Before we jump into our weekly kiddy pool of politics and frivolity, we have a public service announcement. There is a batch of killer heroin out in western PA that some noodlebrains are putting in Happy Meals. So while you may be tempted to jump on Facebook and weigh in on the latest Justin Bieber news…just, don’t.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee gave a speech this week in which he attempted to appeal to the GOP to open up the tent a bit and stop attacking fellow Republicans for not being, you know, Republican enough. Neat idea, governor; right up until the remarks about free contraceptives and uncontrollable libidos and “Uncle Sugar”. The speech ended up sounding like Huckabee was reading from “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The U.S. Congress, if it is not careful, is about to accidentally get something done, namely a gargantuan $1.1 trillion spending plan that will keep the lights on and the doors open. Perhaps, finally, our federal lawmakers have learned that the constant brinksmanship, gamesmanship, and partisanship have caused the country nothing but hardship. There endeth the “ship” references for today.
The IRS said this week that volunteer firefighters will not be counted as full time employees under ObamaCare, which means that opponents of the Affordable Care Act will now have to turn their attention to the next horrible, destructive, end-of-the-world crisis this law will undoubtedly cause. On a related note, we are still waiting for those death panels to materialize. They sound like something we could really wrap our arms around.
A Commonwealth Court judge struck down Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law, saying the law would unreasonably burden the fundamental right to vote. "Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal," wrote Judge Bernard McGinley, awing us with his correct, Old School use of a semicolon. The law’s proponents have said they will appeal to the state’s Supreme Court.
As state lawmakers begin the debate over changing the name of the Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services, a fly has appeared in the ointment. Democrats in the Upper Chamber would like to offer amendments to the bill to force the state to opt into Medicaid expansion. We admire their pluck, for sure, but the last time we checked, the State Senate was not the real obstacle here.
The State Senate will, however, be tackling the issue of welfare fraud in the coming weeks. It sure seems to us like there is a perceived spike in welfare fraud roughly every two years, mostly in even-numbered years. We are at a loss as to why. However, we would politely point out that the people who are most suited to finding such fraud are the caseworkers, and laying more and more of them off each year due to budget constraints seems downright counterintuitive to us. But that’s just us.
An increasing number of states are taking the lead on immigration issues, we found this week, as apparently the states are tired of waiting for the feds to act. Most of the attention thus far has been on helping children of undocumented immigrants. We would remind our readers that it is, indeed, an election year, so our guess is we will be hearing lots more on immigration in very short order.
When the Supreme Court struck down portions of Act 13, the state’s shale drilling handbook, it also struck down the minimum setbacks from streams, creeks and river that drillers needed to adhere to, which left the Corbett folks in the untenable position of basically asking operators to “play nice” and still follow the old law. Sort of like a police officer with no weapon. “Stop, or I will say ‘stop’ again!”
There has been a whole lot of talk recently about legalizing medicinal marijuana in the state. And we have seen plenty of progressive groups lambasting the governor for his position on Mary Jane. We would therefore be remiss if we did not point out that Attorney General Kathleen Kane isn’t exactly wholeheartedly endorsing the idea yet either.
The House Democrats this week held a news conference where they demanded more funding for public schools in the next state budget. The sun also rose in the east this morning.
There was good news and bad news on the job front this week. The good news is that the worldwide demand for bacon is pushing the Tyrone plant of Kunzler & Company to expand operations and add more jobs, proving once again that there isn’t anything that bacon cannot do.
But the sad news was that Perdue is closing up its chicken operation in Lebanon County, and taking with it some 650 jobs, although many of those employees will be given the chance to move to another plant, according to the company. Bacon > Chicken.
With all the noise about the economy and jobs, one would believe the PA General Assembly would be hard at work solving that problem, instead of inventing a novel “new” problem that can ONLY be solved by turning Pennsylvania into a Right to Work state. Scott Walker, please pick up the nearest courtesy phone.
If you have not seen this story, please check out the People Magazine profile of Operation Safety Net, a group of doctors and other health care professionals who voluntarily head out into the darkness of the Pittsburgh night to treat the homeless of the Steel City. If this doesn’t restore a bit of your faith in humanity, we are not sure what will.
Speaking of good deeds, did you know there are 1.8 million female veterans in this country? Well, we just told you so now you know! Philadelphia has become the home of the first-of-its-kind veterans’ support center solely for women. Good on ya, Philly!
This week’s We Can’t Make This Up was inspired by Jerz Guv. Chris Christie. Up ‘til now, our favorite Bruce Springsteen parody was Robin Williams doing Elmer Fudd doing Springsteen. Turns out Jimmy Fallon does a pretty good Springsteen as well, although not quite as good as The Boss himself.
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
The U.S. Senate this week took the necessary steps to ensure that as many as 1.3 million Americans will not go without unemployment benefits, punting the ball over the House, where passage seems about as likely as the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl next year.
This Sept. 12, 2013 photo provided by the Office of the Governor of New Jersey shows Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly during a tour with Gov. Chris Christie of the Seaside Heights, N.J. boardwalk, after it was hit by a massive fire. Christie fired Kelly Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, and apologized over and over for his staff's "stupid" behavior, insisting during a nearly two-hour news conference that he had no idea anyone around him had engineered traffic jams as part of a political vendetta against a Democratic mayor. (AP Photo/Office of Gov. Chris Christie, Tim Larsen) Read more here.
The following is a guest post by Rick Kelly, director of the crisis communications practice at Triad Strategies, LLC. He is not related to Bridget Anne Kelly.
Let’s try, for just a moment, to set aside the utter idiocy of concocting a political “prank” that intentionally caused several days of traffic gridlock on one of the world’s most heavily traveled bridges, inconveniencing thousands upon thousands of people.
The following is a guest post from Lynn Keltz, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association, in response to a story originally published in Pennlive.com and the Harrisburg Patriot News.
Once again, we are coming to you live from frozen Harrisburg with this week’s short and sweet wrap-up, much of which was interrupted by the joy and revelry of New Year’s Eve. And do you know who leads the nation in revelry? That would be our own Electric City, Scranton, PA, which was this week named America’s Most Hungover City! Pittsburgh was not too shabby either, coming in at number four! Congrats, we think, go grab a little hair of the dog!