Thursday, June 3, 2010

He Hit the Debt Collection Lottery for 1.5 Million!

I Found This on AOL.

Funny and sad at the same time.



VILE Voice Mails Cost Agency 1.5 Million Dollars

June 2) -- A fed-up Texas man has turned the tables on a collections agency.

Advanced Call Center Technologies, usually in the business of collecting money for its clients, now finds itself $1.5 million in debt to Allen Jones. A Dallas County court awarded him the hefty judgment after a jury found the agency barraged Jones with harassing and racially charged phone calls.

ACT debt collectors confessed to logging eight expletive-filled calls to Jones, of Lewisville, Texas, in August 2007, many peppered with the "n-word." Jones, 26, saved the vulgar voice mails as evidence.

"This is your motherf------ wake-up call you little lazy a-- b----," a collector said in one early-morning message obtained by Dallas/Fort Worth's WFAA-TV. "Get your motherf------ n----r ass up and go pick some motherf------ cotton fields."

The calls from the Pennsylvania-based company came as early as 6:30 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m., seeking to collect a $200 debt from Jones.

He said he told ACT in their first communication that he had already paid the bill.

"This shouldn't be tolerated," Jones told WFAA. "Nobody should have to experience what I had to experience."

A jury agreed with Jones, finding that ACT violated debt collection ethical guidelines. Jones was awarded $1.5 million in punitive damages, $143,000 in attorney's fees and $50,000 in mental anguish, one of the largest rewards of its kind.

One of Jones' attorneys, Dean Malone, said the reward was fair punishment for "the most egregious collection case" he's ever seen.

"It was just significant, over-the-top harassment," he told ABC News. "I've handled hundreds of these cases over the years. This is by far the worst I've ever seen."

A lawyer for ACT told ABC that the language used in the calls was "indefensible" and said the calls "must have been in some sort of personal attack unrelated to the business."

George Vignola, a collection expert and president of Commercial Collection Consultants, a debt collection firm based in Massapequa, N.Y., told AOL News he was shocked after listening to the audio of the voice mails.

"As an agency owner, I couldn't believe the vulgarity. That's what gives our industry a bad name," Vignola said. "What could you possibly hope to achieve by using profanity? The only thing you're going to get is a dial tone."

Or in the case of ACT, a whopping debt.
Filed under: Nation

Fran Drescher Blessed to Have Met Gay Ex-Husband

I found this on AOl.




In a bombshell interview with In Touch Weekly, Fran Drescher has revealed that her ex-husband, Peter Marc Jacobson, to whom she was married for more than 21 years, is gay.

Although he broke the news to her after they divorced in 1999, Drescher has finally come clean about her ex's sexuality, admitting his confession brought them closer together. "Peter and I feel so blessed to have met each other and to still have a caring, loving relationship," Fran says. "Love is what we're all about."

In the interview, Drescher speaks candidly about her openly gay ex-husband and the traumatic burglary that changed everything.

The two first met while attending Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens. The couple married in 1978 when Drescher was 21 -- shortly after she made her film debut in 1977's 'Saturday Night Fever.' In hindsight, Drescher admits young love had its pitfalls, but the two went through life-changing experiences that would later define their careers in Hollywood.

"Peter and I met when we were 15," Drescher tells In Touch. "We were just kids and didn't know who we truly were. We went through a lot together."

Jacobson and Drescher became an unstoppable team when he wrote, directed and produced her signature television series, 'The Nanny.'

But not everything was as simple as it seemed.

The couple had quite a few ups and downs -- including a traumatic experience in January 1985 when two armed robbers broke into their Los Angeles apartment. While one robber ransacked their home, the other sexually assaulted Drescher at gunpoint. Jacobson was also physically attacked, tied up and forced to witness the entire ordeal.

Although the man was sentenced to two life sentences, Drescher had a difficult time overcoming the horrifying ordeal. "At the time, it didn't seem to hurt the marriage," Fran told Larry King in 2002, but added, "Nothing was ever really the same again."

The couple separated in 1996 and were officially divorced in 1999. They did not have any children together.

That's when Jacobson finally told Drescher that he was gay. Although the two split, Drescher reveals they're still "the best of friends" and continue to collaborate. "We love each other dearly," she says. "We have even fixed each other up! I more successfully than him, by the way."

The couple even co-hosted a cocktail party in LA to benefit an organization that sought to block California's ban on same-sex marriage -- known as Prop 8. "I'm a gay icon," she explains. "But even if I weren't, I'm a political activist who believes in preserving the American dream, which is tolerance of diversity and the separation of church and state."

Teens Aren't Getting Any Smarter about Sex

I found this on AOL.




(June 2) -- Attitudes among American teens about birth control, sexual activity and pregnancy have remained largely unchanged since 2002, according to a new federal report.

Stalled progress is bad enough, but some subtle changes also have experts concerned.

Most notably, more teens than ever are using the "rhythm method" to prevent pregnancy, and a growing number of teen girls approve of underage childbirth.

The report, compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on interviews with 2,767 teens, ages 15 to 19, between 2006 and 2008.

At the foundation of the report is the prevalence of teen sexual activity. It's remained nearly unchanged since 2002, with 40 percent of teens reporting at least one sexual encounter.

But in a 6 percent increase from 2002, 17 percent of sexually active girls reported timing their sexual encounters in an attempt to prevent pregnancy. The so-called rhythm method has long been debunked as ineffective, as it only works about 25 percent of the time, according to the study's authors.

Attitudes about pregnancy are also changing. Nearly 64 percent of teenage boys think it's acceptable for a teen to have a baby, compared with 50 percent in 2002. Among girls, more than 70 percent now approve, compared with 65 percent in 2002.

Only 12 percent of boys who weren't sexually active said they opted out of sex because they feared impregnating their partner.

Combined, the two worrisome trends might help explain a related issue: the uptick in teen pregnancies, which occurred around the same time as this survey.

After dropping steadily for more than a decade, the teen birth rate in the U.S. rose between 2005 and 2007. Compared with other developed countries, the U.S. posted the remarkably high rate in 2007 of 42 babies per 1,000 teen girls. In Canada, by contrast, only 13 babies are born per 1,000 teen girls.

"We've known the decline in childbearing stalled out. This report kind of fills in the why," Bill Albert, spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, told The Associated Press.

Laura Lindberg, senior research associate at the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, speculates that the growing number of glamorous celebrities bearing children -- especially as single mothers -- is having an impact on the attitudes of America's youth.

"Teens don't live in a vacuum," she told USA Today. "What they see adults doing around them is going to reflect in their own behaviors and attitudes."

Other advocates are speaking out about the need for immediate solutions, particularly in regards to sex education.

"[W]e cannot afford to keep our heads in the sand about ensuring that our young people have access to comprehensive sex education," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who cited a need for sex ed that incorporates "abstinence, contraception, healthy relationships, and responsible decision-making."
Filed under: Nation, Health

Sunday, May 30, 2010

JFK and George Washington were the two richest presidents by far


This is from

But I thought I read somewhere that Washington and Jefferson died penniless. I'll have to check on it.




John F. Kennedy and George Washington were our two richest presidents by far.

The Atlantic magazine took into account property, savings, salary, inheritance and royalties when calculating, in present dollars, how much each of the 43 men who have been president were worth at their peak. JFK, due to family money, was valued at a whopping $1 billion, whereas George Washington, who had massive land and slave holdings, checked in at $525 million.

Other presidents who topped the $100 million mark were Thomas Jefferson ($212 million), Teddy Roosevelt ($125 million), Andrew Jackson ($119 million) and James Madison ($101 million).

Barack Obama is currently worth $5 million. That number, however, will likely skyrocket when he leaves office.

Bill Clinton, for example, has already upped his net worth to $38 million -- and the big fella never even did that lucrative McDonald's ad campaign we all expected him to cash in on.

Lipshitz 6

Lipshitz 6
Reading T Cooper for Christmas

Punk Blood

Punk Blood
Jay Marvin

Breath, Eyes, Memory

Breath, Eyes, Memory

Anonymous Rex

Anonymous Rex
Reading Eric Garcia for Christmas

Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill
Reading A. Manette Ansay for Christmas

Nicotine Dreams

Nicotine Dreams
Reading Katie Cunningham for Christmas

Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz
Pulitzer Prize Winner!!!

Edwige Danticat

Edwige Danticat
New Year's Reading


This Brother Is Scary Good

One More Chance

One More Chance
The genius Is At It Again/The Rapper CHIEF aka Sherwin Allen

Sandrine's Letter

Sandrine's Letter
Check out Sandrine's Letter To Tomorrow. You will like it, I insist.

All or Nothing

All or Nothing

Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker


At Books and Books

At Books and Books
Me And Vicki at Our Reading


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.