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  • Memo to American Consumers: You Just Got Screwed… Again

    Government Mortgages Blog Personal Finance Money 

    The too-big-to-fail boys and their GOP handmaidens — the Hon. Richard Shelby, the Hon. Mitch McConnell and the other 43 legislative dwarves in the U.S. Senate — have struck again. Today, they blocked the confirmation of Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is the first federal regulator with the sole purpose of protecting regular people from the likes of financial scoundrels. Plain and simple — just like we experienced a […]

  • Chestnuts, Jack Frost and Wall Street’s Spring Bonuses

    Banking Blog Money 

    As we ring out what has been a pretty lousy year for most of us, Wall Streeters are all aglow — thoughts turning to sugar-plum fairies dancing in their brains, bearing bundles of spring bonuses — while stepping around agitated demonstrators who Occupy but a tiny part of their head space. While Wall Street bonuses may be down somewhat this year, the billion-dollar payday for America’s 1% is seen as an insult to most Americans […]

  • Children and data

    Playstation Invasion: Child Identity Theft is No Game

    Data Security Blog Identity Theft Technology 

    By now almost everyone I know (and millions of people I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet) has read or heard about Sony’s announcement last week that its PlayStation network was hacked and that the Personal identifying Information (PII) of potentially 77 million individuals worldwide has been compromised. Then, earlier this week, Sony notified us that there’d been a second breach. This one involved the accounts of 25 million members of Sony Online Entertainment, […]

  • Debt Collector: I’m From the Government – As Far As You Know

    Government Consumer Protection Blog Money 

    In a monumental act of hubris and deceit, an Erie, PA debt collection firm had employees pose as sheriff’s deputies and staged phony courtroom sessions where they bilked delinquent consumers out of their money. We’ve covered this story extensively (go here and here for more details). My take? Debt collection agencies are getting more brazen by the day. Consider these cases: A St. Louis woman says she received vulgar phone messages from a California debt […]

  • The Next Osama Bin Laden Already Has Your Social Security Number

    Data Security Blog Privacy 

    A massive cyber attack on American infrastructure is the 21st-century equivalent of the neutron bomb. All buildings remain standing but systems inside them are rendered useless. Human beings aren’t killed on a large scale, but few, if any, are left standing either. And while this sounds pretty dire, it’s quite likely some segment of this nation will at some time be shut down by cyber terrorists. Late last month Janet Napolitano, Obama’s homeland security chief, […]

  • What the Death Penalty and Foreclosure Have in Common (You Will Be Surprised)

    Blog Personal Finance Money 

    There is so much news—mostly ugly news from the consumer point of view—about the foreclosure crisis, but it seems one of the most important initiatives taken against the banks that caused the crisis has been all but overlooked. For a period of months, the federal government and most of the states’ attorneys general have been negotiating with the banking industry over appropriate sanctions and penalties that should be imposed for lender misconduct during the foreclosure […]

  • Tea Time for the Occupation

    Government Politics Blog 

    Historically, America’s greatness as a country could be measured by the social mobility of its citizens. If you worked hard enough at a well-defined goal, you could get where you’re going, no matter who you were or from where you started. Case in point, the election of Barack Obama — but is it really true that anyone can make a billion, and/or become President these days? Increasingly, the United States is a place of less […]

  • I’m a One Percenter Who’s Pre-Occupied with Wall Street

    Personal Finance 

    I confess I’m a one percenter. I guess I’m one of the folks that the people down on Wall Street are pointing their fingers at. I don’t blame them, I’m upset too. That said, none of us — neither the one percenters nor the 99 percenters — can either ignore or deny the ripple of unrest disturbing the calm of America’s social waters in the form of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spread […]

  • If You’re Worried About Medical Privacy, Better Take Some Xanax

    Blog Privacy 

    It was announced recently that nearly 5,000,000 patient records of military personnel were stolen. There was no elaborate hacking, and no technical skill was required on the part of the thieves — some tapes containing these records were stolen from a car belonging to an employee of SAIC who was prosaically transporting them between federal facilities in San Antonio Texas. The data included not only sensitive medical information, including prescription records, but also the names, […]

  • Bank of America, Adam Smith and a Fee Market System

    Financial Literacy Banking Blog Personal Finance 

    This week, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill) made a remarkably pithy statement on the floor of the Senate that Bank of America patrons should “vote with your feet, get the heck out of that bank.” By now, everyone who reads, watches and listens knows that Bank of America instituted a five dollar per month charge for usage of its debit cards effective early next year, and, of course, that’s what prompted Durbin’s remark. While there will […]

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