October, 2014

Valley tourism in a megadrought: Come on down!

Submitted: Oct 28, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Various heads of assorted chambers of commerce and Ben Duran, current CEO of Carol Whiteside's Great Valley Center, local fomenter of the greatest real estate boom and financial bust in Valley history, are promoting tourism to the San Joaquin Valley.

Come on down to Megadroughtistan! Feel the land sink as giant pumps suck out deep aquifers! See the mountains rise! See the final, desperate almond blooms! See the dying Honey bee going extinct along with a host of species native to the Valley! See the wells of towns and then cities go dry as almond orchards owned by finance, insurance and real estate corporations pump on and on! Experience pesticide/fertilizer laden dust clouds first hand from inside air-conditioned buses! See the Black bears in Bakersfield and other Valley towns and county seats! See the sick and starving migrating water fowl! Read all the lyric wannabe James Agees, see the photos of all the wannabe Walker Evans, as they chronicle the misery, the misery!

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Prize winning academic women: what do they do?

Submitted: Oct 28, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

This is a story about a highly accomplished scientist at California Institute of Technology, Frances Arnold, who in 2013 received a national medal for technology and innovation from President Barack Obama. It is also a story about women in academia, particularly women in the sciences. Last and least, it is a story about DNA engineering, actually the technology to synthesize DNA and "rewrite the code of life."

There is no doubt that gender competition is always a subject worth discussing, whether it is in the restaurant kitchen or the CalTech chemical engineering department.

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Restorative justice in Merced schools?

Submitted: Oct 26, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Fewer suspensions not only benefits students, but translate directly into cost savings for schools because school funding is based on the number of students in attendance. A 40 percent reduction in suspensions would save $120,000 for county school districts. -- Scambray, Merced Sun-Star, Oct. 23, 2014

We are aware that the city is immersed in gang violence and that high schools are deeply affected. We had also heard something recently about a new thing, more a movement than a program, called "restorative justice," but it remained at least for us one of those buzzwords that the smart people throw around -- and requests for definitions are not encouraged.

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Ebola: its political economy and its faith-based treatment in Texas

Submitted: Oct 24, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

 

 

 

 

August 2014

Jacobin

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Atwater al fresco

Submitted: Oct 22, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 "Is the bigot still on the council?" asked a relocated Valley citizen the other night, when we were standing again before the Mystery of Atwater politics.

"Think he's gone by now, but let's check." (1)

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New Valley "dynamic duo" and Old Valley hog ball

Submitted: Oct 20, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Ken Groves, former staffer for former Rep. Gary Condit, once again raises the spector over our part of the San Joaquin Valley of "the dynamic duo." How well we remember the vivid picture drawn by the local political press of a fundraiser held at Fritz Grupe's ranch during the height of the real estate bubble, after which the dynamic duo of that era, former representatives Dennis Cardoza, The Pimlico Kid-Merced, and Richard Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy, split more than $50,000 in bribes (we mean campaign contributions, of course). When Pombo was removed from office by former representative Pete McCloskey and Rep. Jerry McNerney, an actual Democrat from Pleasanton, Cardoza turned south and found his next dancing partner in Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, now redistricted into the Pimplico Kid's old district.

Lest we forget, Cardoza's first legislative sweetheart was former state Sen. Dick Monteith, now retired to an untermed sinecure on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. That version of the dynamic duo led the charge to trample the eastern Merced County environment, state and federal laws and regulations regarding endangered species and clean water, and the laws government public process. 

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LA: it believes in its own tinsel

Submitted: Oct 20, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 LA lives or dies by its own propaganda except for its fine B movies, its superb detective-story writers, and the incomparable Mike Davis (City of Quartz, Planet of Slums, and much more).

But, is it absolutely necessary that the rest of the state swallow LA propaganda, particularly on the question of how much Northern California water it "deserves" as "fair and equitable" so it can continue to grow? For the benefit of whom (1)  at the cost of the destruction to what (2)?

See answers below. -- blj

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Kern County-approved Bakersfield oil-transfer station project sued

Submitted: Oct 20, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Down on the front lines in Kern County, a lawsuit with implications for Merced, which has two main railroads running through it, is being fought over the future transportation of oil, particularly the highly flammable fracked crude from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to refineries in Richmond.

 

 

 

10-9-14

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About questions

Submitted: Oct 19, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 End of December in Leningrad, 1983, minus 15 degrees Celsius (they said it was the coldest winter since '44, but perhaps they always say that about cold winters there), walking east on Nevsky Prospekt in late afternoon haze, a man came toward me. He looked like a Tatar and wore a long, fur-trimmed leather jacket and a sheepskin hat, earflaps akimbo. Reminded me of some Indian trappers getting off a train and strapping on snowshoes in the middle of the forest in western Ontario. For a second, which I have never forgotten, among the Leningraders, dressed like Buffalonians, the Steppes stepped through the veil of this sad, corrupted West dissolving in the lime-sprinkled open graves of its hatreds, greed, still denying the question after all these years. Yet, in some miserably over-crowded apartment out of  Zoshchenko's stories or in some transparent enclosure from Zamyatin's, a few babies will always be born, stubborn little babies that will never be able to forget how to listen before speaking all their lives; stubborn babies that will not speak in order to dominate or submit, but to ask questions.

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Merced City Council Meeting, October 6, 2014

Submitted: Oct 15, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Mayor Stan Thurston opened the meeting by welcoming the audience to the "already August 6th" meeting of the council, but was reminded that it was October.

The pastor giving the Invocation told us that God loves Merced and holds us first in his mind and heart.

So, take that, Fresno!

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Historical perspective on California megadroughts

Submitted: Oct 13, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

How might the historical grasp of the frequency of megadroughts in California influence our decision on the water bond, with its funds for the construction of tunnels beneath the Delta to ship the fresher Sacramento River water to the great north-south canals?

For some, it make make the bond even more imperative than it already is for them. At any cost to the environmental and -- increasingly -- to the society, capitalism in California must continue following the path to the greatest return on investment -- real estate development, either residential or -- also increasingly -- in agribusiness. Another player in the merry dance of natural resource destruction in the state is hydraulic fracturing drilling for oil and gas, which uses enormous quantities of water and pollutes groundwater wherever it is established.

Others, perhaps more thoughtful people, and those who possess some connection with Nature not entirely committed to commercial exploitation and destruction, might take a different view.  Or, simply that that portion of the vast majority of Californians that don't have much of any connection to Nature, exploitive or otherwise, but who are just not subject to being bullied by the fear mongering of the usual financial, insurance and real estate special interests. 

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Hawk downs drone

Submitted: Oct 11, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Hawk 1, Drone 0: Bird of prey attacks quadcopter, takes down from skies (VIDEO)

Published time: October 11, 2014 08:27 
RT/com

 

 

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Tulare citrus industry drinking its workers

Submitted: Oct 10, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

 

 

10-2-24

New York Times

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NIMBY elite demands Merced City Council stop plans for bridge on Parsons Ave.

Submitted: Oct 05, 2014
By: 
b

 

The Right Sort of People live along Parsons Ave. and the mayor knows it. -- eds.

The Merced City Council held a kangaroo court hearing in front of a lynch mob on September 15, starring Mayor Stan Thurston as the mob's lead attorney.  In an unprecedented 15-minute display of  litigation in a legislative body, 

Mayor Stan Thurston gave the opening statement for the plaintiffs, The Right Sort of People Who Live Along Parsons Ave.  The Right Sort are the mayor's clients against The Wrong Sort of People, including but not limited to: City staff; Council members that disagree with the mayor and his clients; Everyone who has supported and/or voted for the Parsons Ave. Project for the last 55 years; and The citizens of East Palo Alto.

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The billionaire and the surfers: a Peninsula tale

Submitted: Oct 03, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Twenty-five years ago a resident of Silicon Valley and friend of a Badlands Journal editor wrote a congressman he knew with a novel proposition. While the new rich of Silicon Valley were busily fencing off many old haunts of Peninsula folk, he proposed that Congress construct a fence around Silicon Valley to keep its denizens in and to protect the rest of the nation from them.

At least someone tried. -- blj

 

10-2-14

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A doctor's view

Submitted: Oct 03, 2014
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

10-2-14

The Guardian

Alternet.net

Has Neoliberalism Turned Us All Into Psychopaths?

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