Daily Archives: September 20, 2013

Fear for the children

Instapundit offers this:

THE PLAY DEFICIT: Children today are cosseted and pressured in equal measure. Without the freedom to play they will never truly grow up. “In his book Children at Play: An American History (2007), Howard Chudacoff refers to the first half of the 20th century as the ‘golden age’ of children’s free play. By about 1900, the need for child labour had declined, so children had a good deal of free time. But then, beginning around 1960 or a little before, adults began chipping away at that freedom by increasing the time that children had to spend at schoolwork and, even more significantly, by reducing children’s freedom to play on their own, even when they were out of school and not doing homework. Adult-directed sports for children began to replace ‘pickup’ games; adult-directed classes out of school began to replace hobbies; and parents’ fears led them, ever more, to forbid children from going out to play with other kids, away from home, unsupervised. There are lots of reasons for these changes but the effect, over the decades, has been a continuous and ultimately dramatic decline in children’s opportunities to play and explore in their own chosen ways. Over the same decades that children’s play has been declining, childhood mental disorders have been increasing.”

I was born in 1953. By ten, I was spending half each summer’s day alone on my sailfish on Long Island Sound, no life preserver, no adults. Between ages 11 and 15, a friend and I spent summers at his sister’s farm in Lowell Vermont, and we’d go off on our own all day, fishing in streams, hunting bullfrogs by wading chest-deep in swamps and blasting them with small caliber rifles  (hollow point .22s do the job, if you’re curious – they send the frog fifteen feet into the air, and what comes down are the two edible legs, loosely attached to a bit of the lower carcass.) and just idling around, learning to drive the farm truck, reading books, and talking with the “grown ups”,  who must have been all of 22 or so, but they treated us as reasonably mature, sentient beings. During winter vacation when I was fifteen, another friend and I took the midnight flight to San Juan, then bused and hitchhiked to the western end of the island and camped on the beach at Rincon, spearing lobsters for dinner and drinking the occasional beer (there was no minimum drinking age for gringos in Puerto Rico back then). By the end of my sixteenth year I’d repeated that Puerto Rican trip, hitchhiked across the country three times, spent a few days in the San Luis Obispo county jail (youth wing) and lived on Big Sur.
All of this stuff was pretty normal for kids back then (maybe not the jail bit, but I’d done nothing wrong so they eventually let me go, and I was the richer, if a tad embittered toward authority, for the experience). Today, any parent who let his child do any of it would be arrested for child endangerment. I tried out for little league, was cut for my demonstrated lack of talent, and found other things to do. Today, I suspect no one gets cut, at least from the kind of low level teams I tried for, and if they were, the lawyers would be on the field faster than the coach could flee it. We have playdates, scheduled three years in advance, math tutors, travel teams, friggin individual lacrosse coaches, fly fishing camps in Montana, summer school – summer school! – and on and on and on. There’s not a minute of down time, and if by some fluke an opening appears, the poor child is rushed off to an SAT coaching class (as I recall, we sat for the SAT once; you showed up some Saturday morning, did the thing and forgot about it. I did very well, as did some of my friends, and the ones who didn’t, I fear, almost certainly wouldn’t have been helped by a tutor – senior year in high school is late to be learning to read and write).
Is there a point to this self-indulgent screed? Not really, but it’s Friday evening and I have nothing better to do, and the article Professor InstaPundit links to struck a nerve, because I watched the slow denial of downtime to my own children, and now see it constricting even more quickly, ever tighter, squeezing the fun out of childhood. That can’t be good, and the article above says it is not.
Bah humbug.


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Geeze, now even junior congressmen won’t toe the line

Now available or just a $10 donation to the Fudrucker Fund

Now available for just a $10 donation to the Fudrucker Fund!

I received an inteligent form letter from Jim Himes today, responding to my own, in which I voiced a strong opinion against invading or bombing Syria. Himes expresses the same doubts about any such attack as the majority of his constituents, for which I’m grateful, but I was struck by this passage in particular:

In June 2013 [actually, 2012, but that’s a quibble-Ed], the President, wisely or not, responded to the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria by stipulating that any chemical weapons use by Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime would be a breach of a “red line.” On August 21, 2013, forces loyal to Assad attacked opposition-controlled areas in the suburbs of Damascus with chemical weapons, killing approximately 1,500 civilians, including women and children.

In response to this horrible atrocity and to uphold his established red line, the President called for limited missile strikes on key regime targets without putting any American “boots on the ground.” In the face of growing opposition from the American public, the Administration called on Congress to authorize the use of military force against the Syrian government. As a result of a recent tentative diplomatic agreement between the U.S., Russia, and Syria, it is unclear if Congress will vote on a resolution to authorize military force.

Doesn’t Himes know that just this past September 4th his party’s leader insisted, “I did not draw a red line, the world did”?  If LBJ were still in office, Himes would have been chewed out royally for so blatantly ignoring the president’s fiction. But, as any Russian KGB agent could tell him, Barry’s no LBJ. In fact, Himes probably didn’t need any help reaching this conclusion on his own.


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And Francis X. Farricker, Chairman of Greenwich Democrats, applauds


Greenwich Democratic Headquarters

Greenwich Democratic Headquarters

College police stop student from passing out copies of the United States Constitution on, naturally, Constitution day.

“The Constitution is a living document” Farricker explained to FWIW. “And it’s evolved. As Dear Leader has proclaimed, ‘elections have results’. One of the results of the past election is that Democrats are in charge. Another is that any libertarian punk who thinks he can just show up on public property and corrupt the minds of young students is gonna get roughed up – live with it. Or go whine to my buddy, Judge Brunetti.”


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New Listing


44 Glenville Rd (circa 2003)

44 Glenville Rd (circa 2003)

44 Glenville Road (and Valley), $4.450 million.  There are no pictures up yet so I’ve used a rather poor, dark one from its 2003 listing. I remember it from back then (when it sold for $3,462,500) and liked it very much, although its 1929 construction needed work. Now that work has ben done,  so its new price could make sense. One caveat: the listing says it’s on just 1.0 acre, whereas in 2003 it had 1.8. That extra land made this place feel very special, so close to town, and I think some of the charm will have been lost if the lot has been split.

But the tax card still shows it as 1.8, so it’s possible this was just an input error, which happens with new listings. We’ll know better on Monday.

Regardless, I look forward to seeing it next week.


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Slow day for real estate

Three small items to note.

241 Valley Rd

241 Valley Rd

241 Valley Road, asking $895,000, reports a contingent contract. This is a 1924 shack on 0.08 of an acre overlooking, but far uphill from, the Mianus River. But a beautiful view, and no neighbors to the east, at least. I’m sure you can do something interesting here. To keep score, this sold in basically the same condition in 2000 for $515,000.

44 Hunting Ridge

44 Hunting Ridge

44 Hunting Ridge Road has taken another price cut and now asks $5.495 million, which is better than the $7.925 it wanted back when it was first built in 2006.

414 Stanwich

414 Stanwich

And back again, 414 Stanwich is now priced at $1.525. It sold for $2.1 million in 2003, so the owners can (almost) be excused for first pricing this at $2.695 in 2006, but buyers weren’t buying it. A number of rentals, a handful of brokers, and many price cuts and years later, it’s down to this level. I like this house; it’s always been the price that put me off. Perhaps this will do it, but if I were advising my own clients here, I’d suggest that they negotiate, hard.


Filed under Back Country, Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Contracts, Cos Cob, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, spec houses

Suppose a state judge deliberately chose to overrule the Supreme Court of the United States?


A law unto himself: Judge Robert Brunetti

A law unto himself: Judge Robert Brunetti

That’s what Superior Court Judge  Robert Brunetti did:

During a closed door meeting in the judge’s chambers during a case Judge Robert C. “Brunes” Brunetti exposed his bigotry for fundamental civil rights in front of at least three defense attorneys. The violation came during the case of State of Connecticut v. Bruce Worley, docket number H17B-CR13-0055722S.

Judge Brunetti …stated in chambers that “No one in this country should have guns” and that he ‘never returns guns’. 

If Judge Brunetti were to state his intention to disregard the Fourth Amendment and permit prosecutors to introduce evidence from illegal, warrantless searches, the ACLU and even Fudruckster himself might be heard to complain. They won’t, but citizens can: Here’s a link to the process.

The following is a brief description of the complaint process. A more detailed technical description is set forth in Section VIII, Council Procedures.

A complaint may be filed by anyone or initiated by the Council itself. There is no fee for filing complaints. The complaint must be on a form provided by the Council, and it must be sworn to before a notary or other officer. A complaint must contain the full name of the judge, compensation commissioner, or family support magistrate complained of, the specific court involved, the name of the case, if any, and specific dates on which conduct allegedly occurred. The complainant may attach to the complaint any documents or material thought to be relevant.

The complaint should set forth with particularity the facts upon which the claim of misconduct is based. The complaint should contain any other information that would assist an investigator in checking the facts, such as the presence of a court reporter or other witness and their names and addresses.

Documents such as excerpts from transcripts may be submitted as evidence of the behavior complained about; if they are, the statement of facts should refer to the specific pages in the documents on which relevant material appears.

If the Council receives a complaint that does not use a form or is not sworn to, it will not be accepted. It will be returned to the complainant with advice as to the proper procedure to be followed.

Complaints should be typewritten, if possible. If not typewritten, they must be legible.

Complaint forms may be obtained by writing or telephoning the Council office.

Judicial Review Council
P. O. Box 260099
Hartford, CT 06126-0099
Phone: (860) 566-5424
Toll Free In-State 1-866-222-6075 

In 2010 Bunetti escaped his being caught on wiretaps with his golfing buddy, then on trial for murdering his wife. The

A revived state police investigation into the killing of Mary Badaracco – one of Connecticut’s most notorious cold cases – generated tremors throughout this state’s law enforcement, court and political establishments. The reader should note this well:  Those establishments are all one and the same.

As the months moved on, the Badaracco grand jury would start hearing witnesses.

Even before the first witnesses were sworn in, Dominic Badaracco seemed to know about the secret proceedings. Badaracco had a need to know. He is the prime suspect in the killing of his wife, Mary, nearly 29 years ago.

Badaracco, now 77, went on trial Monday in Bridgeport, accused of bribing Judge Brunetti with an offer of $100,000 in an attempt to influence the grand jury proceedings. Although no body was ever found, state police, the State’s Attorney and Gov. William O’Neill reclassified the Sherman case as a homicide in 1990.

As the grand jury proceeded, Badaracco’s friend and business partner Ronald “Rocky” Richter called their mutual friend, Brunetti, asking about the grand jury. Before becoming a prosecutor and a judge, Brunetti was a business lawyer for Badaracco and Richter. As youngsters, Brunetti and Richter worked together as caddies.

Brunetti, at lunch with fellow judges, asked about the grand juror’s role. Brunetti confirmed the existence of the grand jury to Richter, the warrant for Badaracco’s arrest reveals. That, in itself, could have made Brunetti the target of an investigation or part of a conspiracy.

Badaracco followed up, calling Brunetti on Richter’s cell phone. Badaracco told Brunetti numerous subpoenas had been issued and asked for help.

Brunetti ultimately told investigators he declined to help. He quoted Badaracco as saying to him: “I’m only gonna say this one time … it’s worth a hundred G’s.” Brunetti said he was stunned and hung up the phone: “I understood that it was about the Badaracco murder and he was asking me to have some sort of influence over the outcome of the grand jury … like sweeping it under the rug.” In turn, Brunetti understood, he would receive compensation.

Brunetti began acting as a cooperating witness. His phone was wired. Brunetti called Richter, who was with Badaracco. “Rocky, Brunes … ,” Brunetti said in a call to Richter on Dec. 2, 2010. “Hey listen, I found out some information … Is Dominic around there?”

Speaking to Badaracco, Brunetti continued, “There may be somethin’ I can do for you. I wasn’t sure I could, but there may be somethin’ I can do, to help you out … uh, don’t tell Rocky. Just keep this between me and you.”

Those quotes from Brunettis were part of the state’s efforts to nab his friend for bribing him But the close association with Badaracco and defense attorney Richter apparently killed off the judge’s attempt to be reconfirmed for another 8-year term.

On Feb. 21, 2013, Brunetti wrote to Chief Court Administrator Barbara Quinn: “I plan on retiring in December 2013.” By that time, Brunetti could be eligible for a 30-year state pension.

There’s still time to file a complaint against Bruentti and discomfort him, as well as send a message to the other judges around the state who are flouting the constitution they swore to uphold.

Fire away.



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Doesn’t our state rep Freddy Camillo devote (all) his legislative attention to prevention of cruelty to dogs?

So where is he now? With Halloween approaching, cruel dog owners are flocking to Amazon  to order embarrassing costumes for the poor, dumb beasts, like this:

"The Cowboy"

“The Cowboy”

No one would do that to man’s best friend, you say? Well here’s what a neighbor of Fred’s (and, I’m ashamed to admit, a relative of mine) did to his own dog Perkins and his girlfriend Suzie (she’s in the hat) last Halloween. Simply shocking. In fact, there ought to be a law … Fred?

The Cowboy in action

The Cowboy in action


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Stories like this just encourage the gun confiscators

Navy Yard killer used sawed off shotgun (four-shot capacity) and “high capacity” cargo pants pockets to hold still more ammunition.

So he passed two background checks, violated Washington D.C. law by bringing any gun into the city limits, violated federal and local laws by killing people and used an illegal sawed off shotgun. The gun confiscators see that as proof that no law is sufficient to stop immoral behavior (they’re right), and move from that acknowledgment to the conclusion that we must seize all 300 million guns in this country and melt them down.

They won’t succeed in that, of course, at least not for a few more decades, but in the meantime they will continue to harass legitimate, legal gun owners with ever-increasing restrictions. They know these won’t work but that’s not the point. Just as PETA is doing to hunters, these people are doing to gun owners. The more difficult it is to hunt or own a gun, they hope, the less likely the next generation will do either.

And their irrational hatred of gun owners is unbounded. My neighbor of 30 years and (now my former) friend accused me last week of being a “cold-blooded murderer” for opposing the immediate confiscation of all guns. Spittle on his lips. The man is deranged, and if I thought he had a gun himself, I’d report him to the authorities.


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Cognitive dissonance, or just a plain old plot to destroy the country?

In the name of Mother Gaia, I salute you - let us pray.

In the name of Mother Gaia, I salute you – let us pray.

Obama begins the shut down of coal plants today with his new EPA rules. No one (except miners) loves coal, and this will doubtless be greeted with hosannas from the president’s base, but there’s the inescapable fact to deal with: coal provides 40% of our electricity – how will we replace it?

We could use natural gas, of course: the switch from coal to cheaper gas has lowered  energy costs (estimated savings $1,400 per family, per year; far more than any increase than the Obama administration has achieved with his “laser-like focus” on the economy these past five years) and cut the CO2 emissions he’s so worried about 20% (a reduction at least twice that achieved by any other country).

But Obama opposes natural gas, and has done everything he can to prevent its use, from banning pipelines to prohibiting exploration or fracking on federal lands. His alternative is propeller beanies and solar panels, neither of which is producing any significant amount of energy and won’t, if it ever does at all, for decades. What do we do until then?

“Return to the Garden of Eden”, says the leader of the Free World and the crazed members of his congregation.

Tough times ahead.


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Riversville Road bridge replacement

A reader inquired about this last week, and here’s the story from Greenwich Time. I was by there during open house Tuesday (“there” being the little bridge immediately south of the Merritt underpass), and it looked as though the temporary bypass was just being finished up, so I’d expect the lane shift that will accommodate replacement to begin soon.

Shouldn’t be much of a problem because there’s just not much traffic on Riversville.


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