Daily Archives: November 3, 2014

And this is illegal, how?

poverty pimpBlack rights groups demand federal investigation into poster campaign portraying Maxine Waters as a “Poverty Pimp”.

I thought truth in advertising was permitted.

 Southland civil rights leaders Monday called for an investigation into what they described as a racially offensive campaign against local Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

Posters featuring a black-and-white illustration of Waters bordered with the words “Poverty Pimp” have been plastered on streets and near freeways and businesses throughout Los Angeles, Inglewood and the South Bay.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reports the ad portrays a wrinkled caricature of Waters depicted with red dollar signs in her eyes and the words “N—-s Betta Have My Money!” behind her.

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This is actually a big deal

It's about to get simpler

It’s about to get simpler

A federal judge has struck down a HUD anti-discrimination regulation that was based on “disparate impact” – “proving” discrimination through statistics, rather than proof of actual discrimination.

WASHINGTON—A federal judge on Monday struck down a Department of Housing and Urban Development rule that aimed to make it easier for plaintiffs to file allegations of housing discrimination.

The HUD regulation, issued in February 2013, was designed to make it easier to enforce a 45-year-old law to combat alleged discrimination by lenders, insurers, landlords and municipalities.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, in his decision, called the rule “yet another example of an administrative agency trying desperately to write into law that which Congress never intended to sanction.”

The [plaintiff] insurance industry argued in its lawsuit the HUD rules would harm companies that sell homeowners insurance, requiring them to “provide and price insurance in a manner that is wholly inconsistent with well-established principles of actuarial practice and applicable state insurance law.”

The so-called disparate-impact rule allows plaintiffs to use a statistical analysis to demonstrate that lenders or cities promoted policies that had a disproportionately adverse impact on minorities. Under the rule, plaintiffs can claim that lenders or cities violated fair-housing laws without proving they did so with an intent to discriminate.

The ruling comes a month after the Supreme Court agreed to review the “disparate impact” legal strategy, taking a case focusing on the allocation of low-income housing tax credits in Dallas. The Supreme Court has tried to take up the issue two other times in recent terms, but those cases settled before the court could decide them.

The reason that this, and a possible Supreme Court ruling, is important is that there are almost no avert acts of racial discrimination left for activists to move against, so they’ve turned to “impact statistics” to force low-income housing into middle class neighborhoods, mortgage loans to be given to unqualified borrowers and, closer to home, towns to racially balance their schools. If that tactic is invalidated, the entire civil rights enforcement efforts of the past two decades will be scrapped.

Should be interesting.

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A Christmas song

Though it's been said many times, many ways ...

Although it’s been said many times, many ways …

Father invites daughter’s rapist over for dinner, fries his nuts off.

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Okay, I won’t

And there will be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth

And there will be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth

White House: “Don’t freak out if the Democrats get crushed tomorrow”.

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Answers to questions we’d never thought to ask

Barf bag optional

Barf bag optional

Business Insider: “The real reason Taylor Swift pulled her songs from Spotify”.

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A useful reminder, but they may have this wrong

Greenwich Board of Health reminds us that deer tick season is still upon us and won’t end until the snow flies. 

“The period from October up until the first major snowfall sees the emergence of the adult female `deer tick’ which carries the bacterium that causes Lyme disease …” added the Department of Health’s Director of Laboratory Douglas Serafin. “The tick is about the size of an apple seed, but will stay fastened to its host (a person or a dog) for a week, filling up with blood to become the size of a raisin. Because a tick is more likely to pass on infectious organisms the longer it remains attached to its host, it is important to be vigilant and remove ticks as soon as they become attached.”

I’ve always read that deer ticks are tiny – much smaller than regular ticks, and searching the Google just now confirms my belief: sesame seed size, not apple seed size. They’re disgusting either way, but if you’re doing a tick check on your kids and are looking for raisins, not itsy-bitsy-spiders, you may miss the bloody buggers.

Here are ticks and their relative sizes: deer ticks, top row.

TickMaster4_122-300x295

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In town land sale

52 Ridge Sreet

52 Ridge Sreet

52 Ridge Street, 0.3 acre in the R-7 zone, $2.175 million. That sounds like a lot, but 62 Ridge Street sold for $6 million in 2010, so I can understand the builder’s thinking.

62 Ridge Street

62 Ridge Street

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The Princeton Alumni community?

Does this hijab make my head look fat?

Does this hijab make my head look fat?

First Lady of the United States to “our community” – “we should vote the Democrat line, regardless of who’s the candidate.

The first lady said, “That’s my message to  [black] voters, this isn’t about Barack, It’s not about person on that ballot, its about you, and for most of the people we are talking to, a Democratic ticket is the clear ticket that we should be voting on regardless of who said what or did this, that shouldn’t even come into the equation.”

Related: Ben Stein: Obama is the most racist president there has ever been.

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(Almost) in-town sale

115 Maple Avenue

115 Maple Avenue

115 Maple Avenue, $2.995 million (down from $3.6), has a contract. A grand old house on almost an acre, close to town. Very pretty.

It’s a Skakel house, but not the Skakel house of Belle Haven fame.

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Price cut off Round Hill Road

Doverton Drive

Doverton Drive

One Doverton Drive, from $3.5 to $3 million, after 488 days on the market. It’s a 2,600 sq.ft. home of an “interesting” architectural style and, so far, no one’s biting.

Cozy living room

Cozy living room

Who among us doesn't appreciate authentic-looking barn beams in a 1974 kitchen?

Who among us doesn’t appreciate authentic-looking barn beams in a 1974 kitchen?

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And another in Old Greenwich

14 Park Avenue

14 Park Avenue

14 Park Avenue, $2.150, 14 days to contract.

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Quick sale in mid-country

12 Hawkwood Lane

12 Hawkwood Lane

12 Hawkwood Lane, $2.9 million, has a contract in less than three weeks. I know of several houses in this immediate area, same price range, that are lingering. They’re all pretty nice, but I can think of specific drawbacks of each that made this house more attractive to a buyer. Not so long ago, there were so many buyers in this $2.5-$2.9 range that they’d all have sold quickly; now, with so few shoppers, it’s easier to be picky.

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Fraudulent classes for athletes? Blame capitalism.

Final exam day, UNC Black Studies 101

Final exam, UNC Black Studies 101

Hell, why not blame Bush?

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill blamed racism and heteropatriarchal capitalism for the recent academic scandal that has plagued the university.

Gathering Wednesday afternoon, members of the Real Silent Sam coalition gathered to share their response to the recently released “Investigation of Irregular Classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” which found that certain classes in the former African and Afro-American Department were created simply to keep athletes grade-eligible.

“I think that, intentional or not, words have a lot of power and the language and proceedings of this investigation have shown that we don’t value athletes and we don’t value black studies.”    

“In this space, we will not bend to the will of oppression! We will lift our voices to the administration and the world. We will reclaim our space in higher education. This is your space!” UNC senior Taylor Webber-Fields said to the crowd gathered on the front steps of one of the administrative buildings.

The Real Silent Sam is a coalition of UNC students, faculty, and community members who aim to “create honest dialogue” about Chapel Hill monuments and buildings, according to the group’s description.

On Wednesday, however, the coalition’s mission was more about the structure of the university as it rallied to “reveal ways in which our university participates in the ‘American’ system of white supremacist, heteropatriarchal capitalism and brings our understanding of what it means to be a Tar Heel into question,” according to the group’s Facebook page.

“The way that the media corrupted what happened in this space was informed by the way that blackness is understood here,” Omololu Babatunde, a UNC senior who spoke at the rally, told Campus Reform. “Society, which is reflected in the media, understands blackness in such a discredited way that it’s able to corrupt something that is much broader than one site.”

The Wainstein report, released last Wednesday, found that some classes in the former African and Afro-American Department (AFAM)—now the African, African American, and Diaspora Studies (AAAD) department—did not meet and only required one paper graded by an administrator. The classes were created by two individuals in the department in order to keep athletes grade-eligible, though other students reportedly enrolled as well.

Students and faculty at the event said they felt as though the former AFAM department was scapegoated because society does not value African-American studies.

While I think we can all agree that society doesn’t value African-American studies, or any other victimhood discipline, for that matter, it’s interesting that these students and faculty members aren’t the least bit concerned about the students who will graduate without a professional sports career or an education that might qualify them for a job.

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Beware he doesn’t bring down the country out of spite

Why does everything bad always happen to ME?

Why does everything bad always happen to ME?

Politico: Obama’s run out of steam.

Barack Obama is antsy. His aides can see it when he alights from Air Force One from the all-too-occasional campaign trips he has taken this fall. There’s a sigh, an unhappy-camper body language when he finds himself back in the depressing slipstream of Ebola confabs and national-security-crisis-of-the-day meetings. The vibe, according to people in his orbit, is not so much of being checked out as of being fed up.

“[I] do like campaigning. … It’s fun,” Obama said on Thursday, speaking wistfully at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud in Maine.

Obama, for so long the man with the bright future, has hated being relegated to a sidelined pariah in the midterms—even if it is the inevitable lot of a second-termer with approval ratings hovering in the low 40s—according to a dozen current and former Obama advisers we spoke with in recent days. He both resents the narrative that he’s basically irrelevant and doesn’t much relish the fact that many of his longest-serving staffers, the remnant core of his once-buzzing and brash White House, are strapping themselves to ejector seats. More than anything, Obama’s loathing for Washington, an attitude that reads as ennui to outsiders, has hardened into a sullen resignation at being trapped in a broken system he failed to change, advisers told us.

[T] he mobilize-the-base philosophy that has defined Obama as the transcendent campaigner of his generation haunts his presidency, severely limiting his range of public support now, when he most needs to tap a wider reservoir of goodwill. Since the losses in 2010, when the Tea Party revolt redefined the game, Obama’s politics-and-metrics team has essentially conceded that he will never be able to capture anything approaching broad public support. At the start of his presidency, about 35 percent of Republicans and independents personally liked him and were willing to give him a chance. In 2014, that number is approaching the vanishing point, at around 10 percent.

It’s nice to know that Obama now “loathes Washington” – join the club, fella – but it seems likely to me that he’ll demonstrate that hatred by using his executive powers to force his agenda on the country, regardless of the election results. No more “elections have consequences” gloating from him.

The real story of this hapless, incompetent fellow is found in the opening paragraphs of this article, describing a man who would be king who loves campaigning, but becomes an unhappy, depressed and lonely guy when he’s forced to deal with never ending problems that come with the job. A fraud meets his reality, and can’t stand what he’s found.

UPDATE, Nov. 4th: Phillip Klein voices the same wariness of a wounded duck.

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Real estate

45 Old Stone Bridge

45 Old Stone Bridge

45 Old Stone Bridge, Cos Cob, $2.250 million, has a contract after 188 days on the market. Although the owners paid $2,287,500 for this house in 2006, other Old Stone Bridge property owners should heartened (depending on what the final sales price is), because the neighborhood was hammered in the 2008-2010 debacle; it seems that prices have come back.

101 Otter Rock Drive

101 Otter Rock Drive

101 Otter Rock Drive, $5.375 million, also reports a contract. The American “French Provincial” look is sort of dated, but these owners gutted the interior, opened up rooms and really made it very nice.

20 Walsh Lane

20 Walsh Lane

And 20 Walsh Lane is back again after its last lease expired, and now asking $4.295 million. There was much not to like about this when it first came on in 2008, but it was priced at $5.375 back then. A million less may just change my – and buyers’ – opinion.

Note that the listing identifies the location as “in the Belle Haven area” – that’s sort of like realtors who describe their Stamford listings as “on the Greenwich/Stamford border”. Just as Greenwich homes aren’t advertised as “close to Stamford”, homes in Belle Haven proper don’t describe themselves as “cheek-by-jowl with the great unwashed”.

But that’s a quibble.

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Iowa car dealers are panicking

You don't want no Tesla, you want a guy like to protect you, sell you a nice Buick

You don’t want no Tesla, you want a guy like me to protect you, sell you a nice Buick

Iowa orders Tel to stop offering test rides.

… Iowa’s transportation department is telling Tesla Motors to stop offering test drives in the state because doing so is illegal, reports the Des Moines Register. Iowa’s DOT apparently said the test drives–conducted by Tesla in West Des Moines earlier this month–were illegal because Tesla isn’t a licensed auto dealer in Iowa, and that state law bans auto manufacturers from selling vehicles directly to consumers.

Forbidding car makers from selling directly to the public sounds odd, but in fact auto manufacturers are prohibited from selling directly to consumers in nearly every state. In Texas, for instance, Tesla has two show galleries, one in Houston and another in Austin, but as Tesla itself notes on its website:

In an effort to comply with the current laws, employees at these galleries are prevented from discussing pricing and the reservation process. This includes any discussion on financing, leasing, or purchasing options. Also, galleries cannot offer test drives. The store’s interactive kiosks are also amended to remove pricing. Lastly, we are unable to refer the customer to another store out of state.”

There may be [sic] a political element to the kerfuffle as well: the Register notes franchise auto dealers in states around the country have worked with dealers associations to keep Tesla out, presumably threatened by Tesla’s unconventional sales model. In fact, it was Iowa’s Automobile Dealers Association that tipped the DOT off to Tesla’s test drives in West Des Moines, says the Register.

But not allowing auto manufacturers to sell directly to the public may be harming consumers, argues a 2009 competition-related advocacy report on the U.S. Department of Justice’s website. The paper advocates “eliminating state bans on direct manufacturer sales in order to provide automakers with an opportunity to reduce inventories and distribution costs by better matching production with consumer preferences,” and notes that economic arguments for states’ bans on direct auto sales that cite holdup or free-rider issues “are not persuasive because competition among auto manufacturers gives each manufacturer the incentive to refrain from opportunistic behavior and to work with its dealers to resolve any free-rider problems.”

 

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Democrats are panicking

NYT: Let’s do away with these inconvenient mid-term elections.

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