Weekly Wrap Up- Christmas Rage Edition
PA no longer leads nation in bad bridges

Friday Happy Hour: Snoop Dogg Edition

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said some stuff about his former boss this week that was – ahem -- less than kind.  Anytime one of your allies tosses around the SnoopDogg-2027 word “treasonous” like a Caesar Salad, you know it’s a bad day. President Trump responded by suggesting that Bannon lost his marbles along with his job.  We are sure this kind of stuff used to happen between Karl Rove and George W. Bush all the time.  Nothing to see here.   

You know who doesn’t seem to care one bit about the ongoing political intrigue inside the Beltway? Wall Street.  The Dow Jones rocketed past 25,000 this week, with the bull market’s end nowhere to be seen.  Heck, you may have heard about it if Steve Bannon didn’t decide to go bonkers on the President.

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Session announced this week that he will reverse an Obama Administration directive that softened the federal government stance on marijuana prosecutions.  Sessions believes that weed is almost as dangerous as heroin, so the move makes sense from that, um, odd perspective.  States that have legalized marijuana in either medicinal or recreational form are not amused.  States’ rights?  More like the right to remain silent! 

Governor Tom Wolf responded rapidly to Sessions’ anti-pot pronouncement by essentially asking “You and what army, pal?”  Hands off our industry, Jeff.  The irony of the entire chain of events was that the governor was in the midst of celebrating the opening of the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary when Sessions’ plan leaked to the press.   

President Trump this week also took to Twitter to remind North Korean Baby-Man-In-Charge Kim Jong Un this he has a bigger nuclear button, which apparently scared the dictator into negotiating with South Korea about sending athletes to the Winter Olympics, where they will be summarily destroyed by superior competition, and then defect to South Korea.  

The President also this week disbanded his special commission to investigate voter fraud.  His special committee to investigate left-handed communist unicorns, however, will move forward.

The 2018 legislative session is officially underway in Harrisburg this week as our good friend state Senator Joe Scarnati took the oath as President Pro Tempore of that body for the 12th time. Congratulations, Senator! 

Longtime central Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster announced this week that he is not running for re-election in 2018, and will spend this year trying to get Congress to finally pass an infrastructure spending bill.  As our friends at Philly.com point out, our PA Congressional delegation is gonna have more than a few fresh faces in 2018, which isn’t gonna help our clout score very much.  Things get done in D.C. based largely on how long you’ve been there. 

A Pennsylvania judge has rules that a lawsuit over the state budget can proceed, we learned this week.  At stake are the questions of whether or not this fiscal year’s budget is actually balanced, and whether or not our state elected officials can continue to pass spending plans without the supporting revenue.   Thorny stuff when you decide to take on both the legislative and executive branches at the same time.  Bring lots of lawyers.

Highmark and UPMC have entered into yet another shotgun marriage to keep providing access to patients outside of their respective sandboxes, we learned this week. The new deal will last through 2019, according to Governor Wolf, who we are guessing was the man holding said rhetorical shotgun.   

The Philadelphia School Reform Commission is going the way of all flesh after 16 years of lording over the Philly schools.  For what the new school board may look like, check out this handy-dandy rundown.  

A Commonwealth Judge ruled this week that the Congressional maps are not gerrymandered to favor the GOP, we found out this week.  The judge, a Republican, wrote a 130-page decision saying the Democrats failed to prove their case.  Next stop will be the Supreme Court, which is controlled by the Democrats.  See where this is all heading, or do you need a map?

Regardless of how that all shakes out, the battle for control of legislatures and governors’ mansions this year will have a decade-long effect, as both parties fight for a seat at the table for the next round of map-making.  Who gets to those tables depends on which party controls government on the state level.  And if you are not at those tables, you are definitely on the menu.

The four GOP candidates jockeying to take on Governor Tom Wolf this year held a debate/forum in western PA this week.  If you were hoping to find some stark policy differences between the candidates on which to base your decision, keep looking. 

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment, we start the new year in smoky California, where fast food giant Jack-in-the-Box has teamed up with rapper Snoop Dogg on a new happy meal for potheads.  The Merry Munchie Meal sells for $4.20.  See what they did there?  

That’s what passes for news around here from bitterly cold Harrisburg!  Make sure to check back next week for more of what you probably missed because you lead a normal life!  From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!

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

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