Monthly Archives: September 2012

Feds arrest California man for blaspheming Mohammed

“Probation violation” – the arrest comes two days after Democrat Barry Hussein Obama decreed punishment for all who slander “The Prophet of Islam”. Waiting for liberal outrage over this development? Don’t bother. Muslims, after all, hate America almost as much as they do, and an enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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Taking the fun out of Democrat’s upcoming Caviar Festival

 

Greenwich Democrat Designated Intellectual Dollar Bill is sorely surprised

Alcohol enemas dangerous, experts warn.

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What’s more organic than baby rat?

Of course at Fairway, you have to kill it before using, but I believe that’s part of their plan to encourage “eat local” food sourcing – no imported Chinese rats for Fairway!

UPDATE: Okay, viewing the video, that’s clearly a mouse, and maybe even a full-grown one, and mice are not “baby rats”. Still a good story, though.

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Okay, no mortgage payments, but these people will sell their vote for a free ObamaPhone

If I were a Democrat and educated – okay, we’re talking fantasy here, but bear with me – I’d be embarrassed to be a member of the same party as this more typical representative of the party, but so far as I can tell, there’s just no embarrassing these people. God help our nation.

 

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Fall market? What fall market?

Try, try again

I’m busy tossing bids around and I know other agents are too, so there will be some activity to report soon I have no doubt, but not enough to offset the lethargic pace of this past month. Once again, there is nothing of note to comment on today. One house that’s back, 44 Brookridge, is perhaps of interest, if only because it demonstrates the resilience of hope. Built in 2008 and priced at $7.499 it never sold despite being dropped a whopping $600,000, to $6.9 million, later that year. It was rented out sometime after that and now it’s been returned to the market at $5.995.

Samuel Johnson described a second marriage as “the triumph of hope over experience”. He would have enjoyed observing the Greenwich real estate market.

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Sad news – John Silber dead at 86

Story here.

Dr. Silber was drummed out of the University of Texas for being too liberal and came to Boston as head of Boston University, where he was excoriated for being to the right of Attila the Hun. I was in Boston at the time, up the road at BC, and watched in awe as he forced BU into becoming a legitimate institution, with real grades and accountability from its students and faculty. After graduating BC and still eager to delay entry into the real world a few more months I persuaded my father to pay for me to travel to Athens and study Plato under Dr. Silber (he held a doctorate in philosophy and was an expert on Kant, as I recall). Silber beat the hell out of the eight students who didn’t flee after the first day, then was available for long discussions into the night that covered everything from Ayn Rand to classical music to the Boston Red Sox. It was the best summer of my life and the B+ he gave me as a final grade – he awarded no A’s -was the one I am most proud of among all my (limited) academic achievements.

Truly a great man.

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Changing demographics

A question from a reader about the “typical Greenwich buyer” made me realize that we no longer have lawyers or doctors in the buying pool. In the early – mid ’80s when I dabbled in residential real estate as part of my law practice I represented a fair number of those professionals buying their first house. Since 2003, I don’t think I’ve had even one.

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Look for Romney’s dog stories to resurface

 

Don’t you want to discuss unemployment?

GDP “grew” at 1.3% last month (historical average is 3.2%), durable goods orders fell 13%. The bright news for Obama?  New unemployment claims were just 360,000 instead of the 375,000 predicted by economists. War on Women, Mitt doesn’t like dogs and Rush Limbaugh doesn’t believe a 30-year-old law student is entitled to free, $10-a-month birth control pills: these are all stories we can expect the media to focus on this week – anything but ask its hero about his dismal performance in office.

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Has Peter Tesei heard about this unique approach to municipal funding?

First Selectman Tim Herbst: Off to Washington to explain loaves and fishes

Trumbull cancels Michael Bolton (who?) concert but that’s a boost to revenue and not the $75,000 loss petty critics are claiming.

Sagging ticket sales for [Bolton’s] scheduled concert at Indian Ledge Park last Saturday led to the show being cancelled two weeks ago.

That angered many in town. But it’s not because they wanted to see him perform. It’s because, they say, the cancellation is costing the town money it can’t afford.

Jerome Goldstein, resident and local attorney, is one of them. “A lot of people are up in arms over what happened,” he said. “The money is just gone and there are so many other ways it could have been better spent.”

But wait a minute, said First Selectman Tim Herbst.

Yes, it’s costing the town $75,000 in cancellation fees, but that amount would have more than doubled if the show went on as planned Saturday night.

“It could have cost us anywhere from $150,000 to $170,000 with production, staging, lighting and other costs included,” he said.

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Market musings

I’ve been pretty busy this past month showing houses, negotiating and even selling them, and while we’ll have to wait for September’s statistics to come out before there’s hard data, my general impression is – surprise! – there’s still a long way to go before our inventory adjusts downward to prices where they’ll sell.

Houses are selling – no doubt about that, but at roughly 2003 prices, where they’ve been stuck for years. Some houses bought in 2010 and 2011 are getting close to what their sellers paid for them then, but 2010 prices were so hammered off historic highs that their sale now doesn’t demonstrate an improvement. People who bought in 2006 and 2007 are the worst off, but there is so much out there priced as though the market crash never happened that, I think, we’re going to continue to see a bloated, overpriced inventory for a long time still.

What I am seeing, and I suspect the median sales price statistics will bear this out, is the gradual erosion of prices: houses that once asked $3.5 million will still sell, but only after they’ve been marked down to $2.5, and this is true in all price ranges. What that means is that I can now show clients houses at $2.5 that are equivalent to or even better than houses asking $1 million more – guess which ones we’re bidding on?

Sellers, for the most part, seem to be those bitter clingers our President complains about, insisting that they can still get 2007 prices for their homes and refusing to budge from the religion that says Greenwich is special and immune from economic reality and competition. Again, my vague impressions are no substitute for hard data, but that’s certainly what I’m seeing – there’s a large pile of dross out there, and it takes real effort to sort through it and find the few houses offering value. That’s exactly what my clients, and surely everyone else’s, are doing: sorting. And if they can’t find value in their price range, they’re not holding their noses and paying more than they think a house is worth, they’re retiring to the sidelines and waiting.

Sellers seem to think they can wait buyers out – my money, and that of my clients’, is on the other side of that bet.

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And all without a government anti-trust suit

Nokia, once the most valuable company in Europe, is going down. Done in by failure to adapt and anticipate technological changes introduced by the Apple iPhone. I’ve always admired Nokia (among other products, it used to manufacture the best snow tires on the road) and so I’ve watched its decline with a mix of sadness and awe, but this is how capitalism is supposed to operate. Interesting to note that Nokia pinned its hopes on Microsoft’s new operating system only to discover that no one wanted Microsoft’s take on the mobile phone. Will Microsoft follow Nokia into oblivion? Sooner or later, sure – and so, eventually, will Apple, if they don’t start spending more on lobbyists. In America and other corporate socialist countries only state-dependent companies are allowed to live beyond their sell-by date.

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When will the sheeple revolt?

And buy a gun

Obama Menu leaves children starving so he now suggests snacks.

Vilsack said the Obama Administration is working with school districts to create snack programs and encouraging parents to pack extra food for their active students to munch on before football practice or band rehearsal.

“We understand that change is difficult,” Vilsack said. “Some folks love it, some folks have had questions about it, but that’s to be expected when you’re dealing with 32 million children and you’re dealing with over a hundred thousand school districts.”

No, what’s to be expected is that a centralized lunch program designed by Washington bureaucrats and imposed on 32 million children with different needs, body types, activity levels and even, gasp, tastes, will be a complete friggin’ disaster that can only “succeed” by force, which the government is now applying.

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I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the goal of “environmentalists” is “A World Without Us”

It’s a great idea son, but what about ash disposal?

Greens sue to shut down Obama’s high speed rail project.

President Obama’s stimulus allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, including, eventually, up to $3.5 billion for California’s project. However, according to the stimulus law, California must begin construction on the project before December 31, 2012 or they will not be eligible for any more high speed rail stimulus dollars. Obama’s Transportation Department reaffirmed this time limit last year when they admitted they had “no administrative authority to change this deadline.”

Fast forward to this June when the city of Chowchilla filed suit to stop construction of the project alleging that the High Speed Rail Authority failed to conduct a proper Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

Studies show that the average time to complete the NEPA process is 6.1 years. And NEPA is designed to be a preventative statute. Federal courts routinely issue injunctions to stop projects before they ever begin. That is why oil companies preemptively sued environmental groups earlier this year over leases in Alaska. They wanted to get the litigation out of the way so they could begin oil exploration as fast as possible.

Windmills, solar power facilities, transmission lines which could carry that solar energy to cities, natural gas drilling, coal, oil: all are opposed by the greens, using every law and regulation they’ve promulgated since Earth Day 1970. What’s our world without energy? Nasty, brutish and short, and that’s the way they like it.

UPDATE: Oops! Forgot to mention that they hate hypo-electric power and are tearing down our dams.

[From a 2007 WSJ article – nothing’s improved since then]

Once regarded as the symbol of national greatness, hydroelectric dams have now fallen into disrepute for many legitimate reasons. They are enormously expensive undertakings that would never have taken off but for hefty government subsidies. Worse, they typically involve changing the natural course of rivers, causing painful disruptions for towns and tribes.

But tearing down the Klamath dams, the last of which was completed in 1962, will do more harm than good at this stage. These dams provide cheap, renewable energy to 70,000 homes in Oregon and California. Replacing this energy with natural gas — the cleanest fossil-fuel source — would still pump 473,000 tons of additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. This is roughly equal to the annual emissions of 102,000 cars.

Given this alternative, one would think that environmentalists would form a human shield around the dams to protect them. Instead, they have been fighting tooth-and-nail to tear them down because the dams stand in the way of migrating salmon. Environmentalists don’t even let many states, including California, count hydro as renewable.

They have rejected all attempts by PacifiCorp, the company that owns the dams, to take mitigation steps such as installing $350 million fish ladders to create a salmon pathway. Klamath Riverkeeper, a group that is part of an environmental alliance headed by Robert Kennedy Jr., has sued a fish hatchery that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife runs — and PacifiCorp is required to fund — on grounds that it releases too many algae and toxic discharges. The hatchery produces at least 25% of the chinook salmon catch every year. Closing it will cause fish populations to drop further, making the demolition of the dams even more likely.

But the end of the Klamath won’t mean the end of the dam saga — it is the big prize that environmentalists are coveting to take their antidam crusade to the next level. “This would represent the largest and most ambitious dam removal project in the country, if not the world,” exults Steve Rothert of American Rivers. The other dams on the hit list include the O’Shaughnessy Dam in Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley that services San Francisco, Elwha River dam in Washington and the Matilija Dam in Southern California.

Large hydro dams supply about 20% of California’s power (and 10% of America’s). If they are destroyed, California won’t just have to find some other way to fulfill its energy needs. It will have to do so while reducing its carbon footprint to meet the ambitious CO2 emission-reduction targets that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has set. Mr. Schwarzenegger has committed the Golden State to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 — a more stringent requirement than even in the Kyoto Protocol.

The effect this might have on California’s erratic and overpriced energy supply has businesses running scared. Mike Naumes, owner of Naumes Inc., a fruit packing and processing business, last year moved his juice concentrate plant from Marysville, Calif., to Washington state and cut his energy bill in half. With hydropower under attack, he is considering shrinking his farming operations in the Golden State as well. “We can’t pay exorbitant energy prices and stay competitive with overseas businesses,” he says.

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Slow days in real estate, again

I’m quite busy, but I’m just (oh so) special, so don’t base your judgment of the state of the market on me.

Nothing much to report in accepted offers, with nothing asking more than $1.8 million and that one, 8 Alpine, is the bank sale discussed below. One sale: 21 Woodside, in Milbrook, $1.350 million. Very much not my cup of tea (neither is Milbrook, for that matter, but many people like it) because it’s a teardown on a rocky hillside, but at 0.67 acres (29,000 square feet) in the R-20 zone, it’s a building lot large enough to accommodate a 6,000 sq.ft. house and someone wanted it.

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This will make the neighbors happy

$12.9 million ask, $0 got

8 Alpine Road, bank owned, was originally purchased for $2.995 million in 2008 was re-listed by its new owner at $1.899 last week and already has an accepted offer. Good address, good land and under $2 is a good price, so this one’s no surprise. The wreck of a spec house here has been plaguing everyone else on the street for years, so I imagine they’ll be glad to see a new owner take over and, presumably, tear down the existing hulk and start anew. In fact, and I have not even a whiff of rumor to support this, I wonder whether one of those neighbors is buying this property just to protect his own home’s value. Wouldn’t be a bad idea, if so.

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Heh

“Just imagine the mess Obama will inherit if he’s reelected!”

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For that reader who complained about Walt’s use of pidgin Chink

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Michelle extends her federal school menu to Spain

You’re right – it DOES taste like shit

Hungry forage in dumpsters. “But we’ve got them down to just 600 calories a day!”, First Lady crows.

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Gotta love it

It’s September 25th, the election’s just around the corner and Liawatha Warren is still forced to waste her time and other people’s money defending her phony Indianess claim. Now if only we can get Harry Reid to start denying his rumored penchant for pederasty, we’re set.

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No one tell Thomas Friedman

Chinese officials order road construction workers to crush protestor with bulldozer (awful image – beware).  This is how the much vaunted (by Friedman) Chinese infrastructure gets built so quickly. I heard another story this morning on either BBC or NPR detailing the Chinese policy of forcing mothers to abort 8-month-old fetuses; I’ll see if I can’t find that report and link it here so we can have the miracle of China depicted in one easy-to-find location.

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