Public Works

Tem vergonha

Submitted: Apr 08, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Evidently, in addition to every other absurd, tasteless outrage against political life here in the Valley, now we have a hissy fit between two third-generation Portuguese immigrant princes, calling each other names. Devin Nunes, a Republican from the largest dairy county in the nation, learned a six-syllable word the other day and started calling Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat who represents the second-largest dairy county in the nation, a "to-tal-i-tar-i-an." Cardoza took Nunes to the cowshed, replying, "Ele no tem vergonha," ("He has no shame") although between the two, Nunes would know a lot more about the inside of a cowshed than Cardoza ever did. Nunes serves on the House Ways and Means Committee; Cardoza serves on the House Rules Committee. Both have teamed up to help Westlands Water District and the Friant Water Users Authority to circumvent any ways, means or rules standing between them and water from the San Joaquin Delta and the San Joaquin River. They are both in their fourth terms.

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Big slobber sound

Submitted: Apr 04, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Big Mama McClatchy is lecturing us on doing our due diligence as citizens to prepare to vote in the June primary. Mama warns us against all the campaign flak that will be coming at us and urges us to consider carefully the serious issues facing us and to be sure to learn what each candidate's position is on these vital questions of the day.

Since we can't trust anything the candidates will be telling us on TV, in mailers, newspaper ads and on billboards, let alone in person, our minds automatically turn to Big Mama's stable of sage political analysts for the truth about what the candidates stand for.

However, we are frustrated now and, Badlands Journal suspects we will remain frustrated with Big Mama's coverage of the candidates in the June primary elections, because all it amounts to is a sports report on the candidates' fund-raising abilities. It's like batting averages in the Cactus League. It is a ridiculous substitute for political journalism. 

Yo, Big Mama, before you start lecturing voters on learning about the issues and how the candidates stand on them, take your own advice -- describe the issues and report how the candidates stand on them. At least quit drooling over all those big campaign media budgets. All we hear right now is a big slobber sound.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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Quick quiz for the county of tall cotton and thick prison guards

Submitted: Mar 29, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Background: Tulare Lake is an enormous lake dammed for the past 10-15,000 years by two large “alluvial fans” jutting out into the San Joaquin Valley (Figure 1). Before river diversion associated with modern irrigation practices, Tulare Lake was one of the largest freshwater lakes in North America. Currently it is mostly irrigated farmland.--Ancient Tulare Lake: Investigating Changes over the Past 15,000 Years
Adapted from CSUB Geology Department Lab developed by Dr. Rob Negrini
http://www.csub.edu/geology/CSTA_Paleoclimate%20Lab.Teacher.pdf

Dr. Negrini of CSU Bakersfield developed these course materials for middle and high school students. Presumably, many graduates of Bakersfield area secondary schools know that once, almost within living memory, most of Kings County was covered by a gigantic fresh-water lake, Tulare Lake. The present lack of subsidized irrigation water for subsidized cotton in Kings County would seem to be a problem man made in the 20th century.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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UC Merced and the Merced Sun-Star: Historical amnesia on speed

Submitted: Mar 20, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Some rightwing Anglos out at UC Merced recently posted a racially offensive video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDWAJYFi3UA). It's a cartoon featuring a semi-bald Anglo with a snotty British accent interrogating a female Chicano student, with no accent, involved in trying to start a Chicano Studies Program at the limping U. The Brit gets the best of the staged argument (sic). The Chicano students are stereotyped as entitled, racists themselves, who want their own program now just because they want it, and as incapable of arguing why. There was nothing "intelligent," "spirited" or "responsible" about the video dialogue between the two cartoon characters, despite what is said by an unnamed "university representative."

Since a Chicano Studies program is, by definition, about people of Mexican descent who are American citizens, the question why the Chicana doesn't wish to "identify as an American citizen" is purely bogus, displaying the classic rightwing combination of ignorance and racial hatred. Chicano means Mexican-American, and there is quite a history behind the origin of the word. But that history would be beyond the Little White Men on Campus and it gives UC Merced administrators and Chicano elders of influence on the campus a shuddering case of the vapors -- a disease that turns guts to mush.

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The elegant simile

Submitted: Mar 15, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Similization


Like the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, our Valley economy is an especially fragile ecosystem and investment capital has long been our most endangered species. Although we have aspired to economic diversity, the truth is that most of our Valley's capital is still quietly tucked away in farms, orchards, F-150's and processing plants.
The real value of that capital is vaporizing with every drop of water that doesn't reach our land and every day that passes without a predictable picture of what those flows will look like in the future. (Fresno Bee, 3-14-10)

The only problem with this elegant simile, likening the processes of capital investment to Nature, is that it is a lie, in a long line of lies about the "natural" inevitability of capitalism that go back to the dim beginnings of the Industrial Revolution to justify the enormous cruelty to man and the destruction of Nature "self-regulating, free markets have always entailed.

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Felix Smith's letter to Sen. Feinstein

Submitted: Feb 20, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Felix Smith, retired US Fish & Wildlife biologist, discovered the deformed and death wildlife at Kesterson Wildlife Refuge in western Merced County that resulted in cessation of west-side drainage of selenium-laced agricultural waste water to that site. Smith is extremely well qualified to address the senator on issues of political interference with embattled federal scientists defending the public trust and environmental law and regulation. He's seen it all.

Badlands Journal editorial board

February 19, 2010

Honorable Dianne Feinstein – Senator

331 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

Dear Senator Feinstein: 

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Facts beneath our feet

Submitted: Feb 04, 2010
By: 
Bill Hatch

Last Sunday, I listened to a roundtable of learned talking heads on Meet the Press instantly agree with the assertion one of them made that of course the federal government could not actually create jobs.

Later that afternoon, I went out for a walk in Merced. It is difficult to walk anywhere in my neighborhood without seeing the familiar stamp in the sidewalk that reads either "WPA 1940" or "WPA 1941."

WPA stands for Works Progress Administration, one of the keystones of the New Deal. During the Great Depression the federal government created a great number of jobs. Chances are that if you are of a certain age, you will remember your father talking about his Civilian Conservation Corps or WPA job or work in other government programs. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, from all walks of life, were in fact employed by the federalgovernment to do work they already knew how to do but for which money was lacking due to the collapse of credit.

The Central Valley Soldier Settlement Act gave preferred rights to qualified veterans of WWII to purchase farm land irrigated by the Central Valley Project, funded by the federal government, along with low-interest loans from the government and banks That created much work for many people for years. Today, military expenditure in the US is more than the rest of the world combined. The resource wars are employing many people in the most resource-wasting activity known to man: war. 

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Agribusiness Giant Westlands Moves to Kill Salmon...Dan Bacher

Submitted: Feb 02, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
Indybay
Agribusiness Giant Westlands Moves to Kill Salmon...Dan Bacher...2-1-10  
Westlands Water District, the "Darth Vader of California water politics, is requesting a federal judge to order lifting restrictions on the operation of huge delta water pumps and canals from February through May, according to a news release from the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations and Water4Fish.
The move takes place as Westlands Water District, southern Calfornia water agencies, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature are pushing for the construction of a peripheral canal and new dams to export more water from the California Delta. If the peripheral canal is built, it is likely to result in pushing Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish into the abyss of extinction.
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/02/01/18636759.php
PRESS RELEASE
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations
Water4Fish

For Immediate Release: February 1, 2010
Contact:
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Checkmate

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

 

1-08-10
Asia Times 

 Russia, China, Iran redraw energy map...M K Bhadrakumar
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/LA08Ag01.html
The inauguration of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline on Wednesday connecting Iran's northern Caspian region with Turkmenistan's vast gas field may go unnoticed amid the Western media cacophony that it is "apocalypse now" for the Islamic regime in Tehran.
The event sends strong messages for regional security. Within the space of three weeks, Turkmenistan has committed its entire gas exports to China, Russia and Iran. It has no urgent need of the pipelines that the United States and the European Union have been advancing. Are we hearing the faint notes of a Russia-China-Iran symphony?

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We hear a frantic clucking sound

Submitted: Jan 01, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The idea of former Rep. Richard Pombo representing a district that includes Yosemite and Stanislaus national forests and the San Joaquin River from its headwaters to the Mendota Pool on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley revivifies the ancient political cliche about foxes in henhouses. Pombo, former chairman of what was known during the "Gingrich Revolution" in Congress as the House Resources Committee (its former name, Natural Resources Committee restored after Pombo and the Republican majority were defeated in 2006), operating out of his family's Pombo Real Estate Farms in Tracy, successfully killed funding year after year for the CalFed process to try to fix the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta; supported three bills to gut the Endangered Species Act; tried to put a new freeway to the Bay Area through his family's land; and was defeated in his former seat because constituents were sick of his corrupt involvement with Jack Abramoff and Indian casinos...and that's just for starters.

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