Daily Archives: April 4, 2013

Teri Buhl sentenced to 30 days

I still don’t know much about this case involving a frequent FWIW commenter  (well frequent in the past- haven’t heard much from her in a couple of years – do you suppose Walt scared her off?) but it involves her stealing a girl’s diary about drinking in New Canaan and publishing it on the Internet. The prosecution failed to introduce the evidence needed to support that charge (never send interns to do real work) but Buhl was convicted on a misdemeanor and today a judge sentenced her to 30 days in jail and a year’s probation. I’m suspicious of this entire case – the vigorous police inquiry into the incident, an investigation that according to the cops took “months”, a full press prosecution and now a terrifically harsh sentence for a misdemeanor, violations of which usually result in a hundred-dollar fine and court costs. Buhl obviously offended someone powerful up in New Canaan and I wonder who it was?

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Don’t disturb us while we’re dreaming of riches

If the economy’s doing so well, how come we have 50 million Americans on food stamps? 

This week, the administration’s supporters celebrated another indicator of recovery and expansion. This week the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a six-year high, going above the 14,500 mark and doubling the DJIA value at the nadir of the Great Recession.  The Standard & Poor’s Index also hit a record high mark last week, and then closed above that earlier this week.  That has some feeling as though we have closed out the books on the Great Recession….

[But] while the stock markets look as though the American economy has rebuilt itself to its pre-collapse strength, the measures on the ground paint a very different story.

First, the stock market rally offers more smoke than fire, for reasons related to both the stimulus and the Fed.  As former OMB Director David Stockman pointed out in Sunday’s New York Times, the soaring highs of the S&P 500 and DJIA show more of a bubble than actual growth.  Three turns on the qualitative-easing roller coaster has devalued the dollar, with the third apparently an infinite policy, and that makes the two indices meaningless in this comparison.

“Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion),” Stockman explained.  “Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually.” That “flood of liquidity” has only pooled in one specific area of the American economy, Stockman argues – Wall Street.  That makes both the S&P 500 and DJIA much less indicative of the health of the overall economy, and points to “yet another unsustainable bubble.”

That isn’t the only disconnect that Stockman sees.  A recovering economy should expand the workforce and reduce reliance on safety-net programs.  Instead, we continue to see the opposite.  Besides the aforementioned stagnation at the 32-year low in civilian workforce participation, an enormous expansion of aid has now doubled food-stamp and disability rolls in twelve years to 59 million people, nearly one in every five Americans, Stockman points out.  Food stamp rolls alone have increased 70 percent since the end of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported separately last week.  It now stands at a record high of 47.8 million Americans….

At the end of 2008, at the depth of the Great Recession and as President Obama first took office, that number was below 40 million.

We have added 10 million people into poverty since Obama took office, most of whom fell into poverty after the stimulus and the technical recovery began. In comparison, we have only added 123,000 jobs over the same period, according to the BLS Current Population Survey, which showed a seasonally-adjusted employment level in December 2008 of 143.369 million, compared to 143.392 million in February.  (The BLS’ Current Employment Survey data looks almost as bad, with a gain of just 621,000 jobs in the same period.) The civilian participation rate in the workforce has dropped from 65.8 percent to 63.5 percent during that time, equaling August 2012 for the worst since September 1981.

….

This administration has been selling the perception of a recovery – by dumbing down expectations for jobs growth, by using gimmicky stimulus spending to temporarily improve stagnation numbers, and by leaving the Fed with no other choice than to fuel a currency bubble that makes Wall Street look stronger than it is at the expense of the actual economy.  The real fundamentals of the last five years don’t show a recovery at all, but a slow slide into poverty and decline.  Until we get serious about fiscally responsible regulatory, monetary, and spending policies, we won’t ever break out of this cycle.

 

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Close of day report

A little bit more came in near the closing bell.

142 Pecksland

142 Pecksland

142 Pecksland, land value only and asking $1.695, went via bidding war for $1.797 million. Not quite a home run for the seller who had it priced at $2.999 back in 2004. There was a quit claim deed transfer of title on this property in January of this year so it’s possible someone turned over title in lieu of foreclosure or the transfer (from an individual to an LLC) was just a business rearrangement. Either way, it’s sold now.

6 Richmond Drive in Old Greenwich was never listed on the MLS at all but was reported sold today for $993,000. In case you’re wondering what a 1/4 acre building lot south north of the Village, south of I-95 is going for these days.

300 Taconic

300 Taconic

And back with us again is 300 Taconic Road (picture shown is from an expired listing – check back later to see if the broker has posted current ones). Price is down to $2.050, from a 2009 opening of $2.6 million. Owner paid $2.4 million in 2000. Notwithstanding its small size: 2 acres in the R-4 zone, there’s still space to add on here because FAR allows 5,668 sq. ft. and the house is presently just 3,800. I rather like this place – older farmhousey look, updated back in the 1980s, great yard and pool. It’s a hike up here to this section of Taconic (up past the church and close to Farms Road), but Taconic offers a pretty straight shot down to North Street and town. When the picture are posted, take a look. Nice place for $2 million.

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Land sale in Riverside, renewed listing on Calhoun

29 Twin Lakes (end of Gilliam Lane), one acre, asked $2.150 million, sold in bidding war, $2.195.

65 Calhoun Drive

65 Calhoun Drive

65 Calhoun Drive is back, now asking $3.490 million. The listing say “the current owners have enjoyed this house for 45 years” but they apparently stopped enjoying it a few years back, because they’ve been trying to sell it since 2010, when they listed it for $5.6 million. Still, it’s a beautiful old (1918) home, with very nice grounds, and its new price makes it much more attractive. Pictures aren’t posted yet but check it in a little while – I’m sure they will be up soon.

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No open houses I can report on

It’s open house Thursday but I was out looking at a property that will be coming up for sale and wasn’t able to hit the trail – there’s only one of me. But here are three houses reporting activity.

13 Irvine

13 Irvine

13 Irvine Road, Old Greenwich, has an executed contract just ten days after being listed so presumably its selling price will be close to its asking price of $2.195 million. The same house sold for $1.743 million in 2010 and nothing seems to have been done to improve it since then.

62 Wesskum Wood

62 Wesskum Wood

62 Wesskum Wood Road, Riverside, also has an accepted offer, 42 DOM, asking $2.505. It sold for $2.205 in 2005, dropped during the crash and sold for $2.025 in 2010, and now this.

261 Round Hill Rd

261 Round Hill Rd

On the other hand, the back country isn’t leaping to new heights, and 261 Round Hill Road has cut its price again, to $7.888 million from its opening price a year ago of $8.998. So that’s a big difference over that time, but today’s price cut is just $100,000 less than yesterday’s price of $7.988 and. although this may surprise you as much as it will the owner, someone who wasn’t willing to buy it yesterday is unlikely to be moved to action by this price cut. Or that’s my guess, anyway.

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Fresh from denying citizens their constitutional rights, Connecticut Democrats push to grant illegal aliens new privileges

First stop, DMV!

First stop, DMV!

Issue them drivers licenses because God forbid they’re otherwise forced to break a law. Just to set the current picture: in order to buy a .22 rifle or even a box of cartridges- two bucks out of your pocket –  you must now prove that: (a) you are here in this country legally,  (b) that you have no criminal history or any record of being voluntarily treated for depression or other mental disorder; (c) have evidence from the Chief of Police of your hometown, and the state police, and the FBI that a background check has been performed and two letters of recommendation received from persons who know you; and (d) several hundred dollars to pay for background investigations, gun safety courses and fees.

On the the other hand, should you desire to drive a lowrider capable of doing 150 mph, you need merely announce. “My name is José, I’m here to stay!”, and Bob’s your uncle.

They call these people undocumented Democrats for a reason, and we’re handing them our country while we tyrannize real citizens. Only in the People’s New Socialist Haven.

UPDATE: Oops! I forgot to add as requirements for buying that ammo the submission to fingerprinting and mug shots. I was reminded when EOS pointed out this feature of Illinois’ program to license wetbacks:

The Illinois law has a “only a lib would think of this “clause in it: Illinois will not require applicants to be fingerprinted, for fear that would discourage immigrants from applying.

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Too good to leave buried in the comments

Quota kids, will save the day!

Quota kids, will save the day!

Walt sends along this story: Phoenix is recruiting blacks and undocumented Democrats (once affectionately referred to as “wetbacks”, but no more) as lifeguards, even if they can’t swim. Yes, we’ll lose a few children, but at least they’ll drown while being watched over by a person of color helpless to assist, and isn’t that far better than owing a debt of gratitude to some white kid? In Phoenix, apparently, it is.

Next up in the political correctness suicide parade? Two more women have flunked the Marine Corp’s Infantry Officer training course, making the failure rate 100%.  Will Congress stand by while perfectly capable women are denied the right to lead troops in combat just because they lack the physical endurance to stay with them? Ha.

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It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity

Libertarian Advocate writes, speaking of Scott Frantz,

I’d thought he was a tough minded businessman. He fell for the Chinese Ploy: Demand the most egregious terms, pretend to cave and get more than you’d ever dreamed for.

Bye Scott.

Which is true, but more distressing is the demonstrated ineptness of our local Republicans to employ the very basic principle that when you’re outnumbered by your enemies, out think them.

Frantz and his few compatriots should not have attempted to water down the bill but instead should have cheered it on. By removing the most egregious elements of the law they helped the Democrats minimize the chances of the entire law being declared unconstitutional. But better than just standing aside, they should have encouraged, even introduced the grossest excesses advocated by the confiscators. Two possible results, had this strategy been adopted: either the law would have been stopped from enforcement by the federal courts and ultimately declared unconstitutional or, had smart Democrats seen what was happening and blocked the Republicans’ proposals it would have put the Democrats in the position of seeming to resist “common sense” laws to end violence. The general public  doesn’t know a constitutional issue from their right nostril and so wouldn’t understand or approve of the Democrats spurning the chance do “really do something”.  Result: Democrats lose, Republicans win the PR game.

Instead, Frantz fell for the Democrat’s gambit, accomplished nothing and looked like the fools that they are. Stupid, stupid , stupid.

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Feel safer now? Then you’ve been bamboozled

Greenwich’s Jack Moffly Republicans and their “bi-partisan” pals have whooped through what they proudly proclaim is “the toughest gun law in America” and will now get back to their regularly scheduled business of finding new ways to reward unions and punish the middle class.

All of which was expected, of course, but it is a bit galling to hear these gun confiscators pretend that yesterday’s action wasn’t merely the next step in banning guns in Connecticut and was instead a genuine, sincere effort to ensure the safety of their fellow citizens, just like the two week waiting period to purchase guns, enacted a decade or so ago.Unless you’re a hunter, you probably don’t remember that law, ushered in with the same solemnity as this new one, because it gets absolutely no attention from the press or the Hartford Harassers. They’d prefer you’d forget it because it has done nothing – nothing – to reduce gun homicides; the gangbangers who cause that mayhem are (a) already ineligible because of their criminal histories to own or possess guns and (b) Ignore the law by buying guns out of channel, just as they did before its passage.

Now we have another set of laws which will be ignored by the very people this legislation is purportedly aimed at. If you believe that gangsters intent on murder will be deterred from breaking the law  requiring a background check when they are already violating laws against murder and the possession of any kind of weapon by a criminal, then you deserve the government you have.

So given that these laws will have no effect on criminals, who will they punish?

Law abiding citizens who can no longer buy ammunition on the Internet or even purchase box of shells from a sports store without proof of an “ammunition certificate”. The politicians claim that this certificate will only cost $35 but don’t mention the six month process of local, state and federal investigations of their suitability to own a bullet and a mandatory “gun-safety” class. Each step will cost money and the cost of each will rise every year the legislature meets. Internet sales will indeed stop: no supplier will bother to set up a compliance system for citizens of our tiny state, they’ll just stop shipping to Connecticut, as they have done with California. The lack of legitimately purchased ammunition  will not stop a criminal from obtaining it, just as the lack of legitimate heroin or cocaine has not stopped drug use. There are “alternative sources.”

Suffering from depression, anorexia or any other mental affliction? Don’t check into a Connecticut hospital unless you want to be on a permanent register of crazies, barred from exercising a constitutional right and subject to a newspaper like The Journal News publishing your name and home address on an interactive map. Would this law have stopped any of our mass murderers in the past century? Nope, but it will certainly discourage troubled individuals from seeking professional help. How many people suffering from depression will now shun treatment, how many deaths by suicide will that cause? We’ll find out, over time.

Banning high capacity ammunition magazines. The best estimate I’ve seen of the difference this would have made, had he obeyed it (and anyone eager to shoot school children is an unlikely candidate to comply with this law) is that, instead of his killing spree lasting 5 minutes, Adam Lanza would have had to spend 5 minutes and 20 seconds. So it won’t stop that sort of incident but it will make felons of every citizen who owns such magazines and fails to register it or surrender it to the police. While I certainly don’t own any of these evil things – police, take notice – I haven’t heard a single gun owner who does have one state that she will comply. When a law makes felons out of tens of thousands of law abiding citizens there’s something wrong with the law, not the citizens.

Banning “assault rifles” which are merely ordinary  rifles mocked up to look like military weapons. Do you think that banning gun stocks that adjust in length to fit different sized people – women tend to be shorter than men, for instance – would have prevented Sandy Hook or will prevent a massacre in the future? No? Well certainly the new prohibition against bayonet mounts will do it.

I could go one (and on – the bill has 92 sections and hundred of pages) but here’s the gist: this law will not affect criminals one whit, but it will make gun ownership in Connecticut more expensive and burdensome. Which, again, is the entire point of this exercise. Advocates for confiscation of all guns in our state have already acknowledged that this scheme is just another step towards achievement of their ultimate goal and have vowed that they’ll be back, again and again, until they win completely.

And Scott Frantz acquiesced in all this to preserve an illusion of bi-partisanship.

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