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Michigan governor seeks $300 million to fix Flint water and Detroit schools

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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder asked state lawmakers on Wednesday to provide more than $300 million in his current and fiscal 2017 budget proposals to deal with the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, and to keep the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) from running out of cash as early as April.

The Republican governor, who has come under fire for the health crisis in Flint due to unsafe drinking water and for the financial crisis at DPS under emergency managers he appointed, told lawmakers that resources to address the problems are available due to the state’s improving economy.

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During his budget presentation before the House and Senate appropriations committees, local media reported Flint protesters could be heard chanting.

Flint, a city of some 100,000 people was under control of a state-appointed emergency manager in 2014 when it switched its source of water from Detroit’s municipal system to the Flint River to save money.

That move provoked a national controversy and prompted several lawsuits by parents who say their children are showing dangerously high blood levels of lead.

He noted that federal money for Flint only totals $5 million so far.

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Under Snyder’s proposal, Michigan would appropriate $195 million to provide health, nutritional, educational, water bill payment, and infrastructure aid to Flint on top of the $37 million already approved.

For DPS, Snyder asked for an immediate $50 million to enable the state’s largest public school system to continue paying employees and vendors.

“The clock is ticking and action is required and would be greatly appreciated,” the governor said.

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Snyder is also seeking $72 million annually over 10 years to fund a plan to split DPS into an operating entity and a debt-paying entity. He said that money would come from Michigan’s share of a nationwide settlement with U.S. tobacco companies and not from the state’s school aid fund. Legislation to restructure DPS is pending before a Senate committee.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said Snyder’s allocation of $25 million to remove lead pipes falls short of the estimated $55 million price tag.

“Governor Snyder’s proposed supplemental appropriation is a down payment on lead pipe removal,” she said in a statement.

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The governor’s proposed budget for fiscal 2017, which begins Oct. 1, increases funding for education and local governments. The $54.9 billion all-funds spending plan includes a $10.2 billion general fund budget. Michigan’s budget stabilization fund, which is expected to end fiscal 2016 with $611 million, would not have a fiscal 2017 deposit.

(Reporting By Karen Pierog; Editing by Diane Craft)


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The DOJ is suing Omarosa over the same law Brett Kavanaugh is accused of violating: Ex-White House ethics chief

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On Monday, former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub noted a massive double standard at the Justice Department, pointing out that government attorneys are suing Omarosa Manigault Newman for financial disclosure violations — while giving a free pass to Brett Kavanaugh, who is accused of even more serious financial disclosure violations.

In fact, noted Shaub, not only is the DOJ not pursuing that allegation, Attorney General Bill Barr is giving the DOJ employees who helped fast-track Kavanaugh through Supreme Court confirmation hearings a prestigious award, usually reserved for prosecutors who take down terrorists and mob bosses:

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Here’s what George Carlin taught us about media propaganda by omission

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In the old George Carlin joke, the TV sportscaster announces: “Here’s a partial score from the West Coast – Los Angeles 6.”

For a brilliant comedian like Carlin—who skewered corporate powerclass structure and political/media propaganda—that’s one of his more innocuous jokes. But it’s sharply relevant today as corporate TV news outlets serve up a series of partial scores. Call it “propaganda by omission.”

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Scientists uncover alarming levels of dangerous plastics in children’s bodies

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Plastic by-products were found in an alarming 97-100% of blood and urine samples from 2,500 children tested between 2014 and 2017, according to a new study by the German Environment Ministry and the Robert Koch Institute.

Der Spiegel, the German weekly magazine, published the findings Saturday, which were part of a federal study focused on "human biomonitoring" of 3 to 17-year-olds. Traces from 11 out of 15 plastic ingredients were found in the test samples.

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