Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice


I’m in a cranky mood.
We all but ran out of coffee, so I’m drinking lo-test. I pop on Absolute Write and feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day–“How many pages should be in a chapter?” “Should I include a prologue?” Someone I’ve never heard of wants to be Facebook friends. My g-mail is getting spammed. Opening up blogger, I keep getting the ‘Get the latest blogger buzz’ crap instead of the list of blogs I might want to actually read. Annoyance after annoyance after annoyance. But mostly, it’s the coffee thing that’s bugging me.
Something really bugging me today is the way people are willing to screw around with words to make a political point. Or, more likely, to muddy the waters. Yesterday, someone on an environmental listserve I follow at work linked to a surprisingly-old story about Rob Astorino, the Westchester County Executive who will be running for governor against Andrew Cuomo (or Zephyr Teachout (yes, that IS her name), if the unthinkable happens in the Democratic primary next week) in November. I should point out, the folks on this listserve do not like Astorino. At all. Here’s the lurid headline:
In Lawsuit, Independence Party Alleges Astorino Threatened to ‘Decapitate’ Leadership
A quick scan of the linked article reveals some potentially troubling things about Astorino. The Independence Party in Westchester County is accusing him of racketeering, conspiracy, wire and mail fraud—all serious allegations indeed. But what really seemed to piss people off the most is this quote from Astorino:
“Every enemy he’s made, every person he’s screwed, is now working with us to decapitate these two.”

The story didn’t get too much play on the listserve, but there’s a guy around here, a very, very intelligent guy, who  featured a story about this on his own blog yesterday. He didn’t talk about racketeering. He didn’t talk about wire and mail fraud, he didn’t talk about conspiracy. After a series of personal insults on Astorino, he said this:  “Threatening decapitation when journalists are being decapitated in Syria—for being journalists—is not a great way to endear oneself to the voters.”

Really? That’s the most important thing in this story? As I said, this guy is an intelligent guy, but I wonder if he has any concept of ‘context’. Or hyperbole–which is ironic, considering the blogger in question is a hyperbole machine.  
For the record, I am not an Astorino supporter. I’m not particularly big on any of the candidates, for a variety of reasons which I will keep to myself. I do think this lawsuit is politically motivated–the statewide Independence Party has endorsed Cuomo, and Cuomo is running ads now that can truthfully say Astorino is being sued for conspiracy, racketeering and fraud. I’m not prone to conspiracy theories as a rule, but this one seems fishy to me.
I can’t wait til election season is over.

NOTE: I feel it’s important to point out two things about this lawsuit: first, it was dismissed last year and revised and refiled in June. Second, Astorino’s comments about decapitation were made in 2013, more than a year before James Foley’s execution.

3 Responses

  1. L.G.–Harrumph, indeed. I need to be quicker on the delete button where that list serve is.

    -Donna–I'm just so tired of the blatant manipulation and shading of the truth.

    Yeah, I think I'm in a bit of a mood these days.

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