Daily Archives: October 2, 2015

It’s just a bad day for Dullard Bill

The day has come Wilbur craps on Dollar Bill's head

The day has come
Wilbur craps on Dollar Bill’s head

First it’s the Germans waking up to the joys of no borders to the world, now, U2’s Bono admits that it’s private enterprise that will lift people from poverty, not government aid.

He has spent years haranguing governments to increase public spending on aid, claiming it would end world poverty.

But Bono has finally changed his tune, admitting that the way to solving extreme poverty is through trade rather than aid.

In a remarkable turnaround, the rock star has told business leaders it is the private sector that holds the key.

The U2 singer, whose real name is Paul Hewson, was instrumental in persuading politicians including David Cameron to pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of the country’s income on aid.

But speaking at a UN aid conference in New York, Bono acknowledged that the private sector has a bigger role to play in development than governments.

Addressing business leaders, he said: ‘I’m late to realising that it’s you guys, it’s the private sector, it’s commerce that’s going to take the majority of people out of extreme poverty. And, as an activist, I almost found that hard to say.’

Tory MP Peter Bone last night said: ‘I’m delighted to hear that Bono is finally seeing sense. If you look at a country like India, it is private-sector investment, not aid, that is making the difference.

‘Our overseas aid tends to be sticking-plaster stuff – it does not go to the heart of the problem of trying to create open markets to attract investors who will transform societies.

‘For some people, aid is almost a religion – they think there is something morally right about taking taxpayers’ money and giving it to someone else. It has been obvious for many years that trade not aid is the key, and if Bono has finally reached that conclusion it is greatly to his credit.’

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Who could have foreseen this?

Profound, or insane? (Ever notice that all demonstrations, whoever they're held, hold up banners in English? - they know their intended TV audience)

Profound, or insane?
(Ever notice that all demonstrations, whoever they’re held, hold up banners in English? – they know their intended TV audience)

Immigrants wearing out their welcome in Germany

WSJ:

BERLIN—Four weeks after Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the doors to refugees and Germans welcomed them with applause and food, worries are mounting that the country has been overwhelmed.

Ms. Merkel’s long-lofty approval ratings are falling back to earth. Senior officials are voicing fears of terrorists among the migrants as towns and cities run out of shelter space. And in a country that prizes order, polls show that Germans are losing faith that their government is up to the task of managing the influx as the news media show chaotic scenes of migrants sleeping outside and police responding to fights at shelters.

“It is simply too much,” said Karin Pahlitzsch, a 57-year-old teacher in the eastern German city of Dresden, referring to the number of people coming to Germany. “But the worst thing is how poorly organized everything is.”

Unlike past European crises such as Ukraine and the early-summer debt showdown with Greece, the migration crisis directly affects Germans’ daily lives. Auditoriums, gyms, and trade-show halls are being converted to emergency shelters. Government officials are starting to openly voice frustration that migrants are misbehaving, stoking fears that the influx could lead to a rise in crime.

“Until summer, the refugees were thankful to be here with us,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said on ZDF public television Thursday night. Now, he said, some “go on strike because they don’t like their shelter, they make trouble because they don’t like the food, they fight in the asylum-seeker facilities.”

Germany-based Islamists have been approaching migrants, particularly minors traveling alone, Mr. de Maizière said Friday after meeting with security officials. And intelligence agencies have warned that Islamic State jihadists could try to sneak into Germany with the migrants, he said.

In early September, many Germans flocked to train stations to welcome arriving migrants, and commentators described the outpouring of generosity as a “summer fairy tale” in a country whose Nazi history still complicates feelings of national pride. Polls showed that most Germans stood behind Ms. Merkel after she declared “We can do it!” in response to questions over whether Germany could handle the flow of people.

But a poll released late Thursday showed Ms. Merkel’s approval rating fell in recent weeks to 54% after some three years around 70%. The poll, conducted by research firm Infratest Dimap earlier this week, also found that 51% of Germans feared that too many refugees were arriving in their country—up from 38% a month ago.

In a speech in eastern Germany Thursday ahead of Saturday’s 25th anniversary of the country’s reunification, Ms. Merkel attempted to rally German spirits. She described accommodating migration as a “herculean task that now deeply moves us and demands from us a national effort.” Germany, working with the European Union and Turkey to try to channel the tide of migrants, will be able to overcome the crisis, she said.

Amid the nation’s unease, leaders of other political parties in Ms. Merkel’s governing coalition are increasingly sowing doubts about her crisis management. Horst Seehofer,governor of the state of Bavaria and head of Ms. Merkel’s sister conservative party there, has repeatedly criticized the chancellor’s generosity toward migrants. His approval rating shot up 11 points, to 39%, in the monthly Infratest Dimap poll released on Thursday.

“We in Germany are rapidly approaching the limits of what we can do,” Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, head of the left-of-center Social Democrats, told news website Spiegel Online on Friday. “Many places in Germany are already overwhelmed.” Mr. Gabriel is widely expected to challenge the conservative Ms. Merkel in the 2017 election.

The sense of a crisis slipping out of the government’s control is being fed by images of chaos at shelters and registration points.

The port city of Hamburg, which is sheltering about 30,000 migrants and has received some 500 a day for the past month, was under particular strain this week. Tuesday night, 500 migrants slept in the open near the city’s main registration point because all shelters were full.

On Wednesday, desperate city officials sought to put up the migrants in a vacant tennis hall but couldn’t contact the owner to let them in. They sent firefighters to break open the door. Later in the day, the city found two schools with enough space to house newly arrived migrants and didn’t need to use the tennis hall, city official Björn Domroese said.

But the additional space didn’t head off violence in two other Hamburg asylum shelters Wednesday night. At one, in a vacant hardware store, two groups of people got into a fight, some of them armed with pieces of furniture, the police said.

Reached for comment, FWIW’s foreign policy expert Dullard Bill replied only “Islamophobe! Racist! Randbot! Homo homo queer queer, Bushchaneybushchaneybushchaney Koch Brothers!!!” He was led off by his keepers before he had further chance to expand on his analysis.

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North border, 1984 contemporary, back lot: how could this fail to sell in time to avoid foreclosure?

17 Steeple Chase

17 Steeple Chase

The financial entity that is new owner of 17 Steeple Chase has placed it on the market for $1.350 million, which might actually be a decent price. Certainly it’s better than the $2.550 the debtor sought back in 2008, when foreclosure proceedings were in the works, and better than the $1.880 the misguided owner paid for it in 2006.

A perusal of the court record for this proceeding shows that it was filed October 15, 2009, and a final order of ejectment was executed in January of this year. That’s an incredibly long time for someone to live, rent free, in any house, even one up here on the Westchester border. As far as I can tell, there were no legitimate defenses asserted, just delaying motions. Something’s wrong with our state judicial system when a foreclosure takes six years to accomplish. In Florida, where foreclosures take an average of six months, the 2008 collapse was cleared up in a very short time, and the real estate market recovered. We’ve barely started, up here.

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The north border continues to be a place where money goes to die

36 Day Road

36 Day Road

36 Day Road sold in 2006 for $4.9 million, without ever spending a day on the public market – one of those “pocket listings” that agents so like, because it limits competition. Today, after being on the market for exactly two years, and having dropped its price over that term from $4.925 to $4.250, it reports a contingent contract.

47 Birch Lane

47 Birch Lane

On a brighter note, 47 Birch Lane, which was listed for $3.125 million 11 days ago, had an accepted offer immediately and is no longer showing. At that quick pace, it’s a safe bet that the offer was very close to or at full asking price.

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And another example, also from Khakum Wood

24 Khakum Wood

24 Khakum Wood

24 Khakum Wood, “368 days” with Steve Archino, and priced at $7.995. That’s accurate enough, but it doesn’t reflect the fact that it’s been for sale for 1,522 days, dating all the way back to 2008, when Ogilvy brought it on priced at $14.5 million.

t’s a nice house, by the way, built in 1992, and when Archino got the listing (turns out he’s at least the fourth broker) last year, I thought the price of $8.650 was “very competitive”. The fact that it wasn’t, and has now dropped another $605,000, is either evidence of a cool market or the negative effect overpricing a house has on buyers’ perception, or both.(Or, the other alternative that occurs to me, is that I was wrong in my own assessment, heaven forfend.)

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Why “days on market” are so difficult to calculate

27 Khakum Wood

27 Khakum Wood

The GMLS provides a day count for the length of time a house stays on the market, but anyone who relies on the number is apt to be misled, because there are a number of ways to restart the clock.

27 Khakum Wood, for instance, which closed yesterday for $3,937,500. The statistics will show that it was on the market for 103 days and sold for 93% of its asking price of $4.250 million, but in fact, this property has been for sale for 831 days, and sold for 67% of its original asking price of $5.9. The owner finally grew tired of Ogilvy, apparently, yanked the house off the market for a couple of months and cast it back on the waters with a new broker and a new price.

Happens all the time, and while there’s nothing particularly deceptive about the practice – if you have a buyer’s broker, he or she can easily calculate the actual time – you should beware of “fresh” inventory. Sometimes it’s just old mackerel bait, found in the way back of the freezer.

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And just wait until the numbers from the equally-useless high speed train from New Haven to New Britain show up

The Malloy/Farricker Express hits a bump

The Malloy/Farricker Express hits a bump

Cos Cobber sends along the following dispiriting story: The bus from nowhere to nowhere (New Britain to Hartford) has revealed its first revenue numbers and they’re exactly what everyone except the Democrats promoting it predicted: dismal.

The projected cost of operating CTfastrak in its first year has risen, according to state Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker.

The bus rapid transit system has been relying on a tax subsidy that exceeds the state’s original estimate by 75 percent. The increase has provided ammunition to critics skeptical of officials’ claims that it has been a success.

In February, the state Department of Transportation asked for $17.5 million for the program. It had long cited $10 million as the amount that would be required. CTfastrak’s first-year operating costs are now estimated at $22.4 million, according to Redeker, with the service projected to generate first-year revenues of $4.9 million, or 22 percent of that cost.

Martin said that the state should hold off on its plans to expand CTfastrak across the Connecticut River to East Hartford and Manchester until more information is available to gauge the program’s effectiveness.

Betts also stressed the importance of ensuring that money invested into the initiative is being spent wisely, given its cost.

“Sixty million dollars a mile is a lot in my mind,” he said of the service, whose centerpiece is the 9.4-mile New Britain-to-Hartford bus-only route. “Do they have the money, and where is the money coming from? What is the state doing to reduce operating costs?”

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Round Hill Road address, cheap

Not quite on a par with Walter Noel's digs, but then, what is?

Not quite on a par with Walter Noel’s digs, but then, what is?

339 Round Hill Road (link is to now expired rental listing, because it has pictures) is new to the market today at $1.695 million. It’s on just 0.69 of an acre in the 4-acre zone, so FAR is limited (1,800 feet, by my calculation), but it’s surrounded by larger lots, so there’s privacy. The house was built in 1925 and looks it, but it could be pretty cool. And for you scammers out there who need a prestigious address with which to work your magic, the could be a deal.

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Reality bites

4 closings reported yesterday that show the difference between what an agent and owner thinks a house should get, and what it does. Sad, but then, “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?”

10 Fairgreen

10 Fairgreen

10 Fairgreen Lane, in Shorelands, is an 0.57 building lot that closed yesterday at $1.950. Impressive, but it asked $3.1 back when the morning dew was still sparkling on the roses.

70 Hunting Ridge

70 Hunting Ridge

70 Hunting Ridge, asked $5.125 472 days ago, closed at $4.425. Sellers paid $4.703 for it in 2004.

48 Round Hill Road

48 Round Hill Road

And closer to town, 48 Round Hill Road sold for $9.750 million, 766 days after starting at $12.

630 Lake Avenue

630 Lake Avenue

630 Lake Avenue. Asked $7.850 221 days ago, got $6.5.

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