August 2013

We just won't think about ecological collapse, will we

The primary cause of frog and toad population decline seems to be the spread of the chytrid fungus — probably spread by introduction of non-native African clawed frogs.
Introduction of non-native trout to lakes within the habitat range of these threatened species may be the second most important factor. Recreational activities seem to have far less impact on the success of frog and toad populations, yet seem to be under consideration for limitation according to the information in the Federal Register. – Merced Sun-Star, Aug. 1, 2013

The compassion of Westlands

The Endangered Species Act Protections briefly took center stage at the Delta Water Summit at California State University, Fresno. Westlands Water District manager Tom Birmingham said the law is being applied without regard to people's lives — especially farmworkers.
"You wind up putting people in a food line to protect a fish no bigger than my little finger," Birmingham said. – Mark Grossi, Fresno Bee, August 5, 2013

Kill 'em all and pave it over!

 About 15 years ago in Merced, when our leaders were on fire with lust for the UC campus, the Fish & Wildlife Service had declared a critical habitat designation for the endangered species inhabiting vernal pools. Our leaders were outraged, organized rallies, vilified anyone in the region suspected of harboring an environmental thought. Politicians, at the behest of the finance, insurance and real estate special interests, pressured Service staff.

Banks or bikinis

 Wall Street, assailed by terror that its big balloon will be popped when the Fed quits printing money to keep inflating it, lost some hot air this week. Some of the heated blast was expended on the mighty little city of Richmond CA, which some of the lords of finance, insurance and real estate sued for daring to use eminent domain as a way to save people from foreclosure in homes whose mortgages are underwater.

Sen, Wyden ex-staffer's critique of administration secrecy on NSA

 We saw the author of the article below interviewed Monday on Democracy Now! and were deeply impressed by her gravity, intelligence background and the seriousness of what she had to say about the inadequacy of the administration’s response to Edward Snowden’s challenge. We also wished to introduce readers who may not know about it to, a well written website addressing very serious communication and surveillance issues in the US and beyond – blj

Well ... it's cryin' time again

This lengthy article by environmental journalist Jeremy Miller about the domination of Kern County land and water by oil companies is a masterpiece of focus on capitalism’s extraction and destruction of the natural resources in the south San Joaquin Valley.
The only thing “The Colonization of Kern County” lacks is much sense of who the “colonized” are. We thought we’d remedy that by inserting links to some music popular in the region to give the reader an idea.
Badlands Journal editorial board

The ruin of higher education

We are aware that public and private universities in America are constantly raising administrative salaries, are constantly raising student tuitions, and are constantly erecting grand new edifices to their own glory. We are also aware, in the constant financial crisis of the nation, that student-loan debt is a serious problem, a predatory lending practice promoted by governments on behalf of private bankers.
Matt Taibbi put these dismal themes of "the higher learning" together in his recent Rolling Stone ariticle below. -- blj







Baloney de USDA

You knew that the agency that approves genetically modified organisms ("francenfoods" to people with any wit) and dispenses farm subsidies that aren't called farm subsidies would lie about the number of jobs its Rural Development loan program produces. The incomparable Gretchen Morgenson (Reckless Endangerment: How outsized ambition, greed and corruption led to economic Armageddon) outlines discrepancies between USDA "public information" and the facts.--blj
New York Times

"...that this one will run and run."

"... The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate. But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together. We'll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago. -- President Barak Obama, August 28, 2013, speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Another totally suppressed, forgotten American dream

 "I don't think that I presented any Utopian ideas. I talked for the necessities of life, food, clothing, shelter and amusement. We can talk of Utopia afterwards ...I have had a dream that I have in the morning and at night and during the day, that is that there will be a new society sometime in which there will be no battle between capitalist and wage earner ... there will be no political government ... but ...