New York Times
Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years
By JUSTIN GILLIS...3-7-13
Global temperatures are warmer than at any time in at least 4,000 years, scientists reported Thursday, and over the coming decades are likely to surpass levels not seen on the planet since before the last ice age.
Previous research had extended back roughly 1,500 years, and suggested that the rapid temperature spike of the past century, believed to be a consequence of human activity, exceeded any warming episode during those years. The new work confirms that result while suggesting the modern warming is unique over a longer period.
Even if the temperature increase from human activity that is projected for later this century comes out on the low end of estimates, scientists said, the planet will be at least as warm as it was during the warmest periods of the modern geological era, known as the Holocene, and probably warmer than that.
That epoch began about 12,000 years ago, after changes in incoming sunshine caused vast ice sheets to melt across the Northern Hemisphere. Scientists believe the moderate climate of the Holocene set the stage for the rise of human civilization roughly 8,000 years ago and continues to sustain it by, for example, permitting a high level of food production.
New York Times
Merced County voting rights ruling to affect Valley agencies…Michael Doyle, Bee Washington Bureau…2-24-13
WASHINGTON -- A Merced County legal victory has unexpectedly pulled it into one of the biggest U.S. Supreme Court cases in years.
The county's 2012 triumph was to successfully bail out from federal control under the Voting Rights Act. But now some conservative skeptics charge that legal victory was tainted by Justice Department politics.
The claims, in turn, compelled the county to invest in a Supreme Court brief to defend itself in advance of a key court argument on Wednesday.
"The county was surprised to become a subject of discussion in the (voting rights) case," Merced County Counsel James N. Fincher said Friday. "One of the reasons the county chose to pursue the bailout was to avoid being a political football in unrelated legal battles."
The bailout, or escape, from certain Voting Rights Act obligations means Merced County and some 84 political entities included within it, from school districts to city councils, no longer need Justice Department permission before making voting-related changes. A three-judge panel approved the bailout in August after the Justice Department assented following a two-year study.
Our View: Report eyes water jobs of the future
The eggheads at the Oakland based Pacific Institute have produced a report for the people: "Sustainable Water Jobs, A National Assessment of Water- Related Green Job Opportunities," (which) identifies 136 occupations that could emerge or
expand as the country looks to make wiser use of its water, through conservation, recycling, reuse and more.
Most of the job categories already exist -- from engineers to plumbers to landscape architects and landscapers."
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Merced water management group eyes state funding 2-11-13
You bet it does! But there are two reasons the Merced Integrated Regional WAter Management Plan group meets. The IRWMP, pronounced "Ear-Wimp" meets because the state Department of Water Resources has bond money to spend and entities like the Merced Irrigation District, the City of Merced and Merced County have the desire and the credentials to qualify to spend it.
The decision making group consists of those entities. The rest of the group, known as "advisors" or "stakeholders," are the usual group of powerless members of the public who come because on the one hand they are invited as democratic window dressing and to keep tabs on what the big shots are saying.
Having decided flood control was important, MID has proposed some flood control projects and dam automation for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Disadavantaged communities are so important to the state that the Planada Community Services District has proposed water metering, always a boon for la gente. Actually the entire area of the "Mear-Wimp," basically equivalent to the MID district boundaries -- the east side of the county -- qualifies as one grand disadvantaged community, another kudo for the wealthe distribution created by American agribusiness. Curiously Stevinson, described by one of its illustrious
A brilliant article on UC's genetic engineering patents and its legal shenanigans. -- BLJ
UC: A University, or a Biotech Company?
Last month the University of California intervened in a high stakes U.S. Supreme Court case on the side of the agribusiness giant Monsanto Company by filing an amicus brief stating that the university would be harmed materially if Monsanto doesn’t prevail. On the receiving end of UC’s legal argument is Vernon Bowman, a 75 year-old grain farmer from southern Indiana who has been battling Monsanto in court for several years now. It was already a David v. Goliath kind of fight, pitting an elderly guy in overalls against a global corporation with a bottomless pocket for legal expenses; the entry of UC into the court’s deliberations makes that two Goliaths.
Yet, according to a large consensus of government and private sources, by far the largest oil shale formation, the Monterey, is largely located in the south San Joaquin Valley. So, suddenly who owns subsurface rights to public as well as private lands becomes a major issue for people not eager to have their already record-breaking bad air quality get worse, have their groundwater polluted with chemicals the very names of which are proprietary to the companies that inject them thousands of feet into the ground, and there is a minor seismic issue, which we will take up later. -- BLJRead More »
Maybe when real men grow up in Kern County, they become oil lobbyists.
Anyone from the San Joaquin Valley can understand why a state senator from our area might find better things to do with his time than serve in a legislative body led by state Sen. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. But the abrupt departure of state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, for the lobbying division of Chevron reveals a contempt for the democratic process that is something new in its aggression.
His quitting office at least temporarily deprives the Democratic Party of its supermajority and a Republican is at least as likely as a Democrat to be the next occupant of that seat. Hardly a good way to start a career as a lobbyist, one would think, but without knowing the inside game at the moment, that's just a guess.
Rubio's claims about the need to spend more time with his family seem totally bogus when it is considered that he will be lobbying in Sacramento and corporate offices from Chevron are in San Ramon, where they moved in 1965 from Kern County.
Rubio is yet another Valley product of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.Read More »
If you've ever studied the label on a container of pesticide it will tell you the "active ingredient" and then, usually an overwhelmingly large percentage of the contents is listed as "inert."
These inert ingredients are jealously guarded as company secrets but they aren't always that inert. There is for example the curious story of the best poison oak medication on the market, made from an "inert" ingredient found in many pesticides, the "sticker" or very light oil that allows the pesticide to stick to the leaves and fruit after being sprayed. Tests done by a government agency losing too many man hours to poison oak discovered that the sticker was the thing that floated the oils off the skin.
But the ingredients discussed below are not beneficial. They may very well prove to be the product of criminal irresponsibility of the manufacturers of GMO pesticides, companies in collusion with the US government which have used the entire population of the United States as largely ignorant guinea pigs in a vast chemistry experiment.
We are grateful as always for the tireless work of Thomas Wittman at the GE News division of the Ecological Farming Association in Watsonville for this and many other articles on genetically engineered pesticides, especially RoundUp, used more and more in the Valley as the price of corn is driven ever higher by ethanol production and market speculation here in the land of the free and the yo-man farmer.
Badlands Journal editorial board
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We were deeply gratified to learn that Portugal, as we understand it from local sources, a small colony on the west coast of Europe of the famous Azores Islands, has made lobbyist Dennis Cardoza a Grand Officer of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator.
We assume that the distinguished Order includes many other promoters of lady mud wrestling and other such diversions for the gentry. -- BLJ