Monthly Archives: July 2012

Do more evil

Twitter joined NBC for a commercial partnership covering the Olympics and has now terminated a journalist’s account for Twitting critical comments about NBC’s lousy coverage. On a much more trivial level, I experienced the same thing in 2007 when, in response to a complaint from the manager of Sotheby’s, that bastion of independent journalism Greenwich Post fired me. That turned out to be a wonderful thing because it forced me to devote time to this blog and increased my readership from 5,000 Greenwich readers, once a week, to 12,000 readers every day from around the world. I hope the Twitter victim enjoys the same luck.

But it’s still despicable.

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I could double my sales if I had one of these to use on difficult clients

This …

iPhone/stun gun. Neato. You know, there are just enough stories of female agents being lured to horrible deaths by predators posing as buyers that one of these might be a good idea. Myself, I rely on a M1911 Colt.45 , but it’s bulky, and creates a simply horrendous pantyhose line.

Or this

 

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Bidding wars return

20 Shore Road, Old Greenwich, asked $1.525 million, just sold for $1.550. Zillow estimate was for less, but Zillow doesn’t have the Old Greenwich/real estate market properly in its grasp.

24 Perna Lane

24 Perna, Riverside NoPo, asked $585,000, got $625,000. Perhaps the buyer saw it on Trulia, which estimates its value at $725,000, and thought he was getting a bargain.

In the non-bidding war department, just sold 8 Round Hill Road, 2.34 acres (R-2 zone) and a house, for $2.525 million. Not listed, but owners paid $2.5 for it in 2009. Nice land, great location, if I say so myself (as a rule, I don’t think it’s wise for sellers and buyers to have the same agent but in this case, I had buyers who wanted what my sellers no longer did, and it worked out well for both).

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With Mitt gone, Brits return to trashing their Olympic Committee

Unsold tickets, VIPs peddling their comps on the black-market, British Army brought in to fill seats.

I blame Bush.

“Look, there goes Romney!”

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Old Greenwich sale price reported

5 Indian Drive, $2.6 million. The sellers originally priced this at $3.295 million but accepted this much lower offer in less than fifty days, so kudos to them for quickly recognizing the market signals and adjusting their hopes accordingly. Had they done what so many sellers do and stuck to their guns despite all evidence to the contrary they’d have probably ended up selling it a year from now, for the same or even a lower price.

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No wonder Walt’s been so eagerly watching the Olympics

Hooker paces US to win over S. Korea

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Wells Fargo needs The Duke

Damn, they got the women AND the cash!

Cooling my heels waiting for Wells Fargo to fund a closing – this was supposed to be done on Friday but once again, the bank too big not to fail has screwed up. I never recommend the bank to clients because they take forever to approve loans (6 weeks is not at all unusual) and seem to operate on a business model that wrings as much float time as possible.

Or the indians attacked their stagecoach and made off with the loot but either way, they’re a difficult bank to deal with. Buyers tend to go for the lowest rate and often choose Fargo but if you consider that your loan will probably last just a couple of years, the teeny fraction of a point is insignificant, and the hassles of dealing with these people is huge.

I’m sure their lawyers would be pleased if I emphasized that my experience may differ from yours, so go ahead and grab that rate. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Accepted offer

7 Lighthouse Lane, Old Greenwich, asking $2.395 million. I thought this was a good house when I showed to clients last year. It didn’t sell then at $2.495 but I’d be surprised if it doesn’t fetch $2.3 and change now. Good location close to the beach, a nice dead-end and the house is in good shape – a few walls might be shifted here and there to tweak the layout but perfectly livable just as it is.

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Pelosi to Jews: All you people care about is money

Saturday our favorite Democrat complained that Jews were being exploited by Republicans, yesterday, she explained why she wants them back in the fold: so she and her pals can exploit them themselves.

They don’t really care about Israel, they just don’t want to pay higher taxes.

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Oh, not before the election!

Those readers with long memories will remember Obama’s killing the pipeline that would have brought Canadian oil to our country, a decision that was cheered by his mob. So Canada is cutting a $15 billion deal with China and will send the oil there, rather than here. Ooh! No no, we didn’t want anyone to use that Gaia-destroying fuel – you mean oil is fungible? Our choice is to have a secure source of oil or watch the Chinese burn it? Why didn’t anyone tell us?

So, sensing an election-year issue that’s going to hurt them, the Democrats, led by Mistress Gaia herself, Nancy Pelosi and “where’s the camera Chuck Schumer”, want to scuttle the deal.

In a draft letter to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), Sen. Schumer writes:

I respectfully urge you, in your capacity as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), to withhold approval of this transaction to ensure U.S. companies reciprocal treatment.

Similarly, Rep. Pelosi is now sounding alarms of concern.  In a statement, Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hamill said:

This deal prompts great concern about the Chinese government’s continued attempts to use its state-owned enterprises to acquire global energy resources.

Greens need not worry – once he’s reelected, Obummer will kill it again. This stick in the spokes is intended to keep the issue on the back burner until November and then it’ll be business as usual.

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Study: global warming is real and it’s caused by man

Hmm – well I haven’t read the study and certainly wouldn’t understand it if I did but the tone of its author is at least non-hysterical and she offers some interesting approaches to dealing with the problem. In fact, with more people like this, we could actually have an intelligent discussion, one not marred by conga drums, whistles and rabid denunciations of capitalism. That would cool things off all by itself.

The study was done by Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature, an organization of about a dozen scientists that I co-founded with my father, Richard Muller, in 2010 to investigate serious concerns raised by climate skeptics. These conclusions are stronger than those of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.N.-sponsored consensus group, which merely concluded that “most” of the warming of the past 50 years was human-caused.

If the greenhouse gases continue to be emitted at the recent rates, we could expect another 1.5 degree rise over the next 70 years – or over a much shorter time, if the growth in China’s emissions continues on its current course.

While all the increase to date can be attributed to human greenhouse gas emissions, mostly in developed countries, what is to come will be caused by increased emissions in developing countries. China’s emissions overtook U.S. emissions in 2006. China now is expected to have twice our emissions by the end of 2012. Other developing countries are also emitting more greenhouse gases as their economies grow.

We can’t stand in the way of development. These countries must tackle urgent challenges in education and health. To combat global warming, we need solutions that are low cost. One of the first steps should be to encourage a switch to natural gas from coal in developing countries. In parallel, we need to increase energy efficiency worldwide.

Coal is one of the dirtiest sources of energy, producing more than twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas. Many developing countries still use coal as a primary source of energy. China has been adding a new gigawatt of coal energy every week. But China and other large developing countries also have big reserves of natural gas.

Though some environmentalists still oppose fracking, this technology has helped to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the United States as we decommission coal plants and use more natural gas. As suggested by Richard Muller in “Energy for Future Presidents,” the same can happen in developing countries. By shifting to natural gas from coal, they could reduce emissions by 50 percent or more.

Investing in energy conservation can yield 20 percent per year or more – tax free. But people don’t always make choices that are the most economical. We put off installing insulation; we leave our appliances on. According to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the United States wastes 58 percent of its energy.

Many people wrongly regard conservation as demanding sacrifices and a lower cost of living. Not true: In the United States, almost without trying, we have reduced the energy it takes to produce $1 of economic activity (GDP) by about 1 percent per year over the past 100 years. There have been times, such as the 1970s oil crisis, when energy efficiency has improved by as much as 4 percent per year. We can do more than 1 percent.

The climate debate has suffered greatly from exaggerators – people who believe they are helping spur action by distorting facts. We need to be properly skeptical of all solutions proposed for global warming.

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Easy to do when your opponents have fled the court

Dégager! Zay have zee ball!

USA whups French basketball team.

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Horse, cart in front of department

Following hard on the footsteps of those reporters who find it mystifying  that, “despite drop in crime, prisons are full”, Business Insider comes up with its own gem.

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Hope and change

 

No mas

NYT: Looming shortage of doctors as Obamacare expands. Restrict physician’s pay, strangle them with paperwork yet oddly enough, fewer young people are choosing to attend medical school and older ones are retiring. Of course, since these people owe their very existence to society, Obama and his minions can simply demand that the oldsters keep working and would-be investment bankers enroll in medical school instead. Problem solved.

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Will no one rid us of this turbulent priest?

Have a slug of Similac, dear

Mayor Mike has now ordered hospitals to keep infant formula under lock and key to encourage mothers to breast feed. Pro or con the ol’ sip at the nipple, is there any area of life, no matter how small, no matter how personal, that Bloomberg doesn’t want to control?

The current mayor wants to force citizens to do as he thinks best, the next mayor demands we think as she does.  Together, they provide a scary look at the future.

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Government waste

In 2004 Californians passed a “millionaires’ tax” : 1% surcharge on top incomes to pay for treatment of mental illness. How’s that worked out? Exactly as you’d expect – money down a rat hole.

Voters approved Proposition 63, the so-called “millionaire’s tax,” in 2004 to make up for decades of mental health cuts. The ballot summary said it would “expand services and develop innovative programs” for the mentally ill and the text of the measure stipulated 20 percent of the funds would go to programs “effective in preventing mental illnesses from becoming severe” and “reducing the duration of untreated severe mental illnesses.”

$7.4 billion collected, billions spent on stuff like this:

The state has approved spending on acupuncture, art and drama classes, sweat lodges for American Indians, parenting courses for Spanish-speakers and massage chairs for students in Southern California. More than two dozen counties have spent money on anti-bullying programs and several have used it to fund horseback riding therapy, including a $944,843 program in Kings County.

Fresno County spent $315,000 on gardens for Hmong refugees. In San Francisco, Proposition 63 money pays for city workers with mental illness in their families to attend lunchtime yoga classes.

For three years, the Department of Mental Health paid someone $76,000 a year to work from home and recruit celebrities to promote a Proposition 63 anti-stigma campaign. The position, which also included interacting with local law enforcement, was cut in 2011 after the state auditor’s office determined it had been a waste of public funds.

Ron Henninger, former chairman of the Santa Clara Mental Health Department, said such spending means people with real mental illness have been “left on their own.”

“It’s almost like they were propping up other areas of the county with Prop 63 funds instead of directly taking care of the sick people,” he said.

 

The point here is not that government spending needs to be more carefully monitored, it’s that government spending is by definition the spending of someone else’s money on other people and thus no one cares how it is spent or where it goes. You can’t do anything about that, you can only stop feeding it. Starve the government.

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From the next mayor of NYC

The Great Leap Forward

The Cultural Revolution lands in New York

“We find the remarks made by Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy to be repugnant and un-American,” writes Quinn in a petition she put up on Change.org. “In New York City, we stand up against intolerance and homophobia. We demand the Chick-fil-A executive apologize and change his position.”

Think about that for just a minute: “we demand the Chick-fil-A executive change his position”! This position – opposition to gay marriage – was the position held by the President of the United States less than six months ago. Now it will not be tolerated at all, and its expression calls for a public confession of error?

Councilman Christine Quinn is not just your run-of-the-mill lesbo whack job from New York City, she is widely expected to win the upcoming mayoral race and will be running the city next year. Will she shut down all stores operated by orthodox Jews, who consider homosexuality to be “an abomination”? Will she close the local falafel stands, run by muslims who consider homosexuality to be not only a sin but worse, a crime? Whose religion demands that homosexuals receive a “harsh beating” the first time they are caught in flagrante delicto and executed the second?

Perhaps she will, in which case we should see some fascinating law suits occupying her Honor’s time during the next few years. My guess, however, is that she will not – in NYC, only conservative Christians are politically powerless.

Sad to see, by the way, that the little brainwashed children who attend NYU have joined Quinn in her assault on free speech.

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He’d have made even more money had he also invented the Dust-Buster

William Staub, inventor of the home treadmill, dies at 96.

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The sad part is that Obama thinks he’s doing black kids a favor

Obama backs race-based school discipline.

President Barack Obama is backing a controversial campaign by progressives to regulate schools’ disciplinary actions so that members of major racial and ethnic groups are penalized at equal rates, regardless of individuals’ behavior.

His July 26 executive order established a government panel to promote “a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools.”

See if you can follow the connection between that policy and this accompanying policy statement:

“African Americans lack equal access to highly effective teachers and principals, safe schools, and challenging college-preparatory classes, and they disproportionately experience school discipline,” said the order, titled “White House Initiative On Educational Excellence.”

Refusing to discipline thugs will produce “highly effective teachers”? “Safe schools”? Challenging college-preparatory classes”? How?

I have a friend, a “highly effective teacher” who grew up on a Mid-western farm wrestling steers, who felt her calling was working with black kids in the inner city. She abandoned that calling after having her eye socket crushed by one very large teen-aged male and, after she’d recovered and returned, her jaw broken by an 8th Grade girl twice her size and twice as strong. Forget the teacher: how are the peers of these savage young “students” supposed to learn if they’ve terrorized and beaten every day?

I can’t even imagine Obama’s agenda here – it simply makes no sense.

 

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Heh again

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