March 10, 2023

We started today by gathering up some tasty stories, making a nice rue and manufacturing a hearty chowder of news. To start with, the economy added another 311,000 jobs last month, proving once again we are in the weirdest “recession” ever. And when, exactly, does the media stop doing this monthly announcement with the phrase “defying expectations?” Whose expectations? A dude in a Topeka basement with some tarot cards?

We take you to lovely Philadelphia for our Shameless Client Plug, where President Biden decided to preview his annual budget at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, our valued client.  You may have spied our own Mike Acker in attendance, proving once again he is the embodiment of bipartisanship.

The Manhattan district attorney has sent former President Trump an invitation to a meet-and-greet with a grand jury, the place where if you are not at the table, you are most certainly on the menu. Hell, you’re probably on the menu anyway.

The pandemic era expansion of Medicaid is coming to an end very soon, and with it, millions of Americans might be summarily booted from coverage. So, if you are of the mindset that Congress should tackle Medicaid reform, you may wanna brace yourself before the next pitch comes at you high and tight up in your kitchen.

Gov. Josh Shapiro this week rolled out his budget plan for the fiscal year starting in July, and despite Shapiro’s master of oratory, the speech was… long-ish. While some budget addresses are short on detail, this was decidedly not that speech. This $44 billion cake was not just baked, it was sliced and served with a nice side of Pennsylvania milk.

The Senate GOP previewed its priorities for the coming year, and the plan largely focused on inflation and energy. This is good, because it is gonna take a helluva lotta energy to tackle inflation, as Congress has already learned.

Congratulations to newly minted Attorney General Michelle Henry and State Police Commissioner Christopher Paris. Both received unanimous Senate confirmation votes this week. Thinking about doing some criming? Ms. Henry and Mr. Paris would like a word.

The drug and alcohol treatment folks would like you to know that there is a serious workforce shortage in that field, and they need some help, macht schnell. If you are a loyal reader, you know that workforce shortages exist in pretty much every industry except social media influencers. While pay, benefits and workplace stress are factors to these shortages, we as Americans are gonna need to come to grips with the fact that there are simply not enough Americans being born to fill our needs. So if you have ideas on what to do about immigration, you might wanna kick the tires on some new ideas.

Speaking of workforce shortages, one state House member unveiled a plan that will boost the minimum starting salary for teachers to $60,000. Considering that a person working $15/hour will make $30,000 annually, it would make sense that the people who essentially RAISE OUR CHILDREN FOR EIGHT HOURS A DAY make at least twice that.

On the heels of a bipartisan state Senate hearing focusing on Norfolk Southern, the Shapiro administration announced it has wrung $7 million out of NS for its recent train derailment, and by recent, we mean the one that happened before the other two that just happened. NS seems to have forgotten the basic tenet of railroads: the wheels should stay on the track.

Criminal justice reform can be a grueling process, because problems in that system seem to pop up like a game of whack-a-mole. This week we learned of yet another problem in the system, that being the use of competency hearings. If you are a fan of Law & Order, you know these hearings often need to take place before a person can stand trial. The problem? While awaiting these hearings, the defendants often find themselves in the least helpful place on the planet to deal with competency issues: in prison. Pretty bad cycle.

As Governor Shapiro gears up to fight for 15, some groups out there believe that, should the effort fail, we should change state law to give local governments the ability to raise the wage on their own (we are looking at you, Philly!) All we know is that if we were a local mayor, we would set the wage rate at weird levels to see if anyone is paying attention – $11 an hour on Monday, $15 an hour Tuesday through Thursday, and $26 an hour on Friday. Let’s link wages to expected work output and the need for extra loot heading into the weekend.

The new Pittsburgh International Airport will have a train connecting parts of the terminal, and designers have tried to make the arrival points look like the views as you emerge from the Fort Pitt Tunnels. Because we all know Pittsburgh is the only city with an entrance like that one! The Squirrel Hill Tunnel side just doesn’t slap like that.

Wednesday was International Women’s Day and as such, we invite you to surf on over and say hello to the women who make Team Triad what it is! Those folks are Savannah Beeler (the social butterfly), Megan Dapp (the performer), Olivia Rindfuss (the influencer), Brandi Hunter-Davenport (the storyteller), Yvonne Roberts (the connector), Jennifer Riley (the navigator), Sarah Spotts (the dynamo), Andrea Updegrove (the broker), Jan Webb (the cheerleader) and our latest addition, Kelsey Denny (avatar still under construction; announcement coming soon!)

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to outer space, where scientists believe they have located a city-killer asteroid that will hit either Los Angeles or Washington on Valentine’s Day, 2046. So let us digest that for a second. You folks have the date narrowed down TO THE DAY 23 years ahead of time, yet our impact spots are 3,000 miles apart? Can’t be a bit more precise than that, huh? Have it your way, we will cancel dinner plans.

That’s what passes for news around here as it is currently snowing, Daylight Savings is gonna end, budget hearings are coming up, cats and dogs are living together and NOTHING MAKES SENSE ANYMORE! In the meantime, from all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!