Journalism

Loose Cheeks: Anna Caballero's staff

Submitted: Oct 29, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Several years ago, a young man new to Merced but active in local politics at the time, asked a Badlands Journal reporter, “What is Diana Westmoreland Pedrozo saying? I can’t understand a word she says.” Pedrozo was the executive director of the county Farm Bureau and president of the California Women for Agriculture at the time.

The reporter replied that the poor fellow had two obstacles to overcome: experience in the interpretation of Pedrozo and the mendacious rhetoric of agribusiness.  The reporter explained that the key to “understanding” Pedrozo was to realize that at any given moment on any given topic  she had imperfectly memorized talking points rarely arranged in any logical order.  The reporter recommended that for further clarification, the young activist should listen closely to county Planning Commissioner Cindy Lashbrook for an even more recklessly illogical rendition of public affairs. The reporter also recommended, for the full course, that the young activist study the words of Diana's brother-in-law, Supervisor John Pedrozo. And for post-graduate studies, he should consult the oratory of Supervisor Hub Walsh who, when in full cry, can become a one-man mind-altering substance.

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Plutocracy rebranded by Wall Street

Submitted: Oct 28, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

...by any other name

10-26-10

 CommonDreams.org
Wall Street Has Already Voted
by Holly Sklar
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/26-6
Before Wall Street drove our economy off a cliff, bullish Citigroup strategists dubbed the United States a "plutonomy." They said, "There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the 'non-rich,' the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie."

Inequality had increased so much since the 1980s, Citi strategists noted in 2005, that the richest 1 percent of households and the bottom 60 percent had "similar slices of the income pie!" Even better, they said, "the top 1 percent of households account for 40 percent of financial net worth, more than the bottom 95 percent of households put together." And the Bush "administration's attempts to change the estate tax code and make

permanent dividend tax cuts, plays directly into the hands of the plutonomy."

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Future, coalition, development, growth, land-use planning, transportion -- but some of the words rendered meaningless

Submitted: Oct 10, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

As foreclosure and unemployment gnaw away at the social fabric in the crumbling tract housing of the Valley, like highly trained, professional rats babbling our language, the usual suspects of Valley leadership met and scampered through their consensual maze inside a mausoleum of commercial real estate hubris in Modesto, a city that has been ruining its promised land for 40 years with no end in sight for its wanderings in darkness. -- Badlands

10-10-10
Modesto Bee

Building a Future: Planning experts share wisdom at summit
By Garth Stapley - gstapley@modbee.com  Buzz up!
 
Standing alone may have served a romantic image of the great American West in years past. But for today's San Joaquin Valley, isolationism is death.

That's what planning experts said over and over when asked how the historically undervalued valley can expect to climb out of California's center rut and into a bright, vibrant future.

"The most important thing is coalition building," lobbyist Mark MacDonald said last week at a summit in Modesto, where planning specialists from near and far gathered to ponder valley strategy for hitting up money powerbrokers. "All your battles (must be) internal, before you get up to Sacramento."

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Dubious drought

Submitted: Sep 14, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

9-1-10

Lloygcarter.com

MORE DOUBTS ABOUT THE DROUGHT

USDA Figures show 2009, the so-called third year of drought in California, was the third highest yield of farm cash receipts in history

By Patrick Porgans

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On the announcement of departure of UC Merced's second chancellor

Submitted: Sep 05, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

A member of the Badlands Journal editorial board was asked by a UC Merced student for a meeting so that he could learn more about the campus where he is going to college. The request was received the day Chancellor Steve Kang announced he would depart the campus at the end of the next academic year.

 

We thought, rather than having coffee with the student and attempting to tell that story in an hour or so, we would do two things: first, refer him to an audio tape made in the classroom of UC Merced historian Gregg Herken, a member of the founding faculty of social sciences, humanities and art at the campus, and who directed the production of a laughable bit of bobcatflak called The Fairy Shrimp Chronicles: An informal history of the founding of UC Merced. The students of that class learned how to write history as propaganda and suppress vital information, useful skills if they seek careers in the University of California system.

 

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The Empire Mello-Roos mess

Submitted: Aug 01, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Those vaguely worded ballot measures can come back to haunt you.

We've noticed, driving around Merced and Stanislaus counties these days, that everything seems to be owned or controlled by bankers somewhere else. We wish we had a prize -- an award for real and sustained public service -- to offer J.N. Sbranti of the Modesto Bee, whose great coverage of complex financial issues in this area that has been shining a strong light since the speculative real estate boom began to go soft. We've appended a brief history of the Orrick law firm (from its website) below because the name Orrick has been associated with public bonds in California for a very long time.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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Bastille Day thoughts

Submitted: Jul 14, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The word "recession" has outworn its shoplife in the US Supermarket of Empty Flak. We are in a prolonged economic depression the severity of which has not been experienced in 80 years and so has been largely forgotten by the living.

Elderly, white, self-righteous harridans lecture county boards of supervisors on their sacred duty to throw the homeless beyond the county line. We hear the echoes of history even as our leaders do their very best to deny history, which at this point is our only faint possibility of a means of learning what time it is.

We in the Valley, like no doubt people all over the nation, are hunkering down, focusing on local issues, trying to forget a world out there that has turned on us. Our political leaders have honed to a fine edge the rhetoric of blaming the state and federal government for everything while in Washington they are alarmed at states asserting states' rights, as in the case of Arizona. The California state Legislature is a rotten stew that blames lesser jurisdictions for the state's problems.
Despite the severe rational limitations of "putting a face on the enemy," there are in fact forces beyond the political economic imagination of the ordinary citizen that are playing important, very nasty roles in our contemporary history. Below are two articles that discuss some aspects of these macro forces. They are not exhaustive treatments of the subject. That will await historians in future generations. But we believe the authors accurately name some of the historical forces at work now.

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Three bars across for Denham?

Submitted: Jun 13, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This article, written two days before the Primary Elections, suggests something that only campaign finance reports not yet published can verify. It might explain how two candidates went into the last weekend of the campaign for the 19th Congressional District essentially even, and one of them won by 10 points the following Tuesday. The thesis is that the candidate to whom one Indian casino donated heavily defeated two candidates who expressed the view that another tribe in the vicinity ought to have a "fair hearing" on its application to build an "off-reservation" casino on Highway 99, a site more advantageous than the casino that funded the winner. This logic in turn rests on at least two other assumptions. First, it assumes the sprawling district, which includes the central Sierra and parts of three Valley counties, is in any sense politically coherent other than its dominant Republican registration. It assumes the Republican electorate of the district can be swayed by the largest quantity of political propaganda. And it assumes that slot-machine players from metropolitan areas in Central California have become major players an election regardless of how far out of their thoughts that campaign was at the time they dropped the money in the casino.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

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Not a boondoggle!

Submitted: Jun 13, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Boondoggle -- a trivial, useless or wasteful expenditure, usually of public funds.

In the current economic climate, critics have suggested that high-speed rail is a boondoggle. They couldn't be more wrong. The lack of funding may slow down the project, but it will eventually become a reality.
Projects of this magnitude must not be stopped by economic cycles. Our economy will rebound and one day high-speed rail will be an important part of California's transportation mix.

At first we were reassured by these wise, confident words from the McClatchy Co.'s Fresno outlet. We also dismissed the cynical comment that Fresno won't call this project a boondoggle right up to the time some other Valley city is chosen for the site of the heavy maintenance yard. Virtually every city along the proposed routes are bidding for that yard because it would appear to be the most tangible benefit in the whole project.

Why, in fact, "high-speed rail will be an important part of California's transportation mix." Who or what power would ordain it to come into existence? Who is it that even wants it? Isn't it the same small group of leaders that believed to fervently against reality that the speculative housing boom would never bust? Isn't it the same group of brainwashed leaders who always say the same thing at the same time and hope to hoodwink the citizens into believing unison means truth?

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The U.S. Department of Westlands

Submitted: May 26, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We were deeply gratified that on the same day it announced a truly rotten federal court decision on the Delta pumps, one that will cause more damage to the endangered spring run of salmon and more economic damage to residents of the Delta and the Pacific Coast commercial fishery, the McClatchy Company’s Fresno outlet chose to run the long piece on revolving doors in resource regulatory agencies. We replied below to this act of self-righteous, hypocritical publication that becomes blatant propaganda considering its timing and place.

 

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

5-25-10

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