The Pennsylvania Supreme Court split along partisan lines last week and handed a pair of victories to Democrat Joe Biden when it OK’ed a three-day deadline extension for mail-in ballots and the use of drop boxes for ballots. Republicans predictably were less than pleased. Even our junior senator played the “Trump card” by arguing the ruling is “lawless” and will cast the election’s legitimacy into doubt.
From where I sit, this looks like another example of the GOP attempting to reduce voter participation by restricting where, when and how folks can cast their votes during the pandemic. And it’s rich to hear the party of voter I.D., racial/partisan gerrymandering, and shuttered polling sites accuse anyone else of trying to rig an election.
Trump just played the Big 10 Athletic Conference like a cheap violin. The universities and their administrators can and will deny he had anything to do with the decision to start the football season in late October, but that won’t stop him or members of his cult (particularly those living in football-crazy swing states) from buying his brand of self-serving baloney.
Meanwhile, the nation’s COVID-19 death toll is topping 200,000. That is the game a real president should be focusing on.
There’s only one way this country will gain real control over the spread of COVID-19, and that’s to put scientists and facts back in the driver’s seat and politicians in the trunk. Under Trump, the chances of that happening are precisely zero.
The Big 10 athletic conference pulled an abrupt one-eighty yesterday and announced that it would indeed play football this fall rather than wait for the spring and a possible COVID-19 vaccine. Why? Well, my guess is that money is the big driver in decisions like this. The member universities also claim that testing protocols are now in place that will help them quickly and accurately track any outbreaks of the virus.
And, of course, Donald Trump is claiming credit for encouraging the swing state-rich conference to return to the field. While his influence here is a matter of debate (I happen to think there’s less to it than meets the eye), it’s worth noting that the shortened season will resume a few weeks before the November election, which is the sole reason Trump took an interest in the matter.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s pandemic response took a hit Monday when Federal District Court Judge William Stickman ruled it unconstitutional, finding that it infringed on the right to free assembly, among others. In his decision, it’s apparent that Stickman’s views of the dangers of COVID-19 are mostly simpatico with the guy who appointed him, i.e. it’s not that big a deal (though he does encourage folks to mask up).
To be fair, Wolf’s stair-stepped approach to controlling the virus’ spread has been ad-hoc and inequitable at times, and it is understandable that small business owners are stressed out because of the limitations. But since nothing like this has happened in our lifetimes, flying by the seat of one’s pants is to be expected. Regardless, Wolf doesn’t plan on going quietly into that good night.
The state’s Department of Environmental Protection’s latest response to Keystone Landfill’s 42-year expansion request lists 60 items in need of clarification, not the smallest of which is the landfill’s assurance that leachate runoff (water that percolates down through the successive tons of buried garbage) will fall to roughly 25 percent or current levels despite the landfill being significantly larger. It seems like a bit of magical thinking, to be sure.
Like all Pennsylvania’s 502 school districts, Scranton headed back into the new school year dealing with the realities of a nationwide pandemic. Students are expected to where masks and maintain a safe social distance. Administrators of the financially strapped district face a somewhat more daunting distancing challenge.
Bob Woodward has stirred up an issue even more irrelevant than Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in 2016. His decision not to immediately release recorded interviews with Trump — wherein the president admits he knew the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic but chose to “downplay” it to the public — has led some pundits to blame him nearly as much as Trump for the 190,000-plus deaths from the virus, which as others have pointed out is silly, and minimizes the manifold failures of Trump and his administration.
One can only guess why Donald Trump thought it was a good idea to hop on the phone and conduct a series of recorded interviews with author and investigative journalist Bob Woodward, a man who many credit with blowing up Richard Nixon. Even more curious is why he though anyone (Woodward in particular) would lend a sympathetic ear to his “explanation” of how he knew early on the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, but chose instead to gaslight the country.
The decision by Dunmore-based First National Community Bank (FNCB) to channel a $50 million pandemic-related, taxpayer-backed loan to Mount Airy Casino and Lodge — both of which involve members of the DeNaples family — has raised more than a few eyebrows.
There’s little chance of Trump winning Oregon, Washington or especially California this November. This likely explains why he seems more concerned with the swing-state-rich Big 10’s plan to postpone its football season until next spring than with the PAC 12’s similar decision. In the end, it’s all about politics and all about Trump.