Archive | September, 2009

The Death of CNN’s Soul

I went to Quality Seafood this evening, sat at the bar, and ordered a beer and a dozen on the half-shell. They had the TV at the bar tuned into CNN, and since the place was packed and so loud you couldn’t hear the oysters’ tiny death screams, the TV was muted and viewers only got the visuals. It was instructive.

For the solid hour-plus I was there, the entire discussion was about the Michael Jackson tapes which have surfaced, apparently recorded by some rabbi, who was the guest on Larry King Live. From what I could gather, they were going into detail about the cruelty of Jackson’s father, the various women in Jackson’s life, how Lisa Marie Presley never asked for a dime from Jackson, blah blah blah.
I had thought that all this Michael Jackson crap was behind us, and hoped that the public had lost interest, and thus the so-called “news organizations” would go back to doing their jobs – namely, to give us some news.
But apparently not. Apparently it was more the case that they simply ran out of new Michael Jackson crap to drone on about, but now that they have something new, they’ll distract us with this shiny object for as long as possible. Even better, for the entire duration of the Michael Jackson tape episode, they were teasing tomorrow’s show, when they’ll be talking to Mackenzie Phillips, now that she’s got a new book out talking about how she used to have sex with her father.

All this was a bad enough reflection on CNN, and the broadcast news industry in general, until I noticed the deal-closer. It was right there on the bottom of the screen, in a font size so small that I would have missed it if it hadn’t been in HD. It was a tiny news scroll, which included several other pointless pieces of gossip surrounding a simple headline: “Two US Soldiers Killed in the Philippines.”
At least I thought that’s what the news scroll said. It went by pretty fast. And now that I’ve returned home, I can’t find any mention of it on’s front page – what with all the hard-hitting news on top of their front page about other filmmakers demanding Roman Polanski’s release (including Woody Allen, who married his step-daughter), something about a trial involving an attempt to extort money from John Travolta, and Jon Gosselin being fired from his TV series.
Buried in the small print on the front page are also stories about Republicans calling Obama the “enemy of humanity,” and new evidence of rainforest devastation, both of which I consider to be actual news.

But as of 9:15 Central Time, I could find nothing on about the U.S. service men or women killed in the Philippines.

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a country which valued the lives and personal stories of those soldiers who were killed overseas, and considered their passing to be news- and interest-worthy enough to carry the network’s ratings?

Wouldn’t it feel good to have a cable news channel which claims to be the worldwide leader in news, which chooses to do a bit of leading and news-reporting, instead of investing a full hour on the lurid life and times of the carnival freakshow Michael Jackson eventually became? Has it even occurred to them, or anybody else in the broadcast news industry, that attention might well be paid, for example, to educating viewers on rainforest devastation, explain why it’s happening, and educate us on why it matters? Wouldn’t it have been cool to devote that full hour of air time to something meaningful?

Incidentally, in the unlikely event that a CNN executive gives a damn and wanders to this site because of some fluke of a Google search, he or she might note that I found that the New York Times is reporting that the two soldiers who were killed in the Philippines were apparently killed by a roadside bomb.

At the time, the Reuters dispatch picked up by the Times doesn’t even mention the soldiers’ names. I guess they’re not important – like Michael Jackson or Mackenzie Phillips are. Maybe they’ll add the names later as the story develops. But I bet CNN doesn’t devote an hour to ’em.

Some Democrats invest a lot of emotion in hating Fox News for what they are. Perhaps we should spend a little time despising CNN for the shadows-of-their-former-selves they have become.

And perhaps Americans, who ultimately cause the financial health, or lack thereof, of any news organization-of-record, might invest a little thought into how much societal rubber-necking we do, and how seldom we demand an education on current events from our so-called worldwide leaders in news.

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In case of rapture, this pet will be left un-manned

In what may be the coolest scam I’ve heard of in years, an atheist with an entrepreneurial spirit (can one have any spirit if one is an atheist?) is selling pre-paid pet care services to Christians who think the rapture is near.

This brings to mind several questions:

Do dogs go to heaven?

If they don’t, do I really want to go to heaven myself?

If the rapture doesn’t come, do the Christians get their money back?

If the rapture does come, but a client finds to his surprise that he wasn’t taken, does he get his money back?

If the rapture comes, and the Christian wasn’t taken, but the dog was, does the atheist take care of the Christian instead?

If the rapture comes, while the atheists are taking care of your pets, can I have your house?

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FUBAR-Cam Update

Yet another great sunset in Big Bend.

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The Republican Leadership.

There’s hope afterall.

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aaaaand some late contest entries

Too bad this entry was submitted too late to be considered, ’cause it’s a good one. The credit goes to Dick Tagain. So if you like this entry, you like Dick.

And here’s another late entry from Dick. Kind of wordy and over-the-top, but what the hell, I liked his other effort so I’ll throw this one in as well:
And here’s another good one arriving late, by Christine Simmons (except that the “victory” component is missing, so I’m guessing RPT won’t use it):

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RPT Logo Contest Results

Monday, we announced this contest, to grant the wish of the Republican Party of Texas in their quest for help to develop a new logo. You see, they need help with their image. Imagine that.

So of the hundreds of site visitors who read about the contest, I quickly observed that almost all of you are lazy-asses, because there weren’t very many contest entries. But keeping in mind that the only requirements RPT stated were to include the words “2010,” “Texas,” and “victory,” here’s a good one, by Kim Johnson:

And here’s the winner, the creator of which will get a t-shirt (and also continued anonymity, as this person, wisely, didn’t want to be associated with a blog as dubious as this one):

The reason I decided this entry was the winner: an actual effort was made to include clip art. This must have added upward of tens of seconds to the project. Other *cough* entries aren’t making it onto the site – even we here at Letters From Texas Worldwide H.Q. have our (admittedly low) standards, and some of you people clearly have anger management issues when it comes to Republicans. But nice try.

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This just in…

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The Republican Party of Texas needs our help!

Friends, the Republican Party of Texas sent out an email last week, saying they need our help. Now I know that we’ve never stood idly by when someone is in need, so we must immediately get to work and come to their rescue!

It seems they’re looking for a new logo, and they’re stumped. That’s where we come in. The only requirements they state in the email:

The logo must incorporate the words “2010” “Texas” and “Victory”.

Sooooo, Letters From Texas Worldwide Headquarters is having yet another of our patented contests!

Email me your submission for the new logo of the Republican Party of Texas by close of business tomorrow. I’ll post the best of them here, and the winner will get a free t-shirt!

Here you go – I’ll get the ball rolling myself. This example incorporates all the required words and everything. See how easy that is? It’s hard to believe RPT needs our help! Come on – this’ll be the easiest t-shirt you ever stole.

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The Odd Couple

Rudy Giuliani, the pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-gun control former Mayor of New York, campaigning in Texas for Rick Perry, the anti-fun governor?

It makes about as much sense as this.

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FUBAR-Cam Update

Sunset over Austin, from the Annie’s List event.

Contribute to Annie’s List, or we will stop the sunsets, and it will be your fault.

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Dear “abstinence only” advocates:

I think your programs are working great, wouldn’t you agree?

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This time, Kanye has gone too far!

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Letters From Texas Pop Quiz

Q. Who has been sharply critical of President Obama in the last few days?

A. Joe Wilson 

B. Osama bin Laden

C. All of the above

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Confidential Memorandum

FROM: Rahm Emanuel

TO: The Hon. Joe Wilson

RE: Our Secret Plan is Working

Joe, this is just a quick note to thank you for so effectively executing our secret plan last night. When you came to me last week and told me that you wanted to maximize the eventual impact of you switching parties and becoming a Democrat, I was almost speechless.

Then it hit me – let’s utilize your services to go over-the-top in the right wing’s opposition to the President’s health care reform. Let’s show the opposition for what it is, and let’s demonstrate to the American people the extent to which Republicans will make damn fools out of themselves, in their never-ending efforts to defend commercial insurance companies’ profits.

If I do say so myself, it was a stroke of genius for me to determine that the most effective outburst would be for you to heckle the President immediately after he discussed “illegal immigrants” not being in the reform plan. Everybody already knows that of all the things that drive Republicans the most batshit crazy, it’s when anybody brings up illegal immigrants. Also, my instincts were on-the-money – I knew if I clued in Pelosi to our plan, her patented “icy stare” would turn this triple into a home run!

So now, on the cusp of you switching parties, we get a 2-fer: more Americans are now aware that right wingers will say or do anything to defend the status quo on behalf of commercial insurance plans, PLUS Americans are now more clear than ever that Republicans’ brains explode every time somebody brings up immigration.

Joe, rest assured that when the dust settles and you’re defeated in your re-election by your Democratic opponent because of this, our private deal remains solid: I will make sure the President appoints you as Ambassador to Kenya, where you will be well-positioned to continue to protect the secrecy of that pesky little birth certificate.

Congratulations on a job well done!

PS: would you mind terribly if you implicated yourself in a little sex scandal in the next couple of weeks? I think we only need one more “family values” Republican to be disgraced, in order to hit critical mass on that front, so the American people will internalize the conservative hypocrisy on that as well. Don’t say no until after I’ve shown you a picture of who I have in mind…YOWZA! Let me know.

Update: go to, and click your “refresh” button repeatedly.

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Not a new voice, but a new outlet for it

Please help welcome my frequent colleague Glenn Smith to the sandbox, as he rolls out his new website Dog Canyon. Glenn’s site promises to be a frequent “must visit.”

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