residents, which included many women and elderly people as seen on live video streams from the scene, cheered and hugged the released activists.

RT’s Irina Galushko reported that despite being set free, the activists did not have the charges against them dropped and were asked “to come back tomorrow for their belongings.” ...

The release of just several activists did not, however, appease the crowd. Some of the protesters attempted to get inside the building, shouting "Fascists! Fascists!"

Eventually, 67 activists have been released, Odessa police department’s press service has said. More than 1,000 people were blockading the police department at the time of the statement, according to Itar-Tass. Part of the crowd had broken down the entrance gate and gained access to the building’s courtyard.

Ukrainian troops clash with pro-Russia militia in gun battles around Slavyansk

Ukrainian troops have fought pitched gun battles with a pro-Russia militia occupying an eastern city – an apparent escalation of their efforts to bring the region back under government control.

Associated Press reporters heard gunfire and multiple explosions in and around Slavyansk, a city of 125,000 people that has become the focus of the armed insurgency against the interim government in Kiev.

The Ukrainian interior minister, Arsen Avakov, said on his agency's website that pro-Russia forces were deploying large-calibre weapons and mortars in the region and that there were casualties on both sides.

Government troops were facing about 800 insurgents, he said.

A pro-Russia militia spokesman in Slavyansk said an unspecified number of people had been killed and wounded during the clashes, including a 20-year-old woman who died after being hit by a stray bullet.

Fighting erupts on outskirts of rebel-held Slaviansk

Ukrainian military helicopter shot down over rebel-controlled eastern town of Slaviansk: ministry

A Ukrainian military helicopter was shot down near the pro-Russian rebel-controlled eastern town of Slaviansk on Monday, but the pilots survived, the Defense Ministry said.

The helicopter, an Mi-24, which came under fire from a heavy machine gun, crashed into a river

Ukraine crisis: tension mounts in Kramatorsk after army rolls in

The Ukrainian army entered [Kramatorsk], part of the rebellious Donetsk region, over the weekend but the separatist militias remain in control of their headquarters, a heavily barricaded government building that is surrounded by armed men, as in many other cities across the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk.

A week before the region is due to have a referendum on seceding from Ukraine, the Ukrainian army is attempting to regain control of key buildings and roads, possibly to stop the referendum from taking place. ...

The interim Ukrainian government in Kiev has referred to the separatists as "terrorists" and its movements in the east of the country as an "anti-terrorist operation". On Saturday, interior minister Arsen Avakov said a television tower above Slavyansk had been retaken by Ukrainian forces. ...

Near the tower, a woman who gave her name as Lyubov Ivanovna said she had seen terrible things as the Ukrainian army had moved into the area. She heard a gun battle early on Saturday morning and ran down the hill to one of the separatist barricades to stand in the way of the armoured vehicles, holding an icon. She said she saw Ukrainian soldiers shoot at unarmed civilians and, holding back tears, said she believed that Ukraine in its current boundaries was no longer viable. "I was born in western Ukraine myself, I am a Ukrainian, I want to be part of Ukraine. But not part of this Ukraine."

On their sweep through Kramatorsk, the Ukrainian army succeeded in pushing the rebels out of the local headquarters of the SBU, the security services. But contrary to Ukrainian media reports, they had not held the building, and had instead fled.

Report: civilians in Ukraine ready for civil war

Another NYT ‘Sort of’ Retraction on Ukraine

The New York Times, which has asserted for weeks that the Russian government is behind the unrest in Ukraine’s east, finally sent some reporters to the region to dig up the proof, but all they found were eastern Ukrainians upset by the coup regime in Kiev that replaced President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Times, which has been an unapologetic promoter of the “pro-democracy” uprising that ousted the democratically elected president through violent extra-constitutional means, has recently been promoting the “theme” that Ukrainians would be happy with their new unelected government if only the Russians weren’t “destabilizing eastern Ukraine.” ...

So, the Times belatedly dispatched reporters C.J. Chivers and Noah Sneider to Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine to talk with the militants who are opposing the coup regime in Kiev. To their credit, the two reporters actually seem to have recounted what they found, albeit with some of the anti-Russian bias that is now deeply embedded in the Western media narrative.

Noting that Moscow says the Ukrainian militants are not part of the Russian armed forces while “Western officials and the Ukrainian government insist that Russians have led, organized and equipped the fighters,” the reporters write:

“A deeper look at the 12th Company [of the People’s Militia] — during more than a week of visiting its checkpoints, interviewing its fighters and observing them in action against a Ukrainian military advance here on Friday — shows that in its case neither portrayal captures the full story.

“The rebels of the 12th Company appear to be Ukrainians but, like many in the region, have deep ties to and affinity for Russia. They are veterans of the Soviet, Ukrainian or Russian Armies, and some have families on the other side of the border. Theirs is a tangled mix of identities and loyalties.

“Further complicating the picture, while the fighters share a passionate distrust of Ukraine’s government and the Western powers that support it, they disagree among themselves about their ultimate goals. They argue about whether Ukraine should redistribute power via greater federalization or whether the region should be annexed by Russia, and they harbor different views about which side might claim Kiev, the capital, and even about where the border of a divided Ukraine might lie.”

The Times reporters cited one unit leader named Yuri as chuckling “at the claims by officials in Kiev and the West that his operations had been guided by Russian military intelligence officers. There is no Russian master, he said. ‘We have no Muscovites here,’ he said. ‘I have experience enough.’ That experience, he and his fighters say, includes four years as a Soviet small-unit commander in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in the 1980s.

“The 119 fighters he said he leads, who appear to range in age from their 20s to their 50s, all speak of prior service in Soviet or Ukrainian infantry, airborne, special forces or air-defense units.”

The reporters also discovered mostly well-worn and dated weaponry, not the newer and more sophisticated equipment that is available to Russian forces.

Chris Hedges: The Post-Constitutional Era

The U.S. Supreme Court decision to refuse to hear our case concerning Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which permits the military to seize U.S. citizens and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers without due process, means that this provision will continue to be law. It means the nation has entered a post-constitutional era. It means that extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by our government is legal. It means that the courts, like the legislative and executive branches of government, exclusively serve corporate power—one of the core definitions of fascism. It means that the internal mechanisms of state are so corrupted and subservient to corporate power that there is no hope of reform or protection for citizens under our most basic constitutional rights. It means that the consent of the governed—a poll by showed that this provision had a 98 percent disapproval rating—is a cruel joke. And it means that if we do not rapidly build militant mass movements to overthrow corporate tyranny, including breaking the back of the two-party duopoly that is the mask of corporate power, we will lose our liberty.

“In declining to hear the case Hedges v. Obama and declining to review the NDAA, the Supreme Court has turned its back on precedent dating back to the Civil War era that holds that the military cannot police the streets of America,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who along with Bruce Afran devoted countless unpaid hours to the suit. “This is a major blow to civil liberties. It gives the green light to the military to detain people without trial or counsel in military installations, including secret installations abroad. There is little left of judicial review of presidential action during wartime.” ...

In refusing to hear our lawsuit the courts have overturned nearly 150 years of case law that repeatedly holds that the military has no jurisdiction over civilians. Now, a U.S. citizen charged by the government with “substantially supporting” al-Qaida, the Taliban or those in the nebulous category of “associated forces”—some of the language of Section 1021(b)(2)—is lawfully subject to extraordinary rendition on U.S. soil. And those seized and placed in military jails can be kept there until “the end of hostilities.”

Judge Forrest, in her 112-page ruling against the section, noted that under this provision of the NDAA whole categories of Americans could be subject to seizure by the military. These might include Muslims, activists, Black Bloc members and any other Americans labeled as domestic terrorists by the state. Forrest wrote that Section 1021(b)(2) echoed the 1944 Supreme Court ruling in Korematsu v. United States, which supported the government’s use of the military to detain 110,00 Japanese-Americans in internment camps without due process during World War II.

If you missed the Greenwald/Hayden/Ohanian/Dershowitz debate this weekend (allenjo had a fine liveblog up here) - the debate was posted to youtube, so here you go...
Munk Debate on State Surveillance: Greenwald/Ohanian vs Hayden/Dershowitz

The Munk Debate: Worlds in Collision

The much-touted debate on NSA spying sponsored by Canada’s Aurea Foundation between Michael Hayden and Alan Dershowitz on one side and Glenn Greenwald and Alexis Ohanian had few surprises — except for the surprise appearance of Edward Snowden in a video made for the occasion. In it, Snowden explains the power and scope of the National Security Agency: Hayden and Dershowitz spent the rest of the hour and a half or so denying that the pervasive surveillance described by Snowden and Greenwald even exists.

It was a case of worlds in collision – the truth presented by Greenwald/Ohanian and the outright lies of Hayden and Dershowitz. The latter never laid a glove on Greenwald, in spite of their tortured attempts to do so, while Glenn got Hayden good when he attributed Hayden’s contention that we might have stopped the 9/11 attacks if the NSA had its programs in place at the time: Hayden, Glenn averred, was merely covering up his own ineptitude on 9/11, when he was in charge at Ft. Meade.

Here's a post debate analysis show:
Post Munk Debate Show

House members denied look at CIA report

A senior Democratic lawmaker on the House Intelligence Committee says members of the panel have not been allowed to read the Senate report on CIA interrogations.

Asked if lawmakers with high-level security clearance could read the voluminous investigation on the CIA's use of waterboarding and other "enhanced" interrogation tactics since Sept. 11, 2001, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said "those of us on the House Intelligence Committee were not able to access the report."

How is it possible in America that a man who has been held in prison (likely in unspeakably cruel and inhuman conditions) by the US Government for 12 years without charge (!!!???!) needs to have a parole hearing?
Guantanamo prisoner to skip parole hearing to avoid body search

An inmate at the U.S prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is not attending his parole board hearing because he does not want to submit to what he considers an overly intrusive body search, according to a statement released Friday from a military official appointed to represent him.

Mohammed al-Shimrani, who has been held at the U.S. base in Cuba without charge for 12 years, is scheduled to appear Monday before the Periodic Review Board, which is to consider whether he can be transferred back to his native Saudi Arabia. ...

Shimrani, 39, says he will not attend because the body search, in which guards touch the area near his genitals, is "humiliating and degrading," according to the statement. ...

Lawyers for prisoners have said in the past that prisoners at Guantanamo have refused meetings and phone calls because of the searches, which are required each time they move from one section of the prison to another. Complaints about the practice emerged in the context of the prison's long-running hunger strike.

In July 2013, in response to a legal challenge, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth found that the searches were blocking prisoners' access to counsel and ordered the military to halt the practice. The government appealed to a higher court, arguing that the searches, imposed after a detainee suicide, are necessary to prevent the smuggling of contraband within Guantanamo. The court authorized the searches while a ruling is pending.

Imprisoned Al Jazeera Journalist Details Abu Ghraib Torture & Why He’s Suing U.S. Contractor CACI

Support for Venezuela's Maduro drops to 37 percent: report

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's approval rating dropped to 37 percent in April, according to a new poll quoted in a local newspaper on Monday.

Support for the former bus driver turned president was down from 46.8 percent in February according to a survey by pollster Datanalisis, the El Universal daily reported, without providing a comparative figure for March.

As a policy, Datanalisis, one of the country's best-known public opinion groups, does not publish the results of its surveys or confirm the veracity of media reports about them. ...

A third of those polled by Datanalisis identified shortages of consumer goods as one of Venezuela's main problems, followed by insecurity and the high cost of living, according to El Universal.

Maduro blames the country's economic issues on sabotage by business leaders backed by the United States, the socialist government's ideological adversary.

Netanyahu pushes to define Israel as nation state of Jewish people only

Binyamin Netanyahu will push ahead with a rare change to Israel's basic laws – which amount to the country's constitution – to insist Israel is "the nation state of one people only – the Jewish people – and of no other people".

At Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the civil rights of minorities, including Arabs, would be guaranteed, and the move was vital at a time when aspects of Israel's legitimacy were "under a constant and increasing assault from abroad and at home".

Netanyahu proposed the change last week during a visit to Tel Aviv's Independence Hall, attracting fierce criticism from political rivals and support from some of his allies. The move follows a Palestinian refusal in peace talks to recognise the status that Netanyahu described.

The proposed law would be in addition to Israel's declaration of independence of May 1948 – the anniversary of which is celebrated on Tuesday – which defines Israel as a Jewish state. ...

Among those who have expressed concern over the proposal is the justice minister, Tzipi Livni. Although in favour of defining Israel more clearly in law as "the national home of the Jewish people and a democratic state", she has expressed opposition to "any law that gives superiority" to the Jewish nature of state over the country's democratic values.

She said she could only support legislation where "Jewish and democratic would have the same weight, not more Jewish than democratic, nor more democratic than Jewish".

Condoleezza Rice Decides Not To Speak At Rutgers Commencement

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has backed out of delivering the commencement address at Rutgers University following protests by some faculty and students over her role in the Iraq War.

Rice said in a statement Saturday that she informed Rutgers President Robert Barchi that she was declining the invitation to speak at the graduation.

"Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families," Rice said. "Rutgers' invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time."

The school's board of governors had voted to pay $35,000 to the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush and national security adviser for her appearance at the May 18 ceremony. Rutgers was also planning to bestow Rice with an honorary doctorate.

But some students and faculty at New Jersey's flagship university had protested, staging sit-ins and saying Rice bore some responsibility for the Iraq War as a member of the Bush administration. Barchi and other school leaders had resisted the calls to disinvite Rice, saying the university welcomes open discourse on controversial topics.

"War Criminals Shouldn’t Be Honored": Rutgers Students Nix Condoleezza Rice From Commencement Speech

Hat tip Don midwest:
Gated communities fuel Blade Runner dystopia and 'profound unhappiness'

The rapid growth of gated communities around the world is contrary to the democratic and open city and belongs instead to a dystopian future of mass surveillance and profound unhappiness, the UN's housing chief has warned.

"It is with increased preoccupation and sadness that we see how gated communities are proliferating everywhere. This is an expression of increased inequality, increased uneasiness in accepting diversity," said Joan Clos, executive director of UN-Habitat, the human settlements programme.

"The ideal city is not one with gated communities, security cameras, a futuristic scene from Blade Runner, dark and dramatic, with profound unhappiness … We need to at least build a city where happiness is possible and where public space is really for everybody."

More than half the world's population lives in cities. By 2050, that proportion could rise to 70%, according to estimates. This urban explosion – most of which will happen in developing countries – will pile increasing pressure on the planet. "If we are seeing inequalities increasing," Clos warned, "then we are facing a real problem."

Cecily McMillan jury told: 'send her back to school and let her move on'

A jury in Manhattan was asked on Friday to decide whether an Occupy Wall Street activist intentionally elbowed a New York police officer in the face, or might have reacted instinctively to having one of her breasts grabbed from behind.

Making their closing arguments at the end of a three-week trial, state prosecutors and lawyers for Cecily McMillan painted sharply contrasting pictures of the night of 17 March 2012, when she is alleged to have assaulted Officer Grantley Bovell.

Bovell, a 35-year-old who usually patrols the Bronx, alleges that McMillan deliberately struck him as he led her out of Zuccotti Park, in lower Manhattan, where protesters had been marking six months of the Occupy movement. McMillan, a 25-year-old graduate student at the New School, denies the charge. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

"There is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Martin Stolar, McMillan's lead attorney, told the jury at Manhattan criminal court, during an exhaustive speech lasting two hours and 40 minutes. "So the only verdict that you can reach is not guilty. Send Miss McMillan home. Send her back to school, let her finish her thesis and move on, and become a teacher, or a politician, or president of the United States."

[Significant trial details follow in article at link above. - js]

Occupy Wall Street Activist Cecily McMillan Found Guilty of Assault on Police Officer

A jury has found Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan guilty of assault on a police officer. Her sentencing will be May 19. She was remanded into custody, pending sentencing. Judge Ronald Zweibel refused to let her stay free on bail. ...

The jury began deliberating around 10:30 this morning and wrote a note to the judge at 1:15 p.m. saying that they had reached a verdict. Court officers set up a security screening area outside the courtroom and searched everyone going in, something they hadn't done for any other day of the trial. Phones were not permitted.

In the courtroom, more than 30 court security officers ringed the room, shouting occasionally for quiet. McMillan, clad in a white dress and grey blazer, stood between her attorneys. As the jury filed in, her face grew so pale her lips appeared blue. None of the jurors made eye contact with her as they took their seats.

After the verdict was announced, a low murmur of dismay swept the room. Zweibel thanked the jury for their service and excused them. Prosecutor Choi immediately asked that McMillan be remanded into custody pending her sentencing. Stolar objected, calling it "not appropriate." ... He asked that she be freed on bail. The judge refused.

Almost immediately, a group of McMillan's supporters seated in the second row of the courtroom's right side stood up, pointed at the judge and began chanting "Shame!" repeatedly. A fresh wave of court security officers poured in through a side door of the courtroom, bunches of ziptie handcuffs at their belts. They physically forced the shouting people back into their seats. A smaller woman was lifted over the bench and placed forcibly in the row behind her. The court security officers began clearing everyone from the courtroom.

The Evening Greens

Analysis Finds 100 Violations of California Fracking Disclosure Rules

SAN FRANCISCO— The Center for Biological Diversity called on Gov. Jerry Brown today to investigate more than 100 violations of California’s new public disclosure rules for fracking and other dangerous oil production methods. The violations were uncovered by a Center analysis of records from the state, the oil industry and South Coast air quality regulators.  

In a letter to the governor, the Center pointed out that state regulators with the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources have failed to disclose legally mandated reports for 47 frack jobs and notices for more than 100 uses of other risky oil production techniques. “This lack of disclosure underscores the failure of current regulations and the need for strong action that will protect public health and safety and the environment,” the letter says.

“Californians are in the dark about dangerous fracking in their communities because Gov. Brown’s oil regulators won’t follow their own minimal notification rules,” said Center attorney Hollin Kretzmann. “These regulatory failures are another reminder of the urgent need to halt fracking to protect our air and water from contamination.”

Koch Brothers Are The Largest Foreign Lease Holder of Canadian Oil Sands

More at The Real News
Lynchburg, Va., oil train derailment illustrates threat to rivers

LYNCHBURG, Va. — As Pat Calvert steers a small motorboat over the James River, it’s impossible to not notice the smell of motor oil, and it’s not coming from the boat.

Two days after a CSX train derailed and put three tank cars full of crude oil into the river, Calvert, who keeps tabs on the Upper James River for the James River Association, is only beginning to survey the spill’s impact. Wednesday’s derailment spared the town from catastrophe, but not the river.

Much of the spilled crude burned in a spectacular fire on Wednesday, and the river, flooded from recent rains, washed the rest downstream toward the state capital, Richmond, and the Chesapeake Bay.

Floating orange barriers called boom had been placed in the water surrounding the derailment site to capture spilled oil, but they might have been too late to make a difference. Calvert said his organization had measured an oil slick 17 miles long. ...

Wednesday’s accident highlights a growing anxiety among river conservationists across the country about a rising volume of crude oil shipments in tank cars long known to be vulnerable in derailments.

The nation’s primary rail routes were constructed along waterways because of the favorable grades for heavy trains. Those characteristics make them well suited for transporting entire trains of crude oil, because it takes fewer locomotives and less fuel.

The James River in Virginia, the Hudson River in New York and the Columbia River, which serves as the border between Washington and Oregon, are all along the path of regular rail shipments of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region, where the oil is unlocked by hydraulic fracturing.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

Behind the Masks in Ukraine, Many Faces of Rebellion

Transgender people shouldn't have to fight for the right to get a new ID

License To Be Yourself

Kurt Vonnegut: the drawings of science fiction's master artist – in pictures

NDAA and the gutting of the 5th Amendment

A Vehement Call To Action From Bill Moyers (et al): “Is Net Neutrality Dead?”

A Little Night Music

Cousin Joe - Chicken A La Blues

Cousin Joe - Sadie Brown

Cousin Joe - Beggin' Woman

Cousin Joe - How Come My Dog Don't Bark

Cousin Joe - I'm Tore Down

Cousin Joe - That's Enough

Cousin Joe - Bad Luck Blues

Cousin Joe - Down and Out Man

Cousin Joe - Levee Blues

Cousin Joe - Dinah

Cousin Joe - Love Sick

Cousin Joe - My Tight Woman

Cousin Joe - Post War Future Blues

Cousin Joe - Weddin' Day 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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