August, 2015

Ring around the nuts, the fruit and the tall, tall cotton

Submitted: Aug 25, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It is too easy to imagine that section of the Eighth Ring of Hell reserved for the lawyers representing California irrigation districts. The lawyers wander across the arid dunes constantly treading on their long tongues, cracked and bleeding. Yet agribusiness mouthpieces still mutter their favorite phrase: "achieving a reasonable balance."

Vultures from a large flock eternally wheeling overhead swoop down and rip the tongues from the lawyers' mouths. The rhetoric is cut short for awhile but only as long as it takes new tongues, like lizards' tails, to regrow.

Round and round it goes, coming around and going around.

-blj

 

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Are local bigshots hiding things again?

Submitted: Aug 23, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 There are a couple of simple quetions omitted from this story that might have made the resident of Merced interested or even concerned about the future of the proposed high speed railroad station that will gut the downtown area a little better informed.

1. Doesn't the reason for the ad hoc committee have less to do with "expertise," which was alleged subject of the discussion at the last Merced City Council meeting,. than with its lack of transparency?  So they spend several hundred thousand of some other governmental agency's money on consultants. So what? For years CH2MHill made more than a million dollars recycling essentially the same report of the state of our sewer system, mired in water-quality board cease and desist orders, for years. Did it stop the city from approving construction projects, even if they never got built?

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American taxpayers will bail out California agribusiness for how much?

Submitted: Aug 21, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The press is beginning to toss around figures of the billions lost by California agribusiness due to the drought. The current figure is $1.84 billion to agriculture alone, total costs around $2.74 billion.

Estimated losses to migrant labor are harder to find because los trabajadores internacionales migrate elsewhere in times of drought. Their "anecdotal information" is almost always more accurate than the professors, but they don't care about gross figures. If at all possible they will avoid becoming part of " the ripple effects to the entire economy." They aren't as tied to California real estate as a UC professor is, probably because they can't access UC's great low interest loan programs for professors and administrators.

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Some questions about land subsidence

Submitted: Aug 19, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Some questions from the center of the drought, where the towns are brown and orchards, vineyards and rowcrops are green:

 

How many people are really being economically injured by this drought?

How will Farm Bill crop insurance programs and other government subsidies and disaster payments go to ease the pain?

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Overview of fire in California

Submitted: Aug 19, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

California firefighters say that they have never seen the forest so dry. "Explosive," is a word they use. And the worst part of the fire season hasn't yet begun.

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The balm of reason may sooth the chicken flock

Submitted: Aug 14, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Three perennial sources of American anxiety, The People's Republic of China, communism and money, have recently coalesced into an imaginary 10-foot, rabid fox menacing our flock.

Pepe Escobar offers soothing reason to dissolve the specter. He actually lives in Hong Kong and has been covering the politics and economy of the PRC for a number of years.-- blj

 

 

 

 

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Book of Kells is not Burger King

Submitted: Aug 12, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Transnational corporate management believes its own propaganda: that it rules the world. Since the quarterly bottom line is its only moral guide, and the pay for top management positions is soooooooooooooo good, Burger King executives can be excused for forgetting that there were life forms before Burger King and claims to glory somewhat different if not superior to the American fast food hamburger. Nevertheless, leave it to an island where the economy is not flourishing as well as it does in Burger King corporate offices to remind the latter that the history of the human spirit did not begin with Insta-Burger King in Jacksonville FL in Nineteen and Fifty-Three. -- blj

 

 

 

 

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Israel will teach us how to manage water

Submitted: Aug 11, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It was precisely because of this Israeli innovation that the governor, Jerry Brown, welcomed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to California in March 2014. During a ceremony in Silicon Valley, the two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to foster cooperation and develop research with an emphasis on water conservation and management.

The memorandum calls on California and Israeli businesses, universities and laboratories to join together to find solutions to water scarcity. “Israel has demonstrated how efficient a country can be, and here is a great opportunity for collaboration,” Brown said.-- Madison Margolin, The Forward, July 2015

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The other climate in the Valley

Submitted: Aug 07, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 In the San Joaquin Valley of California, two climates intersect The first is a prolonged, serious drought. The other, less visible, is the new financial climate of RISK FREE AGRIBUSINESS, created by special interests in finance, insurance and real estate, ironically called FIRE. The most obvious manifestation of the intersection of these two climates is the manic drilling of ever deeper wells and the construction on on-site reservoirs by agribusiness firms while, simultaneously, the state provides emergency relief to rural residents whose wells have been sucked dry to irrigate orchards, vineyards and cotton.

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Almond industry looking for a new market?

Submitted: Aug 05, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “This research doesn’t respond directly to concerns about water consumption, but it does show that almond production in California has a light carbon footprint,” saidReid Lifset, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Industrial Ecology,“Almond orchards can be a source of renewable energy and, as perennial crops, they store carbon during their life cycle — significantly offsetting carbon emissions in other stages of almond production.” -- Kevin Dennehy, Yale News, Aug. 4. 2015

 

This research was supported by a grant from the Almond Board of California and a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. -- ucdavis.edu.

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The noise of kah-ching deafens the hacks to the sounds of the street

Submitted: Aug 03, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 The sound of its own failure has not yet drowned out the Plutocrats' Happy Noise: KAH-CHING! -- blj

 

 

The latest Gallop Poll on voter preference, from the second week of July, 2015, is 29% Republican, 42% Independent, and 28% Democrat.  http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx

 

 

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It takes a lot of water to store a lot of data

Submitted: Aug 01, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

“People are still choosing to go with designs that are more water-intensive because of the cost of construction,” he says. -- Sarah Shemkus, The Guardian, July 20, 2015 

 

Because, of course, these "people" and government regulators have less social conscience than a cockroach. How much Delta water via the San Luis Reservoir and Santa Clara Water District goes to cool data in Silicon Valley? The geniuses behind deregulation of California electricity are at it again, this time with water. 

-- blj

7-20-15

The Guardian

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