Saturday, August 12

Open Letter to Ken Mehlman on Lamont, Lieberman and Iraq

Dear Mr Melman,

On Aug 9th I received in my inbox a message from you and your committee. Although I'm a Democrat, I try to keep an open mind - so I listen to both sides of every argument. Even yours. But this time you and your party have gone beyond the pale.

In politics, there are turning points that can define a political party for decades to come. Yesterday's defeat of Senator Joe Lieberman in the Democrat primary in Connecticut is such a moment. Because he stood for a strong national defense and victory in Iraq, Joe Lieberman was successfully targeted for defeat.

For a political party to reject a respected Senator who just six years ago was its candidate for Vice President is virtually without precedent. It speaks volumes about the new Democrat Party: if you stand for a strong defense and victory in the War on Terror, you have no place in the party and you must be purged.

"Purged for supporting a strong defense"? Ken, with all due respect, what fresh crock of shit is this?

In one sense you are correct, it is unprecedented, it does represent the rise of a New Democratic Party in America - one which obviously makes people like yourself quite afraid, what with the impending bloodbath you're facing in November - even I dare say, driving you to brink of Dementia, because that's just about all that explains your current behavior. Just look at this: Go on, look at it - I know you wrote it and put it out there, but did you even look at it first?

The message from Connecticut is clear, and Ned Lamont isn't alone. He is joined by Rep. John Murtha, architect of the Democrats' position on Iraq and the man who wants to be the next House Majority Leader, who claims America is more dangerous than Iran and North Korea and says, "We've become the enemy." And by Howard Dean, who calls the idea of victory in Iraq "just plain wrong."

Now Ken, I'm sure you realize that Democrats can actually read, right? We know how to Google! (I've even heard of some Republicans who are familiar with "The Internets". It's "a series of Tubes", don't cha know?) And it's amazing too, with it you can just go look up what John Murtha actually said a realize that he didn't say that "America is more dangerous than Iran and North Korea"...

He didn't even say "We" have become the enemy, he said our troops have become to seen as the enemy by the Iraqi people.

From the Washington Post:


QUESTION: Congressman, Republicans say that Democrats who are calling for withdrawal are a advocating a cut-and-run strategy. What do you say to that criticism?

MURTHA: It's time to bring them home. They've done everything they can do. The military has done everything they can do. This war has been so mishandled from the very start. Not only was the intelligence bad, the way they disbanded the troops. There's all kinds of mistakes have been made.

They don't deserve to continue to suffer. They're the targets. They have become the enemy. Eighty percent of the Iraqis want us out of there. The public wants us out of there.

Let me just emphasize Murtha's point by noting that most polls today state that 62% of the Public Disapprove of the Presidents handling of Iraq. 59% feel that the Iraq wasn't worth fighting for. 53% feel that the U.S. military forces in Iraq should be decreased. 57% feel that there should be a timetable for withdrawal. 64% feel that the Bush Administration does not have a clear plan for Iraq.

Sorry, but "Just Wait" is not a plan. Murtha Continued.


There's times you just got to -- you got to change your mind about this thing, you got to change your direction. There's times when you just got to say, "What's the right thing to do?" The right thing to do -- our troops are the enemy, they're the targets.

When I went to Anbar province, General Huck (ph) said to me, "You know, the thing that's so discouraging? We got all this armor and everything, and the snipers are shooting right below the helmets." They blowing the turrets off tanks no matter how much armor that we put out there.

We're the targets. We're uniting the enemy against us. And there's terrorism all over the world that there wasn't before we went into Iraq.

I do recall that the President himself has pointed out that the world is an increasingly dangerous place.

It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America.

I also recall that the definition of continuing to repeatedly do something and suddenly expect a different result from that which you've been receiving - for four years now -- is insanity.

Ken, my friend - (and I can call you my friend right?) - I say this purely as a friend, not a partisan, this isn't the Democrat in me speaking, it's the fellow American talking.

One American to another: Ken, I'm afraid you've lost your fucking mind.

As Hunter pointed out today - as many Iraqis have died in the last few months as Americans died on 9-11. The Violence and strife is increasing, not decreasing. If our goal was to bring stabiilty and peace to the region - we are failing at that goal. When Howard Dean said that the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," - it's clear that he meant that fighting the war they way were are now - is a losing strategy.

He also said:


"I think we need a strategic redeployment over a period of two years," Dean said. "Bring the 80,000 National Guard and Reserve troops home immediately. They don't belong in a conflict like this anyway. We ought to have a redeployment to Afghanistan of 20,000 troops, we don't have enough troops to do the job there and its a place where we are welcome. And we need a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq but in a friendly neighboring country to fight (terrorist leader Musab) Zarqawi, who came to Iraq after this invasion. We've got to get the target off the backs of American troops.

Right now, Iraq is the shooting gallery and our troops are the sitting ducks - they're nothing more than the bait in the flytrap and that needs to change. Both Murtha and Dean are talking about what we should be doing - which is Fight Terrorism - not Iraqis. The Iraqi people are not our enemy.

I know someone may have forgetten to slip you the memo in all the confusion over the last couple years, but it turns out that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11.

Yes, really. Nothing. President said so over two years ago.

US President George Bush has said there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks.

The comments - among his most explicit so far on the issue - come after a recent opinion poll found that nearly 70% of Americans believed the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks.

"We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks," Mr Bush told reporters as he met members of Congress on energy legislation.

Many Americans believe that some of the hijackers were Iraqi - when none were - and that the attacks had been orchestrated by Baghdad, despite any concrete evidence to support that.

Saddam had no links to Al Qaeda either, the CIA has long ago shown that bin Laden didn't trust Saddam - he considered him an Apostate ruler, one worthy of nothing except annihilation.

And I don't care what Rick (lame duck) Sanitorium says - Saddam didn't have WMD's. Saddam wasn't trying to restart his Nuclear Program and even if he had -- every indication was that he wouldn't have used it against us anyway.

Not unless we attacked him...uh...oops.

Now his using them against Iran I'm not so sure of... but if he had done that, wouldn't he pretty much be our bestest of buddies again? Y'know, considering and all...

According to what Gen. Abizaid told Lindsey Graham just last week, there are only 1000 Al Qaeda fighters left in Iraq. (And all indications are that they came there specificallly to fight us after we removed Saddam) If we left, they'd have no one to fight. They'd be the sitting ducks without the support of the locals who want us out, and don't you think 200,000 Iraqi troops can handle a measly 1000 Al Qaeda guys without us looking over their shoulder every step of the way?

If they can't after all this time, then whatever nitwit trained and equiped them should get shit-canned - like right now. I wonder who that could be..?

Oh, and Zarqawi is dead - did you hear? It was even on Fox News, so I'm sure you saw it- right? We got him with a bomber, didn't even need any troops. (We even have pictures - lots of them - see?) No boots on the ground needed. Point and Shoot. BOOM. Gone. Now we're ready for next problem.

That's how this should be handled, ok?

And by the way, you really need to give Dick Cheney a call - he seems like he needs hug. and you're probably just the guy to give it to him. (I'm just saying... you seem like you really know how to give a guy the affection he really needs)

Vice President Dick Cheney, [who] went so far as to suggest that the ouster of Mr. Lieberman might encourage "al Qaeda types."

"It's an unfortunate development, I think, from the standpoint of the Democratic Party, to see a man like Lieberman pushed aside because of his willingness to support an aggressive posture in terms of our national security strategy,'' Mr. Cheney said in a telephone interview with news service reporters.

Is Cheney saying that those who opposed Leiberman, support Al Qaeda? That the only viable strategy for battling terrorism is to continue on the present course of increased destruction in Iraq and nothing else? C'mon - he's just kidding right?

I understand that Politics has become a bloodsport in recent years - that people have grown very sharp elbows. But to suggest that the Democratic Party has become the party of the Taliban is just plain nuts. Nobody would seriously suggest such a thing would they?

Oh wait -- what's this column I see from Cal Thomas on Taliban Democrats.

They used to be "San Francisco Democrats," a phrase coined by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick to describe the party's 1984 convention. But they have now morphed into Taliban Democrats because they are willing to "kill" one of their own, if he does not conform to the narrow and rigid agenda of the party's kook fringe.

Kill one of their own? Somebody tell Thomas this was an election, not a lynching. People lose elections all the time, just ask George - he's lost two of them and he's still around isn't he?

And "Kook fringe"? Would that be the 59% of all American "Kooks" who think Iraq isn't worth fighting for or the 57% who think we should have a timetable for redeployment?

What is wrong with Democrats? Can't they see that when the face of their party belongs to ultra-leftists like George McGovern, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, they lose? For those who still believe not only in a strong two-party system, but also in compromise and conciliation in order to promote the general welfare and seek the common good, the Lieberman defeat strikes an especially harmful blow.

Compromise and Concilliation? When are where exactly have Republicans engaged in compromise and concilliation with Democrats during the last six years? Heck, during the last 12? Democratic Bills go nowhere. Conference Commitee Reports get signed by the President without the approval of both Houses. Republicans have even threated the "Nuclear Option" of revoking the filibuster, and people like Cal Thomas claim that Democrats aren't concilliatory enough? What are they supposed to do next, genuflect and kiss the ring as Republicans pass?

Pardon my plain clear English but - FUCK THAT.

I have to say it again, this is nuts. I know I may be waisting my time here - I realize that the deep and serious dementia that seems to have gripped the Republican party may be too strong. I'm reminded of line by Poe (the singer, not the poet) : "You can't talk to a PSYCHO - like a normal human being"

But not All Republicans fall into this category. I'm a fair minded person Ken, so I have to point out to you that some of your own seemed to have jumped the shark in recent days. Like Senator John Warner who suggested the time may have come to end our involvement in Iraq.

The 2002 resolution authorizing military force, Warner noted, called for U.S. forces to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq" and to enforce all relevant U.N. resolutions.

"Many of those missions set out and envisioned by the Congress when it gave this authority - namely, the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime - have been achieved," Warner said.

Abizaid didn't respond directly to Warner's suggestion but said he was hopeful that civil war could still be avoided.

Is Warner a member of the "Taliban" now? He seems to be on the right track and is in sync with the majority of the American people - like Murtha and Dean - but at this point I have to admit that I think Cheney and Thomas are pretty much Meshuggah. I mean, Dick shot a man in the face then went off to have a few cocktails at dinner. That ain't normal, dig? But you're not a Psycho are ya Ken? Geez, I hope not - cuz that would kinda suck for the Republicans wouldn't it?

Let me try and break this down for ya - in normal person talk.

This Administration, with it's lackeys in Congress -- including Leiberman - have been stearing this country directly into an Iceberg called Iraq. It's time to turn the wheel and avoid this disaster before it rips an economic, foreign policy and military hole in our side so deep we'll never be able to patch it up.


We're taking on water Ken, and it's getting deeper every second. Every time another innocent Iraqi is killed in the sectarian strife that has been unfolding every since the bombing of the Golden Mosque, every time one of our own soldiers is killed by an IED or sniper the water rises another inch, and every week it keep rising faster.

According to last weeks Armed Services Commitee Hearing we're the verge of a Civil War in Iraq. If one breaks out, it will be the Sunni Insurgents (with al Qaeda ties) against the Shiite Militia and their Death Squads (who along with Prime Minister Malliki support Hezbollah). Which side do we take? Al Qaeda or Hezbollah? What's it gonna be Ken - Paper or Plastic? You've got to make a decision, which one will it be?

But then again wouldn't it be wiser to just get out of the way - let them kill each other and simply have Allah sort it all out? You Republicans certain understand the rationale of letting them die over there, so we don't have to feel sorry for them over here. (Re: Bosnia and Darfur), right?

And maybe then we might be able to focus on like -- AL QAEDA. Possibly even finally catch or kill Bin Laden and Mullah Omar, y'know - the guys who actually did plan and execute 9-11? Seems to me like they're still at it, and that fighting terrorism generally works better when you fight actual terrorists!

I'm just saying - that it's worth considering is all.

Your (Democrat) Friend.

Vyan

Friday, August 11

New Terrorist Plan, Same as the Old Plan

The recent revelations of an advanced plot to use liquid bombs to destroy planes flying into the United States from Europe have thrown the White House and Airlines into a veritable tizzy.

New rules forbidding passengers to bring drink and gels have been instituted. But shouldn't these types of precautions have already been put in place long ago considering the fact that this plot is nearly identitical to previous plane bombing plans from the Phillipines in 1995 and Chechnya in 2004?

Yesterday I rushed to call in to Randi Rhodes after first hearing about the British Plot, now I have details.

The Airline Bombing Plot was originally hatched by Ramzi Yousef (the original WTC Bomber) in collaboration with Khallid Shiek Mohammad (Mastermind of 9-11) in Manilla and known as Project Bojinka. (When I spoke with Randi on the air I had mentioned Mohommad Atta as being involved, but that was incorrect - I was thinking of Yousef. We also briefly discussed the Millenium Bomb Plot to destroy LAX)

From Phillipine Headline News;

The use of hijacked commercial planes to attack key structures in the US was hatched in the Philippines by the men of Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden in 1994.

The plane attack, code named Project Bojinka, was hatched by Bin Laden's men Ramzie Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad and Wali Khan, who were convicted in the US for the first bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993.

Under Project Bojinka, Bin LadenÕs group would hijack US-bound commercial aircraft from the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore and crash them into key structures in the US.

The authorities learned of Project Bojinka from diskettes that were seized along with bomb paraphernalia from suspected terrorists during a raid on their hideout on Jan. 7, 1995.

Murad, among the suspects arrested by local law enforcers, admitted during questioning that they had been frequenting the Philippines to establish a cell for their group. He also told US and Philippine authorities that he had been taking flying lessons in the country in preparation for the attacks they were planning on the headquarters of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters and Central Intelligence Agency. Murad was subsequently extradited to the US along with Yousef, who was caught in Pakistan, and Khan, who was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Let me repeat that this information came from 1995 - eleven years ago.

Wikipedia on Project Bojinka.

The next plan would have involved at least five Al-Qaeda operatives, including Yousef, Khan, Shah and two more unknown operatives. Starting on January 21, 1995 and ending on January 22, 1995, they would set the bombs on 11 United States-bound airliners that had stopovers all around East Asia and Southeast Asia. All of the flights had two legs. The bombs would be planted inside life jackets under seats on the first leg, when each bomber would disembark. He would then board one or two more flights and repeat. After all of the bombers planted bombs on all of the flights, each man would then catch flights to Lahore, Pakistan. The men never needed U.S. visas, as they only would have stayed on the planes on their first legs in Asia.

The bombs would have been timed before the operatives stepped off the planes. The aircraft would have blown up over the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea almost simultaneously. If this plan worked, several thousand would have perished, and air travel would have been shut down worldwide for days, if not weeks. The U.S. government estimated the prospective death toll to be about 4,000 if the plot had been executed.

Common household items were to be used, with explosives hidden inside innocuous objects.

The "Mark II" "microbombs" had Casio digital watches as the timers, stabilizers that looked like cotton wool balls, and an undetectable nitroglycerin as the explosive. Other ingredients included glycerin, nitrate, sulfuric acid, and minute concentrations of nitrobenzene, silver azide (silver trinitride), and liquid acetone. Two 9-volt batteries in each bomb were used as a power source. The batteries would be connected to light bulb filaments that would detonate the bomb.

This plot would have been massive and according to the 9-11 report some of the complexity of it daunted Bin Laden. On page 154 of the report.

KSM describes a grandiose original plan: a total of ten aircraft to be hijacked, nine of which would crash into targets on both coasts -- they included those eventually hit on September 11th plus CIA and FBI headquarters, nuclear power plants and the tallest buildings in California ["Liberty/Library" Tower anyone?] and the state of Washington.

There is every indication that 9 years later, this plan was actually put into place over the skies of Russia.

In 2004 two planes were almost simultaneously destroyed over Chechnya. Volga-AviaExpress Flight 1303 and Siberia Airlines Flight 1047 both crashed on August 24. 89 persons were killed including two Chechnian women - roomates - who appear to have been cause of the crashes. The Russian reaction was swift.

President Vladimir Putin immediately ordered the Federal Security Service (FSB) to investigate the crashes. By August 28, the FSB had found traces of the explosive hexogen in the remains of both planes. Itar-Tass news agency reported on August 30, 2004, "without a shadow of a doubt", the FSB security service said that "both airplanes were blown up as a result of a terrorist attack".

A previously unknown group called the Islambouli Brigades claimed responsibility; the truth of those claims remains uncertain. The Islambouli Brigades have also claimed that five of their members were on each plane; experts are skeptical about the possibility of (and the need for) so many terrorists on board.

And the destruction of these two planes was just the beginning of much broader and violent attacks in Chechnya.

On August 31, 2004 a bomb killed 10 at a Moscow subway station, and then the Beslan hostage crisis began on September 1, 2004 which would leave over 335 people dead, many of them children.

After the death of the children Russian President Vladimir Putin then began a security crackdown so broad and intense, even George W. Bush blanched. He's continued to chid Putin even to this very day, mentioning at the recent G8 conferences that Russian should be more Democratic and open - Y'know - like Iraq.

Now it may seem quite a stretch to presume that two independant bombings 9 years apart and in two distinctly different parts of the world are in fact connected -- but there are reasons for my mentioning them contained in the text of former Bin Ladin Desk Chief Michael Sheuer's book "Imperial Hubris" where he describes Afghanistan and Chechnya as the "two major Islamic Insurgencies" in the world as of 2004.

Bin Ladin has long expressed his support for the Chenchnian Insurgence against Russia, and although Sheuer surmisses that his support has not extended to "command and control" he has been in all likelyhood been able to provide them with guidance and materials. Whether or not he and/or al Qaeda were directly involved in the Russia Plane Bombing, it's key to note that the two year anniversary of that event is less than two weeks away. The staging of this new British plot so soon to that date is suspicious, and the value of a repeat of that attack on or near it's anniversay can not be denied as a powerful symbol of the Worldwide Jihad that Bin Laden craves.

Also, the coordination of simultaneous attacks is an Al Qaeda signature - one that they employed in the original Bojinka plan as well as the East Africa Bombings of 1998. Scheuer on Bin Laden's long term goals.

He brilliantly focused his inciting rhetoric on the substantial international issues of most interest to Muslims, ones that play to his central goal of driving the United States from the Middle East and all of the Islamic World. Bin Laden's foreign policy goals, if they may be so termed, are six in number and easily stated.

First, the end of all U.S. aid to Israel, the elimination of the Jewish state, and in it's stead, the creation of an Islamic Palestinian State.

Second, the withdrawal of all U.S. and Western Military forces from the Arabian Peninsula-- a shift of most units from Saudi Arabia to Qatar fools no one Muslims and will not cut the mustard-- and all Muslim Territory.

Third, the end of all U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Forth, the end of U.S. support for, and acquiescense in, the oppression of Muslims by the Chinese, Russian, Indian, and other governments.

Fifth, restoration of full Muslim control over the Islamic world's energy resources and a return to market prices, ending the impoverishment of Muslims caused by oil prices set by Arab regimes to placate the West.

Sixth, the replacement of U.S.-protected Muslim regimes that do not govern according to Islam by regimes that do. For bin Laden, only Mullah Omar's (pre-U.S. invasion) Afghanistan met this criteria; othe Muslim regimes are dcandidates for annihilation.

Bin Laden does not plan to achieve these goals either through Military Might or through simple fear-mongering. His method is to inspire our own panic attack of militarism and runaway spending. He wishes that we destroy ourselves, destroy out own economy by overextending ourselves and collapsing as did the Soviet Union after years fo fruitless and expensive war in Afghanistan.

If the U.S. were to collapse internally, we would no longer have the resources or ability to project our will into the Muslim World. We wouldn't be able to protect Israel - which would then face a very serious threat from the combined forces of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. We would be forced into a total retreat to deal with our own New Great Depression - leaving al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Sunni and Shiite's to battle over the Islam world and it's dwindling resources with our interferance.

Everything Bin Laden and Al Qaeda atempt are steps toward achieving these goals.

The key difference between the Clinton reaction when Project Bojinka was exposed and thwarted, not to mention the thwarting of the attempted bombing of LAX in 2000, and the attempted bombing of the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels is that Clinton changed how the Government functioned (by opening the Bin Laden Desk for example, which Bush has recently decided t to shutdown). He didn't let these events significantly change our way of life or economy. He didn't exploit them as a chance to campaign and bang on the terrorist drum as President Bush has done.

This country is safer than it was prior to 9/11. We've taken a lot of measures to protect the American people. But obviously, we're still not completely safe, because there are people that still plot and people who want to harm us for what we believe in. It is a mistake to believe there is no threat to the United States of America. And that is why we have given our officials the tools they need to protect our people.

As most of us know, many of the measures taken by this Administration have included kidnapping, torture and other War Crimes. Bush sees this as an oppurtunity to continue to grab power whlle driving our deficit through the roof.

He's playing directly into Bin Laden's hands, slowly turning America into a paranoid police state, while giving himself high-fives for Britains succees of using law enforcement to stop terrorists while our own FBI is chasing and entraping a bunch of clueless Florida dullards, and own military is trapped in the endless boondoggle of Iraq. We're going to continue to lose the real War on Terror, the economic war, as long as each time Bin Laden spends $100,000 we spend $100 Billion.

And we should be afraid, very afraid - of exactly how Bush is going to give Osama exactly what he wants next.

Vyan

Wednesday, August 9

Rock Star Supernova : Week 6 Elimination

Well it was bound to happen. Just like last year, there had to be a double elimination in order for the total number of episodes to line up in the end. That double whammy was tonight, but before I get into that let's talk about the encore songs - both of them.

Lukas finally popped his cherry and had his first one. I would dare say he sang Creep better this time with a lot more precision and clarity through the head voice portion of the song. It's too bad MSN doesn't make the elimination song available for download. He still has a habit of stumbling around the stage like a drunk epileptic - but oh well, you can't have everything. He sounded nice.

Next up was Magni, who reprised Dolphin's Cry from last night, but instead of doing it acoustically - rocked it out with the House Band. I have to say I think encoring the song differently is first for both seasons. Some people had complained that his performance last night was too close to Ed Kowalzick's (sp) original, but this time out it was definately all Magni. I don't think I've heard him do so much of a song with stress vocals before. What both my wife and I thought was really interesting and impressive was the three of four syllabals of higher notes where Magni switched into to head-voice and almost instantaneously back out of it again to chest voice. That's fucking hard to do. Non-singers probably wouldn't notice, but it's like shifting your car from 5th to 2nd gear and back again without losing any speed. What it makes me wonder though is if Magni did it because he had to do it to hit those notes. If so, I think we may have just found the top of Magni's chest voice range, and it's not that far up there. If so, there's no way that Magni could have sung Creep, because you have to do it in full on chest voice - firewalling the throttle in 5th gear - or it simply doesn't work. Mr. Perfect actually does have his own brand of Krptonite.

Hmm...

Again, it's a real shame this won't be available for download.

I have to say I wasn't surprised by the five people who had to stand (Jill, Zayra, Patrice, Josh and Ryan) in preparation for the announcement of the bottom 3. Some might have been surpised by Ryan, but as I said about his performance yesterday - it was just a little too forced and left-fieldy. Maybe in his normal career the kind of theatrics he displayed on "Paint it black" are more common, but with his very staid wardrobe of dark t-shirts, ripped jeans and wallet chains - it came completely out of nowheres-ville. I didn't think most people would buy it, and they didn't. There's only room for one male freak-z-zoid in this contest, and Lukas is already it.

Jill was picked to sing for survival first and she did an appreciable version of "Respect" - but her claims that she "rocked it out" where nothing more than hype. Of anyone in this contest, she has the best pipes. She been able to handle Janis Joplin and Ann Wilson with ease. The only song she had a hard time with so far was Evanescence in week 2, but otherwise she's actually had a tendency to have more power than is really neccesary for the song - like on the Simple Minds song on week 4. This time she hit it out of the park vocally and as usual commanded the stage, but that wasn't where the problems were.

The first problem was the white-bread wannabe clusterfunk of an arrangement. Look, people - if you want to do funk and do it right the first think you have to do is slow... it....downnnnnn. Funky groves work off the counter-beats, the rythms between the downbeats and if things are too fast it simply doesn't groove and comes off as more punky than funky. If you happen to be a neo-punk outfit like the Chili Peppers that can work, but you have to commit to the punk. You can't half-ass it, and this was not even a quarter assed. More like flat-assed. It wasn't funky and it didn't come anywhere close to rocking. If you want to hear someone rock out an Aretha Franklin song, I'd suggest you listen to "Chain of Fools" by Little Caesar - which will rock your ass off and is also Funky as all get out. Or you could use the example of Bulletboys doing the O'Jay's "For the Love of Money" - and both of these songs are actually a lot like what Supernova is headed toward sounding like. Somewhat updated to be sure, but in that ballpark.

Let me point out that Aretha wasn't the first person to do "Respect", it was written and first performed by Otis Redding and his version is nothing like hers. She added the gospel tinge and the entire "R.E.S.P.E.C.T." with the backing vocals going "Sock it too me". Jill had a great opputunity to do something that was common last year, but almost no one has done so far this time, which is use the elimination song as an opputunity to show what they might sound like doing a Supernova-styled song. They now know what SN sounds like. Taking a cue from L-Ceasar of B-Boys reworking of classic R&B might have helped, but unfortunately Jill cluelessly pissed that chance away.

Next up was Josh, he decided to completely ignore the advice/warning from yesterday about hiding behind his guitar during a performance and decided to do it again, this time on a "Shooting Star" by Bad Company. Correction - Bad song choice. I mentioned yesterday that it's pretty difficult to rock and a guitar and sing, but it's not impossible. You just have to put some effort into it. One thing you can do is use a headphone mic like Britney Spears or Garth Brooks. Yeah, I know "Rocker's don't do that" - to which I have to say some rockers need to grow the F up. If it works, do it. Another option is to simply to dance while you play. I'm not saying do the "funky chicken", but just put don't just bob you head back and forth like Josh did - lean back, sway, swing your arms, spread your legs, stomp your feet - -fucking DO SOMETHING. You may not be able to move far, but you can move.

All this time they've been practically begging Josh to ROCK - damnit just ROCK willya - and he just refuses to do it. It's not like you have to lose "the soul", you don't. Eric Martin of Mr. Big has made that absolutely clear, and sure they may be mostly known for the acoustic ballad "To be with you" - that band used to really fucking ROCK, with Billy Sheehan on Bass, shred-master Paul Gilbert on guitar and Martin, whose career previously had been largely doing R&B and soul.

Third and last was Ryan, with his first appearance in the bottom three - just one week after he received the encore, which only goes to show that what SN digs isn't always what the fans dig. At this point it's not about individual performances, it's about the overall package and Ryan's slack jawed, sallow eyed Bill Joelish New Yorker thang isn't working for a lot of people. He's begun to show that he's a great singer, but he's just plain clumsy on stage. On this performance, which was an awesome reworking of Depeche Modes "Enjoy the Silence' was powerful and mezmerizing. This boy has been on fire since Week 4. He did here exactly what he needed to do - show Supernova how they might look and sound with Ryan leading them. In fact, I had a moment there while watching Ryan where I finally thought - "Holy Crap, this guy could win this thing!"

Yet again, it really sucks that you can't get these songs - because I really want this one - badly.

Unfortunately the only thing holding him back is the fact that he's a klutz, and I've finally figured out exactly how he could fix the problem. A now former friend of mine once dragged me kicking and screaming to see Dream Theater. And I F#&KING GOD D*#N HATE DREAM THEATER. He knew it, I've told him this many times - but I am generally a loyal friend and he had no one else who would go with him - and he really didn't care how I or most other people felt most of the time (Wonder why he's an "ex"? Wonder no more). So I went. Yeah, I was a dumbass. Now sure those guys can really play, and I appreciate guys who can play - but after the first 15-minutes opus it's about as interesting as watching people shove beams of wood into a chipper. I'd seen these guys ten years before and just couldn't take it - I may have paid for the tickets, but back then I walked out.

This time was no different (except that my ex-pal was paying this time - which goes to show just how desperate he was for company - anyones company), I spent most of the performance in the lobby hanging with the vendors, and noticing that most of the band photos had the singer standing waaaayyy in the back, like he was a hired hand or something. (Clue! He basically is and acts like it)

But before I went outside I figured out Dream Theater's biggest problem, their singer James Lebrie has the stage presence of squished gerbal that's just been rescued from Richard Gere's butt. Lebrie has a habit of aimlessly pacing the stage, back and forth - forth and back - while he sings. Even he looks bored, like he can't wait for his obligatory back-stage blowjob to begin. The worse part was made evident when Dream Theater's original singer stepped up for a song, and totally blew La Brie away. There was one simple thing he did that put him light-years beyond Jamie-boy, besides the fact that he doesn't whine when he sings, and that's the fact that when he moved around the stage - he did it in time with the music. In fact, everything he did was either in response to, or to emphasize something going on musically. It's just too bad their previous guy is a) balding and b) pot-bellied while Labrie is well-maned, slim, trim and as interesting to watch as roadkill on the interstate.

Ryan's got Labrie Syndrome(tm) - he stumbles around the stage like he's looking for his car keys or something, and he's always out of time with the song. Even Lukas's drunken stumbling is at least close to the beat -but Ryan literally looks lost, because musically- he is lost.



Still Ryan has got far too much juice after his last two performances - so tonights exiting hamsters were both Josh and Jill. I have to say - they had to go. They're both hopeless, and I don't care what Dave says - they're probably going nowhere after this. They have just peaked and it's all downhill from here.

Don't believe me? Who was the number 9 and 10 performer from Season Two of American Idol? And just remember, American Idol is much more popular than Rock Star. Unfortunately J&J just missed their oppurtunity to sign up for that show - auditions were held the day before they were released tonight, at the freaking Rosebowl. (By comparision The LA Rock Star Auditions had about 220 people - total)

Vyan

Rock Star : Week 6 Performances

Well, this was a week of surprises and not all of them pleasant.

First up was Dilana doing her version of The Who's "Won't get fooled again" with Gilby - and I have to say I was disappointed. Don't get me wrong, Dilana was fine - but in nearly all of her performances so far she's been able to bring a special something to the performance. Something electric and chilling at the same time. This time - fffftt! Sure, she commanded the stage and had some nice interplay with Gilby, but it really didn't work for me. I honestly felt that Dana did a better job last week on The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" than Dilana did on this song. But maybe it wasn't her, maybe it was Gilby himself and his really lame Holiday Inn supporting vocals. Note to Supernova - Keep that man Away from a Microphone during performances.

That one moment just reminded me why Gilby was the number three guitar option in GnR. His one real claim to fame is being Izzy Stradlin's replacement. Sure he's had his own bands before and after that. He's had a solo career, but all in all Gilby is a major weak link in this band. If the band featured Slash or even Dave Navarro we'd been in an entirely different universe, but it doesn't. Gilby is a pedestrian guitar player, period. He's nice and dependable but he's no guitar hero (and no singer).

Kurt Cobain killed the guitar hero. Murdered them with all due malice of forethought (even more than his own suicide) and completely got away with the crime. It's not just Cobains anti-solo stance and his arguement that solos take too much attention away from the rest of the song (like being the lead singer didn't already attract attention) it's the fact that he made guitarists irrelevant. They became just some other guy in the band, they lost all their mystique and personality. You used to be able to recognize a guitarist by his playing in the pre-Cobain years -- but now can anyone but their most hardcore fans even name the guitarists in the top ten bands in the country? Who plays guitar for Linkin Park? What about Evanescence? Maroon 5? Coldplays guitarist is also their singer, so people know him (besides he's married to Goldie Hawn's daughter isn't he?) - but what if someone else played guitar in that band? And the only reason we know who plays guitar for Pink is because - he's on this show!

Gilby's a dinosaur, and not one from the top of the food chain - like T Rex. He's one of little ones that the T-Rex's ate as an appetizer. He's the one thing that makes me not really look forward to the future of Supernova, and this performance just proves it. I mean c'mon - he and the band were actually out of time with each other at the beginning of the song. How bush league is that?

Dave talked a ton of crap about "How could anyone follow Dilana?", especially when she was performing with Gilby -- normally I would agree, but this time Jill on the Tracy Bonham song was a revelation. She not only followed Dilana - she topped her. Without Gilby. Following her performance last week she's found a whole new level. Yes, we know she can scream in key and does it very well - but ever since she got clowned on "Don't You forget about me" she's learned how to harness all that power and focus it to where it's needed. This was by far her best performance to date. The way she handled the stage was perfect, not slutty - just total take command. She even avoided the fashion disasters of previous weeks. I'd say this performance has made Jill Elite except for the damage and deficit she has to overcome from previous weeks. If she'd begun the show with a performance like this one or "Alone" from last week - there would be no stopping her. Chances are though, she'll be off the show after tonight.

Josh's handling of the Interstate Love Song was admirable. He finally showed how his vocals can work in a rock context (not that that should really be a surprise, the underbase of all Rock is R&B). He looked confident and relaxed - even with Tommy playing behind him - but I do agree that picking up a guitar and singing with it can be very physically limiting. Some people who are extremely comfortable with their guitar playing can and will run all over the stage and dash back to the microphone to sing, but that requires a song with enough of a musical intro or interlude for you to have time to get back and forth. Too many of the hamsters who pick up guitars (and hardly seem to freaking PLAY THEM -- grrrr) are content to just stand behind the microphone and strum. Dull as dishwater that is.

Ryan doing "Paint it Black" was - interesting. It seems like he's picked up fashion and theatrical tips from Lukas circa episodes 2 (black racoon eye makeup) and Dilana episode 1 (Dark hood over the head until the song kicks in). Obviously what they've done has worked for them, but does it also work for Ryan? It seems like a desperate ploy to literally cop other performers schtick while they're watching. It's either crazy or crazy like a fox - I'm not sure which. Other than that, his vocals have been stellar since he did the the Live song, but I still have problems with his stage presence. He's doesn't look comfortable or graceful. It's a bit like watching a drunken footballer try to slamdance and missing the floor. The man is just plain clumsy. The SN guys didn't seem to notice any of that - so whatever. It's not likely he'll be in the b3 this week.

Patrice is probably not long for this show. Her vocals always sound so stiff and over managed - way too much vocal training and it shows. She's just plain boring. She had managed to overcome that a couple weeks back, but this time she choose to do what Josh did - hide behind a guitar for her performance of - heck I can't even remember what she did. Fuck it.

Storm on "We are the Champions" was simple, elegant and killer. She had no problem with the vocals that turned JD into a simpering twit begging to switch with Jordis last year. Her stage persence is always killer, she just commands full and erect attention at all times. (yes, that was a single entrendre). Technically she did have some problems with a few of the odd intervals in the song. As a singer I notice she tended to miss the downward slide to the note for the word "are", but it's only a minor quibble. She's never been note perfect, but more than close enough for Rock N Roll. The thing that she did tonight to kick things into another level is she took advantage of her ability to ad lib and harmonize. From listening to her songs I know that she loves to layer her own voice in the studio and that she usually comes up with really killer secondary melodies which she stacks on top of the original line -- well tonight she did that. Where JD used the audience last year to cover up the fact that he couldn't hit the notes on this song - Storm used the audience (and the House Band) to JAM a solo vocal on top of the primary melody. It's what a lead guitarist would do - back in the days when bands actually HAD lead guitarists (ok, ok, enough on that rant). That was smooth.

And the comment at the end about "Spanking the Crap" out of SN on a future heavy rocking song wasn't a threat - it was a promise. And again smooth to steal some of Z sexual teasing away from her. Spank me Mama... spank me. I've been a bad, bad boy.

Z - doing all the young dudes in a Gold Alien Jumpsuit, platform stacks and a Top Hat. If I didn't have it on DVR I wouldn't believe it. I'm going to miss Miss Freak-a-zoid when she's gone. One good thing, wearing those platforms kept her from spazzing out on stage. I suppose she's was trying to do a "70's glam thang" this since this was a Mott the Hoople song (All the Young Dudes), but she completely misinterpreted what the song was about. It's a pissed off tune, and her performances was like seeing Celine in Vegas. It was a nightclub act. Next up - Donny and Marie doing "Major Tom" by David Bowie. Y'know, if Z ever bothered to work on her voice - particularly her diction - as much as she obviously starves and barfs, then does everything she can to show off that boney ass of hers, she might actually be a great singer. Yeah, I know that great singers are dime a dozen, and with AI tryouts this week their stock is falling rapidly, but it's obvious that she does all this that shes covering for her vocal weaknesses - of which there are many. She deserved to get dropped from this competiton weeks ago, I mean - I can't imagine how any of her act works with a band like Supernova. They'd be - fuck - they'd be a glam band! Unlike a lot of people, I don't have a problem with glam bands -- but just look at the shit the guys in Damnocracy gave Sebastian Bach for his spandex jumpsuit? The SN guys dropped Matt like a flaming spud when he did one 80's glam band song - so they can't keep this up forever. Z is obviously good for ratings, but not for Supernova. Either way she's not leaving this week IMO. It'll probably be Patrice.

Magni doing a solo acoustic Live song - Just - FUCKING - KILLED IT. He totally murdered that shit. This is what a signed artists sounds like. This was not amatuer hour, this was not dress-up fun with Z and Ryan - he just sang the crap out of that song. That was a hit single right there. This guy has been around block more than a few times, and the pure quality of his performances are always there. There's no doubting that he could front this band, but the question is the same that faced Miggy last year. Is he too - nice? He's a family man, with responsibilties and obligations. Although Tommy does have kids of his own the SN boys - at least Tommy and Gilby - come from what I used to call Gutter Rock. Music made by people who quite literally had been living in the gutter just a few weeks, or possibly hours before. People that had nothing else going on in their lives and made Rock music because they had to for their own survival and sanity. They lived on the edge, and sometimes fell off of it.

Magni is not that guy. That guy is Lukas. And this performance Lukas may have just sealed the deal with SN. Jason's been on him about his vocals - with good reason - for weeks. As was shown during the Reality show, Dilana thought she could strategize him into undermining himself by suggesting he do the Radiohead song "Creep". Clearly she thought he wouldn't be able to open up his throat and pull it off -- but he did. Just barely. He was shaky during the head-voice portion of the song just before it kicked into full on scream mode. Singing in your head-voice is skill you have to practice. It doesn't happen that much in Rock (unless you're in Coldplay), but he got through it. The irony is that he should have really attacked those last notes the way that Jill does. When I first heard this song Thom York reminded me of Bono when he got to the end of the song - he was screaming his fool head off -- but Lukas didn't. He skirted through the first part of the scream and cut off the ending notes, but managed to include them on the second go round to redeem himself. Again he just barely pulled it off, but he's got so much credit in the bank from the songwriting challenge and other events in the show I'm not sure how anyone else is going to catch up to him. This job is his to lose.

Toby's version of "Burning Down the House" was a bit manic and - well - weird. It's seems like everybody is desperate to create some theatrics in their performance. (Isn't this what Ty was constantly - and falsely - accused of last year?) I don't know, at certain point on this stuff coming from guys who don't do it naturally - like Ryan - just comes off as calculated. They know they've got to compete with Dilana and Storm and Lukas - and Z - so they now they feel they have to do something shocking and crazy to get attention. It's like watching someone try to overdo their makeup at a whore convention - it's a mess. And did this guy not watch any of this show last year? Doesn't he know that Mr.Gimmick from last year pulled the exact same deal with the bull horn? Yes, Dave it's been done - JD did it. (That was after he copied Me, First and the Gimme Gimme's version of "California Dreaming", gave "Hand in my pocket" a Bo Diddley enema and then actually dared to borrow melodies directly from Michael Hutchens for the song writing challenge) Enough already. Do what you do best, not what other people do.

Vyan

In Our Name: My Lai, Haditha and Beyond

his past Sunday the LA Times did a lengthy story on 3000 pages of declassified documents which reveal that the My Lai Massacre of Vietnam was far from an isolated incident.

The records were declassified in 1994, after 20 years as required by law, and moved to the National Archives in College Park, Md., where they went largely unnoticed.

The Times examined most of the files and obtained copies of about 3,000 pages -- about a third of the total -- before government officials removed them from the public shelves, saying they contained personal information that was exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

In addition to the 320 substantiated incidents, the records contain material related to more than 500 alleged atrocities that Army investigators could not prove or that they discounted.

The appalling thing is that these crimes were committed - In Our Name - under the color and flag of the United States. They occured with the tacit approval of the American People, granted by their ignorance of commonality of these events. But were we truly clueless then - or now?

    MaryScott O'Connor posted an excellent diary on this story which displayed with great personal anguish as her own father was killed in Vietnam on the very same day that some of these atrocities occured.

    But shouldn't all Americans take this personally?

    Our tax dollars paid for this. Our sons and daughters were asked to perform a near impossible task, placed under intolerable conditions - to recall the recent comments of Sen Chuck Hagel it was a "Hopeless, Unwinnable" situation - how could we not expect this kind of result to occur not just once, but hundreds of times?

    Abuses were not confined to a few rogue units, a Times review of the files found. They were uncovered in every Army division that operated in Vietnam.

    How can we turn a blind eye when history has so clearly begun to repeat itself?

    The Article recounts the Story of Pvt James D. Henry as a witness to these events.

    Then B Company entered a hamlet to question residents and search for weapons. That's where Henry set down his weapon and lighted a cigarette in the shelter of a hut.

    A radio operator sat down next to him, and Henry was listening to the chatter. He heard the leader of the 3rd Platoon ask Reh for instructions on what to do with 19 civilians.

    "The lieutenant asked the captain what should be done with them. The captain asked the lieutenant if he remembered the op order (operation order) that came down that morning and he repeated the order which was 'kill anything that moves,' " Henry said in his statement. "I was a little shook ... because I thought the lieutenant might do it."

    Henry said he left the hut and walked toward Reh. He saw the captain pick up the phone again, and thought he might rescind the order.

    Then soldiers pulled a naked woman of about 19 from a dwelling and brought her to where the other civilians were huddled, Henry said.

    "She was thrown to the ground," he said in his statement. "The men around the civilians opened fire and all on automatic or at least it seemed all on automatic. It was over in a few seconds. There was a lot of blood and flesh and stuff flying around....

    "I looked around at some of my friends and they all just had blank looks on their faces.... The captain made an announcement to all the company, I forget exactly what it was, but it didn't concern the people who had just been killed. We picked up our stuff and moved on."

    Henry didn't forget, however. "Thirty seconds after the shooting stopped," he said, "I knew that I was going to do something about it."

    What Henry did after he was discharged was go to the Press. He was later interviewed by Army investigators and eventually became even more vocal.

    In 1971, Henry joined more than 100 other veterans at the Winter Soldier Investigation, a forum on war crimes sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

    The FBI put the three-day gathering at a Detroit hotel under surveillance, records show, and Nixon administration officials worked behind the scenes to discredit the speakers as impostors and fabricators.

    Although the administration never publicly identified any fakers, one of the organization's leaders admitted exaggerating his rank and role during the war, and a cloud descended on the entire gathering.

    "We tried to get as much publicity as we could, and it just never went anywhere," Henry says. "Nothing ever happened."

    One of the other attendents of that forum was Lt. John Kerry - who later recounted the testimony he heard to Congress.

    His statements were immediately attacked by Nixon supporters such as John O'Neill, his words were twisted and contorted into a vicious smear of our troops, their patriotism and their honor. He was accused of "aiding the enemy" - a cry which has continued even today as documented by Factcheck.org.

    From the ad "Sellout" Produced by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004:

    John Kerry (from Senate Testimony in 1971): They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads...

    Joe Ponder: The accusations that John Kerry made against the veterans who served in Vietnam was just devastating.

    John Kerry: ...randomly shot at civilians...

    Joe Ponder: ...and it hurt me more than any physical wounds I had.

    John Kerry: ...cut off limbs, blown up bodies...

    Ken Cordier: That was part of the torture, to sign a statement that you had committed war crimes.

    John Kerry:...razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan...

    Paul Galanti: John Kerry gave the enemy for free, what I and many of my comrades, in the North Vietnamese prison camps, took torture to avoid saying. It demoralized us.

    John Kerry: ...crimes committed on a day to day basis...

    Ken Cordier: He betrayed us in the past, how could we be loyal to him now?

    John Kerry: ...ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam...

    Paul Galanti: He dishonored his country, and more importantly, the people he served with. He just sold them out.

    Kerry spoke the truth as it was reported by those involved in the Winter Soldier Event, he placed the blame for these events not on the soldiers themselves, but on their superiors "I think clearly the responsibility for what has happened there lies elsewhere. I think it lies with the men who designed free fire zones. I think it lies with the men who encourage body counts", a comment which he repeated on Meet The Press in 1971. "the men who designed the free-fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas".

    He held the command structure responsible for giving the orders, and creating the situation which led to clear and obvious War Crimes. HE DID NOT BLAME OR BETRAY OUR TROOPS. Kerry did the honorable thing, he told the truth - while those who oppose the truth and prefer that America continue to use methods like those described at the Winter Soldier event continue to Smear him.

    Today with the Supreme Courts clear decision in Hamdan that the Geneva Conventions do apply to those being held in Gitmo -- rather than do their best to avoid the repeat of what Pvt Henry witnessed and Lt. Kerry recounted we have Alberto Gonzales doing his best to make War Crimes Legal. Meanwhile Rep. Duncan Hunter claims were too soft on detainees, and Sen. (and former JAG Officer) Lindsay Graham wants to override the Supreme Courts authority to require that the President abide by the law and the consitution.

    All this is being done - In our Name.

    The problem here must be made clear - it's not simply that War Crimes and Atrocities occured - the issue is in the willful failure of the Army and Pentagon to properly investigate and address the wrongdoing. A failure which clearly led to further atrocities occuring with impunity. When the brass turns a blind-eye, they might as well be shining a big bright green light. It's not just the crimes, it's the lies.

    We've seen this again and again...

    The Pentagon lied to us about the true circumstances of Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire.

    They lied about the circumstances of Jessica Lynch's rescue.

    We've seen it with failure and delay in investigating Haditha where 2 dozen Iraqi Civilians were killed. This investigation languished for months (Although this case has just recently been handed over to prosecutors).

    Rep. John Murtha was quick to speak out on Haditha.

    Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said at a news conference Wednesday that sources within the military have told him that an internal investigation will show that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

    Military officials say Marine Corp photos taken immediately after the incident show many of the victims were shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. One photo shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer, shot dead, said the officials, who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity because the investigation hasn't been completed.

    One military official says it appears the civilians were deliberately killed by the Marines, who were outraged at the death of their fellow Marine.

    From the Guardian.

    In recent weeks, 16 soldiers have been charged with murders in Iraq - more than during the first three years of the war. No Marines have been charged so far in the worst alleged atrocity, the killing of 24 Iraqis at Haditha, but that has been overshadowed by the Mahmudiya episode.

    In Mahmudiya, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl was raped, then murdered along with her entire family by U.S. Soldiers. Like Haditha, this investigation has been delayed - and so far remains incomplete.

    At Gitmo, Bagram AFB and Abu Ghraib there have been 26 Deaths in Custody which have been ruled "Homocide as the Result of Torture".

    We've not yet had a modern day My Lai, where over 500 civilians were brutally gunned down -- but it seems to me that on the path were headed, it's only a matter of time.
    Yes, I know that all of this is sickening - it's disheartening. It's numbing.

    Is this what America stands for? Is this how we spread Democracy, how Freedom Marches Forward on the backs of the broken bodies and crushed bones of those oppose us? We lie to ourselves with Propoganda about how heroic we are, how are "Cause is Noble" - while (some of) our soldiers commit rape and murder and the higher-ups turn away and play "blame the messenger" with anyone who dares to step forward?

    I say - "NO".

    It has to stop. We have to bring this to an end - we have to begin not just spouting talking point versions of our ideals - we actually need to live up to them.

    If the idea of a Constitution and a Democratic form of government is to have any appeal to the rest of the world - we need to show that this form of government has the ability to defeat Totalitarianism not just overseas - but right here at home. Not through violence, but the the power of ideas. Not through force, but with the promise of genuine hope - instead of the false hope and false promises we now see in Iraq. We fight in the courts - we fight at the ballot box. We have to lead by example, not at the barrel of a gun.

    Vyan

    Monday, August 7

    Rock Star Supernova : Week 6 Reality

    It's really a shame that this portion of the show isn't being put on broadcast tv because it gives quit e a bit of insight into the behind the scenes action. As far as I know Rock Star was the first show to offer it's competition phase and reality phase as seperate sets of episodes.

    This week the Rockers received gifts, starting with a set of Gibson electric guitars. Technically these are the second set of guitars they've received - the first was a set of Epiphone acoustic guitars during Week 1 for each of the rockers.

    Putting myself in their shoes at the time I was thinking - "Acoustic"? Is this a Rock band or what? I've never been a fan of Epiphone guitars (I usually pronounce it "Epi- phoney" or "E-piffony") Blech. Now the electrics they received this time are much cooler, including some Les Paul's and flying "V"s. Real Guitars. Gibson's never been my thing, I've been more into Yamaha, Musicman and PRS - but if ya handed me a Gibson I wouldn't piss on it. Epiphone? Oh yeah - get ready to unzip , but Gibson's are all right with me.

    Yes, I am a guitar snob -- with good reason. Bad guitars make bad music. After 20 years I've gotten to the point that I won't even touch most of what Guitar Center has hanging on the walls. Nearly all of them : Total Shiite.

    But a new guitar isn't all they received, Magni had a pair of vistors. His wife and infant son from Iceland. He pretty much lit up like a Christman tree when they arrived.

    Not long after that heartwarming moment Gilby arrived on his Harley and notified everyone that they were going to be writing the lyrics and melody for an original Supernova track on their own. Starting today and finishing in 24 hours.

    The different performers each handled the challenge and pressure in their own way. Storm went running while listening to the track, Lukas took 15 minutes and knocked it out, Dilana stressed and struggled over getting her lyrics just right - but the one person with the greatest difficulty was Ryan who was still working on his song at 2 a.m.

    I'm not sure if it was part of his "game strategy", but Lukas was certainly making life difficult for Ryan by intruding on his songwriting and repeatedly doing his version of the tune while Ryan was still working on his own lyrics. Like Rude, man.

    When the time came to perform their version of the new song for the band, Ryan - although he'd struggled - produced a good strong version. Jason noted that his vocals cut right through the music, which is true - and something that he seemed to have a problem accomplishing with the house band. In most of his performances their sound tends to squash him, which is why his solo piano performance last week stood out - we could finally hear him.

    Various Suave Porn comments - Jill oversang her version, Storm does everything "big" and was very melodic, Dilana's lyrics were "hookey" and unmemorable. "Good girls and Dirty boys getting together on the hill..." or somesuch. The one person who seemed to "Kill it" in Supernova's words was Lukas. "He really seems to understand where we're going musically".
    That's going to give him lots and lots of credits in the SN bank, hopefully he won't spend them all in one place.

    We didn't get to hear what most of the other rockers versions where like, and I for one am glad. I'm not sure I could sit through another Zayeeda yip-fest without lots of sparkly objects and lights to hypnotize me into a stupor. Her just standing there singing, is a horror too great to contemplate. Whew.

    Next up was song selection which included Radiohead's "Creep" and the Who's "Won't get fooled again" (featuring Gilby on guitar). Dilana took command at this point grabbing the Gilby's song for herself - to surprisingly little opposition. Then making a strategic move by suggesting Creep for Lukas. "If he can't open up his throat and sing this song - he shouldnt' be here".

    I'm not sure if I agree with that - this actually isn't a singing contest like American Idol. The best singer doesn't win, which was made abundantly clear last year. JD crashed and burned on hsi most difficult vocal song "We are the Champions", but in the end it makes no difference if the band he's actually trying out for isn't going to be writing songs like that. Supernova certainly isn't planning to do a Radiohead. This is a move that could backfire on Dilana. If Lukas pulls it off - he eliminates his vocal limitations as being an issue. If he doesn't - it still doesn't really matter all that much considering how much the SN boys like the way he sings their songs.

    Final visual delight from the Webisode, the House Band kicking the Rockers butts at Basketball. Maybe they should have played against the girls?

    Priceless.

    Vyan