The Evening Blues - 4-5-21
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features r&b singer Ben E. King. Enjoy!
Ben E King - Spanish Harlem
"The nation is divided, half patriots and half traitors, and no man can tell which from which."
-- Mark Twain
News and Opinion
On Friday, Politico reported that New York Democratic Congresswoman and Democratic Socialists of America member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez transferred $160,000 in campaign funds to a slate that includes “CIA Democrats”—right-wing congressional Democrats with intelligence and military backgrounds. Politico reported that the contributions were unsolicited and were aimed “to help keep the House majority ahead of a tough cycle.” While Politico only lists Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia by name, it appears based on the report that Ocasio-Cortez donated $5,000 to each of 32 “frontline” candidates selected by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in high-profile midterm races.
This list of “frontline” candidates includes many prominent CIA Democrats whom the World Socialist Web Site has identified as having been former representatives of the Pentagon and intelligence agencies. In 2018, the WSWS published a three-part series by Patrick Martin detailing efforts by the military-intelligence agencies to flood the Democratic Party with loyal operatives. Beneficiaries of Ocasio-Cortez’s financial support include Elissa Slotkin (a former CIA agent), Conor Lamb (Marine captain and military prosecutor), Tom Malinowski of New Jersey (an assistant secretary of state under Barack Obama), Abigail Spanberger (CIA operations officer) and Elaine Luria (Navy commander), both of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill (Navy pilot in the Middle East) and Andy Kim (adviser to the US military command, Afghanistan and Iraq director for the National Security Council), both of New Jersey and Jared Golden of Maine (Marine infantryman). Slotkin and Lamb have indicated they will return the donations for fear their Republican opponents will associate them with Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez’s financial support for the CIA Democrats is another lesson in the futility of all efforts to transform the capitalist Democratic Party into a vehicle for progressive social reform. By transferring funds given to her by left-wing supporters into the war chests of the CIA Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez provides an example in financial terms of the fundamental political dynamic of right-wing Democratic Party politics. Far from moving the Democratic Party to the left, figures like Ocasio-Cortez merely trap left-wing social opposition, disarm it, and transform it into political capital for the very establishment they claim to oppose.
Her support for the CIA Democrats undermines her claim to represent opposition to war. She is providing direct political support to individuals responsible for the US-led wars that have devastated broad swaths of the Middle East and killed over one million people in the last two decades alone. Aside from working as a CIA agent, Elissa Slotkin was the Iraq director for the National Security Council under Barack Obama, serving as senior assistant to John Negroponte in his final government job, as director of national intelligence, with overall responsibility for all 19 US intelligence agencies. Ocasio-Cortez’s support for a former top aide to Negroponte is significant, since Ocasio-Cortez has attempted to present herself as a defender of the rights of immigrants, even blaming “imperialism” for forcing millions to flee their homes.
Negroponte was US ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, overseeing US-backed death squad contras in the civil wars in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He is an American war criminal, responsible for facilitating genocidal campaigns against Central American workers and peasants.
Showing her true priorities, @AOC is giving her donors' money to right-wing Democrats in swing districts, desperate to hold on to the House majority.
Far from boldly transforming the moribund neoliberal Democratic Party, AOC is keeping it on life support https://t.co/ynbg1GirGs
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) April 4, 2021
Heh, at least there is some humor in this situation compliments of the idiot Democrats that think AOC's money has cooties.
A former intelligence analyst leaked classified information about drone warfare to a journalist and wrote anonymously about his experience in the national security establishment, he admitted Wednesday in Alexandria federal court. Daniel Hale, 33, had been set to go on trial next week. He had argued that the Espionage Act charges against him violate the First Amendment — an unsettled legal question that is likely to be revived in the same courthouse should WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be extradited to the United States.
Instead, Hale pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced July 13.
Hale, who admitted sharing eight secret and three top-secret documents, had no agreement with prosecutors to resolve the case. Four other charges remain pending against him. Judge Liam O’Grady indicated that Hale’s sentence would probably not change based on the number of convictions and said he would take up that issue at sentencing. ...
According to court records, Hale shared top-secret documents with [a] reporter [Jeremy Scahill], who published them online and in a 2016 book. Scahill published a series on drones in the Intercept and wrote a book called “The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program.” The documents detailed the protocol for ordering drone strikes and shed light on civilian casualties and internal military debates over the accuracy of intelligence.
“These documents detailed a secret, unaccountable process for targeting and killing people around the world, including U.S. citizens, through drone strikes,” Intercept Editor in Chief Betsy Reed said in a statement after Hale’s indictment. “They are of vital public importance, and activity related to their disclosure is protected by the First Amendment.”
Outrageous that drone whistleblower Daniel Hale will be going to prison for exposing the drone murders by the US military. Why don't the murderers go to jail? Or the ones who ok the murders? Or the ones who make the killer drones and profit from murder? https://t.co/bD6kXP26Gp
— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) April 1, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in a statement that President Joe Biden revoked Trump's Executive Order 13928, "ending the threat and imposition of economic sanctions and visa restrictions in connection with the court."
The move ends sanctions imposed against outgoing ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and Phakiso Mochochoko, head of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity, and Cooperation Division of the Office of the Prosecutor.
"The Department of State also terminated the separate 2019 policy on visa restrictions on certain ICC personnel. These decisions reflect our assessment that the measures adopted were inappropriate and ineffective," Blinken said. He added that "we continue to disagree strongly with the ICC's actions relating to the Afghanistan and Palestinian situations," but believe that "our concerns about these cases would be better addressed through engagement with all stakeholders."
This is jaw-dropping propaganda: What it doesn't say is that those Russian troops are *inside Russian territory*
This "analyst" is warning Russian troops being inside Russia "threaten" Europe.
And this "expert" just so happens to work at a CIA-linked neoconservative think tank https://t.co/Dhrz3ziTfH
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) April 4, 2021
Tensions in Donbass soared on March 26, when four Ukrainian military servicemen were killed near the village of Shumy. Kiev blamed their death on the forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Donetsk denied its responsibility for any bombardments. Later, the Donetsk Republic said that the Ukrainian soldiers were killed by a landmine while inspecting minefields.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said the Kremlin was worried the Ukrainian side might take provocative action in southeastern Ukraine, thus creating the risk of a civil war.
On Wednesday, Russian presidential representative in the Contact Group for a settlement of the conflict in the east of Ukraine, Boris Gryzlov, described Kiev’s stance on the issue of security in the conflict zone in Donbass as irresponsible and cynical.
The initial reaction of Biden administration officials to the latest clash between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian militia (or Russian soldiers serving as militia) in eastern Ukraine exemplifies a very dangerous pattern in U.S. and Western behavior: to believe whatever “our” side in a given crisis tells us, automatically, and without checking facts.
How often in the past has the United States been seduced into disastrous international actions by local actors who knew the right American buttons to push and the right misinformation to feed to Washington? Iranian monarchists, British intelligence, the United Fruit Company, Vietnamese politicians; Cuban, Iraqi and Libyan exiles, Arab princelings, Afghan warlords, an almost endless succession of Latin American generals and oligarchs — I could go on.
While four Ukrainian soldiers died in the recent fighting, we have no independent evidence at all of who started it, or why, and more careful media outlets like the Financial Times have avoided apportioning blame in their reporting. Nor, I am sorry to say, can corroboration by our intelligence services be taken as evidence, unless confirmed by independent sources. There have been too many instances of their building paranoid mountains out of evidential molehills when it comes to Russia, China, Iran and of course — most disastrously — Iraq. ...
If the latest clash in the Donbas was in fact started by Moscow in a deliberate attempt to provoke Ukraine into starting a wider conflict to serve Russia’s interests , then it is obviously the responsibility of the Ukrainian government not to allow itself to be provoked. ...
If Ukraine goes to war with Russia, Ukraine will lose, and the United States and NATO will not fight to save her. The consequences for Washington will be deep humiliation, and Russia will be driven into the arms of China. So the duty of the Biden administration, the CIA, the State Department and the media is clear: find out what is really happening in the Donbas and then use that knowledge to help craft a strategy for preventing a new conflict, not inflaming one.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he had received assurances from U.S. President Joe Biden in a phone call on Friday that Washington would not abandon Ukraine in the face of Russian “aggression”.
“We discussed the situation in Donbass in detail. President Biden assured me that Ukraine will never be left alone against Russia’s aggression.”
— Katie Halper (@kthalps) April 4, 2021
Republicans opposed to Joe Biden’s proposed $2tn infrastructure bill claimed on Sunday that it was effectively a partisan tax hike that allocated too much money to electric vehicles and other environmental initiatives.
On CNN’s State of the Union, Mississippi governor Tate Reeves was asked if his state could use some of the $100bn Biden proposes to spend on fixing roads and bridges neglected for decades amid gridlock in Washington and paralyzed public spending. Yes, he said. But.
“There’s no doubt that Mississippi could use our fair share of $100bn,” Reeves said. “The problem with this particular plan, though, is although the Biden administration is calling it an infrastructure plan, it looks more like a $2tn tax hike plan, to me. That’s going to lead to significant challenges in our economy, it’s going to lead to a slowing GDP … it’s going to lead to Americans losing significant numbers of jobs.”
Reeves had other complaints. While Biden proposes to spend billions on roads and bridges, he said, he also proposes to “spend more than that on the combination of Amtrak [railways] and public transit. And what’s even worse, [Biden’s bill] spends $100bn on clean water, which Mississippi could certainly use, but it spends more than that … to subsidize electric vehicles. “That is a political statement. It’s not a statement on trying to improve our infrastructure in America. And so it looks more like the Green New Deal than it looks like an infrastructure plan.” ...
The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said this week he would “fight them every step of the way because I think this is the wrong prescription for America. That package that they’re putting together now, as much as we would like to address infrastructure, is not going to get support from our side.”
World’s Poorest Nations Face Setback as India Suspends Vaccine Exports Amid Fight over Patent Rights
Progressive Leader to Biden: Don't 'Water Down Bill for a Party Not Actually Interested in Bipartisanship'
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal late Thursday argued that President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers should forge ahead with an ambitious infrastructure package without attempting to cater to the minority GOP, a party the Washington Democrat said has no interest in good-faith negotiations or combating the climate crisis.
"Let's not water down a bill for a party that's not actually interested in bipartisanship or wait for Republicans to have some awakening on climate change," said Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. "Let's move with the urgency and boldness that this moment calls for."
Jayapal's message came hours after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) predicted that Biden's roughly $2.3 trillion infrastructure and climate package "is not going to get support from our side," pointing specifically to the plan's proposed rollback of the GOP's 2017 corporate tax cuts.
Republican lawmakers made clear they would object to Biden's proposal before he even released it, but the president still appears to be holding out some hope for a bipartisan package as he faces pressure from progressives to invest much more in revamping the nation's decaying infrastructure and transitioning the U.S. energy system away from fossil fuels.
"I'm going to bring Republicans into the Oval Office; listen to them, what they have to say; and be open to other ideas," Biden said in a speech Wednesday. "We'll have a good-faith negotiation with any Republican who wants to help get this done. But we have to get it done."
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas.), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, quickly rejected Biden's Oval Office invite as "disingenuous."
Details from more than 500 million Facebook users have been found available on a website for hackers.
The information appears to be several years old but it is another example of the vast amount of information collected by Facebook and other social media sites and the limits to how secure that information is.
The availability of the data set was first reported by Business Insider. According to that publication, it contains information from 106 countries including phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates and email addresses.
Amazon has apologized to the congressman Mark Pocan, admitting to scoring an “own goal” in its initial denial of his suggestion its drivers were sometimes forced to urinate in bottles during delivery rounds.
“We know that drivers can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes, and this has been especially the case during Covid when many public restrooms have been closed,” the company said in a blogpost. ...
“This was an own goal, we’re unhappy about it, and we owe an apology to Representative Pocan,” Amazon said in its blogpost, adding that its previous response only referred to staff at warehouses and fulfilment centers.
In response, Pocan tweeted: “Sigh. This is not about me, this is about your workers who you don’t treat with enough respect or dignity.”
Human rights defenders on Friday applauded the announcement by U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland that the Bureau of Indian Affairs will establish a unit tasked with investigating missing and murdered Indigenous people.
The Interior Department said in a statement Thursday that "approximately 1,500 American Indian and Alaska Native missing persons have been entered into the National Crime Information Center throughout the U.S., and approximately 2,700 cases of murder and nonnegligent homicide offenses have been reported to the federal government's Uniform Crime Reporting program."
The agency said that the new Missing & Murdered Unit (MMU) "will help put the full weight of the federal government into investigating these cases and marshal law enforcement resources across federal agencies and throughout Indian country."
The MMU will build on the work of Operation Lady Justice, a task force on missing and murdered Indigenous people launched in 2019.
"Investigations remain unsolved often due to a lack of investigative resources available to identify new information from witness testimony, re-examine new or retained material evidence, and review fresh activities of suspects," the Interior Department statement said. "The MMU, in addition to reviewing unsolved cases, will immediately begin working with tribal, BIA, and FBI investigators on active missing and murdered investigations."
Haaland—the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history—said Thursday that "violence against Indigenous peoples is a crisis that has been underfunded for decades. Far too often, murders and missing persons cases in Indian country go unsolved and unaddressed, leaving families and communities devastated."
"The new MMU unit will provide the resources and leadership to prioritize these cases and coordinate resources to hold people accountable, keep our communities safe, and provide closure for families," Haaland continued. "Whether it's a missing family member or a homicide investigation, these efforts will be all hands on deck."
"We are fully committed to assisting tribal communities with these investigations, and the MMU will leverage every resource available to be a force-multiplier in preventing these cases from becoming cold case investigations," she added.
According to the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, Indigenous women are murdered at 10 times the national average. Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show homicide is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native girls and women ages 10 to 24 and the fifth-leading cause of death for those between the ages of 25 and 34.
A 2016 National Institute of Justice report (pdf) found that 84% of Indigenous women have experienced violence in their lifetimes, 41% had been physically injured by intimate partners, and 67% were concerned for their safety.
Two years later, a survey (pdf) published by the Seattle-based Urban Indian Health Institute reported 5,712 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous girls in 2016, of which only 116 were logged in the U.S. Department of Justice's federal missing persons database.
Nearly two years before George Floyd was pinned under the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Anton Black was pinned to the ground by police outside his home in Greensboro, Maryland. On September 15, 2018, body camera footage captured the 19-year-old struggling under the weight of multiple officers, laboring to breathe and crying out for his mother. Black’s mother watched her son die in front of her. He used his last breaths to shout “I love you.”
Dr. David Fowler, who was the chief medical examiner of Maryland for nearly two decades, classified Black’s death as an accident. Now, he is an expert witness for Chauvin’s defense and is expected to offer testimony as to how Floyd died last year. The forensic pathologist, who resigned from Maryland’s medical examiner office in 2019, is one of several parties being sued by the Black family for wrongful death and civil rights violations. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in December, alleges that Fowler “covered up and obscured police responsibility for Anton Black’s death.”
The determination in Black’s case was part of a broader pattern of the medical examiner’s office relying on police narratives in cases involving deaths in custody, the complaint on behalf of the Black family argues. Between 2013 and 2019, 30 percent of deaths involving a law enforcement officer reviewed by Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner were classified as “accidents,” “undetermined,” or due to “natural causes,” according to data released by the state.
The office’s findings in at least two of those cases were later disputed by independent forensic investigators who concluded that the deaths were homicides. Experts interviewed by The Intercept said Black’s death also fit the definition of a homicide per the National Association of Medical Examiners — an organization Fowler was once president of. “In my opinion, the NAME guidelines for manner-of-death determination would indicate that Black’s death should have been called a homicide because of the physical involvement of others in the struggle,” Dr. Judy Melinek, a board-certified forensic pathologist and author unaffiliated with either case, wrote in an email.
Sonia Kumar, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland who represents Black’s family, called Fowler’s involvement in the Chauvin case “troubling” and “disturbing.”
“The flawed practices that have been used in Maryland to prevent police accountability and accurate assessment of deaths in police custody are now being exported to the murder of George Floyd and a broader national stage,” she said.
As the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd headed into its second week, the Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar said residents remain “on edge” about the outcome.
On Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Omar was reminded that few trials involving police officers result in conviction, and asked: “Are you and your city prepared for the possibility of a hung jury or a not-guilty verdict?”
“The community is on edge about that,” Omar said. “We have seen justice not delivered in our community for many years. I think that there is a lot of confidence in [state] attorney general Keith Ellison and the prosecutors in this case, but we are all eagerly awaiting to see how this trial shakes out.
“It’s been really horrendous to watch the defense put George Floyd on trial instead of the former police officer who’s charged with his murder.”
— Fiorella Isabel (@Fiorella_im) April 4, 2021
The popular legal research and data brokerage firm LexisNexis signed a $16.8 million contract to sell information to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to documents shared with The Intercept. The deal is already drawing fire from critics and comes less than two years after the company downplayed its ties to ICE, claiming it was “not working with them to build data infrastructure to assist their efforts.”
Though LexisNexis is perhaps best known for its role as a powerful scholarly and legal research tool, the company also caters to the immensely lucrative “risk” industry, providing, it says, 10,000 different data points on hundreds of millions of people to companies like financial institutions and insurance companies who want to, say, flag individuals with a history of fraud. LexisNexis Risk Solutions is also marketed to law enforcement agencies, offering “advanced analytics to generate quality investigative leads, produce actionable intelligence and drive informed decisions” — in other words, to find and arrest people.
The LexisNexis ICE deal appears to be providing a replacement for CLEAR, a risk industry service operated by Thomson Reuters that has been crucial to ICE’s deportation efforts. In February, the Washington Post noted that the CLEAR contract was expiring and that it was “unclear whether the Biden administration will renew the deal or award a new contract.”
LexisNexis’s February 25 ICE contract was shared with The Intercept by Mijente, a Latinx advocacy organization that has criticized links between ICE and tech companies it says are profiting from human rights abuses, including LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters. The contract shows LexisNexis will provide Homeland Security investigators access to billions of different records containing personal data aggregated from a wide array of public and private sources, including credit history, bankruptcy records, license plate images, and cellular subscriber information. The company will also provide analytical tools that can help police connect these vast stores of data to the right person.
Though the contract is light on details, other ICE documents suggest how the LexisNexis database will be put to use. A notice posted before the contract was awarded asked for a database that could “assist the ICE mission of conducting criminal investigations” and come with “a robust analytical research tool for … in-depth exploration of persons of interest and vehicles,” including what it called a “License Plate Reader Subscription.”
The Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar has backed Major League Baseball’s decision to move its All-Star Game from Georgia over a restrictive new voting law. But in doing so she placed herself at odds with another leading progressive, the voting rights campaigner Stacey Abrams.
Abrams, who suffered a narrow defeat in the Georgia gubernatorial race in 2018, commended the MLB’s decision on Friday but said she was disappointed the game was being relocated. “I respect boycotts,” she said, “although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states. We should not abandon the victims of [Republican] malice and lies – we must stand together.” ...
Many observers question the accepted wisdom that big sporting events bring economic benefits but on Sunday, on CNN’s State of the Union, Omar was asked if she agreed with Abrams. “We know that boycotts have allowed for justice to be delivered in many spaces,” Omar said. “The civil rights movement was rooted in boycotts. We know that apartheid ended in South Africa because of boycotts.
“And so our hope is that this boycott will result in changes in the law because we understand that when you restrict people’s ability to vote, you create a democracy that isn’t fully functioning for all of us, and if we are to continue to be beacon of hope for all democracies around the world we must stand our ground.”
Last week, members of the nonprofit news organization Unicorn Riot received a subpoena from the pipeline giant Energy Transfer seeking a wide range of documents, including newsgathering materials that would identify sources. The subpoena is part of an aggressive, yearslong legal effort launched by Energy Transfer in the wake of the Standing Rock movement, when thousands of opponents of the corporation’s Dakota Access pipeline came to camps at the border of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in an attempt to stop pipeline construction and protect the tribe’s drinking water from contamination.
Through a series of expensive conspiracy lawsuits against a disparate range of actors, the pipeline company has sought to paint the Standing Rock movement as the product of a vast misinformation-driven conspiracy to damage Energy Transfer.
Now, as part of that effort, Energy Transfer is demanding Unicorn Riot turn over virtually any documents, video footage, audio, article drafts, and communications related to the firm and its pipeline. The subpoena also sought information about the nonprofit’s organizational structure, social media accounts, and names of employees, volunteers, and supporters. Niko Georgiades, who was among the Unicorn Riot reporters covering Standing Rock, was separately subpoenaed.
This subpoena is outrageous and strikes at the heart of the First Amendment,” said Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “The breadth of the subpoena is striking: not only encompassing things like story drafts and internal communications, but also the personal information of Unicorn Riot’s donors. The judge should see this for what it is: a menacing attempt to intimidate a news outlet whose only ‘crime’ is being critical of the company. It should be thrown out immediately.” Unicorn Riot signaled it would contest the subpoena. ...
Over the course of months of protests at Standing Rock, Unicorn Riot developed a reputation for its immersive livestreams, video news reports, and public information requests, which provided powerful evidence of the aggressive tactics used by law enforcement agencies and Energy Transfer. The organization’s work leans to the left politically and tends to be critical of law enforcement agencies, with journalists often reporting from within movement spaces. At Standing Rock, law enforcement officials at times viewed the group’s journalists as members of the movement, subjecting them to repeated arrests as well as “less than lethal” weapons.
Work crews were pumping millions of gallons of contaminated wastewater into an ecologically sensitive Florida bay on Sunday, as they tried to prevent the “imminent” collapse of a storage reservoir at an old phosphate mine.
Officials in Manatee county extended an evacuation zone overnight and warned that up to 340m gallons could engulf the area in “a 20ft wall of water” if they could not repair the breach at the Piney Point reservoir in the Tampa Bay area, north of Bradenton.
Aerial images aired on local television showed water pouring from leaks in the walls of the retention pond. Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, declared a state of emergency after officials warned of the “imminent collapse” of the pond.
He toured the scene by helicopter and said at a press conference engineers were still attempting to plug breaches in the reservoir wall with rocks and other materials, and that other mitigation efforts included the controlled release of 35m gallons daily at Port Manatee. He said the state’s department of environmental protection (DEP) had brought in 20 new pumps. ...
Officials widened the evacuation zone late on Saturday from a dozen or so properties to more than 300 houses. The Tampa Bay Times interviewed some residents who were refusing to leave.
Spring has sprung in America’s capital, bringing with it a resplendent bloom of white and pink cherry blossoms that is one of the city’s grandest annual traditions. But this year, as Washington DC’s residents embrace a relative return to normal after a tumultuous year marked by the coronavirus and civil unrest, the earlier-than-anticipated bloom may point to yet another looming crisis: climate change.
Unusually warm weather in Washington accelerated the bloom cycle of the National Mall’s 3,800 cherry trees, causing the blossoms to pop days ahead of schedule in what experts say is a new normal that will make their arrival increasingly difficult to predict.
“Empirical data shows the peak bloom date for the cherry trees is occurring earlier than it did in the past,” said Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service. Washington’s cherry trees now reach peak bloom about six days sooner than they did 100 years ago. At the same time, weather station measurements in the US capital show the temperature has increased by 1.6C (2.88F).
“Since heat breaks dormancy in flowering trees, earlier cherry blooming is consistent with heating caused by climate change, although research has not yet examined all of the potential factors that could have caused the earlier blooming,” Litterst said. The trees at the Tidal Basin reached their flowery peak on 28 March, according to the park service, which defines “peak bloom” as the day when 70% of the Yoshino cherry blossoms open. On 4 March, the park service predicted peak bloom would fall between 2 April and 5 April.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Ben E King - Don't Play That Song
Ben E King - There Goes My Baby
Ben E King and The Drifters - This Magic Moment
The Drifters - Up On The Roof
Ben E King - I'm Standing By
Ben E. King and The Drifters - Dance With Me
Ben E King - Save the Last Dance for Me
Ben E. King - What Is Soul
Ben E. King - Groovin'
Playing For Change - Stand By Me
The Police Ben E King mashup