Monthly Archives: March 2009

Take away his boater’s license!

Man busted for drunk driving on his bar stool.

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How’s that divorce settlement look now?

"I've got it and I'm keeping it!" Ms. Harridan stays the course

"I've got it and I'm keeping it!" Ms. Harridan stays the course

IB types in Britain are reviewing exactly how much they agreed to pay for the privilege of trading in the old battle axe in for a new one and aren’t happy. Here’s the sad story of one fellow whose wife of 26 years got 11 million pounds while his share has declined to a solitary million. For some reason she’s not sympathetic and he’s gone to court for relief. The lawyers interviewed in the article don’t think he’ll get any. Tough to get new arm candy when you’re worth a measly million pounds – trust me, I know – he may have to go find himself another old woman of fifty or so.

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I’ll believe it when I see it

From an agent I choose to keep anonymous:

I keep hearing reports of deals being done (contracts signed) but brokers afraid to report for fear of buyers walking away from their deposit! If true, one of these days we’re going to see a flurry of “solds” with no early warning. Very unusual.

I’m from Missouri.

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What’s land worth now?

10 Meadowbank

10 Meadowbank

This tear-down was sold in 7 days via bidding war in 2000 – $1.395 on an asking price of $1.295. It’s back today, unchanged except for a plot plan, for $2.5 million. I don’t know what this will eventually sell for but I’ll be surprised if there’s a bidding war this time.

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Maher Avenue

24 Maher Ave

24 Maher Ave

This nifty old house was reduced to $2.495 million today, a price that should attract more buyers than did the original price of $3.175. While one house on Maher, #25, did sell for $3.505 in 2006, nothing before or since has broken the $3 million barrier that I’m aware of. April of 2008 was, in retrospect, not the best time to try breaking that threshold again. At this price, it should attract those who like Maher, and they are legion. I myself consider it too close to the Brunswick kids and their Lexus SUVs on the street but I’m just an old grump.

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Here comes Barney, as threatened

We are concentrating power in Washington at a rate that would astonish and delight even the most ardent fascist. Yesterday we saw the President of the United States remove a private corporation’s Chief Executive. Here’s today’s outrage:

[I]n a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

The purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards,” according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is “unreasonable” or “excessive.” And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate “the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates.”

The bill passed the Financial Services Committee last week, 38 to 22, on a nearly party-line vote. (All Democrats voted for it, and all Republicans, with the exception of Reps. Ed Royce of California and Walter Jones of North Carolina, voted against it.)

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You thought your house was obsolete – how much does an aircraft carrier cost?

US naval Institute report: Chinese have a ballistic missile capable of killing aircraft carriers.

First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.

The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.

The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.

Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.

Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon, enabling it to hit moving targets.

While the ASBM has been a topic of discussion within national defense circles for quite some time, the fact that information is now coming from Chinese sources indicates that the weapon system is operational. The Chinese rarely mention weapons projects unless they are well beyond the test stages.

If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.

Along with the Chinese naval build-up, U.S. Navy officials appear to view the development of the anti-ship ballistic missile as a tangible threat.

After spending the last decade placing an emphasis on building a fleet that could operate in shallow waters near coastlines, the U.S. Navy seems to have quickly changed its strategy over the past several months to focus on improving the capabilities of its deep sea fleet and developing anti-ballistic defenses.

As analyst Raymond Pritchett notes in a post on the U.S. Naval Institute blog:

“The Navy’s reaction is telling, because it essentially equals a radical change in direction based on information that has created a panic inside the bubble. For a major military service to panic due to a new weapon system, clearly a mission kill weapon system, either suggests the threat is legitimate or the leadership of the Navy is legitimately unqualified. There really aren’t many gray spaces in evaluating the reaction by the Navy…the data tends to support the legitimacy of the threat.”

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