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January 2013

Friday Happy Hour: Global Cooling Edition

GlobalCoolingWelcome to our Capital City, where the weather this week has become just as polarized as everything else of late. Common ground seems to be wintering in Florida, leaving consensus on public policy issues with the approximate chances of a snowball in You Know Where. 

In the spirit of the climate around here, we’ll begin our weekly review with guns. Second Amendment proponents and Cease Fire PA held competing rallies at the Capitol this week. The former brought along their firearms, and the latter came with heart-wrenching personal stories. The strains of Kumbayah were nowhere to be heard. 

Now, it’s worth pointing out that while the gun control advocates conducted their event within the balmy confines of the Capitol Rotunda while the Second Amendment crew expressed their views from the Capitol steps, braving temperatures in the 20s.  They weren’t inside because of the following state Department of General Services rule: “No weapons, firearms, explosives, knives, mace, pepper spray, or hazardous materials (are) allowed in the Capitol Complex. "

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Friday Happy Hour: Imaginary Lover Edition

Internet LoveIt was a busy week for Gov. Tom Corbett, and it began early. Instead of waiting for the Senate Finance Committee to hold a hearing Monday on his plans to privatize the Pennsylvania Lottery, he pushed ahead in executing a contract for Camelot Global Services to manage the lottery for 20 years. Corbett contends that private management will produce a larger and more predictable revenue stream benefitting elderly Pennsylvanians. Those expressing concern and/or opposition include the union representing lottery employees, most Democratic lawmakers, a few Republican lawmakers, and state Treasurer Rob McCord and newly elected Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, both Dems.

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An Alpine road to redemption: Can crisis communication and reputation management save Lance Armstrong

Can crisis communication and reputation management save lance armstrongThis just in: Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France titles were fueled with performance enhancing drugs.

If that was all there was to it, we could recycle previous posts on Penn State, Tiger Woods, Don Imus and Anthony Weiner, replace their names with Armstrong’s, and once again chronicle the long and winding road ahead of miscreants who seek to restore their reputations after finding themselves at the bottom of the proverbial cliff.

Armstrong’s case is a bit different, however. Not only did he cheat, cover it up and lie about it, he intimidated, bullied and sued anyone and everyone who had the audacity to call him out.

That poultry is already coming home to roost. The Sunday Times of London, which settled Armstrong’s libel suit for several hundred thousand dollars in 2006 after reprinting allegations of his use of PEDs, recently filed suit against Armstrong for more than $1.5 million. The suit seeks to recover the settlement, plus interest and legal expenses.

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Friday Happy Hour: Face-off Edition

Flyersx-largeLet’s begin with some good news for a change. The National Hockey League owners and players appear to have reached an agreement to end the lockout and launch a 48-game regular season, which will produce a Stanley Cup champion by late June, and – paraphrasing Warren Zevon – provide something for Canadian farm boys to do.

This news was immediately embraced by the 12 remaining NHL fans. It seems that a great many aficionados have found alternatives to feed their ice hockey joneses, and face-offs and fisticuffs are everywhere. For example, President Obama nominated former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, causing some members of both parties to immediately drop their gloves.

(As an aside, we wonder whether Hagel could explain the difference between known unknowns and unknown unknowns or make origami birds during news conferences.)

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Friday Happy Hour: Cat-Herding Edition

 

Top CatAs the Happy Hour staff was kicking back enjoying the holidays, Santa presented us with the very gift we’d been longing for: a deluxe holiday variety pack of We Can’t Make This Up. We’ve saved it to share with you today, so let’s get this party started…

Despite our earlier prediction, the herd of cats known as the United States Congress and Top Cat Barack Obama crashed through the barriers and plunged right off the infamous Fiscal Cliff as midnight Dec. 31 came and went without an agreement on averting onerous tax increases and onerous federal budget cuts. But just as the fractious felines fell into the abyss, they pulled out a plan, from certain orifices, that eases the pain a bit for most taxpayers, but puts off, until February, decisions regarding budget cuts. Yes, the sound you’re hearing is the rattle of a well-worn can being kicked down the road once again.

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