Daily Archives: January 26, 2014

So what’s Barry got against Hungary and Norway?

Pity the Squareheads

Pity the Squareheads

White House Dossier’s got the hilarious video of Obama’s ambassador picks for those two unfortunate nations testifying at their confirmation hearings. Whoo boy.

The White House is standing by George Tsunis, President Obama’s pick for ambassador to Norway, despite a side-splitting confirmation hearing performance in which he averred that Norway has a president, which it doesn’t, and that the Norwegian government had condemned a Party with which it has formed a coalition.

“I can tell you that this president has confidence in all of the nominees he’s put forward for ambassadorial positions as well as other positions in the administration, in the government,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney today.

But maybe we’re being unfair here. After all, Tsunis’ chief qualification for the Norway posting appears to be his fundraising prowess, not his his scholarship of Scandinavia.

During the 2012 election cycle, he and his wife raised $988,550 for Obama, gave $300,000 to Democratic super PACs and $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, according to Yahoo News.

Watch this hilarious exchange between Mr. Tsunis and Sen. John McCain at a hearing on some nominees.

It begins with a rambling, contentless comment by Colleen Bradley Bell, an “American television producer, philanthropist and advocate for the environment, arts and social causes,” according to Wikipedia. Bell, who is Obama’s nominee to be ambassador to Hungary, sounds like she’s responding to a question in the finals of the Miss World contest, prompting a dryly sardonic, “great answer,” from McCain.

Following the response from Tsunis, who describes McCain’s rather routine query as “a very seminal question,” McCain deadpans, “I have no more questions for this incredibly highly qualified group of nominees.”

You’ll have to go to the Dossier link above to catch the video of Ms. Bell’s testimony (well worth the effort – don’t miss it) but here’s the Long Island shopping mall developer’s son George doing his bit for America, a performance for which the U>S. Embassy in Norway has already apologized. I’m sure there will be many more such opportunities during the next three years.

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White House: we (still) blame Bush

obama- THE BUCK STOPS THERENo sh*t – five years on, Obumski’s still claiming that his wretched economy is all Bush’s fault.  Accountability? Never heard of it.

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A stiff penalty

See if he left us anything for the endowment fund while you're in there

See if he left us anything for the endowment fund while you’re in there

Playwright Leonard Melfi’s family awarded $1.2 million in “damages” because his body was used for embalming practice. My family’s less sentimental about these things; in fact, some years before his death my father received a notice from Yale that the medical school had a glut of cadavers and was no longer interested in having his when he was done with it. He wrote back, insisting on preference as a member of the class of ’27, and was restored to the donor list.

Other families have different sensibilities, but I don’t see how any used-up body could be worth a million bucks.

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Probably not a good omen

 

And it's getting worse!

And it’s getting worse!

“Peace doves” released by Pope attacked by gulls.

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Rihanna’s suit against Prudential/Berkshire Hathaway advances

Dream home for the Little Mermaid

Dream home for the Little Mermaid

Builder of her mansion testifies under oath that he warned listing agent that the place leaked like a sieve, but the problem wasn’t disclosed.

Rihanna has won a key point in her legal war over a $6.9 million Beverly Hills mansion she bought that leaked, ruining her custom-fitted sound system and sprouting mold on her designer clothes.

In depositions in LA last week, the seller admitted he’d informed brokers Prudential California Realty of problems with the home, but said Prudential didn’t apprise Rihanna of them before she bought it in 2009. She’s suing for $8.5 million.

A source close to the star — who has since off-loaded the home and moved to a rented apartment in downtown Manhattan — tells Page Six: “It doesn’t rain much in California, but when it did, it rained inside the house. Rihanna never got to move in, but she started modifying it, building a custom closet and fitting in state-of-the-art audio. She didn’t know the house would leak, and the water ruined the new sound system and grew mold on the walls and on some of her clothes.”

The source continued: “Last week in depositions, the seller, who’s a developer, said he told Prudential about the problems with the property, but it was sold to Rihanna as a dream home.”

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On the most, coldest of days, of the year

State of the Union: brrr

State of the Union: brrr

Obama will speak Tuesday, telling the handful of listeners that he’ll bypass Congress and impose his demands for an end to global warming and the restoration of Charles II  by executive fiat. “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone. And that’s all I need,” he told the Conference of Mayors this week.

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Once a jolly school boy sprang into the billabong, “you’ll never find me alive” cried he …

And his ghost may be heard as you ride beside the billabong, you'll come a waltzing Matilda with me

And his ghost may be heard as you ride beside the billabong, you’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me

12-year-old feared taken by crocodile after diving into Australian billabong. 

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Hell, Jimmy Carter was a better president

Mt. Mushmore: four worst U.S. presidents, with room for one more

Mt. Mushmore: four worst U.S. presidents, with room for one more

The soft bigotry of low expectations:

Romney observes that Putin’s a better president than Obama

Romney, who lost the presidential race to Obama, told NBC that the Russian leader “outperformed” the president “time and time again on the world stage.”

The former GOP nominee called the US and Russia “geopolitical adversaries,” blamed Putin for giving cover to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and said fugitive leaker Edward Snowden’s asylum in Russia was a “bit of a stick in the eye of America.”

But Romney gave Putin grudging respect as his nation prepares to host the Winter Olympics.

“I think most observers of the international political scene suggest that Russia has elevated itself in stature and America has been diminished,” Romney said.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said he “obviously disagreed” with Romney’s comments.

You and who else?

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And here’s a reason to sell your house rather than entrust it to a cat sitter

Miley brings her wrecking ball

Miley brings her wrecking ball

Couple return from vacation to discover that their house was turned into party central by their 17-year-old cat sitter.

Urine, feces and pools vomit everywhere: that’s what a family in Buffalo, New York, found all over their house when they returned home from a vacation in Costa Rica last month – and they can thank teenagers from some of the areas most elite schools.

It turns out that the 17-year-old girl the family had hired to watch their cats threw a party at Binder’s house and invited teens from all over the Buffalo area to partake in destroying the home the family has spent 20 years fixing up.

When Binder asked the teen’s parents to pay for the damages, they offered him $90, which wouldn’t even begin to cover the thousands of dollars worth of damage done to the house, the jewelry that was stolen, or the $6,000 in cash that was taken from the house.

As if the damage wasn’t bad enough, video of the teens destroying the house started popping up on social media websites.

In one of the videos, a male was seen urinating on 18-year-old Zoey Binder’s bed – as another teen is narrating, saying ‘this is for you.’

‘The destruction to our house is considerable. There was human feces, urine and vomit in numerous locations. Every floor in the house was rifled. There was broken furniture and there were multiple used condoms,” Binder told the paper, as he and his wife explained that it wasn’t until last week that the stench from the December 27 party was finally gone.

And the cats didn’t even have a good time:

According to Binder, the cats the 17-year-old was supposed to be watching were so traumatized by what went on during the party ‘that they did not come out of their hiding places until two days after we had come home.’

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I say, as soon as you’re sure your liberal arts graduate won’t need to move back in

Moving day for Mom and Dad

The children persuade Mom and Dad to move

When should retirees downsize their home? Experts quoted in the WSJ advise “sooner, rather than later”.

The financial benefits may not seem huge at first, but over time they can make a meaningful difference in extending the life of a nest egg. As retirees age, there are lifestyle issues to consider, such as being in a community with other older adults. And finally, making a move before one spouse dies can help ensure that the surviving spouse, or the couple’s adult children, won’t have to contend with emptying and selling a big house.

When it comes to downsizing, “if it makes sense, don’t wait,” says Steven Sass, an associate director at the Boston College Center for Retirement Research.

Some of the reluctance stems from the idea that trading a house with a paid-off mortgage for a rental or a condominium with maintenance or association fees will lead to higher monthly costs.

That can be a mirage, says Lawrence Glazer, a financial planner at Mayflower Advisors in Boston. “In a home, the expenses are hidden,” he says. “It’s maintenance, a roof, a boiler, heating and landscaping.”

Often there’s a desire to hold on to a house where children were raised so that they—and the grandchildren—can come back and visit. Mr. Glazer urges clients to think twice about the decision.

“Rather than clinging on to a three-bedroom and paying for the maintenance and heating, it’s cheaper to put [relatives] up in a hotel room,” he says. Plus, he says, most adults don’t really want to go back to their parents’ house “and stay in the room with their old posters on the wall.” [And if they do, you’ve got a larger worry than home maintenance – Ed]

More than just money is at stake, notes FCE’s Mr. Schwartz. He sees many clients who move from suburban houses to apartment complexes with amenities on site, such as shopping and restaurants, or even into New York City, where they can have a doorman and an active cultural life.

Mr. Schwartz says people often fail to appreciate how the aging process makes it harder to move. As just about anyone who has moved knows, the process is physically and mentally exhausting, even at a young age. It’s that much more daunting for older adults.

As retirees age, illness or death can suddenly thrust a move upon them, creating stress for the whole family. “Once you’re over 80, more things happen where you don’t have 100% control, and it’s harder for those people to move,” Mr. Schwartz says. “And once a spouse dies, then it’s even harder to move” from a home that a wife and husband shared for decades.

In those situations, he says, the responsibility for helping take care of a house, and ultimately selling it, often falls to the children.

Kids, you know what to do – there’s an asset sitting idle!

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