Daily Archives: August 15, 2012

Mystery solved





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Well here’s a big duh

Heavy equipment manufacturers surprised that China market has dried up.

Construction-equipment makers that pinned much of their hopes for sales growth on China this year have been left high and dry.

Investment from companies including Caterpillar Inc.,Volvo AB and Komatsu Ltd., has poured into China in recent years. But the country has cut back on infrastructure projects, leading to weak demand for new equipment. Slowing economic gains, reduced government spending on construction and higher interest rates have all hurt sales.

“No growth story lasts forever,” said Julian Bu, an analyst at Jefferies & Co.

Deere’s quarterly sales of farm and construction machinery outside of the U.S. and Canada were flat with a year ago.”The demand side in China has just collapsed,” said Charles Yengst, president of U.S. machinery forecasting and consulting firm Yengst Associates Inc.

The chance of such a hard fall seemed remote a year ago. China’s recovery from the 2008 recession was the envy of world. The country’s gross domestic product soared with big government investments in highways, airports, power plants and other infrastructure that drove demand for construction machinery and other capital equipment.

“Remote”? To whom? You know there’s trouble when a pessimistic little blogger in Riverside can predict the unsustainability of a place like China years ahead of the “experts” manufacturers rely on.

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Good gracious, where were these teachers when we were young?

Texas teacher on trial for having sex with four of her students, simultaneously. This being, as our VP points out, the 20th Century, one of the boys videotaped the party with his cellphone.


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A story we can all enjoy, but especially Walt

Queens of Mean: Janet Napolitano w/ Kyrsten Sinema

Lesbians, including Janet Napolitano on top, sexual harassment of males, a frat house atmosphere, law suits and now, resignation of ICE’s chief of staff  Suzanne Barr. And all this before the depositions have even started. Soooee.


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Bubbles – which one bursts next?

The madness of crowds

Interesting article here in the Strategist Blog on new bubbles that might be forming, from the aerospace industry to Facebook to higher education. I’m glad that the author starts off with a reference to Charles Mackay’s “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”, first published in 1841 and still in print. My father introduced that work to me when I was a wee lad, along with Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, which advocated raising Irish babies for food so that the Micks could have a cash crop. If you’ve been wondering how to raise a cynical smart ass starting when he’s ten, I have an entire childhood reading list to suggest to you, courtesy of the Commander.


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I think his hair plugs are too tight


Buggy whips? Yeah, we got a subsidy for that

Trying (and succeeding once again) to win the Dan Quayle “Mr. Potato (e) Head of the Week Award, Joe Biden tries his hand at encouraging former slaves:

‘Folks, where’s it written we cannot lead the world in the 20th century in making automobiles?,” said Biden.


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InstaPundit Management Theory

Makes sense to me:

THE ECONOMIST: The Sad Demise Of The Three-Martini Lunch. “This may be short-sighted. Another recent paper from the journal Consciousness and Cognition by psychologists at the University of Illinois confirms what many have long suspected: a couple of drinks makes workers more creative. Tipsy employees, they say, find it hard to focus on a task, but this makes them more likely to come up with innovative ideas. This may help to explain the success of Silicon Valley, one of the last workplaces in America where hard and soft drinks still jostle for space in the company fridge.”

I think American business did better back in the days of the executive three-martini lunch. Back then, managers were only active and alert for half the day; that meant that in the afternoon, workers could get stuff done unmolested. Today’s mineral-water-and-jogging managers are able to interfere all day long.

Posted at 2:04 pm by Glenn Reynolds 


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Whatever’s going round, it’s contagious

Freeze, granny!

Not to be outdone by the weather service and the Department of Windmills, now the Social Security Administration is stocking its own shelves with high power ammunition.


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I don’t think the economics of these things work for anyone but the business itself

Bridgewater headquarters, Stamford  (Photo by GAR  – may not be accurate)

Hedge fund Bridgewater Associates bringing its corporate headquarters and 1,000 new jobs to South Stamford. I have a client who works for Bridgewater and I’m delighted to learn that his commute to Westport may get shorter in a few years, but I’m not so happy for the state giveaway to what is, after all, the world’s largest and most profitable fund.

In exchange for a forgivable $25 million construction loan at a rate of 1 percent for a term of 10 years; a job-training grant of up to $5 million; $5 million for the installation of alternative energy systems; and up to $80 million in Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment Tax Credits, Bridgewater will be required to create as many as 1,000 new jobs over the next 10 years

Maybe that’s a great deal for taxpayers, I don’t know, but every study I’ve read (lightly) indicates that states don’t make back what they give away to lure jobs. I hope this proves the exception.


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So who’s building the $2 million Bat Cave?

No wonder he wants privacy

GT reported and now it’s been picked up by a sister publication, someone in Greenwich is supposedly spending $2 million for his own bat cave in a new mansion. I had Peter Tesei figured as the film buff but I’m not sure even his new house is large enough to accommodate the thing.

So who is it? Any suggestions or ideas? Feel free to guess.


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Slow days for real estate

But downtown Greenwich almost reminds me of the town it was forty years ago (almost). Plenty of parking, almost no traffic and Town Hall is deserted: your women and cattle are safe, at least for now.

21 Roosevelt

21 Roosevelt Avenue in Old Greenwich reports an accepted offer after just a short time on the market. It asked $1.895, down a bit from 2007 when it sold new for $2.125 million. Not too much house here: 2,692 square feet, 3 bedrooms and a one-car FARport. But there’s a fourth bedroom and bath in the basement and what else can you do with an undersized, 0.17 acre lot? For relatively new construction, this probably is about all you’ll find, at this price.

1 Highgate

Down in Riverside’s Harbor Point Association, One Highgate has taken yet another price reduction and is now asking $2.750 million, down a bunch from its original price of $3.895. It sold for $3.225 million in 2005 and the buyer sunk a considerable amount into improvements and an addition, so there’s some value here. But a 1960 house remains, alas, a 1960 house. But a decent house and an excellent neighborhood.

7 Hendrie Drive is new to the market, asking $2.650 million for a tear down on Ole’s Creek, with 0.84 acres in the R-12 zone. You could build more than 11,000 feet here but I hope you won’t, because it’s directly across from me and I don’t want to look at that much house. I think its price is set too high to offer builders a profit, but I’m rooting for as high a selling price as possible: a rising tide and all that – go Ole’s! Go tear downs!


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Psst! Wanna safe bet on real estate? Go where the jobs are plenty and cash flows like manna from Heaven

D.C. home prices reach record high. You want hope and change? Come on down!


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No improvement, but what can you do? It’s Chinatown, Jake.

Hey, you’re a Chicagoan at heart. C’mon down to DC and we’ll put you to work.

Bribe taker and Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan ousted. To be replaced by our Department of Environmental Protection chief’s wife.


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Being no financial whiz, I can’t say with certainty that this won’t work but …

Past glory

Greece eludes default with €5 billion sale of government bonds to its banks.  That’s the good news, but the sales were from the government to the government, using money loaned it by the European Central Bank, and the proceeds used to repay earlier loans, also from the ECB. I’ve experienced long teller lines at banks before, but never one that formed a continuous loop from one widow to another.



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Biden: “This puts y’all back in chains”

Ernie Newton discusses his vacation plans, 2005

Ernest Newton loses state senate bid. Newly released from prison after his conviction for extorting bribes from his constituents, Newton received $80,000 of taxpayer money to run this campaign after winning Bridgeport’s Democratic Party endorsement. A white Latino beats a black man – how’d that happen? Joe knows.

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Wasn’t this lady busted stealing at Richards?

Hurry! They’ve got Louis Vuitton on display!

One Erica Wang, a nut job who this article says was jilted at the altar by some “celebrity” chef, was caught shop lifting (again) at an expensive emporium in Manhattan. Greenwich Avenue last summer (?), Ralph Lauen two weeks ago and now Sephora. The lady may be nuts but at least she has expensive taste.

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