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As the New Year blooms, Phillipe and Jorge gaze into our big crystal ball (previously used as a disco mirror ball in the strobe-accessorized Boom Boom Room at Casa Diablo during our embarrassing Saturday Night Fever days in the 1970s) in a bid to see what might happen when the General Assembly convenes in January at the State House.

But first, a quick look back. As our readers know, the legislature was called into special session this past fall to "solve" Vo Dilun's pension crisis, producing a memorable sirocco blast of hot air and, in the end, a bill.

The chief effects of said legislation: sending thousands of furious state pensioners back to the legal pad, with pencil in hand, to revise their retirement plans, and setting up Treasurer Gina Raimondo for a gubernatorial run in 2014.

The New Year is, by chance, an election year. That would normally mean you could expect the gang at Halitosis Hall to tiptoe through the legislative session doing nothing that ruffles any feathers so as to not anger their constituents.

But P&J wonder if the nastiness of the fall's pension fight could shake things up. We predicted, prior to the pension special session, that because of the enmity soon to be generated, at least half of the state senators and representatives would decide to "spend more time with their families" come 2012 election time, fearing the ferocious blowback at the polls.

Strangely, this circumstance might actually lead to a more dynamic session, rather than the predictable pussyfooting, since those pols who know they won't have to pander for votes come campaign season may have the guts to double down on pension reform and actually do something significant to pull the state out of the hole it's in.

It won't please everyone, but at this stage of the game, the meek will not inherit the earth — or even Grandma's collection of Hummel figurines — and some bold and brave action from people who are more concerned about saving the state than their seats on Smith Hill cold be just the ticket.

Sleep tight, Captain Blowhard, we still miss you.


P&J say huzzah for Pope Benny stepping up to the plate and scolding the faithful for their rabid, conspicuous consumerism at Christmas time, telling his flock to shy away from the "superficial glitter" that deflects from the true meaning of the season.

Of course, the fact that this admonishment came from a guy wearing silken, gilded ecumenical robes from a million-dollar wardrobe of dozens of the same, a bejeweled miter that would bring home about 10,000 bucks on eBay, and ruby slippers that would fetch 10 times that amount, shouldn't mean worshippers don't take Il Papa's advice to heart.

And don't be deterred by the fact that his home, the Vatican, looks like it was decorated by the Kardashian sisters with an open checkbook and isn't exactly going to short-sell if he ever has to put it on the market

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