March, 2013

Public banking: throwing out the money changers

Submitted: Mar 29, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
 Why is financial socialism still alive in North Dakota? Why haven't the North Dakotan free-market crusaders slain it dead?
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CEQA's enemies: Rattlesnakes in coyote clothing

Submitted: Mar 28, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
 
 
State Sen. Tom Berryhill, a Republican calling Twain Harte his home at least during this legislative season, has taken over leadership of the anti-California Environmental Quality Act forces since former Sen. Michael Rubio, R-Wasco, ditched the state Senate for a lobbying job with Chevron. The Berryhills are a clan of wrong, blunt speaking Republicans who have been representing parts of the north San Joaquin Valley for decades. 
 
Berryhill warmed up in a March 12 statement to the press with the following nonsequitor: “It is pretty much acknowledged in Sacramento that CEQA needs updating.
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Our grand "stewards of the land"

Submitted: Mar 16, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
The continuing decline of imported and wild species of bees makes us gag at one of San Joaquin Valley agriculture's most cherished slogans: "Farmers are the best stewards of the land." Agribusiness, which we have entrusted with growing most of our food, is killing the bees that pollinate so many of the foods we eat. What is the real price for a price setting world monopoly in almonds, if during the largest annual pollination event in the world, the pollinators are destroyed? 
These grand "stewarts of the land" cannot be trusted to conduct their business without destroying all that is not their business. We ought to begin thinking about bees, especially the Honey Bee, as an endangered species in need of protection from agribusiness and beekeepers by a wise governing force. Instead, we have government, governed in the instance of the bees, by agribusiness.through the land grant universities and the members of Congress that agribusiness funds. We cannot expect the scientists or the politicians to bite the hand that feeds them.
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Great "stewards of the land"

Submitted: Mar 16, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
 It is one of San Joaquin Valley Ag-flak's favorite slogans-- that "farmers are stewards of the land" (and therefore could not do anything wrong on the land) -- that makes us gag to relate in light of the decline of the bees, domestic and imported. It would appear that agribusiness, which we have entrusted with growing most of our food, is killing the bees that pollinate so many of the food s we eat. We take the view that agribusiness is the cause of the decline because the more dominant this passionately greedy form of agriculture has become, the more idioticly defined by the narrowest economic aims (what a price for a world monopoly in almonds if it kills the bees) it has become (monopolies can control prices).
Clearly, these "stewarts of the land" cannot be trusted to conduct their business without destroying all that is not their business. We ought to begin thinking about bees, especially the Honey Bee, as an endangered species in need of government protection from bee keepers and farmers.
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Last Week: March 3-9, 2013.

Submitted: Mar 16, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

California High Speed Rail -- A boondoggle in search of a Pork Barrel 

 

There is a railroad boom going on right now in the San Joaquin Valley. At least there is a boom going on in the newspapers about railroads, fast and not so fast.

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Lloyd Carter's portrait of a Denver water and oil lawyer/lobbyist

Submitted: Mar 14, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Lloyd Carter, at the indispensible Chronicles of the Hydraulic Brotherhood website, has produced a masterful portrait of Norman Brownstein, one of the nation's top water and oil lawyer/lobbyists, and his crooked sons. Although the story takes place in Denver, Washington and Wall Street, what makes it local is that Brownstein's firm lobbies for Westlands Water District and recently lost a lawsuit brought by the district against the US Bureau of Reclamation, and that Kirk Kerkorian, Fresno billionaire, was allegedly swindled in an oil deal involving business associates of Brownstein. 

As government and capital begin to try to mix oil and water along the San Andreas Fault, this story take on significance even beyond its ostensible borders. 

Badlands Journal editorial board

3-11-13

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The narcissism (or something) of the local press

Submitted: Mar 13, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

In its annual article of self-congratulation called "Sunshine Week," the McClatchy Co. local outlet, the Merced Sun-Star finished with the following errant graphs:

 

Acknowledging local efforts

In Merced County, government agencies generally do a good job of getting out the word about public meetings and posting agendas on websites, even making printed copies available in a timely way.

Law enforcement agencies also make a solid effort to get out information about crime and other incidents in the various communities, especially if they deem such information important for public safety. The district attorney's office goes the extra mile to honor requests for public records about court cases.

When it comes to public records requests, government agencies generally respond within the allotted time -- often, but not always, providing the desired documents or records.

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Last Week: February 24-March 2

Submitted: Mar 10, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

2-24-13 

Sacramento Bee

 

 

Editorial: Ending federal funding for levees is a reckless idea

 

http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/24/v-print/5210709/editorial-ending-federal-funding.html

 

Should the federal government end its historic role in helping state and local governments pay for upgrades to flood control levees, including those that are part of federal flood control projects?

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Fracking the Fault

Submitted: Mar 10, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

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Vandana Shiva: Violence against women, the earth, seed and farmers

Submitted: Mar 09, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

3-8-13
Democracy Now!

Vandana Shiva on Int’l Women’s Day: "Capitalist Patriarchy Has Aggravated Violence Against Women"
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/8/vandana_shiva_on_intl_womens_day

AMY GOODMAN: We continue our conversation on this International Women’s Day with world-renowned feminist, activist, thinker from India, Dr. Vandana Shiva. India witnessed nationwide protests earlier this year following the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in December. The rape brought attention to other instances of sexual violence in India, where one woman is raped every 20 minutes, according to the national crime registry there. The conviction rates in the rape cases in India have decreased from 46 percent in 1971 to 26 percent in 2012.

To talk more about the significance of International Women’s Day, we go to Los Angeles to speak with Vandana Shiva, where she’s on tour right now. She’s the author of many books, including Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development. Her most recent book is Making Peace with the Earth.

Vandana, welcome to Democracy Now! As you travel in the United States from India right now—you’re an environmental leader, you’re a feminist, you’re a scientist—what is your message on this International Women’s Day?

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The Real Big Picture

Submitted: Mar 09, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

New York Times
Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years
By JUSTIN GILLIS...3-7-13
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/science/earth/global-temperatures-high...
 

Global temperatures are warmer than at any time in at least 4,000 years, scientists reported Thursday, and over the coming decades are likely to surpass levels not seen on the planet since before the last ice age.


Previous research had extended back roughly 1,500 years, and suggested that the rapid temperature spike of the past century, believed to be a consequence of human activity, exceeded any warming episode during those years. The new work confirms that result while suggesting the modern warming is unique over a longer period.

Even if the temperature increase from human activity that is projected for later this century comes out on the low end of estimates, scientists said, the planet will be at least as warm as it was during the warmest periods of the modern geological era, known as the Holocene, and probably warmer than that.

That epoch began about 12,000 years ago, after changes in incoming sunshine caused vast ice sheets to melt across the Northern Hemisphere. Scientists believe the moderate climate of the Holocene set the stage for the rise of human civilization roughly 8,000 years ago and continues to sustain it by, for example, permitting a high level of food production.

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The Merced County Voting Rights Act violation drama

Submitted: Mar 08, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

2-23-13
Fresno Bee
Merced County voting rights ruling to affect Valley agencies…Michael Doyle, Bee Washington Bureau…2-24-13
http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/02/23/v-print/3186242/merced-county-ruling...
WASHINGTON -- A Merced County legal victory has unexpectedly pulled it into one of the biggest U.S. Supreme Court cases in years.

The county's 2012 triumph was to successfully bail out from federal control under the Voting Rights Act. But now some conservative skeptics charge that legal victory was tainted by Justice Department politics.

The claims, in turn, compelled the county to invest in a Supreme Court brief to defend itself in advance of a key court argument on Wednesday.

"The county was surprised to become a subject of discussion in the (voting rights) case," Merced County Counsel James N. Fincher said Friday. "One of the reasons the county chose to pursue the bailout was to avoid being a political football in unrelated legal battles."

The bailout, or escape, from certain Voting Rights Act obligations means Merced County and some 84 political entities included within it, from school districts to city councils, no longer need Justice Department permission before making voting-related changes. A three-judge panel approved the bailout in August after the Justice Department assented following a two-year study.

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Last Week: February 17-23, 2013

Submitted: Mar 06, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

2-19-13
Merced Sun-Star

Our View: Report eyes water jobs of the future
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/02/19/v-print/2827639/our-view-report-eyes-water-jobs.html

The eggheads at the Oakland based Pacific Institute have produced a report for the people: "Sustainable Water Jobs, A National Assessment of Water- Related Green Job Opportunities," (which) identifies 136 occupations that could emerge or
expand as the country looks to make wiser use of its water, through conservation, recycling, reuse and more.
Most of the job categories already exist -- from engineers to plumbers to landscape architects and landscapers."

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Last Week: February 10-16, 2013

Submitted: Mar 05, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board



Merced water management group eyes state funding 2-11-13

You bet it does! But there are two reasons the Merced Integrated Regional WAter Management Plan group meets. The IRWMP, pronounced "Ear-Wimp" meets because the state Department of Water Resources has bond money to spend and entities like the Merced Irrigation District, the City of Merced and Merced County have the desire and the credentials to qualify to spend it.
The decision making group consists of those entities. The rest of the group, known as "advisors" or "stakeholders," are the usual group of powerless members of the public who come because on the one hand they are invited as democratic window dressing and to keep tabs on what the big shots are saying.
Having decided flood control was important, MID has proposed some flood control projects and dam automation for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Disadavantaged communities are so important to the state that the Planada Community Services District has proposed water metering, always a boon for la gente. Actually the entire area of the "Mear-Wimp," basically equivalent to the MID district boundaries -- the east side of the county -- qualifies as one grand disadvantaged community, another kudo for the wealthe distribution created by American agribusiness. Curiously Stevinson, described by one of its illustrious

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