Tuesday, March 13, 2007

the one time there's no motorcade ...

i'm sure i've written before about the motorcade starbucks, at 20th and penn, where i can't spend 12 minutes without a motorcade racing by. it's somewhat charming, or at the least very washington. sometimes i like being reminded that this is the seat of power. importance by proximity, or something equally flattering to my ego.

today, i really wish that there had been a motorcade. i know georgie-peorgie is in latin america (dancing awkwardly and avoiding protesters, so i hear...), but i wish someone had seen what i saw. a grassroots organization called ACORN stormed the headquarters of the mortgage bankers association to protest predatory lending practices. they even had people wearing shark suits ... loan sharks ... clever. those who didn't make it to the 8th floor of 1919 penn gathered in front of the building, shouting and marching and waving flags (and wandering into starbucks for coffee, or around the corner for a quick bite to eat).

i forgot to mention that while all this was going on, i had my nose in the bankruptcy code. in fact, a few protestors/office stormers asked me what i was studying, and had a good chuckle over the fact that i was studying bankruptcy while they were protesting lending practices that are resulting in the financial ruin of, according to their statistics, millions of americans. (ps i buy their statistics.) but the thing is, it's more than irony. my bankruptcy code is marked up with all the changes that happened in 2005, when congress made it so much more difficult for individuals to file bankruptcy. with the sharp increase in these lending practices in the past few years (adjustable rate mortgages, interest only mortgages, etc), coupled with all the hoops an individual has to jump through for bankruptcy - people are finding themselves in serious, serious trouble.

listen, i don't really know much about this, but it makes my stomach sink to think of all these people who took advantage of the "innovative" lending opportunities offered for mortgages, many probably buying a home for the first time, only to run smack into the only adage about something that seems to good to be true ... and congress has severely limited one of the traditional opportunites to salvage what they can of their finances.

i stuck around through all of the shouting and the marching and even the police showing up not because i was excited to have earlier scored a sweet table on the sidewalk outside starbucks, no no. i stayed through all that commotion to support their cause. i was hoping someone from the mortgage bankers association would sneak out for a coffee (since i imagine no one on the 8th floor was getting much work done just then) and see a student with her law books spread out, grinning at the protest and chatting with the protesters that sat down at their table to take a break from the marching.

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