Daily Archives: March 17, 2014

Professor calls for global warming deniers to be jailed

31KochClimateAnd yet it moves

A professor with Rochester Institute of Technology has called for the incarceration of any American who actively disagrees that climate change is solely caused by human activity.

Lawrence Torcello, a philosophy professor with a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, published the comments as part of an essay submitted to the academic website The Conversation.

Adding that “science misinformation” surrounding climate change should be considered a crime, Torcello asks readers to “Consider cases in which science communication is intentionally undermined for political and financial gain.”

“Climate denial remains a serious deterrent against meaningful political action in the very countries most responsible for the crisis.” the professor adds.

Torcello also addresses the fact that his demands clearly run in opposition to protected free speech under the First Amendment, and as part of other nations’ laws, calling for legal systems to be “updated” by governments.

“We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organised campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions,” he writes.


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First Connecticut Democrat announces campaign for governor

"Americans might ask themselves this simple question: How much longer are you willing to tolerate and subsidize (to the tune of billions in taxpayer aid annually) the actions of an "ally" whose capacity for criminal and inhumane acts appears limitless? "

“Americans might ask themselves this simple question: How much longer are you willing to tolerate and subsidize (to the tune of billions in taxpayer aid annually) the actions of an “ally” whose capacity for criminal and inhumane acts appears limitless? “

Greenwich resident Lee Whitnum announces run for Governor

Treated as a pariah by her party’s standard bearers, with whom she has engaged in several well-publicized, election-year confrontations over the U.S. alliance with Israel, Democrat Lee Whitnum is once again embracing the role anti-establishment candidate.

This time, in the governor’s race.

Whitnum, 53, who is from Greenwich, is seeking the state’s highest office, according to the latest incarnation of her political website. No one else in her party has declared in the Democratic nominating contest, which many political insiders expect to be an easy tune-up for incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy before the general election.

Last year, she was charged with second-degree stalking, second-degree harassment and disorderly conduct after prosecutors say she contacted the Stamford Superior Court judge presiding over her acrimonious divorce at the judge’s home. Whitnum said in a news release and telephone message last weekend that the charges were dropped. Court records show that the charges are still pending, however.

Whitnum was unavailable for comment on Monday.

In 2008, Malloy publicly admonished Whitnum for her harsh criticism of Israel and characterized her comments as anti-Semitic. Whitnum, in turn, unsuccessfully sued Malloy for slander.

To protect himself against further lawsuits from Whitnum that he characterized as frivolous, Malloy resorted to taking out a court order that requires Whitnum to show cause in future legal action.

A spokesman for Malloy directed questions on Whitnum’s candidacy to the Connecticut Democrats, who declined to comment.

Greenwich Democrat Caucus head Bill Gaston, a staunch foe of Israel (“once an ally, now a liability”) will doubtless be signing on as Miss Whitnum’s campaign manager, and won’t that be fun?


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241 Riverside Avenue, asked $3.6 million, got $2.950. Links are all screwed up because they seem to now disappear the second a sale is reported but basically, nice older home across from Colonial Lane, redone in 2003.  Rooms were perhaps a bit crimped for today’s tastes, but I think at this price, someone got a very nice house in a good location.


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Ah, the value of a realtor


I had first dibs on the hot tub!

I had first dibs on the hot tub!

Man rents his apartment over the Internet, returns to find it’s being used for a fat-people orgy.

Ari Teman, 31, claimed he left his apartment keys with David Carter, 32, on Friday night and stepped out for dinner before leaving town.

When he returned to the building to grab his luggage, a rowdy sex party featuring “Big Beautiful Women” was in the process of being shut down by building management.

“This was just so bizarre,” said Teman, who had rented his apartment via the website Airbnb.

“The worst part of the Internet right there was in my apartment.”

“There were all sorts of people walking out of my apartment and people coming in from the back yard. It was a huge mess.”


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Good question

Joseph Curl: We completely changed the health care system so as to insure just 4.2 million people?

It was official: Nearly 15 percent of America’s 313 million citizens had no coverage and were, as Mr. Obama loved to say over and over to hype the fear, “one illness away from financial ruin.”

So, he created Obamacare. The crux of the biscuit: The United States would completely change its entire health care system to make sure those 46 million got insured. Well, at least that’s what every rational American thought. If there are 46 million uninsured, and the president and Congress are overhauling the system, it must be to solve the whole problem — not just part of it.

But last week came word that with just 15 days left for people to enroll for federal coverage, just 4.2 million had. The math is simple: That’s just 9 percent of the supposedly 46 million uninsured.


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Aw, and he so needed a break


"But Al promised me!"

“But Al promised me!”

Snow storm hits D.C., keeps Commander in Chief at home.


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12 Bote Rd

12 Bote Rd

12 Bote Road (off of lower Stanwich), asking $2.975 million. This sold new in 2007 for $2.840, was relisted at $3.350 in 2011 and withdrawn and rented when it didn’t sell. Nice house, not much of a back yard, but what do you expect for less than $3 million?


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New listing on Windabout


25 Windabout

25 Windabout

25 Windabout, asking $3.495 million. Maybe; it’s two acres, close to town, and I haven’t seen it yet. It was purchased for $3.075 back in 2004, maybe by a builder, maybe not but either way it was put back up for sale in 2011 for $3.7 million and dropped from there until it expired, unsold and asking $3.295 in February 2013. I did notice that it has an “asbestos shingle roof”, the cost of removal of which you’d want to include in your calculations.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 1.21.23 PM


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Sale Reported

33 Maple33 Maple Avenue, $1.240 million. 0.4 acre, so that’s probably about right for land here. Zillow says it sold for $300,000 in 2006, but that’s not accrete, I don’t believe.


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Coming our way – Common Core

New Common Core math worksheet for kindergarteners. A parent with a PhD couldn’t figure it out, but perhaps five-year-olds are smarter these days.



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Nice twist to old scam: “Ghost” gazumping

GazumpedLondon: Realtors persuading sellers to raise their prices even when there’s no other bidder.

Property buyers in London are increasingly being gazumped by sellers who are raising property prices at the last minute despite there being no rival bidders.

The new phenomenon of ‘ghost gazumping’ sees unscrupulous estate agents persuading sellers to increase their house price by tens of thousands of pounds just days before the exchange of contracts.

The aggressive new practice comes amid fears of a property bubble, fuelled in part by the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Estate agents revealed this new trend had never been seen before – even during the property bubbles of the 1980s and mid-2000s.

But with house prices rising, buyers are having to fork out up to six-figure sums extra just to avoid finding a new house.

In the nation’s capital, rival estate agents have been door-knocking sellers – whose properties have been under offer for more than eight weeks – and telling them the offer they have agreed is too low.

That’s agressive.


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Probably not a success story Lottery Commissioner Farricker will be touting

We have a winner!

We have a winner!

$10 million lottery winner uses windfall for trysts and grooming a 14-year-old boy.

A Level 3 sex offender who won a $10 million state lottery prize in 2008 has been arrested on charges that he sexually abused a boy for several years and showed him pornography.

Daniel Snay, 62, of Uxbridge, Mass., was arrested on Friday and charged with indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 – a subsequent offense, reckless endangerment of a child, enticement of a child and dissemination of pornography to a minor, police said.

Uxbridge police are working with police in Connecticut and Rhode Island as some of the alleged offenses occurred in those states.

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WSJ: Adjustable rate mortgages are back, for those with excellent credit

I hadn’t known they’d disappeared, but that’s probably because, in Greenwich, they never did. Nonetheless, more banks are offering them now, according to the WSJ.

Adjustable-rate mortgages, one of the main culprits of the housing crisis, are back in vogue. But banks say this time is different.

Financial groups are sweetening terms to entice customers to take out these loans, known as ARMs, whose rates can jump after a few years. Some ARMs are cheaper, when compared with fixed-rate mortgages, than they have been in more than a decade.

Now, though, financial executives say they are focusing on borrowers with strong credit who are using the loans to take out large “jumbo” mortgages—and not so-called subprime borrowers, who used the loans to stretch their buying power as far as it could go.

On mortgages of more than $1 million, 61% were ARMs, up from 56% a year earlier.

Banks are betting rates will rise high enough for them to offset any interest they give up in the first few years. Borrowers are betting rates will either stay relatively low, or that they will sell their homes before their interest adjusts higher.

Last month, Richard Herrmann of Fairfax County, Va., refinanced out of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 4.875% rate into an ARM with a fixed interest rate of 2.875% for the first five years. The loan rate resets every five years. Mr. Herrmann, a 59-year-old engineer for the U.S. military, and his wife plan to sell their home in 10 years, so they are only expecting to incur one rate reset.

“It’s always a crapshoot with an ARM,” said Mr. Herrmann. “This seemed to be the best compromise.”

While lenders say this time they are employing tough lending guidelines and focusing on top-rated borrowers, there are signs they are broadening the pool of eligible customers.

Some smaller lenders such as credit unions are targeting retirees and other borrowers who are looking for superlow rates. And banks increasingly are offering interest-only ARMs, which require customers to make payments only on the interest for as long as 10 years, and which were among loans that caused problems for subprime borrowers during the crisis.

Relaxed lending standards—which included loans to subprime borrowers and the sale of riskier products such as ARMs—were a leading cause of the financial crisis. When the U.S. economy tanked in early 2008, many homeowners with ARMs saw the value of their homes drop at the same time their payments were rising.

The profile of an average ARM borrower has changed substantially since then. The average credit score for borrowers who took out ARMs in the fourth quarter of 2013 was 762, compared with 693 in the same period in 2006, according to Black Knight Financial.

Banks are “making these loans primarily to borrowers who are well-heeled, so that reduces the risk enormously,” said Stuart Feldstein, president of SMR Research Corp., a mortgage-research firm in Hackettstown, N.J.

The average rate on one type of jumbo ARM was 2.91% for the week that ended March 7, or about 1.5 percentage points lower than for the 30-year fixed-rate jumbo, according to mortgage-info website HSH.com. That difference, which has mostly held since November, is the largest since 2003.

Rates on some of the most popular ARMs can in


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