Archive for December, 2011

Consumers Cry Foul Over Debt Collectors

December 20, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, Thursday, December 15, 2011


Consumers Cry Foul Over Debt Collectors, By Jessica Silver Greenberg

“Complaints about debt collectors are pouring into a federal database that tracks allegations for illegal late-night phone calls, arrest threats and other abuse. …

The debt-collection industry… was the subject of a record 164,36 complaints throughDec. 8 of this year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.”

According to the article, only four enforcement actions have been “launched” or begun against debt-collection firms, but some are large fines, such as the one West Asset Management “agreed to pay (of) $2.8 million to settle accusations that included threatening arrest  to people who owed money.”

Debt collectors are regulated under state and federal laws, the latter including the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.   It is illegal to make late-night phone calls, physical threats, and calls after the collector has been asked to stop calling.

The term foul is used in many sports, including U.S. soccer (football in most of the world)  and basketball.  A personal foul is used in American football.   It is used in its derivative sense as something wrong, not correct, not good gamesmanship.

Basketball Term: Slam Dunk Used For Fundraising

December 20, 2011

“Slam Dunk” is a basketball term for an easy score or basket.  I was just asked on the internet to contribute to a 2012 convention to nominate a presidential candidate for the election later in the year.  If I contributed, along with many other basketball fans, the convention would be “a success”, a slam dunk of a success.

 The person asking for the contribution was a basketball star.

Jean Henry

For NBA, Advertisers No More a Slam Dunk

December 19, 2011

It’s the season to be jolly and the season for basketball to start in the U.S.  Slam-dunk is a basketball term for an easy score.

The Wall Street Journal, Monday, December 12, 2011


For NBA, Advertisers No More a Slam Dunk, by Kevin Clark and Suzanne Vranica

It’s going to be hard for the NBA (National Basketball Association) to round up advertisers according to this article.

President Obama States Second Term Is Not a Slam Dunk

December 19, 2011

The New York Times National Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Democrats Find a Welcome Distraction, by Jeff Zeleny


“President Obama bluntly acknowledged Tuesday that winning a second term was “not a slam-dunk,”…

President Obama played basketball and the basketball season is starting, so it is natural he should use a basketball metaphor or idiom to highlight the fact that his election for a second term will not be easy.  A slam-dunk is an easy shot for the basketball player.

GOP Presidential Field: A Rugby Scrum?

December 12, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, Friday, November 25, 2011



“The Rugby scum that is the GOP (Grand Old Party) Presidential field is once again zeroing in on the most pressing of all national priorities, illegal immigration.  Now the candidates are beating up Newt Gingrich for saying in Tuesday night’s debate that mass deportation of illegal immigrants wouldn’t be ‘humane,” and it’s true that isn’t the right word. He should have said it would be psychotic.”

The term “scrum” has “gained increased usage in every day language” as rugby has become more popular.  It is short for scrummage (according to Wikipedia.)  If you have looked at the sport, a scrum looks like a pileup of players, eight players on each side pushing/ perhaps even shoving against the other side with the ball in the middle.  It’s interesting that the term is used for candidates for their party’s nomination.  And who, in this scrumming, will get the ball or the nomination?