Flint is finished

But they speak English in Flint! And there are ‘Christians’ there! And other reasons…

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Yeah… I’m glad that the writer was able to use such vitriol with a straight face, but the problems of leaded gasoline were not highlighted for decades after its implementation.

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The (admittedly vitriolic) article is actually pretty acurate. With the single exception of the newly proposed connection between violent crime rates and leaded gasoline, the problems of tetraeythl lead toxicity were known and understood by both Kettering and Midgley. These men purposely and knowingly caused chemical workers to die and millions of humans to be poisoned in order to enrich themselves, DuPont, General Motors and Standard Oil. I can recommend you a good book that covers this topic, but if you’re not up for a long-read there’s actually plenty of (less vitriolic) documentation on wikipedia.

I live in Northern Delaware, pretty close to the Butterfly Factory, so the perfidy of Kettering, Kehoe and Midgley is old news around here. The DuPont and GM employees of my dad’s generation worked for the slimy bastards. Midgely at one point poured TEL over his hands and waved a bottle under his nose, telling reporters he did this every day with no effect, and then he secretly went into treatment for a month or two to recover. These guys killed their workers right and left, with little remorse, and then lied about it repeatedly so that they could keep their poison on the market. From all the evidence I have available, Kettering was a monster; completely amoral.



It’s not the jobs, it’s the paycheck. It’s about whether or not people have basic physical needs- food, clothing, shelter- met. In our society, we’ve decided that that needs to be a direct result of work, but I’m not convinced that’s the case any more.

Beyond that, I agree completely- Except that I think people will create meaningful work to occupy themselves if they are given a chance.


Guaranteed basic income.

It’s the only solution I can see working in a post-scarcity, automated society. I mean, that, or kill off anyone who isn’t employed. I’m not really a fan of that option.


While their use of manpower do create TEL is deplorable, the link to leaded gasoline and its widespread damage was not as demonstrably known. A lot of chemical production, especially in that time, was like this; sacrificing the health of the workers to make additives that were then considered safe in other products. I could continue to read more about it and check the veracity of the sources (because most media products oversell a story even when branded impartial), but it’s mostly inconsequential when the goal is to say Kettering was a human and a capitalist when they were are their worst. I have trouble calling many people “monsters” or “amoral” especially ones that died 70 years ago.

I understand with the wealth of history in front of you and many decades of history unleaded gasoline was always a mistake when there should have been a heavier investment made in ethanol. It also is exactly the same debate that has always gone on since the beginning of the industrial age for all new products, but now we at least have the safety procedures when handling extremely dangerous chemicals that chemists used to consider unnecessary. Things were shitty a century ago, I don’t think anyone would argue that.


The context of the comment was “politicians that attack the EPA”.

If the EPA does things that Joe and Jane Sixpack thinks are good ideas, then politicians will tend to support it.

If the EPA does things that Joe and Jane Sixpack thinks are not good ideas, then politicians will tend not to support it.

That book I recommended is really eye-opening. It’s incredibly well footnoted and meticulously sourced; I stopped checking the references eventually because I was getting 100% accuracy, which is actually quite rare in scholarly texts. I don’t think you will have any trouble calling Kettering “amoral” if you do the research.

But maybe it’s not entirely fair to call Kettering evil. (Midgely and Kehoe, sure - evil, unethical, immoral, no problem. Midgely was a liar and Kehoe seems like a sociopathic opportunist.) It seems to me that Kettering valued his own wealth, power and reputation more than he valued other people’s lives, but that’s not unusual, and he didn’t really want to hurt anyone if he could avoid it. He funded a secret, very serious attempt to defeat cancer because he knew he was killing his workforce in order to enrich himself, and he’d rather have not done that. Since he was unable to cure cancer, he kept killing the workers, and poisoning their families and everyone downwind of the plants… but he probably didn’t rub his hands gleefully and twist his mustache while doing it. And he endowed many fine organizations, before and after his death. So like most people, he was complicated; and perhaps he thought the good he did outweighed the bad.

Not sure when you graduated, but they’ve been working with Hurley and UM Flint on cleaning up the triangle between all three institutions. Between the three they own most of the property in the triangle. Even from when I started (2005) to when I got my diploma the area vastly improved.

The plans for the Chevy in the hole site look promising. Kettering is planning on putting in a race track for the SAE teams. They put in the business incubator on Bluff (?) street. There’s going to be a walking/bike path down to downtown. If you’ve seen any of the recent alumni communications they have some really ambitious plans going forward.

All these disaster porn articles kind of piss me off, even more now that I own a house just outside Detroit. Yes, things went wrong and there are some massive industrial sites that are in disrepair. And no, they’re not going away over night (for many reason, many that don’t have easy solutions). But, they always ignore all the people and institutions that are fighting like hell to change the place for the better.

Yeah, right…now pull the other one.

I just had a discussion Thursday night with someone who thinks like this. Who actually referenced all the toxins in their industry, especially the ones demonstratively left by the company in question, and still felt that EPA regulations needed to go because they interfered with the company’s ability to make the most amount of money. We were talking about actual hospital bills for sick workers, etc.

It’s like the people you see at stop lights who put down their window and drop trash on the street while waiting for the light to change. Half-full cups of soda, the wrapper from a fast food burger, whatever. How do you grow up not knowing that you have to clean up after yourself, both individually and as a society?


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