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More Foreclosure Screws, Jeb Bush Finds His Inner Hispanic, Christmas in Flagler Beach: The Live Wire, Dec. 2

| December 2, 2010

© Cecilia Salinas

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One More Foreclosure Screw

From McClatchy: “As Americans continue to lose their homes in record numbers, the Federal Reserve is considering making it much harder for homeowners to stop foreclosures and escape predatory home loans with onerous terms. […] In a letter to the Fed’s Board of Governors, dozens of groups that oppose the measure, including the National Consumer Law Center, the NAACP and the Service Employees International Union, say the proposal is bad medicine at the wrong time. […] Since 1968, the Truth in Lending Act has given homeowners the right to cancel, or rescind illegal loans for up to three years after the transaction was completed if the buyer wasn’t provided with proper disclosures at the time of closing.

Attorneys at AARP have used the rescission clause for decades to protect older homeowners stuck in predatory loans with costly terms. The provision is also helping struggling homeowners to fight a wave of foreclosure cases in which faulty and sometimes-fraudulent disclosures were used. The violations must be of a material nature to invalidate a loan under the extended-rescission clause. To do so, homeowners — usually those facing financial problems or foreclosure — hire an attorney to scour their mortgage documents for possible violations regarding the actual cost of the loan or payment terms. If problems are found, a notice of rescission is sent to the creditor, which can either admit to the alleged violation or contest it in court. […] Critics say the proposed change by the Fed would render the rescission clause useless. The Fed proposal would require homeowners who seek a loan rescission through the courts, to pay off the entire loan balance before the lender cancels the lien. […] Requiring homeowners to pay what remains of the original loan before a rescission can proceed is tantamount to a “verdict first, trial later” philosophy.” The full story.

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Your Republicans At Work

Compassion measured in millimeters

From the AP: “House Republicans have temporarily blocked legislation to feed school meals to thousands more hungry children. Republicans used a procedural maneuver Wednesday to try to amend the $4.5 billion bill, which would give more needy children the opportunity to eat free lunches at school and make those lunches healthier. […] The bill would provide money to serve more than 20 million additional after-school meals annually to children in all 50 states. Many of those children now only receive after-school snacks. It would also increase the number of children eligible for school meals programs by at least 115,000, using Medicaid and census data to identify them. The legislation would increase the amount of money schools are reimbursed by 6 cents a meal, a priority for schools that say they don’t have the dollars to feed needy kids. […] First lady Michelle Obama has lobbied for the bill as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity. House Democrats said the GOP amendment, which would have required background checks for child care workers, was an effort to kill the bill and delayed a final vote on the legislation rather than vote on the amendment. Because the nutrition bill is identical to legislation passed by the Senate in August, passage would send it to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. If the bill were amended, it would be sent back to the Senate with little time left in the legislative session.”

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No Drilling in Eastern Gulf

From the St. Pete Times: “Reversing plans announced only weeks before the BP oil disaster, the Obama administration said Wednesday it will maintain a ban on drilling along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico off Florida. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Deepwater Horizon spill, which unleashed an estimated 172 million gallons of oil into the gulf, mandates a cautious new approach that relies on areas currently open to drilling. “Our revised strategy lays out a careful, responsible path for meeting our nation’s energy needs while protecting our oceans and coastal communities,” he said. The administration said it would focus on 29 million acres in the central and western gulf that are currently under lease for oil and natural gas drilling but are not utilized (there are 43 million acres in all) as well as planned future expansions in those areas. Any new drilling would be subject to safety regulations put into place after the deadly explosion and spill. […] In 2006, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., led the way on a compromise, nearly two years in the making, that opened 8.3 million acres in the eastern gulf and allowed exploration 125 miles south of the Panhandle, but banned drilling within 234 miles of the Tampa Bay area through 2022. Obama’s proposal in March would have opened up another 25 million acres in the gulf and shrank the buffer around the Tampa area to 125 miles.” The full story.

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Jeb Bush Discovers His Inner Hispanic

From Politico: “Alarmed by the GOP’s alienation of Hispanic voters, a group of operatives and former elected officials has launched a bid to wrestle the party’s image back from illegal immigration foes – and it’s led by a Republican named Bush.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has teamed up with former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who served in former President George W. Bush’s Cabinet, and former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), a one-time supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, to restore the Republican Party’s standing with this fastest-growing segment of the electorate. […] [The] problem is a Republican party that — despite the elevation this year of several Hispanic Republicans, including Sen.-elect Marco Rubio in Florida — has all but abandoned its institutional commitment to courting Hispanic voters. That came after the congressional debate on immigration took a sharp right turn in 2006, with congressional Republicans rejecting Bush’s path-to-citizenship approach and sparking massive protests in the Latino community. And it puts the GOP in a hole as it prepares for a presidential contest likely to come down to a handful of states with sizable Hispanic populations: Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado.” The full story.

The Censoring of Wikileaks

From the Guardian: “The US struck its first blow against WikiLeaks after pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure. The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off yesterday only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security. WikiLeaks expressed disappointment with Amazon, and insisted it was a breach of freedom of speech as enshrined in the US constitution’s first amendment. The organisation, in a message sent via Twitter, said if Amazon was “so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.” […] The WikiLeaks main website and a sub-site devoted to the diplomatic documents were unavailable from the US and Europe yesterday, as Amazon servers refused to acknowledge requests for data. WikiLeaks switched to a host in Sweden. […] Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which supports internet freedom, said it was not a violation of the first amendment but was nevertheless disappointing. “This certainly implicates first amendment rights to the extent that web hosts may, based on direct or informal pressure, limit the materials the American public has a first amendment right to access,” Bankston told the website Talking Points Memo. The development came amid angry and polarised political opinion in America over WikiLeaks, with some conservatives calling for the organisation’s founder, Julian Assange, to be executed as a spy.” The full article.

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The Supreme Court’s Non-Existent Liberals

It’s come to this.

From Garrett Epps in The Atlantic: “there’s a voice missing in this Court, one we used to hear much more often in days gone by. It’s common to speak of this Court as having a “liberal wing” and a “conservative wing.” But this Court has no real liberals on it, in the mold of Earl Warren, William Brennan, or Thurgood Marshall. The “conservative wing” is there, self-assured and aggressive. But arrayed against it is a group of cautious, pragmatic centrists, who are very willing to engage in the kind of calculation Roberts was concerned with, and less willing to speak from the heart about individual rights. In fact, it’s hard for anyone to get away with that kind of talk on this Court. The conservatives won’t allow it. Earlier in the argument, Carter Phillips, representing the state of California, had repeated several times his contention that the district court’s order was “extraordinary.” Justice Sotomayor stepped in: “Slow down from the rhetoric and give me concrete details about” what the court should have done, she said. Phillips began to invoke the dignity of federalism, saying that the court should have given the state more time to work out its own solution. Sotomayor responded quickly, “When are you going to avoid the needless deaths that were reported in this record? When are you going to avoid or get around people sitting in their feces for days in a dazed state? When are you going to get to a point where you are going to deliver care that is going to be adequate?”

“Before Phillips could respond to this uncomfortable question, however, Justice Scalia jumped in to defuse it with mockery. “And don’t be rhetorical,” he said, to general laughter. Silly Sonya, worrying about befouled, neglected inmates! Can we get back to real law? Contrast Scalia’s slap with an exchange later in the argument. Justice Alito asked Specter whether the court’s order would increase crime rates in the state. Specter responded that the court below, after a trial, had determined as a fact that it would not. Experts who testified–even the experts hired by the state–overwhelmingly agreed that the target could be reached by releasing older prisoners, stopping the jailing of technical parole violators, and housing some prisoners out of state.Alito didn’t care. Screwing his face into his trademark curdled-milk fleer of contempt, he threw his hands in the air and exclaimed, “The experts can testify to whatever they want, but you know what? If this order goes into effect, we will see. We will see, and the people of California will see. Are there more crimes or are there not?” No one stepped in to say (as Scalia did to Sotomayor), “Oh, Sam, don’t be such a drama queen.” No one pointed out that it’s not really proper for an appellate judge to throw a tantrum because the record doesn’t support his ingrained policy beliefs. No one mentioned that appellate courts are by law supposed to be bound by the factual record before them. The fireworks and passion in this Court are all on the right. The moderate bloc tries to answer mildly, with reference to caselaw and to the record, while Scalia and Alito throw out fireballs for the op-ed writers to recycle.” The full post.

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Rosa Parks, Arrested 55 Years Ago

It happened on Dec. 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama: 55 years ago. “If Mrs. Parks had merely had a headache that day, and if the community had had no grievances, there would have been no bus boycott and we would never have heard of Martin Luther King,” James Baldwin wrote in 1972. And Parks herself, correcting the record: “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

Here she is, in an excerpt from a notable interview:

[media id=123 width=500 height=400]

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Flagler Beach’s Holiday at the Beach Friday and Saturday

From the Flagler Beach Historical Museum and the chamber of commerce: Traditional meets contemporary this year when the Flagler Beach Chamber of Commerce along with the City of Flagler Beach and the Flagler Beach Historical Museum holds its Annual Holiday at the Beach event December 3 & 4.

Enjoy a Flagler Beach tradition during Music in the Park from 5-9 pm. and the lighting of Veteran’s Park on Friday night (Nov. 3). Contemporary and eclectic entertainment includes the Seton Singers, Imagine Spirit Cheer, Abby Sue Recker, Tarnished Halo, Matanzas High School Jazz Bank, Impact Worship Ministry at New Way, Jimmy Mason/Gustavo Romos and Evan Ore, Nevaeh, Radical Measures and the National Honor Ensemble. Stop by the Flagler Beach Commission Chamber with the kids for photos with Santa and a chance to make sure he has their wish list.

Twenty-four local businesses will be open for holiday shoppers turned puzzle solvers as they scurry store-to-store collecting letters to solve the Scramble Ramble puzzle. Once complete, puzzles should be returned to the Flagler Beach Historical Museum, where they will be entered into a drawing for $100. The Scramble Ramble starts Friday at 5 p.m. and ends Saturday at 1 p.m. You can pick up Scramble Ramble entry cards and letters at all 24 businesses in Flagler Beach, including the Waffle Cone, A1A Burrito, Bahama Mamas, Scarlet Rose, This & That, Sully’s Surf Shop, Mason Music, Chi Dogs, Gallery of Local Art, Emporium, Angel Godwin Gallery, Down By the Sea, Helm Financial, Southeast Jewelry, Uptown Fashion, Seaside Shop, Big Easy, Friendly Confines, Chi Dog and the Flagler Beach Historical Museum. The winner will be announced after the parade on Saturday.

Santa is the “star” as he returns to Flagler Beach, parachuting onto the beach Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Santa assumes his traditional spot at the back of the parade route aboard the Flagler Beach Fire and Rescue entry. A contemporary twist added by the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach is the parade’s theme, “Flagler’s Got Talent.” Parade participants can sign up to perform for ninety seconds in the judging area with trophies awarded for 1st and 2nd place. After the parade, kids can take a hayride to the Flagler Beach Fire Department for cake, ice cream and photos with Santa.

For more information, call 386.439.7685 or 386.437.0106.

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The Decline of Marriage

The latest from Pew: “The transformative trends of the past 50 years that have led to a sharp decline in marriage and a rise of new family forms have been shaped by attitudes and behaviors that differ by class, age and race, according to a new Pew Research Center nationwide survey, conducted in association with TIME magazine, and complemented by an analysis of demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. A new “marriage gap” in the United States is increasingly aligned with a growing income gap. Marriage, while declining among all groups, remains the norm for adults with a college education and good income but is now markedly less prevalent among those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. The survey finds that those in this less-advantaged group are as likely as others to want to marry, but they place a higher premium on economic security as a condition for marriage. The survey also finds striking differences by generation. In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were. […] The public’s response to changing marital norms and family forms reflects a mix of acceptance and unease. On the troubled side of the ledger: Seven-in-ten (69%) say the trend toward more single women having children is bad for society, and 61% say that a child needs both a mother and father to grow up happily. On the more accepting side, only a minority say the trends toward more cohabitation without marriage (43%), more unmarried couples raising children (43%), more gay couples raising children (43%) and more people of different races marrying (14%) are bad for society. Relatively few say any of these trends are good for society, but many say they make little difference.” The full report.

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Little Miss Flagler’s Latest: A Gift-Raiser

From the desk of Daviana Cambpell, Little Miss Flagler: Along with the Flagler County Youth Center, Daviana is hosting a Santa’s Elves Sleep Over for 50 girls. The girls will gather at the Youth Center on Friday Dec 3 and bring with them an unwrapped gift that will be donated to a charity for distribution for children in our community. During the night the girls will wrap their presents with paper donated by Bealls Department Store and tape from Sylvan Learning Center. They will enjoy fresh popcorn with the popcorn machine donated by Rentaland. Julie’s Tree Town who has been selling fresh Xmas trees in our community for years, will donate a Xmas Tree that the girls will decorate with the wooden ornaments that Davi purchased with her allowance. This tree will also be donated to a family who otherwise would not have one. Mom will make pancakes in the morning, and add to the donuts and bagels that Daviana will be donated by the Sub Base located in the Old Kings Commons.

Saturday morning, a school bus will take the girls dressed in their Holiday pajamas to the Flagler Parade where they will march with Little Miss Flagler, representing the number of children that will wake up to Christmas because of their efforts. “Just another way to have fun, while doing good things for the community, says Daviana. “I am glad to host these events and share the joy of giving with the girls. I thank them for helping me help others.” Daviana has four more special events scheduled through the end of her term as Little Miss Flagler County, which will end in June. All proceeds from these events will go to our local food pantry.

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What We’re Borrowing from neighbors

Compliments of The Onion, of course:

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A Few Good Links

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1 Response for “More Foreclosure Screws, Jeb Bush Finds His Inner Hispanic, Christmas in Flagler Beach: The Live Wire, Dec. 2”

  1. Outsider says:

    With regard to the federal government reimbursing schools 6 cents per lunch; the estimated cost per lunch is TWELVE cents, leaving the local taxpayers to pay for yet another unfunded mandate. And why is it that parents can’t go to the store and buy a loaf of bread, and a package each of bologna and cheese? They can do this while they’re purchasing their cigarettes and beer.

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