March 1, 2024

Michigan GOP primary voters trickled to the polls this week and drove yet another nail into Nikki Haley’s candidacy, while their Democratic counterparts sent Joe Biden a pretty unmistakable message about his handling of the Israeli/Hamas conflict. In related news, the chief cheerleader for the “vote uncommitted” movement also said she is terrified of another Trump presidency. So, don’t vote for Biden because I am terrified of Trump. Somebody make it make sense. Or don’t, at this point, it doesn’t matter. The November race that 70% of Americans say they don’t want is gonna happen, largely because those 70% keep voting for Trump and Biden.

CNN surveyed a bunch of old people to get their thoughts on the octogenarian running against the late-stage septuagenarian in November. Thirty percent said the candidates are too old, 50% said they are old but capable, and 20% said get the hell off my lawn.

Joey and Donnie spent the day together at the southern border, and it went pretty much exactly as you would expect. Do you know who really gets the shaft when stuff like this happens? Border patrol agents, who have enough on their hands without having to pause for photo ops from people running for office.

Congress passed a stopgap budget, which essentially kicks the spending decision can down the road all the way to… March. Seriously? If you are gonna stopgap your way through life, at least go big. Our polite recommendation is that Congress not go on vacation from now until mid-March.

Sen. Mitch McConnell announced he will surrender his leadership position in November, which means Congress will have a former House speaker and a former Senate majority leader just chilling out with the rank-and-file, playing bocce or something. McConnell leaving the top post will create a void that will be VERY difficult for anyone to fill, not that every Tom, Dick and Mary in the Upper Chamber won’t try.

The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that fertilized eggs are, in fact, babies has thrown the nation’s IVF clinics into utter chaos. Congress (at least some in Congress) and many states are scrambling to pass legislation to protect IVF treatments, and you can expect a bill to surface in Pennsylvania in 3… 2… 1…

Tucked in Governor Shapiro’s budget plan is an $18 million line to build a new facility for juvenile offenders adjacent to SCI-Phoenix in bucolic Montgomery County. The move comes as a result of the state being sued for generally ignoring this population and the situation in Philadelphia deteriorating to the point where juvenile offenders were sleeping on concrete floors. In a perfect world, there would be enough treatment options for these kids, but we don’t live in that place. And if we did, it is likely we would end up finding out that the benevolent ruler was actually some sort of evil genius and the Guardians of the Galaxy would have to fly in and… sorry. We watched a lot of Marvel Universe this week.

Speaking of the dolla dolla bills y’all, Shapiro and his ride-or-die Austin Davis are traveling the state touting a plan to inject a cool $100 million into a gun violence task force. How to rid the state of gun violence will garner a LOT of divergent opinions up on the big hill, so expect the overriding question to be not what the task force is, but what the task force does.

Another task force was created this week, this one headed up by Secretary of State Al Schmidt to assess and dispose of election threats. This is a nice addition to his portfolio, which is to ensure fair and secure elections in Pennsylvania, which we assume means to assess and dispose of election threats.

Spotlight PA tickled our nerd nerves this week with a rundown on Pennsylvania’s truly remarkable system of local governments, of which there are about 2,700.  Townships, counties, boroughs, cities, towns; you name it, we got it. Add in 1,500 municipal authorities and 500 school districts and we have ourselves a massive bouillabaisse of dysfunctional tribalism.

Some states are moving legislation that seeks to find out what the true cost of higher education really is, after the tuition is accounted for. Pennsylvania college kids are lugging around $1,400 worth of textbook costs and $1,900 in transportation costs in addition to tuition, room and board. Factor in beer, vapes, and Cheetos and one needs a king’s ransom to get a college degree.

The policies and procedures of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association are about to get a very unwelcome and intrusive internal exam by one lawmaker after once again punishing Aliquippa High School for the crime of being too good at football. The Quips, once again champions of 4A football, are being forced to play in 5A next year despite the fact that they are the size of a single A school. Should they win the title again next year, the PIAA is reportedly considering making Aliquippa play in the AFC North.

Pennsylvania last year joined with other states to form a nursing compact, which would allow cross-state practicing by nurses. This is an elegant solution to our nursing shortage, but it seems like the FBI, which does the background checks, could give a flying fig about it. The Fibbies are mucking up the works so badly that the compact cannot even function. So, if you are one of those “defund the FBI” people, please don’t.

Pennsylvania lawmakers are starting to chafe a bit at the preponderance of so-called “dark money” in campaigns. For the rubes out there, dark money is often corporate cash sent to groups that were formed to sway elections, with the donors being shielded from public view. This, according to dark money enthusiasts, is to prevent those donors from being “threatened or harassed” for supporting the things they wanna support, which may be the funniest thing we’ve read today. Democracy dies in darkness, people.

The Shameless Client Plug for the week goes out to Montgomery County’s own Cody Systems, which became the vendor for all of SEPTA’s data sharing and records management. Some powerful stuff is going on in MontCo!

And over on the Triad Socials, give it up for Yvonne Roberts, one of City & State Magazine’s Black Trailblazers!

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to the Lone Star State, although we really didn’t want to. A man from Spring, Texas was arrested for taking items off the shelves of an antique shop and trying to smuggle them out under his kilt by putting them in his, um, well you get the picture. Worse, he decided at some point it might be best to leave them in the store, so he removed them and put them back on the shelves. Listen pal, if you are gonna put antiques in your prison wallet, just keep ‘em! That’s what passes for news as MARCH IS HERE, BABY! Goodbye and good riddance to January and February. Join us next week when the daylight lingers longer, and our brains return to full capacity. From all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!