Flint, MI Mayor declares a state of emergency over lead in drinking water, this after 20 months of resident complaints about the water quality. The emergency results, apparently, from Flint's drawing its drinking water from the Flint River rather than Detroit's water supply, though Flint has been reconnected to Detroit's water since October. Flint residents have also sued state and municipal officials, saying that the botched switch to Flint River water deprived them of their rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (that would be the bit that reads "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law").
Dean Baker tells us why we shouldn't privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Simply put, allowing private banks to offer securities backed by mortgages and guaranteed by our government will induce exactly the sort of Wild West behavior that proponents of privatization supposedly want us to avoid. Remember, when the stock market crashed, how grateful you were that we didn't privatize Social Security? I think that was a lesson.
Woodland (VA) town council votes against rezoning a residential/agricultural area to a manufacturing area so that a solar farm could operate there -- after hearing from residents that the solar farms stop photosynthesis, "suck up all the energy from the sun" and cause cancer. It's a damn shame when the longtime resident who blames the town's three existing solar farms for declining property values and job loss comes off as the smartest person in the room. And it is, of course, completely impossible that any of these folks could be paid shills for the fossil-fuel industry.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has, per the Wall Street Journal, underreported his income by some $4 million over the last eight years, saying the 83 amendments to his financial disclosure forms resulted from "filing errors." I'm a little stunned that the Journal published this story, when Mr. Corker has been one of the banksters' most steadfast defenders during his two terms in the Senate.
Finally, the U.S. Senate unanimously passes S. 2044, the Consumer Review Freedom Act, which would prevent corporations from silencing customers who write negative reviews of their products. One shudders at the histrionics the House could employ to avoid considering this bill, given that even a Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill unanimously, but the Senate's action represents progress.