March 2008

When carpenters can no longer afford to buy the houses they built

A lesson certain to be unlearned in California: When finance, insurance, real estate, large landowners and politicians create a housing bubble like the one we have been through, the only form of economic growth permitted to survive is construction. Thefore, when the bubble bursts, so may the economy itself. The Invisible Middle Finger of the Market has flipped off California.

Concerning UC/Lawrence Livermore National Lab bombs over Tracy

Organizing / Planning Meeting in Tracy on MARCH 6

Public Hearing in Tracy on MARCH 18


Please circulate widely. Please come. It's crucially important.

An important invitation for you:


Help support family farmers who protect endangered species habitat

From The Endangered Species Coalition:

You can help family farmers protect endangered plants and animals on their land. Please call your Member of Congress and ask them to support the Endangered Species Recovery Act and incentives for landowners to save endangered species.

Help support family farmers who protect endangered species habitat.

Loose Cheeks, March 10, 2008

Loose Cheeks

Loose Cheeks: Hot Tips
By Lucas Smithereen
Loose Cheeks Senior Editor

Got a hot tip for Loose Cheeks? Call the Loose Cheeks hot-tip line: (000) CHE-EEKS. We’ll get back to you whenever.

A member of the public recently directed the attention of Loose Cheeks’ intrepid reporter A.J. Gangle to the wild, wacky world of agbiz, beginning with the Merced County Farm Bureau's February 2008 newsletter, the New York Times and the Environmental Working Group's Farm Subsidy Database for a few enlightening items.

Qualified praise for Cardoza’s move to Washington

To get the qualifications out of the way, we don’t like many of the political positions taken by Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-Merced. His record on environmental law has been a disgusting sellout to finance, insurance and real estate special interests in his district and his stint as the rear end of the Pomboza (head having been Rep. Richard Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy) was disgraceful. Nor do we imagine those positions are likely to change.

What's happening here?

In his history of the Great Crash, economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted, “Congress was concerned that commercial banks in general and member banks of the Federal Reserve System in particular had both aggravated and been damaged by stock market decline partly because of their direct and indirect involvement in the trading and ownership of speculative securities.

Harbingers of Spring 2008?

Harbingers of spring include the arrival of the swallows and the departure of the Sandhill cranes. The article below, about idle railcars, forgot to mention another harbinger of this spring viewed Friday while waiting for a frieght train to pass through town: a man, riding a flatcar between rolls of steel.

Bill Hatch


California, particularly the San Joaquin Valley, staked its whole future on the real estate speculation. And things are now coming apart in a big way.