Newt gets it wrong; Harrisburg gives us new House districts and wine-selling beer merchants

    Few things annoy me more than politicians who claim to have bold, outside-the-box ideas and buttress their arguments with eye-popping statistics that turn out to be bogus.

    Case in point: Newt Gingrich, who said in Saturday’s Republican presidential debate that in New York, “an entry level janitor gets paid twice as much as an entry level teacher.”

    As you can see from this explanation by PolitiFact.org., Newt is completely, totally, utterly wrong.

    I did a radio piece last week about the tortured history of Congressional redistricting in Pennsylvania.

    At the time it appeared Republican leaders would soon come up with a Congressional map and get it quickly enacted by the legislature. It took longer than expected, but late yesterday, the map emerged. As expected it will force two Democrats, U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire and U.S. Rep. Mark Critz to run against each other. And it will be enacted without a public hearing.

    Jim Burn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic party called the map “more partisan and gerrymandered than anyone would have guessed.”

    It remains to be seen whether the map will spur litigation like the last redistricting case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. You can see the new map at the website of the House Republican Caucus.

    And finally, Brad Bumsted of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the State House Liquor Control Committee has sent an amended version of the state store privatization bill to the full House – a very amended version.

    Under the proposal, we’d still have state stores, and they would be the only licensed retailers of liquor. But wine could be sold by 1,200 beer distributors who pay a handsome fee, and they would compete with the state stores, who would still offer wine.

    This is a long way from done. Read more in Bumsted’s story here.

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