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The barn-door problem

News that the national foreclosure rate is higher than at any time since the Great Depression is obviously not good. But, it has one positive side. It reveals the driving force of the whole finance, insurance and real estate sector of the economy, the "lending industry," as the Fresno Bee put it in the editorial below.

Blaming the victims

"I hope the voters will understand when we put a tax measure on the ballot again we are spending every cent we have right now and it's not even scratching the surface," Spriggs said. -- Merced Sun-Star, 4-9-07

The MacDonald Affair

Having observed and commented on the corruption of local, state and federal environmental law in this region for nearly a decade, the recent hoopla surrounding Julia MacDonald, the deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks in the Department of Interior, is not news. We met MacDonald shortly after her appointment as aide to Judge Craig Manson, the assistant secretary of fish, wildlife and parks, in 2002. She urged us to get in touch. We think we have her card somewhere.

Hun to increase state water supply -- Read all about it!

There is something about a governor that loves a dam. Maybe it's the ribbons. In any event, Our Hun is no different. But the justification for more off-stream storage of water in California is beginning to reach a stage we might call "officially sanctified lunacy." It based on the mathematical assumptions that benefit a very powerful handful of people: the Hun, parts of the Legislature and the editorial board of the McClatchy Chain.

UC, Inc.

The price of academic integrity

Jennifer Washburn lays out the case against the British Petroleum/UC,Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of Illinois-Urbana deal: $500 million from BP to set up an Energy Biosciences Institute to do BP-directed science for BP profits, using public facilities and publicly paid university sciences.

A Plague of Big Shots

submitted by Bill Hatch

Big Shots are found everywhere in American society. So, viewing them from the San Joaquin Valley of California, once a great agricultural area now mindlessly converting itself as fast as violation of environmental law and regulation and common sense permits to another Western slurb, is as good a place as any to observe Big Shots.

Cardoza did the right thing

I received a note from the MoveOn.org political action team today, urging me to personally thank Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-Merced, for voting for the Iraq Accountability Act, which was passed today, 218-212, two Republicans voting in favor, and 14 Democrats joining the Republican opposition. Tallying up the Democrat opponents, I found six members of the Progressive Caucus and seven members of the 43-member Blue Dog Caucus, of which Cardoza is the communications director. Strange bedfellows, but these are fractious times.

Bees and GMOs

Some say the media is just jumping on it. Others say it's a coming disaster. Reliable sources say we won't be able the judge the true situation of America's Honey Bee population until about June, when San Joaquin Valley almond growers -- the largest employers of pollinating bees in the nation -- check the set in their orchards for nuts and mummies.

St. Paddy's at the Sun-Star

"It appears that there were no environmental reviews considered along with (that) decision," said Marsha Burch, a Grass Valley-based attorney representing the SJRRC. "It's our assertion that that violates the California Environmental Quality Act." -- Merced Sun-Star, March 17, 2007

The Sun-Star celebrated St. Patrick's Day in fine style, writing fairly about those against child sacrifice to the great god, Asthma, in the San Joaquin Valley.

Bill Hatch

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