MONEY FOR NOTHING
“There’s about a 90 percent change you may never be able to have children down that road.” This lie is one of many about abortion that Austin Chronicle reports two women were told at a crisis pregnancy center in March. Yet the state has been pouring more and more money into these huckster centers that are heavy on the lies and light on the medicine, and by ‘light,’ we mean essentially devoid.
Since 2008, when the state gave $2.8 million to such centers, Texas has steadily ratcheted up the propaganda funding—to the tune of $38.3 million for the two-year period of 2018 and 2019, AC writes. In fact, since 2006, the program known as Alternatives to Abortion has received $93.2 million. Just imagine all the real medicine that money could’ve provided for Texans. Instead, Texans are paying to spread lies. And buy some baby clothes.
Bill Castanier of Lansing, Michigan’s City Pulse was horror-stricken as he pored over the pages of what he calls a “devastating book,” The Poisoned City, Anna Clark’s dissection of the Flint water crisis. It all began when the governor appointed an emergency manager to cut city costs, Castanier writes, which led to changing water providers and drawing from the Flint River while infrastructure was being put in place. That’s when everything went pear-shaped.
Due to the prevalence of lead pipes in the area, a noncorrosive chemical must be added to keep the poisonous metal from leaching into the water. Turns out they weren’t doing that. Thus, in 2014, some residents’ water turned deep brown. Initial complaints fell on deaf ears—this is the government, after all. It took a dedicated Environmental Protection Agency employee in Miguel Del Toral, a local pediatrician finding elevated lead levels in children in Mona Hanna-Attisha, and a well-known scientist and environmental activist in Marc Edwards, to get help for Flint. Finally, in 2016, the state and federal government started delivering bottled water and faucet filters. Since then, roughly a dozen state and local officials have been charged with crimes such as involuntary manslaughter.
Today, Castanier writes, Flint residents still aren’t using the water to cook, drink or bathe—a situation about which Clark reportedly says, “We should all be enraged.”
A fascinating story by Boulder Weekly delves into the Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s Piceance Basin predator control plan. Simply stated, the plan includes killing—BW reports that thus far, up to 15 mountain lions and 25 black bears have been slaughtered, or, if you prefer weasel-words, ‘removed.’ Not to miss out on the fun, USDA Wildlife Services is providing a deadly assist. But why? “Critics allege it is a scientifically unsound and illegal attempt to boost mule deer fawn survival rates and, therefore, mule deer populations,” BW’s Rico Moore writes. The population of once-prolific mule deer, a popular hunting game, has declined in recent years; many (including hunters) blame the decline on human development and drilling for natural gas, not apex predators that have coexisted and preyed upon the deer for thousands of years without causing such decline.
State-funded killing tactics include leg snares, hounds and culvert traps. “[W]hen a so-called target animal is captured, CPW dictates a Wildlife Services trapper kill it with a gun. But according to documents obtained by BW, Wildlife Services also kills animals it isn’t approved to kill, such as mother bears.” It also hasn’t conducted a scientifically sound and thorough analysis of the effect of the plan. Accordingly, three separate suits associated with the killing plan have been filed against CPW, Wildlife Services and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The effect remains to be seen, as BW concludes: “But none of these lawsuits have been able to halt CPW and Wildlife Services from going ahead with their plans. And apparently this means killing mother bears and orphaning—or killing—their cubs.”
TAXED IN TENNESSEE
The Volunteer State has two-stepped its way to the top of a list in which inclusion none would be proud: the highest salestax in the country. Nashville Scene reports that the state has “an average combined local/state rate of 9.46 percent.” The dubious honor isn’t the result of an increase, however; last year, Louisiana lowered its state tax from 5 to 4.45 percent, allowing it to slide in below Tennessee by 0.01 percent.
So where does Florida stack up? With an average tax rate of 6.8 percent, per Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit, we land on the lower half, tax-wise, at No. 28. Not too shabby.