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This puff-piece from CNN is supposed to yank your chain -- and tears.

What it did, however, was infuriate me, and not toward the school or city -- toward the teachers.

Detroit (CNN)Walking through the halls of Spain Elementary-Middle School the temperature quickly changes. A musty smell wafts through the air as a draft comes from the direction of the gym.

But there are no children playing inside. The wooden floors are warped from rain damage because roof repairs weren't made. Basketballs lie on the floor untouched. On one side of the gym, the wood has been torn up, but that's as far as things have gotten.

There is not enough money to go around.  Ok, we get that.  But why not?

I'll tell you why not: The teachers unions, and individual teachers, have drained it all, stealing it effectively through outrageous individual, personal actions and irresponsibility that they have then forcibly cost-shifted onto the city's residents.

Go ahead folks, read the article and look at the captions, headings and images of the teachers.

Now consider that every one of those people, and all those retired who came before them, have demanded and received essentially cradle-to-grave medical insurance that provides them with "free" medical care for the rest of their lives.

Look at the pictures folks.  Do you see one person of normal weight?  No, you don't.  You see a panoply of both black and white individuals all of whom are either materially overweight or grossly obese.

Every one of those people voluntarily put every single thing in their mouth that led them to both become and remain that way.  Yet they have insisted, for decades, that you pay the costs.  Costs that run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars if and when a serious chronic condition manifests, and the odds of it occurring go way up when you're as fat as a refrigerator.

You want to know where the roof is that should have been replaced on the school gym?  Your teacher is walking around blowing the money every day, as is the former teacher that used to walk those halls.

It's not helped by the monopolist practices in the health industry, all of which together crank up costs by 100, 200, 500 or even 1,000% over what they should be.  But make no mistake; if 5 or 10% of the employees were overweight or obese, both current and former, instead of every single one that I saw in that story, medical costs to the district would be a fraction of what they are.

Medical expenses are the largest pension obligation out there, and yet the magnitude of those expenses in your retirement is greatly influenced by your voluntary behavior.

But..... if you're a teacher, you don't get the bill.  The students who come after you get the bill, as do their parents.  When their parents can't pay in the form of increased taxes, because they don't have the money and as a result trying to tax them is a waste of time the kids get screwed and it is the teachers and other employees of the district that are doing the screwing.

Quit lionizing these people folks and pillory them instead.  They're vampires and are present in a huge majority of our public school systems to an overwhelming degree -- and especially in places where the manifest rot is the worst.

Like, for instance, Detroit.

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For more than a year, state officials assured city residents their water was safe. Those assurances turned out to be wrong.

And it wasn’t until some residents got outside experts involved -- who not only found elevated lead levels in the drinking water, but that blood lead levels were also rising in Flint kids – that the state admitted there was a problem.

One of the more troubling charges made against the state is that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality knowingly dropped lead test samples to avoid exceeding a federal drinking water standard.

That sounds like someone ought to go to prison.  Or maybe a lot of someones.  But read more-carefully, please.

Glasgow remembers including samples taken at one home that showed extremely high lead levels. A sample of Lee Anne Walters' home turned up a result of 104 parts per billion – almost seven times the federally mandated limit.

Ok, so the mandated level at which action is required is 15ppb.  That's a very low, but non-zero level.  This particular sample was nearly seven times higher.  But here's the thing -- only this, and one other sample, were sufficient to put the city out of compliance, with the second being 20ppb, which while out of compliance is not particularly dangerous.

That ought to set off alarms for an entirely different reason -- it says that the lead problem is (1) isolated to a few specific instances, (2) is not system-wide, which means it's not coming from the source water, (3) in the places where it is out-of-compliance it is wildly so and (4) it is likely that it is coming from individual residence buildings and not the distribution piping.

The latter is not proved, but is easily isolated.  Sample all the residences on the same distribution pipes as the one that has the very high value (e.g. all the neighbors) and see if they also have high values.  If only some do, then find the common factor.  If none do then the system is not the cause.  If all do then the distribution piping in that vicinity probably is the cause, but it's isolated to that part of the system.

There are a number of contributing factors that people aren't talking about, but should be, especially with this sort of quite-clearly isolated set of very high readings, since that tends to implicate point-sources in individual houses rather than a distribution problem.

First, where are the previous samples on the same residences?  Were they sampled or was the random sampling such that they were never hit before?  If the latter the source change may have nothing to do with the problem at all.  That, of course, isn't politically expedient for those doing the screaming now, but it's very important to the health of specific people!  It's especially important given the suspected isolated poisonings of specific children because it takes time for exposure to lead in water to cause harm as lead is a bioaccumulative poison and the water system wasn't on the Flint River for very long.  Since there are apparently actual injuries (in the form of kids with high levels in their blood) this strongly suggests that the problem has existed for quite a long time and is not necessarily connected to the source change. Of course that doesn't fit a political narrative but **** politics when we're talking about kids being poisoned with the possible root cause being a handful of residences in the city that need to be hit with a code enforcement requirement to either fix the plumbing (likely ruinously expensive) or revoke their certificate of occupancy so they cannot be (if they are being) rented out to people who are at present being silently poisoned!

Second, if there were previous samples on these residences and were similarly dropped without warning the residents of the house can I get a "what-the-actual ****" on that?  I smell exactly that scenario here; water tests are recurring things and as a result if there is any sort of pattern to this these places, or others near them but suffering from the same problem, should have been hit previously.  In addition since we have actual poisonings where are the samples on those homes?  I would assume the doctors involved would ask for such a test to be run on the actual residence.  What are the results?

There are several things to keep in mind here.  First, lead based solder is very common on copper pipes in homes, and so are brass fixtures and valves.  All of these can leach small amounts of lead into the water but in general these fixtures and pipes are safe.  Further, letting the water run for a minute or two before consuming it after the pipes have been idle for a period of time (especially overnight or longer) largely mitigates the risk if you bother to do that.  However, there is another factor involved and that involves the use of copper pipes as a safety ground.  This is not uncommon at all as it's "convenient", especially in older homes that were wired before three-wire, grounded outlets became "normal."  severe problem can arise, however, if there is a leakage current that winds up going down those pipes; such can promote grossly-excessive leaching of both lead and copper into the water in them, and it doesn't take much leakage current to do it either.  Over time this will eventually lead to leaks in the pipes as well but the lead and copper-leaching problem comes first.  That problem, however, is easily corrected -- find the current leakage source and fix it.  If this is the cause then you should have not only high lead levels in that sample copper should be high as well.

Unfortunately what I suspect is going on here remains what I first suspected: This is a point-source problem that originates in certain homes, not in the distribution system itself, or if it is in the latter it is isolated to a few distribution components and pipes.

Political polemics and screaming are convenient but they will not stop kids from being poisoned. That requires focusing on where the problem actually resides.  When you have single samples coming back with levels more than six times the actionable level while the rest are under the action level, all fed by the same water source, it's rather obvious that the lead isn't in the source nor is the source water causing system-wide corrosion and release of lead into the water supply.

Find the cause, not the politically-expedient whipping boy.

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