April 12, 2024

On Monday, the moon temporarily moved in front of the sun.  Then it moved on.  And because we are a country full of easily amused humans, we all raced outside with our weird paper sunglasses and stared at it.  “But the moon covered up the sun!”  Yeah, storm clouds do that all the time.  We just don’t make a big deal out of it.   

President Joe Biden has had better weeks, as Tuesday’s report on inflation was a gut punch.  After months of cooling, inflation flared up again like a bad case of shingles, which then caused the Dow to implode.  If this trend continues, expect one Donald John Trump to pound away relentlessly at what is clearly Team Biden’s biggest liability.   

In addition to his inflation problem, even Biden’s Democratic allies are questioning his moratorium on LNG exports, especially here in Pennsylvania, where we have a lot of that yummy, nutritious natural gas and a whole workforce of building trades men and women looking to go to work down in southeastern PA.  Biden knows that Pennsylvania has nineteen electoral votes, right?   

Meanwhile, Trump will be in a courtroom Monday as his first criminal trial begins in the hush money case.  So, while Biden limps along with inflation, energy policy and the border hanging around his neck, there may be stormy weather ahead for Trump, too.  Yup, choose your fighter, America.  The matchup everyone said they didn’t want is going to happen, largely because the vast majority of Americans voted for this matchup, regardless of how much they bitched and complained about it.   

Back in relatively serene Pennsylvania, Governor Shapiro joined with Republican and Democratic leaders to mark the opening of the application period for student teacher stipends.  The $10 million set aside for that new program, designed to get more teachers into the workforce, was scarfed up faster than we can take down a bag of Middleswarth BBQ potato chips.  But hey, how cool was the moment?  A bipartisan group of lawmakers, celebrating with a governor.  TAKE NOTE, CONGRESS!  THIS IS HOW YOU GOVERN!  

There was more bipartisan cooperation on display as a bill to regulate telehealth services made it one step closer to law.  After years of, shall we say, entanglements, Pennsylvania is poised to have a telehealth law only ten short years after most insurers started covering virtual visits.   

You want more bipartisanship, do ya?  WELL, DO YA PUNK?  How about House Democrats and Republicans joining together to take a crack at regulating AI?  If we as a Commonwealth didn’t spill so much ink pointing out what divides us, you might think the government in Pennsylvania is working exactly as it should.  

OK, so not everything was wine, roses and bonbons on the Hill this week.  Outside of reproductive health and gun safety, there is no larger policy disagreement in this fine Commonwealth than the debate over the legalization of Sunday hunting.  No, we are dead serious.  This debate has been raging for decades, pitting outdoor enthusiasts against hunters, and even some clergy members who take that “keep holy the Sabbath” thing very seriously. In the annals of the Most Pennsylvania Debates Ever, Sunday hunting is number one with a bullet.  See what we did there?   

Years after making texting while driving illegal, the General Assembly is now poised to send Shapiro a bill banning the use of any handheld device while operating a vehicle.  Eventually, it will be a third-degree felony to have a phone anywhere in your vehicle.   

We pause this screed to remind yinz people that today, being the 12th day of April, is 412 Day.  So, grab an Iron, make a jumbo sammich and head dahntahn.    

Unfortunately, the 412 is still rather soggy due to recent torrential downpours that flooded Point State Park.  But the rains did make the infamous “floating dumpster” gif come to life in Green Tree.   

Now back to the show.  Partisan groups are still fighting it out in court over whether mail-in ballots need to be correctly dated by the voter.  Of all the issues around mail-in ballots, this one is easily the most mystifying.  Setting aside ballots deposited in drop boxes, if you mail in a ballot, it will have a POSTMARK ON IT!  If the postmark is after election day, it’s a no. If it is before, it is a yes.  Why the hell do voters even need to date their ballot in the first place??   

Speaking of election controversies, catch our good friend David Thornburgh of BallotPA (shameless client plug) telling us all why allowing independents to vote in primaries isn’t controversial at all!  It is common sense!  

Public defenders, who already have one of the most thankless jobs on the planet, are kinda cheesed off that even though they are squarely on the front lines of the opioid crisis, they have been prohibited by the state from sharing in the opioid settlement loot.  This seems to be an entirely correctable problem, at least to us.  

The IRS free tax prep online program is expanding this year, as Tax Day is upon us once again.  We were amused this story about how the program is “controversial.”  Wow, we wonder who thinks free and online is controversial.  Oh, didn’t see you standing there, accounting industry.   

Over on the Triad socials this week, we have a two for one shameless client plug!  When the Athlife Foundation meets Pocono Raceway, good things are gonna happen for a whole lot of kids!    

If you happen to be in our area next week, stop by our rooftop deck for another Triad Tuesday, featuring tequila and tacos. Yeah, we got your attention on that one, huh?    

In Our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Oregon, where a man was literally inches away from being sliced in half from a runaway circular saw blade that flew out of a construction site.  The blade bounded through a parking lot and embedded itself into the side of a building where one minute earlier, Shane Reimche was standing.  Shane reacted pretty much exactly as all of us would, though.  When asked how he felt about escaping death by saw blade, he said, “I need a beer.”  

That’s what passes for news around here as False Spring has now gone away and been replaced by Very Brief Final Winter, before once again moving to Kinda Real Spring.  Come back next week, or we will be inconsolable.  From all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!