With avian influenza (AI) now detected across several states, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine is stepping up detection efforts against the dangerous disease in Pennsylvania while increasing outreach and education to Pennsylvania producers and residents.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will not be your next President of the United States, largely because he would need to carry Pennsylvania. And it would be impossible to win the Keystone State with zero votes from the City of Philadelphia, which is exactly the number he can expect. No, Eagles fans have not yet forgotten Christie’s love affair with the Dallas Cowboys, we learned this week, as evidenced by the group of green-clad folks who stalked Christie at a Bass Pro Shop in New Jersey.
Pity Mike Pence, governor of Indiana and former congressman. With a strong following among conservatives, in Indiana and nationally, he was thought to have an outside shot at the Republican nomination for President. So last month, there he was, just minding his own business, sort of. We’ll let the National Review describe what happened next:
“Then, on Thursday, March 26, he signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and all hell broke loose.
Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play today! The 2015 baseball season got underway this week. At press time, among teams of local interest, based on Week 1 performance, projected regular season records are as follow: Orioles, 108-54; Nats and Phillies, 54-108; Pirates, 0-162. (Past performance is not an indicator of future results. Void where prohibited. Batteries not included.)
Welcome back to our early, truncated but still lovingly prepared holiday edition of our weekly wrap-up. Put your mittens around your kittens and away we go!
The first cracks have appeared in the Hillary armor, we learned this week. A poll released this week showed that Rand Paul is edging Ms. Clinton here in the Keystone State in the race for President. And yet somehow, Ted Cruz seems to get all the news coverage. Odd.
Triad Strategies’ Philadelphia Director Yvonne Roberts was recently honored by Philadelphia City Council as a ‘Woman of Moxie.’
‘Women of Moxie’ is given to those who exemplify gumption, leadership, and excellence in the areas of athletics, government, business, nonprofits and education as a part of Women’s History Month.
Ted Cruz is running for President, in case you were in a medically-induced coma this week. There hasn’t been this much buzz about a Cruz since Jose patrolled the outfield for the Houston Astros (did we mention MLB’s opening day is 10 days away?)
At Triad Strategies, we pride ourselves on having some of the best strategic communications experts in the business toiling away for us in our Pine Street lair. This week, the national news was all about communications, neither of which was very strategic in nature. The two take-aways from the week in Washington? Don’t delete 30,000 “personal” e-mails while serving as Secretary of State, and maybe don’t send a group letter to a hostile government.
Two days ago it was March 4th, which is the only date on the calendar that is also a command. And so we march forth with your weekly update!
A Republican member of Congress this week introduced a bill that would strengthen the federal background check system for firearm purchases. Despite widespread bipartisan support for such a plan, expect that bill to move through Congress right around March Never, due to the always-predictable fierce opposition from the NRA.
Yesterday, two members of the PA State Senate GOP introduced a bill that would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to limit the rate of spending of state government. In and of itself, this proposal is not new, as it has been introduced in some iteration or another for more than a decade. But taking a step back, it represents the latest in a trend that has begun in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly.
The FAA this week announced it will publish rules governing the use of private drones in the United States. An early look at the rules would suggest that using drones for private delivery of goods will be prohibited, which destroys our dream of a drone dropping off a pizza and a six-pack on our deck this summer. Stupid government regulators.
While Harrisburg is usually the center of our universe, we begin our weekly missive 100 or so miles to the east, with the happy news that our City of Brotherly Love will host the 2016 Democratic National Convention. We’re told it’s kind of a big deal.
On Monday, we were all treated to the prospect of six more weeks of winter because somehow, some way, that groundhog from Punxsutawney saw his shadow (perhaps it was the fifty klieg lights pointed at him.) Later in the week, we learned that the town of Danville is now at an increased risk of flooding due to the burrowing of groundhogs in and around their earthen dam. In short, this week we learned that groundhogs are jerks.
It appears as though the Koch Brothers have put a price tag on the 2016 elections, and the final answer is $889 million. That is the sum the Kochs say they are prepared to spend to advance their political ideology by purchasing ads and all other manner of political communication. By comparison, the Gross Domestic Product of the British Virgin Islands is around $909 million. So for a mere $20 million more, the Kochs could just forgo their electoral strategy and buy some really nice islands.
The U.S. House GOP caucus decamped to the sweetest place on earth this week to sing a little Kumbaya, eat peanut butter cups and plot their legislative course for 2015. Nothing like bucolic, rolling central Pennsylvania hills and the smell of chocolate to temporarily mask the family dysfunction! The gang at the Hershey Lodge will need to do a quick turnaround, as the Wolf Inaugural bash invades the same space next Tuesday.
Happy New Year to all of our loyal readers; we are glad to be back with you after our holiday hiatus. We kick off 2015 by reminding you that next week is Farm Show Week in Harrisburg, which means it will snow all week, various meats-on-sticks will be available for purchase, and somebody will sculpt something out of 1,000 pounds of butter. Also, you cannot buy an actual farm at the Farm Show.
As the new legislative Session begins in Harrisburg, the General Assembly will likely take up a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would, if passed, give lawmakers the sole authority to decide what constitutes a “purely public charity.” A similar bill (SB 4) was passed last session, and would have to pass again in the 2015-2016 Legislative Session in the exact same form before it could be put to voters to decide its fate.
For the first time in 53 years, the United States will pursue normalized relations with Cuba, something that has not happened since Michael Corleone was forced to flee that tiny island on New Year’s Eve many years ago. Twitter was immediately flooded with people asking when they could get Cuban cigars and whether ending our embargo will allow the Phillies to more easily pursue top-notch Cuban baseball players. Won’t you pour us a Cuban Breeze, Gretchen? (Apologies to Donald Fagan)
After spending the better part of a month fighting like cats in a burlap sack, Democrats and Republicans in Congress this week came together and actually passed an important piece of legislation. U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s ABLE Act is now poised to become the law of the land, allowing people to set aside tax-free accounts to provide for long term care for disabled loved ones. See what happens when we all play nice?
After spending a year and a combined $30 million or so to tell you how different they are, it turns out that outgoing Governor Tom Corbett and incoming Governor Tom Wolf have more in common than just their first names. Both of them will be donating a little time, money and elbow grease to local food banks to make the holidays a bit more cheerful for those in need. Thanks, Toms!
We know you missed us during our Thanksgiving holiday hiatus, but fear not, we are back and better than ever. Or at least as good as we are gonna get. So throw your mittens around your kittens and away we go!
If you are worried about racking up too much credit card debt this holiday season, keep in mind that JUST THIS WEEK the U.K. has moved to pay off more than $3 billion in debt it floated to help finance a little conflict known as World War I. Wonder what the interest and penalties were on that sucker.
Earlier this week, God nominated Buffalo, NY for the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was a really big bucket.
President Obama went on national television last night and announced his plan to use executive authority to defer the deportation of up to 4 million illegal immigrants, thereby starting a firestorm of…wait. What? It wasn’t on national television? The Big Bang Theory was more important? OK, we will just be over here in the corner silently weeping.
Speculation is swirling around Harrisburg that the incoming General Assembly will use the two weeks between when they are sworn in (January 6th) and when Governor-elect Tom Wolf is sworn-in (January 20th) to convene and pass a raft of legislation that Governor Corbett could sign into law on his way out of office.
Twenty-four years ago this week, some guy named Tim Berners-Lee devised a theory that ultimately became the modern Internet, which we believe is a series of tubes located somewhere in rural North Carolina. Al Gore promptly stole the idea, took credit for Berners-Lee’s work, and just this week, Kim Kardashian broke the whole damned thing.
Tug of war over charities’ tax status deserves taxpayers’ attention
A Guest Post by state Rep. Mike Hanna, House Democratic Whip
Perhaps you’ve seen the legal advertising in newspapers for proposed amendments to Pennsylvania’s constitution. Among them is a proposal to change how public charities’ tax-exempt status is determined.
Some political campaigns can be likened to a big, nasty food fight. Sometimes, the day after an election, an actual fight breaks out inside a place that serves food. It was this tortured comparison that prompted us to open this week’s festivities with a story (and video) of a fight inside a Philadelphia McDonald’s that featured flying chairs and a woman breaking a broomstick over some poor guy’s noggin’.
Congratulations to the Pennsylvania State Police and all who assisted and volunteered during the seven-week manhunt for subhuman accused cop killer Eric Frein. Frein is now in custody. No treats for you this Halloween, Eric. Or ever.
Darth Vader is running for a seat on the Ukrainian Parliament, we found out this week. If successful, he plans to (we are not making this up) turn the Ukraine into a “galactic empire”, which sounds nice. If unsuccessful, we imagine he’ll just blow up another planet or something.
Because Harrisburg apparently isn’t a strange enough place in the waning days of a two-year legislative session, news of a firefight between street thugs and two lawmakers elevated the week to a whole new level of weird. Scranton-area State Rep. Marty Flynn and his colleague from Erie, State Rep. Ryan Bizarro, found themselves face-to-face with armed assailants Tuesday night, and Flynn was apparently having none of it, drawing his own handgun and squeezing off a few rounds. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the thugs have been apprehended. Memo to Harrisburg hoodlums: you may want to check the bios of your potential targets. Flynn does not seem like a logical person to attack. Said Flynn: “It was like Yosemite Sam from Looney Toons.” We have an exclusive video for your enjoyment.
Given the fiscal state of this fine commonwealth, it is a small miracle that not just one, but TWO people actually want to be governor for the next four years. Deficits, ballooning pension costs, credit downgrades and all manner of other financial challenges await the man who puts his hand on the Bible next January. “Hey, welcome to Harrisburg! The roof has a hole in it, the house has termites and the rent is three months late. Oh, and there is an angry badger in the guest bedroom. Have a ball, and call us when everything is fixed!”
The U.S. Secret Service has had better weeks, obviously. First, it was discovered that an armed man was allowed to scurry around the first floor of the White House, evading capture like some Benny Hill skit. Because that wasn’t dangerous enough, an armed felon was then allowed on the same elevator with the President in Atlanta. It might be time to tighten things up a bit over there, ladies and gentlemen.
The City of Brotherly Love got a big boost in its bid to host Hillary Clinton’s 2016 block party (otherwise known as the Democratic National Convention) this week when former Governor Ed Rendell opened up a can of Cheez Whiz all over New York City. Rendell took to the airwaves to remind the selection committee that the Big Apple is a hot, festering cesspool of bedbugs, detritus and – as we all know – the occasional Sharknado. This basically seals the deal for Philly, we have no doubt.
Just like the swallows return to Capistrano, the General Assembly arrived back in Harrisburg this week after its summer recess, and right away lawmakers turned their attention to the important matter of arming school teachers. The Senate Education Committee heard testimony regarding a bill that would give school districts the option to allow employees to possess firearms as long as the employees are licensed to carry a concealed weapon and meet certain training requirements. They also would be provided anonymity so no one else would know they’re packing. Sure, that’ll work. Uh, hey Mr. McGillicuddy, is that a pistol in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Among the tenets of crisis management and crisis communication is that an organization in crisis must divulge every relevant facet of the problem as soon as practicable. Here in the Digital Age, anything that lies hidden is merely a land mine awaiting eventual and inevitable detonation.
We paused yesterday to remember the horrific terrorist attacks on our country that took place 13 years ago. Many, many stories were posted online yesterday commemorating the attack, but we thought our readers might be interested in this piece by PennLive’s John Luciew, who gives us a look back and an update on the how much has changed in tiny Shanksville since that dark day. While you are at it, maybe you would like to jump online and contribute to the Flight 93 memorial, so that none of us ever forget.
It seems as though every week this summer there was a new data breach or hack or leak or some other invasion into an unsuspecting person’s data. There was Paytime, there was Target and now there is a credit card data breach linked to Home Depot (don’t even get us started on the celebrity nude photo hacking).
Beverage goliath Anheuser-Busch announced this week that it will convert its entire Houston-based truck fleet to all CNG powered tractor trailers. For its next trick, it will then convert Budweiser into actual beer.
When Doug Surra crossed the finish line at the front of the pack Saturday night at Hummingbird Speedway, he not only nailed down his 8th feature win of the season, he claimed the 2014 Pure Stock Points Championship!
Last week in this very space, we talked about inversion, a practice by which American corporations relocate to other countries to avoid paying U.S. taxes. Well hello there, Burger King, we didn’t see you standing there wearing a Vancouver Canucks jersey! The world’s second-largest fast food chain is now Canadian, which we assume means they will be replacing the bacon on their burgers with Canadian bacon, which we all know is simply ham. You aren’t fooling anyone, Canada.
You’ve heard a lot about Lyft and Uber, mobile applications that allow users to share rides in a more efficient way than traditional car services, but you may not have heard of MuniRent. MuniRent is a start-up company that helps cash-strapped municipalities procure equipment and services from public and private entities.