Daily Archives: December 6, 2013


Federal prison population up 27% in 10 years. Something’s wrong here. I’d like to see percentages for how many prisoners are incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses and violation of parole stemming from that first crime. I suspect that we’re housing an awful lot of drug addicts at huge expense for very little result.

UPDATE: JRH, the intelligent liberal on the comment pages (that’s a compliment, JRH), sends along a link to an excellent article on the rethinking going on on this issue. Republican conservatives and libertarians are leading the charge, although of course, some liberals have been there all along. Maybe it’s like Nixon going to China: everyone expects the ACLU to have some wooly-headed, soft-on-crime position on prisons, but if conservatives are joining in that pressure for reform, the average person may think there’s more to it than just flooding the streets with evil predators. I hope so.

Thanks for the link, JRH.


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The end is near


Shoot him before he spawns

Shoot him before he spawns

American men are beginning to talk like Valley Girls?

First men became enamoured with grooming regimes, but now it seems the metrosexual man has started talking in a more feminine way too.

A new study has revealed that modern men are starting to ‘uptalk’ by rising in pitch at the ends of sentences.

The speech pattern is associated with young women from southern California, notably Clueless lead character Cher Horowitz, but is now common amongst younger people.

Scientists came across the finding when they were trying to investigate the difference between uptalkers making a statement and asking a question.

Uptalkers are stereotypically parodied as insecure, shallow and not very clever females.


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In case you wondered why people resist registering their guns

NYC moving to confiscate guns. It’s been decades since it was possible to buy a gun from a legitimate dealer and not have the sale registered. Until now, that wasn’t a big deal, because heck, why would a lawful citizen worry about the government knowing what he owned, right?

Now that the government is using that information to come into homes and seize guns, the idea of picking up a few weapons from unlicensed firearm dealers has great appeal. Not to me, of course (NSA, take note) but to anyone who might be worried that, say, Dan Malloy is planning a visit to inspect the gun cabinet in your house.

UPDATE: Of course, 3D printers will solve the problem, probably within ten years.

Made in America, in your kitchen

Made in America, in your kitchen


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Here’s a movie I want to see

the-wolf-of-wall-street-2013-movie-posterThe Wolf of Wall Street opens Christmas day. Leonardo DiCaprio, tits and ass, ludes and penny stocks. Cool.

I spent a fair part of my life in this world, albeit on the other side, chasing people like the one DiCaprio portrays, and it’ll be fun to return to it, at least for a nostalgic visit.

Besides, it’s bound to have some tips I can use in the dirt-peddling business.

Given the readership of FWIW, maybe we should have a meet-up?


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The Nigerian Prince awaits you

6 Juniper Rd

7 Juniper Rd

Got a house in Stamford that won’t sell? How about raising its price from $2.795 to $3.2 million? Yeah, that’s the ticket!

These things rarely work out well.


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Two more sales

Cos Cob and Riverside

14 Licta Terrace

14 Licta Terrace

14 Licata Terrace, asked $1.139 million and must have attracted multiple bids, because it sold for $1.140. Lack of inventory.



111 Lockwood Road

111 Lockwood Road

111 Lockwood Road, Riverside, was priced at $1.880 and has sold for $1.8 million. It was when I saw that this house was under contract that I concluded the Riverside boom had truly gone absolutely, freaking nuts.


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Lawyer falls for Nigerian Prince scam

We'll all soon be rich!!!!

We’ll all soon be rich!!!!

Okay, not a smart lawyer, but still…


Here’s the beginning:

Which is worse: to be unethical or to be stupid — really, really stupid?

Who says you have to choose? That’s the lesson of today’s story about a lawyer who fell for a Nigerian inheritance scam, dragged his clients into the mess as well, and just got his law license suspended by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Dear Friend: Please permit me to make your acquaintance in so informal a manner. This is necessitated by my urgent need to reach a dependable and trust wordy partner. We do not know each other, it does not matter.

This story will not cause discomfort or embarrassment in whatever form, except to a monumentally moronic lawyer — who got cleared on some (but not all) of the ethics charges against him because he genuinely believed that a trunk full of money was going to magically show up on his office doorstep….

The lawyer in question is Robert Allan Wright Jr. The “Junior” matters here because Robert Allan Wright Sr. is one of Iowa’s most distinguished civil rights lawyers. Sadly, the apple has fallen a little far from the tree; Robert Allan Wright Jr. has had ethical issues before.

The facts section of Justice Daryl Hecht’s opinion is something to behold. Props to Justice Hecht for displaying what our tipster described as “studied neutrality” in describing a situation like this:


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Is there a point to this?

e'll just move to Derby, then, they don't want us here.

We’ll just move to Derby, then, they don’t want us here.

BOE still can’t agree on chairmanship. They’re voting along party lines, so each meeting, the vote comes up 4-4. In two weeks the issue will go the Selectmen, who will appoint Republican Peter Sherr, duh. I don’t imagine it matters a bit whether the BOE goes without a chairman for a fortnight, but couldn’t the Democrats bow to the inevitable and concede? As they’re so fond of saying, “elections have consequences”. You lost, guys: get over it.


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Clown Palace sells

And two others.

Who's that buyer behind the Foster Grants?

Who’s that buyer behind the Foster Grants?

1038 Lake Avenue sold yesterday for $4.025, after one foreclosure and 1,662 days (on the market). Former owner Steven Braverman bought it new for $4.4 million, in 2003, desecrated it, then returned it to the market in 2005 at $9.750 (snort). At the end, there was something like $6 million in debt on the place. Astoria Federal ran the auction bidding to $1.250 and then Patriot Bank stepped in as holder of the 2nd and 3rd mortgages (there were still more creditors behind it) and got it for $3 million. After paying off Astoria, Patriot lost big here. “We’d been counting on selling it to Helen Keller”, former Patriot loan officer Marcus Zavataro told FWIW, “but we couldn’t get ahold of her.”

167 Bedford Rd

167 Bedford Rd

167 Bedford Road has sold for $3.350 million. It asked $4.950 in 2009, jumped to $5 million in 2011 and 892 days later, fetched this. Probably about right, but no bargain.

36 Old Wagon

36 Old Wagon

On the other hand 36 Old Wagon Road, Havemeyer, land, asked for $849,000 and sold in a bidding war to Gideon’s client for $917,500. I don’t know how brother Gid persuades his clients to engage in these scenes – mine won’t, much to my financial regret.


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Sounds like the NEA to me

NEA protestor, Wisconsin

NEA protestor, Wisconsin

University of Washington touts book by its professor equating Tea Party with the KKK. The author defends his “thought process”:

“Can we not say that the Tea Party is heavily involved in politics?” he wrote. “Further, can we not also say that many Tea Partiers are not educated and accomplished? Finally, can we not also say that the Tea Party has an intolerant element? The answer to all three is yes.”

This is what passes for enlightened thought on campus.


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The same thing happened in Massachusetts and California, so don’t blame Texas, blame mass hysteria

Tiny Tot's headmaster, "Ozzie"

Tiny Tot’s headmaster, “Ozzie”

Texas couple released after 21 years imprisonment for satan worship.

Dan Keller has left an Austin jail, a week after his wife was released – and 21 years after the pair were given a 48-year sentence for sexual assault during America’s “Satanic panic” era.

To supporters of Dan, 72, and Fran Keller, 63, their 1991 trial was a modern-day Texas witch-hunt that recalled the hysterical delusions of seventeenth-century Salem.

The fuse was lit in August 1991, when a three-year-old girl on the way to a behavioural therapy session told her mother that Dan Keller had spanked her at the preschool he ran with his wife in Austin.

The girl told the therapist that Keller had sexually assaulted her using a pen and “pooped and peed on my head”.

In subsequent months, two other children made similar claims about the Kellers. By the time the couple went on trial in November 1992, the allegations were significantly more lurid and involved allegations of ritual abuse, murder, dismemberment and animal sacrifice.

According to police reports and trial records, the children said that Dan Keller killed his dog and made children cut it up and eat it, “baptised” kids with blood and disembowelled pets, forcing children to drink the blood.

The Kellers were also said to have decapitated and chopped up a baby, put the remains in a swimming pool and made the children jump in. In one account, the Kellers were said to have stolen a baby gorilla from a park and Frances cut off one of its fingers.

The pair, who apparently liked to wear robes, were said to have dug graves in a cemetery to hide dead animals and a passer-by who was shot and carved up with a chain saw.

The children were supposedly taken to military bases and on secret aeroplane trips, including to Mexico, where they were abused and returned to the centre in time for their parents to pick them up as normal. They said they were coerced into videotaped sex acts and drugged so they would forget what they had seen.

In a letter of support for the Kellers dated March 17 this year, James Wood, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, wrote: “There is now general agreement among reputable scholars that the Daycare Abuse Panic was a twentieth-century manifestation of ‘witchcraft fever’ of the same kind that swept Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 and Western Europe in the centuries before that.”

A nation panicked over ‘rampant’ satanism

A nationwide alarm over apparent widespread child sexual abuse at daycare centres was ignited by the McMartin Preschool case in the 1980s, which attracted vast media attention. An initial allegation that the owner of the preschool near Los Angeles had molested a boy snowballed into a seven-year investigation that unearthed tales of ritualistic animal mutilation in secret underground passageways. More than 200 charges relating to the sexual abuse of dozens of children were levelled at seven people but no one was convicted.

In this paranoid context, Hampton said, the allegations against the Kellers “did not seem outlandish. People were believing this stuff because it was on national TV,” he told the Guardian.

The Keller investigation was one of the last examples of the daycare panic but “very typical of previous cases” according to Mary deYoung, a sociology professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan who has published extensively on moral panics and sexual abuse. Cultural shifts in the 1980s combined to foster a climate of fear, she said.

The American family was changing, with an increasing number of women going out into the workforce. There was more reliance on daycare and increased anxiety about the welfare of children,” she told the Guardian.

“There has been a kind of grudging acknowledgement [from the authorities] that things got out of hand,” she said. “I’m not sure that we’ve learned anything that could prevent a similar moral panic springing up… for example over cyber threats.”



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FDA has spared us, once again

fda-oci-sa-large-jpgGenetic testing firm Me123 has bowed to FDA demands and will stop providing health-related results to customers. The FDA claims that people who learn that they posses a gene that increases their risk for breast cancer, say, might “undergo unnecessary surgery” because of it. Can you imagine a patient having her breasts cut off because one genetic test indicates she might be ta risk of cancer? More improbably, can you imagine a surgeon agreeing to perform that operation without investigation? The FDA can.

Our government at work.


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Things that kill more people than sharks

A scientist friend of mine sends this along. Funny, but true.

Here’s an example, but check it out (I’ll spare you the suspense: Shark’s kill 5 people per year).

Fat Man


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Cos Cob residents demand return to dirt roads

Cruisning on Strickland Road

Cruising on Strickland Road

Strickland Road homeowners are furious that their street has been paved and demand it be returned to “its original state”.

“Next they’ll be demanding we install indoor plumbing and electricity”, fumed Strickland Historic District’s leader, Faith Toraby. “That’s just not Cos Cob as we know and love it.”

I’m all for it – cheaper, aesthetically pleasing and it’ll keep the neighbors quiet.

(A couple of nice puns in the GT article, by the way – tip of the hat to Jason Pottle).


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Obviously, we need another study


Student essay - could have been mine

Student essay – could have been mine

According to state-mandated testing, schools on the eastern side of town are whuppin’ those in the middle and the west. A couple of readers sent me the official data yesterday and if I can figure out how to post them, I will. In the meantime, Greenwich Time provides an english translation.

Eastern Middle School, The International School at Dundee, Greenwich High School, North Mianus School and Riverside School were cited as Schools of Distinction for strong performance by the whole school or a student group. But Hamilton Avenue, Julian Curtiss, New Lebanon and Western Middle schools each missed their overall SPI targets.

The SPIs point to an entrenched trend of disparate test scores in the district, which separate performance along socio-economic, racial and ethnic and linguistic proficiency lines. Greenwich has a districtwide achievement gap, according to a performance indicator that compares overall scores to those of schools’ black students, Hispanic students, English language learners, students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches and students with disabilities. Districtwide, the difference between a majority of those groups’ SPIs and the district’s overall performance index of 89.3 for CMT performance totals more than 10 points, resulting in the gap designation.

Julian Curtiss, Central Middle School, Western and Greenwich High have intraschool achievement gaps, according to the same metric.

Greenwich’s school SPIs range from a district low of 72.7 at Hamilton Avenue to a high of 96.6 at Riverside.

The state classifies students qualifying for discounted lunches, ELL students and students with disabilities as “high needs” students. The student populations at Hamilton Avenue, Julian Curtiss, New Lebanon and Western include large numbers of these pupils.

All district schools placed within one of the state’s top three school classification categories, which are based on test scores and high-school graduation rates.which refers to schools that achieved all SPI targets. As a prerequisite to attain that level,  Glenville, ISD, North Mianus, North Street, Old Greenwich, Parkway, Riverside and Eastern reached the top level, “Excelling,”

Cos Cob and Central’s results qualified them for the second tier, “Progressing.” Cos Cob recorded an overall SPI of 86.7, while Central’s totaled 89.5 overall.

Hamilton Avenue, Julian Curtiss, New Lebanon, Western Middle and Greenwich High* schools ranked in the third tier, “Transitioning.”

“There should be no relationship between economic status and how well you do in school,” said John Curtin, the district’s special projects manager. “For us, that gap in achievement is a major focus. We need to make sure that every kid has an equal opportunity to achieve.”

* If I get the bureaucratese correctly, GHS is on two different lists, one showing it as “exceptional”, the other that places it as “transitional” (bad place to be). Its placement on the second list is because it  has  an” intraschool achievement gap”, meaning that the kids from, say, the eastern schools are doing fine, those from Western are not.

If I were looking for an explanation of the results, I’d look first to how many non-English-speaking students and students with learning disabilities are in each school, then at the home environment of the poor kids and, finally, IQs. There’s not much to do about any of those factors, and spending more money or moving the children to, say, Riverside School won’t change test scores.

But another PC study can’t hurt and will keep our educators busy for months.


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I’ve said this all along: the war on poverty isn’t about poor people, it’s about employment for government union workers

Harbinger of the Messiah - Chicago welfare line, 1903

Harbinger of the coming of the Messiah – Chicago welfare line, 1903

There are no poor left in America!

Charlie Martin:

[T] here is no poverty in America, and I can prove it. According to a Cato Institute study published last year, the combined expenditures for federal and state governments directed to means-tested public assistance — “welfare” — is approximately $1 trillion (yes, with a “T”) a year.

There are approximately 48 million people in the U.S. with incomes at the poverty level or below.

The application of advanced mathematics — long division, and I did it in my head thank you very much — tells us that’s about $21,000 per person per year. Obviously, that’s $84,000 for a family of four.

That’s got a problem, though. According to the 2013 Federal Poverty Guidelines, the poverty level for a family of four is $23,950. The total of $84,000 is roughly 380 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Obviously, there’s no poverty left in America.

Unless, of course, that money isn’t actually being spent on the poor people at all. I wonder where it goes?


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Knickers in knots up in Knorthland


You want respect? I'll show you some respect!  (Gotta love the bear cub in the picture - the howling you hear isn't the wind, it's PETA's Nancy Ferral)

You want respect? I’ll show you some respect!
(Gotta love the bear cub in the picture – the howling you hear isn’t the wind, it’s a PETA primal scream)

Canada’s Environmental Minister Leona Aglukkaq (would you ever guess she’s an Eskimo?) is in hot water for Tweeting a picture of a dead polar bear. Despite protests from the usual suspects, the lady is unrepentant:

“A lot of time, scientists latch on to the wildlife in the North, to state their case that climate change is happening and the polar bears will disappear and whatnot,” Aglukkaq told the Globe and Mail in October.

“But people on the ground will say the polar bear population is quite healthy. You know, in these regions, the population has increased, in fact. Why are you [saying it’s] decreasing? So the debate on that … My brother is a full-time hunter who will tell you polar bear populations have increased and scientists are wrong.”

A lot of people on Twitter, however, weren’t pleased with the picture and neither was Peter Fricker, a project and communications director for the Vancouver Humane Society.

“We appreciate that hunting is an integral part of Inuk culture, but tweeting photos of dead polar bears shows, at the very least, a lack of respect for the animal,” he told Yahoo Canada News in an email exchange.

“It’s wholly inappropriate for an environment minister to celebrate the death of a polar bear when, according to considerable scientific opinion, polar bears are faced with potential extinction.”

I posted on this subject almost a year ago: polar bears make nice poster children for The Holy Church of Warmism campaigns, but they aren’t going anywhere.


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