Daily Archives: April 11, 2013

Mark this day

For today is the anniversary of the day Democrat president Woodrow Wilson, darling of the progressive movement, brought segregation north. Where’s that reader “Pulled up in OG”, who’s been reaching back to 1776 to pronounce the founding fathers worthless racists?

One hundred years ago today, Woodrow Wilson brought Jim Crow to the North. …

The Progressives … were not, however, ordinary men, and they knew it. Like their successors today, they dominated America’s universities. With some justification, they thought of themselves as an intellectual elite; and, with rare exceptions, they enthusiastically embraced eugenics and racial theory. That the inchoate racial prejudices of their contemporaries were grounded in fact they took to be a truth taught by science; and, being devotees of rational administration to the exclusion of all other concerns, they insisted that public policy conform to the dictates of the new racial science.

Wilson, our first professorial president, was a case in point. He was the very model of a modern Progressive, and he was recognized as such. He prided himself on having pioneered the new science of rational administration, and he shared the conviction, dominant among his brethren, that African-Americans were racially inferior to whites. With the dictates of Social Darwinism and the eugenics movement in mind, in 1907, he campaigned in Indiana for the compulsory sterilization of criminals and the mentally retarded; and in 1911, while governor of New Jersey, he proudly signed into law just such a bill.

Prior to the segregation of the civil service in 1913, appointments had been made solely on merit as indicated by the candidate’s performance on the civil-service examination. Thereafter, racial discrimination became the norm. Photographs came to be required at the time of application, and African-Americans knew they would not be hired. The existing work force was segregated. Many African-Americans were dismissed.  ….  For 35 years, segregation in the civil service would be public policy. It was only after Adolf Hitler gave eugenics and “scientific racism” a bad name that segregation came to seem objectionable.

Jim Crow had not been the norm before 1890, even in the deep South. As C. Vann Woodward noted nearly 60 years ago, in The Strange Career of Jim Crow, it became the norm there only when it received sanction from the racist Progressives in the North. Their influence was profound and pervasive. In 1900, E. L. Godkin, founder and longtime editor of The Nation, saw the handwriting on the wall. In the pages of that journal, he lamented that “the Declaration of Independence no longer arouses enthusiasm; it is an embarrassing instrument which requires to be explained away. The Constitution is said to be ‘outgrown.’” Those who once “boasted that it had secured for the negro the rights of humanity and citizenship” now listen “in silence to the proclamation of white supremacy” and make “no protest against the nullifications of the Fifteenth Amendment.”

Wilson championed the trend identified by Godkin. In his presidential campaign in 1912, he told his compatriots, “We are in the presence of a new organization of society.” Our time marks “a new social stage, a new era of human relationships, a new stage-setting for the drama of life,” and “the old political formulas do not fit the present problems: they read now like documents taken out of a forgotten age.” What Thomas Jefferson had once taught is now, he contended, utterly out of date. It is “what we used to think in the old-fashioned days when life was very simple.”

Above all, Wilson wanted to persuade his compatriots to get “beyond the Declaration of Independence.” That document “did not mention the questions of our day,” he told his countrymen. “It is of no consequence to us.” He regarded it as “an eminently practical document, meant for the use of practical men; not a thesis for philosophers, but a whip for tyrants; not a theory of government, but a program of action.” For the rights of individuals celebrated in that document and for the limits on the scope of government implicit in its celebration of those particular rights, he had no use. They were, he recognized, an obstacle to rational administration of the very sort exemplified by his subsequent segregation of the civil service.

For similar reasons, Wilson was hostile to the constitutional provisions intended as a guarantee of limited government. The separation of powers, the balances and checks, and the distribution of authority between nation and state distinguishing the American constitution he regarded as an obstacle to the formation and pursuit of rational public policy. “Government” he considered “not a machine, but a living thing . . . accountable to Darwin, not to Newton.” Nothing of that sort could, he believed, “have its organs offset against each other, as checks, and live.” Its health was “dependent upon” the “quick co-operation” of these organs, “their ready response to the commands of instinct or intelligence, their amicable community of purpose.” Wilson was the first to call for there to be a “living” political constitution “Darwinian in structure and in practice.” To this end, in running for the presidency he openly sought “permission — in an era in which ‘development,’ ‘evolution,’ is the scientific word — to interpret the Constitution according to Darwinian principle.”

Today’s progressives eschew Social Darwinism and the pseudo-scientific racism espoused by their intellectual forebears, and they oppose racial segregation and the sterilization of criminals and the mentally retarded. But they are no less confident of their own righteousness than were the Progressives of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and they have no more respect for the rights espoused in the Declaration of Independence, for limited government, and for constitutional forms than did their predecessors. On this day, the hundredth anniversary of Wilson’s segregation of the civil service, they ought to reflect on the terrible damage apt to be done by an unlimited government disdainful of the natural rights of man and dedicated to rational administration as envisaged by fallible men.

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Enough of the bad news, here’s something pretty cool

Parents surprise 4-year-old at Disneyland when her Marine father comes home from Afghanistan.

‘I wish with all my heart that my daddy would come home,’ she says while covering both her eyes over the well’s edge.

Lt. Scott Brown and Alyssa

Lt. Scott Brown and Alyssa

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At least you can’t call them Indian givers – they never gave in the first place

It's two mints in one!

It’s two mints in one!

Obama and Betsy Warren have something else in common besides their oppressed  minority status: they’re both letting their brothers languish in poverty.

Betsy’s brother lives on $13,000 a year (“look, he’s a lazy bum, the Senator explains, “you think I’m gonna support him? That’s you people’s job, and I’ve come to Washington to make sure that you do it.”

Barry’s brother George lives on about ten bucks a month, but as Hussein points out, “money goes a lot farther in Africa – he’s fine, really.”

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Something that can’t continue, won’t

 

Greenwich Democrats visit California to express their unity with the poor

Greenwich Democrats visit California to express their unity with the poor

Government spending per household now exceeds median household income. We already know that 50% of us don’t pay income taxes, so who do you suppose will pay for this largess? Hint: despite Obama’s fervent rabble rousing appeal to the mob, it won’t be just the “rich” – there aren’t enough of them, sucker.

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Planned Parenthood: until it has left the womb and survived “for awhile”, a baby is a fetus and may be disposed of as the mother, and only the mother sees fit

Just a collection of cells.

SCIENCE: While in womb, babies begin learning language from their mothers. “Babies only hours old are able to differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. The study indicates that babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, earlier than previously thought. Sensory and brain mechanisms for hearing are developed at 30 weeks of gestational age, and the new study shows that unborn babies are listening to their mothers talk during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy and at birth can demonstrate what they’ve heard.”

As Glenn Reynolds points out, “[o]f course, this may be one of those unreliable small-sample neuroscience studies we’ve been hearing about: “Forty infants, about 30 hours old and an even mix of girls and boys, were studied in Tacoma and Stockholm, Sweden.”

Posted at 6:33 pm by Glenn Reynolds 

Here’s Planned Parenthood on “post-birth abortion”,  until recently known as infanticide.

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More proof that global warming is unprecedented

Well darn, I hid the Internet under it while I was perfecting the whole idea and then forgot where I'd put it!

Well darn, I hid the Internet under there in a lockbox, and then plum forgot where I’d put it!

“Mysterious” stone structure found thirty feet under water in Sea of Galilee . Since sea level, according to warmists, has remained exactly unchanged during the history of man and only began rising six years ago when the phenomenon was discovered by mainstream media, scientists are perplexed as to who would have built such a massive structure under the sea in 400BC. “It couldn’t happen, “NASA’s Greenist in Chief and Muppeteer Jim Hansen says,”therefore it didn’t. Your eyes are playing tricks on you”.

From Tennessee, another expert thinks he has an explanation that reconciles the (supposed) existence of the rocks and the constant sea level.

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Foreclosure rates soar in Fairfield County

Interesting interactive map here, where you can drag your cursor over individual towns and get the numbers. Greenwich, according to Realty-Trac, has one active foreclosure for every 1,600 homes, Bridgeport’s rate is more like one in five hundred. I’d speculate that the difference has less to do with how much better Greenwich households are doing than Bridgeport’s and is instead the result of how expensive the homes are here and the sophistication of Greenwichites, who know to hire a lawyer to drag the process out for four or five years. I’m aware of several situations in town where the lenders haven’t even begun foreclosure on loans that have been in default for more than 18 months because, they reason, it’s better to have the homeowner there at least keeping the place heated than to leave it empty while the suit drags on.

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Three accepted offers of note

56 Frontier, 828 North and 19 Stoney Wylde.

56 Frontier

56 Frontier

56 Frontier is a well built house with a great back yard. I liked it and so did my clients, who put in a bid that was rejected (they went on to buy an even better house, in our opinion, so no harm no foul). Asking $3.195 at the end, it started at $3.999 in 2008, and was purchased new in 2003 for $3.350, with a lot of improvements added later. Good house.

828 North Street

828 North Street

828 is not much of a house, but it sits on 4+ acres just across from the lower gate of Conyers Farm. Very decent building site, it would be a fantastic building site were it a little closer to town. But it’s a pretty straight run down North Street to downtown, so it’s not hard to imagine why someone would ignore the distance. It was the price that kept this on the market so long, not the location. Started at $5.995 million in 2008, finally dropped to $3.250.

19 Stoney Wylde was just purchased for $2.975 million in 2010 yet has an accepted offer now on a last listing price of $3.1 million. Not a tear down – this is a beautiful contemporary, but the real draw here is the land, or that’s how my own clients viewed it. Depending on the final selling price, this might be a pure land sale. We’ll see.

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How not to hold a broker open house

I was just at another Riverside house, where the listing agent brought along a friend to entertain her, apparently, because the two ladies sat in the kitchen chatting with each other while we snooks wandered through by ourselves.
A good agent at least pretends to be interested in selling  selling her client’s house and makes herself available to answer questions and perhaps even point out features that otherwise might be missed. I guess this one figures that with the Riverside market so hot the house will sell itself. Such easy work for $50,000, or so they think. Spring always brings out a new flock of agents, mostly bored housewives who think would be fun to get rich selling their fellow PTA and Garden Club mommies’s houses. A few stick around and do well; the others discover that there’s work involved, fly off to Nantucket for the summer and we don’t see them again.

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Why your agent goes to open houses for you

Just left a Riverside house whose listing claims a first-floor bedroom and bath. I have clients who need just that accommodate elderly family visitors so I made it a point to stop in. Imagine my disappointment to learn that the reason I had to ask where that bedroom was was that, in the agent’s opinion, the closetless office at one end of the house could be served by the tiny shower at the other end and voila! A bedroom. That’s ridiculous and unprofessional. At least I wasn’t embarrassed by wasting my clients’ time dragging them over to see this (otherwise very nice) house.

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Report from the open house tour (now that kerfuffle at GHS has faded)

8 Taylor Drive, Cos Cob. Overlooks former Food Mart’s parking lot, but at $1,495,000 and 2008 construction, probably best value in this price range for new (ish) construction. The owner paid $1.695 in 2008, which I probably wouldn’t have advised, but given the low inventory today, a good buy. It will be gone by Monday, I predict,
(No listing link because I’m on my iPhone )

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Lock down at GHs

Rumor is that three gunmen have been detained but that’s just a student repeating a rumor. There aren’t that many critics of the music hall.No other news yet.

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Not everything in Riverside is gold; silver, maybe, but not gold

If you go to the trouble to Photoshop in clouds, why not take out the wires while you're at it?

If you go to the trouble to Photoshop in clouds, why not take out the wires while you’re at it?

11 Miltiades, asking $1.295 million, reports an accepted offer. I’d call this another free house deal, but of more interest, to me, is that it last sold in 2004 for $1.250. Toss in some negotiation between asking and agreed-upon price, and the 2004 record looks safe.

16 Indian Head Rd

16 Indian Head Rd

Still unsold and thus on the open house tour today is 16 Indian Head Road, at its new lower price of $3.999 million. It sold in 2005 for $3.945. My thought then was that someone had overpaid. So far, the market seems to agree with that assessment.

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We’re back

Between rushing around yesterday and being sick, no blogging got accomplished. Should be more active today (I’d ask about paid sick leave for the self-employed but I’m afraid to give the Democrats any ideas) with open houses etc.

In the meantime, and following up on yesterday’s last post, the Board of Education voted last night to go ahead full steam with the music hall, $42 million price tag destined to soar still higher of not. The discussion was about an orchestra pit: we’ll be digging a pit alright, but a money pit, not one for the next, heretofore-undiscovered Otto Klemperer.

Here’s a sample of what the board heard, and ignored:

Saying the savings would not be worth the sacrifice, the Board of Education Wednesday rejected plans to cut from the Greenwich High School music instruction and auditorium project in order to make up for escalating costs.

After construction bids for the project came in last month about $6 million over budget, architects of the so-called MISA project proposed getting rid of the orchestra pit and second balcony from the new 1,325-seat auditorium, which would save an estimated $1.7 million.

The project estimated to cost $37 million a year ago has grown to more than $42 million.

Board members agreed the orchestra pit was worth keeping, even though it will be built below the water table, and needs a watertight seal to keep water contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls from infiltrating the construction site.

Superintendent of Schools William McKersie said the district is competing with private schools to attract students interested in music and theater programs, and the new auditorium could make the high school more attractive.

Saying that while he supports the MISA project as is, board member Peter Sherr said he was worried previous budget estimates have been too low. Both Sherr and board member Peter von Braun voted against going forward to ask for permission to finance the project. They’re worried it will have negative effects on other education programs, such as an upcoming investment in digital learning.

“We have the right project for the wrong price tag,” Sherr said. “If we run into any problems, this thing is going to blow past $42.5 (million) without blinking.”

Before the vote on financing, von Braun threw out a radical suggestion: Build a new high school. He said the possibility had been floating around among people in town over the last week. The town could cap the high school fields and save millions of dollars in soil remediation costs. Von Braun said the town could also make up for the $100 million to $150 million cost of building the new school by moving Town Hall to the current high school and renting out the empty building on Field Point Road.

“Here is an opportunity, with delay, to get a free major high school,” von Braun said. “Compared to the nine years (for MISA) we could do this with in a comparatively short period of time.”

The idea was met with raised eyebrows from board members and laughter from those in the audience.

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