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What's the Matter with Michigan?

Updated on May 2, 2020

Michigan Again?

What's the Matter with Michigan?

When you live on the East Coast, you hear national and world news in profusion. One of the most shocking for those of us who worked in environmental engineering for nearly twenty five years, was the Flint, Michigan water crisis that began in 2014.

Michigan is not the only state with lead problems in potable water. These problems chiefly arise from aging state and municipal piping systems that have not been replaced.

Metal piping in homes and municipalities installed before 1986 are most likely to have lead and/or lead solder in their composition.

As these piping systems age, the internal surfaces begin to erode and the lead in them is carried into groundwater and leaches into soil with each rain event.


Safe Drinking Water and Regulatory Compliance Agencies

In most major cities, there are wastewater and sewage treatment plants that are governed by state and federal regulations. This is how residents are protected from dangerous leachate that enters rivers and streams.

In some states, there is even a third reporting link which may be at the county level. known as the Municipal Utilities Authority.

Bad Decision Making in Michigan Erupts into a Crisis

Michigan borders 4 of the 5 Great Lakes from which much of Michigan's tourism is derived. In addition, there are about 67,000 inland lakes throughout this state as can be noted on any map of the state.

It is most notably home to the U.S. biggest auto industry in Detroit. The auto industry has a rich history that includes:

In 1904, local entrepreneur, William Durant was brought in to manage Buick, which became the largest manufacturer of automobiles by 1908. In 1908, Durant founded the now world famous, General Motors, filing incorporation papers in New Jersey, with headquarters in Flint. Durant experienced financial ruin in the stock market crach of 1929 . He died in 1947.

According to history books, Flint's mayors, David Cuthbertson and William McKeighan were targeted for recall twice. Recall supporters in both cases were jailed by the police.

Cuthbertson apparently angered the KKK in that state when he appointed a Catholic to his local cabinet.


Historical Michigan Militancy

In its history with the KKK, Michigan, there have been militant groups in this state such as:

. The lynching in 1866 of John Taylor, an 18 year old lynched by a mob of hundreds of white Ingham County residents who hanged the 18-year-old farmhand.


. Ku Klux Klan during the 1920s

. Followers of Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930s

. Anti-Communists and the John Birch Society in the post–World War II era

. More recently members of the Michigan Militia who first appeared in the 1990s


More recently, hundreds of protesters swarmed their capital, some armed with rifles to denounce the state's stay-at-home orders. While at the same time, lawmakers and the state's governor faced off in a battle over the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Michigan Matter at Hand

With its militant history, the Flint Michigan Water Crisis is solely due to the bad decision making of former Republican Governor, Rick Snyder, decided to switch this city's drinking water supply from Detroit’s system to the Flint River in a cost-saving move.

In addition,inadequate treatment and testing of the water resulted in a series of major water quality and health issues for Flint residents, issues this state chronically ignored, overlooked, and discounted by government officials

Complaints mounted and were ignored even when foul-smelling, discolored and off-tasting water piped into Flint homes for 18 months caused skin rashes, hair loss, and itchy skin.

Racial Bias in Flint?

It should be noted that the city of Flint, Michigan according to the U.S. Census Bureau of 2019, is 53% Black and 39% white.


The Michigan Civil Rights Commission, a state-established body, concluded that the poor governmental response to the Flint crisis was a “result of systemic racism.”

Further studies later revealed the contaminated water was also contributing to a doubling, and in some cases, tripling, of the incidence of elevated blood lead levels in Flint's children, imperiling the health of its youngest generation.

It is only when faced with brutal facts and refusal to allow further bias in this state that this water crisis forced officials to deal with the realities that saving money on water treatment at the risk to children's lives cannot be allowed.

In a recent report 6 years after this water crisis, Snyder refused to allow Karen Weaver, then mayor of Flint, to meet with Representative Elijah Cummings who headed the federal House committee on the discovery of lead and other bacteria in Flint's drinking water.

Several watchdog groups uncovered Michigan's governor's payoffs, silencing of a whistleblower, a shady financial deal and a coverup presided over entirely by Snyder.


Does Michigan Learn from Its Past?

With its dark history of racism, militants and bias, it is difficult to balance ignoring the deliberate sickening of children by a former governor and protesters in Michigan's capital against public safety measures enforced by the current Governor Whitmer.

The optics for this state are bad. Seeing masked middle aged men with semi automatics in their hands is a reminder of all of those photos of al Qaeda during the war in Iraq.

Of what value are the lives of children in Michigan if their immune systems are already compromised by lead and now they are to be exposed to a deadly virus?

To hear the Michigan protesters tell it in their viral posts, the only thing that matters is getting back to work.

The matter at hand is one some states refuse to recognize: reliance on a single industry in any state is not going to be there when an epidemic of the Corona Virus proportion strikes. That's a no brainer.

No one is to blame for this virus. Unless of course, there is a way to get even with Mother Nature. Nature created this virus and nature will end it. Not protesters in a hurry to further risk the lives of little children.

When men and women are not intelligent enough to know how to survive under the worst circumstances, that is a matter for THEIR consciences, not ours.


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    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      11 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Yes, everybody knows he was murdered. But like Epstein, it’s just a big “oooops”.

      And one of the rightwing reporter and talk jocks here went up against Whitey big time. That took a lot of guts, and he wrote a couple of books about it. His name is Howie Carr.

      Also, I believe Sheldon Adelson grew up here! Southie, maybe? Once my boyfriend and I got lost in Southie, and I was scared to could feel the danger.

      Well, Boston is an interesting place.

      Plymouth Rock....first encounter of the pilgrims! Was in Provincetown actually, but ok.

      Lot of historic buildings and places.

      But, as with Michigan, there’s a lot of racial tension here. I saw one NFL football player say Massachusetts is the most racist state he’s ever been in.

      I’ll never forget working in a Chinese restaurant, and these 4 drunks came in screaming about gooks and green cards.

      Even my own dad.......

      My youngest daughter is half Chinese, and once we were at their house and he said “who wants Chink food?” I was like, wth?

      That’s why This Chinese Virus stuff worries me......doesn’t take much for people the get riled up against “those others”.

      Especially when there is no basis to it, as far as I’m concerned. Even now, we say “the Spanish flu”, when it originated in Kansas!

      I wonder why everyone always has to be superior? My mom took me to see West Side Story....jets and sharks......and even native Americans, I read, have a derogatory name for the white race; Wasichu. Speaks with forked tongue.

      Anyway, my friend said the FBI rid Boston of the Italian Mafia to make way for the Irish.....But now I think it was to make way for Russia. mafiya.

      I mean, I don’t know who runs Boston now......probably a mixture. I do know some people think my husbands‘ case involves the Winter Hill Gang. But, if you ask anyone, they say Winter who? loose lips sink ships.

    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      11 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Wow! You know far more than I about Bulger. Is it true he was died in prison murdered in prison? My son told me that. I'm not much for bios on sadistic people.

      It's enough they are human cannibals.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      11 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      Yes, Bulgers’ power went all the way to P Town, where it was rumored he liked to cross dress and hang out at gay bars.

      His brother was in the statehouse and president of U Mass.

      And the FBI agent who was working with Whitey, and vice versa.....quite a story.

      Of course, when he died, so many people around here were overjoyed. He was one brutal, sadistic pup.

      One time, this woman talked too much, and he put her tongue in a food disposal .....

      Lot of suppressed anger came out when he was killed.

      And, he was a Trump supporter.

      Funny, as his brother was a staunch Democrat.

      The Winter Hill gang. Still talked about. And I’m a wash-a-shore! Locals know the real story.

      We sure have a love/hate affair with gangsters.

    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      11 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      You will love this one. I never heard of Whitey Bulger until I had to write an article about Boston. Upon doing my research for this article came across his name. He apparently was quite a criminal from the South End. The things I don't know right? lol.

      It is true that this state alliances and even more so the national alliance of governors is forcing Trump to realize he is not in it for the long haul when he tries to overrule the 10th Amendment.

      I find that the Republican states are always hot to use states' rights to get anything they want. Now that the Dem states have taken a leaf from their states' rights tree, Republicans are going berserk and hauling out the guns.

      The joke is that they know they don't dare pull their trigger happy Wild West lawless act in the Tri State area.

      Our state and local police haul them to jail before they can blink an eye. They thought they could turn Rt. 1 and the NJ Turnpike into their gun smuggling "Iron Road."

      They never get past the state police waiting for them at the Jersey state lines.

      The thing is that the tri state area cannot afford to have guns everywhere. 9/11 was a lesson enough. Ours are the most people congested states.

      You can only imagine what would happen on the hottest day in July with everyone armed to the teeth on an overcrowded subway, train or bus. It would be a blood bath.

      We have laws and our states believe if you can't do the time, don 't do the crime.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      11 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      I do love it. And this state alliance between NY, NJ, RI, PA, DE, MA is going to be a powerhouse.

      I do believe Trump has met his match.

      As for of my best friends in jr high/high is a redneck....he is maga to the max.

      What they think is liberals are weak. This is the impression given about Biden.

      I keep telling them, “yeah, Michigan has Kid Rock and Ted Nugent type Trump fanatics.....

      But have you ever been to Boston? Ever tussled with an Irish person?”

      Lol....I’m not worried in the least about Biden vs Trump.

      Bring it .

    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      11 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Remember not too long ago when Trumpenstein said, "I have total authority...." We all heard this and saw it.

      That remark was his usual idle threat to intimidate governors and to weaken states rights while maintaining HIS deep state federal powers.

      This is how Dr. Trumpenstein operates all the time. He instigates and encourages his deep state henchmen to do his dirty work for him. Never once getting his little mitts dirty.

      But, when he tried to mess with NY's Governor Cuomo, he should have realized that anyone in NY or NJ could bring him so far down, his butt would end up in the clink.

      Now, Governor Cuomo just yesterday signed HIS executive order allowing the SDNY to divulged Trump's full bank and tax records.

      And you know what? Gov. Cuomo is daring Trump to violate the 10th Amendment by trying to take over states' rights. Do you love it?

      As for Michigan, yesterday a security guard was shot to death by a woman, husband and a 3rd protester for refusing to allow them to enter a store without a protective mask.

      But these gun toting Rambos in Michigan got their way. They so harrassed the businesses in Michigan that now the mayor of the town where the security guard was shot has ordered a back down of wearing face masks.

      The first one in Michigan that whines their loved ones died, will not get any sympathy.

      Sounds to me like Michigan needs a whole lot more in the way of education in civility. What's the matter with Michigan is how trigger happy they are.

      If this is society in Michigan where bullying reigns supreme, why should we pay a dime to that state in federal taxes?

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      11 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      11 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      11 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      What we really see....(x rated)

      Then of course, there’s this

      Like I said, lot of racial tension there in the 60’s and 70’s.....maybe not much has changed.

    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      11 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      I wasn't kidding when I posted that these Michigan punks look like al Qaeda terrorists.

    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      11 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      NJ has not had a case of domestic terrorism Sharless. NJ has a lot of problems. But, NJ is NO. 1 in the hi tech industries, one of many our state relies on for its economy.

      NJ also has the strictest environmental regulations in the country. Our water is not sold to profiteers like Snyder did in Michigan.

      The piping in Newark NJ is more than 100 years old. I've already explained why they are prone to eroding lead in water.

      But let's get something straight. NJ doesn't allow the sons of negligent Mommies to parade in the streets like al Qaeda terrorists.

      Let me know when ISIS comes to Michigan like al Qaeda did on 9/11 45 minutes from where "I" live.

      NJ has never once had to be bailed because of any industry like Michigan did and you can thank Obama for resurrecting that failing auto industry.

      Seems like some too man dependent women in Michigan should do a much better job of raising kids NOT to show butt in public looking like al Qaeda terrorists.

      I'd kick in the butt of any son of mine who EVER dared pull that. That is, if the NJ police didn't get them first.

      Keep the Michigan terrorists in Michigan. Cross into NJ and they go to prison.

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      11 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      “Who raised these guys?"


    • Ewent profile imageAUTHOR

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 

      11 months ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Water, as I understood it from the environmental testing lab that was our environmental engineering's parent company, of itself can be a source of bacteria.

      I'll give you an example. How often have you gone hiking in a very wooded, seemingly pristine area and found what appears to be a benign crystal clear stream of water?

      In these cases, the source is usually a runoff from a mountain or it can be from a larger pond, river or lake.

      Since you cannot know what types of animals may be bathed or drunk from that stream, you also do not know its purity level. That's why it is such a joke to think bottled water is any different from your ordinary tap water.

      The reality of water on planet earth is that it is nearly all polluted. You might be likely to find an unexplored cavern with purer water, but even that won't guarantee some bat or insect feces droppings.

      Potable water today must be filtered.

      That's where Michigan's government screwed up royally. His idea as we now know it was to provide drinking water from a source that had not been properly filtered through a wastewater treatment filtration system only to save money.

      For what those in the donor states who pay the most into federal taxes?

      What could Snyder save if the cost is children's lives?

      As to what is causing corona virus, I have been studying not just where the virus has spread but its path. Here in NJ, you expect the most heavily populated areas in the northern part of the state to be the biggest hot spots due to NJ's notoriously dense population per square mile that is equal to that of Hong Kong


      But in the last week, counties in South Jersey with the least populations are now hot spots where the northern counties seem, for now, to be holding their own.

      A virus in water is more likely to dissipate when you consider what "else" it meets with and since most drinking water, except in Flint MI, is properly treated with several water filtration chemicals and flocculants that act as a barrier to bacteriophage from forming, it is highly unlikely water is the culprit.

      For myself, having had Trump in our NY and NJ papers for his entire life, I believe he is now in a very desperate phase of trying to be re-elected.

      My suspicion is that these protesters in MI and elsewhere are paid by Trump to instigate a civil war that gives Trump an excuse to cancel our 1st Amendment right to vote.

      No matter what anyone else tells you about Donald J. Trump, he is a master instigator if it gets him what he wants.

      People often ask me how it is I can know what he is going to do before he does. Read the Trump family or hear it on your state TV since he was 6 years old and how can anyone not know who and what he is?

      In the end, the ones in MI who will suffer are the children. When adults care so little for public safety and allow young middle aged men to appear in public looking as if they are photos from bin Laden's thug album, the question becomes: "Who raised these guys?"

    • pattyfloren profile image

      Patty Florence 

      11 months ago from Illinois think its the water could be the culprit of this coronavirus?

    • lovemychris profile image

      Leslie McCowen 

      11 months ago from Cape Cod, USA

      I grew up there, and there was huge racial tension all thoughout my formative years.

      At the same time, the city of Detroit held great festivals every year celebrating all different ethnicities.....

      A lot of rednecks, especially in the country.

      Yet, it’s so friendly compared to Massachusetts, where I am now!

      I’m not surprised by the guns.....lot of people had them. Nor am I surprised by the militant groups.....

      But I am surprised at the ignorance regarding this virus, given they have one of the best Health systems in the world at the U of M.

      I don’t know what it is about Michigan, and I’ve never understood it. But racism rules everywhere.

      .......except in sports.

      Even in was the one great equalizer, and it was ok to like each other.


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