December 8, 2023

We open this week by sending all of our best thoughts to Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, who announced he has been diagnosed with cancer. We wish him a full and fast recovery!

The economy gained another 200,000 jobs last month, with unemployment ticking down to 3.7%. There are now 1.3 jobs available for every unemployed American, meaning it is quite clear we have a workforce shortage. If there were only an untapped workforce we could find out there, somewhere, anywhere.

In entirely unrelated news, our own U.S. Sen. John Fetterman raised some eyebrows amongst his Democratic colleagues when he had the temerity to say that his party should maybe think about engaging on the crisis at the border. Fetterman pointed out that last month’s 270,000 border incursions were equivalent to “Pittsburgh showing up at the border” each month. The simple solution would obviously be to paint the entire country black and gold and call America “the end zone,” and nobody from Pittsburgh will ever find it.

Meanwhile, Congress is likely going to adjourn without approving funding for Israel, Ukraine or the southern border. You may consider our minds sufficiently boggled.

Hunter Biden got whacked with another nine tax-fraud charges, proving two things. One, Joe Biden is so inept he can’t even figure out how to interfere with his own Justice Department and two, Hunter Biden’s presidential campaign is now on life support.

A Berks County woman was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year this week. Taylor Swift has now become the most sought-after political endorsement of the last century due mainly to the fact that her army is larger than China’s.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will not convene until mid-March of next year due to water damage repairs. Not for nothing, but ServePro can probably knock that shit out in a week.

Staying in the House, we learned that after a year of operating under new House rules designed to foster more bipartisan cooperation, there has not, in fact, been an uptick in bipartisan cooperation. So as a public service to everyone who hyperventilates about House rules every two years, let us again remind you that in the end, there is only one rule that matters: Rule 102. Have 102 votes? You rule.

Is 2024 the year Pennsylvania finally legalizes weed? Better phrased, is 2024 the year Pennsylvania finally decides to stop the war on drugs, free innocent people, avail itself of serious tax revenue and make 80% of voters happy? Sounds like a fairly easy math problem.

A whole lotta federal choo-choo loot is coming to our fine Commonwealth, warming all of our ever-loving train hearts. The long-shuttered Scranton-to-New York route is closer to reality, as well as a Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg route that doesn’t meander through Vancouver and take 19 hours to complete.

Gov. Josh Shapiro is on his year-end “how did I do?” tour, and as would be expected of any governor, he is giving himself passing grades. Shapiro’s first year, while marked by disagreements with the legislature, has left him with pretty high voter approval ratings. Maybe he’s just got that ‘rizz’?

Oh, did you know that “rizz” is the Oxford Dictionary word of the year? Apparently, “rizz” is a shortened form of the word “charisma,” which we did not know because we are decidedly short on rizz around here.

The Pennsylvania GOP is appealing a recent federal court decision on whether the date on an absentee ballot should matter. The court said it does not, the GOP says it does. And rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat and smack yourself on the head with a ballpeen hammer.

Philadelphia City Council voted to ban ski masks in public places. We hope there is a “Jalen Hurts” exception to this ban, since the Eagles quarterback is a big fan of not freezing his face off on the sidelines, often donning a ski mask.

Lots of folks wanna take a shot at unseating our current auditor general, Tim DeFoor. Auditing doesn’t seem like all that cool of a job, but who are we to judge? Anyway, here is a handy list of those folks if auditing is your jam.

Our Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to Nick Cohen, CEO of Pennsylvania-based Doral Renewables, as he shared his thoughts on hydrogen hubs to a state Senate panel. Nick has forgotten more about energy projects than many of us will ever know. Great job!

On the socials this week, say congrats (or condolences) to Mike Manzo as he embarks on Year 17 at Team Triad. He has gray in his goatee, and now you know why! 

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Germany, where scientists have discovered that if you put locusts into a low gravity atmosphere, they grow freakishly strong. This is all fun and games until one of these monster locusts smashes its way out of the lab and begins eating children and small animals. Why do scientists insist on doing this stuff? Can’t we focus on maybe curing cancer and NOT on creating a master race of insects?

That’s what passes for news around here as the General Assembly comes down the backstretch and heads to the tape next week. Bills will be passed, amendments offered, feelings hurt and triumphant screams will be heard around the state. We will be here, because that’s what we do. We lobby and know things. From all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!