Daily Archives: July 12, 2012

Forget death panels, Britain’s figured out how to streamline the process

Kills 1,000 patients a month by delivering poor care in hospital. Less paperwork this way.

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What could be fairer?

British homeowners to pay 10% premium on insurance to bail out their peers who bought in flood zones. Democracy in action: take from the wise and cautious and give to the foolish. Obaminsurance crosses the Pond.

Thousands of properties have been flooded with insurers estimating the cost of repairs at hundreds of millions of pounds.

Now the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, has disclosed she is in talks with the insurance industry about a scheme which could add 10 per cent to an average family’s bill.

She is proposing a levy, which could be in place within months, that would apply to all home insurance policies in an attempt to raise enough money to cover damage in the aftermath of severe flooding, which can reach billions of pounds in insurance claims.

Critics claimed the proposal represented a “stealth tax” and said it was unfair that those “sensible enough” to live outside areas which flood should pay more.

To quote FWIW’s own 3DB, those critics are “prioritizing their own self-interests above the interests of other people.” How awful.


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Harry Reid: “Bring back nude Olympics!”


Who needs Lauren when we have Reid?

The old Mormon reveals a lusty side.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said when asked by ABC News today, “If they have to wear nothing but a symbol that says USA on it, painted by hand, that is what they should wear.”

I think it’s a grand idea – have you seen some of our girl swimmers? Ratings through the roof, guaranteed.


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Got (canned) milk?



Back to the future

Huge solar flare detected – coming our way?

Probably not, but sooner, not later, we’re in for a collapse of our entire power grid that will last for months, and won’t that be fun?

How is the Department of Homeland Security addressing this threat? Well it’s stepped up its breast fondling and baby diaper finger dipping at airports but otherwise, eh, It’s doing nothing. To be fair, there’s probably nothing practical it can do, but I’m beginning to wonder whether I shouldn’t stock up on freeze-dried staples and yes, Zombie bullets. From the Washington Post:

The electric power grid is vulnerable

[T]here is no actionable plan in place to prevent the shutdown of much of the nationwide electric power grid. And while studies and emergency response exercises have examined/rehearsed possible response strategies, there is no operational plan to recover nationally from the immediate and longer term impacts of a significant solar storm on the electric power supply and most other technology-based systems we take for granted.


Directly or indirectly, a geomagnetic storm today (and foreseeable future) would likely include widespread and long-term disruptions on transportation and commerce, agriculture and food stocks, medical facilities, satellite-based communication and navigation systems, national security, etc.

While the threat is relatively small (perhaps 12% over the next decade) the potential impacts on life as we know it are clearly tremendous. Experts repeatedly make the point that the question is not if, but when (as, for example, major earthquake).

Are we ready even for these sorts of lesser than end-of-life-as-we know it disaster? Not likely


On the political side, it doesn’t take the proverbial rocket scientist to recognize that budget issues dominate across the board from cities, states, to the national government. No doubt billions of dollars would be required to set up and implement a national plan to prepare for a widespread and long-term disaster scenario. It would involve expanding and augmenting by a factor of probably at least several hundred the existing capabilities to deal with local disasters, such as those resulting from hurricane landfalls, floods, and tornadoes. In fact, even if expense were not an issue, there seemed to be no inkling of just how you could scale up dealing with a local disaster to a widespread, long-term, multifaceted national (and possibly international) disaster.

A major problem with protecting the national power grid is that it consists of 2100 high voltage transformers run by an assortment of 5000 or so independent entities. [Protecting those transformers]  has lacked support owing to legal and business constraints by these 5000 entities in competition with one another. It probably goes without saying that politicians are not going to enter that fray. Nor would they be willing to budget the much greater expense of acquiring and storing backup high voltage transformers.


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Ah, I can hardly wait for the total collapse of what was once termed “higher education”

3DB ponders the “what if”: “three points lower on my IQ test and I could have been a perfesser!”

In an attempt to bail out its Western State University, Washington state raised student tuition 16%, beginning this coming semester. The faculty and administration acknowledged that gift by immediately granting themselves an 18% increase in salaries plus 10% for anyone promoted and still another 15% for all department chairmen.

The governor is not pleased but the University is unrepentant:

[Governor] Gregoire writes that she and the Legislature did not intend for higher student tuition to lead to “significant salary increases for faculty” and is “perplexed” at how the school thinks it can afford them. Responding on “Bruce’s Blog,” [University President] Shepherd praises his colleagues’ “heroic” efforts in weathering the economic realities. He celebrates the contract, saying it represents the “courage and leadership these difficult times demand.” But he doesn’t address the affordability question. Efforts to cast the contract as a duel between tuition and faculty salaries, he dismisses as “pernicious … rhetorical hyperbole.”


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What will Brunswick students do?

Just don’t tell anyone it’s your sister’s

Che Guevara T shirts banned at British Olympics. Are they out of their friggin’ minds? I’m sure Three Dollar Bill can adjust and find a Pol Pot tutu or Mao jacket to cover his scrawny torso, but how is the hip Brunswick boy to show his radical rejection of all things decent? I mean, harsh bud, dude.


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Sale price reported

10 Martin Dale, $2.125 million. Owner originally asked $3.295 and I laughed at him, but he forgave me and we got the job done (brother Gideon’s listing but yes, there were several other potential buyers along the way).

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Open house results

4 Middle Way in Lucas Point is pretty nifty, even at $5.1 million. Still gorgeous after a century and brought up to date with charm and quality. The yard will probably not appeal to a young family: there is none, as it’s been transformed into gardens, koi pond and a pool. You could, if you insist, dig up the beautiful specimen plantings and create a play area (why bother? Your kids will be inside playing video games or away at travel ball anyway) but if you do that you could ensure a warm welcome from your new neighbors by inviting them to come over and dig up what you don’t want. $100,000 or so of free plantings will endear you to the wiser people around you.

I saw another house (whose identity shall be omitted to protect the foolish) that was nicely updated and in good condition on a pretty good street. I thought it would be worth sending its listing to some clients of mine who are looking in the $1, $1.1 range but when I got to the kitchen where the listing information was I saw that it’s been priced at $1.5. Maybe it will sell for that much, but I’m not bothering to mention it to my buyers. I think it’s a stupid price.


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Just an observation

Riverside Dog Walker?

Driving around town, I’ve realized that many adults walk their dogs themselves and leave it to the nanny to push the kids around in their strollers later in the day. Nothing like a whiny brat to ruin a good stroll, I suppose.


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Sale and a price cut, two bits!

Unit #78, 51 Forest Avenue (Old Greenwich Gables), a one bedroom, sold for $535,000. Seller paid $662,500 for it in 2008. Oops.

56 Old Church Road

56 Old Church Road, a 1905 house on 13,000 sq.ft. of land, has been reduced again and is now priced at $2.999 million. Better than the $3.750 it asked when it first came on in 2008 but that’s like saying for a fat girl, she doesn’t sweat much. If anything has been done to this house since it was built 107 years ago it must have happened during (Teddy) Roosevelt’s administration. So what’s a building lot worth?

UPDATE: 32 Tomac Avenue, Old Greenwich, is reported sold (April contract) for $1.8 million, bid up from its asking price of $1.785.


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Off to (a few) open houses

Nothing new or of interest except for a handful (4) of houses in Riverside and Old Greenwich, so we’ll be back soon.


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Sad story, bad news for the house

15 Horseshoe Road in Cos Cob is up for sale. The owner’s death is a sad tale of Wall Street money being spent with abandon and when no money was left, failing to realize that there was still something to live for.

Someone will probably be willing to overlook the circumstances of why this property is available but I suspect it will suffer the same fate as the house Andy Kissel was murdered in up on Dairy Road: tear-down. Unfortunately for this man’s estate, the land itself, carved from ledge, won’t fetch what two acres on Dairy Road did.

And the mortgage debt outstanding is going to complicate things further.


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Accepted offer in Riverside

11 Wilmot Lane, asking $1.390 (started at $1.429 two months ago). It was also for rent but it’s the sale listing that’s being reported and that’s what I assume is selling. Owners paid $1.3 million for this in May, 2010 so while they probably won’t make money, after transaction costs, but they should end up with a just-about-free rental for two years, which isn’t bad, these days. And no RR parking fee!

I like Wilmot, proximity to train tracks notwithstanding, and this is a good house for its price.


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When something can’t continue …

We’ll end up looking like Spain. Welfare state run amok.

The original purpose of Medicaid was to provide improved healthcare access for poor people, while not turning the safety net into a trap. Under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Medicaid will be greatly expanded beyond what Congress originally intended.

In fact, as these charts show, it has already expanded beyond what Congress surely originally envisioned and, in the process, has created a terrible fiscal problem for the United States. (These charts and graphics come from a briefing today here at AEI, conducted by Gary Alexander, secretary of public welfare for Pennsylvania.)

A few scary factoids:

– In the 1960s, there were 18 workers per Medicaid recipient. Today that number is 2.5.

– The number of Americans on disability has risen 19% faster than jobs created during this recovery.

– There are just 1.2 private sector workers per 1 person on welfare or working for government.

– There are now just 1.65 employed persons in private sector per 1 person on welfare assistance.

Go to the link if you want to view the charts that show this in a graphic form more easily understood by Democrats.


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Yeah, I’ve noticed this meme for at least ten years now

The media has its marching orders and all news is filtered accordingly.

IT’S ALL THE FAULT OF THAT EVIL SUV! “Scott wrote here about the appalling case of a 16-year-old St. Paul girl, Clarisse Grime, who was sitting in the grass at her high school, nowhere near the street, when she was struck and killed by a vehicle that careened out of control and bounced off a fire hydrant. The vehicle was driven by an illegal immigrant who has been in Minnesota for ten years without ever having a driver’s license. He was known to local authorities, having been convicted of drunk driving in 2001 and driving without a license just a few months ago. But the immigration laws are not enforced in St. Paul. So today, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on Miss Grime’s funeral. This was the paper’s headline: ‘St. Paul teen killed by SUV remembered at her funeral.’ Killed by SUV? That doesn’t really seem to be the salient point.”

Check it out, if you haven’t already: every accident reported by the media involving a four-wheel-drive vehicle, no matter how small, is described as involving a “SUV”. No such distinction is made for, say, muscle cars or Priuses or even Porsches because they don’t fit into the guidelines. I think this says more about the mindset of reporters than anything particularly conspiratorial, they just get an indoctrinational concept in their mind and subconsciously apply it to everything they write.


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