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Personal blog. Formerly snkowns.

Pick of the Week: Otherworld Barbara

SEAN: Another week, another really obvious pick. I’ve loved the other Moto Hagio volumes we’ve seen over here, and so absolutely cannot wait for the first volume of Otherworld Barbara, a story so good it won the Japan SF Grand Prize, the Japanese equivalent of a Nebula Award. It’s from Fantagraphics, so should look great too. And an omnibus to boot! ASH: Yup, no question about it. It’s Otherworld…

Detroit Institute of Arts Inside-Out Program

The Detroit Institute of Arts brings framed reproductions of its most famous works to the main streets and landmark outdoor spaces of Metro Detroit.  By reimagining area cities and suburbs as a grand, open air gallery, the project aims to connect with audiences outside of traditional museum walls. For the next three months the communities of East English Village, Cornerstone Village and Morningside in Detroit will host 10 reproductions. The reproduction above is on the Alger Theater 16451 East Warren Ave, right next to the Jefferson Branch Library. The painting is called Mother and Child by Solomon Irein Wangboje, 1960. The art work and locations are listed below.

Blue Madonna-1961. Bob Thompson

16352 East Warren

The Wedding Dance-about 1566. Pieter Bruegel the Elder

The Wind Basket-16380 East Warren Ave

Head of a Woman-130-160 CE Unknown Artist

Fitness Park Cornwall St and Cadieux Rd.

Judith and Holofernes-1623/1625 Artemisia Gentileschhi

Cadieux Cafe-4300 Cadieux Rd

Seascape: Sunset-1861 Martin Johnson Heade

Messmer Park-17151 Gravier St.

Watson and the Shark-1777 John Singleton Copley

Balduck Memorial Park-5271 Canyon St.

Movement #27-2002-Kwesi Owusu-Ankomah

Balduck Memorial Park-5271 Canyon St.

Fourteenth Street at Sixth Ave-John Sloan

Bike Tech-18401 East Warren Ave.

Fire in a Haystack-1856-Jules Adolphe Aime-Louis Breton

Detroit Diner-17017 East Warren Ave.

Find them all and then visit the DIA and see the originals!

It’s always nice to see one of our profiles become out-of-date for FANTASTIC reasons: Dr. Carla D. Hayden’s nomination as LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS has been approved today!!!

Congratulations, Dr. Hayden! (And congratulations to the Library of Congress, which will finally get to enjoy the first African American Librarian of Congress and the first woman Librarian of Congress.)


On Wednesday, Merriam-Webster caught up to speed with two words people have been using to describe their gender identity for at least a decade, adding “cisgender” and “genderqueer” to its unabridged dictionary. Among the 1,400 words, you’ve probably seen a few of them across Tumblr for a while now


Update: Apparently these additions were too much for some people.

But Merriam Webster was having none of that.

They know what it means to throw shade.

Source: mic.com

Today in Cool Stuff in the Mail – a new twist on the now-ubiquitous adult coloring books. We’re not entirely sure about this yet; it seems to require a LOT of fine motor skills. But the end result is really pretty!

– Petra

Attention audiobook fans! May 5th is the kick-off for SYNC Summer 2016! Read on to find out more about the program and to find the Sync 2016 Audiobook Listening Schedule!

For 15 weeks this summer, SYNC offers 2 FREE audiobook downloads to listeners age 13 and up. The audio selections include a current title paired with a related classic title that’s based on a weekly theme. This is a great way to try out audiobooks and I think this year’s selection may be the best yet!

Audiofile Magazine and the audiobook publishers sponsor this program to introduce the joys of listening to the YA audience. I look forward to this program all year and I know many of you have become hooked on audiobooks thanks to this program.

The audiobooks are in MP3 format so they work for both Mac and PC. Titles are available through the OverDrive App – and you can get the lowdown on the SYNC download prep here. Each download will be available for 7 days so don’t miss out on your free YA audiobooks from SYNC! After you download the audiobooks though you can listen to them at your leisure.

I recommend you text syncya to 25827 now so you are all set to receive alerts when the latest titles go live. Read more about the program at SYNC and follow their blog for updates. Some of the titles have international restrictions – go here to see availability by country.

New this year: The Audiobook Sync team is putting together discussion guides for a few of the titles. Plan an event and listen with your book club or library!

SYNC 2016 Audiobook Listening Schedule

May 5 – May 11:

Read by: Julia Whelan

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Read by: Edward Asner, Bill Brochtrup, Matthew Patrick Davis, John de Lancie, James Gleason, Harry Groener, Jerry Hardin, Marnie Mosiman, Kenneth Alan Williams, Geoffrey Lower, Kyle Colerider-Krugh

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

May 12 – May 18

Read by: Amy Shiels

Read by: Brandon Batchelar

May 19 – May 25

Read by: Kirby Heyborne

Read by: Oliver Wyman

May 26 – June 1

Read by: Amy Rubinate

Read by: Michael Page

Winner of Audies 2015 Teen Audiobook

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

June 2 – June 8

Read by: Ariana Delawari

Read by: Paul Michael

Finalist of 2016 Audies Award for Inspirational/Faith-Based Nonfiction

June 9 – June 15

Read by: Kristin Condon, Nicholas Mondelli

Read by: Julia Whelan, Jesse Bernstein

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2015 Printz Award

June 16 – June 22

Read by: Cherise Boothe, Shari Peele, Kevin R. Free, Patricia R. Floyd, Avery Glymph, Korey Jackson, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Peter Jay Fernandez, Ezra Knight, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Brian Hutchinson

Finalist of 2016 Audies Award for Multi-Voiced Performance

Read by: Alan Bomar Jones

June 23 – June 29

Read by: Nicholas Robideau and a full cast

Read by: Paul Fox, Jared Harris, Siobhán Hewlett, Moira Quirk, Sophie Winkleman

June 30 – July 6

Read by: MacLeod Andrews

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Read by: Philip Church

July 7 – July 13

Read by: Spencer Locke, Jose Julian

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Read by: M.T. Anderson

July 14 – July 20

Read by: Angela Dawe

Read by: Rebecca Macauley

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

July 21 – July 27

Read by: Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Joe Richman

Winner of Audies 2015 Audiobook of the Year 

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Read by: Peter Francis James

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

July 28 – August 3

Read by: Brandon Gill

Read by: Humphrey Bower

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

August 4 – August 10

Read by: Yareli Arizmendi, Christine Avila, Jesse Corti, Gustavo Res, Ozzie Rodriguez, Gabriel Romero

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Discussion Guide to come

Read by: Ray Porter

August 11 – August 17

Read by: Dan Bittner

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2016 Printz Award

Read by: William Roberts, Garrick Hagon, Liza Ross

Listen to audio clips of all the Sync titles:

Several of these audiobooks are on my To-be-listen list – which titles are you most excited to listen to? 

Sync 2016 Audiobook Listening Schedule #sync16 #audiobookSYNC Attention audiobook fans! May 5th is the kick-off for SYNC Summer 2016! Read on to find out more about the program and to find the…

Without a mass-market option, schools will likely be forced to pay higher prices for bulk orders of the trade paperback edition—and given the perilous state of many school budgets, that could very easily lead to it being assigned in fewer schools. 

Big news: President Obama just announced that he’s nominating Carla Hayden as our 14th Librarian of Congress. She’ll be the first woman and the first African-American to hold the position in its 214 year history.

A bit more on Dr. Carla Hayden, President Obama’s nominee for the next Librarian of Congress. We’re a little excited over here!


So I know the crisis with lead poisoning in Flint, MI is bad. I don’t want to downplay how bad it is- many, many children will now grow up with an incredible array of developmental issues, most notably skeletal and neurological, perpetuating cycles of poverty and white supremacy, due to the willful and malicious negligence of people in power.

But it’s not just Flint.

Back in undergrad I was an intern with the public health department in another extremely poor and (overwhelming) majority black city. Specifically I was the intern of the lead poisoning enforcement team, which, at least at the time, consisted of one nurse and me. Our job worked like this: a hospital would get a child whose bloodwork showed the child was already poisoned (lead poisoning damage is permanent and irreparable, by the way, so we were always too late) and they would call us. We would investigate the child’s living situation with a digital camera and a handheld spectrometer and determine where the lead was coming from- lead makes paint more durable so usually it would be exterior trim, doors, windowsills, and radiators. I can actually identify it by sight by the way it peels. Sometimes it would be a local playground or empty lot since the city is built on top of the crumbling remains of failed and unregulated industries. Sometimes it was the water supply of old pipes hadn’t been replaced, but systemic lead poisoning through municipal water wasn’t an issue where I was, so the city and its poisoned children never made national news. I doubt it would have anyway; white America generally ignored us as much as possible.

Anyway, I digress. We would find out where the lead came from and then legally force the owner of the house to renovate to spec. I have been personally yelled at by more than one slumlord for this part of the job.

But more often than we could feel good about, it wasn’t a slumlord who owned the property; it was the child’s grandma or uncle or mom who, if they had enough money to renovate their home, wouldn’t be living where they did anyway. We did lots of community outreach and education, and we were constantly battling the slumlords, but all too often, our job boiled down to enforcing more financial hardships on families who already had one or more poisoned children and didn’t even come close to having the financial means to do anything about it anyway.

Name a bad psychosocial outcome and lead poisoning has been linked to it. Name a non-genetic skeletal or neurological syndrome and prenatal/childhood lead poisoning can precipitate it (this is honestly not that huge of an exaggeration). Essentially, your body mistakes lead ions for calcium and iron ions (mostly), which are absolutely vital building blocks for your body, and uses them for a thousand different wrong purposes, leading to irreversible and tragic damage, especially in children. It’s really horrific in terms of what it can do to a body and to a community. And it’s NOT just in Flint. Poor towns across the U.S. are filled with lead paint, and if there’s any grant money available for homeowners to renovate, it’s usually a drop in the bucket.

So I’m really glad to see people paying attention to the atrocity in Flint, but I also want people to know that this is an epidemic, and it’s specifically an epidemic of people in poverty/people of color. The cycle of poisoning and lack of remediation is caused directly by policies cutting back legal and financial services to the poor and enabling slumlords to dominate neighborhoods and cities with high interest and variable rate mortgages (among other things), and the complicity and corruption of regulatory agencies.

So again, it’s great to see all the righteous indignation directed at Flint. But I suggest you save some of that anger for your own lawmakers and local “real estate entrepreneurs,” because I promise you that lead poisoning is closer to home than you think.


Naomi Novik - Uprooted [Julia Emelin]

This is 3 for 3 for my book match from @bklynlibrary. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each one I’ve listened to so far. Uprooted was so engaging that I sacrificed precious writing time to continue listening to it. Yet another story where language is a focus, this time Polish, it seems.


Two coworkers who generally have similar tastes to mine picked this as their favorite 2015 release, and I was a fan of her Temeraire books (though I haven’t finished the series), so this was already high on my to-read list. You just made it sound even more awesome.

Challenge yourself in 2016! We asked librarians and staff from across the Brooklyn Public Library to share their favorite banned or challenged book and tell us why they think the book is an important read. Some of the books they selected may surprise you while others are notoriously controversial. Celebrate the freedom to read by delving into a book from our list. This list was created by librarians with the Brooklyn Public Library as a 2016 Reading Challenge.

1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This award-winning title has been banned and challenged at various times, because Max talks back to mother and for it’s alleged promotion of “witchcraft and supernatural events.” Personally, I think it is one of the most perfect picture books ever created. Sendak’s use of panels, wordless page spreads, and pages containing only words is brilliant and he inspired many illustrators, artists, and even filmmakers. While some kids find it a little scary, many kids find it empowering. What kid doesn’t want to roar, roll eyes, and gnash their teeth from time to time. And as a parent, I now appreciate the ending. Max’s mother leaves his supper for him in his room “and it was still hot.” Both mother and child may blow up at each other from time to time, but love is still present at the end. – Rachael, Early Childhood Services

2. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

A California school district banned the book in 1989 and claimed that it “criminalized the foresting industry” and would thus persuade children against logging. I remember reading this as a child and it drove my imagination to new heights. Here was a wonderful new world to explore full of captivating creatures. For something to be beautiful, it did not have to look “normal.” It was also taken to heart the importance of looking out for the environment and protecting that which you loved. – Donette, Librarian

3. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

This book raised controversy among several school districts and organizations for its portrayal of the police as pigs (although anthropomorphic pigs were shown in other professions), and as a result was banned in parts of the United States. An oddball favorite, this wonderfully illustrated tenderly spun story of being careful what you wish for offers kids a thoughtful exploration of loss, responsibility, and compassion. It prompots young readers to consider the consequences of the choices they make and helps them gain insight into the importances of making sound decisions. – Brian, Children’s Librarian

4. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

The challenge to the book of “desensitizing children to nudity” is one that stems from adult prudishness and close-mindedness. Most kids have no problem with nudity (and even cherish it – those who love to tear off their clothes and then tear through the house, like the exuberant protagonist of Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s Naked!). The nudity isn’t even central to the story – it’s just something that happens as a matter of course through the nighttime adventure. The entire book is a timeless accomplishment of visual storytelling and whimsy. Like Sendak’s other stellar books, it has endured for decades, and for the best reasons. – Kat, Children’s Librarian

5. The Librarian of Basra by Jeannette Winter

Based the true story of Alia Muhammad Baker, a librarian in Basra, Iraq, who risked her life to shelter and shuttle books in her library during the Iraq War. Workign with with members of the local community, she to kept the books safe until the war had abated and a new library can be built. It was challenged in New York and Florida schools because of its “violent illustrations”, “storyline about war”, and “promotion of Islam.” – Leigh, School Outreach Librarian

6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel

Certain conservative religious organizations have challenged this book for seeking to “subject” children to “gender confusion” and working to promote a “psychological and moral disorder.” I am Jazz introduces Jazz who has “girl brain but a boy body.” Jazz likes singing, back flips soccer, swimming and makeup among other things. She loves mermaids. This is a reassuring book for gender non-conforming kids and a nice introduction to the topic for children in general. It is also often banned. Here is a link to an article about one of the controversies the book has engendered in libraries. – Carrie, Supervising Librarian

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Lowry’s novel for young readers has been called “lewd” and “twisted” and has frequently attracted objections due to its “mature themes” including suicide, sexuality, and euthanasia. I think this is an important book because it forces readers to question how living in a totalitarian society, even with rules intended to be for the “greater good” of the people, can ultimately impact the rights to personal and intellectual freedom, as well impede the pursuit of happiness. – Leigh, Assistant Division Manager

8. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Challenged, but retained in some schools despite complaints that it is “soft-pornography,” “glorifies drinking, cursing, and premarital sex,” and “teaches principles contrary to the Bible.” However as the author says, “SPEAK is cautionary tale about the emotional aftermath of rape. It tackles bullying, depression, rape, sexual harassment, and family dysfunction. It teaches children that when bad things happen, they need to speak up, even when it’s hard. It has given hope to tens of thousands of readers since 1999. It is a standard in curriculum across the country.” – Rebbeca, Children’s Librarian

9. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

I said this in my SLJ review: “Telgemeier deftly portrays the ambiguity of sexual identity in the middle-school years in a story that simultaneously appeals to that audience.” I love that a book so frequently challenged by adults is so beloved and understood by kids. – Lisa, YA Librarian

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

One of my favorite YA challenged books is The Perks of Being A Wallflower. It is not your typical coming-of-age story. Charlie the main character is an awkward teenager yet he becomes increasingly interesting with each turn of the page. The experiences that Charlie faces are real, so real that almost anyone can relate to or deeply empathize with. While getting to know Charlie one can also find some truth about themselves especially young adults.–Josephine, YA Librarian

11. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

This graphic novel travels in circles as the author examines and then reexamines her relationship with her father, her father’s death, and hints of his hidden gay life. The title refers to the family funeral parlor, but also to the museum piece of a home in which the author grew up. The work is visually and textually dense but can be read on so many levels. – Jessica, YA Librarian

12. Animal Farm by George Orwell

If you are a fan of The Hunger Games, [you’ll like Animal Farm.] The themes are almost identical. – Stephanie, YA Librarian

13. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

The futility of war and the nightmare that was Vietnam is brought to life in this collection of stories. How important for these characters to tell the story of their experience when they return home. Lyrical and terse the writing is also heroic in bringing this very American war in an original, vital way straight to the reader’s imagination. – Valerie, Adult Librarian

14. Native Son by Richard Wright

Native Son by Richard Wright is a novel about a Black man trapped in a world of poverty and despair who inadvertently kills a white woman and whose life goes further downhill from there. Though historical (written in 1940 and taking place in the 1930s), it shows the pitfalls some disadvantaged African Americans still face, particularly often males. It is important for all people to witness the truth of these pitfalls by reading books such as Native Son, which are all too rare, and it is to be hoped that the book would also reach some who experience those very traps so that they can see their experience legitimized in classic literature. – Erika, YA Librarian

15. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is a book that unfolds like a sparking accordion of insight into the extremes of poverty and ambition that are part and parcel of our American psyche. The writing is so honest: it offers up so much hope and beauty and redemption that it makes way for the reader’s own stories to emerge from out of the ruins it evokes. – Valerie, Adult Librarian

“Drum roll Please! You have asked for it, and now it is here folks, the Official Tuskegee Heirs Kickstarter! We firmly and wholeheartedly believe that this concept can alter the futures of young and old alike, so if you agree with us, please let us know you’re out there with your support. Share, share and share some more to all those you believe will align with this vision! Thank you all for your kind words and moral push so far. Peace ya’ll. “

This looks so neat!


This is pure evil. @feelingwomanish i don’t even know what to say. Anyone who sees this PLEASE READ and fill out the petition!!!!!

  1. While the Children in Flint Were Given Poisoned Water to Drink, General Motors Was Given a Special Hookup to the Clean Water. A few months after Governor Snyder removed Flint from the clean fresh water we had been drinking for decades, the brass from General Motors went to him and complained that the Flint River water was causing their car parts to corrode when being washed on the assembly line. The Governor was appalled to hear that GM property was being damaged, so he jumped through a number of hoops and quietly spent $440,000 to hook GM back up to the Lake Huron water, while keeping the rest of Flint on the Flint River water. Which means that while the children in Flint were drinking lead-filled water, there was one — and only one — address in Flint that got clean water: the GM factory.
  2. For Just $100 a Day, This Crisis Could’ve Been Prevented. Federal law requires that water systems which are sent through lead pipes must contain an additive that seals the lead into the pipe and prevents it from leaching into the water. Someone at the beginning suggested to the Governor that they add this anti-corrosive element to the water coming out of the Flint River. “How much would that cost?” came the question. “$100 a day for three months,” was the answer. I guess that was too much, so, in order to save $9,000, the state government said f*** it — and as a result the State may now end up having to pay upwards of $1.5 billion to fix the mess.
  3. There’s More Than the Lead in Flint’s Water. In addition to exposing every child in the city of Flint to lead poisoning on a daily basis, there appears to be a number of other diseases we may be hearing about in the months ahead. The number of cases in Flint of Legionnaires Disease has increased tenfold since the switch to the river water. Eighty-seven people have come down with it, and at least ten have died. In the five years before the river water, not a single person in Flint had died of Legionnaires Disease. Doctors are now discovering that another half-dozen toxins are being found in the blood of Flint’s citizens, causing concern that there are other health catastrophes which may soon come to light.
  4. People’s Homes in Flint Are Now Worth Nothing Because They Cant Be Sold. Would you buy a house in Flint right now? Who would? So every homeowner in Flint is stuck with a house that’s now worth nothing. That’s a total home value of $2.4 billion down the economic drain. People in Flint, one of the poorest cities in the U.S., don’t have much to their name, and for many their only asset is their home. So, in addition to being poisoned, they have now a net worth of zero. (And as for employment, who is going to move jobs or start a company in Flint under these conditions? No one.) Has Flint’s future just been flushed down that river?
  5. While They Were Being Poisoned, They Were Also Being Bombed. Here’s a story which has received little or no coverage outside of Flint. During these two years of water contamination, residents in Flint have had to contend with a decision made by the Pentagon to use Flint for target practice. Literally. Actual unannounced military exercises – complete with live ammo and explosives – were conducted last year inside the city of Flint. The army decided to practice urban warfare on Flint, making use of the thousands of abandoned homes which they could drop bombs on. Streets with dilapidated homes had rocket-propelled grenades fired upon them. For weeks, an undisclosed number of army troops pretended Flint was Baghdad or Damascus and basically had at it. It sounded as if the city was under attack from an invading army or from terrorists. People were shocked this could be going on in their neighborhoods. Wait – did I say “people?” I meant, Flint people. As with the Governor, it was OK to abuse a community that held no political power or money to fight back. BOOM!
  6. The Wife of the Governor’s Chief of Staff Is a Spokeswoman for Nestle, Michigan’s Largest Owner of Private Water Reserves. As Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein: “Follow the money.” Snyder’s chief of staff throughout the two years of Flint’s poisoning, Dennis Muchmore, was intimately involved in all the decisions regarding Flint. His wife is Deb Muchmore, who just happens to be the spokesperson in Michigan for the Nestle Company – the largest owner of private water sources in the State of Michigan. Nestle has been repeatedly sued in northern Michigan for the 200 gallons of fresh water per minute it sucks from out of the ground and bottles for sale as their Ice Mountain brand of bottled spring water. The Muchmores have a personal interest in seeing to it that Nestles grabs as much of Michigan’s clean water was possible – especially when cities like Flint in the future are going to need that Ice Mountain.
  7. In Michigan, from Flint water, to Crime and Murder, to GM Ignition Switches, It’s a Culture of Death. It’s not just the water that was recklessly used to put people’s lives in jeopardy. There are many things that happen in Flint that would give one the impression that there is a low value placed on human life. Flint has one of the worst murder and crime rates in the country. Just for context, if New York City had the same murder rate as Flint, Michigan, the number of people murdered last year in New York would have been almost 4,000 people – instead of the actual 340 who were killed in NYC in 2015. But it’s not just street crime that makes one wonder about what is going on in Michigan. Last year, it was revealed that, once again, one of Detroit’s automakers had put profit ahead of people’s lives. General Motors learned that it had installed faulty ignition switches in many of its cars. Instead of simply fixing the problem, mid-management staff covered it up from the public. The auto industry has a history of weighing the costs of whether it’s cheaper to spend the money to fix the defect in millions of cars or to simply pay off a bunch of lawsuits filed by the victims surviving family members. Does a cynical, arrogant culture like this make it easy for a former corporate CEO, now Governor, turn a blind eye to the lead that is discovered in a municipality’s drinking water?
  8. Don’t Call It “Detroit Water” — It’s the Largest Source of Fresh Drinking Water in the World. The media keeps saying Flint was using “Detroit’s water.” It is only filtered and treated at the Detroit Water Plant. The water itself comes from Lake Huron, the third largest body of fresh water in the world. It is a glacial lake formed over 10,000 years ago during the last Ice Age and it is still fed by pure underground springs. Flint is geographically the last place on Earth where one should be drinking poisoned water.
  9. ALL the Children Have Been Exposed, As Have All the Adults, Including Me. That’s just a fact. If you have been in Flint anytime from April 2014 to today, and you’ve drank the water, eaten food cooked with it, washed your clothes in it, taken a shower, brushed your teeth or eaten vegetables from someone’s garden, you’ve been exposed to and ingested its toxins. When the media says “9,000 children under 6 have been exposed,” that means ALL the children have been exposed because the total number of people under the age of 6 in Flint is… 9,000! The media should just say, “all.” When they say “47 children have tested positive”, that’s just those who’ve drank the water in the last week or so. Lead enters the body and does it’s damage to the brain immediately. It doesn’t stay in the blood stream for longer than a few days and you can’t detect it after a month. So when you hear “47 children”, that’s just those with an exposure in the last 48 hours. It’s really everyone.
  10. This Was Done, Like So Many Things These Days, So the Rich Could Get a Big Tax Break. When Governor Snyder took office in 2011, one of the first things he did was to get a multi-billion dollar tax break passed by the Republican legislature for the wealthy and for corporations. But with less tax revenues, that meant he had to start cutting costs. So, many things – schools, pensions, welfare, safe drinking water – were slashed. Then he invoked an executive privilege to take over cities (all of them majority black) by firing the mayors and city councils whom the local people had elected, and installing his cronies to act as “dictators” over these cities. Their mission? Cut services to save money so he could give the rich even more breaks. That’s where the idea of switching Flint to river water came from. To save $15 million! It was easy. Suspend democracy. Cut taxes for the rich. Make the poor drink toxic river water. And everybody’s happy.

You can always count on the rich to be utterly disgusting.