Until Congress banned the practice four years ago, the U.S. military used burn pits to dispose of military waste. Activists say these burn pits have led to early deaths, birth defects, and the environmental poisoning of Iraq. On Wednesday, members of the group Right to Heal gathered in Washington to ask for help for thousands of people they say are suffering ill effects caused by the dark smoke from burning paint, rubber tires, munitions, chemicals, plastics, and metals.
The health problems have reportedly hit both Iraqis and members of the U.S. military. Kristi Casteel's son, Joshua, died from lung cancer in 2012 at the age of 32. While serving as an interrogator in Iraq for the Army, he lived roughly 100 yards from a burn pit, Casteel told a Right to Heal meeting. "While very aware of the thick black clouds that covered the base every day, and experiencing symptoms of congestion, burning eyes, and nausea at times," she said, "he, like most all the other soldiers, just labeled their symptoms the 'Iraqi crud.'"
A 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine determined there wasn't enough data to conclude whether or not pollution from the pits could cause long-term health problems, but acknowledged that chemicals found at the Joint Base Balad pit could eventually cause respiratory, heart, kidney, and liver problems, plus anemia and cancer. Right to Heal wants the U.S. to pay reparations to civilians who lived near the pits, and to help with environmental cleanup efforts. Catherine Garcia
It looks as though before Wednesday's end, America will know its final 2016 face-off: Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton. Yes, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is technically still in the GOP race, but he is widely expected to drop his bid Wednesday in a 5 p.m. EDT speech, and while Bernie Sanders is remaining defiant following his surprise win in the Democratic Indiana primary, his odds still aren't great to defeat Clinton. The math dictates we're all but guaranteed a Trump-Clinton face-off — and needless to say, Hillary Clinton is ready for the challenge.
Team Clinton wasted no time capitalizing on all the #NeverTrump vitriol that's been launched at the mogul from within his own party, releasing an ad Wednesday that is a brutal compilation of sound bites from GOP leaders:
"President Trump" is a dangerous proposition.
Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio agree.https://t.co/fUkISvgaXC
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 4, 2016
By the time this is all over, America might need some therapy, too. Kimberly Alters
President Obama vouched for the safety of filtered Flint water Wednesday by symbolically drinking a glass that had been properly treated for consumption. "If you're using a filter ... then Flint water at this point is drinkable," Obama said.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 4, 2016
The president landed in Flint, Michigan on Wednesday for his first visit to the city since the water became contaminated with dangerously high levels of lead after Flint's government, under a state-appointed emergency manager, switched water sources to save money.
Obama will also meet with officials, community leaders, 8-year-old "Little Miss Flint," and Gov. Rick Snyder (R), who has been criticized for his handling of the crisis. "It's just breathtaking [Obama] would be here to stop off and see about little old Flint," one resident told The Detroit Free Press. "I just wanted to be here and be a part of it." Jeva Lange
Sen. Bernie Sanders' chances at winning the Democratic presidential nomination are slimmer than ever, according to The Washington Post's math. Despite the Vermont senator's surprising win in the Indiana primary Tuesday, Sanders still lags far behind Hillary Clinton with only 1,400 delegates to the frontrunner's 2,202.
To make up the ever-growing gap — and to stop Clinton, who is just 181 delegates away from tying down the requisite 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination — The Washington Post says Sanders would need to do all of the below:
- Snag 65 percent of the remaining delegates in the Democratic primary.
- Hold onto the 39 superdelegates he currently has.
- Win over the remaining 160 undecided superdelegates.
- Convince 161 of the superdelegates currently pledged to Clinton to switch allegiances.
Even if Donald Trump were to improve by a margin of five points in every single state, he would still lose a general election against Hillary Clinton, The New York Times reports. If the votes were cast today, as polling stands right now, Clinton would win all the same states as President Obama did in 2012 plus North Carolina.
But if Trump were to improve his margin by five points, Clinton would lose Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida — and still beat Trump with 285 electoral college votes to 253. Only by improving his polling margin by 10 points in each state — and thereby also winning Colorado, Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire — would Trump manage to clinch the presidency.
Coming back from a 10 point defect is extremely hard, but not impossible: The Times reports that in 1980, Jimmy Carter was ahead of Ronald Reagan in many polls by 10 points at this same time of year.
Donald Trump expects to have a vice presidential pick ready to reveal in July, before the Republican National Convention, and he announced Wednesday that Dr. Ben Carson will be helping him to reach a decision on that running mate, The New York Times reports.
Trump also said he is leaning toward picking "a political person" for his VP since "I have business very much covered." Trump plans to use a committee to decide on his vice presidential pick, and that's where Ben Carson comes in: "I think on the committee I'll have Dr. Ben Carson and some other folks," Trump said. The other folks have yet to be announced.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich will announce at a Wednesday evening press conference in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, that he is suspending his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, The Associated Press reports. Kasich was initially scheduled to do a press conference at the Dulles airport in Virginia, but announced Wednesday morning that he would not be leaving Ohio after all. If the governor does drop out, that would leave Donald Trump as the only remaining Republican presidential candidate. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) dropped out of the race Tuesday night after Trump's win in Indiana all but ensured the mogul would win the nomination. Becca Stanek
In a video about as nerdy as the "May the 4th be with you" joke, John Kasich celebrated Star Wars Day on Tuesday by depicting himself as "the only hope" for the Empire…er, America.
Written in the classic scrolling yellow font of the Star Wars films, the trailer describes a dystopian future in which Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump in "the largest landslide since Reagan" and is busy preparing to name her Supreme Court nominee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
"Only one candidate can defeat Hillary Clinton in the fall," the trailer warns at the end (you'll never guess who). Watch below. Jeva Lange
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) May 4, 2016