July 30, 2021
President Joe Biden jetted into our favorite airport on Wednesday (that would be Lehigh Valley International, for those who are not aware) to tout his infrastructure plan at the Mack Truck plant near Allentown (where they are not, in fact, closing all the factories down.) This marks the first time we have slipped a Shameless Client Plug right into the first paragraph. Did we mention how convenient it is to fly out of Lehigh Valley International Airport?
Apparently, members of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators were so inspired by Sleepy Joe’s visit to the valley that they decided to move forward on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Or maybe the Senate Democrats finally dropped their demand that a free quart of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for every American taxpayer be considered “infrastructure.”
The economy continued to recover nicely in the second quarter of the year, prompting the Fed to once again forgo any interest rate hike. Interestingly, those fun-loving economists also noted that with each passing COVID surge, the impact to the economy is smaller and smaller. Or so we hope, since Delta jerkwad looks like he’s gonna stick around a while.
If you noticed that the sky in Pennsylvania was particularly hazy this past week, you can thank the Oregon wildfires that are burning the living hell out of the Pacific Northwest. As historic droughts grip the western U.S., the next great war may end up being fought over a bottle of spring water.
Handwritten notes from staff in the Oval Office in late 2020 seem to show that then-President Donald Trump told his acting attorney general to announce the elections were corrupt and leave the rest up to him. The fact that Jeffrey Rosen did not follow through apparently had zero effect on part two of that plan, which is still unfolding…
Oh, hello Pennsylvania, we didn’t see you standing there! As we were just mentioning, part two of the plan was to get individual states (like you, you handsome devil) to audit the election results. Tioga County officials this week threw a wrench into those plans as they declined to turn over their voting machines to the “auditors” unless the state was prepared to buy them new ones. You break it, you bought it.
Pennsylvania’s vaccination rate passed the 62% mark this week, but the real numbers you need to know are 99 and 97 – 99% of all new COVID cases in PA are unvaccinated people, while 97% of those hospitalized with COVID are also unvaccinated. Do you see a pattern here, people? Anything becoming clearer? MAYBE IF WE WRITE IT OUT IN CRAYON ACROSS FRONT STREET??
Gov. Tom Wolf, meanwhile, says that he has no plans to reinstitute mask mandates on anyone, which means the General Assembly will be passing a bill to stop him from instituting mask mandates in 3… 2… 1… Wolf says he prefers to focus on getting people vaccinated instead, which he then WROTE OUT IN CRAYON ACROSS FRONT STREET FOR THOSE WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS WHOLE THING YET!
The CDC, however, still says that schools should mask up the staff and students this fall, which should make the upcoming August school board meetings quite the sh*t show. Between mask mandate outrage and critical race theory outrage, schools are gonna have to start holding board meetings in steel cages.
All of this may start to explain why there is a teacher shortage of fairly epic proportions going on out there. Restaurant jobs, long-haul trucking jobs and teaching jobs continue to lead the pack in the post-COVID recovery. So, if you have a teaching degree, a CDL and can make a martini, you have this job market licked.
Pennsylvania nursing homes received quite a bit of cake from the feds this year, due to the strife they endured during the COVID dark days. The state even kicked in a nice piece of change for them in this year’s state budget. This week, the people who work there decided it was time to share in some of that wealth and threatened to strike. The threat seemed to work for the time being, but as Pennsylvania continues to age like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, expect the battle between the homes and their workers to rage on.
A transportation panel this week came back with recommendations on how to fund the Keystone State’s transportation needs, while at the same time repealing the state gas tax entirely. There is a little bit in the report for everyone to take a shot at but remember folks: you can’t fix/build maintain our infrastructure with good wishes and fairy dust. Remember the historic quote from departed former State House Member Camille “Bud” George: Bullshit is cheap, but it takes money to buy whiskey.
Speaking of transportation, the PA Turnpike Commission this week made its very last $450 million annual payment for the state’s mass transit system, prompting CEO Mark Compton to get his first good night’s sleep since 2007. Must be like the feeling you get when you finally pay off the world’s largest student loan.
And as workers across America return to work, a combination of reliable mass transit and telework can help ease congestion and roadway wear and tear, we learned this week. We also learned that flexible work is the wave of the future for public affairs firms, since we decided to set that trend. Much more to come on that from us in the weeks to come!
On the Triad socials this week, we start our #WinningWednesdays series with the first of our 2021 client success stories, Bridging the Digital Divide for our friends at American Tower and Agile Networks. Check it out, and check back every Wednesday!
Also, next month will mark the start of Tuesdays with Triad. Come and experience a casual happy hour with Team Triad on our rooftop penthouse with the best views in Harrisburg.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, a former flight attendant honored his colleagues who were lost on 9/11 by pushing a drink cart across the entire country, which is pretty damned awesome. It is always heartwarming to see a story that unites America as much as the #FreeBritney movement has. Seems that not all Americans are the jerks we see portrayed each day on social media.
That’s what passes for news around here as August appears in the windshield, bringing with it school shopping, football and band camp, existential dread among the wee ones and a genuine sense of relief from COVID-weary parents. Until next time, from all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!