May 17, 2024

We begin this week by sending our condolences to the family and friends of former state Rep. James Roebuck, who passed away at age 79 this week. The longtime House Education Committee Chairman was the O.G. when it came to equitable school funding. He will be missed.  

We have learned that President Biden and former President Trump will meet for two debates this election season, with one of them coming on June 27. We think we speak for everyone when we say the sooner these things are over with, the better it is for all of us. In fact, do them both next week and call it a day.

The two debates will be mano-y-mano affairs, leaving RFK Jr. and his pet brain worm on the sidelines. It is unclear in how many states Kennedy will even appear on the ballot, but he is already working to gather the 5,000 signatures necessary to gain access to the PA ballot.

A New York Times/Siena poll was released this week showing Trump beating Biden in every battleground state except Wisconsin. The Biden camp reacted much the same way we do when faced with ugly news.  We pretend we don’t see it and carry on with our day. Biden might as well have stuck fingers in both ears and shouted, “I CAN’T HEAR THE NEW YORK TIMES LA LA LA LA LA!!” 

The Pentagon unveiled its new AI pilotless fighter jet, which we spent a gazillion dollars developing because of, well, China. Maybe it is just us, but we prefer a human in that cockpit, preferably with a cool call sign like “Hellhound” or “Sky Dragon” or “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”  

We are going to take a slight detour into the world of sports to tell you that the NFL schedule for next fall was released this week, and this is your very early reminder that, due to Christmas Day, as the Pittsburgh Steelers match up with the Kansas City Chiefs, it is very likely that Taylor Swift will be spending her yuletide in Yinzer Town. Prepare accordingly.

Also, we would like to thank PGA star Scottie Sheffler for temporarily making televised golf at least a bit interesting for the first time since Tiger Woods downed a bottle of Patron and fell asleep in his Benzie.

New census numbers dropped this week, and if trends hold, the City of Brotherly Love will be passed by San Antonio as the sixth-largest city in the country. Philly denizens have a famous hatred for Dallas, so maybe they need to save some of that venom for San Antonio, too.

With June coming into the front windshield in Harrisburg, the speculation surrounding the state budget is starting to hit a fever pitch. Will there be a tax cut? Transit funding? School vouchers? Economic development loot? We have some thoughts, but we will likely have to charge you for them, so check back on June 30.

For their part, the House Democrats grabbed a Louisville Slugger and took a big ‘ol swing at school funding, proposing an additional $5 billion for this year. Yes, you read that correctly. When you go into a negotiation, ya might as well start on the north end of the priority list, we suppose.

And while the state’s fiscal picture remains rather strong, the state’s gaming industry (which currently funds everything on God’s green earth), is also sailing along, topping a half-billion in new clams just last month. This is, of course, why it is IMPERATIVE that we do all that we can to slash that revenue by allowing 30,000 so-called skill games into the market. Hey folks, our legalized gaming economy isn’t broken! LET’S FIX IT!

Gov. Josh Shapiro is getting ready to sign a bill that will ban the use of cellular devices inside your car.  Like, don’t touch them at all. Leave the iPhone in the trunk and slowly drive away, people. The irony here is that Shapiro introduced such a ban 18 years ago when he was a lawmaker. The wheels of Harrisburg do grind exceedingly slowly sometimes.

Shapiro also continued his push to help more Pennsylvania dairy farmers avail themselves of a federal program designed to keep them in business and protect them from wild spikes in milk prices. We applaud this move, as we like ourselves some milk around here.  

The governor also signed a bill to ban non-agricultural use of xylazine, a powerful horse tranquilizer.  Once again, we wonder if there is a substance on earth that human beings won’t try to abuse. As the state budget debate heats up, you may ask why the state is continually investing in substance abuse programs. This story, dear reader, is why.

In honor of Mother’s Day last week, we ran across this piece about the number of moms serving in state legislatures, featuring our own state Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, who became the first sitting PA senator to give birth while in office. If life experiences help to make a better-informed General Assembly, we are hoping that whole “giving birth while in office” trend continues. At the very least, dealing with screaming toddlers at home will help prepare them for dealing with their colleagues in closed-door caucus meetings.

Over on the Triad socials, we remind you that next week is another Tuesday with Triad on our beautiful rooftop penthouse. This month’s theme is cocktails and cigars, so come over and enjoy some peace and friendship high above the hustle and bustle of Harrisburg.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to the Big Easy, where once again the chefs of New Orleans have proven that you can make ANYTHING tasty with a little cayenne pepper. Because the southeastern United States is about to be overrun by trillions of cicadas, one restaurant is offering a new cicada salad, among other variations of red-eyed bug cuisine. Listen, we get the idea here, but we are just gonna go ahead and stick with the shrimp.

That’s what passes for news around here, as April showers bring even more May showers and who the hell knows where the sun is. C’mon back next week for more news you could give a hoot less about.  Until then, from all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!