Daily Archives: July 8, 2011

Fake but accurate – Dan Rather resumes work at CBS Boston

Phony fireworks display shown on network.

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This would seem to sum it up nicely

"The perfect light bulb"

Incandescent bulb still doomed, and our helpful government is delighted.

In a conference call with reporters, [Energy Secretary Steven] Chu said the more-efficient bulbs required would save consumers money over the life of the product, even if the up-front price is higher.

“We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money,” he said.

And isn’t that what government is for, to take away the choices stupid people would otherwise make? $20 for a single light bulb vs. $0.37 cents, but who knows better than Washington how you should spend your money?

(Just curious, but how many light bulbs are in the average house, and can we expect to have to subsidize  folks not paying their mortgages to outfit their places with these new ones?)

UPDATE: Instalanche! Thanks, Perfesser!

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Is Obama a war criminal? Sounds like it – when will the posters appear?

Obummer and his Justice Department seem to have violated our own rues of war. “Well, there is one rule that the White House and the Defense Department seem to have overlooked in this inconvenient instance. It is the rule that flatly forbids holding prisoners captured in war in any locale other than ‘on land’—a rule with a history that stems from the American Revolution itself, when rebellious Americans caught by the British were interned in the death-dealing conditions of British prison ships hulking in New York harbor. . . . Thus, it’s hard to see why it was adjudged as convenient to hold the al Shabab leader as a shipboard prisoner for more than two months, with intelligence officials flying in and flying out, rather than transporting him to Guantanamo.”

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Fun with numbers indeed

There’s another blogger in town (he doesn’t link to me so why should I link to him?) who is just bursting with good news about our real estate market. Median prices up 86%, sales are soaring and everything is beautiful. He even quotes approvingly the NAR’s most visible liar, the economist Lawrence Yun. I won’t call him a typical, duplicitous real estate agent because I barely know him and for all I know he’s a fine, church-going man who just wants to instill faith in Greenwich real estate in potential real estate buyers. Instead, I’ll say that we disagree on our statistical analysis methodology.

He includes contracts in his calculations;  I do not, and here’s why: many of our houses listed as under contract while asking one price in fact turn out to sell, if they sell at all, for a fraction of that number. So I wait for the actual sales price to be reported, and that drags down the selling prices considerably, both average and median.

So choose your poison: if you’re a seller, you’ll probably prefer his blog and his statistics so that you can keep your chin up and be happy, joyous and free over the next few years while you enjoy your unsold home. If you’re a buyer, you may want better, or at least different numbers.

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You want taxes? We’ll give you taxes

Glenn Reynolds suggests a 50% surcharge on earnings of government officials who leave for private employment. He and his readers have since expanded that idea to include an excise tax on movie tickets and DVDs, an elimination of the tax loopholes awarded to Hollywood movie studios, a windfall profits tax on trial lawyers and a tax on Volvos (I’d add Priuses) (Ooh! And trips to Cuba!). These would raise billions, and wouldn’t it be fun to hear the squealing?

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There goes her Tea Party constituency

If she ever had one. Michele Bachman vows to ban homosexuality, abortion, infidelity and yanking your pud. That leaves her with the usual conservative Christian base, which is no base at all. Next!

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Ethanol

While I wait for dinner to cook, here’s another poser for JRH and his friends: why won’t you guys ever admit when a federal program fails and end it, rather than expand it?

Take ethanol: it started out in the late 70s as a sop to corn farmers – force it to be blended into gasoline and farmers could sell more corn. It was originally justified as a clean air measure because, so the theory went, corn would “oxygenate” the fuel and result in cleaner burning cars.

But fuel injection in the early 80’s eliminated carburetors and with it, the need for any such oxygenation. Ethanol was now useless for that purpose. Hmm. So the farmers and politicians went to work and came up with a new justification: it would reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Bummer again – turns out, farmers burn more fuel growing shipping and refining ethanol than the energy it produces. This time, Congress didn’t even bother coming up with another reason, they just forced all of us to use the stuff – screw you, citizen.

Now 40% of the US corn crop is converted to ethanol and Obama and his EPA are increasing the requirement from 10% to 15%. Why? Because they say so, damn it. Sure it will ruin the engines of older cars and render all our small engine devices: lawnmowers, ski-mobiles (a feature, not a bug in the EPA’s view) and anything else burning gasoline.

All this because some bureaucrats cooked up a scheme in 1970 and just can’t let it go.

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The abiding, unshakable faith of liberals

In 1965, LBJ announced a “War on Poverty” and in the 46 years since then we have spent literally trillions of dollars on trying to improve the plight of the poor. The result? An 80% illegitimacy rate, a 60% abortion rate (which I suppose might eventually accomplish LBJ’s goals) and, last I noted, the poor are still with us. JRH’s answer? Pour in more money!

We’ve spent trillions to improve public education, courtesy of the NEA. The result? 2% of hispanic high school graduates in Buffalo are deemed ready to perform at a college level (NYC’s poor are at 12%. Studies of Head Start have shown that after two year’s enrollment, graduates know exactly one more letter of the alphabet than their peers. JRH’s response: Pour in more money!

Job training programs have consumed millions, if not billions of dollars in the past 50 years and are universally acknowledged to be failures. JRH’s response? More! More!

Obama just spent, by his own administration’s calculations, $287,000 on each job they claim to have created. I want one of those jobs!

And so  it goes. JRH and his ilk don’t strike me as illiterate, so the question is, what don’t they get? What aren’t they reading? What evidence do they possibly see that demonstrates the success of their policies?

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Does Greenwich need a new boat, even a “free” one?

Our police and Selectmen think so, others have their doubts. The feds will return some of our stolen money by buying us a $600,000 emergency response vessel but then we’re on our own for maintaining and manning it (the police say they can shift existing officers without adding any). I think we have enough toys.

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It’s a lovely house but the market is saying something here

18 Chimney Corner, on the water with wonderful views, is a 6,000 sq. ft., 3 bedroom house that has been up for sale since 2005. It’s back on as a new listing today, not that it ever went away, asking $12.750 million, down from its original $18 but with an assessment of just $6.5, I think it’s still got a long way to fall.

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A reader asks why we would want to fire a government worker. Here’s one example

TSA employee caught stuffing stolen iPad into his pants. Turns out, he’d stolen at least $50,000 of electronics during his brief career and managed to sell them on EBay even before his shift ended. How much monitoring of employees goes on if a guy can go on EBay and sell stolen goods each day while he’s supposed to be working?

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If there were real estate news I’d report it, promise

Nothing of note reported so far this noon. A few price reductions, all in the $1.5 and below range (and how, and why the moribund $5 million plus inventory is staying where it is remains a mystery). One house on Dawn Harbor is back up for sale at what it sold for in 2007: $3.4 million, which I doubt will do it, and that’s about it.

If you check the land records you’ll discover that all is not well in the higher range of our price inventory, what with lis pendens and foreclosures, but the owners are standing pat. I’m guessing that they owe more than their houses are worth and lack the cash to get out from under. But perhaps, seeing that a foreclosure isn’t going to go anywhere for years, they’ve just decided to stay put until 2025.

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February, 2010 to July, 2011 is apparently not long enough to be defined as “immediate”

Pelosi: “Health care reform will create 400,000 jobs almost immediately”

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Well a man’s got to eat

Minnesota Governor keeps personal chef and housekeeper on staff during shutdown.

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Tell me again why I’m working

A couple of readers sent this along: Obama to order lenders to suspend mortgage payments for a year for the unemployed. When Obama was elected Rush Limbaugh caught flack for saying that he hoped his policies would fail. I said essentially the same thing but you’ll have noticed I’m not Rush. Point was, give the Democrats everything they want, let them impose every crazy environmental regulation they ever wanted, push the NLRB to crush corporations, and in short, bring on the people’s paradise. Those of my persuasion were convinced that these policies would destroy the economy, not rebuild it, and it was our hope that maybe then people would see the bankruptcy of the liberals’ ideas.

No such luck. They’re still blaming Bush and taking no responsibility for what they’ve done. I despair – I think Americans may just be dumb enough to believe it.

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Job report is a disaster

Basically, no new jobs created in June. Not good.

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