News in Brief


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

California Drought Salinizes Delta

STOCKTON -- State officials say they are struggling to keep portions of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta fresh as saltier water from the San Francisco Bay pushes inland during another summer of drought.
Normally, rivers push back saltier water and keep the delta fresh. But because of the drought, the rivers are low and bay water is invading parts of the estuary, the Stockton Record reported Saturday ( ).

The state Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation earlier this year asked regulators to temporarily weaken certain salinity standards in the west Delta to hold back more bay water. The request was granted.

But officials say even those weakened standards have been exceeded in two locations -- one on the Sacramento River at Three Mile Slough and another on the San Joaquin River at Jersey Point.

"We knew things were going to be tight," John Lehigh, who oversees operations of California's water delivery system, told the State Water Resources Control Board this week.

Little water can be released from reservoirs to push back the saltier water, he said.

Some environmentalists have challenged the water board's decision to allow those scientifically determined water-quality standards to be weakened. In a complaint filed Wednesday, the Stockton-based California Sportfishing Protection Alliance warned that the looser standards also imperil fish that already are on the verge of extinction, such as the tiny Delta smelt.

Stockton's Restore the Delta filed its own protest on Thursday. "The system is really in quite a crisis," said Tim Stroshane, the group's policy adviser.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bay Delta Ecosystem Still At Risk

An explanatory series focusing on one of the most complex issues facing California: water sharing. And at its core is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. Stay with for all the project's stories.
We have a tendency when we talk about an ecosystem to try and draw a bright and distinct boundary around it. We want to define our terms clearly. The desert is the desert and the redwood forest is the redwood forest, and we try to ignore the blurry areas around the edges.
It doesn't usually work, of course. Even if the boundary you draw encompasses the whole planet, there are still the small matters of sunlight and tides to consider, the sun and moon stepping right across your boundaries like you didn't even go to the trouble of drawing them.
There's a popular and often mangled aphorism penned by John Muir that reads "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." That interconnectedness is the basic lesson of the science of ecology, and it's nowhere more true than in the ecosystem in which Muir sat when he wrote the quote: the Bay Delta.
You can draw a bright line around the Bay Delta, encompassing the Golden Gate and the sloughs between Sacramento and Stockton and Muir's ranch in south Martinez and everything in between, and there will be plenty worth to study within those boundaries, just as there is plenty worth studying in a human heart that has been excised from its chest cavity and laid on a dissecting table. But to really know the true Bay Delta, one must consider it as part of a near-organismal whole, connected Muir-style to the High Sierra and the seabed of the Pacific Ocean -- among other places.
That organism is immense, with nuanced boundaries. Upstream, two dozen major rivers and hundreds of small tributaries drain an area the size of Norway. Downstream the ecosystem's border dissolves into and intermingles with the Pacific Ocean.
And between the headwaters and the sea lies the Bay Delta, a narrow funnel through which runoff from three major mountain ranges flows into the tide, and the tide flows right back.
It's a heart all right, the heart of California, except instead of one pulse it's got dozens.
There are the daily pulses: the tides, the cycle of daylight and dark that phytoplankton and plants follow as they turn sunlight into food. There are the annual cycles, snowmelt flood and fall drought, the runs of salmon and sturgeon up into the headwaters to spawn, and the drifts of smolts washing back downstream.
Some of the Bay Delta's pulses are measured in multiple years. For instance, there are the big floods every few decades as strong El Niño storms pummel the mountains. Some, like the flood of 1862, were cataclysmic; others, like 1997, were merely catastrophic. Wildfire years send silt and nutrients down into the Delta every so often.
And some pulses reside on the geological time scale, or close to it. There was a pulse of sediment in the late 19th century, washed down off the Mother Lode by hydraulic miners, that will affect the Bay Delta for a few centuries to come. Paleontologists a few million years from now, perhaps the sentient descendants of river otters, will note a broad band of silt in semi-petrified sediments and hypothesize that some horrible cataclysm took place for a few years, and they will be right. They will pick over the subtle remains of the large and temporary dams we've built, perhaps arguing over the natural forces that put them there.
About those dams: The Bay Delta is about 6,000 years old right now, and it's doubtful the dams will still be there in another 6,000 years except as rust-stained rubble. As far as the rivers are concerned, it's another cycle. The dams have been devastating to the Bay Delta's anadromous fish populations, as well as to the less-migratory species downstream that once depended on the silt and sediment and nutrients the dams now impound.
But despite their massive character, even the largest dams in the Bay Delta watershed are mere temporary encumbrances to the rivers' passage. Most large dams' life spans are measured in decades. Without constant and expensive maintenance, few would last 200 years. Eventually, the reservoirs behind them will silt up. Eventually a storm the size of the one in 1862 will flood those silted-up reservoirs, overtop the crumbling concrete, and that silted-up water will carve notches in the dams' concrete within a geologic eyeblink.
Nature bats last, as the bumpersticker says. At some point, new kinds of anadromous fish -- perhaps the descendants of present-day rainbow trout -- will make the journey again from the headwaters of the Pit and Feather and San Joaquin through the Delta and the Bay, and out to sea. Or perhaps we'll manage to keep what's left of the chinook andsturgeon going until then.
Or perhaps that anadromous fish species of the future will be something wholly unexpected. Either way, there will be fish that spend much of their adult lives eating the bounty of the Pacific Ocean, then bringing some of that biomass into the Bay Delta and upstream as far as they can to spawn, there to be eaten by mountain animals. How does a Sierra Nevada black bear like its squid? Inside a salmon.
That Muirian hitch works in the other direction. The biological productivity of the Bay and Delta, as clearcut as it may have been by invasive species, feeds the next generation of those anadromous fish as they drift down from their parents' spawning grounds. The fish grow and head out to sea, where some of them are eaten. As we reported earlier this year, our dams and water diversions in the Bay Delta watershed have a significant impact on the southern resident population of orcas. Those orcas subsist on chinook salmon, and they're suffering because we've damaged a major source of those chinook salmon.
And that exchange of ecological wealth doesn't just happen in the water. The Bay Delta is a crucial stop for birds migrating along the constantly shifting corridor popularly called the Pacific Flyway; a bit of vegetation or an insect or a crustacean ingested in the Bay Delta might reemerge from the bird some hundreds of miles to the north or south. Stopover conditions in the Delta can determine the success of the very risky behavior that is bird migration: a bad year for stopover habitat can affect bird populations in the Yukon, or in Central America.
The notion that a dam in the mountains might harm an oceangoing animal like the orca that never pokes its head past the Golden Gate may be a bit hard to fathom, just as is the notion that protein from the depths of the Pacific might find its way into the hungry gullets of wolverines and bobcats living at 7,000 or 8,000 feet above sea level, or determine the success of a nest of birds in the Arctic. But it's true.
Muir wrote an earlier draft of his "hitched to everything" epithet, more floridly in keeping with his ninth century writing style, that suits the Bay Delta even better. In July 1869, Muir wrote in his journal "When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe."
Each run of chinook in each of the Bay Delta's tributary streams is one of those invisible cords. Each storm that blows in off the ocean to dump snow or rain on the slopes above treeline in the Sierra: another cord. Our aqueducts and sloughs diverting water to feed trees that grow nuts to export to far-distant countries: another cord. An orca eating a chinook; an angler landing a prize striped bass; a flock of snow geese landing to eat plants and fertilize them: all these interactions are invisible cords. That's the Bay Delta watershed for you: a skein of distinct relationships that weave themselves together in this heart of California.

Friday, June 19, 2015

2015 Cajun & Blues Festival This Weekend!

2015 Cajun & Blues Festival
2015 Cajun & Blues FestivalDwayne Dopsie & The Zydeco Hellraisers - Fantastic!
2015 Cajun & Blues Festival is Announced; @ Location at E2 Family Winery on Highway 12, June 20-21, 2015
(Lodi, CA) Capitalizing on a hugely successful festival last year, The Isleton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2015 Cajun & Blues Festival set for Father's Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21. The Festival location is E2 Family Winery -- the spacious area at 9009 Highway 12, Lodi, CA  95242, offers a pastoral, grassy setting. Parking is Free.  Handicap parking is available.
National headliners this year are:
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
America’s Hottest Accordion” winner, Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin, plays a unique, high energy style of zydeco. Dwayne hails from one of the most influential Zydeco families in the world. Although inspired by tradition, he has developed his own high energy style that defies existing stereotypes and blazes a refreshingly distinct path for 21st century Zydeco music. This singer/songwriter and accordionist has performed all over the world since debuting his band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, at age 19.
Lurrie Bell Blues Band
By seventeen Lurrie Bell was playing on stage with Willie Dixon. In 1977, he was a founding member of The Sons of Blues with Freddie Dixon (son of Willie) and Billy Branch. The band recorded three standout tracks for Alligator Records’ Grammy nominated Living Chicago Blues series. In 1978 Bell joined Koko Taylor’s band and stayed for several years, honing his chops and learning the ropes of being a traveling musician. He continued to work with his dad as well, recording the 1984 Rooster Blues album Son Of a Gun and several other titles for UK’s JSP Records. Not only was Bell recognized as an exceptionally talented guitarist and musician, his knowledge of different blues styles, his soulfulness and his musical maturity delivered write-ups in publications such as Rolling Stone and The New York Times.
Guitar Shorty
Legendary guitarist/vocalist Guitar Shorty is a giant in the blues world. Credited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, Guitar Shorty has been electrifying audiences for five decades with his supercharged live shows and his incendiary recordings. Like a bare knuckled boxer, Shorty strikes with his blistering, physical guitar playing and his fierce vocals, connecting directly with body and soul. What really sets Shorty apart is his absolutely unpredictable, off-the-wall guitar playing. He reaches for sounds, riffs and licks that other blues players wouldn’t even think of. says his guitar work “sounds like a caged tiger before feeding time. His molten guitar pours his psychedelicized solos like lava over anything in his path.” The Chicago Reader declares, “Guitar Shorty is a battle-scarred hard-ass. He slices off his phrases and notes with homicidal fury. He is among the highest-energy blues entertainers on the scene.”
John Nemeth
Boise, Idaho is hardly the place anyone would conjure up as a hotbed of soul music.  But for John Németh, it’s where his love for the genre began—and the starting point for a journey that’s taken him from his first gigs fronting a teenaged band to five Blues Music Award nominations in 2013 alone.
It’s where this preternaturally talented son of a Hungarian immigrant gained his early chops on the harmonica, building on the style of rootsy heroes like Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. Németh’s first paid performance came in 1991, when he was hired to perform drinking songs for a pinochle luncheon held by the Catholic Daughters of America before setting his sights on the Boise club scene, where, for nearly a decade, he played seven nights a week at local pubs, taverns, joints, and parties.
Andre’ Thierry
A young lion of Zydeco, and already in the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame, accordionist/ singer/ bandleader, Grammy-nominated Andre Thierry returns to the Cajun & Blues Festival this year as crowd favorites.   The California scenes now rival anything back home in Louisiana, and that’s due to players like Andre Thierry, a standard bearer for the new generation. Thierry is among the best of both the West Coast and the Gulf Coast, and he combines youthful vigor with a mature appreciation for his inherited tradition.”
Other artists are:
The Used Blues Band – Derek Abel Blues Band – Motor Dude Zydeco – Deb Ryder – The Zydeco Mudbugs
Over 6,000 pounds of fresh crawdads cooked by the restaurant “Swamp” from San Francisco and festival food (including gumbo, jambalaya, alligator, and more!!) from central and northern CA area vendors will feed the thousands of attendees.  There will also be an active Kid Zone with large climbing wall, face painting  and crafts. Wines from E2 Family Winery will be featured.
Tickets are available Online $20 per day, $35 for 2 days ($25 at the gate).  Ages 12 and under are free. Parking is free.  Advance tickets online at the festival website Tickets will also available in person the Isleton Chamber of Commerce office (23 Main Street, Isleton, CA), plus a number of the participating businesses around the Delta.
Official tee shirts, sweatshirts, hats and visors featuring the new design by Dan Harris will also be available at the at the festival.
We will be offering shuttles at certain points in the Delta for those boaters and RVers who do not have vehicle access.  The complete music line-up (with links to each band and bio) and the full schedule of events plus maps will be available at
For Festival information please contact Suzanne Black or Jean Yokotobi at the Isleton Chamber of Commerce office: (916) 777-4800. Email is

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Protest Of Nestlé Bottling Plant Sacramento

Protesters Converge on Nestlé Bottling Plants in Sacramento and LA

Written By EGN on Saturday, May 23, 2015 | 07:00

By Dan Bacher | May 23, 2015 |
The outrage over the bottling of California water by Nestlé, Walmart and other big corporations during a record drought has become viral on social media and national and international media websites over the past couple of months.
On May 20, people from across the state converged on two Nestlé bottling plants – one in Sacramento and other in Los Angeles – demanding that the Swiss-based Nestlé corporation halt its bottling operations during the state’s record drought.
Wednesday’s protest, led by the California-based Courage Campaign, was the third in Sacramento over the past year. The first two protests were “shut downs” this March and last October organized by the Crunch Nestlé Alliance. 
For over an hour Wednesday, over 50 protesters....story continues here

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Court Rules Vaccines Induce Autism


Recent Italian Court Decisions on Vaccines and Autism

On September 23, 2014, an Italian court in Milan award compensation to a boy for vaccine-induced autism. (See the Italian document here.) A childhood vaccine against six childhood diseases caused the boy’s permanent autism and brain damage.
While the Italian press has devoted considerable attention to this decision and its public health implications, the U.S. press has been silent.

Italy’s National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

Like the U.S., Italy has a national vaccine injury compensation program to give some financial support to those people who are injured by compulsory and recommended vaccinations. The Italian infant plaintiff received three doses of GlaxoSmithKline’s Infanrix Hexa, a hexavalent vaccine administered in the first year of life. These doses occurred from March to October 2006. The vaccine is to protect children from polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, pertussis and Haemophilus influenza type B. In addition to these antigens, however, the vaccine then contained thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative, aluminum, an adjuvant, as well as other toxic ingredients. The child regressed into autism shortly after receiving the three doses.
When the parents presented their claim for compensation first to the Ministry of Health, as they were required to do, the Ministry rejected it. Therefore, the family sued the Ministry in a court of general jurisdiction, an option which does not exist in the same form in the U.S.

Court Decision: Mercury and Aluminum in Vaccine Caused Autism

Based on expert medical testimony, the court concluded that the child more likely than not suffered autism and brain damage because of the neurotoxic mercury, aluminum and his particular susceptibility from a genetic mutation. The Court also noted that Infanrix Hexa contained thimerosal, now banned in Italy because of its neurotoxicity, “in concentrations greatly exceeding the maximum recommended levels for infants weighing only a few kilograms.”
Presiding Judge Nicola Di Leo considered another piece of damning evidence: a 1271-page confidential GlaxoSmithKline report (now available on the Internet). This industry document provided ample evidence of adverse events from the vaccine, including five known cases of autism resulting from the vaccine’s administration during its clinical trials (see table at page 626, excerpt below).
table at page 626

Italian Government, Not Vaccine Maker, Pays for Vaccine Damages

As in many other developed countries, government, not industry, compensates families in the event of vaccine injury. Thus GSK’s apparent lack of concern for the vaccine’s adverse effects is notable and perhaps not surprising.
In the final assessment, the report states that:
“[t]he benefit/risk profile of Infanrix hexa continues to be favourable,” despite GSK’s acknowledgement that the vaccine causes side effects including “anaemia haemolytic autoimmune,thrombocytopenia, thrombocytopenic purpura, autoimmune thrombocytopenia, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, haemolytic anemia, cyanosis, injection site nodule, abcess and injection site abscess, Kawasaki’s disease, important neurological events (including encephalitis and encephalopathy), Henoch-Schonlein purpura, petechiae, purpura, haematochezia, allergic reactions (including anaphylactic and anaphylactoid reactions),” and death (see page 9).
The Milan decision is sober, informed and well-reasoned. The Ministry of Health has stated that it has appealed the Court’s decision, but that appeal will likely take several years, and its outcome is uncertain.

Rimini: 2012 – Italian Court Rules MMR Vaccine Caused Autism

Gavel  and Flag of Italy
Two years earlier, on May 23, 2012, Judge Lucio Ardigo of an Italian court in Rimini presided over a similar judgment, finding that a different vaccine, the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine (MMR), had caused a child’s autism. As in the Milan case, the Ministry of Health’s compensation program had denied compensation to the family, yet after a presentation of medical evidence, a court granted compensation. There, too, the Italian press covered the story; the U.S. press did not.
In that case, a 15-month old boy received his MMR vaccine on March 26, 2004. He then immediately developed bowel and eating problems and received an autism diagnosis with cognitive delay within a year. The court found that the boy had “been damaged by irreversible complications due to vaccination (with trivalent MMR).” The decision flew in the face of the conventional mainstream medical wisdom that an MMR-autism link has been “debunked.”

Italian Court Decisions Break New Ground in Debate Over Vaccines and Autism

Both these Italian court decisions break new ground in the roiling debate over vaccines and autism. These courts, like all courts, are intended to function as impartial, unbiased decision makers.
The courts’ decisions are striking because they not only find a vaccine-autism causal link, but they also overrule the decisions of Italy’s Ministry of Health. And taken together, the court decisions found that both the MMR and a hexavalent thimerosal- and aluminum-containing vaccine can trigger autism.

Italian Court Rulings Contradict Special U.S. Vaccine Court

These court decisions flatly contradict the decisions from the so-called U.S. vaccine court, the Court of Federal Claim’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. There, from 2007 to 2010, in the Omnibus Autism Proceeding, three decision makers, called Special Masters, found that vaccines did not cause autism in any of the six test cases, and one Special Master even went so far as to compare the theory of vaccine-induced autism to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
The Italian court decisions contrast starkly with these U.S. cases based on similar claims.
Read the full story at Age of Autism.
About the Author
Mary Holland is Research Scholar and Director of the Graduate Legal Skills Program at NYU Law School. She has published articles on vaccine law and policy, and is the co-editor of Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health and Our Children (Skyhorse Publishing,
- See more at:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

BB King Murdered? Police Investigation Begins

BB King's death to be investigated as murderBB King

BB King was affectionately known as 'the king of the blues'

A murder investigation has been launched into the death of blues legend BB King after two of his daughters claimed he was poisoned.
Karen Williams and Patty King said the musician was given "foreign substances to induce his premature death" by his business manager Laverne Toney.
Lawyers for King's estate said the claims are unfounded and disrespectful.
But the possibility of homicide will now be investigated by the coroner and police in Nevada.
"Our coroner takes jurisdiction over B.B. King's body, performs autopsy," the Clark County Coroner's office wrote on Twitter on Monday.
Coroner John Fudenberg told CNN that the initial autopsy results found "no evidence to substantiate the allegations" made by King's daughters.
However, he added that full forensic results would take six to eight weeks to arrive.

'Ridiculous' claims

King died in his sleep at his Las Vegas home on 14 May, aged 89.
At the time, his doctor and the coroner said he had died of a series of small strokes connected to his Type 2 diabetes.
But the guitarist's daughters alleged that King's personal assistant Myron Johnson and Toney gave him medication to induce diabetic shock.

Karen Williams, BB King's daughter
Karen Williams had previously accused King's business manager of elder abuse and neglect

The women added that "King was sequestered from all family members" in the week before his death, and that Toney and Johnson were the only people with him.
Toney, who is the executor of King's estate, shrugged off the daughters' claims.
"They've been making allegations all along. What's new?" she told the Associated Press.
A lawyer for King's estate also dismissed the accusations as "ridiculous".
"I hope they have a factual basis that they can demonstrate for their defamatory and libellous allegations," Brent Bryson said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Patty King, Karen Williams and a third daughter, Rita Washington, went to court accusing Toney of neglect, but the case was dismissed because of a lack of evidence.


King was born on 16 September 1925 to sharecroppers and worked in the cotton fields as a child before picking up the guitar.
Considered one of the world's greatest players, he was known for his sharp single notes and vibrato on the electric guitar he christened Lucille.
Known for songs such as The Thrill Is Gone, Three O'Clock Blues and Darlin' You Know I Love You, he influenced generations of guitar players, and was inducted to both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He was married twice and had 15 natural and adopted children, 11 of whom are still alive.
His funeral is scheduled to be held on Friday in Mississippi.
The Clark County coroner said his investigation would not delay the service.