Friday, September 09, 2005

Countdown to Sufjan Stevens at The Canopy

Yep, chamber-pop songsmith Sufjan Stevens will be spinning his yarns for us in Urbana at the Canopy Club next Thursday, Sept. 15. Tickets are only $12 in advance. This guy sold out four consecutive nights in New York's Bowery Ballroom last month with performances off of his lateset record, the ode to our state, Illinois. Pretty impressive!

Opening is folk tunestress, Liz Janes, also on Asthmatic Kitty Records.

Take a gander at this pic of Sufjan kickin' it in the orange and blue.

Interactive Friday - Illinois vs. San Jose St.

After last week's trip to OT with the "Cardiac Kids" to kick off the Zook Era, will the Illini have it any easier with SJS?

I'm predicting another victory to the tune of 27-17, Illinois goes to 2-0, and heads to Cal with some confidence.

What's your prediction for the game?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

A General Sense of Malaise...

I've been bitten by the slack bug and it simultaneously hurts and soothes. Pavement's "Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain" is playing on iTunes, and I'm reminded of how most people were probably introduced to this record: via home-recorded mix tapes. Ah, the romance of the mix tape... the dedication to sit with the creation through its evolution and build it carefully and purposefully. I remember building a mix for my first (of unfortunately too many) long distance relationships. A early/mid-90's alt rock love mix for that special someone that I met and fell head over heels for at a speech tournament at around 9AM. Little did I know that hours later we'd be making out in the gym equipment room, and I was introduced to the world outside of my hometown via this near stranger that I suddenly met and got to know by walking around a huge high school in the middle of nowhere. The little lamp in my bedroom at home kept the room comfortably dark while I plotted the tracklisting and WPGU was my comfort food until it was time to hit record. Smashing Pumpkins' "Thirty Three" still resonates all these years later when my teenage mind truly believed that we "could make it last forever." And I would imagine this tape playing for them, and quietly putting them to sleep at night after we'd get off the phone. It was the glue... the tie that bound across the miles.

Modern convenience and communication have replaced the desperation needed to move people beyond themselves; whether it's meeting someone new or picking up a new record. I'm not immune to this, but I'm not above calling myself out on it either. It's not to say that there aren't benefits to push button, instantaneous connectivity, but it also makes it difficult to disconnect and appreciate life in a sustained moment. Instead, we're just trying to catch up to the next one. Sometimes I think the Radiohead track, "The Tourist," says it best... "Idiot...slow down... slow doooooooooown."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Show of the Week - Beauty Shop @ The Canopy

The Urbana Booking Co. presents "Wednesdays In the Void" at the Canopy Club, and this week's headliner is The Beauty Shop. Visitors here know my love for the band, and they'll be performing in an intimate setting tonight on front room stage at the CC.

Opening are local drone-rockers, Shipwreck, and uptempo alt-rock act, The Reputation. The doors open at 9PM, and the show starts at 10PM.

Please Excuse the Lack Of Posts...

I have been distracted by the recent events in the Gulf region, and my usually clever mind was rendered blank by the devastation that I was witnessing. Please don't forget these people, as they will need assistance for years to come. I would reccomend donating to Habitat For Humanity, in addition to the American Red Cross.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Downtown Champaign Unites For Katrina Fundraising

Here's the latest for local fundraising efforts for the Hurricane Katrina cause:

Website is getting together businesses for various efforts throughout the coming week for donations to go to the Katrina tragedy. Here's an email sent from one of their representatives.

"Hi friends-

Hurricane Katrina was one of the most tragic natural disasters in our nation's history, leaving the survivors in the Gulf Coast without food, water or shelter, and Downtown Champaign is coming together to raise money for relief efforts. This peaks Thursday, September 8, 2005:

A number of local businesses are providing donation boxes which will go the American Red Cross, earmarked for Hurricane 2005 relief. A number of downtown businesses are giving a portion of revenues on Thursday, or throughou the weekend, in disaster relief donations. And -- a fun way to help relief efforts -- we're having a barcrawl for disaster relief this Thursday (Sept. 8).

At the barcrawl, we're asking participants to donate the equivalent of your bar tab -- or you could donate whatever you'd like, or just show up to provide support. But also: the bar owners will donate a portion of their proceeds. The schedule is:

6PM - Blind Pig Pub
7PM - Farren's
8PM - Barfly
9PM - Esquire Lounge
10PM - Mike n' Molly's

For an updated list of businesses donating a portion of revenues, an updated list of drop boxes, and updates on the barcrawl, please visit:

Thanks for your help in this tragedy, and please pass this on to your friends."

So, that's the latest of many efforts of fundraising going on across CU, and if you have any additional information regarding upcoming events for Hurricane Katrina in CU, please email them here.

Broussard On FEMA's Unexplainable Actions in LA

The following is taken from the official transcript of MSNBC's "Meet The Press" with Tim Russert. It can be found in full here:

The big question now is why on earth would FEMA reject aid and cut communications within Louisiana during times of unbelievable crisis? The people of Louisiana deserve answers.

Video can be found here: Right click, save as.

MR. RUSSERT: And we are back.

Jefferson Parish President Broussard, let me start with you. You just heard the director of Homeland Security's explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?

MR. AARON BROUSSARD: We have been abandoned by our own country. Hurricane Katrina will go down in history as one of the worst storms ever to hit an American coast, but the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonments of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history. I am personally asking our bipartisan congressional delegation here in Louisiana to immediately begin congressional hearings to find out just what happened here. Why did it happen? Who needs to be fired? And believe me, they need to be fired right away, because we still have weeks to go in this tragedy. We have months to go. We have years to go. And whoever is at the top of this totem pole, that totem pole needs to be chain-sawed off and we've got to start with some new leadership.

It's not just Katrina that caused all these deaths in New Orleans here. Bureaucracy has committed murder here in the greater New Orleans area, and bureaucracy has to stand trial before Congress now. It's so obvious. FEMA needs more congressional funding. It needs more presidential support. It needs to be a Cabinet-level director. It needs to be an independent agency that will be able to fulfill its mission to work in partnership with state and local governments around America. FEMA needs to be empowered to do the things it was created to do. It needs to come somewhere, like New Orleans, with all of its force immediately, without red tape, without bureaucracy, act immediately with common sense and leadership, and save lives. Forget about the property. We can rebuild the property. It's got to be able to come in and save lives.

We need strong leadership at the top of America right now in order to accomplish this and to-- reconstructing FEMA.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Broussard, let me ask--I want to ask--should...

MR. BROUSSARD: You know, just some quick examples...

MR. RUSSERT: Hold on. Hold on, sir. Shouldn't the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn't they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?

MR. BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told like me, every single day, "The cavalry's coming," on a federal level, "The cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming, the cavalry's coming." I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry's still not here yet, but I've begun to hear the hoofs, and we're almost a week out.

Let me give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn't need them. This was a week ago. FEMA--we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, "Come get the fuel right away." When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. "FEMA says don't give you the fuel." Yesterday--yesterday--FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, "No one is getting near these lines." Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America--American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.

But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she's done and all her leadership. She sent in the National Guard. I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street canal that the secretary didn't foresee, a 300-foot breach. I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levee board people. It took us two and a half days working 24/7. I just closed it.

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: I'm telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees...

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: ...that have worked 24/7. They're burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I'll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I'm in, emergency management, he's responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, "Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?" And he said, "Yeah, Mama, somebody's coming to get you. Somebody's coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody's coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody's coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President...

MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody's coming to get us. Nobody's coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody's promised. They've had press conferences. I'm sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

Trying To Find Answers...

Watching the dire circumstances in New Orleans has led me to try to find answers as to why this situation had to happen. I saw a good comment posted on the C&L site from Atilla (in the David Brooks story), and felt I had to post it here for more eyes to see. The point is that the potential for this situation to occur had been discussed for many years before it's happened, so why was there such hesitation to deliver the help that was going to be needed or to prevent it from happening in the first place? The rest of this post is from Atilla and the sources quoted by him. It's disappointing knowing more could have been done to prevent this horrible event in our nation's history. Click the Red Cross link on the right to make your donation today to help the people of the hurricane Katrina tragedy.

"So what about all of the people still in the city… what happened there? Well it was predicted by the good doctor Ivor Van Heerden of LSU Hurricane Center."

From the Philadelphia Inquirer of October 8th, 2004:

New Orleans' growing danger Wetlands loss leaves city a hurricane hit away from disaster.
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer

"The Red Cross has estimated 25,000 to 100,000 would drown, and I don't think that is unrealistic," said Ivor van Heerden, director of Louisiana State University's Center for the Study of Public Health Impacts of Hurricanes. About 300,000 of the area's 1.2 million people would not evacuate, he (Van Heerden) predicted, and many of those would be the most vulnerable - elderly, disabled, homeless, carless.

"You'd have people on roofs, clinging to light poles, commandeering high-rises," he said. "And wherever they were, they would be competing with animals and fire ants for the high ground." And since the New Orleans area is home to many refineries and petrochemical plants, burning gasoline on the floodwaters would be an additional hazard, he said.
Rescuing 300,000 people trapped inside the flooded bowl would be a logistical nightmare, and officials have started enlisting private boat owners who could help a Dunkirk-style operation to ferry people out.”

"Dr. Van Heerden was on several MSNBC programs this evening and said that this article was written after a major presentation by the Hurricane Center was given to various Federal officials in June of 2004. Present were representatives from FEMA, the Army Corp of Engineers, State and Local Emergency planning officials, and White House Staffers."

"He was quite agitated about “the needless deaths” and he was quite adamant that the State and Local agencies did as well as they could with the resources that they had and he didn’t want to hear any finger pointing in their direction. He was furious about the slow Federal response… like Brookes and Buchanan and Newt and Frist and a long line of folks that seems to wrap around the globe!" _in_the...uirer100804.htm

"But then again… if you were the good doctor and you had been trying to convince the Federal Government that to stop building levees and ignore wet land restoration projects was a formula for disaster since the year 2001… you’d be pissed too!" houston.htm

New Orleans faces doomsday scenario

Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Science Writer

"New Orleans is sinking. And its main buffer from a hurricane, the protective Mississippi River delta, is quickly eroding away, leaving the historic city perilously close to disaster. So vulnerable, in fact, that earlier this year the Federal Emergency Management Agency ranked the potential damage to New Orleans as among the three likeliest, most castastrophic disasters facing this country."

"The other two? A massive earthquake in San Francisco, and, almost prophetically, a terrorist attack on New York City. The New Orleans hurricane scenario may be the deadliest of all. In the face of an approaching storm, scientists say, the city's less-than-adequate evacuation routes would strand 250,000 people or more, and probably kill one of 10 left behind as the city drowned under 20 feet of water. Thousands of refugees could land in Houston.
Economically, the toll would be shattering."

"So FEMA did know the potential loss of life in this scenario since 2001 and to the credit on an unnamed FEMA employee, according to Andrea Mitchell, who made the case to President Bush to restore flood protection project funding to the Army Corp of Engineering budgets.
As Mitchell tells it… Bush said it was pork and fired the guy. Sort of reminds ya of General Shinseiki telling Bush that he’d need at least a couple of hundred thousand troops to hold down the fort in Iraq for which he was sacked. Seems to be a pattern there."

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