No Need To Rush


Some new emails reveal Governor Snyder “allegedly” ordered the Department of Environmental Quality to withhold lead tests in Flint:

Gov. Rick Snyder and other state officials allegedly withheld lead testing results from county health officials while they worked to find ways to present the information to the public, according to emails obtained by The Flint Journal.

Local health officials say the governor and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality withheld lead testing results, including results from a Flint elementary school, while the agency discussed the best way to present the information to the public.

But, Snyder’s office said Wednesday, Feb. 10, that information was shared quickly after testing and denied withholding any information

Emails obtained this week from the Genesee County Health Department through the Freedom of Information Act show growing frustration on the county’s part as it attempted to obtain information from the DEQ.

“MDEQ explained that the Governor prohibited releasing all Genesee County lead results until after the press conference,” wrote Jim Henry,Genesee County’s environmental health supervisor.

Here’s one email that won’t put the governor’s people in good light:

According to an Oct. 18 email Henry wrote to county Health Officer Mark Valacak summarizing the meeting, DEQ apologized for not releasing school lead results in a timely manner and claimed they were ordered by Snyder to delay the release.

Henry, the Genesee County health official, also asked state officials for testing results at a particular elementary school, only to face delays, and then be ultimately told the information would become available once the state figured out a presentation plan.

These are the first emails showing how Snyder was getting involved. It’s obvious he and his staff finally recognized the disaster, and began to panic (what took them so long?). The emergency manager’s role was to cut, cut, and cut. All of that cutting resulted in the Flint Water Crisis. It’s still not known why the Snyder administration decided single-handily to switch from Detroit’s water to the Flint River. Saving money was not the issue. The Detroit Water Authority was offering cheaper rates to Flint, but the emergency manager(s) refused.

That the administration delayed even for a few days to inform the public displays both panic and politics.

Flint residents deserved better.

Governor Snyder recently hired two public relations firms to help his administration deal with improving his image. Since then, Snyder signed an emergency spending bill in Grand Rapids. Not Flint! In Grand Rapids.

A week or two later, Snyder thought it prudent to throw a lavish birthday party for his wife, including a “decadent” cake!

Birthday cake for Governor Snyder's wife.

Birthday cake for Governor Snyder’s wife.

I’m guessing Flint water wasn’t used in that cake.

Are these PR firms trying to sabotage Snyder? If so, he should demand his money back.

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New Hampshire Primary Reactions

Sanders Trump

I’m a glutton for punishment, which is why I’ve poured over some of the political pundit reactions over last night’s New Hampshire Primary victories for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Let’s begin with John Avalon:

The frustration that many folks feel with Washington stems from its current division and dysfunction, the sense that special interests are ignoring the national interest. They’re right. But the populist protest candidacies of Trump and Sanders will only deepen Washington’s division and dysfunction because they don’t offer any practical bipartisan solutions as a matter of pride. Banning Muslim immigration or single-payer health care may have their constituencies but they aren’t going to pass Congress. Insults and ideological purity are only a recipe for further polarization, creating a feedback loop of frustration and alienation. Their prescriptions double-down on the disease.


Some hard-core partisan supporters no doubt love the idea of a Trump-Sanders general election, effectively forcing America to choose between two extreme visions. But despite their current popularity with the partisan base, neither man represents the vast majority of Americans. And here’s a proof-point to keep the moderate majority from fearing the future: Less than 0.3 percent of Americans have voted so far in the 2016 primaries. We’ve still got some time for sanity to catch up with all the crazy talk.

Guys like Avalon have our best interests at heart, you see. He believes we should stick with the same tiresome establishment-based thinking, which has caused trillions of dollars to be wasted on misguided Middle Eastern wars and Wall Street bailouts. Let’s also stick with a political class bent on doing little to help the poor and middle classes while they sign-off of destructive and demoralizing trade deals. Brilliant! Let’s stick with the corporatism of our political system. Certainly, everything will work-out in the end. Now, that’s crazy thinking, John.

John Marshall explains how Bernie’s disciplined message is causing Clinton trouble:

I cannot imagine that the national Democratic Party will nominate Bernie Sanders. But Hillary Clinton has her work cut out for her. Listening to Hillary, her message seems to be “I’ll fix everything. Whatever you come up with, I’ll fix it.” Working on everything is a decent brief for a President focused on domestic policy. But it’s not a terribly coherent message. And Sanders is nothing but coherence.

The National Review thinks Trump wins if no one challenges him:

Republicans have had only two contests in the presidential race so far. In Iowa, Ted Cruz took on Donald Trump — pointing out that he has always been willing to use government power to help himself at the little guy’s expense — and won. In New Hampshire, the other candidates were busier fighting one another than challenging him, and he won big. The New Hampshire results do not make us think that Trump is the inevitable nominee. They do make us think that he will be the nominee if he remains effectively unopposed.

Picking-up on that thought, W. James Antle III tries to answer why there’s been no big opposition to Trump thus far:

One reason may be that establishment donors didn’t want to heavily fund an anti-Trump campaign if the primary beneficiary was going to be Cruz. To the extent that this is true, it shows more hostility to conservatives than an ideological hodgepodge like Trump — which itself fuels the conservative anger helping Trump.

Trump has proved to have greater political skills than most anticipated when he took that fateful ride down the escalator over the summer. But it took a village to build the rationale for his candidacy — a village run by the establishment.

Phillip Bump points-out Sanders’ wide acceptance among both Democratic and Independent voters:

[T]he state of New Hampshire was Bernie Country. The deep splits we saw in Iowa were still there, but the split wasn’t between voting for Sanders and voting for Clinton, it was between voting for Sanders by a little and voting for Sanders by Kim Jong Un-style margins.

Sanders won two out of every three men, and notably slightly more women than Clinton, according to the most recent exit polls. Sanders won young voters — those under 30 — by about 70 percentage points. He won those aged 45 to 64 with a slight majority. He won two-thirds of non-college graduates and a little over half of those with degrees. Sanders won six in 10 voters with household incomes of less than $100,000, and a bare majority of those earning $100,000 or more.

The one part that grabbed my attention was how much Clinton was echoing Sanders’ basic talking points in her concession speech. More notably, Trump lauded Bernie’s stances against money in politics and trade in a speech just before the primary. The Occupy Wall Street narrative is alive and kicking. People on both sides are voting for candidates who don’t answer to the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington.

Let’s see what changes as the race switches to states where the white vote doesn’t dominate.

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Cam Newton’s Not The Worst Person

Newton Manning

Look, I’m not defending Cam Newton’s post-game press conference appearance. Newton richly deserved to win the Most Valuable Player Award as he dominated the game. While he and his Carolina Panthers steamrolled through almost every opponent, Newton danced, dabbed, and smiled during the entire season. Newton proved he was a great winner.

After he and the Panthers fell to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, Newton proved he’s also a poor loser. You can check-out his curt appearance here.

At 26 years old, I’m hoping the Panthers organization, his agent, and his family, all sit him aside and tell him that a true champion knows how to lose with grace.

That being said, it’s hard to be completely down on someone who just lost the biggest game of his career. Losing Super Bowl games, or championship games in any sport, is an emotionally-draining moment. These guys have been together since late July, and made it to the big game only to falter with the finish line in plain view. To fall just short of the ultimate goal has got to be heartbreaking, as we saw Panthers cornerback Josh Norman display when he wept on the sideline.

This is in no way excusing Newton’s behavior, but I understand it.

What really gets me going is the people I’m reading on message boards, or hearing on talk radio, who argue that Newton doesn’t have the grace of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

Give me a break!

For years, Manning deflected blame many times. Just go back and watch games when he quarterbacked the Indianapolis Colts. If he threw an incomplete pass, Manning would stare down his receivers as if to say, “How dare you let one of my passes hit the ground!” That drove me up-the-wall!

For me, though, the moment I will forever highlight as to why Peyton Manning will never be high on my list of favorite players happened in 2006.

Manning’s Indianapolis Colts had a phenomenal year, and were the AFC’s top seed. A Super Bowl berth was kind of an after thought for many football pundits. Then, the sixth seed Pittsburgh Steelers upset Manning in the AFC’s Divisional Round playoff game.

Did Manning take the blame after the game? Did he stand up like a gracious loser?


Highly classy, indeed. A true winner?

And let’s not forget the little “problem” Manning had while a star quarterback at Tennessee.

Manning could’ve ridden-off to the sunset with his second Super Bowl ring (thanks to a tremendous defense, I might add), and live happily ever after. But no, he decided to plug some of the worst beer in the country on national TV. He also gave a kiss to a pizza mogul, who once complained that ObamaCare would force him to raise the pepperoni price by a dime!

Commercialization after winning. Highly classy, indeed.

That kind of arrogance makes my skin crawl a whole lot more than Cam Newton’s post-game interview!

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Look Out You Rock And Rollers…

The Late Lou Reed & The Late David Bowie

Lou Reed & David Bowie

My Mom sent this column by Timothy Egan about the recent spate of deaths in the rock/pop music community:

Age-defiance has long been a part of the music that young white musicians fashioned from black rhythm and blues. The earlier genre had a place for mournful riffs on the passage of time. Rock pushed it away, though Bowie at least foretold it in “Changes,” one of his biggest hits:

“Oh, look out now, you rock and rollers,

Pretty soon you’re going to get older.”

So now it’s laughable that Pete Townshend could define his g-g-g-generation with “hope I die before I get old.” His band mate, the drummer Keith Moon, did just that, leaving this mortal coil at the age of 32. Townshend is 70, and still performing the song.

The deaths of David Bowie, Glenn Fry, Paul Kantor, Lemme, and Maurice White have forced us to face our own mortality, I suppose. Baby Boomers are watching the musicians of their youth slowly disappear, and are coming to grips that Bowie was talking about them, too. Generation X–who listened to their parents’ influential yet older musicians–is getting grayer and realizing middle age doesn’t last forever.

A musician who speaks to us plays an influential role in our lives. Certainly, a rock star probably shouldn’t carry as much weight as say an influential teacher, coach, parent, first responder, or nurse.

Or, maybe they should.

There’s a great line about the value society puts on rock-and-rollers from a brand new voice of the Millennials (or is it Gen Z, the generation after Millennials?). Aussie punk-folk artist Courtney Barnett wrote in her song “Avant Gardener” the following:

The paramedic thinks I’m clever because I play guitar

I think she’s clever ‘cos she stops people dying.

Barnett’s character points-out the absurdity of the worship-like qualities we place on people who “play guitar.” John Lennon always complained about it, as did Bob Dylan.

But the paramedic, while heroic in her ways, finds the musician just as essential to her life and her society.

Music makes us feel. Music makes us think. Even the most simple or mediocre of songs pushes us to consider its value to us. A good song facilitates thought or contemplation, or for us to just relax and have fun. That’s important. We take that melody or the lyrics with us forever. Music is what helps shape us as human beings, particularly in our youth.

When the ordinary people who created essentially the musical soundtrack of our lives, we discover they are just like us. We will also pass-on from a heart attack, or a disease.

It’s a shock to the system when the people who gave us clarity, understanding, and a few minutes  “to forget about life for awhile,” are suddenly gone.

They couldn’t defy time. They couldn’t push the inevitable away.

They’re mortal.

Like us.

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Super Bowl 50 Prediction

Here’s my Super Bowl prediction which I gave on WSGW’s First Day show earlier this morning. No, I’m not feeling the love for Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning!

In case you couldn’t hear the segment, here’s my prediction:

Carolina Panthers


Denver Broncos


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Panthers Dab



Senator Bernie Sanders Calls On Snyder To Resign


Independent Senator and Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s resignation over the Flint Water Crisis during his MSNBC debate with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

To her credit, Clinton is visiting Flint on Sunday. Plus, she and Sanders will debate in Flint on March 6, which is just before the Michigan primary.

Sanders remains the only presidential candidate on both sides to urge Snyder to step down.

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