The Politics of Beer
Pennsylvania’s Governor-elect, Tom Wolf, will take the State’s oath-of-office this Monday. As is the practice for such lauded events, there will be much partying and the consumption of a few adult beverages. But one truly Pennsylvania product, renown the oldest continuously operating brewery in the United States, will not be invited to the party!
Yuengling, the pride of Pottsville, will be excluded from the inauguration festivities for the first time in the State’s collective memory. And this despite the brewery’s long-standing tradition (along with those of other established Pennsylvania breweries) of providing their suds free of charge. Even President Obama dispatched a case of Yuengling to the Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, in 2010 after the Canadians topped the U.S. hockey team in the Olympics!
Why is Yuengling being excluded? Well, apparently Yuengling’s isn’t “union enough” for our new governor, who is in big hock to organized labor. Richard Yuengling, Jr., president of the brewery is – not surprisingly – a vocal proponent of Right-to-Work laws, and the unions that backed Tom Wolf with money contributions for both his campaign and to foot the bill for his inauguration festivities ($50,000 maximum) – not surprisingly – aren’t.
So what’s wrong with such a decision? For one thing, several other Pennsylvania breweries will be represented; but none of them represent the rich fabric of Pennsylvania’s business and economic legacy like Yuengling. Secondly, Wolf is at least supposed to APPEAR to be a man of all Pennsylvanians, not just those to whom he is in debt and not just those who agree with his take-care-of-the-unions approach to governance.
None of this holds out much hope for any progress at all in solving Pennsylvania’s crushing public pension obligations, which of course involves a lot of public union interest. So much for this Man for Pennsylvania, eh?
The Politics of a Pipeline
George Will posted an insightful article on the constant stalling by the Obama Administration on the Keystone XL pipeline. Will really sharpened his keyboard this time, illustrating just how naïve, uninformed, and unreasonable President Obama is being about a project which his own State Department has projected the creation of over 42,000 jobs, most in various temporary stages during construction. (Still … That’s a lot of even temporary employment!)
Will takes the President to task for pretending to take the pipeline construction under consideration, while the Nebraska courts sorted out a lawsuit attempting to block construction. Now that the Court ruled in favor of the pipeline, the President suggests further study, despite that the pipeline has been under study for six years!
Will really nails the President on his naiveté about how global oil prices might affect the cost of oil and gas in the USA. It appears the President doesn’t think much of Canadian oil being shipped through the U.S. as having any impact on American economics. Apparently there is confusion at The White House over how a global market affects domestic pricing.
Oy vey …
But Will really gets me when he addresses the concerns of the “infantilism” of the environmentalists. After all, as Will claims, there are over 2 million miles of natural gas pipelines and 175,000 miles of pipeline moving any number of hazardous liquids. Can we really be so frightened about 1700 miles of Keystone?
I guess only if you really believe gas prices are going to permanently stay below $45/barrel. If you do, I have a unicorn ranch I’d like to speak to you about buying …
The politics of Joe Pa
After two years of contention and lawsuits filed by both the family of legendary Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno and the PSU alumni association, the NCAA reached settlement with the university that restored 111 vacated victories and Paterno’s place as the winningest coach in NCAA Division 1 history. Although the $60 million fine will remain in place, agreement was reached to allow the entire fine to be spent on child protective services within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The sanctions handed down by the NCAA as the result of the Jerry Sandusky serial child abuse case have been a major source of anger in the PSU community, particularly its alumni association. The alumni reactions included a backlash against outgoing Governor Tom Corbett, who also served on the PSU Board of Trustees, and likely contributed to the failure of his reelection campaign.
At the heart of the successful NCAA challenge, which was filed jointly by the alumni association and the State Treasurer Rob McCord, was focused on the NCAA’s internal deliberations, revealed in e-mails obtained by the plaintiffs that suggested the NCAA wanted to set an example as “the new sheriff in town”. The primary goal was to restore the Joe Paterno legacy, a man still revered across the Commonwealth for his efforts in PSU football and for his donations to the university over his 60-plus years there.
If nothing else, the settlement puts an entirely sad and frustrating episode in the university’s rearview mirror. The Paterno family still intends to push its own lawsuits against the NCAA forward. In addition, criminal trials are pending against university officials accused of covering up Sandusky’s despicable crimes.
The best part – in my opinion – is restoring the reputation of a man, who positively influenced the lives of so many, before the horribly managed Sandusky affair. Add to that keeping that $60 million in the Commonwealth to fight the abuse of the most innocent seems like a win-win result out of a lose-lose situation.