Daily Archives: April 1, 2013

NYT: So what’s the matter with Texas?

NYT: California’s rich are enjoying a renaissance 

California auditor reports that the state now enjoys a $127 billion negative net worth.

Stockton CA goes bankrupt.

Texas reports $8 billion surplus

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Soak ’em in di-hydrogen monoxide and double their range

 

Bring it on

Bring it on

Anti-drone depleted uranium shotgun shells: knock out Predators  a mile high.

Big Brother is watching, and with modern technology, if Big Brother can see it, he can turn it into a giant smoking crater with just the press of a button. Even your secret remote wilderness bunker is no match for today’s military drones. In partnership with Tacnition Ammo, Lucky Gunner is happy to introduce a new way for you to fight back against the All Seeing Eye with our new anti-drone shotgun loads.

Years of research and development have gone into these highly effective 12 gauge shells that can turn even Joe Biden’s double barrel shotgun into an instant anti-aircraft platform. Specially formulated propellant is capable of launching 9 pellets of depleted uranium rounds up to 1 km straight up into the air. With accurate shot placement, this armor piercing buckshot will disable vital systems on modern military drones. At minimum, the force of impact will disable navigation systems, but in over 60% of our field tests, the drones were incapable of remaining airborne after contact with our Anti-Drone Loads.

NOTE: Drone Loads are intended for entertainment use only and not intended to be used in any manner not in accordance with federal and local laws. Lucky Gunner assumes no responsibility for any illegal activity involving Tacnition Drone Ammo.

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The Irish have a way with words

“Second hand home values soar” Not all is shamrocks on the Emerald Isle – see below – but I do love the term “second hand home”. Greenwich home owners would shriek in horror if we told them that’s what they were selling.

Keith Lowe, chief executive, said any price increase should be put in context against the previous six years of decline.

“House price increases are also not consistently spread throughout the market, reflecting demand preferences but it is encouraging to see three straight quarters of house price increases,” he said.

“Properties are still down almost 63% on the peak they achieved in 2006.

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The war on boys

20% now diagnosed as suffering from hyperactive and medicated accordingly.

Criminalizing childhood.

Put that boy into shock treatment

Put that boy into shock treatment

The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 53 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those withA.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

“Those are astronomical numbers. I’m floored,” said Dr. William Graf, a pediatric neurologist in New Haven and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. He added, “Mild symptoms are being diagnosed so readily, which goes well beyond the disorder and beyond the zone of ambiguity to pure enhancement of children who are otherwise healthy.”

And even more teenagers are likely to be prescribed medication in the near future because the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D. to allow more people to receive the diagnosis and treatment. A.D.H.D. is described by most experts as resulting from abnormal chemical levels in the brain that impair a person’s impulse control and attention skills.

While some doctors and patient advocates have welcomed rising diagnosis rates as evidence that the disorder is being better recognized and accepted, others said the new rates suggest that millions of children may be taking medication merely to calm behavior or to do better in school. Pills that are shared with or sold to classmates — diversion long tolerated in college settings and gaining traction in high-achieving high schools — are particularly dangerous, doctors say, because of their health risks when abused.

Experts cited several factors in the rising rates. Some doctors are hastily viewing any complaints of inattention as full-blown A.D.H.D., they said, while pharmaceutical advertising emphasizes how medication can substantially improve a child’s life. Moreover, they said, some parents are pressuring doctors to help with their children’s troublesome behavior and slipping grades.

“There’s a tremendous push where if the kid’s behavior is thought to be quote-unquote abnormal — if they’re not sitting quietly at their desk — that’s pathological, instead of just childhood,” said Dr. Jerome Groopman, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the author of “How Doctors Think.”

Fifteen percent of school-age boys have received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis, the data showed; the rate for girls was 7 percent. Diagnoses among those of high-school age — 14 to 17 — were particularly high, 10 percent for girls and 19 percent for boys. About one in 10 high-school boys currently takes A.D.H.D. medication, the data showed.

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Ding ding ding ding, we have a winner!

98 Glenwood DriveAfter 2,121 days on the market, 98 Glenwood Drive in Belle Haven is under contract, last asking price $8.995. This place was first listed for sale in 2007 for $16.8 million and even I, dazzled as I am by Belle Haven and its restrictive membership rules, thought that was ridiculous. And so did potential buyers, obviously, spurning its charms over the next six years as it went though a succession of brokers and price levels and even a “renovation” (details not specified) in 2010, before finally leveling off a year ago at $8.995. Nothing, absolutely nothing harms a house seller’s chances more than wildly overpricing at the outset.

As evidenced here. One bright spot: it’s high enough above the Belle Haven parking lot that it will probably escape the worst penalties of our P&Z’s new FEMA coastline regs.

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Corey Booker solves the gun problem singlehandedly

Appearing on “Meet the Press” Easter morning, the mayor of Newark mourned the “thousands of murders” occurring each day across the United States, caused by gun-toting criminals. A short time after the show he reduced that to “hundreds” per day. In fact, the number is 30. So from thousands to 30 in one short morning? Mayor Bloomberg would be proud. Too bad the interlocutors of the press are too clueless about any subject to know when to challenge a guest’s most outlandish claims.

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One great deal goes to contract, and a white elephant

361 Stanwich Road

361 Stanwich Rd

316 Stanwich Road asked $1.699 and went in just a few days. This wouldn’t sell for all of last year but I thought it was the best two-acre lot in central mid country Greenwich and fruitlessly showed it several times this winter before it was officially relisted. Unfortunately for me, the clients who “got it” couldn’t afford it and those who could afford it didn’t agree with my assessment of its value. Forget the perfectly-livable house on this site, that’s free; the two flat acres alone were worth the asking price.

27 Oakley Lane, off North Street and fronting the reservoir, sold for $6.8 million in 1998, tried for $10.750 back in 2010 and gradually sank back to that 1998 price last year. Today it has a contract. The house is a grand old thing, built in 1930, but I’d guess it’s not worth restoring and will be headed for the dumpster. Great land, though, and five acres of it.

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Price reduction

131 Havemeyer Place

131 Havemeyer Place

131 Havemeyer Place, central Greenwich, from $999,000 to $899,000. Owner paid $995,000 for it in 2006, put on a new roof, siding and replaced the windows and kitchen cabinets. It’s rented for $3,750 through August, 2014. I’ll let you number whizzes work that out but it seems like a decent deal to me.

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They must think they’re in Riverside

33 Boulder Brook

33 Boulder Brook

33 Boulder Brook Road which was, last time I looked, off of Stanwich, asked $6.875 million in 2008 and finally sold for $4.882 in November, 2011. Today it’s back for sale without any improvements deemed worthy of mentioning on its listing sheet and priced at $5.895. Has the market improved so dramatically in one year? Guess we’ll find out.

29 Carey Rd

29 Carey Rd

On the other hand, 29 Carey Road (link above) is in Riverside, and is back on the market at $549,000 after an earlier deal fell through. This is on the non-Mianus side of Carey and thus not as attractive, but the price is right, and there are some nice neighbors there.

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No use crying

Milk TruckDeb Halsey (Wm. Raveis) sends along this photo of a milk truck spilled over on Field Point Road. Oops.

UPDATE: Sadly, Greenwich Patch reports that the driver suffered “severe cuts” to his head and hands and was taken to the hospital. Good thing for blogs in town – if readers had to rely on the local paper for news they’d get …well say, did you know that Regis dined with Frank and Cathy Gifford at Valebella’s?

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Well that’s one way to look at it

Drink up! What could possibly go wrong?

Drink up! What could possibly go wrong?

 BusinessInider’s Joe Weisenthal observes that some people are saying terrible things about the pending global economic disaster and is reassured.

He first quotes from SocGen’s Kit Jukes:

Read Wolfgang Munchau in the FT if you want to start Q2 depressed. I’m pretty sure it isn’t an April Fool’s ‘joke’ piece, but  “it is logically irrational for a Spanish saver to keep even small amounts in the Spanish banking system’ and ‘for Spain too, it will become economically rational to leave the eurozone’ is pretty aggressive even for Mr Munchau.

Also he recommends David Stockman’s NYT op-ed about how everything is a debt-fueled bubble, and going to collapse in a smoldering heap.

So there we go. In the US, we have an unsustainable money-fluffed recovery; in the UK we have a Sheriff of Nottingham style attack on the poor; in Europe we have respected journos arguing for deposit flight. But in Asia  this morning, and with the exception of India, we have decent PMIs and an on-going economic recovery.

Says Wiesenthal:

That’s all a good overview of the economy right now, and how people feel about it as we start the new quarter.

Europe is misery. The UK is being run by fools. Asia is fine. The US is strong, but something has to give.

In truth, the gloomy David Stockmans of the world are a good sign. There’s still a deep well of residual hate for the US recovery and stock market comeback. We wouldn’t like to see everyone on board.

It’s entirely possible that Wiesenthal shares space in the hammer box (as in, “dumb as a box of “) with his boss, Henry the Felon Blodget but is there anyone else this clueless? Aside from small private investors who are now flocking to “invest” in Wall Street? The traders act as though happy days are here again but I’m pretty sure it’s only Wiesenthal and Blodget who actually believe it.

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Awww….

PattycakePattycake dead at 40. She was the first gorilla born in New York City (King Kong just visited) and was quite the sensation back in 1972.

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For a company that hides its copyrighted material behind a cash wall, the New York Time shows an astonishing indifference to intellectual property rights

India invalidates Novartis drug patent and the Times cheers because it will help po’folk. Well don’t the disadvantaged need the New York Times too?

NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court rejected a Swiss drug maker’s patent application for a major cancer drug Monday in a landmark ruling that allows cheap copies of important medicines to continue being distributed in much of the world.

The ruling allows Indian makers of generic drugs to continue making copycat versions of the Novartis drug Gleevec — also spelled Glivec in other markets, like Europe — which can have a seemingly miraculous effect on some forms of leukemia.

But the ruling’s effect will be felt well beyond the limited number of patients in India who need Gleevec because it will help maintain India’s role as the world’s most important provider of cheap medicines, which is critical in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

 

The ruling Monday is bound to be seen with some concern by the United States and the international pharmaceutical industry and may be yet another blow to India’s standing among major multinational companies, many of whom view protection of their intellectual property as vital to their business interests.

Filthy businessmen, placing profits before people. I blame Bush.

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Greenwich Time: Hard hitting, accurate and speaking truth to power

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 4.33.11 AMFront page news: Ron Howard chows down in Greenwich

That a Greenwich resident would patronize a Greenwich restaurant is astonishing enough, even if he’s seen all about town, all the time because, er, he lives here, but news that Greenwich has incorporated Norwalk within its boundaries is as big a story as New York City swallowing Brooklyn in 1898.

And the Greenwich Time has it firstest (albeit a week after the event).

Scene … Greenwich resident and actor-director Ron Howard and his wife, author Cheryl Howard, were spotted having dinner at Bar Sugo on Wall Street in Norwalk last Sunday.

Those of you waiting for your local paper to cover, say, the latest P&Z actions concerning flood zones, actions which will cause hundreds of homeowners to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars from their property value will have to wait until space clears up to report it. But local high school sports and celebrity doings, they’re on it.

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The First Family places itself first

Proud to be an American

Proud to be an American

Living the life of the 1%

Joseph Curl:

Being president of the U.S., the most powerful man in the world, is often most about perception. The man (or, one day, woman) in the job takes actions large and small every day, but it is the perception of the man that seeps into the everyday lives of working Americans.

That’s why presidential candidates always hit Philadelphia for a cheesesteak during campaigns (Democrats to Pat’s, Republicans to Geno’s). Sure, they’re running billion-dollar operations trying to win the White House, but one picture of them wolfing down a Cheez Whiz-covered glob of meat on a Philly street hits home with millions of voters: “Hey, that guy’s just like me! He loves him a Pat’s [or Geno’s] cheesesteak, too!” (Unless you’re John F. Kerry and order Swiss cheese — then everyone hates you.)

Sometimes, that perception cuts to the core. Like when President George W. Bush stopped playing golf in 2003, at the height of the Iraq War.

“I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,” he said years later. “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”

That’s also why Mr. Bush did two other things, without fanfare or praise. First, he never headed home to his Texas ranch until after Christmas, instead going to Camp David for a few days. That way, the hundreds of people revolving around him at all times — White House staff, Secret Service agents, reporters, photographers, all the others — could spend the holiday with their families in and around Washington, D.C. No one ever reported that — until this column.

Second, he rarely attended sporting events, although he once owned a baseball team and was a self-confessed stats junkie. His thinking there was the same: If he went to a baseball game (right down the street from the White House), his mere presence would mean hours and hours of extra security for fans. He once stopped off at the Daytona 500 and the metal detectors through which every fan had to pass left thousands outside in line when the green flag fell; he didn’t attend many sporting events after that.

But something remarkable has happened with these occupants of the White House: Neither President Obama nor first lady Michelle appear to give a damn about perception. They won the White House and, by God, they’re going to enjoy their time there, no matter the cost. And who cares what you think, anyway?

How else to explain the nonstop vacations the pair keep taking during what Mr. Obama calls the “worst financial crisis since the Great Depression”? In 2013, the First Family has already enjoyed three vacations — that’s one a month. (Sorry, Joe America, you might have to forget your week at the beach again this year, but make sure you get those taxes in on time!)

The Obamas ended 2012 and kicked off 2013 in an $8 million, 6,000-square-foot house in Hawaii (they left well before Dec. 25, by the way). There, the president played five rounds of golf (breaking the 100-rounds-as-president threshold). Scarcely a month into Term 2, Mrs. Obama headed off for Aspen, taking along the couple’s daughters. Vice President Joseph R. Biden also hit the Colorado slopes. While the girls (and Joe) were gone, Mr. Obama nipped down to Florida for a four-day boys weekend of golf, teeing it up with his buddies — and Tiger Woods. He hit the links again this weekend, then dropped in for an NCAA tournament game in Washington.

Jumpin’ Joe, for his part, spent New Year’s in the Virgin Islands and popped off over the Easter weekend for a golf outing at the glorious Kiawah Island, S.C. (where rounds of golf on the spectacular Ocean Course run $353 — nearly $20 a hole). His third vacation of the year came the same week as reports that he and his entourage spent $460,000 for a single night in London and $585,000 for a night at a five-star hotel in Paris.

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