Monday, December 6, 2010

What the Law and Gardening Have in Common

The last couple days have done a number on the arugula.  I should have covered it with a little hoop house.  Mark it up as another gardening lesson.  I can read all sorts of stuff about gardening, but it doesn't sink in until a live, visual, and tactile memory accompanies my recollection of the written word.  Here's a secret:  don't tell the wilted arugula, but if it had been a thriving colony of buttercrunch lettuce, it would have been hooped or cold-framed.

Every day I wander out to the greenhouse for two reasons.  One, to see what the thermometer says early in the morning.  This morning I tapped it in disbelief.  Sixty degrees (F)?  Two, to see what's happened in the raised bed I planted late last week.  I keep imagining a few little green leaves.  Oh, a third reason lately has been to retrieve the stapler to refasten the yellow plastic fence that keeps getting dislodged by our ambitious winds.  Karen informed me this morning that one whole side had blown off the winter wheat garden around the older greenhouse, the one the chickens love to visit.  A hundred feet away, sheltered by hundred-plus-year-old American boxwoods, my more expansive wheat planting is proving much more successful, knock on wood.

Other than trips to the woodshed and mailbox, that's been about it for outdoor recreation this week.  Resting before a "race" is like trying to resist a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. To keep my mind cluttered with other things, I'm wending my way through court decisions and helping Virginia grow up.

Today I came across a robo-signer opinion by Judge Arthur Shack of New York, sort of a hero of mine.  If you've been following the foreclosure crisis, you've probably heard of robo-signers, a vocabulary word invented this year to refer to the people hired by mortgage servicers to sign 750 or more loans' worth of mortgage-related documents per day, certifying their accuracy in 30 seconds (about enough time for me to grab a stack and sign one "J").  Speed-reading is not an employment requirement.  In this case, the judge was very frustrated with Ms. Johnson-Seck, her employer (OneWest), and the handful, maybe more, of firms that supposedly had endowed her with the authority to sign their names.  Embarrassed by nationwide publicity, OneWest asked the court to allow the withdrawal of its request for an order of reference (to allow foreclosure).  Judge Shack granted the request, but went a bit further than OneWest wanted -- dismissing the entire case while allowing renewal of the request for an order of reference within 90 days ONLY IF: (1) Ms. Johnson-Seck explained how she happened to be a "vice president" of 4 or 5 different firms; (2) OneWest provided proof of authority from the original lender to MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc.) to IndyMac to OneWest; and (3) OneWest's attorney provided an affirmation that he had personally reviewed the documents and records and confirmed their factual accuracy and the notarizations on the documents.  I imagine that's a tougher row to hoe than a few miles of winter wheat.

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