Monthly Archives: April 2012

They protect their own

Who's greener than bankers?

Freddie Mac executive Anthony Renzi, who ran GMAC Mortgage into the ground before hiding out with his federal friends for two years has now left Freddie for a new job with his private sector banking pals. With a proven track record of failure, why shouldn’t he be rewarded?

Before joining Freddie, Mr. Renzi served as the operating chief of GMAC Residential Capital, a unit of Ally Financial Inc. He was initially hired by Freddie to oversee the company’s mortgage-servicing operations.

Mr. Haldeman said in an interview that Mr. Renzi’s departure shows that Freddie Mac employees remain “sought after” in the broader housing-finance industry. “I very much appreciate the contribution he’s made, and I’m delighted for him,” he said.


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Pelosi lied, people died (got all choked up, anyway)


Before her conversion

Shocker! She knew terrorists were being water-boarded all along.

Even though everyone knew the Speaker of the House was lying, or more precisely, because everyone knew she was lying, House Democrats blocked a Congressional inquiry into the matter in 2009.

Good thing for her she isn’t Dick Cheney (but too bad for our country).


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2 Lauder Lane is up for sale again

Saw this house in 2003, 2004 when it sold in the $4 million range, now it’s asking $8. According to the listing, the  new owners performed  extensive renovations in 2004 and I’m sure they must have since they want to double what they paid. Two acres of great lawn, a fantastic old charmer and Lauder is close to town, so you’ve got location, property and the house all going for you. The town assessor calculates its market value as $3.898 million but what does he know?

We’ll find out, sooner or later.


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Breaking news from Genesis 22

Man, you must be puttin' me on

Man arrested for attempting to sacrifice his son


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Everything old is new again

Better'n new, you betcha!

It’s spring, and long dormant homes are reappearing as “new” listings. Well, ya gotta try, I suppose, but  retreads usually sell at a discount.

One Birchwood Road, a spec job over at Will Merry and (extremely) close to transportation via the Merritt Parkway, tried a price of $6.495 in 2006 and by doing so missed that market and followed the rest of the housing stock into the  in the abyss that began in late 2007. It’s been on and off the market since then and now it’s back with a Westchester broker and a new price, $5.695 million. Had they started there six years ago the builders might have made out but now they have an old house at the price of a new one and probably above that level, too. Fours, maybe? I remember it as not a bad house but a pretty standard spec and then there’s the Merritt to consider. Not horrible, but a factor.

And 82 Glenville Road (scroll), built new in 2002 and sold then for $3 million, $5,000 above asking, started at $3.875 a year ago and like Birchwood, is back as new, asking $3.250. Sounds as though the sellers will have to settle for that 2002 price or a tad lower. Good back yard, Glenville Road in front, NTTAWWT (!)


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Blue Danube waltz?

Libya’s former Prime Minister and, later, Oil Minister falls into the Danube and drowns. Police rule out murder but  it’s a little cold to be swimming in the Danube right now and this sure sounds a lot like any one of dozens of espionage/political thrillers out there. Besides, if the Russians can assassinate someone in London with a poisoned umbrella, how difficult would this be?


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Like political regimes of all stripes, Obummer’s fires employee who slips up and speaks the truth

EPA official who spoke candidly about his agency’s desire and goal to “crucify” the oil industry is fired. His boss, Obummer himself, promised to bankrupt the coal industry and he got elected. Hardly seems fair to toss overboard a flunky who was just following orders.


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Riverside new construction

5 Gilliam Lane reports an accepted offer (as I reported Friday). Asking $3.395, word I have is that it’s going for $3.250. Good builder, nice house, no yard and busy road (Riverside Avenue curve) out front. Speaks to the dearth of new construction in Riverside, I guess.


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New Construction in central Greenwich

19 Angus Lane, 1.9 acres in the RA-1 zone. $5.295 million, which doesn’t seem out of line with recent new construction sales.


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Price reported and a price cut

10 Lake Drive South in Riverside, $1.6 million. Asked $1.795 in September and I’m a little surprised it sat so long on the market. Nice house, good location and compared to others on the market right now, a relative bargain.

22 Cherry Tree Lane, also in Riverside, in Harbor Point, has cut its price to $5.295 from $5.495. It asked $6.995 million last June which was obviously too high but i think it’s pretty well priced now. Beautiful house, absolutely top-quality construction and water views from the (back) porch. unfortunately, my current clients can’t afford it.


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Cos Cob land sale

21 Mimosa, one acre, has an accepted offer. Last asking price was $925,000, down from its 2009 price of $1.275. It sat for 842 days but that may have more to do with the dearth of builders from 2009 – to date than anything else. I’d guess it will actually sell in the mid-eights, but who knows? An acre of good land is rare.


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Friend’s of ‘Bama

UAW Government Motors stay open, non-union shops were shut down and workers refused the right to transfer.

Even General Motors Co.’s Lordstown, Ohio, complex, long known for its money-losing small cars and its bad labor climate, is running 24 hours a day, with more than 4,000 workers churning out hot-selling Chevy Cruze compacts.

But here in Moraine, the GM assembly plant closed for good. Despite being one of GM’s most productive and cooperative factories, Moraine was closed following the company’s 2007 labor pact with the United Auto Workers union. Under a deal struck by the UAW during GM’s bankruptcy two years later, Moraine’s 2,500 laid-off workers were barred from transferring to other plants, locking them out of the industry’s rebound.

The trouble with Moraine: Its workers weren’t in the UAW.

“We did everything we could to keep that plant open and keep our jobs,” said Mitchell Wood, a 44-year-old father of two who used to attach tailgates onto sport-utility vehicles at Moraine. “But in the end, we didn’t have a chance, not being in the UAW.”


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First we take all your money, then we’ll tell you what you must do

Majority of British doctors favor withholding medical services to smokers and fat people. The battle for a single payer medical system is not about providing medical care, it’s about control, just as warming alarmists aren’t really worried about polar bears.

But it is easier to promote behaviour desired by the state when a population lives on state handouts. And for states that might want to influence the behaviour of their citizens — their resource consumption, their carbon footprint, their moral and ethical beliefs, or their attitude toward the state — this could be an attractive proposition. It might cost a lot to run a welfare system, but it brings a lot of power to influence citizens.

And increasingly throughout the Western world, citizens are becoming dependent on the state for their standard of living. In the UK, 92% of people are dependent on the socialist NHS for healthcare. 46 million Americans receive food stamps. That gives states a lot of leverage to influence behaviour. First it may be used in a (relatively sensible) attempt to curtail smoking and obesity. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Perhaps doctors or bureaucrats may someday suggest withholding treatment or dole money from those who exceed their personal carbon or meat consumption quota? A tyrant could even withhold welfare from those who do not pledge their undying allegiance or military service to a regime or ideology (it happened many times last century). An underclass of rough and hungry welfare recipients is a fertile recruiting ground for military and paramilitary organisations (like the TSA).

With the wide expansion of welfare comes a lot of power, and the potential for the abuse of power. Citizens looking for a free lunch or an easier world should be careful what they wish for. Welfare recipients take note: you depend on government for your standard of living, you open yourself up to losing your liberty.


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An over-priced home for the Democrat 1%?


Doesn't do it for me, your taste may differ

Jack Nicholson has placed his weekend cottage in Aspen up for sale: 12,000 sq.ft. lot, 5,600 sq. ft. house, and not at all impressive or even attractive. It does carry a price tag sure to appeal to his fellow movie stars and friends of  ‘Bama: $15 million. I’m not familiar with property values in the Democratic enclave at  Aspen but money is as water to these people, so perhaps he’ll get it.

Too small to host the Princess and her entourage but maybe she can use it to put up some Secret Servicemen and their prostitutes. Just as Joe Biden makes a tidy profit renting out his own guest cottage to the Secret Servicemen assigned to guard him, this could be a mini-profit center for the First Family, should book sales drop.


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Gore’s no gentleman


The most serious challenge to civilization in Tennessee's history: The Al Gore Memorial mansion and SUV collection

Received a “D” in Natural Science while partying at Harvard.

In his commencement speech at Hamilton College on Sunday, former Vice President Al Gore told the graduates that global warming is “the most serious challenge our civilization has ever faced.”

Hyperbole? From Obama’s fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner and coreligionist? Perish the thought. Besides, the science is settled – Gore might have learned that had he paid attention in science class.


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In the tank for the One


The loving Great Father takes care of his own

White house says jump, the press asks “how high?”  There was a time, long ago, when the mainstream press took a certain pride in its independence, or at least pretended they did. But that was when a Bush was in the White House – these days, the pathetic lap dogs  grovel at their master’s feet.

Investors’ Daily:

Reporters normally cast a jaundiced eye at a political campaign’s PR strategy. Yet they are eagerly parroting the Obama campaign’s talking point about how “cool” the president is.

In early February, Politico reported that the Obama campaign, hoping to rekindle enthusiasm among young voters, was “looking to revive the cool appeal.” Then, suddenly, news stories started popping up about Obama’s alleged coolness, in contrast to that drip Romney. A sampling:

• President Obama: The cool factor

• ‘Cool’ Obama Returns GOP Fire on Gas Prices

• Obama: The new King of Cool

• Barack Obama is cool. Mitt Romney is not. What does it mean for 2012?

• Campaigning for the ‘Cool’ Vote

• The Obama-Romney ‘Cool Gap’

• The Ned Flanders of Politics: Romney Isn’t Cool

• Obama On Late Night Too Cool For Cool?

• Obama, Jimmy Fallon and the race for cool


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War on women

Golfer  in Chief hits the links again today and still refuses to play with girls.  But not at the Congressional – they don’t allow women there and Obama just won’t stand for that.


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Housing hits bottom and stays there

At least there are those who hope and think it’s hit bottom, but no one is predicting it will rise again for years.

There’s more that will keep home prices from rising, once they do hit bottom. First, many Americans don’t have the required down payment or can’t qualify for a mortgage. Banks are making borrowers jump through more hoops in order to produce loans that can’t be subjected to a costly “buy-back” demand from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or other investors if the loan defaults. That is keeping credit very tight.

More than one-third of all homeowners have less than 25% equity, including 15% that are underwater, meaning their homes are worth less than what they owe.

Second, inventory declines may be less of a sign of health than they would suggest and instead reflect one of the structural problems holding back housing: Sellers are frozen, either unwilling or unable to sell at current values. Markets above the entry level, where demand from investors and first-time buyers isn’t as strong, face a particularly steep climb because of that equity hole.

“Nobody’s voluntarily putting their home up for sale,” said John Burns, a home-builder consultant based in Irvine, Calif.


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GHS (and an Eastern Middle School student) win state math championship fourth year in a row.

Pretty damn impressive. Co-Captain Warren Bein is the son of my friends and neighbors  Andrew and Janet Bein. Congratulations.


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Would you spend $20 trillion following this man’s advice?

He does have a point

Former baseball player Tim McCarver blames global warming, not steroids, for the increased production of homeruns.  Even in a profession not known for the intellectual prowess of its practitioners this is so breathtakingly stupid that it should give pause to other Warming Alarmists. But if seeing an Obama bumper sticker on the car of an illiterate moron does nothing to shake their faith in the man, they’ll stick with the “settled science” and proceed to dismantle our economy. Besides, they probably agree with McCarver.

Here’s that $20 trillion price tag on preventing global warming, by the way, courtesy of the UN General Secretary.

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