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At first glance, 66 million dead trees may seem like a very large number, but it is important to remember that there are 33 million acres of forest in California, so the total effect of the recent pulse of tree mortality has been to add an average of only two snags per acre. To put that number in perspective, forest animals that live in snags generally need at least four to eight snags per acre to provide sufficient habitat and some species require even more snags. For example, California spotted owls use forests with eight to twelve snags to nest and rest and they prefer even higher levels of snags in the areas where they gather their food. And black-backed woodpeckers depend on snag forests with at least several dozen dead trees per acre. These points and many others were addressed in a letter from scientists to California Gov. Brown in February. -- Douglas Bevington, EcoWatch.com, Aug.
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The pollsters and statisticians are predicting that Trump will lose the election to Hillary Clinton. But of course, this hinges on how one defines “lose.” Donald Trump will likely find a way to financially profit from his political adventure, his supporters are giving him millions of dollars, his narcissism has been further expanded and fueled, and if this was all just an elaborate hustle, Trump has, in many ways, lost nothing and gained much. -- Chauncey DeVega, AlterNet, Aug. 5, 2016
Since the Merced County public is again being assaulted by the claims that housing and commercial construction are the one and only way of reducing unemployment in our economy, dominated by government subsidized agribusiness, we thought we would compare some unemployment statistics from past years.
These numbers are for Merced County as a whole, but since construction is ramping up on both sides of the county, they seem indicative.
All figures are for June of the year.1.
6/2016: 10.6 percentRead More »
A cabal of Merced City Council members, city staff and developers ripped off the citizens of Merced for a bundle two weeks ago. Just in case we couldn't put a face on the usual suspects, developer and almond grower Greg Hostetler showed up at Monday's council meeting to berate retiring Mayor Stan Thurston for speaking truth to the city's development staff.
The issue was whether Merced would quit paying fees it collects from developers to pay for mitigation of the traffic impacts caused by their business. The city council decided to quit paying the fees for two years. This puts the public in the position of either suffering the results in traffic congestion or being forced to pay for it themselves.Read More »
This report on the effects of oversupply in the US milk market and other milk markets reminds us of a joke we once heard in Hilmar, a local dairy center. The dairyman watched the price of milk slide and slide until finally the milk price was zero.
"Good time to buy cows," he said.Read More »
We were impressed by this note by Michael Moore in a section in the July 18 issue of The Nation called "We still need a future to believe in." Perhaps it was because it accords with our own gloomy view. Despite a real Murderers Row of Democratic Party orators on the opening night of the party's convention -- Sen. Cory Booker, First Lady Michelle Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- and a speech for the history books by Sen. Bernie Sanders, our fears of political chaos in the Democratic Party are not allayed.
In the Democratic Party of 2016, everybody's special; ordinary Americans need not apply, and just might not, much. These successful aspirants -- Booker, the Obamas, Warren, Bill and Hill -- who found their social ladders to climb in academia and politics -- are no inspiration for ordinary people who lack these particular gifts and historical opportunity. And, of course, there is no reward for any child who lacks the ambition to out-compete his schoolmates.Read More »
The Mercury News
State Supreme Court sides with Southern California in sale of delta islands
Matt StevensRead More »
Surface sinking, bottom rising
This article ought to be read together with the previous posting, "Harken to the harmony ...," to form a clearer picture of the politics and economics of the Colorado River Plateau in its 15th year of drought. Perhaps one could hum the tune to "How deep is the ocean" for a fuller reading experience.
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Harken to the harmony of desert water experts. This should be read while humming "Home, Home on the Range." --blj)
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Just don't vote
for Hillary or Trump.Read More »