Friday, September 29, 2006

Why Vote for Democrats?

By Cassandra D

Why should we vote for Democrats to take control of the House and/or Senate, even though they are a sorry lot?

Glenn Greenwald makes the case well. Here is an excerpt:

"But a desire to see the Democrats take over Congress -- even a strong desire for that outcome and willingness to work for it -- does not have to be, and at least for me is not, driven by a belief that Washington Democrats are commendable or praiseworthy and deserve to be put into power. Instead, a Democratic victory is an instrument -- an indispensable weapon -- in battling the growing excesses and profound abuses and indescribably destructive behavior of the Bush administration and their increasingly authoritarian followers. A Democratic victory does not have to be seen as being anything more than that in order to realize how critically important it is."

And if you want to read intelligent, educated, articulate posts about the issues we face, I highly recommend reading Greenwald's blog, Unclaimed Territory, on a regular basis.

Slapped by "The Daily Show"

"The Daily Show"'s Jason Jones skewered Cleveland TV investigative reporter Carl Monday over a recent six-part series -- six parts! -- concerning a kid who masturbated while looking at computer porn at a public library (at the Comedy Central site, click on the "Rubbing Out Crime" videos).

The piece isn't as funny as it is sweet justice -- and a warranted bitch slap at TV news' penchant for ambushing, and beating up on, the sad and pathetic. Is there something wrong with someone yanking it in a public place? You betcha. Was the incident worth a story and five followups? Is this extent of public humiliation really that fun or rewarding for a TV reporter? Are there not more pressing investigative stories to be told in the naked city? Is Carl Monday as much a tool as he appears?

Raw footage of Jones haranguing Monday, however, is a bit like watching sausage being made. Jones is a complete smirking asshole. The only saving grace, as far as I can make out, is that it's karmic payback

Andrew Sullivan Speaks...

By Cassandra D

Here's another voice:

"The only response is for the public to send a message this fall. In congressional races, your decision should always take into account the quality of the individual candidates. But this November, the stakes are higher. If this Republican party maintains control of all branches of government, the danger to individual liberty is extremely grave. Put aside all your concerns about the Democratic leadership. What matters now is that this juggernaut against individual liberty and constitutional rights be stopped. The court has failed to stop it; the legislature has failed to stop it; only the voters can stop it now. If they don't, they will at least have been warned."

Quote of the Day

"You're the only ones who obsess on that. We don't and the real people out in the real world don't for the most part."

-- U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, explaining to reporters why President Bush and Senate Republicans did not discuss the Iraq War during a Thursday caucus meeting

Tristero Speaks Out

By Cassandra D

...on Hullabaloo:

"The truth is that the United States government is presently holding, torturing, and even murdering countless numbers of people who have no chance in hell of obtaining a lawyer, let alone anything resembling a trial. The government is doing this under the direct orders of George W. Bush. There is no law, no bill, and no legislature who can stop him. If Congress were to pass a law unequivocably banning torture and send it to him, he'd use it for toilet paper. If the Supreme Court were to rule against Bush in the harshest and bluntest language, he'd yawn.

The truth is that there is a rogue presidency and there has been, since January, 2001 (earlier, if you count the stolen election). Certainly, everyone in Washington knows it, but no one dares to admit it. The bill legalizing torture merely enables Congress to pretend they still have some influence over an executive that from day one was governing, not as if they had a mandate, but as if Bush were a dictator. If, for some miracle, the bill didn't pass, every congress-critter knows Bush would keep on torturing.

Better to vote to pass and preserve the appearance of a working American government, the thinking goes. For the very thought that the US government is seriously broken - that the Executive is beyond the control of anyone and everyone in the world - is such a truly awesome and terrifying thought that it can never be publicly acknowledged. If ever it is, if the American crisis gets outed and Congress and the Supremes openly assert that the Executive has run completely amok and is beyond control, the world consequences are staggering. It is the stuff of doomsday novels."

There's more.

What Would George Washington Say Now?

By Cassandra D

Yesterday the Senate passed the detainee treatment bill that allows President Bush to determine what constitutes torture. [He has such a great track record. He is, after all, The Decider. Why should we doubt his abilities?]

Hillary Clinton spoke [great speech, by the way; read the whole thing] about the pending legislation and noted the example set for us by George Washington during the Revolutionary War:

"General Washington announced a decision unique in human history, sending the following order for handling prisoners: 'Treat them with humanity, and let them have no reason to complain of our Copying the brutal example of the British Army in their Treatment of our unfortunate brethren.'"

Why is it so easy for Americans today to throw out the wisdom of our ancestors?

Addenda:

The New York Times sums it up.

Statement from People for the American Way President Ralph G. Neas:

“Senator John McCain has often noted how our system of justice makes us different from terrorists—how it gives us the moral high ground. While terrorists might resort to torture, it has long been against the law for Americans to do so. At least that used to be the case, before Senator McCain and others caved to the Bush administration and passed this atrocious measure.

“This legislation turns our system of justice upside down, betrays basic American values of fairness and justice, and undermines the rule of law. It gives the Bush administration a blank check to detain whoever it sees fit, and to use whatever interrogation techniques it wants, without oversight. It deprives detainees of habeas corpus—their right to challenge their imprisonment in the courts—and it may make them vulnerable to the use of secret or coerced evidence. Adding insult to injury, this legislation includes a blanket waiver letting members of this administration off the hook for potential violations of the law. What a disgrace.

“Some senators probably supported this measure because they were worried about being perceived as soft on terrorism. But capitulation doesn’t make them look strong. If they want to win the votes of people who are worried about security, they had better show that they know how to stand up and fight. Unfortunately for our democracy, too many of them have failed to do so today.”

Friday Random 10

Friday. Thank God it's Friday. Friday. Friday. Thank God it's Friday. Take me away, iPod:

1. Moby, "Everytime You Touch Me"
2. The Byrds, "Mr. Tambourine Man"
3. John Wesley Harding, "The Person You Are"
4. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, "Dial Up"
5. Mickey & the Milkshakes, "Please Don't Tell My Baby"
6. Elvis Presley, "You'll Never Walk Alone"
7. Morrissey, "The Father Who Must Be Killed"
8. The Yardbirds, "I Wish You Would"
9. Rick Derringer, "Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo"
10. Wheatus, "The London Sun"

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Screech Tape Derby

Speaking as someone who would most definitely not want to see himself having sex, I am continually baffled that so many celebrities evidently love watching themselves fornicate.

The latest to join the fray? None other than "Saved by the Bell"'s Screech.

Zap2It.com reports that Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on that God-awful series, is one perverted dude:

"Entertainment agent David Hans Schmidt acquired the rights to the video, which features Diamond in a menage a trois with two women. Although most of the raunchy details have been kept under wraps, word is that some 'bodily functions' and the 'Dirty Sanchez' are featured acts in the sex romp.

"'Just when you think you have seen everything in this business,' says Schmidt, 'mankind has raised the bar another notch. Or lowered it.'"

Let me be on the record right now: The day we learn that Steve Urkel has leaked a sex tape is the day I gouge my eyes out.

Woeful, er, Thursday

By Cassandra D

So woeful I couldn't post yesterday.

Andrew Sullivan speaks out about the dangers of the compromise detainee bill. It's scary, folks. Our system of government is being gutted before our very eyes. Jesus' General breaks out of his Colbert-esque role to give us our marching orders. Go do it now!

[And why should you act?

"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people."

From Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail," April 16, 1963]

Polling data show that American Christians support torture more than secular Americans do. Somehow I don't think Jesus would be pleased.

The Bush Administration follows the "enemy of my enemy is my friend" rule, even regarding terrorists. An innocent Canadian who might have links to al Qaeda? Send him to Syria for torture. A suspected terrorist who is accused of murdering people in Cuba? Can't send him to Venezuela for trial because he might be tortured.

Cafferty points out what is becoming increasingly obvious: Bush cut and ran from Afghanistan in order to go to war in Iraq, and now we have disasters of our own making in both countries.

Sex Tape Derby, Round 71

Ahh, fall is in the air and it's Sex Tape Derby day. All is right with the world.

OK, enough wonderment. You know the drill: Let's say you absolutely, unequivocally must watch a hardcore homemade sex tape or DVD. Who would be your choice to swing from the rafters? Post your selections in the comments section below.


Right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin or ...















Right-wing pundit Laura Ingraham?














Hugh Jackman or ...















Russell Crowe?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Take THAT, You New Yawk Elites!

A few months ago, Cassandra mentioned on this here blog about The New Yorker's ongoing contest urging readers to send in their suggested captions to those fancypants cartoons of which the magazine is so proud.

Well, Radosh.net has a damned irresistible contest going on -- to find the worst possible caption for the New Yorker's cartoon contests. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Newsweek...

By Cassandra D

...doesn't think Americans can handle the truth.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sen. George Allen Finally Finds a Jew He Can Get Behind ...

Mammy! Mammy! Is it true?











UPDATE: Dear anonymous, click here for the subtext

Blog This

The Okie Blog Awards were announced this past weekend at the first annual Okie Bloggers Roundup. Sadly, I was unable to attend the gathering; such are the travails of having a baby and a bitch of a methadone addiction.

Even more sadly, I have to bid adieu to the 2005 Best Overall Blog honors. This year's award went to the richly deserving Charles Hill of Dustbury fame. The guy is amazing. Having been blogging for less than two years, I can say without hesitation that this isn't always as easy as it looks. Sure, this is chiefly for fun -- but it can swiftly turn into a beast that must be fed. That Charles Hill still manages to crank out consistently entertaining and interesting blog posts is ... well, it's kinda scary. He's a machine. Maybe a cyborg, even.

Congratulations to all the winners (and to all the nominees, for that matter).

And while I'm on the subject, kudos to all Oklahoma bloggers, and thank you for the diversity of voices, the enthusiasm, the passion and (for the most part) civility. A special shout-out to my personal faves, from the can-do-it-all bloggers like Dustbury and Okiedoke to the solid political rants of Okie Funk, Existential Ramble and Left End of the Dial. For a laugh or groan, I dig Doc Pants, The Daily Bitch, Agent Bedhead and Lip Schtick. And then there are just the unique and wonderful windows into some amazing lives -- 3:40 a.m., AuntT and Brit. Oh, and there are even the right-wingers I always enjoy reading, such as Fits & Starts, Sean Gleeson and BatesLine.

The skeptics and wags in the mainstream media might continue to stick their heads in the proverbial sand, but the democratizing effects of the blogosphere have gargantuan ramifications that have yet to shake out.

Thanks, y'all.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Torture: The American Way?

By Cassandra D

From the LA Times:

"If the bad guys captured your son and tossed him, naked, into a cell kept at a temperature just slightly higher than an average refrigerator, then repeatedly doused him with ice water to induce hypothermia, would that be OK? What if they shackled him to a wall for days so he couldn't sit or lie down without hanging his whole body weight on his arms? What if they threatened to rape and kill his wife, or pretended they were burying him alive? What if they did all these things by turns? Would you have any problem deciding that these methods are cruel?"

In a recent interview, Trevor Paglen, one of the authors of the new book,"Torture Taxi," sums up our current situation:

"This is the crucial question that we are facing right now. Bush transferred a handful of guys to Guantanamo and acknowledged they were kept in these secret prisons. Congress has to come up with a framework to prosecute these guys. It's common knowledge that most of the guys at Guantanamo are nobodies. Many were turned in by bounty hunters. But the guys that Bush transferred to Guantanamo Bay are guys that everybody agrees are bad guys. The sticking point is that they have tortured them for years and the evidence against them is totally tainted by rendition and torture. These are guys that people definitely want to see put on trial. By moving them to Guantanamo Bay, Bush is basically challenging Congress and saying, 'If you want to put Khaled Sheikh Mohammed on trial, you're going to have to retroactively authorize torture, rendition, and the black site program.'

If Congress does authorize the president's version of the bill, they're not only retroactively authorizing torture, they're creating a legal framework for the future. That would create a system where disappearing and torturing people would become a part of the law."

Remember that little tidbit from the Gettysburg Address? "A government of the people, by the people, for the people..."

I am appalled by what is being done in my name.

Friday Random 10

iPod, a-two, a-three ...

1. Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Down on the Corner"
2. The Flamin' Groovies, "I Can't Hide"
3. English Beat, "Can't Get Used to Losing You"
4. The Fuzztones, "Strychnine"
5. Metallica, "The Unforgiven"
6. Ministry, "Jesus Built My Hotrod"
7. The Lemonheads, "Different Drum"
8. The Killers, "Mr. Brightside"
9. Joe Jackson, "What's the Use of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again)?"
10. Golden Smog, "I Can't Keep from Talking"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hugo's Book Club

In addition to calling Dumbya Satan and complaining that he stank the place up, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took advantage of his United Nations appearance yesterday to do some book-peddling. The New York Times explains:

"He brandished a copy of Noam Chomsk's Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance and recommended it to members of the General Assembly to read. Later, he told a news conference that one of his greatest regrets was not getting to meet Mr. Chomsky before he died. (Mr. Chomsky, 77, is still alive.)

[...]

"He suggested that Americans read Mr. Chomsky's book instead of spending all their time 'watching Superman and Batman' movies."


Maybe Chavez doesn't understand the appeal of the Superman and Batman movie franchises. Something tells me he's mixing apples and oranges here.

Sex Tape Derby, Round 70

Happy Thursday, sports fans. It's Sex Tape Derby day, as you know. So here's the question: If the fate of the free world hinges on your visual consumption of a homemade sex video, who would you rather see boom-boom? Post your selections in the comments section below.

Talladega Night's Leslie Bibb or ...














The Black Dahlia's Mia Kirshner?














Stephen Colbert or ...











Keith Olbermann?

Pony Tail

A friend of mine has been obsessed for several weeks now with some disconcerting images she witnessed on a show on the WE Network, "The Secret Lives of Women." As I am not personally familiar with the show (having a penis, I don't really care about the inner thoughts of women), I only have the friend's play-by-play, but evidently the episode she saw dealt with fetishes. Specifically, it focused on the fetish of couples who like to play pony.


As I understand it, the kink goes like this: a person will dress up in leather pony garb (sometimes even including a horse's head) and trot around while the other half of the couple rides, or otherwise "cares for," the humanimal. According to the interviewees on the TV show, the horseplay can -- but doesn't always -- result in sex. In other words, sometimes you pony up and sometimes you don't.

All this begs a question. We won't ponder the sexual peccadilloes of people who dig such role-playing; we all know it takes diff'rent strokes to make up that magical and mysterious world of sex.

But riddle me this: Prior to the advent of the Internet, how did one pony enthusiast hook up with a like-minded partner? Surely, it can't come up that much in casual conversation.

"I'm really glad Jim and Sarah thought we should meet. I feel like I can really be myself around you."

"Yeah, I'm so glad you're also into roller-blading and Indian food."

"I know!"

"Hey, I'm just thinking out loud here but you ever thought about humping a pony?"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Woeful Wednesday

By Cassandra D

For your weekly dose of outrage and despair:

A piece in the Washington Post on how not to rebuild a country. More evidence that politics and nation-building don't mix.

News that the FCC has buried reports indicating over-consolidation of the media. Same old same old from the Republicans?

Are we already at war in Iran? What would war with Iran look like?

"Extraordinary rendition." That doesn't sound so bad, does it? A falsely accused and tortured Canadian might disagree. AMERICAblog points out the irony of Bush's condemnation of Syria at the UN, when Bush and friends used Syria to do our torture for us.

The Pope has a point, but is there any real hope of change?

Surprise, surprise. Michelle Malkin lacks consistency. The Rude Pundit has a few choice words on the subject.

Rove may have us right where he wants us.

And just for laughs (though it may bring tears of recognition):
Suicidal Democrats.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ingrate, Thy Name is Eszterhas

Joe Eszterhas, that lovable once-upon-a-time king of criminally overpaid Hollywood screenwriters, has authored yet another poison-pen letter to the town that had the audacity to make him a multimillionaire for writing timeless classics like Showgirls, Flashdance and Basic Instinct -- three movies where, as you know, the writing was everything.

The new tell-all is the aptly title The Devil's Guide to Hollywood. In The New York Times Review of Books, reviewer Joe Queenan nicely summarizes the career of the scribe:

"Mild-mannered screenwriter Joe Eszterhas ... is the sort of foot-shuffling country bumpkin who arrives in Los Angeles from the hinterland one day with his head full of dreams, only to find out that beneath Tinseltown's wholesome surface swarms a nest of vipers. Worse, this 'refugee street kid from the West Side of Cleveland' soon learns that producers and directors despise maverick, outsider, rebel, free-spirit, street kid wordsmiths like him, because screenwriters can write dialogue that sounds like it might be uttered by a welder who wants to be a ballerina (Flashdance), whereas producers and directors are 'morons.' What's more, screenwriters can write a mystery that hinges on a missing typewriter (Jagged Edge), then write a mystery hinging on a missing photograph (Music Box), and then write a mystery hinging on a missing ice pick (Basic Instinct), and have the gall to demand payment three times for the same idea."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

How Quickly It Is Destroyed

By Cassandra D

With all the talk last week about the 9/11 anniversary, we were reminded how easy it is for foolish/evil/simple-minded people to destroy creation. 3000 lives and awe-inspiring buildings destroyed in minutes.

But Andrew Sullivan has a post that is a reminder that our nation's reputation can be and has been destroyed quickly, too. He posts a poignant letter by a veteran of the first Iraq war who wrote a must-read analysis of what we have lost in this ill-conceived, poorly executed war. Here is the heart of it:

"...(the Iraqis) could have fought. Not won, no they couldn't have won, but they could have fought. Instead, they chose to surrender.

Looking back, I think that one of the main drivers in these men's heads was that they knew, absolutely, that they'd get fair treatment from us, the Americans. We were the good guys. The Iraqis on the line knew they had an out, they had hope, so they could just walk away. (A few did piss themselves when someone told them we were Marines. Go figure.) Still, they knew Americans would be fair, and we were.

Thinking hard on what I now know of history, psychology, and the meanness of politics, that reputation for fairness was damn near unique in world history. Can you tell me of any major military power that had it? Ever? France? No. Think Algeria. The UK? Sorry, Northern Ireland, the Boxer Rebellion in China... China or Russia. I don't think so. But America had it. If those men had even put up token resistance, some of us would not have come back. But they didn't even bother, and surrendered at least in part because of our reputation. Our two hundred year old reputation for being fair and humane and decent. All the way back to George Washington, and from President George H.W. Bush all the way down to a lance-corporal jarhead at the front.

Its gone now, even from me. I can't get past that image of the Iraqi, in the hood with the wires and I'm not what you'd call a sensitive type. You know the picture. And now we have a total bust-out in the White House, and a bunch of rubber-stamps in the House, trying to make it so that half-drowning people isn't torture. That hypothermia isn't torture. That degradation isn't torture. We don't have that reputation for fairness anymore. Just the opposite, I think. And the next real enemy we face will fight like only the cornered and desperate fight. How many Marines' lives will be lost in the war ahead just because of this asshole who never once risked anything for this country?"

Friday, September 15, 2006

Why I Love Blogging

By Cassandra D

Sure, I know our society is supposedly more fragmented than ever. But I love the democratic spirit and the personal empowerment that are part and parcel of blogging.

As examples I give you a fun site for everything "Project Runway." It's what silly, participatory pop culture is all about.

And I give you this report, from the gals at firedoglake, who were invited to meet with former President Clinton. How else but via blogging could some random geeks with a passion for politics begin to have an actual impact on the path our nation takes?

George Clooney is doing his level best to help the people in Darfur, and I'm glad he is. More power to him. But isn't it nice you don't have to have his fame or order that your voice be heard? Or at least have the not-so-crazy hope that your voice will be heard?

Lips-Locked

I've warbled at length about my 20-odd-year love for Oklahoma's own Flaming Lips. My, oh my, but the boys have come a long way since I saw them around '87 playing at the OU Student Union, where they rumbled through "Everything's Explodin'" while an an overhead projector displayed psychedelic blotches against the wall behind them.

Tonight the Lips return to their hometown after a four-year absence (woo hoo!), bringing with them their own special brand of hallucinogenic childlike whimsy.



"Do You Realize
That you have the most beautiful face?
Do You Realize
We're floating in space?
Do You Realize
That happiness makes you cry?
Do You Realize
That everyone you know someday will die



"And instead of saying all of your goodbyes
Let them know you realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun doesn't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round"


Oh, and thanks to the Oklahoman's entertainment editor George Lang for the shout-out in today's paper (although a link would've been icing on the cake).

Friday Random 10

In honor of the Flaming Lips taking the stage in their hometown tonight, I'd like to say that some Lips popped up on this installment of the ol' iPod shuffle, but I'd be lying. So without further adieu ...

1. Pianosaurus, "Sun Will Follow"
2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, "Third Stone from the Sun"
3. The Cramps, "Saddle Up a Buzz Buzz"
4. Professor Longhair, "Tipitina"
5. Bruce Springsteen, "Streets of Fire"
6. The Rolling Stones, "Respectable"
7. Cracker, "Riverside"
8. New Order, "True Faith (1994)"
9. Brian Wilson & Van Dyke Parks, "San Francisco"
10. son, ambulance, "Brown Park"

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Perfect Family Man

My dad turns 83 today. I'd like to say he was in his 60s when he knocked up my mom, but alas, such is not the case.

It's probably been more than 100 years since the term "Southern gentleman" wasn't met with Yankee sneers and visions of George Wallace, burning crosses and shrill Neil Young songs. But I can proudly say that my father, a born-and-bred Mississippian with a heart as big as the Delta, is a Southern gentleman in the truest sense of the term. He is southern, he is gentle and he is a man.

I grew up thinking he was the perfect family man. In a family with the sort of dysfunctional familial politics that could give the Corleones a run for their money, my dad was a rare voice of calm -- or so I thought at the time. The older I got, the more I gradually came to realize he was a chronic worrier who carried on his shoulders the hefty burden of being the provider for his big, unwieldy family. Such pressures would give him bouts of insomnia and he popped Excedrin like Tic Tacs, but he always did his best to put up a good front for his kids.

He hated the worries to which he'd become addicted, but he loved -- loved -- his family. Blessed with a sonorous Foghorn Leghorn voice and a gift for self-effacing humor, my dad brags on his children almost to the point of it being pathological. Once I even received a letter from a complete stranger telling me how I was lucky to have such a proud pop. It turned out my dad had struck up a conversation with the guy while waiting for a pay phone at a shopping mall.

Nowadays he doesn't worry nearly so much. He retired long ago, the children are all grown and his health (aside from the inevitable hiccups of age) is good.

And on this birthday, I want to brag on him just a bit: After all this time, he's still the perfect family man.

Sex Tape Derby, Round 69

Welcome to a banner edition of Sex Tape Derby. That's right, make this Round 69 for the blog franchise that The New Republic's Peter Beinart calls a "unique window into the collective libido of a desperate and disillusioned nation."

Here's the deal for those who might not be familiar with the setup: Let's say you absolutely, positively must view a homemade sex videotape or DVD. Who would be your paramour of choice? Post your selections in the comments section below. And from all of us here at CTTC, happy Thursday and happy Round 69.

Invincible's Elizabeth Banks or ...















"The Office"'s Jenna Fischer?














Ryan Reynolds or ...














Josh Hartnett?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Heidi Ho

By Cassandra D

I have long been a poo-pooer of reality shows. "Survivor?" Didn't see it. "Big Brother?" Nope. Not that either. I did watch an episode of PBS's "Frontier House," but that was about it, and I'm not sure that anything from PBS really counts.

So what could get me to spend two hours this evening watching reality TV? "Project Runway." I admit it; I'm hooked. It helped that I had a local boy to root for (had being the operative word).

One thing I've noticed: For such a mean and bitchy critic of other people's fashion sense, our host Heidi Klum sure wears some ugly clothes. Her jacket today looked 2 sizes too small, and it pulled in weird ways so that she looked, ridiculously enough, fat. [This isn't the outfit but it's the ugliest thing I could find her wearing in my brief search of the web. She does, it appears, have photographers with better fashion sense...]

If Heidi weren't such a bi-atch with an "auf" you attitude, I'd say she deserved immunity. Doesn't everyone expect the nasty fashion judge to "win" every time she dresses up for a show? Perhaps she should show up to the runway wearing a sheet and leave it at that. Better yet, maybe all the judges should be wearing these:

Sooner Pride

By Conrad Spencer

We've been discussing war and terrorism and oil a great deal lately here on CTTC, so I thought it might be time to bring up some other weighty issues facing the world today. Like inter-state rivalry and nekkid people.

The new Playboy, featuring Women of the Big 12, arrived yesterday.

Sooners pictured: 5
Longhorns: 1

For those may be interested, OSU had 3 representatives and Baylor looked to be the only unrepresented school.

A friend of mine recently moved back to Oklahoma after spending several years in Colorado, a few months in Baltimore, and lots of time traveling. He tells me there are more beautiful women in Oklahoma than anywhere else he's been. Apparently Hef agrees.

Is this a great state or what?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Extent of My Paranoia...

By Cassandra D

...astounds even me. And I'm sure RedDirt will be smirking at me knowingly after he reads this post. But experience leads me to give my paranoia the benefit of doubt, at least regarding the current administration. So here goes...

Today we get this news: Metro Gas Prices Keep Falling With No End In Sight.

"On Aug. 7, metro drivers were paying an average of $2.97 per gallon for regular-unleaded fuel. As of Sept. 12, that average across the Oklahoma City area is down to $2.22 per gallon.
...
Experts said the drop in prices is all about supply and demand. The summer-driving season is officially over, which means Oklahomans can expect lower prices.


Those experts added that those drops are expected to continue as long as there is no severe threat on the U.S. oil supply."

The end of the summer driving season? What about Labor Day? Prices had already dropped by fifty cents a gallon by that weekend. What gives?

Back in May we had this from CBS: Gas Prices, Iraq Weigh Down Bush
President's Approval Rating Lowest Ever In CBS News Poll.


And the correlation between gas prices and presidential approval ratings was also noted here, with the evidence laid out in graphic form:

We all know the Bush Administration is deeply tied to the oil and gas industry, and it's a good bet which party said industry hopes will hold power after the November elections.

So, again I ask: What gives? Why are gas prices dropping like a rock now? Anyone else want to join me in concocting paranoid conspiracy theories?

Even I know I'm being completely ridiculous. Er, make that 99.9 percent ridiculous.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Gag

By Cassandra D

Well, I just gritted my teeth and sat through Bush's speech.

"We must put aside our differences." Yep. That's what he said. Of course, what he meant by that was, "You people must agree with everything I say and do."

I had a brief glimmer of hope when I heard him talk about "working with Democratic leaders." But then I realized he was talking about working with little "d" "democratic leaders" in the Middle East. I should have known he wasn't talking about the opposition party in the U.S. As Chase pointed out, he would have called them "Democrat leaders."

Just before GWB's speech, I watched Keith Olbermann speak words that resonated deeply with me. Read it or watch it, but here's just a snippet:

"How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?"

I want a bumper sticker that says, "How dare they spin 9/11."

Let's Turn Back the Clock

By Cassandra D

Remember the feeling we all had back in September, 2001? Remember when we felt unity in our grief and in our anger? Remember that golden hope that perhaps, through this horrible tragedy, the vast majority of the people of the world were united? The hope that we could all work together to make the world a better place? The shameless, honest, humble love of country that we shared? The time when no one would even think to question that all Americans were horrified by the attacks and that all Americans were committed to preventing more attacks? Remember when our flag felt like it belonged to all of us? Remember when the people of the world stood with us?

I despise George W. Bush and his minions for ruining the only good to come of 9/11. I despise them for tearing our nation apart. Osama bin Laden tried to do it but succeeded only in bringing us together. Bush is the one who has turned American against American, and who has turned the nations of the world against ours.

I wish we could turn back the clock. I wish our leaders had taken hold of that moment in history and had made something great of us, and of our nation.

My hope and my prayer is that this black time in our country's history will pass, and that we will be the stronger and the wiser for having lived through it.

This hope that we would remember the unity we felt on 9/11 as the most fitting memorial for that day, and that that remembrance would help heal the terrible rifts among our countrymen, will not be a hope made manifest without a struggle, unfortunately. Seeing that hope dashed is what makes me so terribly angry at ABC/Disney for airing their divisive partisan spin. My hope today is that we can all brush aside their show and the nasty anti-American tendencies it represents, and instead remember the people of our nation coming together in the best of ways.

Let's remember that.

David Letterman comments attack on the U.S. ( 9/11 WTC )



Resilience and Forgetfulness

On this five-year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, there is no way I could add anything to Frank Rich's column in yesterday's New York Times, parts of which are excerpted below.

He takes his start from a rarely seen photo taken of that tragedy, a picture that Thomas Hoepker of Magnum Photos locked away for years because he thought it conveyed a wholly inappropriate insouciance.

Now, however, Hoepker worries that the complacency he captured is all too indicative of a post-9/11 nation.

Rich explains:

"Traumatic as the attack on America was, 9/11 would recede quickly for many. This is a country that likes to move on, and fast. The young people in Mr. Hoepker's photo aren't necessarily callous. They're just American. In the five years since the attacks, the ability of Americans to dust themselves off and keep going explains both what's gone right and what's gone wrong on our path to the divided and dispirited state the nation finds itself in today.

"What's gone right: the terrorists failed to break America's back. The ''new'' normal lasted about 10 minutes, except at airport check-ins. The economy, for all its dips and inequities and runaway debt, was not destroyed. The culture, for better and worse, survived intact ...

[...]

"But even as we celebrate this resilience, it too comes at a price. The companion American trait to resilience is forgetfulness. What we've forgotten too quickly is the outpouring of affection and unity that swelled against all odds in the wake of Al Qaeda's act of mass murder ...

"At the National Cathedral prayer service on Sept. 14, 2001, President Bush found just the apt phrase to describe this phenomenon: 'Today we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called "the warm courage of national unity." This is the unity of every faith and every background. It has joined together political parties in both houses of Congress.' What's more, he added, 'this unity against terror is now extending across the world.'

"The destruction of that unity, both in this nation and in the world, is as much a cause for mourning on the fifth anniversary as the attack itself. As we can't forget the dead of 9/11, we can't forget how the only good thing that came out of that horror, that unity, was smothered in its cradle.

"On the very next day after that convocation, Mr. Bush was asked ... 'how much of a sacrifice' ordinary Americans would 'be expected to make in their daily lives, in their daily routines.' His answer: 'Our hope, of course, is that they make no sacrifice whatsoever.' He, too, wanted to move on -- to 'see life return to normal in America,' as he put it -- but toward partisan goals stealthily tailored to his political allies rather than the nearly 90 percent of the country that, according to polls, was rallying around him.

"This selfish agenda was there from the very start. As we now know from many firsthand accounts, a cadre from Mr. Bush's war cabinet was already busily hyping nonexistent links between Iraq and the Qaeda attacks. The presidential press secretary, Ari Fleischer, condemned Bill Maher's irreverent comic response to 9/11 by reminding 'all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do.' Fear itself -- the fear that 'paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance,' as F.D.R. had it -- was already being wielded as a weapon against Americans by their own government. Less than a month after 9/11, the president was making good on his promise of 'no sacrifice whatsoever.'

"And so here we are five years later. Fearmongering remains unceasing. So do tax cuts. So does the war against a country that did not attack us on 9/11. We have moved on, but no one can argue that we have moved ahead."






(photos courtesy watchingtheworldchange.com)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Crabby Friday: Propaganda on the March

By Cassandra D

Yes, I know that there has been an avalanche of posts on CTTC today, and no, this is not about the "Path to 9/11" scandal.

I just couldn't let this little story slip by. In any other era it would have been big news, but I doubt I would have heard about it at all had I not stumbled across it via Talking Points Memo.

"MIAMI (Reuters) - At least 10 Florida journalists received regular payments from a U.S. government program aimed at undermining the Cuban government of Fidel Castro, The Miami Herald reported on Friday."

Not Such a Lonely Planet After All?

By Cassandra D

We may have a new solution to global warming--move!

Reuters reports the following:
"Earthlike planets covered with deep oceans that could harbor life may be found in as many as a third of solar systems discovered outside of our own, U.S. researchers said on Thursday."

Just think of the possibilities, beyond curing (until we wreck the next planet) global warming. There could be an Israeli planet and a Palestinian planet, an Indian planet and a Pakistani planet, a Texas planet and a rest-of-the-US planet...

Them Children Is Smarts

"But we also got to do some other things that's smart, and it starts with making sure our workers have the skills necessary to compete in the 21st century."
-- President George W. Bush, in a Labor Day speech in Maryland

The Day the Music Died

Brace yourselves, America:

David Spade and Heather Locklear are taking a "break" from their relationship.

People magazine reports that Heather has told a friend (evidently a friend who had People magazine on speed dial) that "it's just too soon for her to get serious."

Oh, sweet irony of life! ... As we near the five-year anniversary of 9-11, a nation loses its innocence again.

Friday Random 10

Today's random 10 is mighty random. My iPod evidently went to the Tom Cruise school of emotional consistency.

1. Don Henley, "The Boys of Summer"
2. Captain & Tennille, "Do That to Me One More Time"
3. GWAR, "The Road Behind"
4. Elvis Costello, "The Long Honeymoon"
5. The Supremes, "Where Did Our Love Go?"
6. The Carpenters, "Rainy Days and Mondays"
7. Juliana Hatfield, "Forever Baby"
8. Versus, "Crazy-Maker (I'm Still in Love with Your Eyes)"
9. The Replacements, "Careless"
10. The Supersuckers, "Born with a Tail"

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Snakes in a Basement

Tonight the wife was combing through boxes in our basement when she came across one of these monstrosities pictured here. She came across it with her sock-covered foot.

Do many people find snakes in their home? Is this part of home ownership?

About a year ago, we found a dead crawfish shriveled up by the basement drain. The basement of our home is starting to resemble the kitchen of Golden Corral.

Earlier tonight, we were watching that great old 1950s' sci-fi flick, The Incredible Shrinking Man, and I was marveling at the scene in which the aforementioned shrinking man is trapped in the hellhole of his basement, a dense jungle of giants spiders and the like. I wondered to myself what dangers our basement would pose should I, you know, shrink. Shrink incredibly, that is.

As it turns out, it would pose a lot of friggin' dangers. When Mrs. Chase stepped on the snake, she let out a scream (and understandably so) that could've awakened the dead, or at least Radiohead fans.

Oddly, though, our baby, whose nursery is directly above the basement, remained in slumber, sleeping like the baby she is.

This is really disconcerting, as we had kinda been counting on the baby to be our first line of defense in case of snakes.

"900 Screeners" and Not One to Pres. Clinton

By Cassandra D

If you are not a blog junkie, you might be missing a very important story. ABC/Disney is about to air a two-part docudrama called, "The Path to 9/11" that contains blatantly false material, such as that Pres. Clinton's National Security Advisor Sandy Berger refused to give the order to kill Osama Bin Laden, even when we had him in our sights. That never happened, and many other inaccuracies have been documented.

Advance copies (screeners) have been given to right-wing bloggers but not to any liberal bloggers or even to Pres. Clinton, Madeleine Albright, or Sandy Berger, even though they specifically requested them. Emails from Disney/ABC insiders to Hugh Hewitt have confirmed that blaming Pres. Clinton for 9/11 is "the DNA" of the project. Scholastic has teamed up with ABC/Disney to provide the docudrama and "teaching materials" to students around the country.

The outrage is boiling, but will it be enough? There is still time for you to make your voice heard.


UPDATE:

Here's the letter Pres. Clinton's lawyer wrote to ABC.

Sex Tape Derby, Round 68

Sex Tape Derby is in a decidedly retro mood these days. Maybe it's the suddenly bearable autumnal weather, or maybe it's watching friends suddenly faced with the fact of their getting old, or maybe it was waxing nostalgic last week about Playboy's Playmate of November 1974, Bebe Buell. Whatever the reason, this week's STD looks at more icons of yesteryear for this imponderable. Given the prospect of having to (and I say "having to" and not "getting to" for all you upstanding church-going folk in the audience) view a homemade celebrity sex tape, who would you rather watch getting off while getting it on?

Post your selections in the comments sections below.


Old-school Faye Dunaway or ...














Old-school Katherine Ross?















Nineties-era Robert De Niro or ...














Nineties-era Al Pacino?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why Do Humans Screen Baggage?

By Cassandra D

A good friend of mine just returned home from a trip to Las Vegas and found that she had accidentally carried an industrial-sized seam ripper (looked like a wicked curved scalpel to me) in her purse. She dutifully kept her nose spray out of her bag, but the baggage screeners in two different airports failed to notice the lethal weapon she had inadvertently carried onto the plane with her.

What I want to know is this: if we have computers that can find cancer spots in mammograms and computers that can recognize different human faces, then why can't we have computers picking out suspicious objects in the X-ray images of our carry-on bags?

A coworker of another friend of mine was worried about taking a taxi to the airport at night, so she tucked a butcher knife (!) into her purse. She forgot about it and the airport screeners didn't find it.

Humans aren't doing such a great job at screening baggage. How about giving computers a chance?

Good Night, and Rotsa Ruck

The reviews are in for Katie Couric's debut as anchor of the "CBS Evening News."

Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times concluded that Katie handled her inaugural nightly news broadcast "calmly and competently," but The Washington Post's Tom Shales was underwhelmed:

"Gettin' real folksy with viewers, Couric asked them to send in suggestions on how she should sign off the newscast. There was a montage of sign-offs from the past -- including Edward R. Murrow's immortal 'Good night, and good luck,' even though Murrow never anchored the evening news.

"Some people will say that including the image of Murrow on such a frothy, funsy broadcast as the Couric premiere was sacrilege, and that Murrow is spinning in his grave. In fact, if Murrow were going to spin in his grave, he would have started long ago, when 'infotainment' first appeared on the TV horizon and newscasters became pop personalities akin to movie stars and actors appearing in sitcoms. Murrow must be all spun out by now."

Don't cry too much for the sorry absurdity of TV news. It's been moribund ever since the people reading the TelePrompTer became as newsworthy as what they were reading.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

On behalf of the modest posse that maintains this site -- Daniel, Larry, Conrad, Cassandra, Surly, Dash and myself -- thanks to all who nominated Cutting to the Chase for two 2006 Okie blog awards. There are a lot of terrific Oklahoma-based blogs, and a pretty friggin' diverse group, too, so we've gotta say that just being nominated is humbling.

If you are an Oklahoman and a blogger, you're encouraged to vote. So do it, dammit. Otherwise, the terrorists win.

"Don't Spoil the Movie..."

By Cassandra D

"...by adding your own soundtrack."

So goes the admonishment by AMC Theatres prior to every movie, right after they give you surround-sound reminders of annoying noises, such as cell phones ringing, babies crying, and people gabbing. Conspicuously absent (for obvious financial reasons) from their selection of examples are the sounds of people digging through popcorn bags and chomping on handfuls, and the shaking and swilling sounds of colas being consumed.

Unlike Chase, I don't get to go out to the movies that often these days. I did manage to hit the theater this weekend, though, to see The Illusionist. The movie itself wasn't so great, but I went primarily for the theater-going experience, anyway. Perhaps it was because the movie was kind of quiet, or because I am out of practice in being part of the audience, but my theater row-mate's popcorn consumption was making me nauseated. Fingernails-on-a-chalkboard irritated.

I was left with no alternative but to chomp popcorn myself, to drown him out. Ah, the sacrifices one must make to enjoy a movie in the theater these days!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Random 10

To paraphrase Mr. Paul McCartney, iPodda hold your hand.

1. David Bowie, "Space Oddity"
2. Sleater-Kinney, "Jumpers"
3. Fountains of Wayne, "Hey Julie"
4. Me First & the Gimme Gimmies, "Sweet Caroline"
5. Bruce Springsteen, "Lonesome Day"
6. Whiskeytown, "The Ballad of Carol Lynn"
7. Clem Snide, "Made for TV Movie"
8. The Strokes, "Hard to Explain"
9. The Temptations, "Ain't too Proud to Beg"
10. The Rascals, "How Can I Be Sure?"