Archive for ‘Home ownership’

February 8, 2011

Cherish Nosey Neighbors

by MullOverThis

And to think, nosey neighbors are usually reviled.

Had it not been for a neighbor who kept binoculars handy, this Wisconsin man might have suffered the cruel fate of death from being buried alive in snow.  The headlines are riddled with all kinds of accidents, rescues and snow storm-related deaths this winter. 

I’ve always maintained that every good neighborhood should have at least one nosey neighbor.   Nosey neighbors observe information that can save lives, particularly when they see strangers coming and going or residents breaking their regular routines.  It takes a certified residential mind-the-neighborhood’s busybody to have the mental rolodex of everything that shouldn’t matter, but may matter, who has too much time on his hands to make it matter, because the inclinations to absorb everyone else’s business is so overwhelming, but may save the day in situations such as these. These types of neighbors are the ones who notice what others overlook. 

My neighborhood busybodies are a couple who live across the street.  They are quite friendly and patrol the entire neighborhood.  Google should actually recruit them for visual oversight of our dead end block.  One time some friends came to pick up a package from my mailbox, and the self-propelled sheriff of good neighboring asked my friends if they could produce identification for going into my mailbox.  They did, called me simultaneously, and I called the neighbor while car-side and told him they were okay.  Mulloverthis explained to my friends if I ever had an intruder, the busybodies would be the ones to crack the case.  I saw the value in them.

So, Mulloverthis commends this neighbor for scouring the neighborhood and the neighbor’s yard across the street during a snow storm to find a flubbering glove on the hand of a flurried neighbor.

God does work in mysterious nosey ways.

July 23, 2009

The Man and the Arrest of Henry Louis Gates

by MullOverThis

Again, “The Man” is at play and causing a ruckus with the arrest and four-hour detainment of Yale Graduate and Harvard Professor, Henry Louis Gates. By now, you would think that Black folks and “conscious” folks of other races would abandon the notion of “The Man”, who gets too much credit in situations where common sense is overridden and self-responsibility is despised. It is much easier to cry racism and point to a plethora of social behavioral theories than to accept the bare-boned truth. Sometimes Black people do stupid stuff and racial bias has absolutely nothing to do with the situation.

First, a call is made to the police because Mr. Gates allegedly appeared to be breaking into his home. Apparently, the door was jammed. Questions flare about why the police was even called. Of course anyone in a residential neighborhood who witnesses someone trying to force a door ajar should call the police. People break into homes in broad daylight. Doctors murder their own wives in broad daylight. Mr. Henry Louis Gates lives in the real world where men just like him-not just stereotypical younger Black male thugs-commit heinous crimes. Accomplished, affluent, successful people often find themselves in prison garb for quite some time because they have committed crimes.

Mr. Gates was allegedly into his home by the time the police confrontation began. Allegedly, the cops knew exactly who he was when they arrested him. There is a huge gap-between when Mr. Gates supplied proof of identity and was arrested-that Mulloverthis is not willing to suppose is filled with improper behavior by law enforcement simply because Mr. Gates is a Black man. Mr. Gates was allegedly “shocked” that after he proved who he was, the incident continued.

Having had to prove TWICE that I lived in my own house because the burglar alarm went off in the middle of the night, I disengaged it, and answered the calls from the alarm company with the appropriate code, I know how aggravating it is to look at law enforcement (two white officers) who challenged me because of what could have actually been “suspect”. However, having an appreciation for law enforcement-the same fellas that might have been answering the same call if I actually had a gun pointed to my head by an intruder-governed my disposition in getting my license, a piece of mail with my name and address on it, and answering numerous questions. There was no unseemly conduct or display of irritation to the point where after having established my identity, I could have been arrested for disorderly conduct. By the way, being one who is more than averse on my legal rights and most knowingly and audibly equipped to express them, I could have stopped the officers much sooner than they chose to stop in both encounters inside the home where I LIVE. However, I did not. I worked with the program. Mulloverthis smiled and thanked the officers both times, although I could have been indignant.

Law enforcement cannot cease to stop a swerving car because Jesse Jackson may be in it, or fail to make initial inquiries because Black people are involved. Nor, should law enforcement have to be disrespected, interrogated, or challenged because they have to do their job. Those cops did not know who Henry Louis Gates was when they received the call to his property, and even if they did, so what. Yaleducativism, Harvardism, and African-American intelligencia does not absolve anyone-including Mr. Gates-from knowing that law enforcement must be respected, even if they want to be tough guys/gals. The cops were within reason to confirm Gates’ identity and then ensure that there was nothing “fishy” going on, despite the fact they were dealing with the “Henry Louis Gates”.

If the depth and breadth of Mr. Gates’ interaction with the Cambridge police consisted of him providing identification and fully cooperating with the officers, then the officers do need to offer an apology. If not, Mr. Gates and his supporters need to sit down somewhere and eat some chocolate.

Meanwhile, Mulloverthis chooses to commend the people who help to keep our neighborhoods safe and when everyday “good” people do bad things, sometimes have to put their lives in danger to muddle through the particulars. Thumbs up to law enforcement.

September 29, 2008

A Pleasant Blast From the Past

by MullOverThis

Recently, I was tickled pink to encounter the concept of six degrees of separation, also known as it’s a small world after all, during a recent trip to New York City.  Alexandra Ditrolio, a producer for a SIRIUS radio network show Blog Bunker on Channel 110, contacted me to be a guest.  Of course, I was delighted to take an afternoon and talk about Obama, Palin, McCain and the issues of the day. 

The show was scheduled on the day the Lehman Bros/Merrill/AIG news dropped, so of course anticipated that we would have minimal discussion regarding the economy and an appropriate response to thwart another Great Depression.  I saw a barage of news teams from around the world on the way to the radio show right outside of the Lehman building.  Visualizing the immediate news presence drove home the reality of how serious the entire financial market  hit was by Lehman’s pending bankruptcy.  

So, I get to the radio station and meet Alexandra who was most gracious.  I assured Alexandra that I was quite familiar with radio, albeit non-political commentary, so I was not nervous or the like.  As I walked into the Blog Bunker’s studio, I stared amazingly at the host, Joe Salzone’s face.  I kept thinking, “you know this face from somewhere.”  Immediately, Joe and I spent a few seconds on a blast from the past to my first days on radio, when we were both on different programs at a much smaller local station.  Needless to say, I could not get over the fact that some Mulloverthis blog posts would cause Joe and I to re-unite for a few seconds on a historic day. 

So, do Mulloverthis a favor and tune into Joe’s show.  Check out the link below for more information.

August 19, 2008


by MullOverThis

This one, my friends, is solely from my personal experiences or observations.  Enjoy!

I have a friend who recently went to lease an apartment in a brand new development.  She has worked full-time and gone to school (as a single mother) since I have known her.  Upon reviewing her credit history, the real estate agent told her she was ineligible.  My friend learned that for the past couple of years, some woman on the other side of the country stole her identity, purchased two properties in her name, and was severely delinquent in payments. 

Another friend of mine began to co-sign as a borrower for a re-finance for a family member to help save a family home from foreclosure.  Upon further consideration, she decided to cancel the deal within the allotted three business days.  The loan officer ignored receipt of the cancellation notice to “push the deal through” so he would make his commission.  My girlfriend learned of the cancellation when a foreclosure notice was stamped on the front of the property that she currently owns and lives in.  She had to hire an attorney and go to court to sue the foreclosing bank.  The judge informed her that it may take a couple of years–even with court documents–to get this foreclosure off of her record.

I have a very common name.  There are people with my first and surname in every city.  A major reputable credit card company once harassed me–called my home for about 6 months straight at 8:28 am every single morning–for payment on an account I never had.  I spoke with the customer service representatives repeatedly and explained I had the same name, but never had an account with this company.  Because there are so many crooks, the collection agents did not believe me, promised to keep calling until I paid the bill, and were downright nasty. 

Some helpful advice if you ever get caught up with any similar situations:

If you are dealing with identity theft, get an attorney.  File police reports and cooperate fully with authorities, even if you discover someone you know is the culprit.  It may take years for a full investigation to reveal that you did not open accounts, make purchases, or conduct business in a fraudulent manner.  This may affect your ability to conduct business based upon your own personal credit for some time.  But, a dispute on record makes a huge difference and lends credibility towards your story which better be the truth. 

Keep records of all transactions you make with your credit accounts or any dealings pertaining to major consumer purchases/your credit.  Unfortunately, crooks are working from sun up, til sun down thinking of new ways to become better crooks.  When dealing with anyone from a particular financial institution, always know who you are speaking with and their proper employee identification  (if other than a name), the date, time and notes pertaining to your call/their call.  When my girlfriend sent in her cancellation notice, she did it with documentable proof by the post office, as well as had a fax confirmation.  Had she not had any credible records, the loan officer would still be ignoring cancellation notices.  He was IMMEDIATELY terminated by the re-finance company. My girlfriend’s family member is facing criminal charges because she permitted the loan to be processed knowing that my girlfriend canceled the re-finance.

If you have customer service challenges with any service providers, stop and ask for their identification.  Note their names, date, time and content of discussion.  Let them know you are keeping a record.  Clearly state, again, your customer service concerns and ask them for a direct response.  Repeat their response and ask them, “is this your official response?”  Then ask for a customer service supervisor.  When connected to the supervisor, ask for a direct line to reach him so that you may call back (customer service agents will connect a call to their buddy in the next cubicle if they know they messed up or want to block you from getting help).  Ask the supervisor for identification information, and let them know up front, you will be either commending him, or seeking further assistance from the corporate office, but you wanted to “go through” proper channels and provide him with an opportunity to rectify the situation first.  If you have a fake supervisor, chances are the call will be lost, or put on hold until you hang up because you are tired of holding.  When you are confident you have a real supervisor on the line, apprise him of your concerns.  Before you get specific, let the supervisor know exactly who you have spoken to, at what time, from what office, and the exact conversation.  This will be a good indication to the supervisor that if you have to go beyond him, you will have the exact records to report him as well.  Never be nasty, just be direct and authoritative.  If you do not get the resolve that you need, call the corporate office.  Get online information and ask for the customer relations or an executive vice president.  If writing, carbon copy everybody in the corporation from the President to the receptionist.  The corporate office should be your last step.  Rare circumstances will cause you to have to get additional advocacy in resolving your complaint.  If you must, contact your state attorney general with a complaint and ask them to make inquiries for you.  Contacting your local congresspersons, filing reports with the BBB and online consumer protection groups are also options.  Set up a free website or blog dedicated to complaints with the company.  In every step of the process, let the supervisor know what you are doing.  Leave a friendly message such as, “I just wanted to let you know, officially, that I have published your name and response online at (state the webpage/address) referencing the complaint I have with (state the company name and your contact information again).”  These tactics may take some work, but if you are not being handled justly, the time you may have to invest may just be worth the outcome.

Nagging bill collectors may call you because someone may have lived at your address before, someone may have the same name as you, or someone may have given your number fraudulently on an application.  Even if you owe a debt, know your rights.  There are still limits to what collection agencies can do to collect debts (which if you owe, you should pay or attempt to settle).  If you are an account holder with a collection agent, you must ask them to stop calling in writing.  If you do not have an account, state your position clearly and authoritatively when they call and ask to be removed from their call list.  Remember, people shirk and jerk bill collectors all day long so many of them won’t believe you.  Make it clear that you are not one of those people and will be removed, with or without their assistance, but would like them to respectfully put notes on the record that you do not want any further phone calls.  If the company ignores you, or keeps an automated system calling you every day, find out their customer service information. Contact someone, and if necessary, put a request in writing.  If you do not have an account with the harassing company, ask for a supervisor immediately.  State that you do not have an account, and do not give them any of your personal information.  Contact the corporate offices if necessary, and as a last resort, call your attorney general.  I have had my name removed from call lists within minutes by simply doing a reverse phone number search online, finding out the company name (one harrasser would not even let me know what company they kept calling from).  I also had incident involving an attorney from a mid-western state that handled collections for a creditor.  I called the attorney’s office and spoke with a managing partner.  I told them I would–and was perfectly capable of–taking it further, and had an illustrious plan to put them on blast for their illegal collection practices.  I received a sweet apology, was removed from the list, and called back the main harasser.  He was flabbergasted to hear my voice calling him back because he always called from a blocked number.  I informed him that I was removed, referenced his boss, and told him to have a great day. 

Although most of these people are hard-working people just doing their jobs, some of them enjoy the anonymity and take things over-board.  I have never had to go beyond my attorney general, and only had to file a complaint with the office once.  They were timely and you would have thought I was Queen Elizabeth by the time the company I had difficulty with got an inquiry and statement requesting the company’s explanation from the attorney general’s office. A corporate officer called me directly and asked me to never call my attorney general referencing the company again. I was given personal contact information for a corporate officer of a major fortune 100 US corporation.  The point: Don’t be intimidated when you know you are not being heard, just put a stop to it! Harassing the harassers usually works.

Moderator’s Note:  I almost forgot a real good one.  If by chance you have a cell phone with a recording function or a digital recorder, and you get routine calls from an out-of-control service contract/collection representative, be nice as your favorite pie and tape the conversation.  Once you know you have the caller’s inappropriate personality while conducting business recorded, ask her to hold on for one second.  Rewind and play the recording.  Ask her, “how do you think this is going to sound on CNN (or pick your network of choice)?  I think you’d better hand my account over to your manager from now on.”

July 29, 2008

Ode to CNN-Tell Me Something I Didn’t Know

by MullOverThis

CNN, you blew it. That is the nicest way I can encapsulate my sentiments against that farce of a special, “Black in America.” I was so disappointed in Part 1 that I could not muster up the strength to see Part 2, which by peer review, was worse than the first. Let me qualify my rant by saying I am far from the disgruntled Black American who is antagonistic against white media and looking for an opportunity to whine. What I am weary of is what my brilliant colleague referred to as potrayals of “black victimization”. In short, I was hoping CNN would take the needle off that victim record and show a side of Black America that whites have collectively yet to see or acknowledge.
When I saw the previews and internet video clips of the “special” (and I mean special here in a very tongue in cheek, short bus kind of way), I immediately thought finally, an accurate portrayal of blacks that Tyler Perry didn’t  write, would make its way into America’s living rooms. I had my fingers crossed that CNN would use the program as a means to display to white America that we are not all on welfare, having babies out of wedlock, getting shot over a game of skully, and basically broke, busted, and disgusted. I wanted to see blacks who achieved their goals of academic success, home ownership, united families, and upward mobility obtained without shaking, jumping, rapping, or disrobing. I wanted the motive for this greatness to be shown in light of rather than in spite of. Let me unpack this further. Which sounds better? Black success in light of an innate desire to realize our potential as productive citizens of these United States of America, a realization of our identity as a strong culture with much to offer the world, and a people who have every reason to love themselves OR black success in spite of the lengthy history of disenfranchisement at the hands of whites that led to impoverished neighborhoods, inequities in education, inner-city violence, and broken families? The former is an actualization of the philosophy of W.E.B DuBois who believed in order for a man (or in this case, a people) to take his place in the world–he must be himself.  Blacks have something to teach the world. DuBois believed in black potential, and it was not something to be conjured and nurtured only under harsh circumstances. It was something that blacks as human beings should have the proclivity to do. The latter is a further entrenchment of the idea that blacks are the perpetual victims of the residue left behind by white America’s domestic form of imperialism upon its own dark citizens, and therefore no matter what we overcome, our success is never independent of the variable of victimization.

So yes, I believe CNN only further embedded the stereotypes that have been floating around about blacks since European travelers and historians during antiquity and the medeival period chronicled the lives of Africans by telling wild tales of oversexed dark people who hop on one foot, dwell in caves, and communicated in screeches. This type of misinformation leads to a mythology that rationalizes and philosophicizes the supposed inferiority of a people. As far as I am concerned, the use of the word black in “Black in America” is not a reference to the people but rather the growing vacuum about what else it means to be black. Better luck next time.




Moderator’s Note:  This post is from a guest contributor, NIK. 

January 1, 2008


by MullOverThis

The President has signed a bill passed by the US Congress which offers debt relief to homeowners who may need to re-finance their mortgages.  Although President Bush recognizes the need for a more expansive overhaul to the housing market, this legislation is at least a beginning to give homeowners struggling to keep up with payments options to re-finance and not be penalized as heavily in taxes for canceled mortgage debt.  According to the White House, “we helped assemble a private sector group of lenders, loan servicers, investors, and mortgage counselors called the HOPE NOW Alliance. This group has agreed on a set of industry-wide standards to help those with sub-prime loans refinance or modify their mortgages, so more families can stay in their homes. We helped assemble a private sector group of lenders, loan servicers, investors, and mortgage counselors called the HOPE NOW Alliance. This group has agreed on a set of industry-wide standards to help those with sub-prime loans refinance or modify their mortgages, so more families can stay in their homes.”   This, along with a few drops in the market index is good news but must not be the last stop. Gratis, and keep on working to empower homeowners to keep their homes during this downturn.

For White House FACT SHEET click link:

For White House PRESS RELEASE click link: