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Toxic Sludge is Good for You!


After the state mismanaged the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, about as terribly as humanly possible, Gov. Rick Snyder finally got his typewriter and stamps together and requested emergency assistance from the federal government. On Saturday, President Obama declared an emergency in Flint, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to "coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures[.]" With the emergency declaration, FEMA can now provide the people of Flint with emergency supplies of water (unleaded, please), water filters and cartridges for them, and other assistance for up to 90 days. Happily, no one will have to get sicker from living in a toxic FEMA trailer. Flint has suffered enough. The city can receive up to $5 million in immediate emergency help; since Michigan will have to match any federal spending by 25%, we should probably look forward to some genius in the state legislature insisting the state can't possibly afford to help Flint.

[contextly_sidebar id="mAmRd848xY3xKgt5RIyKa0L0OwfrvjF7"]Snyder had also requested a federal disaster declaration for the state, which was denied because that designation is reserved for natural events like earthquakes and floods, not for unspeakably bad management by political appointees, even if it ends up putting lead into the water supply for a city of 99,000. Snyder announced he would appeal the denial in hopes of accessing "every opportunity to provide resources" for Flint. Political and public relations disasters need attention too, don't they?

[contextly_sidebar id="lZh8TAwNZ3kdwovJu2AsGwARA4PKe7UK"]As you may recall, Flint's water problems resulted when a series of emergency managers appointed by Gov. Snyder decided to save money by getting water from the Flint River while a new treatment system for Lake Huron water was being built. The river water corroded old lead pipes in Flint's system (it could have been treated to prevent that, but nahh, they didn't bother), and within a week after the switch, residents complained the new water was disgusting, foul-tasting, and a skin irritant. State officials insisted everything was fine for nearly a year, even after tests began showing lead in Flint's water, and in Flint's children. Eventually, the state finally admitted there was a problem, but did little to get drinkable water to Flint.

[contextly_sidebar id="CV6MKgWYKs7xx5BegKYkTsg6FoJx8WaP"]Last week, the state finally got its act together and began distributing water and filters; Snyder also mobilized the National Guard and state police to assist in distributing supplies, mostly because "Rick Snyder" and "lead poisoned kids" were being paired in headlines. On top of everything else, ten people in Flint have died and 77 others have been sickened by Legionnaires' Disease, which may or may not have resulted from the crapwater flowing through Flint's water system. And yes, the city is continuing to bill residents for their undrinkable poison water that's stunting their kids' brain development. Governor Snyder is now trying to portray himself as on top of the problem, taking decisive action and would you please stop pointing out his administration did nothing for over a year?

[contextly_sidebar id="tRHXPWv9UcEYwWV0XlVTUfJc7NJnpXaV"]Hillary Clinton has been making the fuck-tussle in Flint a key part of her campaign; last week, she called Snyder's delayed response "unconscionable" and praised the Justice Department's recently-launched investigation of the mess. In Sunday's Democratic debate, Clinton devoted her closing statement to Flint's water and Snyder's incompetence, which resulted in the poisoning of an entire city and its kids.

I think every single American should be outraged. We've had a city in the United States of America where the population, which is poor in many ways, and majority African American has been drinking and bathing in lead contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he didn't really care. He had requests for help that he basically stonewalled. I'll tell you what: If the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would have been action.

Bernie Sanders agreed, and said it was time for Snyder to be hauled out and decontaminated like any other toxic waste:

What Secretary Clinton said was right and what I did, which I think was also right, is demanded the resignation of the governor. A man who acts that irresponsibly should not stay in power.

Gov. Snyder, who cares very deeply about his image (if not about poisoned black kids), issued several angry tweets to prove he is totally on top of this:

Such decisive action! Not mentioned in the second tweet, of course, is a tiny detail: the "emergency declaration" only came on January 5 -- over a year and a half since Flint residents started getting filthy water, and three months after Gennessee County declared an emergency due to elevated lead levels. As recently as September 2015, the state was still disputing research showing the presence of lead in Flint's water.

So yeah, Hillary and Bernie, you knock off all that finger-pointing, since it's not helping Rick Snyder one bit. You don't know what it's like to deny a problem for over a year and then start taking decisive action in the last two weeks.

[The White House / ABC News / Mlive.com / Politico]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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