Daily Archives: August 17, 2014

Cheerful viewing as you wait out your child’s summer vacation and his redelivery into the clutches of the state

Bill Whittle on Common Core, Progressivism and “The Struggle For Stupidity”

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Denise Savageau, Queen of Greenwich

It's easy to see why she scares Tesei witless but still ...

It’s easy to see why she scares Tesei witless, but still …

This story’s been under the counter for a while but Greenwich Time finally writes it up: Denise Savageau, our town’s “Conservation Director”, has derailed the proposed expansion of the town’s low income housing project, Adams Gardens (I assume the name is ironic) in Old Greenwich.

You should understand that Savageu has no official authority to waddle into this matter, just as she had no power to try to stop the restoration of the Visitor’s Center at Tod’s Point. That doesn’t stop her; indeed, nothing short of a garlic-rubbed stake through the heart will keep this woman out of town affairs, and our First Selectman Tesei clearly can’t wield one.

After nearly a year and a half of struggling through the town’s land-use regulatory procedures, the Housing Authority of Greenwich’s plan to expand housing at Adams Garden has hit another snag amid renewed concerns over drainage and flooding. Land use officials will meet to discuss the application, following Conservation Director Denise Savageau’s urging to reexamine the potential impact to two man-made ponds at the Riverside complex.

“It is problematic when some of our most vulnerable residents are placed in a flood zone where evacuation may be necessary,” wrote Savageau in a letter to the Planning and Zoning Commission. “This is especially important for multi-family structures.”

But Housing Authority officials say the continued worries were already well-addressed during lengthy proceedings with the IWWA last year and that the delays are unfounded and costly.

“We have already met with all the department heads other than Denise,” said Anthony Johnson, Executive Director of the Housing Authority. “We didn’t make this plan in a vacuum.”

At an occasionally tense [emphasis added for understatement] July 29 Planning and Zoning Commission hearing on final approval of the project, commissioners voted unanimously to put off voting on the application for a month to give time for continuing consideration of ongoing wetlands problems.

[T] he Housing Authority is rejecting both the criticisms and the process that brought them about.

“We were surprised that this conversation came in again at the last minute,” said Johnson. “I’m not disappointed, but a little surprised that at the twelfth hour these concerns come up when the project has been vetted beforehand. Maybe there’s a process problem in Planning and Zoning.”

Currently, the Conservation Commission advises the Planning and Zoning Commission while it is making its decisions, unlike other land use agencies, which vet applications earlier. Johnson suggested future redundancies could be prevented by having Conservation meet with applicants prior to their going before Planning and Zoning, so they could address concerns earlier rather than cause delays during the final steps of a project.

“A delay in construction is dollars,” said Johnson.

But of course, delay, and the flexing of her ample torso muscles, is what Savageau’s last-minute weigh-in is about. She had a year-and-a-half to squawk about the hypothetical dangers facing ” our most vulnerable residents” -sniff – but she waited until the entire approval process was nearly complete before trampling onto the scene. Shame on the Planning & Zoning Commission for conceding to her, but really: where is Little Lord Fauntleroy? He’s supposed to be in control of employees like Savageau.

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Blown opportunity

The NY Post has picked up the story of one of J.D. Salinger’s former homes being up for sale, and stuck it on Page Six. Great chance for publicity, eh? Too bad the homeowner’s agent let a photographer come in and shoot “as is” – this is not helpful. Potential home sellers here in Greenwich, take note: your hobbies and knick-knacks do not make for appealing photos.

Pictures on the floor rate a carpet on the door

Pictures on the floor rate a carpet on the door

Wow, an arts supply closet!

Wow, an arts supply closet!

Kitchen

langrd-368

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Good on him

 

James Ridberg, GPD, retired. 2011 salary, $240,097.59 "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

David Ridberg, GPD, retired, age 51. 2011 salary, $240,097.59
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

West Hampton cop walks away with millions, legally.

Ray Dean, police chief of the 2.9-square-mile village of Westhampton Beach, is retiring with a bag of cash.

He is getting $403,714 for 15 years’ worth — or 531 days — of unused sick, vacation and personal time. The payment amounts to 4 percent of the village’s entire $9.7 million budget.

In addition, Dean, who is only 53, will collect an estimated annual pension of $142,000 a year.

Dean was already a millionaire. He bought a house in Quogue for $1.3 million in 2005, owns a 32-foot boat, and his pay last year came to $226,236 — more than NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton makes.

But while Bratton oversees a force of 34,500 uniformed officers, Dean presided over 11.

Murder is unheard of, the last rape was reported in 2010, and the department tallied only 46 serious crimes in 2013, including 37 larcenies and three stolen cars.

[Dean] was awarded a five-year contract in 2011 that called for yearly raises of 2 percent on average. It gave him 30 vacation days, 22 sick days and five personal days a year.

Dean got extra pay for longevity and for working at night and on holidays. His $165,032 salary last year was bumped up by $61,204 with the extras factored in.

By the time Dean packed it in, he claimed he had amassed 300 unused sick days, 10 personal days, 208 vacation days and 13 holidays.

He retires with full benefits based on nearly 30 years of police service, the state Comptroller’s Office says.

Dean did not return a message seeking comment.

Hey, the guy merely did what the majority of the Hamptonite weekend warriors do: gouge for every penny, extract every dime for that golden parachute. My family once followed the career of a Greenwich resident, who I suppose I’ll leave nameless, who kept screwing up companies – MasterCard was one of them; and collecting tens of millions of dollars to go away and fuck up somewhere else. We boys all thought we could do almost as bad a job running these corporations for a fraction of what this corporate titan charged but alas, the call never came.

In any event, all this reminds me of Greenwich, where we supposedly financially sophisticated business leader types routinely sign on to the most incredibly dumb contracts, then express surprise at their cost. Why blame a cop or a fireman or indeed, any town worker, who’s just seen his opportunity and took it?

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Friends of animals, enemy of mankind

A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy, and I MEAN it!

A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy, and I MEAN it! Actually, I prefer the first three, thank you.

A friend sent me this link to the results of a John Hopkins study that’s been having success shrinking and even eliminating cancerous tumors by using bacteria. It sounds promising, although it seems far too far away to be of help to my boy John, but I was struck by the researchers’ description of the decade-long work so far, beginning with mice, advancing to dogs and now, on a limited scale, humans.

Then there’s Priscilla Feral, of Friends of Animals, and her organization’s objective of banning all drug testing on animals. Here’s the little lady now:

The idea that scientists ought to have non-human primates at their disposal
relies on finding some ethical borderline between humans and all other
animals.

Regulating drug dosages and the training of handlers does not mitigate the

ethical concern about treating other animals as instruments – animals who,
once conscious of their lives, have individual value unto themselves.

Implicated here are deeper questions than university administrators or the
U.S. Department of Agriculture can reach. Monkeys are caged, and they die,
at UConn and elsewhere, during experiments that follow the USDA protocols.
Tidying up these experiments isn’t enough. It’s time for humanity to evolve
beyond the habit of using other animals as little surrogate people.

Priscilla Feral
President
Friends of Animals
Darien, CT

Copyright 2007, Hartford Courant

Far be it from me to wish ill on Priscilla Feral or anyone who donates to her organization, but I do hope that if they ever develop cancer, or stroke, or need to undergo open heart surgery, that they will eschew any drugs that were derived from animal testing, and will insist on heart surgery without the aid of a heart- lung machine. And if, God forbid, one of their children develops a childhood cancer, that they’ll insist upon treatments available only in the good old days, when 75% of such children died, rather than the 80% who survive today as at the result of drugs developed by testing on animals.

I’m all about principle, and I do so admire those who stand by theirs.

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This sounded hopelessly naive in May – it’s starkly delusional today

 

My GOD but we're smart - how do we stand it?

My GOD but we’re smart – how do we stand it?

Newsweek and CNN analyst and, of course, Yale grad, Fareed Zakaria: Obama’s disciplined leadership is right for today  

[T] he world today looks very different — far more peaceful and stable than at any point in decades and, by some measures, centuries.

The United States faces no enemy anywhere on the scale of [former] Soviet Russia. Its military spending is about that of the next 14 countries combined, most of which are treaty allies of Washington.

The number of democracies around the world has grown by more than 50 percent in the past quarter-century. The countries that recently have been aggressive or acted as Washington’s adversaries are getting significant pushback. Russia has alienated Ukraine, Eastern Europe and Western Europe with its recent aggression, for which the short-term costs have grown and the long-term costs — energy diversification in Europe — have only begun to build.

China has scared and angered almost all of its maritime neighbors, with each clamoring for greater U.S. involvement in Asia [to which we’ve turned a deaf ear – Ed] . Even a regional foe such as Iran has found that the costs of its aggressive foreign policy have mounted. In 2006, Iran’s favorability rating in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia was in the 75 percent to 85 percent range, according to Zogby Research. By 2012, it had fallen to about 30 percent. [And nothing constrains a dictatorial foe better than a popularity poll – ED]

In this context, what is needed from Washington is not a heroic exertion of American military power but rather a sustained effort to engage with allies, isolate enemies, support free markets and democratic values and push these positive trends forward. The Obama administration is, in fact, deeply internationalist — building on alliances in Europe and Asia, working with institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, isolating adversaries and strengthening the global order that has proved so beneficial to the United States and the world since 1945.

The administration has fought al-Qaeda and its allies ferociously. But it has been disciplined about the use of force, and understandably so. An America that exaggerates threats, overreacts to problems and intervenes unilaterally would produce the very damage to its credibility that people are worried about.

Obama is battling a knee-jerk sentiment in Washington in which the only kind of international leadership that means anything is the use of military force. “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail,” he said in his speech Wednesday at West Point. A similar sentiment was expressed in the farewell address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a strong leader who refused to intervene in the Suez crisis, the French collapse in Vietnam, two Taiwan Strait confrontations and the Hungarian uprising of 1956 [lucky Hungarians – Ed].

At the time, many critics blasted the president for his passivity and wished that he would be more interventionist. But Eisenhower kept his powder dry, confident that force was not the only way to show strength. “I’ll tell you what leadership is,” he told his speechwriter. “It’s persuasion — and conciliation — and education — and patience. It’s long, slow, tough work. That’s the only kind of leadership I know — or believe in — or will practice.”

Maybe that’s the Obama Doctrine.

Eisenhower led a nation to victory in WW II; our community organizer has done nothing except, of course, win the Nobel Peace Prize, a medal that clangs as hollowly as Mr. Zakaria’s intellectual pontifications. It’s almost laughable that Zaharia and his ilk actually sit around Washington admiring themselves and their leader for being so very wise, so capable of raising their thoughts above the plebeian plain and to see the true nature of the world.

Aren’t we fortunate to have them in our hour of need.

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Is this tied to his opening our southern border to all who want to come in?

 

Coming our way

Coming our way

Obama rescinds ban on Libyans entering US for training in flight school and nuclear science.

The Obama administration has lifted longtime restrictions on Libyans attending flight schools in the United States and training here in nuclear science, according to a final amendment of the ban recently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Less than two years after the deadly terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is poised to sign off on an amendment reversing the ban, which was enacted following a wave or terrorist attacks in 1980s and prevents Libyans from studying these sensitive trades in the United States.

Odd behavior – startling, even.

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