Climate Change Proponents Use More Energy Than the Doubters

You might think that folks who worry about human activities contributing to climate change would consume less energy than those who disagree. Right? Wrong.

We now learn that the opposite is true. People who profess to worry about such things tend to use more energy than those who don’t. So says a British study inquiring into such matters, as reported in the UK by The Telegraph. Click here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/10965887/People-who-claim-to-worry-about-climate-change-use-more-electricity.html

Remember Eminent Domain Takings for Malls?

Those of us with a few grey hairs may recall when taking land by eminent domain for malls was just the thing. In spite of the fact that these takings were clearly for private use — i.e., for retail shops, movie theaters and restaurants, the people behind them touted their handiwork as “public use.” And judges, pretending that this was for real, rubber-stamped these takings and allowed the use of eminent domain for these private enterprises, in spite of the Constitutional requirement that eminent domain be used only for “public use.”

It’s 20 or 30 years later now, and guess what? Those big malls that were supposed to generate beaucoup money for cities in the form of sales taxes, and increased property taxes, are not doing so well.

We could go on about this subject, and cite our readers to the book of MIT Professor Bernard Frieden and his co-author Lynn Sagalyn, Downtown: How America Rebuilds Cities, describing in detail how cities, working hand in glove with their favored [re]developers would take land by eminent domain, turn it over to those [re]developers at bargain basement prices, usually less than what the cities paid for it; the idea being that as the malls were constructed and filled with commercial tenants, the subject properties would get more valuable, pay more property  taxes, etc., etc. As California Court of Appeal Justice Macklin Fleming once put it in one of his opinions, the promise was that all this would bake a bigger economic pie with bigger slices for all. Except, to continue in Justice Fleming’s metaphor, it often turned out that that instead of enriching everybody, these projects failed, producing only pie in the sky.

Anyway, what is happening now is that the day of malls is over, and many of them are either in a state of decline or have gone bust altogether. Proceeding on the premise that a picture is worth a thousand words, we invite your attention to this internet posting that shows in vivid color the remnants of malls whose “pie” did not bake well. Click on http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/completely-surreal-pictures-of-americas-abandoned-malls and you’ll get the picture.

What is left unsaid however, is that often some of these malls were built with public funds, and to get that money and use it to cover the cost of land acquisition and mall construction, cities sold municipal bonds in the hope that the increased taxes generated by those malls would take care of servicing and eventually paying off those bonds, so as the promoters of these projects sometimes bragged, this would be “free money.” But alas, in reality the cash flow from those projects had to be used to pay the interest on those bonds, some of the touted the tax revenues had to be diverted into the pockets of bond holders as tax-free interest, or forgiven altogether as part of the deal that cities often made with the redevelopers.

Unfortunately, the internet post cited above does not tell us how many of those failing malls were built with money raised through the sale of such municipal bonds, and whether,in spite of their failure, the cities that sponsored them and issued those bonds, remain on the hook for the outstanding balances.

Bye, Bye, Atlantic City

Remember how we were told by our betters that Atlantic City would be revived and rescued from its status as New Jersey’ slum-by-the-sea? How it would be done by establishing a bunch of casinos near the boardwalk and thus drawing a bunch of would-be high-flying gamblers who lacked the time or the funds, or both to travel to Las Vegas where the real legal action was.

Now, it’s years later, other states got the same idea, and Atlantic City casinos are going like flies. In the words of the Washington Post reporting the imminent closure of the Trump Plaza:

In addition to Trump Plaza, two other hotels are expected to close in the near future: Revel, the highly-touted $2.4 billion resort that opened in 2012 with dreams of providing a different Atlantic City experience, says it could close by August if it can’t find a buyer. The Showboat Casino Hotel will also close in August, according to Caesars Entertainment. Mark Berman, Trump Plaza Is Closing. This Is Just the Latest Sign of Atlantic City’s Dramatuic Decline, Washington Post, July 14, 2014. Click here http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/07/14/trump-plaza-is-closing-this-is-just-the-latest-sign-of-atlantic-citys-dramatic-decline/?hpid=z3

 

Which goes to show once again that redevelopment is development with the prefix “re” attached to it. Which is to say that it has its risks as well as its rewards. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

The NY Times has chimed in today (7/15/14) with its own take on the Atlantic City disaster. Click here for the story. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/nyregion/as-casinos-start-to-fall-atlantic-city-struggles-to-rise.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=LargeMediaHeadlineSum&module=photo-spot-region&region=photo-spot&WT.nav=photo-spot&_r=0

In the end, one picture is worth a thousand words. And here is such a picture brought to us by the NY Times.

In the Atlantic City neighborhood surrounding the Revel casino, houses stand next to broad vacant lots and abandoned buildings. Credit Devin Yalkin for The New York Times

 

It’s the Same the Whole World Over, Including the U.K.

 

It’s the same the whole world over,

It’s the poor what gets the blame,

While the rich ‘as all the pleasure,

Now ain’t that a blinkin’ shame.

 

So sang the British vaudeville performers over a hundred years ago, and we are getting a reminder of their wisdom in our field. We all know about the NIMBY phenomenon over here, but it is also alive and well over in the UK. It seems that over there, the same as over here, when you try to build sorely needed housing, you run into protests of NIMBY neighbors who try to keep the newcomers out. We learn this from the New York Times, Jenny Anderson, Britain Confronts Not-in-My-Backyard Attitudes, July 9, 2014, at p. B4.

It goes pretty much the same way as over here.  When a local developer proposed to build 34 homes, “30 miles southwest of London, it was doing just what Britain’s leaders were calling for; trying to alleviate a severe housing shortage that politicians consider a critical factor in the country’s soaring real estate costs.” That may sound good, but ”[t]he local planning authority refused the initial 34-house proposal, raising a number of concerns — including calls for the installation of special external lighting to avoid disturbing the nocturnal activities of bats.” Bats’ “nocturnal activities”?! That’s what it says.

“There was also a requirement for an exploratory dig to ensure that a ditch was not, as some believed it might be, a repository for medieval treasures.” In other locales, objections to home building were based on such gems as “the safety of badgers, reptiles,  and other wildlife, and even the potential loss of a venerable chicken coop.”

In the meantime, while this nonsense went on “Britain’s housing shortage has grown worse.” The Chancellor of the Exchequer is quoted as making the sensible observation that “the shortage [of housing] was pushing home prices higher — up more than 25 percent in the last year in London and 12 percent in Britain over all. That, he said, was causing too many people to take on too much debt, posing perhaps the greatest threat to the country’s strong economic recovery.”

So in the end — at least one hopes it’s the end — instead of those 34 new homes, the developer was permitted to build 14, four of which would be deemed “affordable.” And what about that chicken coop? Has it been saved? Sort of — it is being moved but ever so carefully, so that it is not damaged in the process. “Apparently it has sentimental value, ” said the site contractor charged with executing that delicate task.

As of this writing, there was no word from the bats.

As for the Britons who lack proper housing that they can afford, they’ll just have to lump it. As that vaudeville song tells us, they get, if not the blame, at least the burden of a housing shortage while the NIMBY gentry gets to enjoy their ambience and the lavish gains in home prices that do wonders for their home equities.

Bubble, Bubble, . . . (Cont’d.)

Quote from today’s Los Angeles Times:

“A record amount of foreign money is flowing into the U.S. housing market. And the Southland is a prime destination.

“Overseas buyers and new immigrants accounted for $92 billion worth of home purchases in the U.S. in the 12 months ended in March, according to a new study out Tuesday from the National Assn. of Realtors. That’s up 35% from the year before.

“Nearly one-fourth of those purchases came from Chinese buyers. And the place they are looking most [sic] is Southern California.” Tim Logan, Southland Homes Draw Foreign Cash, Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2014, p. B1 (Business Section).

Also see Les Christie, Land Grab: Rich Chinese Are Snapping Up America’s Real Estate, cnn.com, July 8, 2014, click on http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/08/real_estate/home-sales-to-chinese/index.html?iid=HP_River

Our New Law Journal Article on the Decline of Urban America is Up on Line

Our thanks to our colleague and fellow blogger, Robert Thomas, for putting up a link to our most recent article on his blog www.inversecondemnation.com and for his kind words about our work in the most recent issue of the Michigan State Law Review.

The article is Gideon Kanner, Detroit and the Decline of Urban America, 2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1547 (2014). Do read it. We promise you a good read in a non-lawyerly style, and an insight into the decline (and imminent fall) of older American cities. Its point of view takes cognizance of the effects of government policies that went into effect after World War II, which is to say the policies of encouragement and financial support of a massive city-to-suburbs population move. As urban populations said “bye-bye” to older cities, they left behind abandoned city neighborhoods and general urban devastation.

Government-inspired and government-financed urban policies, such as urban redevelopment, and the construction of urban freeways, as well as the familiar litany of urban misgovernance and profligacy (e.g., bad, unsafe schools, generous but unfunded pensions, and rising crime, particularly in the 1970s) that are rarely considered in the conventional wisdom of “new urbanists” who, have executed an about-face (as compared with what they touted a half century ago), and who are now touting a yet-to-be-realized “return to the cities,” a phrase used to conjure up the unlikely vision of suburban populations abandoning their good life in the suburbs, and moving to more-or-less decrepit cities — a process that consists largely of a trickle of older boomer “empty nesters” who sold their pricy suburban homes for a bundle and are moving into ”hip” city neighborhoods, and childless millenials.

If you are skeptical of what we say here, and in our article, go to Google, type in “ruins of Detroit,” hit “enter,” and see what shows up on the screen. And remember, Detroit may present us with probably the worst-case scenario, but it is not unique, even if it is the leading American urban basket case.

To get an idea (not ours, but the Establishment’s) of what the government promised, read the cover story of TIME magazine of November 6, 1964, THE CITY: Under the Knife, or All For Their Own Good, at p. 60. Then compare it with what it delivered. See what TIME had to say about that a half-century later. Daniel Okrent, Notown: Hubris, Racial Tension, Myopic Politicians and the Woeful Auto Industry Brought this Iconic American City to Its Knees, TIME, October 5, 2009, at p. 26, (cover story), and see the cover story of TIME of August 5, 2013, Is Your City Next? at p. 22, at 27, revisiting the Detroit calamity, and spotlighting Fresno, North Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Birmingham as the nation’s misgovernance “hot spots,” noting that there have been 36 municipal bankruptcy filings since 2010. Res ipsa loquitur.

We can’t resist asking: So how is that “urban renewal” thing working out for those guys? Renewed any cities lately?

 Anyway, whether you agree or disagree with what we say in our article do read it with an open mind, and — who knows? — you may even agree with it.

Quote Without Comment

From the N.Y. Times, College Debt and Home Buying, July 2, 2014:

“While homeownership is down nationally since the housing market collapse, the drop among younger adults is particularly striking. Rates in the 25-to-34 age group dropped by nearly 8 percentage points from 2004 to 2013, according to a recent report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

“Over the same period, student debt soared by more than 400 percent to top $1 trillion — a run-up that dwarfs the surge in mortgage debt during the housing bubble, said John Dyer, the lending practice lead for the Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, which serves the financial services industry. He predicts the debt level will be a drag on home buying for years to come.” Emphasis added.

California Choo-Choo (Cont’d.)

Having evidently confronted the absurdity of beginning the high-speed rail project by first building a 130-mile stretch of rail in the Central Valley, between Bakersfield and Modesto (aka the high-speed train from nowhere to nowhere), the California train builders have evidently decided to provide a useful segment of it without delaying it for some 10 years as originally contemplated. This they plan to do by also building a stretch of rail between Burbank and Palmdale — a heavily populated suburban area north of Los Angeles. Then, the Lord willin’, the Burbank end would be eventually connected to the center of Los Angeles, and eventually the contemplated “bullet train” would actually be completed so that it would run between Los Angeles and San Francisco. See Ralph Vartabedian, Burbank-Palmdale Segment Added to Bullet Train Timetable, L.A. Times, June 30, 2014; click on http://www.latimes.com/local/countygovernment/la-me-bullet-strategy-shift-20140701-story.html#page=1

The problem with this proposal is that local politicians want the new railroad segment to serve their constituencies, but given the relatively short distance between Palmdale and Burbank, it is difficult to see how that train could run fast enough and yet serve the population living in the corridor for which it is proposed.

Of course, actually doing what that new proposal would entail, would involve much more money, which, it would appear, the California railroad builders don’t have, at least not yet. We recommend that you read the above-cited LA Times article in its entirety because, if nothing else, it provides an insight into the great engineering feats that would have to be accomplished to execute this part of the plan — such as 8-mile-long tunnels and crossing a mountain range in an area that also contains the San Andreas fault.

Lacking the requisite civil engineering skills (our admittedly stale engineering background involved rocket engines) we are unable to express an opinion on the engineering and fiscal feasibility of it all, but we reflect on the fact that the great American railroads of the 19th century crossed over even more forbidding terrain in the Rocky Mountains. But those old boys of yore, didn’t have to face the cost and the ensuing financial problems that today’s bullet train builders face. And finances are what it all boils down to because anyway you slice it, California is broke, so it remains to be seen how this latest caper will work out. So stay tuned.

 

A Tale of Three “Walls”

As we tend to observe from time to time, it looks like there is an eminent domain angle to just about everything. This time, this post has been inspired by our coming across an old story about U.S. land condemnations along the Mexican border for the purpose of erecting a border fence to keep Mexicans (and other Central Americans) from migrating illegally to the United States. Alas, as you read on, you will see that the process of  acquisition of land for that fence, and its functioning upon completion, are not what you might call an exemplary government effort.

 

Apart from the usual illegal immigration problems, this time, what has caught everybody’s attention, is the sudden migratory invasion from Central America that has taken the form of thousands of young kids, many of them making the perilous journey alone, braving the privations and hazards of the journey across hostile foreign lands. In this case the “foreign land” is Mexico. Mexico doesn’t cotton to the idea of foreigners, young and old alike, crossing its southern border en masse, and using Mexico as a transit way to get to the U.S. border, and thence north to fabled Gringoland where life is good, and Americans take care of you if you are a kid. Compared to the poverty-stricken, violent, failing states that are ruled by narcotics gangs, what’s not to like?

 

Nominally, we in the U.S. purport not to cotton to this state of affairs either, but actually we tolerate it and de facto encourage it, particularly in the case of those child migrants who are well taken care of, housed and fed and placed in foster homes upon being apprehended on the U.S. side of the border. That beats the hell out of starving in Central America.

 

Unsurprisingly, we say we want to exclude this flood of illegal migrants by maintaining a fence across the Mexican border, but that effort isn’t doing much good, as evidenced by the steady flow of illegal immigrants and those hordes of Central American kids just walking across the border on their way to the promised land. So that fence, as the saying goes, is a job that may be good enough for government work, but by other standards leaves much to be desired.

 

So what does eminent domain have to do with all that, you ask. Good question. As it happens land for that fence was acquired by Uncle Sam using the power of eminent domain, causing not only the usual problems but also some pretty fancy ones. Like locating the fence so that in places it has left American territory on the Mexican side, much to the annoyance of Americans living there on American soil. (see Richard Marosi, L.A. Times, Fencing Off Forbidding Land, February 15, 2010, at p. AA1). For the Huffington Post’s take on the problems with these federal land acquisitions (such as undercompensation), click on http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/landowners-seized-border-properties_n_1966636.html

 

In short, our fence has not been much of a success in spite of its $57.7 million price tag. Among other reasons, in the Otay Mountain area the terrain is dangerous and forbidding enough without a fence, so none has been built there, leaving that area as an entry point – albeit a dangerous one. Besides, to repeat ourselves, that fence can’t be much of a barrier since, as noted, Central American kids, are simply walking across our southern border by the tens of thousands, responding to rumors down there, that if you are a kid and you make it across the border, you’re home free – the gringos will take care of you. And so they do, inspiring a veritable flood of youngsters from all over Central America to brave the hazards of the journey and head north.

 

As it happens, those kids turn out to be right. Soft-hearted gringos have been overwhelmed by this migratory invasion and don’t really know what to do about it, except to yield to their feelings of compassion and take care of the child-migrants, which as far as the latter are concerned was the whole object of the game.

 

So the AK-47-toting Mexican coyotes and the pollos (their illegal immigrant charges) cross our southern border in droves, even though many of them suffer and die in in the harsh desert environment in the process. But our response to these tragedies is pretty much to shrug them off, and to enjoy the benefits of cheap, if illegal, Mexican labor. You sure don’t see the kind of lamentations that are routine – for example — in the case of the Israeli “wall of separation” (which is mostly a fence that keeps out terrorists). Here, in contrast with that Israeli fence, there are no lachrymose op-eds, no threats of boycotting anybody, no denunciatory UN resolutions — no nothin’. Most important, no terrorist attacks targeting the imperialist gringo“settlers” occupying Mexican land on the north bank of the Rio Grande. It’s an interesting case of judgmental asymmetry, making it clear that morally, something isn’t kosher here. So we decided to take a look at how such border fences are treated elsewhere.

 

The bottom line of such a comparison is that one border fence, and only one, receives virtually daily denunciations, compleat with indignant calls for boycott, and denunciatory U.N. resolutions. Can you guess which one? Of course you can. It’s Israel’s fence that separates it from hostile Arab territories that are home to suicidal terrorists trying to sneak across the border to kill people with bombs strapped to their bodies. In contrast, our fence over here gets a free pass, and – surprise, surprise – so does a similar fence, serving a similar function in North Africa, surrounding the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta. It bars the way of Moroccan and sub-Saharan folks trying to make it north into Europe via the Spanish-occupied African territory. But you didn’t know that, did you? Our admittedly inexpert Internet search has disclosed almost no American news stories covering that, save the New York Times, and we got the word from British sources. See for yourselves. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/10859959/Spanish-border-stormed-by-400-migrants-from-Morocco.html

 

Here is a picture of that Israeli “wall” which is mostly a border fence like this. Check it out.

 

Israeli West Bank barrier – North of Meitar, near the southwest corner of the West Bank, in 2006.

 

And here is a photo of that Spanish fence around Melilla, being stormed by Africans trying to get into Spanish territory.

 

 

Sub-Saharan migrants scale a metallic fence that divides Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla Photo: Santi Palacios/AP

 

So what’s going on here? Why is the Israelis’ border fence (called a “wall of separation,” though most of it is a fence) bad, as opposed to that Spanish fence which gets a free pass?

 

More important to us, why is the Israeli’s fence bad but ours good? And please don’t try to give us the conventional wisdom propaganda about how the wicked Israelis are using that “wall” to occupy Arab land. The Israelis acquired the land in question – historically known as Judea and Samaria — in the process of defending themselves against a genocidal Arab attack in the 1967 six-day war. They captured it, along with the Jordanian-occupied part of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, when the Arabs massed their armies on Israeli borders, blockaded the Israeli port of Eilat – a casus belli in itself if you want to get technical about it – and announced their intention to annihilate the Israelis by “driving them into the sea,” as they were fond of putting it. Instead, the would-be conquering Arab armies – all four or five of them — suffered a humiliating defeat, while the Israeli army wound up recapturing territory that the Arabs had captured after invading it in the 1948 Israeli war of independence.

 So we are hardly in a position to cast stones because, apart from all that, we have been occupying Mexican land conquered in the Mexican-American war that we started without just cause, simply as an act of gringo imperialism. You can conveniently check out the historical facts on Wikipedia, under Mexican-American War. In fact, not to put too fine a point on it, we Southern Californians live in gringo settlements on the conquered and occupied north bank of the Rio Grande. So why is our aggressive conquest of Mexican territory to which we had no legitimate claim good, but the Israelis’ defensive conquest of their ancestral land of Judea and Samaria (now known as the West Bank of the Jordan River), bad?

 These days, what the Israelis are about in building and maintaining that “wall” separating Israel from the “West Bank” is to keep Arab terrorists from sneaking into Israel – an activity that the Israeli fence has interdicted admirably. Arabs who have legitimate business in Israel or in the Israeli held territories are free to cross it peaceably, even if that may require waiting in a long line at a border checkpoint, not all that different from the case of folks who wish to cross the U.S.–Mexican border. If the L.A. Times is to be believed, four-hour waits are not uncommon in both instances. More important is the parties’ motivation; unlike the Israelis, we have built that Mexican border wall not to exclude suicidal Mexican terrorists (who for some reason are not much in evidence around San Diego), but to keep poor Mexicans from sneaking into the U.S. in search of work, in an effort to put food on their children’s tables. So who are we to kvetch at another country that has to worry about keeping out border-crossing suicide bombers?

 In case all this talk of border fences has stimulated your interest in international border walls, you can check out that subject on Wikipedia which informs us that there are over a half-dozen border separation walls or fences currently in use all over the world, notably in places like Morocco (of which more presently), the Iran-Pakistan border, Cyprus, the Saudi-Yemen border, the Malaysia-Thailand border, the Kuwait-Iraq border, and the China-Korea border. So why no fuss about any of those? Why complain only about the Israeli, clearly defensive fence?

 Even Pope Francis has gotten into the act. During his recent visit to Israel he made a point of displaying his concern over the plight of Arabs who are concededly inconvenienced by that fence over there, though for non-terrorist Arabs crossing it is not all that different or time-consuming than what is required to cross our southern border. I find that puzzling. Would the Pope feel better if there were no fence, and Arab terrorists could easily walk into Israel over and kill unarmed Israeli civilians with suicide bombs? I don’t think so; he seems like a nice fellow who would abhor such a state of affairs. Still, his display of concern over that Israeli “wall of separation,” but no other, does make one wonder what’s going on here.

 What is more interesting, is that you almost never hear much about yet another border fence — the one erected by Spain in North Africa. It separates Spanish-occupied territories of Melilla and Ceuta from Morocco whose inhabitants, along with hordes of desperate migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, do their best to get across it in order to gain a foothold in that European enclave, so they can get from there into Europe and get a leg up in the struggle to improve their wretched lives. Sort of like the poor Central Americans who struggle to cross our southern border in order to improve their lives in our first-world economy. And if you doubt me, and want to see things for yourself, check out photos of poor Africans storming that Spanish-built Melilla fence in order to make it into Spanish-held territory, and thence into Europe where they can get a crack at a better life.

 If you want to see the N.Y. Times’ take on this problem, click on http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/world/europe/africans-battered-and-broke-surge-to-europes-door.html. It reports inter alia that the Spaniards are not content to let their fence do the excluding. They help things along by firing rubber bullets at the would-be African border crossers, killing a number of them in the process.

 But wait a minute! What in the world are Spaniards doing occupying and ruling parts of North Africa? And why aren’t they being denounced for their colonialist “occupation” by the U.N., the peace-loving churches and NGOs, and all those other enlightened folk who never tire of bashing Israel for protecting itself in the same way, even though the latter’s claim to their ancestral territory in the Holy Land is considerably stronger than Spain’s claim to Africa. Why revile the Israelis as “occupiers” while giving the Spaniards a free pass? “Is a puzzlement,” as the King of Siam used to say to Anna. Or is it?

 So being the sort who tends to be concerned about similarly situated folks being treated alike, I wonder why no concern has been expressed over that Spanish “wall”  and its exclusionary effect on poor Africans who are trying to get a piece of a better life for themselves and their kids. Of course, an effort to get the Spaniards to tear their fence down would be a hard sell because the Spaniards are no dummies, and they remember the mass slaughter of their people effected by North African terrorists’ attacks on the Madrid subway only a few years ago. So if the Spaniards want to keep their fence good and tight, who can blame them? But then again, why blame the Israelis for doing exactly the same thing for the same and, if anything, stronger reason?

 Bottom line: If you perceive a – shall we say? — asymmetry in the intensive press coverage of  the “wall” that protects Israel, as opposed to the bare mention of the Spanish fence separating Morocco from Melilla, and the lack of similar concern over the American fence on our southern border, that’s a subject worth pondering. A truthful insight into the respective motivations in these instances of border fence-building would be nice. But your faithful servant is a realist who is ever mindful of the fact that all too often answers to moral questions that arise in the context of international realpolitik depend, not on any principled policy decisions, but only on the ever-shifting answers to the question of whose ox is being gored. So we are not holding our breath waiting for an international display of even-handedness where that Israeli “wall” is involved. And what we find really disturbing is why the American media are ever ready to offer excuses for the Middle Eastern terrorists, that amount to a handing out a moral free pass in such matters, in spite of their demonstrable, avowed, and often lethal hostility to America and Americans.

Follow-up: We learn from today’s L. A. Times (Texas Warns of a Border “Trail of Tears,” June 24, 2014, at p. A5),  that so far this fiscal year some 52,000 “unaccompanied youths” have been caught along the border, almost double last year’s total. Brooks County, Texas, has recovered  87 bodies last year, and 129 bodies the year before. Thirty-eight bodies so far this year. And if you are into the fiscal side of this calamity, Senator Dianne Feinstein informs us in an L.A. Times op-ed of the same date, that the Senate Appropriations Committee has just approved $.94 billion (with a “b”), for something called “Unaccompanied Alien Children program”, which the Senator characterizes as a “good start.” She expects that sum to be matched by the House of Representatives. Dianne Feinstein, Desperate Children at the Border, L.A. Times, June 24, 2014, at p. A11.

Second follow-up. We learn from today’s N.Y. Times that our border fence has been so placed that it is impossible to enter or leave the town of Arivaca, Arizona, without having to cross a U.S. border checkpoint, a state of affairs that has angered the affected American town population. See Jess Bidgood and John Schwartz, Border Patrol Scrutiny Stirs Anger in Arizona Town, N.Y. Times, June28, 2014, at p. A13.

Follow up. We just discovered, from a New York Times Story no less, that for years there has also been a “wall of separation” isolating a — ta da! — New Haven, Connecticut, from a nearby public housing project. No, we are not making it up. It is now being torn down. To get the story, pictures and all, click on http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/12/nyregion/in-connecticut-breaking-barrier-between-a-suburb-and-public-housing.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

Alas, Goats in Detroit Are Verboten!

Remember the news from a while back, which prophesied that Detroit could be saved by converting land once occupied by abandoned building into farms? Sure you do; we wrote about here repeatedly. Well folks, it turns out that some nabob with more money than brains, cottoned to the idea, so he decided to get the agricultural ball rolling by importing a couple dozen goats in the hope that they would munch up the weeds sprouting on the land in question, thus sort of cleaning the place up and nourishing themselves.

Alas, it didn’t work out. As soon as the goats were turned loose, the city said ix-nay and ordered the goats removed. So instead of gamboling in the weeds the goats will be shipped to a slaughterhouse, may they rest in peace.

For the story, see Goats Exiled from Detroit Head for Early Slaughter,  http://www.planetizen.com/node/69540?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=06232014  compleat with pictures.

Goats graze in Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood.ii

Goats graze in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood.