Environment

Climate in the Age of Resentment

Submitted: Jun 04, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It is not easy to put President Trump's exit from the Paris Climate Accord in perspective, perhaps because it is the new perspective, the world as it now is; and that is hard to accept. The general contour of this new perspective is that while large majorities of the public support environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water and Air acts even though they do impose limits on the capitalist economic system, today special interests have such a strong grip on at least two of the three branches of government (the judicial branch is still in question) that the United States government will no longer lead or follow intelligent environmental policies unless the sane majority regains control of -- for a start -- both political parties.

Our bar for sanity is low: stay on your medication and avoid overindulging your resentments.

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Historical reasoning in the face of menacing ignorance

Submitted: May 29, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Despite opinion to the contrary, journalists can report and very well on issues of values, ethics, morality, religion and history. Not, perhaps, right out of journalism school, but in time if they continue to look, report, read, converse, and see things first hand. Here is a pair of articles by Robert Fisk of The Independent (UK) that give us a perspective on Trump's first tour that -- first and foremost -- inspires us to continue questioning this current moment. We need to ask what is the blend of anger and fear inside that makes us recoil from the Trump regime. Is it possible anymore, after decades of total immersion in an ideology of hedonism focused on our individual "passions" and desires, to recover our own histories and the larger histories that make up the nation, so that we might find some way out of this?

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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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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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"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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