Saturday, April 28, 2007

PA in the WSJ

Some interesting bits this week, especially the political news.

PA Politicians

In “Colleges’ Culture of Privacy Often Overshadows Safety,” by Elizabeth Bernstein (4/27), we find this:

This week Republican Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, who is a psychologist and co-chair of the congressional mental-health caucus, proposed spelling out that the “health and safety” exception includes concerns of suicide, homicide or threats of physical violence. His amendment also would absolve college officials of liability if they contact parents to discuss concerns about a dependent student, as long as they consulted first with a licensed mental-health professional. “Universities can find parents when it comes time to pay the tuition or co-sign a loan,” Mr. Murphy says, “Let’s get them involved when their child is in danger.”

No good news for Pennsylvania in “Strength in Newcomers’ Numbers,” by June Kronholz (4/23), which says that by 2030 the state will lose four congressional seats. The only good point may be that by then all of Montgomery County would be in one district instead of scattered to the winds. Two interesting quotes from the article:
The Constitution requires a census every 10 years to divvy up House seats – there are currently 435 – based on each state’s population. It requires that all “free Persons” be counted, which is taken to include legal and illegal immigrants and long term visitors. That means that much of the coming political shift will be caused by people who aren’t citizens and may have no prospect of voting.

The Center for Immigration Studies, a Wahsington think tank tha favors reduced immigration, says that in 2002 it took fewer than 35,000 votes to win a seat in two California districts that have lots of illegal immigrants. By contrast, it took about 100,000 votes to win the typical congressional race in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other low-immigration states.

PA Businesses

From “Funds to Opposed CVS Board Choices,” by Jennifer Levitz (4/23) mentions that “Pension funds in Louisiana and Pennsylvania have filed class-action lawsuits, alleging CVS offered Caremark directors protection from legal action or penalties related to improperly backdated stock options.”

There is a mention of Moody’s of West Chester in “House Prices Slide as Property Glut Grows,” by James R. Hagerty (4/25). A chart accompanying the article notes that housing prices in Philadelphia are down, housing inventory is up 14%, the employment outlook is weak, and 2.68% of loan payments are overdue.

Other PA

Phillies player Jamie Moyer’s Moyer Foundation uses 78.12% of its expenses for charitable programs. This and other information from “Big Players in Charity,” by G. Bruce Knecht (4/28)

The work of University of Pennsylvania researchers is highlighted in “Enzyme Tied to Cystic-Fibrosis,” by Dina Wisenberg Brin (4/25)

Norman L. Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers makes this point in a letter on 4/24: “Take Pennsylvania, where public defenders provide counsel in 80% of all cases, yet the state does not put $1 into public defense. The burden falls to the counties, where resources vary widely. Consequently, the kind of legal representation one receives in Pennsylvania depends on the county in which an arrest takes place.”

Marisa Weiss, a Philadelphia breast oncologist and founder of is quoted in “An Easier Breast-Cancer Test,” by Kathryn Kranhold (4/24)

Other Interesting Tidbits

Interesting article on Gen. James Jones who is being courted by people from both parties for military advice and possibly to run for office. “The Courting of General Jones,” by Neil King, Jr. (4/23)

The recent interest by employers to automatically enroll employees in retirement plans is discussed in “Employers Grab Reins of Workers’ 401(K)s,” by Eleanor Laise (4/25)

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