Daily Archives: October 11, 2008


Things are tougher than I’d thought

Under the headline AIG Gallows Humor Gives Bankers a Laugh the Washington Post reports this bit of hilarity:

Insurance giant American International Group (AIG.N), on the receiving end of a multi-billion dollar bailout from the Federal Reserve, was trying hard on Saturday to look on the bright side of life.

“Credit markets do not function. Why not, because the word credit comes from credibility,” AIG Vice Chairman Jacob Frenkel told a group of top global bankers at a lively luncheon where he took a philosophical view of the upheaval in financial markets.

“The left side of the balance sheet has nothing right and the right side of the balance sheet has nothing left. But they are equal to each other. So accounting-wise we are fine,” he told the Institute of International Finance.

Hoo hoo hoo! These bankers – what cut-ups!

You want the latest banker joke? “So I went out to buy a toaster yesterday and they gave me a bank.”
Ha ha ha

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Two morons who didn’t read the headlines below:
Gunmen tie up, rob real estate salesman

What’d they get, his Timex and IRS bills?

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News you can use:
Use caution when buying property
Suddenly, it’s a buyer’s market
Economy slows real estate sales

Slow day for headline writers, too.

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Okay, let’s put the bailout on hold and try nationalizing the banks . Does anyone else remember Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls? I can’t stand the Democrats but I sometimes think Republicans are more dangerous precisely because they pay lip service to capitalism and free enterprise.

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They’ve got your back

Here they come!
The Demmerkrats, confident of victory, are already planning to reconvene Congress after the election so they can add an additional $150 billion to our budget woes. This is in addition to the $150 billion they added to the $750 billion bailout bill and is doubtless only a taste of what they have in store for us. Yes, paradise is growing closer but there is one consolation: even if they confiscate every penny of income over $100,000 they can’t possibly fund all this largess, so perhaps the booboise and illegal aliens will have to pitch in. I wonder how popular some of these massive giveaway programs will be then?

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Stale news?
Greenwich Time’s real estate reporter devoted yesterday’s column to an upcoming auction of an unfinished New Canaan mansion.
Sure you could have read about that house right here on this blog one week ago but then you’d have missed the lyrical descriptive style that is GT’s hallmark:

A 20,000-square-foot lakeside chateau in New Canaan is going to auction at noon Thursday, Oct. 16, through United Country The Redfield Group in Gadsden, Ala. Beyond a stone wall and spruces that shade from green to blue are six acres of woodlands with a private, tree-fringed lake and a French Manor house with six bedrooms, seven full baths, three half-baths, an infinity swimming pool and a guest house.

The owners are moving abroad, and because the main house is not finished inside, the buyer will choose interior finishes, fixtures, trim and flooring. Completion of the four-level, 32-room house is estimated at $1.5 million to $3 million as planned, according to owner Emil F. Jachmann.

That’s all very nice and the house itself looks nice, too, but I did enjoy one streak of independence shown by the writer: the auction house described the task of finishing what is essentially an abandoned project as an “opportunity for the buyer to select his own finishes, fixtures, trim and flooring”. As reported, that came out as “the buyer will choose”. So much for that opportunity.

As I suggested last week, however, at the right place, I think this would be a cool place for a few Greenwich couples, former Lehman partners, perhaps, to move into as a sort of older hippie commune. There’s plenty of space and you could all get your minds off the current disaster by focusing on choosing those finishes and fixtures.

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(former) Greenwich resident

Oh, Great. Guess who’s coming for another bite of Greenwich taxpayer?
Connecticut Pension funds scandalously underfunded

[State Treasurer Denise Nappier] didn’t quite say it, but taxpayers should be more than worried; they should be freaking out. For even before the market crash the state pension fund did not have enough investment to meet its commitments, pension underfunding being a chronic scandal in Connecticut, most other states, and the federal government. And should the pension fund not cover those commitments, they would have to be met from the state’s general fund, which would mean more taxes.

The pensions enjoyed by Connecticut’s public employees — pensions called defined-benefit plans, plans that pay a fixed level of benefits, a level long known in advance — are lavish and a glaring manifestation of the disconnect between the government class and the working class. For most working-class people long ago were left to fend for themselves [empasis added] with 401(k) and individual retirement account pension savings plans, plans that guarantee no benefits at all, plans whose benefits vary with their investment success. When markets fall, as they are falling now, the working class, unlike the government class, does worry about its retirement, and then has to worry again as part of the taxpaying class, even as public employees need not worry.

At her meeting with the legislators Treasurer Nappier disclosed that there is even more for Connecticut’s taxpayers to worry about. That’s because for what may have been the first time, state government recently was unable to refinance debt, about $400 million. While this problem was not peculiar to Connecticut but rather a matter of the breakdown of the credit markets nationally, it was still, as state Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, remarked, “really scary.”

I don’t often agree with our elected representatives, but I’d say “really scary” sums up the situation neatly.

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Stalwart souls on the other side of the world, too.
Turns out that even in New Zealand they’re building palaces and the owners and agents there are as obtuse as here. 50 $10 million + houses are on the market. One lady, unable to unload her place since 2005, has successively raised her price until it’s now over $33 million. That ought to do it. Agents say they aren’t worried because “international buyers are sure to bail them out: money means nothing to these folks.” I anticipate that the next press release from the Antares Group wil originate from Auckland.

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Happy Lesbians
Before you all start enjoying the Ct. Supreme Court’s latest abrogation arrogation of power, you might want to consider what I warned about yesterday: The ruling increases the chances of voters approving a constitutional convention. Where, I predict, all hell will break loose.

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Byram Building Committee’s other project.
When first announced in November, 2006, this project was estimated to be completed in “12-14 months”. Things must have gotten a bit off track because actual construction didn’t begin in April, 2007 but that should still have seen books and patrons returning from exile in May, 2008. The latest communication from the Library board looks forward to completion in the month of September. I’m no building expert but looking at the project’s current condition, I don’t think it’s finished yet. In fact, it doesn’t look close to being finished. I understand that the geniuses working on Hamilton Avenue School may have been distracted by that disaster and lost their focus on this one, but it still makes me wonder at the ineptitude of our various citizens groups that run municipal improvements in this town and whether there isn’t a better way. Like hiring experienced construction contractors, for instance, and then getting out of their way?

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What’s happened to the Black Knight and his fellow Somali pirates?
Not much. The major powers seemed to have stopped Ukraine from paying a ransom and now the pirates threaten to blow up the ship.
Well, that would be one way to resolve it. As an aside, a “Russian Frigate” has been said to be on its way to the area for at least a week now and it still hasn’t arrived. Are their ships that slow or do they just want nothing to do with this situation? Let’s ask the CIA.

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Don’t mess with this agent!
So you work with clients for eight months, they buy nothing from you but do buy a house from another agent? If you’re tempted to do this, don’t try it in Colorado Springs, where a thrown-over agent recruited a couple of 13 – year -olds to spray paint and vandalize the ungrateful clients’ new home.

And here’s a tip for agents: if you’re going to buy vandalism supplies don’t pay for them with your personal check.

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Here’s some good news for those of us planning on sticking around. Hard times thinning real estate agent’s ranks
Perhaps (and I’m hoping) the current fun will see the ladies who “do lunch” and sell a house or two every once in awhile will return to their country clubs. One lump or two?

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Is there no end to this misery?

Goldman Sachs honcho puts his Nantucket manse up for sale for $55 million..

Sure, you’ll be sleepless tonight worrying about this sad tale, but it may console you to learn that Goldman paid the man $56 million in 2006. With luck, his 5th wife left him some of that.

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What kind of wussies are our colleges turning out these days?

Hartford: Woman slips her real estate agent marijuana-laced gingerbread and he gets ill

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Who, me? Voter fraud in Connecticut
A local spokesman for Acorn (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) denies any sort of fraud in its voter registration drives. Hartford Democrat spokeswoman Nancy DiNardi sides with Acorn:

DiNardo said Republicans are trying to make an issue out of ACORN’s national registration drives because Democrats have the advantage.
“People are registering far more as Democrats than they are as Republicans,” DiNardo said. “And they will throw out anything about ‘voter fraud’ to see what sticks on the wall.”

The most recent story about ACORN is that of the man ACORN paid in cigarettes and dollar bills each time he registered – in his case, 72 times.

That’s not the end of the story. As Ron Popiel would say, “but wait, there’s more!”
Kansas City officials find hundreds of bogus registrations
Nevada raids ACORN offices
More registrants than voters in Indianapolis
Three ACORN workers in Seattle plead guilty to voter fraud scheme
Washington state prosecutors indict seven ACORN workers
It’s worse in Kansas City:

City officials scoff at that. They say it’s up to Acorn to explain why over 1,000 addresses listed on its registrations don’t exist. “We met twice with Acorn before their drive, but our requests completely fell by the wayside,” says Democrat Matt Potter, the city’s deputy elections director. His election clerks were already putting in 13-hour work days and “dumping this on them isn’t fair.” In the past, several Democrats, including Mayor Francis Slay, have complained about bloated voter rolls leading to stolen votes.

So why no outcry? Because St. Obama is up to his neck in ACORN’s campaign of fraud

“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career,” he told the group last November.

Indeed, in the early ’90s, Obama was recruited by Talbott herself to run training sessions for ACORN activists.

ACORN also got funding from two charities, the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation, when Obama served on their boards, and from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge – the radical “education reform” outfit Obama ran from ’95 to ’99.

And any attack on Obama or ACORN is, of course, Racist!

This campaign is about race, plane and simple. ACORN is helping minorities to vote — and guess what, that scares Republicans. Politically they fear losing elections, but this is about something much deeper.

I thought the campaign was about change.

Update: You want to know more about ACORN? Here’s more about ACORN Turns out, voter registration fraud is just a sideline – they have much grander plans in store for the country. Lucky us.

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Who, me? Voter fraud in Connecticut
A local spokesman for Acorn (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) denies any sort of fraud in its voter registration drives. Hartford Democrat spokeswoman Nancy DiNardi sides with Acorn:

DiNardo said Republicans are trying to make an issue out of ACORN’s national registration drives because Democrats have the advantage.
“People are registering far more as Democrats than they are as Republicans,” DiNardo said. “And they will throw out anything about ‘voter fraud’ to see what sticks on the wall.”

The most recent story about ACORN is that of the man ACORN paid in cigarettes and dollar bills each time he registered – in his case, 72 times.

That’s not the end of the story. As Ron Popiel would say, “but wait, there’s more!”
Kansas City officials find hundreds of bogus registrations
Nevada raids ACORN offices
More registrants than voters in Indianapolis
Three ACORN workers in Seattle plead guilty to voter fraud scheme
Washington state prosecutors indict seven ACORN workers
It’s worse in Kansas City:

City officials scoff at that. They say it’s up to Acorn to explain why over 1,000 addresses listed on its registrations don’t exist. “We met twice with Acorn before their drive, but our requests completely fell by the wayside,” says Democrat Matt Potter, the city’s deputy elections director. His election clerks were already putting in 13-hour work days and “dumping this on them isn’t fair.” In the past, several Democrats, including Mayor Francis Slay, have complained about bloated voter rolls leading to stolen votes.

So why no outcry? Because St. Obama is up to his neck in ACORN’s campaign of fraud

“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career,” he told the group last November.

Indeed, in the early ’90s, Obama was recruited by Talbott herself to run training sessions for ACORN activists.

ACORN also got funding from two charities, the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation, when Obama served on their boards, and from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge – the radical “education reform” outfit Obama ran from ’95 to ’99.

And any attack on Obama or ACORN is, of course, Racist!

This campaign is about race, plane and simple. ACORN is helping minorities to vote — and guess what, that scares Republicans. Politically they fear losing elections, but this is about something much deeper.

I thought the campaign was about change.

Update: You want to know more about ACORN? Here’s more about ACORN Turns out, voter registration fraud is just a sideline – they have much grander plans in store for the country. Lucky us.

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He’s back!

Russian’s palace on Simmons Lane downsized
Only 45 toilets and three swimming pools proposed this time. The Ruble must be declining.

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Darn it, first he steals my name, now he’s having all the fun

Hollyoaks stars put on skimpiest threads for Chris Fountain’s birthday

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