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Live (or at least breathing)from my basement in The Land That Time Forgot TM, it's Overnight News Digest.

Pass the Cheetos.

Tonight, I am going to start out with a little local flavor. If you have been hanging out with us here at OND this week, you know that I have mentioned a series of articles on my blog about the abuses of payday lenders. Payday lenders are predatory companies that want to enslave you if you need help.

There are hardly any people who haven't found themselves in a bad way concerning money in their lives at some point. When there is no last resort, payday lenders practice their sometimes completely unregulated 'business'. In Virginia, the Legislature last session debated on what they could do about this problem. Since payday loans were first allowed to be introduced in Virginia in 2002, their 'industry' has grown substantially.

The industry could afford to spend $4m on lobbying alone, not to mention many hundreds of thousands of dollars to officeholders. Since I haven't quite finished this year's report yet, I am reproducing here a part of my report from last year.


fig 3: Legislators/PACs who took money from Payday Lenders (top ten)


Fig. 4 - Payday Lender Companies that gave money to legislators and/or PACs

Democratic Central - Legislators and Parties Claim Change, Take Money From Payday Lenders Anyway

I hope to get the new version up on my blog tomorrow morning, if I can stay awake long enough to put it together.

Now, on with the show.

Health - Reuters

Mississippi has highest teen birth rate

Wed Jan 7, 5:35 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mississippi has claimed the distinction of having the highest teen birth rate in the United States, a figure more than three times higher than the states with the lowest rates, health officials said on Wednesday.

Quest says some vitamin D tests gave wrong result

Thu Jan 8, 12:09 PM ET

BOSTON (Reuters) - Quest Diagnostics Inc said on Thursday that it had provided possibly erroneous results to thousands of people who had their vitamin D levels tested over the past two years.

Hormone therapy may cut colorectal cancer risk
Thu Jan 8, 3:28 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The long-term use of hormone replacement therapy, which older women abandoned in droves following the news that it may increase the risk of breast cancer, may substantially cut the risk of colorectal cancer, research shows.

Computer puzzle may ease post-traumatic stress
Thu Jan 8, 1:03 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Playing Tetris, rated one of the greatest video games of all time, immediately after traumatic events appears to reduce flashbacks that plague sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a British study.

Top Stories - AP/AFP

British interest rate hits lowest point since late 17th centuryAFP
Thu Jan 8, 3:13 PM ET

LONDON (AFP) - The Bank of England on Thursday cut its key lending rate by half a percentage point to 1.5 percent, the lowest level in its 315-year history, to ward off any threat of deflation in a sharp economic downturn.

Top Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan killed: US official
AFP -  6 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The head of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and his lieutenant were killed in the past days, a US counterterrorism official told AFP on Thursday, reportedly struck by a missile fired from an unmanned drone.

UN Security Council calls for Gaza cease-fire
AP - 35 minutes ago

UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council has approved a resolution calling for an immediate and durable cease-fire between Hamas militants and Israeli forces now fighting in the Gaza Strip. Thursday night's vote was 14-0 with the United States abstaining.

Cheney: CIA did nothing illegal in interrogations
AP - 2 hours ago

[Ed. Note: 'No one could have predicted..."]

WASHINGTON – Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday that he sees no reason for President George W. Bush to pre-emptively pardon anyone at the CIA involved in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists. "I don't have any reason to believe that anybody in the agency did anything illegal," he said. In an interview with The Associated Press, Cheney also said that Bush has no need to apologize for not foreseeing the economic crisis.

"I don't think he needs to apologize. I think what he needed to do is take bold, aggressive action and he has," Cheney said. "I don't think anybody saw it coming."

Man accused of building meth lab in funeral home
1 hr 1 min ago

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – A funeral home might be a place for eternal rest, but police say an Arkansas man saw an opportunity to build a methamphetamine lab undisturbed by the living. There was just one problem — the funeral home was across the street from the sheriff's office.

Officers said Robert Lee Lewis, 43, left the light on in the basement of the Higginbotham Funeral Home in Walnut Ridge on Dec. 3. Officers noticed the light on after hours and walked into the funeral home through an open door.

Inside, police said they found all the components necessary to build a meth lab. Officers arrested Lewis, a former employee at the funeral home, when he returned.

World News - McClatchy

Venezuela reinstates free heating oil for poor in U.S.
Wed Jan 7, 7:44 PM ET

CARACAS, Venezuela — The Venezuelan government reversed course on Wednesday, announcing that its U.S. oil subsidiary will continue to provide free home heating oil to poor Americans.

Iraqi Shiite politicians use holy day to stir fervor
Wed Jan 7, 7:37 PM ET

BAGHDAD — Iraq's ruling Shiite Muslim parties used the sacred holiday of Ashura on Wednesday to make a pitch to voters, who'll go to the polls Jan. 31 to elect authorities in the 14 of the country's 18 provinces.

Guardsman would rather face Taliban than U.S. economy
Tue Jan 6, 3:47 PM ET

DELARAM, Afghanistan — Around the barren military base, which sits at the crossroads of the Taliban's poppy trade route, news arrives slowly.

India claims Mumbai attackers were supported within Pakistani state
Mon Jan 5, 6:32 PM ET

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — India confronted Pakistan on Monday with a detailed dossier that it said showed that "elements from Pakistan" were behind the November terrorist assault on Mumbai and said it was inconceivable that no one in the Pakistani government knew of the plans.

Pakistan fires official who confirmed Mumbai gunman's identity
Wed Jan 7, 9:25 PM ET

ISLAMABAD — The Pakistani government on Wednesday abruptly fired its national security adviser after he confirmed that the surviving gunman captured in the Mumbai attacks is a Pakistani, a key piece of evidence contained in a dossier amassed by India on alleged Pakistani complicity in the three-day assault.

Crisis takes toll on Gaza's seasoned doctors, medics
Mon Jan 5, 6:56 PM ET

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — They come in waves, usually not long after a blast rattles the building or a black cloud of smoke rises up over the apartment buildings.

With its air industry growing, Iraq needs air traffic controllers
Fri Jan 2, 6:20 PM ET

BAGHDAD — Iraq officially began to govern its skies this week, but it has enough trained air traffic controllers only to manage the highest heights above the country

Weird News - Reuters

Cat laps up new role on TV weather forecast
Thu Jan 8, 11:16 AM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) - A cat wandered onto the set of a live weather forecast by Germany's leading meteorologist Joerg Kachelmann and waved its tail in front of the camera as it rubbed up against his leg.

Panda with attitude bites zoo trespasser
Thu Jan 8, 11:15 AM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) - A panda with a record of aggressive behavior attacked a man who jumped into its enclosure at a Beijing zoo to pick up a toy, local media said on Thursday.

Capsized yachtsman has to be rescued again
Thu Jan 8, 11:14 AM ET

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Less than 36 hours after a dramatic rescue after capsizing in treacherous waters off Cape Horn, French round-the-world yachtsman Jean Le Cam had to be rescued again

Police seek blow-up doll sex bandit
Wed Jan 7, 9:34 AM ET

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man broke into three adult shops, had sex with blow up dolls named "Jungle Jane" and then dumped his plastic conquests in a nearby alley, local media reported Wednesday.

Bikers wear fruit shells to avoid helmet law
Wed Jan 7, 9:34 AM ET

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) - Police in Nigeria have arrested scores of motorcycle taxi riders with dried fruit shells, paint pots or pieces of rubber tire tied to their heads with string to avoid a new law requiring them to wear helmets.

Originally posted to Dems2004 on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 08:57 PM PST.

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