Monthly Archives: December 2015

I’m beginning to wonder if they accomplished ANY of this stuff

Iran mssles

At least it’s not aimed at Syria

Three days after our administration was patting itself on the back for bringing peace to Syria, successfully negotiating  Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and ending global warming as we know it,  Iran has announced it will speed up its testing of ballistic missiles.

President Obama has been golfing all day and is unavailable for comment.


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An idiot and his Porsche are soon parted

Clown car

Clown Car

Two Porsche Porche Macan Turbos  (SUV’s for soccer moms) , a 2015 and 2016 model, respectively, were stolen from Old Greenwich homes early this morning or late last night.

In both cases, they’d been left unlocked, with the keys in the ignition.

These things start at just $75,000 and run up to no more than $105,000, so they probably belonged to the teenagers in the house. Still, shouldn’t they be taught to be more careful?


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A slow beheading with a dull knife is a hate crime; this is just lame

I'd have just affixed this to the door, and called it a night

I’d have just affixed this to the door, and called it a night

FBI investigating a piece of bacon draped on a mosque’s door handle. Seems a bit of an overreaction by the federal government. Don’t they have something better to do, like investigate what goes on inside that mosque?

UPDATE: Glenn Retnolds points out, “Put a crucifix in urine, meanwhile, and you can get an NEA grant.”


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End of year closings

The Greenwich MLS has shut down for the year, but not before the following sales were reported. Most, or all of these have been discussed here before, when they first went to contract, but the final prices are sometimes interesting.

548 North Street , listed as both a 2-acre building lot and a residence, sold for $1.850 million. The agent reported the land listing as closed and cancelled the residential listing, so it’s probably safe to assume that the nice house on this property is slated for demolition. It was purchased, as a house to live in, in 1996 for $1.050 million.

16 Porchuck Rd

16 Porchuck Rd

16 Porchuck Road, on the Merritt Parkway, sold for $2.086 million. At this price, for this house, someone was willing to overlook the noise. I probably don’t blame him. The owner, by the way, paid $1.415 for this house in 1999 and did a beautiful renovation in 2010, so that didn’t work out so well.

749 Riversville Rd

749 Riversville Rd

749 Riversville Road, just about in Bedford, sold for $2.435 million. 6 acres, 6,700 sq. feet, but it’s basically Bedford, and who wants that?

12 Ricki Beth Lane

12 Ricki Beth Lane

12 Ricki Beth Lane, Hillcrest Park, $1,466,661 (someone didn’t give up without a fight, here). Started at $2.193, though, so maybe the seller just likes odd numbers.

8 Old Club House Rd

8 Old Club House Rd

8 Old Club House Road, OG, closed at $2.151 million. Sellers paid $3 million for it in 2007, so that must have hurt. Owie.

119 Hendrie Avenue

119 Hendrie Avenue

119 Hendrie Avenue, Riverside  sold for $1.975 million. Sold in 2000 for $1.5 million.



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Who could have seen this coming?

Gary Nathaniel Moore

Gary Nathaniel Moore – must be a Trump supporter

“Hate crime” arsonist who burned mosque was a devout Muslim and member of that mosque.

According to a charging instrument released by the Harris County District Clerk, Moore told investigators at the scene that he has attended the storefront mosque for five years, coming five times per day to pray seven days per week.

As always in these cases, the mosque leaders deny all knowledge of the perpetrator (see, e.g., San Bernardino)

We’ve seen the mattress girl, the VA rape, nooses found on trees and many, many more of these incidents all exposed as hoaxes. In fact, as Glenn Reynold points out, “You know, the good news is that without fake hate crimes, we’d hardly have any hate crimes at all.”


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The science is settled


Dr. Albert Gore delivers his objective, considered opinion on global warming

Oh dear, you mean all those stories about journals and bureaucracies silencing “deniers” to create the impression that there was unanimity on this were true? Yup just as we’ve been saying here for years. The global warming whooped-up hysteria is about centralized power and control and money, not science.

Don’t look now, but maybe a scientific consensus exists concerning global warming after all. Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

The survey results show geoscientists (also known as earth scientists) and engineers hold similar views as meteorologists. Two recent surveys of meteorologists (summarized here and here) revealed similar skepticism of alarmist global warming claims.

According to the newly published survey of geoscientists and engineers, merely 36 percent of respondents fit the “Comply with Kyoto” model. The scientists in this group “express the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

The authors of the survey report, however, note that the overwhelming majority of scientists fall within four other models, each of which is skeptical of alarmist global warming claims.


Taken together, these four skeptical groups numerically blow away the 36 percent of scientists who believe global warming is human caused and a serious concern.

One interesting aspect of this new survey is the unmistakably alarmist bent of the survey takers. They frequently use terms such as “denier” to describe scientists who are skeptical of an asserted global warming crisis, and they refer to skeptical scientists as “speaking against climate science” rather than “speaking against asserted climate projections.” Accordingly, alarmists will have a hard time arguing the survey is biased or somehow connected to the ‘vast right-wing climate denial machine.’

Another interesting aspect of this new survey is that it reports on the beliefs of scientists themselves rather than bureaucrats who often publish alarmist statements without polling their member scientists. We now have meteorologists, geoscientists and engineers all reporting that they are skeptics of an asserted global warming crisis, yet the bureaucrats of these organizations frequently suck up to the media and suck up to government grant providers by trying to tell us the opposite of what their scientist members actually believe.

People who look behind the self-serving statements by global warming alarmists about an alleged “consensus” have always known that no such alarmist consensus exists among scientists. Now that we have access to hard surveys of scientists themselves, it is becoming clear that not only do many scientists dispute the asserted global warming crisis, but these skeptical scientists may indeed form a scientific consensus.


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When something can’t continue, it won’t

fighting rats

Fighting over the scraps

Democrat politicians and state employee unions face the music, and the unions don’t like it.

Left-leaning politicians from Rhode Island to California are increasingly supporting more aggressive overhauls of government pension benefits despite opposition from labor officials, traditionally one of the Democratic Party’s biggest policy and electoral supporters.

The erosion of Democratic backing for conventional retirement benefits prized by teachers, firefighters and police officers is a sign of how strained government budgets are as obligations for 24 million public workers and retirees continue to mount.

Pension-cutting Democrats can come off as the lesser of two evils for union officials, because they have curtailed some benefits in an effort to make retirement plans more sustainable. Republicans often pursue more drastic steps such as ditching traditional pensions altogether in favor of the 401(k)-like plans common in the private sector.

The amount states and local governments are paying each year to fund retirement systems has risen to 4% of annual spending, up from 2.3% in 2002, according to U.S. Census data. Meanwhile, large retirement systems now have just three-quarters of the assets they need to fund future obligations, according to consultant Milliman Inc., leaving a gap of $1 trillion.

Democrats rarely tried to roll back pensions before 2008, according to politicians and pension officials. But as deficits surged because of deep investment losses in the wake of the financial crisis and chronic underfunding of retirement plans, Democrats said they had little choice but to revamp benefits, leading to conflicts with what has usually been a large and loyal bloc of voters.

Pension overhauls are one of several issues straining relations between Democrats and unions. Some unions have battled Democrats who opposed the Keystone XL oil-pipeline project and others who back charter school expansion.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and other labor groups who backed the governor’s campaign have lobbied hard against Mr. Wolf’s changes, arguing that workers’ retirement security will be compromised. In recent weeks, union members have sent more than 100,000 emails to state legislators opposing the pension cuts.

“It’s a false choice,” said Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. “You don’t have to cut pensions in order to get school funding.”

There are already signs that some Democrats who take a harder line on pensions can survive politically. Pension-cutting Democrats can still come off as more friend than foe to union officials, because Republicans often target deeper benefit cuts.

Former Rhode Island Treasurer Gina Raimondo won election as governor in 2014 after battling with unions on a pension overhaul.

Ms. Raimondo ultimately reached a settlement with workers this year that locked in $4 billion in savings. The cuts included shifting some current workers and new hires onto plans that include a 401(k)-style account, plus reducing the cost-of-living adjustments for retirees.

“There’s still a core group that’s angry, and in many ways I understand why they’re angry,” Ms. Raimondo said. “I tell them, ‘Don’t be mad at me. Be mad at people who made promises that were unaffordable.’ ”

Those governors who are merely nibbling at the edges of this – like our own Dannel Malloy – are just pushing the crisis off into the near future, when their successors will have to make the deep cuts the unions are resisting. The day of reckoning is almost here.


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Defining deviancy downward


You can join in a flash mob at the mall or do your homework, but probably not both

As Asian-American flourish, liberals, blacks and Hispanics move to limit their success.


[Asian parents]  tend to oversee their children’s homework, stress the importance of earning high grades and instill the belief that hard work is the ticket to a better life.

And it pays off. Their children are soaring academically.

The outrage is that instead of embracing the example of these Asian families, school authorities and non-Asian parents want to rig the system to hold them back. It’s happening here in New York City, in suburban New Jersey and across the nation.

Here in New York City, Asian-Americans make up 13 percent of students, yet they win more than half of the coveted places each year at the city’s selective public high schools, such as Bronx Science and Stuyvesant.

What’s at play here? It’s not a difference in IQ; it’s parenting. That’s confirmed by a recent study by sociologists from City University of New York and the University of Michigan, which showed that parental oversight enabled Asian-American students to far outperform the others.

No wonder many successful charter schools require parents to sign a pledge that they’ll supervise their children’s homework and encourage a strong work ethic.

That formula is under fire at the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey. The district, which is 65 percent Asian, routinely produces seniors with perfect SAT scores, admissions to MIT and top prizes in international science competitions.

But many non-Asian parents are up in arms, complaining there’s too much pressure and their kids can’t compete. In response, this fall Superintendent David Aderhold apologized that school had become a “perpetual achievement machine.” Heaven forbid!

Aderhold canceled accelerated and enriched math courses for fourth and fifth grades, which were 90 percent Asian, and eliminated midterms and finals in high school.

Using a word that already strikes terror in the hearts of Asian parents, he said schools had to take a “holistic” approach. That’s the same euphemism Harvard uses to limit the number of Asians accepted and favor non-Asians.

Aderhold even lowered standards for playing in school music programs. Students have a “right to squeak,” he insisted. Never mind whether they practice.

Of course, neither Aderhold nor parents in charge of sports are indulging nonathletic kids with a “right to fumble” and join a mostly non-Asian varsity football team.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NAACP want to reduce the role the competitive exam plays in admissions for the city’s eight selective high schools in favor of a “holistic” approach. That means robbing poor, largely immigrant and first-generation kids — nearly half the students get subsidized school lunches — of the chance to study hard and compete for a world-class education.

As Dennis Saffran explains in “The Plot Against Merit,” some Asian-American eighth-graders practice for two years for the test, while their parents toil in laundromats and restaurants to pay for exam-prep classes.

What’s stopping white, Hispanic and black parents from doing the same thing?


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I foresee a surge in the sale of bedsheets in every European border town.


Looks like just another A-Rab to me, but if it works …

And if it works there, maybe along the Rio Grande too. Refugees in Sweden terrified by ghosts in shelter, seek other accommodations. 


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Dilbert’s back, briefly



December 30, 2015 · 1:34 pm

Two starter homes or land sales

one carriage road

Swamp Vue

1 Carriage Road, Cos Cob, $875,000. One acre, one aging contemporary. It sold for $802,500 back in 2002, but it was priced and valued then as a livable house, rather than a free one, today. Personally, I think it’d be a perfectly nice house – all things being relative – for someone stretching their budget, but it’s probably due to be replaced.

And 67 Sumner Road, way out yonder in Indian territory, sold for $1.5 million even. Five acres, decent house – if you don’t mind the commute, not bad.

67 Sumner road

67 Sumner Road


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Belle Haven home comes a cropper

44 Harbor Drive

Belle Haven building lot. “Water views” not “water front”

44 Harbor Drive sold for $8.7 million in 2006 and the owners spent, I heard, over a million dollars having a new, 11,000 sq.foot house designed, with engineering studies and all that, then changed their minds and put it back up for sale. It just closed for $8.2 million.


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Meet your new diversity officer – he’ll be rich, white and straight

Queer muslim

Objective? I think not.

He belongs to the only minority left who’s not an officially recognized  “victim”,  and so only he  can make objective decisions.

There’s a reason we don’t ask the victims of crimes to pick punishments: they lack perspective and clarity. They are likely to wildly overstate perceived infractions or slights and wildly over-punish alleged offenders.

Instead, we ask a judge to decide, because he is an educated, impartial observer. Similarly, mutatis mutandis, introducing that essential critical distance into the business of assessing so-called oppression and structural injustice is the only way to navigate the complex privilege league tables the progressive Left has created.

Who’s to say, for example, whether women’s rights trump those of Muslims? We can’t just ask the Muslim: of course he’ll say he wants sharia law and for women to cover up in public. Who’s to say whether a company should prioritise hiring more women over more blacks? Or more gays over more crossdressing paraplegic Syrian refugees?

Such decisions cannot be left in the hands of groups who are advocating for their own interests. They should be left to people without a dog in the fight. In other words, white males, the only people besides East Asians who can handle the theoretical physics and heavy-duty maths required to properly weigh the horrific life experiences of pampered western feminists and Black Lives Matter protestors.




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Even in Maine, some people don’t get it

Car stuck in snow

Towing by the woods on a snowy evening

While out and about in yesterday’s  8″ “dusting”, I saw a large number of cars skidding, sliding and just plain going nowhere, even on plowed roads. That’s almost certainly because the cars were equipped with summer or “all-season” tires, in defiance of the certain knowledge that “all-season” refers to seasons in parts of the country that never see snow. If you live where it does snow, you need a different tire.

Edmunds did an interesting experiment testing the capabilities of “summer”, “all-season” and “snow” tires, first on snow, then on dry pavement. The result? Snows were pretty useless in dry California conditions, and fabulous in Minnesota, while summer tires were the reverse. All-Season tires gave the most balanced performance: they sucked in both conditions.

Summing Up
What can we make of all this? For one, low-friction surfaces demand respect. Our stopping distances in the wet range 30-40 percent longer than those recorded on dry pavement. Meanwhile, stops on snow consume at least three times the distance as they do on dry asphalt, even with the use of best-case tires in each situation.

Second, no single tire type excels on all surfaces, and the differences between each are sometimes striking. These differences are so massive, in fact, that we feel that certain generalizations can be extrapolated from our small trio of carefully selected test tires.

To the surprise of exactly no one, our winter tires dominate in snow and the summer tires dominate in the dry. The eye-opener here relates to wet performance, where a well-developed summer tire embarrasses an all-season tire made for the same car by the same folks. Anyone who never sees or visits snow would be very well served by summer tires for year-round use.

Another key take-away from this exercise is the utter worthlessness of those same summer tires on snow. Anyone who uses snow tires in winter and summer tires the rest of the year — a good strategy to maximize performance and control all year — needs to time the switch-over carefully to avoid getting caught out by the first rogue snow accumulation of the season.

And the lameness of summer tires on snow makes it easy to see why the California Highway Patrol and other local authorities can have a hair-trigger when it comes to requiring snow chains. It also explains why so many carmakers spend a lot of energy on all-season tires; they don’t know where you live or where you’ll drive, so they want to make sure you’ve got passable winter rubber.

But in delivering this capability, all-season tires sacrifice a noticeable bit of dry and wet performance. Meanwhile, snow and summer tires provide clear benefits to those who can use them. In this particular test, at least, all-season tires live up to the old figure of speech our old dad used to trot out on occasion: “jack of all trades, master of none.”


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But hiring her looked so good on their affirmative action report

truck fail


Indiana: Historic bridge destroyed when lady truck driver tries to cross it because she “couldn’t convert tons to pounds”. 

A 2015 Volvo Semi Truck filled with 43,000 pounds of bottled water destroyed a  small bridge in Paoli, Indiana that dates back to 1880. The staggering part is that signs before the bridge said that the weight limit was 6 tons and that semis were not allowed on the bridge.

According to police reports the driver, Mary Lambright, was unaware that her vehicle was more than 6 tons because she couldn’t convert to pounds. All told she was off by about 24 tons, her truck weighed in at 30. More than that, the 53 foot box trailer didn’t even clear the top of the bridge.

She ended up at the bridge mouth after making a wrong turn en route to a Wal Mart parking lot where she had a stop off planned. Being uncomfortable in reverse after getting her CDL license earlier this year, she tried her chances on the bridge.

Would you hire a mathematical illiterate who can’t judge height or even read road signs, and who was “uncomfortable” in reverse, to drive your 2015 Volvo semi? Hell, maybe she’s a transvestite, in which case our government would insist on it.

truck fail 11

Here’re a couple of toughies: what do these signs mean?


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I don’t believe any of it

new home buyers

Screw the schools, we’ve got no volatile organic compounds in our paint!

Architects predict future home design trends for the coming decade, and they’re all smoking pot.

1. Disaster-resistant designs

With more extreme weather brought on by global warming, architects anticipate that design features intended to protect homes from flooding, fires and wind damage will become more common even in noncoastal areas. Such protective measures can include elevating a home several feet in the air, safe rooms or back-up power generation.

[Global warming consistently ranks last among Americans’ worries, and no one’s going to pay more for these precautions – further, find a young mother with kids in strollers and fifteen bags of groceries who wants to climb steps to get into her house and I’ll show you Old Greenwich – but those young mothers have nannies, there.]

2. Healthy building materials

Mirroring the move toward organic, farm-t0-table cuisine, homeowners are becoming more conscious that building materials can make them sick, according to AIA. Architects anticipate a move away from paints that give off chemical fumes and toward natural materials, such as wood and brick.

[I call bullshit – buyers want to know the grade of granite in the kitchen, not whether the flooring is bamboo. Every “green” house in Greenwich that’s tried to recover some of its extra expensive by building in these features has failed.]

3. Smart-home automation

Architects anticipate that smart-home automation will catch on further, including being able to control temperature, security and lighting from a smart phone. Some surveys show thatyoung people aren’t necessarily especially keen on such gadgets and rated keeping costs down as a much higher priority.

[Indeed – the reporter understands what the architects don’t]

4. Designs catering to an aging population

Design fixes that will allow people to stay living in their homes longer are likely to become more popular as the population ages, including wider hallways, lower windows and more bungalows.

[okay, this seems likely, though I’d expect more condominiums, not bungalows].

5. Energy-efficient design

Homes that use less electricity and water have become increasingly trendy in recent years and architects expect that to continue, but it is still unclear whether the costs outweigh the benefits. Mr. Suter, the Connecticut architect, said he encourages clients not simply to think of energy efficiency in dollar terms but to think of unforeseen benefits, such as a wood stove that can be used in case of a power outage.

[Again – and again – people won’t pay extra for this. Lord knows I’ve tried to interest buyers in super-efficient boilers, triple-paned windows, 2X6 framing to accommodate extra insulation, etc., and they give me the fish eye.]


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It’s what Lincoln said when told that Grant was imbibing: “find out what whiskey he drinks and send a barrel to all my generals”.

Reagan is said to have read Tom Clancy’s “Red Storm Rising while preparing for Cold War summit with Gorbachov. Naturally, Britain’s Independent weighs in in its oh-so-smug condescension.

The exact extent to which the Clancy thriller coloured the President’s thinking will remain unknown. But the Downing Street memo offers a tantalising suggestion that the former film star may have begun to conflate fact with fiction when it came to interpreting Mr Gorbachev’s actions. [emphasis added] 

Red Storm Rising, which describes a war fought to the brink of a nuclear conflagration, features a slick and duplicitous Politburo chairman who makes Washington a generous offer on arms reduction while all the time secretly planning for war.

Mr Powell wrote: “The President also showed deep distrust of Soviet motives. Their attempt to freeze US research into strategic defence was cover for them ‘to go ahead like crazy with their own missile defence plans’.”

While the apparent use of a work of fiction as a crib sheet for the delicate process of negotiating away weapons of mass destruction might not inspire confidence in Mr Reagan’s grasp of geo-political detail, [emphasis added] Mr Clancy was at least highly rated as an observer of Cold War technology.

Red Storm Rising was written with apparent expertise in sensitive military secrets such as America’s stealth bombers or the USSR’s Typhoon-class nuclear submarines.

When a senior Washington admiral read Hunt for Red October, his initial response is reputed to have been to shout: “Who the hell cleared this?”

So this unsophisticated  rube, this “former movie star” “conflated fact with fiction” yet somehow brought down the Soviet Union. If only our “former community organizer” would read any one of the Vince Flynn series, instead of memos from Valerie Jarrett; we’d be a safer nation today.

On the Beach

The movie that informed a generation of smug idiots


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World got you down, a little scared about the future? Then brighten up, Bucko, we bear glad tidings

“President” (I prefer “Resident”) Obama just sank an awesome shot while golfing on vacation.”

President Obama is currently on vacation with his family in Hawaii, where he’s been indulging in his favorite pastime — golf.

If his display Monday during a round at the Mid Pacific Country Club in Kailua was any indication, he’s pretty good.

On the 18th green, Obama set up for a nearly 40-foot chip shot, which is no easy task for any golfer. He lined the shot up perfectly, hit it with just the right amount of force, and sunk it.

Not bad, Mr. President.

It’s a relief to lean that he’s good at something, I guess.

Soldiers in battle

We gotta move – the President wants to play through


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Why I’m a Patriots fan

(Although I did secretly enjoy watching the Jets beat ’em Sunday). Sarah just dug up and posted this photo from last year, when the Patriots invited them down to meet cancer survivor Marcus Cannon, tour the place and, the next day, put them on the 40 yard line, one row back from the field. Greenwich’s Jim Bell (NBC Olympics) made a call for me, for which I’m very grateful, but I was hugely impressed that the organization, and Marcus Cannon, would do such a nice thing for a my boy.

(I see that, by coincidence, I’m wearing the very shirt John was wearing that day – I knew that someday, my repeated failure to heed his request for medium-size clothing would pay off, and this large size fits his father perfectly! Now, where’s that parka I gave him?)

John and Sarah

John and Sarah at Foxboro November, 2014


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Not surprisingly, the real estate market’s dormant this week (as it was last week)

No open houses, no particular news to report on – 160 Bedford Road, asking $2.2 million, has a contingent offer, but it’s subject to bank approval, so let’s wait t see where it shakes out.

Wrote about this property many times over the years, including as recently as this past December 9th, when I commented on the 100% financing extended on its $3.3 million sale price, back in the glory days of 2007.



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