Fresh Intelligence: State Dismissed Flint Water Concerns, Hillary’s ‘Top Secret’ Emails, and More

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2016 North American International Auto Show
Now Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is paying attention to Flint. Photo: Paul Warner/2016 Paul Warner

Good morning and welcome to Fresh Intelligence, our roundup of the stories, ideas, and memes you’ll be talking about today. In today’s edition, emails paint an unflattering picture of the Michigan governor’s response to the Flint water crisis, and Hillary Clinton downplays concerns about “top secret” information on her private server. In non-email news, John Kasich is (sort of) surging, Walmart gives in, and the Earth is attempting to eat people now. Here’s the rundown for Thursday, January 21.

WEATHER
Some reports say Winter Storm Jonas is due to hit New York this weekend, while others say the storm will miss us. Meteorologists are more confident that D.C. is going to get hit hard, maybe as soon as tomorrow. Back in New York, Thursday should be sunny and mild. [Weather.com]
 
FRONT PAGE
Governor Misunderstands Job

More than 270 pages of emails released by Michigan governor Rick Snyder on Wednesday revealed that state officials dismissed Flint residents’ concerns about lead in their water for months. Back in September, Snyder’s chief of staff suggested the water crisis was being turned into a “political football,” and argued that local agencies bore the “real responsibility.” The emails were released as outrage grows over the water in Flint, which was found to contain harmful levels of lead after city leaders changed their water supplier as a cost-cutting measure. [AP]

EARLY AND OFTEN
Palin Provides Base With Actual Red Meat
A day after endorsing Donald Trump for president, Sarah Palin was on the campaign trail, handing out steaks at a Trump rally in Tulsa. She seemed in remarkably good spirits given that her son Track, sporting a black eye and a loaded gun, was arrested the day before on charges of domestic violence. When will Obama leave the poor Palins alone?

Bob Dole Resurfaces to Say He Hates Ted Cruz
The former Kansas senator and GOP presidential nominee came out strongly against Ted Cruz yesterday — is that an un-dorsement? — saying a Cruz nomination could be “cataclysmic” for the Republican Party. Dole then reiterated the most commonly heard criticism of Cruz: “Nobody likes him.”

Hillary Doesn’t Care About Her Damn Emails
It seems the Hillary Clinton email scandal still has legs. Clinton said yesterday that a report showing she used her private email server to deal with documents “beyond top-secret” means “nothing.” She accused Republican lawmakers of leaking the report to damage her campaign. [NPR]

It’s Finally John Kasich’s Turn to Have a Mini-Surge
John Kasich is surging in New Hampshire, with some polls showing him in second place behind Donald Trump. Though Kasich is polling at only 3 percent nationally, his platform of not-being-a-big-jerk seems to be resonating with voters.

THE STREET, THE VALLEY
World Economy Anybody’s Guess
Oil’s descent continues, dipping below $27 a barrel for the first time in 13 years. It looks like American markets are starting to feel the sting — the Dow dropped 500 points before recovering and ending just 250 down — while Asian markets actually managed to recover a bit. [CNBC]

Twitter Chatter Flutters Ticker
Twitter still excels at spreading misinformation. Yesterday, the company vehemently denied rumors that it was being acquired by News Corp. Still, the gossip managed to buoy shares in the company after they had fallen to an all-time low on Tuesday. [Bloomberg]

One Large Pizza With Extra Surge Pricing
The popular ride-sharing service Uber announced it will be launching its standalone food-delivery app UberEATS in Los Angeles, Austin, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, and Seattle in March. Finally, a food-delivery service in New York! [Tech Crunch]

America’s Largest Employer Acknowledges Employees
Walmart announced yesterday that all of its employees will receive a 2 percent pay raise, meaning its 1.2 million employees will now make only $1.57 less an hour on average than typical retail workers. They must be thrilled. [WSJ]

MEDIA BUBBLE
Vogue Out of the Red
In an announcement that we’re sure had Anna Wintour staring icily into space, Grace Coddington, the well-known creative director of American Vogue, said she is stepping down. Coddington will remain at the magazine in a limited capacity as creative-director-at-large, but will pursue new collaborations, including designing a fragrance for Comme des Garçons. [NPR]

Good News for Lovers of Gravitas, Pornography
Penthouse has assured its readers that it will continue to produce a print magazine as it totally redesigns its online presence. The adult magazine’s managing director Kelly Holland said, apparently in all seriousness, that “there’s gravitas about the print page that you can’t replace.” [USA Today]

PHOTO OP
Planet 9 From Outer Space
Two astronomers from the California Institute of Technology believe they may have found a new planet. The new ninth planet is believed to be in an  extreme elliptical orbit on the edge of our solar system, past ex-planet, Pluto.

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Artist's rendering of the view from Planet Nine toward the sun.

MORNING MEME
16 Shots and a Cover-up
This video of a Black Lives Matter protester interrupting yesterday’s United States Conference of Mayors and calling for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation is a powerful reminder that there’s more going on in the world of viral content than just cat videos.

Protester Interrupts Press Conference for #LaquanMcDonald

MOOD: When you've had enough, so folks are going to pay attention today. A protester calls attention to the killing of #LaquanMcDonald by Chicago Police, interrupted a news conference in Washington D.C. to hold up a sign that reads "16 shots & a Cover Up #LaquanMcDonald #ResignRahm."

Posted by Colorlines on Wednesday, January 20, 2016

OTHER LOCAL NEWS
Largest Prime Number Captured in Missouri
A computer at the University of Missouri has just discovered the largest known prime number. The number, which is 22 million digits long, was discovered as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search or GIMPS — yes, GIMPS. [BBC]

Virginia Sucks
A woman doing her laundry in Danville, Virginia, had quite the shock when a hole opened up in the Earth and swallowed her. As it turned out, the laundry room was built above an abandoned 40-foot well, which she managed to escape from unharmed. [AP]

HAPPENING TODAY
Las Vegas of Presidents Visits Bill Clinton of Cities
We never would have pegged Bill Clinton as that guy who goes to Vegas but won’t stop talking about his wife. The former president is at the Advanced Technologies Academy in Vegas today, telling the crowd why his long-suffering partner in love and world domination deserves to be president, too. [Las Vegas Review]

How to Pick Up Strangers in L.A.
As of today, Uber’s low-cost service, UberX, will be allowed to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport. Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, has had the airport all to itself since it was given permission to pick up there in December. Oh, and taxis. We always forget taxis exist. [LAT]