Friday, April 24, 2020

We lead off this week with a Team Triad PSA: if you decide to have a happy hour at home tonight, Lysol is NOT a good substitute for vodka. Now back to your regularly scheduled update.  

Members of Congress this week took a few minutes out from fighting like two cats trapped in a burlap sack and passed Round 2 of the small business bailout. This time, it is even possible that the loot actually goes to small businesses, without the media having to Shake Shack Shame large businesses into refunding the money.   

Free at last, free at… alright, grab some wood there, Bub. The Commonwealth isn’t quite open for business yet, but there is now a plan in place to kinda, maybe, sorta get some folks liberated by May 8, Gov. Tom Wolf announced this week. It all depends on how cooperative the virus is (it’s not) and where you happen to live.

And if you were one of Pennsylvania’s urban elites who regularly made fun of rural counties (there are more deer there than people!), who’s laughing now, wise guy? Our friends in northwestern and northcentral PA are gonna be out and about way before y’all are. Karma just ran over your dogma.   

Philly City Council got kudos for having social media influencers and professional athletes (we love Dr. J) to help spread messages about staying safe during the pandemic. Sometimes the messengers are as important as the messages. 

If that piece of news sticks in your craw, we invite you to move to Georgia, which is officially open for business today. Listen, we don’t wanna scare the good people of the Peach State, but when even President Trump thinks you are out over your skis…  

Protestors descended upon state capitals across the nation this week, including our own dear Harrisburg, to loudly and clearly demand their states open immediately and damn the torpedoes. We are not sure if Governor Wolf strategically planned his reopening announcement to knock those events from the front pages, but if he did, we applaud his savvy public relations team. We call that “getting ahead of the story.”  

Oil prices officially fell below zero dollars and zero sense this week, which we can’t help but think is a sign of the apocalypse. In related news, Triad President Roy Wells this week order 70 barrels of west Texas crude, which is sitting on the roof of our empty Triad World Headquarters.   

This just in: it is still easier to buy west Texas crude in Pennsylvania than it is to get liquor.   

Pennsylvania’s unemployment numbers continue to skyrocket, with another 1.5 million residents filing this week. The state’s unemployment comp system was not designed to handle this unprecedented volume, which should be a teachable moment for some elected officials. When you are in the middle of the longest economic expansion in history, that might be a good time to invest in technology to update things like your unemployment system. Sunshine don’t last forever.    

UPMC this week dipped its toes back in the water, announcing that the feared coronavirus peak never really arrived in western PA, and they will hence resume performing elective surgeries. Hey western PA, you just might be third in line for this whole rolling reopening thing!    

The state Senate this week passed a bill to regulate the use of telemedicine in the state. Despite the fact that telemedicine has already become a way of life, some lawmakers felt the practice needed more regulation. What it does not need, apparently, is what the bill had, and that is a restriction on some abortion medications which has caused the governor to promise a veto.  

Several years ago, when the General Assembly amended the state’s gaming law to permit online slots and table games, most people didn’t really bat an eye. Fast forward to today, and online gaming is the only revenue in town for casinos and, by default, the Commonwealth. Talk about pulling an inside straight.    

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has emerged as the roadblock for direct corona-aid to state government who are hemorrhaging money. For some reason, Mitch believes that more federal money would become a Blue State Bailout (his words.) Hmm. Didn’t realize the virus knew the difference between each state’s political leaning. There might be hope for Georgia after all.  

PennLive’s venerable John Baer weighed in on the politics of COVID-19 this week, challenging the oft-repeated mantra that “we are all in this together.” Some folks certainly have that cooperative spirit and are helping their fellow man, and then there are the Covidiots, hunkered down with 500 pounds of chicken and 100 rolls of toilet paper.  

Late this week, Governor Wolf scored some pretty high marks for his handling of the pandemic in PA, with 68% of Pennsylvanians giving him positive ratings, as opposed to the 18% who think he’s way off base. Two guys named Trump and Biden would kill for those numbers in the Keystone State.  

This week’s Shameless Client Plug goes to our friends at Associated Pennsylvania Constructors, who received news that the restart for construction projects will begin a week earlier than the resumption of other kinds of work, provided contractors conform with safety requirements to assure workers are protected from the coronavirus. APC posted a short video to demonstrate exactly what that looks like. 

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to (surprise!) Florida, where a local judge had to write new guidance for lawyers, urging them to put on clothes for virtual hearings and court proceedings. Apparently, some lawyers don’t realize that the little white dot on their computer is actually a camera. For the record, Triad has not yet had to issue such guidance, but hey, it is only April!  

That’s what passes for news around here as we careen towards May! Stop back next week to find out everything you didn’t know about your state government! We promise to get dressed! Until then from Team Triad, have a great weekend!  

News updates from the Commonwealth: 

Office of the Governor: Gov. Wolf: Mental Health Support is Vital and Available Amid Strain of COVID-19 Pandemic 

PA Department of Health: Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19, 1,599 Positives Bring Statewide Total to 38,652 

PA Liquor Control Board: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to Expand Curbside Delivery Program on Monday 

Senator Pat Toomey: Toomey Unveils Framework to Gradually and Safely Reopen Pennsylvania’s Economy