Dire warnings issued again about the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers Delta

SF Chronicle: Panel issues dire warning on Delta

A task force appointed by the governor warns that California must build new dams, canals and desalination plants and amend its laws or face economic and ecological disaster.

The state must elevate environmental needs for water to a standing equal to that of human needs to restore the state’s ailing water network, a report by the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force said.

In addition to new dams and reservoirs, the plan calls for other measures, including: designating the estuary a National Heritage Area by 2010, increasing the amount of recycled water in the state to 1.5 million acre feet annually and cutting California’s water use 20 percent by 2020.


The goals of this report are laudable. One major problem with the plan is that there is only one truly suitable dam site left in the state – Temperance Flat. We will end up relying on desalination and toilet-to-tap plants, like the one Singapore operates. Although I wonder if such projects will provide enough water for agriculture, which uses 80% of the water in the state.

Dividing America

Although this is nothing new, I think that supporters of both sides in the presidential race are creating the unnecessary division between Americans. Case in point:

VIDEO: The McCain-Palin mob in Strongsville, Ohio | blogger interrupted.

Itâ??s no wonder that the slightest incitement from Sarah Palin or John McCain will turn one of their rallies into a lynch mob. Just talk to the folks who attend.

My camera was rolling for literally seconds before people happily said to me, on camera, that Barack Obama is a terrorist. If I hadnâ??t spent most of my time at the event inside, waiting for the candidates to show up, I could have gotten dozens of these people on tape.

I commented on the video and have decided to also comment here. The video and the attitude taken by the videographer adds to the ideological canyon that divides America. He hurts progressive causes by stirring the pot in this way and causes these sort of folks to ignore progressive messages, sight unseen, that are brought by others with more constructive methods.

Like a lot of other well meaning activists, his current methods are not effective and come off as contemptuous. If I were to witness something like this, I’d think the guy a nut and perhaps an ass for talking down to people. Instead, I suggest that all aspiring boat rockers instead provide constructive forums for debating people and provide educational material and resources to help explain your positions. For example, you can direct people to FactCheck.org which is equally scathing of both campaigns/parties for their inaccurate statements and portrayals of the other. You can also provide information about McCainâ??s role in the S&L crisis, deregulation of the financial services industry, and recent comments about the economy. And, it is extremely important to provide independent sources for your material that can be easily fact checked against. Direct people to use Internet searches and educate themselves. Too few people want to read let alone learn more than the sound bites they hear. This is an opportunity to give them a boost.

You may not convince everyone (like the guy who thinks Obama was raised from 1-6 by militant islamists) but I think you can convince a few outliers or centrists who can go either way. Each and every person who decides on Obama may in turn bring another one or two to their viewpoint. Talking down to people just make them dig in their heals and resist.

To be fair to the people in the video, a camera has a habit of pulling out the ignorance in people. Jackass comes to mind. Add to it that the fact he comes off as baiting people, I expect them to say ridiculous things or act like morons as does the woman jumping in front of the camera demanding he say when the first time he’d heard of Obama. Not that ignorance is excusable but this is a crowd of people who blindly follow a party based on an ideology they neither understand nor check the policies of. Sadly, the policies of the Republican leadership do more to hurt many of these people more than many of them comprehend or care to check. These are the type of people I grew up with. :( Sadder yet is that there are equal numbers of people like this on both sides. :(

BTW: Obama gets my vote because I think his team will manage the country much better and respect the Constitution more than McCain and the Republicans. We aren’t voting for a candidate, rather for the candidate and the party machine and philosophy of governing they bring.

And Nixon Cleared Himself of Wrongdoing in the Watergate Scandal

Palin pre-empts state report, clears self in probe – Yahoo News.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska â?? Trying to head off a potentially embarrassing state ethics report on GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, campaign officials released their own report Thursday that clears her of any wrongdoing.

Sen. John McCain’s running mate is the subject of a legislative investigation into whether she abused her power as governor by firing her public safety commissioner. The commissioner, Walter Monegan, says he was dismissed in July for resisting pressure from Palin’s husband, Todd Palin, and numerous top aides to fire state trooper Mike Wooten, Palin’s former brother-in-law.

“Nobody is above the law” is a basic precept in American law. This “report” defines conflict-of-interest and should be taken for what it is – a sham. It would be similar to the Nixon administration issuing a report finding Nixon had done nothing wrong in the Watergate scandal while Congress was agitating for his cooperation.

Mountain Lions in Sunnyvale?

Apparently, a Mountain Lion was spotted in Sunnyvale, along the San Francisco Bay shoreline. This is the last place I’d expect to see a cougar roaming about. Yikes. I wonder if Mountain View posted warnings at Shoreline Park or Sunnyvale at Baylands Park.

This email was sent by my company this week.

Subject: Mountain Lion Sighting: Be Cautious on Trails Surrounding the Sunnyvale Campus

Yahoos,

Please use caution when using the trails surrounding the Sunnyvale campus. This past Saturday, several trail users reported seeing a mountain lion within 100 yards of our campus, just north of Twin Creeks Field #4 near the trail of Baylands Park.

If you plan to use the trails

Mountain lions are quiet, solitary and elusive, and typically avoid people — attacks on humans are extremely rare.  However, conflicts are increasing as California â??s human population expands into mountain lion habitat.

Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Do not hike, bike or jog alone.
  • Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most activeâ??dawn, dusk, and at night.
  • Keep a close watch on small children.
  • Do not approach a mountain lion.
  • If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms; throw rocks or other objects.  Pick up small children.
  • If attacked, fight back.
  • If a mountain lion attacks a person, immediately call 911.

For more information about mountain lions, visit the California Department of Fish and Game:  http://www.dfg.ca.gov.

10 Trillion Reasons

10 Trillion Reasons, originally uploaded by dfb.

In all this talk about bailing out Wall Street (let’s all call a pig a pig; this is a bailout) nobody is really talking about how we will pay for it. Are those assets really worth $700 billion dollars? I don’t think that anyone can say they certainly are worth that, let alone half that much.

The value of those assets is at the heart of the credit crisis. Banks and other financial firms world-wide do not trust lending to each other because nobody knows how much they really are worth. And because nobody knows what they are worth, they are no longer acceptable collateral to use in securing additional debt obligations, even if for the short term. Which brings me back to my initial point. Nobody is really talking about how we will ultimately pay for this bail out. Who, really, will pay? That’s right, regular tax payers.

Fiscal responsibility seems to escape politicians and Wall Street alike.

I do not understand why the Federal Government needs to pay
for toxic securities, or at least pay up front for them. Why can’t the program accept full portfolios of these fancy securities with no known value, and take on all the risk. If that wipes out the capital of an institution, so be it. The Feds will sort everything out, unbundling the securities and re-packaging them into fully transparent securities that can be adequately valued. Those transparent securities will be sold off. Fifty percent (50%) of the value, after factoring in cost of the program, will go to the Federal Government for taking on the risk. The other 50% to the previous holder of the securities or their creditors.

Every bailout must come with some serious revenge, otherwise what is to stop this same issue from happening again. CEO pay caps and small equity stakes in the firms are a good start. But if we really want them to pay for this and to give strong incentive against future, similar behavior, we need to make them pay more. And in the meantime, maybe, just maybe we can pay down the debt a little and not leave it to our children and grandchildren. Oh, that’s right, wishful thinking. The big spenders in both major parties are more interested in waging war, porking it up, and spreading the wealth around, than in responsibly running our government.