No on 8!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My handful of readers are probably tired of hearing me say this, since I assume you all agree with me:
Vote NO on Proposition 8!!

Do what you can: give money, volunteer, put up a sign, tell your friends!

I had an interesting interchange with the watch repair guy at Longs yesterday. When he gave me back my watch, after replacing the battery, he looked at the "No on 8" button that's pinned to the strap of my bag.
"Why?" He asked (with a really heavy Russian accent)
"Why what?"
"Why vote no on 8?"
"Because it's about rights. Voting "no" is about treating everyone equally under the law. Like the constitution says." I responded. He didn't look convinced.

He went on to tell me about his drive through Sacramento the other day. There was a block where all the houses had "yes on 8" signs except one, which had a "no" sign.
I told him they must have interesting conversations with their neighbors....

Congratulations to that one person or family for stating their position despite what all their neighbors think.

Anyway, keep working for change, everyone!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

I've spent the better part of 3 1/2 days lying on the living room floor, because my back crapped out. Nothing is comfortable, but being horizontal is slightly less awful that any other position....

Geeky Composer Humor

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Claudio Monteverdi, upon receiving the text for some theatrical music that he was supposed to set, decided that he wasn't moved:

I see that the interlocutors are winds, amoretti, zefiretti and sirens, so that many sopranos will be needed; and also that winds – west winds and north winds – have to sing. How, dear sir, if winds do not speak, shall I be able to imitate their speech? And how, by such means, shall I be able to move the passions? Arianna moved us because she was a woman, and Orfeo did the same because he was a man and not a wind … I find that this tale does not move me at all and is even difficult to understand … Arianna inspired in me a true lament, and Orfeo a true prayer, but I do not know what this will inspire in me.

Ha!!!! I'm so amused!

Okay, I'll now retreat back to the article I'm supposed to be writing.....

*Kat sighs as her brain clears of some of its clutter*

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My weekend was insane, but mostly positive. My American Bach Soloists audition is over, and since it was a huge weight on my shoulders, I'm pleased. I sang well, too, which is great, and what's even greater is that the director really complimented me.

So yay!

As the brain fog clears more, I will be better able to write coherently. I'd like to disect more of the California ballot propositions. There's some scary stuff to vote on.

At the moment, however, my back is killing me, so I'm going to get out of the computer chair and find an ice-pack.

More "No on 8" news

Friday, October 17, 2008

Steve Bing, a philanthropist and film producer, has issued a challenge grant of $1 Million.  He will match all donations made before Sunday, October 19th.

To my mom and "Molly":  Thank you so much for donating last night!!!  Your donations will be doubled as part of this challenge.

Here is the link to contribute!

Phone Banking

Last night I headed up to the Presbyterian church up the road, which was hosting the Equality for All Campaign's "No on 8" phone bank.

I was nervous, because I'm generally pretty phone-phobic, most especially when I have to call people I don't know. Since a couple of us were new, there was a training session, with objectives (get people to vote no! get them to give money!), some time to practice the script, and then bang! Here's a 3 page list of phone numbers in the 916 area code. Get to it!

It was indeed pretty terrifying. Then it got better, because I realized that only about 1 in 10 calls would yield a conversation, and most of those conversations were "Oh, So-and-So doesn't live here anymore."

By the end of the night, I had spoken with about 5 people who promised to vote no, two who declined to state, and two who said "Actually, I support that initiative."

Pretty good stats, I'd say. We were told not to engage in debates or arguments with likely "yes" voters. We were just to wish them a good night and get off the phone as quickly as possible. You could tell that this was super hard for one guy in the room. I think he was having to physically restrain himself from berating any "yes" voters that he encountered.

When it was "friends and family" time, I got my mom and my bestest friend to donate some money, too, which was great.

In all, it was a really positive experience. I really felt like I participated in a cause that I believe in, and I hope that all of our efforts will successfully block the bill (please, please, please!!!!)

If you're an Oakland/Berkeley person, come phone bank with me next week! Thursdays from 6:30-9:30, St. John's Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave, Berkeley. There might be pizza.

I'm so agitated right now

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm agitated only partly because I'm taking a short break from practicing the hardest, fastest piece of music that I've ever had to cram into my head at the last minute.

The main reason is the bad news on the Prop. 8 front. According to today's Oakland Tribune, the Mormon church has been calling on people and instructing them to donate huge amounts of their income to the "yes on 8" fund. On top of that, my mom drove past the Mormon temple today (she lives right below it) and saw a group of cute, clean cut, ever so trustworthy looking girls holding "yes on 8" signs. LDS folks have raised huge amounts of money (something like $20 million) for that cause.

I simply cannot wrap my head around this. It's making me so angry that I now have a giant pit in my stomach.

I know that some of my Mormon relatives read this blog, and to you I say this:
1. It's not about you. It's not about your traditional lifestyle. Your life will not change if same sex civil marriages continue. You are under no threat whatsoever.
2. It is about rights. It's about the rights of others and their protection under the law.
3. It's not about God. Or religion at all. Or the Church. It's about rights. It's about the rights of others and their protection under the law.

To you, I also say:
Please, please, please have the courage and strength to stand up and say "NO."
Have the strength to determine for yourself what is right and wrong.
Have the courage to confidently live your life according to how you see fit, and let all others do the same.
Realize that there is no way in which same sex civil marriage can be denied on a purely civic argument. The opposition to it (by which I mean the support of proposition 8) is basing all of the arguments on religion.
Have the guts to actually live the separation of church and state that the constitution ensures.

Protect Everyone's Civil Rights

Californians, make sure that you get out and vote this November. Besides the presidential election, there are some really important measures and propositions, on things like abortion, public housing, and yes, gay marriage.

Voting "yes" on proposition 8 would put a constitutional ban on gay civil marriage. Voting "no" would allow the unions to continue as they have since the CA supreme court voted to legalize them.

There are more and more ads on TV about this one, and the pro-marriage ban ones are very troubling to me. Not only because of their stance, but also because they do not tell the truth. Just about everything in the adverts that I've seen has been false. I don't understand why there are truth in advertising laws for products, but political campaigns can lie all they want. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Let's be absolutely clear:

1. Keeping gay marriage legal would not in any way change the laws on the tax-exempt status of churches.

2. Keeping gay marriage legal would not force churches to perform same-sex ceremonies. We're talking about civil marriage. You know, court house, justice of the peace, being treated equally before the law.

3. Schools would not in any way change their sex-ed curricula or somehow start teaching the "gay lifestyle" as some ads are claiming.

None of these things is true. They are lies. If you want to know what the Supreme Court actually said, Lamda Legal has it here.

The pro proposition 8 ads are trying to scare people. They're lying to California's citizens and twisting the dialog so that it becomes about religion.


Those of us who oppose proposition 8 are striving for civil rights and equality. We are striving to protect everyone equally before the law. Proponents of proposition 8 are somehow threatened by the civil rights of others. They somehow feel that if other groups get rights, they will no longer be all powerful or they will feel threatened.

We've heard that kind of rhetoric before. On racial equality, on inter-racial marriage, on women's rights. There have always been some who fight and drag their feet because they can only see themselves and the privilege, or sense of superiority, that they might lose.

That's not valid. We CANNOT keep discriminating because someone might lose his sense of superiority. That's ridiculous. If you honestly feel threatened by the rights of some couple somewhere else in the state to live their lives together, you have a problem. Your problem is your insecurity with yourself and your own relationships. They will not change in the slightest, I assure you.

I can't stress enough that this measure needs to be defeated. I'm appalled that a constitutional amendment can be written in based on a simple majority. If something passes with 50.5%, it will become a constitutional amendment, even though half of the state disagrees or is harmed by the measure.......

Again, say it with me: This measure must be defeated!!!!!

Here are some things that you can do to help. And please, please, please help:

1. Phone bank to get people out to vote no. Thursday, October 16th (and the two following Thursdays), 6:30-9:30 in the Fireside room at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley. 2727 College Ave, Berkeley 94705. They will provide training, but bring your cell phone and charger.

2. Give money (if you can). The pro-prop. 8 crowd has vastly more money than the opposition, much of it coming from churches, much of it coming from out of state. Even though our finances all suck right now, we need to give what we can. Here's some info sent to me by my neighbor:

A little history:
I've been on the Board of Directors at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) for the past 5 years. On May 15th the case that NCLR brought before the California Supreme Court changed history and granted same-sex couples the right to marry. Shortly thereafter, opponents of LGBT rights were able to put Proposition 8 on the November ballot to amend the constitution to take away this hard-won right.
The request:
I am asking you to make a significant financial contribution to defeat Proposition 8.

Right now in California:

  1. Same-sex couples can legally marry.
  2. The California constitution treats all of its citizens equally.
  3. Sexual orientation has the same legal protection given to gender, religion, race, and national origin (i.e., LGBT people are full and equal citizens under state law).

If this initiative were to pass, 1 and 2 are no longer true and 3 is in extreme jeopardy.

While the words of Prop 8 are limited to marriage ("Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California"), it intends to undermine the broad protections recently given to all LGBT Californians.

This week, we found out that Prop 8 is ahead in the Polls 47% to 42%. That's probably a direct result of the fact that last week, 60,000 people donated more than $25 million to the opposition. With all that money, they're trying to "swift boat" and smear us with television ads that tell lies -- that we are attacking children and churches. We can win. But we must match them ad for ad and dollar for dollar.

If ever there were a time to give all we've got to a fight, this is it!

So, if you're ready to stand with me to defeat Prop 8, I need you to make a donation today. If you can't give a lot, please give whatever you can. Please also forward this email for me to other people in your address book. You can donate at the No on Prop 8 website ( or follow in the footsteps of Ann Rostow (a local lesbian journalist) see below:
Show Them The Money

By Ann Rostow
Published: August 14, 2008

I've been exhorting readers to send money to the California campaign against Proposition 8 for weeks and weeks, but to be honest, I haven't gotten around to contributing myself because I've been too "busy" and I've been on vacation. It is now Aug. 13, and I swore to myself I would put my money where my fingers were before I wrote another column. Yet here I am, about to start this week's GLBT news update, and still I have not pulled the trigger on this donation.

So here goes! I'll go first and any of you who have procrastinated along with me can take inspiration in my bold action.

Step one. How much? I've gone back and forth between "painfully high donation" and "enough to clear my conscience donation." In fact, this has been one of my stumbling blocks. Late at night after a couple glasses of wine, I'm ready to mortgage the house for The Cause. Sifting through a pile of bills at three in the afternoon, a modest sum seems more than generous. This morning, I am going for painful. How painful? Worse than a blood donation, but short of major surgery. I am aiming for the mild sprained ankle level. Hey, I'm not talking about the "almost sprained ankle" where you just miss turning it over, hop around for a few minutes and recover in 15. I'm talking about something you have to ice down for a day and a half.

Step two. Where to donate? I am going to donate through the NCLR's political action fund. Every dime ends up in the coffers of the campaign against 8, but I take symbolic pleasure in routing money through the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a terrific organization and the leaders of the legal fight for marriage in California. In fact, I just read that NCLR legal director Shannon Minter won a big national gay legal award, as did San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, his partner in the successful litigation. Just checked. It was the 2008 Dan Bradley Award, to be presented next month by the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association at the annual gay legal convention.

Step three. Remove credit card from wallet. Small twinge accompanies this gesture.

Step four. Access web site. Click on "No on 8." Go down and click on "donate."

Step five. Fill out information. A simple process except for the incessant demand to name an "honoree." I solved that by typing "no honoree," but only after I was repeatedly rapped on my cyber knuckles.


Goodbye, sweet cash. Hello even sweeter feeling of joining the swelling ranks of my GLBT brothers and sisters and our straight allies who are taking some kind of action to win what is surely the most critical battle in our history as a civil rights movement.

Your turn.

We need to be doing whatever we can to oppose this bill and protect everyone's rights!
Right? Right.

Cooking Disasters

Friday, October 10, 2008

Good thing:
Actually getting to see Michelle Obama on the Daily Show. It was funny and smart. Jon Stewart is pretty hilarious.

Bad thing:
Dropping the chef's knife while cutting chives. In order to not get the pointy end through my toe, I jumped. And flailed my arms. Turns out that flailing one's arms while holding a measuring cup full of finely chopped chives causes a shower of said garnish to rain down on everything in the kitchen. Including, of course, yours truly, who had to spend the rest of the evening shaking chives out of my shirt and hair, and once even finding one in between my toes.


Wink, Wink

Friday, October 3, 2008

She winked. Twice. At the camera.

You know who I'm talking about, of course. She Who Must Not Be Named.
She winked. I feel like I'm the only one who noticed this, because in the post-debate analysis and the blogs this morning, no one has mentioned it.

One doesn't wink in a debate! She may as well have walked out in that red, white and blue bikini and said "Okay Boys, who's going to hose me down"!!!!!!!!!!

I'm serious, it was so disgusting.

And the whole thing was a fat slap in the face to all the women in law and politics who have spent ages crafting political personalities and demeanors devoid of sexuality. I guess if you're SWMNBN, then flipping off Hillary Clinton, Sandra Day O'Connor, Nancy Pelosi, Geraldine Ferraro Ruth Bader Ginsberg and countless others is an okay thing to do.

Well, it's not.

Banned Book Week

Thursday, October 2, 2008

As RedHeadedMomma and Maggie have said, it's banned book week. The American Library Association compiles lists of the most frequently challenged or banned books, so that we can all make sure to read them.

The ALA explains the difference between challenging and banning a book:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. The positive message of Banned Books Week: Free People Read Freely is that due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

The reasons for many challenges are not surprising, but sad all the same. "Unsuited to age group" is a popular one......No one told that to Maggie's mom, as she recited The Highwayman to her newborn, but rather than being somehow harmed by the poem, it had a hand in shaping the poet she is now.

I would like to thank all the teachers who put banned books on their curricula:
-Judith for Bridge to Terebithia (4th grade English)
-Mr. Nikoloff for To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies (7th grade English)
-Libby for The Outsiders, Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, Go Ask Alice and probably everything else we read in 8th grade English

Thank you to the English department at the Head-Royce School, for all books and poems and plays, challenged or not:
-Mr. Tiermann for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ( 1st week of 9th grade)
As well as the list of suggested books that included everything from the classics to Cormac McCarthy.
-Mr. Barankin for his gleeful mischieviousness and for Beloved, Huckelberry Finn ( 10th grade), The Children's Hour
Yes, even for Dr. Enelow, who seemed completely evil at the time. His 11th grade Classical Lit course kicked my ass, and only featured 1 banned book (the Bible), but just look at the reading list:
The Odyssey
The Aeneid
The Bible
The Canterbury Tales

I hope you all find time this week to read a banned book, go to the library, talk about litterature, read, or do something creative. If you need a place to start, that won't take more than a few minutes, check out And Tango Makes Three, about the "gay" penguins at the Bronx zoo. It's adorable.

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