Monthly Archives: May 2012

The war on women continues

Democrats kill bill banning selective-sex abortions. The mothers killing their fetus are killing girls, not boys, yet the Democrats see nothing wrong with the practice. Yes, of course this is just a political ploy to embarrass Democrats, but it’s embarrassing only because it brings into the spotlight the exact implications of the Democrat’s “if it breeds it bleeds” philosophy.

Would they object if the don’wannabemomies were offing boys? Who knows, but this does tend to undercut the war on women meme. I mean, Romney may (arguably) want to pay them less but he doesn’t want to kill them. At least he doesn’t want to do that.


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Name that party!

Get away from me with those handcuffs!

Bloggers have long had fun pointing out that when a Republican politician runs afoul of the law his party affiliation is always prominently mentioned in the first sentence of any  press coverage of the matter while readers/viewers/listeners will search in vain for any such identification when it’s a Democrat ensnared in the honey pot.

Today’s news that Connecticut’s Speaker of the House Chris Donovan has been selling his office is no exception. I first heard the story on Connecticut Public Radio and noticed that the reporter stayed mum on which party Donovan might happen to belong to. And as you’ll see from the linked-to Greenwich Time article, our local rag follows mainstream media’s SOP. (UPDATE: the link now goes to the FBI’s arrest affidavit and not the GT story. Check back later and maybe it will reappear)

As an aside, it baffles me why these pols sell themselves so cheap. Donovan killed a bill that would have heavily taxed “roll your own” cigarette stores for a measly $10,000. So they save millions while he pockets chump change? Of course Donovan has the opportunity to kill or advance hundreds of laws in every legislative session so he can repeat that $10,000 extortion repeatedly, but I’d still think he could have held out for more. You sell your services too cheaply and every schmo on the block will figure he can buy a legislator too.

And that would disrupt the carefully orchestrated beauty of our legislative body.


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So who’s surprised?

Drug makers promised to run massive advertising blitz for Obamacare in exchange for Democrats’ promise to block Republican proposals the druggies didn’t like.  I wouldn’t expect a different result had the Republicans been in power and pushing an agenda. The problem here is the huge scope and grasp of the federal government and hence its power to reward its friends and punish its enemies.


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More sale prices reported

These went to contract a month or so ago or longer so they don’t speak to the current market (which is dead) but just for your information:


One Farwell

1 Farwell Lane, $5.050 million.  This started out as a house and 12 acres way back in 2005 asking $12.650 million. Five brokers and 1,201 days later it expired unsold. it came back in 2008, trimmed down to 6 acres, at $6.495 and after four more years, sold for $5. All small things come to those that wait.

Speaking of small things, 14 Tait Road, new construction in Old Greenwich, sold for $2.925 on an asking price of $2.995. One-quarter acre, a one car garage plus a FARport and only 3,000 square feet, including the basement. five bedrooms if you don’t mind sticking your Filipino below ground.

38 Byfield, asking $2 million, sold for $1.8 even. I liked this house a lot, and if someone were to spend a little money changing the facade to match the very attractive interior, I think they’d be repaid. There was an opportunity to buy this for even less awhile ago but you’ve got to time your bid – don’t dawdle – and come in high enough to get the seller to commit rather than look around for a higher bid. Just saying.


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Bidding war

I went out looking for land in Riverside this morning and attended the open house for 19 Hidden Brook, 0.4 acre, R-12, asking $1.495, that just came on. I thought that was a fair price but the agent told me they’d already received 21 offers and were going to sealed bids this afternoon. Lot of pent-up demand for new housing in Riverside.

On the other hand, some other open houses I saw aren’t going anywhere fast. One was offering a gift certificate to whoever came closest to predicting its ultimate selling price, but the gap between what the owner is asking and what I think it’s worth is so wide that it will be a year or more before it sells – who wants to wait a year for a gift certificate?

Another house was, I thought, quite nice, and I figured that it would probably sell close to its asking price, so long as that price was under $2 million. Imagine my surprise when I picked up the listing sheet and discovered it was priced at $4. I might be wrong in my valuation but I’m pretty sure I’m not $2 million wrong.


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Rampant corruption, no court system or rule of law, punitive, retroactive taxes on foreign investment: Just bad luck, I guess

India’s growth collapses, lowest in a decade.


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This could get him drummed out of the Democrat Party

“And that’s the way it is ….”

From the comments section to an earlier post on affirmative action comes this observation by the (soon-to-be-former) Chairman of the Greenwich Democrats. Have a nice stay in the re-education camp, Frank.

Hey Chris, aren’t Hasidic Jews white males? Last I checked, European descended people are. Or are you instead affirming that only hard working white males who pay their taxes and follow the rules, and don’t identify with a religious group or a particular ethnicity or social group don’t get special favors?

When, after the Tet offensive, Walter Cronkite denounced the Vietnam war during an evening broadcast, Lyndon Johnson is said to have admitted defeat to an aide, saying “if we’ve lost Cronkite, we’ve lost the war”. Could this be a Cronkite moment in the Democrat Party’s war on white men?

UPDATE: Talk about coincidence: “The Cronkite ‘Moment’ exploded”. Oh well, maybe this will be known as “the Fudrucker Moment”


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Sale prices reported

502 Cognewaugh, $3.7 million. Yes, this started out a looong time ago at $5.250 million so $1.550 off original list seems like a lot, but sometimes buyers are a bit addled by high start prices and mistake a realistic price for a bargain.

Which I suppose argues for setting that first price in the stratosphere, as long as you’re willing to sit on the property for a couple of years. There’s a Greenwich broker who’s done this for decades, with huge success.

60 cat Rock

And here’s a surprise, to me: 60 Cat Rock Road, a 1980’s contemporary with no mention f any renovations or improvements since it was constructed sold for $1.850, very close to its asking price of $1.995 million. I remind myself as I drive through town and look at houses that hold no particular appeal to me that, if someone lives there, someone’s opinion was different enough from mine to convince him to buy it. And since there are no deserted homes in Greenwich (very few, anyway), it’s obvious that my taste, and that of everyone else, is entirely personal.


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What bothers me is that this won’t bother others.

Mayor Bloomberg now wants to dictate what size iced tea you can buy. I personally don’t drink soda – I just don’t like it – but I hate the ever-expanding encroachment on even small personal liberties. We can’t buy working light bulbs, we can’t use plastic bags, we buckle in before driving, don helmets before riding bikes and on and on and on. All those who derided Chief Justice  Robert’s question during the Obamacare argument, wondering whether the government can force people to buy broccoli now know better. Not that they’ll care.

The Times reports, “The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.”

RELATED: Bloomberg endorses Charles Rangel, Slurpee poster boy. Rangel is Bloomberg’s kind of politician. ‘Nuff said.


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Fake but accurate?

Dan Rather says Hugo Chavez is on death’s door. To be honest, I’d thought Dan was co-hosting with Mike Wallace somewhere other than here on earth but I guess not. Nice to contemplate Chavez joining Mike in the broadcast booth, however.


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Just wait until Obama joins Betsy as a member of the tribe


Sorry, guy, but that’s Betsy’s bingo board

Martha’s Vineyard “Wampanoag Indians” present plan for casino at Gay Head. Locals don’t want it and voted it down in a non-binding referendum but like Connecticut’s own casinos, this has nothing to do with the law or local sentiment and everything to do with (Malaysian) money.


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His reach extends from Davey Jones’ locker

I got MY wind power, fella, so screw you

From EOS comes this story from the Vineyard: Solar wind farm area off Hyannis is cut again. Originally 3,000 square miles, the feds cut the area that wind turbines could be installed to 1,200 and now its sliced it again, in order, they say, to save sea ducks. More cuts to follow as the save the whales movement weighs in.

Which neatly illustrates my point that the non-fossil fuel crowd has no intention or desire to see alternative energy sources replace what they’re destroying. “The World Without Us” is more than a book, it’s a dream.


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Stop digging


So Sioux me

Elizabeth Warren – I was the first woman in the world to suckle my child at the bar.


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Heck, I could have told them this

And in fact, I did38 Carriglea in Riverside has now dropped its price to $2.995 million from a February start price of $3.995. While it is true that the same one acre on Carriglea waterfront sells for $5 million, that does nothing for a non-waterfront building lot, and the fact that this property is listed as both a residence and a land parcel is acknowledgment that 1972 contemporaries add nothing of value to this land (even though, to my eye, it looks like a very appealing house – get it for free!).

Nothing else of interest to report on as of 3:00, except that the highest-priced new listing is $649,000.


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Housing recovery coming?

Freddy NAR says, rush right down to your Realtor’s office!

I spoke this morning with a friend who’s writing a piece for Wall Street 24/7 and he’s concluded, based on national data, that the recovery is underway. We both have our statistics and arguments but perhaps our main disagreement came on a non-real estate  issue: the pending collapse of Europe and thus the American economy. He discounts that possibility, I don’t.

And if the mark of a man’s intelligence is the extent to which he agrees with you, here’s a piece from a true genius, who thinks the housing recovery is a chimera and is due for (a further) collapse. 


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1/10 1%er Kerry still owes taxes on his $7 million yacht


But Betsy told me birchbark canoes were tax-exempt!

And it’s back in tax-friendly Newport.


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Hot Tuna? Not even the Cowsills

As seen on television!

Radioactive bluefin tuna makes a great media dish but there’s no “there’ there. NPR’s science editor Richard Harris, the last best reporter on government radio, weighs in with what the national press won’t tell its readers: the trace amounts of Japanese nuclear material has no health significance – naturally occurring radioactivity already in bluefins is 30X greater.

Fisher says they weren’t actually worried about radioactive cesium as a health risk. They tested the flesh, “mostly just to see if it we could detect it, and we were quite surprised, I must say. We did not expect to see this radioactivity retained by the fish during their trans-Pacific voyage, which we estimates takes from three to four months.”

Yes, radiation in seafood seems scary. But here’s the catch (if you pardon the expression). Tuna, like every other food on the planet, already contains naturally occurring radiation. It has potassium-40 and polonium-210. It always has and it always will. In addition, seafood in general contains a trace of cesium-137 left over from nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s.

So the question is, how much more radiation did these particular tuna fish contain? The answer is: A trivial amount. In fact, radiation from the cesium is 30 times less than the radiation that’s already in the fish naturally in the form of potassium-40, according to the research paper. And the natural polonium-210 packs a radiation dose 200 times larger than the dose from the cesium.

Really, the result is a testament to how well scientists can now measure tiny amounts of radiation. And of course it’s a remarkable lesson in how wildlife can be traced using accidental “tags” instead of using the labor-intensive plastic ones.

If you are still worried about the cesium from Fukushima, Robert Emery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston says you’d need to eat 2.5 to 4 tons of tuna in a year to get a dose of cesium-137 that exceeds health limits. That’s a lot of sushi.

Yes, bluefin is used primarily for sushi. And, much of the Pacific bluefin tuna that’s caught off the coast of Mexico and Southern California is shipped right back across the ocean, to be sold at the lucrative seafood markets — in Japan.

This media frenzy isn’t, I don’t believe, part of some vast conspiracy to make people fear their food but rather just a typical example of how mass media treats scientific news: in 3o-second sound bites. The trouble is, thirty seconds exhausts most people’s attention span so that’s the beginning and end of their education. Witness, just as an example, the shut down of Eastern Middle School a few years ago when a classroom thermometer broke and spilled a tiny blob of mercury on the floor. no mere wiping up the spill with a Bounty towel, no sir, not when children’s lives are at stake. We had HazMat teams, yellow police tape and kids sent home from school, where presumably they could toss a burned-out, mercury-laden CFL bulb into the trash. Ain’t stupidity grand?


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And you thought I was paranoid

Sierra Club shifts its sights to natural gas. The object of the green movement, as I’ve argued for years, is to shut down the western world’s economy and has nothing to do with cleaner air or water. So the Sierra Club endorsed natural gas (and accepted millions of dollars in donations from the energy industry) when it was trying to kill coal and nuclear energy plants – “we aren’t against affordable energy per se”, the greens argued, and used their support of natural gas as proof of their good intentions.

But that was when natural gas was expensive; now that shale gas has arrived and the price has dropped by half, now that they’ve killed coal plants and nuclear energy, natural gas no longer serves a useful purpose as a stalking horse and it must go.

The battle plan is called “Beyond Natural Gas,” and Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune announced the goal in an interview with the National Journal this month: “We’re going to be preventing new gas plants from being built wherever we can.” The big green lobbying machine has rolled out a new website that says “The natural gas industry is dirty, dangerous and running amok” and that “The closer we look at natural gas, the dirtier it appears; and the less of it we burn, the better off we will be.” So the goal is to shut the industry down, not merely to impose higher safety standards.

This is no idle threat. The Sierra Club has deep pockets funded by liberal foundations and knows how to work the media and politicians. The lobby helped to block new nuclear plants for more than 30 years, it has kept much of the U.S. off-limits to oil drilling, and its “Beyond Coal” campaign has all but shut down new coal plants. One of its priorities now will be to make shale gas drilling anathema within the Democratic Party.


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Hopey changey and the war on terror

According to the New York Times, Obummer not only insists on name-by-name control over which terrorist will be dispatched to Allah, he brings his top political adviser David Axelrod into the “top secret” meetings where such things are decided. So (a), maximum security authorization has been given to a political flack who currently runs the Obama reelection campaign, and (b), the decision of who among our enemies stays and who leaves this mortal coil has been converted to a political one.

Obama is not only an amateur hopelessly over his head, he’s rapidly becoming a danger to our country. Wonder how that will poll?


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Do you remember when Obama was described as clean and articulate? let’s hope he’s still bathing, anyway.

The Obama administration is beginning to sound as discombobulated as that other Harvard personality Elizabeth Warren. Here, for instance, is Obama’s mouthpiece explaining the difference between Solyndra and Bain Capital today:

Reporter: Last thing. If that’s the argument, how is that different from Romney’s argument on Bain Capital, which is that many succeeded and a few failed?

Carney: Look, there, there, there is the… the difference in that… your overall view of what your responsibilities are as president, and what your view of the economic future is. And, and the president believes, as he’s made clear, that a president’s responsibility is not just to, uh… those who win, but those who, for an example, in a company where there have been layoffs or a company that has gone bankrupt, that, you know, we have to make sure that those folks have the means to find other employment, that they have the ability to train for other kinds of work, and that’s part of the overall responsibility the president has.


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