Saturday, May 23, 2009

Presidential Proclamation Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day

A peace proclamation. What a change from the previous administration...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What the New Credit Card Change Could Mean to You

Personally I think the "late payment" provisions of this legislation need to be made clearer. Some of the concerns raised in my previous credit card post, about companies arbitrarily moving payment due dates, have been addressed.

In theory, it looks like the concept of grace periods have been re-established, but to say payment must be due "21 days after mailing" seems strange.

There also needs to be some consistency about what constitutes being "30-days delinquent." Suppose I charge something on the 1st, the day before my statement cycles. I get a statement the following week with a payment due date of the end of the month. If miss that payment, am I really 30 days delinquent?

Yes, according to Bank of America, which holds my FIA card services credit card. For the record, overnight FIA recently nearly doubled my monthly payment, changing it from normally ranging around $125 to a whopping $250 a month. While they were at it they also increased my interest rate to 28 percent.

When I asked why, they claimed there was something "strange" in my credit profile. Knowing that not to be true, I challenged that assessment, they later claimed made a late payment -- a payment received after the due date. They failed to mention that yes, I missed the due date, but I also paid off the balance. My pay off check arrived a day or so after the due date. The next month, I used the card again.

For me the fundamental principle of offering credit cards with hopes they go into default should be outlawed. To design cards in a way that rewards looking for creative ways to make consumers delinquent is not only unfair but should be unethical. I don't care that card companies make money on getting investors to buy their credit portfolios.

Still checking for a list of congressmen who voted "no" on the house version of this bill.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Congress Passes Credit Card Bill

I want a list of the 64 congressmen who voted against this bill.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reflections on Michael Steele's Press Conference

See: Steele says time to focus on future. From the Boston Globe

Today, while talking on the phone to a friend, I stumbled on Michael Steele's press conference as it aired on CNN. I was infuriated, as so often the far right-winged Republican rhetoric tends to send me these days.

Sadly Michael use to be his own person. But after his oh-so-public Rush Limbaugh smack-down, he has lost his own voice. And today, it was even more obvious that Rush, the newly throned party King as annointed by Dick Cheney, has Steele on a very short lead. No wonder rational Republicans, like Arlen Specter, (and Colin Powell, according to Cheney) are fleeing the party.

First let me say I am so very disappointed that the far-right-winged arm of Republican party continues to pit one person of color against another. Next, we can be sure to look for Bobby Jindal --coming soon to a press conference near you. Their tactics are so transparent, and I like most Americans feel it's really getting old.

Getting back to Steele's press conference. In it he claims: "the era of apology for Republican mistakes of the past is officially over." How convenient. Let's just forget about an illegal war and war crimes seemingly commited by the Bush administration along with it. Let's forget about the multi-billion dollar deficit.

How about this: the next time a criminal goes on a robbery spree, selling all the loot and covering up his tracks, he just washes his hands, sits back and decides to be done with the past and simply move forward. He can indeed move forward, but not before paying for the crimes of the past.

Steele then dares call the Obama first 100 days a reigh of "error." As if launching an entire war search for non-existant 'weapons of mass destruction' and even more non-existant links to al-Queda -- making the entire world less safe in the process -- wasn't enough.

"American needs us now more than ever," he quips. Why?

Steele says that Republican ideas are "being delivered to Washington in a tea bag." Ideas like having Texas succeed from the union? Like pitting Steele, a black man, against the President, another black man, while reducing Steele to simply becoming the public mouthpiece of Rush Limbaugh?

"We continue to borrow money we do not have," he ascerts. You mean like the 720 billion spent waging the Iraq war? Or like squandering the budget surpus left to us by the Clinton administration?

But most appalling was Steele's use of the phrase speaking truth to power. Exactly where was the truth in Steele's speech?

Let's face it. If there was any truth to Steele's ascertions, he would have preferenced his analogies this way:

Because of the Republicans we have: "spen(t) our country into the abyss,"

Because of the Republicans we have: "borrow(ed) money we don't have"

Because of the Republicans we were: forced to "usher in the most massive expansion of federal government control in the history of our Republic."

How about this, Steele. Let's stop this revisionist history once and for all. Go back to navel gazing. That was far more productive and much less scary.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Mortgage Crisis: Where's Carper when you need him?

I'm really disappointed with Senator Carper's vote on this one. A judge should be able to distinguish whether a case involves fraud or not. Punishing everyone for the indiscretion of a few makes no sense at all.If you are disappointed too, pick up the phone and call his office at 202-224-2441.

US Senate defeats mortgage relief measure

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Senate on Thursday defeated a measure that could have helped millions of Americans avoid foreclosure by letting bankruptcy judges cut their mortgage payments.

The White House-backed proposal, an amendment to another bill, fell in a 51-45 vote that failed to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to ensure passage.

The legislation, popularly known as the "cram-down" bill, drew fire from the banking industry and from Republicans who alleged that it lacked safeguards to prevent borrowers who used bad judgement or outright fraud from benefiting.

Assistant Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, the measure's chief champion, expressed disappointment at the result but voted to push the issue "until the Senate decides to put the interests of homeowners above the interests of bankers."

"We?ve given the bankers who got us into this crisis every opportunity to responsibly address this crisis and they have failed. I?ll keep working to give homeowners every legal means to save their homes," said Durbin.

Durbin said more than eight million homeowners were at risk for foreclosure.

The US House of Representatives had approved its version of the legislation by a 234-191 margin on March 5.