Daily Archives: August 21, 2013

Spec house on Taconic, $23.5 million – really?

"We Feel Your Pain Castle", 429 Taconic Road, Greenwich, CT

“We Feel Your Pain Castle”, 429 Taconic Road, Greenwich, CT

That’s what 429 Taconic Road, built in 2012, 13 acres, is asking. I notice that at least one of the limited partners in this deal is a Greenwich resident and a member of “Patriotic Millionaires”, that group that lobbies, nay begs their president to raise taxes on the rich so that they “can pay their fair share.” For some reason, people like this don’t get off on voluntarily forking over an amount that would make them feel better about themselves – they want everyone in the pool.

Still, if this lady does feel inclined for a little sacrificing, I’ll point out that the town has set a value of, and is taxing on a market value for this property of just $9 million – the land itself was purchased for $7 million in 2007. If the owner feels that her house is worth more than twice that, perhaps she can drop off a check for the difference at the assessor’s office.

UPDATE: Chris R obligingly sends along this link so that Ms. Taconic and her fellow guilt-ridden (and gilt-ridden) liberal billionaire friends can make a direct contribution to pay down the government debt. So far, the gov is pulling in less than $8 million in such contributions per year but perhaps this is the year Taconic can put them over the top – $8 trillion would be a damn good start.

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But in the whacky world of liberalism, good intentions trump results

Actually, liberals don’t look at results – too ugly. But here’s one nonetheless, presented for the specific use of minimum wage proponents: summer hiring of teens at all time low, eighty percent of all black teens couldn’t find a job.  Reached for comment, Greenwich DDI (Designated Democrat Intellectual) Dollar Bill told FWIW that he was not concerned: “Governor Malloy will just raise the minimum wage to $50 and that will solve everything. Won’t it?”

Less than a third of 16- to 19-year-olds had jobs this summer, essentially unchanged from a year ago, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday. Before the recession, more than 40% of teens had summer jobs. One in four teens who tried to find work failed to get a job, far above the 7.4% unemployment rate for the broader population.

Retailers, fast-food restaurants and other traditional employers of this cohort have stepped up hiring in recent months. But with the ranks of unemployed including many better-qualified candidates, companies have little incentive to hire inexperienced teenagers. With work still scarce, college students and even college graduates are settling for jobs once done mostly by teens, while at the same time more retirees are taking part-time jobs.

“Kids are at the bottom of the labor queue, so if you don’t get a strong recovery it just doesn’t reach down to kids,” said Paul Harrington, a Drexel University professor who has studied the youth job market.

Young people are missing out on more than just spending money, experts say. Summer jobs are a chance to build work experience and develop everything from job-specific skills to basic work habits like showing up on time. Working, whether during summer or the school year, increases rates of high-school graduation and college attendance, and leads to higher earnings down the line.

“Working while you’re in school, working in summers, really matters,” Mr. Harrington said. “Kids who have worked in high school tend to do better later in life.”

Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, said the weak teen job situation is worsening existing racial and socioeconomic disparities in the labor market. Just one in four Hispanic teens worked this summer, and just one in five African-American ones.

“Kids from low-income, minority backgrounds on the teenage side have just been completely thrown out of this labor market,” Mr. Sum said. “Young black males are just not getting any work at all.”

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So don’t have children you’re unable to support?

 

Hamburger robot: 360 burgers an hour, no maternity leave, no health benefits

Hamburger robot: 360 burgers an hour, no maternity leave, no health benefits

Hamburger helpers plan nation-wide strike for $15 per hour, but even that’s not enough to keep them out of poverty, especially if they’re single parents.

The groups are calling for a minimum wage of $15 an hour for fast-food workers, along with more protections for employees wishing to unionize. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage last year for the nation’s roughly 505,000 fast-food cooks was $9.03 an hour, which amounts to $18,780 per year. The 2.9 million food preparation and serving workers had an average hourly wage of $9, or annual income of $18,720.

For many fast-food employees, even those low wages overstate their pay. The annual wage estimates assume full-time employment of 2,080 hours a year, or 40 hours a week, for a full 52 weeks. Many franchises limit workers to working part-time, which keeps them from qualifying for health care and other benefits.

According to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a single adult in New York City would need to earn $12.75 an hour to support themselves. Add a child and the number jumps to $24.69. In Chicago, a single adult would need to make $10.48 an hour, or $9.48 in Milwaukee.

Of course the obvious solution, one favored by many savvy no-skill denizens, is not to work at all, and receive the equivalent of $21 per hour, courtesy of their taxpaying friends. 

Here’s an offer for you: $38,004 per year, tax free.No work required.Apply at your local welfare office.

The federal government funds 126 separate programs targeted towards low-income people, 72 of which provide either cash or in-kind benefits to individuals. (The rest fund community-wide programs for low-income neighborhoods, with no direct benefits to individuals.) State and local governments operate more welfare programs.Of course, no individual or family gets benefits from all 72 programs, but many do get aid from a number of them at any point in time.

Today, the Cato institute is releasing a new study looking at the state-by-state value of welfare for a mother with two children. In the Empire State, a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth $38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.

While that might not sound overly generous, remember that welfare benefits aren’t taxed, while wages are. So someone in New York would have to earn more than $21 per hour to be better off than they would be on welfare.That’s more than the average statewide entry-level salary for a teacher.

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More on that BOE poll

Reincarnation of George Gallop

Reincarnation of George Gallup, Greenwich style

Whoever was responsible for this farce should be fired, right now. Before Labor Day.

The poll (using a sophisticated polling program called “Monkey Poll”) was designed by  “Metis Associates”,  a collection of fuzzy-headed mush talkers just like  type who run our schools now. By all means click on the link and review the survey questions. (Better yet, have fun completing the survey yourself, as many times as you wish. I myself discovered that I was a single mother of Hawaiian /Polynesian ancestry with 5 children in English as a second language gifted programs who all want to walk to their school – your milage may vary.)  Your BOE’s idea of enticing parents to abandon neighborhood schools is to provide kids with the opportunity to:

Explore environmental and global issues;

Participate in community service learning; and

Learn in a multi-cultural environment

Nothing in there about real learning, advanced classes, tracked achievement groups, whatever you might think was associated (like or loth a particular method) with actual learning. Why not? Because people like this don’t think that way.

Look, here’s Metis’s mission statement – noble goals all, but revealing of what the group is and what it’s all about. The fact that the Greenwich Board of Education selected this organization to provide guidance for our schools says everything anyone needs to know about who’s in charge over there at the Havemeyer Building and what he – they – have in store for our children.

Samprana Tamm is still in hiding and could not be reached for comment.

Metis’s commitment to promoting the success of children and families—whether in education, the workforce, the justice system, or the economy—is every bit as critical as it was when the company was founded. We have been in business for over three decades because the needs for the services our clients provide, and by extension for our services, have been stubbornly persistent (and in fact, have worsened in many ways). More than 16 million children in the United States—one in every five—lived in poverty in 2010—a shocking increase of one million over the prior year. It hardly bears stating that our education system fails large numbers of low-income children who are disproportionately black and Latino.

Many of Metis’s 120 active projects in evaluation, information technology, and grant development address the deeply entrenched problems of poverty and educational inequality. For example, two years ago, Metis helped Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 in South Carolina, an under-resourced region, attain magnet-school funding to bring greater academic rigor to their student population. Last year, we began an evaluation of an Allentown, Pennsylvania, program that unifies school-based anti-violence and mental health services for 23,000 youth.

We at Metis are pleased that our rigorous evaluations and data analysis projects are being used all over the country to guide organizations that are seeking answers to educational inequality. Yet, fierce debates over the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind demonstrate just how polarized our nation is over the best way to pursue educational achievement.

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And still another whopper sale

76 Winding Lane, $11.750 million, has a contract. 17,000 sq. feet, 4.55 acres close to town, truly a spectacular house – this one I get. Started at $14.950 three years and three agents ago, but Tamar Lurie was in the chair when the music stopped. Best to be the first-born son, second wife and third broker.

76 Winding Lane

76 Winding Lane

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Does this make any sense?

 

Sian Green

Sian Green

Cabbie who, in a rage, drove onto NYC sidewalk and crushed girl’s legs won’t be prosecuted. WTF?

A cabbie feuding with a bike messenger stepped on the gas and jumped the curb outside Rockefeller Center Tuesday, severing at least one foot of a beautiful female British tourist as horrified witnesses — including TV’s “Dr. Oz” — rushed to help, officials and witnesses said.

“The hood of his car was so close to me, I could touch it. I told him to stop, he gets angry, he honks his horn, and he accelerates, and that’s it — I’m on the hood of the car, and the woman is under his car,’’ said the cyclist, who refused to give his name.

[Sian] Green had just bought a hot dog at the corner of Sixth and 50th Street and was walking south down Sixth with her pal eating it when she was hit, witnesses said.

Her left foot — completely severed below the shin — went flying in the air, witnesses said. Part of her right leg was dangling by just its skin.

“Law-enforcement sources said the cabbie who hit her, Mohammed Himon, was likely to be slapped with multiple summonses for the crash but not criminally charged.”

The District Attorney can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich; he can’t think of any reason to arrest Mr. Himon? Very, very odd.

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Vote early and often: BOE spends your money on worthless survey

I hold in my hand the results of our new parent poll, with which we will be reassigning your children.

I hold in my hand the results of our new parent poll, with which we will be reassigning your children.

From a reader:

This board of ed survey allows unlimited entries per family. The data should not be considered unless they fix it. Somebody needs to fix it so people don’t waste their days pushing buttons and hitting send and resend….
Feel free to post but please don’t mention me/my name.
Worse than wasting responders’ time, the survey itself is of no use if five determined monkeys can affect the outcome. Look what happened when we gave Democrats the vote.
UPDATE: Oh for heaven’s sake, I just went over to the poll and not only does it permit unlimited voting, it doesn’t restrict participation to parents with children actually enrolled in our public schools – not an issue to me, but the BOE claimed this was to be a gauge of parent sentiment, and that’s not what this poll will do.

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There’s still money north of the Parkway

Beached Whale: reports of its demise may have been greatly exaggerated

Beached Whale: reports of its demise may have been greatly exaggerated

One contract, one new listing, for 13-14,000 sq.ft. mansions.

5 Old Round Hill Lane, asking $10.750 (selling price not yet disclosed, obviously; it hasn’t sold), is now under contract. The owners paid $11.2 million for it in 2007 when it was new, so if they get close to what they’re now asking – they started at $12+, they’ll be doing well. I’d want more than 2 acres for that kind of money, but tastes have changed.

One new listing that does offer four acres is 111 Hunting Ridge Road, new today, asking $11.450 million. It sold for just $9.050 in 2006; these owners clearly hope to do better than those over on Old Round Hill Lane, and perhaps they will.

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Education in the US needs some serious rethinking, and not by the same people who designed the current system

I spent 12 long years being brainwashed by the government and all I got was this stupid T shirt

I spent 12 long years being brainwashed by the government and all I got was this stupid Tee shirt

Seventy-five percent of all high school graduates are unready for college level work; among blacks, it’s 95%. 

WASHINGTON — Just a quarter of this year’s high school graduates who took the ACT tests have the reading, math, English and science skills they need to succeed in college or a career, according to data the testing company released Wednesday.

The numbers are even worse for black high school graduates: Only 5 percent are fully ready for life after high school.

The results, part of ACT’s annual report, indicate thousands of students graduate from high schools without the knowledge necessary for the next steps in life.

“The readiness of students leaves a lot to be desired,” said Jon Erickson, president of the Iowa-based company’s education division.

That seems an apt summary.

Victor Davis Hanson touched on at least part of the problem just last week:

In the zero-sum game of the education curriculum, each newly added therapeutic discipline eliminated an old classical one. The result is that if Americans emote more and have more politically correct thoughts on the environment, race, class, and gender, they are less able to advance their beliefs through fact-based knowledge.

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Is there any law politicians think SHOULD apply to them?

You should be thanking ME

You should be thanking ME

Not insider trading laws, not ObamaKare, not OSHA and not even federal law setting the minimum wage: not for 30,000 government interns and certainly not for White House interns working for the man who thinks he’s above the Constitution.

The pay-the-interns movement has made some serious headway this summer.

In June, it scored a win when a federal court decided that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated wage laws by employing unpaid interns on the set of Black Swan. Now, the campaign is going after an even bigger fish: Washington, D.C.

The Fair Pay Campaign, a lobby for intern rights, is trying to convince the federal government to start paying the esti

mated 20,000 to 30,000 mostly unpaid interns who work in Washington each summer. It’s starting, of course, with the famous White House internship program.

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We don’t want yo’ stinkin’ jobs

Busy Ilion, NY, before the government banned typewriters

Busy Ilion, NY, before the government banned typewriters

In a  move sure to gratify NY politicians and all right-thinking (ok, left-thinking) citizens of the Empire State, Winchester Arms sets its sights on abandoning Ilion, NY after New York bans its product.

One of the nation’s largest gun manufacturers, Remington Arms, has looked at sites around Nashville for a potential corporate relocation or expansion that would likely include hundreds of manufacturing jobs.

The Madison, N.C.-based company, which is part of the nation’s largest firearms company and has its largest plant in Ilion, N.Y., has scouted sites near Nashville’s airport, Lebanon and in Clarksville, Tenn.

Remington is among a growing number of gun manufacturers nationwide that have been courted by states pitching themselves as more gun-friendly. The wooing came after a handful of states, including New York, passed tougher gun control laws in the aftermath of last December’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators.

Remington’s roughly 1,200-employee plant in Ilion makes rifles such as the Bushmaster semiautomatic weapon, which is now banned under New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, the first law passed by any state post-Newtown.

Quick passage of that law upset not only the gunmakers, but also residents of that state who own certain guns, said Erin Crowe, office coordinator for the Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce in Utica, N.Y. “Ilion, New York, is Remington — if it wasn’t for Remington, Ilion wouldn’t exist,” she said. “There’s not a lot of new industries coming to central New York, so if you take a huge company like that and they leave, our unemployment rate is going to skyrocket.”

If Remington chooses to relocate operations from New York, it would add to the list of companies doing or planning to do so in part to protest stricter gun laws.

Last month, Kahr Firearms Group said it was in talks to relocate its corporate headquarters and research and development department from Pearl River, N.Y., to Pike County, Pa., where it bought 620 acres. The firearms maker also revealed plans to open a new factory — with up to 100 jobs — there within five years.

Before New York passed the tougher gun control law, Kahr had been close to finalizing an agreement for land in Orange County, N.Y., with room for growth.

Last week, Southport, Conn.-based Sturm, Ruger & Co. also said it would open a new plant that would employ more than 470 workers in Rockingham County, N.C. That community also is home to Remington’s parent Freedom Group Inc.

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It probably started with their military: French now prefer a limp stick

Mais où sont l'homme d'antan?

Mais où sont l’homme d’antan?

The WSJ reports on a trend that’s distressing French traditionalists: customers are demanding a softer, easier baguette.

One of the great symbols of French gastronomy is under siege. Renowned for its distinctive shape and crusty exterior, the baguette risks becoming known for something else, too: being undercooked and doughy.

Rémi Héluin, the founder of Painrisien, a blog about Parisian bakeries, estimates that 80% of the 230 shops he has reviewed underbake most of their baguettes. “They’ve got to keep the customer satisfied,” he says.

Patrons have plenty of reasons for their preference—and they’re not necessarily half-baked. For Camille Oger, a 30-year-old freelance reporter, eating a well-baked baguette can be a painful experience. “It’s hard to munch,” she says, “and it hurts your gums and palate.” Less-baked loaves “won’t break your teeth,” she adds.

I don’t particularly care whether the surrender monkeys gum their food or chew it lustily, but I was intrigued to learn the baguette itself is the product of meddlesome government bureaucrats: it figures.

Despite its honored status, the ubiquitous loaf isn’t even a century old.

The baguette as we know it dates to the 1920s and was a byproduct of a protective labor law that prevented French bakers from working between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. That made it impossible to prepare traditional round loaves by breakfast time. Bakers had to turn to a new kind of bread, whose thin shape made it faster to prepare and bake. The baguette—French for “little stick”—quickly became a breakfast essential throughout France.

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When he’s lost the chumps, he’s lost the country

 

Greenwich Democrat Chairman Francis Fudrucker  (in drag) protests on Greenwich Avenue

Greenwich Democrat Chairman Francis Fudrucker (in drag) protests on Greenwich Avenue

Noam Chomsky – Noam Chomsky!- says Sarah Palin was right.

In an interview with Democracy Now, the influential MIT linguistics professor, author, and prominent left-wing political activist admitted that Sarah Palin was right about Barack Obama in that there was no substance to his presidential campaign.

Palin also recently received validation from former Gov. Howard Dean, a prominent liberal Democrat, about what she termed Obamacare death panels, otherwise known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

In these latest comments about the president, Chomsky said that “I don’t usually admire Sarah Palin, but when she was making fun of this ‘hopey changey stuff,’ she was right; there was nothing there. And it was understood by the people who run the political system, and so it’s no great secret that the US electoral system is mainly a public relations extravaganza… it’s sort of a marketing affair.

Reached for comment by FWIW, Greenwich Democratic’s Designated Intellectual “Dollar Bill”  confessed that he was unaware of Chomsky’s or Dean’s comments: “I haven’t received my tweet from headquarters yet so I don’t know what to think,” he admitted. “Until I do, I’ll just repeat what they told me originally: ‘No blood for oil! Bush Chaney! Tea Baggers! Homophobia! Racism!’ – that’ll hold me. “

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