Journalism

Which is worse?

Submitted: May 27, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Which is worse, flash annihilation by nuclear explosions, or slow mutilation from low-level radiation, the result of radioactive contamination of the air, water and earth essential to life? -- Leuren Moret, forward to Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium

 

 

Discounted Casualties:
The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium 

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Down to the wire in California

Submitted: May 26, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 There is little to say about these two articles other than they are written by two of the best reporters on their subjects in the country: Bill Boyarsky on politics in California; and Ray McGovern on the state of national insecurity.  We have only this notice to add:

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Bellevue Road annexation: a report to John Q Public and Don Q Publico

Submitted: May 23, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


Every reporter who has covered local government knows of issues about which, for some reason, general incoherence prevails in public utterance and the media, delivered vehemently by both elected officials and department heads. Obsequious, cynical editors require the reporters to make up something plausible, which is then edited into new incoherence by paginators. If the editors perform adequately, later on they become local government communication directors and continue their careers crafting the obsequies of democracy.

And onward rolls the Great Wheel of Absurdity.

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Political scientists are summoned to the spectacles

Submitted: May 17, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 "In politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It's not cool to not know what you're talking about." -- President Barack Obama, Commencement speech at Rutgers University.

Maxwell Tani, Business Insider, May 15, 2016.

 


The political season has provoked such anxiety that people are turning to political science for its perspectives. We've found two recent reviews of political science about California groundwater and the irrationality of voters.

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Rainy days and state budgets, part 1

Submitted: May 14, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This article is the first in a series by longtime water researcher and activist, Patrick Porgans, on the opposite and contradictory polls of the "500-year California drought," the state's growing gross dtate product (GDP) and its growing budget. Porgans asks a number of questions about water and finances in California: Did the drought really affect agricultural profits? Where did the water really go? Why don't the data support the claims of drought-driven economic ruin? Why do urban citizens have to subsidize agribusiness, which exports so much produce grown with subsidized irrigation water? The article is dense with facts and figures and requires reading several times to get their full impact. It can't be boiled down into either a TV sound-byte or a wire-service news story.

Enjoy the results of real sustained research on matters vital to the health of the state. -- blj


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UC Merced's newest bright, shiny thing

Submitted: May 04, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 In memory of William Trombley (1929-2009)

 

We are frankly skeptical of the UC Merced-sponsored "Climate Feedback" website, which aims at rating the scientific accuracy of media coverage of environmental issues. Apparently, the group of scientists has a special grievance against online publications. Badlands Journal, such a publication,  has reported thoroughly on the environmental damage directly caused by UC Merced and stimulated by the campus site, including environemntal permit comment letters and legal actions done by San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, Protect Our Water (POW), the Central Valley Safe Environment Network and other public organizations.

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Branding manure and other acts of antic agrarian acquisition

Submitted: Apr 26, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The Great California Drought, now in year five (though Northern Cal is getting some temporary relief), is the worst drought in California history. According to NASA we are currently trillions (yes, trillions) of gallons below where we should be in groundwater. This has forced us to deplete our precious aquifers—many that took millennia to fill. Recently, NASA, using satellites to measure underground water supplies, found was that nearly one in seven US aquifers are so depleted that they must now be classified as ‘extremely” or “highly” stressed, and that California’s Central Valley Aquifer—which is being sucked dry to help drought-stricken farms in our core growing region—is now by far the most troubled in the United States. Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who lead the study, called the situation “critical,” adding that “we are running out of groundwater.” According to the federal government nine cities in California are at risk of going bone dry, and some small towns are already needing to truck in water for daily use.-- Kopald and Chouinard, Huffington Post, April 20, 2016

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Smog replaces foreclosures, murder and drought as top Valley distraction

Submitted: Apr 21, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

  This pair of articles about our deteriorating air quality demonstrates a couple of disgusting sides to journalism and the "public information" racket today.

First, you cannot do a "balanced" story on a topic so obviously, totally out of balance as Valley air pollution. You simply cannot be permitted to correctly quote the Valley air board's sleazy flak telling the gasping public to take it all with a grain of salt.

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The horns of our poltical dilemma: between inverted totalitarianism and fugitive democracy

Submitted: Apr 18, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Robert Perry writes about the soaring "negatives" of both the front runners in the presidential primaries, HIllary Clinton and Donald Trump (the Hill and the Donald). He presents the bleak dilemma facing the Democratic Party after the nomination. This reminds us of the 1968 Democratic Party, gutted by the assassination of Robert Kennedy that depressed his supporters so deeply that they were unable to rally in time to help defeat Richard Nixon.

Supporters of Bernie seem made of stronger stuff, having found their political legs marching and demonstrating rather than scrambling to get their noses under a tent in Camelot.

Chris Hedges points out in his column, "Revolution in the air," that the movements built around principles and moral positions are having a growing influence on elected officials.

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Sheer v. Osborn on Democracy Now! -- Vital debate

Submitted: Apr 17, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 Below is a transcript from a spirited debate regarding the Democratic Party presidential primaries campaign hosted by Democracy Now! last week.

In it the strengths and weaknesses of both candidates show up in their advocates, both veterans of decades of progressive political commitment.

We thought it was important to post DN!'s transcript because there was more to the encounter than could be captured by just watching or even rewatching the video of Friday's show.

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