Daily Archives: April 4, 2012

What would we do without British experts?

Stupid people take far more sick leave than intelligent people.

Cognitive ability at a young age has a ”strong impact” on whether sickness stops people from working several decades later, the researchers said.

In the 1946 group, 47 per cent of those who were on long-term sick leave had been in the bottom quarter of childhood ability, compared to 13 per cent who were in the highest category.

[Researchers] claimed that strategies to reduce long-term sick leave should involve education.

”Our findings suggest that health is only one factor in understanding long-term sickness absence.

“We suggest that education should form part of the policy response to long-term sickness absence: for future generations, equipping children with skills necessary for labour market flexibility may inoculate them from the risk of long-term sickness absence,” they wrote.

What’s school got to do with it? Slow thinkers are not going to grow up to have great jobs, no matter how much education they get. It’s not their fault; they’re stupid, but of course they’re likely to hate their jobs – few people enjoy dead-end work and low pay – and it’s to be expected that they’ll take as much time off work as they can, especially if someone pays them regardless. You want to cut sick days and long-term disability? End paid sick leave, end disability, and watch those people return. They won’t like it and I don’t blame them, but hey – life’s tough. Don’t be born stupid, is my suggestion.

But more education won’t change a thing.


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I got mine, Jack

No Honey, the ferry's reserved for the Little People

Obama says he was poor before he was against it, and who blames him? Henry Blodget thinks this tale of woe from the Messiah will endear him to the public:

It’s a very diplomatic answer!

And persuasive.

If the election boils down to who’s more in touch with average Americans, Obama will win in a landslide.

Blodget’s a disgraced thief so I can see where he’d have a grudging respect for a better one, but I wonder whether the “average American” won’t react the way I do – how does a community organizer and teaching assistant who’s never worked a real job in his life suddenly come into millions, spend like a drunken sailor and jet off with his family to exotic Hawaiian vacations, ski trips to Aspen, sight-seeing tours (with 12 best friends, no less) to Spain and Mexico, attend junkets in Las Vegas and summer on the Vineyard?

Rather than this all making the average voter identify with him, I’d think the coal miner tossed out of work by Obummer’s EPA might see this as ill-gotten gains scammed by a Chicago politician who now rubs the rest of us suckers’ noses in it. Good politics?  In the upside world of the Democrats I suppose it is: ” Look! I got rich by ripping off the Man and you can too!” For others, not so much.


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Oh please, oh please?

But I voted for Kerry!

The trial of confessed 9/11 plotter KSM is set to resume in Gitmo.

At one point in the last case, the defendants said they were interested in pleading guilty to capital charges because they wanted to be executed and die as martyrs. Next month’s arraignment should make clear whether Mohammed wants to fight the charges or is still interested in pleading guilty.

The other defendants have tended to follow his lead.

Give them everything they ask for, two times over.


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I assume it was a 3.5 oz. cup

Federal TSA screener and Princeton graduate Miss Lateisha El throws scalding coffee on pilot after he tells her to stop swearing and “using the N… word” while in uniform and on duty. The woman in question was cited for a mere misdemeanor (proper charges should have included felony assault, battery, interference with a TSA officer and creating a public nuisance, just among others) but I assume that despite her demonstrated inability to restrain her behavior she’ll keep her job because a) she’s black, b) she’s female and c) she’ll have her union to protect her. What a country.


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That was quick

31 Tomac, asking $2.895 million, was reported as having an accepted offer yesterday after just 23 days on the market. I don’t know what happened but it’s back for sale today. Again, I don’t know what happened, but buyer’s remorse is a powerful emotion – the buyer offers a sum, his offer is accepted and then the doubts set in. Funny thing is that sellers are subject to the same emotion. Just as buyers think they’re paying too much if their offer is too quickly accepted, sellers will berate their agents for setting the price too low if the house sells in a few days or weeks. Crazy business.


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Why would they want to do that?

Indiana Democrats indicted for election fraud

Democrats kick off boycott of Coke, WalMart for support of voter ID laws



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Activity this year in single family homes – some numbers, make of them what you will

School District             YTD           Current Inventory


OG/RV                                 33                        96

PKWY                                   19                       145

NS                                         17                        107

CC                                           9                         30

Price Range                                                     Price Range Inventory


<$1     5                                                               6

$1-$2     10                                                        25

$2-$3     9                                                         18

$3-$4     2                                                         18

$4-$5     2                                                          8

$5-$6    2                                                           6

$6-$7    1                                                            2

$7-$15   2                                                          11


<$1        2                                                            4

$1-$2     7                                                          24

$2-$3    3                                                          24

$3-$4    0                                                          19

$4-$5    2                                                          10

$5-$6    0                                                          15

$6-7       2                                                           7

$7-$8    1                                                          11

$8-$9    0                                                          9

$9-10     0                                                          4

$10-13   0                                                           5

$13-15    2                                                          4

>  $15     0                                                          7


<1          4                                                           9

$1-$2     10                                                     23

$2-$3       7                                                     19

$3-$4       4                                                     15

$4-$5       1                                                      13

$5-$10     0                                                     16

$10-$15    0                                                     10

>$15          0                                                      3


<$1            9                                                     17

$1-2           2                                                    13


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I don’t see all that much wrong with this, depending

Bon Voyage!

Panel suggests eliminating expensive cancer treatments that don’t prolong life. We all (some of us, anyway, if not me) want to live forever, but that rarely happens. Go with dignity, but go when your time is up.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – In a move that threatens to further inflame concerns about the rationing of medical care, the nation’s leading association of cancer physicians issued a list on Wednesday of five common tests and treatments that doctors should stop offering to cancer patients.

              The list emerged from a two-year effort, similar to a project other medical specialties are undertaking, to identify procedures that do not help patients live longer or better or that may even be harmful, yet are routinely prescribed.

              As much as 30 percent of health-care spending goes to procedures, tests, and hospital stays that do not improve a patient’s health, according to a 2008 analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office.


              Although the task force emphasized that its recommendations — winnowed from about 10 suggestions by oncologists — were driven by medical considerations, the report makes clear that expense was a major factor. A number of cancer drugs cost nearly $100,000 but extend life a few months or not at all. Widely-used imaging tests cost up to $5,000 yet do not benefit patients.


              “The American people have a much higher opinion of doctors than of government bureaucrats,” said Kate Nix, a policy analyst at the free-market Heritage Foundation. Whether the ASCO recommendations to withhold some tests and treatments will be seen as rationing “depends on how they are used. Will they inhibit the ability of doctors and patients to make the best decision in each case?”

I’m okay with denying useless drugs to the dying so long as those who want to spend their own money, impoverish their families, etc. can still do so. The thought of a panel of Dollar Bills dictating my medical care is a disturbing one, though.


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Another Greenwich billionaire wins the Lottery – what’s Fudrucker up to?

Free to do what I've always wanted to do!

Now – retired hedge funder Ray Dalio has won the lottery, under the assumed name of Shep Murray.


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Those “unelected representatives” Obummer’s got his panties knotted over? There are more than nine (or five, assuming he doesn’t object to those justices who will do his bidding)

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Old Greenwich waterfront

26 West Way

26 West Way, direct waterfront in Lucas Point priced at $2.999 has an accepted offer in just 14 days, which probably means the sellers got their price. Despite a hideous front, the house itself is quite nice inside, if a tad small and certainly dated. I doubt there’s a big house to be built here and any renovations are going to be whacked by FEMA Coastal Area Management rules but it is Lucas Point and it is waterfront. I’d certainly live here, as is, in a heartbeat.


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One contract, one new listing

32 Carriglea

32 Carriglea, asking $4.499 (down from $4.999 has an executed contract. Very good house, I thought, on an acre, of Indian Head. I didn’t like its original price but obviously someone thought the lower price was attractive.

21 Hendrie Avenue

And, while I haven’t seen 21 Hendrie Avenue, also Riverside, yet (open house tomorrow) I remember it from 2004, when it sold for $1.6 million. The listing describes a complete renovation since then which, if true, makes its price now of $1.995 seem reasonable.

A client asked me whether all this recent activity in Riverside and Old Greenwich represents a permanent shift in the market. I don’t, not for a minute. Houses in good school districts will always attract young families, especially those without the means or the inclination to spend $40,000 per child per year for private schools. If you look at the bulk of recent sales in these two areas I believe you’ll find (I haven’t actually checked and am going on just my failing short term memory here) that the bulk of them are in the $1-$2.5 range. In another town, that would be the top of the market but in Greenwich, that’s a modest range indicative of young families. Just a few years ago many agents I worked with viewed Riverside and Old Greenwich with scorn, claiming that the streets were confusing, they got lost too easily “down there” and hence, wouldn’t show houses in such hinterlands. Like sharks smelling blood, those same agents have now followed their clients into the two neighborhoods and I suppose they’ve updated their GPS.

But trends in real estate are like any other and what’s in favor today may well shift tomorrow. I’m not saying that these areas will lose their allure for a certain set, just that the Greenwich market has never been all about Riverside, despite what you may read here.


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What happens when you elect a community organizer/teaching assistant to conduct world-wide diplomacy?

And I love you too, Boris. Nighty-night

Nothing good. Amateur Hour at the White House. Obama manages to alienate and anger our two closest allies, Mexico and Canada, in just one “White House Summit”. The Russians, on the other hand, think he’s great.

Oh, and no more cheap Canadian oil.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Obama the U.S. will have to pay market prices for its Canadian oil after Obama’s de facto veto of the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada is preparing to sell its oil to China.

Until now, NAFTA had shielded the U.S. from having to pay global prices for Canadian oil. That’s about to change.


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Big Brother is here and wants you to stay here so he can keep an eye on you.

AJ sent this along and at first I thought he was being a tad paranoid. Nope: IRS has slipped into the Highway Trust Fund Bill a provision to suspend the passport of any American citizen who the IRS claims owes more than $50,000 in taxes.

There is a new bill in Congress that is expected to pass that would allow the government to suspend your travel outside the country if you own taxes to the IRS.
Senate Bill 1813 (Highway trust fund), which was passed by the Senate  last week and is now pending in the House of Representatives contains a  provision that would allow the IRS to order the State Department to refuse to  grant, refuse to renew, revoke or restrict the passport of any US citizen which  the IRS certifies owes the IRS $50,000 or more in unpaid taxes. There is no  requirement that the tax payer be guilty of or even charged with tax evasion,  fraud, or any criminal offense – only that the citizen is alleged to owe the IRS  back taxes of $50,000 or more.

UPDATE: Here’s what Senator Carl Levin slipped into the bill:



March 1, 2012




N GENERAL.—If the Secretary receives

certification by the Commissioner of Internal

Revenue that any individual has a seriously

delinquent tax debt in an amount in

excess of $50,000, the Secretary shall transmit

such certification to the Secretary of

State for action with respect to denial, revocation,

or limitation of a passport pursuant

to section 4 of the Act entitled ‘An Act to

regulate the issue and validity of passports,

and for other purposes’, approved July 3, 1926

(22 U.S.C. 211a et seq.), commonly known as

the ‘Passport Act of 1926’.

‘‘(b) S


For purposes of this section, the term ‘seriously

delinquent tax debt’ means an outstanding

debt under this title for which a notice

of lien has been filed in public records

pursuant to section 6323 or a notice of levy

has been filed pursuant to section 6331, except

that such term does not include—

‘‘(1) a debt that is being paid in a timely

manner pursuant to an agreement under section

6159 or 7122, and

‘‘(2) a debt with respect to which collection

is suspended because a collection due process

hearing under section 6330, or relief under

subsection (b), (c), or (f) of section 6015, is requested

or pending


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Hope springs eternal in the Garden of Eden


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Same old, same old

Prominent Frenchman found naked and dead in a NYC hotel room. Okay, “dead” is a new wrinkle, but otherwise, what’s up with these guys (other than the obvious) and why do they come to New York to do the dirty?

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Fun this early in the morning!

Generate your own Bart Simpson chalkboard at this site.

1 Comment

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