Daily Archives: August 1, 2013

Well this clears up THAT misconception!

Fabulous Fab Tourre found liable in civil suit brought by the SEC. he’s French, he worked for Goldman, the deal involved mortgage-backed securities, I’m sure everyone involved got what they deserved. But this is amusing:

For the SEC, the verdict offers a rebuttal to critics who have accused the agency of seeking to make fairly junior employees, such as Mr. Tourre, scapegoats for Wall Street’s wider failings.

If I understand that sentence correctly, the SEC, by winning this trial and holding Fabulous Fab liable for the sins of his employer, has demonstrated that it’s not involved in any attempt to make junior employees like Mr. Tourre scapegoats for their powerful employers. Wall Street logic.

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Outrageous bigotry

Black loafer

Black loafer

Stamford school custodian arrested for collecting his $91,000 salary while going on doctors’ visits and dropping in at his favorite liquor store. The poor guy knows exactly why he was arrested and he’s pissed; probably’s got Al Sharpton and the Prez on conference call right now.

Shavers, is a 42-year city employee at the top of his pay scale and has an annual base salary of $65,000. He took in $91,000 with overtime and other benefits last year.

He said police explained after picking him up at work at Rippowam Middle School Thursday morning that someone at city hall requested that police follow him around in an undercover car.

He was told that one day in May police followed him to a podiatrist’s appointment, another appointment and a liquor store, while he was supposed to be working.

“They are trying to get rid of me. Make me retire and get rid me and get some other supervisor in my place,” Shaver said after he was booked and released. “I am the first and only black Head Custodian 2 the city of Stamford ever had. I am at the top of the pay scale.”

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The chickens fly the coop

The Gov joins unions on the picket line

The Gov joins unions on the picket line

“Raised in Riverside” sends along the following Forbes article: How did Rich Connecticut Morph into One of America’s Worst Performing Economies? The short answer of course is Democrats. They’re ruled the state for decades and have always used Fairfield County as the motherlode to fund all of their grand redistribution schemes for their followers in the rest of the state. People down here seem to be growing tired of that exploitation and as the socialist agenda of the Hartford Democrats produces the same dismal results of every other socialist government, the effects are felt throughout the state; productive people are leaving, from all over Connecticut, and the parasites are being left behind. John Galt doesn’t live here anymore, or he won’t for long.

But the author goes into a lot more depth:

…. Despite these attractions, during the past two decades some 300,000 more Connecticut residents have moved out of the state than have moved in.  This compares with the current population of about 3.5 million.

Why the exodus?

Dismal performance

Perhaps with the complacency of old money, Connecticut policymakers came to believe they didn’t need to compete for investors and entrepreneurs – the key people who make prosperity happen.  Keep in mind that government basically doesn’t have any money other than what it extracts from the private sector via taxation.

As a columnist for the Hartford Courant remarked, “businesses here have become vulnerable to appeals from places [like Florida and Texas] that Connecticut leaders once thought they could safely hold in low regard.”

When investors and entrepreneurs consider important decisions like where to establish a residence, where to operate a business and, yes, where to die, they compare their options.  From a financial point of view, Connecticut turns out not to be a great option.  For instance:

  • Connecticut ranks #50 – the worst — in annual economic growth.  According to the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, Connecticut’s economy contracted for the second year in a row.  “Connecticut is the laggard,” reported Connecticut Department of Labor economist Daniel Kennedy.
  • Between 1996 and 2006 – before the financial meltdown and recession — the number of Connecticut small businesses declined by 2.2 percent, while the average experience of all 50 states was a 10 percent increase.  Only Ohio and West Virginia did worse than Connecticut.  Its small businesses account for about half of the state’s private sector jobs.
  • Government spending is out of control.  Two years ago, Connecticut Governor Dannell P. Malloy signed a $1.8 billion tax hike, the biggest in the state’s history, that supposedly would generate enough.  But it wasn’t enough for the next budget, enacted this year.  It was balanced mainly with gimmicks like shifting some $6 billion of Medicaid spending off-budget.
  • State Budget Solutions, a think tank monitoring state finances, reported that among the 50 states Connecticut has run up the fourth largest pile of debts per capita — $27,540. This includes unfunded liabilities for government employee pension funds.  The total is almost double the per capita debts of financially-strapped California.  Higher debts imply higher taxes in the future.
  • Barron’s considered Connecticut to be in the worst financial shape – with debt and pension liabilities a higher percentage of GDP (17.1) than any other state.  The financially strongest state: South Dakota where debt and pension liabilities are only 1 percent of GDP.
  • Connecticut has one of the worst business climates in the country.  Factors affecting a state’s business climate include the individual income tax, corporate income tax, sales tax, property tax, unemployment insurance tax and security of private property.  For example, as the Tax Foundation reported, “Connecticut imposed a temporary 20 percent surtax on top of its flat 7.5 percent corporate income tax, in effect raising its rate to 9 percent. This 20 percent surcharge is an increase on a supposedly temporary 10 percent surcharge that has been in place since 2009.”
  • The American Legislative Council, in its annual Rich States, Poor States study, ranks states two ways – economic performance and economic outlook.  The economic performance ranking is based on a state’s GDP trend, migration trend (in or out) and non-farm payroll enrollment trend.   The economic outlook ranking is based on 15 factors including the top marginal personal income tax rate, the top marginal corporate income tax rate, property tax burden, estate tax burden, public employees per 100,000 population, state liability system survey and whether a state has a right-to-work law.  Connecticut is ranked #46 for economic performance and #43 for economic outlook.
  • The Connecticut Business & Industry Association reported that “70 percent of executives believe the value they receive for their tax dollars is extremely low considering the amount they pay in taxes.”
  •  The Cato Institute gives Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy an F grade for his economic policies that throttle investors and entrepreneurs.  Malloy “creates a more hostile climate for business, but then tries to compensate for the damage with tax incentives.”
  • Connecticut’s probate court system seems to have gained a reputation for loading unnecessary costs on estates and sometimes arbitrarily nullifying wills, a practice that’s hard to distinguish from looting.  Yale Law School professor John H. Langbein declared that “Connecticut probate is a national scandal.”

How did Connecticut end up in this mess? You should read the entire five-page article for the details.

 

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Real estate round up, August 1st

Sales, accepted offers, price cuts and even a new listing.

45 Cedar Cliff Rd

45 Cedar Cliff Rd

45 Cedar Cliff, Riverside, $2.850 million. Owners paid $2.8 for it in 2006 and tried to get $3.175 in 2011, 2012. I viewed it with clients shopping in that price range back then and it was obvious that the house just didn’t compare to other Riverside homes priced at the same level. So those homes sold, this did not, and the owners pulled it from the market and refurbished, if not renovated it. That did the trick and they came back to 2006 pricing.

30 Nicholas Ave

30 Nicholas Ave

30 Nicholas, over in Glenville, sold for $540,000, if you’re keeping track of where people like Fudrucker will live once they give all their money away to the undeserving poor.

39 Edgewater

39 Edgewater

39 Edgewater Drive, Old Greenwich, sold in a bidding war, $780,000 asked, $876,000 got. This house was abandoned long ago and its owner was somewhere down in Florida enjoying early bird specials and pinching nurses’ fannies, so he was difficult to reach to extend an offer. But that was in 2007 and I presume he’s shuffled off this mortal coil and his heirs were ready to deal. What a deal they got: 0.15 acres in the R-12 zone so maximum space, including a garage, if you want one, is 2,000 sq. ft. You’ve got $900,000 into the land, $500,000 ($250 sq. ft. – cheap) into a house, and that’s a lot of money to have sunk into a new cottage.

But it’s Old Greenwich, so ….

36 Park Avenue

36 Park Avenue

36 Park Avenue (the Greenwich Park Avenue, one of the prettiest streets in town), has an accepted offer, asking $7.495 million. A grand old house – 1917 – on two acres in the R-20 zone, redone in 2011, tennis court, swimming pool; your own in-town country club, where you too can snub the unwashed as you see fit. This, by the way, is where Fudrucker will live once he takes back his own money that he so improvidently gave to the poor and substitutes yours instead, with a suitable portion of the vig going into his liberal pockets.

261 Round Hill Rd

261 Round Hill Rd

261 Round Hill Road, on the other hand, has taken another price cut, to $7.299, and is still looking for a buyer after starting out at $8.998 million 490 days ago. This is not one of those way-out locations; it’s (a little) south of the Merritt, but if I were going to fork over $7.5 million I’d prefer to live in a fine old house on park Avenue than this perfectly good one five miles from town. The buyer of 36 Park must have felt the same way.

26 Mianus View Terrace

26 Mianus View Terrace

26 Mianus View terrace is a new listing, priced at $1.549 million. The builder/owner paid $650,000 for it last year and has done a complete renovation from the studs in. From its pictures, it looks very nice, and Mianus View is a decent street, so you might want to look at it, especially if 261 Round Hill is a wee bit too far from town for your liking.

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Two more Riverside sales

28 Druid Lane

28 Druid Lane

The blister pack at 28 Druid Lane sold for $3.1 million (it had asked $3.495), a tad less than the $3.150 it fetched back when it was new in 2006. Maybe we’ve reached a ceiling on the Riverside insanity?

Irish shanty, Riverside

Irish shanty, Riverside

And 49 Summit Road, railroad side, sold for $1.1 million; owners paid $1.075 in 2004. Not the appreciation this property’s seen in the past, as it climbed from $525,000 (1997) to $677,000 (2000) to that $1.075 in 2004.

UPDATE: But not so fast – the frenzy does continue. 120 Meadow Road, almost certainly a teardown, came on the market 6 days ago at $3.450 million and is already gone, probably in a bidding war. Gosh.

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Come visit me in jail

Land of the (once) free

Land of the (once) free

Couple who researched pressure cookers and backpacks on Google get a surprise visit from six armed policemen, looking for terrorists.  That spells trouble for me, because in the past few months I’ve researched a number of guns I’ve considered buying, and also performed a fair amount of research on AR-15 “assault rifles” just so I could know what I was writing about. I’ve purchased a hunting day pack and a full back pack for one of my kids, doing a lot of searching on Google before selecting the ones that best suited our needs, and I just ordered a pressure cooker from Amazon to get ready for canning season. It arrives today, probably accompanied by storm troopers.

So with my internet research on weapons added to the mix, I would seem to have gone even beyond the pressure cooker/backpack couple, and I must have tripped every alarm the internet police have set for terrorists like me. This could prove interesting because, while the husband who found policemen at his door let them in, I won’t. We’ll see how that works out.

What a country we’re becoming, eh?

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So what took so long?

7 Loch Lane - really!

7 Loch Lane – really!

Zillow reports that 7 Loch Lane, last asking $13,995 million, is being foreclosed on.  I don’t know how the developer fended off his creditors for the past 4 1/2 years but apparently that miracle is ending. Its old listing – the house has been withdrawn from the market – is here. Looks as though there’s at least $6 million in debt on this house, so my guess is that the bank’s going to take quite a haircut. It’s land value here, minus the cost of scraping this atrocity off the face of the earth.

6 Loch Lane

6 Loch Lane

But then again, maybe the bank will see some of its money recouped. Two houses on Loch Lane have sold for substantial sums, 6 Loch for $5.250 million in 2011 (we’ll pass a merciful eye over what the builder originally hoped to get) and, in what has to be the most breathtakingly stupid bit of real estate buying in recent history, 12 Loch Lane, a 1990 godawful

12 Loch Lane - looks like a Gary Flyer contraption, but that's just a guess

12 Loch Lane – looks like a Gary Flyer contraption, but that’s just a guess

testament to bad taste in builders, sold in a bidding war for $9.150 million in 2005. Hmm – under three acres in the shadow of the Merritt Parkway, water glimpses of a reservoir pond one can’t touch, 8,000 square feet of obsolete construction: can you say, “loss of capital”? I thought you could.

Still, it’s possible that the buyer of #12 Loch has a friend – the builder of #7 should ask, quickly.

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More activity reported

A bunch of stuff.

16 Heronvue Rd (representative)

16 Heronvue Rd (representative)

16 Heronvue Road, $930,000, on an original asking price 505 days ago of $1.7 million – everyone’s an optimist when it comes to real estate. Two acres in the four-acre zone, woods, rocks. The agent couldn’t be bothered to post any pictures of the house itself (I’ve done that for her) so I assume it’s a land sale.

63 North Street

63 North Street

63 North Street, on the other hand, has sold for full price, $2.995 million, after just 19 days. It sold this past November for $2.775, so someone obviously liked this house enough not to haggle over price.

469 Taconic. Tilted?

469 Taconic.

469 Taconic reports an accepted offer, asking $1.815 million. This is up on the Banksville border, and I don’t have much more to say about it, except that’s a long way from Greenwich but a short drive to refuge from Westchester County taxes.

2 Windrose. An ironic reference to the Euro-Trash  architectural movement

2 Windrose., “An ironic reference to the Euro-Trash architectural movement”

And 2 Windrose Way, mead Point, has taken another price cut, to $7.495 million after beginning its quest some 900 + days ago at $11.2 million. On behalf of my clients I extended an offer on this place a year or two ago at a sum that, while not as high as the current price, was close enough that, given the mortgage situation on this house, should have been attractive. It wasn’t, the clients have long since moved on and so far as I can tell, the financial situation afflicting this property remains unchanged. Poor choice, I think.

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Get ready for Christmas with this fine stocking stuffer

Special today: for every one purchased for a Democrat, Francis Fudrucker will send you a rebate of 17%-26%, depending on your math skills. Available at “thelookingspoon.com”

My little phony

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Sales prices

Here are two, reported today.

4 Bennett Street

4 Bennett Street

4 Bennett Street, Old Greenwich, $2.2 million. Sold for $1.9 in 2007 and then “renovated”, so probably not much juice here after commissions and taxes but hey, free rent.

205 Shore Road

205 Shore Road

205 Shore Road, Greenwich, which is in Belle Haven but not of it (or perhaps of it, but not in it?) sold for $1.5 million – bidding war! – asked $1.495. 0.58 acre in the R-12 zone so my guess is that it may be going to a builder. It sold, via foreclosure, for $1,062,500 in 1994. Not a lot of appreciation, but being in the shadow of I-95 will do that to a property.

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“If I had a son, he’d be a member of the Re-Up Gang.”

I blame Bush

I blame Bush

It’s not a hate crime, because the victim was white and the perpetrators are black. “Racial justice in my new America is a one way street”, says the Great Divider.

MARIETTA, Ga. — The four teens accused in the death of 36-year-old Joshua Chellew of Smyrna appeared in a Cobb County courtroom Tuesday morning.

The four – Antonio Pass, Johnathan Anthony and Kemonta Bonds, all 18, along with Jekari Strozier, 19 – are charged with felony murder, aggravated assault and violations of the Georgia Street Gang Act in connection with the death of Chellew. Police said the four beat Chellew and chased him into traffic near a Chevron station on Mableton Parkway in south Cobb County during the early morning hours of June 30, where Chellew was struck by a car and killed.

While police said the four are associated the Re-Up gang, [defense attorney] Dobson said he is not sure if it’s a “gang” or “group.” He said they have a lot of stuff on YouTube and says the “group” is not about violence but is supposed to be about music.

Dobson says that despite media attention to the race of the victim versus that of the four teens, that it was a stretch to compare this to the Trayvon Martin case, and that it is “too early to speculate about race.” Chellew was white, while the four teens are black.

Dobson said Pass was known for being a good kid and is a football star entering his senior year of high school.

Of course, there is this:

MABLETON, Ga. — “I’m trying to be calm but I’m very angry.”

Joshua Chellew’s Aunt Cindy Standard, has been put in the difficult position of speaking for her sister who lost her only son. Standard says their family is still trying to piece together the horrific events that happened just after 1 a.m. sunday morning.

What they know is that the 36 year old Joshua gave a ride to a 19 year old female friend to a Chevron on Mableton Parkway.

When he was walking out of the store, witnesses told police four teens jumped on him and began beating and kicking him and within two minutes he was shoved backwards onto the five lane road, pushed to the ground and knocked unconscious.

A passing car hit him.

Standard says, “He was a beautiful person who had a lot of life to live and he didn’t deserve that. Nobody deserves that.”

From the time he was a little boy with that trademark red hair, Joshua was a helper. His aunt says he was a sweet man who worked in landscaping and liked to write music, that he never hurt anyone.

As for the teens accused of his brutal attack and murder, police say they belong to the re-up gang and have been arrested before with gang related crimes. 

Don’t help a good kid go bad: stay out of his neighborhood, cracker.

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The media gets the bit in its teeth and runs with the narrative

math is hard

math is hard

Greenwich Time cites a spurious “analysis” by an undergraduate (the original HuffPo article on this described the author as a “university researcher” until forced to concede that he was just another zealous undergrad, but never mind): Raising the minimum wage of hamburger helpers to $15 per hour would “only” increase the cost of a patty 17%.

There’s so much not to like in this narrative, so much bad math, that it’s obvious why the media just runs the story as is: it won’t withstand scrutiny. 

First, our undergrad took his numbers from MacDonald’s annual report and takes the reported profits and divides by the $4 billion payroll to get his number. But those profits reflect the revenue from all MacDonald’s stores, 1/2 of whom are independently run franchises who have their own employees and their own payrolls. Add those workers in and the menu prices must increase by 26%, not 17% Oops.

Second, like any earnest liberal economics student “progressive” , the author sees a static pie, a pile of cash to be sliced up as the government sees fit, without affecting the size of the meal. Not for these people any consideration that, faced with a dollar-menue item going up by 26¢, the consumer’s behavior will stay as it was: no cutting back on her purchases, not going off to a competitor with cheaper prices. That’s not how the real world works, but when h anyone in academia or the main stream press concerned hmself with the real world?

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The Great Uniter threatens the rest of us

Obama: Race relations will get worse if you don’t pass my income redistribution plans. Put another way, “if I had a son, he’d be rioting in your lily-white suburb, honkey”.

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