Monday, August 27, 2018

Last Call For Like A Kansas Tornado, Con't

The GOP Gov. Sam Brownback era in Kansas, which could very well be followed up by the even worse Kris Kobach era, will be something Kansans will be paying for over generations.

The state allowed hundreds of residents in two Wichita-area neighborhoods to drink contaminated water for years without telling them, despite warning signs of contamination close to water wells used for drinking, washing and bathing.

In 2011, while investigating the possible expansion of a Kwik Shop, the state discovered dry cleaning chemicals had contaminated groundwater at 412 W. Grand in Haysville.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment didn’t act for more than six years.

It didn’t test private wells less than a mile away. Nor did it notify residents that their drinking wells could be contaminated with dry cleaning chemicals, known as perchloroethylene, so they could test the water themselves.

“We didn’t find out for 7 years,” said Joe Hufman, whose well was contaminated by a Haysville dry cleaner. “Haysville knew it. KDHE knew it. Kwik Shop knew it.”

They knew it and they didn't care, because this is what happens when Republicans run your government.  They make sure it doesn't work.

It had happened at least once before, at a dry cleaning site near Central and Tyler in Wichita, where the state waited more than four years between discovering contamination nearby and notifying residents of more than 200 homes.

Some fear it could happen again at 22 contaminated sites where the state has not checked for people on well water — or that it could happen at a yet unknown site of contamination.

Kansans aren’t required to use city water if they already have a well, and some Wichita neighborhoods still rely on private well water.

The delays stem from a 1995 state law that places more emphasis on protecting the dry cleaning industry than protecting public health.

The Kansas Drycleaner Environmental Response Act was passed at the request of the dry cleaning industry to protect the small businesses from the potentially crippling cost of federal involvement. The Environmental Protection Agency, through its Superfund program, can pay to clean up water pollution and then bill any and all companies ever associated with the property to recover its money. Cleaning up pollution can easily cost millions of dollars; state law limits the liability of a dry cleaning shop to $5,000.

To raise money to investigate and clean up pollution, the state passed a tax on dry cleaning chemicals. While the KDHE supported the bill, one KDHE official warned the Legislature that a tax on cleaning solvent “would not be sufficient funding.”

The Legislature passed the law, including a line that directed the KDHE not to look for contamination from dry cleaners. The Legislature also directed the KDHE to “make every reasonable effort” to keep sites off the federal Superfund list.

So instead, Kansas Republicans made sure dry cleaners had priority over people who drink water.

The Old Pilot And The Tangerine Tyrant

As I've said before, Donald Trump is driven by petty vindictiveness more than anything else.  Any slight, real or perceived, must be punished, even if the transgressor has passed from this life.

President Trump nixed issuing a statement that praised the heroism and life of Sen. John McCain, telling senior aides he preferred to issue a tweet before posting one Saturday night that did not include any kind words for the late Arizona Republican.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and other White House aides advocated for an official statement that gave the decorated Vietnam War POW plaudits for his military and Senate service and called him a “hero,” according to current and former White House aides, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. The original statement was drafted beforeMcCain died Saturday, and Sanders and others edited a final version this weekend that was ready for the president, the aides said.

But Trump told aides he wanted to post a brief tweet instead, and the statement praising McCain’s life was not released.

“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!” Trump posted Saturday evening shortly after McCain’s death was announced.

Sanders declined to comment Sunday afternoon.

“It’s atrocious,” Mark Corallo, a former spokesman for Trump’s legal team and a longtime Republican strategist, said of Trump’s reaction to McCain’s death. “At a time like this, you would expect more of an American president when you’re talking about the passing of a true American hero.”

Trump never thought McCain was a hero.  He thought McCain was a gigantic loser.

This largely goes for all of Trump's supporters, too.  In return, John McCain made it clear he thought Trump was an asshole.

The president was reportedly disinvited to McCain's funeral months ago, after McCain's battle with cancer took a turn for the worse.

The veteran Arizona Republican senator, 81, died Saturday, a day after his family announced he had decided to discontinue medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.

Throughout McCain's illness, Trump continued to publicly snub him — including a recent appearance in which the president declined to say McCain's name when signing a bill that was named for him.

But you know what?  That didn't stop McCain from voting with Trump five out of six times on average in his final year, including passing the Trump tax cut scam, neutering Obama-era rules on the Department of Education and the Interior, supporting all of Trump's cabinet picks (with the singular exception of Mick Mulvaney at OMB) and "being a maverick" and voting against the debt limit increase to fund hurricane relief last year for Texas and Puerto Rico.

For a "bipartisan" senator from a purple state who hated Trump, McCain sure supported a lot of Trump's positions.  Trump may be petty and vindictive, but he's using his "opposition" to McCain as much as McCain used his "opposition" to Trump whenever it was politically convenient.

Shoes to Be Filled That Won't Quite Fit

The country must function without the late Sen. John McCain, and the question turns to who Arizona GOP Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint, and when

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will be tasked with appointing a successor to John McCain, the six-term Republican senator who died Saturday at age 81.

As McCain battled brain cancer, Ducey, a Republican, did not speculate publicly about who he might tap to replace him. Since McCain died after the deadline to file for this November’s election, most close observers have concluded that the new senator will not face voters until the 2020 general election.

Republicans in the state have privately discussed a long list of potential appointees in recent months, including McCain’s wife, Cindy; Ducey’s chief of staff, Kirk Adams; State Treasurer Eileen Klein; former congressman John Shadegg; and former U.S. senator Jon Kyl. Most recently, Kyl has been in Washington helping Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh navigate the Senate confirmation process.

Arizona law says the appointee must be from the same party as the person vacating the seat.

A Republican strategist familiar with the governor’s thinking told The Washington Post earlier this year that Ducey would want someone who could function in the post and keep the job.

Ducey is up for reelection this year. His spokesman has said he would not appoint himself to the Senate seat.

Republicans are defending a narrow, 51 to 49 Senate majority in this year’s midterm elections. Uncertainty about McCain’s health this year caused party leaders to brace for the possibility of having to defend his seat in November.

But when the May 30 deadline to qualify for the ballot came and went without McCain’s seat becoming vacant, worries about having to protect another seat from Democrats faded.

In addition to empowering the governor to appoint a near-term successor, state law says the vacancy shall be filled “at the next general election.” Many Republicans believe that now means the election in 2020, given that this year’s filing deadline has passed.

Ducey has a landmine of a choice here, considering he's running himself for governor and the primary is Tuesday.  Most likely he'll end up facing Democrat David Garcia, an Army veteran and Arizona State University education professor, in the general in November.  Garcia has a decent chance of winning, and as such Republicans have been attacking him relentlessly.

However now all eyes are on who Ducey has to snub in order to name McCain's successor.  He's only going to piss off the base if he picks Cindy McCain or Jon Kyl, or the general electorate if he decides to pick one of Tuesday's primary losers (like say Joe Arpaio.)  And who knows what Trump wants?  If Ducey doesn't fill the seat with Arpaio, Trump could sink his chances in the state overnight with a tweet barrage.

Ducey appointing himself would hand the seat to Garcia I would suspect, but if somehow Ducey loses on Tuesday to former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Ducey would be nuts not to.

We'll see what happens Tuesday, but Ducey will be under a lot of pressure to move on this later this week.  John McCain's service will be on Sunday, so he may be able to put off a decision until after Labor Day, but not much longer then that.


Related Posts with Thumbnails