Chinese Company to Pay Nearly $1 Billion for Defective Drywall

If you are one of the many people who were adversely impacted by defective drywall from China you will be interested in this article about a settlement.

"A global settlement has been reached between Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin and thousands of homeowners who filed a lawsuit who claimed that the company's tainted Chinese drywall product was used to construct their properties and severely damaged their homes."

I hope the money will help make up for the pain and suffering caused by this serious problem.

Tax Breaks for Disabled People

Here is an interesting article from Employee Benefit News that talks about tax breaks that many disabled people miss out on. The point about earned income credit is especially important. You may not need to file taxes but it's often worth it if you can claim a credit.

Chicken Jerky Recalled

If you give your pets chicken jerky treats you should take a look at this recall.

Chicken jerky may be making dogs ill and may be causing their deaths. From the release:

"FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose). Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to the FDA have involved dogs that have died."

You can make your own jerky pretty easily and then you know what exactly is going into it. I'm guessing it's also cheaper to make your own.

Google and SIGTARP Go After Loan Modification Scammers

Some good news for those who are at risk for scammers came out today. Google and SIGTARP teamed and suspended the accounts of more than 500 advertisers suspected of illegal activities regarding loan modifications.

"The most common scams included asking homeowners for an upfront fee and telling them to stop paying their mortgage and cease all contact with their lender.

They also included diverting mortgage payments to the scammers, transferring property deeds, and releasing personal information. Some also claimed to be affiliated with the federal government."

Free and Low Cost Thanksgiving Turkeys

If you're on the lookout for low cost or free turkeys, for you or another person or family in need, and are in the Washington DC area, check out this story which discusses an organization trying to help nine thousand families this year.

Two Programs to Help with Student Loan Debt

This page has some helpful information regarding two different programs designed to help those who are overwhelmed with student debt.

One is Income-Based Repayment (IBR), which can help you make your payment affordable. Most people should be able to have payments that are ten percent of their earnings or less, depending on how much they're earning.

Another program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which forgives debt after a certain number of years in certain fields, like teaching.

Both of these programs are worth looking into.

Free Music for Browncoats

Fans of Firefly and Serenity will want to check out the new rap album from Adam WarRock called Browncoats Mixtape.

Check out a sample here:

More information here or you can just download for free here

Free Portal Two Music

Songs to Test By, Volume Three, is now available for free from Valve, makers of Portal and Portal two. Volumes one and two were downloaded two million times so you should hurry and get volume three before everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

Free Flu and Pneumonia Shots

If you're in Anne Arundel County and thinking about getting a flu or a pneumonia shot you might want to head over over to the county health clinics, where you can get the shots for free. A list of days, times and locations are found here:

Independent Review Coming for Some People Who Lost Their Homes to Foreclosure

National Mortgage News ran an interesting story today about an independent review that is coming for foreclosure victims. Not for all of them but those who were impacted by specific behavior by specific banks will get the opportunity for the review. This is fantastic news for people who often are confused and feel that they have no say in what is happening. I think we've all heard horror stories about folks who lost their homes even when they were making payments, or had worked out an agreement with the bank.

"Under the direction of federal regulators, servicers have retained independent consultants to review files to identify borrowers who were harmed financially. (All 14 – including Bank of America and Wells Fargo – are party to robosigning negotiations being conducted with state attorneys general.)

Comptroller Walsh stressed that more needs to be done to assure that borrowers are entitled to restitution and remediation – and are actually contacted."

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