Merced County

Education to Elegance with a Sprit of Tradition

Submitted: May 03, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

The now famous UC Merced Valentine campaign to invite First Lady Michelle Obama to speak at the May 16 commencement exercises featured the following legend, found at this link:

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/167/v-story_images/story/684187.html

Education to Elegance with a Sprit of Tradition
UC Merced Commencment May 16, 2009

Since, as we say in the press, this message had pass through many sets of eyes, we wondered if "sprit" had an academic meaning that has escaped us all these years. However, the only definition we could find was:

sprit: a spar that crosses a fore-and-aft sail diagonally. (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)

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Something about 40 roosters

Submitted: Apr 25, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We were curious about an agenda item for the Merced County Planning Commission that appeared in late February: "To permit (legalize) the raising of up to 40 roosters as a hobby and occasional sales, on a 9.7 acre parcel."

When we read further, we realized we'd passed this rooster ranch in Stevinson not long before and had commented that someone must be raising fighting cocks on the site. There seemed no other explanation for a field full of little pens holding individual roosters that did not look like White Leghorns or Plymouth Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Araucanas, Banties or any other typical barnyard variety of chicken. They looked like gamecocks. It was our general impression that cockfighting is supposed to be illegal in California, although it is a law widely disobeyed since its passage. We were also aware of something of a campaign against raising gamefowl in the county in recent years and a number of cockfight busts. So, we, the perpetually ignorant public, wondered what this agenda item could be doing in front of the planning commission rather than on the Sheriff's blotter. We asked someone at a county office about it, but she just rolled her eyes and said she didn't always read the documents she distributed.

Members of the public called the editorial board and suggested they watch the video of the planning commission meeting. They said it was one of the most mysterious moments they had ever witnessed in local government.

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Clarifications from the Sun-Star

Submitted: Apr 13, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Mike Tharp, executive editor of the Merced Sun-Star, sent in some clarifications regarding a recent Sun-Star editorial, posted and criticized on Badlands. The article on this site was called "The fish," March 15, 2009, http://www.badlandsjournal.com/taxonomy/term/24?page=1

Thanks for reprinting our editorial calling for big public/private projects that would both restore community spirit and help the local economy. A couple of clarifications, however: I returned from six weeks in Iraq for McClatchy last July (not "recently"); and the only time I spent in the Green Zone was to be taken there in an armored vehicle for interviews. Otherwise, I lived in the McClatchy bureau--well in the Red Zone--or was embedded with the 10th Mountain Division in Kirkuk.

Red Zone and Green Zone are duly noted. But, we can't help also noting that they sound like the Red Team and the Green Team Cardoza, Condit and his children, and Gov. Gray Davis used to command and control environmental law and regulation and state and federal resource agencies for the last great public works project here, UC Merced.

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Timing is everything

Submitted: Apr 13, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

...except history. Actually, UC has had a campus in the Central Valley for more than a century, at Davis. Nevertheless, when in 1988 UC announced plans for three new campuses, it was expected that the one most likely to be built would be in the San Joaquin Valley, probably in Fresno. But, Brown is right, it is a lovely piece of land. It is a terrible thing to realize that a prolonged economic depression is likely to be  a principle obstacle to UC and other developers completely ruining most of it. However, as late as early 1999, the UC Merced campus was not a "done deal." And, as one of the former speaker's oldest political cronies, John Burton, former president pro tem of the state Senate, aptly remarked at the time, the campus is a "boondoggle," of the win/win, public/private variety.

But, that's just history. This is just more politics.

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

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Summer of our discontent

Submitted: Apr 05, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The following articles about declining freight shipments -- from coastal ports to railroads to trucking companies -- raises an important question. In previous boom-bust cycles of speculative residential real estate investment, in the bust phase, capital flows into commercial real estate development. This was certainly anticipated here. The idea of finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) was that you could create fraudulent mortgages, bundle and securitize them and sell them the whole world over...forever, in a constantly escalating real estate market that would provide and endless arena for speculation, because, as we all now know, the United States, having declared the end of history (political, economic, military, environmental), now created history any damned way it wanted to.


It didn't quite work out that way. What has happened is an economic depression, most keenly felt in areas like Merced, Modesto and Stockton, which for months have topped the national rollcall of shame for their astronomical foreclosure rates.

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"Reverse Dust Bowl"

Submitted: Apr 02, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

3-31-09
Fresno Bee
Congressmen want more water for California farmers

http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/1298951.html


The Associated Press – 3/31/09
By Kevin Freking


Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, said thousands of families were moving out of his district. He called the exodus the "Dust Bowl migration in reverse."

 

Congressman Cardoza has always been a great leader in the 18th Congressional District of California. His greatest act of leadership in recent months has been to move his family to Annapolis, Maryland and get his wife a job at the U. of Maryland.

Cardoza did everything he could, as a state assemblyman and later as a congressman, to promote real estate, finance and insurance growth in Merced, Modesto and Stockton, today among the top foreclosure rate capitals of the nation. He was particularly effective in breaking every environmental law and regulation in his path to site the University of California campus in Merced, which became the anchor tenant for that hapless county's speculative real estate boom and bust. Only the enormous protections offered congressmen for stating their economic interests prevents the public from getting a clear picture of how much Cardoza personally benefited from the boom.

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State of the birds and of the Endangered Species Act

Submitted: Mar 20, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The unprecedented "State of the Birds" Report 2009 caused a small stir in some circles during a week otherwise devoted to stories of unprecedented extortion by finance, insurance and real estate representatives in and out of the Obama administration.

The Wall Street Journal, in an apparent lapse of syntactical clarity, offered this line:

Among the more than 800 bird species in the U.S., 67 are listed as endangered or threatened by the federal government, the report says.

Certainly under the Bush administration, including the former president's parting shot at gutting the Endangered Species Administration (see last posting by Badlands), a wide variety of wildlife species in the US have been endangered or threatened by the actions and especially the non-actions of federal government agencies charged with their protection. As the collected works of former Department of Interior Inspector General, Earl E. Devaney, documented, these agencies were frequently in the pockets of the extortionists now destroying the national human habitat and economy. The most outrageous case Devaney investigated, involved oil and gas leases in Colorado, home state of Obama's Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar.

The Wall Street Journal continues:

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State of the birds and of the Endangered Species Act

Submitted: Mar 20, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The unprecedented "State of the Birds" Report 2009 caused a small stir in some circles during a week otherwise devoted to stories of unprecedented extortion by finance, insurance and real estate representatives in and out of the Obama administration.

The Wall Street Journal, in an apparent lapse of syntactical clarity, offered this line:

Among the more than 800 bird species in the U.S., 67 are listed as endangered or threatened by the federal government, the report says.

Certainly under the Bush administration, including the former president's parting shot at gutting the Endangered Species Administration (see last posting by Badlands), a wide variety of wildlife species in the US have been endangered or threatened by the actions and especially the non-actions of federal government agencies charged with their protection. As the collected works of former Department of Interior Inspector General, Earl E. Devaney, documented, these agencies were frequently in the pockets of the extortionists now destroying the national human habitat and economy. The most outrageous case Devaney investigated, involved oil and gas leases in Colorado, home state of Obama's Secretary of Interior, Ken Salazar.

The Wall Street Journal continues:

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Don't let Bush's ESA rules stand

Submitted: Mar 20, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

This item below courtesy of the Center for Biodiversity, brings us up-to-date on Bush's lame-duck anti-Endangered Species Act regulations, what Obama has done about them, what he hasn't don't about them, and what remains to be done to get rid of them in the next several weeks.

 

 

3-18-09

Center for Biological Diversity

(415) 632-5319 for more information

Secretary of Interior Should Rescind Bush Endangered Species Act Rules —

Congressional Authorization Expires in 53 Days

Shortly before leaving office, the Bush administration issued three regulations that (1) remove the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an independent, scientific watchdog over potentially damaging federal projects such as timber sales, mines, and dams; (2) exempt all greenhouse gas-emitting projects, including coal-fired power plants and federal fuel efficiency standards, from Endangered Species Act review; and (3) specifically ban federal agencies from protecting the imperiled polar bear from greenhouse gas emissions. These policies eviscerate the central Endangered Species Act process — U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversight — that has protected endangered species for 35 years, and they exclude the greatest future threat to endangered species — global warming — from consideration under the Act.

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The fish

Submitted: Mar 15, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

"Capitalists forget the masses. Socialists forget the money." -- Mike Tharp, executive editor, Merced Sun-Star.

"Capitalists and newspaper editors work without aid of memory." Badlands Journal editoral board.

In the stirring, hairy-chested whine beneath, written on a weekend when, long after every newspaper in the region has seen all its finance, insurance and real estate flak predictions of the easing of foreclosures and the bottom of real estate prices buried by reality, Sonny Star's top editor calls for a Big public works project for Merced to provide work and restore civic confidence.

In general, Californians believe that the history of everything from the state to their subdivision began when they arrived. This appears to be doubly true of the manly Tharp, recently returned from the Green Zone in Baghdad, who calls in vigorous prose for the government to build something around Merced. Right now, if you please.

The government continues to sink hundreds of millions of weakening dollars into a win-win, public-private partnership project adjoining Merced. The project is called UC Merced. It was repeatedly presented by several generations of UC administrators, UC Merced boosters, politicians and business leaders -- and incessantly by UC Merced Bobcatflaksters -- to be a publicly funded "high-tech, bio-tech engine of growth." But we don't hear so much as a backfire, let alone a Great Purring Sound. 

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