Environment

Rainbird genius at work

Submitted: Mar 21, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board


“This is a complex problem with no clear answer that is going to require some decisive action,” said Rain Bird corporate marketing director Dave Johnson.

With insight like this on water issues, what more could be ask for?

There are new ideas, only new conferences.

Badlands Journal editorial board

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Pivotal roles

Submitted: Mar 20, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Through the seminar, UC Merced said it's playing "a pivotal role" in helping national parks across the globe lead strategic change.-- Merced Sun-Star, March 14, 2011

Sonny Star, the local gigolo press, is strutting her stuff again. Must be spring. On the editorial page Sonny pontificates about open government laws in California, mainly the Brown Act and the state Public Records Act. In the same edition, Sonny prints the release below from UC Merced Bobcatflak Central.

The only "pivotal role" UC Merced has played to date and may ever play is anchor tenant to the worst local housing bubble in the nation. It ought to be awarded the prize for "Worst Real Estate Boondoggle of the First Decade of the 21st Century.

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Confirmation of harmful levels of radiation

Submitted: Mar 17, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

3-17-11
Politicsdaily.com
Obama Says U.S. Safe From Japan Radiation, Orders Review of U.S. Nuclear Plants
http://www.politicsdaily.com/
President Obama reassured Americans Thursday that radiation from Japan's damaged nuclear plants poses no threat to this country, but added that he has ordered safety reviews of U.S. nuclear facilities.

"We do not expect harmful levels of radiation to reach the United States, whether it's the West Coast, Hawaii, Alaska, or U.S. territories in the Pacific," Obama said in an address from the Rose Garden. "That is the judgment of our Nuclear Regulatory Commission and many other experts."

Americans do not need to take any precautions against radiation contamination "beyond staying informed" of what's happening in Japan...

*****

"Never believe anything until it has been officially denied." -- Claud Cockburn

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Three other views on the Japanese catastrophe

Submitted: Mar 17, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Here are tfhree articles that might have escaped your attention about the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear reactor meltdown. The first two deal with the weakness of the Japanese government and the flak issuing from the utility that owns the reactors, which is beginning to enrage the domestic and international public. They are loading down the media with information and data, presented in incomprehensible forms. But they do not answer the questions vital to the public.

Last, the view of the tragedy from Hiroshima, where several anti-nuclear activists were interviewed. One person interviewed was the incomparable reporter from The Chugoku Shimbun, Akira Toshiro, who has specialized in stories on nuclear power for 30 years. Tashiro's book, Discounted Casualties: The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium, asked the question: what is the cost of sheathing bombs with depleted uranium, the cost to land, water, civilians and soldiers alike? His investigations and interviews took place in the US, the UK, Iraq and Yugoslavia.

Badlands Journal editorial board

3-16-11
The New York Times 
Flaws in Japan’s leadership deepen sense of crisis
No strong political class has emerged to take the place of bureaucrats and corporations
By KEN BELSON and NORIMITSU ONISHI
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42114871/ns/world_news-asiapacific/

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No plumber for Seville

Submitted: Mar 04, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Global experts on water (for example Steven Solomon in Water: The Epic Struggle for Weatlth, Power and Civilization) consider that California has built the most advanced water-delivery systems in the world. Yet the United Nations "independent investigator for the U.N.'s safe water and sanitation campaign" has decided to study two places in California, a tiny village in Tulare County and the City of Redding. The investigator compares the water situation of the Tulare village of Seville with water problems in Bangladesh as a Congressional research report several years ago unfavorably compared the San Joaquin Valley to Appalachia.

Valley business and political leaders, always ready to spend other people's money on vast projects like a high speed railroad, new reservoirs or the perennial favorite -- cotton subsidies -- for the benefit of the wealthy few to the detriment of the many inhabitants who will experience more environmental degradation as a result, have absolutely not taste for repair and maintenance or anything from deteriorating dams to rusty municipal water pipes. And they are correct. There is apparently no point in a political economy veering ever closer to the simple, disastrous ideal of a "self-regulating free market" in  absolutely everything, of taking care of people or the infrastructure that supports society.

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Green history (7)

Submitted: Mar 01, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

Jeffrey St. Clair is the author of Been Brown So Long It Looked Like Green to Me: the Politics of Nature and Grand Theft Pentagon. His newest book, Born Under a Bad Sky, is published by AK Press / CounterPunch books. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net.  This essay is excerpted from the forthcoming book GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank.

2-18/19-2011
Counterpunch.com
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment
How Green Became the Color of Money
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
http://www.counterpunch.com/stclair02182011.html

Getting Gored

From the beginning, Al Gore was fully in synch with the Clinton two-step on the environment. The first environmental promise Al Gore made in the 1992 campaign, he soon broke. It involved the WTI hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio, built on a floodplain near the Ohio River. The plant, one of the largest of its kind in the world, was scheduled to burn 70,000 tons of hazardous waste a year in a spot only 350 feet from the nearest house. A few hundred yards away is East Elementary School, which sits on a ridge nearly eye-level with the top of the smokestack.

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Self-congratulation in Stanislaus

Submitted: Feb 25, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

We found this editorial was more in the nature of fore-fantasy than forethought.

"If" rather than "when the economy and the housing market finally turn around," might be a firmer economic argument on which the base what follows. The finance, insurance and real estate special interests who control corporate media like McClatchy certainly weren't saying "when the speculative housing bubble bursts" a few years ago. In fact, they publicly doubted "if" the speculative bubble would ever burst.

Tfhe rest of the article deals with two Stanislaus County ordinances, both approved by voters, concerning "saving farmland."

The successful initiative that required a 1:1 mitigation for construction of prime farmland (the developer would have to provide an acre in perpetual conservation easement for every acre of farmland it develops) was upheld in state appellate court last week.
This is the latest version of the old propaganda line that developers create open space. If it had been passed in 1998 instead of 2008 it would have been something; instead it's just hypocrisy.

There is a similar flaw in the "save farmland" measure: the public would vote only on residential developments built on unincorporated, i.e. land under the land-use jurisdiction of Stanislaus County.

You can drive a locomotive through both these laws because they don't cover cities. When cities annex unincorporated (county) land, the laws no longer apply.

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Green history (6)

Submitted: Feb 08, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

2/4-6/11
Counterpunch.com
A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment
How Green Became the Color of Money
"Smoke Screens"
By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
http://www.counterpunch.com/stclair02042011.html

 

How is power really leveraged in Washington? Read Bob Packwood's diaries. The private record of this disgraced Oregon senator and top recipient of campaign contributions from the timber industry from 1985 to 1995 tells the story.

Packwood told the chief lobbyist for the National Lumber Wholesalers Association that if the Lumber Wholesalers wanted him to gut the Endangered Species Act, a hefty contribution was needed. Money duly flowed into Packwood's campaign treasury—and he promptly began attacking the spotted owl.

Packwood was a Republican. Democrats are no different. The leading recipient in the House of timber industry money during that same period was Norm Dicks, the Democrat from Washington.

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The splitting sound

Submitted: Feb 06, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

Why did this happen? Why did even the near-collapse of the financial system, and its desperate rescue by two reluctant administrations, fail to give the government any real

leverage over the major banks?

By March 2009, the Wall Street banks were not just any interest group. Over the past thirty years, they had become one of the wealthiest industries in the history of the American economy, and one of the most powerful political forces in Washington. Financial sector money poured into the campaign war chests of congressional representatives.

 

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Angelides commission report (2)

Submitted: Feb 03, 2011
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

A more critical view of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission than the one offered by McClatchy editorialists a few days ago in a shallow defense of one of its favorite son, Phil Angelides, Sacramento developer, protege of Angelo Tsakopoulos, former state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate, who chaired the commission.
Badlands Journal editorial board


2-2-11
Propublica
In Postcrisis Report, a Weak Light on Complex Transactions
by Jesse Eisinger
http://www.propublica.org/thetrade/item/in-postcrisis-report-a-weak-light-on-complex-transactions/
 The report from the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has been assailed [1] as a confusing [2] mishmash [3] -- poorly organized, unclear about what's new and weakened by conclusions that are at once obvious and unsatisfying. The problems of the commission were evident from the start: its mandate was too broad, its timetable too short, its budget too small and its commissioners too partisan.

Those criticisms are true, but overdone.

The report is full of fascinating information, rich detail and fine documentary evidence. The commission should be celebrated for putting more than 1,100 documents online [4] for anyone to search.

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