megan's blog


Agribusiness Welfare Makes Water "Scarce" In California

By George A. Miller

How would you like to have a 90-year, interest free mortgage, with no principle payments for the first 50 years? If you are fortunate enough to be one of more than 270 federal water contractors in California - that's the deal.

It has become gospel truth: "Water is a scarce resource in California." But the gospel is a deception sustained by years of governmental interference in the basic laws of supply and demand.

Governor's May Revise Spotlights Medi-Cal Enrollment, But Includes No New HHS Restorations

By Anthony Wright

Health Access

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his May Revision of the State Budget for 2014-15, by trumpeting the strong and successful effort to cover more Californians in Medi-Cal coverage.

“This is good news for California,” he started, referring to a $2.4 billion more in revenues since the January budget, before indicating how the money would be spent. But the Governor did not propose new investments, restorations, or commitments in health and human services in this budget, but rather pointed to the increased Medi-Cal enrollment as where the added revenues are already going.

Soda Tax Myths: Do All Foods Really Fit in a Healthy Diet?

By Dana Woldow

Saturated fat will kill you - wait, no it won't. A big glass of orange juice is a healthy way to start the day - or maybe not. It feels like every week brings some new revelation that turns formerly gospel food wisdom on its head. Nutrition is an emerging science, and as more is learned about how our bodies process what we feed them, consumers can feel overwhelmed trying to figure out what they should be eating.

That's why many people rely on registered dietitians (RDs) for nutrition advice they can trust. Often, the advice they receive is that there are no "good" or "bad" foods, and that all foods can fit in a healthy diet; that's what RDs are taught in school.

Big Oil Spokesman Admits Water Use Will Rise with Expanded Fracking

By Dan Bacher

Oil and gas industry representatives constantly like to talk about the “small amounts” of water that the industry currently uses in fracking operations in Kern County and coastal areas of California.

However, on April 28, Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and former press spokesman for the Westlands Water District, admitted in an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) what the anti-fracking community has known for a long time: Once they figure out how to make the Monterey Shale economically viable, the water usage will ramp up significantly.

Here is a partial transcript of Lauren Sommer’s interview with Hull, courtesy of the Stop Fracking California State Facebook page:

Prop 8 Resentment Lingers in District Attorney Race

By Dan Aiello

In California's Capitol, the County District Attorney's race is open for the first time in two decades with the announced retirement of Jan Scully.

One of the candidates, Anne Marie Schubert, the gay sister of the architect of California's notorious anti-gay marriage ballot initiative, Proposition 8, is running as a conservative law and order candidate endorsed by every major law enforcement association and correctional officer's union.

Public records show both Schuberts are registered as Republicans, while the candidate's two opponents, Maggy Krell and Todd Leras, are registered Democrats.

New World Health Organization Report: Antibiotic Resistance Getting Worse

By Avinash Kar

Natural Resources Defense Council

Last week brought yet another urgent warning from the healthcare community. The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday released a report, noting plainly that antibiotic resistance “is a problem so serious that it threatens the achievements of modern medicine.” The WHO states that “the report makes a clear case that resistance to common bacteria has reached alarming levels in many parts of the world and that in some settings, few, if any, of the available treatments options remain effective for common infections.” Scientists agree that both human and animal misuse of antibiotics is contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Top-Two Primary Engages Independents—Despite Low Turnout Overall

By Public Policy Institute of California

In the first test of California's top-two primary in 2012, the new system failed to produce the increase in voter turnout that many had hoped for. But it did appear to encourage participation of independent voters. Under the new system independents are no longer required to take the extra step of requesting a ballot with all legislative and congressional contests on it. As a result, more independents appear to have voted in these primary races than they had under the old system.

These are among the key findings of a report released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

Fracking Moratorium Bill Passes Senate Environmental Quality Committee

By Dan Bacher

A bill imposing a moratorium on fracking and acidizing for oil extraction in California passed through the Senate Environmental Quality Committee Wednesday by a 4 to 2 vote.

Senators Mark Leno, Jerry Hill, Loni Hancock and Fran Pavley voted for Senate Bill 1132, while Senators Ted Gaines and Jean Fuller voted against it. Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson was out of the room for the initial vote, but is expected to vote in favor of the bill.

Authored by Senators Holly Mitchell and Mark Leno, SB 1132 would require the Natural Resources Agency to facilitate an "independent scientific study" on well stimulation treatments (fracking and acidizing) and their hazards and risks to natural resources and public, occupational, and environmental health and safety by January 1, 2015.

Why Classroom Experience Matters

By Seth Sandronsky

Marcos Breton, a veteran columnist for The Sacramento Bee, one of 30 newspapers The McClatchy Co. publishes, did it. In “Sacramento’s teachers have won this battle,” April 13, 2014, he bashes these union members, and inverts logic:

Diesel Truck Pollution: The Truth is Lost in the Fumes

By Diane Bailey

A couple things about diesel truck pollution: there’s still a lot of it in California, truck drivers are suffering from it, and most truck owners oppose rolling back the statewide truck clean-up rule. These facts have been obscured by all the fumes emanating from a tiny but vocal minority of trucktivists who want to do away with the Air Resources Board measure curbing diesel pollution from trucks. Tomorrow, ARB will consider allowing some additional delays to their statewide diesel truck and bus rule adopted six years ago.