Forty years ago yesterday, the residents of central Pennsylvania were in peaceful slumber while some seriously bad business was going down at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. After a few tense days and a visit from President Jimmy Carter, order was restored, but the damage done to the nuclear industry was incalculable right up until the 90's, when The Simpsons debuted, and all was well again.
President Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos spent her week in front of Congress getting her brains beat in over the Administration’s plan to eliminate funding for the Special Olympics (who’s incredibly dumb idea was that, by the way?), only to have her boss change his mind during a press conference on Thursday. Being a cabinet official looks like scads of fun.
The battle over the release of the full Mueller Report raged on this week, with accusations of bias, calls for resignations and a very Trump-like victory lap by POTUS. This thing is never going away folks. It has become the Hotel California of news stories. We can never leave.
Fresh off his Mueller vindication, President Trump immediately turned his Justice Department guns on Obamacare, arguing that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional in its entirety and calling for the Supreme Court to strike it down. This is known in the public relations business as “stomping on one’s own message.” Congressional Republicans want a pre-2020 health care fight like they want the measles.
Back here in always-contentious Pennsylvania, we have now learned how to make the House invocation a controversial event. Mad props to us.
And speaking of controversy, if you were not living under a rock last year, you surely remember the battle over reforming child sex abuse laws in the wake of the Catholic Church scandal. Well, that little legislative disagreement is back and coming to a General Assembly near you.
Rounding out the Trifecta of controversy, the House this week passed a measure that would de-fund a cash assistance program that GOP leaders say is not currently in statute. And while their stance may be correct (depending on your read of the state budget) the cash assistance largely goes to the disabled, veterans, single mothers and those unable to work, making the optics on the vote rather unseemly, to be kind.
A report this week was released showing the Pennsylvania’s large and growing senior population is a real drain on the state’s economy. If we were the purveyors of such a report, we would make damned sure we didn’t wander into any senior centers anytime soon, lest we get a few well-deserved canes upside our heads. If your state economy depends on seniors being an economic driver, maybe you need to get a new plan.
Pennsylvania’s college graduates are lugging around a truly astounding amount of debt, and it is having a direct effect on the state’s teachers, many of whom need second jobs to make ends meet. If you were in the State Capital this week and did not hear the words “college affordability” you need to turn down the volume on your Air Pods.
A group called the Pennsylvania Influencer Project is seeking feedback on the lousy access that rural residents have to high-speed internet and broadband service. We hope it does not include an online survey for obvious reasons.
A hospital trade group has weighed in on the brewing fight between Attorney General Josh Shapiro and UPMC. Highmark’s CEO this week made his feeling about the group’s position crystal clear, probably also reminding said group that Highmark owns hospitals, too. Its time for the Family Feud!
A central Pennsylvania GOP lawmaker this week introduced a bill that calls for the merger of eight state agencies. Governor Wolf, astute readers will recall, proposed a similar plan a few years back. The fact that this legislation will likely not pass is a stark reminder that folks who advocate for “smaller government” often disappear into the bushes when the time comes to actually shrink government.
Despite the vicissitudes being visited upon the nuclear industry right now, Penn State continues to expand the number of nuclear engineers it churns out, we learned this week. Perhaps Big Blue understands that, despite the challenges, Pennsylvania is not going to forgo a boatload of carbon-free energy anytime soon.
Our Shameless Client Plug this week goes out to our pals at Lyft, who this morning jumped into the deep end of the pool by filing its very own IPO. Not IPA, mind you, although there are probably a few of those being quaffed by Team Lyft over on Wall Street right about now. Congrats to all!
Our We Can’t Make This Up segment this week, we take you to Tecate, California, where an artist is assisting President Trump in his quest for a border wall by constructing one made entirely of cheese. At least when hungry refugees come to the border, they will have something nice to snack on. Perhaps he can add a moat filled with a good Cabernet.
That’s what passes for news around here as we careen towards April! Be sure to check back next week when we announce a new member of Team Triad, and immediately make that person’s life a living hell. Until then, from all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend!