UCLA has released a statement regarding the fires and Saturday’s game against San Diego State at the Rose Bowl:
“Our first concern is for the families affected by the fires and for the men and women fighting those fires.
“At this time, the plan is to play Saturday’s football game versus San Diego State at the Rose Bowl as scheduled. We are in constant contact with City of Pasadena authorities and will continue to monitor the situation.”
NOTE: Might the USC - San Jose State game also be cancelled?
Preface: When will the U.S. public wake up to the reality that Middle Eastern states want us fighting a proxy and mercenary war for them in Iraq and Afghanistan? The war on terror is not about Neo-Con overreach, Big Oil, ridding Iraq of a tyrant, human rights for Muslim women, a conspiracy by Bush-Cheney, democracy building, or any of the other popular narratives floating around in the media since 2001. The War on Terror is a false flag operation sponsored by our "allies." No politician of either major political party can tell the public what the ugly reality of the War on Terror is -- without being thrown out of power quickly. So the false narratives about the war propagated by political parties to tell their constituencies what they want to hear, by the media to sell broadcast time and newspapers, by so-called experts to sell books and interviews, continue unchecked but without empirical validation. If those politicians in power told you what the reality of the War on Terror was they would also cede their knowledge, and thus their power, about the war. They aren't about to do that. Ask yourself how much you knew about the world financial meltdown before or even after late 2008? We still don't know much about the War on Terror no matter which group of certainty wallahs tell you otherwise. Those who don't like certaintists about religion strangely seem to cleave to whatever certainty explanation or theory of the War on Terror is out there that fits their preconceived notions. Newspaper columnist George Will is starting to puncture some of the misconceptions about the Afghan War and the mythical "Taliban" and is calling for the U.S. to just get out cold turkey. Read excerpt below:
George Will - NorthJersey.com
U.S. strategy — protecting the population — is increasingly troop-intensive while Americans are increasingly impatient about “deteriorating” (says Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) conditions. The war already is nearly 50 percent longer than the combined U.S. involvements in two world wars, and NATO assistance is reluctant and often risible.
U.S. strategy is “clear, hold and build.” Clear? Taliban forces can evaporate and then return, confident that U.S. forces will forever be too few to hold gains. Hence nation-building would be impossible even if we knew how, and even if Afghanistan were not the second-worst place to try: The Brookings Institution ranks Somalia as the only nation with a weaker state.
Military historian Max Hastings says Kabul controls only about a third of the country — “control” is an elastic concept — and “ ‘our’ Afghans may prove no more viable than were ‘our’ Vietnamese, the Saigon regime.”
Just 4,000 Marines are contesting control of Helmand province, which is the size of West Virginia. The New York Times reports a Helmand official saying he has only “police officers who steal and a small group of Afghan soldiers who say they are here for ‘vacation.’ ”
Counterinsurgency doctrine teaches, not very helpfully, that development depends on security, and that security depends on development. Three-quarters of Afghanistan’s poppy production for opium comes from Helmand. In what should be called Operation Sisyphus, U.S. officials are urging farmers to grow other crops. Endive, perhaps?
Even though violence exploded across Iraq after, and partly because of, three elections, Afghanistan’s recent elections were called “crucial.” To what? They came, they went, they altered no fundamentals, all of which militate against American “success,” whatever that might mean.
No effective government
Creation of an effective central government? Afghanistan has never had one. U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry hopes for a “renewal of trust” of the Afghan people in the government, but The Economist describes President Hamid Karzai’s government — his vice presidential running mate is a drug trafficker — as so “inept, corrupt and predatory” that people sometimes yearn for restoration of the warlords, “who were less venal and less brutal than Mr. Karzai’s lot.”
Adm. Mullen speaks of combating Afghanistan’s “culture of poverty.” But that took decades in just a few square miles of the South Bronx. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, thinks jobs programs and local government services might entice many “accidental guerrillas” to leave the Taliban.
But before launching New Deal 2.0 in Afghanistan, the Obama administration should ask itself: If U.S. forces are there to prevent re-establishment of al-Qaeda bases — evidently there are none now — must there be nation-building invasions of Somalia, Yemen and other sovereignty vacuums?
U.S. forces are being increased by 21,000 to 68,000, bringing the coalition total to 110,000. About 9,000 are from Britain, where support for the war is waning. Counterinsurgency theory concerning the time and the ratio of forces required to protect the population indicates that, nationwide, Afghanistan would need hundreds of thousands of coalition troops, perhaps for a decade or more. That is inconceivable.
The great Roman ruler Caesar Augustus (63 BC to 14 AD) was quoted by historian Suetonius as saying "I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble." Tim Brick, the Chairman of the Board of The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Pasadena's representative on the MWD Board, seems determined to reverse Augustus's statement to "I found Pasadena a city of marble fountains and left it a city of bricks."
According to the Orange County Register, instead of pouring the monies from new water rate increases into new water system infrastructure MWD is poised to use a recent mandated 20% regional water rate hike to increase MWD employee pensions by 25%. It appears the contrived "drought" is nothing more than a taxing scheme to prop up the ailing California Employees Retirement System (CAL-Pers) from its investment losses.
At the local level it also seems that not much of the mandated water rate increase will be put toward replenishing groundwater which is being depleted due to water conservation activities. Rather, the city water rate increase will be used to plug a $4 million shortfall in its Water Department Fund due to fewer water sales as a result of conservation; and unsold and unrented new downtown housing units which presently are not paying monthly water bills. Additionally, the City of Pasadena will also tack onto its rate increase a nearly 8% surtax which will be diverted into its General Fund to support City Hall retirements among other things.
The MWD is preparing to vote soon to hike its pension formula from 2 percent at age 55 to 2.5 percent at age 55. What this means is that an MWD employee with a $100,000 annual salary will have their pension increase from $50,000 to $62,500 annually. Adjusted for inflation this would equate to about $18,750 annually or $281,750 if an employee lives retires at age 55 and expires at age 70. The reported total cost to MWD's ratepayers will be $70 million.
The Chairman of the MWD Tim Brick has no incentive to preserve cheap local groundwater supplies which cost about one-fifth ($100 per acre foot) of the typical price of MWD's imported water from the Colorado River or the Sacramento Delta (about $500 per acre foot). MWD's bureaucratic self interest dictates that local, cheap and environmentally sustainable groundwater sources be replaced with expensive imported water.
Additionally, the MWD has dragged its feet for years in completing the Raymond Basin Conjunctive Use Project which would have stored imported water in the local Raymond Basin as well as preserving Pasadena's precious groundwater supplies.
Neither MWD nor Pasadena required that the recent water rate hikes, purportedly for water conservation, be mitigated by also requiring new recharge basins, cisterns, or "rain gardens" to replenish the Raymond Basin for any water lost due to conservation efforts. It appears that neither the MWD nor the City of Pasadena are concerned about preserving our cheap groundwater resources because they both benefit from hidden taxation schemes from the purchase of imported water.
MWD is Southern California's regional water importer for some 19 million ratepayers in L.A., Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Ventura Counties. The water comes from the Colorado River and the State Water Project.
The above apparent diversion of increased water rate funds to bolster retirement funds and the city treasury provokes another Roman phrase: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?, a Latin phrase from the Roman poet Juvenal, which literally translates to "Who will guard the guards themselves?" Who will watch the watchmen? Water ratepayers are left without a watchman to protect their interests under the current system of water government. It is a system without accountability and serves mostly to protect only the interests of the bureaucracies. It is a system of taxation with only the pretense of representation. And as government gets bigger it seems the fortune of the state and the city continues to sink underwater. In a modern version of ancient alchemy, water is being politically used to turn marble into bricks.
The current southern California wildfires are all too predictable. A combination of arid landscapes, hot weather and some source of ignition – usually people – and once again we have massive fires looming on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
There are, however, things worth keeping in mind that make this more than just an another example of the terminal nature of the California condition.
For starters, these fire are earlier than usual for the fire season to get going – the Santa Ana winds are not yet a factor – so whatever damage we are seeing now is only a fraction of what we will see when the humidity drops and the winds kick up a month or two from now.
At the same time, it’s worth recognizing why we are seeing so many fires. For the most part these things are lit by people, and not always arsons. As the case more than a hundred years ago in the U.S. Northeast, the introduction of humans into a fuel-laden landscape – in this case California chaparral – is inevitably going to produce wildfires. What is different, however, is how quickly we have brought new ignition sources into so many places in California in so little time.
I spoke about this at a conference in Northern California this weekend. I started by describing the way in which fire suppression, fuel loads and complexity create analogies in the causes and responses to financial and wildland crises/conflagrations. It extends from type transitions, to fire adaptation, and the inevitability of crises, etc. But it crosses powerfully and unexpectedly from the metaphorical to the real and the economic.
How? Because fires are increasingly happening in and around the landscapes into which we recently introduced houses. So much of the new housing that popped up in the last few year at the urban-wilderness boundary in and around cities like Los Angeles was subprime. It was the only place so many houses could be slapped up so quickly.
The following figure overlaps a map of subprime percentage with the location of two current fire in the Los Angeles area. As you can see, we brought new people, blinking and unaware, into a landscape to which they represented new sources of ignition. We cannot be surprised at the result, even if there is a species of poeticism in seeing the metaphor of conflagration be made concrete by unwitting subprime homeowners.
The City of Pasadena is
spending $50,000 to hire a marketing consultant to refashion the image
of Northwest Pasadena from `It's that place where people get shot,' to
"it's a place I've lived my whole life" according to the Pasadena Star
News and consultant and School Board mem4b Ed
Honowitz. The more attention that is placed on the above statement the
less of a positive image it will have. Read more here: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/ci_13235702
Note: It is difficult to re-market the image of a neighborhood with the availability of online data sources such as CrimeReports.com which shows the location of crime reports filed each month by zip code and the location of sex offenders. See here
Kevin McCullough - Townhall.com The American people will want to know why we should spend $4 billion to
cover everyone in America "efficiently," when we already do so with
inefficiencies like people using the emergency room as their general
practitioner for $2.5 billion.
There are no good choices. Nouriel [Roubini], optimist that he is (note sarcasm), suggests that there is a possibility that the government can manage expectations by showing a clear path to fiscal responsibility that can be believed. And thus the bond markets do not force rates higher, thereby thwarting recovery.
And technically he is right. If there were adults supervising the party, it might be possible. But there are not. . Instead of fiscal discipline, we are hearing increased demands for more spending. Please note that the very rosy future-deficit assumptions assume the end of the Bush tax cuts at the close of 2010. But raising taxes back to the level of 2000 does not make the projected future budget deficits go away.
…It is the proverbial rock and the hard place. Cut the stimulus too soon and we slide back into a deeper recession. Let the budget spin out of control for a few years and we will see inflation return, with higher rates and a recession. Raise taxes by 1.5-2% of GDP in 2010 and we are shoved back into recession.
There are no good choices. If we do the right thing and cut the deficit, it means very hard choices. Can we keep our commitments to two wars and our massive defense budget? Medicare and Social Security reform are not painless. Education? Research? The "stimulus"? But cutting the deficit by hundreds of billions while raising taxes by even more than is already in the works, is not the formula for sustainable recovery.
Have we grown up? Are there adults in the room? Sadly, I don't think there are enough. We are still a nation of teenagers. We will do whatever we can to avoid the pain today. We will kick the can down the road, hoping for a miracle. Will we grow up? Yes, but the lessons learned will be hard.
There are no statistical signs of an impending recession. We are not going to get an inverted yield curve this time, which made it relatively easy for me to predict recessions in 2000 and 2006. We are in a deflationary, deleveraging world. A far different world than in the past.
I see little room for us to avoid a double-dip recession.
Below: Shaded fire area above La Crescenta and likely path to Mt. Wilson.
"Watershed" is the term used to describe the geographic area of land
that drains water to a shared destination. The drainage system (and the watershed) also includes the geographic
area surrounding the stream system that captures precipitation, filters
and stores water, and determines water release into stream systems. The
stream system is the visible, above ground portion of a larger drainage
system. A watershed, therefore, is "an area of land that drains water,
sediment, and dissolved materials to a common outlet" (FISWRG 1998).
Any activity that changes soil permeability, vegetation type or cover,
water quality, quantity, or rate of flow at a location can change the
characteristics of a stream or even the watershed at downstream
locations. Land use practices such as (wild fires), clearing land for timber or
agriculture, developing and maintaining roads, housing developments,
and water diversions may have environmental consequences that greatly
affect stream conditions even when the land use is not directly
associated with a stream.
A watershed provides water for drinking, recreation, and agriculture,
and is a rich source of biological diversity that includes habitat
for many threatened and endangered species....http://www.cfses.org/salmonid/html/water/back.htm