Daily Archives: November 1, 2009

None so blind etc.

Connecticut census data are out and liberals spot oppression.

But experts said looking at just the statewide and county-wide data tells only part of the story. Look at the survey’s demographic picture of the city of Bridgeport, and you’ll see a much different side of what it means to live in the Constitution State. For instance, the median household income in Bridgeport was about $41,210 — roughly half of that in Fairfield County. Only about 15 percent of city residents had a bachelor’s degree or higher; only about 73 percent of those aged 25 or older were high school graduates.

The city also had a much higher poverty rate than the state as a whole. Though the percent of Connecticut residents in poverty increased from 7.9 percent in 2000 to 8.5 percent in this most recent survey, it’s still much lower than in Bridgeport, where 20.3 percent of residents live in poverty.

This duality is all too familiar to Barbara Edinberg, acting director of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition. Because Connecticut is one of the wealthiest states in the nation, Edinberg said, many people don’t realize that there are pockets of devastating poverty within the state.”When you look at the statistics for Bridgeport and look at the rest of Fairfield County, it’s so clear that there are two Connecticuts here,” she said. “We are living on the Gold Coast, but the gold hasn’t reached Bridgeport.”

Well my goodness, that just proves we’re all a bunch of greedy racists, doesn’t it? Of course, there’s this information missing from Miss Edinberg’s analysis:

In addition to being rich, white and professional, Fairfield County-ites were generally well-educated. The survey shows that 88 percent of people in the county aged 25 years over had at least graduated from high school, and 43 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher. County residents were slightly better educated than the state at large. About 35 percent of Connecticut resident had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

That dichotomy is particularly obvious when you compare statewide statistics for poverty and median household income, Edinberg said, but there are other telling differences as well. For instance, only about 20 percent of Connecticut residents spoke a language other than English at home, compared with roughly 45 percent in Bridgeport.

The relative braininess of state and county residents didn’t come as a shock to Fairfield University sociology professor Kurt Schlicting. “It seems to me that whenever government and economic gurus speak about Connecticut they say (education) is our big economic advantage,” he said. There’s often a link between an educated populace and prosperity, Schlicting said. Thus it’s no coincidence that, in addition to having one of the highest average household incomes in the country, Connecticut has the fourth highest percentage of residents with a bachelor’s degree (34.8 percent) and the fourth highest percentage of people who have earned an advanced degree (15.1 percent).

So let’s see: if almost half a city’s residents don’t speak English, 85% have no college degree, and 27% are high school dropouts, could their poverty be attributed to anything but racism? Of course not, and you’re a racist for even raising the question.


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Mongo have great pain between ears

Frank Rich’s head exploded when the “mainstream conservative” (his term) lost in Watertown and the messy result is here. By opposing Rich’s choice for the Republicans (and Mr. Rich has undoubtedly never voted for a Republican in his life) we are labelled “Stalinists”. Really? Rich professes to be delighted by our victory because, he says, it means the Republican party is tearing itself apart and setting itself up for utter defeat in 2012. Its possible that the man doesn’t really believe this and is writing in panic but I think not; men like him are so removed from what’s going on outside the NYC-Washington liberal cocktail circuit that they are incapable of grasping what is happening. Do you, Mr. Jones?


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Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown

Chicago property taxes increase 9.6%, Obama’s just 1%. Other Chicago pols also see tiny increases, too.

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You gonna eat that?


When's the mortgage contingency expire?

Here’s a guy after my own heart, satisfied with who he is and what he’s doing. “Vulture not ashamed of picking real estate bones.”

Chicago Tribune reports from Miami:

Buyers are definitely out there, he says, and he and his agents are putting in long days with them. He says 60 percent to 70 percent are investors or second-home buyers; the rest are “primary users” who will occupy them full time.

At the height of the boom, condo buying in Miami was frenzied. Buyers stood in long lines to put down deposits on not-yet-constructed buildings; some hired people to do it for them.

The frenzy is back, sort of, Zalewski says. Most prominent are foreign investors trying to take advantage of the weak dollar. These buyers, he says, are paying premium prices.

“A (bank-owned) property will come to the market on Friday, and on Monday, when the bank starts to collect offers, they might collect 10 or 20, and they can be 10 or 20 percent higher than the asking price,” Zalewski said.

So, is the Miami market headed for another bubble?

“I wouldn’t say we’re not,” he said. “The only difference in today’s Miami condo market, compared to (the market peak) in 2005, is that today’s buyer is all cash, no leverage.

“In 2005, it was all leverage, no cash. But it has the same feel, the same irrational exuberance.”

Zalewski says the pace at his Bal Harbour-based business these days is nonstop. He knows that both within and outside real estate, some are scornful of his specialty.

“There’s a hero and a villain in every story. We don’t have any trouble being the villain in some people’s eyes because we’re the hero in someone else’s. It just depends on which side of the table you’re sitting on at the closing,” he says.

“We’re going to do what we do as long as we’re doing everything legally and ethically. We’re not being charlatans.

“Vultures haven’t been put on Earth without a good reason.”

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Why (I hope) buyers agents won’t go the way of buggy whips

Article here on what a listing may show and what the reality is. A listing that claims 3 bedrooms, for instance, may be counting a basement cubby hole – perfect for Filipino maids, in the minds of some Greenwich homeowners, but not a real bedroom. Similarly, a house on the water may not be able to be expanded because of coastal regulations, the lot next door may be the planned-for site of the Osama School for Terrorist Boys, etc.

None of which is necessarily discoverable via Zillow, Google or your Manhattan friends who weekend in Greenwich. So I’m all for the Internet and its easy dissemination of information but I’m not losing sleep over being put out of business. Yet. By the time the Japanese perfect those cute robots they’ve been working on, I hope Walt and I have retired to the Rockies.


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Walter Noel, Obama, now an arsonist – Harvard Law alumni all

Harvard Law grads aren’t exactly covering themselves in glory these days, so perhaps this latest addition to the ranks of the stupid will pass unnoticed: drunken Harvard lawyer confesses to burning down 9/11 memorial in NYC.


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Two more years of residential foreclosures?

That’s what Housing Wire predicts.

“You’re moving from Phoenix to Prescott, you’re moving from Las Vegas to Reno,” Rick Sharga, the vice president of marketing at RealtyTrac, told HousingWire. “You are seeing that migration into secondary markets. You’re also seeing a migration into formerly stable areas and areas that have been wracked by unemployment.”

Cities in California, Florida and Nevada accounted for the 10 highest foreclosure rates in Q309 among metro areas with more than 200,000 people. However, five of those cities reported decreasing foreclosure activity from Q308, offset by many other markets reporting spikes in foreclosures, according to the report.

Sharga sees the foreclosure crisis coming in three waves, and with this new data, the market is showing signs of the second one.

“That first wave of foreclosures cratered the economy, which created job losses, which created the second wave. Now, we’re seeing prime rate loans affected by unemployment. And the third wave will be really a repeat of wave one, except this time we’re going to see a switch of Option ARM and Alt-A loans out for the subprime loans. It will probably be as big but somewhat shorter lived,” Sharga said.

Sharga said that he expects a peak in foreclosures in 2010, only a marginal improvement in 2011 and a return to normal monthly foreclosure activity sometime in 2012.

“Rising unemployment and a new variety of mortgage resets continued to gradually shift the nation’s foreclosure epicenters in the third quarter away from the hot spots of the last two years and toward some metro areas that had avoided the brunt of the first foreclosure wave,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “While toxic subprime mortgages drove much of that first wave of foreclosures, high unemployment and exotic Alt-A Option ARMs are spreading the foreclosure flood to more metro areas in 2009.”

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Bottom story of the day from Greenwich Time

No injuries in basement fire. Wow! Tomorrow, “Cathy Lee did not dine at Valbella’s last night”. Well, if Scusie’s any judge, I guess that would be news.

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Campaign signs and free speech

While some poor sap sits in the pokey, arrested for lifting political signs from the Lake Avenue rotary Friday night, I’ve been wondering whether he’s committed any crime at all. The signs themselves are private property and, posted on someone’s front yard, don’t lose that status. But what if private property is left on  public land? The DOT routinely confiscates signs planted on state right of ways, so what’s to stop a citizen from doing the same thing?

I see a couple of arguments available to this incarcerated poacher. One might be abandonment; if you leave your chattel on public land, have you abandoned all claims to title? Stronger, perhaps, is the same free speech rights the posters claim: you put up your “Farricker for Selectman” sign as an act of political speech, I remove it with the same intention. What’s the difference?

I’d put this to the test but, at least right now, I’m busy with other things.


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Trial lawyers and teachers can relax – the man’s got their back

Health care reform isn’t so important to Obama and the Demmerkrats that they’d forget about the folks what brung ’em to the dance. Trial lawyers, the dinner bell is sounding.

The health care bill recently unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi is over 1,900 pages for a reason. It is much easier to dispense goodies to favored interest groups if they are surrounded by a lot of legislative legalese. For example, check out this juicy morsel to the trial lawyers (page 1431-1433 of the bill):Section 2531, entitled “Medical Liability Alternatives,” establishes an incentive program for states to adopt and implement alternatives to medical liability litigation. [But]…… a state is not eligible for the incentive payments if that state puts a law on the books that limits attorneys’ fees or imposes caps on damages.

Come to think of it, maybe we should refer to our new president as “Got Your Back Obama”


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Maybe home sellers should try this

It’s post Halloween, so the retail price slashing begins!


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