December 2, 2022

It is unclear how much longer the nation can withstand the ineptitude of President Joe Biden. In the past month alone, 263,000 new jobs were created, wage growth doubled projections and the GDP grew by 2.6%, also defying expectations. Somebody needs to intervene here, clearly, before he breaks the country.

All was not rosy in the national picture, however, as gun-related deaths in Biden’s America have now reached levels not seen since the early 1990s (sorry, Joe, ya gotta take responsibility and credit where either are due.) Some might remember how the nation’s mood on crime led to the election of Gov. Tom Ridge, who immediately asked the legislature to convene a special session on crime.

Pennsylvania’s governor-elect, Josh Shapiro, will have gun crime and more on his desk when he takes the oath of office in January. Shapiro announced that he has chosen longtime adviser and campaign whiz Dana Fritz as his chief of staff. Best of luck to Ms. Fritz and the whole team!

In fact, one day after Shapiro is sworn in, the state Senate will officially begin the impeachment trial of Philly D.A. Larry Krasner, who has been criticized by some for not doing enough to curb violent crime.  Funny how that timing worked out.

One of the Wolf administration’s final acts was to get a set of oil and gas regulations finished before the feds yanked our highway funding. For those who are not aware how this all works, it is pretty simple. Anytime the federal government wants states to do something, it threatens to take away highway funding if states do not comply. It is the equivalent of telling your kids that Santa won’t come if they keep it up their nonsense.

A certain conservative think tank in Pennsylvania released a poll this week showing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis leading Donald Trump in a hypothetical matchup here in the Keystone State. After publicly saying the GOP needs to move on from Trump for weeks, the same group somehow conducted, then published, a poll that showed Trump losing. A poll that confirms what we have been praying for? It’s a Christmas miracle!

Some members of the Pennsylvania House GOP announced they have formed a state version of the Freedom Caucus, no doubt causing some of their members to rejoice and others to… well, not rejoice. Say what you will about the national Freedom Caucus, but it has been successful in pulling the GOP to a more conservative place.

Regardless, control of the flow of legislation in the PA House will be quite the rollercoaster for the foreseeable future. For the Democrats to hit their magic 102 majority, they will need to hold and win three special elections, two for members who have moved on to higher ground, and for one who passed away. Lest you think that means the House GOP is in the clear, hold it right there, Jack Spratt. This week, state Sen. John Gordner announced his retirement, prompting House Republican Lynda Schlegel Culver to announce she is running for that seat, which will probably end up causing a special election for her own House seat. Then all will be settled, right? WE SAID HOLD ON, JACK! Then there is the very real prospect of House Democrats having to deal with a vacancy caused by the election of the next Allegheny County executive next year. Stuff ain’t easy, kids.

Speaking of elections, the court’s decision to prohibit undated mail-in ballots to be counted has had a disproportionate effect on minority voters, an analysis has concluded. So, when the debate over election reform happens next year, some lawmakers might wanna keep this fact in mind before choosing to die in the “undated = invalid” camp. Should be some wiggle room here.

The good news on the electoral front, however, is that despite some regional grumbling and a bit of confusion, most Pennsylvania counties have certified the November election results. Perhaps the election denier fever dream has finally broken, and we can all get back to normal.

Wait, what’s that you say, Maricopa County, Arizona? You disagree with that assessment? Well, you’d better have proof because… HOLY CRAP! Have you people seen this??

Let’s get back to some good news, shall we? The state announced this week that low-income Pennsylvanians will have access to medical marijuana for a mere 50 bucks a month. This is good news for those seeking treatment, but can’t afford it because this stuff isn’t exactly sitting on the state’s preferred drug list and covered by Medicaid.

Voting is now open in the annual DCNR River of the Year contest. We are going to go ahead and get a bit controversial this year, but having seen the type of river work the Conestoga has done, it’s gonna be a crime if it doesn’t win. We know, we know, the Upper Susquehanna had some strong game, too, but c’mon. It’s not close. And don’t even start with the Perkiomen! It isn’t even a river; it is a creek!

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey announced the opening of a 45,000-square-foot homeless shelter, right before the really cold stuff kicks in out in the Steel City. Once fully open, the shelter can house up to 200 people and animals a night. Great job, Mr. Mayor. When Ed said, “a Pittsburgh for everyone,” he meant it.

Meanwhile, in Philly, city council has now made the 10 p.m. curfew for the city’s teenagers a permanent thing. This, of course, means that Philly teenagers can now permanently ignore the curfew instead of temporarily ignoring it.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to the Sonoran Desert, where U.S. Park Service officials have posted signs begging people to stop licking the toads. Apparently, the Sonoran Desert toad excretes a pretty powerful psychedelic substance, which is all fine and nice, except for that small side effect of “it can also kill you.” We have been waiting for a park service to come up with a better warning sign than Pennsylvania’s own “Bigfoot isn’t real.” And we have a winner!

That’s what passes for news around here, as we slide into December and into immediate dread over having done no gift shopping yet. Should we be able to break out of this crippling anxiety, we will be back next week with all the comings and goings of your state government. Until then, from all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!