Racism plagues the New Orleans drainage system.
Originally posted to r/NewOrleans
A. Baldwin Wood (left), inventor of the wood-screw pump (photo 1)
Drainage and Racism
As we travel once again into the realm of drainage solutions butthurtia, let’s discuss why whyte people get so indignant and angry whenever it rains.
Meet A. Baldwin Wood, inventor of the wood-screw pump. His invention facilitated the drainage of the city for decades. Those pumps were built in the 1910s and 1920s. They were expected to last for fifty-ish years. So, what happened fifty years later?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 happened. Whyte people ran from Orleans Parish to the suburbs. The remaining ones pulled their kids out of public schools in the city, enrolling them in Catholic schools. Those schools were able to continue de jure segregation, protected by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Since they were paying tuition, they didn’t want to pay property tax. That shifted the burden of paying for city services to businesses. Those folks had the money to donate to political campaigns, making sure their property taxes didn’t go up.
“I’m not paying more taxes to give to a black mayor who will misspend it and steal it.”
They said that when Dutch took office in 1978.
They said that when Sidney took office in 1986.
They said that when Marc took office in 1994.
They said that when Ray took office in 2002.
When Mitch took office in 2010, whyte people blamed his daddy for encouraging black people to vote in his first mayoral election in 1971.
All the while, businesses did what they always do, shift the burdens to the residents. Whyte people in the suburbs sat, waiting for the city to tank. Their dream was to have the city fall apart under majority black governance, then step in with regional control. David Vitter led this movement in 2004 with the Recovery School District. By then, Orleans Parish Public Schools were in such a state that the Legislature mustered the votes to take over. The plan was to transition the black-managed schools to charters. (Hurricane Katrina accelerated this like nobody expected.)
The pumps today
Melpomene Pumping Station, named for Baldwin Wood (photo 2)
Back to drainage. Those pumps from the 1920s were in need of replacement by the 1970s. Suburban whyte people missed the boat on where the city anchors the suburbs, not the other way around. As the revenue base in Orleans Parish eroded, the suburban parishes refused to help. They wanted black folks to give control back to them. Regional solutions weren’t going to happen–shit, Jefferson Parish wouldn’t even join the Regional Transit Authority, lest a robust bus system bring more black people near their homes. Republicans in the suburbs wouldn’t pony up to fix the city’s drainage. Federal solutions under Republican presidents weren’t likely, either.
Now, it’s 2023. Louis Armstrong was a twelve-year-old boy selling newspapers on Canal Street when Baldwin Wood’s pumps were installed. They’re still in operation (sort of). Saying you won’t give money to Cantrell because she’s corrupt (translation: she’s Black) is silly. She didn’t create the problem, and wouldn’t have the funds to fix it even if she didn’t travel to Europe and the Emirates.
Reddit downvotes won’t drain the water. Working in the suburbs to affect change in the attitudes of elected officials will.
(h/t to James Karst for the factoid about Pops)
Blue Angels obey orders, even from Trump.
Blue Angels obey orders.
It’s really a simple concept. The National Command Authority says do it, you salute and do it. Members of our Forces do this daily. The Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron of the US Navy/USMC, along with the USAF Thunderbirds, get it. My son gets it, which is why the USS Topeka is out somewhere in the Pacific Ocean rather than docked next to a pier on Guam.
courtesy Blue Angels/US Navy
Flyovers are fun. The B-52s and F-16s that gave us a local treat last week. They offer a chance to step out the front door and look up. That’s advice I regularly suggest to what I call the “Blue Twitterati,” the folks on Da Twittah who rarely look up from their phones for anything.
Are the flyovers appropriate? At a time when these morons at the White House demonstrate absolute incompetence in the face of a pandemic, it’s not hard to figure out Donnie’s motives. Ascribing those motives to aviators, pilots, and their support teams is unfair.
Misuse of the military
Is Donnie Smallhands misusing the military? I look at the flyover of the Blue Angels tomorrow differently than the Angry Liberals Who Are Angry. People need more and deserve more than Pence and Kushner provide from government. Donnie’s people block experts from briefing Congress. They know their response to the pandemic is crap.
So, let’s have some military excitement!
Thing is, we’d have military excitement anyway. Air shows and public appearances are part of the mission of the demonstration teams. They can’t perform those parts of their mission during the pandemic. While air shows are outside, they’re not good social-distancing environments. Large gatherings and all that. Public appearances? Blue Angels follow orders – they can perhaps join school classes and other groups on Zoom. But their main mission, demonstrate the aviation capabilities of their respective service branches, well, that’s not happening on a Zoom session.
Let the aviators fly. Let the USAF pilots do what they do so well. Demonstrate those capabilities.
Lack of Liberal understanding
Do we need masks? PPE for healthcare professionals and first responders? Absolutely. Is a demonstration team flyover going to stop those things? Not in the least. What’s hindering our battle against COVID-19 is not Naval Aviation. It’s idiot Republicans who don’t mind watching people get sick and die. Hanging that on men and women obeying orders is wrong-headed. It indicates how badly liberals understand the military. That’s ironic, because so many Democrats actually serve their nation.
Disclaimer: My son is a Naval Officer (submarines), and I got to ride “Fat Albert” in 2012. I’m biased here.
Republicans truly don’t care if people die unnecessarily.
Republicans care more about the wealthy
I heard a story from a Facebook friend this morning, about how a family member needed medical assistance while traveling in Europe. It’s one of dozens of stories I’ve heard from friends over the years. Teens who don’t hydrate properly to professional colleagues who have serious medical problems while away from home. Stuff happens. All the stories have the same ending. Whether or not the patient pulls through, there’s no charge for the medical services provided.
Healthcare on vacation
Americans regularly do not understand how this works, because the overwhelming majority of them do not travel outside the United States. When they go to the mountains, the beach, or the city for vacation, they take huge financial risks. If something happens and a family member needs assistance while away from home, it’s likely they’ll get emergency treatment. But what about the dehydrated teen, or the smaller child who has a fever? How about the mom who develops a UTI, or other infection on the road? At home, you go to the doctor, and you pay the co-pay set up in your insurance policy. So, you’re at the beach? Suddenly you’re “out of network,” and you are on the hook for the full cost of that IV for your teen, or the antibiotics that will treat that fever or infection.
Now, the family’s got a decision to make. While the ill person ride it out, should the family have to decide if that’s necessary?
In Europe, this is a no-brainer. You got to a doctor. You get help. You get on with your life.
This is the part about ACA that Americans who have no serious travel experience don’t get. They don’t realize the smoke screen insurance companies put up to avoid paying up. Europe removed that smoke screen. They set up “public option” system. You’re from Amsterdam and you get sick in Eindhoven? No problem. You’re from Glasgow and your kid needs that IV in London? They get it.
Who pays the bills? They do! They pay taxes to cover the system. Americans’ refusal to pay taxes of any kind is why we fail.
Revisionist History is a problem for everyone.
Image courtesy the Washington Post
As a former History teacher, I take a conservative approach to revisionist history. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in calling out the Holocaust Deniers, the Sandy Hook Truthers, and other such idiots. It’s the statements of lower impact that are thorny. Came across one of those yesterday, when a commenter said, “Democrats could have passed single-payer [health insurance] in 2008.”
A number of issues here. I’ll come back to the “2008” reference last.
Revisionist History – the ignorance of the Bern-it-downers
We hear this foolishness from #nonpartisanprogressives. They declare a pox on both parties. It’s possible the OP is just an uneducated/unaware individual, who heard someone else make this statement, and now they’re parroting it. This is more than possible, given the extent to which Berners of all striped parroted the lies of the Republicans about Clinton last year. It would not surprise me to learn that someone like Sarandon or Stein said this, and now the parrots go off. Angry people get angry, and there’s often no dealing with them. We see this regularly with Catholics, on the abortion issue. Close-mindedness is certainly not limited to any particular ideology.
ACA before Stimulus
Could the Democrats have passed single-payer in 2009? Doubtful, for a number of reasons:
- The economy was a hot mess. President Obama and his team decided that passing his very-successful economic stimulus package was a greater need, out of the gate. Keeping Congress focused to accomplish something is tough on a good day. Throwing two huge agenda items at them at the same time risks the failure of both. Obama went for the economy first. Given that one of the biggest raps against the Clinton campaign last year was a lack of a clear.focused, economic message, this decision made a lot of sense.
- Healthcare took time. One of the biggest arguments against TrumpCare was how quickly “repeal and replace” happened. Paul Ryan handled it badly for Team Trump. President Obama took the time to put ACA together. Teams were working on healthcare in the White House while the public face of the administration worked on the stimulus. It takes time to put a big package like healthcare reform together. They listened, kicked around ideas, and considered what would and would not pass muster, even in a Democratic-controlled Congress. This sort of thing doesn’t get done overnight. Adults know this, but #nonpartisanprogressives think there’s a magic wand that makes things happen.
- The ACA required compromise. Ironically, the Affordable Care Act was initially a compromise proposal. It was created by the Heritage Foundation. Newt the Gingrich offered it in 1993. It was a counter to President Clinton’s single-payer proposal that year. The dynamics had changed significantly by 2009. The ability of Gingrich to defeat “Hillarycare” outright in 1993 emboldened the Republicans. They believed they could beat back any future attempts to take down the industry. President Obama recognized that. His team put forward a variant of the Heritage Foundation’s plan. ACA kept the insurance industry intact, giving it a better chance to pass. That’s how compromise works. It’s what adults do. Still, #nonpartisanprogressives wrap themselves in purity.
The Public Option
- Obama’s proposal had a “public option” component. Many believe (as do I) that the public option was a bargaining chip. When the Dem leadership in both houses began to whip votes, it was clear that both caucuses didn’t have the fortitude to vote for the public option. You take what you can get. Adults don’t run home crying; they make the best out of the situation. They don’t try to Bern down the house.
- Final passage of ACA was a still a near-run thing. The Dem caucuses had the votes to pass in both the House and Senate. The Senate filibuster was the main problem. Obama’s team knew 60 Senators was a problem. No way the public option was going to survive that process. Dems liked the private insurance framework. Those holding out for local pork got things thrown at them. Had Obama taken the all-or-nothing stance of #nonpartisanprogressives, the whip count was more like 56-58 votes.
So, I’m simplifying a lot here, and I welcome comments elaborating on specific points. I stand by the notion that the public option was dead on arrival when ACA was pitched.
Yet, we’re almost eight years on and the left’s purity police are making claims that are patently wrong. They don’t rise to the level of Sandy Hook Truthers, and that’s the problem. A crazy spouting such incredibly stupid things is easily dismissed. Revisionist history with respect to policy wonkery just doesn’t stand out in the same way. The #nonpartisanprogessves in the lead or in the punditocracy know this. Their followers most likely don’t.
This is is why there’s no compelling reason to try to bring #nonpartisanprogressives into a coalition. We’d love it if they stopped throwing rocks and grew up, but it’s not necessary to push the Republicans out. Their penchant for revisionist history makes things worse.
Anyway, I said I’d come back to the “2008” thing. This is a common mistake. Of course, the president starts his term on January 20th of the year after the November election. In a serious discussion, however, most folks care when it comes to dates. Of course, #nonpartisanprogressives aren’t serious. That’s why many of them voted for Stein. She said the many things she said that were factually inaccurate. The “2008” sort of error indicates someone who doesn’t take any of this seriously. So-called leaders engage in revisionist history because their people won’t call them on it.
Jerome Smith was a young civil rights activist and Freedom Rider in 1963. Arthur Schlesinger, in his book on RFK, recalls that CORE described Smith as a young man beaten more than any other CORE worker at the time.
Jerome Smith stood up to RFK
It was no surprise to anyone that Smith had no kind words for Bobby or his brother:
“Mr. Attorney General, you make me want to puke. I don’t care what you think, and I don’t care what your brother thinks either.”
Smith was a man of the streets, not academia, or the entertainment world. He’d been in the streets, on the buses, working to register voters and advocate the cause. In the 1963 meeting Jarvis DeBerry mentions in his article about the film, “I Am Not Your Negro”, he was arguably the wokest person in the room.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, but having seen “Hidden Lines” last weekend, it’s time I did. The movie is about Baldwin, so it’s not surprising that some things get left on the cutting room floor. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to Jerome Smith (assuming they shot his remarks at all. Jarvis explains it:
Because that section of the documentary focuses on Baldwin’s friendship with the playwright Lorraine Hansberry and her premature death at 34, it is Hansberry’s disgusted response to Kennedy’s hemming and hawing that is given attention. But Hansberry’s decision to snub Kennedy by standing up, bidding him goodbye and exiting the room wasn’t the most demonstrable display of disgust. The most disgusted response, which isn’t in the documentary, came from New Orleans’ own Jerome Smith.
So, it’s no deep conspiracy that the woke young man got left out of the documentary. He just got overshadowed. I learned something new today, that Smith was from New Orleans. I’d not read Schlesinger’s book (it came out in 1978) when I was teaching American History in the early 1980s. I certainly would have highlighted this encounter, if for no other reason, because Smith was a local guy.
Now I want to go back to the classroom. Gotta win dat powerball.
(cross-posted to NOLA History Guy)
Senator Schumer hits home
Senator Schumer takes the lead, and that’s a good thing.
Michelle Goldberg’s piece in Slate last Monday, “How Chuck Schumer Found His Spine” is more about the overall #resistance to #Trannon, but it’s still encouraging to see that the efforts of Democrats are being felt in the DC Senate offices.
The main focal point of #resistance at this point is the “Indivisible” document. It’s full title is, “Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda”. “Indivisible” was written by Democratic Congressional staffers to organize Democratic resistance. This is important for those of us who want the party to take the lead and grow into a force that will once again lead the country from the White House and Capitol Hill. As Goldberg points out, one of the authors of “Indivisible”, Ezra Levin, nails it:
“The idea that we can treat this administration as if it is normal, as if it is not actively undermining democracy, is really inappropriate to the moment. And I think the base feels that.”
Leading the Minority
And there it is. But let’s come back to Senator Schumer. With “Indivisible” groups springing up across the country, as well as other efforts to resist #Trannon, Democrats like Leader Schumer recognize just how upset we are:
We need to keep it up.
Judge James Robart
#Trannon’s Muslim Ban was blocked nationwide by a sweeping order issued by Judge James Robart in Washington State. This prompted Senator Schumer to speak out once again:
Another big takeaway here is the CNN article that Schumer cites. Since Kellyanne Conway, AKA “Patriot Barbie” announced that #Trannon surrogates would no longer appear on CNN, the network is, for now, telling the truth about 45* and his people. When POTUS* took to Da Twittah to attack Judge Robart, CNN did this excellent short profile on the man.
A CNN that tells the truth and a leader in the Senate spreading that message is an excellent boost to our opposition.