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January 2017

Friday Happy Hour: Severed Ear Edition

We open this week with the positively fantastic news that our own Governor Tom Wolf has whipped cancer’s butt.  Way to go, Governor! Severed ear

President Donald Trump spent the week passing out Executive Orders like an over-caffeinated barista at a Manhattan Starbucks.  Among them, we took particular notice of his plan to move forward on the Keystone XL and Dakota pipeline projects, a decision that lit up the hearts of our friends in the building trades. They are very happy when things are being built, and the government otherwise leaves them alone to ply their respective trades.    

Trump also signed an Executive Order on immigration the day before he came to address a Congressional retreat in Philadelphia.  For those who have been living under a large rock, The City of Brotherly Love is one of the sanctuary cities that Trump does not find the least bit amusing.  The battle lines are drawn on this one, right down Broad Street.

Our own Tony May shared his thoughts this week on Trump’s immigration stance, and how it may have an effect on workforce development.  You can check out Tony’s always-insightful musings here.

The President also made a rather – ahem -- audacious claim this week, contending he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because of millions of illegal ballots being cast.  While there isn’t a whole lot of (read: no) evidence to support this particular claim, Trump said he will order a full investigation of the country’s voting procedures.  Hopefully that investigation will focus on why, in 2017, there are still five-hour-long lines to get into a polling place. 

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Friday Happy Hour: Smokin’ Joe edition.

When President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office next Tuesday, he will be escorted by the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, a unit that was formed in 1774 and fought Joe fraizerbattles during the Revolutionary War.  This Presidential escort should be much easier than the time First Troop escorted General George Washington across the Delaware River. 

President Obama this week addressed the nation one final time before he becomes a private citizen.  Emotions ran high as our nation’s first black President exited the stage with the same class and grace with which he entered. 

While Obama tended to his final days in the Oval Office, the U.S. Senate was busy laying the groundwork for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, arguably the President’s signature achievement.  For the uninformed, the ACA is also known as “Obamacare,” a point that some Americans still do not yet seem to grasp.   We have a feeling that will all become crystal clear really soon. 

Back here in Pennsylvania, where we went from frozen tundra to sixty-five degrees overnight, the annual Farm Show extravaganza took place in Harrisburg.  If you have never attended this agricultural soiree, you are missing out on some of the best food you will ever taste. If you are looking to count calories, however, these are definitely not the droids you are looking for. Pennsylvania: we fry our vegetables.

The Borough of State College has become the latest municipality to classify itself as a sanctuary city, which means it will join Philadelphia in the ranks of places that are in the crosshairs of the incoming Trump Administration. There is no word yet on whether or not a giant wall will be erected to seal off State College from the rest of Centre County.

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Friday Happy Hour: I Love Lucy Edition

To many Pennsylvanians, this is the most important week of the year. No, we do not refer to the swearing in of Congress or lawmakers beginning a new session of the General I Love Lucy (002)Assembly, but rather to the opening of the annual Farm Show. Or, more to the point, the Return of the Milkshakes. New treats this year include a Blue Ribbon Mushroom Blended Burger, topped with a special sauce and – drumroll please – A SLICE OF PENNSYLVANIA BACON!!! Ah, bacon… is there anything it can’t do? (More on that in a moment.)

Speaking of the General Assembly, House members and half of the Senate took the oath of office on Tuesday, including 23 first-time House members and six in the Senate. Republican Mike Turzai was reelected to a second term as House speaker. The honeymoon will be short as they face a growing budget deficit that will require increased taxes and/or spending cuts for the fiscal year beginning July 1, not to mention rummaging under the sofa pillows for spare change to plug the hole in the current budget.

About that next fiscal year… Governor Wolf has pledged to propose a budget devoid of any broad-based tax increases. During the swearing-in ceremonies, Republican lawmakers embraced the opportunity to “re-invent government.” All we’ll say is that this is maybe the one thing bacon can’t help, and we’ll go along with the lawmaker who said solutions “may not be popular.”

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