The justice’s wife, and other matters

    The Daily Caller, the website that released the 11-minute video that torpedoed NPR has a new special correspondent.

    It’s Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Read about it, and Thomas’s colorful history here on Politico.

    In local matters…..

    The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Tom Fitzgerald writes that former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell said in a Bloomberg News forum in New York that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is right to insist on changes in state employee pension plans. Rendell said public employee pensions are “not sustainable in their current form.”

    The story notes that as governor, Rendell signed a law in November raising the retirement age and trimming benefits for newly-hired state workers in Pennsylvania.

    I also have to note that when Rendell was mayor of Philadelphia, he signed the law creating the now-reviled Deferred Retirement Option Program which studies have shown has been a drain on the pension fund.

    And he supported and signed a bill which authorized the city pension fund to borrow $2 billion (that’s right, billion) and invest it in the stock market, which tanked not long thereafter.

    It was interesting to read that U.S. Rep. Bob Brady wrote a letter attacking the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has been tearing into the Philadelphia Housing Authority lately for wasteful spending and other sins.

    “Why were PHA’s problems NEVER caught by HUD?” Brady wrote to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.

    This is personal for Brady, since his wife Debra is one of the former PHA board members who’ve been blamed for not minding the agency as they should.

    I don’t want to defend either Brady on PHA here, but I will say the Congressman has a point.

    In my years of covering city government, HUD has been good at coming in with critical, sometimes nitpicking audits years after misdeeds were done, frequently after they were exposed by newspaper reports.

    They’ve never been on top of problems as they occurred.

    So to the list of those who should have done more to root out problems at PHA – which includes the board and us in the media, I’d add HUD.

    Finally, it was amusing to see the Republican National Committee put out a release this week hammering a guy who’s no longer in Congress for his vote on the Obama health care package a year ago.

    But it makes sense.

    The target was Patrick Murphy, who lost his Bucks County Congressional seat in November to Mike Fitzpatrick. It’s the same seat he won from Fitzpatrick in 2006. Given these guys’ history, the RNC figures it’s never too soon to start planning for a re-match.

    I read about it here in PoliticsPa.

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