July 28, 2023

We begin this week by sending our deepest condolences to state Rep. Gina Curry, whose husband Ralphal “Rap” Curry, Jr. tragically passed away this week. From all of us at Team Triad, you are in our prayers, Rep. Curry.

On Wednesday, Americans were informed not only that UFOs are real, but the government has been storing “non-human biological” material from one of those vehicles. And we all literally WENT ABOUT OUR DAY LIKE THIS WAS TOTALLY NORMAL! Our entire existence is about to turn into a James Cameron movie, and half of us spent the day babbling about Hunter Biden. If aliens exist, which looks entirely likely, they probably took one look at all of us, laughed and got the hell outta here.

Oh, and former President Donald Trump got indicted. Again. He’s gonna spend more time in the courthouse next year than the entire cast of Law & Order.

Undeterred by the news, Trump still plans on hosting a rally in Erie tomorrow, largely because our jewel of a city on the lake has become the bellwether for the 2024 elections. Congratulations, Erie. Get used to motorcades and traffic.

In case you had any doubts about the previous paragraph, it should be noted that when Governor Shapiro decided to have an event highlighting the more than one billion smackers the state is about to receive for broadband buildout, he chose… wait for it… Erie.

The nation’s GDP grew by an unexpectedly high 2.4% last quarter, exceeding all of the economists’ expectations, again. These folks get paid to be wrong more often than meteorologists. In any case, if there is a looming recession out there, no one has bothered to inform the economy.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate sits at a record-low 3.8% this week. Interestingly, we are already seeing political candidates running on the tried-and-true platform of “getting our economy moving again.” Moving to where, exactly?

Weirdly, however, more Pennsylvanians are availing themselves of SNAP benefits (the food stamps of yore) than ever before. Does this suggest that there just might be a bit of wage inequity going on around here? Oh, we didn’t see you standing there, Mr. Minimum Wage.

Speaking of wages, the push is on in the General Assembly to provide a cost-of-living increase for retired school employees, a group that has not seen an increase in 21 years. Their yearly earnings, as a result, are about 50% of what they were twenty-one years ago. There is unfair, and then there is borderline immoral.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania still has no budget, and the bills are starting to pile up. There’s a chance the state Senate may return next month to send the budget to the governor for his signature, which would be all fine and dandy, but still not solve the impasse entirely. Hey, what’s the rush? It’s only late July, or June 58th if you are playing at home.

Caught up in the fiscal kerfuffle is $100 million in adult mental health support, and so once again, the budget may hit the governor’s desk, but that doesn’t mean it is all wine and roses.

In our Triad Bipartisan Spotlight, we give you Erie’s own (sick of Erie yet?) Sen. Dan Laughlin and Philadelphia’s finest, Sen. Sharif Street. The two of them teamed up this week to introduce a bill to legalize recreational weed, something they point out was kinda, sorta done when the state authorized medical use in 2016. It is common knowledge that pretty much anyone who wants one can get a card.

In September, there will be yet another special election in a state House district, this time in suburban Pittsburgh. According to our friends at WESA, the shortened time frame for candidates to make their case to voters has inadvertently caused all of them to get along and not trash each other on a daily basis.  How novel. Strange days have found us, indeed.

If the General Assembly is going to vote to move up the primary date next year, it is gonna have to do so with alacrity, we learned this week. Because the 2024 primary is set to happen during Passover, everyone seems to want it moved, and counties are going to need to do some planning. As we have been told, there also may be a presidential contest of note on that ballot, so maybe, just maybe, Pennsylvania will be relevant nationally!

We give a shout out this week to our good friends at the Lehigh Valley Airport, who celebrated the opening of their expanded terminal and new security check-in. Congratulations, team!

In additional shameless client plugging we give you the new COO at PECO, Nicole LeVine, whose job is to help keep the power on when temperatures jump to, well, days like today.

On that note, the entire state is under a heat advisory today as it is currently hotter than two rats fighting in a wool sock outside. Stay hydrated, and please take a moment to thank our first responders for doing what they do to save lives while simultaneously sautéing inside those suits.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, it’s aliens, right? Like, it HAS to be aliens this week. We give you Chris Bledsoe, a man who claims he can summon UFOs and other extraterrestrial objects simply by praying. If, in fact, this is true, Mr. Bledsoe, we have a small request: stop it, man! Just stop it right now. That’s what passes for news around here as we collectively melt into the sidewalk. We will see you back here next week if we all survive the upcoming alien invasion. Now that they know that we know, all bets are off. From all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!