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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 and soul singer Joe Simon.  Enjoy!

Joe Simon - If

"I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon."

  -- George W. Bush

News and Opinion

Obama: US will not be intimidated by Isis 'barbarism'

"We will not be intimidated," the president said. "Their horrific acts only unite us and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists. And those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served."

The president was speaking in Estonia on the way to a Nato summit in Wales, where the latest bloody twist of the Iraq-Syria crisis is likely to compete with the Ukraine conflict for the attention of leaders.

Obama spoke after the US national security council announced its assessment that the video showing Sotloff's killing was authentic. Many of its features were similar to those of the murder of the journalist James Foley on 19 August.

The White House, meanwhile, said the president had ordered 350 more troops into Iraq just hours after the release of the video. The new deployment was intended not for "a combat role" but to augment security at the Baghdad embassy and associated "support facilities," it said.

Obama says will 'degrade and destroy' Islamic State

The United States plans to fight Islamic State until it is no longer a force in the Middle East and will seek justice for the killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff, President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.

He added destroying the militant group will take time because of the power vacuum in Syria, the abundance of battle hardened fighters that grew out of al-Qaeda in the Iraqi war, and the need to build coalitions, including with local Sunni communities. ...

“The bottom line is this, our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy (Islamic State) so that it’s no longer a threat not just to Iraq but also the region and to the United States," Obama told a news conference.

Journalist: Indiscriminate Bombing of Civilians by Iraqi Gov’t Has Helped ISIS Recruit Supporters

Dem bill would authorize US strikes in Syria

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said Tuesday he is filing legislation that would give President Obama clear authority to order airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The move came after ISIS released a new video showing the purported beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, on Tuesday.

“This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria,” Nelson, a senior member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.

“Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty.”

ISIS selling oil for $25 to $60 a barrel. Threat to OPEC, Oil Industry?
Islamic State Startup

The "justice system" has a guilty conscience:
Court: Releasing Images of Guantanamo Prisoner Would Incite Violence, Especially Since He Was Tortured

A federal appeals court has ruled that the United States government can keep video and photos of high-profile Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohammed al-Qahtani secret because it is well-known that he was tortured and abused and any future release of information depicting him could be used by terrorist groups to incite anti-American violence.

The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. At issue are at least 58 FBI videos “depicting Qahtani’s activities in his cell and his interactions” with Defense Department personnel. There are also two videos showing “forced cell extractions,” where Qahtani was likely removed from his cell in an abusive or aggressive manner, two videos showing “document intelligence debriefings” and “six mugshots” of Qahtani.

The Second US Court of Appeals in Manhattan declared in its decision [PDF] that the government had established “with adequate specificity” that images of Qahtani, who the government alleges was the 20th hijacker in the September 11th attacks, “could logically and plausibly harm national security because these images are uniquely susceptible to use by anti‐American extremists as propaganda to incite violence against United States interests domestically and abroad.”

Israel ‘Alarmed’ by al-Qaeda Presence on Syria Border

After years of loudly cheering al-Qaeda-linked rebels as a great improvement over the Assad government, Israeli officials are now expressing “alarm” at the takeover of the lone border crossing with Syria by al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra. ...

Indeed, Israel was so fine with the takeover of the border region last week that they launched strikes on Syrian military bases that were in the middle of fighting against that takeover, nominally over a stray artillery shell entering Israeli-occupied territory on the border. ...

Still, if you’re going to blame somebody, you might as well blame Iran, right? That’s the position of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who claimed that al-Qaeda’s gains had “Iran’s fingerprints” on them, even though Iran is already in the Syrian war on the opposite side, backing the Assad government.

It’s incredible, because Israel’s whole argument for preferring al-Qaeda to Assad has always been that the former isn’t allied to Iran, and the later is. Now, they’re trying to present Iran as backing both, so that whoever wins, they can blame it on Iran.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is apparently of this mind too, claiming Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Qaeda, and ISIS are all part of the “same Islamist terror network” that is plotting against Israel.

Fmr. U.S. Ambassador: To Resolve Ukraine Crisis, Address Internal Divisions & Russian Fears of NATO

Russia and Ukraine's 'permanent ceasefire' appears to unravel

A "permanent ceasefire" agreed between Ukraine and Russia, announced by President Petro Poroshenko, appeared to unravel before it had started on Wednesday, as the Ukrainian leader backtracked from the word "permanent" and the Kremlin denied agreeing anything at all.

The surprise announcement came after Putin and Poroshenko spoke on the telephone on Wednesday morning. Poroshenko wrote on Twitter: "As a result of my telephone conversation with the Russian president we reached an agreement on a permanent ceasefire on Donbass."

While the tweet remained, the statement on Poroshenko's website was quietly amended to remove the word "permanent". Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian agencies that the two leaders had not agreed on a ceasefire, as Russia was not party to the fighting, but had "discussed how to end the conflict".

One adviser to a top Ukrainian official told the Guardian that the announcement had been "a brainfart" and that "nobody believes in it". There were reports of continuing fighting around the city of Donetsk as the supposed ceasefire was nowhere to be seen on the ground.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, called Russia a "terrorist state" and said Kiev would build a wall along the border between the two countries. He also said he hoped Ukraine would join Nato in the near future, before a summit of the alliance due to start in Wales on Thursday.

Obama has decided to take another swing at a hornet nest. NATO to strengthen Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova militaries? Gosh, what a brilliant way to piss off the Russian people. They're sure to take it sitting down...
Obama says NATO must help strengthen Ukraine's military

U.S. President Barack Obama urged NATO on Wednesday to help strengthen Ukraine's military and said the alliance must leave the door open to new members to counter what he called Russian aggression.

Obama was speaking in Estonia, one of three ex-Soviet Baltic states bordering Russia that fear separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine could herald problems for them. All three have sizeable Russian minorities and rely on Russian fuel deliveries.

Obama, who will attend a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday, accused Russia of a 'brazen assault' on Ukraine, which for five months has been fighting pro-Russian separatists that Moscow describes as a defense force warding off Ukrainian aggressors.

"NATO must make concrete commitments to help Ukraine modernize and strengthen its security forces. We must do more to help other NATO partners, including Georgia and Moldova, strengthen their defenses as well," he said a speech to a packed concert hall in the Estonian capital.

"And we must reaffirm the principle that has always guided our alliance, for countries that meet our standards and that can make meaningful contributions to allied security, the door to NATO membership will remain open," he said after meeting the leaders of the three ex-Soviet Baltic states.

Behind Heated Rhetoric, Eastern Ukraine Faces Grave Humanitarian Crisis as Over 1 Million Displaced

Russian bank hires former Senators John Breaux and Trent Lott

Gazprombank GPB (OJSC), a Russian bank targeted with sanctions by President Obama over the Ukraine crisis, has hired two former U.S. senators to lobby against those sanctions, according to a new disclosure filed with the Senate.

Gazprombank is controlled by Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom, the country’s largest gas producer; it supplies about a third of Europe’s natural gas.

In a filing submitted Friday and effective that day, former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and former Senator John Breaux, D-La., are listed as the main lobbyists under the Gazprombank account for the firm Squire Patton Boggs, lobbying on “banking laws and regulations including applicable sanctions.”

Gazprombank GPB (OJSC) is a subsidiary of Gazprombank, Russia’s third largest bank. On July 16th, the U.S. Treasury Department added it to a list of Russian firms barred from debt financing with U.S. institutions.

NSA bulk collection of phone data under scrutiny as federal case opens

Federal judges pointedly questioned a Justice Department lawyer on Tuesday about the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of US phone data, in the opening day of case that represents a major step toward a supreme court ruling on the constitutionality of the program.

A three-judge panel from the second circuit court of appeals aimed skeptical questions at assistant attorney general Stuart Delery about the scope and breadth of the call-records dragnet, reported last year by the Guardian thanks to leaks from Edward Snowden.  ...

While none of the three judges were inclined to rule from the bench Tuesday, they peppered Delery with sharp questions for over half an hour. Some were curious about factual aspects of the phone records program and appeared mildly frustrated at their inability to get public answers about what until last year was among the US government’s most closely held secrets.

“You seem to rely on declassified material,” judge Robert D Sack, a Bill Clinton appointee, told Delery. “What else aren’t you telling us?”

The case reached the appeals court after a December ruling from Judge William Pauley declined to grant its petitioner, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an injunction to stop the bulk records collection. That ruling contradicted one barely a week earlier from a Washington DC judge, Richard Leon, that called the collection “almost Orwellian”. Judges wondered aloud about the implications if they ordered a halt to the bulk collection while a DC appeals court, scheduled to hear a government appeal in the case Leon ruled on, reaches the opposite conclusion.

Alexander Abdo, an attorney for the ACLU, said the supreme court would likely have to resolve the dispute, something that legal scholars and observers on both sides of the past year’s surveillance debate have anticipated.

Appeals court chilly to feds' arguments for NSA surveillance program

During an oral argument session that stretched for nearly one hour and 45 minutes, none of the three judges assigned to the appeal brought by the American Civil Liberties Union seemed to be squarely behind the Justice Department's claim that a 1979 Supreme Court precedent gave the government the legal running room to collect vast databases of information on phone calls as part of a program aimed at tracking calls that might be related to terrorism. ...

A particular concern raised by the judges Tuesday was that the government's rationale for bulk collection of so-called metadata on phone calls could apply to a slew of other records businesses posess, like bank and credit card records, which can also contain information useful for detecting potential terrorist plotting.

"The same third-party argument that you're making as a matter of constitutional law and the same relevance argument that you're making under the statute apply to banking records and credit card records, don't they?" 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Gerard Lynch asked Justice Department Civil Divsion Chief Stuart Delery. "Isn't it at least as relevant to you whether somebody that you have some reasonable suspicion is engaged in terrorist connections used his credit card last week to buy a ton of fertilizer as it is to find out whether he called his gym?"

District Court Judge Vernon Broderick, sitting on the 2nd Circuit case through a program that eases the appellate court's workload, also appeared troubled by the breadth of the governent's argument that it can obtain in bulk through the Patriot Act's Section 215 all records that it could get for specific individuals in a more run-of-the-mill criminal investigation by using a grand jury subpoena.

"Couldn't then the government aggregate everybody's bank records and apply the same sort of query methodology to get at the same sort of linkages?"  asked Broderick, an Obama appointee.

Delery didn't rule that out. (Indeed, it's been reported that the government uses 215 to monitor money transfers.)

LAPD Infiltrators and Agents Provocateurs Targeted Leftists and Panthers - David Cay Johnston

The US propaganda mill never sleeps...
Venezuela outcry as US drama Legends maligns president Nicolás Maduro

Critics have mostly ignored the new US spy drama Legends, but it’s creating a furore in Venezuela.

Officials in the South American country are denouncing the show for portraying the socialist government stockpiling nerve gas to quash dissent. ...

The show’s producer, Fox 21, apologised and said the show was intended as fiction.

“The producers did not intend to imply that the show was reporting any actual events when it mentioned President Maduro’s name. We sincerely apologise to President Maduro,” the company said in a statement. ...

It’s not the first time Venezuela has tussled with the US entertainment industry.

In 2006, the government led by the late president Hugo Chavez accused a US gaming company of doing Washington’s bidding by releasing a computer game based on the overthrow of an imaginary Venezuelan “tyrant”.

Last year, the US spy drama Homeland portrayed Venezuela as a lawless hellscape. An outlaw character was depicted hiding out in a Caracas skyscraper-turned-slum with thugs who killed people and molested children with impunity. No official repercussions followed.

Another homicide at hands of New York City cops

For the second time in less than a month, the New York City Medical Examiner’s office determined that New York Police Department officers were criminally responsible for a man’s death. A spokeswoman announced Friday that the death of Ron Singleton was a homicide attributable to “physical restraint by police.” Singleton, a 45-year-old worker, was killed by police officers on July 13 after being taken into custody as an “emotionally disturbed person.” ...

No video exists of Singleton’s killing. According to police reports, a taxi driver in Midtown Manhattan alerted police to a backseat passenger “acting overly irate and irrational, cursing and screaming and causing alarm.” Police allege that as Singleton exited the vehicle he “became combative with the officer, trying to fight with him.”

Backup was brought in, including from the NYPD Emergency Service Unit, which also functions as the city’s SWAT unit. Singleton was subsequently restrained by several officers and placed in body wrap. He suffered cardiac arrest, reportedly while in an ambulance en route to Roosevelt Hospital, where he was announced dead on arrival. ...

Singleton’s death is under investigation by the Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. It is unlikely that a true accounting of events, let alone any punishment, will come out of the Police Department’s notoriously corrupt internal investigation arm.

The Ferguson Uprising through a Historical Lens

Michael Brown's juvenile records could be released under court order

Lingering questions about Michael Brown could be answered on Wednesday when a judge considers two media requests to release any possible juvenile records of the unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a Missouri police officer last month.

Juvenile records are confidential in Missouri, so it’s not definitively known if Brown was arrested before he legally became an adult. Police have said Brown had no adult criminal record. The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, has refused to discuss whether Brown had a juvenile record.

The St Louis Post-Dispatch and a California online journalist have filed separate petitions in St Louis County family court to determine whether Brown had past legal trouble. Both cite an overriding public right to know Brown’s background after his shooting death by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson sparked more than a week of sometimes-violent protests and drew international scrutiny.

The more basic argument boils down to the question of whether Brown’s privacy rights extend beyond the grave. ...

The efforts to obtain Brown’s juvenile records – if there are any – have been criticized by some who say his past conduct is irrelevant to the question of whether Wilson responded with excessive force.

DNA clears North Carolina inmates after 30 years in prison

North Carolina’s longest-serving death row inmate and his half-brother serving a life sentence have been exonerated and released from prison after spending more than 30 years behind bars for a rape and murder they did not commit.

Robeson County superior court acted with lightning speed to free the two men, Leon Brown and Henry McCollum, who were 15 and 19 at the time of their arrest in 1983. ... McCollum was held on death row throughout his three decades in prison as an innocent man. His lawyer, Ken Rose of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, who has fought the case for the past 20 years, pointed out that both his client and Brown are diagnosed as having intellectual disabilities. ...

The dramatic release of the two prisoners now puts the spotlight on the police department in Red Springs, a small town in the south of the state of just 3,000 people. In court documents filed by lawyers for McCollum and Brown the police department is accused of having framed false confessions for the duo which they made the arrested teenagers sign after hours of interrogations.

The town’s police force is also accused of having hidden boxes of crucial evidence in its office from the time of the boys’ trial in 1984 right up to last month. The existence of the evidence, gathered at the crime scene, was never disclosed either to the boys’ defence teams or to the district attorney prosecuting the case.

As Expected, Big Money Flood Grows Bigger in Wake of McCutcheon Ruling

Five months after the U.S. Supreme Court's McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling struck down certain limits to the campaign contributions, the election cycle is already flooded with more money from wealthy individuals that would not have been allowed prior to the decision.

By the end of June, at least 310 donors who spent above the pre-McCutcheon cap had already contributed a total of $49.8 million — $11.6 million more than would have been permitted before the April ruling, according to data from the research organization Center for Responsive Politics. While these donors favors Republicans two to one, they also write big checks to Democrats.

Who are these wealthy individuals? Some are well-known, politically influential billionaires, including Charles and David Koch, Sheldon Adelson, and George Soros. Others are hedge fund managers, real estate magnates, and wealthy business people. At 310 people so far, they represent less than one in a million Americans, analysts at the Center for Responsive Politics point out.

Detroit's creditors seek to derail historic bankruptcy trial as it begins

After 14 months of intense legal wrangling, a public relations battle, late night mediation sessions and intense number crunching, Detroit finally entered a federal courtroom on Tuesday for a trial that will determine whether or not it can emerge from the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy to become a smaller, more economically nimble city. ...

Starting Tuesday, the first day of what is scheduled to run at least five weeks, the city must prove to US bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes that its financial recovery plan is feasible, was proposed in good faith with both pension groups and creditors, and does not unfairly discriminate against either.

Two creditor groups are fighting to stop Rhodes from granting Detroit solvency. They say the city is unfairly discriminating against them compared to the public pension groups, which they say are getting a better deal.

Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. and Syncora Guarantee Inc say that the city is legally bound to a $1.4bn debt deal established in 2005 by a previous administration. Both vetoed the city’s plan this summer that would have offered them between zero and 10 cents on the dollar for the debt they hold. Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has said that the 2005 deal, brokered by former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who is now in federal prison on a corruption conviction, is illegal.

FGIC attorney Edward Soto argued Tuesday that the city has not adequately proven that most of Detroit’s 30,000 retirees and workers will suffer a hardship if the city’s bankruptcy plan is approved.

‘Web of corrupt activity’ costs poorest countries a trillion dollars a year

More than 3.5 million lives a year could be saved if the G20 cracked down on the corrupt business practices, money laundering and tax evasion that cost the world’s poorest countries at least a trillion dollars a year, according to a new report.

The Trillion Dollar Scandal study, by the campaigning and advocacy group ONE, says developing countries’ efforts to fight poverty, disease and hunger are being damaged by “a web of corrupt activity” that siphons hundreds of billions of dollars from their economies every year.

ONE’s report stresses that the sums involved are not international aid money – “which is making a tangible difference” – but money that is stealthily drained off through anonymous shell companies and “shady deals” for natural resources. ...

The report, which is being launched in the runup to November’s G20 summit in Brisbane, urges the group’s members to “shine a light on anonymous shell companies” by making public information on who owns companies and trusts, and identifying corrupt and criminal individuals and businesses. ...

The G20, it suggests, should also introduce tough payment disclosure laws to increase transparency in the oil, gas and mining industries; crack down on tax evasion and publish open data so that citizens can track money from “resources to results” thereby holding governments to account for the provision of essential services.

Obama’s Top Ex-Advisers Are Cashing In On Fighting Unions

President Obama’s innovative, take-no-prisoners campaigns crafted an elite force of operatives, skilled in the political arts. Now that they’re done helping Obama, however, it appears they have a new goal: weakening and defeating organized labor.

On Tuesday, Obama’s former top White House adviser and 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe signed on with Uber, the company known for its slick app and on-demand cars — and efforts to break taxi-union holds on urban transportation.

Plouffe joins former top Obama campaign and White House communications strategist Robert Gibbs and Obama’s national press secretary for the 2012 campaign Ben LaBolt, who are using their talents in a campaign against the power of teacher’s unions.

Along with them is Obama’s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina, who went to London to work for the reelection of England’s Conservative Party government, which is campaigning on a platform that includes new rules English labor says would make it “close to impossible” to go on strike. ...

Among labor activists, the general sense is that some top officials from Obama’s campaign team, who worked very hard for labor support in 2008, are showing their true colors now.

Report: Temp jobs at all-time high in U.S.

A record 2.8 million Americans are working in temporary help jobs, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project, a non-profit organization that advocates for low-wage and unemployed workers.

The report, released Tuesday, found that temp jobs make up 2 percent of total employment in the U.S, the highest percentage ever.

Temps often have little or no training, no job security, and earn median hourly wages that are 22 percent less than those of other private-sector workers, according to the report. They work with few benefits but are more likely to suffer workplace injuries.

The report also noted that the third-party staffing agencies that place temporary workers with companies have shifted from clerical jobs_which made up just 21 percent of the industry in 2013_ to low-skill blue-collar sectors such as manufacturing and warehousing, which accounted for 42 percent of the industry last year.

About 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies now use temporary workers to manage their warehouses, the report revealed.

“The shift towards temp work is creating an economy in which working people who move and produce products for some of our nation’s largest and most profitable corporations are treated like any other input, to be acquired at the cheapest cost,” said Rebecca Smith, a co-author of the report, in a statement. “Staffing agencies not only fail to provide livable wages, benefits or job security for their workers, but their influence in an industry can lower standards for all workers in that industry.”

The Evening Greens

Halliburton reaches $1.1bn settlement over Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Halliburton Co, North America’s top oilfield services provider, said it reached a $1.1bn settlement for a majority of claims related to its role in BP’s fatal oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The settlement, which includes legal fees, is subject to approval by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Halliburton said.

The amount, to be paid in three installments over the next two years, will be put into a trust until all appeals are resolved, the company said.

“We think this is a smart move by Halliburton,” Stewart Glickman, an equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ told Reuters. “While state claims by Louisiana and Alabama remain, we think this trims legal overhang.”

Halliburton provided the cement intended to seal the well in the event of a disaster. The company has since been embroiled in an ongoing series of legal actions related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which resulted in 11 deaths and discharged an estimated 4.9m barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

'Worse Than Anything Seen in 2,000 Years' as Megadrought Threatens Western States

A new study warns that the chances of western states in the U.S. experiencing a multi-decade 'megadrought'—not seen in historical climate records in over 2,000 years—has a much higher chance of occurring in the decades ahead than previously realized. In fact, scientists are warning, the drought now being experienced in California and elsewhere could be just the beginning of an unprecedented water crisis across the west and southwest regions of the country. ...

The research—a project between scientists at Cornell University, the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Geological Survey—shows that chances for a decade-long drought this century is now at fifty-fifty, and that a drought lasting as long as 35 years—defined as a "megadrought"—has a twenty- to fifty-percent chance of occurring.

“For the southwestern U.S., I’m not optimistic about avoiding real megadroughts,” Toby Ault, Cornell assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and lead author of the paper, told the Cornell Chronicle. “As we add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – and we haven’t put the brakes on stopping this – we are weighting the dice for megadrought.”

The study—entitled Assessing the Risk of Persistent Drought Using Climate Model Simulations and Paleoclimate Data — used both "climate model projections as well as observational (paleoclimate) information" as it looked back over the historic records of drought in the region while also looking forward by using advanced predictive techniques used to measure the possible impacts of current and future global warming.

California's Underground Water War

California has been the only western state without groundwater regulation—but now that looks set to change.

California produces nearly half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables, according to the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture. It is in the midst of one of the worst droughts ever recorded, with more than 80 percent of the state in extreme or exceptional drought. ... However, groundwater and surface water—rivers, lakes, streams—are part of the same hydrological system. Excessive groundwater pumping can overdraft aquifers, emptying them faster than natural systems can replenish them; dry up nearby wells; allow saltwater intrusion; and draw down surface water supplies. Taking so much water out of the soil can cause the dirt to compact and the land to sink, an action called subsidence. Because land can subside as much as a foot a year in the face of aggressive pumping, it can destroy infrastructure such as irrigation canals, building foundations, roads, bridges, and pipelines.

... California is the only western state that lacks groundwater regulation. But that boon to farmers is also a looming disaster, as groundwater levels free fall. Groundwater is a huge piece of California’s water supply, making up approximately 40 percent of the state's water demands in an average year and up to 60 percent or more during droughts, according to the Department of Water Resources.

“In the absence of governance, it’s become a pumping arms race,” said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. “He with the biggest pump or deepest straw wins.”

But now a bill on the floor of the California legislature could turn that around. Although water rights holders in California have been resistant to change, this week the state is considering one big step forward: Senate Bill 1168 and Assembly Bill 1739, which would provide state-wide groundwater regulation for the first time. ... Groundwater basins would have two years to form a local management agency, five years to adopt a sustainable management plan, and 20 years to achieve a sustainable supply of groundwater.

Aerial Iceland volcano footage: Lava fountains, huge smoke clouds

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 Congress Shall Have Power ... to Declare War'

Who’s Telling the ‘Big Lie’ on Ukraine?

Politicians Show Their Gratitude Where It Count$

How America Made ISIS

Scots voting no to independence would be an astonishing act of self-harm

Froomkin blogs again:

Obama Makes Bushism the New Normal

Mount Holyoke president: "Human rights begin at home"

A Brutally Powerful WaPo Exposé: “How St. Louis County, Missouri profits from poverty”

A Little Night Music

Joe Simon - The Chokin' Kind

Joe Simon - The Power of Love

Joe Simon - Drowning In The Sea Of Love

Joe Simon - (You Keep Me) Hangin' on

Joe Simon - Trouble In My Home

Joe Simon - Get Down (Get Down On The Floor)

Joe Simon - Nine Pound Steel

Joe Simon - Farther On Down the Road

Joe Simon - No sad songs

Joe Simon - Bring It On Home To Me

Joe Simon - Lets Do It Over

Joe Simon - The Whoo Pee

Sugar Pie De Santo - Do The Woo Pee

Joe Simon - Moon Walk Part 1

It's National Pie Day!

The election is over, it's a new year and it's time to work on real change in new ways... and it's National Pie Day.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to tell you a little more about our new site and to start getting people signed up.  

Come on over and sign up so that we can send you announcements about the site, the launch, and information about participating in our public beta testing.

Why is National Pie Day the perfect opportunity to tell you more about us?  Well you'll see why very soon.  So what are you waiting for?!   Head on over now and be one of the first!

Originally posted to DFH writers group on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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