Friday, May 1, 2020

Today is May 1, which should be reason enough for us all to rejoice after April unexpectedly lasted six years. But remember, it is also May Day, when we traditionally celebrate workers. Maybe instead of sharing a Justin Timberlake meme that everyone has seen a million times, share some love for workers today.   

Today is also the 137th birthday of the Philadelphia Phillies, which means Philly residents have been booing a baseball team for a very impressive 137 years.   

Speaking of anniversaries, 66 years ago this week Dr. Jonas Salk came home and injected his kids with an experimental polio vaccine. The rest is history, that history being his kids likely needed therapy for the next 20 years, but millions of lives were saved.   

If there was ever evidence that the stock market is not an accurate reflection of the state of the economy, we found it this week. As the Dow jumped into the green several times this week, the country’s unemployment claims hit 30 million for the first time since… well, ever.   

As armed protestors keep descending on state capital buildings to demand an end to quarantine measures, the images have gotten the attention of a certain former governor and Vietnam veteran, and he is not impressed by these folks in the least. Check out this op-ed article from Tom Ridge.   

But as the open–the–states vs. continue–the–quarantine debate rages across the nation, one inescapable fact keeps rearing its ugly, COVID-19 head: health experts almost unanimously agree we do not have enough tests yet to safely map out a strategy. But hey, as Americans, we rarely have a strategy for anything we do. Which is why America’s Funniest Videos is still televised after 137 years.   

The Air Force and the Navy joined up to salute front-line health care workers. If you haven’t seen the video of the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels roaring over Billy Penn in Philly, you need to do so immediately. We got goose bumps the size of golf balls.   

Yes, we used the golf ball analogy since, as many of us know, the Commonwealth’s golf courses have officially opened, which is why our readership will likely be down by 60% today. It will be interesting to watch how golfers react when they find out there is no beer cart and that no golf course bars are open.    

Governor Wolf will also announce the first red-to-yellow counties this afternoon, so anticipation is high.  By the time you read this missive, you may already be dancing in your driveway. Some residents of rural PA counties, those likely to open in round one, are worried that there will be an influx of urban and suburban hordes to their counties. We have seen those movies before, they usually star Woody Harrelson, and they are not pretty.   

Meat shortages are the new rage, and COVID-19 continues to terrorize employees at processing plants. On Wednesday, President Trump demanded that those facilities stay open, all of which leads us to the conclusion that Burger King was way ahead of its time with that whole Impossible Whopper thing.  

There may also be egg shortages on the horizon, as a dozen eggs is now roughly seventy times the price of a gallon of gas. If November rolls around and Americans have no bacon and no eggs, President Trump’s re-election bid will be toast. See what we did there?     

If fake bacon and $100 omelets are not your jam, Dunkin Donuts is still giving away a free donut every Friday. We may survive after all. Where you at, Duck Donuts?  

Republican state senators once again threatened to shower the Wolf administration with subpoenas to find out what the decision-making process was behind the business waiver process instituted during the early stages of our state quarantine. That should set the tone for some nice, collegial budget negotiations!  

Pennsylvania residents have already requested nearly 900,000 mail-in ballots for the June 2 primary election. Pennsylvania will still allow in-person voting, but these ballot numbers suggest that even if folks are allowed to re-emerge into society soon, they simply may choose not to do so.   

The State System of Higher Education gave students and parents a glimmer of good news when it announced a tuition freeze at system schools for next year. Now we shall see how much of that State System education is conducted online this fall.  

Some state lawmakers are chafing at the Department of Health for opening a “snitch line” to rat out businesses or people who are not following health guidelines. You know the old saying: snitches get stitches, but COVID-19 might get you six-foot ditches. Or something like that.  

Over on the Triad socials this week, Roy Wells is doing a special appearance on the YouTube series Bizcares, which is happening today, but you can find here if you’re out golfing and don’t read this until Saturday.   

We also heard from our good pals at Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh about the future of affordable housing post-coronavirus. Hint: we will need more of it.  

Finally, Dave Chiaramonte of the PA Professional Firefighters has some thoughts on the mental toll this pandemic is taking on first responders. Check it out here.   

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to that old Kentucky home, where America’s favorite race, the Kentucky Derby, has been canceled and replaced by a turtle race. Yes, you read that correctly. History books will mark this as the week our slow descent into madness became complete.   

That’s what passes for news around here, as that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel is most definitely not a train. We think. OK, we hope. From all your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!