National: Did the Government Snoop on Our Phone Calls? ;Chicago Officials Says Renter Evictions Are Unfair; Black Attitudes About Money Has ChangedOctober 10th, 2008
Did the government snoop on our phone calls? The Senate Intelligence Committee is looking into charges by two former U.S. military linguists that the super-secret National Security Agency routinely eavesdropped on the private and intimated phone calls of overseas American military officers, journalists and aid workers. NSA interceptors purportedly shared some intercepts of highly personal conversations, including “phone sex,” reports The Associated Press. Get the rest of the story here.
Chicago officials says renter evictions are unfair. The Cook County sheriff said Wednesday that he has ordered his deputies to stop evicting renters from foreclosed properties because many people his office has helped remove had done nothing wrong. “We will no longer be a party to something that’s so unjust,” a visibly angry Sheriff Thomas Dart said at a news conference Thursday. “We have to be sure that when we are doing this – and we are destroying some people’s lives – we better be darned sure we’re talking about the right people,” he said. Dart apparently is the first sheriff in a major metropolitan area to stop participating in foreclosure evictions, according to the publisher of a national foreclosure database, reports The Associated Press. “I haven’t heard of any other sheriff unilaterally deciding to stop” evicting tenants from foreclosures, said Rick Sharga, senior vice president of Irvine-based RealtyTrac. He said that Philadelphia’s sheriff helped push for a moratorium on foreclosure sales, but that it involved owner-occupied homes, not renters, the AP says. Dart said that from now on, banks would have to present his office with a court affidavit proving that the home’s occupant is either the owner or has been properly notified of the foreclosure proceedings. Illinois law requires that renters be told that their residence is in foreclosure and that they will be evicted in 120 days, but Dart says that the law has been routinely ignored. Some tenants dutifully pay their rent, Dart said, then leave for work one morning only to return to find their belongings at the curb – what’s left of them, that is. By the time they get home, “The meager possessions they have are gone,” Dart said. “This is happening too often.”
Black attitudes about money has changed. Young, affluent Blacks are more worried about holding on to wealth than older folks, according to “Wealth in Black America,” Northern Trust’s first annual survey of affluent Black households in the United States. Three in four Generations X & Y wealthy respondents (ages 18-42) said they are concerned about preserving their wealth, while less than half of respondents in the Boomer and Silent Generations (ages 43 and above) shared this concern. “In this first survey, we found that the younger respondents are generally more concerned about what will happen to their wealth,” said Shundrawn Thomas, Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Strategy for Northern Trust. “Many individuals at this phase of their life are in the ’sandwich generation’ – they are simultaneously caring for children as well as aging parents. Trends such as rapidly rising health care and education costs in concert with longer life spans exacerbate their concerns, says the report issued Wednesday. They want to ensure that their wealth can provide for family needs.” Generations X & Y respondents are also more worried about how their wealth will impact their children and future generations. Approximately 80 percent said they are concerned with ensuring the next generation of family members will lead productive, meaningful lives amidst affluence, and that they will pass on family values. In contrast, less than half (47 percent) of Boomer and Silent Generations respondents are concerned about how their heirs will use their affluence and 37 percent worry about upholding values. “There is a common concern among wealthy families that if their children grow up with a certain level of privilege, they may not learn the responsibility that comes with affluence,” said Thomas. “Most wealthy individuals have created their wealth in their own lifetime, contrary to popular belief. This is particularly true of wealthy Black Americans, with younger generations especially interested in teaching their children about fiscal responsibility and the importance of giving at a young age.”