July 21, 2023

As of today, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup and the NBA championship are no longer the most watched events in the country. Nope, it’s all about Barbie vs. Oppenheimer. On one side you have a man who almost singlehandedly changed the course of human history, and on the other side, a plastic doll. Choose your fighter, America.

President Biden opened the week by once again forgiving $39 billion in student loan debt, because he is simply not taking no for an answer. Guy has a stubborn streak a mile wide. Student loan debt forgiveness has become the Rasputin of national politics. No one can seem to kill it.

Biden then left the White House and came back to Philadelphia, again, to talk about Bidenomics, which is either a progressive dream or some sort of Marxist nightmare, depending on where you choose to inhale your news. Next, he will go to Erie to talk about, we assume, Bidenomics, and eating ice cream on Presque Isle.

The current state budget impasse, which is, to be fair, one of the weirdest ones we have seen in a long time, is starting to put a real strain on county budgets. Up next will be school district budgets, which is where the rubber will slam down on the road pretty damned hard. It’s all fun and games until Labor Day, folks. Then people start to get cranky.

On the higher education front, state system schools have announced a tuition freeze, while Penn State will again freeze tuition for students at all of its Commonwealth campuses. Your move, General Assembly.

Once again, the state House is back at an uncomfortable even number, deadlocked at 101-101, after the resignation of Rep. Sarah Innamorato, who is running for the big chair in Allegheny County. So, do not expect much action up in here until late September because, well, math.

Women across Pennsylvania and the nation have re-joined the post-pandemic workforce at now record numbers. With unemployment in Pennsylvania well below 4% already, it is safe to say that Beyonce was right. Girls do run the world, or at least the Keystone State.

Speaking of women who run the world, we give you one Swift, Taylor, whose shows in Pittsburgh this summer spurred an astounding $46 million in economic benefit. Her impact on the city, while amazing by most folks’ standards, still did not sit well with Stan Jankowski from Blawnox, who had to wait in traffic on the North Side for an hour to get to Giant Eagle.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, a brand-new robotics company is coming to the city, thanks to a Build Back Better check for a cool $69 million. This just in: Roy Wells has pledged to build a robotics plant in Harrisburg if someone gives him $69 million. Triad Robotics, people. It is the future of lobbying.

Because Canada simply will not stop burning for even a minute, a national scientific research group is suggesting people wear N-95 masks when going outside. These folks were apparently sound asleep the last time a national organization suggested that people wear masks.

U.S. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy is proposing a rather ambitious plan to plant a trillion new trees to help combat the effects of climate change. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea, unless you watched Lord of the Rings and have seen the kind of havoc trees can cause if you piss them off.

A study was released this week affirming what we all have known for quite some time. Pennsylvania is old and ain’t getting any younger. The median age of a Keystone Stater is now 41, and older people who moved away are now moving back. It might be because one of their chosen retirement states, Arizona, is basically broiling. In short, if you think our Medicaid spending will level out anytime soon, go have a drink. We have bad news for you.

Democrats hold a roughly 480,000 edge in registered voters in the state, which has held fairy steady.  What is newsworthy, however, is that there are almost one million independents registered here, any or all of whom may not vote in the next primary election. Boy are they gonna be cheesed off when they find out.

Our Shameless Client Plug goes out to none other than Pocono Raceway, where the roar of NASCAR engines will fill the sky for the 50th year this weekend. Get there early, crack a cold one and enjoy the festivities, the forecast could not be better.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Thailand, where Burger King has unveiled its newest monstrosity, the cheeseburger. No, this is not your normal cheeseburger. This one is a bun and 20, yes 20, slices of American cheese and nothing else. No meat, no condiments, not a pickle in sight. It does, however, come with a fountain drink, a side of fries and an angioplasty.

That’s what passes for news around here as July churns by and we all stare longingly at the State Capitol and pray for the return of… ok, no one is doing that. We totally made that last part up. Until next time, from all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!