Extreme kvetching

In days gone by (or if you prefer days of “yore”), there was a ra­dio com­ment­at­or by the name of Gab­ri­el Heat­ter.

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(In Yid­dish — to “kvetch” is to com­plain)

In days gone by (or if you prefer days of “yore”), there was a ra­dio com­ment­at­or by the name of Gab­ri­el Heat­ter. Heat­ter al­ways opened his show by say­ing, “There’s good news to­night.” If Heat­ter were around today, I won­der where the hell he would find the good news? Al­though, as I un­der­stand it, KYW Eye­wit­ness News is prom­ising to in­clude more up­lift­ing news in its cov­er­age. Hey Ukee and Jes­sica, how many times can you run a story about a fire­man res­cuing a kit­ten? So in a coun­try that’s try­ing to de­cipher the defin­i­tion of “ex­treme vet­ting,” I will do what I do best. Ex­treme kvetch­ing.

How can Gov. Tom Wolf and his le­gis­lature solve any prob­lem if they can’t fig­ure out a simple way to buy an al­co­hol­ic bever­age in this state? I know I should be thank­ful for the re­cent changes en­acted in the state li­quor stores. One change is that you may now pur­chase wine at our loc­al su­per­mar­ket. But really, do you have to be a con­ser­vat­ive Re­pub­lic­an to think that it would be easi­er to just privat­ize the sale of li­quor and beer? We’re ot be­ing rad­ic­al here. We’ve giv­en up on bring­ing this state in­to the 21st cen­tury.  But for starters, how about Pennsylvania en­ter­ing the 20th cen­tury? 

Here’s just one ex­ample of the state’s bizarre law. We watched the re­cent Su­per Bowl in a bottle shop on East Passy­unk Av­en­ue.  The shop sells wine and beer.  Since it doesn’t sell food, pat­rons may bring in their own or have the food de­livered. So far, so good. Let’s say, you have a few folks in your group drink­ing wine.  The store sells wine by the bottle, so you fig­ure you can pur­chase a couple to get you through the vis­ion of see­ing NFL Com­mis­sion­er Ro­ger Goodell hand­ing the Su­per Bowl Trophy to Tom Brady again. However, if you buy a bottle of wine in the store, the law says that you can’t drink it in the store.  You may only drink wine pur­chased by the glass. No doubt this is the res­ult of a com­prom­ise between those who fa­vor privat­iz­a­tion and those who worry about the mul­tiple con­stitu­en­cies that would of­fend. This is the kind of thing that gives com­prom­ise a bad name …

A show­down is on the ho­ri­zon in Phil­adelphia, and I’m not re­fer­ring to the soda tax fight. There is little doubt in my mind that Pres­id­ent Trump will cut off fed­er­al fund­ing to sanc­tu­ary cit­ies such as Phil­adelphia. I’m sure that such a move would prompt test­ing the fund­ing cutoff in court. Any­one who tells you they know how a judge would rule in such a situ­ation is blow­ing smoke at you. Law­yers will tell you no one knows how a court will de­cide. For­get for a mo­ment wheth­er you back the may­or’s pro-sanc­tu­ary city stance or you are against it. If a cutoff in fund­ing is up­held, Phil­adelphia would lose big bucks and I don’t think we’re go­ing to try and get it back by in­creas­ing the soda tax, even if by then, it hasn’t been tossed by the court. This dark cloud on the ho­ri­zon is already be­ing no­ticed by Coun­cil Pres­id­ent Dar­rell Clarke.  Clarke is already hint­ing that he would be in fa­vor of com­ply­ing with the feds. Ken­ney re­mains adam­antly op­posed to what he con­siders “cav­ing” to the de­mands of the pres­id­ent.

Un­til now, Phil­adelphia’s status as a Sanc­tu­ary city has not gen­er­ated much heat. Also, it is im­port­ant to note that Ken­ney and City Coun­cil have had a love­fest com­pared to some past re­la­tion­ships. But the real­ity is that ab­sorb­ing or re­pla­cing the loss of funds could change all of that. Phil­adelphia, like most big cit­ies, can’t af­ford to lose fed­er­al fund­ing. Would voters stand firm in provid­ing sanc­tu­ary for refugees if it means the city mak­ing fin­an­cial sac­ri­fices? And if an ex­pec­ted out­cry from their con­stitu­ents would en­sue, how would mem­bers of Coun­cil re­act? Stay tuned. …

The state Sen­ate has voted to make abor­tions leg­al for up to only 20 weeks rather than the cur­rent 24-week peri­od. As of this writ­ing, Wolf says that he would veto such a meas­ure if it came to his desk. Let’s be hon­est.  Pro-life groups will not be sat­is­fied un­til abor­tion is com­pletely banned (al­though some would make ex­cep­tions in the case of rape or in­cest or life of the moth­er).  It seems evid­ent that the change would really be about what re­cent changes in oth­er states are about — mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult to get an abor­tion.  The sup­port­ers of the change claim that tech­no­lo­gic­al ad­vances over the years show that a fetus is now vi­able out­side the womb at 20 weeks rather than 24.  But there is no sci­entif­ic evid­ence to sup­port their ar­gu­ment. Maybe that’s why the bill was ap­proved by the state Sen­ate without any testi­mony from med­ic­al ex­perts. And as such, the bill is just an­oth­er ex­ample of politi­cians dis­tort­ing sci­ence to sup­port their agenda.  …

There have al­ways been a lot of reas­ons to hate the Phil­adelphia Park­ing Au­thor­ity.  But the re­cent in­vest­ig­at­ive re­ports in the In­quirer about top of­fi­cials grabbing big bucks by com­pil­ing huge amounts of comp time just boggles the mind. And you thought you couldn’t be sur­prised about any­thing the PPA has done in the past. … 


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