In the middle of a live broadcast from Pennsylvania state representative Patty Kim's victory party in Harrisburg, a man in the background casually and enthusiastically drinks from a vase of flowers. Turns out it's part of a weird, elaborate local TV rivalry.
In 2011, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania went bankrupt. Municipally bankrupt. The city is broke, tapped, in penury, scraping by on nada. Personal bankruptcy is tragic, and corporate bankruptcy is financially significant, but there is something especially pitiful about municipal bankruptcies. An entire city of thousands, whose leadership has failed them. It's like watching a scrappy but flailing football team losing in a particularly bloody way.
Linda Thompson — the mayor of the fiscally hurting Harrisburg, Pa. — has attempted everything from budget slashing to layoffs to bankruptcy filings to get the state capital's finances back on track. Nothing has worked. So now she's taking a different approach: She's staging a three-day hunger strike, hoping at some point during her calorically-deprived hallucinations, God will point the way towards an economic recovery.