The 21st Show

2011 Flooding in Cairo; The “Rainbow Wave” of LGBTQ Candidates; Conservation Of Monarch Butterflies


In an aerial photograph made Tuesday, May 3, 2011, in Cairo, Ill., is seen. The Army Corps of Engineers' blew a two-mile hole Monday night into the Birds Point levee in southeast Missouri, which has flooded 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri's Mississippi County in an effort to protect nearby Cairo, Ill. from rising floodwaters. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

On the 21st: In the 1920's, plans were made to save Cairo, Ill., from flooding. We talk about how over time it became politically harder to do that. Also, we speak to naturalist experts about the migration paths of Monarch butterflies and how we can participate in conservation efforts for them. But first, we discuss the "rainbow wave," the uptick of openly LGBT candidates running for office nationwide and in Illinois.

More than 400 candidates, running at both the state and local level, means it’s the most openly LGBT candidates ever to run.

What’s behind this trend? According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2017, more than 120 bills described as anti-LGBT were introduced across 30 different states. The rise also comes at a time when Anthony Kennedy’s open seat could be occupied by conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh. In recent years, the supreme court has ruled on several landmark LGBT cases including Obergefell v. Hodges (gay marriage) back in 2015.

Sean Meloy joins us today. He is the senior political director for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, an organization which works to recruit, train and elect out LGBT public officials at all levels of government.

Also on the line with us was Kevin Morrison who is running for Cook County Board Commissioner in Illinois’ 15th district. That district includes the Chicago suburbs of Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates. If elected, Kevin would be the first openly LGBT candidate ever elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

From Washington D.C., Jessica Taylor, a political reporter for NPR, also shared her thoughts and insights with us.

This past weekend, millions of people around the world were affected by the wind and rain that comes with tropical storms. Here in the US, more than a million power outages have been reported in parts of the South - and the levels of rainfall have already broken state records in North Carolina.

When natural disasters strike, that’s when the systems that local, state, and federal authorities have created are really put to the test.

In 2011, the Mississippi River flooded seven states - including Illinois and Missouri. And in southern Illinois, the Army Corps of Engineers had a plan to prevent flooding in the town of Cairo.

But that plan was delayed - by public pressure on officials in Missouri, and arguments over which lands were really worth saving. And that delay cost millions of dollars in damage to southern Illinois.

Lisa Song and Patrick Michaels reported on this. Lisa is an environment reporter with ProPublica and she joined us over the phone from New York.

Patrick Michels is an immigration reporter with Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting. He joined us from their studios just outside of Oakland California. 

For most monarch butterflies, it’s the time of year when they start making their way south to get away from the cold. Maybe you’ve planted milkweed or helped tag monarchs to track that 3000 mile migration.

But monarchs are still in trouble. Their population has been decreasing since 2008 - it’s down 90 percent in the last twenty or so years, and over the past year their numbers went down further still.

So what is Illinois doing about it?

Greg Spyreas is a research scientist at the Illinois Natural History Survey. He spoke to us in our Urbana studios.

And, Lyndsey Ramsey joined us over the line. Lyndsey is associate director of natural and environmental resources with the Illinois Farm Bureau.


Story source: WILL