September 2, 2022

As we come upon Labor Day weekend, we’ll begin this missive with a shout-out to our friends in organized labor. A national public opinion poll this week revealed that support for labor unions is at 71%, a 57-year high. According to the poll, conducted by Gallup, the favorability numbers are just a few points lower than the all-time highs in the 1950s. Enjoy your day!

Labor Day travelers will pay almost $1 a gallon less for gas than they did for the Fourth of July holiday. Gas prices have declined for 11 consecutive weeks since topping out at $5 and more a gallon in early June.

The stock markets rose this morning as the August jobs report came in as expected. The report said the labor market added 315,000 jobs in August, and analysts said the data eased fears that a hotter labor market would give the Federal Reserve leeway to get more aggressive with its rate hikes.

It was a busy week for former President Trump and his lawyers, as what began as a dribble turned into a deluge of new information about missing classified documents. In a court hearing on Thursday, Department of Justice lawyers asserted that the missing documents may have posed a significant threat to national security, while Trump’s lawyers dismissed the episode as the equivalent of an overdue library book.

Meanwhile, intelligence officials informed Congress they will evaluate the security risks stemming from Trump’s handling of the unsecured documents.

President Biden’s itinerary this week underscored the importance of Pennsylvania in the upcoming mid-term elections, as he dropped by Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, delivered a nationally televised speech in Philly on Thursday, and plans to visit Pittsburgh to attend Labor Day festivities on Monday. We’re beginning to believe his affinity for the Keystone State may have something to do with being from Scranton.

In his speech, with Independence Hall as a backdrop, the president denounced former President Trump and his followers, asserting that the MAGA crowd is a threat to democracy. Biden took flak for using the military as a prop, and he walked back his criticism of Republicans today, telling reporters that he wasn’t referring to “any Trump supporter” when he spoke about the threats posed to American democracy the night before. If you missed the speech and have a half-hour to spare, you can catch the entire event here.

Across the country, Republican legislators and attorneys general and prominent conservatives are lining up in opposition to Biden’s college loan forgiveness plan and are considering an attempt to block it before the program begins. There are questions about whether Biden has the legal authority, how much it will cost, dumping the burden on working class Americans, and more. Still, taking the benefit away could be politically risky as well.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Doug Mastriano is suing the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot — accusing the panel of violating the chamber’s rules. His lawsuit names the committee, its nine members, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as defendants.

Seven more Republican leaders announced their endorsement of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, joining nine others who endorsed him earlier.

Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race heated up over John Fetterman’s refusal to participate in a debate next week, accusing Mehmet Oz of mocking Fetterman’s recovery from the stroke he suffered in May. Fetterman’s campaign advisers say the candidate is regaining his health but sometimes struggles with verbal communication, as is common for stroke survivors.

Pennsylvanians with minor, nonviolent marijuana criminal convictions could be pardoned beginning Thursday in a period until the end of the month under a joint effort from Governor Wolf and Lt. Governor Fetterman.

Democrat Mary Peltola won a special election for Alaska’s only U.S. House seat on Wednesday, besting a field that included Republican Sarah Palin, who was seeking a political comeback in the state where she was once governor.

NASA officials are keeping their fingers crossed for a successful launch tomorrow of their new moon rocket, Artemis 1. The launch was originally scheduled for last Monday, but was waved off due to a range of issues.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. The shots could be available by Friday.

Residents of 36 Pennsylvania counties are being asked to conserve water due to drought conditions. For a map of the affected counties, follow this link.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we trek all the way to New Zealand, where a wayward seal entered a marine biologist’s home through a pet door, took a self-guided tour and made himself comfortable on the couch. The biologist’s wife discovered the seal when she returned home from running errands. The biologist, Phil Ross, was not at home, and he later lamented the missed opportunity to lend his unique expertise to the family dilemma.

And finally, we congratulate participants in the 14th annual Philly Naked Bike Ride, which was held on Saturday. Described as “a protest-slash-celebration that advocates for body positivity, a lower reliance on fossil fuels, and cyclist-friendly streets,” the event drew hundreds of bicyclists, who rode naked or semi-naked from Fairmount Park to Northern Liberties. Photos anyone?

And that wraps it up for this week from Triad World Headquarters. We’ll be back next week with more bare-naked truth and foolishness. Until then, happy weekend from your pals at Team Triad.