I’ve got a cold and my sincerity meter is off. Can one of you please watch this video of Brian Calley talking about Flint for me and tell me what you think?


Apparently this video of Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley talking about how awesome Flint is going to be now that the administration has finally agreed to do something about the deadly health care disaster they helped to create, came out a few days ago. My first inclination, as I’m watching it here in my sickbed, is to assume that it’s bullshit. But I don’t know if that’s fair. I think I might just be turned off by the fact that Calley, who is obviously reading from a script, begins by telling viewers that assigning blame won’t help anyone, and repeating the administration’s familiar taking point about how this was “a failure of government at all levels.” But I’ll be the first to admit that, after several sleepless nights of coughing into a damp rag, I’m probably not inclined to think well of people, no matter how good their intentions. So I’ve decided to suspend judgement for the time being, pending your analysis… So, when our Lieutenant Governor says, “We’re determined to work with the people of Flint to make their city a great example of how education and economic development come together to create a better future for everybody,” should I believe him? Is this the message we’ve been waiting for, where they legitimately set out to make things right in Flint, or is this just PR spin in lieu of real, meaningful action?

For what it’s worth, I don’t think that people are inclined to believe anything from the administration until they see action on the street, and maybe not even then. I think I said it in an earlier conversation on the subject, perhaps just after it broke in the news that Governor Snyder had hired two high-priced public relations firms, that my advice to him would have been to move his office to Flint for the duration and spend time among the people of that city, like Chris Christie did along the Jersey coast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Instead, though, Snyder and company went a different route. They avoided Flint for up to seven months, at least according to the comments of Representative Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, who attacked Snyder last week during his testimony before Congress. And now, at least as I perceive it in my somewhat clouded state, they’re trying to demonstrate empathy from afar, from a studio somewhere, while b-roll footage of Flint rolls by in the background. And I think that’s always what’s bothered me, and made me think that the administration truly knows that they’re responsible for this. That’s the only reason I can think of why the governor of a state wouldn’t rush to the site of a deadly public health disaster, and instead hire criminal attorneys and public relations firms. Nothing else makes sense. But, like I said, I’m high on generic cough syrup… So, what do you think?

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  1. Jean Henry
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    Sounds like someone is planning to assume the governorship very soon. The GOP will want someone in there looking statesman like so they dont lose the whole show over the next couple election cycles.

    I don’t think I’m being cynical here. It’s smart strategy. Calley could very well also want to do something great in Flint to establish a legacy. It helps when millions in aid are flowing in from places other than Lansing.

  2. Demetrius
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    @ Mark

    Sorry to hear that your sincerity meter is off, but not to worry … there is no sincerity in this video, so you didn’t miss any.

  3. Demetrius
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    One other thought: I generally agree it is healthier for individuals to focus on the future than to dwell on negative elements of the past they can’t do anything about.

    But … when I hear politicians like Snyder and Calley use this principle to try to turn attention away from their past misdeeds (and likely crimes), I find it absolutely appalling.

    “I’m really sorry my administration poisoned all those children, but let’s not dwell on the past – let’s focus on those who are still healthy.”

    How sick … and self-serving.

  4. Eel
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    While these all sound like great things, aren’t they things that the administration should be doing already — making sure that our children are educated and that people have jobs? Why is it that this is just happening now, because 9 people died from Legionnaires’ disease and 75 children tested positive for lead poisoning?

  5. Cool Hand Calley
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    *Soft voice*
    *Gentle smile*
    *Actress warm glow filter on*

    “People of Flint, and anyone still not distracted by other news, listen…the problems of the past (five minutes) aren’t helped by investigations and lawsuits. We (the administration responsible) are hear to help you, so don’t throw stones. Now that we (might get in trouble) have resources available let’s build a new future. A new theater and upgraded river front will bring in money for the few business near them downtown, and won’t that be a real shot in the arm?
    Now, I’m not going to mention the elephant in the room, but I will say attracting business and changing tax laws seems like a good choice at this point.
    Companies will flock to Flint (knowing they will not be held responsible for any wrongdoing) once we set the stage for growth.
    Children. Going to school.
    Children. Shopping.
    Everything is going to be alright.”

    – and Cut!!!

  6. King
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    So all we need to do if we want the state to provide a good education for our kids and job opportunities for our adults is to sacrifice a generation of children and 9 men? If so, we’re ready in Saginaw.

  7. Shane Davis
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Lt. Governor Calley Warms Your Heart

    Several days ago the state favorite for “Most Loveable” in the Michigan legislature unleashed a new video on an unsuspecting public. Lt. Gov. Calley starts the video off with Hollywood starlet soft filters to warm his already cherubic face along with music so light that you practically gasp air. Lt. Gov. Calley looks off camera in a non-threatening manner similar to the way he was taught by handlers at the Toledo Zoo to avoid any gestures of aggression with Silverback Gorillas (also works on humans). With a voice as smooth as summer honey Lt. Gov. Calley begins talking about the great opportunities heading for the people of Flint, especially the children. His baby face radiates hope and empathy as his eyes take you on a journey once described by famed movie maker Werner Herzog as “…losing yourself in a completely flat, frightening stupidity.”

    Calley’s opening volley is an instant one-liner hit, “We all know that Flint reached this point of crisis because the failure at all levels of government, but dwelling on the past doesn’t fix anything…it’s critically important that we focus and drive towards the future.” We listen to his heartfelt message of atonement and forgiveness as images of children playing in Ann Arbor flash in non-jarring cross-fades and cuts. With each word from the Lt. Gov. we are transported to a place of peace and the recall ballots are placed down on the ground like so many swords for plowshares. Calley goes on to explain that the recovery efforts the administration is going to employ will be centered on education for children funded by the people of Flint in what he terms as a “community driven effort to sustain these services over the long term” so money isn’t diverted away from important on-going projects like the “People for Snyder” publicity ads running during prime time or the critical legal teams needed for the Governor as he battles greedy politicians at the national level hell bent on mudding the Snyder name and the Republican party. You won’t trouble yourself with Calley’s voting record of zero support for education since 2008, sensing his change of heart on matters such as these (HB 5765, 4141, 4090, 4132, 4785, 4787, and SB 1151).

    Lt. Governor Calley looks further in to the future for Flint and sees prosperity in adversity. His cleanly shaved face explains that by aiming monies donated by people all over the world, and from the Federal level, intended for the struggling families affected by the accidental poisoning of the water in Flint, at economic development instead will ensure glorious outcomes. Instead, long term, transformational projects will yield the best results in comparison to worrying about healthcare for children that is still decades off. Studies have already been performed that show Flint children will not show signs of lead poisoning until well passed two administrations. Brain damage, lower IQ scores, developmental delays, behavioral issues and every other long term disorder will be easily handled with city and state coffers that have been replenished by local businesses and property taxes.

    Sure, the white man’s version of Hypnotoad, says this may seem antithetical to what everyone intended when they donated the money and cried on public television about their dying babies, but when you see the new Capitol Theater and riverfront downtown you’ll be turning that frown upside down.

    After you finish watching Lt. Governor Brian Calley’s video on the Flint Project you’ll be saying “All Glory To The Hypno…uh…Governor Syner!” and thinking in the back of your mind that you wouldn’t mind one bit if these baby-faced snake charmer takes over as governor (HB 6187, 6186, 6183, 6184, 4836, 4786, 4317, and 6610).

  8. Elf
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I want to comment, but I’m not prepared to put in the kind of work that Shane is.

  9. charlieRomeo
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Calley’s PR stunt video is as putrid and insidious as Flint River water. Apparently the Michigan tax payer funded public relations firms being employed by Snyder are recommending that examining the past history of poisoning Flint citizens is useless. I disagree. There should be a rigorous and unrelenting pursuit of the truth on why and how this mass poisoning occurred. Blind, severe justice should then be dispensed without discrimination for this class warfare, however unintentional it was. The past needs to be understood because “those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it” , to paraphrase a famous quote.

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted March 22, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Once, when I was pregnant, I cried watching a McDonald’s commercial. It was patently offensive from a distance. It used deaf kids to sell poisonous food. It also had soft focus lighting. Something in us, despite all the evidence to the contrary, wants to believe in essential human goodness… or at least redemption… or happiness or whatever.

  11. iRobert
    Posted August 5, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Calley is now running negative ads against Schuette. It seems a bit late. I doubt he’s going to be able to catch up. Snyder’s miserable failure as governor really made Calley’s fight an uphill battle.

    Bye bye, Brian.

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