Archive | January 2016

Whose Crisis Is It?: Framing the History—the Facts–of the Flint Water Crisis


In his state-of-the-state address, Gov. Rick Snyder referenced a timeline of the Flint water crisis prepared by his office. Here is that timeline:

Flint Water Timeline--Snyder_Page_1

Flint Water Timeline--Snyder_Page_2

The progressive blog The Daily Kos has provided the following list of significant dates missing from Gov. Snyder’s timeline:

April 2011: Reports of partially treated sewage leaking into the Flint River. This is one of many times sewage—sometimes treated and sometimes raw—entered the Flint River.

September 2011: A city-funded report seeking affordable drinking water options in Flint found that the Flint Water Treatment facility, which had served the city until 1960 before the automative industry ruined the river, would require at least $60 million in upgrades to be able to treat the water properly for use as a primary source.

December 2011: Gov. Snyder appoints Michael Brown as first emergency manager of Flint during city’s financial crisis. Emergency managers have the power to bypass local leadership and act…

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When Polarization Becomes the Snake That Swallows Itself


The following quotations appeared in different parts of CNN’s daily Politics newsletter:

“Politics: Trump used to back Hillary, who endorsed Gore, who ran with Lieberman, who endorsed McCain, who picked Palin, who endorsed Trump.”

–Tweet by the New York Times‘ Nick Confessore, on the circle of American politics.

“It is hard for me to watch her endorse Donald Trump after what Donald Trump said about my father’s service.”

— Meghan McCain, the daughter of 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, who’d tapped Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick, on Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump.

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Government Run like a Business Led to Lead in Flint’s Water


This post was written by Dave Johnson for the daily Progressive Breakfast newsletter of the Campaign for America’s Future [], which has become a driving force behind the New Populist Movement.

The group’s report, Organizing to Take Back America: The New Populist Movement, is available at: Prepared by Roger Hickey, the co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, the report identifies twelve key principles underlying this new progressive effort to provide an effective grassroots alternative to the Tea Party movement on the Far Right.

The post is reprinted with the permission of Roger Hickey.


“If the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water, we would have done something about it.”
– Hillary Clinton


“There are no excuses. The governor long ago knew about the lead in Flint’s water. He did nothing. As a result, hundreds of children were…

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Contributions from Higher Ed to the Presidential Candidates


These are the contributions from higher educational institutions and individuals employed by them to the presidential candidates up to October 31, 2015. The totals include contributions from public and private, as well as non-profit and for-profit, institutions. Typically, for-profit institutions have been among the “industries” that have spent the most on lobbying, but thus far in this presidential cycle, the contributions from those individuals have been proportionate to their size.

HE Contrib to Pres Cand as of 10-31-15

Various breakdowns of this data are provided by

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Progressives and Rural America


Writing for In These Times, Lauren Gurley has attempted to explain “Why the Left Isn’t Talking about Rural American Poverty.”

Here is how Gurley frames her discussion:

“Within the popular American conscience—arguably a close reflection of the mainstream media—there are two favored focal points for discussing the problem of poverty. The first is within the urban, inner city context—often conflated with black poverty—which has held a critical role in American political and cultural discourse throughout most of the past century. The second is the poverty of the Global South: Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the rest of the developing world.

“What seldom gets talked about—and when it is, often with irreverent humor and contempt—is the poverty of rural America, particularly rural white America: Appalachia, the Ozarks, the Mississippi Delta, the Dakotas, the Rio Grande Valley, the Cotton Belt.

“If you spend time among coastal liberals, it’s not unusual…

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It Was a Very Safe Derisive Comment


Two days ago, I wrote a post titled “You Get What You Pay For Even When You’re Thinking Outside the Box: An Addendum to Brian Mitchell’s Post on an ‘Innovative’ Pricing Strategy from Maine” [].

The post closed:

“With more specific reference to what is occurring in Maine, a state cannot hope to sustain a system of public colleges and universities when state policy is being determined by wingnuts like Paul LePage.”

I could not have anticipated that little more than a day later, LePage would not only confirm that he is a wingnut, but in the process demonstrate that he is also a racist and a very inarticulate one at that.

Here is an account written for CNN by Gregory Krieg []:

“Less than 48 hours after using racially-charged language to explain his state’s drug epidemic, Maine Gov. Paul LePage at a Friday news conference…

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Censuring Trump, Abroad and Here in the U.S.


In an article written for the New York Times, Dan Bilefsky has reported that “Donald J. Trump has threatened to abandon plans to invest more than $1 billion in Scotland if Britain bars him from entering the country over his comments that Muslim foreigners should not be allowed into the United States.”

(Permit me a digression. I cannot help but notice that the media are starting to insert Trump’s middle initial into references to him. This practice no doubt started when Trump himself referred to himself in the third-person and included his middle initial in announcing his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. But it seems just a step removed from the tendency to refer to some well-known assassins and serial killers by their first, middle, and last names—for example, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, John Wayne Gacy, and Theodore Robert Bundy.)

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2015 Year in Review—Wingnut Edition


The following was written by Terrance Heath for the Progressive Breakfast blog of the Campaign for America’s Future. It is reposted here with the permission of Roger Hickey, co-director of the campaign. Its mission statement is very much worth reading and available at:


“No Go Zone” on the Brain

In January, we learned that the biggest “No go zones,” are the one’s between wingnuts’ ears.Fox News terrorism “expert” Steven Emerson declared Birmingham, England, a “totally Muslim” “no-go zone.” The “no-go zones” myth bubbled up from the outer fringes of the of America’s wingnut fever swamps eight years ago and finally seeped into mainstream conservatism.

Prime Minister David Cameron called Emerson an idiot. “Le Petit Journal” found multiple instances of Fox News employees repeating the “no-go zones” claim, and had fun sending reporters to mythical “no go zones.” The mayor Paris threatened to sue Fox News…

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Trump, the Self-Caricature, Requires a Satirist with a Minimalist Touch


So, Hillary Clinton’s very safe, if momentarily controversial prediction that Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim pronouncements would become material for ISIS recruitment videos has been proven accurate.

Here is a summary from the Far-Right news service Newsmax:

“Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is featured in a new terrorist recruitment video, according to multiple news reports.

“In the new video produced by al-Shabab, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Somalia, a clip of Trump telling rallygoers in December he was calling for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on,’ is used. The expletive is bleeped out.

“Prior to the clip of Trump, former al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who died in a U.S. airstrike in 2011, is seen telling ‘Muslims of the West’ to ‘learn from the lessons of history,’ CBS News reports.

“’There are ominous clouds gathering in your…

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