Daily Archives: August 14, 2013

Where is the outrage, Part II

Reader MB sent in this incredible, offensive picture of the UCONN Girls’ Basketball Team mocking our president. Truly shocking. Satan horns? Oooh, the humanity!

UCONN

Of course, then there’s this:

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Where is the outrage?

 

Governor Jay Nixon lusting in his heart for pork, virgins and  young boys: the first is proscribed by Muslim law

Governor Jay Nixon lusting in his heart for pork, virgins and young boys: the first is proscribed by Muslim law

Buried under the posturing and feigned shock of a rodeo clown daring to mock the president of the United State is this gem:

Missouri Rep. Steve Webb, D-Florissant, said he was “incensed” by the incident.

“Sometimes apologies just won’t do. While I do not believe this represents all of rural Missouri, the racial undertones of a taunted rodeo clown dressed as our nation’s first black president is what the nation woke up to this morning,” Webb said. “It’s time for all of us, from both rural and urban areas, to fight this type of sentiment with a united front. Leaders of this state need to do more than accept a pressured apology.”

Webb called on Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to cancel his annual State Fair ham breakfast Thursday in protest.

The Missouri State Fair has a friggin’ Ham Breakfast?! Are you kidding me??!! There are already 6.2 million Muslims in the US today (not counting Barry Hussein) and that number will double by 2030 – isn’t it time to take their sensitivities into account? What kind of message are Missourians showing when their governor shows up in public and chows down on chitlins and trotters? We may be ready to abandon that silly part of the First Amendment that recognizes the right of citizens to free speech, but religion is another matter, especially when it comes to the feelings of Muslims. I want more than just the withdrawing of Governor Nixon from this sordid bit of bigotry and prejudice, I demand that the ham breakfast be permanently cancelled, right now!

By the way, the history of depicting presidents as rodeo dummies is an old one that, until this week, went unremarked on by liberal “racial prejudice spotters”. Mock Bush, it’s a perfectly acceptable expression of political opposition. Mock – or criticize or even disagree with – Obama and you’re a racist. Some of us, looking at the present visitor to Martha’s Vineyard, see a president; liberals see a black man. Who’s the racist?

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Hit the reset button

Four price cuts to close out the day.

107 Stanwich Rd

107 Stanwich Rd

107 Stanwich Road, from $1.050 to $950,000. This is one of the houses, I believe, served by that shared, steep driveway on the corner just before Orchard, and that may be hurting it. Sold for full asking price of $950,000 back in 2006 after just a couple of weeks on the market. That’s not happening now.

51 Glenwood Drive

51 Glenwood Drive

51 Glenwood Drive, in Belle Haven, is having an even worse time of things, cutting its price yet again today to $6.995 million. This was set out on the waters 1,261 days ago, asking $9.750 million (who comes up with these prices?). Last February, after its price had dropped to $7.995 it reported an accepted offer, but it came back on in April (bad inspection? I don’t know), still priced at $7.995. Today’s million dollar cut can’t hurt its prospects, I suppose.

180 North Street

180 North Street

180 North Street, down a steep driveway and perched on a swamp has also had difficulty finding a buyer. It was a new spec house back in 2007, when its builder tried unsuccessfully to sell it for $5.495 million. That didn’t work and it’s been on and off the market ever since. Today it was dropped to $3.695 – maybe. It’s not a bad house, if you like this sort of thing, but it’s literally surrounded by swamp land, and even a close proximity to town can’t overcome that handicap when the price is too high. I happen to know what they turned down from my clients a year ago and though that offer was less than even its post-price-drop number today, I’m relieved: my people would have probably turned out to have overpaid.

40 Lockwood Lane

40 Lockwood Lane

And 40 Lockwood Lane, I-95 Riverside, has dropped to $1.050. The listing says the place was custom built in 1950 and I’m sure it was, but apparently nothing’s been done to the house since then and in 1954 the highway went through. That’s not good.

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Those Hampton rent bucks rest on a shaky foundation

What difference does it make?

What difference does it make?

The NYT fires a pre-emptive shot at Hillary Clinton’s campaign [who do you think they do support? I’m guessing Corey Booker]  by reporting on the waste, nepotism and general incompetence going on at “The Clinton Foundation”. The Telegraph’s Tim Stanley has a great take on the matter:

“Is the New York Times being guest edited by Rush Limbaugh? Today it runs with a fascinating takedown of the Clinton Foundation – that vast vanity project that conservatives are wary of criticising for being seen to attack a body that tries to do good. But the liberal NYT has no such scruples. The killer quote is this:

For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.

The NYT runs the scoop in its usual balanced, inoffensive way – but the problem jumps right off the page. The Clintons have never been able to separate the impulses to help others and to help themselves, turning noble philanthropic ventures into glitzy, costly promos for some future campaign (can you remember a time in human history when a Clinton wasn’t running for office?). And their “Ain’t I Great?!” ethos attracts the rich and powerful with such naked abandon that it ends up compromising whatever moral crusade they happen to have endorsed that month….

This is typical Clinton stuff. The second thing I ever wrote for this website was about how corporations invest in politicians as a way of building their brand and raising their stock price. It can lead to some funny partnerships. This, from 2011:

Just this month, bedding manufacturer Serta announced that it will be sponsoring Bill Clinton’s keynote address to an industry conference in August. “To us,”’ said the head of the company, “Clinton represents leadership. This appearance shows Serta is a leader and is taking a leadership position. This singles us out.” Some might say that it is beneath a former president to basically endorse Serta’s new “Perfect Sleeper” line, even with its “revolutionary gel foam mattress”.

The cynical might infer from the NYT piece that the Clintons are willing to sell themselves, their image, and even their Foundation’s reputation in exchange for money to finance their personal projects. In Bill’s case, saving the world. In Hillary’s case, maybe, running for president.

…. For too long now, Bill Clinton has pitched himself, almost without question, as a homespun populist: the Boy from Hope. The reality is that this is a man who – in May 1993 – prevented other planes from landing at LAX for 90 minues while he got a haircut from a Beverley Hills hairdresser aboard Air Force One. The Clintons are populists in the same way that Barack Obama is a Nobel prize winner. Oh, wait…”

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For those who can’t get to the Hamptons, this could have worked

661 River Road

661 River Road

661 River Road (the other River Road, the one that starts across from North Mianus School and heads north, paralleling Valley on the other side of the Mianus) has a contract; asking $1.750 million. I get this house, sort of. It’s an unfortunate example of the worst of 1980’s builder “architecture”, with an ill-advised addition that has no upper-level connection to the rest of the house, and some of the last lipstick-red toilets and whirlpools left in Greenwich. That said, it’s up off the road in a mini-development of three homes, on very attractive, private land (although there may be a few more houses joining the fun in short while when the next-door parcel is sold). There’s now sewer service, so there’s room for a (legal) extra bedroom, and it shouldn’t cost too much to redo that addition so that the entire upstairs is one. The pool, by the way, has failed, but the owner deliberately left it unrepaired because with the sewer in, the septic field is no longer needed and where its leaching fields are now, a pool could be built – a far better, sunnier location than the present one sits in.

I’d have guessed maybe $1.550 for this, given the work involved, but it’s gone to contract in just 46 days, so it seems someone valued it more highly than I did.

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Dirt farmer from Arkansas rents a house

 

Giving a new meaning to "navel gazing" - Jonathan Sobel's Hampton home

Giving a new meaning to “navel gazing” – Jonathan Sobel’s Hampton home

Bill and Hillary Clinton, who entered public service poor as church mice and are now worth a billion or so, are paying $200,000 to rent a Hamptons home for the month of August. The Clintons have gone ahead with the lease despite their concern that someone could spy on them from Jonathan Sobel’s weekend cottage next door, a building that’s on the market for $21 million and which coincidentally, was discussed here just this past Monday. If you hurry, you too could enter politics, loot a few hundred million, buy Jon’s place, and gaze across the hedgerow onto Hillary’s thighs the rest of the summer.

If you hurry.

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Still going down

45 Farwell Lane, which we discussed just last month, has taken another price cut, its fifth in as many months, and is now asking a mere $8 million.

No further comment.

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You don’t need an education degree when the solution is so obvious

Warm water and bread crusts

Warm water and bread crusts

Stop giving out free lunches.

Greenwich academic achievement gap increases for students who receive free lunch. 

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Three great houses, sitting in a row

Who wants ’em, except me? Three homes, built 1926, 1819 and 1919, respectively, lined up on North Street (just below Taconic) and all looking for buyers.

532 North

532 North

Today 532 North Street dropped its price from last April’s $5.750 million to $4.995, possibly kicking off a recapitulation of its last go-rond in 2005, when it started at $5.895 and finally sold for $4.550. A lovely house, on 2.71 acres, but the listing makes no mention of renovations since its 2005 purchase (indeed, the last year mentioned for such items as a new kitchen, pool and pool house is 2000), so I’m not sure why it started where it did. Nevertheless, a great old house.

534 North

534 North

Next door at 534 North Street, appreciators of old homes can pick up an 1819 Federal, asking $2.395 and almost certainly negotiable after so much time on the market. I’ve always admired this house, and having toured it on its first broker open house day, I like it as much inside as out. But you’ll want to do some serious updating.

542 North Street

542 North Street

The bargain of the trio is probably 542 North Street, built in 1919, completely redone over the years and now asking $3.995. I don’t know how firm the owners are at that price but they paid $3.6 million for it just last year and in my experience it’s hard to get far from a year-old-price, added improvements or not. You want to replace perfectly good kitchen appliances with ones more to your taste, or add a nice marble kitchen work table go ahead, but you shouldn’t necessarily expect someone else to pay you for your efforts. This one’s on 1.86 acres, slightly undersized for the R-2 zone, but not enough to worry about. I liked it very much and one of my clients proclaimed it “her dream house” – but she and her husband have decided to look in Riverside, at least for now. Sound familiar?

So there you have it: three gracious homes, all built before North Street traffic grew to what it is today. I’ll be watching their fates with interest.

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Mid country fringe still hurting

 

11 Londonderry

11 Londonderry

11 Londonderry Road has sold for $1.3 million, which I’d calculate was broken down between $1 million for the land and $200,000 for the house. That’s a pretty good deal for the buyer even given the house’s location on a swamp bordering the Merritt Parkway. This last sold for $1.410 million in 2002, the buyers added an 800 square foot addition and completely renovated it, then put it back up for sale in 2010 for $2.250 million, a rather preposterous price, it turned out.

But a very decent house, and even that swamp has a great bird-watching walkway-platform (perfect for bowhunting from, I’d guess, but these days ….) At $1.3, I could learn to put up with the Parkway noise. It does, however, illustrate the foolishness of paying a premium for a challenged location and then sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars more into the place. The new buyers have made out quite well here; the sellers, not so much.

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The great relearning

That was the title of a wonderfully prescient article Tom Wolfe wrote many years ago for the American Spectator. I could only find it in pdf form, so you’ll have to click on the link here to read the whole thing – which you should. Wolfe writes of the current movement to reject modern society and “return to the beginning”; he doesn’t think much of it, but he starts with the return of Third World diseases to San Francisco when the hippies showed up, and yesterday’s rantings from an anti-vaccine reader reminded me of those first paragraphs.

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Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 10.00.21 AM

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