August 5, 2022

Before we dive headlong into this bowl of tasty news bouillabaisse, please join us in saying happy birthday to the man who started this whole damned mess, Roy Wells!  Thanks for being the vision and the engine that makes it all work, and feel free to enjoy this happy hour as irresponsibly as possible, we are sure Sharon will keep a good eye on ya!   

The U.S. job market remained hotter than the August sun, adding 528,000 new jobs and blowing past all expectations. Wages also rose slightly, but those gains were probably wiped out by inflation.  In any event, if we are currently in a recession, it is the weirdest looking one ever.      

With the announcement that he has finally wrangled his fifty cats, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to spend Saturday teeing up passage of a major piece of the Biden agenda (well, actually three pieces). Through the magic known as reconciliation, the Senate will act on a wide-ranging climate change initiative, an aggressive plan to bring down prescription drug prices and enact tax changes to (theoretically) lower the deficit.  Agree with the plan or not, it is pretty impressive to see a group that usually can’t get out of their own way suddenly walk, talk, chew gum and juggle chainsaws all at the same time.    

Sweden and Finland are about to become NATO members, further proof of what a true military genius “Vlad the Invader” really is.  The Senate voted to accept our Nordic friends into the clubhouse by a resounding 95-1 vote. Of course, there is always that ONE GUY who is all like “But mrrrrr mrrrrr mrrrr CHINA and mrrrr mrrrr mrrrrr WORD SALAD!” and votes no.    

Ah, but not all was wine and roses for the Biden clan this week.  On Wednesday, the President was forced to declare a national health emergency due to the fast-rising number of monkeypox cases in the country.  And we all know how most of the nation reacts when a government official starts saying things like “health emergency.”   

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Singapore this week.  Then she came home.  She most certainly did not go to Taiwan and almost set off World War Three.  Nope, nothing to see here.   

The party is now officially over for the crypto industry, as Uncle Sugar came home and busted up the rager, emptied the kegs into the sink and turned off the techno music.  Regulators!  Saddle up!   

Covid cases are also surging across the nation, leading some to wonder whether the fall will produce a deadly wave of the disease, a la 2021.  But it is important to note that case counts are not producing the same level of fatalities or hospitalizations as in past years.  But if you haven’t yet wrapped your head around it, get comfy with the notion that Covid is here to stay, friends.     

Despite the glowing jobs and unemployment news out today, food pantries are still serving record numbers of folks, likely because of inflation.  This can produce quite a vicious cycle.  Can’t buy food because of inflation?  Head to a local food pantry, who also cannot buy as much food as they used to because of inflation.  See the rub here?  Good, maybe consider donating to a food bank near you.   

And before we leave the subject of food, the federal free and reduced lunch program that was expanded during the pandemic is expected to end soon, meaning kids will again be means-tested for free breakfast and lunch at school this fall.  See the above paragraph if you wanna know what the impact of this change will be, and act accordingly.   

There is some good news, however, on the education front as some of the state’s poorer schools are making plans on how to use a new and quite large influx of state loot thanks to this year’s budget.  Use it wisely, friends.  Nothing good lasts forever and we are only one recession away from once again ignoring you all!   

Remember that teacher shortage we wrote about a few weeks back?  Yeah, it looks like that might just be a real thing for, like, forever.  Education officials are bracing for this new normal by trying a host of different things, but buckle up, nobody has any idea where this choo choo is heading.    

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week ruled that no-excuse mail in ballots are the law of the land, which means two things: it is increasingly clear they will be in use for the fall elections, and there is zero chance that the mail in ballot opponents will appeal to the SCOTUS. One would think that there is ample time this fall for all interested parties to come up with a set of agreed-to changes to our election laws that won’t knock the apple cart off a cliff before November.  We are not that person, but there is probably somebody out there who believes that is possible.   

We are sad to report this week that we recently lost two very good friends, Mark McKillup and Mike DiRaimo.  Mark was a valued Triad friend and client who we had collectively known for decades, while anyone who worked in or around state government knew Mike, a longtime Penn State government affairs chief. Send some prayers to their families if you would.   

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to New York City, where the makers of Fancy Feast cat food are opening a pop-up restaurant where they will supposedly serve the human version of their kitty cuisine.  Please allow us to be the first to say “wtf?”  Why would you people do this?  No wonder our country keeps getting hit with hideous diseases.  We deserve it!  

That’s what passes for news around here as August chugs along and all eyes are looking for back to school deals.  Or more aptly, many parents cannot WAIT until school starts again.  From all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!