Janne went to Washington, DC for a press conference.
June 8, 1999
Janne O'Donnell and Trisha Johnson went to Washington, DC to
speak at a press conference on June 8, 1999. The subject of
the press conference was students and credit card debt.
what Janne said at the press conference.
Federation of America web page.
Pictures of Janne O'Donnell and Trisha Johnson at the press
Ten Years Later
Ten years later on May 22, 2009,
President Obama signed the Credit Card Reform Act. At about 13
minutes into the
16 minute video at C-SPAN.org,
President Obama hugs Janne O'Donnell.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT SIGNING OF THE CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTABILITY,
RESPONSIBILITY AND DISCLOSURE ACT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Please, have a seat -- I'm sorry. It
is a great pleasure to have all of you here at the White House on this
gorgeous, sunny day. The sun is shining. The birds are singing.
Change is in the air. (Laughter.)
This has been a historic week; a week in which we've cast aside some old
divisions and put in place new reforms that will reduce our dependence
on foreign oil, prevent fraud against homeowners, and save taxpayers
money by preventing wasteful government contracts; a week that marks
significant progress in the difficult work of changing our policies and
transforming our politics.
But the real test of change ultimately is whether it makes a difference
in the lives of the American people. That's what matters to me. That's
what matters to my administration. That's what matters to the
extraordinary collection of members of Congress that are standing with
me here, but also who are in the audience. And we're here today because
of a bill that will make a big difference: the Credit Card
Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act.
I want to thank all the members of Congress who were involved in this
historic legislation, but I want to give a special shout-out to Chris
Dodd, who has been a relentless fighter to get this done. (Applause.)
Chris wouldn't give up until he got this legislation passed. He's spent
an entire career fighting against special interests and fighting for
ordinary people, and this is just the latest example.
The rest of what the president said is at
Other Older Stories
reporter Ashley White wrote a newspaper article about credit card debt
and students. Her story includes Sean and Mitzi and is available online
Trueworks has produced a documentary movie called Maxed Out, directed by
James Scurlock. The world premier was in Austin Texas on 11 March 2006
South by SouthWest film festival in Austin, Texas. Sean's mother
appears in the movie. Ronald Reagan, James Earl Carter, and Alan
Greenspan, and a dog wearing an abtronic device also appear in the movie.
MaxedOut is a trademark of
The movie web page is at
There is also
a fan web page for the movie at
GEOFF PEVERE of the
Then there's James Scurlock's powerfully moving but decidedly unsettling
Maxed Out (which won a prize here Tuesday night). Also inspired by the
filmmaker's simple curiosity about just what got people so deeply and
irrecoverably in debt, Maxed Out traces a similar,
abstract-to-individual journey. His movie makes such a powerful
indictment against a financial industry that preys on the weak and
vulnerable, with an utter lack of either moral or judicial restraint,
because it's anchored in the frequently wrenching testimonies of the
people at the bottom. The problem may be big, but the pain is personal.
Here is a photo of
James D. Scurlock (Director/Producer) and Alexis Spraic (Editor), and
a photo of
Jon Aaron Aaseng (Director of Photography), taken
at the world premier of Maxed Out in Austin, TX on March 11, 2006.
truly indie has
Maxed Out at
Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL)
Fairness in Lending (AFFIL)
has a web page about
the movie, Directed by James D. Scurlock
The following is how AFFIL describes themselves.
Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL) exists to raise awareness of
abusive credit and lending practices and to call for re-regulation of
the industry. AFFIL is the collaborative effort of numerous partner and
ally organizations, each contributing their expertise to AFFIL and the
public through AFFIL activities. As a group, we are committed to using a
unified and consistent national message to raise the volume of our
collective outrage and to shine a spotlight on predatory and unfair
lending practices. AFFIL intends to generate a groundswell of public
support for regulation of the lending industry to ensure fairness in
lending for all Americans.
denverpost.com is a review of Maxed Out.
Michelle Singletary has a review at washingtonpost.com in
The Color of Money Book Club.
Washingtonpost.com may require registration to view the original content at
The official launch of Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL) was on
March 6, 2007 in New York City.
Kirsten Keefe is the Executive Director of Americans for Fairness in
Lending. She also works as an attorney with the Empire Justice Center, a
non-profit legal services organization, where she practices consumer
law. Keefe is a frequent trainer of counselors and lawyers on consumer
law issues. As Director of AFFIL, Keefe has brought together a diverse
group of organizations to develop a communications strategy using the
media, advertising and film to draw national attention to problems with
the lending industry.
The staff and board of directors met with the staff of Senator Levin here on
March 7, 2007, the day of hearings on predatory lending practices.
Janne O'Donnell is now on the
Board of Directors
Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL).
Help with the fight against predatory lending by
story at usatoday.com.
is a web page with more information about credit card debt.
Here are links to some of the resulting news stories and other
stuff about Sean on the web:
Credit Card Companies and Agenda
Bruce Schneier wrote at http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0603.html#10:
To understand why it's happening, you need to understand the trade-offs
and the agenda. From the point of view of the credit card company, the
benefits of giving someone a credit card is that he'll use it and
generate revenue. The risk is that it's a fraudster who will cost the
company revenue. The credit card industry has dealt with the risk in two
ways: they've pushed a lot of the risk onto the merchants, and they've
implemented fraud detection systems to limit the damage.
All other costs and problems of identity theft are borne by the
consumer; they're an externality to the credit card company. They don't
enter into the trade-off decision at all.
July 12, 2004
Sean's Visit with My Daughter
Kerri Bales, Norman, Oklahoma, May 2004, firstname.lastname@example.org
I was home with my toddler on a weekday morning, and we were doing our
usual stuff. I was sitting in a chair in the living room watching TV,
while she stood in front of the couch playing with some small toys on
the coffee table. I was in a very relaxed state, and I'll admit I was
somewhat sleepy. I would watch some of the program, and every minute or
so I would glance in the direction of my daughter to see what she was
doing. At one point I looked at her and saw, quite clearly, the figure
of my friend Sean standing next to her. Sean hanged himself in his
bedroom closet on February 7 of 1998. He was 22 years old, and I had
known him for 12 years when he died. We had been very close.
When I saw Sean standing next to my daughter, I felt some surprise, but
no fear or tension. He stood still, to her left, and was looking down at
her. He was facing me and had his right arm outstretched toward her, and
his hand on the base of the back of her neck. His entire posture seemed
loving and calm. He was not looking at me at all, but seemed entirely
focused on her. He was there for only a few seconds and then was gone. I
remember clearly that he was wearing jeans and a red Shetland sweater.
My daughter did seem to be looking at him, but said nothing and did not
react in any way.
I miss Sean terribly, and his death devastated me. Shortly after he died
I had five vivid dreams in which he was talking to me, but after those
ended I experienced nothing unusual in regard to him or his death. The
fact that he was "visiting" me now, so long after his death, perplexed
me. I have no explanation for this event, and only wished that he had
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