On Thanksgiving, the Solace of Booze and Turkey for a City’s Adult Orphans

By the time I arrived at the bar, an hour late to dinner, the plate where the main course was sitting had already suffered significant modifications. What had begun as a “turducken”—a dish featuring a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey, and one described by Urban Dictionary as a “culinary grotesque”—was now a mixed pile of meat from all three animals, with one untainted turkey leg pushed alone near the edge. Fortunately the bar was still lined, from end to end, with other dishes that were comparatively fresher—stuffing and gravy, candied yams, pumpkin pies, and some raw olives that I had brought, only to watch them go untouched. The bar was also lined with drinks to wash all this down, including a large bottle of whiskey sitting mischievously in an establishment licensed only for beer and wine. The name of the establishment was Café Royale, and was one that, perched on a corner in San Francisco’s Nob Hill, with front windows stretching from floor to ceiling, would have fit anyone’s definition of a classic neighborhood bar.

The bar, which regularly hosts, in its small but airy confines, everything from stand-up comedy to live jazz, was tonight throwing an “Orphans’ Thanksgiving”. Continue reading

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Clues about Ideology in Obama’s Brand of “Regionalism”

Generally whether or not presidents are reelected, and how they are judged historically, depends on their stances on a few key issues. President Obama’s reelection was, as he noted, a positive referendum on his health and stimulus bills, and his proposed taxing of the rich. But the measures which better reveal a president’s underlying philosophy are the small ones he takes, often incrementally and with little public notice. Under Obama such measures have amounted to a cornucopia of placations for traditional left-wing groups, from his energy policies, to his favoritism of unions, to his further nationalization of public schools. Such measures, writes Stanley Kurtz, signal his preference for centralized governance, and are particularly noticeable in his urban policies, which Kurtz criticizes in his new book, Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities.

According to Kurtz, Obama’s urban policies center on “regionalism”, which the author defines as the goal to “abolish the suburbs, ideally by having cities annex surrounding suburban municipalities.” Continue reading

Burying the Invisible Hand beneath Gobs of Public Financing

Among the propositions passed in San Francisco last Tuesday, ranging from the practical (consolidating elections), to the symbolic (reprimanding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on corporate personhood), was one that had backing both from the city’s moderates and its progressives. It was Proposition C, a measure that created a trust fund for affordable housing, which has grown increasingly scarce amidst the city’s technology boom. Continue reading