University of California

"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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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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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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Mistakes were made

Submitted: Apr 24, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It almost seems as if in the wake of 9/11 and the creation of the Homeland Security Administration, the fear of dam sabotage has been an excuse for not doing maintenance and repair of dams and the complete failure to plan for the effects of global warming on the Sierra Nevada snowpack. And it seems that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which commissions the hydro-electric plants on the Sierra-river dams,  in the midst of its exquisitely complex scientific and bureaucratic study schedule and meetings, all directed by impeccably value-free facilitators, the sort of catastrophe that happened at Oroville and threatens worse, was not contemplated, at least sufficiently. -- blj

 

 

 

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Eine kleine Caenmusik

Submitted: Apr 24, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Willie Brown, former California state Assembly speaker (longest serving), former mayor of San Francisco and general bon vivant, used to have lunch on Fridays in the City at a restaurant called Le Central, with several friends, including Herb Caen, legendary Chronicle columnist.

It looks like Willie picked up a few literary pointers over the cassoulet. -- wmh

 

 

 

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Towards a quieter dine-and-dope experience in central Merced

Submitted: Mar 27, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Merced City Council members Jill McLeod and Michael Belluomini advocated for quieter trains at last week's council meeting. They targeted the BNSF tracks in the northern part of central Merced because Amtrak adds more trains to the already busy tracks. But when Ms. McLeod, known in some central Merced circles as "Strawberry Jujube," repeatedly said that the area has an "industrial" feeling, we wondered how long before the council would mandate the Strawberry Jujube Aesthetic for our neighborhoods. Would we all be required by ordinance to die our hair orange and wear a pigtail to escape the onus of looking "industrial," the way many working people employed by various industries do look.

We don't think McLeod and Belluomini are going after the worst aspect of the trains. The dirt, the dust, and the grime that both BNSF and Union Pacific trains kick up pose worse problems for health and housecleaning than their noise. And the hazardous materials constantly traveling through town on frieght trains pose potentially catastrophic dangers to public health.

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"Do not take your CDBGs from our Valley..."

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

 We are grateful to Congressman Jim Costa, 16th Congressional District of California, for this excellent rundown on the consequences of the Plutocrat's First Budget on the Valley, its poor people, small businesses, and even its wealthy farmers. -- blj

 

March 17, 2017

US Congressman Jim Costa

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Safe drinking water for children in Planada and Le Grand!

Submitted: Mar 16, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It's a sign of our fragmented times that children in these rural schools should need special clean water dispensers at the same time as the same communities plan for more growth. If you don't have enough clean water for the children of your community, how can you in good conscience plan for more growth? Planners, of course, will argue how much worse it would all be if the new growth weren't planned because planners are pawns in the real great game of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.1. 2 .3.

Conscience doesn't have a thing to do with it. It is about bureaucratic and corporate schedules fermenting away in their own separate silos. The people involved are just doing their jobs to support their families.

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Under normal circumstance, the liar is defeated...

Submitted: Mar 13, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Under normal circumstances the liar is defeated by reality, for which there is no substitute; no matter how large the issue of falsehood that an experienced liar has to offer, it will never be large enough, even if he enlists the help of computers, to cover the immensity of factuality. The liar, who may get away with any number of single falsehoods, finds it impossible to get away with lying on principle,This is one of the lessons that could be learned from the totalitarian experiments and the totalitarian rulers' frightening confidence in the power of lying -- in their ability, for instance, to rewrite history again and again to adapt the past to the "political line" of the present moment or to eliminate data that did not fit their ideology. Thus, in a socialist economy, they would deny that unemployment existed, the unemployed person simply becoming a nonperson...Hannah Arendt, "Lying in Politics," in Crises of the Republic, 1969; p. 7.

Nonpersons like the majority of voters who voted against Trump in the presidential election? Or the 14 million fewer with medical insurance by 2018, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office? Or the press? Undocumented immigrants?-- blj


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Free market liberalism and California water, fresh and salt

Submitted: Feb 27, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 We have prefaced Dan Bacher's latest, excellent article on the San Joaquin Delta water war with this piece on neoliberalism by noted environmentalist George Monbiot because Bacher uses the term to describe the political culture of the interests who will destroy the Delta if not successfully opposed. Monbiot defines this powerful, nearly anonymous creed well and he helps us see familiar faces in a different light and understand the motives and deception more clearly.

 Bacher adds a dimension by linking the Delta "plan" with the off-shore "marine protection areas" that cause even more harm to the coastal fishing economy yet seems to protect and encourage off-shore drilling and fracking.

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