Local governments everywhere are feeling the pandemic’s pinch on tax revenue. Nowhere is the pain more acute than in the Scranton School District, where revenue projections are calling into question the district’s ability to make payroll by year’s end.
Yesterday morning, the nation was greeted with the sobering news that its annual GDP had shrunk by a whopping 32.9 percent, or twice the rate of contraction seen during the Great Depression. This might explain why Trump took to Twitter to further his baseless attacks on vote-by-mail, and suggest that maybe we oughta just … y’know … delay the election.
Some have dismissed this as another instance of Trump distracting from politically unhelpful (or “fake”) news, or pointed out that changing the date of any federal election is a huge undertaking that requires an act of Congress, something that not even his usually servile enablers there seem interested in. In then end, one can sense Trump’s desperation; he knows what’s coming in November, and will try to use anything within his grasp to stop it.
Pork-barrel spending is a deathless bipartisan tradition in congress, with the senate Republican pandemic stimulus bill being the latest example. It’s hard to square $30 billion in spending on battleships and aircraft with the economic needs of folks facing a loss of income and possibly their homes in the face of COVID-19’s ongoing spread. But, here we are.
Given that Pennsylvania is home to a whopping 500 school districts ranging from from small, rural operations to those in the inner cities, it’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all answer regarding fall attendance plans during a pandemic. Still, many district superintendents are wishing for more precision in guidance from the governor’s office.
Democrat Joe Biden is up double-digits in polling against incumbent Donald Trump. Still, Democrats who were left shell-shocked by Hillary Clinton’s electoral-college collapse in 2016 aren’t sleeping easy.
The Bloomsburg Fair dunked itself in hot water this week. A Facebook post on the Fair’s homepage showed a man dressed as a woman and identified as Dr. Rachel Levine — the current state secretary of health and point person for Pennsylvania’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic — in a fundraising dunking booth. LGBT and human rights groups decried the event as transphobic and unacceptable; the fair at first put out a statement misspelling Levine’s last name, and later issued a sorta-apology saying it had been a misunderstanding and that the guy in the dunking booth actually was going for “Marilyn Monroe.”
School districts here in Lackawanna County and beyond are struggling to find safe ways to restart classes this fall in the midst of the pandemic.
In a head-spinning mix of corruption and cronyism, Donald Trump commuted longtime pal and political dirty trickster Roger Stone’s 40-month federal prison sentence. Stone was convicted by a jury on five counts of lying to congress, one count of obstruction, and one count of witness tampering. This followed months of tweets wherein Trump whined about how unfairly Stone had been treated (he hadn’t) and how the Russia investigation was a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” (it wasn’t), and back-room efforts by Attorney-General Bill Barr and the Department of Justice to force Stone’s judge to go easy on his sentencing. To be fair, Barr reportedly advised against Trump’s decision to let Stone off the hook, but his past efforts to “grease the skids” for a convicted felon and presidential ally, and non-response to this outrage make him equally culpable in my mind.