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UPDATE: OK, I give up. I thought a post telling people to laugh at someone looking into lenders preying on old ladies, with a title that is an imperative command followed by a reference to the reader as a monkey was pretty obvious, but apparently a lot of people here not only have no bullshit detector but they -- as Derek Zoolander would put it -- "don't read good," either. Consider this your snark warning.

Yeah, Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich is one laughable dude. From his marriage's incredible height and age disparity to palling around with Shirley Maclaine to proposing a Department of Peace to imitating Tennessee Ernie Ford, just about everyone can agree that the man's a clown.

Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic congressman from Cleveland, was in his Washington office browsing the Internet when he came across the story of Addie Polk from the Akron Beacon-Journal:

At the age of 90, Addie Polk found herself in foreclosure this week, about to be forced from the home she’s lived in for nearly 40 years.

     So, with a gun in her hand, the Akron widow apparently shot herself in the chest Wednesday afternoon [October 1] as deputies were knocking on her door with eviction papers in hand.
     While a nation reels in financial crisis from years of mortgage abuse, Polk is recovering at Akron General Medical Center, awaiting word on where she will live when she’s released.

Kucinich said that he means to investigate the case through the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on domestic policy, which he chairs. The circumstances of Addie Polk’s debt do seem curious. Summit County property records show that Addie and Robert Polk bought their home in 1970, for ten thousand dollars, and that when Robert died and Addie became the sole owner, in 1995, the house was fully paid for. Then, in 1997, Addie was offered a new mortgage on the place, which she accepted, for twenty-one thousand dollars. Four years later, after interest rates declined and real-estate values increased, an independent mortgage broker sold Addie a new loan, for $46,400, and peddled it to America’s Wholesale Lender, a division of Countrywide. Then, in 2004, after interest rates dropped further and housing prices increased even more, she took out yet another loan from Countrywide. That loan, in the amount of $45,620, was paired with a line of credit for $11,380. Addie was eighty-six. The mortgage was scheduled to be paid off on May 1, 2034.

“What I’m interested in determining is the extent to which lenders targeted elderly people as potential customers in order to go after a class of people that they knew, actuarially, it was impossible that they were going to be around to the conclusion of the mortgage,” Kucinich says. “And they had a limited ability to repay. Lenders had to know this. And they did it anyhow, because it appears they were more interested in booking higher and higher sales.”

Kucinich says that he wants to find out who at Countrywide wrote the loan for Addie, and how it got approved. “The forensics of this have to be thoroughly explored,” he said. “As we get into it, I think it’s going to demonstrate the degree of depravity in this mortgage business.”

What's the point of all this backward-looking, finger-pointing in today's post-partisan, hands-across-the-aisle atmosphere? Isn't this all just grandstanding on Kucinich's part an attempt to wring some last bit of publicity out of the media for his ego-driven presidential campaigns? Does anyone really think Dennis Kucinich cares about 90-year-old ladies so distraught over the prospect of losing their homes of four decades that they'd shoot themselves? What's more likely is that the whole thing's a desperate bid for attention, don't you think?

Time after time, Kucinich has been portrayed as an out-of-touch wacko vegan with UFOs in his eyes, unworthy of even a moment's consideration, so -- as was the case with Iraqi WMDs -- it's gotta be true (my personal theory is that the UFOs picked up the WMDs and ferried them to the Dark Side of the Moon). Hopefully, Kucinich's Congressional colleagues will squelch this "investigation" into "predatory lending" aimed at the elderly and poor and get on with more important agendas defined by sober and sensible people.

[Akron real estate agent Lolita] Adair said that she didn’t know Addie Polk, but she had known lots of people like her, and could imagine the circumstances that led to her catastrophe. “Here was an elderly lady whose home was paid off, who was getting telephone calls, or people knocking on the doors,” she said. “You’d be surprised in some of our neighborhoods how many people have told me that they actually came knocking on their door. They tell you you might have some medical bills, or you can consolidate all of your loans into one payment. You can repair your house, or you might want to take a vacation. I mean, they go through all of this, and they do it in a way of asking you, ‘Do you have some credit cards you could pay off? Do you have some medical bills?’ And, of course, if you’re elderly, and you say yes, you have medical bills or what have you, ‘Oh, well, we can put them all into one payment, and this will not hurt you, because it’s the equity you have in your home.’ What they don’t tell you is, those doctors’ bills are not charging you any interest; now we’re gonna start charging you some interest.”

Originally posted to darrelplant on Sat Nov 22, 2008 at 04:48 PM PST.

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