Daily Archives: March 22, 2013

In the richest city in the country, congressional staffers are starving because of the sequester

You saying I'm stoopid?

You saying I’m stoopid?

So says Debby Wasserman-Schultz, Chairman of the Democrat Party and, after Maxine Waters, the dumbest broad in Washington.

Automatic federal cuts are bringing staffers to the brink of starvation, suggested Debbie Wasserman Schultz, at a recent House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

Restaurants on the House side of Congress are increasing in cost so much that aides are being “priced out” of a good meal, she said, as Fox News reported. The comments came by way of a discussion about the impacts of the sequester on lawmakers’ office budgets. Rep. Jim Moran said he may be forced to lay off a staffer — and then Ms. Wasserman Schultz weighed in with her tale of hard times.

Just to clarify: An 8-ounce bowl of Ham and Bean soup at the Cannon Office Building’s carry-out café costs $2. A gourmet wrap or sliced bread sandwich sells for about $5. And in the Longworth Building’s sit-down cafeteria, a serving of stuffed chicken, asparagus and mashed potatoes sells for about $7, Fox News finds.

Meanwhile, Ms. Wasserman Schultz’s staffers earn between $60,000 and $160,000 per year, Fox News reports.

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Fire up the propeller beanies

With two days of gas left to heat British homes in the coldest winter since Al Gore first placed a tasselled loafer on Harvard Yard, the greens call for more windmills. Remember during our own oil shortage in the early 80s when Texas pickups sported bumper stickers, “Let’em freeze in the dark”? My sentiments now.

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Well I wish he’d just broadcast this video instead

Prime Minister Netenyahu apologizes to Turkey for the flotilla raid. Seems that Obummer needed something to come out of his trip to Israel and this is the best he could do. I’d have told him to pound sand.

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Final activity report for the week

Three more items

11 Cardinal

11 Cardinal

11 Cardinal Road, has an executed contract after 643 days on the market. Owners paid $2.150 in January, 2006, and listed it for $2.395 way back when. Last price was $2.295.

49 Pecksland

49 Pecksland

49 Pecksland, asking $1.695 and a short sale, reported an accepted offer back in September but only today has a real contract. That’s about par for the course for short sales – they’re arduous. But I think someone is getting a great deal, swamp in the back yard or not. The owners paid $1.650 million for it in 2004 and perhaps unwisely sunk a lot of money (a whole lot of money) into transforming and renovating it, then put it up for sale in 2008 for $3.850 million. That didn’t work, the bank came calling and the result of that is what we see today. Basically a totally new house for relatively little money.

18 Grey Rock

18 Grey Rock

And the low end keeps perking along – 18 Grey Rock, over in the west, asked $785,000 and got it in just ten days. This is the one we discussed because the sellers’ insisted on excluding the generator in the sale. Guess that didn’t deter the buyer.

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Acitivity

Three transactions of note:

111 Patterson

111 Patterson

A sale of 111 Patterson Avenue for $1.740 million, after two years on the market. It started at $2.195, which doesn’t seem all that far from its selling price but I suppose in this price range $500,000 can seem off-putting. Regardless, its neighboring homeowner, Gideon, must be relieved to see that someone still wants to buy on Patterson.

516 North Street

516 North Street

And 516 North Street has a contract – it was asking $8.5 million since October. That’s a pretty quick sale for this size house, but the owner paid $9.630 for it in 2003 and probably put more into it since, so it was priced pretty well. No word whether he’s taking the Bat Cave with him up to the new digs in Conyers but this house is pretty fabulous even without it.

422 Shoehorn Lane

422 Shoehorn Lane

How hot is the market? Even the sideways house at 422 North Maple has an accepted offer. It was offered at $6.495 when it was new in 2009 and has been for sale pretty much ever since, albeit with a renter or two hanging around. The price that finally did the trick? $4.995. Still not chump change.

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He must have seen the budget

Obama signs disaster declaration for Connecticut.

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On an otherwise dead day for real estate news, an interesting house reappears.

2 Old Church Road

2 Old Church Road

2 Old Church Road is back, with a new, somewhat lower price – $2.875 – than last year’s, and I’m curious to see it; I missed it before. This was the original house (1869) whose land was subdivided and covered with condominiums in the 80s or 90s, but according to the listing it still has two acres. If the house itself is in good shape then I think this would be a great place to live – close to everything in town yet enough land to feel almost countryish. Open house isn’t until April 14, and I’ll be there.

UPDATE: A reader and I just noticed that this is just one of the condos, which explains why I didn’t look at it last year. The listing shows it as a single family but I believe that’s in error. Too bad, but “never mind!”

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More on (moron?) Florida Atlantic University

FAU Mascot, the Piss Christ

FAU Mascot, the Piss Christ

As I suspected when I read the story of a FAU student being suspended for refusing his professor’s demand that he stomp on the words “Jesus Christ”, Florida Atlantic University has a speech code for suppressing its students. It doesn’t apply to professors, apparently.

Yellow light:Student Code of Conduct: Statement of Philosophy 12-13

Since behavior which is not in keeping
with standards acceptable to the University community is often symptomatic of
attitudes, misconceptions, and emotional crises; reeducation and rehabilitative
activities are an essential elements of the disciplinary process.

View full policy (PDF, 2286 KB).

Yellow light:Student Code of Conduct: Respect for Self and Others 12-13

Students are expected to conduct themselves
in a manner which exemplifies respect for people of all races, religions,
and ethnic groups, and to adhere to one’s personal values without unduly
imposing them on others.

View full policy (PDF, 2286 KB).

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So where’s the ammo?

It's been sucked into this huge black hole ...

It’s been sucked into this huge black hole …

While police forces across the nation search fruitlessly for ammunition, Napolitano refuses to tell Congress what she’s done with the 1.7 billion rounds she’s purchased for Homeland Security. Her original (and so far, only) explanation was that the stuff was needed for training federal and state police forces, but the states can’t get it. You don’t have to be a truther to wonder what, exactly is going on.

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Modern education

Dr,. Diendra Poole: I spit on you, you puddle of scum!

Dr,. Diendra Poole: I spit on you, you puddle of scum!

College student suspended for refusing to step on Jesus.

Ryan Rotella, a junior from Coral Springs, said the incident began when his professor, Dr. Deandre Poole, asked students in the class to write the word “Jesus” on a piece of paper, fold it up, and step on it.

Rotella, a deeply religious Mormon, told CBS 12that he was offended and refused to participate in the exercise.

FAU said Dr. Poole was conducting a classroom exercise from a textbook entitled “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition” and released this statement to CBS12: ”Faculty and students at academic institutions pursue knowledge and engage in open discourse. While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate.”

Here’s the book, if you’re curious to see what education jargon has deteriorated to. More interesting, try this thought experiment: Our brave Dr. Poole, determined to show that he can defile people’s religious belief, prints “Allah” on a piece of paper and demands that his students trample it. Estimated life span of the good doctor once that story hit the news? 12 hours. Likelihood that Poole would even consider doing such a thing, let alone be courageous enough to act on it? Zero.

Christians are the safe target – they turn the other cheek.

Deandre Poole

Deandre Poole

UPDATE: Here’s Deandre Poole now. How about pissing on a photo of Elijah Muhammad?

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(Another) Tango in Paris

That's not my finger, it's the bill.

Blame the sequester: it’s Parkay

Joe Biden puts it to the taxpayer. Without butter.

One night stand in Paris for Joe Biden cost us $585,000.

His night in London cost just $459,388.65. No explanation for the efficiency achieved in London, but perhaps he used margarine.

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Zero interest rates mean most of us will have to keep working

Why is the employment rate for 65-and-up youngsters increasing? Their savings have been destroyed. Zero Hedge:

While I find it doubtful, but not totally improbable, that a direct deposit tax would be instituted by domestic banks – the issue of the Fed’s monetary policies, particularly since the last recession, has had a significant impact on “savers.”  As we have discussed in the past individuals are not “investors” but rather “savers.”  Therefore, in planning for retirement, of which there is a very finite and generally short time frame within which to achieve that objective, individuals must not only have a return ON their principal, to maintain purchasing power parity of those saved dollars, but also the return OF their principal so that it may be reinvested to generate further returns.  One without the other, as has been see witnessed first hand over the last decade, is a losing proposition in the achievement of those retirement goals.  As my friend Doug Short recently showed in his amazing commentary on working age demographics – the age group that should be seeing declines in employment, 65 and older, are actually showing increases.  The destruction of principal since the turn of the century, which is far more disastrous than it appears when adjusted for inflation, has ended the dream of retirement for many individuals.

Beginning in 2008 the Federal Reserve began a consistent, and generally unprecedented, series of monetary actions specifically designed to artificially suppress interest rates.  The belief is that by creating an artificially low interest rate environment, and boosting asset prices, that it will in turn spur economic growth and consumption.  The chart below shows the Fed Funds Rate as compared to the 10-year treasury rate since 2007.

It is hard to believe that it was just 5 short years ago that the 10-year treasury was yielding above 4%.  That was a return high enough to offset the rate of inflation.  Today, with the Fed keeping overnight lending rates (Fed Funds Rate) at effectively zero – savings accounts are yielding roughly the same.  This has in turn forced “savers”, by design, to move money out of the safety of personal savings accounts to chase higher rates of return.

While the individuals in Cyprus have been faced with an outright extraction of capital from their accounts – U.S. savers have had their savings negatively impacted much more surreptitiously.

The problem is that the actions of by the Fed are having the opposite of the intended effect….  [E]conomic growth, savings, and incomes have all declined as the Fed has continually driven rates lower.   Lower interest rates have not the boon of economic prosperity as advertised.  What history does show is that higher levels of personal savings are necessary to support productive investment which leads to economic growth rates.

What the manipulation of interest have historically led to is speculative financial bubbles.  Whether it was the “tech bubble”, the “credit bubble” or the “housing bubble” the driver of each can be directly linked backed to the Fed’s monetary policy actions.  With the Fed now going “all in” with current monetary easing programs it is highly likely that the next asset bubble is already well into formation – the resolution of which is not likely to be any kinder than the past two.

So, can the U.S. potentially have a direct tax on savings?  It’s already happened.

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