Daily Archives: July 20, 2009

Good lord, even the Wall Street Journal’s been infected

Here’s a “news article” that discovers that pay above a certain level is exempt from Social security tax (for the excellent reason that benefits are capped so low that even the pretense of this being a savings plan is demolished) and confuses that fact for the cause that Social Security is going bankrupt. No examination of spending, just a philosophy that all we earn is rightfully the property of the government and anything that escapes its grasp should be returned for redistribution. You expect this stuff from the Times, but the Journal? Dear God.

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Follow the money

Drug companies expect to reap billions from Mexican Flu panic. Just saying …

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Yesterday it was the budget review that was delayed

Today it’s the promised report on Gitmo. Nothing wrong with taking the time to get things right, but it’s still amusing: turns out things are more complicated than Obama and his crowd said they were back in November. How’d that happen?

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This horse has left the barn, I hope

Under pressure from Congress, Safety Board withheld study showing hands-free talking on cellphones as distracting as non hands-free. Nothing new here, that data’s been around for years, which is why I’ve railed against Connecticut’s hands-free law. Like most laws passed by politicians, it creates the impression of doing something about a problem while in fact accomplishing nothing.

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Okay, Scott Frantz is not bored

So says this blog, the link to which was provided by a reader. I’m delighted to hear it. I also note that he didn’t rule out running for Jim Himes’ seat, either. I guess my only question for Mr. Frantz is, why the hell aren’t you bored? Sitting around as a minority party member while some of the dumbest people in this state pontificate and dream up new ways to soak Fairfield County residents sounds like a pretty awful assignment to me. Whereas in Washington, you could sit around as a minority party member while some of the dumbest people in the country pontificate and dream up ways to soak the rich. You see the difference?

For What It’s Worth staff photographer Edgar Martins snapped this picture of Greenwich’s State Senator in the Capital today during a mandatory screening of “An Inconvenient Truth”.

Scott Frantz listening to Al Gore

Scott Frantz listening to Al Gore

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If you’re thinking of moving to McAllend, Texas

It’s 105 right now, dropping down to 91 this evening.

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Remember this next time she voices a political opinion

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Marriage, Iranian style

Turns out – who knew? – it’s illegal to execute virgin girls under the mussleman religion. But there are wicked girls who must be killed, so what to do, what to do? Easy peezy, fella. “Marry” them to a prison guard who rapes them the night before they’re killed. No fuss, no bother and the law has been obeyed. i love these guys!

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Ah, Baliwick!

I guess if you love Baliwick, you’re tempted not to see some of its disadvantages, like distance from town and Merritt Parkway babbling brook sounds. How else to explain the stunningly high prices asked for houses here, the reluctance to lower them and the sad, ultimate low price they sell for? !6 Baliwick, (ML # 70118) a 2 bedroom ranch with, it was claimed, a heated pool (that looked suspiciously like the Baliwicj community pool) asked $1.395 a year ago and finally sold today for $900,000. Even that seems steep to me, but maybe it does have its own private pool after all.

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One more spec house piles on

80 Lower Cross Road, new construction asking $1,000 per sq. ft. (including the basement, I presume) is listed today for $15 million. We now have 13 houses in the $15 million and above range. We’ve sold three this year and four last year. If you’re counting, with a handful of new $5 million and up listings today, we have 177 in inventory. Sooeee.

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Whoa!

16 Hurlingham, mentioned just this morning as under contract, has now sold for $12.225 million, just about what was paid for it two years ago ($12.4). I obviously have no grip on the premium people will pay to live in Conyers Farm, because this was a rustic oddball that even I would hesitate to live in and, aside from the pond (which has no dock and presumably can’t have one), had nothing to recommend it. I figured $8.5 and I figured wrong. Gollllyeee!

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All things come to those that wait

63 Maple

63 Maple

Asked $5.1, down today to $4.775 million. I don’t know if this will do it, what with the house being below street level, on a tiny lot, on a very busy street. But it’s a start. I have my own opinion of where this house will eventually trade but it’s probably nowhere near where this builder is so I’ll keep my mouth shut.

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The sun will come out tomorrow ….

330 Sound Beach Ave

330 Sound Beach Ave

Who among us does not love NASCAR or an optimist? You get both here, with a nice little cape offering a front row seat to the daily Race to the Point at a price anyone with faith in the strength of the Greenwich market will look upon in awed admiration. Bought in 2005 for $1.3 million, it’s now priced at $1.7. As we say in the trade, this one won’t last!

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Creeping closer to home

FDIC orders Darien/Rowayton bank to cease and desist. “It don’t mean nuttin’ ”  John Bowes the bank’s chairman insisted to our reporter Edgar Martins. “So we can’t loan out money anymore – big friggin’ deal. All that paperwork? Fugheddahboutit. We’re better off relaxing in the a/c doing crosswords. We ain’t worried.”

That’s the kind of confidence all our local banks could use.

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I’m not even going to pretend I know what this means

286 Round Hill Road (ML # 73905) came on today for $5.375, described as a 1900 house with nothing done to it since then to merit mention, and three acres of land that are “perfect for the chic nature lover”. Do they mean there’s a coop on the grounds? That one does her gardening in black? Is this code for the sophisticated set so that bums like me are left put of the fun? Who the hell knows. Assessed value is $2.940, if you’re wondering.

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This is getting interesting

6 Guinea Road (Ml # 70327) started its current listing life as a 5,000 sq. ft. house on 2.5 acres asking $3.7 million. That’s not what I or anyone else thought the address commanded but after two years and numerous price cuts, it’s down today to $2.250. The assessed value is $2.261. Why don’t you throw $1.795 at it and see what happens?

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Mexican flu – the global warming of health care?

shade grown music

shade grown music

I’ve received a number of thoughtful emails from readers who warn that this flu stuff is a real threat. I’ll admit that I tend to discount anything that’s presented in such alarmist tones, but maybe I”m wrong again. I thought invading Iraq must be a good idea because Barbara Striesand was against it.

In any event, they’re taking it seriously in NYC, whether because of a genuine fear or a desire for more funding, I don’t know.

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Could our politicians possibly look past the next election cycle and try this? Nah.

From Professor Volokh, this proposal on health care:

Serious Health Care Reform Proposal:

Let the Democrats put forward three different health care reform proposals. Let the Republicans put forward two different proposals. Find five states to volunteer. Each state adopts one of the proposals. Wait several years. See if any of these proposals worked out well, and if so, which one seems best, and why. Learn from this trial and error, and then pass a national health bill, instead of trying an untested, one-size fits all solution for 20% of the American economy

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House sales

9 Ridgebrook (near Greenwich Academy), ML # 73453, sold for $2.6 million. That’s a hefty price for this place, but not as hefty as the $3.7 the sellers tried to get for it in 2007. They’ve been whacking the price ever since then and after dumping their first broker and retaining another, they finally got it to $2.695, which attracted a buyer. This place last sold, as a wreck, in 2003 for $1.861 and the new owners did a lot of work to it. The assessed value was just $1.630 but I don’t know if that reflected the improvements.

9 Boyd Lane, ML # 72202, that little dead end off Riverside Lane and at the epicenter of last year’s whiffleball kerfuffle, sold for $400,00, down quite a bit from its ask of $575,000 and way down from its assessed value of $661,780. At $400,00o, even an obsolete little cottage of 1,200 sq. ft. seems reasonable, or it does this year. We’ll see what it looks like next July.

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See Andres? It’s not so bad.

Bernie Madoff is adjusting quite well in his new home, according to the Post. Dressed in sweats, dining on fish fillet and macaroni and enjoying his new job at the arts and crafts center engraving doorplates and such – I’d like one of those, autographed by Bernie, and I’d pay good money for it – maybe two bucks? At twelve cents an hour for his labor, figuring an output of maybe ten per hour, this could be a real money maker for the warden – Walt, there may be an opportunity here – why don’t you chat the guy up next time you’re down there visiting Andres?

What I like is the observation by one inmate that Bernie “fits right in here”. What a surprise that a criminal would fit in well with others of his kind.

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