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  • Is Obama’s Cordray Appointment Unprecedented? Not By a Longshot

    Financial Literacy Government Banking Politics Blog Personal Finance 

    President Obama “manned up” Wednesday, exercised his executive authority and announced the recess appointment of Richard Cordray as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—ending months of partisan bickering and obstructionism by 45 Republican Senators and their patrons in the financial services industry. I read the comments of GOP leaders in the House and Senate (which we all expected) and could only shake my head. I felt like I was reading the script of […]

  • The First Annual Most DisCREDITed Awards

    Financial Literacy Blog Personal Finance Money 

    Welcome to the first annual “Most disCredited Awards.” In a bad-economy year full of silly laws, mortgage miseries, political gaffes, Hatfield-McCoy feuding, credit downgrades, mysteriously rising prices, fee gouging of every description, and art-project political campaigns — whew(!) — I thought you might like a guide to help you to weed out the ridiculous from the truly tragic. So what follows are the awards for the worst ideas, policies and personalities of 2011. Most disCredited […]

  • Foreclosure mortgage

    Foreclosure Review Deadline Looms: Opt In By Monday, Or Risk Losing Cash

    Personal Finance 

    If you were in foreclosure in 2009 or 2010, you’ve got until Monday, Dec. 31 to request of independent review of your case. You’ve got nothing to lose except a chance at free money. Pursuant to a settlement between federal bank regulators and 14 mortgage servicers, homeowners in foreclosure in 2009 or 2010 have until Monday to sign up to have their cases reviewed and these reviews can lead to some form of compensation for homeowners. […]

  • Fannie, Freddie & Freud: Washington Needs a Shrink

    Government Mortgages Politics Blog 

    As a citizen, a voter, and a consumer, what do you think this country needs? Less partisanship in Congress? Less Congress? Easier credit? Lower taxes? Higher taxes? There are about 307 million Americans and given the state of the American economy, perhaps there are as many answers to that question. Here’s what I say: I think we need a good shrink. I’m talking real, Freudian-style analysis, because, dear readers, we don’t seem to be paying […]

  • Killing America One Vote at a Time: Why the CFPB Matters

    Government Politics Blog 

    The Honorable Richard Shelby, Mitch McConnell and — to quote Spiro Agnew — “those nattering nabobs of negativism” (by which I mean the 43 senators who always say “never”) — sure had their turkey shoot last week. The innocent bystander was Richard Cordray, the president’s nominee for Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The targets were Barack Obama and the CFPB itself. However, when dinner is served, consumers throughout the land will come to […]

  • 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, […]