Thursday, July 19

Atomic Opera - Justice

Atomic Opera - Justice

This was a band I truly loved. Coming out the Sam Taylor shop along with early King's X and Galactic Cowboys these guys managed to create some truly grooving soulful and heavily harmonied Rock that just grabbed you from the nuts and yanked hard.

I only had one chance to see them live at the Hollywood House of Blues opening a show with Ronnie James Dio. That was a very very strange night, after watching AO's opening set I had planned to go outside since I wasn't much into early 90's Dio - on the way out I actually ran into Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, only I didn't recognize him - he recognized me.

During the early 90's we had both been members of the Black Rock Coalition in LA, attempting the scratch, kick and knock down the barriers that had been erected between black people and the music they invented - Rock N Roll. We chatted briefly, mostly about old times and I told Tom I'd seen what was probably the last performance by his pre-RATM band Lock Up at Club Lingere and sked why they didn't do what I thought was their best song "Peace Maker." We parted just as the Dio set was about to begin.

Seconds after saying "Bye" to Tom I walked out the front of the H.o.B. and ran into Jonathan - one of the guitarists from Atomic Opera - who absolutely FLIPPED OUT as I mentioned that I'd just run into Tom Morello inside. HE HAD TO MEET TOM!!! So I led him back in and toward where I'd last seen Tom as he headed toward the stage for DIO - we searched through the increasing Mosh for at least 40 minutes, but it simply wasn't to be. Tom was lost in the DIO Love and was probably deep in the middle of the crowd, never to be seen again until the end of the second encore.

I've been immune to the "Fanboy" bugbite ever since I had an odd and strange encounter with Neal Schon (Santana, Journey, Bad English) at the Rainbow in the mid 90's. But Jonathon Being an enormous Morello fan didn't give up. I never knew if he found him or not, but years later I told this story to Ronnie James Dio when I had a chance to meet him at a Birthday celebration for Jeff Pilson's (1st) wife. I told him that if I'd known then that Jeff was in his band I would have probably been somewhere deep in the mosh right next to Tom.

Ronnie, being sharp as a tack, noted wryly "So, you really weren't that much into my music?" - which actually I *was*, but more the early stuff when he was still working with Vivian Cambell and had recorded "The Mob Rules" with Sabbath. So naturally bein g the quick wit and fast on my feet thinker that I am I managed to stammer "Uh, ummm.. well..." awkwardly until my wife came by to rescue me by saying that she'd loved Dio ever since his very first U.S. Tour with Elf in the 70's.


Ronnie was impressed with that and said a very heartful "Thank you."

Not that this story relates to this song in any way other than to to point out that fandom is a strange and powerful thing, and I'll always think of that and this night whenever I hear something by Atomic Opera.


Wednesday, July 18

Stone Sour - Bother

Stone Sour - Bother

NWA - Express Yourself

NWA - Express Yourself

Micheal Moore Returns to CNN

Could it be possible? Has the earth reversed on it's axis? Has that hot place down below sudden gone stone cold?

The idea that Michael Moore would voluntarily return to CNN following his being sandbagged, not just once - but twice by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta seems far less plausible than the above.

Just look at what Moore had to say about CNN on July 14th...

From Moore's "An Open Letter to CNN"

Well, the week is over -- and still no apology, no retraction, no correction of your glaring mistakes.

I bet you thought my dust-up with Wolf Blitzer was just a cool ratings coup, that you really wouldn't have to correct the false statements you made about "Sicko." I bet you thought I was just going to go quietly away.

Think again. I'm about to become your worst nightmare. 'Cause I ain't ever going away. Not until you set the record straight, and apologize to your viewers. "The Most Trusted Name in News?" I think it's safe to say you can retire that slogan.

You have an occasional segment called "Keeping Them Honest." But who keeps you honest? After what the public saw with your report on "Sicko," and how many inaccuracies that report contained, how can anyone believe anything you say on your network? In the old days, before the Internet, you could get away with it. Your victims had no way to set the record straight, to show the viewers how you had misrepresented the truth. But now, we can post the truth -- and back it up with evidence and facts -- on the web, for all to see. And boy, judging from the mail both you and I have been receiving, the evidence I have posted on my site about your "Sicko" piece has led millions now to question your honesty.

If that wasn't bad enough, just look at this appearance by Michael on Olbermann's Countdown.

Olbermann interviews Michael Moore.

Full Transcript

MOORE: Thank you. and I just want to say that Dr. Gupta phoned in a prescription for me after that encounter.

OLBERMANN: I‘m not going to ask for what. But seriously, Wolf Blitzer‘s beard looked like it was about to molt during that encounter. You were really ticked off. Did you get—you got this apocryphal prescription. Did you get an apology for that CNN report on the movie that made you so angry?

MOORE: No, and I‘m still waiting for it and frankly, I‘m not going to give up until I get one. They are the most trusted name in news, as you might have heard. And so their report was filled with so many inaccuracies, I have all of the evidence and the facts up on my website. Anybody can go and see where they were wrong. And I‘m going to wait.

When this all originally went down, people like Bully O'Leilly proclaimed that Moore was "having a meltdown." ala Rosie O'Donnell's final appearance on "The View."

Yet even after all this, amazingly, Michael Moore is scheduled to again appear on CNN today?


Well, it appears, to put it simply - CNN finally Caved and Told The Truth!.

The mighty CNN, in a lengthy and sad online defense of their woe-begotten 'Sicko' story of last Monday, has admitted that they did indeed fudge at least two of the facts in their coverage of my film and have apologized for it:

  1. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN: "To be clear, I got a number wrong in my original report, substituting the number 25, instead of 251." -- My Conversation with Michael Moore, July 11th, 2007; and
  1. CNN: "Moore is correct. Paul Keckley left Vanderbilt in late 2006." -- CNN's Response to Michael Moore, July 15th, 2007.

Furthermore, CNN confirmed that all of our statistics in "Sicko" are the correct numbers from the sources we cited. Although CNN still prefers to use older World Health Organization statistics, we will stick to using this year's Bush administration stats and more recent U.N. data. (In "Sicko," we consistently use only U.N. Human Development Statistics unless it's for studies they don't do or have recent numbers for.) CNN did apologize for these two factual errors, but no apology seems to be coming for the rest of their errors. These days, to get the mainstream media to admit they were wrong is rare; to get them to admit it twice, as they have with "Sicko," I guess should be considered a whopping victory. Will they eventually apologize for the rest, or for their reporting on the war? Will the Cubs win the World Series this year?

Somehow I'm not so sure about those Cubs.

But it has to be admitted that getting even these concessions from CNN have indeed been a victory. Just look at the how Judy Miller, still to this day refuses to take any responsibility for her shoddy reporting on WMDS, or how David Brooks is fawning over George W. Bush's "self-confidence and resolve" like a love-sick schoolgirl.

The one point which Michael has asserted from the very beginning is that the MSM has repeatedly failed in it's obligations to genuinely be objective and more importantly accurately inform the public.

If CNN had devoted even one-tenth as much of an effort to questioning whether WMD existed in Iraq prior to the Bush invasion as it has arguing about the facts in 'SiCKO,' the public would have been much better served. If CNN devoted more time discussing the central themes of 'SiCKO' instead of creating distractions, the public would have been much better served.


Last night and this morning the Democrats have engaged in a all-night Filibuster Fight against Republicans (who not long ago threatened to implement the "The Nuclear Option" to eradicate filibusters) over the Iraq War. Just minutes ago the Cloture Vote for Levin/Reed Failed. Has CNN accurately covered this battle?

Just like the Cub's chances, I doubt it.

But with small forward steps such as this one with Moore, I don't think it's too much to entertain a bit of hope.

Just a tad.


Lacuna Coil - Our Truth

Lacuna Coil - Our Truth (Live on Jimmy Kimmel)

Tuesday, July 17

Dokken - Long Way Home

Dokken - Long Way Home (Live from Japan)

Sunday, July 15

Hey Congress: It's "Go" Time!

There comes a point where tough talk simply doesn't cut it anymore; where words, threats and promises just aren't enough.

Literally, it's time to either sh*t or get off the fracking pot on two critical fronts.

  1. Iraq Prime Minister Maliki says that U.S. Troops can "leave whenever they want." It's time we took him up on his offer.
  1. The White House has blatantly defied Congressional Subpoenas, refusing to let Harriet Miers even appear to testify and denying access to documents related to the death of Pat Tillman. It's time that our Congress returned us to a nation of checks and balances by invoking their power of Inherent Contempt.

The ironic thing is that in order to move forward on the first issue, we may have to push the second to it's ultimate conclusion.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shrugged off U.S. doubts of his government's military and political progress on Saturday, saying Iraqi forces are capable and American troops can leave "any time they want."

One of his top aides, meanwhile, accused the United States of embarrassing the Iraqi government by violating human rights and treating his country like an "experiment in a U.S. lab."

Al-Maliki said his government needs "time and effort" to enact the political reforms that Washington seeks — "particularly since the political process is facing security, economic and services pressures, as well as regional and international interference."

But he said if necessary, Iraqi police and soldiers could fill the void left by the departure of coalition forces.

"We say in full confidence that we are able, God willing, to take the responsibility completely in running the security file if the international forces withdraw at any time they want," he said.

Despite Maliki's claim that the Iraqi forces can take control of their own country, Sen Lindsey Graham today on Meet the Press wasn't buying it. Surprise, surprise.

The surge is working, we've accomplished things in the last two weeks in Anbar province that we could never do before. Let [our troops] win, don't pull them out now for political reasons.

Sen Jim Webb responded back forcefully.

It's taken a lot longer than two weeks. The President announced [the implementation] of his surge strategy in January. He promised that that all provinces of Iraq would be under Iraqi control by the end of the year, clearly that is not going to happen.

We need to do the hard work of putting together a political solution. The Iraqi Military isn't fighting al-Qaeda - what we've got going on there is "hillbilly" justice. These militia groups are fighting them, they don't like al-Qaeda, they won't like them when we leave.

The difficulty in this situation is oddly that just about everyone is at least particularly right simultaneously. The just released report that the Iraqi government has failed most of it's benchmarks does indicate that more time is needed for them to pull together the political reconciliation that needs to happen, yet at the same time our own troops have been pushed to the brink of their endurance and beyond with stop-loss and repeated deployments.

Time is what the Iraqis need, but time and patience isn't what we have any more of. Certainly not according to the latest polls.

Newsweek 7-11: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq?"

    68% Disapprove. 27% Approve

Do you think President Bush's 'surge' plan increasing U.S. troops in Iraq has been a success or a failure?"

    All - 22% Success - 64% Failure

    (D) - 7% Success - 85% Failure
    (R) - 47% Success - 31% Failure

Our Troop Levels in Iraq?

    19% Immediate Withdrawal - 24% Out Next Spring - 40% Fall Back to our Bases - 13% Make No Cutbacks

If they are truly a sovereign nation, Iraqis have to come up with the solution to their problems on their own and they have to do it on their own timetable, however we may be able to jump start that process a bit - but not by using our military.

I've said it before, I'll say it again - just as we did with the Dayton Peace Accords and the the Belfast Agreement it's time to put together a Summit Conference between all the major factions and forces vying for control of Iraq. This "Reconciliation Commission" - featuring a relatively small group of diplomatic representatives of the Sunni, Shia, Kurds, even al-Sistani and al-Sadr - needs to come together and hammer out the broad framework that can unite the nation and end the violence.

That is the only way this will work.

The current strategy of using our military forces as cannon fodder buffering an ever escalating civil war while the Iraqi parliament bickers and dithers is simply a recipe for failure, just as it would be if we were waiting for our own congress to take the initiative on any number of issues from immigration to health care while lives hang in the balance.

It's time we changed direction and put away some of our partisan manipulations just as Webb admonished Graham today.

Webb: This is one thing I object to, which is politicians who attempt to put their political views in the mouths of soldiers. The view of military reflect those of the general public. Only 35% of the U.S. Military agrees with the policies of this President.

And here with hit the crux of this problem - the President.

With his Veto of the Iraq Redeployment Bill several weeks ago Bush pretty much showed everyone just whose boss - at least for the moment.

The White House has issued signing statements that rationalize their clear violations of federal law. They've violated FISA, the Hatch Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Geneva Convention, the War Crimes Act and the UN Conventions against torture. Now they've blatantly thumbed their nose at Congressional subpoenas.

Congress has to ACT.

And at this point in time, there is only one viable path left.

Impeachment and Removal, though frankly necessary, is not yet a possibility except as a pointless exercise in vainglory. Just as failed subpoenas have further emboldened the rampant lawlessness of this Presidency, a failed Impeachment Vote or even a failure to Remove in the Senate would make Bush nigh unto a God. All powerful. Unstoppable. That can't happen.

Standard Contempt of Congress continues to have a limited possibility of success with Alberto Gonzales' hand-picked U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor still in place in D.C. until his Patriot Act enabled appointment expires in 3 months.

Only the Congress's power of Inherent Contempt cuts out the middlemen, and gets right to the heart of the issue.

It's time - as Congress John Conyers alluded to in his letter to Harriet Miers attorney George T. Manning upon learning of her intent not to testify - to pull the trigger.

A refusal to appear before the Subcommittee tomorrow could subject Ms. Miers to contempt proceedings, including but not limited to proceedings under 2 U.S.C. § 194 and under the inherent contempt authority of the House of Representatives.

Inherent Contempt allows for the Congress to order the House Sargent at Arms to take the witness - in this case Miers - into custody and hold them in the Capital Jail where only Congress has jurisdiction. It is debatable whether a person held in such a way could be pardoned, my feeling is that they could not be - which means that either Miers cracks and testifies or she rots until the end of this Congressional Session.

It is my firm belief that without direct and damning testimony from Miers tantamount to that provided by former Nixon Counsel John Dean - Nobody is going to be Impeached - except for maybe Abu Gonzales for repeated perjury and obstruction with Monica Goodling, but Commander Guy and Fourthbranch's impenetrable shield of loyal lackeys will have kept them safe until they can slip out the back of Marine One on January 20, 2009.

This can't be allowed to happen.

Congress has to step up. The White House must be put on notice. Their numerous crimes, incompetence, deliberate willful ignorance and stonewalling has to end and it will only happen when Congress realizes - in order to save the legal fabric of our nation from completely unraveling, in order to save what's left of Iraq and finally begin Real Diplomacy, in order to save what's left of our armed forces, in order to get serious about stopping Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan - This is GO Time!

Congress has to Finally Win one of these battles with the White House before they can even begin to deal with the next issue like the obvious obstruction at play in the Libby Commute, or the next such as changing course in Iraq before or even after September. The White House is long overdue for a Congressionally delivered bloody nose.

It's GO NOW, or not at all.

Contact John Conyers and let him know that the time has come to take that next step at: