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The Obamas' White House Decorating Plans

Every new president is allotted $100,000 plus an allowance from the White House Historical Association to revamp the estate. According to New York magazine, Laura Bush spent $74,000 from the White House Historical Association funds on a set of china during her residency in the presidential abode. The Obamas recently announced that all their renovation plans will be paid for not from taxpayers' money or from private funds but from their own wallets.

Camille Johnston, director of communications for the First Lady, said that the Obamas “are not using public funds or accepting donations of goods for redecorating their private quarters.” Instead, they've hired Hollywood decorator Michael S. Smith whose clientele includes media mogul Rupert Murdoch and star director Steven Spielberg to do the job.

The White House has declined to comment about the expenses out of courtesy of preserving the privacy of the Obamas' budget, but it's transparent that the first family is taking fiscal responsibility during a tough time in the economy.

The Top 10 States for Mortgage Fraud

According to a report issued by Mortgage Asset Research Institute, Rhode Island leads the nation in mortgage fraud. The ranking is calculated by comparing the number of fraud cases with the number of home loans made. The list, as it stands:
  1. Rhode Island
  2. Florida
  3. Illinois
  4. Georgia
  5. Maryland
  6. New York
  7. Michigan
  8. California
  9. Missouri
  10. Colorado
According to a follow-up story in USA Today, "More than 60 percent of mortgage fraud cases last year stemmed from falsified applications, while 28 percent came from tax returns or financial statements and 22 percent came from appraisals."

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