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Death in the Delta: The Slaughter Continues

Death in the Delta: The Slaughter Continues

by Dan Bacher

For the second day in a row, the state and federal water project pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have taken over 500,000 Sacramento splittail, a native minnow species found only in the Central Valley and Delta.

The Bureau of Reclamation "salvage" report on May 17 recorded 525,260 splittail entrained in the federal Central Valley Project pumps and 5,355 in the State Water Project pumps (

On the same day, the agency counted 424 spring run chinook salmon in the federal pumps and 140 in the state facilities.

On May 16, the "salvage" report counted 546,668 Sacramento splittail taken at the CVP pumps and 10,028 splittail at the State Water Project pumps The agency reported 256 chinook salmon at the federal pumps and 546 salmon at the state pumps in the South Delta the same day.

Over 1 million imperiled Sacramento splittail have been taken over the past two days and over 11,000 threatened Sacramento River spring-run chinook have perished in the "death pumps" of the California Delta since the beginning of the year. The pumps divert water from the Delta, the largest and most significant estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, to irrigate drainage-impaired land operated by agribusiness corporations on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and to supply Southern California water agencies.

House Votes to Open California Offshore Oil Leasing in 2012

On May 12, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to open leasing for offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the California coast in 2012, according to John and Barbara Stephens-Lewallen, North Coast environmental leaders and sustainable seaweed harvesters.

HR 1231, which was approved by a 243-179 vote, requires the Interior Secretary to "make available for leasing any Outer Continental Shelf planning areas that: are estimated to contain more than 2,500,000,000 barrels of oil; or are estimated to contain more than 7,500,000,000,000 cubic feet of natural gas."

This provision, if passed by the Senate and approved by the President, would require lease sales in planning areas off the California Coast, including the Point Arena Basin planning area off the Mendocino Coast in Northern California.

"We’re asking everyone to join us in vocal opposition to this new effort to open leasing for offshore oil and gas drilling off the California coast next year," said John and Barbara Stephens-Lewallen of Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company. "As edible seaweed harvesters, it is our duty to defend the rich, clean ocean waters of Northern California as a source of health-giving food for present and future generations.

Climate Change is Changing the Oceans

Bleached corals on coral reef on southern Great Barrier Reef

Ocean scientists find the effects of climate change in the world's oceans. From acidification and warming temperatures to sea-level rise and sea-ice loss, Ira Flatow and guests explore how the oceans are changing.
Source: Changing Climate Means Changing Oceans

Gareth Porter

Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter

Gareth Porter is an independent historian and journalist for IPS News. He discusses the acceptance of the false Iraq War narrative. He explains how the U.S. and Iran are essentially partners-in-meddling in Iraqi politics.
Source: Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter, September 13, 2010

Riz Khan of Al Jazeera English questions the food distribution system

He asks with more than one billion people around the world considered overweight, why are so many others still starving and struggling to fill their plates?
Source: Riz Khan - Global food justice

Music includes Earth Anthem, The Maid Freed from the Gallows, Lonely Bull, We'll Meet Again

Play Program or Download(below the fold)

Save State Parks - Shut Down the MLPA Initiative

Our beautiful State Parks, enjoyed by millions of people every year, are in their greatest crisis in California history.

On May 13, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) released a list of 70 state parks that will be permanently closed to the public as a direct result of the $22 million budget cut enacted by Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature earlier this year.

"Although closure lists have been released in the past in response to previous budget cut proposals, this is the first time in the 100-year history of California’s state park system that state park closures will be implemented," according to Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the California State Parks Foundation.

Goldstein said permanent park closures will begin this September. Among the many state parks that will be off-limits to the public with will be Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Henry W. Coe State Park, Pio Pico State Historic Park, Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, Benicia State Park, Colusa State Park and many more. The full list is devastatingly long and includes 40% of all state historic parks in CA.

"This unprecedented plan will close the doors to 25% of California’s state park system and will impact all regions of our state. As you know, park closures will have very real impacts on the people of California, the resources our parks protect and our economy," said Goldstein.

Over half a million splittail taken in Delta pumps on May 16!

Delta pumps kill huge numbers of salmon, splittail

by Dan Bacher

Hundreds of thousands of imperiled Sacramento splittail, a native minnow species, and thousands of threatened spring-run chinook salmon have died recently at the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) water pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, according to figures released by the Bureau of Reclamation.

On May 16, the "salvage" report from the Department of Fish and Game website reported 546,668 Sacramento splittail taken at the CVP pumps and 10,028 splittail at the State Water Project pumps (

On the same day, the Department reported 256 chinook salmon at the federal pumps and 546 salmon at the state pumps in the South Delta.

The alarming news comes amidst debate over federal legislation, sponsored by Congressional supporters of subsidized agribusiness corporations in the San Joaquin Valley, that would exempt export pumping to agribusiness and southern California water agencies from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for salmon and other fish.

Legislators Seek Savings by Cutting Suction Dredge Mining Program

by Dan Bacher

Budget sub-committees in both houses of the California legislature this week approved identical budget cuts that could effectively end what Indian Tribes, environmentalists and recreational fishermen describe as the "environmentally destructive" practice of suction dredge mining once and for all.

"The effort would save California tax payers nearly $2 million a year and aid the recovery of imperiled fisheries throughout the state," according to a news release from the Karuk Tribe.

“California is in the midst of an historic financial crisis," said Leaf Hillman, Director of the Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources. "Taxpayers can no longer afford to subsidize this environmentally destructive hobby."

Hillman said the move by the budget committees still has to be approved as part of the overall state budget, but reversing the proposal would require lawmakers to fight for budget increases to fund a dredge mining permit and enforcement program while they are at the same time faced with deep cuts to education, healthcare for the elderly, and law enforcement.

Administration draws back from Schwarzenegger's Delta tunnel proposal

Delta advocates say conveyance schemes endanger the estuary

by Dan Bacher

A Brown administration official said a proposal to build a pair of huge tunnels is no longer the top option in a state plan to facilitate the export of water from the California Delta to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness and southern California water agencies

Jerry Meral, Deputy Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, announced during a Assembly Committee Hearing on May 10 that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), a controversial program based on the co-equal goals of "water supply reliability" and "ecosystem restoration," will consider multiple alternatives for Delta "conveyance." These alternatives will include a plan for a smaller conveyance facility with 3,000 cfs capacity proposed by the Planning and Conservation League.

The tunnel proposal was the option favored by the Schwarzenegger administration through the BDCP to build new "conveyance" - a peripheral canal - around or through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The previous administration proposed the study of two tunnels capable of diverting 15,000 cfs in the latest incarnation of the peripheral canal, a project that California voters overwhelmingly rejected in the election of 1982.

The MLPA Initiative: So “Transparent” – They Don’t Exist!

The MLPAI: So “Transparent” – They Don’t Exist!

Posted on May 12, 2011 by David Gurney

We have filed a lawsuit against the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) “Initiative” for violations of the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act during two-day public meetings in April 2010. The response of the private/public “Initiative?”

“The MLPA Initiative is not an organization, agency, or association of any kind which may be sued in a court of law.”

This despite the MLPAI website, listing staff and officers as follows:

Satie Airame, Science and Planning Advisor
Evan W. Fox, Principal Planner
Melissa Miller-Henson, Program Manager
Kelly Sayce, Outreach and Education Coordinator
Ken Wiseman, Executive Director

The MLPA Initiative’s Program Manager Melissa Miller-Henson refused to be legally served with our complaint, and has officially filed a “Motion to Quash” our lawsuit, on the grounds the so-called Initiative is: “not a formal organization or a State agency, it is not incorporated, it has no officers, and it has no members or associates.”

Group Says Southern California's Coastal Waters Are Still Open

Group Says Southern California's Coastal Waters Are Still Open

by Dan Bacher

Recreational fishing groups and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) disagree over when controversial new regulations to create "marine protected areas" on the South Coast, adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in December as part of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, will go into effect.

The DFG has issued conflicting information on when the reserves will go into effect, creating great confusion among anglers. The Department's Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, posted March 1, 2011, erroneously states on page 59, "New Southern California marine protected areas will go into effect this spring."

At the same time, the Department's website,, currently states that the south coast MPA regulations "are anticipated to go into effect in mid 2011" (not spring 2011) "after appropriate filings with the Office of Administrative Law and the Secretary of State."

To make things even more confusing, California Department of Fish and Game personnel stated during the May 4-5, 2011 California Fish and Game Commission meeting that regulations will go into effect in fall 2011 at the earliest.

Obama’s Personal and Political Betrayal of ‘Brother’ Cornel West

(539 Obama-dumping days until 2012 election-Hugh's Obama's Scandals List)

Chris Hedges recently interviewed Cornel West in The Obama Deception: Why Cornel West Went Ballistic about his personal and political experiences with Obama. West is described by Hedges as “the Class of 1943 University Professor of African American Studies and Religion at Princeton University.”

Hedges launches his West-Obama narrative as follows:

The moral philosopher Cornel West, if Barack Obama’s ascent to power was a morality play, would be the voice of conscience. Rahm Emanuel, a cynical product of the Chicago political machine, would be Satan. Emanuel in the first scene of the play would dangle power, privilege, fame and money before Obama. West would warn Obama that the quality of a life is defined by its moral commitment, that his legacy will be determined by his willingness to defy the cruel assault by the corporate state and the financial elite against the poor and working men and women, and that justice must never be sacrificed on the altar of power.

Perhaps there was never much of a struggle in Obama’s heart. Perhaps West only provided a moral veneer. Perhaps the dark heart of Emanuel was always the dark heart of Obama. Only Obama knows. But we know how the play ends. West is banished like honest Kent in “King Lear.” Emanuel and immoral mediocrities from Lawrence Summers to Timothy Geithner to Robert Gates—think of Goneril and Regan in the Shakespearean tragedy—take power. We lose. And Obama becomes an obedient servant of the corporate elite in exchange for the hollow trappings of authority.

Marine Protected Areas – Or Paper Reserves?

Marine Protected Areas – Or Paper Reserves?

by Dan Bacher

There is considerable consensus among Californians that the ocean ecosystem in the state's coastal waters must be protected and managed in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Where the disagreement comes is the type and scope of protection that will be provided. The essential problem is that the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, privatized under the administration of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, doesn't provide the comprehensive, holistic protection that is now needed to preserve marine ecosystems.

MLPA Initiative proponents falsely portray representatives of fishing groups and other critics of the process as “opponents of ocean protection” and proponents of “overfishing."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Recreational fishing groups that I have worked with led the charge to restrict gillnetting, trammel netting, longlining and other fishing methods along the coast to protect rockfish, halibut and other species, as well as working with Tribes, environmentalists and commercial fishermen to restore salmon and Delta fish populations.

Kitten vs Tennis Ball

How Bush's Wars Became Obama's

Andrew Bacevich

Bob McChesney talks with Andrew Bacevich

Andrew J. Bacevich is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his PhD in American Diplomatic History from
Princeton University. Bacevich is the author of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War (2010).
Source: Media Matters hosts Andrew Bacevich.

Tom Engelhardt

Scott Horton Interviews Tom Engelhardt

Tom Engelhardt, author of The American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’s. They discuss blowback, both the book and the consequences of hidden U.S. foreign actions. They also talk how the U.S. could becoming a bankrupt superpower and how to avoid this outcome.
Source: Scott Horton Interviews Tom Engelhardt on November 22, 2010

Music includes Earth Anthem, Star Wars-Theme Song, robin williams-lust, sunshine of your love, Like a Rolling Stone, The Wind Cries Mary, Walk Right In, Strange Fruit, We'll Meet Again

Play Program or Download (below the fold)

Albert Brooks’ Novel Take On Our Future

Just got to enjoy Albert Brooks live and in person pitching his new futuristic novel, 2030, The Real Story of What Happens to America at an uptown B&N in NYC.

Brooks arrived at the bookstore just after an appearance on The Daily Show. He announced we were the first B&N stop on the tour, and that by the time he got to B&N in Tennessee he would have it down better if anyone wanted to trail him there.

There was a good turn out and if I hadn’t had the time wrong, it was 7:30pm not 7pm for his appearance, I would have missed hearing him and been relegated to the crestfallen people out of ear shot beyond the glass doors of the author conference room. Brooks upon arriving at the podium indicated those people behind the glass, “What ... they got diseases?”

The intrepid and hilarious Albert Brooks was a favorite of mine when he first started making Johnny Carson giggle uncontrollably decades ago. My favorite schtick was when he lined up six or so audience members and as a parody of the old Ed Sullivan Show spinning plates act, he declared that he could keep 6 people laughing simultaneously by running back and forth among them telling them jokes. Brooks confided that he didn’t often repeat his ideas. “Johnny just told me to show up and surprise him. So, I did.”