December 3, 2021

The news on the economy was a mixed bag this week, as jobless claims ticked up, job creation lagged behind estimates, but the nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%. Any of this making sense to you yet? Good, glad we aren’t alone. But no matter what these numbers mean, we are sure it’s bad news for President Biden because, well, cable news. 

This week the world got acquainted with a new villain straight from the Marvel universe, and its name is Omicron. While leaders across the free world speculated on what the new COVID variant may or may not mean in the grand scheme of things, we seem to have completely forgotten that Delta is still here, raging around the globe like it owns the freaking joint.

Evidence of the grip that Delta currently has on us are the daily case numbers in our great Commonwealth, which leaped to more than 9,000 on Thursday. Focus, people. At this rate, Delta’s War on Christmas is gonna be worse than anything Fox News can conjure up. 

Speaking of cable news, CNN suspended prime time anchor Chris Cuomo after it was revealed he was meddling around in his older brother’s high-profile criminal mess up in New York. It was indeed a bad week to be a Cuomo. Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo is reportedly in hiding. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz took a break from hawking miracle weight loss cures to inform us that he is running for U.S. Senate right here in Pennsylvania, despite being currently holed up in a multi-million-dollar mansion in New Jersey. Scoff if you will (and trust us, we have), but this guy has name recognition and a gazillion dollars, two key ingredients necessary to win a primary that is currently populated with 19 people. Hold on, we are being told of two new entrants – Keith Rothfus and David McCormick. Make that 21. 

Back here in Pennsylvania (where Dr. Oz does not live), the Liquor Control Board reported another record year of earnings, with sales topping out at $2.67 billion. These numbers are not particularly shocking when one thinks about what the past two years have been like for everyone. But, man alive, that is a LOT of Fireball.

True to his word, Gov. Tom Wolf affixed a big, fat veto to a bill that would have allowed permitless open or concealed carry of firearms. In the last two years of his gubernatorial run, Wolf has begun piling up vetoes like there is a supply-chain shortage of them on the horizon.  

Dismayed by the millions of dollars the Pennsylvania Turnpike is losing to toll scofflaws, one lawmaker has drafted a bill to bring back the toll collectors. We see the logic here, but we have a better idea. Two words: bounty hunters. You skip out on paying your tolls and a gun-wielding, leather clad, deranged blonde dude shows up at your door. 

For those of you who have a passing interest in whether Pennsylvania is funding public education, there is an ongoing Commonwealth Court case that is seeking to answer that thorny question. What has become clear thus far is that some kids are learning the ABCs on their new school-supplied iPads, while in other districts kids are trying to learn in classrooms also occupied by cockroaches.     

Governor Wolf also laid down the ground rules for the new congressional maps in hopes that there will be no gerrymandering of seats. The governor is using some fancy computer programs to spot such gerrymandering and related shenanigans, but regardless, the current odds on those maps ultimately landing in the PA Supreme Court are 7/5. 

Wolf also unveiled his litter action plan, enlisting everyone from cabinet officials to local governments to Oscar the Grouch to clean up this Commonwealth. Seriously, people. In 2021, litter is still a thing? Put down your 8-track tape players and clean this place up. 

Of all the sectors of the economy that have been roiled by the pandemic, childcare continues to be near the top. Pennsylvania is staring at a crisis when it comes to childcare workers, worsened by the fact that the people charged with caring for our children are paid like dirt. Childcare and home care. Get used to hearing about these industries, folks. 

Out in western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh’s Mayor-Elect Ed Gainey is assembling his transition team as he prepares to take the helm in the Steel City. A new day is definitely dawning in Pittsburgh, despite the fact that the Steelers are dead last in the AFC North. 

Federal officials are looking into strange aerial sightings in and around the Lehigh Valley International Airport, which is big news. Proof of extraterrestrial life would really boost tourism in the valley. But alas, reports are coming in now that the unexplained airborne vehicles were the product of Rep. Mike Schlossberg flying his Strong Bad kite near the airport.  

Over on the Triad socials this week, say congratulations to our own Asa Saidman on his two-year Triad work anniversary. They grow up so fast.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Maryland, where a man decided it was a good idea to take care of the snake infestation in his home by smoking them out, and in the process, burned his house to the ground. To be fair, we thought this was actually the correct way to deal with a snake infestation. 

That’s what passes for news around here as December arrives, and with it comes the existential dread of shopping for Christmas gifts during a supply-chain crisis. Looks like plenty of gift cards are on deck this year, kids! Until we meet again, have a great weekend from all of us at Team Triad!