Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tuesday news bits

We're getting into the quiet news season as everybody heads for the shore and the pols take the summer off. Thus, posting likely to lighten (unless my ever-wider nets find me an unexpected gem). For today, these bits:
  1. The battle to save the military base at Willow Grove added a new weapon (or maybe front, heh), as PA's top politicians file a suit to block the closure.
    The "militia" clause in the U.S. Constitution states that a National Guard unit "may not be changed, relocated or withdrawn without approval of the governor," the three officials asserted in a press release.

  2. Montgomery County is speeding its disposal of property seized through forfeiture laws, turning to eBay to sell a variety of items. I guess it's a good thing that real estate is hard to unload this way...

  3. The Daily News has a couple of stories on payday lending (or semi-legal usury; see story here). The PA House approved a crummy measure to legalize and regulate the practice, and the Senate is expected to take up similar legislation in the fall. The House version, which was stripped of its consumer protections, would likely be vetoed by Rendell, but who knows what will come out of conference. Anyway,
    • One story looks at the heavy-hitting lobbyists and PR folk who are involved already and will continue to throw their weight around on this legislation. Lots of names listed for all sides.
    • A second piece looks at the pros and cons of payday lending -- it's easy to see the folks who borrow beyond their means and get into trouble, but there are also people who are able to get loans for unforeseen expenses that might otherwise be impossible to meet. Interesting, although I'd rather see a non-usurious micro-loan program (for people, not businesses) developed to address the latter.
Update: I wouldn't want to miss any of the legislative-pay-hike outrage stories, which today included an editorial at the Daily News.
THE MINIMUM $11,380-a-year raise that Pennsylvania state legislators voted themselves last week is more than their constituents who work full-time at the state minimum wage make in a year.

But according to according to Senate Democratic Leader Robert J. Mellow, D-Lackawanna, who will get $23,877 more a year, raising your own pay in the middle of the night takes guts.
If Pennsylvanians want their complaints to be taken seriously, they should be thinking hard about the next round of primaries...


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