May 3, 2024

In California, the swallows return to Capistrano when summer beckons. Here in Pennsylvania, we know summer is on our doorstep when DEP announces its annual murderous rampage against black flies.  Also, who said it is allowed to be 90 degrees outside in April?

May is Military Appreciation Month. May also has 31 days, so that gives us all ample time to show our appreciation to those who choose to serve our country. Now get to it.

Across the country, young idealistic college kids are protesting on behalf of the Palestinian people, and just like most college kids who preceded them in practicing civil unrest, they are getting mocked by their elders and in some cases being beaten senseless by the police. That’s America, baby. Despite some in the media and others in elected office trying to make this into the Next American Civil War, about 99% of the protests and encampments thus far have been non-violent. So, like, chill. But a word of caution to protesters: if some among you start spouting hateful or violent shit in order to gain attention, you should probably remove them from your midst.

Biden, sly silver fox that he is, tried to change the subject with angry young voters by announcing he will “reschedule” marijuana, paving the way for more medical cannabis research and even more state-level legalization (except for PA; we will keep studying legalization.) Unfortunately for Grandpa Joe, getting a medical cannabis card is about as easy as getting a library card, so no one cares. We do, however, anticipate Biden speaking on this topic and spinning some weird yarn about his boyhood Scranton pal Corn Pop who used to smoke Mary Jane behind the coal tipple.

On the issue of weird yarns, were you aware that one of Biden’s uncles may have been eaten by cannibals in World War II? Or he may have just been blown to smithereens and NOT made into stew, but nevertheless, while this may have been a shocking story to some, we were shocked because we assumed any uncle of Biden would have served in the Civil War, not WW II.

April was another good month for Team Shapiro, with revenue collections again outpacing predictions by 7%, or $373 million. In spite of repeated warnings of falling skies and fiscal Armageddon on the horizon, the Pennsylvania economy keeps defying expectations, unlike the Sixers in the playoffs.

As Pennsylvania policymakers grapple with energy policy, a new warning was issued this week by people who like to issue warnings, telling us all to be wary of green hydrogen. The authors maintain that the pursuit of such is just a huge ruse by the fossil fuel industry (as if that industry needs ruses to be successful). This, folks, is why it is exceedingly difficult to come to any agreement on the future of energy policy. Until people realize that we are not eliminating all fossil fuels next month, we are running in place.

And then on the other end of the energy spectrum, we have Governor Shapiro’s proposed cap-and-trade program. And just as with the hydrogen debate, we again find ourselves mired in 1980’s-style debate over whether we should still be burning coal/waste coal. Maybe we should have this whole debate via fax machine and mimeographed statements. Who has some carbon paper lying around?

Three months after the Shapiro administration announced it wanted to change the way we fund higher education in Pennsylvania (where we, in fact, barely fund it at all), Senate Republicans began moving that train down the tracks. Maybe, just maybe, when this year is over, Pennsylvania can move up to, like, 46th in higher education funding? Maybe 45th?? Don’t you tease us!

Over in the Lower Chamber, a bipartisan bill emerged making it a crime to LoJack someone with one of those Apple Air Tags or similar products. When Apple was designing this bugger, did it not envision that every jealous boy or girlfriend would be slapping that baby under the back seat of their significant others’ car? They should have just renamed it the Creeper Keeper or something like that.

The House also passed a measure that would allow county election workers a whole seven days to count mail-in ballots. This was the bill that county election officials craved the most, which we assume is why it passed on a party-line vote and will likely never make it to Shapiro’s desk. In Pennsylvania, we love to IDENTIFY election-related problems. SOLVING election-related problems? Yeah, not so much.

The House also moved forward on a measure that would ban pigeon shoots, which WE SWEAR passed in the late ’90s. Well, we knew we were wrong on that point when we spotted the indefatigable Heidi Prescott of Humane PA in the Capitol building. Apparently, 49 other states ban this practice. C’mon, people. If Arkansas and Mississippi banned this stuff, what exactly are we waiting for again?

In the darkest days of the COVID crisis, state governments were under huge pressure to not only procure things like PPE and, in some cases, mobile morgues, but also technology they could use to get the pandemic under control. Enter the wild, wild west of companies that claimed they were the absolute BEST at contact tracing, all clamoring for a no-bid state contract. In PA, like elsewhere, we ended up getting a lot less than what we paid for, unless we paid for a massive data breach.

This just in: Governor Shapiro has joined 47 other governors in telling the Biden administration that its plan to fold state Air National Guard units into Space Force is a silly idea. Policy reasons aside, this will be the ONE AND ONLY TIME you see Shapiro on one side of an issue while Joe Biden, Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott are on the other. There are strange bedfellows and then there is this political bouillabaisse.

Over on the Triad Socials, our own Roy Wells and Mike Manzo were recently named to City & State’s Power 100 list. Ah yes, two powerful people, indeed. First there is Roy, who regularly fights with the coffee maker in the penthouse when he attempts to clean it. And then there is Manzo, who can often be found wandering the 12th floor with a soup spoon in his hand, wondering why he is doing so. Congrats to them!

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Queens, where a lawyer who is suing Boeing for, well, being Boeing, found an emergency slide from one of their planes washed up onto his property outside of JFK Airport. This is the aviation version of putting a dead horse head in someone’s bed. Nice house you have there. Be a shame if a six-ton, turbofan jet engine was to fall on it.

And that is what passes for news around here, as the General Assembly kicks back into gear, the sun peeks through the clouds, the birds sing, cannibals eye up more Biden relatives, and the black flies perish under a withering DEP-powered drone attack. From all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!