May 2016

The weasel word

Often, we witness how public officials, squirming under mandates causing discomfort for their more powerful constituents, convert "shall" to "may" in a straightforward regulation. This effectively closes the door to enforcement and opens a door to deal-making, bribery, intimidation, and the other forms of daily corruption in government that its practitioners call "balance". But the global and local environment are already so far out of balance and the destruction resulting from this unbalanced state gains velocity every day. 

Big bucks, big nuts and wine win: Californians lose

 Jerry imposes permanent water restrictions on cities.

So, Jerry Brown's brave new California will be characterized by dead lawns and green orchards and vineyards, triumphantly announces Wall Street's other home newspaper.  
Monopoly financed Big Nuts and Wine win.
Californians lose.


New York Times
California Braces for Unending Drought




Delta "Fix" a can of worms

The stink on the Delta these days isn't just the stink of fish species going extinct. Two state legislators are raising questions about how secure funding from the federal water contractors is for construction of the Delta tunnels. The Inspector General of the Department of Interior has opened an invistigation into how the federal Bureau of Reclamation, foremost enabler of gigantic water projects in the West, has been diverting funds designated for species restoration to the twin tunnels project. 

Rainy days and state budgets, part 1

This article is the first in a series by longtime water researcher and activist, Patrick Porgans, on the opposite and contradictory polls of the "500-year California drought," the state's growing gross dtate product (GDP) and its growing budget. Porgans asks a number of questions about water and finances in California: Did the drought really affect agricultural profits? Where did the water really go? Why don't the data support the claims of drought-driven economic ruin?

Bellevue Road annexation: a report to John Q Public and Don Q Publico

Every reporter who has covered local government knows of issues about which, for some reason, general incoherence prevails in public utterance and the media, delivered vehemently by both elected officials and department heads. Obsequious, cynical editors require the reporters to make up something plausible, which is then edited into new incoherence by paginators. If the editors perform adequately, later on they become local government communication directors and continue their careers crafting the obsequies of democracy.
And onward rolls the Great Wheel of Absurdity.

Down to the wire in California

 There is little to say about these two articles other than they are written by two of the best reporters on their subjects in the country: Bill Boyarsky on politics in California; and Ray McGovern on the state of national insecurity.  We have only this notice to add:
A Future to Believe In Fresno Rally
Sunday, May 29
Doors open at 5:00 pm
Rotary Amphitheater at Woodward Park
7775 N Friant Rd, Fresno CA


Which is worse?

Which is worse, flash annihilation by nuclear explosions, or slow mutilation from low-level radiation, the result of radioactive contamination of the air, water and earth essential to life? -- Leuren Moret, forward to Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium
Discounted Casualties:
The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium 

Akira Tashiro, Chugoku Shimbun June 2001

"... a power over nature out of all proportion to their moral strength"

PRINCETON  New Jersey, February 25, 1967: Six hundred people gather to commemorate the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, "father of the Atomic Bomb." George Kennan, veteran diplomat, ambassador and "father" of the postwar containment policy against the Soviet Union, said: "On no one did there ever rest with greater cruelty the dilemmas evoked by the recent conquest by human beings of a power over nature out of all proportion to their moral strength. No one ever saw more clearly the dangers arising for humanity from this mounting disparity.