Monthly Archives: February 2012

This should please the Occupiers and Democrats

Except for that tiny portion of Democrats who suck up cash tributes from these guys, but how many could that be? Wall Street bonus pool declines 14%. Of course, there is this:

Before the financial crisis, business and personal tax income collections from Wall Street-related activities accounted for up to 20% of state tax revenue, but that figure fell to 14% last year. The industry’s contribution to the city’s tax collections has dropped to less than 7% from 13%.

A small price to pay for such a large step toward equality. Besides, the city and state will just trim their expenditures and never notice the absence of this money, right?

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I’d been looking for this article for a couple of years now

But, after reading it back then, couldn’t find it again. Instapundit knew how though, so here’s “No Country for Burly Men” describing how the feminist movement hijacked the original stimulus bill and eschewed infrastructure rebuilding in favor of  “girl jobs” like teaching, nursing and social work”. Result? No rebuilding, no jobs for construction workers and a bunch of broads kept on government payrolls for one more year, only to be fired anyway when the stimulus ended.

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Cheesy ethics

First the Dutch introduced euthanasia for the elderly. Next up, defective infants. Now, unwanted babies. We know the next step but I find it curious that here in America we’re working toward the same goal but from the other end of the spectrum: birth control to first-trimester abortion to partial – birth abortion to …

The best term of the day, coined by these people and coming our way soon is “After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” Those who dismiss the Catholic church and Rick Santorum (that would include me) might want to reflect that perhaps they aren’t wrong, they may just see more clearly than us what the abortionists’ goal really is.

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Months ago I said Occupy Wall Street was dead – who was that reader who insisted it wasn’t?

Why CAN'T I have a seven-figure job? I WANT one, I DESERVE one!

OCW announced a Shut Down Corporate America for today and less than 100 of the jerks crawled out of their holes to attend. When you movement is outnumbered by the press, you’re dead. Unless, of course, you’re one of those  illiterate Muslim dudes holding a sign made for you by someone else and intended for an English-speaking audience. Then, even if you number ten and the press is swarming in the hundreds, you’re good to go – these guys are here to help you.

The press invented OCW and nurtured it during the fall, but OCW is old news now and as so many have learned to their heartbreak, old news is no news.

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I just knew my college chemistry would come in handy some day

Are you, like everyone else these days, having difficulty with obtaining Sudafed for your cold? Can’t stand producing photo ID, a passport and a semen sample to your pharmacist and local TSA agent, just to get a package restricted to twelve tablets? Well then Bucky, help is on the way, thanks to “The Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry”: how to make pseudoephedrine out of cheap, readily available methamphetamine. Sounds easy and fun to do.

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Why we’re in the mess we’re in

Stupid borrowers, stupid lenders. I was poking around the records of a certain property just now to see what I could learn about its debt which is being foreclosed on. Here’s the deal: The owners paid $4 million for it in 2007 and took out a mortgage for $2.9. Two months later they borrowed another $400,000 and two months after that they added another $950,000. Early in 2008 they tacked on another million in debt so they’ve now encumbered a house they paid $4 million for with $5.2 million +. Some of that money was used for renovations, but there’s no way it added up to even a million, let alone $2.4 (I’m fudging the numbers a little bit – these people have troubles enough).

So who’s to blame here? The homeowner/borrower first and foremost. If he’s financially sophisticated enough to accumulate the wherewithal to purchase a $4 million house, he should know better than to saddle it with debt exceeding his equity. This isn’t hapless Bessie succumbing to the wiles of a snaky mortgage broker while sitting on her plastic-covered couch.

But what about the banks that made these loans? Not the first lender - $2.9 on a $4 million house is well within reasonable lending guidelines and even a bt conservative. Each loan after that becomes increasingly absurd. What frosts me about this situation is that, so far as I can understand it, these lenders went under, someone – Soros or warren Buffet, probably – bought the debt for pennies on the dollar and is now in line to be paid full face value on that debt by middle class taxpayers. Doesn’t seem right.

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Sympathy for the devil

The Old Mick

A number of readers have commented on today’s Bloomberg article detailing the woes of the once-rich, now-poor Wall Street types. For another view, read this article by one of my favorites, Meagan MCardle. She’s no richer than the rest of us poor slobs but can empathize. And I’m with her. Before you jump all over this post, please read her article to see what she’s saying. You might even agree, at least in part.

I could understand the laughter if the people in the article had been moaning about how terrible and unjust it is to be forced to suffer along on $350,000 a year.  But in fact, none of the affluent people he speaks to hold out their experience as somehow equivalent to that of a famine-stricken child in Somalia–”they aren’t asking for sympathy”, says one source; “I wouldn’t want to whine”, says another.  The closest we get to a “poor little me” is M. Todd Henderson: “Yes, terminal diseases are worse than getting the flu,” he said. “But you suffer when you get the flu.”
The fact is that no matter how much you make, seeing your income fall below the expenses you’ve committed to is difficult.  Obviously, people whose expenses are closer to the minimum deserve more of our sympathy, and our help.  But I’m not sure that this means we’re supposed to be happy when it happens to someone richer than we are.  It’s not very attractive when conservatives rejoice to see union members thrown out of work.  I’m not sure this is much better.

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What’s two acres worth?

Not much, if its marginal land. 109 Dingletown has sold for $1.150, a drop from its 2009 asking price of $1.690. The house is livable but I’d guess it contributed zero to this price. The lot is located down a looong driveway which doesn’t get counted in FAR calculations, so you lose there, and much of the remaining land is cliff. But a decent enough, albeit very small back yard with a pool badly in need of repair.

I think – he can correct me – this was the exact price I told my client he’d pay if he wanted it. Turns out he didn’t.

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The day closes with a bang

20 Rocky Point

Old Greenwich waterfront on Rocky Point Road, accepted offer just a few months after coming on (and never dropping) at $14.550. Lots of people have lost their shirts in this depression but some have not. Great house, wonderful views.

Perhaps inspired by this sale, the owners of 10 Lighthouse Lane have brought their house back on, this time at $7.995. 1886 antique directly on the water, it wouldn’t sell at $3.350 in 1997, $5.700 in 2003, $9.950 in 2005. Fourth time the charm?

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Mandatory minimum

Marching for unequal rights

Malloy’s trying to go where no Republican Governor has been able to tread: get rid of the state law mandating a minimum number of state troopers. This political payoff dates back decades – no other state agency is required by statute to keep a minimum number of workers on its payroll and there’s no reason troopers should have such protection against layoffs. None.

But politics don’t change. Already Malloy’s fellow Democrats are seeking to postpone Malloy’s bill “for further study” Thirty years hasn’t been sufficient?

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Still climbing

We can use this stuff to fill in the Byram pool

$1o.7 million for soil removal from the Performance Palace and going up. Remember when they sold us (well, some of us) on this project with an all-in price tag of $23 million? Half of that’s gone before ground’s been broken. Say goodbye to the Byram pool.

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Well dang!

destined for Davey Jones' locker

The Monkee’s Davey Jones dead at 66. My childhood is rapidly disappearing.

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We’re tearing up the pea patch today!

A second sale has trickled onto the “sold” report, 172 Valley Road in Cos Cob, $700,000 on an original price of $1,496,500 in 2010. This 1916 model is surely destined for the dumpster but you can, it is claimed, carve two lots from its 0.66 acres, so a decent deal at $350,000 per lot. Rumor has it, by the way, one of the two heirs rejected a much higher offer a year ago – that happens a lot, especially when an out-of-state relative thinks he knows Greenwich real estate values.

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Asking isn’t selling – just ask Leona Helmsley (‘s ghost)

(A very large) white elephant

Bloomberg News claims in a banner headline that Michael Jordan is “selling his house for $29 million”. What’s actually happened is that the former star has listed his 56,000 sq. ft., 19 bedroom mansion outside of Chicago for that price. As Leona’s heirs discovered when they listed her spread here in Greenwich for $125,000,000 and eventually sold it for $30 million, just because your real estate broker suggests a sky-high price doesn’t make it so. Generally, those prices are suggested as a means for the broker to gain national attention and do the seller no good.

It’s possible someone may want this dodo and it’s even possible, however unlikely, that someone who can afford it will come along. But Chicago? Even Obummer can’t steal enough in the few short months left in his term to pay that much.

I’m guessing that the basketball star who will be dumb enough to buy this thing hasn’t even been born yet.

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I hadn’t realized Patriot Bank loaned in California

Patriot Bank appraisal team

Beverly Hills foreclosures. Most are junk but some have price tags that make Greenwich look cheap. What astonishes me is how much banks were willing to lend on these properties: $10,000,000 and $14.5 million, in two instances. Where was the government when these people needed our help?

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If there’s a problem, we need a law

I just ordered a slider but oh well

Problem: fatties eating too much at restaurants. Solution, another law.

(Another) problem: even fat people don’t eat all their meals outside the home. Solution, Food Police?

For a long time, I’ve wanted restaurant owners to give a price break  for smaller portions. No luck. They say this would put them out of  business. We need to make it easier for people to choose smaller  portions, which means changes in public policy.

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It’s just past noon and real estate is buzzing

(Only) sale of the day: 8 Hartford Avenue, $479,000. Whoohoo!

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Of course there’s no real estate news this morning or I’d report it. In the meantime, there’s this

"Raise my grade, I'll raise your bar"

Why I’m going back to law school. Sex-crazed female law students so frisky, they can’t afford to pay for all the birth control they’re using. Being liberal law students (but I repeat myself) they, naturally, demand a subsidy to support their cravings. Calling Joe the Plumber.

Speaking at a hearing held by Pelosi to tout Pres. Obama’s mandate  that virtually every health insurance plan cover the full cost of  contraception and abortion-inducing products, Georgetown law student  Sandra Fluke said that it’s too expensive to have sex in law school  without mandated insurance coverage.

Apparently, four out of every ten co-eds are having so much sex that  it’s hard to make ends meet if they have to pay for their own  contraception, Fluke’s research shows.

“Forty percent of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to  us that they struggled financially as a result of this policy  (Georgetown student insurance not covering contraception), Fluke reported.

It costs a female student $3,000 to have protected sex over the  course of her three-year stint in law school, according to her  calculations.

“Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a  woman over $3,000 during law school,” Fluke told the hearing.

 

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Whoa, wait a minute, how could this be?

Will work for lower taxes

States with lowest taxes create more jobs.

A separate analysis by IBD found that states imposing the lowest tax rates on both new and existing businesses produced more jobs during the economic recovery than those states with the highest tax burdens.

This flies in the face of every Democrat (and OWS) prescription for job growth they have ever advocated. I wonder whether these findings could apply to countries too? Nah.

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Drink to success – or excess

Do your really want to be in this photograph?

Malloy wants to deregulate likker prices, shop keepers protest. I have no dog in this fight but I’m not impressed by this guy’s argument:

Kevin Sheehan, 45, owner of Vintage Wine and Spirits in the Stratford Square Plaza for the last four years, was critical of Malloy’s proposals.

The governor is basically trying to crucify this industry,” Sheehan said in an interview. “With everything that he wants to do, there’s no way that small stores can compete with the Stop & Shops and Costco’s of this world. They would crush us.”

By what right does a person claim the power of the state to coerce consumers into subsidizing his business? I don’t get it. Malloy’s got this right:

A bottle of wine selling for $21.99 in Massachusetts could cost $29.99 in  Connecticut, he said. “It is absolutely outrageous that people expect citizens  of Connecticut to pay that kind of premium. This has been a 100 percent  regulated and protected industry and in so, in many ways, is quite un-American.  I go into a pharmacy and there’s no minimum price for aspirin.”

As an aside, who is this sign holder  “Bill Carlson”, supporting Sunday liquor sales and lower prices? A dedicated alcoholic? A flack for the bottling industry? The article doesn’t say. It does report that “close to 1,000 people on both sides of the issue swarmed the legislative complex ….”  and that, too makes me curious. I’m not asking for names, but shouldn’t a reporter at least give us a hint about who these people are? I mean, why would 1,000 people travel to Hartford for any reason, let alone demonstrate in favor or opposition to cheap booze on Sundays?

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