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Hometown: Southern California
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Member since: Tue Jun 7, 2011, 02:02 PM
Number of posts: 4,299

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Pulitzer Winners: These Acts, Save One, are No Longer Shocking

This is not the one that is still shocking.

This one might seem shocking — but if I tell you that the man about to have a bullet calmly shot into his brain was a top assassin of the native revolutionary movement, the Viet Cong, tasked with carrying out its own version of the U.S.’s “Operation Phoenix” program of assassination of South Vietnamese Army leaders and their families, recently including of Gen. Loan’s top aides and his family, perhaps you will feel differently about it. Perhaps you won’t — and, if so, good for you. But if you were ever going to make a case for summary execution, this situation would be it — at least if you favored the South Vietnamese government. A major, well-identified, brutal killer of not just enemies but their families, during a startling and crippling wartime offensive, without a realistic possibility of trial — I don’t like it, but I can understand it. And yet this photo did more than any other to break the spirit of Americans back home, because witnessing the reality of a summary execution was simply over the top.

In Orange County, in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere, this sort of thing just isn’t that shocking anymore. What ought to be shocking is the stakes. Based on witness statements consistent with autopsy reports, Michael Brown was summarily executed on the streets of Ferguson for essentially pissing off a police officer. (No, it wasn’t over his stealing cigars or having ingested marijuana sometime over the previous six weeks.) And people in Ferguson and nationwide say that he had it coming.

In Anaheim and I’m sorry to bore you all with this but in about ten weeks it may put Orange County squarely in the news again — we have the death of a young man who had allegedly shot at police and (maybe) briefly but ineffectually threatened a family while running away. He was hid in or behind an isolated trash dumpster not that far away, where a police dog located him and gunfire rang out — very possibly entirely coming from the police, although the soon to be dead boy was morally and legally culpable — leading to the injury of that K-9 officer. And The Walt Disney Company’s favored candidate for Mayor, Lucille Kring, said that his summary execution — like what you see up there in that photo — was “a good result” and the way it should go because it “saved us the cost of a trial.” (She later retracted the statement because it looked bad. If she wins in the wake of Ferguson, it will, I promise you, look worse.)

By Greg Diamond – August 20, 2014
Lots more

DPOC seeks a Field Director to handle GOTV for November Elections


In 2014, Orange County is host to two of the most important legislative district races in California. The Democratic Party of Orange County will run robust a field campaign starting in late August and leading up to the November 4th election to help get out the vote in our priority races.

Our coordinated campaign efforts are tightly integrated with local campaigns to ensure maximum use of our volunteers for the entire Democratic ticket. We are working with campaigns, unions, progressive organizations, and community leaders to ensure that we elect Democrats up and down the ticket in November.

Position Summary

The Democratic Party of Orange County is seeking a Field Director on behalf of our endorsed candidates across the county. The Field Director will be responsible for implementing local field, voter identification, and voter engagement programs for the Democratic Party of Orange County.

The Field Director will work directly with the Executive Director and Volunteer Coordinator in implementing the coordinated campaign plan, including voter identification, engagement and turnout through direct canvassing and phone banking. The Field Director will also maintain contact with our community allies to ensure our outreach goals are met.


Southwest Braces as Lake Mead Water Levels Drop

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Once-teeming Lake Mead marinas are idle as a 14-year drought steadily drops water levels to historic lows. Officials from nearby Las Vegas are pushing conservation but also are drilling a new pipeline to keep drawing water from the lake.

The receding shoreline at one of the main reservoirs in the vast Colorado River water system is raising concerns about the future of a network serving a perennially parched region home to 40 million people and 4 million acres of farmland.

Marina operators, water managers and farmers who for decades have chased every drop of water across the booming Southwest and part of Mexico are closely tracking the reservoir water level already at its lowest point since it was first filled in the 1930s.

Last week, officials announced an $11 million pilot program involving the federal government and water agencies in Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix to pay farmers, cities and industries to reduce river water use.


CPI: 10 major findings from investigations this year

The Center for Public Integrity
Top investigations from 2014 that you may have missed

1. Twelve universities took $100,000 or more in Koch foundation grants in 2012
2. When financial lobbyists disagree with tougher rules, they turn to these 11 lawmakers
3. Japan has no urgent plutonium needs, but a new plant will soon make more than 17,000 pounds of it each year
4. With no access to counsel, teens sent to jail for minor offenses like truancy, curfew violation, having tobacco
5. I believe if you're anti-oil and gas, you're anti-Texas
6. About a third of all people on Medicare are covered by health plans that are susceptible to billing abuse
7. Manhattan just another island haven for dirty money
8. Sixteen high court judges ruled in 26 cases despite having a financial conflict
9. Only 12% of eligible households have signed up for Comcast's affordable Internet program
10. Arsenic is 17 times more potent than the EPA reports, and they've known it since 2008

Drought-tolerant Yards can be Free with Rebate

Winnetka homeowner Cherry Cordero recently decided it was time to get rid of the thirsty grass on her yard and save water with new drought-tolerant plants instead. But the real beauty of her new drought-tolerant front yard was that none of the work cost her a dime.

Because California is in the midst of a water crisis, local water agencies are offering homeowners rebates up to $3 a square foot for removing water guzzling turf and replacing it with plants and mulch that use much less of our precious resource.

Another great feature of this type of landscaping is all of the irrigation is underground. With traditional sprinklers, there's a lot of evaporation in hot and windy conditions, which costs you money.

"A study of the city of Santa Monica and Santa Monica colleges says that for a 2,000-square-foot yard that's green and lush and has proper upkeep, switching that with drought-tolerant landscape...can save up to $2,200 in a given year," said Farrell.

Senator Boxer Press Release: Water in the 21st Century

Boxer, Feinstein, Napolitano, DeFazio Introduce "W21: Water in the 21st Century" Legislation

Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
July 31, 2014
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer, Feinstein, Napolitano, DeFazio Introduce "W21: Water in the 21st Century" Legislation

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today introduced “W21: Water in the 21st Century,” legislation that would help communities nationwide better prepare for the future by providing new incentives and investments to help residents, businesses and local water agencies to conserve, recycle and manage limited water supplies.

The legislation would expand rebates and grants for water conservation and efficiency; support local investments in water recycling and improved groundwater management and storage; invest in research into water-saving technologies and desalination; and establish an open water data system. The measure would also help local communities take steps to become better prepared for drought.

“Anyone who knows California knows that we have forever fought about water and it’s time to change the story,” Senator Boxer said. “We’re doing just that with ‘W21: Water in the 21st Century,’ which will help us prepare for the future by conserving, recycling and better managing our precious water supplies.”

“I am pleased to cosponsor the Water in the 21st Century act. It includes practical, effective programs for conservation, recycling, research and water projects that are important elements to help meet California’s water challenges,” Senator Feinstein said. “This bill complements the Emergency Drought Relief Act – which we are currently negotiating with the House – to help California and the West confront this and future droughts.”

“The Water in the 21st Century Act will help our entire state address ongoing drought cycles by providing funds and support to our local water agencies and residents for water use efficiency, water conservation, desalination, and water recycling projects,” Representative Napolitano said. “I am proud to sponsor this bill in the House and ask my colleagues to join us to develop a reliable water supply for the 21st Century.”

“Water in the 21st Century will give our communities essential tools to help residents, businesses, and local officials deal with limited water supplies both now and in the future,” Representative DeFazio said. “I am happy to join Senator Boxer and Representative Napolitano on this common sense approach on critical water shortage issues and will urge the Natural Resources Committee to take up this legislation when Congress returns.”

The legislation includes a number of important provisions that would help communities in California, Oregon and across the country:

Efficiency and Conservation
• Strengthens EPA’s WaterSense program, which promotes water conservation in products, buildings, and landscapes through information and rebates. The bill authorizes $50 million to administer the program and $700 million for rebates, through FY2019, and then funds them at FY2019 levels adjusted for inflation thereafter.
• Creates a new grant program within the Environmental Protection Agency for local water systems to conserve water, increase water efficiency or reuse water; modify or relocate existing water system infrastructure made or projected to be made inoperable by climate change impacts; preserve or improve water quality, and other projects.

Water Recycling, Storage, and Integrated Water Management
• Leverages federal financing – through loan guarantees and matching grants – to help support projects on a regional scale, including water recycling, ground water management, water storage and water conveyance infrastructure.
o $250 million over five years for secured loans.
o $150 million for integrated regional water management, reclamation, and recycling projects grants. Innovation through

Research, Data, and Technology
• Establishes an open water data system at the Department of the Interior.
• Reauthorizes the Water Resources Research Act at $9 million a year through 2020.
• Reauthorizes the Water Desalination Act at $3 million a year through 2020.
• Directs the Secretary of the Army to review reservoir operations and assess whether there is a benefit in adjusting operations to take into account improved forecasting data.

Drought Preparedness
• Establishes Drought Resilience Guidelines for state and local agencies through EPA in coordination with USDA, Commerce and Interior.
• Directs U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with state and federal agencies, to prepare a salmon drought plan to address the impacts of drought on the salmon population.

The legislation is supported by the Western Recycled Water Coalition, WaterNow, the Clean Water Construction Coalition, the Northern California Water Association, the North Bay Water Reuse Authority and the WateReuse Association. For the text of the legislation, click (bad link).

Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer have also introduced the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014, an emergency measure that would provide immediate relief to communities, particularly in the Central Valley, that are suffering from the historic drought impacting California and other Western states.

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