Daily Archive: 11/17/2011

Nov 17 2011

What’s Cooking: Fried Turkey

Republished from November 23, 2010 for obvious timely reasons.

By now you should have defrosted that frozen turkey and it should be resting comfortably in the back of you refrigerator. If you haven’t, getteth your butt to the grocery store and buy a fresh one because even if you start defrosting today, your bird might not be defrosted in time. I discussed the how to cook your bird to perfection in a conventional oven, now for a method that’s a little daring, deep frying.

Alton Brown, is one of my favorite TV cooks. Good Eats funny and informative, plus, his recipes are easy and edible. I’ve done fried turkey and while I don’t recommend it for health reasons, once a year probably wont hurt. Alton’s “how to” videos are a must watch on safety tips, how to choose a turkey fryer, equipment and, finally, cooking directions. If you decide to try this, please follow all directions carefully and take all the safety precautions.

Below the fold are recipes and more safety tips.

Bon Apetite



Nov 17 2011

Nevada AG Indicts Title Company Officers

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cotez Masto has filed a 606 count criminal indictment against two title company employees for for supervising the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents in a robo-signing scheme. This is the statement from Masto’s office (pdf):

   The Office of the Nevada Attorney General announced today that the Clark County grand jury has returned a 606 count indictment against two title officers, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, who directed and supervised a robo-signing scheme which resulted in the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents with the Clark County Recorder’s Office between 2005 and 2008.

   According to the indictment, defendant Gary Trafford, a California resident, is charged with 102 counts of offering false instruments for recording (category C felony); false certification on certain instruments (category D felony); and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public (a gross misdemeanor). The indictment charges d efendant Gerri Sheppard, also a California resident, with 100 counts of offering false instruments for recording (category C felony); false certification on certain instruments (category D felony); and notarization of the signature of a person not in the presence of a notary public (a gross misdemeanor).

   “The grand jury found probable cause that there was a robo-signing scheme which resulted in the filing of tens of thousands of fraudulent documents with the Clark County Recorder’s Office between 2005 and 2008,”said Chief Deputy Attorney General John Kelleher.

   The indictment alleges that both defendants directed the fraudulent notarization and filing of documents which were used to initiate foreclosure on local homeowners.

   The State alleges that these documents, referred to as Notices of Default, or “NODs”, were prepared locally. The State alleges that the defendants directed employees under their supervision, to forge their names on foreclosure documents, then notarize the signatures they just forged, thereby fraudulently attesting that the defendants actually signed the documents, which was untrue and in violation of State law. The defendants then allegedly directed the employees under their supervision to file the fraudulent documents with the Clark County Recorder’s office, to be used to start foreclosures on homes throughout the County.

   The indictment alleges that these crimes were done in secret in order to avoid detection. The fraudulent NODs were allegedly forged locally to allow them to be filed at the Clark County Recorder’s office on the same day they were prepared.

Although the two Lender Processing Services employees, Gary Trafford and Gerri Sheppard, are deemed to be little fish there is speculation the Ms. Masto is using this as a hook to an go after the whales. Yves Smith at naked capitalism:

   That strongly suggests that Masto is, as we suggested earlier, using these indictments as a wedge to go after much broader abuses in the servicing industry. LPS’s biggest business is its Default Services Group, which both managed the operations of foreclosure mills (people with knowledge of LPS charge that the firm even kicks out certain standard form documents for foreclosure mill attorneys to file) and also often acted as the arms and legs of servicers in other arenas (for instance, managing, or more accurately, mismanaging property seized in foreclosure).

   LPS has always taken the position that anything it did was at the direction of and with the full knowledge of the servicers. If Masto is shrewd, her objective will be to audit LPSs’ software, since that will demonstrate pattern and practice, and it will be impossible for servicers to deny that processes embodied in ongoing, routinized activities were unknown to them.

David Dayen at FDL agrees that this may well be the first step in getting the higher ups who made, and are still, making a fortune on foreclosures:

LPS hasn’t been indicted, but you can see where this is going. We know enough now to know that this casual forgery and document fraud was official policy for the company. Indictments of Trafford and Sheppard will almost certainly not end there. Everyone who worked for LPS in Nevada will be culpable. [..]

The fact that they are LPS employees also suggests this is just a first step. This could be a way to get at the software that LPS uses to create documents, which would prove pattern and practice. LPS was central to the entire robo-signing scheme across foreclosure mill law firms and mortgage servicers. And they consistently maintain that they worked at the direction of the servicers and with their full knowledge. So that ropes in the servicers as well.

This is a very important indictment, and it shows how methodical Masto has been about going after widespread industry abuse. It’s only just beginning, but bravo for her.

As has been reported, despite the meager attempts at an agreement to settle this and exonerate the banks of any wrong doing by several other Attorney Generals, the robo-signing continues:

   Reuters reviewed records of individual county clerk offices in five states — Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and North and South Carolina — with searchable online databases. Reuters also examined hundreds of documents from court case files, some obtained online and others provided by attorneys.

   The searches found more than 1,000 mortgage assignments that for multiple reasons appear questionable: promissory notes missing required endorsements or bearing faulty ones; and “complaints” (the legal documents that launch foreclosure suits) that appear to contain multiple incorrect facts.

   These are practices that the 14 banks and other loan servicers said had occurred only on a small scale and were halted more than six months ago. [..]

   Reuters reviewed records of individual county clerk offices in five states — Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and North and South Carolina — with searchable online databases. Reuters also examined hundreds of documents from court case files, some obtained online and others provided by attorneys.

   The searches found more than 1,000 mortgage assignments that for multiple reasons appear questionable: promissory notes missing required endorsements or bearing faulty ones; and “complaints” (the legal documents that launch foreclosure suits) that appear to contain multiple incorrect facts.

   These are practices that the 14 banks and other loan servicers said had occurred only on a small scale and were halted more than six months ago.

Meanwhile, as Yves Smith pointed out this Summer, the bankers continue to lie to congress that they have stopped the practice:

We’ve heard numerous bank executives swear piously before Congressional hearings that those “paperwork problems” that led major servicers to halt or slow foreclosures on a widespread basis last year were “mistakes”. That was already a really big lies, since “mistake” means the practice was not deliberate and was presumably isolated, when in fact robosigning was a widespread, institutionalized practice.

14 major servicers then swore in consent orders earlier this year that they’d stop doing all that bad stuff. But with compliance weak (the banks get to hire the overseers!), they appear to have decided they don’t need to change their ways all that much. Indeed, the record of consent orders is underwhelming; for instance, both Nevada and Arizona are suing Countrywide for violations of past agreements.

Meanwhile the Obama Justice Department continues to try to sweep this massive fraud under the rug.

Yes, bravo, Ms. Masto.

Nevada Robosigning Indicment 11-16-11

Nov 17 2011

Bullshit

You see, it’s all about easing dependence on “foreign” (brown people) oil-

Canada pipeline firms sprint to end U.S. oil glut

By Anna Driver and Scott Haggett, Reuters

22 hrs ago

The companies are racing to unlock a glut of crude in the U.S. Midwest, which has built up over the year due to rising supplies from Canada and North Dakota. They aim to ship it to the Gulf Coast where it will fetch a hefty premium.

It may end a period of dramatic upheaval in the U.S. oil market that handed Midwest refiners an unexpected windfall of cheap feedstock, robbed northern producers of richer profits, revived an era of rail-oil freight, roiled airline efforts to hedge fuel costs and threatened to erode the U.S. futures contract’s preeminence as the world’s most-traded benchmark.

Lies.  It’s all about extracting more money from the pockets of the middle class.

Nov 17 2011

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”.

Chris Hedges: This Is What Revolution Looks Like

Welcome to the revolution. Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak. They are as dead and useless to us as the water-soaked books, tents, sleeping bags, suitcases, food boxes and clothes that were tossed by sanitation workers Tuesday morning into garbage trucks in New York City. They have no ideas, no plans and no vision for the future.

Our decaying corporate regime has strutted in Portland, Oakland and New York with their baton-wielding cops into a fool’s paradise. They think they can clean up “the mess”-always employing the language of personal hygiene and public security-by making us disappear. They think we will all go home and accept their corporate nation, a nation where crime and government policy have become indistinguishable, where nothing in America, including the ordinary citizen, is deemed by those in power worth protecting or preserving, where corporate oligarchs awash in hundreds of millions of dollars are permitted to loot and pillage the last shreds of collective wealth, human capital and natural resources, a nation where the poor do not eat and workers do not work, a nation where the sick die and children go hungry, a nation where the consent of the governed and the voice of the people is a cruel joke.

New York Times Editorial: Europe’s Contagion

Two years of gross mismanagement of the euro-zone debt crisis have all too predictably produced a wider crisis of market confidence that now threatens the entire 17-nation euro zone. This week’s formation of new technocrat-led governments in Greece and Italy has not calmed fears. Practically every euro zone country is paying the price in higher interest costs and ebbing economic growth.

The only country that isn’t suffering – yet – is Germany, whose competitive export-driven economy feeds on foreign demand and an exchange rate held down by its neighbors’ troubles. But all European countries cannot be Germany and run net surpluses, especially if Berlin insists on policies that keep factories shuttered and workers unemployed.

And German leaders are wrong if they think their country will remain unscathed as its major trading partners and neighbors unravel.

Robert Sheer: The Villain Occupy Wall Street Has Been Waiting For

In the pantheon of billionaires without shame, Michael Bloomberg, the Wall Street banker-turned-business-press-lord-turned-mayor, is now secure at the top. What is so offensive is that someone who abetted Wall Street greed, and benefited as much as anyone from it, has no compunction about ruthlessly repressing those who dare exercise their constitutional “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” that he helped to create.

You would think that a former partner at the investment bank Solomon Brothers, which originated mortgage-backed securities, a man who then partnered with Merrill Lynch in the high-speed computerized trading that has led to so much financial manipulation, would have some sense of his own culpability. Or at least that someone whose Wall Street career left him with a net worth of $19.5 billion would grasp the deep irony of his being the instrument for smashing Occupy Wall Street, the internationally acknowledged symbol of opposition to corporate avarice.

But only in America is the arrogance of the superrich so perfectly concealed by the pretense of democracy that the 12th richest man in the nation can suppress dissent against corporate rapacity and expect his brutal actions to be viewed not as a means of preserving his own class privilege but as bureaucratically necessary to providing sanitary streets.

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: The Easiest Way to Cut the Deficit

Here is a surefire way to cut $7.1 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. Do nothing.

That’s right. If Congress simply fails to act between now and Jan. 1, 2013, the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush expire, $1.2 trillion in additional budget cuts go through under the terms of last summer’s debt ceiling deal, and a variety of other tax cuts also go away.

Knowing this, are you still sure that a “failure” by the congressional supercommittee to reach a deal would be such a disaster?

In an ideal world, of course, reasonable members of Congress could agree to a balanced package of long-term spending cuts and tax increases to begin bringing the deficit down, coupled with short-term measures to boost the economy.

Gail Collins: Something to Shoot For

You may have noticed that Congress is unpopular.

Really, really unpopular, actually. Only 9 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress has been doing its job, according the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. And you do sort of wonder about that 9 percent. Do you think they misheard and thought they were being asked: “Do you approve of Christmas?”

This week, the House of Representatives took time out of its busy schedule of going home for vacation to remind us, once again, why it has the strong support of about as many people who believe Rick Perry should be the next president of the United States. It approved a bill requiring states with strict gun regulations to honor concealed weapon carry permits issued in states where the gun rules are slightly more lax than the restrictions on who can dispense ice cream cones from a truck.

Richard D. Wolff: Criticism, Violence and Roosting Chickens

The 99 percent offered criticism of the 1 percent. They exposed and made clear what most Americans know. They struggled peacefully to inform and mobilize public opinion. They won huge numbers of hearts and minds. The 1 percent in the US did what their counterparts in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and so on did earlier this year. First, they tried to deny the 99 percent the media access needed to reach the people. That failed. Then, they tried scattered police intimidation and pressure to stop the criticism. That failed. Then, Democratic Party operatives tried to convert the Occupiers to become Obama enthusiasts for next year’s election. That failed, too.

So now, the weapon of criticism wielded by the 99 percent suffers the counter criticism of violence by servants of the 1 percent. No one will miss which side resorted to organized, massive violence so early and so unnecessarily in this conflict. As in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, having failed to win hearts and minds, US government agencies cover their failure by resorting to violence. Chickens raised abroad return home to roost as they often do. Consider the image: New York Police Department machines and personnel destroy the free library that had functioned so well in Zuccotti Park.

William Rivers Pitt: Deadly Secrets

The world is made of deadly secrets. We are surrounded by them, enveloped in them, yet are seldom able to see them for what they are … and when we do see them, it is a scarring, revolting, horrifying experience of revelation. The child rape scandal still unfolding at Penn State University is a case in point. I have friends and family who attended that school, who love the place with all their hearts, and when the gruesome secret of Jerry Sandusky’s alleged barbaric behavior exploded on to the front pages of every newspaper, a little piece of their hearts died forever.

It scalds when you find out you’ve been deceived, when something you loved and trusted is revealed as being rotten straight to the core, but it is better to know than to be in the dark. Jerry Sandusky’s power over the children he allegedly molested came from the secrecy he operated in. As soon as that secrecy was removed, his power over those children was ended. No matter how sickening the details may be, how heart-wrenching it is to hear and read what is nothing more or less than the stuff of nightmares, it is always better to know.

Nov 17 2011

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 62

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

OccupyWallStreet

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

November 17 International Day of Action

Call To Action!| Facebook Event | Twitter #N17 | Direct Action Resources

On Thursday November 17th, the two month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, we call upon the 99% to participate in a national day of direct action and celebration!

Robert Reich: “The days of apathy are over”

by Peter Finocchiaro

The former U.S. labor secretary vigorously defends OWS during a speech at Berkeley

Occupy Boston Wins Temporary Restraining Order from Judge

by Kevin Gosztola at FDL

A judge issued a temporary restraining order early this afternoon in favor of Occupy Boston. The order prevents the city from having the police raid the camp in the dark of night, as has happened in Oakland, Portland, New York, and other cities. It does, however, allow the city to evict the camp if there is an emergency (for example, if violence breaks out, if there is a fire, if there is a health/medical/sanitary issue, etc).

Judge Frances McIntyre entertained arguments from the ACLU of Massachusetts and the National Lawyers Guild and the city from 10 am to just before noon. There was a recess and then the court reconvened for another forty-five minutes at 12:30 pm.

During the hearing, McIntyre encouraged the city and occupiers to engage in mediation to come to some sort of agreement about when it would be appropriate and inappropriate to evict the occupation. She asked Howard Cooper (who represented Occupy on behalf of the ACLU of Massachusetts and the NLG) if he thought Occupy Boston would disperse from Dewey Square, the site of the occupation, if there were an emergency. She said, “You might point out to them that there are certain advantages to structure,” because Cooper could not answer definitively on behalf of the General Assembly as they had not discussed this yet.

You can follow Kevin Gosztola Live Blog for #Occupy Movement: Massive Day of Action to Shut Down Wall Street at FDL

Nov 17 2011

On This Day In History November 17

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.

November 17 is the 321st day of the year (322nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 44 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1558, Queen Mary I, the monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies and is succeeded by her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25, and upon hearing of her accession to the throne, she is reputed to have quoted the 118th Psalm’s twenty-third line, in Latin: “A Dominum factum est illud, et est mirabile in oculis notris” – “It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

On 20 November 1558, Elizabeth declared her intentions to her Council and other peers who had come to Hatfield to swear allegiance. The speech contains the first record of her adoption of the mediaeval political theology of the sovereign’s “two bodies”: the body natural and the body politic:

My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God’s creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all…to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel.

As her triumphal progress wound through the city on the eve of the coronation ceremony, she was welcomed wholeheartedly by the citizens and greeted by orations and pageants, most with a strong Protestant flavour. Elizabeth’s open and gracious responses endeared her to the spectators, who were “wonderfully ravished”. The following day, 15 January 1559, Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey and anointed by the Catholic bishop of Carlisle. She was then presented for the people’s acceptance, amidst a deafening noise of organs, fifes, trumpets, drums, and bells.

The Elizabethan era was a time associated with Queen Elizabeth I’s reign (1558-1603) and is often considered to be the golden age in English history. It was the height of the English Renaissance and saw the flowering of English poetry, music and literature. This was also the time during which Elizabethan theatre flourished, and William Shakespeare and many others composed plays that broke free of England’s past style of plays and theatre. It was an age of exploration and expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation became more acceptable to the people, most certainly after the Spanish Armada was repulsed. It was also the end of the period when England was a separate realm before its royal union with Scotland.

The Elizabethan Age is viewed so highly because of the periods before and after. It was a brief period of largely internal peace between the English Reformation and the battles between Protestants and Catholics and the battles between parliament and the monarchy that engulfed the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism. England was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe. The Italian Renaissance had come to an end under the weight of foreign domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious battles that would only be settled in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but also because the English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent, the centuries long conflict between France and England was largely suspended for most of Elizabeth’s reign.

The one great rival was Spain, with which England clashed both in Europe and the Americas in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain to invade England with the Spanish Armada in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned against England with an unsuccessful expedition to Portugal and the Azores, the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter Spain provided some support for Irish Catholics in a debilitating rebellion against English rule, and Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of reversals against English offensives. This drained both the English Exchequer and economy that had been so carefully restored under Elizabeth’s prudent guidance. English commercial and territorial expansion would be limited until the signing of the Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth’s death.

England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective government, largely a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII. Economically, the country began to benefit greatly from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade.

Nov 17 2011

My Little Town 20111116: My House

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a redneck sort of place, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

Except for three years between 1961 and 1964 I lived in a house in Hackett.  For the three years we lived in a house in North Little Rock because my dad got transferred.  He took a new job in 1964 with Dana Corporation, manufacturer of Perfect Circle piston rings, Spicer power transmission products, Victor gaskets, and other OEM and aftermarket automotive parts.  Since the regional office was in Fort Smith, moving back to Hackett made sense.

My mum and dad did not plan to stay in the metro Little Rock area when he was transferred there by McQuay-Norris, another automotive part manufacturer.  They were both hardcore racists and the black population in western Arkansas was a fraction of the population in central Arkansas.