Republican Presidential Debate #1

The GOP Clown Car is taking their show on the road!

In case you’re just tuning in, there are A LOT of Republican candidates–too many to have an effective debate (17). So Fox, the host of the first debate, said they would take the top 10 in national polls and let them debate each other (the Serious Debate™) and the remainder would be be relegated to the Kid’s Table Debate. Fox kept their poll sources a secret all this time, but now we finally know: “Fox News’ Decision Desk said the five polls included in Fox’s average were conducted by Bloomberg, CBS News, Fox News, Monmouth University and Quinnipiac University.”

Iowa and New Hampshire haven’t been happy about this turn of events because, after all, it’s their role to decide who makes the cut and who doesn’t. I guess the RNC Rules and Bylaws committee has a weird set of roolz too.

The Serious Debate begins at Thursday, August 5, 2015 at 8:50 PM, east coast time and shall include: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich.

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This runs until 11 PM, at which point, it will be just in time to tune in to the last edition of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (#JonVoyage). The star-studded Grand Finale will be 52 minutes long. Don’t ask me why 52 minutes. (He will have to come up with something superb to beat Colbert’s Finale. Not that was really grand.)

The Kiddie Hour is from 5-6 PM, where the remaining guys will attempt to make the case that they belonged in the Serious Debate, if only Trump didn’t swoop in and take their place at the podium: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore. (Who the heck is Jim Gilmore?)

Ohhh, I’m so excited, I can hardly wait!! I’ve got my popcorn, but more importantly, my Scotch ready and this Rolling Stone drinking game.

So, join in for the live blogging fun—Mystery Science Theater 3000 style.

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We have always been at war with Christmas

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Apparently, I am a soldier in the War On Christmas! It doesn’t matter that I like Christmas or even that I am a Christian. What’s offensive is that I am grateful when someone wishes me Happy Holidays and I wish them the same in return. It’s is appalling and worse, it’s persecuting. (Persecuting in the exact same way that Jews during The Inquisition who refused to convert to Christianity were persecuting Christians.)

Okay, so I fired a shot across the bow by celebrating Thanksgiving for the duration of the day. I didn’t even go online to see what time various stores would be opening on Black Friday. Heretic, that I am.

war-on-christmas-206x300So how did we get to our present-day War On Christmas? It’s been 15 years since Bill O’Reilly first mounted this particular soapbox to proclaim that the Christmas Warriors want it all: full faith and recognition of the secular as well as the religious traditions by every single person. And by person, they clearly mean corporations too, as we shall explore later.

We generally consult history for clues but the Founding Fathers are absolutely no help here since Christmas was not proclaimed a holiday by the United States Congress until 1870. Whatever did they argue about for nearly one hundred years?

As it happens, it was the Puritans, whilst they were still over in England, who really began the War On Christmas. It was they who:

sought to remove elements they viewed as pagan (because they were not biblical in origin) from Christianity. In 1647, the Puritan-led English Parliament banned the celebration of Christmas, replacing it with a day of fasting and considering [Christmas] “a popish festival with no biblical justification”, and a time of wasteful and immoral behavior. Protests followed as pro-Christmas rioting broke out in several cities and for weeks Canterbury was controlled by the rioters, who decorated doorways with holly and shouted royalist slogans. The book The Vindication of Christmas (London, 1652) argued against the Puritans, and makes note of Old English Christmas traditions, dinner, roast apples on the fire, card playing, dances with “plow-boys” and “maidservants”, and carol singing.

Here in America, our constitution prohibits the state from designating a religion. It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Over the years, we-the-people have questioned and argued amongst ourselves to determine exactly where my free exercise ends so that yours can begin. We have sought to define those behaviors that may favor a particular religion, thus leading to the slippery slope towards “establishment.”

  • Does having a nativity scene on the White House lawn lead to the establishment of a Christian religion?
  • Does having a tree in a post office lobby lead to the establishment of a Christian religion?
  • Does a high school choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus at a public school Winter Concert lead to the establishment of a Christian religion?
  • Does renaming the high school Christmas Concert to the Winter Concert constitute prohibiting the free exercise of Christianity?

These are fair and legitimate questions for the citizens of a constitutional republic. It is my opinion that there is no need to escalate the conversation to claims of oppression and therefore a War On Christmas. That only serves to obscure any valid points and make it all about visceral emotions. That tactic is getting so Effing old already.

So, back to those corporate persons. Over these 15 years (and the sticking point for Bill O’Reilly’s Christmas Warriors) is that retail concerns have been replacing the C-word (the religious one not the vulgar one) with more generic words. They stopped saying Christmas in their ads and signs and wishes from greeters and check-out clerks. You and I just get a basic, non-denominational Happy Holidays and Season’s Greetings. If you want to hear or see the word Christmas, you either need to have it at your own home or actually show up at your church. And therein lies the offense.

When the clerk at Kohl’s says, “Happy Holidays,” they are persecuting you because this behavior clearly diminishes your Christmas experience. You should get up on a high horse (or at least a soapbox) and proclaim that they are oppressive when they ignore The Reason for the Season™ .

So here we finally hit on the crux of the problem: The Reason for the Season. The Christmas Warriors want everyone to acknowledge that the ton of cash going into retail drawers is overwhelmingly (if not entirely) due to Christmas—the holiday, the tradition, the season. Solstice, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and whatever may be nice (even quaint and cute) little celebrations, but they will never generate the kind of cold, hard cash that Christmas has consistently been able to deliver. They want you to believe and proclaim that because of Christmas and only Christmas: Unto us an economic Savior was born. In other words, there better be some serious sucking up to Christians over Christmas or they’ll shut that whole economic thing down, by any means possible.

Because nothing demonstrates spiritually honoring the birth of your Messiah like this:
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_adgG8Ba2Q%5D

But what takes the cake is the rampant fabrication of offenses and slights—because all’s fair in love and war, right? And this is war (yes, war, you naive cherubs who thought Christmas was supposed to be about love).

For example, this irresponsible report that school children’s Christmas cards were confiscated and they were being censored. As it happens, the cards were not student cards. In fact, this had nothing to do with the children at all. These were the personal cards that faculty brought in from their friends and families and their bulletin board was moved to a location that would protect their privacy. But why bother with facts when you can paint a Dickensian scene of demoralized school children, being deprived of a tradition they had loved for years and cue up the tear track?

I have never heard a credible report of a child getting in trouble at school for saying the word Christmas. Ever. And yet…

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I encourage everyone to celebrate this season in exactly the way that brings them the most love, joy, and happiness, even if that means not celebrating at all. I implore you all to ignore the bloviating gasbags and their minions in the 101st Fighting Keyboard division and do your own thing and let others do theirs.

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Or, if you’re so inclined, feel free to pile on.

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(But be forewarned: that as of this writing, that meme was posted 14 hours ago and there is not yet one share.)

Dirty Words on Clean Skin Offers Up a Gratitude Sandwich

One year ago, I became a published author.  Dirty Words on Clean Skin, my journey from fearful news junkie to activist, detailed the revolting media treatment Hillary Clinton and other politically inconvenient women received in 2008 and beyond. Notwithstanding the teeth gnashing involved in reliving those events, bringing this effort to fruition has been the adventure of my life.  Since I was honored to have this wonderful blog as my launching pad, I’d like to share some of that adventure with you.

This is what the process of writing Dirty Words felt like:

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And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

First things first.  To be accurate, one year ago, I became a self-published author.  No matter the quality of the writing or value of the subject matter, no literary agent would take it on.  Were they afraid to call mainstream media out on the carpet for their grotesque sexism and one-sided reporting?  Did they really believe there was no market for the way women are still treated in this country?

Every part of me screamed that it was necessary to release the book through traditional channels.  While generating significant interest, in the end, too many changes were demanded.  Agents insisted that anything personal be taken out of the book, but what I had to offer went beyond reportage.  It was necessary that the reader be with us in the trenches since pundits’ foul behavior and their ensuing revisionist history had an effect on millions that cannot be underestimated.  Many books and essays were released pushing the “it was all Hillary’s fault” mantra.  The idea that the truth of these events would be buried without so much as a whimper was unconscionable.  Since Dirty Words proved that domestic abuse played out on a national level, the choice to tell this story in a non-traditional manner meant going my own way.

Literary agents also said it was too late for this book and no one would care — unless Hillary planned to run again.  They were right insofar as this has not been an easy sell.  But guess what?  Hillary Clinton’s popularity is through the roof, she is doing much to remain in the public eye and her energy shows no sign of waning.  To the surprise of naysayers in the literati, she is looking pretty good to run in 2016, although it would be foolish to imagine the fight won’t be just as tough.  So, no, it is never too late to talk about the treatment of 52% of the population.

I remained terrified of pushing the snowball up the hill without the backing or street cred of a publisher.  In the fall of 2011, the finished book was ready.  I handed it to my best friend of 30 years, an apolitical and deadly honest person who I thought would be bored to tears.  Her reaction was quite the opposite.   Seeing that I was dragging my feet on taking the next step, she urged me forward.  Her words will stay with me forever:

“You wrote a book about this brilliant woman who the media told to sit down and shut up.  How long are you going to wait for someone to give you permission to have your voice?”

Six months later, I launched my book on this wonderful site.  I cannot thank each of you enough, especially the lovely Miss Uppity, for cradling this effort and giving me so much support.   But the moments before and after were not without their real life drama.  At the end of January 2012,  my mother collapsed.  With her in and out of hospitals and skilled nursing for the months that followed, I almost abandoned putting the whole project out altogether.   I’m sure many have had the experience of family crises pushing their own goals to the back burner.  I made the decision to be there for her and myself at the same time.

DWOCS Front Book Cover onlyIn March, when I had the proof copy, I raced to the hospital to put the book in Mom’s hands, since it is dedicated to her.  She needed to know that I had finished what I started.  Once it started selling and her health was a bit better, I went back for my daily visit and read her a few paragraphs.  With her charming Italian accent, Mom stuck her elbows out and said “Fly, fly.  Spread your wings and fly.”

She must have been channeling.  I’d never heard her say anything like that.

While I made some early mistakes in marketing, I found great publicists who got me on every imaginable radio outlet.  TV, predictably was harder.  I am now often introduced and regarded as an expert on all things Hillary and all things sexist!  And due to the support of another amazing blogger on this site, my book is on the curriculum at Pasadena City College.  I love going to speak to the students there.  A young man said to me, “Well I’m not a feminist but…”  I stopped him and we had the following exchange:

Me: Do you believe a woman is equal to a man?
Him: Yes.
Me: Do you believe women should get equal pay for equal work?
Him: Yes.
Me: Do believe there should be an end to violence against women?
Him: Yes.
Me: Congratulations.  You’re a feminist.

Dirty Words on Clean Skin has spent 16 weeks as #1 on Women in Politics books on Amazon.

It was a nice ego boost to see my name above Christiane Amanpour’s.  She must have looked at the stats and thought – who the hell is Anita Finlay!   While that may not make the book a best-seller by traditional standards, it has sold far more than the vast majority of  self-published works (with the exception of Fifty Shades of Grey, of course.  Maybe there’s a future for me in chick-porn, but I doubt it…)

The book has also sold more than quite a few traditionally published books but, more important, I’ve been able, via radio, to get this message out to millions of people.  It is something I continue to do, both as an ongoing commentator on America’s Radio News Network and The Jerry Doyle Show (#3 in syndication in the country).  I’ve been invited to write for a number of different sites and am now a regular contributor at a large, independent news site, Epic Times, which has its official launch soon.

Five years ago, I blogged under a pseudonym.  Considering that I had spent so much of my life terrified to let anyone know my opinion, to be so public is a sea change that had to be seen to be believed.  As I wrote, “Watching Hillary stand up taught me to stand up.”

Support and respect has come from some unexpected places.  Good things can happen when you walk into the lion’s den.  2012 was a fierce year.  I grew up and out of my old container.  Perhaps dealing with my mother’s failing health the entire time helped the courage quotient since her situation became the scary part, making me less afraid to sign my name to what I thought was risky work.

Sometimes, I’ll listen back to an mp3 of a radio interview and I am bloody shocked at my own outspokenness.  I like that I have learned to speak out.  I’m still wobbly sometimes.  But I do it.

The best news is that Mom is well enough that she just asked for a large print version of the book so she can finally read it.  She gets to enjoy me being a loudmouth, too.

Her life experience is what inspired me to write Dirty Words on Clean Skin in the first place.  It is only fitting that the new book I am working on be about our journey together — and that’ll be a hoot, I promise you!

Having long made my living as an actor, I still managed to get a few gigs last year, but I feel such a pull into this new world that the idea of getting a radio show and reaching out to others, to get past limiting messages that keep otherwise likeminded people divided, is much more where my sensibilities are today.  I am working on it.

pic 2 from HAcker shoot - Copy

All of that started here.

For a trip down memory lane, click here: Anita Finlay Press Kit 4 12 2013

As a thank you, last Christmas I got a great response when I offered two signed books for the price of one.  In honor of Mother’s Day, I am offering that same special from now through the end of May.  If you know of anyone who would be interested, just mention Uppity Woman and write to me at anita@anitafinlay.com and you will be taken care of!  Feel free to pass the word along.  I’d like to make this as affordable for people to read as possible.

Please know that I hold each of  you in my heart for every kind word and generous gesture on your part.  I will always appreciate you for taking my virtual hand and jumping into the deep end of the pool with me.

By the way…what kinds of topics would you like to see a book tackle, whether social or political, familial, personal or professional?

If you could blow the lid off anything, what would it be?  Inquiring minds want to know…

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Visit anitafinlay.com

Like Anita Finlay, Author on Facebook.

Follow @AnitaFinlay on Twitter.

Ask A Woman What She Thinks!

Men Rule Media Coverage on Women’s News,” Abigail Pesta’s recent Daily Beast article, makes clear that men still control the news narrative at all levels.  The data presented is taken from Silenced: Gender Gap in the 2012 Election Coverage, a six-month study detailing researchers’ troubling findings after tracking thousands of print articles and TV segments, logging almost 51,000 quotes. 

 Here’s what I think…

And a picture is worth a thousand words…

What do you think?

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Visit my website: www.anitafinlay.com

Like Anita Finlay, Author on Facebook

Follow Anita Finlay on Twitter

Recommend my book to a friend:  Dirty Words on Clean Skin: Sexism and Sabotage, a Hillary Supporter’s Rude Awakening, available at Amazon in print and Kindle editions and at Barnes & Noble.

A Ray of Hope from the Younger Set…

Since writing about sexism in politics and the demeaning treatment of women seems to have become my raison d’etre, I have to share an exciting video that came to my attention courtesy of writer Mona Gable at BlogHer.  She reports that Vlogger Nineteen Percent takes issue with Beyonce’s new song Girl (Who Rule The Word)….

Not so fast! says this fabulous woman…

I was as blown away by her command of the subject as I was by the younger demographic she represents.  Particularly since so many young women seem to gloss over the need for any reform in this area.

This video also made me reflect on an experience I had recently, courtesy a lovely blogger friend (imust) who helped arrange for me to speak at the Women’s Leadership Forum at Pasadena City College as part of a panel of local women legislators and entrepreneurs.  The Forum held a mixer after the event and a number of students chatted me up, very knowledgeable about current events and a biased media more predisposed to infotainment and smear than real news.  One young man, probably nineteen who to me, looked fifteen, was so much in agreement with me regarding the tactics of the drive-by hit squad otherwise known as MSNBC, CNN, NBC et al, he could have been my twin!  I was also pleased to see a number of men in the Feminist Club.  And they didn’t look like they were there to ‘hit on the chicks.’

One young lady asked me, “How do we get the message out about the equality and fair treatment of women to girls who are addicted to the Kardashians?”

Exactly!  Her brilliant question brought to mind the late, great George Carlin, who said the media (and our government) does not want you to think critically.  They prefer we be distracted daily with bread and circuses, keeping up with the Joneses and something glamorous outside ourselves that keeps us in a perpetual state of want.

As blogger DWP was kind enough to share:

“I am exhausted that we are still making such faint progress.  In 1855 while speaking about the issues women face, Lucy Stone famously said”

“…In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of woman. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman’s heart until she bows down to it no longer.” Over 150 years later, women are still overwhelmingly spoils of war and chattel denied income, equal rights, education, safety, and justice.”

Other students with whom I spoke chimed in about the obsession over a woman’s appearance and were none too pleased at the chokehold they felt this demeaning construct has over female political candidates.

In search of more encouragement, have you found examples recently of young people who have wised up beyond the cult-worshipping culture of 2008?

I realized I did not have the greatest answer to the Kardashian’s question, beyond telling the young lady to make a stand on the issues — hoping that with enough passion and reason, some kernel of sense would penetrate her reality-tv addled target.  But I think, honestly, mine was a rather lame retort.  What would you have said?