Daily Archives: September 4, 2012

All your bases are belong to us

Democrat National Committee: “we all belong to the government” – they say that as though it’s a good thing.

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With Chavez under the weather, Democrats bring in Castro

 

Rousing the base

To give the keynote address, no less! This all began when they let Reggie Jackson run for president.

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In his own words

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The new season brings new brokers, old houses

71 Rock Maple is back, asking the same price it was when it was listed with another broker, $5.650. I like this house – it’s nicely laid out, has lots of space and, while it probably isn’t possible without trespassing a bit through the neighbor’s woods, one can easily stroll over to the Mianus River Park; a real plus, in my opinion.

But the owners paid $5.458 million for it in 2004 and I don’t see much to justify a price higher than that now, nor, obviously, do buyers, who didn’t buy it when it was priced at $6.425 in 2010 or at any of the adjustments downward from that over the past two years. I think we’re below 2003 prices, still, so reaching for a 2004 price with a little vigorish applied on top seems ill advised. The new listing agent is great, but the previous agent is no slouch either. If your house won’t sell, look at its price, twice, before you blame your broker.

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Looks like good news in Riverside – UPDATED – but it’s not

86 Lockwood Road, RVSD

Driving by 86 Lockwood Road, that 1840 Lockwood home that I feared was destined for the dumpster, builders look busy getting ready to renovate, not scrape. There’s a sign up identifying Nick Berelli’s York Construction Co. (Old Greenwich firm) as the contractor and Nick builds a splendid house. So I’m hopeful that we’ll see this house restored and probably expanded but not torn down. That would be a refreshing change.

UPDATE: several readers have inquired of the workers at the site and this puppy’s headed for the landfill. Too good to be true, alas.

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Won’t anyone give Betsy a break?

How? (Sonia Ghandi confronts Harvard)

Indian delegates demand meeting with Elizabeth Warren so she can explain her claim to be related.

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More panic down in Charlotte

The loneliness of the long distance delegate

Unable to give away enough tickets to fill the 74,000 seat arena, Democrats move Obummer’s acceptance  speech indoors to a 20,000 venue. Boy, did Clint ever scare them with that empty chair routine!

Drudge, as usual, has the best collection of news stories on the Democrats’ woes:

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Fearless men who jump and die

From Barry to Barry

Obama to receive Green Beret today for single-handedly dispatching Osama.

Fort Bragg, NC – The White House Press Office announced today that President Obama will soon be inducted into the Special Forces Association and receive an honorary Green Beret.

Officials have said the honor will be bestowed in an upcoming September 11th ceremony at Fort Bragg.

The honorary beret comes in recognition of the President’s decisive role in covert operations throughout the world during his term — including the killing of Osama bin Laden last year in Pakistan, and his combat action in Afghanistan months ago.

Army Public Affairs has confirmed that Lieutenant General Charles Cleveland will personally present Obama with his beret and a specially engraved Fairbairn-Sykes combat knife.

The knife, traditionally used by elite soldiers world-wide since the beginning of the 20th century, will have the President’s name stamped on the blade, along with the names of deceased Special Forces Medal of Honor recipients Randall Shugart and Gary Gordon, immortalized in the novel and film Black Hawk Down.

The presentation will be in a small but highly anticipated ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center.

The White House released a statement saying that the President is proud to be recognized for his accomplishments and role in ridding the world of dangerous enemy actors, and restated his firm determination to “continue doing his best to keep the country safe from those that would do her harm.”

(Yes, it’s satire, but the best satire has truth behind it, and this is a pretty funny effort – picture “The Onion” in camouflage).

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One of my favorite houses takes another price cut

230 Bedford Road

230 Bedford Road is now asking, as of today, $3.350, down from $3.850 and down considerably from the $5.5  million it sought way back in 2008. This house sold for $4 million in 2004 (on a 2003 asking price of $5.9, so agents are always overestimating this home’s appeal) and the buyers completely redid it, transforming it from quirky and old to quirky and up-to-date. I think it’s a beautiful home and I’d gladly accept the extra ten-minute driving time to live in it rather than live closer to town in an inferior house.

Obviously  my sentiments are not shared by the general buying public, but there you have it – it looks like a bargain to me. Where are those Westchester residents who received their quarterly tax bills last week? Give me your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free (but keep your poor and wretched refuse), and all that, no?

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Sale prices reported

Four of note:

50 Close Road

50 Close Road. Four acres very close to Parkway School, with a charming house and a stable, no doubt a remnant from when land up here wasn’t carved into tiny parcels. But a very nice place. $3.885 ask, $3.150 sold.

26 Alden, $2.4, which is what it sold for in 2004, before renovation. Funny how people’s tastes are so different: I couldn’t stand the light spilling onto this property from the adjacent Greenwich Office Park but obviously these buyers don’t care (or they never visited at night, perhaps).

58 Indian Head Road, asked $2.495, sold quickly for $2.1, which seems about right – it’s a back lot which doesn’t appeal to everyone but to me it’s a plus here, because it moves the house away from the road. There’s some major renovation to be done here, FAR allowing, including bumping out the upstairs to make a modern master bedroom/bath and not a relic from the 1960’s.

190 North Street, $11.5 million. The original manor house, with some land still attached. Sellers paid $7 million in 2007 and put a lot of money, presumably, into renovations. They didn’t get the $15.750 they asked in 2010 but they still must have made out well here.

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Another local scandal exposed

Baby gets new shoes!

Cos Cobber draws our attention to the latest outrage by our Lottery Commissioner Frank Farricker, who for the second time this summer has used the same straw man to cash a winning lottery ticket. I know that Fudrucker has twins to put through school, but this is shameful.

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Open houses resume after Labor Day

1333 King Street

Or at least I hope they will. As of this writing (9:15) there isn’t much on, but either the next fifteen minutes will see a rush of new listings or we’ll have to wait another week for home owners to recover from the summer and prepare their house for the fall market (a quaint, historical term referring to the time when house sales accelerated after a dormant summer).

One that I think I will waste gas on is way over at 1333 King Street,  a house that seems to have been built to the new sensibilities of Greenwich buyers: overbearing, too large and pretentious, but if that’s the market, who am I to disparage it? It’s on five flat acres, borders the town’s golf course and, of course, is convenient to local flight paths. Its price has dropped a million to $3.895, and the taxes are $31,000, which should appeal to anyone currently paying Westchester County’s robbers.

It sounds like a pretty good deal, if this is your style and preferred location, and I’m in business to move dirt, not impose my so-called taste on people. Besides, in direct refutation of Milton Friedman, it’s offering a free lunch.

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Yes. Next question?

Moving Day: Highland clearances

Should mortgage rates vary by state according to risk? Fannie Mae is floating an idea (that will never go anywhere) that would see mortgage rates reflect the difficulty and length of time it takes to foreclose on a loan in each of the 57 states. Makes sense to me because interest rates are supposed to reflect risk, at least in part, and the risk of a lender recovering its money increases in states like Connecticut and New York that require a lengthy, drawn-out process to regain ownership of a home asset.

Here in Greenwich I’ve seen borrowers stretch out their tenancy for 3, 3 1/2 years, repeatedly filing frivolous defenses, switching lawyers (and thus delaying the foreclosure date) at the last minute, running into Bankruptcy Court time after time even though, each time, their case is thrown out, and so on. Stamford Superior Court judge Douglas Mintz, who is assigned to oversee our local foreclosure scheme, seems increasingly tolerant of these spurious tactics – the job must be getting to him, because he was an able jurist just a few years ago.

So if a lender faces a three-year delay in one state and a ninety-day wait in another, why shouldn’t it charge borrowers in the former more interest to compensate their loss?

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Wind turbines in Vermont – feed the rich

At 60-miles-per-hour, the loudest sound is coins clinking in the till.

Growing up, I spent much of every summer and later, fall and winter in Lowell, Vermont and so have a certain interest in the 452′ wind towers the state has installed on nearby Lowell Mountain. When I heard yesterday that the project was a complete failure, I was unsurprised but intrigued.

So I looked it up:

Opponents predicted exactly this result before the project was rammed through.

Everyone involved, except Vermont tax payers, has made out like bandits, with subsidies, tax credits and handouts (little sleepy Lowell is being paid $500,000 a year so their cows will feel better about having windmills on the horizon, though neighboring towns get nothing).

Renewables aficionados, legislators, renewables vendors, project developers, financiers and others clamoring for wind energy appear to have no idea regarding the costs and the impacts on the quality of life (noise, visual, psychological and health), property values and the environment due to reorganizing the New England electric grid towards accommodating wind energy and balancing energy in a such major way.

I understand that windpower enthusiasts were surprised and disappointed that so many people ended up feeding richly at the trough, and they blame “corporations” for that –  they’re partially right, but everybody piled into this boondoggle that produces no useful energy but passes cash around to the more-equal pigs. Friends of Obama aren’t the only ones who have  flocked to the Green Mountain State with hands outstretched, but they certainly led the way. What the propeller beanie crowd doesn’t understand, yet, is that the green energy movement is run by and for the benefit of the powerful, and uses useful idiots like them to whoop through their projects thorough on their way to the bank.

Religion trumps reason, always, and it’s the priests who grow fat.

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A train plan that’s going nowhere

 

Graaand Central Station, last stop!

Proponents of high speed train propose an 18-mile-long tunnel under the Long Island Sound. Oh come on: we just finished killing off a piddling little cross-sound natural gas pipeline and a CNG plant, and someone seriously thinks the enviro’s would approve a tunnel? Three words: West Side Highway.

I’m sure the planners know this, but when you’re training new bureaucrats and your university has a new program to entertain its students and draw down federal grants, grandiose, impossible dreams are mandatory.

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Wonder why we’re going down? Wonder no more

Inagua points out to another reader,

A significant number of Americans can not take care of themselves. Why do you think there are so many people are using welfare, disability, food stamps, rent subsidies, earned income tax credits, etc? What do you think happens to these looters when they turn 65? Do you really think they suddenly become responsible people who can be trusted with $7,500 vouchers? Get out more. Many of your fellow citizens are dysfunctional losers.

Few would argue that point: see, e.g., Democratic Party platform, but how did we reach such a sorry state in a nation that was once the wonder and envy of the world? Here’s how:

What is monumentally new about the American state today is the vast empire of entitlement payments that it protects, manages and finances. Within living memory, the federal government has become an entitlements machine. As a day-to-day operation, it devotes more attention and resources to the public transfer of money, goods and services to individual citizens than to any other objective, spending more than for all other ends combined.

The growth of entitlement payments over the past half-century has been breathtaking. In 1960, U.S. government transfers to individuals totaled about $24 billion in current dollars, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. By 2010 that total was almost 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation and population growth, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown 727% over the past half-century, rising at an average rate of about 4% a year.

The proud self-reliance that struck Alexis de Tocqueville in his visit to the U.S. in the early 1830s extended to personal finances. The American “individualism” about which he wrote did not exclude social cooperation—the young nation was a hotbed of civic associations and voluntary organizations. But in an environment bursting with opportunity, American men and women viewed themselves as accountable for their own situation through their own achievements—a novel outlook at that time, markedly different from the prevailing attitudes of the Old World (or at least the Continent).

Lest you think that a Republican victory in November will reverse this transformation, don’t be fooled: the WSJ article points out that much of these increases came while Republicans were in the White House. A politician’s desire to be reelected will trump principle, every time.

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Jewish Democrats are warned

Democrat target audience

Jewish Democrats at the convention have been treated to a strategy session designed just for them and designed to teach them how to proselytize fellow Jews in the coming months, but were cautioned against engaging in discussions with that most feared of all Democrat opponents, the person who knows what he’s talking about:

Audience members were asked to talk to their friends, but skip the “10 to 12%” who are strong Repulicans and are “intelligent, accomplished, smart, very practiced debaters.”

It’s rumored that Greenwich Democrats loaned Dollar Bill to N.C. to serve as a ventriloquist’s dummy for those wishing to hone their debating skills among the unwashed and stupid.

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A religion of garbage

A code of seven, we’ll go to heaven

Democrats assign dumpster guards to ensure that proper recycling procedures are observed at the convention. The priestesses monitor the disposal actions of reporters and delegates and chastise those who sin.

“One reporter said that a consultant scolded her for not paying attention and using the wrong bins. Another said that one of the consultants pulled his plastic cup out of “Recycle” to place in the “Compost” bin, explaining that the cup was biodegradable. “How am I supposed to know that? It’s plastic,” he said.

One of the environmental consultants said that she protects her compost bin “with my life.”

I’m familiar with some of these religionists and have observed them rummaging through filthy kitchen wastebaskets searching amid the coffee grounds and meat wrappers for unwashed yogurt containers. It keeps them occupied, but it won’t, despite their fervor, save the world.

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