Friday, December 4, 2020

COVID-19 cases in the United States continue to skyrocket, showing little signs of abating anytime soon as governors across the nation consider curfews and lockdowns. For now, Gov. Tom Wolf has largely shied away from another statewide lockdown, but with today’s 12,000 new cases, the smart money says that a stay-at-home order might be a matter of when, not if. Imagine if we would have all just worn the stupid masks…  

The nation’s economy added 245,000 jobs last month, which under any other circumstances would be cause for a small celebration (a socially distant one, at least.) Not this year, cool cats and kittens. Analysts had expected that number to be roughly double, so those same analysts are now analyzing what the hell went wrong with all their analyses. These folks are making pollsters look reliable.

We know that the news has been unrelentingly bleak lately (see our first two grafs for proof), so we thought we would show you this video from one of President Trump’s star witnesses, testifying about election fraud in Michigan. This is nine-plus minutes of top-notch SNL material, trust us. When you are so crazy that Rudy Giuliani is trying to reel you in, you’ve made it to the next level. 

Here in Pennsylvania, a small group of lawmakers wanted their own GOP leaders to reconvene the General Assembly (they cannot) to toss out the popular vote and pick their own electors for president (which they also cannot really do.) The answer from their leaders was, shockingly enough, that they can do neither of those things.  

On Tuesday U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr sank the U.S.S. Election Fraud with a torpedo of a quote to the Associated Press. Barr, who for two years has been accused by Democrats of being the president’s lapdog, flatly stated that the Department of Justice really hasn’t found any evidence of widespread voter fraud. And just like that, Barr achieved the rarest of all the Political Exactas: he is now hated by both the left and the right. 

If you thought this was the end of the line for Team Trump’s attempts to throw out Pennsylvania’s votes, there may yet be one last stop on the last train to Bidentown. One Pennsylvania congressman has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and disallow Pennsylvania from certifying its votes (which it has already done.) While we are not lawyers over here on North Second Street, we do have several online betting accounts and we can safely advise you to bet your next mortgage payment on that suit being denied by the SCOTUS. And when you make that bundle, we would like some new shoes.

If you think this election season has been stranger than fiction, swing on down to Pennsylvania SD 45, where the margin is currently 89 votes out of more than 300,000 cast on Election Day. The decision now lands in federal court because every stinking thing this election season has ended up in court. When did we become so litigious as a nation? Was that recently? Maybe there is a vaccine for that, too? 

As the nation reels from thousands of coronavirus deaths per day, it is always heartening to see two CNBC commentators go at each other like drunken yard cats over whether masks and shutdowns work. It is also a helpful reminder that the market for loud, obnoxious, opinionated, and arrogant white men on television is apparently unlimited.

PA Treasurer Joe Torsella has ridden to the rescue of road and bridge projects that were about to be shut down as PennDOT ran out of coin. Torsella has floated a loan to the Commonwealth while Governor Wolf and the General Assembly’s GOP leaders work out a funding deal. Torsella reminded all of them that everyone squares up eventually, and that they BETTER NOT make him come looking for them, before menacingly slamming baseball bat on the table and walking out. 

How did our highway and bridge funding situation go off the road into a ditch? Glad you asked, dear reader. SHAMESS CLIENT ALERT! Our good friend Bob Latham is here to tell you, so pull up the ol’ beanbag chair and get some popcorn.  

Two Pennsylvania House lawmakers have started a bipartisan caucus, which is by far the best news we can report to you fine folks today. Just a note of caution to those two great Americans: you are about to make the farther ends of your respective caucuses very angry. Hang tough. 

That bipartisan spirit is also on display in the Federal City, where there is finally hope that Congress can do a short-term COVID stimulus bill. Must be the smell of Christmas – or perhaps abject desperation – in the air.  Either way, it’s cool.  

Five more states moved to legalize or decriminalize marijuana in November and ON THIS VERY DAY IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to decriminalize pot on the federal level. It is shocking how quickly the country has come full circle on how it views that little old plant with the goofy leaves, except here in Pennsylvania where they still play “Reefer Madness” on reel-to-reel video tape in our schools. Somewhere, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman weeps for our Commonwealth.   

In another Shameless Client Plug, we encourage you to read about the work that is being done in Philly by our good friend Jeff Brown. This one will help restore your faith.

Over on the Triad socials this week, we were busy as hell! First, we have our good colleague Brandi Hunter-Davenport waxing poetically about her experiences in the Ten New Leaders class. Read about it here!  

We also said goodbye to our fabulous intern, Alexus Lauver. Check out her musings on working with Team Triad. Next week will be the words of fabulous Intern No. 2, Aaron Danks.

And did we tell you about Olivia Edwards Rindfuss being named to HYP’s 20 in their 20’s list of outstanding humans? If not, check it out here!  

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Japan, where this week they unveiled a 60-foot tall walking robot to, in their words, “help bring back tourism” in the post-COVID world. Really, Japan? A 60-foot walking robot? You know we have all seen this movie, right? This will NOT end well; we can assure you.  

That’s what passes for news around here, and we get the feeling it may be a while before we see y’all in person again. So hey, that’s good news for you, right?? From all your friends at Team Triad, please be safe and stay well.