Daily Archives: February 21, 2012

Obama: I didn’t shut down the Keystone pipeline

Master of the Big Lie

The Republicans made me do it! I was for it before I was against it! I won’t come in your mouth!

I don’t know why he bothers, really. If it turns out that the pipeline becomes an election issue then his media will cover for him: he was for it, against it or he never said anything at all. Relax, Barry, your guys have your back.


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One upmanship in Cos Cob

Dallas has its Mary Kay palace so Cos Cob now has one of its own (priced at the same price as Dallas’s, $3 million). Very much like the library they insisted on after discovering there was one in Greenwich proper. Illiteracy among the natives wasn’t the point.

(Above-ground pool in back)


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This isn’t news to anyone except Obummer, California Democrats and the New York Times

China’s high speed rail system is a bust.


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Unemployment down, fewer people working. How could that be?


Were's the money, Honey?

They’ve all gone crazy. 43% of all Social Security Disability applicants claim they are mentally ill. Keep those government checks coming, eh?

Krazy Kat sends along this Abbot and Costello routine where everything is explained:

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Discuss The Unemployment Numbers

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.

ABBOTT: Good subject. Terrible times. It’s about 9%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.

COSTELLO: You just said 9%.

ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 9% are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 16% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 9% …

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE! Is it 9% or 16%?

ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work, you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, you can’t count the “out of work” as the unemployed. Youhave to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: But … they are out of work!

ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work, can’t be counted with those who lookfor work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out ofwork have stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longerin the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment rolls, that would count as lessunemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how you get to 9%. Otherwise it wouldbe 16%. You don’t want to read about 16% unemployment, do ya?

COSTELLO: That would be frightening.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways tobring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier ofthe two is to just stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the heck I just said!


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If for some reason you aren’t depressed but want to be, read this article

A lengthy examination of gasoline prices and how our able leaders in each party have so politicized the issue that nothing good can happen but plenty of bad things will. Read it and weep for our country. A sample:

Newt Gingrich’s solution is no better. He wants to keep gasoline prices at $2.50 per gallon, by national petition no less. Gingrich is right, I think, to urge for an increase in domestic drilling and the opening of the Keystone XL pipeline. There is indeed every reason to think that the president made the worst of all possible decisions in killing a pipeline that could have cemented America’s relationship with Canada, rationalized production and distribution of oil in the United States, and reduced the risk of pollution by blunting spillage risk from tankers steaming toward China loaded with oil.

That’s all well and good. But recall that there is no evidence whatsoever that suggests that opening the pipeline or increasing domestic oil production, both desirable, will lead to some mythical $2.50 per gallon price at the pump any time soon. Once the right institutional arrangements are made on both of these points, supply should increase, and, on average, prices should decline as consumption increases. But we must never tie government policy to particular price levels. Politicians must set the right institutional arrangements and then let the cost of production and relative demand set prices.

The political ignorance on the Republican side of the aisle is, alas, fully reciprocated by the unwise pronouncements that come from the Democratic side. The president’s own personal statements exude sympathy for those whose lives are made more difficult by higher gas prices. But by themselves, those words don’t translate into constructive policy. Nor does it help that Alan B. Krueger, who chairs the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, takes the occasion to note that the reduction in the payroll tax helps to soften the blow from these prices.


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This might work, I suppose

City on a hill and next to the Thruway

32 Meyer Place in Riverside appears on the hot sheet today, newly listed at $1.799 million. The owners paid $1.650 for it in 2010 (from an asking price of $1.949 million) and the owners before that bought it in a bidding war in 2007 for $1,807,500. Riverside prices seem to be recovering from their 2010 levels but Meyer Place may not be the focus of that improvement.

On the other hand, it’s not what you paid for a house that determines its current market value, it’s what your competition is asking, right now. Up or down, you’ve got to offer at least as much house and, were I doing the pricing, a bit more. This one is a very nice house, as I remember it, so highway noise or not (and it’s tolerable here), this could be competitive.


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And yet another million dollar mistake – our inventory’s chock full of them

Nice looking house, but probably headed for the dumpster

I’ve been accused by at least one reader of cherry picking listings that sell for unfortunate prices but I’m not cherry picking, I’m reporting, day after day, week after week, what’s happening out there. I’m just willing to tell readers what the original asking prices were whereas most realtors won’t. For instance, a recent article in Greenwich Time reported the happy news that there were 38 sales last year in the $5 – $7.5 price range but failed to mention how many of those started out far, far higher years ago (and made no mention that, of those 38, only 5 entered contract after August 20 of last year – no more market for them).

Anyway, with apologies to those offended readers, here’s the latest contract to come across the GMLS hot sheet this afternoon: 25 Wilshire Road, up in the nosebleed territory of Close Road. Last listing price for this 4.67 acre, 1974 house was $2.350 but its price in January, 2011 was $3.450 million. If it sells close to its latest asking price, and I think it will, given its assessment of $1.9 million, it will go down in the records of the GMLS as yet another property that sold within, say, 10% of its asking price and no mention will be made of the unfortunate waste of a year for the heirs of the owner while they tried to move it at its first, most unfortunate price.

Which is why I write about this stuff.


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Always worth repeating

Instapundit runs this Heinlein quote every year or so and I’ve always liked it.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

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A rare opportunity or there’s one born every minute – we’ll see

No comment

35 Chapel Lane in Riverside has an accepted offer. Last asking price was $1.450, down considerably from its 2008 asking price of $3.5 million, but still …

Tidal front, but across the mud flats is the I-95 “Michael Morano” Bridge which is …noisy. This buyer either doesn’t care about that noise – perfectly possible, or he was lured in by the discount from that original asking price. The latter is never a wise move.


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He’d better hope so

36 Dawn Harbor came on the market today at $7.350 million. That’s a lot. Only two non-waterfront houses in Riverside have sold for more than $7 million, and one, 89 Indian Head Road, was in 2001, when the first stirrings of insanity were first being felt and other, at 35 Club Road, sold direct to a person with more money than brains who really, really wanted to live on Club Road and paid a “make me move” price to the owner who’d just built it. I don’t think Dawn Harbor ignites the same passion, although it is a very nice street.

The carrying costs of this puppy must be $350,000 per year, or thereabouts. Here’s to a quick sale.


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Bottom story of the day

Greeks prepare for the past

Greek Rescue Leaves Europe Default Risk Alive. Next they’re going to tell us that China’s economy is not all it’s claimed to be.


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Have sellers given up?

Open house tour today with nothing on it. Four retreads in the back country, ten in the lesser regions, all that we’ve seen before, all that have been inspected by the market and rejected. Well it does save on gas.


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So long as your wishes are modest

What Obummer has in mind for you?

12 Hendrie Lane is now on the market, asking $1.389 million. Lot size is 0.12 acre, four bedrooms, two baths, the listing offers “everything that today’s buyer could wish for”. Those wishes better not include the front porch light or wall sconces, which are excluded. Whaddya expect for $1.4 million?


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(Another) million dollar pricing mistake

Going down?

35 Winding Lane, which started at $3.250 in May, 2010, was reduced this morning to $1.995. Assessment is $1.773. House has been vacant almost two years now.

Just saying ….


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The Robo-Signing settlement

I write to express my dismay and concern ...

Prolonging a resolution and rewarding deadbeats. With the usual leftist groups and class-action lawyers promising that “this is only the beginning”. I fear that it is.

For the rest of us who fortunately are not in foreclosure, however, the potential value of the settlement will be to [de] lay the foundation for recovery of the housing market and, therefore, the economy at large. According to the research firm LPS Analytics, the average home in foreclosure has been delinquent for 674 days—a delay that has doubled since the exposure of the robo-signing scandal ground the foreclosure process to a halt. In Florida, the time from default to foreclosure now exceeds 1,000 days. During that time the homeowner can live rent-free—or even better, as news reports indicate that some of those in foreclosure will rent out the home to a tenant while the foreclosure is pending (sometimes resulting in a surprise to the unsuspecting tenant when the bank shows up to evict him).

Worse than the delay, however, is the uncertainty of a foreclosure system in chaos. Current occupants have no incentive to engage in a short-sale or otherwise turn the house over to a performing borrower. Buyers have no certainty as to when delinquent properties will finally come available for purchase. Billions of dollars of capital that could be recycled by lenders from liquidating foreclosed properties has instead been tied-up in dead loans with no possibility of repayment and uncertain timing prospects, thereby interfering with the ability of borrowers to obtain mortgages. Settling the claims will help break this logjam, enabling foreclosures to resume, the housing market to find a bottom, and the stock of lending capital to rebound.


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Letting it all hide out


Michelle is still in Aspen, but the White House would prefer you didn’t know that. From Instapundit:

MORE ON MICHELLE OBAMA’S ASPEN VACATION:  An InstaPundit reader in Aspen emails:  “The Obamas are doing everything they can to be invisible in Aspen. If you didn’t know they were here, you wouldn’t know. It’s clear their press operation fears more of the Michelle Antoinette meme leaking out.”  Too late!


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We probably need more CEO’s like this

My way or the highway, you jerks!

Head of  hamburger chain goes “undercover” for a TV show, encounters a manager abusing the staff. Shuts down the restaurant for the night, brings in a new manager the next day and, rather than fire the first manager, sends him off for more training (he also awarded the abused worker $15,000 to pursue his dream of attending culinary school).

‘I came to the conclusion that he wasn’t prepared to run that shift and wasn’t convinced that when I walked away the restaurant would provide the level of service we need,’ he told the trade magazine Nation’s Restaurant News later.

He also accepted responsibility for the manager’s poor behavior, saying it was his own fault as CEO that the company didn’t have the proper training procedures in place.

Protect your employees from abuse and take responsibility for your company’s actions? Seems like an unknown concept at many businesses. Maybe more should try it.


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Break my heart

Girlfriend of Frankenstein

There’s a wonderfully snarky review about a new book that portrays the Madoff kin in a hagiographic light (this word’s for you, Walt) but the shocker is the accompanying photograph of Catherine Hooper – the lady looks awful – I mean awful! What happened to the chic in a  tits-flopping-out bikini hoisting a dead fish? How could someone age so quickly and so badly in just four years? Must be that rose oil doesn’t work.

Her three-year-old daughter has just been returned from nursery, but poor Catherine can spend only five minutes with her before dashing off, “awash with guilt”, for two hours of expensive beauty treatment. Because this is obviously how you demonstrate you are not in a relationship for the money. But at the salon she receives a text message from Andrew saying they won’t be attending the party after all (he had just found out about his father’s fraud). She’d got dolled up and missed out on quality time with her daughter for nothing! Oh, poor Catherine! That night, as Andrew lies on their bed in silence, we read how she stoically “finished applying Moroccan rose oil to her legs, slipped on a silk chemise and tried to quell the flutter of anxiety rising in her chest” before asking what was wrong.

seems like yesterday


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