May 19, 2023

As Congress and the White House continue to fight like feral cats in a burlap sack over lifting the debt ceiling, we have a polite suggestion as the deadline grows larger in the windshield. Both parties need to stop using the word “nonstarter.” In divided government, neither side is gonna walk away happy. We were told once that “elections have consequences” (OK, we hear that every day), and this, dear readers, is a perfect example of that phrase. Besides, nonstarter is a stupid word. We hear it and it sounds like a relief pitcher in baseball. Mariano Rivera was the best nonstarter in baseball history.

For his part, Sen. John Fetterman called on President Biden to use the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to avoid default and stop the dance where it is. Well, we said that no option should be a nonstarter, so yeah, toss that idea into the debt-ceiling bouillabaisse and see what happens.

Speaking of elections, registered voters (except, you know, Independents) trickled to the polls Tuesday to nominate their November standard bearers. We start in Philadelphia, where the winner of the Democratic primary usually wins in the fall. Your winner? That would be former state representative, former Philly City Council member and all-around awesome human Cherelle Parker, who bested the field.

Out west, current Statehouse member Sara Innamorato ran away from her challengers for county executive as the progressive movement in Allegheny County roars on. At some point, people might just figure out that running a campaign based upon calling your progressive opponent “a socialist” is not the winning message yinz think it is. We know, it is a hard lesson. Ask Congresswoman Summer Lee, Mayor Ed Gainey, Ms. Innamorato…

The House Democrats also won the majority for, like, the 30th time this year as they held serve in Delaware County. This firmly ensconces the Democrats in control, right up until the next round of special elections, unforeseen resignations or, at this point, alien abductions.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate clocked in at 4.1% last month, a pretty darned respectable number indeed. Will Gov. Josh Shapiro be happy with that number and sit back and relax? No, he will not. That’s not who the guy is, but you may have to wait to ask him about it. He is still feeling salty after that Sixers/Celtics Game 7. Give him a wide berth.

Pennsylvania ranks 13th in the nation when it comes to mass incarceration, which means that 244,000 Pennsylvanians are either behind bars or under some sort of court supervision. That is an astonishingly large number, the cost of which is staggering. Somehow, we gotta pump the breaks or not only are we gonna have an even bigger labor shortage, but we are also gonna run out of money and room.

You know what else is NOT going to help our labor shortages? The fact that, due to low fertility rates and skyrocketing housing costs, the nation’s young people are having fewer and fewer kids. Splendid. Before we all get super paranoid about robots and AI taking all of our jobs, you might end up needing them in the long run.

The nation is currently suffering through the largest bird flu outbreak in history. More aptly, chickens are suffering through it, while we are just bystanders paying more for wings and eggs. Some scientists believe that bird vaccines may be the answer, which they may be, right up to the point the birds start protesting vaccine mandates and wearing “stop jabbing chickens” t-shirts and whatnot. We’ve seen this movie.

We ran across an interesting nugget today about one lawmaker’s plan to ease teacher shortages in Pennsylvania, a plan called Grow Your Own Teacher. Now, as intriguing as this may sound, someone might wanna deal in the Department of Agriculture and the FDA on this one. Growing your own teachers sounds very sketchy from a scientific standpoint. Not to mention the whole ethical question.

A Norfolk Southern train derailed outside of Pittsburgh this week. In other news, the sun rose in the east today. Once again, lawmakers, the governor and first responders were in the spotlight, with the central question being “what in the name of Casey Jones is happening with NS?”

The iconic Century III Mall in western Pennsylvania is in deep trouble. Its demise will also render the most famous jingle in Pittsburgh history obsolete. Sing it with us! “Century III. Chevrolet. Lebanon Church Road, Piiiiiiitsburgh. Minutes from the mall!” Now what is it gonna be minutes from?? Nothing makes sense anymore.

This week’s Shameless Client Plug goes out to Kennywood Park as it announced the hottest new ride of 2023, Spinvasion! Yes, you can be immersed in a life-and-death battle for the ‘Burgh while you spin around, high off the ground!

Not to be outdone, Hersheypark is readying its Wildcat’s Revenge roller coaster, a mash up of the old wooden ride and some shiny new steel.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to New Jersey, where someone dumped 500 pounds of pasta in the woods near a creek. Neighbors believe that someone was simply cleaning out his mother’s house after she died, which begs the question: why did this woman have 500 pounds of pasta in the first place? In some neighborhoods in North Jersey, dumping pasta on the ground will get your kneecaps blown off. That’s what passes for news around here as we gleefully slide into the weekend, where we will shut off our social media so we don’t have to hear people whine about why their chosen candidate for office got screwed out of victory. Until next week, from all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!