If you want something other than the shitshow in the House, here’s a couple of things I’ve been meaning to write about but have been too blazy (busy/lazy – must credit mistermix if you use it) to write about.
First, Damar Hamlin, the 24 year-old Bills player who suffered a cardiac arrest on the field and a second one in hospital is now off the vent and is “neurologically intact,” which puts him miles ahead of the average Republican House member. He’s alive and intact because of the CPR he received on field.
Related to that, have you ever heard the story of how CPR was invented, and the black paramedics in Pittsburgh who were some of the first in the nation to perform the kind of pre-hospital care that saved Hamlin’s life? It is one hell of a story, involving a one-of-a-kind character, Dr. Peter Safar, a charity group that started by delivering vegetables in poor neighborhoods, and a bunch of cops who fought to keep their (terrible) lock on transporting patients in Pittsburgh. The book telling this story is American Sirens by Kevin Hazzard, and his interview on Fresh Air is worth a listen. Hazzard’s first book, A Thousand Naked Strangers, about his years as a paramedic in Atlanta, is also worth a read.
Second, the other day a friend was out of town, the power was out, and it was very cold. He was worried that his pipes would freeze. I told him I’d go over to his house and break a window to get in — his thought was getting a locksmith. I wondered why breaking a window was my first instinct, but then I remembered that I had spent a lot of time in the last year in rural Dakota, where you can’t get any kind of service by tradespeople. Really, it’s crazy how hard you have to work to get someone to your house to do anything (plumbing, heating, fixing locks, etc.) So, of course, my first thought was a “Dakota Doorkey”, i.e., a hammer, because rural poverty can’t support decent services.
Anyway, related to that is a good piece by Kevin Drum about rural poverty. Here’s the nut of it, but the whole thing is worth a read:
Here’s my point: Rural America has problems. These problems aren’t nearly as big as they’re often made out to be, but they do have lower incomes, a declining population, and a less educated community.
But these are almost all caused by their own free choices. They refuse to tax themselves to pay for good schools and the infrastructure needed by business. They hold on tight to their social conservatism, which drives out both the young and the educated. Then they sit around and complain that the urban liberals who support them aren’t supporting them enough.
Being rural is not like being Black or gay or female or Jewish. It’s a choice. And the rural lifestyle is also a choice. They could do the things they need to do to become more prosperous, but they don’t want to. They’re comfortable the way they are.
Open thread to talk about anything but the fools on the House floor.