Daily Archives: February 25, 2010

Euro going to parity?

Some big bettors think so, according to the Journal. I don’t have the resources to play this game but if I did, I’d be betting on the Euro hitting $0.65. I may be poor and unschooled in economics, but I know history, philosophy and political science and for this trade, that’s enough.

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Shocker: Charlie Rangel is a crook

Fat Fuck

Ethics panel finds that his trip to St. Maartin’s  was improper. What about his unpaid taxes, his four -apartment spread in NYC, etc., etc.? No word. But he’ll be busy crafting our tax laws to ensure that we all pay our share.

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Blue genes

Fascinating article on genes in the Wall Street Journal. I don’t know how much of it is available outside the subscription wall but here are some links. You can try evading that wall by going to Google News and searching “wall street journal genes” – worth the effort.

Chart here. I have always questioned my son John’s ice-blue eyes and Pal Nancy’s adoration for Bjorn Borg back in 1982, but it seems this gene slipped into the pool 10,000 years ago, so I suppose I should give up and acknowledge the poor bastard.

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All rain in Greenwich – bummer

Ah tol' ya so!

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Greece is going belly-up. So goes the Euro?

Seems as though its borrowing capacity has dried up and no wonder, when the country’s entire workforce has gone on strike in protest of cuts in government spending. Lenders no longer believe that there will be any financial discipline over there, and want to be paid huge premiums if they are to risk their money. So does this drag down the Euro? What am I, a philosopher? I don’t know, but the Euro always seemed like a Potemkin village to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it falls apart in the coming months.

Investors say that under the current circumstances, any Greek bond issue would need to carry an interest rate of around 7 percent to be successful. That is almost a percentage point more than the rate investors received in the previous Greek bond sale, in January, and a full 3 percentage points more than Greece’s borrowing cost before the current crisis.

That Greece may have to raise funds at such a high premium — comparable German bonds, the European benchmark for safety, currently pay 3.1 percent — underscores the severity of the crisis.

The wide differential, or spread, also indicates investor skepticism about the Greek government’s ability to meet E.U. demands to lower its budget deficit from 12.7 percent of gross domestic product to under 9 percent this year.

“Even if they bring the deficit to zero, with interest rates at 6.5 percent and a growth rate of zero at best, Greece’s debt ratio remains on an explosive path,” said Miranda Xafa, a former executive board member at the International Monetary Fund.

“I just don’t think they can raise funds from the market now,” she said. “They need to borrow at lower rates.”

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Why short selling is so difficult

Anyone with half a brain knew years ago that Blockbuster Video had a doomed business model, but it hung on for years. Today  it announced the beginning of the end, but for people who sold short say, five years ago, that news comes far too late. I don’t play that game, thank God.

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University of the Pacific crime stats

They don’t look good, unless you’re a criminal, in which case, you’re home!

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Say goodbye to Paterson, hello to Andy Cuomo

New York’s Governor Paterson is a dead man walking.

UPDATE: He’s giving up the run for reelection but as of 7:45, “I’m not resigning” . Gone in 60 seconds.

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Damn it, it is snowing in New York

Dan  sent this Blackberry snap from his office at 42nd Street. Bwaaah! It’s just not fair!

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University of the Pacific – most dangerous campus in the nation?

We’re back – I pulled this post while I spoke with UPac officials but they are as obstinate as Iranians and so off we go to war. Check back often: lots more coming.

University administrations are reluctant to post such statistics but, after my own daughter’s experience over the past four years, I’ve got to believe it certainly ranks right up there.

It’s based in Stockton, California, the city with the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, home of the infamous Norteno Gang, they of drive-by shootings and the largest methamphetamine center in the state*.In general, Stockton and this once proud university are dark, dangerous places.

None of which was disclosed to us when we sent our youngest daughter there, four years and $200,000 ago. She’s had her dorm and, later, her apartment, broken into on a regular basis, been robbed numerous times and the car we bought her so she could avoid downtown Stockton (none of her siblings were afforded a similar privilege on safer campuses) looks like a veteran of the Ho Chi Minh Trail after the crack heads and gang members have raped it repeatedly.

If we can keep her alive until then, our kid will escape this May, never to return. But if you’re considering sending your own child there, you really must ask yourself: how much do you hate her?

* enough so that this drug addicts’ defense lawyer has opened an office there. “Se hable espanol”

UPDATE: Good Lord, its crime rates are triple, and more of national averages. Greenwich High School’s Guidance Office may want to check these swamp holes out a bit better before recommending them.

UPDATE II: Wikipedia says that, as of 2009, Stockton has dropped from the most dangerous city in America to its fifth. Progress!

It did accomplish one thing last year – it moved from the top spot on Forbes list of most miserable cities to number two.

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Quicken for Mac – DOA

The WSJ’s Mossberg tests the new version, and it sucks. There’s an opportunity here for someone because, if Intuit doesn’t want the Mac market, there are tens of millions of customers waiting for someone who does.

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Is Bloomberg News nuts or are we on the wrong side of the snow line here in Greenwich?

They’re reporting a 13″ snowfall in NYC, I’m seeing rain. If the city really is getting that much snow, I am peeved and jealous.

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Bad news for contractors?

Time was, new construction usually sold before completion or just a month or so after. That was true in Greenwich and, during the boom, around the country. No longer. Here’s a chart showing national trends but, looking around town, it seems applicable here, too.

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Well okay then, now I’m for it

Pelosi: “health care bill will create 400,000 jobs almost immediately.” She doesn’t detail how, exactly that will work, but when she promised that the stimulus bill would keep unemployment below eight percent she came through, so why not trust her now? She is, after all, from the government and she’s here to help.

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If this is the best you can say about a house…

526 Indian Field Road

Then say nothing at all. Open house today for 526 Indian Field Road, on the market since 2008 and still priced at $9.5 million. Note on open house sheet promises “Wood floors throughout”.

Speaking just for myself, I expect wooden floors in any house priced over, say, $7 million.

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Another 2003 asking price

16 Dewart Road

Bought for $3.350 in 2003, reduced today to $3.4 million. Assessment is $2,850,000, so this is approaching a decent value. 3 plus acres, good street, …

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You owe me?

The River Road business Beacon Point Marine’s application for expansion was withdrawn Tuesday night after opponents alleged that its owner was engaged in non-waterfront-related activities. I think our P&Z has its collective head up its ass, dreaming of native fishermen gathering oysters and weaving fishing nets while sustaining businesses along our shoreline. Aint gonna happen, and I think we should be encouraging those who are trying to keep our waterfront alive, rather than force them to don  Woodstock tie-dyed tee shirts. If  a restaurant is needed to generate revenue to support a marina, what’s wrong with that? Go for it. Instead, we have rich scum suckers demanding that waterfront businessmen give their services away:

Late in the meeting, Peter Lowe and Sean Goldrick, parents whose children have rowed at the club, harshly criticized the rowing program offered at Kral’s business.

Lowe accused Kral of running a for-profit program and hiking the registration that rowers pay by about 60 percent in three years, from $880 in 2006 to $1,350 last year. The price is for a single season.

He said Kral was making a profit “off the legs, backs and arms of high school kids.”

This is crazy.

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