Daily Archives: August 2, 2013

More of the same, and plenty of it

You knew this was coming: Democrats want the rest of us to bail out Detroit.

Of course, anyone but a regressive would ask how we’re supposed to pay for a perpetual welfare program of our failed cities, when we are increasingly becoming a nation of part time workers. 

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Rethinking charity and the welfare state

If you believe this is a photo of an actual soup kitchen and its patrons, you're a Democrat and live in Greenwich

If you believe this is a photo of an actual soup kitchen and its patrons, you’re a Democrat and live in Greenwich

Church charities in the Third World hurt, don’t help. Forbes interviews Peter Greer, President  and CEO of microfinance organization, Operation Hope:

Peter: There’s an entrepreneur named Jeff Rutt, and after the fall of the Soviet Union he had a desire to go over with his church and help. So, initially they did what people so often do, which is see that people don’t have food and then send over food, and see that people don’t have adequate clothes for the harsh Ukrainian winter and then go in their closets and send things over. And all of that is good, all of that is appropriate, all of that is needed in response to a crisis. But as Jeff did that, after a couple of years it was the team in Ukraine that eventually said—“

Jerry: “Your help is hurting.”

Peter: “Exactly, yeah. And anyone that’s been involved in philanthropy eventually comes to that point. When you try to help, you try to give things, you start to have the consequences. There’s an author Bob Lupton, who really nails it when he says that when he gave something the first time, there was gratitude; and when he gave something a second time to that same community, there was anticipation; the third time, there was expectation; the fourth time, there was entitlement; and the fifth time, there was dependency. That is what we’ve all experienced when we’ve wanted to do good. Something changes the more we just give hand-out after hand-out. Something that is designed to be a help actually causes harm. And so, microfinance turns that model on its head, and instead of going in and just saying, “We’ve got a lot of things you don’t, so we’re just going to give it to you,” it turns that model completely on its head and says, “Every single individual is created by a God who loves them, and that means there is worth and there is dignity and there is ability.” So we go in and say not, “What don’t you have,” but, “What do you have? What are you dreams for your kids? What are your aspirations? What are your hopes? What is it that is in your hand to do?” That changes everything. Microfinance then is the belief that everyone has ability, everyone has capacity, and it asks the question, “What is required to unlock that potential in that community to get them in productive employment?” And so, just real quick, just what that means is we do training, we do financial literacy, we do a place for people to save money, and then for people that are ready, we give them access to small loans so they can invest in their business ideas.”

Gratitude to anticipation to expectation to entitlement to dependency: that’s exactly what our own fifty-plus-year, multi-trillion-dollar “War on Poverty” has achieved in this country, plus gross income inequality, ruined inner cities and families, 50% unemployment rates for young blacks, failed schools and record numbers of people on food stamps, but the regressives like it that way and pour money into more of the same rather than try something new. For them, dependency is not a bug, it’s a feature.Rethinking charity and t

We don’t need to bring microfinancing to America; we already breed entrepreneurs like cockroaches, but “progressives” – Democrats and liberal Republicans alike, stamp all over them, burying them under a suffocating blanket of regulations, laws and punitive taxes. Why? Because if we had an economic system where people could be successful without a Congressman’s help, who would need Congress? There’s not a single member of our House of Representatives or Senate who’s demonstrated an ability to earn an honest living (trial lawyers don’t qualify) and without a mass of people dependent upon them, they’d have no purpose in life, no way to eat.

So we’re on our way to becoming the next Africa. And our political class is just fine with that.

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The Republicans have a cure for that

Fun at Gay Head beach

Chilmark Beach First Family Day, 2013

West Nile Virus found near the Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard  vacation home

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What would we do without experts?

16-year-old Samantha Tamm now regrets her indulgence in Poland Spring

16-year-old Samantha Tamm now regrets her indulgence in Poland Spring

Experts warn that drinking from water bottles causes lip wrinkles. Fortunately these experts are plastic surgeons, and just happen to sell botox cures for the condition.

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The regressives have gone nuts

International Klu Klux Klan Headquarters building, Seattle

International Headquarters Klu Klux Klan, Seattle

Seattle Office of Civil Rights urges discontinuing  use of the terms “citizen” and “brown bag lunch”. “Until our state legislatures banned the words ‘freshman’ and ‘penmanship’, ” said Elliott Bronstein, chief Native American spokespeople of the Office for the Retarded  Feeble Minded, “I didn’t think we stood a Chinaman’s chance of accomplishing this, but I didn’t give a tinker’s damn about that: you want to end racism, you can’t be niggardly – go go go!”

Just south of Seattle, meanwhile, a school principal has determined that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a tool of racist oppression, regardless of whether it’s brought to school in a brown bag or not.

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I’ve been pointing this out, off and on, for several years now, but here’s a succinct summary

$48 Marin County residence: owner will NOT be joining his grounds crew across the bay

$48 Marin County residence: owner will NOT be joining his grounds crew across the bay

Obama’s war on the suburbs. And do take note of San Francisco’s plan that will, under the guise of “global warming” force the poor and the middle class to return to the city and live in stacked boxes or, preferably, disappear from the area altogether. The rich can keep their Marin County estates because, after all, they keep a Prius in the horse stalls. Repeat after me: The global warming movement is about state control, not the earth.

The most obvious new element of the president’s regionalist policy initiative is the July 19 publication of a Department of Housing and Urban Development regulation broadening the obligation of recipients of federal aid to “affirmatively further fair housing.” The apparent purpose of this rule change is to force suburban neighborhoods with no record of housing discrimination to build more public housing targeted to ethnic and racial minorities. Several administration critics noticed the change and challenged it, while the mainstream press has simply declined to cover the story. [Well, FWIW did point this out on July 22).

Yet even critics have missed the real thrust of HUD’s revolutionary rule change. That’s understandable, since the Obama administration is at pains to downplay the regionalist philosophy behind its new directive. The truth is, HUD’s new rule is about a great deal more than forcing racial and ethnic diversity on the suburbs. (Regionalism, by the way, is actually highly controversial among minority groups. There are many ways in which both middle-class minorities in suburbs, and less well-off minorities in cities, can be hurt by regionalist policies–another reason those plans are seldom discussed.)

The new HUD rule is really about changing the way Americans live. It is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars. Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced “economic integration.” The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in “stack and pack” high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse. To understand how HUD’s new rule will help enact this vision, we need to turn to a less-well-known example of the Obama administration’s regionalist interventionism.

In the face of heated public protest, on July 18, two local agencies in metropolitan San Francisco approved “Plan Bay Area,” a region-wide blueprint designed to control development in the nine-county, 101-town region around San Francisco for the next 30 years. The creation of a region-wide development plan–although it flies in the face of America’s core democratic commitment to local control–is mandated by California’s SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008. The ostensible purpose of this law is to combat global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. That is supposedly why California’s legislature empowered regional planning commissions to override local governments and press development away from suburbs into densely-packed urban areas. In fact, the reduction of greenhouse gases (which Plan Bay Area does little to secure) largely serves as a pretext for undercutting the political and economic independence of California suburbs.

Essentially, Plan Bay Area attempts to block the development of any new suburbs, forcing all population growth over the next three decades into the existing “urban footprint” of the region. The plan presses 70-80 percent of all new housing and 66 percent of all business expansion into 150 or so “priority development areas” (PDAs), select neighborhoods near subway stations and other public transportation facilities. This scheme will turn up to a quarter of the region’s existing neighborhoods–many now dotted with San Francisco’s famously picturesque, Victorian-style single-family homes–into mini-Manhattans jammed with high-rises and tiny apartments. The densest PDAs will be many times denser than Manhattan. (See the powerful ten-minute audio-visual assault on Plan Bay Area at the 45-55 minute mark of this debate.)

In effect, by preventing the development of new suburbs, and reducing traditional single-family home development in existing suburbs, Plan Bay Area will squeeze 30 years worth of in-migrating population into a few small urban enclaves, and force most new businesses into the same tight quarters. The result will be a steep increase in the Bay Area’s already out-of-control housing prices. This will hit the poor and middle class the hardest. While some poor and minority families will receive tiny subsidized apartments in the high-rise PDAs, many others will find themselves displaced by the new development, or priced out of the local housing market altogether.

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Brace yourself, Bridget

DamselAnyone notice the workmen underneath the railroad bridge on Sound Beach Avenue? They showed up recently – this week, I believe, and are getting it ready for its rebuilding. I think that starts in September and Sound Beach Avenue is expected to be closed for something like two years. Worse still, the state will close Tomack Avenue at the same time so that bridge too can be replaced. Traffic through Riverside is going to be God awful for quite awhile: perhaps that will provide its overheated market a much-needed cooling off period.

By the way, if you bought a house in Old Greenwich in the past 2-3 years, did your agent warn you that this was coming? It would have been the polite thing for her to do.

UPDATE: Pulled up in Old Greenwich says that the bridge will be be open one lane at a time, with full closings only occasionally, at night. That’s not what I heard described a while back but if they’ve changed the plans, great. Guess we’ll find out.

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Sale and a haircut

Two more properties

328 Lake Avenue

328 Lake Avenue

328 Lake Avenue has sold for $3 million. I thought this was an excellent house: built in 1909, completely renovated, close to town yet set far enough back from Lake to avoid (most of) the noise. I had clients who liked it too but were put off by the detached garage (not a concern in my opinion, but for some people, that’s a turn-off) and, more critically, they felt the bedrooms were too spread out over two floors for their very young children. So it didn’t work for them, but not everyone has infants who must be kept close and for that family, this will be a great house. It started off in 2012 at $3.495, by the way, and when it didn’t sell promptly, the owners rented it and brought it back this year at $3.195, which obviously did the trick.

33 Meeting House Road

33 Meeting House Road

And 33 Meeting House Road, 807 days on the market, has taken a substantial price cut to $6.995 million from yesterday’s price of $7.750 (it started at $8.995). This is a fantastic house, beautifully made, on beautiful grounds, but Meeting House is a tough sell, both because of its distance from town and because of its poverty hollow look at the entrance. I heard from a neighbor that one of the two houses creating that effect, Jimmy LiCata’s abandoned Spanish hacienda, is being restarted. Last time I went by there several months ago nothing was happening ,which is a pity because, if the house is somehow salvageable after all these years open to the weather, it’d be a pretty nifty home, albeit not in the traditional Greenwich style. As it is, the failed spec job and the run down house across the street don’t make a good impression on someone driving in to view a $9 or, now, a $7 million home.  Regis Philbin’s house took forever to sell here, and that was a tear-down; huge bucks paid for Meeting House may have to wait until the Licata property situation is resolved.

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Riverside again

 

12 Wesskum Wood Rd

12 Wesskum Wood Rd

12 Wesskum Wood Road, asked $2.495 originally, got $2.150. Not my taste but again, the land – a half-acre – must be worth close to that, and Wesskum is an almost traffic free street (cut-through drivers prefer the straighter path of Owenoke, next street over) and an easy walk to everything. People will pay up for that convenience.

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Fudrucker decides against cutting his commission fee 26%, devises new strategy

I’m not included in this new business plan

milf

 

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Walt, you’re wrong

Walter suggests that saying that a helicopter flying overhead goes “wop wop wop” shouldn’t be interpreted as offensive by people of the Italian persuasion. In ordinary circumstances I’d agree, but some bloggers set out to deliberately offend as many people as they can, such as this asshole who last January wrote about and illustrated a listing on Guinea Road.

Screen Shot 2013-08-02 at 12.50.55 PM

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And he’s back!

22 Welwyn

22 Welwyn

22 Welywn Road, Riverside, has a contract after two weeks. Asking $2.499 million which given all the improvements/renovations detailed in the listing, seems pretty reasonable for this street. The half-acre it sits on is probably worth close to $2 million, so ….

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If only this weren’t true

Double trouble: a chink in the Mongoloid's armor

Double trouble: a chink in Mongoloid armor

Asian-American journalists condemn newscaster’s use of phrase “chink in the armor” as racist and demeaning.

A CNBC reporter is under fire for using the phrase “chink in the armor” during a Tuesday discussion of Wendi Deng’s pending divorce from News Corp and 21st Century Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch.

The comments by CNBC’s Robert Frank drew a critical response from the Asian American Journalists Association, which condemned the statements as “offensive” and “inappropriate.”

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