January 6, 2023

We start our festivities this week (and this year) with a prayer for Pennsylvania’s senior senator, Bob Casey, Jr., who announced on Thursday that he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Casey and his doctors caught it early, and they are optimistic, but we figure some prayers won’t hurt!

Also in our prayers is the family of Scranton firefighter Stephen Sunday, who died of a pulmonary embolism caused by a bout with COVID-19. Please keep Stephen’s friends and family, as well as his brothers and sisters in IAFF Local 60, in your thoughts.

The country’s unemployment rate has fallen to 3.5%, we learned this week. The last time that happened was 1973, and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” by Tony Orlando and Dawn, was the nation’s number-one hit. AND IT WAS A TOE-TAPPER, PEOPLE! With another 223,000 jobs created in December, maybe the Fed can knock it the hell off for a few minutes.

By the time you get around to reading this, Kevin McCarthy may or may not be speaker of the U.S. House.  In fact, after his 11th straight humiliating loss, Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting has signed him and named him the Opening Day starting pitcher.

You know who won the speakership on the first ballot? That would be Berks County’s own Rep. Mark Rozzi! After weeks of speculation about who might claim the gavel in the evenly divided PA House, Rozzi came out of nowhere and RTK’d the field (if you have a son or daughter who watches professional wrestling, you get the pun.) Congratulations to Speaker Rozzi, and best of luck!

Rozzi will helm a chamber that welcomed a metric ton of fresh-faced, brand-new members, who most assuredly could never have dreamed that Tuesday would end like it did. Get used to it, fine people. The only predictable thing about PA politics is its wonderful unpredictability. Oh, and endless internal caucus meetings where you might want to pull your eyelashes out. Those are also a constant.

Congratulations to state senator and President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, who also officially became lieutenant governor, albeit for the two weeks before Austin Davis takes the wheel. Two weeks is plenty of time to make some good-hearted mischief, madam president. May we suggest gluing Davis’s stapler to his desk or removing all the D’s from his keyboard.

The former occupant of that office, John Fetterman, is now officially a U.S. senator. He even donned a suit for the occasion, which he promptly balled up and threw in the garbage afterwards. Good luck, Senator Fetterman!

Incoming Gov. Josh Shapiro, meanwhile, continued to fill out his top positions, nominating Philadelphia City Commissioner and one-time Donald Trump punching bag Al Schmidt to head the Department of State. Schmidt, if confirmed, will oversee elections in Pennsylvania, which is about as thankless a job as currently exists in the entire state. It’s like volunteering to get smacked in the nose.

Shapiro also announced he has filled two key cabinet spots, naming Akbar Hossain as his director of policy and planning and former House GOP member and true renaissance man Mike Vereb as his secretary of legislative affairs. Congratulations to Akbar and Mike! Based upon the events of the last week, we are sending Tums over to your offices.

Embattled Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner had a good week (he’s a little less embattled, we hear), as the Commonwealth Court ruled that the impeachment articles against him didn’t quite reach the standard of actual impeachable offenses. Looks like the state senators just got a few free weeks added to their calendars. We caution, however, that if you believe this is the end of the animus between the GOP (as well as some Dems) and Krasner, you may wanna stop drinking so early on a Friday. Not to be all judgy and stuff.

Pittsburgh city parks officials have announced that they have located a beaver in Frick Park, and they posted a video of the little critter on their Twitter feed. As we understand the story, the beaver was originally swimming in the Beaver River in Beaver County (just south of Beaver Falls and west of Big Beaver Borough), wandered into the Ohio River, floated south for 20 miles, and ended up in Frick Park.  No word on whether the Frick Park Beaver would eventually return to Beaver County.

Speaking of Beaver County, congratulations to state Rep. Josh Kail, who celebrated the birth of his eighth child on swearing-in day. Josh is now only two kids short of being able to have a real, Kail-only, five-on-five basketball game in his driveway!

The PA Farm Show kicks off this weekend, and we are contractually obligated to warn you that you cannot buy a farm there. It is not the car show. What you can buy, however, is enough food to turn your dry January into a fabulously fat February!

While you are there, stop by and see our pals at the PA Public Horticulture Coalition (SHAMELESS CLIENT PLUG!), who will be there to showcase this state’s 30 public gardens!

If you do nothing else this weekend, please check out our brand-new website and Triad rebrand, courtesy of the BEST COMMUNICATIONS TEAM IN ALL THE LAND! No, seriously, if your brand and website are as stale as Christmas fruit cake, you should drop us a note.

In our inaugural 2023 We Can’t Make This Up segment, we thought about just telling you to turn on the speaker-palooza happening on C-SPAN, but instead, we went with something far more heartwarming. So, we bring you a video from England, where a herd of cows unwittingly signaled to a birdwatcher that a five-day-old baby seal was stuck in the mud and separated from her mama. The cows, who are being credited with saving the seal, were actually just standing around wondering what the hell the seal was, but nevertheless, the seal is healthy and happy. And the birdwatcher, who was there to watch birds and not cows or seals, is also happily back to watching birds. The end!

That’s what passes for news around here, and DAMN did we miss you all! Be sure to check out our new website, subscribe, wake the kids, call the neighbors and tell them too! Until the next time we meet, from everyone at Team Triad, have a great weekend!