Public Works

Overflowing rice bowls

Submitted: Oct 29, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

 Isn't it just amazing how Man -- in His Form as California Rice Grower, the most highly subsidized farmers in America -- converted wetlands to rice paddies north of the City of Sacramento and now, having expropriated so much water it has threatened whole aquatic species with extermination, now Man, that protean being, also appearing in the Form of the federal Bureau of Reclamation, is extoling His scientific genius for raising some hatchery salmon in flooded rice paddies. Many the severely endangered Chinook salmon will recover. But the University of California scientists, of course have created not only one place where this masterpiece of environmental engineering has occurred once, but they are announcing they have created a "a win-win model that can be replicated around the state,"

 

 

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Fall water anxiety 2013

Submitted: Sep 25, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 The autumnal spate of water-anxiety articles appears in the desert regions of California as the first big rains hit the northern part of the state. The descriptions of “our water problem” become more neurotic and technically sophisticated each year. Our society maintains, despite all indications that it should be most wary, its sublime faith in the power of American engineering know-how and the democratic process in our state Capitol, where finance, insurance and real estate (especially agribusiness) buys the votes proffered by our elected officials for sale in our sacred “decision making process.”

 

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Hard times comin' for the Great Reflector?

Submitted: Sep 01, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

Jerry Brown, our governor, has been scandalizing California adults for years now with his scathing critiques of environmental law, particularly the California Environmental Quality Act, which he calls “the blob” from which any exemption for development is good, of which any enforcement bad.

He has chosen several instruments not of his making to make his dark vision of CEQA real for his entire, gigantic parish of eligible votes. With his tool in the Legislature, Senate pro tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, he has crafted legislation to “streamline” i.e. gut CEQA. But this craft seems to have broken up on the shoals of sensible opposition, at least for the current session of the Legislature.

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Stan "Bully Boy" Thurston's war on workers

Submitted: Aug 16, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 "Breaking news alert! Wages fell at the fastest rate ever recorded during the first quarter of this year, the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics 

reported.

 

"Hourly wages fell 3.8 percent in the first quarter, the biggest drop since the BLS began tracking compensation in 1947. Productivity rose half a percentage point. The result was that what economists call “labor unit costs” fell 4.3 percent.

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Sen, Wyden ex-staffer's critique of administration secrecy on NSA

Submitted: Aug 13, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 We saw the author of the Techdirt.com article below interviewed Monday on Democracy Now! and were deeply impressed by her gravity, intelligence background and the seriousness of what she had to say about the inadequacy of the administration’s response to Edward Snowden’s challenge. We also wished to introduce readers who may not know about it to Techdirt.com, a well written website addressing very serious communication and surveillance issues in the US and beyond – blj

 

8-10-13

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Kill 'em all and pave it over!

Submitted: Aug 09, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 About 15 years ago in Merced, when our leaders were on fire with lust for the UC campus, the Fish & Wildlife Service had declared a critical habitat designation for the endangered species inhabiting vernal pools. Our leaders were outraged, organized rallies, vilified anyone in the region suspected of harboring an environmental thought. Politicians, at the behest of the finance, insurance and real estate special interests, pressured Service staff. Julie MacDonald, a high level political appointee at the Service, cajoled and threatened staff down to the field biologist level, and produced a bizarre “economic study” purporting to show the billions that would be lost to our regional and national economy by this horrible critical habitat designation.

 

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Not as easy as it looks

Submitted: Jul 04, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

This is for all our friends who believe that large-scale government solutions to water issues are best; and to our friends who believe that the deregulated free market and individual enterprise are the only real, natural ways to allocate water resources. We have below two examples of water policies: one concerning state policies using surface water; the second involving the essentially unregulated, private use of groundwater in the Ogallala Aquifer.

 

 

 

The surface-water policies seem guided by 20th century dogma:

 

 

 

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No worries, High Speed Wailers: the fix is in

Submitted: Jun 30, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

It must have been a slow news day, what with Snowden still being in the Moscow airport or somewhere. -- blj

 

6-29-13

Merced Sun-Star

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Beauty and the beast

Submitted: Jun 08, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

We were struck by the beauty and balance of William Tweed's prose about his rail trip through the San Joaquin Valley. Tweed lives  in Three Rivers, gateway to Sequoia National Park. According to Amazon.com,

 

William Tweed, utilizing the knowledge and skills he developed during thirty years with the National Park Service where he worked as an interpretive writer, historian, and naturalist, specializes in writing that brings together the natural and human  worlds.

His major published works include: Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks: The Story Behind the Scenery (KC Publications, 1980);

Challenge of the Big Trees: A Resource History of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (Sequoia Naturalist History

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The marriage of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and financier Richard Blum: A win-win, public-private partnership for graft

Submitted: Jun 07, 2013
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Richard Blum, UC regent and former chairman of the regents, major stockholder in Tutor Perinni Corp, which won the bid to construct the first leg of the California high-speed railroad, and chair of the board of CB Richard Ellis, in charge of selling decommissioned post offices, is -- as everyone knows -- the husband of US Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Feinstein remarked yesterday that the leak that in secret Verizon has turned over to the NSA information about the private communications of its American customers ought to be prosecuted because we have "a culture of leaks."

Badlands Journal editorial board

 

6-7-13

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