Friday, March 19, 2021
President Biden took his show on the road this week, christening his “Help is on the Way” tour with a stop at locally owned Smith Flooring in Chester. Reportedly, the owners of Four Seasons Total Landscaping in North Philly are crushed that Biden passed them by.
Biden also went on ABC News this week and talked about a wide range of topics during an interview in which he called Russian President Vlad “The Impaler” Putin a killer. This really hurt Putin’s fee-fees, despite the fact that he is, in fact, a world-renowned killer of just about anyone who so much as looks at him sideways. Putin summoned all of his sharp wit and responded (we aren’t making this up), “It takes one to know one.” We are anxiously awaiting the escalation to the “I know you are but what am I?” phase of the conflict.
The IRS unveiled a snazzy new online tool to track your Stimmy, and then followed up with an announcement that the tax filing deadline for this year has been pushed back to May 17. Is it us, or does this look like a kinder, gentler IRS? It’s going out of its way to be helpful. It’s almost like Biden appointed Marianne Williamson to oversee the department when we weren’t looking.
Voting rights are increasingly likely to be the next big ideological battle in this country, with GOP-held state legislatures making sweeping changes to voting laws, and congressional Democrats doing their best to do absolutely nothing about it by getting mired in a debate over the filibuster. We have an idea for a compromise: keep the filibuster but return to the days when senators had to actually speak nonstop, like in 1957 when Sen. Strom Thurmond set the record by speaking for 24 straight hours to stop the Civil Right Act. Wow, Civil Rights, Voting Rights… time really is a flat circle, isn’t it?
For the past year, the Centers for Disease Control has steadfastly maintained that people keep a six-foot distance between themselves, thereby introducing the phrase “social distancing” into our lexicon. Thanks for nothing on that one. Anyway, this week, the CDC overlords decided that the spacing should be three feet for the wee ones, which is COINCIDENTALLY about the space normally available between desks in a classroom. That’s great news, CDC; now do concerts.
Back here in Pennsylvania, the battle to reform the statute of limitations for child sex abuse survivors is now hanging by a thread, as the PA House adjourned this week without taking action on an emergency constitutional amendment. We don’t purport to have all the answers in this space (let’s face it, often we don’t have any answers), but we will say this much: amending the state Constitution by invoking the emergency clause is an awfully slippery slope. One never knows what future generations of lawmakers might define as emergencies.
Lawmakers are starting to come to the conclusion that PennDOT’s plan to toll nine bridges in the state might have been a way to kick-start the discussions around how the state ultimately funds infrastructure. Think of it as going to a restaurant – once you tell the waiter what you absolutely will not eat, eventually you gotta tell him or her what you want or, you know, get the hell out of the restaurant. Why did you even come here in the first place?
A plan to allow radar speed enforcement by local police forces is off to a good start this year as a Senate committee advanced it unanimously. It was always mystifying to us that the same folks we trust to carry around a 9mm were not allowed to wield a radar gun. Did we think they might accidentally clock someone? Maybe take it to a minor league baseball game to track pitch speeds?
Gov. Tom Wolf this week announced that all Pennsylvanians in group 1A will have their vaccine appointments by the end of the month. This announcement satisfied absolutely no one because we are a country that only understands instant gratification.
The joint legislative/executive task force in charge of the vaccine effort is also getting high marks, as Pennsylvania has moved to the front of the pack in vaccines per 100,000 residents. Impressive work, and once again, none of it matters because we aren’t yet at the point where an Amazon driver comes to your front door to vaccinate you.
Pennsylvania’s farmland dropped by 6% in the past year because you know, strip malls and stuff. The good news, however, is that a full 25% of Penn’s Woods is still classified as farmland. This is especially good news for us, as we very much enjoy food, and all the better if it comes from our own state.
The head of the State System of Higher Education laid down the hammer at a Senate hearing this week, saying that if major changes are not enacted this year (mergers, cost-cutting measures, etc.), he will return the same time next year with a recommendation to dissolve the whole system. To be clear, the chances that our state lawmakers vote to dismantle the State System of Higher Education is roughly the same chance you have of being hit by a meteor. But at this point, not much else seems to be off the table.
The 17-Year Cicadas are getting ready to emerge from their dirt naps to annoy the living hell out of people all over Pennsylvania. We plan on complaining about them quite a bit in this space in the coming months, so be prepared. If you are some sort of insect lover who finds these things fascinating, you may wanna get your Friday news elsewhere for a while because WE AIN’T HAVING IT!
Check out up-and-coming leader and Friend of Triad Christopher Crawford’s thoughts on how volunteerism has changed during the pandemic.
Elsewhere on the Triad Socials this week, we give a big shout-out to Triad Senior Consultant Jennifer Mann as she was named by the Allentown Morning Call as a woman who is making a difference in the Lehigh Valley. We agree wholeheartedly! Congratulations, Jenn!
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Germany, where detectives were able to crack a nine-year-old cold case with the DNA left on a half-eaten sausage. We have long maintained that there is little that sausage cannot do (Jesus spelled backwards is “Susej,” after all), but the real question is: who eats only half of a sausage? The guy deserved
to get caught.
That’s what passes for news around here as the General Assembly gets rocking and rolling and the doors to your state capitol swing wide open again next week. We will be there to walk those floors for you because that is what we do, people. From all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!