Environment

The port-smog story mistold

Submitted: Dec 14, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

The Contra Costa Times, covering a story of Port of Oakland air pollution, supposedly of interest to its readers, missed the crucial political fact of the year on this issue: that Gov. Schwarzenegger, vetoed the bill that would have provided the most money for air clean up, by putting a surcharge on all full containers passing through the port. The additional fact that Gov. Sarah Palin, Barfly-AK, had something to do with persuading him to veto the bill, was also missed.

The Contra Costa Times was, until recently, owned by Knight-Ridder, which sold it to the McClatchy Co, which sold it to Denver-based MediaNews Group. Moody's has just again downgraded MediaNews's credit rating and pointed to significant challenges in the chain's near future.

Meanwhile, according to Project Finance Magazine, on Dec. 9, five multi-leteral export credit agencies pledged $5.25 billion for widening and improving the Panama Canal, another blow to westcoast ports. Shipping by sea remains the cheapest means of transport.

Another aspect of the problem of ports, pollution, and the money to improve air quality around the ports, is that the planned "inland ports," warehousing and truck depots in the San Joaquin Valley reached by rail from the ports, have lost one big pot of expected public funding as a result of Schwarzenegger's veto.

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Guidebook of SF community gardens

Submitted: Dec 13, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

San Francisco Chronicle

GARDENS IN UNLIKELY PLACES MEAN HOPE, FREEDOM...Ron Sullivan,Joe Eaton...10-12-08

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/10/HOVP14GTN1.DTL&type=homeandga

 

When we follow the operations of school and community gardens, we find ourselves speculating about the existence of a gardening instinct in our species.

When we happen upon "guerrilla" gardens like Alemany Farms or the Tenderloin National Forest, a converted alley off Ellis Street, we're tempted to make a most unscientific pronouncement confirming it.
It's dangerous to call anything in humans instinctive - not because we're such an exceptional case among mammals but because deciding what a human instinct is would be like that old koan about trying to bite your teeth. Never mind; it seems that growing things is so common to us and so persistent within us that it's almost a tropism.

We have local examples. The gardens on Alcatraz are so unlikely that half of us living here don't know they exist. To start them, early outposts on the island had to import soil because the place is natively a rock with a lot of bird droppings on it. Lichens, maybe mosses, grew there, and maybe there were a few tenacious succulents wedging themselves into cracks. The birds that have nested there for centuries probably brought seeds with them, on their bodies or in the nesting material some of them use.

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The corruption complex in Merced

Submitted: Dec 08, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

“In a government of law, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.” -- US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1856-1941

12-5-7-08
CounterPunch.com
How Washington Arrogance Helped Drive the Mumbai Attacks
Muslim Revolution
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
http://www.counterpunch.com/roberts12052008.html

We were deeply struck by this ancient theme -- that the polis is the teacher of its citizens -- because it is as true now as it has always been.

But, what of that other institution so terribly important to the education of our citizens and others, our universities, specifically "the greatest public higher education research institution in the world" ... (listen to those trumpets blare) ... the University of California?

Is UC a good teacher?

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Things that are upside down

Submitted: Dec 01, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Where are all the doomsayers of 2006? Those people, who said the speculative real estate boom could not last, were a kind of answer.

Their argument necessarily called for a governmental solution, a need for immediate, perhaps even drastic regulation of a bubble gone wild and spreading, via securitized debt, throughout the world. By 2007, the doomsayers were even saying that this could result in a global credit freeze. These days, they content themselves with documenting the damage.

Government didn't listen; it continued to enable the bubble. Today, the lame duck Bush administration is desperately trying to restore credibility to securitized credit debt at unbelievable, unimaginable but inadequate public expense, as wave upon wave of defaults, we are told, are yet to come -- more residential mortgage defaults, commercial mortgage defaults, credit card defaults. The ever-cheery mainstream press is beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find credentialled prophets willing to predict even a mid-term reversal of economic bad news.

Obama promised Change! but we doubt he'd like to take any credit for the real changes happening.

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Wild steelhead win in Fresno Federal District Court

Submitted: Oct 30, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

10-28-08
Fresno Bee
Fish policies upheld in court ruling
Judge says feds have steelhead discretion...John Ellis
http://www.fresnobee.com/local/v-printerfriendly/story/967296.html
A federal judge in Fresno ruled Monday that the U.S. government has discretion to recognize differences in steelhead fish populations when determining whether they are eligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger issued a 168-page ruling on two challenges to how the National Marine Fisheries Service viewed California's steelhead populations.
One case challenged the government's practice of counting hatchery steelhead populations separately from wild populations.
The Pacific Legal Foundation had argued that Endangered Species Act listing decisions could be based on the numbers of hatchery steelhead produced each year. Based on that, the foundation had asked the court to remove five separate populations of steelhead from the list of endangered species.
In his decision, Wanger wrote that the "best science available" used by the NMFS "strongly indicated that naturally-spawned and hatchery-born [steelhead] are different."

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What if?

Submitted: Oct 14, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


The local McClatchy Chain outlets blared the good news this morning that the stock market rebounded yesterday. Hot damn! Today the Dow lost 110 points, the S&P 500 lost 1.2 percent and the Nasdaq composite lost 3.5 percent.

We didn't notice the list of foreclosure announcements was any shorter in the Merced Sun-Star. Yesterday, in fact, we noticed that the Sun-Star's publisher had received a notice on his $507,000 home in McSwain. Evidently, we’ve had a real estate speculator running the paper during most of the boom. Mr. Vander Veen must have believed the propaganda he has been publishing.

The only politician calling for a moratorium on foreclosures is Barak Obama, also the best funded presidential candidate. However, here in Merced, an Obama lawn sign from the campaign office is reported to cost $10, and a tee shirt, $25. Blue Dog idiocy at the wheel as usual.

Maryland's newest Blue Dog congressman, Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-formerly Merced, ought to stop down at the old U of M and have a chat with Herman Daly, a distinguished economist recently retired from the World Bank to the university department that once fostered the work of Mancur Olson. Olson is important to the Valley because without his theoretical guidance, Brooks Jackson would not have been able to write so clearly his illuminating study, Honest Graft (1990), a seminal, prophetic work on political corruption in Congress that focused on the career of former Rep. Tony Coelho, Michael Milken's Friend-Merced.

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Hail Mary

Submitted: Oct 12, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

On a weekend when the whole world is holding its breath to see how investors will respond tomorrow to numerous bailout plans here, there and everywhere, a story about a Bush administration plan to gut more crucial provisions within the Endangered Species Act might seem unimportant.

It is not. If the Pomboza, that awesome duo of former Rep. Richard Pombo and Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Maryland's newest congressman, had had their way in Congress, the act would have been gutted long before now. And the result of that would have been even more destruction of natural resources for the construction of more over-priced McMansions, bought by speculators for more subprime mortgages to default on when the boom busted. Yet, at precisely the moment when the values of the ESA, the Clean Air and Clean Water acts as well as state environment laws like the California Environmental Quality Act, and the people who have tried to defend them before land-use authorities and in court, should be respected more highly at least for the damage they prevented to the environment and to the global economy, the Bush administration is trying to do by administrative order what Congress three times denied by legislation during this regime, whose corruption has not yet begun to be fully analyzed.

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Long live the Prince!

Submitted: Oct 05, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

When you can't trust your own political parties but can trust your governor, congressman and both US senators to do the wrong thing most of the time, it is time to seek an older, more reliable political affiliation, like the HOUSE OF WINDSOR/SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA!

Prince Charles' opposition to genetic engineering continues despite great criticism.


10-5-08
The Independent (UK)
Charles targets GM crop giants in fiercest attack yet
In a provocative address to an Indian audience, the Prince echoes Gandhi with a stinging attack on 'commerce without morality'...Geoffrey Lean
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/charles-targets-gm-crop-giants-in-fiercest-attack-yet-951808.html
 
It is less than two months since Prince Charles was on the receiving end of a fusillade of scientific, political and commentariat criticism for voicing, yet again, his concerns about GM crops and foods. He was widely accused of "ignorance" and "Luddism"; of being too rich to care about the hungry, and even of trying to increase sales of his own organic produce. It was put about that Gordon Brown was angered by his intervention.

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Hurricane Gustav: collateral damage

Submitted: Oct 02, 2008
By: 
Gary McMillen

 

NEW ORLEANS -- Returning to the apartment after Hurricane Gustav feels like watching a clip of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. The air, the stillness and the stark definitions of form make everything almost appear to be black and white. Eerie. There are no people in sight. A car passes every 15-20 minutes. While the city has been abandoned, nature has been quick to re-gain a foothold. I have been gone seven days and the once familiar surroundings resonate with something akin to treachery. Do I need a passport in this alien landscape? Is it safe?

Bugs I have never seen before attach to the car window. Insects, like miniature tornadoes, swarm around rotting garbage bags. A gray possum scampers across the parking lot toward the dumpster in broad daylight. Birds lined up on the handrail of the second-floor porch of the apartment. Mostly crows, looking down at me. Unconcerned with my presence. I start to climb the stairs and they shuffle and flutter up as if asking me, “What are you doing here? This belongs to us now.”

* * *

First things first. I am always intrigued about what gets done in the aftermath of a hurricane. Entering the city, along the shortcuts and back streets---all of the gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants are closed but the giant billboard announcing the Power Ball payoff has been up-dated to $87 million. You can’t find a bag of ice for 10 miles in every direction but somebody climbed up there and updated the bankroll. Who are those guys?

* * *

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US Fish and Wildlife extends range of Red-legged frog critical habitat

Submitted: Sep 21, 2008
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board
9-17-08
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Sacramento Fish & Wildlife Office
Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes 300% Increase in California Red-legged Frog Critical Habitat
Comment period opens for proposal based on entirely new analysis
Contacts:  Al Donner, (916) 414-6566...al_donner@fws.gov... News Release
http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/ea/news_releases/2008_News_Releases/ca_red-legged_frog_proposed_critical_habitat_revision.htm
Contacts:
Al Donner, (916) 414-6566
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