May 2017

The political economy of Delta-fish extinctions

 For species like delta smelt and winter-run Chinook salmon, there will be considerable pressure to declare them extinct because maintaining even small populations requires releases of water from dams...But to avoid spending scarce conservation dollars on species that have already gone extinct, we need a policy in place that provides a pathway for declaring a species officially extinct. We address this in part II of our blog.

Drinking water and class on the Delta

 Restore the Delta, a community advocacy group that has fought the state water plan, estimated that there are around 40,000 people in the Delta that could be classified as environmental justice communities. Environmental justice laws require the equal treatment of all people with respect to environmental issues, such as access to clean water.
Specifically, the cities of Antioch and Stockton have larger environmental justice populations that would experience significant difficulty were water pollution levels or water rates to increase.



Plutocracy ascendent!

 We think George Will misunderstands Trump and, probably, the Americans who elected him. Writing that Trump is ignorant of American history is a waste of ink. He's no more ignorant than his constituents. But he and his supporters deny something as adamantly as Will denies their moral right to hold power (or is it merely their bad grammar?). He and they deny the importance of George F.

The political economy of Delta-fish extinction, Part II

 What is lacking and fatal to endangered species in this kind of academic scientific approach to the problem of extinction is the full articulation of the political problem that can be faced and fought. Instead of this terribly learned hand-wringing, they should be urging political action against the pumps, against the twin tunnel project, and against the Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Campaign against members of Congress in the pockets of the hydraulic brotherhood. Make Jerry Brown pay dearly for his environmentally ruinous tunnels.

"It's not uncommon ..."

 “They keep telling everybody that it is state of the art, that leaks won’t happen, that nothing can go wrong,” said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has beenfighting theh project for years. “It’s always been false. They haven’t even turned the thing on and it’s shown to be false.” -- Sam Levin, Guardian, May 11, 2017

The rise of bee theft

Now bee colony collapse disorder is having an impact on the police logs of the region. How soon can it be until it becomes a TV series? What we will probably not do in time is address the combination of environmental factors agribusiness, particularly almond production in the San Joaquin Valley, has inflicted on bees to produce the crisis. 
-- blj
Los Angeles Times
'It was a nightmare': Authorities bust major bee theft operation in Central Valley

Javier Valdez Cardenas, Presente!

"The Sinaloa cartel has demonstrated in many instances that it can adapt. I think it's in a process of redefinition toward marijuana," says Javier Valdez, a respected journalist and author who writes books on the narcoculture in Sinaloa.
Valdez says he's heard through the grapevine that marijuana planting has dropped 30 percent in the mountains of Sinaloa. But he says the Sinaloa cartel is old school — it sticks to drugs, even as other cartels, such as the Zetas of Tamaulipas state, have branched out into kidnapping and extortion.

Two ghosts in the room

Two major law-enforcement stories recently rocked Merced. Public security is universally the fundamental job of political authorities, and these two stories were certainly full of politics.

Historical reasoning in the face of menacing ignorance

 Despite opinion to the contrary, journalists can report and very well on issues of values, ethics, morality, religion and history. Not, perhaps, right out of journalism school, but in time if they continue to look, report, read, converse, and see things first hand. Here is a pair of articles by Robert Fisk of The Independent (UK) that give us a perspective on Trump's first tour that -- first and foremost -- inspires us to continue questioning this current moment. We need to ask what is the blend of anger and fear inside that makes us recoil from the Trump regime.

Some contemporary ideas on an older philosophy that always arises in moments of absurdity


 The wooden skyscrapers that could help to cool the planet
Large timber buildings are getting safer, stronger and taller. They may also offer a way to slow down global warming.
Jeff Tollefson