News & Brews October 11, 2021

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How Shapiro ‘locked in’ nomination for gov before even announcing

The Philly Inquirer can’t find one negative thing to say about Attorney General Josh Shapiro in a gushing piece seeking to explain how Shapiro has managed to pretty much secure the Democratic nomination for governor even though he hasn’t yet formally announced his candidacy. Want to read more about about Shapiro’s sweetheart deals for politicians? His bungling of a major drug case? How he cost PA landowners tens of millions of dollars? Well, you won’t find any of that in the Inky piece. (But you will find it here and here.) Maybe this is why a recent Gallup poll showed that trust in the media is at near record lows.

Child abuse deaths saw dramatic increase in 2020

In a tragedy that was widely predicted when the government ordered schools to close, child abuse deaths increased more than 40% last year. Capitolwire reports (paywall), “The increase in deaths and near fatal abuse came as tips about alleged abuse dropped significantly because children weren’t in school and around their teachers, who are mandated reporters, and typically account for a large share of the tips submitted to the state.” Click here for the full report from the Department of Human Services. Many warned last year about such an outcome, recognizing that government-mandated lockdowns would have tragic consequences.

It shouldn’t have taken a RTK request to get this COVID data

Remember back in September when the Wolf administration announced that “97% of COVID deaths, 95% of hospitalizations and 94% of cases are among unvaccinated Pennsylvanians.” These were stark numbers; except, the data dated back to January—when the vaccine wasn’t even widely available. We suspected the current numbers were different. A few weeks before this announcement, we had submitted a Right-to-Know request to the Department of Health for a weekly breakdown of the current data. Last week, we finally got the data from the Dep’t of Health, and it presents a different picture from what DOH tried to portray. We shared the data with the Associated Press, prompting this story. As we note in the piece, “Ultimately, this is about transparency. It shouldn’t have taken a Right-to-Know request for the Wolf administration to release this info to the public.”

Op-Ed: Covid didn’t ‘break’ parents

The Commonwealth Foundation’s Elizabeth Stelle has an op-ed in Broad + Liberty offering that the source of the anger and frustration parents are experiencing is that they feel helpless when it comes to their children’s education. Stelle writes, “Neither the Gov. Tom Wolf model of mandating masks for all schools nor the Gov. Ron DiSantis model of prohibiting mask mandates is the solution. Instead, the answer lies in a model that lets parents choose.” Read her piece here.

Turnpike aims to profit by selling broadband space

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “the Pennsylvania Turnpike is ready to make money — potentially tens of millions — by selling space on a new broadband system along the toll road in Eastern Pennsylvania.” The plan, which has been years in the making, could bring the agency more than $100 million, according to one estimate. Hmm, if only special interests hadn’t prevented the state from leasing the turnpike more than a decade ago, maybe the road wouldn’t be in such a financial mess today. Just saying.

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