The real state of the union

As with Trump supporters, conservatives of all stripes just seem to be done with pretending they are nicer than they are. They’re sick of pretending they have compassion. They’re exhausted with having to front like they’re less bigoted than they actually are. All that pretending to care is just “political correctness”, and the right is done with it all. They’re stripping off the costumes and the masks and letting their true selves hang out for all to see.

Amanda Marcotte, Sorry, David Brooks: In all his sadism,
Ted Cruz is the true face of the Christian right

IMG_3600compThe above quote is from Marcotte’s analysis of the Brooks’ column in which Brooks takes Cruz to task for keeping a man in prison for 16 years for having stolen a calculator (the Texas statute provides for a maximum two-year sentence). Cruz, as solicitor general of Texas, kept the man in prison while he took the case to the Supreme Court.

Another compassionate conservative

Dr. Ben Carson dismissed transgender civil rights as “garbage” and “silly” and trans people as “a few people who perhaps are abnormal” in an interview on the Roman Catholic TV network EWTN.

Flint: RepTeaLian small government at work, or Erin Brockovich redux

Anyone remember when Michael Moore told the story of Flint, Michigan – his hometown – a few years ago?

Some of today’s rhetoric sounds very similar to that from the time Erin Brockovich worked her magic in revealing the actions of Pacific Gas & Electric in southern California.

History

For years the city of Flint sourced its water from Lake Huron by purchasing it from the city of Detroit.  The city started using the Flint River as a source for drinking water in April 2014. The switch was designed to save the city more than $3 million while the Karegnondi Water Authority builds a pipeline from Lake Huron to Genesee County. Flint and 17 municipalities in Genesee County will switch to the KWA when the project is completed this year.

During August and September of 2014, the city of Flint issued three advisories for its residents to boil water after detecting coliform bacteria in the water supply. In December of that year residents received notices that state tests indicated higher-than-acceptable levels of trihalomethane (TTHM), a by-product of the disinfectants used to kill dangerous microorganisms in the water. Long-term exposure to the TTHM may cause liver, kidney or central nervous system problems and an increased risk of cancer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

During 2014 Flint charged $35 more per month in water and sewer rates to its residents than did the next highest municipality in Genesee County (and $90 more than the lowest). The cost was scheduled to increase up to $149 a month under the city of Flint’s Emergency Manager, Darnell Earley’s proposed budget.

Customers fell behind in payments to the water authority.  Jody Lundquist, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, said 60% of Flint water customers are behind on their water bills. During the summer of 2015

Judge Archie Hayman ordered Flint to stop shutting off water service to delinquent customers. The judge found Flint illegally raised rates by 35% in 2011. As part of his ruling, the judge ordered the city to roll back the water rates and stop disconnecting people who had run up unpaid bills under the old rate structure.

Not only was the water from the river hazardous to humans, it was corrosive and city water pipes began to corrode: lead from the pipes leached into the water and worked its way into people’s homes. According to Dominic Adams, a reporter for the Flint Journal, the city’s water system had 250 water main breaks through April of 2015. The rest of the county had nine. The water is so corrosive that General Motor’s Flint Engine Operations switched from the city’s system to one operated by nearby Flint Township.

Blah, blah, blah

In a January 23, 2015 article in the Detroit Free Press Robin Erb quoted Michael Prysby, a district engineer in the state’s Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance:

We don’t want to make a blanket statement to say water is safe or unsafe. It’s misleading both ways.

In July of 2015, Brad Wurfel, spokesman for Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality said

Let me start here – anyone who is concerned about lead in the drinking water in Flint can relax.

On January 8 of this year Dr. Eden Wells, the state of Michigan’s chief medical executive said:

We don’t want, at this time, people using the city water.  They should be using filters and/or bottled water at this time. This needs to happen until the health alert is lifted.

On the nightly show, Larry Wilmore reported the problem could have been solved for as little as $100 a day.  Estimates are now as high as $1.6 billion dollars to resolve the crisis – maybe the city or state will win the current Powerball jackpot.

Tough guys

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