Daily Archives: September 3, 2013

Whatever hapened to …

Trust me on this

Trust me on this

Alex Mascioli and his pretend company North Street Capital? A year ago last May Mr. Mascioli made (modest) headlines with his bid to take over Winnebago Industries. Drawing upon my deep, profound knowledge of securities fraud (and the fact that Mascioli is a convicted drunk with no record of accomplishment in anything), I suggested that the bid was as phony as its originator. I received a couple of angry phone calls from Mascioli but other than that I’ve never heard of or from him again, and Winnebago, so far as I know, is still privately held (and Saab, another company he announced he’d be taking over, is still defunct). Anyone out there run into Alex? Is he still renting a garage apartment here in town?

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First read this, then call your congressman

stupid Obama supporterBusinessInsider prints two letters from Soldiers facing deployment to Syria.

From an active-duty soldier, rank of Sergeant First Class:

I have to say I am fairly conflicted about Syria. My logic is generally fighting itself and my personal feelings towards taking action.

Part of me says that we need to take a stand against chemical weapons. President Obama announced that using chemicals weapons was the line, and Assad crossed it. The fact that even the French President has called for “proportional and firm action” says something. I’m not sure how the UN can stand by while Syria kills 1300 citizens, including women and children. The line was drawn, and Assad crossed it.

But does the U.S. always have to be the one to deliver consequences? We are stretched thin, tired, and broke. My personal feeling is no. I’m more inclined to be ok with our involvement if we’re talking about actions by the Air Force and the Navy. We are too tired to put boots on the ground. But as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal tech, I know what would go into disarmament of chemical weapons. And that’s just not a job I want anything to do with. And I don’t want my Soldiers doing it. Not only is the process long and exhausting, it’s dangerous in different ways than we have been dealing with.

From former Cpl. Jack Mandaville, a Marine Corps infantry veteran with 3 deployments to Iraq:

In mid-March of 2003, I was a 19-year-old Private First Class waiting to cross the border into Iraq. I was aware that there was a significant portion of veterans (mostly Vietnam-era)  back home who were fundamentally opposed to the invasion of Iraq. Like the majority of my peers and superiors, I didn’t really care nor did I give it much thought. We just wanted our war.

A little over 10 years later, the majority of individuals in my generation have recognized the Iraq folly for what it was. I’m still proud of my service, as are my buds, but we understand that Iraq was completely unnecessary and cost way too much money and, more importantly, American lives.

We witnessed our politicians and countrymen send us to war on a surge of emotion and quickly forget about us for nearly a decade. We had the training and capabilities to deal with Iraq, but were set up for failure by timid members of Congress and the Executive branch who futilely attempted to conduct a PC war.

The worst part about this Syria debacle, among many things, is how closely it resembles Iraq. Those Vietnam veterans who warned us about disastrous results in Iraq were doing so based off their experience in a war that, contrary to popular belief, was vastly different from our war and was separated by at least two decades. Many veterans of Iraq are still in their twenties and have a firsthand understanding of Arab political issues. The complicated things we faced with Syria’s next door neighbors is freshly ingrained in our memories. How quickly the American people and our political leaders forget.

Our involvement in Syria is so dangerous on so many levels, and the 21st century American vet is more keen to this than anybody. It boggles my mind that we are being ignored. My anger over this issue has actually made me seriously comment on our foreign policy for the first time since 2006 when I was honorably discharged after three stints in Iraq and subsequently watched it continue for nearly another six years. I’m sickened that we’re putting ourselves in a position for another prolonged war where the American people will quickly forget about the people fighting it.

TODAY: John Kerry says he “misspoke” when he refused to rule out putting boots on the ground in Syria.

TODAY: House Majority Leader Boehner joins Minority Leader Pelosi in granting Obama open-ended authority to strike Syria. 

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Truth in Product Placement at Stop & Shop

Diet Snapple: couldn't have said it better myself

Diet Snapple: couldn’t have said it better myself

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Contract, price cut

65 Rockwood Lane

65 Rockwood Lane

65 Rockwood Lane, $2.2 million, is reported as under contract. Pretty plain vanilla, I just mention it for readers who are keeping track of the mid country activity.

45 Baldwin Farms So.

45 Baldwin Farms So.

45 Baldwin Farms So. has cut its price $500,000 and now asks $4.995 million. I’ve always liked this house, and so have my clients. It’s down a long driveway and its only real yard is a bitty thing on the side, but it’s right on the small pond that runs along Baldwin Farms Road, and that more than makes up for its lack of a back yard. It is, to my taste, beautifully made and designed and I’m miffed that only now is it approaching a sensible price (the bank looming overhead probably is helping in that acceptance of reality). Ogilvy brought it on when it was new in 2008 for $9.750 million and in the years since I’ve shown it repeatedly, but always the price was out of whack with its real market value. Now it’s probably below that value, but of course, there’s the five-year stigma dragging it down and putting off buyers. I (and probably a dozen other agents) could have sold this in the low $5s way back when, but it as asking nearly twice that at the time, and none of my clients even bothered to bid.

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Sale, new

 

496 Valley Road

496 Valley Road

496 Valley Road sold for $1.441 million. This was a great little house, perfect for a couple with grown or no kids and workable for those who might still be afflicted by them. It’s in great shape, and, while I might have moved a wall or two round to tweak its layout, it was in move-in condition. Showed it to four different buyers and couldn’t move it; I prefer to consider that their, not my loss.

64 Park Avenue So.

64 Park Avenue So.

New listing or more accurately, back on the market, is 64 Park Avenue South, still asking $2.195, still hoping that a buyer will appear. The market’s so strong down south of the Village that this time they may get it. 1987 construction, 2,400 sq. feet, single, detached garage and a pool where the back yard used to be, it’s not a bad house for the right buyer.

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Something in the fall air is making sellers aggressive

Three new listings whose prices seem generous, at first blush, but perhaps buyers will disagree.

(representative space filler)

(representative space filler)

18 Shoal Point, Riverside, is now available, for $5.195 million. I’m all for getting every penny possible on Shoal because such a sale can only help the Fountain family unload its own swampland one street over, but this house sold for $3.455 in 2005. I don’t know if Riverside – even Riverside, has gone up this much in that time. This house, by the way, is on the western side of “Shoal Point”, which will spare a buyer from staring at the Fountain hovel collection but still offers only a view of the houses on Marks Road, 100 yards away. Not quite sweeping views down the Sound to the NYC skyline, but what do you expect for just $5.2 million?

oldhomeFurther north, the owner of 5 Conyers Farm has placed his own home up for sale for $12 million, a substantial hike from the $6.9 million he paid in 2010. $5 million in renovations? He may have overpaid.

218 Clapboard Ridge

218 Clapboard Ridge

And we also have 218 Clapboard Ridge available today, $25 million. A 1929 home on 5 acres, it says here it’s been  “completely renovated”. That may be so, but from its pictures, it appears to still retain its original architecture and sensibilities, which is a style not very popular these days. Unlike the arrivistes of yesteryear, the new crowd, having made their pile, seek to build new  piles of their own, rather than buy someone else’s grandfather’s place.

Besides, $25 million is a tough bracket, even in Greenwich.

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The Board has reopened, so here’s some real estate news

No open houses today of interest – look for that aspect of this scam to resume next week, after school kids get settled in, but we do have two price adjustments reported, one down, one up.

80 Clapboard Ridge

80 Clapboard Ridge

80 Clapboard Ridge has taken the more conventional route and dropped its price, after failing to sell since 2012. Started at $6.495 429 days ago, today it can be yours for just $5.250 million. That wouldn’t seem a preposterous price: looks like the owners paid $2.9 million for the land in 1987 (really? For 2 acres?) and built this 9,500 sq.ft. house on it in 1988, so that must be worth something. I’d guess that the land itself is still worth around $2.5 million, so the house, less that land value, comes in at (gezuntagezunta…) $263 per sq.ft.  That’s below replacement cost.

20 Mackenzie Glen

20 Mackenzie Glen

Just east of 80 Clapboard, the owner of 20 Mackenzie Glen has taken the opposite tack and raised his one-acre building site $100,000 and it will now cost you $1.895 million to wrest this from his grasp. The land has been for sale since before the breakup of gondwanaland, starting at $2.695 in 2007 and remaining at that price for a full year despite the market’s failure to respond favorably, then dropping in 2009 to $1.995 and eventually $1.795 in 2009 and holding there until today when, as noted , you have been punished for your delay.

Mackenzie Glen is a decent street, in a convenient-to-town location, but this particular parcel is comprised mostly of a house on a hummock and some overgrown scrubland down a cliff. A house could be built on the rise, the scrubland cleared (assuming what looks like wetlands aren’t), and you’d have a nice place. The trouble, at least so far as clients of mine and their builders have concluded, is that the cost of preparing that site precludes building a respectable house here for $3 million, if you must pay $1.8 for the land. Now that you’d have to pay $1.9 for that land, the difficulty has increased. But for someone looking to build a $5 million house, perhaps this higher price will make sense.We’ll hope for the owner’s sake that another 1,492 days won’t have to elapse before that buyer appears.

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Filed under Buying/Selling Greenwich Real Estate, Mid Country, Neighborhoods, Riverside

Well really, how many times must he say he’s sorry?

 

Not the helpful hand of friendship

Not the helpful hand of friendship

John Venables released again, given fourth new identity.

Jon Venables – one of the child killers of James Bulger – has been secretly freed from prison, it was revealed today.

The 31-year-old, who was released from his life sentence for the brutal murder of the toddler in 2001, was locked up again three years ago after being caught with child porn on his computer.

But it has been claimed today that he was released last week and given a fourth new identity – with the cost of protecting Venables believed to have passed £1million.

He was also arrested over a drunken brawl and cocaine offences, but the then Justice Secretary Jack Straw allowed him to remain at large.

Following his arrest for child porn offences, it was revealed that Venables had fallen into a spiral of drink and drug addiction because he struggled with the psychological pressure of living under an assumed name.

It is said to have taken officials two months to prepare his new identity.

Venables was first given a new identity when he and Thompson were sent to a young offenders’ institution for murdering the toddler.

A second new identity was created for him when he was released in 2001, and he was given a third identity after he was sent back to jail in 2010 for possessing child abuse images.

 

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The new, “Smarter Diplomacy” as promised by Obama was just an invitation for his fellow naifs to help run foreign policy

Flashback, 2007: Bush criticizes Nancy Pelosi’s traveling to bring “a message of peace” to Assad.

Bush said Pelosi’s trip signals that the Assad government is part of the international mainstream when it is not. “A lot of people have gone to see President Assad … and yet we haven’t seen action. He hasn’t responded,” Bush told reporters soon after Pelosi arrived in Damascus on Tuesday.

My dinner with Bashar: Jonny on the road to Damascus

My dinner with Bashar: Jonny on the road to Damascus

Flashback, 2009: John Kerry travels to Syria to woo Assad. Doesn’t work.

In 2011, the NYT had high hopes for the Senator who hoped to become Secretary of State,gushing, “Kerry’s roots run deep in the New England gentry, and his fine sense of social codes may be better suited to the courts of Central Asia and the Middle East than to presidential debates” ,

and:

In fact, Kerry saw the world very much the way Obama did. As a candidate, Obama distinguished himself not only from George W. Bush but also from Clinton by advocating a new foreign policy of “engagement.” He vowed that as president he would meet the leaders of Iran and Syria and other enemies without preconditions, which Clinton deemed “naïve.” Kerry was already practicing engagement: as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a man who had come within a whisker of being elected president, Kerry had been meeting with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and forming close relationships with autocratic as well as democratic leaders around the world.

Kerry became Assad’s most important booster in Washington, endorsing his commitment to peace with Israel. Some experts thought that Kerry was being taken for a ride. Andrew Tabler, a former journalist in Syria now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says: “Despite all the things that have happened over the last two years, Syria’s behavior” — transferring arms to Hezbollah, cracking down on domestic dissent — “has gotten markedly worse. Engagement is not working.” And that was before Assad’s security forces killed hundreds of peaceful protestors in cities across the country, a brutal response that made Kerry’s praise look naïve.

The Bush administration argued that talking to Syria, which maintained close relations with Iran and sponsored the terrorist organization Hezbollah, would legitimize its conduct. But Obama, like Kerry, viewed Syria as an important example of the new policy of engagement.

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Who could have seen this coming?

The loneliness of the Democratic strummer

The loneliness of the Democratic strummer

Why the collapse of the US anti-war movement after 2008? One-word-answer: Obama. If you guessed  “principle”, you were wrong.

Antiwar Protests.png.CROP.article568-large

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