Friday, January 29, 2021
Remember that time a bunch of shi*posters on Reddit (they were known as merry pranksters 50 years ago) got together and squeezed billions from hedge fund short sellers and damned near brought Wall Street to its knees? Yeah, that was Wednesday. There is an old adage that the most dangerous person to fight is someone who has nothing to lose. A lot of people who wear suits that are more expensive than our cars just learned that very lesson.
Every now and again, we find ourselves taking pride in all the wonderful things the Susquehanna Valley has to offer. And then there was this week, when a 22-year-old Mechanicsburg native and jackwagon who shall not be named had to appear in court on charges that she helped steal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop during the Jan. 6 riot. Even if she is found innocent, when did all the players in this game decide it was “patriotic” to steal government property and try to sell it to Russia? Did they become an ally at some point and we all just missed it?
Meanwhile, 45 U.S. senators voted procedurally to shut down the second impeachment trial of the former president, calling the whole thing unconstitutional. Unfortunately for Trump, 45 is not a majority of 100 so the trial will proceed. Constitutionality is indeed in the eye of those who have the most votes. In the U.S. Senate, they call that Rule 51 (as opposed to Area 51.) Coincidentally, 51 does not convict the former president, so the entire exercise is probably moot anyway.
Our own U.S. Sens. Pat Toomey and Bob Casey voted with the majority, leaving open the possibility that even Toomey could be leaning towards voting to convict. Or he could simply be doing his duty and waiting to hear the evidence, much of which he likely already witnessed for himself on Jan. 6 from his seat in the Senate chamber. It is pretty rare to be both a juror and a witness simultaneously.
The Senate was also busy confirming a slew of President Biden’s cabinet picks, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Now that the Yellen and Blinken are over, let’s get to the fussin’ and fightin’.
With the inauguration of his rival in his rearview mirror, former President Trump this week told the world he is thinking of starting his own political party, which will be known either as the MAGA party or the Patriot Party. If anyone out there thinks this is an idle threat, go ahead and underestimate the man. That will be fun to watch. Our money is on Ivanka vs. Rubio in the Sunshine State!
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf took the blame for the slow pace of COVID vaccinations in the state, although to be fair to the man, he can’t really just magically make more doses appear. Team Wolf vowed that things will get better soon and by summer, we will have all been pricked if we so choose. And yeah, you should choose. We would like to get back to watching baseball in an actual baseball stadium with peanuts and beer.
PennDOT is considering tolling 10 of the busiest bridges in the Commonwealth to begin filling the giant transportation funding gap. This seems like one of those chess moves that will first force the GOP-led General Assembly to move legislation to block the plan, thereby drawing them into the debate over transportation funding.
The House voted to potentially open up a two-year retroactive window for survivors of clergy abuse to seek justice. This issue has dominated the Pennsylvania political landscape for years and it looks like there will finally be some justice.
Lawmakers also approved allowing voters to decide whether to curtail the governor’s disaster emergency declaration powers, forcing a chief executive to ask the General Assembly for permission after 21 days. Wolf has argued against this plan before, but with no chance to veto a proposed constitutional amendment, look for the question on a ballot near you very soon!
The state Senate this week unanimously passed a $912 million coronavirus aid package, targeting relief to restaurants, bars, schools, and renters. If you happen to be a renter who works at a bar and has kids in non-public school you just hit the relief trifecta.
Meanwhile, Wolf laid out his agenda for the coming year, although his budget address is scheduled for next Tuesday. It was sort of an appetizer plate of things he wants that the GOP majorities in the House and Senate will find wholly unappetizing, save for perhaps some workforce development loot. A higher minimum wage, legal weed and a severance tax on natural gas drillers will have a hard time making it to the main course.
The one thing Wolf and lawmakers in both parties are watching for is the Biden stimulus plan, which just might save all of them from some really ugly spending cuts or revenue increasing measures. It was reported that congressional leaders are already at work, trimming down the $1.9 trillion price tag to something more reasonable, like $2.6 trillion. Seriously, what is it about congressional Democrats’ past votes that makes anyone believe the package will be smaller in the end?
Hunters and anglers are about to have a one-stop shop for all the licenses they will ever need to hunt or, well… angle. Soon, all you will need is your smart phone and a QR code instead of your rifle to take down that six-point buck. Or is that not how it works?
For the better part of a year, Pennsylvanians have relied upon Dr. Rachel Levine for the good, bad and downright scary information about COVID 19. Team Biden has announced it would like to avail itself of her talents, and so our good friend Alison Beam was announced as her replacement at the Department of Health. Good luck to Ms. Beam and thank you Dr. Levine!
Speaking of congratulations, please take a moment to check out the story of Roz Brewer, the incoming CEO of Walgreens, and thus the only female CEO of a Fortune 500 company in the country.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we take you to Oklahoma (where the wind and the plains do something or another), where good luck apparently comes in twos. Hours after hitting two different deer with his car, a Sooner State man returned home to find out he hit the lottery for two million bucks. See what we did there? Bucks, deer? Yeah, it has been a long month, let’s just all move on to February.
That’s what passes for news around here as we anxiously await the first-ever video gubernatorial budget address! Hit us up if you would like to be on our e-mail list so you can get all of our incredible materials and analysis! Until then, from all of your pals at Team Triad, have a great weekend!