June 16, 2023

Self-Inflicted Wound Edition

Former President Trump was indicted by the Justice Department this week for keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and other allegedly felonious behavior. If you had a baby 10 weeks ago, that baby has now been alive to see the former president indicted twice. They grow up so fast.

Fresh off a debt-ceiling agreement where all parties agreed to this year’s spending levels, the U.S. House presented its spending plan, which comes in at roughly $130 billion below the agreed-to number. Think of this as promising your kid a supersized McDonald’s happy meal, and then coming home with four cold chicken nuggets and a small diet root beer. That dog ain’t gonna hunt.

President Biden, meanwhile, has said less than zero about the Trump indictment and will instead head to Philadelphia next week to accept the endorsement of the AFL-CIO. It has also been rumored, but not confirmed, that the sun will indeed rise in the east that day.

Gov. Josh Shapiro moved his entire office to Cottman Avenue in Philly to provide updates on the rebuild of I-95, a section of which essentially burned to death on live TV. If half of the job is “just showing up,” Shapiro checked that box a hundred times over. Now the men and women of the Philadelphia building trades are taking the wheel, so relax cats and kittens. It’s handled.

While many Philly-area commuters are now familiarizing themselves with that thing called SEPTA, the feds announced a $150 million investment in the Pittsburgh Bus Rapid Transit system. As astute readers might recall, a Pittsburgh transit bus was once swallowed alive by a city street in the Golden Triangle.

The state House has passed a package of regulatory changes meant to bolster rail safety in Pennsylvania.  Whether the Senate plays along is unclear, but we do know one thing. The feds don’t like people noodling around with train regulations. They prefer to just screw that up on their own.

Roads, buses, bridges, trains. One might ask, “why is Triad writing about all of this?” Well, Mr. Fancy Pants, all of this is connected to a much larger issue, and that is we still have a massive infrastructure funding challenge in Pennsylvania. The challenges are only gonna get worse as gas tax revenue continues to fall. Full disclosure: our new hybrid vehicle has not seen a gas station in two months. We think it was the 70s band, the Edgar Winter Group, who asked us all to “come on and take a free ride.”

Gov. Robert Casey loved using the old Hubert Humphry quote about the true moral test of government being how it treats its citizens in the dawn of life, the shadows of life and the twilight of life. In that vein, we bring you this sobering report on the shortage of both childcare facilities and childcare workers in Pennsylvania. We don’t have a solution, but if not rectified, those labor shortages you see ain’t going away, Jack Spratt.

On the twilight side, the Commonwealth is also struggling with a shortage of long-term care facilities and workers, and of course the answer is always to ask the government for more loot. Policymakers should probably spend a little more time thinking about getting larger numbers of these folks into home-based care. Hey, did we ever tell you about the great work being done in that space by NWPA Living Independent for the Elderly? OK, that was a really Shameless Client Plug right there.

City & State magazine this week posted a neat little primer on how to distinguish between a borough, a town, and a city in Pennsylvania. Up next, the 200-level course, which is knowing your second through eighth-class counties, cities of the first, second, and second a class, townships, and incorporations. Your Keystone State has roughly 2,700 local government units, along with five hundred school districts. Real model of efficiency we have going on here.

The state house this week advanced a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15/hour (over time) and also raise the criminally low tipped wage. The proposal mirrors one that was introduced by a Senate GOP leader, leading onlookers to wonder: are they finally gonna land that pig? Well, Peppa is definitely circling the airfield.

If you have plans on being in or around the Pittsburgh area this week, beware that Taylor Swift is now taking over the Steel City for two whole days. This will trigger the older yinzers to start calling local talk radio and complaining that they couldn’t get to “Giant Iggle fast enough cuz of all them jagoff fans.”  Trouble, trouble, trouble…

Our real Shameless Client Plug goes out this week to Penn State’s Dr. Neeli Bendaputi, who was named to the Team PA board of directors! Congratulations and best of luck!

On the Triad socials this week, say hello to our newest rock star, Sakura Ung! Welcome to Team Triad, Sakura!

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Illinois, where a man faces a gun charge for shooting himself in the leg while he was asleep and dreaming there was an intruder in his house. There is no need to even turn this into a debate about safe gun storage, because we couldn’t get past the final sentence in the AP story, which read: “when he fired, he shot himself and apparently woke up from the dream. Oh, he woke up from the dream, did he? HE SHOT HIMSELF IN THE LEG, WE ASSUMED AS MUCH!

That’s what passes for news around here as the state budget deadline gets larger in the windshield, leading to the generally premature panic that so often grips this city (or borough? town?) We will be back next week, when the wheels really start spinning, so get in losers, we’re going to Harrisburg! From all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!