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Flint Water Crisis And It’s Ugly Racist History: Why Rick Snyder Seems To Be Attacking Michigan’s Poor Black Communities

February 8, 2016

For some strange reason people like to pretend that racism no longer exists. People like to claim that there are no racist undertones to white police officers shooting black men, for black professors to be arrested by white cops on their own doorsteps when they imbibe enough to fumble with their house key, when a city that is predominantly poor and inhabited by black people is mismanaged by a white, Republican leader who deemed safe water procedures “too expensive” to implement and poisons black children. I wonder: how does racism not play into these issues?

Since April 2014, residents of Flint, a city that is almost 57 percent black and incredibly poor, have been drinking and bathing in water that contains enough lead to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of “toxic waste.”

The water crisis is not the first time a predominantly white leadership initiative, lead by good ole boy Rick Snyder, has said that maintaining a Michigan black community is not in the State’s best financial interest. I wrote about this before, when Rick Snyder initiated a children’s park takeover that resulted in turing a predominantly black neighborhood’s children’s park into a mainly white golf course community and marina. Take a look at Benton Harbor:

We also learn that one of the best parts of Benton Harbor is Jean Klock Park, donated by wealthy benefactors years ago with the stipulation that it be used for the public good and that it remain “the children’s” park.

We also learn that Whirlpool, in an effort to recycle some old manufacturing land on the shore of Lake Michigan, a brownfield, if you will, decided to build a $500 million golf course & residential development, Harbor Shores, on its land, part of which would heavily impact Jean Klock Park. Note that Whirlpool pulled its last manufacturing out of Benton Harbor in March of this year, driving the final economic stake into the heart of this otherwise depressed area.

We also learn that the Emergency Financial Manager bill (pdf) that allowed Governor Snyder to take over Benton Harbor’s government was sponsored by Al Pscholka. Al Pscholka has some interesting characteristics:

There is one dot, however, that Rachel Maddow did NOT connect. As I wrote about yesterday, one of the first things that Joseph Harris did was to fire a number of people on both the Planning Commission and the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in Benton Harbor and replace them with people he hand-picked. These two commissions are the ones most intimately involved in decision-making about real estate development in Benton Harbor. They will decide who gets permits, what developments will look like and who gets to pick the ripe plums present in Benton Harbor. And they are now staffed largely by people chosen by the Czar of Benton Harbor.

This is where the rubber meets the pavement. If you are looking for motivations for Snyder and his Republican friends to take over Benton Harbor, watch who gets development rights of the Lake Michigan shoreline. They are already setting things up to ensure that it is not the local residents of Benton Harbor.

Notice that Rick Snyder followed the same pattern in the City of Flint.

  1. Remove local leadership
  2. Tell people local leadership, predominantly black, was corrupt and essentially wasting money.
  3. Hand-pick people who agree with Rick Snyder’s agenda under the premise of “balancing the budget,” under the guise of Emergency Financial Management.
  4. Allow corporate giants to abuse the local community that doesn’t have the money to be empowered (i.e. take away a children’s park to give to rich, white developers, allow water supplies to be contaminated (Dow anyone? Automotive industry. Coal powered plants.)
  5. Claim that in the interest of finances, the black community must comply.
  6. Injure the local population and claim no knowledge for said injuries.

It would have only cost about $100/day to protect those kids from lead poisoning. Why were those children not worthy of protection? Of that money?

First, governmental agencies allowed big business to pollute the predominantly poor and black communities, all in the interest of cost, of course, and then the same government forces those communities to drink the polluted water and poisons them. 

Since the 1960’s, the Flint river water has been documented as contaminated:

In 1966, Flint’s automotive industry was booming. Buick City, a 235-acre factory that produced Buicks for General Motors, churned out thick clouds of smoke, which floated over Flint’s poverty-stricken, predominantly black North End neighborhood.

At a state Civil Rights Commission hearing on the environmental impact of the plant, which opened in 1904, North End resident Aliene Butler testified to the horrid conditions residents faced.

“The houses in this district are eaten up by a very heavy deposit, something like rust,” she said. “You can imagine what we go through down there breathing when this exists on just material things.”

Butler, a throat cancer survivor who lost her husband to the same illness, had highlighted one way de facto segregation leads to environmental injustice.

That same year, Buick City dumped 2.2 million gallons of waste per day into the Flint River. The year before, the eight GM plants around Flint had dumped about 26.5 million gallons of industrial waste into the river each day.

The city used the Flint River for its water supply until 1967, when it began buying water from Detroit and treating it with an anti-corrosive agent. A December 1966 EPA study showed that the water quality in Flint was poor decades before people were talking about lead pipes and poisoning.

Flint’s river had documented pollution over for over 50 years, so why would Rick Snyder’s hand-picked manager force the Flint children to drink poisonous water? Are those children’s lives really that cheap for people like Rick Snyder?

Then, Rick Snyder claims he had no knowledge of these problems, even though he received emails about it, and even though the pollution of the river had been documented over 50 years ago? He is governor of Michigan and doesn’t know how to read email? I just don’t buy it. It comes across as a sadistic and racist focus on finance that allowed for the poisoning of innocent children. There is no justification for that.

I have predicted the lawsuit against the State of Michigan for a few months now, and a class action suit has been filed. The Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has said that he will investigate whether this level of cover up and misinformation meets criminal negligence standards. It should. I don’t know if they will allow Snyder to sneak out of charges; however, the ray of sunshine, if one can be found in this situation, is that Bill Schuette is looking to replace Rick Snyder, and the only way he can replace an elected official is if that official, barring an election, is if that elected official is implicated in criminal charges. Maybe Rick Snyder will be found responsible for forcing the innocent to drink water that was documented as contaminated to “cut costs.”

Teacher Starts Bodybuilding and Documents On Instagram–Almost Loses Her Job

February 5, 2016

Chauvinism is pervasive, and definitely for working women, as evidenced by the teacher whose Instagram posts about body building prompted parents to push for her to be fired.

“I thought with my body being stronger maybe it would soak into my emotions, my heart and my brain and strengthen that so I started fitness,” Jensen told Good 4 Utah.

She regularly posts pictures of her training and competitions on Instagram. However, these pictures almost cost Jensen her job. The school threatened to fire her after parents complained about her fitness pictures, which often include Jensen in bikinis and scant amounts of clothing.

Apparently this teacher was nothing more than her body, to the parents. Business Insider, from which I got a good amount of content, calls the photos “racy,” as in “Racy Instagram Photos…” Is any type of physical fitness training for women racy? Parents called the photos “immodest” and “pornographic.”

Jensen said that she was recently divorced, lost too much weight, and decided she had to focus on fitness. She thought that might help build her self esteem. You can watch her interview below.

http://www.good4utah.com/news/local-news/teacher-keeps-job-after-complaints-of-social-media-posts

There is an issue here that goes beyond a person’s right to have a life outside of their job, and that issue is that teachers, particularly female teachers are viewed through the same lens that mothers are often subjected to, the whole Madonna/Whore complex. Supposedly there exists only a duality for women, good or bad, and a woman’s gender is her most defining feature, seconded by her looks, and finally, her professional performance. What? Professional? No one talked about this woman’s ability to teach, whether or not she was a solid professional. I looked on a good number of websites to find out if the teacher was referenced by her professional accolades, and the answer, “no.”

The teacher asserted that her rights to a private life were infringed upon by the school district, who initially told her she had to make her pages private, because her photos were immodest or leave her job. Once the media stepped in, the school district changed their tune. The teacher asserted that she had no control over what people thought of her photos on the internet, and if parents didn’t want their children looking at her body building photos, then they should tell their children not to look at them, not take away her right to her Instagram account.

Only one viewer of the media story, and it was a man, said he would be “weirded out” by photos of his teachers, male or female. As if that should count for anything. Why do teachers have to live a beholden life to their students? Once women become teachers their students own them? Own pictures of a teacher’s body? Or maybe the parents own the public life of a teacher? It happened in Utah, ‘nough said.

Teenager Response to Presidential Election: Trump Loses To Corn Tassle

February 4, 2016

I asked the teenagers in my life what they thought of the Presidential Election, and this was the photo they gave me. They couldn’t stop laughing. It’s pretty sad that when teenagers are polled, all they can think about is how funny Trump is, because Trump is, after all, sort of, like, a presidential candidate, right? Trump, obviously, has no credibility. Then again, a picture is worth 1,000 words, and I can’t argue that Trump has anything more substantive going on than this. A challenge, Dear Readers, anything else to add to the Trump campaign?

The Weird Case of the Invisible Vagina a.k.a. Sports Illustrated 2016 Cover

February 4, 2016

You know, I know Photoshop is used extensively to remodel women’s bodies, but I draw the line at removing a woman’s vagina. Well, I draw lots of lines on Photoshop usage, but with the new Sports Illustrated Cover, the model’s vagina is completely missing. Why have her pull down her pants for a ridiculous peek-a-boo at an invisible vagina? Wouldn’t everyone be so much more satisfied if there were real vaginas out there? Even Barbie had a vagina, and she was plastic! Can there be anything more misogynistic than removing a woman’s vagina completely to make her more marketable? Creep factor: 1000

So the model says something like how proud her mom will be, but how does one broach this? “Hello, Mom, just wanted to tell you that I am, in fact, a sexy beast, as determined by Sports Illustrated. That is the good news. The bad news? Well, they had to remove my vagina to make me a sexy beast. Hope that’s not offensive…”

“No, are you sure?” the 25-year-old asked at the time, looking shocked. “I’m shaking, seriously this is a dream come true. I told my mom there was no way I’d get the cover, I told her, ‘They do beaches for covers and I’m on a farm. There’s no way. It’s not possible.'”

Us Weekly called the photo “super sexy,” but how is sex for this model even possible without her vagina? I just don’t understand, either, why shaving a woman’s pubic hair to make her look prepubescent is sexy. Removing her vagina? That’s just plain scary. Sorry, Mom, the dream has come true, and I am now without a vagina. Not necessary part for a woman, right? Well, not according to Sports Illustrated who has now set the standard for female beauty that requires women to not have a vagina. Talk about an impossible standard to match.

When I’m president I’m a different person. I can do anything. I can be the most politically correct person you have ever seen,” Trump Speaks Of His Imaginary Powers

January 28, 2016

Lies, lies, and more lies, or so goes the rhetoric of Donald Trump who must believe that with a presidential nomination comes a magic wand, a unicorn, and glittery red shoes. The Donald seems to believe that he will be granted magic powers when he is anointed president:

“When I’m president I’m a different person. I can do anything. I can be the most politically correct person you have ever seen.”

Mama, I wanna magic wand, too. Or perhaps we have all fallen down the rabbit hole if Trump becomes President, because a country with him as president will be like living in the Mad Hatter Tea Party. A very merry un-America to you…

Apparently nobody in the right wing American contingent cares about anything but banning Muslims from the country, and on that, can Trump win the Republican nomination? We shall see, but it seems as though he is set to topple the Republican Party with its own racism, sexism, bigotry, and the list is too long to continue. The Republican Party’s Presidential Candidate Primary soundtrek is “Bring In The Clowns,” and now we are all laughing… Welcome to the Rabbit Hole, America.

God Responds To Sarah Palin Trump Endorsement with Earthquake in Alaska

January 25, 2016

It’s true that Alaska had an earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter scale. I might have taken liberties with the Godly bit. The poor people in Alaska are suffering power outages, gas leaks and more:

The earthquake was felt in Anchorage and caused power outages in the region. At least 10,000 customers were without electricity in the Anchorage area on Sunday morning, utilities reported.

Anchorage firefighters responded to numerous reports of gas odors, alarm systems sounding and broken water lines, the department said on its Twitter feed.

I am just geeking out about the firefighters have a Twitter feed. Who knew?

Judge Sides With Cop Who Told Woman She Had To Model Lingerie To Escape Charge–Wolfson Wins Asshole of the Week Award

January 22, 2016

Don’t women matter? Apparently a judge in Edison doesn’t think so. The judge gave a cop who mandated a woman take off her clothes for him in order to not charge her with marijuana possession his job back, saying the officer would suffer otherwise. That’s rich, because the only one suffering in that scenario is the woman the cop extorted for sexual favors.

Superior Court Judge Douglas Wolfson denied the town’s request to give Officer Sarni full pay and benefits if he agreed to stay home.

“To say that today’s ruling outraged the township’s administration and the police command staff, who have made it crystal clear they will not tolerate ‘reprehensible and deplorable’ conduct from municipal employees, would be an understatement,” township labor attorney Allan Roth said in a statement, according to NJ.com.

Officer Sarni had been sent to the Extended Stay America hotel in the 2012 incident in response to a complaint about a fire extinguisher sprayed under a guest’s door.

He saw marijuana in the woman’s room, which he allowed her to flush down the toilet, according to a complaint she sent to the police. Eyeing a Victoria’s Secret bag nearby, he asked her to model lingerie for him, and suggested her fate “was in his hands,” she told cops.

Sarni eventually admitted that he went back to her room at 2 a.m. and asked her to model the lingerie for him, but not after initially telling a different story to investigators.

When Officer Sarni later started texting and calling her, she contacted authorities. The officer was eventually charged with lying to investigators and fired.

However, earlier this month Judge Wolfson said the town waited too long to pursue charges against Sarni, according to NJ.com. While the judge called Officer Sarni’s alleged behavior “deplorable and entirely unacceptable,” he said he could not be fired for it, according to NJ.com.

Funny that, sexual extortion from a cop isn’t a firing offense? Say what? Since when? Apparently in New Jersey.

“Judge” Wolfson wins the Asshole of the Week Award.

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