You’ve got it all wrong.

This will be a good laugh for beb, the water-system chemist: A Michigan Department of Environmental Quality official, days from retirement, gives a straight-talkin’ speech called “Flint: What Really Happened,” and claims it wasn’t the lack of water treatment that sent lead into the drinking water of thousands of low-income homes, but…pressure:

An “excessive” number of main breaks was one of several “confounding factors that you never hear anybody talk about,” argued Feighner, who said Flint had 312 main breaks in 2014 and 277 in 2015, but only 153 in 2013 and 138 in 2016.

Although cities across the Midwest experienced an elevated number of main breaks during the back-to-back unusually cold winters, Feighner argued that Flint was hit especially hard because it has an oversized water system for its population and had spent very little on water system upkeep during the previous 20 years.

The omission of phosphate corrosion inhibitor when the city switched to the Flint River as a water source in April 2014 is widely considered to be the critical mistake that caused lead service pipes to leach a neurotoxin into drinking water, thus leading to the crisis. But Feighner challenged that notion, arguing that phosphate would have had “some impact” on controlling corrosion, but “I don’t believe it would have prevented this event.”

He argued that raw Flint River water is not actually as corrosive a source as has been portrayed, but that in-system factors like the main breaks and fluctuations of plant operation as Flint workers grappled with early indications of water quality issues elevated the corrosivity in treated water, thus compounding a “complicated puzzle” of factors affecting the water in Flint’s system.

I’m no expert, but I believe this is…not true. He claims that, essentially, main breaks, but changing pressure and water direction basically blasted protective coating from the inside of water mains. It wasn’t the obvious reason — that the river was more corrosive (most Midwestern rivers are, especially if they take on agricultural runoff), and by not treating the water with anticorrosives, it allowed the water to eat away at the protective coating that years of anticorrosives had left on city water mains and service lines.

(Are you bored by this? I don’t blame you. As the Trump family has pushed us to pay attention to politics 24/7/365, so Flint made water-treatment experts of every informed resident of Michigan. We had our own water tested, after discovering our service line was lead. Good news: undetectable lead levels, so thanks, Detroit system chemists.)

Having now spoken this heresy, which is contrary to the opinion of every expert, he goes on to pull the all-purpose excuse: Blame the media.

“Certainly, there was hurt there — don’t get me wrong — but there was a tremendous amount of hype that hurt them even more than the actual event. I’m convinced of that.”

Hoo-boy. Well, then. Maybe just hop to the next bit of bloggage, OK?

The best single story about the Alex Jones business, and an entertaining read, too:

The cross-examination begins. The jury is shown a video Jones filmed in D.C. on the eve of the Trump inauguration. He’s in front of the Capitol, and he’s drunk, slurring his words and wobbling. He’s about to go to the Deploraball. “I’m gonna sneak off and piss on some tree or something,” he says. But first, he mumbles to the camera “the age of fake bullshit is over. The return of man is here. Get ready because we’re gonna run your ass over.” Offscreen, a man yells “1776.” Jones slurs: “1776, baby!”

What a world we live in. And it’s only Tuesday.

Posted at 9:43 pm in Current events |

40 responses to “You’ve got it all wrong.”

  1. basset said on May 1, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    I just went down some of the rabbit holes attached to that Alex Jones story. Gold fringe on the courtroom flag, already heard that one… but the US is still a British colony? You could not make that shit up, and I surely wouldn’t want to.

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  2. ROGirl said on May 2, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I don’t stand by anything. As the Brits say,”Quite.”

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  3. David C. said on May 2, 2017 at 6:17 am

    Bryce Feighner looks to be ready to start his second career as a merchant of doubt. The DeVoses and VanAndels will pay pretty handsomely for that.

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  4. alex said on May 2, 2017 at 7:18 am

    So Alex Jones got rich selling cock succors. Didn’t know that, but I’m not surprised. Right-wingers are without exception insecure about their virility, and anyone dumb enough to buy into Jones’ polemics would be an easy mark for selling quack medicine. I have to commend him for his marketing insights even though I have no respect for what he does.

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  5. coozledad said on May 2, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Republicans dredge up the moral theory of illness fallacy again, because their God is an evil son of a bitch they shat out of their own image.

    They’ve already tried to bring back the rack, thumbscrews, the sumptuary code and the auto da fe, why not pretend until the moment you have cancer or heart disease that you’re the elect?

    Even people in the medieval period understood death and disease to be no respecter of class or wealth. There’s something less human about Republicans than any other group of history’s notable dumbshits. They’ve got a stinking rot in the fiber of their being and they expect the rest of us to pay for it.

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  6. Julie Robinson said on May 2, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Even if, and it seems a big if, the lead crisis was caused by the magical combination of events this bozo describes, it doesn’t negate all the delays in getting the problem fixed. Which, as I understand, it still isn’t, only being mitigated by the installation of filters in peoples’ homes.

    Beb, do you recommend retesting a home’s water after it has gotten a clear test? I was reading that some experts feel one test is inadequate; that lead levels can vary from day to day.

    Man I’m tired. I haven’t gotten caught up from the weekend and went to bed early last night, then woke up at 4am. I hate it when that happens.

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  7. Julie Robinson said on May 2, 2017 at 9:22 am

    And speaking of getting it all wrong, three Civil War historians discuss Trump’s statements about Andrew Jackson over the weekend. One of them posits that he may have been confusing Andrew Jackson with Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s vice-president. From the BBC, so it comes with charming spelling.

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  8. brian stouder said on May 2, 2017 at 9:34 am

    ….and we impeached Andrew Johnson!

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  9. Deborah said on May 2, 2017 at 9:46 am

    If you haven’t watched the emotional clip of Jimmy Kimmel explaining the recent birth of his son with a heart defect, you should. It’s all over the internet so I won’t link to it here. I especially liked the part where he talked about the possibility of taking funding away from the NIH and how people shouldn’t have to make decisions about whether their baby lives or dies based on how much money they make. It couldn’t have come at a better time, not that his baby and his family had this happen, but that he was able to make the speech about it when the horrible republican Healthcare bill is coming up again.

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  10. Icarus said on May 2, 2017 at 9:57 am

    “but there was a tremendous amount of hype that hurt them even more than the actual event.”

    right because media hype is so much more hurtful than lead poisoning

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  11. basset said on May 2, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Got a rescue kitty last night after seven months with no pets in the house. The recliner end of our couch was open so of course he ran up into the works – could see him peeking out when we went to bed last night, he was nowhere in sight this morning and we searched the whole house so I can only figure he’s still in the couch somewhere, maybe in the second recliner at the other end. If he hasn’t shown himself when I get home tonight, probably Jr and I will tip the couch back and take the bottom off it. Hope he’s not stuck in there.

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  12. Andrea said on May 2, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Deborah, I agree. His statement was powerful and affecting. I appreciate his advocacy and empathy because let’s face it, he would always be able to afford health care for his son regardless of the ACA. It’s commendable that he used the moment not only to tell his story and express his gratitude, but also to speak speak passionately on behalf of parents who can’t.

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  13. Jeff Borden said on May 2, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Gotta admit, before the election of the Orange King, I’d never heard of Alex Jones. So, another reason to despise this president. What a complete piece of shit.

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  14. Julie Robinson said on May 2, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Jimmy Kimmel has always struck me as crude and unintelligent, but I see I’ve been wrong. He could actually get a thoughtful national conversation about health care going.

    Bassett, I sure hope kitty comes out soon. My mom’s last cat did something similar when we moved her here. We had been so careful about leaving doors open but she got herself loose, and we spent hours out looking for her. She finally showed up the next day, and the only thing we could figure out is that she had climbed up into the car engine inside the garage.

    Her new rescue has had an incredibly smooth transition. Within 24 hours she had figured out where everything important is (especially the food), herded Mother into bed with her, spent long hours napping on her lap, and charmed her with her playfulness. It’s safe to say they rescued each other.

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  15. brian stouder said on May 2, 2017 at 10:47 am


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  16. Judybusy said on May 2, 2017 at 10:54 am

    This horrible news from the Southern Poverty Law Center: A new right-wing group training to take the fight to the streets.

    Julie, I love the story of your mom’s new kitty! I’m glad it was such a smooth transition. Our last passed on in September, and my partner said she’s getting close to being able to consider adoption. We’ll take the cremated remains of her two sweeties and bury them in the garden first.

    Basset, I hope your new kitty reappears! They can be so good at hiding. Our last cat got quite thin near the end, and one day, she had burrowed under the comforter. I looked for her for a half hour before I thought of peeling back the bed. There she was, all blinky and sleepy.

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  17. coozledad said on May 2, 2017 at 11:07 am

    And some folks out here said “the SPLC is no longer necessary”. Haha.

    Trump and the Republicans haven’t just enabled gutter filth, they’ve ennobled it.

    The only solution for fan behavior of this type is for the teams to suspend play until the racists are thrown out onto the field for a baseball style asskicking. That’s the only thing Trumpers understand.

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  18. Bitter Scribe said on May 2, 2017 at 11:35 am

    So what’s the deal with this DEQ guy…is he covering his ass or what?

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  19. Charlotte said on May 2, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Whatever you do, don’t read the comments under Eliz. Warren’s post forwarding the Kimmel video. Right wingers seem to think “the baby would have been taken care of anyway” — so we don’t need the ACA, NIH or national health care. Somehow they don’t understand that no, hospitals don’t “write off” those charges, they hound people for YEARS. Ugh. The stupid. It burns.
    Nice profile of Senator Tester in the Washington Post today —
    Because we’re such a low-population state, I’ve met him a number of times. Really solid guy. And I was enormously impressed by the couple of listening sessions I went to when the ACA was in such danger. He had a lot of literal ground to cover that day — came in ready for business, attentive, focussed on getting done what we could get done, and his lack of panic certainly brought me off the cliff. I have huge respect for him (also, he’s one of the guys who built the organic legumes sector of the local ag economy, which has been a huge boon).

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  20. Jakash said on May 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    One of the recurring, insidious aspects of Dolt 45’s reign, the relentlessness of his bullshit, continues apace. On the one hand, he thinks he’s gonna schmooze with Duterte and Kim Jong-un to some beneficial effect, because he’s such a brilliant tactician and deal-maker. At the same time, he wonders about the Civil War: “Why could that one not have been worked out?” and says “There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians — none whatsoever.” I assume eventually he’ll come around to his default, amazingly incisive “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated” conclusion, but the idea that, with all the problems facing the country, one of the topics for the last couple days has been whether or not Andrew Jackson would have prevented the Civil War is disturbing. It’s almost as if electing a carnival barker who has a third-grader’s temperament and knowledge of history, while sadly lacking a third-grader’s level of intellectual curiosity, and then assuming he’ll “learn on the job” what he needs to know to effectively represent and govern the most powerful, complicated nation on Earth was a silly and dangerous idea.

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  21. Deborah said on May 2, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Now Trump thinks that what this country needs is a good shut down. Honestly, there simply are no words…

    I’m trying to pace myself today so that when I get to Hamilton tonight I can hold up.

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  22. Snarkworth said on May 2, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Julie, the story of your mother and her new kitty has softened my cold, hard heart. Bassett, I’m sure your new cat will emerge when hungry enough.

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  23. Snarkworth said on May 2, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Or more correctly, basset.

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  24. Scout said on May 2, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Here’s the best 2 minute smackdown I’ve seen in a while.

    The thing that disgusts me the most about Alex Jones is his Sandy Hook Was Fake conspiracy theory. That alone should preclude him from ever having custody of his kids. He’s a sickening, disgusting piece of crap. And it’s one more strike against Dolt 45 that Jones is one of his ‘not fake’ media favorites.

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  25. Jolene said on May 2, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    The Kimmel case is powerful not only because it’s emotionally affecting but also because it gives the lie to two ideas that undergird the Republican approach to health care–first, that the key to reducing costs is, as in the manufacture and sale of TVs, more market competition and, second, that good health is a manifestation of virtue.

    When an infant needs emergency cardiac surgery, there are rarely multiple possible providers immediately available, and a structural birth defect is unlikely to be the consequence of anything other than chance. It could happen to anyone’s child.

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  26. basset said on May 2, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks, Snarkworth, for spelling it correctly. Still no kitty, I’m worried that he’s gotten himself trapped somewhere.

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  27. coozledad said on May 2, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Glenn Thrush is garbage. You can pretty much discount every thing the fucker says from here on out.

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  28. Sherri said on May 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    The Clinton-haters in the press can’t decide whether they want Hillary to go away forever or stay around so they can keep writing about how awful she is.

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  29. Sherri said on May 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    If I recall correctly, there were some other people around here who were fans of Sony Vaio laptops. Have any of you replaced your Vaio with something new? I had to back out the latest update of Windows on my Vaio, because Sony isn’t supporting it anymore and the update broke it. It might be a device driver, and I might be able to track it down and fix it, but I don’t really want to spend the time and effort debugging my laptop right now.

    I’m willing to spend, I hate slow laptops, I like lightweight and good screens.

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  30. Peter said on May 2, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Jackash, I can agree with Trump about Israel and the Palestinians – I mean, didn’t he assign Kushner to solve that problem three weeks ago? Why hasn’t that schmuck gotten it done yet? Son-in-laws, I’ll tell you, am I right?

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  31. LAMary said on May 2, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Basset, I adopted two cats last summer and one of them went into hiding as soon as we got her home. We looked everywhere and never found her hiding place, but five days later she showed up and strolled over to the food dish. From all the cat people I talked to while she was missing I got the idea that this isn’t unusual.

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  32. brian stouder said on May 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I think Peter won the thread!

    Part of a kitty-cat’s charm is when they’re annoying. Our stupid cat will meow (not bawl, but assertively ‘meow’) and jump at the bedroom door (at 2 in the morning), if she decides she should be allowed in.

    On the other hand, if she’s in the room, and decides (at 2 in the morning) that she wants out, she will quite forthrightly awaken you, for a little face-to-face consultation

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  33. Jakash said on May 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    Indeed, Peter. Hey, Presidents have tried for decades, maybe nepotism from NEPOTUS has been the missing ingredient. Although I thought his claim was that HE ALONE can fix things…

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  34. Sherri said on May 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    No, there couldn’t possibly be any gender bias among engineers at Facebook, and if there is, I’m sure a voluntary training course will cure it right away.

    Fuck Facebook.

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  35. Jolene said on May 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Sherri, this article re laptops appeared in my FB newsfeed. Might be useful to you.

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  36. Julie Robinson said on May 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Well, we got a little surprise when we took The Flower Girl, as I have dubbed her (she came from the ASPCA with the name Flower) to the vet for her first checkup. She is NOT six or seven; the vet puts her at no more than two. So much for rescuing a senior kitty!

    Sherri, I have a Vaio, and I’m a little disturbed about your updating issue. I have mine set up to update automatically, but I’m going to go take a look to see if it has the same problem. I’ve had it forever, and I like it so much I just ordered a new power cord as well as an external optical drive. Not being a software engineer, I was hoping to avoid Windows 10 until they come out with something better. If it isn’t going to update, I better send the items back and start hunting myself.

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  37. Deborah said on May 2, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    This is ridiculous, saying you can move to a different state to get the healthcare you want This is exactly what my rightwing sister said about LB, that she could easily move to a different state. That was the last thing she said to me before I decided I needed a break from being her sister for a while. Talk about tone deafness. Do they get these ideas because they only listen to each other in their bubble?

    Today is the vote in Santa Fe to tax sugary soda to pay for pre-kindergarten. The soda companies spent millions and spread so much misinformation that people believe, just like the tobacco companies did back in the 60s. All they care about are their mega profits, forget about people’s health and wellbeing. I sure hope it passes, the city is worried that it won’t pass though. Little Bird voted for it.

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  38. Julie Robinson said on May 2, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Jolene, thanks for the article, and I’ll say that our daughter loves her Microsoft Surface and has had a couple of them. She likes the portability since she carries it all over creation, often writing sermons and doing other pastor-work at coffee houses. It’s very slim and lightweight, and has those nifty hinges so it can open all the way and be used like a tablet. I’ve not considered it because I rarely take my laptop elsewhere and my bad eyes prefer a big honkin’ screen.

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  39. Sherri said on May 2, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Julie, I have Windows 10 on my Vaio already. It was the latest version of Win10, the Creators Update, that made my laptop fail. I would guess that security updates on earlier versions of Windows are much less likely to cause problems for you, since new features aren’t being added.

    My husband carries around a Surface at work, but I’m looking for a real laptop. The Surface Pro would come closer, but his friends at work haven’t been as happy with that.

    I do a lot of random things in my life, and want a laptop that can handle them. I need to be able to run things like Microsoft Publisher and Photoshop and some not very sophisticated video-editing software, for example, without the laptop slowing to a crawl. I don’t use any of those things often, but I can afford a laptop that can handle them and I hate not being able to do them when I need to.

    I’m probably looking at something like the Dell XPS loaded up with memory and a SSD. I’m not a fan of the Thinkpad. Macs and I have never gotten along very well.

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  40. beb said on May 2, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    It’s been a long day.

    Main drains do stir up sediment in water lines but usually flushing the line quickly cures the problem. Flint did flush their lines and the problem of dirty water persisted. Main breaks wasn’t the problem. Hysteria over lead, though, was real. Every was obsessed about lead in their water because no one knew if they had any lead, and because there is no recognized safe level of lead. Detroit — now the Great Lakes Water Authority has been testing water for lead like crazy for a year now. Rarely find a problem but everyone is anxious.

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