Journalism

UC Merced and the Merced Sun-Star: Historical amnesia on speed

Submitted: Mar 20, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Some rightwing Anglos out at UC Merced recently posted a racially offensive video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDWAJYFi3UA). It's a cartoon featuring a semi-bald Anglo with a snotty British accent interrogating a female Chicano student, with no accent, involved in trying to start a Chicano Studies Program at the limping U. The Brit gets the best of the staged argument (sic). The Chicano students are stereotyped as entitled, racists themselves, who want their own program now just because they want it, and as incapable of arguing why. There was nothing "intelligent," "spirited" or "responsible" about the video dialogue between the two cartoon characters, despite what is said by an unnamed "university representative."

Since a Chicano Studies program is, by definition, about people of Mexican descent who are American citizens, the question why the Chicana doesn't wish to "identify as an American citizen" is purely bogus, displaying the classic rightwing combination of ignorance and racial hatred. Chicano means Mexican-American, and there is quite a history behind the origin of the word. But that history would be beyond the Little White Men on Campus and it gives UC Merced administrators and Chicano elders of influence on the campus a shuddering case of the vapors -- a disease that turns guts to mush.

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Facts beneath our feet

Submitted: Feb 04, 2010
By: 
Bill Hatch

Last Sunday, I listened to a roundtable of learned talking heads on Meet the Press instantly agree with the assertion one of them made that of course the federal government could not actually create jobs.

Later that afternoon, I went out for a walk in Merced. It is difficult to walk anywhere in my neighborhood without seeing the familiar stamp in the sidewalk that reads either "WPA 1940" or "WPA 1941."

WPA stands for Works Progress Administration, one of the keystones of the New Deal. During the Great Depression the federal government created a great number of jobs. Chances are that if you are of a certain age, you will remember your father talking about his Civilian Conservation Corps or WPA job or work in other government programs. Hundreds of thousands of Americans, from all walks of life, were in fact employed by the federalgovernment to do work they already knew how to do but for which money was lacking due to the collapse of credit.

The Central Valley Soldier Settlement Act gave preferred rights to qualified veterans of WWII to purchase farm land irrigated by the Central Valley Project, funded by the federal government, along with low-interest loans from the government and banks That created much work for many people for years. Today, military expenditure in the US is more than the rest of the world combined. The resource wars are employing many people in the most resource-wasting activity known to man: war. 

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Checkmate

Submitted: Jan 30, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

1-08-10
Asia Times 

 Russia, China, Iran redraw energy map...M K Bhadrakumar
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/LA08Ag01.html
The inauguration of the Dauletabad-Sarakhs-Khangiran pipeline on Wednesday connecting Iran's northern Caspian region with Turkmenistan's vast gas field may go unnoticed amid the Western media cacophony that it is "apocalypse now" for the Islamic regime in Tehran.
The event sends strong messages for regional security. Within the space of three weeks, Turkmenistan has committed its entire gas exports to China, Russia and Iran. It has no urgent need of the pipelines that the United States and the European Union have been advancing. Are we hearing the faint notes of a Russia-China-Iran symphony?

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800# sociopaths

Submitted: Jan 12, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Everything about state Sen. Lois Wolk's career, from teaching high school, Davis City councilwoman and mayor, Yolo County supervisor, and assemblywoman before becoming senator expresses one overwhelming focu -- care; care for disadvantaged people, the sick, and the human and natural communities connected to the San Joaquin Delta. Even when under enormous, unfair and shameful attack from fellow politicians like our governor, the Hun, and state Sen. Darrell Steinberg, Twerp-Sacramento, she has responded with measured critique and a completely classy defense -- not of herself, but the communities and natural resources she represents.

Cal Poly Professor Robert Rutherford and UC Berkeley Journalism Professor Michael Pollan are critics of agribusiness.

When Sen. Wolk discovered that a backroom deal between the Hun, Steinberg, Westlands Water District and Metropolitan had rewritten a bill to create a Delta Conservancy she had authored, she withdrew her name from it.

When Harris Ranch, one of Westlands largest landholders, discovered that Pollan would speak at Cal Poly and that Rutherford was teaching a course called "Issues in Animal Agriculture and -- even worse -- offended a Harris corporate suit by "unsolicited" comments that he thought water should be withdrawn from Westlands, Harris has threatened not to contribute $500 million to Cal Poly.

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"Got who, exactly?" journalism

Submitted: Dec 27, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Having attended the Federal Energy Resources Commission's meetings for the last year about Merced Irrigation District's relicensing application for its hydro-electric plant on Exchequer Dam, we never noticed a Merced Sun-Star reporter in attendance. Therefore, we question the totally unsourced story and correction below. The title of the story is unfortunate because no "environmentalists" are mentioned in the story, only several federal and state resource agencies charged with regulating federal and state laws. In other words, as presented in the article, it is a completely inter-governmental argument. If the newspaper had bothered to cover any of the FERC meetings with MID, it would have witnessed a number of spirited discussions between MID, its consultants and lawyers, and several local and regional environmental groups, Native Americans, and several other governmental agencies and the newspaper might have learned enough to avoid the mistake of taking MID, its consultants or lawyers, at their word and reporting their word as fact. The lack of any mention of the sources for the information presented as fact below leaves us completely mystified about what happened in this highly charged political decision-making process regarding FERC relicensing of the dam. The confusion is deepened by the newspaper correcting the article at the top and then reprinting the same article it purports to correct. The public doesn't even know whose press release is being regurgitated here under the pretense of reporting.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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Report from Copenhagen

Submitted: Dec 16, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

As old readers of Badlands know, we've been great fans of George Monbiot for years and always recommend people visit Monbiot.com for a broad, deep perspective on environmental issues. Monbiot was in Copenhagen for the UN climate change conference. His report begins with a call for human decency and ends with a report of the probably tragedies arising from the failure of human decency at this conference. Of course, if tragedy is uncomfortable, one can always join the climate-change deniers and the onward stampede to continue idiotically plundering nature and destroying whole continents. This international mentality is mirrored at the local level because sewage always flows downhill. Apparently, awareness of natural limits on the planet has driven the major power states in the world into nakedly anti-democratic aggression against their own people and others. It is as if present and past imperial powers, when confronted with the planet's growing ecological distress, regress to imperial patterns of 150 years ago. Their policy is to seize more control while rejecting any responsbility for the human element in global climate change.

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Reaping riches in a wretched region -- Lloyd Carter

Submitted: Nov 01, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Now, even with new legislation that will determine the future viability of Westlands’ critical import irrigation infrastructure, it seems inevitable that the political clout of the nation’s most powerful irrigation district will somehow prevail to perpetuate this culture of social, economic and natural inequity. – Carter, p. 40.

 

“Reaping riches in a wretched region:  Subsidized industrial farming and its link to perpetual poverty,” by Lloyd Carter, Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal, Symposium Edition, Fall 2009

http://www.ggu.edu/lawlibrary/environmental_law_journal/eljvol3/attachment/Carter.pdf

 

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Some judges defending homeowners in foreclosure

Submitted: Oct 21, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

10-21-09

CounterPunch.com

New Shockwaves From Courts and Accounting Board
The Next Financial Crisis Hits Wall Street, as Judges Start Nixing Foreclosures ... Pam Martens

http/www.counterpunch.com

The financial tsunami unleashed by Wall Street’s esurient alchemy of spinning toxic home mortgages into triple-A bonds, a process known as securitization, has set off its second round of financial tremors.

After leaving mortgage investors, bank shareholders, and pension fiduciaries awash in losses and a large chunk of Wall Street feeding at the public trough, the full threat of this vast securitization machine and its unseen masters who push the levers behind a tightly drawn curtain is playing out in courtrooms across America.

Three plain talking judges, in state courts in Massachusetts and Kansas, and a Federal Court in Ohio, have drilled down to the “straw man” aspect of securitization. The judges’ decisions have raised serious questions as to the legality of hundreds of thousands of foreclosures that have transpired as well as the legal standing of the subsequent purchasers of those homes, who are more and more frequently the Wall Street banks themselves.

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The World according to Modesto

Submitted: Oct 04, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We have no appreciation for the Hun, our governor. We think he is a public embarrassment. But, in terms of the time-honored political phrase – the people get the government they deserve – the Hun is a tribute to the political idiocy of the California population, composed of people who all think state history began when they got here, either is immigrants from the US and elsewhere, or as babies.

 

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