Daily Archives: November 11, 2009

Selling rope to the hangman


Mr Free Markets Lynching Tree 2

Rope provided by SAC

Isn’t this delicious. In searching the web for information about a Mark Adams, the latest SAC employee to be sucked into the inside trading scandal, I came across this link of political contributions made by SAC  folks: Stevie hisself, plus all sorts of dummies living in Greenwich, all of whom made the maximum ($4,600) contribution to – wait for it, Christopher Dodd.

Stevie, you know that the definition of an honest judge is one who, once bought, stays bought. Chris Dodd is not an honest judge and if you couldn’t figure that out well, you may be a financial genius but your street smarts are those of a five-year tot brought up in Greenwich. What the hell’s the matter with you, Boy?



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Creating panics to drive agendas

Global Warmism spurs cap and trade and a Washington-directed economy.

Global banking “failure” spurs takeover of banks and consolidation into a handful of mega – institutions more easily regulated.

Health insurance crisis is used to take over medical care in this country.

Now we have the Democrats using Swine Flu to push for national paid sick.

“The vision for the Department of Labor is good jobs for everyone. And one of the key components of a good job is having workplace flexibility for family and personal caregiving. We believe that work-life balance includes policies such as paid leave, flexible work schedules and teleworking, employee assistance programs, child care, and elder care support.”

Ron Emanuel, Obama’s Chief of Staff, said jut before the inauguration, “a crisis is too valuable to waste.” He not only believes that, he and his gang have spent the past eleven months creating a series of crises to implement their entire socialist agenda, and they’ve been aided and abetted by the main stream media which is either a willing accomplice or just too stupid to realize it’s being manipulated.

The result of all this? Disaster, just the way they want it. Then they’ll have a whole new crisis to exploit.

Emerson Electric Co. Chief Executive Officer David Farr said the U.S. government is hurting manufacturers with regulation and taxes and his company will continue to focus on growth overseas.

“Washington is doing everything in their manpower, capability, to destroy U.S. manufacturing,” Farr said today in Chicago at a Baird Industrial Outlook conference. “Cap and trade, medical reform, labor rules.” . . . Farr, in his presentation, also said manufacturers are being hurt by taxes and regulation. He said companies will create jobs in India and China, “places where people want the products and where the governments welcome you to actually do something.”


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Well this didn’t work as planned

Pfizer has abandoned its plans to build a factory on the infamous Kelo site in New London. In an awful 5-4 decision, our Supreme Court approved the city’s plan to seize private property, raze it and give it to a another private party. Well they did it, and now the party’s been cancelled. Dodd’s going to have to slip in an emergency appropriation for another dozen submarines or New London’s (deeper) in the crapper.

In the late 1990s, New London’s politicians were desperate to fix up their aging and ailing town. The city revved up a private, non-profit entity called the New London Development Corporation, which went to work drawing up a plan of a new New London.

The central planners decided that their white knight would be Pfizer, already operating a plant across the river in Groton, but looking to build a massive research and development facility. So, the politicians picked a 24-acre lot and sold it Pfizer for $10, adding on special tax breaks. Also, state and local governments promised $26 million to clean up contamination on the lot and a nearby junkyard.

But Pfizer executive David Burnett thought New London needed to do some more cleaning. “Pfizer wants a nice place to operate,” the Hartford Courant quoted Burnett in 2001. “We don’t want to be surrounded by tenements.” The old Victorian houses in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood next door did not match Pfizer’s vision – a high-rise hotel or luxury condominiums would be more fitting.

So, the development corporation, empowered with eminent domain by the city government, cleared out the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, condemning the homes of anyone who wouldn’t sell at its appraised value. Kelo, and other residents who didn’t want to move, sued to block the condemnation. They lost, but they fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There, the four liberal justices joined with moderate Anthony Kennedy to rule in favor of the developers — the takings were perfectly legal.

The Court cited the redevelopment plan’s “comprehensive character” and the politicians’ “thorough deliberation.” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “The city has carefully formulated a development plan that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including, but not limited to, new jobs and increased tax revenue.”

The New York Times, long a fan of eminent domain among other big-government tools (after all, the paper had recently scooped up its Times Square property through eminent domain), applauded the ruling as “a setback to the ‘property rights’ movement,” (note the scare quotes) and explained: “New London’s development plan may hurt a few small property owners, who will, in any case, be fully compensated. But many more residents are likely to benefit if the city can shore up its tax base and attract badly needed jobs.”

Phrased that way by a liberal editorial page, and approved by the liberal arm of the Supreme Court, the takings in New London begin to sound like a great progressive victory: government, triumphing over the exploitive notion of “property rights,” helps the many at the expense of a few.

But, New London was really another example of political cronyism and politicians using the might of government in order to benefit well-connected big business at the expense of those poorer and less influential.

Consider that the head of the New London Development Corporation was Claire Gaudiani, who was married to David Burnett, the Pfizer executive who wanted “a nice place to operate.” Pfizer vice president George Milne also sat on the development corporation’s board. In the courtroom, former development consultant Jimmy Hicks called Pfizer the “10,000-pound gorilla” in the planning process, and said “the entire municipal development plan — it was related back to Pfizer.”

So Pfizer got its loot – free land, special tax breaks, and government-funded clean-up of the neighborhood (including clearing out the unsightly neighbors) – and the area prepared for economic “rejuvenation,” as Justice Stevens put it.

It didn’t work out that way.


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Another triumph for socialism

Lights out for Cuba. If one didn’t know better, he might question the intelligence of those among us hellbent on transforming our economy to match Cuba’s. If.

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Prosecutors – bah

Jury too stupid to understand Bear Stearns case, claims prosecution. When I was an arrogant college student (rather than the arrogant college grad I am today), one of my professors patiently explained to me that if readers didn’t follow my reasoning it was my job to fill in the gaps, not blame them for their inability to grasp my meaning. The federal tadpoles running the Bear Stearns case obviously never had the advantage of meeting my professor.


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One retread, one sale

32 cutler

32 Cutler Rd

This is a pretty nice house, as I recall, that’s been for sale, off and on, almost since it was built.From 1998 until August, 2000, it was listed for $2.995 million. A new broker came in and raised its price a million to $3.995 but, shockingly, that bold strategy didn’t work and it’s worked through the ignominy of countless price cuts ever since. Today it’s back again with still another broker and asking $3.250, just slightly under its assessed value of $3.253 million. Again, a nice house on five acres, but Cutler has always been a tough location for sellers, so maybe that assessment is wrong. We’ll see.


8 Tulip

8 Tulip

This Cos Cob house was built in 2001 and put up for sale for $835,000 back in 2007. It finally sold today for $580,000. Assessed value, $475,000. 3 bedrooms, 1,100 square feet, approved above-ground pool site.





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The Board is open and recording contracts

Who knew? Anyway, here are two contracts reported today.

6 Park Avenue

6 Park Avenue OG

This house sold for $950,000 in 2003, $1.275 in 2005 and was listed at $1.149 this time. selling price? I’d guess around that $950. Assessment is $896.

29 Innis

29 Innis, OG

Innis houses are dropping down to where perhaps they should have been all along. This one is assessed at $1.09 or thereabouts, no doubt because the previous sales on this street were over a million ($1.275 in 2006, tops). This one came on at $899 and probably, given its brief time on the market, will be selling close to that.


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Regional Banks in trouble?

A client sent me a report on troubled banks (Patriot is still on the FDIC’s list, in case you’re wondering) with the following comment:

Our analyst [XXXXXXXXX] said that while no regional banks have failed in the
northeast of any significance, he believes that we will see many fail
in the coming months especially in Fairfield County and
he believes that there will FDIC assisted takeovers.

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Psst! Wanna buy an ugly house? Cheap?

25 Cat Rock

25 Cat Rock Road

The Board of Realtors is closed again today – we should never have let the staff join the UAW – so I’m spending the morning prowling through listings for buyers. I’m not vouching for this Cat Rock property but I see that it sold for $2.065 in 2004, is asking for $2.195 today, but – get this – sold for $1.950 in 2000. Interesting that the owner was able to buy it in ’04 for essentially what the seller paid for it four years before.

Did the 2000 buyer overpay? I’d say so, if he gained nothing in four years of boom time, but perhaps his difficulty selling this place should serve as a cautionary tale today. Still, getting a house at 2000 prices seems like a pretty good deal, and the assessment is $1.7 million so this is in the ballpark.

Your call. It’s on five acres, mostly woods, and not so far up Cat Rock that going back to the store for that forgotten container of milk is an expedition, rather than a nuisance.


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The last one worked so well, we can probably hit 20% with this one

Demmerkrats prepare another Stimulus Bill. “This time we’ll get it right,” vows Reid.


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When politics meets health care

Democrats torn asunder over abortion while health care bill founders. Liberals cheered when helmet laws were enacted: “we pay for these people, we have the right to dictate what they do.” The same for seat belt laws, punitive cigarette taxes, soda fines, trans fat bans, etc. So now they are seeing what happens when they turn personal decisions over to their government to decide for them, and it’s not as much fun. Bottom line prediction: you’ll be able to have federally supplied health care or an abortion, but not both.

If you’d like to see the future of health care, consider ethanol: the law mandating its use was enacted as a sop to Iowa corn farmers and in the years since its passage, it has become clear that: it doesn’t clean the air: fuel injection systems don’t need and can’t use an “oxygenator”; it consumes more energy than it saves; it threatens the gains we’ve made in conservation; it adds extra, unnecessary cost to the price of gasoline; and it drives up the cost of food. Congress’ response: expand the program, throw more taxpayer subsidies at it.

Hypo: if  two new medical devises are invented, each of which will save XXX lives but are so expensive that the choice of one will preclude the other, which machine will be adopted by the government: Machine A, which saves 5% more lives but is made in Backwater, Missouri in a freshman Congressman’s district, or Machine B, manufactured (deliberately) in the home district of the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee? There’s your future.


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They lead – let’s not follow

Maine’s health care program, “Dirigo” (I lead) is a failure, according to today’s NY Times.

This is not what the supporters expected. Dirigo, with all the features Cos Cob’s Jimbo Himes and his ilk whooped through the House last week, was supposed to solve the problems of uninsured patients and soaring health care costs and its adoption was cheered:

“A success”.

Business Week thought it was “promising”.

“America’s Agenda”, 2005: “Way to go, Dirigo! Big Win in Maine!”

Progressive States Network was sure the state had only to resist “Big Business” and it would continue its achievements.

Etc. etc. Google “Dirigo success” and see all the same arguments and predictions we’re been hearing nationally for the past few years. It would be discouraging if it weren’t for the eternal optimism of socialized medicine’s profound belief in the ultimate power of the government to fix anything.


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Did your realtor tell you this?

Greenwich’s real estate market sucks.

While real estate agents are still calling 2009 one of the worst years ever in the Greenwich market, sales figures for October are at least ahead of 2008. According to the latest figures from both Shore & Country Properties and Prudential Connecticut Realty, there were 43 single-family home sales in October of this year, as opposed to 27 in 2008. Sales in the first 10 months of the year are down 33 percent from ‘08, versus 40 percent in the first nine months.

“If we get lucky in November and December our market might not end up as bad as many of us might have thought it would be at the beginning of 2009,” said Shore & Country owner Russell Pruner in an e-mail. “No matter what the final numbers show at yearend, 2009 will go down in history as the worst year for Greenwich real estate ever but I think you all already knew that.”

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