Thursday, October 14, 2010

The 20 Most Innovative Cities In The Nation


September Bank Foreclosures Reach New Record

Home Foreclosures by Banks Top 100,000 for First Time; Overall Filings Rise 3 Percent

The program meant to save homes only assisted 33,000 homeowners. In 2009 President Obama vowed to help up to 4 million homeowners through the program, but only a little more than 10 percent or 449,000 homeowners have received assistance.
In the third quarter a few states like Vermont and North Dakota escaped the bleak housing news. The two ranked 48 and 49, respe
Attorney Generals Investigates Mortgage Industry
Banks foreclosures top 100,000 for first time ever in September.
(fotog/Getty Images)
ctively, for foreclosure filings. Homeowners in West Virginia were the safest of all 50 states with only one in every 2,383 receiving foreclosure filings.
Yesterday, the attorneys general of all 50 states announced an investigation into whether sloppiness or deceit led to the latest episode of the national foreclosure drama, further threatening the recovery of the U.S. housing market.

Jon Stewart Mocks Wall-To-Wall Cable News Coverage Of The Chilean Miner Rescue

Valerie Jarrett is no Tony Perkins

Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, has taken her lumps since my video interview with her was posted yesterday. We talked about infrastructure and her concern about the rash of nationally reported suicides of gay youth. Unfortunately, she trampled on that concern when she said that 13-year-old Justin Aarberg made a "lifestyle choice."

Contrary to the caustic comments on websites like firedoglake, I know Jarrett knows better than this. That's why I didn't correct her or ask her to explain herself during our sit-down at the White House. But viewers don't know her heart. They just know that what she said was offensive.
I e-mailed Jarrett last night and asked her a simple question, "Do you think being gay is a 'lifestyle choice'?" Here is  her response in its entirety.
In a recent interview I was asked about the recent tragedies about gay youth who have committed suicide, and I misspoke when I referred to someone's sexual identity as a "lifestyle choice." I meant no disrespect to the LGBT community, and I apologize to any who have taken offense at my poor choice of words. Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice, and anyone who knows me and my work over the years knows that I am a firm believer and supporter in the rights of LGBT Americans. Most of all, I hope this does not distract from the issue I was asked about -- the desperate, tragic decision by some young people who feel that their only recourse is to take their own lives because they are being bullied or harassed because they are gay, or because others believe they are gay. We must instill in young people respect for one another, and we must set an example of mutual regard and civility to create an environment that is safe for every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Yes, Jarrett made a mistake. But those who think she and the president don't care about the rights of gay men and lesbians, don't give a damn about bullying and the tragedies of gay youth suicides are wrong. Jarrett is no Tony Perkins. She is no bigot.

Michael Douglas Has Not Changed His Will

Michael Douglas Has Not Changed His Will
Michael Douglas
Don't believe everything you read: That's the message from those close to Michael Douglas, who are shooting down reports that suggest the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps star is close to his deathbed.

Contrary to published reports, Douglas has not changed his will since undergoing treatment for throat cancer, and he isn't saying goodbye to loved ones, his longtime publicist and friend Allen Burry tells PEOPLE.

"Michael is totally focused on his recovery," says Burry.

Burry acknowledges that the radiation and chemotherapy have taken a toll on the actor, who recently finished eight weeks of treatment for a walnut-sized tumor at the base of his tongue.

"It's been very difficult," says Burry. But the rep adds that Douglas's doctors "are very pleased with how he responded to treatment. They think he's doing really well. He's doing as well as can be expected."

Now the star is focused on recuperating. "Michael hasn't changed his will recently, and he isn't contemplating changing it," says Burry, who also shot down a report that the actor's famous father, Kirk, and stepmother, Anne, had moved to New York to be by Michael's side.


Gavin Newsom is shown. | AP photo
With 33% of the female vote, Gavin Newsom is the most datable politician. | AP photoClose
Just a day after Hillary Clinton was crowned the most popular politician, she made it onto another list, nabbing a spot as one of the most datable politicians in a survey conducted by online dating site, Zoosk.

Zoosk polled 1,000 singles about politics and love to find out which politicians they deemed datable and whether an inclination toward tea party views made someone hot or not.

The findings? Tall, toothy Californian Gavin Newsom was crowned the most datable male politician with 33 percent of the female vote, while Sarah Palin won most datable female politician, with 32 percent of the male vote.

Coming in behind Mr. California were President Barack Obama with 24 percent, Sen. Scott Brown grabbing 15 percent, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with 14 percent and John Edwards at 5 percent. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

In the political dames department, the men seemed to prefer bespectacled brown-haired Republican women. Christine O'Donnell nabbed the silver medal right behind Palin with 22 percent of the vote. Next was Democrat M. Teresa Ruiz from New Jersey with 18 percent, followed by Hillary Clinton with six percent and Condoleezza Rice with five percent.

Along with the politician they would want on their arm, the singles were asked which first couple, since the Carter administration, had the most solid relationship. There was a split of the sexes on this question, with men going for the Reagans and women voting for the Obamas. But both men and women agreed on the couple with the least romance, ranking George and Barbara Bush below the Carters, George W. and Laura Bush and the Clintons on the list of smoochiest couples.

Of course, it wouldn't be a political survey without a tea party question, so Zoosk asked the singles if a tea party affiliation made you more likely to want to wine and dine someone or if it inspired you to change your status to unavailable. 27 percent of singles said they would date a tea party member, 51 percent said they would consider it and 22 percent said heck no.

The Guy Cheney Shot

CS - Harry Whittington
Paul Iverson / AP Photo
Harry Whittington still has birdshot pellets lodged in his eye socket and forehead, a reminder of the day in 2006 when Dick Cheney shot him. His voice warbles slightly, because one of the little lead pellets pierced his larynx and is still sitting there. One, near his heart, is too deep to remove. But, Whittington jokes, at least he can still get through a metal detector, despite the 30 bits of metal inside him. The then-vice president accidentally shot Whittington on a quail hunt in South Texas, but his entourage kept it secret until the next morning, despite Whittington’s injuries being serious enough to require his transfer to a bigger hospital after the incident. The ranch’s owner blamed Whittington for walking into Cheneys line of fire, a version of the story the White House press secretary repeated, and Cheney didn’t bother to publicly address the issue till four days later. He did not apologize. The shooting introduced chaos into Whittington’s life, as he was seized on my reporters for weeks. His injuries were far more serious than previously reported.


Jonas Brothers Cancel Mexico Show Due to Violence

The Jonas Brothers, from left, Kevin, Joe and Nick, arrive at the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, in Los Angeles.
(Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
NEW YORK (CBS/AP) The Jonas Brothers have canceled a concert scheduled in Monterrey, Mexico, following an outbreak of drug-related violence there.

Concert promoter Live Nation says the Oct. 21 concert was canceled due to "a series of unfortunate events" in the city and out of concern for fans.

Pictures: The Jonas Brothers

"While they wish to apologize to everyone who planned to attend the concert, this difficult decision was made out of their great affection and concern for their loyal fans in the region," their management said in a statement, according to CNN.

The Disney-backed band will go ahead with concerts in Guadalajara on Oct. 23 and Mexico City the following day, the statement continued. Tickets to the Monterrey show can be exchanged for tickets to those concerts or refunded at the place of purchase.

Monterrey is Mexico's richest city and long one of its safest, but a wave of drug violence has shocked residents. More than 400 people have been killed this year in the state of Nuevo Leon, where Monterrey is located, as rival drug cartels battle each other and the police.

League at Jets investigating

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- An NFL security team is on site Tuesday talking to New York Jets coaches and players, as well as members of the media who were present Saturday afternoon when TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz was present at a team practice.
NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said the league is looking to wrap up the investigation as soon as possible.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said that he volunteered to talk to investigators.
"We want to have an environment here where everyone is comfortable," Ryan said, adding that the team would be completely open and cooperate.
The league is still in the fact-finding stage of the investigation. The NFL's vice president of security Milt Ahlerich met with Sainz at NFL offices Sunday, and another security representative met with her again at the Jets game.
Specifically, the league is looking to see if the Jets created an uncomfortable environment for Sainz and others present, and if the Jets failed to act professionally during the time that the media is allowed to be in the players' locker room.
At the practice, defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman reportedly threw balls toward Sainz during drills, during a time period that the media is allowed to observe but not interact with team members. Later, Sainz walked into the locker room to catcalls, with players ogling her as her back was turned. When another reporter approached Sainz to make sure she was OK, nose tackle Kris Jenkins yelled, "This is our locker room!"
Since then Sainz has appeared on numerous television shows and issued a column to talk about her experience. When the incident happened, she said she was uncomfortable. She has also said she did not feel threatened or harassed.
Jets owner Woody Johnson has since called Sainz to apologize.
In a column, Sainz said she appreciates the support she has felt as a result of the incident.

IT GOT "HOT" on 'The View!'

U.S. Chamber Got Almost $1M in Foreign Money

President Obama was on to something when he accused the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of spending foreign money on the election? According to ThinkProgress, at least 84 foreign companies have given at least $885,000 to the Chamber of Commerce's 501c(6)—an entity the business-advocacy group uses to fund political attack ads. A large number of these foreign companies are based in India, while big foreign banks like Credit Suisse and HSBC also gave $15,000 each to the Chamber. The nonprofit Chamber of Commerce has said on Fox News that its foreign money totals "approximately $100,000"; Fox News' parent company, News Corp., donated $1 million to the Chamber's recent ad campaign.

Read it at ThinkProgress

How many lives did these crooks impact! Lenders Knew of Foreclosure Problems

Read it at The New York Times

Indian Elephant Deaths Spark Probe

Indian environment minister orders probe in elephant deaths

Four elephants, including two calves, have died over the past two weeks just outside the Kaziranga National Park, leading to widespread condemnation by animal rights activists.
The elephants are believed to have strayed out of the 480-square-kilometer (300-square-mile) park in search of food, and died after eating grass in a tea plantation that had been treated with pesticides to drive away ants, officials said.
More than half the park is flooded because of heavy rains, forcing elephants to roam into the surrounding area.
Pesticide use is heavily restricted in areas near the park.