Friday, September 23, 2005

Have a good weekend

The bad news first, water has spilled over the levee in the 9th Ward down in New Orleans. The water is quickly rising over land that was pumped out a week ago. The 17th street canal is not flooded.
"Our worst fears came true," said Maj. Barry Guidry of the Georgia National Guard.

"We have three significant breeches in the levy and the water is rising rapidly," he said. "At daybreak I found substantial breaks and they've grown larger."

Dozens of blocks in the Ninth Ward were under water as a waterfall at least 30 feet wide poured over and through a dike that had been used to patch breaks in the Industrial Canal levee. On the street that runs parallel to the canal, the water ran waist-deep and was rising fast. Guidry said water was rising about three inches a minute.

The impoverished neighborhood was one of the areas of the city hit hardest by Katrina's floodwaters and finally had been pumped dry before Hurricane Rita struck.

Sally Forman, an aide to Mayor Ray Nagin, said officials knew the levees were compromised, but they believe that the Ninth Ward is cleared of residents.

"I wouldn't imagine there's one person down there," Forman said.

Mitch Frazier, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers, said contractors were being brought in Friday morning in an effort to repair the new damage. The corps had earlier installed 60-foot sections of metal across some of the city's canals to protect against flooding and storm surges.

Forecasters have called for between 3 and 5 inches of rain in New Orleans as Rita passes Friday and Saturday, dangerously close to the 6 inches of rain that Corps officials say the patched levees can withstand.

Another concern is the storm surge accompanying Rita, which could send water rising as much as 4 feet above high tide.

Already Friday morning, a steady 20 mph wind, with gusts to 35 mph, was blowing, along with steady rains.

Because of uncertain weather conditions from Hurricane Rita, the recovery of bodies was suspended but previous discoveries pushed the death toll from Hurricane Katrina to 841 in Louisiana, and at least 1,078 across the Gulf Coast.

As many as 500,000 people in southwestern Louisiana, many of them already displaced by Hurricane Katrina, were told to evacuate and many jammed roads north to escape.
President Bush relies on his corporate lobbyists to help push his agenda.

What has Paul McCartney taught us? Not to deal with Michael Jackson for one.

Protest rock continues and rightly so. I'm a big fan of CSNY and Buffalo Springfield.
And an arresting new PBS special reveals these fresh slabs of protest rock have had a lot of company over the past 100 years. Get Up, Stand Up: The Story of Pop and Protest debuts at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Orlando PBS affiliate WMFE.

With no apologies to my Bono-bashing friend, banishing politics and protest from pop music would be like making Dali paint using only straight lines.

In "Get Up, Stand Up," rapper Chuck D, who hosts the program, says, "Somebody asked me 'What are your favorite protest songs?' My life is a protest song."

Chuck, you convinced me of that in 1990, when you and your hip-hop group, Public Enemy, unleashed "Fear of a Black Planet." Listening as you and your joker-man sidekick, Flava Flav, tossed verbal napalm at white American hegemony -- "the power some got to get a nigger shot" -- was like dancing a tango with a cobra. Hearing "Fear of a Black Planet" for the first time was one of the most stunning hours I've ever spent listening to music.

The PBS special chronicles many such moments, from workers' rights troubadour Joe Hill in the early 1900s, to Billy Holiday's unsettling anti-lynching song "Strange Fruit," to provocative works by James Brown, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Nina Simone, MC5, Sly and the Family Stone, Marvin Gaye, Bruce Springsteen, the Sex Pistols and many others, who championed causes ranging from anti-war movements to civil rights for blacks, women and gays,

Do any of pop's protest songs make a difference? Writer Harlan Ellison once ridiculed the very idea in a magazine interview, and he's joined by many others.

However, in the PBS show, Bobby Muller of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation credits Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." with restoring dignity to him and other Vietnam vets, claiming the song "transformed us from social lepers to contemporary folk heroes."

Also, Edwin Starr of "War" fame relates how his brother, a Marine serving in Vietnam, called from that country to say the song "has made such an impact on everybody." Hmmmm. I wonder how many people today would claim Starr's anti-war song would have a demoralizing effect on our troops in Iraq?

"People like us probably didn't have any real answers," says Graham Nash. "But at least we brought up the questions."

Whether the Rolling Stones or Green Day have any impact these days, it's refreshing to have pop's protest tradition continued.
Jack Abramoff has bragged about ties to the Bush Administration.
Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff bragged two years ago that he was in contact with White House political aide Karl Rove on behalf of a large, Bermuda-based corporation that wanted to avoid incurring some taxes and continue receiving federal contracts, according to a written statement by President Bush's nominee to be deputy attorney general.
That doesn't play well with me. We need a strong candidate to run against Tom Delay.

Bob Marley will have a new single later this year. The song is named "Slogans" and features Eric Clapton on guitar in the same way that "Free as a Bird" was released in 1995.

I wish I could say the same. Only a miracle would be the cause for a Kentucky victory this weekend.

The Red Sox play 10 more games this season. Currently, they are down to the Yankees by one game.

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