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Sink the loan sharks
Thank you for your cover story on the payday lending debt trap ("Rip-Off America," June 15). National payday lending chains are facing increasing pressure from regulators and consumer advocates to stop hurting our communities. The payday industry is desperate for a bailout. They need a weak law like SB 947, sponsored by Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gastonia. SB 947 would reauthorize payday loans in North Carolina, taking the payday lenders off the hook from ongoing investigations by the N.C. Commissioner of Banks and new FDIC regulations. This industry-backed bill would allow payday loan sharks to rip off even more N.C. consumers.

In addition to opposition in the Senate Democratic caucus, as your cover story noted, this bill is stalled because of massive citizen outrage. Senators have received a large volume of calls, letters and e-mails from citizens opposed to SB 947. The N.C. Fair Housing Center and the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina have together delivered 1,000 hand-signed letters against SB 947 to members of the Senate Commerce Committee, including letters from citizens in every Senator's district who serves on the committee. To sign an online letter against this bill, visit www.cra-nc.org.

Citizens have expressed a strong desire to keep current N.C. payday lending laws in place. This bill is a step in the wrong direction for building and protecting wealth in North Carolina's communities. We urge the General Assembly to hear the voices of the people and just say no to SB 947.
Stella J. Adams and Peter Skill
Executive Directors
N.C. Fair Housing Center and CRA-NC
Durham

Give 'em hell, Hal
About Hal Crowther's article two weeks ago ("Shame is for sissies," June 8) lambasting the Bush administration and the present state of American culture; I agreed on nearly all counts. Thank God there are people who will defy convention and state their gut feelings about the present state of society. So many people are taken in by this third-rate demagogue and his puppeteers (not all of them being remedial readers). What galls me is why more people aren't speaking out about a 'what's wrong with this picture' sense they get when viewing the kind of irony Mr. Crowther is talking about.

I don't think the article overstated its case. I do think, though, that America may not be in an unprecedented state of affairs publicly. None of us really know, not being alive during other scandalous administrations, e.g., Harding's Teapot Dome scandal, Grant's "whiskey ring," and the various war machine administrations using graft and favoritism to ensure power. The unique aspects of this era involve the potential stupefying effect this administration's media control will have over the long term. It intimidates people so effectively--creating a bizarre status quo that lulls the otherwise thoughtful into a state of stubborn complacency--they become belligerent when someone points out their collective fault. It seems they try the same tact that Bush's people use in response to objective criticism of their beloved America. They dismiss it as unpatriotic or ridicule it as "knee-jerk liberal." So it goes.

This administration will test the limits of the rule of law and constitutional parameters, both by those for and against its policies. U.S. citizens who aren't so economically fortunate will need to speak out more for their rights, now more than ever. It would be good to hear more of this kind of thinking from writers who are of the younger generation and particularly more criticism, as Crowther points out, from the articulate conservatives. I think there is still hope.
Ken Perry
Carrboro

Add this to list
First, thank you again for your annual gay issue. For as long as I can recall, the Independent has been on the forefront of coverage and support for the gay community in the Triangle. (I met my partner of 11 years through the Independent personal ads back when I was in college, so I owe you particular thanks for that!)

I wanted to let you know about another local resource for gay families: Triangle Families.

Triangle Families is a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered parents and their families, wannabe parents and friends of LGBT parents and families in the North Carolina Triangle area. Triangle Families meets monthly in locations throughout the Triangle. Our Yahoo!Groups e-mail list is used for general announcements of all Triangle Families events as well as open discussion among our members and community.

We have a very simple Web site that just lists dates for upcoming activities at www.trianglefamilies.org. Most of our communication is done online through our Yahoo group. Folks can request to join.

We currently have about 350 people in the group, covering the range of family configurations from lesbian couples to gay dads, from single parents to foster parents to straight spouses, from families with multiple kids to families expecting their first to families dreaming of their first.

Our listserv is a great place to discuss family issues. Recent topics have included gay-friendly communities for people who are moving, forming a playdate with other local gay families, and finding good local childcare.

All gay families, wannabe families and family allies all welcome. The more people who become involved, the stronger the gay family community will become.

Thanks again to the Independent for your ongoing support of all families in the Triangle.
T. Shawn Long
Wake Forest

Correction
The photograph of Chunky Move's Tense Dave in last week's paper incorrectly identified Kristy Ayre as Stephanie Lake, the dancer who originated the role.

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