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Morning Reads: Flint’s Water Crisis Finally Grabs Attention of State and Federal Government

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Flint's Water Crisis Finally Grabs Attention of State and Federal Government

Flint residents get bottled water, water testing kits, and water filters at a Flint Fire Station January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder activated the National Guard to help the American Red Cross distribute water to Flint residents to help them deal with the lead contamination that is in the City of Flint's water supply. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

SCOTUS takes on deportation shield –> Jordan Fabian at The Hill: “The Supreme Court announced Tuesday it will hear a case challenging President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which could shield as many as 5 million immigrants from deportations… The programs have been on hold since early last year, when a federal judge in Texas stopped them from taking effect. A favorable decision for the president would allow the programs to go into place, restoring a key legacy achievement just months before he will leave office. The decision could also have wide-ranging implications for the 2016 election, where immigration has been a pivotal issue.”

Another terror attack –> The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack at a university near Peshawar that killed at least 22. Ismail Khan reports for The New York Times.

Flint –> In his state of the state address last night, Republican Governor Rick Snyder apologized and promised to fix the crisis in Flint, Michigan, where tap water was poisoned with staggeringly high levels of lead. Trying to cut costs under a state-appointed emergency manager, in 2014 the city ended its contract with Detroit’s water system and switched to taking corrosive water from the Flint River that was pumped through antiquated pipes. “You did not create this crisis, and you do not deserve this,” said Snyder. “Government failed you at the federal, state and local level.” Paul Egan and Kathleen Gray report for the Detroit Free Press. On Sunday, Obama declared a federal state of emergency, allowing agencies like FEMA to move in and help out.

Paging Tina Fey –> Sarah Palin is back, popping into the limelight to endorse Donald Trump. That’s a reality TV star endorsing a reality TV star to run the country, because in 2016 that’s how we do it in America. Maggie Haberman reports for The New York Times.

What a party! –> Matea Gold at The Washington Post: “The outsize spectacle of this primary season’s Republican debates has made the events hot-ticket items for wealthy donors, who are flocking to them as if they were political bowl games. ‘It’s like Old Home Week,’ said Ray Washburne, the national finance chair for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s campaign, who has been to all six GOP primary debates held so far. ‘Even though we’re all on different sides, it’s fun to meet up.'”

Sneaky –> Steve Horn at DeSmogBlog: “The just-published book ‘Dark Money,’ penned by New Yorker staff reporter Jane Mayer, reveals that the Koch Brothers hired the former commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD) — and his daughter, a former FBI agent — to smear her as a ‘plagiarist’ in the months after the release of her August 2010 bombshell article on the Kochs.”

Why not? –> At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates takes issue with Bernie Sanders for opposing reparations on the grounds that they couldn’t get through Congress, “which could just as well apply to much of the Vermont senator’s own platform.” Coates writes: “Sanders’s radicalism has failed in the ancient fight against white supremacy. What he proposes in lieu of reparations — job creation, investment in cities, and free higher education — is well within the Overton window, and his platform on race echoes Democratic orthodoxy.”

It works –> The New York Times editorial board: “Lawmakers who oppose taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions by putting a price on carbon often argue that doing so would hurt businesses and consumers. But the energy policies adopted by some American states and Canadian provinces demonstrate that those arguments are simply unfounded.”

Maybe they should think this through again –> Politico spoke to the Trump campaign and GOP insiders about how Trump could beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. All it takes, they say, is winning a significant percentage of the black vote as well as Hispanic voters, reinventing Trump as “a pragmatic businessman and family man,” reunifying the party, and somehow successfully tarring Clinton “with her husband’s sexual history.”

What could possibly go wrong? –> A South Carolina lawmaker has proposed a state-run registry of “responsible” journalists. Those who don’t follow the rules could be hit with fines or criminal penalties. Mike Pitts, a Republican and lifelong NRA member, said the bill was inspired by what he saw as mainstream media articles “demonizing” gun owners.

Morning Reads is compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship.

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