Daily Archives: August 12, 2013

Who stands for nothing will fall for anything

I'm in control here

I’m in control here

Jennifer Rubin’s WaPo commentary on the president’s usurpation of legislative powers was written before today’s announcement that he’s ordered his DOJ to ignore the nation’s drug laws, but it’s the same point: liberals ignore what he’s doing now because they (and libertarians, in the matter of drug laws) approve, but the precedent he’s setting will come back in a more displeasurable form.

But of course no president is empowered to ignore parts of laws, even ones he dubs to be outside the “core” of legislation. The president should have been challenged at the press conference. Congress should not allow its job of making and amending legislation to be usurped by the president, whose theory would allow a President Chris Christie or President Scott Walker to announce he was unilaterally halting the individual mandate or the medical device tax.

The president’s penchant for authoritarianism has not been limited to Obamacare. He has also altered immigration law and  gone after the work requirement in welfare legislation. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) has put together a handy compendium of these power grabs. Couple those with his recess appointments and excessive use of executive privilege to deny Congress the ability to conduct oversight and you have a president attempting to exercise unprecedented powers.

The left is convulsed over the president’s enforcement of duly passed anti-terror legislation that is subject to both judicial and legislative oversight. Yet when it comes to their favorite domestic initiatives, they muster no concern about an out-of-control executive. They should keep this in mind when the next GOP president comes along.

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The cult of personality is still meeting a bit of resistance

 

Another career cut short

Another career cut short

Proud mama posts video of her little boy praying to Obama, to mixed reviews.

Washington Times:

video posted to YouTube on Sunday quickly went viral, because it shows a little boy praying to, not for, the commander in chief.

Squeezing his eyes closed tight, the boy, Stephen, says, “Barack Obama, thank you for doing everything and all the kind stuff. Thank you for all the stuff that you helped us with.”

“You are good, Barack Obama. You are great,” he concludes, throwing his arms in the arms and screaming, “Barack Obama!”

The video, titled “Prayer for President Barack Obama,” was posted by Regina Young, presumably the boy’s mother, with a description reading: “The prayer that he wanted to say for our President is priceless.”

The reaction to the boy’s prayer has been disproportionately negative.

“You should be ashamed of yourself for teaching your child that it is acceptable to pray to a man, and not God,” one commenter wrote. “Especially a man hell bent on destroying our nation. Stop breeding..immediately.”

“Disgusting. Pray for this poor child’s soul,” another said.

Another: “Thank you for a free obama phone, thank you for having millions of Americans on food stamps, thank you for an economy that is in the crapper…Should I go on? Oh yeah and thanks for me and my wife being first unemployed and now underemployed.”

Everybody’s a critic.

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You think you have bad neighbors …

Peking - duck!

Peking – duck!

Mr. Bland Zhing builds his dream house. 

A Chinese man has spent six years building his dream mountaintop villa – on top of a Beijing apartment block.

Eccentric Professor Zhang Lin shifted tons of rubble and rock onto the roof of the building to construct the outrageous home which looks like it has been carved from a mountainside.

The property even has a rocky mountain garden, complete with rubble and shrubbery.

But his distraught neighbours are less than impressed with the project and fear the building is about to collapse.

The rooftop home, which never received planning approval, has caused cracks to appear in his neighbours’ ceilings and walls while some have had to put up with leaks from broken pipes and drains.

They have also been forced to live with the noise and disturbance caused from the building work.

One resident said their apartment is constantly flooded while another described the academic as a ‘menace’.

‘This was originally a small attic when he bought it. But he tore that down and built this mountain on top of us,’ said one.

‘He’s broken drains so we’re always being flooded when it rains and there are huge structural cracks in our ceiling and walls,’ they added.

‘He is a menace as a neighbour and he didn’t get any permission to build this monstrosity,’ said another.

Mr Lin could now be ordered to tear down his mountain penthouse if it is deemed unsafe.

‘It has come to our attention that Professor Zhang did not apply for permission for this structure. So unless he can prove it is safe, it will have to come down,’ explained an city official.

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Fred Camillo won’t even sniff before stepping in it

Untroubled by thought, Fred Camillo is taken for a walk

Untroubled by thought, Fred Camillo is taken for a walk

Our local Republican representative to Hartford, Fred Camillo, posted on his Facebook page an announcement that he’s found time, after permanently preventing another mass shooting and stopping the abuse of pets, to turn his attention to the third-largest threat to Connecticut, distracted driving.

I am not – NOT – interested in a discussion of the merits of more laws on this topic:- that’s for another day. My point, for this post, is that my suggestion to Freddie that he look at actual data before legislating new laws that possibly were not needed was met by the universal response of politicians everywhere: don’t confuse me with facts, my mind’s made up. All I asked was that he look at what he was proposing to regulate before regulating it. No such luck, and no wonder our state’s in the mess that it is: Fred has 186 people just like him up in Hartford, deciding our fate.

Here’s the kick-off:

  • Chris Fountain Two recent studies ** you might want to consider before spending more of our tax dollars on this: one, from Australia, found zero correlation between cellphone use and accidents (the researchers called the results of their study “counter-intuitive”, and I suppose they are), the other, by the Insurance Institute of America, found that the biggest cause of “distracted driving” accidents, by far, was not cellphone use or texting, it was daydreaming. Ban thought?
  • Fred Camillo Well, Chris….having been hit by one, I disagree with you. It is a huge problem, one that cost the life of a local man jogging last year. As far as daydreaming, yes, I am sure that happens, too, but that is not our charge, nor will this study cost too much in the way of ” tax dollars”, as the task force members aren’t being paid extra for this.
    Chris Fountain But Fred, we already have enough laws and regulations on the books based on anecdotal “evidence” and guessed-at solutions; don’t add to them unnecessarily, is all I suggest. Do your study, but do your study.
  • Fred Camillo Chris….I respect the difference of opinion on this, but have to go by what I see, and what law enforcement tells us. And yes, there are many laws and regulations that should be revisited and ultimately erased from the books. I totally agree with you on that, but this issue is one that is costing lives and ruining even more each day. I don’t think it is being based on anecdotal evidence, but on reality. The answer may be technological, but just as we don’t see people driving around with open containers of beer the way we used to, we must also discourage this cultural phenomenon that is threatening to be even more deadly. We take your position often on the floor of the House and Senate, but there are times when laws are needed. I believe this is one of those times

*Cell phone use may not cause accidents.

**Day dreaming is the top cause of distracted driving accidents, not cell phones, not texting.

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Secretary of the Interior: believe in the Gospel of Global Warming or get out!

If it saves the life of just one glacier ...

If it saves the life of just one glacier …

Obama’s Secretary of the Interior tells employees, “I hope there are no climate change deniers in my department”.

Gee, that’s over 70,000 employees to be vetted and a pile of agencies to be scoured for heretics

Sophisticates like to scoff at the Catholic church’s persecution of Galileo.

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Private sale on Ashton Drive

2 Ashton Drive (photo circa 2001)

2 Ashton Drive (photo circa 2001)

But the realtors still got paid. 2 Ashton Drive has sold for $6.9 million. That’s a good price: it’s more than the larger (but to some viewers far less desirable) No. 3 Ashton, which fetched $6.875  this past May after two years on the market, and a big jump over its 2001 purchase price of $6.075.

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Another boost for Greenwich real estate values

 

You're gonna love the way you look - again

You’re gonna love the way you look – again

Judge strikes down NYC’s “stop and frisk” policy. “Why should Chicago, with the same anti-gun laws our city has, have ten-times the homicide rate? We can surely do better than that.”

In fact, the judge’s ruling will soon be irrelevant anyway, because every candidate for NYC Mayor has pledged to end the practice and stop every other crime-prevention program begun by Giuliani and continued by Bloomberg.

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ObamaKare might have an unexpected benefit

 

Say goodbye to all that

Say goodbye to all that

“Cadillac” plans: pretty much any health insurance plan that’s not provided by your friends in the welfare office, will soon be a thing of the past. This is what the regressives who pushed ObamKare wanted, of course – you can’t level up, but you can sure level down, so unless you’re a member of Congress, say hello to your new CVS staff nurse.

But what the designers may not have intended is the disassociation between employer and employee medical insurance, a link that, because of its tax-free treatment, has shielded consumers from much of the costs of health care. This new Cadillac tax is pushing employers towards a new system that will force employees to pay attention to what they’re paying for:

Another option that more employers are considering is moving toward a defined-benefit health plan, in which they give their employees a set amount of cash (below the Cadillac threshold), and allow them to choose and purchase insurance for themselves via private exchanges.

When something isn’t perceived as free, people don’t spend it as freely, and perhaps they’ll start performing cost comparisons and benefit analysis on their own. That will help hold down medical costs, presumably, but the end of premium insurance will certainly annoy everyone who presently has health insurance provided by his employer:

The upshot of such benefits is that employees can design and select their own plan options, but the overall value of their plans will still likely be less than their benefits they currently enjoy.

“It’s ironic because the point of the Affordable Care Act was to expand coverage to the 30 million people who don’t have it,” Watts says. “But a by product of that is that the employer-sponsored plans just aren’t going to be as good as they once were.”

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Sales and contracts

Four so far this morning.

21 Cary Rd

21 Cary Rd

Twenty-one Cary Road, one of the bungalows put up as temporary veterans housing in 1946 and in this instance, left untouched since, sold for $425,000. Maybe I should have alerted that realty show producer looking to follow buyers around Greenwich as they looked for homes in the $3-$600,000 range about this one; most of the rest of the country would have found it entertaining to see what a dollar buys in Greenwich.

23 Shore Acre

23 Shore Acre

23 Shore Acre, Old Greenwich, sold for $1,562,500, on an asking price of $1.599. This wouldn’t sell in 2011 when it was priced at $1.949 but it moved quickly with its new price this spring. I keep wondering why people are paying so much to live in the OG flood zone but obviously the banks aren’t concerned, so why am I?

135 Taconic Rd

135 Taconic Rd

And up in the backcountry 135 Taconic Road has a contract despite an asking price of $14,950,000. That’s a price drop from its $17.5 million 2012 ask but still, not chump change. The demise of the white elephant has been overstated. A Jordan Saper creation – I don’t like them but so what; buyers do. This has already sold twice since it was built, for $9.087 in 2001, $11,460 in 2005 and now $14 +. Lots of renovations/improvements put in between those price increases, mind you, but still, the Saper design appeals.

47 Sachem

47 Sachem

And a buyer in a slightly more modest price range has an accepted offer on 47 Sachem Lane, in Cos Cob – $1.095 million. Is the Taconic Road owner downsizing? His agent won’t say.

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As a political observer, Barbara O’Shea is a fine Greenwich realtor

Casa O'Shea: a "vestige of glorious architecture, Havana"

Casa O’Shea: a “vestige of glorious architecture, Havana”

Ms. O’Shea is back from a Cuba vacation sponsored by the Greenwich Arts Council (I believe they’re the recipient of taxpayer-subsidized space on Greenwich Avenue) and had a marvelous time watching the cheerful people of Cuba celebrate life.

From her Greenwich Time interview:

O’Shea, who has a day job as a Realtor at Sotheby’sInternational Realty, documented the trip with her camera and found the Cuban people, “welcoming, educated, and creative.” The images she captured can be seen as part of a photographic exhibit,”Cuba: First Take,” on display at the Greenwich Arts Council’s Bendheim Gallery Director’s Hall. It features works by O’Shea and some of the other members of the trip. Greenwich Time took a Time Out with O’Shea recently to ask her about the trip and her passion for photography.

Q: What were some of the things that struck you about Cuba?

A: Driving to our destination in Havana I saw a landscape of contrasts, the vestiges of glorious architecture and design tracing the history of this fabled land. The faded beauty of the crowded streets didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the bustling Cuban people. Throughout the week we strolled the cobblestone streets of Old Havana (La Habana Vieja), and walked the popular tree lined Paseo del Prado promenade which is the heart of the city center. The iconic American cars of the 40s and 50s buzzed by our square in various states of gleaming color offering convertible rides for the nostalgic. [Those crazy, lovable Cubans don’t want new cars – they only buy American, and 1940 American at that!]

Q: What did you learn about the art of Cuba?

A: Our guides introduced us to many of the leading Cuban artists of the day. There is great power in their work as they individually express their views of life in Castro’s Cuba. [Cuba is the most heavily censored country in the Western Hemisphere] Our visit to the National Art School revealed the same tradition still strong. The National Fine Arts Museum’s collection was an extraordinary surprise and delight. The Museum of the Revolution and the Plaza of the Revolution, two of the symbols of this complex island nation, are not to be missed.

Q: What about the Cuban people?

A: The Cuban people are welcoming, educated and creative, living as they do with limited island resources. [No mention that Castro himself has admitted that the economy he implemented by force doesn’t work] Their ability to repurpose and reinvent [otherwise known as making do with cast-off junk from the 50s]   is to be admired [by liberal American tourists]. Passing through the countryside and small towns gave us an additional glimpse into the daily life of the hardworking people.[hardworking, si, paid, not so much. Food is strictly rationed, pensions are $9 per months, working in the only industry left in Cuba, sugar, pays $20 per month]. The historic town of Cienfuegos by the sea with its perfectly preserved theater/opera house from 1886 and other architectural gems reinforce the understanding of the rich and deep heritage of Cuba.

Q. Were there any other highlights?

A: Witnessing the Afro-Cuban dancing in the Trinidad town square at night was a highlight of our two days in this sleepy colonial village [and thank Fidel, no homos in those dance ensembles  Castro having rounded them up and shipped them off to hard-labor prison camps for reeducation] where transportation was donkey cart, horse-drawn carriage, bicycles and scooters but mostly on foot. [Another success story for communism and for green people everywhere: no cars! Walking is so much more restful for barefoot peasants, ¿pero no?] Joyful and lively music filled the streets and cafes throughout our travels. Cigars and coffee along with Cuba Libres rounded out many fine meals.[What do you bet O’Shay and her friends weren’t smoking the “peso cigars” ordinary citizens are restricted to? She doesn’t strike me as they type to enjoy smoking dried horse shit, somehow]  Then, our journey ended at the Buena Vista Social Club in the famed Hotel Nacional de Cuba where many Americans honeymooned back in the day. [And which, when Castro took over, was permanently closed and its musicians, like Ibrahim Ferrer, were forced to work on the streets as shoeshine boys because they’d played decadent western music].

O’Shea wouldn’t know it, dazzled as she was by the wonderful sights and sounds of jolly Havana, but the artwork she so admired is heavily controlled and censored by the dictatorship of the People’s Republic of Cuba.

Cubans cannot watch or listen to independent, private, or foreign broadcasts.

Cubans cannot read books, magazines or newspapers unless they have been approved/published by the government.[17] Cubans can not receive publications from abroad or from visitors.[17]

Before the Communist regime, Havana boasted 135 cinemas — more than New York City or Paris. Today less than 20 remain open, although the city’s population has doubled.[22][23] The Communist regime established a control of Cuba’s film industry, and it was made compulsory for all movies to be censored by theInstituto Cubano de Arte y Industria Cinematográfico before broadcast or release.[24]

If liberal communist apologists want to travel to Cuba and support its dictatorship, that’s their business, mostly. I just wish they wouldn’t return to places like Greenwich, average home value $1.8 million, and was rhapsodic on the beauty and joy bestowed on its happy subjects by the Castro kleptocracy.

Or sponsor shows about it on my dime.

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NYT’s David Brooks proves his old-style conservative chops

Going down? David Brooks exhorts his NYT colleagues

Going down? David Brooks enheartens his NYT colleagues

Welcomes the “return to authority” by consumers of news, back to organizations like his employer

“I think the audience has changed online,” Brooks said. “I think there’s been a return to authority. You know, I used to read blogs, and you’d kind of be reading something interesting, and then the bloggerwould write, ‘Well, I’ve got to quit now. I’m going off to junior high.’ I realized I’d been reading a 12-year old. But I think there has been a return away from some of that toward, whether it’s online or in print, a return to quality. People who actually make the calls, who are not speculating, who are reporting and I think there’s been a return to that sort of stuff.”

Mr. Brooks did not mention the specific names of individuals in the mainstream press whom he considers to be “real” reporters.

UPDATE: Brooks reminds me of how Pajamas Media, the best of libertarian thought, took its name: after bloggers disclosed Dan Rather’s use of fraudulent documents to smear George Bush, the older version of David Brooks dismissed their claim to the title journalist.

 PJ Media’s name, formerly Pajamas Media, is derived from a dismissive comment made by former news executive vice-president Jonathan Klein of CBSduring the Killian documents affair involving then-CBS anchorman Dan Rather in the fall of 2004: “You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances at 60 Minutes and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas.”

Mr. Klein is gone, Dan Rather’s gone, and David Brooks is tied to the sinking ship that is still called mainstream, objective journalism. Bye ku.

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Brooklyn College cuts off all ties to Wiener

Oh my god, ladies, avert you eyes!

Oh my god, ladies, avert your eyes!

Karen L. Gould, Brooklyn College’s first female president, scholar of French/Canadian female literature (which must have yielded the shortest doctoral thesis in the history of education) spent $107,000 replacing her school’s logo, which to her looked like a big prick and not the campus’s 1930’s La Guardia bell tower.

Despite its cost,Gould’s insertion of a new logo into campus life was popular among at least some professors:

Back in 2009, one apparently phallus-averse education professor was an eager beaver for the new logo.

“Can you send me a copy of the new Brooklyn College logo?” requested associate professor Barbara Winslow in a December 2009 email obtained by The Post. “We want to make a Women’s Studies banner, and want to use the not-so-phallic logo.”

Keisha-Gaye Anderson, a spokeswoman for the taxpayer-funded school, would not divulge the source of the $107,000. She did swear it wasn’t government funds or tuition, though.

Gould makes $254,421 in annual salary.

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