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November 2018

Friday Happy Hour: Eye of a Storm Edition

Camel in snow

Pennsylvania got whacked by Winter Storm Avery on Thursday, snarling traffic and shutting down air travel. Most meteorologists missed the intensity of this storm by a mile. Original estimates called for up to five inches of the white stuff, while in reality, some parts of central Pennsylvania got anywhere from 7 to 12 inches of snow. So naturally, everyone in the Commonwealth blamed PennDOT. Readers note: “12 Inches of Snow” was also, coincidentally enough, the title of the debut album from Canadian rapper/reggae artist “Snow.”

The storm was also bad enough in New Jersey to prompt former Gov. Chris Christie to complain that his commute home took him five hours, prompting every, single person on Twitter to ask him if random bridge closings had anything to do with his delay. Twitter can be brutal, Chris.   

Amazon finally announced the co-winners of the “HQ2” beauty pageant, with northern Virginia and New York City splitting the trophy. So much for affordable housing and access to quality mass transit being the keys to the kingdom. But kudos to Philly and Pittsburgh Mayors Jim Kenney and Bill Peduto for making to finals.

After the winners were announced, we found that Pennsylvania and its two cities had offered up about $4.6 billion in tax incentives to try and lure Amazon to the Keystone State. This, of course, led critics to characterize the incentives as suitcases full of cash, which they decidedly were not. But why let facts get in the way?

President Trump’s ongoing trade kerfuffles have apparently given us all a Christmas gift for which we should all be thankful. The War on Chicken Tariffs has driven down the price of pork so much that bacon prices are plunging. Making breakfast great again!  

Gov. Tom Wolf this week laid out his second-term agenda, and reforming gun laws is near the top of the list. That’s a mighty big rock you’ve chosen to roll up Capitol Hill, governor.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., meanwhile, is setting his sights on infrastructure funding during his next term, which is always heartening to hear but never seems to come to fruition. Maybe 2019 is the year we finally stop kicking that worn-out can down the heavily-damaged road. 

Before we leave the topic of Mr. Casey, he also raised some eyebrows Thursday when he told NBC News that he is considering a presidential run. Should Casey throw his hat in the ring, expect Washington talking heads to mention abortion once or five million times, as if he has no other positions of import. 

And while Casey focuses on infrastructure funding in Congress, that topic is also at the top of the list for our good friend Bob Latham of the Associated Pennsylvania Constructors (Shameless Client Plug!)  You can check out his YouTube comments right here

Back in Harrisburg, Lancaster County’s state Rep. Bryan Cutler is poised to assume the role of House majority leader, which as we all know is not only one of the most powerful positions in Pennsylvania government, but is also arguably the craziest job he will ever have unless he becomes White House chief of staff. Good luck, Bryan, we are sending antacids your way!

When it came to leadership elections on the House Democratic side of the aisle Tuesday, the Philly delegation flexed some serious muscle, electing three members to the seven-member team, including Rep. Jordan Harris’ elevation to the No. 2 slot, minority whip. We will save some antacids for you, too, Jordan!

After the Pennsylvania General Assembly took some major steps on criminal justice reform this last year, it looks like Congress is about to follow suit, as President Trump this week backed a bipartisan plan to reform sentencing and incarceration laws. Reaching across the aisle; how refreshing!

Of course, not all is quiet in D.C. this week, as the incoming House Democratic majority is fighting like cats in a burlap sack over whether Rep. Nancy Pelosi should be elevated to speaker of the House in January. Because… well, Democrats. 

Pennsylvania’s Department of Education has released a new online tool that will help you evaluate how your school district stacks up against the other 499 in the Commonwealth. So before you head off to the next school board meeting to vent your spleen, do a little research first, will you? 

We have one more shout-out to our friends this week, this time to the fine folks at Domus Construction, who will have a big hand in the renovation of the storied Metropolitan Opera on Broad Street in Philadelphia. Bravo!

This week’s We Can’t Make This Up segment poses a question, not of whether a camel can go through the eye of a needle, but rather through the eye of a snowstorm. Apparently, no. A camel named Einstein was to be delivered to an event in Philadelphia when his chauffeur became stuck in Thursday’s storm on Route 309 near Souderton. Einstein was released from his trailer for fear of a rear-end mishap and briefly strutted around, well, like he owned the place. Alas, after getting the trailer back on the road, the driver decided it best to deliver the dromedary back to the Peaceable Kingdom Petting Zoo instead of continuing to Philly.

That’s what passes for news around here in snow-covered Harrisburg! Be sure to come back next week when we ruminate further on ruminants and pseudo-ruminants (go ahead, look it up). From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!

Friday Happy Hour: Naked Robber Edition

Waffle House

Happy Friday, good readers! Welcome to the post-election edition of our weekly wrap! We ran down all of the results for you on the Triadvocate this week, so we are gonna spare you all the gory details and cut to the chase: Governor Wolf won big, as did Sen. Bob Casey Jr. The state’s congressional delegation is now a nine-nine partisan split, and both the state House and Senate Democrats picked up seats, but not enough to take the majority in either chamber. At this point, you can safely turn your TVs on again, at least until the 2020 presidential election campaign, which starts in 10 minutes.  

Tom Wolf became the first governor in Pennsylvania since 1968 to be elected twice while losing his home county each time. Not that it mattered to Wolf, who ran up an impressive 16-point victory over fellow York Countian Scott Wagner. Wolf enters his second term with a more manageable partisan balance in each chamber, as well as a pretty impressive electoral mandate.

On the national scene, a huge voter turnout helped the Democrats reclaim control of the U.S House, but we would be remiss if we did not point out that President Trump helped the GOP expand its Senate majority by relentlessly rallying and campaigning in red states. We now have the divided government that we all say we want, until we actually have it.

Southeastern Pennsylvania went all Michael Johnson (obscure pop music reference alert) and turned bluer than blue on election night, with the Philly suburbs providing just about every significant Democratic pickup of the night. This ain’t your daddy’s Montgomery County anymore, apparently.

The ink was not yet dry on the new House Democratic majority in Washington when the talk on CNN went immediately to President Trump’s tax returns. Yup, that was exactly why the Democrats flipped 35 seats. It had nothing to do with health care, we are sure.

Speaking of health care, Obamacare has once again escaped the congressional GOP knife based on Tuesday’s results. If you would have predicted on election night 2016 that the Affordable Care Act would be intact today, we would have suggested that you had a pre-existing mental condition. In short, don’t expect the Obamacare repeal to be high on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s list of “to-do” items.

In a weird glitch, Democrat Susan Wild will be sworn in to represent the new Seventh Congressional District, but not before her vanquished opponent, Marty Nothstein, heads to Washington to be sworn in to complete the term of former Congressman Charlie Dent, who resigned early. The special election to fill Dent’s old seat (under the old boundaries) was held concurrent with the General Election. Memo to Nothstein: don’t rent a house.

A dead brothel owner was elected to a U.S. House seat in Nevada because, well, it’s Nevada.  

And of course, no election would be complete without Florida screwing everything up and ending up in a recount. You keep on doing you, Florida. Practice up for 2020, when we have no doubt you will screw up the presidential election, too.

Democrats across the country passed out cold Thursday after it was reported that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had fallen and broken three ribs. By the time Democrats regained consciousness Friday, RBG had already recovered, ridden her bike and written three scathing dissents. The 85-year-old is currently resting quietly, or perhaps wrestling an alligator.

Not terribly satisfied with the narrative coming out of Tuesday’s elections, President Trump on Wednesday forced the resignation (read: fired) Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. We are sure it was perfectly normal, and nobody even noticed, which is why we thought we would mention it.  

The Keystone XL pipeline has been scuttled yet again by a U.S. Circuit Court judge. Remember 30 or 40 years ago when newly-elected President Trump signed an executive order to build that thing? Yeah, neither do we. At this rate, we will be celebrating (or protesting, depending on your particular view) the 10th anniversary of the border wall before ground is even broken on that pipeline. 

There were some perfectly normal newsworthy items this week that had nothing to do with elections. One of them (Shameless Client Plug Alert!) was the big announcement from Pocono Raceway about the first-ever airshow coming to the track in August. Check it out! 

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Alabama, where a man with no pants fell through the ceiling of a Waffle House during a botched robbery attempt. The man then fought with patrons before leaving the scene, and his wallet, pants and driver’s license, behind. By the way, what the hell are you trying to steal at a Waffle House? Those places flush with cash all of a sudden?

That’s what passes or news around here as we unpack it all, take a deep breath, and prepare for 2019. From all of your friends at Triad, have a great weekend! 





Triad Election 2018 Recap

Here is your Election Day 2018 recap from your friends at Triad Strategies. Ballot-box-WEB


Governor Wolf cruised to a second term, defeating Republican Scott Wagner by a 58%-41% margin.  Wolf will have a new Lieutenant Governor as he enters his new term, as Braddock Mayor John Fetterman won a Primary victory in May over current Lt. Governor Mike Stack.

Bob Casey, Jr. also easily outpaced his opponent for U.S. Senate, Congressman Lou Barletta.  Casey took home a 55%-42% win and will serve a third term.

Continue reading "Triad Election 2018 Recap" »

Friday Happy Hour: Bad Candidate Edition

Bad candidate

People all over the world watched in horror Saturday as Pittsburgh became the latest city to join the list of communities that have experienced domestic terrorism. If you didn’t know before Saturday, Pittsburgh is strong. Stronger than steel, stronger than hate. 

If you or anyone you know is suffering from trauma or just needs someone to talk to after Saturday’s horrific attack in Squirrel Hill, our friends at Magellan Health have set up a hotline and will provide free counseling services.

The U.S. economy has made it clear to everyone that even a terrible hurricane will not stop its momentum. The October jobs report was released today, and the economy added 250,000 more jobs, marking a historic 100 straight months of positive growth. Could this report be the wind in the GOP sails as the midterms approach?

President Trump spent almost the entire week focused on immigration, suggesting at one point that he could end birthright citizenship with an executive order. House Speaker Paul Ryan quickly debunked that idea, bringing a stinging response from the POTUS. We assume Ryan and his colleagues would much rather be talking about that aforementioned jobs report today, that’s for sure.   

A week before the midterm elections, and we finally have some policy disagreements to report on in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race. First, the Squirrel Hill attack shined a light on a major difference between Governor Wolf and Scott Wagner, and that is their respective positions on capital punishment. Wagner is a big supporter, and Wolf has placed a moratorium on using the death penalty in Pennsylvania. It has been a while since the death penalty played any role in gubernatorial campaign politics, so stay tuned.

We also heard two very different plans on how to keep schools safe from gun violence, as Wolf touted the unprecedented money for school safety he secured in his last budget, while Wagner wants to arm school guards and called for (yup, common thread coming your way) the death penalty for anyone perpetrating gun violence in schools.

The third time was not a charm for GOP leaders in PA, as they failed once again to get the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the congressional maps that were foisted upon them earlier this year by the PA Supreme Court. Looks like you gotta play the cards you got dealt on this one, fellas. 

A new report this week found that an astounding 55 percent of Pennsylvania public schools do not employ even a single, solitary teacher of color. We have an idea – maybe take a tenth of the energy we expend talking about how to fairly reorganize PIAA high school football classifications and start thinking about diversity.

This just in to Triad World Headquarters: Oprah Winfrey will not be running for president in 2020, dashing our dreams of hearing Democrats make the the argument that we should definitely elect a billionaire TV personality with no political background as president. Oh, the fun we could have had.   

Speaking of billionaires, Michael Bloomberg this week decided he will not be spending the millions he promised to spend to help Philly-area congressional candidates get elected. Bloomberg has somewhat of a history of promising big political dollars and then ghosting at the last minute. Ask all those Chicago elected officials he was going to beat when they voted to repeal that city’s soda tax. Go ahead, ask them. They are still in office, they should be easy to find.

We have officially entered the “celebrity endorsement” phase of the 2018 elections, as President Trump announced that legendary Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight will be joining him at a rally.   A word of caution: don’t get Knight riled up, he will throw a chair at you.

On the Democratic side, Hamilton the Musical actor Leslie Odom Jr. will be in south-central Pennsylvania stumping for George Scott, who is looking to unseat incumbent Scott Perry. It will be better than Cats

Joining Odom will be everyone’s favorite celebrity, Joe Biden. Biden, it turns out, will be coming back to Pennsylvania after the election to raise money for outgoing Congressman Bob Brady, who is now hinting that he may consider trying to knock off U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, who isn’t up for re-election until 2022. Nothing like an early start.

A conservative pollster this week released three new polls that sent chills down the spines of GOP operatives in PA. The polls showed that three fairly reliable Republican districts represented by Perry, Lloyd Smucker and Mike Kelly are all in danger of turning blue. Should that be the case, Nancy Pelosi should buy everyone in Pennsylvania a Christmas gift. 

In our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Kansas City, MO, where a candidate for the state House is being publicly and vocally opposed by his own children, who are begging people not to vote for their dad. Daddy, they say, is a homophobe and a racist, while he maintains they are the product of a bitter divorce. Wow, bitter divorce huh? You don’t say. 

That’s what passes for news around here as we wait breathlessly for Tuesday, Nov. 6. We will be back with a recap of all that action next Friday. Until then, have a great weekend and remember to vote!