A Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation deputy director warned a group of Maury County residents that unfounded complaints about water quality could be considered an “act of terrorism.”
“We take water quality very seriously. Very, very seriously,” said Sherwin Smith, deputy director of TDEC’s Division of Water Resources, according to audio recorded by attendees. “But you need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there’s no water quality issues, that can be considered under homeland security an act of terrorism.”
“Can you say that again, please?” an audience member can be heard asking on the audio.
Smith went on in the recording to repeat the claim almost verbatim.
The audio was recorded May 29 by Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment, a Smyrna-based civic action group that had been working with Maury County residents to tackle complaints about water quality in Mt. Pleasant. Residents there have complained to the state for months, saying some children had even become ill drinking the water. The meeting was organized by State Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, and attended by residents, TDEC and local officials.
TDEC said it was looking into what was said at the meeting and that Smith would not be available for comment.
“In terms of the comments made by a member of the Water Resources Division at the meeting, we are just receiving the information and looking into this on our end. The department would like to fully assess what was said in the meeting,” said spokeswoman Meg Lockhart. “ I am told that the meeting was far longer than the audio clip provided by SOCM and that Mr. Smith actually clarified his remarks. But again, we are looking into it.”
The comment shocked and outraged attendees, who saw it as an attempt to silence complaints, said Brad Wright, organizer for SOCM in Middle Tennessee.
“I think it’s just to quash us complicating life for them,” he said.
It was supposed to be a charming commercial about a little girl trying to “treat” her dad’s heart with Cheerios. Instead the 30-second clip featuring a bi-racial family got so many negative reactions on YouTube that the video’s comment section was taken down a day after the ad appeared online.
Shot up to Reddit’s front page with 1033 remarks, the “Just Checking” video-which debuted on Wednesday-had also been viewed on YouTube over a quarter of a million times, garnering 3,776 thumbs ups, versus 657 thumbs downs as of 1:30p.m. E.T. Friday. Before the YouTube comments section was disabled on Thursday, it was bombarded with remarks referencing Nazis, “troglodytes” and “racial genocide,” according to Adweek.
President Obama’s cheerful, mocking statement enraged Republicans. But the bigger problem is he said something Republican leaders have been trying to hide from their members. Obama said, clearly, that if the GOP wants more spending cuts later, they’re going to need to hand over more taxes, too. In fact, he said it repeatedly.
The GOP had good reason to hate Obama’s remarks today. (Larry Downing — Reuters)
He made the point when talking about the sequester:
I want to make clear that any agreement we have to deal with these automatic spending cuts that are being threatened for next month, those also have to be balanced, because, remember, my principle always has been let’s do things in a balanced, responsible way. And that means the revenues have to be part of the equation in turning off the sequester and eliminating these automatic spending cuts, as well as spending cuts.
And then he made it again when talking about Medicare cuts:
“In the commission’s view, the judge’s remarks reflected outdated, biased and insensitive views about sexual assault victims who do not ‘put up a fight.’ Such comments cannot help but diminish public confidence and trust in the impartiality of the judiciary,” wrote Lawrence J. Simi, the commission’s chairman.
Johnson made the comments in the case of a man who threatened to mutilate the face and genitals of his ex-girlfriend with a heated screwdriver, beat her with a metal baton and made other violent threats before committing rape, forced oral copulation, and other crimes.
Though the woman reported the criminal threats the next day, the woman did not report the rape until 17 days later.
Johnson, a former prosecutor in the Orange County district attorney’s sex crimes unit, said during the man’s 2008 sentencing that he had seen violent cases on that unit in which women’s vaginas were “shredded” by rape.
“I’m not a gynecologist, but I can tell you something: If someone doesn’t want to have sexual intercourse, the body shuts down. The body will not permit that to happen unless a lot of damage is inflicted, and we heard nothing about that in this case,” Johnson said.
The commission found that Johnson’s view that a victim must resist to be a real victim of sexual assault was his opinion, not the law. Since 1980, California law doesn’t require rape victims to prove they resisted or were prevented from resisting because of threats.
Somehow left-wing journalist Nir Rosen didn’t realize how serious it was when he shot off those tasteless tweets about CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted in Egypt. Strangers are now lambasting him. Friends and family are telling him he’s not fit for Twitter. He says he agrees. Like many men, he says, he made a tasteless joke. Like most men, he adds, he needs to be far more sensitive. We caught up with him in an email exchange from Dubai, where he is as of this morning. Attempting damage control, he agreed to answer our questions. Rosen contributes to Atlantic Monthly, WaPo, NYT Magazine and Harper’s. Due to his vitriolic comments, he has resigned as a fellow at New York University Center on Law and Security.
His tweets from Feb. 15: “Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal.” But there was more: Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too.” He was referring to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who suffered beatings during his Egypt coverage. He also called Logan a war monger, saying, “Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger.”