Foreclosure Fraud · Foreclosures

Costume Party At ‘Foreclosure Mill’ Law Firm Mocked Those Who Lost Homes

This is simply outrageous!

I’m just glad these creeps were exposed for their callousness and sheer apathy toward the foreclosure mess that they no doubt, helped facilitate…

The New York Times

On Friday, the law firm of Steven J. Baum threw a Halloween party.The firm, which is located near Buffalo, is what is commonly referred to as a “foreclosure mill” firm, meaning it represents banks and mortgage servicers as they attempt to foreclose on homeowners and evict them from their homes. Steven J. Baum is, in fact, the largest such firm in New York; it represents virtually all the giant mortgage lenders, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

The party is the firm’s big annual bash. Employees wear Halloween costumes to the office, where they party until around noon, and then return to work, still in costume. I can’t tell you how people dressed for this year’s party, but I can tell you about last year’s.

That’s because a former employee of Steven J. Baum recently sent me snapshots of last year’s party. In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners — invariably poor and down on their luck — that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose. I told her I wanted to post the photos on The Times’s Web site so that readers could see them. She agreed, but asked to remain anonymous because she said she fears retaliation.

Let me describe a few of the photos. In one, two Baum employees are dressed like homeless people. One is holding a bottle of liquor. The other has a sign around her neck that reads: “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and I was never served.” My source said that “I was never served” is meant to mock “the typical excuse” of the homeowner trying to evade a foreclosure proceeding.

A second picture shows a coffin with a picture of a woman whose eyes have been cut out. A sign on the coffin reads: “Rest in Peace. Crazy Susie.” The reference is to Susan Chana Lask, a lawyer who had filed a class-action suit against Steven J. Baum — and had posteda YouTube video denouncing the firm’s foreclosure practices. “She was a thorn in their side,” said my source.


Continue reading here…

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Occupy Oakland

Doctors: Scott Olsen suffered brain damage and is unable to speak


The Raw Story

The Iraq veteran seriously wounded Tuesday night at “Occupy Oakland” sustained minor brain damage and has been rendered unable to speak, doctors said Friday, adding that he will likely be able to make a full recovery in time.

Scott Olsen, 24, was said to be otherwise lucid and able to communicate with his family by writing notes, but his ability to spell is also damaged, according to sources who spoke with The Guardian. He is, however, able to understand what’s being communicated to him.

Keith Shannon, Olsen’s roommate who served with him in Iraq, explained that “He cannot talk right now, and that is because the fracture is right on the speech center of his brain,” the paper added. “However, they are expecting he will get that back.”

Olsen is believed to have been struck in the forehead by a police projectile, and many speculate it was either a tear gas canister or a beanbag full of lead fired from a shotgun. Both can be lethal at close range, although many police departments use them as “non-lethal” weapons. Video from the scene seems to show him being struck by a tear gas canister fired from just a few feet away, but the image is not clear.

The blow was so severe that doctors were forced to place Olsen in a medically-induced coma to help fight swelling on his brain.

The two-tour Iraq veteran has since become a flashpoint for the 99 Percent movement, who’ve seemingly been targeted for police harassment in most major cities.

In response to Tuesday’s events, the general assembly at “Occupy Oakland” has called for a city-wide general strike on Nov. 2, aimed at shutting down city services for one day to protest police violence.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quon, who authorized the eviction, has since distanced herself from the police chief, saying on Friday “I only asked the chief to do one thing: to do it when it was the safest for both the police and the demonstrators.” Current TV’s Keith Olbermann has called on her to go further than pass the blame: he wants Mayor Quon to fire the police chief or resign. There’s no indication that she plans to do either.

Since the violence she’s also claimed to support the 99 Percent movement and withdrawn much of the police presence near the park where protesters had been camping.

Olsen may still face brain surgery, but doctors haven’t determined whether that’s necessary just yet.

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West Wing Week

West Wing Week: 10/28/11 or “We Can’t Wait”

The White House Blog

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

This week, the President announced he’d keep his promise to bring our troops home from Iraq, honored the nation’s top scientists and inventors, embarked on a three-day Western swing to urge Congress to pass the American Jobs Act and announced major new executive actions that will help middle class families in this difficult economy. That’s October 21st to October 27th or “We Can’t Wait”.


Politico’s: The week in one-liners: Huntsman, Leno, Perry


The top quotes in politics …

“When’s the delivery food coming?” — Republican White House hopeful Jon Huntsman making a cringe-worthy joke about China.

“It’s fun to poke at him a little bit.” — GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on bringing up the Obama birther debate.

“Right now a lawn gnome can beat Obama.” — Former Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell knocking the president’s re-election odds.

“This election will not be as sexy as the first one.” — President Obama talkingabout 2012.

“Can I get you a teleprompter?” — Comedian Jay Leno joking with Obama before his “Tonight Show” interview.

“Can I send you a fleece?” — The subject line of an e-mail from Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s campaign.

“I’m not the kind of plumber who uses duct tape.” — Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher announcing his congressional run.

“He was drunk or stoned.” — Democratic strategist James Carville hypothesizing that Herman Cain’s adviser was under the influence of drugs or alcohol while taping this ad.


State-Certified Handgun Instructor In Texas Refuses To Teach Muslims, Obama Supporters

Apparently Texas state law has no problem with this…

Think Progress

Crockett Keller, a state-certified gun safety instructor in Texas, wants to help you get a concealed handgun lesson — that is, unless you’re Muslim or liberal. “If you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class with no shame,” he says in a controversial new radio playing around Mason, TX, where Keller owns a gun store. “If you are a socialist liberal and or voted for the current campaigner in chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as under the law,” he added. In an interview with a local ABC affiliate, Keller made it clear he was serious: “I will give up my license to teach before I will teach them.”

I consider all Muslims our enemies, no matter how nice they are,” Keller said. “I could not trust one and I, as an instructor, am not going to teach one how to shoot a gun and aid him in getting a license.” Watch KVUE’s report.

As a growing number of states rush to gun regulations and make concealed handgun licenses easier to obtain, Keller’s cases raises questions about who’s training this influx of new peopleowning and carrying firearms.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center’s HateWatch blog noted, “It’s not clear whether this type of discrimination is lawful,” as business owners have considerable discretion in whom they serve. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which certifies individuals to teach concealed handgun lessons, said discrimination puts instructors’ certification at risk of “suspension or revocation,” but that they need a formal complaint with evidence before they can act.

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