Daily Archives: February 28, 2014

Are we obligated by treaty to go to war for Ukraine?

I did NOT sign a treaty with that woman - of course, it depends on what the meaning of "sign" is.

I did NOT sign a treaty with that woman – of course, it depends on what the meaning of “sign” is.

That’s what a treaty we entered back in 1994 promised, and Ukraine is calling for us to honor it. There were lots of such treaties between Britain, France and small countries invaded by Hitler (like Czechoslovakia) that were breezily ignored. Until, of course, they weren’t. Will we ignore this one? Probably, because there will be plenty of new opportunities to stand up (or down) to Putin down the road.

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CNN: California, Detroit experiencing weather!

So what's new?

So what’s new?

California, long known as the land of four seasons, drought, flood, fire and mud, can expect partly muddy, while Detroit is as cold as it got in 1950 BG (Before Gore).  The mainstream media will ascribe this “extreme weather” to global warming within 48 hours.

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Secret tape of Let’s Move America discovered

Thanks to White House Dossier. We can expect a live report from Walt any time now but until then, here’s the Dossier’s Keith Koffler:

White House Dossier has obtained exclusive video of a mass Let’s Move event directed by First Lady Michelle Obama.

As you can see, the Homeland is growing increasingly fit under the leadership of Mrs. Obama, who is making sure that the government requires maximal effort from our formerly fat and sluggish citizens.

No more slackers. It’s time for the youth of America to shape up and help the Obamas close the income gap and fight global warming with their newly lean and strong physiques. Young people, unite!

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Smart Diplomacy

Don't make me mad, or I'll hod my breath until I turn blue!

Don’t make me mad, or I’ll hod my breath until I turn blue!

Kerry tells Uganda that he and Barry are “deeply disappointed” with new law punishing homosexuals with lifetime imprisonment.  While it has not yet been confirmed, reliable sources tell FWIW that the State Department is also working on a statement directed to Putin which will report that President Obama is “wheely, wheely sorry” that Vladimir has chosen to invade Ukraine.

Stern letters to each leader will follow.

Hitler was shocked when France, and then Britain, declared war on Germany after he invaded Poland. Weakness and indecision can lead to just such miscalculations, which is why both are to be avoided.

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And 733 Lake Avenue is back

733 LakeThis is a very nice house that, after starting out at $5.4 million, finally sold for exactly $4 in November, 2012 (I’d predicted a selling price of $4.3 to a client, but I think the extended time on the market due to such a high start price really hurt it). The buyers tried flipping it for $4.595 back in November, 2013, were unsuccessful, and have now returned it to the market for $4.795, a price strategy that escapes me.

As said, it’s a beautiful house, on great grounds, but when I saw it with my client we were both dumfounded to discover that the architect had insisted that single-pane windows be used to preserve his sense of pseudo-authenticity. It’s nice that his ego at least permitted heating, air conditioning and plumbing to be installed, but still …

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New listing

(Photo by Edwards)

(Photo by Edwards)

65 Gregory, Cos Cob, asking $2.375 million. I haven’t seen it, but the highest price achieved so far on this street was $1.825, back in 2011. Everything else has sold way south of there, but this is new(ish) construction and a different class. Still, there’s something about being the far most expensive house on a street that gives pause. Worth looking at, certainly, because $2.4 in Cos Cob should go a lot farther than it does in other areas.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 4.58.42 PM

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Snow storm Monday?

Metro North Monday, March 3, 2014

Metro North Monday, March 3, 2014

That’s what Accuweather’s Bernie Rayno says, and while he’s the first to admit he’s not always right, he’s always entertaining. Here’s his forecast that, for now, calls for 6″-12″ of snow. No ice – hooray!

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Truth in advertising, but will it sell product?

 

Aye, and it's for ladies, too!

Aye, and it’s for ladies, too!

Dove’s new ad campaign, aimed at New Jersey consumers, calls the Garden State “The Armpit of America”.  Dreamed up by Ogilvy, who is supposed to know about these things, so ….

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Foreclosure sale

 

86 Lower Cross Rd

86 Lower Cross Rd

86 Lower Cross Road, asking $1.275, reports an accepted offer. This 0.66 acre parcel in the 4-acre zone is way past any expansion room, but it’s still a nice house, within reason, and a house on over a half acre for this price isn’t a horrible deal. And it’s probably going for much less: while  judgement of strict foreclosure was entered back in July, 2012, execution has been stretched out since then and just this past January 28th, Stamford Attorney Burt Hoffman entered an appearance on behalf of the defendant/owner, with this deal following. Those familiar with Mr. Hoffman’s work will know what that signals.

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Another town with money to burn, with equally dismal results

The Romans had their troubles too

The Romans had their troubles too

Allen, Texas, exact location of which is unknown to this writer, has had to close its new $60 million football stadium due to construction faults. Maybe Greenwich could combine with this school and afflict those taxpayers  our marching band. Even if we split the cost, we’d effect an economy by stopping construction of our own $70 million boondoggle.

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New listing, new post-Sandy price

That was then

That was then

21 Heusted Drive, Old Greenwich, is back up for sale as land and asking $1.250 million. It was completely renovated in 2006 and marketed during 2007 and 2008, starting at $1.695 million and dropping as low as $1.495, without success. At that time, it was listed as a house. Today it’s described as land, with approved permits for a new house (on stilts). There are three other houses for sale on Heusted, at least two of which were battered by the storm, and I suspect that most buyers will be hesitant to get their feet wet in this now-pioneering neighborhood.

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 12.10.40 PM

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39 Doubling Road is back again

39 Doubling Road

39 Doubling Road

Fresh from foreclosure and now owned by its lender, 39 Doubling Road has been placed back on the market at $3.725 million. I’ve always liked this 1930s Spanish Revival house, and urged it on a number of clients when, with foreclosure looming, they could have snapped it up for $2.5.  Too bad.

Ogilvy & Associates listed it and sold it to one of its own clients for $6.250 back in 2007 after it had been on the market just 18 days, and that may have been unfortunate, because more time exposed to third-party buyers and their agents would probably have reached a different valuation. Whatever the proper price was then, it will probably take around $2 million to properly restore and reconfigure this house (a garage would be nice but fortunately, two unnecessary bedrooms in the front could easily be put to this use with no loss of function). It sits on great land, right next to Greenwich Country Club and is as close to town as you’d want to be, to my taste.

$3.725 is a decent deal, but I’m still sorry I couldn’t get my own clients to grab it at what would have been less than land value.

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That was quick

79 W. Brother79 W. Brother Drive, in Milbrook, has a contract just nine days after being listed for $4.495 (sellers paid $4 for it in 2010). It’s a beautiful house, and right on the Milbrook pond, so it’s easy to see why it was jumped on. That said, I imagine the sellers are delighted to get the whole process over with so quickly.

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Their daily special was flied lice

Also for your dining pleasure ...

Also for your dining pleasure …

Mid-town Chinese restaurant shuttered after investigators find rats, mice and roaches on the menu

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Mean R Us

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Okay, this is piling on, but AJ points out another “anomaly” in Greenwich Time’s real estate column that  we poke fun of in the previous post: the confusion by the columnist of a Photoshopped photograph of 29 Cliffdale Road with reality. The columnist says,

Of note is the primary photo, which is probably the most dramatic photo I’ve seen on our MLS in quite a while. An artist couldn’t have come up with a more spectacular sky for a background!

AJ points out all the technical giveaways of this “artist couldn’t have done better” creation, but here’s a more practical point: 29 Cliffdale faces south, so the sun is depicted setting to its north. Cue that movie trailer voice: “In a world where Stamford residents can get Greenwich beach passes, the sun can set in the north – or can it?”

 

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Too good to be true? Yes.

You ain't going nowhere

You ain’t going nowhere

Greenwich Time real estate columnist Ken Edwards claims to have discovered how Stamford residents can use our parks and beaches with one weird trick: buy a house with a Greenwich mailing address.

Here’s Ken: What’s the significance of [a Greenwich address] in real estate terms? A great deal, as it turns out. For those homes, many on East Middle Patent Road just off Taconic Road, it means that they have a Greenwich address, but pay taxes to Stamford and are served by the Stamford Public Schools. Home values are quite a bit less than they would be in Greenwich, even though they have the Greenwich address.

With a Greenwich address, they are entitled to use Greenwich Parks Department facilities including town beaches, tennis courts and our renowned Griffith E. Harris golf course. Here are five Greenwich/Stamford properties currently for sale in this backcountry estate area and are heavily discounted due to this anomaly:

This is simply false. That “anomaly” started when mail was still delivered by horse, and the post offices of Greenwich and Stamford cut a deal between themselves, whereby Greenwich would deliver Stamford residents’ mail in that neck of the woods, rather than Stamford carriers having to giddyap all the way west. That agreement did not change the boundaries of the respective towns and so those who live out there have always been and still are Stamford residents. They have no legal right to vote in Greenwich or receive resident park passes.

Anyone can be wrong; I am, all the time, but I’d hate to have put this particular bit of misinformation out there without confirming it because hey, someone might actually rely on it, to their great economic detriment. That way lies financial ruin – for the agent who passes this “fact” onto her clients; mere columnists, thank heaven, aren’t legally responsible for some reader’s unwise response to what we say is true.

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Global Warmists spout Marx

communist-party-poster-progressTwo days ago, a joint publication by the US Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society published a study report aging their conclusion that the earth has passed the tipping point and it is now too late, to prevent global warming, even if CO2 emissions are cut to zero.That study was met with deafening silence because, as I’ve argued for at least two decades, since this pernicious movement started, “Global Warming” has nothing to do with saving the planet but is instead a Trojan Horse to carry out a grand scheme of centralized government, ruled by beneficent dictators. Core Curriculum, universal health care, even federal zoning imposed on local municipalities, are all part of this grand scheme.

Here, a Green tips his hand:

The US needs to “de-grow”.

Resistance is inevitable, but as history shows, so is change. Reducing individual workloads and distributing the hours among more people could increase personal well-being, temper climate disruption, and foster a stable, equitable world economy, according to the New Economics Foundation in London and the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C.

“There’s no such thing as sustainable growth, not in a country like the U.S.,” Worldwatch senior fellow Erik Assadourian says. “We have to de-grow our economy…

Whether you move to a smaller house or an apartment, downsize to one or no car, or simply have fewer lattes to-go, a smaller paycheck could reduce consumption overall.

“If we had a livable wage and could each work a 20-hour week,” Assadourian says, “we’d have time to choose more sustainable options that are also better for ourselves.”

Maybe we’d even like it. We could cook dinner instead of unwrapping and microwaving it, Assadourian suggests, or hang laundry to dry, which would cut electricity use and let us spend time in the sun.

Anna Coote, head of social policy at the New Economics Foundation, argues that we should work less and use that time whittling away at a more joyful life. “Why do we work? What do we do with the money we earn?” she asks. “Can we begin to think differently about how much we need—to get out of the fast lane and live life at a more sustainable pace, to do things that are better for the planet, better for ourselves?”

Shorter workweeks could mean more time for psychologically gratifying pursuits such as gardening, reading, or biking.

Of course, most of us don’t have the luxury of choosing to become enlightened minimalists. We’ll likely need at least a higher minimum wage, healthcare that’s not dependent on a 40-hour work week, and a more progressive income tax, Assadourian says.

“We know that when an economy isn’t growing, you tend to get a fallout of higher unemployment,” Coote says. “So you have to spread the work around more evenly.”

At least as long ago as May, 2010, Nancy Pelosi was saying the same thing. She repeated the mantra just this month, when the CBO concluded that ObamaCare would throw hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work.

None of this dreamy utopia is new: 100,000 million slaughtered victims ago, Karl Marx envisioned the same absurd, brave new world:

Karl Marx: 

In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.

Marx, German Ideology (1845)

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This is hardly news to their allies

 

French army practices welcome ceremony for their new owners

French army practices welcome ceremony for their new owners

French least faithful partners in Europe. Italy’s right below them

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Punishing the poor, rewarding the teachers union

DiBlasio starts shutting down charter schools. At least he’s doing what he promised.

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