Times are tough all over. A record number of Americans are on food stamps. Millions out of work. Millions more taking pay cuts and forced furloughs, holding onto what precious few jobs there are by the skin of their teeth. The Philadelphia Orchestra, which is the mother ship of the Philly Pops, has declared bankruptcy. Which, just to be very clear, means the Phily Pops is also bankrupt. As such, it has sought to re-negotiate the fat-cat contract of Philly Pops conductor Peter Nero, who currently pulls down more than a half million dollars a year for waving a baton in front of a bunch of people dressed up like penguins performing cornball orchestral versions of James Bond themes and the Lennon & McCartney songbook for classical music tourists that can’t handle the real thing. Even in flush times, that salary is way, way out of whack with what he actually contributes to society. According to a Peter Dobrin’s story in today’s Inquirer, the Philly Pops wants to re-negotiate his salary down to a paltry $347,000. Nero calls this salary ‘horrific’. Which leads us to call Peter Nero an asshole. Peter, we happen to know that exactly 99% of Americans, present company included, would walk through fire naked doused in gasoline for that ‘horrific’ salary. After months of trying to get around this impasse, the Philly Pops has asked the bankruptcy court to nullify their contract with Nero, in which case he would get NOTHING annually where he would have gotten $347,000 a year if he hadn’t been such an intransigent asshat. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, Petey.