Campaign Update 
Saturday, October 21, 2006, 01:59 PM - Politics, Technology, Los Angeles
We had a huge night of phonebanking in LA on Thursday - more than 80 people in the office, so big we spilled out into the parking lot. There's nothing like processing a juicy voter file (I think it was CA_04) in the balmy night air. Rigging the random outdoor lighting system was the closest I got to Burning Man this year. It's been a very labile week - you'll notice the shameless product placement for my spiffy new core duo Vaio (good) but I have it because my old one fried on Tuesday (very very bad - thank god for ibackup). I lost about 6 hours, and a fair amount of composure and focus, which resulted in a (fixble) fuckup in part of our Ohio file, but hopefully no lasting damage. Happily, the project's made more than 1.5 million calls to voters in competitive senate and house races to date - how many calls have you made?? Call for Change.
Come down to the phonebank in LA (4929 Wilshire @ Highland, Suite 1060), SF (1366 Mission Street @ 9th), or Brooklyn (102 1st Place - first floor), but I can't promise you the picnic table unless you live in LA.

(btw, comments are off again for the time being, I don't have time to deal with the spam comments that have started popping up again).

Life on hold... 
Sunday, October 15, 2006, 11:52 PM - Politics, Friends, Los Angeles
I am not living a normal life these days - back in campaign mode: all work and little sleep. It's disturbing to dream about database queries and to have no real idea what day it is, only how many days remain until the election. I can't believe how well-positioned our project is to have an impact - something that is flexible, phone-based, and virtual is perfect for this opportunity, where more and more races are becoming competitive every day, and many will be decided by very thin margins. We were able to start calling into FL16 literally within a day of the scandal breaking (I downloaded the voters, ran our selection queries, sent them off to the academics to be treatment-grouped, and then off to the Walkers to get loaded into the online system, all within about 6 hours)... really quite astonishing. The project is far from perfect but it's remarkable to be part of shifting the way political participation can happen for progressives, and developing volunteer-driven GOTV work for the left.
I did, however, sneak off last night for a quick game of mid-October midnight naked water polo in the Hollywood Hills (and if that's not enough to make a girl realize she lives in Los Angeles, I don't know what is) (and no, it's not a euphemism for anything, it was a serious cutthroat game, and kicked my ass). Case hosted this unexpected romp and I guess we're both adapting well to this strange southern lifestyle. We may start plotting another round of Capricorn birthday world domination soon.

Weditorial Successfully Delivered! Lizbet and Louise en route to Bora Bora!! 
Monday, October 9, 2006, 12:27 AM - Sex, Politics, Dancing, Friends

By all accounts it was quite well-received. I managed to make at least 3 straight (or at least married) men cry, as well as all the NC Republicans laugh (twice, and only once at my own expense). Even the guys in the band liked it! (Yes, we did second line up from the garden after the ceremony, parasols in hand, dancing behind the brass band and the beautiful brides.) The wedding was amazing, I feel so lucky to have been part of it. Rosie (the minister) who has officiated at >30 weddings, thinks I may have contributed "weditorial" to the lexicon, so I thought I should get it up on the blog. A couple of people asked me to post the text, and although I spoke from an outline, I think I've written out more or less what I said. I wish more straight couples had weditorials, but then I guess we'd be closer to not needing them... In case you missed it:

Thank you for participating in Lizbet and Louise’s wedding. I want to talk to you briefly about four aspects of marriage:
- Legal and political
- Linguistic
- Emotional
- Celebratory

Although it’s tempting to want to ignore the political context in which this ceremony occurs, it’s important to acknowledge the legal realities for Lizbet and Louise. When we were discussing their plans for the wedding, Lizbet said she was happiest when she could forget that their marriage was any different from any other. Last night, at dinner, surrounded by so much love and support from friends and family, we were all wonderfully able to forget that there were any obstacles to Lizbet and Louise as a couple. Today, though, we must acknowledge that they cannot legally marry in California. We are in the middle of a profound social change – we’ve had legal setbacks this week, but we are moving in the right direction. It may take a while for us to reach a condition of full equality, but I wanted to remind you of what is possible.

I’m going to read an edited excerpt from Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the decision allowing people of the same sex to legally marry.

“Marriage is a vital social institution. It nurtures love and mutual support, and brings stability to our society. The benefits accessible by way of marriage are enormous, touching nearly every aspect of life and death. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The Massachusetts constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. A person who enters into an intimate, exclusive relationship with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community’s most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under the law.”

I saw one of the greatest concentrations of happy people in one place on February 14, 2004, at San Francisco City Hall - the city had begun issuing marriage licenses regardless of the gender of applicants. I heard people call their families, and I remember one woman in particular, and the wonder and joy in her voice telling people “we got married.”

We’re about to witness a transformative linguistic event – through the words they’ll pronounce, Lizbet and Louise will bring themselves into a new state. The importance of language to this marriage is paramount – and not just because the brides are such accomplished academics. Because Lizbet and Louise don’t yet have the legal underpinnings of marriage, the language we use as we participate in and describe this ceremony is incredibly important. Through referring to them as wife and wife, we help make their marriage real. Please think carefully about this when you’re home, and describe this experience as what it is – a wedding. A marriage.

In our culture, marriage has evolved to celebrate profound emotional connection. One of the reasons I support marriage rights for everyone is that I can’t imagine a better couple to be married than Lizbet and Louise (of course, that might just be because I’m single and still profoundly idealistic about marriage). They’re the couple whose relationship I admire the most. They have an amazing level of mutual respect; they’re intellectually well matched; they provide each other with unquestioning support, but have fundamental autonomy. They are full of love, joy, sensuality, desire and integrity. They are with each other through the saddest and happiest of times.

This is one of the happiest of times! We’re all lucky to share in this beautiful afternoon. Marriage functions because our community supports and acknowledges the union between two people. Especially in the absence of legal recognition, Lizbet and Louise’s marriage is brought into being by our participation in it, as much as by their love and commitment. I want to thank all of the family and friends who are here to be part of the wedding, and who are showing the brides so much support. Through the physicality of our participation, we’re bearing witness to their marriage. We’re privileged to be part of these women’s lives – but just like with marriage, this benefit comes with responsibilities and obligations.

I think we have two responsibilities - first, to work to make marriage possible for everyone. That involves not only the way you talk about this weekend when you go home, and how you refer to Lizbet and Louise from here on out, but also in the way you vote and who you give money to. (Remember, there’s a very competitive House race in North Carolina this year).

Our second responsibility is to celebrate their marriage as fully as possible. Just as Lizbet and Louise are engaged with each other through intellect, heart, and body, we should celebrate their union with our emotions and participation. If people don’t dance at your wedding, you’re not really married. Soon we’ll have the opportunity to dance Lizbet and Louise into their new life, and I encourage you to do that as fully and joyously as they will....

(Yes, I really did start with an outline, and although it was kind of an inside joke, it made it feel formal and deliberate, just like I wanted it to be. And I think everyone could tell what a huge fan I am of their relationship, which was the thing I most wanted to come through. I'm not quite sure why a perenially unboyfriended person like me should be speaking publicly about marriage and relationships, but I'm claiming the title of best strapless-dress weditorialist in Boonville...)

Monday, October 2, 2006, 03:52 AM
(early 1885)
Mrs. James S. Cooper

Dear friend -

Nothing inclusive of a human Heart could be "trivial." That appalling Boon makes all things paltry but itself -
To thank you would profane you - There are moments when Gratitude is a desecration -

Go thy great way!
The Stars thou meetst
Are even as Thyself -
For what are Stars but Asterisks
To point a human Life?

E - Dickinson,
with love -

Bite Me 
Friday, September 29, 2006, 04:36 PM - Travels, Food

Or, if one has braces, it's more like "cut me up in small pieces and eat me with granola and yoghurt in the morning." One of the best parts of my incessant east coast trips this fall has been returning home with a carry-on full of macouns and macs and even a couple of early northern spies. Good thing I'm well-provisioned since I've been working so much I've barely left the house since I got back the last time. I had wanted to go get arrested yesterday at LAX but there was no room for that in campaign world, especially since I've unexpectedly been drafted back into the data mines....

Like Pesticides? 
Friday, September 22, 2006, 06:40 PM - Food
Here is how one of our staff described my tenacious efficiency today:
- I know Catherine is on it like pesticides on unorganic fruit. -
Should I be proud of this?

We must be doing something right... 
Tuesday, September 19, 2006, 01:17 AM

I'm not adding a link since I don't want them to have more visibility, but there's a new online campaign - - of course full of inaccurate information...but it's nice to know we're making people nervous.

Friday White Lights 
Saturday, September 16, 2006, 03:36 PM - Art, Los Angeles
I think I've found my new local bar - it's called the Hyperion Tavern and it has pretty chandeliers, rough wood partitions, part of a law library, and beer in bottles. It's not open all the time, but I'm pretty excited about it.

Before that there was the Bubbles opening at Materials and Applications which had beer in cans and undulating inflated orbs. Kind of 'Prisoner goes to Burning Man'. I liked it.

Secretary of State Project 
Saturday, September 16, 2006, 03:30 PM - Politics
Michael and Becky from Working Assets along with James Rucker (MoveOn '04 and Color of Change) have set up a new fundraising/ information project for Secretary of State candidates across the country - Secretary of State Project. It's designed to funnel contributions to people who will work to make sure state elections are accurate and unbiased - who will support voting rights and resist technologies and legislative strategies that limit the precious franchise. (I'm not holding my breath for HAVA or anything else federal to make things right without responsible leadership at the state level.) Send in some cash, and you too can get a sweet little thank you note from Michael Mauro in Iowa. I've set up an Act Blue Fundraising Page here, so all you shadowy readers can have a chance to step up. Thank you!!

Betch Birthday 
Saturday, September 16, 2006, 03:11 PM - Los Angeles
OK, there have been far too many serious entries on this fundamentally fluffy outpouring recently. Perhaps you've seen the Shoes video? My Thursday night coup, at darling Chad's 27th birthday, was that I presciently arrived just in time to see Kelly perform 'Shoes' live. And my Silver Lake fact of the week is that El Cid was originally the studio where Birth of a Nation was filmed...