Monthly Archives: January 2010

Too much time on their hands

The Greenwich Health Department has actually taken the time to issue helpful tips on what to do when the temperature drops into the twenties. You might want to remember this when the budget comes around for discussion.

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Oops! Now it’s the rain forest that isn’t threatened by global warming.

The Times of London is discovering a global warming fraud every day. Where is the Times of New York on this fraud? With Walter Duranty, hoping for another Pulitzer.

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Who you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

I’m going back and forth with a surveyor friend of mine – he says that FEMA has dropped my property, and anyone else’s who lives on the waterfront , a full foot-and-a-half closer to sea level. I don’t dispute that FEMA’s done that, nor that it will wreak havoc on shoreline property values and insurance costs, but I certainly don’t think that this is anything but a political move, designed to satisfy global warmists and their agenda. I have lived on Ole’s Creek for three decades, and have played/boated along it since my grandmother Leatrice Joy bought her – now Pal Nancy’s – house in 1957. I’ve seen waters rise during hurricanes and Nor’Easters, I’ve observed how high the water has come up to and over docks during that period and the flood level today is no higher than it was six decades ago. It’s complete bullshit, but in these times, that’s of no matter.

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Taliban terrorist leader killed by drone: Code Pink, ACLU mourn

Another bad guy gone. Code Pink’s ladies , who I assume are iPad users, have joined with the ACLU to shoot down this weapon because, well gee, we deserve to be punished. We have some very odd people in this country.

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Frank Rich: Don’t you dare question a Democrat’s patriotism

But if it’s that panty-waist John McCain, who endured years of torture in Hanoi rather than leave before his comrades, well, that’s another matter. It’s hard to say which New York Times columnist is most execrable, but drama critic Frank Rich usually tops my list.

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A command economy and Tesla

Tesla, the former manufacturer of a $100,000 battery-powered sports car, announces an IPO. And why not? They are stopping production of their roadster until at least 2013, but we taxpayers have just given them $435 million to build a new factory. Investors will flock to buy into this no-lose project.

Command economies are fun – the government shifts capital as politics and political whims dictate, runs roughshod over individual rights and everything looks rosy for years, or even decades. Liberals love it – witness their praise of Russia and China. But ultimately, a command economy cannot sustain itself – Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and, coming soon, China. Liberals will discount these failures and blame other factors for them (Bush/Cheney is still good) but there you have it.

Anyway, there’s your money, gone to prop up a guaranteed  a money-loser like Tesla. I’d go ahead and buy the stock: ride it up and then get the hell out. The penny stock folks call this “pump and dump” – our current regime calls it “investing in the future”. Whatever.

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Alert to real estate readers

I don’t exactly apologize for so little Greenwich real estate news on this blog during weekends, but by way of explanation, I’ll point out that the main source of up-to-the-minute news on that subject, the Greenwich MLS Internet site, closes at 4:30 on Fridays and doesn’t reopen until Monday at 9:00. So, while I do poke around for rumors and developments around town during the shut-down, the pickings are slim, and, since I’m compelled to write, this blog goes off the main subject on weekends. If that offends or annoys you, by all means just don’t come here except on weekdays, when the real estate content comprises a larger portion of postings.

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Breaking news from Year 001

Obama, Scott Brown related.

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BPA – the new Alar

One of the most useful chemicals around – bisphenol A, or BPA, is under siege. I’ve already lost access to water bottles made from it – as a hiker, I’m now expected to carry twice the weight in an aluminum water bottle, never mind the environmental consequences of bauxite mining – that happens put of sight, like those rare earths used for hybrid cars. More important, although less obvious, the stuff is used for lining tin cans, plasma bags and all sorts of everyday items. Without BPA, we’re going back to glass bottles and, probably, hemp-based food wrappers.

All of which would be fine, if there were any evidence that BPA was a hazard. There isn’t. The scare is being promulgated by the usual cast of suspects who make their living from this kind of nonsense. They release their scary PR releases, mainstream media picks it up and professional “concerned mothers” take it from there. Alar on apples, vaccines, swine flu, etcetera, are all part of a concerted campaign to make a living from fear-mongering. And it’s all so easy, I wonder why I never went into the field.

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Time for the 51st state?

Thidwick Party

Reflecting on the fact that Greenwich alone – 60,000 people in a population of 2.5 million –  provides 14% of Connecticut’s income tax revenue while getting nothing back, extrapolating that a bit – we’re talking $12,000 per capita – to figure that Fairfield County, with a little help from Avon and West Hartford provides 100% of that revenue source, makes me wonder exactly how much of the total state’s revenue we’re squeezed for. Real estate conveyance tax? It was called “the Gold Coast Tax” precisely because it was drafted to hit only Fairfield County homes – no where else did houses sell for its $500,000 threshold. When inflation took care of that Hartford didn’t repeal the tax on more lowly citizens but did triple it for us. Estate taxes? Again – designed especially for us.

Etc. The few productive towns in the southwestern corner of Connecticut are supporting the rest of an ungrateful state that refuses to cut its spending and instead insists that we just pay them more.

So the question is, why do we put up with this? Imagine a state comprised solely of Fairfield County towns burdened with perhaps a minimal flat tax to cover expenses and no other taxes. Is there any question that we would boom? Every productive person in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts (and the state we left behind)  would flock here. As would corporations and businesses. We would soar, and Connecticut’s vultures would be left to tax themselves to support their spending.

Really: can you doubt that we’d be the best state in the Union  to live and work in, or that we could possibly fail? There’s no way.

I’d prefer seceding from the country itself, given the people who run it, but as I recall, the events of 1861-65 showed that was a tough way to go (although, ironically, ours would be a rebellion to end slavery, not preserve it). So okay, a fifty-first state it is. How to accomplish this?

Clearly we have to start a new political party and, in honor of both Teddy Roosevelt and Dr. Seuss, I suggest the name “Thidwicks”. You may recall Dr. Seuss’s story of Thidwick, the Big Hearted Moose who, after giving a couple of free-loaders a ride in his antlers, found himself burdened with lazy parasites and chased by hunters. The free-loaders refused to get off so that Thidwick could save his life, insisting that it was their right and his duty to carry them. He finally shakes off his antlers and escapes while the mooches end up stuffed and mounted over the Harvard Hunting Club’s fireplace. I read that story to all my children and, while Hartford’s legislatures will never understand it, I’d be willing to give them each a copy as a farewell gift.

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Still more nonsense revealed about global warming

UN’s Nobel prize wining report with its claim about disappearing Himalayan glaciers was  based, we learned last week, on nothing. Now it turns out another part of its “scientific” analysis was founded on a popular mountain climbing magazine’s article and a student’s research paper. Nothing wrong with student research papers but they are hardly the stuff of peer-reviewed studies and when scientists at the UN hide their reliance on such untested work some cynics might suspect that they have an agenda going on that has nothing to do with actual science.

By the way: have you noticed that the American press, especially the New York Times, is keeping silent on this widening exposure of fraud? There was a time, long ago, and long before Walter Duranty the Stalinist, when the NYT was considered an objective source of news. Maybe a hundred years ago.

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Santa Rosa liberals: “we don’t hate faggots, we just have, er, environmental concerns”

A Gay assisted living retirement community gets stonewalled in one of California’s most liberal cities. Who’d have guessed? Gays, like blacks, have fallen for the Democrat line for decades – they’re always surprised when they’re dumped – do you remember “don’t ask, don’t tell”? – and what they have never figured out, even though Warren Beatty pointed it out in Bullworth, Democrats will do nothing for them because they know they already have their votes. Time for a third party of fiscal discipline and libertarian principles, don’t you think?

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Even chumps can awake

Fannie Mae going after banks that sold it crap mortgages.

Stuck with about $300 billion in loans to borrowers at least 90 days behind on payments, Fannie and Freddie have unleashed armies of auditors and other employees to sift through mortgage files for proof of underwriting flaws. The two mortgage-finance companies are flexing their muscles to force banks to repurchase loans found to contain improper documentation about a borrower’s income or outright lies.

The result: Freddie Mac required lenders to buy back $2.7 billion of loans in the first nine months of 2009, a 125% jump from $1.2 billion a year earlier. Fannie Mae won’t disclose its figure, but trade publication Inside Mortgage Finance said Fannie made $4.3 billion in loan-repurchase requests in the first nine months of 2009.

“Because taxpayers are involved, we’re being very vigilant,” said Maria Brewster, who oversees Fannie’s repurchase team. “No taxpayer should have to pay for a business decision that caused a bad loan to be sold to Fannie Mae.”

That’s all very nice, but I hope we’re going to see more than 3% of our money returned.

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Breaking news from Scusie’s Dog Bowl

Baba Booey, Gary Dell’Abate, was actually seen shopping at the Riverside A&P!! Wow – real people doing real things. You want more? Here’s a dead person who never lived in Greenwich:

Shut the door, would you Scusie?

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The trouble with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money

Hartford calling!

Greenwich: $142 to Hartford, $1 back.

For every $142 local residents pay out in state income tax, Greenwich gets about $1 back in municipal aid annually, according to a new study by the South Western Regional Planning Agency that has town officials once again saying that they are stuck in a one-way relationship.

Greenwich provided the state with $758 million, or just over 14 percent, of its income tax revenue in 2007, the most recent year that figures were available to the eight-municipality planning consortium.

On a per-capita basis, that works out to $12,420 for each of the town’s 61,101 residents as estimated by the 2000 Census.

The next closest municipality was Stamford, which accounted for $241 million, or 4.5 percent, in state income tax revenue.

Rep. Cameron Staples, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the General Assembly‘s Finance,Revenue and Bonding Committee, said the system was never intended to provide a return on contribution.

“State aid is not supposed to be, in my view, equitably distributed to towns,” Staples said. “State aid for the most part goes for services that the state needs to supplement at the local level. A town like Greenwich has the ability to fund most of its own services. The city of Bridgeport is not capable of fully funding its own education system.”

I’m not worried about getting money back from the yokels up north – it’s never going to happen. But if Greenwich and Stamford together are paying 20% of the income tax burden, it’s a fair bet that Fairfield County, with Westport, Darien and New Canaan being sucked dry too, is probably paying almost the full 100%. This is a pretty perilous way to run a state budget, I think. We don’t have to stick around to be bled, after all.

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The wonder of capital

Real banks get out of the lending business so alternative lenders step in. 40% a year to keep your business running but you do what you gotta do. Makes you wonder, though, whether the world would really have ended last year had we let the big guys go down the drain. Seems to me that somehow, we’d have all survived.

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This isn’t fair

We get the cold, they get the snow. I prefer snow.

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It must be love – or bonus money

68 Park Ave. OG

68 Park Avenue in Old Greenwich sold yesterday for $2.665 miliion, just about full price. Assessment is $1.8 million so someone really, really wanted to live on this street. Nice (for sellers) when that happens.

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Breaking news from 1948

Ghandi’s ashes scattered in South Africa

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Jeeze – come on, guys

Remember that meteorite that crashed into a medical building down in Virginia? The docs donated it to the Smithsonian which, in return, was going to pay $5,000 for the rock and that sum was to be donated to a Haitian relief charity. From what I heard on the radio, an insurance policy was in place on the building and would pay for repairs but now the landlords are saying they’re entitled to the rock, and Deniz  and Erol Mutlu have demanded its return. Legally, I’d think their insurer is the one entitled to the piece of astro-rock, not them, but really: is this how you want to get your name in the press?

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