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Former mortgage exec convicted for fraud

The former head of a large private mortgage lender was convicted Tuesday in a $2.9-billion fraud scheme that contributed to the failure of his company and of one of the top 25 US banks in 2009, officials said. Lee Bentley Farkas, the former chairman of a private mortgage lending company, Taylor, Bean & Whitaker (TBW), was convicted in a Virginia federal court of conspiracy to commit bank, wire and securities fraud and related charges, the Justice Department said. According to prosecutors, Farkas and his co-conspirators engaged in a scheme that misappropriated more than $1.4 billion from Colonial Bank and $1.5
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Mary Robbins dies just 12 days after husband

Actor-director Tim Robbins’ mother, musician Mary Robbins, has died. She was 78. Robbins’ father, Gil Robbins, died earlier this month. Robbins says his mother died Sunday of a heart arrhythmia, just 12 days after her husband of nearly 59 years passed away. She died at the couple’s home in Esteban Cantu, Mexico. Mary Robbins studied music at the University of California, Los Angeles, and performed professionally in the 1950s. She successfully battled colon cancer through nutrition and alternative medicine, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree in holistic nutrition. She volunteered her services at a clinic near the couple’s Mexico home. Robbins
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Apple set to launch new iPhone in September

Apple’s next-generation iPhone will have a faster processor and will begin shipping in September, three people with direct knowledge of the company’s supply chain said. The production of the new iPhone will start in July/August and the smartphone will look largely similar to the iPhone 4, one of the people said on Wednesday. The iPhone — introduced in 2007 with the touchscreen, on-demand application template now adopted by its rivals — remains the gold standard in the booming smartphone market. Reports on the timeline of the new iPhone launch vary, though it is largely expected that Apple will likely refresh
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Uh oh: Palin supports The Donald

Sarah Palin is saying nice things about Donald Trump. Should The Donald be worried? Palin jumped into Trump-mania with her usual foot-in-mouth style, slamming the press for what she called “unfair” coverage and claiming — with a straight face — that Trump has what it takes to be President. The former Alaska governor, who quit before completing her term, praised the New York real estate developer and reality TV show promoter for raising the birther issue but said that contentious position is not Trump’s only issue. Trump, she claimed, has good positions on other, more substantial issues but said the
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Symbol of GOP desperation: Donald Trump

A true indicator of just how desperate Republicans have become can be found in their fascination with Donald Trump.   Most political logic points to dismissal of Trump’s flirting with a run for the GOP Presidential nomination but logic took an extended leave of absence from American politics long ago and show no interest in returning. So the party that once embraced Sarah Palin as its future is now taking a hard look at the flamboyant Trump, who appeals to the GOP’s deep-seeded racism with his unabashed embrace of the “birther” movement and his claims that he and only he
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DoD report clears McChrystal, slams Rolling Stone

A Department of Defense investigation casts doubt on many of the claims made against Gen. Stanley McChrystal in a controversial Rolling Stone article that cost the general his job as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.   An investigator general’s report released Monday says the investigation found “no evidence of wrongdoing” by McChrystal in his job. The general, now retired, just took a new job job as leader of the White House “initiative to support military families.” The report found significant inaccuracies in the June 2010 article, The Runaway General, written by Michael Hastings. “Not all of the events at
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Arizona governor slaps down ‘birther’ law

In a rare moment of sanity in a state not known for logic, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Monday vetoed a controversial bill that would require Presidential candidates to prove their U.S. citizenship before they could appear on ballots in that state.   The bill, a knee-jerk political homage to the so-called “birther” movement popular with the rabid right and aimed directly at President Barack Obama, come from the state that spawned the illegal immigration law that allows profiling and widespread discrimination against those of Hispanic descent. Brewer said she vetoed the bill because it gives the state’s secretary of state
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GOP takes nation on a sharp turn to the right: Are they going too far?

The rabid right-wing of the Republican Party, swept into office in Congress and taking over statehouses in many states because of widespread voter dissatisfaction with the status quo, is wasting no time putting their conservative agenda into play. A rapid push to restrict abortions while expanding gun rights is sweeping the nation, put into place by GOP governors and state legislators who see their election as mandates to do whatever they damn well please. Democrats find themselves out manned and out maneuvered from one end of the country to another as Republicans push through polling station photo ID laws, clamp
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Obama: A one-term President?

  President Barack Obama’s public approval ratings is heading back into the cellar with a new Gallup Poll showing just 41 percent of Americans giving him a thumbs up for his job performance — tying a record low he reached twice in 2010.   The poll comes as the President launches his re-election bid and pushes taxes increases while most of the nation struggles in an uncertain economy. Obama’s support is slipping the most with independent voters — the ones who put him into office in 2008 and his numbers are also falling with Democrats.  Only 35 percent of independents
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Obama on czars: ‘Hell no, they won’t go’

The ink isn’t dry on the controversial 2011 spending bill but President Barack Obama is already showing signs he will ignore the parts of the law if he wants and he wants to ignore the part that bans his contentious “czars.” Republicans managed to put language in the bill that cut the salaries of four “czars” that advise the President on health care, climate change, auto manufacturing and urban affairs. Obama issued a signing statement Friday that says, in effect, “hell no, the czars won’t go.” “The president also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in
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