10/28/2011 archive

This Week In The Dream Antilles: Not Columbus Edition


These days your Bloguero isn’t much of a baseball fan.  His current team of choice, the Mets, flamed out early in the season.  They were so bad that your Bloguero pronounced their season over on April 21, 2011.  After that, your Bloguero treated the Mets with the revulsion he usually reserves for serious hangovers and the less benign forms of dentistry.  Something to be given a very wide berth. Something to be avoided at all cost. But tonight is the climactic Seventh Game of the World Series.  And last night’s Sixth Game, so the Trad Media inform, was a wonderful game.  So maybe tonight’s game might be worth watching.  Right.

It’s never that simple.  There’s always the past to consider.  And matters of the heart.  When your Bloguero was small boy, he was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan.  He loved the Dodgers.  He loved “dem Bums.”  He particularly loved Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson, Carl Furillo, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges and Duke Snyder.  And others. All the other baseball cards were meaningless; only the Dodgers counted.  The Giants and Yankees were obviously teams of spoiled patricians; the Dodgers were the people’s choice.  Hell, the Giants and Yankees were probably Republicans.  Or worse.  They certainly weren’t the lovable underdogs. How could any self respecting kid like teams that always won? Or pretended they did?

Yes, the Dodgers lost almost all of the important, big games back then.  To the Yankees.  To the Giants. It was a tradition. But that didn’t matter.  The Dodgers were great players, and they were a great team.  And there was always next year.  Your Bloguero loved that they might lose, but that they tried hard not to.  And he knew they were trying hard.  What else was there, other than to show up and try hard?  Your Bloguero liked the innocence and simplicity of that.

One morning your Bloguero awoke and learned that his beloved Dodgers had decided to abandon him.  They announced they were pulling up roots in Brooklyn and heading to Los Angeles for the next season.  Just like that.  Poof.  Here at Ebbets Field today, gone to LA tomorrow.  Loved today, leaving behind your Bloguero, heart broken and abandoned tomorrow.   And why?  There was no reason your Bloguero’s 10-year old brain could understand.   Ten year olds in love with a team don’t care about finances.  Or revenues.  Or anything else. They care about the game.  They care about balls and strikes.  Your Bloguero was stunned.  And hurt.  And perplexed.  Asked your Broguero to any who would listen, to any who might be able to explain it to him, “You mean that the team I love is leaving me and going to the West Coast, to California for reasons I don’t understand?”  Your Bloguero could not forgive that Sandy Koufax, the greatest pitcher ever, your Bloguero’s favorite pitcher, would not be throwing in Brooklyn but in LA.  And that the home games would begin because of time zones at 10 pm in New York, past his bed time.  He’d never see his first love again.  There was no justice in that.  At all.

So it’s the Seventh Game of the World Series tonight.  And it might be interesting baseball to watch.  But it’s also irritating the small, old scar your Bloguero has on his heart, the one that marks where the Dodgers were yanked away from him half a century ago.  And your Bloguero wonders whether like him, all of the men of a certain age who used to be Brooklyn Dodger fans when they were kids, have the same small scar that marks the very first betrayal of their most avid love.  And whether the World Series makes it ache.

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Sometimes, like now, it isn’t actually a digest of essays posted in the past week at The Dream Antilles.  For that you have to visit The Dream Antilles.


cross-posted from The Dream Antilles

Delaware AG Sues MERS

This is how foreclosure fraud should be handled on the federal level and is not. It’s not that hard.

Delaware AG Beau Biden Sues MERS

By David Dayen at FDL

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has received a lot of the headlines for his no-holds-barred investigations against the banks, but he’s had a partner in Delaware’s Beau Biden. Because New York and Delaware were where most of the securitization trusts were originated, having a united front on this issue of fraud is vital, and despite the family ties with the White House, Biden has been uncompromising. His latest salvo is a lawsuit against MERS, the electronic registry owned and funded by the banks, which they used to evade the public land transfer system and save money on county recorder fees:

   The Delaware attorney general’s office sued Merscorp Inc., which runs a national mortgage registry used by banks, saying its practices are deceptive and hide information from borrowers.

   The MERS database, which tracks ownership interests in mortgages, obscures information from borrowers and impeded their ability to fight foreclosures, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said in a complaint filed today.

   “MERS engaged and continues to engage in a range of deceptive trade practices that sow confusion among consumers, investors and other stakeholders in the mortgage finance system, damage the integrity of Delaware’s land records, and lead to unlawful foreclosure practices,” Biden said. “

MERS subpoenaed by New York, sued by Delaware

(Reuters) – MERS, the electronic mortgage registry used by the banking industry, was sued by Delaware on Thursday and accused of deceptive practices that led to unlawful shortcuts in dealing with the foreclosure crisis.

New York’s attorney general also took action against MERS, subpoenaing the registry this week for information about how it is used by major banks and a foreclosure law firm, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The suit and subpoena were part of a joint New York-Delaware mortgage probe, the person told Reuters.[…]

Schneiderman’s subpoena also seeks information on Amherst, New York, foreclosure law firm Steven J. Baum, which the attorney general has been probing since at least last spring.

Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the New York attorney general’s office, declined to comment.

Delaware Attorney General Sues MERS Over Deceptive Practices, Asks for Halt of Foreclosures Relying on MERS

by Yves Smith at naked capitalism

   The damages sought are substantial, $10,000 per violation. Since MERS is a tiny company, with under 50 employees and many of its operations outsourced (and no reason for it to maintain a substantial balance sheet), success in court would almost certainly mean bankruptcy for MERS. In theory, a new consortium or private investors could buy the database out of bankruptcy, but how would one structure its operations so as to not run afoul of the law? Yet with so many mortgages recorded in the MERS database (the registry has claimed over 60 million) the banks will need to find a way to keep it going and operate it more in line with the law […]

   Unless MERS gets injunctive relief, these two provisions effectively stop foreclosures in MERS’s name in Delware. MERS has repeatedly said it does not hold any interest in the property or note in depositions. And the mortgage registry system had also quietly put out a notice to members months ago telling members to stop foreclosing in the name of MERS. Not allowing MERS members (servicers, banks, and their foreclosure attorneys) to assign mortgages out of MERS will stop the foreclosure apparatus cold. This is a legitimate legal strategy to get a foreclosure freeze and force the servicing industry to the table to negotiate a much bigger fix.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Eugene Robinson: The study that shows why Occupy Wall Street struck a nerve

The hard-right conservatives who dominate the Republican Party claim to despise the redistribution of wealth, but secretly they love it – as long as the process involves depriving the poor and middle class to benefit the rich, not the other way around.

That is precisely what has been happening, as a jaw-dropping new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office demonstrates. Three decades of trickle-down economic theory, see-no-evil deregulation and tax-cutting fervor have led to massive redistribution. Another word for what’s been happening might be theft.

Paul Krugman: The Path Not Taken

Financial markets are cheering the deal that emerged from Brussels early Thursday morning. Indeed, relative to what could have happened – an acrimonious failure to agree on anything – the fact that European leaders agreed on something, however vague the details and however inadequate it may prove, is a positive development.

But it’s worth stepping back to look at the larger picture, namely the abject failure of an economic doctrine – a doctrine that has inflicted huge damage both in Europe and in the United States.

The doctrine in question amounts to the assertion that, in the aftermath of a financial crisis, banks must be bailed out but the general public must pay the price. So a crisis brought on by deregulation becomes a reason to move even further to the right; a time of mass unemployment, instead of spurring public efforts to create jobs, becomes an era of austerity, in which government spending and social programs are slashed.

Joe Conason: Speaking up for That ‘1 Percent’

Lauded by the Washington press corps for his “courage” and “honesty” in confronting federal deficits and the national debt, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., wrote a budget that almost sank the Republican Party-and may still damage its prospects-because he proposed to dismantle Medicare. Yet his party still relies upon Ryan to speak on behalf of its most important constituency, now known in America and across the world as “the 1 percent.”

Addressing the right-wing Heritage Foundation on Wednesday, Ryan sought to discredit Elizabeth Warren-the Massachusetts Democratic senatorial candidate, Harvard faculty member, creator of the Consumer Finance Protection Agency and enemy No. 1 of Wall Street cheaters-for daring to utter an obvious truth.

Robert C. Koehler: Iraq Syndrome

This won’t be Vietnam, exactly. No helicopter whisking the last remaining Americans off the roof of the embassy. A contingent of 16,000 State Department contract employees – over 5,000 of them armed mercenaries – will be staying on, running what’s left of the American operation in Iraq.

But there’s little doubt we lost this war – by every rational measure. Everyone lost, except those who profited from (and continue to profit from) the trillions we bled into the invasion and occupation; and those who planned it, most of whom remain in positions to plan or at least promote the wars we’re still fighting and the wars to come.

George Zornick: House Democrats Upset With Supercommittee Negotiations

As we’ve been reporting, Democrats on the supercommittee-led by Senator Max Baucus-are pursuing a “grand bargain” on deficit reduction, which would include tax increases, spending cuts, a new round of economic stimulus and steep cuts to both Medicare and Social Security. Republicans have rejected the deal in favor of their own, which basically includes all of the cuts and does not include tax increases nor stimulus spending.

But several Democratic members of the House are increasingly upset with how supercommittee Democrats are carrying out the negotiations, and are threatening to vote against a package that includes deep cuts to the safety net. Some are even planning an attempt to get rid of the supercommittee altogether.

Chip Ward: Someone Got Rich and Someone Got Sick: Nature Is the 99 Percent, Too

If your child has asthma and it’s getting worse, then news about the White House’s recent retreat on ozone (that is, smog) standards for the air over your city wasn’t exactly cause for cheering. Thank our environmental president for that, but mainly of course the Republicans, who have been out to kneecap the Environmental Protection Agency since the 2010 election results came in.  We may be heading for an anything-blows environmental future, even though it couldn’t be more logical to assume that whatever is allowed into the air will sooner or later end up in us.

With a helping hand from that invaluable website Environmental Health News, here’s a little ladleful of examples from the chemical soup that could be not just your air, soil, or water, but you.  It’s only a few days’ worth of news reports on what’s in our environment and so, for better or mostly worse, in us: In Dallas-Ft. Worth, there’s lead in the blood of children, thanks to leaded gasoline, banned decades ago, but still in the soil.  In New York’s Hudson River, “one of the largest toxic cleanups in U.S. history” (for PCBs in river sediments) is ongoing.  Researchers now suspect that those chemicals, already linked to low birth weight, thyroid disease, and learning, memory, and immune system disorders,” are also associated with to high blood pressure.  Then there’s mercury, that “potent neurotoxin that is especially dangerous to the developing brains of fetuses and children.” If allowed, it will enter the environment via a proposed open-pit gold and copper mine to be built in Alaska near “one of the world’s premier salmon fisheries.”

David Sirota: TV That Finally Lifts Journalism Back ‘Up’

Waking up at 4 a.m. is rarely enjoyable, and arising at that unspeakable hour to appear on a cable news show is particularly painful. In such situations, you feel as if you’re dragging yourself out of bed only to be treated like a canine in a dogfight, with the typical show pitting you in a contrived death match against another guest who is your equally angry, equally mangy opposite. That, or you’re simply asked to play the yes-man-the Ed McMahon to the host’s Johnny Carson.

Needless to say, I’m not a fan of most cable news because I find this format mind-numbing, uninformative and tedious (and cable news’ declining ratings over the last year prove I’m not alone). So when I was asked to appear on MSNBC last Saturday morning, my initial thought was, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

But then I realized it was a new show hosted by Chris Hayes, a journalist whose work I’ve long admired. So I said yes. And crack-of-dawn fatigue aside, I’m glad I did, because to my surprise, I ended up getting the chance to participate in one of the best television programs on the air.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 42

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author

Occupy Wall Street NYC now has a web site for its General Assembly  with up dates and information. Very informative and user friendly. It has information about events, a bulletin board, groups and minutes of the GA meetings.

NYC General Assembly #OccupyWallStreet

Late yesterday word began trickling out the the Iraq Marine vet, Scott Olsen who sustained a skull fracture after being stuck with a non-lethal object, possibly a tear gas canister, was off the ventilator and awake. The fracture caused a brain contusion that has affected the speech center of his brain. Doctors are optimistic that it is not permanent and will resolve itself. No surgery was necessary. Scott’s parents are with him. He knows where he is and recognizes his parents which are all excellent signs. According to the hospital, shortly after Scott arrived, he began to have seizures and was placed in an induced coma.

The other good news is that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has done a complete reversal, allowing the Occupy Wall Street protesters to return to the park and pitch tents. Candle light vigils were held around the country in support of Scott.

#OccupyCleveland reaches court assisted resolution in federal court against city; will begin 24/7 occupation immediately.

There were arrests in NYC as over a thousand protesters participated in a march with bag piped and drums for Scott. At one point the protesters pushed back the police taking the orange mesh barrier that is used to pen them in and turned it on police.

This weekend OCW will be taking over state capitols around the country.

Occupy Wall Street invaded the halls of Congress when a protester stopped the Super Committee’s hearing.

Cold weather is here and OWS is preparing with stock piles of warm clothing, cod weather sleeping bags, tarps and tents. OccupyTogether has put together a wiki cold weather manual that has good information.

On This Day In History October 28

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

October 28 is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 64 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1893, Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathetique, the last symphony written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is premiered in St. Petersburg. Nine day s later, Tchaikovsky died suddenly at age 53 possibly from cholera but others have theorized that he might have committed suicide. Tchaikovsky was homosexual and often suffered from bouts of depression and doubts about his creative talents throughout his life. At one point while composing the 6th, he tore up the manuscript and discarded it.

Tchaikovsky dedicated the Pathetique to Vladimir “Bob” Davydov, his nephew While the relationship was apparently never consummated, Davydov was reportedly one of the great loves of Tchaikovsky’s life.

The theme in this first movement is most familiar since it has been frequently used in movies and songs.

The second theme of the first movement formed the basis of a popular song in the 1940s, “(This is) The Story of a Starry Night” (by Mann Curtis, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston) which was popularized by Glenn Miller. This same theme is the music behind “Where,” a 1959 hit for Tony Williams and the Platters as well as “In Time,” by Steve Lawrence in 1961. All three of these songs have completely different lyrics.

British progressive rock band The Nice covered Symphony No. 6 on their album Five Bridges.

Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony has proved a popular choice with filmmakers, with extracts featuring in (amongst others) Now, Voyager, the 1997 version of Anna Karenina, Minority Report, Sweet Bird of Youth,Soylent Green and The Aviator.

Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony has also been featured during the 2010 Winter Olympics closing ceremony, being danced by Russia’s national ballet team.

2011 World Series- Rangers at Cardinals Game 6

So we might get some Baseball tonight, but everyone except the players seems to be focused on last night’s rainout and the potential for a Carpenter/Harrison matchup tomorrow in Game 7.

And how’s that parity thing working out for you Bud?

Major League Baseball had what might have been considered a stroke of good luck in its matchup against N.F.L. football on Sunday night. NBC had what looked like a dreadful game on paper, with the winless Colts – minus the marquee quarterback Peyton Manning – against the powerful New Orleans Saints.

The game was a blowout from the start, with the final 62-7 score the most lopsided regular-season game since the merger of the N.F.L. with the A.F.L. in 1970. If ever the World Series had a chance to demonstrate its ratings strength, this was it.

Instead, it seems that younger viewers prefer even the least-compelling N.F.L. game to one of baseball’s most compelling.

In the 18-49 rating that determines so much about ratings supremacy in television, Sunday night football beat the World Series game – a close contest with a 1-0 score through seven innings – with a 5.2 rating to a 4.2 for the baseball game.

The downside is that the Cardinals have to get there first.  I’m putting up the Rally Squirrel early not because I believe in magical thinking, but because I really like Phineas and Ferb.

Still, there is no denying a lot rides on the outcome of tonight’s game (not the ratings, that’s cast in stone) if you want the Cardinals to win or the Rangers to lose or just want to see another Baseball game this year.

You may not know this, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Major League Baseball and the Player’s Association expires December 11th and there is no guarantee that there will even be a 2012 season, let alone games in March (though informed speculation is that there will be no problems).  This explains the dearth of news on reporting dates and other off season events.

Tonight’s matchup is Jaime Garcia against Colby Lewis.  On paper Garcia is stronger, but if LaRussa has a brain fart like he did in Game 5 and sends in the wrong pitcher from the Bullpen this season could be over sooner than you would hope.

I’m firmly expecting there will be another game and an eventual Cardinal victory.  Regardless there will be another stage of the disappointing end to the Formula One season Saturday (Qualifying) and Sunday at 4:30 and 5:00 am ET respectively.