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War and the environment on the coast of Lebanon


Lebanon oil spill crisis

Saturday 29 July 2006, 0:43 Makka Time, 21:43 GMT

The Lebanese coastline has been badly affected

The Lebanese government has appealed for help to clean up a huge oil spill along its coastline created after Israel bombed a power plant.

The unthinkable future: an economy without a real estate bubble


The Coming Housing Crash

Dean Baker July 31, 2006

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He is the author of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer.

State Supreme Court decides for City of Marina against CSU

The California Supreme Court yesterday decided the Marina, City of v. Board of Trustees (CSU) case in favor of Marina. The state high court found that the argument of California State University, Monterey Bay that state agencies have no obligation to pay for off-site mitigation, defined in environmental impact reports arising from their construction or expansion, was without merit.

Let them play Monopoly behind gates we lock

In 1950, it has been repeated ad nausea; Los Angeles County produced more agricultural commodities than any county in the state. By the mid-1970s, it began to lead the nation as the most polluted air basin, despite its sea breezes. Today, in this grim "metric," it appears to have fallen behind both the San Joaquin Valley and Riverside/San Bernardino counties.

The San Joaquin Valley is the richest farmland in the western US. Today, Los Angeles is an asphalt jungle and its eastern neighboring counties are developing along the same dismal pattern.

Byrd sues on civil rights violations

Richard Byrd, who in 2004 sold a piece of property to the sheriff who was incarcerating him and the district attorney who was prosecuting him, recently filed a federal suit against the Atwater policeman who arrested and charged him, the sheriff, the DA, their real estate partners (which included Greg Hostetler, owner of Ranchwood Homes), his former attorney and Salvadori Realty for damages arising from violations of the federal civil rights and labor codes.


Only a fool or worse ignores moral values - in the end, they always take revenge. Uri Avnery, Is Beirut Burning? Counterpunch.com, July 26, 2006

First, a word of appreciation for Wallace Mainplace Stadium Cinemas in Merced for showing Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" last week. Thanks, Mainplace, for showing the ecological awareness worthy of the city that boasts it is the "Gateway to Yosemite," where so much of the world conservation movement began.

The desperation of MCAG

Last week the Merced County Association of Governments decided to put Measure A, the transportation sales tax defeated in June, back on the ballot in November, despite a poll that indicated it might not do any better then than it did either in June or in 2002. The MCAG, composed of all five supervisors and one elected official for each of the six incorporated cities in the county, in their judgment overrode the poll results, declaring that the November election will draw more voters than the primary did. The Merced Sun-Star opined without attribution that:


It’s fitting to speak of mirages when the Valley gets this hot.

The political mirage of the week, in the wake of former Merced County DA Gordon Spenser’s spectacular fall that ended in Bear Creek a week (just before a mysterious fire in the DA department’s offices), was the set-to between developer Greg Hostetler (Ranchwood Homes) and Supervisor Deirdre Kelsey at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, exhaustively detailed below by the local press.

Sixteen thousand signatures is a good beginning

The obstruction of an initiative to stop residential growth in unincorporated Stanislaus County appears to mean that the power of developers and rural landowners trumps the legitimate initiative process. Letters from the Modesto Chamber of Commerce (the developers) and the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau (landowners), which represent a small fraction of the number of the 16,000 people who signed petitions to support the initiative, were enough to send the county Board of Supervisors down devious legalistic paths to frustrate the public voice.

The Empty Cowboy Hat rides again

Rep. RichPAC Pombo, Buffalo Slayer-Tracy, is grabbing headlines again after former Rep. Pete McCloskey knocked a few of his teeth out in the primary. If he can keep his fight up to gut the Endangered Species Act until November, the public may never know a Democrat named McNerney is running against him.

That's the first thing: show them how powerful you are. Opposition? What opposition? Even if the Senate is skeptical about the wisdom of gutting the ESA, you go, cowboy, you are Tracy's one and only Buffalo Slayer.