March 11, 2022

President Biden announced today that we are ending all trade relations with Russia, which means that you are gonna have a real tough time finding cheap knockoff Gucci purses and fake diamond earrings in SoHo for the foreseeable future. If the European Union follows suit, Russia stands to lose about $700 billion in trade. The good news for Russia is that trade with North Korea and Cuba can continue unencumbered.

Russia announced to the world yesterday that the United States has biological weapons labs in the Ukraine, a clear pretext for them using such weapons themselves. Putin projects more than a Cineplex does. Because yeah, Russia would never use such weapons unilaterally, right? Chechnya would like a word.  

Inflation clocked in at a 7.9% annual rate this week, making it increasingly likely that the congressional Republicans who have been pounding Biden over inflation are gonna have a chance to fix it in 2023. For his part, the president blamed Vlad Putin yesterday for the inflationary spikes that began last year. Neat trick. 

While they are at it, those same congressional Republicans can also take a crack at gas prices, which jumped 30 cents in one 24-hour period this week. This is where we send out our semi-regular cautionary note: presidents and members of Congress can do very little about crude oil prices, since oil is a globally traded commodity. It is rather cute, though, that we think we can “solve it” by ourselves. 

Congress approved a sweeping $1.5 trillion spending plan that averted a potential government shutdown. Lots of goodies in that bag, for sure. It is strange, however, that there was any threat of a government shutdown at all. The last time we checked, one party is in charge of the whole fruit stand. 

The PA Supreme Court’s congressional maps are here to stay as the U.S. Supreme Court decided it had way too many other things to worry about and thus declined to weigh in on that particular catfight. The final word on state legislative maps could come next week, and then we can all shut up about gerrymandering until 2031. 

The PA Supremes are also getting ready to rule on the constitutionality of mail-in voting. Safe to say the fate of the entire Republic rests on what comes next. 

Meanwhile, arguments over the adequacy of state school funding wrapped up in front of the Commonwealth Court. The upcoming ruling could have far-reaching fiscal impacts for those who craft state budgets for a living, impacts that start with a “b.” 

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., reminded us that hundreds of millions of dollars are on the way for rural broadband in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, our General Assembly already passed a bipartisan plan to spend that money, putting us ahead of the curve, a place where Pennsylvania usually does not find itself. 

Feeling good about our COVID numbers falling? Ready for one last blast of winter before that glorious spring weather arrives? Happy that baseball is back? Great! By the way, swarms of palm-sized spiders will be falling out of the sky all over the east coast this year. You’re welcome!

The Wolf administration is catching heat this week for negotiating a plan with a private company to replace nine brides using tolls. The rub seems to be that the company in question is “foreign,” which we figured out when we saw the press release that started with “Crikey, your bridges are broken, mate!” 

COVID-19 mutations have now been found in 29 different animal species, we learned this week. This is obviously not great news (not “spiders dropping from the sky” bad, but bad enough.)  The next time Fluffy yaks on the kitchen floor, it might not be just a hairball, folks. It could be kitty-COVID. 

PA GOP leaders sent Governor Wolf a letter asking him to ship leftover personal protective equipment to the Ukraine to help in the state’s humanitarian response to the war. Wolf responded rather warmly, which means at least here in Pennsylvania, there is still a bit of “all in this together” spirit. 

Lawmakers are also sounding alarm bells about so-called COVID learning gaps. Anyone who didn’t believe that our school children would suffer some negative consequences from going to class via Zoom for two years was deluding themselves. Now the big question: how to fix it?  

The Triad socials were a busy place this week. First, give a welcome to Noah Logan who joins our all-star cast of public affairs pros. Congrats! Then we did a little shout-out to all of Triad’s amazing women! And finally, be sure to check out our 5-minute video on The Triad Way, our journey to the culture that sets us apart!

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to beautiful Pittsburgh, where a criminal defense attorney who used to advertise that he “thinks like a criminal” actually BECAME a criminal after he was busted for dealing copious amounts of ganja. On a related note, it looks like we are still doing that whole “war on drugs” thing. 

That’s what passes for news here at Triad World Headquarters. We cannot thank you enough for your time and attention today – we would truly be lost without you, dear readers! Come back next week and hang with us again! And from everyone at Team Triad, have a great weekend!