Entertainment

Selma blowhard; Selma poet

Submitted: Jun 28, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

June 8, 2010
Reflections on Small Town America
by Victor Davis Hanson
Pajamas Media
http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson060810B.html

Kingsburg, California, is a sort of small town that modernism forgot, at least by the measure of the usual landscapes of the Central Valley. Its broad streets, Swedish building façades, good schools, neat homes, and downtown preservation don’t quite reflect the surrounding region’s 18% unemployment, brain drain to the coastal universities, ground-zero illegal immigration, tree-fruit and raisin depression, water cut-offs, general bankruptcy of California, and endemic gangs and their sometimes vicious crimes. I was the town’s grand marshal a few Saturdays ago at the annual Swedish festival and had time to reflect on Kingsburg’s near century-and-a-half of existence — and its present status as a sort of oasis on the 99 freeway.

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Three bars across for Denham?

Submitted: Jun 13, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This article, written two days before the Primary Elections, suggests something that only campaign finance reports not yet published can verify. It might explain how two candidates went into the last weekend of the campaign for the 19th Congressional District essentially even, and one of them won by 10 points the following Tuesday. The thesis is that the candidate to whom one Indian casino donated heavily defeated two candidates who expressed the view that another tribe in the vicinity ought to have a "fair hearing" on its application to build an "off-reservation" casino on Highway 99, a site more advantageous than the casino that funded the winner. This logic in turn rests on at least two other assumptions. First, it assumes the sprawling district, which includes the central Sierra and parts of three Valley counties, is in any sense politically coherent other than its dominant Republican registration. It assumes the Republican electorate of the district can be swayed by the largest quantity of political propaganda. And it assumes that slot-machine players from metropolitan areas in Central California have become major players an election regardless of how far out of their thoughts that campaign was at the time they dropped the money in the casino.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

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The Hun's electric train

Submitted: Jun 13, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Our Hun, a man of action tragically restrained by mere government throughout his political career, has decided to build a "demonstration"

high speed rail link between LA and San Diego.

"...Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't want to wait that long to give the state a taste of the European-style system..."

Baloney. Our Hun just wants to put his hand on the transformer and run a great big electric train somewhere in California before he retires.

Boosters for a high speed railroad from Los Angeles to San Francisco have been hustling federal funds for this train, claiming that it will be the longest, fastest high speed railroad in the nation and will produce hundreds of thousands of new jobs all along its route. We aren't quite clear on how permanent these jobs will be, but if this boon to employment were to arrive, it would no doubt draw even more people into the state and probably go some way to reinflating the speculative real estate bubble. In part the high speed rail would be a great benefit for commuters to the Bay Area from the Valley, which is why it has such ardent supporters among Valley cities with abundant empty homes for sale, cheap, and official unemployment rates around 20 percent.

There is contention over parts of the route and as usual with recent schemes like new University of California campuses and railroad boondoggles, Merced, which already has two major track systems running through it, is at the center of it.

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Buffett Boy

Submitted: Apr 30, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

A retired fellow they call "Badger," after killing a little more city grass with tobbaco juice, recently commented to us that he was "wrapped up in Warren Buffett from head to toe." He lives near the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe tracks. Last year Buffett bought the company. He wears Justin boots. Buffett owns the company. He buys his jeans, shorts and socks at Costco. Buffett owns $300 million in Costco stock. He buys his underwear, sweatshirts and fishing gear from WalMart. Buffett owns $2 billion in WalMart stock.

"Warren even makes my Fruit of the Looms," he said, "and I ain't too sure he don't make the straw hat I just bought for the summer.

"I don't mind the sound of train whistles," Badger said, "and out-of-town people I call love the sound of a train and think it's real authentic or something. The roper boots fit fine and don't cost too much. Costco jeans are a gift to mankind for a penny under $13, and the WalMart stuff is cheap and works pretty well -- which are the criteria for anything I put on my body. And that's not even counting the landlord's mortgage," Badger added.

"But, being such a poster child for ol' Buffett, I expect at least he'd send me a 'Warren' ballcap. Or maybe a belt buckle. I'm a Buffett Boy from head to toe," the old man said, killing a little bit more of that city grass next to the sidewalk. 

 

 

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Dispatch from New Orleans

Submitted: Mar 10, 2010
By: 
Gary McMillen

From time to time we are fortunate enough to receive a dispatch from New Orleans sent by Gary McMillen, an old friend, dynamite writer and photographer -- Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Ghosts, Gumbo and Hurricanes

 

Hot, dark and spicy---look into a bowl of gumbo and see the reflection of the city of New Orleans.  Throw the recipe out the window.  Empty the freezer.  The key to a good pot of gumbo is lots of different ingredients.  Chicken, crabs, okra, cayenne pepper, oysters, smoked sausage and shrimp: stir it all up and serve over rice. 

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The academic inn

Submitted: Feb 02, 2010
By: 
Leopold Kohr

 


When the fascist regimes rose in Europe, scholars could continue their work by taking refuge in countries whose universities remained unaffected by government pressure. They could go to France, Canada, the United States. But since then, a new and infinitely vaster danger has arisen to unfettered academic activities. This is the irresistible pressure emanating from the explosive dimensions of modern mass societies, which can educationally be accommodated only by universities of vast scale. Though these are no less destructive to scholarship than tyrannical governments, one can no longer escape their strangulating effect, as was possible under fascism, merely by taking refuge in other countries. There are none left which do not share the mounting pressure of their increasing multitudes. Geographically, only flight to another planet could solve the problem.

Yet, there is one last way out. This is for scholarship to change its location not geographically but institutionally; to flee not from the earth to another planet but from the university to another establishment, an institution which by nature is immune to persecution from mass pressure because of the intrinsic smallness of its material frame; and from ideological pressure because it exerts a dissolvent effect on all solidified ideas as a result of the fragmentising radiation to which it exposes everything. This institution - the last refuge of the humanities - is the inn.

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A raptor rescue

Submitted: Jan 23, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

1-15-10
Stockton Record
Look out below...Alex Breitler
http://blogs.esanjoaquin.com/san-joaquin-river-delta/2010/01/14/look-out-below/
Golfer Kyle Bowers of Stockton got a birdie Thursday. But not the kind he wanted.
Bowers had just arrived at the sixth hole of The Reserve at Spanos Park early Thursday afternoon when he ducked into the bathroom, a Porta Potty-like facility with a tank.
He lifted the toilet seat and was about to do his guy thing when he saw a face staring back at him.
The ghost-like face of a terrified barn owl.
“Oh my gosh… what is that?” he thought.
It was pretty dark in there, but Bowers could see the owl bobbing its head around. He quickly guessed that the owl had gone down an unscreened vent from the roof to the tank, and couldn’t find its way back out.
For some reason, nature was no longer calling. So Bowers started calling for help.
Just reach in there and grab the bird from the back, someone told him. No way, he said, fearing the owl would whip its head around and gash his hands with its beak.
He told the cart lady who sells drinks. She didn’t know what to do. The front desk wasn’t much more help.
“I’ll be honest, the golf course didn’t want to do anything,” Bowers said.

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The Kid lies as usual

Submitted: Dec 01, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Anyone who does not already know that Rep. Dennis Cardoza, the Pimlico Kid - Merced, is a lying "sack of offal" (in the felicitous phrase of Fitzgerald of the Stockton Record) should not be trusted around public funds, should not be permitted to vote on any issue or be left alone with children. We all know that. But in the following little love note to Westlands and Metropolitan of Southern California, the Kid surrenders his heart and soul -- hook, line, bottle and bookie -- to the oligarchy of water, land, finance and insurance. Nobody who can get up in the morning, tie his or her shoelaces and go to work or go look for work believes anything the Kid says anymore. We all know he's just doing his daily assignment of kissing gold-plated butt in the middle of a regional economic depression. He's just doing his job.

We hope our readers enjoyed their holidays.

Badlands Journal editorial board

12-1-09
Congressman Dennis Cardoza
http://co113w.col113.mail.live.com/default.aspx?n=1430739263
Dear Friend:

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Nunes, the tragic hero

Submitted: Jul 19, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

You have to hand it to Rep. Devin Nunes, Tragic Hero-Visalia, he’s a performer. In fact, you have to stand in line to hand it to him, behind national PACs, agribusiness and oil and gas to hand it to him. He’s raised nearly a million dollars for his campaign next year and if some strong Democrat contender lurks in Nunes’ district, that contender lurks below the surface so far.

 

The Costoza, representatives Jim Costa, D-Fresno and Dennis Cardoza, Fairy Shrimper- Annapolis/Merced, are not in Nunes’ league. The political theater-going public, knowing this, has dispensed a mere $350,000 and change to each of these chorus boys. . The fourth member of the Valley congressional delegation, Jerry McNerney, Goose Egg-Pleasanton, who represents the actual Delta, tries to keep the Altamont between him and the Valley as much as possible. Closer to Mother Nancy, McNerney gets nearly half a million.

 

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California water: some recent theological texts

Submitted: Jul 12, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Every culture has its sacred texts. Chinese, the Sumerians, Indians, Persians, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, Arabs -- and on and on. You name the culture and we'll name the sacred text -- from the I Ching to the Koran and beyond. It is the world's greatest literature,

the true treasury of the deepest human values and highest human visions.

 

In California, we have the water news. Because we are so young, dynamic and full of the belief that economic growth equals population growth, the notion that natural resources, especially water, may have limits, has created a theological crisis here in California.

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