The 50 Most Miserable Cities In America


My hometown.

Of course, Bridgeport, Connecticut made the list. The view of Bridgeport harbor is one of the ugliest harborviews of the American coastline. Which is saying something for (what was) an urban manufacturing center that was known as the Park City when I was born.

Most of those early years we had a phony Socialist mayor who wasn’t even up to the mediocre standards of what passes for Social Democrats in the GOUSA. Ol’ Jasper McLevy was elected and re-elected a kajillion times on a platform that wouldn’t have made a sensible moderate Republican blush.

We had lots of parks, the schools had damned good teachers IMHO (and experience). The air was tough to breathe some days in the industrial neighborhoods; but, you could usually find a job at GE, Remington Arms or Bridgeport Brass.

Test of pandemic drones ends before it starts!


Draganfly X4-P

WESTPORT, CT, USA — The town is ending its participation in a controversial “pandemic drone” program to suss out potential coronavirus patients after an outcry from residents and others who complained that the initiative infringed on people’s privacy rights…

Westport’s police department had teamed up with a Canadian company named Draganfly on the initiative…

Under the program, the department’s drones were outfitted with Draganfly’s specialized sensors and computer vision systems that measured a person’s fever, temperature, heart and respiratory rates from as far as 190 feet in the air, Draganfly claimed. The technology also detected people sneezing and coughing in crowds.

Soon after the announcement of the program, however, people complained that to the police department and First Selectman Jim Marpe that it was intrusive and an invasion of privacy. Though Draganfly said it was not using facial recognition software, nor was it collecting any personal data, residents complained that it was still too much like Big Brother.

And so it goes. I wasn’t surprised that Westport coppers were willing to trial something this innovative. They’ve used drones for several years – starting with projects aimed at finding drowning victims in Long Island Sound. Moved on to multiple uses in the years following.

Westport is Connecticut’s hotspot for COVID-19. It sits in Fairfield County which butts up against the New York State line. It’s a popular commuter home for folks earning incomes with lots of 0’s on the end in New York City.

Giant ice disc rotating in the Presumpscot River in Maine

❝ A disk of ice roughly 100 yards across that formed on the Presumpscot River and was slowly rotating and gaining size Monday had Westbrook buzzing almost as much as when city police spotted a giant snake eating a beaver in roughly the same location in June 2016.

Nothing ever came of those mysterious snake sightings – the reptile was dubbed “Wessie” by locals – but the sight of an alien-looking circle of ice stuck in the river had some people wondering about that section of the river’s knack for producing weird events.

And little ice discs in the Housatonic River in Connecticut

❝ Cliff Bates was hiking the Appalachian Trail in Northwest Connecticut with his dog in 9-degree weather Jan. 1 when he saw slowly-rotating discs of ice on the Housatonic River that resembled UFO saucers…

“It was just down there in the gorge…it was this kind of weird triangle and the ice chunks slowly circled inside that but never really left it,” Bates said…

❝ The discs are found in the cold climates of North America and Europe, Ryan Hanrahan, chief meteorologist for NBC Connecticut, said the past two weeks are the longest stretch on record of consecutive subfreezing temperatures. Given the extreme cold, he said it’s not a surprise to see things like the ice discs across the state.

Along with being rare, they are a more recently-documented phenomenon. Gil Simmons, chief meteorologist for WTNH said research has been ongoing for only 100 years, trying to understand the occurrence…

Read both articles – especially the second – which seems to explain how and why the discs rotate. At least in a laboratory. 🙂

In the tradition of Connecticut Yankees – with conscience and bravery


Melissa Schlag, Selectman in Haddam, Connecticut

❝ Melissa Schlag won’t stand for President Trump. And since last month, she won’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, either.

Around the country, people have used kneeling as a form of silent protest. But in the small town of Haddam, Connecticut, where Schlag is a local official, her refusal to stand during the pledge at town meetings has been met with backlash of its own…

❝ What started as a small gesture quickly garnered a lot of attention…But the criticism isn’t stopping her. As long as Trump’s in office, she says she’ll keep kneeling.

“I don’t see anything changing,” she told CNN. “I don’t see me standing up anytime soon.”

Haddam’s in one of the prettier parts of the state. Dunno if the schools there teach anything about Connecticut history; but, Connecticut Yankees were always ready to fight for justice, honesty – fight against tyranny and bigotry. If I still lived back in New England it would be worth driving to Haddam to support her courage.

Bravo, Melissa Schlag

Geek Squad employees have worked as FBI informants for over a decade

❝ Geek Squad employees have been working as FBI informants for more than a decade, newly released documents show, revealing a much closer relationship between the two organizations than formerly reported…

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents last year and released them on Tuesday. The Bureau refused to confirm or deny if it has similar relationships with other electronics repair companies.

❝ The documents indicate Geek Squad technicians only flagged federal agents when they found child pornography on a client’s computer, so it’s hard to be too upset. Nevertheless, it raises concerning questions about potential violations of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

The article goes on to offer instances where the information turned over wasn’t obtained legally – and, please, don’t waste my time saying actions like this are limited to potential lawbreaking.

First, it is the purview of the courts to decide if that potential for crime is present and justification.

Second, I have personal experience with the FBI and jolly little elves in local government, universities and my friendly neighborhood phone company colluding with the FBI totally absent from legal permissions and court supervision – snooping on thousands of people in just a single metropolitan area. They all lost our suit and picked up the tab for corrupt and unconstitutional practices – eventually leading to internal reforms which may or may not be sticking. There were several thousands of victims and over a thousand of us who stayed with the case to the successful end.

Arming your drone is legal according to the Feds

…The FAA is currently asking a court in Connecticut to compel Austin Haughwout, a teenager in Connecticut who put a gun and a flamethrower on his homemade drones, to comply with a subpoena that would give them more information about his armed drones. The FAA has not formally accused Haughwout of any wrongdoing.

Jim Williams, the former head of the FAA’s drone office between 2012 and mid 2015, told me that’s because it’s likely he hasn’t done anything wrong. In fact, while he was with the FAA, his team was unable to find any statute that would have allowed them to pursue a legal case against Haughwout or any other pilots who modify their drones to shoot guns…

In December 2015, the FAA’s Office of the Chief Counsel put out a fact sheet for state and local legislators that noted that “prohibitions on attaching firearms or similar weapons to UAS” are “laws [that] are traditionally related to state and local police power.” Williams says that Congress hasn’t given the FAA authorization to specifically prohibit armed drones

Anyone think Congress is up to useful legislation on armed anything?

Remembering absent friends

I presume these Canadian troops are marching away from a memorial to those who fell during the liberation of Belgium during World War 2. Yes, I remember all of those days.

My best friend died a few years back. He was the most decorated soldier from our home state in WW2. He had 16 months in hospital to reflect upon how he got there – not just the German soldier who threw a hand grenade at him at the liberation of a death camp; but, the corporate and political creeps who helped scum like Hitler into power.

We learned a lot together over the years. Both of our families came to the US from Canada, btw. His family from Montreal and mine from PEI.

I salute you, too, Clyde.

Thanks, Mister Justin

Connecticut court must decide if horses are innately vicious

A US court is to hear a case that could result in horses being classified as a “vicious” species.

A boy’s parents sued a farm owner in the state of Connecticut after he was bitten by a horse named Scuppy in 2006.

A lower court said Scuppy belonged “to a species naturally inclined to do mischief and be vicious”. The state supreme court will now hear an appeal…If upheld, the lower court’s ruling could make horse ownership uninsurable, say equine industry figures.

The legal action began in 2006 after a boy tried to pet Scuppy at Glendale Farms in Milford…The animal reportedly bit the child on his right cheek, inflicting a serious injury.

The boy’s father, Anthony Vendrella, sued the farm’s owners, but lost in 2010 at a New Haven court.

That court ruled there was no evidence the farm’s owner knew of any previous incidents of aggression involving Scuppy.

But a Connecticut Appellate Court later overturned this verdict, finding that testimony suggested Scuppy’s species was “vicious” and that the boy’s injury had been foreseeable.

If upheld by the state’s supreme court, the verdict would be the first in the nation to classify horses as a vicious species, say analysts.

Could be about the dumbest legal precedent this side of the Dred Scott decision. If you can classify horses as a vicious species, you certainly could then apply the same definition to all dogs, maybe even rabbits. Cripes. Practically anything with four feet and teeth.

Point out suspicious guy with a gun in the bank – get arrested

A bank customer who spotted a man with a concealed weapon inside a TD Bank branch in Glastonbury, Connecticut, thought he was doing the right thing by bringing the bank staff’s attention to a potential robbery in progress.

Instead, Robert Gursky ended up being arrested for breach of peace after he was mistaken for a robber himself.

Gursky, 50, was inside the bank on Monday when he noticed a man who had a gun tucked underneath his shirt.

Sensing imminent danger, Gursky approached the teller and said the word “gun.”

Feeling his warning was not getting through, Gursky began writing a note to explain the situation.

However, before his message was properly conveyed, one of the tellers triggered the panic alarm — on him.

Police arrived on the scene and determined that the suspicious man was a law enforcement official who was permitted to carry a concealed weapon.

Officers then tracked down Gursky, who blamed the whole thing on “miscommunication.”

“It could have been a level of confusion, but certainly it was confusing for everyone involved, even the people from the bank,” said Agent Kevin Szydlo of the Glastonbury Police Department.

Gursky was arrested and charged but was later released on a promise to appear in court…

A little different from some of the dyslexic Good Samaritan stories I run into. Still – we live in a land and society so screwed up with fear and guns you are supposed to tiptoe around most of all be calm – and quiet – I guess.