Almonds Consume More Water Than California’s 39 Million Indoor Users Combined
– Seattle Times
California Grows 80% of the World’s Almonds During Drought – Huge Export Crop Subsidized by Taxpayers
– It’s Chinatown Jake, all over again.
“Branded ‘the poster child of all things bad in water’ by one almond grower, the popular crop consumes more water than all the showering, dish washing and other indoor household water use of California’s 39 million people.
People around the world are eating over 1,000 percent more California almonds than they did just a decade ago, and last year almonds became the top export crop in the nation’s top agriculture state. China’s booming middle class is driving much of the demand.
That strong Asia market is producing up to 30 percent returns for investors, prompting agribusinesses to expand almond planting in the state by two-thirds in the past decade. The crop has come to be dominated by global corporations and investment funds.”
– Clearly the Drought, Water and Who Benefits at the expense of the many are askew. Creating a demand for a high profit crop, funded by speculators, subsidized by the California taxpayer is a bad recipe for water resources. Mother Jones and others weigh in below, including the effects of increased groundwater pumping and its impact on subsidence in the Central Valley:
California Goes Nuts
“Almond products—snack mixes, butters, milk—are flying off supermarket shelves. The value of the California almond market hit$4.8 billion in 2012—that’s triple the level of a decade earlier. Only dairy is worth more to the state than almonds and grapes. In fact, almonds, along with California-grown pistachios and walnuts, are becoming so lucrative that big investment funds, eager to get in on the boom, are snapping up land and dropping in trees.
There’s just one problem: Almond orchards require about a third more water per acre than grape vineyards. In fact, they’re one of California’s thirstiest crops. It takes a gallon of water to produce a single almond—more than three times the amount required for a grape and two and a half times as much for a strawberry. There’s more water embedded in just four almonds than there is in a full head of lettuce. But unlike row crops, which farmers can choose not to plant during dry spells, almond trees must be watered no matter what.”
– So what happens when a drought strikes in the middle of massive speculation on almond crops? Are Californians obligated to subsidize almond growers who export the crop for profits? Must they make major life style and quality of life changes for the sake of private profit?
Read the rest of the story by Tom Philpott @ MotherJones
NASA: California Drought Causing Valley Land to Sink
“This study represents an unprecedented use of multiple satellites and aircraft to map subsidence in California and address a practical problem we’re all facing,” said JPL research scientist and report co-author Tom Farr. “We’re pleased to supply the California DWR with information they can use to better manage California’s groundwater. It’s like the old saying: ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’
Land near Corcoran in the Tulare basin sank 13 inches (33 centimeters) in just eight months — about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) per month. One area in the Sacramento Valley was sinking approximately half-an-inch (1.3 centimeters) per month, faster than previous measurements.”
Central Valley sinking fast in drought, NASA study shows
“Portions of the San Joaquin Valley floor are sinking at an alarming rate as farmers pump ever more groundwater during California’s extended drought, according to a NASA study released Wednesday.
The report, generated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the state Department of Water Resources, sheds new light on the phenomenon known as subsidence.
While the land is sinking just a few inches a year, subsidence has been hastened by the drought, and the consequences can mushroom as the dry years pile up. Gravity-fed canal systems don’t function as well. Portions of the Delta-Mendota Canal, which brings water to much of the San Joaquin Valley, have buckled and had to be propped back up. In Firebaugh, west of Fresno, a motor-vehicle bridge has sunk so low it practically sits atop an irrigation canal.
“It is one of those long-term, slow and cumulative impacts,” said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager at the Department of Water Resources. “The thing we’re especially concerned about is the damage, long-term damage, to water infrastructure. Over time, that diminishes the ability to move water.”
SpaceX – ORBCOMM – 2 MISSION Historic Rocket Launch & Precision Terrestrial Landing – Era of Reusable Orbital Rockets Begins
– SpaceX is based in Hawthorne, California
A huge win for the post-Boomer generation in the United States, they should justifiably be proud. They should enjoy this history making achievement, proving our best days may lie ahead and beyond.
SpaceX’s Triumphant Rocket Landing Could Revolutionize Spaceflight
– Scientific American – Dec 22
– An early test video from SpaceX of a SpaceX Grasshopper rocket launch and landing in June 14, 2013. Incredible perspective and angle off the launch.
More here @ SpaceX Videos
“The winter solstice made last night the longest and darkest of the year, but the skies over Florida were filled with light, not once, but twice. First when a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX launched a payload of satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and again nine minutes later when the 15-story-tall first stage of the rocket returned to Earth, riding its fiery jet to a gentle landing.
Though dreamed of for decades by aerospace engineers, such a landing was long considered the stuff of science fiction. “It’s a revolutionary moment,” SpaceX founder CEO Elon Musk said in a press conference shortly after the landing. “No one has ever brought a booster, an orbital-class booster, back intact.” By reusing rockets, Musk said, the total cost of sending cargo and crews to orbit could eventually be reduced by more than a factor of a hundred—cheap enough to open the heavens to all manner of new activities, including Musk’s dream of retiring on Mars.“
MSNBC Exclusive: Homeland Security passed on plan to vet visa applicants’ social media
– MSNBC – Dec 17
“Top officials at the Department of Homeland Security considered a specific policy to strengthen security screenings for foreign visa applicants’ social media accounts, but the proposal was ultimately not adopted, according to an internal department memo obtained by MSNBC.
While the U.S. visa screening process does not include formal vetting of social media accounts, the memo proposed the Obama administration “authorize” customs officials to “access social networking sites” to vet applicants. Such vetting could help catch applicants bent on fraud, crime or “national security” risks, the memo stated.
Story here by Ari Melber and Safia Samee Ali @ MSNBC
Discovered: Rubio Pushed To Give Non-Citizen Aliens Access To Fiancé Visas
– Breitbart – Dec 18
“Observers will now have time to do what lawmakers couldn’t: Read the omnibus funding bill which Congress waved through.
For one thing, it fully-funded the President’s refugee resettlement operation. The inclusion of this provision is a policy win for Sen. Marco Rubio, who told Sean Hannity last month that he’d “hate to use” Congress’ power of the purse to block Obama’s refugee resettlement program.
And now another provision has come to light in the Gang of Eight bill that could help to further define the policy contours of a Rubio administration.
Within the sprawling 1,200 page legislation, Rubio’s bill contained a provision—Section 2310 “Fiancée and Fiance Child Status Protection”— which would have dramatically expanded the controversial K-1 visa by allowing non-citizens living in the country to bring in not only their foreign fiancés, but also the children of their foreign fiancés.
The “Fiancé” visa has come under national scrutiny in recent weeks following reports that Tashfeen Malik, the Pakistani-born wife of Syed Farook, had entered the country on a K-1 visa. Together Farook and his Jihadi bride carried out the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. Farook’s presence in the United States— like his wife’s—was entirely the result of our nation’s federal policy of visa issuances: Farook’s parents were Paksitani immigrants.”
– In California some of us have questioned immigration and its relation to safety and security for some time. The recent radical Islamic terror in San Bernardino, now highlights the critical need for a top to bottom re-evaluation of our approach to fighting terrorism here at home, beginning with border security and the visa processes are completely secure.
The United States is not prepared or ready for an influx of people who mean to do us harm, and this Administration has clearly let the nation’s guard down in a serious way as the following articles show.
If you wish to see the whole House Oversight & Government Reform Committee here @ C-SPAN Congressional Video – Foreign Travelers and National Security
Today the Washington Examiner, which is not one of my favorite DC papers, none of them are, but today they hit on all cylinders:
Gowdy: Explanation of visa failure ‘doesn’t make me feel any better’
– Washington Examiner
“I just listened to Ben Rhodes give a series of words like ‘extensive,’ ‘thorough,’ ‘careful,'” Gowdy said, referring to a top White House security adviser. “And I just sat here and thought, ‘Well, if all of that was true, how did we miss the lady in San Bernardino?'”
Gowdy argued that the administration needs to do a better job pushing back for information when it receives visa applications, and said it can’t pretend foreign nationals have a right to enter the country.
“There is no legal right to emigrate to the United States,” Gowdy said. “It’s a privilege that we confer on people.”
Report: DHS rejected social media screening policy as early as 2011
– Washington Times
“The 2011 memo, parts of which are redacted, suggested that the Obama administration “authorize” customs officials to “access social networking sites” in order to vet applicants. The memo reportedly went through a year of revisions among the agency’s lawyers and staff, and was close to becoming policy before it was blocked by senior officials.
“I thought it was a done deal,” said one senior official, speaking to MSNBC on the condition of anonymity. “It’s unusual [for a policy] to go through the circulation process and revisions,” he said, and “not happen.”
As a result, personnel were limited to “agency-authorized hardware and other computing resources when accessing social networking sites for official government business.” Because social networking sites are blocked on the agency’s network, the policy effectively precluded employees from accessing applicants’ social media accounts.
Employees were also barred from going above and beyond in efforts to screen applicants: “Personnel may not use their personal computers, cellular telephones or other mobile devices” for vetting applicants, the policy states.
It was reported on Monday that some at DHS had pushed for the policy to change, but the memo is another datapoint indicating just how long the issue has been in contention at the agency.”
REP. LIEU CALLS ON DHS TO REVERSE POLICY OF NOT REVIEWING SOCIAL MEDIA OF FOREIGNERS
“As a Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, I find it outrageous that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rejected a secret policy to review social media of foreigners seeking entry to the US through the visa program. Based on an USCIS memo recently released by MSNBCand reporting by multiple media organizations, I am deeply troubled that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Leon Rodriguez apparently misled the Committee today during his testimony when he repeatedly denied any such secret policy.
I am proud to be an American because being a citizen of the greatest country in the world comes with it many benefits, including the critical fact that the US Constitution applies to US citizens. But the US Constitution does not apply to a foreign national seeking entry to the US.
Yet DHS apparently believes foreign nationals seeking entry to the United States have more rights than US citizens when it comes to social media. In America, if a US citizen applies for a job in the private or public sector, their social media postings can certainly be reviewed. The federal government also apparently reviews social media as a factor in determining whether persons, including US citizens, should be placed on the Terrorist Watch List. ”
FBN’s Lou Dobbs Spotlights MRCTV’s Joseph Being Snapped at by Chris Matthews – Ouch
– Or not.
“Near the end of his Fox Business Network (FBN) show on Wednesday night, host Lou Dobbs played and discussed with his panel video released on Tuesday that featured MRCTV’s Dan Joseph asking MSNBC’s Chris Matthews if he still has “the thrill” up his leg all these years later about President Barack Obama. Of course, as many readers now know, Matthews fired back by ignoring Joseph’s question and repeatedly telling him to “go to hell” and “leave me alone.”
– What a grinch, must see video, too funny for words.
CNN to Carson: You ‘Tough’ Enough to Kill Thousands of Children? – Seriously?
“In a bizarre exchange, co-debate moderator Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday night pressed Ben Carson as to whether he was “tough” enough to kill thousands of children. Hewitt lectured, “We’re talking about ruthless things tonight. Carpet bombing, toughness, war. And people wonder, could you do that?”
– Would Hugh Hewitt have asked that question of Bobby Kennedy or Jimmy Carter?
Why doesn’t Hillary Clinton or Obama get these kinds of questions? This is ridiculous.
Talk about ruthless, what a ruthless thing to do. Carson handled it well. Hugh Hewitt wasn’t much when he was in California, I can see he hasn’t improved.
Mark Zuckerberg-Backed Immigration Bill Would Allow Unlimited Muslim Immigration
“In January of 2015, a handful of Senators quietly introduced new legislation in Congress that would allow for virtually unlimited Muslim immigration into the United States – lifting caps entirely on several categories of visas favored by immigrants from Muslim countries.
The Mark Zuckerberg-backed legislation, S.153, is called the Immigration Innovation Act(or I-Squared), and it has taken on new significance following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino. Those attacks were only possible due to Muslim immigration: Syed Farook is reportedly the child of Pakistani immigrants, and his jihadi bride, Tashfeen Malik, was reportedly born in Pakistan.
The I-Squared bill is significant for a second reason. One of the Senators who introduced the bill is also running for President: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
And several of Rubio’s most prominent financial backers are among the bill’s boosters.
I-Squared would expand five major visa categories used by Muslim migrants: the F-1 foreign student visa, green cards for foreign students, green cards for their family members, the H-1B foreign worker visa, and the H-4 spousal visa.
Immigration scholars have expressed concern that the I-Squared bill expands a dangerous visa program and combines it with a citizenship program—posing significant challenges for national security. When Breitbart News asked immigration attorney Ian Smith specifically about the process of denaturalization (stripping citizenship from an alien), Smith explained that under current law it’s “near impossible” for someone who radicalizes after gaining citizenship to be denaturalized.”
Excellent and detailed article. Read more here @ Breitbart by Julia Hahn.
DHS Monitors Americans’ Social Media Accounts, But Not Visa Applicants’
– Daily Caller
“The Department of Homeland Security has operated a program to monitor ordinary Americans’ social media discussions about the agency’s policy directives, even though it had in place another policy prohibiting agents from checking visa applicants’ social media accounts for possible signs of terrorist leanings.
The agency’s policy against vetting visa applicants was revealed on Monday by John Cohen, a former DHS under-secretary for intelligence and analysis.
Now an intelligence analyst at ABC News, Cohen says that last year, DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson resisted changing the agency’s policy against viewing visa applicants’ social media accounts as part of the screening process to let them into the U.S.
Having such a policy in place may have prevented San Bernardino terrorist Tashfeen Malik from entering the country on a fiancee visa last year, Cohen asserted.
Malik, a Pakistani citizen, reportedly posted pro-jihad messages on her Facebook account while living overseas. But the posts were not discovered even though Malik underwent three separate screening procedures before being granted her green card.”