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October 2018

Friday Happy Hour: Devil Spider Edition

Devil spider

The nation was shaken Wednesday as word came that a series of pipe bombs were mailed to two former presidents and other high-profile Democrats.  Thankfully, none of the devices detonated, and no one was injured.  Within minutes, two distinct theories emerged on social media as to why the bomb threats happened.  It was either a) President Trump’s fault, or b) a hoax perpetrated by the Democrats themselves, because that is currently who we are as a nation.

While we were lovingly crafting today’s tome, law enforcement found said jackwagon.

There was some good and bad news on the economic front this week as the GDP grew by a robust 3.5 percent in the third quarter, powered by big consumer spending.  The stock market, however, continued to act like a kid who just ate a whole bag of Halloween candy, bouncing around wildly in every direction.   

With the stroke of the old gubernatorial pen, Gov. Tom Wolf set Harrisburg free from the bonds of Act 47.  Up next will be an appointed financial oversight board that will control the city’s finances for five years before kicking it out of the nest to see if it can fly again. 

A group of 11 Pennsylvania counties have registered their collective opposition to being forced to buy new voting machines by December of 2019.  Their arguments are that the machines will be unnecessary, since they are not connected to the Internet and therefor, cannot be hacked.  The Battle of the Paper Trail has begun! 

Advocates for child sex assault statute of limitations reform are not going gently into that good night, we learned this week.  Victims of the Catholic clergy assaults gathered once again in the State Capitol to urge the Senate to come back and vote.   While a lame-duck session vote once seemed inconceivable, there is now a crack in that door, it would seem. 

Governor Wolf this week also signed legislation that would give grandparents new rights in raising grandchildren.  One tragic byproduct of the opioid and heroin scourge (as if there aren’t enough already) is that there are a whole lot of Pennsylvania kids being raised by their grandparents – about 84,000, according to recent estimates. 

A bill to add work requirements to some Medicaid recipients did not fare quite as well, as Wolf vetoed that legislation minutes after it hit his desk.  Considering he had vetoed similar legislation previously, we are still uncertain as to why the General Assembly sent it to him again.  Perhaps, and we are just spit-balling here, it had something to do with a certain election coming up in 12 days? 

The Pittsburgh City Schools will not be arming their guards anytime soon, thanks to a vote by the school board this week.  Seven of eight board members voted “no thanks” to the idea which (again) begs the question: why did it even bother going to a vote?  We aren’t exactly math wizards up here, but we can count to eight. 

Attorney General Josh Shapiro is one of the more progressive people to ever hold that post in Pennsylvania, so it should come as no surprise that he is investing considerable resources in ensuring diversity among his 800 employees.  Say what you want about Shapiro, but he walks the walk. Kudos to you, General. 

The final voter registration numbers in are, and Pennsylvania got a bit bluer this year. In 2018, the Democratic Party added 135,000 new voters, compared with just 38,000 for the GOP.  Party registration hasn’t necessarily meant much in Pennsylvania recently, as Democrats in the western part of the state are often more conservative than southeastern PA Republicans.  For starters, check and see how many Democratic-majority counties in western Pennsylvania voted for Hillary Clinton.  It won’t take you long. 

And we were also reminded this week that, despite the breathless media coverage of all the newly registered millennials and young adults, one thing in the Keystone State remains constant: there are still a metric ton of older voters, and trust us, they WILL be voting on Nov. 6.  Seniors skip elections about as often as we skip our morning coffee around here. 

As the race for Pennsylvania governor comes down the back stretch, we thought we would share this handy “where they stand” guide with you, since Lord knows this has been the sleepiest election we have seen since Governor Ridge sailed to re-election against Ivan Itkin, despite the catchiest jingle in history “Itkin be done; Ivan can do it.”  

Whether the fabled blue wave materializes, it bears watching the race in Pennsylvania’s First Congressional District, where incumbent GOP member Brian Fitzpatrick is locked in a death struggle with Democrat Scott Wallace.  More than $7 million has already been pumped into this cage match, and this much we know: If the early returns show that Fitzpatrick will hang on, Nancy Pelosi may want to put the gavel back in the drawer.  If Wallace jumps out to a big lead, its gonna be a long night for congressional Republicans. 

A week after President Trump rallied his faithful in Erie, Vice President Mike Pence and Eric Trump popped in to say hello to Pennsylvania voters. Team Trump is spending quite a lot of time and political capital here in Pennsylvania, which tells you all you need to know about how important the state is to the national GOP.

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Fulshear, Texas, where video emerged of a giant spider getting ready to attack a police officer. Once everyone viewing the dashcam footage cleaned out their pants, they realized the spider was on the windshield in front of the dashcam, and not, in fact, a four-foot long devil spider from hell.  Doesn’t matter, we would have shot the windshield anyway.   

That’s what passes for news around here as we head off to a chilly weekend!  If you haven’t yet registered to vote in Pennsylvania yet, sorry!  You are out of luck until next year! From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!


Friday Happy Hour: Poison Caterpillar Edition

Poison caterpillar

This will be the final weekly wrap to emanate from Triad’s Old World Headquarters, as we prepare to move into our new digs.  Henceforth, you can direct your ancient paper-type mail (especially checks) to our new address at 300 North Second Street, 6th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17101.  Or you can continue to e-mail and text us all hours of the day like normal. Now for the news!

President Trump this week threatened to use the nation’s military to “close our southern border,” or to perhaps start a war with Honduras, we are not really sure.  As the midterms get larger in the windshield, expect the POTUS to talk a LOT about immigration, which he believes will motivate his base to vote. 

Trump’s threat was in response to a large migrant caravan that is approaching the U.S./Mexico border as we speak.  The caravan, according to Trump, was organized and funded by the Democrats, who are all itching to vote for Beto O’Rourke, we assume.  Pretty crafty move, Soros.  

You know who doesn’t have a border control problem?  Nebraska, a state that recently unveiled a bold new tourism slogan: “Nebraska. Honestly, it’s not for everyone.” Truer words may have never been spoken, our cornhusker pals. 

Because we haven’t heard much lately from Steve Bannon, we thought today would be a good day to tell you that he is worried sick that women are poised to take over society and undo 10,000 years of civilization (his words, for real.) You hear that, women? Pretty exciting stuff! As you destroy civilization, can we humbly ask that you start with Fortnight?  

This week marked the end (we think) of the 2017-2018 legislative session in Harrisburg, a week that will probably be remembered more for what didn’t happen than what did.  A plan to amend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse (spurred by the Catholic Church scandal) hit a brick wall in the state Senate this week.  Questions over the constitutionality of the plan scuttled it in the final hours, leaving both sides rather angry.  There was a whole lot more heat than light shed this week, and we expect the issue to be Job One when the legislature returns in 2019.   

Late yesterday, as if on cue, the U.S. Justice Department rolled into Pennsylvania and slapped subpoenas on seven of the Commonwealth’s eight Catholic Dioceses.  Like we said, Job One. 

Ah, but more than a few bills are currently awaiting the governor’s signature (or veto) after this week’s flurry of activity.  A strong new anti-hazing law is now on the books, so attention college students: you can still have lots of fun in college and be responsible human beings while doing so.  If you don’t believe actions have repercussions, we encourage you to read this law before someone reads you Miranda rights.  

Also coming to a Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute near you is a new law that will punish the crap out of people who lock pets in hot cars, as well as remove liability from law enforcement for any damages done to a car by smashing windows open to rescue said pets.  We strongly believe that the smashing of windows should be mandatory, as well as a provision to knock the perpetrators on their heads with a ball peen hammer.   

People who get nabbed for DUI a third time, in addition to being complete boneheads, will now be facing much tougher penalties thanks to a bill that our good friend Sen. John Rafferty steered through the General Assembly this week.  Three times is not a charm, folks.  Lay off the throttle if you are hittin’ the bottle.

For a rundown of the sixteen major issues that the legislature addressed, check out our friends at Pennlive.com.   

Now that the messy business of legislating is over, we can all turn our attention to politics and campaigns.  As residents of central Pennsylvania, we rarely get treated to any sort of congressional campaign that matters, but that seems to be changing this year.  Down in the 10th Congressional District, Congressman Scott Perry has an actual challenger, George Scott, and the latter Scott is making it a real race.  Great Scott! 

Meanwhile, Gov. Tom Wolf has gone into “closing arguments” mode as he continues to cruise along in his quest for re-election.  Barring anything seriously out of the ordinary (like Pennsylvania being invaded by Ohio or something), it looks like his Jeep will be parked on the Capitol Plaza for four more years.   

Wolf’s opponent, Scott Wagner, took a little time this week to remind us that he is not violent, but rather passionate about Pennsylvania. We are glad he cleared that up, and we hope he’s wearing sneakers or loafers for the next seventeen days.

Pittsburgh has been named the Best City in America for Jobs, according to a publication called Glassdoor, which we admit we had never heard of until we saw it on Mayor Bill Peduto’s Twitter feed.  Good on ya, Pittsburgh!

Our Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to our friends at The College Board, who on Monday announced they will be handing out $25 million in college scholarships over the next five years.  Bravo, College Board!

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we stay right here in Pennsylvania to tell you that the Commonwealth now has poisonous caterpillars roaming the woods, courtesy of Canada. Now might be good time for Trump to send troops to the northern border instead.  Thanks, Canada, we appreciate you sending us your killer worms!

That’s what passes for news around here as we say goodbye to 116 Pine Street this afternoon.  We will be back next week if our computers don’t somehow get lost in the move.  Until then, from all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!


Friday Happy Hour: Emotional Support Squirrel Edition

Rocket J Squirrel

Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle this week, causing wholesale destruction along the coastline and into Georgia. By the time it was downgraded, the Category 4 storm had become one of the strongest in U.S. history.  Our prayers go out to all those affected, as well as the first responders on the ground.   

If you would like to lend a hand to those left in the wake of Michael, simply text REDCROSS to 90999 on your smartphone to make a $10 donation. 

President Trump this week brought his arena-rock show to Erie, where he rallied the faithful for Congressman Mike Kelly, as well as gubernatorial hopeful Scott Wagner and senate hopeful Lou Barletta.  Say what you want about the president (and we know you will), he knows how to throw a rally.

The next day, Kim Kardashian’s husband visited Trump in the Oval Office and did something no other human had ever done: rendered the president (and to be fair, the rest of us) speechless.

The race for Congress in Pennsylvania’s first district has become a race to see who can be more “gun-control-y,”  we learned this week.  The 2018 General Election is not going to be your father’s election day. It’s not every day you see candidates who don’t live in Philly fight over who can run away from the NRA faster.

On that note, Tuesday marked the last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania, so if you didn’t make it across the finish line, you officially need to shut up until 2019.  No Tweets, Facebook posts or random rants about Nancy Pelosi at the grocery store.  Zip it.  We don’t make the rules around here, we just write about them.   

Gov. Tom Wolf has now entered the ball-control portion of his campaign, at least according to our own Michael Manzo.  The Wolf team is doing the “three-yards, cloud-of-dust, rinse-and-repeat” campaign as he maintains a large lead in both cash and polling numbers.  You can read Manzo’s and others’ thoughts on Pennsylvania’s downright sleepy gubernatorial race here

Wolfs challenger Scott Wagner this week announced that, after pouring 10 million of his own clams into his quest for the Big Chair, he’s all tapped out.  This leads us to believe that Mrs. Wagner has seen the household checkbook and promptly whacked Mr. Wagner in the noggin with it.

Wolf’s running mate, John Fetterman, has been hauling his six-foot, eight-inch frame to Pennsylvania’s rural counties, where Democrats are not exactly abundant.  If there is a candidate in the race who is matching Wagner mile-for-mile, its Fetterman.  The Ballad of Big John just may be coming to a state Senate floor near you

Some actual policy work got done this week, as a new anti-hazing law is inching closer to Governor Wolf’s desk.  The bill came on the heels of the hazing death of Penn State student Anthony Piazza, and is the top priority of Senate Floor Leader Jake Corman. 

Harrisburg is also inching closer to having a tax compromise in place that will allow it to generate some revenue while losing the dreaded Act 47 designation.  We have recommended that, as part of the compromise, the city will have to pledge to keep all three lanes of Second Street open during morning rush hour from now to eternity. 

Pennsylvania’s wee ones are about to have some of the nagging fear of standardized tests lifted from their fragile shoulders, as the Senate is ready to pass a bill to give students other ways to get to graduation day.  Teachers are also breathing an audible sigh of relief across the Commonwealth. 

Sports betting is coming to Pennsylvania, and for those who may be unaware, your friendly neighborhood casino will likely offer those services to you right through your smartphone or computer. Gone are the days of having to go to a casino and sit at the sports book, sipping a cold beer and eating nachos while watching six NFL games simultaneously on flat screen TVs the size of Rhode Island.  Or, you can still do that.  Your call.   

Governor Wolf once again threw cold water on marijuana legalization advocates this week, saying he is nowhere near ready to sign legislation to do so.  Check back with us when the General Assembly is staring at a multi-billion-dollar deficit and is looking anywhere for cash (i.e. next year.)

Because we have reached peak vitriol levels this campaign season, we thought we would take a time out, step out of the political hellscape and share a story of how the Philadelphia Free Library is helping kids learn to read with a little help from therapy dogs.  Because doggos can fix everything. 

The story dovetails nicely into our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, where an Orlando, Florida woman was kicked off a flight for boarding the plane with her “emotional support squirrel.” The woman at one point screamed “you will not take my baby from me” and then flipped off onlookers as she was escorted out of the airport. To be fair, Orlando is kind of famous for worshipping a giant black rat, so a squirrel isn’t much of a stretch. 

That’s what passes for news around here as autumn finally arrives in central Pennsylvania, meaning that it will probably snow sometime next week.  From all your friends here at Triad, have a great weekend!   


Friday Happy Hour: Drunken Birds Edition

 Drunken birdWe begin this week with your annual reminder that it is once again hockey season, and all is right with the world. The Philadelphia Flyers celebrated the season opening by unleashing – er, introducing – their new mascot, Gritty.  The nation recoiled in horror.

The U.S unemployment rate this week dropped to levels not seen since Neil Armstrong took a stroll across the moon.  At 3.7 percent, we think it is safe to say America has now reached full employment. The longest economic expansion in history just keeps making… well, more history.

There was also good news this week for the 7 million or so people who work for Amazon, as the retail behemoth announced that all employees will make at least $15 an hour henceforth.  The response from the left was “See?  That’s why we need to raise the federal minimum wage.” The response from the right was “The market is already doing that.”  And ‘round and ‘round we go.

Brett Kavanaugh is one step closer to joining that lovable bunch of rascals on the U.S. Supreme Court, as the U.S. Senate this morning voted to end debate (mercifully) on his nomination.  We look forward to the day when people will once again use Twitter to post puppy and kitten videos instead of unbridled hatred.   

If polling trends are to be believed, there is a pretty solid chance the Democrats will reclaim the majority in the U.S. House next year.  So what, dear readers, should you do to prepare? Glenn Beck has the answer: buy gold, since Armageddon is apparently looming. Man, Glenn, try the decaf.   

Sports betting will be coming to a casino near you very soon, we learned this week.  For a complete primer on how to lose money very quickly, check out this rundown of where you can wager and how by our pals at PennLive.   

The headlines in Pennsylvania this week belonged to Alex Trebek, who hosted the first and only gubernatorial debate that voters will see this year.  Unfortunately, Trebek ended up pretty much debating himself.  He trails both Scott Wagner and Tom Wolf by double digits. 

At 2:18 p.m. Wednesday, FEMA tested the first-ever text alert, stopping the hearts of people across the nation who thought that North Korea had finally gone off the deep end.  Several Triad employees did not receive the text alert, leading us the believe that we may have been blacklisted, and in the event of a national emergency we will be left to die in an unspeakable hellscape.  

The state Senate this week sent Gov. Tom Wolf a bill that will force the surrender of firearms in certain cases where Protection from Abuse orders are filed.  Although the NRA was officially neutral on the measure, it was widely seen as a pretty rare victory for gun control advocates in Pennsylvania.  Because, as we all know, we cling to guns and religion around here. 

Governor Wolf is also in possession of a bipartisan measure to allow speed control cameras in construction zones.  Congratulations to our friends at the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors and the state building trades, two groups that have long advocated for these protections for their workers. 

Today is World Teachers Day and yesterday was National Taco Day.  As such, we encourage you to find your favorite teacher and buy him or her a taco.  Trust us, they will appreciate it.   

Pennsylvania has once again gotten an extension from the federal government for the implantation of Real ID, which means that you can still use a valid driver’s license to board a plane in PA, but you will still have to take off your shoes because a decade ago some hapless, idiotic would-be terrorist tried in vain to light his sneakers on fire on a plane. 

In campaign news, gubernatorial hopeful Scott Wagner this week said that he can solve Pennsylvania’s chronic budget shortfalls by “drilling down to every nickel,” citing large pots of un-drank coffee as an example of government waste.  Coming to a state office near you: K-Cups!  

Bob Casey and his opponent Lou Barletta took some time this week to argue about who has been more effective in Congress.  Based upon most polling thus far, there remains little doubt as to who has been the more effective candidate.   

We have two Shameless Client Plugs to throw at you, so get ready.  First, check out this piece about Philly’s First Bank, and conjuring the spirit of Alexander Hamilton to restore this historic landmark.  Hamilton, for the uninformed, was a colonial-era actor, singer, dancer and rapper. 

And we would be remiss if we didn’t toot our own horn a bit on the upcoming gala sponsored by the Franklin Institute (with a small assist from Triad Strategies) titled “Vikings: Beyond the Legend.”  Spoiler Alert: there will be no Minnesota Vikings in attendance. 

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to lovely Gilbert, Minnesota, where the early frost has caused berries to ferment right on the trees.  Which, in turn, is causing birds to get drunk from eating them.  We can’t wait to se what the next Gilbert, Minnesota chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous meeting looks like. 

That’s what passes for news around here as the 2017-2018 legislative session winds down.  We will be back next week with the play-by-play and the color, because we multi-task around here.  From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!