That’s Right Nate

Thoughts from a right thinker.

Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans

Giant Oil Spill Threatens New Orleans – Should We Care?

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Anybody who has recently seen the HBO series Treme, can tell you that New Orleans is a city with a vibrant cultural heritage.   I tried to watch it myself, but when one of the characters played by Steve Zahn held Professor Longhair as being greater than Jesus, I found I could not take anymore.   Still, New Orleans is where food like Popeye’s Chicken and red beans and rice comes from as well as the musical art form frequently called Dixieland Jazz.  When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans on 2005, it was wisely decided to rebuild and while New Orleans hasn’t been completely fixed, it now boasts a Super Bowl champion.

Now, comes news that a large 5,000 barrel a day oil spill is in the Gulf of Mexico and spreading towards New Orleans.   I for one have had enough.   With our current troubled economy, can we really afford to spend millions of dollars protecting the city’s shoreline?   If New Orleans is ever going to be self-sufficient, the government needs to get out of the way and let private industry clean up the spill.  5,000 barrels of oil a day could be extremely valuable on the open market and we should encourage oil companies to clean up the spill by allowing them to keep any oil they clean up.  I can almost guarantee that BP and American companies would be fighting for the rights to reclaim the oil.

The large question though is the future of New Orleans.   The city was built precariously on the Gulf of Mexico and will forever be vulnerable to oil spills like this.   Only Representative Jack Kimble (R-CA) has had the courage to speak out against rescuing the city saying, “”That doesn’t make sense to me. … And it’s a question that certainly we should ask.”

Kimble continued, “It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed anyway.”

Kimble was quickly attacked for his candor, but he certainly brings up a good question and if you read the whole interview instead of taking quotes out of context you reallize that what Kimble is speaking of is New Orleans’ terrible location so close to oil drilling.  Former Dartmouth English professor E.Y. Hansen told the Heritage Valley Times-Gazette this week, “”New Orleans naturally wants to be an oil slick.  A city should never have been built there in the first place.”

As long as New Orleans is located so close to so much oil production, it will forever be in peril.  It’d be wonderful if we could just ignore the facts, but we can’t.   This will not be the last oil spill to impact the city.  We have to ask ourselves, is this the last oil spill we will pay to clean up or will we just keep bailing out New Orleans?


Written by thatsrightnate

April 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm

My Quest for Music without Soul or African Influence

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I have been searching for some time for a way to get in touch with my roots as a white person by finding a musical form that is purely white and not influenced by African music and especially soul. Now, this is not racist.   In fact, African-American influence has done so much for music that it’s very difficult to find a musical art form that remains exclusively white and not influenced by other African culture.  Now, it isn’t true that white people do not have soul.  Somebody like say, Van Morrison has a lot of soul.  Here is Jon Cleary, a piano player giving an example of a white guy with soul:

He’s not making fun of black musicians or trying to sound black.  He simply is somebody with a lot of soul.  Unfortunately, the African-American influence is very clear in his piano playing and his singing.   My quest to find a whiter more Caucasian musical style brought me far away from the Creole influence of Jon Cleary’s New Orleans to America’s heartland.    It is here that Celebration Iowa takes incredibly talented high school students and shows them how to sing and perform while removing all remnants of distracting soul from their music.   I believe I have found my cultural heritage with Celebration Iowa 2007’s performance of We Built this City:

Written by thatsrightnate

August 29, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Kennedy and Katrina

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ted_carolineThe news is naturally wall to wall Kennedy coverage today.   The conservative blogosphere has a very different take on things.  Sarah Palin’s Facebook page has comments like “good riddens”, “Ted Kennedy dying has made my day….”, and “this country is now much better off, one less socialist, anti freedom senator.” When Robert Nowack died recently, I read some fairly harsh comments from the left as well.

I always find it interesting when a political party claims to be true to the intents of the founding fathers.   This is to assume that our founding fathers spoke in unanimity.  One of the ugliest political feuds ever was between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.  The personal attacks that these men and their followers attacked with would have made Karl Rove blush.   Eventually, a very odd thing happened.  They didn’t begin to think the same way, but they began to get through the acrimony and became friends.  Their letters are a national treasure that show us very different perspectives on our government.   They both died on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  On his death bed, John Adams spoke the ironic words, “Jefferson still lives.”

In recent years, Lyndon Johnson would not have been able to pass the Civil Rights bill without the help of Republicans like Everett Dirksen.  Ronald Reagan was good friends with Tip O’Neill who was a leading opponent of his administration.   This brings us back to Kennedy who managed to have friendships with some of the most conservative members of congress like Orin Hatch.  If we are serious about accomplishing anything as a country we need to bring civility back to politics.  There is a way to criticize a person’s policies and to not abandon your own principles without making personal or hateful attacks against the people who oppose you.  I think Kennedy got this.

Senator Kennedy will be buried on this coming Saturday.   I am a bit worried that this will take all the air out of the room so to speak in regards to other news stories.   This is a shame because August 29th is also the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina breaking through the levee and putting 80% of New Orleans under water.   Now, I am sure that the cut in funding to the levees and the policy of turning over wetlands to developers had nothing to do with the hurricane and Michael Brown did a heckuva job in coordinating the recovery efforts in New Orleans, but somehow George W. Bush still gets blamed.  The city is coming back, but there’s still a lot of work to do in New Orleans and we need to do it to protect President Bush’s legacy.

On my time on Twitter, I’ve met some amazing people, but one that stands out is Karen Dalton Beninato.  She’s married to bass player Jeff Beninato from the  band nomrflogothe Dbs and she’s a great writer in her own regard.   After getting displaced from New Orleans Jeff and Karen founded the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund.   The fund exists to help those still struggling to repair their lives after Katrina and there are many many people.   I’m a bit worried that their Jackson Squared efforts to raise awareness and support for those still in need will be drowned out by the Kennedy funeral and Michael Jackson’s birthday.   If you’re a music fan they’ve got some great downloads and they have a variety of posters, apparel, and other merchandise to bring you joy while helping those in need.

Now, I know what you’re thinking–“Nate this doesn’t sound like you at all. What do you care about New Orleans?”  You got me.   Yesterday, Neal Boortz mocked Obama for his pledge to rebuild New Orleans.   Boortz said, “Obama wants to rebuild New Orleans?  Build it and they will come.  They? The debris that Katrina washed out.”  He then went on to suggest that those who left New Orleans should work in prostitution.

Now all of this sounded good to me and then it occurred to me.   If they are washed out of New Orleans, where will these people go?  They’ll go to Main Street, USA.   This is where Boortz is wrong.   We need to get those people moved back to Louisiana as quick as we can before New Orleans spreads.  Imagine what it’ll be like to be stuck in traffic because a band starts processing down the street playing jazz music.   I’m just terrified at the thought of having my doughnuts replaced by beignets or seeing KFC replaced by something approaching Willie Mae’s Scotch House.   Let’s repatriate these people before the Survivor cover band that plays at our local bar on Tuesday is replaced by Jon Cleary or Dr. John or worse yet that TGI Fridays you drink at becomes a Snake and Jake’s.   The quicker we get this debris back to New Orleans the easier it is for us to stay protected from a creeping creole epidemic.

Jon Cleary

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I saw him in concert in Minnesota a couple years ago.  I didn’t know what to expect and he really blew us all away.

Written by thatsrightnate

April 4, 2009 at 11:26 am

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Jindal Response Hits a Home Run

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After years of sending jobs to India, America has got a new Indian import and that import is called hope.  First, came the blockbuster movie Slumdog Millionare in which a boy rises out of the slums without any government assistance.  Now comes the next Ronald Reagan Indian-American Bobby Jindal hitting a home run (or the  cricket equivalent–a 6) as he responds to Obama’s lackluster speech last night.

Now, I have to give credit where it is due.  I’m not the one who came up with the next Reagan comparison.  That came from no greater judge of talent than Rush Limbaugh who had this to say about Jindal’s oratorical skills “When I interviewed Bobby Jindal for the Limbaugh Letter a year and a half ago or so I immediately thought I was talking to the elected version of the next Ronald Reagan, the closest thing we’ve got to an elected version of the next Ronald Reagan in the United States today.”

What I admired most about Jindal’s speech was his pleasant demeanor which reminded me of days as a child watching Mr. Rogers change his clothes in front of me.  I also loved his stories and the way he defended Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina by explaining that the people of New Orleans didn’t want the federal government there.  They only got in the way of the sherrif who was going to rescue everybody.  If the government sticks its nose into the economic crisis, we’re only going to get in the way of all those mom and pop stores that could really rescue us.  As Jindal says, “there’s a lesson in this experience” and that lesson is that the only way out of this economic crisis is by following the same blue print we have over the past 8 years.   Why would we ever trust our government to get us out of this crisis when they have shown how incompetent they are over the past 8 years?  Only the Republicans seem to understand this.  Thank God there are people like Bobby Jindal to lead us into the future.  With performances like the one last night, you know he will take us far.

Written by thatsrightnate

February 25, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Hu Gives a Damn About Disaster

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I’ve seen pictures of Chinese leader Hu Zintao visiting the earthquake ravaged areas of China.  The Chinese people were left with an extremely high view of their leader and their government.

Then I thought about the US reaction to Hurricae Katrina and my heart swelled with American pride.  You see, by getting to the damage sight and arranging emergency care for those affected by the earthquake so quickly the Chinese government have effectively raised the bar for themselves. 

Now, everything is great, but people are expecting the Chinese government to take care of them.  They’re expecting revitalization zones and housing.  The United States’ hands off approach enabled New Orleans to pull itself up by their own boot straps and even allowed us to expand the number of charter schools in the city.  The Chinese approach is comicly outdated and only leads to more big government.  Don’t expect any hand outs from John McCain either–he’s talking about just bulldozing the 9th ward.

Written by thatsrightnate

May 20, 2008 at 5:48 am

Republicans Win 124%-68%

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There were two special elections in Louisiana yesterday.  One house seat openned up when Republican  Richard Baker left the House to become a lobbyist–after 20 years of distinguished service he deserves it.  In the other special election Republican Bobby Jindal’s House seat was openned since he became Governor. 

Today the mainstream press keeps trumpeting Democrat Don Cazayoux’s victory 49-46 over Woody Jenkins in Baker’s old seat.  What it seems to ignore is that the GOP and Steve Scalise beat Gilda Reed 75-22.  Add up the votes–the Republicans came out on top 124-68.  This is a crushing defeat for the Democrats, the portent of things to come in November, and proof that McCain’s comments about tearing down New Orleans haven’t hurt the Republicans there.

Written by thatsrightnate

May 4, 2008 at 9:14 am