June, 2017

The dam issue

Submitted: Jun 25, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “We completed a reconnaissance-level assessment of the spillway at Lopez Dam and have noted that structure may have potential geologic, structural, or performance issues that could jeopardize its ability to safely pass a flood event,” the letter stated.

"We did a superficial inspection and determined that the dam is unsafe in the event of a flood?" Is that what the flakperson was trying not quite to say?

What is a reconnaissance-level assessment? Were helicopters involved?

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Alas, poor Farmer John

Submitted: Jun 24, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Alas, the judge denied poor Farmer John's request to have federal EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt testify in the federal court hearing that will decide if the Army Corps' $2.8-million fine for deep ripping will hold. Duarte's Pacific Legal Foundation lawyers barked like Chihuahuas at the passing caravan of Clean Water Act precedents.

--blj

 

6-16-17

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Is American medicine a major threat to physical, mental and economic public health?

Submitted: Jun 21, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Care should be understood not only as an individual right, but as a social responsibility. Other Western nations have such a blend of private and public options. See Anu Partanen, “The Fake Freedom of American Health Care,” The New York Times, March 18, 2017

 

 

 

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The Duarte ripping festa keeps on going on

Submitted: Jun 19, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Duarte said he has received support from the American and California farm bureaus, but surprisingly little from other farmers who stand to face the same kinds of claims by the government. He told me a year ago he expected to spend $1 million in legal fees to fight the feds. The farm bureaus established Duarte Defense Funds and there is a GoFundMe account as well.

“But they have yet to raise $100,000 between them,” Duarte said. Every farmer in America, he said, could be “shaken down by government agencies.”  -- "Poor Farmer John," Badlands Journal, June 10, 2017

Maybe if Duarte hadn't sold an estimated 2 million diseased pistachio trees in past years farmers would be more willing to support him in his effort to make a federal political case out of his problems with the Army Corps of Engineers. 

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Thinking about crime in Merced

Submitted: Jun 18, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Below is a series of articles about crime in Merced and Stanislaus counties in recent months. It is not an exhaustive list, not a police log, nor is it long enough to represent the variety of crime reported daily in this region. However, we do learn from the articles that Merced, Modesto, and two other Valley county seats rank among the top 10 cities in the nation for car theft. We learn that the recent "Operation Scrapbook," a multi-agency task force using advanced communications surveillance nabbed some top gang members accused of heavy charges including murder, meth dealing, and gun dealing.

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Weekend pickings on imperialism, impeachment, and health care

Submitted: Jun 14, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

These are a few articles that taught us last week. The conversation on American imperialism between Tom Engelhardt and William Astore produces more insight into American imperial failure every month. Patrick Cockburn's examines. Britain's foolish path in the slipstream of US imperialism heedless of consequences like Manchester. Noah Feldman and Alexander Bolton offer shrewd observations about the instability in Washington DC. -- blj

 

6-6-17

TomDispatch.com

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Neurotic aqua-utilitarian quantification

Submitted: Jun 13, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

If there is one thing that slip-slides away from easy quantification, it's water. None of its larger units of measurement, like the acre-foot, let alone a million gallons,  are easily imagined by the ordinary human being. Nor does it do much good to say that a family of four uses about an acre-foot of water a year, at least to people who remember when in the not too distant past the authorities said it took two acre-feet to achieve the same goal for the little family. And how big is a raindrop anyway?

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Poor Farmer John

Submitted: Jun 10, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Farmers are exempt from needing permits to plow their lands under the Clean Water Act. But the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, implemented by Obama in 2015, prohibits plowing below the clay beneath the topsoil that keeps vernal pools, which count as wetlands, from draining. Duarte’s land does, indeed, include some vernal pools. He said the field was plowed only from 4 to 7 inches in depth, and maybe a foot deep in one place. And farmers can till land with vernal pools as long as they don’t destroy the pool’s existence, he said.

An Army Corps inspector saw the plowing, told Duarte to stop and followed up with a cease-and-desist order. The inspector said Duarte’s hired hand was “deep ripping,” going three feet deep in some places ...

 

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Comey's statement, June 7, 2017

Submitted: Jun 07, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 If we do nothing else during this tumultuous period of national history, we should all carefully read this statement by former FBI Director James Comey because grandchildren yet unborn will be asking us what it was like to be alive when Comey's statement was written. -- blj

 

 

 

6-7-17

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Seyed "The Mendacious" Sadredin goes national

Submitted: Jun 06, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “[Sadredin] is a state officer,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator in California until last year. “He swears an oath to uphold the Clean Air Act, and yet he is actively working to undermine this important environmental law.”

 

 

4-22-17

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Climate in the Age of Resentment

Submitted: Jun 04, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It is not easy to put President Trump's exit from the Paris Climate Accord in perspective, perhaps because it is the new perspective, the world as it now is; and that is hard to accept. The general contour of this new perspective is that while large majorities of the public support environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water and Air acts even though they do impose limits on the capitalist economic system, today special interests have such a strong grip on at least two of the three branches of government (the judicial branch is still in question) that the United States government will no longer lead or follow intelligent environmental policies unless the sane majority regains control of -- for a start -- both political parties.

Our bar for sanity is low: stay on your medication and avoid overindulging your resentments.

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