Daily Archives: December 22, 2009

Let’s try this in Hartford for the next two years and see if we miss them

Chicago shuts down to save cash.

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Is the Cornhusker Discount illegal?

Seven States Attorney Generals, all Republican, are taking a look at it. Good for them. Richard Blumenthal was unavailable for comment.

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We’re all going to Hell

Do you know me?

Google.news has a feature “most popular search” and, right now, the heretofore-unknown and now-dead actress Brittany (?) holds top spot. Turns out she last ate Gatorade and crackers. Global warming, health care, African drought and meteors barely missing earth all missed the cut.

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And speaking of Nancy Boys, Obama was taken in the rear by that Chinaman

Or so says the British Guardian. Maybe Hillary was right: maybe it is 2:00 A.M., and we have no one to answer the phone.

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Yale bans F. Scott Fitzgerald

Boohla boohla, little man

Following up on the post below, Yale banned a Tee shirt that, quoting Fitzgerald, labelled Harvard men as sissies. “Panty waists”, “Nancy Boys”, “Loose in the loafers” or, God forbid, “Fudge Packers” I understand – but sissies? Oooh, what a tough world these children are going to encounter.

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Are the communists really behind the anti-Christmas movement?

That’s kinda, sorta, what the Bovina Bloviator implies here.

It doesn’t come as a great surprise to learn, via Matt Barber atonenewsnow.com, that the impetus behind the secularization of Christmas, e.g. “Happy Holidays” and the banishment of crèches from the public square, is communistic. None other than the late Ronald Reagan provides an earlier example.
…As part of an effort to suppress the Gospel message and the spread of Christianity in Soviet Russia, Communist leaders secularized a favorite Ukrainian Christmas carol, “Nova Radist Stala” (Joyous News Has Come to Us).

One verse originally began: “The joyous news has come which never was before. Over a cave above a manger a bright star has lit the world, where Jesus was born from a virgin maiden….”

[snip]

The new version went: “The joyous news has come which never was before, a red star with five tails has brightly lit the world.” A second rewrite went further: “The joyous news has come which never was before. Long-awaited star of freedom lit the skies in October [the month of the Revolution].” The rewrite continued: “Where formerly lived the kings and had the roots their nobles, there today with simple folks, Lenin’s glory hovers.”
Barber, like all Christians, is confident the gates of hell shall not prevail against Christ’s Church.
And although, despite the best efforts of Communists abroad and ACLU-types here at home, we’re nonetheless assured in Scripture that, “Every knee will bow…and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10-11). I still think that a politically correct greeting of “Happy Holidays” – well-meaning as it may be – nonetheless deserves a hearty “Merry Christmas” in return.

Don’t you?
Yep, I do.

As I was reading the Bloviator’s piece, I was also listening to, I found out, Bob Dylan’s “Must be Santa” on WFUV – from the once great, now pathetic musician’s “Christmas Album”. It’s a reworking of a Mitch Miller tune, done in a klezmer style, and truly hideous. And why was my favorite radio station, a branch of Jesuit Fordham University, playing such dreck? Because, like all liberal institutions, it has lost the ability to take a position, any position at all, that might mark it as “exclusive”. As I understand the matter, you can’t be a Christian and also admit that Mohammed had a point, or that the Jews were right to reject the Messiah. I happen not to be a Christian – I lack the faith in the incarnation – but I do believe in standing up for my beliefs and I admire others who do the same. Our modern western society has completely given up that ideal, with the result that we wish each other “season’s greetings”, ban all religious music from our public life and walk in fear of offending anyone, anyone at all. A quote attributed to Alexander Hamilton: “He who stands for nothing will fall for anything” sums up my own belief; and we seem to be intent on raising a generation that stands for nothing.

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Alright, this is beyond the pale

"Jesus, I've gotta go back to work"

Gawker reveals the worst abuse of Wall Street workers I can think of, and the perpetrator is Goldman Sachs. Good gravy.

Workers at Goldman Sachs’ buildings across New York and New Jersey are grumbling about a conspiracy. A conspiracy by the company to squeeze profit even from its own staff.

According to a mole, Goldman apparently stocks the cheapest, worst generic coffee imaginable in its staff kitchens – despite protests from the caffeine-deficient. “It’s beyond horrible,” explained our source. “You work a lot of hours so you have to go down to the cafeteria and spend money on Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.” There is talk within the ranks that this is a ploy to boost cafeteria takings, as any imprecations to improve the standard of free coffee fall on deaf ears.

This could, of course, be a complete accident. Or Lloyd Blankfein himself might be overseeing a monetizing of employee caffeine addiction. In either case — if even your own employees are accusing you of being a petty, money-sucking greedmachine, it might be time to change something.

If Lloyd Blankfein drinks coffee himself  – and he probably restricts himself to sucking pond scum – what do you bet that cheap, generic crap is not served in his executive dining room?

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Is it time to return the tip jar to InstaPundit?

I m a huge fan of Professor Glenn Reynolds and his Instapundit.com site. I discovered his blog in the dark days of post- 9/11, just a month after he started up, and have logged on every day, many times a day, since then for his links to the worlds of libertarian philosophy, legal analysis, digital photography, 2nd Amendment issues and everything else that catches his brilliant mind. It was his eclecticism, in fact, that encouraged me to post whatever the hell caught my own interest: as I learned from the professor, if a reader isn’t interested in a particular subset of a blogger’s world, he or she can always just move on.

But recently, InstaPundit has struck a deal with Amazon to plug its products. Fully disclosed, so there’s no subterfuge involved, but those plugs are coming with increasing frequency – two, three times a day, and even more. I realize that law professors don’t make what they might make in the private sector and bloggers make even less (okay, zero), but these are becoming intrusive, at least to my eyes, and annoying. I’d prefer that Reynolds return to posting his tip jar  so I can toss an occasional ten or fifteen bucks his way, rather than have to wade through Amazon’s latest, greatest bargains every hour.

Just saying.

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Putting a bright face on it

Greenwich Time: “Democrats pass two bills to cut deficits”. Uh huh. One bill was to raise taxes on Fairfield County, the other was to restore $84 million in cuts Governor Rell made. That still leaves a $100+ million  deficit which, Democrats say,” the Governor has to make because we can’t.” Millions for taxes on Fairfield County, not one penny in spending cuts. Patriots at work.

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Warmists: kill your dog with your SUV

Golden Retriever meets her fate on Nantucket

Warmists claim dogs worse carbon emitters than SUVs. That should play well around here.

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Blogging and the NAR

The monopolist doesn’t like it, as I have found out. Pending a decision whether I want to sue my local organization (and I probably don’t – I’m busy) I think I have to maintain silence on what was just dropped in my mail slot last week, but here’s what’s happening on the national front. What a bunch of bullshit – you can hear the NAR sweating. And it’s worse than the blogger below describes: I have been convicted and fined for publishing material “that might be considered misleading”. That’s such a crock of s**t that I really should sue these stupid people but the fine is “suspended” pending my future good behavior and, since I don’t intend to change that behavior, I’m bound to have an opportunity to litigate the issue. In the meantime, I want to pursue the commission denied me by the ethical, non-blogging realtor who screwed me last week. Money first.

In case you haven’t heard, the National Association of Realtors® made a big change during their mid-year meeting last week. If any of you are bloggers or participate on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn…you’ve got to read this.

Apparently, Realtors are now responsible for not only what they say, but what others say/comment on their social media sites about other Realtors. Here is the wording from a Special Report on NAR’s site this week:

False and misleading statements. Standard of Practice 15-2 was amended and a new Standard of Practice was approved to strengthen members’ obligations to refrain from making false or misleading statements about competitors,including in use of social media tools.

The new amendment includes the duty to publish a clarification about, or to remove statements made by, others on electronic media the REALTOR® controls once the REALTOR® knows the statement is false or misleading. For example, if you’re publishing a blog and someone posts a false or misleading comment about a fellow REALTOR® on it, it’s your duty to remove the post or publish a clarification when you become aware of it.

Separately, the board approved a change to the NAR Bylaws, imposing the same duties on associations and MLSs as on members to not make false or misleading statements against competitors, competitors’ business practices, or competitors’ companies.

Keep in mind, a Standard of Practice is an interpretation of the actual Articles. See the wording of the new Code of Ethics. Still – Yikes!

Just when you thought the government had too much legislation, another ‘organization’ (don’t want to mislead by using any real names) feels they need to tell everyone else what they can and can’t say. Ever heard of the First Amendment?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I agree with a Realtor saying false or misleading comments that essentially misrepresents another Realtor. BUT, what about other people on your blog, Facebook or Twitter sites leaving comments that may be questionable?

Think about all of the friends you have on Facebook…what about all of the people you follow on Twitter. Do you really look at all of the comments?

In the past, I’ve talked to Metro Brokers’ agents about their online brand and interacting with friends/followers as well as making it a point to not ‘auto-follow’ people on social media sites. This new change to the NAR Code of Ethics really helps drive the point home.

A Few More Things to Consider:

  • It appears you should be okay as long as you remove the negative statement and/or post/publish a clarification when you become aware of it.
  • How do you know if a statement about a Realtor from another person is false or misleading? Are you going to need to play the role of investigator too?
  • Ron Hahn brought up a good point on his blog too. Where does the burden of proof lie? Are you required to prove the statement is true or must the other party prove the statement on your site is false?

Tips to Stay in NAR’s Good Graces:

  • Check your replies on Twitter to ensure they don’t defame a fellow Realtor.
  • Don’t follow people on Twitter who use the privacy feature to block you from seeing their tweets. You want to see what they’re saying before you follow them unless you really trust them.
  • Review comments from others on Facebook and LinkedIn to ensure Realtors are not being slammed.
  • If you have a blog and moderate the comments, you may want to delete questionable comments or edit them (as long as the revision is not misleading). If you don’t moderate, keep your eyes open for the ones that may get you in hot water and consider deleting.
  • Include a disclaimer at the bottom of each post on your blog.

Weigh in with your thoughts…just don’t use any names of fellow Realtors. :)

  • Remember what your parents taught you…if you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all.
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    Some guys just don’t get it

    Here’s a proposal to save the world from global warming for $250 million. Dumb, dumb, dumb. There’s no room in this plan for Wall Street to get rich trading carbon credits, African thieves to sweeten their Swiss bank accounts, Al Gore to win another prize (and get rich with his friends – see Wall Street, supra) or for a million busybodies to tell the rest of us what to do achieve heaven on earth. What an idiot!

    Nathan Myhrvold is a former technology officer for Microsoft who has found his own company, Intellectual Ventures, which is involved in a number of technology development programs, including new forms of energy generation. Nathan Myhrvold also thinks that he has found a cheap and reliable way to solve global warming, which does not involve upending and perhaps destroying the world’s economy. The global warming solution proposed by Nathan

    Myhvold involves  Nathan Myhrvold’s Anti Global Warming Scheme running a hose up to the stratosphere with balloons and using that hose to pump out enough sulfur particles to dim the sun’s heat just enough to counteract the effects of global warming. The estimated cost would be about two hundred and fifty million dollars.Nathan Myhrvold suggests that volcanoes and other natural processes already pump out sulfur into the stratosphere and that his scheme, if adopted, would increase that amount by only one percent. Nathan Myhrvold therefore thinks that there would not be any unintended consequences (like starting a new ice age.)

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    3rd Quarter “weaker than first thought”

    NYT

    “Madam, I’m Adam”? No, that was the first sentence, and coming from a man, it probably preceded the first thought. In any event,  the Wall Street fellas think we’re in for boon times, and they’ve gone on a buying spree today based on news that used home sales are up. Guess they don’t believe this guy:

    The housing sector also showed signs of stability on Tuesday, with an unexpected surge in existing home sales. Sales climbed 7.4 percent in November as Americans took advantage of a tax credit for first-time home buyers, rising to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.54 million, up from 6.09 million in October.

    Still, economists expect the momentum from the tax credit, which offered up to $8,000 to home buyers, to taper off, leading to a drop-off in sales in December.

    “It’s a really good number, but we’re going to see really bad, ugly numbers soon,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight, pointing to signs that mortgage applications for December purchases were down. “The housing market is still really weak.”

    Prices were essentially flat from October, with the median sales price at $172,600, but they were down 4.3 percent from a year ago.

    UPDATE: And 70% of what “growth” there was came from the government’s phony money “cash for clunkers” program. That’s artificial respiration, not economic activity.

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    Politco: Dodd primes pump for his re-election

    By the hundreds of millions of dollars. Think of the ego of this man, who believes he is justified in taking huge sums of money from taxpayers in other states so that he can be re-elected. Only he could think he’s that important – I sure don’t.

    Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is using every last bit of clout he has accumulated during three decades in the Senate, calling in favors, winning sweetheart deals and steering hundreds of millions of dollars to his home state.He’s one of the most politically vulnerable Democratic senators, and he’s not being shy about using his influence to insert into 2010 spending bills dozens of earmarks for senior citizen centers, low-income heating assistance, education programs, new buses and highway funds in Connecticut.

    Dodd is pushing the Pentagon to buy more Connecticut-built aircraft engines, and he’s pressing for more federal dollars for high-speed rail in the Nutmeg State.

    And his earmark largesse doesn’t include a $100 million provision he anonymously stuck into the Senate Democratic health care package, money that Dodd wants to go to the University of Connecticut’s medical center.

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    This is probably not good news for Cummings & Lockwood

    No, not the fact that the Wall Street Journal misspelled its name today as  “Cummin & Lockwood”, but because Bruce G. Wood joined the firm as a principal just in time to embroil them in a law suit from Fortress Group.

    Fortress alleges that before buying one of the notes Mr. Dreier was arranging to sell, it wanted an independent legal opinion from an “internationally recognized law firm” on the transaction.

    Mr. Dreier proposed Dechert, a law firm with 19 offices and nearly 900 attorneys.

    Dechert in a legal opinion letter assured Fortress that one transaction—a $50 million loan Fortress would make to property owner Solow Realty & Development Co.—was legitimate, the suit says. The letter said Dechert represented Solow in the deal, the suit alleges.

    “In fact, the loan was an utter sham, the proceeds of which Dreier misappropriated for his own use,” says the complaint, which was filed by Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP.

    Dechert never confirmed its relationship with Solow with a telephone call or email to anyone at Solow, the lawsuit alleges. The opinion letter also stated that the loan documents had been “duly executed and delivered” by Solow, when they were actually forged by Dreier, the suit says.

    Instead, Dechert allegedly relied on Mr. Dreier’s assurances that the transaction was legitimate, Fortress alleges.

    Had Dechert not issued its legal opinion, Fortress wouldn’t have entered into the loan transaction, the complaint says.

    Bruce Wood, the Dechert partner who worked on the assignment, left Dechert shortly after Mr. Dreier’s arrest, according to the complaint. He is now a partner at Cummins & Lockwood in Stamford, Conn.

    Mr. Wood on Monday declined to comment. Jonathan Mills, chairman at Cummins & Lockwood, declined to comment.

    I’m not sure how you can vouch for forged loan documents and sham corporate authorizations, as Mr. Woods is alleged to have done but brother, he’s got some ‘splaining to do.

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    Save the world but not in my back yard

    NYT: Senator Feinstein kills 13 solar, wind energy projects in her home state.

    But before the bill to create two new Mojave national monuments has even had its first hearing, the California Democrat has largely achieved her aim. Regardless of the legislation’s fate, her opposition means that few if any power plants are likely to be built in the monument area, a complication in California’s effort to achieve its aggressive goals for renewable energy.

    Developers of the projects have already postponed several proposals or abandoned them entirely. The California agency charged with planning a renewable energy transmission grid has rerouted proposed power lines to avoid the monument.

    The point here is not (just) the whack job’s hypocrisy, but what it says about her belief in this “crisis” she’s so hot about. Like flying jets to Bali and erecting mansions in Tennessee, knocking off green energy alternatives – Teddy Kennedy and the windmills, anyone? – is more revealing than politicians’ and movie stars’ public utterances. They don’t believe this crap any more than I do. But they lust after the power to control your lives.

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    Now they tell us: ObamaKare’s “cost cuts” are nothing but financial gimmicks

    Who knew? Well, everybody, but the left is only now admitting it.

    But while the President’s most ardent supporters are trying to explain to each other why the benefits of the bill do not start until 2014, they are openly admitting that Obama’s deficit busting claims are complete fiction:

    The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: “The delay is a budget trick, an attempt to lower the 10-year cost of the bill at the expense of the very people we’re trying to help.”

    Mother Jones‘ Kevin Drum: “I’m pretty sure the 2014 date is mostly due to budget finagling. This stuff can’t be done overnight, but I’ll bet most of it could be implemented within 12 months, and it could certainly be implemented within 24.”

    Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall: “My impression is that some of the delays are there because it makes the budgetary accounting work better in terms of deficit neutrality. And I know the Dems would likely lose critical support without being able to show that the overall bill actually lowers the deficit. But if that’s the main reason, I suspect the legislative authors may be too clever by half since they may be slitting the bill’s and perhaps their own throats in the process.”

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