ZLATI Meyer of the Detroit Free Press used the occasion of the water crisis to make an incest joke. After state residents rightly complained, she and her publisher apologized profusely and sincerely for her remark.
Jeff Wattrick of Deadline Detroit took umbrage with the apology.
"The outrage over Meyer's tweet is pure smarm. It's easier, I suppose, to attack a symbol (a joke about incest being rampant in impoverished rural communities) than to address the enormity of a substantive, real problem (rural poverty)," Wattrick wrote.
He cited statistics that show West Virginia has a high infant mortality rate, high rate of out-of-wedlock births and high poverty rate. In every category he mentioned, Detroit fares worse.
n The state's infant mortality rate is 8.1 per 1,000 live births. Detroit's is 13.5.
n 44 percent of the state's children are born out of wedlock. In Detroit, it's 79 percent.
n The state's poverty rate is 15.1 percent. Detroit's is 32.5 percent.
West Virginians are working diligently on reducing poverty and improving the health of their children. Detroiters are as well. Rural poverty does not excuse urban bigotry.
n n n
WHILE 15 percent of West Virginians struggled to live without water contaminated by 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, a federal judge in Sacramento allowed a lawsuit to go forward that seeks to use the Clean Water Act to ban Fourth of July and Labor Day fireworks over Lake Tahoe.
Joseph and Joan Truxler of Zephyr Cove along the lake say the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and Pyro Spectaculars North Inc. are polluting the lake twice a year with debris.
To be sure the paper and gunpowder from the fireworks do have an impact on the lake. But so do people who visit the area each year and eventually move there, as the Truxlers did.