Despite the almost-daily string of controversies emanating from the White House these days (some real, others imagined and hyped to no end) the nation’s economy kept up its historic roll this week. With 201,000 new jobs added in August, the country has now experienced 95 consecutive months of positive job growth. With a mere 62 days to go before the midterm elections, our commander-in-chief may wanna start mentioning this a bit more often and bag the whole “fake news” spiel until 2019.
Speaking on controversies, it was a double-whammy type of week for President Trump. After weathering a hit from the release of Bob Woodward’s White House tell-all, an anonymous senior Trump administration official penned a scathing op-ed to the New York Times. Lord help us all if the author was wearing Nikes at the time of the writing.
Trump made some positive headlines in western Pennsylvania this week, as he honored a request from Shell Corporation to go easy on this whole steel import quota thing. Royal Dutch Shell, as we’ve mentioned, is in the midst of building a cracker plant the size of Vermont in western Pennsylvania, and as such is using a boatload of steel and aluminum. Shell is already spending $6 billion on the plant and would very much not like that number to reach $7 billion, thank you very much.
Health insurance premiums under Obamacare (yeah, that’s still a thing) are slated to go up by an average of 4 percent this year, which is a far cry from the huge hikes of the past two years. There may be a reason why this campaign season is not being fought on the “repeal Obamacare” front. We just can’t put our finger on it, though.
Shares of Tesla dropped like a stone this week after founder Elon Musk was caught on video smoking weed. Wall Street traders dumped Tesla stock like it was hot garbage, then retired to their offices to fire up a joint and pour a glass of scotch.
Our friends at Lyft (Shameless Client Plug 1) found themselves at the top of LinkedIn’s list of coveted start-up companies, we learned this week. While arch-rival Uber has spent the last few years tripping over its own app, Lyft has quietly captured 35 percent of the ride-share market. Slow and steady wins the race, people.
Prison safety dominated state headlines this week, as the state’s correction institutions remained on lockdown after corrections officers and inmates were sickened by coming into contact with synthetic drugs, including Fentanyl. The crisis led the Wolf Administration to ban all printed mail from entering prisons, instead replacing them with scanned copies, among other security protocol changes. Corrections officers have a tough enough job with having to worry that some jackwagon mailed an envelope full of K2.
When the General Assembly returns for business in late September, many southeastern Pennsylvania GOP members will once again push legislation to take firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers. If you are surprised that Republican lawmakers are getting ready to go toe-to-toe with the NRA, you need to read up on southeastern Pennsylvania electoral politics.
Gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner went a bit, um, nonconventional this week, producing a video where he called literal bullshit on Governor Wolf’s trip to Puerto Rico. Wolf’s team was quick to point out that Pennsylvania is home to about 420,000 folks of Puerto Rican heritage, or 8 percent of the entire Puerto Rican population in the country. Wagner would prefer that Wolf stay a bit closer to home, apparently.
With apologies to Allen Iverson, who was “talkin’ ‘bout practice” lo those many years ago, we were “talkin’ ‘bout taxes” this week, as the Tax Foundation released a new report on Pennsylvania’s need to overhaul its tax structure. It was like Christmas morning for tax policy nerds (we are looking at you, Triad VP Todd Brysiak), courtesy of our friends at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.
When State Rep. Matt Gabler returns from active duty in Kuwait, you will need to address him as Major Gabler, we learned this week. Gabler received a promotion this week, and all of us at Triad thank him for his selfless service and dedication.
Pennsylvania’s farmers need many things to ply their trade (expensive equipment, good soil, occasional rain, etc.) but one might be interested to know that farmers also need access to high-speed internet and broadband services. If you think farming isn’t high tech, you’ve been watching too many Hee-Haw re-runs.
In our Shameless Client Plug 2, we send a hearty congratulations to our friends at the First Bank of the United States in Philadelphia, who this week received an $8 million redevelopment grant from the Commonwealth. Alexander Hamilton’s central bank is about to become a treasured part of the rich cultural scene in the City of Brotherly Love!
In our third and final Shameless Client Plug, we give a shout-out to our friends at Magellan Health for wrapping up another successful statewide conference on battling opioid and heroin addiction. If you haven’t been watching what Magellan has been doing to battle this scourge, you should. This issue touches us all.
In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we shoot down the highway to the outskirts of Philadelphia. We won’t actually go into the city, however, because somebody stole a metric ton of poisonous spiders and scorpions and other creepy crawlers from a local museum, and who the hell knows where they might be. The theft led to the Tweet of the Week from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, who cautioned Philly Mayor Jim Kenney that Pittsburgh may have to build a wall and make Philly pay for it.
That’s what passes for news around here on another steamy Friday in Harrisburg. Be sure to check in next week, when we will still be avoiding Philly like the plague. From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!