A Straight White Man’s Burden

February 8, 2012

Being a Straight White Male is great. It really is. I mean, the number of perks I get solely for being a Straight White Guy is just ridiculous. Did you know we Straight White Men get free ice cream on Tuesdays? Our choice of flavors. It’s fabulous.

But life as a White Male is not all good jobs, unlimited rights and privileges and free ice cream on Tuesdays. It is mostly, mind you, but it’s not everything.

You see, as a Straight White American Male, it is my job to tell women and minorities what rules they must live by. It is a huge responsibility that I more or less take seriously.

Imagine the time I have to spend deciding whether or not women should be allowed to have abortions or use birth control? I spend literally minutes each month debating this issue with other Straight White Men. But we make these decisions because we are Straight White Men and we know better.

Then I have to decide how poor minorities can be before they revolt. This is not an easy task, either. Luckily, we live in the richest nation on Earth. Thus, minorities can obviously be much poorer still. I mean, many of them live like kings while still having walls on their house.

And don’t think it’s a cakewalk keeping the LGBT community as second-class citizens. They are really insistent on having the same rights as someone like me, a Straight White Male. But when you are ensconced in privilege as I am, you want to stay a step ahead of the other guys. This is why my fellow Straight White Males fight to keep women, minorities, gays, lesbians and any and all non-Straight non-White non-Males from living with freedom and dignity. Don’t hate the player here, hate the game. The game in which I get to make up the rules as I go along.

Yes, my friends, being a Straight White Male in the United States is not as easy as it seems. Sure, it’s very, very easy and no one is coming to take my rights away or anything, but there are responsibilities.

So today, when you see a Straight White Male walk by, think about patting him on the back. Don’t actually do it, of course, as touching us isn’t allowed. I mean, know your place for God’s sake.


GOP: New Anti-Abortion Laws Will Create Jobs

March 22, 2011

WASHINGTON - Having taken criticism for not attempting any job-related legislation after campaigning on the issue, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced today that Republicans around the nation have been creating jobs with anti-abortion legislation.

“Some say we’re attacking women’s rights, I say we’re creating jobs,” said Boehner. “Right now the Coat Hanger Industry and Back-Alley Abortion Industries are booming. That means jobs. For Americans.”

The Coat Hanger Industry - which spends nearly $10 million a year lobbying congress - has announced that business is up 75 percent in the last few months, as entrepreneurs plan ahead for a day when abortions will be made illegal.

“It’s like we can’t keep a hanger in stock these days,” said Jim Thompson, lead lobbyist with Coat Hanger America Industries. “We just started making the ends pointier and demand went through the roof.”

Speaking for the Back-Alley Abortionist Industry, Michael X (not his real name) said he anticipates a deluge of job openings coming due to the anti-women legislation.

“Women will get abortions,” said X, a scary, shadowy figure. “We’ll take care of it. We need more employees, tho. All you need is some experience with a hanger or a big screwdriver and you’re in.”

Boehner said that aside from the jobs created in the two industries, unemployment will lessen as women are slaughtered in back alleys around the U.S. - especially since the GOP plans to destroy Planned Parenthood.

“Not only are the Coat Hanger and Back-Alley Abortionist Industries creating jobs, they are creating new job openings,” said Boehner. “These industries are truly conservative in that they could care less about women.

“Once women start being slaughtered in back alleys, their jobs will be available,” added Boehner, who admitted that none of the anti-Abortion legislation would affect his family, being that he’s rich. “This is what modern conservatism is all about. Murdering women with rusty coat hangers. And Jesus. Don’t forget Jesus.”


Louie Psihoyos: From “The Cove” to the Gulf and beyond

July 27, 2010

Louie Psihoyos
Director and photographer Louie Psihoyos captures images from the Gulf of Mexico.

(image, Gina Papabeis, OPS)

After the unprecedented success of his first film, the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” director and photographer Louie Psihoyos has turned his attention from the the wholesale slaughter of Dolphins in Taiji, Japan to the plight of humanity. Of course, that’s been his focus all along.

“The path that we’re on is so destructive for the future and humanity,” said Psihoyos in a telephone interview. “It’s like a perfect storm going on in the ocean right now.”

[Read more]

Intervention’s Candy Finnigan - the last drink’s on her

November 30, 2009

After a lifetime of being casual about her appearance, Candy Finnigan - one of three Interventionists on the hit Reality show “Intervention” - has learned that fame can make you change your perspective.

“The other day, a friend showed me that someone took a picture of me at the airport and put it on their Facebook page,” said Candy Finnigan. “I guess no more running to Ralphs in my pajamas for me.”

Things weren’t supposed to turn out this way for Candy Finnigan. Coming from a well-to-do family in Vermont, Finnigan went to school at the University of Kansas, where she met, fell in love with, and eventually married Mike Finnigan, a 6-foot-5 basketball star, and as Candy said “The big man on campus. I always liked the jocks, and he was cute, too. He still is.”

The opening years of the Finnigan’s marriage kept Candy’s roll going. Mike quickly went on to become an in-demand and well-respected musician, playing with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Etta James.

With two children and a husband who had become a successful musician, all seemed right for Candy Finnigan. But still, her drinking continued to accelerate. The Finnigans were a couple that liked to drinks, even as they studiously avoided the temptations that come with the musical industry. But as their marriage had advanced, so had their drinking and, both Finnigans had began to drink more and more. The word “divorce” came to mind for the first time for Candy.

While interventions were still a concept undergoing birth pangs, Candy got a one-person intervention that got her straight - from her Mother-in-law Evelyn Finnigan, who let Candy know she wouldn’t allow her two grandchildren to grow up in an alcoholic househould.

“His mother spotted me first, and gave me a 60-day limit to get sober. Evelyn was adamant about the damage it would do to the kids.” said Candy Finnigan, admitting she didn’t get sober until day 56 of the time limit. “I am sober, thanks to God to Evelyn Finnigan. She stayed with me, when he first came home. Because it’s really difficult to stay sober when one partner is still drinking.”

While neither were ever sucked into the “music scene” Candy still found a way to drink at home while raising two kids, while Mike’s drinking began to become part of his persona, “he was a great drunk,” said Candy.

But nearly 13 weeks later, Mike joined his wife on the road to sobriety. “I was just terrified of living without drinking,” said Mike Finnigan - also known in the political blogosphere as the man behind “Mike’s Blog Round Up” at Crooks & Liars. But the two have been successful, with more than 22 years of sobriety each.

It was when the Finnigans’ two children began getting older and more independent that Candy Finnigan started looking for a new challenge. Attending a class at UCLA with a friend was the key for Candy, and her experiences at UCLA ended with her receiving a certification in chemical dependency from UCLA. She then went on and completed her internship at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, where she worked in addiction services.

Of course, the journey to becoming a full-time Interventionist was a difficult one, as well. Told by her professor and mentor, Dr. Van Johnson that Interventions were no place for a woman, she just worked harder to gain his respect.

“I am so grateful he’s the one who got to me first, because he really taught me it was God’s work,” said Candy Finnigan. “He would never let me do an Intervention because he didn’t think it was the work of a woman, so I got my certification and went to work.”

“She had a hard time because it was such a male-dominated area,” said Mike Finnigan. “She had a tough time the first 7-8 years. But she’s really good at what she does. Mainly it’s just a tribute to her hard work and to her compassion. She was just one of a handful of women involved. But she never gave up.”

Dr. Johnson - an Episcopalian priest who was doing ground-breaking work in regard to Interventions - warmed to Candy Finnigan and helped her solidify her beliefs in the Intervention process. When Finnigan received her doctorate and joked that people would have to call her a doctor, Dr. Johnson approached and her and said “not to us, you’re not,” with a wry smile.

Finnigan said her work with Intervention - while occasionally drawing embarrassing attention - has been a life-changing experience. And while after years of experience she has learned to always stay professional, she admits it’s never easy.

“I cry every time,” said Finnigan. “The most recent one I did was with someone who was a championship boxer and now lived on the street in a box. I sobbed during that.”

While Finnigan has made her mark as a chemical dependency expert and Interventionist, she has always remembered the one important fact that got her to this position - she is an alcoholic.

“I have to be honest with you and tell you, I had a pretty good battle with my husband that over Thanksgiving that over my dead body would I serve wine with dinner for my daughter and her friend,” relayed Candy Finnigan. “If they want to go out and drink, fine. But I get really uptight about it, and it’s dumb. I just don’t want the bottle sitting in the ice box tempting me, even after 23 years. Not that it as tempting as I make it, but just the principle.”

Aware that not everyone can afford a professional Intervention on a family member or loved one, Candy Finnigan has a book out to make it easier. Titled “When Enough is Enough,” the book gives readers a frank and honest look at how to tackle the needs of an intervention including personal, medical, psychiatric, financial, and legal issues involved.

” ‘When Enough is Enough,’ is a very easy read. It can really help you if you know of someone who needs an intervention, but you just cant’ afford what you see us do on the show.”

And in case you get the wrong opinion of Candy Finnigan - that she’s a tough-as-nails taskmaster - just know this - if you agree to go to rehab, the last drink’s on her.

“After I do an intervention on somebody, I always buy them their last drink,” said Finnigan. “It’s like they say, ‘who goes to rehab sober?’”

Intervention Facts

  • More than 150,000 families of loved ones have applied to be on Intervention, but less than 150 have been featured.
  • Of the 138 people that have had an Intervention on the show, 117 have remained sober - a staggering statistic when compared to national rates.
  • There are 27 people that work on a show. Of those 27, only two are non-drinkers. While first admitting to be slightly offended by this, Candy Finnigan came around to see the sense it made. “If it was all recoverers doing it, nothing would ever get done.”
  • It takes nearly five months from the time an applicant is accepted until the moment the intervention actually takes place.
  • The Rehab centers seen on Intervention are the show’s biggest sponsors, offering their services for free. The person undergoing the Intervention process is not charged for any of the treatment.
  • This season, the seventh for Intervention, former lightwight boxing champion Rocky Lockeridge will be among those receiving help.
  • This season will also see Intervention hand out it first five-year chip to someone that received an intervention on the show.
  • Additional Reading

    Candy Finnigan’s Home Page

    A&E’s Intervention Page

    Mike Finnigan: Rocking out with the coolest man in Leftblogistan


    Mike Finnigan: Rocking out with the coolest man in Leftblogistan

    April 24, 2009

    Mike Finnigan is:

    A) A universally respected musician that has played with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Etta James;

    B) A one-time player on the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team;

    C) A liberal d-list blogger’s best friend;

    D) The coolest cat you’ll ever know;

    E) All of the above.

    If you answered “E,” give yourself a point. Because while Finnigan’s five-decade musical career has made him one of the most respected keyboardists and vocalists on the planet, he’s also played a huge role in helping shape how thousands of people get politically active on the Internet. Because just as his music career is the stuff of legends, his friendship with John Amato of Crooks & Liars means he will also go down as liberal giant (he is 6-foot-5, after all).

    “Mike is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met,” said Amato in an e-mail exchange. “As a musician he’s a living legend and I’ve had the privilege of jamming with him. He’s been a political activist for decades and inspired me to get active in politics.”

    But while politics has always played an important role in Finnigan’s life (“If you didn’t know politics in my family you better just sit down and shut up. It is just part of the culture,” said Finnigan.) It is his epic musical career for which he most known and respected.

    [Read more]

    Sam E. Antar: From Crazy Eddie to Patrick Byrne’s worst nightmare

    April 22, 2009

    Feel free to call Sam E. Antar any name in the book. First, you can’t do any worse than Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne’s online hit men. Second, he just doesn’t give a whit.

    “I have a criminal background. That’s what drive them nuts,” said Antar in a telephone interview. “They can’t get me like [financial journalist] Herb Greenberg who’s lived a boy scout life.”

    Yes, Sam E. Antar is a crook. Just ask him, he’ll tell you. But Antar, one of the architects of the great “Crazy Eddie” fraud of the 1980s, is a reformed crook who now spends his time as a corporate fraud watchdog. And of late, the biggest case on his plate involves Overstock.com and what he sees as their shady - if not outright fraudulent - accounting practices.

    But while Antar is hot on Byrne’s corporate shenanigans, Byrne and his collection of online smear merchants - including PR specialist Judd Bagley and former journalist Mark Mitchell - are after Antar personally. Thus far, they’ve been prolific in their attacks against him, attacking Antar’s past, as well as his ongoing divorce proceedings.

    The attacks generally take place at Byrne’s two Web sites - DeepCapture.com and AntiSocialMedia.net. But they also take place on a collection of Internet Financial forums or in e-mails to Antar, and they often cross the line from attack to outright threat. Some of the attacks:

  • Actually, Sam, I’m having a blast figuring out what you did to get the judge — who knows you very well by now — to grant your wife’s request for a restraining order AND a protective order against you today.

    Wow. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

  • Sam, Here’s another saying for you: it’s not cool for a man to threaten a women. Just don’t do it. Here’s some advice: settle the suit…give her whatever she wants. Because if it goes to trial, I’ll probably attend.
  • “On behalf of your family and in the interest of your own employability I ask you to please never visit ASM again. I’ll email you new articles when they come out.”
  • Of course, vicious attacks are apparently a big part of Byrne’s management style. After all, when Bethany McLean - who brought the Enron Scandal to light - wrote an article titled “Is Overstock the Next Amazon,” Byrne sent her an e-mail:

    “I actually thought it was crap…. So, why exactly did you become a reporter? Giving Goldman traders blowjobs didn’t work out?”

    [Read more]

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