As Phillipe and Jorge go to press, we noted that more than 30 amendments were being proposed for the pension reform bill at the State House. Naturally, none had yet been seen by the general public. But if they want your opinion on Smith Hill they'll ask for it, so just keep your damn mouth shut.
What strikes P&J is that the pension reform measure is being handled in the same manner as the budget bills that got us into this mess in the first place.It appears this special session at Halitosis Hall will be like every legislative gathering, when bills unread by the vast majority of the General Assembly — never mind the public — are whipped through sans scrutiny at the behest of the leadership to meet a phony, arbitrary deadline, which in this case, the great unwashed are informed, is Thursday the 17th.
We don't want any real worries putting us off our Thanksgiving dinner, now do we? And speaking of Thanksgiving, if the General Assembly suggests it can fully consider 30 last-minute amendments to a bill that will impact the lives of tens of thousands of Vo Dilunders in two days, well, whatever comes out of that process will be the biggest turkey you've ever seen.
Insider note: Next year is an election year for the hind-leggers at the State House, which normally produces more tiptoeing around than a production of Swan Lake, as legislators don't want to do anything controversial that might hurt their chances for re-election.
Unfortunately for them, the pension reform vote will be at the top of the list of things the voters consider — along with hairstyles and quality of toupees, kind of car the candidate drives, most recent arrest, how well they know his or her first cousin who does oil burner repairs, whether they purloin condoms in their socks, etc.
Given that any legislator's decision is going to piss off a great number of people either way, P&J are setting the over/under on the number of State Housers who announce next summer that they are choosing to "spend more time with their family" at 40 of the 113 representatives and senators who will bring us this dog's breakfast of pension reform. Get your money down now.
A belated adieu to former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier, near and dear to P&J's hearts, as his adopted home turf of West Philly is where P.'s father grew up.
Phillipe and his friends saw Smokin' Joe TKO George Chuvalo in a slugbath and bloodfest in the old Madison Square Garden in 1967. In a brutal fight, Frazier broke Chuvalo's cheekbone and stopped him on a TKO in the 4th round, one of only two times the granite-jawed Canadian was ever TKOed in 93 career fights.
P. was only a high school 'ute at the time, and God knows where the tickets came from. But he and his friends took the train by themselves to The Big Apple, found their nosebleed seats in the upper balcony, and soon discovered that the grizzled vendor hawking beer wasn't overly concerned with checking IDs as long as you had cash.