May, 2017

A stronger California Public Records Act proposed

Submitted: May 25, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

More importantly, the bill would allow judges to fine public agencies $1,000 to $5,000 for blatantly violating the act, such as unreasonably withholding or delaying the release of records that clearly are public. Currently, there is no penalty. 


Like the California Brown Act, which governs public meetings, local governments like Merced County are constantly trying to encroach on the clear meaning of the public's right to know about the public's business, and so must be periodically strengthened. This can take the form of expensive losses in court like Merced County's absurd temper tantrum over violations of the Brown Act that resulted in two court decisions against it. Or, it can take the form proposed in AB 1479, adding  designated staff person to handle all PRA requests thoroughly and promtly or face a fine (if the public or newspaper is willing to take the government or agency to court).

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The rise of bee theft

Submitted: May 19, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Now bee colony collapse disorder is having an impact on the police logs of the region. How soon can it be until it becomes a TV series? What we will probably not do in time is address the combination of environmental factors agribusiness, particularly almond production in the San Joaquin Valley, has inflicted on bees to produce the crisis. 

-- blj

 

5-17-17

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Javier Valdez Cardenas, Presente!

Submitted: May 18, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

"The Sinaloa cartel has demonstrated in many instances that it can adapt. I think it's in a process of redefinition toward marijuana," says Javier Valdez, a respected journalist and author who writes books on the narcoculture in Sinaloa.

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Are the gang busters winning in Merced?

Submitted: May 17, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Depending on where you live in Merced County, you hear more or less gunfire. In some areas you hear a lot of it; in others maybe very little. But everyone knows it is out there and we appreciate law enforcement's efforts to reduce violence in the county. Chances are the latest crime-busting technique of listening in on kids' social media will not "put an end to this crisis," as state Assemblyman Adam Gray claims, but it might help prevent some crime.

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Kleptocrats don't need to share an alphabet

Submitted: May 12, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 12-19-16

The American Interest

Volume 12, Number 4

RUSSIA & THE WEST

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"God didn't design those slabs ..."

Submitted: May 12, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

In an interview Wednesday, Bea criticized the state report for its failure to identify the human factors that were at the root of the design and maintenance errors.

 

“They didn’t mention people,” Bea said. “Root causes involve people. God didn’t design those slabs.

 

5-10-17

Los Angeles Times

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"It's not uncommon ..."

Submitted: May 11, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “They keep telling everybody that it is state of the art, that leaks won’t happen, that nothing can go wrong,” said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has beenfighting theh project for years. “It’s always been false. They haven’t even turned the thing on and it’s shown to be false.” -- Sam Levin, Guardian, May 11, 2017

  

 

5-11-17

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News from the blood-stained plinth

Submitted: May 10, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The Airwars monitoring group has compiled reports of 1,280 to 1,744 civilians killed by at least 2,237 bombs and missiles that rained down from U.S. and allied warplanes in April (1,609 on Iraq and 628 on Syria). The heaviest casualties were in and around Old Mosul and West Mosul, where 784 to 1,074 civilians were reported killed, but the area around Tabqa in Syria also suffered heavy civilian casualties. -- Nicolas J.S.

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The political economy of Delta-fish extinction, Part II

Submitted: May 08, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 What is lacking and fatal to endangered species in this kind of academic scientific approach to the problem of extinction is the full articulation of the political problem that can be faced and fought. Instead of this terribly learned hand-wringing, they should be urging political action against the pumps, against the twin tunnel project, and against the Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Campaign against members of Congress in the pockets of the hydraulic brotherhood. Make Jerry Brown pay dearly for his environmentally ruinous tunnels. At least make the Brown administration explain clearly what real public benefit they would be? The political messaging for the project has been so compelling that it has driven the learned men below into a dark bar for a long night. -- blj

 

 

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Plutocracy ascendent!

Submitted: May 06, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 We think George Will misunderstands Trump and, probably, the Americans who elected him. Writing that Trump is ignorant of American history is a waste of ink. He's no more ignorant than his constituents. But he and his supporters deny something as adamantly as Will denies their moral right to hold power (or is it merely their bad grammar?). He and they deny the importance of George F. Will's pompous, imprecise rhetoric and his fantastic memory of American history and baseball because there is nothing in Will's vocabulary to what Trump knows -- how to win a presidential election against a highly favored opponent. 

In the lead paragraph, for example, it's clear that Will is so in love with the elegant latinate couple, "disinclination" and "disability," that he leaves unclear whether he means Trump's "not a mere disinclination but a disability" or the Americans'. Will's "This" mocks his rhetorical urgency "for a Americans to think and speak clearly ..." From there on it gets worse, with the exception of felicitous phrases like "Trump's verbal fender benders ..." and ends with dire prognostications.

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Drinking water and class on the Delta

Submitted: May 02, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Restore the Delta, a community advocacy group that has fought the state water plan, estimated that there are around 40,000 people in the Delta that could be classified as environmental justice communities. Environmental justice laws require the equal treatment of all people with respect to environmental issues, such as access to clean water.

Specifically, the cities of Antioch and Stockton have larger environmental justice populations that would experience significant difficulty were water pollution levels or water rates to increase.

 

 

 

 

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The political economy of Delta-fish extinctions

Submitted: May 01, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 For species like delta smelt and winter-run Chinook salmon, there will be considerable pressure to declare them extinct because maintaining even small populations requires releases of water from dams...But to avoid spending scarce conservation dollars on species that have already gone extinct, we need a policy in place that provides a pathway for declaring a species officially extinct. We address this in part II of our blog.

 So, we maintain both the state and federal endangered species acts while the species go extinct in publicly managed rivers, shaped by publicly funded levees and dams, and distributed by publicly funded canals, as a matter of "public policy"?

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