Chemically speaking: the Flint water crisis

Here’s an explanation of the Flint, Mich., lead scandal from a purely scientific standpoint (via Compound Interest):

Flint-Water-CrisisYou see, science is important. And if the governor of Michigan relied on scientists who didn’t see that this was happening, he either needs to fire them all, or admit that he was part of the conspiracy to kill poor people.

Of course, neither is going to happen. But that’s what happens when people believe it’s a good idea to elect rich businessmen as their leaders.

And how do we know that the governor of Michigan was a rich businessman?

In his first gubernatorial election in 2010, [Rick] Snyder campaigned as “pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, [and] pro-family,” with a focus on the economy.[12] His campaign emphasized his experience in growing business and creating jobs in the private sector, saying that his opponents were mainly career politicians.

Now where have we heard that?

Elections matter, even when the choices are bad

I flew to Louisville today to vote. Since I work in Washington, I’m not going to be home in Kentucky to vote on Election Day Tuesday, so I made a special trip here to cast my ballot.

And to tell the truth, I’m really not enthused about the candidates who are up for statewide election. It’s a choice between a bunch of Democrats who posture as Republicans Lite, and a bunch of Republicans who have gone off the deep end of crazy.

But I vote because of things like this. (Via Mother Jones)

In Alabama, you need a driver’s license or other form of photo ID to vote. But getting that ID just got a lot harder, especially in the state’s majority-black counties.

Due to budget cuts, Alabama is closing 31 satellite DMVs across the state. The biggest impact will be in rural, largely black counties that voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald put it this way:

Take a look at the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters. That’s Macon, Greene, Sumter, Lowndes, Bullock, Perry, Wilcox, Dallas, Hale, and Montgomery, according to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. Alabama, thanks to its budgetary insanity and inanity, just opted to close driver license bureaus in eight of them. All but Dallas and Montgomery will be closed.

Closed. In a state in which driver licenses or special photo IDs are a requirement for voting…

Every single county in which blacks make up more than 75 percent of registered voters will see their driver license office closed. Every one.

Now the folks who created these voter ID laws are saying they have to close the places where most black people get their voter IDs because of fiscal issues. Voter suppression has been a way of life in Alabama:

The county this woman lived in was Hale County. Of course, that county shows up in the list of places where the driver license offices were closed.

Alabama recently agreed to a “partial reversal”:

Alabama governor Robert Bentley announced that the facilities would not close completely, but would remain open one day a month.

So if you live in predominantly black rural Alabama, you get one day a month to get an ID that will allow you to vote. But if you live anywhere else in the state, you get a lot more days to take care of that, especially when you live in predominantly white Republican counties.

Meanwhile, in the Democratic presidential race

Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent, seeking the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. Is drawing large crowds, and we haven’t been hearing about it because everyone thinks Hillary Clinton has her party’s nomination locked up, and folks like Donald Trump have given the GOP process the appeal of a car wreck on a highway (You can’t help but watch).

But Sanders drew about 10,000 at a rally in Madison, Wis.

That’s probably the largest crowd at any rally so far this campaign season:

There’s definitely a clear message coming from the Sanders campaign, and it fired up the cheeseheads. Let’s see how it resonates across the country.