Friday, January 8, 2020
Before we get to the general ugliness of the week that was (which lasted eight months, for some reason), we take a moment to note the passing of former Gov. Dick Thornburgh, a statesman who served the Commonwealth and the nation with distinction. Godspeed, governor.
It also saddens us to note the unexpected passing of state Rep. Mike Reese, a 42-year-old GOP rising star from western Pennsylvania. We send our most sincere condolences to Mike’s family, his colleagues and friends. He will be sorely missed in the halls of Harrisburg.
Wednesday was a quiet day in the nation’s capital, with Congress efficiently tallying the nation’s electoral votes. Nah, just kidding. There was a riot, and five people ultimately died because, you know, losing an election or something. Oh, and some mouth-breather wanted to put his boots on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. It was almost as if, centuries after the Civil War, people are somehow shocked that seditious words JUST MIGHT lead to actual sedition.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was the first to break out the blamethrower and call for Veep Mike Pence to pull the plug on this Trump production and invoke the 25th amendment to remove the president from office. Although the president has treated his second-in-command rather shoddily of late, Pence seems to be unwilling to take that step thus far.
Earlier in the week, the president tweeted (before he was locked in Twitter jail) that Pence had the right and duty to not accept any electoral vote tallies he did not like, which is not only entirely false, but would have the effect of pretty much ensuring no one could ever defeat an incumbent president. Pence spent a very uncomfortable day ignoring Trump’s texts and Snaps before deciding he really didn’t want to stuff the Constitution into a woodchipper.
So, in the end, Congress reconvened after the carnage of the day, did its job, and Joe Biden will become the nation’s next president on Jan. 21, something that most of the world has known for months. And now the nation embarks on the longest 12 days since Khrushchev parked a few dozen missiles ninety miles south of Miami.
Then late last night, as talk of another impeachment swirled, Trump kinda, sorta, almost conceded, saying he is now focused on an orderly transition of power. What on earth could have ever led you to make such a speech, Mr. President? The fact that Mitch McConnell took a sledgehammer to your Electoral College plans on the Senate floor and didn’t stop until everything was signed, sealed and delivered? Say what you want about the Reaper: when he has had enough nonsense, you can usually tell.
Speaking of the Reaper, he will soon become the Minority Reaper, as Georgia Democrats did the almost unthinkable this week and won both U.S. Senate seats, handing the aforementioned Chuck Schumer control of the upper chamber. This is a game-changer for President-elect Biden, as well as for states that have been bankrupted by COVID. You could almost hear the sigh of relief coming from Governor Wolf’s office. And from Albany, and Sacramento, and Columbus…
Pennsylvania lawmakers were sworn into office Tuesday, while some of them just flat-out SWORE! While a mob of rioters didn’t invade the building on Commonwealth Avenue, there was quite a bit of drama over in the normally staid state Senate as the GOP majority refused to seat a western Pennsylvania senator whose election was certified by the Department of State, citing ongoing litigation (isn’t there always ongoing litigation these days?) As tempers rose and hard feelings emerged, those same leaders removed Lt. Gov. John Fetterman from his role as presiding officer and things went to hell in a handbasket. It is awfully rare that the Senate makes the House look boring by comparison, but hey! 2021, baby!
The House also did its thing this week, swearing-in members in batches as to avoid having a swearing-in super-spreader. The festivities were more than a little subdued, due to not only the pandemic, but also the lingering loss of Rep. Mike Reese. The House then beat feet outta town until later this month.
All the drama of the week had our rather genteel governor a wee bit aggravated, as he lashed out at the PA GOP congressmen who tried to block the Commonwealth’s electoral votes from being counted. Wolf does not lash very often, for the uninformed. He’s more of a “give you a very stern talking to” type of cat.
The U.S. economy shed 140,000 jobs last month as the pandemic continues to rampage through and around and over everything in its path. We have a sneaking suspicion that those newly extended unemployment benefits are not yet done being extended.
All eyes are back on the daily COVID case counts as Governor Wolf lifted the latest round of mitigation restrictions on Monday. Restaurant owners in particular are hoping this was the last time they had to do that dance. It is still striking to us that when Congress agreed on a stimulus bill a few weeks back, it contained just shy of zero dollars for that hard-hit industry. We guess all that “support” that elected officials say we need to give bar and restaurant owners is of the morale kind, not the actual green money kind. Never has the famous quote from the late state Rep. Bud George meant more when he said, “Talk is cheap, but it takes money to buy whiskey.”
Given that the talk of fraudulent voting damned near drove our country into a second civil war, elected officials are already introducing bills to reform the process. First up, are some Pennsylvania GOP officials who want to pull the throttle way back on that whole mail-in voting idea. There is no way that toothpaste is going back into the tube as long as Governor Wolf is around, his office said this week. Next idea.
How exactly are we supposed to find fodder for our weekly We Can’t Make This Up segment during a week when insurgents (some dressed as caped buffalo, for some odd reason) took over our nation’s capital? Well, take a quick look at an online spat about said event, where Xena the Warrior Princess lays a Twitter smackdown on Trump-supporter Hercules. Lucy Lawless vs. Kevin Sorbo, ladies and gentlemen! 2021 is here!
That’s what passed for news around here on a Friday when we are desperately praying for NO MORE NEWS THIS WEEK! ENOUGH ALREADY! From your friends at Team Triad, have a great weekend!