As you read this week’s wrap-up, please keep in mind that we may only have weeks left to live, as Planet X is (or isn’t) hurtling toward the earth to destroy us all by late April. So, if you have anything to say to us, maybe say it now.
Former FBI Director James Comey has written a book, y’all. Apparently, the president isn’t a fan of the tome, as he took to the Twitterverse this morning to call Mr. Comey a slimeball. We are sensing some tension there. Maybe it’s just us.
Facebook gazillionaire Mark Zuckerberg spent some time on Capitol Hill this week being grilled by U.S. senators on what this newfangled Facethingy is all about, and why their moms’ apple pie recipes might have been sold to the Russians to help Donald Trump win Candy Crush.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he will not be running for reelection, adding yet another open congressional seat to mix for the 2018 elections. At some point in 2019 it will dawn upon Ryan that he no longer has to deal with the House Freedom Caucus, and his blood pressure will drop 50 points.
Simply announcing his retirement isn’t enough for some House GOP members, who apparently want Ryan out of the speaker’s office by sometime yesterday morning. Amazing how quickly they can all turn the page on a guy who almost single-handedly raised enough money to keep them in the majority (read: keep them relevant) for the past half-decade. Thanks for all your help, Paul! Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya!
Out in the west Texas town of El Paso…with all apologies to Marty Robbins, the place where he fell in love with a Mexican girl is now the place where the Trump border wall construction has begun. Ah, the irony.
Work zone safety took center stage at the PA Capitol this week, as our pals at Associated Pennsylvania Constructors gathered in support of a bill that would allow for automated speed enforcement in construction zones. Supporters of the bill continue to push for consideration of the plan, which sailed through the state Senate last year, only to be tabled by the House.
On a TOTALLY UNRELATED NOTE, three PennDOT workers were injured on Interstate 80 that very same day in a construction zone crash.
Pennsylvania’s wee ones are still slightly better than the national average when it comes to math and reading proficiency, according to a new report. Of course, this news will fuel the “schools need more money” argument, as well as the “schools have enough money” counterargument. Because there is not a report in the world that cannot be artfully spun to your partisan advantage, we have learned for lo these many years.
A bill that would repeal the sugary drink tax in Philadelphia was introduced this week, and all sides are ramping up the rhetoric for the coming battle over the Kenney administration’s signature achievement. As the state budget starts coming into focus, expect this bill to be a topic of serious discussion.
In other Philly news, City Council unveiled a new package of bills to jump-start the construction of affordable housing in the city, including a 1 percent tax on construction. As we all know, there is plenty of housing being built in Philly these days, not much of it being affordable to 90 percent of the city’s residents.
The House State Government Committee gave the OK to a new version of a redistricting reform bill, replacing a proposed citizen-dominated panel with a legislatively-controlled one that looks a bit different from the current legislatively-controlled one. The bill passed on a party line vote over howls of protest by minority party Democrats, who in the event the bill would ever become law, should probably just change their name to the Permanent Minority Democrats.
As the House kicked the tires on ideas to combat school violence, the Keystone State continued to be a part of the national “discussion,” as one school plans to arm its teachers with those commemorative mini baseball bats you get at minor league games on random Wednesday nights in August. Protect YOUR students with these neat bats, brought to you by your friends at Joe’s Quality Meats!
The House also took a bit of time to advance a bill that would limit abortions based upon Down Syndrome diagnoses. Yeah, nothing like an abortion debate to, um, amplify an otherwise mundane Wednesday in the Capitol. Hey, who wants to talk about gun control next??
Pennsylvania may be poised to shed its abysmal national ranking (49th) when it comes to electing women to office, thanks to a flood of qualified women from the southeastern part of the state. Here is a list of some who could be headed to Washington in 2019.
In other campaign news, the race for the GOP nomination for governor is a red-hot mess of accusations and counter-accusations, smears and other unpleasantries. If anyone out there has a copy of Ronald Reagan’s Commandments, now might be a good time to post it on your Facethingy page.
One day, we will all figure out how the makers of Necco wafers stayed in business all these years, selling what is essentially dirt-flavored chalk. In any case, it looks like Necco wafers may be going the way of all flesh. Oddly, some mid-state PA residents seem to be sad about this terrible “candy” going away and shared their angst with PennLive. No matter. Now, we get to work on ridding the nation of candy corn, which is neither candy nor corn.
For our We Can’t Make This Up section, we reluctantly turn to our friends at Heinz headquarters in Pittsburgh and simply ask “Why?” The maker of the best ketchup in all the land is now offering something called “mayochup,” which is mayonnaise and ketchup mixed together for GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT REASON! What, are the R&D folks bored or something? Hey, how’d that green ketchup thing work out for you?
That’s what passes for news around here as we mercifully exit winter and go straight to summer. We will be back next week with a basketful of news, so be prepared and check in with us often. From all your friends at Triad, have a great weekend