March 2016

"They did not learn then, and have not since, that war breeds only war."

 As we've reported elsewhere in these pages, we were intrigued by a comment written some time ago by Patrick Cockburn, who, along with Robert Fisk, provide consistently the best reporting and reflections on war in the Middle East in the English language. Cockburn has mentioned more than once that Westerners who make bombastic judgments about the Middle Eastern conflicts with characteristic extreme self-righteousness -- the product of superiority in war technology and historical ignorance, the old imperial duo -- ought to read a good history of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).

The Year of the Smirking Cynic?

In one of his books, the Uruguayan writer, Eduardo Galeano reported a conversation with Juan Peron. Peron was in Spain in one of his periods of exile from Argentina at the time and in a philosophical frame of mind. Peron, who as military attache from Argentina to Italy during Mussolini's reign, was a careful student of Italian fascism. He used much of what he had learned in Italy to founder his Partido Justicialista, better known as Peronismo, half political party, half movement, and wholly as the creation of its founder.

Fracking damage evolves on schedule

Yet even as many Oklahomans track seismic data on their smartphones and struggle to sleep through the long, rumbling nights, there has been one notable location where people rarely seemed rattled. That is here, in the state capital, where the oil industry holds so much sway that for decades drill rigs have extracted crude from directly beneath the Capitol building.
A Democratic state lawmaker, Cory Williams, said in an interview: “They own the place.” -- William Yardley, Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2016






Ain't we just the powerfulest!

 The title to this letter to the editor in the print edition of today's paper was "Blame the greenies for higher prices."
It began:

Who causes entanglements to keep their job? Environmentalists became stronger when they realize they never produced a product to sell. They constantly charged fees or taxes on manufacturing businesses, farms and electrical companies in order to keep their job and paycheck.

Not even spit in the wind

 "Paper-water bonds"
(with apologies to Billy Rose and Yip Harburg)
They're only paper-water bonds
 No more than creative accounting funds.
And the SEC wouldn't have given  a damn
If only it could have believed Tom Birmingham.
But the fine was only a slap on the wrist
Not even spit in the wind.
The SEC would not have given a damn
If only it could have believed Tom Birmingham.
Without public belief
How can Tom make his plans?
It's bad news for a water thief

Adelante con Huerta-Clinton: Icons, sons of icons, and the politics of deceit

In 1992, Bill Clinton ran a terrific campaign in the San Joaquin Valley. The campaign had a pleasant, hard-working Valley fieldman, abundant campaign materials arrived in headquarters on time, he had active campaign chairs in all the counties, and a dynamite T-shirt with the logo: "Adelante con Clinton." It was one of our favorite memorabilia of that political year.
This year his wife may well repeat that success, but the campaign will not find some who once proudly wore the Adelante T-shirt ready to display it again.

Is the USDA a danger to public health?


“Having research published in prestigious journals and being invited to present before the National Academy of Sciences should be sources of official pride, not punishment,” stated PEER Staff Counsel Laura Dumais. “Politics inside USDA have made entomology into a most dangerous discipline.” -- Steve Volk, Portland Press Herald, Oct. 28, 2015

Merced besmirched by High Speed Rail Authority

Down at the Whiners' and Beggars' Hall the other night, the boys on the Merced City Council tuned up and gave a highly harmonious howl and stamped their feet in a veritable clog dance of indignation.
What had happened was that after about a decade of brown nosing any and all representatives dispatched to them from the California High Speed Rail Authority so that the city would be sure to get one of the highly prized high speed rail stations smack dab in the middle of downtown Merced, the authority appears to have decided against it.

Concerning the recent Republicn debate on the reproductive habits of rodents


I have found that good taste, oddly enough, plays an important role in politics. Why is it like that? The most probable reason is that good taste is a visible manifestation of human sensibility toward the world, environment, people. -- Vaclav Havel

That half-cent transpo sales-tax increase still rising like stink off a dairy lagoon

  “Our situation here shows how important infrastructure investment is to economic development,” said Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced. He said the effort to complete the expressway must continue. -- Thaddeus Miller, March 3, 2016, Merced Sun-Star