Daily Archives: March 16, 2011

Now that it’s too late, White House gets “serious”

With Libya set to destroy the revolutionaries, Obummer is saying stern stuff. Of course, he’s still heading off to Rio with Michelle and the girls this weekend and he’s played his 61st round of golf and filled out his NCAA basketball picks, all videotaped and ready to be shown this weekend on ESPN, but he’s really, really concerned with whatever is going on over there in Japan Land and Libya? What a bummer.

Can’t we bring back Jimmy Carter?

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Some justice, after all

Sent in by reader Max: Schmuck retrieves his engagement ring from gold digger. $12,000 from Costco. Given respective attorneys’ fees, I’d have settled, but what do I know?

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Almost as cruel as the abuse reported on

Is picking on a moron of a reader, “Dollar Bill”.  But consider this story, reported in the NYT, on sexual and physical abuse committed by state union employees on the retarded (Oooh, $ Bill won’t like that term!). Here are some excerpts:

A New York Times investigation over the past year has found widespread problems in the more than 2,000 state-run homes. In hundreds of cases reviewed by The Times, employees who sexually abused, beat or taunted residents were rarely fired, even after repeated offenses, and in many cases, were simply transferred to other group homes run by the state.

And, despite a state law requiring that incidents in which a crime may have been committed be reported to law enforcement, such referrals are rare: State records show that of some 13,000 allegations of abuse in 2009 within state-operated and licensed homes, fewer than 5 percent were referred to law enforcement. The hundreds of files examined by The Times contained shocking examples of abuse of residents with conditions like Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy.

At a home upstate in Hudson Falls, two days before Christmas in 2006, an employee discovered her supervisor, Ricky W. Sousie, in the bedroom of a severely disabled, 54-year-old woman. Mr. Sousie, a stocky man with wispy hair, was standing between the woman’s legs. His pants were around his ankles, his hand was on her knee and her diaper was pulled down.

The police were called, and semen was found on the victim. But the state did not seek to discipline Mr. Sousie. Instead, it transferred him to work at another home.

Roger Macomber, an employee at a group home in western New York, grabbed a woman in his care, threw her against a fence, and then flung her into a wall, according to a 2007 disciplinary report. He was then assigned to work at another group home.

Mr. Macomber, in fact, was transferred to different homes four times in the past decade for disciplinary reasons. It was not until last year, after he left a person unattended while he went into a store, that he was put on employment probation and eventually dismissed.

In the remainder of the cases, employees accused of abuse — whether beating the disabled, using racial slurs or neglecting their care — either were suspended, were fined or had their vacation time reduced.

In some cases, not even criminal convictions are disqualifying. Henry Marrero, an employee at a group home in Utica, was convicted of beating a 99-year-old man while moonlighting at a nursing home — slapping the man three times in the face and once on the stomach. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was barred from participating in federally financed health care programs. But he kept his state job working with the developmentally disabled.

The Civil Service Employees Association, one of the most powerful unions in Albany, makes no apologies for its vigorous defense of the group-home workers it represents.

But the union’s approach — contesting just about every charge leveled at a worker — has contributed to a system in which firings of even the most abusive employees are rare. Most disciplinary measures represent a compromise between management and the union, often reached at the urging of an arbitrator chosen by both sides.

Ross D. Hanna, the director of contract administration for the association, likened the union’s role to that of public defenders, saying it was required by state law to represent its members.

“If they’re brought up on charges, we have an absolute duty to represent them,” Mr. Hanna said. “That’s our job.”

He added: “When we know the person is guilty, we try to convince the person to get out of it by resigning. But if the person decides to go forward, we have to do our best job.”

This disciplinary system has made it possible for employees like Mitchell T. Lovett, who worked in several different homes on Long Island, to rack up 10 offenses — including twice punching residents in the face — before losing his job, according to personnel records.

Now admittedly, the full article is six pages long and has very few pictures, so we can expect $Bill’s attention span to lapse, but here is a liberal’s response to this horrific tale:

Yes, I’m sure the whole situation would be cleared up if we de-unionized these folks, and forced them to grovel back their jobs at $7 hour with no benefits. I’m sure the managers of those homes would just relish having some low-paid indentured servants to look after these people. What’s to argue? We all know how greedy and self-serving those union folks can be, unlike Lloyd Blankfein and Dick Fuld doing “God’s work” on Wall Street, right CF?

Now I’m not saying that this person, who probably has a college degree, thus proving the worth of that document, should be barred from voting or even procreating, although I would discourage him from either activity, but there’s a cognitive dissonance here that’s kind of frightening. Rapists and torturers must be protected because it’s unions that protect the “little people”. Were I the parent or spouse of someone in one of these group homes, I’d be outraged, but my guess is that $ Bill is either a union-protected teacher or perhaps one of these oppressors and, either way, he’s certainly happy with the status quo. Or he’s just nuts, but I’m betting he’s union.

 

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Does this make any sense?

NPR must end abusive relationship with Congress (by demanding more taxpayer money).  Before the Juan Williams firing I used to send money to NPR and I still support my favorite music station, WFUV (90.7) which carries, and pays for, NPR headline news, because I receive a good value for my money: great music. But NPR will admit that only 11% of its listeners become members and WFUV, alas  has an even lower loyalty rate of just 7% (goddamned students). So people like reader DollarBill, who advocates keeping sexual molesters in union jobs, want to force taxpayers who don’t listen to NPR or don’t care enough to contribute or both, to either pay to maintain it or go to jail. This passes for what they call ‘free speech”. Hmm.

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Duck, duck goose!

So I was showing a house today and we encountered a full-sized domestic pet goose in the kitchen, complete with diaper (and you don’t want to know what a goose diaper looks like, although Walt can probably tell you). In fairness to the owner we showed up early before the pet could be placed in its pen but as a selling tool, a big ol’ goose shrieking at visitors doesn’t work all that well. This is an interesting business.

UPDATE: by the way, these are the best-priced eight acres in Greenwich with or without “June Bug the Goose”, who could serve up as a terrific house-warming feast.

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GHS auditorium going down again

There’s something about a music auditorium that strikes taxpayers as frivolous, I guess.

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Kick a pig but not a hamster?

A reader sent along this link to the NYT’s former food writer, Mark Bittman, on the difference in how we treat pets vs. farm animals. I’m  for treating all animals as humanely as possible, but reading the article, I wondered why hunting has such a bad image. A free-range deer, shot properly, has probably enjoyed 3 1/2 -5 years out in the woods and meadows, never set hoof  in a feed pen or slaughter-house and gets dropped by a supersonic bullet without ever knowing what’s hit him. That’s not so bad.

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This seems a poor idea

Britain to offer first-time buyers 20% non-recourse home deposits. I’m pretty sure this kind of scheme is got Britain and us in trouble to begin with.

UPDATE: Hmm – apparently it’s been tried in Australia since 1964, without effect.

UPDATE II: On the other hand, first-time buyers have pretty much disappeared from our own nation’s housing market. That’s not to say that subsidies and hand-outs are the answer, just an observation.

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Riverside sale

135 Riverside Ave

The builder of this house tried getting$3.6 for it back in 2008, which was too high, so he rented it out and tried again this year. It sold yesterday for $2.4 million, which stikes me as a tad low.

9 Spring Street, also in Riverside, came on the market just a short time ago asking $2.150 and already has a contract.

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Get a job, keep a job

Public employee unions protect their worst members

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