JPMorgan Chase Argues Against Mortgage Modifications, Citing Sanctity Of Contracts
With millions of homeowners losing their homes to foreclosure during this recession, megabank JPMorgan Chase plans to argue against the Obama administration's latest weapon in its fight to stem the problem -- principal cuts for struggling borrowers -- by citing the sanctity of contracts and the borrower's "promise to repay."
In testimony to be delivered Tuesday afternoon, David Lowman, chief executive officer for home lending at the "Too Big To Fail" behemoth, will fight back against the program which calls for lenders and investors to decrease the outstanding debt owed on a home mortgage. While his competitors at Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup plan to dance around the issue -- judging from their prepared remarks -- Lowman cut right to it: borrowers don't deserve it.
"Like all loans, mortgage contracts are based on a promise to repay money borrowed," Lowman's prepared remarks read. "Importantly, there is no provision in the mortgage contract, express or implied, that the lender will restore equity or reduce the repayment amount if the value of the collateral -- be it a home, a car or a stock market investment -- depreciates.
"If we re-write the mortgage contract retroactively to restore equity to any mortgage borrower because the value of his or her home declined, what responsible lender will take the equity risk of financing mortgages in the future? What responsible regulator would want lenders to take such risk?"
In January, the firm's chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon, told the panel investigating the roots of the financial crisis that, prior to the collapse, JPMorgan Chase did not conduct any stress tests that showed house prices falling.
"I would say that was probably one of the big misses," Dimon said. "We stressed almost everything else, but we didn't see home prices going down 40 percent."
So the firm made loans, arguably not knowing that the value of the assets backing those loans would one day significantly decline in value.
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It was like a hidden passage on Wall Street, a secret channel that enabled billions of dollars to flow through Lehman Brothers.
In the years before its collapse, Lehman used a small company — its “alter ego,” in the words of a former Lehman trader — to shift investments off its books.
The firm, called Hudson Castle, played a crucial, behind-the-scenes role at Lehman, according to an internal Lehman document and interviews with former employees. The relationship raises new questions about the extent to which Lehman obscured its financial condition before it plunged into bankruptcy.
While Hudson Castle appeared to be an independent business, it was deeply entwined with Lehman. For years, its board was controlled by Lehman, which owned a quarter of the firm. It was also stocked with former Lehman employees.
None of this was disclosed by Lehman, however.
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i really hate when people Spout knowledge as historical fact without citing sources. Whether they are bloggers or governors.
And Due to recent posts about the confederacy from the Gov of Virginia and Mississippi, various bloggers, and even the Sons of Confederate Veterans, i thought i'd grab some primary sources and throw some facts into an argument that has been largely based on personal opinion.
The Civil war was primarily about slavery, and the right of the south to hold slaves. The states right issues was an issue, but the right they were fighting about was the right to hold SLAVES. ( Collapse )
Russian officials and the sheriff in Shelbyville, Tenn., have both raised questions about whether the 7-year-old boy sent back to Moscow by his adoptive mother and grandmother last week is really a United States citizen.
But they appear to be wrong. Tennessee adoption lawyers and national experts said Monday that the boy became an American the day he reached American soil last September and that, legally, he should be returned to the United States.
“This child is a U.S. citizen,” said Chuck Johnson, acting chief executive of the National Council for Adoption, which is working with the State Department to place the boy if he returns. “The parental rights are still in effect.”
A tug-of-war over the boy’s nationality has begun. As prosecutors in Tennessee consider whether the adoptive mother, Torry Ann Hansen, and her mother, Nancy Hansen, will be charged with abandonment or neglect — and as new details emerged about their interactions with social workers — the international dispute over what will happen to the boy they named Justin has intensified.
On Monday, Russian officials said the American government had no right to be involved because the boy they call Artyom Savelyev was not an American citizen.
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Posted via LiveJournal.app.
The Vatican's second-highest authority says the sex scandals haunting the Roman Catholic Church are linked to homosexuality and not celibacy among priests.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's secretary of state, made the comments during a news conference Monday in Chile, where one of the church's highest-profile pedophile cases involves a priest having sex with young girls.
"Many psychologists and psychiatrists have demonstrated that there is no relation between celibacy and pedophilia. But many others have demonstrated, I have been told recently, that there is a relation between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is true," said Bertone. "That is the problem."
His comments drew angry reactions from Chile's gay rights advocates.
"Neither Bertone nor the Vatican has the moral authority to give lessons on sexuality," said Rolando Jimenez, president of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in Chile.
Jimenez also said no reputable study exists to support the cardinal's claims.
"This is a perverse strategy by the Vatican to shirk its own ethical and legal responsibility by making a spurious and disgusting connection," he said.
At least one of the highest-profile pedophiles in the Chilean church victimized young girls, including a teenager who became pregnant.
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Earthquake prediction using accelerometers in laptops
A scientist in California is trying to recruit thousands of people to build a volunteer early warning system by harnessing technology in laptops.
Motion sensors already fitted in computers are being used as seismographs.
The hope is a large network of quake sensors could one day help give warning of impending tremors, as Rajesh Mirchandani reports from California.
Video at Source
Anyone else in Cali getting a bunch of earthquake warnings on twitter/facebook?
Local authorities said Monday they haven't been able to question a Tennessee woman who returned her adopted 7-year-old son to Russia, where authorities threatened to suspend all child adoptions by U.S. families.
Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce said at a news conference that an attorney representing Torry Hansen said the 33-year-old woman refuses to talk to authorities unless a charge is filed. An adoption agency assigned to check on the family said officials there haven't been able to contact her since late March.
The boy, Artyom Savelyev, flew unaccompanied to Moscow last week with a note from Hansen that said she no longer wanted to adopt him because he has psychological problems.
"This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues," the letter said. "I was lied to and misled by the Russian Orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues. ...
Boyce said the U.S. State Department knew of no federal laws that had been broken, so it was on his department to determine whether charges could be filed. He is requesting medical information from Russian authorities about the boy and any records that allege the boy was abused while in Tennessee.
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I hope they find some way to throw a book at this woman. It seriously sounds like she didn't even TRY. Oh my god--finding out the adoption agency was trying to get into contact with her AND offered services for emotional problems the kids might be having? I do not EVEN.
Constance McMillen, a Mississippi high school honors student who fought back when her school told her she couldn’t take her girlfriend to the prom, has been announced as one of the Grand Marshals for the 41st Annual LGBT Pride March in New York on June 27, 2010. “I never dreamed so many people would support my fight to take my girlfriend to the prom, much less that I’d end up being asked to be a Grand Marshal at NYC Pride,” said McMillen, an 18-year-old high school senior from Fulton, Mississippi, adding, “I’m really honored and touched to be asked to be part of this celebration.” McMillen is the plaintiff in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging her school’s decision to cancel the prom rather than let her bring her girlfriend as her date and wear a tuxedo to the prom.Joining McMillen as 2010 grand marshals are Lt. Dan Choi and Judy Shepard.
After declaring "sod the lot", Ukip decides that some are alright after all.
In most political parties, backing a candidate from a rival party is punished with immediate expulsion. But in Ukip it's actively encouraged.
The party's election poster may have declared "sod the lot" but all the same it has decided to support five "committed Eurosceptics" from the Conservatives and one from Labour at the election.
Ukip leader Lord Pearson says that his party plans to "actively campaign" for these candidates, rather than merely "stand aside".
The five lucky Conservatives are Douglas Carswell, Philip Davies, Alex Story, Janice Small and Philip Hollobone.
Unfortunately in Stroud, where the party has endorsed Labour's David Drew, a Ukip candidate had already registered. Ukip's Steve Parker is now, according to Pearson, "asking voters to back the Labour candidate if possible".
All of which begs the question: who is going to cover the poor man's deposit? It seems rather uncharitable to ask Parker to suspend his campaign for Labour and then expect him to pay for his lost deposit.
Meanwhile, those Labour and Tory candidates should be asked: do you welcome support from a party whose asylum posters declare "get lost we're full" and whose leader declares that Britain is under threat because "the Muslims are breeding ten times faster than us"?
Source: New Statesman
Today's Metro reports that the BNP leader Nick Griffin, who is standing for parliament in Barking, Essex, was criticised for campaigning alongside a man in army uniform at the weekend. The far-right, anti-immigration party, which is hoping to pick up votes by playing on people's disquiet at the war in Afghanistan, was criticised by a soldiers' charity, ABS, which said there was "no place in the army for racism or politics".
Metro claims not to know whether the man pictured with Griffin is a serving soldier. However, I can reveal he is no such thing: his name is Adam Walker, 41, a BNP member and former teacher who faces being struck off by the General Teaching Council for posting racist messages on the internet during a lesson.
On Saturday he was parading in front of news cameras gathered in Barking to cover the BNP's campaign launch. Asked if he was a real soldier, he admitted he wasn't. "I'm wearing this uniform in solidarity with our boys in Afghanistan," Walker said.
You can read a full NS investigation into the BNP's campaign in Barking in Thursday's magazine.
Source: New Statesman
By Matthew Rothschild, April 12, 2010
Noam Chomsky, the leading leftwing intellectual, warned last week that fascism may be coming to the United States.
“I’m just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler’s speeches on the radio,” he said, “and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering” here at home.
Chomsky was speaking to more than 1,000 people at the Orpheum Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin, where he received the University of Wisconsin’s A.E. Havens Center’s award for lifetime contribution to critical scholarship.
“The level of anger and fear is like nothing I can compare in my lifetime,” he said.
He cited a statistic from a recent poll showing that half the unaffiliated voters say the average tea party member is closer to them than anyone else.
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Posted without bolding because it's quite a short piece. I think Chomsky was skirting Godwin's Law territory here. It disturbs me that voices on both the left and right feel the need to employ analogies to Nazi Germany when they speak of our situation. And we certainly aren't yet as bad off economically as the Weimar Republic was (we don't have insane hyperinflation). Yet I feel that he is on to something. People are feeling helpless and enraged, imo, at the way that they have been exploited and abused without it costing the people who have abused them anything. I just wish he'd found another fascist country to compare us to! LOL
Tea Party Health Care Protests: N-Word Feud Still Rages After Video Discredited
Three Democratic congressmen – all black – say they heard racial slurs as they walked through thousands of angry protesters outside the U.S. Capitol. A white lawmaker says he heard the epithets too. Conservative activists say the lawmakers are lying.
What does the video show? Not much. Indeed, new interviews show that a much-viewed YouTube recording cited as evidence by conservatives was actually shot well after the time in question.
It was March 20, near the end of the bitter health care debate, when Reps. John Lewis, Andre Carson and Emanuel Cleaver say that some demonstrators, many of them tea party activists, yelled the N-word as the congressmen walked from House office buildings to the Capitol.
Stung by the charges of racism, conservatives and tea party activists insist it never happened. And one of them is offering big money if anyone can prove it did.
With so many media and citizen cameras at the demonstration, any epithets would have been caught on tape, says Andrew Breitbart. He's the web entrepreneur who released the video of ACORN workers counseling actors posing as a pimp and prostitute, and has pledged $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund if anyone provides proof of the epithets.
"It didn't happen," said Breitbart, who wasn't there. "This is 2010. Even a racist is media-savvy enough not to yell the N-word."
The dispute pits the lawmakers – one of them, Lewis, is a leader and survivor of 1960s civil rights battles – against conservatives determined to counter claims of racism within the predominantly white and middle-aged tea party movement. The criticism has proven a distraction to a nascent movement pushing a unified message of fiscal conservatism and limited government.
The issue still echoes in the media and blogosphere.
"Listen, I was there," Carson, D-Ind., said in an interview. "In many regards I think (the challenges are) a veiled attempt to justify actions that are simply unjustifiable. I think we need to move toward a dialogue that explores why this kind of divisive and reprehensible language is still making it into our political debate."
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Uninformed Limbaugh Wonders ‘Where Was The Union’ At Non-Union Mine Disaster
Last Friday, Rush Limbaugh asked why a coal miner union didn’t protect the 29 miners who were killed when Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV, exploded under unsafe conditions:
Was there no union responsibility for improving mine safety? Where was the union here? Where was the union? The union is generally holding these companies up demanding all kinds of safety. Why were these miners continuing to work in what apparently was an unsafe atmosphere?
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American Family Association To Muslim-Americans: Convert To Christianity Or Leave
It seems like only a week ago that the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer (who is the AFA's Director of Issues Analysis, perhaps because he has so many personal issues that need to be analyzed by professional psychopharmacologists), was saying that the Christian thing to do would be to round up all Muslim American citizens and deport them to Muslim countries, because surely that would solve a lot of problems? You know, by sending happy American citizens to other countries?
The most compassionate thing we can do for Muslims who have already immigrated here is to help repatriate them back to Muslim countries, where they can live in a culture which shares their values, a place where they can once again be at home, surrounded by people who cherish their deeply held ideals. Why force them to chafe against the freedom, liberty and civil rights we cherish in the West?Well, naturally, such remarks call for a clarification, and, in keeping with the traditions of "clarifying," Fischer basically swaps out one ridiculously abhorrent statement for another statement of equal ridiculous abhorrence, without really retracting the first.
Via Media Matters:
Muslims who have become naturalized citizens, of course, would need to commit an act of treason to forfeit their citizenship and become eligible for repatriation. Based on the Constitution's definition of treason in Article III Section 3 ["adhering to (the) Enemies (of the United States), (or) giving them Aid and Comfort"] treasonous acts are likely committed on virtually a weekly basis here in the U.S. in many mosques and Islamic organizations.Meanwhile, I am reliably informed by the Constitution of the United States that one of the freedoms we cherish in America is the right to worship whatever faith we bloody well please, so maybe it's Fischer who needs to sail away on a little sloop in search of a land more to his liking?
Muslims continue to have as their objective the Islamization of the entire world, including the U.S., and are taught by their god to use force where necessary to accomplish the goal. The current objective of Muslim activists is to create a brand new Islamic state - meaning a state like New Jersey or Montana - out of existing jurisdictions and establish a virtual Islamic homeland in our midst.
Many Muslims are on our shores on student visas and such and have not yet become citizens. We must politely decline their request for naturalization (becoming an American citizen is a privilege, not a right) and use the money we would otherwise spend on their welfare, their education, their medical care and their incarceration to graciously assist them in returning to their countries of origin.
Those who are willing to convert to Christianity and renounce Islam, Allah, Mohammed and the Koran may be welcomed, for they can become not just good Christians but true Americans.
Gordon Brown told the Radio Times that he is backing the campaign to protect the digital station, facing closure as part of a shake-up of the corporation intended to divert £600m into programme-making.
"[I] think, personally, that the BBC should not have succumbed to pressure to cut certain things – but they have," he told the magazine. Asked whether he was in favour of the campaign to save 6 Music, he said: "Yes because it's the next stage you worry about. The Conservatives have said that they'll hive off Radio 1.
"A lot of things that the BBC does are incredibly creative and quite risky. But this is a necessary means of us being a creative society."
The prime minister added : "I want to safeguard the independence of the BBC and I think the licence fee is the means by which you do it."
He described the licence fee as "essential" to the BBC, adding: "Any proposal to massively cut the fee or to strip the BBC of its independence – or alternatively, to remove its ability to make certain programmes – is a huge mistake.
"I don't think politicians should make that decision about what the BBC produces. I think the BBC should make that decision."
Asked whether he preferred listening to Chris Moyles on Radio 1, Chris Evans and Jeremy Vine on Radio 2 or Jarvis Cocker on 6 Music, he replied: "Definitely 6 Music. Definitely."
The proposed closure of 6 Music, which has 695,000 listeners a week and costs £6m a year to run, has already sparked an outcry from celebrity fans including David Bowie and Lily Allen. A public consultation process is due to come to completion at the end of May.
Presenter Lauren Laverne and former Pulp frontman Cocker were recently named among the station's seven nominations for Sony Awards.
A BBC spokesman has described as speculation reports that the station is to be saved under a different name.
The prime minister told the Radio Times he was a fan of the "brilliant" US musical drama Glee, preferred Friends to The West Wing, and chose Lady Gaga over Madonna, and Cheryl Cole over Simon Cowell.
He also revealed that he had rung Cowell to ask him to come on board to help the national policy forum, but that the X Factor judge was too busy.
Source: The Grauniad
Report: Sarah Palin Earns $12 Million as Non-GovernorResigning as governor of Alaska last year to join the private sector has worked out splendidly – and lucratively – for Sarah Palin.
The 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate has earned at least $12 million, and probably more than that, since leaving office at end of July, according to an estimate by ABC News.
That's mostly thanks to TV and book deals and lots of speaking appearances worth five and six figures each. ABC says its estimate, based on public records and news accounts, is conservative – and that the actual number is "probably much higher."
Palin, 46, was said to have received some $7 million for her book Going Rogue alone. She will also reportedly earn about $2 million from her upcoming Alaska reality-TV series, Sarah Palin's Alaska, on The Learning Channel.
The health care bill may be passed, but the road to reform certainly painted a polarizing picture of America. From a six-hour summit that failed to sway a single Republican, to shouts of "baby killer" and Tea Party protests, politicians and the public seemed to be from different planets.
Psychologically speaking, perhaps they are, say experts, who weigh in on the reasons behind the seemingly endless acrimony these days over a slew of issues, from gay marriage to abortion.
The reasons are many-faced, involving deep-seated personality differences, contrasting moral views, polarized political parties and today's 24/7, tell-it-all-in-great detail media, all of which prevent liberals and conservatives from seeing eye-to-eye, experts say.
And at the end of the day, these divisions could explain why we can't all just get along.
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Have fun guys!
Guide leaders in Scotland have yet to be offered the money as lawyers process Forester-Smith's estate.
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Would it be right for them to accept the money? On one hand, ~kerching~, but on the other, it just seems very very wrong...
There's one mourner, though, whose heart is likely aching the most: the president's identical twin brother, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
The brothers were born within an hour of each other on June 18, 1949, and their lives were intertwined, from attending Mass together, to starring in a film side by side as boys, to entering the world of Polish politics.
On Sunday, the late president's body arrived back in Poland from Russia, where his plane crashed Saturday and killed nearly 100 people, including his wife and many other members of Poland's elite. His coffin was carried by soldiers on the airport tarmac. After Lech Kaczynski's daughter paid her respects, Jaroslaw Kaczynski kneeled before the coffin and appeared to be whispering something as he got close, The New York Times reported.
Jaroslaw and Lech were said to have done almost everything together. When they were 12, the blond brothers, indistinguishable except for a mole on Lech's cheek, starred in the movie version of a popular Polish children's story, "The Two Who Stole the Moon." As devout Roman Catholics, they attended Mass together, and studied law, the Times noted, and they entered politics, with Lech becoming president and Jaroslaw prime minister.
Monday, April 12, 2010; 2:22 PM
SAN FRANCISCO -- Gay rights activists say they have failed to qualify a measure that would repeal California's same-sex marriage ban for the November ballot.
Restore Equality 2010 chairman Sean Bohac says the volunteer-run group fell short of gathering the nearly 695,000 signatures needed to put the initiative before voters. Monday was the deadline for submitting the signatures to the Secretary of State's Office.
Bohac says Restore Equality's failed effort was undermined by the decision of more established gay rights groups not to participate in the campaign.
He says same-sex marriage supporters now are turning their attention to trying to repeal Proposition 8 in 2012.
A lawsuit to overturn Prop. 8 also is pending before a federal trial judge.
It sucks that I had to find this out from NOM's facebook. :(
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WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - A missing 11-year-old central Florida girl with Asperger syndrome was found alive on Tuesday, four days after she disappeared into an alligator-infested swamp a half-mile from her suburban home.
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The local council in the town of Luqa is demanding the removal of a "phallic" monument ahead of the visit by the pope this weekend to Malta.
"In the opinion of the council, the pope's first visit among us risks being a source of embarrassment to the people of Luqa and the Maltese in general, due to the obscene 'monument' which is still dominating the 'LIDL' roundabout on one's entry into the village," Mayor John Schembri said in a statement, the Times of Malta reports.
The monument, entitled Colonna Mediterranea, was created by local artist Paul Vella Critien and was erected in 2006, the newpaper says.
Critien has responded by calling his critics "ignorant" and "uneducated," the BBC reports.
He says his creation is not a phallic symbol but a modern representation of a symbol dating back to ancient Egypt.
In any case, the artist says, the pope "would look at it as a work of art. [He] is not the man in the street," the BBC reports.
The Times of Malta also notes that a group hoping to save monument was been set up on Facebook and already has more than 1,200 fans.
A statement on the page by Raphael Vassallo, who heads the movement, says:
Look: I don't like having a massive erect penis slap bang outside our airport either... but everybody accepted it until the Pope decided to pay us a visit. Now, we are suddenly embarrassed of something most of us took for granted for years. Enough of this hypocritical bulls--t. If it's good enough for the LIDL roundabout then it's good enough newspaper for Pope Benedict XVI.
lolololol, I swear to God this Papal visit is seriously bringing the LULZ over here. first Paedobear, now this. btw public opinion is OH HALEEE NAWW TO CENSORSHIP, everyone's quite pissed off.