Friday: Finished canvassing Santa Clara County Precinct 2005, the eastern half of College Terrace.
Saturday: Co-hosted a house party for Angelides and (SecState candidate) Debra Bowen, with conference calls with each, and a showing of the new film "Stealing America, Vote by Vote", about the various documented and potential problems in our system. We raised over a thousand dollars for each. Also, I got to pick out the wine for the party, and much of it was very good. (I went with four bottles of German stuff -- rieslings and gewurtztraminers, which are always my varietals of choice -- and six of more standard table wines, chardonnay, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc. The Honig sauvignon blanc was an interesting find. And of course the Chateau Ste Michelle and Fetzer items were, as always, yummy. I believe I still have two half-bottles in the fridge, vacuum sealed, and one full bottle on the counter...)
Debra Bowen may be the single most important candidate on the ballot this year. In the Senate, she's been the sponsor of reforms like requiring a paper trail from all machines -- so if you like the printers that debuted this spring, you have her to thank. If you care about making the electoral process secure, please consider giving some money or time. She has the chops to be a national leader in accountable, verifiable voting.
Sunday: Met theonlyruth in the city for brunch at Citizen Cake. If you ever get there, try the "Betty's Pancake", which is more like a hybrid of a souffle and a waffle, or maybe a giant, moist popover. It's served with strawberry jam, and is OMGyummy. Then, properly caffeinated, went to see Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. I think I found Meistersinger tougher to sit through, but that was simply because its dramatic stakes aren't very high, so it gets, well, boring. Tristan certainly kept me engaged, but is emotionally exhausting -- maybe even more so than Gotterdamerung. The ending borders on the miraculous. After the show, I picked up a second copy of the recent recording with Don Runnicles -- SFO's senior conductor, who was originally brought in as a junior conductor specifically for his expertise on Wagner -- and Christine Brewer, who is the reigning Wagnerian soprano of this decade, and was in the performance we saw. Runnicles and Brewer were doing a signing downstairs last week and this week, and I got a copy last week, for me, and the second as a gift for my mom, after having checked that she didn't already have it... (BTW, mom: Christine says to tell John Aler that "Mrs Brewster" says hello -- apparently one time when they were working together, people kept messing up her name, and he adopted the error as a nickname for her. *g*)
Monday: Bleh, work. Though, a reasonably productive day. In the evening, went to a small Palo Alto dinner with Debra Bowen -- high-end fundraiser, but with activists and younger folks allowed with a smaller donation. I actually had never heard of the restaurant, Zibibbo, but it was quite good. I got to chat with Debra (who has in the past backed allowing counties to implement IRV) about Approval Voting (free reform! simple to explain!), and fortuitously was overheard by Arthur Keller (a Stanford professor who is well-known in Bay Area politics, as a significant donor and a wonk on technology issues) who chipped in a "me too!" on the issue.
Steve Westly attended for the first half hour, and I chatted with one of his staffers, who stuck around. Considering how ugly the primary got, he and his team have been gracious, and supportive of the efforts of the whole Democratic ticket to get us back on a real progressive track in Sacramento. Although Steve is going to be unemployed, come January, I hope he'll either get an appointed position in an Angelides administration, or run for office again in 2-4 years.
After the Bowen event, Xta and I went to see The Prestige, the second 19th Century Magicians movie of the year (the first having been The Illusionist, which may still be in theaters). The Illusionist was, overall, considerably better, I think. It's hard to be sympathetic with the main characters of The Prestige, both of whom are, ultimately, monstrous -- their obsessions trump any kind of love or loyalty. It's certainly stylish, and intriguing (though I'd cottoned onto the final secrets of both players, little more than halfway through the two-hour film), and the plot does at least hang together logically. (There's one hole early on -- the question of "which knot did you tie?" seems like it could've been answered by just looking at the knot at the time it was relevant. Though that wouldn't have changed the course of events, it would've just required some rewriting of dialog.) And of course, any film that includes Nikola Tesla can't be all bad. (They even had a portrayal of his early experiments in wireless power transmission.)
Unrelated to anything else, this article, on how the No Child Left Behind Act is screwing over a successful school in San Diego, is illustrative of Rovian politics: Write a bill that, in principle, offers some real benefits; enough that you can even get a co-sponsor like Ted Kennedy! Then deliberately mis-read and screw up the details of implementation to advance the hard-right agenda. In the case of NCLB, the rules are being manipulated to, wherever policy, undermine public schools. Under the Rove/Norquist philosophy, government successes must be stamped out, because they might make people notice that, hey, government can be useful! which would remove support for deregulation (i.e. letting corporations abuse the communities where they operate) and for privatization (i.e. boondoggles that put tax dollars into the pockets of crony contractors).
ETA: Gacked from juniorbird_feed: GreenDimes is a company that tracks various junkmailers' policies, and for a small monthly fee, they'll keep you off their mailing lists, and plant trees in your name to make up for past junkmail. They even let you take your account with you when you move. Eeeenteresting. Also from JuniorBird, another example of colossal Bushite stupidity: U.S. Jails Man Once Tortured by Taliban. Some guys just have no luck at all. First the Taliban tortured him for (they said) spying for the US; then the US tossed him into Guantanamo on suspicion of being an al-Qaeda terrorist.
ETA: Overheard (overseen?) on LJ: Cor, ge’ a load o’ the brains on that one! Frontal lobes like ripe canteloupe, she ’as! I wouldn’t kick ’er ou’ the library for eatin’ crackers! *Catcalls*