Ben Shapiro defends Mehmet Oz’s wealth by saying that prophets of the Bible were rich, too

Just like gold-plated television evangelists driving Rolls Royces and preaching the so-called “prosperity gospel” to their dirt-poor parishioners, right-wing media figures are constantly coming up with different ways to insist that God wants rich people to be rich.

Take, for example, Ben Shapiro, who took that route when he defended Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, who has so many houses he can remember the exact number.

According to Mediatite:

The Daily Wire’s [Shapiro] offered a novel defense of Dr. Mehmet Oz on Friday, arguing that independently wealthy candidates are not “elitist,” but actually more like Biblical prophets.

“The real campaign issue in Pennsylvania, according to everybody, is Dr. Mehmet Oz is an elitist. Elitist. And we know if you earn money in the United States, that makes you unqualified for office,” Shapiro said of Oz — the Trump-backed GOP nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania.

“So, sure. The original founders of the country tended to be overwhelmingly wealthy men because again, the idea here is that if you don’t want people in politics or demagogues, then it’s good for them to have an outside source of income,” Shapiro argued.

“You want to cut down on corruption. It’s good for people to be independently wealthy before they’re in office. It’s not a bad thing,” Shapiro continued.

“It gives you the ability to say things that are actually on your mind because you have less to lose. This is why, biblically speaking, most of the prophets were actually kind of wealthy, because if you’re wealthy, you don’t have much to lose in any case,” Shapiro argued.

Yes, there have been wealthy members of Congress whose wealth allows them to speak up about issues of the common citizen, and perhaps even argue for policies that could actually make them less wealthy. But they had names like Kennedy and they have consistently been Democrats.

Wealthy congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have been exemplified by The Walking Dead extra U.S. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), about whom Wikipedia says:

[Scott] co-founded Columbia Hospital Corporation. Columbia later merged with another corporation to form Columbia/HCA, which eventually became the nation’s largest private for-profit health care company. Scott was pressured to resign as chief executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997. During his tenure as chief executive, the company defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs. The Department of Justice ultimately fined the company $1.7 billion in what was at the time the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history.

Wikipedia also notes:

In 2017, Scott and his wife held stocks in firms that did business with the Maduro regime in Venezuela and a shipping firm with close ties to the Putin regime in Russia. Scott had been a harsh critic of the Maduro regime and chastised companies that invested in Venezuela, saying, “Any organization that does business with the Maduro regime cannot do business with the state of Florida.” By 2018, Scott and his wife no longer held stocks in the firms with links to the Maduro and Putin regimes.

In a July 2018 financial disclosure statement, Scott and his wife reported earnings of at least $2.9 million in hedge funds registered in the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax haven. The financial statement said that the assets were held in a blind trust and a 2018 campaign spokesperson said Scott did not have a role in selecting particular investments.

Scott and his wife invested at least $3 million in the parent company of All Aboard Florida, a rail investment company that proposed to build high-speed rail between Orlando and Tampa. In 2018, Scott supported the efforts of the company to build the rail and get taxpayer-financing. He had previously, early in his tenure as governor, rejected $2.3 billion in federal funding to develop high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando. Scott stated the original project was fiscally irresponsible given the recession, and he supported a public-private partnership approach when the state’s finances were in order.

Scott was an investor in the firm Conduent Inc., which was awarded a $287 million Florida contract in 2015 to manage SunPass, the toll program in the state of Florida. Due to glitches in SunPass, motorists were charged bank fees and overdraft charges, and the Florida Department of Transportation was criticized for failing to take action. Scott, a Conduent investor, defended the department’s handling of the SunPass controversy.

Well, gol durn it, if that doesn’t prove Shapiro’s point about “you want to cut down on corruption. It’s good for people to be independently wealthy before they’re in office,” I don’t know what does.

Sen. Scott has been a walking, talking advertisement in favor of corruption every single day of his health care and senate careers, and he’s also now the leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). His Wikipedia page reads like a How-To manual for people who want to make the levers of government work for the wealthy and against average citizens.

Yes, and Florida residents elected him. Which explains why Florida’s health care system is ranked 48th in the nation.

U.S. Sen. (and Walking Dead extra) Rick Scott.

Dem primary that ousted a left-leaning incumbent in favor of a centrist was far more complicated than that binary suggests

From the start, the Michigan Democratic Primary contest that pitted two congressional incumbents — Reps. Haley Stevens and Andy Levin — against one another because of redistricting was going to be painful. Levin is a liberal stalwart, Stevens a centrist moderate.

So the two overriding themes that mainstream media latched onto were:

  1. The battle of Democratic left-wing vs. the Democratic centrists. According to Politico, “the race brought national Democrats to the state. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) stumped for Levin, while Stevens had the support of abortion rights group EMILY’s List and Hillary Clinton.”
  2. A battle between a staunch no-compromises supporter of Israel (Stevens) and a Jewish congressman who supports Israel, but has not been afraid of speaking up for the Palestinians (Levin).

That is pretty much how I saw it. But Politico has a very good piece up about how those national issues certainly played a part, but it was way more complicated than that.

Especially when the race got ugly:

[The conservative American Israel Political Action Committee-AIPAC] invested massive sums of outside money to oust Levin — its super PAC reportedly spent at least $4.2 million in the race. But its attacks on Levin seem to have resonated less with the Oakland Democrats I spoke with than the ads his defenders at a more progressive Jewish political group, the J Street Action Fund, ran in response. They attacked Stevens for having AIPAC’s support and suggested that she was siding with Jan. 6 insurrectionists and Republican House members who tried to overturn the 2020 election.

In reality, Stevens supported the impeachment of Donald Trump over his actions on Jan. 6. She has never flirted with election denialism. And the suggestion from Levin’s allies that she had done so backfired, escalating frustration among Michigan Democrats over the aggressiveness of Levin’s campaign message, according to multiple party insiders, and prompting at least one senior leader in the local party to personally tell him to tone it down.

“It’s not helpful [to the party], and frankly, it doesn’t really register,” one Democratic insider and elected official told me ahead of election day. “All it does is just put a target on the back of a lot of Democrats.”

“Framing her as an insurrectionist? Come on,” says an aide to another member of Congress, describing the private reaction among the Michigan delegation. “That was a step too far.”

It prompted Woodward himself to endorse Stevens — an unusual step, considering his friendship with both candidates and the fact that the primary election was only five days away. “The attempt to link her to insurrectionists just went too far for me — and far enough for me to put my own reputation on the line,” he says.

Same with Mari Manoogian, a second-term state representative who flipped a Republican state House seat in Oakland’s wealthy Birmingham area in 2018. She considers both Levin and Stevens friends and stayed out of the race until its closing days, when the attacks on Stevens by Levin allies drove her to endorse the congresswoman. “I couldn’t take the negativity anymore,” she says.

Politico also points out that many voters preferred to vote for a younger woman than an older man whose family is a political dynasty in the state. Note also that African-Americans in the district overwhelmingly backed Stevens.

It’s all very inside politics and, if you enjoy such things, an interesting read at this link.

Reps. Haley Stevens and Andy Levin.

Libs of TikTok targets Omaha’s Children’s Hospital for pride celebration sponsorship

You’ve no doubt heard of Libs of TikTok, a right-wing front group for the worst kinds of online harassment from white supremacists, especially harassment related to LGBT issues. The founder of the group has a suspicious obsession with all things LGBTQ. (If you’re not familiar with them, read about the group here.)

Which brings me to Omaha’a LGBT Pride celebration, which culminated in a parade this weekend in the city’s downtown.

It was a celebration of love and unity Saturday morning during the annual Heartland Pride Parade.

Hundreds gathered in the Old Market to celebrate.

“This year we grew even bigger,” said Nikke Trahan-Ferris, the Vice President of Heartland Pride. “We have 144 entries which we’ve never seen before. According to police, that’s the biggest they’ve seen in this area.”

This year’s theme is “Open Hearts, Open Minds.” Complete with floats and performers– there was no shortage of color or pride.

“I think it’s really cool to have the generation before us be here and show us the ropes and what it means to be here out and proud and they really paved the way for people like us to even exist.”

Downtown is still the relatively new home for Heartland Pride, after moving over from Council Bluffs two years ago. Organizers say every year gets bigger and bigger.

“We actually had to turn people away, which is very disheartening. So we’re looking at changing the route next year so we don’t have to turn people away, and they can all be part of us.”

After having left Omaha for most of my adult life, I moved back in 2017. And I can confirm that 144 entries in the local Pride parade is undeniable progress for this city.

Boston’s Republican Mayor Jean Stothert also took part with a contingent from the Omaha Police Department, which would definitely not have happened not so long ago. (See Facebook post below.)

But, as with Pride parades everywhere, even in much bigger cities, there was right-wing homophobic drama, including that stirred up over the Pride sponsorship of Omaha’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

It started with just some local yahoos, including people from the campaign of GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen. Then things blew up:

Then the Libs of Tik Tok account, with over one million followers, joined in, condemning the hospital for information on their website that indicated they performed hormone therapy for adolescents which includes reversible hormone blockers.

Now checking the website, none of the information appears to be there.

Children’s said in a statement on their website that they sponsor the event to recruit a diverse workforce.

“We cultivate an inclusive environment where people feel they belong,” said the Children’s statement.

In that same statement, the hospital said children and families who seek care relating to gender identity will be given evidence-based best practice, aligned with standards from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and that they do not perform gender-transitioning surgeries.

While Children’s remains a sponsor of the event, Phillip Koenig, President of Heartland Pride, tells 3 News Now that Children’s has “opted to just not use all of the marketing resources this year” and he believes they’re the only sponsor not to make that decision.

It’s not unique to Omaha, but it is still weird in 2022 that certain people (many with their own hang-ups and secrets, mind you) are still obsessed over these issues.

How some “fact checkers” at newspapers actually distort the truth

Given the mess that was started by a “fact checker” at the Washington Post named Glenn Kessler when he joined the right-wing attack on a story about a 10-year-old having to travel to Indiana for an abortion, it is probably a good idea to re-visit this article by the always excellent Alex Pareene in the pages of TNR:

At the June 28 Democratic presidential debate, Senator Bernie Sanders said, “Three people [in this country] own more wealth than the bottom half of America.” And Glenn Kessler, who leads The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” blog, wrote, “This snappy talking point is based on numbers that add up.” But Kessler, having checked the fact and confirmed that it was true, for some reason continued checking. “People in the bottom half have essentially no wealth,” he helpfully pointed out. “So the comparison is not especially meaningful.”

That seems like a judgment call best left to, say, a “meaning-checker,” but Kessler, a former business section editor who happens to be a descendant of Royal Dutch Shell and Procter & Gamble executives—an actual member of the American elite and a likely member of the one percent—makes Sanders the regular target of his attempts to police the bounds of acceptable political realities from his perch at The Washington Post. In June, he dinged Sanders for saying that “millions of Americans are forced to work two or three jobs”—because, while Sanders was right, at least eight million do work more than one job, 95 percent of Americans don’t. His team has also taken on Sanders’s claim that health care costs lead to 500,000 bankruptcies a year, going so far as to fact-check the study where Sanders found that statistic. Finding fault with its premises, they declared the study to be untrue, and awarded the candidate three “Pinocchios” for referencing it. (In the lexicon of the Post’s fact-checking department, lies, rather than causing Pinocchio’s nose to grow, cause him to spontaneously reproduce, like a very naughty paramecium.)

Sanders may get the worst of it, but no one is safe from Kessler’s cherry-picking, his tendentious selection of experts from an array of reliably center-right publications and think tanks (“Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute wrote recently for Bloomberg” is a typical Kesslerism), or his insistence on presenting center-right economic assumptions as “facts.” When Senator Cory Booker, for instance, made an entirely factual statement about American gun violence, Kessler took issue, again, with Booker’s premise, calling it “facile” (raising the question, once more, of whether we are reading the “Fact Checker” or the “Superficiality Checker”).

Because Kessler is particularly bad at his job—or, rather, because he is doing a different job, that of a centrist columnist disguised as a fact-checker—he has deflected attention from his competitors, most of whom also routinely mistake elite conventional wisdom for truth. In September, PolitiFact, the venerable fact-checking operation run by the nonprofit Poynter Institute, waded into a fight between Julian Castro and Joe Biden over their health care plans, and found a disputable but eminently supportable claim Castro has made—that there is a “big difference” between a plan people are automatically enrolled in and one they opt into—to be “mostly false.”

You can read the rest here.

Nieman Lab has an excellent piece about the 10-year-old Ohio rape victim, and why a newspaper could only find one person to verify the girl’s abortion

I was going to ignore this story because it keeps getting more awful by the day in terms of the terrible people who are turning out (again) to look like idiots (Glenn Greenwald, the “fact checker Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post, Jonathan Turley, etc.).

There is a piece up at Nieman Lab by Laura Hazard Owen that gives a nice run-down of the major moving parts of this terrible story, and looks at whether journalism, in the odd way it is currently constituted, is ready to report on a right-wing America where people are afraid to talk to reporters because the weight of the MAGA social media and legal world might come raining down upon them.

First, some of the moving parts, including discussion of Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the Indianapolis OB/GYN who took the call from the panicked Ohio doctor who was trying to help a pregnant 10-year-old rape victim get help outside of his state — a state that had just banned nearly every abortion not involving the emergency saving of a mother’s life

This situation was reported by two women reporters at the Indianapolis Star. Then the right-wing media machine began its work to discredit the factually accurate story. They got help from the Washington Post‘s fact checker Glenn Kessler.

Says Nieman Lab:

The debate over the [abortion] story’s veracity started with a Washington Post “Fact Checker” column. In “A one-source story about a 10-year-old and an abortion goes viral,” the Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote:

The only source cited for the anecdote was Bernard. She’s on the record, but there is no indication that the newspaper made other attempts to confirm her account. The story’s lead reporter, Shari Rudavsky, did not respond to a query asking whether additional sourcing was obtained. A Gannett spokeswoman provided a comment from Bro Krift, the newspaper’s executive editor: “The facts and sourcing about people crossing state lines into Indiana, including the 10-year-old girl, for abortions are clear. We have no additional comment at this time.”

Kessler notes that Bernard “declined to identify to the Fact Checker her colleague or the city where the child was located” and that after “a spot check,” he was unable to find evidence that the rape had been reported in Ohio. He wrote:

This is a very difficult story to check. Bernard is on the record, but obtaining documents or other confirmation is all but impossible without details that would identify the locality where the rape occurred.

Kessler doesn’t appear to consider the professional, non-nefarious reasons that a doctor might have for declining to share the names of her colleagues, or why she might be loath to (plus, due to privacy laws, legally prohibited from) disclose the name and address of her patient who was raped to a national newspaper.

“An abortion by a 10-year-old is pretty rare,” Kessler notes. (Oh, that “by.”) “The Columbus Dispatch reported that in 2020, 52 people under the age of 15 received an abortion in Ohio.” Definitions of “rare” may vary, but if 52 under-15-year-olds got abortions in Ohio in 2020, that’s one a week — and it’s just abortions that were reported, during a pandemic when a lot of abortion clinics were closed.

It goes on from there, but Nieman Lab ends up questioning whether American journalism, especially men in journalism, are ready to confront a world where women’s bodies and their health care have been criminalized in so many ways that the last thing they will do is go on the record with a reporter about the fact that doctors and patients are being turned into felons.

It’s important to note that nearly all the heroes thus far in this contemptible saga are women, and the villains are men. Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, in particular, is so far removed from the realities of what the striking down of Roe means for women, that he could not even begin to conceptualize why his “fact checking” story was so far off the mark.

The Wall Street Journal also jumped on the bandwagon trying to discredit the 10-year-old rape victim story with this July 12 editorial, to which they later had to add an editor’s note verifying the story’s accuracy after the actual rapist was arrested.

For all of us who were happy about Pete Buttigieg’s weekend performance on Fox News — well, guess what happened afterward?

OK, so I was one of those people who saw Pete Buttigieg’s performance on Fox News last weekend as somewhat of a win for the forces of good in the world — and on that channel, no less.

Well, we all celebrated a bit too soon. Guess what happened after Buttigieg’s initial appearance?

Buttigieg’s appearance, taken at face value, seems like a win for the Democratic operatives and liberal commentators who have argued that the party’s representatives should go on the network and try to reach its audience. But to truly assess that claim, it’s worth looking at what’s happened on Fox after the social media conversation had moved on.

On Monday, Fox propagandists used Buttigieg’s statement to claim that he supports political violence and alleged that he supports “domestic terrorism” and is in league with “the mob.” Those commentators have much more credibility with the audience than any Democrat, and they were speaking in some cases on programs with much higher ratings than the one on which Buttigieg appeared. Their framing, and not the Buttigieg clip — which in some cases they did not even air — is likely to leave more of an impression on viewers.

Buttigieg stressed during his Fox News Sunday interview that “any public figure should always, always be free from violence, intimidation, and harassment.” The takeaway Fox prime-time host Laura Ingraham served up to her viewers on Monday, however, was: “Mayor Pete: Political Violence Is Actually Good.”

Ingraham concluded that Democrats like Buttigieg are part of a “real church of hate”; want to dismantle U.S. history, institutions, and democracy; and support “an agenda that relentlessly pushes pot, porn, trans rights, and abortions,” which she termed a “new pagan order.” She later added that Buttigieg is “a radical” who is “encouraging the threats against Supreme Court justices” and “wants to change the face of this country, and for the worse.”

Fox host Sean Hannity, meanwhile, falsely suggested on Monday that Buttigieg had said that Kavanaugh “should expect” assassination attempts, while Fox contributor Lara Trump suggested he supports “domestic terrorism.” Notably, Hannity did not air Buttigieg’s comments at all — he simply provided a dishonest gloss on them for his viewers.

Oh, well.

It was nice while it lasted.

President of media watchdog group lambastes everyone involved in Twitter deal meltdown

You can blame Elon Musk the most. But you can also point fingers at media that are credulous to the point of slavishness when it comes to Musk. You can also blame Wall Street analysts who also believed Musk despite his well-known record of chicanery online and in the press. And you can point fingers at the leadership of Twitter, which cared not one whit for employees and shareholders when they began this gross exercise in malfeasance.

As Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said so eloquently:

From the outset, Elon Musk’s attempt to take over Twitter was about advancing his own red-pilled ideological agenda. He was explicit about his intentions, which is why right-wing extremists celebrated the news.

If Musk was to acquire Twitter and follow through with even a fraction of what he had promised to do, Twitter would become a supercharged engine of radicalization.

The seeds of this implosion were sowed months ago when Musk, reveling in right-wing media attention, made it clear that he would roll back Twitter’s community standards and safety guidelines, which would turn the platform into a fever swamp of dangerous conspiracy theories, partisan chicanery, and white supremacist radicalization.

With the announcement today that Musk is bailing on the deal, this dark future is now one step closer to being prevented.

Despite what Musk may claim, this deal isn’t ending because of Twitter bots or spam accounts. This deal is collapsing because of Elon Musk’s own erratic behavior, embrace of extremists, and bad business decisions.

Advertisers took notice, largely as the result of pressure from activists and community leaders, and made it clear they would not pay for Musk’s ideological fantasy. This is a critical win in the fight against disinformation online — one that we should all celebrate.

Twitter shareholders, on the other hand, should be furious. The simple fact is that Twitter’s board of directors and executive leadership team acted irresponsibly and incompetently. They got into bed with a madman and significantly harmed shareholder value as a result.

There will be lawsuits. Oh so many lawsuits. Lawyers getting so rich.

But at least Musk has finally been exposed as the charlatan he has always been.

One should never pass up the chance to run a picture of Musk before he got hair plugs. Even his hairline is fake.

NT Times prints perhaps the most stupid op-ed yet about abortion

Sometimes when a newspaper as storied as the New York Times f**ks up (again!) this badly, you really do have to turn to Wonkette to capture how dumb it is that the mainstream media continues to do these things in the name of “balance”

In case you were blessedly off Twitter on July 4, the paper of record gave space to a Leah Libresco Sargeant, a fervently anti-choice religion writer, to weaponize her own ectopic pregnancy to muddy the waters of the fetid swamp we’re swimming in after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

“Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, states face a new reality about where to draw the line in pregnancy for when abortion is permitted,” she begins. “In these debates, ectopic pregnancy is a key issue.”

Well, yes … sort of. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg attaches itself somewhere other than the uterine wall, most often to the fallopian tube, and starts burrowing into tissue where it doesn’t belong. Ectopic pregnancy is not uncommon, occurring in roughly two percent of pregnancies, and it will never lead to the birth of a baby. Left untreated, however, it can cause serious damage, rupturing fallopian tubes leading to hemorrhage, sepsis, and death.

Among doctors, there is no issue at all. But among forced birth fetishists, ectopic pregnancy is a “key issue” because they doggedly refuse to concede that this “potential life” has zero potentiality, and thus the only “moral” course is to remove it immediately, either surgically or via methotraxate, a drug which attacks the egg cells before they can damage tissue and cause the woman to bleed to death.

Before Dobbs, we saw ignoramus lawmakers proposing to criminalize surgical or pharmaceutical treatments, having somehow convinced themselves that ectopic pregnancies could be re-implanted. (They cannot.) Now, with trigger laws kicking in to make abortion illegal, doctors are terrified of running afoul of these hastily worded statutes barring abortion except to save the life and/or health of the mother, and are reportedly waiting until patients with ectopic pregnancies show signs of distress before removing a non-viable egg, lest they fall foul of some crazed district attorney who learned all the biology he needed to in church.

In this charged environment, the Times has seen fit to give Libresco Sargeant a platform to demand that we all treat these non-viable eggs like children so that she can engage in an elaborate fantasy that she gave birth, instead of having the “abortion” which was absolutely necessary to save her life and allow her to go on to have other children.

“From a pro-life perspective, delivering a baby who is ectopic is closer to delivering a baby very prematurely because the mother has life-threatening eclampsia,” she intones somberly. “A baby delivered at 22 weeks may or may not survive. A baby delivered in the first trimester because of an ectopic pregnancy definitely won’t survive. But in both cases, a pro-life doctor sees herself as delivering a child, who is as much a patient as the mother.”

Okay, look …

As someone who gave birth and suffered a miscarriage myself, I am entirely sympathetic to the loss of a wanted pregnancy. But I didn’t tell myself a fairy tale that I’d “delivered” a “child” at five weeks, and I certainly didn’t use my own loss to try to curtail other women’s choices by demanding that doctors treat a fertilized egg that will never become a baby like a “patient.”

What she said.

No matter how much pro-life people insist otherwise, ectopic implantations aren’t even “pregnancies” in the sense that a baby could ever be gestated and delivered from one.

It’s just another way that anti-abortion zealots try to muddy the waters with magical thinking.

Where eggs implant themselves in ectopic pregnancies.

Once again I ask: How is Adam Nagourney still writing for the New York Times?

New York Times writer Adam Nagourney, an openly gay man, has been awful for as long as I can remember.

One of his worst fuck-ups, in a long line of them, was when he co-wrote a June 16, 2015, article about a residential balcony collapse in Southern California during which six people were killed, and seven others injured.

Because the students were part of an Irish student exchange program, Nagourney decided that, instead of treating it as the straightforward tragedy it was, he was going to highlight the drunk Irish partier aspect. The relatives and friends of the victims were rightfully horrified.

Nagourney would later say, “[T]here was a more sensitive way to tell the story. I absolutely was not looking to in any way appear to be blaming the victims, or causing pain in this awful time for their families and friends. I feel very distressed at having added to their anguish.”

At least he apologized (sort of) for that fuck-up. He has rarely even admitted he was wrong even when he was spectacularly wrong. And he’s done stuff like this his ENTIRE career. And, yet, he keeps getting rewarded with jobs like LA bureau chief.

Anyway, Nagourney has an article in the New York Times (here via Yahoo) headlined: “Once a Crucial Refuge, ‘Gayborhoods’ Lose LGBTQ Appeal in Major Cities.”

“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,” Jones said as he led a visitor on a tour of his old neighborhood, pointing out empty storefronts and sidewalks. “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.”

Housing costs are a big reason for that. But there are other factors as well.

LGBTQ 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.

Many gay and lesbian leaders said this might well be a long-lasting realignment, an unexpected product of the success of a gay rights movement, including the Supreme Court’s recognition of same-sex marriage in 2015, that has pushed for equal rights and integration into mainstream society.

There are few places where this transformation is more on display than in the Castro, long a barometer of the evolution of gay and lesbian life in America. It is a place where same-sex couples crammed the streets, sidewalks, bars and restaurants in defiance and celebration as LGBTQ people in other cities lived cloistered lives.

It was the stage for some of the first glimmers of the modern gay rights movement in the late 1960s; the rise to the political establishment with the election of openly gay officials like Milk; and the community’s powerful response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

“Gayborhoods are going away,” Cleve Jones said. “People need to pay attention to this. When people are dispersed, when they no longer live in geographic concentrations, when they no longer inhabit specific precincts, we lose a lot. We lose political power. We lose the ability to elect our own and defeat our enemies.”

Cynthia Laird, news editor of The Bay Area Reporter, an LGBTQ newspaper based in San Francisco, said she was reminded of this transformation every time she walked through the neighborhood.

“I wanted to get a picture of people walking in the rainbow crosswalk at the corner of Castro and 18th Street, and there was nobody walking,” she said. “The Castro and San Francisco have changed a lot over the past 25 years. We have seen a lot of LGBTQ people move from San Francisco to Oakland — which is where I live — and even further out in the East Bay.”

This “younger gays no longer need old-fashioned gay neighborhoods” trope has been around a long time, so Nagourney is once again very late to this party.

But as Nagourney marvels at all the progress that has been made that is allegedly making gay ghettos obsolete, you’d think he’d mention one simple fact that should give everyone pause in the “post gay” celebrating: it can all be taken away, and very well might be.

Not once does awful Adam Nagourney mention that we have a Supreme Court that stands ready to kick out the foundations of every sexual orientation-related pro-gay decision ever handed down by SCOTUS. The same goes for GOP governors and legislatures and supreme courts in several states, all of whom are itching for test cases where Clarence Thomas might get his wish to overturn Lawrence, Obergefell and a host of other privacy-related decisions.

I see no reason to not do an article about the demise of “gayborhoods,” even if Nagourney downplays that real estate is the chief reason the most famous of them are less gay all the time. Even Cleve Jones, the anchor of this week’s Nagourney article, says he is leaving because his rent was jacked up.

But at least also mention the ever more powerful forces that are allying themselves against the LGBT community, instead of writing this shit article that makes it seem as if the chief reasons are that we simply don’t want or need those neighborhoods because we’ve moved-on to a LGBT utopia.

That would require a depth Nagourney has always lacked.

Awful Adam Nagourney.

The Atlantic tackles the big issues: “How to Be a Good Person Without Annoying Everyone”

OK, the headline hooked me so I read the article, only to learn this:

One reason moral rebels inspire defensive reactions in so many of us, Brouwer and Bolderdijk say, is that their example highlights the gap between our own values and behavior. Maybe we’re worried about climate change, too, but we went ahead and bought that cheap air ticket to Europe; maybe we’re convinced of the importance of civic participation but we haven’t bothered to attend a city-council meeting. “Moral rebels tend to remind you of your inconsistencies, which can be very painful, because it can lead to the conclusion that you’re not a good and moral person after all,” Brouwer, a Ph.D. candidate at Pompeu Fabra University, in Barcelona, told me.

So while it’s common to perceive moral rebels as scolding or lecturing, that judgy voice we hear may be internal—our own minds pointing out our own shortcomings. And because those who care most about the issue at hand tend to be the most self-critical, they may also be the loudest scoffers. But these same strong emotions, Brouwer and Bolderdijk suggest, can act as “motivational fuel” for change. “That people react negatively doesn’t mean you’re not having an influence. It means you’ve struck a nerve,” Bolderdijk, an associate professor at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, told me. Rather than trying to avoid provocation, he said, moral rebels should seek to provoke more productively.

Your grandparents probably referred to this as “catching more flies with honey than with vinegar.” It should be a common concept to anyone who’s reached the age of, say, 30 and has been paying any attention at all to the group dynamics at work or family gatherings.

Except your grandparents don’t probably believe they need to try to use honey more than vinegar any longer because there’s a very good chance your grandparents have turned into Trump-loving MAGA nuts. And so have many of your neighbors, especially if you live in certain Trumpian zip codes.

And that brings me to the problem I have with The Atlantic article: not once does it mention the word “snowflake” or the term “virtue signaling.” In fact, the article by Michelle Nijhius not once talks about the fact that notions about civic duty — compromises for the greater good, thinking your fellow citizens share share some common goals with you, etc. — are dying across America because at least 33% of the population believes strongly that trying to make the world a better place makes you a “snowflake.” And any time you speak about notions of civic duty at public forums — say, a city council meeting, a school board meeting, etc. — you are simply “virtue signaling.”

(Wikipedia defines “virtue signaling” as a “pejorative term for the expression of a moral viewpoint with the intent of communicating good character.”)

So, by all means, let’s note, probably quite accurately, that your talking about wanting to lessen your carbon footprint makes some other people uncomfortable because they know, deep down, they are not doing as much as they should.

But let’s also not overlook the obvious reason an increasing number of us would feel uncomfortable bringing these issues up in public: we are fast reaching a point in America where any mention of a greater public good is going to be met with right-wing derision and hostility from a group of people who are heavily armed and impervious to reason.