Daily Archives: November 21, 2013

Another Obama triumph in his war against the imperialistic west

Ukraine, bowing to Russian threats, rejects offer to join EU and agrees to go back into the Soviet fold. It’s impossible to know, of course, but it seems to me that if Obama hadn’t destroyed the faith in our allies that we could, and would, project a strong presence, they might not be scrambling to find new alliances now, and Ukraine might well have stood up to Russian pressure. As it is, this just marks another point in history as the US retreats from its former role as a global power.

Which is Obama’s stated goal.

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Obama’s FEMA turns down Ocean Grove’s request for Sandy relief

 

No soup for you!

No soup for you!

The battle focuses on religion (FEMA’s against it) and gay marriage (FEMA’s for it).

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I think they’ll regret this

Democrat – controlled senate goes nuclear, abolishes filibuster for federal judge nominees. The “nuclear option” was denounced by all good Democrats and their mouthpiece, the NYT editorial board, when Republicans threatened to use their majority to impose it, but now it’s a swell idea.

These guys are awfully confident that they’ll be holding power in 2014.

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Skakel out on bond

Michael Skakel was released today on bond while the state appeals the reversal of his conviction. My brother Anthony, who was at GHS the time of the Moxley murder, says that most students pegged the older brother Thomas with the awful deed and certainly, following the trial twenty-five years later, I saw no evidence that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Michael, not Thomas, who did it. Settling for one of two brothers without regard to which was actually guilty might have slaked the (understandable) blood lust of Martha Moxley’s family, but it’s hardly justice, for Michael or Martha Moxley.

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Accepted offer in Old Greenwich

 

11 Manor Road

11 Manor Road

11 Manor Road, asking $1.149 million. I’d want to do a lot of work to this 1954 house, including adding a third bedroom upstairs, bumping out the master bedroom and existing bedrooms with dormers, winterizing the porch in back, and so on, but you could probably do all that, and more, for around $200,000, and you’d be in on a nice street for not a crazy amount of money.

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Obama: if you like the plan I’m selling you, boy, are you screwed

Obama-Soviet Memorial Ward

Obama-Soviet Memorial Ward

Got your ObamaCare policy yet? If so, mark Sloan-Kettering off your provider list.

Washington Post:

As of this week, not one of the plans for sale on New York’s health benefit exchange would cover treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s largest and most respected cancer hospitals.

That could mean that the 615,000 individuals and 450,000 small business employees expected to eventually get their insurance through the exchange would have to go someplace else for treatment, or pay the bill out of their own pockets.

Other premier city hospitals are in the networks of just a few of the new plans.

NYU Langone Medical Center has signed agreements with four of the 19 insurers doing business on the exchange.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, which oversees the city’s biggest hospital system, has signed agreements with six insurers.

President Obama promised when the Affordable Care Act was enacted that people who liked their doctors could keep them, but the reality of the law both in New York and around the country is that the new, lower-cost policies it is creating sometimes have smaller provider networks than Medicare, Medicaid, or the plans people typically get through their employers.

Reached for comment, FWIW’s Village Idiot Dollar Bill was his usual articulate self in explaining how this could happen: “Bushchaneybush! Kochbrotherskochbrotherskochbrothers! Teabaggers! Oooooo, my head hurts so much!”

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In Greenwich, there’s (almost) always somebody who wants your property

337 North Street

337 North Street

[edited, because first post of this was a bit nasty]

I see that 337 North Street, the house right next to the stop light and the morning rush hour traffic has sold, and for $4.050 million. Nothing wrong with the house itself at all, you like this sort of thing: 7,500 square feet (6,000 up, 1,500 basement) on an acre, but the location, to me, is a killer.

Not a hugely successful sales history here, so I’m not the only one who balked. Its builder (Arthur Watson) listed it in 2005 for $5.995 million and sold it to the present owner in 2006 for $4.880. That probably seemed like a bargain to the buyer, until she sold it yesterday for $830,000 less. I’ll be curious to see what it goes for next time.

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Malcolm Pray’s house hits the market

566 Round Hill Road

566 Round Hill Road

566 Round Hill Road, $13 million. Eight acres, 20-car-garaging (I use the term ironically, I promise), big old house (9,300 sq. ft., 1931). I’ve never been in it, but I love the location. This doesn’t seem an outrageous price. Julianne Ward listing, and that must have been an interesting listing battle. Where’s Ogilvy? Where’s Hvolbeck?

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Nice

Obama restricts news photographers so that only official photos taken by taxpayer-funded White House photographers see daylight. Pravda?  Vőlkischer Beobachter, 1933? 

NYT photo vs. White House photo. Which one was used?

NYT photo vs. White House photo, Obama visits Mandella’s prison cell. Which one was used?

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Failed spec house sells

 

9 Ridgeview Avenue

9 Ridgeview Avenue

9 Ridgeview Avene sold, unfinished, for $2.5 million on an asking price of $2.999. I suppose that if an engineer passed this house, which has sat empty since 2008, it makes economic sense to finish it – the street will support a good price, as shown by recent sales.

What piques my curiosity, though, is the $4.7 million mortgage on the place. The developer paid $2.335 for the land in 2007, and received $4.7 for the 5,300 sq. ft. project? $887 per sq.ft.? My, money was loose back then.

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Real estate news

Two sales reported

514 Riversville Rd

514 Riversville Rd

514 Riversville Road, $3.175 million. Owners paid $3.7 million in 2007 and renovated in 2008, so it seems the western side of town is still lagging. They did try $3.750 in 2010-2011, which, in view of its renovations was not an unreasonable price but they had no luck. Came back this time at $3.550.

Really nice house, even better land. Someone got a good buy, in my opinion.

 

218 Valley Road

218 Valley Road

218 Valley Road, new (well, total rebuild), asked $1.595, sold for $1.525. Just one week elapsed between contract and selling, which probably illustrates the strength of an offer of a quick closing.

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USPS Loves ObamaCare

People’s Cube reveals latest USPS commemorative issue

Obamacare_Stamps_color

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As SAC and its traders are prosecuted, it’s useful to remember this

We swear we didn't do it!

We swear we didn’t do it!

Congressmen and their aides are exempt from insider trading laws, and pass on information to the lobbyists paying them, all the time.

The incident has put the spotlight on the burgeoning business known as political intelligence, where lobbyists, policy experts and former government officials gather insights on policy changes that they then sell to investors.

But investigators are struggling over how to distinguish between illegal insider tips and accurate predictions based on research and analysis, the people familiar with the probe say.

The legal quandary cuts to the heart of a debate about how business is conducted in the nation’s capital, specifically whether the government’s common practice of widely sharing information about policies could lead to violations of insider-trading laws.

It is difficult to determine whether a member of Congress or an aide is breaking the law by passing along information, or if the information is something they normally would share in the course of their duties, people familiar with the matter say.

Unlike traditional insider-trading cases involving information from a publicly held company, when it comes to market-moving information coming from Congress “the lines aren’t quite as bright and the opportunities for arguments by the defense are greater,” Mr. Canellos said.

Congress passed the Stock Act in 2012 with much fanfare and a promise that it would tighten up insider-trading rules for lawmakers and their aides. The Height case is showing the law’s limitations, several law-enforcement officials said.

The Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause specifically protects lawmakers and their aides from prosecution for engaging in what it terms legislative conduct. In practice, that means federal agents eyeing those who work in Congress must often negotiate with the legislative branch over the terms and scope of their investigation.

In a memo to staff after the Stock Act was enacted, the Senate Ethics Committee said that the law isn’t intended to “chill legitimate communications made in good faith between public officials and their constituents, inhibit government transparency, or otherwise hinder the dissemination of public information about government activities.”

A representative of the people may arrive in Washington with limited wealth; none leave that way.

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This sounds like good advice for all of us, but especially for a certain Kenyan currently visiting the United States

DOGEATDOGDon’t eat other people’s pets

The [ad campaign] posters are meant not only to get people to stop eating dogs and cats in general, but if they want to eat pets, to know where the pet is coming from. ,

“The truth is, if you eat dog or cat then you have no idea where that meat is coming from or how safe it is,”  director Irene Feng said in a statement. ”We are still seeing many cats and dogs … being abandoned and left to subsist on the streets, with many dying due to illness.  Stray dogs and cats, many of them far from healthy, are snatched from the streets and pets are still being stolen and taken to horrific meat markets. We believe that, faced with this knowledge, most people would find such a meal entirely unappetising.”

So don’t eat Fluffy, unless you know where he came from. Or better yet, just refrain from eating any household pets. It’s in everyone’s best interest.

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Is this what we’re heading for?

GHS Computer Lab, 2017?

GHS Computer Lab, 2017

I’m unfamiliar with the details of our school board’s latest move to equip students with online learning tools, but if LA’s experience is a harbinger, we could be looking at another MISA. 

Los Angeles public schools officials were forced to admit this week that their iPad program would end up costing even more money than previously believed — and Common Core’s infamous textbook company Pearson is partly to blame.

Outgoing superintendent John Deasy has long wanted to supply every student in the district with an iPad device — at the cost of $1 billion to taxpayers. Trouble set in quickly as schools began implementing the plan, however. The devices are expensive, and many low-income parents worried that they would be on the hook for damages. Teachers also had to enable the security settings so that the devices couldn’t be used at home, though some students were able to circumvent those barriers. Dozens of iPads have already been lost, broken or stolen.

But little could prepare iPad skeptics for the latest revelation: LA schools must pay an extra $60 million each year starting three years from now in order to re-license the English and math curriculum software on the devices. This contradicts earlier statements made by district officials that the software would not need to be rented multiple times.

The new information leaked out during a recent school board meeting.

“We’ll need to purchase licenses after three years if we want to continue to use the content,” said Hugh Tucker, deputy director of facilities contracts, according to The Los Angeles Times.

This drew the ire of school board member Monica Ratliff.

“OK, stop right there,” said Ratliff. “At the end of three years, that content is going to disappear or we’re going to be violating something by attempting to use this content?”

Tucker told her that this was indeed true.

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Sounds like my kind of town

Corse,you can't eat scenery (photo by Jeremah Barber, http://www.flickriver.com/photos/jbarber/popular-interesting/

Course,you can’t eat scenery
(photo by Jeremiah Barber, http://www.flickriver.com/photos/jbarber/popular-interesting/

Utah mountain town forgets, again, to hold an election.

AP:  Wallsburg, population 275 in the Wasatch Mountains 40 miles from Salt Lake City, failed to schedule an election two years ago, and city officials had to be appointed then.

They were supposed to go up for election Nov. 5, but once again, Wallsburg forgot to get things going, according to Wasatch County officials. The Salt Lake Tribune first reported on the missed election.

“They didn’t advertise” to draw candidates out of the woodwork and “they just went on without doing anything,” County Clerk Brent Titcomb said Wednesday. “Close to the election day, they called to ask what they should do.”

The leaders of Wallsburg were told by state elections officials to keep serving until an election can be held in two years.

“We will remember them in 2015,” Titcomb said. “They will definitely have an election in 2015.”

Wallsburg’s mayor and four city council members had no hidden agenda in letting the election slide; they just forgot, he said.

Wallsburg is so small it doesn’t have a website or paid staff, and nobody answered the phone at the town’s empty office on Wednesday — which is used only for official meetings.

Frank Hortin said he had no clue how town officials forgot to hold an election, adding, “We probably wouldn’t have anybody around to get elected anyway.”

Only problem with Wallsburg life is probably this:

The town empties out on weekdays because “there’s no work around here,” Frank Hortin said. “We have a couple of little shops, but people go out of town for work — I drove to Salt Lake for 20 years.”

Wallsburg is a mile-high town in the Wasatch Mountains 4 miles from Deer Creek Reservoir. In winter, there’s only one way to drive into the town — or out of it. It was incorporated in 1917, according to the Utah League of Cities and Towns.

(Some great pictures of Wallsburg here)

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And yet another fraud is slowly exposed

Census Bureau’s labor statistics fakery goes much deeper and broader than first revealed.

The first reports confined themselves to the chicanery leading up to the 2012 elections, but now stories are surfacing (resurfacing, actually – like the 2012 scam, conservatives were all over the story, but couldn’t get the mainstream media’s attention -hmm) of a system-wide abuse of numbers – hiring temporary census workers by the thousands, for instance, to show as new jobs, then firing them and rehiring them to leverage the “new jobs” numbers.

Here’s something from one of the many field managers for the 2010 census: “As a former manager in the decennial census, I witnessed operations that strongly suggested the Census Bureau manipulated nationwide hiring of tens of thousands of temporary workers to manipulate employment data in 2008 and 2009,” Ron Brochu wrote me in an email.

“Operations that were to include 200 area workers for six weeks suddenly became ones in which 1,200 workers were to complete the work in 10 days. This was just for northern Minnesota,” Brochu wrote. “Multiply that by the entire nation … and it can tip the scales.

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Some things haven’t changed all that much

 

Ooh, baby, I'm in love!

Ooh, baby, I’m in love!

Scientists: Neanderthals weren’t that picky when it came to sex.

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