This is my buddy Nikkos’ blog–my pal from my Metroblogging days. Way back in the day (2005) we got into a number of political debates with a variety of people. Some of them even operated with a modicum of respect and diligence.

Most of us here at the Finger have a left of Center view. William, in Nikkos’ blog, does not. My typical reaction is one of this
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Today, I am trying this:

Lets see how it turns out, okay?

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Newsflash: She’s a Woman

October 16, 2007

I think the only reason I go to CNN these days is force of habit. I’ve had it bookmarked at work since day one, sometime in March of 2000. Back then, there was actually more news than fluff on the front page. Now, it’s more local interest stories and celebrities getting arrested or doing…whatever celebrities do.  Even the real news makes me want to tear my hair out.

Liberal media? Pfffft.

So, for reasons still unfathomable to me – I should know better by now – I followed the link to the political ticker about Hillary Clinton appearing on The View, where she talked a bit about how people focus on her appearance and her hair and her laugh, which CNN has dubbed “the cackle.” (If they didn’t come up with it, they’ve certainly adopted it. I was away for work and had CNN on the hotel TV for background noise when they ran that Jeanne Moos piece on Clinton’s laugh. I wanted to throw a bottle of the hotel’s overpriced fancy water at the screen.)

In the middle of this View recap, there’s a link to a video report by Mary Snow. It’s called “Clinton plays the female card.”



I don’t care if you love or hate Hillary Clinton. I don’t know if I love her or hate her most days. But tell me how it’s okay for the media to be all over her for what she’s wearing and how she laughs, but NOT okay for her to talk about it herself? It’s all right for reporters to remark about her being a woman, but when she goes to events that address female voters’ issues she’s “playing a card?”

Show me one male candidate whose issues get shoved aside in lieu of how he looks when he’s on the campaign trail. John Edwards’ haircuts don’t count. Barack Obama’s race plays a factor, yes, but I have yet to see anyone make fun of his laugh or talk about how the cut of his suit on such and such a day was unflattering.

Hillary Clinton is – and I know this may shock people – female. Asking her to ignore that or downplay it is ridiculous. She’s not running her campaign based on “I have breasts, vote for me!” And well she shouldn’t. If her whole platform revolved around her two X chromosomes, I’d be pissed. It’s not. However, she is a woman. There shouldn’t be any shame in her acknowledging it, yet, when she does, it’s treated with derision.

When a male candidate goes and talks to a women’s interest group, it’s called campaigning. When Hillary Clinton does it, it’s playing a card.

Fuck. You.

CNN and Mary Snow, this finger’s for you.


As a follow up…

October 15, 2007

As a follow up to my last post, I would like to point people to this article in the New York Times by Frank Rich.

I could not agree more.

Edited to point out that today is Blog Action Day. Let’s see what happens. I, personally, am letting my post below speak for “Blog Action Day”, even though it has nothing to do with the environment.

October 12, 2007

Time flash back to 2000. An idealistic college student stares at a 4 am delusional Peter Jennings, who is begging for coffee after having been on the air literally all night covering a crazy election. She goes to bed, thinking, “It probably doesn’t matter that much, anyway. Bush is an idiot, how bad could he be? Gore’s a nothing, so it’d just be more of the same–no change for the better.”

Flash forward 7 years. A much more cynical office worker stares at the BBC headlines, and has the urge to scream at the top of her lungs as she reflects back on the past seven years, winding up at that image of Peter Jennings on the televison seven years ago.

This is what is going through my head as I read the headline.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTRY? We allowed a future war criminal to steal an election from future nobel peace prize winner.* What the hell. We should have done whatever it took to make the original election results stick. We should have asked hard questions about how the second cousin of one of the candidates wound up in a position to call states. We should have counted all the goddamn chads. And when Bush defeated Kerry, we should have looked hard at Ohio. We should have questioned Diebold. We are where we are because we accept corruption without questioning.

As much as I hate to say it, I kind of agree with Thomas Friedman’s point in one of his latest editorials. Now, technically I’m older than the people he’s describing. I’ve never seen the point of MySpace or Facebook. I have enough real friends; I don’t need 300 imaginary ones to sort-of-kind-of know. I agree that politics online is not as effective as politics in real life. What we do here is a starting point, not an end point.

I would like everyone reading this to make a commitment with me–to go to the next political event that excites them. Take an active part. Go to a debate. Go to a protest. Because I, for one, don’t entirely buy into the YouTube debate. There is a mediated distance created through such an event that makes us into individuals, rather than a force for change. Eliminate the distance. Your physical presence says much more than this blog post ever will. The only way to get through to the people who make decisions in this country is to bring it to them. It also helps us to remember that we are not alone. It was so energizing and heartening to see the 500,000+ people who protested with me against the Republican National Convention in New York City. We need that energy back if we hope to change anything, and the only way to really do it is to come together.

If we are unwilling or think it’s too much trouble, perhaps we deserve what we get. This finger is for me, for not getting physically involved more.

The Salute

*And don’t even tell me about how George W. Bush has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Anyone can be nominated–hell, I could be nominated. If you took that nomination seriously, you are the world’s biggest idiot.

(Pretentious Bastard, you may want to skip this one, I certainly don’t want to trigger anything.)

This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Summary: My great-grandmother had breast cancer at 35. She had a double mastectomy and survived. My grandmother battled both breast and lung cancer–but I suspect that the lung cancer has more to do with her smoking. My aunt had breast cancer a few years ago. My mother had breast cancer at 60. She had a single mastectomy and a year of radiation treatment. I am happy to say that they all survived.

There is a genetic test that determines if you have a gene that’s been linked to breast cancer. It is being pushed on women, especially on women with family histories of breast cancer. There’s even a television ad to try and get women to take it. I feel that taking the genetic test is somewhat pointless. My odds for getting breast cancer are told in my family history. I don’t think that the genetic test is going to tell me anything I don’t already know–that I have a high risk of developing breast cancer? I already know that, thanks. One look at my family history tells me that. What it will do is force me into a group describing themselves as “previvors”. These women have already decided that they will get breast cancer and survive. Good for them. However, I choose to be myself, and not define myself by a disease that I have not yet developed.

This is why I am ignoring the articles being sent my way about preventative masectomies. I will not mutilate my body from fear over what might happen. Regular check-ups are happening, and will continue to happen until I die (given the preventative attention and family history, it probably won’t be from this). Once I actually develop breast cancer, it will be treated in the most effective way possible. (After all, I don’t see any men at risk for testicular cancer being told, “Maybe it’d be for the best if you just had them removed.”)

The finger below is for people who decide that their way of dealing with illness is the only way, and try to use fear and emotional bullying to make everyone deal with it the same way. Respect that it is my body, and my decision. It’s also for cancer itself, from my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, my aunt, my sister, and myself.

The Salute

The the Daily Mail has an article on this Debra Cagan, pictured below,
Counselor2909Mos 468X365 that states Ms. Cagan was clear about her hatred of “All Iranians.”

Given her position in the Pentagon (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Coalition Affairs ), and the current war footing the administration has towards Iran, these comments are terrifying and completely inappropriate.

War mongering bigots get the finger. The also should be fired.
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Dear Thieves: I Have No Money

September 26, 2007

Now that I am healthy, I am extending a giant finger to the fuckers who stole BOTH of my debit cards. I don’t know how you did it, especially considering I reported both cards lost when they were just hiding in my couch, but you did. And for that, you dirty sons of bitches, you get the finger.

Seriously, I have no money. Steal from someone who does.

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Alberto Gonzales

September 3, 2007

I realize that Alberto is currently incurring wrath from my colleagues here at the Finger due to the fact that he has most likely perjured himself repeatedly–a rather problematic thing for the United States Attorney General to do. For my salute, however, I’d like to turn the clock back to before his appointment to Attorney General, to remind people of what Alberto Gonzales stood for before the perjury scandal.


Alberto Gonzales has done more for legalizing and legitimizing torture in this country than anyone outside of the Armed Forces or the C.I.A. During his tenure as White House Counsel, Alberto Gonzales suggested/recommended the following ideas/concepts:

  • That the United States is not bound by the Geneva Conventions when it comes to suspected members of Al-Qaeda.
  • To deny Prisoner of War status to captured Taliban.
  • Involve the Justice Department in legally justifying torture as part of interrogation procedures, including waterboarding, simulated drowning, and fake executions.
  • Redefining torture–“physical pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.”
  • For creating a loophole saying that even if something were defined as torture by the narrow definition above, that it’s ok as long as the President says it is, and that it is helping with the War on Terror.

I could carry on with this list further, but in the interest of not being up all night, I will stop here. (Click this link to read the report from Human Rights Watch on Alberto.) However, from this short list alone, it is very clear that the policies of Alberto Gonzales have led directly to the practices used at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and at the undisclosed prisons in the European Union. Indeed, the policies of Alberto Gonzales allowed these practices to not only be used but condoned by the government of the United States.

As I see it, the basic question for Alberto Gonzales is this: If you’re in favor of torturing prisoners, ask yourself this–if someone is causing you intense pain, what are you going to tell them? The truth, or whatever they want to hear to make it stop? How can you tell the difference? Even if you could, does that make it ok? Why is their life worth less than yours or mine?

How we are judged as humans comes in large part from how we treat our enemies. I’m not going to go as far as saying that I love my enemies, particularly in this case. But I will say that we should treat our captives in accordance with international law and in keeping with our own conscience. We do ourselves no favors by advocating this sort of position.

This is probably the most serious post I’ve made most far, and the one I feel the strongest about. Consequently, I’m not giving Alberto the Finger. I don’t think it’s a strong enough gesture for what he’s done.

She’s Dead. Move On.

August 31, 2007

Princess Diana Memorial Mural – Houston St. NYC 1997

Originally uploaded by nyctreeman

I am not a fan of royalty, especially the House of Windsor. I simply do not understand what the fan fare over a leggy blonde, who chose to slum with the social pariahs of the 80s. She gave special attention to AIDs patients before they were the cause celeb. Commendable. That does not make her a saint–it makes her progressive. She used her position of power to draw attention to important social issues. For that, she should be remembered kindly–but this outpouring of attention and faux-grief is a bigger waste of time, money and effort than all of my blog posts combined.

She had wealth, power and prestige and she used it to help people. It was her moral obligation to use her power to help the needy. If she did not find causes to support, she’d be a parasite–feeding off the people of the UK while giving them nothing in return. In retrospect she did her goddamn job. She gets a heap of praise for doing what she should do– I call bullshit. She is getting an inordinate amount of attention due to her position as a princesses–a meaningless title denoting an outdated system of governance.

She did good work and her death was a tragic accident. Time to fucking move on. The only people who should still be in mourning are her kids, because they lost their mother. The rest of us should find someone else who needs our support and work with them–not fawn over a Lady Di.

So Diana, I send you, and all your fans, The Finger. Originally, it was from my vacation in Ireland. In the spirit of the every washed up, two-bithack that rededicated a work of art to you, I have since repurposed this ireland picture just for you, and all the pathetic cobags that still mourn you 10 years gone.


Irish Finger

If They Actually Do It

August 16, 2007

(Yes, I’m lazy and cross-posting.  Shut up.)

 OJ’s getting published after all.  Ugh.

Although, it seems like we might be able to put published in quotes.  Like this: “published.” 

When Sharlene Martin, the agent, announced that a New York publisher was interested and a deal had been reached, I wondered who on earth would pick it up, after all the hell that was raised when Harper tried putting it out late last year.  I couldn’t imagine, even in these days where any sensational news story seems to lead to a book being crashed into the list, that any of the big five would go anywhere near it.

Turns out none of them did.  The book is being published by Beaufort Books, a small press who, up until this book at least, splits the cost of publishing with the authors. 

Splitting the cost is a pretty way of saying the authors pay to be published.  Yog’s Law: Money flows toward the writer.  (Yog is author James D. MacDonald, who is always watching out for new writers in danger of being scammed over on the Absolute Write forums.)

It seems pretty shady – they took the splitting-the-cost blurb off of their website.  The publisher, Eric Kampmann, won’t even throw out a ballpark number for the announced first printing when asked in an interview with Publishers Weekly.   Something like this, I’d expect at least 100,000.  I don’t know how many Harper pulped, but it was at least that.

I have immense respect for Denise Brown.  How Kampmann could sit beside her on The Today Show and not be horribly ashamed, I can’t even begin to fathom.

The next question is, what are booksellers going to do with it?  It’s a tough question for all of them – whether or not to carry it, and if they do, how many copies?  Should it stay behind the counter or be put on display?  If they choose not to bring it into the store initially, will they be willing to special order it for customers?

There is absolutely a morbid curiosity factor to the whole thing.  I’d imagine there would be a good chunk of customers who would come into the store, flip through to the chapter where he describes the murder, and put it back on the shelf without buying it.  I also wonder how many people who would normally buy books from their local indie would instead order it through Amazon or B&N rather than be seen purchasing it.

This book was a bad idea.  It’s still a bad idea, no matter how much they’re trying to spin it as benefitting charities and becoming the Goldmans’ book.  Personally, I wouldn’t bring it into my store, if I had one.  I think I l would special order it for interested customers, simply because I hate the idea of telling people what they can and can’t read, but I’d be uncomfortable doing it.