Daily Archives: February 3, 2010

Here’s a liberal I agree with

White House is leaking real time news about Captain Underpant’s cooperation to fend off conservative’s attacks. This is crazy. It seems as though law enforcement – not Obama or his administration – flubbed the initial arrest and interrogation of the bomber, but the FBI recovered the ball from the locals, and got the terrorist talking again. That’s great work, but surely we civilians shouldn’t know about it, even if my fellow conservatives are ripping the administration for doing a bad job.

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Teachers Union is the largest supporter of the Democrat party

Alan Rosenfeld, pervert

NYC typing teacher collects $100,000 a year to sit in the “rubber room” while managing his law career and real estate portfolio.

A DOE hearing officer gave him a slap on the wrist — a week off without pay — for “conduct unbecoming a teacher.” He was cleared to return to teaching.

Instead, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has kept the scruffy 64-year-old in a Brooklyn rubber room, deeming him too dangerous to be near kids, officials said.

So Rosenfeld simply collects his $100,049 salary — top scale for teachers — plus full health benefits and the promise of a fat pension, about $82,000 a year if he were to retire today.

His pension will grow by $1,700 each year he remains. He could have retired at age 62, but he stays.

He has also accumulated about 435 unused sick days — and will get paid for half of them when he retires.

The DOE can’t fire him.

“We have to abide by the union contract,” spokeswoman Ann Forte said.

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Good Lord, Dolly Parton suicide bombers!

Alu akbar, baby

Whacky Paki plastic surgeons adding bombs to suicide girls’ breast implants.

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The hell with real estate, I’m going back to lawyering

Department of Justice looking to hire retarded and mentally-ill lawyers. Bingo, twice!

UPDATE: Here’s the application. I’ll be back in a second with the relevant text.

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY / REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION: The U.S. Department of Justice is an Equal Opportunity/Reasonable Accommodation Employer, and encourages qualified applicants from all backgrounds to apply. Except where otherwise provided by law, there will be no discrimination for or against an applicant because of color, race, religion, national origin, politics, marital status, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, or on the basis of personal favoritism. The Department of Justice welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities. The Department is firmly committed to satisfying its affirmative obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to ensure that persons with disabilities have every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit within the Department of Justice. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Civil Rights Division’s Reasonable Accommodations Coordinator, Thomas Skeeter, at 202-616-9974. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.


The Civil Rights Division encourages qualified applicants with targeted disabilities to apply. Targeted disabilities are deafness, blindness, missing extremities, partial or complete paralysis, convulsive disorder, mental retardation, mental illness, severe distortion of limbs and/or spine. Applicants who meet the qualification requirements and are able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation are encouraged to identify targeted disabilities in response to the questions in the Avue application system seeking that information.

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Uh oh, the PC Police are up and about and the Olympics haven’t even started

I have weak ankles - so what?

Russian ice dancers assailed for pretend Aborigine outfits.

The faux tribal designs on the costumes and the skaters’ faces “are no more authentic or Aboriginal than the shiploads of cheap Aboriginal tourist trinkets that pour into our country from overseas,” Bev Manton, chairwoman of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, wrote last month in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Clearly, the costumes leapfrogged tribute into caricature. The island evoked by the Russians’ routine was not so much Australia as Gilligan’s Island.

“Accurate or not, you have to be sensitive to the people you are representing,” said Jef Billings, a renowned designer of skating costumes. “At the turn of the last century, minstrel shows were acceptable. Times have changed.”

Of course, if propriety and taste were required in ice dancing, it would have been tossed from the Olympics years ago. Under the old six-point scoring system, results were suspected to be decided beforehand, like Soviet elections. And costumes? Please. At the 1992 Winter Games, Maia Usova and Aleksandr Zhulin of Russia won the bronze medal dressed as dinner mints.

At the recent United States championships, Brent Bommentre skated a folk dance to a purported Afro-Brazilian theme.. Except he wore a scarf/headpiece that gave the impression Steven Van Zandt had left the E Street Band to star in a Tarzan movie.

Even the cleverest ice dancing costumes can be inscrutable. Michael Janofsky wrote in the Times in 1991 that Americans Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow had dressed as checkered flags in the national championships. Then he called the copy desk to say, no, they were dressed as race cars. A long pause followed before Janofsky said into the phone, “Trust me on this.”

Word is now spreading that the couple might alter their Olympic costumes, so the focus will be on skating, not on cultural larceny. (To head off controversy, Johnny Weir has agreed to remove a patch of fox fur from his Olympic costume after protests from animal rights activists.)

“I make no comment,” Linichuk said. When it was suggested a costume change could defuse the controversy, she said, “Let me think.”

Some, though, believe the criticism is as over the top as the costumes.

“To make a big stink, this is ice skating for Chrissakes,” said Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic champion.

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Scott Brown wants to be sworn in as Senator

Someone – could it be a Democrat? – is dragging his feet down in Washington. There is a precedent for a quick assumption of office: Ted Kennedy, also from Massachusetts, was sworn in two days after his own election. But that was then, this is now.

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News? What news?

I’m not ignoring real estate news today, there just is no news. No contracts, sales or new listings of note. Check back tomorrow.

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This time it will be different

That ultimate teen marketer, Abercrombie & Fitch, is being hammered as its shopping base deserts it.

By ELIZABETH HOLMES

Abercrombie & Fitch, the one-time sales and fashion star of teen retailing, has yet to show signs of recovery, raising questions about its grip on teen style.The New Albany, Ohio, company, seller of $40 T-shirts and $90 jeans, was among the worst performers during the holiday season, even with uncharacteristically high levels of discounting. The retailer posted a 19% decline in December sales at stores open at least a year, with its lowest-priced brand, Hollister, down 25% in December from a year earlier.

Retail analysts said Abercrombie’s troubles go beyond pricing to its once unerring sense of style, a problem that could be trickier to fix. The logo T-shirt and torn jeans ensemble that Abercrombie made the unofficial school uniform a decade ago has played out, said Kimberly Greenberger, a retail analyst withCitigroup Inc. who tours malls every two weeks to assess trends. That misstep has created an opening for lower-priced competitors such as Aeropostale Inc. andAmerican Eagle Outfitters Inc., which reported December sales gains of 10% and 7%, respectively.

“The look is stale,” Ms. Greenberger said. “They need to figure out what the next hot trend is and push that, because that’s the only way out of this downward spiral.”

Twenty years or so ago when LaCoste was flying high, I read about a very smart trader who said that, when she discovered that their customer base was 70% teenaged- girls, she shorted the company, reasoning that nothing was as fickle as a teenager’s taste. Teenagers haven’t changed but it seems a new generation of traders has forgotten that fact.

UPDATE: The photo above, gruesome enough, is a real shot of a veterinarian’s arm removed by the croc. It got sewn back on.

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We’re in the best of hands

American Indians team up with South Carolinian scam artists at taxpayer’s expense. Mike Metter provides sponges? I called into NPR this morning, pointing out that Greenwich was paying 14% of the entire state’s income tax and was basically told, “why not?” The point is, we the productive don’t need these people. Thidwick awake!

NAPA – The corporate shareholders live in tribal villages in the outback of western Alaska.

The CEO is in South Carolina, where his prior multimillion-dollar venture – a dot-com for sail boaters – collapsed in bankruptcy.

But the main action today is in Napa, where, without competitive bidding, this unusual construction company won a $54 million federal contract to build a new railroad bridge and other structures for the famed Napa Valley Wine Train tourist attraction.

This is the world of Anchorage-based Suulutaaq Inc. Because the company was founded by Alaska natives, it enjoys special access to federal contracts.

That’s how it obtained one of the biggest federal stimulus contracts in California – a key segment of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ flood-control project on the Napa River.

Army and Napa city officials say they’re pleased with Suulutaaq’s work on what they describe as an environmentally friendly project to curtail devastating winter flooding. It’s an ideal stimulus project, says Napa Mayor Jill Techel: “shovel-ready, green, and it provides jobs.”

But in December, U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., issued a report listing the Wine Train among 100 stimulus projects that they derided as “silly and shortsighted” and a waste of money.

The lawmakers also suggested the project wasn’t doing much for the economy. According to a report submitted by Suulutaaq late last year, the $54 million project had so far created 12 jobs. Officials involved with the project say that more recently roughly 40 workers have been on the scene, and they hope the project will ultimately create up to 200 jobs.

A Walnut Creek construction executive whose firm built a prior phase of the flood-control project said the government likely overspent by millions when it negotiated a contract with Suulutaaq rather than seeking competitive bids.

Meanwhile, investors aggrieved over the bankruptcy of the South Carolina dot-com called Sailnet said they were surprised to learn of former CEO Samuel Boyle’s new job as CEO of Suulutaaq. Boyle did not mention having construction experience or ties to Alaska tribes, they told California Watch. Some said Boyle’s involvement in Suulutaaq boded ill for the Alaska firm.

“My comment to anybody connected to this thing – if Sam Boyle is involved, watch out,” said Arizona venture capitalist Kent Mueller, who said he lost more than $1 million in Sailnet. Based on that experience, “I would not invest a nickel with this guy,” Mueller said.

Suulutaaq officials declined to be interviewed. In response to written questions, the company issued a statement saying that taxpayers were getting a “fair and reasonable” price on the project. The statement said that although Boyle lacked “specific construction experience,” he had “invaluable business experience” to make the Napa project a success.

But the company declined to answer most questions about the project, saying the information was confidential. It rebuffed a query about whether Suulutaaq employed lobbyists by asserting that the question “has potential undertones of a race-based presumption.”

Boyle also declined to be interviewed. In a statement, he wrote that the dot-com’s bankruptcy was “a tragedy” for which he was not responsible because he had left the company by the time it occurred.

Emerging players

Suulutaaq is one of dozens of Alaska Native corporations that have emerged as players in federal contracting via measures crafted in the 1980s and 1990s by former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, a powerful lawmaker whose career ended with a contracting scandal.

For decades, the U.S. Small Business Administration has run a preferential contracting program to aid disadvantaged businesses. Qualifying firms can get federal contracts worth up to $5.5 million by negotiation, rather than competitive bidding.

The Stevens measures gave corporations that were set up by Alaska Natives special access to the program – with no cap on the size of contracts they can obtain. The share of federal contracts going toward Alaska Native corporations has grown rapidly. It was $508 million in 2000 and $5.2 billion in 2008, records show.

Advocates say the program has provided crucial economic development for impoverished Alaskan tribes. It’s a way of redressing centuries of grievous wrongs against them, they say.

But critics have complained that the no-bid contracts provide relatively few jobs and little investment income to the tribes while costing taxpayers a fortune.

“Alaska Native corporations don’t have to prove that they’re socially or economically disadvantaged,” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said at a 2009 hearing. “They don’t have to be small businesses. And they can receive no-bid contracts worth billions of dollars.”

The companies employ few Alaska natives and “rely heavily on non-native managers,” McCaskill claimed. Thus the firms create relatively few jobs for the people they are supposed to benefit, she argued.

McCaskill also contended that some of the companies “may also be passing through work to their subcontractors.” In those cases, the companies were collecting a profit simply because they had special access to federal contracts, not because they were performing actual work, she said.

McCaskill proposed putting a cap on the no-bid contracts, but the measure stalled in the face of intense lobbying by tribal corporations.

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One more shot at Greenwich’s Sponge Bob Kid and then I’ll quit

Until further developments anyway. Here’s Roddy Boyd’s Slate piece from September 2009 that set this off. Its 5 pages, all worth reading, but I especially love this part:

If someone really is buying all of these sponges abroad—despite a marketing effort that is 100 percent focused on the American consumer—the company is stretching out their payment cycle way past the standard 30-day, or even 90-day, cycle. Spongetech is not General Dynamics (GD) or Intel (INTC), so it can’t access overnight funding markets when its customers’ checks are caught in the mail.

I called and e-mailed the company and its public relations firms—Lippert Heilshorn, which resigned from the account late last week, and the Dilenschneider Group—and heard back only from Dilenschneider’s Andrew Osterland. Via e-mail, he said Spongetech’s lawyers retained his firm only to help with one press release and to address the concerns raised in the New York Post stories. An e-mail was also sent to Steven Moskowitz, the company’s CFO, but no substantive reply has been received.

So, since I live near Spongetech CEO Michael Metter, I stopped by his lovely Greenwich, Conn. house on Saturday afternoon for an impromptu chat. A gruff, bald fiftysomething man came to the door and insisted that Michael Metter was not home. When I showed him a picture of Michael Metter I had printed from the Internet and pointed out that he looked almost identical, he became irritated. He refused to answer questions about the SEC investigation, the Post articles, or Michael Metter’s background as the head of a penny-stock boiler room, insisting that “Metter is not going to do any interviews.”

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Got guns?

We're from the government and we're here to help

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

IRS buying shotguns

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WGCH and Mr. Metter

A reader thoughtfully points out that non-financial-scandal types might not be acquainted with our local Sponge Bob Kid and his penny stock. I did link to some of that information, but here (some of) it is again: (Note: stock is down to below a nickel since this article appeared)

The company has been making announcements lately that are quite beyond our comprehension. First they announced a television spot that will be viewed by 14 million homes. Then something about being featured in over 900 environmentally friendly magazines. In May, they announcied they received large orders to be shipped later in the year. One order was for $1.5 million and another for $3 million.

What is beyond our comprehension about these announcements is how do they intend to accomplish any of these things when they have no money? According to their latest SEC filing this company has $3,477 (three thousand four hundred seventy seven) dollars in the bank. That doesn’t even pay a month’s rent in a manhattan office.

They originally had incorporated under the name Romantic Scents, Inc. They have had several name changes and business model changes as well. In their 8 years of operations they have never made so much as a dime in profits, and have accumulated a deficit of approximately 3.4 million dollars.

Yet in spite of their operating inefficiencies management finds it perfectly appropriate to pay themselves salaries that exceed the entire revenues of the company. During their Fiscal year 2005, the company’s entire revenue was $1,051 (one thousand fifty one)/ Yet, the three top directors recieved salaries of over $490,000 each.

What is even more odd is that their salaries were in Common Stock that they valued at $0.15. When you receive salary in stock you have a tax liability that you must pay. We estimate the officers will owe $250,000 each yet have not received any actual money as compensation. (I will not be submitting my resume to work as an exec at this company.)

The company has 37 million shares outstanding which puts the total valuation market valuation with the stock at $0.19 about 7.5 million. This valuation is not too high. But given their historical lack of a business, current lack of assets, and lack of taste with their latest video it still looks high to us.

They have not announced any new financings. Quite frankly, we cannot imagine how a company with $297,000 in currently due liabilities and $3,000 in the bank can possibly finance these alleged large orders.

Further, if they did receive orders of the magnitude that they claimed in their recent press releases, that is a material event. An event as such requires a form 8-k to be filed with SEC. As yet the company has not done so.

As much as we enjoyed the video and hot press releases coming out of this company we cannot give any investor who wants to buy this stock at $0.19 our blessing.

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Connecticut: 55,000 active state employees, 44,000 on the retirement payroll

Billions and billions owed and unfunded, per NPR’s “Where We Live”. This is the liberal media, in case you wondered. We are so screwed.

Our national government is doing the same thing: it’s doubled their payroll since 1981.

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I do so love dry wit

Instapundit: RAHM EMANUEL COMPARES DEMOCRATS TO RETARDED PEOPLE, then apologizes to retarded people.

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Greenwich Time’s new pit bull strikes again

Teri Buhl’s certainly earning her keep at our once moribund local. Today she’s out with a story of WGCH’s owner Michael Metter’s other profession: selling soapy sponges and watered stock. The SEC’s after him and, poring over the various Internet hits on his company, here, here and here, just for instance,this has all the earmarks of the penny stock pump and dump schemes I used to pursue. It’s possible the poor guy’s the victim of nefarious outsiders seeking to profit at his expense. It’s also possible that Frankie Fudrucker will conduct his next political campaign dressed in a full burka. I’m betting I’ll witness Frankie’s comely form draped and hidden from sight before SpongeTech clears its name.

Besides, Metter ruined a dinky radio station that, while irrelevant, did once have its uses, like announcing snow days for the schools. Did you know that WGCH doesn’t have an Arbitron rating now because the audience surveyors could find no one who admitted listening to the station? I’m not sure if any of you are spending money on ads on WGCH but you could do just as much good by sending me the cash – I’ll take better care of it, I promise.

Michael Metter, president and part-owner of Greenwich radio station WGCH, is facing a federal securities investigation and multiple lawsuits against another business concern, his penny-stock company SpongeTech.

Metter, who lives on Tinker Lane in the backcountry [ Note to T. Buhl: Tinker is south of the Merritt, which puts it in mid, not back country – ed.], co-founded SpongeTech Delivery Systems Inc. in 1999. The company makes a sponge filled with soap, which is intended to eliminate the need for a bucket of soapy water to be used during a car wash. The company has been a prominent advertiser at Yankee Stadium and other sports venues, including Madison Square Garden, and co-branded with the cartoon character Sponge Bob in a marketing effort.

In October 2009, trading in the company was halted for 10 days by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which announced that it had “temporarily suspended trading in the securities of SpongeTech because of questions that have been raised about the accuracy and adequacy” of the company’s financial disclosures.

Then, in December, the SEC issued a notice to the company that its staff “intends to recommend that the Commission bring civil injunctive actions” alleging violations of federal securities laws.

"Vote for Me!"

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