Daily Archives: April 23, 2013

Because then he’d have to do something about it

After declaring earlier this year that Syria’s use of chemical weapons would “cross the red line”, Syria did use chemical weapons, and so the White House is “studying the matter”. 

There are far more reasons not to go into Syria than to invade or strike it militarily, I’m sure, but this is why amateur community organizers shouldn’t be entrusted to run countries (and no, not just Hugo Chavez). Obama threatened, now he either act on his threat or back down, always a dangerous thing.

Look for the study to continue for another 3 1/2 years. Hope world events will wait for us.


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I’ll take this to heart

Dollar Bill orders Clearsil on line

Dollar Bill orders pimple cream and Trojans on line

GOOD ADVICE, from Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon: “Arguing with anonymous strangers on the Internet is a sucker’s game because they almost always turn out to be — or to be indistinguishable from — self-righteous sixteen-year-olds possessing infinite amounts of free time.”

Posted at 6:05 pm by Glenn Reynolds 


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Congress created it, Congress can take it away

Court upholds EPA’s power to revoke pollution permits retroactively, forever. What this means, beyond the immediate case involving a coal mine, is that industries can receive all the proper permits to operate, spend billions to create that operation, and the EPA can shut it down on a whim. If you want to stop all new industry and shut down what’s already up and operating, here’s how to do it.

That’s the EPA’s ultimate goal; is it Congress’s? The EPA has only the authority granted it by Congress, so we’ll see. You’ll notice you’re still pumping ethanol into your gas tank.


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Lets send our federal agency heads to China. At their own expense,of course

GSA Junket, Las Vegas, 2012

GSA Junket, Las Vegas, 2012

Angry mob crashes official’s party, forces him to apologize on his knees for wasting the people’s money.

Zhang apparently begged for forgiveness — another image posted to the internet shows Zhang on his knees, apologizing to the angry hoards through a megaphone.

According to China.cn.org, Zhang has now been fired from his position, with local authorities saying he didn’t follow guidelines for official spending.

Zhang is reported to have spent 6,830 yuan ($1,105) for all of the tables at the banquet, and the Financial Times says that the meal came out at at 250 yuan ($40) a head.

While that figure may not sound too expensive to New Yorkers, outside of Beijing or Shanghai such a figure would seem absurd to many ordinary Chinese citizens. Unfortunately, it also comes during new President Xi Jinping’s new austerity drive.

No more Las Vegas junkets? Ha – here in the land of Democracy our leaders keep up their spending while punishing ordinary citizens who question their profligacy. I’m not recommending the Chinese “bullet in the head, send the bill to the widow” school of government chastisement, but maybe we should experiment with it, however briefly.


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Quick sales

Two reported accepted offers of note, 248 Stanwich Road, $995,000 and 19 Connecticut Avenue, $1.650, going in 18 and 19 days, respectively.

248 Stanwich Rd

248 Stanwich Rd

248 Stanwich is a very nice bachelor pad or perhaps for a downsizing couple. It’s down a long driveway off the road and is bordered by streams, wetlands and a pond, so you won’t be adding a yard or expanding the footprint on this one. But it’s quite nice inside; the owners opened up the ceilings, added skylights and some pseudo-beams, updated the kitchen in the not so distant past and, all in all, created very livable space. Not for kids, but a decent rental. last year it asked $3,900 for rent and went for $4,100, so the demand is there.

19 Conn. Ave

19 Conn. Ave

19 Connecticut is new construction, built on land purchased in July of 2012 for $716,000. That’s a pretty quick build, and it sold so quickly it’s safe to guess that it’s going for asking or close-to-asking price.


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Attention homeowners

A reader sends along this message from our P&Z:

Classic Email from P&Z today:
“Hello All — I’m writing to our frequent applicants regarding submittals of CAM [Coastal Area Management – any project within 600? Something like that – feet of the water.  Ed] applications in the coming months. Review times of CAM’s have increased due to an increase in application submittals over the last year, in addition to the required engineering review of most new projects based on the revised Drainage Manual. In addition to this, Katie Deluca, who has reviewed 95% of CAM submittals, will be out on maternity leave for a while. In light of this, we are anticipating longer review times in the coming months and therefore are requesting that when you submit CAM’s, please submit a time extension at the same time. This will help avoid lapses in deadlines. Based on State Statutes, if a CAM application deadline lapses (65 days after receipt of application, with an additional 65 days of extension possible), the CAM can be considered denied, so it is in the applicant’s best interest not to have the deadline lapse. Thank you and you can contact me with any questions. In Katie’s absence, Marek and Pat will be reviewing CAM’s. A sample blank CAM extension form is attached below.”

New rules are enacted, regulation becomes more stringent and the town is completely unprepared to do their job….

This affects you, oh homebuyer, because if you’re considering buying a house even remotely close to the water, you can now plan an extra six months to the permitting process. We’re probably well over a year now for most projects, and it’s getting worse.


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Well that didn’t take long

Message: "I care". Obama releases photo depicting him feeling sorrow.

Message: “I care”. Obama releases photo depicting himself feeling sorrow.

WaPo on cause of Boston Bombing: Blame Bush!

White House Dossier:

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation, said Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed by police as the two attempted to avoid capture, do not appear to have been directed by a foreign terrorist organization.

Rather, the officials said, the evidence so far suggests they were “self-radicalized” through Internet sites and U.S. actions in the Muslim world. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has specifically cited the U.S. war in Iraq, which ended in December 2011 with the removal of the last American forces, and the war in Afghanistan, where President Obama plans to end combat operations by the end of 2014.

(WHD’s KEITH KOFFLER): Here we go. I can hear Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi now, close to tears, lamenting the awful mistakes Bush made and the consequences that continue to roll in.

But of course, as the Washington Post notes, our current leader is coming to the rescue:

Obama has made repairing U.S. relations with the Islamic world a foreign policy priority.


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Democrat’s vision for your future

Demoncrats’ Immigration bill will legalize enough invaders to throw entire country into its control.


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Don’t know whether it will keep growing, but the bubble is officially here

3 Fairfield3 Fairfield Avenue, Old Greenwich, has sold for $1.350 million. A perfectly nice home, for what it is, but no garage, no yard, no driveway, (it does have a paved strip)  and on a street of extremely modest homes. I’m not astonished that this sold for this much, but push your imagination forward two years and see if you think it will be worth still more. If not, then have we reached the end of this current boomlet?

(All cash buyer, seemingly – contract and sale occurred the same day – 22nd)


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Oh how the rulers do hate it when the masses rebel

Gasden Flag, 1776

Gadsden Flag, 1776

New Rochelle officials demand removal of “Don’t Tread on Me” flag from vacant public building.

They must be getting nervous or something.

The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake is the legend “DONT TREAD ON ME”. The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was also used by The United States Marine Corps as an early motto flag. The use of the eastern diamondback rattlesnake as a symbol of the American colonies can be traced back to the publications of Benjamin Franklin. In 1751, he made the first reference to the rattlesnake in a satirical commentary published in his Pennsylvania Gazette. It had been the policy of Britain to send convicted criminals to America, and Franklin suggested that they thank the British by sending rattlesnakes to England.  Benjamin Franklin’s “Join, or Die” cartoon in 1754, during the French and Indian War, Franklin published his famous woodcut of a snake cut into eight sections. It represented the colonies, with New England joined together as the head and South Carolina as the tail, following their order along the coast. Under the snake was the message “Join, or Die.” This was the first political cartoon published in an American newspaper. As the American Revolution grew closer, the snake began to see more use as a symbol of the colonies.


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Taking a page from the FAA’s playbook.

Just as the FAA has responded to a $600 million cut in its budget by subjecting all of the American flying public to hours-long delays (instead of, for instance, cutting an equivalent amount from its consulting budget), Meals on Wheels in San Francisco is blaming a $100,000 reduction in federal aid for its decision to drop 200 seniors from the program. Let’s do the math, using numbers supplied by the article:

Total budget: $3,500,000.

Total seniors:  1,200

Cost per senior: $2,916.66, per year

Total aid reduction: $100,000.

Divide that by the $2,916 figure and you get 34 old folks not receiving porridge. Where’d the other guys go? Ain’t politics grand?


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Price disclosed

44 Winthrop44 Winthrop Road, Riverside, new construction, sold yesterday for $3.875 on an asking price of $4.195. No yard to speak of, 0.4 acre, but what do you expect for $4 million? Until now, by the way, I hadn’t realized that “custom built to perfection” could be applied to a spec house built for the general public, but what do I know? I’m off to don my custom built Levis and drive around in my custom built Honda.


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Closed house tour

I think not

I think not

Looks like a good day to save gas. Many showings of houses that have taken price cuts, which is good, but I’ve already seen them. As for the new ones, most look to be wildly overpriced, so I should be able to visit them over the ensuing years – no rush. My love of train wrecks is almost enough to drag me out to see a house whose owner  purchased new from Jordan Saper at the height of the market in 2005, added a pool and now demands $1.565 more. Her new price places her among 12 other houses for sale in that section (North Street School) of town. Five houses asking that much have sold in the past 24 months, so I can probably wait to see this one, too. This is a tough price range.


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No one’s gonna steal MY house!

Stop me before I rise again

Stop me before I rise again

And just to make sure, I’m raising the price again. 10 Blanchard, way out west in the Baliwick section, added $300,000 to its price so that what would have cost you $2.695 million yesterday will now set you back $2.995. That’ll larn ya.

This is not the first time the homeowner has tried this strategy. She started at $3.1 million in 2010, gradually dropped it to $2.795 in January, 2011, then bumped it to $2.895 in June of that year and again in November, 2012, to $2.995. It gradually receded under the waves after that, reaching $2.695 last month. Now it’s too late, and your procrastination is going to cost you, you fool.


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Socialism doesn’t work for tractor production, why should it work for housing?


I'm from the government and I'm here to help

I’m from the government and I’m here to help

“Capitalist” countries have nationalized the housing market.

Socialism is a dirty word in many parts of the US, but as the FT reports, the government has turned its mortgage market into a giant nationalized enterprise on a par with China’s Red Army with over 90% of mortgages subsidized by the state and aided by so-called “progressive” or “redistributive” policies.

In the UK, the government have also become entwined with the housing market, albeit in different ways. Rates have also been slashed close to zero; tens of thousands are buying homes arm-in-arm with the state under ‘shared equity schemes’; and one-third of all mortgages come from the two state-controlled banks (Lloyds and RBS); very reminiscent of supposedly communist China, where most banks are majority-owned by the state with small public floats.

The BoE has (supposedly temporarily) pumped over GBP14bn into a scheme called “Funding for Lending” aimed at forcing down the price of business loans and mortgages; also reminiscent of the “short-term” rescue of Fannie and Freddie five years ago. In spite of all this government-sponsorship (or perhaps due to its bubble reflation), analysts argue, “we still have a market where pricing is not at a rational level.”

[A] ttempts to send the two mortgage underwriters back into the private sector have withered on the vine.

“There was momentum before the election but that has completely evaporated,”

Across the Atlantic, the tentacles of the state have also become entwined with the housing market, albeit in different ways. The British government would not set Soviet-style targets for tractor production or widget manufacturing. Housing is a different matter.

The central interest rate has been slashed to close to zero. Tens of thousands are buying homes arm-in-arm with the state under “shared equity schemes”. Most strikingly, one in three mortgages taken out in the UK are through two government-controlled banks.

“We still have a market where pricing is not at a rational level.”

…the move could create a new “housing bubble”, replicating the sub-prime crisis in the US

The question goes to the heart of the dilemma faced by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. How can they avoid another crash if and when they withdraw support from the market?

“But politicians will struggle to square the circle. It seems likely they will remain chained to policies that prop up the housing market, even as they keep paying lip service to first-time buyers who they cannot help en masse at the same time.

“It’s broadly accepted nowadays that China still lives under the banner of ‘communism’ despite capitalist markets playing an increasing role in society. In Britain and America – at least where the housing market is concerned – the reverse process seems to be taking place.”

What could possibly go wrong?

Comments Off on Socialism doesn’t work for tractor production, why should it work for housing?

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New FEMA rules’s first public appearance

P&Z Home, 10 Meadowbank


So far as I know, this is the first applicant to appear before the P&Z on a matter relating to the new flood levels.

CPP 10 Meadowbank Road LLC wants to raise and remodel a home at 10 Meadowbank Road to make it conform to current and future flood elevation standards as required by Federal Emergency Management Agency. The 2,235 square-foot home would increase to 4,409 square feet, according to a planning department staff report. The applicant wants to fill around the home to elevate the first floor. But the town’s engineering division suggested placing the house on piers or creating a crawl space with no fill, a suggestion the homeowner disagrees with.

Not sure how this will affect the streetscape on Meadowbank but the P&Z’s decision may provide insight into how it intends to handle this issue. This is surely only the first of many such applications to come.


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But five years in, he still refuses to play golf with any of them


You, I'll golf with

You, I’ll golf with

In an attempt to demonstrate his genuine, but hidden affection for women, Obama will invite female senators to dinner. 


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