Defending Ashlee Simpson is a full-time job these days. Tell the average person that 2004's Autobiography, her debut album, is the Nevermind of the girlie-pop genre -- which is faint praise, comparatively speaking, but praise, nonetheless -- and you'll wind up with an earful about lip-synching, acid reflux and her botched performance at this year's Orange Bowl. Fortunately, these gripes can be shot down without too much trouble. Bashing Ashlee for miming to a recording is ludicrous, since the method dates back at least to the early days of American Bandstand, nearly half a century before the possibility of having a stroke ever crossed Dick Clark's mind. The vast majority of national recording artists have probably done it on multiple occasions. Moreover, no one sounds good singing live during halftime at football stadiums -- which is why plenty of performers lip-synch! And acid reflux? Well, it sounds pretty yucky. So don't sign the petition at www.stopashlee.com demanding that Simpson's record company, Geffen, muzzle her for good, and drop the worn-out Jay Leno cheap shots, too. After all she's been through, she deserves compassion and understanding for everything except her decision to start going out with Ryan Cabrera again. Hate that little weasel's troll-doll hair. Hate it.