Reapportionment May Delay Agendas
Friday Happy Hour: Who'll Stop the Rain Edition

Happy Hour: Labor Day Edition


Hurricane Irene departed the east coast since we last chatted, and talking heads immediately took to the airways and the social media outlets to breathlessly debate if the news outlets “overhyped” the Category 1 storm.  Let’s see:  it “only” killed 50 people, did billions of dollars of property damage, caused widespread flooding, power outages and basically wiped Vermont from the face of the earth.  Yeah, no big deal. 

President Obama announced this week that he would like to give a speech about job creation on September 7th.  House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would rather listen to it on September 8th.  This is encouraging for all the job seekers out there.  Our elected leaders now can’t even agree on when to talk about job creation, which bodes well for their efforts at actually executing a plan for job creation. 

This week, pop diva Beyoncé announced that she is pregnant, which resulted in an all-time Twitter record being set.  Twitter users at one point were sending over 8,000 tweets per second about her pregnancy, which probably means that this country really doesn’t deserve any new jobs. 

On the heels of Philadelphia School District Chief Arlene Ackerman’s acrimonious departure comes the news that several lawmakers want to abolish the School Reform Commission and return to an elected school board.  Under the plan being offered, the board members would serve without pay, which we see as a fatal flaw.  We really can’t conceive of any scenario under the sun where anyone would volunteer to wrestle that district’s problems to the ground for free.  May I have a free punch in the throat, too?   

From the Department of Mystifying News Stories comes this one, where we learn that people who collect royalty payments from natural gas companies pay income tax on that money.  This just in: the guy in the bucket truck fixing the power line outside our window?  Yup, he pays income taxes, too.  We realize natural gas drilling folks like to make the point of how much they mean to the economy, but this one was pretty self-evident.

One tax that will not be collected in Pennsylvania anytime soon is the one on online purchases.  Lawmakers found out this week that collecting it would probably cost more than it would bring in, and we would also likely end up in court before we saw a dime of it.  Hear that,  You can stop waving your legal team at us, it’s all good.  

A group of citizens and activists who were less than enthralled with the results of Governor Corbett’s Marcellus Shale Commission have decided to form their own cabal, the Citizens Marcellus Shale Commission.  They will travel the state, listen to people’s stories and gather their own information, at which point they will do -- something.  Not since the People’s Front of Judea split with the People’s Judean Front has there been such a nasty breakup.   

Harrisburg City Council this week once again thumbed its nose at the revised Act 47 bailout plan supported by Mayor Linda Thompson and Governor Corbett, choosing instead to allow the Capitol City to careen towards bankruptcy.  There is the brink, and then there is the abyss, the latter being where the city is now officially located.  Out of options and out of arrows in her quiver, the mayor will simply have to wait and see how quickly the state takes over and appoints new overlords. 

The Liquor Control Board announced this week that its annual profits jumped to $83 million, up $30 million from last year, but still short of the target it had set for how much it injects into state coffers.  The system also reported a record $1.6 billion in sales, a true testament to how much more people drink during a recession.  Fans of liquor privatization pointed to the announcement as more evidence of why the system is broken.  Of course, they say the same thing no matter what the announcement is, we’ve come to realize. 

The solution to selling even more booze and setting another record is to allow for longer hours of operation at State Stores, we learned shortly thereafter.  That will fix the problem, or so says the LCB.  For what fans of privatization said when they heard of this plan, see the previous paragraph.

Apparently, there is some sort of alien invasion going on in Pennsylvania, at least according to a western PA House member.  The panel he chairs held two days of hearings on a whole boatload of bills designed to deport and otherwise punish these aliens, hopefully in ways that are a bit more humane than how we usually treat aliens in the movies.  We bought a ray gun just in case. 

Way back when he first ran for governor, Tom Ridge described the Department of Environmental Resources as a “community-harassing, job-crushing, regulatory nightmare.”  Sweet words, huh?  He vowed that, if elected, he would smash it into a million pieces, which he did, giving us the newly streamlined Department of Environmental Protection and its little sister, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.  We found out this week that our new governor isn’t all that fond of what DEP looks like today, and is looking to reorganize it as well. Rinse; repeat; regulate.   

 The City of Pittsburgh this morning submitted its new municipal pension shortfall estimates to the state, hoping to avert a state takeover of the fund.  The submission was the culmination of a two-year battle between council, which wanted to dedicate future parking revenue to the fund, and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who preferred shoring up the fund through leasing the parking facilities.  Council ended up getting its way; now we get to see if it actually worked.  If it doesn’t, expect the mayor (after a hearty round of “I told you so”) to re-submit his plan to lease the city’s parking garages. 

As the Congressional super-committee ponders proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare to whittle down the national debt, hospitals are starting to sweat bullets, we learned this week.  Most hospitals operate on pretty thin margins to begin with, and cuts to these two programs would make it impossible for some to stay open, especially in rural areas.  We are going to go ahead and file this one under Be Careful What You Ask For and then pray it never happens.

Apparently, the City of Philadelphia has something up its sleeve.  Rumors of a new health care facility, hotel and a major new business moving into the city surfaced this week.  For his part, Mayor Michael Nutter isn’t saying much other than to drop a few hints.  We find this all to be awfully rude, as we are generally nosey people. 

In political news this week, Montgomery County State Senator John Rafferty all but made it official, as he signaled he will seek the GOP nomination for Attorney General.  If you are not familiar with the stylings of Mr. Rafferty, we direct you to an exclusive Triad Strategies Network video that we shot with him a few months ago. 

If you’d like to check out our take on what legislative reapportionment may do to the General Assembly’s fall agenda, check it out here

Finally this week, we need to bring to your attention this very important development.  It is now a felony to set a couch on fire in Morgantown, West Virginia.  We know that has little to do with politics, but thought you’d like to know anyway.  Carry on.

That is all from Triad World Headquarters, nestled along the banks of the Susquehanna in a city that is soon to be wholly operated by the state, much like a failing school district!  Check out our Facebook page for all the news we care about, and follow us on Twitter because our tweets are gluten-free! 

In honor of the upcoming holiday, we’ll leave you with this:  "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will." – Fredrick Douglass

From all your friends at Triad, have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!



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