President Trump visited Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, ostensibly to stump for his pal Lou Barletta in the U.S. Senate race, but mostly to promote his own achievements and pummel the news media. And pummel the news media some more. The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader labeled it “more of a Trump for President in 2020 event than a campaign rally” for Barletta.
The New York Times featured a person-in-the-street piece examining why Barletta’s campaign doesn’t seem to be getting as much traction as expected in “Trump country,” given his views on immigration and association with Trump.
Barletta’s opponent, incumbent Sen. Bob Casey Jr., was among the lead sponsors of a bipartisan measure reauthorizing a career and technical education program, which President Trump signed into law this week. Somehow, the White House *forgot* to invite Casey to the signing ceremony, despite inviting all the other lawmakers, from both parties, who worked on the bill.
Also in Washington, senior administration officials said Russia is once again attempting to interfere in the November midterm election, spreading propaganda on hot-button issues via social media. OK, you heard it here first, folks: don’t believe everything you read and hear on the internet.
The U.S. added 157,000 new jobs in July to drop the unemployment rate to 3.9 percent in another solid showing for a surging economy. The increase was below estimates, but hiring in June and May was stronger than previously reported.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Governor Wolf and the PA State Police went to court this week and prevailed in an emergency hearing to block a Texas company from distributing downloadable files that would enable Pennsylvanians to assemble firearms in the comfort of their own homes. The DIY weapons wouldn’t feature any of those pesky serial numbers or require background checks that could, you know, help law enforcement track down people who use them for criminal acts.
A piece in the Morning Call details how the states got stuck with the responsibility of dealing with the downloadable guns issue when the U.S. State Department suddenly gave up in its lawsuit challenging the company. Hmmm, wonder why?
Allentown became the latest to join a growing group of municipalities that are cracking down on commercial-grade fireworks. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just download them from the internet?
Harrisburg Diocese Bishop Ronald Gainer released the names of 71 clergy and other church officials whose names appear in a grand jury report accusing them of molesting children. Bishop Gainer took it a step farther by ordering the removal of the names of all former bishops dating to 1947 from all diocesan properties.
In medical cannabis news, dry-leaf medical marijuana arrived in Pennsylvania this week. It’s less expensive than the other forms of the drug because it doesn’t require as much processing, nor does it take as long to bring to market. Smoking it is not permitted, however.
Ah, but Pittsburgh state Rep. Jake Wheatley, taking note of an increasing number of voices supporting the idea, said he will soon introduce a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Don’t run to the store for Doritos just yet, however.
We are pleased to report that the Keystone State has landed in the top quartile of something good. PA ranked 12th in the country in wage growth last year. Your average Pennsylvania worker made around $54,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. PennLive published a breakdown by county, which you can find here.
Honked off that Immigration and Customs Enforcement was violating its agreement with the City of Philadelphia to NOT target undocumented immigrants who had broken no laws, Mayor Jim Kenney announced that he wouldn’t renew said agreement. The agreement, which provides for sharing information, expires at the end of the month.
All that rain we got last week seems to have flushed a bunch of debris into the Chesapeake Bay, causing Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to call out PA and NY for failing to take responsibility for curbing pollution. The Susquehanna River is the largest source of freshwater flowing into the bay, and environmental officials say the lack of progress in reducing the nutrients, sediment and debris washing into the bay is impairing its health.
This week’s Shameless Client Plug goes, once again, to Pocono Raceway, which is partnering with Pocono Organics to establish a 50-acre farm that will include 40,000 square feet of greenhouses, a living “vegetative” roof to collect rainwater, and a 30,000-square-foot processing and storage building, all connected to the track’s 39,000-plus solar panels.
This week’s We Can’t Make This Up feature takes us to Indiana, where a home burglary was broken up by the family pet. A dog, you surmise, or perhaps a mean-tempered bird or fearsome reptile? Nooo, it seems that after breaking into the home, the burglars couldn’t handle a confrontation with a fully-grown pig, adopted from a rescue shelter. Police said there were two other break-ins in that neighborhood the same day – presumably at the homes of swineless families.
And that’s what passes for news around here this week! From your friends at Triad, stay cool, stay dry, and we’ll be back before you know it!