Daily Archives: September 1, 2009

Hawaii extends its xenophobia to French tourists

I smell nothing unusual; nothing unusual at all!

I smell nothing unusual; nothing unusual at all!

Honolulu bans BO from buses

Update: Even the French have their limit. In Paris, pipi brigades are trying to stamp out peeing in alleys.


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Messiah to address all school children. Attention must be paid.

Javol, ist hope und change!

Javol, ist hope und change!

Yes, The One will speak to our nation’s public school children on September 8th and, while the parodies have started, I was shocked to discover that this list of instructions to the NEA was not part of any parody – it’s straight from Command Headquarters.

• Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?

During the Speech:

• As the President speaks, teachers can ask students to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful. Students could use a note-taking graphic organizer such as a Cluster Web, or students could record their thoughts on sticky notes. Younger children can draw pictures and write as appropriate.

As students listen to the speech, they could think about the following:

What is the President trying to tell me?
What is the President asking me to do?
What new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?

• Students can record important parts of the speech where the President is asking them to do something.

• Students might think about: What specific job is he asking me to do? Is he asking anything of anyone else? Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?


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Rell will let Democratic budget pass

Just so you know, the budget calls for $37 billion in state spending over two years.

The budget in 1987 was $4.9 billion. Adjusted for inflation, that would be $9.2 billion.

Connecticut’s population added just 250,000 residents between 1987 and 2008.

 Not a single penny of this year’s budget can be cut without inflicting pain on the deserving poor.

Next year’s deficit will be higher than the inflation adjusted budget of 1987.

This way to the asylum.


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When you’re in a hole, stop digging

Cash4Gold sues Consumer Reports. That’s about as stupid as filing a grievance against a blogger for writing about your unsold house.

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Card playing Legislator revealed

The lady playing solitaire while her own mayor droned on at the Capitol last night was none other than Norwalk’s Peggy Reeves. I have no idea what she’s paid, but it’s too much.

peggy reeves, Norwalk: "How come I keep losing to myself?"

peggy reeves, Norwalk: "How come I keep losing to myself?"


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A first! Teri Buhl reports on the Himes Town Hall meeting

Teri Buhl, a financial journalist from lower Fairfield County has written for Trader Monthly, Housingwire, The New York Post and DealBreaker. With those credentials (plus having attended Lawrenceville Prep with Jim) she was able to break past the barriers at last night’s sold-out Himes performance and observe. Herewith, her report:

Is Himes in touch with his Greenwich voters on Health Care Reform

By Teri Buhl

Wall Street traders and their wives showed up fully charged to debate health care reform last night in Greenwich. Congressman Jim Himes(CT-4 D) held his first town hall meeting on health care and ran smack into a crowd of nay sayers to Obama’s health care plan. From my seat on the right side of the room (with the rest of the press) the majority of the crowd was against government intervention in health care. Concern over death panels, how much will it cost them, to lack of availability to see the best physicians ran rampant from residents called upon to ask questions.

Greenwich police say they opened the doors at ten till 6pm and the room was filled in less than 20 minutes, leaving constituents who showed up near the meeting’s start time of 6:30 turned away by two armed cops. Police say around 200 people gathered outside while the Himes debate was underway and began their own citizen’s debate on the issue.  The passionate crowed spoke in turn on the town hall steps railing opinions against the public option while the police kept a firm had on some who got in each other’s face- even strong arming one plain clothes man who had earlier showed a NYPD card to get in but was refused entrance.  

Inside the debate was almost as heated.

Jacqueline Walsh who attended with her husband Jerry Walsh, a Wall Street prop trader had done her homework and rattled Himes a bit when she went face to face with him questioning him about death panels. Walsh cheered and jeered throughout the event when fellow citizens detailed researched views on why the public option wouldn’t work and the crowd cheered ‘No more government, the free market can do it better’. She was much more the majority then the minority throughout the room.

When the Walsh’s were asked if Himes was going to represent their views on health care or those of their friends in Greenwich when he returned to congress they said, “Himes claims to be a free market guy, that’s how he made his money, but I don’t think he represents the majority of Greenwich’s view on this issue.” Before Himes made his run for Congress he was a Goldman Sachs banker.

Jacqueline added, “He side stepped a lot of the questions tonight and seemed to call on some he knew would give praise to his cause.”

Jacqueline friend and fellow Greenwich resident, Cheryl Resnick, who attended with her husband Jeff a trader at an international bank, had her hand up at every chance but was unfortunately ignored by the moderator.

Cheryl said, “We got babysitters for this, showed up early to get in and had some important questions but were shut out.”  Cheryl’s questions posted at the end of the story have been sent to Himes and his team said to expect a response.

At the end of the meeting Cheryl, a blond blue-eyed republican, added, “You know I noticed all the people who talked against the public option really did their homework. They have real fears for a reason. “ She also added that even if Himes went gung ho against the public option it wouldn’t make a difference because Obama would just buy the votes to get his Health Care bill done – kind of puts Himes in a tough spot.

Himes did comment half way through the debate about his view re health care lobbying and fund raising corruption. “I simply want to remind you that when offered a pay raise this year I didn’t take it because I saw so many of you not getting them, “ says Himes and then noted “ In this country your ability to raise money is often how we elect congressman – this is a problem.”

When Himes was asked what would he do if congress was forced to the take the public option he responded, “Well first of all no one is going to be forced to TAKE the public option. But, I believe congressman should not benefit any differently than our citizens.” To give Himes credit he listened, looked each person in the eye and didn’t interrupt even when some boldly called him out on not reading legislation he voted on like the 1,200 page Waxman-Markey clean energy bill.

After an hour and half of listening and trying to answer his constituents health care concerns, Himes stepped up to the plate and took another 15 minutes to address the frustrated mob of at least 50 residents remaining outside. Although we found it odd he needed 8 local cops to escort him outside and talk to them.

Questions mounted by attendees walking out of the event regarding why team Himes choose a room that only fits 200 people if they wanted to truly hear all voters voice. Over 400 people tried to get in and that doesn’t even count the ones who walked away when they saw the mob.

When WGCH radio host Tony Savino, who moderated the event, was asked who picked this venue he said, “I thought it was going to be at the Greenwich Hyatt. I don’t know who changed it.”

Liz Kerr, Himes DC spokesman responded, “We never secured the Hyatt.” She didn’t answer why a bigger forum to house more residents wasn’t chosen – like the Greenwich High School?  If you’re game to go face to face with Himes again you find him tomorrow night at the Norwalk High School starting at 6:30. Although I doubt many Greenwichites want to make the trek over there.

Here’s a link to Himes’ press girl asking outside mob if they want info on the Norwalk event – they all yell no – it’s classic.http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/1079334/himes_holds_town_hall_on_health_care

Here is the question posed to Rep. Himes, which he has promised to answer. When (if) he does, we’ll post it here. [Ed]

Cheryl Resnick question for Congressman Himes:
When Massachusetts implemented universal health care Cheryl had a friend who found it impossible to find a good doctor after her regular doctor retired. As a result they had to opt out for a private option paying over $5,000 more so they could get a doctor that look fewer patients and was available when they needed him.
Cheryl asks: If the administration is saying an additional 47 million people will be added to the public option, how will they responsibly handle the inflow of new patients – so what happened in Mass doesn’t happen here. How will the public option participants know they can still get their good doctors if the public option pays the doctor less? Do we have enough quality medical talent to handle an influx of 47 million new patients to the system? 


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Condo sale

A unit at 1 Milbank, those brick things that have scarred our landscape since being erected in 1984 on the corner of the Post Road and Milbank, has sold for $2.480, a pretty good price. These units don’t sell nearly as frequently as they are listed, and expire, but so far as I can tell the last one to move and the highest price achieved here, was one that sold in 2005 for $2.2 million. In view of that spotty price history I’m surprised the owner of this one chose to price it at $3.2 million in 2007 but as always, the market always sets the real price, eventually.


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No (landfalling) hurricanes this season?

That’s what SeaBlogger predicts, thanks to a trough of dry air running between our eastern shores and the tropics. He’s pretty smart about this stuff, so go ahead, take off your heavy duty storm lines on that boat, substitute some clothesline and relax!


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Google’s G Mail is down

Or mine is, anyway. This is the problem with relying on an Internet-based system. Great when it’s up, you’re cut off when it’s down. Bummer.

UPDATE: it’s not just me. There’s a kind of a hush, all over the world.


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Sellers remain optimistic

We’re moving into the last gasp of the selling season, which will unofficially start next Tuesday and end two weeks before Thanksgiving, and the houses are creeping onto the market. If the owners were aware of any storm blowing by while they were in their basements, they must assume that clear skies have returned and it’s safe to price again at 2007 + levels. One came on today whose location caught my eye because I have clients looking for something in that area, but it’s priced at $3 million, on an assessed value of $1.5. Sigh. I’ll plan on viewing it next spring.

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From diamond to cubic zirconium

25 Cedarwood Drive, 2.5 acres in what realtors love to refer to as “the Golden Triangle”, was assessed at $2.383 million, listed for $2.450 million and sold yesterday for $1.6 million. I didn’t think much of the land as it seemed steep, woody and dark, but at this price, there’s room to rework it.


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A must-read review of Bernie Madoff’s Montauk love nest, now for sale by federal marshals

Dealbreaker’s Bess Levin, the funniest financial writer (I suppose that’s what she is) working today, has a take on Bernie’s Montauk digs that you really should read. Levin uses some salty language that I don’t often use on this blog (so that readers won’t identify me when they hear me in public), but if your delicate eyes can stand it, feast on this.


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Hey, Foreign Legion

Someone has said nasty things about our hygene. We will attack ze mother, then run away!

Someone has said nasty things about our hygiene. We will attack ze mother, then run away!

My 85-year-old mother just received an angry call from someone who started out in French, then switched to broken English, demanding to speak to me. Listen, pal, you got a problem, talk to me, don’t mess with my mama – got that?

And your mother wears army boots.


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How desparate are the Global Warmers?

With polls showing an increasing number of people tiring of the scare-mongering tactics of OwlGore and his pals, and stating that they’re more worried about their own economic well being than the sea level of Mauritania, the hysterics are getting well, hysterical. Check out this new ad, depicting a dozen civilian airliners crashing into the World Trade center, sponsored by the wrestling/animal rights group, the WWF.

With luck, the carbon tax bill, already postponed until late fall, can be delayed one more year until the forced conversion of CFL bulbs hits America. The outrage at losing their cheap, effective incandescent lights and being forced to pay $15 for CFLs will be the nail in the coffin for these people. Unless this ad does it before then.

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Hard times demand hard decisions

31 Riverside Lane

31 Riverside Lane

This NoPo spec house has been kicking around the market for a long time and in April it dropped to $1.590 million. Today, after five months with no action, the seller bit the bullet and reduced it again, to $1.580 million. Stop the presses.

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This is your legislature on drugs

Hartford Courant captures Democrats at work

Hartford Courant captures Democrats at work

Connecticut has long boasted the dumbest legislature among the fifty states, but this picture from the Hartford Courant says more than 1,000 words. These are the people who want to raise your taxes so that they, not you, can decide who gets to keep  it, and they’ll do that just as soon as they finish playing solitaire. Morons.


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Expired listings

Nineteen listings expired today, the first of September, and a pile more went dark yesterday. They’ll all come back soon, I expect, but I wonder how many sellers will have learned anything from their experience of not selling the first (or second, or third) time? In my experience, not many.

One forelorn listing that really grabs me is 18 Ferncliff Road in Cos Cob. This is a fantastic house for a couple, although I’m not wild about the rocky, hilly land it sits on. If ever a house need a pool this one does, but I doubt you could add one without incurring a whopping big bill.

But here’s its problem: it’s a two bedroom contemporary, labelled as a three bedroom (“well, you just move this wall”, says the agent) and priced, 685 days ago, at $1.995 million (they laughed when I sat down at the piano and suggested $1.395). It’s gone through two listing contracts with the same broker, undergone a renovated kitchen and seen its price rise, rather than drop, to $2.195. It dropped down to $1.950 before it expired today, so there went the money spent on that kitchen. Tip of the day: when your house isn’t selling, drop its price, don’t sink more money into it.

The owners told me, way back in 2007, that they wanted to sell and move to their condominium in Hawaii (or maybe Jamaica – they seem daring). My advice then, and my advice now, is that if you’re ready to move on, price your house to sell, sell it, and get on with your life. Instead, here they are, two years older, two fewer years to enjoy their retirement, in an over-priced house. Assessed value of this house is $1,412,000. I know where I’d start, if I were them, and wanted to get rid of this place.


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How to shout down Obama supporters and take over meetings

Oops! No, this tape shows an Obama organizer instructing TeddyKare advocates how to do that to us. We regret our mistake.

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It’s come to this

Federal government to police yard sales. Lead paint on an old toy? A crib that was recalled? Try selling those or any other product the feds have banned and you are now in trouble with Washington. Long ago, Ayn Rand warned in Atlas Shruggedthat by making everything illegal, people couldn’t conduct their ordinary lives without specific permission from the government. She was prescient.


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Three already reported today:

23 Hettifred (yawn). Asking $1.1

549  Round Hill Road, asking $5.295. 7 acres, a 1700’s antique, okay land but close to the road and noisy; Must have been beautiful in 1776 – now, not so much. What will it have gone for? I’m guessing in the $3s, but someone may have a higher opinion of the land than I do.

41 Shore Road, Old Greenwich, asking $1.8. Nice old house on a half-acre, probably destined to be replaced. Guess as to selling price? Maybe $1.35 – $1.4?

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