Last week, I shared the story of Colleen Mckee Espinosa, the single mother of three who was facing foreclosure after CitiBank refused to accept payment on her mortgage, after they moved up the due date for her payment without her knowledge. They also added thousands of dollars in attorney fees because the home went into foreclosure, making it impossible for her to catch up.
There's an update now on the Espinosa's situation, from Occupy Homes Minnesota:
After media coverage in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the blog Crooks and Liars, and other outlets, Citibank officials contacted the family, and assured them they were doing everything they could to resolve the case, assigning them a contact in the ?executive response unit.? Despite this, the bank is moving to auction the home at a sheriff?s sale this Wednesday at City Hall, after which time the bank would have no legal obligation to work with the family.
In the eleventh hour, finally, good news:
An official with CitiMortgage?s Executive Response Unit contacted the Espinosa family with news that Citibank had approved a loan modification that would keep the family in their home and reduce their payments by one-third on a 7.5 year payment plan. The dramatic news came less than 24 hours before the house was to be sold at auction on Wednesday, June 13.
The Espinosa's give thanks to all their supporters, and offer hope to others facing similar circumstances:
?I am deeply grateful to everyone from across the country who stood with our family as we fought our foreclosure,? said Nick Espinosa, Colleen?s son, and an organizer with Occupy Homes MN. ?I?m inspired by the outpouring of community support, and it renews my commitment to stand with other families who are struggling to stay in their homes.?
?I?m incredibly proud of what this family has accomplished,? said Anthony Newby of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change. ?They?ve managed to rally hundreds of community members to stand with them to save their home. Their campaign will undoubtedly empower other families to stand up and do the same.?
Colleen Mckee Espinosa continued, ?When I first learned we were in foreclosure, I felt ashamed and isolated, and sure we were going to lose our home. As I resolved to fight, I realized I had nothing to be ashamed of. If anyone should be ashamed, it?s the banks for tearing apart our communities after we bailed them out with our tax dollars. When we stand together we can win, and I believe thousands more will.?
Nick Espinosa continued, ?This negotiation represents a victory not just for our family, but for millions of families facing foreclosures across the country. Countless families could stay in their homes if banks simply modified their loans based on the actual market value and reduced their principal, instead of the price to which banks inflated them before they crashed our economy. As with Monique White and Bobby Hull here in Minneapolis, and others standing up across the nation, we see that when a community stands behind a family and draws attention to their case, the banks are more than capable of solving it. If they can fix it for our family, they can fix it for millions of others.?
Occupy Homes Minnesota has been an amazing lifeline for the people of their state, and they remain dedicated to helping victims of bank fraud and foreclosure. To learn more about them and what they're up to, please visit their website Occupy Homes Minnesota: http://www.occupyhomesmn.org/
[Photo: Colleen and son Nick Espinosa, via Occupy Homes Minnesota.]
A pretty good rule of thumb, it would seem, is that when everyone else says one thing, and you say something vastly different, it is unlikely that everyone else is the one that's wrong.
Yet that's where we find ourselves today, as the House of Ras claims a three-point lead for Mitt Romney in Wisconsin. That is despite the fact that the (corrected) exit polls from last week had Obama up by 7, and a poll by the GOP-affiliated outlet We Ask America last week had Obama up by 5.
It is possible, I suppose, that Rasmussen is ahead of the curve on this one. But, given their track record, some skepticism is probably justified.
On to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (46-45)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Romney d. Obama (48-44)
NEVADA (PPP): Obama d. Romney (48-42)
WISCONSIN (Rasmussen): Romney d. Obama (47-44)
NC-GOV (PPP): Pat McCrory (R) 47, Walter Dalton (D) 40A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump...
Election officials in West Virginia may be stepping up efforts to purge voter rolls because a GOP front group threatened to sue the state. In an effort to limit voter turnout this election season, Judicial Watch, in conjunction with True the Vote, has sent letters to a number of states threatening lawsuits and further investigations, and has acted on that threat once, suing the state of Indiana. In both Lincoln and Boone County, election officials are moving to “clean up” voter rolls and prevent a lawsuit. As a first step toward removing voters from the rolls, officials in Boone have mailed 9,100 cards to registered voters, and officials in Lincoln have plans to mail 9,610 more. Officials contend that they are mailing cards to people they believe have moved. Lincoln County Clerk Myrl Gue says he hopes that Judicial Watch will look at the work the county is doing and decide not to sue.
Seriously, only Wonkette can do justice to this .... this ..... AAARRRRRGGGHHHHH!
Jennie Linn McCormack, a single mom from Pocatello, Idaho, was just around when the sister of her friend and the local police department needed someone to blame for McCormack's abortion, which she induced in late 2010 by purchasing RU-486 over the Internet. The manufacturers and sellers of RU-486 were nowhere to be found, and there were just too many of them, and it was just a hassle. McCormack, surviving on child support checks and already a mother of three, couldn't afford to pay the $500 to get an abortion in Salt Lake City, where the closest abortion clinic is located, so she turned to her sister in Mississippi, who purchased the pill and mailed it to her. She later confided in a friend about the abortion. Then the friend's sister called the police. McCormack was arrested for inducing the abortion, which is illegal in Idaho thanks to a 1972 law. Some months later, Idaho and other states enacted fetal pain abortion laws, making it illegal to have an abortion after 19 weeks because it allegedly causes pain to the fetus. McCormack is now suing a state prosecutor, contending that Idaho made abortions inaccessible to her. This makes Jennie Linn McCormack both a social pariah and the poster child of the fetal pain abortion debate. She must be thrilled.
What's complicating the case is that McCormack underestimated how far along she was in the pregnancy, and after the abortion occurred she wrapped the fetus in a plastic bag and left it on her back porch. She says she was "paralyzed" by the event and didn't know what else to do. When the police questioned McCormack about the matter, she asked why they were asking her about her "personal stuff." The police officer responded, "Well there's legal and there's personal."
BUT. Even the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List ladies, of all people, have called the case "not acceptable"!! (These are the words of the group's president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, who says it's one thing to prosecute an abortion doctor; it is quite another to "criminalize" a woman for having an abortion). Adding to the complications, this is apparently the first time this 1972 law is being enforced, according to a Daily Beast piece from last year.
Rick Hearn, a lawyer and physician, represents McCormack, and just last week was granted a motion to intervene, not only as a lawyer but as a doctor, in McCormack's case.
McCormack, having induced the abortion so late, is apparently not the "ideal candidate" to head up a pro-choice debate in the Supreme Court, Slate contributor Will Saletan said, with cautious cynicism (this is "the sort of ghoulish image pro-choice activists try to avoid," says the Daily Beast, more bluntly). Still, a handful of pro-life groups have filed a brief on McCormack's behalf. Meanwhile, McCormack has been ostracized in Pocatello. The initial case against her (for which she was also represented by Hearn) was dropped last year due to lack of evidence, but there is the threat that prosecutors will re-file. She lost her job after her mug shot appeared in the local paper, she barely leaves the house, and she's starting an online business, but is afraid that people will find out that she's behind it. [NPR, The Daily Beast]
Free, immediate, no-questions-asked Abortion on Demand Now!
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About a month ago, a balcony collapsed at Wood Ridge apartment complex in south Austin, Texas. Occupy Austin has been involved since we first got word of the collapse. We've reached out to several residents, making ourselves available to help them[...]
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The European Union did an effective job of kicking the can down the road for a few years but now it appears as though the road is coming to an end. The recent Spanish bailout never sounded like it would be enough considering the depth of the employment and real estate problems in Spain. The poorly implemented Spanish bailout is once again being pinned on Merkel, who has a knack for making a bad...
I can't wait for Chris to weigh in (who is a cyclist himself, and no friend to Armstrong).From USA Today:Lance Armstrong faces new doping charges brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.Armstrong, who retired from competitive cycling in 2011, confirmed on Twitter on Wednesday that he was informed of the charges in a letter sent by USADA.His seven Tour de France titles could...
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For all the fearmongering we hear out of our politicians on the right about how heaven forbid we're going to turn into Greece, the one country you never hear them talk about any more is Iceland. The reason they don't is, as Cenk Uygur explained on his show this Tuesday, they took a different path than the United States after their financial crisis and nationalized the banks, threw some the people responsible for the crash in jail and bailed out the homeowners instead of worrying about only bailing out the banks. And now they're coming back and their economy is growing again.
FDL's Dave Dayden has been writing about the financial crisis in depth for some time and he visited the set of The Young Turks to discuss whether the United States should be looking to Iceland as a model to emulate as he wrote about here: Iceland Provides Blueprint for How to Deal With the Financial Crisis:
I love this story. It?s one of those that calls to mind the old Margaret Mead dictum, ?Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it?s the only thing that ever has.?
Icelanders who pelted parliament with rocks in 2009 demanding their leaders and bankers answer for the country?s economic and financial collapse are reaping the benefits of their anger.
Since the end of 2008, the island?s banks have forgiven loans equivalent to 13 percent of gross domestic product, easing the debt burdens of more than a quarter of the population, according to a report published this month by the Icelandic Financial Services Association.
So does the story end there? Did the people revolt and the banks give in, leading to a lower standard of living or some financial disaster or something? No. Debt deleveraging successfully brought back the Icelandic economy.
The island?s steps to resurrect itself since 2008, when its banks defaulted on $85 billion, are proving effective. Iceland?s economy will this year outgrow the euro area and the developed world on average, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates. It costs about the same to insure against an Icelandic default as it does to guard against a credit event in Belgium. Most polls now show Icelanders don?t want to join the European Union, where the debt crisis is in its third year.
The island?s households were helped by an agreement between the government and the banks, which are still partly controlled by the state, to forgive debt exceeding 110 percent of home values. On top of that, a Supreme Court ruling in June 2010 found loans indexed to foreign currencies were illegal, meaning households no longer need to cover krona losses.
We?ve heard in this country for the past several years of housing crisis that principal forgiveness rewards bad actors and causes moral hazard, and that we can?t do that to the poor, put-upon banks. Well guess what? Debt write-downs work. They generate a wealth effect among the population, and they help to end balance-sheet recessions and bring about economic growth. What?s more, Icelandic home values came back, just 3% off their September 2008 pre-crisis level. You can take the example of Iceland or you can take the example of the rest of Europe. It?s your choice. But the facts reveal that austerity is counter-productive, while debt forgiveness is extremely productive.
More there so go read the rest. Dave's interview with Cenk below the fold.
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Today on the Penny Arcade Report, Ben Kuchera explains why the E3 convention’s reliance on booth babes to sell video games is a fundamental misreading of the video game market:
The first thing I saw at E3 this year was a group of scantily clad ladies giving out energy drinks in front of the Los Angeles convention center. There was another group of female models posing for pictures upon entering the building, and to the right was another pod of ?booth babes? giving away T-shirts. Going up the escalators I was greeted by yet another leather-clad group of women pitching a war game. The amount of female flesh on display before you even enter the show floor was impressive, and impossible to miss. The message it sends is clear: This is a show for men, with advertising, promotions, and booth design aimed at grabbing male eyes. In a time when console makers and major publishers are struggling to connect products with gamers, this is a dangerously short sighted marketing strategy…
There is very real money to be made marketing technology to women, or at the very least creating an environment where women feel like they can be part of the discussion. Consider that the high level of consumer adoption of technology by women happens despite the fact that trade show are usually designed by men for an aggressively male audience. In fact, E3 isn?t the only show to struggle with the changing reality of the market. CES has long pandered to a male audience, despite the huge female market for emerging technologies. ?It?s confusing, because it?s sending this message of what my sex is here to do, and obviously I don?t feel that way, because I?d rather be learning about the products,? Molly McHugh, a technology writer for Digital Trends, stated in a piece about booth babes at the show.
And the New York Times reports that GoDaddy, the domain name company infamous for its boneheaded ads featuring scantily-clothed celebrities and assorted other women, has realized that the campaign may not be in its long-term best interest, because it sends the message that the product is cheap and unserious:
In July, private equity powerhouses that included Kohlberg Kravis Roberts paid about $2.25 billion for a majority stake in GoDaddy and named Warren Adelman the chief executive; Mr. Parsons became executive chairman. In a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, Mr. Adelman signaled that the era of racy GoDaddy marketing would come to an end. ?We are synonymous with inexpensive domains and sexy girls,? Mr. Adelman told the magazine. ?I think there is a different message we have to expose people to.?
GoDaddy appears to be learning faster than the video game business, but it’s amazing to see how long it’s taking both an industry and this company to absorb a fundamental point: sexism looks increasingly dated. And nothing’s less sexy in advertising than looking square.
There’s been a lot of talk in recent days about Alexis Madrigal’s piece for The Atlantic about how women are the unacknowledged drivers of technology and social media adoption. We hold up half the sky, we control, if not quite half the country’s spending dollars (thanks, pay gap), a reasonable chunk of change. Unless you’ve made a very specific decision that you don’t want our money, it’s stupid to accidentally send us that message and lock yourself out of a potential customer base.
And sexism doesn’t only send a message to women that your product is not for them. From writing this blog, and from conversations I have every day with folks on Twitter, I know there are an enormous number of men who are discomfited by sexist imagery and sexist advertising in their entertainment. They may still play video games, or watch movies, or read comics with sexist depictions of women. But those depictions are a hindrance rather than a draw, a hurdle to brand loyalty rather than a facilitator. Panting sexists aren’t a majority. And whatever their visibility, they aren’t even a majority of guys. That companies can get the basic math here so wrong is baffling.
Bryan Fischer’s anti-gay rants have become all too commonplace. But today he was in rare form when he declared that allowing gay parents to adopt is “a form of sexual abuse.” Fischer made his bigoted comments in regards to a recent study funded by two conservatives groups tied to anti-gay organizations. The study, which has drawn criticism for its flawed methodology and clear bias, flies in the face of 30 years of credible research showing that children of same-sex couples fare just as well as other children. But Fischer has reached a new low with this new hateful diatribe, showing just how desperate for attention anti-gay activists are becoming. Watch it: