Journalism

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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The cycle of corruption in state and federal resource agencies in California

Submitted: Apr 13, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 It seems like at the end of these semi-automatic 8-year presidential regimes of the best administrations money can buy, there is a scandal in California involving the federal and state resource agencies with responsibility for enforcing environmental laws to protect wildlife species on land, in rivers and the ocean. The current report of misuse of public funds aimed at benefiting fish and wildlife in the Delta, instead using them to benefit irrigators and oil companies reminds us of a similar scandal in the Department of Interior eight years ago arising from a concerted attempt by politicians, business interests and federal resource-agency officials in their corrupt orbit, to destroy the federal Endangered Species Act by foul means, having failed in three attempts in Congress.

No doubt, professional historians could point to numerous examples of these cycles, which we might dub the Cycle of Corruption.

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Shine us on, oh multimedia sun, oh multiplatform stars!

Submitted: Apr 08, 2016
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 "While we're optimistic about the actions taken at council, it's very early in the process," Ken Riddick publisher of the Merced Sun-Star said earlier this week. "As we evolve as a multimedia provider of news and information and multiplatform marketing solutions, we continue to be committed to our readers and the businesses in the region," he said. "That relevance and credibility isn't about the building we house our staff in, it's about an amazing professional staff making Merced a better place to live and work." -- Thaddeus Miller, Merced Sun-Star, April 6, 2016, "Seeking new police station, city to negotiate for Sun-Star building."

 

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