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December 2016

Friday Happy Hour: Princess Leia Edition

Welcome to the final weekly wrap-up of 2016, which has been an especially brutal year if you happen to be famous.  The final week of 2016 saw the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, Carrie-fisher-princess-leia-iii-by-dave-daringwhich marked the official end of our childhood.  However, we’ve read all the Tweets and Facebook posts from the last few days and we have some bad news: celebrities will also die in 2017.  Death does not recognize the Gregorian Calendar.

President-Elect Donald Trump this week announced that Sprint will be returning five thousand jobs to the good old United States next year.  We don’t remember why those jobs left in the first place, but hey, great news!

One of Trump’s transition team members took to Fox News this week to assure organized labor that he will not be launching a war on unions.  Our good friend Bud Jackson was – ahem – rather circumspect about that claim.  Check it out here

2016 will end on a happy note for the faculty at the State System of Higher Education, who this week inked a contract after a year of acrimony and a brief walkout.  Happy New Year to all of them!

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Friday Happy Hour: Seasick Crocodile Edition

Donald Trump’s victory lap came though Hershey Thursday night, causing thousands of brave souls to stand in line in sub-zero temperatures to catch a glimpse of the PEOTUS.  The Grinch (002)Sweetest Place on Earth seems to be a favorite of Team Trump.   

Our own U.S. Senator Pat Toomey may find himself in the hot seat when it comes to the confirmation of Trump’s pick to lead the Department of State, Rex Tillerson.  With several of his GOP Senate colleagues already very skeptical of Tillerson, Toomey may find himself in the unenviable (or enviable, depending on your point of view) of casting the vote that decides Tillerson’s fate.   

Trump also raised more than a few eyebrows this week when he nominated former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head of the Department of Energy.  Judging from the reaction on social media, he may have been better off nominating Tyler Perry. 

Back here in frozen Pennsylvania, the clock is ticking loudly on the future of 520 state employees who man unemployment call centers across the state.  Monday is the furlough date for these folks, and if some Christmas magic does not materialize, their jobs will have fallen victim to a rather preventable circumstance.  Not exactly a ton of Yuletide spirit in this story, we are sad to say. 

Staring down the barrel of yet another yawning state budget deficit (around $600 million, according to the governor’s office), one House GOP leader is proposing that the state begin the process of dramatically retooling the way the it delivers services.  In an age of driverless vehicles, state government is pretty much still a 1956 Oldsmobile, lumbering around and spewing emissions everywhere.     

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Carlisle water customers under mandatory conservation order

Water utilities have been facing issues across Pennsylvania for years, due to a lack of attention to what they do: which is to provide safe and clean drinking water.  Many of us take for 20131231bitcoinfaucetgranted that every morning when we wake up, we will turn on the tap to brush our teeth and the water will be there. 

Recently, there was a water utility in central Pennsylvania that had to put out a notice to its customers to minimize water consumption because of an issue at their water treatment plant.  In America, there are 850 water mains breaks every day, costing ratepayers $3 billion in repair costs annually.  There is a great website which tracks this information: www.watermainbreakclock.com.

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Friday Happy Hour: Really Fake News Edition

It was a very busy week for President-Elect Donald Trump, as he opened a can of tweets on companies who may be thinking about moving their operations out of the country. Fake news Trump’s plan would slap a 35% tariff on such companies, prompting Congressional Republicans to hyperventilate.  There is a new tariff in town, partner.

The country also found out what can happen when you spend your time sharing and tweeting and re-tweeting conspiracy theories, or as the media calls them “fake news stories.” As the so-called “pizzagate” unfolded in suburban Washington, D.C., we couldn’t help but think that living in a post-fact world has some serious drawbacks. Sometimes pizza is just pizza, not a code word for “pedophile.”

Jill Stein this week continued her assault on windmills, pressing for recounts of the Presidential vote because, essentially, she raised enough money to do so and she has nothing better to do. 

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Friday Happy Hour: Pastrioid Addiction Edition

This week we begin with culinary news. The latest entry in this year’s dead-horse stew cook-off is Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who is seeking to challenge the election Donuts (002)results in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. A Wisconsin recount has begun, a PA court has scheduled a hearing on the issue for Monday, and Michigan residents are more interested in a recount of J.T Barrett’s first-down yardage on the next-to-last play of the Michigan-Ohio State football game. Evidence regarding the first down was inconclusive, but at least there was evidence.

President-elect Donald Trump got busy with several key cabinet nominations. You can’t tell the players without a scorecard, and the NY Times obliges with a list of the nominees to date.

One of them still could be PA Congressman Lou Barletta, albeit as labor secretary, not as the more coveted post of transportation secretary. Barletta came early to the Trump party and hung around even when things looked bleak for a time.

Trump announced he intends to extricate himself from all current business matters “in total” by putting the kiddoes in charge of his businesses through a blind trust, allowing him to focus entirely on the presidency. Surprisingly, the anti-Trumpians said that won’t be good enough, and what he really needs to do is sell everything.

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