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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 Chicago bluesman Bo Diddley.  Enjoy!

Bo Diddley - Hey Bo Diddley

"Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth,
And thus do we of wisdom and of reach,
With windlasses and with assays of bias,
By indirections find directions out."

  -- William Shakespeare

News and Opinion

NSA reform bill loses backing from privacy advocates after major revisions

• Facebook, Google and others warn of 'unacceptable loopholes'
• Bill's passage expected in House even after 11th-hour changes

Three_Card_Monte - ziodave
A landmark surveillance bill, likely to pass the US House of Representatives on Thursday, is hemorrhaging support from the civil libertarians and privacy advocates who were its champions from the start.

Major revisions to the USA Freedom Act have stripped away privacy protections and transparency requirements while expanding the potential pool of data the National Security Agency can collect, all in a bill cast as banning bulk collection of domestic phone records. As the bill nears a vote on the House floor, expected Thursday, there has been a wave of denunciations. ...

[Representative Zoe] Lofgren warned on the House floor Wednesday that none of her amendments were put into order by the powerful House rules committee, which released a new version of the Freedom Act on Tuesday night that reflected substantial changes made at the insistence of the Obama administration, the NSA and the office of the director of national intelligence.

Most significantly, the version emerging from the rules committee expanded the definition of a “specific selection term,” the root thing – formerly defined as information that “uniquely describe[s] a person, entity, or account” – the government must present to a judge, with suspicion of connection of terrorism or espionage, in order to collect data under the bill.

The new definition is “a discrete term, such as” a person, entity, account, “address or device”. That revision has spurred privacy advocates and even major technology companies to doubt that the bill will actually ban the mass collection of Americans’ data, its ostensible purpose.

A coalition of the US’s largest technology companies – including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, AOL, Dropbox, Twitter, Yahoo and LinkedIn – warned that definition created an “unacceptable loophole that could enable the bulk collection of internet users' data”.

95 People Learn to Love the Dragnet

dunce cap congressEarlier this morning, the House passed HR 3361, which I call the USA Freedumber Act.

The bill passed by a large margin: 303 to 121.

That means that somewhere in the neighborhood of 86 people who voted for Amash-Conyers less than a year ago voted for a bill that in some ways expands what the government can do with phone records. For example, today’s bill endorsed the chaining of identifiers “connected” to a chain seed, rather than just chaining on actual phone calls. The FISA Court had endorsed this kind of chaining back in 2012, but it only recently became public, and the government is likely to be able to do far more of this connection-based chaining with the phone records in telecom custody. That surely includes the use of geolocation to make connections, something the government could not legally do under the current program.

In addition, those 86 people who voted against the dragnet last year today endorsed language that seems to permit — and immunize — the Internet dragnet, which has been found to be illegal. If the government chooses to use this new language (and I doubt they would have stuck it in the bill at the last minute if they didn’t intend to use it), then this bill represents a vast expansion of domestic spying off what those 86 people voted against last year.

White House's late changes to NSA spying bill shake support

Carefully crafted legislation that would end the government's bulk collection of Americans' phone records is under fire after the White House requested last-minute changes that critics say would water down its protections. ...

"I think it's ironic that a bill that was intended to increase transparency was secretly changed," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, which crafted the original legislation. "And it was altered in worrisome ways." She said she was unsure how she would vote. ...

 The American Civil Liberties Union said the new bill "leaves much to be desired."

In the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is considering its own version of the bill, similar bipartisan objections have been raised.

The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, said he was concerned about the new version, and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would seek to restore certain provisions.

Those familiar with the negotiations said the lawmakers won key concessions from the administration in return for the changes - including the appointment of advocates who can review FISA court decisions.

The government would also be required to "promptly" destroy any material collected that was deemed irrelevant to an investigation rather than be allowed to retain it indefinitely.

Lavabit Founder: Gov’t "Bold-Faced Lies" & Mass Surveillance Effort Forced Me to Shut Down My Company

Free App Lets the Next Snowden Send Big Files Securely and Anonymously

When Glenn Greenwald discovered last year that some of the NSA documents he’d received from Edward Snowden had been corrupted, he needed to retrieve copies from fellow journalist Laura Poitras in Berlin. They decided the safest way to transfer the sizable cache was to use a USB drive carried by hand to Greenwald’s home in Brazil. As a result, Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was detained at Heathrow, searched, and questioned for nine hours.

That’s exactly the sort of ordeal Micah Lee, the staff technologist and resident crypto expert at Greenwald’s investigative news site The Intercept, hopes to render obsolete. On Tuesday he released Onionshare —simple, free software designed to let anyone send files securely and anonymously. After reading about Greenwald’s file transfer problem in Greenwald’s new book, Lee created the program as a way of sharing big data dumps via a direct channel encrypted and protected by the anonymity software Tor, making it far more difficult for eavesdroppers to determine who is sending what to whom. ...

Lee hopes to have others examine Onionshare’s code to suss out flaws. For now it only runs as a bare-bones command-line tool on the Tor-based operating system Tails, which can be launched on Windows or Mac machines. He plans to add a version that runs directly on Windows and Mac computers soon.

[While the program is defined as simple, it does not appear that for normal folks it is at a level of being easy to use. - js]

Hackers raid eBay in historic breach, access 145 million records

EBay Inc said that hackers raided its network three months ago, accessing some 145 million user records in what is poised to go down as one of the biggest data breaches in history, based on the number of accounts compromised.

It advised customers to change their passwords immediately, saying they were among the pieces of data stolen by cyber criminals who carried out the attack between late February and early March.

EBay spokeswoman Amanda Miller told Reuters late on Wednesday that those passwords were encrypted and that the company had no reason to believe the hackers had broken the code that scrambled them.

"There is no evidence of impact on any eBay customers," Miller said. "We don't know that they decrypted the passwords because it would not be easy to do."

She said the hackers gained access to 145 million records of which they copied "a large part". Those records contained passwords as well as email addresses, birth dates, mailing addresses and other personal information, but not financial data such as credit card numbers.

Facebook offers new way to let the Government know what you're watching and listening to

US Senate Democrats suppress civil liberties concerns, clear way for drone memo author's judicial nomination

The man who wrote a White House legal memo endorsing the execution of Americans by drone strike is poised to become a federal judge after Senate Democrats used new anti-filibuster rules to quash opposition from civil liberties critics.

David Barron, a Harvard law professor who drafted a key memo authorising Barack Obama's controversial targeted killing programme while at the Department of Justice, on Tuesday saw his lifetime appointment to the appeals court in Boston clear the main procedural hurdle in the Senate. The 52-43 vote was split along party lines.

Previously, Senate cloture rules meant judicial nominees required 60 votes to bring an end to debate and move to a simple majority vote, but this was scrapped by Democrats last November after Republicans frustrated a series of similar appointments with the threat of filibuster delaying tactics.

As a result, Barron's appointment now looks certain to proceed with Democratic support alone and an attempt by Republican critic Rand Paul to stand against the nomination was limited to a brief speech.

Paul claims Barron is unfit to serve as a judge because his once-secret White House legal advice authorising the use of drone strikes in cases involving US citizens breaches the constitution.

Why I Don't Want to See the Drone Memo

obama for peaceTransparency in drone murders has been a demand pushed by U.N. lawyers and pre-vetted Congressional witnesses, and not by the victims' families.  Nobody asks for transparency in child abuse or rape. "Oh, have you got a memo that explains how aliens commanded you to kill and eat those people? Oh, well that's all right then."

Seriously, what the filibuster?

I don't want to see the memo that David Barron wrote "legalizing" the killing of U.S. citizens with drone strikes, after which (or is it beforehand?) I'll decide whether he should be a federal judge.

Laws don't work that way. A law is a public document, known to or knowable to all, and enforced equally on all.  If a president can instruct a lawyer to write a memo legalizing murder, what can a president not instruct a lawyer to legalize? What's left of legality?

Obama Administration Doesn’t Think It Needs Authorization from Congress to Wage War Anywhere in World

Does the President have to have a statute authorizing the use of military force in order to legally wage war against terrorist groups that may or may not pose an imminent threat to the United States? Or can the President simply target, capture and kill whomever in whatever terrorist group wherever, even if Congress has not authorized action?

This was the subject of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in which two officials from President Barack Obama’s administration—Mary McLeod, principal deputy legal adviser of the State Department, and Stephen W. Preston, general counsel of the Defense Department— came to testify. ...

For a presidential administration which has claimed that the 9/11 AUMF gives the president the authority to target and kill people with drones away from the battlefield and also detain people indefinitely, it was rather stunning to hear both McLeod and Preston inform senators that they did not need the AUMF to do anything they were doing now. The president had the power, regardless of whether a congressional authorization for the use of force existed. ...

The officials claimed the president could wage just about any type of counterterrorism operation in the world without this authorization.

It is a brazen example of the imperial presidency and represented a total disregard for the separation of powers designated in the U. S. Constitution that are supposed to create some kind of checks and balances — ideally.

What made the position even more incredible was how McLeod and Preston kept talking about how the Obama administration was eager to “engage” with Congress on this issue. ... McLeod told Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) at one point that the reason why an authorization for military force was worth having was political, to show Congress had a “role to play.” Corker responded, “We’re pretty irrelevant to the process from the administration’s standpoint.”

House to Vote on Repeal of 2001 War Powers

Rep. Adam Schiff reported earlier today that his amendment on repealing the Authorization on Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed in the wake of 9/11 was going to be voted on tonight, but it will ultimately wait until Thursday. ...

The bill will be an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), one of over 100 amendments offered to the bill, which is itself also expected to come to a vote in the House Thursday.

Ukrainian troops killed as pro-Russia militants attack checkpoint

At least 11 Ukrainian troops have been killed and about 30 others wounded in an attack by pro-Russia insurgents on a military checkpoint, the deadliest raid in weeks of fighting in eastern Ukraine. The attack came three days before the country's presidential vote.

AP journalists saw 11 bodies scattered around the checkpoint on the edge of the village of Blahodatne, about 20 miles (30km) south of the city of Donetsk. Witnesses said more than 30 Ukrainian troops had been wounded when the insurgents attacked the checkpoint, and some of them were in a grave condition.

Three charred Ukrainian armoured infantry vehicles, their turrets blown away by powerful explosions. Several burned-out trucks stood at the site of the attack. A military helicopter landed on the site, carrying officials who inspected the area.

The Ukrainian defence ministry confirmed the attack, but would not comment on casualties. There was no report of casualties on the insurgent side.

In the town of Horlivka, a rebel commander claimed responsibility for the raid and produced an array of weapons he said had been seized.

US Starts Spinning Credibility of Upcoming Ukraine Vote

On Sunday, most of Ukraine will be able to go to the polls to vote for a new president to replace the “interim” President Oleksandr Turchinov. Only 23 of 34 districts in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts are expected to open at all, meaning large numbers of voters in the east won’t be going anywhere at all.

The Obama Administration doesn’t need to wait to see the results to know what they think, however, and are already going to bat for the election, defending its credibility despite the election not covering major protester-held cities in the east.

CrossTalk: Kiev's War

If only Prince Charlie could go back to the days of being a tampon...
Prince Charles provokes diplomatic dispute with Russia by comparing Putin to Hitler

Prince Charles's comparison of Vladimir Putin with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler triggered a diplomatic row on Thursday when Moscow scolded the heir to the British throne for what it said was an outrageous attempt to sully Russia's reputation over Ukraine.

During a trip to Canada, the 65-year-old prince told a Jewish woman who fled from Poland during World War Two that in Ukraine "Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler", according to the Daily Mail newspaper. ...

"If these words were truly spoken, then without doubt, they do not reflect well on the future British monarch," a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry told a news conference.

"We view the use of the Western press by members of the British royal family to spread the propaganda campaign against Russia on a pressing issue - that is, the situation in Ukraine - as unacceptable, outrageous and low." ...

Putin, a former KGB spy who has repeatedly spoken about the sacrifices of what Russians call the Great Patriotic War, lost a brother in the Nazi siege of Leningrad.

The Soviet Union lost more than 20 million people in the war and the victory over Nazi Germany is celebrated across Russia as a national triumph.

After Latest Coup in Thailand, Will U.S. Rethink Military Ties to Longtime Asian Ally?

Army Moves from Martial Law to Coup D'Etat in Thailand

Less than three days after declaring martial law in Thailand, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday has announced the military has now taken full control of the government and justified the coup d'etat by saying it has been executed to avoid further "violence" and ensure "peace and order" amid a political fracturing of the country that has lasted for nearly seven years. ...

A heavy military presence was visible on the streets of Bangkok, the nation's capital and largest city.

On Tuesday, the general took to the nation's airwaves and declared martial law, saying that the military wanted the warring factions to resolve their political disputes at the negotiating table.

The volatile political disputes in the country have spiraled over the last six months with at least 28 people being killed and many hundreds injured since late last year when anti-government protesters began calling for the ouster of the caretaker Pheu Thai government.

Following the announcement of martial law earlier in the week new talks were initiated, but appear to have resulted in too little progress in the estimation of the Prayuth and other military commanders.

US Ambassador to Libya Defends General’s Takeover

In a speech at the Stimson Center today, US Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones sought to downplay the attempted military coup in Libya, arguing that Gen. Khalifa Hifter never said he “wants to be in charge,” defending it as an anti-terrorism move. ...

That seems directly in contrast of what Gen. Hifter himself said about his “Operation Dignity,” which insisted it targeted parliament specifically because of the growing Islamist influence there, and just hours after an Islamist-backed prime minister announced his new cabinet. Prime Minister Ahmed Mateeq has refused to step down.

'So many ways to die in Syria now': Neil Gaiman visits a refugee camp in Jordan

Harvey wanders off, and I find him outside, talking with an old woman who lost her sons in the conflict, but made it to Jordan with her pregnant daughter. We ask who killed her sons, and she tells us she doesn't know.

It is a refrain we hear over and over, but we keep asking the questions, as people tell us how they came to the camps: Who bombed your house? Who shot you in the back as you drove on your motorbike to dig your children out of the rubble? Who cut off your cousin's head? Who killed your family? Who shot your son? Who cut off the food supplies? Who shot at you if you went out of your house? Who beat you up? Who broke your hand?

People shrug. They don't know. ...

I realise I have stopped thinking about political divides, about freedom fighters or terrorists, about dictators and armies. I am thinking only of the fragility of civilisation. The lives the refugees had were our lives: they owned corner shops and sold cars, they farmed or worked in factories or owned factories or sold insurance. None of them expected to be running for their lives, leaving everything they had because they had nothing to come back to, making smuggled border crossings, walking past the dismembered corpses of other people who had tried to make the crossing but had been caught or been betrayed.

Brazil’s Dance With the Devil: Dave Zirin on the People’s Revolt Challenging 2014 World Cup

Cecily McMillan and the False Security of Livestreaming and Participatory Surveillance

Earlier this month, my friend Cecily McMillan was convicted of second-degree assault of a police officer after a month-long jury trial, in which the prosecution’s case depended on a 53-second excerpt from a livestream video taken at a police raid of Occupy Wall Street’s six-month anniversary demonstration in Zuccotti Park. The video was uploaded to YouTube by an unknown user and then ripped by the District Attorney’s office using third-party software to circumvent the website’s prohibition on downloads. The clip was encoded at a resolution of 640x360 pixels per inch, with the incident occurring in the bottom corner, accounting for roughly 5 percent of the entire frame. ...

Like digital photos, digital video is composed of individual pixels, each of which is given a color value based on the camera’s translation of light hitting its sensor into computer code. At low resolutions, like the 360p file played in court, a relatively small number of these colored squares are used to compose the image, which results in the indistinct mosaic of colored squares. The cropped version of the video shows the limits of the resolution with Cecily’s reduced to a flesh-colored oval without eyes, nose, mouth, or ears.

Presented in court, however, these images were not displayed at their native resolution but read off a disc on a laptop and fed into a high-definition television, which upscales the low-resolution image to render on the 1920x1080 screen. If you think of a digital image as composed of a series of squared pixels, each assigned a specific color value, blowing that image up to 1080p would reveal huge amounts of empty space in between each pixel for which the camera recorded data. In order to not present an image that is mostly empty space, computers and televisions use an upscaling process that either duplicates the color value of pixels to fill in adjacent empty spaces, or use an algorithm to predict what the color value of the empty pixels should be based on a reading of the pixels surrounding the empty space. ...

Livestreaming and instant documentation of abuses proliferated during Occupy Wall Street and the global protests that came before and after, reached an ironic climax when the NYPD’s failed #MyNYPD hashtag turned into a roar of communal outrage. The default assumption in all of these stories is that the cop told the truth or had the right to become physical, and all evidence to counter that claim is treated as insubstantial or inadmissible. What remains is a network of participatory surveillance, which we assume can be used to shield us from the worst exploitations of the law, yet ends up only deepening pre-existing biases. As many have noted, for all of the livestreaming and documentation during the Occupy Wall Street protests, not a single police officer has been convicted of any violent crime, yet a young graduate student with no prior criminal history has now been swept up by virtue of a video so unclear she doesn’t even have a face in it, a mosaic of best guesses from a computer that has no idea what absent information is covered over with each duped pixel.

Over 100 arrested near McDonald's headquarters in protest over low pay

McDonald’s closed part of its corporate headquarters on Wednesday in response to a mass protest by workers and activists that campaigners say ended in more than 100 arrests.

Over 2,000 people calling for a hike in the minimum wage and the right to form a union without retaliation descended on the fast food giant’s suburban Chicago headquarters in what is believed to be the largest demonstration McDonald’s has ever faced.

Chanting, “Hey McDonald’s You Can’t Hide, We Can See Your Greedy Side,” and “No Big Macs, No Fries, Make our Wage Supersize,” protesters blocked the entrance to McDonald’s campus in Oakbrook, some 20 miles outside Chicago.

A short walk from Hamburger University, McDonald’s training center, the protesters were confronted by a phalanx of police officers in riot gear. After they sat down the police issued two orders to disperse and arrests began.

Police said 101 McDonald's workers and 38 community supporters were arrested. McDonald’s workers, church leaders and Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry were among those arrested.

Some 500 fast-food workers from three dozen cities as well as local church groups, union activists and community groups were present at the demonstration. It came a day before the fast food company’s annual meeting when dissident shareholders intend to vote against CEO Donald Thompson’s $9.5m pay package. Protesters also plan to picket that meeting, from which media have been excluded.

Supreme Court Ruling Not Enough To Prevent Debtors Prisons

Debtors prisons were outlawed in the United States nearly 200 years ago. And more than 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear: Judges cannot send people to jail just because they are too poor to pay their court fines.

That decision came in a 1983 case called Bearden v. Georgia, which held that a judge must first consider whether the defendant has the ability to pay but "willfully" refuses.

However, the Supreme Court didn't tell courts how to determine what it means to "willfully" not pay. So it's left to judges to make the sometimes difficult calculations.

An NPR news investigation has found there are wide discrepancies in how judges make those decisions. And every day, people go to jail because they failed to pay their court debts.

In Benton County, Wash., for example, jail records obtained by NPR and sampled over a four-month period in 2013 show that on a typical day, a quarter of the people who were in jail for misdemeanor offenses were there because they had failed to pay their court fines and fees.

Judges say it's difficult to determine who can and cannot afford to pay their fines and fees. Often a probation officer or a court official will make a recommendation based on an interview with the defendant or based on a questionnaire. ...

Attorneys who defend poor clients say the Supreme Court's Bearden decision requires courts to more formally consider a defendant's ability to pay. But they say it almost never happens. Defendants don't know their right to ask for a hearing and, for judges, those could clog up the court schedule.

The Evening Greens

Bill McKibben's invitation across the nation:

A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change

This is an invitation, an invitation to come to New York City. An invitation to anyone who'd like to prove to themselves, and to their children, that they give a damn about the biggest crisis our civilization has ever faced. ...

So circle September 20th and 21st on your calendar, and then I'll explain. ...

Since Ban Ki-moon runs the United Nations, he's altogether aware that we're making no progress as a planet on slowing climate change. He presided over the collapse of global-climate talks at Copenhagen in 2009, and he knows the prospects are not much better for the "next Copenhagen" in Paris in December 2015. In order to spur those talks along, he's invited the world's leaders to New York in late September for a climate summit. ...

In a rational world, no one would need to march. In a rational world, policymakers would have heeded scientists when they first sounded the alarm 25 years ago. But in this world, reason, having won the argument, has so far lost the fight. ... So in this case taking to the streets is very much necessary. It's not all that's necessary – a sprawling fossil-fuel resistance works on a hundred fronts around the world, from putting up solar panels to forcing colleges to divest their oil stocks to electioneering for truly green candidates. And it's true that marching doesn't always work: At the onset of the war in Iraq, millions marched, to no immediate avail. But there are moments when it's been essential. ...

The moment to salvage something of the Holocene is passing fast. But it hasn't passed yet, which is why September is so important. Day to day this resistance is rightly scattered, local and focused on the more mundane: installing a new zoning code, putting in a solar farm, persuading the church board to sell its BP stock. But sometimes it needs to come together and show the world how big it's gotten. That next great moment is late September in New York. See you there.

BP wants Supreme Court to throw out Deepwater Horizon settlement

WASHINGTON — BP is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its challenge of the settlement agreement that’s forcing the oil company to reimburse businesses deemed hurt by the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico .

BP said Monday that it wants the Supreme Court to review its claim that the settlement process is rife with fraud. The company argues that it’s been ordered to pay “hundreds of millions of dollars – soon likely to be billions – of fictitious and inflated losses.”

BP so far has been on the losing end in court, and a federal appeals court yesterday refused to reconsider its earlier ruling in support of the settlement.

Feinstein’s drought-measures bill may face rough waters in House

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s newly finished California water bill that’s designed for quick Senate approval gratifies some farmers while alienating some fishermen, tribes and environmentalists. ...

Farmers like those with the Western Growers Association, who met with Feinstein on Wednesday morning, welcome legislation that delivers more irrigation water. In a private meeting Monday, House Republican staffers tried to convince counterparts with the GOP’s 22-member Senate Western Caucus that the bill should move ahead so that a final version can be negotiated.

But environmentalists, and Northern California Democrats whose House districts include the vulnerable Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, fear Feinstein has already gone too far.

“Fresh water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers feed the health of the West Coast’s largest estuary,” said Patricia Schifferle, who runs the firm, Pacific Advocates. “Excessive diversions of this water harm not only the ecology, but drinking water and farming.”

Weather From Another Planet: Wildfires and Climate Change

You may have heard that major wildfires broke out in Southern California. The state is in a deep drought, its fire season is starting earlier than normal and the fires that have burned so far have been incredibly intense.

That might lead one to wonder if climate change plays any role at all–or, to put the question a different way, whether this extreme weather is happening on the planet Earth. ...

Using the Nexis news database, I counted 35 reports about the California wildfires on the main morning and evening newscasts on the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS and NBC). But only one of the shows even mentioned climate change–and only because California Gov. Jerry Brown brought it up in an interview on a different TV show.  ...

This is especially ironic because just days before the fires became national news, the same broadcasts were devoting serious time to a major scientific assessment of climate change. On May 6, the White House release of the National Climate Assessment report led ABC World News, with anchor Diane Sawyer declaring:

The president and 300 experts giving their answer to a question a lot of us have been asking. Is this extreme weather all around us global warming or not? The president's answer is yes. And it's underway right here, right now.
So climate change is with us, and we're seeing its effects right now.  This is a report, mind you, whose section on the Southwestern region that includes California leads off, "Increased heat, drought and insect outbreaks, all linked to climate change, have increased wildfires." But when those same wildfires are one of the biggest stories of the month–then, apparently, climate change shouldn't be brought up.

Blog Posts of Interest

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

A Question of Power: The Imperial Presidency

Representative Democracy is a cruel hoax

Which 49 Democrats Learned to Love the NSA Dragnet?

USA Freedumber Appears to Strengthen RuppRoge’s Affirmative Endorsement of an Internet Dragnet

Virginia transwoman struggles to change her name

A Little Night Music

Bo Diddley - Who Do You Love

Bo Diddley - Ooh Baby

Bo Diddley - Road Runner

Bo Diddley - You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover

Bo Diddley - Pretty Thing

Bo Diddley - Look At My Baby

Bo Diddley - Diddley Daddy

Bo Diddley - Bring It To Jerome

Bo Diddley - Sixteen Tons

Bo Diddley - Down home special

Bo Diddley - Back To School

Bo Diddley - Hey good lookin'

Bo Diddley - Crackin Up

Bo Diddley - Pills

Bo Diddley - Diddy Wah Diddy

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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