Blogs

War of the moral universes: California water stories, June 2015

Submitted: Jun 15, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 “The problem lies, in part, in the social isolation of the rich, the moral isolation of the rich.” The rich, she said, were “lacking a sense that we are all in this together”. --Tim Walker, The Independent, April 4, 2015.

 

Barbre sits on the 37-member board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, a huge water wholesaler serving 17 million customers. He is fond of referring to his watering hose with Charlton Heston’s famous quote about guns: “They’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands.” -- Rob Kuznia, Washington Post, June 13, 2015.

 

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The new face of agro-plutocracy

Submitted: Jun 10, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  

 

"Many of these businesses are getting 20 to 30 to sometimes 40 percent of their gross revenues directly from the government," Phillip Bowles told KGO. "I don't have a good explanation for that. Somebody else might, but it beats me."

Economists say they can find no rationale for the subsidies, which started in 1933 as temporary aid for small farmers devastated by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Then, a quarter of Americans lived on farms. Today, less than 1 percent do -- so few that the Census Bureau quit counting.

-- Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle, July 26, 2007.

 

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The problem with dinosaurs

Submitted: Jun 08, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

The problem with dinosaurs is that rather than staying put underground, which scientists say is necessary for the survival of the planet, they keep oozing to the surface in order to graze on enormous quantities of the Green while traipsing about the boardrooms of energy companies masquerading as human beings.-- blj

 

6-6-15

Washington Post/CommonDreams.com

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A good year for fixing dams

Submitted: Jun 03, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 While dams provide many benefits, they also pose a significant hazard.  Dam owners, individuals living and working downstream, first responders, local and state officials all are encouraged to know the risks and benefits of dams located in their respective communities. -- California Department of Water Resources, May 28,2015

 

Last week, we received  a press release from the state Department of Water Resources announcing National Dam Safety Awareness Day.

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Merced by the numbers last week

Submitted: Jun 01, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Like most Mercedians, our attention was grabbed by Friday's frontpage stories in the Sun-Star. Above the fold, we saw the headline: "Area manufacturing growth fastest in U.S." Below the fold, we read "Gang probe yields guns, drugs."

The top headline was such a typical bit of the cognitive dissonance we expect from the Sun-Star that we moved to the cops-and-robbers story on the theory, reached entirely unconsciously over the first cup of coffee, that the second story might be more realistic.

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Rainmaking in drought

Submitted: May 30, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 We cannot wrap up the current state of California water politicking in a meaningful package today. But, one theme runs through the stories below, which are characteristic of what is happening from the federal level to the local level.

The theme is Secrecy. and when public officials behave in noticeably secret ways (beyond the usual levels of concealment always for the national security), and extend the existing forms of secrecy into new areas of crisis, we can be fairly certain that financial speculation is afoot.

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A whiff of oxygen in the presidential race

Submitted: May 29, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

There is controversy among the Badlands Journal editorial board regarding the choice of presidential candidates, as you can imagine among such a disputatious outfit but it is fair to say that we all welcome the arrival of Bernie. Hillary is, of course, once again the adamant choice of the San Joaquin Valley Directorate's Democratic Party Division, and this will of the oligarchs will be transmitted by bagmen emanating from their law offices bearing millions to the Clintons.

Ya, adelante con Clinton! and all that. The Clintons can be expected to at least know where the Valley is. Bernie? Probably not. The authentic voice of labor has been almost completely strangled here, choked out by fear and disgust. Although our English comes with many accents, Brooklyn is not a common one. The idea of a candidate that represents the people against the special interests is a strange idea to us and it makes us uncomfortable.

"Of course, he can't win," we say to one another, our typical excuse for once again not thinking about politics but treating it like a Stateline casino, thus helping to make it even more of one. -- blj

5-26-15

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New outlooks on Memorial Day

Submitted: May 28, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The end of school! Summer job outside and maybe in the mountains. The fruits and nuts and grapes have set. Rivers high and canals still chilled by snow water. Maybe up the Clarks Fork before work starts if its not to high to fish it and too cold and wet to camp.

It's was weekend all the mountain resorts and campgrounds and snowed in stores and taverns open for the Season, when the roads were all two-lane and not all were plowed.  Not many lived year round in the mountains the way they do now, except a few light-eating, heavy drinking caretakers who stayed by the fire except to fetch wood and toss out empty bottles and relieve themselves. A couple of those boys caretaking Vikingsholm on Emerald Bay observed the great slide that took out the highway and much more but reported the following summer that they weren't quite sure what they'd seen at the time but they quit drinking for three days.

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DWR Better Weather Reports Preport

Submitted: May 26, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 As we were looking at the state Department of Water Resources "Reer"leases this morning we had to think about Mark Twain and the weather. No one, however public spirited and desirous of remaining up-to-date on the World Famous California Drought -- dubious a desire as that is -- should have to start their week with a DWR Press Rerlease without at least a short antidotal quote from Twain on one of his favorite topics and the cause for a number of his greatest works long and short, including the blizzard-induced "Cannibalism in the Cars."

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Bribery follows line of least resistance

Submitted: May 20, 2015
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Like brine injected in deep wells, corporate bribery of public officials follows the line of least resistance in Texas, where local ordinances against fracking were banned at the state level. It's easier to round 'em up and pay 'em off once you got 'em corralled up in the State House instead of spread out all over the countryside in them damn little municipalities.

And in Oklahoma, if Badlands were a betting organization we would say the half life of careers of professors who follow the well defined geological research path of noting relationships between injection wells and earthquakes will be short as oil-and-gas tycoons threaten academic administrators with the horrors of withdrawn funds. The coup de grace will probably be delivered by the football coach. -- blj

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