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Late, Late Night FDL: Big Yellow Taxi

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 10:00 pm

Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell

Happy 44th Earth Day…!

For Earth Day, NASA wants you to take a ‘global selfie’

NASA is asking for everyone’s help in celebrating the 44th anniversary of Earth Day — by taking a selfie.

Marking the five NASA missions planned to take place this year, and as part of its “Earth Right Now” campaign, the space agency is encouraging everyone to step outside today and take a picture of themselves, wherever they are on Earth, and post it to social media using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie.

NASA’s encouraging participants to be creative. Photos must be a selfie that gives an indication where they are — whether it be through a street sign, the Hollywood sign, or the #GlobalSelfie template, which is available in a variety of languages. {…}

The final #GlobalSelfie mosaic, as well as a video using the images, will be released in May, according to NASA.

At last count, there were more than 22,000 images on Instagram, a slew of tweets on Twitter, a gaggle of photos on Google+, and a seemingly never-ending stream of photos on Facebook.

People from around the world have participated in the event so far — with social-media posts from as far away as India, Qatar, and Rome. Some were taking photos with their families, friends, and co-workers, or even while jumping from an airplane.

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Late Night: Earth Day

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 8:00 pm

It’s Earth Day! I kept the TV off , the lights off, and didn’t drive anywhere. I spent time in the garden, looking at the bees and Gulf Fritillary butterflies busy among the passion flower vines. The mockingbirds are back, and the bushtits have several nests in the trees–they are really tiny cute little brown birds, very social, and the single males watch the nests while the mom and dad go looking for seeds and aphids.

Skunks have been digging for grubs in the lawn. I love skunks; they eat slugs, snails and black widows, so I don’t mind if they occasionally turn up a few inches of lawn looking for a snack. My neighbor says she saw two raccoons! The coyotes have been scarce.

How was your Earth Day? What did you do to celebrate?

It’s Not Just About Ukraine

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 7:25 pm

Map of Poland 960-992

As the situation on Europe’s Eastern frontier degenerates predictably, awareness of the millennial violent history between Poles and Ukrainians is indispensable to any understanding. The phrase ‘they share a long history’ does not come close to elucidating what is happening today.

Actually, the phrase most often heard is that Ukrainians and Russians share a long history, and this illustrates the fact that even news analysts haven’t a clue as to what is motivating the protagonists in this drama. Americans who have spent time among Western Europeans notice the vastly greater awareness individuals have of their country’s past than they do. When it comes to Eastern Europe, you can safely double that.

As Ukrainians of East and West duke it out over their country’s future, a tortured debate in the Polish parliament has just culminated with a vote to qualify a World War II massacre of Poles by Ukrainians as ‘ethnic cleansing with genocidal elements.’ The massacre took place in Volyn in the summer of 1943, under the leadership of a Ukrainian fighting force under the Neo-Nazi Ukrainian Nationalist Stepan Bandera who is the hero of the Right Sector now in charge of security under the putsch government in Kiev.

This was not the yearly remembrance, which occurs in July, but was directly related to the current situation in Ukraine, in which the Polish government continues to play a double role that goes back hundreds of years: seeking to once again hold sway over its Eastern lands, backed by a globalizing West eager to exploit them and represented for the cause by the EU.

In its coverage of the vote, RT pointed out that a few years ago the then presidents of the two countries had declared the issue laid to rest, but that subsequently, the Ukrainian government had erected monuments to Bandera and his organization.

And yet, this relatively recent history does not explain Poland’s current role in the Ukrainian drama: it is related to the tug of war between Poles and Ukrainians for sovereignty over the lands that lie between the contemporary Russian and Polish borders that began in the tenth century. This applies also to the Baltics, which Washington says Putin might invade while he’s at it. The huge landmass to the east of the Vistula River has forever been in turmoil among diverse tribes, then principalities, then nations. I’m not going to detail that history here, it’s easily available on Wikipedia, starting with Kievan Rus and following the links.

Doing that will help explain why globalization’s plans for Ukraine are not going to be that easy to implement.

Earth Day Greenwash: API Front Group Iowa Energy Forum Sponsors Pro-Keystone XL Event

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 6:40 pm

The political carnival that is the prelude to the Iowa caucuses has started over a year and a half early. At the center of it this time around: a game of political hot potato over the northern leg of TransCanada‘s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

American Petroleum Institute (API) deployed one of its paid consultants — former Obama Administration National Security Advisor General James “Jim” Jones — to deliver an Earth Day address in the home state of the presidential caucuses at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Paradise Lost: Fred Hiatt and Bowles-Simpson

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 5:01 pm

As many have noted, the Very Serious People in Washington have a peculiar love affair with the Bowles-Simpson commission, or more accurately the report produced by the two co-chairs of the commission. (The report is often referred to as a report of the commission. This is not true since it did not have the support of the necessary majority of commission members.) There is no one in Washington who is more Serious, than Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt.

Christie Will “Never” Allow Marijuana to Be Legalized as Long as He Is Governor

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 4:02 pm

While a majority of the American public has turned against marijuana prohibition, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) remains firmly against any form of legalization. When asked about legalization on NJ101.5, he reaffirmed that he opposes it and plans to do whatever he can to prevent it from coming to his state.

Stop the Secrecy: Make the TPP Text Public

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 3:05 pm

For more than a year activists have been able to stop this pernicious free trade agreement from becoming a reality, but this new push to finalize the TPP means we need to step up our efforts once again.

Help take the first step by signing our petition demanding the full text of the TPP be released.

Questions That Should Be Asked About Recent Operations, Including Drone Strikes, in Yemen

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 2:05 pm

How much of the drone war being waged by the United States in Yemen is targeting actual al Qaeda fighters? And how much of it is targeting fighters, who are opposed to the current regime led by President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi?

How Marijuana Legalization Could End up Saving Democratic Control of the Senate

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 1:02 pm

Thanks to a strange series of coincidences marijuana legalization could now be what helps Democrats narrowly maintain control of the Senate — even though not one Senate Democrat is willing to publicly support this popular change yet.

When Americans Saw Injustice by the FBI & Did Something About It—A Review of the Film, ’1971′

By: Tuesday April 22, 2014 12:07 pm

In 1971, eight Americans engaged in an act of nonviolent disruption and broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania to steal files. The film, 1971, which tells this story, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 18.

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Upcoming FDL Book Salons

Saturday, April 26, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power
Chat with Nomi Prins about her new book. Hosted by Bill Black.

Sunday, April 27, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America’s Game
Chat with Edward Achorn about his new book. Hosted by Richard Taylor (dakine01).