Merced County

"Pombo Yosemite Park Estates Ranch"

Submitted: Apr 19, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We always read with fascination the opinions of Rep. Devin Nunes, Pathological-Visalia. Wondering again about Tulare County in light of his latest ravings below, we were reminded of a long-forgotten event in the history of California voter registration, in which in 1966, the Tulare County Clerk discarded more than 150 registration affidavits collected by volunteers going door-to-door in outlying communities simply because the people registered had Hispanic surnames.

Nunes' profound problems with reality began at home.

Moving on to the topic of his latest screed, the campaign of Richard Pombo, Crooked Cowboy-Tracy, to be reelected to Congress from a district he doesn't even live in, we were reminded of a common sight on the highway just west of Tracy during the halcion days of the speculative real estate bubble, back before Pombo's links to convicted lobbyist, Jack Abramoff (conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion) were so well documented that they persuaded voters in his old district to elect a liberal Democrat from the Bay Area and throw Pombo out. On the outskirts of Tracy, if you were coming in from the west, parked on a ranch road in the middle of the first farm field beyond the last subdivision on the western edge of town, there was a cattle trailer parked so that motorists could read the sign facing them on its side. The sign read: "Pombo Real Estate Farms."

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Republicans declare World War III in Cardoza's congressional district

Submitted: Mar 24, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

McClatchy's Big Eight

We didn't like this McClatchy article, "Health care overhaul: Tallying winners and losers." But we had to admit covering the results at the final bell of the year-long session of the free market for votes in the White House and Congress as if it were a wrap up article of a day's race card at Pimlico made some sense. But we had some bones to pick with it because for many ordinary readers, it will probably go down as pretty much the last word on the issue. We hope we get through the political campaign season without violence in the Valley.
The idea that Rep. Dennis Cardoza of Annapolis MD should get a few roses for his act on this bill is ludicrous. In a completely cowardly way, he refused to hold any town meetings on the bill last summer. He was stupid enough to crawl into the stinking bedsheets of water politics with Rep. Devin Hunes, Tulare Raver, and get politically sapped for his bad judgment. And he waffled on the bill until the last minute, like the proverbial "deer in headlights" pontificating sanctimoniously about proper House process and the suffering of members his own family all the way to the vote he had to make for the bill to avoid a future in the House broom closet if the Demcrats hang on this November. We think his vapors were authentic. People who spend their entire political careers denying the reality of history have a hard time dealing with historical situations.

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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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Unemployment, foreclosure and agriculture this week

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

The great theoreticians of the economy that ate Merced speak in lovingly of "creative destruction." I suppose, from the vantage point of a tenured chair in a university economics department committed to free-market ideology, it all must seem terribly exciting. The public and elected officials (currently enjoying the lowest popularity ratings since such records began), may be excused for not fully embracing our culture's universal approval of all that is "creative." The destruction is not a new problem. The modern approach began with the passage of the Poor Law during the reign of QueenElizabeth I, back when Shakespeare was writing plays.

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Felix Smith's letter to Sen. Feinstein

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

Felix Smith, retired US Fish & Wildlife biologist, discovered the deformed and death wildlife at Kesterson Wildlife Refuge in western Merced County that resulted in cessation of west-side drainage of selenium-laced agricultural waste water to that site. Smith is extremely well qualified to address the senator on issues of political interference with embattled federal scientists defending the public trust and environmental law and regulation. He's seen it all.

Badlands Journal editorial board

February 19, 2010

Honorable Dianne Feinstein – Senator

331 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

Dear Senator Feinstein: 

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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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Trotter-in-snout disease

Submitted: Jan 23, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

A shadow covers the Valley. It is in the shape of a fat, blue pig with its fronttrotter outstretched to receive cash from the rich to stuff it where the sun never shines.

Historically, the Blue Dogs were the logical outgrowth of the career of former Rep. Tony Coelho, D-Merced, who preceded Gary Condit and, more importantly, who was in the go-go Eighties the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign slush fund for the Party's candidates and incumbents in the House of Representatives. Coelho got nailed for his involvement with Michael Millken, Wall Street's junk-bond king, later convicted for felonies and sent to prison. Coelho resigned rather than face an investigation and went into investment banking. When, in the course of managing Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, Coelho's "colorful" career was getting more media attention than his candidate's speeches, he resigned. An excellent study of Coelho's political career is Honest Graft, by Brooks Jackson.

The Blue Dogs have never stood for anything but money. They are no more than vultures feeding off the corpse of the Democratic Party. Coelho was at the funeral. Through the years, as the economy has grown steadily more concentrated in fewer hands, Blue Dogs dug deeper into the pockets of finance, insurance and real estate than ever, hiding as best they could from the people.

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A small price to pay

Submitted: Jan 16, 2010
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

It's a wonder UC Merced didn't also take credit for helping invent some of the grimmest real estate statistics in the country. It certainly has a right to that "honor" along with all the awards and recognitions it's claimed in recent Golden Bobcatflak.

Too humble, evidently.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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The poetry is in the details

Submitted: Dec 31, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

12-31-09

Merced Sun-Star
Merced County's economic woes hit hard in 2009...DANIELLE E. GAINES. Reporters Jonah Owen Lamb and Corinne Reilly contributed to this story.
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/167/v-print/story/1254070.html

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Whey drinkers of Hilmar, rejoice!

Submitted: Dec 30, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Followers of the pollution caused by Hilmar Cheese, "the world's largest cheese plant" (WLCP), will recall that whenever the wastewater pollution achieves a level that state regulators can no longer comfortably ignore, the WLCP comes up with yet a new "black box" technology and requests an exemption from regulation to try it out for a few years. WLCP hires ace flak Michael Boccadoro, the Moutha Gold, to invite the public to marvel at WLCP's brilliant new black box, designed by the world's most ingenious engineers at enormous sums of money, which are always mentioned to show how hard the WLCP is trying.

The regulators ordinarily grant the exemption to test the new black box, it never works, the WLCP skates by environmental regulation for another year or two until the regulatory agency gets antsy again, whereupon the whole process repeats itself.

Nor is there any mention in this flakodoro "journalism" of the three most obvious facts in this case: Hilmar Cheese will not control its pollution of groundwater; it probably can't because it is the world's largest cheese plant; and it is already expanding its plant in Dalhart TX.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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