Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Feminism, Vaccinations, And Fear

Are vaccines a feminist issue? So asks Amanda Marcotte. And she has some really great points. Even if you disagree with the feminist angle, if you consider the effect on productivity of quarantine, well, it's not so good, right?

Vaccinate your kids.

Monday, December 29, 2008

'Women Don't Write Enough'

Debra Winger, unintentional poster girl for a movement, says:

In the end, however, Winger admits that she thinks the only way women are going to get good parts in Hollywood is if women actually start writing them: "Roles for women. There aren't any. They've been saying that since the 1920s, and it's true. [My theory is that] women don't write enough. Because who do they expect to write these roles? Men?"
Of course the next question is: don't they? Or, aren't they? If they are, are they produced? If they aren't, why not?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Forget What Can Be Seen From Where, THIS Is the Idiocy That Went Tragically Undermocked In '08

Coming in No. 10 is the single most overlooked bit of Palin-trauma from 2008 on this list of media lowlights. (Caution, many f-bombs after the jump. The rest of the list, while humorous, doesn't pack quite the same historic whallop as the Palin clip.)

Forget the rest, it's No. 10 that's my No. 1. It was replayed, but never got the full Tina. In her oh-so-memorable interview with Katie Couric, Palin can't/won't/doesn't provide the name of a single specific newspaper or periodical from which she gets information on The World. Instead, she feebly attempts to characterize the question as an slap at backwoods Alaskans' scant access to real papers from real cities. But: Fail! This is far, far, far worse than an inability to name a Supreme Court Case with which one disagrees. She literally just needed to start reciting the names of newspapers she's heard of, but she can't/won't/doesn't.

For making it ever so slightly easier for people to question my ability to lead a constituency, Sarah Palin, you get my 2008 award for Worst Idea Ever.

Grays: The Good, The Wobbler, The Bad

The Good Grays/Greys:

Little mice
Cozy sweaters

The Wobbler:

Shades of

The Bad:


Today I am 30.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Offensive Problems That Are Neither Offensive, Nor Problems

A Macy's employee told a customer that they didn't have what she was looking for and to try the Macy's with a larger African American clientele, except she didn't explain it quite so well, but neither did she explain quite too poorly.

The shopper wanted a size 16-18 formal dress for an event and found nothing but casual wear in her local Macy's woman's department (ah, "woman's" - what a shit euphemism). She was told that the demographics of the store showed that the fancier wear was needed mostly by smaller women - their petite section was huge. Local larger women, it seems, didn't go out to nice places or job interviews, etc. Gross generalization, sure, but common when stores buy products.

Macy's never carries more than an obligatory, single pair of ugly brown pumps in size 11 either. And when it comes to finding my size shoes, I know that I'll have less competition for the few size 11s Nordstrom orders if I shop at a Nordstrom in a more Asian area than in a more African American area. Not all Asian feet are small and not all African American feet are large. But more African American women (and non-Asian women generally, for that matter) have size 11 feet and thus, we all have to duke it out for fashionable footwear.

As some commenters to the post said, they know not to shop for Mexican cheese in a Chinatown Safeway because they're going to be more likely to find it in a more heavily Hispanic area where demand for such cheese is higher.

Using sales records to determine the demand for particular styles, sizing, and products isn't stereotyping, is it?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sole Searching

It's about more than just avoiding a thunk on the noggin. Showing the sole of your shoe or throwing shoes is a sign of extreme disrespect in the Arab world, according to the above-linked Chron article. There's an imbedded CBS news clip in which the shoe bomber's statements are translated and in which Bush says "so what" if he threw a shoe and he didn't feel the least bit threatened anyway.

I wonder if he knows about the extreme disrespect part? He probably doesn't have to - I doubt such things are important to his world view.

Friday, December 05, 2008

We're Number 26!

CAMS still makes the cut, coming in at 26 in US News's list of top US high schools.

I hate US News, but am still glad to see them recognize my alma mater.

And there's a video!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Full Of Shenanigans

New star-studded Web video protests Proposition 8


Seriously, I call bullshit.

Anyone patting him or herself on the back for making a funny movie or organizing a rally to oppose prop 8 AFTER NOVEMBER 4 should shut the holy hell up.

EQCA, still waiting for an honest post-election statement from you as well.

Photo-op Shenanigans!

This photo needs the caption "NOT shown actual size."

Maybe the floor slants down to the right?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Part Ouch, Part True. Mostly True Though.

Zing! goes Gawker against LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. I missed their earlier hate letter.

This guy will never be cool with me because he opted to take out a sitting, Dem mayor from my hometown. Fail!

My city deserves better.

Monday, December 01, 2008

'There Is No Front Line'

Monica Brown won a Silver Star for throwing her body across two wounded soldiers under enemy fire in Afghanistan. The two men she saved refused to be interviewed by 60 Minutes - one of them saying women have no business being on the front line. Other fellow soldiers there that day said Brown did her job and did it well, but maybe won her award because she was 18 and a girl, rather than - purely because she displayed heroism.

For her part, Brown says she neither asked for or expected a Silver Star. She'd take back that entire day, if she could.

Her superior officers seem like big fans - so what's up with her peers and the man whose life she saved? Either he's lame and super lucky to be alive, or super lucky to be alive and badly misquoted or wrongly contextualized by 60 Minutes. (btw: correspondent Lara Logan may be my least favorite news correspondent ever - something about her voice and style grate terribly. Oh well.)

So Good, Yet Also Wrong

Vanity Fair profile of Tina Fey? Awesome! But it's written by Maureen Dowd? Damn, lame. Oh well, I'll take my fix anyway I can get it.

Just remember, Tina: I loved you first.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Bet She Doesn't Know What She Did Was Wrong, Which Is The Real Crime

The jury found Lori Drew - the MySpace killer mom who toyed with a 13 year old, unstable girl, until the girl hanged herself - guilty of lesser charges than the novel felony charges filed against her.

I was talking about the case last night and explaining to my mom why I didn't think she'd do time off the charges - they couldn't charger her for the girl's death, of which I think she's very guilty, and you'd have to have a super nullified jury to get something significant out of the filed charges.

There are still some charges and issues unresolved, but I think it's safe to say that Drew won't do [enough] hard time.

What gets to me, though, is this nagging feeling that neither Lori Drew, nor her family or unindicted co-conspirator probably truly think they did anything wrong or bear substantial responsibility for the girl's death. She likely buys her own press just fine.

The things we do to our girls . . . . .

Today In The IE: Claremont Kids' Costumes Nixed

Outdated, offensive practice vs. Elitist, intellectual type with too much time on her hands: can there even BE a winner?

(I'm kidding on both sides of the vs. up there, in case you can't tell.)

Are We As Horrible A People As Our News Implies?

Perhaps yes, we are. An article in today's NYT highlights a mother's ultimate sacrifice for the Holiday welfare of her daughter. It's a moving story of putting others ahead of self. I'll just pull the quotation from the photo caption to explain, because it sums up the current economic crisis better than I ever could:

Kristen Hunt, of Safety Harbor, Fla., [pictured above in her two car garage filled with gifts for her daughter] that she has bought for her daughter, McKenna. Because of the weak economy, Ms. Hunt is putting off buying a pair of designer jeans for herself
Excuse me while I vomit and repeatedly bang my head against the wall. Are you joking? Not even my nearly empty bank account has made me want to stay home this Friday - but this article sure does. That Kitchen-Aid mixer I really want from Costco (super sale with coupon) suddenly seems like a discount offering from the Devil himself and any money I (don't) have for that should immediately be donated to any number of charities or simply burried in the backyard for safekeeping as the End Times near.

We're a country that doesn't know the meaning of sacrifice. My generation, especially, has never been asked to give up a damn thing when things get difficult. I hope Obama finds a new way to spin JFK's Ask Not decree in a way to which we respond openly and with insane amounts of giving.

I can understand that, down the grafs of the article, there are significant worries: mothers' lowered self-spending imperils the fashion industry which trickles down and slams working class seamstresses, retail clerks, etc, especially hard. But the newsworthy aspects of the article can't rise above the really shameful lede.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pitney On Jezebel - Worlds Collide In A Good Way

Jezebel, my rut website of the month, quotes Jack Pitney in a post about Palin overload.

Why can't she just go away and stop bothering me. Pitney gives good advice. I doubt it will be followed. Why do actual work when you can hire someone to turn the non-work you do into a good story and you can keep on not doing it!?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To Quote Amy: Oh My God Are You Serious?!?!?

Sputter, sputter, spit, frustrationcity, sigh:

"So we lost," said Robin Tyler, one of the plaintiffs in a case the state Supreme Court used in May to overturn Proposition 22, a statutory marriage ban approved in 2000. "It's only a battle and this is a war. And we'll win the war."
But you know what's funny? We coulda totally won the war, battle, whatever, like, a few weeks ago, but we didn't. Can someone ask Mr. Kors to explain?

Five thousand people at the freakin' Capitol - but I doubt we're closer to a field program for next time. Oh wait! Maybe they noticed:

Any new campaign would be very different from the unsuccessful push to stop Prop. 8, the speakers agreed. There will have to be an improved effort to go out and make the case for marriage equality to the religious groups that provided much of the support for the measure.
[beats head against wall] Persuasion means NOTHING if you don't get out the m---er f---ing vote, yo.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Good Luck!

Bar exam results are due out this evening. For stalker types, the public results will be up on Sunday.

Best of luck to everyone awaiting results! I hope it's the good kind of drinking for you tonight.

So Who Gets To Rep Rancho In The Inevitable Suit?

SoCal's atheist billboard taken down

No, it wasn't a billboard belongning to all of SoCal.

General Outdoor sign company took down an ad placed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation after the city of Rancho Cucamonga received 90 - OMFG not NINETY! - complaints about the ad.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Survey Says: Shenanigans!

Zogby won’t duplicate Obama poll. There's no indication, however, that Zogby cops to the foolishness of the first poll. For realz, y'all. As someone with a background in survey research - from question design, to conducting the survey, to analyzing the results - yeah, this is a push poll Zogby signed onto. And if he doesn't just say "oops," I don't think anyone of import should go to him anymore:

John Zogby said in a statement defending the poll: “We reject the notion that this was a push poll because it very simply wasn't. … In this case, the respondents were given a full range of responses and were not pressured or influenced to respond in one way or another. This poll was not designed to hurt anyone, which is obvious as it was conducted after the election.”
Yeah, no. That's not really saying it wasn't a push poll. None of that, what he says there, undoes what he let his company do.

There's Nothing So Sad As An Underrated Muppet

The 8 Most Underrated Muppets

Yip yip yip yip yip yip yip.

Justin Timberlake Is Our Generation's Most Talented Performer

Yeah, I said it. You know it's true.

How much better would SNL be every week if JT were in every episode? He is effortlessly funny, real, convincing, good-natured.

Look, even SNL and JT know he's the best thing in the past few seasons, my girl Fey notwithstanding. To wit.

For Anyone Needing A Term Paper, Thesis, Or Note Topic, Fast!

Answer the court's questions:

1) Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?

2.) Does Proposition 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution?

3.) If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional [ed: or "constitutional"], what effect, if any, on marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?

The parties' due date is December 19.

Wow, pretty hard core finals for a few lucky/unlucky lawyers.

Feeling friendly? Amicus curiae applications are due January 15.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


52% is NOT a "narrow margin." But nice try with that.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Arrr! I Knew I Shoulda Gone With Maritime Law

Pirates grab more ships


Elizabeth Wurtzel Not Too Upset About That Whole 'Not Passing The Bar Exam' Thing Wurtzel's comment sounds like it came from a) someone who didn't even go to law school, b) someone who maybe skipped Barbri?, and c) someone who's totalllly faking it.

Seriously? Really? Just Figure It Out

Ever read a lede and spend a few minutes confused over what side it's on? Like, is it aghast at things as they are or at things as proposed?

Here's an example of what I'm talking about (via):

America’s system of voter registration, in which the responsibility is placed almost solely on individuals, took center stage in this election cycle. In the wake of historic interest in voting, and after months of controversy surrounding nonprofit registration drives, America’s leaders, journalists, and voting rights experts are calling for a new registration system that reduces the need for third-party registration drives and shifts responsibility from the individual to government[.]
Wait, individual responsibility for enfranchisement good or bad?

Ah, bad:

The Washington Post editorializes: “It's time to rethink another vestige of an earlier era -- a voter registration system that not only prevents people from voting but causes myriad troubles for election officials…There's a growing clamor by voting rights advocates to shift the onus on registering from the individual to government. Not only would this remove the single biggest obstacle to voting (consider that in 2004, 28 percent of eligible Americans were not registered to vote), but it would make manipulation of the system harder.” (“A Better Vote,” November 9, 2008). . . .

Rick Hasen, election law expert, writes at Slate: “The solution is to take the job of voter registration for federal elections out of the hands of third parties (and out of the hands of the counties and states) and give it to the federal government…Finally, universal voter registration is good for the country, not only because it will make it easier for those who wish to vote to do so, but because it should end controversy over ballot integrity that threatens to undermine the legitimacy of our election process.” (“Registering Doubt: If we can nationalize banks, why not our election process,” October 27, 2008).
Okay, see, I'm about to go maverick, so stick close.

I don't think the problem is third-party registration efforts threatening the fabric of democracy (per John McCain) as they fake cards to get enough money to eat. The problem is that people don't voluntarily register to vote to begin with.

Clearly, even when the stakes are high and the effects personally felt, you cannot force someone to care. You just can't. You can register them, but you can't get them to drink.

I can't help but get a little federalist over this issue. While the Constitution may grant Congress authority over congressional elections, those congressional elections account for a relatively small number of races facing voters every election cycle.

If you could invent one thing that would make you millions as a field organizer or campaign manager it would be a magic word - or pill - that makes people care about voting. This attention currently comes from how people are raised and educated. No amount of federal oversight into the mechanics of voter registration is going to increase interest in voting. I wish that it would.

Yes, it sucks a lot that many people who were excited to vote a few weeks ago couldn't do so because they either never registered or forgot to update their registration and weren't educated about how to fix the problem (or work around it by simply heading to the old polling place or casting a provisional ballot). Yeah, it's all easy for me to say with my organizing, college degree, and slight background in election law.

But do you know where 99% of my voting knowledge and drive comes from? Two places: my parents and the junior high pentatholon team where I poured over the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and learned that voting was, like, the coolest, most grown-up thing you could do. And I was merely a team alternate - think of how enfranchised-in-waiting I'd have been if I really made the team.

You have to want it and it isn't too much to ask for people to pick up the flippin' free, widely available voter registration form at any post office or DMV and fill it the f out. I would endorse happily a move to allow fully online registration as well. But let's keep it local.

You have to want it.

For everyone afraid of the gays coming to teach preschoolers how to bang and marry princesses, perhaps they should be more concerned that no on is teaching Sally or Bobby to vote later in life.

In fact, maybe that was the real source of the Yes on 8 side's fears: that their kids would be ill-equipped to vote for a change in laws we passed today, since no one will have taught them how.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Twitter Moms, Unite!

Why does it make total sense to me that moms got all in an uproar about this ad on Twitter? Because I'm a completely un-empathetic non-mom type who thinks some of this overparenting stuff is nutty-like-fruitcake.

I don't think "baby wearing" is bad. My sister wouldn't speak to me again if I did. But I think it's stupid to be offended at a commercial for pain medication that probably fairly represents a good portion of moms out there who think strollers are totally fine.

And OMG this protest ad makes me want to ralph with its earnest urgings that slings save the world. The music alone . . . . I'm going to take Mortin and buy two strollers when I have kids.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things I'd Like To Do, But Won't Try: Inaugural Edition

Wanna see history? Sounds like it'll take luck and an Amex black card, as tickets, flights, and hotels are quickly selling out for Barack Obama's historic inauguration.

I'd love to go, of course. It's a great, American day. But it is also crowded and, frequently, The Coldest Day In The History Of The World. It took me until at least 2004 to warm up from the 2001 Bush first inaugural. Yes, I went to that - it was my second.

I attended Clinton's second inaugural in 1997. A senior in high school, I jumped at the chance to attend through the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference. I had that chance, in turn, from prior participation in the same group's National Young Leaders Program. Both are excellent. Both have a dress code, unlike other DC programs. For some reason, this alone elevates their stature and import - I'm convinced. Anyway . . . .

In 1997 - ah, those were the days. We were building bridges to the 21st century. We knew nothing of cigars or interns. Things were basically cool. I saw a Better Than Ezra concert on the Mall (passing up the Bill Nye show in a nearby tent - tough call, I tell you). We were treated to private showings of a play at the Kennedy Center and a reception after, replete with sparkling cider and a jazz band. There was a dinner cruz on the Potomac on a craft similar to a bateauz on the Siene - not that I knew that then. And there was an Inaugural Ball where we saw the Clintons and the Gores and Jewell and LL Cool J and, disturbingly, the Squirrel Nut Zippers (anyone remember them?).

Fast forward four years. After the shock of sitting through an election night without a winner and the court battles and the shady outcome, there wasn't much Democratic enthusiasm in DC. The upshot: super easy to get tickets to the Inauguration from Dem congressional offices. My MOC-boss's husband's ticket ended up in my hot little political nerd hands, though no on in the office could really understand why I'd want to attend.

Now, with the benefit of time, I'm not sure either. Recall, however, that in those early days of 2001, months before September, before Iraq, before WMD, before everything, we only thought he would be bad - we didn't really know yet. So I sat in the third or so row, amazingly close to the swearing-in, in a sea of Reep members, staff, and VIPs. I recall running into a college friend who worked for the then-Speaker (an R) whose face fell a full five stories when he saw me and realized he wouldn't be the only one who could say he was thiiiiis close.

It was cold that day. Really, shockingly cold. There was sleet, I think. Definitely rain and a heavy mist. Miserable. Should've taken it as a foreshadowing of things to come.

I think back on that day frequently. I've blogged it before - complete with a piece I wrote for my creative journalism class in college (explaining the very strict narrative style):

Red Line, DC Metro, January 20, 2001, 9:00am - Light glints off a silver belt buckle. A lady's fur-covered arm brushes my face. Many children talk. There are many tourists lurching and grabbing for the sticky silver poles. A man carries a white sign with red letters. Three more women in black hats carry red signs with green, dripping words. A man in a Stetson herds his gilded wife through the doors. Parents bundle their children in a blanket filled stroller. It is inauguration day. The metro slows and stops in the dark tunnel. The tourists shuffle. The commuters sigh. A girl fusses with her earmuffs. Her mother tugs at her scarf. The grandmother adjusts her rhinestone pin - shaped like the state of Texas. There is a large W in the center. The W is made of red, white, and blue jewels. The grandmother smiles.

The metro doors open. The transfer station platform teems with people. Most look lost. Others look frustrated. A man wears a shirt with a donkey on it. The man is not smiling. His son, also wearing a donkey, smiles. My feet ache. It is only 9 o'clock. The air is cold. Sleet falls from the sky. The train descends into another tunnel. A group of people laugh. They are carrying large rolls of canvas. The canvas is white. Across from them sit a group of school children. They are carrying flags. Next to me sits a couple. They are talking about tickets. The women looks angry. The man looks tired. The doors open and close again. The metro driver barks instructions at the passengers. The passengers look up at the speakers in the ceiling.

A boy wears a red sweater with a blue W. The boy gets out of his seat. He points to it. An old woman lowers herself into the seat. She has a cane and a stack of leaflets. The leaflets are green. The metro stops. The lady and the girl and the boy and the old woman and all the signs and all the flags get off the train
It's a very American experience, attending an Inauguration. I wish I could share it with my husband this year - but lacking the connections and the money to do it right, I think I'll just aim to make it a meaningful event via satellite here in California.

Small Donors, Boycotts, And Discomfort

You may have heard by now, especially my SoCal readers, of the huge dust-up over El Coyote - a restaurant with a high level of gay patronage, the manager of which gave $100 to the Yes on 8 efforts via her Mormon Church. Things are getting pretty ugly, with manager Marjorie Chrisoffersen tearfully saying that she won't personally donate to No efforts and causes now, though a restaurant representative said El Coyote would be donating to Lambda Legal and other similar causes. This didn't go over so well:

She continued: "It saddens me that my faith keeps you away from The Coyote. I can not and WILL NOT change my lifelong commitment to the Mormon Church. I can not and will not change my commitment to you."

At which point she opened the floor to questions.

At which point, she shouldn't have.

A gentleman by the same of Sam, who said he was an ex-member of the Mormon Church, asked if she was willing to donate to NO on 8.

She started crying.

A representative of the restaurant stepped in and stated that El Coyote was going to donate to Lambda Legal and the Gay and Lesbian Center and Sam said, I asked HER what SHE was going to do.

Marjorie said: "I will not."

At which point the place went insane.
So, you know where I stand on Prop 8 and what I feel about the No on 8 campaign and what's gone on since Election Day.

Even I'm not sure, however, how I feel about this single restaurant getting this sh*t kicked out of it for a manager's small donation (I haven't seen anything that says she gave more than $100, I haven't done the primary source research on it, and for purposes of this discussion, I'm not sure it's necessary).

Maybe I'm too critical, but, I would be much more than $100 that those who would torch El Coyote and spit on Marjorie probably didn't volunteer for the campaign. Maybe some gave money. Maybe some gave money and volunteered, but I'm going to guess not so much. And, of course, even if they had volunteered, they wouldn't have been given anything meaningful to do because the campaign was a cluster of ineffective, epic proportions.

One person's time donated to the campaign and put to good use would be worth far, far more than $100, or even, frankly, $1000.

This sort of crap distracts from the bigger failures of the campaign and from the work that needs to be done before we can hope to change what we let happen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Few Others Notice The Timeline, Too

Pro-Gay Marriage Forces Finally Organizing, After Losing


I've become just the sort of ranting gadfly I hate: I send emails to anyone I think will listen on the topic - likely to no avail. I just hope someone shuts down the pointless protesting soon, before people really believe protests do anything except make protesters feel better.

Someone save equality and field organizing, please.

(edit: typo in the headline - eek! h/t AP)

If I'm Being Honest, This Post Is Kinda Predictable

No offense, but, Oxford compiled a fairly unique list of the top ten most irritating phrases that I personally, at this moment in time, with all due respect, absolutely agree with. At the end of the day, it's a nightmare 24/7 when people use these phrases. Honestly, it's not rocket science to speak without filler, right? It shouldn't of taken a list to highlight how it all boils down to people using this stuff in order to sound reasoned and deliberative.

'From Mentor With Moxie To Mom'

Yeah, this part of the evolving Michelle Obama narrative bothers me a bit too, except that I do see the value - at least in the short-term, transitional period, in one half of the Obama partnership focusing on the homefront. I'm coming to see that dividing the labor within and without the home is kinda sensible. That said, I'll be curious to see what happens after the girls are established in school. It's not like Michelle Obama should have trouble making sure her carpool day is covered, right?

Did Michelle Obama really "soften" her image?" Just stop talking about all that lawyer stuff and start cooing over your admittedly coo-able daughters and presto! Instant American admiration.

I do still admire her - but perhaps we won't know the whole story about how Michelle Obama feels until the post-presidency biography in 4 or - I hope - 8 years.

Did No One Notice The Election Coming? Has No One Noticed It Has Now Passed?

Moving. True. Necessary. And one week too late.

Equality California sent an email last week saying "We know our rights cannot be taken away by mob vote."

Except that they were. And it wasn't a mob. And we let rights be taken away. The email says the other side used outrageous lies - partly true - and questionable tactics - patently false.

They used winning tactics - the same available to us that EQCA or No on 8 or whomever elected not to use.

I've yet to see a recognition of our mistakes. Until we do that, honestly and openly, we'll fight the same losing battle again.

Friday, November 07, 2008

'Reactive Politics' - Finally, A No On 8 Process Piece - Almost

Thanks, finally:

But “No on 8” was also a reactive campaign that did not anticipate the opposition’s arguments to sway swing voters. Bloggers were effective at pushing memes to define the opposition, but it failed to define much of the race. And “No on 8” did not push a simple and compelling message – “Obama Opposes Prop 8” – to the African-American community until the other side beat them to it, forcing them to play catch-up. This is no time for making excuses, or inspiring words that we’re part of a greater struggle. Our right to marry just got taken away from us, and we’ve got to be smart if we’re going to get it back.
(emphasis added) And some validation of my theories:

Finally, I did go to the “No on 8” campaign office in the Castro as often as I could—but quickly became frustrated at what they were asking volunteers to do. I was happy talking on the phone with swing voters—which was useful and effective—but they seemed more interested in having us do visibility in San Francisco, going to strongly liberal (even gay) parts of town to make sure our base knew they had to vote “no.” Rather than preaching to the choir, we were told this was useful because much of our base was confused—that some supporters think they’re supposed to vote “yes” on Prop 8 to affirm gay marriage.
(emphasis added) This comes close to paralelling my criticisms of the No on 8 campaign. I'd, of course, connect the final dot and say it wasn't the location of the visibility that was the problem, it was that visibility was emphasized over actual GOTV.

Still looking for more on the way things were run around the state, so if anyone has anything . . . .

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Call A Qualified B.S.

From our Keeping To the Narrative Department:

Yeah, yeah, Sarah Palin - she may be just as stupid as we wanted her to be! Or she may become one overly inflated political urban legend. I think she's largely to blame for McCain tanking - but hardly solely. And she didn't choose herself. So McCain is ultimately to blame for tanking.

The imbeded clip linked to above sure makes her seem stupid to both basic viewers and, I guess, political scientists? There seems to be an equal amount of ire at Palin allegedly not knowing that Africa is a continent and not a country as there is to her not understanding the idea of American exceptionalism, a classic principle of Wilsonian doctrine (and watch the guy's inability to say that clearly himself).

Yeah, she should've know the Bush Doctrine - but I would give a pass on Wilsonian Doctrine. I wouldn't give a pass to Barack Obama or other professor types, but let's just be happy that Palin didn't get elected. Let's not keep picking at her. It doesn't accomplish anything now and I doubt she'll be a serious 2012 challenge.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Suck It, Nader

You sad, irrelevant SOB. Go away. You gave us seatbelts. We're appreciative. You are owed nothing for this, however. And you deserve even less, at this point.

Shep, you have to stop being so appealing. You know I won't watch Fox News. Stop making sense.

Wrong, So Wrong

Gavin Newsom can't do anything right, apparently. But if you want to - perhaps rightly - fault him with givng the Yes on 8 campaign a gift-wrapped sound bite - fine. Don't, however, fault him for what the Chron's Phil Bronstein seems to see as a HUGE transgression:
While No on 8 campaigners like Alex Tourk, who I talked to recently, were agonizing over whether they'd win and were working every angle, Mr. Newsom was out stumping against the proposition this last, critical weekend. Where? In Solano, the only Bay Area county to vote for 8? In Contra Costa, where the tally was pretty close and some minds might have been changed?

No, the mayor was hitting the bricks in the Castro. How many people in that neighborhood do you think were undecided on same sex marriage? But it sure must have been fun getting all that adoration and applause. No boos there for Mr. Newsom, not even on Halloween.

Yesterday, as voters went to the polls, the mayor stiffed a tribute to the late, highly respected Democratic Party strategist Bob McCarthy, where there was genuine emotion flowing, to do some last minute arm-twisting against Prop 8. In Contra Costa? In Santa Clara? No. "He opted instead," according to Phil Matier and Andy Ross, "to do a last minute, applause-filled No on 8 walk along Polk Street."

Another stronghold of anti-gay sentiment.
Do I need to explain what's wrong with this, or have you all been paying attention to my wild-eyed, WTF-themed posts for the last 24 hours or so? Right, I thought so. Give me an f-ing break. He worked the base. At least a little. That's closer to a GOTV effort than anything else I've read about.


Late To The Linking, But Familiar With The Sentiment

The guys at fivethirtyeight.com were nearly dead-on in their projections for Election Day. Nice modeling, y'all!

Even though our 2004 day-after had a distinctly different tone, the post-election feelings of organizers and journos, I think, is fairly universal. This hit especially close to home:

There will be moments in the coming days, randomly standing in line at the grocery store, driving down the street in contemplation, the sight of a door you knocked, catching a certain song, a glimpse of Chuck Todd, hearing someone tell a story... where these emotions will just come bursting through, the enormity of it all. Just think of how much effort went into this. How much sacrifice. How many things had to go right. How many people had to want it so badly, and how the masterpiece of a campaign structure that David Plouffe and cohorts engineered allowed all that effort to be channeled into the right places to maximize efficiency.

More than anything else, this experience was shared.
Well said. And I feel you.

I note today, however, that the past that felt so present for the last few weeks, is drifting back again as I recognize the passage of four years and appreciate my inaction during this cycle. Long navel-gazing short: I don't like staying home. I shouldn't do that again.

Today, the story turned increasingly to the 50 State Model - the answer to the previous Clinton/DLC/New Democrat model. It worked. Howard Dean's grand experiment was ahead of its time, but it got us here. Four years is extraordinarily fast, if you think about the paradigmatic shift that might have taken/took place yesterday.

Stories to watch: My guess is that this is one of those things that will only be a quiet story, if it's a story at all. Another post notes, "Total turnout should be somewhere in the 125-130 million range, actually not that much higher than 122 million that turned out in 2004, but still very impressive by modern standards."

If San Francisco is any indication, reports of massive increases in turnout will turn out to be greatly exaggerated. It increased, sure. And there may still be stories about the way the demographics shifted within this cycle's voters. I want more data! Data!

There Must Be, Like, 1000 Jokes In Here

'Jogger Runs Mile With Rabid Fox Locked On Her Arm'

'The Clinton Machine: 1992-2008'

True or False?

Also, we're entering the first time since 1952 that neither a Bush nor a Dole will hold office in DC.

All hail progress.

Can't Verify, But Seems Illustrative

'Same-sex marriage ban leads, opponents don't concede:'

Frank Schubert, manager of the Yes on 8 campaign, declared victory shortly after midnight -- but opponents called that declaration 'presumptuous.'

'We had more than 100,000 (supporters) walk precincts for us, and they have delivered a great victory,' Schubert told supporters.

Mmmm, Cross-Tabs

Exit Poll Data on Prop 8. Working women voted no. Black women voted yes - way yes. Union went yet, non-union when slightly no. Drill, baby drill? Yes on 8. Like polar bears? No on 8. Like the war? Yes on 8. Don't like the war - like marriage equality. If you answer U2's question of whether it's getting better, regarding race relations, that it is much better or somewhat better, then you were strongly against 8.

The article is here.

Castro celebrates Obama, bemoans a Prop. 8 win

Contain your rage:

Natasha Horchata, 18, moved to San Francisco several months ago to pursue a drag queen show career. On Tuesday, Horchata paraded up and down the street wearing a spiky black and white wig and a black corset with a couple of 'No on 8' banners trailing from the waist.

'I didn't register in time to vote, so I wanted to do something,' Horchata said.

Earlier in the evening, volunteers Joe Durso and Jason Lloyd stood on opposite sides of the Castro-Market street intersection waving "No on 8" signs to passing cars, looking as though they were conducting a symphony of honking. Both had manned their corners since before 7 a.m.

Durso, a Sonoma County resident who had married his partner on Valentine's Day in 2004, pledged to fight until Prop. 8 was defeated - either Tuesday night or in some later court battle.

"If it's passed, the legal counsel for No on 8 will find a way to bring it to the surface again and defeat it," said Durso, 44. "I just can't imagine our basic civil rights being taken away."
No, no wait, I am finding it hard to contain my rage. Field. Field. FIELD. Field.


Must. Organize. Hmm, Happy Thanksgiving? In Georgia?

Runoff fun in Georgia has organizers buying plane tickets . . . .

In Comedy, Truth

Trusted source highlights real reason for Obama win by expounding on Obama's nomination speech's central theme of "Enough.

What Wins

It's kinda like being a small town mayor, but with real power, awesome responsibility and sometimes, the right result.

Further SF Crunching

More voters voted in the Prop 8 contest than voted in the top-ticket presidential battle, at least according to the numbers I pulled from the linke LAT map, above.

198,989 voters selected Obama to McCain's 30,888 - for a total of 229,977 votes cast in that race.

Down the ballot - usually the home of candidates and measures that get far less love and attention - 54,321 voters favored Prop 8 while 177,036 voted against stripping rights from fellow citizens, for a total of 231,357 votes cast in the race.

There were 1480 more votes cast in the Prop contest than in the presidential race. Not a huge number, but still interesting.

In LA County, 1554 more votes were cast in the Prop 8 contest than in the presidential race.

In Imperial County, along the Mexican border, only 209 more votes were cast in the 8 race than the presidential race. Prop 8, however, received more votes in favor than Obama received votes - 15822 votes to Obama's 13417 votes. (96.3% of precincts reporting)

In neighboring San Diego County, however, there were 20,814 more votes cast for President and more votes for Obama than in favor of Prop 8.

I could crunch numbers all day really. But I should go to work.

But if anyone out there can make more maps with all this data on a single page, that'd be great. It's a safe bet that party affiliation was not a sure predictor of support or opposition to Prop 8. And I have a guess that if you ran cross-tabs for race and income level, you'll get a clearer picture of how things worked out.

I should do more research into tiny Alpine County and Mono County, however - the sole Inland NO counties. Thanks, lil'Alpine!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Late Night Number Crunching

Like feeding Gizmo after midnight - playing with math this late is NOT a good idea . . . .

San Francisco has approximately 776k people (that's from the 2000 census - and from basic googling - not actual census data, primary resource research - but it's late.) Over 85% are 18 and over - that be eligible voters - about 663k potential voters. You can take away a chunk would aren't eligible for various reasons.

And to continue the sloppy late-night google research: in the June 2006 primary, there were about 420k registered voters.

According to the Chron's count, with 98% of precincts reporting, 53,419 votes were cast FOR prop 8, while 174,225 voted AGAINST prop 8.

Raise your hand if you see the problem. . . .

Was this solely San Francisco's fight? Absolutely not. Should they have been the epicenter of a massive voter education, outreach, and ultimately, GOTV effort? Abso-freakin'-lutely.

Did that happen? Am I totally, bat shit crazy in my late night analysis here?

My hunch is there was not a significant increase in voter turnout (remember: political scientists look at turnout over the number of ELIGIBLE, not REGISTERED voters - but either way . . . .). And ballot drop off helped make things look worse at this particular point in time. About 190k Obama votes came from the City and County of San Francisco.

It would be nearly impossible - maybe even implausible - to expect SF to turnout 200k additional No votes - but, to be perhaps stereotypical, is there another county in the state that you'd think would be *more* likely? Someone check my math and assumptions and prove me wrong.

I hope I wake up tomorrow and feel stupid for doubting we'd defeat this measure.

Update: LATimes.com has some good maps and filters. Fun with graphics!

Context For My International Readers

Stats from the previous elections - so you can see how 2000 and 2004 were extraordinary, as in, NOT the ordinary.

Prop 8: A Guess At A Possible Outcome

Verrrry early results show Prop 8 winning - 52% according to the SoS site - at least when I can get it to load.

Basically, the only race I've done much with this cycle has been No on 8. I've phone banked, and I attempted to take a vacation day today to help GOTV for the No side.

They had no field program today.

Let me make that clear: no. field. program.

At least not in the Sacramento area.

You field people know how serious that sentence is.

I'm not sure why they bothered running phone banks or identifying No voters if they weren't going to use that data today. The first inkling I had that there was a problem was when the emails I received from the campaign sought Election Day volunteers to stand 100 feet from polling places to pass out information to voters.

[snatch the needle from the record]

Yeah, no really. It's been driving me nuts for the last week or so, but I don't blog that sh*t till the polls close. And we may still prevail, the measure may fail. Obviously I hope it does. But if it doesn't, I'll go ahead and blame the decision to abandon the ground on the only day that matters.

It was mentioned today that "we raised enough money to have professionals do the phone banks" today. I have no idea what that statement means. I don't know what professionals would've been hired. (I know that, as a voter, I can tell a paid caller from a volunteer every time.)

One person I spoke with today said he felt the No On 8 people outside his polling place were being disrespectful to voters and the process by being there - and this person was voting No on 8. The polling place is sacrosanct. Don't mess with it. And if you feel your campaign needs to stand there to make sure voters don't get confused then you 100% haven't done your job for the past howevermany months. Standing outside a precinct is NOT GOTV. It is visibility. It gives false indications of likely results. Visibility on Election Day is fine - but it's for the overflow volunteers, it is not a good use of human resources otherwise.

The "$%£&"%* site still isn't loading results fast or completely, so who knows what's happened since that first result.

More later. The president-elect is about to speak.

Part II: At the start of the No On 8 Campaign, I had heard that the effort would center - almost solely - on turning out the vote in SF and LA. If that ended up being the strategy in the long run, then tell me to drive my arse out to SF or down to LA and walk or call there. Don't waste my time and the campaign's money ineffectively and perhaps detrimentally spinning my wheels in Sacramento. I hope I'm being foolishly gloomy. Regardless of the outcome, however, I'll always prefer to play it GOTV-ly safe. That means a field program and some traditional voter contact and Election Day walking, phoning, and driving.

An Election Night Concession Speech

My husband commented that he'd expected to stay up all night watching for the winner. He missed the big moment because he didn't see it coming. Only my sniffles and tears alerted him to the world's immediate change as the clock struck 8pm in the West.

John McCain's speech did sound familiar, as NBC's Brian Williams commented. It sounded like . . . John McCain. That guy we liked, the one who stood up to Bush, for a time. It's like that last page of Lord of the Flies, isn't it? The perspective has shifted. We can recall the old John McCain and we believe that he is sincere in his reverance for what's happened tonight.

His supporters' boos weren't really necessary. But I'm pretty sure that John McCain wishes they'd shut up as well.


Two notes:

1.) Sarah Palin, you are relieved of duty. Please depart the national stage and fade into the obscurity from which you came. Thank you.

2.) Brian Williams noted that as of now, it seems that Barack Obama gathered more of the white (male?) vote than did John Kerry.

Hey y'all, this is a monumental moment in American history and in that specific part of American history dedicated to our difficult relationship with race. But let's get pragmatic: I left law school for John Kerry. I still think he would've been better than the last four years of Bush. Full stop. BUT, he was a TERRIBLE candidate and screwed up a lot of stuff. PLUS, Bush had a better field game in many places (not PA, thanks; you're welcome), and there were many factors going against us. So I think we should spend a smidge less time looking at race when comparing the votes between tonight and Kerry's result and more looking at, like, the candidates themselves.

Not To Break Away From The National Inspirational Part, But

I can't get on the CA SoS website. To quote Cathy, Ack!

Florida, Ohio, Welcome Home. Virginia, Nice To Have You

I can't help but cry myself a huge puddle of red, white, and blue tears.

Now, Yes We Can becomes Yes We Did and, more importantly - MOST importantly, Yes We Will.

We Won.

According to this tally - Obama is at 220. That means that at 8pm, when California closes, we'll win - 'cause we got 55 big ones.

We won.

What's next?

Can We Win Now? Yet? Almost?

Goes without saying: Starting on Inauguration Day, my Dems better get the hell to work. There's barely any time at all to do stuff. Two years max, right? A word of warning to you, Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi - well, a number anyway: 1994.

Let's not do that again.

How Many Senators Do We Need Before We Can Tell Lieberman What We Think Of Him?

Just curious.

We're up four to 55 at this point . . . .

From Last Night, Didn't Post It, But Feel Better Doing So Now

From Jezebel, on the message for freaked-out, twice-burned Dems:

BTW: Anyone Seen 'The Candidate?'

What do we do now?

Yea, PA! However, Can We Shut It Until Everyone Votes?

Good news already: PA has been called for Obama. I expected it. I'm sure their field program was strong today (even if I wasn't there - wink).

Other good news: Kay Hagen beats Ms. Dole. Jesus hates name callers.

Things I can do without: projections before the last polls close. It's bad for turnout in the west. As I've said, frequently, there's no liberal media bias, but there is some crazy East Coast media bias. So long as the East Coast can get to bed on time, f the rest of us and our vital down-ballot races. So, seriously, can we back off? No, I know we can't.

No on 8!

Monday, November 03, 2008



Tomorrow's battle started
In January, 2001
On September 12, 2002
Or on March 20, 2003

For me, it was renewed on all of those dates, but perhaps it's been most game-on since November 3, 2004.

The fight was long. Our candidate screwed up royally - but probably wasn't as inept as we like to joke now. Turnout, it was reported, was high. Historically high.

Turnout - I said, on November 2, 2004 - was the word of that day as it is predicted to be the word of tomorrow. You've seen the footage of hours-long lines at polling places where voters have early-vote options.

But as Rachel Maddow discussed tonight, while Democrats have been shouting "ground game" (and since when did we stop saying "field" - whatevs) to whomever will listen. Republicans simply don't talk about it. They just show up, in force, no really IN FORCE, up to a million strong, for the last 72 hours of the race.

Dems spend months cajoling people into weekend after weekend of volunteer work. We organize for voter ID, we organize for early vote, we organize ourselves silly. The Reeps just show up for E-Day and that's all. they. do. Their field operation is a little-known, nearly invisible ballet that delivered the White House in 2000 and 2004.

Have I said I wish I were in the field lately? 'Cause I do. (Opps! Why is WV so hard to get to?)

The seeds sown for years ago are mature now - but what will we reap?

My Election Day Wish List:
No rain.
A declared winner by bedtime.

Hmm, I could've sworn I had more items, but that's kinda all that is sticking in mind right now. That should about cover it.

Oh, wait, I wish for Prop 8 to get spanked. Vote No, y'all.

So this is it. Good luck everyone - Philly, WV, I'm with you in spirit.

Political Pot, Meet Campaign Kettle

The Cali GOP - in an effort to earn the d-bag of the election award - released a statement that it had filed a complaint in the FEC (thank goodness there really isn't anyone on that anymore - at least not enough to vote still, right?) claiming Obama illegally converted campaign funds when he traveled to Hawaii to visit his sick grandmother who died today.

Like we could make that up.

Anyone besides me get a little smile about the GOP taking issue with the conversion of campaign funds? Riiiight. Me too.

Are we there yet?

Michelle Obama: A Real Life Claire Huxtable?

Yeah, that seems accurate to me. Jezebel looks at Michelle Obama and her fictional forerunner in the context of black female role models.

Yes, Michelle Obama may be a special role model for black women, but I find her a special role model as well. I would hope she's a role model for men and women - but certainly for women of every color.

She is the real life Claire Huxtable, and, like Hillary Clinton before her, she represents the next wave of First Ladies: professional, accomplished women who embraced the first and second waves' promises.

I often joke that Claire Huxtable led me astray because she motivated me to go to law school since lawyers, as embodied by Mrs. Huxtable, lived in really nice New York houses and, undoubtedly drove BMWs. They were well-off, well-dressed, and well-spoken. Turns out, lawyering isn't nearly as glamorous (nor as lucrative! thanks), but I still have an overwhelming fondness for Mrs. Huxtable.

And, more appropriately, since she's a real person, Michelle Obama.

Election Day Playlist: What I Would Listen To: A Post In Which Phoblog Publicly Nerds The Hell Out

1.) Black Eyed Peas: Let's Get It Started
2.) Sara Evans: Suds In The Bucket (It's a WV thing, don't question)
3.) Fabulous: Breathe
4.) Eminem: Lose Yourself
5.) TI feat. Rihanna: Live Your Life
6.) Frou Frou: Let Go
7.) Journey: Don't Stop Believin'

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Caring About Undecideds Is Simply A Way To Kill Time Between Now And 8pm Tuesday

You've heard the jokes. What is WRONG with undecided voters? Are they stupid? Slow? Ignorant? Inattentive? Foolishly, lazily deliberative? Gosh, who hasn't made up his or her mind yet? What have you been doing for the last few days, months, hell, years?

But it's all bullshit, kids.

The only people who care about undecideds at this point are reporters and losing campaign managers.

GOTV weekend - what we're in now, until Tuesday - isn't about voter identification or persuasion. It's about getting. out. the. vote. Period. Seriously. It's over. The campaigning part of the campaign is over. Now is the time to literally drive your damn voters to the polls. Take them coffee or umbrellas or cold beverages - weather and location depending. I don't even find the undecided jokes funny anymore. (This is largely a reaction to a particular campaign I know seeming to want to biff it bad as we near the finish line. More on that on Wednesday morning.)

It's likely, given the low level of readership I currently have, that everyone reading already knows that the undecideds don't matter for boo anymore. But I just had to vent. MSM and others are just killing time because there just isn't anything left to say anymore. We're all tired. We all want to vote. We all want there to be A winner on Tuesday night and we want to know who it is before we pass out from two years of too much presidential politics.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Retro-Revival Post: My 2004 Halloween Costume Is A Lot Like My 2008 Costume

In 2004, I was a Republican for Kerry. Today, I'm still in a suit, but, since I'm a brown-haired girl with glasses, you can guess what I am.

It's amazing how much meaning can now be conveyed with a flag pin. And I don't mean patriotism. Flag pins don't really mean that for me anymore. They don't not mean patriotism, of course. They just mean a sort of co-opted patriotism that, if you listen to some, would specifically exclude me as unAmerican.

Oh Wait! Me! Me! I Know!

Sarah Palin says she doesn't know why most women don't support her candidacy or why others believe she is unqualified to be vice president.

[waves hand uncontrollably in the air without waiting for speaker to finish in effort to be called on first as know the answer]

And - for funtime Halloween comparison purposes, two quotes from Palin's interview with ABC:

When asked why women aren't rallying to her, Palin said, "I don't look at polls, so I would not be able to answer that.

"But you have to consider that there has been the constant barrage, a kind of spin on the my record or my positions," Palin said. "Perhaps it would change someone's perception."
And, wait for it:

Vargas asked Palin if she continued to refer to Obama's relationships in order to suggest he was "un-American," an historically loaded term.

Palin said she was not calling Obama "un-American" but was calling attention to his record.

"[I'm] not calling him un-American. There is nothing wrong, though, with calling someone out on their record, their associations," she said. "The association issue here, it's not mean-spirited. It's not negative campaigning. It's important and fair to the electorate."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Elite How?

Michelle Obama rocks everything from H&M to J. Crew, to, surely, higher end fashions. But let's focus on the fact that J. Crew is beating the recession blues thanks to the Obama bump. And they aren't being shy about it:

As much as I'll admit to thinking Palin does wear a suit well, and I like her shoes, I'm not going to hit Saks to copy her look. I WILL however buy a bit of potential-first-lady style from J.Crew.

How is it that the Dems keep getting labeled elite again? Joe the not-plumber and Tito the builder or whatever should really check what's going on more carefully. CD the nonprofit lawyer finds much more in common with the Obamas than anyone put forward as a GOP role model or example of real America.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Four Years Ago

First, this blog is coming up on its 5th Birthday next year. Can you believe that? I've had a longer relationship with it than with my husband. Moving on. . . . .

These days, my mind is squarely in the past, looking at the future, if that makes sense. Thanks to the blog, I know what I was doing and thinking and feeling four years ago. I'm surprised, when rereading the old election posts, that I recall so much more than what's on the screen. I can read my own code. I know my own references. The me of now is grateful to the me of then for making such a record.

It's hard not being in WV or PA. I know if I jet there tomorrow, however, the people will be mostly different. I have no idea who is in PA. There are some I'd go to join and some I'd stay home to avoid. I know WV is in good hands. That's where I'd like to be.

To navel gaze a moment: yesterday I felt off. Funks happen, of course. This was typical election year "I should be doing more"-itis. Citing our new mortgage as an excuse for being less active seems selfish and shallow and makes me hate the house and myself.

So I phone banked. I almost didn't go. I though I'd just go home and get some rest or clean the hated-house. But I phone banked. And I felt immediately better.

I don't love phone banking. I love it more than walking precincts. But no, it's no one's favorite activity. Lit drop, okay. Assemble yard signs, sure. But that voter contact - the single most effective campaign tactic - it's tough sometimes. It's just so important.

Last night, my calls were to the 209 area code. That's inland. Modesto, Stockton, up to Calavaras County. Miners. Truckers. Agriculture. It's not the coast. I wasn't sure the kind of reception I'd receive there - and I'm not talking about cellular technology.

But the results were heartening. I spoke with one man who, when I asked how he was voting on Proposition 8, asked me how I was voting. I told him no. He asked if I am gay. I said no, I'm not, and I'm also married. He asked my age. I told him 29. And we talked about generational divides and fear of new things and time moving on. He's still undecided, but his daughters, both in college, are voting No.

Another man said he was voting yes, that it was "the only way to vote." I thanked him for his time and he continued his thought by saying "if you want your freedom."

I have no idea what that means.

But there were many more Noes than Yeses. One woman said she didn't much care about what other people did or who they married and that I probably wouldn't like that answer. I said no, I agreed with her. And that many people agree with her and it's what leads them to vote No on 8. It's the more libertarian view, I suppose. I don't care who you are and who you marry because I'm far too busy paying attention to my own marriage. She said she'd vote No as well.

I dialed the phone 81 times last night. I spoke with about 10 people. Only 4 were voting yes. More were voting No. Some had already voted No by mail.

It makes a difference - reaching out to people. Organizing. Finding volunteers. Working.

There are only a few days left. Do something.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Style And Substance

I KNEW I should have tried on and/or purchased this when I saw it at H&M a week or so back. Michelle Obama wears it - and she has nearly impeccable style.

The above links are to a blog dedicated to a discussion of Mrs. O's style.

And yes, it's totally cool to fawn over her dress: she chooses what looks great on her while managing to both fit the Political Wife mold and smash it with nods to current style, youthful colors, and accessible designers/sources. Like J. Crew. She shops J. Crew!

And since no campaign reports have shown yet that the DNC or any campaign funds are going toward Obama family clothing purchases, she deserves actual credit and no criticism for her clothing purchases.

I want to go shopping with Michelle Obama. I want to go shopping with her because I know that, not only will she shop at stores within my means, not only would she understand my budgeting - having only recently paid off her own law school loans - she'll be looking for similar styles. We're both tall, pear-shaped (she has a better shape) women. AND, we could hit the food court and have an intelligent conversation about . . . well, just about anything, I'd assume. I can't imagine, on the other hand, having anything at all in common with Laura Bush or Cindy McCain - not enough to get through an engaging lunch chat over a Hot Dog on a Stick lemonade.

Is that like the "who would I want to have a beer with?" test? I don't think it is. Because I don't want a back-slapping drinking buddy.

I want to go shopping with Michelle Obama, who buys her own clothes and pays off her student loans and looks good nearly every day and is 5'11" and wears flats and heels.

See Mom, Totally Not My Fault. Your Fault!

Bad spelling could be in our DNA.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Answer Is In The Context

Are Democrats Better at Political Satire Than Republicans?

Only right now, because the material is so much better for us.

A Boston Globe writer says "comedy naturally has a liberal bias, many comics and cultural critics say, because humor is inherently subversive. . . . And no matter who is in the White House, they say, Republicans are more culturally aligned with the churchgoing, manners-minding establishment than Democracts ever are."

Right now.

That's what you have to add to make that statement true(r): Right now. Because while it is true that humor is inherently subversive (though don't confuse its ability to be cohesive as well), Republicans might not (and have not) always had the corner on the establishment.

Then It's Back To Long Skirts And North Face?

Cha-ching! After saying they don't talk about money, the RNC released a new and way less good thought on the $150k department store and make up expenditures that were reported post-Palin pick:

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt. "It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."
As Seth and Amy would say, Really?! After the campaign, the empress relinquishes her new clothes and then wears crap again? Barn jackets and denim skirts are what sells in Wasilla!

[Bill] Clinton's $200 haircut doesn't seem so bad anymore, does it?

Ladies of America, if this doesn't convince you that McCain and the RNC are a bunch of pandering dorks, I don't know what will. Sarah Palin wants to be an insider. She's being primped to be an insider. She's been dressed up, made up, set up just to confuse, pander, pacify, and placate. Don't. Buy. It.

And lastly, how rad-tastic is it that, instead of quietly having a donor leave some bags outside Palin's hotel room doors in any given city, Mr. Campaign Finance Reform's pary REPORTS ALL THE CLOTHING PURCHASES? And baby purchases for Trig, too, by the way. You can't expense or deduct for clothing you wear to work (oh that we could) and from what I've read and recall, the FEC (hey, is anyone actually ON that these days?) and finance rules disallow that sort of personal use of campaign donations. Why? Because otherwise people would spend $150k on clothes for their campaign. Hell, I would. Who wouldn't.

But I can tell you who shouldn't.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How Come No One Told Me That Was Job?

You can be SNL's chief political satirist? As a career. Damn. Jealous!

But seriously, folks, an interesting like up there to cable news-athons' use of said chief satirist's material as the representation of what they think-but-cannot-say.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's Okay, I Fell For It Too

So I heard Palin saying she was cleared of all possible wrongdoing and ethics violations and, sucker me, I believed her. I was partisanly disappointed, sure, but hey, a result is a result.

Except the report actually says Palin abused her power and violated state ethics laws. Go fig.

Palin picks up reading at finding two, it seems, which says the firing was fine. She skips finding one, which calls her out for improper influence - both on her part and for letting her husband exert some as well.

Palin's lawyer cleverly fights back by saying since there was no monetary benefit gained from her wrongful influence, she didn't violate the state ethics law. Super clever. I suppose that's the best I could have come up with as well if my client were guilty of ethics violations. If this were a court battle, however, that'd be a losing argument. I don't know AK's ethics laws, but knowing a bit about ethics laws generally from past clerkship experience, I'd say the Palin excuses are pretty thin.

Oh, and Rachel Maddow is piissssseeddddd.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How About Bush v. Gore? There's one.

God help us, Fox News really does find amazing ways to occupy itself all day long. Like presenting this story about Newsweek failing to do Palin a solid by photoshopping her extreme close up face.

And that led me to the Newsweek cover story in question. It starts with a recap of Palin's failure to provide Katie Couric with a single example of a Supreme Court case with which she disagrees. Palin's got problems, says the article.

No sh*t.

A McCain campaign adviser says the question was fair, but wonders how many Americans would be able to name one for themselves. I can! See above for the foremost on my mind these days. But perhaps Couric should've have widened the net and asked for Palin to name ANY case. I hope some Americans can do that. But really, shouldn't she know MORE? A wee bit? No, of course not. Smarts is offensive.

The writer sums it up thusly: "Do we want leaders who are everyday folks, or do we want leaders who understand everyday folks?" I'd say we could have both and Sarah Palin is neither. If I had to choose one, I'd go with the latter, thanks.

I may find this passage particularly moving:

Jackson, Lincoln, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Clinton were born to ordinary families, but they spent their lives doing extraordinary things, demonstrating an interest in, and a curiosity about, the world around them. This is much less evident in Palin's case.
This is a list of men - self-made bootstrapping types, or at least so go the myths attached to each. (Largely true, yes.) Don't women in positions of political - or any - power tend to make themselves as well? Don't we have a bit more against us? Don't we climb a bit more purposefully, tentatively, and doggedly? Must we not? We drive harder because the presumption is that we have to do so and that we don't know as much or lack the same innate capabilities. But what Sarah Palin is showing the world is that it IS about smiling after all. It's not about substance, it's about take-no-prisoners style. If someone challenges you, kill them. Don't learn more, just kill them.

What's maddening in all of this is that, no, Barack Obama doesn't have loads more experience than Palin. I think his experience, qualitatively, counts for more, but I'd almost be willing to call it a draw if not for Palin's attitude.

Barack Obama's narrative reveals a man with a burning need to learn. He bootstrapped himself to a 5-star education. He sought his African roots. He speaks of hope and a limitless future. Palin, on the other hand, seems to revel in limitations - mainly her own (she's only been here, like, five weeks, y'all, wink). What the hell kind of message does that send our daughters?

Girl Crush: Sarah Haskins

What this girl does with yogurt, dusting, or fiber kills! And Palin. Sister Suffragette!

(A-ha! Improv gal - Second City and i.O. and she's tall. Girrrrl Crush, y'all. GrlCrsh.)

"That One"

Snark heard 'round the world? Attempt at saying "The One?" Just a comment?

My mind - forever and absolutely tuned to Tina Fey - immediate recalled this clip, which featured "this one," which is close to "that one," right?

Anyway, from a younger, hipper candidate with a soul, it would've been funny in a Lorelai Gilmore kinda way.

America Was At Its Best When It Was On NBC

Oh, Paris, you make fake-sense to me.

America Was At Its Best When It Was On NBC

Oh, Paris, you make fake-sense to me.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mull And Marvel At This

Their wheels are falling off and it's starting to show. McCain/Palin are going gloves-off, "heels-on" and fightin' it all the way. They will destroy this temple to rebuild it, yet somehow, they paint others as destuctive:
Barack Obama, she told 8,000 fans at a rally here Monday afternoon, "launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist!" This followed her earlier accusation that the Democrat pals around with terrorists. "This is not a man who sees America the way you and I see America," she told the Clearwater crowd. "I'm afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country." The crowd replied with boos.
No, he doesn't see it the way you do. He doesn't hate smarts. He doesn't hate education. He doesn't sneer at accomplishment, effort, or heart. And if he sees America as imperfect, perhaps we can all avoid the Emperor's-New-Public-Policy way of doing things that has been running us collectively into the ground for the last 8 years.

It seems, then, that John McCain's descent is complete. It began when he swallowed his hatred for George W. Bush and stuck up for him, appeased him, agreed with him. I still believe, given the opportunity, McCain would serious f his s up in a dark alley. But it's too late now. He's made his bed and wrapped himself in a cozy Palin-duvet of neoconservative rhetoric and bile.

It's a shame. Truly.

Style Section: People To Copy, Exhibit A

I don't take many style notes from celebrities or people-of-note, but Kate Middleton never fails to dress perfectly - British, regal, populist, age-appropriate, sophisticated, gorgeous. I'd give a pinky just for some of coats and hats.

As Per Linda Richman, Discuss

Women and Funny:


(Special note: "'The cultural values are male; for a woman to say a man is funny is the equivalent of a man saying that a woman is pretty. Also, humor is largely aggressive and pre-emptive, and what's more male than that?'" I would disagree. Humor is circular, not linear. Men are linear, they die. Women create life, we're circular. Men may have coopetd humor, but I think it goes against biology. I think it's because they can't give birth. So they have jokes. Note the author's similar but differently shaded treatment of birth in the discussion. I digress.)

Counter point.

(Unfortunate that the girls' side comes second as "That's not funny, I am funny," is a crappy bargaining position from which to argue for one's witty superiority, or at least witty parity.)

And back again.

(Both the point and back again clearly have a ribbon of modestly offered proposals running throughout, but does that lessen their evil?)

Sarah Barracuda Hates You, Smartypants

I hate people who sneer at you if you have an education. Sarah Palin, argues this piece, is one of those people.

Why she's allowed to make Barack Obama seem like an entitled rich kid is beyond me. He's accomplished, yes. But that's "accomplished" not "born into it." Hell, I get annoyed at the kids who have everything too, but I try to keep things in perspective and at least find out if they really have everything or not.

I also super-hate the glorification of ignorance or stupidity, or the stupid trait of clinging to your positions because your fragile ego can't handle being wrong or admitting there may be something outside of your knowledge and experience worth knowing. Sarah Palin lacks confidence and it seems all around her will pay for being smarter, more educated, more deliberate, or just more fortunate. That's not very Christian of her, however.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pleadings I'd Like To Read. Or Not.

If the person you voted for turned out to be of the opposite gender than you thought when you cast the ballot, would it matter? Georgia says no. I can't come up with a situation when it would. Or should.

With You In Spirit, PA

Michigan was grand and if we can add Pennsylvania to the list, all the better.

No, You Go To Hell

Now she said it, I didn't.

And get the F offa my high school campus, yo. Seriously - doesn't Carson have enough crazy sh*t going down? Whatever. Ugh. Seriously. Misuse of TWISI - direct penalty kick.

I don't know why I let myself get MORE angry at Sarah Palin (aside from her continuing to ruin it for the rest of us) - she lost me when she snarled at community organizers.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Par For The Course


This Debate Was Brought To You By Any-Letter-But-The-Letter-G

A few things about last night's debate.

-- I urge both camps to read this article about the Vice Presidency.

-- John McCain's health care plan, according to Sarah Palin (Washington Outsider begging for an opportunity to be a Washington Insider), would allow Americans to shop for health insurance in other states. More choice, right? Ironic, right? Not really - this notion is more about choice of law for insurance companies than it is about choice of coverage for consumers. States will rush to establish insurance company friendly laws to encourage migration to whatever state becomes the Delaware of Insurance Companies. Any special protections established by your own state won't apply. It's the federal privitization of healthcare. You know, like socialized medicine, except for companies. It's typically Republican - check that - typically THIS current form of Republican because it is completely not about decentralizing government and returning powers to the states.

-- Sarah Palin hates the letter G. Does anyone have film of a time when she liked it more? Had you elected to take a shot each time Palin dropped the elitist consonant, you'd be dead by now. You've already, I'm sure, seen highlight reels of her folksy manners and catch phrases from last night. Apparentlty people who like baseball can't like books, after all. Palin's an odd sort of bridge to nowhere herself. Which brings us to the next point, which will, just so you know, get us back to this one, momentarily . . . .

-- Sarah Palin, and we can only assume, her ticket, doesn't care about the source of anything. History won't get in the way of her progressin' and debatin' and administratin'. She doesn't care about the causes of global warming. She doesn't care how we got into this war. She doesn't care about the series of words causing her to form answers (you know, you call them questions and you generally tailor your series of words to follow them). Source is unimportant. Yet she seems to forget her own history . . . .

-- Because, getting back to the point above the last, Palin's manner is only possible, only saleable, because of George Bush - you know, that guy behind the curtain who she so clearly indicated she wanted nothing to do with last night because the past has passed. But Bush's brand of stupid paved her way. His folksy ways, his downhome attitude, his seeming contempt for anyone with an education (nevermind his own, he got Cs, so it doesn't count, he was only there for the beer, toga! toga! toga!), his contempt for intellect, reason, deliberation. Palin plays on "Main Street" - whatever that is. For this SoCal girl, the only image I get is from Disneyland. A simulacrum. It simply doesn't exist and maybe it never did. At least not the way Palin imagines it. Because her main street is a sacred place inaccessible to anyone using the letter g.

Palin is right, of course, to want to distance herself from the Bush administration. Given her proclivity to ignore the source (in flagrant violation of Jack Pitney's cardinal rule of life: consider the source), the distancing must come easily. The problem is, however, her ignorance doesn't doom Palin to repeat history, it dooms us all.

Is there much from the last eight years you'd like to repeat?

Choose change. Choose smarts. Choose the letter g. Help Joe Sixpack go to college.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

But Really, CAN You Name A Few?

Can you answer a question at all? Like, fully and stuff?

The Single Most Effective Statement Connecting Me To Barack Obama

If this statement, from a People Magazine profile of the Obamas, is true, the campaign is stupid for not making a much, much bigger deal out of it:

There clearly hasn't been much time for decorating [the Obama's Illinois home] since Barack and Michelle Obama, flush with cash from his best-selling memoirs, paid off their student loans and bought the house for $1.65 million in 2005.
Wow, really? They had student loans until that recently? Why should that surprise me - I know how much they spent on their educations and I know how slowly that student loan principal seems to go down with each monthly payment.

I think this slaps directly back at the baffling "elitist" label that Obama seems to carry so easily. McCain was born up, married upper, and remains pretty far up there. Sure, he may be a maverick jerk who doesn't need to be all braniac, but I haven't seen any ink on his struggles to pay for his education. Or anything else.

Obama worked his ass off from normal beginnings, wrote a book (even if you consider it a premature age at which to sell off one's memoirs), and was rewarded for his efforts.

I think that's great. And very American.

Friday, September 26, 2008

How Can One Gender Have So Many Ups and So Many Downs In One Election Cycle?

Sarah Palin: The Wheels Come Off Sarah Palin's Not So Straight Talk Express

There's a little corner of myself that weeps for Sarah Palin. None of this is fair. But I don't weep for her candidacy - at least - not like that.

Come out and play, Pitbull Palin. Show them your teeth. Gnash them, fight back. But you won't do that. You'll live up to the least flattering view of women in politics: you got here 'cause you're pretty and novel, like a pitbull in lipstick, and everyone wants to see one of those while at the carnival.

What's Wrong With America Today?

Ann Coulter.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Belated Independence Day

I can't believe I missed the actual date, but this past Tuesday marked the fourth anniversary of when I made the best decision of my life: I blew off law school and flew to West Virginia because it was important.

It's still important.

For anyone out there feeling helpless at the politics of the day, feeling hopeless that things can change, empower yourself. You're free. You can change your life, your setting, and maybe the world. Eventually.

I relish my campaign experience. I dwell on it, from it, within it. It reminds me that I own my life. That sounds stupid - moreso to anyone who has forgotton or who hasn't yet learned she owns hers too.

Mountaineers are always free.

Brilliant! 'Innovative Heel Wedgies Fixer'

A fix for a totally annoying problem.

Conditional Girl Crush: Rachel Maddow

I watched my first Rachel Maddow show last night. It's not surprising she has her own show as even when she was part of MSNBC's roundtable whatevers on the endlessly super Tuesday's back in the winter and spring, she had a way of being the most captivating person in a sea of the usual babble.

She's erudite. She's savvy. She's got a good ear for politics. She can spar with Uncle Pat like nobody's business. She hits the right pitch between Comedy Central snark and "I'm thiiiis close to being MSM so really, heed my words." She talks fast and well. She's a she.

So did I love her show. Yes and no.

For one thing, I'm jealous of her seemingly meteoric rise from Air American to primetime host (albeit on MSNBC, but still. They have at least 2x the viewership as I have readership these days. Maybe 2 and a half). As I near a milestone birthday, I'm engaging in that sort of self-assessment navel-gazing that makes for crappy blog posts and that hopefully ends promptly upon said milestone birthday. I have a new mortgage. She has a new TV show. And she wasn't even into politics at 19. I was. What's the opposite of schadenfreude, as Amber would say? But that's not the real love qualifier.

The real qualifier is that I don't want to be the D equivalent of a Fox News viewer.

There can be no mistaking Maddow's left-leanings. Then again, why I can't I just chalk it up to being right - as in correct - when she slams McCain and Bush for their stumbles, gaffes, violations, and unholy wars of both real and public-relations varieties? Hell, I feel like those are things that deserve to be torn apart on television.

I guess the qualification for my Maddow-madness can be likened to my reasons for eschewing Berkeley: I don't want to hang out solely with people who agree with me or with whom I agree. I just don't. At least not in a knee-jerky, let's sit around and pat-each-other-on-the-back kind of way. I need more balance. Somehow, it feels like that comes more from Jon Stewart than Rachel Maddow.

I think I miss Tim Russert.

(p.s. I linked to her official page above, but it seems kinda outdated. Get on that Rachel! Try the MSNBC version for the current tv show.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Swear To God, If You Take This Bait, Obama . . . .

It's your John Kerry moment. Are you going be like John Kerry or are you going to FIGHT.

Because this is stupid. It's stupider than when you, Obama, cancelled your appearance on the SNL opener because of Ike. Like you were going to be able to do anything that night about it anway.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. What is wrong with us.

Girl Crush!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Oh, The Awesome AP-ness of it all:

Most loaded lede ever?

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Less than a week after balking at the Alaska Legislature's investigation into her alleged abuse of power, Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday indicated she will cooperate with a separate probe run by people she can fire.

A Glorious Bit On Rejection And Editing

From The Kenyon Review:

And dickering with photographers, battling in general on behalf of the serial comma, making a stand on behalf of saddle-stitching against the evil tide of perfect-bound publications, halving the number of witticisms in any piece of prose, reading galleys backwards to catch any stupid line breaks or egregious typos, battling on behalf of the semicolon, throwing away all business cards that say PROFESSIONAL WRITER, trying to read over-the-transom submissions within a week of their arrival, deleting the word unique on general principle and sending anonymous hate mail to anyone who writes the words fairly unique, snarling at writers who write We must or We should or, God help us all, the word shan’t, searching with mounting desperation for a scrap or shard or snippet of humor in this bruised and blessed world, reminding male writers that it’s OK to acknowledge that there are other people on the planet, halving the number of times any writer says me or I, checking page numbers maniacally, throwing away cover letters, checking the budget twice a day, and trying to read not most but all of your direct competitors, on the off-chance that there might be something delicious to steal.

And then away to lunch.

Monday, September 22, 2008

One, Not So Much A Lonely Number

So, someone take all this into account and tell me how ANYONE buys ANYTHING McCain/Palin sell:

Barack Obama is taking liberties and likening himself to Christ! The gall! The sheer un-Christian-ness of it all. Or should we say anti-Christ(ian-ness)? Look at his confidence - arrogance, we say. Awful!

Oh, no wait, it's cool now, look, we have a One of our own:

And she's, like, way super confident too. Except that's great. Because believing you can do it means you're just as able to do it as if you were actually able to do it. See! She didn't hesitate a bit, Charlie. And really, why would she. Humility is for suckers. What? It's a Christian value? Whatever. It's overrated.

If you think about it, it's a bit of a sexist flip-flop. Normally, a confident man is a confident man while a confident woman is an arrogant bitch. Here, however, the confident man is the anti-Christ, while the confident woman is imbued with a sense of god-like justice and purpose. Amen. See, we're totally progressing. If you had any doubt about how far we've come in America, all you need to do is think back to last night's Emmy Awards when Heidi Klum's tuxedo was ripped from her while she screamed. Someone pass me a Virginia Slim.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rebecca Cohn Goes To Law School, Misunderstands Elle Woods, Loses Election for 1L Rep

Wow, really? I hadn't heard former Assemblywoman and San Jose Magazine cover model Rebecca Cohn was now a UCD 1L. Good for her? (You know I don't think law school is necessarily the best choice for anyone, but if it's what she wants, then I say, bravo for returning and pursuing your dream, Ms. Cohn.)

Except Cohn needed more than Torts to fill her days: she wanted to be a 1L rep. Her campaign included old yard signs, law school letters of rec from other legislators, and a platform plank about using her legislative connections to help 1Ls get paying summer gigs. That would be cool, actually, given that so many 1Ls spend their first summer broke as a joke with nothing to look forward to aside from finding their 2L summer gig. Shiver.

Things got ugly, however, when old rumors surrounding her cover model shoot surfaced. Apparently.

She lost.

And then she said something that violates one of my basic movie-speak rules: she got a character and film completely wrong. Just like the Chron's film critic, though he refused to admit it. She said:
"Elections at the university level are like a Reese Witherspoon movie," she told the Mercury News. "It's about being young and Greek, the Barbie and Ken of the class or something."
No. Unless you mean like the beginning of her movie. Actually, there were no elections in that movie. Do you mean Election? Or do you mean Legally Blonde. Either way, you're totally wrong. None of her movies see the Ken or Barbie being rewarded. Witherspoon's roles are increasingly incorrectly incorporated into political debate and now this situation. Get it right. Homegirl does good work for the sisterhood (Cruel Intentions aside, probably).


(h/t MMK)

Oopsie: I said she used letters of rec from law school - I was incorrect. They were letters of rec for the race itself. Cringggggeee.