The Widdershins

Activist Tuesday: Report from the Field

Posted on: October 16, 2018

Hello Widdershins! This past Sunday, Mr. MadamaB and I went to an Indivisible GOTV event in San Francisco. I thought I’d share how it went with you.

The event was a postcard/letter writing party at a local bar. (It’s a fun place – Tommy’s Joynt.) It started out a bit rocky. We arrived on time, but as more and more people arrived, we were still waiting for the organizers. It turned out that there was a mix-up – we were supposed to have gone to another place (Standard Deviant – cute name, eh?), but never got the memo. As I quoted at the time, “I don’t belong to an organized political party – I’m a Democrat.”

Eventually we got in touch with one of the event’s leaders, and she came to Tommy’s with supplies in hand. She told us that while postcards are good, the data has shown, the letter is better!

The way it works is, you have a form letter with a few empty spots you fill in, for that personal touch. On Sunday, we were writing to registered Democrats in Florida who don’t typically vote in mid-term elections. (Yes, I know – Florida. These were residents of Miami and Miami Beach, so I think they had mailboxes – and houses.) At the bottom of each letter is a different addressee’s name and address, and we hand-addressed each salutation. The text of the letter is mostly filled in, and is encouraging and non-partisan.

It was up to us to write something personal after the sentence, “I vote in every election because…” and we couldn’t write things like, “I’m not a f*cking ingrate” or “I care what happens to this country, unlike you” or “You didn’t vote in 2016. The Mango Moron is your fault!” SIGH. They’re quashing my creativity! So I wrote two things, either “I am proud to live in a country where voting is my right and privilege” or “I want high-quality health care for everyone,” depending on my mood. Hubby wrote “the future of this nation is in our hands.”

At the bottom we signed our first names, and then we hand-addressed each envelope, hubby complaining all the way. (Yes, our hands got tired. Amazing how we’ve all gotten used to typing, right?)

I have to say, the whole experience was pretty great. We met some really nice people, including our tablemate who brought us a song to get us in the mood (she had written a version of “Swing Low” that went “Swing Left.”), and who told us she gets emails from conservative political operatives at Townhall, who are freaking out over the election. Another tablemate explained to us that she was originally from Missoula, Montana, and it’s a liberal place, and that Drumpf would NOT be welcome there. And she was right! He had to change the original location – hahahahaha.

The Bernie/Hillary divide did manifest itself a bit. There was a couple in their 30’s that came in and sat at a small table by themselves…eventually the woman started talking, and she said, “I think if everyone has a good education and health care, all our problems will be solved.”

Did I mention she and her husband were white and clearly well-off? And that they had self-identified earlier, in a shrugging and somewhat embarrassed way, as Bernie supporters?

When I heard that talking point, I couldn’t help weighing in. I mentioned that racism and sexism won’t be cured by the existence of universal health care (DUH), and that racism and sexism were key motivators for Trumpsters, and really, all Republicans now. Eventually the tension dissolved as I agreed with the point that early education, especially progressive education, can only help open peoples’ minds to other points of view. But man, these people can be thick!

Anyway, I can’t wait to do it again, and I highly recommend you go out and do something like it. It will really make you feel good, and it will do good too. We ended up, as a group, writing about 2500 letters in just a few hours. Not bad for a day’s work.

This is an open thread.

97 Responses to "Activist Tuesday: Report from the Field"

What a wonderful report from the field MB, it inspired me to wanting to join you and meet you some time in SF when we are not working.


@1 – Yes Shadow, we should try to organize something here on the West Coast now that I am traveling a lot less for work! I was always flying or driving somewhere when I was on the East Coast working for my other company.

Tommy’s Joynt is a wonderful place to eat and drink beer- we went there after playing a concert at Golden Gate Park a few years ago. Did you check out the Steinway Piano store down the street? Sounds like a good idea to personalize the mailings- these cardboard mini-posters that fill my box are overwhelming my kindling supply.

Whoops- I am merging memories I think- the piano store was on Van Ness?

Sounds good MB, looking forward to meeting you.

Sounds excellent MB!

Here on the third coast I can’t believe Steve Scalise is actually running election commercials. Naturally he had to bring the shooting in there and thanking people for their cards and he said he read every one of them. How nice.

I’m glad you survived the shooting Steve, but nah, I’m not voting for you.

Here on the third coast…haha, so many coasters.

Poor GAgal is holding down the middle, almost by herself????

There is no way Papadopoulos’ wife is Italian. Is altering your passport like this even legal?

Love your post, MB! What a great experience to share.

This is interesting, even though its from cnn:

Oops. Not the cnn thing. Here we go:

Thanks guys! Yes, Tommy’s is on Van Ness. I didn’t notice the piano store…could be because that side of the street is under construction! I will have to check it out next time.

Fredster, oy vey, Scalise!! Hell to the no.


You know, there are many blonde Italians as well.

Hahaha. It’s obvious his wife dyes her hair blonde. You’d think that Papadopoulos knows this.

Well, how handy for the Rs to be able to toss out ballots willy-nilly because they don’t like your signature.

In non-political news, here’s a much-needed invention!

Self-lubricating condom design may encourage safe sex

Slippery-when-wet concept may raise comfort and outlast couples’ stamina, say scientists.

Experts say a big-turn off for condom use is a lack of lubrication: current latex condoms are relatively rough, which can lead to breakage and discomfort, while commercial lubricants, including those applied by manufacturers to condoms, wear off during sex and may not be something couples want to apply.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the new research involved the use of water-loving polymers that can be bound to the surface of the latex by a 30-minute exposure to UV light in the presence of two other substances. When this coating comes into contact with water, for example through bodily fluids, it becomes slippery.

Off-topic, but interesting. How a bench and a team of grandmothers tackle depression.

The gist is that a psychiatrist mobilized grandmothers to sit and talk with depressed people in Zimbabwe. There’s nowhere near enough help for mental issues and he thought this would be better than nothing.

Turns out it’s so much better than nothing, it’s actually more successful than other treatments. They’ve introduced the program in New York.

Why am I not surprised? Kindly people with the lived experience to understand. Hoodathunk that that could help.

My next thought was, “And (stupid) people wonder what evolutionary purpose grandmothers could serve.” As if life experience could ever be useless for a species that has to learn *everything* it does.

And then I thought, “Typical. They’re volunteers. More unpaid women’s work holding the world together.”

But one of the things a grandmother mentions is how much joy she gets from helping others. There’s been some research in the open source computer community that once you associate money with what was an altruistic activity, the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket. That certainly squares with my lived experience.

So maybe it’s better this way.

@14 Well, I read Ari Berman’s thread, his Mother Jones link and thread, and the ACLU thread. I learned that absentee ballots require a signature on the outside of the envelope. I still don’t know which two signatures have to match. I don’t know that since I’ve never voted absentee. Which two signatures have to match? The one on the outside vs. the one on the inside? Not a single one ever said.

@17, hmmm, you’d think that the articles would have noted the details. My guess is that the signature on the outside of the envelope has to match the signature on the voter’s initial registration. My state has mail-in paper ballots (same as what used to be our absentee ballots) for all elections, and the voter has to sign on the outside of the envelope. There is no signature required on the inside. For privacy reasons I dislike having to sign on the outside as that leaves my signature visible to anyone seeing the envelope. Granted, that should only be a few persons, but I still don’t like it.

@16, “Kindly people with the lived experience to understand. Hoodathunk that that could help.”

Lol. Grandmothers/women over reproductive age are damn useful!

I think the problem with assigning monetary value to altruistic activity stems from what is added along with the remuneration. Suddenly the kindly grandmother has to keep records, track time spent, list primary and secondary diagnoses, meet quotas, get reviewed by the bean counters, etc. You can end up feeling you’re on a production line.

Great story about the grandmas! Our society nerds to respect and value older people in general, especially women.

Rachel has been covering the GA story. Yesterday she mentioned that despite all the suppression tactics the GOP is practicing, turnout on Day 1 of early voting yesterday was literally three times what it was in the 2014 midterms. (20000 in 2014, 60000 in 2018).

This is going to be quite a nerve-wracking three weeks. Maybe we should all go talk to some grandmas!!

Did you all see this? Mueller is ready to deliver his report on conspiracy and obstruction of justice AFTER the midterms. This is because if he does it now, the Republicans in Congress will bury it and nothing will happen.

This really pxxxes me off….

Exclusive: Women’s March target of elaborate Facebook scam run from Bangladesh


In all, there were 1,700 separate Facebook pages designed to look like they were run by local Women’s March organizers, a source familiar with Facebook’s investigation into the issue told CNN.

While the vast majority of the pages and events had no followers or attendees, some of the fake events promoting the wrong march date became popular. Fake events for Philadelphia and Chicago received more than 10,000 RSVPs; the event posted for Seattle picked up more than 20,000. (As ever with numbers on social media sites, it is possible that at least some of the RSVPs came from fake accounts used to make a page seem more popular).

The network of fake pages highlights the increasing challenges facing both American activists and companies like Facebook as bad actors, both foreign and domestic, use social media platforms to tap into the highly charged and partisan nature of American politics for financial or political gain.

Poor Paulie. Judge denies his request to wear a suit in court. Guess he’ll be wearing orange instead.

I’m seeing a lot of criticism of Elizabeth Warren for releasing her DNA results. I can’t tell if it real or media generated. So she got tired of Trump and punched back, but I don’t see anyone calling her a counterpuncher. Wonder why? (not really)

Someone with a better strategic brain than I pointed out that it’s the GRU(=Putin)-troll M.O. to get everybody dumping on Warren for defending herself and ignoring the Thief-in-Chief for slandering her to begin with.

We really really really need real-time ID of any and all troll farm accounts or we can kiss everything goodbye, not just democracy.

@24 & 25: Yeah, saw some talking heads asking about that and whether it was a good thing or not. I say why not?

Why shouldn’t Elizabeth Warren challenge Der Drumpfenfuhrer? Just because they all kiss his ring doesn’t mean she has to.

Those Trumpers … just when you think they can’t get any more stupid …

On Liz Warren – did you see that Lindsey Graham now claims someone told him his grandmother was part Cherokee, so he’s taking a test so he can beat Warren’s. 2018, ladies and germs, is not for the faint of heart.

All these stories about Jamal Khashoggi are horrifying. Trump is, of course, 100% behind the Saudis. Kushner sold intelligence to the Saudis. So much Saudi money is flowing into the Trump and Kushner coffers. And now that a journalist has been brutally murdered and Trump is trying to cover it up, what is the media STILL obsessed with? Hillary and Monica, of course! Because it’s 2018 and everything is terrible.

Shut up, moderator! Ted Cruz is really, really, trying to be civil, damn you!

@31, DYB, very sweet!

Fred Mudd, an ex FBI dude, (I really like him), and an experienced prosecutor were telling Cuomo tonight that they both think Mueller will have more serious indictments coming, but that Dems should prepare themselves so they aren’t disappointed, when Mueller concludes and doesn’t have anything that will cause impeachment of Dump.

I hope to Hell they are all wrong on that.

DOJ policy is apparently fine with broadcasting election result-altering rumors just before the big day. But election-relevant facts have to be delayed till afterward.

/*endless screaming*/

@34 when Mueller concludes and doesn’t have anything that will cause impeachment of Dump. If it were Obama or B Clinton, there would already be articles of impeachment based on dereliction of duty in refusing to acknowledge a foreign country interfered in our election to benefit him and allowing them to slide. Not to mention emoluments.

I agree that a Democratic president would have been impeached in March of 2017. Russia collusion aside, Trump has done so many things that warrant removal from office that who can even count anymore. But GOP will never impeach him. And Democrats probably won’t. Even if Mueller finds some hard evidence of collusion. Which he may not. The stuff we already know is extremely damning. If people don’t see it, nothing Mueller can find will ever change their minds. I honestly don’t think the Mueller report will move anybody in a different direction. We can’t count on Mueller to be our deus ex machina. Democrats have to win a House in the midterms. And then win more in 2020. That’s the only way we can win. Then investigate Trump fully, all of it and prosecute him. No pardons from the next President. That’s the only way we can try to regain our footing. But I don’t trust the electorate to do the right thing.

[Screaming and running in circles with my hair on fire…]

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo, please don’t let Mueller’s investigation just be a waste of time.

We can’t take that fat slob in our Oval for another 2 years.

@37 We already have hard evidence of collusion with Donnie Jr and all the cronies being charged. What we don’t have is hard evidence of Stump, himself, knowing. (of course he knew – “Russia, if you’re listening”… “Next week I’ll be telling you all about what Hillary has been doing” – then he didn’t) That’s not enough. Let’s hope Mueller has some. Agree it probably won’t matter anyway. The only thing that can turn this ship is a pee-pee tape with underage girls, violence or rape. If Mueller’s got that, he’s out. If they dare release it.

For Fredster:

One good thing about the mid-term elections — no Electoral College! Let’s hope that balances the voter suppression and hacking.

@40: As DYB would say: I WANT THAT DOG!

@43 LOL Fredster. You need a doggy!

“As DYB would say”

DYB needs his own farm for all the animals he calls dibs on 🙂


Feinstein says she would ‘absolutely’ favor reopening Kavanaugh investigation next year

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is line to become chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee if Democrats take control of the upper chamber, was asked about the prospect during a debate.

Only if Dems win the Senate….

@47- also, let’s make sure Dianne wins. She is definitely leading, but I just read an article in the LA Times that many republicans are favoring De Leon, because of Kavanaugh. I take nothing for granted and am still angry with the Cali Dem Party for foolishly supporting DeLeon.

@46> Jerold Nadler, who would take over the Judiciary Committee in the House, already said he will hold hearings on Kavanaugh and FBI’s investigation.

@48 lililam> Republicans are trying to ratfuck (pardon my French) Feinstein’s campaign.

I’m voting DiFi for sure!

BTW, I am very confident that Mueller has the goods on Drumpf. The idea that someone like the Mango Moron has nothing impeachable to find is impossible for me to imagine.

For example: We have him in public on the record admitting to corrupt intent while firing Comey. That’s obstruction of justice. Then we have him calling out to Russia to hack Hillary, again in public. That’s conspiracy.

This is not to mention the fact he and his family have both admitted publicly they do a lot of business with foreign governments (Russia and Saudi Arabia), and we know they haven’t discontinued that business despite Drumpf’s ascension to the Presidency. Again, public knowledge, foreign governments openly lobby Drumpf while staying in his hotel in Washington! This is against the emoluments clause in the Constitution.

The real question is what happens to the massive pile of dirt Mueller will disclose post-election. It will absolutely be actionable.

If early voter turnout is any indication, the Democrats are looking very strong. I think even if Heitkamp loses her seat, there is potential for Republicans to lose theirs too. We don’t need that many flips in the Senate to get control of both houses of Congress.

And yes, I believe impeachment is very much on the table. I’ve seen stories about how the Dems are discussing it behind closed doors. If it isn’t, we’ll make it our mission to make sure they do it!

There are no words:

@44: I’m working on that.

@53, Kushner eats the hearts of babies for dinner.

@56, Fredster, you must post pics of the candidates so we can advise you!

@58: Right now I’m just looking around at local animal shelter online sites. I saw one cutie who was doxie and something (but still looked mostly doxie) but she got snapped up quickly. 😦

@58 Fredster> Keep looking! It took me a while to find my dog. The right doggy is out there, looking for you!

My CrossFit coach just adopted two bonded doxies – both senior and one of them is blind. But when he saw the near-by doxy rescue had them he knew he had to take them because chances of them being adopted were very slim.

Fredster, have you checked to see if there’s a doxy rescue nearby?

Jimmy Carter says Kavanaugh appointment was a ‘serious mistake’. Unfit.

“Whether or not [Kavanaugh] attempted to rape [Christine Blasey Ford], I thought he was temperamentally unfit to serve on the Supreme Court because of his outburst during the hearing,” Carter said in a video posted on Facebook by an attendee.

“I saw him lose his cool,” Carter said, adding that Kavanaugh’s testimony was partisan at times.

The former president said Kavanaugh seemed “very well-qualified” from his legal career, but he believed Ford’s testimony to be truthful.

@61: I haven’t seen one anywhere in the immediate area. There’s a national website for doxie rescue and I’ve checked that out to see if any doggos are nearby. One thing that makes me angry is when you see a dog listed there and they have a disclaimer that adopter must live within x miles of the area that has the dog. That’s infuriating.

@62: Jimmy is correct on that. Unfit.

Well, well,well. It took less than two years since the inauguration to get to this point.
Putin Hails Sunset of U.S. Global Domination Due To Mounting ‘Mistakes’

I have never gone to a animal shelter without adopting a dog before I got out of the building. I like black labs and although I really wanted a puppy, the shelter had an 8th month old beauty that was the perfect dog, he lived until he was 13 and was the love of our family, ‘Sasha’.

not ‘8th…just 8 . 😉

@65, Putin hails sunset of US due to his help.

Director of National Intelligence warns of ‘ongoing campaigns’ to interfere with elections
Senior officials have said that while foreign actors continue to engage in activities targeting social media and election systems, they have not seen the level of activity that they witnessed in 2016.

Level of activity in 2016 — yeah, the activity they didn’t talk about then.

Don’t worry, Paul, you’ll get free healthcare in prison, unlike the rest of us outside prison.

Manafort, 69, appeared in court in a wheelchair Friday and did not rise when Ellis spoke to him. Defense attorney Kevin Downing said in court that there are “significant issues with Mr. Manafort’s health right now that have to do with his confinement.”

@55, that despicable ad keeps talking about “white Democrats.” Well, the solution is obviously black Democrats! Lololol!

Someone asked earlier which 2 signatures needed to match — this explains it.

h/t to dakinikat over at SD.

The signature on your absentee ballot, it explains, looked different from the signature on your voter-registration card. So an election official threw out your ballot. There is nothing you can do. Your vote has been voided.

A Politico article from Annie Karni (remember her? I do) “How do you solve a problem like Hillary” You know, another one of those articles telling Hillary what they think she should do. I’m glad she ignores them.

On the other hand, some Democrats say, why should the woman who won the popular vote in 2016—62,523,126 votes, to be precise, the biggest number of votes in history with the exception of President Barack Obama—be silenced at a time of great public discourse? Why is it only Hillary Clinton, not Joe Biden or John Kerry or even Bernie Sanders, for that matter, who is seen as so tarnished by a presidential loss that she must sit silent on the sidelines?

If you compare Clinton’s moves with what Democratic presidential losers have done in the past, you won’t find much that is different.

I don’t know why they would ask Michael Avenatti his opinion anyway, but it’s better than Axelrod. (He won’t run – I don’t care what he says now)

“If I was running, I could see certain circumstances in which she could be helpful, from a rally perspective, in certain locations, on a limited basis,” said Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who has shot to fame representing porn star Stormy Daniels and who is considering a presidential bid of his own. He added: “I think there’s still a lot of people that support her, and for that reason she could certainly play a positive role in some capacity in 2020.”

Yeah GAgal, I was going to post that Politico link about their hit piece on Hillary…but got so pist about it that I just couldn’t.

I think it even said that Hillary supporters wish she would just go away.

The Miami GOP chairman and a group of Proud Boys attacked the campaign office of Donna Shalala screaming “commies” and “witches”. Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee were also inside. (I guess that’s why the Capitol Police were there to help)

“I was on the other side of that door with the Capitol Police, helping to deadbolt the entrance from an angry mob. I’ve never seen anything like this in all of my years in Miami politics, or anywhere else for that matter,” said Ricky Junquera, Outreach Vice Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic party who was literally on the other side of the door that Diaz was pounding.

I think it even said that Hillary supporters wish she would just go away.

They expect us to believe that? Lololol!

The person who said Hill’s supporters think she should go away was a tweet from Miami film maker Billy Corben – whoever the hell that is.

@77: Here ya go:

Does’t mean squat to me.

I never understood – days ago – why the Saudis would think it’s okay to ‘interrogate’ a man who was just there to pick up premarital paperwork. Even without the 14-16 premeditated murderers there. No one ever asked that question.

I never watch Cuomo because he’s up against Rachel’s show, but I check his clips on YT. I hate his ‘the great debate’ crap and never watch that for more than a minute. But this is worth watching. Cuomo takes on two Trumpers.

I like watching Cuomo, but he has some of the worst Rethugs on to debate. One is a big mouthed ditz from GA and then a rabid pig faced a$$wipe that I hate. I like that Cuomo doesn’t give Dump an effin’ pass like Anderson and many others do.

I don’t have a tv so watch everything online, and Rachel’s tape is only uploaded just before I go to bed.

Boy, the NYT seems to be quite exercised about Andrew Gillum in Florida. I wonder why?

How does one fist fight with no fingers?

The GOP will never hold Trump accountable. We badly need a House win and a few more seats in the Senate.

I wasn’t even aware they were having this today.

Oktoberfest 2018 Dachshund Races

@89, Fredster, awwwww!

I want this mongoose! I think.

@91: LOL, those lions didn’t know how to handle that mongoose!

Mongooses (mongeese?) are totally fearless. They are known to attack spitting cobras (i.e. not sleeping or peaceful cobras) and win and take them home for dinner. Did you notice how this one was going for the lion’s foot? Vulnerable, and any damage would make the lion unable to hunt. I’m not surprised the lions were afraid of it! I would be too. Have you seen the teeth on mongeese? Serrated razors.

Must have been defending a nest.

I’m putting it on my desktop as a motivational video!

Congrats to my LSU Tigers who won their game last night against Miss. State.

LSU has a week off and then Alabama.

LSU has a player from Hawaii and before last week’s game he and his Dad did a haka.

The plural form is “mongooses”, or, rarely, “mongeese”.

per Wikipedia. I knew they were fierce beyond their size and were used to hunt snakes (dim memories of Kipling stories and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.) I expected they’d be in the weasel family, which is known for its formidability, but they’re closely related to meerkats (!) and are “within the suborder Feliformia, together with the cat, hyena, and civet families.” They do “bear a striking resemblance to mustelids.” Also very cool, they have “modifications to the receptor pocket that prevents the snake venom α-neurotoxin from binding.” No wonder they’re fearless at defending their nests, and in battling with snakes — and lions. Looked like it was also going for that tender nose.

May we all be as mongooses in November!

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That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

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