Daily Archives: May 13, 2014

The promise meets reality (or, the lie exposed)

You fucked up, Flounder, you trusted us

You fucked up, Flounder, you trusted us

Obama, 2009: “If you like your current health plan, you can keep it.”

Insurance industry spokesman, 2014: “We have to break Americans from their habit of choice.”

Health insurers are now openly admitting that with Obamacare’s reforms, patient choice can no longer be a priority for Americans.

“We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” Marcus Merz, CEO of Minnesota insurer PreferredOne, told The New York Times Tuesday. “We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks.”

With boatloads of mandatory services provided each and every customer whether they’re wanted or not, health insurers’ costs are going up. If insurance companies are going to keep prices at a manageable level, narrow networks are one of their only options. So far under the health care law, networks are narrowing while premiums are going up.

While insurance companies are trying to acclimate their customers to narrow networks, the limited choices were clearly not part of the promise President Barack Obama made when selling his health care law.

“It you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period,” Obama promised in 2009 in front of the American Medical Association. “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away.”

 

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Maybe you just need a better swing set

swing-sets-swing-set-demotivational-posters-1360619423Think swinging will save your marriage? Think again.

Or that’s what the experts say.

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Contracts, and a new listing

 

Soon to be plowed under

Soon to be plowed under

6 Plow Lane, a Shore & Country (Nancy Healy) land listing off Old Church Road, has a contract after just seven days. $1.339 asking price, 0.6 acres in the R-20 zone.

 

100 North Old Stone Bridge

100 North Old Stone Bridge

100 North Old Stone Bridge, Cos Cob, asking $1.475 million, also has a buyer. The house needs a thorough modernization, and the master bedroom suite is on the ground floor, but good structure and a fair price for Old Stone Bridge.

112 Old Stone Bridge

112 Old Stone Bridge

And new to the market today, 112 Old Stone Bridge, $1.525 million. Looks as though it’s been maintained and updated over the years and, while this area of the development is pretty much comprised of houses on hilltops, there looks to be a decent back yard down a flight of steps. If your kids are strong enough to drag themselves away from a video game and make it outdoors, they can climb a few stairs.

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How much can a professional photographer possibly cost?

 

130 Fishing Trail's kitchen, I think

130 Fishing Trail’s kitchen, I think

New Stamford listing at 130 Fishing Trail Lane (and what would it cost developers to hire a name inventor?) for just $749,000. From what I can discern from peering at its murky interior shots, it looks like a nice house. But why force a buyer or a nosey blogger to work so hard?  You’d think that Raveis or, in last week’s example, Sotheby’s, would have enough interest in their name brand to at least screen what their agents put up on the internet for all to see.

Garage

?

?

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Creek neighbor listings

Two new listings on Ole’s Creek, plus a Lucas Point property returns.

Ole's Creek, low tide

Ole’s Creek, low tide

23 Hendrie Extension is looking for $9.250 million and, given recent sales, it may get close to that. It’s a gorgeous house; my beef with it is that it blocks some of the view from Chez Fontaine, but that won’t be your problem, and , since the windows mostly look seaward, you won’t have to look down the creek and see our cardboard hovel. The mitigating factor for my clan is that the more expensive the houses in our immediate neighborhood, the more valuable our own shacks will be. Go pay full price, would you?

Enjoy views of not just one, but two Fountain homes!

Enjoy views of not just one, but two Fountain homes!

And directly across from Pal Nancy’s creek abode, 30 South End Court has surfaced, at $2.395. Frankly, that’s a discouraging price, because this is a very nice house – better than ours, and I’d been sort of hoping our land was in the $2 million range. Maybe not. On the other hand, we’re above the Savageau/Blankly FEMA line, and I’m not sure this one is. On a historical note of interest to no one but myself (but then, this is my blog) one of my college summer construction jobs was spent here and the first thing my boss set his new philosophy major doing was digging out the crawl space, by hand, to accommodate a modern mechanical system. I’d guess that those mechanicals have been moved up out of there by now, forty years and a dozen hurricanes later.

(Should be) Swept away by a gathering sea

(Should be) Swept away by a gathering sea

Off the creek, and out of sight of the dreadful collection of Fountain fishing shacks, we have 41 West Way, in Lucas Point, back again at a new price of $4 million even. It wouldn’t sell for $4.5 million, or even $4.250 million before, but then, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy kind of tore up places like this, and a certain buyer discouragement set it. Some would call this a tear down, although I couldn’t possibly say that; on the other hand, if one were to build new here, and place the house fifteen feet in the air, your flooding problems would be (mostly) solved.

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It doesn’t take too large an error in overpricing to keep a house on the market

 

29 Indian Mill Rd

29 Indian Mill Rd

29 Indian Mill Road has sold for $1.550 million, a year-plus after starting out at $1.850.  I thought the house had real potential when I first saw it, but didn’t think it was worth $1.850 and neither, obviously, did potential buyers. Indian Mill is a nice street, this house was a good one, albeit quirky and in need of some reconfiguration, but it should have dropped its price to meet the market long before it did.

 

Little house on a tilt

Little house on a tilt

Same thing for 25 Nearwater Lane, in NoPo Riverside, which sold yesterday for $1.335 million. Here’s an uninformative link – thanks to the Greenwich Association of Realtors’ new attempt to monopolize information, links to active listings are immediately severed upon sale.

The real value of the house: its direct riverfront

The real value of the house: its direct riverfront

Anyway, these sellers paid $1.420 for it in 2004, screwed around with it while attempting some half-assed modifications, then brought it to the market 424 days ago at $1.615 million (the listing’s claim that it had been “renovated” was laughable, and buyers must have joined in that laughter). The point is, neither of these homes’ starting prices were wildly out of line with what they eventually sold for, but they sat around far longer than was necessary in what is a very hot price range.

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Price cut

 

3 Jada Lane

3 Jada Lane

3 Jada Lane, having started off at $14.9 million some years ago (2010), is now back, at $11.9. It’s a fabulous house, and I said so back in 2007 when, brand new, it sold for its full asking price of $8.295 million in just ten days. But what made it worth $14.9 million three years later, or even $11.9 million today? So far, the market has answered, “nothing.”

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Somehow I’m skeptical, but then, even smart people can be irrational when it comes to real estate

 

Steve Cohen: home alone in his penthouse playroom

Steve Cohen: home alone in his penthouse playroom

Page Six: Steve Cohen “furious” with his Corcoran agent for failing to sell his $98 million NYC penthouse.

Sources tell Page Six that Cohen is furious that his luxe four-bedroom duplex at 151 E. 58th St. hasn’t had a buyer after more than a year on the market, and he’s blaming his brokers.

After putting it up for sale in April 2013 for $115 million, billionaire Cohen last December generously slashed $17 million off the pricey penthouse atop the Bloomberg Tower.

The 9,000-square-foot minimalist apartment at the Cesar Pelli-designed Beacon Court has 24-foot-high walls of windows and offers sweeping views of Central Park and downtown Manhattan.

One source tells us, “Cohen hasn’t had a buyer, and he blames his broker. Furious is not the word. He’s had enough.” But another source sniffed, “The lack of a buyer might be because some feel the place might have some bad karma.”

In real estate, whether it’s a $2.5 million hovel in Cos Cob or a $100,000,000 NYC penthouse, the failure to sell is always about price, not karma, not feng shui, not a bad broker. Price cures everything.

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But if you give $1,000 to a traditional marriage initiative, you’re unfit to run a corporation

 

Cuddly Ol' Granpa Warren

Cuddly Ol’ Grampa Warren

Warren Buffet has donated $1.2 billion to abortion supporters. It’s his money and he’s free to spend it as he wishes, but the hypocrisy and deliberate silence of the media is breath-taking.

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But they won’t allow cell phone towers anywhere near schools or playgrounds

 

Who ya gonna believe: me, or your own dead eyes?

Who ya gonna believe: me, or your own dead eyes?

CFL bulbs will blind you and cause skin cancer, doctors say.

How would you view a man who’s stockpiled a lifetime supply of old-fashioned lightbulbs because he believes low-energy bulbs could lead to blindness?

You might well dismiss him as dotty. But the man in question, John Marshall, is no crank. In fact, he’s one of Britain’s most eminent eye experts, the professor of ophthalmology at the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology. So concerned is he that he has boxes stacked with old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs at home.

‘I bulk bought incandescent lightbulbs before the Government made it illegal to import them,’ he says. ‘I can’t give you an exact number, but I have enough to see me out.’

Nor is he alone in his concerns about modern lightbulbs. Another eminent British professor, John Hawk, an expert in skin disease, is warning they may cause sunburn-like damage, premature aging and even skin cancer.

He doesn’t have any low-energy bulbs in his house, explaining: ‘I have lots of old-style bulbs I bought in bulk when they were available.’

Sustained exposure to ultraviolet light wavelengths from CFLs increases the risk of two seriously debilitating eye conditions, macular degeneration and cataracts, the professor claims.

With macular degeneration, the macula, which is at the centre of the retina, becomes damaged with age. A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye. These are two of the leading causes of blindness in Britain.

‘If you are in a country with high levels of ultraviolet light, your eyes will age faster,’ he says. ‘This is why the incidence of cataracts is earlier and greater nearer the equator, where sunlight is at its strongest, so there is more light across all spectrums. CFLs may have a similar effect.

‘The exposure can also significantly increase your risk of macular degeneration. The biggest risk factor for this is age, as it commonly starts to affect people from 60 to 80.

‘You will almost certainly exacerbate that risk with low-energy lightbulbs,’ adds the professor, who last month warned his colleagues of the dangers at Optrafair, a national education forum for opticians.

Global warming hysteria kills.

 

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