Our loyal Happy Hour readers will recall that last week we pretty much trashed the idea that the Mayan calendar (or lack thereof) portends The End of the World As We Know It, come December 21, exactly one week from today. Since then, we’ve seen a series of bizarre events that may cause us to reassess that earlier assessment.
First, the Philadelphia Eagles actually snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat, instead of the other way around, as it had been for a couple of months (and as it was again four nights later). End of the World question aside, we’re standing by our prediction regarding The End of the Andy Reid Era.
In Michigan, the cradle of organized labor, the state enacted a right-to-work law, which relieves non-union workers from having to pay unions for negotiating labor contracts and for other services. Jimmy Hoffa surely is spinning in his… wherever.
Then there was a little celestial chin music from an asteroid. Described as being “the size of a mountain” – no elaboration as to whether we’re talking Roundtop or Everest – it made us wonder whether Mother Nature was taking a practice swing before teeing up this planet and duck-hooking us into oblivion.
As the week wore on – and with a drum roll we present our We Can’t Make This Up feature – the Pope joined the Twittersphere! His inaugural post said, “Hi folks, PopeBen16 here, jus 2 let u know i have secrets to happiness, immortality, wealth and wish to share w/ u, lol!! All u need 2 do is” And at that point he was out of characters. Nevertheless, he was a social media juggernaut, amassing a million followers in short order, at least until they began un-following him for pestering the crap out of them with seven tweets in seven hours.
Then from the Discovery Channel came a program about the “Amish mafia,” where the storylines include violence, adultery, prostitution, blackmail, gambling, wild parties and drugs. It was like HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, only without Steve Buscemi or a shred of believability.
Finally, by week’s end, it was revealed that North Korea had successfully launched a satellite into outer space. Seriously, if these events don’t add up to an impending apocalypse, we don’t know what does. So we’re now officially hedging our bets until 12:01 a.m. on 12/22.
If we do make it past that date, though, Governor Corbett will lead the charge for a comprehensive transportation funding solution come 2013. At a Pennsylvania Society event last weekend, the governor asserted that he will roll out a transportation funding plan that provides a lasting, multimodal solution to this problem.
Also on the transpo front, PennDOT’s deputy secretary for administration, Mark Compton, was tapped as Turnpike CEO, beginning Feb. 1. Compton succeeds Roger Nutt, who resigned for health reasons.
And while we’re on that Turnpike thing, the guv presided at a grand-opening ceremony for a new all-electronic Turnpike interchange near Malvern. The project is expected to relieve congestion and attract business in the region. It’s also notable as an example of the shape of things to come as our favorite toll road moves toward a person-less toll collecting system in the next five years. (Wow! Wonder how many of our readers on the Hill financed part of their college costs with summer jobs as toll takers? Will PHEAA be able to pick up the slack?)
State Treasurer Rob McCord said he absolutely, positively will not authorize any payments to a private state lottery manager until he is absolutely, positively sure that said manager is operating under the law, and he’s not absolutely, positively sure that the lottery privatization proposed by the Corbett administration is gonna pass muster in that respect.
Centre County Rep. Scott Conklin said he has bipartisan support for a proposal that would shrink the size of the Penn State board of trustees to 22 members and not include the university president. Auditor General Jack Wagner said last month that Penn State’s current 32-member board is among the largest in the country. Conklin’s proposal also would obligate Penn State, along with Pitt, Temple and Lincoln universities, to adhere to the state’s Right to Know law.
As for any progress regarding the Fiscal Cliff (the polar opposite of Jimmy Cliff), nothing to see here, move along. An apocalypse on 12/21 would render that issue moot. Does anyone else love the smell of napalm in the morning?
In conclusion, we acknowledge a certain amount of ambivalence on this end-of-the-world thing. Indecision may – or may not – be our problem. But here’s the deal – next week’s Happy Hour will land in your lap on the final day of the current Mayan calendar. We promise to pass along whatever hints we can scrounge up as to whether our world will end on Friday, or whether Saturday is going to be a bright, bright sunshiny day. Meanwhile, please feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Triadvocate.
The Triadvocate is a publication of Triad Strategies, LLC, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, strategic communications, grassroots advocacy, issue management consulting firm located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, with offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh