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Ah, yes. Their fans knew it was coming, the organization knew it was coming, but none of that makes the unraveling any easier. Four games after the mid-season break and the Brewers have watched their first place lead in the NL Central shrink from 5.5 games to 1.5. The Chicago Cubs, given a shot of new life after acquiring Jose Quintana from the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox, have been firing on all cylinders since returning from the break, while the Brewers have found new ways to lose games.

The fallback to reality was inevitable, but it doesn’t make the ground feel any softer when we land on it. When the Brewers first took the lead in the NL Central race in May there was some soft grumblings about how this team wasn’t very good but had just had a winning streak early on. Then, as they continued to win, the fans began to shake their heads in disbelief, having been tricked by these Brewers before and refusing to start believing when it was only June. Then the calendar flipped to July and the Cubs were still struggling while the Brewers were maintaining a decent lead in the standings. As the All-Star break neared and the Brewers held tightly onto their 5.5 game lead, fans used the days without baseball to allow themselves to hope that maybe, just maybe the Brewers would be able to hold off this disinterested Cubs team and continue their rebuilding process into the playoffs.

Fans were refusing to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the Brewers are still a rebuilding franchise. The team wasn’t meant to win now, it never was. General Manager David Stearns wasn’t going to trade away the valuable farm system that he had so shrewdly rebuilt over the last two years because this years’ team was competing in their division. This was not the year to go all-in; this was not the year to cash in their chips. Fans clamored for the Brewers to trade for pitching help, all the while knowing that it would go against every fiber of Stearns’s being to trade young talent for a rental player. See, rental players are for teams that need to win now. The Brewers, meanwhile, are in a compete now and win later mode.

The Brewers certainly could regain their spark after this disastrous start to the second half, but that would be another minor miracle. A .500 team at the end of the season would be above what even the most optimistic fans were thinking heading into this year, so why be disappointed with it now? That wouldn’t mean that the Brewers failed, it would mean that they did better than they were supposed to and now the future years look even more promising than they did prior.

Could 2017 still see the Brewers finish atop the standings? Of course, but fans need to accept that that was never the goal. Finish strong, retain confidence heading into the next season. Who cares whether or not the Brewers win 80 games or 90 this year. You don’t go all-in with a pair of nines; let’s wait for the right hand.

takingsideschangesThe resolution introduced by Alderman Zielinski says in part that “…The Health Department shall also issue written recommendations to Milwaukee-area obstetricians, pediatricians and public and private healthcare facilities and partner agencies that women of childbearing age and children under the age of six should not drink unfiltered water and that children under the age of six should be tested for lead.”

This portion of the resolution is very important because most medical experts agree that there is no safe level of lead in the body and that lead is especially dangerous for young children because their brains are still developing.

There are numerous studies available that have linked childhood lead poisoning to serious health problems such hypertension, impaired cognition, poor academic performance, and behavioral problems that develop as children become adults.

Relatively every medical professional agrees that preventing lead poisoning can be accomplished by removing lead hazards from places where children live, learn and play.

Yet the seriousness of lead in water is not fully understood by Milwaukee medical professionals. Case in point is an article published by WUWM on September 15, 2016 entitled “Milwaukee Residents Worried about Lead in Drinking Water Rush to Buy Filters.”

The article interviews Dr. Mark Kostic who works for the Wisconsin Poison Center and Children’s Hospital. In the article Dr. Kostic says “any lead is too much lead,” because it can impact development and behavior. Yet he says he wants to keep the risk related to water in perspective.”

Dr. Kostic goes on to say in the article that “Someone would have to drink numerous glasses of water in order to absorb as much lead as they’d get from eating a single paint chip.”

Kostic says “it’s a question of dose.” The article goes on to say that Dr. Kostic points out that “someone would have to drink numerous glasses of water in order to absorb as much lead as they’d get from eating a single paint chip.”

The comments made by Dr. Kostic go against the peer reviewed studies of world renowned lead water expert Dr. Marc Edwards and a 2006 study published by the Urban and Housing Development.

In 2006, the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revised a study it released in 2003 entitled:  “Study of HUD’s Risk Assessment Methodology in Three U.S. Communities” by the National Center for Healthy Housing.

The study focused on lead in blood of children. Buried in the appendix section of the study is this paragraph: “The model results found that for children in this study, drinking one 8-ounce glass of water per day corresponded to a 45 percent probability of having an elevated blood lead level, while drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water per day corresponded to a 50 percent probability of having an elevated blood lead level.”

Notice this passage of the study goes entirely against what Dr. Kostic is quoted as saying in the WUWM article.

To be completely transparent, the 2006 HUD report pointed out that, “Earlier investigation of the relationships between the intake of tap water and the blood lead status of a child found that in Milwaukee and New York City, the total amount of tap water or tap water-based drinks that were consumed per day by the child was significantly related to the child’s blood lead status. However, the water lead level itself was not significantly related to the child’s blood lead status.”

In addition, the conclusion of the appendix section of the report revealed that, “It was hypothesized that the effect of amount of water consumed per day on blood lead outcomes was modified by the water lead concentration and/or the time the water is allowed to run before use.

The analysis presented here does not support this hypothesis. The findings do not provide any further understanding why consumption of water is related to blood lead outcomes.”

However, in an email addressing this point Dr. Edwards elaborated on this matter and pointed out that based on his experiences and research over the years many health departments across the country testing for “lead in water measurements miss lead” because testing is not done adequately.

Dr. Edwards went on to say that “the way the health department takes samples, does not detect chunks of lead falling into the water, LSL (lead service lines) lead and many other lead in water dangers.”

He further states that in his “…experiences in homes of children with elevated blood lead, where the health department found little or no lead”, he “found lead in water hazards by taking more samples, sampling the bathroom, sampling the LSL, etc…”

This Dr. Edwards goes on to say “…would explain why kids drinking more water have more EBL (elevated blood lead), even when lead in water is low.  The lead in water is actually high.”

Taking into the statement made by Dr. Mark Kostic and the position held by the Milwaukee Health Department should give rise to concern to our entire community that when it comes to lead in water, taking precaution as being suggested by this resolution is fundamentally a wise thing to do.

The experts disagree with our local officials as to the seriousness lead in water presents to the health of our most vulnerable. It’s not a matter of dosage as Dr. Kostic believes and it’s should not be treated in a nonchalant manner by our health department.

The health department should be regulated to do what it should have been doing years ago. Informing our community health professionals of new research in lead in water and issuing advisories to water consumers regarding lead spiking potentially going on in neighborhood with street construction and testing babies before they reach the age of one years old for lead blood levels.

Dr. Edwards concluded by stressing that “filters work to remove lead.” This is true. However, removing these lead service laterals from our water distribution is long overdue.

The City of Milwaukee must take this matter of lead in water more seriously and stop relying on antiquated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lead in water standards that are proving to be more of a detriment to the lives of our children.

Alerting the citizens to take precautionary measures against lead in water poisoning is a sound and practical thing to do.  The members of the Public Safety and Health Committee as well as the Common Council should support the resolution introduced by Alderman Zielinski.

Mientras que la incendiaria investigación de la interferencia de Rusia en las elecciones de Estados Unidos amenaza con consumir la presidencia de Donald Trump, su negacionismo del calentamiento global provocado por el hombre sigue amenazando a un planeta que ya está ardiendo. El mundo observó con asombro cuando el 1° de junio Trump cumplió su promesa de campaña de retirar a Estados Unidos del Acuerdo de París sobre el cambio climático. Desde entonces, los gobiernos de todo el mundo, desde los países más poderosos a los más pequeños, se han unido para criticar la decisión y prometieron acelerar sus propios compromisos para combatir el cambio climático, con o sin Donald Trump y Estados Unidos. Queda poco tiempo para evitar un cambio climático irreversible.

Donald Trump estuvo claramente aislado en la Cumbre del G20 la semana pasada. Más de 100.000 manifestantes marcharon, a pesar de la fuerte, y por momentos violenta, represión policial. Dentro de la Cumbre, los otros 19 líderes del mundo expresaron su oposición al rechazo de Trump del Acuerdo de París sobre el cambio climático. Sin embargo, como señaló esta semana la organización Oil Change International, los países del G20 tomados en conjunto proporcionan 72.000 millones de dólares en subsidios anuales a la industria de los combustibles fósiles, cuatro veces más de lo que gastan en energía renovable.

Alex Dukas, de Oil Change International, habló sobre esta contradicción en una entrevista con “Democracy Now!”: “Si bien es genial que los otros líderes del G20 acorralen a Donald Trump, no alcanza simplemente con cuestionar su negacionismo del cambio climático. Estos líderes deben adoptar medidas. Deben responder con hechos, y no solo con palabras”. Oil Change detalla los subsidios en un informe publicado durante la cumbre del G20, titulado “Hablar no cuesta nada: cómo los gobiernos del G20 están financiando el desastre climático” (Talk is Cheap: How G20 Governments are Financing Climate Disaster). Oil Change está instando a los Gobiernos del G20 a que pongan fin a los subsidios a los combustibles fósiles antes de 2020 y a que, en su lugar, financien la energía renovable.

Según otro informe que acaba de publicarse, “Carbon Majors Report 2017”, tan solo 100 empresas son responsables de la contaminación emitida desde 1988. En el informe se sostiene que “Desde 1988, tan solo 25 empresas y países son responsables de más de la mitad de los gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) emitidos en todo el mundo”. La empresa de carbón estatal China encabeza la lista, junto con las empresas petroleras de Arabia Saudí e Irán. Empresas como ExxonMobil, Shell, BP y Chevron también son algunos de los principales responsables de la contaminación. Al finalizar la cumbre del G20, la canciller alemana Angela Merkel dijo que “deploraba” la salida de Estados Unidos del Acuerdo de París. El Secretario de Estado de Estados Unidos, Rex Tillerson, ex director ejecutivo de ExxonMobil, viajó de Hamburgo a Estambul, Turquía, para recibir un premio a la trayectoria otorgado por el Congreso Mundial del Petróleo, donde elogió a la industria petrolera como “maravillosa”, antes de dirigirse a Arabia Saudí.

Mientras tanto, en Estados Unidos, los impactos del cambio climático se sienten en todas partes. En el oeste de América del Norte, desde la frontera con México hasta British Columbia, en Canadá, y Yukon, Alaska, los incendios forestales siguen ardiendo. El organismo interinstitucional estadounidense denominado Grupo Nacional de Coordinación de los Incendios Forestales ha registrado 109 incendios forestales actualmente tan solo en Estados Unidos. En Phoenix, Arizona, el mes pasado, cuando las temperaturas alcanzaron los 49 grados Celsius, los aviones pequeños no pudieron despegar ni aterrizar, y American Airlines canceló alrededor de 50 vuelos debido a que el aire estaba demasiado caliente. El asfalto puede derretirse a causa de las temperaturas elevadas y las pistas de aterrizaje pueden volverse inutilizables.

La Unión de Científicos Preocupados acaba de publicar un amplio estudio sobre los crecientes impactos del aumento del nivel del mar en las poblaciones costeras de Estados Unidos. Según el estudio: “En 2035, alrededor de 170 poblados, aproximadamente el doble que hoy, afrontarán inundaciones crónicas”. En 2100, la cifra aumentará a casi 500 poblados, algunos del tamaño y la vitalidad económica de Galveston, Texas, gran parte del área metropolitana de Nueva Orleans (ya vimos el daño que allí puede causar un huracán), Miami y Boston. El cambio climático, junto con la superpoblación y el consumo, es uno de los factores causantes de la sexta gran extinción de la Tierra, que los científicos denominaron esta semana “aniquilación biológica”.

Pero hay una noticia aún más reciente sobre el cambio climático: una sección de la barrera de hielo Larsen C se desprendió de la Antártida. Se trata de un iceberg del tamaño del estado de Delaware, cuatro veces el tamaño de Londres. Los científicos prevén que si toda la Antártida se deshiela, el nivel del mar podría aumentar al menos 48 metros. El grupo de acción por el clima 350.org realizó una petición para nombrar al nuevo iceberg “Exxon Sabía 1” (Exxon Knew 1), en referencia al hecho de que ExxonMobil escondió su investigación sobre el cambio climático durante varias décadas.

Dado que muchas de las empresas consideradas las “grandes del carbono” (Carbon Majors) cotizan en bolsa, pueden ser influenciadas por sus accionistas. El movimiento para dejar de invertir dinero en empresas de combustibles fósiles e invertirlo en energía renovable se llama “Desinvertir/Invertir”. En diciembre de 2016, los inversores se comprometieron a transferir más de 5 billones de dólares de una industria a la otra. Mientras el Gobierno de Estados Unidos se retiró del Acuerdo de París sobre el cambio climático, siete estados, entre ellos California y Nueva York, se organizaron bajo el lema “Todavía somos parte”, junto a cientos de ciudades y miles de empresas y universidades que se sumaron a ellos en el compromiso de reducir las emisiones de carbono.

Donald Trump quizá haya ganado los votos del Colegio Electoral en 2016, lo que elevó su negacionismo del cambio climático a niveles peligrosos, pero la resistencia es real, fuerte, cada vez mayor y no se puede negar.

takingsideschangesMost medical experts agree that there is no safe level of lead in the body and that it is especially dangerous for young children because their brains are still developing. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states no lead level in water is safe.

There are numerous studies available that have linked childhood lead poisoning to serious health problems such hypertension, impaired cognition, poor academic performance, and behavioral problems that develop as children become adults. No one argues against the overwhelming consensus of doctors that lead poisoning in children causes them to struggle in school, drop out, get into trouble with the law, and under perform in the workplace.

Most every medical professional agrees that preventing lead poisoning can be accomplished by removing lead hazards from places where children live, learn, and play.

In Milwaukee, there are over 130,000 homes that still have lead paint issues, according to City of Milwaukee bureaucrats in the health department and Milwaukee Water Works. Within those homes there are over 80,000 lead service lines leaching lead into the water supply of some of those 130,000 homes. Not hard to understand that 80,000 Milwaukee residents living in homes with lead paint also have lead service lines.

Tens of thousands of Milwaukee citizens are dealing with a toxic hazard in there homes and most are not totally aware that there water is tainted with lead because they have a lead pipe.

In 2006, the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revised a study it released in 2003 entitled:  “Study of HUDs Risk Assessment Methodology in Three U.S. Communities” by the National Center for Healthy Housing.

The study focused on lead in blood of children. Buried in the appendix section of the study is this paragraph: “The model results found that for children in this study, drinking one 8-ounce glass of water per day corresponded to a 45 percent probability of having an elevated blood lead level, while drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water per day corresponded to a 50 percent probability of having an elevated blood lead level.”

In September 2006, world renowned expert on lead in water issues, Dr. Marc Edwards, science professor out of Virgins Tech University was invited to speak at a water summit held at Marquette University where Dr. Edwards spoke of this study and pointed out this disturbing part of the report.

To be fair, the 2006 HUD report pointed out that, “Earlier investigation of the relationships between the intake of tap water and the blood lead status of a child found that in Milwaukee and New York City, the total amount of tap water or tap water-based drinks that were consumed per day by the child was significantly related to the child’s blood lead status (p=0.04). However, the water lead level itself was not significantly related to the child’s blood lead status.”

In addition, the conclusion of the appendix section of the report revealed that, “It was hypothesized that the effect of amount of water consumed per day on blood lead outcomes was modified by the water lead concentration and/or the time the water is allowed to run before use. The analysis presented here does not support this hypothesis. The findings do not provide any further understanding why consumption of water is related to blood lead outcomes.”

I asked Dr. Edwards if he could elaborate on the glass of water statement above and his response was that his hypothesis is based on the fact that “lead in water measurements miss lead”

Dr. Edwards went on to say that his experiences around the country found that “the way the health department takes samples, does not detect chunks of lead falling into the water, LSL (lead service lines) lead and many other lead in water dangers.”

He went on to say in his email message to me that in his “…experiences in homes of children with elevated blood lead, where the health department found little or no lead”, he “found lead in water hazards by taking more samples, sampling the bathroom, sampling the LSL, etc…”

He went on to say “this would explain why kids drinking more water have more EBL (elevated blood lead), even when lead in water is low.  The lead in water is actually high.”

Dr. Edwards concluded by stressing to that “filters work to remove lead.”

So why is the Milwaukee Health Department opposed to a resolution introduced by Alderman Zielinski calling for what amounts to a city wide alert awakening to families to use filters to prevent children from being exposed to lead in water?

The City of Milwaukee must take this matter of lead in water more seriously and stop relying on antiquated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lead in water standards that are proving to be more of a detriment to the lives of our children.

Alerting the citizens to take precautionary measures against lead in water poisoning is a sound and particle thing to do.  The members of the Common Council should support the resolution introduced by Alderman Zielinski.

Year 2 of the David Stearns rebuilding project has gone better than anybody could have predicted. The first year was always going to be a year in which the Brewers would finish near the bottom of the standings, but the second year is only supposed to see a slight uptick in the standings for rebuilding baseball teams. Except General Manager Stearns has proven that he doesn’t need that much time to build a team competing for the playoffs. After an offseason filled with a few relatively unknown signings (his biggest acquisition was Eric Thames who had most recently been playing in Korea), this Brewers team is sitting comfortably atop the standings of the NL Central.

Travis Shaw, Corey Knebel, and Jimmy Nelson all should be representing the Brewers in the upcoming All-Star game, but Nelson and Shaw were the odd men out after each team was given its all-star representative. Shaw has been hitting near .300 for the season and has been a major coup after he was acquired from the Boston Red Sox, along with a few other players, for reliever Tyler Thornburg. Thornburg has yet to put on the Red Sox jersey after being forced to the disabled list. Stepping up to fill the shoes Thornburg left behind was Knebel, who had struggled in the major leagues his first 3 seasons. Knebel left those struggles in the past, though, and has struck out a batter in 41 consecutive appearances on his way to amassing a 1.11 earned run average. While Knebel made the jump in his fourth year, Nelson is proving that his fifth season was the one for him. The 28 year old Nelson has been the anchor of the Brewers starting pitching staff, going deeper into games than he ever has before and striking out batters at a far higher clip than in previous seasons.

The real question is how long the Brewers can hold off the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have been a real disappointment so far this year, struggling to get above .500 while sitting in second place for the majority of the season. The star power on the Cubs is undeniable, but the Brewers have them beat in roster depth. Manager Craig Counsell likes to use the Brewers positional players as interchangeable parts, and so far this year he has looked to be a master mechanic. Frankly, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Cubs finally find their way as the season draws closer to the end and overtake the Brewers once the cooler weather sweeps in. The Cubs are the defending champions and haven’t lost anybody that truly damaged their roster, but many of their players aren’t playing up to the potential they showed the previous season.

The Brewers may be able to hold off the Cubs, though the odds are falling less and less in their favor as the season goes on and they are unable to build on their lead in the standings. Whether they make the playoffs or not, this season has been an undeniable success.

“Sanctuary cities” have become a flashpoint for controversy as some Democrats have vowed to protect the controversial policies, but Republicans are promising to use whatever power the government has to shut them down.

In Milwaukee however, it seems the democratic mayor put his backbone in his closet in order to save himself from losing $6 million dollars from the federal government.

The recent announcement regarding changes to Milwaukee immigration policy, set to take effect Thursday, will eliminate a directive to MPD officers not to question any person about his or her immigration status unless the person committed a heinous crime.

Barrett’s retreat is a clear victory for Trump who during his presidential campaign ran under the promise of dismantling “sanctuary city” policies, after highlighting the example of Kate Steinle, a young woman who was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant in San Francisco.

While cities and Villages like Oak Park, Illinois pass ordinances designed to protect undocumented immigrant community members from federal government agents, Milwaukee practices counterproductive actions that threaten to separate families and increase ethnic and racial profiling.

It is a sad day indeed for a city that once elected three socialist mayors and should be considered Wisconsin’s strongest progressive community.

Given Trump’s radical new immigration policies, Barrett should strongly back sanctuary. It’s one thing to seek cooperation from local police departments in removing undocumented felons—that was the Obama policy. But it’s another to bully cities and states into a large roundup of otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants—and that’s exactly what the Milwaukee policy change will do.

Now is not the time to tuck tail.  This is the time for Barrett to show leadership regarding the city’s immigration enforcement priorities. This is the time the mayor should be laser-focused on undocumented immigrants who are convicted felons and present a serious threat to public safety. The changes going into effect this week only widen the scope of officers to question the rest of the undocumented population in Milwaukee—the overwhelming majority who are law-abiding members of the community, and are not considered priorities for enforcement action.

With an extremely focused plan MPD will not target productive and valued community members. The city should be going after dangerous criminals. Why not learn from the California TRUST Act of 2013 where it specifically authorizes local governments to work with ICE to remove dangerous felons?

Ultimately, Milwaukee’s new policy follows Trump’s radical “helter skelter” way and that is the removal off all undocumented–not just criminals.

The threat to withhold federal funds meant to improve public safety, in order to coerce Milwaukee to adopt policies that many in the community feel undermine public safety, should be met with strong resolve to uphold the constitutional spirit of federalism. Washington needs to respect that and Milwaukee needs to be an example.

“Maten al proyecto de ley, no a nosotros”, coreaban los manifestantes en el Capitolio el miércoles, para expresar su oposición al controvertido proyecto de ley de reforma del sistema de salud del Senado. El Presidente Donald Trump y sus aliados republicanos del Congreso están decididos a derogar la Ley de Cuidado de la Salud a Bajo Precio (también conocida como Obamacare), a pesar de que el proyecto de ley mediante el cual lo derogarían cuenta con muy poco apoyo a nivel nacional (según una encuesta reciente, su índice de aprobación es de apenas un 17%) y dejará a decenas de millones de estadounidenses sin atención de la salud. Un nuevo estudio prevé que dejar a tantas personas sin seguro de salud provocaría la muerte de 29.000 estadunidenses más al año. De modo que, cuando muchos de estos manifestantes piden a los senadores que no los maten, están hablando en serio.

La Dra. Steffie Woolhandler es médica general y cofundadora de Médicos por un Plan de Salud Nacional. Woolhandler, que ha sido una ferviente crítica de la Ley de Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio, es coautora de un nuevo estudio —“La relación entre la cobertura de la salud y la mortalidad: ¿es mortal carecer de seguro médico?” (The Relationship of Health Insurance and Mortality: Is Lack of Insurance Deadly?)—, publicado en los Anales de Medicina Interna. La Dra. Woolhandler nos dijo en el noticiero de Democracy Now!: “Examinamos la literatura científica mundial para estudiar la relación entre la cobertura de la salud y la mortalidad. Hay realmente consenso científico en la actualidad con respecto a que carecer de seguro médico aumenta el índice de mortalidad”.

Al igual que sucede con el cambio climático, los políticos republicanos nos dicen que no hagamos caso a la ciencia. Raúl Labrador, congresista republicano de Idaho, fue interrogado durante un cabildo abierto el mes pasado acerca del motivo por el cual apoya los recortes a Medicaid, que dejarán a muchas personas sin cobertura médica y, en algunos casos, provocarán la muerte: “Nadie quiere que haya muertes. Es evidente. Ese argumento es indefendible. Nadie muere por no tener acceso a un seguro de salud”.

La Dra. Woolhandler respondió: “El senador Ted Cruz ha dicho eso. Marco Rubio ha dicho eso. El Secretario Tom Price, secretario de Servicios Humanos y de Salud, ha dado a entender que no pasa nada si se carece de un seguro de salud. Eso no es cierto. La ciencia nos está demostrando que las personas que no tienen cobertura de salud no reciben la atención médica que necesitan para estar sanas y, en consecuencia, esas personas mueren antes”.

La Dra. Steffie Woolhandler apoya el sistema de salud de pagador único, también llamado “Medicare para todos”, en referencia al inmensamente popular plan de salud financiado por los impuestos de los contribuyentes que brinda cobertura de salud a todos los adultos mayores de 65 años y a las personas con discapacidad crónica. Woolhandler explicó cómo funciona ese sistema: “Cada persona tendría una tarjeta de Medicare desde el día de su nacimiento y durante toda su vida. Toda la atención médica necesaria estaría cubierta por un plan financiado mediante impuestos llamado Medicare para todos. Sería mucho más barato a largo plazo porque se ahorra mucho dinero de gastos administrativos. La facturación y la inscripción en el seguro de salud es un proceso extremadamente costoso en Estados Unidos. Según nuestra investigación, representa un 31% del gasto total de la salud. Al optar por un sistema de pagador único, se podría ahorrar alrededor de la mitad de ese costo, unos 500.000 millones de dólares al año, que se utilizarían en lograr atención de la salud universal y eliminar los copagos y deducibles a las personas que ahora deben abonarlos”.

En muchas partes del mundo existen sistemas similares, que funcionan perfectamente bien: “Gran parte de Europa Occidental tiene sistemas de pagador único que cubren a todas las personas. Viven dos años más. Pagan menos por la salud que nosotros. No tener seguro es malo para la salud, puede provocar la muerte. Y tener cobertura total para todos los cuidados de salud necesarios, como ocurriría con Medicare para todos, haría que la gente sea más saludable y prolongaría sus vidas”.

El representante demócrata de Michigan John Conyers presentó el proyecto de ley H.R. 676 o Ley por un Medicare más amplio y mejorado para todos. El proyecto de ley obtuvo un número inesperado de coauspiciantes: 113 legisladores (todos demócratas) lo apoyan. El senador Bernie Sanders está elaborando un proyecto de ley similar en el Senado, y la senadora de Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren acaba de decir al Wall Street Journal: “Ya es hora de dar el siguiente paso. Y el siguiente paso es el sistema de pagador único”.

Mientras en los medios se mencionan las protestas en el Capitolio o en las oficinas de los senadores Mitch McConnell, Cory Gardner y otros, y las dramáticas imágenes de ocupaciones de oficinas y arrestos logran un poco de atención de los medios, ¿dónde están las voces de los manifestantes? Muy rara vez se los invita a los estudios de televisión para que expliquen por qué están dispuestos a ser arrestados. En cambio, las cadenas de noticias recurren al mismo círculo de comentaristas que saben muy poco sobre muchas cosas y se centran únicamente en la división entre demócratas y republicanos en el Congreso.

Una nueva encuesta realizada por NPR/PBSNewsHour/Marist concluyó que apenas el 17% de la población apoya el proyecto de ley del Senado. Si se lo compara con el sistema de pagador único, que no recibe casi cobertura en los medios, este último tiene más apoyo. El Pew Research Center publicó un informe esta semana en el que se afirma que un 33% de los encuestados ahora está a favor del sistema de pagador único, un aumento del 12% frente a 2014.

Los medios de comunicación no deberían tomar partido en los partidos, sino que deberían limitarse a presentar las noticias. Necesitamos medios de comunicación que constituyan un cuarto poder, y no que apoyen al poder del Estado. Necesitamos medios de radiodifusión que incluyan una diversidad de voces, incluidos aquellos que defienden el sistema de salud de pagador único. Como han demostrado la Dra. Steffie Woolhandler y sus colegas, es una cuestión de vida o muerte.

Removing Lead Water Pipes Only Solution
Concern about what lead does to our children is important. Because of the highly publicized events in Flint, Mich., residents of Milwaukee and other cities are now demanding action.

There are many sources of lead. The disgraceful episode in Flint has led to a welcome focus on lead in drinking water, primarily due to old leaded pipes. A long-standing, more localized issue in cities like Milwaukee is that of lead paint inside homes. Both need to be addressed equally.

Insight into why lead represents a great hazard comes from review of the health goals established every decade by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC “level of concern” is based on scientific studies, including the groundbreaking work of Herbert Needleman of the University of Pittsburgh, showing that low blood lead levels affect the growing brain. This resulted in the phasing out of lead from gasoline in 1970 when the average child’s blood lead level in the United States was 16, about five times higher than it is today.

In 2013 the CDC dropped the lead level to 5 and is debating to drop further to 3.5, recognizing the subtle effects of lead on the growing brain. Exceedances of this level of 5 have received headlines in Flint and now in other cities. Not surprisingly, a child can get truly dangerous levels of body lead from tainted water, even higher than the 45 micrograms per deciliter at which the CDC recommends considering medical treatment with drugs that remove lead from the body.

For Milwaukee and most of the U.S., it is racial minorities and the poor living in older, badly maintained, rental housing that have the highest childhood blood lead levels. Meeting the goal of eliminating social and racial differences in blood lead requires political will.

Other cities have proved that lead pipes can be replaced efficiently, relatively quickly and in a manner that is not cost prohibitive. Milwaukee can and must replace all lead service lines, including the private side that belongs to the homeowner.

The city have thus far provided misleading, “doom and gloom” contentions that an adequate remediation plan would cost hundreds of millions of dollars. This is simply not borne out by the experiences of other cities. The risk to our community’s health by such thinking is unacceptable.

More important, a strategic comprehensive replacement plan would address the problem for all residents regardless of income, neighborhood, or homeowner or renter status in Milwaukee. Otherwise, the problem is not solved.

The bottom line is that we must recognize the crisis we face and act to fix it immediately, which means replacing all lead lines. The solution is absolutely within our grasp, and I and thousands of other Milwaukee residents will accept nothing less.

“Emolumento” es una palabra que solía usarse muy poco, e incluso era prácticamente desconocida, hasta que Donald Trump asumió la presidencia. Ahora circula en las noticias políticas de forma cotidiana, y es el núcleo de varias demandas judiciales que acusan al presidente Trump de corrupción. El problema de las retribuciones extras que percibe un funcionario público es algo que se menciona en pocas ocasiones en la Constitución de Estados Unidos: una de ellas es en la cláusula de emolumentos extranjeros. Hay una cláusula paralela de emolumentos domésticos, que según los demandantes Trump también estaría infringiendo. Trump dijo al periódico The New York Times en noviembre del año pasado, después de ganar en el Colegio Electoral pero perder en el voto popular: “La ley está completamente de mi lado, es decir, el presidente no puede tener conflicto de intereses”. Esta ola de demandas judiciales va en contra de su declaración, a medida que se acumulan pruebas de su enriquecimiento personal gracias a la presidencia.

La octava cláusula del Artículo I, Sección 9 de la Constitución estadounidense establece: “Ningún título de nobleza será otorgado por Estados Unidos: y ninguna persona que tenga un cargo retribuido o de confianza aceptará, sin el consentimiento del Congreso, ningún presente, emolumento, cargo o título, de cualquier clase, de cualquier rey, príncipe o Estado extranjero”. Nadie acusa a Trump de aceptar un título de nobleza, aunque ¿quién se sorprendería si lo hiciera? Pero una abundancia de emolumentos parece haberle caído a Trump desde que asumió el cargo, algunos recibidos de manos de gobiernos extranjeros con importantes negocios con Estados Unidos. Hasta el momento, tres prominentes demandas procuran remediar esta situación. Una de ellas fue presentada pocos días después de que Trump asumiera el cargo por el observatorio sin fines de lucro CREW (Ciudadanos por la Responsabilidad y la Ética en Washington). Otro fue presentado el lunes por los fiscales generales de Washington DC y Maryland. Y a pesar del tumulto en Washington causado por el terrible tiroteo en una práctica de béisbol de congresistas republicanos en la que cinco personas resultaron heridas –entre ellas Steve Scalise, jefe de bancada de la Mayoría republicana de la Cámara de Representantes– una tercera demanda fue presentada el miércoles por aproximadamente 200 miembros demócratas del Congreso.

Nunca antes en la historia de Estados Unidos se había generado una serie tan importante de conflictos de interés con negocios reales y potenciales del presidente. Donald Trump tiene inversiones en bienes raíces y otros negocios en todo el mundo. La revista The Atlantic ha estado compilando una lista de sus potenciales conflictos de interés y ha enumerado no menos de 44 casos graves en los cuales su beneficio personal podría depender de acciones gubernamentales o políticas de Estados Unidos sobre las cuales preside.

La demanda de CREW denuncia un canal directo de dinero proveniente de gobiernos extranjeros para la familia Trump a través del nuevo Hotel Trump International en la avenida Pennsylvania, a pocas cuadras de la Casa Blanca. CREW alega que “desde las elecciones del 8 de noviembre de 2016, diplomáticos extranjeros se han hospedado en el hotel del demandado, ansiosos de recibir el favor del demandado y temerosos de lo que pudiera pensar o hacer si recurrían a los servicios de otros hoteles de Washington. El hotel también contrató a un ‘director de reservas diplomáticas’ para facilitar los negocios con Estados extranjeros y sus diplomáticos y agentes”. La demanda continúa: “Un diplomático de Medio Oriente declaró al [periódico] The Washington Post sobre el hotel: ‘Créanme, todas las delegaciones irán allí’”.

La demanda impulsada por los fiscales generales de Washington DC y Maryland explica: “Después de la toma de posesión presidencial del acusado, este sigue ejerciendo la propiedad y control de cientos de empresas en todo el mundo, como hoteles y otras propiedades. Su imperio de negocios comprende una variedad de corporaciones, sociedades de responsabilidad limitada, sociedades en comandita y otras entidades que posee o controla, totalmente o en parte, que operan en Estados Unidos y al menos en 20 países extranjeros”. La demanda fue presentada para que, entre otras cosas, “las familias estadounidenses no tengan que estar adivinando si un presidente que envía a sus hijos e hijas a morir en tierras extranjeras actúa en base a sus intereses comerciales privados”.

La demanda del Congreso, encabezada por el senador de Connecticut Richard Blumenthal y el congresista de Washington John Conyers, reitera muchas de las presuntas violaciones constitucionales de la cláusula sobre emolumentos por parte de Trump, pero se centra en un punto clave: “sin el consentimiento del Congreso”. Esta demanda pretende que los tribunales obliguen a Trump a solicitar la aprobación del Congreso antes de recibir retribuciones dinerarias, o “emolumentos”, que provengan de negocios con Estados extranjeros. Una condición fundamental que exigen los demócratas del Congreso es la publicación de las declaraciones de impuestos de Trump.

La codirectora del Programa de Libertad y Seguridad Nacional del Centro Brennan por la Justicia, Elizabeth Goitein, dijo en una entrevista para Democracy Now!: “Hemos visto una y otra vez que este presidente cree estar por encima de la ley de varias formas. En una democracia nadie está por encima de la ley, ni el presidente ni nadie más”.

El mismo día en que los demócratas del Congreso presentaron su demanda, el periódico The Washington Post publicó la noticia de que el asesor especial Robert Mueller estaba investigando a Trump por una posible obstrucción de la justicia en relación con el despido del director del FBI, James Comey. Todo esto justo el día del cumpleaños número 71 de Donald Trump.

Milwaukee officials argue that Milwaukee water supply is one of the safest in the world. They cite Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards as proof of this claim. Such claim is debatable.

Milwaukee officials say that Milwaukee water supply is virtually lead-free. The lead level content in the City’s drinking water when it enters the water distribution system is far below the EPA 15 parts per billion standard. It is important to note that the EPA standard is not based on health and that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as well as other reputable health institutions say there is no level of lead safe in your water.  Further, water flowing through lead pipes no one can guarantee will be lead-free water and safe.

Treated City water flows from the Water Treatment Plant to city water mains located underground throughout the City. Water enters individual properties through a water service connection known as lead service lines (LSL) which for over 80,000 Milwaukee homes are made of lead.

Lead in Your Drinking Water

Milwaukee homes built before 1962 are most suspect for having lead service lines. Recent peer reviewed studies have found that lead water poisoning from (LSL) is caused by particulate matter released from LSLs. Corrosion control treatment is not enough protection to prevent particles from being released in the water flowing through your tap into your drinking glass or cooking pots from lead pipes.

Homeowners and occupants should be aware of how to reduce their risk of lead poisoning from drinking water or cooking water.

If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, you can have your tap water tested by a accredited, licensed laboratory. Look under “Laboratories Testing” online or in the Yellow Pages.

Reducing Your

Exposure to Lead

Running your tap before you drink the water is not perfect because lead particles can be released at any moment during the flushing process or after.

Lead can dissolve into your drinking water when it sits stagnant in LSLs. If your water has not been used for a few hours, it is suggested that you run the cold water faucet for a few minutes before drinking or cooking. Still, flushing is not perfect to ensure lead-free water. Remember that boiling water does not remove lead.

Install a certified

water filter

To reduce lead exposure as much as possible, especially for children under six and pregnant women, you may consider drinking water from an alternate source. Alternatively you may attach a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified filter to a drinking water faucet, or using a certified filtered water pitcher. On the packaging, look for a stamp indicating “NSF-053” and a statement that indicates the filter is certified for lead removal, as some models can vary. These filters can reduce up to 99% of lead in water.

Remove and clean

your tap screen

Most household taps have an aerating screen attached to the end. Particles can build up on the screen that can absorb lead. Make it a habit to remove the screen and clean off any build up every month.

Modernize the plumbing system in your home

The most effective way to reduce lead levels in drinking water is to remove all lead sources from your plumbing system. Consider replacing pipes containing older lead solder, and brass fittings with materials certified for contact with drinking water. A licensed plumber can determine if your home has a lead service connection, and whether the home contains lead solder, lead pipes or lead pipe fittings.

You must take control of your families health and the water they drink.

Water is Life.

061417robertruiz

The fight of the decade has been set, with Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor agreeing to compete in a boxing match on August 26th, 2017. Each man has his distinguished advantages, though the consensus currently stands on the side of Mayweather. The bout as currently constructed will be the man who has never been in a professional boxing match versus the man who has never lost a professional boxing match. Let’s delve a bit deeper into each man’s advantages and the style that they bring to the table.

Floyd Mayweather retired for a second time in 2015 after defeating Andre Berto. His retirement, announced in ring at the conclusion of the fight, was not a surprise. Mayweather is widely considered the best pound for pound boxer to ever step into the ring. His defensive style frustrates fans and opponents alike, often leading to 12 round decisions instead of knockouts. Mayweather relies on counter punches and keeping the distance between him and his opponent exactly where it needs to be to force the opponent to throw punches that will never land forcefully. With a 49-0 professional record, Mayweather has been a force for over a decade in the boxing world and this will more than likely be his last professional fight.

Mayweather stands at 5’8” and has a 72” reach. Mayweather’s reach has often been his advantage throughout his career, but that will not be the case in this fight. McGregor stands at 5’9” and his reach extends to 74”, giving him the decided advantage when Mayweather tries to keep his distance.

Conor McGregor is a showman who is just great enough to get under the skin of everyone around. He has never been in a professional boxing match, though he is considered to be a great puncher in the UFC. Being a great boxer in the UFC is far from being a great professional boxer, though. McGregor will not know all of the angles, he will not play the ropes well, and he may not even follow the rules. What he has done, for better or worse, is guaranteed himself the biggest payday of his career. The fight might not be all that impressive, but the monetary figures on his paycheck will be, and that is all that has ever really mattered to McGregor.

If this were a UFC style fight where McGregor could ground and pound Mayweather into submission this fight would have a very different ending. Nevertheless, this fight is a boxing match and will be fought under boxing rules. We have actually been here before when Kimbo Slice decided to try his hand at professional fighting after spending years fighting on the streets in unsanctioned fights. Slice proved that he packed a powerful punch, but when matched up against men that were technically sound and patient enough to wait for openings, Slice was exposed. This match will be much of the same, but instead of Kimbo Slice we will substitute Conor McGregor.

Mayweather will win by unanimous decision.

Esta semana, la expertocracia ha puesto el foco de atención en la comparecencia del exdirector del FBIJames Comey, quien fue despedido del cargo por Trump el mes pasado, ante el Comité de Inteligencia del Senado. En los medios se considera que no ha habido testimonio de tamaña importancia desde el escándalo Watergate. La expectativa, que no ha sido declarada explícitamente pero sí insinuada, es que Comey de comienzo a un largo y caluroso verano de revelaciones perjudiciales que conducirán a la renuncia o destitución del presidente Donald Trump. Gran parte de las principales figuras de las cadenas de noticias, muchas de las cuales fueron difamadas personalmente por Trump en algún momento desde que lanzó su campaña para la presidencia el 16 de junio de 2015, quedarán satisfechas si su trabajo contribuye a que Trump deje su cargo, voluntariamente o no. Comey se ha convertido en una especie de caballero blanco, cabalgando para salvar a la república con sus numerosos memorandos y sus refinadas habilidades retóricas.

Por asociación, el propio FBI se ha convertido en el favorito de los opositores de Trump. Pero esta fuerza policial federal, poderosa y hermética, esta agencia de espionaje interno, tiene una larga, oscura y, a menudo, violenta historia de represión de la disidencia en Estados Unidos. Sería una lástima tener a Comey testificando bajo juramento y no hacerle preguntas importantes acerca de la mala conducta profesional del FBI, tanto histórica como actual.

Los senadores podrían considerar hacerle al señor Comey, por ejemplo, algunas de estas cuatro preguntas:

Número uno. ¿Cuál es el alcance de la vigilancia de periodistas que realiza el FBI?

Las grandilocuentes arremetidas de Donald Trump contra la prensa son, al menos, realizadas abiertamente. Por lo general se dan en el contexto de sus actos políticos o a través de Twitter. Sus ataques son viles y deben ser cuestionados para que dejen de suceder. Pero el FBI, en cambio, detenta un enorme poder para vigilar y censurar periodistas mediante la emisión de las Cartas de Seguridad Nacional (NSL, por su sigla en inglés). La Fundación Frontera Electrónica calificó a las Cartas de Seguridad Nacional como “uno de los poderes más aterradores e invasivos” de la Ley Patriota estadounidense. El periodista ganador del Premio Pulitzer James Risen escribió en el periódico The New York Times: “Durante [el gobierno de] Obama, el Departamento de Justicia y el FBI han espiado a periodistas”. Risen sabe de lo que habla: fue uno de los perseguidos. Ahora le preocupa que Trump tenga los mismos poderes. Trump, presuntamente, le habría sugerido a Comey que los periodistas que filtraran información debían ser encarcelados.

Número dos. ¿Por qué el FBI calificó de posibles terroristas a los pacíficos protectores del agua de la tribu Sioux de Standing Rock, en Dakota del Norte? ¿Y por qué hubo una infiltración similar del FBI en los movimientos Occupy Wall Street y Black Lives Matter (en español: Las vidas afroestadounidenses importan y Ocupa Wall Street)?

Una de las protestas públicas más importantes en décadas ocurrió a lo largo de un tramo solitario de una carretera que atraviesa el territorio sioux de Standing Rock, que fue confiscado por el gobierno estadounidense violando tratados firmados en el pasado. En febrero, el periódico The Guardian informó que “varios oficiales de las fuerzas especiales conjuntas contra el terrorismo del FBI[JTTF, por su sigla en inglés] intentaron contactar a por lo menos tres personas vinculadas al movimiento de ‘protectores del agua’ de Standing Rock”. El informe agregó que “los tres contactos se hicieron pocas semanas después de la asunción de Trump”, mientras Comey estaba a cargo del FBI. Información filtrada posteriormente publicada por el medio The Intercept reveló que la empresa paramilitar privada TigerSwan había sido contratada para infiltrarse y perjudicar al movimiento contra el oleoducto, etiquetando a los activistas pacíficos de “insurgentes”. Comey y el FBI deben responder por esta actividad que constituye una violación de la de la Primera Enmienda y por otras intrusiones similares en los movimientos Black Lives Matter y Occupy Wall Street.

Pregunta número tres. En cuanto al programa de contrainteligencia del FBI que reprimió ilegalmente a los disidentes en las décadas de 1950, 1960 y 1970, el COINTELPRO, ¿cuántas de las personas que fueron blanco del programa y siguen encarceladas, como el activista del Movimiento Indígena Estadounidense Leonard Peltier y los numerosos ex miembros de las Panteras Negras, fueron encarceladas como consecuencia de la mala conducta profesional del FBI?

El FBI realizó una sofisticada campaña contra la disidencia en Estados Unidos bajo la dirección corrupta de J. Edgar Hoover. Activistas por la paz, dirigentes sindicales y grupos radicales como Panteras Negras, Young Lords y el Movimiento Indígena Estadounidense fueron blanco de arresto y encarcelamiento bajo pretextos falsos, infiltrados y afectados por informantes contratados y, en casos como el del líder de las Panteras Negras en Chicago, Fred Hampton, asesinato. Muchas víctimas del COINTELPRO siguen languideciendo en la cárcel. El FBI ha pasado décadas negando sus acciones criminales en los casos al tiempo que obstruye las solicitudes de documentos en virtud de la Ley de Libertad de Información y se opone activamente a los pedidos de libertad condicional o indultos. James Comey debería responder por las continuas injusticias producidas durante el pasado criminal del FBI.

Pregunta número cuatro. Por último, habría que preguntarle a Comey cómo cree que sería nuestro país actualmente si el FBI no hubiera perseguido a Martin Luther King Jr. con su incesante campaña de vigilancia, intimidación y acoso, que muy probablemente contribuyó al clima de odio que condujo a su asesinato.

Es posible que el capítulo más oscuro de la historia del FBI sea su campaña para desestimar y perjudicar la obra de Martin Luther King Jr. Hoover llamó a King “el mentiroso más tristemente celébre del país” y trató de convencer a King de suicidarse. Comey tiene más información que la mayoría de la población sobre la campaña activa del FBI contra la disidencia en Estados Unidos y debería revelar todo lo que sabe.

La audiencia de comparecencia de James Comey en el Senado y, sin duda, las numerosas futuras audiencias del Congreso y de la investigación especial del exdirector del FBI Robert Mueller, estarán centradas en Trump y sus asesores. Pero el FBI tiene una larga historia de hermetismo y opresión que nunca debe ser olvidada por quienes luchan por la justicia y la democracia.

takingsideschangesThe City of Milwaukee has invested significant resources in the water science technologies industry including the U.W. of Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences and a global initiative public-private partnership called the Water Council. The Water Council is made up of major corporate players like Badger Meter, A.O. Smith, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and MillerCoors to name a few.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city, was designated a U.N. Global Compact City, agreeing to support the principles of that compact which included human rights. Water has been identified as a human right by the U.N., so one can argue that the City of Milwaukee does not support the principle of human rights because the City, over the years, had not acted to ensure that the people that live in the 80,000 plus homes with lead lateral pipes have safe, lead-free drinking water.

Most establishment institutions have failed the people of Milwaukee

Where are the members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee (GMC) and Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC), on the issue or removing lead lateral pipes?

The mission of GMC is to, “to contribute to the cultural and economic base of the Milwaukee Metropolitan area”, and the MMAC is to, “improve metro Milwaukee as a place to invest capital, grow business and create jobs.” Yet the silence from these groups is deafening.

The removal of lead lateral pipes from the over 80,000 plus homes in Milwaukee should be a call to action for these groups. It contributes to the economic base of Milwaukee and can grow business and create jobs!

GMC and MMSD were quickly on board to support the financing of the Brewers stadium construction (which taxpayers are still paying for now through a county-wide regressive sales tax), the downtown 3-mile long streetcar (paid for through tax incremental financing, which diverts future tax revenues away from things like public education) and most recently the Bucks stadium (through more tax incremental financing, which once again diverts future tax revenues away from entities like MATC).

Why have GMC and MMAC not advocated for the removal of lead lateral pipes? They put profits over people, period.

It could be that they are silent because they could care less about the people that would benefit from such an investment; in particular, Black, Hispanic and poor people.

The bottom line is that the GMC and MMAC only advocate for corporations, business owners and the wealthy at the cost of the people that actually live in the City of Milwaukee, and Mayor Barrett is quick to satisfy their needs as long as they keep the campaign donations rolling in as well as keeping any bad press from making headlines.

If only Mayor Barrett would have moved on replacing the lead lateral pipes and stopping the poisoning of children in the same velocity with which his knees hit the floor when GMC and MMAC comes a knockin’ at the door, we would not be facing the public health crisis we are today.

Educational and Medical institutions have remained silent

UWM and Marquette have been relatively silent about replacing lead laterals in Milwaukee. Yes, UWM may publish an article on using water filters to remove lead, which does not remove all of the lead from drinking water and is still not safe for children to drink, and Marquette may hold a water law and policy conference and not have a panel discussion about replacing lead lateral pipes, but other than that they have been relatively mute on the subject.

Most surprisingly, there has been little from UW-Milwaukee’s Freshwater School of Freshwater Sciences about the need to remove the lead lateral pipes out of the 80,000 plus homes in Milwaukee and the hazard that these pipes present to children. Hazards like

It is more than understandable why they may be reluctant to speak out about the City of Milwaukee neglecting this public health crisis from a public policy standpoint; politics can get sticky and often makes strange bedfellows.

However, as scientists speaking publicly about the scientific findings and studies that prove and reinforce the dangerous health ramifications resulting by the presence of lead in drinking water would be reaffirming the social obligation that publicly funded institutions of higher learning have to the public in which they belong.

The Wisconsin Medical College does not go without blame they complicity will not research lead poisoning of children in Milwaukee.

The City of Milwaukee is unfit to be freshwater capital of the world, a social conscious must be developed first

This city is not acting like a world class leader in the field of freshwater technology. They cannot tackle the freshwater dilemma in their own back yard, how can anyone expect them to manage other municipal water challenges when they cannot fix their own? Maybe cities like Cleveland, OH or countries like the Republic of Singapore in Asia should be freshwater capital of the world because they are not knowingly neglecting a public health crisis created by their water infrastructure.

Milwaukee will not be the Silicon Valley of water as long as they do not come up with a solution of how to replace the lead lateral pipes in the 80,000 plus homes that are poisoning children.

As of today, after decades of knowing about the lead water crisis and after a year of the NAACP working in collaboration as a member of the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC)advocating for the City of Milwaukee to properly address this dilemma the city still does not have a comprehensive strategic plan to remove these lead lateral pipes.

The City of Milwaukee is inarguably unfit to be considered the freshwater capital of the world, country or state for that matter.

takingsideschangesAnother explosive article published by the Washington Post puts House Speaker Paul Ryan in the slime light exposing a meeting held by top Republican leaders in which Congressman  Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) is quoted in the article as saying, “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.” McCarthy then added: “swear to God.”

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the Post reports “is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.”

According to the Post a recording of the statement made on June 15, 2016 also quotes House Speaker Paul Ryan to immediately interject “stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.”

When reporters asked about the statement a spokesman for Rohrabacher denied the allegation.

Spokesmen for Ryan and McCarthy told the Post that the exchange was meant as a joke, after denying at first such comment was made; changing their story once they were told a recording of the conversation existed.

“A joke”? The leaders of the Republican Party joked about Trump being paid by Putin. They joked about the man looking to become President of the United States was on the payroll of one of America’s adversaries.

Here’s how the Post recounted the recorded conversation:

“I’ll guarantee you that’s what it is…The Russians hacked the DNC and got the opp [opposition] research that they had on Trump,” McCarthy said with a laugh.

Ryan asked who the Russians “delivered” the opposition research to.

“There’s…there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy said, drawing some laughter.

“Swear to God,” McCarthy added.

“This is an off the record,” Ryan said.

Some lawmakers laughed at that.

“No leaks, alright?,” Ryan said, adding: “This is how we know we’re a real family here.”

“That’s how you know that we’re tight,” [Rep. Steve] Scalise said.

“What’s said in the family stays in the family,” Ryan added.

The Post notes that it’s difficult to tell whether the remarks were “meant to be taken literally.” When initially asked about the exchange, spokesmen for Ryan and McCarthy denied that the statements had been made. After being told by the Post that there was a recording of the conversation, the spokesmen said that it was an “attempt at humor.”

They denied the statements at first until they were told a recording existed, then they changed the story saying it was a joke. They denied it at first.

House Speaker Paul Ryan jokingly or not stayed silent and watched from that point to today, knowing that his party leadership suspected Trump might be compromised, yet pushed back against reports that Russia may have interfered in our sovereign electoral process.

For almost a year with all that was being reported House Speaker Paul Ryan deflected and denied his party suspected Trump may have ties with the Russians that could be damaging to the United States.

Speaker Ryan is more concerned about putting millions of Americans in harms way by repealing Obamacare and cutting taxes for the billionaire class and Republican donors, than being concerned about protecting American sovereignty against an adversary of the United States of America.

“What’s said in the family stays in the family,” Ryan said. Now we know that means even if our national security is under threat.

 

takingsideschangesIn November, the city passed an ordinance giving Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) directive to start replacing lead pipes that deliver water from street mains to homes. In fact, had the Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC) not initiated the activities exposing the dangers of lead in water, the City of Milwaukee would have not created a Water Quality Task Force or pushed for this half measure ordinance. There would have been no push for filters or removing lead service lines at 385 licensed child care centers and eight private schools, had FLAC not challenged the attempt to down play the seriousness of the issue by Mayor Barrett and his bureaucrats in January of 2016.

When the Mayor kept telling people the water was safe from January to August of 2016. FLAC kept challenging that narrative in public and finally forced his hand when all of a sudden his office acknowledged that our community should take precaution when using city water flowing through lead service lines.

Now the Mayor is going around the country promoting his half measure idea with organizations that do not agree with his narrative but will not challenge him publicly the way FLAC had been forcing his hand.

The recent report and recommendations of the Milwaukee Water Quality Task Force does NOT go far enough. As Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin founder and Dr. President Patricia McManus, who was also part of the task force said in a recent report, “The city’s recommendations and actions have not gone far enough.” She said there needs to be a more concrete plan to start replacing lead service lines, particularly for low-income residents. She added that the city needs to make “a comprehensive commitment” to replace lead piping, including private plumbing inside homes, though she admitted, “I have a concern about the political will to do that.”    

The ordinance that Mayor Barrett is pressing forward with is a half measure that attempts to wash the seriousness of this matter.

False narratives like this by Dr. David Jacobs out of Chicago, who is a so-called expert on lead poisoning and says that lead levels in schools are probably not playing as much of a role in health issues as much as a child’s exposure to lead in their homes and in the soil in which they play. Statements like this do more harm than good with this false narrative.

As my colleague Paul Schwartz states, “Lead in water is real threat to the people of Milwaukee and in cities across Wisconsin.  Over 90% of a developing fetus or a reconstituted formula fed baby comes from lead in water, not lead in paint, soil or dust. Blood lead testing misses this exposure because children’s blood levels are not tested until one or two years of age, the lead in the blood of developing fetuses and newborns has by that time migrated to their bones and tissues and is out of the blood stream.  So the permanent damage is already done and blood lead screening misses this vulnerable group entirely.

“Unfortunately medical doctors across the nation like Dr. Wen of Baltimore, MD, Dr. Mark Kostic of Milwaukee, WI, and Dr. Bernard Goldstein of Pittsburgh, PA, all are ignorant of these facts and are perpetrating the myth that lead in water is not a primary or important additive source of lead poisoning.

“Further, water utilities, such as DC Water, Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), Milwaukee Water Works (MWW), Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) and others are using their dangerously misinformed trope to create confusion and fog the debate over whether we should get the lead out of the pipes in the street and our homes. 

“This crisis is a tragedy of great proportions that is entirely preventable. Give out filters now and replace the pipes and lead bearing interior plumbing over the next many years.”

TRUMP FIRES FBI DIRECTOR

Double agent orange, AKA tRUMP, lacks even the basic understanding of what often happens with Washington scandals. It isn’t the scandal that gets you in the most trouble – it’s the attempted cover-up.

Firing FBI Director Comey was the worst thing tRUMP could have done. It signals an overt disrespect for American justice and illustrates to even the most uneducated American that tyranny sits in the Oval Office.

So why did he do it?

tRUMP seems to think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. He fails to understand that as time goes by, what is true is revealed and stays for the long haul, and what is fake fades away. Any fool knows that. That’s the truth.

Carolina del Norte tiene una población de 10 millones de personas… y 9 millones de cerdos. A juzgar por el olor, estarían ganando los cerdos. O, mejor dicho, están ganando las gigantes granjas porcinas industriales. Los cerdos son el mayor producto agropecuario en este estado y aportan al menos 2.000 millones de dólares a la economía local. La forma en que se crían y matan los cerdos está afectando la vida de muchos habitantes de Carolina del Norte. Miles de millones de litros de orina y heces porcinos se acumulan en lagunas sanitarias, mezclados con sangre y restos en descomposición. Para que estos estanques fétidos no desborden, el líquido tóxico se bombea hacia el cielo con enormes dispositivos que rocían los desperdicios, que son transportados por el viento. Los vecinos están sufriendo por el indescriptible mal olor y una serie de enfermedades. La mayoría republicana del Carolina del Norte, notoriamente retrógrada, ha aprobado un proyecto de ley –conocido como H.B. 467, Reparación de Molestias de Agricultura y Forestación– para proteger a la industria porcina de la responsabilidad. El recientemente electo gobernador demócrata del estado aún no ha firmado ni vetado este proyecto de ley. Mientras tanto, las comunidades afectadas, en su mayoría afroestadounidenses, están luchando.

Naeema Muhammad, codirectora de la organización Red de Justicia Ambiental de Carolina del Norte (NCEJN, por su sigla en inglés), describió el problema en una entrevista para Democracy Now!:

“Los cerdos son mantenidos en una estructura metálica de estaño [con] grietas en el suelo. Cada vez que hacen sus necesidades o abortan lechones o lo que sea, eso cae a través de las grietas en el suelo, y se canaliza hacia la laguna al aire libre. Esta orina y materia fecal produce metano, gases de amoníaco, y por lo tanto se puede oler… huele a huevo podrido, a veces a col podrida; simplemente huele terrible. [Los residentes locales] se vieron forzados a dejar de utilizar sus pozos de agua, porque estaban viendo restos de los desechos en el agua de sus pozos, por el color y los olores”.

La organización de Muhammad, NCEJN, junto con la Alianza para la Preservación del Agua y la Asociación de Empoderamiento Rural para la Ayuda Comunitaria  (REACH, por su sigla en inglés), presentaron un reclamo ante la Agencia de Protección Ambiental. Naeema Muhammad explica: “Nos unimos y presentamos un reclamo bajo el amparo del Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964. El Título VI enuncia que las agencias gubernamentales no pueden realizar actividades comerciales que generen un impacto desproporcionado en las comunidades de bajos ingresos, sea intencional o no”.

El reclamo incluye hallazgos de la investigación de Steve Wing, profesor asociado de epidemiología de la Facultad de Salud Pública de la Universidad de Carolina del Norte. Wing fue entrevistado por Mark Devries, cineasta y activista por los derechos de los animales. Devries hizo las primeras tomas aéreas de las granjas porcinas industriales de Carolina del Norte, con sus extensas lagunas de desechos color marrón rojizo. Wing le dijo a Devries: “Creo que es correcto calificar de racismo ambiental o injusticia ambiental el hecho de que la gente de color, de bajos ingresos, cargue con el peso de estas prácticas”.

Además de la denuncia ante la Agencia de Protección Ambiental, los residentes afectados han presentado una serie de demandas donde alegan violaciones a los derechos de propiedad, ya que la gente se ve obligada a permanecer en el interior de sus casas para evitar el olor y la lluvia permanente de suciedad. El blanco de las demandas es la mayor granja industrial del estado, Murphy-Brown LLC, quien provee carne de cerdo a la gigante corporación alimenticia Smithfield Foods. Smithfield Foods, a su vez, es parte de WH Group, una empresa multinacional de alimentos de propiedad china, que cotiza en la Bolsa de Valores de Hong Kong. Estas demandas no van contra granjas familiares, sino contra granjas muy contaminantes, de propiedad extranjera.

Will Hendrick, del plantel de abogados de la Alianza para la Preservación del Agua y director de la campaña “North Carolina Pure Farms, Pure Waters” (Granjas puras, aguas puras en Carolina del Norte) de esta organización, se explayó en Democracy Now!:

“No intentamos expulsar a esta industria de Carolina del Norte. La agricultura ha sido y seguirá siendo una parte importante de nuestra economía. No obstante, ninguna industria vale tanto como para soportar los impactos en la salud pública y el medio ambiente que hemos visto que tiene esta industria. Entonces, lo que intentamos aquí no es chuparle la sangre a esta industria, sino asegurarnos de que en sus operaciones se manejen los desechos de forma que no dañe a sus vecinos”.

Elsie Herring, residente de Wallace, Carolina del Norte, fue entrevistada por Devries. Ella declaró: “Aquí es donde rocían los desperdicios de animales. Esto está a unos dos metros y medio de la casa de mi madre”.

Devries le preguntó cómo era estar en medio de esa niebla. Herring respondió: “Parece como si estuviera lloviendo. No abrimos puertas ni ventanas, pero el olor entra igual. Te quita el aliento. Luego te dan náuseas y dolores de cabeza”.

Pese al gran impacto que tienen sobre tantos residentes, las granjas industriales tienen defensores leales entre los legisladores de Carolina del Norte; entre ellos, el representante estatal Jimmy Dixon. En una audiencia sobre la ley H.B. 467, Dixon, que ha recibido al menos 70.000 millones de dólares por parte de las corporaciones porcinas, expresó: “Estas declaraciones son, en el mejor de los casos, grandes exageraciones, y en el peor de los casos, mentiras. ¿Hay olor? Sí. Pero quisiera que cerraran los ojos e imaginen el olor del jamón, las salchichas, los huevos y el pollo frito”.

Algo huele mal en Carolina del Norte. El gobernador Roy Cooper no puede vetar el olor, pero sí puede vetar este dañino proyecto de ley.

Last weeks column was about a Hernandez that brought grief and shame to the Latino community, but this week we applaud Felix Hernandez, pitcher for the Seattle Mariners. Appropriately dubbed “King Felix” by his followers, his career was glorious and quiet while he wasted his talents pitching for an inept franchise. Felix is still a beloved member of the Mariners, but it is clear he is no longer the royalty he once was.

Felix Hernandez is pitching in his 13th season with the Mariners; a professional baseball career that he began at the age of 19. After his debut season, he joined the pitching corps at the age of 20 as a full timer, and thus began his string of 10 consecutive seasons with at least 30 starts, 190 innings, and 165 strikeouts. During his prime he was a guaranteed 200 inning/strikeout guy, with an ERA in the 2’s. Every season he would go out to the mound 30+ times, perform, dominate, and win baseball games 2-1. His team gave him minimal run support and he never complained. Contending teams would call the Mariners seeking a trade to acquire King Felix, and the Mariners would blow them off. In his 13 years, Hernandez has never played in the playoffs.

Now Hernandez has been sent to the disabled list with what is being referred to as “dead arm”. His numbers this year are not on par with his career averages, but they are keeping pace with his career decline the past two years. While fighting injuries last year, his strikeout rate fell to 7.2/9 innings, the lowest rate of his career and the first time it had been in the 7’s since he was 22 years old. While his strikeouts fell, his walks increased to 3.8/9 innings, the highest rate of his career. He also gave up 1.1 home runs per 9 innings, tied for the most since his age 20 season on 2006. In 2014 Hernandez’s ERA was 2.14, but since then his yearly average has been: 3.53, 3.83, and 4.73 this year. His FIP (fielding independent pitching) has risen into the high 4’s for the second consecutive season when prior to last year his high was 3.9. It’s obvious that his “dead arm” has died from exhaustion and what his body needs now is rest; no more baseball for King Felix.

Hernandez was one of the best pitchers of his generation. His consistency and willingness to stay with the Mariners out of pure loyalty to the team that signed him when he first came over from Venezuela is admirable. He never complained to the media, never demanded a trade, just showed up to work, worked his butt off, took his check, and went home. Someday his number will be retired in Safeco field, he might even have a bust in the hall of fame, but for now we must bow down and applaud the King as he tries to push through another season while his body falls apart.

It seems there are a growing number of water experts in the city talking about the health of our water. I truly welcome the public debate. It gives rise to awareness regarding the issue. It also helps to put pressure on elected leaders to begin prioritizing resources towards removing these lead pipe hazards from our drinking/cooking water.

While there are some who are sincere in their efforts, there are others looking to derail and create false narratives that our water is not as much a threat to our health as other sources of lead such as lead paint chips, soil and dust.  Let’s be clear about things here.

The Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) agrees that lead paint chips, soil and dust are the biggest threat to our health, but this notion is being challenged by recent peer reviewed studies around lead water pipe poisoning. EPA standards on lead in water are antiquated. Currently, many EPA standards under the Safe Water Act’s Lead Copper Rule are being revised as I write this today.

The EPA and Center for Disease Control (CDC) recognize that no level of lead is acceptable. The current standard EPA uses regarding lead water safety is not based on health.

With respect to lead in water, for the past year I have pointed out that science has shown poisoning of our water is not only centered on soluble lead but on the fact that participate matter in water presents the biggest threat to our health. Particles being released into the water has for decades been slowly poisoning our bodies causing us to fall ill similarly in the way diabetes destroys our body.

That being said, allow me to explain to you how particles in these lead pipes poison us. These lead pipes have been underground for over a hundred years. Over the years minerals formed a coating inside the inner lining of these lead pipes. Over time much of these minerals have become part of the lead pipe and when they break off leach lead into the water.

Now here’s where lead water particles are like lead paint chips peeling off walls. Imagine a home, one that is abandoned with no windows and no doors having walls with paint peeling off. When a strong wind flows through the house some of these paint chips get removed and taken away by the wind and fall onto the floor. Outside of the house wind blows and peels paint chips from the home and it ends up on our soil contributing to lead in soil concerns.

Well, water flowing through lead pipes contributes to particles releasing from these minerals and ending up in our water. As water flows through the pipes the lead that leaches in soluble form gets flushed and runs down the drain, but every now and then tiny pieces of particles get swept up by the flow of water and end up in our cooking or drinking water spiking the lead levels to dangerous readings.

As we water our gardens and lawn we are also contributing to lead in soil concerns. During construction on a street, vibrations caused by heavy pounding on the side walk disturbs the pipes releasing particles into the water as well. So you see, the only solution is to have these lead pipes removed.

Anyone attempting to downplay the seriousness of lead pipes in our community is either inept or is intentionally lying about what we are dealing with.  Be informed. Do the research and don’t allow false prophets sway your thinking.

A Little Ditty ’bout Lead Water

I want to remind all of you to be careful about your drinking and cooking water if your home has a lead pipe. In the last year I’ve been organizing with the Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC), an effort to awaken Milwaukee to the false narrative that has been part of our water distribution–and that false narrative is that our water is safe. If you have lead pipes your water is not safe.

Mayor Barrett has known this since 2006, and the former Superintendent of Milwaukee Water Works, Carrie Lewis has known this before Barrett became Milwaukee Mayor. I know that there are a few Milwaukee Aldermen who also have known of the fact that Milwaukee water consumers are being poisoned because of lead in our water. Up until last year, after FLAC sounded the alarm, the city has done nothing to educate, inform or move precautionary policy to protect Milwaukee water consumers. After one year of organizing we still have some work to do.

It is important to state that the notion that water is a minor source compared to paint chips, soil and dust, is being proven by current peer reviewed studies to be a false notion. It has long been thought that lead in drinking water was not a hazard because many believed that, over time, mineral films formed barriers between the water and the lead. However, studies now show that the presence of particles changes the importance of drinking water as a lead source, we can no longer assume that water is a small part of the lead problem compared to paint chips.

That is why you need to get filters. It is why FLAC is demanding these lead pipes and lead home fixtures be removed. Flushing may remove the soluble lead that has leached into the water, but lead particles can get into the water at any given minute of any given day the water is in use.