King o' The Cats
a cat in gloves catches no mice

NEW RULE – HUD Makes Housing Discrimination Against Transgender Individuals Illegal

From Equality Illinois:

On January 28 at the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that a historic new rule will be announced strengthening housing discrimination protections for transgender people. The regulations will be published next week, and go into effect 30 days from then.

The new rule makes several urgently needed changes to current federal housing and housing-related programs including: prohibiting owners and operators of federally-funded or federally-insured housing, as well as lenders offering federally-insured mortgages from discriminating based on gender identity or sexual orientation;and clarifying the definition of “family” to ensure that LGBT families are not excluded from HUD programs.

More informaton is available on the website of the National Center for Transgender Equality. EQIL will, of course, keep you updated on the progress of this and other important new rules and directives as information becomes available.”

Obama wants your input

From MoveOn:

"Today, President Obama gives his State of the Union address, and we have a question for him: When will he open a federal investigation into Wall Street bank fraud that caused the housing crisis?

The White House has set up several ways for people to ask President Obama questions for the State of the Union. They’ll have staff watching these feeds all day, and it’s critical he hears from as many of us as possible. That’s why we’re asking you to take just a few moments to ask the president on Facebook and Twitter whether he’ll step up to the plate and investigate big bank fraud.

Ask on Facebook
You can post your question directly on the White House Facebook wall, or comment on one of their State of the Union posts.

Ask on Twitter

The State of the Union is watched by millions, and it’s an opportunity for the president to announce bold progressive policies that help the 99%. President Obama should use his speech tonight to announce a federal investigation and finally hold the big banks accountable.

Without federal action, there’s a strong risk that banks could get away with just a slap on the wrist. Yesterday, a meeting between HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, state attorneys general, and the five biggest mortgage servicers was held in Chicago. The banks were trying to negotiate a settlement that would give them broad immunity and let them off the hook for the fraud that caused the housing market collapse.1

Thanks to the pressure from hundreds of thousands of MoveOn members who signed the petition asking the president to investigate, held events across the country, and made phone calls to the White House, those talks have stalled once again.2 But that’s not enough.

We need to keep the pressure on President Obama to take a strong stance and open a federal investigation into the banks’ wrongdoing. And we need to make sure he knows that we have his back if he stands up for the 99% against Wall Street fraud.

Can you ask the president when he’ll open a federal investigation into the wrongdoing of Wall Street banks?

Ask on Facebook

Ask on Twitter

Thanks for all you do.

–Elena, Stefanie, Laura, Steven, and the rest of the team


1. “Protests intensify as mortgage settlement nears,” Reuters, January 23, 2012

2. “Iowa AG Miller Claims No Foreclosure Fraud Settlement This Week,” Firedoglake, January 23, 2012

"MoveOn, Color Of Change Demand Obama To Investigate Wall Street Banks, Housing Crisis," Huffington Post, January 19, 2012

Bad deal coming


"Some people just don’t get it.
Tens of thousands of Americans have taken to the streets to demand accountability for the banks. But some members of the Obama administration—including members of his Cabinet—are pushing for a terrible deal to let the big banks off the hook for selling bad mortgages and then illegally foreclosing on homeowners—destroying the American Dream for millions of families.1
The president’s top campaign advisors have said that he’s going to run for re-election on his record of holding Wall Street accountable2—but that’ll be impossible if his administration pushes for another giveaway for the Wall Street banks who crashed our economy. And that could happen any day now.3
Can you sign our petition to President Obama right now telling him that we need a full investigation into the banks’ wrongdoing, not another “deal” that lets them off the hook? 
Add my name to the petition to hold the banks accountable.
We’ll deliver it to the White House and to the campaign headquarters in Chicago. Here’s what it says: “The banks have to be held accountable for destroying the American Dream for so many families. No immunity for the banks before a full investigation is done."
Members of the Obama administration have said that the immunity they’re offering the banks would be very narrow. But we can’t know if what the banks are being asked to pay is fair without a full investigation. What’s already come out is shocking—intentionally overlooking problematic documentation, hiring “robo-signers” to sign thousands of documents without reading them, and even forging critical legal documents.4
And while the administration says we have to cut a deal because it’s the only way to get homeowners relief quickly, what the banks are offering would only help a fraction of the homeowners who are in trouble, and it’s not even clear how many of them it would allow to stay in their homes.5
Some state attorneys general—led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden—have walked away from the deal, because they believe it doesn’t go nearly far enough.6 But members of the administration, including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, are continuing to push for a deal—any deal—so they can say they won something against the banks.7
That’s why it’s so critical that we speak up now and say that granting the banks immunity before we know the scale of their wrongdoing makes no sense. A deal could come any day, so we all need to send a message to the president that he needs to step up and hold the banks accountable. Click below to sign now:
Thanks for all you do.
Daniel, Elena, Sarah, Mark, and the rest of the team

1. “A Deal That Wouldn’t Sting,” The New York Times, October 29, 2011

“‘Robo-signing’ of mortgages still a problem,” CBS News, July 18, 2011
2. “White House officials defend economic efforts, hit Republicans for blocking,” The Hill, October 30, 2011

"Obama plans to turn anti-Wall Street anger on Mitt Romney, Republicans," The Washington Post, October 14, 2011

3. ”A Deal That Wouldn’t Sting,” The New York Times, October 29, 2011
4. Ibid.  5. “State accuses Bank of America unit of thousands of illegal foreclosures,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 5, 2011  “4ClosureFraud Posts Lender Processing Services Mortgage Document Fabrication Price Sheet,” naked capitalism, October 3, 2010
“Robo-signing: Just the start of bigger problems,” CNNMoney, October 22, 2010
6. “Shake-Up in Mortgage Investigation,” The New York Times, August 23, 2011  7. “Geithner seeks swift foreclosure pact with banks,” Reuters, March 15, 2011
“A Deal That Wouldn’t Sting,” The New York Times, October 29, 2011