I’ll confess that I’m getting stupid in my old age, but I just can’t fathom the motive behind this stuff. But here’s CNN changing its own interview.
Daily Archives: November 9, 2009
The Sun, the best source for straight, unbiased news now that the World News is defunct and the New York Times has succumbed to Pinch Disease, reports that a crackpot scientist has come up with a way to get drunk without harmful side effects. It’s just going to take a little time and money so if, say, you have an antique painting just collecting dust in your attic and want to help out a bloomin’ genius, …
Investigators: Military to charge Ft. Hood suspect. Let’s hope they didn’t devote too much manpower reaching that conclusion.
They make tough bosses in Minnesota – this guy whacked a goldbricking ditch digger with his backhoe. “Didn’t mean to hurt him (badly)”, he says.
If you are a taxpayer in the Northeast, here is some advice: Get down on a knee, clasp your hands and pray.
Pray for banker bonuses this year. Big ones. Cash, preferably.
New York’s state government, and its dysfunctional neighbors in New Jersey and Connecticut, already are in deep financial crisis. Without the tax revenue from Wall Street pay and bonuses, they could find themselves closer to the brink.
Like much of America, you may find the idea of big banker paydays unsettling. After all, it was taxpayers who saved Wall Street’s hide. Even now, the finance industry’s nose-in-the-air entitlement makes taxpayers feel all the more enraged over the bailouts.
But in the same way banks became addicted to mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations, so did state and local governments rely heavily on financial-sector wealth. In the broadest sense, the last decade turned the entire Northeast into bankers and traders, all waiting for that bonus check.
Thirty years ago, the securities industry generated less than 3% of all private-sector salaries and wages in New York state, according to E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, part of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. By 2007, these wages accounted for nearly 20% of the total. Similarly, one in five New York state tax dollars came from Wall Street. In New Jersey, the effects were the same: Its income-tax receipts nearly doubled between 2002 and 2007, in large part because of the great credit boom.
But there was more going on: Much as home building and mortgages helped carry the U.S. economy, Wall Street’s apparent successes also hid the structural cracks developing elsewhere. Since 1990, New York state’s manufacturing jobs have dropped by about half, a total loss of about 500,000. Those losses came at double the rate nationally, Mr. McMahon said.
Wall Street beautifully, profligately, bridged the tax gap, until it didn’t. “Those days are gone,” said New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in an interview. The effects of Wall Street compensation changes, less cash and more long-term stock grants, remain hard to quantify, he said.
Today, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all face budget crises they seem incapable of taming. New York Gov. David Paterson called for a special session, to be held Tuesday, to address the state’s $3.2 billion budget deficit. That number is expected to increase nearly sixfold by 2013. New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was rejected by voters last week, in part because of his inability to tame a budget deficit expected to reach $5 billion next year. Connecticut’s state budget already is an estimated $600 million behind projections from last spring.
“It’s understandable that Main Street would be upset that the industry pays high compensation,” said Ken Bleiwas, New York state’s deputy comptroller for New York City. “But those payments help support jobs in other industries. We’re all connected.”
If Wall Street cut bonuses, the banks would be more profitable and pay more taxes. But state officials know that corporations pay taxes at far lower rates than individuals.
A more sensible approach would be to reshape the regional economy away from Wall Street, and budget without expectations of an annual financial-sector windfall. But the money is too big, and too easy, to resist for the time being. That is why across the region, the prayers for big bonuses continue to float to the sky. If you have a moment, you should add yours. We are all bankers now, whether we like it or not.
It’s buying a data service that will feed members data on past sales prices, zoning, liens, etc. All of that information is already available but for the agent too dumb and lazy to find it, this will enable her to do so at a touch of a button. Full access to information is the future – in fact, it’s here – and it’s nice to see the hidebound NAR start to understand that.
Madoff stuff is being auctioned off this weekend by the U.S. Marshalls. Custom satin Mets jacket, boogie boards, duck decoys and watches – lots of watches. Do you think Walt would like a decoy just to remember his friend by?
Instapundit’s excited that Amazon’s opened a blue jean shop. Whatever works in a dull Tennessee town, I suppose, but Target sells jeans for $9.99. If they last a year I’m ahead of the game. But Greenwich Gal, the site has jeans ranging from $25 to $250, so maybe there’s a savings here for you.
(Greenwich Gal pictured to left – those are custom rips)
The remains of a mighty Persian army said to have drowned in the sands of the western Egyptian desert 2,500 years ago might have been finally located, solving one of archaeology’s biggest outstanding mysteries, according to Italian researchers.
Bronze weapons, a silver bracelet, an earring and hundreds of human bones found in the vast desolate wilderness of the Sahara desert have raised hopes of finally finding the lost army of Persian King Cambyses II. The 50,000 warriors were said to be buried by a cataclysmic sandstorm in 525 B.C.
“We have found the first archaeological evidence of a story reported by the Greek historian Herodotus,” Dario Del Bufalo, a member of the expedition from the University of Lecce, told Discovery News.
According to Herodotus (484-425 B.C.), Cambyses, the son of Cyrus the Great, sent 50,000 soldiers from Thebes to attack the Oasis of Siwa and destroy the oracle at the Temple of Amun after the priests there refused to legitimize his claim to Egypt.
After walking for seven days in the desert, the army got to an “oasis,” which historians believe was El-Kharga. After they left, they were never seen again.
“A wind arose from the south, strong and deadly, bringing with it vast columns of whirling sand, which entirely covered up the troops and caused them wholly to disappear,” wrote Herodotus.
A century after Herodotus wrote his account, Alexander the Great made his own pilgrimage to the oracle of Amun, and in 332 B.C. he won the oracle’s confirmation that he was the divine son of Zeus, the Greek god equated with Amun.
The tale of Cambyses’ lost army, however, faded into antiquity. As no trace of the hapless warriors was ever found, scholars began to dismiss the story as a fanciful tale.
Now, two top Italian archaeologists claim to have found striking evidence that the Persian army was indeed swallowed in a sandstorm. Twin brothers Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni are already famous for their discovery 20 years ago of the ancient Egyptian “city of gold” Berenike Panchrysos.
“We are talking of small items, but they are extremely important as they are the first Achaemenid objects, thus dating to Cambyses’ time, which have emerged from the desert sands in a location quite close to Siwa,” Castiglioni said.
Nothing was done with the information, of course – acknowledging we were watching him might have hurt his feelings.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. intelligence agencies learned an Army psychiatrist tried to contact people linked to al Qaeda and they gave the information to federal authorities before the man allegedly went on shooting spree in Texas last week, U.S. sources said on Monday.
It is unclear what federal law enforcement authorities did with the information.
Thirteen people were killed in the Fort Hood shooting by the suspected gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim born in the United States of immigrant parents.[that would be Palistine - Ed]
Hope for change.
Well not immediately, but after demonstrating her incompetence and inability to stand up the the Democrat looters running Hartford, Governor Rell has at least admitted she isn’t up to the job and will not run for reelection.
Say it three times fast and you get “Santa with Butt Plug”. Vanity Fair’s out with a profile of Buddy Hackett-Brant and his ex-wife. Not particularly complimentary but then, why would it be?
29 Grossett Rd, a Riverside house that’s been for sale seemingly forever (at least 2007 but someone’s been monkeying with our data again and I’m pretty sure it dates back years before that) has finally gone to contract. It was priced at $3.750 once (and possibly higher – see comment above) and its last price was $3.099 but even there I and clients of mine thought it overpriced compared to other choices in that price range. Clearly, either someone wasn’t deterred by its asking price and drove a hard bargain or they disagreed with our valuation and paid the owner what he wanted-Grossett’s a nice street, so that could happen. Assessment is $1.895, so we will have another exception to my “assessment rule,” I presume.
And 63 Lancer Road, one of those 1960s houses built on the old farm off Orchard is also under contract. Last ask was $975 which, for a house in poor condition that should command land value only, seemed steep. But again, I have my opinion, other people have theirs. It’s a great country.
Chewing gum thefts on increase in Norwich. Cops profess to be baffled but I wonder if the recent hike in cigarette taxes has spurred a new generation of quitters? Whatver the reason, Greenwich Police Chief David Ridberg assured FWIW’s Scusie that his men have charged their tasers and are standing guard at CVS and Ada’s. “Just let them try it,” the chief said, motioning toward a third-grader clambering up Ada’s steps. “That little bastard comes out with an unauthorized Bazooka and we’ll light him up like a goddamn Christmas tree.”
(h/t, Norwich Millionaire)
Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that Obama is as ignorant and stupid as Krugman, Jimmy Carter and Owl Gore, but I’d place him closer to that group of losers than any other. Here’s Krugman on how Fannie Mae never issued sub-prime mortgages. Not only was he entirely, impossibly wrong, he continues to make the same mistake. He also lauds English medical care, if you’re interested.
Another price cut for this aging new construction in Riverside, down today to $2.775 from its January 2009 price of $3.695. Why won’t it sell? Well, price, obviously, but it’s got some funky things working against it, too. While it looks beautiful from the outside, the interior layout has disappointed the buyers I’ve shown it to. Upon entering, you have a stairway in front and two rooms, living and dining, left and right, respectively. The living room is entirely cut off from the rest of the house, and feels like a dead-end. The dining room has a pass through to the kitchen but it still feels as terminal as the living room. The back of the first floor is one long passage, stretching from garage (and what’s with that? was the foundation poured wrong?) to a mud room/laundry, then the kitchen and another dead-end room with fireplace. It’s a corridor, and feels it.
Upstairs does not have the four bedrooms claimed on the listing, it has a master and two real bedrooms, plus a FAR – dictated room with no space and a pinched in ceiling, attached to a bathroom larger than the room itself. The room’s okay as a study, I suppose, but who needs a full bath next to a study?
The basement contains another “bedroom” and, assuming you hate your mother-in-law and want her stay to be as brief and as uncomfortable as possible, here’s the spot for her. Otherwise, I think not. And the yard? It’s in front. Nothing behind, but what do you expect with a quarter-acre lot?
At the risk of again offending another spec builder in Riverside, I think this house is still a better deal than yours over there near Lockwood. No back yard here, but you offer swamp, Willow is quiet, you’ve got I-95 and Lockwood rushing past and, dare I say it, even knocking your price down from $4 million, you’re not close to where this one now is. But I know – as you yelled at me while chasing me out of yours, your house is special. How’s that working out?
The Service Employees International Union beat up a protester three months ago but, like the armed Black Panthers in Philadelphia who intimidated voters last Obama Day, no prosecution is planned (in fact, Obama’s Justice Department overruled the lower level prosecutors who wanted to pursue the Panthers). Anyway, since the mainstream media won’t report on this story, the blogosphere will – here’s the police report. With just a little more attention and public pressure, Obama will declare his “concern”.
As usual, rumors about Greenwich real estate proved accurate and we have a couple of houses, long on the market, that have almost found buyers.
12 Wyckham Hill Road, listed for just $1,999,000 is “pending”. This was a really good deal, I thought, and said so a few months ago. The owner is in a bit of trouble with the law, having dashed an old man down on a parking lot and killed him, and there’s nothing like a distress sale to get those prices reduced to a bargain level – usually – Bernie’s place in Montauk went for above asking.
65 Tomac Avenue, a nice house with no yard, listed for $$4.8 million when it was first built and eventually dropped to $3.595, still an aggressive price, I thought, for a lousy location and lot. But a reader told me last week that she’d heard this was in contract and sure enough, it is. I presume there was some tough negotiating on that asked-for price.
And this Old Greenwich bungalow did better than go to contract, it sold, for $745,000, less than the 2008 price of $935,000 but well above its $600,000 assessment. I can already hear Russ Pruner saying, “take that, Fountain!”