Friday, September 18, 2020
A top-level staffer at the Department of Health and Human Services went on a Facebook rant (let’s face it, Facebook is where all good rants begin) about the deep state working inside the government to take down President Trump, armed insurrections, and a bunch of other conspiracy theories that would make David Duchovny uncomfortable. At one point he even mentioned there might be life on Venus, which was enough for the President’s advisors to step in and “advise” him to take a short vacation.
In totally unrelated news, it looks like there might be signs of life on Venus. Wait a minute…
FBI Director Christopher Wray went up to Capitol Hill Thursday to let lawmakers know that the Russkies are at it again, working overtime on social media to tear down Joe Biden. Wray then returned to his office in the J. Edgar Hoover building only to find that it had been moved behind the boiler room in the basement and stripped of all the furniture. Reportedly, the phrase “snitches get stitches” was also spray-painted across Wray’s car.
Meanwhile, Mike Bloomberg announced this week that he will begin dumping millions of dollars into an anti-Trump TV ad blitz in electorally crucial Florida. There is simply no end to the blood feud between Trump and Bloomberg, which we assume will continue when they are both in the same upscale nursing home for super-rich New Yorkers, smacking each other with their canes.
Speaking of elections, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court this week ruled that Green Party Presidential candidate Howie Hawkins will not be on the ballot on the fall since he did not follow proper ballot procedures, potentially denying tens of voters the chance to vote for the Hawk (which is what we assume he calls himself).
In much bigger news, however, the court also sided with the Wolf Administration on a three-day extension for counting absentee and mail-in ballots, ensuring that Election Day in Pennsylvania will be at least a three-day affair, much like Coachella but far less enjoyable and much less smelly.
The House and Senate Republicans are none too thrilled with the state’s high court releasing statements Thursday accusing the court of “allowing one party to steal the election” and that they are examining their legal options. One more thing to add to the circus tent of Nov. 3rd.
Also, if you are a lawyer in Pennsylvania and you have not yet been hired by either the Trump or the Biden campaign yet, you aren’t doing your job correctly. Chop, chop.
A federal judge in Pittsburgh jammed a monkey-wrench into the gears of some of Governor Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation tactics, specifically the limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings. The court ruled that what Wolf did was well-intentioned, yet still unconstitutional, which is essentially what legislative Republicans have been saying all along, except minus the whole “well-intentioned” part.
In arguing on Wednesday for a stay of that order, Wolf and his team made the case that these decisions are literally about life and death, which is hard to deny as the country has seen 200,000 Americans die at the hands of this insidious virus. Usually, when a lawyer says something is a “matter of life and death” we just yawn, grab another beer and turn off Law and Order: SVU, except if it’s ADA Raphael Barba saying it. But not this time around.
For her part, Dr. Levine then reminded Pennsylvanians that the court order does not mean ALL mitigation efforts are null and void, and y’all should keep the masks on and not run around and party like its VJ Day in Times Square.
Almost as if on cue, a group of chuckleheads released a video of themselves parading through a Target store sans masks. The video was set to Twisted Sister’s hit “We’re not gonna take it”, prompting the band’s front man Dee Snider to call the group “morons” and ask that they not use his song. Yes, we have gotten to the point where an aging Heavy Metal star has become the voice of reason.
The state House this week debated and eventually passed a bill that would prohibit the governor from closing houses of worship during any future pandemic, even though houses of worship were not shut down during the current one. Better to be safe than sorry, we suppose, right up until some bar owner changes the name of his bar to “House of Worship” and holds services after 10:00 pm.
An obscure state regulatory agency kept the governor’s plan to enter the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) moving right on down the road, despite some loud opposition from a few board members and even an f-bomb being hurled at “you Green New Dealers.” This is the first time we’ve heard someone throw an f-bomb at a dealer since we were at Rivers Casino. But to be fair, he did pull a four-card twenty-one while we were sitting on a pair of kings.
The state released a report on the staggering amount of financial exploitation of seniors that happens in our fine Commonwealth and what to do about it if you see it happening, which is obviously to take to social media and shame the hell out of the perpetrator. Or something like that. Read the report already!
Before we go any farther, we would like to pre-emptively apologize to Sen. Judy Ward and Rep. Louis Schmitt for what we are about to write. We discovered this week that there is something in Blair County called Altoona Hotel Pizza and OH LORD does it look positively dreadful! Like, it makes Old Forge pizza look tasty by comparison. Please tell us it tastes better than it looks. All of this is a part of a Pittsburgh City Paper expose on the regional pizza tastes of Pennsylvania, which is a heck of a good read.
Lawmakers this week also propose doubling the fines and penalties for violating the state’s Steer Clear law, which mandates that motorists MOVE THE HELL OVER when approaching a disabled vehicle or emergency response vehicle. Apparently, the current law isn’t sufficient at making motorists MOVE THE HELL OVER!
This just in: Pennsylvania still needs 10,000 poll workers for November 3rd. So, if you would like to do your small part to ensure that democracy does not get broken around here, please call your county election office and sign up.
On the Triad socials, take some time to meet our two new interns, Aaron and Alexus. They won the lottery this semester and don’t have to actually work with us in person. We apologize to all our past interns who didn’t have such luck!
Also, take a minute to hear from our VP Megan Dapp about how we can leverage technology to achieve our public policy and advocacy goals. Just because we can’t camp out in the Rotunda these days doesn’t mean we can’t get our point across.
Finally, this week, Governor Wolf has renewed his call to extend the Hazard Pay program for frontline workers during the pandemic. Given what we just said about Altoona’s pizza, we may just end up applying for some of that if we must drive through Blair County anytime soon.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you Down Under, where a small hotel deep in the Outback (the real one, not the Bloomin’ Onion one) has taken the extraordinary step of banning Carol and Kevin from their property for bad behavior. Also, Carol and Kevin are emus. While the angry birds will no longer be allowed on the property, they can still sell car insurance.
That’s what passes for news around here as the temperature drops outside but the campaign rhetoric keeps getting hotter. From all of us at Team Triad, have a great weekend!