Daily Archives: August 17, 2013

NEA members discover yet another way to screw the taxpayer


Reaching for the top

Reach for the top

40,000 public school teachers said to be prostituting themselves on sugar daddy.com. Sex with teens is an entertaining diversion but it doesn’t pay the bills, apparently.

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Elvis sighting in Shorelands?

Castle a la Diane

Castle a la Diane

Mobile homes on stilts replacing bungalows made obsolete by FEMA regs.

In the past few months, modular builders say they are seeing an uptick in demand that they hope will translate to long-term business, especially as new federal flood maps and insurance rates force more homeowners to elevate structures. Because many older beach bungalows won’t survive being raised, those owners may choose to replace them with new, easy-to-produce modular homes that are fabricated in factories and shipped in sections to the building site.

Two days after Sandy struck, John Westrum, who has built modular homes primarily in Pennsylvania suburbs, took a helicopter ride to survey the devastation along the Jersey Shore and had an idea: He would take his prefab houses and put them on stilts.

Westrum Development’s first elevated modular home is scheduled to open Saturday in Seaside Heights. The two-story, Cape Cod was assembled in 28 days after the local permits were secured and the land was cleared. Former telephone poles were used to lift the first floor about 10 feet above the ground.

Architects said the modular-construction industry’s improved quality control and ability to use materials in different ways have helped bring its buildings up to design standards in the city. “The day of modular housing is dawning in New York,” said Rick Bell, executive director of the American Institute of Architects New York.

As money trickles in from insurance companies and government, a handful of modular homes on stilts are popping up in some communities in New Jersey, Long Island and Staten Island. Many can be made to evoke beachside bungalows or modernist vacation homes. That has helped allay concerns about identical rows of new, cheap-looking homes.

“It looks beautiful,” said Anthony Rusciano, a local 51-year-old utility worker in Seaside Heights who is buying a three-bedroom modular home from Westrum for $179,000. “It went up so fast. I don’t have the time or patience to deal with any of this stuff anymore.

Modular single-family homes aren’t necessarily less expensive than traditional construction, but may save time because they can be built in the factory while owners are waiting for demolition and foundation work. Once the modules are built and transported to the city, it takes a day or two to bolt the pieces into place.

Michael Fehling, a 55-year-old Island Park resident, and his wife, decided to build a modular home seven feet in the air after docks smashed into their 90-year-old wooden house. Their new home took about a week to build in the factory and was delivered from Pennsylvania a month ago. They plan to move in at the end of August, after contractors finish with touches such as radiant heat and fireplaces. He doesn’t miss the old place.

“A house that’s almost 90 years old, it’s not going to have the insulation.It’s not going to be built as strong. The house was always cold. The house wasn’t level,” he said. “With the breeze going through the whole house, I don’t miss that.”


Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Old Greenwich, Waterfront

Did you hear about the CDC study commissioned by Obama to investigate gun control?

Ready, fire, aim!

Ready, fire, aim!

Neither did I, but that’s what he did,  and the report came back in June. How come we didn’t read about in the press or from Obama himself? I have a hunch.

Between the years 2000-2010 firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearms related violence in the United States.

In addition, defensive use of guns “is a common occurrence,” according to the study:

Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.

Furthermore, the key finding the president was no doubt seeking — that more laws would result in less crime — was missing. The study said that “interventions,” such as background checks and restrictions on firearms and increased penalties for illegal gun use, showed “mixed” results, while “turn-in” programs “are ineffective” in reducing crime. The study noted that most criminals obtained their guns in the underground economy — from friends, family members, or gang members — well outside any influence from gun controls on legitimate gun owners.

There was one startling conclusion which, taken at face value, seemed to give the president what he was looking for. The study reported that “the U.S. rate of firearm-related homicide is higher than that of any other industrialized country: 19.5 times higher than the rates in other high-income countries.” However, Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, produced a map that compared gun violence rates in the major metropolitan areas of the country to rates of foreign countries. As Graham Noble ofGuardian Express noted, “If one were to exclude figures for Illinois, California, New Jersey and Washington, DC, the homicide rate in the United States would be in line with any other country.” These areas, of course, are noted for the most restrictive gun laws in the country, thus negating any opportunity for the president to celebrate the report’s findings.


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The science is settled

What do cowboy hats and BMWs have in common?

What do hemorrhoids, cowboy hats and BMWs all have in common?

BMW drivers are the biggest jerks on the road, study concludes. Maybe so, but are drivers of other expensive cars any more polite? Not in my experience, but your mileage may vary.

As long as they’re studying drivers and their cars, though, I wish someone would examine my own hypothesis, based on carspotting here in Greenwich namely, the shorter and blonder the woman, the larger her SUV. Just curious whether that stands up to scientific scrutiny.


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Bravest man in the world? One of them, certainly

Rick Moore

Rick Moore

This story has to be pieced together (so to speak) from various news stories but basically, a 20-year-old German tourist was snorkeling 75 yards off shore when a shark attacked, ripping her arm completely off. While everyone else on the beach is freaking out (that would be me, I’m ashamed to admit) Rick Moore, 57 years-old, gym teacher and pastor, tosses on his swim fins and goes out to rescue her. Here’s one of the press reports. (The New York Post has more)

Rick Moore was walking on the beach in Maui when he heard a woman’s screams, and someone yelled “shark attack!” In spite of the danger, he jumped into the water.

“Swam out there, and it was about 15 yards from her, I saw a young female with a bikini on, with blond hair, with a severed arm,” said Moore.

The 20-year-old woman had lost a lot blood and was nearly unconscious.

“She was in and out of it, saying these words: ‘I’m dying, I’m going to die,'” said Moore. “And I kept saying to her, ‘No you’re not, no you’re not, we’re going to get you to shore, we’re going to save you.”

The 57-year-old teacher grabbed the woman and started swimming the 75 yards back to the shore, realizing that he too could be attacked by the shark.

“I happened to be at the right place at the right time, swam out there, prayed over her, told her, ‘Hey, let’s see what we can do, see what God’s going to do,'” said Moore.


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Sure you like ’em well enough, but would you want your daughter to marry a Democrat?

You voted for Hillary? Blechhh.

You voted for Hillary? Blechhh.

Of course not, but don’t sweat: if she herself is a Republican, she likely won’t even date the s.o.b. And Fudrucker, don’t worry, your kids won’t swing the other way either. Or so says NPR:  “For Democrats and Republicans, it’s happily (N) ever after”.

[S]urvey data indicate that on average, political and social attitudes are as strong a predictor of whether two people will get together and stay together as religion or drinking habits, and a stronger predictor than things like personality types.

Political preferences seem to come packaged with a whole set of other kinds of tastes, with liberals and conservatives having separate preferences when it comes to things such as humor, food and even whether they want poetry to rhyme, according to John Hibbing, coauthor of the forthcoming book Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives and the Biology of Political Difference.

“It’s not like people sit down and give their mate a political quiz,” he says. “It oozes out as part of this entire life package. If you’re a liberal on social issues, you’re very likely to choose a liberal on social issues as your mate.”

This is not an effect that’s limited to the Red and Blue States of America. Researchers in Italy and India have found similar links between ideological leanings and taste in art and mating preferences, says Hibbing, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska.

So it’s not just members of Congress who can’t get along. A recent Stanford University study found that people are more likely to have hostile feelings toward people of the other party than members of another race. The percentage of parents who say they would disapprove of their children marrying someone from the other party has shot up from 5 percent in 1960 to 40 percent in 2010.

How deep does it run? Make conservatives and liberals wash with the same shampoos and soaps, and like-minded people can still sniff them out. “Liberals found the body odor of liberals more attractive,” Hatemi says. “Conservatives found the body odor of conservatives more attractive.”


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Obama’s already on the phone demanding his release; thank Allah they won’t take his calls

And I'm supposed to be impressed with this because?

And I’m supposed to be impressed with this because?

Egyptian military captures Al-Qaeda’s top man, Ayman al-Zawahri (I had to look that up), who is said to have planned the 9/11 attack and most of the other terrorist atrocities his band of brothers has carried out, before and since.

UPDATE: never mind! A reader points out that my hasty reading caused me to assume it was Ayman himself who’d been captured but it was just his brother. No wonder we’ll be granting him asylum.


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Sometimes the truth is captured in fiction

Barack ObamaOver at The White House Dossier, Keith Koffler supplies this “Quote of the Day”

“Yes, I appreciate the briefing. You’re saying the military is headed toward Tahrir Square? I see, and the protestors – oh, damn, hooked it! See what you made do!?”

– Barack Obama

A note from our attorneys: This is not a real quote

Koffler provides a funny quote for his blog each day. I suppose because he’s a real reporter, he clearly labels his inventions, whereas here at FWIW we depend on the reader to separate the wheat from the chaff. To make it easier to do that, here’s a hint: the the made-up quotes are the wheat.


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If it can happen in Michigan, maybe there’s hope for Connecticut (post bankruptcy)


Noble sentiment: Save the American Dream

Noble sentiment: Save the American Dream

Appeals court rules Michigan’s right to work law applies to state workers

Comments Off on If it can happen in Michigan, maybe there’s hope for Connecticut (post bankruptcy)

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