Since everyone else is focused on the war with laserlike intensity, and I have nothing particularly insightful to add. It'll take me a while to absorb what's going on, and probably longer to make sense of it, by which time it will be pointless to post about it at all (not that that's going to stop me.) Meantime, for your entertainment pleasure, Mark Steyn has put together a short list of history's greatest Oscar speeches.


Well, this is...interesting. Sort of.

Andrea Harris ran across a Sheryl Crow essay on Sheryl's fansite that apparently got mysteriously pulled shortly after she posted it; it was captured for posterity by Peppermint Patty at Pdawwg.com, and I feel impelled to do my part to disseminate the good word.

(Skipping some blather about dialoguing and everybody's opinions being of approximately the same validity and importance.)
It is my philosophical belief that we are at this point in history not because of any great leadership or because of any great evil. I believe history has brought us to this point and that the matter at hand is that we be armed with truth. For what is in our leaders: the desire for peace, the desire to control, the desire for wealth and power, greed, fear, etc., is in all of us. It is time for us to decide what it is, as people, that we stand for. Are we a nation that was founded on imperialistic ideals? Or are we a nation that is part of a fabric made up of all other countries existing on the same planet, respecting this organism that sustains our lives? Do we ignore the relationships we have worked hard to build with our allies and do we try everything in our power to rid the planet of evil using nonaggression, or are we a country that will use force and in the meantime, be responsible for the loss of innocent lives in the name of freeing oppressed people and insuring our own security, when this war is not solely based on those ideals but on the ideals of controlling the oil industry and our interests in Israel. We did not go in to Rwanda, Sierra Leone, or Angola when these countries were suffering catastrophic genocide and human rights infractions beyond our understanding. Where was our humanitarian nature then?
Where was yours? Where did you suddenly find your conscience? I sure as hell didn't see you pounding the pulpit to get Clinton involved in any of those causes, but now that we want to stop a genocidal dictator, you break out the Ronco Stud-o-matic and whip up a sassy new anti-war wardrobe, suitable for all public occasions. Where the fuck is your humanity?
[snip] It is my concern and my hope that the citizens of this country will think for themselves, educate themselves, find out all there is to know about why we are considering attacking Saddam now without the support of our allies.
We have the support of our allies. We don't have the support of the French, Germans, or Russians, all of whom have financial interests in Iraq that preclude their participation in the present action.
It is my belief that there is an abundance of information that is public record that actually addresses these issues....the issues of preemptive strikes, preventive strikes, our philosophy on creating and ruling a world empire,
You're kidding yourself. If the US really wanted an empire, we'd have one.
our necessity to have a military unchallengable by any other military,
This would be part of the "why do they hate us" blather. Personally, I couldn't possibly give less of a damn why people hate us; my Care Quotient hit zero about a year and a half ago and shows no signs of recovery.
our plan to keep a military operation in Iraq to protect our interests in Israel.
Not sure how she means that, but I'm guessing it's probably not pro-Israel.
It is my desire that we be an awake nation that investigates what it stands for and that as people, we define what we stand for. It is my dream that the arrogance that represents us as a nation can be changed in the eyes of the world and that we will rise up as a nation of peaceful people who will work at finding other ways of eliminating enemies....perhaps by consciously not creating enemies in the first place, after all, we have distinct ties to Saddam in his becoming leader of Iraq.
Ah, there's the rub. You see, if we act to stop genocide, we're dictating our values to other cultures. If we fail to act, we're not sufficiently concerned about their suffering. And no matter which option we choose, somewhere, somebody hates our guts.
There are many questions that beg to be asked. Some are being asked rhetorically by many journalists, including a great writer at the New York Times by the name of Daniel Friedman. For example-if we are claiming that we are going into Iraq to save it's people from such an oppressive regime and such heinous human rights infractions, then why are we not addressing these situations in other Middle Eastern countries that are our allies?
If we can't do everything at once, why are we doing anything at all?
What is the standard? Is there a way to justify the human loss that we can expect from this war....our own as well as innocent Iraqis?
Yes. You can look at the innocent Iraqis dying right now under Hussein's regime and ask why their lives aren't worth fighting for.
If this is a war not based on our own interests in oil, then why is it that our government is offering tax cuts to businesses who purchase SUVs as company cars?
Huh? Again, Sher, we get most of our oil from Venezuela. (That's in South America, in case you were wondering.)
(I would challenge all those who support this war, which is over three-fourths of this country, to trade in your gas guzzlers and buy a small car or a hybrid or at least a more economical car, that way we ensure that we are never reliant on overseas oil supplies. That is the least we can do to support our soldiers who are fighting on our behalf for the freedoms we enjoy. I own a hybrid and although it is not the fanciest, most powerful car, it gets us around. I am currently selling my BMW SUV).
If you're so firmly convinced that this war is about oil, I strongly urge you to do something REALLY significant--stop producing petroleum-based media and start distributing your product via the web. And then you might consider curtailing your concert tours--it takes a lot of oooooiiiillll to drive the tour buses and semis full of equipment, not to mention the fact that the people who go to see you on tour will have to drive to get there. Sure, it'll hurt, but we all have to make sacrifices, don't we?


Oh, good.

And here I was afraid the Oscar noms wouldn't meet their stupidity quota this year: Drudge reports that the director of "The Hours" is promising to make an anti-war acceptance speech if he wins. A good and sufficient reason to vote for Rob Marshall, right there.
Ok, we've seen the German plan...

...now the Italians have unveiled their own secret weapon: Cicciolina. Steve H. has the highly classified goods.


The German grasp of the American psyche.

Approaches full-on delusion:
In a report to the Foreign Ministry on Feb. 21, Germany's U.N. Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said that Washington, forced to move against Saddam Hussein alone, would later "remorsefully return to the Council" to seek help on enormous task of rebuilding Iraq, the Frankfurt Allgemeine newspaper said Sunday.

The newspaper said Pleuger's report backed unidentified countries' efforts to block the resolution. Pleuger said "it is better if the Security Council does not let itself be used by the USA," the newspaper reported.
Note that this scenario assumes success on the part of the US troops. If that's to be the case, what possible interest could the US have cutting the UN in on the post-war cleanup? What critical elements does Germany have that we might be induced to beg for under those circumstances? The idea of a victorious US army going cap-in-hand to the countries whose self-interest dictated they sit out--or worse, actively obstruct--the war is ludicrous. And highly unlikely.
Recent reports have said Schroeder's government is quietly considering sending German soldiers to participate in a possible U.N.-led peacekeeping mission in Iraq that would follow any military action against Baghdad.

Government officials have declined to comment on an early release of a report in the Monday edition the Spiegel weekly indicating German would send up to 1,000 troops to support a postwar mission.
Bwaha. Thanks, but no thanks.
Schroeder indicated late Friday that Germany would be willing to participate in a peacekeeping operation sanctioned by the United Nations.

"Of course Germany has always been prepared to fulfill its international obligations, under the United Nations," Schroeder told ARD television late Friday.
Yeah, unless its international obligations include actually enforcing UN resolutions or icky stuff like that. Eew.

[Link via The Corner.]
Maines runs to cover her ass.

And to no one's particular surprise, she uses motherhood and the flag to do it:
``While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers' lives are lost,'' she said. ``I love my country. I am a proud American.''
Way too little, way too late, and frankly, the addition of the obligatory reference to The Children just makes my lip curl. Besides, we've spent twelve years exhausting various alternatives. Where was Nat while all that was going on?
Maines' contrite statement is in contrast to her comments on Thursday, when she said: ``I feel the president is ignoring the opinion of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world. My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view.''
Quite. And free to pay the price for the things you say, as Miss Maines has suddenly discovered.

[From the AP via AOL news; sorry, no link.]