Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Dried Out

You might want to take a sip of this first: 

In Dry California, Thirsty Oil and Big-Ag Industries Exempt from Water Regulations

What an outrage, huh?

"Drought may reshape image of Calif.; As governor cuts water use, next steps considered" by Adam Nagourney and Jack Healy, New York Times  April 05, 2015

LOS ANGELES — For more than a century, California has been the state where people flocked for a better life — 164,000 square miles of mountains, farmland, and coastline, shimmering with ambition and dreams, money, and beauty. It was the cutting-edge symbol of possibility: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, aerospace, agriculture, and vineyards.

I'm sure none of them will be hurting for water.

But now a punishing drought, and the unprecedented measures the state unveiled last week to compel people to reduce water consumption. are forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth has run against the limits of nature.

Maybe if they hadn't neglected the infrastructure the problem wouldn't be so bad. The gallons lost to leaks are enormous.

The 25 percent cut in water consumption ordered by Governor Jerry Brown raises fundamental questions about what life in California will be like in the years ahead, and even whether this state faces the prospect of people leaving for wetter climates.

This assumes, as Brown and other state leaders do, that this marks a permanent change in climate, rather than a particularly severe cyclical drought.

Could be. I read somewhere that the 20th century was the wettest century ever. California was desert for centuries. That's why no one was living there.

This state has survived many a catastrophe before — and defied the doomsayers who have regularly proclaimed the death of the California dream — as it emerged, often stronger, from the challenges of earthquakes, an energy crisis and, most recently, a budgetary collapse that forced years of devastating cuts in spending.

These days, the economy is thriving, the population is growing, the state budget is in surplus, and development is exploding from Silicon Valley to San Diego; the evidence of it can be seen in the construction cranes dotting the skylines of Los Angeles and San Francisco. But even California’s biggest advocates are wondering whether the severity of this drought, now in its fourth year, is going to force a change in the way the state does business.

NOPE, it isn't (see top)!

Can Los Angeles continue to dominate as the country’s capital of entertainment and glamour, and Silicon Valley as the center of high tech, if people are forbidden to take a shower for more than five minutes and water bills become prohibitively expensive? Will tourists worry about coming? Will businesses continue their expansion in places like San Francisco and Venice?

Those are the propaganda pre$$ concerns, not whether you are thirsting.

“Mother Nature didn’t intend for 40 million people to live here,” said Kevin Starr, a historian at the University of Southern California who has written extensively about the state. “This is literally a culture that since the 1880s has progressively invented and reinvented itself. At what point does this invention begin to hit limits?”

California, Starr said, “is not going to go under, but we are going to have to go in a different way.”



“You just can’t live the way you always have,” said Brown, a Democrat who is in his fourth term as governor.

“For over 10,000 years, people lived in California, but the number of those people were never more than 300,000 or 400,000,” he said. “Now we are embarked upon an experiment that no one has ever tried: 38 million people, with 32 million vehicles, living at the level of comfort that we all strive to attain. This will require adjustment.”

Wow, when did he turn into such an a$$hole

He just increased the fines in what looks like another government cash grab.

This disconnect, as it were, can be seen in places like Palm Springs, in the middle of the desert, where daily per capita water use is 201 gallons — more than double the state average. A recent drive through the community offered a drought-defying tableau of burbling fountains, flowers, lush lawns, golf courses, and trees. The smell of mowed lawn was in the air.

Didn't I say this wasn't going to affect the wealthy?

But the drought is now forcing change in a place that long identified itself as “America’s desert oasis.” Palm Springs has ordered 50 percent cuts in water use by city agencies, and it plans to replace the lawns and annual flowers around city buildings with native landscapes.

It is digging up the grassy median into town that unfurled before visitors like a carpet at a Hollywood premiere. It is paying residents to replace their lawns with rocks and desert plants.

OMG! Sounds like something straight out of Agenda 21!


It's the propaganda pre$$ that has drained me.

Here is something else that may or may not piss you off:

"Love of horses turns into ardor to save them" by Nestor Ramos, Globe Staff  April 05, 2015

There was also a different kind of life — a life spent among horses — for which she never stopped searching.

On a frigid morning in January 2013, that search brought then 27-year-old Andi Balser to a modest farm in nearby Athol. The farmer, a much older woman named Barbara Graham, had a handful of horses and needed a little help. 

That's part of the county I call home.

“You’ll get a kick out of her,” the friend who introduced them had told Balser, and here Graham was. 


A form of hormone replacement therapy typically prescribed during menopause, Premarin is made using the urine of pregnant mares (its name is derived from the key ingredient: pregnant mares’ urine).

So, inside long barns in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, row after row of horses stand in small stalls, tubes snaking up from under them into vessels nearby. It sounds like science fiction — some equine version of “The Matrix,” in which a superior species saps humans for their nutrients — but it’s true: The urine is precious.

Selling it can be lucrative, but keeping hundreds of horses pregnant every year to harvest their urine has an obvious byproduct: hundreds of foals like Reba and Sunny. 

And in Canada, where the slaughter of horses is legal and horse meat is widely available in the most French-influenced provinces, selling the resulting foals at meat prices is a pretty good secondary business. Thousands are killed each year.

This was the fate from which Graham had saved hundreds of horses over the course of the last 20 years, traveling to Canada and befriending farmers who agreed to sell her a few foals, priced by the pound.

But Graham had not been back in nearly a decade. Time took its toll on her, for one thing. She was 70, and the 30-hour drives and heavy lifting were hard on her body.

She’d also run out of places to put the horses. After 10 years of begging people to buy the hundreds of foals she’d rescued — taking big losses in the process — everyone in the area had as many horses as they could handle.

“When I first started, there was a lot of interest,” Graham said. “But by then, I’d saturated the area.”

The last foals Graham rescued from slaughter were now at least 10 years old. She sometimes thought about the ones lost since, and longed to make the trip again. But the more time went by, and the older she got, the less likely it seemed.

Becoming soul mates

Saving things was in Graham’s DNA. After the General Electric plant where she worked closed down in 1998, she retired and devoted herself to being a foster parent.

Plain-spoken to the point of bluntness, Graham described the decision to take in dozens of children over the last 15 years as her own simple good fortune.

“I was retired. I was fortunate enough to be able to do it,” she said. “When you see somebody going on to college and they invite you to the ceremony, it makes you feel good.”

But Balser could see that her new friend missed the trips to Canada, and the chance to save foals, even a few, from the slaughterhouse floor.


The number of farms producing Premarin has dropped precipitously in recent years, as questions about the drug’s safety have emerged. 

I've held the reins this long, but that's unconscionable. Leave the horses alone!

And some of the roughly two dozen farmers who supply Pfizer with Premarin’s critical raw ingredient won’t allow rescue groups on their land.

But Graham knew of three farmers who took good care of their animals, and who would sell their foals to her at the meat price.... 

For dog food, right?


Either way, they are going to die in the end.

Is it just me, or has the "beef" in the supermarket looking a bit funny these days?


"Calif. governor defends farmers’ exemption from water restriction" Associated Press  April 06, 2015

SACRAMENTO — Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday defended his order requiring Californians statewide to cut back on their water use in a historic mandate that spares those who consume the most: farmers.

As California endures a fourth year of drought, Brown’s order last week requires towns and cities statewide to draw down water use by 25 percent compared with 2013 levels. Although past reductions were voluntary, Brown said he is using his emergency powers to make the cuts mandatory.

On ABC’s ‘‘This Week,’’ Brown said the order does not extend to California farmers, who consume 80 percent of the state’s water supply but make up less than 2 percent of the state’s economy, because farmers are not using water frivolously on their lawns or taking long showers.

‘‘They’re providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America to a significant part of the world,’’ he said.

Brown said that before the cutbacks, some California farmers had already been denied irrigation water from federal surface supplies, forcing them to leave hundreds of thousands of acres unplanted. Many vulnerable farm laborers are without work, he said. Farmers who do not have access to surface water have increased the amount of water pumped from limited groundwater supplies.

The mandatory order will also require campuses, golf courses, cemeteries, and other large landscapes to curb their water use.

Globe's web version cut back on this print:

"Brown announced the mandate on April 1 standing in the Sierra Nevada, where the snowpack measures at 5 percent of historical average, the lowest in 65 years of record-keeping. 

No April Fool's joke.

After declaring a drought emergency in January 2014, Brown urged Californians to voluntarily cut their water use by 20 percent from the previous year. That resulted in great variations among communities and an overall reduction of about 10 percent statewide. Brown did the same as governor in 1977, during another severe drought, asking for a voluntary reduction of 25 percent.

“It is a wakeup call,” Brown said. “It’s requiring action and changes in behavior from the Oregon border all the way to the Mexican border. It affects lawns. It affects people’s — how long they stay in the shower, how businesses use water.”

That's a LIE!


What a fraud Governor Moonbeam turned out to be.