Avete un buon weekend.

I'm out of here.
And the dance of diplomacy continues.

In contrast to the Russians teasing us with their veto, apparently the French are pretending to be surprised and hurt that we thought they might use theirs:
PARIS - Leading lawmakers from President Jacques Chirac's party have begun speaking out about the damage France's anti-war stance is having on relations with the United States and the future of the United Nations.

Herve de Charette, a former foreign minister and lawmaker with the ruling party, was the latest to add his voice to a string of warnings about the consequences of any French veto in the Security Council.

Mr. de Charette said he believes war on Iraq is inevitable and told LCI television that any veto of a U.S.-backed resolution seeking authorization for war "is a decision that has great ramifications, of great gravity."

He noted that France, one of five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, has not used one against the United States since the crisis over the Suez Canal in 1956.

The ruling party's president, Alain Juppe; its parliamentary head, Jacques Barrot; and Edouard Balladur, the head of parliament's foreign affairs commission, also have all said that a veto risks a breakdown in relations with the United States and some European countries.

France has "avoided committing a mistake, which some are pushing for, that would have left it isolated: wrongly brandishing its right of veto," Mr. Juppe said during a debate on the Iraq crisis in parliament Wednesday.
Huh? Isn't that exactly what they've been doing?
"A veto is unimaginable," Claude Goasguen, another ruling party lawmaker, told the daily Le Monde in yesterday's edition. "We are not going to break the United Nations and Europe just to save a tyrant," he said, referring to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
I believe this might be the part of the dance we call "damage control". And since I don't believe for a moment they actually believe what they're saying, I'm torn between disgust and amusement.
Adin shag vpered, dva shaga nazad.*

Feeling slighted that US citizens have been focusing most of their wrath on France lately, Russia has said it might use its veto to block action against Iraq in the name of "international stability."
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Russia could use its veto power to block military action.

"Russia has the right to a veto in the U.N. Security Council and will use it if it is necessary in the interests of international stability," Ivanov said at a news conference in Beijing.
And then again, maybe not.
A Russian lawmaker visiting Capitol Hill Wednesday said Ivanov's comments did not mean Moscow would object to a U.S.-backed resolution authorizing force.

Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian Parliament's upper house, defended the need to give weapons inspectors more time, but he said he doubted the Russian ambassador to the United Nations would use his veto.

"I don't think it," Margelov told the House International Relations Committee.
So what am I supposed to make out of this? Are they using the veto threat to extort something from the US, trying to impress France, or just being pissy? Dammit, I hate being a simplistic American cowgirl sometimes.

* - One step forward, two steps back.


Marty, you ignorant slut.

Fresh from Drudge: in countpoint to Martin Sheen's "inspections work; war won't" idiocy, this weekend Fred Thompson will launch an ad campaign in support of the administration position on Iraq.
"Thank goodness we have a President with the courage to protect our country," LAW AND ORDER's Thompson says in the commercial. "What should we do with the inevitable prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of a murderous and aggressive enemy? Can we afford to appease Saddam?"
Can't wait to hear the yowls of protest from the usual suspects about how Thompson's commercial is oppressing them.
In an interview with a local Memphis newspaper, Thompson did not hide his disdain for what he considers WEST WING's preachy liberalism. "I've been thinking about the possibility of having my character run against Martin Sheen (Bartlet) for president," Thompson declared.
Hell, if he does that I might actually watch the show.


Pot. Kettle. Talentless idiot.

George Michael says today's pop stars are "too manufactured and trivial" to duplicate the Band-Aid charity song experience. This really has to be read to be believed; the hubris is breathtaking.
"I'm begging, I'm hoping that there will not be Band Aid 2 because the reality is that very, very few people in the industry now that you're hearing on the radio make their money from their own hearts and minds," Michael said.
This from the genius who penned the weighty philosophical themes "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "I Want Your Sex." [Via Drudge.]
In for a penny, in for a pound.

The Sun UK, currently under fire to the tune of 45,000 EU for running a recent cover that featured Jacques Chirac's head on an earthworm's body, gleefully extends the attack today. Sure it's juvenile, but so's the idea that France thinks it can extend its hegemony so far as to sue an English paper for sneering at Monsieur le President. [Via Drudge]
Read it and weep.

Just in case you're in danger of forgetting which celebrity gets matched up with which mouthful of stupid, Hollywood Halfwits is dedicated to making sure you have a source to check. (Via Andrea Harris, who got it from Tim Blair.)
Why do you think they call it dope?

Kevin Parrott makes the case for legalization. Or not. Great essay.


Sheryl Crow is a hypocritical bitch.

But, again, you probably knew that. Andrea Harris has the goods.
How Rather got that Saddam interview.

Via the Corner, this WaPo article:
CBS acknowledged that former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who is prominent in the global anti-war movement and met with Saddam on Sunday, put in a good word for Rather in helping secure the interview.

Clark has known Rather for a long time, said CBS News spokeswoman Sandra Genelius. In a competitive situation seeking an interview, journalists call on many different resources, she said.
Including, apparently, insane former power brokers. I can't believe that fruitloop was the US AG.

(I keep typing his name as "Saddamn". Is that a Freudian slip, or just a sign that I've typed the word "damn" way too often?)
Hey, I just noticed.

Laurence Simon linked the blog. Thanks, man.
And now, a word in defense of war by someone who actually knows what he's talking about.

Tim Blair links to this NYT op-ed piece by Jose Ramos-Horta, minister of foreign affairs and cooperation and co-winner of the 1996 Nobel peace prize. Allow me to quote a snippet:
[I] still acutely remember the suffering and misery brought about by war. It would certainly be a better world if war were not necessary. Yet I also remember the desperation and anger I felt when the rest of the world chose to ignore the tragedy that was drowning my people. We begged a foreign power to free us from oppression, by force if necessary.

So I follow with some consternation the debate on Iraq in the United Nations Security Council and in NATO. I am unimpressed by the grandstanding of certain European leaders. Their actions undermine the only truly effective means of pressure on the Iraqi dictator: the threat of the use of force.


But if the antiwar movement dissuades the United States and its allies from going to war with Iraq, it will have contributed to the peace of the dead. Saddam Hussein will emerge victorious and ever more defiant. What has been accomplished so far will unravel. Containment is doomed to fail. We cannot forget that despots protected by their own elaborate security apparatus are still able to make decisions.

Saddam Hussein has dragged his people into at least two wars. He has used chemical weapons on them. He has killed hundreds of thousands of people and tortured and oppressed countless others. So why, in all of these demonstrations, did I not see one single banner or hear one speech calling for the end of human rights abuses in Iraq, the removal of the dictator and freedom for the Iraqis and the Kurdish people? If we are going to demonstrate and exert pressure, shouldn't it be focused on the real villain, with the goal of getting him to surrender his weapons of mass destruction and resign from power? To neglect this reality, in favor of simplistic and irrational anti-Americanism, is obfuscating the true debate on war and peace.
There's much more, and as much as the term is overused, it's powerful.


Oh, look.
Charles Austin caught Clooney's act from the weekend.
"I believe he thinks this is a war that can be won, but there is no such thing anymore," said Clooney, who starred in a film about the 1991 Gulf War "Three Kings" that took a dark look at the war to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.
"We can't beat anyone anymore," added Clooney, who has called it unfair that Americans opposed to war are being branded unpatriotic.
And in response I’d just like to quote a snippet of Reagan from Bill Whittle’s excellent essay on confidence:
“The Democrats say that the United States has had its days in the sun, that our nation has passed its zenith. They expect you to tell your children that the American people no longer have the will to cope with their problems, that the future will be one of sacrifice and few opportunities. My fellow citizens, I utterly reject that view.”
As do I.
Weekend recap – part xi.

Emily Jones at Give War a Chance posted a short "hear, hear" rant about commercials being shown in theaters before the previews and another even better one about why she doesn't watch the Oscars:
This is one of the reasons I refuse to watch the Oscars. Not just because they're a bogus endgame to a long session of ass-kissing, "networking", general suck-uppery, and flat out bribery, but also because every year at least one feckless movie star tells me, the Great Unwashed and Ign'ant Inferiorious, that I should care about AIDS, people in Tibet, or that my cheeseburger used to have eyes. I fear it will be even worse than before this year. It is inevitable that the ceremony will be plagued by the usual intellectually-stunted retards who believe that lip service and ribbons on lapels equal a productive force for change, and I'm not going to be a party to that. Maybe those who are will get lucky and the producers will pull the plug on their mikes.
What she said.
Weekend recap – part x.

Kevin Parrott at Hep to the Jive posted his Grammy observances (permalink not working, for some reason) in his usual hilarious verbiage:
5. Robin Williams gave a speech so painfully unfunny that the sheer awfulness of it propelled it twenty years backwards through time and struck Richard Pryor, who immediately burst into flames. Not wanting to cause Robin future embarrassment by repeating what he'd heard, he made up some story about freebasing. How many times is Williams gonna use the "White Courtesy Phone" joke? I thought he was supposed to be some kind of Improv God - oh yeah, that was before there was a videotaped record of everything.
13. What's the big deal with Norah Jones that everyone's creaming all over themselves about? She's all right, and is truly talented, but she ain't ever gonna be no Ella. Jazz singers nowadays are pleasant, but all they really do is pull out a bag of vocal tricks used by older vocalists and hammer them repeatedly throughout their albums. She's sure winning a helluva lot of Grammies, though. Maybe I'm just out of the loop.
More to the point, she's no Duke Ellington. Her jazz is pleasant and poppy and inoffensive, but not great or innovative, which is probably why she won so many awards. Ella and Frank were smart enough to know better than to write their own songs. Why the hell should they when they had the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, and Cole Porter?
Weekend recap – part ix.

Bill Whittle posted a another great essay. And he's thinking of self-publishing a collection of them. I'd buy one. And I'm normally pretty cheap about shelling out for anyone who hasn't been dead for a few decades.
Weekend recap – part viii.

Steve H. at Little Tiny Lies published the contact info for some celebrities (Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Sean Penn, and CAA, management for Viggo AND Clooney) including Martin Sheen's home address, which he says is verified. I'm sure they won't mind if we all drop them a line, considering how important they think it is for all of us to express ourselves.
Weekend recap – part vii.

Michele at A Small Victory posted her opinion of Bruce Springsteen:
I used to enjoy Bruce's music somewhat. Now, besides the fact that I think Bruce is an opportunistic phony, I cannot hear his voice without wanting to hurl my entire day's intake of food into the toilet bowl.

We all have those things that remind us of exes. Ugly sweaters, torn letters, raggy stuffed animals...I have the memory of a singer who looks like he is eternally constipated and sings like the shit is on its way out the hole.
Yeah, now tell us how you really feel. She also posted her thoughts about the meat shields:
See, the shields just want to make a statement. They don't want to actually put themselves in harm's way. They don't really mean it when they say they would die for their cause. They are, like the celebrities in their "No War" t-shirts, putting on a grand show for everyone.
Michele's a no-shit kinda chick.

In a related item, Solonor has gathered together all the "What's to like about America" posts from Michele's blog. This is the Kentucky entry.
Weekend recap – part vi.

Andrea Harris is right. When Kid Rock is the voice of reason, things have gotten extremely weird. She also links to Drudge's report of Sheryl Crow's complaint that the Grammy people called her and told her not to be a whiny bitch on Sunday (which call they denied making.) She didn't wear the "war is not the answer" shirt this time. She did have "no war" on her guitar strap, but her hair obscured the "no" part, so that it looked like she was paying tribute to one of my favorite old 70s bands (you can see the picture on Drudge.) All my friends know the low rider.

Also via Andrea, Aaron the Liberal Slayer has compiled a Celebrity Quisling Report (with links and everything), for those of you trying desperately to keep track of those who have come out in support of genocidal thugocracies. I'm just trying to keep track of who's said the stupidest things; so far it's a toss-up between Sheryl Crow and George Clooney.
Weekend recap – part v.

Tim Blair links to this Fisk article about being confronted by the reality of the pissed-off American middle class. The set-up: Fisk appears on a lefty-driven Texas cable show about the anti-war movement, only to have one of the cameramen interrupt the post-show orgy of self-congratulation with this diatribe:
Cameraman number two came striding towards us through the studio lights. "I want to thank you, sir, for reminding us that the British had a lot to do with the chaos in the Middle East, " he said. "But I have something else to say."

His voice rose 10 decibels, his bare arms bouncing up and down at his sides, his shaven head struck forward pugnaciously. "Yeah, I wanna tell you that the cause of this problem is the fucking medieval Arabs and their wish to enslave us all – and I tell you that it is because we want to save the Jews from the fucking savage Arabs who want to throw them into the sea that we are about to fuck Saddam." There was a pause as Don Darling looked at the man, aghast. "And that," cameraman number two concluded, "is the fucking truth."
Fisk's quick analysis?
It was a telling moment, a symbol of the vast gulf of reason between the pro- and anti-war movement in America. They don't talk to each other. And if they do, neither comprehends the other. Like the endless chat programmes on Pacifica Radio and all the smaller liberal talk shows from Boston to LA that serve up inedible dollops of anti-Bush, anti-Republican rant, there is simply no contact between the intellectual "elite" of the left and the less privileged Americans who work with their hands and join the military to gain a free education and end up fighting America's foreign wars.
Love the twin implications that Americans only join the military to get a free education, and that those who do are people who "work with their hands"--that is, people too stupid to know any better. The entire article reeks of condescension, particularly the closing two paragraphs:
Sometimes I rather suspect that the anti-war left in America likes being in a permanent minority. I mean no disrespect to the Noam Chomskys and Daniel Ellsbergs and Dennis Bernsteins; they fight, amid abuse and threats, to make their voices heard. Yet I have an uneasy feeling that many on the intellectual left are fearful that America will lose its next war amid massive casualties – but are even more fearful that America may win with minimal casualties.

Perhaps this is unfair. But as long as America's anti-war movement talks to itself rather than to others, it is going to go on being surprised when the Gregg Aykinses emerge from the darkness with their hatred and venom intact to support George Bush's forthcoming war in Iraq.
"From the darkness." That was the second reference to the vaguely ominous forces of Conservia dwelling in the darkness without benefit of the mighty light of Truth from the left. Bob, it's not that we haven't heard your arguments, or that we don't understand them. We do. We just think they're wrong. It really shouldn't that difficult a concept for you to grasp. So do me a favor—build me no bridges.
Weekend recap - part iv.

Russell Wardlow posted a fine rant about the inherent stupidity of the meat shields volunteering to defend Hussein's right to be a genocidal dictator:
The beneficiaries of any aid they could possibly give goes entirely in one direct line to Saddam and his cronies. There is a marked difference between dissenting from your country's path, from disagreeing with its policies and actions, even from refusing to participate in them on the one hand and wholeheartedly giving your life and effort to help the enemy. The fact that these "human shields" aren't actually taking up arms to shoot at American troops is just a result of their own intellectual inconsistency that is unable to make the most basic distinctions between right and wrong. The fact that they're not personally standing in the poorly-lit torture chamber while a man whose only crime was political dissent has his fingernails torn out is just an accident of faulty, incomplete reasoning.
Russell's still too polite to call them pro-Saddam, though.
Weekend recap - part iii.

As noted by Laurence Simon at Amish Tech Support, Mike Tyson knocked out Clifford Etienne in 49 seconds, then gave a typically weird post-fight interview:
"I like doing other things," Tyson said in a rambling post-fight press conference. "I like getting high, hanging out with my kids, I like drinking. I like doing other things."
Didn't think Muslims were supposed to drink, at least. Nice to know he takes his prison conversion so seriously. And then,
Etienne, who dropped to 24-2-1, had an altercation with a woman as he left the ring, and was agitated.
Why, did she kick his ass too? (Please note that Laurence is guest-blogging on Frank J's IMAO today on the ATS Blog A Day Tour.)
Weekend recap - part ii.

Blogger Bash IV (Juan Gato's report here) took place in Kirkwood, MO; Tim Blair has posted his resulting interview with Juan Gato, Devil with the Ladiestm:
TB: Nature is the enemy. As a person whose background is slightly short of Kennedyesque wealth, how come you're not a raving lefty? Shouldn't you be ranting against The Man?

JG: As a white American male age 18 to 39 who makes the lifechanging and resource-wasting decision to bathe on a semi-daily basis (I like my endangered seabirds oily, not my skin), I have been fully co-opted into The Man.

We, The Man, are legion.

There is no escaping. I tried very, very hard to be a screaming lefty. I had the full sense that the world should do its best to deserve me by providing me a living and honor my exceptional talents as well as breeding me with the finest stock. But I got lost along the way and decided I should actually earn all that.
Weekend recap - part i.

Not actually from the weekend, but today James Lileks dissects a recent NYT op-ed piece by French "radical theoretician" Regis Debray as only James Lileks can:
Puritan America is hostage to a sacred morality

Oh, cram it down the croissant hatch, Chanticleer. If we were a Puritan nation Courtney Love would be arrested on the Slattern Act and forced into the stocks, and we’d all put on our big black buckled hats and head to the square to throw rotten fruit at her head. Puritans don’t show up for church in sweatpants.

Weekend recap.

And now, a long series of posts about what went on while I was busy playing bluegrass music, attending my favorite cousin’s baby shower, and generally ignoring the world. To start with, I saw Kucinich on Meet the Press Sunday and spent his entire segment shouting "Moron!" at the television. I also heard on the radio last night driving back up from Kentucky that George Clooney apparently opened his yap again and more stupidity fell out, to the effect that "we can't beat anybody anymore." Not sure who he's defining as "we", exactly, but I'm guessing he hasn't updated his mental picture of the US military since Vietnam. More on that when I find some print coverage.