Protests Continue; Robin Williams & Eddie Vedder Speak Out; Madonna Cowers; Al Defends the Dixie Chicks

As hundreds of protestors picketed Chevron's world headquarters in San Ramon today, one is reminded of last week's rally at the Port of Oakland, where police fired wooden dowels, rubber pellets and tear gas into a crowd of protesters and longshoremen, many who were attempting to flee the scene. Today's protest wasn't as dramatic, but there were 60 arrests. A Chevron employee was quoted on NPR as saying, I don't support this war or President Bush, but its wrong to picket Chevron. Everyone needs oil, right?

Robin Williams lampoons his country's mixed messages when it comes to national security.

"America is broke, basically, but Bush wants to wage a war that costs pretty much a billion dollars a month.

"We have a president for whom English is a second language. He's like 'We have to get rid of dictators,' but he's pretty much one himself.

"In America, we have orange alert, but what the hell does that mean? We're supposed to be afraid of Krishna? Of orange sorbet? Then it's like, 'You can't go out and shop, it's too dangerous out there,' but if that happens then the economy falls.

"The message is so mixed: 'Be afraid, but not too afraid.'"

Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder is standing by his onstage bashing of President George W. Bush.

Last week at a concert in Denver, Vedder made anti-war remarks to boos and cheers and performed "Bushleaguer" from their new album Riot Act. After the show he responded to the reported "mass walkout":

"There were close to 12,000 people at the show. It's possible two dozen left during the encore but it was not noticeable among the 11,976 who were applauding. People were led to believe a mass exodus took place. It didn't."

"Dissension is nothing we shy away from, it simply should be reported more accurately.

"Ed's talk from the stage centered on the importance of freedom of speech and the importance of supporting our soldiers, as well as an expression of sadness over the public being made to feel as though the two sentiments can't occur simultaneously."

Madonna shied away from airing the anti-war video for her new single. Madonna claims that she pulled the tape out of "sensitivity and respect" to the armed forces involved in the Iraq war.

"I have decided not to release my new video.

"It was filmed before the war started and I do not believe it is appropriate to air it at this time.

"Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video."

And finally, Al Gore was brave enough to stand up for the Dixie Chicks.

"They were made to feel un-American and risked economic retaliation because of what was said. Our democracy has taken a hit.

"Our best protection is free and open debate."

Hear, hear, Al. Too bad you didn't protect our democracy from the Bush Administration when you had the chance.