Archives for FUBAR

Credit scores hit new lows

The credit scores of millions more Americans are sinking to new lows. Figures provided by FICO Inc. show that 25.5 percent of consumers — nearly 43.4 million people — now have a credit score of 599 or below, marking them as poor risks for lenders. It’s unlikely they will be able to get credit cards, auto loans or mortgages under the tighter lending standards banks now use. Because consumers relied so heavily on debt to fuel their spending in recent years, their restricted access to credit is one reason for the slow economic recovery. “I don’t get paid for loan
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Rich more likely to default on mortgages

No need for tears, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars. The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged. Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population. More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled
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Steele on gaffe: Ain’t no big thing

In his first public remarks since his widely condemned comments on Afghanistan, Republican Party chairman Michael Steele said Thursday he “ain’t goin’ anywhere” despite calls for his resignation. Steele’s appearance before Colorado Republicans was his first since he came under fire last week from within the GOP for calling the nine-year-old conflict in Afghanistan a mistaken “war of Obama’s choosing.” The gaffe prompted criticism of Steele’s leadership, and some calls to resign. “Every time something happens, people say, ‘Oh, you should step down. You should step down.’ The reality is, that’s not happening, so stop the noise on that,” Steele
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Oil spill strikes Lake Pontchartrain

Oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is seeping into Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans, threatening another environmental disaster for the huge body of water that was rescued from pollution in 1990s. The lake rebounded to once again become a bountiful fishing ground and a popular spot for boating and swimming. “Even the people involved in the restoration didn’t believe it could be restored. It was completely written off. It was thought to be an impossible task,” said John Lopez, a scientist with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, which led the restoration effort. “It has been
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Abandoned oil wells a continuing threat

More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one — not industry, not government — is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows. The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing. The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the neglected wells — those characterized in federal government records as “temporarily abandoned.” Regulations for temporarily abandoned wells require oil companies
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Life in the burbs ain’t what it used to be

The numbingly similar tract homes, endless strip malls and multiple minivans filled with youth soccer players indelibly mark this former Indian mission territory as a Kansas City suburb. Look deeper, and a more nuanced portrait of Johnson County, Kansas emerges: an economic powerhouse that has eclipsed its big-city neighbor in political influence. An educated community with a vibrant arts scene. And a cultural melting pot where Brazilian grocers and Vietnamese nail salons blend in with the Walmarts and Burger Kings. Suburban America has been the butt of jokes and stereotypes for decades. The portrayal persists in Hollywood, which continues to
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Even government workers face job losses

For years, most people who worked for state or local governments accepted a fact of life: Their pay wasn’t great. The job security was. Now that’s gone, too. States and municipalities are facing gaping budget gaps. Many have responded by slashing services, raising taxes and, for the first time in decades, making deep job cuts. And public employees should brace themselves: Some economists say the job cuts could worsen in the second half of the year. Those government layoffs make it harder to reduce the national unemployment rate, now 9.5 percent. The rate did fall slightly in June because more
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No bucks, no boom on July 4th

Expect fewer booms this July Fourth because of financial busts in some cities and towns. As many folks pack up picnics and head to see the fireworks this holiday weekend, the skies over a couple-dozen cash-strapped communities will be missing the spectacular crackle of color that Americans associate with the nation’s birthday. Blame the economy. Cities and towns including Antioch, Calif.; Louisville, Colo.; Akron, Ohio; Stamford, Conn.; and Jersey City, N.J., were forced to pull the plug on their local fireworks shows because of tight budgets. In Antioch, Mayor James Davis said it was a tough call to cancel the
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More handgun ban challenges expected

State or local gun laws that prohibit people from carrying firearms outside the home and onerous registration requirements are the most likely to be struck down by judges following the Supreme Court‘s latest decision supporting the right to keep and bear arms. An explosion of cases will keep courts busy for years defining gun control‘s new limits now that the high court has ruled that wherever they live, Americans have a right to possess guns, at least for self-defense in the home. Justice Samuel Alito, author of the majority opinion Monday, dismissed “doomsday proclamations” that all gun laws would be
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Cops reopen Gore sex probe

Police said Wednesday they are reopening an investigation into a Portland massage therapist’s allegations that former Vice President Al Gore groped her at an upscale hotel in 2006. In a brief statement, the Portland Police Bureau did not say why it was reopening the investigation. Police earlier said they considered the case closed because there was no evidence. Kalee Kreider, a spokeswoman for Gore, said the former vice president “unequivocally and emphatically” denied making unwanted sexual advances toward the woman and that he welcomed the investigation. “Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore,” Kreider said. She also
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