Philly has been in the New York press a lot recently, mostly for sports news like Eagles star Michael Vick's victorious season or Cliff Lee's return to the Phillies.

But the New York Times today drops a Philadelphia reference in a different kind of story, an ominous report about a town in Alabama that stopped sending out pension checks because their fund ran out of money. It's cautionary tale for cities like Philadelphia that have underfunded pension plans, the Times reports.

The situation in Prichard is extremely unusual — the city has sought bankruptcy protection twice — but it proves that the unthinkable can, in fact, sometimes happen. And it stands as a warning to cities like Philadelphia and states like Illinois, whose pension funds are under great strain: if nothing changes, the money eventually does run out, and when that happens, misery and turmoil follow.

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