Thursday, December 5, 2013
by Katie Kuntz, Emma McCatchley, Brooke Beirhaus featuring special guest, Janet Schlapkohl!
A lost hero
Nelson Mandela died this morning at 95 years old. President Obama addressed the heroic life of Nelson Mandela at 4:00 today. Nelson Mandela has a long list of credits, but he is most known for leading the struggle against the South Africa regime. He was South Africa’s first black president and was a Noble prize winner in 1993. Mandela was inprisoned for 27 years, but after he was released, his first statement to the press was, “let by gones be bygones.” This speaks highly to his character. Mandela will forever be remembered as a global hero. South African president Jason Zuma said earlier that “he is marked by his forgiveness, gentle nature, and dignity.” While Nelson Mandela’s death will be mourned, his life will certainly be celebrated as one of the greatest men in history.
Fight for $15
A nationwide strike is effecting fast-food restaurants in over 25 cities today. Fast-food restaurant workers across the US are staging a 24-hour strike in protest against low wages. The union wants the federal minimum wage to be increased from $7.25 per hour to $15 an hour. The walkouts were reported in New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Detroit, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh. Organizers hope workers in as many as 100 cities will participate in what is the latest in a series of such actions to increase the hourly minimum wage.
President Obama has backed the senate’s measure to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10, but those on strike are wanting more. Nearly 100 protestors picketed a Wendy’s restaurant in Brooklyn, New York with signs that said “stick together for $15/hr”. Kachelle Krump, 23, works at a Burger King in the area. She reportedly works 16-to-20 hours a week and wants more hours, but management has been unresponsive.
She said, “I have a child who is seven years old – she’s in school, she needs things. Burger King is a billion dollar company, share a little.”
But economists on this campus wonder what the real outcome of an increase in the federal minimum wage might mean for workers. Some question whether companies like McDonald’s and Burger King will be willing to take the loss in profits, or if they will ultimately end up laying off workers or – maybe just as problematic for some dollar menu lovers, increasing their prices!
Social media, a tool for crisis situations too
Twitter can be an amusing way to pass time, stalk your celebrity crush, or stay updated with the latest news and media. But what if your daily Twitter feed was the way you were told that a loved one had died? For a woman in Vancouver yesterday afternoon, this scenario was real. Caran Johnson follows police updates in Washington, and saw that there was an accident on the Interstate 205. She ended up live tweeting about her husbands death.
She first tweeted, quote “this accident sounds horrible” end quote. The tweets then started to get frantic as she couldn’t get a hold of her husband and the car in the accident sounded like his vehicle. One tweet said “I’m trying not to panic, but my husband left work early and he drives 205 to get home. he’s not answering his phone.” The live tweeting ended with these two last tweets: “its him. he died,” and “Thank you all for the prayers and thoughts. I will reply later tonight.”
New Iowa energy
A company out of Dubuque Iowa is planning on building the state’s largest solar panel setup, tripling the size of the current solar power plant. The new set of solar panels could cover anywhere from five to seven acres of would be farmland in Kalona, Iowa and could eventually produce as much as one million kilowatt hours of energy annually. To put that in some perspective, the average US household consumes 10,000 kilowatt hours per year, so this potentially could provide services for about 100 homes. The project is expected to begin in March, but estimated costs have not yet been released.
This news comes on the same day that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad slams the Obama Administration for cutting the amount of ethanol produced on Iowa Farms by slashing the renewable fuel standards mandate. Governor Branstad reportedly said “people in Iowa feel betrayed when somebody who has been an advocate for renewable fuels and a supporter of this, his administration has reversed course and is going to cut the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Branstad said in a blistering attack against the oil industry and the Obama administration. “This is going to drive us into what could be another farm crisis. It makes no sense. They need to listen to the people in the heartland that know what is going on.”
And as we look ahead to what may become another farm crisis, our guest today will speaks about her own experience with the 1980s farm crisis, check out her full interview at the end of this post!
This weekend in arts!
The University of Iowa’s Dance Department has teamed up with the School of Music, School
of Art and Art History, Theater Department, and Center for the Book for a Collaborative
Performance this weekend at North Hall’s Space Place Theater. All these student artists and
faculty have lent their creativity and skill to putting together a single performance. Though I
can’t say what exactly the Collaborative Performance has in store for audiences, organizers
say it has a little bit of something for everybody. You can check out the performance at 8 p.m.
today, or anytime through Saturday.
Comedy for a cause!
A few years ago, local comedian Nathan Timmel discovered he could use his talents to earn
more than a little pocket money. He volunteered to perform at a charity event, and then later to
help raise over $4,000 for a woman who’s fiancé was in coma, and was facing massive medical
bills. From then on, Timmel said he was hooked on hosting charity shows—and the Comedy
for Charity Showcase was born. This year’s incarnation of the event will take place at the Mill
this Saturday at 8 p.m., featuring professional comedians Mike Marvell, Daniel Frana, and Colin
Ryan. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Johnson County fire departments. So to get a
few laughs while supporting a good cause, check out this year’s Comedy for Charity Showcase.
Jazz and rock at the Yacht Club!
The eclectic band Marbin will perform at the Yacht Club this Saturday at 10 p.m. Two of the
group’s member are from Chicago, while the other two—the guitarist and saxophonist—are
from Israel. Marbin combines these different cultures to create a rock and jazz fusion sound
with a bit of Southern gospel and traditional Israeli sound thrown in. Their live shows are
apparently equally dynamic, with more serious performing at the beginning to looser, more
rowdy tunes towards the end. The band is currently preparing to release their fourth album,
called Third Set, in January, so I’m sure you’ll get a preview of their new music this Saturday.
Some Christmas shopping?
The Holiday Thieves Market is back at the Iowa Memorial Union this Saturday and Sunday
starting at 10 a.m. The market has been around since the 1970s when UI art students wanted a
way to sell and display their original work on campus. Now, the market features student art as
well as works from dozens of other Midwestern artisans. You can peruse paintings, ceramics,
photographs, wood-working, drawings, metal, glass, jewelry, and fiber art at this year’s Holiday
Thieves Market, and maybe snag a gift or two for the family. Or yourself, whichever works.
She’s the star
If you were out of Iowa City celebrating Thanksgiving last weekend, you might have missed the
premiere of Riverside Theater’s new one-woman show Coming of Age in Chore Boots. But if you
were around and able to secure a ticket to one of the three performances before they all sold
out, you know what made Riverside audiences give three standing ovations this weekend. The
short answer would be Janet Schlapkohl, who wrote Coming of Age in Chore Boots about her
own experiences as a Midwestern girl growing up in the 60s and 70s during the Vietnam War
and Iowa’s Farm Crisis, an agricultural recession which changed the landscape of Iowa farms
forever. She is also the only actor in the play, performing as herself and many of the people she
interacted with growing up. We have Janet in the studio with us today to talk about her this new
one-woman show, which will continue performances tonight through Sunday afternoon.
Hear more from Emma and Janet here!