Equal time.

I've spent so much time gleefully slinging mud at the particularly stupid celebrity anti-war front, it's only fair that I acknowledge the celebrities who support the troops, like Sean Astin. [Link via Andrea Harris.] I knew Astin had done a USO tour in the middle east at Christmas, but what I didn't realize was that he has served as a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army since 1995.
"There's a lot of different people and voices in America, and I don't mind letting my voice be heard," Astin said during an interview conducted at the Pentagon. "I learned from reading about Vietnam that no matter what you think politically about certain deployments, as a good citizen and a patriot it's your duty to appreciate that there are soldiers using their lives on your behalf as a citizen."
There's no mention of whether Astin support the idea of war against Iraq, but at least he fully supports the troops and recognizes that the primary burden of protecting our way of life lies with them, and that's all I think I can reasonably ask. Sean Astin has my utmost respect.


Asses on parade.

American Stars Slam Bush Over Iraq at Berlin Fest [This link picked up from Rod Dreher on The Corner, but it's been covered extensively in the blogosphere elsewhere.]

Just the money quotes:
Spike Lee: "When you think about it, the German and French governments should be commended."
For violating the sanctions they voted for? For violating those sanctions for ooooooiiiiiiilllll? Just what is it about France and Germany you like best, the virulent anti-Americanism or the staunch refusal to obey the rules they set for others?
"Too many people are being bowled over by Bush and Tony Blair in Britain. It's ludicrous to expect the whole world to follow what they want. America doesn't have the moral right to tell other people what to do. To say the whole world has to fall into line is you-know-what. I hope more people will rise up."
So do I. I'd like to see the Iraqis rise up and wrest control of their country from the genocidal maniac currently running it, but I suspect that's not what you were referring to.
Ed Norton: "I hope the world community will continue to voice itself and apply pressure on the U.S. American citizens have to do it too. It's dismaying to see the unilateralism that the government is doing. They're aren't enough rational steps."
”Doing” unilateralism. It’s somewhat disheartening to me to see Norton dismissing the voices of Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, and pretty much all of eastern Europe raised in support of the US as though they didn’t exist. But perhaps it is difficult for Mr. Norton to grasp figures larger than…er…one.
"It's nice being in Europe this week," he added. "Almost everyone in Germany and France is in sync with the governments. I almost forgot what it's like to be proud of my government."
Check the recent election results in Germany--I don't think the Germans are quite as "in-sync" with Schroeder as you--and undoubtedly, he--would like to believe. As for the French--well, given the fact that the French government is trying to stage a breathtakingly arrogant power grab for control of the EU, is it really a surprise that the eternally self-regarding French would be in perfect agreement with such a move? As for your lack of pride in your own citizenship, I can’t say I’m terribly surprised.
Rosario Dawson: "Any dissenting opinion is considered unpatriotic. It makes me upset. I'm embarrassed. It's my hope that Americans won't jump on anyone having a dissenting opinion."
No, no, sweetie—we’re not saying you’re unpatriotic, we’re saying you’re dumb and willfully ignorant. There’s a difference. Don’t worry your pretty little head over it, dear, the grown-ups are dealing with the problem.
Barry Pepper, Canadian actor guy: "We're going to send our boys and girls overseas to kill -- and that's pretty sad."
Hell, this one counts as positively benign. He gets a pass.
Dustin Hoffman: "If there is no direct threat why are we invading?"
Translation: “Unless I am personally threatened in some way I see no reason to intervene.” There are people who are being raped, tortured, and killed by Saddam Hussein, Mr. Hoffman. The fact that you do not personally know any of them does not render their lives any less important than yours. Ishtar might tip the balance the other way, in fact. I’m just sayin’, don’t push your luck.
Martin Scorsese: "It seems to me that any sensible person must see that violence does not change the world and if it does, then only temporarily. There must be people who remember World War II and the Holocaust who can help us get out of this rut."
Yes, that’s right, he’s using WWII and the Holocaust to argue against intervention to remove a genocidal dictator. Does anyone have any idea which side he’s actually on? Anyone? Bueller?
A long list of Hollywood stars, including Martin Sheen, Sean Penn and Robert Redford, have spoken out against a new Gulf War. More than 100 celebrities have signed an open letter urging Bush to give peace a chance.
Ok, here’s the deal: there have to be a few A-list names on that letter, right? Put that sumbitch on E-bay, use the proceeds to buy ammo for the troops, and send a personal letter of thanks to each and every signer to thank them for their personal contribution to the war effort. Let some good come out of this rampant, venal stupidity.

ESPN gallery: best MLB retro jerseys.

Yeah, they've got the rainbow Astros jersey. But that '71 A's home jersey--feh.


The most important meal of the day.

From Little Tiny Wit, Steve H.'s other blog (see below), how to cook breakfast -- ham, eggs, red-eye gravy, cream gravy, and sorghum and butter on biscuits made with bacon grease. As for the use of pig fat in cooking:
One of the bizarre beliefs held by many modern Americans is the one that says pork grease makes things taste heavy. Funny thing, the exact opposite is true. VEGETABLE grease makes things taste heavy. And bad. It doesn't blend the food's flavors the way animal fat does. The reason we switched over to vegetable grease (like Crisco) isn't that it tastes better. In fact, it's inferior. We switched over because Crisco is cheap, and it allows greedy companies to save a penny or two on each gross of cookies. Lard and other kinds of pork fat actually make baked goods lighter and fluffier. The flakiest pie crusts are made with lard. So you need pork fat to make good biscuits.

A lot of people eat grease made from canola oil. Apart from sounding foreign and therefore suspicious and wrong, canola oil is an alias, and we all know only bad people have aliases. Not that oil is people, necessarily.

The real name for canola oil is "rape oil," because it's made from something called "rape seed." I guess you plant this stuff in your back yard, and a month later, in the middle of the night, a bunch of piss-drunk Kennedys come clawing at your screen door.

So when you buy Crisco, you're saying rape is a good thing, and I, personally, although not by nature a judgmental person, think that makes you a filthy son of a bitch soon to burn in propane hell. Not to cast aspersions.
He's right, you know.
Great blog.

Hell, no, not this one. This one. A tiny sample of the feast:
What's the real story here? I'll tell you what it is. France and Germany have huge investments in Iraq, and Europeans don't like Jews, and people like to put off dirty jobs like going to war. And a generation of 85-IQ Americans raised on the notion that all American wars are wrong can't wait to start having cool protests like the ones a previous--embarrassing--generation had. And the mainstream press wants to get rid of Bush in 2004, so they aren't eager to set the record straight.

And that's before you even get to the genius of his rants about Clooney and modern art and poetry. Linked by Tex from Whacking Day.
Exhuming McCarthy.

In today's NY Post (link via Drudge):

February 12, 2003 -- Bad-boy actor Sean Penn
I'd give my eye-teeth to see people drop the use of the lazy catchall descriptor "bad-boy" in reference to Penn. He's really more of a "tantrum-boy" anyway.
says his opposition to a war in Iraq cost him a lucrative movie role - but the film's producer, Steve Bing, calls the claim "extortion."
The feud over "Why Men Shouldn't Marry" erupted yesterday amid dueling lawsuits in Los Angeles.

Penn accuses Bing of "borrowing a page from the dark era of Hollywood blacklisting" by denying him a promised role in the movie, which Bing wrote and was supposed to direct.
Oh, God. "I didn't get the role I wanted. I'm so obviously right for the part it has to be unfair blacklisting." Can we PLEASE stop dragging out the ghost of Joe McCarthy every damn time some H-wood nutbar doesn't get his way?
But Bing - a multimillionaire who fathered a child with Liz Hurley - says he's the object of "an extraordinary extortion attempt by an irrational and irresponsible actor."
Not that that doesn't describe 99% of the H-wood population, but it's a lot more likely than any apocryphal blacklisting.
Bing says Penn is trying to force him to pay $10 million, even though Penn never had a formal contract to do the movie.

Penn visited Iraq in December, and has complained that President Bush's wish to disarm Saddam Hussein takes "a simplistic and inflammatory view of good and evil."
For which bit of simplistic and inflammatory stupidity he will probably be forever remembered, if at all.
The movie will begin filming next summer, and is supposed to also star Woody Allen.
Penn should probably count himself fortunate not to have been cast, then.
North Korea has a rocket that can reach the western US.

N. Korean Rocket Reportedly Can Hit U.S. [Link via Drudge]

North Korea has an untested ballistic missile capable of reaching the western United States, intelligence officials said Wednesday.

The North Korean missile is a three-stage version of the Taepo Dong 2, said Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

It has not been flight-tested, Jacoby said, leaving some questions about the North Korea's capability to successfully launch the missile.

CIA Director George J. Tenet, who joined Jacoby in briefing the Senate Armed Services Committee, also acknowledged the North Koreans have the capability to reach the western United States with a long-range missile.

Previous U.S. intelligence reports have said such a missile probably could carry a nuclear weapon-sized payload across the Pacific Ocean.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.


Moment of silence.

Straightdope.com killed the "LOTR by other authors thread." I suppose that one thread was eating up more than its fair share of resources, alas.
Maybe it's good to have two sites.

Not that my particular sparkling brand of bilge is in any great demand, but it allows me to blog stuff before I lose my train of thought--even when I'm being thwarted by Blogspot. This is what I was trying to post when blogspot decided I didn't exist a hour or so ago.


Museblog returns from the dead.

My previous bloghome, Museblog on Crimsonblog, which appeared to have died some ten days ago, seems to have been resurrected. I share the site with two of my friends, so the posts are of a more personal nature (like the one where I sort of vaguely threatened to bring down the Dies Irae on my mailman), so I'll be splitting time between both sites for my own amusement. (I'm the mean-spirited one, if you're wondering.)
Well, this certainly makes me want to book a flight to Paris right away.

Jonah Goldberg shares a charmingly droll fan letter from some wit in France in The Corner (asterisks Jonah's):
No, no, you got it wrong...We don't hate americans, we simply hate morons like you (80% of the american population...) who have never been any further than Paris Arkansas, wear an 'I love Paris' lousy T-shirt and think they can speak of the french people and look cool sh*ting on them. What you think ? You learned a few new words playing Scrabble with your grand'ma a few days ago and can't help wanking off withing your lame chronicle...All you do is show us how many senseless prick can't stop opening their mouth overseas 'F**k the Frogs, f**k the Krauts, we're so damn smart.... !!!!' Go blow your ass in 'Irakistan' if you got nothing smarter to do, you dumbass !
One quibble: the people wearing the "I love Paris" shirts are probably the handful of Americans who haven't been following your country's Rake's Progress and grown to loathe your arrogant, treacherous asses over the past few months. (Not that I'm a Jenny-come-lately on that particular bandwagon. Various friends and acquaintances can attest to my lifelong vigorous dislike for the French.)
Fun with Photoshop.
The guys at Something Awful have created a new card game -- Gulf War II: The Reckoning. (Via Steven Den Beste.)

Frankly, I just love the fact that they have Don Rumsfeld sussed as an 8/5 creature. And that he's classed as "Creature -- Insane". Ha.
Axis of Weasels mobilizing for action.

Looks like the Franco-German ego crisis is reaching critical mass.
Germany was trying last night to build a coalition to prevent America and Britain from going to war with Iraq, threatening one of the biggest transatlantic rifts for decades.

The plan, hatched in secret by Germany and France, is expected to be presented to the United Nations Security Council this week at about the same time as a crucial report by inspectors on attempts to disarm Saddam Hussein.

It is widely expected that the report, due on Friday, will be seen by America and Britain as providing the grounds for war. Inspectors said last night that there had been no breakthrough in spite of two days of talks with Baghdad.

Washington and London responded with anger to the German-led scheme. US officials described it as "dangerous", "ineffective" and "naive".
Worse than that, it's tantamount to an open declaration that they intend to actively interfere with any US actions taken in the region. And that is an extremely dangerous position to take. It amounts to gambling the house on a turn of the card.
Germany claimed French support and involvement in the planning behind Project Mirage, which would authorise the UN effectively to take over the running of Iraq.
Heh. They might as well have named it "Project Delusions of Adequacy."
It would then triple the weapons inspection teams to 300, allow the deployment of UN troops and allow reconnaissance flights over the entire country. Saddam would be allowed to remain in office, albeit as a figurehead.
France claimed that the plan was not secret but acknowledged the bare bones of the proposals. In a meeting last night, President Vladimir Putin of Russia also offered carefully phrased backing.

He said: "All those who are closely following the situation in Iraq can see that the positions of Russia, Germany and France are almost the same in this question."
You betcha. All three have a heavy financial interest in seeing the status of Iraq remain quo.
Technical difficulties.

I don't know if this is happening to anyone else, but I've had trouble loading this blog for the past 2 days, and the comments keep disappearing. Tried disabling the comments, but that seemed to have no effect. I may have to find a different system for handling the comments. Or move the blog a-g-a-i-n.


Color me green.

Jkrank at Sofia Sideshow gets to work with John Rhys-Davies.

There are about four actors in the world who pull me in to watch them no matter how bad I suspect the film they're in might be, and to be honest I think it might just be a purely auditory reaction, because I love to hear them speak: Sean Connery, Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, and John Rhys-Davies. Jkrank is indeed a lucky stiff.
Dave Matthews and his considered opinion.

Note: I am not normally given to FiskingTM; I leave that to the professionals, like Juan Gato and Charles Austin. But this just sets my teeth on edge. (Via Drudge, via jkrank at Sofia Sideshow.)

Dave Matthews Speaks Out About the War
I hope this letter finds you all well and that in these uncertain times you find moments to be joyful.

I want to speak my mind about this war with Iraq, or I will choke on my conscience.
Are you offering me a choice?
What is the motivation? Regime change? Shouldn't that be up to the people of the region and the people of Iraq?
I would agree, but Iraq's not a democracy. Dictators stay in power via the use of force. Removing that threat of force so that the people of Iraq can become self-governing is part of what the war would be about.
The only real threat from Saddam Hussein is to his neighbors and none of them support a U.S. invasion.
Or maybe they just don't want to be on record as supporting an invasion, given that their neighbor Saddam is a murderous thug with remarkable grudge-holding abilities.
Is it to stabilize the Middle-East? Wouldn't it only do the opposite by causing further death and suffering in a country that has had more than its share?
No, actually, I think the aim is destabilization of the region, insofar as stability means the entrenchment of evil regimes.
Is it to weaken Al Qaeda? Saddam Hussein is a genocidal maniac but he is not Al Qaeda. He is certainly more visible though. Is he our target because he is easier to identify than the illusive terrorist network? Surely it is more likely that an attack on Iraq would only strengthen Al Qaeda by feeding Anti-American sentiment. Putting out the fire with gasoline, so to speak.
Given that it was American inaction in the face of attack (Khobar towers, USS Cole, etc.) that gave Al Qaeda the idea that there would be no backlash from an attack on American soil, I think the opposite is more likely to be true.
It is certainly not to liberate the people of Iraq who suffer under Hussein's rule, unless we call killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis liberation.
It certainly is. The idea of leaving the Iraqis at the mercy of a man you admit is a genocidal maniac ought to turn your stomach, but all you're worried about is whether he's a direct threat to you. Hell, Hitler wasn't a direct threat to the US either, chucklehead, and shouldn't the regime change in Germany have been up to The People? (Yeah, yeah, Godwin's law. Screw that, it's actually apropos this time.)
Saddam Hussein is a barbaric murderous dictator. I wish the world were free of him. But the answer is not to bomb this great culture of Iraq out of existence to stop him. Why must the children of Iraq die by the thousands to stop a tyrant?
Somehow I just knew The ChildrenTM were going to be brought into this. Shame on Dave Matthews for hiding behind The ChildrenTM.
It is not justice. And if we kill him what will we achieve?
Liberation of the Iraqis. A foothold in the middle east. A smack in the puss to villainy everywhere. What's not to like?
We will have taken the most unpopular leader in the Middle East and turned him into the greatest martyr radical Islam has ever had.
Pffft. W is not Henry II and Saddam Hussein is damn sure not Thomas Beckett. To refuse to do the right and moral thing because of some nebulous idea that he might become a martyr is just fiddling while Rome burns.
The U.N. weapons inspectors must be allowed to do their job thoroughly and any military action should be internationally agreed upon. We must not allow our government to turn us into a rogue nation.
The inspectors aren't being prevented from doing their jobs by the US, idiot. Hussein has been in flagrant violation of the agreed-upon terms of his surrender since the last war, and I think twelve years is long enough to wait for him to bring himself into compliance. I'd say it's pretty clear he has no intention of doing so. And if you're waiting for France, Germany, and Russia to come online with us, I'd say you'd better take a look at just who's been selling what to Iraq for the past few years, keeping him personally fat and happy despite the sanctions the US attempted to use to force him into compliance with the resolutions you think should be allowed to work.
I fear that our true motivation is about oil and our own flailing economy; about the failure to destroy Al Qaeda and about revenge. It is criminal to put our servicemen and women in harm's way and to put the lives of so many civilians on the line for the misguided frustrations of the Bush administration.
I fear you have no understanding of the way the world works.
Bottom line: this war is wrong and this war is un-American.
Bottom line: you're an idiot. Your heart may be in the right place, but your head is up your ass.
Peacefully submitted,
Dave Matthews
Pfft. Choke on your conscience next time.
Excuse me, that was my ox you just gored.

Via Drudge: George Clooney takes criticism of Solaris personally:
BERLIN (Reuters) - George Clooney (news) reacted with a stream of invective when a journalist called the American actor's latest film -- the box office flop "Solaris" -- "boring" after it was screened at the Berlin Film Festival.

Clooney, who had even exposed his bare bottom for the camera in one scene in a bid to boost the film's commercial appeal, was happily answering questions at a news conference late on Saturday when a reporter rose to say the film was boring.

"I find you fascinating," Clooney said, responding to the Turkish journalist's remarks on the film, which got decidedly mixed reviews in the United States.

"You crack me up, man. You just wanted to get up and be a rat, you know that? You just wanted to get up and say something rotten. What a jerk! I mean honestly, you know, what a (expletive) thing to say!" said Clooney.

Note to George: "Solaris" was shit. You earned enough money from that piece of crap to take it on the chin; learn to separate the good from the bad and stop whining. For future reference, movies where nothing happens really are boring. Soderburgh is not infallible, and neither are you. Oh, and you owe me $5. (You're lucky, I smelled the carrion on the prevailing breeze and went to the matinee.)
Ramsay Clark is officially a fruit loop.

Michele at A Small Victory reveals that former LBJ attorney general Ramsay Clark has published articles of impeachment against W, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft for their "high crimes and misdemeanors" at VotetoImpeach.org. See Michele's article for a nice rundown of Clark's other public idiocies. (It's just a shame there's no feedback link on the VTI page apart from the actual "vote".)
Hey, thanks.

Just wanted to say thanks to Kevin Parrott of Hep to the Jive and Michele of A Small Victory for the linkage. Completely unlooked-for and very kind of both of them.