Daily Archives: April 28, 2014

Reynold’s Law at work


I can't believe I got away with this!

I can’t believe I got away with this!

High school graduation rates near 90% and educators are ecstatic.

Of course, there’s this alarming statistic: 80% of NYC’s high school graduates can’t read. I’m sure that’s a failure rate shared by many urban centers around the country, but hey, we’re moving these kids out of high school at a record rate! Who cares if we’re teaching them anything, statistics show that high school graduates do better than drop outs, so we’re on a roll.

Which is what Reynold’s Law describes:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

Thus,  Reynolds’ Law: “Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.”

Passing out free houses or meaningless diplomas may feel good to a liberal, but it’s a cruel hoax on the recipients.


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It’s still bonus time, obviously

19 Lower Cross Rd

19 Lower Cross Rd (boooring!)

19 Lower Cross Road, $17.9 million, reports a pending sale. 

61 Ridgeview Avenue

61 Ridgeview Avenue

On a lesser scale, but we can’t all live in Conyers Farm, 61 Ridgeview Avenue is also pending: asking price was $2.695. This is a fabulous house and given my druthers, I’d take it over Conyers Farm, any time at all. Lucky buyers.





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Two sales


2 Nimitz Place

2 Nimitz Place

2 Nimitz Place, Havemeyer, $725,000. Asked $795,000.









7 Binney Lane

7 Binney Lane

7 Binney Lane, Old Greenwich, $3.925 million. Owners paid $4.950 million for it in 2007, when it was new and before Irene and Sandy.


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This is a shame


45 Baldwin Farms South

45 Baldwin Farms South

45 Baldwin Farms S. was lost to foreclosure at the beginning of April, despite dropping its price to $4 million, and the new corporate owner has relisted it at $4.895. This was, and remains, a good house, but the attempts of many of us to sell it were frustrated by the debt on the property and the owner’s natural desire to walk away with some portion of his investment. Now, he’s got nothing.

The downfall of this spec project lay in timing and price. Timing, because it came on the market in January, 2008, just in time to greet the real estate collapse and, worse, it was priced by Ogilvy at $9.750 million. This was never a $10 million house, and 2008 was certainly not the time to reach for it.

It dropped in price slowly over the years, from $7 to $6 to, finally, $4, but by then it was too late.

I’d still recommend it, and considering that the current owner almost certainly bought the debt at a discount, I’d start my offer in the $3s and see where it went.


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The trouble with smoke and mirrors is that sooner or later, the smoke clears and the mirror shatters


I think I hear the tooth fairy!

Do I hear the tooth fairy?

Malloy spokesman: No $55 rebate, as tax revenue falls 17% below projections.

“Any surplus this year will be deposited into the rainy day fund,” Barnes wrote. “We do not anticipate enough revenue to provide a tax refund or to make a supplemental pension payment, as we had hoped in January.”

With the final budget negotiations coming up this week, Barnes added, “”This will require some significant changes to our plans and expectations.”

Last week, with state income tax collections lower than expected following the April 15 tax deadline, Senate Republican leader John McKinney called for the governor to scrap his proposal for tax rebates. McKinney and House Republican leader Larry Cafero also blasted the Malloy administration for statements, citing a University of Connecticut economist, that the $55 rebates would stimulate the economy so much that they would create 1,200 jobs. Instead, they said that most consumers would have used their rebates to try to fill up their gasoline tanks.

McKinney cited statistics from the legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal office that tracks the money being collected each day following the income tax deadline. Those collections, outlined in a memo by six staffers in the nonpartisan office, were nearly $205 million or 16.7 percent below the projections as of April 22.

“Please note that we still need $612.4 million to be collected by April 30 in order to reach our target,” said the memo by multiple employees, including the office director, Alan Colandro, and the section chief in charge of taxes, Michael Murphy.

Balancing a budget with gimmicks and lies only works when you have your own printing press: Connecticut doesn’t, yet.



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She Hits Me With A Rock


Mutual Assured Destruction at the Simon household

Mutual Assured Destruction at the Simon household

Paul Simon and wife arrested for domestic violence spat in New Canaan.


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Expand apprenticeships?


Realtor-lawyer in training

Realtor-lawyer in training

It’s as sensible as bringing voc-ed back into our schools, but the idea still meets resistance from employers and young people alike. Too bad.

Apprenticeships can offer a precise match between the skills employers want and the training workers receive, says Robert Lerman, an economics professor at American University.

“It’s a great model for transferring skills from one generation to the next,” says John Ladd, director of the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

Nevertheless, according to the Labor Department, formal programs that combine on-the-job learning with mentorships and classroom education fell 40% in the U.S. between 2003 and 2013.

All of which leads to the question: If apprenticeships are the solution to a pressing problem, why is there so much resistance?

Blue-Collar Image

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is that two-thirds of apprenticeship programs in the U.S. are in the construction industry, furthering a blue-collar image that stifles interest among young people and the employers who could create jobs for them. Construction unions, which dominate many of the state agencies devoted to apprenticeships, haven’t done much outreach to other industries, Mr. Lerman says.

At the same time, business owners and managers sometimes shy away from apprenticeships because of their association with unions. “There’s an underlying fear among employers” that unions want to come in and organize workers, or that any apprenticeship program would be run by a union, says J. Ronald DeJuliis, head of labor and industry at Maryland’s Department of Labor.

Yet, he and others say, it doesn’t have to be that way. Apprenticeships today involve lots more industries than the handful of trades that embraced the earn-and-learn model beginning in 1937 when the National Apprenticeship Act was passed. Nursing assistants, wastewater technicians and computer-system administrators are among the positions for which apprentices can now train.

Earlier this month, President Obama set aside $100 million to go toward apprenticeships in high-growth industries, and recognized new programs in health care, information technology and supply-chain management.

Another damper is a widely held view that young people should stay in school and then get a job. Advocates of apprenticeships say this thinking is misguided.

College degrees and internships don’t produce the same quality of worker as intensive, on-the-job apprenticeships, says Brad Neese, director of Apprenticeship Carolina, a program of the South Carolina Technical College System. Employers are seeing “a real lack of applicability in terms of skill level” from college graduates, Mr. Neese says. “Interns do grunt work, generally.” In contrast, he says, “an apprenticeship is a real job.”

Compared to the low value of so many college degrees, and considering that many students don’t need to and in fact shouldn’t go to college, this seems almost a no-brainer. Hell, it’s how lawyers used to be trained, and if you can train a lawyer, you can train anything and anyone.


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What’s the opposite of a helicopter parent?

Maybe a jump master who shoves recalcitrant troops out of the plane?

Father kicks six-year-old son off skate board ramp.

A frustrated Florida father was booted from a local skate park after he was caught kicking his 6-year-old son down a skateboard ramp, friends said.

Marcus Crossland was apparently impatient with his son when the boy took too much time to roll down the half-pipe, dubbed Big Brown — the biggest ramp at Kona Skate Park in Arlington — when he pushed him over the ledge on Friday afternoon.

The little boy was not hurt.

“Unfortunately, parents get so enthusiastic about their kids and their abilities in skateboarding, or baseball, or football, or whatever, and sometimes they take it a little too far,” the park’s operator, Martin Ramos, told First Coast News.

And Don Sterling’s a little too concerned about who his girlfriend dates.


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But where to? Hint: not Connecticut


Hey! Where you going? Get back here!

Hey! Where you going? Get back here!

Toyota is moving its sales headquarters and 5.000 jobs from California to …. Texas!

And it’s not the first Japanese car maker to leave the land of the greens.

The new Texas headquarters is expected to house at least three subsidiaries, the people said, including Toyota Motor Sales USA, Toyota Financial Services and Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America. The move will begin in August and will take place in stages through the end of 2016, they said.

Employees in Toyota’s Torrance offices and other U.S. locations will be offered relocation packages and financial assistance, they said.

Toyota, which established operations in California in 1957, is the second Japanese automaker to relocate from the Los Angeles area.

Nissan Motor Co in 2006 moved most of its operations to Franklin, Tennessee, outside Nashville.


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Riversville contract, Old Church Rd sale


261 Riversville Rd

261 Riversville Rd

276 Riversville Road, priced at $2.995 million, reports a pending contract. The listing says “renovated in 2012”, but back in 2005, when it tried, and failed to get $4.495, it was described as “totally rebuilt in 2003”. I think they updated the kitchen this time. Nice house, 3+ acres, and at under $3, a nice deal.

115 Old Church Road

115 Old Church Road

115 Old Church Road, a 1900 home, has sold for $2.975 million on an asking price of $3.250. This is a great house, on an acre, but it’s going to absorb a lot of money bringing it up to date. Someone obviously thought it was worth it, or I hope they did and are not buying it for land value, because I agree that it could be brought back splendidly.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 9.41.50 AM


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Well what you expect from a man who began his term with a world-wide apology tour?

OBAMA SORRY TOURKeith Koffler: we do not have a human rights problem.

From his press conference with Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia.

“I think the Prime Minister is the first to acknowledge that Malaysia has still got some work to do — just like the United States, by the way, has some work to do on these issues.

Human Rights Watch probably has a list of things they think we should be doing as a government.  And I am going to be constantly committed to making sure that these issues get raised in a constructive way.”

We have problems in this country. In a free society, there are winners and losers, and sometimes things aren’t fair.

BUT WE DO NOT HAVE A HUMAN RIGHTS PROBLEM. We do not have organized, systemic oppression of people in America. To suggest this is an insult not only to us, but to those who face really such oppression.

But here’s the greatest shocker of all: That I am forced, in this space, to defend the human rights record of the United States against THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

God help us.



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“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”


Return of the night stalker

Return of the night stalker

Two-thirds of British councils have shut off street lamps to save money.

There was a time, not-so-long-ago,when bright streets, warm homes and abundant, cheap food were considered the hallmarks of civilization. Not in the enviro-nut’s world.


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