Daily Archives: March 23, 2013

Spending other people’s money

Can you imagine if they saw the one of Michelle trying to ski?

Can you imagine if they saw the one of Michelle trying to ski?

After it’s caught in the act, IRS calls spending  $60,000 on a Star Trek parody video “a mistake”.  It’s not a mistake, it’s not an accident. It’s exactly what happens when people are handed other people’s money and told to spend it.

The agency says the video, along with a training video that parodied the TV show “Gilligan’s Island,” cost about $60,000. The “Star Trek” video accounted for most of the money, the agency said.

The IRS said Friday it was a mistake for employees to make the six-minute video. It was shown at the opening of a 2010 training and leadership conference but does not appear to have any training value.

The video was released late in the day Friday after investigators from the House Ways and Means Committee requested it.

“There is nothing more infuriating to a taxpayer than to find out the government is using their hard-earned dollars in a way that is frivolous,” said Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

No shucks, Mr. Boustany. Infuriating and after just sending a very large sum of my money to this exact organization I can paraphrase the Goon in Chief and say, “you didn’t pay for that video, I did.”

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And it’s about time, too

Oh, the humanity!

Oh, the humanity!

FAA to close three control towers in Connecticut due to the sequester. This has been a goal of the FAA for years: shut down manned control towers at lightly-used airports throughout the country. They’re unnecessary and as even Minnesota Public Radio, hardly a bastion of free market Randians found out when it looked at the possible consequences of closing rural Minnesotan towers, no one’s going to be seriously affected.

The same is true for other airports in other parts of the country. It’s been individual congressmen who have thwarted these closings and kept the money flowing, just as they’ve kept Amtrack from earning money by forcing it to service three riders a day in Buttf**k North Dakota. Why would a congressman do such a thing? Ego – they like to be flown in to their own private airport and because it’s pavlovian: threaten a spending cut, any spending cut in their district and they howl. Witness the entire Democrat bloc of the senate voting to keep Congressman Jack Murtha’s private, $150 million airport open for fear that if they took away one of their kind’s earmark they’d all be vulnerable.  Imagine what it takes for senators to care about a lowly congressman – but here’s a principle they’ll fight for.

Of course, the real solution is to privatize the entire system, as Canada has. We’d have modern computers instead of twenty-year-old patent office models controlling our flights and the savings would be huge – in fact, Canada’s system turns a profit.

Like that will ever happen. But even this small victory is welcome, and if the sequester has made possible what was impossible before, bring us more.

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Great real estate site

 

Move-out condition?

Move-out condition?

WTFrealestate.com. Admittedly, most Greenwich real estate agents won’t get it and will wonder what’s wrong with the house photos posted here – actual listing pictures, apparently, but you for-sale-by-owner types might glean some valuable dos-and-don’ts.

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Brace yourself for war with Iran

 

Gee, we don' see cartoons like this anymore

Gee, we don’t see cartoons like this anymore

NYT: Obama’s poll numbers plummet.

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Scary homes from the last century

 

Just one example of the death traps built for children in the 1950s

Just one example of the death traps built for children in the 1950s

What’s really scary about this blogger’s send up of the dangers lurking in mid-century homes is that today not one of them could be built and at least in Greenwich, I couldn’t sell one of them to frightened mommies. Thank god electricity was invented before Ralph Nader and mainstream media emerged from the primordial ooze to scare us witless.

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And the last line is for Walt …

In subsequent, happier days

In subsequent, happier days

Harry Reems is dead at 65.

“Deep Throat” quickly became an international sensation: the subject of debates, pro and con, concerning its redeeming social value, and of self-congratulatory cocktail-party chat among the intelligentsia.

It was responsible for turning Mr. Reems, with his immense black mustache and shirts, opened to the navel to reveal an almost preternaturally hirsute chest, into a one-man avatar of the ’70s.

It was also responsible for his conviction on federal conspiracy charges and, he said afterward, his descent into alcoholism, destitution and homelessness before finding faith, a happy marriage and bourgeois respectability…..

Mr. Reems’s Schwab’s drugstore moment came after Mr. Damiano hired him to be the lighting director on “Deep Throat.” When the original male lead failed to show up for work, Mr. Reems stepped in.

For the film, which was widely reported to have grossed more than $600 million, Mr. Reems was paid about $250.

However, as he told it, there were other compensations: parties at the Playboy Mansion, hobnobbing with celebrities and fending off (or not) throngs of adoring women.

Then, one day in 1974 Mr. Reems was arrested in New York by federal agents. The next year he and 11 others, many of them organized-crime figures, were tried in federal court in Memphis on charges of conspiracy to transport obscene material across state lines. (“Deep Throat” was widely reported to have been financed by associates of the Colombo crime family.)

It was during the trial, Mr. Reems said, that he began drinking heavily.

After he and his co-defendants were found guilty in 1976 Mr. Reems became a First Amendment cause célèbre, with a string of Hollywood celebrities speaking out on his behalf.

“Today, Harry Reems; tomorrow, Helen Hayes,” Warren Beatty was reported to have declared.

Represented on appeal by Alan M. Dershowitz, Mr. Reems had his conviction set aside by a federal judge in 1977…..

But pornography is a young man’s game, and by the mid-1980s demand for Mr. Reems had abated. By then he was adrift, drinking, by his count, two-and-a-half gallons of vodka a day.

He fetched up in Los Angeles, begging on the streets and sleeping in Dumpsters. He contemplated suicide, he said, but could not summon the nerve.

In 1989 Mr. Reems, then living in Park City, Utah, stopped drinking with the help of a 12-step program. He converted to Christianity, obtained his real estate license and married Jeanne Sterret in 1990.

For the most part Mr. Reems led a life of contented small-town obscurity in Midway, Utah, golfing, attending church and collecting Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia. He retained the name Harry Reems, he said in interviews, as a proud emblem of an odyssey he did not regret.

There was, Mr. Reems told The Ottawa Citizen in 2005, one lingering affinity between his early career and his later one as the owner of a successful real estate brokerage.

“I’m still selling dirt,” he said.

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So how busy was this week?

I’ve seen the numbers 37 and 30 batted around as the total of houses going off the market and that’s fine, so long as you want to include out-of-town properties, multi-families and vacant land – if you do exclude those categories, you end up at 30. But if you then subtract contracts that were previously reported as accepted offers, you’ll drop to 15. Still evidence of activity, of course, and there were a couple of large sales: $8.5 and $5 million, included in those fifteen, but the single family inventory is not flying off the shelves.

With the exception of lower priced homes which, as documented here, are selling very well indeed.

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I’m not going to read it because I’ve given up hope, but it illustrates the point: illogical policies have logical results.

New book, “Sand in the Gears – how public policy has crippled American manufacturing”

American manufacturing has been on the decline for at least two generations; that fact is plain to any observer who travels through the Rust Belt of the Midwest, where the closing of steel plants and automobile factories has created ghost towns that dot the landscape. It is also clear in the dormant New England textile mills, whose owners surrendered their production first to cheaper mills in the Southeast before they, in turn, lost out to Asian labor.What caused this calamity, and what can be done about it?

Andrew Smith argues that we lost our manufacturing not to forces beyond our control, such as globalization and cheaper labor overseas, but as the result of misguided policies that are well within our abilities to reform for the benefit of manufacturing. Examining six areas of public policy—the tax system, health care, the legal system, workers’ compensation, government regulations, and labor policy—Smith demonstrates that in each of these areas, the current policy choices have created a hostile environment for manufacturing. Grounding his arguments not in polemic or ideology but in historical analysis and current research, Smith illustrates his points with real-world examples to show how a “new social compact” can fix the problems that manufacturers face without sacrificing public policy goals.

No one will consider Smith’s proposals, because people like me know it’s fruitless to persuade  regressives to reconsider their plans, and regressives wouldn’t dare take a peek at what they have wrought. To a regressive, it is the intentions that count, not the results.

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Our federal government tried just this, with bad results

IKNOWNOTHING1State legislators urge formation of gun trafficking group. While we can all sympathize with the Democrats’ desperate need to raise revenue to satisfy their public workers union base, this is probably a bad idea. Down in Washington, Republicans are still trying to unravel the disaster that was the Department of Justice’s own effort to engage in gun trafficking. That process isn’t being helped by Eric Holder’s false testimony under oath, but as usual, all’s well when it’s Democrats doing the dissembling.

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How do people like this expect to survive?

 

Feminist Studies major

Feminist Studies major

Some tech girl overhears two fellow geeks making a couple of vaguely sexual puns and she freaks, getting one guy fired and then being fired herself for making such a fuss (I’m sure she’ll win her sex discrimination suit, which is surely already being drafted).

Bloomberg (his news organization, not the Great Nanny himself) claims this as proof of a “frat-boy” environment in Silicon Valley, but the real story is the increasing fragility of the people our schools are stamping out. Protected from birth from ever losing – everyone’s a winner in the great game of modern, cooperative society- and bullying, harsh words or, God forbid, sexual innuendo, gay or straight, these little sheltered pets are released into a world that’s going to be harsher than that. The Chinese, for example, are not known for their cultural sensitivity towards women, the French even less so and everyone makes fun of fat people, everywhere.

We can’t keep all our graduates in the warm, nurturing environment of academia – someone actually has to work a real job to produce the money that keeps the hack professors and administrators busily warping young minds – and helicopter parents are eventually grounded, victims of too much jogging and too many high colonic cleansing purges.

So how will these perpetual children survive?

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In a state that opposes guns of any kind and won’t kill geese, this won’t happen

Sunday hunting

Sunday hunting

State exploring a limited season on bear and opening Sunday hunting. Really? Democrats want to confiscate guns, PETA demands that geese be allowed to ruin our parks and pollute our water, and somebody seriously thinks we’ll expand hunting?

Never. And while we can now shop at WalMart and buy booze on Sundays, hunters should be in church, not hiking around outdoors. Waste of time to even ask this question.

UPDATE: Then there’s this:

Yvonne Janssen, of Bridgeport, said, “Sunday hunting will endanger public safety. Arrows and bullets know no boundaries and pose public safety hazards to anyone who is in a large radius of the hunter.” Ms. Janssen owns, according to Google, a bridal shoppe in Bridgeport. That may make her an expert on the safety range of bullets fired by gang bangers but hardly speaks to her credentials for opining on hunting safety. But the Yvonnes of Bridgeport will win this fight.

UPDATE II: Five hunting related deaths in 14 years in Connecticut, 1982-2005.     2010 alone saw 318 deaths in automobiles  and 128 homicides (none involving hunters)  in Connecticut in 2011. Sunday hunting a threat? Driving to Bridgeport to go shopping on Sunday is far more dangerous.

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As he gears up for the election run, Tesei returns to Cos Cob

 

RTM Lease Committee Chairmen Erf Porter inspects River Club's moorings

RTM Lease Committee Chairmen Erf Porter inspects River Club’s moorings

Waterfront subsidized housing – for Tesei and other candidates who need to return to their base.  “It’s not the low rent, our First Selectman explains, “it’s the opportunity to join the Mianus Boat Club across the street and enjoy my new, deep interest in boating.” Embittered former Club Commodore Joan Caldwell, forced to resign to make room for the Tesei family’s membership, was unavailable for comment, though it’s rumored she’s threatening to burn down the clubhouse in a reprise of her previous role developing Conyers Farm.

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