Althouse | category: Adam Nagourney



a blog by Ann Althouse

"I walk around the neighborhood that encouraged me for so many decades, and I see the reminders of Harvey and the Rainbow Honor Walk, celebrating famous queer and trans people."

"I just can’t help but think that soon there will be a time when people walking up and down the street will have no clue what this is all about."

Said Cleve Jones, who lived in the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco for 50 years before moving out of the city altogether, to live in a small house with a garden, quoted in "Once a Crucial Refuge, 'Gayborhoods' Lose L.G.B.T.Q. Residents in Major Cities/Many are choosing to live elsewhere in search of cheaper housing and better amenities. They are finding growing acceptance in other communities after decades of political and social changes" (NYT).

It's not just about housing costs:
L.G.B.T.Q. couples, particularly younger ones, are starting families and considering more traditional features — public schools, parks and larger homes — in deciding where they want to live. The draw of “gayborhoods” as a refuge for past generations looking to escape discrimination and harassment is less of an imperative today, reflecting the rising acceptance of gay and lesbian people. And dating apps have, for many, replaced the gay bar as a place that leads to a relationship or a sexual encounter....

“What I see in Houston is we are losing our history,” said Tammi Wallace, the president of the Greater Houston L.G.B.T. Chamber of Commerce, who lives in Montrose, the city’s gay neighborhood. “A lot of individuals and couples are saying, ‘We can move to different parts of the city and know we are going to be accepted.’”...

 The men and women who established these neighborhoods “wanted to segregate and be surrounded by gay people,” [said urban planning professor Daniel B. Hess]. “In contrast, when you ask young people today what they want, they would prefer an inclusive coffee shop. They don’t want anyone to feel unwelcome.”

Are some people nostalgic for the time when their group was more oppressed? Or is this really about competition for real estate? As for the "young people today" who will say they want "an inclusive coffee shop" where no one feels "unwelcome," well, of course, that's what they will say. But what do they want? 

I can see wanting the "gayborhoods" to remain gayborhoods. There's the diversity of accepting everyone into a neighborhood, but there's also the diversity of neighborhoods being different from other neighborhoods. This issue makes me think of Jimmy Carter's disastrous gaffe about "ethnic purity" back in the 1970s — a time when I was very happy to move into the gayest neighborhood in NYC.


Now, there's something weird about this article, which is written by Adam Nagourney. In the beginning, we're told that Jones "left for a small home with a garden and apple and peach trees 75 miles away in Sonoma County after the monthly cost of his one-bedroom apartment soared from $2,400 to $5,200." But much later in the article, we're told that Jones's "landlord asserted that he forfeited his rent control protections by living in Sonoma County, effectively forcing him out by more than doubling his rent." 

That makes it sound as though Jones already had the house in the country/suburbs, and the apartment was one of 2 homes, which disqualified him from participating in rent control. The Times ought to be straightforward about whether the landlord had the law right! Either Jones was entitled to rent control or he wasn't. How long did Jones have the house before the landlord figured out that rent control no longer applied? This is a legal dispute that ought to be presented with clarity, and breaking up the information looks like an effort to make the facts fit the story the journalist wants to tell.

Why did the rent "soar"? Was it because of a greedy landlord or market forces or was it because of the forces of rent control and Jones's disqualifying himself by buying the house in Sonoma County? 

Aggressive prosecution #1: California businessman commercially growing medical marijuana.

Adam Nagourney, in the NYT, gives very sympathetic treatment to Matthew R. Davies — "a round-faced 34-year-old father of two young girls" with "graduate-level business skills" who "paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits" and got the advice of many lawyers as he set up an enterprise that plainly and overtly is a felony under federal law. Davies told the NYT:
“We thought, this is an industry in its infancy, it’s a heavy cash business, it’s basically being used by people who use it to cloak illegal activity. Nobody was doing it the right way. We thought we could make a model of how this should be done.”
Cloak illegal activity? It is illegal activity. Federal law is real. Haven't you heard?!

The right way? Cloaking is the right way when you're committing crimes. With your business education, somehow you were all: Hey, what a smart idea I have — being completely out in the open about breaking the law. Why hasn't anybody else thought of this?

And I love the way the NYT suddenly has a pro-business orientation. Davies deserves special grace under the law because he's using the structure of business and because he's excited about making big profits! Compare that to all the articles anguishing over Citizens United and how terrible it is to respect free speech rights when the speech comes from a place that is structured as a business.
“Mr. Davies was not a seriously ill user of marijuana nor was he a medical caregiver — he was the major player in a very significant commercial operation that sought to make large profits from the cultivation and sale of marijuana,” [said a letter from United States attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner, a 2009 Obama appointee.] Mr. Wagner said that prosecuting such people “remains a core priority of the department.”...

“It’s mind-boggling that there were hundreds of attorneys advising their clients that it was O.K. to do this, only to be bushwhacked by a federal system that most people in California are not even paying attention to,” said William J. Portanova, a former federal drug prosecutor and a lawyer for one of Mr. Davies’s co-defendants. “It’s tragic.”
Yes, and it is mind-boggling that those who argue for the broad interpretation of federal power and who scoff at the idea of the 10th Amendment and reserving powers to the state somehow can't grasp the meaning of their general propositions when they encounter an issue where they prefer the state policy to the federal policy. The NYT and other drivers of elite opinion ought to have to face up to the reality of what their legal propositions entail.

And quite aside from the problem of the allocation of power at the federal and the state levels, how about some consistency about equal justice under the law? Let the law — as written — apply the same way to everyone, whether they have a round face and 2 young daughters or not, whether they've gone to grad school or not, whether they have big visions of massive profits or they are living hand to mouth. If the law is wrong, change the law — for everybody. Don't cry over the people you think are nice — like David Gregory and Aaron Swartz. Nonphotogenic and low-class people deserve equal treatment, and cutting breaks for the ones who pull your heart strings is not justice.

What do the Election 2009 results mean for Obama (and the congressional Democrats)?

In the WaPo, Dan Balz says:
Neither [the Virginia nor the New Jersey] gubernatorial election amounted to a referendum on the president....
Why not? Read... read... read... read... oh, here it is:
White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Tuesday's races were in no way a reflection of public opinion about the president or his agenda. "Whatever's driving these voters, it wasn't attitudes toward the president," he said, noting that local issues and attitudes toward the candidates on the ballots were the major influences.
Why not? Because David Axelrod says not.
Axelrod warned against extrapolating into the future the shift among independents. He said he believed that many people who called themselves Republicans in the past now call themselves independents but are still voting for Republican candidates. "I don't think they portend long-term trends," he said.

He said the only race with real national implications was the congressional contest in Upstate New York.

To be fair to Balz, he did get a Republican, Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, to agree with the proposition that the 2009 election was not "a referendum on the president." But on the substance of it, Barbour observed that "[t]he president's policies are very unpopular, and they are hurting Democrats in Virginia, New Jersey, New York."

In the NYT, Adam Nagourney says:
The results in the New Jersey and Virginia races underscored the difficulties Mr. Obama is having transforming his historic victory a year ago into either a sustained electoral advantage for Democrats or a commanding ideological position over conservatives in legislative battles....

... Mr. Christie and Mr. McDonnell won after decidedly playing down their conservative views on social issues.....

The critical question after this setback [in NY 23] is whether the conservative groups who had clearly signaled that they intended to press their advantage and challenge other Republican candidates they considered too moderate would now have the impetus or support to continue down that road.
Let's see now.... who to go to for quotes?
“[McDonnell] focused on the issues that are on people’s minds: jobs, taxes,” said Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, the head of the Republican Governors Association. “I don’t think there are a lot of governors who are more conservative than I am. But I try to run campaigns on what people are interested in.”...

[David] Axelrod acknowledged that Mr. Obama’s supporters had not shown up in New Jersey and Virginia, but he said he did not believe that meant the end of the Obama coalition.

“That doesn’t mean they won’t come out for us,” he said. “I think they’ll come out for national races. But this wasn’t a national race.”...
The Wall Street Journal enthuses:
The GOP has been flat on its back since the Obama ascendancy in last year's presidential election, but Republican Bob McDonnell's blowout victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the Virginia governor's race and Chris Christie's defeat of Jon Corzine in New Jersey should help dispel the party's gloom.

Yesterday in advance of the results, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was dismissing commentary on the impending bad news as "navel gazing." If so, navel gazing's bad reputation is suddenly looking up. The onrushing Obama Democratic machine has just hit a significant speed bump....

Mr. McDonnell ran straight into the teeth of the blue trend, explicitly campaigning against the policies of the Obama presidency. In at least one swing state that matters, the Obama Democratic ascendancy is on hold....
The overweening liberal-progressive confidence of late suddenly looks misplaced. The party's Blue Dogs have a basis for their misgivings. Republicans, too timid until now, have an opening to find ideas to give obviously anxious voters an alternative to the party in power.
"Mr. McDonnell ran straight into the teeth of the blue trend"
But not straight into the yellow teeth of the blue trend, surely.

"That was a mistake - we need to seize on it."

Adam Nagourney reports in the NYT that this is what President Bush said to his aides after Kerry said he would have voted to authorize the President to go to war even if he had known that weapons of mass destruction would not be found. The linked article is long, but it's a long hammering of the same point: that Bush is very involved in his reelection campaign.

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