July 2012

So, how’s your philosophy?

We are all dimly aware, even out of the political campaign war zone here in California, that something extraordinary is taking place as the result of the Citizens United decision by the US Supreme Court, and how it recently upheld itself in its decision by striking down a century-old Montana law barring corporate contributions to political campaigns.

A short note on God, Nature and man in Spinoza's Ethics

Immediately on finishing, in fact while still reading this appendix to the first part of Baruch Spinoza’s Ethics, we couldn’t help thinking of the many fine religious people, especially political leaders and decision-makers, who ‘paved paradise and put up a parking lot,’ often  in the name of the same god who had so guided man’s wisdom that he had created the greatest tool in history: an eternally rising real estate market.

On the fruit flies dying locally for pure research

The posting of this 1933 essay by Peter Wessel Zapffe is dedicated to the idiot at UC Merced performing serial neurosurgery on cadaveres Drosophilarum as lovingly extolled in the McClatchy Chain local outlet, the Sun-Star: "Do flies hold clues to alcoholism; US Merced researchers are seeking answers" http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/06/23/2394844/uc-merced-researchers-seek-answers.html

The insult added to the injury

The injury is economic depression, mislabeled constantly as "recession." But "constantly" is the problem because it has gone on too long and every prediction for turnaround has proved false. The doom sayers, the negative thinkers, the skeptics and the doubters have all been correct. So much for the injury.

Water Wealth Contentment Health

Our colleague, Steve Burke, founder of Protect our Water (POW), Vance Kennedy and Al Brizard -- two other veteran public activists in Stanislaus County -- joined forces to produce a very convincing argument against Modesto Irrigation District's proposed water transfer to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. They write from the authoritative view that MID is a local public utility created by the Wright Act of 1887, written by C.C. Wright, state assemblyman from Modesto at the time.

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you." -- Satchel Paige

The only time I ever saw the great black pitcher, Satchel Paige, was when he pitched an exhibition game at the former Modesto Reds ballpark on the banks of the Tuolumne River in what is now called West Modesto. He was playing for a black traveling team, I forget the name, against a team of bearded white men. It was in the mid-Fifties, less than a decade after Branch Rickey had integrated major league baseball by hiring Jackie Robinson to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

ILWU still knows how to fight

 

Badlands Journal has followed the Longview longshoremen's strike because Longview, OR, 45 miles from the Pacific port of Portland, resembles Stockton, CA, also an ILWU port on a river and 75 miles from the Golden Gate. We also follow the ILWU in general because the union has had a huge influence on political, economic and cultural life in Northern California and is one of the leaders of the Occupy Movement today.