June 2015

Merced by the numbers last week

 Like most Mercedians, our attention was grabbed by Friday's frontpage stories in the Sun-Star. Above the fold, we saw the headline: "Area manufacturing growth fastest in U.S." Below the fold, we read "Gang probe yields guns, drugs."
The top headline was such a typical bit of the cognitive dissonance we expect from the Sun-Star that we moved to the cops-and-robbers story on the theory, reached entirely unconsciously over the first cup of coffee, that the second story might be more realistic.

A good year for fixing dams

 While dams provide many benefits, they also pose a significant hazard.  Dam owners, individuals living and working downstream, first responders, local and state officials all are encouraged to know the risks and benefits of dams located in their respective communities. -- California Department of Water Resources, May 28,2015

The problem with dinosaurs

The problem with dinosaurs is that rather than staying put underground, which scientists say is necessary for the survival of the planet, they keep oozing to the surface in order to graze on enormous quantities of the Green while traipsing about the boardrooms of energy companies masquerading as human beings.-- blj
Washington Post/CommonDreams.com
How Mankind Blew the Fight Against Climate Change
Bill McKibben

Finest young minds confront California drought

 The UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences recently developed a tool to quantitatively evaluate these water management options. Working with the Nature Conservancy, we designed the model to assess strategies for restoring populations of native fish on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River. -- Jenny Ta, Joshua Viers, California Water Blog, June 14, 2015

Rattle some sabers, kills some whales, etc.

 Keep in mind that this sort of far north drilling can only go on because the past drilling and burning of fossil fuels has helped melt Arctic sea ice and open up its potentially vast energy reserves to exploitation.  It’s a little like watching the proverbial snake eat its tail. -- Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch.com, May 21, 2015

The Pope, capital, environment & water

 The pontiff later denounces past failures to enact bolder environmental policies. “The failure of global summits on the environment makes it plain that our politics are subject to technology and finance. There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected,” he writes. -- Francis X. Rocca, Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2015





The pope and the water gurus

The world's water challenges are technical, economic, political, and social issues, but the Vatican Encyclical reminds us that ultimately they are ethical and moral issues as well. This is a valuable and timely reminder. -- Dr. Peter Gleick, Huffington Post, June 18, 2015

Thanks, guys, for your rendition of "I hear that huge, old suckin' sound"

 Thanks guys, for another rendition of that same-old/same-old Country favorite, "I hear that huge, old suckin' sound"(the Trans-Pacific- Partnership version). Thanks for all the bribery and corruption enabling  our cowardly, venal and crooked members of Congress to vote to blind themselves from what's in the trade agreement.  Thanks for all the lies and corporatist "rules" of secrecy. Thanks for helping further close the American mind -- what's left of it -- for your profits. Thanks for shrugging your shoulders about Global Warming.

Vineyard expansion in Malibu curtailed -- quelle horreur!

The ban was opposed by vineyard operators.
“It seems like we’re being targeted for vines, whereas other things that might actually lead to more significant drought reduction are not even being mentioned in this -- agriculture, housing, horses,” said Malibu resident Dan Fredman, who has been operating a vineyard for about five years. “All of those things use significantly more water than grapes do. -Paige Austen, Patch.com, June 17, 2015

Water lawsuits scream overhead

 There have been a slew of articles this past 10 days about California water-rights lawsuits following the state's announcement of its intention to "curtail" the rights of senior water-rights holders. There have also been articles that try to explain California water rights. And there have been articles about cities and towns under mounting water-supply stress and about farmers ignoring various orders to stop using various sources of water to which they believe they are entitled.

It's the principle of the thing

 In late October, 2011, during a previous Greek finance crisis, former Prime Minister George Papandreou called for a referendum on the terms of a bailout to the horror of the heads of state of Germany, France and the US, retreated from it and resigned, leaving political and economic chaos in his wake.
The stakes are high. If the Greeks vote to stand up to the "troika" (European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF), the "OXI KREOS" option, they may inspire other peripheral European Union countries to follow suit -- Ireland, Spain, Portugal and, largest of all, Italy.