Dead Soul Is a Debt Collector: Deceased Woman’s Name Was Robo-Signed on Thousands of Affidavits

From The Wall Street Journal:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204204004576049902142690400.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us

By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG

12/31/2010

Martha Kunkle has come back to life.

She died in 1995. Yet her signature later appeared on thousands of affidavits submitted by one of the nation’s largest debt collectors, Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc., in lawsuits filed against borrowers.

Some regulators complain that the use of Ms. Kunkle’s name reflects an epidemic of mass-produced, sloppy and inaccurate documentation in the debt-collection industry. Lawsuits have surged as more borrowers fall behind on payments and collection firms turn to courts to get what they are owed.

After being sued for fraud, Portfolio Recovery Associates decided in early 2008 that any documents bearing Ms. Kunkle’s name had “defects” and shouldn’t be used when trying to collect debts, a company spokeswoman said.

Continue reading at:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204204004576049902142690400.html?mod=rss_whats_news_us

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Civil War Revisionists/Holocaust Deniers, Cut from the same Cloth

I a true blue Yankee born in upstate New York, land of the abolitionists.  John Brown’s body lies a moldering in the grave there in the North Country.

Our Volunteers fought and died to end slavery and restore the Union.

Therefore I was revolted and disgusted by people in the South’s attempts to gloss over the monstrous role the enslavement of people of African ancestry played in the Civil War.

This is akin to actions of the Holocaust Deniers.  Beyond the sharing of similar politics there is the little matter of racism.

I have heard Southerners refer to the Civil War as “The War of Northern Aggression.”  “War of Southern Treason”, would be more appropriate considering they deserted the Union and fired the first shots in the war.

Then there is the inherent dishonesty in their claim, “It wasn’t about slavery, it was about state’s rights.”  The only freaking state’s right the Civil War was about was the right of the rich white southern elite to own black people as slaves.  They actually cited the Bible as justification.

They still cite their weird pick and choose version of the Bible to rationalize all sorts of stupid bigotry and hatred.

From NewsDay: http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/slavery-paintings-coming-down-from-atlanta-office-1.2575724

Slavery paintings coming down from Atlanta office

By The Associated Press  RAY HENRY

December 29, 2010

ATLANTA – (AP) — Murals of slaves harvesting sugar cane on a Georgia plantation and picking and ginning cotton are coming off the walls of a state building on the order of a new agriculture commissioner.

The murals are part of a collection of eight works painted by George Beattie in 1956 depicting an idealized version of Georgia farming, from the corn grown by prehistoric American Indians to a 20th-century veterinary lab. In the Deep South, the history in between includes the forced use of slave labor.

“I don’t like those pictures,” said Republican Gary Black, the newly elected agriculture commissioner. “There are a lot of other people who don’t like them.”

Slavery was indisputably part of 19th-century farming in Georgia. By 1840, more than 280,000 slaves were living in the state, many as field hands. Just before the Civil War, slaves made up about 40 percent of the state’s population.

Continue reading at:  http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/slavery-paintings-coming-down-from-atlanta-office-1.2575724

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Exploiting the Unemployed

Some story just cause such total rage despair that one doesn’t know whether to cry or grab the pitch forks and torches.

The corporate scum have destroyed the middle and working class chance of ever obtaining some nebulous thing that used to be called the American Dream and now they feel free to spit on and abuse the workers whose jobs they out sourced or cut to drive up the profits that have given even more to the rich.

Smash the Corporations…

From Human Resources Executives:  http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533327790

By Kristen B. Frasch

It seems a growing number of employers are offering lower-than-expected salaries to job candidates who are re-entering the workforce as the recession ebbs. Why? Because they can.

“Companies will pay you less because they know you have no choice but to take it,” Holly Erickson, 38, a resident of St. Clair, Mo., tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

According to the story, many unemployed job seekers are sacrificing about $10,000 in pay for every year they are out of work, although researchers have yet to pinpoint just how many workers have taken hits to their careers and wages because of the recession.

Complete article at:  http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533327790

Democratic lawmaker: Citizens United puts US on path to fascism

From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/citizens-united-path-fascism/

By Daniel Tencer
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 — 9:56 pm

The US Supreme Court’s striking down of nearly a century’s worth of campaign finance laws means the US government can now be “bought” and the country may be headed for fascism, says an outgoing Democratic House representative.

In an interview this week, Rep. John Hall (D-NY), who lost his seat in the mid-term elections, told the New York Observer that he sees a threat to American democracy in the court’s ruling.

“I learned when I was in social studies class in school that corporate ownership or corporate control of government is called fascism. So that’s really the question — is that the destination if this court decision goes unchecked?”

The Citizens United decision upended decades of campaign finance regulation, allowing corporations, unions and other groups to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns without having to identify themselves. In a decision split along ideological lines, the court ruled that restrictions on spending amounted to a violation of First Amendment rights. Others have challenged the notion that corporations and other organizations have the “personhood” needed to be granted constitutional rights.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/citizens-united-path-fascism/

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Polluter-Funded Groups Spending Almost $70 Million On Anti-Clean Energy Ads

I may have run this one before as I stumbled on the link in an end of year round-up.

I think it is more pertinent than ever given how the climate change deniers are cranking up their propaganda machines and claiming blizzards in New York are proof  there is no global warming.

When you are paid by polluters to sell a lie, you are a whore.  Money and need to survive makes many people into whores willing to lie for the corporations in order to get a paycheck.

The “Citizens (Corporations) United” ruling legalized the corporate purchasing of the US government.  The  corporate whores called spokespeople exist to con us into believing their lies.

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/21/polluter-money-elections/

By Josh Dorner

Oct 21st, 2010

Amid an unprecedented surge in mostly secret money into this year’s election campaign, a new report released yesterday by the Center for American Progress Action Fund details how 13 right-wing groups — including large secret money groups like American Crossroads, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and American Action Network — have spent more than $68.5 million this year on “misleading and fictitious televisions ads designed to shape midterm elections and advance their anti-clean energy reform agenda.” In addition to the anti-clean energy ads polluting our airwaves, an earlier CAPAF report outlined an astonishing $242 million in spending on lobbying by the 20 biggest oil, mining, and electric utility companies.

The New York Times reports this evening that “nearly half” of the Chamber’s $149 million in contributions in 2008 came from just 45 donors. (The Chamber claims to have 300,000 members.) “Many of those large donations coincided with lobbying or political campaigns that potentially affected the donors.”

With no end in sight to such dramatic spending in order to protect polluters’ profits, a new ThinkProgress exposé published yesterday suggests that the level of coordination between secret money political groups, ultra-rich conservative donors, and polluters may be even deeper than previously thought. ThinkProgress obtained a memo detailing a secretive gathering held by the Koch brothers this past June, at which the Koch brothers plotted their 2010 election strategy with 210 attendees from the oil industry, coal companies, health insurers, banks, right-wing media (including Glenn Beck), the U.S. Chamber, and others. The June meeting was merely the latest in a series of similar gatherings held twice annually by the Kochs in order to coordinate the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts.

The list of attendees obtained by ThinkProgress shows that there is considerable overlap between the groups that have been running tens of millions in anti-clean energy ads and those who attended the Koch confab, including:

Continue reading at:   http://thinkprogress.org/2010/10/21/polluter-money-elections/

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European Anarchists Grow More Violent, Coordinated

When the greed of the wealthy elite, the Corporations and masters of the universe make life for the majority of people so painful and purposeless they create revolutionary contradictions.

If those contradictions grow large enough due to the passage of austerity measures that make life so harsh for working people that they have nothing to lose then the chances of their being willing to roll the dice of revolution becomes inevitable.

Free market  MOTUs should have read Marx or the history of  how and why the New Deal saved their nuts instead reading the dribblings of  that schlock writer, Ayn Rand.

From The Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/29/european-anarchists-grow-_n_802277.html

NICOLE WINFIELD and DEREK GATOPOULOS

12/28/10 05:23 PM

ROME — A loosely linked movement of European anarchists who want to bring down state and financial institutions is becoming more violent and coordinated after decades out of the spotlight, and may be responding to social tensions spawned by the continent’s financial crisis, security experts say.

Italian police said Tuesday that letter bombs were sent to three embassies in Rome by Italian anarchists in solidarity with jailed Greek anarchists, who had asked their comrades to organize and coordinate a global “revolutionary war.”

Identical package bombs exploded at the Swiss and Chilean embassies in Rome on Dec. 23, badly wounding the two people who opened them. A third bomb was safely defused at the Greek Embassy on Monday.

“We’re striking again, and we do so in response to the appeal launched by our Greek companions,” the Italian group known as the Informal Anarchist Federation wrote in a claim of responsibility for the third bomb that was released by police here Tuesday.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/29/european-anarchists-grow-_n_802277.html

Pity about Obama.  We needed another FDR and instead we got a Reagan worshiping neo-lib.

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Bye-bye Kodachrome

I must admit that over the years I shot far more Ektachrome than Kodachrome because so much of my photography was done with lower levels of light and Ektachrome could be push processed.

But the last roll of Kodachrome…  Film had and still has qualities digital doesn’t and Kodachrome was just so perfect for certain kinds of light.

I wake up some sunny winter mornings in LA and think, “My what a beautiful Kodachrome day.”  I’d stick my 28mm or 35mm on the Nikkormat I kept loaded with Kodachrome, shove it into my bag and head out for the day….

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/us/30film.html?hp

For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas

By A. G. SULZBERGER
Published: December 29, 2010

PARSONS, Kan. — An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.

That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.

In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides.

In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline.

The artist, Aliceson Carter, 42, was incredulous as she watched the railroad worker, Jim DeNike, 53, loading a dozen boxes that contained nearly 50,000 slides into his old maroon Pontiac. He explained that every picture inside was of railroad trains and that he had borrowed money from his father’s retirement account to pay for developing them.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/us/30film.html?hp