Environment

Delta pumping impacts on orcas

Submitted: Feb 16, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

2-16-09
CounterPunch.com
Is Delta Pumping Driving Salmon and Orca Decline?
By DAN BACHER

http://www.counterpunch.com/bacher02162009.html
Increases in freshwater exports out of the California Delta, the operation of Shasta Dam and other inland habitat problems have not only led to the collapse of Central Valley salmon populations, but also threaten the southern resident killer whale population.

These were the conclusions of National Marine Fisheries Service scientists disclosed during a frank discussion of the recently released rewritten draft biological opinion on the impacts of the state and federal water projects during a meeting in Sacramento with representatives of fishing and environmental groups organized by Richard Pool, coordinator of Water for Fish. The NMFS opinion currently concludes "jeopardy" for winter run chinook salmon, spring run chinook salmons, green sturgeon and the southern resident killer whale species.

As a result of litigation by NRDC, Earthjustice and fishing groups, a federal judge ruled that the previous biological opinion violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The court ordered the agency directed to issue a new opinion by March of 2009 - and the draft opinion was released in December 2008.

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Shoot out at the OK canal

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

Panel will debate controversial water issues Feb. 4 at Fresno State

(January 14, 2009) – A public debate on water policy in California and the Central Valley will be moderated by U.S District Judge Oliver Wanger at 7 p.m. Feb. 4, at California State University, Fresno. Agricultural and environmental advocates will face off on the issues.

 

The debate, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Satellite Student Union (2485 E. San Ramon Ave. at Maple Avenue, south of Barstow Avenue). It is sponsored by Fresno State’s Political Science Student Association and the Political Science Department.

 

As the presiding judge for the Eastern District of California, Wanger has ruled over most of the major water cases recently in the Valley, including the controversy over preserving Delta smelt in the Sacramento Delta. Wanger will provide brief opening remarks, said Dr. Thomas Holyoke, a political science professor who is coordinating the event.

 

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The Ol' Shrimp Slayer's voodoo home mortgage bill

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

At first, when we received a press release from Rep. Dennis Cardoza, Shrimp Slayer-Maryland, about reducing mortgage payments and, in general, solving the entire recession/depression, we were impressed and willing to applaud the effort. Later, we read the bill, or, more correctly, we tried without success to read and understand the bill, H.R. 230. Our failure derives no doubt from our residence in Merced, in the 18th congressional district of California, rather than in Annapolis, in the 3rd congressional district of Maryland. Although last night we spied a UC Merced student in a supermarket line with a T-shirt announcing, "I know something you don't know...UC Merced 2006-2007," we didn't think the video buyer would be able to help us understand Cardoza's bill, so we didn't ask him what he thought this section might have meant:

(e) Securitization-

(1) REQUIREMENT- Each enterprise shall, upon such terms and conditions as it may prescribe, set aside any qualified mortgages purchased by it under this section and, upon approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, issue and sell securities based upon such mortgages set aside.

(2) FORM- Securities issued under this subsection may be in the form of debt obligations or trust certificates of beneficial interest, or both.

(3) TERMS- Securities issued under this subsection shall have such maturities and bear such rate or rates of interest as may be determined by the enterprise with the approval of the Secretary.

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US Senate approves omnibus public lands bill, including San Joaquin River Settlement

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

 

 

 

 

Natural Resources Defense Council

www.nrdc.org

111 Sutter Street, 20th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94104

tel 415 875-6100

fax 415 875-6161

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS: Erin Allweiss (202)513 6254/(202)277 8370; Monty Schmitt: (415)875-6100; Hal Candee: (415)421-7151

Senate Passes Omnibus Lands Bill

Will Restore Water, Salmon Populations to San Joaquin River

 

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The University of California: overbuilt, underfunded, and a reckless investor

Submitted: Jan 06, 2009
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

1-6-09
Modesto Bee
Lowering UC's standards has several costs...Doug Ose. Ose, of Granite Bay, is a developer who served three terms in Congress.
http://www.modbee.com/opinion/community/v-print/story/553747.html
Editor's note: This article was submitted in response to The Bee's editorial "Changes in UC admissions should improve process" (Jan. 2, Page A-1).
Recently the University of California Board of Regents considered a proposal to lower admission standards for incoming freshman. At the heart of the proposal is the elimination of the SAT subject tests and the establishment of a "holistic" admissions process called Entitled to Review.
The concern is that eliminating subject tests removes a long- established path to admissions that has a proven record in predicting a student's readiness for success in college. Changing to this new policy invites legal mischief. UCLA has been using "holistic" admissions practices and now faces scrutiny for potential violations of Proposition 209, which outlawed college admissions based on race or ethnicity. Fortunately, a significant public outcry from students and others forced the regents to postpone making any decision until early 2009.

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Selfishness, greed, hypocrisy and political corruption destroy the Delta

Submitted: Jan 02, 2009
By: 
Bill Hatch

12-22-08
Merced Sun-Star editorial

 

...How can we judge if California is taking more water from the delta and its watershed than they can handle?
Consider the evidence: Smelt are at the brink of extinction. Other species, such as salmon, are in serious peril. Federal courts are using the hammer of the Endangered Species Act to deliver a blunt message about the entire ecosystem.
Dry years, when cities and farms suck more from the delta than they do during more rainy times, are especially tough for these species. During wet years, 87 percent of the water entering the delta makes it out to the San Francisco Bay. During dry years, the figure drops to 51 percent.
If California is to have any hope of restoring the delta and avoiding clashes with federal judges, it must develop a water plan that reduces its dependence on this estuary and strives for greater reliability.
What would this plan look like?
To begin with, it must be grounded in reality. Water contracts based on dated premises must be renegotiated, and efficiency should be the law of the land.
Each region of the state -- including Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley -- must find ways to reduce what it takes from the delta and its watershed. And environmental groups must recognize that not every species will be restored to its population predating the Gold Rush...

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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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