PITTSBURGH — Make them stop! In their latest two shots at turning Pennsylvania around, our Jerks-R-Us political establishment is proposing that the waitress bunnies at our upcoming casinos be wrapped in some heavy-duty red tape and the state’s judges are suing to get their illegal and repealed pay raises reinstated.
With the casinos, the central planners are saying the players in Pittsburgh’s new stand-alone slots parlor will be permitted to receive only one free drink per day. My question: Who from the central committee is going to check if some cute honey in an undersized bunny outfit gives me a free Jack Daniel’s at the Joker Poker machine at 10 p.m. and a free double Beam at the Carnival Casino slots at midnight?
Regarding the no-debate, no-notice 16 percent to 54 percent pay hike that was tiptoed through the state House and Senate in the wee hours of July 7, Judge John Herron in Philadelphia is saying he still wants the money because the state Constitution prohibits the pay of judges from being cut unless pay cuts are applied to all salaried officers of the state. He’s suing to reinstate the pay grab solely for the judges, not for executive branch officials or state lawmakers.
Going a step further, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Albert Sheppard Jr. also is suing, asking that the state Supreme Court bring back the entire pay boost for all legislators, the 1,000-plus judges in the state and the state’s executive officials.
One can effectively argue, rather easily, that the paychecks of Herron and Sheppard haven’t been cut because their July pay increase wasn’t legal in the first place. Most blatantly, the pay raise legislation was unconstitutional because it flashed a green light to a tricky procedure that allowed lawmakers to pocket their new money immediately by way of so-called “unvouchered expenses,” i.e., fake expenses, thereby circumventing clear constitutional language that prohibits politicians from giving themselves mid-term pay raises.
Additionally, Herron and Sheppard didn’t get a legal salary increase in July because the shifty behind-the-curtain shenanigans involved in the pay hike unconstitutionally violated the basic and clear requirements for public notice.
For Messrs. Herron and Sheppard to now file lawsuits to recapture their ill-gotten gains, to be crying because they can’t continue to pocket their unconstitutional pay grab, is analogous to Willie Sutton bellyaching because the banks want their bags of money back.
In the end, the state’s judges will decide on whether the no-debate, no-wait, no-notice pay hike, including their own, was legal, which is not unlike letting Al Capone decide if hookers and bootlegging are legit.
As far as Christmas goes, I didn’t buy any strings of Chinese lights this year, which means there’s no blinking Rudolph in the front yard from some 50-cents-per-hour slave shop in Shanghai, for two reasons: (a) it was just five months ago that the dean of China’s National Defense University, Gen. Zhu Chenghu, said China could well nuke hundreds of American cities if Washington made any slip-ups regarding Taiwan, and (b) it’s not true that when one light goes out the others stay lit.
With 1.3 billion people to play with, here’s how a cocky Gen. Zhu put it: “If the Americans are determined to interfere, then we will be determined to respond. If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons. We will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”
As Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Or as Rodney King put it, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Similarly, as Jimmy Durante said, “Why can’t everyone leave everybody else the hell alone?”
Or as I say, open the friggin fortune cookie. It says, “Wise man doesn’t send millions for Chinese Christmas lights to a bunch of high-IQ whiz-kid commies who talk about nuking every U.S. city bigger than Topeka.”
In other holiday news, Bill O’Reilly has proclaimed that “corporate America should get down on its knees and thank God that the baby Jesus was born,” the American Family Association is reporting that Staples, Best Buy and Office Max are discriminating against Christians by not mentioning Christmas in their advertising stuffers, and Luke reported that Jesus didn’t care at all about retail.
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