A Q&A on Pa.'s D.O.A. Legislature

STAFF FILE PHOTO "In God We Trust," but that's about it: The Capitol has been quiet as of late, but our legislators are working on a bill requiring public schools to display that faithful phrase.
STAFF FILE PHOTO "In God We Trust," but that's about it: The Capitol has been quiet as of late, but our legislators are working on a bill requiring public schools to display that faithful phrase.
Posted: October 29, 2013

WHAT FOLLOWS is a conversation twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a/k/a BE:

BE: Yo, JB, I need updates. What's going on in the palace of Pennsylvania politics?

JB: The state Capitol? The usual: mendacity, gridlock, absenteeism, profiles in inanity.

BE: But I thought I read that the Legislature was on the verge of finally dealing with transportation and mass-transit funding woes.

JB: You mean re-read.

BE: What happened this time?

JB: Well, in a nutshell, mendacity, gridlock, absenteeism, profiles in inanity.

BE: But didn't I see unions at the center of the fight?

JB: Again. Old news: Republicans want to take something from unions, in this case prevailing wage; Democrats want to protect unions. Same ol'.

BE: And roads, bridges, mass transit, construction jobs, public safety, commuter service?

JB: To quote GOP House Speaker Sam Smith, "I can't answer that. I honestly can't."

BE: I assume the Legislature's still talking about all this.

JB: If you're referring to America's largest "full-time" legislature, it's gone the next two weeks, back Nov. 12.

BE: Without a transportation bill? Without a liquor-privatization bill? Without a pension-reform bill? Gone for what?

JB: I assume for trick-or-treat.

BE: Well, what is happening, then?

JB: Calls for the impeachment of Attorney General Kathleen "not-a-politician" Kane.

BE: Oh, right, for hiring and/or promoting relatives.

JB: Uh, no, for being a progressive Democratic woman exercising legal options available to her office to not defend the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

BE: Really? Who's looking to cane Kane?

JB: Started with Rep. Daryl "The Daryl" Metcalfe, a leading GOP conservative who calls SEPTA "welfare," refers to immigrants as the "alien invasion" and sees Kane as Scranton's version of Medusa.

BE: Well, that's not going anywhere, is it?

JB: To quote GOP House Speaker Sam Smith, as reported by KYW Newsradio, "I'm giving it consideration."

BE: Guess "The Daryl" has some juice, eh?

JB: He draws spotlights. Recall Delco Democratic Rep. Margo Davidson during the debate on extending stand-your-ground gun legislation? She asked if she felt threatened by Metcalfe, would she be protected if she "blew his brains out."

BE: Wow. What's she doing now?

JB: According to recent reports, considering a run for lieutenant governor.

BE: Maybe she wants State Police protection.

JB: I get it. You saw the Inky story on protection costs for the lieutenant governor and spouse.

BE: Everybody wants protection. Whatever happened to trust?

JB: If you mean "In God We Trust," it just passed the House Education Committee.

BE: What?

JB: Yep. If it's enacted, school districts would be required to display the phrase in all public-school buildings.

BE: This would be in lieu, I assume, of additional state funding for Philly schools?

JB: Think of it as this season's "Year of the Bible," yet another litigation generator for church-and-state separatist groups.

BE: You mean those who believe in the U.S. Constitution.

JB: Yeah, them, too.

BE: Well, guess that brings me up to date.

JB: One more: Philly Rep. Mark Cohen wrote to Mayor Nutter and Gov. Corbett suggesting that Ed Rendell be asked to head the School Reform Commission.

BE: Why, do you think?

JB: I assume so Cohen could see his name in a story not about his expenses or about his apology for voting for the "Year of the Bible."

BE: Amen.


Email: baerj@phillynews.com

Blog: ph.ly/BaerGrowls

Columns: ph.ly/JohnBaer

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