Daily Archives: March 3, 2014

Short memories cont.

Business Insider reports today: General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, one of the most beloved generals of the Marine Corps, made a truly inspiring speech at the Marine Corps University Foundation’s 2014 Semper Fidelis Award Dinner.

That’s fine, so far as it goes, but it’d be better if liberal rags like BI remembered and mentioned that General Mattis was among the 160+ combat generals Obama has purged. The president relieved General Mattis of his duties as head of the Central Command  during the first week of Obbama’s second term. The cause? The General was asking too many tough questions about Iran.

There’s something going on around here but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?


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And when the city collapses into disorder, liberals will demand to know how it happened


Times Square, 1970, 2017

Times Square, 1970, 2017

NYT: de Blasio appoints liberal activists, not managers to his administration.

In Bill de Blasio’s City Hall, it seems more and more, there is only a left wing.

The mayor, who advanced in politics by grass-roots organizing, has built a team filled with former activists — figures more accustomed to picketing administrations or taking potshots from the outside than working from within. His administration is heavily populated with appointees best known for the fights they have fought.

On Friday, Mr. de Blasio appointed Steven Banks, who is the attorney in chief of the Legal Aid Society and a longtime critic of city policies affecting low-income residents, as commissioner of the city’s Human Resources Administration. …

“We’ve said all along, as we make appointments, our standards are clear,” Mr. de Blasio said in announcing the appointments of Mr. Banks, who once lost to him in a City Council race, and two other officials. “We need people who share our progressive values related to the future of this city.”

In any case, Mr. de Blasio’s mayor’s personnel choices are just one means by which he appears to be easing the mayoralty from the practical details of governing into a platform for the kind of social change usually achieved on the streets and in the courts.

It is a far different approach from that of his predecessor, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who favored agency heads and staff members with button-down business backgrounds.

“Old habits die very hard,” said Mark Green, a former public advocate and mayoral candidate, and no slouch himself as a liberal. “Giuliani was a prosecutor, Bloomberg was a C.E.O., and so far, Bill’s a political labor activist.”

Today the Washington Post denounced Obama for conducting foreign policy “in a fantasy land” – in 2008, they saw something else – look for a similar reappraisal from New Yorkers, down the road:

  • “Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building. . . . Abroad, the best evidence suggests that he would seek to maintain U.S. leadership and engagement, continue the fight against terrorists, and wage vigorous diplomacy on behalf of U.S. values and interests. Mr. Obama has the potential to become a great president.”–editorial, Washington Post, Oct. 17, 2008


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A large house sells, finally

44 Hunting Ridge94 44 Hunting Ridge Road, 11,650 sq. ft, plus finished basement, has sold for $5 million. It was built as a spec house, I think, but whether that’s accurate, I know that it failed to sell at $7.925 back when it was new, and has been lingering on and off the market ever since. Owners of these white elephants should take heart that someone still wants them, albeit at a discount.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 4.23.17 PM


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Sellers, do you know what your broker’s up to?


At the GAR, one size does NOT fit all!

At the GAR, one size does NOT fit all!

Check out this listing of Berkshire Hathaway’s for 81 Round Hill Road. Go ahead, click the link, then come back. What’d you think? Oh, you didn’t sign in, give them your email address, home phone number and financial information, so you couldn’t break the barrier? Too bad, but obviously, if you aren’t willing to do all that you’re not a serious customer, so screw you.

For decades, Greenwich realtors ran blind ads in the Friday real estate section of Greenwich Time. Nice pictures of homes, with no information on price or address. Buyers were expected to call the listing broker to ask, whereupon whoever was on “desk duty” would worm out their name and number so they could try to sell them something; if not the advertised house, then anything else the agent might know of. This method of advertising had nothing to do with serving a broker’s clients, and the honest brokers would confess that. It was about driving traffic to the broker, and the seller be damned.

The Internet, Zillow, Realtor.com and even the occasional blogger destroyed that system and made information readily available to anyone. Realtors hated it and, here in Greenwich at least, they’ve struck back,locking their listings behind fire walls, creating self-expiring links, and wiping out property histories. They’re trying to hold back the tide.

The real estate industry is so anti-consumer it’s shocking. Look at the “buyer’s representation agreement”, for example, which was enacted into law as a means of protecting buyers. Realtors took over and transformed what was intended to be a one paragraph agreement: I’m the buyer, you’ll represent my interests, not the sellers, into a multi-page binding contract, locking the buyer into a realtor’s clutches for six months, even a year, barring him from working with any other broker and promising to turn over all financial data the realtor might demand. Who signs this thing, except for the naive and the stupid?

So now they’re doing it again,locking your property behind their doors,  restricting the number of people who can see or learn about your property, and selling you a bill of goods about how this is “effective marketing”. Effective for them, yes; you’re getting it up the rear end.


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Which is why I do ShopRite

Inner soul, revealed

Inner soul, revealed

America’s Angriest Store: How Whole Foods Attracts Complete Shit Heads 

The problem with Whole Foods is their regular customers. They are, across the board, across the country, useless, ignorant, and miserable. They’re worse than miserable, they’re angry. They are quite literally the opposite of every Whole Foods employee I’ve ever encountered. Walk through any store any time of day—but especially 530pm on a weekday or Saturday afternoon during football season—and invariably you will encounter a sneering, disdainful horde of hipster Zombies and entitled 1%ers.

They stand in the middle of the aisles, blocking passage of any other cart, staring intently at the selection asking themselves that critical question: which one of these olive oils makes me seem coolest and most socially conscious, while also making the raw vegetable salad I’m preparing for the monthly condo board meeting seem most rustic and artisanal?


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Sale on Round Hill Road

*1 Round Hill Road (photo courtesy of Houlihan Lawrence)

81 Round Hill Road (photo courtesy of Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter Properties, LLC))

81 Round Hill, $3.337 million. Our local realtors are really out to suppress information these days, so no info. You could check details on the listing broker’s site, but you must register first, so that you can be pestered by a new broker looking for new customers. This town’s real estate business is busted, and getting worse.

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Welcome back to the fight, but I’m not sure this time we’ll win

If you see Joey B, tell him he won an Oscar last night for best supporting actor in a farce or comedy

If you see Joe B, tell him he won an Oscar last night for best supporting actor in a farce or comedy

Washington Post editors belatedly wake up to the fact that “President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy”

By Editorial Board, Published: March 2

FOR FIVE YEARS, President Obama has led a foreign policy based more on how he thinks the world should operate than on reality. It was a world in which “the tide of war is receding” and the United States could, without much risk, radically reduce the size of its armed forces. Other leaders, in this vision, would behave rationally and in the interest of their people and the world. Invasions, brute force, great-power games and shifting alliances — these were things of the past. Secretary of State John F. Kerry displayed this mindset on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday when he said, of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century.”

Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not received the memo on 21st-century behavior. Neither has China’s president, Xi Jinping, who is engaging in gunboat diplomacy against Japan and the weaker nations of Southeast Asia. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is waging a very 20th-century war against his own people, sending helicopters to drop exploding barrels full of screws, nails and other shrapnel onto apartment buildings where families cower in basements. These men will not be deterred by the disapproval of their peers, the weight of world opinion or even disinvestment by Silicon Valley companies. They are concerned primarily with maintaining their holds on power.

Mr. Obama is not responsible for their misbehavior. But he does, or could, play a leading role in structuring the costs and benefits they must consider before acting. The model for Mr. Putin’s occupation of Crimea was his incursion into Georgia in 2008, when George W. Bush was president. Mr. Putin paid no price for that action; in fact, with parts of Georgia still under Russia’s control, he was permitted to host a Winter Olympics just around the corner. China has bullied the Philippines and unilaterally staked claims to wide swaths of international air space and sea lanes as it continues a rapid and technologically impressive military buildup. Arguably, it has paid a price in the nervousness of its neighbors, who are desperate for the United States to play a balancing role in the region. But none of those neighbors feel confident that the United States can be counted on. Since the Syrian dictator crossed Mr. Obama’s red line with a chemical weapons attack that killed 1,400 civilians, the dictator’s military and diplomatic position has steadily strengthened.

The urge to pull back — to concentrate on what Mr. Obama calls “nation-building at home” — is nothing new, as former ambassador Stephen Sestanovich recounts in his illuminating history of U.S. foreign policy, “Maximalist.” There were similar retrenchments after the Korea and Vietnam wars and when the Soviet Union crumbled. But the United States discovered each time that the world became a more dangerous place without its leadership and that disorder in the world could threaten U.S. prosperity. Each period of retrenchment was followed by more active (though not always wiser) policy. Today Mr. Obama has plenty of company in his impulse, within both parties and as reflected by public opinion. But he’s also in part responsible for the national mood: If a president doesn’t make the case for global engagement, no one else effectively can.

The White House often responds by accusing critics of being warmongers who want American “boots on the ground” all over the world and have yet to learn the lessons of Iraq. So let’s stipulate: We don’t want U.S. troops in Syria, and we don’t want U.S. troops in Crimea. A great power can become overextended, and if its economy falters, so will its ability to lead. None of this is simple.

But it’s also true that, as long as some leaders play by what Mr. Kerry dismisses as 19th-century rules, the United States can’t pretend that the only game is in another arena altogether. Military strength, trustworthiness as an ally, staying power in difficult corners of the world such as Afghanistan — these still matter, much as we might wish they did not. While the United States has been retrenching, the tide of democracy in the world, which once seemed inexorable, has been receding. In the long run, that’s harmful to U.S. national security, too.

Liberals have a funny way of ignoring warnings about the consequences of their policies for years, even decades, and then, when the cow flop inevitably hits the fan, throwing up their arms and saying, “well what can we do about it? What difference, now, does it really make?” The point, as Churchill, a student of history, made in the 30s is just as true today: weakness invites abuse, a vacuum will be filled, by bad men.

History is no longer taught in our schools; it has ben replaced by a “people’s history” of disjointed vignettes about the ordinary lives of serfs, slaves and women. All very gratifying, but not particularly instructive. Too bad.

UPDATE: Ann Althouse is not impressed. I liked this, from one of her commenters; “Crimea river”.


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Just until amnesty kicks in

Not gonna vote for Elizabeth Warren

Not gonna vote for Elizabeth Warren

Democrats out looking for white guys who’ll vote for them next fall. It’s just a stop-gap, of course, but for now, white males, who turn out to vote more than other constituencies, could help the Democrats maintain power. Trouble is, after waging war on and ridiculing them for decades, the Democrats have little to offer.


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11 Steep Hollow

11 Steep Hollow

11 Steep Hollow Drive, off Cognewaugh, asking $1.349 million.  I always liked this house, with its central courtyard opening to a beautiful garden, a nice pool and so-so, but private land, a lot of which is swamp. But it needed everything including, in the opinion of clients I showed it to and myself, walls shifted, rooms changed and a new kitchen and baths. That’s expensive, and it’s no wonder it didn’t sell back in 2007 -2008, when it asked $1.949. At this price, especially if further negotiations took place, it could be a decent buy.


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Modern policing

Hoping he'll "assist the police with their inquiry"

Hoping he’ll “assist the police with their inquiries”

England: Police release photo of masked, armed thug and ask the public’s help in identifying him, but refuse to describe his weight or height, and specifically state that they won’t call him a suspect “because that would violate his human rights.”

Dorset resident Carol Smith posted: ‘How stupid is that? Shall we look for a man with a black woolly thing over his head?’

Indeed you shall.

Here in America, newspapers almost always omit the race of a suspect even though if that suspect were, say, a black male, 95% of the population could be excluded from consideration. So far, I believe we still call suspects “suspects”. That will doubtless change, just as illegal aliens are now, ‘people with every right to be here just like you,  but lost their paperwork in the coin laundrymat.”


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Whovever you are, kid, you have my sympathy

Snow storm went from eight-inches to zero overnight, and I just know that somewhere in town there’s a child who blew off his homework this weekend, sure that he’d be saved by the weatherman. Been there, done that, my child, but you might as well learn now: life’s just one damn thing after another.


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